Daily Escape

Great Wall of China

Photo by Christopher Herwig / Aurora Photos

Great Wall of China

Gansu, China

In case you need a refresher on one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Wall of China, which ranged from 5,500 to 13,171 miles (depending on various archeological studies), was built to protect the Chinese Empire from invading countries and nomadic groups. The Jiayuguan or Jiayu Pass (pictured), located in northern China, is one of the Great Wall’s best-preserved military fortifications. The series of gates and turrets, built of mud bricks, was feared by invaders and the Chinese alike: When citizens were banished from the empire, they were pushed out through Jiayuguan’s gates.


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Star Ferry
Go Stargazing

Go Stargazing

Get an amazing skyline view from the Star Ferry, which takes you to the Kowloon Peninsula. When you debark, walk the Avenue of Stars promenade, a harborside walkway modeled after Hollywood?s Walk of Fame that honors Hong Kong?s cinematic stars. Bonus: Stay after dark to watch the Symphony of Lights, a music and laser light show that plays in Victoria Harbor every night at 8 o?clock (weather permitting). 960 1280

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Say Hi to Mickey

Say Hi to Mickey

The last thing you might think to do in Hong Kong is visit an outpost of American culture, but Hong Kong Disneyland, on Lantau Island, features several ?lands? you won?t find in any other Disney theme park. In Toy Story Land, you?ll shrink down to the size of a toy and wander through bamboo meant to represent blades of grass. In Grizzly Gulch, reminiscent of Disneyland?s Frontierland, you can explore an abandoned mining town overrun by bears. And Victorian-era Mystic Point is home to Mystic Manor, an enchanted mansion in which everything inside it has come alive. 960 1280

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Dine in a Floating Restaurant

Dine in a Floating Restaurant

If you really want to say you?ve ?done? Hong Kong, you must enter the Jumbo Kingdom. Located in the middle of Aberdeen Harbor and reached by a free shuttle boat, the attraction includes both Jumbo and Tai Pak Floating Restaurants, longtime icons of Hong Kong?s dining scene. You might not have your best meal in Hong Kong at this tourist mecca, but skipping the city?s famous floating restaurants is like visiting New York and not eating a hot dog. 960 1280

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Find Serenity

Find Serenity

Smack dab in the midst of high-rise apartment buildings, you?ll find nearly 9 acres of solitude in Nan Lian Garden. Lotus ponds, scented trees and banyan groves cover this public park, landscaped according to strict regulations. Connected to the garden, you?ll encounter Chi Lin Nunnery, a temple complex whose dark wood and stone contrast with the steel and cement of the city surrounding it. 960 1280

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Dive in the Ocean (Park)

Dive in the Ocean (Park)

Disney may have the greater brand recognition, but Hong Kong?s Ocean Park gets more visitors. Covering 226 acres, the park offers something for everyone: 4 different roller coasters and other thrill rides, a 650-foot observation tower, the world?s largest aquarium dome, a walk-through rainforest, and all manner of animals from giant pandas and killer whales to walruses and monkeys. 960 1280

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Go Island Hopping

Go Island Hopping

Visitors who fly into Hong Kong arrive via Lantau Island, site of Hong Kong International Airport. Most continue on to the city proper, but Lantau offers many reasons to hop back over for some sightseeing. One of the biggest?literally?is the Tian Tan Buddha, or ?Big Buddha,? an 85-foot bronze statue at the Po Lin Monastery. Getting there is part of the adventure: the 3.5-mile-long Ngong Ping Cable Car ride ascends from Tung Chung Bay up the side of the mountain, offering more stunning views of the islands and sea. 960 1280

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Climb the Dragon's Back

Climb the Dragon's Back

A nature hike may seem out of place in one of Asia?s densest urban centers, but some 40 percent of Hong Kong is set aside as protected parkland. Within this open space, you?ll find Dragon?s Back Trail, often called one of the best urban walks in the world. Along undulating hills, you?ll get stunning views of the island and surrounding South China Sea. Less than an hour via train or bus from central Hong Kong, you can easily do this excursion in half a day. 960 1280

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Visit the Peak

Visit the Peak

Whether you go to check it off your list or to get your bearings before exploring the city, head straight to the top of Victoria Peak when you arrive so you don?t leave without doing it. Like looking down on Rio from Corcovado or gazing down into the Grand Canyon, it?s one of the world?s most jaw-dropping views. A funicular train takes you to ?the Peak,? where you can explore nature trails, tourist attractions and, of course, a spectacular view of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong?s countless skyscrapers. 960 1280

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See the Skyline

See the Skyline

The skyscraper-studded skyline is arguably Hong Kong?s most iconic feature. To see it from the water, go the uber-traditional route and climb aboard an authentic, red-sailed Chinese junk boat. The Duk Ling, operated by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, sets sail multiple times a week. Or go straight up to the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton and stare at the city from the OZONE bar, reputed to be the highest watering hole in Asia. 960 1280

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Explore the Markets

Explore the Markets

Shopping is near the top of any list of things to do in Hong Kong. To get a uniquely local shopping experience, seek out one of the city?s many street markets. If you simply wander, you?re likely to stumble upon one, but the Temple Street Night Market is one of the best. You?ll find everything from menswear and electronics to opera singers and fortune tellers. Other markets worth a visit are the Ladies? Market on Tung Choi Street and Stanley Market on the south side of Hong Kong Island. 960 1280

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Diniwid Beach

Diniwid Beach

Visit the upscale Diniwid Beach on Boracay Island, Philippines. Of the 13 beaches on Boracay, Diniwid Beach is perfect for travelers looking for an upscale stretch of sand that’s private, quiet and less populated with beachgoers. 960 1280

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Chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills

Located in the Philippines’ Bohol Province, the Chocolate Hills are 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 20 square miles. This geological site and popular tourist attraction -- normally covered in green grass -- turns chocolate brown during the dry season. 960 1280

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Boracay Island

Boracay Island

Boracay is a small island located almost 200 miles south of Manila. This island paradise is emerging among the top destinations for a relaxing vacation and exciting nightlife scene. In 2012, Travel + Leisure picked Boracay as the best island in the world. The island is also a great spot for travelers who enjoy water sports, including scuba diving, snorkeling, helmet diving and cliff diving. Visit during Amihan season (usually from September to June) to get the best trade winds for windsurfing, kiteboarding and kitesurfing. 960 1280

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Manila

Manila

Manila is the second largest city in the Philippines with a total population of more than 1.6 million people. Recommended sights to visit include Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Rizal Park, Fort Santiago, Star City, Manila Ocean Park, Café Juanita and the Marikina Shoe Museum, for those fascinated by the footwear of the Philippines’ controversial former First Lady, Imelda Marcos. 960 1280

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Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa

Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa

Arrive at Shangri-La’s secluded Boracay Resort & Spa on a speed boat. Guests can choose to stay in one of the resort’s 219 rooms, suites or villas -- all with a spacious balcony and some with a stunning oceanfront view. Don’t pass up being pampered at Chi, The Spa, or using the resort’s health club, tennis court, dive center or swimming pool, one of the largest free-form swimming pools in the country. 960 1280

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Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Rice Terraces

Commonly referred to by Filipinos as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Banaue Rice Terraces are 2,000-year-old terraces carved into the mountains in the Ifugao Province of the Philippines. Locals still plant rice and vegetables on the terraces despite the steady decrease in number of young farmers. We also recommend take a fun road trip to the Batad Rice Terraces. 960 1280

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Cebu

Cebu

Cebu is an island province in the Philippines, consisting of the island itself and 167 surrounding islands. It is one of the most developed provinces, with Cebu City as the main center of commerce, trade, education and industry. In 2007, <i>Conde Nast Traveler</i> named Cebu the 7th best island destination in the Indian Ocean-Asia region. Cebu is also a great spot for shopping. We recommend shopping at local markets like the Carbon Market or Tabo-an Market. 960 1280

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Snorkeling in Cebu

Snorkeling in Cebu

Spend hours snorkeling and exploring the marine life along the coast of Cebu. Mactan Island and Moalboal Cebu are some of the best spots for an underwater adventure to explore the 4-armed chocolate, blue linckia starfish, black sea urchin, manta rays, barracuda, whalesharks and beautiful coral gardens. 960 1280

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Taal Volcano

Taal Volcano

Located on the island of Luzon (31 miles south of Manila), Taal Volcano is the 2nd most active volcano in the Philippines. The volcano -- part of what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire -- and Taal Lake is one of most picturesque views in the country. 960 1280

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Rizal Park

Rizal Park

Take a stroll through Rizal Park, a historical urban park located along Roxas Boulevard in Manila. This iconic park consists of open lawns, lush gardens, paved walks and wooded areas with monuments that recognize national Filipino heroes like Jose Rizal. On Sundays, locals and visitors can sit back and listen to live entertainment, for free, in the open-air auditorium as part of the Concert at the Park series. 960 1280

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Sensual Spa Treatment

There’s no better way to unwind and relax than to hit the spa for a therapeutic massage to help release the stress sitting in those tight muscles and joints. From a hot stone massage to foot reflex therapy, the Philippines have a several resorts that have their in-house spas and services that cater to its guests’ needs. 960 1280

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SM Mall of Asia

SM Mall of Asia

Go shopping at the SM Mall of Asia! Located in Bay City, Pasay, this mega-sized mall attracts about 200,000 people every day, and it is one of the largest malls in the world. If you still have satisfied your shopping fix after visiting the SM Mall of Asia (pictured); then you can’t miss out on shopping at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong, Philippines. It’s the 3rd largest shopping mall in the world. 960 1280

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White Beach

White Beach

Welcome to one of the finest, stretches of white-sand beachfront in the world. Lined with coconut palms, White Beach -- located on Boracay Island -- is 3 miles long and has a strip of bars, restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops that cater to millions of tourists. The beach is divided into 3 sections from north to south: stations 1, 2 and 3. Station 1 has the widest stretch of sand with pricey hotels. Station 2 is the place to be for eating and shopping, and the Station 3 is the place to go if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax. 960 1280

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