How To Find Cheap Food in Kyoto

Japan is renowned for being one of the world’s most expensive countries. Fortunately, of all the things you’ll pay a lot of yen for in Japan, food doesn’t have to be one of them. Of course, there are endless opportunities to spend big on food in Japan (a recent trip to Kobe and a $135 bill later was personal proof of that). But it’s equally possible to get by on a budget of $5 and under per meal and finding cheap food in Kyoto is even easier. I plan to do a longer post on Japan’s food…when I’ve finished eating … Read more

How NOT to Visit Mount Fuji in Spring

If there is one thing Japan is famous for beyond the cherry blossom, it is Mount Fuji and I was determined to visit this snow-dipped wonder during my stay in Japan. However, things didn’t go to plan. Learning from my mistakes, here is how NOT to visit Mount Fuji in spring. Don’t assume seeing Mount Fuji is more at Mount Fuji than Tokyo I can’t determine whether it is truth or urban myth that Mount Fuji is visible from Tokyo. All the literature says that on a clear day, it should be possible to view the elusive mount, with the … Read more

Guide to the Japan Rail Pass

I consider myself to be a reasonably savvy traveller, yet the Japan Rail Pass had me stumped for a while. Why? It’s not the simplest rail ticket around. After several days researching what the pass is about, whether it is worth it, how to get it and how to use it (which I’m currently doing in Japan) here’s my guide to the Japan Rail Pass. The Vital Information Yes, the JR Pass is expensive, but it can almost pay for itself with a couple of long distance rides, e.g. return trip from Narita Airport to Kyoto and back. It’s cheaper … Read more

First Impressions of Tokyo

2 weeks in japan skytree

The first sights, sounds, smells and experiences of a country are often the most enduring. Here are my first impressions of Tokyo. It’s not as crazy as I expected In fact, it’s not crazy at all. Popular media portrayal would have us believe that Japan (and Tokyo in particular) is a place where the teen generation lives in manga comics, eccentricity prevails and there is always the possibility that the lady serving you green tea is in fact a robot. After a day of walking the streets (a lot – we got lost for hours) I didn’t see anything more … Read more

The Best Hostels in Southeast Asia

Phi Phi Hostel

Far too long ago I promised a list of my recommended hostels in Southeast Asia. In order of my route, not preference, here are my recommended hostels in Southeast Asia: Singapore: Beary Best Although it’s definitely aimed at girls (the place is filled with teddy bears), even the boys can’t knock the cleanliness and homely feel of this hostel (and, boys, the place is filled with girls so that can’t be a bad thing!). In a country where you’re asked to remove your footwear inside, this is one of the few places I felt confident padding into the bathrooms barefoot. The lady running … Read more

My 10 Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat Experience

This post about taking a 10-day meditation retreat in India is part of my First Time Around The World Series (my very first set of posts, way back when) which you can read in this section here. Having completed a 10-day stint at a Vipassana Meditation Centre I thought I would share this particular experience while the memory is still very raw…I mean fresh in my mind. Before I got to India, the spiritual epicentre of the world, I knew I wanted to give meditation a try. Let’s face it, drinking and partying is so low on India’s agenda as … Read more