Time for New Adventures with Points and Miles – Asia Anybody?

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Points and miles have gotten us to many places I would never have been able to afford the last two years.  We went to Italy and France our first year of marriage and London, Germany, and Austria our second year.  While Europe is full of culture and amazing things to see, it still feels a little too comfortable.  You can get around by speaking English and there are always lots of American tourists around in the big cities.  I’ve spent time mostly in Western Europe, and I’m sure there’s lots of neat places in Eastern Europe, but European culture doesn’t seem unique enough when compared to American culture.  Plus, there’s already a lot of bloggers on boardingarea.com that blog about Europe.  I’m hoping I can give some input on using points and miles to Asia and interesting trip reports (after I power through my Europe trip report).  Not sure, if being Asian will make my advice more credible or not.  Anyways, I think we got our fix of Europe and I it’s time for new adventures with points and miles.

I’ve been longing for a trip to Asia for a while now and finally convinced the significant other to agree on a trip.  The thing that gets me most excited about Asia, is all the cheap and good food.  I love sushi, beef noodle soup, hot pot, dumplings, and boba.  Sorry, European food doesn’t really do it for me, although I do love Italian food.

Beef Noodle Soup (Niu rou mein) – One of my favorite foods.

If you know anything about Asia, the weather can be really hot and humid in the summer.  Since my wife is a school teacher, we don’t have many other choices besides spring break and winter break.  Spring break is too short, so we decided on winter break.  I actually found award tickets a couple months ago on Eva Air and Japan Airlines, and we’ll be going to Taiwan and Japan.  I’ll get into more details later on.  My sister and a friend live in Tokyo, so it’s a good excuse to go.  I also have some relatives in Taiwan so I’ll get some free lodging and be spoiled with food.

My plan is to go on a food journey for about 2 weeks in Taiwan/Japan.  I’ve seen most of Taiwan, but not too much of Japan.  It will be interesting being in cultures where very little English is spoken.  My mandarin is pretty rusty, but I can still speak and read semi-fluently.  I also studied Japanese for a year, so I’m hoping I can get by.

I’m excited to eat some awesome food in both countries, especially Taiwan.  The food is so good and cheap there.  I’m craving some Taiwanese hot pot.  You can get an awesome hot pot buffet unlimited meat, seafood, vegetables, Taiwan beer, Haagen-Daz ice cream, and more for only $15 USD.

Tian Tian Hot Pot-21.jpg

Truffle Xiao Long Bao Dumplings from Din Tai Feng

Mango Snow Ice Anyone?

I’m working on a food list right now on restaurants to visit in Taipei, Kyoto, and Tokyo.  Can winter come sooner? Where are all my foodies? Anybody have any recommendations?

13 comments for “Time for New Adventures with Points and Miles – Asia Anybody?

  1. August 23, 2013 at 4:35 am

    Sorry I can’t help with recommendations since I haven’t been there, but wanted to say I’m looking forward to your report!

    • August 23, 2013 at 7:47 am

      Thanks, unfortunately it won’t be here until early next year! 🙁

  2. August 23, 2013 at 5:18 am


    I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what ethnicity are you?

  3. Happy Feet
    August 23, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I have a similar plan next June. Our family of 4 will be flying to HKG on CX business using 55,000 AA miles per person. My daughter wants to sit in the upper deck and she is really excited about the trip. We plan to stay in HK for 5 days and then fly to Taiwan to visit my husband’s parents. Our return flight will be on Eva using United miles (we signed up for Ink Bold and I should be able to book the flight next Monday). Started this points and miles game this January and can’t believe we can go to Asia for free. I look forward reading your travel report. . .

    • Robert Hanson
      August 23, 2013 at 8:27 am

      I too look forward to your trip reports, especially about Kyoto. But you do realize that the average highs and lows in Kyoto for the time you are going are 50/32, right? And one of the main sights are the Zen Temples, and their beautiful outdoor grounds? If you lived in Minnesota, that would be a nice winter break. But coming from California? Brrrr……

      • August 23, 2013 at 9:45 am

        It will be cold but I prefer winter vs summer! I can just wear more clothes when it’s cold. When it’s hot.. I can’t walk around naked can I?

        I’ll take lots of pictures of Kyoto. Always wanted to see traditional Japan. Tokyo is fun but is totally different.

    • August 23, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Awesome! Taiwan is good heaven. You will enjoy it a lot!

  4. MaryE
    August 23, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Hi Rom, I lived for 14 years in different Asian countries: Japan (8), Taiwan (2.5), and Korea (4). For Japan these tools will help you get around:

    Japan Express Bus

    Train Schedules

    Japan Tourist

    Train Route Finder

    Kanazawa-shi in Ishikawa-ken is lovely

    Japan Guide

    Signs are posted in Romaji. The hospitality of the Japanese is the best in the world. When lost, most people will try to help you. Once when I did get lost, someone traveled 1 hour on the train with me to help me find my destination. Incredible! Nowadays, there are a lot of ex pats in the larger cities to ask for help. In the smaller areas the language studies and dictionary will come in handy.

  5. jim
    August 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    i am an asian so is my wife, visited THailand early this ear for 21 days and it was good except the food cos i don’t eat sea food. Used miles and points for flight and hotel stay. I wanted to to another asia travel for 30 days( Hongkong & India) early next year but my wife is pregnant now and she is due for delivery early next year. It sucks that I can’t travel . I really wanted to go on vacation and i do it only once a year. we have millions of miles and points.

    • August 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      Enjoy parenthood for a bit and then get back to traveling! We’re trying to hit up as many places before parenthood…

  6. Mr.D
    August 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Hi Rom – need your help please. I am looking for a roundtrip from Orlando or Miami to AMD to BOM using United miles. I have about 122K united miles. Timing from 20th Dec to 30 Jan 2014. Plus of minus two days are fine. I have check united and availability is very slim. Thanks a lot for your help and advise.

    • August 28, 2013 at 7:51 am

      Unfortunately that is a holiday period and availability is very slim. At less than 4 months out, there are few options. Whatever is on United.com is what they have. Sorry!

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