I had only six weeks at home in Cali between my Spain/Morocco trip and my Japan/Vietnam trip. This means that in three months, I managed to set foot in four continents and six countries. A new record for me. While at this point in my life, it’s all about making the best of remaining free days to travel as much as I could before settling down, I was careful not to exhaust myself and cram too many places into a two-week trip. As a result, I find myself settling for “only” two countries in 16 days, instead of rushing through seven countries in a three-week trip like I did before. The result is that I get to enjoy each country more in depth and have fewer travel regrets.
Why Japan and Vietnam?
My parents visited Ha Long Bay last year and once I saw their pictures I could not get the image of limestones out of my mind. I am also very impressed by theselfishyears’ pictures of Hoi An so these are the my two must-go places in my itinerary. For better or worse, I couldn’t fit Vietnam into my Asia trip in 2014.
When I searched for award flights for Vietnam I found that the flights with fewest connection would be SFO-HND-HAN. Initially I rejected the idea of a long stop-over in Japan because Mugmug had always been paranoid about the radiation from 2009 earthquake. Atlas, we gave way to the cheap yen, and reassurance from further research that radiation was not as bad as we previously thought.
So here we go! Here is our two-week itinerary for Japan and Vietnam. Please click on the links below to see the detailed trip report:
Day 1 & Day 3 : Kyoto: Heart of Traditional Japan.
Day 2: Deers in Nara
Day 4 – Day 5: Hakone: Hot Spring Ryokan and the Non-sighting of Mt. Fuji
Day 5: City Lights in Tokyo
Day 9: Day tour to Tam Cou (sadly this was changed to Hanoi one day tour by our travel agency), fly to Hue in the evening
Day 10: Historical Sites in Hue
Day 11 -12 Hoi An : Picturesque Ancient Town
Day 13-14: Spend two days at Hyatt Regency Da Nang
In retrospect, I would have spent an extra night in Tokyo and perhaps Hoi An too, and skip Da Nang altogether. While Hyatt Da Nang was a nice resort with white sandy beach, the ocean color was not turquoise like in Thailand. It was just not the exotic travel experience I was hoping for. I liked he beaches in Hawaii and Cancun a lot better. Nevertheless, it was the perfect place to unwind from a two-week long trip. Mugmug is a Hyatt Diamond and we were thoroughly pampered by the delicious breakfast and appetizers in the club lounge during their cocktail hours.