Thursday, May 18, 2017

Trip Report and Review of Chimelong Water Park, Guangzhou, China

On my recent visit to China, i visited the Chimelong water park. I have heard about the park for quite a long time but never got a chance to visit it. On my recent visit, i had a day off and planned to visit the chimelong water park.

How to reach Chimelong Park

We went there in a metro. The nearest station is CHANG LONG.
After exiting the station, there is a shuttle bus station which can take you to the park.
Or you can take a walk of about 10 minutes and you can be there at the main area.

The Chimelong parks consist of three parks. Safari Park, Amusement park and Water Park.

Pedestrian Walk way from Metro Station to the Park


Each has a separate entrance, however you can buy a combo ticket for all three parks or either two or just one.

We preferred to go to the water park. It was a wednesday.
The entry ticket is RMB 200 / person

You can view the amusement park rides from the walk way


Luckily it was buy one get one free offer, so we paid 200 for 2 persons which was quite a bargain.


Park entry


Chimelong Water Park Entry



Outside food and drinks are not allowed in the park.

Lockers are available for rental.
Depost was i think rmb 20 and rental was rmb 25 for a small locker.

Washrooms and change rooms were well maintained and were abdundant.

Rides were pretty good and ranged from children, adult and extreme rides.

All in all the park was well maintained, well kepts and the rides were pretty good too , specially the extreme rides.



It is a must visit place if you are in guangzhou and have a day off for leisure.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Canton Fair 2017, Guangzhou, China

In my recent trip to china, i visited the much anticipate Canton Fair. The canton fair is the largest fair exhibition in the world, where items are ranging from a needle pin to air plane parts (literally)

Its covers various categories and industry sectors, its so huge that exhibition is divided into 3 phases. Each phase is divided into various categories and sectors. The canton fair takes place twice a year. Once in April and once in october.

I visited the April exhibition and attended the first phase, which was most suited for the products I was looking for. To check which phase is suitable for you, you may visit the official website of canton fair to get information about your desirable sector / phase.


To attend the canton fair

To attend the canton fair as a visitor there are two ways. 
You can go to the exhibition complex and go to registration area and register as a visitor and pay the entrance fees. The walk in entrance fees is around RMB 150. Make sure to take your photograph along with you. If you dont have a photograph with you, you can have your self photographed at the spot and it will be extra RMB 100 for the photos.

The other way is to register online at the canton fair website at http://www.cantonfair.org.cn/
This is the simplest, easiest and cheapest way. Register an account on their website, fill in all your required details like name, address, business name, visiting card, photo and other details.

Once you fill in all your details, then apply for visitor pass. The step is simple and you will receive a confirmation email / code confirming your registration.

So on the day of your visit, just go to pre-registered / online registered counter, show them your confirmation email code (either in print or on your mobile phone ) and they will pocess and print your visitor badge in few minutes time.

The visitor badge is valid for life time so keep it safe with you even after your return to your home country.


Visiting the canton fair

The easiest way to visit is to take the metro. The station is PAZHOU which exits directly at the entrance gate of the exhibition. Pass thru security and badge verification steps and you are into the exhibition complex. On the way from exit towards the complex entry you will be haggled by various marketeers offering you gifts and giveaways in return of your visiting card.

This is worth a try as some of them have some very interesting gifts like a chargable fan, a proper trolley and gift bags, pens etc. It was an interesting encounter.

The complex itself is enermous, comprising of various complexes and a bridgway which links the two complexes. Make sure to take a guide map and mark the areas which you are interested in, so you visit exactly the same halls which are of your requirement.

A Cart on the Bridge Linking One Complex with the Other


The hall and facilities are well laid and once you get to understand the hall layout and understand which product category is displayed in which hall / floor and area, it gets easier to navigate the exhibition. It took me almost a day to understand the floor plan, stalls, stall numbers and sectors.

Inside the main complex




Select your suitable sector, floor and start exploring and visiting the sellers.
Take a backpack with you with essential water, snacks and enough storage to carry catalogues and samples. At the end of the day the back pack ought to get heavier with all those samples and catalogues.

Also remember to wear breathable and soft shoes as you are sure to walk at least 10 - 12 km exploring different halls , aisles and floor.

Main Linking Bridge Area

One of the Aisles at Canton Fair 2017


Shrine of Abi Waqas (Saab Bin Abi Waqas) in Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou, China has a shrine of Abi Waqas (Saad bin Abi Waqas)
The shrine is near Guangzhou railway station.

The shrine is built along with a mosque. Many local and foreign muslims visit the place to pay homage to the Sahabi of Prophet Muhammad.

The place also has a mosque and is really crowded during Friday Prayers.
The mosque has seperate prayer area for ladies, while ladies can visit the shrine along with men.

If you want to avoid the rush, it is suggested to go during normal prayer times, as it gets really crowded during the friday prayer times.

The mosque is near guangzhou railway station and on friday you can see loads of people walking in that direction, and you will know they are going for Friday prayers.

After friday prayers, you can also find various vendors outside the mosque, selling halal muslim food, specially barbque and grill items. Grilled lamb chops are a must try along with grilled fish.


Inside the main entrance of the mosque

Friday Prayer Rush at Abi Waqas Mosque, Guangzhou, China

Out side lawn, leading to the gate of of the shrine

Crowd of People at the Friday Prayers in Guangzhou, China

Inside the main shrine. People paying their respect

People paying their respect at the shrine.

All in all, it was a good experience to offer friday prayers in a foreign country and visit a shrine of the sahabi of prophet muhammad.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Opening a bank account as a foreigner on visit visa in another country. Opening a bank account in china as a visitor.

On my recent trip to China, i opened a bank account in Agriculture Bank of China on my visitor visa.

Since, english is not very common in china it was difficult to explain to the guys what we want, but in the end one customer service representative understood that we were there to open a bank account and he helped us filling up the form and our details.

The steps were simple, but we needed help of the customer service rep as the form were in chinese so we asked him to fill our form.

The steps were simple.

- Fill in your details with passport number
- Local chinese mobile phone number is must, which is used to send transaction pins and transaction alerts. SO it is suggested to purchase a local china sim before going to open a bank account.
- Fill in your address. You can give your hotel address which is also acceptable.
- Photocopy your passport information page and visa page.

The form looked something like this.

Once you have filled in the details, take a token and wait for your turn.
On my turn , i went to the counter. The officer checked my details and for account opening send a pin code to my mobile number. I entered the pin at the numberic counter which was at the visitor side of the window.

Once i filled in the pin number, the process began and he asked me to enter my atm pin and one more time to verify my atm pin.

After the atm pin is verified, i was asked to make an initial deport of RMB 100.
After the deposit, i was instantly issued an atm card and an online banking usb dongle to enable online banking.

So now you can enjoy the benefits of being a bank account holder in china.

Benefits:

- When making exchange in china, you can ask the dealer to transfer the amount to your china bank account 
- When purchasing you can make purchases thru your debit card.
- No need to carry cash.
- You can withdraw cash at any atm in china.

It was a learning experience for me to open a bank account in a foreign country as a visitor and that too on a visit visa in a country like china.

All in the all the process took less than an hour, but it helped a lot in getting payment in my bank account and then making payment to vendors and suppliers thru the debit card.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Full day / half day boat tour from Keamari jetty, karachi

Boat tour is a great outdoor activity for karachites, where you can hire a full day or half day boat from keamari jetty, near the karachi sea port and can spend a good time out on the sea with friends and relatives.

The boats are not fancy but locally made boats with a smaller engine and some of them are double decker, so you can climb up the deck to watch the sunset and if the tide is ok you can also catch some fishes.

While majority of the time is consumed in fishing, the boat sailors try to bargain time by stopping the boat and indulging in fishing activity which takes up most of the time.

Cruisining off the keamari jetty

The boat captain provides on board tea and also cooks the freshly caught fishes which ads up to the fun.

Karachi Coast Line

Karachi Coast

Karachi Coast

Manora Island Off Karachi

Children Busy Fishing

You can book the boat from keamari jetty. Once you arrive at keamari jetty many booking agents will hoard you and will try to make a bargain. Boat charges vary from hourly, half day and full day.
Charges also vary as per quality of boat. Single deck, double deck, washroom etc.

Average half day double decker boat will cost around Rs. 8000 - 10,000 (US$ 80 - 100 / day)
Half day boat can be booked from 4 - 5 hours, it is better to go in the afternoon so you can stay at sea till the evening and can experience sunset on the sea.

The boat captain will also arrange fishing equipment like string, hooks and fish food and will also guide you on how to go go about fishing.

Sun Setting off the coast of Karachi, Arabian Sea

All in all it is a good day spent on the arabian sea in the local karachi boat.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hotel Stay report for Movenpick Hotel, Karachi

For quiet a while, I have been hoping to stay at movenpick hotel, karachi.
They seemingly offered a great weekend package for families which was priced at around US$ 100 / night for 2 adults / 2 children including breakfast.

I booked the room over the phone and requested for early check-in by 12 pm which was easily accommodated as their regualr check-in time is 2 pm.

Check-in
On check-in the lobby was nice with good security and valet parking for visitors and guests.
My children liked the first look of the hotel.

On check-in i requested for late check out which was also accommodated.

The Room
The room was big with balcony and facing the pool and side of the chief minister house.
It was quiet enough for a family of 5, with 2 children and 1 infant. It comes with tea and coffee making facility and complimentary water bottles.

Hotel Room - Quiet spacious for a family of 5.

View from the room

View from the room - Pool View
The Pool
The pool was good and relaxing and quiet alright.
however, the washrooms by the pool were not maintained and note nicely kept. There was no soap in the soap dispenser and the doors to the change room were broken. It seemed that the washrooms are not maintained regularly.


Hotel Bed.

The Breakfast
The breakfast was grand and scrumptious with a wide variety of dishes including breads, eggs, and other dishes. All in all it was a grand breakfast which was be easily classified as a brunch rather than a breakfast. The selection of rice, mushrooms, fish, chicken and vegetable dishes.

Verdict
For the price and service this is totally worth hotel to stay and try, specially for the breakfast. This is a nice getaway for your stay in karachi, where you will feel secured and at ease.








Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quaid e Azam House Museum, karachi

Quaid e Azam House Museum is located on main sh-e-faisal, just opposite metropole and / or avair tower.

This has been the residence of Quaid e Azam. The building is nostalgic and takes you to pre-partition era.
You can visit the various rooms which were under the use of quaid e azam.
One thing of interest was the the main drawing room, where Quaid-e-Azam used to hold important meetings of All India Muslim League.

Another thing of interest was the dinning room on the first floor which was specifically used by Quaid-e-Azam and Fatima Jinnah specially for breakfast.

This is a must visit place for history lovers and it takes you back in time about the life style of the founding father of pakistan.

Visiting times daily except wednesday: 9 am - 4 pm
Entry is free


Passage to rear entrance

Main building

Rear Entrance Area.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Halal Street Food in Guangzhou, China

On my recent tour to china, I was able to experience Halal Street Food in guangzhou, china.
The food was served by local chinese muslims and mainly consist of roasted / grilled chicken and fish which is served with bread and spicy salad.

This is a must try halal street food dish in china, specially if you love grilled items.
The fish, cost RMB 25 and was amazing, soft, juciy and just as i like it.

The chicken was equally good and cost the same RMB 25.
Bread RMB 2
Salad: Complimentay

Halal Street Food Stall in Guanzhou, China


We tasted this street food near the main guanzhou railway station. The nearest metro station was Sunyanli metro station. Exit sunyanli metro station, take exit C and then walk towards the guanzhou metro station.

 The footpaths is lined with street vendors selling from clothings, glasses, hand bags, children garments, toys etc.

The street specially comes to live at night as it is near to the main wholesale market and many people who are out on business during the day, explore the streets at night.

The street it self is popular among pakistanis, indians and african national as it is near the main wholesale market.

So if you are in guangzhou, you should try the halal street food, 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Halal Food in Canton Fair 2016, Guangzhou China

I have travelled to china several times, but this time i travelled there to attend the canton fair.
Canton Fair is held twice a year. Once in April - May and then second in October.

Each fair has 3 phases, ranging to a vast variety of products.

I have been trying to get the visa in time to attend the first phase as it is relevant to my business type.
However, I was unable to get the visa in time, and hence visited china for the second phase.

View of Canton Fair, 2016, China

View of Canton Fair, 2016, China


The exhibition is huge, spread across several square meters and caters to a wide range of products.

One thing interesting was the availability of halal food at the canton fair food court.
The food was halal chinese food, with some variety of beef and chicked. The food was fine and good for the taste and apetite, though my friend did not like it, but it was good enough for me.

China seems to be having a growing number of halal food options for the muslim visitors.

Food Court with Halal Food Area

Halal Food Counter in Canton Fair, China 2016


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Karachi Airport. The Bad and the Ugly

Karachi Airport is the busiest Airport of Pakistan. On my recent flight from Karachi Airport, I feel that the airport needs major refurbishment, uplift and more easier system.

As I entered the main departure building, my luggage was first scanned by the scanner machines of the Airport security force. After passing that, I was greeted by Custom Officers who were inquiring me with all sorts of questions like my destination, the purpose of my visit, duration of my visit and my profession.

If you are lucky you can pass thru custom officers without having them open your luggage. But if they decide to check your luggage, they will open your luggage on an open type table, infront of several on looking eyes. My luggage and its belongings are very personal and private to me and I do not feel alright to have my bag inspected infront of everyone.

After being done with the customs, I was greeted by Anti Narcotic Force (ANF) who had similar questions as that of custom officials. So if they let you pass thru then you are lucky, else once again you are made to open your bags and having your belongings inspected by the ANF officials.

After passing thru the ANF counter, I went to the airline check-in counter for the boarding pass. I then went to the immigration counter. After passing thru the immigration counter, there was another counter named “FIA Immigration RE-checking counter”. Apparently, here they checked that my passport was stamped correctly by the immigration officer, but yet again these people asked somewhat similar questions as I have been answering ever since entering the airport.




Finally, after passing all these hurdles, I went into the main departure lounge.

Main Departure Area / Gates

The main departure lounge had only two or three washrooms with only two toilets each. There were long ques to use the toilet and need for more washrooms was greatly felt.


Over the years air travel has increased many folds and the need to upgrade Karachi Airport facilities and system is felt everytime I travel.