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Yangshou: Living The Experience Of Traditional China

If you love Ancient Chinese culture from movies, Yangshou is the place to make those dreams a reality.

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     Located in the province of Guangxi, about 65km from Guilin lies the small town of Yangshuo. For the past few years, Yangshuo is slowly starting to get noticed by a lot of travelers and ex-pats alike, mostly due to its beautiful, scenic landscapes consisting of mountain peaks and countrysides, as well as its distinct and well-preserved cultural traditions and practices.

     These highlights bring Yangshuo into the spotlights of every traveler as well as on their lenses and social media feeds. One look at those breath-taking and surreal photos. Would make any wanderlust want to grab their camera and book the nearest flight to China.

     The well-preserved way of life of most of Yangshuo’s ethnic group is also a major attraction particularly those who wanted to experience a unique way of living, which includes some ancient practices. Seeing and experiencing these cultures also give slight on how different these ethnic groups are compared to how we generally view or see or expect or know about China.

Attractions

      The major natural material that can be found in Yangshuo is the limestone, in which most of its infrastructures are made of. The mountains in Yangshuo are rich in Limestones, forming most of its surreal landscapes from these natural minerals.

     Yangshuo is also the cradle of two of the famous rivers in China, the Li River, and the Yulong River. Since ancient times, these rivers serve as the lifestream of the locals living in Yangshuo, being the major line of transportation and business engagements, as well as a source of food and living. Nowadays, these rivers also serve as a tourist destination to a lot of visitors, therefore giving the locals another form of business in the form of river cruises.

     Another one of the famous attraction in Yangshuo is Chuanshan Park, that is considered as one of the most beautiful sceneries in Li River. Some of the must-visit sites in Chuanshan park is the Pagoda hill where tourist can see the seven-story Longevity pagoda; the Cockfighting Hill that looks like two fighting cocks ready to battle; and the famous Two Moons of Li river: the Moon cave that looks like the moon floating in the sky and the Water-Moon cave of Elephant Hill that looks like the moon floating in water.

     Another must-visit place in Yangshuo is the ancient town of Daxu. It is a place that seems like it came right out of history books, showcasing the lives during the Ming Dynasty. The well-preserved houses and workshops, as well as traditional skills of bamboo weaving and shoemaking,  are one of the major attractions in Daxu.

Best time to visit:

     Since river cruises and hiking are the major activities in Yangshuo, tourist is often advised to plan their visits during days that have warm and good weather, since river cruises are forbidden during heavy rains for safety reasons. Aside from rainy weather, it is also not advisable to go on a boat ride during the wintertime due to the cold winds that might cause freezing.

     The best time to visit Yangshuo is during the season of Spring or Autumn, as the temperature is very favorable and mild, as well as comfortable for such a long boat ride and hiking. The days between May to October are considered the best time to do a photography shoot since the daytimes are longer and the temperatures are warmer as well. Waking up early in the morning is also a great time to capture the famous Yangshuo sunrise, as well as capturing the warm sunset in the late afternoon.


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Destinations

Ukraine: An Underrated Tourist Destination In Europe

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When many people think of taking a European vacation they probably imagine strolling along the Seine with their lover, or seeing Michelangelo’s David in Florence. I mean, those are both two amazing things to do. However most people would even consider traveling to Ukraine. It is a country at war, the winters tend to be unbearable, and Eastern Europeans have a reputation of being unfriendly. All that being said, Ukraine is still an underrated tourist destination and one that should be on travelers radar.

What Is There To Do In Ukraine?

Ukraine is a large country. In fact, it’s the largest country entirely in Europe. This means that there is something for everyone! From adventure travelers to those just looking to relax, you can spend months exploring the country and still not tire of things to see and do.

If you are looking for a city break you can’t skip out on the capital of Kyiv, nor the cultural capital of Lviv. For adrenaline junkies you can go skiing in Bukovel, or white water rafting in Vorokhta. And if you are just a good old nature lover then camping by the sunken city of Bakota or the uninhabited Dzharylhach island could be for you.

5 Amazing Places To Visit In Ukraine

1. Lviv – A Beautiful City In Western Ukraine

The cultural capital of Lviv has a storied history. From being the capital of the kingdom of Rus to a part of Poland, the pearl of the Austrian Empire to the gem of an independent Ukraine. There are so many things to do in Lviv almost anyone can have a great time.

For dining I highly recommend a trip to the most popular restaurant in Lviv, Kryivka. This restaurant in a bunker under Rynok square is themed, but don’t let that put you off. The walls are papered with interesting artefacts from one of the most tumultous periods in Lviv history. Youc an see old military medals, propaganda posters, and plenty of old (non-functioning) weapons.

2. Bakota – A Less Than Easy Place To Go Camping Like A Local

The site of a submerged city, Bakota, is currently a reservoir connecting to the Bug river. This is a very popular camping spot for Ukrainians and there are plenty of activities you can do. I like to just relax and enjoy nature, but you can go boating, fishing, or hiking the cliffs around the area.

You will need a car to get there as public transportation doesn’t really exist, but that just means you’ll have to do a bit of car camping.

3. Dzharylhach Island – The Largest Island In The Black Sea

Dzharylhach Island is an uninhabited island in the Kherson region of Ukraine that is another beautiful place to camp. You can only get there by taking a ferry from the mainland, and there are no accommodations other than tents. Rest on the soft white sand or play with the dolphins that come very close to shore.

If you do spend some time there you have to try the island specialty – stingray borsch! This soup is made daily by the shanty little cafe near the pier. And don’t forget to see the sunset by the famous Dzharylhach Lighthouse!

4. The Pink Lake – One Of The Most Unique Places In All Ukraine

Located on Arabatska Strilka, about 6 hours by bus from Kherson City, is one of my absolute favorite places in the whole country. Officially named Henichesk Lake, this natural pink lake is an amazing sight to behold.

The color is due to a non-harmful bacteria that thrives in the high salt content of the lake. Many people even take salt home to cook with it, I know I brought a few kilos back! Make sure to wade out as far as you can go so you can see the most naturally pink section.

5. Kyiv – The Capital Of Ukraine

No list about places to see in Ukraine would be complete without Kyiv. A capital going back all the way to Kievan Rus, the city is a mix of classic Eastern European architecture and ugly Soviet commie-blocks. However don’t let the ugliness deter you. The city is lively and fun if you know how to do it right.

Spend some time at the Bukta food center on the Dniper river, or hit up an amazing pool party in the warm months. Walk through beautifully manicured parks and see the Mariinsky Palace, or visit the Pechersk Lavra – an historic cave monastery filled with the bodies of Orthodox saints.

About the author:

Alona Tiunina is a travel blogger from Ukraine who has been to (almost) every region in the country. When she is not traveling she enjoys binge watching Netflix and scouring airline tickets for her next trip.

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Air Canada Announces the Gift of Travel Campaign

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Air Canada provides travelers with a unique opportunity starting this December. The company’s Gift of Travel initiative is certainly worth looking forward to.

Air Canada announces a new holiday campaign called the Gift of Travel. It’s the company’s new initiative that celebrates different actions done by several heroes in the community who are providing selfless possibilities to fellow Canadians.

The COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted our freedom to explore the world and travel without increased border restrictions.  Air Canada’s Gift of Travel campaign aims to help procure funds for various organizations in Canada. The initiative also provides avid travelers with easier travel passes, enabling them to reach their dream destinations conveniently.

“Canadians from across the country have shown remarkable resilience, solidarity and generosity in the face of COVID-19 and we were inspired hearing stories of people who dedicated their time and energy to caring for others, making a memorable impact on other people’s lives. We are proud to launch this campaign with our Gift of Travel video featuring heartwarming stories of community heroes and share the gift of travel through a message of hope and optimism from our employees as we all look forward to brighter days ahead,” shares Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources, and Communications Officer at Air Canada. “We are also proud to continue our long-standing effort through the Air Canada Foundation in supporting communities through its inaugural Gift of Travel auction and the annual Aeroplan Matching Campaign,” she adds.

The same Gift of Travel campaign highlights with different inspirational stories about Air Canada personnel as they do community work, providing assistance related to the fight against COVID-19. These stories can be accessed via the company’s social media handles and website.

On 1 December 2020, the company will launch its Gift of Travel auction. The said auction will highlight rare aviation implements including the opportunity to fly or operate an aviation simulator. It will also feature a ride-on plane for kids and even a chance to have dinner with the company’s most celebrated chefs.

All proceeds of the said Gift of Travel auction will be given to various Canadian charitable groups and organizations that work toward better health for the youth and children.

Also, the Gift of Travel campaign will cover the yearly Aeroplan Matching Campaign week celebrations. This will feature the Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program, an advocacy to help sick children to get the medical help they need.

Through the Air Canada Foundation, the charitable arm of the company, Air Canada specifically aims to help Canadian children and youth in their medical and health needs. The Foundation also provides financial assistance and in-kind aid to various charitable organizations in Canada.

The company’s Gift of Travel campaign also highlights a Gift of Travel pass that allows convenient travel to one of the six designated locations. This pass will be valid until April 2022 and will provide the bearer with utmost flexibility.

The COVID-19 outbreak has heavily affected Canadian’s capacity to travel wherever and whenever they want. With Air Canada’s Gift of Travel, however, more opportunities to travel—and even to help others—becomes a vivid reality.

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Hawaii Travel Restrictions to Change

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Travelers to Hawaii will need to undergo COVID-19 testing and have negative results prior to entering the state, stresses Governor David Ige, as Hawaii travel restrictions get modified.

Effective a couple of days before Thanksgiving, stricter Hawaii travel restrictions are to be initiated. This is to halt the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state, David Ige, the state’s governor proclaims on Thursday.

At the moment, visitors are permitted to reach Hawaii by using a pre-testing protocol. Upon reaching the state, travelers can simply upload their test’s negative results on the Hawaiian COVID-19 visitor database and bypass the 14-day quarantine used by other US states.

This current mandate is problematic, however, as more and more tourists later prove to be positive after being allowed passage into Hawaii. This issue, then, compromises the health and well-being of residents, resulting to the prevalence of new COVID-19 cases in the area. Hence, Ige points out the need to tighten border patrol to curb this rampant result.

The said tightening of Hawaii travel restrictions plans to take effect on Tuesday, just two days before the upcoming holiday celebration.

To forego, however, the 2-week quarantine protocol, tourists are required to take the proper COVID-19 test at any of the accredited testing centers or partners of the state. Nevertheless, if the results of the test do not arrive before flying into Hawaii, the tourist shall be forced to take a 14-day quarantine or even stay on lockdown for the duration of his visit, whichever is shorter.

It is essential to note that tourists who do not obtain their negative COVID-19 results before departure won’t be able to enter Hawaii even if the said information arrives just before they reach the state.

Travelers are still provided with the option to skip COVID-19 testing, however. Both tourists and residents who arrive at the border can still opt to take the 14-day quarantine, either at their designated hotels or at home. This option comes in lieu of the lengthy COVID-19 testing queues across the United States as more and more Americans are forced to get tested for the said virus.  

At present, the US still holds the topmost record of the most COVID-19 total cases in the world. As of writing, it already has a record of 12,078,831 positive cases. To prevent the upsurge of the same rapid transmission within Hawaii’s borders, the need to require negative COVID-19 results as part of the modified Hawaii travel restrictions is pointed out.

Nevertheless, Ige explains that the necessity of protecting Hawaiians from the possibility of inbound infection can be skipped by choosing to stay on a 14-day quarantine. Travelers can still opt to remain within their hotel rooms or head straight to their homes, eradicating immediate—and unprotected—contact with locals during the said time period. Thus, tightening Hawaii travel restrictions aims to halt rapid COVID-19 spread as everyone awaits news of an effective vaccine that may possibly help the country—and the world—revert to the unrestricted mobility experienced way before this unprecedented pandemic emergency.

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