JAPAN: Himeji Castle and Shironoshita

Hundreds of castles, fortifications and fortresses are scattered all over Japan, some in very good condition or restored and made accessible to the public. During a trip to Nippon you can not avoid a visit, better you should not miss such an amazing and unique tour. One of the most famous sites is the castle tower complex in Himeji (Japanese 姫 路 城, Himeji-jō) from the 17th century. The Himeji-jō in Hyōgo prefecture is one of Japan’s national treasures and was also recognized by UNESCO in 1993 as a World Heritage Site. On our trip from Osaka to Hiroshima we made a stop in this castle town Himeji (Japanese 姫 路 市, -shi), looked at the Himeji Castle and walked through the Koko-en Garden, which is considered one of the three most beautiful in Japan, especially during the cherry blossom festival Hanami. We wandered through the Engyō-ji Temple, climbed Mount Seppiko and shot a video with Tomohisa Shiroshita about the new Shironoshita Guesthouse.

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JAPAN: Anago No Nedoko – Onomichi

The few but increasingly growing tourists who travel to Japan first of course visit the major cultural centers or high-tech cities such as Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo. But if you have a little more time for your trip to Nippon, you have the opportunity to get to know many other sites in the country. Often the smaller villages are hidden and undervalued delicacies. For example, the fishing town of Onomichi (Japanese: 尾 道 市, -shi) on the southwest coast of Honshū Island.

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JAPAN: DougoyART Paintaction – Artists Baki Baki & Mon

We already stood several days in Matsuyama, we visited and explored all the fantastic sights and the interesting city. Actually we wanted to leave to Ōzu in the south the next day. But our friend Mathew Iannarone from the Sen Guesthouse recommended us definitely to stay another night because he has some secret special insider event. This hostel is a place we can very recommend by the way, but there will be an article about guesthouse owner Mathew and his exciting life in Japan in another article which is in preparation. But back to our special event, which really was worth it to stay. Mathew took us to a livingroom-live-painting session with the graffiti artists BAKI BAKI and MON. The name of the event is DougoyART. It´s an relaxed artistique festivity in an homelike atmosphere which was in the befriended guesthouse of Hisatsugu Shimizu. As well there is audio included and musicians are taking part, this time the band The Sun.

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ALBANIA: Tirana Backpacker Hostel

Tirana is the capital and as well a really cool city for going out, getting delicious food and having a lot of fun. The people are all over the country overfriendly and we didn´t have in any case not even rudimental trouble or anger, we couldn´t even notice some anywhere. In a lot of similar situations in Germany there would have been a crash or fight and not only while driving a car. After our arrival we have been the first two days in the Tirana Backpacker Hostel, which is as well the first Hostel in Albania. They have now quite a lot more.

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VIETNAM: Crazy House – Đà Lạt

The name significates very nicely that the building is kind of wired and crazy. But just only the description „crazy“ isn´t adequately sufficient for this wondrous place. There should be added the terms „fantasy“, „fairy tale“ or „other world“. But well, then the name would be too long. When you step into the Crazy House in the south of Vietnam you literally enter another world. A little magic land. We have a lot of great photographs and a walk around video.

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ALBANIA: Berat – Skotis Hostel

Do you need some nice advice for a short trip or long term holiday destination? We already wrote something about a roadtrip through Albania and presented you the country as a new secret hint (Let´s go to Albania). The New York Times voted the country in the newcomer list of soonly be in demand places of interest. Our trip was definitly classic, we learned a lot, had fun and it was (still) quite cheap. The whole country is paved with UNESCO heritages, one of the most impressive cities is certainly Berat. We stood there for a few days in Skotis Backpacker Hostel. The born Scot is an enthusiastic person, excited about travelling and get to know other countries and cultures. Here in Berat in Albania her realized his long wished dream about opening a hostel. When he came to Albania in 2008 there existed just one hostel in the capital Tirana. (We wrote as well something about that place with interviews with the owners). The city Berat is just a historical and as well an architectonical sight, where you should spend some days. The river Osum divides the city in a valley, the houses are built in hills and into the mountain. All the buildings are constructed and presented mostly in the same style and clustered into the hills and valley walls. But actually you don´t see a lot of any walls. There are just window. A lot of windows. That´s why Berat is called as well the „City of the thousand windows“.

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THAILAND: Phangan Rainbow Bungalows – Ko Pha Ngan

The times when we just did beach holidays in summer and skiing trips in winter are over since a long time. Meanwhile you can go very easily and cheap as well to a warm sunny beach on the one side of the planet, while it is freezing in your country, or you can travel during the totally hot mid-summer of your country to a snowy resort somewhere else on a summit in country where there is winter at that moment. We went to Thailand before Christmas, traveled around, had a good time on the sea and collected a lot of nice video and picture material. Our Thailand-Expert Praxinho V., who lived nearly half of his live in Southeast-Asia and who knows all around the islands by experience on exploring by scooter, on elephants, by foot or just crawling – that guy brought us to one of his “Special-secret-super-nice-places”. A lodge where he always goes, and where we all stood for some days and which we definitely can recommend: The Koh Phangan Rainbow Bungalows of Martin Hine and Noy Prante Limkul ….

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CHILE: Valparaíso – Hostal Voyage

During our journey in Chile we made a stop in Valparaiso and could stay in the most interessting Hostel of the city: Hostel Voyage. It´s much nicer to stay at a friends´ place than in a hotel room. A lot of people prefer therefore couchsurfing, it´s a cheaper and as well much more personal way to travel. And at the doors of Hostel Voyage we were welcomed exactly that way. After riding the whole night in a horrible bus through half of the country and searching for over two hours for a place to stay – out of 20 hostels really nobody opened – we finally have been greeted at this nice lodge.

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VIETNAM: Little Kingston Reggae Bar – Mũi Né

Vietnam is famous for its delicious cuisine, the marvelous beaches, the jungle or as well for the remains of the underground tunnel system from the war. But the country is for sure not famous for Reggae Music. Let´s see…. maybe just not yet! Actually everything you need for this lifestyle is perfectly there. You just need someone, who is going to establish the concept. Exactly this idea had the former Berliner and now Vietnam citizen Herby. He opened the Reggae chillspot „Little Kingston Beach Bar“ in the beach village Mũi Né. Herby is Reggae DJ since 20 years and lives since five years in Vietnam. The first three years he was resident DJ and manager in several clubs in Saigon, after quite a while he finally found a perfect place for his own project. We visited him and relaxed at the comfy hammock area at his beach bar location while we recorded an interview about the origin and development of the place.

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