Friday, November 23, 2007

Phoenix Arizona Attractions

Phoenix, Arizona is home to an eclectic mix of people, sights and sounds. Phoenix is the nation’s fifth largest metropolitan city and continues to grow.

In the heart of the Southwest, the city of Phoenix combines the heritage of a number of Native American tribes whose ancestors have lived on the land for generations. Phoenix also offers the historical and legendary elements of the Old West, from gold mining to cowboys, along with the spirit of a modern day city and you’ll begin to see what Arizona’s state capitol city is all about.
With more than 325 days of sunshine a year and an average daily temperature of 85 degrees, there’s never a dull moment in Phoenix.

Phoenix Arizona attractions that shouldn't be missed are as follows:

Honoring the heritage of generations of Native Americans who have called the land home, the Heard Museum has been internationally recognized as the nation’s most prestigious private Indian arts collections. For more than 75 years, the museum’s philosophy has been to educate the public on the heritage and living cultures and arts of Native people, emphasizing the peoples of the Southwest. The museum has a permanent collection of more than 35,000 artifacts and regularly hosts special exhibitions, festivals and artist demonstrations throughout the year. Annually, nearly 250,000 people visit the museum.

Phoenix has year-round ideal weather, so, it’s no surprise that Phoenix has become a hot spot for golfing. The metropolitan Phoenix area is home to more than 150 golf courses ranging from the seven city municipal courses to some of the world’s finest golf at several private communities. With so many golf courses to choose from, there are also a number of excellent golf schools and training facilities in the area where newbies can learn the basics and more seasoned players can sharpen their skills under the direction of some of the best teachers in the business. Rather watch than play? During tournament season (November through May), major PGA and LPGA tournaments are played in the area of Phoenix, offering the ideal opportunity to see some of the game’s greatest play. Most well known is the PGA FBR Open (formerly the Phoenix Open), which is held in late January to early February each year. The Open, nearing its 70th year, is one of the longest running events on the PGA Tour.

A must see in Phoenix is a visit to Papago Park, it encompasses the renowned Desert Botanical Gardens and the Phoenix Zoo. Papago Park itself is a 1,200-acre park with a system of relatively easy hiking trails and beautiful red, sandstone buttes. The park offers armadas, picnic table and grills as well as fishing lagoons and bike paths. As part of the park, the Phoenix Zoo features 1,300 animals exhibited throughout five distinctive trails. Highlights include a children’s petting zoo and a trail showcasing desert animals. Perhaps one of the most unique elements of Papago Park is the Desert Botanical Gardens, which hosts one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants. The Gardens features more than 50 acres of outdoor exhibits with 139 rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the world. Since the gardens’ inception in 1939, the Gardens welcome 250,000 visitors each year.

Hiking in Phoenix is the best, largely because there are so many places to hike. Two of the most popular locations include Piestewa Peak and South Mountain Regional Park. Piestewa Peak (The park was formerly known as Squaw Peak, but renamed during Operation Freedom for fallen Arizonan Lori Piestewa, the first Native American solider ever to be killed in combat.) Featuring dozens of trails – some of which welcome canine hiking companions – the actual peak has an elevation of 2,608 feet and offers remarkable views of the Phoenix area. On the opposite end of the city is the more than 16,000-acre South Mountain Regional Park and Preserve. The largest municipal park in the country, South Mountain offers 58 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, at a variety of skill levels.

Take a trip back in time at Historic Heritage Square, part of Heritage and Science Park. Heritage Square is a city block, dating from the late 1800s, which encompasses the only remaining historical structures from the city’s original town site. At the cornerstone of Heritage Square is the Rosson House, an amazing restored Victorian style home built in 1895. The remainder of Heritage Square includes museums, shops and restaurants. The whole of Heritage and Science Park offers additional shopping, dining and museums including the interactive Arizona Science Center and the Phoenix Museum of History.

Every spring, thousands of baseball fans come to the Phoenix area for one reason, Cactus League Spring Training. Nine Major League Baseball teams hold spring training at seven stadiums in the Phoenix area. Large crowds come to see their favorites including the Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s, San Diego Padres, Anaheim Angels, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers. Training runs the entire month of March, with games being played seven days a week. In addition to the draw of getting an early glimpse of their team’s lineup, fans also get unique opportunities to get up close with their favorite players during the frequent autograph signing sessions before and after games. If you’re visiting Phoenix after March, take in an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game at Bank One Ballpark (affectionately known to locals as BOB). The ballpark’s retractable roof ensures that the weather’s always right for a baseball game. The park also features a large swimming pool that can be rented for groups and special events – can you think of a better way to enjoy a game in the desert? If baseball isn’t your thing, Phoenix is one of only eight cities in the nation to have professional teams in all four major sports – baseball, basketball, football and hockey. So, check out a Phoenix Suns Game at America West Arena, an Arizona Cardinals game at Sun Devil Stadium or a Phoenix Coyotes game at the new Glendale Arena.

It’s safe to say, there’s plenty of more to do in Phoenix than this guide could possibly cover. But rest assured there is literally something for every one in Phoenix – for families and couples, for spa-goers and adventure seekers. Phoenix is the place to go for fun in the sun.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Entertainment in Hong Kong

Entertainment in Hong Kong consists in many different forms. Shopping, though, is the ultimate in Hong Kong. There are many malls, stores and street markets offering bargains on everything from designer jeans to jade jewelry. There is so much more entertainment in Hong Kong, though, than just shopping. Hong Kong has an abundance of cultural attractions. Tips on finding entertainment in Hong Kong, including some great museums, and places to shop and dine follows.

Taking a tour of the major landmarks is a good way source of entertainment in Hong Kong and can help you to get acquainted with the city and learn about its history at the same time. The Architecture Institute of Hong Kong organizes tours of some of the notable buildings downtown. The tours are conducted by a local architect and take about three hours. On the tours you will be introduced to the older, colonial buildings such as the Central Police Station and the French Mission, as well as some great modern architecture, including the Hong Kong and Shanghai building designed by Sir Norman Foster in 1985.

Entertainment in Hong Kong can include visiting temples. The Man Mo Temple is one of the most important in Hong Kong. Located near Hollywood Road, it was built in 1848 and is named after Man, the god of literature, and Mo, the god of martial arts. Inside, the air is thick with the smoke from coils of incense paper burned by worshipers. You can also see statues of the deities, Man holding a calligraphy brush and Mo holding a sword. Wong Tai Sin Temple is the most well known Taoist temple in Hong Kong. Ornately decorated with red pillars and a golden roof, Wong Tai Sin is always crowded with worshipers. It is dedicated to a famed healer and Taoist disciple, whose portrait adorns the main altar. Today, people pray at the temple for help with their health and concerns, and come to have their fortunes read. You can have your fortune read by one of the many clairvoyants located at the temple entrance. They read faces and palms and draw up Chinese astrological charts. Not all speak English, though. Also, you can find a Chinese herbal medicine retailer in the temple grounds.

Lantau Island is a common tourist attraction. The main reason people go to this island is to visit the largest Buddhist monastery in Hong Kong located high in the Lantau hills. Walk up 260 steps to the 100 ft tall seated statue of Buddha and take in the breathtaking view of the surrounding hillsides. You can even stay at the monastery and sample some of the delicious, yet simple vegetarian fare. Lantau is actually a much larger island than Hong Kong. Much of it is covered in woodlands and in addition to visiting the temple, you can also go on some nice walks here.

Your entertainment in Hong Kong can include taking a boat ride. You’ve probably seen Aberdeen Harbor many times in movies and on television the fishing junks, the people, and the ubiquitous seafood restaurants. For an experience to remember, try taking a boat ride in a wooden sampan across the harbor, or have a meal at one of the huge floating restaurants.
While visiting Hong Kong you simply must try some Dim sum (little steamed stuffed dumplings) is a speciality in Hong Kong and you should try some during your stay. You can try dim sum anywhere, but Hong Kong City Hall Restaurant is a charm as the food is still served the traditional way on carts. Waitresses roll the carts around the hall and you just point to what you want. It’s as simple as that! The dim sum here is really good, but if you’re looking for something more upmarket, try dim sum at the celebrated Peninsula Hotel.

Shopping malls, designer stores, restaurants, bars and cafes vie for your attention in Tsim Sha Tsui. This district of Hong Kong is extremely popular with locals and tourists. If you are on a tight schedule, make sure you go to Tsim Sha Tsui, because as well as entertainment, there are also a number of cultural attractions located here. The first of these is the Museum of Art which has a collection of more than 14,000 exhibits. Its focus is on preserving the artistic heritage of the Chinese people and the collection includes many works of art from ancient China. It also has an extensive calligraphy section. The excellent Space Museum is just next door, as is the Cultural Center, where you can take in a dance performance or classical music concert.
Entertainment in Hong Kong is easily found in the southwest of Hong Kong island, not far from the harbor is a massive theme park and entertainment center. Amusement rides, a butterfly park, an aviary and marine shows are some of the highlights of Oceanpark, Hong Kong. Particularly interesting is the Middle Kingdom walk-through exhibition, which features recreated street scenes and palaces from long ago. It’s a fun way to learn about Hong Kong's past. Waterworld has slides, a wave pool, manmade rapids and other child-friendly activities. Everyone who visits Hong Kong goes to Stanley Market. This popular tourist destination is the place to go to haggle over everything from antiques to electronics. Some good buys here are embroidered household linens, cheap children’s clothes and all kinds of fun little trinkets and artifacts. You'll get true Hong Kong experience visiting this place.

Hong Kong is a fun place to visit and finding great entertainment in Hong Kong is an easy task.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cheap Travel to Thailand

Thailand is a country where your hard earned dollars can really go a long way. Cheap travel to Thailand can easily be obtained as their cost of living is very low there. The Thai currency is the Baht of which there are 37 to US$1. It's possible to cover all your basic needs such as food, water, accomodations and local transportion on a budget of about 200 Baht a day or just over US$5. This is certainly cheap travel to Thailand.

Thailand's most popular visitor season is the winter period from November until March. During this time of year it rains the least and is not unbearably hot and humid. If you really want to travel cheap to Thailand, avoiding the crowds and taking advantage of discounted room rates, consider coming in April, May, June, September or October. Unless you are arriving from Malaysia, Bangkok will probably be your entry port into Thailand. Bangkok is by far the biggest city in Thailand with a population approaching 7 million, it is also relatively more expensive than the rest of Thailand.

Cheap travel to Thailand from the airport to the central city can cost from as little as 3.5 Baht for the local unaircon teeth rattler or as much as 300B for a private taxi. The best option for cheap travel in Thailand is the 70B airport bus which runs every 15 minutes. This bus has about 6 stops and makes one in Banglamphu district where most of the budget accomodation and traveler services are located. Cheap travel to Thailand can be found at the hub of Banglamphu where you'll find the Khao San road made famous in the movie The Beach. You won't see many Thai faces in the crowd but you will find the cheapest accomodations in Thailand. The cheapest is about 50B a night for a mattress on the floor in a room shared with 30 or so others. The average price for a single room is 100B, about 140B for a double. rooms are really basic with just a fan, plenty of friendly cockroaches and a communal bathroom (no hot water). Hence, the cheapest accommodations in Thailand.

Khao San Road and its immediate surroundings are littered with bars and eating establishments. These are totally targeted at travelers so the prices are more than you would pay a few blocks away in a more Thai neighbourhood. Prices generally range from 50B-100B a dish and a large beer will double the bill. If you want to save money in Thailand, consider eating from the various street stalls all over the city where all sorts of exotic delights are cooked up at bargain prices.

Getting around Bangkok to see the sights can be exceedingly cheap travel to Thailand if you stick to the unaircon blue, green or red public buses. Fares are 3.5B for the first 8km. If you don't speak any Thai it can be a little difficult finding the right bus as nothing is wriiten in english. If you want the aircon option the fare is 6B for the first 8km. Other options are the exciting Tuk tuks (3 wheeled scooters), and motor cycle taxis. You will need to bargain with the driver. Expect to pay about 40B for a short journey. In a normal taxi fares within central Bangkok are about 70B.

To get from one point in Thailand to another you can take either the normal public bus (no airconditioning), or an airconditioned public bus. Even though it is double the price of the non airconditioned bus, it is still a bargain. They go regularly almost everywhere in Thailand. The 220KM journey from Bangkok to Rayong in the east costs just 90B.

The train is a great way for cheap travel to Thailand if you are heading south to the islands or north to Chiang Mai. Prices in the non airconditioned carriages are on a par with the buses.
Thailand accomodations in guesthouses and beach bungalows start at about 100B. Quality can vary greatly in Thailand accommodations so be prepared to shop around first. If you are planning on staying in Thailand anywhere for longer than a week, it can be well worth bargaining for a discount rate on your Thailand accommodations.

There is cheap food to be had everywhere in Thailand and two people can eat a substantial vegetarian meal for 40B. If you intend to purchase anything in Thailand such as clothes or souveniers, it is well worth while to bargain a little with the proprietor. Of course don't try this in department stores in Thailand!

Your biggest expense while visiting in Thailand will probably be alcohol. Every place travelers and tourists congregate has its fair share of drinking spots which act as the main meeting places. A small beer costs about 50B and 90B for a large one. The local Thai whiskies such as Mekong and Sangthip are cheaper options.

With a little wisdom you can enjoy cheap travel to Thailand with very little meony and have a great time.