Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism by Elizabeth Becker takes a closer look at the multi-trillion dollar industry and peels back the curtain on the tourism industry around the world. What she finds isn’t always pretty.
The 8,000 km Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia, Mongolia and China can become expensive, as train tickets and other costs add up. Here’s what I spent.
Chaoyang Park in Beijing, China has it all, from rollercoasters to a Thai pagoda. Here are just a few of the things you’ll find in this enormous city park.
The bodies of work for Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong and Vladimir Lenin can be compared to each other endlessly with no clear winner. What can be compared, however, are there actual bodies. Or at least what’s left of them. Morbid, right?
I went to all three of their mausoleums within the span of two months, so here’s how they rank from worst to best in terms of the overall visiting experience.
From the comfortable train out of Beijing to the enormous sand dunes of the Gobi Desert, this beginning leg of the Gobi Desert was a great start to the Trans-Siberian Railway. Here’s how it went for me.
As our lumbering bus passed through the ridiculous tiger-themed gate at the Siberian Tiger Park, the theme to Jurassic Park was stuck in my head. There’s no doubt that this is something of a tourist trap. Fortunately, despite one particular tiger, it’s a lot less dangerous than the dinosaur park.
The Harbin Ice Festival attracts millions of people each year, and Coca-Cola is there to provide bizarre hot versions of its soft drink.
When I first saw the BBC excellent Wild China documentary, I knew I had to go to see the Harbin Ice Festival for myself. The world’s largest ice festival is known throughout China and brings in enormous crowds to see its bright lights and towering ice palaces that look like something out of Frozen. How could anyone resist? Not even the extreme cold and the remote location between Russia and North Korea can keep people away.
Years of learning at some of China’s top universities came to fruition for my brother when he was selected to star in the country’s most popular dating show. Mark is a brave man who volunteered for the role not to find love, but for the experience of it all. And what an experience it was.
The opposite sides of the road in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district remind me of the beginning battle scenes from Braveheart. Masses of people stare at each other, waiting for just the right moment to move. When the crosswalk signal turns green, both sides make their move. Instead of crashing, the pedestrians deftly avoid bumping into the other people.
Crowds throughout the city are bigger than anywhere else I’ve ever been. The hordes of tourists at Times Square in New York seem sparse to the people in Hong Kong. Fellow city-state surpasses Singapore is the most densely populated nation in the world, while Hong Kong takes second place. Impressive considering much of Hong Kong is left to nature.