The title says it all. I’m going to Asia. And, as expected, I am super excited about it! Short story long: My dear friend Brandon and I have been talking about going to Asia together, specifically Seoul, for a while now and back in July the stars aligned for us in a very wonderful way! A coworker told me about this site Travel Pirates that posts flash sales and deals for airlines, cruises, and trips so I logged on and the first thing I see is “AIR CHINA FLASH SALE! NEW YORK TO SEOUL, TOKYO, BEIJING! $400!”
Yeah. You read that right. $400 round trip flights from New York to either of those cities. I immediately sent the link to Brandon and (after some deliberation and Yelp-review research) three days later we were booked! I am still in shock. I absolutely love traveling and have never been to Asia so I am basically freaking out about this trip. I am way too much of a planner to do that whole “let’s just get there and see what happens” thing, so since the day we booked the trip, I have been deep into the internet taking notes on what to do, where to go, what to eat and how to see everything I want to in two weeks! I have an email draft saved on my phone that some may mistake as the manuscript for a travel book…
Our itinerary is as follows:
November 12th: NYC – Beijing (3 hour layover) – Seoul
November 20th: Seoul – Tokyo
November 26th: Tokyo – Beijing (12 hour layover) – NYC
That 12 hour layover could potentially be a really great, if incredibly short, trip to Beijing, but it is from 10pm to 10am so I am not sure what we will get up to… We may just end up getting a hotel room and passing out, but I’d like to think we can have a crazy fun night in China. Which is the name of a movie I’d probably watch on Netflix one night…
We decided to lodge in AirBNBs in lieu of hotels as we felt it would give us more freedom to come and go and to get more of a local’s experience for each city. Our apartment in Seoul is located in Itaewon and seems simple but cute and cozy!
I know that in Seoul we have to visit the amazing temples that are scattered throughout the city to get a taste of the incredible history the city holds. I am also really excited to visit as many restaurants and bars as we can find to get a taste of the incredible Korean cuisine! Though, admittedly I am a very picky eater (no red meat, pork, raisins, corn or mushrooms for starters) so I am a little nervous about being in a country where I do not speak the language, but I am optimistic I will make it work!
Brandon and I are also both huge Kpop fans so we are both really excited to visit Seoul and are hoping to bump into Mamamoo or Seventeen randomly at some point. (A boy can dream!)
In Tokyo, we are being joined by Brandon’s boyfriend so we wanted a place with two bedrooms and found this adorable place in Shinjuku!
As far as Tokyo, I am so excited to witness the cultural differences that separate it from the massive city I call home. I can’t wait to check out some incredible sushi spots as well as check out the comic book/manga culture of the city! We also plan on going to Toyko Disney, which has been on my bucket list for so long and I may be most excited to visit that park!
In both cities, I am really looking forward to exploring the LGBT culture through the many gay bars in each city. I was actually shocked to find out that both Seoul and Tokyo have as many or maybe more gay bars than New York City! The bars there are definitely smaller (some only seating up to five guests at one time) but I have already planned a few bar crawls for us to venture through while hopefully making friends from all over the world!
Like I said, I have a huge list of restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, temples, karaoke spots, toy stores, comic book shops, fish markets, drag queens, streets and parks to see, but I would love any input you may have for me! Have you been to either city? What are your favorite spots in and around Seoul and/or Tokyo? What can we not miss?!