Monday, June 12, 2017

Our Trip to Asia

Our Trip to Asia
We're about to leave for our next travel hacked trip, thanks again to the help of Brad at Richmond Savers and ChooseFI. We're making a little loop in northern Europe, from Denmark, to Germany, then Sweden, Iceland, and Scotland. It'll be our last hurrah before we settle down and try to make Baby Done by Forty.

And I'm realizing I never bothered to write up a post on our last trip to Asia. We'll keep it short on the words and heavy on the pictures this time around, for some easy Monday morning scrolling.

Short Christmas in Tokyo

We landed in Japan on Christmas day, and got to see Santas on bikes.

My favorite Christmas Dinner, at Ichiran Ramen (thanks for the tip, @FireCracker!)

Neighborhood for our AirBNB in Shinjuku

Sushi breakfast from the Tsukiji fish market.

Adorable signs on the subway warning of the dangers of doors.

And the world's cutest water main cover.

A stroll through HamaRikyu Gardens

Shinkoin Temple and Tokyo Tower

And surprisingly good sushi at Uobei, that you order on tablets, and is brought to you on conveyor belts.

Trip to Hong Kong

After a hectic couple days in Tokyo, we headed to Hong Kong...

In case you wondered how they do shipping in Hong Kong.

All the good foods.

And a park exhibit of Chinese comic book characters

And what seems like a pretty racist PSA...

A view of Hong Kong Island

The cable car ride to Ngong Ping, wherein I pooped myself.

Fish market. 

Big Buddha

The Wisdom Path

A video of the view from the mountain.

Our new buddy

Fishing Boats at Tai O

No vacuuming, explosives, poison, or electricity when fishing? How are we supposed to fish?

Luckily found a neighborhood with some craft brew bars. 

We never made it on to one of these double decker streetcars, but they seemed cool.


Angkor Wat at sunrise

Bayon Temple

We went to a lot of ruins...and they're starting to blend together...

After one night in the AirBNB with the world record for most mosquitoes, we remembered that sunk costs don't matter, and paid for a room at the Hotel Somadevi Angkor.

To make up for the cost of the hotel, we started drinking this beer. Which costs anywhere from $0.25 to $1.00.

Artsy photo warning:

Literally being held together with wood and rope.

Siem Reap at night.

Finishing where we started, in Tokyo

Yoshi and Princess! Don't get run over!

 Way more affordable to have sushi for breakfast when we got out of the fish market.

Shrine inside Ueno Park

Cool stuff at the Tokyo National Museum

We tried to get inside the Imperial Palace but apparently that only happens like two days out of the year.

It's not worth it, kid.

I think we literally ate nothing but ramen & sushi in Tokyo

Maybe my favorite random find on the trip

 Akihabara, which is like one big comic book store

Cat cafe! It was fun.

We lucked out and got day-of tickets for the season opener for sumo.

Bless your heart if you've made it this far. If you're interested in seeing the costs of everything, I noted most of that here. As for the daily costs to eat and drink and whatnot, I didn't really have the patience to document every receipt. Hong Kong was probably the most expensive place (though there were plenty of delicious cheap eats, which is mostly what we had), followed closely by Tokyo (you could still get a sushi bowl for under $5 and ramen for about $7 or $8), then Bangkok, and then Siem Reap.

Anyway, thanks for reading and we'll have some more travel posts coming up this summer. Have a great week, friends.


  1. Wow looks like you had a great trip. I have never been to Japan before, but I really want to one day. I LOVE the photos of the food you had!

    1. Man, I love your blog subtitle: doing frugal finances the Asian way. That's awesome. My mom in from the Philippines so it's always neat to find another Asian PF blogger. Cheers!

  2. Looks awesome. I love Ichiran Ramen! Cambodia looks amazing, that's one of the places I want to go in the future.

    1. Yes, Ichiran Ramen is so freaking good. By the end of the trip we'd had it too often and started going to other places, and the variety was nice. But there's something really comforting about the consistency of Ichiran. We went in Hong Kong, too.

  3. Awesome trip! We love Japan and hope to visit again soon. Sushi at the Tsukiji fish market was really good.
    Cambodia was a lot of fun for us too. It was a bit too hot for our kid, though. We did the small loop one day and the pink sandstone castle the next. That was already plenty of temples. Have a great time in Europe!

    1. It was almost too hot for us adults so I can imagine how tough it is for little Retire by Forty. Kind of oppressive heat by the time you get to the afternoon, for sure.

  4. Looks like an awesome the great pictures. I'm not sure when the next time we'll be going out to Asia. That long trip is tough enough as it is, not sure how it will be like when I add in 2 little ones!

    1. Yeah, I agree that kids change the travel plans for a lot of us (though some folks like Go Curry Cracker seem to make it happen no problem). But for us, with a house as a home base, I just don't see us jetting off with the kids as easily as we do on our own right now.

  5. How long will you be in Iceland? That's one of my favorite places in the world and I have a few travel tips I can share if you're interested.

    1. We'll be in Iceland for 8 days. We're renting a little camper van and driving the ring road. :)

      Please share any tips you have. Would love to hear all about it.

      We unfortunately probably won't spend a ton of time in Reykjavik but will be there for a day or two.

  6. Wow! I love all your pictures. We visited Bangkok, Singapore, and Bali last year. Wish we'd had time for Cambodia. We're thinking of doing a separate trip for Japan and China. We didn't take our kids--it's definitely harder to travel with kids. I think you have to bring your expectations about sightseeing way down. Have an awesome trip to Europe!

    1. True, maybe travel can still happen...but we have to adjust our expectations.

      Bali is one of the spots we really wanted to see. Next time!

  7. Thanks for sharing. Ok. I really need to get into this travel hacking thing. I am clueless. Any ideas where to start, at a base level? I would love to start racking something up (if it's a CC type thing). I don't have much time to travel right now, but I'd love to do more traveling down the line. One person I know, in investment banking, retired at like age 48; and he said he goes on free vacations with his family (hotels and air fair all business class) because he's part of some sort of Marriott club. Didn't ask much, but I was impressed to say the least.

    1. Sure! Brad at Richmond Savers is the guy who taught us all our stuff. Here's a free course he put out:

      We've used travel hacking to go to South America and Europe multiple times, Africa, & Asia. It's legit.

      However, be aware that hacking travel credit cards likely increases your spending without you even noticing it:

  8. Fantastic! Looks like a great trip with only a few bumps along the way. It is so easy to focus on my little life and then I see photos like this and it is just amazing how many different ways there are to live ones life. I'm sure your next trip will blow my mind too. Have fun!

    1. Thanks, Daizy! That's a neat perspective: it is easy for me to get stuck focusing on my little life, too. Half the reason I like to travel is to see how others live, and to remember there are a lot of roads to Rome, if that makes sense.

    2. I heard the saying "All Roads lead to Rome" when I was young and then in college I got to go to Rome and indeed, all of the roads really did lead to Rome! And also away from Rome, lol.

  9. Those are some phenomenal pics! I really need to get my butt over there. What's it called when you have the points saved but you and your friend can't seem to coordinate a date that the airline actually has open? Because that word officially needs to be added to my vocab.
    I think my favorite for kicks is Yoshi is Tokyo, but dang if Cambodia isn't gorgeous.

    1. It is really hard to find dates that work with miles, for sure. There are often only a few flight dates open and they go pretty quick. Still, hard to beat the cost!

      Very cool that you'd been to Tokyo and Cambodia, too!

  10. Wow, what a trip! Glad you enjoyed the ramen! Still haven't been able to find ramen that tastes quite like that outside of Japan.

    Haven't been to Hong Kong yet, but good to know there are options for cheap eats. I seem to recall it having one of the cheapest Michelin restaurants in the world? If we go there, we're definitely going to have to check it out.

    1. There are totally some affordable Michelin restaurants in Hong Kong. Two of those photos (the hanging roasted goose and the goose in noodles) are from Michelin star restaurants.

      Though I also heard that in Hong Kong, places 'buy' the star. I don't know how much is just jealousy...

      They also have Ichiran in Hong Kong, too!