Covid-19 hit many of us hard, including Khamisah Salamat, a 56-year-old who once spent her days touring Japan. Having been in the industry for 30 years, it was unfortunate when she had to stop working once borders closed. After about a year of baking, hiking, and even gardening, Khamisah now goes on cycling tours around Singapore! The best part? She's putting all her years of experiences and passions together, to draw up unique itineraries and cycling tours in Japan! Read on to catch how her beginnings with the art of Omotenashi has inspired her to plan cycling tours in Japan! Who knows, perhaps you could be joining her trips when the borders open ?
How This 56-Year-Old Singaporean Cyclist Plans Japan Cycling Tours
Exploring Singapore's Off-Beaten Paths
After Covid-19 hit and the borders closed, Singaporean Khamisah Salamat found herself idle and without a job. In order to keep her health and spirits up, she decided to invest her time in fruitful hobbies like baking, gardening, and eventually, hiking and cycling! Khamisah's love for travel has clearly been channelled into exploring Singapore's off-beaten paths. Spending a lot of her time around Sungei Tengah, Khamisah tells us that this is one of her favourite cycling routes because ''it feels like you're cycling in Cameron Highlands''! ? The sights definitely add to the experience, too. The farms in the area, like the Fresh Vegetable Farm, are some of the best places to do your weekend marketing.
Credit: Salamat Khamisah on Facebook
One of her biggest achievements in her years of cycling is finishing the route along Kranji's Neo Tiew Avenue, Lim Chu Kang and Jurong East! For perspective, a quick search on Google maps showed us that this route is about 20km ? Definitely a feat!
When we asked what her next cycling goal would be Khamisah told us that she wants to curate Brompton cycling experiences in Japan!
The Art Of Omotenashi
Putting Her Customers First
Travelling Japan comes with its challenges, especially when leading Muslim tour groups. In Japan, halal food can be difficult to find, especially if guests are not used to raw food like sashimi. As the tour leader and curator of the itinerary, Khamisah is responsible for looking for the best halal or Muslim-friendly dishes for her guests and catering to their needs.
Credit: Khamisah Salamat
Another concern many travellers face is the type of rooms! In Japan, travellers can opt for a Tatami-style room. However, others may choose a regular room due to health and physical issues such as impaired leg function. In order to serve her travellers best, she needs to ensure that each traveller is matched to the right room, depending on their needs and preferences.
''Especially for traditional ryokan,'' Khamisah told us, ''I need to be selective (when it comes to traditional ryokan rooms) for my guests as some traditional ryokan do not have bathrooms in the room!''
A Sneak Peek Into Her Future Cycling Tours
Khamisah truly is living life to her fullest! If you're interested in joining her for future cycling trips, this is what you can expect ?
- View of Mount Fuji
- Forest Route: Experience cycling among the cedar trees and listen to the natural sounds of the forest
- Shiraito Fall, one of the greatest waterfalls in Japan
- Stop for Experiences such as Soba making, Dragonfly making from Bamboo, Wagashi making traditional Japanese confectionery
- Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Park
- Many Rivers and bridges
- Hiroshima Castle
- Uchiko Town - To see an important and preserved village, and covered wooden Taiko bridge
- Coastal Cycling - Spot JR Shimonada Train station facing the sea which is famous for being part of tv dramas
Japan Travelling Tips!
Being a seasoned traveller of Japan, Khamisah has quite a bit of knowledge to pass on when it comes to exploring Japan! If you're planning to travel to Japan once the borders open, these tips might just be helpful for you. ?