I thought for sure this was finally my year to visit Central Asia, but somehow the trip wasn’t coming together. I kept having problems with the itinerary in Central Asia itself, and found I was pushing visits to other countries, like Japan, too far into winter. Finally, I dropped Central Asia, stopped procrastinating, and the trip immediately came together.
Since I had over 130,000 frequent flyer miles with American begging to be used, this is another RTW trip, probably taking 6-7 months altogether. It will still be an Asian trip – I haven’t been back there since 2005 – far too long. But it will feature East and South Asia. I’ll finally spend more than one night in Japan, along with time in South Korea and Taiwan, and will bookend a return to India with first visits to Nepal and Sri Lanka. I can hardly wait!
While I have the outline of the trip down (see the itinerary at the end of this post), I have lots of work to do on the details – I’m surrounded by guidebooks! (I’ll spare you another book photo.) For South Korea and Taiwan I’m aiming to get out of the capital cities for part of the time, although I’m eager to see Taipei’s National Palace Museum. Same for Japan – I’ll spend a couple of days in Tokyo, but I think Kyoto will be more my style. I’m also looking at fitting in a little time on Shikoku and Kyushu as well as Honshu.
The headline photo on this site was taken at Darjeeling, in the northeast of India. Now I hope to make it up into the mountains in the northwest – maybe riding the toy train up to the summer retreat of Shimla just as I rode up to Darjeeling in 2001. I’m also intending to spend more time in the south than the north.
Although I’ll likely go overland from Nepal to India, other country-to-country travel will be by plane. Not my favorite mode of travel, usually, but thanks to my OneWorld award I’ll be doing it in business class, which makes such a difference on long flights. I had to buy 15,000 miles to get up to the next award level to make the itinerary work, but even so, the total cost for the tickets will be only $863. Here’s the routing (I can change the dates without penalty, but not the places):
Sep 10 2010 – AA RDU to LGA – when I found I couldn’t route through DFW I figured I’d give New York another chance, but if it rains on me this time, that’s it!
Sep 14 2010 – CX JFK to Vancouver – I was booked on this flight back in August 2001, and it was canceled – sure hope that doesn’t happen this time! Also, it gets into YVR at 1:30 am…
Sep 19 2010 – JL Vancouver to Tokyo (arr. Sep 20)
Oct 10 2010 – JL Tokyo to Seoul
Oct 21 2010 – CX Seoul to Taipei
Nov 01 2010 – CX Taipei to Hong Kong – may add an overnight in Macau, as I fly to Nepal a day later than I planned
Nov 07 2010 – Dragonair HK to Kathmandu via Dhaka
Open segment Nepal – India – Sri Lanka. The award rules allow just one open segment.
Jan 27 2011 – CX Colombo to Singapore (no award seat availability Colombo to BKK for one week either way!)
Jan 30 2011 – CX Singapore to Bangkok (Very subject to change of date. I hope to make it back to Myanmar, and finally visit Penang and a Thai island.)
Mar 01 2011 – QF Bangkok to London (I wanted to fly to Paris via Helsinki instead, but no availability on Finnair to Paris)
Mar 05 2011 – AA London to RDU (I will move this out as soon as dates at the end of March become bookable so I can spend 3-4 weeks in Europe)