1. This Japanese hotel costs $1 per night...but there’s a catch.
Affordable travel takes on a whole new meaning at Asahi Ryokan, a Japanese inn on the northern shore of Kyushu island in a city called Fukuoka. So affordable, in fact, that travelers can stay for less than 100 yen, or $1 if, (and this is a big IF) they agree to allow the hotel to live stream them sleeping online. The idea first came to 27-year-old Tetsyua Inoue—grandson of the original owner—when he met a British traveler who live streamed his stay at Asahi. Figuring that this would generate buzz around the hotel while bringing in more travelers, Inoue set up the broadcast—with a few key privacy measures (off-camera bathroom and no audio, just video).
“This is a very old ryokan and I was looking into a new business model,” explained Inoue. “Our hotel is on the cheaper side, so we need some added value, something special that everyone will talk about.”
2. London’s most festive holiday decoration is made entirely of legos
If you look closely at the Christmas tree, sleigh, and Santa Claus throughout the The Savoy hotel in London, you’ll notice that these festive installations are built entirely with LEGOs. As part of the toy company’s largest global brand campaign, Rebuild The World, the decorations are meant to inspire visitors to unleash the creativity and limitless imagination that the holidays inspire.
“We’ve been blown away by the incredible creativity and passion brought to the table by the LEGO brick designers so far and look forward to revealing the decorations for all to enjoy,” said Ian Kidd, Hotel Manager at The Savoy.
In addition to ogling at the impressive displays, visitors are encouraged to build a decoration out of LEGOs themselves. For every creation that’s shared on social media using the hashtag #BuildToGive, LEGO will donate a set to a child in need this holiday season.
3. American Airlines announces new flight routes
Planning ahead for summer 2020? You’re in luck. American Airlines just announced 20 new summer routes to expand their domestic and international coverage. The new destinations include:
- From Charlotte: Martha’s Vineyard
- From Dallas/Fort Worth: Fairbanks, Alaska and Portland, Maine
- From Chicago O’Hare: Anchorage, Alaska; Budapest, Hungary; Krakow, Poland; Prague, Czech Republic
- From Philadelphia: Casablanca, Morocco; Nantucket, Massachusetts; Reykjavik, Iceland; Bozeman, Montana
4. After an 11-year closure, this Cinque Terre hiking trail is expected to reopen
There’s a short, 1-kilometer trail connecting the towns of Riomaggiore and Manarola that has been closed since a devastating 2012 landslide killed four tourists. Now, over a decade later, renovations are slated to begin (it took some time to raise the necessary 12 million euros in funding). An official reopening of the trail—dubbed Lovers’ Lane because of the iconic sculpture of two lovers—is slated for 2023...so mark your calendars, everyone. And until then, enjoy the over 120 km of trails that weave through this spectacular collection of “Five Lands” tucked away on the side of the mountain over the Italian Riviera in Liguria.
5. It’s about to get a whole lot faster to travel around Thailand
It’s official: Bullet trains are coming to Thailand. After much debate, the announcement was made that two projects are in the works to leverage Chinese high-speed rail (HSR) technology, which allows trains to travel upwards of 250km per hour. First up? A 252km line from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, with stops along the way at Don Mueang Airport and Ayuthaya (and eventually over the Laos border at Nong Khai to connect with another high-speed train service that extends to Kunming in China). Construction is expected to last about three years, with an expected completion in 2023.
Following this opening, there will be a second, longer train line that runs 355 km from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai, making it easier to access Don Mueang airports and U-Tapao Airport. Construction will begin on this project in 2024 as the Thai government begins shifting 10% of flights from Bangkok to U-Tapao.
For ideas on how to spend 10 days hopping around the major cities and islands of Thailand, look no further than our multi-stop itinerary—and remember, Journy can handle all the planning (hotels, transportation, food, activities) for you.