And I just can’t hide it…
Sorry for the terrible pun, but it couldn’t be avoided. As of this morning, our trip to Japan has been updated and we’re including a visit to Seoul, South Korea as well! We’ve never been, despite discussing it quite a few times in the past.
So why the late change to the plans? Two main reasons:
- I was determined to retain my British Airway gold status for another year and @FrankDJS (henceforth know as King of Aviation Geeks) calculated that this was indeed possible. But only if we cancelled and rebooked our flights with some changes. And added a couple of extra flights. More than a couple, actually…
This sounds like a lot of extra work for something ephemeral, but I can hand-on-heart say that the last year of BA Executive Club Gold status has been a real help on my many, many business trips. Several free upgrades, extra baggage allowance and the comfort of a business lounge to get work done (or simply slump, head-in-hands at the end of a very long day).
- We’d be re-thinking how we’d spend our time in Japan and considered changing our plans to visit Nagano and Kanazawa.
Cancelling the BA flights was at minimal expense and we’ve rebooked with FinnAir. Not as crazy as it sounds! We fly from Heathrow to Helsinki and after a brief stopover, go from there to Seoul. Why via Helsinki? Well take a look at the earth – going to Asia via the north makes for a quicker journey.
After a few days in Seoul, we fly to Tokyo and immediately on to Osaka. At that point, we’ll start using our First Class JR rail passes and make our way back to Tokyo.
We’re planning a series of day-trips out of Tokyo to take advantage of the passes, as well as doing some of our favourite things within Tokyo. This will include a trip up to Nagano to see the snow monkeys, which is definitely do-able with travel via Shinkansen. We’ll once again be in town for the annual Halloween parade (amazeballs!). That aside, everything’s up for discussion.
It’s all a bit mad, really. We still fly out on October 20th, so this is a relatively last-minute change to the plan. Also, we usually plan our trips in some detail – reading up on where to go and what to see. The decision to add Seoul to the itinerary went something like this:
“How about Seoul?”
“We’ve never been there, have we?”
“Look, it’s only two hours flight from Tokyo.”
“Done! Let’s book it.”
I don’t think we’ve ever made a travel decision that quickly before. There is so much to do and see in Seoul, 48 hours will only let us scratch the surface. But I’m sure I can eat my fill and take a few thousand photos of the city and its people in that brief time.
So now all we need to do is find a hotel in Seoul and a hotel in Osaka. Our hotel in Tokyo remains unchanged (especially as it was prepaid!). Oh and @FrankDJS has to learn Korean, which I’m sure is totally doable in three weeks. It’s only fair as I’ve been studying Japanese.