Place 26 – Day 3: Tokyo – Asakusa & Okonomiyaki 

We started the day much more relaxed, not leaving until 12:00. 

It was 34°C again, so very hot! We walked around Asakusa, which is the area near where we are staying. There are a lot of market stalls (most of which are permanent shops really) which were nice to look around. Most sell chopsticks, kimonos, swords etc. 

We found a place that sold what is called ‘melon bread’ which is not melon but looks like it. This is a sweet bread which you fill with ice cream. We had a vanilla ice cream one…it was delicious! 

As well as the market area, it was also home to a lot of temples, parks & a pagoda! We visited most of it and it was beautiful! 

We walked around here for a while before we went for some food at a place called ‘Okonomiyaki Sometaro’. This place was fantastic! It did have excellent reviews, so we wanted to go! This place serves Okonomiyaki mostly, but also some other items. Okonomiyaki is basically like a savory pancake mixed with an omelette. We really weren’t sure what to to expect or what it would be like, but we loved it! You order whatever you want, so we went with 1 beef, pork & cabbage flavour and 1 rice, corn & cheese. Kim had a coke and Curtis had a ‘japanese soda’ (like a bubblegum/creamsoda hybrid with a ball inside it for some reason!). The food comes out in bowls and you put some oil onto the slate in front of you, mix your mixture and pour it into the oil. This cooks and then you are instructed to flip it and then flip it again, before garnishing with the correct sauces. On the rice one, we had to add soy sauce and on the other we added mayonnaise & a sauce which you brush on which was delicious! This meal was so tasty and we plan to go back! And, it was a pretty good price! 

Before cooking
Cooked and ready!

We went to the shop to get some supplies on the way home and when we got back we decided to sit downstairs in the bar area and play UNO, which is provided by the guesthouse! We spent way longer than we expected to playing, and it was great fun! It was a couple of hours! We had a hot chocolate to go along with it, so it was the perfect evening!

All in all, we had a busy and fun day. We certainly aren’t wasting the days here! 

さようなら!
– Mr & Mrs Hale 

Place 26 – Day 2: Tokyo – Ginza & Curry

We started the day by grabbing breakfast downstairs. There was just toast and jam available, which is fine. Curtis had a coffee, but it was a drip coffee, in a mug! What a great invention!

Drip coffee in a mug?!

We finished breakfast and just sat and chilled before we were then told that we needed to go up to the room and remove our things from the bed as there was a ‘deep clean’ which we weren’t told about! This was already ongoing when we got upstairs, so we had to get ready around it, which was frustrating!

We left to walk to the centre of Toyko. This was over an hour of walking in 34°C! We walked through what felt like the whole of Tokyo, but got to see a lot of cool buildings! 

When we got to the centre, we went to Apple to try and fix an issue with Kim’s iPod, which should now be fixed! 

We walked around the centre (Ginza street) for a while, just admiring the awesome buildings and then we went to get some food. 

We really wanted some Japanese curry, so we found a place and walked there. It was about 20 minutes away and we were very hungry when we got there! 

We ordered a salad as a starter to share. It seems that potato salad is popular here, so we got that with out salad, it was tasty! 

Half eaten portion because we were hungry!

We then ordered 2 chicken cutlet currys each…they were SO GOOD! This was a small curry house which wasn’t busy and it was delicious. The staff spoke little English and it felt like we were eating somewhere locals would eat. 

The curry had the right amount of spice but was also very tasty!

🍛

We walked to a whisky bar which was meant to be really nice, and it was, but it was very expensive so we left in a hurry! 

We then went to a Nissan building which showcases some of their best cars, as well as 2 concept cars! Kim did a VR driving experience there which was a cool touch. 

Nissan GTR Nismo

Nissan Concept
Another concept

We left here and it was nice and dark, so we went to the busiest street where we took a lot of photos which look like typical Toyko! 

Today was a busy, long but awesome day! We love Tokyo! 🇯🇵

さようなら!
– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 26 – Day 1: Tokyo 🇯🇵 – We’re in Japan?! 

🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵こんにちは!🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵

We started the day rather early and after desturbed sleep. 

We woke up at 01:30 to get the free hotel airport shuttle to the airport. We needed to be at terminal 3, but without asking, the driver took us to terminal 2! We quickly informed him that we needed to be at 3 and were taken there. 

Once we got there, around 02:25, we had to queue to enter the building. I’m not sure if you would have experienced it, but in some countries you must go through similar security checks that you do before departing. Bags must be scanned and people scanned also. This caused a queue and we were surprised how many people there were! 

Unfortunately, Kim wasn’t feeling great, which we hope is just because of the tiredness, having not had much sleep for a couple of days.

All of the formalities were simple, easy and fast, before we knew it we were waiting for our plane. To ensure Kim got better, she slept for the whole hour or so of wait time whilst Curtis was hungry, so went off to find something to eat, stumbling apon a ‘Seattle’s Best Coffee’ shopping (those in the UK may be familiar with them via ASDA’s coffee). Curtis got a cinnamon bun and a rather strong black coffee.

Basketball was on, so Curtis watched that to pass the time before we boarded the plane. Most of the plane journey was fine, though Kim was still unwell for most of it. 

The flight felt like it took ages, though it was only a few hours. Eventually, we landed in Tokyo! 

We had to get a train from the airport to near our hotel. Luckily, this was just one train for about an hour and then a 7 minute walk across a bridge so nice and easy! Our train journey was slightly delayed by a random woman screaming for seemingly no reason and, when people tried to ask what was wrong, she clearly gave a funny answer as everyone laughed! 

We got to our stop and it was incredibly warm. 31°C but with no cloud, so sun beating down. 

We got to the hostel and were welcomed by very friendly staff who also allowed us to check in a little early! 

We must take our shoes off at the door to our floor. We had a bottom bunk each in our 12 person dorm, though they are little crates, very similar to a zoo version of a pod hotel! The beds are pretty large and comfortable though it is weird to be seperated by a wall! 

Lockable storage compartment under bed!

We relaxed, got settled, Kim had a shower then we went out for some lunch. We couldn’t really find anywhere, so we went to a cafe and the staff were wonderful! Curtis had an egg & chicken sandwich and Kim had some pancakes. That’s enough to keep us going! 

After this pit stop, we did some laundry on our rooftop which has some awesome views! 

View from the roof!

We went for some dinner. We really fancied a traditional Japanese Ramen, so we went out to find some. A place we found previously was closed, apparently everything closes before 20:00 here, so we wandered around a found a place. Little did we know that traditional Ramen are cooked with fish, so it was basically a fish soup and neither of us were very keen! 

Curtis had a really tasty ginger ale, though! So that’s good!

Our ‘Ramen’

Now, it’s relax and get some proper sleep to catch up from the other days! 

さようなら!
– Mr & Mrs Hale 

Place 25 – Day 2: Manila – Leaving Tonight!

We had our free breakfast this morning, bacon, eggs & toast! Curtis had a coffee and Kim had a hot chocolate. That started us off for the day!

We had a late start after that, just relaxing and getting some things booked!

We got bored of booking, as we had a LOT of flights to book in one go, so we nipped out to grab a coffee. We sat around having our coffee and just watching the world go by before getting back to the hotel to finish our mass of flight bookings. We’re very excited to finally get them booked, though, as we are booked for a few months and to some awesome places!

We have a flight out tomorrow to our next, big & awesome, location. The flight is at 05:15, so we need to be at the airport for 02:15, so we’ll be leaving here at 02:00! This means little sleep for us tonight, so a little earlier bedtime for us tonight!

That’s where we leave it for today, not very exciting but tomorrow will be super awesome!

We’ve been looking forward to going to the next place so much and can’t wait to get there!

We’re packed and just need to sleep, get up, grab our things and go!

Exciting!

Until tomorrow, Paalam!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

 

Place 25 – Day 1: Manila 🇵🇭 – 6 Months of Traveling!

We arrived in Manila for our 2 day stopover late. We arrived at around 06:00 when we were meant to arrive at 05:15. Better still, our car hasn’t arrived either (this seems to be a trend!) So we had to call the hotel and wait for the transport. 

By the time we arrived at the hotel and checked in, it was 08:00 so we needed to get some food, though we were incredibly tired! We nipped to McDonald’s for a trusty mcmuffin! 

We then slept for a few hours before leaving to go to a shop as well as get some dinner. We found a huge hypermarket within a mall which we bought some snacks in before going to Pizza Hut for some pizza! We grabbed a coffee before we went shopping too, as it was cheap and coffee solves everything! 

That hair…
Pizza!

Other than this, we’ve not done much and nor will we tomorrow. These are rest days before we head to an awesome place! 

Paalam! 

– Mr & Mrs Hale 

Place 24 – Day 8: Hanoi – The Perfect Sunday & A Show

We started the day by…Well, not starting the day…

We went for breakfast as usual, but hastily went back to bed for some relaxing. Kim stayed asleep for a while whilst Curtis just relaxed. It was really nice to chill for a morning! 

Once we managed to get ourselves out of bed we walked to grab some lunch. We went to Dunkin’ Donuts because… Donuts! Then we got an ice slushy followed by another Banh Mi sandwich! 

We ate our tasty lunch, relaxed and packed to leave! As we accidentally booked an extra night at the hotel which was more expensive to cancel we just left it, so we have our things in the room and are able to use it up until we leave, which is a nice thing to have! 

We walked to the theatre as we booked to watch a show. The show was a theatre show called ‘My Village’. 

The show was excellent! The show included singing, dancing, acrobatics, gymnastics, aerial acrobatics and music! It was an incredibly god show with a great story. 

Free lemongrass tea!
The performers

We then went for dinner at Old Hanoi Restaurant which was not amazing.. We shared spring rolls, Kim had chicken soup followed by braised pork in caramel sauce and Curtis had shrimp & pineapple fried rice. Curtis’ was dry and bland and Kim’s wasn’t amazing, though it looked good! 

The restaurant was beautiful!

We headed back to the hotel where we are waiting for the car to take us to the airport.

This is where this blog ends and it is being done pre-airport! Tomorrow, you’ll find out where we are and how the airport and flight was.

tạm biệt!
– Mr & Mrs Hale 

Place 24 – Day 7: Hanoi – Presidential Palace Grounds, Citadel, Night Market & Beer Street 

We stuck with our plan today to visit the presidential palace. It turns out that you can’t actually go in the palace, which is a shame, but you can go near it as well as the gardens which were beautiful! 

We wanted to go in at 12:30, but it was very closed, so we went to a local coffee shop and grabbed a nice coffee whilst we waited.

Once we were able to, we went into the grounds and had a walk around. It wasn’t all that great or large, but it was very pretty.

We left here but still wanted to do some more things, so we went to the Citadel. This is basically a fortress with small towns within. This was much more interesting as it was used by the Americans and the French after its original usage so there are buildings from each era around. 

This area took a while to walk around and each building was awesome.

Kim, at one point, thought she was scaring Curtis but it turned out she was scaring a random man who was very shocked! 

Dragon Steps

We left here and came back to the hotel and had a relax, then went out for some dinner. We went to a restaurant, Aubergine Cafe, which was really great! We were wanting to go there for a while but were not 100% sure about it, but we are glad we went! The service was great and the food was excellent. We started with make your own spring rolls, which were tasty but pretty fiddly and irritating, so not sure we would do that again. For mains, Kim had spicy fried chicken with rice and Curtis had beef with lemongrass, onion, chilli & vegetables. 

We, of course, had a beer too! 

🍺

We ate this all up, it was very tasty! 

We finished there and walked down the street, before Kim saw a ‘rolled ice cream’ stall. This is ice cream which is mixed with something, in this case Oreos, and then frozen and rolled. 

Rolled Ice Cream

We walked to the Night Market which was a good experience, if not a little crowded and warm! Each 4th stall was the same, so we left there and went to Beer Street for a beer and some people watching. 

People Watching

We sat here for a while until a creepy guy started drawing Kim, so we headed back towards the hotel. On the way, we made a pitstop to get Kim some Candyfloss. 

We came back to the hotel and had to speak with the hotel about some stuff they should have done and then came back to bed! 

It’s been a busy day and we think we may have a bit of a relaxed day tomorrow before we head to the airport! 

tạm biệt!
– Mr & Mrs Hale 

Place 24 – Day 6: Hanoi – Dong Xuan Market & Ba Dinh Square

We had a slightly later start today, so didn’t leave the hotel until around 13:00. 

We walked to Dong Xuan Market. This is an indoor market, but we didn’t spend long at all here as it was not very good at all!

Once we left here, we walked to Ba Dinh Square, which is a main square where a former leader is viewable (during certain times) and the presidential palace is in. There is a large gardens around this area also and it is a nice place to walk. Unfortunately, we were unable to walk in or around the Presidential Palace or grounds due to Kim being in ‘inappropriate dress’, so tomorrow we plan to go in and take a look around! 

The outside of the Presidential Palace
A ‘one tower pagoda’

We made sure we stopped for a nice iced coffee before we got there, though! Kim had a coconut milk iced coffee and Curtis had a condensed milk iced coffee (a Vietnamese tradition).

We went back to the hotel as Curtis wasn’t feeling too great. 

We watched the film Storks, before Curtis had a little nap!

We waited for it to be a bit later before we went out for dinner. We looked up a place to eat but unfortunately it no longer exists! Instead, we made the walk to the centre where the weekend night market is. This was incredibly busy and we plan to visit the actual night market tomorrow, so we’ll see what that is like! 

We found a place to eat whilst walking and it was not great. The meat was very dry, the noodles we’re definitely tagliatelle and not noodles! 

Kim was definitely not impressed and still hungry, so she grabbed a waffle cone ice cream!

tạm biệt!
– Mr & Mrs Hale 

Place 24 – Day 5: Hanoi – Police Museum, Banh Mi & Water Puppet Show

We went to the police museum today. We attempted to go there yesterday, but it was closed for some reason! 

This museum was free to enter and not very familiar to tourists, so we were the only people there! It had good ratings online, so we thought we would have a look. 

It was much bigger than we thought and was very interesting. It includes information about the policing since the 1940s until now, including paraphernalia and contraband from drug busts and other arrests. 

Old sidecar used by police in the 70s

Confiscated knives! 🔪

We went from the police museum to a monument dedicated to a previous king. We didn’t go inside, but we grabbed a couple of photos. 

We had plans for the evening, so we came back to relax a bit before going to dinner, but not before grabbing a famous Banh Mi! These are basically sandwiches, but they are great! 

Curtis had a BBQ pork & Pate one & Kim had a honey chicken one. Both come with carrot, coriander & chilli sauce. These were delicious! 

Terrible photo, but great sandwich!

We went back to Banana Tree, where we went the first night. Curtis had the same, because it was just so tasty! Kim had a chicken and rice dish. We also shared spring rolls again. 

After dinner, we went to wait outside the puppet theatre! We had mixed thoughts on this and were suggested it a few days ago by another British couple we spoke with. It was fairly cheap too! 

We were really unsure what would happen, but it was incredible! There was a band, playing old Viet instruments and there was a small lake with a backdrop. Thought the performance, amazing puppets were doing different things in and around the water, each scene having its own story. There were fire breathing dragons and all sorts! It was well worth the price and an old style Vietnamese thing to do! 

Didn’t get many photos, but we were too busy watching!

tạm biệt!
– Mr & Mrs Hale 

Place 24 – Day 4: Hanoi – Hao Lo Prison

We had breakfast as usual and then had to decide where to go. 

We decided upon Hao Lo Prison. This is a former prison used by the French & later, the Vietnamese. This is now a museum, but has kept its main structure and still looks like a prison. 

We walked around, reading the signs and seeing the male & female cells, as well as Death Row. 

It was a very informative visit actually and very interesting! 

A main male cell

Part of the memorial

We finished here but still wanted to do something, so we went to he old quarter and walked along the railroad. The train still uses this, twice a day, 15:00 & 19:30. This is a residential street still, which is cool , and there are some shops! 

‘Train Street’

We stopped to get a slushy before we went back to the hotel as we were very warm! 

We spoke with the hotel regarding trips they offer, but they were far too expensive so we don’t think we will be doing them! 

We then went for some food. We looked at reviews online and went to fairly new place called Sviet Restaurant. Kim had a chicken noodle soup and Curtis had beef with mixed fried noodles. Curtis’ came with a tasty sweet & sour sauce and Kim’s came with lime and chilli! Of course, we got a beer too. This was very cheap, too! It was just £6 for our whole meal! 

Amazing chopsticks
🍺
Beautiful food!

We left the restaurant and it was raining a lot, so we headed back to the hotel to relax in bed and watch TV, but not before we booked something fun for tomorrow!

tạm biệt!
– Mr & Mrs Hale