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Five Boo-tiful Vacations to Sink Your Teeth Into

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With Halloween just a few hours away, you’re bound to see a plethora of horror movies appearing on TV, or friends start reliving old urban legends you used to hear when you were in school. The season of haunting and remembering those who have passed is truly in the air, but so is the spirit of traveling to mystical, exotic places where mythology is rich, and history is rife with stories of iconic individuals that still send a shiver down our spines today. Where do you dare bring your feet to next? Here are 5 equally iconic places to go for a good haunt.

Bran Castle

Bran Castle overlooks a breathtaking landscape. (Photo from Google Images)

 

Bran, Romania

Of course this the first place to venture off to for some supernatural wonder. This is the birthplace of the most famous “vampire” of all–Count Dracula–or Vlad the Impaler. He was called such because of his torture and scare tactics of skewering half-dead bodies of soldiers and displaying them along roads, scaring would-be invaders and rivals off their horses. Imagine going through war-torn roads in the countryside, and with your weary eyes you spot soldiers BBQ-d on spears. They line up the path like meter-long fences. You immediately turn back–back to the present day.

Today Bran is a picture of idyllic beauty; it’s almost as if battles never took places at all. But the town banks on its mythology, and hotels about for those who want to get a feel of the folklore. One hotel that stands out is Conacul Bratescu. According to Trip Advisor reviews, it’s a friendly and warm hotel fit for families. You’re totally safe, as the rooms have crosses on top of beds, and the staff is most welcoming. With (fangless) smiles on the faces of everyone you meet inside the hotel, you’d think that no blood-thirsty creature of the night will swoop down and drink your blood.

Feel at home here. (Photo from adelaparvu.com)

Feel at home here. (Photo from adelaparvu.com)

Address: Str. Festung nr. 8B, Bran, Jud. Brașov, România
Website: http://www.conaculbratescu.ro/
Email: +4 0724 965 414

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Salem, MA is known for its infamous witch trials. Today, it’s known for its famous witch festivals. (Photo source left: CrownBus32 on Flickr.com ; right: panoramio.com)

Salem, Massachusetts, USA

Massachusetts has contributed so much to American history–both good and otherwise. It fostered the first colony in Plymouth; it’s the home of some of the best universities in the world; the state is considered as the cradle of liberty. All of those though hide in the shadow of the infamous Salem witch trials in the late 17th century. There was a mass hysteria in the towns of Salem, Ipswich and Andover. Townspeople believed that their communities were overrun by vengeful witches, and this led to the hanging of 20 people, most of whom were women. Today though, Salem no longer faces the plight of witches or people who are afraid to have their religious beliefs questioned. Museums, pubs, and colonial homes celebrate the pagan culture of witches–which are really healers–and it is a must-do in one’s life to celebrate Halloween in Salem, at least once.

Should you decide to spend Halloween in Salem, make your stay more bewitching at the Merchant Boutique Hotel, where there’s always “rum, pepper, and a little bit of mystery.” The Merchant has also seen history in the making: it was once a tavern, an office, and a shop for rare finds, and it’s close to where the witch trial sites were! Safe to say that there’s magic in and around The Merchant.

For a town so historic, Salem's Merchant Hotel has some modern chic interior decor. (Photo from The Merchant Website)

For a town so historic, Salem’s Merchant Hotel has some modern chic interior decor. (Photo from The Merchant Website)

Address: 148 Washington Street, Salem MA, 01970
Website: https://www.themerchantsalem.com
Email: stay@themerchantsalem.com

Siquijor was once called "Isla del Fuego" during the Spanish Colonial Period because it gives off an eerie glow--thanks to fireflies floating about the molave trees. (Photo sources: Pinterest)

Left: One of the oldest balete trees can be found in Siquijor. Top: Siquijor may be known for its mystic properties, but those under the spell of wanderlust can find some of the best beaches here. Bottom: Lazi Church, one of the oldest churches on the island. (Photo sources: Pinterest)

Siquijor, Philippines

The island was once known as La Isla del Fuego, or “isle of fire” because of the eerie glow that fireflies give off as they float from tree to tree in the once-dense forests. Today, it’s (in)famous for its mangkukulam or witch doctors who, if you don’t respect their space, can curse you with unexplainable illnesses. But it’s not all black magic here; Siquijor has its tropical charm. The island is blessed with abundant centuries-old flora and fauna, with beautiful beaches, and colorful colonial history worth exploring through church hopping. So don’t think about the dark folkloric stamp on the island–Siquijor is naturally enchanting.

To start your mystical exploration, be sure to stay at Kawayan Holiday Resort. The view is stunning, the place is quiet–almost romantic, and the service is great. You’ll be distracted from all what you hear about Siquijor. After hours of going about the island, you can come back to the hotel and immediately feel secured and comfortable, as if a curse has been lifted from your shoulders.

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Guests can avail of villas fit for families of 4. (Photo from hotels.com)

 

Address: Cangmunag, San Juan, Siquijor
Website: http://www.kawayanholidayresort.com/en/
Email: http://www.kawayanholidayresort.com/en/e-mail/

 

Top: The Valley of the Kings--the final resting places for Egyptian royalty. Bottom: Temple Of Queen Hatshepsut, Near The Valley Of The Kings. Right: Anubis, the god of mummification. (Photo sources: Pinterest)

Top: The Valley of the Kings–the final resting places for Egyptian royalty. Bottom: Temple Of Queen Hatshepsut, Near The Valley Of The Kings. Right: Anubis, the god of mummification. (Photo sources: Pinterest)

Valley of the Kings, Egypt

Egypt is one of the oldest cradles of civilization in the world, so expect to find traditions rich with mythologies and folklore. Hundreds, if not thousands, of monuments were built to honor gods and goddesses, particularly Ra, god of the sun, Anubis, god of mummification, Osiris, god of the afterlife, and his wife Isis, goddess of rebirth. In the Valley of the Kings, tombs are erected to honor pharaohs who have passed. Archaeologists dug up these tombs and have seen artifacts made out of gold, including sarcophagi where the royals have been laid to rest.

The journey to the Valley of the Kings can wait, as you check in at Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor. Feel like royalty, minus biting the dust, within the confines of this historic hotel. You’ll feel the characters of different cultures in one place; Egypt was once a hub of commerce, and until now you can get a sense of the cultural trade. You’ll definitely feel like Hercule Poirot with a tinge of Indiana Jones at Sofitel and the rest of what flows in these fertile lands.

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It’s like the Grand Budapest Hotel in real life, right? (Photo source: Pinterest)

Address: Kornish El-Nile st – beside Luxury Temple – Luxury, Luxor, 11432, Egypt
Website: http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-1661-sofitel-winter-palace-luxor/index.shtml
Email: H1661@sofitel.com

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San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

While some cultures cower at the sight of death and the undead, in Mexico, they celebrate death! The Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated on November 2. Friends and family gather in cemeteries to remember the dead to support them on their journey towards the afterlife. It’s a day filled with processions, fiestas, and all sorts of rituals that will make you wonder if this is scary at all. But to the Mexicans, death is not something to fear, but rather another adventure we are all undertake after living this life. In San Miguel de Allende, a town in Mexico, townspeople open a crypt in La Paroquia de San Miguel Archangel that houses its past presidents, bishops, and other notable heads. This happens only once a year, which makes the tradition even more special.

But right now, live the life and be part of the festivities in San Miguel de Allende when you’re L’Otel. Its rooms are chic, which may be a break from the colorful blends of Spanish and indigenous cultures within and around the city. Nevertheless, it still looks like a Spanish/Mexican home with a courtyard and effects from both countries. While outside it’s the Day of the Dead, in L’Otel, it’s a holiday of life.

Modern and sleek, with a bit of Mexican charm. (Photo source: Fodors.com)

Modern and sleek, with a bit of Mexican charm. (Photo source: Fodors.com)

Address: Calle Chiquitos #1A, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Website: http://l-otelgroup.com/
Email: reservations@l-otelgroup.com

 

 

 

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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.

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