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Step aboard Thai’s A380 for the world’s most entertaining safety video

September 19, 2013

Thai A380

Last October, Sarah and I had an opportunity to fly Thai’s brand new A380 from Hong Kong to Bangkok, and the highlight was quite possibly this hilariously executed safety demonstration video, created exclusively for flights on the jumbo Airbus. I’ve since watched this about 1015 (that’s one quadrillion, for those counting) times, and it’s too good not to share with you.

Visit Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and now Chengdu for 72 hours without a visa

September 18, 2013

Chengdu

China may top the list of appealing destinations for many tourists, but the country’s strict (and pricey) visa policy makes it inconvenient to schedule a quick visit. If you’re planning to travel to one of just four cities, however, and can meet new requirements, it’s possible to arrange a 72-hour stopover in China. The program began last year with Beijing (PEK), and now includes Shanghai (PVG and SHA), Guangzhou (CAN) and Chengdu (CTU) airports. Sarah and I are testing this policy with a three-day trip to Shanghai (departing from Taipei and returning to Honolulu) next month.

To take advantage, book a flight connecting in one of the airports listed above with a maximum stopover of 72 hours. You need to be arriving and departing from different countries, so this can’t be a roundtrip. In other words, arriving in China from the US and departing to Japan (or even Hong Kong to Macau) would be acceptable, but leaving from New York and returning to San Francisco would not (be sure to print your itinerary before heading to the airport). Additionally, you’re restricted from traveling beyond the city that you enter through, and you must register with the police (or a hotel) within 24 hours of arrival. Curiously, this policy only applies to a handful of airports, and cruise ports and land crossings (such as the notoriously US-unfriendly Hong Kong to Shenzhen) are excluded.

Additionally, you’ll need to have a passport from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Rep., Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Ukraine, UAE or the UK to enter China without a visa.

Sony’s QX10 ‘lens camera’ is a solid smartphone companion (Engadget review)

September 18, 2013

Sony QX Lens Camera

Sony announced its QX10 “lens camera” back at IFA in Berlin, and I’ve had a couple weeks now to take the smartphone-mounted shooter for a spin. It came along on last week’s Alaskan adventure, and definitely enhanced the photo experience (by a long shot, pun intended) on my AT&T Moto X. The camera, if you’re not familiar, doesn’t include an LCD or even many hardware controls. You connect it to a phone (mounted or not) via WiFi, then use Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile app to tweak settings, frame your shots and capture images. From there, you can send pics directly to the web. It’s available this month for about $250, and you can read all about it in my Engadget review here.

10 most popular posts during TTT’s 2.5-year hiatus

September 18, 2013

Bangkok

During my two and a half years offline, Tech, Travel & Tuna remained open for business. Here’s what people were reading:

1. Beijing, China: The People of IKEA

2. Thailand: Ayothaya Floating Market and Elephant Village

3. Hydrofoil Ferry from Hong Kong to Macau

4. Bangkok: How I Almost Fell For an Incredibly Complex Rare Gem Scam

5. Seoul: Korean Food

6. San Francisco: The World Famous Bushman

7. Gambling in Macau

8. Unboxing China’s Android iPad

9. Hong Kong Symphony of Lights

10. AMEX Platinum Adds Priority Pass, Global Entry Benefits

And some other interesting stats…

The majority of readers are based in the US, followed by Canada, Thailand, the UK, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, India, and Malaysia.

TTT’s busiest day ever was October 26, 2010, when Gizmodo linked to my post “Beijing, China: The People of IKEA.”

The majority of recent readers navigated to TTT from search engines, using terms including “elephants village of thailand,” “gem stone scam thailand,” and “prescription glasses shenzhen.”

Many of the most popular posts were from way back in 2010, but there’s still time to make 2013 the best year yet!

People of (Beijing) IKEA

You may soon be able to sleep in Versace’s former Miami mansion

September 18, 2013

Casa Casuarina

The late fashion designer Gianni Versace lived large around the globe, and his former Miami mansion, Casa Casuarina, pushes posh to the limits. According to a Telegraph report, it’s soon set to open to the public as an extension of an existing hotel. The home was just sold to VM South Beach LLC, and as the home is adjacent to the Hotel Victor, it will be combined with that property and available as a (likely pricier) alternative to the existing guest rooms. Hit up the Telegraph for the full scoop.

[Via @JohnnyJet]

The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c reviews are here!

September 17, 2013

Apple IPhone 5c

The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c reviews just hit Engadget, and both devices should be in stores on Friday. I’m ordering a 5s to replace my work-issued phone. You planning on picking one up?

United and Cathay Pacific add $759 NYC fares to Hong Kong, here’s how to take advantage

September 17, 2013

After 2+ years off the web, Tech, Travel and Tuna is back! Let’s kick off the celebration with a fare sale to HKG.

JFK to HKG

Last month, Cathay Pacific introduced a new route to the US. With three four existing daily flights to JFK, Newark seemed a somewhat unlikely selection, but EWR is indeed the official pick — service kicks off on March 1st (and I’ll tentatively be on the inaugural!). Now, to celebrate the new trans-Pacific route, Cathay is offering $759 roundtrip fares from EWR to HKG for March and April (booked by 9/23), and United has matched the sale, including JFK as an optional departure city (via LAX or SFO). It’s that Star Alliance carrier that interests me most, and with 16,000 premier qualifying up for grabs, it’s not a bad deal for a mileage run. Sure, it’s no $0 fare, but HKG was never on the docket for United’s costly human error last week. You can also route through San Francisco, bringing the grand total to 19,000 PQMs, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous (and have some time to kill), you can add on layovers in Hawaii, Tokyo, or a handful of other cities, too.

I opted for a SFO routing, booking the outbound flight in W class so we could upgrade on the longer leg, with K class for the return. The total was $1,147 … a bit pricier than the aforementioned $759, but you need to spend more to get more. In this case, the higher fare enabled Business seats on the new p.s. to SFO and BusinessFirst on the upper deck of a 747 to HKG, courtesy of one of the six Global Premier Upgrades I get as a 1K. Then, on the way back, we’re flying coach to SFO and Business to JFK, with that last leg boosted with a Regional Premier Upgrade.

The Wandering Aramean is turning the trek into quite the adventure, however, routing with United’s famed “island hopper” route that jumps from Honolulu through Majuro, Kwajalein, Pohnpei, and Truk in the South Pacific on the way to Guam a few days each week. The complete routing looks like JFK-LAX-HNL-MAJ-KWA-PNI-TKK-GUM-HKG, and it’ll take a good day and a half to complete, operating that entire distance with narrow-body (single-aisle) planes. The one advantage, however, is that every segment is upgradable using a regional upgrade (if you can get an agent to split them up), which means you can book it all in K and save a bit of cash (and a GPU). Don’t expect a significant jump in mileage over the SFO routing, however — this one’s just for “fun.”

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