The Hidden Gem of the Grand Canyon: Horseshoe Bend

Jess Valentine

After it being near the top of our USA bucket list for years, we finally got to experience how grand the Grand Canyon really is. After our visit many people asked us, “Which rim of the Grand Canyon is best?”

In a country with such varied experiences as kite-surfing across bright blue waters to hiking steep and sometimes rocky evergreen hills, any photographer visiting Vietnam is sure to find hidden gems and obvious wonders to take pictures of. Whether your focus is on natural beauty, historical beauty or on capturing the portraits and lives of the people that live in Vietnam, the potential incredible photography is everywhere in Vietnam.

Vietnamese food is oddly diverse as its many influences have arrived over the course of many centuries from multiple different regions. Neighbouring countries have had the biggest impact, and yet there are still flavours and traditions from almost every part of the world that have found their way into Vietnamese culture. Both the preparation and actual eating of meals is a serious business in this country, and the staple dishes of the country are recipes that have been handed down through generations. Get to know the staple dishes of Vietnam, and you’ll never be without a dish to try in a restaurant.

Festivals and holidays in your own country are always welcome as a way to let loose and enjoy time with family and friends—so imagine how fun it would be if you got to enjoy the celebrations of another country in a new place. You’ll get to see a side of the people and culture that isn’t on display every day, and you’ll make memories that will last a lifetime. Vietnam tends to follow the Chinese lunar calendar for their festivals as the country’s history as a Chinese vassal state still has a bearing today. Some of their festivals are celebrated on a national-level and others are celebrated by province and cities, but regardless of the celebration you experience, it is sure to impress and delight.

When you are packing for a trip abroad, you think about the clothes, shoes, accessories, and gear you may need for every situation in which you will find yourself. For Vietnam that means layers, strong walking shoes, a money belt and any other creature comforts to make sure you feel prepared and can enjoy your holiday fully.

The other-worldly beauty that is Vietnam is something you have to see to believe. From the ancient ruins of Ho Chi Minh to the natural beauty of Halong Bay, experience the vibrant culture that has endured years of war and political upheaval to become what it is today.

For a long time, Kyoto was the cultural centre of Japan, and as the culture of the city developed, so did it its culinary style. Instead of including plenty of fresh fish in their dishes like other Japanese cuisine, Kyoto cuisine tends to focus on using ingredients that are readily available locally. In general, the natural flavours of the ingredients are very important to Kyoto cuisine, and extra seasonings are kept to a minimum. Restaurants in Kyoto offer diners a rich culinary experience that is steeped in history with touches of modern practices and ingredients. If you are looking to enjoy traditional dishes from Kyoto, use our guide to figure out the first stop (and second, and third…) on your culinary adventure.

A group of highly-trained and highly-cultured women called the geishas, are a representation of Japanese culture. Meeting one can be an once-in-a-lifetime event, even for many Japanese. Though you will see many geisha throughout Japan, Kyoto is known as the birthplace of the culture.

What started as a student-organized event has quickly morphed into the internationally recognized Sapporo Snow Festival. It is one of Japan's largest winter events and every year it attracts more visitors from Japan and an increasing number of visitors from abroad, too. Every winter, about two million people come to Sapporo to see a large number of splendid snow and ice sculptures lining Odori Park, the grounds at Community Dome Tsudome, and the sights and lights along the main street in Susukino. If you are planning to attend and want a little more information about the history of the festival, what you can do and other logistics, read Cover-More’s guide to the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan.

Generally, Japan is an incredibly safe country in which to travel—theft levels are low and crime is rare. Regardless of the shining reputation of the country, there will always be the exception to the rule and many times scammers are responsible for tricking foreigners into giving up their cash or picking their pockets. You can avoid meeting the same fate by becoming familiar with some of the most common scams used in Japan. As always, stay vigilant when in public and if you get a weird vibe or feel like you’re being led down a sneaky path, trust your instincts and leave. Don’t worry about politeness if you feel you are in danger, leaving is your safest bet.

Tokyo may be the modern day capital of Japan, but Kyoto will always hold a place in Japanese hearts. Standing as the capital of Japan for over a millennium, this city still holds on to the old world charm while embracing the modern-era. Though you may be fooled initially upon entering the city, where the steel and glass main gateway greets you, the hidden gems of this city, such as the parks and the temples, will take you back to bygone eras. This city may be small in size, but it is rich in cultural heritage.