Best Places to Visit Europe in Fall

Fall is one of the most beautiful and fun times to visit Europe. The weather is perfect, not too hot and not too cool. The harvests are finished and locals everywhere are celebrating with all kinds of festivals. As we have with our Europe in Spring, Summer, and Winter articles, we’ve asked fellow travelers to let us know where they think is the best place to go during the autumn season. Some places are obvious, like chasing the fall foliage in the Alps; other locations might just be a surprise! Check out all the Great Places to Head to during Fall in Europe Santorini, Greece by Tasha Amy of Backpackers Wanderlust When you think about Santorini, you don’t really think …

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The Best Accommodation and Hotels in Japan

When budgeting for travel around Japan it is imperative to think about your accommodations. Hotels in Japan run from small and cheap to sprawling and extremely expensive. Many of the hotels are just a place to spend the night, but other types of accommodations in Japan,  like capsule hotels or ryokans,  provide a full on Japanese experience, and we fully recommend you try different types of stays while you are here,  so you can get a true picture of Japanese travel culture. We’ve compiled a list of not only our favorite places to stay in this amazing country, but we’ve enlisted the help from some other travel pros as well.  We’re sure you will find the best stays for your …

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Visiting the Banaue Rice Terraces

Leaf Sliding Philippines

Banana Leaf to the Batad Valley Floor Visiting the Philippines had been on my list for ages, and I really was excited by two sights.  Getting out of Manila, we planned to tick off Palawan and the Underground River as well as the amazing rice terraces of Banaue, both world heritage sites.  When we woke up to find transportation to Banaue, boy was I ready! The Banaue Rice terraces of Ifuago in the Philippines are some of the most difficult areas we’ve traveled to. We’re not big trekkers, so I’m sure some of our readers may disagree, but for us the hike into and up and around these amazing 2,000 year old terraced fields was daunting. Of course, the high …

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The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly! Animal Cafés in Japan

Animal Cafes in Japan

Animal Cafés Japan- Coffee with a Side of Love! Most homes in Japan are tiny and either not suited for pets or pets just aren’t allowed. People love animals though, and not getting some kitty cuddles on occasion is hard. Japan has an answer for everything, however, so the Cat Café was born. Because of their dedication and love for animals, the Japanese believe in taking good car of them and have strict animal laws. For example, most animal cafés will close by 8 PM since animals (even owls) aren’t allowed to work after that. There are plenty of Tokyo animal cafes, cats, owls, capybaras, pigs, so no matter where you go in Japan you won’t be far from one. Cat …

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How to Eat Shabu Shabu

While we were living in South Korea, the “English” teachers, took Devon and I to this fantastic restaurant and introduced us to Shabu Shabu; it quickly became our favorite Korean dish. This meal supposedly originally came to Korea with the invading Mongols.  All of us had had Shabu Shabu in Japan, and in theory it could be the same dish, but this is definitely one item that trumps the one from Japan.  In Japan, the waitress brings you a plate of mushrooms, vegetables, and meat, you dump the whole mess into a pot of boiling clear, unseasoned broth, and when you are ready, you eat it.  It’s not bad, in fact it’s pretty good, especially on a cold winter’s day.  …

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The Killer Trek to the Buddha of Health, Gatbawi- South Korea

Famous in Daegu is a stone Buddha with a hat. Gatbawi is the Buddha of health, and many Koreans make a pilgrimage to him to attain blessings.  We’ve never seen a Buddha statue with a hat before, except for the many images of it plastered all over the city.  It would be criminal to have lived in Daegu three years and never climbed Mt. Palgong to see it.  So we did.  We did it!  It was tough, but we persevered!   Boy, did our thigh muscles scream for the next four days….but we did it! We climbed up there last Sunday, exactly one week ago.  As we drove up and up, we figured that great, the more we drove up the mountain, the …

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101 Japanese Kit Kat Candy Bars – A Taste Challenge

101 Japanese Kit Kat Candy Bars - A Taste Challenge

Japanese Kit Kat Flavors That Will Surprise You Kit Kat candy bars; everybody has had one, right? These chocolate-covered wafers will tickle anyone’s sweet tooth, but in Japan they have taken Kit Kats to a whole new level. Maybe Not Quite 101 Japanese Kit Kat Candy Bars Ten years ago, the Japanese began to expand on the traditional Kit Kat bar and opened up a whole new era of tastes. To begin with, in the mid-1990s, they tried out a bitter chocolate, and by the end of the 90s they had added strawberry to the mix. These new Japanese Kit Kat flavors were a hit, and after that they came up with new flavors every year. For the first few …

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