David Benda

David Benda

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  • +2 rating

    How much spending money needed for Japan?

    G'day, This information is a little dated now, but hopefully it's helpful. I went to Japan in mind 2006, stayed in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima. Tokyo is significantly more expensive than the other two, although I was lucky in that I didn't have to pay for accommodation there because my brother was living there at the time. As an indication of costing, the hotels that I stayed in in Hiroshima and Kyoto were nothing fancy, but were ~AU$65-$85 per night. They were basic hotels, but comfortable. The Kyoto one was slightly more expensive because it had western style beds rather than futons. You can (or could) get decent meals for around $20-$25 without going for anything fancy, both in and outside of Tokyo, though things may have become more expensive. If you're looking for cheaper places, Ramen is probably your best option. In terms of spending money, it really depends what you want to see and buy, and how long you're there for. There's a lot of things that you can do for free, like visiting Harajuku and Yoyogi park, but most of the more popular tourist attractions will have some kind of entry fee (for example, the golden pavillion in Kyoto will cost you 400 yen). The other area of expense is travelling between cities. If you're basing yourself in Tokyo, it's fairly cheap to just use the train system around there. However, if you're planning to travel around the country a bit it's worth investing in a rail pass ( http://www.railplus.com.au/japan-by-rail/japan-rail-pass/prices-info.htm ). Catching the shinkansens a couple of times will easily cover the cost of one of these, and if you decide you want to get off and check something out between your start and end points it won't cost you anything to add the extra trip. Hope this is useful, and still at least mostly accurate. Cheers, Dave over 7 years ago

  • +2 rating

    Are the taxis metered in VietNam? Tips to avoid being ripped off?

    'Rip you off' is subjective, correct, however the cyclo drivers have a reputation for being a rip off for a reason. This was our experience: We'd been in Ho Chi Minh for a day, we were walking to the market and a pair of cyclo drivers offered us a ride - we were only going a couple of blocks so we said no. They did their usual thing of 'no, we'll take you on a tour of the city, etc' we said no again and went to the market. On the way out of the market (at a different entrance) the same 2 guys appeared and we agreed to go to the war museum, tried to fix a price, they wouldn't discuss it - said they'll look after us, we'll be happy, we'll look after them, pay what we want. We figured that was trouble, but it was a short trip, so it wouldn't be too bad - I was thinking maybe 30000 dong - They took us on an unscheduled stop or two, as well as the war museum then asked us to buy them a beer, which we did, and write in their book about how nice they were etc - they show you this book at the start to prove that people enjoy their service. Then they took us most of the way back to where we wanted to go and we went to pay them. 450000 dong each they wanted. That's about $40 AUD + a couple of beers per person for a half hour of riding a bike around the city, and not all that far. I told them, politely, that I wasn't going to give that much - start the screaming about feeding their family, etc. It resulted in us paying not as much as they wanted, but more than we should have, and them getting another nice thing written in their book for the next tourists. So yes, it is business, but for me that's pretty clear intent to overcharge someone vulnerable (being foreigners in this case) for a service. There are lots of stories like this about the cyclo drivers in Vietnam, so I'd say again - if you want to avoid getting ripped off, don't get on a cyclo. over 8 years ago

  • +2 rating

    Are the taxis metered in VietNam? Tips to avoid being ripped off?

    Taxis in the major cities are generally metered, but this is not always the case away from major tourist routes. As a general rule it's always best to negotiate the fare before you agree to the trip. Also, steer away from Cyclo drivers - those guys rip you off 99 times out of 100. over 8 years ago

  • 0 rating

    What to do with just one day in Tokyo, to get a feel for the place?

    If it's a nice day, particularly on weekends, a great way to get a feel for Tokyo is to walk through Yoyogi park. The park runs between Shibuya and Harajuku, so it's easy to hop off the train in Shibuya as Ian suggested, then enter the park near the Meiji Shrine and walk through then reboard the train from Harajuku station. The park is usually full of people doing pretty much everything, and they're generally more than happy to show you how or to pose with you for a photo. over 8 years ago

  • +1 rating

    I am looking to travel to the South East Aisa region later in the year, where specifically should I go?

    Depending on the type of holiday your looking for there's a number of different options you could pursue. I'd recommend picking one of either Thailand or Vietnam to be your 'base' country and visit a couple of other places from there. I don't know much about diving myself, but I believe there is good diving in Thailand, so that's probably a good place to use as your base, and it's probably the easiest of the countries to visit and one of the cheapest depending on exactly where you go. If you're in that part of the world I'd make time to visit the Angkor temples in northern Cambodia, and spend some time in Luang Prabang in Laos as part of your trip. over 8 years ago

  • 0 rating

    Accomodation in Luang Prabang

    Luang Prabang guest houses have a huge range, but you should be able to get something pretty decent between about US$15 and US$30 a night. In terms of booking ahead, there's heaps of accommodation, but when we arrived late at night it took a while for us to find somewhere that we were happy with to stay - maybe we were being a bit fussy. If you arrive earlier in the day there should be no problem finding somewhere to stay. almost 9 years ago

  • +1 rating

    Is it cheaper to buy flights on line now, or from vietnam travel agent?

    In my experience, pretty much everywhere where you have to use Vietnam airlines - and there's a fair few places - is over priced, I imagine that's where the $250 came from? For the Hanoi to Luang Prabang route you can take Laos Airlines, but their website is dodgy at best, and travel agents around Vietnam will tell you that they can't book it for you, they're only allowed to book the more expensive local carrier. We booked the flight from Hanoi to Luang Prabang at the counter at Noi Ba airport in Hanoi about 5 minutes before the flight left and that was still around AU$200 per person. You might be able to get an Aus travel agent to book that flight for you, but I think sadly it's just a bit of an expensive trip. In terms of flying around inside the countries, Jetstar is easily the cheapest and you can book online, but they only fly major airports around Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Danang). Other good budget carriers that service a few more places are Air Asia and Bangkok Airways, again online services. We thought we might be able to do it more cheaply once we were over there but ended up using the Internet ones anyway because they were generally cheaper. almost 9 years ago

  • +1 rating

    Laos and ATMs in vientiane?

    As of November 2008 there was one ATM in Luang Prabang. I'm sure there are more further south - haven't been there for a few years, but depending on where you go I'm not sure I'd rely on it. We took traveller's cheques, which aren't as convenient admittedly, but on the plus side you can change them all over the place. I guess that's a tentative yes, there are ATMs in the more heavily touristed places, but don't rely on them to be everywhere. almost 9 years ago