Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Hokkaido – Scenic Sites of Floral Wonder

Embark on a floral journey of discovery in Hokkaido, where the fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms transforms the landscape into a pastel paradise. Explore the enchanting allure of springtime in Japan, from idyllic parks to hidden gems showcasing the charm of these flowers.

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Otaru Park

Dating to the Meiji era, Otaru Park emerges as a panoramic haven for cherry blossom enthusiasts. With around 900 cherry trees gracing its slopes, this park which is within easy reach of the property of Park Hotel Group transforms into a captivating spectacle from early to mid-May. The Hokkaido cherry tree varieties here set amidst views of the city and harbour, create an idyllic setting for a leisurely stroll.

Temiya Park

Located on a mountain, Temiya Park offers more breathtaking panoramas along with spellbinding views of its 700 Ezoyama Sakura and Yoshino Cherry trees in full bloom from mid to late May. Amongst the best things to do in Otaru during Spring is to

enjoy the tranquillity as you wander along rows of cherry blossom trees. While here, you can also visit the Temiyaryokuka Botanical Gardens adding more allure to this scenic site.

Tenjoji Temple

A 15-minute stroll from Minami Otaru Station will bring you to Tenjoji Temple, a hidden gem home to around 30 cherry blossom trees. Though fewer in number than other spots, the grandeur of these trees, in full bloom by early May, creates a spectacle of awe. On your exploration, you will also come across statues of Gokoushi and Kanon which lends to the distinctive atmosphere created by the vibrant hues of cherry blossoms.

Hokkaido Shrine

Embark on an excursion to Hokkaido Shrine within Sapporo’s Maruyama Park. Late April to early May heralds the blooming of over a thousand cherry blossoms around the shrine, casting a spell of enchantment. Amidst this floral symphony, the park also unveils the delicate elegance of white and red plum blossoms, creating a magical setting reminiscent of a springtime fairytale.


The Ultimate Guide to the Land of Eternal Spring – Travel Tips for Holidaying in Captivating Kunming

Called “The City of Eternal Spring,” Kunming is no ordinary travel hotspot in Yunnan Province. Here are some guidelines to help travelers navigate this vibrant corner of China.

Kunming | wikipedia commons

When to Travel

Although Kunming is a pleasant vacation destination for most of the year, first-timers should time their trip between March and October. As the official tourist season in Kunming, this sunny time of year is when the flowers in the city are in full bloom and nearly every outdoor excursion is accessible and safe.

Getting Around

Whether one is based at a property belonging to the Park Hotel Group or any other hotel chain, hopping on the local metro trains is the best way to get around Kunming. Offering passengers efficient and affordable transfers around the city, the metro trains are reliable and even connect visitors with the airport. The two largest bus terminals in the city are the Kunming East Bus Station and the Kunming North Bus Station. Cycling enthusiasts will also find Kunming to be a very biking-friendly city.

Cultural Landmarks

Some of the most popular cultural landmarks visitors must explore in Kunming include the Yuantong Temple. Built during the Tang Dynasty, it is the largest temple compound in the city. The Qiongzhu Temple which dates back to the Song Dynasty is equally impressive, while a Museum of Yunnan Province tour is another must for culture buffs.

Top Attractions

Apart from paying homage to ancient temples, hiking and enjoying nature are among the top things to do in Kunming. The Stone Forest World Geopark and the Western Hills Forest Park are ideal for discovering the natural beauty of the area.

The Truth About Otaru – Japan’s Hidden Gem

Nestled on Hokkaido’s coast, Otaru is a delightful surprise. It’s a sweet treat for those who venture beyond Japan’s well-trodden tourist paths. Known for its beautifully preserved canal area and rich history, Otaru offers a blend of cultural charm and scenic beauty.

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What Is Otaru Known For?

Otaru is famous for its beautifully preserved canal district that harks back to its prosperous port days. With warehouses now converted into charming boutiques and cafes, Otaru takes you on a journey to a bygone era. The city is also renowned for its glassworks and music boxes.

Places to Stay

Accommodation in Otaru caters to various budgets. From cosy ryokans to hotels like Grand Park Otaru, there’s something for every traveller. Want to stay at the best hotel in Hokkaido but don’t have the budget for it? Keep an eye out for offers and packages; you will find a place that fits your needs and budget.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Otaru is from June to August, when the weather is warm, and the city is vibrant with festivals and outdoor activities. Winter, February in particular, is also a great time to visit, especially if you’re interested in the famous Otaru Snow Light Path Festival.

Things to Do

There’s no shortage of activities in Otaru. Take a stroll along the canal, explore the city’s rich history in museums like the Otaru Music Box Museum, or enjoy a scenic cruise from the port. Nature lovers can head to nearby Tenguyama for hiking in summer or skiing in winter.


Otaru’s culinary scene is as diverse as its culture. Being a port city, it’s a paradise for seafood lovers, with fresh sushi and sashimi being local specialities. Don’t miss out on grilled seafood and sweet corn – the city’s famous street food.  For a unique experience, visit one of the local sake breweries to sample the city’s rice wine.

Kyoto’s Most Stunning Seasonal Flowers – Discover the Breathtaking Natural Beauty of Japan

Kyoto, a city steeped in history and culture, is also a paradise for nature lovers, especially those who can’t resist the charm of blooming flowers. In Kyoto, every season brings a different floral show, filling the city with delightful scents. The city offers a never-ending spectacle of natural beauty all year round.


Img via flickr

Spring: Cherry Blossoms

When spring arrives in Kyoto, you can’t miss the gorgeous cherry blossoms painting the town pink. Head over to Maruyama Park, where a magnificent cherry tree takes centre stage, offering you a truly breathtaking sight. And don’t forget the nighttime charm – during Sakura season, the park lights up, turning into a magical wonderland.

Summer: Lotus Flowers

Summer in Kyoto brings the serene beauty of lotus flowers. You can see them at the Kamigamo Shrine, just 15 minutes from Park Hotel Kyoto. The place has a calm pond filled with these pink and white blooms. It’s a simple yet peaceful sight that you can enjoy during the summer. You can easily get here from any Kyoto Japan hotel.

Autumn: Maple Leaves

Autumn in Kyoto is all about enjoying the vibrant colours of the maple leaves, a tradition known as Momiji-gari or maple leaf hunting. Head to Tofukuji Temple, which is famous for its extensive maple tree groves that paint the landscape in stunning shades of red, orange, and yellow. You can take in these breathtaking autumn scenes from various viewing platforms throughout the temple grounds.

Winter: Plum Blossoms

While cherry blossoms steal the spotlight, don’t overlook winter’s hidden gems – plum blossoms. At Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, you’ll find these delicate plum blossoms blooming in various shades of white, pink, and red. Don’t miss the annual plum blossom festival held here; it’s a delightful event that’s worth experiencing.

Visiting Kyoto in Winter – What to Pack and Wear

While visiting Kyoto in the winter is an absolute delight, this city is also famous for its chilling winter cold. If you do plan on visiting during this season, adequate preparation is essential. Here are a few pointers on what to pack and wear to keep you warm and toasty while you explore.

kyoto in winter 

Understanding Kyoto’s cool winter temperatures

Kyoto is located in what is known as a land basin with mountains to the north, west and east. Land basins are usually said to have tangibly higher temperatures during summer and lower temperatures during winter. Typically, during winter, temperatures reach the lowest point of about -2°C while the highest would be about 6°C. While this may not be as cold as temperatures in Tohoku or Hokkaido, the cold in Kyoto can catch visitors off guard if they are not prepared. However, if you are staying in one of the Kyoto suites at properties like Park Hotel Kyoto, the heating system will keep you nice and warm throughout your stay.

The weather during winter

Here’s good news for travellers who plan on visiting Kyoto; this city has low precipitation throughout the year which means you’ll see clear skies at most times including winter. However, the air in Kyoto gets dry during winter, plus you’ll also experience the cold dry northern wind that blows during this season; so ensure to wear plenty of layers. While it doesn’t snow heavily in Kyoto, you’ll come across fine snow dust in the air.

Clothes to pack for Kyoto in winter

If you want to be fully prepared for winter in Kyoto, here are a few items you ought to pack in your suitcase. Elastic inner wear that traps body heat and will keep you warm even when you sweat is a must. A belly band to keep your belly warm, but if you are not comfortable with this you could also opt for woollen pants. High-neck shirts or tops with an inner wool lining, knitwear,  fleece, scarves and sweaters are also recommended.

How to dress for the winter

Layered clothing is the best way to go, to fight the cold in Kyoto. The first layer should be absorbent clothing that will be snug against your body so you will be warm even when you are sweating. The next layer should be clothing that allows you to move freely with woollen linings to keep you warm. For the final layer, windbreakers with a waterproof lining or jackets would be ideal.


Fun Things to Do in Maldives for a Memorable Holiday – An Island Getaway Like No Other

Welcome to the Maldives, where each moment feels like a scene from a postcard. Beyond the pristine beaches and turquoise waters, a world of adventure awaits and here are some of the captivating experiences that await.

Dolphin-Watching | img via flickr

Snorkel Amidst Manta Rays
In the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, lies Hanifaru Bay – a haven for manta rays from June to November who arrive here in large numbers to feed on plankton. Resorts here like Milaidhoo Maldives offer snorkelling excursions to this bay where you can swim alongside these graceful ocean denizens as they glide through the waters; suffice it to say, you will feel like you are in a real-life marine documentary!

Go Dolphin-Watching
When it comes to family-friendly adventures in the Maldives, things to do, don’t come any better than a dolphin-watching escapade. These playful marine mammals love to showcase their acrobatics, sometimes leaping in and out of the ocean waves. A delight for all ages, this excursion promises smiles and awe as you witness the enchanting connection between these intelligent creatures and the boundless sea.

Dine On a Sandbank
Imagine a dining experience where the only footprints in the sand are yours. Indulge in a sunrise breakfast, a BBQ lunch, or a romantic dinner under the stars on a secluded sandbank. As the sun paints the sky in various magical hues, you can relish gourmet delights with your toes in the sand and the company of loved ones. It’s not just a meal, it’s a sensory journey, an intimate connection with nature’s beauty.

Enjoy Traditional Sunset Fishing
For a unique excursion in Maldives, you can try traditional sunset fishing. Guided by locals, you will use age-old hand line or roll bait techniques. As the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden glow on the waters, you will find tranquillity in this time-honoured pursuit. Some resorts will even offer you the chance to turn your catch into a delectable meal, creating memories that linger on your taste buds too!

Your Guide to Fun-filled Dune Bashing in Dubai – An Adrenaline Pumping Desert Experience!

While there are plenty of modern marvels in Dubai, don’t forget you can also head to the vast desert which sets the stage for an unforgettable experience; read on to find out more about the action-packed world of dune bashing!

What is Dune Bashing?
This exhilarating activity involves being driven in powerful 4×4 vehicles through the undulating sand and up and down the dunes at speed. A unique aspect is the pit stop to deflate your tires, providing increased traction against the shifting sands. The undulating dunes become your terrain, each rise and fall met with the roar of the engine and the exhilarating sensation of conquering nature’s shifting landscapes.

Transfers & Locations
Your adventure will generally kick off with a hotel pick-up; consider staying at centrally located properties like Oaks Liwa Heights which make an ideal base and offer two-bedroom family suite options too. The journey to an expansive desert will take around 45 to 60 minutes and depending on the tour operator, you may be taken to places like the Lahbab, Al Badayer, or Al Faya Deserts. Try and snag the front passenger seat for optimal views as your skilled driver manoeuvres through the ever-changing dunes!

What to Wear
When it comes to suitable attire, understand that the desert’s golden grains can find their way into every nook and cranny! A good choice would be long pants and a light shirt or T-shirt (avoid dark colours). Don a hat or scarf to protect against the sun and choose sandals or slippers over enclosed shoes. Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses since there will be times when you will get out of the vehicle and into the radiant Arabian sun.

Other Activities
Beyond exhilarating dune bashing, additional adventures await depending on the chosen tour package. Saddle up for a traditional camel ride, or rev up the excitement with quad biking, sandboarding, or dune buggy rides. As the sun sets, immerse yourself in a Bedouin-style camp which offers henna hand painting, a delectable Middle Eastern feast, and the hypnotic rhythms of a belly dancing performance.

Watching Blue Whales Off the Coast of Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Whale Watching Guide

Watching whales can be a life-changing experience. That is why you need to visit the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ to observe these magnificent creatures.

whale watching in Sri Lanka | img via flickr

Best Time to Go

Tour agencies such as Ceylon Tours always state that the best time for whale watching depends on the species you want to see. That is because while it is possible to see ten species of whale from the coast of Sri Lanka, not all of them can be seen at the same time. For instance, if one wishes to see blue whales, they have to travel between February and mid-March. But, if they want to see a humpback or even a sperm whale, they can visit between late November and mid-April.

Best Places for Whale Watching

When it comes to blue whale watching in Sri Lanka, the best spots would be located on the southern coast. More specifically around Galle and Mirissa. That is because of the narrowness of the continental shelf at these locations, which makes it easier to access the deep waters. Thus, it is a must to spend a few days in either Galle or Mirissa. Furthermore, in addition to whale watching, there are many boutique hotels and quirky cafes around these spots to keep the travellers occupied.

How to be a Responsible Whale Watcher

While Sri Lanka may not be as famous for whale watching as it is for its elephants, it’s slowly growing to be a popular tourist attraction. Thus, it is important to ensure that this trip will be a responsible one. The best way to do this is by checking if the tour operators have been accredited by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).

How to Book a Tour

There may be some travellers who travel to Sri Lanka mainly for the purpose of whale watching. If that is the case, then it is recommended that they create a customised tour. However, if one is simply seeking to arrange a day trip, then it would be possible to make the arrangements via their hotel.

Experience Thrilling Desert Safaris in Abu Dhabi – Enthralling Escapades in a Sea of Sand!

Embark on a journey through the mesmerising dunes of Abu Dhabi, where the vast expanse of the desert offers exciting adventures and discoveries. From heart-pounding activities to magical evenings under the starlit sky, desert safaris promise an unforgettable experience.

Ideal Desert Locations
Discover the allure of the Empty Quarter or Rub al Khali, the world’s largest uninterrupted sand desert, for a truly immersive experience. Alternatively, explore the Al Khatim Desert or Al Khaznah Desert, each offering a distinctive backdrop for your desert safari. You can look to head off on such excursions while staying in the heart of the city at properties like Oaks Liwa Executive Suites Abu Dhabi which make an ideal base.

Best Times for a Safari
You can go on morning safaris to witness the desert come alive with soft hues after dawn. Alternatively, choose an evening safari, where the setting sun paints the dunes in warm, golden tones; it’s a truly spellbinding sight that will remain with you even once back at one of the city’s serviced apartments. Abu Dhabi tour operators even offer overnight desert safaris, allowing you to camp beneath the stars and wake up to the serene beauty of the desert at dawn.

Desert Activities
Enjoy the adrenaline rush of dune bashing, as you are taken on an exhilarating ride over the undulating dunes in a 4×4 vehicle. For a more traditional experience, engage in camel trekking at sunrise or sunset, connecting with the desert at a leisurely pace. Thrill seekers can opt for quad biking and sandboarding too, adding an extra layer of excitement to their desert adventure. Some safaris additionally include visits to a camel farm, a delight for kids and adults alike.

Enchanting Dinners
As the day concludes, some desert safaris will include an Arabian BBQ in a Bedouin-style camp. Immerse yourself in the local culture with henna painting, shisha, and mesmerising Tanoura dance performances. As you savour the dishes on offer, you can also be entertained by the rhythmic beats and twirls of belly dancing under the starlit sky, transporting you to the magical realm of The Arabian Nights.

Best Adventure Sports in Qatar – For that much needed adrenaline pump

Doha is an interesting place to visit offering stunning attractions that will make all leisure travellers from around the world to stay in this wonderful city. Here are a few exciting sports to try out.

Image via Al Najada Doha Hotel by Tivoli

Desert Safari

You’ll miss a major part of your Qatar trip if you don’t go on a desert safari tour. The best time to enjoy the thrills and spills of a desert safari is in the evening since during the daytime it’s quite difficult with the scorching heat. Feel thrilling moments of a dune bashing session as you go by a 4×4 land cruiser. You’ll say ‘Do more!’

A game of golf

You might have known Qatar for its epitome of modern living and vibrant culture but now it comes as an appealing destination for the most discerning of golfers. Want to discover its incredible golf courses? Savour your stay with a host of social events, numerous leisure activities and dining options. If you are in search of one of the many best hotels in Doha close to the famous Doha Golf Club, try out an option such as Al Najada Doha Hotel by Tivoli which is located 25 minutes away from the club.


You’ll find no better place to try out some coastal adventures other than Oman’s huge coastline. There are many environmentally friendly beaches where one can try out diving, jet skiing, snorkelling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boating and sailing.

Beach fun

If you are not fond of any of these water sports activities, you can simply choose a deserted beach like Bimmah Beach to have a fantastic camping adventure. Have you ever heard of ‘Norway of Arabia’? Excited to know and explore it during your holiday? It is worth a visit!