72 hours in Tokyo!

‘Goraiten itadakimashite makoto ni arigatou gozaimasu’ (thank you for coming to our store), when you keep hearing this announcement as you enter and exit any department store, you know that you are in one of the most exiting cities in the world, Tokyo.

If you have arrived at your hotel in downtown Tokyo from Narita or Haneda with out any mix-ups, that’s brilliant, you are on the right track. For most first time visitors to Tokyo it can be challenging and often daunting experience, especially if your time is limited, what to do and where to go if you haven’t pre-planned your trip.

A day trip to Hakone, Japan by ‘Romancecar’

If time permits during your stay in Tokyo, a good way to experience rural Japan is to head off to a nearby town for a day trip. One popular destination is a visit to Hakone, a mountainous town located west of Tokyo.

We have been to Japan a number of times, and during our last trip we endeavoured to visit this town, to experience its famous Onsen, hot spring bath. This is also a good vantage point to see Mount Fuji from Lake Ashi, weather permitting of course.

A taste of Boodle feast!

I’ve always wanted to experience a boodle feast or fight for a very long time. I’ve seen a lot of photos on social media and television food networks showing what a gastronomical experience this type of Filipino dining is, where food favourites are served on a wide-green banana-leaf platter and eaten with bare hands. So I contacted my friends whilst back in the Philippines, to see if they would like to have a get together and catch up over a boodle night, everyone liked the idea, so bring on the food war!

Dahilayan Adventure Park – Bukidnon, Philippines

Finally we made it to this adventure park this year, a long time in the planning. Dubbed as Mindanao’s favourite extreme playground, this place has more to offer than meets the eye. Mindanao is the second largest and southernmost major island in the Philippines.

Our trip began from Davao City with few disagreements on how long the trip it will take. Google map says 5 hrs and 16 mins, 240.7 km, though from word of mouth it’s only 4 hours. Reluctant on which time frame of travel to rely on, we headed off after lunch. We hit the road on the Davao-Buda National Highway with traffic along the way that totally slowed us down. The roads were relatively stable and well-maintained so it’s easy for a four-wheel-drive vehicle, at times we can speed up to 100 km per hour but mostly we remained under 80 km per hour.

Weekend in Queenstown, New Zealand

(A continuation of the Christchurch to Queenstown Winter road trip)

We arrived in Queenstown around 8 pm and immediately checked in at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort, our room was overlooking Lake Wakatipu and we couldn’t wait to see the views the following morning.

The long drive from Geraldine to Queenstown was exhausting but we were ecstatic enough that we arrived safe and sound at our final destination and it definitely called for a round of beers.

Christchurch to Queenstown, winter road trip!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

As the snow starts to melt in the Northern Hemisphere, us here in the Southern start to gear up for our winter season. Holiday packages are in high demand for those who love all those winter snow activities. If snow sports are not your forte, a good way to experience the impact this season has on the landscape , weather permitting, is to drive between Christchurch and Queenstown in the South Island, New Zealand, a 6 hour drive and some 483 km via State Highway 8.

Review: P&O’s Pacific Eden

Short cruises seem to have ignited our desire to travel in and out of Sydney recently. The three night sampler cruises are really fun and a delightful time to be out at sea. Just imagine yourself sailing on a floating paradise with nothing to worry about at all, just sit back and relax.

Our recent break on board the Pacific Eden was quiet a remarkable one. She is an older cruise liner built in 1993, now belonging to the fleet of P&O. She had a mammoth make over in 2015, the dry-dock treatments have worked wonders, and she looks very refreshed.

4 Days in El Nido, Palawan

Last year, one of my to do travel lists was finally ticked off after visiting El Nido, in Palawan, voted as one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, and ranked as the world’s sixth destination on the rise by Trip Advisor’s Travellers’ choice award in 2016. Palawan is described as the ‘last frontier’ island paradise, a perfect gateway for pristine beaches, island hopping, scuba diving, snorkelling and nature.

Hughzies Lakeside Brasserie

A good way to break a long drive if you’re heading to the Hunter Valley and beyond is a sumptuous feed at Hughzies Lakeside Brasserie in Toronto, less than 2 hours’ drive north of Sydney. This restaurant is perched along the waterfront with several other eateries on the popular Brighton Avenue.

We visited this place for a dinner and our assigned table was by the window, with lots of natural evening light that poured in giving the space a bright and airy feel.

Dining on board the Explorer of the Seas!

Dining on board the Explorer of the Seas means an endless array of food choices, from complementary a la carte dining, specialty restaurants, buffet style meals and snacks, a classic burger joint and of course, room service.

Since our cruise was a short one, dining themes and attire were mostly casual, although dressing to impress is always an option.

Exploring the Explorer of the Seas!

Love or loathe the idea of a cruise? Once you get a taste of cruising, there will be no turning back and that was exactly what happened to us. From our very first cruise in April with the Voyager of the Seas, we found ourselves again exploring the high seas on board the Explorer of the Seas, Australia’s largest cruise ship launched in 2000.

The two identical floating resorts that we have cruised so far are both operated by Royal Caribbean International, voted as best cruise line overall by Travel Weekly for 13 consecutive years.

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