A Road Trip Through the Japanese Alps

Neither of us had visited Japan before when we decided to take a small detour to the Land of the Rising Sun. Our road trip through the Japanese Alps, visiting tiny traditional villages and soaking in beautiful natural hot springs, turned out to be a highlight of our trip to Japan.

The Japanese Alps – the region a bit northeast of Kyoto – offers majestic scenery, delicious food, and (for the most part) an opportunity to explore a fascinating region without hordes of tourists everywhere you turn. We loved the freedom that renting a car in this region offered, and would highly recommend it. Before we get into the details, we’ll be up front: this adventure was not cheap for us. Especially compared with traveling throughout Southeast Asia for four months during low season. But if you can afford to splurge a bit, we highly recommend this little Japanese jaunt.


The Ha Giang Loop: The most stunning motorbike ride in Vietnam

“It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”

Ha Giang, the northernmost province of Vietnam, is known for some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Southeast Asia. The “final frontier” of Vietnam is famous among travelers for its Ha Giang Loop, a several-hundred kilometer collection of winding, mountainous roads best explored by motorbike. The roads, carved high into the mountains with switchback curves and sheer drops, are both exceedingly dangerous and breathtakingly beautiful. When we heard about it, we knew we’d have to see it for ourselves.

We decided to do an extended trip that would include Ha Giang Province as well as Cao Bang, where Vietnam’s most famous waterfall is located. Here’s how we explored this area.


7 Days Off the Beaten Path in Hanoi, Vietnam

How to travel like a local in Vietnam’s capital city

Hanoi is one of those cities where you can immediately feel the pulsing energy. When you step out into the city air, it assaults your senses. The sights, smells, sounds, and feel of the air around you come together to create a wonderful rush of excitement. After a week spent immersing ourselves in Hanoi, we think the best way to experience this city is to venture off the beaten path.

Hanoi is a city full of tourists with a thriving hostel culture, so if you wanted, you could spend a week only hanging out with Westerners and eating hamburgers and French fries the whole time. Don’t get us wrong–sometimes we definitely want our creature comforts! But for this trip, we wanted to experience local Hanoi to the greatest extent possible. Here are some ideas to help unlock the richness that Hanoi has to offer.


Itinerary: Three Days In Mexico City

Mexico City is a huge metropolis with seemingly infinite things to do. We visited Mexico City over President’s Day weekend, so we had three full days to explore. We’d gotten so many recommendations from friends that we found it really hard to narrow down everything into just a weekend! Here’s the itinerary we’d recommend if you only have three days to explore this bustling and vibrant city.