Nov 17, 2011|
Two weekends ago, I took an impromptu trip to Kenting, in southern Taiwan. I’d wanted to check out its laid-back beach resorts, fresh seafood and local surfer culture—and then my friend A gave me an excuse to finally book tickets. The superstar athlete had entered a half-Ironman, a 70.3-mile triathlon of goliath proportions. She finished in style on Saturday morning and so she, B and I spent the rest of the weekend chilling by the hotel pool and in hammocks by the rocky, picturesque waterfront. (She was too sore for sightseeing, okay?) The weather there is tropical all year round, with temperatures above 20 degrees even in the winter.
We managed to peel ourselves away from the lounge chairs to go to Jialeshui, a stretch of land along the choppy Pacific with beautiful rocky outcroppings and stone structures. Tourism officials kinda forced us to take a hilariously painted buggy ride along the shoreline, but we later ditched a couple of tour groups and walked back to the entrance in peace. A little further south along the coast, we scrambled down to the beach to watch some wetsuited surfers riding—and wiping out on—some big waves. We asked our driver to take us for some local food, and he pulled up to a nondescript seafood restaurant in which we relied on B’s understanding of Mandarin to select two dead fish from a freezer full of fresh catches and order three plates’ worth of various sautéed local vegetables.
The flight from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung is under an hour and a half, and there are many flights a day—including late-night ones on Fridays and early morning ones on Mondays, perfect for a weekend getaway. But then there’s a two-hour cab ride ($500 shared among passengers) or bus journey ($64 each) to get to Kenting itself. Let’s just say the trip was worth that little logistical hurdle.
Flights to Kaohsiung start at $2,000 roundtrip on both China Airlines or Dragonair. We stayed at Yoho Beach Resort (www.yoho.com.tw).
Even with Clockenflap just a few weeks away, I’ve heard a lot of laments about the music scene in Hong Kong—a topic we’re going to look into in next week’s issue. But for all you live-music buffs, I thought I’d share the deets about some upcoming concert dates on the mainland. Split Works, a concert promotion agency, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a five-show concert series in Shanghai from December 7-10.
They’ve brought acts from Sonic Youth and Caribou to Owl City and Steve Aoki to China. For their upcoming set, the amusingly named Trippple Nippples, a totally out-there (as you can see from the photo) outfit from Japan, are taking the stage, along with Chad Valley, a critically acclaimed band that’s coming all the way from Oxford, Chengdu-based Eat Alien’s Brain and others. Split Works is also organizing its 4th urban arts and music festival, Jue, in Beijing from March 9-25, 2012.
Check out December’s concert lineup and sign up for a newsletter of future shows and events at www.spli-t.com.
OK, this may seem a tad weird, but one of the best travel-related companies that I follow on Twitter and Facebook is a little outfit called New Holidays. It has two outposts—at Hong Kong and Kowloon Stations near the airport check-in desks. I haven’t booked anything through them, but I learn a ton from their pithy, timely updates on the latest travel deals. On a recent day, they posted a Lufthansa offer for roundtrip flights to Germany and other destinations in Europe starting at $4,220.
In addition to the applicable dates, they also gave the exact flight numbers to which the deal applies. Their updates give me serious workplace daydreams: I could go to London for as little as $5,150 (if I book by November 23 and travel before March 31, 2012, excluding select dates in January, yada yada), or be one of the first to try Hong Kong Airlines’ first daily flight to London, which starts service on March 7. Start following New Holidays on Twitter and Facebook if, like me, you are a nerd who just wants to keep up with the latest gossip—even if the nuggets just wind up as fodder for fantasy.
Keep track of the latest news from New Holidays at www.facebook.com/NewHolidays or on Twitter @ez4uJetsoCorner, or call their Hong Kong Station office at 3118-1688.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter @HanaRAlberts