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The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Langkawi, Malaysia

Known as the “Jewel of Kedah”, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands about 30 km off the coast of northwestern Malaysia. It was awarded UNESCO World Geopark status in 2007 and is home to lush forests, white sand beaches, waterfalls, caves, limestone cliffs, and mangroves.

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Korombia Izakaya: Where to Have Yakitori & Chicken Sashimi in Sapporo, Japan

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, an izakaya is a type of gastropub in Japan. It’s the Japanese equivalent of an American bar (like Cheers) or an Irish pub. They’re informal and unpretentious establishments where office workers would go to loosen their ties and get a quick drink after work.

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Sapporo Snow Festival: A Week of Snowmen, Ice Sculptures, and PPAP in Hokkaido, Japan

It’s interesting to learn that the Sapporo Snow Festival began as a one-day event way back in 1950 when six local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. Today, it’s become an annual event attracting over 2 million visitors every year.

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Historical Village of Hokkaido: An Idyllic Open Air Museum in Sapporo, Japan

This Historical Village of Hokkaido is an open-air museum on the outskirts of Sapporo. It features about 60 period structures spread out over an area of 54 hectares. All the buildings are from the Meiji and Taisho eras (mid-19th to early 20th century) and were recreated to reflect what pioneer life in Hokkaido was like.

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Shirakaba Sansou: Where to Have Sapporo’s Signature Miso Ramen in Ramen Alley

When doing research for this trip, I saw many locals refer to Ramen Alley as a tourist trap, a place to steer clear from if you were serious about miso ramen. They warned of the ramen restaurants in downtown Sapporo that served them with sweet corn (gasp!). Sweet corn in ramen is for tourists they said, and something to avoid at all costs.

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Snowmobile Land: Where to Ride a Snowmobile in Sapporo, Japan

It’s funny, Snowmobile Land gets a little sexist when it comes to riding in pairs. For safety, they don’t allow women to ride together. In the event that a man and a woman share a snowmobile, only the man is allowed to drive. I know it’s because the steering on snowmobiles is a little heavy, but still. Try telling that to Xena.

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Takinami Shokudo: Where to Have Overflowing Bowls of Kaisendon in Otaru, Japan

Otaru is a small port town less than an hour away by train from Sapporo. It’s a lovely town known for its beautifully preserved canal, its wealth of dairy shops, and the freshest seafood. Some say that the best seafood in Hokkaido can be found right here in Otaru.

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