Asia and Pacific

Before moving to Tokyo in 1998, we'd been to only five countries in the AsiaPacific region. Even so, we considered ourselves fortunate to have seen that much so far from home. While living in Tokyo, we explored some new places Asia and revisited others. Our experiences so far have given us the desire to visit more places. We especially want to see the great wall of China one day and the TajMahal in India!! However, for our World Tour 2000, we decided to explore the Islands of the Pacific and leave China and India for a package tour one day.


We spent the second week of our pre-honeymoon in Australia during 1994. It was a busy week because we went to Sydney, Hamilton Island and Cairns. Seth had to go to the Sydney & Melbourne offices in early 1999. Tara was lucky enough to go along and we ended up taking an extra week and going river rafting in Tasmania. Then, we went back to Australia and visited Hayman Island and Brisbane for what turned out to be almost a five year anniversary trip in March 2000. We also stopped in Sydney, Kooyong and Melbourne on our World Tour 2000.

The Cook Islands

Rarotonga, the main Cook Island, was our favorite South Pacific Island during our World Tour 2000. We hope to return one day with our friends Bob & Eileen to "their" islands.

Easter Island

Even though Easter Island is Chilean territory, and thus South American, we include it here since it was a stop on islands tour during our World Tour in 2001. We really enjoyed Easter Island! Not only was seeing the statues very kool, but we were happily surprised at just how gorgeous the island is. We really liked hiking up the exploded volcano craters and exploring the rugged coastline. Our best days were when we took our guesthouse owner's jeep and drove around the island.


We included Fiji as a stop on our World Tour 2000 in March 2001 since the political coup of 2000 was now more than a year in the past. However, the week before we were to fly to Fiji, we saw that the high court had ruled the coup of 2000 as illegal and was placing the former Indian Fijian back in power. We decided to go anyway since our tickets were non-refundable, just to stay away from the capital of Suva and stay in a pre-booked resort. We had an OK time on the coral coast at Hideaway Resort and a nice last night near the airport at Beachside Resort. It was only when we came back for two days after being in Tonga that we found the Fiji we expected at Natadola Beach.

French Polynesia

We included Tahiti and Bora Bora in our World Tour 2000 trip. We initially spent a few days in Papeete on Tahiti since we were waiting on a flight to Easter Island. The only aspect of Papeete that we liked were the dinner trucks that pulled up and parked by a waterfront park. Otherwise, Papeete was dirty, crowded and smelly. We have awarded the Papeete Airport Tourist Information Center our "worst tourist information center in the world" award. Our experience in Bora Bora was better, but still it was not our idea of paradise. Bora Bora did have gorgeous views and natural scenery - but from afar only. Up close, a number of people we ran into rude, the natural beaches (not in front of 5-star hotels) were dirty mud-flats and the buildings around the island were run-down. Our best experiences were when we were in the water seeing good snorkeling or diving.

Hong Kong

Tara traveled to Hong Kong a few times for business. Then, on the weekend of July 1, 1996, we visited Hong Kong for the first time together. Walking around the open-air Chinese markets watching women picking out a raw pig's liver as if they were picking out a piece of fruit was truly a memorable experience as was being in Hong Kong exactly one year before the handover from the UK to China. On July 1, 1997, we were actually in Scotland watching the handover ceremony in a store while we bought CD racks.

Hong Kong, China

After the handover from Britain to China, we moved to Tokyo and Hong Kong is much closer to home. Because of Seth's Asian regional manager responsibilities, we've been to Hong Kong alot. From June 1998 to Dec 1999, Seth has taken five business trips to Hong Kong and Tara has been able to come along for three of them. Our first trip to Hong Kong together was at the end of the Cook & Immell Asian Tour 1999 from April 14 - 18, 1999. Then, we went back again over the summer from July 21 - 25, 1999. And most recently, we were in Hong Kong in October 1999.


We would like to go to Bali, but just haven't found the right time to plan a trip yet. We almost went in October, 1999; but, with all the news in the papers about peacekeeping troops in nearby East Timor and riots in Jakarta - we decided to stay away and went to Mauritius instead. We have one rule from when we canceled our plans for Israel - we don't go to any countries where there are tanks mobilized! Instead of Bali, we could always take an hours ferry ride from Singapore to Bintan, Indonesia - we just haven't yet.


In June of 1998, we moved from London to Tokyo. Since then, we've been on many day trips including Hakano and Kamakura. Plus, in the summer of 1999, Tara climbed Mt. Fuji and for three weekends before, we went hiking on nearly mountains. Our first overnight trip in Japan since moving here was in November, 1999 when we went with Seth's parents to Kyoto.

Before moving to Tokyo, we'd both visited Japan before. 1994 - 1997, Tara traveled to Japan once a year for work. In 1997, for a switch, it was Seth who was working in Tokyo and Tara who was on vacation in Japan. During that trip in 1997, we would have thought that one year later, we'd be coming back to Japan to live! Since moving to Japan, we've taken overnight trips to Kyoto and Sapporo, plus had many adventures in and around Tokyo.

We went back to Japan during our World Tour in 2001. Our timing was perfect since we arrived at the heighth of hamani (cherry blossum) viewing in Tokyo. After spending a while with our friends Tod and Kristen in Tokyo, we had a whilrwind week on the Shinkansen and visited Matsushima, Doraemon Town, Hirosaki, Fukuyama, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji.


We spent an afternoon in Macau together one time when Seth was working in Hong Kong.


We finally made it to Malaysia during our World Tour because the cheapest one-way flight from New Zealand to Singapore was via Kuala Lumpur. Finally we got to see the Twin Towers. Overall, we were impressed with KL - especially the hotel we stayed in for US$60/night.We haven't been to Malaysia yet which is surprising considering how many times we've been less than an hour away in Singapore. One day we'll decide to cross the border! We want to see the twin towers in Kuala Lumpur and the water bungalows at Pangkor Laut Island Resort look very nice.

New Zealand

We spent our first week of our pre-honeymoon in New Zealand. We've done some of the most unique activities ever while there. One of the best memories is of climbing up out a cave into the sunlight with a waterfall splashing into our faces. We also visited New Zealand during our World Tour in 2001. Twice, we connected through the airport in Auckland - once we had an unexpected trip to the hospital and the other time we went shopping at a cheap Wharehouse store nearby the airport. We enjoyed our quick trips through Auckland so much that we headed back to New Zeland for up to a month.


Singapore is HOT! From 1992 - 1998, Tara went to Singapore about once a year on a buisiness trip. She always thought that it was a perfect place for a vacation - great weather, very good tourist attractions, clean and more! Finally, Seth was able to come along & we found Singapore to be more like America in some ways than London. Since 1998, the tables have turned & Seth travels to Singapore for business regularly. Singapore was also a stop on the Cook & Immell Asian Tour 1999.


One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster... One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble...
Tara was insistent that we spend one night in Bangkok before heading to the beaches of Krabi on the BEST Asian Tour 1999.


We spent a week in Tonga while on our World Tour. Tara had hoped that we'd stay in one place all week, but as it ended up - we slept FOUR different places in seven days. It was only in the end, at Otuhaka Beach Resort that we found a place we could have stayed at longer. We were pretty miserable our first three nights at Fafa Island. If we could have taken away the 100,000,000 mosquitos on Fafa, it would have been OK - but as it was, it was the 2nd worst place we'd stayed in in 260 days. Maybe the absolute worst since we couldn't leave without losing money and the "camping" on Fafa was quiete expensive. Because we had to move around, we did get to explore the main town of Nuku'alofa.