World’s Best Wildlife Experiences

Where are the world’s best wildlife experiences?

get lost were recently in the Malaysian state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo.

Here, orangutans, sun bears, mouse-deer, pangolin, pygmy elephants, leopards, loris, dick-nose (probiscis) monkeys and heaps more live in harmony in rainforests, while there are turtle ‘metropolises’ at easy to access dive sites.

READ: BORNEO’S BEACH AND WILDLIFE

Speaking on 3AW radio on Thursday, Editor Tim McGlone said he believed the destination needed to be considered one of the best in the world when it comes to wildlife.

Tim gave his top three wildlife destinations – click below to find out what made the cut.

What’s the best wildlife or marine life experience you’ve had? Is there one particular creature you need to see?

Let us know at info@getlostmagazine.com 

Our favourite overseas gig

Seeing your favourite band, singer or DJ (or even one you’d never heard before) hits a little different when you’re in a foreign location.

Research from the flight-finding legends at Skyscanner has revealed that 40% of Australians would happily fly overseas, just to see their favourite artist live.

CLICK HERE TO READ OUR TOP 8 GIG CITIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

It got us thinking about our favourite gigs that we’ve been to see from around the world. Do you have a favourite? Or would you travel overseas for an artist? Tell us about it – info@getlostmagazine.com

Publisher Justin Jamieson: 

A mate and I were making our way through the Southern US States back in 1996 when we saw Ben Harper was playing in Nashville. We scored some cheap tickets and upon arriving at the small warehouse discovered Ben Harper didn’t have much of a following down South.

Our “cheap seats” became front row as Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals played what was virtually a private gig for two travelling Aussies. We had a few bourbons with the band apres gig and then partied hard in the bars of Broadway street well into the early hours of the morning.

That gig and Neil Young in the Terme Di Caracalla in Rome (wth a guest appearance by Willie Nelson) are pretty hard to top.

Editor Tim McGlone: 

I was travelling on a bus from Athens to Budapest, but I cooked the booking in a big way, and a one-hour stopover in Belgrade, Serbia turned into a 24-hour stopover instead. This turned about to be a great mistake. 

The day included a surprisingly epic walking tour, a hectic Red Star Belgrade football match, bookstores and cafe beers. The night was spent sneaking into the Kalemegdan, a 1,700 year old castle overlooking the city, to watch American band Interpol play a dreamy two-hour set with two Germans and a girl from Melbourne. How many places can you see world class bands play in ancient fortresses? We hit up a few very lively floating discos (known as Splavs) on the Danube River afterward, and I very nearly missed my next bus. 

Gigs are partly about the music, but also about the scene, situation and your vibe at the time; this one ticked all the boxes. 

CLICK HERE TO READ OUR ALTERNATE EURO GUIDE

World’s best gig cities

Have you ever flown overseas, just to see a band or your favourite artist play live? And if not, would you?

Research from the flight-finding legends at Skyscanner has revealed that 40% of Australians would happily fly overseas, just to see their favourite artist live.

While there’s more than one Swiftie in the get lost office (and probably a few closet ones) as well as stadium gigs, we also fuck with the grimy and the grubby, sticky-floor type pubs, ridiculously elaborate Asian concerts and karaoke, warehouse raves and absolutely any music spot with an open fireplace.

Here are our eight favourite gig cities from around the world. What do you think?

  1. Galway, Ireland

Galway isn’t just about pints and pub crawls; its music scene is the heartbeat of Irish craic. You mightn’t catch Tay-Tay on her world tour here, but you will get lively traditional sessions in snug corners around the heart of the town, fiddles and harps and someone named Conal or Aoibhinn singing a sweet, sweet tune by the fire. Music echoes through the cobbled alleys of this awesome city.

2. Nashville, USA

READ: OUR NASHVILLE FEATURE

Reminding you why Tennessee whiskey and tunes go hand in hand. Home of honky-tonks and the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville strums its way into music lore, and a list of the best music cities in the world can’t be complete without it.

3. London, United Kingdom

Old London Town, where The Clash clashed and where Adele rolled in the deep. London’s venues span from the Royal Albert Hall’s poshness to gritty Brixton dives, tiny bars in Camden to the bright lights of Wembley Stadium. It’s a punk, pop, and posh collision. Do football chants count as music?

4. Seoul, South Korea

READ: Our feature on South Korea

O.K, this is a different kid of gig town. Seoul tunes into a dial that no-one else does. K-Pop billboards, Hongdae’s neon lights, Gangnam’s slick beats, underground punk gigs in cramped basements and futuristic EDM in towering clubs – this is a city pulsing with musical chaos. Plus, if you go to Seoul and don’t end up belting out karaoke to friends and strangers at 3am, did you really even go?

5. Berlin, Germany

Pay homage at the Techno Mecca, where beats thump in abandoned power stations. Berlin’s clubs have redefined (and continue to redefine) western nightlife with DJs spinning till sunrise, and people expressing themselves in a way they probably can’t anywhere else. Currywurst on the way home.

6. Havana, Cuba 

Rhythms of salsa and son permeate Havana’s sultry nights. Buena Vista Social Club is a major player, but this city’s music spills onto Malecón’s seawall and into mojito-fueled jam sessions.

7. Johannesburg, South Africa

The Afro Beat hits hard here. Music permeates through this city; every single person here seems to move like they’re in Lil Nas X latest video clip.  Rhythm can be found on dusty street corners in Soweto as much as at glitzy upmarket clubs in Sandton, where well-dressed club goers party LATE into the night. JoBurg is the biggest example of why music is for anyone and everyone; whether you’re cashed up or you’ve not got a brass razoo to your name, you’ll be able to find a rhythm here.

8. New York, USA

A concrete jungle where dreams are made of, and where gigs happen every single second of every single day. The biggest of all gigs happen at Maddison Square Garden, but you’ll also find dive bars in the Village, abandoned warehouses hosting raves, and heaps more. New York lives, breathes, and probably sweats music.

Agree? Disrespectfully disagree? Let us know at info@getlostmagazine.com 

 

 

Returning to Pentridge

It rises high in the sky, just as I remember it. In fact, most Victorians would recognise it’s façade. The blue stone competes with the blue sky, and dominates. My husband and I find our way to the reception of The Interlude Hotel. We are going to enjoy a night in the plush surrounds of this unique, amazing accommodation. You might know it by its other name… Pentridge Prison.

My anticipation is a mixture of history (both mine and the building’s) and the reinvention of a space. Have they managed to incorporate luxury into something which, in its pure identity, was the antithesis?

This place closed as a working prison in 1995. Unlike many who I hope will go to enjoy this unique experience, I liken it to an old slipper finally found and slipped on. I called the prison system home most of my life. Dad was a prison officer, and so my family lived inside prison grounds between 1956 to 1980. Prisons that were and still are dotted around Victoria. He was stationed at Pentridge in the 1960’s and then returned in the 1980’s as Governor of the now infamous Jika Jika precinct.

My memories are very clear of the building in the 1960’s, including the Ronald Ryan period. The building itself impressive. Dad, as handsome as ever, would come out at the end of his shift as he started it. Spotless, full uniform, silver braid on cap and silver buttons. Shining symbols of seniority. I understand he was considered hard but fair.

I ponder on the name they chose for this Hotel; its definition means “a space in time”.  Once upon a time this definition spelt misery, cruelty and despair for many.

We enter the building from the side where H division once stood. When we arrive we are greeted with a glass of champagne (not sure Ned Kelly got this when he arrived) and are ushered to a casual seating area now occupying what was B Division. An extraordinary indoor pool glistens below us within the original spaces (not sure Chopper ever had a dip in this).

Our room for the night is made up of three combined cells, retaining many of the original features. Bars on the windows and the three heavy iron doors reminds us of where we are. The luxurious bedding and beautiful amenities, however, transforms this into an indulgent area. A complete metamorphosis. Yes, the bluestone adds a moody reflection. I look up to the windows They are the same ones where thousands of prisoners would have looked out to the blue sky of the free world, their only luxury.

The other areas of B division, especially the wine bar, are so cleverly incorporated into the cells. It provides an intimate area for a drink or a unique catchup for groups sanctioned off amongst the bluestones.

History isn’t ignored here. It is a reminder of our very origins as a country, founded on the very premise of what this building stood for…punishment. It is one of the few remaining examples of the “panopticon” style of a disciplinary penal concept. There are only eight left in the world. Designed to separate and be always seen by warders.

These buildings are difficult places to re-invent. Both costly and tricky to entice the greater public to embrace a space where there was so much misery and despair. Prisons are always going to be a contested conversation. Everyone is entitled to their own personal thoughts.  These prisons are  dotted around the country. Some of course still working prisons and others left standing as sentinel to a harsher time lost.

The Interlude did not disappoint. Staying true to its name, it is a beautiful space that offers guests respite. A new ‘system’ offering connection and peace instead of separation and silence. This is the biggest change of all.

Borneo’s beach and wildlife

The word ‘diversity’ in 2024 is probably most used by big consulting companies; in reports where they make promises to have more of it in senior management (lol).

In Malaysia’s eastern state of Sabah though, diversity refers to rainforests where orangutans, sun bears, mouse-deer, pangolin, pygmy elephants, leopards, loris, dick-nose (probiscis) monkeys and heaps more live in harmony. A week-long trip was enough for this writer to encounter creatures he didn’t even know existed – looking at you, Red Flying Squirrel.

It refers to the most multiethnic state in Malaysia; home to no less than 32 tribes, 55 languages, and around 100 dialects.

There’s 450 islands – give or take a few pretty big sand banks – diverse and beautiful in canopy and colour.

The state shares the incredible island of Borneo with Indonesia and Brunei. From a ‘turtle metropolis’ to island-hopping incredible deserted islands, there’s some genuinely extraordinary experiences to be had in Sabah. Here’s six:

1. Join the turtle club

The most extraordinary population of hawksbill and green sea turtles can be found cruising gently through the waters of the Semporna region.

They’re everywhere, as are a wild range of fish, some neat coral and some wrecks to dive.

But it was the turtles for us. They’re easily accessed with a snorkel, but we recommend strapping an oxygen tank on and getting a bit deeper, so you can chill with these little legends for longer. You can dive up to ten metres without a PADI certificate.

Arcadia Beach Resort is a beautiful resort on tiny Pandanan island, and they know all the best spots. Get them to take you out.

2.Hit up deserted islands

Off the north-east coast of Borneo there’s a stack of islands and sand banks, all seemingly blessed with astonishing good looks. Hop on a boat and dart the short distances (in placid bays) from one to another, and wear a bib to wipe the drool from your chin when you come across paradise after paradise.

My favourite was Timba Timba – a thin sliver of uninhabited sand with only a jetty and a small hut selling drinks. Sunbake, swim, get a drink. Repeat.

Most accommodation in the area will offer island hopping excursions.

***

3.Go face-to-face with orangutan

Standing at the edge of a viewing platform, we were told to move back for our own safety.

“Why” I wondered silently; the mother orangutan and her child were feeding about 20 metres away. More than safe.

Seconds later, a gigantic male orangutan – Big Papi – walked nimbly across the very wooden bench I’d previously been resting my arms on. I hate to be cliché but nothing prepared me for what a fully-grown orangutan would be like up-close. I could not – still can’t – believe the size of this guy.

Seeing these apes up close in the Sepilok Rainforest, their home, is an extraordinary treat. Float between the viewing deck and the interior section where you view baby orangutans from behind glass. The little ones are a lot more playful and funnier – think stealing each other’s bananas, wrestling – while the adults are a lot bigger, and majestic in their own way.

Established in 1964, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre was the first place in the world dedicated to the rehabilitation of orangutans. To come here is to support the protection of these beautiful, hilarious beasts. Big win-win.

4. Smash local cuisine

With so many different ethnic groups comes a whole lot of different cuisines. Fresh fish is on the menu plenty of the time, and our favourite form came in the form of Panasakan Basungan – a traditional Dusun dish of braised basung fish, mixed with takob akob – which is a kind of fruit. Sweet and delicious.

Honourable mention goes to My Native Sabah restaurant in Kota Kinabalu, who served up a plate of fried basung and rice, spicy sambal and this thing called ‘wild mango pickles’ (pictured below) which was as tasty and wild as it sounds. Hook it to my veins.

Dishonourable mention to the same restaurant, who served Pizza Butod…that is, a basic pizza topped with bush grubs. You can even pick out your preferred, still-moving grubs in the restaurant.

5. Conquer Bohey Dulang

Bohey Dulang is an island located in the Sakaran Marine National Park area. Look, 650 metres doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a bloody steep 650 metres, a hike that is almost as high as it is long.

Once at the top you’ll be afforded the most majestic views over the marine park, taking in an epic array of colours and sections with names like Big Boy Reef. If you’re staying nearby, work up a sweat doing this in the morning, and then fall into the ocean after that – has to be in that order, as it gets very hot here.   

6. Here comes the sun…bear

The Sepilok Rainforest is frequented not just by orangutans. Sun bears are the smallest bears in the world and are found only in Southeast Asia, and they’ve had a rough time of it as late, being kept cruelly as pets and suffering from forest degradation. The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre are doing some incredible work to look after these cute, industrious things.

I say industrious because a mere 15 minutes of watching ‘Noah’ the sun bear was enough to see him attacking a tree for stingless bee honey, play fight with one of his friends and get down and dirty with another. Talk about productive.

7. Wander through the culture jungle

Imagine this: you’ve met a girl and you’re mad for each other, ready to spend the rest of your life together. You’ve paid the bride well which is customary for your culture, and now the only thing left to do is to solve a small puzzle, to prove you are smart enough to take care of a family.

It’s lucky I’m not in the Lundayeh tribe, I’d be single for life. After spending 30 futile minutes attacking a simple but impossible puzzle, I kept moving through Mari Mari Cultural Village, a series of stations in the jungle that describe the life and traditions of the five major ethnic communities in Sabah:  Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus and Dusun.

Go for the culture, rice wine, honey and welcoming ceremonies; stay to see if you can do the puzzle.

What Anguilla’s Moonsplash Music Festival is really like

Waking on the beach, I discover a fat-clawed crab has clipped itself to my lip. I sit up, detach the pincer from my pucker, and cough a mouthful of sand into the little skiff I was sleeping beside. My beachy keen surroundings are familiar, if not altogether immediately recognisable.

I still have my camera slung around my neck, and am wearing the same clothes I had on last night – an unbuttoned gingham shirt, khaki shorts and, luckily, my ultrafino montecristi, a precious defence against the sun’s dark arts. My sandals are nowhere in sight, likely lost at sea with my pride. Mystery clouds my mind.

From the calm chromatic water, a tall, sinewy man appears. Long, heavy dreadlocks flecked with brown and grey swing under a leather cowboy hat; his muscles ripple as he fights the friction of the sand. He walks towards me, offers his hand, and pulls me to my feet. “Looks like you had a good time at Moonsplash,” he says, pulling down his shades to wink at me. “Did you put anything good on that camera?”

Moonsplash. My camera. Of course! The clues I need to unlock the mystery. Suddenly I remember where I am (on Anguilla’s Rendezvous Bay) and who this is (Bankie Banx, Anguilla’s legendary folk son).

I scan backwards through the images on my camera; the final photo was taken sometime after 5am right here on the beach, with the full moon illuminating the sand and St Maarten across the bay, a few dozen folk dancing to whatever act was still on stage. The image is as fine a representation of the Moonsplash Festival as there ever was, and slowly my memories are becoming mine again.

Bankie is gone in a flash, tucked back into his wondrously ramshackle Dune Preserve, the beach bar-slash-music club that has played permanent host to his festival since 1995. I scroll further back through time, through the first impressions, through the acts, through the VIP treatment, all the way back to my first few moments on Anguilla, when I dug my toes into the sand, ordered a frozen mojito from the beach bar, and soaked up the sun.

Less than 24 hours prior I had checked into my plush seaside digs at the CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa to begin my tour of Anguilla’s culinary landscape courtesy of executive chef Jasper Schneider. I’d come to Anguilla in order to become a gastronomic swashbuckler, but in less than a day I turned into a certified reggaephile. The Caribbean’s best music festival has that sort of transformative power. If I didn’t have the photos, I’m not sure I would believe any of it happened.

It was the prospect of relaxation rather than transformation that brought me here, but as I flip through my images I realise my fundamental concept of island escapism has changed overnight. The visual evidence spoke to the sort of essential cultural experience I’d expect to have someplace else, not on a tiny island largely known for pretty beaches, sweet rock lobster and high jinks on the high sea.

Memory lane delivers me to a set from Sheriff Bob Saidenberg, the new-wave bluegrass twanger who co-founded Moonsplash with Bankie (born Clement Ashley Banks) back in 1991. Sheriff Bob’s countrified sensibilities – a cagey blend of Pete Seeger and Jim Cuddy – may seem out of place at a reggae festival, but on Anguilla eclectic line-ups have become something of a Moonsplash Music Festival hallmark: Jimmy Buffet played the Dune Preserve a few years back, while John Mayer took the stage with Bankie in 2011.

Yet there’s no denying the reggae vibe rules the roost; I caught Gershwin Lake & Parables whipping the crowd into a frenzy, and spent a little time on the main stage with Jamaica’s Chronixx as he played to every set of hands on the island raised through a raucous rendition of ‘Here Comes Trouble’. I took about a hundred photos of Omari Banks, progeny of Bankie, the West Indies cricket star-cum-Caribbean sonic barometer.

Like his father, Omari is of regal bearing and fully commands the space between himself and his audience. Under the watchful gaze of the great wooden lionfish and a facsimile of King Poseidon – local artwork has plenty of space to shine at Moonsplash – Omari opened with an acoustic rendition of “Jehovah Message” from his Move On album. Twenty minutes later Bankie was on stage backing his son, and Anguilla was on fire.

Related: India’s biggest reggae music festival 

I flip through an embarrassing plethora of selfies, shot from the stage, the crowd and the elevated VIP deck (how I was granted access remains a mystery). Up on the deck I had bumped into an overjoyed Omari, and mined him for a bit of Moonsplash Festival gold.

“I have the honour of saying I was here from the beginning,” he told me of the festival. “I first took the stage with my dad when I was five years old and, ever since, Moonsplash has given me the opportunity to perform and share my music.”

Omari’s humble nature is striking considering most of the locals think of him as their favourite artist, while the foreign folk have come from half a world away to hear him play. Omari and Bankie are the kings of Anguilla’s music scene, and the stage, made from salvaged ship parts cast onto the beach by one hurricane or another, is their throne.

Yet I can’t help looking at those last late-night images from the beach, when the Dune Preserve was at my back, the music was all around me and the island seemed like the most remarkable place on earth. Under the full moon, Moonsplash’s ethereal nature is unrelentingly alluring.

I’d come to Anguilla in order to become a gastronomic swashbuckler, but in less than a day I turned into a certified reggaephile. The Caribbean’s best music festival has that sort of transformative power.

With the sun high in the sky on my brand new day, I push memory from my mind and set out to explore Anguilla. I visit CuisinArt’s Tokyo Bay and stuff some king crab robata, rock shrimp tempura and a bottle of red wine into a dry bag next to my camera, then make haste for Sandy Ground. Tucked into a Sea Pro kayak courtesy of Captain Wayne, I set off to explore shipwrecks and the rugged coast, but even on the open water I bump into Moonsplashers.

A snorkeller spends every spare breath talking about the time he saw Bankie climb the scaffolding 15 metres above the stage so he could see everyone in attendance; a pair of passing paddleboarders wax lyrical over the aural horseplay displayed during Chronixx’s set. I’m sure I even hear a starfish singing a Sheriff Bob song, but I digress.

I go lobster tasting on secluded Sandy Cay, golfing on the CuisinArt greens, and cruising between food trucks in the Valley, and never once escape talk of Moonsplash. Visitors are jealous I bumped into Bankie, while the fella in charge of my saltfish patty at Papa Lash’s food truck hums Omari’s “Let It Go” while he works the grill. Moonsplash is connected to the cultural core of Anguilla, and woven into the national identity so tightly it’s nearly impossible to separate one from the other.

Related: Get close to Anguilla’s musical royalty 

I spend the rest of my Sunday afternoon at the Moonsplash Beach Party on Rendezvous Bay, the annual wind-down that features low-key sets from some of the festival’s top acts. This is a family-friendly event on the Caribbean’s most family-friendly island, and brings out mum, dad and the two-and-a-half kids to chill with the rest of the festival crowd, contributing to the overall conviviality of the event.

I whip back and forth between the CuisinArt Beach Bar and the Dune Preserve with arms wrapped around frosty cocktails and rum and raisin ice-cream sandwiches, poke around the lobster, prawns and ribs on the oil-drum grills, and ask Omari to teach me the first few chords to ‘Let It Go’ for the next time I’m quizzed on my Moonsplash knowledge. I even manage to capture a few moments on my camera, because as we all know, if there’s no picture, it didn’t happen.

WELCOME TO GRAPEVINE & WINE

Texas’ Best Kept Secret

I always get excited when I see an email from my editor about a new travel assignment.

My mind races; perhaps I’ll be experiencing ancient tea ceremonies in the Bhutanese mountains or forging an Arctic path in a luxury icebreaker. There have even been hushed talks of Virgin Galactic taking adventurous journalists on missions to space. Texas, however, is not what I consider an exotic destination. And Grapevine, frankly, sounds like a fake place.

So when I’m invited to journey to the small Texan town of Grapevine to cover a wine festival, I have to read the email twice. Grapevine, Texas. Alas, I’m indeed going to a small intersection between Dallas and Fort Worth that is—apparently—going to knock my socks off. Skeptically, I begin to pack.

As a proud cityslicker from the Yankee part of the US, Texas is quite far off my radar. I’m not into trucks, boots, guns, or livestock, so I normally opt for the saucy Barcelona subculture or the untread beaches in the Marquesas. But all cynicism melts away as I get into my Uber and am met with a warm Texan welcome.

“Oh man, you’re going to GrapeFest? I’m so jealous,” the ridiculously chipper driver, named Shannon, says with genuine excitement. “I’m driving all morning to make some extra cash so I can get down there myself and have-a-time!” According to Shannon, Grapevine—and GrapeFest—is kind of a big deal.

Shannon drops me at the end of Grapevine’s Main Street and that’s when I realise just how big of a deal it is. As far as the eye can see, Bacchanalian revellers are pouring through the barriers and into GrapeFest. I take a deep breath and enter the beautiful chaos.

Surprisingly, Texas is the fifth largest wine producer in the US and GrapeFest is one of the largest wine festivals in the world. What can you find here? Magical bubble lounges where you can sip on sparkling wine while being serenaded; the People’s Choice Award where you can sample over 100 local wines and submit your vote for the best of the bunch; and the famous grape stomping competition (which is harder and just as fun as it sounds).

Click play to watch

With or without this lively wine festival, Grapevine is a charming, somewhat magical town. Home to a classic Main Street with kitsch eateries, store owners who welcome you with “howdy!”, and a Glockenspiel clock that features an animatronic gunslinger shoot-out when it strikes 12; kids run free without worry, and adults sit in the shade talking about how lovely the weather is. People smile here.

I was wrong about Texas—it’s very exotic, and a welcome departure from the more dismissive American states.

Grapevine was founded in 1844 a year after General Sam Houston made a peace pact with 10 of the Indigenous native tribes—making it one of the earliest settlements in the country. Since then it has been the cantaloupe capital of the world (albeit briefly), home to Bonnie and Clyde, and a world-class wine hub.

Whether you’re a vino amateur, a wine enthusiast or a fully-fledged sommelier, there’s something for everyone here. After a few hours of drinking, I need a food break so I jump into a charcuterie board design class where we, yes, learn how to zhush up our house party offerings. I then stop by a wine glass workshop where I get the lowdown on what wines should be served in which glasses. Hint: full-bodied white wines, like aged chardonnay or viognier, are better in a large bowl because it emphasises the creamy texture. Honestly, this blows my mind—the glass shape changes the taste significantly.

Besides all the drinking, eating is also somewhat of a religion in Grapevine. I discover that a stop by the Grapevine Main train station is a must-do if you want epic views and a first-class food haul. You can even jump on stage for some live band karaoke, which is more than we can say for most train stations. Later I join the party at Esparza’s for authentic Tex-Mex that will satisfy even the biggest southern food connoisseur. I think I’m officially a Grapevine convert.

But what makes this place so unique is its perfectly preserved small town vibe. Walking down main street is like stepping back into a bygone western. Fancy trying your hand at a bona fide turn of the century printing press? You can do it at the Grapevine Historical Museum. Really into rodeos? Come see one of the longest running rodeos in the state. Love a honky-tonk? Billy Bobs Texas is the world’s largest. The streets here are a livewire of energy and are packed with characters that bring this western town to life.

It’s rare to find a place with such genuine hospitality. It’s like the entire town is a Disney set­—that’s how welcoming Grapevine is. And while this small pocket of Texas wasn’t on my radar before, it’s definitely on my travel recommendation list now. Especially for all the wine lovers out there.

WELCOME TO GRAPEVINE & BEER

Texas’ Best Kept Secret

NOT INTO WINE? DON’T WORRY, THERE’S BEER!

FOR THREE CRAZY DAYS IN MAY GRAPES ARE PUT BACK ON THE VINE AND IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HOPS!

With live music, acrobatic buskers, an amusement park, beer nosh and over 150 breweries showcasing their craft, Grapevine well and truly converts to Hopville.

We begin our day at the Tastes of Texas, a cordoned off zone with over a hundred different brews from fifty Texan craft geniuses. Brunch begins with a can of Doug, a delicious DDH NEIPA from Dallas’s Outfit Brewing. Doug has some kick at 7.1% and it’s a big day ahead so I decide to stick with the smaller taster glasses. Nine tasters later I tell everyone within earshot I’m moving to Texas.

It’s time to eat and we amble up Grapevine’s main street, now teeming with beer lovers. A guy driving and playing a piano on wheels cruises past and a busker in the distance looks to be standing on his partners head. I question whether the beer is making me see things.

There are food trucks parked down the centre of the street handing out all kinds of festival grub. We opt for the VIP Brews and Bites experience, an eight course beer and food matching extravaganza from the team at Shannon Brewing Company. There’s an educational side to it all but to be honest by the fourth taster my attention span is limited.

This year is also the inaugural Craft Brew Experience, a marquee with over one hundred more breweries from around the USA showing off their best. It’s been a pretty solid start to the day already, but we’re in Texas where everything is bigger so after a pickle shot at legendary Grapevine bar AJ’s I enter the fray like a drunken kid in a candy store.

I’m joined by Neil a qualified Cicerone, or “beer sommelier”. Neil’s beer palate is educated but when he suggests a sour my experienced palate takes over and I lose him quickly. I vote a hazy pale ale named Pseudo Sue from Toppling Goliath Brewing Co in Iowa my beer of the day, but let’s be honest after AJ’s pickle shot nothing really tastes the same.

I’m up early the following morning with a haze in my head no where near as pleasurable as Pseudo Sue. I have a vague recollection of drinking a martini in a speakeasy bar hidden behind a phone booth. My GoPro is nowhere to be seen and my Instagram has a story I have no recollection posting. I look damn happy though, arm in arm with Neil singing along with Little Texas, the headline band, rocking out on the main stage. It is exactly what a beer festival should be.

Footnote – GoPro was returned with even more unusual footage.

GRAPEVINE’S 30th ANNUAL MAIN STREET FESTIVAL
A Craft Brew Experience
May 17, 18 and 19th May 2024.

Click to LEARN MORE

See Grapevine through beer goggles.

Bali

“There’s this really far-flung island, you probably haven’t heard of it…it’s called Bali? I’d heard the stories; overrated and overran by drunk parasites. When I went last year for the first time, on assignment, I was very, very ready to turn my nose up at it.

“Plot twist: I absolutely loved it.

“Teenagers and early-twenty-somethings can go to Bali to party and have the time of their life, but so too can a married couple of 40 years to relax and reconnect. It’s ideal for honeymooners and divorcees, clean eaters and neckbeard-nesters, full-moon types, families, the bookworm, the adventurer and the person who just needs to go somewhere – anywhere. You know the one.

“Bali is beautiful, chaotic, delicious and refreshing, depending on what you want it to be. Don’t ever believe a stuck-up travel writer who tells you otherwise.”

Tim McGlone, Editor

 

DUBAI

“I thought my days of indulging at an all-you-can eat buffet were over, until I went to Dubai. Things I expected: tall buildings, traffic and sand dunes. What I didn’t expect: how unbelievably cheap all-you-can brunches are there. “Given the amount of activities available across the thriving metropolis that is Dubai, I never expected their foodie culture to be so big – and cheap! It just makes financial sense to go to a weekend brunch. And the savings to be made at a brunch helps to soothe the pain of how pricey a cuppa joe is in Dubai.” Sarah Maree Cameron, Contributor

Is there a place that has (for better or for worse) surprised you?

Tell us about it – info@getlostmagazine.com 

We asked some of our editorial team to tell us about a place that left them surprised, in one way or another. The answers were… surprising:

Grapevine, Texas

“Not for nothing, but if you’re doing it right, every place you go should surprise you a bit. “For me it’s always the unspoken corners of the world that end up blowing my mind. The Chattanooga‘s, General Santos Cities and the Ottawa‘s of the world. I mean ever hear of Grapevine, Texas? Well this will be my 4th trip in the same amount of years, and considering I’ve done Amalfi to Antarctica in that time, there has got to be something seriously surprising to keep me coming back (hint: it’s a total eclipse and a pickle back shot at AJ’s).” Roberto Serrini, Contributor

 

Bali

“There’s this really far-flung island, you probably haven’t heard of it…it’s called Bali? I’d heard the stories; overrated and overran by drunk parasites. When I went last year for the first time, on assignment, I was very, very ready to turn my nose up at it.

“Plot twist: I absolutely loved it.

“Teenagers and early-twenty-somethings can go to Bali to party and have the time of their life, but so too can a married couple of 40 years to relax and reconnect. It’s ideal for honeymooners and divorcees, clean eaters and neckbeard-nesters, full-moon types, families, the bookworm, the adventurer and the person who just needs to go somewhere – anywhere. You know the one.

“Bali is beautiful, chaotic, delicious and refreshing, depending on what you want it to be. Don’t ever believe a stuck-up travel writer who tells you otherwise.”

Tim McGlone, Editor

 

DUBAI

“I thought my days of indulging at an all-you-can eat buffet were over, until I went to Dubai. Things I expected: tall buildings, traffic and sand dunes. What I didn’t expect: how unbelievably cheap all-you-can brunches are there. “Given the amount of activities available across the thriving metropolis that is Dubai, I never expected their foodie culture to be so big – and cheap! It just makes financial sense to go to a weekend brunch. And the savings to be made at a brunch helps to soothe the pain of how pricey a cuppa joe is in Dubai.” Sarah Maree Cameron, Contributor

Is there a place that has (for better or for worse) surprised you?

Tell us about it – info@getlostmagazine.com 

HAKUBA VALLEY: JAPAN’S ULTIMATE ADVENTURE DESTINATION?

7. INDULGE IN APRÈS SKI

Not all activities in Hakuba Valley revolve around the snow. The area is rich with non-skiing activities that can give you a taste of the real Japan, such as shrines and Buddhist temples.

If shopping is more your choice of off-piste activity, Hakuba Valley has a good selection of shops, including multiple outdoor gear shops, including famous brand outlets.

Echoland, which sits between Hakuba 47 and Happo-one Snow Resort, has a vibrant 500-metre long main street bustling with a broad selection of restaurants and bars. Japan makes a fine range of beers, but don’t forget to give sake a go. It can be drunk warm, to help defrost after a day on the mountain.

Hot tip: Check whether the night shuttle bus is running so you can let your hair down and really enjoy the après ski scene.

6. STAY AT LUX ACCOMMODATION

Hakuba Valley’s accommodation options range from traditional Japanese inns to private chalets and high-end luxury apartments and hotels that can organise your ski hire. For those who prefer ski-in, ski-out options, several on-mountain options can accommodate you.

7. INDULGE IN APRÈS SKI

Not all activities in Hakuba Valley revolve around the snow. The area is rich with non-skiing activities that can give you a taste of the real Japan, such as shrines and Buddhist temples.

If shopping is more your choice of off-piste activity, Hakuba Valley has a good selection of shops, including multiple outdoor gear shops, including famous brand outlets.

Echoland, which sits between Hakuba 47 and Happo-one Snow Resort, has a vibrant 500-metre long main street bustling with a broad selection of restaurants and bars. Japan makes a fine range of beers, but don’t forget to give sake a go. It can be drunk warm, to help defrost after a day on the mountain.

Hot tip: Check whether the night shuttle bus is running so you can let your hair down and really enjoy the après ski scene.

6. STAY AT LUX ACCOMMODATION

Hakuba Valley’s accommodation options range from traditional Japanese inns to private chalets and high-end luxury apartments and hotels that can organise your ski hire. For those who prefer ski-in, ski-out options, several on-mountain options can accommodate you.

7. INDULGE IN APRÈS SKI

Not all activities in Hakuba Valley revolve around the snow. The area is rich with non-skiing activities that can give you a taste of the real Japan, such as shrines and Buddhist temples.

If shopping is more your choice of off-piste activity, Hakuba Valley has a good selection of shops, including multiple outdoor gear shops, including famous brand outlets.

Echoland, which sits between Hakuba 47 and Happo-one Snow Resort, has a vibrant 500-metre long main street bustling with a broad selection of restaurants and bars. Japan makes a fine range of beers, but don’t forget to give sake a go. It can be drunk warm, to help defrost after a day on the mountain.

Hot tip: Check whether the night shuttle bus is running so you can let your hair down and really enjoy the après ski scene.

5. CLEAN OFF IN AN ONSEN

If a day on the slopes is not enough to work up a healthy glow, head to the areas throughout the three municipalities to indulge in steamy onsens — hot springs with highly alkaline water and natural cleansers that will exfoliate the most snow-crusted skin.

Explore outdoor baths that provide views of the snow-covered landscapes, so you can relax your muscles and sightsee whilst experiencing the benefits of the hot springs minerals.

Legend has it that the hydrogen in the water has anti-aging properties.

Related: What’s it really like to snowboard in Hakuba 

6. STAY AT LUX ACCOMMODATION

Hakuba Valley’s accommodation options range from traditional Japanese inns to private chalets and high-end luxury apartments and hotels that can organise your ski hire. For those who prefer ski-in, ski-out options, several on-mountain options can accommodate you.

7. INDULGE IN APRÈS SKI

Not all activities in Hakuba Valley revolve around the snow. The area is rich with non-skiing activities that can give you a taste of the real Japan, such as shrines and Buddhist temples.

If shopping is more your choice of off-piste activity, Hakuba Valley has a good selection of shops, including multiple outdoor gear shops, including famous brand outlets.

Echoland, which sits between Hakuba 47 and Happo-one Snow Resort, has a vibrant 500-metre long main street bustling with a broad selection of restaurants and bars. Japan makes a fine range of beers, but don’t forget to give sake a go. It can be drunk warm, to help defrost after a day on the mountain.

Hot tip: Check whether the night shuttle bus is running so you can let your hair down and really enjoy the après ski scene.

5. CLEAN OFF IN AN ONSEN

If a day on the slopes is not enough to work up a healthy glow, head to the areas throughout the three municipalities to indulge in steamy onsens — hot springs with highly alkaline water and natural cleansers that will exfoliate the most snow-crusted skin.

Explore outdoor baths that provide views of the snow-covered landscapes, so you can relax your muscles and sightsee whilst experiencing the benefits of the hot springs minerals.

Legend has it that the hydrogen in the water has anti-aging properties.

Related: What’s it really like to snowboard in Hakuba 

6. STAY AT LUX ACCOMMODATION

Hakuba Valley’s accommodation options range from traditional Japanese inns to private chalets and high-end luxury apartments and hotels that can organise your ski hire. For those who prefer ski-in, ski-out options, several on-mountain options can accommodate you.

7. INDULGE IN APRÈS SKI

Not all activities in Hakuba Valley revolve around the snow. The area is rich with non-skiing activities that can give you a taste of the real Japan, such as shrines and Buddhist temples.

If shopping is more your choice of off-piste activity, Hakuba Valley has a good selection of shops, including multiple outdoor gear shops, including famous brand outlets.

Echoland, which sits between Hakuba 47 and Happo-one Snow Resort, has a vibrant 500-metre long main street bustling with a broad selection of restaurants and bars. Japan makes a fine range of beers, but don’t forget to give sake a go. It can be drunk warm, to help defrost after a day on the mountain.

Hot tip: Check whether the night shuttle bus is running so you can let your hair down and really enjoy the après ski scene.

4. TRAVEL WITH THE FAMILY

Hakuba Valley has several resorts that cater for families and groups with diverse abilities.

The cafe, THE CITY BAKERY at HAKUBA MOUNTAIN HARBOR, is famous for its panoramic views of the Northern Alps from an altitude of 1,289 metres. Warm up with hot coffee and pastries while enjoying the breathtaking views and take advantage of the private sessions and lessons tailored for adults and children. (International schools are available for non-Japanese speaking guests.)

5. CLEAN OFF IN AN ONSEN

If a day on the slopes is not enough to work up a healthy glow, head to the areas throughout the three municipalities to indulge in steamy onsens — hot springs with highly alkaline water and natural cleansers that will exfoliate the most snow-crusted skin.

Explore outdoor baths that provide views of the snow-covered landscapes, so you can relax your muscles and sightsee whilst experiencing the benefits of the hot springs minerals.

Legend has it that the hydrogen in the water has anti-aging properties.

Related: What’s it really like to snowboard in Hakuba 

6. STAY AT LUX ACCOMMODATION

Hakuba Valley’s accommodation options range from traditional Japanese inns to private chalets and high-end luxury apartments and hotels that can organise your ski hire. For those who prefer ski-in, ski-out options, several on-mountain options can accommodate you.

7. INDULGE IN APRÈS SKI

Not all activities in Hakuba Valley revolve around the snow. The area is rich with non-skiing activities that can give you a taste of the real Japan, such as shrines and Buddhist temples.

If shopping is more your choice of off-piste activity, Hakuba Valley has a good selection of shops, including multiple outdoor gear shops, including famous brand outlets.

Echoland, which sits between Hakuba 47 and Happo-one Snow Resort, has a vibrant 500-metre long main street bustling with a broad selection of restaurants and bars. Japan makes a fine range of beers, but don’t forget to give sake a go. It can be drunk warm, to help defrost after a day on the mountain.

Hot tip: Check whether the night shuttle bus is running so you can let your hair down and really enjoy the après ski scene.

3. PARTICIPATE IN SNOW SPORTS

The snow resorts in Hakuba Valley offer all levels of ski and snowboard terrain with more than 120 trails and some of the longest vertical skiing in Japan, 92 lifts and abundant snowfall averaging 11 metres a season.

Discover the magic of night skiing in Hakuba Valley. Tree riders can experience the delicious thrill of carving fresh tracks through virgin snow as they negotiate the picture-perfect, white-barked deciduous trees thanks to illuminated slopes.

4. TRAVEL WITH THE FAMILY

Hakuba Valley has several resorts that cater for families and groups with diverse abilities.

The cafe, THE CITY BAKERY at HAKUBA MOUNTAIN HARBOR, is famous for its panoramic views of the Northern Alps from an altitude of 1,289 metres. Warm up with hot coffee and pastries while enjoying the breathtaking views and take advantage of the private sessions and lessons tailored for adults and children. (International schools are available for non-Japanese speaking guests.)

5. CLEAN OFF IN AN ONSEN

If a day on the slopes is not enough to work up a healthy glow, head to the areas throughout the three municipalities to indulge in steamy onsens — hot springs with highly alkaline water and natural cleansers that will exfoliate the most snow-crusted skin.

Explore outdoor baths that provide views of the snow-covered landscapes, so you can relax your muscles and sightsee whilst experiencing the benefits of the hot springs minerals.

Legend has it that the hydrogen in the water has anti-aging properties.

Related: What’s it really like to snowboard in Hakuba 

6. STAY AT LUX ACCOMMODATION

Hakuba Valley’s accommodation options range from traditional Japanese inns to private chalets and high-end luxury apartments and hotels that can organise your ski hire. For those who prefer ski-in, ski-out options, several on-mountain options can accommodate you.

7. INDULGE IN APRÈS SKI

Not all activities in Hakuba Valley revolve around the snow. The area is rich with non-skiing activities that can give you a taste of the real Japan, such as shrines and Buddhist temples.

If shopping is more your choice of off-piste activity, Hakuba Valley has a good selection of shops, including multiple outdoor gear shops, including famous brand outlets.

Echoland, which sits between Hakuba 47 and Happo-one Snow Resort, has a vibrant 500-metre long main street bustling with a broad selection of restaurants and bars. Japan makes a fine range of beers, but don’t forget to give sake a go. It can be drunk warm, to help defrost after a day on the mountain.

Hot tip: Check whether the night shuttle bus is running so you can let your hair down and really enjoy the après ski scene.

3. PARTICIPATE IN SNOW SPORTS

The snow resorts in Hakuba Valley offer all levels of ski and snowboard terrain with more than 120 trails and some of the longest vertical skiing in Japan, 92 lifts and abundant snowfall averaging 11 metres a season.

Discover the magic of night skiing in Hakuba Valley. Tree riders can experience the delicious thrill of carving fresh tracks through virgin snow as they negotiate the picture-perfect, white-barked deciduous trees thanks to illuminated slopes.

4. TRAVEL WITH THE FAMILY

Hakuba Valley has several resorts that cater for families and groups with diverse abilities.

The cafe, THE CITY BAKERY at HAKUBA MOUNTAIN HARBOR, is famous for its panoramic views of the Northern Alps from an altitude of 1,289 metres. Warm up with hot coffee and pastries while enjoying the breathtaking views and take advantage of the private sessions and lessons tailored for adults and children. (International schools are available for non-Japanese speaking guests.)

5. CLEAN OFF IN AN ONSEN

If a day on the slopes is not enough to work up a healthy glow, head to the areas throughout the three municipalities to indulge in steamy onsens — hot springs with highly alkaline water and natural cleansers that will exfoliate the most snow-crusted skin.

Explore outdoor baths that provide views of the snow-covered landscapes, so you can relax your muscles and sightsee whilst experiencing the benefits of the hot springs minerals.

Legend has it that the hydrogen in the water has anti-aging properties.

Related: What’s it really like to snowboard in Hakuba 

6. STAY AT LUX ACCOMMODATION

Hakuba Valley’s accommodation options range from traditional Japanese inns to private chalets and high-end luxury apartments and hotels that can organise your ski hire. For those who prefer ski-in, ski-out options, several on-mountain options can accommodate you.

7. INDULGE IN APRÈS SKI

Not all activities in Hakuba Valley revolve around the snow. The area is rich with non-skiing activities that can give you a taste of the real Japan, such as shrines and Buddhist temples.

If shopping is more your choice of off-piste activity, Hakuba Valley has a good selection of shops, including multiple outdoor gear shops, including famous brand outlets.

Echoland, which sits between Hakuba 47 and Happo-one Snow Resort, has a vibrant 500-metre long main street bustling with a broad selection of restaurants and bars. Japan makes a fine range of beers, but don’t forget to give sake a go. It can be drunk warm, to help defrost after a day on the mountain.

Hot tip: Check whether the night shuttle bus is running so you can let your hair down and really enjoy the après ski scene.

2. CHOOSE A SNOW RESORT

Winter is peak season for adventure seekers in Hakuba Valley, which experiences snowfalls of over 11 metres.

The valley, which is made up of three municipalities Hakuba, Otari, and Omachi, boasts 10 snow resorts, each with their own unique offerings. If you can’t choose, snap up a day or season Hakuba Valley Lift Pass.

The cost-effective pass gives you access to all 10 resorts across, and you can use the free shuttle buses to move between them based on the weather conditions or your preferences.

You can also buy and use the international Epic Pass at Hakuba Valley. The valley has been a partner of the snow resort alliance Epic Pass since the 2018-2019 season, giving skiers the opportunity to lock in discounted access, food and lodging at world-class resorts throughout Japan, North America, Australia, and Europe.

Related: Hakuba has it all 

3. PARTICIPATE IN SNOW SPORTS

The snow resorts in Hakuba Valley offer all levels of ski and snowboard terrain with more than 120 trails and some of the longest vertical skiing in Japan, 92 lifts and abundant snowfall averaging 11 metres a season.

Discover the magic of night skiing in Hakuba Valley. Tree riders can experience the delicious thrill of carving fresh tracks through virgin snow as they negotiate the picture-perfect, white-barked deciduous trees thanks to illuminated slopes.

4. TRAVEL WITH THE FAMILY

Hakuba Valley has several resorts that cater for families and groups with diverse abilities.

The cafe, THE CITY BAKERY at HAKUBA MOUNTAIN HARBOR, is famous for its panoramic views of the Northern Alps from an altitude of 1,289 metres. Warm up with hot coffee and pastries while enjoying the breathtaking views and take advantage of the private sessions and lessons tailored for adults and children. (International schools are available for non-Japanese speaking guests.)

5. CLEAN OFF IN AN ONSEN

If a day on the slopes is not enough to work up a healthy glow, head to the areas throughout the three municipalities to indulge in steamy onsens — hot springs with highly alkaline water and natural cleansers that will exfoliate the most snow-crusted skin.

Explore outdoor baths that provide views of the snow-covered landscapes, so you can relax your muscles and sightsee whilst experiencing the benefits of the hot springs minerals.

Legend has it that the hydrogen in the water has anti-aging properties.

Related: What’s it really like to snowboard in Hakuba 

6. STAY AT LUX ACCOMMODATION

Hakuba Valley’s accommodation options range from traditional Japanese inns to private chalets and high-end luxury apartments and hotels that can organise your ski hire. For those who prefer ski-in, ski-out options, several on-mountain options can accommodate you.

7. INDULGE IN APRÈS SKI

Not all activities in Hakuba Valley revolve around the snow. The area is rich with non-skiing activities that can give you a taste of the real Japan, such as shrines and Buddhist temples.

If shopping is more your choice of off-piste activity, Hakuba Valley has a good selection of shops, including multiple outdoor gear shops, including famous brand outlets.

Echoland, which sits between Hakuba 47 and Happo-one Snow Resort, has a vibrant 500-metre long main street bustling with a broad selection of restaurants and bars. Japan makes a fine range of beers, but don’t forget to give sake a go. It can be drunk warm, to help defrost after a day on the mountain.

Hot tip: Check whether the night shuttle bus is running so you can let your hair down and really enjoy the après ski scene.

It may have been the 1998 Winter Olympics that put Hakuba Valley on the map, but it’s the inviting powder snow, stunning landscapes and authentic Japanese culture that have kept it there.

The Japanese Northern Alps are a group of mountains over 3,000 metres high, extending to the Sea of Japan, creating a natural adventure playground in the process.

So, if you’re into snow, adventure, food, culture, or all of the above, head to Hakuba Valley for these 7 must-do activities.

1. VIST WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES SITES

It’s no exaggeration to say hosting the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics was a gamechanger for the Hakuba Valley. When the game’s global audience caught a glimpse of the valley’s phenomenal snow conditions, its reputation as an international snow destination was cemented. A surge of visitors eager to experience the area’s pristine slopes and vibrant winter sports culture soon followed.

You can visit the iconic Olympic ski jump that launched Hakuba Valley on the world stage, and check out the panoramic views of the stunning valley from the 90-metre and 120-metre jumps. Take a moment to reflect on the courage and skill of the athletes who launched themselves down the ramps and into the history books, including the two Japanese gold medal winners.

2. CHOOSE A SNOW RESORT

Winter is peak season for adventure seekers in Hakuba Valley, which experiences snowfalls of over 11 metres.

The valley, which is made up of three municipalities Hakuba, Otari, and Omachi, boasts 10 snow resorts, each with their own unique offerings. If you can’t choose, snap up a day or season Hakuba Valley Lift Pass.

The cost-effective pass gives you access to all 10 resorts across, and you can use the free shuttle buses to move between them based on the weather conditions or your preferences.

You can also buy and use the international Epic Pass at Hakuba Valley. The valley has been a partner of the snow resort alliance Epic Pass since the 2018-2019 season, giving skiers the opportunity to lock in discounted access, food and lodging at world-class resorts throughout Japan, North America, Australia, and Europe.

Related: Hakuba has it all 

3. PARTICIPATE IN SNOW SPORTS

The snow resorts in Hakuba Valley offer all levels of ski and snowboard terrain with more than 120 trails and some of the longest vertical skiing in Japan, 92 lifts and abundant snowfall averaging 11 metres a season.

Discover the magic of night skiing in Hakuba Valley. Tree riders can experience the delicious thrill of carving fresh tracks through virgin snow as they negotiate the picture-perfect, white-barked deciduous trees thanks to illuminated slopes.

4. TRAVEL WITH THE FAMILY

Hakuba Valley has several resorts that cater for families and groups with diverse abilities.

The cafe, THE CITY BAKERY at HAKUBA MOUNTAIN HARBOR, is famous for its panoramic views of the Northern Alps from an altitude of 1,289 metres. Warm up with hot coffee and pastries while enjoying the breathtaking views and take advantage of the private sessions and lessons tailored for adults and children. (International schools are available for non-Japanese speaking guests.)

5. CLEAN OFF IN AN ONSEN

If a day on the slopes is not enough to work up a healthy glow, head to the areas throughout the three municipalities to indulge in steamy onsens — hot springs with highly alkaline water and natural cleansers that will exfoliate the most snow-crusted skin.

Explore outdoor baths that provide views of the snow-covered landscapes, so you can relax your muscles and sightsee whilst experiencing the benefits of the hot springs minerals.

Legend has it that the hydrogen in the water has anti-aging properties.

Related: What’s it really like to snowboard in Hakuba 

6. STAY AT LUX ACCOMMODATION

Hakuba Valley’s accommodation options range from traditional Japanese inns to private chalets and high-end luxury apartments and hotels that can organise your ski hire. For those who prefer ski-in, ski-out options, several on-mountain options can accommodate you.

7. INDULGE IN APRÈS SKI

Not all activities in Hakuba Valley revolve around the snow. The area is rich with non-skiing activities that can give you a taste of the real Japan, such as shrines and Buddhist temples.

If shopping is more your choice of off-piste activity, Hakuba Valley has a good selection of shops, including multiple outdoor gear shops, including famous brand outlets.

Echoland, which sits between Hakuba 47 and Happo-one Snow Resort, has a vibrant 500-metre long main street bustling with a broad selection of restaurants and bars. Japan makes a fine range of beers, but don’t forget to give sake a go. It can be drunk warm, to help defrost after a day on the mountain.

Hot tip: Check whether the night shuttle bus is running so you can let your hair down and really enjoy the après ski scene.