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Exploring Tai O (大澳), Hong Kong’s Traditional Fishing Village

To see more photos and videos of Tai O, explore the Tai O 大澳 and Tai O Market 大澳街巿 location pages.

Known locally as “the Venice of Hong Kong,” Tai O (大澳) is a small fishing village which straddles the waters between the west coast of Lantau Island and a smaller island just 15 meters (49 feet) away. The village is known for its waterfront establishments and traditional way of life. Most notably, Tai O is home to the oldest remaining community of stilt houses, once common across all of Hong Kong.

For over two centuries, the village has been home to the Tanka people, formerly a nomadic southern Chinese ethnic group. Since then until the mid-1900s, the village became a major trading port to China, exporting salt and seafood. Though Tai O is no longer a key site for trade, many elderly residents of the village continue to make a living from fishing, duck farming and making the village’s famous salted fish and shrimp paste, all of which can be found in the main Tai O Market. Tourists from mainland China and Hong Kong visit Tai O to see the slow, unchanging lifestyle of the old seaside village—a sight that has become increasingly rare in their rapidly developing home countries.

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Diving into Baía do Sancho

To view more photos and videos from Noronha, explore the Baía do Sancho location page.

Nature lovers from all over the world hike up the cliffs at Baia de Sancho beach, 354 km (220 mi) off the Northern Brazilian coast, for a view of two enormous volcanic rock formations emerging from the water. Known as Dois Irmãos (“two brothers”) because of their almost identical shape and close proximity, the rock formations are one of Brazil’s natural wonders.

Considered by many as Brazil’s most beautiful beach, Baía do Sancho is one step on the island chain of Fernando de Noronha, a World Heritage Site of 21 islands. The island is only accessible by plane or boat from the northern cities of Recife or Natal, and once there visitors must brave a steep, rickety ladder to access the beach. These difficulties don’t faze a steady stream of adventurers, however, who make the trek to snorkel in the crystal waters among turtles, baby sharks and exotic fish.

I been to this island and loved it

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Firecrackers and Giant Monuments for Valencia’s Las Fallas Festival

To view more photos and videos from Las Fallas, explore the Plaça de l’Ajuntament and Plaza del Ayuntamiento location pages and browse the #fallas, #lasfallas and #valenciagram_fallas2014 hashtags.

Each year, the city of Valencia, Spain, celebrates the beginning of spring with one of its biggest festivals: Las Fallas. Throughout March every day at 2:00PM the mascletà takes place where firecrackers are set off in Plaça de l’Ajuntament. Tapas, drinks and fiestas throughout the city follow into the evening.

The Las Fallas festival originated as the burning of parots—overhanging structures used to give light that were no longer needed as the days grew longer in springtime. The festival is also tied to the Patron Saint of carpenters, Saint Joseph and many people would burn old furniture in the street. Nowadays, neighborhoods decorate their streets with lights and create their fallas—giant handmade polystyrene figures from popular culture that are paraded on floats down the city’s streets from March 15-19. Often grotesque and satirical, these artistic monuments take months to create and later become huge bonfires across the city. Awards are presented for the best falla, as well as for the best street lights, and the festival culminates in an impressive firework display called Nit del Foc, or “Night of Fire,” that attracts visiting and local Instagrammers alike.

"The spring light changes every single corner of the city. These are the days to walk the streets, to go out and see the monuments, the light decorations, days to hang out with friends, to go to the mascletà everyday in the city center, to watch the fireworks at night by the river Turia at Paseo de la Alameda,” says Valencia Instagrammer Jose (@ayjoselitoo).

"Thousands of tourists visit Valencia in these magical days. Valencia welcomes spring and every single tourist and local with its shiny sun, its lovely blue sky and the smell of azahar flowers (orange blossoms) in the streets.”

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