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The unforgettable Asian dining experience 

Are you in Bali? Looking for somewhere quality to eat that doesn’t break the bank? 

Your one stop food shop is just around the corner. (To be more precise down poppies 2 in Kuta) 

 

Start off with a cocktail.. Or two!  

              

Fat Chows-  poppies lane 2. No 7c, Pantai Kuta, Bali 

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Why I travel solo…& why you should too!

Yes! it’s true. You’re no longer seen as a recluse loner to adventure by yourself! 

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I must admit, my first solo trip wasn’t voluntary. I made plans with a friend to travel to Japan, all tickets booked, when she realized last minute that she could no longer come. But that was the spark which ignited the flame. The beginning of my never ending adventure. Solo travel may be the selfish man’s journey (and i’ll explain why) and that is probably why it is so addictive.

According to  a recent study by booking.com, 50% of women participating in the study are more like to travel solo now than 5  years ago and 65% of women say they feel more confident when travelling by themselves.  With social media also playing a big role, 1 in 2 women participating in the survey stated that: “social media allows them to unearth unusual places to go, thus fuelling their confidence to visit destinations on their own.”

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If you’re toying with the idea of travelling solo but need some more justification, here it is:

You can do what YOU want

Forget the fact your boyfriend hates Japanese food and you’re in Japan. Your best friend is afraid of heights but you’re at Tokyo tower. You’re by yourself and YOU can do what YOU want. This may just be your one chance to be indulgent, to be  a little bit selfish and think about everything you would like to accomplish in this trip without being deterred by the opinions of others. Enjoy it while it lasts!

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Immersing yourself in the culture

I’m not sure what you like to do on your holidays, But i really hate being that arrogant tourist among arrogant tourists. The ones who stand out because they only want to embrace a few parts of the culture which suit them. Solo travel really allows you to uncover the depths of a specific culture to a new level. Plus, you’re more approachable. My last trip to South Korea was incredible. I was approached by locals to join them for dinner and then we went from there. They showed me things I would never have seen if it was not for them. I doubt I would have been approached if I was with a group of my own friends.

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Building confidence, independence and re awakening your sense of adventure

As i mentioned before, I didn’t have intentions to ever travel alone. It just happened. Talk about a confidence booster. Talk about thinking, “wow, I can really do this, by myself!”. And that confidence will flow through to other areas of life. It is so important to have positive self confidence and also to be independent. To not totally depend on others is the beginning of an adventure in itself. So book that ticket, pack that bag and go!

The world is waiting for you and is ready to show you all it has to offer. So get out there! 

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Namsan Seoul Tower

As you may have seen in my last post, I am staying in an apartment in Cheonggyecheon. Which according to google maps, is about a 30 minute walk away from the Namsan Cable Car. I screen shotted my journey on google maps and off I went!

The weather being -10. And after a night of snowing, the journey seemed to take forever. If you think you have enough layers on, you don’t. Always wear more!

I took the cable car up to Namsan Tower which cost around $9 AUS dollars for a return ticket.

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Once you arrive you can marvel at the magnificent views, add your own locks to the love lock bridge and enjoy the live entertainment at the base of the tower.

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Now it’s time to venture to the top of Seoul Tower! Once you enter there will be a ticket desk to your right. A ticket to the top will set you back around $9 AUS dollars. Totally worth it, the tower is 236m high and offering breathtaking views of Seoul.

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For more information on how to get there, what to do and when to go click here to be directed to the South Korea Tourism Website

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My apartment in Seoul

I was lucky enough to find an incredible apartment which is hosted by a lady named Wendy. The entire apartment is for rent and is located just a short walk from Jonggak Station.

Within close proximity to main attractions such as: Myeongdong cathedral, Myeongdong shopping district, Dongdaemun shopping town, Insadong cultural district and much more!

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At $73 AUD per night, this apartment is a bargain in the heart of Seoul.

Use referral link – www.airbnb.com.au/c/schallenor for $31 off your booking worldwide!

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All standard electrical appliances such as microwave, kettle, tv, air-conditioner, heater, washing machine, stove.

FREE wifi in room

2x beds, toilet, shower.

Here is the link to Wendy’s room available for rent in South Korea:

https://airbnb.com/rooms/1871152?s=8

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First night in Seoul, South Korea!

I arrived into Seoul at 8pm and began the long (freezing) journey to my apartment in Jongno-gu, Seoul. I arrived at my apartment at around 10pm and thought it was a must to go out and explore! I quickly found myself at Youth Avenue. An avenue filled with food vendors and restaurants. I stumbled across what looked like a great fried chicken restaurant (which South Korea is famous for) So i made my way in!

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By the time my food arrived. A customer from another table approached me, introduced herself and invited me to join her table of friends!

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After trying to finish the spiciest wings I had ever tasted, my new friends and I then made our way out into the freezing cold to drink where the locals drink. In one of these tents:

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We had Soju, one of South Korea’s most popular alcoholic drinks. Which is consumed like water!

Drinking etiquette in South Korea is very different from Australia. Here are a few basic rules:

1. Always accept alcohol from someone who is offering it to you. It can be seen as disrespectful not to

2. Lift your glass up if they are pouring you a drink

3. Pour and receive drinks with two hands

4. Offer alcohol to the oldest person first

5. Pour alcohol for others, not for yourself

These rules are just second nature for people living in South Korea but don’t worry, they won’t expect you to know all the rules! Just give it your best go and have a fun night!

They also have hangover cures down pat with drinks you can purchase from any convenience store to help rid yourself of that awful hungover feeling.

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After a full night of great food and drinks, I walked the distance home in below zero temperatures as the trains had stopped and there were no taxis available! All worth it though! An amazing night making new friends and experiencing local culture.

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Shop till you drop in Shenzhen

Shenzhen is the place to go to grab a bargain! Locals from Hong Kong will cross the border into China for a day of retail therapy!

How to get there from Hong Kong-
For me, staying in Mongkok, I get on at Mongkok East station (closest to my hotel) and from there get on the east rail line towards Lo Wu station. Get off at Lo Wu. You are now at the border between mainland china and Hong Kong. Here you will have to obtain a visa to cross into shenzhen. For one day it costs around $15 australian dollars and is very easy to obtain. The whole journey from Hong Kong should take around 1.5 hours including the time to obtain a visa and cross the border.

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Once you find your way out of the station, on your right will be a giant shopping centre. Enter it. That’s where you will find yourself bargaining with the locals for handbags, shoes, hats, electronics. Anything you can think of!

It’s not a typical ‘market’ as it’s set in a multilevel shopping centre. Here are a few photos

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Wherever you walk people will hand you business cards and want to escort you into their shops. Shenzhen is not a place for the impatient or easily aggregated person. Prepare to haggle your heart out!

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Hong Kong: trip to Victoria peak

Victoria peak is 396 metres above sea level and is located on Hong Kong Island. Offering incredible 360 degree views of the city/ harbour. Foggy days, however, offer little in the way of views. Plan ahead and pick a day with good weather and as little fog as possible!

You can have your photo taken professionally at the sky terrace 428 like I did. It was an extremely cloudy day so the talented staff photoshopped a night time background in.

Here are the results :

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How to get there:
The tram is located at Victoria gap and directly connected to the city centre by the peak tram, which runs between the peak tram terminus on Garden Road. The peak tram terminus is just a short walk from the central MTR station.

When to go:
I recommend going on a week day to avoid the crowds. The line up for the peak tram can take over two hours + at peak time.

ENJOY

If you have anymore questions please feel free to ask

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Journeying Japan – Kyoto

Kyoto was the capital city of Japan and where the emperor resided between 794-1868. Now, the 7th largest city in Japan with a population of 1.4 million people, this city, with its traditional architecture, is a must see destination in your Japan trip!

So what should you do in Kyoto?

Hire a Kimono / Yukata for the day!
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Visit the famous Kinkakuji Golden Temple
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Take pictures in front of the Kyoto Tower
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Take in the views from the Kiyomizu Castle
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Take a stroll through Gion for traditional tea houses and restaurants. You may even spot a Geisha! 

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Photograph the amazing Fushimi Inari Shrine

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Journeying Japan – Where on earth should you stay? Osaka edition

Originally, this entry was going to take the same form as the previous. A few of my favourite locations to pick and choose between but when it comes to Osaka, one area certainly surpasses the rest. You may have heard of this area before as it’s famous for its shopping arcade and lit up riverside logos. If you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s Namba.

So here are a few reasons you should consider Namba for your next stay:

Food, food and more food.

You know when the city is called ‘the nations kitchen‘ (tenka no daidokoro), it means business. Once you hit Dotonbori (you’ll know you’re there when you see the famous Glico sign) you will find it is lined with endless stalls filled with local food and western food alike, this is the perfect spot to make camp. Osaka is typically famous for a few dishes; Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki. Both incredibly delicious and you won’t be in shortage of either in this area! Truly a foodies delight!

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Shop till you drop in Shinsaibashi arcade

Shinsaibashi shopping arcade is approximately 600 metres in length. Filled the small, independently owned stalls to bigger chains like Zara, H&M, Bulgari and more! The shopping headquarters of Osaka! And surprisingly enough, you can find a bargain here!

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Nightlife

Dotonbori is kept up by an active nightlife scene which spills over past the riverbank. Whether you’re wanting to sit down for drinks at an Izakaya, find a buzzing club or have a relaxing beer at a western style pub, Dotonbori has it all.  With the nightlife scene ‘on’ every night of the week, you need not worry if you are passing through on a weekday. Some clubs only take cash though so make sure you have some spare ¥ on you!

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The people

From noon onward you will see the crowds flock in. Try not to be put off by this, it is all part of the experience. Unlike some other countries, you can see the difference when it comes to consideration and respect of your personal space. Although extremely crowded, you won’t be pushed in all directions by passersby. In fact, these people go over and above to make sure you have a pleasant stay. The last time I was there i dropped my coin purse in the street which had my credit cards and also hotel key card in it. By the time I got back to the hotel (only by strangers money might I add), I was informed by management my purse was being personally delivered back to the hotel by the stranger that had found it.

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Journeying Japan

Journeying Japan – Where on earth should you stay?

Tokyo is the capital of Japan and made up of 23 wards. Connecting these wards together is the Yamanote line. A commuter train loop dividing Tokyo into two parts; downtown and residential. With trains running every two minutes in peak hour and carrying on average 3.5 million people daily, this is Tokyo’s most important and iconic train line.  Staying within this green line will make travelling a breeze.

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So which area would suit you best? Here are my top four picks:

Ginza – Recognised as a luxury shopping district, Ginza streets are lined with high end stores such as Chanel, Prada, Gucci and many other international brands and department stores. But not only is it the best place to spend big on fashion labels, it’s the place to indulge in gourmet food. While you’re there, why not have a meal at Gucci cafe or Armani restaurant? Or buy fine chocolate from the Shiseido chocolatarie?

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Shibuya – Holding Japans busiest intersection, the ‘Times Square of Tokyo’,  Shibuya, is the hub for connecting cities. Known as a youth-orientated shopping area, the neon lit department stores are endless. With the most famous ‘Shibuya 109’ mall located at the scramble intersection. But Shibuya isn’t just for the youthful, but the young at heart. Filled with buzzing nightlife and traditional Izakayas, Shibuya truly is a well rounded city with something to offer everyone.

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Shinjuku – With over 3.6 million people passing through daily and 200 exits, Shinjuku is said to be the busiest train station in the world. A neighborhood full of electrical superstores, multilevel book stores and international department stores. Also known for its nightlife, love hotels and holding Japan’s biggest red light district.  Then, in the midst of all the madness, Shinjuku Gyoen Park, a tranquil scene of traditional Japanese gardens in the city centre to restore the peaceful balance.

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Harajuku – A magnet for Tokyo’s younger generation, Harajuku is filled with teenagers in search of thrifty fashion and fun. Full of independent boutiques and hip cafes, there is always something new to see. Takeshita street is where all this comes to life, with shops like Daiso, a 5 story shoppers delight filled with 100 yen ($1)  goodies, it’s something not to be missed. Sunday is when the costumes come out to play. You’ll see not only locals but Gaijins (foreigners) dressing in cosplay. So put on your best outfit and join in on the fun!

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FOR YOUR INFORMATION:

Izakaya = A type of Japanese bar that serves food to accompany drinks.

Cosplay = Short for costume play, is a performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character or idea.

What city will you choose?

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