Thursday, January 24, 2008

Back from Hokkaido!

Updated 27 Jan 2008: Batteries

Just came back from the 8 days Hokkaido tour. It has been a long time since I had so much fun. Joined the tour group organised by Hong Thai Travel. I have to say that out of the tours I went in my memory, Hong Thai Travel so far has been the best. The guide, J.C., has been quite informative and very friendly. In every place, he explained the culture, and history of the area, which was what I was looking for. When we had time, he squeezed in some extra stuff not from the itinerary. These extra stuff of course you have to pay, but its well worth it. The extra stuff is based on group consensus. You can don't join in if you don't wish to. The tour group was also quite good, and we're mostly on time. :p

If you forgot to do your shopping (which is near impossible), Hong Thai allows you to order selective snacks and tidbits near the end of the Hokkaido tour. The snacks are generally quite good. However, if you ever stop at those pitstops for toilet breaks, take a look at the food they sell there. Its generally cheaper there. :) The pace of the tour was surprisingly quite okay. I don't feel the urgency associated with my previous tours experience.

The highest temperature in South-West Hokkaido was -2 degrees. Lowest we went should be around -10 degrees, when we were up in the mountains playing with the snow mobiles. :D Boy was that fun... I would be posting some of the interesting parts of the Hokkaido trip.

Just some things to take note before you go to a cold country:
  1. Thermal wear is a must! I had a good winter coat from G2000 (Down coat) so I did not need to wear my thermal shirt (even in -10 degrees). However, thermal pants is a must. I was only wearing T-shirt, pullover, winter coat, thermal pants and jeans. :)
  2. Do not forget your ears. Best if you can get a hat that can cover your head, plus your ears.
  3. Good gloves is a must! I got a cheap pair of gloves and most of the time, I did not feel that there's any difference between wearing the gloves, and not wearing it.
  4. Try not to wear sports shoes because the front part of the shoes are "open". I wore my black leather shoes there, and my feet was alright, even at up to -10 degrees, with good warm socks of course.
  5. Ensure that you keep your battery operated devices (e.g. handphone, camera) in a warm place. I kept mine in my winter coat pocket. Reason is that in cold weather, the battery will run out much faster. You do not want your camera battery to run out halfway through the tour. :)

When I came back to Singapore, Narita check-in is also slightly different from normal airports. It seems to be similar to Jakarta check-in. There are no shops once you go into Narita International Airport Terminal 2. You have to check-in first. In general, the sequence to check-in at Narita is as follows:
  1. Check your check-in baggage at the scanner
  2. Check in your baggage
  3. Do some last minute shopping at the 2nd floor after you check-in your baggage. Mostly food stores up there, but they do have stores that sell Yukata, electronics, etc.
  4. Check-in. Ensure that you remove whatever that can cause the detector to beep. If it beeps, you might need to take out your shoes. :p
  5. Check the gate that you're going in. The gate might be in the satellite building attached to Terminal 2. In that case, you will need to take the sky train to the other building. You have to factor in that time.
  6. There's some duty free shops after you check-in. I saw a small Akihabara there. However, I had no time to check out that place.

Oh yes... Bring lots of yen. You'll find that you'll keep buying and buying. :p Darn... I'm much poorer now. Oh well.. At least I had lots of fun.


Marilyn said...

Keep up the good work. Cheers:-)

Rhinestic said...

Aye, you're fast... Have been busy washing my clothes, sweeping the house, ironing some of the dried clothes and packing the souvenirs....

Jessica Brown said...

Nice post, things explained in details. Thank You.

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