Seneste indlæg fra Hotellet blog
Beijing, or Peking as it used to be called, is the capital of China. The Chinese word Beijing means “Northern Capital”. This metropolis has approximately 20 million inhabitants, that is more than three times as many people as in Greater London. This is easily noticeable when you arrive there, people are literally everywhere. The traffic is strikingly different from that at home. Cars are all over the place and rapid breaking combined with pedal to the metal is the style of driving. People everywhere, people alongside the road and people in the middle of the road. People riding bicycles or old mopeds. People pulling carts and people with other vehicles. Yes, people everywhere. So what’s important here is to be alert.
Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and at that time quite a number of buildings in the city were freshened up. There are may fine buildings to watch, and quite a lot of historic architecture is to be found here, like Hutongs and Siheyuans. Beijing is vast and there are lots and lots of sights, so it’s a good idea to have a discussion at home regarding what to devote time to. Many people come here to watch the historic buildings, visit the “Forbidden City” or “Tiananmen Square”, while some of us will spend most of the time shopping. What is not for sale here is not worth shopping. That’s the simple explanation of shopping in Beijing, and that’s what I am going to tell you about now. So make yourself prepared and come along!
In Beijing there are various markets where you can go shopping, and the Pearl Market is one of many. There is a sound basic rule when it comes to shopping, and it is known as bargaining. Bargain, bargain, bargain. The equipment you require is patience, time and some money. Figure out how much you are prepared to pay for an object and let that be your starting point. Sometimes you might have to act as if you were totally uninterested and walk away, and then they would often call you back. They want to sell to you, for they know that if you don’t buy from them, you will simply go to the next stand and make a deal there instead. Be smart. Offer a very low price, and then you can finally meet somewhere halfway and be content both of you.
Hongqiao Pearl Market
This is an indoor market, which will suit us well if it’s wintertime. For in Beijing the winter can be very cold and then an indoor market is very convenient. This market comprises 5 floors. The ground floor contains mostly watches, cameras, earphones and other electronic appliances, but also silk shawls, stockings and green Chinese tea. On the first floor you find Designer Clothes, shoes and what we girls love most of all: handbags. Take your time and walk around, test the quality, and if you buy a jacket be sure to test the zipper of the jacket you are going to buy. Try all clothes on, size Large isn’t always a large size. Finger the fabric, sense the quality. On the second, third and fourth floor you find jewellery and pearls, hence the name of the market.
The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and used to be the home of the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Its interior comprises more than 8000 rooms. You enter the palace from two directions, and be prepared that it takes some time to walk around and explore the site.
After a whole day of shopping and visiting palaces your feet will start aching, so it’s a good idea to have a quick shower and go out dining. In Beijing I often have teppanyaki, which is a type of Japanese cuisine that I really love. Every table has its own chef who prepares the dish on an iron griddle in front of the guests. A marvellous experience, tasty and cheap. You eat and drink as much as you can for about 15 Euros.
If you prefer Chinese dining, there is a small restaurant directly opposite one of the entrances of the Pearl Market. We call it “The Hole in the Wall”. This is a good place to charge some energy before continuing the shopping.
Popular hotels to book in Beijing:
Grand Mercure Beijing Central (x Xidan), Beijing
Well-kept hotel in a great location in Beijing, within walking distance from Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City.
The Peninsula, Beijing
This hotel is located 2.5km from the Forbidden City, 3km from the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong and 4.5km from the Temple of Heaven.
Days Inn Forbidden City, Beijing
Hotel with great location in Beijing only 500 meters to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
Jade Palace Hotel, Beijing
5-star business hotel located in Zhongguancun area.
Radisson Blu Hotel Beijing, Beijing
Located in the Chaoyang district, approximately 7 kilometers from the Forbidden City.
Marvellous Bangkok. I do love this city. Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, and 7 million people live here. And if you add the greater city area you must take into account a population of 12 million. There are cars everywhere, lots and lots of people and a wonderfully fantastic experience all together. There is so much to explore and see here. A wealth of restaurants and street stalls. Best of all: Bangkok gives you an opportunity to add extra luxury, since staying and vacationing here is really affordable for Europeans.
Most people associate Bangkok with shopping, and so do I. Endless opportunities of making bargains exist here, but you have to be on guard, for you could easily be fooled. And as always, stay calm and laugh a lot. That is Rule #1 in the jungle of shopping and haggling. There are hawkers in the streets, in the alleys, at the hotels, in the shopping arcades, in fact practically everywhere. A good idea is to walk around a bit first observing how much other people pay, and calculating how much you are prepared to pay yourself. If you can’t stand the sun and heat when shopping, you can head for the MBK or ‘Ma Boon Krong Center’ as it is called. Here you have as much as seven floors to go shopping. Just make sure you sharpen your elbows before entering the mall.
There are lots of sights to admire in Bangkok, and one thing you must not miss is the Golden Buddha statue. In the Buddhist Temple of Wat Pho there is a golden Buddha, 46 metres long and 15 metres high. This is an enormous reclining Buddha richly encrusted with gold leaf. Wat Pho is also said to be the birthplace of Thai Massage.
If you want to try something different and upscale, you should go to the Crystal Lounge in 28 Sukhumvit Soi 20. This is a stylish lounge for having a coffee or a lighter meal. Also to be found here is a Harley Davidson covered with Swarovski crystals. If your legs are too tired you can be picked up by the Crystal Lounge’s own tuk-tuk, likewise bathed in Swarovski crystals, of course.
The Crystal Lounge transports their guests in a tuk-tuk covered with Swarovski Crystals.
My unparalleled favourite venue in Bangkok is the State Tower, a skyscraper in Silom Road. Go there, take the elevator up to the 63rd floor and walk out into one of the coolest sky bars in the world, the Lebua (located beside the Sirocco restaurant). It is 240 metres up and offers marvellous views of Bangkok and the Chao Phraya River. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Just remember, dress code applies here, so neither flip-flops nor shorts are welcome.
After visiting the sky bar for an aperitif you can move along to the trendy Bed and Supperclub restaurant, located in 26 Sukhumvit Soi 11. This restaurant resembles an UFO from the outside. Well inside you ‘dine in bed’. Everything is white, even the waiters. You enjoy a three-course dinner an in between meals you’ll have a chance of getting some massage. Surprises are always afoot in the Bed and Supperclub and there is always some kind of performance during the evening. Sometimes somebody making candy-floss and another time a limbo contest. This is an extremely cool restaurant. When you have finished dining you simply continue the night at the Bed Bar, located on the other side of the large white sliding doors.
Bangkok has much to offer. Stay updated with Timeout, not to miss anything in this fantastic city. Try travelling by tuk-tuk, though it’s much easier and cooler taking a real taxi. Ask the taxi driver to start the taximeter, and thus it will even be cheaper than going by tuk-tuk, and on top you will have air conditioning in the taxi.
I promise, Bangkok will not let you down. Bangkok, the city I will always come back to.
Popular hotels in Bangkok:
The Landmark Bangkok, Bangkok
Convenient located on Sukhumvit Road in central Bangkok, close to the Nana station of Bangkok`s Sky train system.
Narai Hotel, Bangkok
Conveniently located in the city’s main business, shopping, and entertainment area of Silom Road.
Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Bangkok
With panoramic views of the Chao Phraya – River of Kings.
Prince Palace, Bangkok
In the centre and located in Bo Bae Tower, a good shoppingmall.
Lebua at State Tower, Bangkok
5 star hotel located at the corner of Silom Road and Charoen Krung Road and about 10 min walking distance from the Chao Phraya River.
Sharm el-Sheikh is a fairly new Egyptian coastal resort situated on the southernmost tip of the Sinai Peninsula. Sinai has since long belonged to the Arab nomadic people called the Bedouins. It is not until lately that we tourists have found our way there, largely because of the magnificent marine life to be found in the azure waters of Sinai. Nowadays divers go on pilgrimage to explore the beautiful coral reefs of Sinai.
This is where you travel if you want to go diving, sunbathing or just to exist. Since 90 percent of Egypt is desert land, this has become an attractive destination for many people who want to get away from the hectic city life. Here sunshine is guaranteed, it’s cheap and you’ll find a wide range of water activities. However, one must remember that Sharm el-Sheikh is not an ancient city, but constructed solely for us tourists. But if you are looking for sun and hot climate Sharm el-Sheikh is a perfect destination. Many fine beaches filled with activities are available here.
As much as 90 percent of Egypt is desert.
A popular tourist attraction is taking a camelback ride. If you are willing to go on a tour you can make an excursion to Cairo and go camel-riding among the Pyramids, but this activity can be found at practically all tourist beaches in Egypt.
Camel Riding on the Beach.
As tourism is growing in Egypt the number of international restaurants increases on the market. Most restaurants are to found in Naama Bay. If you want your food like back home in Europe, you will find an abundance of various traditional dining. But if you have an adventurous mind, like me, and want to try the local cuisine you are not likely to come away empty-handed. Abou el Sid is my favourite restaurant in Sharm el-Sheikh and there they serve an array of various mezze, which might be described as Egyptian tapas. The story behind the name of the restaurant is about Abou el Sid, the poor breadwinner, who was engaged as a cook with the Sultan. And the he longed so much for his family that in the end he ran away. He was captured and had to spend his last years in prison.
Something typical of Egypt is visiting a market, of course. In the historical city centre the “Old Market” bazaar area is located. This was once the original centre of Sharm el-Sheikh. It is the right place to go bargain-hunting for most anything. Here you’ll find lots of various spices, like saffron for chicken and cakes, or you might prefer buying hibiscus flowers to make tea. Poufs, wallets, papyrus can be found here. The list is easily a long one. Bear in mind to allocate plenty of time for a market visit, especially if you have made up your mind to buy something. For when you have once made your choice, that’s when the fun starts, to bargain. Make sure you are equipped with your biggest smile, lots of time and endless patience. A good hint and starting point is to make up your mind on how much you are willing to pay, yourself, for the object you are going to buy, and after that there’s nothing to stop you any longer. Good luck!
After a long day of sweating and bargaining in diverse markets some diversion might be welcome. Perhaps you want to experience a relaxing evening with a stunning sunset!? Then you can head for my second favourite venue, located at the El Faraa´na Hotel. The Farscha Mountain Lounge is a marvellously wonderful place, which really has to be experienced on site. You can arrive there just as you are, directly from the beach and preferably before sunset. Pleasant lounge music, tasty drinks and an incredibly beautiful view. Here you can unwind, gaze on the sea and watch the big boats heading home after the day’s tours. This is a place I long to go back to.
View from Farscha Mountain Lounge.
Some useful hints and tips:
• Don’t drink the local water, but buy bottled water.
• Bring a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel, the bottles are not bulky and don’t take much space in your handbag.
• Bargain until you are ashamed of yourself, and then bargain still more.
• Remember to make a deal about the taxi fare before the trip. Most taxi drivers don’t use taximeters.
• A smile makes most things easier.
Popular hotels to book in Sharm el-Sheikh:
Domina Coral Bay Oasis Resort and Casino, Naama Bay , Sharm el-Sheikh
Situated in the Sheikh Coast Bay, 8 km from the International Airport of Sharm El Sheikh and 5.5 km from the center of Naama Bay.
Noria Resort, Naama Bay, Sharm el-Sheikh
Located in the center of Naama Bay with 400m to the beach and only 14 km from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport.
Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort, Um El Sid Hills, Sharm el-Sheikh
About 10 min walking distance from El Merkato shopping mall.
Falcon Naama Star, Naama Bay , Sharm el-Sheikh
Situated in the center of Naama bay, 750 m to the beach. Distance to Sharm El Sheikh airport is 12 km.
Tiran Island Hotel, Ras Nasrani Bay, Sharm el-Sheikh
This Hotel is located 550m from the beach, 16 km from Shopping Mall and 16 km from the Casino.