Archive for July, 2014

Planning a Dream Trip via Skyscanner: Japan

After completing my Euro trip, I have been eying to visit Japan since long. It is like a dream – you board a flight and woosh – you’re transported to a completely new culture. Murakami and Guy Kawasaki have long since beckoned me with their works. It doesn’t help that Japan is land of samurais, geishas, mountains, bentos, castles, mountains, temples, shikansens, onsens, kabuki, ikebana, shiatsu, takarazuka revue, zen and zazen.

But hey, it’s Japan that means no communication in English, and it means completely different food for a veggie like me – so you need better preparation. Much better preparation than that I had needed for Europe. But first one must get basics right – visa, travel tickets, hotels and then one can spend time to plan more intricately.

First question that comes in mind: which is the best city to enter Japan – Tokyo, Nara, Kyoto, Sapporo, Okinara, Hokkaido? More clearly, which place has the cheapest flights? Even though I hadn’t made up my mind if I would visit Okinara and islands or Hokkaido, I was sure I would visit Tokyo in my first visit.

Japan is expensive. If not careful, you would go over budget in a blink and that is one thing that can cramp the pleasure of travelling. And in that planning the trip via Skyscanner was a lifesaver.

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The first search in skyscanner made clear that Tokyo was cheapest way to enter Japan compared to other Japanese cities. Another search confirmed that I wasn’t saving any money by catching a flight to Tokyo from let’s say Mumbai. Bangalore was as good place as any to start the journey.

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Cheapest flight is to Tokyo

So, that’s decided I  time I visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima  (all are close to Tokyo); Okinara, Mt Fuji and Hokkaido will have to wait for next time. I planned for 10 days in  December, a month when I always try to visit a new place, a personal ritual. Skyscanner was obviously a best choice since it scans all flight sites such as expedia, makemytrip, cleartrip, ibibo etc for best deals – hence, it is a lifesaver.

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Flight to be booked to Tokyo in December

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Bangalore-Tokyo flight – cheapest one available on the day

The Tokyo plan is roughly like this:

Motto: Have fun, live in bit relaxing luxury and do bit different things.

  1. Shiastu treatment
  2. Eat an izakaya (A buffet with both Japanese and Asian-Western fusion dishes all at a very affordable price)
  3. Geisha dress up, it happens in both Tokyo and Kyoto. (Tho I have never aspired to dressup in Indian tourist places such as Kashmir, HP)
  4. Watch kabuki and geisha dances
  5. Helicopter cruising from Tokyo bay at night
  6. Day trip to Nara – JR train or a bus will suffice. To be decided later.
  7. Trip to Onsen (steam bath) – since I am going in December, imagine the pleasure of onsen in snow-capped places. Bliss.

Here is more of Tokyo in pictures: http://www.skyscanner.net/news/tokyo-pictures

Next stop – Hiroshima

I don’t like my holidays to be too packed. Plus they say some people have a trip in Japan going in and out of trains. So I thought I would deviate from the norm and use a flight for this trip. Faster as well. Skyscanner helped again. 🙂

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Tokyo to Hiroshima flight – 1.5 hrs

After going through usual sites like Peace Park, memorial etc in Hiroshima, I head to Kyoto, by JR rail this time, which I have been ignoring. I should utilise my week rail pass that I intend to buy. (I tried car hire from Hiroshima to Kyoto using skyscanner before I remembered I didn’t have a driver’s license.)

Picture5Next stop – Kyoto

Two of the key things to do in Kyoto was to go to green tea picking and visit Takarazuka theatres. (Google for more info please).

Hotel bookings

Since all major flight travel bookings were done, I then turned my attention to booking hotels in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima. This was another easy job with Skyscanner as it has at its disposal LOT of options from various sites. At Skyscanner, I can search hotel results using filters such as popularity, price, stars and name. I checked these three factors when booking a hotel: location, price and reviews. At the end of the day, I was happy that I had found reasonably priced, good hotels!

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I booked hotels based on three key factors: Location, price and ratings

(See the highlighted tab in the first screenshot)

Hiroshima

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Easy hotel search at Skyscanner.com

Kyoto

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Hotel chosen at Kyoto – fast, reliable search

Actual hotel screenshots from the original site where you’ve to book. Nice place, isn’t it?

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Actual site where you can book the hotel in advance without any cancellation charges. Booking.com has been my favorite site. Glad, skyscanner scans along with hundreds of others!

Tokyo

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Finally the Tokyo hotel – not so expensive but good ratings!

And then back to Tokyo via JR rail to catch flight homeward. Sounds like a dream plan? To me, it is. 🙂

Total cost of trip

  1. Flights: 46, 483/- + 21, 809/- = 68292/-
  2. Hotels: Hiroshima: 2795/- + Kyoto: 4603/- + Tokyo: 8709/- = 16097/-

Total: 84394/-

(I still have 15k spare for other things and accommodate last minute travel plan changes.)

A sweet glimpse of this dream trip:

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May this dream come true. Amen!

(This post is a part of Skyscanner travel wizard activity at BlogAdda.com)

Book Review: A Newlywed’s Adventures in a Married Land

(I must begin with apologies to the author who sent me this book so long ago and I unprofessionally forgot about it. The memory of this lapse would nag me at most inopportune moments when I was in no position to make amends. This delay is writing the review is deeply regretted especially since it was an entertaining book.)

DZT_1267

Photo courtesy The Rebellious Bride at http://www.rebelliousbrides.com/2012_03_01_archive.html

‘A newlywed’s adventures in a married land’, as the title suggests, is a newly married woman’s adjustment to married life in an unfamiliar, foreign city. Mythili’s life undergoes an elephantine change when she marries the man she loves and follows him to Manila, capital city of Philippines away from her family. She also has to deal with the accompanied shift in her identity: from a successful crime reporter in Bangalore to a wife in Manila on dependent visa. Mythili , while recording her impressions of Manila–jeepneys, flashy malls, tanduay and Tagalog, does her best to settle in her new life. But it is not easy. When her husband inevitably returns to work, her job searches prove futile, she increasingly feels she is lonely, homesick and devoid of purpose. Continue reading ‘Book Review: A Newlywed’s Adventures in a Married Land’


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