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Archive for asia

Japan’s Naked Festival

By Linda Tancs

Held on the third Saturday in February, Hadaka Matsuri (“naked festival”) isn’t quite as hedonistic as it may sound. Featuring over 10,000 men, the apparel of choice is a loincloth. They bathe in it at a pool at Saidaiji Kannon-in Temple to purify their souls. That might be one of the more serene aspects of this annual religious rite. Later at night, the party really gets going when the men pack themselves into the temple like sardines, vying for one of the twigs thrown into the crowd by a priest. A lucky catch means prosperity for the coming year. The temple is an easy walk from Saidaiji Station on the JR Okayama Station’s Ako line.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A New Year in Vietnam

By Linda Tancs

The Vietnamese lunar New Year, also known as Tet Festival, is the most important festival of the year in Vietnam. Its name, Tet, is an abbreviation for Tet Nguyen Dan, and it commences tomorrow with the Year of the Cow. Although many tourist spots will be closed for the holiday, it’s still a good time to visit to soak in celebrations with parades, fireworks and dancing. The streets are vibrantly decorated, particularly with striking floral displays. February also offers great weather. You’ll find some of the biggest displays and store openings in cities like Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

It’s a Small World in Tokyo

By Linda Tancs

Miniature villages are a dime a dozen, but Tokyo’s Small Worlds takes it to another level. For example, many of the miniatures are operational, like a rocket that lifts off and planes flying at Kansai Airport. There’s even an opportunity for visitors to place model figures of themselves in the area of their choice using 3D printers and scan technology. Billed as the world’s largest miniatures theme park, the 86,000-square-foot facility is uniquely immersive. It’s located in the Ariake district of Tokyo, a short walk from Ariake-Tennis-no-mori Station.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Three Peaks in Seoul

By Linda Tancs

The only national park in the Seoul metropolitan area, Bukhansan National Park in South Korea is also known as Samgaksan (Triangle Mountain) because of its three peaks: Baegunbong, Insubong and Mangyeongbong. With its many ridges, peaks and valleys, it’s a popular spot for hikers although nature lovers in general will appreciate the 1,300 species of plants and animals occupying this niche amidst the bustling city. Best of all, it’s easily accessible, with various metro stations serving the park entrances in under one hour.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Art and Faith in Kyoto

By Linda Tancs

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji is a Buddhist temple in the Arashiyama neighborhood of Kyoto, Japan. Neglected through the ages due to its exposure to natural disasters, it re-emerged thanks to the artistry of the late Kocho Nishimura and a cadre of amateur stone sculptors. Through their efforts, the temple has become best known for a small army of moss-adorned sculptures that now cover the hillsides. Known as ratan (followers of Buddha), the art represents ordinary people captured in stone by their makers, oftentimes memorializing a loved one. Bus or taxi is the best way to arrive at what may be Kyoto’s most intriguing temple.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Manly Sports in Mongolia

By Linda Tancs

Naadam Festival might be best described as an Olympic-style event in Mongolia. It features three competitions—archery, wrestling and horse racing, referred to as the three manly sports. Far from arbitrary, the three events figure largely in the history and culture of the country, particularly in ancient warfare. One of the best-loved festivals in the nation, its placement in July heralds an official three-day celebration of Mongolia’s quest for independence in 1911. The main celebrations are held between July 11 and July 13 in Ulaanbaatar, the capital, although other locales across the country host their own festivals of varying lengths and in different months. In addition to sports, the event features an opening ceremony, costume festival and traditional dancing.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Jinju’s Landmark

By Linda Tancs

Originally a mud castle, Jinjuseong Fortress is a memorial to South Korea’s embattled history, beginning with sea marauders in the 1300s, necessitating the structure’s stone reconstruction. Benefiting from a decades-long restoration effort, the fortress is part of a heavily wooded park with temples and shrines. The site also boasts Jinju National Museum, where the area’s war history is recounted along with military artifacts and local art. Seoul’s Gimpo Airport offers daily flights to Jinju.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Protected in Sumatra

By Linda Tancs

Located on the tip of the southwest region of Sumatra, Indonesia, Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park is like a fortress for the area’s endangered flora and fauna. For instance, one of the park’s objectives is to protect its lowland rainforests, one of Earth’s most diverse and most threatened. The park is also home to three of the world’s most endangered species: the Sumatran elephant, the Sumatran rhino and the Sumatran tiger. The park’s conservation efforts aim to decrease poaching and deforestation. The main point of entry to the park is from the town of Bandar Lampung.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Let in Snow in Sapporo

By Linda Tancs

In 1857, the population of Sapporo was just seven people. Today, it is Japan’s fifth largest city and the capital of Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands. You’ve come a long way, baby. In addition to hosting a winter Olympics, the locale is known for its ramen, beer and the annual snow festival held this month. One of the country’s most popular events, the festival features snow and ice sculptures (some measuring more than 82 feet wide and 50 feet high), particularly along Odori Park. Sapporo TV Tower offers great views, especially at night, when the sculptures are illuminated. This year’s celebration begins today and runs through February 11.

Parisian Flair in Macao

By Linda Tancs

Dubbed “Las Vegas of Asia,” you’ll find the same international flair in Macao, China, as you would on The Strip. That includes the Parisian Macao, a hotel complex featuring a half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower. Watch it be illuminated every 15 minutes during the Grand Illumination Show, a blaze of color from base to tip. And you can’t beat the skyline views from the deck on level 37.

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