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Explorer’s Hat

    Stockholm’s Contemporary Haven: Magasin III

    Magasin III - Facial Recognition

    One of the unexpected surprises of Stockholm was Magasin III. As mentioned before, the refurbished warehouse has been host to many contemporary art exhibitions since 1987.

    Stockholm sights

    The artworks here are either produced by collaborations with the artists or acquired independently. A long-time collaborator, artist Tony Oursler’s video and conceptual art are some of highlights of the exhibition. Read more…

    Budget Itinerary for One Day in Stockholm, Sweden

    Stockholm sights

    Stockholm was the first stop of my four-day cruise with St. Peter Line. I only had less than 24 hours to explore as we docked at 9:00 AM and the ship is expected to leave at 6:00PM. With the given time, I still wanted to get to know the city whilst sticking to my budget (Iceland did kill my wallet after all).

    Here are some of the activities I managed to do in 9 hours:

    Explore the artistic Stockholm subway stations

    Stockholm has the longest art gallery in the world in the form of its subway stations. The story behind these murals, sculptures and painting will only make you appreciate the art more. Some of the striking murals are in the main hubs but there are also some quirky ones in further stations. I recommend getting the SL pass since you can use this to travel in busses and ferries.

    Stockholm sights


    SL Travel card (24 hours) : 120 SEK  or $14 USD Read more…

    Art in Stockholm Subway Stations

    Stockholm Subway Art

    In all the destinations I visited last year, Stockholm was the one I’m least familiar with. I did know about fika, Abba and the Vasa ship. Overall, I only had vague notion of the city’s culture. My first objective today is to check out Stockholm subway stations.

    Similar to its Scandinavian neighbours, Stockholm is a bustling city.  Lively and trendy districts coexist with traditional, heritage sites.

    As I only had less than a day to spend, it would not be enough. But hey, as long as there is time, every visit is worth it.

    The first activity I did was to do a “subway surf”. You would consider the usual subway as bleak or uninteresting. A subway might not be your first destination to go to when you want to see art.  In Stockholm, their subway or tunnelbana is an art gallery. They are filled with murals, sculptures and installations. I don’t think you’ll be bored while waiting for your train.

    Here are some of my favourite stops during the day. Read more…

    How to have the best three days in Takayama

    Takayama - Old Town

    Takayama is a city nestled in Hida region of Gifu prefecture. Despite it being a city, Takayama’s scenery is the opposite of what you could usually see in busy metropolitans. Instead of sky-high buildings, you’d find yourself travelling to mountainous areas, lush forestry and charming villages. Whether you want to visit the Japanese Alps, see the famed Shirakawa-go or relax in an onsen village, Takayama is an excellent starting point for you.

    I went to Takayama during Christmas break last year. Being there during winter made it extra special to me. Winter after all is the best season (at least for me).

    Read more…

    Best and Free things to do in Kyoto

    Are you on a budget holiday in Kyoto? Maybe you are searching for free things to do in Kyoto. You don’t need to fret because you can actually enjoy some of Kyoto’s landmarks for free!  Take Arashiyama for instance. Japan is considered as an expensive destination but like I’ve mention before, a well-thought out itinerary is the key to saving money. There are many things to do in Kyoto whether you love gardens, curious about Buddhism or excited to explore Japanese cuisine, it is possible to find places that fit both your interests and budget. Here is my list of free things to do in Kyoto.

    Free Things to do in Kyoto

    1.) A stroll in Arashiyama  and Togetsukyo Bridge

    Free Things to do in Kyoto-Togetsukyo

    I love Arashiyama for its relaxing vibe. Its proximity to the river in addition to the surrounding forests and the rural surroundings make this area one my favourite places to visit in Kyoto. Can you believe  this lovely place is one of the free things to do in Kyoto? Yes, it can get awfully touristy but  visit early in the morning or just enjoy a stroll late at night, you will see the place’s serene side.

    You can enjoy a picnic by the riverside. For a more active option, one can opt to cycle around Arashiyama and see the hidden gems of the area. Walk through the preserved district and you can also visit the two temples, each just a few minutes’ walk from the district.

    Get in: Take the JR Sagano/San-in Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station and walk for about 10 minutes. Read more…

    Rustic traditions: Oki Kagura

    Location: Nishinoshima Island

    The performance of Oki Kagura remains to be one of my most memorable experiences in Japan. There were instances that kagura was shown in anime but the performance in Oki was my first time to witness it in real life.

    Kagura, is a type of Shinto dance performed by selected individuals collectively known as sha-ke. Usually, sha-ke refers to the head priest of the shrine but in Oki, sha-ke are the local families appointed to preserve the tradition of the Kagura. Oki Kagura is quite unique, while it has remains true to the traditional Izumo style, Oki’s isolation from the mainland had an influence on how the ritual was perform.

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    Coastal sojourn at Oki Islands: Dogo

    Location: Dogo Island

    Just like a typical person, I dislike it when my computer has system errors. However, for this one time, I’m actually grateful for an error. This error led me to Oki Islands ( Dogo, Nishinoshima, Ama & Chiburijima)

    I was creating a route plan for my Kyoto trip when my computer froze and just went crazy. The focus shifted from Kyoto to the Sea of Japan. As this crazy computer calmed down, a group of islands were displayed on my screen. Four islands that looked intriguing and mysterious that I momentarily forgot my Kyoto route. I did my research and voila! Months later I arrived in this hidden gem in Japan. Read more…