Stories about leisure travel in Hong Kong, China, Asia, and around the world.

What you need to know before you grab that bargain travel deal
Is it time to plan for when the world will be open for travel again? The global Covid-19 pandemic has effectively put the aviation industry into hibernation, with travel restrictions and quarantine requirements around the world.  Eager for crucial cash flow, airlines are producing some very tempting deals for anyone who has got the stomach to book ahead. Here’s what you need to know. How low will prices go? For the rest of 2020, demand for flights is impossible to predict. When, where and how travel restrictions will be lifted in the short term is anyone’s guess. But for those happy to make plans slightly further into the future, there are already some very low prices being offered for long
Tourism is coming back in China, but not all destinations are equal
The Labor Day holiday in China provided a short but appreciated rebound for the tourism and travel industry in the country.  The five-day holiday period had been anticipated as a barometer of consumer confidence, with the authorities pinning their hopes on the festivities to unleash people’s purchasing power and help reignite an economy in the doldrums. Although far lower than a year ago, domestic tourism revenue from this year’s holiday (May 1 to May 5) almost quadrupled from the previous public holiday, which was the Ching Ming Festival from April 4 to April 6. People who had been cooped up at home because of measures to contain the coronavirus leapt at the opportunity to get away for a fe
‘Kingdoms of women’: how modernity threatens Asia’s female-centric societies
While women’s rights may have become a major topic of discussion around the world in recent years, there are female-centric communities that for centuries have distinguished themselves by carving out their own feminist traditions in places such as China, India and Indonesia. But many of these matriarchal and matrilineal societies are now struggling to survive, amid threats posed by the modern world such as mass tourism, technology and the infiltration of ideas from mainstream patriarchal society. In China, for instance, there is a small Mosuo tribe known as the “kingdom of women.”. “Key to the Mosuo culture is their matrilineal family structure, with a basic building block of only members sh
Here are some tips to find China’s hidden travel gems
The United States sends the most tourists to China, and almost all of them go to Beijing. Tibet is high on many bucket lists, but few Western tourists ever actually visit. China virtually empties of Western tourists during November, December and January. These are some of the takeaways from the third annual report on popular travel destinations in China by The China Guide, a travel agency in Beijing that develops customized tours for travelers from the US, Germany, France, Spain, Britain, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. What immediately stands out from the report – compiled from surveys of 2,300 travelers from across the globe – is that Beijing dominates almost every foreign traveler’s iti
Will tourists in China wake up to mobile payments?
Last week, China’s main payment apps, Tencent’s WeChat Pay and Ant Financial’s Alipay, opened their mobile payment systems to a demographic that had previously been left out: international tourists.  In China, mobile payments are used to pay for almost everything from $0.25 steamed buns at a takeout joint to sending prisoners money, highlighting the huge gap that exists between this system and the payment habits of 140 million annual tourists from overseas, who may be more used to cash or credit cards. Inkstone is owned by Alibaba, whose affiliate Ant Financial operates Alipay.  But will providing access be enough to convert tourists to start scanning QR codes?  How does mobile payments work
Cracked: China shuts down glass bridges over safety concerns
Glass bridges have mushroomed across China in recent years, offering adventurous travelers an adrenaline rush as the country tried novel ways of boosting tourism. But after a series of accidents, the northern Chinese province of Hebei has officially shut down all 32 of its glass walkways and bridges for safety checks, according to the Beijing News. The attractions had been suspended since March 2018. At least four other Chinese provinces also closed its glass bridges and ordered safety checks. The country has about 2,300 major attractions, particularly bridges, built from glass. The trend peak in 2016, when China opened what was then the world’s longest and highest glass bridge in the sout
Chinese tourists are shunning the US for Europe
Chinese tourists are shunning the United States amid the trade war and opting for destinations in Europe, said Jane Sun, chief executive of Ctrip, Asia’s largest online travel platform. The US slid to 10th spot in the list of China’s top overseas destinations in a week-long national holiday in October known as the “golden week” from fifth in the previous year, according to Ctrip. During the recent Labor Day holiday earlier this month, the US ranked as the ninth-most popular travel destination for Chinese tourists, down from fifth spot last year. Thailand and Japan remained the top choices. “People like to travel to countries that welcome them,” Sun said. “When Chinese consumers have the bu
‘Because here is freedom’: why Chinese tourists love Thailand
Chinese tourists are pouring into Pattaya, one of Thailand's biggest tourist towns.  Pattaya is known for its red-light district and bars, but it’s becoming increasingly popular with tourists of all kinds from China. They’re becoming one of the biggest revenue sources for the whole of Thailand's tourism industry. A tour boat accident in Phuket in 2018, which lead to the death of 47 Chinese tourists, lead to a drop in tourism across Thailand. But now, almost a full year later, the tourists are back and flooding into Pattaya once more.
China’s frozen world
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is the largest of its kind in the world. It held its official opening ceremony on Saturday. Here are some of the highlights from the festival, which runs through the end of February in Harbin, northeastern China.