8 holiday ideas for avid Malaysian book lovers

  • Europe
  • Monday, 29 Apr 2019

Scotland is where author J.K. Rowling wrote most of the Harry Potter books. - AFP

Any book lover can attest to the sense of escapism that a good read brings. Books have the power to unveil new and exciting places to avid reads.

As part of World Book Day – which falls on April 23 – Agoda has highlighted some literary-inspired destinations. Go on an andveture and trace the roots of some of the world’s most famous authors by visiting their hometowns.

Kobe, Japan

Haruki Murakami grew up in Kobe, where a few of his stories, such as his debut novel Hear The Wind Sing, are set. Murakami’s works have surrealist elements, often with melancholic themes which in some ways, is reflective of the quiet beauty found in the many serene shrines and breathtaking nature scenery in the small seaside city. Some must-see attractions include Ikuta Shrine, Arima Onsen and Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge.

Camarines Norte, The Philippines

Apart from his famed novel Para Kay B, Ricky Lee’s body of work also extends to screenwriting and playwriting. Visit Lee’s hometown of Camarines Norte in the central Bicol region of the Philippines and enjoy its beautiful beaches like those on Apuao Grande Island and the Calaguas group of islands. Do make a trip to Calaguas Islands, Apuao Grande Island and Bagasbas Beach too.

New York, United States

To all the young adults who love romance novels, Jenny Han would be a literary hero. Although the author of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before originally came from Virginia, her time in New York shaped her path as a fiction writer. Of course, the Big Apple has its share of notable attractions. Look out for the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Broadway and the latest attraction, the Hudson Yards.

Aracataca, Colombia

This municipality is built along the Aracataca river and boasts Nobel Prize winner for literature Gabriel García Márquez as one of its sons. The village of Macondo in Garcia Márquez’s celebrated novel, One Hundred Years Of Solitude is fashioned after Aracataca.

Take a day trip out to explore Márquez’s reconstructed childhood home-turned-museum and the Casa del Telegrafista. Travel to the nearby city of Santa Marta, where you can also visit Colombia’s famous Tayrona National Natural Park.

Edinburgh, Scotland

While JK Rowling was born in England, it was actually in Edinburgh where she wrote most of the Harry Potter books. Potterheads should definitely locate a Portkey and travel to the cafes where she was said to have spent her time writing. Other attractions include the Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Dynamic Earth, Underground Edinburgh and The Scotch Whisky Experience.

Florence, Italy

Considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is the capital of Italian culture. It’s also where poet Dante Alighieri met the love of his life, Beatrice. She had inspired some of his greatest works including Vita Nuova and The Divine Comedy. Tour this romantic Tuscan City, and discover places such as the Church Santa Margherita dei Cerchi (Dante’s church), Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and Loggia dei Lanzi.

Istanbul, Turkey

Orhan Pamuk made history when he became the first Turkish Nobel Prize laureate in 2006. His stories are very much grounded in Turkish culture and politics. He also established an actual Museum of Innocence based on his eponymous novel. For a truly delightful Turkish holiday, be sure to visit the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia Museum.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Born in Dubai, award-winning short story writer Mohammad Al-Murr has published over 10 collections of his short stories. The aptly titled Dubai Tales is one such compilation that captures life in Dubai – one that toes the line between modern thinking and a strong sense of pride for tradition. When in Dubai, be sure to visit the Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah.

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