Japan {Pt. 1}

TL;DR: I fell in love with Japan.

Japan has been on my list of places to explore. It’s definitely one for the books.

Japan.

I’m going to do this in two parts because there is so much to talk about and so many pictures to show you guys. When you hear of this country, you think of anime, food, and cuteness overload.

The first city that I visited was Kyoto. This town is filled with rich history. It’ll pull you into the serenity of the shrines.

The Fushimi Inari Shrine is probably the most famous shrine in Kyoto. It is lined with the these orange red columns. I ended up going in the afternoon for the first time and it was pretty packed. So if you’re wanting a picture of just the columns and no one else, going there around 6 am is suggested. Trust me, I did it after a night of drinking and it was still worth it.

It is a bit of a hike as this shrine was built on a mountain. Definitely bring some shades and a water when hiking through this amazing shrine.

If I had to pick a favorite shrine, it would be this. It’s a must see when going to Japan.

The next part of Kyoto that I loved was the food stalls. There were so many good af food places. It was a foodie’s paradise.

There were so many things to try. I decided to get small snack throughout the day so that I may be able to eat everything.

The most memorable stand was this walk up that served steak nigiri. The steak was wagyu beef and was placed on an edible plate. Which to be honest, I may have enjoyed the plate a little more than I should.

Other than the food, the shrines and temples were definitely the highlight of Kyoto. I wish I stayed a bit longer to explore the bamboo forest and other attractions, but I had Tokyo, Osaka, and Nara to explore.

All in all, Kyoto gives you the feeling that you’re in the ancient times of Japan. As I said, I would stay in Kyoto for another week to just explore everything.

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Tulum, Mexico

TL;DR: Tulum was awesome. You should definitely go for the food, adventure, and culture.

My motto has been “Might as well.” I’ve applied this to mostly every place that I’ve visited so far and it has always been an interesting journey. This phrase has definitely given me the courage to try new things and be a bit spontaneous.

When I told my parents that I was going to Mexico by myself, they freaked out. They obviously were worried for my safety since this was the first time I was going to Mexico, especially on a solo adventure. But I convinced them that I would be ok and that I’ll be back in a week.

So the adventure begins. I flew into Cancun International Airport and it was a dreary day. The rain was pouring like no other. I thought that this would dampen my time by the beach (pun intended lol). The best way to get around Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, is to utilize the public transportation. To get to Tulum, I took the ADO bus, which only costs about $8.00.

When I arrived to the Tulum bus station, my Airbnb host met me and we walked to where I was staying for the week. Once settled, I decided to explore downtown. The main street is one of the main highways, HWY 307. It’s lined with many gift shops and restaurants.


The vibe of the small city was relaxed and “chill” to say the least. I did make time to go to the beach before the sunset. It was picturesque. I’ve never seen whiter sand and bluer water than here.


Pretty sure there are other beaches that have better views than this, but it was outstanding.

The next day, I decided to go ziplining. There is an amusement park in Playa Del Carmen called Xplore. This had about 14 different zip lines throughout the park.


During this trip, I’ve learned that it’s easier to make friends while traveling solo. It’s pretty great.


I’m not able to post videos in this post, but the zip lines were exhilarating. There was a course that you went through a waterfall, which was definitely fun.

On the third day, I decided to go snorkeling with turtles and see the Mayan ruins. The turtles were so cute but we weren’t allowed to touch them because the oils on our skin affects them, negatively. Other than turtles, we were able to see stingrays and other fish.

Turtles

Enough of what I did. The most important thing is what I ate.

As I’ve mentioned before, the street of Downtown Tulum was lined with many restaurants and bars.

There was one specific taco place that was only open during the night. And when it opened, there was already a line out the door. This was a hole in the wall that wanted to be discovered. Tacos here were about 7 cents USD or less than 15 pesos. It was unbelievable.

Their al pastor was what everyone came for. And it didn’t disappoint. Ugh, my mouth is salivating just thinking about it.

Other than the food, the beach was all the rage. The white sand against the cerulean (tell me you thought about Pokemon when this work came up) blue ocean was a sight. The pictures speak for themselves.

All in all, Tulum was a great getaway from the cold days of North America. It’s culture is enticing and the food makes you want to stay. Here’s a picture of a palette, which was out of this world.

Seoul, South Korea

TL;DR: South Korea is definitely a beautiful country. It was a little rough for me to get used to, but once I did, I had a great time.

After hearing the adventures that my roommate had experienced in Seoul, I wanted to experience it myself. The food, nightlife, and scenery attracted me to go to the capitol. 

Throughout this trip, I unfortunately, was sick. It sucks to be sick on vacation because all you want to do is just stay in bed. But I knew that I had to muster up the strength to go out and see the city.

The main attraction of Seoul are the palaces. These palaces were huge. Not only huge, but beautiful. The vibrancy of the colors grabbed your attention. I mean, I I’d want to buy a palace when I was there.

There were people who would dress up in traditional garments and they would be able to get in the palace for free. I would have definitely done it, but it was hot as balls and I was not about that life. 

The palaces were humongous. There was a sense of serenity and a bit of class when walking through the buildings.

The colors were the main attraction as the buildings were decorated with bright and playful hues. It definitely captures your attention. There are two main palaces in Seoul that you can visit, which are Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung Palaces. Make sure to buy the tickets online before visiting as it is cheaper and you can get them as a bundle.

In addition to the rich history of the palace, Korea’s landscape is beautiful to explore. I decided to go on a hike at Ansan Mountain. Holy crap, there were so many stairs as this hike was literally up a mountain. 


Of course I decide to go on a mountain hike.  What was I thinking?! This is the part where I tell you that at the end of it all, it was worth it. Well, it actually was. The view from the top was amazing. 


It was also cooler, temperature wise, at the top. As Drake would say, “Started from the bottom, now we here.” 

Now it’s time to talk about the food. Throughout this trip, I was very budget focused. So I stuck with the street food and I have no regrets. 

I went to Myeongdang for the street food and to see all the hype around the beauty industry in Korea. 


The street food definitely lives up to the hype. There was everything you can possibly imagine on a condensed radius of Myeongdang. You can even get lobster on the street. These lobsters were bomb though. 


There was cheese, garlic, and lobster and it was torched to perfection.

All in all, Seoul, South Korea has been quite an adventure but it’s a country worth exploring.