The best street food in Beijing

Beijing is growing in gastronomic stature, from high-end international dining to holes-in-the-wall, all showcasing China’s myriad regional styles. Chinese New Year provides Beijing resident Sarah Keenlyside with the opportunity to sample the tastiest – and strangest – street snacks from all over the country.

British Airways relaxes mobile phone restrictions

british airways logoAccording to The Telegraph, British Airways Passengers will be allowed as of July 1st, to use their mobile phones and gadgets moments after the plane has landed.

Once the aircraft has landed, cabin crew will make an announcement to customers to let them know they can use their handheld mobile devices, it said. On departing flights, customers will still be required to turn off devices when the aircraft leaves the gate.

Customers will no longer have the frustration of having to wait until their plane has arrived at the terminal building before being able to use their mobile phones and other handheld electronic devices,” he said. “Now they’ll have that extra time to phone ahead for that important business meeting, check their emails, or make sure someone is there to meet them at the airport.

Read the full article.

Hansar Bangkok Luxury Hotel

Hansar Bangkok Luxury Hotel

A timely email promotion for the Hansar Bangkok comes as I contemplate my excursions for the new year. Situated smack in the middle of an upper crust neighbourhood on Rajdamri Road, near shopping areas and the greenery of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, Hansar is a great choice for those visiting Bangkok on business or the leisure traveller who doesn’t want to venture too far outside their comfort zone.

Hansar Bangkok appears to be trying to offer a boutique hotel experience with well designed and appointed large suites. Though not appealing to me personally, it looks interesting and sampling their French Provençal menu should be a pleasant change from the turbo charged tastes of Bangkok.

Hansar Bangkok Luxury Hotel

Hansar Bangkok Luxury Hotel

Hansar Bangkok Luxury Hotel

Hansar Bangkok Luxury Hotel

Hansar Bangkok is just steps away from the heart of Bangkok and a short one-minute walk to the BTS Skytrain, yet nestled in Bangkok’s most prestigious location, Rajdamri Road.

Tips on doing business in Asia

Before coming to Asia to live or do business it’s important to realise that there is a whole world of customs, skills, and rhythms you have to master. As the tired cliché goes – you aren’t in Kansas anymore.
In this age of scanning one of the most fascinating repository’s of this type of information comes from the authors of Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands. It’s called Getting Through Customs – Articles.

Here are a selection of Are customs you might find of interest:

  • “Many Chinese adhere to old beliefs such as astrology and geomancy. Even senior executives may wait until a “lucky” day to make a decision.”
  • “Red and gold are colors with favorable associations. They are good choices for your business card, but never write a person’s name in red.”
  • “Business cards (extremely important) are presented after the bow or handshake. Present your card with its Japanese side facing your colleague. Handle the cards you receive carefully – don’t put them in your pocket or write on them.”
  • “Many Asians who do shake hands actually perform a hand-clasp, with no pressure and very little pumping. To give emphasis to a handshake, it is permissible for each person to place their left hand over their clasped hands.”

It’s important to note that though the site does contain a wealth of interesting information most people you will work with abroad realise you will do things differently – they will give you a ton of slack. People involved in international business are all very flexible when it comes to these things.

Via 43 folders.

In-Flight Wi-Fi Still Costly, but More Available

Airborn WiFi8,700 domestic flights or 38 percent of the total, now offer Internet connectivity, according to, reports The New York Times.

It remains to be seen, however, how viable in-flight Wi-Fi will be as a business — though Gogo, which leads the field with systems on more than 80 percent of all Wi-Fi-enabled flights in North America, had an initial public offering on Friday.

So far, only a small number of passengers have been choosing to pay for Wi-Fi, which can cost $12 or more per session. Gogo, for example, said that in the first quarter of this year, 6.2 percent of passengers on planes with its Wi-Fi systems opted for its service, a slight improvement from the 5.6 percent who took it in the 2012 first quarter.

Gogo, which has its air-to-ground-based system in more than 1,900 airplanes flying domestically, plans to use proceeds of the stock offering partly to finance a planned international rollout using Ku-band satellite technology, which allows the service to work over oceans. That will enable the company to sell its services on overseas flights.

According to the Routehappy report, which is based on current data from domestic and international commercial flights, the 38 percent of daily domestic flights that have Wi-Fi service cover nearly half of all actual flight time, because planes used on longer flights are more likely to be equipped with the service.

And, the report adds, “international Wi-Fi is becoming a reality, with 38 daily international flights from the U.S. offering it, and another 241 international flights having “a chance of Wi-Fi or cellular roaming” on various airlines.

Read the full article.

The best food in Bangkok

Bangkok street food

The best food in Bangkok is not found in your hotel or 5 star restaurant but in small restaurants and street side stalls.

A decade ago, when I first moved to Bangkok, a friend who had emigrated there long before me let me in on a secret: the best food in Thailand is served by street vendors and at basic mom-and-pop restaurants. To prove his point, he dragged me to Chote Chitr, tucked into a side alley and decorated with nothing but a wall calendar. I saw no foreigners, and we pored through a menu all in Thai. We sampled the specialties, and I was quickly convinced, eating the same dishes then that I would enjoy 10 years later, and dozens of times in between.

That Chote Chitr would prove a culinary revelation shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise: small places often prove to be the best eating spots in many cities. But for historical reasons Bangkok may boast the finest street food on earth. The city has long attracted migrants from across Asia, so its street cuisine, both at vendor carts and in tiny restaurants, blends many styles of cooking. Even a simple snack like murtabak mixes Malaysian-style roti pancake with curry fillings that betray Indian and Burmese spices.

THAI habits also lend themselves to street meals. Since Thais normally eat many small meals rather than three squares and traditionally prefer to meet outside the house, street food suits them. Many Thai dishes can be cooked relatively quickly, and Thais are fastidious about cleanliness, important to customers worried about eating alongside a road.

Street Food in Bangkok

Beautiful, evil alarm clock for your iPhone

For when you are exhausted from travelling and need a bigger push to wake-up in the morning.

Alarm clock Wake N Shake has recently updated with a completely redesigned interface to make it minimalist in-line with iOS7, and a pleasure to use and look at… while maintaining its evil, merciless way of waking people up. Animations like a starry night sky fade-in to help users doze off. They also added animated Zzz’s that float away randomly when users take a nap. Other subtleties like having the minutes digits “drain” as seconds go by.

You can’t snooze nor turn down the volume and you must shale your device to turn the alarm off. Likely quite effective as long as you don’t throw your iPhone across the room.

Charging your laptop at the airport

Here’s an excellent tip from magazine Girlawhirl, which suggests when traveling on the road to bring an adapter that can turn one outlet into four. It’s a common problem to see people huddled around the scant few outlets available but if you come prepared and ask politely, problem solved. I have a couple small two prong adaptors in my office which I take with me for this very purpose.

Recently after a horrible flight delay she was so low on laptop battery power that she just had to get plugged in. There were a few outlets in the terminal, all in use and with grown men in business suits sitting on the ground nearby. (Another thing that Girlawhirl always wonders about: why are there no plugs near the chairs?) She had to ask someone if they’d let her charge for an hour or so.

The man she approached was a lifesaver. Instead of just pulling his plug, he pulled a new plug out of his bag. He was traveling with an adapter that changed the single outlet into one that could accommodate four more devices.


Joshu+Vela Dopp Kits

Joshu+Vela Dopp Kits

These Dopp Kits from Joshu+Vela are the synthesis of quality materials, build and style. Perfect in their simplicity and big enough to carry all your travel essentials. Joshu+Vela Dopp Kits are handmade in their San Francisco studio from the highest quality and most durable materials: thick 18oz natural canvas, USA tanned leather and a #5 brass zipper. Other features include a leather handle and pull tab.

Latest In-Flight Entertainment Options

Almost every second of a long flight can be a hassle – all the way from purchasing your ticket to grabbing your luggage. Fortunately, those few hours that you’re in the air can be relatively stress-free, especially with so much innovation being injected into in-flight entertainment.

Wouldn’t it be nice to sit back, relax, and watch a movie? Wouldn’t it be great to plug in your mobile device and surf the web? Below, we’ll talk more about the latest in-flight entertainment options available today.

Virgin America

They are world renowned for offering the best in-flight entertainment around. It shouldn’t come to anyone as a surprise why they share ownership with a company that specializes in entertainment. Each of their aircrafts come installed with touch-screen systems, satellite television, and even a large collection of movies. And if that isn’t enough, the airline goes far out of their way to ensure that you’re offered enough food or drink to make your trip satisfying.


For the traveler looking for top-of-the-line entertainment, look no further than JetBlue. It was only a couple of years ago when they installed satellite radio, dedicated seat screens, and DIRECTV onto their aircrafts. Today, passengers can purchase over 30 channels of television and 100 channels of radio for $5.99. JetBlue’s more recent plan to date is to put Wi-Fi on all of their airplanes so that passengers can further enjoy domestic and international flights.

Singapore Airlines

Their award-winning entertainment is one worth mentioning, especially when they cater to so many people and nationalities. Singapore Airlines offers their passengers radio channels, television programs, movies, games, and a USB port that provides them with the ability to upload media and photos. Certain aircrafts even come installed with close to 100 movies and several hundred CDs, most of which are offered in a dozen languages.

Air Canada

Since 2004, Air Canada has been offering some of the best in-flight entertainment in North America. For music lovers, you’ll be able to enjoy over 100 CDs of audio music as well as satellite radio. Domestic flights provide passengers with more than 30 movie choices while international flights provide them with close to 80. There are close to 100 hours of television shows to watch, including CBC and HBO. From gate to gate, Air Canada offers amenities that can’t be overlooked.

In today’s day and age, in-flight entertainment is becoming more and more prominent. From movies to games and even free Wi-Fi, these amenities are making longer flights much more comfortable and enjoyable for frequent travelers.

What about tomorrow?  In the near future, on-board iPad rentals may be the latest feature.  With custom apps relating to the carrier and carefully selected games and movies.  As services like Wi-Fi matures, they will become free for use, but to download a show or a movie, it will cost you a fee per download.  Even tools that help you enjoy your entertainment will get an upgrade as well – like tray-tables with notices for tablets, usb ports for charging and media uploads.  So leave some room in your carryon for entertainment devices!

Noc enjoys in-flight entertainment while traveling and uses Travel Advantage Network for accommodations.