Plan your trip to Tokyo with Odigo and Apps

I have been longing to visit Japan for about 11 years now and finally me and the Mister have the time and money to fulfill this wish of mine. Since I can be over the top with planning things and I just can’t seem to live without to-do lists, I already wrote out everything I want to see/do, what I want to take pictures of and of course, what I want to eat. I get too excited and pack my travel bag way too early (weeks in advance) and have weekly dreams revolving about my trip to Japan. Only a week to go, whoop whoop!

It just shows how excited I am and just thinking about this trip is getting me all fired up!
The platform that helped me out a lot with planning this trip is Odigo which is a great online tool to sort all activities by day. What I like best is that you see each activity/place on a map and therefore lose less time by trying to do two things that are on the opposite of Tokyo.

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You can see the route I planned on Odigo, it is great for sharing since Erwin will also accompany us and we can compare our plans quite easily like this.
When you are done with your planning you have the option to download the travel itinerary, you created as a PDF file.

 

Tokyo Subway Navigation for Tourists

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Other tools that are very helpful for your Japan trip are apps. The ones I installed are the Japanese railway guide (can also be used offline), a GPS tracker to see where I have been, maps me (also offline available) and of course google translate.

We are going to book a pocket wi-fi which seems to be the best option.
You can also use the wi-fi at Starbucks Japan but you need to be registered in this network first and need to confirm your e-mail, which is of course best done beforehand or in your hotel is possible.

 

Do you have any tipps for me regarding my Tokyo trip? I would love to hear from you :)


This post is not sponsored by Odigo or anyone else, everything is my own opinion.

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Bratislava Summer Vacation

Due to the new flat I now share with the Mister and our little Percy we do not have a huge budget for vacation but we did have a blast and enjoyed our little trip to Bratislava.
Bratislava is not very big, especially when you come from Vienna but it does have its own little charm if you look closely!

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Soon after that a very good friend of Germany came to visit me and we explored Bratislava together to find her an apartment! She aced the entrance exam and will study in Bratislava! I am not only super proud but I am glad that we can now spend more time together (if she won’t be too busy studying ;))

Seoul

Seoul is a huge city and definitely needs more days than I had available to explore the capital of South Korea.
We explored mostly the areas around Myeongdong, Insadong and Dongdaemun.Also winter is not really the best time of the year to get the feeling of Seoul, so I need to come back someday and give the city another shot.
Now onwards to the real post ;)

How to get there: Korean air – I am not a big fan of flying but I enjoyed the service of Korean air and definitely would fly again with them.
The stewardess were super nice, we were offered a lot of drinks (hydration is very important!) and the food did not taste that bad.
If they offer Bibimbap you should definitely order this, a lot of people recommend it and I also think it is one of their best meals!

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What to see: The top three tourist attractions for me, if you don’t have a lot of time to discover Seoul are:

1) Gyeongbokgung Palace

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(technically this was shot at some other palace but I forgot the name of it and I really like the picture and did not know where else to put it ;))

2) Insadong (the traditional neighbourhood)

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I just loved all those tiny shops selling handicrafts and traditional Korean items. Too bad I don’t need a massive paintbrush!

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I thought this was cute,  Starbucks written in Hangul. They probably had to do it because of the area being traditional? I know that in the traditional shopping street of Salzburg all the shops are required to have “old metal signs” and even Mcdonalds has a different metal logo that looks pretty oldschool.

3) N Seoul Tower

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In all the tourist guides they said that we should go to N Seoul Tower but we did not go into the building itself and just stayed on the observation deck. It would cost 9.000W to go inside but it did not seem that necessary to us.

You can technically walk up the hill but in Winter it is advised to just take the cable car. We actually planned on going up but the streets were already slippery enough due to the snow and ice so we did not want to risk it and the ticket for both ways is just 8.500W per Person.

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It is a tradition for couples to leave a locket here. It is really impressive how many lockets there are!
I wonder if people ever take any off for safety reasons, because those lockets may be too heavy?

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What to eat and drink:

It is all about the grilled meat and bibimbap for me!

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People recommended to try the banana milk which I loved. Surprisingly the banana flavour is quite subtle and not very artificial.

Don’t forget their wide variety of street foods they offer.

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Where to shop: Our hotel was located at Myeongdong, one of the busiest shopping streets of Seoul.

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I loved the more traditional shops in Insadong which you have seen above, selling handicrafts and creative goods.

General information:

  • Get a transportation card which will make travelling with public transport a lot easier.
  • You are not obliged to give tip (sometimes there is already a service charge).
  • Drivers can be a bit crazy so be careful while crossing the street, especially look out for crazy taxi drivers!
  • There is a serious lack in bins and you are stuck with your garbage for most of the time.
  • Most of the people we asked don’t speak English or just very little.
  • Shops mostly have free wi-fi, you just need to ask for the code

What I loved:
-the Korean breakfast buffet at our hotel
– hot toilet seats are a real treat in winter!
– the mix of old temples and skyscrapers, it just looked fantastic! I loved the stark contrast between old and new. What do you think of it?
-the free pickles you get with a meal
– the very modern airport which is huge, lots to do if you have a long stop-over like me
-super nice coffee and teashops with the best lattes to warm you up
-artbox (if you love cute stuff, stationary and anything fun you don’t really need, this is THE place for you!) I bought myself a polaroid album for my fuji instax mini pictures, a cute card and a comb. I restrained myself but it was really hard!

What I didn’t like:
– the cold
–  they don’t seem to know the concept of just wanting to browse products in peace so there is always a salesperson right next to you, even if they hardly speak any English they will try and offer you their products. I know that this also happens in the Philippines and in other Asian countries but I still just want to look in peace since I am a bit overwhelmed with all those new products I have never seen before.
-if you change tube line it can be a looot of walking and be sure to know which exist you need to take, there can be 10 (or more) different exits!
– we kinda got ripped off at a restaurant and at a food stall on our first day, so always compare prices!

My hotel: We stayed at Wons Ville Myeongdong Hotel and I can totally recommend it.
It is very affordable, clean, the staff is very friendly and best of all they have an amazing breakfast buffet with many Korean dishes.

For breakfast they had cereals, salad, japchae, seaweed riceballs, kimchi, pak choi and mushrooms, egg, sausages, bread, ddeokbokki, daily soup and vegetable rice. I especially loved their japchae, I wish I could have that every breakfast :)

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What to pack (for winter): Every single warm clothing you possible have and dress like an onion with many layers to survive the cold.
When we stayed in Korea it was -10° and with the cold wind it felt like -15°, especially great when you are on the N Seoul Tower, have forgotten your gloves and try to snap pictures in that freezing weather.

We did not need an adapter for Korea since they also have 220 Volts.

If I forgot to mention anything interesting to you or you have any questions, feel free to ask :)
I am by no means an expert of Seoul but maybe I can help you anyways.

Back from Asia – Instagram

I am finally back from my three week vacation!
For starters I will sum up my experience and post some Instagram pictures since I filled 40GB on my SD Card and it will take a while to find the best pictures. Also I have an exam tomorrow and next week, those need attention as well ;)

From the three countries I visited, Cambodia was my favourite part of the whole trip.

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I loved to explore the many temples in Siem Reap, eat the yummy food and enjoy the sun and the humidity of the jungle.
The country is poorer than the Philippines but I felt a lot safer there and we even got back the cameras my dad forgot twice without any problem.
If you haven’t been to Siem Reap yet, you should or at least write it down on your to-do list!shooting_vienna_cambodia
We had a package tour which was great since everything was being taken care of and we had a personal driver and tourist guide.

I was actually looking forward to Seoul the most but it was so cold (-10 with wind), we could not enjoy our sight-seeing that much.

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The food we ate was great though and if you need a cheap but clean and central hotel with an awesome breakfast buffed I can recommend you mine, which was Wonsville. It is located near the Myengdong shopping street and the underground station of Myengdong.

In the Philippines we had lots and lots of family reunions  since we only visit every 5-6 years due to the expensive plane ticket and the long vacation one has to take. But when we do it is always lovely to see everyone again!

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My Cousin married and it was great to experience a wedding in another country, especially since it was a beautiful event and I am glad I could attend this special occasion!

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Lechon which is roast pig is probably the national dish here, no party would be complete without lechon!

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Molly has two different eye colours and gave recently birth to a kitten which has yet to be named. It is so tiny!

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Elza is a golden retriever mix with a japanese spitz and the cutest dog ever and really fluffy. So sad I could not take her here with me. I miss her already.

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Over New Year we stayed in Boracay, an Island famous for its fine white sand beaches. We stayed there 6 years ago but it we did not enjoy it that much because exactly during the time we stayed there we had a taifun and only rain, which is unnatural for December but hey climate change can’t be denied any more. Also it is a lot more commercialised with a lot more people than we expected but on the one day we had good weather we enjoyed the beach in its natural state, far away from all people.   shooting_vienna_philippines

 

Now I have to catch up on all those interesting and fun posts I missed from you guys and study a bit :)

Christmas Vacation

December is always so packed with activities and friends you have to see, shopping lists you need to complete, and of course the big day, New Year!
Having so much planned and to do, it always feels like the shortest month in the whole year!

I am super excited for this Christmas since I won’t be spending it in good old Vienna but in Manila, with my relatives I don’t get to see that often. The main reason we are going there, is that my Cousin is getting married and we luckily have the opportunity to attend :)

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I will be leaving on the 18th December with a short stopover in Seoul, which I am also quite looking forward to. Our hotel is located in Myeongdong. The perfect place for some shopping and street food! Of course we have lots of activities planned but if you have any tips on what to see or do, just let me know!

Over New Years we will fly to Boracay, said to have the most wonderful beaches in the Philippines. I have been there before but I never have spend New Years anywhere except Austria.
I bet it will be super weird for me to experience Christmas and New Year in a hot climate and no snow.
The pictures were made in 2008, on our last trip to the Philippines.
The typhoon Hagupit luckily weakened and did not leave as much damage as the typhoon Haiyan from last year.

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In January we will have a small trip to Cambodia before I have to fly back for my exams. Yikes, yes I have to study during my holiday trip but I will manage and then I am finally done with my studies. 2015 will be super exciting!

Anyway I just wanted to write a quick update what I will be up to and to let you know that I have posts already written and queued.
I probably won’t be able to write a lot of comments and replies but there will definitely will be a long post of what I have seen, eaten and experienced on my long trip :)

 

I am back… from London!

I just love IT Crowd, one of the best British sitcoms and I can quote nearly every single line with my sister.

Yay we are back after missing our flights on Monday because of this stupid easybus!!

a small note here: never ever take the easybus which belongs to the easyjet company. The drivers from Gatwick to London were just rude and after many argues we got to go on a bus even though it says on the ticket that we have a reservation for a fixed time and we will be taken at that time. Uhm yes I don’t think that anybody got to go on their time because the buses were late and people with earlier times got on the bus you should have gotten into and so on. Then going back we waited for 40 min for that bus and came too late for boarding. Just great! Staying two days more in London was cheaper though then taking the next flight for 350 Pounds per Person. To save yourself time and hassle, just take the train! Too bad I did not check reviews of other people, complaints are plentiful about this terrible bus service.

Beside the hastle with easybus and our missed flight the mister and I had a lovely time in London and we definitely want to come back soon.
The architecture and history, the yummy restaurants and the super friendly people make London a must-visit.

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flying over Austria

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Arriving in London at Waterloo to see a beautiful sunset with the London Eye

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beautiful architecture in Holborn

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view from the South Bank

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so many cute little fluffy squirrels

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This pub is named John Snow. It knows nothing ;)

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lovely view from the breakfast room, wish I could have this view everyday!

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reminding me of Hogwarts

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the criminal court of justice

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St. Pauls

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Another Hogwarts ;)

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shopping in Covent Garden

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impressive hotel

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Pretty display at Fortnum & Mason

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fancy ceiling in Harrods

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I loved this sign!

Our hotel was in Holborn which is near Soho, our favourite area which we visited every single day. For shopping we liked Carnaby Street the most and food-wise you have to drop by Honest Burgers and Pizza Pilgrims. In Austria you can tip freely but here most of the restaurants charged 12,5% which was for us quite a lot but the really friendly and attentive service made up for it ;) I also really loved the atmosphere at Borough market, it felt like a more hip and trendy but also down-to-earth Naschmarkt.

I made lots of videos but I am still struggling on how to combine the different clips but I think it will be up soon, can’t be too hard!
A separate food post will be up asap and a polaroid post after I have the time of scanning them :)

London here I come!

Finally my first real vacation this year! I will be gone with the Mister to the land of Harry Potter, Doctor who, Tea, Vintage Shops and much more.

I must confess I am not the easiest person to travel with because I dive into all of the tourist guides and always end up with a huuuge list of things I want to see and especially restaurants I want to visit. Luckily the hotel is very central and near Soho, not far from all those Asian restaurants and bubble tea shops!
If you have any recommendations for me please let me know! :)

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Kiel – Vacation pictures

Finally my first “real” holiday for 2013! I could finally see my dear friend in Germany again and we had a great time.
Here are some pictures I shot with my phone and instagram. My uni work which I should hand in soon and my first day at my new job tomorrow give me some stress so that’s why only a quick blog post with loads of pics as an excuse of my absence.
Kiel is in the far north of Germany, famous for its international sailing event and base of the german navy.

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Vienna from above, you can spot Schönbrunn at the right corner.

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Lots of brick buildings.. reminds me of Amsterdam

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Kiellinie in the best weather ;)

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more water and boats

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awesome cookie cutter, I just had to buy it!

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chillin at home with some cool socks

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super nice dawn with some massive cloud

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Frauke and me with some sunshine :) finally!

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uni~

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more brick buildings, a church

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Frauke and me again, smiling like mad :D
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enjoying one of my many fish sandwiches. Super yummy and fresh fish! Mhm~
Hope you all have a great week!