The Shinjuku district of Tokyo is a bustling, hectic, and very modern part of the city, however, there are a few spots only steps away from the busy main streets that offer visitors a glimpse into the old Tokyo. One such place is Memory Lane (translated from Omoide Yokocho, but also known as “Piss Alley”). Here you’ll find an assortment of tiny shops that serve up yakitori, soba noodles, and (of course) plenty of drinks. Aside from just being really cool to walk through thanks to its narrow alleyways, cramped bars with people laughing, eating, and drinking, and Japanese decor strung throughout, this is where I found the best bowl of soba noodles.
When I came back from Cambodia, a lot of people asked me how I liked it and, likely surprising to most, I had a hard time articulating my feelings. I know lots of people absolutely love Siem Reap and for good reason – there was certainly many things I really enjoyed while I was there; the temples are beautiful, the history is rich, the food is great, and the people are lovely. But, as with any area (especially here in Southeast Asia), once it becomes popular with tourists, it tends to lose a lot of its authenticity. Essentially, the reasons why people originally fell in love with that place have been stripped away and replaced (ie westernized). This is how I feel about Siem Reap.
The first thing people said to me after I told them I would be travelling to Phnom Penh was that I had to visit the Killing Fields. My response: a concerned look followed by a mumbled, “I’m not so sure I want to visit somewhere so sad on my holidays”. Most people followed up by telling me that, despite it being difficult, the whole experience was exceptionally well-done and moving. After getting a similar response from so many other travelers, I knew that I should stop Googling “should I visit the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh?” and just experience it for myself.
Most of you have probably heard about Angkor Wat (in fact, it’s probably the only temple – aside from the one from the movie Tomb Raider – that most people know of) in Siem Reap, Cambodia, but there are actually hundreds of temples scattered throughout the area. It’s not surprising that one of the main reasons people flock to Siem Reap is to witness and walk through these temples first hand. I would recommend spending two days touring the temples – the first of which you’ll get to visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (specifically, Bayon), and Ta Prohm (the temple from Tomb Raider). Below is a guide of what you can expect on this tour; everything from hiring a driver, paying for your entrance fee, what to wear, and what the three temples are like.
Hue, a 2 hour train ride north of Da Nang, is a lesser-known city in the middle of Vietnam that is increasingly becoming popular with tourists. A visit to Hue is best utilized as a brief (2 – 3 night) stopover along your travels up to the north or down to the south of the country. Though there aren’t a tonne of tourist attractions, there are a handful of interesting things to do in Hue that will fill your days with food, pagodas, temples, markets, and fun!
You’ve likely heard about the incredible beauty of Tuscany: its Renaissance-era architecture and art, and unique landscape. There are many different cities, towns, and villages throughout the area that are well worth a visit while you’re traveling around. Each region remains distinct from its neighbors and offers visitors a glimpse at its history, culture, traditions, and life. Below are the 10 best places to visit in Tuscany that are an absolute must when you’re in the area.
Lucca, the capital city of the province of Lucca (confusing, I know) in Tuscany, is best known for its Renaissance-era city walls that are still standing today while many other city walls throughout Tuscany have collapsed. Lucca is a great city to stay in while you do day trips to various parts of Tuscany since it’s in a relatively central location. Aside from Lucca’s ideal location, the city has so much to offer visitors in terms of history, culture, architecture, and (of course) food. Whether you plan to stay for a day or a week, here is a list of the top 10 things to do in Lucca.
If you’re traveling throughout or have previously been to Italy, it’s likely you’ve seen your fair share of cathedrals; big, small, impressive, or otherwise. One cathedral that sets itself miles apart from the others in Italy is the Abbey of San Galgano, halfway between Siena and Massa Marittima in Tuscany. This breathtaking building has an interesting legend to go along with its history, but its the remains of San Galgano’s structure that will completely capture your attention the moment you set eyes on it. Both unsettling and mesmerizing, you’ll be talking about the Abbey of San Galgano many years after your visit.
I first heard about Nice, France way back in university when two of my closest friends embarked on an exchange there. After hearing about their travels and how much they gushed over the beauty of the French Riviera, I vowed to visit Nice at some point. Thankfully, that time came sooner than I had thought when I recently found myself immersed in the beauty of the south of France. One thing that surprised me most about Nice, having known next to nothing about the city before arriving, was how many interesting little streets and alleyways there were; every turn held a surprise waiting to be discovered.
Prague has to be one of my favourite European cities I’ve traveled to: I completely fell in love with its baroque buildings, vivid culture, traditional food, and – of course – cheap beer. Another great thing about Prague is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to see and do everything that the city has to offer. In fact, this list is composed primarily of things that are, if not free, relatively cheap. Whether you’re there for one day or thirty, you won’t find yourself running low on things to do in Prague.