The first time you set eyes on Hong Kong is unforgettable. A hundred mountains rise sharply from over 250 islands. Popping skyward are famed rows of sci-fi skyscrapers — many with glitzy rooftop lounges – that hug a harbor filled with red-sail junk boats. Lurking in the alleys are open-air jade markets, chaotic dim sum halls, temples filled with incense smoke, and the steaming bowls of rice noodles.
You should go.
Visiting a city of seven million that attracts 30 million visitors a year might seem overwhelming for a first-timer. It’s actually one of Asia’s easiest cities to visit, and this guide will help you plan your Hong Kong debut.
Anyone who’s ever seen the iconic film “Lost in Translation” knows that Tokyo is a whirlwind of lights and color and sound and energy. But until you experience the city firsthand, it’s impossible to comprehend the staggering magnitude of this metropolis. With more than 37 million people, Tokyo is the world’s largest urban area, and to newcomers, it can seem impenetrable. Crowded streets. Subway cars packed to capacity. Menus and signs that are impossible to read.
But the reality is that Tokyo is not only one of the world’s most exciting cities; it’s also one of the most welcoming places on earth — if you know what to do and where to go. Here’s a cheat sheet full of valuable tips, plus a well-curated address book that will help a first-time visitor plan a memorable bucket-list trip.
With Alaska’s Global Partner airlines, there are lots of ways you can get to Tokyo while earning and spending your miles.
Of note, Japan Airlines (JAL) flies nonstop from San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and New York (JFK) to Tokyo, and from Los Angeles to Osaka. Next week on March 31, JAL is adding a direct flight from Seattle to Tokyo-Narita. And with a double miles promotion, Alaska Mileage Plan members can really rack up the points toward future free trips.
If you have at least 10 days to visit, you may want to see more than one country on your next Asia trip. Alaska has several partner airlines that fly direct routes from major West Coast hubs to East and Southeast Asia, letting you earn miles for your travel. As of April 1, you can fly nonstop from Seattle to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, and Seattle to Tokyo on Japan Airlines, making Asia even more within reach.
Knowing Asia is a lot bigger and more spread out than Europe, I’ve put together my favorite itineraries checking off two countries in one trip – without forcing you to spend your entire trip in the airport or on the road.
Asia is everything. Beautiful, timeless, cutting edge, affordable, safe, friendly, diverse, loud, meditative, delicious. In a word, unforgettable. And it’s closer than you think, particularly from the West Coast. Seattle, for instance, is about 10 hours from Tokyo on a direct flight, slightly less than the time it takes to reach London.
If you’ve not been, this guide is here to help you plan a debut trip to East and Southeast Asia flying one of Alaska’s Global Partner airlines. Trust me, there’s benefits to doing so, especially with new nonstops from Seattle to Hong Kong and Tokyo. (More on that below.)
Whether or not you’re planning an Irish stopover, it’s fun to dive into the local culture – and don some Kelly green – this Sunday. To get a local’s perspective on what to do in the land of dark beers and sprightly jigs, we connected with Eoin Higgins, a local writer and photographer, to learn what he would suggest to friends who visit his city for the first time.
Catch a ‘trad’ sesh
Higgins says you can’t go wrong with a “trad” session (traditional Irish music session) accompanied by pints of a beautifully poured stout at the longstanding Cobblestone – the self-described “drinking pub with a music problem” – pictured above. Traditional Irish musicians take to the corner table in this traditional Irish bar and belt out jigs, reels and everything-in-between to an appreciative crowd.
Glam it up then by getting down at Nine Below on upmarket St Stephen’s Green. The city’s most luxurious watering hole is a Grade I-listed space in which to get shaken and stirred. Expect to kick back with world-class bartending and sophisticated drinks in an elegant environment.
You don’t have to leave the United States to enjoy your summer vacation. From pristine beaches and epic mountains to state parks and bustling cities, both sides of the country are worth exploring, especially when they’re a nonstop transcontinental flight away. Here are 10 locales to consider before you book your trip with Alaska Airlines.
Boston is an East Coast treasure steeped in history. The Freedom Trail should not be missed and includes some of the city’s most historic sites, like the Bunker Hill Monument and the Paul Revere House. For a more leisurely stroll, take a walk through Beacon Hill and don’t miss the cobblestone streets and 19th-century row houses on Acorn Street. Boston Public Garden was the first botanical garden in the United States, and you can rent a swan boat to pedal across its 4-acre pond. Museum-goers should stop in the Museum of Fine Arts to browse the Art of Americas Wing and ogle famous paintings by John Singleton Copley and John Singer Sargent. Seafood is abundant, so make sure to grab a famous Boston lobster roll and look for specials to slurp fresh $1 oysters.
Sometimes a little kind-heartedness goes a long way. When Patrick Tucci watched his 11-year-old son Ian board a recent Alaska Airlines flight, he couldn’t hold back the tears.
“My son comes to visit me during the holidays, school vacations and his summer break,” said Tucci in a Facebook post. “Each time it is always heartbreaking having to say our goodbyes.”
For Ian, one of the consistencies of traveling between Seattle, Washington and Orlando, Florida is flying Alaska. But this flight was a little different.
“Ian always has an exceptional experience. Unfortunately, another consistency is the grief Ian goes through when he has to leave,” said Tucci. “After arriving at the gate that day and having to wipe away his tears, he walked a few steps onto the jetbridge, came back for one last hug and the door closed.”
Tucci says he wanted to be strong for Ian after he left, but seeing his son leave is never easy.
Alaska Airlines First Officer Kim Ford is working to inspire the next generation of young women to achieve their dreams in aviation.
Damsel in distress? Not today. This week’s new box office release, “Captain Marvel,” shatters the image of a weak and powerless woman who needs rescuing. Now the damsel is replaced by a strong, intelligent and conquering woman who is doing the rescuing herself.
What I love about Captain Marvel is that she isn’t partnered with or overshadowed by a male hero. She stands in the spotlight alone and wins her battles the same way. Here at Alaska Airlines, we have many of our own Captain Marvels, and I couldn’t be more proud of the incredible women in our operation, working in the sky as well as on the ground.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, I would like to highlight some of the concerted efforts we’re making in diversity and inclusion, while shining the spotlight on some of our own leading ladies.
Alaska Air Group’s female independent board directors. From left: Phyllis Campbell, Patricia (Patty) Bedient (seated), Helvi Sandvik, Susan Li and Marion Blakey (seated).
‘It starts at the top’
Alaska Airlines Lead Director Patty Bedient is proud to serve on our board with 50 percent women, arguing diversity and inclusion starts at the top of an organization. We couldn’t agree more.
“It means we ‘walk the talk’ on diversity at the board level,” she says.
At Alaska, we’re proud to be the only airline – and the first West Coast Fortune 500 company – to achieve gender parity among independent board directors. Women Inc. Magazine recognized Bedient as well as Phyllis Campbell, Marion Blakey, Helvi Sandvik and Susan Li as five of the Most Influential Corporate Board Directors in 2018.
At 10 a.m. today, Alaska Airlines Flight 2878, with service provided by Horizon Air, made history when it departed from Everett to Portland.
“This is a huge moment for Horizon, and being here you can see what a big deal it is for the local area. This is what we’re all about,” said La’Princia Miller, a Horizon Air flight attendant.
The aircraft – with 76 guests and four crew members onboard – became the first flight from the new commercial air terminal at Paine Field-Snohomish County airport, unleashing a wave of pride, excitement and so many possibilities.