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The Top Four (4) Most Popular Theme Parks in Japan

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Visiting the theme park has grown to become a trend among us. It is a popular pick for families, couples and solo travelers. If it’s your time to visit Japan, you will never escape from the heat of their theme park popularity.   

Japan already has a few dozen popular theme parks and amusement parks dotted around the country and you can spot them rather easily. Here is the list of top four (4) theme parks that you should visit while you in Japan.  

i) Tokyo Disneyland  

Tokyo Disneyland is in fact the most popular theme park in Japan. This mega theme park was the first Disneyland to be build outside United States on April 1983 and already becoming one of Disney’s most popular park in the world.   

Tokyo Disneyland is modelled after its Californian contemporary and has seven themed areas known as lands and all based around a different theme namely as; The World Bazaar, Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Critter Country and Mickey’s Toontown.   

Since Tokyo Disneyland located in Chiba which is just outside of Tokyo, it makes a trip to this theme park an easy destination.  

ii) Tokyo DisneySea  

Just next door to Tokyo Disneyland, there is another one and only theme park in the world of its type; Tokyo DisneySea which is based on a nautical theme.   

Tokyo DisneySea opened on 4 September 2001 and already attracted approximately 14.6 million visitors in 2018 alone and making this theme park the fourth most visited theme park in the world.   

Inspired by the myths and legends of the sea, Tokyo DisneySea also has seven themed like its sister Disneyland but with a different twist; Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery and American Waterfront.   

iii) Universal Studios Osaka  

Universal Studios Osaka is one of six Universal Studios theme parks that is available all around the globe. The theme park opened on 31 March 2001 and it is still remained to be as a must-visit theme park for locals and tourists.   

Couples with Universal Studios magic and Japanese technology will make your trip to this theme parks full with enjoyable memories. Universal Studios Japan currently has eight sections; New York, Hollywood, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  

If you are happened to be a Harry Potter fans just like me, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will live out the Harry Potter fantasies in you; taking a ride on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, 3D rollercoaster simulation type to dodge dementors, soar by whomping willows, get in Quidditch match and not to forget to quench your thirst by drinking butterbeer.   

In addition to all the rides, this Universal Studios also offers many other opportunities like taking pictures with popular character’s mascots, watching various shows that will be put up every day and seeing a night parade featuring illuminated floats paraded through the streets.  

Other attractions that will come in spring 2020 will feature Nintendo themed attractions; Super Nintendo World. This attraction will officially get two rides (Super Mario Kart ride and Omni—mover ride called as Yoshi’s Adventure) with other interactive element (guest can have magnetic bracelets to interact with the parks itself and guests can keep tracks their scores gained on the attractions and rides in Super Nintendo World).  

iv) Fuji-Q Highland  

Located just at the foot of Mount Fuji in the Fuji Five Lake region, Fuji Q Highland presents to you theme park full with thrills for adrenaline junkies with a great view surrounding it.   

What makes this theme park different from any other theme parks is; it is known for its thrilling, record-breaking roller coasters, anime-themed rides (multiple mazes and haunted attractions) and a lot of others attractions (rides such as teacup, log flume, Ferris wheel, carousel, sky swings, pirate ship, and drop tower).   

Fuji Q Highland have totals of four major roller coasters which categorize as a-must-ride coasters to feel the full experience of what this theme park could offer;  

  • Fujiyama (79 meters tall, 130 km/h) – The park’s centerpiece attraction and when being opened in 1996, it was once the world’s tallest and fastest roller coasters and up until now it still holds the top rank of among the best coasters in the world.  
  • Dodonpa (52 meters tall, 172 km/h) – Opened in 2001 and also the speediest coaster in the park. It is once the world’s fastest roller coaster and as of 2013, it already becomes the 4th fastest in the world.  
  • Eejanaika (76 meters tall, 126 km/h) – Opened in 2006 and known as the 4th dimension roller coaster. This is the second type of roller coaster to ever be built and the first one was in California. The seats of the roller coaster can rotate 360 degrees forward or backward in a controlled spin.  
  • Takabisha – Opened in 2011, this coaster holds the records for being the steepest roller coasters in the world until December 2016. This coaster could go with a drop up to 43 meters that hit 121-degree angle. 

AirAsia BigPay Honest Review

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AirAsia has introduced BigPay; a digital wallet. On early January 2018, it attracted people’s attention as their group CEO, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes claims that;  

One day, BigPay will be worth more than AirAsia itself. 

Tony Fernandes

Curious to know what and how true this statement is; I quickly jump on board.   

i) Registration – Quick and on point  

You can download BigPay app on either IOS or Android. When you first open the app, you can immediately register your account with these 3 simple steps;  

  • Fill in your basic personal details. (for a referral code, fill in this code; X2YUADBKFG. You will get RM10 upon activation your card and I will get the same amount too. Let’s share the love.)  
  • Verify your identity with a picture of your IC/passport and also with a selfie.  
  • Add RM 20 into your account for your future usage.  
Show me some love – X2YUADBKFG (referral code)

After completing that, wait for around 3 – 5 days for your card to arrive and then activate your card through BigPay app and get ready for a full adventure of AirAsia’s BigPay.  

ii) The Usage – your typical debit/credit card with a twist  

AirAsia BigPay acts the same as any prepaid card out there and it based on Mastercard. Hence, any merchants accepting Mastercard will most likely accept BigPay too. It needed to be top-up first before you can use it. You can either top up your card via a credit card, debit card, online banking, or PayPal. Every RM 50 that you top up, you will get 1 AirAsia big point and every RM 20 that you spend using the card will earn you another 1 AirAsia big point. You can use these points to redeem AirAsia flight ticket. As for example, we can redeem 97,000 big points to grants a return flight ticket to Seoul, Korea. Or 14,400 big points to receive a return ticket to Bangkok, Thailand. I calculate both points for a flight from Kuala Lumpur. Another way to earn AirAsia’s big point is to spend at Booking.com and any other selected merchants associate with AirAsia.   

Whenever you made a purchase using BigPay card, a notification will appear on your phone showing that you have made a purchase. If you are using this card outside Malaysia, the app will show you the rate you will pay either in local currency or Ringgit Malaysia. But, for the best rate, please select a local currency and not RM.   

Other things that BigPay can offer is the actual analytics you can use to track your total expenses right in BigPay app. All their analytics is based on real-time so you can see all your total spending and all fees (if any) all right through the app. It’s really convenience especially if you are budgeting for your trip and wanted to control what you’ve been spending on.   

iii) Exchange rate – is it the best in town?  

This is another significant thing that is spat out from BigPay. In most of their ads, they will surely state they offer the best exchange rate. They base their rate from Mastercard itself with no added fees at all. You can refer to BigPay exchange rate by clicking on this link.   

But then, how much could you save if you use BigPay currency exchange compared to using a bank or even going out to the money changer? Here, let me help you break down all the calculation;  

So, let’s say you allocate your budget for your next trip to Bangkok, Thailand to RM 1000;

(I base the currency rate given at their respective website on 31/01/2019)  

  • Using CIMB Credit Card;
    • RM13.40 –> 100THB
    • RM1000 –> 7462THB  
  • Using the best rate money changer in Kuala Lumpur;
    •  RM13.10 –> 100THB
    • RM1000 –> 7633THB
  • Using BigPay;
    • RM13.07 –> 100THB
    • RM1000 –> 7651THB

So, in reality, if you are using BigPay, it is better than using CIMB credit card rate but when you compared it to using the traditional way which is using money changer, it actually almost the same. But keep in mind that going to a money changer will always cost you additional budget; petrol and toll to get to the money changer itself.  

But, here is the deal breaker. I still need some local currencies if I’m traveling. Going cashless is not an option. Paying for taxis, buying street food and buying from the small vendor always required me to have cash in hands.  

I believe in the market or niche that BigPay serving is not to eliminate the local money changer (I wish they could) but rather to compete with the bank which BigPay excel big time. During my time traveling, I do sometimes use a credit card to shop and with BigPay exchange rate, I will definitely use them in the future.  

iv) Zero processing fees – for booking flight with AirAsia  

Another perk that BigPay offer is zero processing fees when booking AirAsia flight. The fees usually cost you around RM24 and by using BigPay, these fees will be waived. And there is also an additional RM2 discount on a purchase of inflight meal and luggage.

v) Withdraw your money – local or overseas.  

Using your BigPay card, you can withdraw your money from any ATM that have Mastercard logo in it. The fees are fixed; RM6 for local ATM and RM10 for overseas ATM. If you are using BigPay card from overseas, please alert that some ATM charge fees differently depending on which country and what bank.

I find this as good things. But I will definitely not be using it too frequently because the fees are high. This will act well as an emergency fund if I’m short on cash. Overseas money changer overcharges tourists or even scam you and the bank rate for withdrawing money overseas is higher than BigPay itself. Let me help you calculate it so you will see the clear picture.

So, let’s say you want to withdraw RM 1000 at an ATM in Bangkok, Thailand;  

  • Using CIMB Debit Card;
    •   CIMB ATM Regional Link: RM1000 –> 7462THB + No fees
    • MEPS Overseas: RM 1000 –> 7462THB + RM8.48/transaction
    • Mastercard Overseas: RM1000 –> 7462THB + RM10.60/transaction
  • Using the best rate money changer in Bangkok;
    •  RM1000 –> 7562THB
  • Using BigPay;
    • RM1000 –> 7651THB + RM10/transaction

Based on this, using BigPay to withdraw your money is the best option you have in case you are in shortage of Thai Bhat. And this is something I will do while I’m out traveling.

What I can conclude is the market that BigPay aiming for is two; traveler and also to AirAsia passengers based on what this card has to offer. I will not replace my current credit card and debit card I have right now with BigPay for my daily use. However, if I’m traveling, BigPay will help me greatly. Plus, the points you could earn will be a bonus to someone who uses AirAsia flight regularly.  

There is a point I believe BigPay should improve to maximize their potential; the exchange rate needed to be better to dish out the competition out there. With that, if you are a traveler and find you are a frequent flyer with AirAsia, BigPay is a perfect match for you. 

P/S: Please do not forget to put in the referral code (X2YUADBKFG) when you sign up for a new account. Here’s the link to BigPay.

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