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1st trip to Asia - Japan. Should I add Seoul?

Old Dec 31st, 2012, 08:23 AM
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1st trip to Asia - Japan. Should I add Seoul?

Hello.

First trip to Asia. Travelling from New York on frequent flyer miles. Will have two weeks. Any thoughts on spending a few days in Seoul or the entire time in Japan?

Thanks.

Ross
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Old Dec 31st, 2012, 08:46 AM
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Personally, I'd spend the whole time in Japan. Japan has more than enough to keep you interested and happy ofr teo weeks. Especially since it is your first trip, I'd choose one place.
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Old Dec 31st, 2012, 11:31 AM
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Unless your flights work out so that you have a stop-over in Seoul, I'd spend all the time in Japan. I enjoyed my stay in Seoul, but there is so much more to do and see in Japan. Two weeks just gives you a taste.
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Old Dec 31st, 2012, 02:46 PM
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I agree with Kathie and thursdaysd - I think it makes most sense to stay in Japan. If you haven't already seen it, the following web-site is very informative:

http://www.japan-guide.com/
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Old Dec 31st, 2012, 02:48 PM
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Make it four.....plenty, plenty to do in Japan....I will be making my 8th trip there in the spring...
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Old Dec 31st, 2012, 05:00 PM
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When will you be traveling?

Mara, .....Iya Valley @$#%&@%*# hope you do a report of some sort

Aloha!
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Old Dec 31st, 2012, 05:57 PM
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While I agree that Japan has a lot to keep you busy, I would argue that if you do not plan on going back to Asia regularly, why not get more bang for the buck? Why travel all the way over there and limit yourself...especially when you have two weeks? The DMZ tour is a must, and Korea's shopping and nightlife is very unique. I would suggest fly into Seoul, stay for 4-5 days, then stop in Japan for the remaining days...I think you'll find it more rewarding...
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Old Dec 31st, 2012, 06:10 PM
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More destinations do not equal more bang for the buck.
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Old Dec 31st, 2012, 06:31 PM
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Right, Kathie....maybe OP can throw in a quick visit to China... ;-)

When I made my first trip to Japan I only went to Tokyo - had no idea I would ever go to Asia again and now I, as I said above, am making my 8th trip - and I still have not gone to any other Asian destination even after reading all the excellent reports here of other interesting places...

Ross, the OP, must have had a reason to use the ff miles to go to Japan as the same amount could probably have been used for other destinations...
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Old Dec 31st, 2012, 06:36 PM
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If you have two weeks, you can add a destination. 9 days can give you a good taste of Japan. I'd rethink Seoul though and look for something more interesting - The DMZ tour is extremely worthwhile, but otherwise I was a bit bored by Seoul. How about Beijing?

For some, more destinations do mean more bang for the buck, for some they don't. If you want to have a relaxed trip, there is PLENTY to see and do in Japan for two weeks. However, I don't see carving out 4 days or so for another destination as really rushing yourself.
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Old Dec 31st, 2012, 07:43 PM
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> I don't see carving out 4 days or so for another destination as really rushing yourself.

Proving once again that we all travel in different ways for different things - viva la difference!

I found it EXTREMELY difficult to narrow the itinerary for my 1st trip to Japan to just 3 weeks. I only managed to come up with a 3-week plan by reminding myself frequently that I can visit other parts of Japan on subsequent journeys.

To each his/her own!
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Old Jan 1st, 2013, 01:51 AM
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Thank you ALL for responding. I really would like to add Bangkok to the trip but the additional flying time from Tokyo really seems quite long for only two weeks in the area bearing in mind the 14 hour flight from NY. The reason why I thought of Seoul was because it's the closest large city in another Asian country to Japan where the flying time would be under 3 hours one way. Any other thoughts and/or recommendations?

Thanks VERY much for you input.

Happy New Year to ALL!!!

Ross
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Old Jan 1st, 2013, 10:16 AM
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Ross,

To let you know my travel style as a disclaimer--I never stay 1 week in a city unless I am working; otherwise holidays are spent in 1-4 night stays in various places to see what interests me. I also don't like to travel just vacationing for more than 2 weeks at a time. I have been known to add a stop in a different country, so I don't think that is unreasonable per se. We once even added Thailand to a trip to Shanghai for several reasons; not the best combo considering travel time. I have been to both Korea and Japan two or three times.

My suggestion is that you make a list of everyplace/everything you want to see in Japan and map out an itinerary--such as x days to see the sights that interest you in Tokyo, x days in Kyoto, x days....etc. Add in travel time between the different destinations. See if that adds up to 2 weeks or more. If so, I think you have answered your question--see all you want in Japan and make the most of your trip combining city and country, culture and activity. If there are only a couple of destinations you want to visit and you don't plan for "down time" to just wander or relax, then your total might be less than 2 weeks.

If you want to add a second country, I do not recommend Korea for a first trip to Asia. Nothing wrong with Seoul, but you notice the suggestion is to go to DMZ, not Seoul. If I were to go to the trouble of adding a second country, I would look at Beijing or Shanghai. You are adding travel complications of visa, time, etc., but more interesting in my opinion than Seoul.

Another consideration is time of year. Some of these destinations are really cold in winter. Depends on what activities you want to undertake while there.
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Old Jan 1st, 2013, 10:25 AM
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While I think there is more than enough variety in Japan for two weeks, I have to point out that there is more to South Korea than the DMZ. In fact, I don't understand this interest in the DMZ. I spent ten days happily in South Korea without visiting the DMZ. However, for a second east Asian destination, without need for a visa, I'd suggest Taiwan. Lots of history not destroyed by the Cultural Revolution or rebuilt for Chinese tourists, and some good countryside.
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Old Jan 1st, 2013, 11:52 AM
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First, you say you have two weeks. Do you have 14 nights on the ground in Asia or something less?

Pause and consider what you want from this trip. Is Japan a place you've always wanted to visit or is it just the most convenient flight?

Japan is a large and varied country. You cannot see all (or even most) of Japan in two full weeks. Are there just one or two places you want to visit in Japan, or are you looking for an introduction to Japan in general?

These questions will help guide your decision-making.

We do travel differently from each other. Some of us want depth to our travel, we want an experience of the place and the culture, others want breadth - a brief skim to see what they might want to do next time. Consider how you like to travel.

Most airline tickets allow two-night stopovers with no extra charge, but a longer stopover often incurs significant fees. So consider this as you think about whether you want a stop-over somewhere.

Look at the airline you are flying - where does it stop between your home airport and Narita? Is this a place you have enough interest in to take time away from Japan, which is your main interest?

Think about it and come back with any questions you have.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2013, 05:31 AM
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When will you be traveling?
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Old Jan 2nd, 2013, 05:59 AM
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With a frequent flyer ticket the OP can make an enroute stopover for any length of time (up to the max visit time anyway, which is 90 days in Japan). The only additional charges are the taxes which are negligible.

On my first trip to Japan, I used an FF award with a stopover. The stopover was 10 days in Japan after which I flew to Beijing for another three days to see the Great Wall and major sights in the city. Then flew home. (I've been back to Japan 7 more times since that trip but have not returned to China).

The only issue with adding China is in going through the hassle of getting a visa and paying the visa fee. I thought it was very much worthwhile.

I visited Seoul for a few days as a side trip to another visit to Japan, but that was to see my nephew who was there courtesy of the US Army. If not for him, it would not have been worthwhile.

So, if the choice is Seoul or no Seoul, then I agree: no Seoul, just stay in Japan. A good way to maximize the use of your miles is to fly into Japan beyond Tokyo and book an open jaw. For example, on my most recent trip to Japan I flew to Osaka and returned from Toyama (vie Seoul both ways on Asiana - outstanding airline and excellent airport).
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Old Jan 2nd, 2013, 08:55 AM
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> With a frequent flyer ticket the OP can make an enroute stopover

That's a silly statement; in many cases, it's downright wrong.

Stopover rules depend entirely on the airline award program that you use to get your ticket. Most of the FF programs that I use either do not allow a stopover in Japan en route to Korea, or would charge additional mails & dollars.

On a ticket from the US to Asia, American Airlines allows a stopover in the North American gateway, but not in Asia (thus useless in mrwunrfl's scenario). If you got the ticket through British Airways, you could have a stopover, but you would have to pay the miles & fess for each extra flight. If you got the ticket through Miles & More (Lufthansa's program), you could have a stopover if it's a round-trip ticket, but not if it's one-way. And so on.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2013, 09:30 AM
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DT - thanks for explaining that - as an AA FF member I was thinking that I should have done that with one of my trips to Japan with miles - glad to know I can't...unless I have more miles, that is. ;-)

And getting back to the original topic of adding Seoul, even though I said there is much to do in Japan, I must say I have been tempted to go to Seoul for a quick visit as well since I am a big fan of Korean dramas many of which take place in Seoul...
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Old Jan 2nd, 2013, 08:55 PM
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Don't be so hard on mrwunrfl. He is obviously into the StarAlliance world and not into the many other travel mileage worlds. DT you are so direct and forceful. I think I love that
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