Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How I Ended Up In Norway In Jan 2014

This is Tromsø, a little town at the very far North of Norway

Whenever people see me, the first thing they ask is, "Where are you going next?". I'm not one who ALWAYS travels, but sometimes opportunity just comes along and it's fated for me to be there. Time is very precious to me, and especially for HH. With a slipped disc, she knows what it's like when she couldn't even walk one block on her own a few years ago and had to be wheeled around in a wheelchair. This time, it was her dream to see the Northern Lights. So why wait?

Gold Coast 7D/5N Itinerary

Surfers Paradise beach in Gold Coast, Australia in 2004

I was helping a colleague organise an itinerary for Gold Coast, Australia. She is someone who seldom travels, but wanted to bring her 9 year old daughter for her first overseas trip. After checking out several tour companies in KL, the itineraries they came back with were far from adequate. They had nothing but theme parks, and rather expensive. Gold Coast is such a tourist friendly place, that all the theme parks were easily accessible by the public bus. The best would have been to rent a car, but she is really afraid of D-I-Y holidays. So here is what I had planned for her.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 10 Final (Shibuya)

Date of Travel: 2-12 Aug 2013

Shopping in Shibuya
Today is our final day in Tokyo, but our flight is at night so we have a whole day ahead of us. We checked out of the hotel first, and left our bags with them. First stop, was Shibuya. Everyone says it's a very touristy place, and we left this to the very last. Unfortunately for me, I really really love Shibuya! Firstly, we had to find food. When in Tokyo, this is a MUST EAT for me. Tonkatsu, i.e. deep fried pork cutlets. The most famous Tonkatsu is called Maisen, http://mai-sen.com. They have many branches all over, but since we're heading to Shibuya anyway, we picked the Shibuya branch at Hikarie 6th Floor.
We got there at 11:30am, and no queue. After we were done, lines started forming

Best darn pork cutlet ever! You gotta eat here!!! 1580¥ for mine (RM51)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 9 (Tokyo - Asakusa & Tokyo Metropolitan Govt Building)

Date of Travel: 2-12 Aug 2013
Asakusa's Main Temple, Senso-ji
Today was the hottest day in Tokyo in over 100 years, 38°C !! Of all days, we picked today to visit Asakusa! We headed there earlier than our usual, i.e. arrived by 10am in hopes of beating the crowd and sun. No such luck. Because of the heat, we were in no mood to shop nor browse. After a quick visit to the temple, we were ready to look for lunch!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 8 (Tokyo - Kichijoji and the best darn steak ever!)

Date of travel: 2-12 Aug 2013

The highlight of Tokyo - eating Matsuzaka Beef at Satou Steak House, Kichijoji
We only had one mission for the day, and that was to visit Kichijoji town for lunch. Kichijoji [吉祥寺] was voted as the most wanted to live in town in the whole of Tokyo! Of course we had to go check it out for ourselves. From our hotel in Shinjuku, the train ride takes only 15 minutes and costs 210¥. We found a great variety of boutiques and stores for the local people, not at all touristy like Shibuya. Unfortunately, it was a seriously hot day and not at all pleasant to walk about. Note to self - never visit Tokyo in Summer again.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 7 (Sapporo New Chitose Airport to Tokyo)

Date of Travel: 2-12 Aug 2013
Doraemon Waku-Waku Skypark at New Chitose Airport, Sapporo

Today is all about getting ourselves back to Tokyo. A seemingly simple gesture, but a rather tiring one. Directly opposite the Mercure, is the bus stop for the express bus to the New Chitose Airport. Once we arrived, we had great fun at the Sky Park meant for children. It is amazing that the Japanese have utilised the airport as a venue outing for locals. People actually take the train/bus and spend a full day here doing arts and craft, joining in on activities, having meals, and then going home. It's massive and have so many different areas for children to enjoy.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 6 (Otaru)

Date of Travel: 2-12 Aug 2013

Otaru Canal - Kena bluff! This photo looks way nicer than it actually was
Having given up our car on Day 5, we took the train to Otaru for a day trip, since people say it was easy to get there by train, and difficult to find a parking at Otaru. Bearing in mind that this was summer, I think that was a mistake. All the tourist sites found in Otaru stretches across 2 JR railway stations - Otaru Station and Otaru-Minami station. The obvious choice was to stop at Otaru Station first, and walk to the canal, and then make your way west and shop along the way and finally going home via Otaru-Minami station.