Monday, March 7, 2011
Arriving Osaka (and some other preflight concerns=)
TO PARK OR NOT TO PARK
I always find this dilemma. True, there is an overnight parking at NAIA T3 at only Php 50 per night BUT I am always unlucky as I always find the overnight parking of T3 full. Parking at the nearby Resorts World is NOT an option as this will set me back at Php 1000 per night...so for 3 nights...that would amount to Php 3,000.
I noticed that indeed, there is a multi-level parking at NAIA T3 but for now, it is not yet operational and therefore, if one cannot park at NAIA T3, then the best and nearest option would be the overnight parking in front of the old Manila Domestic Terminal. Note though that you gotta cross the street via pedestrian overpass in order to get a cab that wil bring you to NAIA T3. Overnight parking there is also at Php 50...but the good thing is that it is safe there but a bit inconvenient if your flight leaves and arrives at NAIA T3.
Perhaps one alternative is that of the MRT. Just a note though that if you got big luggages, you might encounter the guards of MRT not allowing you to board the train but if you just got a backpack with you, then you can take the MRT to Taft Ave. From Taft Ave., look for the McDonalds beside Hotel Sogo and go to the bus station behind it (this is also the terminal for buses going to Cavite and Tagaytay) as there are coasters and shuttle vans that ferry passengers from MRT Taft Ave to Terminal III for only Php 20.
ARRIVING IN OSAKA
Cebu Pacific parks at the gates far from the immigration counter so expect to go upstairs, a long walk, then take their skytrain so that you will be conveyed to the immigration halls for screening.
As soon as you clear customs and immigration formalities, look for the Travel Desk. This is where you will buy your Surutto Kansai Pass or the JR Pass. Again, as mentioned earlier, the Surutto Kansai Pass is the better option than the JR.
This is how the Travel Desk looks like:
Here, you need to fill up the form for the pass. Just tell them the Surutto Kansai 3-day pass. They will ask for your passport. Then, you will be given the train ticket, much like our MRT Stored Value Ticket. This will serve as your pass for 3 days for all trains in the Kansai Region EXCEPT the JR lines.
I forgot to include in the previous section re: Forex. Before I left for Japan, I already bought enough JPY at Asian FX Money Changer at the 2nd level of Gateway Mall in Cubao for only Php 0.49 = JPY 1. Their contact number is 913-3319. You can call them up and ask if they have yen or any other currency that you want. There are not that many forex in Japan so to get this off your mind, then I recommend to buy yen before leaving Manila and keep your ATM account, preferably BPI, loaded so you can withdraw money from Japan should you need more.
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Now that you have the money and the train tickets with you, the next hurdle is how to get to downtown Osaka or to your hotel or even going to Kyoto.
LEAVING KIX AIRPORT
The good thing in Japan is that you can go anywhere by taking the rail. From the Travel Desk, go to the 2nd level. This is what you will see:
This is what you will see once you go to the 2nd level: the bridgeway that connects the Kansai Airport to the Kansai Train Terminal. This is what you will see:
This is the place where you will buy your single journey ticket to Namba/Osaka. See previous post on why you should NOT use your rail pass immediately when you arrive. But hey if you wanna use it and you dont mind wasting the day's worth of unlimited train ride for like three remaining hours of the day, then it is your call=)
Since I bought the Surutto Kansai Pass, I will make no more references to the JR train since I did not buy their pass=).
The Nankai Line operates and uses tickets just like our MRT. Just insert the ticket and pull it out as you pass through the turnstile. When you are inside the train station, make sure to check what platform you are supposed to be in to make sure that you are on the right train, in this case, you are looking for an Airport Express bound for Namba (the downtown Osaka). If you choose the Ltd Exp Rapit train, you gotta pay an extra surcharge of JPY 500 but if you take the Airport Express, no surcharges are levied. Note that the platform number is the one beside the hour of departure. This is illustrated below.
This is how the airport express train looks like:
This is how the Rapit Limited train looks like:
You need not worry if you are afraid that you might be taking the wrong train. The reason: there is a sign board at all entrances stating where the train is going and if it is a LOCAL train (stops at all train station), Semi Express (does not stop at some stations) and limited express. Note that if you choose limited express, you will pay additional JPY 500 even if you are using the surutto kansai pass. Note that the Express/Semi trains are normally 15 minutes slower than that of the rapit trains so in essence, you are paying an additional JPY 500 for arriving 15 minutes earlier than the semi express trains=).
Tsk tsk too long already...more to come=)