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Saving Money while Visit Tokyo, Japan

visit-tokyoHere are tips for doing Tokyo on the cheap :

Accommodation

  • Search around online months ahead for inns, as rates can vary significantly. The best arrangements have a tendency to be on the east side of town, in neighborhoods, for example, Ueno and Asakusa. Keep away from the pinnacle local travel times of New Year, Golden Week (late April to early May), and Obon (mid-August), or book well ahead of time on the off chance that you can’t.
  • While business lodgings tend to need character – rooms are minimized and practical – now and again they can be a superior arrangement than private rooms at inns, particularly in case you’re going as a couple. There are a few decent spending business lodgings that offer twofold or twin rooms from around ¥8000 (US$80). One of the best esteem is the Toyoko Inn chain.
  • Tokyo hostels are known for being clean and well-managed, catering for younger and older travellers. Most have a mixture of dorms and private rooms and can be a good option for families on a budget. Expect to pay about ¥2800 (US$28) for a dorm and ¥7500 (US$75) for a private room (double occupancy).
  • Capsule hotels offer rooms the size of a single bed, with just enough headroom for you to sit up. Most are men-only (such as Capsule & Sauna Century), though some have floors for women, too. Prices range from ¥3500 (US$35) to ¥5000 (US$50), which usually includes access to a large shared bath and sauna.
  • All-night manga kissa (cafes for reading comic books) double as ultra-discount lodgings, some with private cubicles, showers, blanket rental and vending machines for food. A ‘night pack’ (for nine to 12 hours) starts at around ¥1500 (US$15). Gran Cyber Cafe Bagus (bagus-99.com/internet_cafe), with branches in Shinjuku and Shibuya, is one of the nicer chains. You probably wouldn’t want to spend many nights like this, but one or two would free up some yen.
  • You can have an overnight stay at a love hotel, known in Japanese asrabu hoteru, from ¥6500 (US$65); you can’t stay consecutive nights, though. Some love hotels have over-the-top interiors (and amenities that range from costumes to video-game consoles). There are dozens of options on Dōgenzaka in Shibuya.
  • Many spas and saunas – Spa LaQua and Ōedo Onsen Monogatariincluded – have ‘relaxation rooms’ with mats on the floor or reclining chairs where you can overnight for an extra fee (about ¥1500 to ¥2000).

Food & drink

  • Get good-value meals at shokudō, inexpensive, all-around eateries, usually found at train stations and tourists sites. A fillingteishoku (set-course meal) usually includes a main dish of meat or fish, rice, miso soup and salad, for around ¥1000 (US$10).
  • You can fill your belly with a steaming bowl of noodles at tachigui, stand-and-eat noodle bars in and around train stations, for as little as ¥350 (US$3.50) per bowl. If you prefer to sit while you eat, you can get a bowl of ramen for under ¥1000 at one of Tokyo’s many noodle joints, such as Nagi in Shinjuku.
  • Try kaiten-zushi (conveyor-belt sushi), for a casual sushi lunch or dinner. Individual plates are priced from ¥100 to ¥500.
  • Fortify yourself with a drink and some small bites such as yakitori(grilled chicken skewers) at street stalls and izakaya, the Japanese equivalent of a pub.
  • Look out for lunch specials. Restaurants that charge several thousand yen per person for dinner often serve lunch for just ¥1000.
  • In the evenings, grocery stores, bakeries and depachika (department-store basement food halls) slash prices on bentō (boxed meals), baked goods and sushi. Two depachika to try are Isetan in Shinjuku andMitsukoshi in Nihombashi.
  • Convenience stores (major chains include Lawson, 7-Eleven and Family Mart) stock sandwiches, onigiri (rice balls), hot dishes and drinks, which you can assemble into a very affordable (if not exactly healthy) meal.
  • Food trucks gather around the Tokyo International Forum at lunchtime on weekdays, with a range of goodies for under ¥1000. They also make an appearance at the weekend farmers’ market in Aoyama. And listen out for Tokyo’s original food trucks: the yaki-imo (roasted whole sweet potato) carts that rove the city from October to March crooning ‘yaki-imohhhhh…!’.
  • Beer can be bought from a vending machine at half the price of one at a bar.

Out & about

  • If you plan on visiting a few museums, the Grutt Pass (rekibun.or.jp/grutto) is excellent value. The pass costs ¥2000 and allows discounted admission at 79 attractions across the city.
  • Shop tax-free at a number of stores; these are noted with a ‘tax-free’ sticker in English on the window. You need spend a minimum of ¥5000 in the store and show your passport to collect the tax refund at the time of purchase (items must remain unopened until you leave the country). See the Japan Tax-Free Shop guide (tax-freeshop.jnto.go.jp) for more.
  • Stock up on just about everything (household goods, souvenirs, toiletries, snacks) at hyaku-en (¥100) stores, where all items cost – you guessed it – ¥100 (or thereabouts). There are many hyaku-enshops around; Daiso is one of the biggest chains.
  • A prepaid train pass – the interchangeable Suica and Pasmo – is recommended. It saves users a couple of yen per journey compared with buying individual tickets, but also makes travel a breeze as you can pass through ticket gates of any train or subway station without having to work out fares. Suica and Pasmo can also be used on buses and to pay for things in some convenience stores, station kiosks and vending machines.

Things to Do in Philippines

luzon-trekkingThe Philippines is legitimately known for its shorelines, however the nation isn’t just about finding a secluded patch of sand and sinking into a sun-kissed trance. The 7000 or more islands of the Philippines offer a variety of more courageous interests that can raise any thrill seeker’s heartbeat. Here are about six thoughts to locate the right island for your enterprise.

Samar for spelunking

Any mention of the island of Samar  is usually preceded by the word ‘rugged’. Surfers speak in awe of the barely accessible waves on the east coast, while the dense interior forests provide a rare chance to spot the Philippines’ national bird, the endangered Philippine Eagle. But caving is by far the biggest draw.

The tours run by Trexplore  out of Catbalogan  will blow you away. Don your full-body canvas spelunking suit and helmet equipped with a calcium-carbide gas lamp, and follow your tour leader into the abyss. For the next five hours you’ll be swimming through underground streams, plunging through karst tunnels, and slithering under low-hanging stalactites. It’s the ultimate Indiana Jones adventure. Multi-day underground odysseys are also available.

 Mindanao for whitewater rafting

While some parts of Mindanao are no-go zones because of safety concerns, the northern part of the Philippines’ largest island is considered safe – not to mention scenically splendid and ripe for adventure.

While the big rapids are in North Luzon, the rafting window up there is short. In the northern Mindanao city of Cagayan de Oro, you can raft the Cagayan River year-round on rapids that can reach Class IV. It’s equal parts thrilling and scenic, and longer trips involve a lunch and hangout time with your super-cool Filipino rafting guides – CDO Bugsay River Rafting  is one of several operators. From Cagayan de Oro you are just a couple of hours by boat to another adventure wonderland, volcano-studded Camiguin.

Mindoro for diving

The Philippines are well known as a top-class dive destination, but the country’s best scuba spot is somewhat off the radar of the average visitor. That would be Apo Reef, a glorious, mostly sunken atoll just two hours off the west coast of Mindoro.

While most of the Philippines is known for its colourful macro (small) sea life, Apo Reef is a smorgasbord of both macro life and larger creatures. On some dives you might lose count of how many sharks, rays and sea turtles you spot. For years it was difficult to access Apo Reef because of poor roads leading to the main jumping-off town, Sablayan. Now smooth highways and improved flight connections from Manila to nearby San Juan mean you can depart Manila in the morning and be on the reef by midday with Apo Reef Club, an hour north of San Juan.

Palawan for sea kayaking

Palawan is best known for the spectacular limestone formations of theBacuit Archipelago  off El Nido, but several hours north of El Nido by boat is the adventure paradise of Coron. Scuba divers flock to the area to explore several dozen WWII wrecks in Coron Bay off Busuanga Island. The bay is dotted with idyllic islands that provide shelter and good camping spots, and some of the best snorkelling in the Philippines. Sea kayakers can spend up to a week hopping around the islands here, fishing for their food and basking in the serene aura of isolation. Tribal Adventures  has quality kayaks and can tailor a trip to your tastes and skill level.

Luzon for trekking

Rugged terrain of all stripes makes the Philippines’ massive main island a trekkers’ delight. The hiking is best in the northern Cordillera mountains. Camp overnight on peaks such as 2922m Mt Pulag  or Mt Napulawan  (2642m) and wake up to watch the sun rise over the sea of clouds – a magical sight. Secure guides and camping equipment before you set out and dress warmly, as temperatures drop into the single digits up top. Trekking amid the Unesco-recognised rice terraces aroundBanaue, Ifugao Province, is an experience not to be missed; while remote Mountain Province and Kalinga Province  are great places to visit hill tribes on village-to-village hikes.

Heading south of Manila, volcanoes are the name of the game. With its perfect cone, Mt Mayon  (2462m) in southeast Luzon is the headliner. ‘Mayon’ means ‘beautiful’ in the local dialect, but it’s an angry, active beauty. If it’s rumbling or threatened by a typhoon don’t climb it, as there have been accidents – heed any warnings and exclusions zones that are in place (see the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, phivolcs.dost.gov.ph, for volcano alerts). Several additional volcanoes line the nine-hour route between Manila and Mt Mayon along the ‘ring of fire’.

Luzon has plenty of additional adventures – surfing on both the east and west sides of the island, wakeboarding, mountain biking, rafting, and kayaking, just to name a few. North Luzon Outdoor Center  in hippie-haven Sagada, Mountain Province, organises rafting and other tours in the Cordillera.

Bohol for stand-up paddleboarding

The southern Visayan island of Bohol  is best known for its diving, but lately it has emerged as the place to try a more new-fangled type of activity: stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). The emerald-green Loboc River slithers through a deep canyon draped in tropical forest – set out early in the morning when the rich birdlife is at its most active. A ways upstream a waterfall provides a perfect backdrop for SUP yoga, which sees practitioners go through yoga poses on their boards.

Visiting Raja Ampat, Indonesia

raja-ampatPicture a tropical archipelago of steep, wilderness secured islands, sparkling white-sand shorelines, shrouded tidal ponds and brilliant turquoise waters. Presently toss in unblemished coral reefs possessed by billows of tie-kicked the bucket fish. Place it in a remote corner of Indonesia to a great extent obscure to outside visitors, and you wind up with the Raja Ampat islands: a definitive tropical heaven.

Why go?

It’s a major call, yet the accumulation of 1500-odd islands and islets scattered off the northwest tip of Indonesian Papua that involve Raja Ampat is really one of Southeast Asia’s most wonderful archipelagos. In the event that that isn’t a sufficient motivation to put Raja Ampat on your must-visit list then consider the jumping, which numerous powers on the matter case is among the world’s ideal.

Little-known outside hardcore off-the-beaten-track travel circles until the last few years, Raja Ampat’s huge, largely pristine coral reef systems and staggering marine diversity are a diver’s dream. Described by scientists as a ‘species factory’, this region nestled in the heart of the Coral Triangle is home to more than 10 times the number of hard coral species found in the Caribbean.

When to go

Raja Ampat is a year-round destination, although many diving outfits cease operations between July and September, when the usually calm seas can get quite rough. For the calmest waters and best visibility for diving, aim for a visit between November and March. The Raja Ampat region receives the heaviest rain from May to October, which can also make jungle walks treacherous.

When to go

Raja Ampat is a year-round destination, although many diving outfits cease operations between July and September, when the usually calm seas can get quite rough. For the calmest waters and best visibility for diving, aim for a visit between November and March. The Raja Ampat region receives the heaviest rain from May to October, which can also make jungle walks treacherous.

Despite the general fishy abundance, some of Raja Ampat’s reefs are more interesting than others. Among the most celebrated dive spots isCape Kri, located at the eastern end of Pulau Kri – a world record 374 fish species was counted during a single dive here in 2012. Schools of barracuda, jackfish, batfish and snapper coexist here with small reef fish, rays, sharks, turtles and groupers, and the coral itself is out-of-this-world beautiful.

Other incredible dive spots include Manta Sandy, between Mansuar and Arborek islands, where masses of huge manta rays, some with wingspans over 5m, wait above large coral heads to be cleaned by small wrasses. The Sardine Reef, 4km northeast of Kri, slopes down to 33m, and is home to so many fish that it can get quite dark! The fish-and-coral combination here has made it popular among underwater photographers.

Beyond the reef

Raja Ampat isn’t just for divers. The forested islands are home to two bird-of-paradise species (the red and the Wilson’s, which can both be spotted on Waigeo and Batanta islands), along with a realm of lizards, snakes, tortoises, opossums and other birdlife. Almost every dive lodge and homestay can arrange pre-dawn tours that will take you to forest hideouts overlooking bird-of-paradise ‘concert arenas’, but dedicated twitchers would be wise to consider opting for one of the excellent birding tours offered by Papua Expeditions.

Most homestays can also organise visits to local villages, pearl farms and cave systems, as well as arrange hiking guides.

Where to stay

Accommodation in Raja Ampat can be neatly divided into three categories. For beach bums happy to loll under the palms and engage in a bit of lazy snorkelling, the growing number of homestays are ideal – Pulau Kri and Pulau Gam have particularly rich pickings. Many homestays also offer diving, butsafety standards and equipment maintenance can be questionable.

For serious divers, there are a dozen-odd quality dedicated dive resorts in the region which generally offer one- to two-week packages including transfers, meals and a couple of dives per day. Top picks include Raja Ampat Biodiversity (rajaampatbiodiversity.com) and Kri Eco Resort(papua-diving.com/kri-eco-resort). Finally, for the ultimate in Raja Ampat living, there are liveaboard dive boats, such as Grand Komodo (komodoalordive.com), which are essentially floating dive resorts which sail sedately from one pristine coral reef to the next. Some itineraries combine Raja Ampat with the Banda Islands off neighbouring Maluku.

How to get there

The nearest major airport to the Raja Ampat islands is in the mainland city of Sorong. There are flights here from the likes of Jakarta, Pulau Ambon (Maluku), Jayapura (Papua), Manado and Makassar (Sulawesi). From Sorong it’s a short ferry ride to Waisai, on the island of Waigeo, where homestay operators will pick you up. Most top-end dive resorts and liveaboards will pick you up from Sorong.

Getting to and from most places to stay in Raja Ampat requires using a speed boat transfer (all accommodation options offer this service), which requires a bit of planning; book accommodation and transfers in advance. Note that prices (for everything) are considerably higher than in Java, Bali, Sumatra and other more mainstream Indonesian tourism destinations.

Smart Ideas: Experts Revisited

How to Get a Small Business Website

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Get to make sure that when you are creating the website, therefore, you will be able to focus on learning what it is that your clients would like and also make sure that you can be able to provide them with what they would like thus being able to achieve client satisfaction, more so, get to work on your relationship with the clients thus making it much stronger. By getting to learn more about what your clients expect from you, you will be able to focus on making sure that you can be able to attain it, that is, you can be able to ensure that they are satisfied with the products and services that you provide them, more so, you get to ensure that you can come up with a strong bond.

A website is something that should be able to speak to your clients, it should be something appealing thus making sure that the client has no need of leaving or even looking for the product elsewhere, with a marvelous website, you will be able to make therefore sure that you can be able to increase the number of your clients which will also bring about bigger profits. Meaning, your clients will be satisfied with the looks of your website since they do not have to go through a hard time looking for what they want, it is just a matter of seconds, and they have found the specific product or even service that they were looking for, so doing gets to ensure that the clients become loyal to your brand.
Getting Creative With Services Advice

You should therefore get to focus on making sure that you can be able to find a great host, that is, a domain name provider who will not have to charge much for you to attain a domain name or even get to host your website, therefore, as a small company, you do not have to spend much. When you have been able to find a great host, you get to attain some benefits like being able to view your daily traffic or even get to choose some themes for your new website.Questions About Companies You Must Know the Answers To

Outdoor Adventures in Kosovo

Stand anyplace in Kosovo and you will feel the draw of the mountains. This little, jewel molded nation is totally encompassed by lofty pinnacles, making it maybe one of Europe’s most shocking experience sports goals. Whether you want to take in the view while holding the handlebars of a bicycle, or while dashing through the air high over a gulch or running through a lavish mountain clearing, there’s bounty to offer even the most brave outside devotees.
In spite of the growing variety of ways to experience Kosovo’s natural beauty, the promotion efforts of its adventure industry have been largely of the word-of-mouth variety until recently. While those in the know might be happy to keep the unspoiled magic of Kosovo’s countryside a secret, we just had to share. Consider this your guide to thrill-seeking in Europe’s youngest country.

Biking

What comes up must come down. What better way to descend from your rocky heights than at the helm of a bike? While you can get your mountain biking fix on a visit to the capital Pristina and its 62km Germia Park, you must go further afield to western Kosovo to experience the country’s most heart-pounding routes. Although it’s becoming easier to find marked biking trails, you will likely need the guidance of local experts like Outdoor Kosovo or Catun (catun.net) to find your way as a short-term visitor.

Launched in 2014 by an architect with a passion for cultural preservation, Catun – a variation on the word ‘village’ in Albanian – also offers road biking tours that take visitors through the heart of the Kosovo countryside, past several newly restored 18th-century stone houses known as kullas. To experience true Albanian kulla hospitality, make sure to stop by the home of Isuf Mazrekaj in the small village of Drenoc. Here you can refuel on the layered crepe-like local delicacy known as flija, prepared in the traditional way over an outdoor fire.

Hiking

For most of the people who have walked Kosovo’s craggy perimeter over the centuries, climbing mountains has been an essential way of life, whether that was to reach new plains of grass for animal feed or to trade with a neighbouring village. Thanks to its location along increasingly prominent mega-hiking trails – like the seven-country, 2000km Via Dinarica and the German-backed Peaks of the Balkanstrail – a growing number of visitors to Kosovo have also started to claim its multitude of 2500m-plus peaks.

There are plenty of in-country resources about how to best approach Kosovo’s top treks. Local tour operator Rugova Experience has been guiding the Peaks of the Balkans trail since 2013. Creative upstart Balkan Outdoor Experience (boexperience.com) also offers some outside-the-box packages, such as a hiking and yoga trip to the top of the 2403m Hajla peak on the Montenegrin border. The trip includes hearty homemade meals and an overnight stay in a mountain lodge maintained by local mountain expert and environmental protection advocate Fatos Lajçi (+386 49 204 421).

Other mountain adventures

Italian for ‘iron road’, the via ferrata mountaineering technique is best known for its use by soldiers crossing the Alps during WWI. Today, it is an increasingly popular way to reach some of Kosovo’s most splendid views from the top of Rugova Canyon outside the western city ofPeja (Peć). The municipality brought in Italian experts to help design the country’s first via ferrata, which built demand for a second in the canyon – as well as its newest attraction: a zipline. Balkan Natural Adventure (bnadventure.com) is the best local resource to book your via ferrata, zipline, caving or rock climbing adventure in the Rugova region. Another local operator, Outdoor In (ibarski-kolasin.org) offers an even more extreme via ferrata in the northern Serb-majority municipality of Zubin Potok.

 Snow sports

With its ring of mountains, Kosovo enjoys fairly regular snowfall in the winter. Though a €400 million deal to renovate the aging ski resort of Brezovica (brezovica-ski.com) seems to have stalled for the time being, it is still the country’s best option for carving fresh powder when the temperatures drop. The resort usually only has one operational lift, but – for the more adventurous – ski touring opens up endless possibilities to explore the exceptional untouched terrain in this part of the Sharr (Šar) Mountains.

Back in Rugova, Nol Krasniqi and the team at Balkan Natural Adventure also offer snowshoeing tours that will definitely keep you warm during the chillier months. After a full day making tracks through the peaceful forest, reward yourself with a glass (or two) of the local fruit brandy rakija and a warm meal in the home of the Shala family in the nearby village of Drelaj.

Horseback riding

Not all of Kosovo’s best outdoor attractions are out west. For those drawn to adventures of the equestrian variety, the eastern municipality of Gjilan (Gnjilane) is home to a fully fledged dude ranch: the aptly named Vali Ranch (vali-ranch.com). Catering to various levels of ability, the ranch offers lessons in its arena, as well as longer rides out through the neighbouring wooded hills. With three restaurants, a petting zoo, a spa and a (fairly kitsch) hotel on site, Vali Ranch is a family-friendly escape for all ages.

For a more rustic experience, one must head south – nearly to the Macedonian border – to the mountain town of Brod. Although there have been concerns about animal care in the past, tour operator Traveks (traveks.com) is working with local horse owners to up their standard of care. With more horses than cars in this quiet town (known for producing fresh white cheese), you will fit right in on its winding rocky paths.

 

Visiting The City of Javaness Culture, Yogyakarta

From the throughout the night shadow-manikin exhibitions to the strong and socially mindful graffiti covering numerous a divider, Yogyakarta, the social and profound capital of Java, Indonesia, is over each of the a city of workmanship and society.

On any given day of the week, guests to Yogyakarta can pick from a variety of social occasions, including rock shows, manikin appears and craftsmanship presentations, occurring in and around the city.

In spite of Indonesia being to a great extent an Islamic country today, the most dynamite of these social exhibitions is the Ramayana artful dance. It highlights many artists and artists, elaborate ensembles and hazardous fireworks as it describes the tale of the Ramayana, an antiquated Hindu epic ballad.

Although Ramayana ballets take place at a couple of venues in and around Yogyakarta, by far the most impressive is held in front of the thousand-year-old Prambanan temples just outside Yogyakarta.

Built between the 8th and 10th centuries, the Prambanan temples are the finest remaining examples of Hindu temple architecture in Java. The most impressive of these temples is Candi Shiva Mahadeva, and the complex forms a spectacular backdrop to the performance.

Around 200 people, including dancers, lighting technicians, musicians and make-up artists, are involved in the main outdoor ballet production, which takes place several nights a week between May and October.

The ballet tells the story of how the Hindu god Rama rescues his wife Sita from the clutches of Rahwana (or Ravana), a demon king who kidnaps her and takes her to Lanka.

The culmination of the ballet is a spectacular fire ‘fight’ during which dancers leap through flames and wave burning torches as they recreate the final battle to rescue Sita from Rahwana.

The city’s cultural and political heart is the Kraton, the huge walled palace complex of the sultans of Yogyakarta. Cultural events ranging from classical Javanese dance to gamelan orchestra recitals take place every morning inside one of the Kraton’s pavilions.

Wayang kulit, a type of shadow-puppet play, is the one of the more visible forms of traditional Javanese culture in Yogyakarta. As with the ballet, the stories told in a wayung kulit performance are usually based on one of the Hindu epics, the Mahabharata. The Sonobudoyo Heritage Museum (www.sonobudoyo.com) hosts performances most nights of the week.

It’s not all classical culture in Yogyakarta. The people are naturally musical and it can sometimes seem as if every young Indonesian wants to be a rock star. This photo of the punk band Only Kids was taken at a concert in Yogyakarta.

There are myriad other tourist attractions around Yogyakarta. Constructed around 800AD, the Buddhist temple of Borobudur, a one-hour drive from the city, is one of the world’s largest Buddhist temples. It was conceived as a Buddhist vision of the cosmos in stone and contains over 500 Buddha statues and more than 2500 decorative and narrative relief panels. It is widely considered one of the most beautiful of all Buddhist temples.

Things to Do in Jeju Island, Korea

With simple to get to lethargic volcanoes, healthy coastline toll and a panoply of trekking trails that rethink contemporary thoughts of investigation, Jeju Island has much to offer the current globe-trotter looking for test, joy and cause to reflect.

There’s a variety of decisions, on account of an abundance of regular fortunes and an apparently relentless train of business improvement, so making an agenda of needs can appear to be overpowering.

Here is my recommended destinations and local food that deliver the essential Jeju-do experience.

# Sunset on Hyeopjae Beach

With cobalt seas rippling alongside nine kilometres of soft white sand intermittently spliced by fingers of black lava rock, Hyeopjae in Hallim Village is arguably Jeju’s most scenic beach. Sure it’s a busy place in the summer, when families come to frolic in the waist-deep water, but it’s pretty quiet the rest of year. The real charm of this place, however, appears at dusk. Hugging the northwest corner of the island, it’s an ideal location to be still and admire the sunset.

# Climb a volcano

Wake up 90 minutes before dawn and follow the path to the peak of Seongsan Ilchul-bong, a dormant volcano on the east coast of Jeju.

Most people complete the steep 182-metre hike in about 25 minutes. Once at the top, grab a seat on the crater ridge, watch the sunrise and ponder the majesty of nature.

# Walk Olle

Perhaps the best way to explore rural Jeju is to walk any of the Olletrails. In traditional Jeju dialect, Olle is the narrow path running from one’s front door to the street. Today, Olle refers to an integrated network of 26 well-marked hiking paths that spider across the island.

Trail lengths vary between seven and 23 kilometres long, each offering an up-close connection with the land and people. Stroll farm roads trimmed by tangerine orchards, zigzag through narrow alleys passing humble homes with straw-thatched roofs and traverse rocky coastlines carved out of black lava rock.

# Savour the simple fare

Jeju’s food is mightily influenced by flavours from the sea, like haemul tang, a humble hot pot filled with shrimp, crab, clams and a host of delicious fish in a semi-clear seafood broth.

Local variations supplement the colour and taste with scrumptious specialties like squash or seaweed. Served with seasonal vegetables and a bowl of rice, it’s eaten for lunch or dinner but even makes a hearty breakfast.

# Take the Halla Mountain challenge

Visible from every corner of the island when skies are clear, majesticHalla Mountain beckons.

Though not everyone might be equipped to challenge the 1950m summit via a 9km (five hours one-way) hike, there are less demanding trail options (ranging from 30 minutes to 3.5 hours) that deliver the Halla experience. Expect magnificent foliage, awe inspiring rock formations and hordes of fashionable hikers sporting the absolute latest in alpine gear.

# Meet Buddha in a cave in Sagae

Enlightenment doesn’t come easy. That’s the lesson to learn on a trip to Sanbang-gul-sa, a tiny but thoroughly intriguing Buddhist temple in the town of Sagye-ri on the island’s southwest corner.

From the town centre, it’s a 2km walk to the base of Sanbang-san, an enormous rock formation jutting out of the earth, and another 150m up steep stairs that eventually lead to a cave housing a Buddha statue. Up top, fetch a drink from the pool of water, light a stick of incense and admire the view from this very special place.

# Stroll Lee Jung-Seop art street in Seogwipo

There’s an artistic zeitgeist on Jeju that’s quite apart from anything on the Korean mainland. Architecturally, this arty trend is evident in the use of pastel colours, asymmetrical lines and a considerable reliance on floor-to-ceiling glass walls that allow a connection with the beautiful natural environment. Artistically, that sensibility comes alive on Seogwipo’s Lee Jung-Seop Art Gallery & Park, an arty neighborhood packed with craft shops, chilled-out beer bars and Bauhaus-styled restaurants. Not to be missed is Architecture Cafe Utopia (409-10 Taepyeong-ro, Seogwipo City; +82 064-762-2597), an inspired multi-level complex that’s equal parts coffee shop, beer bar, art gallery and tree fort.

# Discover the unexpected on U-do

U-do, a 15-minute ferry ride off the northeast coast of Jeju, is a smaller island blessed with spectacular coastlines and serendipitous delights. Most travellers come for a day-trip to explore the rocky coast but an overnight stay provides a more reasonable amount of time to uncover its hidden spots. There’s decadent peanut butter ice cream, nourishing seaweed soup and oh-so-juicy hamburgers prepared by a gracious woman who operates a delightfully eccentric museum housing a nearly complete collection of Anne of Green Gables memorabilia, including a 1908 first edition by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

# Sample barbecued black pork

It’s hard to say you fully experienced Jeju without trying the island’s most famous dish – barbecued black pork – which is available in every city and village on the island. In years gone by, this domestic creature was fed a steady supply of human waste, a practice thought to enhance the meat’s taste and texture. Thankfully, that practice ended several decades ago. Today, Koreans typically opt for a fatty cut calledsamgyupsal, while those who prefer lean order moksal. Cook slowly over charcoal briquettes and season with salt and black pepper on the grill for maximum flavour.

#Time travel at Seongup Folk Village

Traditional architectural designs are alive and open for exploration at Seongeup Folk Village, about an hour outside Jeju City.

Colosseum Rome, Italy

Rome’s incredible gladiatorial field is the most exciting of the city’s antiquated sights. Introduced in AD 80, the 50,000-seat Colosseum, initially known as the Flavian Amphitheater, was clad in travertine and secured by an immense canvas shade held on high by 240 poles. Inside, layered seating enclosed the field, itself worked over an underground mind boggling (the hypogeum) where creatures were confined and organize sets arranged. Amusements included warriors battling wild creatures or each other.

The emperor Vespasian (r AD 69–79) originally commissioned the amphitheatre in AD 72 in the grounds of Nero’s vast Domus Aurea complex. But he never lived to see it finished and it was completed by his son and successor Titus (r 79–81) a year after his death. To mark its inauguration, Titus held games that lasted 100 days and nights, during which some 5000 animals were slaughtered. Trajan (r 98–117) later topped this, holding a marathon 117-day killing spree involving 9000 gladiators and 10,000 animals.

The arena was originally named after Vespasian’s family (Flavian), and although it was Rome’s most fearsome arena, it wasn’t the biggest – the Circo Massimo could hold up to 250,000 people. The name Colosseum, when introduced in medieval times, was not a reference to its size but to the Colosso di Nerone, a giant statue of Nero that stood nearby.

The outer walls have three levels of arches, framed by decorative columns topped by capitals of the Ionic (at the bottom), Doric and Corinthian (at the top) orders. They were originally covered in travertine and marble statues filled the niches on the 2nd and 3rd storeys. The upper level, punctuated with windows and slender Corinthian pilasters, had supports for the masts that held the awning over the arena, shielding the spectators from sun and rain. The 80 entrance arches , known as vomitoria, allowed the spectators to enter and be seated in a matter of minutes.

The Colosseum’s interior was divided into three parts: the arena, cavea and podium. The arena had a wooden floor covered in sand to prevent the combatants from slipping and to soak up the blood. Trapdoors led down to the underground chambers and passageways beneath the arena floor – the hypogeum . Animals in cages and sets for the various battles were hoisted up to the arena by a complicated system of pulleys. The cavea , for spectator seating, was divided into three tiers: magistrates and senior officials sat in the lowest tier, wealthy citizens in the middle and the plebs in the highest tier. Women (except for vestal virgins) were relegated to the cheapest sections at the top. The podium , a broad terrace in front of the tiers of seats, was reserved for emperors, senators and VIPs.

With the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the Colosseum was abandoned. In the Middle Ages it became a fortress occupied by two of the city’s warrior families: the Frangipani and the Annibaldi. Later, it was plundered of its precious travertine, and marble stripped from it was used to make huge palaces such as Palazzo Venezia, Palazzo Barberini and Palazzo Cancelleria.

Pollution and vibrations caused by traffic and the metro have also taken their toll. It is currently undergoing a €25-million clean-up, and until restoration is finished in 2016 you may well find parts of the outer wall covered in scaffolding.

The top tier and hypogeum are open to the public by guided tour only. Visits, which cost €9 on top of the normal Colosseum ticket, require advance booking.

‘Street Arts’ Village South Korea

The term ‘street arts’ can regularly invoke a picture of hooded graffiti-craftsmen stenciling tense pieces down undesirable city laneways in the corner of the night.

In any case, in South Korea, there’s an alternate sort of road workmanship scene going on – some time ago underserved neighborhoods are getting makeovers as dynamic paintings and craftsmanship establishments.

The past few years have seen artists targeting downtrodden, gritty neighbour hoods, with inspiration to shift Korea’s prejudices about these slums by ‘beautifying’ their streets with colourful murals on fences, walls and houses. Many of these areas are daldongnae (‘moon villages’) – a name derived from their hilltop locations, traditionally thought to offer a better view of the moon than the cities below.

Interestingly, these ‘moon villages’ were also where refugees squatted after the end of the Korean War in the 1950s. Artists have also chosen to spruce up these daldongnae in the name of preserving historic districts threatened by rapid high-rise development.

These projects, however beautiful, also cause a certain loss of privacy for the residents. With such a sudden influx of visitors, it’s important to minimize the intrusion factor to avoid disrupting locals’ day-to-day affairs; something to keep in mind when visiting. Local artists behind these initiatives have addressed the issue by taking more care to integrate residents into projects, with the aim of fostering a meaningful relationship between locals and tourists.

These colourful ‘moon villages’ are dotted all over South Korea, but we’ve chosen a few of our favourites to highlight below.

Ihwa Maeul, Seoul

A steep walk up the slopes of Naskan in the northern suburbs of Seoul, lies one of the city’s most famous mural villages, Ihwa Maeul. Within the space of a decade, this daldongnae has gone from a shantytown designated for demolition to major tourist draw. In fact, it’s so busy these days it’s best to visit early in the morning to avoid the masses who descend upon the area – mainly young Koreans intrigued by its metamorphosis. Here artists have spruced up grungy walls with bright motifs and colourful photogenic murals: artworks range from paintings of flowers and fish cascading down steep stairways to giant portraits splashed across concrete underpasses.

Other similar projects in Seoul are Gaemi Maeul (‘Village of the Ants’) in Seoul’s northern Inwangsan district, and the HBC Art Village in Haebangchon.

Gamcheon Culture Village, Busan

Representing Busan in the southeast of the country, Gamcheon Culture Village is a mountaintop shantytown that was redeveloped as an art project by students in 2009.  Since then, it has become famous for its street art, which crawls down staircases and splashes over old houses. There’s a map for sale to help navigate between art instalments and the happening cafes and galleries in the area.

Jeonju Jaman Village, Jeonju

High on the hill looking over the Jeonju Hanok Maeul, a traditional village in the city of Jeonju, another daldongnae has become a tourist draw thanks to its murals and galleries. The alleys here are a joy to stroll, with the walls of tiny arched-tiled-roof houses decorated in themed street art. Like the other mural villages in South Korea, artists have also moved in to Jeonju Hanok Maul, bringing with them cool galleries and cafes, including Kkojittappong.

Songwol-dong Fairytale Village, Incheon

In the city of Incheon, one hour west of Seoul, is Songwol-dong Fairytale Village, a dreamily-named mural village. But this one is different to the others; this is street art for kids. The laneways of  Songwol-dong sparkle with fairytale-themed murals of princesses, castles, characters from famous children’s books and quirky animal sculptures integrated seamlessly into the gritty streetscape. Songwol-dong seems a surreal sight, especially given it remains largely a residential area, and though targeted towards children, adults will also no doubt enjoy strolling its cobbled maze-like alleys that are lifted straight from the pages of a picture book.

Haenggung-dong Mural Village  & Jidong, Suwon

Less than one hour south of the capital, Suwon has several urban art projects similar to Ihwa Maeul, but it remains so far less well-known. However, the decaying backstreets here are awash with street art that easily rivals the best in the world.

Haenggung-dong Mural Village, the more developed of Suwon’s urban art neighbourhoods, is a labyrinth of alleyways decked out by international and local muralists commissioned to makeover the streets. Shamanist houses, love motels, decrepit brick homes – no surface has gone untouched. Works incorporate everyday items, such as drains pipes, electricity boxes and wiring, into the themed pieces. Highlights include a 10m-long octopus with tentacles stretching the length of the alley, exquisite Asian-style pieces and a family of giraffes with long necks protruding from the ground along the industrial wall.

The village also has several galleries, like Alternative Art Space Noon, a house converted into a small gallery exhibiting local artists and fronted by a giant melted ice-cream cone sculpture. Right next door is Space Bom, which has a similar setup, and its earthy Bom Cafe specialises in traditional teas and sells handmade crafts.

Ji-dong is the other mural village in Suwon. Its warren-like alleyways are more extensive than Haenggung-dong’s, with a memorable backdrop of Joseon-dynasty palace walls. Its themed murals cover anything from paper airplanes, balloons and lush forests to a cavalcade of colourful bicycles spanning its crumbling brick walls.

Great Dive Destination Around The World

Longing for getting your jump ticket? With a blend of pure conditions and trustworthy jump outfits, we’ve limited down the top spots to get ensured – from the Caribbean to the Maldives, and wherever in the middle.

The Visayas, Philippines

The diving: located at the centre of the world’s ‘coral triangle’, thePhilippines are considered to house the richest concentration of marine life on the planet, with 5000 species of clams, snails and mollusks alone.
Why learn here: surrounded by coral reefs, the Visayas (a central Philippine island group) are perfectly set up for divers. On Negros Island, plush Atmosphere Resort (atmosphereresorts.com) leads dives to the magnificent Apo reef, while those seeking something moreSurvivor-style (and the chance to spot thresher sharks) should make for Malapascua Island. Try Evolution (evolution.com.ph) on Malapascua. With lovely beaches and easy dive site access, Boracay Island is also popular. Try Free Willy Diving (freewillydiving.com) on Boracay.
When to go: diving is year-round, but the November to June dry season offers the warmest water and best visibility.

Gili Trawangan, Gili Islands, Indonesia

The diving: Indonesia boasts an aquatic Babylon – the warm, clear waters around Gili Trawangan (off Lombok) are home to more than 3500 marine species including reef sharks, turtles, pygmy seahorses and colourful corals.
Why learn here: competition between mostly European-run dive operators (like Manta Dive and Blue Marlin), keeps course fees in check on this relaxed little island, which is also great for snorkelling.
When to go: Gili Trawangan diving is year-round, though many travellers avoid the November to April rainy season.

Port Vila, Efaté, Vanuatu

The diving: boasting easily accessible wrecks along with brilliant coral reefs, Vila provides the perfect warm-up for those hoping to tackle the SS President Coolidge, one of the world’s top wreck dives, over on Santo Island when certified.
Why learn here: perfect for wannabe divers with time constraints, Vila outfits, including Nautilus (nautilus.com.vu) and Big Blue cram open water courses into two-and-a-half days (as opposed to three or four). And resort-style lodgings, most with their own dive outfits, abound.
When to go: diving is year-round, with visitor numbers increasing from April to October when the water is particularly calm and clear.

North Male Atoll, Maldives

The diving: the best explored region of the Maldives, North Male Atoll is riddled with brilliant dive sites. Coral remains healthy despite widespread bleaching, but abundant tropical marine life is the big ticket, buoyed by warm water and great visibility. Popular sites include Banana Reef, Kuda Haa and Manta Point.
Why learn here: as most resorts offer good dive courses, choosing one will likely be determined by your accommodation budget. With the biggest dive centre in the region, Kurudu Resort (kuredu.com) is a good choice, while those seeking solitude may prefer to bed down at Robinson Crusoe-style Gili Lankanfushi which is partnered with Ocean Paradise Divers (oceanparadise.com.mv).
When to go: year-round diving is possible, but the best conditions prevail from November to April, when seas are calm and ocean currents attract manta rays.

Dahab, Red Sea, Egypt

The diving: with stunning coral habitats literally steps from the beach, relaxed Dahab offers some terrific shore diving and, for advanced divers, there’s also a blue hole.
Why learn here: Dahab feels less chaotic than Egypt’s main dive centre Sharm el-Sheikh, 90km south, but there’s still a decent tourism infrastructure with plenty of dive outfits – Poseidon and Big Blue come recommended. Bolstered by a year-round visibility of 30m, the Red Sea is ideal for beginners.
When to go: diving is year-round, but most travellers find it more comfortable to avoid the blistering heat from May to September.

Caye Caulker, Belize

The diving: dwarfed only by Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System lies less than a mile from Caye Caulker. Its countless dive sites house everything from delicate sea fans to majestic coral gardens, but Belize’s iconic Great Blue Hole, reached on a day trip from Caye Caulker, is best left to advanced divers.
Why learn here: course fees at this idyllic, low-key Caribbean island are among the highest in Central America, but the diving here is by far the best. Enquire at Frenchies and Belize Diving Services.
When to go: diving is year-round, with conditions near perfect around May. During the rainy season from December to April, seas can be choppy.

Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras

The diving: backpacker haven Utila enjoys access to the southern tip of the stunning Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Over-fishing has had an impact on marine life density around Utila, but new divers would never notice.
Why learn here: while the diving is arguably better at neighbouring Roatan, Utila courses are phenomenal value – sign up with Underwater Vision (utilascubadiving.com) or Utila Dive Centre. On Roatan, Ocean Connections (ocean-connections.com) is worth a look.
When to go: diving is year-round, but it’s worth visiting between March to April or September to December for a chance to spot whale sharks.

Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

The diving: just 2.5km offshore, Julian Rocks is one of Australia’s best dive sites. Like a mini Galapagos, the mixing of tropical currents and cooler waters around this volcanic bluff attracts a bounty of marine life including turtles, rays, wobbegong sharks and over 1000 fish species.
Why learn here: the water just gets colder south of Byron, and this hip surf town is more accessible to budget travellers than the Great Barrier Reef. Both Byron Bay Dive Centre and Sundive offer competitive course rates.
When to go: diving is year-round, with summer drawing leopard sharks and manta rays. Cooler winter waters lure endangered grey nurse sharks, and humpback whales are commonly sighted from May to September.

Ko Tao, Thailand

The diving: untouched by the 2004 tsunami, Ko Tao is also one of the few places on earth where it’s possible to spot whale sharks (March to April) along with tropical fish, reef sharks, rays and barracuda during your dive course.
Why learn here: unlike neighbouring party island Ko Pha-Ngan, relaxed Ko Tao is all about diving; calm, shallow sites like Japanese Gardens are perfect for nervous novices. Check out tour dive facilities including Ban’s and Scuba Junction before signing up.
When to go: diving is year-round, with July to September offering the best visibility. Some outfits close during the November to December rainy season.

Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The diving: located at the convergence of three ocean currents, this otherworldly archipelago offers a truly unique diving experience. There’s not a lot of coral, but the (friendly) hammerhead sharks, sea lions, turtles, marine iguanas, rays and such should keep you entertained.
Why learn here: with its strong currents and chilly water, Galapagos diving can be challenging. But reputable dive outfits like Scuba Iguanaand Macarron’s Scuba (macarronscubadiver.com.ec) in Puerto Ayora on main island Santa Cruz host their courses in the calmest spots. Freshly certified, you can shark spot at advanced sites like Gordon Rocks.
When to go: diving is generally year-round, but January to May offers the best weather for those planning to cruise in the region.

 

Small Island in Philippines, Boracay

So you’ve found out about Boracay. You’re not the only one. In the previous couple of years this little island in the Philippines has ridden a worldwide flood of media consideration regarding get to be one of the world’s top island goals. In any case, that reputation introduces another test for the guest: sorting through the unlimited choices of where to stay, what to eat and what to do.

Gone are the days when you settled into your nipa hut charmed by the fact that it had no electricity. Today the centrepiece of Boracay, glorious White Beach, is lined from one end to the other with hotels, restaurants, bars and dive shops several blocks deep. Much has sprung up elsewhere in Boracay, too. There’s no doubt that you can find what you want, at any price level – you just need to know where to look. Here are a few of our top picks in White Beach, Diniwid Beach and Bulabog Beach to get you started.

White Beach

If you’re a budget traveller looking for a place to stay, fear not, Boracay has not forgotten you. A short walk from White Beach brings you to Frendz Resort, where you’ll find a winning recipe: cosy rooms, attractive prices, and a community atmosphere enabled by live music, bar food and cheap cocktails. Best of all, they have their own beach beds.

Moving up the scale, the new Hey! Jude South Beach offers large and attractive minimalist rooms, all facing the sea. Breakfast is taken by the beach path, the perfect start to the day. Taking the design award isBoracay Pito Huts, a collection of seven (‘pito’) wooden bungalows that are completely unique, with angled walls and twilight interiors that captivate after a day in the sun. They sit on poles over the sand, in a private stockade, which feels amazingly secluded for its location.

At the high end, you cannot beat Discovery Shores. Its fantastic modern design, like a small white city, boasts chic one-bedroom lofts that are the best rooms on the island, while its private beach, bar, and lobby all flow into one another like a well-mixed cocktail. And if you think you’ve encountered fine hospitality before, a few moments with the well-trained staff here will forever raise your standards.

While you can find excellent accommodation elsewhere, White Beach remains the centre of the island’s dining scene. Think of it as a linear food court.

For breakfast, the hot new favourite is Sunny Side Cafe, where even the most standard menu items are given a fresh spin. With its artsy mellow vibe, and alfresco Mediterranean cuisine, another newcomer, Aplaya, will capture you for hours – particularly in its beachside beanbag chairs. Another new waterfront favourite is Cozina, where the progressive Spanish menu rivals the best of Barcelona and Ibiza.

Diniwid Beach

Burnt out on White Beach? For peace and quiet, just head around the headland at the northern end. Here you’ll find Diniwid Beach, an attractive scallop of sand between a verdant valley and the sea.

Diniwid is a world away from the package-tour scene, while still offering some high-quality, and very interesting, accommodation.

The iconic Spider House is a bamboo hotel that clings to the headland at the far end of the beach. You approach through a cave, then wend your way through stairs and ladders into thatched rooms with astonishing views. This is not just a hotel, it is an experience, and one you’ll long remember. Nearby Nami is a higher-end cliffside hotel, with a bamboo elevator (you’ll need it) and its own restaurant. Oozing tropical romance, it’s a honeymooner’s delight.

For those wanting a truly private getaway, you can’t beat Diniview. These five beautifully designed villas high up the valley offer grand views from dreamy decks, lots of space, and everything you need for an extended stay, including full kitchens, hammocks to die for, and a communal pool. It’s a hike to the beach but an electric shuttle is coming, and quite frankly, you may wish to stay put!

Bulabog Beach

The other main alternative to White Beach, Bulabog Beach is the island’s watersports capital, noted for its attractive, laid-back community vibe. This is one of the world’s windsurfing and kitesurfing hot spots, so if you’re reasonably athletic, don’t miss the chance to get lessons from an expert.

Places like Hangin Kite Center & Resort also offer beachside accommodation, so the opportunity exists to have a completely sporting vacation with like-minded folks. Otherwise some great new places to stay have sprung up here in recent years, at both ends of the price spectrum.

High-rise MNL hostel has rapidly become the budget choice on this side of the island, with a rooftop lounge, free breakfast, and karaoke nights.Palassa Private Residences is an artsy boutique hotel decorated with the outstanding works of an eccentric local painter, Antonio Gelito San Jose, Jr, whose studio is at one end of the building. Stylish decor also defines nearby Pahuwayan Suites, with its grand ocean views, and the impeccably furnished Aissatou Beach Resort. Room 12, a fantastic waterview one-bedroom, is great value.

Boracay nightlife and spas

To culminate your stay, Boracay gives you a choice: either go out with a bang, or submerge into bliss.

The former is epitomized by the Area 51 Secret Party Facility, which is not only one of the best club names ever, but also host to the best, and largest, parties on the island (and that’s saying something). Hidden just south of Bulabog Beach, you’ll find plenty of food, drink, fire dancing, tribal drumming, and 500 new friends, as long as it’s a full or black moon.

If you’re inclined in the other direction, surrender yourself at the Asian temple of Tirta Spa, or the natural Eden of Mandala Spa, and have one of their 90-minute signature massages. Just beware: while it’s never easy to leave Boracay for the real world, these alluring retreats make it nearly impossible.

When to Go

Finally, a word of caution: think twice about visiting Boracay during the off-season, June to October. Strong wind, frequent rain, and the occasional typhoon translate into unsightly windscreens, hotels under renovation, and the potential for a cancelled trip. Outside this period, any time is a good time to go, but it’s wise to try to avoid the holiday crush during Easter, Christmas and New Year.