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Many people prefer adventures and many people try to steer clear off of it. If you fall into the former category, a thrilling walk down the South Downs Way is something one needs to experience once in their lifetime.

It goes without saying that the experience itself is one of a kind, one that requires a lot of enthusiasm and adrenaline rush.

Familiarising yourself with the South Downs Way Walking Holidays and Routes is definitely something that you can not just pass up on.

The beauty surrounding these spots is not just enigmatic but enthralling as well.

The beauty of the place and the serenity that the walk brings along is nothing short of heavenly.

If you have been planning for a walking trip, this is most definitely one of the very best that you can opt for.

Visiting the South Downs Way is an experience that one can share with their grandchildren.

All that being said, it is best to know about the ins and outs when it comes to the trail and everything that it represents.

Know a little about South Downs Way

South Downs Way is one of the most popular long-distance footpaths and bridleway which runs along the South Down in the southern part of England.

Given that England is praised for its beautiful scenic beauty, it is not surprising that this is one of the 16 national trails around in the country.

The trail of South Downs Way is around 160 km long and extended on from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne located in East Sussex.

It comprises of 4150m of both ascent and descent altogether.

If the folklore is to be believed, it is said that people have been using this trail for over 8000 years now.

The best thing about this trail is the fact that it is quite easy to follow and is well marked.

It is predominantly used by the horses and the cyclists as well.

People who have walked along this trail have described it as an experience surmountable.

It is not technically the beauty of the surroundings but also the breathtaking lush greenery that encompasses every single person.

A guided knowledge about the route

The most important factor about the South Downs Way is the fact that there are sites that one can opt for walking.

It depends on the capabilities and the endurance of the people travelling through this path.

If you want, you can either opt for travelling through the entire route or even try and walk through sections of it.

Majority of the guided tours that you get are all prepared based on the requirements and choices of the people.

It goes without saying that you should be very cautious of the consequences through the route.

Pick the route that you know you will be able to embark on.

There are predominantly four different routes that one can opt for. They include:

– The entire trail
– Eastern section
– Western section
– Seven sisters and the long man

The last option being the short break option for the people who want to indulge in a small tour to just relinquish the beauty of the place.

To explain it better to you, we are going to be discussing through each one of these trails without any further ado.

The entire trail

The entire walk down the South Downs Way stretches from Winchester to Eastbourne.

It is 167 km long and is nothing but beautiful experience in itself.

Based on the stamina and the endurance of an individual, the guided tours are planned accordingly.

Majority of this range from either 4 days to 9-10 days long trips.

If you are fit enough to walk through the days, the least days trip is a good option and won’t technically cost you a lot.

But, if you are not that well off physically, it is best suggested to refrain from letting your body go through a lot altogether.

Eastern trail

The eastern trail of the South Downs Way includes a trip from Amberley to Eastbourne.

It is around 85 km in entirety and is perfect for the people who don’t want to go overboard with the walking.

If you want to experience the place and refrain from walking a lot, this is it. It provides with breathtaking panoramic views that you just can’t miss out on.

The trip often ends with the spectacular view over the cliffs of the seven sisters where the South Downs finally meets through the sea.

If you are here wondering what needs to be done, you do have a plethora of option under this trail.

Western trail

The western section of this trail stretches on from Winchester to Amberley.

It is around 80 km in length and offers a plethora of amazing views from across the place.

Apart from the lush greenery, this side of the trail also offers wooded areas and shady trees to have a relaxing walk and experience.

Seven Sisters and the Long Man

The last finishing part of this entire journey includes the short break through the seven sisters and the long man.

It includes a small yet eventful 2 days walk in Alfriston.

Majority of the people refer to this as the circular day walk, mainly because you start from Alfriston and end your journey at Alfriston only.

The entire trip is around 31 km long and offers one of the best views of the Seven Sisters that you get before you start heading inland. From there, you can again come back to Alfriston via the Cuckmere River.

Tips for walking holiday trips

It is not surprising that walking holiday trips are exciting and one of a kind but they bring forth a number of challenges as well.

It is thus important to keep certain things in mind that will help cope with the process all the more.

– Be careful and cautious of the route you choose. Don’t overdo it. It is necessary that you stay aware of your limitations and endurance
Carry all the essentials that would be required along the trip.
– Some of the necessities include flashlight, snacks and water bottles
– Ensure to get everything checked out on the medical terms. This will ensure that you don’t face any emergency during the trip

This trip is nothing but one of a kind that you just can’t get anywhere else.

It goes without saying that it is always best to keep the safety precautions in mind.

Never rush through the process and ensure that you take in the surroundings.

It is in the beauty of the small things that make the trip worth everything and more.

The post A Guide to Walking the South Downs Way appeared first on Travel Dave.

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Kerala offers many adventure opportunities as well as relaxing vibes and breathtaking landscapes for travellers. Altogether it’s a peaceful and charming environment to be in.

The Kerala region quickly grew into becoming my favourite area to discover in the south of India.

Kerala offers a whole other side of India that I didn’t know existed until I visited, and I’m happy I took the time to explore this unique part of India.

An adventure awaits in Kerala for those wishing to seek it.

Last year I explored the north of India and travelled across Rajasthan by railway which was a whole other side of India. Maybe you’re currently looking for something completely different on a second visit to India (just like I was)? Then Kerala in the south could just be the ticket for you.

I found Kerala to be less populated than the north which can become overwhelming rather quickly at times. The food in Kerala is also completely different with fresh coconuts and locally sourced spices and seafood being placed at the top of the menu. All these items are not commonly found in the north. Be sure not to miss out on the local favourite, banana chips, which I had the pleasure of enjoying a bag or two.

You will soon discover a tropical feel to the place as you explore the backwaters which are lined with palm trees and wildlife, waiting for you on every corner. It’s a magical experience which you have to try for yourself.

I’m happy to have spent the past two weeks discovering Kerala, and I hope you get to visit this unique region located in the south of India.

This is a useful travel guide to the Best places to visit in kerala, South India, which you can use to craft together your own trip. Enjoy the read!

Flying to Kerala is affordable and easy

The easiest way to reach Kerala, India is to fly into Cochin International Airport in Kochi. You will soon discover that many airlines fly to Kochi, such as British Airways, Air India, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.

I flew to Kochi from London via a stopover in Doha with Qatar Airways to break up the flight and fit in a city break. I found the flight prices to be rather affordable in March/April and the weather sunny and perfect, away from the raining season of June.

Please note at this stage that UK passport holders must apply for an E-visa in advance before arriving in India.

Discover the capital of Kochi

Start off your trip to Kerala by spending a few days exploring the capital city of the Kerala region, Kochi.

The highlight from my visit to Kochi was going to see the Chinese fishing nets in use. It is a traditional and unique fishing technique which is still used in the Kochi area today.

Best to time your visit for evening so you can enjoy the fishing action as the sun heads down. Be sure to grab a boat back to your hotel to enjoy a sunset and the Chinese fishing nets from the waterways. What a wonderful experience.

Another recommendation is to explore the Jewish Street in Mattancherry which offers a unique insight into the Jewish quarter. Kerala is home to many religions, and this is why they call the region “God’s own country.” This also happens to be a great place to enjoy a spot of shopping.

Hotel recommendation: I stayed at the Grand Hyatt, Kochi and it has to be the best hotel that I stayed at across the whole trip. It was a perfect one night’s stay after a long flight and will set you in a good mood to explore Kochi.

Explore the backwaters of Alleppey

A trip to Kerala wouldn’t be complete without exploring the backwaters, and Alleppey is just the place to do it.

This river runs for thousands of miles and used to be a popular rice trading route until modern automobiles come along speeding up the operation.

Once the rice route was no longer needed along the waters and locals were left with over a thousand rice boats, the locals decided to transform the rice boats into accommodations for visitors to explore and enjoy the backwaters.

Now you can find many small companies offering this service.

You have two options, you can either do a day cruise around Alleppey or stay overnight on the boat and explore more of the waters.

This is a wonderful leisure experience and I opted to stay overnight, which includes lodging, crew and set meals all taken care of. I went with the local company called Rainbow Cruises.

Life goes on by the river and through the backwaters. Here you can see the local way of life in Kerala as locals use the commuter boats to get to and from work or school throughout the day. It’s a wonderfully relaxing journey through the palm trees and the calm waters, so just sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.

Adventure starts in Akkarakalam

Take your river cruise to Akkarakalam, and the adventure begins.

Through a local company called Kalypso Adventures, you can enjoy a spot of kayaking through the backwaters and then come cycling back through the palm trees. It’s a great way to explore the backwaters for the day by paddle and cycle.

Trekking at Suryanelli with Kalypso Camp

For those seeking adventure, be sure to check out and enjoy the Butterfly Forest Trek which is hosted by Kalypso Adventure.

Escape to nature and enjoy an overnight tent stay with an early morning trek and sunrise which overlooks a tea plantation. It’s a wonderful hike to experience the outdoors of Kerala.

Hotel recommendation: Kalypso Camp offers a unique tent village stay for those seeking alternative accommodation options and wanting to add a bit of adventure to the trip. Experience the night fire and BBQ, and sleep under the stars. This is a great way to have a fun overnight experience in Kerala.

Thekkady cardamom and spice plantation

India is world famous for its exotic spices, and in Kerala, you can find a wide selection of fresh produce on offer.

Head to Thekkady cardamom and spice plantation to learn about all the different spices which are grown in India, such as the pepper which is exported around the world from this very spot.

This is a great spot to pick up fresh spices for affordable prices to take back home as gifts for loved ones.

Hotel recommendation: Thekkady Spice Village is a great spot to stay whilst visiting Thekkady cardamom and spice plantation.

Boating in Periyar Lake – safari in Periyar Tiger Reserve

Periyar Tiger Reserve is broken up into two areas, the north and the south. In the north, you can take a jeep safari into the reserve to see if you can spot any wildlife.

Normally you will spot some rare birds that are native to the area as well as other wildlife.

Tiger spotting is not so common during a day trip, but you can spend more time in the reserve to improve your chances if you’re after a tiger sighting.

In the south of Periyar Tiger Reserve, you will find Periyar Lake where you can take a boat safari trip out onto the water which is a wonderful spot for bird watching.

Hotel recommendation: Greenwoods Resort which is located on the Periyar Lake makes for a perfect location for morning and breakfast safari experience.

Munnar by Jeep & Tea Tour at Lockhart tea plantation

A personal highlight for me in Kerala was visiting the tea plantations. If you wish to do the same, then Munnar is the tea capital of Kerala.

Visit the Lockhart tea plantation and learn about the process of tea manufacturing. You can walk through the whole production, as the tea arrives from the tea fields to the factory where it is then processed for consumption.

I like to enjoy a cup of tea each day, and it was wonderful to learn how tea is produced from field to cup.

You can also take a jeep tour up to the tea fields which makes for a wonderful photo opportunity.

Perfect experience for the tea lover in your life. Don’t forget to buy some tea to take home and brew for yourself.

Hotel recommendation: KTDC Tea county is located within driving distance of the tea plantations and makes for a perfect base to discover Munnar.

Trek to Athirappilly waterfalls

Athirappilly waterfalls is a sight of outstanding natural beauty which should be experienced on a trip to Kerala.

Take a river walk along the stream to see Athirappilly waterfalls first hand and go for a refreshing dip to enjoy your visit.

A spectacular view can also be enjoyed from many viewpoints around the waterfall if you don’t fancy the hike and swim.

Hotel recommendation: Green Trees Athirappilly is a boutique hotel which offers a small selection of rooms but total peace and quiet with a relaxing pool to enjoy in the hot sun.

Muzhupilangad Beach – drive-in beach

Did you know that in Kerala they have the only drive-in beach in India?

Be sure to check this fun attraction out if you happen to have a rental car.

Muzhupilangad Beach is flat enough for cars to drive on, and even a large bus can manage the drive on this beach easily. Rather fun and wild to experience at the same time.

Something unique to experience in Kerala.

Get wild in Wayanad

Explore the Vythiri area and take a walk on the wild side through the jungles of Wayanad, where streams originate, wild life-breaths and birds sing.

For the hotel I would recommend CGH Earth Wayanad Wild resorts, which is an eco-resort located in the depths of the surrounding tropical rainforest.

This is an ideal setting to switch off and escape to nature. It’s possible to spot wild elephants roaming here.

Visit Jatayu Earth’s Center

New to Kerala is the Jatayu Earth’s Center which can be found in Kollam.

Here you can find a large statue of a bird. Grab the cable cart up to the top to see this attraction for yourself.

The large mythical bird statue is of a character Jatayu, which fell after its wings were clipped by Ravana in the epic Ramayana.

It’s the largest bird statue in the world and can be found on top of Jatayu Rock at the Jatayu Earth’s Center in Kerala.

Hotel option: I stayed at the Raviz Ashtamudi, Kollam, which offered clean and cosy rooms with an incredible pool and service, can highly recommend this location.

Enjoy an overnight train journey in Kerala

A trip to India wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a ride on the popular local train network.

Kerala has a wonderful night train called the Maveli Express that travels along the coast.

Save on accommodation and sleep whilst you travel in one of the affordable sleeper cabins.

I would recommend going for the A/C option for a more comfortable journey. Enjoy your journey across Kerala using the Indian rail network.

Don’t forget to pick up some local food which is always on offer from local vendors at most of the stations. A fun experience to try in Kerala.

Cruising in Valiyaparamba backwaters

Another area worth exploring the backwaters is cruising along the Valiyaparamba backwaters which is a great section to explore.

Here you could opt for the half day tour and enjoy lunch along the waters. From here you can also arrange a visit to Bekal Fort beach.

Relax in paradise at Kovalam beach area

Looking to end your trip with a beach escape? Look no further than Kovalam which offers a large selection of resorts and sandy beaches for you to explore. This is also a perfect spot to try some scuba diving if that is your thing.

I stayed at Turtle on the Beach Resort which offers a stunning view over the beach, a relaxing pool and a close walk to the lighthouse, making it a great place to stay during your time in Kovalam.

From here you have a number of options. You could either head back to Kochi and fly home or fly from the local airport Trivandrum International Airport which also has a few international flight options. It’s nice to end your trip to Kerala with some relaxing beach time before heading home.

Thank you for reading my travel guide to Kerala

Thank you for passing by and checking out my travel guide to exploring Kerala in the south of India.

I hope you found this blog post useful and you’re looking forward to discovering the region in the close future.

If you have any further questions about Kerala that you couldn’t find in this guide, please feel free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to help. Happy travels!

The post Best places to visit in kerala, South India appeared first on Travel Dave.

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Skopje is the capital of the Republic of North Macedonia, and it’s located in the Balkan Peninsula area of Europe.

Over the years, Skopje has experienced both Roman and Ottoman rule, and you can still see influences from these periods around the city.

An old 15th century stone bridge connects the Ottoman period bazaar located along the Vardar River to the city square where you will find a statue of Alexander the Great.

Furthermore, the Skopje Fortress that overlooks the Vardar River has been defending the city for centuries.

After a recent visit to this newly named country, I wanted to share my experience of Skopje with you.

This blog post is a guide to what to see and do on a visit to the capital city of Skopje, North Macedonia.

Rent a car for the day and explore North Macedonia

Once you’ve explored the city of Skopje, why not explore more of North Macedonia? Public transportation around North Macedonia is not that great so why not rent a car in Skopje Airport for the day can be an affordable option and offer more flexibility.

With its rolling hills and mountains, hiking trails and picturesque lakes, North Macedonia has a wonderful selection of natural beauty and nature to choose from.

Places you should visit on a road trip:

Lake Matka
Lake Ohrid
Sharr Mountains
Mavrovo National Park

These locations will show you the pure natural beauty that North Macedonia has to offer. Enjoy the road trip.

But first, a short explanation surrounding the country’s new name.

Republic of North Macedonia

The country has recently changed its name from Republic of Macedonia to Republic of North Macedonia.

It is one of the former states of Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in September 1991.

Skopje is the capital city of North Macedonia and offers loads of things to do for visitors over a weekend.

Best airport depatures. Getting to Skopje, North Macedonia

Flying to Skopje is easy with flights from around Europe arriving at Skopje International Airport. Wizz Air offers direct flights to Skopje from London Luton Airport and Turkish Airlines offers connection flights to Skopje from Istanbul.

You can also fly from Skopje to Doha with Qatar Airways and to Dubai with Fly Dubai. The Skopje International Airport offers many international flights out of Europe as well, thus giving a great selection of options for travellers.

Some tips regarding car rental in North Macedonia is it’s best to rent your car from Skopje International Airport as this location offers the most options. Parking is easy to find and can be arranged in advance with your hotel. Another point to highlight is to keep some small change handy as all the motorways in North Macedonia are toll roads.

Is North Macedonia safe for travellers?

North Macedonia is totally safe, and I never ran into any problems whilst travelling around the country.

I found the locals to be rather friendly towards me and a few locals even wanted to talk with me to find out what I was doing in the country and help me with my travel plans.

A handful of locals offered to chat over a coffee and wanted me to try some of the local food and enjoy their culture. Rather delightful experience.

Skopje city as well as other destinations in North Macedonia can be exiting to visit for travellers wanting to try something different.

Where to stay in Skopje city: Skopje Marriott Hotel

Whilst staying in the capital, I opted to stay at the Skopje Marriott Hotel.

Located perfectly in the city centre, you’re right at the heart of the action.

I found that Skopje Marriott Hotel had extremely affordable rates compared to other European cities, and I decided to make the most out of my stay and splash out on the best hotel in North Macedonia.

It was a delightful stay with incredible service, city view, spa facilities and a wonderful breakfast selection.

Happy with my stay and would recommend to others wanting to experience an affordable Marriott Hotel location.

Statues, statues, statues and even more statues around Skopje

The first thing you will start to notice whilst walking around Skopje city has to be the endless amount of statues that you will stumble upon during your visit.

Many will refer to Skopje as the city of statues.

Located on almost every corner, you will find a different statue waiting for you.

It’s rather bizarre. The idea of setting up statues was to help attract more visitors to the city but I think that maybe the city went a little overboard with the amount.

The statues are a very pointless and amusing attraction for tourists to discover around the city, and you will start to wonder what the story behind this is.

How many statues, you may ask? Well, I didn’t personally have time to count them all, but this can be a fun activity to add to your itinerary.

I counted 52 on my visit. Let me know how many you count on your visit and enjoy seeing all the statues around Skopje.

Explore the Old Bazaar

My favourite part in Skopje was exploring the Old Bazaar and the Stone Bridge.

Cross over the old 15th-century Stone Bridge that crosses the Vardar River and you will instantly be taken back to the Ottoman period.

Find local vendors selling an assortment of goods ranging from food, herbs, tea and spices to handcrafted gifts to take back home.

I found this an affordable spot to grab a bite to eat, and it was also fun to walk around in a flea market that takes place over the weekend.

A wonderful part of Skopje to see on your visit to the city.

Grab a coffee at Macedonia Square

The the best location to grab a coffee, lunch or ice cream has to be Macedonia Square located in the city centre. You will also find a large statue of Alexander the Great there that dominates the Macedonia Square. The statue makes it easy to find your way around Skopje city centre, and it’s one of the city’s main landmarks.

This is the place to be, especially when the sun is shining, which it often does in the summer. Find a place, pull up a chair and enjoy this modern looking square.

The Skopje Fortress – Kale

Throughout history, the Skopje Fortress – also referred to as Kale – has been protecting the city. The entry for visitors is free of charge, so it’s a nice place to check out on your visit to Skopje.

This also happens to be a good viewing point to get a nice look over the city from above.

If you want to learn more about the history of Skopje, you can go on a half day walking tour with a local.

Thank you for reading my blog post about visiting Skopje and North Macedonia

Thank you for passing by and checking out my blog post about Skopje city and North Macedonia.

I hope you found all the information useful for planning your own trip, and I wish you a wonderful, pleasant and safe trip.

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to help.

The post What to do in Skopje, North Macedonia appeared first on Travel Dave.

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A few years ago, whilst I was about to fly home from Zurich Airport, my flight was cancelled and moved to the next day.

I was able to claim compensation from the airline for the delay and wanted to share my story with you and offer advice to help those who might also happen to be in the same situation.

This blog post contains a walkthrough of my story, and I also share with you how I was able to make a claim.

A note before we get started

Before you read any further, I would like to mention that I am not a legal professional and my opinions remain my own.

This blog post is based on my own personal experience, and you should seek professional help when making a claim.

Personally, I received help from AirHelp, and I will explain how I went about this later on in the post.

Again, this is my personal story and I want to highlight many tips that I wish I knew when I was in this situation to help speed up the process.

Ok, now we have that cleared up – let’s continue with the blog post.

My flight cancellation

I was flying with a low-cost airline from Zurich Airport to London Gatwick.

It was the cheapest flight I could find to take me back home after attending a trade show called the Outdoor show in Germany. (The trade show had free shuttle buses to Zurich Airport, so this was an easy decision for me.)

The cheapest flight was in the evening, which worked out perfectly as I could enjoy one last day at the trade show and then head home.

I wasn’t aware of the night-time curfew that bans flights from departing out of Zurich Airport between 23:30 and 06:00 due to noise pollution.

This means that if the flight is late on arrival and the crew is unable turn the flight around in time, the aircraft will be grounded till the morning.

In this situation, there is simply nothing you can do but wait until the airport is open again in the morning and flights can start to depart.

These situations happen when you travel

Standing at the departure gate, I was ready to fly home, but I noticed that my flight ended up being delayed.

This was not good as that limited departure time was slowly not turning into a reality.

At this stage, I started to see seasoned travellers getting grumpy and then leaving the gate.

I was wondering if they knew something I didn’t whilst a bunch of confused looking passengers looked on.

My advice would be to take action immediately

The moment your flight has been confirmed as cancelled, you should take action immediately.

Time in this situation is everything.

Remember a whole flight full of people will now be looking for a hotel to stay for the night.

Think about this for a moment.

You could wait to complain to the member of staff at the departure gate, but what good would this do?

All they will tell you is that the flight has been confirmed as cancelled and you should wait for further instructions.

Calling the airline call centre will cost a premium whilst abroad, and if you’re in the same situation as me, it will be late, and the call centre might be closed.

Zurich Airport isn’t a major hub for budget airlines, which means there might not be any staff on hand, and this happened in my case.

Best to book your own hotel

Normally if the airport is a hub, they will have staff on hand at a desk to arrange food coupons and hotel bookings for cancelled flights.

For Zurich Airport and a particular budget airline, this was not the case.

You’re better off booking the hotel with your own money and claiming it back online later.

On top of this, Zurich, Switzerland just happens to be one of the most expensive cities in Europe to book a hotel.

With some advance planning, you can find deals, but late into the night on the day last minute with a whole flight of passengers looking for a place, you’re left with limited options.

If I had known about the cancellation ahead of time, I would have quickly booked a room at the Ibis Zürich Messe Airport, but by the time I arrived at the check-in desk, they informed me that the hotel had just got fully booked.

Before booking your hotel check if the airline allows this option first and also to what amount as some airlines have a limit on spending.

Normally the airline should have a claim page to upload your receipts to request a refund on cancelled flights.

As the airport hotels didn’t give me any options, I opted to grab the last train from the airport to the city and find a hotel close to the train station.

Again, my luck had run out. It was a Saturday, and almost everything was fully booked.

I found Ibis budget located around a 10-minute tram ride away, so I took the tram and tried my luck.

Luckily Ibis had had a few rooms available.

They had an Ibis city and an Ibis budget, and between the two I managed to find one of the last rooms for a whopping £120.

It was 01:20 am at this point, and I was in a room with a shower and could get some rest for the night.

In the morning, I could head back to Zurich Airport to sort out my return flight.

Yes, I could have not got the last train to the city and found a bench at the airport to sleep on for the night and save on the costs, but the airline has a responsibility to pay you back for the room.

It took some time to receive the repayment of the hotel, but I got it in the end.

Day Two: Returning in the morning

I want to mention that at this point, the airline said it would refund hotel and transport to the hotel.

However, my return train tickets from Zurich Airport to Zurich city were not refunded as it was not a point to point journey, so it’s best to take a taxi and keep the receipts.

I was using free Wi-Fi and the budget airline app for getting flight updates and cancellation details.

I got a notification that my flight was moved to the next day and that the check-in desk would be open 4 hours before the flight for questions and enquiries.

By using the app, I could get all my updates and there was no need to call the helpline.

Check if your airline has an app and keep checking your email inbox for updates from the airline.

I did choose to arrive back at Zurich airport 4 hours before my new flight to inquire about free food vouchers which you’re entitled to having if your flight is cancelled.

As no member of staff was around the previous night, I got two vouchers for breakfast and lunch that morning.

In Switzerland, these vouchers are much welcomed due to the high food and drink prices the country has.

I was able to get a meal at an airport restaurant and they accepted the vouchers with no fuss.

Luckily for me, this was the end of my brief visit to Zurich as the new scheduled flight took off on time with no concern about being grounded any longer.

We could make as much flight noise as we wanted around the city of Zurich, and I returned safely to London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

On my budget airline flight back, the crew apologised to us for the cancellation and let us order anything we wanted from the food cart for free as a goodwill gesture.

I think they did this to save having to hand out even more meal vouchers.

If your flight is cancelled, you could be protected

After arriving back in the UK, I heard about the EU law called Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004.

This entitles passengers to consumer protection if things go wrong, such as in the case of flight cancellation or delays.

Depending on your situation, you could apply for compensation.

As I was in Switzerland which isn’t part of the EU, I thought I wouldn’t be protected, but it turns out Switzerland is under bilateral agreements and the regulation does apply to it.

After having my flight cancelled in Switzerland by a budget airline, I found out that I was entitled to this compensation.

I did get an email from the airline offering a discounted flight voucher of £120 which I could use for a future flight as an apology for all the troubles.

I had indeed been put through some inconvenience and lost a day in total having to deal with everything.

When I emailed the airline about this, they replied by saying that the voucher should cover my time lost.

But the voucher wasn’t anywhere in the range that you could be compensated for.

Normally airlines sort out the compensation that you’re entitled to, but many passengers are not aware that you’re entitled to claim compensation, so passengers don’t bother going through the hassle to deal with it.

Why not seek advice from AirHelp and let them take care of it for you?

AirHelp worked well for my personal situation

For my Easyjet compensation claim, I used AirHelp to take care of all the hassle for me.

They offer a really easy and simple service to help you with your claim.

Simply sign up to AirHelp, and they will look into your individual situation to see if you have a case and then help assist you with your claim.

You don’t have to do anything but apply and let AirHelp take care of all the work for you.

This hassle-free process made the service work well for me.

Your claim may take some time, but they will do their best to make sure your claim is successful.

After being told I couldn’t make a claim directly from the budget airline, it was nice to have someone take care of this situation for me.

AirHelp does take a cut from the compensation to cover their own fee, but this was well worth it to ensure that I got a result and didn’t have to worry about the process.

After personal great success with AirHelp, I’m more than happy to recommend their services.

Thank you for reading my blog post about AirHelp

Thank you for spending your time reading my article. If you’re in a similar situation, I hope you can quickly resolve the issue and fly home safely.

I hope you have a better understanding of what you’re entitled to claim if your flight is delayed or cancelled and how to react in such a situation.

I enjoyed using AirHelp. I’m more than happy to recommend them and I hope that they work well for you too.

All the best and happy future travels.

The post Claim compensation for your flight cancellation with AirHelp appeared first on Travel Dave.

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One of the most fascinating wildlife experiences is tracking mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable forest.

This should not be a surprise because mountain gorillas are Homo sapiens closest relatives with similar behaviour and DNA.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is located in the southwestern corner of Uganda close to the border with Rwanda.

The park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the gorillas and vast rain-forest which cover an area of over 330 square kilometres.

The park is a sanctuary for mammals like leopards, forest elephants and duikers.

Several primate species live in the forest beside the gorillas like Colobus monkeys and chimpanzees.

Over 345 species of birds have been recorded in the park.

Despite this rich collection of flora and fauna, it is the mountain gorillas that stand out.

Mountain gorillas are considered an endangered species and are known to only thrive in the wild unlike their cousins the lowland gorillas.

Uganda is lucky to have half of the remaining population (about 1000) of mountain gorillas living in two national parks – Bwindi and Mgahinga.

The other half are found Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bwindi is one of the best locations to go gorilla Trekking

Bwindi is one of the best places to go gorilla Trekking because it hosts 14 habituated gorilla groups with more groups left undisturbed in the wild.

Bwindi is currently the only National Park where visitors can go and take part in the gorilla habituation experience.

This experience requires more time studying a particular gorilla group compared to the more common gorilla trekking.

The exercise takes a whole day and is led by prominent international primatologists (gorilla researchers), and experienced trackers.

Bwindi is also the only park where one can spot both chimpanzee and gorillas.

Apart from silverback gorilla tours, there are several other activities that one can get involved in while in the park.

Bwindi is also a great place to go birdwatching

As already noted earlier, Bwindi has a large collection of both resident and migratory bird species.

Birdwatching is a popular activity in Bwindi and can be combined with gorilla trekking and spotting the big five in Uganda’s other large National Parks for a more complete safari.

Birding can be arranged alongside nature walks to marvel at the beautiful forest and its creatures like forest antelopes, bush pigs and other smaller primates.

Another very popular activity is the Batwa cultural experience after gorilla trekking.

Meet the Pygmies tribe

The Batwa Pygmies were the original inhabitants of Bwindi Forest before the government decided to evict them and resettle them on land outside the park.

Unfortunately, the exercise was not a success – at least for the Batwa. Having relied on hunting and gathering in the forest for thousands of years, the Batwa were thrown into an unfamiliar world.

They struggle to survive outside the forest and face extreme poverty. Some of the Batwa are taking advantage of the tourism opportunities to earn an income by showcasing their cultural heritage to tourists through dance, drama and songs.

While on a visit to the Batwa community, tourists have an opportunity to learn about their earlier life – how they hunted, collected honey, prepared for war and used tree shoots as medicine.

By the end of the visit, visitors come out satisfied with the experience but also saddened by the many challenges faced by this indigenous African tribe as they try to adapt to a fast-changing modern world.

How is gorilla trekking organized?

The activity starts very early in the morning.

Trekkers gather at the park office as early as 07:00 am for registration, briefing and assignment of a gorilla group.

Some ground rules to give you an idea of what to expect:

– Only 8 people may track a particular gorilla family in a day.
– The briefing covers topics related to how to act around the gorillas, what to carry and what to wear.
– Shouting or making fun of the gorillas is strictly prohibited.
– You cannot run away when a gorilla charges at you.
– All you need to do is kneel down with face down in a submissive posture.
– Those who have transmittable diseases/infections or are below 15 years cannot track gorillas.

All the above information will be explained to you at the morning briefing as well as additional information.

After the briefing, trekkers go out in groups of 8 to track their group.

Bwindi is a large park with four sectors – Rushaga, Ruhiija, Nkuringo and Buhoma.

Some of these sectors are located far away from the park office and this may prolong the time taken locating a group.

The rangers usually know the location of the gorilla group based on where they built their last night nest.

Even with that knowledge, an advance team still has to be sent out very early to confirm their location.

The advance team is in constant communication with the Rangers leading the visitors using radio communication.

Locating the family can take between one to four hours depending on the gorilla family is assigned.

This will require some patience, but the reward will be worth it.

After trekking your way through thick vegetation with support from the park rangers, the visitor should find the family in around an hour.

Visitors are allowed only one hour with the gorillas to take photos/videos and observe the gorillas playing and the male silverback keeping stubborn members of the family in check.

Each group member has a different personality and there is the usual group dynamics which is interesting to observe.

The Cost of gorilla trekking and safety

How much does gorilla trekking cost? A gorilla trekking permit costs $600 US Dollars while the gorilla habituation experience costs $1,500 US Dollars.

By paying for the permits you will help to protect the gorillas, this is important to note as this fee is vital to secure the protection that they need.

The government through the Uganda Wildlife Authority uses part of the money collected for gorilla conservation activities and improving conditions in the park and nearby communities.

Gorilla trekking is a very popular activity and permits are on high demand.

Please note that Gorilla permits need to be booked months in advance from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or more conveniently through a good tour operator which requires some planning in advance before you arrive in Uganda.

You also need to consider the additional costs for hotel bookings, food, beverages, souvenirs, transportation and tourist Visa.

In total, it’s recommended to budget between $1400 to $2000 US Dollars for a gorilla tour trekking trip to Uganda.

This might come across as expensive, but the experience with the gorillas will be one of those things that you will remember for the rest of your life.

How about safety with the gorillas

Mountain gorillas are one of the most peaceful and gentle creatures on earth.

This is quite surprising when you consider their size and demeanour.

They never attack humans unless threatened so it’s important to listen to your morning briefing and follow Safety Considerations for Gorilla Trekking from your park ranger who has years of experience.

The big five (lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants and rhinos) animals can be far more aggressive.

Enjoy your visit to Uganda to see the wild gorillas

I really appreciate you passing by and reading my blog post about Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi National Park Uganda for first-time visitors.

I hope you found it useful and wish you a wonderful trip to Uganda and have an amazing time.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me and I will be more than happy to help.

The post Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi National Park Uganda appeared first on Travel Dave.

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Over the years I’ve worked out a few tricks on how to find cheap flights departing from the UK and I wanted to share them with you in this useful travel hacking blog post.

The UK has hundreds of routes and destinations to choose from, and there are many great flights deals to be found in this country.

One big bonus point is having London Heathrow Airport on your doorstep. It’s the world’s second-busiest airport by international passenger traffic with over seventy million passengers travelling through annually.

You’re bound to find a few cheap flights popping up every now and then, and here is a guide on how to best find them.

Fly from a major UK hub

First of all, let’s focus on the main UK airports as they frequently have the best flight deals.

London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Birmingham airport each have over ten million passengers travelling through every year. This means that you will have loads of flight options to choose from departing from these major UK airport hubs.

Do bear in mind the transportation costs to the locations mentioned above and be sure to pick your local airport to focus on deal hunting.

For example, London Gatwick can be accessed off-peak from London Victoria station using the local trains, such as Southern rail from just over £8 with a topped-up Oyster card.

It’s a lot cheaper than Gatwick Express and a lot faster than the national express bus, so look into affordable options to reach your local airport to save on your overall flight ticket costs.

The Heathrow Express line is considered the most expensive train route in the UK based on distance. Take the London Underground to central London instead and save big.

You might also want to book a hotel for the night before or after your late or early flight as many of the hotels around Heathrow offer affordable options compared to the city centre such as the Hyatt Place hotel.

Be flexible with your time and dates and the world is your oyster

What if I told you that cheap flights are easier to find when you remain flexible?

Be open to trying new airlines and interesting destinations at flexible times in the year.

The more open you are, the better chance you have of finding that awesome deal.

I know this isn’t ideal for those with fixed working hours and I’m afraid that this is just how the cookie crumbles. If you want to find the best deals, you have to be flexible and stay away from major holiday periods.

Stopovers can save you big on flight tickets

From my past flight searches, I’ve noticed a trend in stopover flights becoming more affordable than direct flights.

Many airlines have a preferred home hub destination and flying into this hub can open up more destination connections for the airline.

This allows them to win new business with new customers and offer a larger network at more affordable prices.

This is beating the competition for empty seats and allowing the airlines to offer more value to customers, if you don’t mind the stopover.

Why not extend your stopover and stay for the night

Take Qatar Airways, for example. They offer an expanding aircraft fleet that covers a wide selection of destinations, if you don’t mind flying into Doha airport.

You can even book a hotel and stay for the night adding a stopover destination to your trip for no extra cost. It can be fun exploring a new city for 24 hours and getting some rest between flights.

I’ve one done this with Air China on a 72-hour visa-free stopover in Beijing, China and hiked up to the Great Wall of China before flying to Bangkok, Thailand, my final destination. How fun is that!

I’ve also stopped off in Helsinki, Finland for 24 hours to visit a sauna by a lake close to Helsinki Airport and then done a tour around a chocolate factory. This was done whilst on a stopover from London whilst on a connection flight to Japan. It was nice to relax before such a long flight.

There are loads of possibilities, and stopover flights can be a lot cheaper than direct flights. Have a look around and see what you can find.

Stick with hand luggage when you can

Many airlines are now charging extra for check-in baggage, so it’s a good idea to learn how to travel with hand luggage and save on these added costs.

Do you really need that extra pair of shoes?

Check-in baggage can increase your total flight cost so avoid this fee if you can and travel with hand luggage. I have some packing tips on another blog post to help you get started.

Sign up to frequent flyer schemes

Signing up to frequent flyer schemes is free and doesn’t take a lot of your time. Every flight you take with an airline that is part of an alliance will give you free air miles for each flight.

Over time you can save them up and use them for free flights.

Once you’ve subscribed to an alliance’s newsletter, you will normally be informed about flight sales and deals with selected airlines. They like to inform loyal customers first before the general sale starts, so you get first dibs on the best deals.

I’ve been able to grab some great flight prices by finding out about these deals first as a loyal customer, so choose your favourite airlines you enjoy flying with the most.

These are the three major airline alliances and airlines that I use:

– One World – Finnair (Finland)
– Star Alliance – Lufthansa (Germany)
– Sky Team – KLM (The Netherlands)

Each alliance issues a membership card, and, over time, you can even earn an upgraded status which can help you save on your flight. You only need to be a member of one airline to collect points from the whole alliance, no need to sign up multiple times.

For example, last year I was flying frequently with One World and had my status upgraded to Silver. Now I can check in using the Business class line, check in additional baggage free of charge, get discount on lounge access and use the priority lane. All these services don’t cost me anything extra.

It’s worth the time saving extra air miles for no additional cost.

Last year I also earned a free return flight from Helsinki to Berlin with Lufthansa, a free flight from London to Stavanger, Norway with KLM and a free return flight from Helsinki to Dubai with Finnair. All for free by using my additional air miles.

I’m also a member of Norwegian Rewards which is not an alliance but a loyalty program. It allows you to collect CashPoints from every Norwegian flight, and you can then use those points as credit towards your next flight.

You will also be notified of sales and deals in advance.

It’s worth signing up to your favourite airline’s email list to find out about cheap flights first before anyone else does.

Sign up to Jack’s Flight Club

Don’t want to do all the searching? Then sign up for Jack’s Flight Club and let them take care of all the leg work for you.

It’s rather simple how it works – they will alert you straight away by emailing you the moment an awesome flight deal pops up.

They have a team scouring the internet around the clock to find the cheapest flights so you don’t have to.

The best way to bag the best flight deals is to act quickly.

A great thing is that Jack’s Flight Club is free to try out. The free version will limit your notification period, but you can still get one or two nice flight deals to check out each week.

If you love the service (like I do), you can choose the Premium membership option and be notified of even more deals immediately so you can act fast and grab that cheap flight.

I’ve been using the Premium service for a few months now to test it out and I’ve been happy with the results. The best deal that I found was from London to Bangkok with Air China for under £300, and this included meals and check-in luggage, which was an absolute deal!

You can choose from a selection of UK airports to depart from, which makes this a great service for those living in the UK wanting to find cheap flights. I’ve got my account set up to send me notifications for all London airports, and deals pop up on almost a daily basis.

The good thing about the Premium service is that it doesn’t cost that much, and you will quickly make the fee back with the great savings you will make. Happy days!

Be sure to sign up and share with me what deals you’ve managed to find

Thank you for reading my article about how to find cheap flights departing from the UK.

I hope you’ve found many useful tips and tricks to booking your dream holiday in the close future. Happy travels!

The post How to find cheap flights departing from the UK appeared first on Travel Dave.

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I’m often asked the question: “How are you able to find cheap theatre tickets?”, and as I grew up in London I wanted to offer some of my top tips and advice on how I’m able to find these great deals.

Sometimes to find these cheap tickets you don’t even have to book in advance – you can book on the day instead.

After visiting many theatre shows and musicals over the years I’ve picked up a few tricks or two.

This is a blog post guide on how to easily find cheap London theatre tickets for a weekend trip.

How to find cheap London theatre tickets

The key to finding London theatre tickets for a cheap price is to be open and flexible with the shows you want to see.

If there is a particular show you absolutely have to visit, then, by all means, book in advance and enjoy it. Just be prepared to spend a good amount of money for the tickets, depending on how popular the show is that you wish to see.

I once wanted to take a friend to see Lion King, and the tickets cost of over £200 for the set. I’ve learned from my mistakes after that heavy hit and I’m happy to pass my advice on how to find cheap theatre tickets.

To find the best price, I like to use websites such as Encore Tickets to help me search around for cheap theatre tickets.

If you want to see a great show but don’t mind which one, you have a good chance of finding tickets for an incredible price.

This is a bit of wild card method for selecting your show, but you can get the best price on the day compared to other alternatives.

Matinees tend to be cheaper than the evening shows, so keep your eyes open for good deals.

It’s also a good idea to check tickets for a show that is about to end its long run or a brand-new show that is trying to enter the market.

For those new shows to hit the Westend, I like to read critic reviews from Time Out London who cover almost all of the new launches so you can read about what to expect.

Traditionally theatres are closed on Sundays, but there is a selection of shows available that day as well. The Sunday shows tend to be more children friendly themed, so if you are travelling with children, check out the Sunday shows.

In the past, in order to find the cheapest tickets on the day, you would have to make a trip up to Leicester Square and visit one of the ticket offices, but now you can book tickets with the convenience of booking online. How awesome is that!

It’s nice and easy and saves you time and money to enjoy other attractions around London, so why not make a weekend out of it and book directly with Encore tickets.

Booking with Encore Tickets

The booking process with Encore Tickets is rather easy, head to the website, see what deals you can find then search around for the best date, time and seats that suit your preference.

Once you’ve made your booking you will be sent an email with your ticket reservation.

All you have to do now is arrive at the venue to show your email reservation at the ticket collection office and then you’re all set. Best to arrive a little early before the show so you can pick your tickets up on time.

Sit back, relax, enjoy the show and your theatre ticket saving.

Why not check out the London West End musical Wicked

After using the Encore Tickets website myself, I found that Wicked was available for £22.00 which is a fantastic price for a London West End musical.

I was able to book on the day and collect the tickets before the show started.

As neither I or my girlfriend had seen Wicked before, this was a great option for us. The show is located in the historical Apollo Victoria Theatre, and the venue looks beautiful.

We had a blast. Wicked was so good that we wanted to go see it again. It was full of powerful musical numbers, and the quality of the actors’ performance was of a high standard. The set was world class and created an illusion of a magical world on the stage.

This is what makes London so great for the theatre. West End offers many fantastic performances every week – you will never get bored in London.

For those prices, you get outstanding value for a top-quality performance.

The Apollo Victoria Theatre is within walking distance of Victoria station. It was easy to find the theatre and we could have dinner in the area before the show, which was a good option for us.

Be sure to make the most out of London whilst enjoying your weekend trip.

Affordable hotel options in London

Why not turn your visit into a weekend trip in London?

Then you can enjoy a theatre show in the evening and stay overnight in the city.

You can even do two or three shows over a weekend with many matinee performances to choose from.

I took my girlfriend from Finland to London and wanted to show her a West End performance to enjoy a weekend together in the city.

After searching online, I found an affordable hotel for two close to Earl’s Court tube station at Ambassadors Hotel.

With the London Underground connection and an Oyster card (You can even use touch pay now on the London Underground), it’s easy to get there.

The room was basic but had all the facilities we needed, and our stay included breakfast as well.

The affordable hotel and cheap theatre tickets allowed us to save money that we could then put towards other experiences around London.

Other things to see and do around London

A popular thing to do in London is to enjoy a high tea in a top quality tea room.

We had high tea at Harrods department store which is a short tube ride away from Ambassadors Hotel. It makes for a nice extra treat when you’re spending a weekend in London.

The theatre venues are normally close to many dining options.

Why not package it up together and make an evening of it in London?

Most of the West End shows, for instance, are around Leicester Square which is full of great dining and shopping options to choose from. (For more shopping, check out the close by Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street.)

Additionally, many of the world’s best museums can be found in London and many of them are open to the general public for free.

You can make a nice weekend visit to London and enjoy the wonderful cultural attractions that the city has to offer.

Thank you for reading my blog post about the West End

Thank you for reading my blog post about how to find cheap theatre tickets in London and I hope you found it useful.

If you do have any further questions, feel free to send me an email and I’ll be more than happy to help.

Have a great trip to London and enjoy the West End theatre shows.

The post How to find cheap London theatre tickets for a weekend trip appeared first on Travel Dave.

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Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the most popular fish markets in the world. I was honoured to visit the fish market on my very first trip to Tokyo, Japan back in 2011 when the main warehouse was still open for the general public to walk around with a guided tour.

It was one of the highlights from my first trip to Tokyo and I remember the market very fondly, which is one of the main reasons why I wanted to return to the market again.

I took a guided tour around Tsukiji Fish Market on a recent trip to Tokyo and wanted to update you on the recent move and changes of the market and help to explain how you can visit yourself.

Here you can read all about Tsukiji Fish Market in this helpful guide I’ve put together.

Has Tsukiji Fish Market closed down for visitors?

I wanted to bring this question up at the start of this blog post to help address the situation.

Most of the vendors of Tsukiji Fish Market have indeed moved 2 km east of the old location close to Shijomae Station on the Yurikamome Line.

The new name of the fish market is called Toyosu Fish Market.

The move was mostly made for a number of reasons, such as land value and improved facilities for the wholesalers.

Some vendors have decided to stay and are now located in a newly built smaller version of the Tsukiji Fish Market close to the old location. The traditional surrounding shops that used to supply the old market have also remained. So, Tsukiji Fish Market is still very much alive and kicking.

After visiting both locations, I would say that Tsukiji Fish Market is more visitor friendly and ideal for tourists as you still get a feel of the fish market with top quality products, and the area hasn’t lost its feel.

Yes, you can see the old market from a distance as it slowly gets taken away and that is heartbreaking to see, but don’t let this put you off from visiting Tsukiji Fish Market.

The old fish market will slowly turn into a carpark ready in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, and then the location will be turned into a development project. But until then, the new Tsukiji Fish Market building and outer market streets will remain in operation.

I would recommend Tsukiji Fish Market over Toyosu Fish Market which is less inviting for visitors as it has a trade/wholesale feel and focus and because it’s so new that it lacks character at the moment.

That’s my 2 cents on the situation and I hope that clears it all up.

I booked with Arigato Japan Food Tours

I booked my tour of the Tsukiji Fish Market with Arigato Japan Food Tours. I’ve used them a couple of times in Tokyo, Japan and been happy with the quality of the tour.

Especially when it comes to Tsukiji Fish Market, you want to try as many of the fresh local flavours as you can, and if you were to go alone, you could end up spending a fortune as the high quality of fish comes in at a premium.

My local guide knew all the local vendors and best spots to sample the local fish and we ended up having quite the feast.

If I had gone to the fish market alone, it might have been a challenge to purchase small samples of everything, so this is the added bonus of joining a tour. I also got loads of awesome information about the local products and vendors.

Many locations around the market often do not allow photos due to price competition, but my guide knew all the spots that didn’t mind photos being taken, which was rather helpful.

I love to take tours as a solo traveller as it’s a great way to make new friends and experience new cultures.

The specific tour that I booked is called: Classic Tsukiji Insider’s Tour of Local Market Town with Breakfast

Remember that the tours leave on time so it’s best to arrive early, especially as this tour starts in the morning and the metro can be crowded with commuters.

The tour starts at Turret Coffee Shop

A good way to start your day off is with a local barista made coffee at Turret Coffee Shop which also happens to be the meeting point of your tour.

The coffee was really good and woke me up nicely, so I was ready for Tsukiji Fish Market tour. At the entrance of Turret Coffee Shop, you can even find a recycled Tsukiji turret truck (used as a seat) which is an iconic mode of transport used around the fish market by the vendors to transport crates.

Directions

Take Exit #2 from Tsukiji Station.

Address

Turret Coffee Shop
2 Chome-12-6 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0045

Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule is everyday Mon-Sat (except National Holidays).
Meeting time is 8:45 am.
Tour starts at 9:00 am.
Your tour will end around 12:00 pm.

Enjoy a seafood breakfast to start the day

I’m a big fan of starting the day with a healthy and hearty breakfast, and I often enjoy having seafood at this time of the day.

Seafood is commonly served at breakfast time along with miso soup, rice and pickles. This makes Tsukiji Fish Market a popular location to be at the start of the day. You can also often find shop fronts serving breakfast dishes in the early hours of the morning.

Included in the tour is a seafood breakfast bowl called a Kaisen-Domburi which we had topped with mackerel.

Fresh cod, salmon and crab meat can also be enjoyed in sushi or sashimi dishes.

The most popular dish at this location is the miso soup that is served with clams which add a wonderful flavour to the broth.

This breakfast location was such good value for the quality that I actually returned to this spot for lunch at the end of the tour.

Hands down the best quality fish you can find in all of Tokyo due to its close location to the vendors.

It feels almost like a catch to plate experience and the sushi chefs know what they’re doing, and the locals know this too.

I remember from my visit in 2011 also having an incredible sushi lunch, you just can’t beat the quality that can be found here.

It was good to start the tour by having breakfast as I wanted to try the local seafood as quickly as possible to fulfil my cravings. But don’t worry, there’s more food to come.

Walk around the new market building

You can see the old fish market from a distance as it’s slowly being dismantled but a new market building has been set up recently to house over 65 fish market vendors that were elected to remain in Tsukiji market.

The vendors were carefully selected by a committee from those that applied to stay. This way the vendors can offer a wide range of variety and selection to the customers that are still visiting the area for shopping and local restaurants.

The morning tuna auction has moved to the new location, but you can still find a selection of big tuna on display at some of the vendors.

I enjoyed walking around the newly opened market building and soaking in the atmosphere and discovering all the fresh and interesting fish products that were on display.

You can see that this area is still popular amongst local shoppers looking for the catch of the day.

Regarding photos, it’s best to ask your guide as some of the vendors don’t wish to share competitive prices on the day so look out for signs and ask permission.

On the top floor of the market building, you can find a public outdoor decking and dining area, so you can purchase your food on the first level and enjoy it on the 2nd. You can also find a kitchen workshop area here which is open for cooking classes.

As part of the tour, you will meet some of the vendors and pick up a selection of tasty seafood along the way to enjoy at the end of the market building visit.

Namiyoke Inari Jinja

Namiyoke Inari Shrine is an unofficial guardian shrine for the marketplace and its seafood vendors. You can find various memorial plaques and seafood-themed carvings located around the courtyard. It’s a peaceful break away from the busy market and worth checking out on your visit.

Remember to say the Japanese word itadakimasu which is a type of blessing you can say before you start eating your food in Japan.

Shop around Tsukiji Outer Market

Tsukiji Outer Market can be a great location to pick up affordable local Japanese souvenirs to take back home with you. Around the back streets, you can find chopstick shops, pottery shops and all kinds of shops selling kitchen supplies.

The market was often used by restaurant owners to pick up supplies they needed after visiting the fish market. It’s now transformed into a popular street for visitors to purchase local Japanese products, such as tea, coffee and snacks. You can even find a few restaurants there as well.

My favourite one was the swordsmith shop that now sells high-quality Japanese kitchen knives. I picked up a pocket knife from this spot and use it at home almost every day. Wonderful high-quality crafted products with long traditions can be found here.

Be sure to also stop off and try the Maguro-yaki (fish-shaped cake) which is a cooked pancake-like batter shell with a red bean paste filling. It’s simply delicious to try, and do add the apricot to give it that lovely sweet taste. This spot is a friendly local shop that has been in the family for many years, worth stopping off for sure.

Tsukiji Outer Market is part of the tour, and you will have a few important shops highlighted in the tour to give you a taster and more information about the area. Feel free to come back here after the tour to wander the streets on your own and spend some more time shopping.

Lastly, before you head off from the tour you will end your time at a relaxing tea ceremony to enjoy a tasty cup of matcha green tea. Perfect.

Thank you for reading about Tsukiji Fish Market

I hope you’ve found this blog post useful to plan your own visit to Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan. I thoroughly enjoyed going along with Arigato Japan Food Tours and I can highly recommend that you join the tour as well.

If you have any questions about the tour or Tsukiji Fish Market, feel free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to help answer your questions. Have a great trip to Japan and thank you for reading.

The post Visiting Tsukiji Fish Market on a guided tour in Tokyo, Japan appeared first on Travel Dave.

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If you’re heading to Japan and will be spending some time in Tokyo then you most probably have heard about the famous Robot Restaurant show located in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

To sum up the show, it’s an experience you will never forget. It’s an extremely over the top Japanese experience all combined into one outlandish entertainment show. You simply have to see it to believe it.

This blog post is a guide to the Robot Restaurant show in Shinjuku.

Be sure to spend some time walking around Shinjuku as it is a wonderful part of Tokyo to explore with its nightlife, entertainment, shopping and large selections of restaurants to choose from. You should totally add this awesome destination to your trip to Japan.

Travel information for the Robot Restaurant

The easiest way to reach the Robot Restaurant is to take the subway line Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin to Shinjuku Sanchome Station.

Take exit B9, and the walk to the restaurant is around 5 minutes. You will start to see signposts from the Metro station. It’s easy to spot once you arrive so don’t worry about getting lost.

Robot Restaurant Discount with Voyagin

For the best Robot Restaurant discount price, I would recommend booking your ticket in advance for a big saving.

After searching online, I found that Voyagin offered the best ticket price online. You could even book it in advance and get an e-ticket, which made the whole process a piece of cake.

I found my personal saving to be 35% off compared to the price on the day so it really is worth booking in advance online if you know that you want to go.

Normally the first show of the day is the most affordable.

After making a booking in advance, all you have to do is arrive on time to the restaurant and show your mobile voucher (e-ticket) to get your print ticket. Enjoy the saving and the Robot Restaurant show.

Opening times for the Robot Restaurant

Every day you can choose from a selection of four shows. Doors open earlier before each performance so you can enjoy a drink in the Robot Lounge before the show.

– Show one: 16:00pm (reception opens: 15:20)
– Show two: 17:00pm (reception opens: 16:45)
– Show Three: 19:50pm (reception opens: 19:10)
– Show Four: 21:45pm (reception opens: 21:05)

The show lasts for about 90 minutes with several breaks in between, and they do keep the action going through that period.

Enjoy a pre-show at the Robot Restaurant lounge

The Robot Lounge is located on another floor than the show. You can wait in the lounge area for your show to start and enjoy a pre-show performance in the meanwhile.

The venue itself is an attraction. You can sit back in the massive spinning chairs, relish at the wacky robot-like design and interior, and enjoy a robot band performance.

This will give you a light taste of what’s to come.

The Robot Restaurant performance

Think ninja’s fighting robots. Robots fighting dinosaurs. Laser shows. Robot Christmas. Electric drums. Oversized snakes. This show simply has it all.

It’s cheesy as hell but for some reason, I absolutely fell in love with the show.

I had very low expectations going in but after hearing so many rave reviews from friends, I simply had to check it out and see for myself.

I’m happy I made my own judgement on this one as it was simply out of this world.

The energy of the performance is well put together and you can see that the performers enjoy bringing the show to life ñ it’s rather impressive.

They also change the show frequently every month or so in order to keep the Robot Restaurant trendy and new.

The performance is 90 minutes long with breaks in between, and the show is split up into three themed sections.

As I visited in November, one of the themed sections was focused on Christmas so they do change the show according to the holidays.

I would review the show more in-depth but I don’t want to take away the magic, and with the show changing frequently, it’s best to see for yourself.

Top tips to enjoying the Robot Restaurant

Even though the show is called the Robot Restaurant, the Restaurant side of the name shouldn’t be taken to heart. You can buy a selection of snacks by the bar, but I would recommend eating before the show, and Shinjuku offers many options to choose from.

The performance is mostly done in English and you can take photos as long as you turn off the flash. You must also turn off your Wi-Fi and set your phone to aeroplane mode to not interfere with the robot controls.

If the sound is too loud for you, you can request ear protectors to wear during the performance.

During the show, you can find a menu on your table and you can order to your seat during the breaks. I found the prices to be reasonable at the table, and you might need a few drinks to get through the performance.

At the end of the performance, you can usually exchange your ticket for a drink at the bar.

Make sure you take a trip to the toilet as well, you will be in for a surprise!

Thank you for reading my guide to the Robot Restaurant

Thank you for reading my guide to the Robot Restaurant show in Shinjuku. I hope you enjoy the show and your time in Tokyo, Japan.

Feel free to share with me on Twitter what you thought about the Robot Restaurant show experience.

The post A guide to the Robot Restaurant show in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan appeared first on Travel Dave.

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Shibuya Tokyo Food Scene with Arigato Japan Retro Food Tour

Shibuya is one of the most famous districts of Tokyo and you simply have to visit this area on a trip to Japan.

Shibuya is popular for its mega crossing and neon lights, but if you dig a little deeper you can find many hidden gems when it comes to Japan’s retro past and its popular food scene.

From standing up bars, old ramen shops and Japanese BBQ grills to a candy shop with unlimited buffet, you will have loads of different dishes to try for all types of taste buds on this tour.

I teamed up with Arigato Japan Food Tours who helped to show me the retro food side of town.

If you visit Tokyo, Japan, you have to discover the lively Shibuya area. Without a guide, you could easily get a little lost with the large crowds. It can be a little overwhelming at times so be sure to take it easy whilst taking it all in.

Why not take a guided tour? This way you can let an expert tour guide show you the must-visit retro food spots of Shibuya.

This unique food tour around Shibuya, Tokyo will surely leave you with many tasty memories which will make you miss Japanese food when you return home.

Let’s explore the retro food scene of Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan.

How did you book your food tour around Shibuya

For this food tour, I booked a guided group tour through Arigato Japan Food Tours. It’s nice to go on a guided group tour for solo travellers so you can meet other travellers who are also discovering Japan at the same time.

Arigato Japan Food Tours offer guided food tours not only in Tokyo but all around Japan. The tours are worth checking out if you wish to understand the Japanese food scene a lot better.

I’d heard good things about Arigato Japan Food Tours from other travellers and read many positive reviews online and was happy with my choice.

I took the Retro Shibuya – Local Hidden Gems tour with Arigato Japan Food Tours.

Japan can be confusing at times and that is what makes this country so fun to explore. Having a guided tour can help to enhance your understanding of this wonderful nation, especially when it comes to food.

I found the best deal booking through Voyagin and found many daily tours and activity options to fit well with my Tokyo and Japan itinerary.

Meeting at Shibuya crossing by the Hachiko dog statue

My tour meeting spot was next to the iconic Shibuya crossing and the statue of Hachiko. It is a popular meeting spot with a bronze statue honoring Hachiko, the famously loyal Akita dog (I will leave the story for your guide to tell if you haven’t seen the movie which the story of the dog is based on).

Just a word of warning, the Tokyo metro can get busy at times so plan ahead and arrive early to your tour as the groups leave on time.

Meeting time was 15:45, and the tour started at 16:00 and ended around 19:00.

The tour will last around 3 hours, and it will take you around the back streets and hidden spots of Shibuya.

You will try around 12 local snacks and dishes and the tour price includes a few added drinks as well.

This tour will take you back to the Showa era, and you will discover some special spots from Tokyo’s retro past.

The tour is set in the evening and will show you places around Shibuya that you simply wouldn’t be able to find on your own.

At the end of the tour, you have the option to go off and explore Shibuya by yourself. Be sure to stick around, the night is still young. After the guided tour it’s easier to navigate in the area.

Starting the tour with a classic Tachinomi

We start off our tour by visiting a Tachinomi which is a Japanese standing bar where you can enjoy a drink in a classic way.

Tachinomi is a combined word: “tachi” meaning stand and “nomi” meaning a drink. Shibuya is a popular spot to find many of these types of bars. Normally located next to train stations, Tachinomi have grown in popularity amongst salary workers looking to enjoy a relaxing drink or two before commuting home after work.

Often seen as no frills, these kinds of bars offer a sanctuary for those wanting to escape the rat race for a moment, and drinks are often enjoyed with a selection of bar snacks with friends.

Enjoy a tasty bowl of retro ramen

Next on the tour, we visit a famous ramen shop which has been around for over 60 years. Ramen has become popular throughout the years and you can trace the origins back to shops like the one you will visit which has a rich history.

This location was featured in a popular manga series about a salaryman, which has helped grown attention to this location.

Enjoy a tasty bowl of ramen followed by a plate of fried dumplings called gyoza which go really well together with a glass of beer.

Head down a Shibuya back street and experience a unique blast from the past at this iconic ramen location.

After you’ve enjoyed your bowl of ramen you will find your way back to the main street and learn about the history of Shibuya dating back to the Showa era and discover some special spots from Tokyo’s past. Here you can buy some souvenirs as well if you wish.

A hidden izakaya spot worth checking out

I have to say, without this tour I would have never been able to find this next hidden gem. The entry to this izakaya (Japanese pub) is tucked away on a floor level and the izakaya itself is located high up in the building. Here you will find a selection of izakaya snacks to choose from.

The moment you enter and leave the lift, it’s like being transported back in time. Enjoy some tasty local dishes and drinks in this retro setting.

Choose a sake, beer or highball (whisky soda) as well as a selection of fried/BBQ grilled snacks and enjoy the retro wonderland.

A sweet finish with our surprise dessert experience

We end the tour by trying a taste of Japanese nostalgia. It took me back to my own childhood when I used to get my weekly pocket money and could go down to the local corner shop to fill up a plastic bowl with the candy that I wanted to enjoy over the weekend.

This location takes this childhood concept and turns it into a buffet! The only difference is that all the candy and snacks you can choose are from Japan’s confectionary past. Pick up a basket and fill it up to your heart’s content.

You can spend up to three hours here sampling all the local treats you can possibly consume. Brace yourself as you’re in for a long feast.

It’s such a lovely experience as you can try all these little candy and snack packets which are all different and unique.

As most of the packaging is in Japanese, it’s nice to have a local guide explain all the different flavours. Squid flavoured crisps, anyone?

This is such a fun experience to try in Japan as you will find yourself getting lost amongst all the unique snacks and candy to try. One for the curious traveller, for sure.

Thank you for checking out my food tour review around retro Shibuya

I appreciate you stopping by and checking out the review post of my food tour around Shibuya. It’s a super fun way to explore this part of Tokyo and I hope you have a lot of fun doing the same.

If you have any further questions about Tokyo or Japan, do let me know and feel free to send me an email and I will do my best to help.

Have a wonderful time exploring Japan.

The post Shibuya Tokyo Food Scene with Arigato Japan Retro Food Tour appeared first on Travel Dave.

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