Ask Lonely Planet: Tokyo magic just like the US original

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Hong Kong Disneyland has been called Disneyland Lite but children are bound to enjoy it anyway. Photo / Supplied
Hong Kong Disneyland has been called Disneyland Lite but children are bound to enjoy it anyway. Photo / Supplied

We are travelling to Hong Kong and Tokyo this year with our 5-year-old and 2-year-old. We would like to go to Disneyland - but which one? Hong Kong or Tokyo? We have heard Hong Kong is smaller and less busy but Tokyo is a better Disneyland?
- Mish Cockcroft

Lonely Planet's Sarah Bennett & Lee Slater write:

Probably Tokyo is the best bet as it's the larger of the two parks (46ha) and has nearly all the attractions you'd experience at the original Disneyland in California or the epic Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It's also home to Tokyo Disney Sea, a further 71ha of nautically themed amusement park. You could easily spend a whole week exploring both.

The Tokyo Disney Resort has just reopened after repairs following the earthquake on March 11. We believe all the rides are going but it might be a good idea to check on the official website.

Occupying about half the area and with only four main areas compared with Tokyo's seven, the Hong Kong version has been dubbed Disneyland Lite. However you can still easily burn up a day or two wandering around Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland and Main Street USA and there's still a dusting of that trademark Tinkerbell magic throughout.

Fun rides for 5-year-olds and under include the Jungle River Cruise, Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters and Mickey's Philharmagic - a 3D Disney movie medley hosted by Donald Duck.

Other child-friendly places worth visiting include the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and Tokyo's Metropolitan Children's Hall.

As they say in Disneyland, "Let the memories begin".

Currency of India

I will hopefully be travelling to India this year. What is the best currency to travel with for the region and is it safe to travel in the north?
- Peter Robertshaw

Lonely Planet's Sarah Bennett & Lee Slater write:

The Indian rupee is the official currency of India and is used throughout the country. One rupee is divided into 100 paise but the paise coins are becoming rare and, come July, only denominations of 50 paise and above will be legal tender. Notes come in Rs5, Rs10, Rs20, Rs50, Rs100, Rs500 and Rs1000 (this last one is handy for large payments but can pose problems when getting change for small services).

ATMs linked to international networks are common in most urban centres but it's a good idea to carry cash or travellers' cheques as back-up. Major currencies such as US dollars, British pounds and euro are easy to change, although some places insist on travellers' cheques and only some will accept Australian or New Zealand dollars.

Theft is a risk in India, as it is anywhere else. It's best to keep your money and your passport close to your skin, either in a concealed money-belt or a secure place under your shirt. It's also wise to keep a US$100 bill (or rupee equivalent) stored away from your main stash, just in case.

According to the New Zealand Government there is a significant threat from terrorism, political unrest and violent crime to New Zealanders travelling to certain parts of India. The website www.safetravel.govt.nz advises against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir in the far north, the north-eastern states bordering Bangladesh (Tripura, Manipur, Assam and Nagaland), and along the India-Pakistan international border. It also advises against all non-essential travel to Bihar and Jharkand, citing threats from violent crime in rural areas.

While the majority of travel in India is safe and trouble-free, you should always be security-conscious and monitor the media for any new or increased risks. Avoid rallies and demonstrations and steer clear of monuments and major tourist sites during religious and national festivals.

For more advice on India, visit safetravel.govt.nz/destinations/india.shtml; and lonelyplanet.com/india.

* Peter Robertshaw will receive a copy of Lonely Planet India ($69.99) for his question.

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