This is my first major overseas trip going by myself. Correspondingly this is my first attempt at Blogging. Please excuse the obvious Amateur mistakes I make along the way.
This blog follows my travels through the Asian countries and regions of Japan, Hong Kong and Macau. I'll do my best to make it as least boring as possible for you poor buggers slogging it out doing the hard yards at home.
Keep checking back for updates. I'll do my best to post 1 each day.
My trip has now ended (as of 8 June 09).
I hope you enjoyed reading the Blog and thanks for taking an interest.
June 4th 2009
Today was my first real free day of my entire trip. No pre-arranged tours, no traveling from one place to another. It made a nice change, but meant that I needed to actually do some research into how I was going to entertain myself for the the day. I had always intended to get a suit made in Hong Kong. Custom made suits are fantastic and many Asian countries make them for considerably less than you would pay for even standard off the rack suits in NZ. I've had 2 made previously in Thailand. Both for around NZ$300 - $400. My 1st day tour guide Norman had given me the details of his tailor (most locals also get their clothing tailor made). A Chinese Tailor out in Tsim Sha Sui (the main retail area of Kowloon). ... read more
June 3rd 2009
Ola readers. Todays adventures took me to the Special Administration Region (SAR) of Macau. It was an early start. The pick up time for this tour was 7:30am. Another day without a sleep-in. Ah well could be worse. I could be getting up early to go to work. I was up around 6:30am to get ready. The bus arrived around 7:40am. We had a few hotels to do pick ups along the way. By the end of the pick-ups we had around 24 on the tour. The mix was American, Australian (the largest representation), Malaysian, Chinese, Portuguese (I think. They could have been Brazilian, else I'm way off the mark), Welsh and yours truly, the lone Kiwi. As per usual the age bracket was considerably older than myself, bar the couple of young (and attractive) Chinese ... read more
June 2nd 2009
Today was my first chance to see Hong Kong. I got to see a little bit of Kowloon by night on my way to the hotel from the airport last night. Hong Kong has 2 very contrasting parts to it. The very modern sky scraper financial sector and the older, slightly run down Kowloon peninsula. I had a 1/2 day tour booked Hong Kong Island. Pick up was at 8:10 this morning. It was a bit hard getting out of bed though. I didn't get to bed until after 1am and was up at 7am. So it took a bit of an effort to get ready. I waited in the lobby for about 10 minutes. There was another kiwi couple staying in the hotel who were waiting on a different tour. When boarded the mini-bus I ... read more
June 2nd 2009
Hello dear readers. It has been a couple of days since my last post. I've had limited down time in a hotel in recent days so haven't had a chance to update you on recent activities. Most of the last 2 days (Sunday & Monday) has been taken up with traveling to destinations. On Sunday I left my Hiroshima hotel around 0945 to head to the station to catch the Shinkansen back to Tokyo. The trip had to be done in 2 parts as the Hikari Shinkansen does not operate a direct service from Hiroshima to Tokyo. I had to jump off at Shin-Oska (i've learned that the word Shin is in reference to "new" or the new part of the city so Shin-Osaka refers to the newer part of Osaka) which is about 1 hour ... read more
May 29th 2009
Before we move onto today's adventures I just want to put a plug in for a great little (or not so little) market area within Kyoto. The main shopping street is Shijo-dori (about a 2 min walk from my hotel The Katasuma Kyto Hotel. Sub-note: A lot of the main hotels in Kyoto are close to Kyoto station. It is a good 10 minute taxi ride from Shijo-Dori, about 1050 yen allowing for traffic). About 5 mins down Shijo-dori (left hand side) is Teramachi street. Termachi street is a market style side street. Lots of small restaurants, clothing and knick-knack stores. It takes about 10 mins to walk down without stopping. This is a great place to spend some time and money if you want to get away from the 5th Avenue style shopping that is ... read more
May 28th 2009
Hurro Before I move into today's activities I want to put all of your minds at rest. Last night I braved the hotel food and had dinner in the Japanese restaurant. Now I'm not scared of hotel food, but I am scared of hotel prices. The meal in the end wasn't to badly priced (around $45). I had a radish salad and Japanese Beef filet. The salad arrived first and the 1st couple of mouthfuls took a bit of getting used to. The salad itself was nothing out of the ordinary (White Japanese radish, lettuce, cherry tomato) it was the Japanese touch that gave it a distinct taste. Bonito flakes and Dried seaweed. Neither ingredient do I have a dislike for, but in a combination in a salad gave it quite a pungent smell and flavour. ... read more
May 27th 2009
Konnichiwa Today dear readers is a bit of a lite affair. Today was a traveling day for me as I parted ways with my initial home of Ginza Tokyo to travel south to Kyoto. Kyoto as I found out yesterday was the original capital of Japan. Kyo which is present in both cities names means capital. Tokyo means East Capital, Kyoto means west capital. Tokyo is recognised as the official capital city as this is where the seat of government is based as well as the imperial palace. So there's your history lesson for the day. Yesterday I had my first train experience with my ventures to Disneyland. Today that was going to be taken up a notch with my first experience at riding the Shinkansen or "bullet train". The distance between the 2 cities is ... read more
May 26th 2009
Today was much chance to be a kid again, reliving some of the magic that is Disney. I was always envious of those kids at school who had been to or were going to Disneyland. As a kid if there was once place you wanted to go it was to see Mickey and Donald at Cinderellas Castle. There was no more magical place to go than Disneyland. Finally after all of these years I got to be one of those kids.... just didn't think it would be at the Japanese version. The day started reasonably early. I'd set the alarm for 7:30 to give myself plenty of time to be in the lobby ready to catch the 8:40 free bus to Tokyo station. However my body has yet to adjust to the new timezone. I was ... read more
May 25th 2009
Okay. So it appears i should have done what most normal people do and ask about internet access in the room rather than just using their internet kiosk in the lobby. They offered me a laptop rental service. I said I didn't need as I had my own. I was then given the necessary cable to access the net from my room.... free of charge. Doh! Anyway where was I... oh yeah I finally got to scrub up and rid myself of wearing jeans (the day started out with rain and 14 degrees but cleared to a comfortable 22 degrees with low humidity) and into more appropriate shorts and a t-shirt. I was picked up around 1pm to go on a 1/2 day tour to Tokyo. It was a bit of a rigmarole. i got picked ... read more
May 25th 2009
Well ive survived day 1. Not really sure how as Im a bit of a dead man walking. Arrived in Narita around 6.20 this morning after a 9 hr flight (with a 3 hour flight to Sydney and 4 hr lay over there also). Thankfully the flight to Tokyo only had a handful of people on it. That meant I had a row of 4 seats all to myself. So I actually got some sleep. Arrived at the Hotel around 8:30. 1 Problem. They don't let you check in until around 3pm. So I arrived tired, stinky (i'd been in these clothes since yesterday morning) and not really sure what to do. So I did what most Kiwi's do.... just take a wander. Thats what I did, walked the streets surrounding the hotel and stumbled into ... read more