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Kate Wu

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In 1972, the 4th King of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, declared that “Gross National Happiness” is more important than Gross Domestic Product. This concept measures a much broader perspective, including nine domains: Psychological well being Health Education Time use Cultural diversity and resilience Good governance Community vitality Ecological diversity and resilience Living standards While it is not the simple “happiness” commonly known, this Gross National Happiness index does convey a message to the world that Bhutan government cares about the overall wellbeing of the individuals. The High and The Low Bhutan is the world’s greenest country with over 70% of land covered by forest. With around 800,000 population living in 38,394 square kilometers of land, Bhutan’s population density is one of the lowest in the world. Culture & Traditions When it comes to culture, polygamy is probably the most unique one. It is legal for men and women to have multiple wives and husbands at the same time. The 4th King of Bhutan has 4 queens. Isn’t it the dream of most men?! Divorce is acceptable, not a disgraceful…

Cycling has become a popular way to pace yourself to travel around Japan, particularly in some suburb regions. Locating south of shikoku Japan, Kochi is the largest and considered the most remote prefecture in Shikoku region. It is well known for the mountains, rivers and the Pacific coastline. Cycling is one of the best way to explore the city and some suburban areas. 1) Shimanto River(四萬十) Stretching 196 km south of Kochi, the Shimanto River is the longest river in Shikoku region, and is considered the most crystal clear stream in Japan Surrounded by the serene and beautiful nature. The most intriguing feature of this river is the 22 chinkabashi (ubmersible bridges) designed without guardrail, allowing debris to flow through when the water level is high during rainy season. This fascinating feature is a major attraction to travellers. For the experienced cyclists, you may cycle from Ekawasaki Station (江川崎駅) to JR Nakamura Station (中村駅)or vice versa. If it is a day trip, please make sure you return your bike before the rental shop closes. For a easy ride half day…

With many mountains, snow resorts and hot springs, Niigata is one of the most popular winter wonderlands in Japan. The twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) direct flights between Hong Kong and Niigata between October 30, 2019 and March 28, 2020 allows you to save 2 hours of commute time and costs for taking Shinkansen from Tokyo! The direct flight begins end of October, just in time for the autumn foliage. Here are 3 most popular places for the colors in Niigata: 1) Dragondola The 5,481 metres long “Dragondola” is the longest gondola ride in Japan that offers a spectacular view of the golden and scarlet color carpeting the mountains between Naeba and Tashiro ski fields. Location: Mikuni, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun Inquiry: 025-789-4117 (Naeba Ski Resort) Operates: 9:00 to 16:00 from October 8 to November 6, 2016 (last ride up at 15:00) Cost (roundtrip): adult ¥2,600, child ¥1,300. Public transportation: Take JR from Niigata Station to Echigoyuzawa Station (about 50 mins), then switch bus (about 50 minutes). 2) Norther Culture Museum Converted from the wealthiest landlord’s residence in the Echigo region, Northern Culture Museum…

Soup has been a traditional Chinese recipe to stay healthy, particularly for those living in Southern China. I recently came across a unique “7.1 Summer Vegetarian Soup” recipe in a Chinese Herbal Medicine Shop and would like to share. The name of the soup “7.1” has double meaning. 1) July 1 is the middle of the summer in Hong Kong. 2) There are 7 main herbal ingredients. The naming was to make it easy. Since the recipe is in Chinese, the translation of the ingredients may not be accurate. In case you are an English speaker who want to give the receipe a try. Please show the Chinese name of the ingredients when you buy them.

If you like flowers and garden, the choices are abundant in Japan. In Shikoku, what you see the most would be the famous impressionist artist Claude Monet’s water lily ponds, large and small. Monet’s Garden Marmottan in Kitagawa Village The most impressive one is the Monet’s Garden Marmottan in Kitagawa Village in Kochi. It was a licensed replica of the Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France. The 30,000 square meters garden consists of three main themed gardens inspired by Monet’s paintings: Flower Garden, Water Garden and Light Garden. The Water Garden is the signature garden of all, featuring a Japanese taiko bridge arched over a pond which looks exactly like the one in France. There are wisteria, willow trees, bamboo and a selection of water lilies. You may see the iconic blue water lilies between July and October every year! It is a great place to spend half a day strolling around in the tranquil environment and enjoy a light meal in the French style cafe. Otsuka Museum of Art The second place where you can see a Claude Monet’s…

Locating between Honshu (the main island of Japan) and Kyushu, Shikoku is an island famous for udon, the whirlpool and the Shikoku 88 pilgrimage route. Recently, with more direct flights to Shikoku, it has become a more popular travel destination. Shikoku is filled with wonderful nature The beautiful Seto Inlsand Sea, art islands, nice beaches, spectacular mountains, and clean river. One of the off-the-beaten tracks is the amazing mountainous valley called Iya-Obuke in Tokushima. History Legend has it that a defeated Heike Clan retreated there during a civil war in the 12th Century. The deep valley and mountainous deep forest area made it a great hide-away. The ancient vine bridges have become iconic tourist attraction of the area. Scenic Spots in Iya-Obuke There are several scenic spots around the mountain area, including a Michelin 2-Star Green scenic spot U-shape gorge, the peeing boy statue, vine bridges, the scarecrows village and the 400-year-old Ochiai Village built on a hillside. Depending on your schedule, a day trip will not be able to cover the entire area, particular if you also want to…

Set up in 1993, Shenzhen Safari Park was a national run zoo until end of 2007. It is now a subsidiary of Shenzhen Travel Holdings Limited. Over the past 10 years, the zoo had undergone lots of changes and improvements, adding aquariums and kangaroo gardens. The park is really spacious even if you don’t know how big 600,000 square meter is. There are lots of animals and the living conditions for each types of animal are good. Most of them look healthy which is a good indication. Tigers, lions, leopards, bears, wolfs, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, deer, yak, oryx, hippos, rhinoceros, giant pandas, penguins, flamingo, pelicans and more. There are several feeding and riding experience at extra costs. Shenzhen Safari Park was the first zoo in China with uncaged animals. The walking observation path of lions, tigers and bears was great but it wasn’t feature in the video (I already ran out off camera battery by the time I got there). Next time. With the availability of High Speed Railway connecting Hong Kong and China, the Shenzhen Safari Park is conveniently…

The two most popular destinations for sunset are Shimonada Station in Ehime Prefecture and Chichibugahama in Kagawa Prefecture, Shikoku Japan. Well, the reason is obvious: beautiful and unique. 1. Chichibugahama 父母之濱 in Kagawa Prefecture Stretching 1km long along the coast in Mitoyo City, west of Kagawa Prefecture, Chichibugahama Beach is renown for the amazing mirror images similar to the salt flat Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, attracting many locals and tourists to just come for some breath-taking shots without having to fly across the planet. Thanks to the “parents”, the local communities to initiate cleaning up the beach since 1995 so that we can now all enjoy a clean beach and take great photos. However, the mirror images are only possible under certain condition: nice clear day and low tide. Not the low tide of the day, but the low tide of the month. Please check out the tidal schedule before you head over. Transportation: In addition to driving, you may take a bus/taxi from JR Takuma Station. Buses only run from Monday to Saturday and it is not very…

With increased direct flight from Hong Kong (one more between Hong Kong and Tokushima from now till March 2019), Shikoku Japan has become more popular among the experienced independent travellers who love to explore new places. Where is Shikoku? It’s the smallest island (other than Okinawa) of the four main islands in Japan, locating between Honshu (the main island) and Kyushu. There are 4 prefectures on the island, namely Kagawa, Tokushima, Kochi and Ehima. Accessing Shikoku As the smallest island in Japan, Shikoku is relatively less travelled by tourist. For hundreds of years, boat is the only way to get to the island until 3 bridges connecting Honshu were built in the 80s. So there than flying directly to Takamatsu in Kagawa, Tokushima and Matsuyama in Ehime (from Taiwan only), you may also fly to the neighboring cities (Kansai, Okayama or Hiroshima airports) then take a bus or train to Shikoku. It is not as inaccessible as you think. Travelling Around Shikoku Travelling around Shikoku has been a major challenge for many travellers who do not drive. That’s also why…

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