Top 6 Hiking Trails in Hong Kong

hiking hong kong

When most people think of Hong Kong their minds tend to drift towards crowded sidewalks, soaring skyscrapers, designer shopping centres and astonishing luxury stores, but there is another side to this city. A cursory glance at a map shows that great swathes of the territory are open space to explore. In fact, 40 percent of Hong Kong’s land mass is protected, which means there is a wealth of tree lined plains, woods, mountains, wetlands and beaches to explore. With the health benefits of hiking including reduced risk of heart disease, lower risk of blood pressure, lower risk of colon and breast cancer, reduced depression and better quality sleep, there’s no reason not to get out there and tackle one of Hong Kong’s many hiking trails. We count down six of the best trails. Continue Reading…

Ebola Insurance: Are You Covered? 

ebola

With no vaccination and no cure, Ebola is a disease you really don’t want to get. Unfortunately Ebola is also extremely transmissible, spreading from person to person through blood and bodily fluids, including sweat. Just touching an Ebola patient is enough to spread the disease – even if that patient is already dead. Add to this the fact that Ebola kills 90 percent of the people it infects, and it’s easy to see why the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa is causing huge global concern. Continue Reading…

Medical Tourism: What You Need to Know Before You Go

Medical tourism

For the most part, travellers are trying to stay out of a hospital whilst they’re on holidays. But across the world there is an emerging class of voyagers crossing international borders with the sole purpose of obtaining affordable medical services which can range from dental work to liposuction. The proliferation of affordable air travel, skyrocketing costs of healthcare in developed countries, extended waiting lists and strains on health services due to aging populations have all contributed to global expansion in medical tourism across the past decade. And business is booming. It’s not difficult to see why: the cost of heart bypass surgery is around $70,000 in the United States whilst the same surgery will cost just $7,000 in India — a saving of a staggering 90 percent. With rising costs of health care in developed countries, there are more and more people electing to have procedures completed abroad. But it’s not simply major invasive surgeries like gastric bypass or orthopedic operations being sought by medical tourists. There are equal numbers of people simply keen to regain their pearly white smile through laser whitening or seeking cheaper alternatives to some dermatological conditions. Here, we take a look through some of the considerations you should take into account if you are planning to hop on a plane for a nip or a tuck. Continue Reading…

Tread Lightly: How to Minimize Your Impact and Travel Responsibly

travel responsibly

With the prices of airfare as cheap as ever, there’s never been a better time to escape the rushing monotony of ‘real life’ and jet off to a tropical island paradise, climb a mountain, go on safari or explore the ruins of an ancient civilization. Every corner of the globe is so accessible that we’re spoilt for choice on where to travel: and the question of how we should travel is often not addressed. Travelling and experiencing a different culture first hand is an important way to learn more about both ourselves and the world we inhabit, but a great number of tourists and travellers tend to disregard the impact that their travels have on local environments.

The ‘travel destinations’ that we head to on holidays or for extended trips are in fact, someone’s home. The impact of what you do and how you spend your time whilst travelling is felt long after you leave, so it is important that as responsible travellers, we respect the natural and often delicate balance of the places we visit and experience.

Tourism can have incredible benefits to local communities and indeed whole countries, but this economic gain should not be at the expense of culture or environment. By embracing a few simple principles, it’s easy to experience everything that a country has to offer without having a negative impact on the communities or environment of the areas you visit, maintaining the culture and natural beauty for generations to come. Continue Reading…

How to Do Europe in Two Weeks or Less

europe

The fact is you can’t do Europe in two weeks. You can only be in Europe for two weeks, which, though it may not carry as much weight on a bucket list, is as good a way as any to spend a vacation.

And besides, vacations are for enjoying, not for checking things off lists. So before you book that Eurorail pass and start planning 15 countries in 14 days, just take a moment and think about how much fun you’re actually planning to have on this trip. Continue Reading…

Travel Insurance Vs. Health Insurance: What’s the Difference?

travel insurance

It’s important to be insured while away from your home country. (See our article on travel insurance for more on this). But, travel insurance and health insurance aren’t the same thing – in fact, they’re very different. Which one should you buy before starting your journey? Read on to find out more. Continue Reading…

A Beginners Guide to Hiking: Lessons Learnt by a First Time Trekker Traversing the Himalayas

hiking himalayas

Our very own Luke James takes in the view

Expertise in anything is gained slowly; eked out from years of practice and experience before one achieves eventual mastery of a chosen discipline. Dedication to the perfection of a craft affords one a degree of authority, the ability to bestow knowledge on others based on lessons learned over the years.

The information contained here does not come from this type of authority. I am no expert at hiking. In fact, hoisting my flabby haunches from the couch to grab some food from the fridge was what I previously considered a workout. This guide instead comes from jumping headfirst into an endeavour far beyond my physical limits and capabilities, and surviving to reflect on what I could have done to make things easier. This advice comes from lessons learnt the hard way, the painful way, and is offered so that you don’t need to repeat the same mistakes I did when your start to hike. Continue Reading…

Health Insurance When Traveling: Should You Include the U.S.A.?

statue of liberty

The summer holidays are nearly here! You’re planning treks in the jungle, camping in the mountains and pina coladas on the beach, but before you hop on a plane, there’s something slightly less sexy (but much more important) you need to consider – health insurance. Continue Reading…

How to Travel on a Budget in Paris, New York and London

travel on a budget

Paris is a fun place to spend money. But it’s no less interesting on a budget. It might be exciting to shop your face off on the Champs-Elysées, but you’ll have a much more interesting time cruising up and down the car-free, cobblestone streets of le Marais.

Of course, the same can be said of New York City and London. Many of the world’s greatest cities are best explored on foot, coffee and camera in hand (or possibly tucked into a fanny pack). In Paris you can stem your appetite for most of the day with espresso and croissants. In London you can cool it with a pint. And in New York it’s trendy to go hungry anyway. Continue Reading…

The Pros and Cons of a Chinese Medical Examination: A Light-Hearted Journey into Cultural Differences

chinese medical examination

“A smile will gain you ten more years of life.” – Chinese Proverb

China’s flirtation with an experimental blend of communist-come-capitalist society is one of the most discussed topics of the 21st century . The cultural differences between Chinese and Western society are an increasingly discussed theme in today’s academic and media landscapes and . With its increasing prominence on the global stage, this land of no-longer sleeping dragons is making people consider more and more just what and who is China?

Having recently visited Hangzhou, China for a three week period over Easter, I feel I am a little closer to answering this question. Below I will set out my recent experience of attempting to undergo medical examination in both my home country of the United Kingdom, and my chosen host country; China. Finally I hope that I will be able to add some years to your life, as the Chinese proverb that begins this essay states, as I certainly added many to mine. Continue Reading…