Perhentian Islands are a small group of beautiful islands in NE Malaysia, having 2 main islands (the most touristic ones): Perhentian Besar - dedicated to families and people seeking for some peace and quiet and Perhentian Kecil - dedicated to younger people, backpackers and those seeking for great parties on the beach :) If you want to reach these islands, go to Kota Bharu (by plane) and then go by either bus or car to Kuala Besut. From there you'll have ferries going to Perhentian…
Gion is an exclusive well known geisha district in Japan and it's a must do/must see on any tourist's list in Kyoto :) But even though you're expecting to see geishas all around the streets, it is quite rare to see them. Actually, this one was the only authentic geisha that we have seen in Gion :) And trust us, she was lovely! Her makeup, her outfit, her hair, everything was perfect about her!
The best way to see the Victoria Harbour is by far on a traditional sampan boat (or junk boat), the traditional Cantonese boats - the red-sail ones :) They are traversing the waters of the bay and they offer an extraordinary experience! The problem is that there are not so many of them anymore (they have been replaced by more modern boats). But this one is Aqua Luna, a traditional red-sailed Chinese JUnk Boat, probably the most famous one in HK :)
Can you believe that Hong Kong has almost 1300 skyscrapers (buildings taller than 100m)?! And guess what, you can see them for free from the IFC 55th floor, where you will find the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which has an exhibition area, which tourists can visit for free (only a registration is required at the reception based on your passport).
Northern part of Hong Kong Island is so famous for its amazing double decker trams! They have been running since 1904 and they continue to be one of the best public transportation options for both tourists and locals. And the best part is that they are really cheap, only 2,3 HK dollars (0,3 euros)! Whenever in Hong KOng, take a ride with the tram, so that you can feel the real British influence and atmosphere in Hong Kong :)
Hikone Castle is a lovely castle from the Japanese Edo-period, one of the few castles in Japan considered a national treasure. It was built in 1622 and what is really amazing is that this is an original castle, which hasn't been affected or destroyed during its history. It is simply intact, exactly as it was in the past!
We've seen cherry blossoms for the first time in Japan in Kawagoe (30 mins away from Tokyo), on Shingashi River. It was such a spectacular view, so colorful and charming! And what's the best thing about this place is that it is not so crowded (even though it is a touristic town). But usually people prefer Tokyo, and you'll only see here locals or off the beaten track tourists - which is lovely :)
Walking the streets of Kyoto without having any destination in mind is probably the best thing you can do on a rainy day in Japan. Discovering off the beaten track sites, finding some unknown shrines, some peaceful places where you can enjoy the beauty of the ending sakura season (that explains the fallen cherry petals on the street :)
Sakura season is not amazing only during the full cherry blossom days. Oh no, no way! It is even more amazing when the cherry petals are falling from the trees, as if it's raining with petals. It was pouring rain when we visited Kyoto, but it was so beautiful to walk through the rain. The rain of petals :)
Kyoto is amazing, honestly. It has so much to offer, that you could spend weeks there and still miss some great spots to see. And the best thing to do around Kyoto is just to wander around the streets, see the temples, the parks, the Japanese gardens, eat the local foods, watch the people walking in front of you. Kyoto is all about being happy. And peaceful :)
So many freely roaming deers in nara Park! They are considered to be the messengers of gods in Shinto religion and they are a real symbol of the city. They have even been designated as a naturale treasure! Just give them some deer crackers and they will be your best friends in Nara!
We actually did not choose the full JR Pass for travelling in Japan. We preferred the regional passes, as they were cheaper and fitted better to our itinerary. So we took the Kansai JR Pass, and it was so much cheaper than the full one. And between Tokyo and Kyoto we chose the airplane, much cheaper than the train :) But hey, tourist's needs are different, so that's not a general rule. You just have to check what option fits you better (and there are plenty of options!)
Meiji Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji (the first emperor of modern Japan) and Empress Shoken. It is situated in a forested park between Harajuku St. and Yoyogi St. You'll find here the typical torii gates and if you are lucky, a traditional wedding. There is also a sacred tree that has a wishing wall surrounding its trunk. Just write a wish on the wooden tablets and hang it on the wall. The Shinto priests will pray for all the wishes written on the tablets :)
Tsim Sha Tsui is one of the most beautiful areas in Hong Kong. Situated in the southern part of the Kowloon, it offers great views towards northern part of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour. And it is extremely easy to reach it, just use the Star Ferry! You'll find here lots of nice restaurants, the famous Avenue of the Stars and of course, the famous waterfront!