Emin Minaret in Turfan, Xinjiang, China.

Turfan, Xinjiang, China

Being located out in the Taklamakan Desert below sea level it is hard to imagine anything growing in the barren, rocky landscape however Turfan is known for its grapes, melons and the nearby flaming mountains, as well as having the notoriety of being the hottest place in China. Built some 2,000 years ago the ancient…

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Guangzhou’s Architecture Favorites

I have literally passed through Guangzhou dozens of times but have been yet to discover any real charm amongst its mammoth sized urban sprawl. This all changed when I stumbled upon a few classic streets in the city’s old quarter which have thoroughly revived my interest.   The stunning qilou that line the peaceful En Ning…

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Guangzhou’s New TV Tower

Stretching some 450 metres into the sky on the banks of the Pearl River is Guangzhou’s newest icon.   Nicknamed the “Supermodel”, the tower is said to mimic the body of a sexy woman. The elevator to the top is a special ride that brings dizzying but intermittent views across the city as you whizz your…

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Shamian Island, Guangzhou

Shamian Island is known in Guangzhou for its beautiful old architecture.   This former UK & French concession area is a great place to enjoy an atmospheric stroll amongst colonial styled structures from a bygone era. It also means this picturesque little spot is a draw-card for photographers adding a layer of vibrancy and interest that…

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Chen Family Ancestral Temple

A Qing dynasty relic of Lingnan culture which seems to have survived the cultural revolution relatively unscathed now houses the Guangdong Museum of Folk Art in a few of its many halls. Elaborately carved Chaozhou styled wooden doors depict classic Chinese scenes while mythological characters feature in the colourful, intricate lime sculptures that grace the…

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Magnificent Macau

The sheer contrasts of Macau make it an intriguing and picturesque destination with a unique mish-mash of cultures.    Not only does the city continue to grow economically due to its burgeoning gambling industry, but it has physically increased its size by around 170% from land reclamation. A gambler’s mecca with glitzy, shiny, mega dollar structures…

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Yangshuo: a threatened wonder?

Being Popular in the World’s Most Populous Nation Brings its Challenges.   An article in Wanderlust magazine discusses the “Threatened Wonders 2010”, which sees Yangshuo as number 2 on the list.   Needless to say I found some of the comments quite interesting and thought I might toss my opinion out there.   Most of China’s…

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Charming Hoi An

Hoi An has not lost even one iota of its charm. There have been many but few changes to this ancient World Heritage site over the past 10 years. I still found myself gasping at just how beautiful and appealing the architecture is in the old town. It also took me a day to realize…

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Christmas Day on Halong Bay

After a tedious bus journey from Hanoi it was as if Mother Nature had snapped her fingers the moment we arrived in Bai Chay. Looming gray clouds parted giving way to dazzling rays of winter sunshine that started to slip through just as we stepped onto one of Bhaya’s traditional junk styled cruise boats. We…

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Train from Nanning to Hanoi

  The overnight train service running daily between Nanning and Hanoi is very comfortable in Chinese soft sleeper carriages however don’t look forward to getting too much sleep.   Departure from Nanning is currently at 6.45 pm, with arrival in Pingxiang a little after 10pm for Chinese border control formalities which took around 90 minutes.   …

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Segways Come to Yangshuo

I have just been out for a ride on what I hope becomes the latest trend or activity to hit Yangshuo.   The Segway is a green, eco friendly people transporter that is quite novel to ride and perfect for a visitor to get a great intro to the delights of Yangshuo and surrounds.  …

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The stunning Detian Falls on the China/Vietnam border is simply gorgeous in any season.

Guangxi’s Detian Falls

The magnificent Detian Falls located on the China/Vietnam border shines with vivid, jewel like colour and is definitely worth a visit. So much more attractive than just your standard trickle of water running over a cliff, Detian is some 200 metres wide and has three tiers of water rushing over its various edges. Despite the…

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Nanning – China’s Green City

Most of the guidebooks don’t have so much to say for Nanning however I found it to be one of China’s more likeable cities.   Green spaces and a population that is incredibly relaxed and happy.     Dancing is a past time that you can see happening most early mornings and evenings all around China however…

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Yuzi Paradise

The melding of bold, modern art with an ethereal landscape is what Yuzi Paradise is all about.   Featuring an eclectic array of more than 200 artworks from some of the world’s most well known sculptors the park is literally a treasure chest laid open amongst beautiful karst landscape.   It is also the location of…

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Another Golden Week is Upon Us!

The build-up to the National Day Holiday this year has all been a little feverish with rumors abounding that many hotels have been fully booked weeks in advance, making for the busiest week ever!   Of course, the town does get very busy however accommodation capacity in Yangshuo is pretty huge these days with an…

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Bountiful Borneo

I have been fascinated by the very idea of Borneo for as long as I can remember.   It sits in my mind as a wild, mysterious and fascinating destination.   Finally this year I made it for a short but very sweet visit.   It is amazing how perhaps just one small detail in a…

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Thean Hou Temple

  Perched high on Robson Hill in the south of KL is Thean Hou Temple.     Dedicated to the Heavenly Mother (Thean Hou, Tian Hou, Tin Hau) was the goddess and protector of the seas.   The temple has an interesting mix of elements that include Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.   Being a popular tourist destination…

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Kuala Lumpur’s Magnificent Twin Towers

      A source of aspiration, ambition, inspiration and symbolizing national pride, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur is a captivating piece of architecture.   I didn’t expect to be drawn into such a magical aura and in fact almost considered not making the journey downtown to see it.   After all it really…

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Yangshuo Specialities – Beer Fish

  One of the most famous dishes in Yangshuo is Beer Fish (pijiu yu 啤酒鱼) and mustn’t be missed if you are into sampling the local cuisine.   Braised in beer, tomato, peppers, garlic, ginger and oyster sauce the dish is delightfully fragrant with the fish usually ending up deliciously tender pieces of flesh that…

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Yangshuo Specialities – Guilin Mifen

  A very popular local dish, “Mifen (米粉)” means rice noodles.   The noodles are quickly boiled and served with a few slivers of cooked pork either with or without soup/stock depending on the restaurant.   Various condiments and a basic “soup” or stock can be added according to your own taste.   Condiments usually include fried…

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Great New Bar in Yangshuo

  There is certainly no shortage of bars in Yangshuo.   What has been missing though is a relaxed bar that takes advantage of the sheer natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.   Superbly situated with fantastic views, the River Bar has certainly filled this void.  Indulge in a delicious fresh fruit cocktail as you drift…

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The Peak, Hong Kong

  Visiting the peak in Hong Kong is one of those “must do” activities.    It has been quite a few years since I ventured up the hill however the purchase of a new camera lens had me braving the crowds to capture my own little piece of stunning HK skyline.   Things have changed. …

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