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My travels took me to so many places in Asia, and I’ve seen pretty much everything that all the different cities have to provide. While I was in Singapore, A Better Florist surprisingly enchanted me with their craft and philosophy. They’re a local flower/gift shop, that really stood out like a flamingo in the flock of pigeons. Even if you’re not a flower enthusiast, you still have loved ones in your life that you want to gift the best and most beautiful things to, and this is bound to be appealing to you.

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Why travel to Koh Samui if not to stay there, potentially for good? The second-largest island in Thailand is one of those places that captivate with their hospitality and intoxicate with their serenity. It’s a dreamland of all who fantasize about spending their time in the seclusion of swaying coconut palms, but that’s certainly not everything that Koh Samui must offer. Wonderfully isolated and picture-pretty, this island is the perfect destination for those in pursuit of fulfilment.

Here’s what island life is truly like and why nobody ever really leaves Koh Samui.

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Norway

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Norway is famous for being one of the best places to see the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. On top of that, areas with permafrost produce spectacular icy landscapes, seemingly transporting a tourist to another world. The country also rivals the rest of Europe when it comes to art museums and galleries according to Lonely Planet.

Entry and exit is usually through Oslo Airport.

Permafrost temperatures remain at or below zero Celsius, so this might be a concern for tourists with a low tolerance of the cold even when wearing thick coats and multiple layers. A good way to address this would be to frequently visit similarly colder countries first to undergo a process called “cold weather conditioning” based on a study by ReWild University.

Philippines

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An archipelago comprised of more than 7,000 islands, many of the beaches here are among the best in the world such as Boracay, Linapacan, Nacpan, to name but a few. The nation is also predominantly Catholic, so there are various festivals that tourists can participate in, as well as churches and structures that are hundreds of years old.

Entry and exit is usually through Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

This airport is often included in the lists documenting the world’s worst airports, so keep that in mind when you travel to the Philippines. A good way to address this is to always make sure that everything is ready and settled, such as check-ins, documents, passports, etc. to avoid delays and spend the shortest time possible inside the facility.

United Kingdom

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The UK has many tourist locations, but the most visited are generally situated in the iconic city of London – a city that screams fashion, royalty, and a rich history.

Being home to world class supermodels such as Kate Moss and Cara DeLevingne, and events like London Fashion Week make the city a premier hub for fashion. Buildings like Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey on the other hand, are monuments that showcase the country’s rich royal tapestry. Lastly, the British are known for being polite and well mannered, so there’s almost always a warm atmosphere for anyone visiting the city, locals and foreigners alike.

Entry and exit is usually through Heathrow or Gatwick Airport, but bear in mind that these are among the busiest airports in the world.

This is predominantly due to millions of people visiting the city, and it can lead to crowded tourist attractions, buses, and trains. A good way to address this would be to rent a car, given the city’s multitude of car rental options for all kinds of travellers. At London Gatwick, for instance, you can also easily pick up a vehicle when you arrive, as the terminals are nearby the car parking bays according to Parking4Less. This way, it’s easy for guests to venture out of London and visit other parts of the United Kingdom if they so wish.

Thailand

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If visiting temples is your cup of tea, you won’t be disappointed with what Thailand has to offer tourists. Home to more than 40,000 Buddhist temples, as specified in The Crazy Tourist, it’s almost impossible to pick where to go, but thankfully there are recommendations all over the internet that you can check research to find the right one for you.

Entry and exit is usually through Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The roads here usually experience heavy traffic as stated by Country Reports. A good way to address this is to allot extra time to your travel time, or just avoid the roads altogether and walk as often as you can. Just be sure to exercise proper caution.

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China is one of the places I instantly fell in love with when I first visited it way back in 2003.  Being a Canadian born Chinese, China was an eye opener for me to appreciate where my “roots” were.  After venturing to the west, south, and northern parts of China, I’ve begin to realize some of the pros and cons of signing up for that next guided China tour.   If you are planning to visit China anytime soon, then this post maybe helpful for you to determine whether you should visit China off the beaten path by yourself (i.e. going solo), or signing up for a packaged China tour offered by many tour guides and agencies.

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Watch the video here:

I stumbled across this video and was floored!  Over 19 million views of this guy who traveled around the world and at each place he visited, he dances with THOUSANDS of random strangers!

And the thing is, I really admire this guy because this is what traveling is all about.  To connect with random people and to share joy and fun with them.  This is the human spirit and I truly believe we need more of these people in this world we live in.  It takes a lot of balls to get thousands of random strangers to dance and be on video with you.

I did more research and realized that this guy is Matt Harding.    No wonder he looked familiar!  He is the same guy who did some Visa commercial years back, and apparently he has done other awesome dancing videos around the world in the past.  In fact it was these dancing videos that made him famous.

Each time he made a new dancing video, it becomes more and more elaborate!

You can watch his Visa commercial here:

Anyways back to what inspired me the most.

The connection with people around the world is key to bridging the cultural gaps.  And this is so true for Asia itself.  When I travel around Asia, I always make it a habit to smile and try to make a connection with someone each day, whether its the local stall owner, the taxi driver, or the university students waiting for the bus to school.

And if I don’t know the language, I try even harder just to make the other person smile!  Maybe its a silly face from my part, or just trying to make a joke through my hand gestures or body language, trust me on this, a smile goes a long long way.

It’s just like how when I bring my 3 year old son out and he randomly smiles at strangers, and they just can’t help smiling back at him!  How can you resist not smiling at a smiley little kid?   At that’s how you should approach things in a new cultural environment.  Just be a kid again, have fun, and don’t care what other people think of you.

And honestly that is my secret trick to bridging the cultural gaps with people in Asia.  You just need to get to the same level of understanding with them, and the way to do that is to just find some common ground with them.

People in Asia are just human beings just like you and me.  And just like how we like the feeling when someone brightens our day with a smile, its the same old thing with Asians.

So what are some of the things that you can use to find common ground with people?

Usually when I meet let’s say a guy, maybe he’s a taxi driver, I will try to find some common interest.  A very common one I found is either soccer (football) or beer.  You can’t go wrong with beer in Asia!

Another example…maybe I noticed someone was reading a novel or studying economics or something.  I would point to the book and ask a very polite question…interesting subject?  or it that book good?

These are small things that you can do as ice breakers, which will go a long long way.

Just don’t try to over complicate things!

Some people just over complicate things sometimes.  For example, like how those “experts” think that to make a connection with Chinese folks you need to go through all these “technicalities” and “formalities”such as the way you bow, that you need to be introduced first by someone else before you introduce yourself or how you sit during dinner may indicate a bad omen, blah blah blah…..this just makes me laugh.

Key first is to find that common ground.  In the end they will appreciate that more because they will also understand where you are coming from as well as you understanding where they are coming from.

So just keep it simple, be yourself, be polite and respectful and make someone smile, and that’s the trick really to navigating your way through Asia more enlightened and more delighted.

 

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HK

Hong Kong will surprise you with the awe-inspiring views; the verdant terrain, and the glittering skyscrapers among the horizon. Taking in the atmosphere is part of the best thing about Hong Kong, though Hong Kong is probably one of the best places to find things to do that is free. With all the temples, beaches and trails, there is something for everybody to do.

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taipei emergency contact

I’m going to keep this post short and to the point.  Here is a list of emergency contact information in Taipei.

Save, print or bookmark this post for your future reference.

Better yet, share it out with your friends on Facebook as well…pass the word as this information is not readily available on most other travel guides even though this is extremely important information that travelers should be aware of.

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