changing plans

To make a plan is always a good preparation, to get organized for a new adventure. Before I depart New Zealand I planed to ship my BMW back to Europe to get it registered and insured. For the last timer I put bike back in storage at Auckland and moved back to Ireland, where I used to work for 7 years already. To find a job was not that difficult, best of all I could work as a pastry chef in one of Irelands best Castle, what a privilege for me. But it took me some time, even month to settle back in in European work habits they are not as casual than in New Zealand, I struggled a lot over first few month. Every thing was organized to ship bike back to Ireland, I had all papers organized what I need for custom clearance, all I have to do fly back to New Zealand get bike crated up and ship it back to Ireland, shipping quote worked out reasonable too. I scheduled 3 weeks in total what is more than enough time to get bike crated and deregistered. After I booked my flights and hotels I could sit back and relax, I thought so……

All of us didn’t thought about one situation what affected whole global business BREXIT!!!!! I fond out after I arrived at Auckland. We couldn’t make a final quote, or even estimate how long bike is on the way and if there more delays in Europe or not. 

At the end I decided leave bike in NZ for an other few month until whole situation is more settled. Than I traveled independently visited Macau, Hong Kong, Melbourne, and Germany it is some time that I have been back home for many years, it was good to see parents after many years too.I start planning for my next adventure already, to get bike back to Europe

Yangshuo; Kunming; and Haikou

For the last 1.5 years I was planning a motorbike tour to Asia. I looked into a transport option from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur for my BMW Sertao bike. My flight was booked from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur. Early March. If I would be able to do my original plan I would ride my bike after I finished my summer season with Real Journeys to Auckland. At the end I had to change my plan due problems which could not be solved by BMW in New Zealand. Since I have bought the bike I experience problems with stalling. After many service arrangements in Christchurch, Dunedin, and Queenstown I decided not going on the bike on holiday.

I started make last minute changes and booked a flight from Queenstown to Auckland, and continued with my first booked flight to Kuala Lumpur. As soon I passed the customs I looked for a transport option to Kl, there are 2 Taxi operators one of them is a metered Taxi and charge peer Taxi meter; the other one is a fixed price, I juice fixed price option and paid 71 Ringgit to my accommodation. Be aware if your flight leave early in the morning the Taxi charge a surcharge of 50% of regular price between midnight and 6.00 am, the ride from my Hotel to airport cost me 150 Ringgit at the end.

Check in by Air Asia was easy, my flight to Guilin was on time. Guillin experienced a very heavy rainfall over last 2 days, and the humidity was very high. The immigration officer didn’t ask any question about my visit, checked my visas and return ticket that was everything, entering China was very easy. English is not widely spoken in public places. Before I left Malaysia I took a screen shoot of the Hotel name and saved it on my I-phone. It took some negotiation about the fee from Guilin Airport to Rosewood Hotel in Yangshou, Taxi driver want RMB 500 for the transport, what was to much, at the end I paid RMB 400, which seems still very expensive. We used the highway passed many small villages to the right and to the left, all of them where imbedded in between beautiful mountainous landscapes with rice fields and farmland around. Due the heavy rain the highway was covered in water sometimes it seemed like a river, the car was sometimes unstable on the road. After we used the highway the Taxi driver took a side road, which was not sealed, had many potholes and more water on the surface. At this time I have had no idea what direction the taxi was taking, houses got less and less. After 40 more minutes we reached Yangzhou. The rain was still pouring down and I showed the Taxi driver the Hotels address once more, he stopped beside a Hotel which didn’t look like Rosewood Hotel at all, my driver took a second look and rove down the road to an other Hotel which didn’t look Rosewood again, he “called” the Hotel and reversed the Taxi, than stopped in the same road, hotel here, took my bag out of the boot of the taxi and the taxi dissapierd. I was happy that I reached the hotel. As I checked in, no one spoke English oops I thought something is wrong. However we called the Hotel I have booked, the direction I had to take was very easy go to the petrol station opposite the hotel and turn right go to the next round about and turn left, by the bridge turn right again. I started walking in the warm summer rain up the road, kept walking and walking, endless long roads, in the pouring rain. Last time I have been soaked that much it was in Milford Sound the only difference this time was that I have been asked every few meter if I need an umbrella, if I would have one it wouldn’t make a difference, by now, because I have been drenched already. But I couldn’t find the 2nd bridge, where I have turn right, as wet I was I went into a Hotel I passed and asked the receptionist, usually in every Hotel, Bank or Post office is one person who is speaking English, not to worry if you get lost, we called my Hotel once more, one of the office staff had to walk from Rosewood Hotel to the Hotel I was stranded, to pick me up. I couldn’t believe I have been so close to Rosewood Hotel already; it took us only 3 minutes walking.

I received a very warm welcome in the Hotel, with one glass of warm water and a towel. The Hotel is on the main street, at night time all social live is around, bars restaurant KTV are just beside, West Street is absolute boozing full of party hungry people, party time is until early morning. In many bars is live music, and karaoke. In the early morning hours is not much happen, break fast is taken in one of the restaurants, it doesn’t take long until first Tour Guides get in contact and dry to sell tours on a Tuk Tuk, motorbike, or bicycle. Few of guides where approaching me, at the end I booked a motorbike tour with Peter a local from Yangshuo. Following morning he picked me up in the Hotel, after a short walk we picked up our motorbikes. And left City and went into the country side, we passed many rice fields and went further down to the Li River, stopped by one of the old villages, after a short break we took off, the further we went the better it got, one other highlight was to stop at a melon plantation, one of the farmer came along with fresh harvested melons, without pealing skin off I took a big bite into the melon, the sweetness was awesome, even today I can remember the taste of it. Thanks my guide we took many beaten tracks through the farmland, many rice fields, and more plantations. Out of nowhere came a big black snake moving over the path. Now we where in snake territory!!! We continued out tour and had one more stop by moon rock. The whole tour took us at the end 6h. But 6 hours is not enough time to see all the fascinating country, I found out that would be a nice place to stay for a while, my time was limited this time. After I went back to my accommodation I got changed and get ready for nightlife, nightlife does not disappoint at all in Yangshuo. In general it is not easy to find a chines cooking class Omeida Academy offers different classes in cooking, I booked a 3 day intense cooking class. Classroom where located in an old farm house in the country side around 15 mins drive out of Yangshuo.

This time I took the public bus from Yangshuo to Guilin International Airport, to get my flight to Kunming in Yunnan Province. My taxi was waiting already in Kunming it took me 1.5h to get to my accommodation. I found a very cozy Hostel with very good references on Trip Advisor. It is called Lost Garden Guesthouse all staff is fluent in English and dressed in traditional costumes. The check in, was very relaxed and took its time. The rooms are very comfortable, and very quiet at nighttime. To my surprise the menu is very European, fancy salads, different kind of Pizzas, and pasta was on offer, at first I was suspicious about the food option, but I Joyce to eat in today and ordered a vegetarian pizza, pizza dough was home made a perfect cooked tomato sauce and a topping which best ingredients. There was no difference to an Italian Restaurant in Italy from taste flavor and presentation; the only difference to Europe was that no European chef was in the kitchen. I rate the food the most authentic Italian food outside Italy. Yuantong Temple is a 10 mins walk away from the Guesthouse and dated back more than 1200 years grandest and most important Buddhist Temple in Yunnan province, the temple closes at 5.00 pm. Next street down to the Temple is Kunming Zoo located. Dynamic Yunnan is an international awarded winning musical. Bird and flower market is on old street and is open until late, very good for souvenirs to buy.

Kunming is nearly 2000m above sea level, in summer month temperatures are moderate, not to hot.

After I visited Kunming for a week, there was still a week left before my departure back to Kuala Lumpur. For the whole holiday I have had a gut feeling that I need go back to Haikou for a visit, and to catch up with my friends. Usually air tickets are very expensive from any airport in China to Haikou. The only day I was able to fly to Haikou and back to Kunming was on sale, 70% off the regular price. I finalized my booking. One day before departure I received a message from my friend that Hainan got hit by a typhoon and the airport was closed for the whole day. My thought, went crazy, not again a cancelation of my flight, because I canceled my visit already for 2 times. The day my flight was booked I took a taxi to the Airport, at first there was a delay on the departure board. After some time passed by the delay changed to go to boarding gate.

I booked the same Hotel where I did stay 2 years ago. Nothing has changed, at Sheraton Haikou Resort Check in was fast, my room had sea view this time. A very welcoming place is always the sea breeze bar.

Haikou is one of the most beautiful city’s of china, with a no air pollution; its living cost is even very affordable.

 

Peng Chau

Peng Chau

Peng Chau is a small island located north eastern coast of Lantau Island., Hong Kong, which as a n area of 0.99km2.

Peng Chau is well known for his isolated island life style, accessibility to fresh seafood. Several temples are located on different locations of the Island, the most important one is the Tin Hau Temple build in 1792 and is on the highest point of the Island, Fingers Hill which is 95m.

 

Transportation

 

The main mode of transportation on the Island is the bicycle, there are no cars on the island apart from small construction, and emergency cars.

Peng Chau is accessible by ferry from Hong Kong ferry terminal, Central or Kowloon, or from Mui Wo, Chi Ma Wan, and Cheung Chau. Kai to  ferries is operating from Discovery Bay from Lantau Island.

Peng Chau is linked to Tai Lei Island by a bride. The bridge is a popular fishing spot by the locals.

 

External links

Peng Chau

Green Peng Chau Association

 

Lamma Island

 

 

Lamma Island

Lamma Island also known as Pok Liu Chau, is the third largest Island in Hong Kong. Administratively, it is part of the Island District.

Lamma was named after the shape of the island that looks like a fork of a tree.

The original name of the island is Pok Liu. The island is shaped like two Y in opposite direction. When the British came first to the island, they used the colloquial pronunciation of Lam Ah (Lamma) as the name of the island. Another folk say that the name came from a former Lamaist monastery of the island.

 

Geography

Lamma Island is located to the southwest of Hong Kong. It has an area of 13.55km2 and is 7km in length. The northern village is called Yung Shue Wan, and the eastern village is called Sok Kwu Wan. Not many people live on Lamma Island, there is a hiking track going from Yung Shue Wan to the other side of the island Sok Kwu Wan, both villages get served by Ferry from Hong Kong. Sham Wan is a important breeding colonies for sea turtles.

 

About the island

Lamma Island is in contrast of Hong Kong Island, peaceful and isolated, with relatively natural scenery. The island has no air pollution. There are no buildings higher than three story’s allowed on the Island. The only cars that are allowed are for police force, ambulance and construction vehicles.

The community only transport is the bicycle or walk on foot. Property and rent is in comparison to Hong Kong very cheap and affordable. Lamma Island is very popular with young people and musicians.

 

Transportation

There are regular ferry services to Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan from Central on Hong Kong, as well as from Yung Shue Wan via Pak Kok, and to Sok Kwu Wan via Mo Tat Wan, from Aberdeen. It takes about 25 minutes by ferry between Yung Shue Wan to Central at Hong Kong.

External links

Lammazine

 

Haikou

 

 

Haikou

 

Haikou is the capital of Hainan province, P.R.C. It is situated on the north coast of Hainan. The northern part of the city is the district Haidian Island, which is separated from the main part of Haikou by the Haidean River, a branch of the Nandu.

 

Haikou was originally a port city. It still plays a important part in the trading and many goods goes through the he ports.

But today Hainan is one of the tourist meccas of China with white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Many international Hotels are located on the beach site.

 

Arriving at Haikou 

Hainan is not to far from Hong Kong, it takes only a 1.5 h flight to Haikou. I applied directly in Hong Kong by the Chines authority for my Tourist visa which got issued after 3 days, the process was very convenient and easy, pass photos could be made on the premisses and copies which are needed too, you need some extra cash for the extras.

As soon i arrived at Hainan International Airport I felt the difference of the heat, it is much warmer and little more humid, I felt it very comfortable. From the Airport I took a taxi to my accommodation, Sheraton Hotel  we drove for around 45 mins and the taxi driver charged me 160 RMB. The Hotel is directly beside  the beach, even so the out door facilities are in a top condition.

Climate

 Haikou is on the northern edge of the torrid zone, and is part of the international Inter-tropical zone. April to October is the active zone for tropical storms and typhoons, most of them occur from August to September. May to October is the rainy season with the most rainfall.

Despite his location, the city has a subtropical climate with some strong monsoonal influences. However the area has hot summers and warm winters, usually with high humidity.. Extreme temperatures can range from 2.8 to 39.6 C. From June thru October torrential rain may occur, with 7 days annual rain fall.

Nightlife

Haikou has a very active nightlife that continues each evening until dawn. Bars are patronized until after midnight. Road side BBQ sites are very common through the city and offer some snack food even full meals, I dried few of the stands the food was very tasty a very good option if there is not much time to go for a restaurant for lunch or dinner.  Sometimes they comprise tables, plastic chairs and a restaurant set up. This business operate from around9.00 am to 3.00 am.

By Air

 Haikou is served by Haikou International Airport, which is located 25 km, 16 mi from the city. In front of the terminal are waiting licensed taxi which will bring you to your accommodation in Haikou.

Shuttle buses are waiting beside the International terminal which will bring you to the city, to the main bus terminal. If your accommodation is located close to the city it is more convenient and much cheaper to take a Taxi from the main bus terminal than from the Airport.

External link

Haikou Government (Chinese)

Haikou Government (English)

Haikou free trade zone

Sheraton Resort Hotel

 

 

For more information I refer to Wikipedia

Continue reading “Haikou” »

Sai Kung

Sai Kung

 

Sai Kun is the second largest district in the Hong Kong area. It compromises the southern half of Sai Kun Peninsula and Clear Water Bay Peninsula in the new territories plus a strip to the east of Kowloon. The district has the second youngest population and residents. It consists around 70 islands of different sizes.

Sai Kun town is a former fishing village, and is a heaven for Seafood lover, in front of the promenade are the best restaurants Sai Kun has to offer with fresh fish specialty’s and big aquariums with all kind of fish, mussels, and alike.

Sai Kun has some of the most beautiful and cleanest beaches in Hong Kong, (Clear Water Beach1 &2, Silver-strand Beach, Tai long Wan or Big Wave Beach)

Sai Kun District is served by Sai Kun Magazine a free distributed English newspaper.

 

Geography

In contrast of Hong Kong and Kowloon Sai Kun has a remote and idyllic costal area, with charming small Villages beside remote beaches and stunning seascapes. The locals describe Sai Kun as the last untouched back garden of Hong Kong.

 

Transport

The MTR system has currently 4 stations in Tseung Kwan O New Town. The new Town is also served by comprehensive bus network that connects it to Kowloon via several main roads including Tseung Kwan O Tunnel and Po Lam Road.

The nearest MTR station to Sai Kun is Hang Hau.

 

The most beautiful places in Sai Kun can only reached on foot or by boat. Where a destination is accessible by public transport, it is usually served via a complicated network of bus routs.

Some useful information about bus routes could be found here 

 

Local and tourist attractions

There are numerous cultural sites, and country parks in the Sai Kun Peninsula:

 

Sheung Yiu Folk Museum

Sai Kun Outdoor Recreational Centre

Sai Kun East and West Country parks

Jin Island or Tiu Chung Chau

Leung Shuen Wan Tin Hau Temple

Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course

 

External Link

 

Sai Kun Magazine

District Council website 

Explore Sai Kung 

MTR

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau

 

Cheung Chau is a small island 10 km south of Hong Kong. It has been inhabited for longer than most places in the territory of Hong Kong. There are living around 23.000 people on the Island in 2006. Administratively, it is part of the Island district.

 

Economy

 

Under the terms of the 1898 Second of Convention of Peking, the New Territories and 200 smaller islands including Cheung Chau were leased to the United Kingdom for 99 years at that time. Cheung Chau was mainly a fishing village. People from other places in South of China have settled the Island; for example Hoklo, they are mainly fishing people, Hakka people; Chiu Chau; and Yue Ca. The Island slowly evolved into commercial hub with merchants selling supplies to the local fishing people, boat repairs and fishing gear as well as part to do business and small farmers nearby on Lantau Island.

 

Transportation

 

First Ferry operates in between Central and Cheung Chau from the Ferry pier in Central. The Ferry run approximately every 30 minutes, depending time of the year. The trip of about 20 km takes around 55 minutes but it depend on weather and sea condition.

 

Bun Festival

 

The annual Cheung Chau Bun Festival is a festive celebration, which include a parade which start at 10.00 am on that day. It get extreme busy on that day I recommend an early start into the day otherwise the queue at the pier is as long as the Warf it self. Most famously including young children dressed as famous characters doing impossible balancing acts.

The highlight of this festival is climbing up the bun tower at midnight, the higher the competitor climb and the more buns he collects from the different level the more points he gains. The buns are marked on the back and get counted as soon the competitors get safely back on the ground after be bell sounded.

 

External Link

 

Cheung Chau Bun Festival

Hong Kong, Macau, part 2

After a long time of preparation for my holiday’s I will visit Hong Kong and Macau for my 2nd time. This time I will stay for 3 weeks in Hong Kong and 1 week in Macau to get in touch with people and see more of the culture and history of this beautiful place. There are a few day walks to explore around HK such as Devils Peak or old HK with some historic houses dating back to colonial times. Or see a concert of one of the great and famous artists in HK would be awesome. In Macau is one famous beach at Taipa Island I want to see, even though the night sky line of the amusements in Macau. There is so much to discover and see, may 4 weeks are not enough time again. I look forward for this amazing trip, and see all my friends too.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the two Special administrative Regions of the Peoples Republic of China, the second is Macau. It is located on Chinas South coast, enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea. The district of Hong Kong, are the 18 political areas by which Hong Kong is geographically divided. Each district has a district council, which has formerly known as district board. The districts were established in the 1980’s, when Hong Kong was under British rule.

 

History

In the 1860’s residents with the same dialects where grouped together, for social structures which were more important than district structures. Merchants often traveled together as guilds and sold common goods across different areas. The concept of boundary separation only become important around 1870’s, when cultural conflicts increased between colonies, Chinese and the British. One of the first legal attempt to control districts came in 1888 under the European District Reservation Ordinance, which reserved areas exclusively to Europeans. The first Town Planning Ordinance did not appear until 1939.

The district administration Scheme was introduced in 1982 with the establishment of a district board.

From July 1997 to 31 December 1999, the provisional district boards replaced the former district boards. The provisional district boards were in turn replaced in 1st January 2000, with 18 district councils

The whole populations in 2006 were estimated at 6.864.346 people.

During the first half of the 20th century, Hong Kong was a free port, serving as a Entrepot of the British empire. The British introduced an education system base on their own model, while the local Chinese population had little contact with the European community of wealthy tai-pans settled near Victoria Park.

since 1997 on July 1st the transfer of sovereignty from United Kingdom to the PRC occurred, official ending a 156 years of British colonial rule. Hong Kong became Chinas first special administrative area. In 2009 Hong Kong hosted the 5th Asian games, in which 9 national teams competed. It was the first and largest international multi sport event ever held in the territory.

 

Geography and climate

Hong Kong is located on Chinas coast beside the Pearl River Delta. It is surrounded by the South China Sea, and borders to Guangdong and Shenzhen. The territory are consists of Hong Kong, Kowloon Peninsula and over 200 off shore Islands, the largest one is Lantau Island. Hong Kong has a hilly and mountainous terrain, which is ideal for hiking and outdoor activities. The highest elevation in the territory is Mt. Tai Mo Shan, which is 957m above sea level. Approximately 80% of the city smog originates from other parts of the Pearl River Delta.

The most temperature seasons are spring, which can be changeable, and autumn, which is usually sunny and dry. Hong Kong has a average of 1948h of sunshine per year, while the highest ever recorded temperature at Hong Kong are 36.1 °C and 0.0 °C.

 

Culture

 

Hong Kong is described as a place East meet West, reflecting the cultural mix of the territory’s Chinese roots with influences from its time of the British colony times. Hong Kong balances a modernized way of life with traditional roots and practice. Concepts like feng shui are taken very serious.

Hong Kong is recognized as global centre of trade, and it calls itself an entertainment hub. Several Hollywood performers have their roots in Hong Kong, such as Jackie Chan, and Bruce Lee. A statue of Bruce Lee is displayed on the Avenue of Stars.

The Hong Kong government supports cultural institutions such as the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, HK Museum of Art, HK Museum of Science, all those Museums are FOC on weekends and bank holiday weekends for public, HK Academy of Performing Arts, and the HK Philharmonic Orchestra.

 

Transport

 

Hong Kong’s transport network is highly developed. Payment can be made using the Octopus card, a stored value system introduced by the MTR, which is meanwhile widely accepted by railways, buses, ferries and supermarkets and other outlets.

 

External link

Discover Hong Kong 

Walk Hong Kong 

MTR transport 

Octopus

 

I refer for more information to

Wikipedia