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Asia: the largest and most populous continent. “Bigger and better” is the motto, and we’re not just talking about the height of the buildings. Asia is home to nine of the ten tallest buildings in the world, as well as the highest peak in the world – Mount Everest – and the lowest point on earth – the Dead Sea. Did you know the word “Asia” is feminine and means “sunrise”? Asia is indeed a unique continent worth exploring, not just for its beautiful landscapes but also for is massive diversity. Read other fun facts about Asia’s major cities you probably weren’t already aware of.
Mumbai: Flamingos in the Big City
Flamingos in Mumbai – not a very obvious idea, considering that the port city, with more than 12 million inhabitants, is one of the most populated cities in the world. In fact, every year, about 30,000 specimens of the long-legged birds set course for the metropolis. Between October and March, the animals settle in the Wadden Sea of Thane Creek, a bay in the east of the city. Just in time for the breeding season, the flamingos migrate back to the North Indian Kutch. Tourists can visit the migratory birds at low tide at their winter residence.
Dubai: Gold To Go, Please!
It is well known that Dubai, with its towering skyscrapers and magnificent buildings, is one of the richest cities in the world. But did you know that you can turn your money into gold at the touch of a button in the desert emirate? There are four gold vending machines in the city, one of which is in the largest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa. The innovative devices let you buy gold bars weighing up to ten grammes, easily with cash or a credit card at a gold price updated hourly. Typical Dubai? Not quite. The gold machine comes from a German company and is now available in seven cities worldwide.
Singapore: Perpetual Summer
The lowest temperature measured in Singapore since 1929 was 19.4C. Normally, it rarely gets colder than 25C at night in the smallest state of Southeast Asia. Because the weather in Singapore only knows two options: Either it is hot and sunny, or it is hot and rainy. Due to its proximity to the equator, the temperature varies only slightly during the day and throughout the year. This presents a great advantage: You don’t have to worry about the weather while you’re packing for your travels. Whenever you visit Singapore, you should expect tropical, warm temperatures. Every traveller should relish the joy of not having to worry about packing for changing weather conditions. That leaves you with enough space to fill your suitcase with more souvenirs.
Tokyo: The Way is the Goal
In Tokyo, finding your way around is a pretty difficult task. Apart from the language barrier, only a few streets in the metropolis have a name. Instead, the blocks are numbered. Once the right block has been found, another aggravating circumstance is added: The buildings are not ordered numerically according to their location, but historically according to their year of construction. If you are exploring Tokyo on your own, it is best to always have the Japanese name of the places of interest you want to explore. The police officers usually know the districts like the back of their hands and are eager to help lost tourists. And if you do not get to your destination – no need to fret because there are amazing places and exciting discoveries at every corner of this megacity.
Bangkok: The City with the Longest Name
Yes, you read that right! Although the Thai capital is known by the two-syllable name “Bangkok”, its official name includes 168 characters: “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit”.
In English, this roughly translates to: “City of Angels, great city and residence of the holy jewel of Indira, impregnable city of God, great capital of the world, adorned with nine precious gems, rich in vast royal palaces, the heavenly home of the born-again God same, city given by Indira and built by Vishnukarm.” Any questions?
Taipei: Garbage Trucks Blaring Music
Rubbish disposal is a unique event in Taipei. Well, at least for most non-Taiwanese. The government, in an effort to get rid of the odour associated with public waste disposal areas, came up with the “musical rubbish trucks”. In the city, there are no outdoor waste containers or waste disposal spots; instead, rubbish trucks come at designated times with loud music informing the people that it is “rubbish time”. This way, they bring their rubbish directly from their apartments and physically hand their rubbish to the sanitation officers or throw them into the back of the trucks themselves. The rubbish does not touch the ground, spill, or leave an unsavoury odour on the streets. The rubbish trucks play different genres of music depending on the season – you may hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” during the festive holidays or traditional Chinese song during the Chinese New Year, or even Beethoven’s classics on other occasions.
Kuala Lumpur: Where There’s a Ban on “Excessive Lipsticks”
A bit unusual but understandable fact about Kuala Lumpur is that women are banned from using excessive lipstick. First of all, Malaysia is an Islamic nation, but also, the government believed that the use of excessive lipsticks could lead to illicit sex problems. It is curious to know how the relevant governing body responsible for tracking violation of this law determines what amount of lipstick used is ‘excessive’.
Seoul: The City of a Thousand Superstitions
There are many superstitions in this big city, many of them interesting, some scary, and other just wacky. Let’s take a look at some of them. The number 4 is generally associated with bad luck; as a result, many elevators and skyscrapers skip the fourth floor. For instance, instead of 4, the actual fourth floor would typically be referred to as level 3B. Here is another strange one – if you whistle at night, you are inviting ghosts and spirits. And a scary one: If you write a person’s name in red, it means you want them dead. If you visit Seoul, make sure to keep these superstitions in mind.
Hanoi: The City of Motorbikes
Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is associated with many interesting facts. Travellers will be immediately confronted with one the moment they step out of Noi Bai International Airport: the number of motorbikes. It would not be out of place to call Hanoi the “city of motorbikes” the same way Amsterdam is referred to as the “city of bicycles”. Traffic jams elsewhere in the world are characterised by long lines of cars; in Hanoi, it is an endlessly long line of motorbikes. In a country of 90 million people, there are at least 37 million registered motorbikes. It is not that people love motorbikes; it just happens that owning a car is quite expensive – the automobile tax can get as high as 100% of the cost of the car. So, when you visit Hanoi, be prepared to jump on and have fun riding on a motorbike.
Beijing: Do Not Blow Your Nose in Public
In Beijing and most of China, it is considered offensive and impolite to blow your nose in public. In the case that you have to blow your nose, it is advisable to be discreet; otherwise, it could lead to offensive stares and frowns from the Chinese people. The country has had some environmental concerns related to airborne health hazards. Perhaps this is the reason behind the public aversion to nose blowing. On the other hand, yawning, grunting, or burping while eating is considered very normal.
Asia is diverse with so many interesting cultures, beliefs, and sights to behold. The sun does rise there after all! Check out our extraordinary Asia cruises or contact our Australia-based cruise experts today on 1300 857 345 to book a cruise to explore this magnificent continent.