© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated_tokyo2_47

Travel tips and tricks – Part 2

Hello and welcome…

This is part two of our top tips for travelling learnt whilst on our first five months away in Asia. Hopefully some of them will also come in use for our next adventure which we have planned for August 2011. More to come on that. So here’s part 2 of 3! Hope you find something useful.

Whilst on our travels we heard tales of survival and health remedies from lots of fellow comrades and we wanted to share the hints, tips and advice that we now take for granted. Part 2 of 3!

Japan Rail sites.
Japan was our first destination back in October 2010. As relative novices to this travelling lark we were thrown into the deep end with a non Latin character country such as Japan. Everyone here is refreshingly friendly and will help you as much as possible. Just a look of mild confusion upon oneself will be enough of an excuse for someone to lend a hand. Two sites that proved really useful for planning the train journeys around Japan are japantravel.co.uk and hyperdia.com.

Japantravel.co.uk has some great information on the Japan Rail Pass, unlimited use on all Japan Rail operated trains, valid for either 7, 14 or 21 days. We had a 14 day pass and travelled from Tokyo to Mount Fuji to Takayama to Kanazawa to Nanao back to Kanazawa to Kyoto to Koyasan to Kyoto to Osaka and finally to Kobe. Even use of the bullet train is permitted! As long as you travel far enough to make it worth while then it’s a great way to see Japan.

Hyperdia.com is a great resource which allows you to plan your journey on the trains around Japan with lots of routes and precise timetables to maximise the Japan Rail pass.

Tokyo subway.
Keeping with the Japanese travel theme there is a golden rule to remember when using the subway in Tokyo. Two companies run the whole network. This can easily cause a problem as we found out the first time we attempted to use it early one morning on our way to the Tsukiji Fish Market.

Tokyo Metro is a privately run section of the subway with 168 stations and 9 lines. TOEI is run by the government and operates 106 stations over four lines. Both are roughly the same price. Just check where you are going and make sure you buy the correct ticket, it is easy, just remember that’s its not all the same network.

The subways are indicated by station name, number and line colour/name. There are English Fare charts near the ticket vending machines. Some lines have adopted female only cars so check when you board to make sure you’re allowed on that cabin. If you traveled further than the ticket you bought allows, pay the extra fare at a fare adjustment machine located near the fare gates. At the exits of the station are really detailed maps that show you which exit you need to continue your journey.

Travellers diarrhoea, rehydration sachets and charcoal tablets.
Travellers diarrhoea is eventually going to happen at some stage on a round the world adventure. We found out that as well as taking a medical bag with the usual essentials (don’t forget an assortment of clean needles from dental to hypodermic etc which you can give to medical staff to use so you know they are safe) you will need plenty of rehydration sachets and possibly constipation and diarrhoea tablets to cover various eventualities. We were informed that pure charcoal tablets can really help when taking anti-diarrhoea tablets. They were quite pricey and huge in size, however they help to kill the bugs that are been held inside your gut due to the firming up medication! Oh and rehydration sachets are amazing at helping to get you through a hangover! (Do check with a pharmacist first…we are not medical experts!!)

Hot water everywhere, noodles, China.
In China and South-East Asia it’s normally not safe to drink the local tap water supply. Remember not to have drinks with ice and also clean your teeth with bottled water. Drinking bottled water may seem expensive, but in China is is relatively cheap to buy and they have plenty of boiling water supplies at most public places, hostels, and even on trains! The locals don’t drink the tap water, they use boiled water for making tea in flasks and for their favourite travel meal, rehydrated noodles which come in a vast array of flavours. They are actually quite nice and much better than the chicken feet they munch on! So get yourself a seal-able thermal flask for hot and clean water along with a box or two of noodles for no fuss, easy snacking.

Sleeping bag liner / pillow case.

A lightweight cotton sleeping bag liner is a must if you can squeeze one into your backpack. It means that any dodgy looking mattresses or blankets can be forgotten about, sleeper buses and trains are much more comfortable as you just don’t know how well they are cleaned, they are easy to wash and quick to dry! A pillow case does the same job, just stuff it with a hoodie etc and you have a makeshift pillow. Also with both of these, they can make great section dividers in your backpack which are easy to grab, e.g. dirty washing can be stored separately from everything else and all washed together / cooler climate clothes can be kept out of the way in the sleeping bag liner so not to get mixed up with everything else.

Part three will be coming soon! Part 1 is here! Do you have any top tips? Comment below or drop us an email and we can add your suggestions to the next post.

Related posts that may be of interest to you:

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  1. Posted 9 Jun ’11 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Hey thanks so much for posting this! I’m planning a trip to Asia for 2012 with my girlfriend before we get married and that :0) I am looking for any information available to make our trip go smoother. Your site is perfect so thanks again for all the info! M

    • Posted 9 Jun ’11 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Hello Matty, thanks for the lovely message. Glad you like the site. Keep an eye open for Part 3 and some other nuggets of information! :)

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