As the year comes to a close, it’s time for us to look back on some of the happy, the sad, and the downright weird happenings in Beijing over the past 12 months. Without further ado, here is your 2018 Year in Review.
While we love to travel around China, sometimes we need to get out and take a break for a week or two – preferably two. Whether you want to explore a new city or lounge on a beach, Beijing is well placed for you to pop over to some of Asia’s (and the world’s) best destinations. These were a few of our favorite trips in 2018 (click on the heading to read the full article):
The large port city of Busan sits on the southeast nook of the Korean peninsula and, as the country’s second-largest city, provides a leisurely alternative to the cosmopolitan capital of Seoul. Beaches, hot springs, and nature reserves mingle with renowned Korean nightlife and dining, making for a city that is both easy to navigate and easy to love. Flights from Beijing to Gimhae International Airport can be bought for as little as RMB 1,500 roundtrip and take just two and a half hours each way.
Fascinating, heritage-rich George Town, the capital of the Malaysian state of Penang (which includes both the island of Penang and a portion of the mainland), is the perfect destination for those searching for a mix of history and culture. Its prime position along trading routes through the Malacca Strait has left it with a vibrant mix of local Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures, as well as plenty of British colonial architecture. Penang also has a well-earned reputation as the gastronomic capital of Malaysia, if not Asia, thanks to its multicultural food scene.
Vancouver may seem like a strange choice for a column about short breaks from Beijing. Yet, with 10-hour direct flights on Air Canada or Air China, both of which offer frequent discount fares as low as RMB 3,000 return, a trip to Canada can work out cheaper than flights to Bangkok. Add easily accessible skiing and hiking, reasonably priced eating and drinking (don’t miss Granville Island Public Market, which is packed with stalls selling local produce), and a cosmopolitan art and music scene, and you may find yourself wondering why you haven’t already visited.
The name Nagasaki will always be synonymous with the dropping of the second atomic bomb at the end of World War II on Aug 9, 1945, and although that history in itself is enough of a reason to visit the city, there is plenty more besides to recommend it. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Nagasaki played a prominent role in Japan’s international trade relations, particularly with Portugal, the Netherlands, and China, leaving it with a culturally and religiously diverse character. The easiest way to get to Nagasaki is probably to fly into Fukuoka (Air China flies daily to Fukuoka via Dalian) and take the train from there, which takes around two hours.
Almost 8,000km south of Beijing, Perth, capital of Western Australia, might not seem like an obvious vacation spot. Yet with its 265 days of sunshine per year, pristine beaches, and easy access to one of the world’s greatest wine regions, it’s definitely worth the trip. There are currently no direct flights between Beijing and Perth, but there are regular services via Hong Kong and Guangzhou starting from around RMB 2,500. As an added bonus, Perth and Beijing are in the same time zone, so you won’t waste any of your precious vacation time recovering from jet lag.
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Photos: Wikimedia, Tom Arnstein, Robynne Tindall, Tourism Western Australia