What do you think if motorbikes will be banned in Ho Chi Minh City in 2030?
Nearly impossible. I’m living in Hanoi, but 2 major cities of Vietnam are facing the same threat: overpopulation. This leads to bad traffics. If you use any personal transportation like bike, motorcycle, car,… it will cost you lots of time, cause of jam. Public ransportations are the solution, but HCMC has many small alleys that buses cannot driven through, so best choice is motorbikes. Plus, tropical climate. Do you want your body full of wet, hards and smoke-like smell when you are in company? So walking isn’t a good idea, at least, recent days. And Singapore? They have large sidewalks cover by high-rise trees with good-quality bricks, and those aren’t being taken by any civillian to small businesses. Their metro system has numbers of lines, but Hanoi and HCM haven’t had any actived by 2018. The construction processes are so slow. Hope this can help you.
Which city is safer, Brasilia or Beijing?
I cannot give a fair answer because I have never lived in Brasilia. But as I native in Beijing and based on my traveling experiences, I am confident to say that Beijing is one of the safest cities that I have ever set foot on(been to the US, France, Italy, Australia, Switherland). You would never feel eery or threatened even walking on street at 3 am. You hardly, if not never, encounter vagrants or drunkards at anytime of the day. People are in most cases friendly if you turn to them for help.
How is the air pollution in Ho Chi Minh City?
I have been living in Ho Chi Minh City for the last three years. I come from Canberra, Australia, with 300 thousand people as opposed to 7-10 million people in Ho Chi Minh City. Canberra is very clean and in the highlands so any place is going to look bad in comparison. Having said that, I found that the air quality in HCMC is not really that bad. There are a lot of people and motor bikes but a lot of industry is outside the city. Saigon River brings a breeze that tends to move the pollution along. If I check the air quality sites, HCMC is mostly green or yellow (Beijing is always red). I am quite allergic to pollens and pollutants. My measure is whether my eyes get itchy. In HCMC my eyes don't react very often. I very rarely get bad sneezes coming on in HCMC.I travel to Hanoi very often and I can see and feel a strong contrast. From day one, I can definitely feel the pollution in Hanoi in both my eyes and also in my nose (I can smell it and also my nose would be very itchy in an allergic reaction). Even after three years of travelling to Hanoi, I still haven't got used to the air quality in Hanoi. The winter months in Hanoi are the worst in terms of pollution and Hanoi, unlike HCMC, is in a basin surround by mountains so there is less of a cleansing breeze in comparison.Overall, I find that Ho Chi Minh City is not bad in terms of air quality compared to other SEA countries like Bangkok, Manila, Kuala Lumpur etc.
With the arrival of the first train to travel the Silk Road from China to Austria, when can we expect regular passenger train service between Europe and China on the New Silk Road?
There has been regular passenger train service between Europe and China for more than a hundred years, thanks to the Trans-Siberian Railway. I know a number of people who have ridden it - quite an experience! Trans-Siberian Railway - Wikipedia
How do I say have a safe flight in Mandarin Chinese?
I would say yi1 lu4 ping2 an1, 一路平安, which literally means have a safe journey. It is a taboo to some people to say 一路顺风 as they do not want the plane to hit air turbulance "风”。
What was the Lingchen incident ?
Chinese warlords and their armies stopped a train near the city of Lingchen. Western hostages were taken to a mountain retreat and held hostage for ransom and political concessions from the central government. The international community was outraged. U.S. and Great Britain threatened armed intervention if the hostages were not released. Eventually, negotiations and ransom in a settlement. Some historians refer to this incident as the first real terrorist attack of the modern era. 1923
What do you expect from a luxurious trip in a developing country, say, Vietnam?
I went to Ho Chi Minh City for my kid’s 4-day sports competition. Some other parents went on the 4-day trip as well. I took the “economy package” (low-cost local hotel, taxi from the airport to the hotel, ate buffet breakfast at the low-cost hotel, ate street food and food at cafes). The wealthier parents stayed at the Intercontinental HCMC, a 5-star place. The Intercontinental picked them up in a specially arranged bus. They ate at the Intercontinental’s restaurant. Sometimes, all the parents would eat at some swanky cool place in the city near both hotels.I guess what I’m saying is that if you want a 5-star experience in a developing country, you can get it if you can afford it. I’m not sure what the metrics are for a developing country, but luxury experiences are available in Vietnam, Tanzania, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and other places in my experience. Just pay your money and enjoy.I would caution you that the 5-star experience is a very American/European experience. So at the Mandarin Oriental or the Intercontinental or another luxury hotel, you’d have the most of the things that make it clear that you’re in a foreign country removed. Like having to speak the local language, or dealing with poverty in your face, or potential unsanitary food conditions or personal safety issues. There are definitely times I want the 5-star experience, like for business travel, because I’m not in Vietnam for pleasure. I’m there for a meeting, so I don’t want surprises. But if you’re traveling for pleasure, then the 5-star experience takes the localness out of the country, and Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing, Bangkok, Columbo, Kuala Lumpur look, sound, and act like Chinatown in Chicago from your tour bus. You’d have English speakers constantly around you telling you in English, eat this, this is safe, don’t go here and holding your hand wherever you go.
Chinese cities now look developed and clean. When can Vietnamese cities reach the same level?
Undoubtedly, megacities in South and Central China such as Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are basically developed and much cleaner in comparison with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam. Sometimes they have problems of smoke and high air quality index (AQI), but the environmental qualities in these three Chinese megacities are generally good.(Notes: Actually, I visited these three cities in 2014. As far as I know, mining and heavy industries such as iron and steel-makings are located in Northern provinces of China, plus the sand storms from Inner Mongolia deserts. Hence, severe air pollution problems have mostly been occurred in Northern cities such as Beijing, Baotou, Harbin…).Nowadays, the rapid urbanization is happening in Vietnam day-by-day, which has changed the faces of not only Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but also a lot of cities in Central Vietnam and Mekong Delta as well. In some aspects, the cleanliness of Vietnamese cities can also be comparable with their Chinese counterparts. They are gradually climbing up to reach the cleanliness level of Chinese megacities in about 10 years later.Currently, I'm living and working in Ho Chi Minh City, also my hometown. Here are some pictures about the "new cities" which have been built on the other side of Saigon River as well as at the Southern area of Ho Chi Minh City:Figure 1 & 2: Street views of Phu My Hung residential area, around the Crescent or Ban Nguyet LakeFigure 3: The Sala Premium Residence located at District 02, on the other side of Saigon River.Figure 4: The view from Lexington Residence, also located at District 02Figure 5: Vinhomes Central Park, a green playground and also a part of the Vinhomes Residential Complex in Binh Thanh DistrictFigure 6: The Vinhome Center Landmark 81 tower as the main building of Vinhomes Residential ComplexFigure 7: HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!
How can you get from Kuala Lumpur to Europe by car/train?
My mother came to visit us in Kuala Lumpur when we were still living there. She doesn't fly by plane so she took trains and buses all the way from The Netherlands with Singapore as final destination before embarking on a cruise to get back to NL. First you take a train from KL Sentral to Bangkok. There you can take train or bus to the Cambodian border. From there you get a bus to take you to HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City) in Vietnam. You could have a stopover in Siem Reap. From HCMC you can take a train to Hanoi. From Hanoi you take a train to the Chinese border, from where you hop over to a Chinese train. This train takes you to Nanning. Once in China it is quite straightforward to travel to Beijing. In Beijing you can take numerous routes to Europe, most of them via Moscow. The Trans-Mongolian Express is especially beautiful and also quite affordable. You need visas for a bunch of these countries, and in some cases you might run into problems as some visas expire. I'd try and have it all done by professionals....luckily Malaysians have good visa conditions...in SE Asia, and parts of Asia...
What alcoholic drinks do you drink???
If you want to check out a bunch of recipe's and drinks, go here: http://www.goodcocktails.com/recipes/drinks.php As for what I'd personally reccomend: SCREWDRIVER - Pour vodka into a glass with ice and fill it with orange juice. ALABAMA SLAMMER - Pour all liqueurs into a glass with ice and fill with orange juice. (Ingredients) 1 oz Southern Comfort® 1 oz Amaretto 1/2 oz Sloe Gin or Grenadine Orange Juice FRUIT PUNCH - Pour vodka, Southern Comfort, amaretto and sloe gin into a glass with ice. Fill it with equal parts of orange juice and pineapple juice. (Ingredients) 1/2 oz Vodka 1/2 oz Southern Comfort® 1/2 oz Amaretto 1/2 oz Sloe Gin Orange Juice Pineapple Juice