Tokyo, kyoto, bangkok & koh samui

Apr 27th, 2014, 08:53 PM
  #1  
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Tokyo, kyoto, bangkok & koh samui

Hello!

I, ve been reading through some of the posts and so glad I found this forum!!!

I've been planning our trip for about a month and only have my Kyoto hotel to book, I could really use some help!

my boyfriend and I are taking this trip as his 40th bday gift and we are super excited, well maybe me more than him

After reading some of the posts I realize that I probably crammed way too much in such little time but too late now since all air and most hotels booked so will have to make the best of it. I could do without Tokyo but that is the one place he must see

I did look through the japanguide website and will probably do some of their suggested itineraries. My biggest concern is Kyoto since we still dont have a hotel and our time there is so limited. Im into the culture and would love to see as much as possible while my boyfriend would be content walking aimlessly for two days. A ryokan would be awsome but we both dont like the idea of a shared bathroom. Any suggestions on a ryokan type place but with private bath for about $100 a night? A central neighborhood? Can we get around on bikes or would that be crazy?

also trying to figure out if a JR pass is worth it. Flying in to tokyo and out of Osaka so we would only really use it one way. I've read that commuting within tokyo and kyoto would be better using other trains so I dont want to get it just for the one way trip. Any advice?

Below is our itinerary, any suggestions would be much appreciated!

May 25th arrive in Tokyo 4pm after a very long US flight
Tokyo 26th, 27th & 28th
leave for Kyoto 28th
Kyoto 29th & 30th morning
leave for Bangkok 30th afternoon
Bangkok 31st and 1st
leave for koh samui 1st at night
koh samui 2nd, 3rd, 4th and leave late at night on the 5th

Looking forward to suggestions!
KDotta is offline  
Apr 27th, 2014, 09:44 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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For a ryokan in Kyoto, check booking.com -- enter your dates, the number of people, and then -- once it identifies options -- go to "property type" to the left, down a ways, and select "ryokan." Before you book, make sure you know the cancellation policy. I suspect that your price range is not particularly realistic for a ryokan (although I could easily be mistaken); you might have better luck if you look for other types of accommodation.

Happy 40th and happy travels!
kja is offline  
Apr 27th, 2014, 09:47 PM
  #3  
mjs
 
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A jr pass is not worth it for you. My budget is different from yours so I cannot comment on a $100 Ryokan in Kyoto but I rather doubt it. While you can find private bathrooms remember Ryokans charge by person so you are looking for something that costs 5000 yen per person with private bathroom which I suspect will be difficult.
mjs is offline  
Apr 28th, 2014, 08:34 AM
  #4  
 
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No need for a JR pass, buy the individual tickets. Any chance your bf would consent to cutting a day from Tokyo to add to Kyoto?

Unfortunately, you don't have enough time in any of these places to do them justice. But you'll have to do the best you can with your limited time.
Kathie is online now  
Apr 28th, 2014, 05:35 PM
  #5  
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Thank you everyone for your responses! I think I will just start looking for other accommodations rather than a ryokan, I really dont want to spend too much in kyoto since im sure we will hardly be in the room.

Kathie thank you for the jr pass insight, will just do the individual tickets. Is it something I should do in advance or wait till I get to Tokyo?
I already booked the Tokyo hotel so not sure if I can change my dates but im sure my boyfriend would be open to leaving early in the morning so we have a full extra day in kyoto.

I am going to try to book kyoto in the next few days. Any suggested areas that are central? I still cant really grasp how large ir small kyoto is

thanks!
KDotta is offline  
Apr 28th, 2014, 05:57 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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Kyoto is larger than most people realize, and the sites that are of greatest interest to most tourists are scattered in several different areas. You might want to consult the maps on japan-guide and jnto.

Given that you are traveling on a limited budget and with extraordinarily limited time, you might want to find something that meets your needs and is near to the main train station, since that seems the most likely place for your arrival and departure.

As you identify your priorities for sight seeing in Kyoto, you might want to give greater priority to places that can be visited easily and with minimal transit time from your hotel. And pay attention to closing hours. (So, for example, I believe you can visit Fushimi Inari 24/7.)

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Apr 28th, 2014, 06:11 PM
  #7  
 
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Buy your train tickets once you get to Tokyo. And do ask them to print the tickets in English for you.
Kathie is online now  
Apr 28th, 2014, 06:57 PM
  #8  
 
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You will get your shinakansen tickets in Tokyo. The normal one-way fare to Kyoto without reserved seats is ¥13,080 per person. A reserved seat will cost an additional ¥500 to ¥800, approximately, per person.

Consider a shinakansen+hotel package, one-way train and two nights hotel:
http://www.japanican.com/en/tour/lis...28One%20Way%29

Two people, two nights starting May 28, plus one-way shinkansen for as low as JPY 42,800 (that is Hotel Hokke Club Kyoto, click on the Change link for other hotel options).
mrwunrfl is offline  
Apr 28th, 2014, 07:13 PM
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A good site for hotels:
http://www.japanican.com/en/

japanican has Hotel Hokke Club for May 28, twin room, 2 nights, for ¥22,000.

That means that their shinkansen package, linked above, would save ¥6000 if you used that hotel.

www.agoda.com is another good site.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Apr 28th, 2014, 07:25 PM
  #10  
 
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One more thing about hotels in your price range: they typically list the bed dimensions. Definitely worth checking for that info if you would consider sharing a double bed, which is typically the largest size. If he is a big guy you might want to focus on twin beds.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Apr 28th, 2014, 08:02 PM
  #11  
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Thank you all so much for the info, its extremely helpful! I took a look at that train and hotel package and it looks like a great deal. I think im going to do as kja suggested and try to pin down our must see things. Once I figure out where everything is I can decide on best hotel location. I might try to book the train and package deal.

not sure tokyo station area would be best for us, we really plan on being out and about as long as possible. I guess if needed we can do better than my original budget, I was trying to save on our short stay in kyoto but not at the expense of ruining our stay by a bad experiences.

P.s. thanks for the heads up about the beds, he is 6ft and a big guy so a double will not work for sure
KDotta is offline  
Apr 28th, 2014, 08:56 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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It seems I wasn't clear -- I meant that you should prioritize the places you visit based on where you are able to find affordable, convenient accommodation! You don't have much time left to book something suitable, so if you can find something that works, go for it, especially if you can make a reservation that you can cancel. In fact, I think you should book something that you can live with that you can cancel ASAP and then, if you want, see if you can come up with something better.

With so VERY little time in Kyoto, you will NOT be able to see even the things that most people consider their highest priorities there, so you will need to be extremely selective. I don't think it makes much sense for you to spend time running all around town if you can select a list of high priority destinations that are near to your hotel.
kja is offline  
Apr 29th, 2014, 07:09 AM
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The question is: what are the best hotel locations for sightseeing in Kyoto? I don't know the answer but think that it shouldn't matter much. The places you want to visit are spread out and I would not limit myself to spots near the hotel while missing the stuff I really wanted to see. The hotel is a starting point if you are prepared to go out for the day. You could pay $200/night to stay at a good starting point or you can stay elsewhere for $100/night and pay $25 and 25 minutes to take a taxi to get to a good starting point or directly to the first stop. You can save on hotel to spend on transportation.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Apr 29th, 2014, 08:23 AM
  #14  
 
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OTOH, maybe the Kyoto station area would be a good location as it is a public transportation hub. You could, at least, start and finish your days's travel with bus or subway. No shortage of food and shopping. Post office right there with an ATM. That Hokke Club hotel is across from the station.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Apr 29th, 2014, 06:01 PM
  #15  
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Thank you again everyone for the great input!

I think I am going to follow kja's advice and book a hotel asap, hopefully tonight. But I do agree with mrwunrfl, I dont want to limit myself to just sights around my hotel. I know its unrealistic to think I will be able to see everything but im hoping if I follow some of the fullday or even half day suggested itineraries on japanguide I might be able to get the most of my time. Im sure my priorities differ from other travelers and as kja notes I definitely dont want to waste time running around the city rather than enjoy what I can actually see with my limeted time. I definitely want to do their suggested east kyoto itinerary as it seems walkable and hagashiyama and gion are some of my must see places, then i'd like to do the arashiyama full or half day itinerary, bamboo grove and monkey park are must see too! Im thinking the hokke club is looking better and better! I wasnt sure I wanted to stay in central kyoto but it might be best since ive chosen two itineraries in complete opposite directions. This way I think we can spend our short days in one area seeing as much as possible and come home to a central place that has easy transport access as noted.

thanks again and please keep the suggestions coming if you think of any, your input has been a tremendous help!!!
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Apr 29th, 2014, 06:42 PM
  #16  
kja
 
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Again, to be clear, I wasn't trying to say that you should ONLY visit places near your hotel. My intention has been to recommend that you consider location when planning.

FWIW, it took me nearly 2 full days to visit the sites listed on japan-guide's recommended tour of Higashiyami. I honestly don't know how one could see all of those sites in a single day!

Personally, I would not have given up the sites of eastern, northern, or central Kyoto for Arashiyama, but I know people differ in that. It isn't that I didn't enjoy Arashiyama -- I did. I just didn't find it all that special. My impression is that those who travel to Kyoto in the fall have a very different experience than I did (I traveled in May). I would imagine that it would be much more beautiful with the fall colors. But that's just my guess.
kja is offline  
May 1st, 2014, 10:12 PM
  #17  
 
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We went in fall, and I did appreciate the bamboo forest, and the beautiful temple but I'd also skip Arashiyama if I had such limited time in Kyoto.

We had 5 days in Kyoto the first trip (not including the extra time for Osaka, Nara, Koyasan) and 6 days the second trip (plus 2 more for Osaka). We didn't have to rush around but even then, we've still only scratched the surface.
Kavey is offline  
May 1st, 2014, 10:33 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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BTW, I, too, enjoyed the bamboo forest -- but there is a similar (if much smaller) stretch of bamboo through which one can walk at Kiyomizu-dera that I think might fit your extremely compressed visit a bit better. Just an idea!
kja is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 05:34 PM
  #19  
 
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I would just stay in Tokyo for such a short trip. You will be dead tired rushing around like this.
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