Famous throughout the world, Japan’s cherry blossoms put on a spectacular show every spring with visitors coming from far and wide to view the incredible sight.
In Japan this season is called “Hanami” which literally translates to “viewing of cherry blossoms” (the flowers themselves are referred to as Sakura). Cherry blossoms play such a significant role in Japanese culture; they are fleeting, short-lived, and cherished for their ephemeral beauty.
The Hanami season begins in March and lasts until May, and whether you’re visiting busy cities like Tokyo or Osaka, or sourcing out hidden parks and temples, pink and white cherry trees will blanket the country from north to south!
But the cherry blossoms are fleeting, and most cities only offer a short window of 2-3 weeks. Tokyo’s cherry tress are predicted to start blooming from March 22 in 2020, with the best viewing from March 29 – April 6.
So, want to learn more about Hanami? We’ve updated our popular guide with dates for 2020, so you have all the info you need for planning a cherry blossoms trip to Japan, and extra fun facts about its significance to Japanese culture.
About a year ago a message popped up on my Twitter feed. It said that all national parks in Canada will be free in 2017 to mark its 150th anniversary. Home to some of the most incredible scenery in the world, I immediately started planning my trip.
I rented a mid-size car from Edmonton for less than $80 a week. It was about a 4-hour drive to the entrance of Jasper National Park. Now, I’ve done a few amazing scenic drives in my lifetime, like the Pacific Coast Highway along the California coast, Hue to Hoi An in Vietnam, and Lisbon to Algarve in Portugal. But with exhilarating vistas of forest, craig, glacier, ice Fields and wildlife, the drive from Jasper to Banff takes out the top spot on my list. It’s easily one of the most beautiful drives in the world.
The following is a rough 5-day itinerary. If you’re thinking of a self drive adventure through the Canadian rockies, I encourage you to follow this route.
Let’s face it. The possibility of Trump being elected as the next President of United States is getting closer to becoming a reality.
Independents tend to sway the outcome of every major election one way or the other, and most Independents may not vote for Clinton. Though some people truly believe Trump will make America great again (as his campaign message states), and believe him to be the best choice to lead the free world.
But for those looking to exit the country because you can’t imagine living under Trump’s presidency, the following are fantastic options for you.
My first real exposure to Burma (Myanmar) was while watching Anthony Bourdain’s Emmy award-winning ‘Parts Unknown‘. The country was featured in the very first episode of this long running TV series, and I was immediately excited to go. My travel senses were quickly sparked, as was a curiosity about a country that had been isolated from the rest of the world for 60 years. I wanted a first hand experience like Anthony Bourdain.
Luckily I was in Kuala Lumpur at this time, and on visiting the Burmese consulate I received my tourist visa on the same day. Burma is still one of South East Asia’s biggest hidden gems. You can tell that from the number of people applying for a visa.
We hear it every year, that now is the best time to travel. And it’s quite often true. Resources to find affordable (and even free) travel options exist these days in droves. The west is benefiting from a strong currency, oil prices are cheap, and with increasing uncertainty in some Middle Eastern and South Asian countries, the geopolitical situation of many nations could deteriorate to the point where you missed your chance to go.
Everything we need in order see the world can now be ours for cheaper than it ever has been before, and there has never been a better time to take time off and explore the globe. There truly are no more excuses that money is an obstacle to experiencing the world, and while it’s an overused cliche, it’s true that if you delay your travels until “someday”, it’s likely that your departure date will never come.
The following are 4 reasons why now is the best time to travel.
“You went to Colombia?” “Isn’t it dangerous?” “Are you missing an organ now?” “Did you make any deals with a drug cartel?”
I’ve come across many different people during my travels this year; interacted with both fellow travelers and locals alike. And I’ve picked up on a fairly common theme. A mere mention of Colombia immediately stirs up the stereotypical fear of drug infested, unlawful country that has nothing to offer but cheap drugs and sex.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Though when a country goes through such a dramatic period in history, filled with drug overlords flaunting extravagant luxury, and sophisticated drug supply chains with the power to control the lives of everyday Colombians, it’s understandably hard to remove that negative image from people’s minds.
But today Medellin is the most vibrant and innovative city in South America.
It is better to be safer than sorry. I know this is an overused cliché, though safety is something which should be taken seriously when traveling. Despite what the media may tell you, the world isn’t actually dangerous or unsafe, though when exploring a new and foreign place, you still need to take certain precautions to minimize the risk of being hurt or losing everything. Finding yourself in an unsafe situation overseas may jeopardize your entire travel experience.
After traveling solo for almost 8 months now, having made my way slowly through South East Asia towards Central Europe, through the countries which make up the former Yugoslavia, and then into Latin America, I’ve managed to pick up a safety tip or two.
Staying safe abroad largely comes down to common sense and being aware of your surroundings, though of course individual destinations will have country specific tips, so when researching for your next trip, be sure to also look into destination specific recommendations for safety precautions to ensure your personal safety while abroad.
Though in general, apply the following rules and you’ll be fine. This is a guide to help fellow solo travelers; my top safety tips for travel which is trouble free.
Yugoslavia always fascinated me as a child. I remember watching the contestants from this communist block play competitively in the Olympic games, and usually come out in the top 5. It was home to many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds (and still is). The very definition of a melting pot. Though they shared the same south Slavic language.
In the early 90’s I witnessed the breakaway of this huge communist block after Tito’s fall. For those not familiar with Tito, he was the first post world war communist leader of Yugoslavia. Some saw him as a tyrant, though others found the phrase “benevolent dictator” to be more fitting.
Visiting Yugoslavia was always on my bucket list, and that was something which not even a collapse of the country would change. In spring of 2015, I decided to visit the former Yugoslavian countries to get a first hand experience of their history, culture and religion. What connected them together also separated them apart.
It’s a no brainer that technology has become pervasive in our every day life. At a basic level, most travelers use it to book their flight or hotel reservations through sites like Kayak or TripAdvisor, and almost everyone now carries a smartphone…even as it would seem, my tuk tuk driver in Laos who spent more time using his iPhone than watching the actual road!
The following are technology tools and services which will greatly enhance your next adventure.