As I was planning my trip to Tokyo, I was told numerous times that it was a ridiculously expensive city. I ended up bringing about ¥35,000 in cash for food, drink, and whatever else I wanted to throw some dollar bills at (not including my hotel), and only had about ¥2,000 left after five days. I’m a fairly money-conscious individual, but do like to indulge every once in awhile. While there were certainly things I didn’t do while in Tokyo given my time constraints (the Robot Restaurant, for example), I left feeling like I did everything I had originally wanted to and was able to really enjoy my time here. So, if you’re wondering “how much money should I bring to Tokyo?”, keep reading for the breakdown of all my expenses over five days.
Figuring out which area of Tokyo to stay in and then finding a hotel that doesn’t cost a fortune can be a logistical nightmare (especially when traveling over the popular sakura/cherry blossom season). After plenty of research on where to stay, I opted to pay a bit more for accommodation in a central area, as opposed to staying a bit out of the way to save some money. Shinjuku was on just about every travel guide and blog I read, so once I settled on that location it was time to choose a hotel. I narrowed it down based on price, distance from the metro, and facilities. The only hotel I found at the time to be within reason was the Shinjuku Washington Hotel Annex.
These are snippets of what I’ve experienced living in Hong Kong over the past years: from the funny to the weird, and everything in between. I’ll continue to update this post as I come across more strange and wonderful things around the city.
70. Where this anti-smoking ad is more likely to make you laugh than to quit smoking.
69. Where honesty is key.
68. Where you’ll find “Monkey Head” on a menu.
67. When monks wear “spicy” shoes on the MTR.
66. When people have too much money and too little sense, and decide to cover their Porsche in black velvet.
65. When restaurants need to specify that liquor is intoxicating, as opposed to it being..?
64. When these are the things I see on my commute to work in the morning.
63. When the Hong Kong Observatory issues a T8 (strong typhoon warning) without it even raining, and the whole city literally shuts down..
62. When precautions are taken very seriously around a work site..
61. Where people need to be reminded of proper hygiene practices.
60. When it’s 30°C outside and people are wearing a down jacket and Hawaiian shorts.
59. Where this outdoor display is meant to entice you to eat here.
58. Where the elderly take their exercising seriously.
57. Where the world’s most insane beauty products exist.
56. Where people are badass.
55. Where seeing this becomes normal.
54. Where clothes can be incredibly ironic.
53. Where you can purchase a “Mini Portable Toilet”.
52. Where you can find people sleeping at the bottom of stairwells.
51. Where soup exists for your hands.
50. Where department stores display Halloween and Christmas decorations side by side.
49. Where fashion is taken seriously.
48. Where products like this actually exist and famous soccer players actually promote them.
47. When you’re not sure what the marketing strategy is.
46. Where people own incredibly large cellphones.
45. Where you always get a good laugh out of locals wearing English shirts.
44. Where you can find a truckload of bamboo just lying on the street.
43. When fancy port-a-potty’s equipped with carpeted floors, a full length mirror, and a framed picture are rented for the Rugby Sevens.
42. Where drying your entire wardrobe along a public walkway is a thing.
41. When a notice regarding “throwing animal discharge from height” is posted in your apartment building.
40. Where the love of egg tarts is real.
39. Where you’re just not quite sure what to do in some situations (so you just take a photo instead)
38. Where you can wait for the bus in style.
37. Where you have announcements like this in the MTR:
“Please hold onto the handrails and not just look at your mobile phone.”
36. When businesses run out of the back of a van.
35. Where you can get some exercise on the side of the road.
34. Where the food safety and hygiene guidelines are questionable.
33. Where people will queue for hours on end.
32. When a water pipe bursts, construction workers are more concerned with taking a picture of the flooding street than fixing it.
31. Where advertisements sure know how to catch your attention.
30. Where DIY projects consist of sticking oven mitts to the handle bars of motorcycles.
29. Where you can buy wine by the plastic glass in the grocery store.
28. Where this is considered entertainment at a nightclub.
27. Where your choice of local grocery store is based solely upon how much its name makes you laugh.
26. Where public stretching in short shorts and no shirt is serious business.
25. When candy wrappers warn consumers that “children and elderly people should not eat absolutely.”
24. Where you can’t walk more than two blocks without seeing one of these “litter cum recyclables” bins.
23. Where you can find horse figurines, among other oddities, randomly stuck into large rocks.
22. When these are a few words of wisdom imparted on you by a local restaurant owner:
“Don’t go back to Canada. So many animal. So few people. Don’t waste your life.”
*Mr. Wong from Mr. Wong’s, Mong Kok
21. When eating pig skin is considered a delicacy.
20. When your concept of what dessert is completely flipped around.
19. When signs like this are posted outside of the washrooms at a bar.
18. Where people are really serious about Hello Kitty.
17. Where this is on display at an amusement park.
16. When this becomes a regular sight on a night out.
15. Where adults dressing the same is a thing.
14. When the smog is so thick you can no longer see half of the tallest building in your area.
13. Where embarrassment does not exist.
12. When the weather is more indecisive than I am.
11. When owning an oven is the epitome of wealth and the envy of all your friends.
10. When you can take the escalator up to the gym.
Bonus: having a McDonald’s right underneath.
9. When you can find preserved whole baby crabs in a snack bag.
8. When Groupon sells stuff like this.
7. When you climb up a mountain and have this as your view (just ignore the smog).
6. When the only way to get hot water in your flat is by turning this on.
5. Where people either fear or are obsessed with dogs.
4. When families and couples coordinate their outfits so they all match.
3. When it is 20° out and people are wearing winter jackets and boots.
2. When you’re on the MTR and see a man plucking out his facial hair with tweezers.
1. When you’re at the gym and
a) Men are wearing shorter shorts than women
b) People are wearing their work clothes
c) One in five people are talking on their cellphone
There is so much to do and see (and eat!) in Taipei that you might not have enough time to fit everything into your weekend getaway. While the list of things to do in Taipei is seemingly endless, I’ve compiled my top 10 favourite things I did while exploring the city for five days that were either absolutely free or incredibly cheap!
Getting a gym membership in Hong Kong can be an absolute nightmare; from trying to find the right gym with the right price in the right area. Thankfully, GuavaPass, a completely new way to go about becoming more healthy and fit, has come to Hong Kong to make working out easier and more fun (and without those frustrating contracts). I was able to do a two-week trial with GuavaPass and I honestly loved every second of it. Being an avid gym-goer for well over five years, I wasn’t sure if GuavaPass would be able to actually leave me wanting to switch gyms after the two weeks. I was – you guessed it – very wrong.
You’ve likely heard about the incredible beauty of Tuscany: its Renaissance-era architecture and art, and unique landscape. There are many different cities, towns, and villages throughout the area that are well worth a visit while you’re traveling around. Each region remains distinct from its neighbors and offers visitors a glimpse at its history, culture, traditions, and life. Below are the 10 best places to visit in Tuscany that are an absolute must when you’re in the area.
Lucca, the capital city of the province of Lucca (confusing, I know) in Tuscany, is best known for its Renaissance-era city walls that are still standing today while many other city walls throughout Tuscany have collapsed. Lucca is a great city to stay in while you do day trips to various parts of Tuscany since it’s in a relatively central location. Aside from Lucca’s ideal location, the city has so much to offer visitors in terms of history, culture, architecture, and (of course) food. Whether you plan to stay for a day or a week, here is a list of the top 10 things to do in Lucca.
Florence, the capital city of Tuscany, is one of the most visited cities in this region with its numerous iconic sights, fashion and art industry, and lovely architecture. While Florence does have a handful of things to do that are worth your while for a visit, 24 hours is enough time to see, do, and eat your way through this city. Below is a list of the top 8 things to do in Florence, Italy.
Though not necessarily familiar by name, once you’ve been shown a picture of any of the five little towns along the Cinque Terre with their brightly colored old buildings densely packed along the coast, you’ll remember seeing a photo and telling yourself that that is one of the places you’d love to visit. If you haven’t been already, hopefully this article will convince you to visit one of the five towns of the Cinque Terre; they are a true hidden gem in Italy and an absolute must if you’re looking for a bit of adventure, a splash of bright colors, deep blue-green waters, delicious food, and picture-perfect surroundings.
The saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover” rings true to the unassuming exterior of SAAM, despite Chef Patrick creating fabulous fine dining dishes in the kitchen. Tucked away on Graham Street in Central, it’s likely you’ve passed by SAAM multiple times and didn’t think much about it. Having recently revamped the menu and concept of the restaurant, SAAM is ready to make a big splash in Hong Kong’s dining scene with well thought-out tasting menus. The newest venture, after SAAM’s successful “Back to School” menu, is a kaiseiki inspired winter tasting menu highlighting seasonal ingredients and using various methods of preparation for each course.