Race Across the World…In Wendy Wu Style

Our favourite travel programme is back and we couldn’t be more excited as this time it’s in our own backyard – Asia!

The teams are racing from northernmost Japan, crossing six seas and eight borders, skirting the path of the volcanic ring of fire – the most geologically unstable region on the planet – to reach the finish line in Lombok, an idyllic Indonesian island paradise.

If you’ve been inspired by the show and want to experience the captivating destinations for yourself…here’s how to do it in style with Wendy Wu Tours.

Check out each episode report * for the best overall tour match or just click on the underlined text of any particular highlight to see a list of tours that feature that place. 

*From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Leg 1: Sapporo, Japan → Nara, Japan

Best Tour Match for the whole episode: Journey through Japan

Having checked in at the Gokoku shrine the race started in earnest at 2 pm from Odori Park in the city of Sapporo on the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido, with the first leg finishing 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) south in the old imperial capital, Nara, on the main island of Honshu.

In an added twist to the usual rules, the teams were not permitted to use any Shinkansen (bullet) trains whilst in Japan.

Three teams took a train to the nearby port of Tomakomai. Eugenie & Isabel managed to catch an overnight ferry across the Tsugaru Strait to Sendai, whilst both Brydie & Sharon and Betty & James took the last ferry of the night to Hachinohe. The next day, Brydie & Sharon headed towards Tōnō en route to Tokyo, while Betty & James caught a train to Sendai, on the east coast of Honshu. Already in Sendai, Eugenie & Isabel decided to avoid Tokyo, the only team to do so, fearing the capital to be very expensive, and so took a bus to Niigata on the west coast. Betty & James took an excursion to Matsushima Bay before heading to Tokyo to work cleaning rickshaws.

Alfie & Owen were the first pair to reach the capital having arrived by bus where they witnessed a baby crying contest at the Naki Sumo festival before continuing to Mount Fuji by bus. There, on day 4, they undertook work cleaning at the campsite they had pitched their tents at. Having lost their map and stranded in the countryside, the pair backtracked to Tokyo before heading to Kyoto the next morning by bus.

Meanwhile Stephen & Viv visited an Onsen in Aomori before heading to Tokyo and onward to a job harvesting wasabi at a farm in Hotaka in exchange for bed and board. One of the farmers then dropped the pair at Matsumoto station where the pair caught a train to Kashihara, just south of Nara. In Tokyo, Brydie & Sharon took a train to Toba to wait on tables at a restaurant run by the local Ama women, whilst Betty & James proceeded directly to Osaka.

Eugenie & Isabel took a ferry to the small island of Sado in the Sea of Japan to visit the Myosenji Buddhist temple. Once back on Honshu they caught a bus to Kanazawa and then a train to Nara. Once the teams had arrived in Nara, they had to find their way to the Gango-ji temple before receiving instructions to the checkpoint which was at the Nara hotel. Finding themselves in a foot race with Alfie & Owen, Eugenie & Isabel beat them by a matter of minutes.

Leg 2: Nara, Japan → Sokcho, South Korea

Best Tour Match for the whole episode: Essence of South Korea & Japan

The race restarted on day 7 to Sokcho in South Korea, a country which could only be reached by taking a ferry across the Korea Strait, from Hakata on the Japanese island of Kyushu to the port city of Busan.[11]

Betty & James were the only team to cross onto the island of Shikoku (via the Great Naruto Bridge), where they helped trim some Japanese Acers to be used as garnish on Japanese food. They then caught a bus onward to Tokushima station where they just missed the only train of the day to Okayama delaying them for twenty-four hours. Brydie & Sharon had gone directly to Okayama to work aboard a fishing boat on the Seto Inland Sea but were also stranded for a day due to the lack of trains.

Alfie & Owen made their way to Kobe where the latter wanted to sample the famous Kobe beef despite Alfie’s concerns about the impact it would have on their budget. Much to Alfie’s relief and joy, the proprietor of the restaurant comped the meal. Afterwards the pair checked into a capsule hotel for the night. The next day they were repeatedly advised by the locals that reservations onward to Hakata should be made online. Stymied without internet access, a good samaritan eventually made the reservations on their behalf.

Stephen & Viv headed to northern Kansai in search of work repairing a thatched roof in exchange for bed and board. However, poor weather meant they were unable to repay their hosts hospitality due to safety concerns, so they insisted on cleaning the shrine instead. Afterwards the pair backtracked to Osaka and caught an overnight bus to Hiroshima. Already in Hiroshima, in search of a job opportunity as they had depleted almost a third of their entire race budget, were Eugenie & Isabel. There they paid their respects at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park after which they did a one hour shift in an Okonomiyaki restaurant, but instead of cooking, the duo found themselves washing dishes to due their late arrival.

On day 8, Alfie & Owen found themselves on the same ferry crossing as Eugenie & Isabel. On their arrival at the Hakata ferry port, Stephen & Viv were disappointed to learn that they had missed the only two daily crossings and would now have to wait until the next day, when they were caught up by both Brydie & Sharon and Betty & James.

On arrival in South Korea, Alfie & Owen immediately commenced traversing up the Korean peninsula by buses hugging the eastern seaboard, whereas Eugenie & Isabel replenished funds by working at the Jagalchi Fish Market alongside the Ajummas (old lady vendors). When the other three teams finally made it to Busan, Betty & James caught the last bus to Seoul but Brydie & Sharon opted to spend a night in the city before making their way to Daejeon the next day to work collecting chestnuts. Stephen & Viv meanwhile headed across the peninsula to Jeonju Hanok Village to work a shift dishwashing at a restaurant that specialised in Bibimbap.

On day 11 Eugenie & Isabel finally headed to Sokcho on a direct bus service, whilst Alfie & Owen were killing time by visiting Haesindang Park in Samcheok. In Sokcho the teams were advised to take a taxi to the Seokbong Ceramics Museum of Art. From there it was onto the Cheongchojeong and finally to the checkpoint. Alfie & Owen opted to walk in a bid to conserve funds and found themselves finishing four hours behind Eugenie & Isabel. When the other three teams finally arrived the overall positions had not changed, however the time differential between first and last place had grown massively.

Leg 3: Hanoi, Vietnam → Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Best Tour Match for the whole episode: Angkor to the Bay

The race restarted on days 14 and 15 when the teams were transferred by air to Hanoi in Vietnam. It was revealed that the checkpoint was in Phnom Penh, capital city of Cambodia, 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) to the south, and that the team finishing last on this leg would be eliminated.

All of the teams decided to head south towards Da Nang. Three teams aimed for Ho Chi Minh City whilst the other two opted for the Lệ Thanh – Ou Ya Dav border crossing near Pleiku in the central highlands.

First to leave, having lost their map and still in need of replenishing their budget, Eugenie & Isabel decided to initially make for Ninh Binh by bus to work washing motorcycles. Not soon after Alfie & Owen started their journey to Ho Chi Minh City by catching an overnight train to Da Nang. The next day both Betty & James and Stephen & Viv also headed there by the cheaper but somewhat ironically, faster bus. In Da Nang, Betty & James caught up to Eugenie & Isabel when both teams found themselves at the same bus station headed to Pleiku. In Pleiku both pairs crossed the border to Banlung on the same bus service. Being the first day of a Cambodian national holiday, onward transport options were limited and the two teams parted ways. Betty & James’ attempt at earning money at a rubber plantation in a small village were scuppered by torrential rainfall and they were stranded there waiting for the weather to clear.

Meanwhile, Stephen & Viv continued onto Nha Trang from Da Nang by rail on their way to Ho Chi Minh City. Arriving after 30 hours, the pair took time to recuperate at the local mud baths before heading first to Da Lat where they stayed overnight in a glamping tent before working a shift picking coffee beans on a coffee plantation for their bed and board and then onto Ho Chi Minh City by bus where they hoped to catch an onward connection to Chau Doc. In Chau Doc, they learnt of a ferry that traversed up the Mekong River to Phnom Penh but needed to take a taxi to catch it.

Hainvg detoured through Hoi An, once in Ho Chi Minh City, Alfie & Owen worked in a nightclub, whereas Brydie & Sharon headed further south to Can Tho to work at a floating market before taking a taxi to the border. The former pair crossed into Cambodia at the border village of Kaam Samnor and hitched a lift to the capital. Also in Phnom Penh, but having arrived via a very expensive taxi journey were Betty & James. The teams were first given instructions to proceed to Wat Phnom and then by Tuk Tuk across the Japanese Bridge to a park containing the Neang Prachha Barami (clever woman) statue. Thereafter made their way to the checkpoint at the Sokha Hotel with Alfie & Owen arriving first on day 18 of the race. The last pair to arrive were Brydie & Sharon and therefore eliminated.


Journey through Japan

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Fully Inclusive of Tour & Flights

Island of Hokkaido - Tsunagi Onsen - Beautiful Nikko - Mount Fuji - Modern Tokyo

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