Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Shanghai Food Post: 10 Foods I Loved in Shanghai (and Anhui, too)

It took some effort to get up at 7 a.m. If there was one thing I loved about winter, it was staying warm and comfortable in bed. But today was a special day. It was someone's birthday. Mine. I didn't have anything planned, but this was Shanghai and that morning, I hear the city buzzing into life. More importantly though, my stomach was grumbling and delicious Shanghai food was calling.

So here are the top 10 delicious Shanghai foods I loved while traveling in the city. Alright, some of them I had in the adjacent province of Anhui, but still. Let's go.

1. Cōng Yóu Bǐng (Scallion Pancakes)

Cōng Yóu Bǐng, Shanghai, China
Street stalls selling cong you bing open very early in the morning. Very popular breakfast food this.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hongcun, Anhui: The Day We Traveled to Ancient China's Countryside

The long wall stood five, six feet high, as tall as we were. It was made with packed earth—an untidy stack of dry mud with grass and loose rocks protruding in places—and topped with a mix of terra cotta tiles and iron roofing. Being the serial travelers that we were, we knew the wall was the perfect place to take a group photo. One by one, we lined up, posed with one hand raised (still unsure why), and got ready for the countdown: one...two...

Just then, a horse-drawn carriage rolled in and click: a group photo with horse ass in front of our faces.

That was when I realized, we weren't in a theme park or an outdoor museum. Though this place was a tourist attraction, we were, in fact, in a real, working village in the Chinese countryside: the ancient village of Hóngcūn.

Hongcun
Hongcun, where horses couldn't care less about tourists along its way
Photo by Ron of Fliptravels.com

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why Travel Tuesday: The Taj Mahal

(Every Tuesday, I will be featuring a photograph from a place I have gone to, a photograph which I believe will inspire others to go out and see the world for themselves. For this week, Why Travel Tuesday features one of the greatest monuments to love ever built by man: The Taj Mahal.)

Taj Mahal, Agra, India
The ultimate monument to love: The Taj Mahal

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Guide to Traveling to Huangshan, China

Located just a few hours from the largest city in China is one of the most beautiful natural tourist attractions in a country so full of them. Huángshān, or Yellow Mountain, is a mountain range in Anhui province, China, about 330 kilometers west of Shanghai. The mountains were formed when granite rocks rose from the floor of an ancient sea and were then carved by glaciers millions of years ago. The national park, often referred to as Huangshan Scenic Area, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

China: Huangshan, Anhui
Huangshan served as subject for many Chinese paintings (for very obvious reasons).

Before planning my trip to Huangshan, I never realized how relatively easy it was to travel here. We trekked to Huangshan in winter through snow and fog. As difficult as that was, I found that every freezing minute we spent up in those mountains was completely worth it. Especially since we were granted sunny skies the following two days we were here.

To help other independent travelers and backpackers travel to these magnificent mountains, let me present a guide to traveling to Huangshan, China.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why Travel Tuesday: Chinese New Year, Manila Chinatown

(Every Tuesday, I will be featuring a photograph from a place I have gone to, a photograph which I believe will inspire others to go out and see the world for themselves. For this week, Why Travel Tuesday features celebrations during this year's Chinese New Year in Manila Chinatown.)

Philippines: Manila Chinatown Binondo
One of the primary streets in Manila Chinatown, Ongpin, filled to the brim with people during this year's Chinese New Year celebrations