Idyllic summer: Kyushu

When I told my friends that I’m about to visit Japan again, none of them looks surprised, “Where is your destination this time, uh? Tokyo? Osaka or Hokkaido?” To be honest, I didn’t have any idea where I should go to this time even though I have planned this trip for a long time. I only knew that I have to go to japan and seems like it has become something ritual and routine for me hahah. At first my friends and I were planning to visit Hokkaido for the summer festival, but then after checking our schedule and the flight, we decided to visit Kyushu, the southern part of Japan which is famous for the mountains and the spectacular landscape. Due to the active volcanos, Kyushu is also renowned for the hot spring villages such as Beppu, Kurokawa and Yufuin. This time we were basically travelling around the mountains of northern Kyushu: from Fukuoka to Kumamoto, then from Aso to Yufuin.

 

Aso & The Kurokawa Hot Spring 阿蘇&黑川溫泉

The first time I noticed Kurokawa was in 2016 when I was planning my winter Japan trip. There was a local Japanese website recommending all those “secret/hidden” hot springs around the country, and Kurokawa, a small village with over 20 hot spring ryokans hidden in the mountain was highly recommended by the website. However, to those who cannot drive in Japan, those hidden hot springs are definitely not easy to get to. There are only 2 buses travelling from Kumamoto to Kurokawa a day and the journey takes 2 hours. On the way to the hot spring village, the spectacular landscape emerged with the summer green, during the whole trip we were surrounded by the endless greenery of the mountains.

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The spectacular mountain view of Aso. (@Fashionmimo)

 

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In the Kurokawa Onsen area, there are ryokans, restaurants and souvenir shops alongside. (@Fashionmimo)

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Taking half-board stay in Ryokan Sanga with multiple hot spring options (outdoor, indoor, private & public), a hidden wonderland in the mountain. (@Fashionmimo)

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Yufuin湯布院

A small town located at the Oita, here has the most fascinated & peaceful country view I have seen . Also, Yufuin takes a good balance between the flourishing tourism and local community, so it’s a common scenario here that lots of tourists walking along the street during the day time, but when it turns to the evening, the town shifts back to a local area where people chatting and drinking in the Izakaya (japanese bar).

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Peaceful and idyllic, just like any Japanese village in Haruki Murakami’s book. (@Fashionmimo)

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Family-style Izakaya, everything is designed to be tiny in order to fit in the space, tiny but tidy 🙂 (@Fashionmimo)

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We met a lovely local lady who took us to her friend’s 60s retro-style Whisky bar, a very-tiny space where everyone sit by the counter and sing Karaoke together. (@Fashionmimo)

Photo journey: The last week in Lion City

Still can’t believe that I’m already flying back and about to have my half-year internship. I don’t know how to conclude my 4-month exchange life (or say 4-month vacation) but Singapore has been treating me so good. I won’t forget all those crazy but awesome things happened here 🙂

Even though I always grumble about how boring the life here is (I’m sorry haha), I realized there are still lots of things haven’t done when I was about to leave. So I used my last 7 days here to explore more great spots in the Lion City.

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So regret that I’ve just discovered Bukit Timah at the last moment! Those restaurants, the saddle club and the floral market… and I spent a really good night at Tin Hill Social last Friday. They have several indoor/outdoor areas for dining and bar. It would be so relaxing to chill at the outdoor area with live band at night 🙂 (@Fashionmimo)

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City Hall is another great spot that I didn’t explore much before. Especially the Raffles Hotel and the Chijmes: historical buildings with fine restaurants. If you are a tourist and are looking for something about the “old” Singapore, you can’t miss it! (@Fashionmimo)

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Life of Tranquility: Hangzhou

My mom called me before I departed: “Are you going to Hangzhou in December? Well I don’t think you will enjoy the weather and views there.”

Emm…maybe she’s right. Because Hangzhou is in the southeast part of China, very near Shanghai, so you could expect the winter there would be windy/rainy, super cold (sometimes under zero celsius) but with very few snow. However, I didn’t have time to consider this cause my poor winter break just started a week before and Hangzhou, especially the Lingyin Temple has been on my travel Wishlist for over 5 years.

The Sights

I only visited a few sights this time so I couldn’t tell much about it but  I would strongly recommend you to chill at the Lake Xihu area. You got the most famous lake Xihu and  Lingyin Temple. And also you could enjoy the nature with some nice teahouses, bars and luxury hotels in this region.

The first time I noticed the Lingyin Temple was 5 years ago when I saw the print ads of Amanfayun, a luxury resort in Lingyin temple by Aman group. The resort reserves the Chinese and Buddha elements and it just looks like an old Chinese village. It’s the exact right place to slow me down and to be more “Zen” I think.

 

Near Lingyin Temple, there are some tea houses for you if you want to try the famous Longjing Tea from Hangzhou.

After visiting Lingyin Temple, just go down the mountain then you see the Lake Xihu.

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The Hotels

There are so many good hotels in Hangzhou but here I just wanna recommend those successfully blend the Chinese culture into their service and design.

Amanfayun

A luxurious Aman resort reconstructed from an old village and located right next to the Lingyin Temple, attractive enough. The only problem is the location may not be that convenient, and, it is just EXPENSIVE 🙂

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Four Seasons 

We struggled a lot between Four Seasons and Pins de la Brume before, and finally we decided to stay at PB and to take an afternoon tea at the garden of Four Seasons. I think it’s a right choice cause the garden in Four Seasons seems a little bit desolate in winter. However, if you are coming in summer or spring, I think the view here would be awesome 🙂

 

Pins de la Brume

Another French resort located near Lingyin Temple, it’s not that big compared to those two but I prefer its excellent location and environment.

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Dashe

A local small hotel in Hangzhou’s old style. In the room you could see the bricks and the wooden beams just like the old buildings 200 years ago.

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After all, it’s the end of 2015 and I want to thank you all for supporting my blog since May. Wish you all a very Merry Christmas and see you in 2016! 😀 (@Fashionmimo)

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The pines, the cloud and the fog

Last week I have been to Huangshan, one of the most famous mountain ranges in China. It took me 2 days to climb up those peaks and to watch the sunrise. Personally I really enjoy hiking, especially that sudden cool feeling when you reach such an altitude.

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In summer, there are 3 most famous sights: the pine trees, the clouds above and the sunrise. (@Fashionmimo)

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The weather was so nice when we climbed up the peak so we missed the clouds. However, in the morning we could enjoy another mysterious scenery when the fog was not yet dispersed. (@Fashionmimo)

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The Villages

There are 2 old villages near Huangshan, one called Hong Cun, another called Xi Di. Both of them thrived in the Ming Dynasty. In An-Hui Province, most people who thrived their business would help to develop their own villages.

Hong Cun (@Fashionmimo)

Hong Cun (@Fashionmimo)

Xi Di (@Fashionmimo)

Xi Di (@Fashionmimo)

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