I had heard about websites like Inspitrip, sites that connected travelers to local hosts or guides. Tourists can have local experiences that go beyond the usual travel agency tours, things like enjoying a home-cooked Vietnamese meal at someone’s home or going bar-hopping in Saigon with locals.
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.
Davao is a model city. It’s one of the most progressive cities in the Philippines and one of the safest in Southeast Asia. We got to experience this first-hand on our trip to Davao and with this guide, we hope you do too.
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.
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.
Otaru is lovely. Spend a few hours there and you’ll understand its appeal. Unlike Sapporo which is a busy metropolis, Otaru is a small port city known for its well-preserved canal and heritage buildings.
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.
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.
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.
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.