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Old 10-23-2010, 02:59 PM
 
21 posts, read 55,524 times
Reputation: 35

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I have not been to Asia, but I am an avid walker and I have no interest in travelling to cities that are car centric.

I am interested to hear from people familiar with Asia which cities are the best for walking. Features I am looking for:

Lot's of parks.

Small streets.

Low traffic, low automobile ownership.

Good mass transit.

Cafe culture.

Lot's of street food vendors.

Buskers (probably less common in Asia than in Europe?)

I have read that Shanghai is better than Beijing for parks.
I also read that Taipei is a great walking city.

Any cities in Southeast Asia? Singapore?

Also in Korea, which cities are the best walking cities?

So if anyone could contribute to this thread I would appreciate it.

Thanks!
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:15 PM
 
871 posts, read 1,493,429 times
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almost all towns and cities in asia are majority pedestrian/walking but it's the major cities that have mass transit such as subways. large cities in asia will have subways or large sidewalks for walking.

less developed areas may have more bikers/scooters than subways or cars.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Macao
16,079 posts, read 37,991,136 times
Reputation: 9774
Quote:
Originally Posted by landgabriel View Post
I have not been to Asia, but I am an avid walker and I have no interest in travelling to cities that are car centric.

I am interested to hear from people familiar with Asia which cities are the best for walking. Features I am looking for:

Lot's of parks.

Small streets.

Low traffic, low automobile ownership.

Good mass transit.

Cafe culture.

Lot's of street food vendors.

Buskers (probably less common in Asia than in Europe?)

I have read that Shanghai is better than Beijing for parks.
I also read that Taipei is a great walking city.

Any cities in Southeast Asia? Singapore?

Also in Korea, which cities are the best walking cities?

So if anyone could contribute to this thread I would appreciate it.

Thanks!
NONE of Asia is setup like the U.S. U.S. puts pretty much all of its money into highways and highway infrastucture, and very little in public transportation. This concept just never occurred in Asia.

That being said, there are cars everywhere, but almost all of the cities in Asia were built around pedestrian-traffic and incredibly convenient. They also aren't heavily zoned and restricted like the U.S., meaning that pretty much everywhere is mixed-use - i.e. you can find dozens of restaurants nearby to almost anywhere you live.

That being said, I'll go through the questions you have.

Parks - Asia in general lacks a bit on parks, that being said, they are everywhere as well. I can't think of any particular city that I think 'parks' though, that applies to the U.S. as well. I'm currently living in a small town in Japan, and within 15 minutes walk, I do have about 20 parks though.

Small streets - that is throughout Asia. I love that aspect, and very lively small streets everywhere. When I first moved to Asia, which was Korea, I was amazed that so many alleys have so much 'life' in them - food stalls, people walking everywhere, etc. Small streets are everywhere throughout Asia.

Low traffic/auto ownership - definetely the poorest countries like VIetnam, Cambodia, etc. However, even where people do have cars all over the place like Japan, Korea, etc. You'll find extensive public transportation and incredibly large walkable areas throughout those cities. LIke anywhere you live, you'll have 100s of small businesses within ten minute walk.

Good public transit - definitely Japan, Korea...but everywhere has quite a few options. Easy to get from A to B in any of these countries. Plus, most of Asia, except for Japan, taxis are dirt cheap, and plenty of other options throughout southeast asia - like motorcyle taxis, and rickshaw type stuff, and on and on. Any country in Asia will blow away the options available in the U.S. NYC might be 'on par' with Asia - but NYC levels would be 'typical' in Asia - but things get even more creative in Asia. BASICALLY, YOU CAN LIVE ANYWHERE IN ASIA, EASILY WITHOUT A CAR. And have a very high quality of life.

Cafe culture - that's a European thing. That being said, there are cafes. Definetely people in the streets and some restaurants out in the streets as well.

Food vendors/street foods - pretty much anywhere in asia except for Japan - which restricts them quite like the U.S. does. But anywhere outside of Japan, they'll be abundant.

Buskors - yeah, they are less common than europe, but they do exist. Nothing like Europe or even the US for that matter.

Taipei - for walkable. ALL Asian cities are very walkable. Taipei is typical Asia. They are all like that.

Southeast Asia and SIngapore - same same. Great for walking. Pretty much any and all of the cities.

Korea - also typical. ALL of Korea is great for walking. Even the small towns are incredibly walkable. Basically, throughout Asia, they don't zone things to hell - so you'll always find 100s of businesses wherever you live. For example, in Korea, you will literally have dozens of internet cafes, dozens of restaurants and everywhere you can imagine...pretty much ANYWHERE. Plus it is 24 hours in Korea. So you can do whatever you want even at 3am. I lived in Korea for quite a few years.

I've spent nearly 12 years in Asia. It's all good here. Exact opposite of the U.S.

Last edited by Tiger Beer; 10-23-2010 at 08:35 PM..
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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Thanks Tiger for the thorough answer. Wow Asia is sounding like the promised land for a pedestrian!
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Macao
16,079 posts, read 37,991,136 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landgabriel View Post
Thanks Tiger for the thorough answer. Wow Asia is sounding like the promised land for a pedestrian!
It is incredibly commonplace over here. Just simply 'the norm'.

I'm amazed at the U.S. that only the most progressive of progressive cities can only 'dream' about it.

But yeah, the setup of the U.S. is the unique one. Automobile industry was built there, and they ripped out streetcars, etc. They built suburbs that were very car-dependent. Infrastructure money was used almost entirely for building, creating and maintaining an extensive highway/freeway system. Then immense zoning between residential and business, which required more driving.

The most lively of the U.S. (which is the least like that)...i.e. Manhattan, French Quarter New Orleans - those areas are 'typical Asia' in feel. I would actually say a bit more like 'French Quarter' New Orleans though - as throughout Asia, there are many streets you can simply walk down the middle of - especially alleys and smaller streets. Very strongly setup for 'walking' in every imagineable way. But Manhattan in the sense that people live and have many small businesses absolutely everywhere, no matter where they live in Asia.
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:08 AM
 
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what is nice and more livable about asia is that you can walk down any street and get everything you need. there may be little restaurants to little corner grocers with their wares or food/fruit/veges outside, convenience stores etc. you don't have to drive far.

i remember walking down a side street where i lived and there was a small grocery store but had all the staples that you would need with fresh vegetables and fruit outside and another store that sold toiletries, cosmetics and toilet paper, cleaning supples etc as well as some small hole in the wall restaurants like noodle shops or what have you. this is just on one side street but it does show how nice it is to be able to walk just a couple blocks to get eggs etc if you need it. that type of living feels more personal too. it's very cute, non pretencious, livable and convenient. they also have many nightmarkets and night food vendors. you can also get just about any type of food delivered whereas in america it's primarily just pizza and chinese. in asia, you can get mcdonalds to sushi to whole dinners delivered.

america is having more of these street vendor type places but it's in the major cities but they are getting there.

asia and europe is more progressive in certain ways of living. that said, it may not be the best way for another depending on personality.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:07 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,241,516 times
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Quote:
I have read that Shanghai is better than Beijing for parks.
You heard right. Beijing is great for walking because the city is HUGE and the metro system doesn't seem to go anywhere. Unless you're willing to cough up for a cab (if you can find one that will stop for a foreigner), you're going to have lots of nice looong walks to get to all the city's sights.

The big problem with Beijing is the smog/cold depending on the season. Sometimes both. I have never seen smog so thick as in that city.

Shanghai has a good metro, but you'll still do plenty of walking.

Quote:
I also read that Taipei is a great walking city.
Taipei is a great everything city. My favorite city in Asia. The metro goes everywhere, but if you walk you'll see tons of interesting things. If you get tired, busses go everywhere (but you'll need to be able to read Chinese), the metro is usually only a few blocks away (English will get you by just fine), and if you want; cabs are cheap and honest, though it helps to speak Mandarin unless you're going somewhere obvious like a big hotel or main attraction.

Quote:
Any cities in Southeast Asia? Singapore?
Bangkok is a great place to wander. The metro is a little sparse, especially way out in the temple district, but there's TONS of places to take a break, shop, or whatever.

Hong Kong is teeny-tiny and dense if you don't like to walk far. The trolleys are really cheap.

Chongquing is a neat city to wander around, and you won't get hassled by touts like in some other Chinese cities, just lots of curious stares.

Delhi is an interesting city to walk around if you can take the sights, sounds, and smells. Lots of touts, though. Mumbai is a little less interesting but also easier on the senses.

There's plenty of other places, but those are the standouts.

Hands down the worst big city to wander around on foot is Kuala Lumpur. Sidewalks are sparse, lead nowhere or to dead-ends at busy intersections, the metro is really strange and not smartly managed. Oh, and it's crazy hot and sticky part of the year, rainy the rest. KL on foot is pretty frustrating.
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:21 AM
 
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Thanks everyone for the detailed replies!
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:01 AM
 
Location: china
4 posts, read 11,055 times
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Chengdu is a great place to wander.It located in western china.It is a Historic city.There are many delicious foods in chengdu.Mountains and Rivers around it.There are some famous mountains in chengdu.And It is the hometown for panda.If you visit chengdu, you will see the lovely pandas.Chengdu is really fit for walking.there's people very kindly.Chengdu welcome to you!
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:01 AM
 
Location: Shaw, St. Louis/West Ridge, Chicago/WuDaoKou, Beijing
292 posts, read 801,948 times
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Beijing is a sprawl but Shanghai is more densely populated.
Hong Kong is as walkable as it gets.
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