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In Hong Kong, visit a park spread over two islands

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HONGKONG
Photo Source, Google

Hong Kong, March 20 

You want to feel spoilt for choices of sumptuous street food, shopping options and roller-coaster rides? This oceanarium, a park near the disputed South China Sea in Hong Kong, may just be the right place to visit.

The Ocean Park, spread over two small islands separated by a distance of 1.5 km and connected by a cable car ride, also houses animal-themed amusement parks and is one of the most visited places in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is nearly five hours away by plane from New Delhi and is quite popular for its attractions like Ocean Park and Disneyland. Its street food and shopping options also draw revellers. And if time permits, some even take a ferry ride.

But if one has a tight schedule and just wants some entertainment, good food and roller-coaster rides, the Ocean Park is a one-stop shop for all this.

To reach the park, travel via the rapid transit MTR from Admiralty Station, an area which was once headquarters of the Royal Navy. Travel time is usually around 10 minutes.

The fair weather and sudden cold breeze welcomed me upon arrival at the park. The park entrance was crowded by a swarm of tourists taking selfies. We opted to join them and looked for the very first stop at the Giant Panda adventure, one of the highlights of the park.

Ocean Park’s giant pandas are not only among the most popular attractions, they are also well pampered residents, with a sophisticated feeding regime to satisfy their fussy eating habits.

A walk in the park will show you helpful signages telling you where to go next. So you never really get lost, despite it being a huge place.

The park is divided into two islands — Waterfront and the Summit.

To cross between the two islands, you have a choice of riding the cable car system that features an astonishing view of the island and the much famous and disputed South China Sea or an underground train system known as the Ocean Express that utilises multimedia effects to simulate the feeling of travelling into the depths of the sea.

We took the cable car to cross to the Summit island. The queue was long but we had the privilege to enter via a staff line as we were hosted by the park management itself. The eight-minute ride gave a panoramic view of the Waterfront and Summit islands.

Ocean Park is not just a theme park full of animals for kids but also has an amusement park for adults to enjoy too.

There were lots of tourists and one could spot many Indians among them. For visitors to Hong Kong, Ocean Park is increasingly becoming a must-visit destination.

You cannot claim to have done Hong Kong, unless you take a ride on a ferry. Since 1888, the Hong Kong Star Ferry has been one of the unique — and cheaper — things to do in an expensive city.

It is basically a short 10-minute ride that takes you across to the Victoria Harbour between Tsim Sha Tsui, Central Pier. But that short cruise lets you enjoy the amazing view and ocean breeze and the images seem to remain stuck in your mind for many days, especially if you do the night trip.

Whether you’re shopping on a budget or willing to splurge, it’s guaranteed that you’ll find what you’re looking for in Mong Kok. Even in early hours, Mong Kok’s streets are as busy as in day time.

With a wide range of products on offer, shoppers are advised to prepare a list of what they want to buy or else you’ll be overwhelmed by the wide range of products on sale. From electronics, computers, high-end fashion, jewellery and traditional Asian ornaments, you get everything. Name it, and you have it, in this shopping haven.

Make sure to drop by in Ladies’ Market, Flower Market and Bird Market for excellent bargains. Another shopping destination is the Temple Street Night Market. It is kind of interesting and slightly different from that of the more commercialised Mong Kok. It only opens when the sun goes down. You can see Fortune tellers offering a glimpse into the future if you are willing to part with a bit of moolah.

It is a popular street bazaar, named after a Tin Hau temple and a place so steeped in local atmosphere that it has served as the backdrop to many a memorable movie. Also, haggling with the local vendors is one of the fun experiences you’ll have in this night market. Hint: They’ll eventually give in to the price you offer.

Souvenir pieces such as chopsticks, magnets, tea ware, electronics, watches, jade and antiques are also up for grabs for low prices.

Adventure and excitement are always in the air. Hong Kong tries its best to make your dream come true. And even small things are a pleasure, like a languid stroll in the narrow streets. And if you have a large budget, many more doors will open. Hong Kong seems to meet you half-way in everything you want to do.

By Aadil Mir 

(IANS)

(Aadil Mir was in Hong Kong at the invitation of Ocean Park. He can be contacted at [email protected])

Tech

Western Railway uses modern technique to scan old Mumbai bridges

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Western Railway

Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) After Railway Minister Piyush Goyal cracked the whip, the Western Railway (WR) launched a safety audit of all 445 bridges on the Mumbai suburban section, deploying modern techniques to scan some of the oldest structures, an official said here on Saturday.

The first to be inspected and audited was the 98-year old Mahalaxmi road overbridge (ROB) and later the Bandra ROB, with the new time-saving technique through the “tower wagon car”.

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“The tower wagon has been designed to save inspection time to two hours against the normal four hours by conventional methods and even perform urgent repairs,” said WR spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar.

Image result for WR spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar.

Western Railways chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar

Conventionally, a long ladder was transported from Lower Parel station to the required station, shifted manually to the bridge site and only one person at a time could climb it, while clutching a load of equipment. The ladder needed to be shifted continuously for examining each girders, pillars or spans.

However, the new tower wagon allows the entire inspection team to climb to the targeted site armed with tools and machinery, and even carry out spot emergency repairs, making it a quick, safe and quality process, said Bhakar.

On the WR’s Churchgate-Virar sector, there are 29 ROBs, 110 Foot overbridges (FOBs) and four pipeline bridges, and the rest are on the Central Railway (CR), across Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad districts, catering to over eight million daily suburban commuters.

Top WR officials including General Manager A. K. Gupta, Divisional Railway Manager Sanjay Mishra, Principal Chief Engineer R. K. Meena and Chief Safety Officer Manoj Sharma were present when the inspections were carried out in the early hours on Saturday.

Image result for WR General Manager A. K. Gupta,

Western Railway top boss Western Railway GM A.K Gupta

Spelling relief, the Mahalaxmi ROB was found to be “structurally sound and in safe condition” at all its 15 girders and five spans after it was inspected in minute details by two tower wagons.

The 56-year old Bandra ROB with 13 girders and three spans was also found structurally safe and sound, the WR said.

Bouyed by the results, the WR will now carry out the safety audits of all the remaining bridges with tower wagons over the next three-four months, as resolved at a high-level meeting on July 5.

Following stringent observations by the Bombay High Court, a public uproar after the July 3 crash of a portion of the Andheri FOB which killed one woman, the beleagured WR, CR, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation along with IIT-Bombay experts launched the full-scale bridges’ audits.

Image result for July 3 crash of a portion of the Andheri FOB which killed one woman

July 3 crash of a portion of the Andheri FOB

It was decided to order repairs or reconstruct the stressed bridges on priority without procedural delays, with precedence given to the oldest structures, while ensuring complete coordination among various agencies.

The three organisations will also conduct regular monthly meetings of top officials, clear issues about designs, drawings, approvals, land issues, etc, to speed up the required works.

They would also explore the feasibility of creating a special corpus fund for the purpose of an appropriate amount, to ensure financial resources are readily available, especially for undertaking works of urgent nature or in emergencies.

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Lifestyle

30 per cent Indians planning couple trip during monsoon: Study

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Couple trip monsoon

New Delhi, July 10: With the onset of the monsoon, more and more couples are taking advantage of the pleasant weather and heading for short breaks with 30 per cent planning it with their better halves, says a study conducted by travel marketplace ixigo.  

The data reveals that 39 per cent Indians, travelling during the monsoon, are planning to travel as couples, followed by 24 per cent with family and 18 per cent solo, reads a statement.

Couples are planning short-stays that extend to about three or four days. Also, hotel searches for Goa show the maximum spike of 16 per cent from previous months, while Shillong and Guwahati follow with 11 per cent and 9 per cent spikes respectively.

goa-couple-on-beach

While about 25 per cent couples from Chennai and 18 per cent from Bangalore are booking a short vacation to Puducherry, about 14 per cent couples are travelling from Mumbai to Goa via train.

Commenting on the findings, Aloke Bajpai, ixigo CEO & Co-founder said, “With the arrival of monsoon across the country, millennial couples are now planning their bae-cations. Travel becomes far more affordable during the monsoon as it is a lean season in comparison to summer and winter.

“Major Indian airlines have announced their monsoon sales, offering big discounts on flights, reducing fares by almost 20 per cent. Goa remains to be the most popular destination showing an 8 per cent increase in in flight and 16 per cent increase in hotel searches. It is great to note, how owing to improved infrastructure and better flight connectivity, north-eastern destinations like Shillong and Guwahati are also becoming crowd favourites.”

IANS 

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Lifestyle

Why one should consider a beach holiday

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beach

New Delhi, June 30: Selecting your next destination isn’t easy and spending the month of June and July at home can never be treated as an experience. But then a beach trip can always be your escape! Right? Ditch the hills and snow when you can head out for a beach holiday.

Goa Beaches-wefornews

Jayant Singh, Founder and Managing Director, Karma Hospitality and Richa Khurana Singh, Travel Expert, share some insights why a beach holiday is the best way to refresh the mind.

* Beauty and the beach: The coming months are a good escape to beaches for people who want to travel and have an adventure at the same time. The temperature is not so hot and days are also the longest, which gives you more time to explore and party. The beauty of the beaches relaxes you and at the same time the rapids give the best adrenaline rush.

goa-nightlife

* Enjoy the festivities and the rains: June brings out the unseen views of beaches – especially Goa – that are usually absent during the summers. The beginning of the monsoon gives relief from the humid climate and a wave of new fresh air.

* Adventure be your saviour: It is not just about the beauty of the sea, but there is much more beyond that parties and beaches. June is the best time to enjoy for adventure lovers and they can enjoy the different water sports like jet skiing, water skiing, paragliding, scuba diving. Also, the beginners training for scuba diving can best learn in these months.

 jet skiing

* Affordable accommodation: October-January are the months when the tourist traction is huge for beach areas, but from June-September the areas are less occupied and you don’t have to spend much on travel and stay. Fares are affordable for luxury resorts and you can book your fairies and adventures at a low cost.

IANS

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