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Asia Archives - Air Canada Vacations

27 Apr

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Why Hong Kong Will Be Your Best Trip Yet

April 27, 2015 | By |

Ready for adventure? Look no further than Hong Kong. This former British colony hits all the right notes, you can’t go wrong. City life, nature, exotic foods and more – just pack your suitcase and get ready to explore. It might seem daunting, but there’s no need to fret. We’re here to tell you why HK will be your best trip yet.  

First things first, prepare to meet the perfect blend of East swirled with West. The possibilities are endless, your travel needs can be addressed.  Perhaps you’re seeking bustling streets, lined with skyscrapers, designer stores and fresh foreign treats. Or maybe you’d prefer to visit markets in the Mongkok district; shop for jade, goldfish, flowers and bargain electronics. Think oriental culture with a slice of New York. Next stop – dumplings à la cabbage, mushroom and pork!

Hong Kong streets

Photo by Megan Cheung

If you’re a foodie at heart, Hong Kong will be your new heaven. From dim sum to late-night noodles, enjoy yummy dishes 24/7. But those are just snacks, who are we kidding? Feast on a traditional 10-course meal and you’ll be grinning. Salty, savoury, sweet and spicy; there’s steamed fish, Peking duck, no shortage of variety. Of course, “mom and pop” restaurants are a necessity too. Head to Kowloon for a menu authentic and true.

Hong Kong food

Photo by Megan Cheung

Now let’s talk about some iconic landmarks that you can’t leave without seeing. The Big Buddha on Lantau Island, in our opinion, is worth seeking. Sitting 34 metres high at the top of a staircase, this bronze statue is regal with panoramic views from its base. Lush mountains, historic temples and a neighbouring monastery are just a few finds, so make it a day trip and get there by a scenic cable car ride.

Hong Kong buddha

Photo by Megan Cheung

Another must-do is a visit to The Peak. We suggest walking as it’s great for your physique. Take Old Peak Road and set your own pace; it can be leisurely and enjoyable, even locals frequent this place. If you’re short on time, then hop aboard the tram. The visuals are stunning and there are no traffic jams. But why, you ask, must you climb to the top? One answer: the view is spectacular, it never stops! Whether taking photos by day or dining by night, The Peak is something you need to experience by sight.

Hong Kong city view

For something different and a lot more quiet, discover Hong Kong’s hiking trails and its natural climate. The Dragon’s Back, for instance, is a moderate half-day hike; a common spot for outdoor enthusiasts to paraglide and fly kites. It’s not just our favourite though – TIME magazine recommends it, so don't wait – just go.

Hong Kong hiking

Photo by Megan Cheung

Feeling inspired to make Hong Kong your next trip? Be sure to check out our website for a wide selection of hotel options and more activity ideas.

 

17 Jan

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Ask the travel experts!

January 17, 2014 | By |

Some people have been there and done that and still can't wait to try even more. We call these people travel experts. We've gathered four expert travellers and asked them to share their globe-trotting wisdom.

1. Of all Air Canada Vacations' beach destinations, which is your favourite?

Claire Newell

I love Maui. I went as a kid with my parents and brothers. Now I go back with my own family. Last year we stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani with a group of friends over New Year's. It was an amazing trip! Maui has a special place in my heart.

Steve Gillick

The variety of activities in Cuba is pretty amazing. Varadero is perfect for unwinding: just watching the clouds drift by and strolling the soft sand. In addition, there are many places that showcase culture, music, markets, museums, history and adventure especially in nearby Santiago, Trinidad and Havana.

Ryan Murdock

Barbados. It has icing sugar beaches, and translucent water you'd swear was glass. Splurge on an upscale meal at Champers, or party with the locals at Oistin's Fish Fry. And be sure to drive north to St. Nicholas Abbey, where you can tour he old plantation house and purchase a bottle of the most fragrant white rum I've ever tasted.

IIona Kauremszky

I'm a big lover of nature and sun so for me it's whale watching off the coast of Samana D.R. and then hitting the nearby soft white sands of Cayo Levantado that make the perfect beach holiday. The water is a clear heavenly blue and some of the nicest I've seen.

2. Of all Air Canada Vacations' destinations, what is your ultimate vacation destination?

Claire Newell

South America is definitely next on my bucket list — specifically The Galapagos in Ecuador and Machu Picchu in Peru. I would just love to experience those places with my husband and kids.

Steve Gillick

French Polynesia offers the opportunity to explore the mystical, dreamy destinations of Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, all in the spirit of immersing oneself in places that are totally different from what we are used to.

Ryan Murdock

Chile. Where else can you explore the world's driest desert, climb to the snow line on Andean peaks, take a dip in the ocean and tour a winery, all in the same weekend? I'd also love to take a side trip to Easter Island, to satisfy a childhood obsession.

IIona Kauremszky

Wow, that's a difficult one. I always wanted to go to Peru to see the Inca city of Machu Picchu plus I hear the culinary scene in Lima is one of the hottest right now.

3. What is your best-kept travel secret?

Claire Newell

Like I mentioned, Maui is spectacular. The beaches in Wailea are gorgeous. The Fairmont Kea Lani is amazing and the rooms are big (over 800 sq ft). Our family's favourite restaurant there is Monkeypod.

Steve Gillick

Tsuzuku is a tiny seafood izakaya (restaurant/bar) tucked away on a side street in the Kagurazaka district of Tokyo. It features melt-in-your mouth fresh seafood in a very friendly, laid-back, atmosphere. For an authentic off-the-beaten-track, memorable dining experience, this is the place to go.

Ryan Murdock

Wales. You can't throw a stone without hitting a 13th-century church, hilltop castle, or Roman site. Follow the trail of poet Dylan Thomas, and pay a visit to his childhood home. Enjoy local delicacies and crisp microbrews. Or just hike the green rolling hills and torn off coast. It's definitely Europe's best-kept secret.

IIona Kauremszky

I love exploring Edinburgh with my spouse who is an award-winning film director. His unique perspective and brilliant observations on the architecture and hearing about all those great Scots add so much to my own personal experience. As a writer, there's always something to discover in Edinburgh. It's no wonder authors have hailed from there for centuries.

4. What is your best packing tip?

Claire Newell

The second you think of packing something, PAC IT. If you wait, you will forget. And, if you can't afford to lose it (either financially or emotionally), don't pack it.

Steve Gillick

Bubble wrap! I collect wine, sake and tribal masks. When I started to bring bubble wrap with me, the breakage rate dipped to 0%. Toilet paper is a great substitute. Thickly wrap delicate items and they will be protected in your checked luggage.

Ryan Murdock

You don't need it. And if you do, you can find it locally. Oh, and leave those travel gadgets behind — the clotheslines, universal sink stopper, inflatable neck pillow, travel steam iron, sheet sleeping bag, etc. You'll never use them. But you will drag them around for the rest of your trip.

IIona Kauremszky

Ziploc bags — I can't carry enough of them. They're good for storing suntan lotion, wet swimsuits and help keep all my stuff sorted.

 

Claire NewellClaire Newell

Claire Newell is the official travel consultant for Global BC and best-selling author of Travel Best Bets – An Insider's Guide to Taking Your Best Trips, Ever. Her latest television role is as co-host of the new travel series Operation: Vacation, airing on Travel & Escape. Follow Claire at www.clairenewell.com and on Twitter @clairenewell

Steve GillickSteve Gillick

Steve Gillick is a travel industry trainer with over 30 years of travelling, speaking, writing, coaching and promoting what he refers to as “infectious enthusias about travel”. Steve is president of the consultancy, Talking Travel. To date he has explored 68 countries and over 530 destinations. www.talkingtravel.ca

Ryan MurdockRyan Murdock

Ryan Murdock is Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Outpost magazine, and the author of Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. www.ryanmurdock.com

IIona KauremszkyIIona Kauremszky

Unabashedly passionate about discovering the world beyond her door, this award-winning travel journalist's bags are always packed and ready for the next big adventure. Ilona Kauremszky invites you to follow her travel pursuits on Twitter and YouTube @mycompasstv.