Day 1 of our 8 Day 7 Night Okinawa (Self-drive) - Taiwan Trip with Kids
- Singapore to Taiwan Taoyuan Airport, depart at 0800 hrs
- Arrive Taiwan Taoyuan Airport Terminal 2 at 1240 hrs
- Lunch, settled wifi rental for Okinawa trip
- Taiwan, Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1 to Okinawa Naha Airport, depart at 1755 hrs
- Arrive at Naha, Okinawa LCC 2020 hrs (note, Japan is an hour ahead of us)
- Dinner - Yummy Spam Onigiri at NAHA Domestic Airport
- FREE shuttle bus to Okinawa Grand Mer Resort 2200 hrs
- Arrive at Okinawa Grand Mer Resort 2300hrs
Our Singapore airlines flight departed at 8 am in the morning so we have to get to the airport by 630 am. Managed to grab a bite at Burger King located at Changi Airport Terminal 3 before boarding.
Sticky bean enjoying her sausage bun for breakie
There is a playground near the boarding gate so approach the boarding gate with care. (If you know what I meant)
Oh, how we love Singapore Airlines service, instead of just making announcements for priority boarding, a staff came up to us to invite us for priority boarding (passengers with young children) so we end up being the first to board the plane! I've never been the first to board a plane. What an experience for us.
At 4 years old, it's relatively easier and more convenient to bring Sticky Bean on holidays. At least I know the in-flight entertainment will keep her occupied most of the time so I merely packed some stickers activity books and my DIY felt dollhouse along.
|on board Singapore Airlines|
|my DIY dollhouse put to good use!|
|kept her entertained for a bit|
The 4.5 hrs flight time was just nice to keep her still throughout the flight. We landed in Taoyuan airport Terminal 2, Taiwan close to 1 pm and took our time to clear customs and collect our luggage, we have plenty of time to spare since our flight to Okinawa via Peach airlines is at 1755, which means we can only proceed to check in at 1555. Its a good 3 hrs for us. Do note that Peach Airlines is located at Taoyuan airport Terminal 2, so you have to take a sky train over if you're taking Singapore Airlines like us.
|at Taoyuan Airport with our matchy Lularoe leggings|
|onboard Skytrain from Taoyuan Terminal 2 to Terminal 1|
From the Facebook group, they highly recommended this WiFi router supplier, 非买家 for Okinawa， so we went hunting for the counter which is located at Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1 arrival hall. We kind of searched all over the place, thankfully we have plenty of time to spare =p
Do preorder your WiFi router from their website and pick up from the same counter. It is much cheaper than the counter rates. Do note that you have to place a 1000 twd deposit. We paid 699 or 799 twd for our 5 days Okinawa WiFi router rental. The paperwork took a bit of time so do buffer at least 30 mins or more if there's a queue.
We were pretty spot on in terms of timing, by the time we are done with the WiFi rental, it's time for check-in.
|Waiting to check in. A Q already formed before the check in counter was open|
Peach airlines staff and pretty friendly and they provide great service too. Soon we're on board Peach airlines en route to Okinawa!
Do note that Peach Airlines uses the LCC Terminal in Okinawa which is shared by their cargo and military as well so again, it's a different kind of experience.
It's a really short flight of an hour plus, we landed in Okinawa NAHA LCC Terminal shortly at 2055 hrs, Japan is an hour ahead of us.
Being an LCC Terminal the design and process are pretty minimalist. You get off the plane and walk to the terminal, only 3 counters were opened so we spent a bit of time queueing. The NAHA LCC Terminal was so minimalist, they didn't have a luggage belt. Your luggage will be placed neatly on the floor but don't worry, a staff was assigned to ensure you pick the right luggage.
Our flight is probably the last to arrive today, even the shop is closed.
|that didn't stop us from getting our 1st Gashapon (capsule machine) in Okinawa|
The only downside is having to take the FREE shuttle bus to NAHA domestic or international airport. Since the LCC airport is a secured area, only selected buses and rental cars shuttle are allowed inside.
|@ NAHA, Okinawa Domestic Airport|
|the yummy SPAM Onigiri|
We're so lucky there wasn't any queue at this time. Our late dinner! Tip, my personal suggestion will be to just order the original so as to savour the original taste at its best!
|It's her favourite luncheon meat!|
|Look at that face, you know how good it smells|
Lucky for us, or rather thanks to my research, Okinawa Grand Mer provides FREE airport shuttle pick up from NAHA domestic airport. Our shuttle is scheduled to arrive at 2200 hr so we have some time to spare, or so we thought.
|this chocolate milk is really delicious, it's actually cocoa with milk|
Went to Lawsons to stock up snacks and water then went to try our luck at the UFO machine which cost just 100 yen.
|Lucky girl with her first catch from the UFO machine|
Then I start to feel puzzled why ain't the bus here yet since Japanese are usually very punctual, the bus should be here already. That was when we found out we were waiting at the wrong berth!
Similar to Taiwan, the bus stops in Okinawa is really a long platform similar to our business interchange. Different berth # is for different buses. If you wait at the wrong berth, you will definitely miss your bus and this shuttle is the last one for today! There's no way I'm gonna pay close to SGD100 for a taxi ride to Okinawa Grand Mer resort so we ran all the way to the end where the correct berth was. There, the shuttle bus was, we were the last to board the bus.
Thankfully we noticed this 5 minutes before the scheduled timing, else I'm not sure if the driver will wait or try to contact us since we need to prebook the bus online.
|here's a map to show you where we should be waiting, we still end up at the wrong area though|
Here's a map which shows you where the berth is. If you're still confused, like us, it's the last berth. Refer to the traffic direction just outside the building, it's the last one. Don't be like us, we went to number 1 drop off platform instead of the bus berth.
By the time we got to our Japanese style tatami room at Okinawa Grand Mer Resort, it's close to 11pm. Click here to read our review on Okinawa Grand Mer Resort
Good thing we didn't rent the car on day 1. Don't think we'd be in the right state of mind to drive all the way here after all the travelling. Another plus point for staying at Okinawa Grand Mer resort, they can help to arrange car rental for you, all you have to do is to pick up from the hotel concierge. Read more about it here.
Here's a snippet of our beautiful Japanese style tatami room at Okinawa Grand Mer resort. Click here to read my review of Okinawa Grand Mer Resort.
Tip #1: If you've ample layover time like us, get the WIFI rental for Okinawa from Taoyuan Airport. The counter we rented ours from was located at Terminal 1 - arrival hall, right at the corner to your right if you're facing the main road. You need to leave a TWD4,000 deposit with them. They have more competitive rates online so do check and book yours via klook for better pricing.
Tip #2: Since we arrived relatively late in Okinawa, it's tiring to have to rent a car and drive all the way to the hotel since we're staying some 1hr away from the airport. So pick a hotel with FREE airport shuttle pick up such as Okinawa Grand Mer Resort. It's a fantastic hotel. Will share more in the detailed post.
Okinawa Self-drive Trip with kids Day 1 reflections
The only downside of this plan was wasting an entire day on travelling. If only there are more direct flights to Okinawa from Singapore. At the moment, Jetstar is the only airlines with direct flights to Okinawa and I'm not entirely confident travelling on a budget carrier for a 5 hrs flight with Sticky Bean. I would love to purchase their extra legroom options but children ain't allowed on those seats since they are also emergency seats.
It's actually pretty tiring changing flights like this, we were totally shagged out at the end of the day. I can't emphasise enough how thankful am I for Okinawa Grand Mer Resort's free airport shuttle service and providing the car rental service as well.
- List of accommodations with Japanese Style Rooms in Okinawa - not your usual list!
- Tips for planning an Okinawa Self Drive Trip with Kids
- Okinawa Grand Mer Resort Review
- 8 Day 7 Night Okinawa Self-drive with Kids Itinerary Preview via Taiwan
- Okinawa Self drive Kids Friendly Itinerary Day 1
- Okinawa Self drive Kids Friendly Itinerary Day 2
- Okinawa Self Drive Kids Friendly Itinerary Day 3
- Okinawa Self Drive Trip Kids Friendly Itinerary Day 4
- Okinawa Self Drive Kids Friendly Itinerary Day 5