Place 26 – Day 6: Tokyo – Shinjuku

We decided to walk the 2 hours to Shinjuku today. This is meant to be a very good place and what you imagine Japan looks like. 

We started walking there and realised it was tiring! We grabbed a drink and continued on our way. The temperature was apparently not as hot as it has been, but the sun was shining so felt very warm! 

When we got closer, we saw the Tokyo Dome. This is a baseball arena as well as a theme park and a few other things like eateries and bowling. We stopped here and walked around to check it out, but the rides were incredibly expensive for what they were. 

Just before we stopped there, we saw a place that sold Gyoza, so we had to stop! These were actually really good, with a serving suggestion of soy sauce, chilli oil & vinegar, so we had to do that. They were delicious and a perfect snack!

We soldiered on and found the centre of Shinjuku. This was very busy and with a lot of large buildings! We found some WiFi and noticed there was an observation deck nearby, surprisingly in a government building! We headed there and had to go underground before getting searched and heading into a very fast lift to the 45th floor where we saw a lot of Tokyo from a lot of angles. It was really nice and free! 

We got super hungry so headed back down and found another curry place within the and chain as the first place we went to…it was still excellent! Curtis had the pork cutlet and Kim had the chicken again. It was perfect and just hit that spot! 

🍛

We walked back towards the hotel and saw a lot of cool buildings and areas on the way. We decided we were too tired to walk the whole way, so we got a tube to about halfway. This cost us 400Y all together (~£3) and took about 25 minutes rather than an hour walk, and we got a seat! 

We did the last 45 minute walk back, Kim got a doughnut and we sat and played UNO with a hot chocolate because we are old! Who knows what we will do with our lives when we leave here and don’t have UNO?! 

さようなら!

– Mr & Mrs Hale 

Place 26 – Day 5: Ueno Zoo, 🐼 & Chiyoda Park

We went to the zoo today! We couldn’t decide where to go and decided on the zoo. We had read that some people thought it was inhumane, but most people said it was good. 

We got there and it was just Y600 each (around £5). 

Kim mostly wanted to see the pandas, so we did! We went straight to their enclosure to find just 1 lonely panda. The mum had recently had a child, so her and the baby weren’t able to be seen. 

Kim & a 🐼

we walked around the zoo, coming across some very loud gibbons! 

We saw many different animals, as you do at a zoo. We saw some huge bears, but one was definitely not happy with being there and was attempting to escape! We saw sealions & seals as well as a polar bear which didn’t look too happy! 

Bear eating an Apple
🐻
Polar Bear
Sealion

We thought we were done with the zoo, then realised that there was a whole other section! This included penguins, small mammals, hippos, giraffes and zebras. 

We were there for a good few hours before we left to grab a spot of lunch. We then planned to go to the science museum but it was fairly expensive and apparently not in English and neither of us read Japanese! 

We just stayed at the area where the zoo is, which includes museums and today there was a ‘Nepal Festival’ celebrating Nepal..which is random! 

We walked here, sat around and watched the world go by before taking a 45 minute walk to another park called Chiyoda. This has a castle in it, but unfortunately we were too late and it was closed! We just walked around here and then made the 1 hour walk back. We stopped in 7-Eleven to get some dinner as we weren’t sure where to get food and knew there were cups of noodles! We got a noodle cup for Kim (curry flavour) and a bowl of noodles for Curtis (spicy!). These were actually really good and cheap! The noodle bowl was apparently complicated to make, as we had to get help from 4 Japanese people at our hostel! Who thought it would be complicated?! 

We still have a few days here and we’re loving every minute! Though our feet aren’t! 

さようなら!
– Mr & Mrs Hale 

Place 26 – Day 4: Tokyo – Samba Festival

We had breakfast and played UNO whilst doing so because we’re clearly addicted! 

Whilst having breakfast, Curtis managed to knock over a whole coffee, so we had to clean that up and make another! 

When we walked into town we weren’t really sure what to do for the day, other than just going to the Owl cafe! We went into the café and we’re ready to pay, but after seeing the owls in boxes and not being able to hold them, it seemed both rubbish and inhumane, so we left. With no idea what to do, we stumbled apon a parade! This was apparently the 36th Samba Festival, according to the t-shirts. We thought this was a weird thing to be on in Japan, but we stayed and watched anyway and it was pretty awesome, though it looks like some of the performers forgot their clothes! 

We took a bit of a walk around after this, visiting some arcades just to look around and got a bite to eat and then went back to the hostel. We played UNO whilst we waited for it to be time to try and fix Kim’s iPod again, but we unfortunately had no luck so went out for dinner! 

We wanted some Yakitori, but the place we went to didn’t look very good, so we walked a bit further out to get another curry! We went to a place called Go!Go!Curry. This was not too bad and we got a decent amount. Curtis had to have a beer but was offered another drink which we later found out was a can of whiskey & soda! Should have gone for that. 

We were pretty full after dinner, but we took a little walk around the area we ate and there were a lot of food places, lights and people! 

We walked back to the hostel and had to go across a bridge and saw a perfect photo opportunity! 

As we were walking back, we saw two strange buildings next to eachother…it was quite creepy in the dark!

Teacups
Giant head!

さようなら!
– Mr & Mrs Hale 

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