China Travel Guide
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are capping off a busy summer with a trip to China.
After spending most of the spring and early summer in London, the couple moved to Chicago where Mila continued filming her upcoming movie Jupiter Ascending. Whether they were hanging out at the Taste of Chicago, shopping at the Chicago Premium Outlets Mall, or having dinner at Hub 51, the couple seemed to fit right into the Windy City.
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In the grand tradition of US college hijinks, Thursday is affectionately known as "Thirsty Thursday." So what's United thirsty for today? The answer: flights to China! We're talking about Chengdu specifically, as United just announced that they'll be the first airline with nonstop flights to Chengdu from the US, beginning June 11, 2014.
The route, operating by United's Boeing 787 Dreamliner, will fly from San Francisco to Chengdu-Shuangliu three times a week, a trip of nearly 14 hours one-way.
This is only the latest in a slew of headlines for Chengdu travel this year, and it's left us wondering what's so cool about Chengdu, anyway?
If you're planning to fly on China's cheapy carrier, Spring Airlines, the person welcoming you at the aircraft door could be a maid or butler. No, the low-cost carrier isn't upping their game with white glove service in the skies, but they are having a little fun.
Spring called upon their fans via their Facebook page to suggest themes for flight attendant costumes, the post was accompanied by a young lady attired like a french maid. Some people took it seriously, offering up themes like traditional Chinese Opera, schoolgirl outfits and Star Wars as themes, others found it pretty offensive.
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Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
When next you're in Shanghai, standing on The Bund and staring out into the Huangpu River with its parade of digital billboard barges and the backdrop of the soaring skyscrapers of Pudong, close your eyes and, for a moment, imagine it all as it was in this postcard from 1930.
For several months at the start of 1930, the Hamburg-American line ship S.S. Resolute sailed an around-the-world itinerary, placing a great focus on Asian ports of call. Instead of placing the responsibility of mailing postcards onto each passenger, the ship offered a service whereby they would mail postcards for you, at each port. The messages were the same, only the neatly typed addresses differed. By the end of the voyage, your friends back home would have amassed a stack of exotic postcards without your having lifted a pen.
Marvel’s superheroes are about to descend on Hong Kong. Disney has just announced they will soon begin building the first ever Marvel “Themed Area” within their Hong Kong Disneyland Park.
The plan isn't a total surprise to comic fans. Disney has been open about the fact that they've planned to introduce more Marvel elements into their theme parks since they acquired the company in 2009. It also makes sense to launch the new enterprise in Hong Kong since it will be a big draw to tourists visiting from the mainland.
Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new featureTravel Catfocuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).
Travel Cat spotted at: Shanghai, China.
This week's Travel Cat is from Jaunted reader Lisa Sun, who snapped this adorable scene instead of just pass it by.
Of the photo, she notes: "Walking on the streets of Shanghai, China and saw this cute kitty lounging around in an odd spot, but he seemed to like it fine!"
A real life Central Perk, the cafe where Rachel, Ross, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, and Chandler hung out on Friends, has finally openedbut not where you'd expect.
A replica of the famous '90s coffee shop has been constructed in a Beijing apartment complex by Friends super-fan Du Xin (aka "Gunther" to his friends) who says, “for me, it’s like a religion. It’s my life.”
The third and final installment of An Idiot Abroad ended with Karl Pilkington and Warwick Davis making their way to China where they dressed in panda costumes, sampled local cuisine, and took a side trip to Macao.
Their Chinese journey started with a Yangtze River Cruise which Karl loathed, calling it "misty" and describing the boat as having "turds everywhere." Not exactly the rave recommendation the Yangtze River tourism board was probably hoping for.
In order to visit China as a US citizen, you've got to apply, pay, and be approved for a visa. In order to apply for that visa, you've already got to have a China trip booked, including round-trip ticket. It's a true Catch-22, because what if you're denied for some reason or make some small mistake in the application process?
Luckily for all who want to quickly cross China off their bucket list, both Beijing and Shanghai have just cut the need for visas completely for visitors on the ground for 72 hours or less.
Essentially you'll be "in transit," but 72 hours is much more than a sneeze in Shanghai's direction; 72 hours is 2-3 nights in town, meals, museums, gardens and perhaps a little shopping. All in all, moving quickly could mean a very good taste of one of these two metropoli before committing to a longer trip and the headache of getting one of those compulsory visas.
The only clincher to the new 72-hour, visa-free policy? Well, you've got to eventually continue on, and you have those 72 hours or less to do it. It's just a transit visa, after all, which you can apply for and be instantly approved at immigration.
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Earlier this month, we gave you a exclusive look at traveling on the high speed train that zips between Beijing and Shanghai. While we still think that line is super cool, China has given everyone even more train porn to drool over.
Just this week, the nation's newest and longest HSR (high-speed rail) line opened up between Beijing and Guangzhou cutting travel time between the two cities to a fraction.
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During a trip to China earlier this year, we had to make our way from Beijing to Shanghai. Always keen to try out new modes of transport, we opted to forego our usual choice of flying and took the bullet train instead. Since this Jaunted writer lives in Europe, rail traveleven the high-speed kindis something we’ve done many times, but we were still pretty excited to try this and would definitely recommend it as one of the best ways to travel between these two cities.
Running between Beijing South Railway Station and Shanghai HongQiao, the fastest service takes roughly 4 hours and 45 minutes, with a top speed of 190 miles per hour (300+ km/h). China is a land of contrasts, and you see this clearly as the landscape zips by outside your window. Before we tell you more about the journey itself, a few words on booking a ticket.
In some of the more bizarre airline news we've come across, Hainan Airlines has begun the recruitment of a whole crew of fresh pilots to take their planes, including their Dreamliners, up into the sky. That's not the bizarre part. A crucial step in the recruitment process is a body-odor check. Yep, a recruiter smells the pits of potential pilots; boy, that's the pits.
After an extensive assessment process of technical skills and personality interviews, the flight deck hopefuls have to get their underarms smelled for potential offensive body odor. Since the airline's pilots do interact with passengers, it makes sense to ensure that no interaction turns sour because of a little foul smell. A recruiter has even noted the parallel to the on-the-job duties by saying, "If they can keep their cool in this test, they aren't going to sweat in the cockpit."