My Japanese ryokan hopping adventure 2018-2019 – 7 Ryokans in 3 months

It's been a whirlwind 2019 and I do apologise to my readers for the long radio silence. It's been a mad year of renovating and moving house which can be terribly intense. I am back in action again! Many of my fans often ask me what I look for or where to go when picking Ryokans. Given I hit my all time high list of visiting 7 Japanese ryokans in a mere 3 months during the season of Fall Winter 2018-2019, I thought it would be most apt to share with you snippets of my travels to these mostly new areas and ryokans and my own rating reviews of them based on 1 to 5 (5 being the best). I often look at the ryokan first...

Exploring South Puglia in summer

If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-track, wallet friendly, and not swamped-with-tourists destination in Italy, I think Puglia is the answer. For summer last year, I headed out to Puglia for Summer Part 2 (first part being my hot but enjoyable trip to Karuizawa), joining my travelling buddies from Hong Kong. Known for their abundance of olive groves (Fun fact: Puglia is the largest producer of olive oil in Italy), quaint coastal beaches and hilly town, their seafood is also one of the best and relatively cheaper then the central cities of Italy like Milan and Rome. We booked a large villa called Villa Elia in this small town of Parabita. This is close to the most southern part of Puglia, and the closest seaside town...

Best way to experience Karuizawa

Karuizawa is a beautiful upmarket mountain resort located in the Nagano Prefecture. It's definitely not a cheap place compared to some other countryside areas, and has developed as a popular place for many Japanese to visit especially during Summer, with many affluent ones owning a second home here. I aptly call it the Hamptons of Japan. The great part of Karuizawa is its accessibility to Tokyo via the Hokoriku Shinkansen in slightly over an hour, making it even possible as a day trip. And some fun facts if you didn't know, this was John Lennon and Yoko Ono's favourite place to spend their summers with their son John back in the 1970s. I would caution anyone coming here not to just spend a day here, it's nice...

Best of Kusatsu Onsen

For my summer getaway this year, I did almost the unthinkable of visiting Japan in July! Unthinkable because it's the summer season then, and all I could say was my furry paws and body was just sweating profusely in the hot humid weather years ago when I went to my favourite country during the hot summer months. Nevertheless, GS my travel buddy convinced Y and I that we could escape to the nearby highlands like Karuizawa which had a cooler climate during summer. We've always wanted to visit this area, and I figured it must be a sign when I was watching the latest season of Terrace House on Netflix, also set in Karuizawa (Yes, guys, watch this series, it can get terribly addictive) ! One of...

Kayotei Ryokan and exploring Yamanaka onsen

Recharged from our first night in Kanazawa staying at the lovely Asadaya Ryokan, I made my way with Y and her best gal pals to our next stop to Kayotei Ryokan, an hour's drive away. Located in the small hotsprings area of Yamanaka, Kayotei is a traditional ryokan, family-owned inn of only 10 rooms. I booked it through my favourite website - Ryokan Collection months ahead of time just to be safe! (1 Chome-ホ20 Yamanakaonsen Higashimachi, Kaga-shi, Ishikawa-ken 922-0114, Japan, Tel: +81 761-78-1410) Getting here You could take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kanazawa and then take a car down, or also fly into Komatsu Airport (from Tokyo or nearby other Japan cities), which is about a 30 minutes car ride from Kayotei Ryokan....

Kanazawa Travel in 24 hours

In celebration of Y's big 40 last year, we went for a nice girlie getaway with some of her best gal pals to Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. This post describes the first part of the trip where we stayed in Asadaya Ryokan in Kanazawa for the first night, before moving on to the Kaga area to stay in Kayotei for the next 2 nights. It was definitely too short a trip, as there was so much to do and see, but what makes Kanazawa so convenient is also its proximity to Tokyo, which means I could come back here again in the near future! Getting to Kanazawa The best way to get to Kanazawa is via the Hokuriku Shinkansen, it's about a 1 hour and 35 minutes ride...

Cusco and Sacred Valley Travel

Sacred Valley - with my new furry friends
In my final post on my amazing trip to Peru last year with R & Y, I will delve into the best sights to visit while in Cusco and Sacred Valley. These 2 destinations are a natural place to stop by if you are going to Machu Picchu. We chose to stop by in Cusco for 2 nights stay before going to Machu Picchu for a night, after which Urubamba in Sacred Valley was the last stop in Peru where we chilled out for 3 nights. You may decide to do it in the reverse order, purely because Urubamba is lower in altitude at 2900m versus Cusco at 3400m and might be a more natural base to stop by to let yourself slowly climatize to the altitude...

Machu Picchu Travel

The highlight of our my big Peru trip with Y and R was definitely visiting Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world. Yeah, I made it to one of them finally! In researching for this leg of the trip, I did consider if we should do the intense hike options or the leisurely type for the travellers like us that like to take it easy. So hmm, guess what we chose, hee hee, yes you guessed right the leisure option. There's the 4 days Inca Trail through Machu Picchu, the 7 days intense hike through the Salkantay region that one can take, but we figured it be nicer to just do a more gentle hike, see the key scenic spots and stay in a...

Things to do in Lima

Lima was our first exciting destination into South America, a part of the world that Y and I have never been to and we were so stoked to be here with R, as part of Y's celebratory 40th birthday trip. We flew from Singapore to Los Angeles to chill for a few days before making our way to Lima via Latam Airlines, not the cheapest airfare I must say, since they are the only airlines that fly direct from Los Angeles to Lima. Anyhow, the flight experience was pretty decent, and we caught the most amazing views as the pilot told us to observe the views as we arrived into Lima. It was so surreal seeing the tips of the Andes mountain ranges peeping through the...

Best of Bolivia – the must sees in Bolivia for first timers

In my follow up post from last year's feature on my top few wanderlust locations - the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia, I find it an absolute must to let you all know the Best of Bolivia if you are visiting this exotic country for the first time, given it's not such an easy place to get to for most folks like me and Y. First some necessary basics about Bolivia to prepare yourself for. Start taking some altitude sickness pills before getting in here. With the airport at La Paz at just a 'mere' altitude of 4100m and even our overnight hotel at Atix Hotel was at 3100m , it takes some getting used to, even despite us taking some medication 2 days before arrival...
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