Travelrific® Travel Journal

Picture postcards in prose.™ Check out the blogroll on the front page for official merchandise and other resources!

Archive for asia

To the Heights in Korea

By Linda Tancs

Near Chungju-si (where a martial arts festival takes place each year), Woraksan National Park in South Korea is a hiker’s paradise. The highest peak (at 3,600 feet) is Yeongbong, a steep ascent aided by stairs with railings bolted to boulders. Ma-aebong Peak is just below at 3,150 feet. It’s called a false summit because it’s commonly mistaken as the ultimate peak, but there’s nothing fake about its glorious vistas. While you’re in the park, keep an eye out for the nodding lily, an indigenous species with leaves like pine tree leaves.

Japan’s Ramen Museum

By Linda Tancs

Ramen is arguably the national dish of Japan, with styles varying according to the region in which it is served. There’s even a museum dedicated to the stretchy noodle. Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum in Yokohama is designed like a food court, offering up different styles of ramen and featuring original recipes from its inception. You’ll learn about ramen history and have the opportunity to participate in a noodle-making workshop.

Pretty in Pink in Vietnam

By Linda Tancs

You’ve heard of hotspots, but how about a hot pink spot? Literally and figuratively, Tân Định church in Vietnam fits the bill. One of the oldest churches in Ho Chi Minh City, it’s known for its vibrant pink façade (inside and out) and Gothic pillars. It first opened to the public in 1876 and remains one of the city’s top attractions as well as a local favorite. You’ll find it on Hai Ba Trung Street.

Japan’s Bathing Beauties

By Linda Tancs

Buried in snow almost one third of the year, Japan’s Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano is home to Japanese macaques, popularly known as snow monkeys. The northernmost living nonhuman primate, they descend from the forest to bathe in naturally occurring hot springs, a pleasant respite from a cold day. Part of Jōshin’etsu-kōgen National Park, the monkey park is reportedly the only place in the world where monkeys bathe in hot springs. The park is not a zoo; the monkeys are wild and come and go as they please, enticed by feedings by professional staff. Keep a respectful distance when taking photos, or else you may go home with one less piece of equipment.

A Spiritual Quest in Japan

By Linda Tancs

Kumano Kodo is one of only two UNESCO-registered pilgrimage sites in the world (the other being Camino de Santiago). It’s a 1,000-year-old trek in Japan, plied by aristocrats and monks alike. The route is actually a network of trails stretched across the mountainous Kii Peninsula. One of the most popular trails is Nakahechi, extensively used by the imperial family on pilgrimage from Kyoto beginning in the 10th century. Your own route will depend on your ultimate destination, which might include Kumano Sanzan, a term used to collectively describe the three most sacred shrines in the area, one of the biggest draws of the pilgrimage. The main transport hubs to the region are Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya.

Japan’s Atlantis

By Linda Tancs

You may recall the legend of Atlantis, the lost civilization created by Plato, submerged by a cataclysmic earthquake. Scholars occasionally muse whether the place really existed, especially whenever a spectacular underwater rock formation is discovered. Japan has its own version of Atlantis, Yonaguni Submarine Ruins, a submerged rock formation off the coast of Yonaguni. The southernmost of the Ryukyu Islands, it’s located about 62 miles east of Taiwan. The primary structure is an ancient underwater pyramid measuring a staggering 500 feet in length, 130 feet in width and 90 feet in height. Is it the remnant of an ancient Pacific civilization or a natural wonder? You can take an underwater sightseeing boat tour or dive there and decide for yourself.

*************

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.

An Unusual Shrine in Hong Kong

By Linda Tancs

Legend has it that the cascade (known as “heung gong”) at Hong Kong’s Waterfall Bay Park on Hong Kong Island gave Hong Kong its name, but the park’s real claim to fame is its one-of-a-kind shrine in the nature of thousands of abandoned religious statues. You’ll find it by descending the stairs by a pathway at the park’s entrance. That leads to an orphanage of sorts for colorful deities adorning a hillside. Many faiths are represented there, the grounds tended to by a faithful local. In many cultures, it’s considered bad luck to throw away a religious figurine, so locals and visitors alike donate them to the site and sometimes pause for prayer. While you’re there, don’t forget to enjoy the scenic waterfall as well as the views from the park’s cliffs.

*************

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.

Perpetual Stew in Thailand

By Linda Tancs

A Bangkok bistro is giving new meaning to the term “slow cooking.” To wit: a pot of beef stew has been cooking for nearly half a century at Wattana Panich, a local institution in the Bangkok neighborhood of Ekkamai. The secret to its longevity is the retention of some of the broth for the next day’s brew. And on and on it goes, through three familial generations (so far). The secret to its success is the taste—an aromatic mix of a dozen Chinese herbs, plus garlic, cinnamon, black pepper and cilantro root added to beef that’s allowed to simmer for seven hours. This is one dish for the ages.

*************

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.

Green Caviar in Japan

By Linda Tancs

Miyako Island is the largest of the Miyako Islands chain located in Japan’s far southern Okinawa prefecture. It’s a subtropical haven known for its stunning beaches and coral banks, a go-to destination for swimming, snorkeling and diving. Amidst this natural splendor is another gem, a seaweed delicacy farmed on the island known as umi-budō (sea grapes). Because of its shape and color, it’s often referred to as “green caviar.” Why not give it a try, and visit the beaches (some of the best in Japan), which are best enjoyed between April and November.

*************

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 Fire-Breathing Bridge

By Linda Tancs

Stretching about 2,000 feet across the Hàn River in central Vietnam, the Dragon Bridge is more than just a speedy thoroughfare from the airport to Da Nang’s city center. In fact, it’s a tourist attraction, embedded with a gold-colored steel dragon above the six-lane roadway that spits smoke and fire. Day or night, it’s quite a sight, illuminated with over 2,000 color-changing LED lights for a spectacular night show.

*************

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.

%d bloggers like this: