“Hot or Not?” Visiting Shinjuku and the red light district of Kabukichō

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When people think of Tokyo, visions of Shinjuku come to mind.

Shinjuku is modern Tokyo: the home of tall skyscrapers in West Shinjuku, the neon lights of Kabukichō (the city’s red light district in East Shinjuku), and Shinjuku Station, the busiest train station in the world. Crowded day and night with office workers, tourists, and the service workers that cater to them, the area is (with a few exceptions) bustling and chaotic. [Read more...]

The Craziest show we’ve ever seen – Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant

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Great white sharks, mean Panda bears riding cows, scary rabbits, huge snakes, a whole bunch of other robots spitting fire or just making things explode…This has to be one of the craziest shows on earth. It’s for sure the craziest we’ve ever seen. [Read more...]

The Gate Hotel Asakusa: Review

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We don’t usually stay in hotels when we travel. We’re full-time travellers so we usually rent apartments. But Tokyo was different. For one thing, we were on vacation (it’s been a while since we were on “vacation”). No cooking, no cleaning, no buying groceries. The Gate Hotel reminded us that it is sometimes really, really nice to stay in a hotel and have a bit of luxury. [Read more...]

A Daytrip to Nikko (Japan)

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A popular daytrip from Tokyo are the famous Buddhist-Shinto temples and shrines of Nikko. It makes for a long day as it takes 2 hours to get there (ie. 4 hours total travel time) – but it is totally worth it because in addition to some magnificent monuments you’ll find yourself in a mountain town surrounded by forests and streams. It’s a pretty place, even when you get crappy weather like we had on this day.

This post features the highlights of Nikko and includes a few tips on getting there and around. [Read more...]

Asakusa and Ueno – why everyone should visit Northern Tokyo

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When people think of Tokyo they think of a megalopolis of modern skyscrapers. That’s a pretty accurate description of most of Tokyo. In fact – between earthquakes, fire, and war – very little of pre-World War II Tokyo survives. The exception to this are the northern neighborhoods of Asakusa and Ueno. It’s a part of town where you can take a traditional rickshaw ride, walk through streets of Edo-style architecture (little wooden shops and houses), and where you can explore temples, shrines and museums as well as one of Tokyo’s largest parks (Ueno Park).The area also has notable sites such as the Sensoji Temple (Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple) and the Tokyo Skytree (the tallest tower in the World).

[Read more...]

How to see Tokyo with a Free Volunteer Guide

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Visiting a foreign city can be intimidating, especially one as huge as Tokyo. In our case, Tokyo was the first stop in what would be a 7 week stay In Japan. I’ll admit I was nervous about the unknown: how to get around, where to do grocery shopping or eat (as a local), how to work the vending machines and crazy toilets that Japan is known for. I had a million questions. So when I heard that you can get a free volunteer tour guide I thought it would be a great introduction to Japan.

We were to spend 7 hours with our guide and are so thankful for the fantastic experience. I’ll get to that. But first here are some things you need to know about Tokyo Free Guides as well as some tips on actually getting a guide (because of its popularity, only about 25% of applications are successful). [Read more...]

Avoiding Europe in the summer…and other places to go instead.

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We’ve seen way too many tourists this summer. Europe always has a lot of tourists, there’s a reason it is most people’s favorite continent (including ours). We’ve spent the last 3 summers in Europe. But I think we’ll be taking a break from that over the next few years. It wasn’t just our recent stay in Lisbon – we were in Split (Croatia) in July and it was unbearably packed with tourists. Split is one of the places we love but, as with Lisbon, the character of a place changes when there are too many tourists at one time: prices rise dramatically, locals are suddenly not as friendly, food quality drops. Parts of Europe also get unbearably hot in summer. [Read more...]

A year of Airbnb apartments (July 2014 – July 2015)

A year of Airbnb

We had never used Airbnb before last summer. Move the clock forward and we’ve stayed 196 nights of the past year in a total of 15 Airbnb apartments. I don’t know how we would travel the way we do without Airbnb.

In this post I’ll feature our favorite Airbnb apartment stays over the past year [Read more...]

Guide to Nong Khai, Thailand

Guide to Nong Khai, Thailand
We’ve stayed almost 4 months in Nong Khai. We love this little town and if/when we come back to Thailand we will make it our base in the region. What makes this town so unique? It’s pretty, clean, peaceful, is not touristy (you may find yourself saying “hey look, there’s a white tourist!”) yet it has just enough of an expat population to ensure a few of the basic comforts of home. Most importantly, it hasn’t lost its authentic small-town Thai feel. We’ve made a lot of friends here.

This guide is meant to help short-term  or slow travellers who intend on spending anything from a day to a few months in Nong Khai. I’ll cover how to get to here, accommodation, and food options (including our favorite restaurants). I’ll also tell you what you should see and do while in Nong Khai.  [Read more...]

Visiting Amazing Sala Keoku in Nong Khai, Thailand

Sala Keoku, nong Khai (6)

Sala Keoku is the most popular tourist site in Nong Khai and is worth a detour if in the area. If you are staying in Nong Khai for even just one day it is a must-see. I’m almost at a loss to describe the site. It is called by many a ‘sculpture park’ but for [Read more...]

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