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Ah, home sweet home! After two weeks of traveling, I am so glad to be back home.
Not that it was a horrendous trip, but it was definitely exhausting traveling with a toddler.
We flew out just after midnight on a Friday (March 31st), so our son actually slept for the first 9 hours of our 16 hour flight. We also managed to get him to take a couple of short naps as well, so he was happy and in a very playful mood during the first flight.
Unfortunately, his happy mood did not continue on the second flight. He was extremely cranky during our layover in Hong Kong and on our connecting flight to get to the first leg of our trip – Taipei, Taiwan.
We got to our hotel around 1pm on Sunday (April 2nd). Despite us previously requesting for an early check-in when we booked the hotel, the front desk informed us that we would not be able to check in until 3pm. They indicated that the hotel had full occupancy the night before, so no rooms have been cleaned yet.
After traveling for almost 24 hours, we were all tired and desperate for sleep. I begged and pleaded with the hotel staff to let us check in early, but they remained firm on their 3pm check-in time.
Almost on cue, our son started to cry and scream in the hotel lobby which happened to be full of other hotel guests. Being the loving mother, my wife immediately tried to sooth our son and quiet him down. However, I suggested to my wife that we should just leave him be and let him raise hell in the hotel lobby.
Funny enough, our room quickly became available within 10 minutes and we were able to check in much earlier. 😉
Over the next 3 days, we did lots of eating and even fit in a bit of sightseeing at Taipei 101, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Raohe Street Night Market, and Taipei Zoo.
From Taiwan, we headed for the second leg of our trip – Kyoto, Japan.
We flew out early Thursday morning and landed in the main international airport in Osaka, Japan. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we took a bullet train to Kyoto.
On our first night, we stayed at a hotel that specialized in onsen or Japanese hot springs. Since we were traveling with our son, my wife and I were not able to enjoy the onsen together and had to take turns. Despite that, the onsen was absolutely awesome! It was so nice and relaxing – definitely much needed as it helped us sooth and relieve our sore muscles.
Wished we could have stayed at the onsen hotel one more night, but we ended up checking out the hotel the very next morning and checking into a hotel right by Kyoto train station. It just made things easier for us since we needed to take a bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo the following afternoon.
Since we were only in Kyoto for a couple of days, we were not able to do much sightseeing and only visited the Fushimi Inari Shrine (Fushimi Inari Taisha) and the Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
However, we did have the pleasure and opportunity to try Ohmi beef. Ohmi beef is local to Kyoto and it is the best steak I have ever tasted in my life. I would definitely go back to Kyoto just to eat it.
After staying in Kyoto for two and a half days, we hopped on a bullet train on Saturday afternoon and started to make our way to Tokyo.
Upon getting to Tokyo, we missed Kyoto immediately. While Tokyo was really nice, it was just way too busy and hectic for us. Everyone seemed to be in a rush to get somewhere.
Even though Tokyo was where we spent the most days during our trip, we were not able to do as much sightseeing as we had hoped since it rained 3 out of the 5 days that we were there. We did manage to fit in Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu), Ueno Zoo, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom), and the Tsukiji Fish Market (the freshest sushi you can find!).
While we were not able to do much sightseeing, we made up for it with food and ate at various ramen, sushi, steak, and other Japanese specialty restaurants.
The steaks that we ate in Tokyo were also quite good, but sadly not as good as the Ohmi beef we had in Kyoto. Other than Japanese beef, I was not impressed with any of the other meals as it seems like the same dishes taste just as good in New York, if not better.
On Thursday (April 13th), we left Tokyo and headed for the last leg of our trip – Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, our flight was delayed for almost 7 hours. Instead of landing at 1pm, we did not get to Hong Kong until 8pm. By the time we cleared customs, picked up our luggage, and got to the hotel, it was already close to 10pm. So rather than having almost a full day to explore and eat in Hong Kong, we lost a day. We ended up checking into our hotel and went straight to bed.
The next day, we woke up early and spent the entire day eating. This was our second time in Hong Kong, so we did no sightseeing and knew exactly where and what we wanted to eat.
The highlight of our Hong Kong trip was a seafood restaurant called “Under Bridge Spicy Crab” – a restaurant made famous and approved by Anthony Bourdain. It was our first time eating here and it certainly did not disappoint.
Sadly, our stay in Hong Kong was too short and we ended up flying back home on Saturday.
The flight back home did not go as well as our flight out.
Even though we did not have any layovers or connecting flights, because our flight back home was an afternoon flight, our son did not sleep from the start of our flight. He was cranky and ended up crying for a quarter of the flight, slept for only about a quarter of the flight, and was completely restless and aggravated for the remaining half of the flight.
Landing in JFK airport was truly one of the happiest moments of my life. Although our son was still cranky while we were clearing customs and picking up our luggage, the thought of being in the comfort of our own home got us through it.
Traveling with a toddler was definitely more difficult than I had thought, especially since our son was not old enough to entertain himself with a movie or even feed himself.
Since we were constantly watching him, I barely had any time to work on PWDW during the trip. Thankfully, I drafted up and scheduled several posts to be published.
The only thing I was able to do during my travels was confirm that my posts published as scheduled. Fortunately, they all did and I did not have to try to troubleshoot any issues from overseas.
I purposely did not share my travel dates before leaving because I wanted to see if you would be able to tell the difference.
So were you able to tell that I left? Or did my scheduled posts make you wonder when I was leaving for my trip?
Would love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment and let me know.
Would also love to hear any interesting stories based on your experiences with traveling with a toddler.