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Krabi- Four Island tour


With one day left in Krabi and the South Of Thailand, we decided to head out on the boat and see a couple more islands. We had found a super cheap tour which offered 4 islands of snorkelling, exploring and caves as well as lunch. we decided to head along as it was so cheap and would beat a day of staying on one beach.

Poda Island

Poda Island

We first stopped off at Koh Tup where three islands can walk between the three islands at low tide… it reminded me of Koh Nangyuan off the coast of Koh Tao however as it is only during low tide the place was PACKED as clearly this was a stop off for ever boat in the area, never the less it was quite a beautiful area and by the time you walked along the sand verge and back it was time to move on.

Next we went to Chicken island, named as it looks like a chicken! With crystal clear waters it was the perfect place for some snorkeling where some people on our tour saw a sea snake!

We got back on the boat and headed to Poda Island where we had lunch and an hour to explore and relax. It had some beautiful scenery with a single limestone cliff sticking out of the sea.

Finally our last stop was the back of Railey where we could walk to Phra Nang Cave filled with hundreds of phallic monuments it is believed that by offering phallic statues and worshiping the goddess of the cave you will have safe travel on the sea.

It was quite an uneventful trip (hence the small post) but completely worth the 400 baht just to be able to get off and explore the area around Krabi.

Finally our time in the south of Thailand had come to an end and it was time to head up to the north and explore places closer to our Thai home.

Phra Nang Cave

Phra Nang Cave

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Vietnam’s must see


As with Thailand and Korea, I thought I would put together my ‘must see’ list for when you come to Vietnam! For more information click on the title of each one to take you to the blog post! Enjoy!

1- Abseiling on Marble Mountain, Da Nang

This was one of the best things I have done here, we were able to see one of the major landmarks in Da Nang but from a different perspective! It was well worth every penny and was a brilliant day out… even if we did almost jump onto a poisonous snake!

heading down into heaven

heading down into heaven

2- Cu Chi Tunnels.

If you come to Vietnam this should be on your list, whilst it is quite touristy now it is a very cheap day out and gives you an amazing look into the conditions the Vietnamese fought under during the Vietnam war. You are able to squeeze yourself down one of the entrance ways to the many tunnels and even go down into one of the tunnels to experience just how cramped the conditions were.

The tightest part, had to slide down on your bum!

The tightest part, had to slide down on your bum!

3- Scuba diving Hoi An

Unfortunately I had to pull out of this one due to illness but Andy went along by himself and had a great time with 2 really long dives into the waters just of Cham Island. If you don’t want to scuba there are snorkeling trips on offer too however the spots were not quite of the same standard as the scuba sites.

Andy under the water

Andy under the water

4- Getting something Tailor made

Vietnam has some of the best tailors around. Whilst it can be a mission finding out a good one (as many are jumping on the tourist bandwagon) some research and shopping around can leave you with beautifully hand-made items. I got my beautiful wedding dress made here for a fraction of the price it was being sold at back home and Andy got two beautiful suits made up. Hoi An offers tailors on every street corner however most cities have their own tailors, you just might need help with translating! Make sure you know what you are going in for a bring plenty of pictures with you and make sure you know how to avoid getting ripped off!

My tailor and I

My tailor and I

5- Touring down the Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta tours allows you to sail down this enormous river while visiting some of the islands that sit on the river. Our day was long but we had a great time seeing everything on offer!

My new pal

My new pal

6- Spending the night on a boat in Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is one of the most famous sites here in Vietnam. You can do a day trip here however one of the best ways to see it is to spend some time here. We sailed through the bay for 3 days, sleeping on the boat for one night and our own private bungalow on an island just off Cat Ba for the other night. We were able to kayak through a sleepy fishing village on the water, tour some beautiful caves, sail through the majestic limestone cliffs and interact with some cheeky wild monkeys!

Passing by the limestone cliffs

Passing by the limestone cliffs

7- Ninh Binh province

Located about 2 hours drive from Hanoi, Ninh Binh offers some peace from the hustle and bustle of the cities, you can sail down the river in Tam Coc and visit the old capital while taking In the beautiful views that surround you in the county.

Rowing boats waiting for passengers

Rowing boats waiting for passengers

8- Try some of the unusual street food

Vietnam, like most of the Asian countries is known for its street food. While I stayed away from the dog and cat meat which is everywhere in the town we lived, we eat street food a lot and even tried some of more unusual dishes such as frogs and birds. You can also have some of the insects, however after trying them in Thailand…. Once was enough for me!

Andy with a bird in his mouth, fried frog and fried bird!

Andy with a bird in his mouth, fried frog and fried bird!

9- Visit Uncle Ho in Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh is loved here in Vietnam and you will see pictures of him everywhere if you have time you can go visit the man himself at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum located right in the heart of Hanoi. Be warned though as the dress code is extremely strict make sure you cover the shoulders, change out of the shorts and don’t wear flip-flops. Photos in the Mausoleum and within the yellow lines are also seriously prohibited and will get you into trouble. Check dates and times before you go and take note that every second October “Uncle Ho” goes on holiday to Russia for a touch up.

Guards at the mausoleum

Guards at the mausoleum

10- Visiting the war museum, HCMC

The Vietnam war left devastating effects on the country and whilst the museum may be a little bias it gives you a heart wrenching look at the effects of Agent Orange and some of the brutality caused by the war. It may be a bit of a somber experience but is a must to get a look into the countries past.

Effects of Agent Orange

Effects of Agent Orange

And the one we never made it too…. Sapa.

Sapa is located right at the North of Vietnam in the mountains, famed for its beautiful tea plantations and scenery. We never got round to heading out as it is about 12 hour by train from Hanoi but it is famous for its rolling tea staggered fields  high up in the mountains.

Exploring Hong Kong


With only a few days off from work we decided to hop over to Hong Kong and spend New Year with some of our friends from Australia. Getting off the plane in Hong Kong was such a welcomed relief from Vietnam, suddenly we were back into a developed country where they people were so polite, the place was so clean, crossing the road wasn’t life or death and the air felt fresh!

Hong Kongs famous skyline at night

Hong Kong’s famous skyline at night

The one thing that Andy and I both noticed a lot about Hong Kong was just how many public service messages there were. Everywhere you turned there was a message telling you how you should behave, what’s expected from you and suggestions about what you should do in certain circumstances. It was EVERYWHERE although it didn’t feel like it was too in your face. The people of Hong Kong seemed to really pay attention, especially when it came to waiting for the green man when crossing the road!! Maybe it was just because we had come from Vietnam, but it made the whole place a haven of polite, well-mannered, non queue skipping citizens!

With so much to see and so little time to see it we decided to hop on the Big Bus Tour which would take us around the 2 big islands in Hong Kong: Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. It was about $40 but included tickets for The Peak, ferries and queue skips to certain places which turned out to be a lifesaver!!

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

The bus dropped us off first at the “Avenue of Stars” which is the walk way surrounding the sea front on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong, the avenue is dedicated to famous Chinese stars and while you might not recognize all of them it was fun going around all the plaques trying to find the ones we did know! The avenue is most famous for it’s sculpture of Bruce Lee which is hard to miss as it is always mobbed by tourists all trying to recreate his pose… Andy included! The sculpture has an amazing backdrop and I think you would have to come VERY early to get a picture minus the tourists!

Walking along the avenue we came to the harbor where we jumped on the famous Star Ferry to get over to Hong Kong Island, it runs between the two islands constantly throughout the day and only takes about 10 minutes to cross. Although you can take the MRT over the star ferry gives you an awesome view of the famous skyline that Hong Kong is known for.

Bamboo scafolding way above the street

Bamboo scaffolding way above the street

Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world with over 8,000 and rising… FAST second is New York with only half of this! Everywhere you look skyscrapers loom overhead and not just your bog standard sky scrapers these are works of art which have lights outlining them to make a spectacular scene at night. What makes them even more impressive is the way in which they are built! All over Hong Kong you will notice the bamboo scaffolds which they still use, even to build the biggest of buildings! They explained to us that it was extremely cheap, environmentally friendly and safe… I was not too sure!

We decided to jump off the bus first at Victoria Peak one of Hong Kong’s most famous attractions, and you could tell. The line zig-zagged all through the inside then round the corner and up the street, as Andy and I were starting to weigh up whether it was worth waiting or not the bus conductor told us our tickets meant we could go right to the front of the queue meaning we missed about an hour of standing outside in the cold!! Result!! The Peak Tram is an attraction in itself. It has been running for more than 100 years and is unbelievably steep!!! The views are incredible, although standing is almost impossible with the angle of the tram so defiantly try to get a seat!

Victoria Peak was not what we were expecting, we both thought it would just be the top of a ‘peak’ which would serve as a lookout point however what we found was a lookout point with a 3 story shopping mall which leads to an observation deck giving you what I can only imagine was amazing views of the city. As luck would have it the day we went up there was almost zero visibility meaning we could see to the nearest tree and that was about it!!

To compensate we decided to go into the Trick Eye Museum which was located on the 3rd floor. It was actually the same company that operated the trick eye museum we went into in Seoul but none the less we decided to have a go. These museums are great fun and as you follow the instructions on the floor and the marks on where to stand with your camera you can place yourself into a painting! It was all good fun and made it worthwhile coming to the top!

Hong Kong's eye

Hong Kong’s eye

We hopped back onto the bus and rode around taking in the sites that Hong Kong had to offer stopping off at some of the famous markets that are around Hong Kong as well as the ‘mid level escalators’, the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. (To be honest it was just escalators and after about 200 meters we jumped off and back on the bus!) As we stopped off at the harbor ready to jump on the third line we thought we would have a look at the carnival that was in town and accidentally spent so long-playing about that we missed the last bus on the third tour!! Ooops!! The third part of the tour took us round to the Stanley Markets and Aberdeen where we would have been able to go on a Sampan Ride. (The traditional old style fishing boats) To be honest I was so exhausted by this point I’s had enough!

FINALLY I had Christmas at the carnival!

FINALLY I had Christmas at the carnival!

We headed back to Kowloon and went to see the “Symphony of lights” which happens on the sea front every evening at 8pm. The Symphony of lights is billed as one of the most impressive laser/light shows around and after waiting with massive crowds (Going early is a must!) the light show started and… well… I was VERY disappointed! I think it was all due to the weather which had clouds hanging very low in the sky making it possibly the worst conditions for lasers and lights!! I am sure if you went on a clear night it would be amazing!!

Temple Street Market

Temple Street Market

We hopped off the bus finally at the Temple Street market and found a stall that did some dim sum where we had an awesome meal of noodles, BBQ pork buns, spring rolls and all sorts of things I don’t know the names of! The whole meal was surprisingly cheap at $54 HK$ which is only about $7.50! Result! We really expected Hong Kong to be expensive however we were surprised at just how cheap meals and transport were!

Light lights lights!

The day was exhausting and by the end of it we both fell into bed and fell into a deep sleep ready for the next day at Ocean Park.

Sunset behind Hong Kong Island

Sunset behind Hong Kong Island

Escape Hunt, Ho Chi Minh


Heading back down to Ho Chi Minh we were a bit at loss of what to do. We had spent almost a week down in the city in our very first week in Vietnam and had crammed so much into our time that we had run out of things to see and do. The reason for our visit was a reunion with our very good friend Lee all the way back from Phrae in Thailand. He was coming to Ho Chi Minh for a boys weekend away and we thought we would use it as an excuse to catch up with an old friend and get out of Hai Phong City for a while.

It really was great seeing Lee, and while reunions are always fun… he was in Vietnam with friends so we didn’t want to cramp his style too much!! However this left us with copious amounts of time to fill. Checking through trip adviser we came across “Escape Hunt”, the premise is simple… escape from the room! However the game is anything but simple!!

Escape Hunt!

Escape Hunt!

Andy and I had a spell whilst in Korea of playing the “Escape the

Detective Jennie

Detective Jennie

room” games on our phones when we were bored and really fancied doing one of the live action games. We first came across them when we were in Barcelona and as much as we wanted to do it the price was just WAAAY out of our budget!! So we were really quite surprised to find that the “Escape Hunt” in Ho Chi Minh was only $22 USD. (approx. 460,000 dong) We went in and the staff were really lovely and explained the rules of the game.

Andy in his detective suit

Andy in his detective suit

We could pick between three rooms….Murder in the palace, Blackmail in the bar or Kidnapping at the opera. Each room had it’s only story and it’s own crime, there were two sections to the room…. 1 find the key to get out and 2. Solve the mystery! We decided to try out Murder in the Palace and were introduced to the “game master” she explained that we would have 60 minutes to solve both parts of the room and that we could ask for help at any time by pressing the intercom in the room… HOWEVER this would result in a fine of one minute per hint.

With that we were sent into the room, it sounds very simple

Andy and I in our detective suits

Andy and I in our detective suits

however to find the key you must check everywhere in the room, get a code that unlocks a chest that gives you a key to another lock in a secret room etc. Andy and I solved the crime and murder in 57 minutes using only one hint! We were quite proud of ourselves especially as it meant we got on the leader board!!

The game went so quickly and we had so much fun that we decided to head back the next day to try one of the other rooms! This time we tried Kidnapping at the Opera and again we finished with time to spare and got on the leader board!

The whole experience was so much fun and I could not recommend it more! The staff made the whole experience exciting and even helped us dress up in props afterwards to get our photo taken for the leader board!

You can find the “Escapre Hunt” at Level 2, Number 60-62 Cach Mang Thang 8 Street, Ward 6, District 3 (above the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf store).

Price per person is $22

Fun in HCMC

Fun in HCMC

Snowboarding…well attempting to!


All smiles before the falls!

All smiles before the falls!

Our last long weekend whilst staying in Korea came up during Seollal or what we know as Lunar New year/ Chinese New year. We decided to use the 4 day holiday to get one last ski trip in before leaving Korea for good. We booked in with EnjoyKorea and set off from Busan on the Friday for what was meant to be a 4.5 hour journey up to High 1 resort in Gangwon-Do… 7 and a half hours later we arrived after what can only be described as a MONSTER traffic jam. It was so bad a girl on our bus had to pee in a cup much to everyone’s amusement!!!

High 1 Ski Runs

High 1 Ski Runs

Unlike our last visit we decided to experiment and try our hand at snowboarding. We figured that as we mastered skiing super quick then snowboarding would be just as easy… boy was I wrong!!! We started out on a flat slope just to try get our balance and despite my best efforts I just could not gain my balance. We decided that it might be easier to try on a slight slope so headed to the slopes to try. Andy seemed to pick it up really quickly and only fell a couple of times.

Me on the other hand…. I just couldn’t get it and to make it worse I couldn’t figure out how to fall on my bum and kept falling flat on my hands knees and even face! Thanks to the light rain the slope had lots of ice on it and when you fell it HURT… A LOT!! I don’t know why but I just couldn’t get the hang of falling on my backside and kept falling forwards.

High 1 slopes

High 1 slopes

After about an hour of trying and a few REALLY hard falls that actually brought me to tears  I gave it one more go and fell so hard on my knee and elbow that I had an egg like bump and couldn’t even walk without a serious limp!! After the saga I had with my back which has just now got better after a year and a half, it was enough for me and I had to change onto skiing! (which is not actually allowed… but that is another story!) I just couldn’t take any more bad falls but not before having to use my snowboard as a sled to get down the rest of the slope!!

With my knee now doubled in size I got back onto the skis and finally started to enjoy the day… snowboarding was just too much balance and coordinated two things that I have a severe lack of! Andy on the other hand was flying down the slopes on his board making it look easy… much to my dismay. (damn you competitive nature!!!)

Postcard- coming 2015!

postcard coming 2015!

We found some postcards that we could post from the top of the mountain even though it stated that it will take one year to arrive and sent them off to our families in Scotland and Australia. We got a great run down the mountain however there were not quite the same views at the top as we had last time… in fact there was no view what so ever!!!

The lovely 'views'

The lovely ‘views’

There was a party at night however we only stayed for one drink with the plan of getting up early to take full advantage of the slopes on the Sunday. However the weather had other ideas and we woke up to rain that had been falling all night. Not only was it cold and wet, parts of the slope had turned to sheer ice… this was not an enjoyable way to ski or snowboard!!!

Andy in the hot tub!

Andy in the hot tub!

After only one run we decided to call it as it was almost dangerous in parts and my legs were killing me from being so tense, Andy also had a few nasty falls on the ice and also ended up using the snowboard as a sled to get down the now ice slope!! Sometimes you just need to know when to quit when you are ahead!!

Luckily instead of just sitting about we were able to go into the outdoor hot tub and just chill out whilst easing our aches and pains from the days skiing. With our drinks cooling in the snow, a view of the mountains while sitting in a bikini in a hot tub it was a pretty sweet way to end the weekend, despite the bruised welts on my knees and elbows!!

My Korean top 10


Finishing up another year away (Well just under a year!) in a different country I have started to think of the highlights of living here in Korea I have been asked several times on what I would recommend in Korea so thought it was about time for another top 10! For more information on each just click on the title! 🙂

This time… my top 10 is of my must see and do’s in Korea… I am sure there are many more and these are just in my opinion and experience! If you think something else should be there feel free to share!

1. DMZ
I think everyone knows what the DMZ is, if not you will if you come to Korea! The no-mans-land which stretches the entire width of Korea separating the South from the North with a 4 km distance between the two countries! Taking a tour will allow you to see the border (and in some cases cross over into North Korea!) go into the tunnels which North Korea dug when trying to dig their way into South Korea and if you get a clear day even see right over to North Korea. This history behind this is so interesting so its best you get a good guide… I recommend going with W.I.N.K (When in Korea) a Facebook tour group with an awesome leader called William who will show you everything you need to know and ensure you have fun! Check the group out as they do lots of tours all around Korea! https://www.facebook.com/groups/wheninkorea/

DMZ

DMZ

2. Skiing in Gangwon-do
During the winter season in Korea be sure to take advantage of cold and head off for a skiing weekend. There are a number of resorts you can choose from however High 1 in Gangwon-do is one of the biggest. Great for learners and for ‘experts’, with all levels of slopes! We went with Enjoy Korea, another Facebook group who had an amazing price including transportation, accommodation, ski rental and clothing rental and a weekend of great fun! You can find them here…  https://www.facebook.com/groups/246245422169243/

Skiing in Gangwon-Do

Skiing in Gangwon-Do

3. Shark diving
I don’t think I can put into words just how amazing this was! Go into the tank in the aquarium with sharks, grouper’s and all sorts of fish. Non-qualified and qualified divers can take part and you are trained by a lovely American scuba instructor who will even find teeth for you when you are down there to take away with you! Although you MUST book in advance! You can book here… http://aquaticfrontier.com/busan-shark-dive/

Shark Diving

Shark Diving

4. Relaxing in a Jjimjilbang
One of the aspect of the Korean culture that I love the most! Although this might not be for everyone considering it involves you getting naked in front of a strangers it is one thing that everyone should do at least ONCE if you live in Korea… or even visit!! Spend an hour (naked) in various baths inside and outside in gender separated rooms before getting your clothes back on and meeting up with the opposite sex for various saunas, massage chairs/rooms, pamper rooms and restaurants. If you only do this once make sure you try Spa Land in Centrum City in Busan… it is something you will never forget or regret!

Andy and I at Spa Land

Andy and I at Spa Land

5. Bungee jump over Hantan River
As this was my first bungee it was the most exciting however standing on a ledge over a river high up on a bridge was an experience that still gives me shivers!! Not only that but it was super cheap! ($30) You can choose either to jump by your ankles or waist (I choose waist due to a back injury!) You can go yourself or do it as part of the DMZ tour with W.I.N.K! You’re knees will never shake so much!!

Ready, steady, jump!

Ready, steady, jump!

6. Dog Cafe
As a dog lover it was a given that I would like this… not a dog lover? Well head over to a cat cafe instead!! With majority of people living in apartments which don’t allow pets these cafe’s offer you the chance to go for a drink and play with some of the most adorable dogs (or cats) ever with a breed to fit everyone!! We went to one in Seoul however these can be found in most big cities!

My favourite!

My favourite!

7. Jinju lantern Festival
Although this might not be as spectacular as Loi Krathong in Thailand the Jinju Lantern Festival is worth a visit. It takes place in October each year beside Jinju fortress (and the bus station) on the river with hundreds of floating lanterns on and off the water. You can buy (or make) your own floating lantern which you can set sail down the river with your wishes attached. Its quite a magical scene! Although be prepared… it gets VERY busy!!!

'Tunnel of Wish Lanterns'

‘Tunnel of Wish Lanterns’

8. International Fireworks show
On  Gwangalli Beach in Busan you can visit the international fireworks show with fireworks from all over the world. Fireworks being set off from the boats, bridges and even remote control planes! Is really impressive and lasts for almost an hour!! We went with W.I.N.K and went on a bar crawl afterwards to celebrate Halloween!

Fireworks

Fireworks

9. Daejeon Zombie Run
This was the first year this has been on and they are hoping to make it a yearly event. It is a 5 km run through an old abandoned amusement park, graveyard and woodland whilst trying to keep the 3 ‘lives’ that are on a Velcro belt around your waist as Zombie’s jump out and try to ‘infect’ you. This was hilarious and such a good day and not only that it was all for a good cause for ‘Daejeon For Paws’ If you are around keep your eyes open for this and sign up!! https://www.facebook.com/zombiekorea?fref=ts

She's behind you!!

She’s behind you!!

10. Mudfest
Unfortunately I was unable to attend this due to an extreme case of tonsillitis. However my better half went along! A yearly festival held in Boryeong in the summer months where you can party on the beach with friends while covering yourself in mud! You can also buy some mud products which you can bring home as gifts. (Also means I am sitting typing this up with a mud mask on!!)

Mudfest

Mudfest

 

Universal Studios, Osaka


With one full day left in Osaka we decided on some light relief…. A trip to Universal Studios!!

Andy and I at the famous globe

Andy and I at the famous globe

We decided to try to be ‘smart’ and go so we were there before the park even opened! However as it was a Saturday everyone had the same idea!! Luckily we bought our tickets in advance at the JR station when we got our train tickets. To get to the park was incredibly simple, just jump on the JR loop and change onto the Universal City line… you literally can’t miss it (not to mention everyone on your train will get off at the stop!) another 10 minute on the train and it arrives right at the park entrance.

Giant Christmas tree!

Giant Christmas tree!

As soon as the doors opened people started a mad dash for the stairs trying to be first in line…. and this was just after 8 am- the park was not due to open until 9 am(Although it was open so who knows when it opens) With our tickets already in hand we went straight for the turnstiles to get in which took us 25 minutes in itself just to get to the front of the queue! Our first stop was the Universal shop where we bought the express pass booklet…. If you go on a Saturday then this is a MUST otherwise your whole day would be spent in a queue! Although they sell out very fast and the 7 ride express pass was sold out before we even got to the front of that queue!! However we managed to get the 4 ride express pass and it was the best $40 I have ever spent!!!

With express passes in hand we headed straight for the main attraction. Spiderman 4D! Bear in mind it was now 9.05am (supposedly 5 minutes after the park opened) and the Spiderman ride was already a 90 minute wait!!! Out came the express pass which meant we only had to wait 20 minutes! The ride itself was actually really good as you went on a city tour with Spiderman which was under the clutches of an evil gang! The ride was like half roller coaster half simulator with water and wind getting blown in your face. However no matter how good the ride was… it would never be worth a 90 minute wait as it was over in less than 4!

Universal Studios

Universal Studios

We headed through the park to the Back to the Future ride. Back when I was about 10 years old (I think) I went to Universal studios in Orlando and remember this ride so well!! The wait was 45 minutes so we whipped out our express pass and waited the grand total of 1 minute! The only thing that comes to mind is WOW it was dated!!! It was literally the same ride, same video same everything as it was 16 years ago in Orlando… with the advancement in technology you think they could have updated the screens or graphics a bit!! We got off feeling extremely queasy as it was way to much jiggling and big screen movement for me!!

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

Andy with a new friend

Andy with a new friend

As the park was getting busier we decided to try to get all the big rides out-of-the-way first so went straight for the Hollywood Ride Backdrop, the biggest roller coaster in the park as we approached we checked the running time…. wait for it… a 3 hour wait!!!! No joke people were actually queuing for 3 hours to go on a 2 minute ride!!! Well out popped the express pass as we were on the ride without having to wait at all!! The ride itself was awesome, as you got strapped in you picked your music which blared out as you got thrown about the roller coaster… was defiantly the best ride but not work the 3 hour wait!!

splash

splash!

With one express pass left we headed over to Jurassic Park and hopped on the ride which took you through all the different animals before ending in a massive water slide which soaked Andy and I but not so much anyone else as they all had massive ponchos on!! This area of the park was actually quite cool as it had all the props such as the cars and signs as well as a person walking about dressed up as a giant dinosaur, which jumped on me as I tried to get my picture taken with it as it walked past!

Surprise!!

Surprise!!

With express passes out we were a bit at lost as what to do… do we really want to wait hours and hours just for each ride? We decided to walk around and see which rides were quiet and ended up at Terminator 4 which was only a 50 minute wait which turned out to be 20! Excellent… yes… well not really… as we didn’t realize it was a live show…. 100% in Japanese apart from the line “I’ll be back!!” I would love to comment more however I pulled a “mum” and fell asleep in my chair!!

Welcome to Amity

Welcome to Amity

We decided to have a look at the space fantasy ride next only to discover another 120 minute wait which is when we noticed a separate queue with only a 20 minute wait… Singles! Wow if only I had known about this before!! Basically a line to fill the seats when there is one left (i.e. Group of 3 people) so instead if wasting the seat you could jump on this…. and for some reason no one was using this line!! Within 10 minutes we were both on the ride just a few minutes apart. I had a group of 3 girls with me who couldn’t stop staring and smiling at me… I finally gave a wave with a quick “con-ech-tewa!” (hello-ish in Japanese) to which I was greeted with screams, laughs and friendly smiles!! The ride was quite fun as well however sitting next to the Japanese girl who was more interested in the weird single white girl beside her made the whole thing even funnier!

Jaws!

Jaws!

Jumping off the ride we had a new sense of hope that maybe it was possible to go on all the rides without waiting 2 hours to get on! We made our way over to Amity Village i.e. Jaws!!! I remembered this so well from when I was there with my folks that I couldn’t wait… despite the timer saying it was a 75 minute wait… until we spotted the single queue!! As we wound our way round with everyone looking on like “How are they moving so fast?!” we were on the actual ride almost instantly without any wait.. sweet! The ride was exactly how it had been in Orlando except when the boat was stopped by the tour guide to shout at the Japanese woman who was dangling her child over the side of the boat! I screamed just as much as I did when Jaws came out of the water and despite Jaws looking at little old was still a great ride.

Getting off the ride there was a chance to get your picture with the big shark hanging upside down, but as with everything if you wanted to get a picture you had to pay and get your picture taken (even with the giant Christmas tree!!) although being the cunning people we are we just stood in front of the photography bit and got the pictures that way… free of charge!

Jaws!

Jaws!

Finally we headed to Back draft, another all Japanese talking one about the stunts on the movie of the same name. This was okay at first as you didn’t understand a word that they said with no English subtitles but the ending fire stunt was quite impressive, was worth going in just for that!! 🙂

All around the park there is plenty to eat, buy and look at and we spent a good 4-5 hours in the park, however we never stayed for the parade as Andy had pulled a muscle in his back and we decided to head off. Was a great way to chill out and have some down time after our insanely busy trip!!

 Need to know

Universal studios Osaka
Day pass- 
Adults 6,600¥       Children 4,500¥
2 Day Pass- Adults 11,100¥     Children 7,400¥

4 ride express pass- 3,200¥
7 ride express pass- 4,900¥

  • Get there early!
  • Buy tickets before hand at a JR station or Lawson’s store
  • Pay the extra and get an express pass
  • Express passes sell out quickly so get there early (you get them inside the park at the first shop once you are though the gates)
  • If you don’t have kids and don’t have an express pass make use of the ‘singles’ lines if you don’t want to wait hours for a ride and don’t mind not sitting beside your partner/friend
  • Bring change (300¥ or 500¥) for lockers
  • Do the big rides first or you will be looking at a 3 hour + wait by afternoon
  • Avoid Saturdays!