Staying in a LOVE HOTEL in Japan… by mistake.

First and foremost I would like to advise that this post will not be suitable for persons under 18, anyone of a sensitive nature and also my parents!!

The airport in Tokyo isn’t actually in Tokyo.  It’s in Narita which is about an hour away.  We thought we would be clever and book a hotel in Narita so we didn’t have as far to travel on the morning of our flight.  This was our first mistake.  Tokyo is very well connected and if we had stayed at our hostel another night we would have had a five minute walk to the tram and then got the train straight to the airport.  Although geographically nearer, we had a forty minute walk with our heavy backpacks to get to the train station.  So although the train was only ten minutes, it was a much more gruelling journey.

The second and most obvious mistake was that we booked a love hotel.  Which is a sex hotel – there wasn’t much emphasis on love here!  We had discovered this fact a few days before staying.  We had booked everything in advance in Japan, including this hotel.  On the Agoda app there is no mention whatsoever of it being a love hotel other than in the small print which nobody reads.  (I might start doing so in future)  We thought it might be fun to stay in a weird themed hotel and chose this one as it was a Christmas  theme.  We were excited about having a second Christmas and even bought cheap presents for each other from a 100 Yen shop.

However when we looked on the map a few days prior to checking in, we noticed it said “adults only”.  We started to feel a little apprehensive about the cumming of our second Christmas.

Andrew did some research and the oddest thing is that Japanese people think Christmas is a sexy time.  What in the hell is that about?  It’s so odd to put these two things together.  But there are two main traditions for the Japanese at Christmas.  Firstly they have sex on Christmas eve and secondly they eat KFC.  Honestly – Google it!!  Love hotels in Japan are  a big thing because couples who are dating can’t have relations until they are married.  And even when they are married they often live with family and the walls are paper thin.  So they come to these kind of hotels to “attend to their needs”.

So we arrived quite late on (so we thought) at about half 6pm.  At reception a lady scurried out and said we couldn’t check in until 7pm.  We thought that was weird.  Then realised that people hired it by the hour in the day.  I was really wishing I had a blue light so I could check that the room had been properly cleaned!  Or maybe I would be better off not knowing!

We sat in the waiting room until we were allowed to check in.  It was the strangest waiting room I have ever been in.  Three couches sat facing the walls with their backs to each other.  This is clearly for privacy for the couples, but it felt icky, especially surrounded by christmas trees and Santa with his overflowing sack.

The room was actually really nice.  There was a huge bed and the biggest bath ever! Plus lots of products to use – shampoos, conditioners, body lotions etc.  I did have to read everything very carefully – I didn’t want to end up with lube in my hair.

You couldn’t escape from the fact it was clearly a love hotel.  Just flicking through the channels you went straight from BBC news to porn.  The room service menu was hidden in the magazine rack nestled between porn magazines and lingerie catalogues .  There were two vending machines – one was for drinks.  I looked excitedly in the other, thinking it might be food.  It wasn’t food.  It was a vending machine for vibrators.  Never in my life have my poor innocent eyes seen anything like it!

There was a hair dryer and even a hair styling blower for volume which I was excited about.  I’d had “backpacker hair” for the past three months! Nearer the bed was another box, about the same size as a GHD box.  I wondered if it could be straighteners.  My hair hadn’t been straight since January!  I opened it and was faced with a giant wand style vibrator.  It was packaged in a plastic bag which said “sanitised”.  So… a communal vibrator.  Umm OK then.  (In it’s defence it did come with a giant condom-thing which you are to put over it for hygiene.  A toy sack – in a Christmas hotel)  

We settled in for the night and we soon came to the conclusion that the people upstairs didn’t like the way their room was laid out. They were definitely moving furniture.   It wasn’t anything else as it went on for far too long.  Also later there were some shouts of glee from another room.  It was nice to know that someone else was just as excited about the hair products as I was.

So overall – I would recommend this hotel although more for the experience of trying out an odd Japanese custom rather than for the convenience of the airport.  If you would like to nosey at it – it’s here –  But be warned, if you stay here, I don’t think you’ll ever look at Santa in the eye again!


The first thing about this place is learning how the hell to pronounce it.  When Japanese people asked where we were going and we replied Fujikahubleurghko we got some blank looks.  It is much easier to say Mount Fuji!  Although it would have been fantastic to climb Mount Fuji, it was off season and only recommended for experienced climbers and we were in no way fit enough to tackle it!

We arrived on a lovely clear day and got to our hostel which had an amazing view of the mountain.  Also the hostel deserves a mention here – If you do find yourself in this area this hostel was the best we have stayed in so far.  I’m writing this in New Zealand and this still holds true.  We stayed at K’s House Fuji View ( and it was so well equipped.  The kitchen was miles better than what we have at home!  The only thing that was confusing about it was the sign for the women’s toilets.  Looks kind of…male… to me!

The first day we arrived, we walked round the lakes and got some lovely views of the mountain.  I have seen some things on this trip that were meant to move me.  People said that when I saw the Taj Mahal I would be moved by it.  Meh.  But I could have looked at this mountain all day.  I actually stopped for about half an hour just to gaze at it!  I’m glad I filled my eyeballs with as much of it as I could because the next day the clouds descended and it was like it never was!

We went on a hike to a viewpoint which would have been amazing but alas there was nothing there.  We had to improvise.  

There were still lots of lovely things to see on the walk including a stunning little temple half way up with some interesting statues.  Andrew did the Shinto Buddhism cleansing hand-washing thing.  There was a point on the walk in the woods where we stopped to listen and could hear nothing.  I mean actually nothing, no birds, no cars, no wind.  Nothing.  I could hear the blood in my ears pumping which was so weird!  

We walked 18km in total and were knackered when we got back!  We treated ourselves to two helpings of the japanese curry!  I had just ditched a lot of my clothes in Bangkok as they were too big and bought smaller ones.  As I shovelled in my curry I could feel my waistband tightening – I hoped I wasn’t going to have to upsize again!  I buried the thought with some Meji chocolate and 7/11 cookies.

We were really lucky that we arrived on the day we did as the next day (the day we were leaving) was also cloudy.  We met a guy from the states who had only come for two days and hadn’t managed to see it at all which must have been gutting for him.  

Grateful for our experience we got back on the bus to Tokyo.  We were headed to a hotel in Narita before flying out the next day.  As we were on the bus Andrew decided to check the flight.  As it turned out I had made the most delightful mistake ever!  I had thought we were leaving a day earlier than we were.   We had a whole extra day in Japan!  Luckily the hotel let me move the booking til the next day and we quickly found a hostel in Tokyo and set to making the most of our last 24 hours.

Nara – A deer do

If you come to Japan you HAVE to visit Nara!  At the bottom of Nara near the train station, all the hotels and guest houses sit together in the town centre.  Ours was a good walk away but was actually inside the deer park.  

The location was amazing. You walk out of your door into the park and headfirst into deer!  The only drawback to this place was that we had to walk two and a half kilometres to get food and drink! You had to be reeeeally hungry to motivate yourself to go to town!

The deer park in Nara is the primary reason that tourists come to visit.  The deer are very tame and come up to you for crackers (which you purchase from any of the shops in Nara).  They are also trained to bow politely for a cracker although there are some greedy individuals that head bump you trying to get in your pockets, and leaving deer drool all over your legs!

The park is amazing.  It is very busy in the day, mainly with Japanese school children on English lesson field trips.  They come up to you and ask if you mind answering some questions.  The same questions every time… “Where are you from?” “What’s your favourite food?” This was, in the beginning quite charming, as the children were so well mannered and eager to learn, but after the twelfth time in one day you find yourself being mean, and quickly turning down another path when you see the gaggle approaching.  

After 5pm though, the park is deserted and it is really serene.  Just you and the deer!

In Nara town we made a fatal mistake of going into a Coco-Ichibanya.  The pictures outside looked innocent enough.  It was just an ordinary japanese curry like a Katsu which you could customise to your tastes (spice level, sauce base, topping etc). However once we had eaten it, it became apparent that it was laced with meth.  We just couldn’t stop eating it.  We ate it the next day and the next.  And when we realised we were going to kill our budget there, we found 7/11 boil in the bag alternatives that almost hit the spot so we ate these instead.  Although we wanted to try the different foods in Japan we ate the curry eight times as it was so damn delicious.  We even found one in Singapore to my delight! – The next one on our route is LA and I will sure as shit be going there, no matter how far the detour. Its the ONLY thing I’m looking forward to in LA! Serious jawgasm!

The last couple of days in Nara we did some walking.  There was a little “hill” in front of our hostel which we walked up the back of and ended up doing 18km. 

The view was astounding though and well worth it, although the next day we couldn’t move!  There was also a strange inscribed rock formation at the top, where a lady was collecting flowers.  I presume it had something to do with Shinto buddhism, but it had a very eerie feeling.  

Nara was stunning!  Do yourself a favour and go there! I would come back in a heartbeat (and not just for the Coco-Ichibanya!)

Kyoto, Japan

From Tokyo we took an overnight bus to Kyoto.  We used a company called Willer express. Warning for those who are used to the overnight buses in Asia.  The buses in Japan are not the same.  Instead of being able to recline almost fully back, you have about a two inch recline on a Japanese bus.  Plus, because Japanese people are so very polite, nobody reclines and you look like a wanker doing so.  So we spent a full night in a chair sitting up, getting bum ache.  The redeeming features that the Japanese sleeper bus had were charging points on every chair (which is unheard of in Asia) and a cute little hood that comes down over your head like a pram hood! This, again, is a very Japanese manners thing – it is rude, for the ladies especially, to be seen asleep and potentially drooling over yourself. 

We arrived in Kyoto super early and decided to walk to our hostel which was about an hours walk.  I immediately noticed it wasn’t quite as perfect as Tokyo, although was still pretty.  

It was a grey day and we were shattered. 

Our hostel was a capsule hotel.  If you go to Japan you definitely need to try one of these!  We stayed at 9 hours kyoto ( but there are others too. I just loved how minimal everything was!

The men and women were on separate floors with separate bathrooms, locker rooms and even separate lifts!  If I am honest, it was a nice break from each other!  Travelling with the same person, seeing each other 24/7 can start to make you feel a little “stabby”. Upon check in we were given a pack with toothbrush and strange but very comfy black pyjamas set and slippers.  

The lockers and bathrooms were on one floor and the sleeping capsules were on another.  Although these look claustophobic, they were actually really roomy.  Andrew just couldn’t get over how clinical everything looked.  He said he thought he was going to wake up in a bath of ice with his kidneys missing!

In Kyoto we visited a couple of temples. One completely by accident, which was stunning and within walking distance of our hostel.

The other is a famous temple called Fushimi Inari with sprawling orange gates over a circular walk.  At the bottom there are hundreds of tourists and school children all trying to get the perfect selfie with the gates in the background.


However once you walk up nearer the top past the lazy instagramers, there are less people and you can take some pretty photos. 

 It was a bit rainy on the day that we went but luckily we had our raincoats and an umbrella, fortuitously purchased (just in case) the day before!

We only spent two days in Kyoto so we didn’t manage to see everything, however we would definitely visit again and hope that we are luckier with the weather. Also we would get the bullet train instead of scrolling and getting the bus. We thought we had saved on a night of accommodation when in reality we just lost a day to being tired and cranky! Remember – cost and worth are entirely different things.

Vietnam Part 2. Hoi An, Nha Trang and Saigon (Ho Chi Min)

Hoi An

We planned on getting a bus to Hoi An, which was only 40 minutes away, but as we were leaving another English couple were getting a taxi and between the four of us, it was about the same price so we travelled in luxury!! Everyone raved about Hoi An but we were a bit meh?!  We were there two days and one day was lost to me being ill (again) but even when we did venture out we weren’t that impressed. There is a beach which we didn’t go to and a town with plenty of shops.  Hoi An is famously cheap for tailoring however we didn’t need (and couldn’t afford) anything. All we did is eat in Hoi An!  We found a lovely veggie place and had hot pot which was delicious.  

And we found a lovely french cafe with the best tea I have ever tasted.  

We stayed quite out of the way in a private room with a bath :). It was a homestay so the family lived there too which was nice. Their daughter spoke perfect english and could’ve been a comedienne! They gave you free bicycles because they were that bit further out.  I thought this might be nice to cycle through the fields and round town.  FML was I wrong.  This time of year is hot. So hot every part of you sweats to stop itself bursting into flames when you step into the sun.  Cycling in it was hard work. Admittedly it was nice seeing some of the real Vietnam, as where we were staying wasn’t touristy at all.  It was down a long dirt road with all their houses down the side – a proper Vietnamese village (albeit an affluent one)
Nha Trang
Nha Trang was meant to be a nice beach place however as it turns out Da Nang wins them all.  It was supposed to be more of a party place too.  We were only here for one night and it was pretty much what I expected although more built up than i thought it would be.  Actually this is the case everywhere in Vietnam.  It is fast rising and I feel it will change drastically in the coming years.  Everything is very cosmopolitan and modern.

We arrived at 5:30 in the morning and decided to walk to 1.5km to our guest house.  Even at this time in the morning it was searingly hot and we arrived, a pair of drenched rats.  We spent our one day here on the beach which was OK.  It was nice to have cocktails on the beachfront.  We had been craving western food and found a bar owned by a welsh guy.  There was proper beans and HP sauce.  They did roast dinners, cottage pie, chicken kiev, chips and gravy!

I was in food heaven but had no time to eat it all :(. Sometimes you just really crave western food and we had spent most of Vietnam thinking about the delights of home. I’m having dreams about chunky chicken down my road.


Saigon (which is now called Ho Chi Min city but nobody calls it that) was somewhere I really didn’t want to go.  So much so that we even looked to see if there was a bus from Nha Trang straight to Cambodia.  There was, but you had to sit and wait in Saigon anyway so we just decided to go for one day.  I was worried as a few people had said it was worse than Hanoi (which I didn’t enjoy).  The Negativaussie had said it was shit and the girl I follow religiously on youtube said she didn’t feel safe there and wore her money belt.  If I could go back in time I wouldnt listen to any of it and spend longer there.  I actually loved it!!  It was just a city.  Clean and nice architecture.  

I have no clue why people said it was bad? Our hostel was on a slightly dodgy road but it wasn’t the locals that made it dodgy – it was the westerners drinking super cheap beer and getting wasted til late. 

Anyhow we did our best with our one day. We pottered around the city and found the tower that is meant to look like stark towers from the avengers.  Then we went in search of a mall as it was too hot. (Top tip – malls are freezing cold and its like an oasis).  Purely for this reason alone and no other reason in the world especially not wanting to buy a dress, we went to another mall.  

After it had cooled down we the headed (sadly dressless) to the war museum (past the replica of Notre Dame).  

I have no pictures of the museum for two reasons. 1, my phone had died. 2, even if I had power I wouldn’t have taken pictures here.  Some of the pictures were horrific. 

There were the pictures I expected, from the war – people dead, bloodied, americans holding the heads of Vietnamese civilians, dead children, and land mine injuries.  But I wasn’t prepared for the agent orange stuff.  Photos of deformed foetuses and deformed children and adults, caused by this toxin.  It was pretty horrific.

I also realised I don’t really know anything about anything.  I didn’t know what agent orange was. I didn’t know what the war was about or who won, or when it was.  I should really know this stuff.  I decided that going forward, before I go somewhere I need to learn a little bit about it.

Our last night in Vietnam we got our free hostel beer and sat with a group of people on the rooftop chatting. It was an amazing view and it made me feel sad that I hadn’t given the city a chance.  I also realised that we had rushed vietnam – It is somewhere I would definitely come back and do more slowly.

Vietnam part one – Hanoi, Hue and Danang.


Hanoi was my least favourite place that we have stayed, however it had one of my favourite hostels.  After a gruelling 26 hour bus ride from Luang Prabang we arrived in the city of Hanoi, although we were a good 10km outside of town.  

This is something bus companies do often in SE Asia.  By stopping too far away for you to walk with your back pack, you are then at the mercy of the pack of tuk tuk and taxi drivers waiting with their inflated prices.  Luckily armed with (best app ever) we started walking away from the aggressive sales guys who were very “grabby” (reminding me a little of India), and headed into the city.  Only one road away we found a taxi driver that took five of us (in his four seats) and all five giant backpacks to the centre! It was very cosy!

The hostel was great!  There was a lively bar and immediately on arrival we were thrust a free beer!  Each dorm bed had a privacy curtain plus a little shelf and cupboard, private fan and light.  It was great but not very social in the dorm room as everyone had their curtains closed.  We did speak to Aussie guy in our room on the last day who lived in Hanoi. He said pretty much everywhere in vietnam was shit, apart from Sapa, where we weren’t going.  However as he left, he also said he hoped his plane wouldn’t crash, so I guess he wasn’t a glass half full fella.

We explored Hanoi the next day.  It was very much like India.  However what was cool was that each road had a theme for its shops.  So there was a street for clothes shops, a street for art, flowers, pots and pans, party stuff, sewing stuff!!  So if you needed something specific, all shops that would sell that item would be close together!  

There was the local market which is an OCD person’s nightmare.  Piles of mismatched shoes and purses and stuff, with tiny gaps to squeeze between each stall.  Plus it was unbearably hot. There were plenty of bars and restaraunts including a lovely cafe we went to twice called the note cafe.  Amazing iced coffee and you get to write a sticky note to fellow travellers!

Crossing the road in Hanoi scared the shit out of me.  It was so busy – Never have I seen so many bikes.  We spoke to a tour guide who said you just decide to walk and go.  The bikes avoid you, the cars and buses not so much.  

You can close your eyes and go across – The danger is when you hesitate, or change pace, or go back – then you will get squashed!  Well we are alive anyway and managed to cross the busiest road to see the lake in the middle of the city which was ok.

The reason we went to Hanoi was to see Halong bay.  We booked a day trip, as we were short on time in Vietnam, which was 4 hours there, 4 hours to look round then 4 hours home.  I really did have high hopes for this place.  It was one of the sights we most wanted to see.  And it wasn’t bad.  But we felt a little like cattle being shooed down the same path in a line.  We also had no english speaking guide which didn’t help.  The port reminded me of a really shitty seaside town in England, it even had a floating puppet show!  

The boats were unkempt and grimy, however at least ours had a good name!

Halong Bay itself was stunning, but it was quite an overcast day so we didn’t get to see it in its full glory.  

We also got row-boat ride into some of the smaller pools surrounded by the cliffs and saw the floating village where people never go to the land.  

We also saw a really cool cave that had been lit up with coloured lights! 

It was overall a good experience but I think I might have built it up too much.

There were limestone cliffs in Thailand that looked much nicer.


We were told Hue was a shithole so we were only staying for one night then moving on.  We also were a bit worried about it being rough so we were a little suspicious at first.  We had taken another night bus from Hanoi and arrived at 7 in the morning.  Luckily the hotel let us check in early so we showered and went straight out after about 2 hours sleep. 

I was so surprised by Hue, there were little roads with all the locals sat outside selling street food and coffee and everyone seemed really nice and smiley! Schoolchildren were doing surveys so we answered three of these for their english practise.  People walked their dogs in the park and children played football.  It just seemed normal – this is a lesson to not judge a place by what other people say. 

Apparently (according to negativaussie) there is nothing to do in Hue, however the forbidden purple city looked amazing!  

We got there at about 4 and it closed at 5:30 so we never managed to see inside but the outside looked amazing!  I haven’t got much more to say about Hue however I would definitely go back and explore further.


I had a picture of Danang in my mind before we left.  I thought it would be a dusty coastal town, with shacks and everything a bit run down.  Man was I wrong.  It was a very “cityish” city.  High rises everywhere and it seemed very metropolitan!  We stayed 2 nights here at a lovely hostel called travellers nest.  I got cocopops for breakfast which made me so happy!!!!  We were a bit exhausted at this point (travelling quickly between places really does you in) so we thought we would check out the beach.  I wasn’t even aware it had one.  

The beach was better than most in Thailand and better than any others in Vietnam we went to.  The sand was super soft and no stones or seaweed, and the water was lovely!  This city is going to change big style soon.  

On the beach there was building work everywhere and empty shells of huge soon-to-be-hotels.  The scale of the buildings was massive- it sort of reminded me of miami!  We ate at a place called Tam’s, which was our only cultural thing we did here. 

The lady who owned it, and cooked, was on the USA’s side in the war.  Danang was a place where the soldiers used to come for R&R and she has hundreds of pictures of her throughout the years with the soldiers and other vietnemese who were on the American side.  

It was a really cool place and I would recommend it!

A short post on Laos…

We had plans for Laos.  We were a few days behind a couple we had met in Chiang Mai and were nosily following what they were doing in Laos.  The plan was to go from Luang Prabang down to Vang Vieng which they said was good for tubing and kayaking.  Lastly we would go to the capital Vientiane – just because.  It’s the capital.  So it must be interesting right?

As we walked through the streets of Luang Prabang, you could see the French influence everywhere!  I took a picture of a nice building then realised it was an ophthalmology centre!  There were lots of nice styled buildings and wide roads.  It was so peaceful compared to Thailand.  

We exended our stay and decided to just stay here and go to Hanoi from here.  If we went down to Vientiane it would be such a massive journey back up to Hanoi in Vietnam which is in the north.  Plus we had lost a day getting here, and it would be another day getting out.  We had only allowed ten days for Laos in total so it made sense to chill out in Luang Prabang.

Our hotel was lovely, we were given a huge room that we didn’t actually book, with two giant beds and a massive separate rainfall shower.  We spent quite a lot of time in Luang Prabang chilling out and doing nothing but reading and eating.  I think it’s important to do that sometimes when travelling.  Some people might have the energy to just keep going and do something every day, but at least for us, we need time to just relax.  And eat.  Oh my god I found BAGELS.  With CREAM CHEESE.  God bless the french colonisation, my tastebuds appreciated it, even though the Laos people may not have.  We also met Matt again, and ate at a veggie stall in the night market.  He had another girl with him who noticed my tattoo and said she was born at 11:11!  And apparently 11:11 is big in germany – they have a festival clled carnival, which starts at 11:11 on the 11th November.

We did explore Luang Prabang – however everything charges you to get in which is a shame.  Also it is an expensive town – not dissimilar to English prices.  We went to the top of the hill in the centre called Pho Usi hill.  Yes Pussy hill.  There were some amazing views from up there of the city. 

 However I HATED the fact that there are caged birds up there.  The local people believe that it is good luck to free a caged bird on top of the hill.  So at the top of the hill there are so many cages of these tiny cute fluffy birds desperate to escape their little bamboo cages.  I was so torn.  I wanted to buy them all so I could free them all and they would be happy.  But in doing that I would be encouraging the practise and causing more birds to get caught so I walked by 😦

On top of the hill is also the temple which was pretty cool, they had some interesting statues and a really spidery cave which I did not find pleasant!!  There was also a REAL buddhas footprint.  Very interesting.  I didn’t realise that buddha was the BFG.

The only thing we wanted to do in Vang Vieng that looked cool was the kayaking.  So we, instead did that in Luang Prabang.  We were meant to be in a group however as it was quiet season, it was just the two of us.  Our boat was loaded onto a truck.  I got in the back and noticed there was a ginormous spider on my kayak.  I flew back out of the truck and asked the man to sort it out.  He shooed it away but i spent the rest of the journey eyeballing the floor like an obsessed collie waiting for it to re-emerge.

Luckily I forgot about it when we got to the river and got into the water.  It was such great scenery and we both really enjoyed it.  However I got blisters on my thumbs from rowing and it was really knackering.

 The oddest thing I saw was a plastic bottle “floating” quickly upstream which confused me.  The guide explained that the local villages tie the bottles to long reeds and use them to fish! Very resourceful!  

We stopped for lunch and got to explore some caves.  I saw some spiders which I think are funnelweb spiders.  I had seen them in a YouTube video (I was trying to calm my phobia by learning about them) – they sit in a little hole and build a funnel shaped web in front of it which closes on any unsuspecting insect.  

After we kayaked in the afternoon we finished at a little village which is famous for making whisky.  They had lots of people making scarves and an amazing temple.  

The village looked so quaint and rustic.  But between all the house were huge sky dishes.  Even in remote village they can’t live life without sky TV which is a shame!  I’d love to not have a TV when I get back.

We spent the last couple of days hiding in out hotel as it rained.  Like rain I’ve never seen before!! So again, we chilled and read until it was time to get our sleeper bus of doom.  All 26 hours of it.  FUN FUN FUN!!!!

Oh and there was no toilet.  When we stopped it was on the side of the road (with an audience) so men were OK.  I think they just expected to get their vaginas out and go for it!  Luckily (foreeing the problem before it arose) I had deliberately dehydrated myself and not drank anything for hours, so I made it to Vietnam and Hanoi without any indecent exposure 🙂