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How To Ensure An Enjoyable Trip in Japan

Japan is an amazing country, blessed with a beautiful natural backdrop steeped in history and culture and full of some of the most welcoming people on earth. But, if you don’t speak Japanese, travelling there can be pretty difficult as the Japanese economy is nowhere near as geared to tourism as some of the more popular Asian destinations. So our aim today is to give you some pointers to best navigate your trip in the land of the rising sun.


Learn Japanese!
Just kidding! But on a serious note if you could learn some basic vocabulary like toilet or train station just to cover your bases you will be surprised how many situations it can help out in. If you are interested though Japanese is a pretty fun language to learn and you will definitely get more out of your trip!

Have No Expectations.
Don’t assume the menu will be in English. Don’t assume the staff at your hotel speaks English. Really, just don’t assume anything, you are in a foreign country, just let go and enjoy.

Use Hyperdia
Travelling by train is generally pretty painless but when punctuality is important for your next adventure just rocking up to the train station won’t do. Jumping on Hyperdia gives you all the train times (and plane times) with all the info you need such as transfers and the fare breakdowns. I personally used this every time I took a train in Japan.

Download Apps
Just one will decent one will do but if you are really stuck and need to translate something having an app on your phone can really help.

Do Your Research
Knowing where you want to go and what you want to see and do will make it a lot easier if you are a less adventurous traveller. Knowledge is power!

Don’t Underestimate Body Language
You would be surprised when all else fails what simple hand gestures with a warm smile can accomplish. Japanese people are generally very helpful and friendly, if you are open and friendly back youwill be surprised how far some of them will go to help you.

Find Friends.
Japan has a great drinking culture and in the major cities most bars will be open 7 nights a week. These are great places to meet friends that speak English either other tourists or expats or local Japanese with some English language capability. Some bars are better than others to find likeminded individuals, usually the foreign themed with English menus are a good place to start!

Get Prepaid Wi-Fi.
Seriously for a country so well known for its technological magnificence free Wi-Fi is few and far between. It’s better not to rely on luck and get yourself a local card or a Wi-Fi dongle to get you through those long train journeys or to help find that damn restaurant you have been looking for.

Experience it.
Pick random things off the menu, go walking and get lost (just keep a hotel business card handy). Remember you are on holiday, don’t stress and enjoy it. Who know when you will back in japan?

Nature Getaways In Asia

As the largest continent in the world, Asia has so much to offer. The diversity of the food, cultures, locals, and the place itself. In terms of the tourist destinations, Asia has it all from beaches, mountains, forests, deserts, and even caves. In this article, I will talk about the nature getaways that you could visit in Asia.

Maldives

Seriously, who doesn’t know about this country? For you that didn’t know, yes, Maldives is a country and yes, they are in Asia. They have such a beautiful beach with clean water, amazing view, and a great resort to stay. A lot of people often visit this place for their honeymoon because this place also has some romantic vibes. There are some resorts that are built on the shore and have a glass floor at a certain area in the bungalow so you could see the sea right beneath you. It will also allow you to swim right outside your bungalow.

Although a lot of people came to Maldives just to relax and infuse the beauty of their beach, just like another country, Maldives also has some other tourist attractions such as museum and historical mosque. There are actually several islands in Maldives that you could explore.

Macritchie Reservoir, Singapore

As one of the smaller countries in the world, it would be hard for them to have nature getaways, but they have. The Macritchie Reservoir is their oldest and first reservoir. The area is very wide and it has such a beautiful surroundings. It often used as the venue for a sports event, a school’s events, or performing arts.

There are a lot of activities that you could do in here, such as exercise, take a walk, get lost in the forest, relax, canoeing, kayaking, and observe or interacting with the animals. The highlight of what you can do in here is The Treetop Walk. Basically, you are walking on a suspension bridge that is in the middle of the top of the trees, that’s why it’s called treetop. You will have a new view about that place and could observe more animals that you can’t see while you down there.

Gobi Desert, Mongolia

There are probably several deserts in Asia, but this one would be the most unforgettable thing to experience. Although it’s a desert, there are a lot that you would see while you take a tour there. You could see a cliff called Flaming Cliff where the first dinosaur’s egg were first found, the longest sand dunes in Mongolia called Khongoryn Els where you could ride a camel, green hills, and a gorge that covered in ice for 10 months. It’s a contrast yet amazingly beautiful scenery of Gobi.

Another interesting thing about this desert is about the locals. If you want to go back or perhaps try to live in such a traditional way and a way that are very different from the way people live now, don’t forget to say hi whenever you meet the locals. How they live, their culture and foods are just so fascinating.

Mount Everest, Nepal

There is even a film about this mountain, so you know that this is such a legendary place. This is the highest mountain in the earth. This is also the hardest mountain to climb because of the weather and the environment. You have to be an experienced climber to have the permission to climb this mountain since there are already quite a lot of people died trying to.

Every place is just as worthy as other places for you to visit. It’s just a matter of priority, budget, time, and effort that determine how and where you travel. This is how you experience the world.

Tour Japan By Rail

When people think of trains in Japan, usually the image in their heads is that of peak hour in Tokyo, with station staff cramming passengers in the overstuffed carriages like sardines in a tin. So when I say that touring Japan by train is the most affordable option, as well as the most comfortable, I can understand your surprise. For arguments sake, let us first look into the other options to traverse this beautiful country.

Travelling by car, the option giving most freedom is the most expensive and time consuming choice. When factoring in car hire, petrol and tolls (the privately owned highways are a joy to drive though) you will find your travel budget blowing out. You may also run into trouble if you don’t speak Japanese, as in between the major cities English is few and far between, with signage only in the local lingo. This may test your patience as you find your travel time in the country dwindling while on the side of the road trying to make head or tail of maps or locals directions!
Travelling by air, particularly through budget airlines is yet to really take off in japan (excuse the pun). While the passenger numbers are growing each year, it’s easy to see why they have such a tough time expanding when one remembers that modern Japan was built on the back of its extensive rail network. The prices between major cities are comparable to that of tickets for the high speed trains (Shinkansen) but the Shinkansen has no security screening, no hanging around waiting to board and the major stations are in the middle of the city. Most major airports are generally an hour away from the CBD by train or shuttle bus which adds even more time sitting on transport not exploring the country.

So you have decided train travel is the best option but where to from here? Well, there are a myriad of choices when it comes to guided scenic tours, taking you by Shinkansen from the top of japan to the bottom as well as the more focused, regionalized and seasonal itineraries. If you are lucky enough to have a Japanese travel agent like JTB in your local area they would be the first point of call, although most reputable agents should have no problems organizing a scenic tour for you. But if you are a little more adventurous the best option in my opinion would be the JR Rail pass. This pass includes the entire Japan Rail network and will get you almost anywhere in the country with a 7, 14 and 21 day pass available. These passes will enable you to tailor your journey to see the best parts of japan and give the most flexibility. If you are only travelling in one area of Japan you can also get regional, multiple days passes that start at much cheaper prices and might be a better option for the more frugal traveller.

The last consideration one should make before embarking on a scenic tour of japan by rail is the time of the year. The busy periods tend to be early January with the new year and the month of august with many local festivals occurring with obon week (an annual Buddhist event which sees many people return home to commemorate their ancestors) packing out trains all over the country. Weather wise June to around mid- July is the rainy season which can be miserable, but other than that depending on the season you prefer the weather in japan is generally pretty agreeable.
Now you have the right information to get underway, go and start planning your scenic rail tour in Japan!

Japan Rail Passes

10 Days Japan Getaway

Asia is the most dynamic region on earth today, encompassing a vast array of peoples and cultures that now more than ever is bursting onto the world stage. From sandy beaches to tropical jungles, mountain tops to metropolises, Asia has it all! Asia has a myriad of travel options on offer but today we will share a Japan based ten day Asian getaway.

Start in Tokyo for four days to sample the sights and sounds of the world’s biggest city. Check out Tokyo tower, sample some of the finest food Japan has to offer (Tokyo has the most Michelin star restaurants in the world) or jump on a train and go to Tokyo Disney! There are also many day trips from Tokyo available, you could go south to the portside town of Yokohama to check out its massive Chinatown or north to Nikko and check out the famous warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu’s Shrine. Or if you are up for it, going skyward, climbing japans tallest peak, Mount Fuji would be an unforgettable memory.

We then jump on to the Shinkansen towards Osaka, traditionally the food bowl of the country for most of its history, Osaka has so much delicious food to eat! Check out Doutonbori and eat some oknomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake), takoyaki (octopus balls), or kushi katsu (breaded deep fried meats and vegetables) till your belly is about to burst. For a dose of history why not check out Osaka castle sight of some of the most important battles of the warring states period and a fabulous structure to behold. Weather not great? Then how about you check out Asia’s best aquarium “Kaiyukan” and follow it up with a ride on the neighboring Ferris wheel to check out unimpeded views across the whole city. The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down as Osakans are well known to be a rambunctious bunch and once the beer starts flowing the nights can get wild!
You can use Osaka as a base for the rest of the trip or spread around some of the neighboring cities as they are packed with things to do. Nara is best as only a day trip as you can walk from the station to the areas of note quite easily and cover them in no time. Checking out the temples from the first capital of japan and walking among the high spirited deer that surround the temple grounds is a cool chilled out day.

If you want you could spend 2-3 days in Kyoto or you could just get the train from Osaka (it’s about an hour away) but you will definitely need that time if you want to see all the temples that the former capital (succeeding Nara and preceding Tokyo) has to offer. One of the highlights would be Fushimi Inari with the hundreds upon hundreds of red “Tori” gates that they are still building spread across a mountain that overlooks Kyoto city. Just watch out for the monkeys up the top! When night time comes you need to find a place specializing in Shojin Ryori the Buddhist cuisine famous in Kyoto consisting of some of the tastiest tofu will ever eat!

By now you should have a bag stuffed with souvenirs a camera full of pictures and a belly ready to burst! With a heavy heart you get back on the plane, homeward bound, but never fear there are plenty more Asian getaways to be had so stay tuned for new itineraries in other fabulous Asian countries.

Japan Rail Passes

Relaxing Holiday In Bali

It’s almost the end of the year when it’s time for Christmas and New Year’s party. Families reunited. People gather around. The perfect time to catch up with all the loved one and the perfect time to travel because it’s holiday season.

After a hard time at work or school, you probably want to pack your things and just go somewhere. Holiday is every person needs. Sometimes you probably want a very adventurous holiday, but sometimes you would need a super relaxing holiday. It’s your choice really. So, here I will be giving you a list of places you could go to have a relaxing holiday in Bali.
The first choice is a boutique resort. Basically, a boutique resort is a special resort that will give you the 3P aspect; peace, picture perfect view, and personalized attention. When you are staying in a boutique resort, you basically can’t go anywhere because it’s usually located quite far from the city so you could get your peace and the view that most of other resort and hotel doesn’t have.

You just stay at the boutique resort because they have everything you need from food to entertainments. Usually, two of the best things to do in a boutique resort are swimming in their pool since a boutique resort usually located in such a beautiful place then the view must have been amazing, and the spa that will make feel so relaxed.

Those are the reason why staying in a boutique resort would make you feel very relaxed, it will make the most of your quality time with your loved ones and yourself. There are quite a few amounts of a boutique resort in Bali, like W Retreat & Spa Bali, Ayana Resort Bali, and others. Although the price is quite expensive, but I think that it will worth the experiences.
The second choice is to go to a hidden beach. Bali is famous from its nature beauty, especially the beach. There are famous beaches in Bali like Kuta Beach, Seminyak Beach, Nusa Dua Beach, and the list of course doesn’t stop here. Besides all of the famous beaches, Bali also has the treasures of all their hidden beaches.
It’s a hidden beach afterall means it’s located somewhere quite isolated, hidden somewhere. If you choose to go find some hidden beach for your next holiday, it has it’s own advantages and disadvantages.

The disadvantages are since it’s hidden means it would be quite hard to find the beach and the facilities near the beach won’t be as good as the facilities near a famous beach. Meanwhile, the advantages are because not a lot of people know about the beach that the beach would be less people there and quite, a perfect place to relax, and since not a lot of people have been there, the view would be very beautiful and it’s still clean.

If you don’t want to find a hidden beach yourself, then you could stay in a hotel or resort that has their own private beach. There are also quite a lot of hotel/resort in Bali that has their own private beach, such as The St. Regis Bali Resort, Grand Hyatt Bali, Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, etc.
The third choice to go to a temple. Bali is a very open place for tourist but also still very rich in their cultures. Majority of the people who live there are believes in Hindu religion, so there are lots of temples there. Temple is a great place to feel relaxed because it’s very beautiful, the temple itself and the surroundings, you could absorb all of the cultures while in there, of course being there would make you feel relaxed.

The most famous temple is Tanah Lot but there are too many people visit Tanah Lot, so it will be quite hard to feel relaxed there. Don’t worry, there are still a lot of temples that you could visit such as, Uluwatu Temple, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, etc.

Last but not least, is to live with the locals. There is one unique place called Bali Eco Stay where you stay in the middle of the jungle with rice paddies around, really blending in with the nature, a serious experience with the Bali’s culture. This is a very unique way to spend your holiday and relaxing.
I personally think that Bali is a great place to spend your holiday. There are many ways that you could actually do to feel relaxed while in here. One tip that is very important is to choose the right area to stay as some places are full of bar and would be really crowded.

5 Days Middle East Tour

Middle East is one of those regions which have been attracted a lot of tourists from all over the world. Israel, Jordan and Egypt are very highly attracted tourist destinations in Middle East. All those three countries can be covered in a five days tour. The tour commences from Israel where first visit world famous Jerusalem which has a greater history written. Jerusalem is one of the most historical and oldest cities in the world. It has a more religious value as it is the holistic city for Christians, Muslims and Jews. In Jerusalem, you can see the beauty of old city which has been named as a world heritage site in 1991. The oldest writings of Jerusalem were found in outside the old city walls. Western wall is also located in the old city of Jerusalem. The temple mount is also another popular tourist destination in Jerusalem. It is considered as the holiest place for Jews where they use to prayers. The tomb of Jesus is one of the most attracted places in Jerusalem. People from all over the world who visit Jerusalem don’t miss the opportunity to witness that holistic place. It is considered as the place where the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus both located.

The Tower of David is also located in Jerusalem which has a great architectural value and has been built 2000 years ago. The Mount of Olives is the other important destination you should not miss to visit in Jerusalem. It is located near to the Temple Mount and the Tower of David. It has been used as funeral grounds for the Jerusalem city for thousands of years. Then you can visit world famous Dead Sea which is considered as the lowest point on the earth. It also has the highest salt percentage in the world. Around the Dead Sea, there are so many hotels, restaurants and other tourism facilities you can enjoy. Dead Sea is a place where you can get a free health spa, because it is so natural and has the healing power.

Then after the journey of Jerusalem which takes around two and half days, we move to Jordan. It is the Petra city of Jordan which is famous for its architectural value. Petra is the most attracted tourist destination and named as a world heritage site in 1985. In 2007, it was named as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. It is kind of symbolic place for Jordan. As tourists you can highly enjoy the beauty of places in Petra city.

After one and half days in Jordan, we can then move to Cairo in Egypt in the fifth day where you can witness the famous Egyptian museum which contains the historic antiquities. It has 107 halls and contains around 160,000 items covering around 5000 years of Egyptian history. Then you can visit Mosque of Muhammad Ali which was the largest creation in 19th century in Egypt. It was built as a memorial for Tusun Pasha the oldest son of Muhammad Ali.

Historical India Tour

India is one of the world’s most historical places to visit. It consists of so many historical places where most of them have been named as world heritage sites. Among all the historical places in India, the most popular one is Taj Mahal which is a symbol of India. It has won lot of tourist attractions. Actually it has 3 to 4 million tourist attraction annually. It was built by one of the emperors in India shah Jahan to show his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It consist several buildings and has been built with using white marble in the city of Agra. Each building has its own story and will be explained to you to understand the whole Taj Mahal complex. It took 22 years to complete the whole complex and around 20000 workers used. Taj Mahal is actually one of the eight wonders of the world as well as a world heritage site.

Another historical places in India, is the Golden Temple also called as Harmandir Sahib. Due to its golden coating, it is well popular as the Golden Temple. It is one of the most famous religious places for Sikhs in India. It was built as an idea of creating their own place for Sikhs to worship. It is located in Amritsar city of Punjab.

Hampi is also another historical place in India which is treated as the last capital of Vijayangar, a well-known Hindu empire in ancient times. Now you see the ruins of Hampi there which are from 14th century. Hampi ruins cover around 25 kilometers of space containing more than 500 shrines.

Mahabodhi Temple is another historical place you should visit in India. It has a historic value as well as a religious value. It is one of the most sacred places for Buddhists not only in India but also for other Buddhists all over the world as well. Mahabodhi Temple location consist three monuments. They are Mahabodhi Tree, Lord Buddha Stupa and Bodimanda Vihara. This wonderful ancient place is located in Bihar State in India and named as one of the seven wonders in India.

Varanasi is a very highly tourist attracted place in India. It is due to the Ghats in Varanasi, well known for its holiest value. It is situated in just near the famous river Ganges. People around the world love to visit there to have bathing as well as to do meditation in the morning.

Old Goa Churches is another place you should visit specially if you are a Christian. It is one of the most tourist attracted places in India. It is very famous for the historic church buildings and has been rated as a world heritage site. It is also the largest church in Asia. Old Goa Churches was constructed during the 15th century and has been built with mud, stones and straw originally. Later it has been gone through some modifications but able to keep the historical value. It has a very elegant and simple look that attracts anyone.

Visit all these historical places of India to get the feeling of ancient India.