Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How to Find Asia Airfare Deals to and within China

A Mecca of historical and natural wonders with over 5,000 years of recorded history, China boasts a fascinating culture and is rich with awe-inspiring sights and scenery. From visiting the Imperial Palace in Beijing to admiring the view of the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River, there are numerous activities for visitors to enjoy in China. Thanks to the abundance of Asia airfare deals, visiting China no longer has to be a strain on your budget.

Flying to China

Shanghai, the economic capital and most populous city in China, is the best place to look for deals when flying to China. Shanghai is China’s busiest port and is also home to a number of popular touristic attractions including the Shanghai Museum, the old town in Bund, and shopping venues on Nanjing Road. Flights into Shanghai are cheapest on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Business travelers typically fly on Monday and vacationers on weekends so avoid flying at these times if possible.

The peak travel times to Shanghai are during holidays such as New Year’s, so if possible, plan your trip during off seasons because flights will be far more affordable. National events and festivals can also cause flight costs to skyrocket so avoid travel during these times.

Beijing is another flight destination you may want to look into if you are searching for Asia airfare deals for China. Even if your final destination is Shanghai, you can fly into Beijing and take a bus or train to Shanghai in order to save money. You could also save money by flying through a gateway city such as Bangkok, Thailand or New Delhi, India rather than flying directly into China. Nonstop flights tend to be more expensive.

The national airlines in China are Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and China Northern Airlines. Air China often posts last minute flight deals on their website. Other carriers that fly to Shanghai include Alitalia, Korean Air, American Airlines, and Turkish Airlines.

Flying within China

Booking discount flights within China has never been easier. In the past, it was necessary to book inter-China flights at a travel agency in your home country, but today, you can easily search for tickets online. In order to travel between cities in China, check out the cost of flights from Spring Airlines, China’s first low-cost carrier. Hainan Air offers a “travel keeper” service featuring fares with discounts of 65% to 80%, but you have to be willing to risk not getting the flight of your choice. Dragon Air is one of China’s most popular airlines and publishes discounted fares on their site.
So, here’s a recap of money saving tips when flying to or within China. Avoid traveling during peak seasons, weekends, and Mondays. You can also save money by traveling with airlines besides the national Chinese airlines or by traveling via a gateway city. When flying within China, search for last minute deals and opt for flights offered by China’s low-cost carrier.

What’s next, next, next!

The next blog will be my travel stories in Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Hongkong, Taiwan, China, Malaysia and India. I need to make a pause for the meantime and focus on my Centered Vision blog.

As a fresh start after exiting for awhile from Philippines and Thailand travels, I am featuring a blog about China from a travel company Best Travel Deals

I will be back for sure, there are so many things to explore more in Philippines and Thailand. Also, I thank all those who commented, sent emails and finds my blog enjoyable to read. I’m at your service.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Chiang Mai at its Best!

Summer of 2009 and this time my feet hit the north. After another tiring Bangkok International Motorshow event, I made things set-up completely again …. bus and plane tickets purchased and hostel ready, Chiang Maaaai baby here I come! For a change though, got a bit bored hanging in the beaches down south all the time and of course Thailand is not all just south… it has north, east and west too. Before I forgot, its Songkran Festival again and if you’re still unaware of this event do check my Phuket & Me blog for more info. Please.

I stayed in a mini hotel-like place where a good friend stays as well and just a door apart from me, sweet! My first night was spent on dinner with some friends and later hanged-out in a sardine-like discotheque nearby. After being suffocated and got bored standing without moving we decided to unwind in an open-air situate for some tea and wine. The partying and chatting didn’t last that long as I requested to retire early for an adventure plan with my friend the next day and must be very early for the pick-up time.

The day of adventure has arrived and I’m the only one going due to my friend’s inability to come-up with her decision to go and preferred to sleep more and enjoy the presence of her family. After being picked-up from my place, we bore some tiring and rocky mountain trip. Upon reaching the place, we were welcomed by some coordinators who served us with early morning breakfast and freshly brewed coffee just before leaving for an awesome pursuit… The Flight of the Gibbon!

No monkeys flying and dangling here. Flight of the Gibbon is one of the most highlighted activities in Chiang Mai and gained lots of popularity and attention especially by foreigners visiting the city. Here you are equipped with belts tied around your body, a crash helmet and a Y-wooden stick you need to use to minimize the speed of your flight as you approach a stop and heard the warning yell “Break!!” This is where I almost got deaf with the loudness of my own scream like an excitement of riding a roller-coaster. From this experience I also chuckled several times hearing some Jews from Israel were I was teamed-up as they shouted “Buddha Bless, Buddha Bless!!” while on their flight and when it’s over they will utter “God bless Buddha!” Tsk tsk…. followers really they are. No kidding!

After claiming my free t-shirt for the adventure, lunch was served with another round of freshly brewed coffee and cold drinks after that huge excitement and later sent back to our places. The next day and yes it’s my birthday again, me and my amigas went to this famous Mae Sa waterfalls to refresh ourselves from the terrible heat during that season. The water from the mountain was cool enough that I shivered on my first splash, but later on got used to it when soaked for a long time. It’s a very comfortable place to hang-out in groups as you can rent a mat and a basket to put all the stuff you purchased (like food, snacks, beers etc) from the near entrance before going up to reach the waters.

After several hours of chatting, eating and drinking we finally decided to dry ourselves and head back home. It’s getting late in the afternoon and people are starting to disappear one by one and it’s still an hour drive back to the city proper. So, after the adventure and the cool water escapades, next is another kinda big thing to take pleasure in, the last day Songkraning!

While on our way to the meeting place via tuktuk, me and my friend almost got drowned as people threw water on us from each and every streets we passed by. There was this incident that we felt like it was a bucket-full was splashed on our face and a 5-second silence emanated within before we caught our breath and laughed hard back again. The party place was graced with huge crowd, drenched and dancing to the music played by live-artists performing every block on the street. Water sprinklers and hoses are everywhere so there is no way you couldn’t get out of this place without getting wet. The music, the water and few beers while the sun was up was such a good party combo and this I can say the most terrific Songkran Festival I’ve ever celebrated. If there is one fantastic place in Thailand where Songkran is worth enjoying, it’s in Chiang Mai.

The same day when darkness set-in and after getting showered and dried, we grabbed some few drinks in this popular dining they call Monkey Bar. The live music was good and the place is spacious, packed with many locals and few foreigners. The day was called off and we all went back to our nests for a deserving rest after a tiring and drunken day of feasting.

As the plane started to rise from the runway (heading back to Bangkok), I felt like another part of somewhere else is injected again inside my veins circulating the same blood vessels that keeps me breathing and pleased with every jaunts I make. The experience, the people, the tradition and the adventure are things worth reminiscing, and the very reason why I penned my travels is to share how wonderful the feeling is and always. Life isn’t all about the stress of workload and dramas of relationship, let’s set a corner where we can scream and laugh out loud as if its our last day we have on earth.

Worth visitttttiiiiiiing!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hua Hin, Relaxin' & Jazzin'...

Another great hideaway to unwind without going deep down south of the land of smile in just two and a half hours (the fastest) and of course there’s no point of taking that long train travel if you really can’t wait to feel the breeze of the sea and the sands on your feet.

Hua Hin, a thai word meaning Head (hua) and Stone (hin) is one idyll province near Bangkok and preferred by some local and foreigners to take the pleasure of fresh water instead of heading down Phuket or Krabi and mostly not settling down with the densely populated and polluted Pattaya. My first time to feel the place was dated two years ago and went there totally alone without anyone to visit, just me and some fiction books and few plans to horseback and sit-back and relax in the beach.

After stepping off the bus I called-up a motorbike for a less-than kilometer ride to my guesthouse. I can actually take a walk but felt a bit tired from the travel with an asthmatic-like vehicle as it keeps on stopping and exhaling bad smoke from its engine. My small hotel is nice, clean and the reception ladies are very warm as they anticipated my arrival and even invited me to hang-out with them in the bar at night. Past 3 pm in the afternoon after fixing my stuff in the room I went off to marvel the place and looked for some place to buy souvenirs and fed my half-empty stomach that craved for Burger King’s Whopper.

While hanging out in some market place nearby at night, I noticed the place isn’t that much populated with foreigners but mostly with locals, and shops closes earlier than 11 pm in the evening. Phuket is much busier than this, and very few bars and pubs are seen in the area. But what is very good and enjoyable in Hua Hin aside from the beach, its quick accessibility from Bangkok and more laid back than Pattaya?

Concertssss!!! I mean beside the beach concerts! Either local artists, company sponsored event or this popular Jazz Festival causes much heavy traffic along Petchkasem road going to the usual event place called Khao Takiab (Chopstick Hill in English). Reading, relaxing and an hour horse-ride at the beach during daytime aren’t the only things I pleasure with no pressure in this place but music and entertainment as well. Big local and international concerts are mostly held here and visited by a huge crowd of party people mostly coming from Bangkok, from kids to adults and senior citizens; some even drag their dogs with them.

Seafood is one good thing about Hua Hin too. Either served in the restaurants or those you can order near the beach are affordable and not bad at all. For Bangkokians who are content with two days and one night relaxation, this place is a winner.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Phi Phi Island in Krabi... Plus Me!

This is an insert from my previous blog “Phuket & Me”, after the dinner with friends and before the seafood galore, also with friends.

Leonardo DiCarprio’s “The Beach” made this paradise island so popular and is actually situated in the province of Krabi, definitely NOT in Phuket. You need to take a speedy boat to reach this secluded place from any southeast ports of Phuket island and the tour time isn’t that long and definitely not boring. While travelling there is sightseeing as well, plus snorkeling.

Jazzed with my dark shades on flip flops waiting in front of McDonald, I half-felt like emoting and thinking the tour agent might have forgotten me already as I went so impatiently waiting and excited. I was told to be very early that’s why and realizing its past 15 minutes already, the site of the van to pick me up is nowhere yet. It left me no option but to save my mood better with the usual valid excuse of “it’s Thailand time” or known as D.E.L.A.Y. It’s pretty much same habit in my home country I guess, same same and not different. While contemplating about the meat fondue I had the previous dinner, my mobile rang and it was the van driver on the line asking me where he can possibly pick me up. I felt like my eyebrows did meet each other as I saw him standing across the street where I was sitting, just beside the van with some loads of people in it. Waiting for more than 15 minutes without calling me and me daydreaming, it was a total wasted time for both indeed…grrrr.

At the Pier. While payments are being settled before loading into the speedy cute vessel, I uttered my own “Ouch! *with modesty” as one lady almost bury her fingernail onto my chest when she put a tour sticker on my shirt. I almost thought it’s intentional just to wake me up because I was yawning that time feeling sleepy after our travel from the city to the port, but then she apologized knowing she almost stabbed me with that long red thingy on her finger. After each and everyone grinned and said “Cheese” for an individual photo shooting, we departed the port and were briefed about the tour itinerary. Our first stop was in Phi Phi Don, and some passengers were unloaded there and we spent like 10 minutes before heading on the next island. I did really have my own shots in this trip but unfortunately lost them all when I accidentally reformatted my hard drive. Well images from the web always look better than what I got in my digital camera anyway.

Awww...wesome islets and rock formation sights on our way to Phi Phi Leh, breathtaking! After some few minutes we went straight ahead to Maya bay, another startling place to focus and adjust your camera lenses and take your best shot. We also marveled other places like caves and other small islands before enjoying the swim and the woo-hoo “Splash” of our snorkeling in the monkey bay… the bay highlighted in the movie and yes it is really really alive and kicking down there. Not simply but outstandingly amazing place to bring your esposa or amigas or novio or even your madre y padre to unwind and enjoy the view to forget everything you left behind the city… your work, your pets, your friends and even your unpaid bills.

After an hour and a half given to enjoy the water, the corals and the monkeys, we were all advised to leap back to the ferry on our way back to our first stop in Phi Phi Don to have our lunch. After the satisfying meal we were allowed again to sit back and relax in the place, swim again if we want for another couple of hours. Most of us walked around and took some photos and shopped for some souvenirs like shirts, displays and shell crafts made by the locals in the island. After getting what I want I settled myself in a small internet cafĂ©, made myself online in MSN chat and envy almost everyone in my list as I turned the webcam on and waved “I’m in Phi Phi in Krabi!!!”. I have no idea if they all felt happy for me but what matter is I was indeed that time. Well I think they did, I only brag to my close friends anyway.

Back to the Phuket port and after claiming my image on a plate after that “say cheese” thing, I felt so wonderful. I couldn’t believe that I made it in a place where I used to think and dreamed of upon seeing it in a movie. It was real, and I did it all alone with me, my camera and my guts.

Going down south Thailand is something everyone must anticipate costly. Being in the Phuket proper is expensive enough for the rides, but the stay is more worthwhile if you go down further in Krabi to feel the nature that speaks and leaves a sprint on your heart, refreshing your life for a better restart.

Please do visit!

Images Sources:

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Phuket & Me

Summer of 2006 and it’s another precious time to celebrate a long vacation here in Thailand. Well of course I’m talking about the Songkran Festival or Thai New Year which falls on the 13th till 15th of April. This remarkable 3-day celebration is very much enjoyed every year by the locals and foreigners who find fun throwing and playing water and getting wet, it is indeed! But of course one thing I love about this event is that I have the very good reason to threat myself for a break after a tiring motor show event that comes ahead and yes, my happy birthday falls on the 13th of the month too.

So, I asked a very good friend to buy me a bus ticket to Phuket five days earlier so I can get a VIP seat on a night travel. On the way to the bus terminal I felt so excited, all things are set, my guesthouse reservation, confirmed my friends of my coming and also yes, the lovely plans to eat tons of seafood were bulleted in my to-do list. As I reached the station, I loaded my ass and my bag…grabbed a nice and warm thick cloth… leaned back and fell into not-so-deep sleep (not so deep because of the few moist drippings coming from the aircon near my seat and I felt like I should have asked for an umbrella ella ella instead of a blanket).

The city finally! Then I’m dumbfounded to reach my guesthouse…how? I have no idea which means of transpo should I pick, the usual tuktuk, a taxi or a motorbike. After some empty-stomach bargaining with those un-bathe drivers I ended-up a ride on a motorbike, cheaper than the rest and I’m just carrying a single bag anyway. I’m not really comfortable on a 2-wheel bike ride but it left me no option as the others are pegging for an extremely high and unfair price to reach some few kilometers and yeah, it’s always like that in Phuket as my friends said.

I stayed in a very popular area called Patong, 15 kms away from the town proper where everything you see and enjoy in Bangkok are there too. Well not counting some nice mountain views and few steps to the beach, what I mean is the commercial establishments, the shops and the tourists…tons of them (well of course). After arriving in my room and booked myself for an island tour the next day, I hanged out around the place and content myself for some fast served burgers while waiting for the nighttime to meet-up with my friends after work. Fast forward >>>

Dinner time! We ordered fondue, some roast pork and salad to stuff ourselves while listening to some awesome Filipino band that plays there, and I forgot how they call the place. We really couldn’t find a compromising topic to unite our chats except for designing a website, but a chilling and near the beach meal with a gynecologist, a property lawyer and a web designer (yours truly) is not bad at all. After the dinner we grabbed some coffee in the nearest Starbucks and after reaching the end of web consultation, they sent me back to my place and they headed back home. The next day is my island trip to Krabi, and that I saved in my other blog. Let’s focus on what’s in Phuket. Skipped >>

After a day of satisfying island trip, I and my friends finally decided to dive-in to the much awaited plan…seafood galore! Ok, I really can’t remember the place (again) but it’s located near the international airport and the freshest of fresh seafood are there, breed in-house. Crabs, squid, fish and few sea shells ordered and later served on the table and the feast went on very well.

Phuket is an island city. You need to drive yourself to its edges so you can possibly explore the beautiful beaches surrounding it. A very friendly advise, come in groups so you can share the cost of renting a car to marvel the place, all kinds of transportation are taking advantage the city’s popularity with high demand on mobility and with that they charge unfairly per few kilometers of trip. Motorbikes are also available for rent, good for folks coming in pairs or just single. If not for my friend’s generosity to tour me around with his car I’m pretty sure I’ll get broke here by just renting any kinds of medium to reach any place I want, and definitely not spent much on food, tour travels or partying.

In fairness to myself after travelling that far down south, I enjoyed my stay in Phuket by just relaxing and eating…and getting wet by ice-cold water. Well aside from the fun of playing water in the daytime during the entire festival, I also enjoyed loitering at night around the streets and bars located in Bang-la area or their own version of the walking street. Some few chats while having beers with the guesthouse owner and some of his lovely guests were funny, gassed with stomach ache with their toilet and sexy jokes. Gays are indeed wonderful companion in almost everything I think… them and my good friends made my stay in Phuket worth remembering!

Image sources:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pattaya, A Place for Old Western Dudes

If you are a Thai dark-skinned girl and desperate for a foreign husband good enough to be like your father, come hunt here and you could be lucky. Am I so mean about this place? Yes I am. A city province 100 kilometers away from Bangkok with a bitch-infested beach especially at night, troublesome european gang men bullying the local men, also those hot gorgeous eastern european women who caters sex… still to the local men, are some of the irking highlights of this crowded city that I’m very, very incompatible with.

Retired white men with bloating stomach are the most irritating unwanted features you will encounter in this place, be it in the shopping mall, restaurants, or even at the public transportation they called songtaew. One golden rule: don’t look at these old dudes or else they might probably assume you’re interested to spend your life to serve and be with them in their forthcoming diaper years and inutility.

For several times I visited pattaya to see friends or just hang-out at night if we’re holding a race event, it really never came to my mind to familiarize this place’ streets and landmarks (except for walking street) and still not confident enough to marvel around alone as I see brothels anywhere reminding me of one of the saddest fate of women, prostitution.

In fairness…it’s popular for most tourists who want to have a taste of sea water very near to Bangkok without traveling that far down south. And while hanging out in the morning or early afternoon, you can sit back, relax and order some not-so-fresh seafood while watching the polluted water with people enjoying the banana boat ride and those show-offs speeding the jet skis. Am I fair in this paragraph? Oh it’s really hard for me to pretend or sugarcoat my words on things I truly detest. My insincere apology for mocking this place is ok if not accepted.

If you still want to enjoy at least a small fraction of your trip to Thailand, come and visit. But then there are still far better place to go to smell the breeze of the beach and definitely not a crowded one. And by the way, you can check the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum here.

Pattaya Image Link: