THE SCARIEST PLACES IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC (PART 1)

Every one of you has at one point has experienced being some place that gives you a strange feeling: chills running down your back, goosebumps on your skin and something telling you that you should leave immediately. Let’s go explore five places that you do not want to visit alone.

This article explores some Czech places with terrifying legends that make people feel uncomfortable and scared. Czechmag.cz visited some of these places and experienced the horribleness first hand! Welcome to part 1 of the series TOP 5: The Scariest Places in the Czech Republic…

Read the full article on Prague.TV’s website. The best place to discover Prague, like a local!
Follow The Travel Bug Bite at:
0

10 INDOOR ACTIVITIES TO GET YOU THROUGH WINTER IN PRAGUE

Winter can be gray and gloomy but don’t let that get you down. There are many fun indoor activities that can keep you active and provide entertainment during those cold winter months!
Read the full article on Prague.TV’s website. The best place to discover Prague, like a local!
Follow The Travel Bug Bite at:
0

Living in a Chinese Economic Development Zone

I live on the very edge of Shanghai, in a Chinese economic development zone. What exactly does that mean?

I live in Huaqiao: the last stop on Shanghai’s metro line 11 on the opposite end of the newly opened Disney Resort. Where I live is technically not considered to be part of Shanghai, instead my long address includes Kunshan, Jiangsu and Suzhou.

Kunshan is a satellite city located in the greater Suzhou region, which is known for its ancient water towns. Jiangsu is the province that both Shanghai and Suzhou are part of. So, if Kunshan is the city that I live in, then what exactly is Huaqiao?

Huaqiao is an economic development zone which means that there are many factories, warehouses and residential buildings. One of the best-known companies with an enormous warehouse in Huaqiao is Jingdong Mall (basically Chinese Amazon).

Living in a development zone requires patience and flexibility. There is a lot of construction, new stores pop up overnight and your favorite restaurant might not exist in a week or two. There are some huge pluses to living in a place like this. Prices on rent, food and e-bikes, for example, are much lower than in Shanghai.

Socially, a development zone is not the most exciting way to live. Sure, there’s a gym, pool-hall, KTV, large supermarket and even a dingy little club. But it’s easy to get bored quickly and feel like you’re trapped in a tiny village packed with sun-blocking 20+ story apartment buildings instead of never-ending fields and animals.

The public transportation system in the area is good and frequent, but the last buses leave at around 20:00. After that you need to choose long walks in the polluted air, taxi drivers that will try to rip you off or rickety tuk-tuks that are only fun when you’re a tourist.

But hey, the post office and banks are open during the weekend. There is a lot of unique street food to try and hundreds of tiny little restaurants to visit. Manicures, haircuts and massages are offered at every corner and at great prices.

There are very few rules so you can spend your free time playing beer pong in grocery stores or even exploring rooftops covered in mannequin body parts.

Living in an economic development zone is not all that bad. Especially when you can spend the money you save on ridiculously cheap rent on wild weekends in Shanghai. After all, it only takes about 60 – 90 minutes to get the heart of the third most populated city in the world!

1-58172b09dea4b__880

Follow The Travel Bug Bite at:
0

48 Hours in Kiev, Ukraine – GoWonder City Guide

Kiev is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe and happens to be the 8th most populated city in Europe. Like many formerly communist countries, Ukraine has undergone extreme economic and social changes. Today, Kiev is a bustling cosmopolitan city combining historic architecture, modern cafes and a vibrant nightlife. In other words, it’s the perfect tourist destination!

The following city guide can give you the perfect itinerary for 48 hours in Kiev, Ukraine, one of Europe’s prime travel destinations – okay, I might be biased, but go along with me on this one…

Kiev is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe and happens to be the 8th most populated city in Europe. Although Kiev is the better-known spelling of Ukraine’s capital city – patriotic locals prefer “Kyiv” because it reflects the Ukrainian pronunciation. It is also important to know that the countries name is just “Ukraine”. Before it gained sovereignty in 1991 it was called “the Ukraine” as a territory within the USSR.

Like many formerly communist countries, Ukraine has undergone extreme economic and social changes. Today, Kiev is a bustling cosmopolitan city combining historic architecture, modern cafes and a vibrant nightlife. In other words, it’s the perfect tourist destination!

Of course, it can be hard to get an authentic feel of a place in just a day or two. But if you take advantage of the extensive public transportation system you can cover a lot of ground in just 48 hours. Just don’t attempt to visit all the cool museums or you’ll never leave!

Read the full itinerary at http://letsgowonder.com/48-hours-kiev-ukraine-gowonder-city-guide/

That includes detailed info about:

  1. Kiev-Pechersk Lavra – The monastery that’s basically a candle-lit maze of cave tunnels!
  2. Motherland Monument and War Museum – Discover the view from Ukraine’s Statue of Liberty!
  3. Cheap and Relaxing Boat Cruise – Kick back and enjoy Kiev’s panorama!
  4. Bar Banka – Eat and drink out of jars on the best night of your life!
  5. Landscape Alley Park – Walk a mile in Alice in Wonderland’s feet!
  6. Independence Square – Celebrate Ukraine’s freedom and spirit of revolution
  7. Zip-Line to the Beach – Fly like the wind – over the city
  8. A Church with a View – See the sunset reflected in dozens of golden domes

 

 

 

Follow The Travel Bug Bite at:
0

CZECH CHRISTMAS MARKETS 2016

It’s finally that time of year again! Follow the scent of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine to one of Prague’s many Christmas markets. The Náměstí Míru market is officially open for business and the rest will follow soon.

The traditional markets bring hundreds of thousands of tourists to Prague every winter. The seasonal fairs, special events and a 31-meter tall Christmas tree Old Town Square bring as much enjoyment to locals as they do for visitors. Hand-blown glass ornaments, carefully sculpted wooden toys and colorfully-knitted hats are just a few of the wonderful gifts that you can find here.

Read the full article on Prague.TV’s website. The best place to discover Prague, like a local!
Follow The Travel Bug Bite at:
0

Shopping for Western Food in China

Shopping for Western food in China can be a challenge. However you can find just about anything, as long as you know where to look!

Everyone knows that Chinese food is delicious and there are so many traditional dishes to sample! There’s sweet and sour pork, wontons, Beijing roast duck, chow main and spring rolls just to mention some crowd favorites. Oh, and then there’s dumplings that come in literally every size, style and flavor that you can imagine.

I spent my first few weeks in China stuffing my face with dumplings and trying as much Chinese food as I could! Despite all the amazing food that China had to offer, it didn’t take long for me to crave some basic European groceries.

It was quite a shock to discover that the huge Chinese supermarket that sells live turtles, pig snouts, salted soda and at least 20 different egg variations has never heard of un-sweetened bread, salami, salted popcorn or real cheese.

While the food selection is much better in Shanghai’s city center (90 minutes from where we live), China is known for its lack of milk-products and other Western products. This is where Metro and Fields come to the rescue.

Metro is a large supermarket that sells a variety of global foods at a great price. The Metro in Shanghai offers huge blocks of cheese, tender organic meats, pickles, baguettes and so much more that you can’t get in a regular Chinese grocery store.

An alternative to Metro is Marks & Spencer, however it is more expensive, has a much smaller selection but does offer some unique British products.

For fans of online shopping there’s Fields. Moderately priced and offering free delivery for orders over 200 RMB ($30), Fields always has exciting sales and 2 for 1 deals. It boasts a great selection of organic meats, cheeses,“zero-footprint” fruit and vegetables as well as fair trade products.

Fields also sells desserts including cheesecake, eclairs, macaroons, gourmet melting chocolate cakes and even pumpkin pie which are hard to come by anywhere else. So far, Fields has been the only place in China where I found crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside dark bread buns. They even sell ready-made foods on certain holidays, like stuffed turkey for Thanksgiving!

d66062_3f97ee3534d74845a8ea9bea6488d697-mv2

Follow The Travel Bug Bite at:
0

4 EARLY-WINTER GETAWAYS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC

Cooler weather tempts us to curl up under a puffy blanket with some hot chocolate. But winter shouldn’t dampen your adventurous spirit. There are plenty of winter-exclusive articles that will warm up your heart and get you out of the house!
Read the full article on Prague.TV’s website. The best place to discover Prague, like a local!
Follow The Travel Bug Bite at:
0

Shanghai Ocean Aquarium

The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium has the world’s longest submarine viewing tunnel! Read more…

Last Sunday we finally visited the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium that we have been hearing so much about. The aquarium is known for being one of the largest ocean aquariums in the world and having the world’s longest submarine viewing tunnel measuring 155 meters in length!

Getting to the aquarium is an adventure of its own because of its location in Shanghai’s financial center. It is right next to the beautiful Oriental Pearl TV Tower not far from all the other skyscrapers – including the second tallest tower in the world. In a few months, it will also be next to the first Taco Bell in Shanghai.

The aquarium consists of two pyramid-shaped buildings covering a total are of 20,500 square meters! The aquarium is divided into various exhibition zones including:

  • China Zone

  • South America Zone

  • Australia Zone

  • African Zone

  • Southeast Asia Zone

  • Cold Water Zone

  • Polar Zone

  • Sea and Shore

  • Deep Ocean Zone

  • Special Exhibitions

Despite it being a weekend in China, the aquarium wasn’t too packed and we were able to navigate and enjoy three hours there without too much pushing and shoving. The famous submarine tunnel had a great system where most people stand on a flat moving platform (like the ones they have at airports) to avoid photo-taking traffic.

The aquarium has over 15,000 water creatures and rare fish including jellyfish, moonfish and leafy sea dragons! The jellyfish exhibit was probably one of our favorites. They were beautifully displayed in a floor-to-ceiling tank stretching across the hall. It was illuminated with black lights that turned the majestic creatures neon-colored!

You can expect more than just the regular fish that you’d expect to find in an aquarium, like a large alligator that chills peacefully with black swans and turtles. Most of the exhibits have signs in both Chinese and English, but if you’re particularly curious I recommend renting an audio guide. A handful of the exhibitions had no non-audio information and left us guessing at what we were looking at.

Another highlight of the aquarium are the animal feedings. They are done twice a day:

         Spotted seal (Coldwater Zone)
9:45-9:55 & 14:15-14:25

         Penguin (Antarctic Zone)
10:00-10:15 & 14:30-14:45

         The Open Ocean (Deep Ocean Zone)
10:30-10:45 & 15:00-15:15

         Schooling Seas (Deep Ocean Zone)
10:50-11:00 & 15:20-15:30

         Shark Cove (Deep Ocean Zone)
10:50-11:10 & 15:20-15:40

They are timed so that you can move from one feeding to the other at a leisurely pace. Keep in mind that you can only go one way, so time your visit with the feeding time in mind! We got a bit too distracted by the jellyfish and missed out on good sting-ray feeding sitting spots. We still caught a few humorous moments from the back of the crowd, including a sting ray hungrily nibbling on the diver’s head.

All in all, it was a great experience worth the 160 RMB ($24) we paid for the tickets. For aquarium enthusiasts, it is possible to buy an annual card for just under 400 RMB ($58). Although we didn’t purchase the annual card, we are already planning another trip in Spring time.

The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium has a great website in English with all the information you could possible want about the aquarium. You can also read more about the aquarium, and nearby attractions, on Travel China Guide.

Take a look at our video featuring highlights from the aquarium:
https://youtu.be/T3j2v4Dzo8U

15301290_10157809459625503_26679808_n

Follow The Travel Bug Bite at:
0

CELEBRATING THANKSGIVING IN PRAGUE 2016

Thanksgiving is a popular American holiday and it’s all about family, friends, American football and delicious food. A traditional dinner features a roast turkey, sides of mashed potato with gravy, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. The best thing about the holiday? You don’t need to be American (or in America) to enjoy it!

Read the full article on Prague.TV’s website. The best place to discover Prague, like a local!
Follow The Travel Bug Bite at:
0

Feeding Lions at Shanghai Wild Animal Park

Shanghai Wild Animal Park put visitors and cages and lets the animals roam freely!

Unlike regular zoos, this park is extremely interactive and lets you get up
close and personal with many of the animals.

You can feed a wide range of animals from doves to tigers and the prices range from 5 RMB to 30 RMB ($1 – $5).

In addition to feeding animals, you can also ride elephants, camels and horses. Oh, and you can hold adorable baby tigers!

I recommend that you get to the zoo as early as possible to skip the lines and enjoy the animal welcoming ceremony. Every morning at 9 AM animals are bought out to wait by the entrance and welcome guests: expect an unlikely assortment of dogs, flamingos, elephants and goat-riding monkeys.

There is a fork in the road soon after you enter the zoo and I strongly recommend that you go left and loop around the park. Make sure you check the schedule of performances and feeding times so that you don’t miss anything you’re interested in. Most animal feedings start at 11:00 – 11:30 and go on for about three hours.

One of the highlights of the park is its vehicle area. For 40 RMB ($6) you can get locked up in a caged bus that will spend about an hour driving through an area where wild animals roam free.

The best place to sit is up front because that’s where the guide sits. The bus will stop for him to feed giraffes, lions, tigers, bears, sun bears and wolves!

Take the safety instructions seriously despite some of the crazy people on the bus. Expect the bears to climb up the side of the bus and hang on with their sharp claws.

If you time it right, you can have lunch after the bus drops you off. Prepare to pay way too much for little portions but avoid the cheap stalls – their chicken is inedible and their tiny burgers will surely disappoint you. You’re better off going to a nicer looking restaurant with proper food.

Around noon, the zoo will fill up and you’ll find yourself dodging pedal cars and overexcited children. This is one of the reasons why I recommend coming so early. The lines for feeding animals aren’t so bad, perhaps because it can get expensive if you want to feed several animals and buy lunch on top of the 150 RMB ($22) entrance fee.

My husband and I did almost everything we could: we rode in the caged bus, fed a bunch of different animals, rode camels and held the baby tiger. We avoided riding elephants due to ethical issues and we had doubts about holding the baby tiger – as soon as it was handed to us it started crying and squirming, clearly distressed. With these exceptions, the animals seemed happy, healthy and excited to get fed!

Before visiting the park, I had many questions that the park’s website couldn’t answer. I’d like to give a shout-out to ILP for their informative blog post that convinced me to visit the park.

Watch our video from the park: https://youtu.be/CEh44u6fsYQ

Follow The Travel Bug Bite at:
0