The Official Itinerary

Okay folks this is it… my plan for the next two years or so.  If you have read any of the previous blogs you’ll know that I have been planning this and mapping it out for several months.  I have now firmed up some plans, and have added things to do in many of my destinations.  BUT this is still fluid, and I could change anything… I’m also looking for more info from YOU!   It is still only the beginning, and nothing will be final until I do it!  But it should give you a good idea of where I’m planning to go, and what I plan to do when I get there. (I have also added a PRE-trip vacation to NYC for my birthday).

One note: dates that are in bold are confirmed dates – either flights or accommodation.

Toronto  to Newark NJ   November 19, 2010
Flight: Porter Airlines #127
Departure: 10:45am Toronto (YTZ)
Arrive: 12:15pm Newark (EWR) Terminal B

Newark, NJ to Toronto -November 24, 2010
Flight: Porter Airlines 130
Departure: 13:55  Newark (EWR) Terminal B
Arrival: 15:25 Toronto (YTZ)

Toronto to Edmonton December 01, 2010 (9days)
Flights: WestJet, WS 0495
Departure: 4:00pm Toronto, ON, Canada (YYZ)
Departure Terminal: TERMINAL 3
Arrival: 6:07pm Edmonton (YEG)  
Duration: 4:07 

 Edmonton to Los Angeles  – Friday, December 10, 2010 (5days)
Departure:10:05 – Edmonton International
Arrival:12:27 –  Los Angeles International – terminal 2
Airline:WestJet WS1422 Aircraft:   Boeing 737-700

Los Angeles to HonoluluWednesday, December 15, 2010 (2days)
Departure:17:10  –  Los Angeles International – terminal 2
Arrival:21:05 Honolulu International – terminal Z  
Airline:Hawaiian Airlines HA009
Aircraft:   Airbus Industrie A330-200

Honolulu to Hilo Saturday Dec. 18, 2010 (18days)
Depart: Oahu – Honolulu (HNL) 09:53
Arrive: Big Island – Hilo (ITO) 10:44
Class/Route: Coach/Nonstop
Flight: HA382  

Hilo – Ito-Bike to Pele Adventure $129 pickup @ Hilo Hawaiian Hotel 12:30pm Mondays 1-888-934-9199 /Umauma Zipline Experience 808-930-9477 (reservations-can sell out)/Waipio Valley/ Steam Caves/Ahalanui Hot Springs

Hilo to Honolulu Tuesday, January 04, 2011 (12hrs)
Depart: Big Island – Hilo (ITO) 07:40 PM
Arrive: Oahu – Honolulu (HNL) 08:29 PM
Class/Route: Coach/Nonstop
Flight: HA363  

Honolulu to TaipeiWednesday, January 05, 2011 (14hrs)
Departure:08:50 Honolulu International, terminal M
Arrival:17:30 +1 day(s)   Taipei, Taiwan 
Taiwan Taoyuan International, terminal 2 Note: includes 1 technical stop(s)
Airline:China Airlines CI017 Aircraft:   Boeing 747-400
Change of plane required. Time between flights = 14:00.
Evergreen Transit Hotel for China Air passengers only. 4th Floor. $1350nt (40usd)/3hrs + 350nt (10usd)/additional hr. (The hotel itself is on the 4th floor of Terminal 2 and is quite difficult to find. Follow the signs for the Transit Hotel and when you see a medical centre, go up the stairs directlly across it to the fourth floor. The hotel is ahead of you, around the corner on your left.)
 The easiest way to get into the city is to take the Kuo Kuang (pronounced Guo Guang) bus to Taipei Main Station. If you’re arriving into terminal 2, turn right after customs, go to the end of the building, then right again and you’ll end up at the bus ticket counters. Buy a ticket at the counter, at the Kuo Kuang counter you probably don’t really even have to say anything. Buses leave every 15 minutes or so until around midnight. The final stop is outside the main station, go in and there will be signs for the MRT. It’s pretty chaotic, but all the signs do have English. For the return trip, the bus starts up pretty early (I took one at 6 am last week), but you board at the east bus terminal (not the same place where they drop you off), which is on Zhongshan Rd.; if you’re coming from the MRT, follow the signs to the underground mall and go up at mall exit 5. NT$125 each way (~US$4).
 Take the MRT to Shilin station (on the red line) and check out all the night market.  MRT runs till a little after midnight, starts 6-ish.

 Taipei to Ho Chi Minh CityFriday, January 07, 2011 (27days)
Departure:07:30Taipei – Taiwan Taoyuan International , terminal 1
Arrival:10:05 Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam – Tan Son Nhat, terminal 2
Airline:China Airlines CI781 Aircraft:   Airbus Industrie A330-300

Taxi from airport to central about 80,000-100,000d ($4-5)
Ho Chi Minh  –  Thien Thao Hotel 89 Cao Thang street, 3 Ward, 3 District
Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam Phone: 84 (39) 29 1440  Check in: 07/01/11 Check out: 10/01/11  Nights: 3 check in 2pm (early check in 27500vnd) check out Jan 10 12:30pm
Ben Thanh Market on Le Loi St., Backpacker district  Pham Ngu Lao, Pho – best at Pho Hoa 260C Pasteur st., Rex Hotel rooftop bar 141 Nguyen Hue Blvd.,  Reunification Palace, Binh Soup Shop- history as secret VC hq, Vietnamese Spa or cooking class
Cyclo drivers 100,000d for ½ day(about $1/hr)
Extra careful around Saigon Riverfront (motorbike cowboys)
Mekong Delta – south of Saigon  
Bike Tour – Spice Roads – Jan 16- Feb 01 – Saigon to the Cu Chi Tunnels through the mountains of Dalat, and around the lakes of Dalat. A daytrip to the islands of Nha Trang then to Hoi An – great for cheap custom tailored clothes (even cargo pants) – full moon festival (around every full moon) check out the Café on Thu Wheels. Cafe22 – 22 Nguen Hue St for western and Vietnamese food – cheap $1 and up. 
And Hue.  Take the overnight Reunification Express Train before riding through around Ninh Binh and Halong Bay. Before ending the ride in Hanoi – French Quarter, Old Quarter (best shopping-main access from Silk St)- Daluva Hanoi Guesthouse $35-40usd  Hanoi- French Quarter (great french food-cheap/art), Old Quarter (best shopping-main access from Silk St)- Daluva Hanoi Guesthouse $35-45   
Halong Bay-  (limestone Karsts sunrise) – kayak and sleep on a Chinese Junk 3 nights/2 days book from any Hanoi hotel

 Hanoi to Siem ReapFriday, February 04, 2011 (7days)
Departure:15:20 Hanoi, Viet Nam – Noibai
Arrival:17:05 Siem Reap, Cambodia Riel –
Airline:Vietnam Airlines VN843 Aircraft:   Airbus Industrie A321

Ei8ht Rooms Single Room ($22/night – Garden Wing) Feb 4, 2011 for 7 nights
(check-out: 11th Feb 2011). Airport pickup!
Sunrise over Angkor Wat  – Happy Ranch horse farm rides 2 hr trail ride $36- Tonle Lake stilt villages,  
Butterflies Garden Rest. (supports street kids- they’re paid for butterflies), Linga Bar mojitos, Miss Wong (the Lane) Indochine Martini 5pm-late

(if time) LAOS- Gibbon Experience hike/zipline/through jungle –thamkong lo- sail 7.5km through cave (can homestay)

Siem Reap to BangkokFriday, February 11, 2011 (9hrs)
 Departure:09:50 Siem Reap, Cambodia Riel
Arrival:10:45 Bangkok, Thailand – Suvarnabhumi International
Airline:Bangkok Airways PG924 Aircraft:   Airbus Industrie A320-100/200

Change of plane required. Time between flights is 9:00hrs

Bangkok to DelhiFriday, February 11, 2011 (3months/87days)
Departure:20:00 – Bangkok, Thailand – Suvarnabhumi International
Arrival:23:10 Delhi, India – Indira Gandhi International , terminal 3
Airline:Kingfisher Airlines IT026
Aircraft:   Airbus Industrie A320-100/200
Duration:4:40 Delhi Goa- Gujarat, Jaipur/Jodphur (Rajastan), Mumbai, (LINDSAY: Mar13 Mumbai,Mar13 Delhi, Mar18 Agra, Mar 24 Kathmandu, Mar 26 Kolkata Mar29 Lindsay leaves Apr.01) ???Andaman Islands/Dhaka Bangladesh, Manalay Myanmar, Bhutan Paro Taktsang  Temple?/Chennai, Kerala, Sri Lanka – Colombo, Kandy/ Mysore, Goa, Mumbai
Goa-Carnival Mar 5, Purple Valley Yoga Ctre /Tao-Zen Meditation Centre of Goa – no urkishation – Bardez (drop in yoga 2 euros)
Holi festival Mar 19-20,2011, best areas for Holi are in the north – Delhi is good, Mathura/Uttar Predesh are good.
Delhi – Red Fort, Humayons tomb + Mughal gardens, Darna of Nizamuddin Auliya at sunset for qawwalis music, Imperial Hotel, Old Delhi Bazaars, Lodhi Gardens, district of Hauz Khas, Ragdhani Restaurant opposite Rivoli Cinema just off Connaught Place, Khan Market, Qutb Minar, Jama Masjid (mosque and nearby Kebab restaurants-Karim’s or Al-Jawahar), Gandhi’s tomb, Bengali Market, Akshardham and Chattapur temples, Chandi Chowk, Lotus Temple.  
Agra- Taj Mahal (closed Fridays)/ Agra Fort/
Varanasi –sacred Ganges –don’t take photos of bodies or funerals/Bhang consumption on the Varanasi steps – ground with milk and dried fruit
Amritsar- (NW near Pakistan Border – Lahore) Golden Temple
Rajastan – Dilwara Jain Temple (Mt. Abu)
Jaipur-Meemrana Palace/Jodphur- Umad Bharan 25-35 – Umaid Mahal hotel 35-65*
Jaisalmer (furthest into Rajestan – desert excursion for a couple of nights)
Mumbai- Best place to stay is Bandra or Juhu  (Marriot Hotel or Taj Lands End hotel but expensive).  More cost efficient maybe out of the blue in Bandra (on top of Olives) or Ramada Hotel in Juhu. They also have guest houses, check out craigslist India. 
Taxi service – Meru 022-44-22-44-22 (don’t take a black taxi)
Olives Restaurant for Sunday Brunch or Thursday night (in Bandra)
Zeni – casual sports bar/restaurant (Bandra)
Blue Frog – live music (Lower Parel)
Café for wine and cheese at Good Earth (lower parel)
Indigo (in town) – restaurant/lounge
Indigo deli (for brunch)
Basuba – bar (town)
Juhu road near Marriot (for designer wear)
Lower Parel Shopping complex Raguvanshi Mills (Good Earth my favourite!)
Colaba (in town) or Linking road (bandra) for local cheap fun stuff
Other things to see:
Prithvi Theatre (check out a play log on their site for English play – must do!) Juhu
Pool side at sunset at Marriot, Brunch poolside at BBC Café@ Marriot  (Juhu)
Sun set at Carter road ocean front or on Bandstand at the Barista coffee shop
Haji Ali Mosque (in town)!!
Taj hotel (in town), monument.
Sidi Vaniak temple (town side/Colaba)
A Bollywood movie in Indian cinema – can see it at Pheonix mills shopping mall (Lower Parel) or in Juhu Shoppers Stop
Kathmandu Nepal- Buddha Air (mountain flight through Himalayas – spectacular)
Vaishnu- Devi pilgrimage 6-7 hour alk up a mountain.  Take a prayer with you (repeating) to the summit.  In Jammu Kashmir
Marine Drive, beaches of Chowpatty, elephant caves/Caloba Causeway market
Osho Meditation Resort in Pune (near Mumbai) abt. 3500rupees ($80)
Sri Lanka – Columbo/Kandy- elephant orphanage
Igatpuri, Maharashtra Apr.13-24,2011 (2hrs from Mumbai) Vispassana Academy meditation, Dhamma Giri  sign up 10 days silence – donate what you can – register few months in advance, request single room w. bathroom (toilet/sink)

Mumbai (Bombay) to Cairo Wednesday, May 11, 2011 (16days)
Departure:09:40 Mumbai (Bombay), India – Chhatrapati Shivaji , terminal 2
Arrival:13:10 Cairo, Egypt – Cairo International , terminal 3
Airline:Egyptair MS969 Aircraft:   Boeing 737-800

Cairo – underground music, Citidel Mosque, KhanaKhalili market – café in middle of market – (have mint tea and a Shisha pipe)
Take a Felluca (wooden boat on the Nile) from the Four Seasons
Giza- camel ride to pyramids abt.$40
Alexandria –north –more European
Desert Oasis – Siwi guesthouse
Luxor – take Egyptology tour – Valley of Kings/Queens tombs
Sharm el Sheikh (party town) beach city, learn to dive in Red Sea

Tel Aviv Friday, May 27,2011 (21days) DO NOT get Israeli stamp in passport
Beach strip.
-pink house (guesthouse-shared bath)$37-84
Dead Sea-tar/mud bath-(ultimate travel cliché but not to be missed)
Jerusalem- Wailing Wall (Friday at sundown), climb Masada, 
Negev Desert –off road jeep and camel tour. Overnight in traditional khan. 
Bethlehem (if time)
Travel through Petra, Amman Jordan/Damascus, Syria

Turkey- Monday June 17,2011 – (23days)
Cappadocia Turkey –Kelebek Hotel (cave hotel-abt 45euros/night)
Istanbul Kapal Carsi (covered market), urkish bath (cagaloglu-best), mosques (Suleiman –best), Topkapi Palace/Topkapi Sarayi (sultans palace)don’t miss the harem and grounds, Konyali Rest. @ Topkapi- get table near edge of terrace for best view/The GrandBazaar – Spice Bazaar/ Rustem Pasa Camii (Mosque attached to spice bazaar)/Basilica Cistern (aka Yerebatan Serayi) close to Haghia Sophia (also check out side street behind Haghia Sophia)/ Sultan Ahmet Mosque (blue mosque) eat: Bebek area for waterside cafes (tell driver: Bebek Sahil Yol) or Istiniye area for cafes/ Ortakoy area – Saturday House Café on terrace/Ortakoy mosque/ Rest: Banyan Ortakoy, ask to be seated on terrace reservations: 0212-219-6011/5Kat (rooftop patio bar) on Istiklal street – great views esp. at night./Reina restaurants and THE nightclub/ASIAN side- Suadiua- Baghat Caddesi on Baghat blvd/Uskudar- great views/Bosphorous Bridge/eat: Ciya, Gulluoglu, Hala in Beyoglu
Konya Turkey –Whirling Dervishes
July 14,2011- first day in a Schengen Treaty country – can only spend maximum 3 months in the entire Schengen Treaty area which is most of the EU- which will limit the amount of time I can spend in any one place.
(use media/press pass for admission to cultural centres, museums etc across Europe.  Remember most European museums/galleries are free in the evenings, also best to visit museums etc later in the day when crowds have thinned.)

RomeJuly 14, 2011 World AIDS Conference July17-20,2011-The Leonardo Express train runs every 30 minutes from the airport to the Termini train station (14 euros). Taxis to the historic center are a fixed 40 euros.
(Rome Taxis – From the take taxi that says Commune di Roma on the outside door. It is a fixed rate 40 euro “tariffa fissa”. Don’t let them try to charge you any other way. If you get into a Fregene taxi (not a “Rome” taxi it could cost you 60euro since it’s a different community. Or they can charge you 60 euro if your destination is outside the wall of Rome.   DO NOT let them cheat you into the meter coming from the airport or going to the airport.  Inner city taxis must be on zone 1 – indicated on the meter in case they enforce using the meter. That means as you get 10 out of the airport area they must switch the meter to 1 – a little number that appears on the meter beside the fare (the old system). Anywhere in the centre back to Trastevere is only 7-12 euros because taxis are allowed to drive everywhere.)
Vatican – St. Peters-Sistine Chapel/ Sacra (excavated Roman temples)…the Pantheon, (oldest standing building in the world in its original structure – 2000 years old) Piazza Navona is also just a few minutes from the Pantheon. (famous 4 great rivers fountain), Campo di Fiori, Piazza Venezia and King Vittorio’s gigantic Palace (Vittoriano) . This Palace is a focal point in Rome and stands at the top of the Roman Forum (must see) and the bottom of the famous shopping street “Via Del Corso”. The Roman Forum is behind the Palace, where you find Ceasar’s forum and Trajan’s column. Also near by is the Palatino (Palatine Hill), Circo Massimo (Maximus Circus) and Colosseo (Colosseum), Terme di Caracalle (the grand ruins of Carcalle’s Roman Baths)…also Villa Borghese & Trevi Fountain, Via Del Corso and Piazza Del Popolo/Gelati Papere – Via della Fontanella 7/San Crispini near the Trevi/For gelato look for the sign “Artiginale” Stay away from the Blue Ice Chain and any that have a card with a name on the Gelato (not home made). You should never pay more than 2 euro for a big gelato and you always ask for 2 or 3 flavors) Gelato on the corner of Viale di Trastevere & Via Gustavo Modena just after Ponte Garibaldi is excellent. / Piazza Trilussa has a lot of bars, restaurants and street vendors / Largo di Torre Argentina – the “Area Sacra”/ Campo di Fiori & Piazza Farnese – markets and a lot of fun at night and many shops off the square on the winding streets) Behind Piazza Farnese is Via Giulia:considered the most beautiful street in Rome/Piazza Venezia/Roman Forum down Via dei Fori Imperiali/Colosseo/Palentine “Palatino” and Arco di Tito/Circo Massimo (Maximus Aurelious’ Circus)/Trevi/Trastevere and Ponte Sisto (best restaurants,bars and cafes)/Santa Maria di Trastevere and its Piazza/The Church of San Clemente (three periods – Pagan, Romanesque, Renaissance, all built on top of each other so you can go below and see the caves where the Pagans worshipped the Mithra Gods)/Giannicolo Parc
In 2-3 hours you can walk from the Pantheon, pass by Largo di Torre Argentina – the “Area Sacra”, walk down to and through Piazza Venezia, head down the street to the Forum “Fori Imperiale”, leads you to the Colosseo, then walk through the Palentine & Arco di Tito which is the heart of Rome, and then continue to the Massimo Circus then walk back up along the river through the Jewish Ghetto to give you an idea….also then cross the bridge to Trastevere (or take the metro at the Massiomo Circus to the Spanish Steps and walk down to Trevi Fountain from there.  Then you could return to Trastevere for dinner…it is the best places to eat.  Taxis in the centre should never cost more than 10euro to go anywhere…making sure the Zone is 1 and not 2 indicated on the taxi meter.
Don’t eat near Spanish Steps ever! It is the most touristy part of Rome isn’t very good – overpriced)/The Catacombs/Termi di Caracalla/Domus Aurea/Piazza della Republica/Piazza Esquilino
Rome street maps

Athens, Greece, July 21,2011???

(if time) Bosnia

(if time) Croatia – Dubrovnik/Istria

Italy –August 01
Florence –DEBORAH???
Ostia- JENNIFER???

Spain Aug.24, 2011
(Hostals are bargain hotels, not the same as hostels.)
Barcelona – DENA –Apartment booked Calle d’Alcanar 31, 2 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain arrive: 24/08/2011 – depart: 10/09/2011 total:1259,50euros (still owe: 1207,60euros) call Julia Ohlander-Larson +34 638 28 14 50     
Tapac 24m Diputacio 269; 34-93-488-0977;  avg. meal without beverage or tip is abt. 25euros. Tourist Bus (Bus Turistic) from Plaza Catalunya in the center of Barcelona. 18€/1 day or 22€/2 consecutive days. 44 stops,hop-on/hop-off. There’s 3 distinct routes, and your ticket covers you for all of them. The north route, south route and Fórum route. The entire tour of all 3 routes, if you don’t stay at any location, lasts 5 hours.
Placa De Catalunya/La Rambla/ Catedral Bari Gothic/ Mercat De Santa Catrina market/Gaudi-La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera or Carrer de Provence, Cass Battlo, Passeig de Gracia,
Sitges Picnic Beach Bar, Subur Maritime Hotel
Girona (1 hr. north of Barcelona) historic walled town
Figueras –birthplace of Dali, Dali museum,
Torremolinas-Costa Del Sol beach
Valencia-Las Falles festival Mar 15, La Tomatina (last wed. in aug)
Alicante Beach an hour south of Valencia (Costa Blanca) sunset on beach
Seville-rent a bike for the day
Sierra Nevadas- good hiking
Ronda-1st bullfighting ring
Cuenca – 2 hrs east of Madrid Castilla, La Mancha, stay in monasteries

Portugal – Porto
Lisbon-Oasis Backpackers Mansion Hostel,
Sintra- Cintra de Regaleiro,Pena Castle
Gibraltar, Spain – must leave Schengen countries – October 14th

Morocco Oct. 14, 2011
Marakesh-Djemma el-Fna (massive market)
Ouarzazate (used as filmset for films like Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator)
Sahara Desert

Bangkok Nov 10, 2011
Lamphu house… very clean… even somewhat stylish, decently priced and just off Koh San Road. and get a fruit shake from the guy out front. Reserve well in advance… otherwise you show up in the morning and wait for people to check out.
 Jungle rafts on River Kwai, Wat Arun (temple)/ake boat ride on Chao Praya River,
Best seafood at R&L Seafood (redshirts, white hats and aprons)
Take a long tail boat out to an island
Phuket- Vegetarian festival early Oct men pierced with metal rods, walk over hot coals etc
Krabi – Phangna Bay – Limestone Mountains
Koh Phi Phi and Koh Phi Phi Le (smaller-better) from Phuket or Krabi
Patang, Jomtien, Pattaya,  Dongtan Beach
Chiang Mai – night market, Nocky House guest house)- Hilltop tribes, Mae Hong Son hilltop tribes, Free Bird Café- café supporting Thai Freedom House–  Elephant Safari-$75,   , Thai massage class
Nong Khai in N.Thailand -Fireball Festival late Oct.
Chonburi -Thai Buffalo races Sept 28-Oct 4
Surin Elephant roundup Nov 13-29
Khmer-banquet for monkeys Nov 29
(Songran Festival in April)

DETOUR?-Singapore-Dec10? Sri Mariamman Singapore
/Bali-Dec17?/Manila-Dec28?(Puerto Princesa “Palawan”, Boracay Puerto Azul )/Kuala LampurDec15?/Jan20,2012-Kuala Lampur for Thaipusam – Festival procession ends at Batu Caves –Sriberumal Temple, Sri Thandayuthapani Temple, Gili Islands, Indonesia (Meno and Air –slower pace) (From Bali, most people either use the Perama shuttle bus/boat service (185, 000Indon.Rp-$21cdn), five hours from Padangbai), which now stops at all the Gili Islands before heading on to Senggigi, or fly to Mataram and travel on from there.)

Sydney Australia Jan 23,2012 –  Harbour Bridge Climb-$268AuOpera House,
Gay Mardis Gras Feb 16,2011, NYE
Travel by rail
Melbourne-Federation Square, downtown graffiti – heck out Hosier Lane between Flinders and Flinders, restaurants- Laksa King 320 Racecourse Rd Flemington, Ginger Boy 27-29 Crossley St., Movida 1 Hosier Lane (tapas) , Lord of the Fries – Elizabeth st @ Flinders St. / Pure Pop in St. Kild a record store and bands play in the garden café on weekends 221 Barkly St.
Adelaide – Kangaroo Island Wildlife Sanctuary 2 wks $1189 – twin shared BLD incl/
Perth-sculpture of the sea Mar 4
Cairns – Great Barrier Reef – Heron Island
Whitsunday Island, Hook Island
Alice Springs- outback travel ,  Uluru or Ayers rock – best sunset (climbing discouraged- sacred) , nearby The Olgas
Darwin- Cable Beach – Broome,
Brisbane- Gold Coast -Pro Gulf Coast Surf Chmpnships Feb 27

Auckland, New Zealand Apr 20, 2012-
Queensland South Island Bungee jumps Kawarau Bridge oldest – $115w.transportation/jetboats $75
Mokai Gravity Canyon…highest bridge jump in NZ

Hong Kong May 3,2012 – I was in HK in 1984 so now in 2012 what’s changed… old photos same locations to compare, tea at Peninsula, Victoria Peak, Star Ferry, Wanchai, the Peak
Shanghai-Feb 15-Mar 15 lantern festival across China
Guilin – cruise down the Li River (spect. Beauty) -cormorant fishing
Suzhou (80km e of Shanghai) Venice of China
Beijing- May 15- Great Wall Marathon 5k/10k/half/full (but must be part of a tour package no independents, Peking Duck (best at Quanjude Roast Duck Rest. Oldest and most popular) Fangshan Rest. For Imperial Feast, The Forbidden City, The Great Wall,   Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi’An
Chendu-Wolong or Bifengxia Panda Sanctuary
Xuan Kong Si Temple-Shanxi Province China

Bulguksa Temple
Pyongyang – Childrens Palace

Tokyo – East side – Ameyayokocho neighbourhood, Nezu and Yanaka –historic district.  Harajuku, Sumo Championship May 10, April 8 Buddha’s birthday celebrated across Japan
Kyoto- enchanting – stay in Riokan (guesthouse), search for Geisha, Kingaku-ji Temple,
purchase a Japan Rail pass while outside of the country, it’s way cheaper and definitely the only way to travel.
Tokyo- Bullet train
Onsen (hot springs)
climb Mt.Fuji– 12,390ft -best early July before school is out – most popular in July/August (official climbing season)

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11 Responses to “The Official Itinerary”

  1. Rajeshni
    November 8 at 5:51 pm #

    Dear Darren,

    I’m so sorry I missed your going away party. It was a crazy Diwali weekend, and even though I fully intended to come to your party, family commitments just drained me!

    However, I’m working on my list of places, hotels and other things you must do your round the world extravaganza! Will send it to you soon!

    Miss you lots,

    • Darren
      November 8 at 6:14 pm #

      Thanks Rajeshni. I’m glad you enjoyed Diwali! I can’t wait to get your list… the few tips you have already given me are invaluable!!!

  2. Janessa Bishop
    November 9 at 4:49 pm #

    Hey Darren!

    I noticed Tokyo is on your itinerary (even though it’s a while away) – I happened to travel there a few years ago and I would strongly suggest (if you have the time) to visit Yamanoutchi, a small town just outside Nagano. I was actually the ONLY tourist in this town when I was there (not sure if I just got lucky or what!), and you can visit the hotsprings/snow monkey park (about a 45 minute hike). Probably one of the most beautiful areas I visited in Japan – I would also recommend staying in the Shimaya Ryokan – the host is amazing and will drive you to wherever you need to go.

    • Darren
      November 9 at 5:25 pm #

      what fabulous advice! thank you so much Janessa! I am going to add all to my itinerary! you are the second person to tell me about the hot springs/snow monkey park – it sounds amazing!

  3. Jeanine Appleton-Bott
    November 13 at 3:18 am #

    I am sorry I missed you and the party!!!
    I wish you all the good luck in the world on your travels. I am so happy for you!!!
    I’m sure it’s the last thing you are thinking about, but I’m not sure if you still want to be in the lottery pool? If yes, I will keep a spot open for you, if not I’m sad to see you go.
    Wow, Newark as your first stop-mmmmmmmm can’t wait to see the pix from there?-lol:-)
    Take care my love and I can’t wait to see your pics on the Great Darren Adventure-
    God Bless.

  4. Lindsay
    November 14 at 9:01 am #

    I think I want to also meet you in Tokyo!!!
    This is amazing, I am sooo excited to see you in a few sleeps and again in India!!
    Lindsay xoxoxo

  5. Jason Pomerantz
    November 29 at 10:54 am #


    I’m sorry I missed the going away party… but I do know a little something about Hawaii… I spent a month there shooting hotels for an ad company a couple of years ago… Let me tell you about a couple of things I found…

    Oahu -Drive from Waikiki around the Island and you’ll hit the following spots – Sandy Beach, Hanauma Bay, Makapu’U Beach,Kahana Bay, Then you hit the North Shore!!! My favourite beach in the world is Sunset Beach.. be sure to play in the rough strong current… its fun but be careful… after the sunset drive over to Haliewa… Have dinner at Heliewa Joe’s torch lit on the ocean and the ceviche is awesome! Also, if you have time the Dole Plantation isn’t too far from Heliewa and is fun to spend an hour there… do that before heading to back to Sunset Beach for the Sunset.

    Maui – There’s a bunch of things to do in Maui – Most people stay in Lahaina… there are some good restaurants there… you must go to Poipu and watch the windsurfers… they are some of the best in the world. Driving around the northwest shore of Maui is awesome but also a stress on your nerves… its one lane and cars go both directions around tight corners right on the edge of the island… its beautiful but a little stressful. You must see the sunrise on Haleakala and if you still can, take a bike down the mountain.. the Maui Downhill is super fun. The road to Hana is similar to the stressful driving around the north shore from Lahaina. On the way stop at twin falls and the other waterfalls, truly beautiful. A beautiful hotel in Lahaina is the Outrigger Aina Nalu… a fantastic pool and very quiet as its off the beaten path a bit. Very relaxing… even if you don’t stay there… I suggest spending the early evening by that pool.. and watch the sunset from in the pool… its awesome, trust me.

    Big Island – Volcanos National Park… its awesome. Do a twilight hike on the lava flow… and you can see the glowing lava at night… its incredible… bring your headlamp! If there on a Friday drive up to the observatory on Mauna Kea. Get there before 6pm or 7pm at which point they close the road, I believe. On Fridays they let you look through the telescope. Bring a sweater… its about -5 degrees up there. I was in shorts and a tshirt… really cold… but incredible nonetheless. You must go to the Green Sand Beach. Yes, green sand!!! Its near by south point. The southern most point in the US. way further south than Key West’s continental south point. Drive to south point then depending on your time – you can rent a 4 wheel drive jeep wrangler and drive off road to the green sand beach or you can hike… It took me approx. 3 hours each way hiking with a tripod and video camera kit… totally worth it though. Also, try to go to the waterfall near Hilo… Akaka Falls is very impressive. In between Volcanos National Park and Kona is Captain Cook… its and bay where Captain Cook was killed. There is a memorial plus its a great place to snorkel with wild dolphins… so much fun.

    Kauai – The smaller less populated island… the Napali Coast is one of the most impressive coastlines I have ever seen. The waterfalls and sheer cliffs are amazing. I was lucky enough to take a helicopter tour around them and over waimea canyon. There are many waterfalls and hikes to do. If you want you can hike and camp in and around the Napali Coast.

    Well that’s it for Hawaii… my two cents for what its worth. Have a wonderful trip.. I’ll be checking your site often… mostly in jealousy!!! hahaha

    • Darren
      December 3 at 12:10 pm #

      Jason, that is great information. Some great ideas here… the weird thing is that of all the places I am going, I know Hawaii probably the best, having been there numerous times since I was a teenager. Still I will refer to this to make sure I do some cool things while I’m there, and not just hang out on the beach! 😉

  6. Alethea Smartt
    May 26 at 1:23 pm #

    Hi Darren,
    Congrats on completing the first six months of your RTW trip! I just returned from a 9 month RTW trip with my boyfriend. The only reason we came home when we did was that we were in Western Europe so it was easy to return to the U.S. and take a break (both of us had been suffering from seasonal allergies for months).

    We both gave up everything to take this trip and are now trying to decide where to go next. Looking at volunteer opportunities first as we’re not ready to “settle down” just yet.

    Anyway, I hope your trip continues to go well. You’ve already been to many of the places we visited so you might find it interesting to read my blog to compare notes.

    All the best,

    • Darren
      May 26 at 1:33 pm #

      Thank you Althea. It’s been an amazing adventure with a lot more still to come. I am definately going to check out your blog as well… especially for tips about where I’m heading. Please stay in touch and let me know when you hit the road again!


  1. The First 6 Months: Dec 01.10 – May 01.10 | RTW - May 5

    […] adventure.  It has been everything I dreamed of and more.  When I first started developing a firm plan for my trip I had a few things in mind that I hoped to achieve, things that I have always wanted to do and […]

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