The evidence of the forthcoming spring is heralded by all things botanical – and most convincing and much-awaited of them all, the blooming of cherry blossom trees. During this time, vegetation slowly regains signs of life with their remarkable display of lush, vibrant colors enough to lure a crowd of locals and committed travelers. The cool, crisp air the season brings (a mild 10-15 degrees Celcius during daytime) also contributes to a reassuring ambience perfect for a nice stroll through some soul-inspiring landscape. Continue reading
The famed red and white sand dunes in the Vietnamese coastal town of Mui Ne, some 200 kilometers off of Ho Chi Minh City, is nature’s massive arena for what is considered to be one the most breathtaking sunrise you can ever witness on this side of the continent. While we naturally prepared for the likelihood of a disappointment, we still carried on with the plan to see what the hoopla is about. Continue reading
After spending an evening cautiously dodging broken glass and confused revelers in one of the local street festivals in Berlin, I didn’t have any trouble believing that the Germans need no reason to justify their inebriation. You would normally see them drinking in pubs, on the streets (it’s legal), at breakfast (is OJ overrated?), and even during sleep, I’d assume. Continue reading
“Al fresco dining” takes on a decidedly different meaning at Fortuna Tropical Upland Resort, a newly-developed eco-tourism destination right in the heart of Socorro in Oriental Mindoro. Being primarily an agricultural town, Socorro is often skipped by both seasonal travelers and fellow Mindorenos in favor of the beaches in neighboring localities. But with the combined efforts of the local government and the DoT to resuscitate tourism, this once sleepy town slowly gains recognition for its natural wonders and undeniable rural charm. Continue reading
1. Get naked in an onsen
- Dipping in an onsen or hot spring is an integral part of the Japanese culture. The practice dates as far back as 552 AD and is believed to free oneself from carnal sins. It’s Japan’s answer to Korea’s jjimjilbang. Onsens or sentos are found in most hotels but the best ones are in the mountainous slopes with water supplied straight from its natural source. The experience can be a bit intimidating but once you get the hang of it (pun intended), it’s actually pretty liberating.
Japan’s notoriety for being one of the most expensive destinations in the world has greatly affected its potential for tourism growth. But during the last few years, considerable efforts to put an end to this age-old rumor has become more and more palpable. Some of the perks visitors now enjoy include heavily discounted transportation passes, free wifi connection across the country, and generous tax deductions on certain purchases. A budget traveller like myself was even surprised to find out how seemingly affordable everything was during my first visit in autumn of 2014.
My 11-day journey in the land of the rising sun fittingly began in the culinary city of Osaka and ended in the country capital of Tokyo. And in between these two equally interesting destinations, I managed to squeeze in side trips to Kyoto, Hiroshima, Hakone, and Kawaguchiko (for Mt. Fuji) – all within a budget of PhP 57,000 (USD 1,280).
Whether you’re a serious traveler or a penny-pinching backpacker, hotel/ accommodation expenses can eat up a huge chunk of your travel budget. Thankfully, the hospitality industry revolution Japan has undergone over the last decade made it possible for both tourists and locals alike to find pocket-friendly accommodations. So to those looking to save a few yen without necessarily sacrificing their level of comfort, consider staying in the following on your next Japan trip: Continue reading