Martial Art and Travel – Do something ordinary!

World Trip Map

http://somethingordinary.com/

This is a site with stories about and written by Josh, somebody LAB ‘interviewed’ a year ago (see article here) just before his year-long journey around the world. Get ready to be inspired!

See below for some highlights:

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Skiing at ChangBaiShan (CBS) International Resort (万达长白山国际度假区)

Skiing at ChangBaiShan (CBS) International Resort (万达长白山国际度假区)

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Skiing is quickly becoming a sport of mass popularity in China, much like golf in the 1990s. Finally, in 2012, China opened its biggest and best yet ski resort at the foot of Mount Chang Bai with its 43 slopes – one that can be argued to rival Niseko in Japan and the Alps in Switzerland and Austria!

When compared to the best the world has to offer, it will not be difficult to find fault with this new resort in North-eastern China. However, as a beginner / intermediate skier who has been to resorts in Niseko, Austria and the US, I personally think CBS International Resort puts China on the map as one of the best skii destinations in the world : )

Check it out before it gets too crowded!

Snow

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Let’s just say that it reminded me a lot more about the power snow in Niseko than the icy slopes of the Alps. While powder did not fall constantly like it did in Niseko, there was certainly more than plenty of white powder on the slopes.

Equipment rental / storage

Included in the ski pass are everything you will need, such as skis, boots, poles, ski jackets and pants, and most importantly a helmet. The helmet is made mandatory in this resort which is great and unlike the others I’ve been to.

Each ski pass also comes with a large locker for the day. During lunch breaks, staff at the lift can help to store your skis and poles outside for safe keeping without any extra charge.

The drawback is that you can not keep the equipment for more than 1 day, and have to return and pay for rental on a daily basis, which is a bit of a pain.

From the moment you enter the service hall to get your pass and equipment, it will take about 30min before you can board your first lift, which is decently fast. All the equipments are brand new and the service staff are very helpful in assisting you to find the right equipment.

Lifts and slopes

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When I was there, due to a lack of skiers, only a handful of the 43 lifts were open. Nevertheless, it was more than enough for the non-expert! Upside of this is that hardly anybody is on the harder slopes so you can have the whole upper mountain to yourself.

The lifts are the latest models imported from overseas, including “magic carpet” for the beginners so you never need to fear falling down from a J-bar!

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Food & Entertainment

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There is a small town-centre at the foot of the slopes, with several restaurants, McD/KFC/PizzaHut, a cinema, a theatre, a hotspring / SPA, and other shops such as grocery stores and pharmacies. It’s pretty dead at night though due to limited visitors.

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Transport

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Getting there is pretty easy with direct flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Changchun and Shenyang. There is a free shuttle coach that ferries visitors between airport and the resort – takes about 20 minutes. You can board the coach at any of the major hotels in the resort. Note that if you want to take the coach back to the resort from the airport, you may need to wait for when a flight arrives (in the case that you are sending somebody off and want to come back to the resort afterwards)

Accomodation

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All the usual suspects including Westin, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Hyatt are within walking distance to the lifts. However, Holiday Inn is by far the closest. It may not be too much of an issue though since you have to return the equipments at the end of the day and won’t be carrying anything back to your hotel.

Remember to always take the shortcut: exit from the backdoors of the hotels and walk along the foot of the mountain instead of the main road!

Pricing

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Ticker price is pretty steep, but you can get big discounts if you book early! The CBS website (http://www.china-cbs.com) offers some great packages, and if you are a big skier then enquire about the Membership Card which I was told would be a good deal too.

If you are there already, all the hotels offer these discounted passes too, you can even get discounted hotspring / theatre passes. Just showing your hotel door card at the equipment rental centre and they will give you a discount. Remember never to pay ticker price!

Surrounding areas

You should know that the mountains in CBS International Resort is not really what people refer to as the “Chang Bai” mountain! The actual Chang Bai Shan is another 30min away by car. It is a park ran by the government (does not mean cheap entrance tickets!) where you can see the “HeavenLake” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven_Lake), but you can also rental skii equipments in the park and skii down from the actual CBS. Check out the pictures with more info.

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Japan by Bicycle

A friend of mine is cycling around Japan as I type! A buy-side veteran who is taking some time off to recharge and explore. Check out his blog here: http://japanbybicycle.blogspot.jp

Teaser:

“For some time I had wanted to know Japan better. For all its economic challenges, it’s still the world’s third largest economy. For all its insularity, it remains a cultural powerhouse in East Asia. And while we may not be familiar with its universities, Japan has yet produced 19 Nobel Laureates. This aside, if only to get a better feel for our neighborhood, it seems to make sense to get to know something about Japan. As the first Asian country to industrialize and to move towards a democratic system of government, Japan is also a thought provoking example of a dramatic transformation by a feudal society with deep Confucian influences. The interplay between China and Japan have in the past critically shaped the arc of history in East Asia. This should be more so the case in the future…”

Runaway Juno

http://runawayjuno.com/2011/06/21/its-time-to-spill-the-bucket/

Amazing story of how a Korean girl became a full-time traveler.

“Since I took a first step into the world of ‘backpacking’, I knew this is going to be a big part of my life. And, I was right. If you are meant to be with something, there’s a sign you can’t describe it by words. That is travel to me.

Recently, I became a career breaker. Escape from the cubic farm, I am living my own life as a full time traveler and a full time blogger. It’s a tough job! Two things at the same time… but, I’m loving every second of it.”

South America

http://travelpod.com/members/jingjingjanet

Click external link to check out this friend’s 6-month journey through South and Middle Americas!

Excerpt:
“After a hectic week doing the last round of preparations, organising the fund raising, catching up with friends and family, hosting my farewell drink, and cramming some last minute spanish lessons, the time has finally come. Although I’m not particularly looking forward to the 30hrs flights including multiple transits 😦 , curiosity and anticipation of what’s on the other side kept my spirit up.

We are departing tonight on a CX flight to LA (thanks to our high flying banking jobs, our accumulated miles has allowed us to redeem business class for the 14hr long haul!), then transit with Copa air to Panama, then to Quito Ecuador, where it will mark our first stop in our long journey of the South American wonders to come.

Last struggle of the day was trying to fit my next 6 or so months’ life into one single baggage, harder said and even harder to do! After CAREFUL selection of the life essentials, everything inside that bag will become my biggest assets in the months to come!”

TransEurope cycling


http://transeuropa2011.wordpress.com/

(Thanks Neo for the referral!)

Here is an interesting example of, quoting the blog, “a corporate

ladder kind-of-guy looking for more out of life than, well, just

climbing a corporate ladder.”

See below for some background of the person and click link to see

the full sotry!

“This blog will chronicle the expeditions of an extended

sabbatical: cycling solo across Europe, climbing Kilimanjaro,

and venturing to Antarctica with family in tow. But this blog

promises to be much more than a travelogue. It will also

chronicle a personal journey as I jump from the corporate ladder

into the deep end, and then work hard — probably very hard – to

re-enter the corporate world a little later and perhaps a little

wiser. Along the way this blog will also highlight my passions

of supporting Asian children charities and promoting

environmental awareness. All of these adventures will be

wrapped in a prevailing effort to enrich and enliven my family

experience.

This journey may be bumpy at times, but I promise to keep it

real. Fasten your seatbelts.

About Me

Hong Kong is home. I have lived and traveled extensively in Asia

for 20 years. Fatherhood is my greatest joy. Beyond fatherhood

I am a hard-core adventure traveller and avid cyclist. My

travels have taken me to nearly 100 countries, many off beat and

out-of-bounds (North Korea, Bhutan, Cuba, Kowloon). My cycling

has transported me to several continents and across thousands of

miles.

For 17 years I worked in the television industry in Asia for a

major Hollywood studio, serving in a number of roles and helping

to entertain a continent. I could not have asked for a better

employer, a more exciting and rewarding career, and terrifically

smart and capable executives to work with on a daily basis.

When I joined the studio as a freshly minted Columbia MBA I never

imagined that job would take me so far, literally and

figuratively. It has been a thrilling career, but over time I

began to develop a yearning for more than just a thrilling

career. Call it the effects of fatherhood or a classical mid-

life crisis.

Last summer I cycled coast-to-coast across the United States on

behalf of the children’s charity, A New Day Cambodia. Cycling

3,700 miles and raising over US$37,000 in the process was an

epic, life-shifting experience. The hardest part about cycling

across America was stopping. But after pedalling from the

Pacific to the Atlantic in 50 days, geography, family, and a job

in Hong Kong required wheels up. (See: TransAmerica 2010

link).

Fast forward to March 2011. I announced my departure from my

long-time employer, and so begins this new journey. The rest

of my life began on April 16.

In thinking about all the possibilities for this extended

sabbatical, several things resonated. After cycling across the

USA, I developed a strong desire to ultimately circumnavigate

the planet on two wheels. So this cycling trip across Europe is

part of a bigger mission. I also feel compelled to pedal with a

purpose, and will support Yaowawit, a very deserving Thai

children’s charity located in Phang Nga, Thailand, during this

ride. I have a deep connection to Phang Nga, and also share a

connection with Yaowawit through my son’s school in Hong Kong.

Sometimes the planets align neatly, as they did when I discovered

Yaowawit.

I will also leverage my cycling expedition to create noise around

climate change and the need for individual action [see: Go

Green]. While cycling is very important to me, I also want to do

more during this sabbatical than just ride a bike. The journey

to Antarctica in particular addresses an aspiration I have

maintained for many years, and also highlights the global warming

message. Plus it coincides with the centennial of the

Scott/Wilson expedition to the South Pole. All of these

experiences will provide rich material, I hope, for a work-in-

progress book about life’s adventures and work-life balance.

Living in Asia has created a strong sense of

gratitude…..gratitude that I have the energy and the means for

an epic journey. Gratitude to my family and the many friends and

industry colleagues that are helping me in big and small ways on

this journey. Gratitude at the chance to pedal with a purpose on

a cause for which I truly want to go the distance. Thank you

all.

And thank you, reader, for your interest in this endeavour. I

hope you enjoy this journey. As Indiana Jones put it best: “It

ain’t the age, babe. It’s the mileage.”

Todd Miller”

Tour de Taiwan

http://www.liuopus.com/taiwan01.html

One of the best countries to cycle in the world! Safe, scenic, convenient and friendly!

The external link takes you to a good blog on cycling in Taiwan with lots of photos.

See below for my own itinerary:

Mar 20:

820am: checking in for the 9am flight from HK to Kaohsiung, was almost denied entry for being late!

1038am: touch down at kaohsiung

1045am: passed customs! Smooth as silk!

1128am: talked to super friendly tourist centre girls and now on my way fully loaded with maps, booklets and a touched heart!

1206pm: checked into hotel at city centre! Had lunch at small street side place next door

155pm: rented a bike!

546pm: back to hotel after a city tour on bike… Then dinner at liuhe night market

1130pm: try to sleep, woken up 3 times by mosquitos…

Mar 21:

7am: wake up!

8am: on the way!

1130am: enters city centre of tainan! Had lunch at a nice little alley opposit Kong miao

1240pm: leave for chiayi… Got lost and wasted 30min or so…

540pm: ARRIVE CHIAYI, FINALLY! 130km… Dinner at a high end 烤肉 place, pretty good…

Super sunny…

Mar 22:

9am: on the way!

1009am: get to da lin

130pm: big lunch at beidou, really nice place!

4pm to 530pm: rest and making some calls.

630: city centre of changhua!

Super windy today…

Mar 23:

838am: departed!

240pm: quick lunch at tongxiao for 20min

440pm: knackered, rest at a temple

6pm: houlong… Another cold n windy day… Dumplings for dinner

8pm: amazing Thai massage… Only shop at houlong

Mar 24

730: struggled to get up, congzhuaping for breakfast

830: chu fa!

1207am: hsinchu

5pm: arrive taoyuan!

Mar 25

930am: on the way to Taipei!

1130am: arrived at Taipei ximending!

1pm: meet with friends for lunch

4pm: nap at hotel…

630pm: cafe

830pm: dinner and drinks with friends

Mar 26:

830am: departure

Noon: stopped at keelung due to heavy rain… Long lunch followed by movie…

Mar 27

934am: train to badu

~945am: arrive at badu

1115am: train to suao new

~130pm: arrive, have lunch

409pm: train to hualian arrive around 530pm

Mar 28

11am: rain finally stopped!! Get ready for the road

5pm: arrive at a min Su near Chang bin, love it! Most scenic ride so far!

Mar 29

830am: head towards tai dong!

1230pm: lunch at dulan, 9km from taidong

430pm: get to jinlun hotspring

Mar 30

805am: depart

1pm: back to west coast again!

617pm: back to kaohsiung hotel… Finish!!