The Land J-pop or K-pop Where To Travel Next

I would recommend Japan, personally. I've been to both SK (Seoul, Busan and Namhae) and Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Okinawa) and it's Japan that has me constantly wanting to return most.

I mean, Korea is awesome, but I got more of a feel that Japan offers a wider variety of experiences than SK did.

Of course, there's people who love K-Pop more than J-Pop, some love samurai flicks over the Vengeance trilogy, so your mileage may vary.

I love Korea a bunch, but Japan is just better for me. In Japan I spend ~$60 a day. In Korea, I would spend ~$45 a day and would include better meals too.

I have spent time in both countries. I loved both countries, but if I had to return to just one, it would be Japan. The people are straight forward and accommodating

For example, I found a quiznos buried in Tokyo (under a train track and hidden). The quiznos had a special: sandwich with bbq chips and med drink. If you wanted a different chip, no special. Not a big deal at all, but it's how Japan works. If you can adjust, then you will have a great time. Koreans, on the other hand, will not make a big deal. It's just a cultural difference. Both places are awesome, but I prefer Japan.

But, Korea is cheaper.

Moorea to Bora Bora

We've stayed in French Polynesia a few times and both in Bora Bora and Moorea. I think Bora Bora is more geared towards the service.

There isn't a large reef system (only off site from the resorts by boat), and aside from languid activity there isn't much to do. The view of Otemanu from the motus is fantastic, and the color of the lagoon is amazing.

However, I wholeheartedly recommend Moorea. If I were to go back, I would skip Bora Bora. Moorea is a bigger island, and more laid back. Bora Bora is stunning and is worth a visit. We did five nights in Moorea and three in Bora Bora. I felt that was the perfect ratio of the two.

We stayed at the Hilton Moorea in a panoramic overwater villa. The best feature of Moorea is the lagoon, and the Hilton has the best reef. Over water bungalows are very nice, but I don't think it is worth it to stay in one for 14 days since they are pricey.

The bungalows are a decent size but no where near the size of the St. Regis villas in Bora Bora, but very comfortable. The lagoon was the highlight, and the amount of sea life we saw was amazing. Every moment of every day, there were fish, stingrays, sharks, some jellies, everything.

We spent all of our mornings, afternoons, and evenings in the lagoon.

Breakfast was included and good, and in the evening we often had crepes which were the best we've ever had of anywhere. The chef is a fantastic French guy.

One of my favorite memories is sitting on the lower deck while a full moon illuminated the lagoon and the water was totally calm, watching the sharks and rays swim around the property. We did the 4×4 tour (I recommend this) and got to see most of the island and visit old temples. We did not eat lunch but bought snacks in the gift shop.

Bora Bora, on the other hand, had beautiful water with little sea life. Most of our activities were in tours in the lagoon which were more expensive than in Moorea.

We almost booked the Sofitel Moorea because it has a beautiful view of Tahiti, but were ultimately very satisfied with the Hilton. Those staying at the Sofitel said they enjoyed it but not the food. They had decent snorkeling, but not the variety of wildlife we had at the Hilton. I thought the Hilton property looked nicer, and was more spread out.

If you have any questions, please feel free to message me. I'm a French Polynesia enthusiast and am happy to answer what I can. We have only gone to BB and Moorea but have done a great deal of research on Taha'a, Raitea, and Tetiaroa.

Use a travel agent.

You will get the best bang for your buck. I've used two companies, one for my honeymoon and the other exclusively for our return trips since she has gotten us everything we've wanted. Shop around, find who you like. They can even save you money by skipping a plane ride from Fa'aa and taking the water ferry to Moorea. Also, we are from Chicago as well.

Book your LA flight separately from the travel agent since they are just booking from LAX to Papeete. We've historically found the best and most comfortable deals on Virgin America out of O'hare. The red eye midnight flight from LAX leaves you plenty of time to get to Los Angeles on Virgin, they have an evening flight that comes in I think at 7PM. Air Tahiti Nui desk in LAX does not open until like 10PM, so you have no choice but to sit and wait. There are no lounges to use prior to getting checked in.

The overnight flight from Papeete to LAX arrives at the same time as other international flights, run to customs if you are connecting or leave enough buffer time for an hour or more of waiting.

The Long Trip Trouble

First off, you're lucky to have the time and money to take such an epic backpacking trip. The biggest impediment to travel, regardless of where you're from is typically money.

And that relates to the second biggest impediment, at least for Americans, time. The US has no required vacation time. Most employers offer it, but it's usually no more than two weeks a year for younger employees and it is often frowned upon to take the full two weeks at one time other than for using it up before going onto unpaid maternity leave.

My employer is very generous with vacation time, but the workload is so heavy that it requires a ton of planning ahead and catch-up afterwards to take more than a week off.

Last year I spent months getting projects and job responsibilities assigned to others before taking five weeks off to travel. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to do that as taking that amount of time is highly unusual for working adults in America.

A large part of it is the huge distance of travel destinations.

With relatively inexpensive means, a European can go pretty much anywhere in Europe, and Africa and the Asia aren't terribly far either.

Our close destinations include Canada, which is lovely, the Caribbean, which most use for resort style vacations (i.e sitting on a beach and getting drunk) rather than cultural ones, and Mexico, which is rapidly becoming too dangerous for most fairweather US travelers.

It costs a LOT of money for us to get to Europe, Asia or South America to find radically different cultures.

Most Americans, with their 2 weeks of vacation that they are strongly encouraged to not use, would rather spend it at a domestic destination like the beach or skiing, or go to an all inclusive Caribbean resort.

If you take advantage of all of your vacation/sick days, you will most likely be passed over for promotions or raises, because this is perceived as laziness and not being devoted to work.

Sad really.

Thanks to the economy improving my workload is heavier than it's been in years. So heavy in fact that any trips were limited to long weekends and I'll finish the year with at least three weeks of unused vacation.

Don't forget a lot of employers look at long gaps of unemployment as highly suspicious regardless of reason.

There is a lot of fear about not being able to get a job when you come back from a long trip, especially if it's a career. I've seen quite a few people say that they wouldn't hire some one that went traveling for a year because they probably aren't reliable or they might do it again.

Go 'Merica!