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    • Spring
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.

        Into the Mystic

        While you probably won’t encounter an elusive river sprite in the highlands of the Northern Japan Alps, you may feel a bit lightheaded from the refreshing thin air, remarkable vistas and mystical aura of the mountains and valleys in Kamikochi.
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...
    • Summer
      • Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...
        A glass of beer from Kyoto Brewing

        Kampai! in Kansai

        Kansai has been...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
    • Autumn
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
    • Winter
      • video

        Mad About Pow

        A powder pocket...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
        video

        Shuzenji Sanctuary

        Nestled in the ...
    • Near Tokyo
      • Air it Out

        There is no bet...

        Ark Hills Marche

        Tucked away in ...

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

        Summer Runs, Races & Tours

        Trail running is a great way to explore the beautiful nature of a country while getting away from the usual tourist spots.

        Tokyo Escapes: Summer Camping

        Tokyo summers can be stifling—luckily it’s easy to escape the city for a cool break from the heat.
    • Near Kyoto
      • A glass of beer from Kyoto Brewing

        Kampai! in Kansai

        Kansai has been...

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

        Cycling Awaichi

        “Awaichi” is sh...
    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
      • Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...

        Air it Out

        There is no bet...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...
    • River and Lake
      • Air it Out

        There is no bet...
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...

        Minakami Mofest

        Head up to Japan's outdoor mecca of Minakami for the country's biggest outdoor adventure festival!
        video

        All-Season Outdoor Playgr...

        Enter the all-season world of Shinetsu Shinzekyo in Nagano and Niigata with outdoor professionals
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
      • video

        Mad About Pow

        A powder pocket...

        The Reemergence of Arai

        Lotte Arai Resort will definitely become a hotspot for western skiers and boarders over the next few years.

        Tohoku Storm Chasing

        Just a few hours north of Tokyo by Shinkansen (bullet train) await remote mountains and the countryside of Tohoku’s Akita and Iwate prefectures.
    • Travel
      • Gravity-Defying Farming in Nishi Awa

        Discover the centuries-old secret behind what keeps southern Japan's mountains growing

        Up Market in Osaka

        There wasn’t mu...

        Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...
    • Food and Drinks
      • Gravity-Defying Farming in Nishi Awa

        Discover the centuries-old secret behind what keeps southern Japan's mountains growing

        Up Market in Osaka

        There wasn’t mu...

        Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...
    • Races and Events
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

Random Tips & Tidbits From Asia

Want to know some cool facts about the hottest up-and-coming Asian destinations? Lonely Planet reveals all in the Lonely Planet Bluelist: The Best in Travel 2008.

NORTHWEST VIETNAM

MOST BIZARRE SIGHT
The mad Sunday morning market in Bac Ha is the place to get your water buffaloes, pigs, horses and dogs, or bottles of the local firewater. Groups of Flower H’mong throng here early, decked out in hippy-trippy rainbow-braided velvet.

PENINSULAR MALAYSIA

RANDOM FACTS

Malaysia is the first country in the world to have introduced passports embedded with microchips and biometric data.

More than 60 percent of all software used by Malaysian businesses are thought to be illegal copies.

Operating on a rotational cycle, each of Malaysia’s nine sultans takes a turn as the country’s head of state, serving as king for a five-year term (the current one is Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of the northeastern state of Terengganu).

Literally put on a pedestal by its builders so that its background is only sky. the Taj Mahal is a ‘Teardrop on the face of eternity’ according to Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore.

MOST BIZARRE SIGHT

During the Thaipusam festivals held in Johor Bahru, Ipoh, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, you can see religious devotees pierce their skin with pikes and hooks, from which they hang milk pots, feather decorations and pictures of deities.

A sight common in Northwest Vietnam, this Dzao woman’s headgear, called a hong, comprises at least seven layers of cotton scarves.

CHENGDU, CHINA

RANDOM FACT
According to the principals of traditional Chinese medicine, Chengdu’s trademark spicy foods combat people’s “internal dampness,” which is believed to cause illness and be brought on by the city’s humid and rainy weather.

A sight common in Northwest Vietnam, this Dzao woman’s headgear, called a hong, comprises at least seven layers of cotton scarves.

WHAT’S HOT

The nightlife. From freakily mammoth discos through to cool little clubs, Chengdu boasts the biggest and best selection in all of southwest China.

WHAT’S NOT

Getting a taxi. On weekends it can take up to an hour to flag one down. Locals gripe that the city has cut the number of cabs on the road despite the economic boom and the influx of people.

RECENT FAD

Setting up your business here after getting fed up with high prices in Beijing and Shanghai.

BHUTAN

RANDOM FACTS

Not only the act of smoking but also the sale of tobacco is illegal in Bhutan (as are plastic bags and MTV).
 Television arrived in Bhutan in 1999.
 In 2002 Microsoft developed a special Dzongkha font for Windows.
 Bhutan has one set of traffic lights.

MOST BIZARRE SIGHT

Exterior house walls and entryways decorated with giant painted penises that are symbols of the drunken, promiscuous 15th-century lama Drukpa Kunley.
Otherworldly monks dressed in maroon robes transcribing ancient Buddhist texts into computers, or Bhutanese noblemen dressed in traditional Tibetan-style tunics and argyle socks sending text messages on their ultramodern mobile phones.

MUMBAI, INDIA

RANDOM FACTS

  Number of Bollywood movies made since 1931: 67,000.
  Percentage of people living in slums: 55 percent.
  Population density: 29,000 people per square kilometer.
  Proportion of Mumbai built on reclaimed land: 60 percent.

MOST BIZARRE SIGHT

Dhaba-wallahs (lunchbox couriers) weaving through the chaos to deliver about 200,000 meals a day from homes to hungry office workers, using a sophisticated system of numbers and colors to distinguish the tiffin boxes.

This is an edited extract from Lonely Planet Bluelist: The Best in Travel 2008 © Lonely Planet Publications, 2007.

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