More about Hotel 330 Grande
Asakusa's best and cheapest!
There are actually 4 hostels and a Bar within the Khaosan group. 3 of the hostels are located in Asakusa within close proximity to each other.
The Khaosan Annex where I stayed was 2 minutes down the road from the Khaosan Smile (which is joint next-door to the Khaosan Bar23). Such a great laugh, and because I came back at the end of the holiday I stayed in 3 different rooms the whole stay and every one was top notch. I didn't actually sleep most of the time because the reception is 24hr and there's always people hanging about drinking, on the computers or on their laptops. Really great way to meet people from all over, and get drinking partners for karaoke or the bar down the road.
Everyone was really friendly, a few different people lent me their USB cable, showed me how to work my new Ipod, let me use their Skype etc...
I also stayed at the Khaosan Fukuoka when I travelled. Located in the Kyuushu district of Japan down south. Again great fun, 24hr free computer access, everyone was really friendly yet again I met a girl from England and we ended up sightseeing together in Daizaifu the next day. On our return met others and a group of us went to a sushi bar then to karaoke. Great night out.
Khaosan Bar23 is great value, friendly staff and good food. All drinks are 330 yen or so, by purchasing a voucher for 1000yen you get 3 points. drinks are 1 point, food is 2 points if it is a bigger portion like a meal but there is also 1 point food....snack things like edamame which go great with your free beer! (Present your receipt for staying at any of the Khaosan hostels and get a free drink a night!)
The reception staff speak really good english and are very helpful. I phoned from Fukuoka to the Annex in Asakusa to say I'd be late and would miss checkin. the reception left my key and room number taped to the door after it closed. Where else would do that for you? Clean, safe, comfortable, friendly, 24hr free internet, 1 free drink a night at Bar23 with receipt, good sized rooms (both private and dormitory) free movie/manga selection to watch, full bookshelf to read at your leisure (some are Japan guidebooks too which is handy)
Close to the subway and station, close to restaurants and nightlife also. Baggage hold as well in a locked room for before and after checkin (that bit of extra time for sightseeing!)
Also pay lockers available for your valuables in the reception.
Bar23 have a flickrpage with pictures available here:
Tokyo Tower, Tokyo
Tokyo Tower is a steel structure tower located in Shiba Park, Minato, in the heart of Tokyo. It is approximately 330 metres high and is the tallest structure in Tokyo. Tokyo Tower is the 20th tallest tower in the world.
Tokyo Tower was constructed in 1958. It resembles Eiffel Tower of Paris which was also constructed of steel. It is a landmark in Tokyo and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo. It is opened to the public throughout the year and attracts several millions foreign tourists annually.
Fave Off-The-Beaten Path Places - Top 10
MY 10 FAVORITE OFF-THE-BEATEN PATH PLACES:-
No. 1: AYUTHAYA, THAILAND.
Ancient historical ruins. Ancient Siamese capital. Wow. Just wow!
No. 2: THE LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE.
If you want to see Opulence and Grandeur at its ultimate best, Loire Valley's the place. Those chateaux are surreal! Living in one of those would be a dream come true for me.
No. 3: THE GARDEN ROUTE, SOUTH AFRICA!
Adventure awaits the traveler/ tourist on this route. Breathtaking sceneries will leave you spellbound for a long while.
No. 4: SALAMANCA, SPAIN.
The oldest university town in Spain and possibly Europe. The party capital of Spain. Count me in! :-)
No. 5: VERONA, ITALY.
"Oh Romeo, Romeo... Wherefore art thou Romeo?"
IF only Romeo and Juliet had great relationship counsellors (ahem...), they wouldn't have to die so tragically. Anyway, that aside, Verona is one of my favorite cities. I just can't put my feelings about this place into words right now. Let's just say that it was - Magical.
No. 6: HOBART, TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA.
Off the beaten path. Still underexplored. The perfect getaway for folks who need a break far from the maddening crowd. Me. :-)
No. 7: THE COTSWOLD, ENGLAND.
After seeing the Cotswold, one of my dream is to get married in a place like this. Don't laugh... I'm really serious. Saw my girlfriend's album pics last year. She got married in a nice 'lil English village complete with carriage ride... It left me envious. I'd definitely pray for something like this. Hey, it's either this or the chateau. His choice. :-)
No. 8: BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A!
If you haven't been to Big Sur, you really haven't seen how beautiful a coastline can be! This place has got to boast of the best coastline in the entire world. Rent a convertible and drive along the Highway 1 route. NOW.
No. 9: GRANADA, SPAIN.
The Alhambra. Moorish architecture. The Albaicin. In a nutshell, Granada rocks.
No. 10: CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA, U.S.A.
The Kennedy Space Center is amazing! The Americans at NASA are such an intelligent bunch... Went inside a real life space shuttle and the feeling is... is.... well, I can't quite find the right words now. It's unbelievable. Out of this world. You gotta come here. Hey look, I traveled over 30 hours from Singapore to reach this part of the world (via Europe, New York and Miami). And it was worth it. A once in a lifetime experience.
Fave Historic Places - Top 10
MY 10 FAVORITE "I'M-GLAD-I-VISITED-THIS-PLACE" HISTORICAL CITIES & TOWNS:-
No. 1: PISA, ITALY.
Since Primary 1 (junior school), I'd read about the Leaning Tower of Pisa... so it was certainly a childhood dream come true for me when I had the opportunity to visit PISA, the town. Amazing experience. Too surreal for words.
No. 2: MARRAKECH, MOROCCO.
Gee, I can still get a whiff of the different exotic Moroccan spices even as I'm penning this page. This city still boasts of women in colorful kaftans with their faces covered up. Snake charmers, flying carpets... er, I mean, colorful carpets, ancient labyrinths, historical mosques... This city has it all.
No. 3: BEIJING, CHINA.
The Land of my forefathers. How could I not visit it? Scaling the Great Wall in Badaling was an experience not to-be-missed too. The view from up there is... magnificent, to say the least. The Forbidden City, Tiantan (Temple of Heaven), Summer Palace. Beijing has 'em all.
No. 4: INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA.
The Hapsburg empire once reigned supreme here. When I first set foot in Innsbruck, I was simply awestruck by the sheer beauty of this place - her landscape. Covered in almost all four corners by snow-capped mountains, this city is one of the most scenic places I've been to in Europe.
No. 5: CORDOBA, SPAIN.
See pic above. How could a person not fall in love with this medieval Spanish town?
No. 6: HEIDELBERG, GERMANY.
Just two words to describe this town: Rustic + Lovely. I'll be back again someday to relive my first time experience(s).
No. 7: CASABLANCA, MOROCCO.
"Play it again, Sam". This was not where the film "Casablanca" was really filmed. The real Casablanca is a cool place where you'd see lots of yuppies in European suits chill out over a cuppa coffee in an al fresco cafe. You'd be forgiven for thinking you're back in Europe. Not. This is how Casablanca looks today. And I like it. :-)
No. 8: RANGOON (YANGON), MYANMAR
Although this city is at least 30 years behind time (in my personal opinion), there is still much to offer the adventurous traveler/tourist. That gleaming gold Buddhist temple right smack in the city center will make your head spin for sure. Even at 12 midnight when the street is so dim, the golden pagoda shone like a bright morning star. Surreal. I was left speechless with awe. I wanted to take a quick snap of this magnificent sight but the two women I was with (part of a bigger team that came along with me) said "no, no... bad luck!" I should NOT have listened to two superstitious MUCH older women and just go with my gut. Today, I'm still regretting like crazy that I did not take a pic of that lovely sight!
Moral of the story: Choose your travel companions wisely. Choose those that share the same likes and dislikes with you. Dump those domineering travel companions. Pronto. It's not worth it traveling with them. Better to travel alone than with complaining women. :-) Sounds familiar to you? Chill out, O Uptight Women....!
No. 9: FLORENCE, ITALY.
Florentine artists and architects are indeed one of the best in the world. Take a stroll around this lovely city and you'd understand why. I certainly relished every moment of my time spent in this charming city.
No. 10: AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS.
The most broadminded people in the world are surely the Dutch (in my humble opinion). And Amsterdam is one city where you can do almost anything and everything. Oh, and their coffeeshops? Not quite what you'd imagine... but still, it's quite an experience. And I love Amsterdam for all of the above traits. Cheers to you, O Amsterdam.
Fave Resorts + National Park - Top 10
MY 10 FAVORITE RESORT + NATIONAL PARK HOLIDAYS:-
No. 1: THE ISLE OF CAPRI, ITALY.
Don a colorful scarf and whip out that nice capri pants to match your colorful tanktop. Yeah, that's what the isle of CAPRI does to a lady. This isle is definitely the Mother of all Resorts. Walking down the winding cobbled alleys... popping in to the many shops along the way... sipping a cuppa cappuccino in an al fresco cafe here... what a wonderful life!
No. 2: SUN CITY, SOUTH AFRICA.
Believe it or not, I actually won a few hundred rands on the jackpot machine in one of the Sun City hotels... and promptly went on a shopping spree. Sun City is another resort made in Paradise. Splurge a little and stay at the Palace of the Lost City Hotel. Wander along its many pathways... and soon you'd be lost in a deep reverie. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.... It does look like it. The architecture, I mean.
No. 3: PHUKET, THAILAND.
Crystal clear waters... perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving. Wow. At night, 'tis party time at Patpong, a stretch of road filled with bars, bars and more bars... with scantily clad women dancing on table tops and doing wonders with a flag pole (sure looks like it). A haven for guys in search of willing women... :-)
I love the day time better. The activities aren't too taxing and there are many place to sightsee.
No. 4: CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A.
If Clint Eastwood was the Mayor of this tiny coastal town and lived here, it sure is good enough for me! Those million dollar houses sure took my breath away.
No. 5: COSTA DEL SOL, SPAIN.
The Costa Del Sol... a stretch of land along the coast at the South of Spain. The most happening town must surely be Marbella. The world's most famous celebrities flock to this place for their summer hols. Krystynn comes here in autumm... It's less expensive and the sun isn't blazing hot (she hates to get sunburnt!). :-) An extremely ritzy place.
No. 6: NICE, SOUTH OF FRANCE.
Another ritzy city filled with first class hotels and 24-hour casinos. But beware of those gypsy pickpockets. These kids are so good in their craft, don't even blink when they come near you. Knowing some karate helps alot, believe me.
No. 7: MONTE CARLO, MONACO.
Ah, lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. What more can I say?
No. 8: YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A.
Definitely the most beautiful national park in the whole U.S.A. and the world. Most tourists come here for a day to take pics and off they go to another Californian town. Don't make the same mistake as them. Spend at least 3 days here... Stay in one of the Yosemite Lodges (it's HUGE!)... or if you can afford to splurge a little, the Ahwahnee Hotel is magnificent. Go on a hiking trail. Or hop onto one of their free buses to go to Glacier Point for an unobstructed view of the Dome, the El Capitan and the Yosemite Valley. You'd think you're in Heaven!
Oh yes, I was told that Heaven's much better. So, can you imagine????
No. 9: ORLANDO, FLORIDA, U.S.A..
Weeeee... I feel like a kid again visiting all these theme parks. There are so many and we visited 'em all! Very exhausting and two weeks is not enough. I will bring my own kids here again some day....stay tuned!
No. 10: NIAGARA FALLS, NORTH AMERICA
This is how a natural wonder looks like. A sight to behold.