Sunday, 20 August 2017

Phuket | Thailand Part 2

     So if you read my last post, you'll know that my travels have currently taken me to Thailand, specifically the Phuket region, where I was staying with my family for the last ten days or so (they left earlier today, while I still have a few more weeks of travel to go). That post was the first half of our time there, and some of the activities we got up to. Fortunately, the rain let up during the latter half of our holiday, so we were able to do a few more things on those days too! We were still staying in Karon the whole time, I've just named this post 'Phuket' to differentiate them both, and because a lot of these activities were a bit more spread out across the province than just Karon.

James Bond Island, Phang Nga Bay, Phuket, Thailand

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Karon | Thailand Part 1

     So I came to Thailand at around this time last year, and as far as I remember, we got decent weather. Maybe some rain, but overall we were able to go out and do all our planned activities. Well, this year I'm in the south (last year was mainly the north) with my family for 10 days, and it won't stop bloody raining! This is Thailand's low season for tourism (yay for less crowds!) and I was expecting some rain while we were here, but this is getting ridiculous. Obviously, we haven't been able to go do a lot of stuff so far, though we were always intending to spend at least some of the time at the pools in our resort - we're staying at the Mandarava, in the Karon Beach area - but that has been limited to the insides of our rooms for the last few days. Actually, I'll include the video I just took of the rain in this post, so you can understand what I mean! All that said, we have been able to go do a few things, during the drier windows of time, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the rain will let up a bit before we leave, so we can do a few more things too!

Longtail boats near Racha Island, Phuket, Thailand

Saturday, 12 August 2017

5 Day Hong Kong Highlights

     As we all know, I've written dozens and dozens of posts about sights to see and things to do in Hong Kong. Living there for close to two years meant I had plenty of time to explore places all over the city, islands, and countryside there. However, most visitors don't have this kind of time! Last year, my mum and sister visited for about 10 days, and saw quite a lot, but this year when they returned and brought my dad long for his first trip, we only had 5 days to show him the highlights of the city. This was also my last few days back in the city before I leave for good this time, so it was nice for me to revisit these places too. I'll link to more detailed posts about most of these sights, but this is my recommended highlights for 5 days in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong city skyline over Victoria Harbour at night

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Tokyo Disneyland | Japan Part 5

     Can you believe that's four Disneyland parks around the world that I've visited now? I never thought I'd get round them all, but seeing as I'd done three already, I decided that I had to visit Tokyo's too! So at this point, the last two are definitely on my bucket list now. My previous posts about the parks in Florida, Hong Kong, and Shanghai are all linked here as well. Tokyo actually has two parks, Disneyland and DisneySea, but I wasn't going to have time to visit both (on this trip anyway!). I'd read online that DisneySea is excellent, but I opted to prioritise Disneyland, since I'm trying to visit all of those now, and that's where I'd find the castle, fireworks, and various rides that I all associate with Disney. After all, if you only had time for one of Orlando's parks, it would be the Magic Kingdom over the rest, right?

Cinderella Castle, Tokyo Disneyland, Japan

Monday, 7 August 2017

Tokyo | Japan Part 4

     I feel like Tokyo is one of those cities that everyone wants to visit someday, known worldwide for its eclectic local culture combined with its long-standing traditions and history. So actually finding myself there was definitely a little surreal at first! I was staying there for five nights, to have four full days there. For the first night, after taking the bus over from my day trip to Mount Fuji, I checked into a capsule hotel near the bus station in Shinjuku. The walk to the hotel itself was my first taster of the city, and seeing as it's a major shopping district, it was mass of huge buildings, colourful lights, crowds of people, and various sounds and smells coming form all directions - pretty much what I was expecting to be honest! That was quite a fun little experience, sleeping in my wee hole in the wall, but while it's fun for one night, I was glad I wasn't there for my entire trip. Lucky for me, some family friends recently moved to Tokyo, and had enough space in their apartment near Harajuku for me to stay with them for the next four nights (after their previous visitors left, which was why I was in the hotel at first). So my first full day in the city began with the subway trip to theirs to drop off my bag before heading out again for the rest of the day. I spent three full days exploring various parts of the city, and then one day visiting Disneyland - which will be the next post to come!

Tokyo city skyline, Japan

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Mount Fuji | Japan Part 3

     Well, that's a debatable title really, since I didn't actually see the mountain... I was trying to though, that's the point really. After my five nights in Kyoto (parts one and two), I was on the road again and bound for Tokyo. However, while researching Tokyo, and potential day trips out of that city, Mount Fuji was brought to my attention. I hadn't realised that it wasn't all that far from Tokyo, and possible to visit in a day. But seeing as I would be coming from the same direction when I arrived from Kyoto, it struck me that it might make more sense to visit it en route. Cue several hours of researching locations to view it from, and the various trains and buses it would take to get there and then to Tokyo, and I eventually had a plan in place! There are a few locations you could visit, but I settled on the Fuji Five Lakes region, specifically Lake Kawaguchiko.

Mount Fuji, Lake Kawaguchiko, Fuji Five Lakes, Japan
It's behind there somewhere...

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Kansai Day Trips | Japan Part 2

     Kyoto has a wealth of temples, shrines, museums, and more, to be explored. After two full days in the city though, and reaching my tolerance level for temples, I was ready to venture further afield once more. Kansai is a fairly easy area to move around in, with dozens of train lines cross-crossing the region - again, this is why I skipped the JR Pass, since a lot of these are local lines that wouldn't be covered by it. It's also not a huge region, so the trips I took were each less than an hour away, allowing me time to sleep in or come back early and still see plenty. For one day, I decided to go to Nara, which is frequently recommended in every guide to the region, and for the other I tackled the hike between Kurama and Kibune, to make a change from all the temple-hopping (though there were still shrines along the trail).

Deer in Nara Park, Kansai, Japan


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