Must-know Hacks to Enjoy the Forbidden City

During the October holidays, teeming crowds turn up at the historical site for an exotic travel experience into the Satan’s pit. For most of the Beijing residents’ going to the Forbidden City is out of question throughout the holidays. Even all through the busiest of weeks, below are some tricks that can make visiting the Forbidden City more tolerable when not pleasant.

  1. Plan for an early morning visit: The ticket sales limit is 80,000 a day. This may seem like its a lot but during special exhibitions and holidays but the possibility of the tickets selling out by early on in the afternoon is very high.

(Advanced Tip: A reservation system is available online and you can book at most 10 tickets for a group except you need to have someone who reads Chinese – or you can do so yourself – and even have a payment method like Zhifubao or Alipay.)

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  1. Skip Mao: About 90% of the tourists approach Forbidden City via Tiananmen to the south. Getting here for an exotic travel experience often requires that you pass through rather long lines to get to the security checks. In order to avoid these, use the west or east entrance. Pay the entrance fee and walk into the park to the east side. This will get you to ticketing area right outside the Forbidden City main entrance. However, you will need to queue for the museum security checks so you can go inside.
  2. Stay away from the crowded area: Most visitors follow the same route right into the center of Forbidden City. Stay away from the crowded places and rather explore the interesting parts by turning right or left. When you walk along the wall going towards the East Gate, you will come to a fascinating and quiet museum of the palace architecture. Down the stairs near the East Gate as if going back towards the courtyard you will find the Literary Flourishing Hall which is a ceramic well-curated museum.

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  3. Keep away the mid-axis: Make a point to visit Cining Gong and Shoukang Gong which was home to the emperor’s mother in 18 century. This is a functioning archaeological site which has sculpture displays that date back to more than 1,500 years. This includes terracotta soldiers loaned from Xi’an.
  4. Use an alternative exit: Officially, Forbidden City is to be exited through one way that is north-south. However, the transport options outside the northern gate are restricted to jam-packed buses and trishaw hustlers. You can, however, exit from the Donghuamen (east gate) which lets out into the quieter street which has better taxi options and is closer to the nearby subway. Should you be hungry, a division of Siji Minfu- a famous Beijing restaurant and TRB Bites are located outside the eastern gate.

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  5. Remember to carry your passport: In 2015 new policies were enacted which require you to present a type of identification for every ticket purchased. The security personnel also look for lighters since it’s not advisable smoking inside the 600-old wooden palace.

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One more last tip – always ask a local for the best time to visit China or you can always rely on us at askus@ladyredot.com. If you have been to China, come and share your stories with us!


 

KallyKally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

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Famous Indonesia Scams

As general, Indonesia is a relatively safe place to visit. The streets life are far less threatening compared to some countries in the west, and most of the people are nice. However, there are always some individuals who want to take advantages of tourists for their personal gain. To prevent that, here is a small list of most common travel scams that you may find during your visit to Indonesia. Thus, always be cautious with your surroundings, travel safe, and enjoy your time wandering around !!

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  1. Taxi Scams

Since taxi is the only transportation mode to get you to the downtown, it is very easy to find taxi drivers that are dishonest. No taxi meter, longer routes, no change, and applying extra charges for unreasonable explanations are common things that scam taxi drivers always do in order to force you on paying more for the trip. That is why it is better to book taxi from credible taxi counters wherever you go and let their staffs help you to find the taxi. Rely on using taxi from Blue Bird or Express, since both of them are trustworthy taxi companies that are majorly used by the local. Alternatively, if you are not in rush, hiring uber or grab for a lift is better since there are plenty of promos that you can use for cheaper rides.

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  1. Sellers Scams

While going on shopping in local markets or at tourist shops, scam sellers are always exist with their thousands of ways to make you have for buying their goods.   And here, these are two common types you may always find. First, the follower. This kind of sellers are very consistent on selling their goods to every tourists by following them until they gave up and deciding to buy. It is indeed irritating and because of it, don’t hesitate to say “No, thank you” as your response once you are not interested to buy from them.   Second, the price increaser.   Some sellers have targeted international tourists for selling their stuffs in much higher price than their usual. Therefore, when you are buying something, go to the stores that have clear price tags on their items or just bring the locals with you to do trades with the sellers.

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  1. Unnecessary Services

Public places such as airports, train stations, and harbors are meeting points for many scammers. They usually work in disguise by offering unnecessary services such as voluntarily offering you to carry on the luggage, selling cheaper fake tickets, or force you to take a stay on newly-open hotels that are definitely not located at a strategic place. At first, those sweet talks and hustles may sounds good to be heard, however it won’t get you to anywhere, since they will take your money after they did their job and looking out for the next potentials. For handling this, keep distance with strangers who tried “too hard” on getting your attention, and ignore them by keep walking through.

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  1. Ticket Scammers

Holiday season especially to welcome eid al fitr days can be so hectic since all transportation tickets from planes until trains were fully booked. In this situation, ticket scammers or usually be called as “calo” are easily to be found. Usually, their modus is to offer you extremely cheap tickets. Never buy a ticket that you think is too cheap from the normal price, especially during holiday season since there are huge possibilities for them to be fake. If you are suddenly have to travel, consider to book your tickets online. It is better to pay a little more expensive price than losing all your money to some scammers.

One surefire way to steer clear of scammers is to engage us at askus@ladyredot.com.


dsc_4705-jpgHello, I’m Jenica from Indonesia.  As a law student in progress, studying law can sometimes become really boring.  That’s why I always like to wander around and exploring new, unusual places to relieve some tension.  I also like to capture my experience through lenses and especially from writing, because it helps me to create memories that will last forever, yet it can also enjoy by a lot of people.  Meanwhile, if I don’t have time to travel, you can find me easily at the markets while trying delicious street foods from various local food stalls.  Nasi goreng, rendang, and martabak are my all time favourite that will never be replaced with anything. For me, diet always starts tomorrow so  let’s enjoy the life to the fullest!  If you want to know more about me, drop me an email now.

How to visit Japan on shoestring budget

Japan, the little island with so much to see in culture and nature, always on the bucket lists of wanderlusts worldwide. But, there is a big but, it’s too expensive, the bias that stuck in our head all the time has stopped us from exploring this beautiful country. The reality is, you CAN visit many cities in Japan on your tight budget if you plan well, let’s us brief you a little.

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Time to visit
Cherry blossom is extraordinary in Japan, so no doubt, Spring is the best time, that is March to May, but avoid the golden week around the end of April and beginning of May.

Next best time is, of course, autumn, September to November in Japan. Finally, for winter lover, who enjoy the snowy cold, book your flight to Japan between the December – February time, again, avoid the peak at New Year or Christmas.

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Accommodation
Of course, if you are an avid traveller and has an excellent profile on Couchsurfing, you can cut off the cost of accommodation intensively. Sadly, not everyone is lucky enough or comfortable enough to crash overnight at stranger’s house, so here come a few suggestions for accommodation:
There are plenty of budget options: (around $20 – $40/night): hostel, dorm or capsule hotels are among the top choices for shoestring travellers. All these places are facilitated with shared shower, toiletries and kitchen. Around this range, you can also make use of internet café, where you can buy the pass for 5 hours or so, with shower, the internet, snack, drinks, not bad at all.

Travelling with a friend? Opt for business hotels, as you pay the same price for hostel option, but being much more comfortable and private.

A few more tips to save extra on accommodation: make use of the 24 hours’ bath if you are only transiting in town, and opt for the comfortable overnight bus to save on the hotel cost.

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Transportation
Japan has it all that will suit your budget requirements comfortably. From the bus, train to flight.

Once decided on the destinations you love to visit, check out the bus or train pass, which gives you the best deal for intercity trips. One of the best public wide coverage bus passes you can reserve online is Willer Express, where you can enjoy three non-consecutive days pass starting at 10000 Yen (about $90). The site even offers an illustration on how this option benefits you, check it out, and you will be surprised that at least you can hop to 5 major cities in Japan with the 3 or 5-day pass.

Another incredible deal you can get if you travel in Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Wakayama, Shiga, Hyogo) is the Kansai Thru pass (about $50). The single use pass works for bus, subway and train, non-consecutive day and also comes with several discounts at major tourist spots.

Compared to the seven consecutive days pass JR train at nearly $300, the bus pass is a better option for budget concern folks with the extraordinary flexibility.

Tight on time? Don’t worry; Japan is incredibly convenient when it comes to purchasing a flight pass, check out at http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2364.html for the most suitable pass.

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Food
If you fancy noodles, fantastic! Follow the locals and enjoy your cheap, delicious ramen meals, which is typical around $4-5. If you are not that into the local food, the pre-packed meals from the supermarket, convenience stores or kiosk at train stations are also very economical while still delicious and nutritious. Finally, don’t forget to hit the street markets and Japan’s vending food machines for the variety of options that won’t break your wallet.

Tips: make lunch as your main meal, as many restaurants offer the cheaper lunch set menu, starting around $9 or take away at $5. While take away the meal from groceries in the evening will help you to save a few more bucks. Another way to save is to pay attention when booking your accommodation that may offer 1 or 2 meals per day.

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What to do
Regardless if you are a museum people, nature wanderlust, photography hobbyist or a technology geek, Japan has plenty to offer for free. Make sure you research well at each destination, there are always a mix of experiences you can try for free and get the authentic tastes of Japan, like watching cherry blossom if you come during Spring time, stroll around the famous temples or time your visit right and get free entry to museums.

Finally, bear in mind that planning in advance is the best way to keep your budget in control, as being such popular tourist spot, several services in Japan got booked out several months.

So, I hope after this article; start planning your Japan trip without worrying about the cost, after all, it is entirely worth it to visit a country where the beauty of tradition and nature has well blended with the most advanced modern technology.

Or leave all the planning to us. There is always a travel plan to suit every budget and lifestyle. Just askus@ladyredot.com.


 

june
June explores different roles to find out what is her passion. She used to be a travel consultant, a Kindergarden English teacher, an Expedia’s Lodging Partner Support agent, and the latest is being a freelancer. Eventually, she figures that her passion is to express the hospitality spirit from her heart and inspire others from her works. Being a writer for LadyRedot, where she get inspired and inspire others, and running her own bed and breakfast in her homeland. She views life as a colorful and adventurous journey, join her as she shares her passion with you! You can reach out to her @ LinkedIn.

Going on a Trip? Go Green!

In reality, travelling adds up to the world’s already increasing carbon footprint. Some say that NOT travelling is the best way to travel. But is that even possible? People will always need and want to travel somewhere but you can do your part by making sure your expedition is as green as possible. So here are 10 helpful tips that will make your travel greener.

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Choose the mode of transportation wisely.
If you can ride a bike to go around the place or walk to your itinerary or to the nearest restaurant, then do it. It will do your body and the environment good. However, if travelling from point A to point B requires a vehicle ride, check if public transportation is available first.

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Your choice of accommodation matters.
When planning a trip, check if eco-friendly properties are available in your destination. Also, when staying at a property, limit the use of the air conditioning system if possible and consider reusing your hotel towels if applicable. Make sure to unplug and turn off devices when leaving the room to save energy.

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Eat local.
Where you choose to dine has a veiled impact on the environment. Choose restaurants or food places that serve local produce and seafood. Carbon emission from transporting goods is reduced and small-scale fishing is less damaging compared to industrial fishing.

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Carry your own water bottle and reusable bag.
If we do not make a conscious effort to avoid single use plastic as much as possible, we will surely be swimming in a sea of plastic pretty soon. Have a drink ready with your reusable bottle and be ready to shop with your eco-friendly bag.

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Use reef-friendly sunblock.
Many do not know, several sunblock brands use harmful chemicals. These chemicals are not only harmful to humans, but also to marine life. Help protect the seas and use only the good ones.

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Ditch the animal shows or any attraction that involves wild animals being held captive. Dolphins, orcas, whales, elephants, tigers, and lions belong in the wild. If they are kept in cages, they lose their natural instincts and develop abnormal behaviour, causing them to grow weak and eventually die. Animals are important and should be respected.

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Do not touch wildlife.
Being picked up, or fed needlessly can cause stress to wild animals. And remember, before you set out to roam around, that lotion or hand moisturiser you applied can be harmful to animals. Also, that flower or plant may be beautiful to look at, but resist the temptation to touch or remove it.

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Leave footprints, not trash.
Wherever your destination is–be it Singapore or Sao Paolo–respect the place and its people by not leaving your trash anywhere. Be conscious of the locale’s waste segregation and recycling policies as well.

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Take pictures, not animals or plants.
Aside from photographs, there are other travel keepsakes available. When buying souvenirs, make sure to buy ones that are not made from animal body parts or endangered plants.

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Volunteer.
Plan ahead and research if there is an upcoming event in your destination that needs volunteers. Check if there is a coastal cleanup or tree-planting activity that you and your friends can participate in. It not only helps mother earth, it can also be very fulfilling.

So there you go folks. We hope you can use these tips (and even add more ideas to it) to make your trip eco-friendly. It’s always a good idea to travel and care for mother earth at the same time, right?

If you love to find out more on how we can plan your trip and go green at the same time, reach out to us at askus@ladyredot.com.


mish

Mish worked as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since she graduated, she decided to give up her corporate job. She now focuses on her 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. She is a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, she’s tiny but she is an Olympic-level glutton. Let her bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach her at LinkedIn.

Travelling with Kids

When I was small, our family was not rich and we hardly can afford a vacation as a family together. Yet my father never fails to bring us all for a trip, at least once every 2 years. I don’t remember much about the beauty or location, all I remember was the excited feeling of first time seeing the beach, first time get on that “xich lo”, first time tasting some special food. Those memories are still vivid even though I was so small.

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That’s why I believed that it is vital for the child to grow up, building the experiences and bonding with their parents during the vacations. For those family on an extreme budget like us, and think travelling is such a luxury, don’t be, start planning and get going.

Take this article as a humble idea sharing and I hope your family will have a wonderful vacation.

Budget Right
Don’t be spontaneous, carefully plan to ensure you have a smooth carefree vacation. We normally save money first, then match our budget. This normally gives us less stress as there isn’t specific target to reach. What my father did is we have a piggy bank, named “travel”, every day he would add about $3 in (well we are in Vietnam though, so monthly income is about $400).

Technically it was less than 1% of the total income. Apart from that mandatory “daily dose”, if any of us has a suggestion on how or what we want from the coming trip, we can contribute to the piggy bank with a small note attached to it (like this $ is for me to eat all the type of ice cream). Nobody can touch the amount in the piggy bank until the end of the year.

This gives the young kids like us the sense of being responsible and saving, we learned from very small age, to reach your goal, sometimes, you got to sacrifice. I also never forget the thrill when we “kill” the piggy bank and count the money, full of satisfaction.

So now you have some amount on hand, start planning.

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Below is a list of a few essentials for you to prepare in matching the budget. You can do research first and shortlisted a couple of options and present to your kids so you all can decide together (with your pre-set direction).

Accommodation
Kids love activities and they do not really care about the fanciness, well most of them. Just ensure the place is safe. Tent for camping, homestay (plenty on Airbnb or HomeAway), don’t opt for fancy hotels. So mix them up, few days in a tent, few days in the homestay, few days in a barn even if you taking the country road, variety is the key. You can even register to swap home so maybe if lucky enough, no accommodation fee to worry about.

Transportation
Depending on the distance, you can choose the bus, flight, boat or even a road trip if time allows. If you are planning a road trip, the easiest way to plant is using Google My Maps to roughly get an idea on the routes to take. If you are unsure which transportation suite best use Rome2Rio for a suggestion. Just make sure your children’s state of health is able to withstand the journey, if any of them have severe sea sick, avoid boat at any cost. While at the destination, travelling around as a family can be costly, some public transport modes do offer children a discounted rate, so do make sure you ask. There are a handful of apps you can use to compare costs of different transportations.

Food
Sometimes, kids are willing to try the new food. While other times, they may just want to have the usual ones. So, best to pack some comfort food such as cereal, snack bar, and instant porridge so that if your little ones don’t like the local food, they won’t be left hungry. Plus, this can save you some costs in case you travel to quite remote areas and have to pay like $5 for a simple cereal bowl because your kids won’t want to eat anything else.

Medicine
Another important thing to bear in mind, for any kind of travelling, everyone in the family needs a thorough check and get common medicine. A first aid kit is a must have when you travelling with young kids.

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Activities
The most headache for parents when it comes to travelling with kids is to ensure they are entertained throughout the trip. They are more creative and much willing to learn and adapt than you think!

Drop by the beach, bring along the swimsuits and your family can have an amazing bonding time. Zoos, Safari or getting their hand dirty with farm activities are something surely excite them too. Museums are also the best spot for you and your children to learn something new together.

Actually, the idea of being in a new place with unusual routines are already thrilling them to bits (to us as well), so don’t worry and just enjoy the moments. Stroll along the street, talk to local people, try new food.

Tip: do not treat them as your kids, treat them as your buddies, ask for opinions, share the stories… you will be amazed by learning about the world through their eyes.

Tip: do bring some light board games so your family does not get bored at night.

Alternative Planning
If things don’t go according to plan, your family still can have heaps of fun. As kids are sensitive, being disappointed can really ruin their holiday. Make sure you discuss with them beforehand, for example, the plan is to go to the zoo on that day but if it’s raining, what else do you think we can do?

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Rules
Finally, it is essential to teach and make sure your kids well understand these rules. Set rules of public behaviours like no screaming or crying, rules on what they can and cannot buy, rules on the minimum distance they should keep with their parent so you never lose sight of them.

Teach them how to find you in a crowd or who should they contact to if they are lost. Have a list of police station number on the cities you plan to go and always keep them with your child (bracelet or pocket) together with your phone number. All these are the extremely important while travelling to somewhere crowded, they should know who they can turn to for help in case of need.

All in all, travelling with your little buddy can be a reward if you treat them as your travelling buddies. Always discuss openly and get them involved in decision making because when kids feel that their opinions are heard, they tend to behave and cooperate.

So, don’t wait, go build the memories before they grow up!

We understand that a parent’s life is overwhelming and busy, juggling with kids, school and work. Here at LadyRedot, we can help to ease the frustrations of planning a trip aboard. Talk to us @ askus@ladyredot.com to find out how we can help!


 

june June explores different roles to find out what is her passion. She used to be a travel consultant, a Kindergarden English teacher, an Expedia’s Lodging Partner Support agent, and the latest is being a freelancer. Eventually, she figures that her passion is to express the hospitality spirit from her heart and inspire others from her works. Being a writer for LadyRedot, where she get inspired and inspire others, and running her own bed and breakfast in her homeland. She views life as a colorful and adventurous journey, join her as she shares her passion with you! You can reach out to her @ LinkedIn.