The Best Way To Explore A New City

By far, the best way I have found to explore any new city is to hop on some public transport, pick a random station or stop, get off and just walk around. Don’t worry about getting lost, you can always find your way back. Make sure you have some cash on you for food. I always carry a survival kit just in case, but have only ever needed to use the button compass as my personal navigation system has never worked properly. This activity does have the potential of going horribly wrong so here are a few tips;

Take trains when you can. They are much easier to navigate and the ticket machines are usually easy to figure out. I was once in Guanzhou (China) and a bus driver just started yelling at me. As it turned out, what I thought was a $5 note was in fact a 50c note. To make thins worse, my father was Chinese so by looking at me he probably thought I was just a local trying to rip him off.

Look back when walking. This will help you remember where you came from. In Shenzhen I just kept walking. By the time I wanted to go back I couldn’t remember where I had come from and was way out of the train zones. I walked for 5 hours before finding someone that could speak English and point me to a bus back to the city (the same bus I got yelled at on).

Write the address of your hotel down in native characters. This way you can just point at them to a taxi driver. Do the same with airport and other useful places.

Know where the ‘dodgy’ areas are and avoid them. The first time I went to New York I caught the subway in the wrong direction and ended up in the Bronx. Luckily it was in the middle of the day. I walked around for a little bit but I’m pretty sure I saw a gang of Crypts at the bus station. I decided not to catch that bus and headed back to the subway.

Start off in the morning and give yourself the whole day. You may just get lunch and go back to the city (or wherever you’re staying), or you may get stuck for a while. My short trip once lasted 36 hours in Malaysia due to infrequent buses. One every other day apparently, and when the driver felt like it. (A local family took me in for the night, it was by far one of the best experiences Ive had in Malaysia

So for those that aren’t so inclined you can stick to taxis to the museum, but for everyone else I highly recommend the ‘bus to nowhere’ method. The minor mishaps you may have on the way are definitely worth what you may encounter.

More travel related articles can be found here

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Ваш отзыв , 25 Apr 2010

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