Where did you go? What did you do?


#1

Now that people are starting to return from CNY… How about a breakdown/review of what you did and where you went?

We went to Guam, and as braxtonhicks said in one of her posts… long long ago, “Guam, its not so bad”.

Some of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen, really I mean it, but due to the super typhoon in December, LOTS of damage to the buildings and infrastructure that is only now, nearly 2 months later, being repaired.

Pros:

  1. Quiet,
  2. US territory (so no waiting in long immigration lines for US Citizens…) 3. Beaches are wonderful,
  3. English is the official language and there is never a communication breakdown,
  4. Temps in the low 80’s during the day with a great trade winds,
  5. great seafood,
  6. great restaurants with AMERICAN food (no not Hard Rock… although it is there),
  7. if you are in Tumon Bay, a cheap shuttle than runs up and down Hotel Road.
  8. Some of the cutest little kids around, all in shorts playing on the beach!!!
  9. Magazines are sold at COVER PRICE as compared to 270-400 NT

Cons:

  1. Like the rest of the States, you really need a car to get around
  2. The Super-typhoon in December really knocked the hell out of the island, taking much of the lush green leaves off the palm trees.
  3. Lots of graffiti
  4. More expensive than other places in Asia
  5. Nightlife tended to be

#2

I stayed in taipei which was lovely and deserted, not that I noticed much as I stayed inside most of the time sleeping, playing computer games and watching DVDs - Bliss!

Brian


#3

Where did you stay in Guam? Did you go on a package or what?


#4

Stayed in Keelung. Wonderful. I love New Year’s time here, and would NEVER leave the country at this time. It is my favorite time of year here.

Yeh, Guam is cool. Been there once, had a great time there. Two months laying on beaches, kayaking, river cruises, great seafood. Love Guam. But i lived in cheap hotel at the end of the runway for the airport so i never got any sleep for 2 months either. SIGH


#5

Blue,

We stayed at the PIC. It was on a package, no bargin due to CNY, but I bet that if you called direct you could get a good deal. Tourists are still a bit thin due to the typhoon and Japan is threatening a “warning” to its tourists due to the “war”. But, great place for kids (if you have them) or if you want to hang out by one of the 3 pools, or swim in the swim through aquarium, or learn to dive with the on site instructor.

Lots of newer hotels in Guam, but we were very happy.


#6

After a couple of boring family days in Kaohsiung, I spent three days at the TaYih Landis Hotel in Tainan. It was wonderful. I sent my girl in to negotiate our room rate while I smoked outside. When I got to the desk, the agent and I had a nice chat following which he lowered the price another 20% and put us on the VIP floor. Free movies, huge room, big tub, etc. Highly recommend it–no higher price for foreigners, and a great, romantic restaurant (La Monde) just off the lobby.

We explored the old Dutch forts, which were poorly maintained and looked as if they had been prepared by curators drunk on gaoliang. The high points were eating the different kinds of noodles and seafood Tainan has to offer and the live music club we found. Only one foreigner, me, but nobody cared–ended up dancing with everyone in the middle of the floor. We got the two hour, deluxe foot massage and foot scraping. Never had a foot scraping before. Saw the new James Bond movie, which was quite possibly the most ridiculous film I’ve ever seen. We managed to enjoy a few afternoons with my girlfriend’s mother and aunts, despite (or perhaps, because of) the constant shouting in Taiwanese.

I am rested and ready to do battle again. Bring it on!


#7

I went as planned to Tokyo. Discovered most of the city on foot, using subway and Japan Railways (JR) to get around otherwise. If you have problems using the MRT in Taipei stay away from Tokyo - it’s a maze of different lines, some of which are not directly linked together.

I stayed in Shinjuku, near Times Square and the seat of the Tokyo Metropolitan government (aka skyscraper district). Went to Harajuku (see the Goth girls on Sunday) and Meiji shrine where I was able to witness a traditional wedding ceremony, Shibuya (Love hotel hill), Roppongi (expat hang-out), Asakusa (Kannon temple), Akihabara (electric town) and areas around the Imperial Palace like Ginza with a short visit at the Sony building where you can see current and future products or play the latest PS2 games. As well I accidently ended up at the Nissan show room where the premiere of the new Teana car was about to happen though due to lack of time I didn’t stay; had a free tea and cookies before though. :slight_smile:
A visit at night to the Tokyo Tower obeservation platform was also worth the expense though note there are two levels, access to the upper one more expensive but probably giving you an even better view over Tokyo and surrounding areas.

Best part however was a two day trip to the Hakone National Park. Using the Hakone Free Pass it includes all transportation from Shinjuku to and around Hakone, including train, bus, cables car, ropeway, boat and donkey. Just kidding (about the donkey) … :wink:
As well access to some facilities is discounted using the pass. It’s convenient and easy to use and well worth the money as you have unlimited use on the transports.

Find more details about Hakone and the Free Pass here: jnto.go.jp/eng/RTG/PTG/307.pdf

Accomodation is not included however and it’s recommended to book in advance. Just head down to the Tourist information and they will help you with that (see also the above document, I stayed at the Hotel Elegance in Moto-Hakone which has it’s own onsen (hot spring) - a bit on the expensive side but a very nice and comfortable place).

Hakone is a beautiful area surrounded by mountains and with lake Ashi lying in front of you and again with clear sky you can see Mt. Fuji though we weren’t lucky and he remained hidden in the clouds.
Needless to say up on the mountain it was colder than in Tokyo and did snow occassionally. Nice!
Instead of using the free return trip included in the pass we went back via Yugawara and took the Shinkansen high speed train from Atami to Tokyo main station. Not cheap though at around NT$1200 for a 1 hour ride.

TIP: visit the Tokyo Metropolitan office building in Shinjuku and go up to the observation deck at level 45 - it’s free. Opens from 9:30 to 20:00 o’clock.
After returning from Hakone I noticed it was quite clear the next morning and I went up once more - and now I could see Mt. Fuji which at this time of the year is fully covered in snow.

The people were very helpfull, let it be the employees of the subway/JR system or just the common people and though not all did speak English we had no trouble to get help.
As well in Hakone a gas station attendent was so kind to drive us up the hill to the hotel with his car when we asked for the way while it was snowing. Thank you!


#8

just back from thailand, week in phuket, week in krabi. always nice, touring, relaxing, eating, drinking. think it was my 8th time there. was even breaking out a little thai this time.


#9

:smiley: :smiley:
Just back last night from 17 days in Palawan in the Philippines. Normally I wouldn’t spill the beans about such a great place but they’re pretty hurting for tourist dollars these days, so I don’t feel bad in doing it. Was there once two years ago and liked it a lot then, but decided to go back with my GF because i wanted precisely the rest and relaxation that I knew I would get there. Way less tourists this year – even two years ago it was pretty low-key (Abu Saayef, 911, Bali, whatever, keeping everyone away). Raucous nightlife is just not happening around there, so much nicer to go with a friend. But if sitting around on a quiet beach bar playing guitar with some of the locals is your thing… well they have that and I met some really great friendly people. Was able to reconnect with some people that I met there last time as well and feel I made some good friends that I will glady go back and visit today. Beautiful beaches, hiking trails, generally spectactular scenery and awesome people. Fun Fun Fun I say. Spent 2 nights in Manilla (upon arriving and leaving the Philippines) and had a great time eating and drinking til the wee wee hours. Most of the vacation was just healthy outdoorsy stuff with a lot of naps taken on quiiet beaches with perfect weather. Sorry to go off but still on a a bit of a high. Philippines and the the Philippinos are awesome, made me wonder what I was going back to Taipei for – oh yea, my cat. Of course there was some negative stuff in there as well but I can’t really recall what they were at this point.