Seokbulsa Temple: A Rewarding Temple Hike in Busan, South Korea

Seokbulsa Temple in Busan, South Korea

Temple lovers, hiking fans, and anyone looking to get a little off-the-beaten-path in Busan, you have to add Seokbulsa Temple (Seokbul Temple, more correctly, since “–sa” means “temple”) to your Busan bucket list. This is no ordinary Korean temple; Seokbulsa is built into the sides of sandstone cliffs on Geumjeongsan (Mt. Geumjeong), the highest mountain …

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11 Awesome Taichung Day Trips

The best Taiwan amusement parks, theme parks, and waterparks

Taichung is located on the central west coast and is Taiwan’s second largest city. Most travelers used to give it a miss, but nowadays it is an increasingly popular stop on people’s Taiwan travel itinerary. While I was compiling my list of top things to do in Taichung, my article quickly became WAY too long. …

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Miaoli Taiwan: Hakka Culture & Off-the-Beaten-Track Travels

Things to do in Miaoli Taiwan

Miaoli is a mountainous county in northern central Taiwan, between Hsinchu and Taichung. Foreign tourists seldom include it on their travel itinerary for Taiwan because none of the things to do in Miaoli ever make it onto “must-do in Taiwan” lists (although I put three Miaoli attractions on my list of best things to do …

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Alishan Tea: The Champagne of Taiwan Oolongs

A worker on a field where Alishan tea is grown

Taiwan’s oolong teas are so good that they have been described as the “champagne of tea.” In recent decades, Alishan High Mountain tea has stood out from the crowd as the most sought after of Taiwan’s impressive array of teas. In fact, my (Taiwanese) father-in-law, an avid tea drinker, turns his nose up at anything …

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Japan’s Sacred Kumano Kodo Walk in Winter

Kumano Kodo in winter

The Kumano Kodo is a network of pilgrimage trails that connect various Shinto-Buddhist sites in the mountainous Kii Peninsula south of Osaka and Nagoya, and is considered one of the world’s great pilgrimages that travelers can easily join. These expansive tracts of wilderness are replete with spiritual sights that have attracted pilgrims for 1000+ years, …

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Kumano Sanzan and Ise Grand Shrine: 4 Gorgeous Temples on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

Kumano Sanzan and the Ise Grand Shrine

In 2018 I visited Wakayama, a remote and wild region of Japan south of Osaka and Nagoya, to walk parts of the Kumano Kodo, a network of ancient pilgrimage trails. These trails are easily accessible, making them one of the best pilgrimages in the world for travelers. Besides these amazing hot springs at the eastern …

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