The Five Star Vagabond

Super travel tips, all road tested by David Herd. I'm an Australian guy who moved to Thailand in 2011 & still travel the world as often as possible.

Shanghai China cultures collide

April 24, 2014 by David Herd

Shanghai China cultures collide, where the old & the new sit beside each other in such a setting it takes your breath away. At night, is there a more spectacular skyline? Perhaps New York or Hong Kong, however Shanghai is right up there as one of the worlds most exciting cities.
Certainly no other city I have been to offers such an incredible contrast, from beautiful old French Colonial buildings to to the other end of the spectrum Pudong, the new Shanghai across the river where just a few years ago was just swampland. Now each time I look at the buildings there I feel like I am seeing Gotham city in a Batman movie. Every thing is so new and perfect is doesn’t seem real. There is no doubt in my mind when the Chinese people decide to take on a project nothing to them is impossible.

Oriental Pearl Tower in Pudong

Oriental Pearl Tower Shanghai is the largest Chinese city by population and the largest city proper by population in the world. It is one of the four direct-controlled municipalities, with a population of more than 24 million as of 2013.

My apologies for the quality of the photos, however in 2002 digital cameras were in the early stages, as as you can see the quality is not good.

View from Jin Mao Tower

Oriental Pearl TowerUntil 2007 it was the tallest building in the PRC, the fifth tallest in the world by roof height and the seventh tallest by pinnacle height.


Pudong at night


Shanghai China

Shanghai is spectacular at night.

Amazing buildings in Pudong

   Oriental Pearl tower Pudong refers to the land in the east of Huangpu River. Originally, the area was mainly farmland and countryside with some warehouses and wharfs near the shore.  

Amazing Pudong

Shanghai ChinaPudong literally means “East Bank”. Pudong is bounded by the Huangpu River in the west and the East China Sea in the east. Pudong is distinguished from Puxi (“West Bank”), the older part of Shanghai. It has an area of 1210.4 km² and according to the 2010 Census, a population of 5,044,430 inhabitants, 1.9 million more than in 2000. Currently, at least 2.1 million of residents of Pudong are newcomers from other provinces or cities in China.

Old Shanghai


Shanghai ChinaThe older buildings in Shanghai are more interesting than the new skyscrapers.

Stepping back in time.

  Shanghai  Shanghai is such a busy city.

Yu & Li

Shanghai ChinaYu & Li were two young country girls visiting Shanghai, they had very little money so I bought them a couple of meals and enjoyed there company.

Old colonial buildings

  Shanghai China Shanghai is a popular tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks.  

Peking Duck

Peking Duck Here I am enjoying the best Peking Duck I have ever tasted with a group of local business people who I met through one of their friends on the Gold Coast in Australia. I spent the following week in Bejing and the duck I had there was not as good as Shanghai. 🙂

Train to Beijing

  Shanghai China I caught the overnight train to Beijing, a very pleasant 12 hour journey.

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       Lisbon                                 New York                            Airole Italy      

Lisbon restaurant            Wall St New York            Airole

    Menton                          Pattaya Storms                   Shibuya Tokyo

French Riviera            Pattaya Thailand            Shibuya Tokyo                                    

Hong Kong                        Florianopolos                         Dubrovnik

Kowloon Hong Kong           Joaquina Beach Florianopolis            Dubrovnik  

Pattaya webcam


That’s all folks

David Herd Thailand    

  Going Home by Kenny G.   


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Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing

April 23, 2014 by David Herd

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing is so big so busy, even crossing the road is an experience not to be forgotten. Motor vehicle drivers and people on bicycles couldn’t care less about pedestrians or traffic lights; in fact they use them as target practice. To make matters worse the streets are so wide it can take an eternity to get across; everyone huddles into a little mass of humanity and shuffles slowly between the oncoming vehicles, oh what a relief it is each time you make it to the other side.

Apart from all that it is a fascinating city full of history and wonderful breathtaking palaces, parks and buildings, and the food, well the food, Peking or should I say Beijing duck is to die for. Not to mention all of the other wonderful cuisines available, even though half the time you dont know what you are eating. Having said that I must admit the best Peking duck I have ever eaten was the previous week in Shanghai, but that’s another story.

My friend “The General”

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing

I was only there for one week in 2002, not enough time so I will just have to go back again one day. I did have time enough though to see the Great wall, the Forbidden city, the beautiful Summer Palace, Tienanmen square and the bomb shelter built in 1969 to hold a mere 5 million people. Everything here is built on a grand scale, there are hundreds of new high-rise buildings under construction, on one site alone I counted 25 cranes working.

The Great wall of China certainly deserves to be the second most visited tourist attraction in the world, construction period was 770 to 256 BC and it is around 6300 kms long.

The size of the wall is amazing

Great Wall ChinaThe Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China in part to protect the Chinese Empire or its prototypical states against intrusions by various nomadic groups or military incursions by various warlike peoples or forces. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BC; these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Especially famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of ChinaQin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall are from the Ming Dynasty.

With my friend Mable in Beijing

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing Beijing was a little complicated for me because I had to juggle two lovely ladies. I met Mable on an internet chat site shortly before arriving in Beijing, and I met my other friend Sonia on the Gold Coast in Australia a couple of months prior to that. My big problem was they both wanted to take me to the main attractions, so I had to duck & weave a little to avoid doubling up. One day I went to the Great Wall with Sonia and the next day to The Summer Palace with Mable, etc etc. On a couple of occasions they missed bumping into each other at my hotel by only 15 minutes, it really was a little stressful. 🙂

You met Mable, now meet Sonia.

  Big Bold Bustling Boisterous BeijingAs it turned out when we returned to Australia Sonia moved interstate and got married and one year later I flew Mable to Thailand and we holidayed on Koh Chang. Soon after that we lost contact, both ladies obviously quickly came to the same conclusion (rightly so) that I was not a good prospect for a long term relationship.  

The Summer Palace

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing The Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing, China. The Summer Palace is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres, three-quarters of which is water.

Beijing from The Summer Palace

Summer Palace BeijingThe Summer Palace is located northwest of Beijing’s center in Haidian District, between the Fourth and Fifth Ring Roads.

The Summer Palace

  Big Bold Bustling Boisterous BeijingThe Summer Palace started out life as the ‘Garden of Clear Ripples’  

The Forbidden City

Forbidden City Beijing The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. It is located in the centre of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.   Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 720,000 m.

Tiananmen Square in Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing

Tiananmen squareLocated at the center of Beijing City is Tiananmen Square, where you can visit Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People’s Heroes, Great Hall of the People, Mao Zedong Memorial Hall and see the national flag raising ceremony. Please click on Google + to help my page ranking.  


Sidewalk cafe in Beijing

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing

No different to 50 other world cities.

Haoyuan Hotel Beijing

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing I loved my hotel, the Haoyuan, a traditional Chinese design walking distance from some excellent shopping malls and restaurants.

 Haoyuan Hotel

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous BeijingThe rooms are reasonably priced and the staff are very friendly and speak perfect English.

Thanks for visiting my Beijing post, please check out Shanghai.

  Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing

My apologies for the average quality of the photos, it was 2002 and digital cameras were in the early stages.

Thanks for visiting my Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing photo blog.

To receive my latest posts please follow me on Twitter 

           Checkout some more of my terrific blogs on the links below.

             Lisbon                                 New York                       Airole Italy     

Lisbon restaurant            Wall St New York            Airole                         

             Menton                          Pattaya Storms                   Shibuya Tokyo

French Riviera            Pattaya Thailand            Shibuya Tokyo                 

        Hong Kong                        Florianopolos                         Dubrovnik

Kowloon Hong Kong           Joaquina Beach Florianopolis            Dubrovnik

              Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                  through these links below.  Book now & pay later. ?
                              Bangkok Hotels                    Pattaya Hotels
                         Amazing Bangkok busses               Amazing Bangkok busses
Pattaya webcam


That’s all folks

David Herd Thailand


Going Home by Kenny G.


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Wan Chai winter Hong Kong

April 19, 2014 by David Herd

Wan Chai winter Hong Kong in mid February, it was so cold, you must be joking I thought. Last week the temperature was 18 degrees, when I arrived it was 8. The first stop on my “seven Super Cities” adventure in a city I had not visited since 1980, 34 years ago.

Wan Chai Hong Kong

Wan Chai winter Hong Kong

Wan Chai Hong Kong is one of the busiest commercial areas in Hong Kong with offices of many small and medium-sized companies. Wan Chai North features office towers, parks, hotels and an international conference and exhibition centre. As one of the first areas developed in Hong Kong.

Gloucester Rd Wan Chai

Gloucester rd Wan Chai Hong KongWan Chai’s Gloucester Road, a east-west trunk route along the northern coast, is connected to Cross-Harbour Tunnel, the first undersea tunnel in Hong Kong. This tunnel is connected to the south by a direct viaduct from its landing point on Hong Kong Island to the Aberdeen Tunnel towards the southern coast.

Opposite my hotel in Wan Chai Hong Kong

Wan Chai winter Hong KongProstitution has been one of the oldest occupations in Wan Chai. There are numerous historical accounts of women trading sex for western merchandise, especially from visiting sailors who got off the trading ships and visited this area.

Lockhart Rd Wan Chai

David Herd Thailand

 In the 1960s, Wan Chai became legendary for its exotic night life, especially for the US servicemen resting there during the Vietnam War.

One Aussie, one Kiwi & 3 Filipinos.

Wan Chai winter Hong Kong For bars, restaurants and night clubs Wan Chai Hong Kong is a great part of the cityThe area towards the western end of Lockhart Road, including a small part of the parallel Jaffe Road, is one of Hong Kong island’s two main bar districts (the other being the more upmarket Lan Kwai Fong in Central). Once considered primarily as a red light district, this area is now more diverse with bars, pubs, restaurants and discos.

A number of the raunchier bars still remain, however, their doorways festooned with women from Thailand and the Philippines. The famous novel and film “The World of Suzie Wong” sets many scenes in this area. The bar district has been popular with visiting sailors and navies, when Fenwick Pier, west of the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre, was in use as a military pier.

Wan Chai ferry

Wan Chai ferry Only a 10 minute walk from my hotel to the ferry.

Short ride across the bay

ferry Kowloon About a 30 minute ferry ride to Star terminal at Kowloon.

Hong Kong bus

David Herd Thailand

Or is it a tram?

View of Hong Kong island from the ferry.

Hong Kong islandThe island is home to many of the most famous sights in Hong Kong, such as “The Peak“,Ocean Park, many historical sites and various large shopping centres. The mountain ranges across the island are also famous for hiking. The northern part of Hong Kong Island together with Kowloon forms the core urban area of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong island from the ferry.

Wan Chai winter Hong KongThe island is often referred to locally as “Hong Kong side” or “Island side”. This description was formerly applied to many locations (e.g. ‘China-side’ or even ‘Kowloon Walled City-side’) but is now only heard in this form and ‘Kowloon side’, suggesting the two sides of the harbour.

Star Ferry pier in Kowloon

Star Ferry pier

Quite a contrast between these two vessels. 

Star Ferry Pier

Star Ferry PierThe “Star” Ferry Company, is a passenger ferry service operator and tourist attraction in Hong Kong. Its principal routes carry passengers across Victoria Harbour, between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. It was founded in 1888 as the Kowloon Ferry Company, adopting its present name in 1898.


Kowloon Large-scale development of Kowloon began in the early 20th century, with the construction of the Kowloon-Canton Railway and the Kowloon Wharf, but because of Kowloon’s close proximity to Kai Tak Airport, building construction was limited by flight paths. As a result, compared to Hong Kong Island, Kowloon has a much lower skyline.

One Peking building

Wan Chai winter Hong Kong

Located at the heart of the Tsimshatsui district, One Peking has stunning panoramic views of Victoria harbour.

Lotus Vietnamese restaurant

Wan Chai winter Hong Kong Good food and service at this nice Vietnamese restaurant at 118 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai Hong Kong.

Mango & sticky at the Lotus.

Wan Chai winter Hong Kong

One of my favourite deserts.

Brighton Hotel 128 Lockhart Rd, Wan Chai

Brighton Hotel Wan Chai This is a terrific small hotel in a great location.

Hong Kong 1980

Wan Chai winter Hong Kong Here is a shot from my first visit to Hong Kong in 1980, how things have changed.

                            Here are some more posts to check out
                  Soi Cowboy          Pattaya Beach          Gold Coast


Soi Cowboy      Bangkok Pattaya Groundhog Day      Chevron Renaissance

Thanks for visiting my Wan Chai winter Hong Kong post. This was my first stop in my “Seven Super Cities” adventure which took 5 weeks, I travelled 40,000 kms by air.

cold in Hong Kong To receive my latest posts please follow me on Twitter 

 What a great year for travel in 2015                  

                 Istanbul                  Budapest                        London

Galeta Tower     St. Stephen's Basilica       Walkie Talkie London    

          Mostar                           Dubrobnik                            Split

Thailand Europe Vietnam Japan        Dubrobnik cable car        David Herd Thailand                     

                 Saigon                            Zagreb                          Vun tau

Thailand Europe Vietnam Japan        Main Square Zagreb       Vung Tau

               Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                  through these links below.  Book now & pay later. ?
                              Bangkok Hotels                    Pattaya Hotels
                         Amazing Bangkok busses               Amazing Bangkok busses
That’s all folks

Beach Club Pattaya Bay


Click here to see Surfers Paradise in Australia.


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