سيال ٽريول
Sial Travel
A website  by well-known writer
Mohammad Khan Sial on Travel & Tourism


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'Sial Travel Online': Mohammad Khan Sial: One-man institution

Country Profile:

 Hong Kong became a British Crown Colony in 1842, after centuries of being in and out of history
as a fishing village and pirates’ lair. Today it consists of Hong Kong Island (29.2 square miles), the
adjacent tip of the Kowloon Peninsula which extends down from mainland China, and some 235
other smaller islands in the vicinity – altogether measuring 404 square miles. Hong Kong till
recently was British Colony.

Later, it was handed over to China after the expiry of lease period. The profile of Hong Kong is dominated by Victoria Harbor (over 10,000 ships anchor there each year), which lies in the channel between the island of Hong Kong and Kowloon Peninsula; Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island; and
the clusters of high-rise buildings on the Kowloon side, particularly those perched at the base  of
the Kowloon Hills behind the city. The Panorama of Hong Kong, specially at night, is one of the most magnificent and romantic in the world. Its exotic, cosmopolitan personality is equally impressive,
and rare is the person who can spend even a few hours there without falling in love with the
teeming, glittering city. One of the world’s greatest crossroads for travelers and trade,
Hong Kong is home for some 7.5 million industrious people – and is still growing at a rapid pace.
SPRING: March-May, 70F / 21C; humidity 84 %.
SUMMER: May-September, 91F / 33C, humanity 90%.
AUTUMN: September- December, 73F / 23C; humanity 73%.
WINTER: December-February, 59F / 15C; humanity 75%.
TYPHOON SEASON: July-September.
CLOTHING: Casual but fashionable during the day-light cotton clothing recommended for all
seasons except winter when suits and overcoats are needed. Fashions formal at status restaurants and clubs at night.
SUBWAY: Hong Kong’s single subway line runs from Central District on Hong Kong islands, beneath
the channel and through the major tourist district of Kowloon, Tsimshatsui, then out to Kwun, Tong
and Tsuen Wan.
BUSES: Fixed fare according to route. Express buses and mini buses are playing.
TRAM: Tram is popular ride in Hong Kong.

TRAINS & TAXIES: are available.

In other days Indonesia was famous as the fabulous Spice Islands, but before that country had
a proud history under the great Sultanates of Jogjakarta and Bandung. Since declaration of Independence from the Dutch in 1945, Indonesia has experienced many phases of history but today
is moving into more tranquil waters. Jakarta, the capital situated on Java Island , was formerly
called Batavia, a big trading port for the Dutch spice trade in the 17th century . Today , a sprawling metropolis where Mercedes Benzes drive side by side with Willy’s Jeeps and Japanese Datsuns.
Your first impression of Java from the air is that of rich colour – the sparking blue of the sea, the
lush green vegetation and the bright red-tilted roof of Jakarta houses.

Lying just east of Java across the narrow Bali Straits, the island of Bali has often been described as
the closet on can get to heaven on earth. Small – only 2,095 square miles – with a population of
slightly under 2.5 million, Bali combines most of the best that has to offer.

Balinese culture centers around the region of the island - a merging of ancient Balinese beliefs and practices with Hinduism – and the everyday life of the people is expressed in an endless chain of colourful celebrations, rites, festivals, sacrifices and other elaborate ceremonies.

The major city in Bali Denpasar, which is centered at the beginning of a pouch like peninsula that extends more or less southward from the main body of the island: The beaches of Sanur and Kutta offer first class hotels and typical Balinese chalets right on the beach front.

Bali, Java, and North and West Sumatra are developed for tourism, but, with all that Sulawesi,
most of Borneo and the other 3,000 smaller islands have to offer, they already attract several thousand visitors a year. Become one of the world’s great travel areas.
LOWLANDS: Average temperature 79F/26C.
HIGHLANDS: Average temperature 72F/22C.
DRY SEASON: April-October, 90F/33C.
RAINY SEASON: November-March, 70F/21C.
CLOTHING: Casual. Most nightclubs and restaurants do not require ties. Long sleeve batik shirts
are recommended for more formal occasions.
AIR: Most cities of Indonesia are connected with Jakarta by air.
TRAINS: There is extensive network of Trains throughout the country.
BUSES & FERRIES: Regular bus, Taxi & ferry services are also available.

 Both the Imperial and administrative capital of Japan since 1868 and now one of the world
largest cities, Tokyo made it debut in history as a tiny farming-fishing village, first attracting
attention at the end of the 12th century when the famous Taira clan was appointed official in
charge of the surrounding province. The village, situated at the head of a long bay on the edge of
a wide plain, was called Edo, which means “Estuary”. Edo’s first real claim to fame dates from 1457 when the famous warrior/poet Dokan Ota established a fort there, and mentioned the white plain
of Musashi and view of Mt. Fuji from his “Edo Castle” in his best known haiku poems. In 1590,
Ieyasu Tokugawa, the man who founded Japan’s last great feudal dynasty, received the eight
provinces of Kanto in fief and chose Edo as the site for his capital.

When leyasu became a shogun ( military leader ) of Japan in 1603, he brought his own 80,000 retainers and their families to Edo and also required the 300 clan leaders in the country to establish residence there for their families (as a means of exercising control over the clans ). Within decades, Edo was one of the largest of the world’s cities: and its populations has continued to swell since. When the Tokugawa dynasty was over thrown in 1868, Edo was made the Imperial as well as the political capital of Japan, and the name was changed to Tokyo ( Eastern Capital ). The Metropolis
of Tokyo consists of a mainland and several islands in two archipelagoes: the Izu and the
Ogasawara. The city is divided into 23 Ku ( wards ) and has within its jurisdiction an additional 26 cities, 6 towns, and 9 villages. Tokyo is administered by a governor and a Metropolitan Assembly of 126 members.
Spring: March-May, average 59D/15C.
Summer: June-August, average 80F/30C.
Autumn: September-November average 62F/16C.
Winter: December-February average 39F/4C.Rainy season: June.
CLOTHING: Lightweight in summer; light coats & jackets in autumn; heavy clothing in Winter and
light clothing in Spring.
TRANSPORTATION: Excellent arrangements of transport like air, trains, taxies are available.
TOURIST INFO: For information about English about interesting events in Tokyo , dial 503-2911.
For the same information in French, call 503-2926. For general tourists information , call the Japan National Tourists Organization ( JNTO ).SHOPPING: For luxury items like cameras, pearls etc.,
shop at the place which are designed as NO TAX SHOPS for Tourists. Must show your passport and sign a form provided by the shop for that purpose.

 Until the year A.D.1392, Seoul was a small town that for centuries had quietly occupied a
picturesque, hill-dotted basin formed by low but rugged mountains in central Korea. In that year, Taejo, the first king of the famous Yi Dynasty, selected Seoul as the site of the new capital. He
turned the rural town into a walled city and built a number of a palaces and fortress.

In the decades and centuries that followed, many more extraordinary temples, gardens, pavilions
and palaces were built in the walled city by later kings. Today, Seoul is a combination of old and
new. Many of the palaces, temples and gardens of earlier centuries remain, as do sections of the great wall that once enclosed the then much smaller city. The visitor can imaging what the capital was once like by viewing the Great South Gate (Tongdae-mun) which is now in the middle of
downtown. Along with these fascinating vestiges of another age are modern office buildings, hotels, shops, restaurants, nightclubs, tea houses and numerous other facilities. The population of present-day Seoul exceeds 15 million and is growing.
Hottest months: July-August, 77F/25C; humidity 81%.
Coldest months: December-January,-23F/-5C; humidity 66%.
Rainy season: late June-July.
CLOTHING: That appropriate for Boston or London –type weather during the four seasons is
suitable for Seoul. Dress is fairly formal at clubs and restaurants.
TRANSPORTATION: Good arrangements for taxis, buses, subways, railways and airlines.
DINING: A familiar restaurant sign in capitals around Asia is the one boasting “Korean Barbecue”.
In Korea, its true name, Pulgogi.

 Kuala Lumpur (KL) is young as Asian capitals go, having been established as a trading post by two Chinese businessmen in 1857, when rich tin deposits were discovered in the vicinity . As the mining
activities in the area grew, so did KL. By the early 1900s, the once primitive outpost had developed into a large city.

Today KL is one of the most impressive of the great cities of the Far East. Modern buildings of
 glass, steel and futuristic design stand along side stately mosques and Moorish-styled structures
that look as if they came right out of the Arabian Nights – all in the lush , tropical setting.

Kuala Lumpur ( KL ) is especially noted for the warmth and friendliness of its people, the
extraordinary beauty of its women, the tasty and excellent food and the lush green greenery.
Hottest months; February-May , 88-98F/31-36C.
Coolest Months; October-December, 80F/27C.
CLOTHING: Casual and designed for comfort, even on formal occasion. Malaysia is tropical with
only slight temperature change throughout the year so clothes should be lightweight and washable.
TRANSPORTATION: Taxi, train and air connections available. Train international service to
Singapore and Bangkok is provided.

 In the city now called Manila, the first trading communities were already formed as early as fifth centuries to the ages , the place became a flourishing riverside trading center for merchants from Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Malacca, China, India, Japan and Arabia. By the middle of the 16th century, Mulims whose lineage could be traced back to Borneo established a city –state, Mayniland, under
the rule of Rajah Sulayman.

The Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived in 1571 and after two battles conquered the city. The Sapniards constructed a medieval fortified town , named Intramuros, and made it the capital of their colonial administration. Through the years, four foreign flags flew over Intramuros – the Spanish , the British banner from 1762 to 1764, the American flag upon Commodore Dewey’s defeat of the Spanish fleet in 1898 and the Japanese Rising Sun from 1941 to 1945.The Filipino flag was finally hosted in 1946 when the Filipinos, with the aid of the Americans, re-built the walled city.

Stretching along the east shore of Manila Bay on the island of Luzon, Manila today is both modern
and traditional , reflecting the influences of diverse cultures. Metropolitan Manila has been
expanded to include 13 suburban cities and towns with a current estimated population of over 10 million. But Manila remains the capital of the country as well as its commercial , political and
cultural center. Broad avenues, flower-filled parks, numerous churches and schools, imposing and modern public and private buildings and happy, smiling and attractive people are some of
the first images of Manila’s character.
Warmest months: April – October, 79F/26C.
Coolest months: November – March, 70F/21C.
Rainy season: Late June – early November.
CLOTHING: Casual , Light, washable clothing recommended.
TRANSPORTATION: Air, Air conditioned public Love Buses, Inter islands ships, trains and
Jeepneys – converted US Army jeeps (very cheep).
DINING: With many related but distinct cultures and centuries of history, the Philippines has a
diverse and fascinating cuisine all its own. And as an eastern crossroad, Manila can boast many excellent restaurants, which feature food from around the world. Some popular Spanish dishes are; arroz a la paella, and arroz a la Valenciana – consisting of rice, meat, seafood or poultry with
olives, tomatoes, peas and chorizo.

The most obvious contribution from the Chinese is noodles. Usually made from the rice or wheat, noodle dishes help make up some of the more popular local dishes pancit luglug made from shrimp, smoked and flaked fish, powdered pork cracklings, sliced boiled pork, soy bean cake, garlic,
Chinese celery, sliced green onions, hard – boiled egg, citrus juice and long rice noodles. Lechon is also a favourite, made of roast suckling pig which has been stuffed with the tamarind leaves and served with a pork liver sauce. And balut – duck eggs which have been partially incubated and then boiled. – a delicious and nutritious meal, through the idea may take some getting sued to. Coconut sauce dishes, which tend to be sweet and mild are good choice.

NIGHT-LIFE: Filipinos are famous for their love of music , singing and dancing, and, as a result,
Manila is one of the entertainment capitals of Southeast Asia – from dancing and revelry in night
clubs and supper clubs to cockfighting and jaialai, there is always something going on.

 The Republic of Singapore consists of a small island (224 square miles) lying just of the southern
tip of the Malay Peninsula some 85 miles north of the equator, and includes within its jurisdiction
54 other smaller islands.

The city of Singapore itself is situated on the southern side of the major islands. The name
Singapore drives from Singapura ( The Lion City ); given to the island by an ancient Malay prince
( who claimed to be a descendant of Alexander the Great) after his ship was driven onto the island
by a storm and he spotted a lion while establishing a settlement there. With the population of over
2.5 million , Singapore is now one of the major cities of the world; a crossroads for travel, trade
and commerce and the second busiest seaport. Also one of the cleanliest and healthiest cities in
the world. Singapore has an exotic and cosmopolitan atmosphere but at the same time imparts an impression of the relaxed, casual friendliness typical of tropical islands.
CLIMATE: Day time temperature: 87F/30C. Night temperature: 74F/23C. Heaviest rainfall;
November – January. CLOTHING: Casual, summer clothing. Suits and evening dresses not out of
place at nightspots, however.
TRANSPORTATION: Air, taxis, buses and Trishaws.
DINING: The main constituents of Singapore cuisine are Chinese, Malay and the Indian.

 TAIWAN (R. O. C):
 Taipei (which means “North Terrace ) is a located in a basin formed by three rivers – the Tamsui
on the west, the Keelung on the north and the Hsin Tein on the south – and sprawls over an area
of some 45 square miles.

Located about 20 miles inland from the northen tip of the 244-mile long island, Taipei dates back to the 17th century, when a walled settlement was built there by the Manchus of China to protect the island from the pirates and foreign brigands. The city, with a population of over 2.5 million , has
many broad thoroughfares and impressive buildings – both modern and traditional in motif – but despite its modernity, it still maintains many of the characteristics of a small town. The main north
– south thoroughfare in Taipei is Chung Shan Road. The main east – west thoroughfare is Nanking Road. Chung – hua Road, which parallels Chung Shan South Road. However Chung Shan
North Road has countless more modern and air-conditioned shops.
CLIMATE: Coldest months: December – March, 60F/16 C.
Hottest months: June – September, 82F/28C.
Typhoon season: July – October.
CLOTHING: Light woolens and topcoats as well as rain gear during the winter months. Casual, light clothing during the summer. Coats and ties, fashionable wear worn in first – class restaurants and clubs.
ENTERTAINMENT: Many hotels and super clubs offer dinner, dancing and shows.  

 The capital city of Bangkok was founded in 1782 when King Rama I, ancestor of the present king , moved his capital there from Dhonburi, on the opposite bank of the Chao Phya River. The Thai name for the capital city is Krung Thep, which means “Metropolis of the Angels – or Deities”. Foreigners bestowed the name “Bangkok” upon the city in the early 1800s.

Today, like the great Asian cities, Bangkok is the mixture of the old and the new - modern hotels
and the office buildings adjoin classical temples that have a style of architecture and function which have not changed for centuries. Bangkok sits on a nearly flat plain traversed by the broad, meandering Chao Phya River, and is interlaced by dozens of canals. It covers an area of over 40 square miles and has a population of approximately 9 million. In addition to being a capital,
Bangkok is the industrial , cultural and educational heart of Thailand.
CLIMATE: Hottest months: March – April, 96F/36C. High Humidity. Coolest months: November – February, 62F/17C. Rainy season: June – October.
CLOTHING: Cotton dresses and lightweight suits.

TRANSPORTATION: Air, taxis and Samlors-large motorized tricycles, cost less than taxis.
SIGHTSEEING: In and near Bangkok, see the floating market ( the ‘rural’ one at Damnoen Saduk is more authentic); many glittering temples, wats; Grand Palace; “Snake Farm” Jim Thompson’s Thai House: Suan Pakkard Palace; National Museum; Dusit Zoo, ‘Ancient City’;Rose Garden, ‘Village Show”; Thai Boxing, Thai dinner  and classical dance show. Upcountry, visit Pattaya Beach Resort
( 2.5 hours from Bangkok) or Phuket Island. In the far south, visit ruined cities of Ayudhya and Sukothai, RiverKwai jungles and ‘Death Railway’, Khmer ruins at Pimai and Chiang Mai in the north.

DINING: Thai food is a combination of traditional Indian, Malay and Chinese influences and tends
tobe spicy hot. Popular Thai dishes : tom yam, a soup made with prawns, chickens, or fish cooked
with chili and ‘lemon grass’, over a charcoal brazier; gag pet, a hot curry made with beef, pork, chicken, fish or prawns; and poo-cha, a deep- fried mixture of crab meat, vegetable, herbs and spices. With its large Chinese population and the growing number of both Western restaurants.
Check with your hotel or guide book for the best restaurant nearest you.

 In 1513, the Portuguese explorer, Jorge Alvares, went ashore in the Bay of Hoi Kiang. In 1557, the oldest European settlement of the East was founded. The Portuguese took the name of the local fishermen’s deity and called it A-Ma-Gua or , as it is known today….Macau.

Macau is located 40 miles southwest of Hong Kong. The trip across the South China Sea takes 75 minutes by hydrofoil ( 30 trips daily ) or by conventional ferry that does the one-way trip in three hours. Fares are slightly cheaper on the ferries, some of which offer first class cabins. Check with
the sailing companies for local schedules and fares, and buy your tickets in advance for weekend
and return trips. Jetfoils and jetcats make the journey in 50 minutes at higher fares.

The computer ticket service in both Hong Kong and Macau allows for advance instant reservations
up to one week in Hong Kong and ten days from Macau. Macau’s most famous landmark is the
ruined façade of St. Paul’s basilica, which stands on a hill overlooking the city. The church was designed by an Italian Jesuit and built by Japanese Christians in 1602. It was destroyed by
fire and typhoon in 1835 and never rebuilt. A variety of other places such as Monte Fort and the
very pleasant Camoes Grotto and Museum, can be visited in a half-day taxi or pedicab grand tour. Macau ‘s fame these days centers around its 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year, non-stop gambling.

There are four casinos where the action just never stops in the Monte Carlo of the East. There is
also greyhound racing, ‘jai alai’ and trotting.
CLIMATE: Spring: March – May, 70F/21C; humidity 84%.
Summer: May – September, 91 F/33C; humidity 90%.
Autumn: September – December, 73F/23C; humidity 73%. 
Winter: December – February, 59F/14C; humidity 75%.
Typhoon season: July – September.
CLOTHING: Casual but fashionable. Light cotton clothing recommended for all seasons except
winter when suits and coats are needed.
TRANSPORTATION: Air, buses and Taxis are available. Pedicabs; with seating for two persons
costs very cheap.
DINING: Macau’s cuisine is excellent, sufficient reasons for visit alone. The Portuguese wines in
Macau are the cheaper in Asia.