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Itinerary idea's for trip Japan - Taiwan - South-Korea?

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Itinerary idea's for trip Japan - Taiwan - South-Korea?

Old Oct 27th, 2017, 11:01 AM
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Itinerary idea's for trip Japan - Taiwan - South-Korea?

Hi, I'm a 17-year-old girl from The Netherlands and in need of some advice!
Next year, I will be going on a trip to a few countries in Asia.
I want to visit Japan, Taiwan and South-Korea.
In the past, I have gone on short-term exchanges to Japan (Osaka) and Taiwan (Taoyuan). However, I've never been to South-Korea.
I know a little bit of Japanese but I do not know any Chinese or Korean.
I have some friends in both Japan and Taiwan; I can stay at a few different locations with my friends in Taiwan and I can stay with my friends in Osaka in Japan. I do not know anyone in South-Korea.

I want to go on my trip after graduation, so I'll be able to leave on the 4th of July. I think staying in every country for about 2 weeks would be good, so I have enough time to meet up with my friends and explore some parts of the countries.
My initial plan was to fly from Amsterdam to Tokyo, stay there for about 4 days (or should I stay longer? I never went to Tokyo before) (+ maybe visit Yokohama?) -> go to Fuji for 1 or 2 days -> either go to Hamamatsu first or directly go to Shizuoka (and stay there for 1 or 2 days) -> go to my friends in Osaka for the remaining period. I want to leave around the 20th, since I'd like to visit the annual harvest fest in Hualien, Taiwan, which generally takes place around the 20th but lasts for 3 days.

So I want to fly from Osaka to Taoyuan, go to Hualien for the harvest fest, and then visit some other places in Taiwan like Tainan, Kaohsiung, Kenting, Yilang, etc. (does anyone have any suggestions?)

After about 2 weeks I want to go to South-Korea. This is the country that I have the most worries about because I do not know the language. Initially, I wanted to stay in Seoul for a few days and then travel to Busan, while visiting some other places before arriving there. But do you think this will be too hard/is too much? Should I just stay in Seoul and not travel all the way to Busan, or is it worth it? I really want to visit South-Korea but I'm afraid that arranging the whole trip to all these countries will take a lot of time and it's a bit scary to go there since I'm still young and have never traveled alone.

Any advice or recommendations are highly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 11:49 AM
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Addressing the Japan stay, there are some excellent places for day trips in the area that you should consider. Nikko, Kakamura/Enoshima, Karuizawa, the Hitachi Seaside Park, Takao, and Kusatsu to name a few. If you are willing to go from Tokyo to Kansai and make a side trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima within 7 days, then a 7 day JR Rail Pass can pay off for you.
Otherwise, a Tokyo Wide Pass can save you some good money for the day trips.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361_06.html

For the Mt Fuji area, you need to decide if you are going to see the Hakone area or the Fuji 5 Lakes area. You could of course do both, although it will take more time.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5200.html
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6900.html
http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/

Every place has something to see, but it is unclear what you are going to do at Hamamatsu. There are better places to consider, like Izu.
A lot of people split their time 50/50 between the Tokyo area and Kansai, but a lot depends on your interests of course.
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 11:55 AM
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Traveling in South Korea is not difficult. Although there is not a lot of English spoken people will go well out of their way to help you. The trip from Seoul to Busan is not difficult and can be done by train or bus - get a guidebook. On my last trip I stopped off in Andong on the way to Busan to visit the Hahoe Folk Village, but on a first trip you should visit Gyeongju as well/instead.

I traveled Japan-South Korea-Taiwan back in 2010. Click on my name for my East Asia TR, or start here (links at the top of the page):

https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...ping-to-kyoto/

I love to travel alone, and these are three very safe countries in which to start.
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 03:13 PM
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For Japan, be sure to consult japan-guide.com – it isn’t perfect, but it is an excellent source of information, IMO.

I haven’t been to Taiwan yet.

Information on South Korea can be hard to find! I spent a month there (solo female) in 2014; you might find some useful information in my trip report. It’s long, but searchable.
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...outh-korea.cfm
As thursdaysd said, traveling in South Korea is not dificult. Many young people in both Seoul and Busan will speak English, and as she said, people will go out of their way to help. I would recommend getting Seoul Selection Guide’s Korea if you can find – it’s a really good guidebook.
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 04:22 PM
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We spent a little over two weeks in South Korea visiting Seoul, Busan and Gyeongju, plus a side trip to the DMZ. We found it pretty straightforward and inexpensive to get from place to place within thos3 places by public transport. Although te Seoul subway system was bewildering, w3 soon got the hang of it. We were forever being approached by students your age to practice their English so, if you want to learn a few words, I woud ask them to reciprocate. I wou”d also gpcheck out all te places you plan on visit* for free student guide services some photos of our time in Korea at https://accidentalnomads.com/category/south-korea/

We spent a week in Taiwan this year and loved it. 4 days in Taipei and 3 in Hualien and we left wishing we had a lot more time. An incredibly beautiful country and again, fairly easy to get around on public transport. We rarely encountered any English speakers by that was not a problem , despite the language barriers, we found it to be the friendliest country we have visited in Asia . https://accidentalnomads.com/category/taiwan/

We visited Japan ten years and and loved it and were considering returning until discovering how expensive it had become in comparison with the other two countries-I would bear tha5 in mind when planning your budget.
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 06:59 PM
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I was in Japan last fall and did not find excessively expensive. There are certainly ways to sleep and eat cheaply. I mostly slept in business hotels which are designed for single travelers on a budget (e.g. Toyoko and Dormy Inns). If you are male there are capsule hotels, and if you are really broke I gather you can sleep in the internet cafes. Department stores and railway stations have reasonably priced food, and if you want cheaper there is always ramen.

Of course, you can easily spend a great deal of money in Japan, but you can spend a fair bit in South Korea and Taiwan too if you want to. I'm surprised you thought it was so expensive, crellston.
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 08:03 PM
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And here is a TR from someone doing Japan on a budget:

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...rising-sun.cfm
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 10:48 PM
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"I'm surprised you thought it was so expensive, crellston." everything is relative Thursdaysd. In our case, since visiting in 2008, £ has depreciated against the ¥ by around 40-45% making an already expensive country, even more so. The USD has fared much better so you may not even notice. My days of sleeping in capsule hotels, dorms or Internet cafes are sadly long gone
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Old Oct 28th, 2017, 12:46 AM
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Thank you all for your helpful replies! I was really surprised to see this amount of comments to my post as I was actually wondering whether it wasn't too vague and difficult to answer, haha!

In response to @Adastra2200, I have actually already visited Hiroshima, so I will not visit that place again this year. It was an amazing place though!
Actually, in 2016 I already visited Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Osaka and Hiroshima, and some other places in the Kansai area. I'm mainly going back there to meet up with my friends and visit some old places. Does anyone have an idea for another nice spot in the Kansai area which I could visit?

And to @thursdaysd and @kja, thanks for the reassuring replies, haha! Do you think 1,5/2 weeks would be too much or just enough for a first-time-traveler to South-Korea?

@crellston, I totally agree with your statement concerning the Taiwanese! They were always very kind. I think that whether Japan is expensive or not is kind of a relative case; it really depends on where you're from and what your normal standards for traveling are. Like I said, I can stay with some friends in Osaka and I'm thinking about staying in youth hostels or airbnb's in the other places!

Thanks again!
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Old Oct 28th, 2017, 01:57 AM
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Mio,
Congratulations on your graduation. Keep in mind that July, August and September are very,very hot and humid. If that is not an issue by all means go. You will also find that Korea is as friendly as the other countries.

As far as costs, you are 18 and can probably tolerate more of a communal living than I can at 77. However am now in the middle of my trip in Japan and find that I have often than spent less than $50 for private rooms but shared bathrooms. I found Taiwan a bit more expensive for lodging, but the food is really inexpensive.In your case the same locations in Japan have dorms for a fraction of the cost.

How wonderful for you to be able to make this trip.
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Old Oct 28th, 2017, 06:34 AM
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For this trip, yes, I think 1.5 or 2 weeks makes sense for your time in South Korea, and as others have suggested, I would think that Seoul, Busan, and Gyeongju would make sense as your primary destinations.
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Old Oct 28th, 2017, 06:36 AM
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Fly into Seoul and out of Busan or vice versa. Check skyscanner for cheap flights in Asia.
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Old Oct 28th, 2017, 07:59 AM
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When we arrived into Taipei, we immediately transferred via train to Hualien. I think we took a bus from the airport to the relevant train station as it was easier than metro but there are a couple of options, I'd go with whichever is cheapest or easier for you.

Here's a post I wrote about Hualien, you may choose to stay in Hualien rather than inside the park, but hopefully it will give you some thoughts on sightseeing in Taroko Gorge National Park: https://www.kaveyeats.com/2017/07/tr...onal-park.html
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Old Oct 30th, 2017, 06:39 AM
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Thanks everyone for the helpful replies! As for the time I will be spending in each place, I think this would be my plan:
4th of July: departure to Japan
5th till 20th: Stay in Japan (Tokyo (+Yokohama), Fuji, Shizuoka, Nagoya, Osaka)
20th: departure to Taiwan
20th till 3rd: Stay in Taiwan
3rd: departure to South-Korea
3rd till 13th: Stay in South-Korea (Busan, Gyeonju, Daegu, Seoul)

I will post my full itinerary when I have more clarity.

All the best!
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Old Oct 30th, 2017, 03:22 PM
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Should be good!

I'm curious about your choice of Daegu....
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Old Nov 2nd, 2017, 11:11 AM
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I just chose to add Daegu to my list as I pass it on my way to Seoul and it's such a big city. I do not know much about it however... Any opinions on it?
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Old Nov 2nd, 2017, 11:17 AM
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https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...g-to-gyeongju/
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Old Nov 2nd, 2017, 03:21 PM
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I would not place Daegu in a top 4 list for South Korea unless you want to visit some of the outlying temples, and IME, it would be difficult to get to Haein-sa or Jikji-sa (the two I'd recommend) without speaking any Korean. I only spent a few hours in Daegu itself -- as thursdaysd had already reported, its medicine market is now highly sanitized and, frankly, not all that interesting. I enjoyed a brief visit to the Museum of Oriental Medicine and the 5 minutes or so it took to walk through the rice cake market, but both of these experiences were enjoyable to me in large part because of the fortuitous kindness of a stranger. If you are interested in traditional medicines, consider going to the medicine market in Seoul -- Dongdaemun Yangnueong. If you are interested in traditional medical treatment and wedding rice cakes, consider visiting the National Folk Museum in Seoul. JMO.
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 12:54 PM
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Hi all!
I finally got to buy the plane tickets to the locations I'm going to next year.
The dates are:
Stay in Japan: Thursday the 5th of July till Saturday the 21st of July
Stay in Taiwan: Saturday the 21st of July till Saturday the 4th of July

Does anyone have any ideas for nice, fun and affordable hostels or airbnb's in Tokyo, Busan, Seoul or any other places I mentioned?

Also, should I buy a Japan Rail Pass or not?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 01:34 PM
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In order to tell whether a Japan Rail pass is cost effective you need to determine your itinerary. Then you can price individual tickets at hyperdia.com. No one can answer your question with the info you have provided.

In Busan I stayed at the IBIS Budget Ambassador Haeundae (good view) and the Uniqstay Hostel and Suite. But why are you asking about places to stay in Korea if you are going to Japan and Taiwan?

And I suppose you mean you return on the 4th of August.
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