Author

Anais Lee

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The first capsule hotels of Japan were originally targeted towards businessmen who burned the midnight oil and missed the last bus or train back home. Instead of staying in pricey hotels, or worse, sleeping out on the streets, capsule hotels offered these tired businessmen an affordable place to stay for the night. Although they are designed to be very compact, all the essentials of an overnight stay are provided. For my recent trip to Kyoto, a friend and I managed to book capsules at 9h nine hours, a capsule hotel located at the historic and bustling district of Gion. Listed down below are four reasons why you shouldn’t shy away from this peculiar hotel during your next visit to Japan! 1. It’s affordable. Japan is no cheap country to travel to. And if you’re there to sightsee rather than do a staycation, the last thing you want to spend money…

Vermillion, ruby, scarlet, cerise, maroon, red—it’s everywhere. From the intricate floral hair ornaments and beautiful ornate robes of the passing geishas and maikos, to the pocket-sized omamori or lucky charms being sold inside the temples. Red is a recurring color in the old capital of Japan, Kyoto. Most notably, though, is the fiery red of Kyoto temples’ torii gates. What are these “torii gates” anyway? Torii gates are markers that set the boundary from the profane everyday world, to the sacred world of the “kami” or Shinto gods. They mark the entrance into a sanctified space. They are usually made out of either wood or concrete, and are painted orangey-red to jet black. In Chinese culture, red is a symbol for luck. In Japanese religion though, there is no clear explanation on why most torii gates are painted a bright, flaming red hue. One school of thought, however, says that the color…

I’ve never had a green thumb. The best I could do was to make mung bean sprouts (and even then that was just soaking them in a damp cotton ball). I wanted to have an adorable succulent so badly. But after killing off two innocent little cacti, I’ve decided to give it a rest. I didn’t want to take care of one anymore but I still liked looking at them, you see? So when I had the chance to go to Singapore a few months ago, I freed up some time to drop by Gardens by the Bay. Singapore isn’t exactly the “greenest” destination when you’re looking for a nature getaway. The country is better known as a concrete jungle with its sleek and massive office buildings and housing structures. But what Singapore lacks in natural wonders, they make up for it with incredible ingenuity. As a part of the…

I still remember the first time I read the Little Prince. A few years back, I managed to borrow a copy of the novel from my cousin and read it in one sitting.  I loved it so much I even considered not giving the book back right after. It was a light read. The stories were simple, and yet infinitely profound. Not to mention the illustrations that accompanied the story were also quite delightful. While I was doing my research on things to do and places to visit in Seoul, a small Little Prince themed village named “Petite France” popped up in some of the travel blogs that I was reading. Imagine my excitement when I found out that such a place existed! I immediately jotted the place down in my itinerary and a few months later, a friend and I were sitting in a bus, waiting to get dropped…

Of all the countries that I’ve been to thus far, I think Seoul tops the list for most Instagram-worthy city. There’s just always something to photograph—the sleek and shiny office buildings in Gangnam, the beautiful architecture of its universities, the tree-laden parks which dot every district of this megacity, the quirky shops and cafes, the weird but captivating street art along deserted alleyways, and the list goes on. Not to be overlooked, though, is the Seoul Trick Eye Museum. What makes this museum so unique is that instead of being a typical art gallery where one merely looks at the paintings, one can be a part of the painting themselves. The paintings housed in the museum are created using a technique called trompe-l’œil, which is French for “deceives the eye.” This particular art style gives each 2D masterpiece the illusion of being in 3D. Trompe-l’œil is not a new concept,…

Last year, I took part in a pilgrimage to Mount Putuo, one of China’s five major Buddhist religious mountains. Hauled along by an energetic tour guide who explained everything in either Mandarin or Fukien (ergo I didn’t really understand much), we snaked around the busy streets of Shanghai and paid our respects to a multitude of ancient Chinese temples in the nearby provinces. Now when you think of the word “pilgrimage,” you think of a quiet, spiritual experience through a billowing cloud of incense smoke, of monks draped in bright orange robes, and of fellow pilgrims offering a small prayer to the assembly of Buddhist gods before them. All of these things were there, but multiply the pilgrims exponentially. We literally had to make our way through a sea of humanity just to get to the different temples within Mount Putuo. The weather was hot and humid as we navigated…

Imagine this— a soft sea breeze, the warmth of the mid-afternoon sun slowly ebbing way, a glass of crisp Alsatian white wine in your hand, and a basket of flaky, freshly-baked croissants on the table in front of you. Looking up from the book that you’re reading, you see the sun leisurely making its descent into the deep, crystalline blue waters of the sea, casting soft, golden sunbeams on the small fishing boats making their way back to the village. Sounds infinitely better than your stuffy office cubicle, am I right? Just a 20-minute plane ride from Manila lies Balesin Island Club, an exclusive 500-hectare tropical paradise with its own private beaches located off the coast of Quezon Province. Balesin has a total of seven themed villages: Balesin, Bali, Phuket, Mykonos, Costa del Sol, Toscana, and finally, St. Tropez, where my family and I managed to book a room after a…