Let me just go ahead and say this: I love traveling alone!!! I am not sure if I wanted to go anywhere with anyone else anymore...
Here are some advantages on solo traveling:
- You have to be alert with your surroundings and take your personal safety very seriously.
- You can only eat so much and you won't be able to just have a bite of everything...
- You will find accommodations / restaurant reservations frustrating since the nicer places normally adds a surcharge to solo travelers.
- You will need a tripod (and perhaps a remote) to take your own pictures. (I always bring my tripod since 99% of the time I don't like how other people frame my pictures...)
- You will have to carry all your stuff wherever you go (e.g. the bathroom).
Here's a breakdown for those of you who are interested:
- Flight HKD$2,139 (include 1 checked baggage round-trip)
- Accommodation HKD$2,777 (1 night at Japanese budget ryokan, 6 nights at youth hostels, and 1 night at a budget onsen hotel, which includes dinner and breakfast)
- Transportation HKD2,140 (round-trip ferry fare from Macau to HK, bus fare from HK to HKIA, taxi to go home in Macau, JR Kansai Wide Area Pass, Haruka+ICOCA one-way, bus passes, days passes, single fare, etc.)
- Food + Shopping + Entrance fee ate up the rest of my budget (Please note that I ate very well and shopped a lot this trip... if I stick to a reasonable meal expense and no shopping, I can probably do with a lot less... A reasonable food budget would be around JPY2,500-3,000 a day in my opinion for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)
Day 1: The trip to Japan was smooth overall. I still have my ability to fall asleep before the plane took off and slept the entire way. Boarded the first Haruka towards Kyoto and arrived at the hostel before 9am. Checked out Heian Shrine as soon as I dropped my bags, didn't even bother to put on any make-up and off I went.
|If you are going straight from the airport to Kyoto, the Haruka and ICOCA ticket combo is the way to go.|
|I have been collecting these stamps wherever I see them|
|where I bought my one-day bus pass|
|A very nice Japanese ryokan for budget traveler|
|what a beautiful day...|
|all the popular sake brands of the area|
|I love even the taxi drivers are in suit.|
|The Jidai Matsuri advertising poster|
|the ginkgo trees|
|it's a full service dining experience|
|look at the marbleization of the meat!|
|that actually looked very comfortable|
|I did what the guy in the other picture did... very relaxing indeed...|
|putting on my feng shui hat - the palace does face due south :P|
|the fishing bears|
|finally reach Nanzenji|
I had picked out this udon place called Okakita before my trip but I ended up going to the place next door - Yamamoto Menzo - since there was a line when I Googled Okakita on Google Maps Street View, when I passed by it in the morning after I left Heian Shrine and when I went to Okakita. I thought to myself, I think I need to try this place instead! Hence, I stood in line with everyone else.
|Okakita is right next to where all the bicycles are parked|
|look at all the people inside|
|their operating hours|
The wait was roughly 45 minutes and the moment I sat down, I knew what I should have ordered (since almost everyone was eating the same thing. It WAS NOT what I ordered! *cry*)
|this is hot udon with fluffy eggs and tempura flakes|
Don't get me wrong, my udon still tastes delicious... it's just not what everyone else was eating... which look yummier than mine... I guess I must have looked sad because the couple behind me who later was sat next to me tossed me a piece of fried chicken just to cheer me up... (nah, they just asked if I would like to try a piece of the fried chicken, which was really nice of them and it was so delicious!! That just confirm how much more better my dinner would have been if I ate the dipped udon with burdock root tempura instead! The chef rinsed all the udon by hand in ice cold water ) I later found out that this place is famous among locals (and on Chowhound too)... so good job on following my guts?