Travel Etiquette: Knowing Culture

Sometimes when we go travel, we may become oblivious to some of the standard practices and society norms, which is understandable considering we are already consumed by new imageries and languages surrounding us; it is already quite overwhelming to intake.  It’s too often that what we learned from home becomes a habit, and that we carry these behaviors into other countries which may irk the locals in unintended ways.  I myself have committed such errors of course, and that’s why I recognise the importance of having this post.  By the way, this will be an ongoing post whenever I come up with something more.  Here are a couple of etiquettes you should be aware of when travelling to a new country:

Continue reading Travel Etiquette: Knowing Culture

Outskirts of Taipei – Keelung, Jiufen, Houtong Cat Village, Tamsui, Ruifang

In my previous post on Nonstop Eating in Taipei, I again talked about all the different types of restaurants, food stalls, and nightlife places you could check out within the vicinity of the main areas of Taipei.  But the real fun from this trip were during my moments when I was exploring the outskirts of Taipei – Keelung for the Keelung Squid Festival, Jiufen Old Street, Houtong Cat Village, Tamsui, and briefly Ruifang when coming back from Jiufen.

It’s quite nice to visit these areas, just because they offer a glimpse of a different side of Taipei that you don’t really get to see.  Anyway, this post will be broken down into different sections by each area that I visited.

Continue reading Outskirts of Taipei – Keelung, Jiufen, Houtong Cat Village, Tamsui, Ruifang

Nonstop Eating in Taipei

You know you’re really getting a sense and vibe of a city once you start exploring the outer parts of the city.  For example, in Tokyo the first few times I would stick around the areas of Shibuya, Shinjuku, Roppongi… you know, all the main districts you have to first go as a tourist in Tokyo.  Then once you’ve been there multiple times, you will want to start to explore other less popular areas.  This usually happens with me around the 4th to 5th time I visit a city.  Taipei was no exception – this time, besides just being around Taipei 101, I managed to go to Jiufen Old Street, Keelung, Tamsui, and Houtong Cat Village.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this in my previous blog posts, probably did, but I tend to be attracted to places closer to the seaside.  That’s why some of my top favourite cities in the world that I’ve been to include Barcelona, Cape Town, Gold Coast, pretty much everywhere in Japan, the French Riviera etc.  That’s why I would say that I actually enjoyed going to places like Keelung and Tamsui, where I was treated to beautiful, stunning sunsets that left an indelible memory for me (I realised how much of a sucker I am for sunsets, especially the sunsets that morphs the skies from your typical sky blue to delicious colors like pink, purple, gold that occur on a sporadical basis).

For this blog post, I will start off by naming the things I did in Taipei and breaking down by the usual sections – accommodations, foods, things to do, nightlife etc. then I will do each section by each area that I covered.  I will share what I did, my opinions, fun anecdotes etc.

Edit: After writing this post, I realised just covering the main part of Taipei itself was way too long, so the upcoming/next post will focus on the outer skirts of Taipei like Keelung, Tamsui, Jiufen, Houtong, and Ruifang district.  It’s out!  Read more at Outskirts of Taipei.

Continue reading Nonstop Eating in Taipei

ITE – The Lesser Visited Places in Japan

As iterated from the previous post, I went to an International Travel Expo in Hong Kong just one week ago.  Took a lot of pamphlets and brochures, and wanted to share some resources that I got.

 

Niigata in Japan (70 minutes from Tokyo)

50 years ago Niigata was an important trade hub with the highest levels of culture and the largest population in Japan.  The resonance of Jomon era pottery from 5000 years ago and modern day art.

Accommodations – Akakura Onsen Ski Resort, Akakura Kanko Resort Ski, Ikenotaira Onsen Ski Resort, Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort, Sekionsen Ski Resort, Lotte Arai Resort, Qupidvalley Ski Resort, Charmant Hiuchi Ski Resort, Naeba Ski Resort, Kagura Ski Resort, Kandatsu Kogen Ski Resort, Iwappara Ski Resort, Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort, Joetsu Kokusai Ski Resort, NASPA Ski Garden, Okutadami Maruyama Ski Resort, New Greenpia Tsunan Ski Resort Continue reading ITE – The Lesser Visited Places in Japan

International Travel Expo: Chiang Mai, Saipan, Sabah, Switzerland, Almaty, Nordic

 

Just one week ago, I attended the International Travel Expo in Hong Kong.  Due to my passion in travel, I pretty much grabbed every single brochure and pamphlet there was.  Now I wanted to share some of the resources I got from this expo.  We won’t go into details, just some websites and some references of different activities you can be doing at each place.  Besides the cities in Switzerland, I hope the below cities are places that are less major cities and less visited by tourists.

 

Thailand

(Activity) Ran-Tong Elephant Save & Rescue Elephant Centrewww.bestelephantsanctuarychiangmai.com and email at rantong_cm@hotmail.com; different programs for you to interact with elephants

Continue reading International Travel Expo: Chiang Mai, Saipan, Sabah, Switzerland, Almaty, Nordic

Serendipity Moments in Taipei

Just an hour away from Hong Kong, Taipei makes for an excellent weekend getaway for anyone who wants to escape from the materialistic, modern, and hectic culture of Hong Kong.  Although they typically share the same weather, with horrid humidity and typhoons during the summer, their cultures are actually quite different.  You will experience this just from listening to how each of them speak their languages.  Hong Kong people when they speak Cantonese are much more rough and aggressive, whereas Taiwanese speak their Mandarin in a very gentle and polite manner.  Their mannerisms and the way they walk reflect this too.

This trip around, I made it a point not to do any research on what to do or what to eat in Taipei.  Influenced by my cousin in law’s quote about how we don’t get lost and discover anymore, and that we all end up doing the same thing as covered by blogs and Instagram, I decided to just go with the flow and discover any restaurants by chance. Continue reading Serendipity Moments in Taipei

Fukuoka, Aso, and Sea Hell in Beppu

It’s been a couple years since I went to Fukuoka, Aso and Beppu.  We joined one of those tour groups so I didn’t prepare any itinerary.  As with most tour groups, there were a lot of bus riding, a lot of mediocre restaurants, and some OK hotels that we stayed in (so clearly this wasn’t my decision).

This will be purely a photo blog.

 

FukuokaDome shaped hotels in Aso Farm Village.  They also have Dom shaped onsen Continue reading Fukuoka, Aso, and Sea Hell in Beppu

One Night in Guangzhou

With plane ticket prices jacked up during Christmas period but still wanting to travel, we decided, “Why not try the new High Speed Railway in Hong Kong?” and go somewhere in China, like Guangzhou?  So two days before our trip, we decided to book our hotels and train tickets, leaving on a Thursday, and coming back to Hong Kong the following night.  So yeah, one night in Guangzhou.

One look at the people from Guangzhou and you can see the huge resemblance, in fact I would say just a mirror copy, of people from Hong Kong.  Compared with other Asians such as Japanese, Taiwanese, Koreans, even other provinces from China, you could still see some sort of difference between them and Hong Kong people.  But with Guangzhou, you could literally swap these two populations and they wouldn’t differ in terms of their physical appearances.

In fact, I could quickly imagine how Hong Kong would have been if it wasn’t occupied by the British but instead was governed by China all this time… it may have been very identical to the city of Guangzhou. Continue reading One Night in Guangzhou

One of the Best Places to Eat in the World is in Florence, Italy

Florence to me is such a beautiful city.  She has a marvelous and striking appearance – her natural beauty is apparent in the morning, but after putting on her “makeup” at night, she becomes radiant.

Notable famous people who were born in Florence included Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.  Things you have to visit include the Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia and the Florence Cathedral.

People have suggested that the word Florence is derived from the Latin word, florere, which means blooming, which is pretty close to the Italian word for flower which is fiore. Continue reading One of the Best Places to Eat in the World is in Florence, Italy