Japan On A Shoestring with Karaksa Hotel

Asia, Hotels, Japan

Every Pinoy traveler’s dream destination includes The Land of the Rising Sun. And why wouldn’t it be, the place is screaming with so much culture and life, and every attraction is bucket-list worthy: the gleaming temples and architectures, modern cityscapes a la sci-fi film, stunning parks in vibrant colors, heavenly hot springs—all begging to be explored.

Its fusion of ancient traditions and modern technology makes it an endless discovery and a country that holds a lot of surprises. In fact, Japan is the fourth most-visited country in Asia last year according to the World Tourism Organization, so it’s no doubt that it’s on top of most people’s bucket lists.

Kyoto: A time-warp to old century Japan

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Kyoto’s Bamboo Forest

If Tokyo is the loud, beating heart of Japan, Kyoto is its more peaceful soul. This city is bursting with history and tradition, you’ll be amazed with how its century-old culture and architectures have remained intact up to this day.

Walk through the green wonderland that is the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, pass by the historic castles dating from ancient eras, admire the aesthetic pathway of Fushimi Inari Shrine, and experience the Japanese way of life by trying the delectable cuisine like the Kyoto’s popular kaiseki meal.

Golden Pavilion Kyoto

Golden Pavilion

One of the city’s highlights is the Kinkaku-ji, also called the golden pavilion, which sits in a lush of greenery surrounded by water where you can be one with nature. A trip to Kyoto won’t be complete without visiting this renowned Buddhist temple, so don’t forget to take photos while you’re there!

The city is also home to lovely cherry blossom trees and colorful geisha culture. With its reflective spirit and calm vibe, Kyoto is an amazing experience that you won’t get enough of.

Kyoto Facade

Karaksa Hotel Facade in Kyoto

Where to stay

Located at the heart of Kyoto lies Karaksa Hotel, a three-star leisure hotel that is a total bang for your buck. Think star-ranked hotels’ hospitality and facilities in a completely affordable price. It’s very accessible to the Arashiyama and is only 3 minutes away from Omiya station, so it’s a smart hotel option after a long day of exploration in the city.

Osaka Food

Osaka Food

The gastronomic adventure that is Osaka

Osaka is a dynamic city. For instance, it’s the food capital of Japan, so it’s the ultimate go-to place for binge-eating. If you’re in quest for the yummiest authentic Japanese eats like takoyaki, horumon and okonomiyaki—just head to Dotonbori or Shinsekai. Name it, they have it. The city is also home to popular tourist attractions such as Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Osaka Castle, and Universal Studios Japan.

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Osaka’s familiar sights

For those who like to observe city skylines, Japan’s tallest skyscraper, Abeno Harukas, has an observation deck called Harukas 300 where you can admire the city’s sweeping views 300 meters high.

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle

While you’re there, you can visit the Kintetsu Department Store and Art Museum just a few floors below. The nightlife is also flourishing here, so be sure to be wide awake at night while exploring its happy streets.

Osaka Breakfast Area

Osaka Breakfast Area

Where to stay

At the end of the day, have a good rest at the comfortable rooms of Karaksa Hotel, a leisure hotel just a few walks away from Osaka’s main shopping district, Shinsaibashi. Osaka Shinsaibashi I is located at 1-6-9 Bakuroumachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, just a 5-minute walk from Sakaisuji-Hommachi Station/Nagahoribashi Station.

Come home to Karaksa

Whether you went to get cultured at Kyoto or eat your heart out in Osaka, you can come home to the inviting comfort of Karaksa Hotel, especially designed for the smart Asian traveller.

Kyoto Hollywood Twin

Kyoto Hollywood Twin

Inside, there’s everything you need for a cozy stay. The rooms are fully-air conditioned and equipped with hot and cold shower, all of which contains the basic necessities like the latest flat screen TV, universal sockets with USB ports, bath towels, hair dryer, suitcase storage under the bed, Japanese-style bidet, mini refrigerator, toothbrush set, shampoo, conditioner and face soap, pajamas, sanitized slippers. There’s also a mini desk area if you have an urgent work to check. The room sizes include double decker and Hollywood twin for 2 adults and their child, and connecting room for group of friends or bigger families. The average room size is 18 sqm.

Osaka Triple

Osaka Triple Room

Its interiors are charming—every corner is a minimalist’s haven. The hotel is an experience itself: their amenities include a smoking space, and prayer room for the Muslim guests. A high-speed Wi-Fi service is also installed in the whole building, so you won’t easily get bored. Guests can also assure their important belongings are safe with their safety deposit box.

The overall vibe of the place feels like home–you can chance upon its Filipino receptionists, and there’s a TFC channel in your room television when you feel a little home sick. That’s because it has a touch of Pinoy: the hotel’s owner, Xymax Corporation, Japan’s premier asset property management company has teamed up with Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC), one of the leading property developers in the Philippines. RLC is the official Sales and Marketing agent of Karaksa Hotel in the country.

Osaka Hollywood Twin

Osaka Hollywood Twin

The Osaka branch features a laundry area and a leisure space with massage chairs and a wide array of vendo machines for snacks, toys and souvenirs, plus dining sets for eating or chatting with your companions. The Kyoto branch, on the other hand, features only twin rooms: Bunk and High Floor for up to 2 persons and Hollywood for groups and families.

A trip to Japan most likely comes with a hefty price tag, especially since the country is screaming with lots of attractions to put in your itinerary. To maximize your experience, start by choosing an affordable hotel to stay in. Karaksa Hotel is a great value for money, complete with basic amenities and comfortable accommodation. It’s slightly cheaper compared to other hotels of the same kind in the city, but it offers a top-star hotel experience that won’t hurt your wallet.

Kyoto Hollywood Twin

Whether you grab a seat sale or impulsively book a tour to Japan, fret not! You can book at Karaksa Hotel easily through http://www.gohotels.ph/gohotels-now-in-japan/. By booking at any Go Hotels branch, you can get a chance to win a trip for two to Osaka. Click here for more details.

Karaksa Hotel, in partnership with Go Hotels, will open five more branches before the Tokyo Olympics 2020: Hokkaido, Sapporo, Tokyo Ginza, Shin-Osaka and Namba to cater more budget travelers. You can expect the Namba branch to open this November.

Hong Kong, in a New Light

Airlines, Asia, Hong Kong

It’s been 20 years since the Hong Kong turn-over and this small but proud nation, has emerged as one of the most stunning and interesting locations in Asia.

One of the most popular destinations in Asia, Hong Kong has been pulling all the stops to mark the historic milestone. Lavish decorations and banners are seen upon arriving at the Hong Kong airport and other entry points to the destination. Giant traditional lanterns are also displayed in Central to promote this vital part of the Chinese heritage. Special workshops for lantern-making are also scheduled until the end of July.

The festivities kicked off with a “super fireworks wall,” a 23-minute pyrotechnic display will be multimedia extravaganza with components like LED screens and beam lights to go with synchronized music. Said to be the city’s most expensive fireworks event since 1997, it measures 1,250 meters long and 300 meters high is set to light up the Hong Kong skyline over the famous Victoria Harbour. Accompanying beam lights were projected from Causeway Bay to adorn the fireworks and give a 3D effect to the whole performance.

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Fun-loving travelers looking to be a part of the merrymaking are in for a treat, as Cebu Pacific will be sending off more of its fleet to Hong Kong starting this month. The airline is flying three times a day, or 21 flights weekly, between Manila and Hong Kong. Travelers coming in can enjoy more spacious seating and modern ambience as the airline trades up its A320 Hong Kong-bound fleet for the Airbus A330s.

“Bigger aircraft means more seats and lower fares for the Manila-Hong Kong route. We look forward to bringing everyJuan on a two-hour plane trip to experience the historic twenty-year milestone in Hong Kong’s history, or revisit the city with fresh eyes,” said Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific Vice President for Marketing and Distribution.

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Hong Kong holiday
Another guest also reappears to celebrate the 20th Handover Anniversary. Hong Kong’s online sensation, the Rubber Duck, is back after generating waves online. This time, the inflatable installation takes the limelight while in dry land, next to the anniversary’s equally adorable display, the longevity buns.

Around the city, eyes will wander to the open spaces beautified by designers and local artists. Select flights of stairs will be embellished with flower patters from the Hong Kong Museum of Art collection; and museums will carry special exhibits, including the on-going display of the 126 pieces sourced from Louvre, France.

Beyond the cityscape and the urban vibe of Hong Kong, visitors can enjoy attractions in the outlying islands. The remote Po Lin Monastery, hidden away by lush mountains on Lantau Island, is revered for its 111-foot Tian Tan Buddha statue, which faces north towards Mainland China. Hiking trails and outdoor adventures also offer a scenic way to discover Hong Kong’s storied past.

Fly and discover more of Hong Kong today. Aside from Manila, CEB offers direct flights from its Clark hub to the destination and flies 10 times weekly using the 180-seater Airbus A320 aircraft. Iloilo flights to Hong Kong are scheduled three times weekly, while Cebu flights to the destination are scheduled daily.

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Summer Exploration in Kansai

Asia, Japan

Japan is a country with diverse culture brought about by its chain of interesting regions. And if you were to choose only one to visit this summer, head to Kansai — the heart of Japan.

It houses some of the country’s key cities which includes Kyoto, the thousand-year city full of priceless historical structures; Osaka, the city of castles and gastronomic adventures; Nara, home to roaming deers and old temples; Kobe, an attractive port city—and they’re all a train ride away from each other.

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Osaka Castle. Photo from Pexels.com

Kansai is screaming with rich history and culture, you won’t find any other region in the land that will give you a complete and compact tourist experience.

Kick off your trip with a visit to Kyoto’s famous temples and shrines and experience a time warp to the old-century Japan. And what’s a tour to the country’s old age without trying out their iconic national costume?

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Fushimi-Inari Shrine in Kyoto. Photo from Pexels.com

Have your old Japanese culture fix by renting a kimono at Yumeyakata, one of the top kimono rental shops in town, where you can choose over a variety of stylish and chic options.

Not only you can play dress up while strolling around the city, their trained in-house stylists will also glam you up for location photographs. See their packages and rent through their website.

For the perfect home away from home, Go Hotels’ partner hotel in Osaka and Kyoto is the best option to enjoy the Kansai Region.

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Karaksa Hotel Osaka Shinsaibashi | is located at 1-6-9 Bakuromachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi near the famous Shinsaibashi shopping area and Karaksa Hotel Kyoto is located at 12-13 Mibubōjōchō, Nakagyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu.

It’s a smart choice for travelers looking for a comfortable and safe place to stay in Japan. To know more about the hotel and its facilities, click here.

If you’re thinking of other places to visit this summer, Go Hotels has a total of 13 branches nationwide. With Go Hotels, there’s no excuse to delay or put off travel plans because of affordable room rates. You can book your stay easily through http://www.gohotels.ph/.

 

5 Breathtaking Batanes Spots You Need To Visit

Asia, The Philippines

Without any exaggeration, Batanes, an archipelagic province located north of the Philippines, is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places you will ever see.

The sun, the ocean and the astoundingly beautiful natural landscapes, complemented by the gentle winds that greet visitors, and the warm smiles of its locals, make Batanes a definite must-see.

I had great expectation of Batanes, and the place far exceeded all of them. lovingly called “Home of the Winds” because of its windy location, Batanes’ tourism highlights are just so breathtaking, that I was often left speechless.

The Islands of Batan and Sabtang are the most visited places in the province because of their otherworldly landscapes and unique traditional structures.

Here are some of the highlights of any visit to Batanes.

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Mt. Carmel Chapel

Spanish explorers settled in Batanes in the 18th century and they introduced catholic teachings to the locals, called Ivatans. This explains the abundance of churches and chapels all over the province. The construction of the Mt. Carmel Chapel was spearheaded by the influential and prominent Abad family who wanted to have a place of wroship nearby.The design and architecture followed the typical design of Ivatan stone houses, to make it strong against the many typhoons that ravage the province.

 

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Valugan Boulder Beach

This highlight is basically one of the most unique site you will see in Batanes. Historical accounts say that the mighty Mt. Iraya, a dormant volcano that dominates the entire Batan Island’s landscape, erupted in 400 AD with so much force and it spewed millions of andesite rocks. The lashing of the waves for thousands of years, have resulted to a beach surrounded entirely by millions of boulders.

 

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Vayang Rolling Hills

The most beautiful place in Batanes, at least in my humble opinion, is the Vayang Rolling Hills. And i am not alone with that opinion. if you browse through pictures of Batanes, you will almost always see it at the very top just because anyone who’s been there can attest to its beauty. Imagine, gentle green slopes, under the shadows of Mt. Iraya, on the edge of the Pacific and kissed by the vast blue skies. It doesn’t get better than that.

 

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Naidi Lighthouse

Another must-see in Batanes is the iconic Basco Lighthouse located on the hills of Naidi in Barangay San Antonio. It is one of three lighthouses proposed by the local government to serve as a beacon for fishermen, and to serve as a tourist destination. It has six storeys with the fifth floor serving as a viewing deck.

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Racuh A Payaman

Often called as Marlboro Hills, this place gives Vayang Rolling Hills a run for its money. Located in southern Batan Island, photographers call it a perfect location because of the presence of the mountain, the hills, Mt. Iraya, and the Pacific Ocean. Not to mention the horses, cows and water buffalos that graze in its hilly terrain. It is indeed a piece of heaven.

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Traditional Stone House in Savidug Village

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Sunset in Batanes

Other Places

Other places of interest include the Savidug Village in Sabtang Island, where you can still see traditional stone houses built by the Ivatans, the Japanese Tunnel and the 18th century San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao Town. You can also check out Fundacion Pacita, the most premium hotel in the province, SongSong Ruins, and the Fountain of Youth in Diura town.

 

Intoxicating India: North And South Tips For A First-Time Trip

Asia, India

India is a world of mesmerizing temples, heady scents, tranquil backwaters and captivating wildlife. It is a medley of fast and furious and sedate and meditative. If you only have a couple of weeks, it would be impossible to see it all. So here are some tips for first-time visitors of what you can expect. And while we’re at it, here are some more travel ideas to add to your list for 2017.

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Munnar Tea Plantation. Photo from Flickr

The South

If you don’t have much time on your first trip, it is often advisable to pick either the south or north and concentrate on all that one area has to offer. However, that said, if you are up for moving around a lot it is also possible to take internal flights across both. But let’s first concentrate on the south.

A holiday in southern India will be less frenetic that a holiday in the north. The South offers India’s best beaches in Goa and Kerala. And Kerala also offers captivating backwaters, where a few days cruising on a magnificent bamboo houseboat is a must.

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Kerala

If you are on your way to the heady beaches of Goa, Bangalore is a worthy stopover. Places to see in Bangalore include the shops and temples of Malleswaram, Cubbon Park, and Bangalore Palace. Looking for high adrenalin adventure? A bit further on at the hill station of Coorg you can try waterfall repelling and ultralight flying.

And the magical UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi will take you back in time with its grandiose beauty of haunting ruins and temples. Of course, no trip to southern India would be complete without visiting the verdant tea plantations of Munnar. And also the Jog Waterfalls in Karnataka. While in Karnataka also visit Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary. Here you’ll get the chance to see tiger, elephant, and leopard in their natural habitat. 

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Taj Mahal. Photo from Pixabay

Northwest India

One of the most popular tours in India is the northwest Golden Triangle, and this is an ideal itinerary if you are visiting for the first time. This timeless tour takes in the beauty of Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra. The north of India features some of the most magnificent temples and architecture you will ever see.

If you are looking for grandeur and glory, then the Golden Triangle is for you. Delhi is a vibrant destination rich in history and culture. You’ll visit the stately old homes of Mughal emperors and see patriotic landmarks and breathtaking temples.

Delhi is abundant in art, architecture, and spiritualism. Some of the most breathtaking sites to see are the Red Fort, India Gate, Qutub Minar and the Akshardham Temple.  And of course, in Agra, top of your list will be the spellbinding Taj Mahal, one of the most famous and beautiful buildings in the world.

This breathtaking monument was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jenan as a testament to the incredible love he felt for his wife, Queen Mumtaz Mahal. She died in 1631 giving birth to their 14th child, and for the next 14 years, the emperor built the white marble Taj Mahal in memory of his love. Over seven million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. Your last stop in the Golden Triangle is the Pink City of Jaipur.

Every building within the historical walled center is built in pink sandstone that looks simply bewitching. It’s abundant in vibrant color, majestic forts and palaces and bustling bazaars. Touristy it may be, but a ride on an elephant to the Amber Fort is a must for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And talking about once-in-a-lifetime experiences? There will be plenty more of those to come as you travel through intoxicating India.

 

7 Fun Facts About Bali You Probably Never Knew

Asia, Indonesia

Without a shadow of a doubt, Bali is the most famous of all Indonesian islands. It’s a place that boasts tropical beaches, breathtaking mountains, and friendly people. Those are just three of many reasons why tourists flock to the island each year!

You will have no doubt seen some pictures online of what Bali is like. But, how much do you really know about the island paradise? You should check out these seven fun facts to learn more:

  1. Bali is home to the world’s most expensive coffee

In Bali, you can buy a type of coffee called Kopi Luwak. One intriguing fact about it is you won’t be drinking a typical coffee. That’s because Kopi Luwak gets derived from undigested coffee cherry beans! They get refined from the waste material left by civet cats. Why is that type of coffee popular? Apparently, civet cats only eat the ripest coffee beans!

  1. It’s a popular destination for honeymooners

It doesn’t matter where people come from in the world. The island paradise is the top destination for newlyweds from all corners of the globe!

As a honeymooner, your journey may start in a luxury hotel in Bali. You could then explore the magic of the island with your new spouse. And let’s not forget the array of cuisines on offer for those romantic evening dinners! Of course, the only downside is you would need to leave and return home at some point!

  1. Not all beaches in Bali have beautiful white sand

You might not think it, but some of the sandy beaches on Bali is actually black! The reason for that is simple. The sand got formed from the cooled lava of the Mount Agung volcano.

  1. Seafood lovers will enjoy a veritable feast on Bali

Do you enjoy eating seafood? If so, Bali is the holiday destination for you! An astonishing fact about the island is that its waters are home to over 3,000 species of fish!

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5. Bali relies heavily on tourism

As you can imagine, the scenic island of Bali attracts a plethora of visitors each year. And it’s just as well because tourism makes up 80% of the island’s GDP! Islanders have nothing to worry about for their economy. There’s no danger of people not visiting the island any time soon!

  1. Bali islanders are fluent in many languages

As you explore the island, one thing will become apparent. The locals will talk in an array of different languages and dialects. Most islanders speak Balinese, Indonesian, and English. Many will also speak other languages too.

  1. Bali’s new year starts in silence

The first day of Bali’s new calendar is Nyepi. Translating as the “day of silence”, it gets celebrated every Isakawarsa (Bali new year). For 24 hours from 6 am, light and sound must get kept to a minimum. The Hindu celebration also states that no-one is allowed out onto the streets or beaches. In fact, even Bali’s main airport closes during Nyepi!

A Few Things You Should Know Before Visiting Kuala Lumpur

Asia, Malaysia

Malaysia is a dream destination for a lot of people. It is easy to see why it is on the travel bucket list for many people. I have been to the country before and I can see why people would want to visit it. Despite the awfully long queue at the airport immigration! A lot of people that aren’t native to Asia think that they won’t speak a lick of English. So that can put a lot of people off. The thing is, nearly everyone does speak English. So it is a great place to start off travel adventures. It doesn’t make it too ‘foreign’ in that way.

You can get around using English and asking the locals. On the whole, they are a lovely nation and seem happy to help in my experience. Just don’t talk too fast or go off in an in-depth conversation with them. Keep it simple and they will be able to understand and help.

You don’t need to worry about taxis or hiring a car when you are in Kuala Lumpur. The train system is amazing there. You can get a train from one of the airports and it will take you right into the heart of the city. You sometimes think that everything was built around the train system as it works so well. So when you are making a Kuala Lumpur hotel booking, choose one that has good access to a train station.

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Then you can get around to the see the sights and visit all of the amazing markets. They run every couple of minutes, and they are super cheap. It makes it so easy to get around. So you can feel like you are able to fit in a lot on your trip. As you will be able to get around and see it all easily.

On that note, markets are life in Malaysia. They are so vibrant and full of life. They are great to visit for a self-esteem boost too. Want to be told you are a handsome man that needs a handsome looking watch, then they are the places to be. Be fully prepared to haggle at the markets too. The stall owners are prepared for this and will go in with a high price. It is a good idea to go for at least half of the first price they give. Then go from there until you are at a price you are happy with.

One thing that you need to do in Kuala Lumpur is to try lots of the street food. As the name suggests, it is pretty cheap but truly amazing. You get to try all of the tastes of Malaysia. If you aren’t sure what to try first, it is a good idea to ask the locals. Maybe check with the hotel staff of where you are staying of where they would advise. They will have a better idea of the places that are popular and which areas might make you feel unwell.

Enjoy your trip!

Visiting China: Solo Travel Tips And Tricks

Asia, China

Believe it or not, China is a highly popular destination choice for solo travelers. It’s a relatively safe country to travel alone in, which makes it a brilliant place for first timers. With plenty of things to see and experience, there is no risk of you getting bored. Plus you won’t be completely alone as you’re in the most populated country on Earth. As with most countries, there are elements of traveling solo in China that can be difficult. But with the right preparation and planning, there is no reason why your trip should be ruined. Here are some useful tips and tricks to know before you set off.

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Download a translation app

One of the main issues that solo travelers face in China is the language barrier. The English language is not used as commonly as it is in other countries. There are a number of regional dialects which can make ordering food, asking for directions and getting help tough. You can learn some basic phrases before you leave such as thank you and hello. These can be found online or in Chinese travel guide books. Alternatively, you can download a translation app onto your phone to help you. This will make it far easier to communicate with the locals. You just need to keep your phone fully charged and secured throughout your stay.

Avoid scams

Being a solo traveler can, unfortunately, make you a target for Chinese scammers. From counterfeit money to tea-house scams, there are a number of things you need to look out for. Particularly in major tourist destinations such as Hong Kong and Beijing. Knowing about these scams is the best way to protect yourself from getting ripped off. Talk to other solo travellers on travel forums and read guide books to help you spot the signs of a scam. Your personal safety should be a top priority, so get clued up and get advice before you go.

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Join a tour to get you started

With so many places to visit and activities to try out, it can be difficult to know where to start. In the first few days, you might feel vulnerable and confused. So it’s wise to join a tour group in the initial part of your trip to help you familiarize yourself. Look into organised holidays to China to see what tours are available. Tours commonly run between a day and two weeks which means you have the freedom to take part as much as you like. They will help you meet other solo travelers while showing you some top Chinese attractions. It can also give you the confidence boost you need to explore independently. Even if you just join a tour group for a few days, it will be beneficial.

These tips and tricks should help you make the most out of every second of your solo visit to China. Any trip alone can be nerve-wracking, but it can also be eye-opening, fulfilling and rewarding. So if you want to travel to China alone, don’t let your fear stop you. Just be safe and smart throughout.

Note: Images inside the blog are from Flickr

Winter Adventures in Japan

Asia, Japan

Ask a casual traveler what he thinks of Japan and most likely, he will start talking about the mega city of Tokyo and its blinding lights, its efficient transport system, high cost of living, and great Japanese food. If the traveler is art and history inclined, then perhaps he will start dreaming of the imperial city of Kyodo, its perfectly preserved wooden houses and the beautiful geishas, clad in beautful kimonos, that walk around the old city.

But Japan is so much more than its first world megacities or historic towns.

Japan, a large archipelago in the East Asian region, has millions of other stories to tell and even more adventures to offer to different folks with different strokes.

Specifically, Japan’s Hokkaido region bristles with snow sports activities come winter season.

The Land of the Rising Sun’s unique feature is its fascinating geography which comes to life in the snow season and boasts of extreme, high-octane sporting activities.

With over 500 ski resorts nationwide, skiing and snowboarding are prominent winter sports best practiced at resorts in Hokkaido, Tohoku, Niigata, and Nagano.

You can also try other snow activities such as snow rafting, snow shoeing, cross country ski, and snowmobiling

Around Mt. Fuji, resorts such as Niseko,  Shiga Kogen, and Zao, offer marvelous views of the beauty of the great mountain.Of all three, Niseko is definitely the most popular and it attracts snow sports aficionados from all corners of the its powdery snow.

For travelers who enjoy high altitude, climbing the Daisetsuzan National Park in Hokkaido and Kamikochi in Nagano-ken should be top priority.

For those who are into a ore relaxed experience during the winter, one can head out to the famous Sapporo Winter held in February, and marvel at larger than life ice sculptures depicting famous people, places and landmarks from all over the world.

Started by a few high school and middle school students in the 1950s, the Sapporo Snow Festival has become an iconic event in Hokkaido which attracts about two million visitors from all over Japan and the world, every year. The festival is so popular that teams from Canada and the United States are even participating in it by sending teams.

Cebu Pacific has direct flights to Japan.For more information and flight bookings, visit www.cebupacificair.com

Photo Courtesy of Japan National Tourism Organization

Explore Singapore and Taiwan’s Quirky Attractions

Asia, Singapore, Taiwan

More than just a vast melting pot of cultures teeming with rich history and traditions, Asia is home to plenty of destinations that offer delightfully unexpected pleasures — from the fresh and eccentric, to the artistic and eclectic. Cebu Pacific, the Philippines’ leading airline, invites traveling Juans to take the quirky route in exploring some of Asia’s most exciting cities.

Singapore’s plethora of artistic happenings

Singapore may be known for its fast-rising skyscrapers and modern architectural wonders, but it is no longer just about the high-end and expensive.

For those who want to skip the usual commercial attractions, Haw Par Villa is an unusual theme park where one can learn of the country’s history and culture. Built in the 1930s by two Burmese brothers, the park displays a thousand statues depicting Chinese mythology, folklore, legends and history. Its most famous attraction is the Ten Courts of Hell, which shows gruesome and eerie scenes of hell according to Chinese mythology.

Travelers will feel that they are no longer in Singapore when they arrive at the Bollywood Veggies, a 10-acre countryside organic farm that serves organic home-cooked meals. Located in the beautiful Kranji Countryside, it is a refreshing treat for those who want a change of scenery from the city-state’s high-end and fancy restaurants.

Young Singaporeans who have a taste for the hip and cool are adding more character to the city-state as an upbeat hub for shopping and the arts.  A few blocks from the shopping area of Bugis are the narrow streets of Haji Lane and Arab Street. Littered with colorful street art, the area is lined with bars, cafes, and tiny picturesque shops that sell everything from unique fashion finds to stationeries, and art pieces.

Taiwan’s eclectic attractions

In Taipei, young people stay up late not to party in clubs but to hang out till the wee hours inside a 24-hour bookstore. Eslite, Taiwan’s biggest bookstore chain, has redefined the night life and made reading one of the hippest pastimes in the country. Here, the busiest hours are 10pm to 2am, when customers of all ages fill the bookstore, seated in corners or leaning by the bookshelves, all absorbed in their books.

Foodies and concept restaurant hunters will love Taipei’s abundance of themed cafes and restos such as A380 In-Flight Kitchen, Modern Toilet, Hello Kitty Sweets Cafe, and the Barbie Cafe. For the outdoorsy type, Yehliu Geopark, just 40 minutes from the capital, is an awe-inspiring natural marvel of rocks formed into shapes resembling figures such as the Queen’s Head, the Fairy’s Shoe, the Mushroom Rocks, the Tofu Rocks, and the Elephant Rocks.

Explore Asia beyond the usual tourist spots for a more interesting and memorable trip. Discover these cities’ quirky attractions via Cebu Pacific. For the latest seat sales and to book a ticket, visit www.cebupacificair.com.