A Travellerspoint blog

Kuala Lumpur (KL) city day walk

Yes...I'm from KL, I'm born in KL, studied in KL but I've never really slow down to take a look of the beautiful landscape in Kuala Lumpur city.

And one fine day, suddenly I felt the urge to do just that. With a friend, we drove down to Kuala Lumpur for a city walk. Parking in KL was just as expensive as parking in any shopping malls in Klang Valley. We parked at Jalan Sultan and the parking fee was RM10 per day.
Maybe next time will consider to take the Light Railway Transit (LRT) down to Central Market.

Okay, back to our city walk. From Jalan Sultan, we walked along the old shophouses to Petaling Street for our breakfast. 1012123_10..576304936_n.jpg
There were a lot of food to eat along Jalan Sultan and Jalan Hang Lekir. Just have to do some research on the website for the famous food there before you go. We had some porridge with raw fish slices, 'chee cheong fun' (rice noodle usually eaten with sweet sauce or curry) and water chestnut drink to soothe our thirsty throat.
From Petaling Street, Central Market is just 5 minutes walk on the opposite side of the street. Beside Central Market, there is a Kasturi Walk which you wouldn't missed it as there is a canopy in the form of a 'Wau' (A Malaysian kite with floral motifs) on top of the walk.
Along the walk, you will see many stalls selling souvenirs. If you want more souvenirs, you can walk into the Central Market next door. Originally a wet market, Central Market is now a heritage site and houses a lot of shops and a food court on the second floor. If you are looking for souvenirs, arts and crafts, this is the place to scout for.

Anyway, our mission for the day was to get to Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) for some photos. It was in Dataran Merdeka that the now Malaysia flag was hoisted up on 31 August 1957 signalling Malaya's independence.

At the end of Kasturi walk, we crossed the road to reach a square where some banks were located.
From there we walked to the direction of Masjid Jamek and along the courthouse to snap some photos.
Turning left after the courthouse, we were able to see the Dataran Merdeka not far from sight. While we were taking photos of the beuatiful 'Sultan Abdul Samad' building opposite of the Dataran Merdeka, a lot of people approached us to ask where were we from. Politely nodding and answering Malaysia, there were some that looked disbelieved at us. Maybe we should have answered China, Thailand or Japan instead :p

Nearby Dataran Merdeka, there was a National Gallery which I would recommend a visit there. First of all, it's free, then there's a gallery that houses amazing photos of Kuala Lumpur, some models of famous buildings in KL and lastly a short video on the second floor showing the places around Kuala Lumpur. There is a souvenirs centre when you exit the gallery too. The souvenirs prices were a bit expensive if you ask me, but I really admired the detailed woodcraft on the souvenirs.

On the way back to Jalan Sultan, we passed by some interesting buildings with unique architectural designs.
We then went to the bus stop along Jalang Hang Kasturi to enquire about the 'Hop On Hop Off' bus tickets. The bus route covers a lot of area and is definitely worth it if I'm a tourist. But I'm NOT...and for that price, I think I can drive along that route myself. There's a free bus service in KL, the 'GoKL' buses which provide free bus services from KLCC and the Golden Triangle, Central Market and Pavillion. The bus routes covers a lot of interesting places as well. Try search for the information on their website: http://www.spad.gov.my/news-events/announcements/2012/go-kl-free-bus-service-routes

Of course we ended our city day trip with more food at Petaling Street. Not to be missed is the 'Air Mata Kuching' drink which is a famous dried longan drink, cooling after a day's walk.

Indeed, Kuala Lumpur is a beautiful city!

Posted by puileng 22:05 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Land of the Rising Sun


We arrived Haneda airport around 10.30pm on Friday. Lucky for us, my aunt was there to pick us up. Otherwise we would need to rush down to take the monorail before it ends its operation for the day. Aunt and uncle were driving to the airport for the first time as usually they take the train service or go to Narita airport instead. Pity them looking for the way to and fro the airport. Reached Oaks Hostel in Asakusa to stay for the night. Our room was not bad, we got our own shower and toilet in the room, plus there's a TV, heater, slippers and kimonos. Two of us were sleeping in bunk beds which was slightly cheaper than twin bed.


Next morning, we walked to Ueno train station to exchange our JR Pass. The pass was bought from Malaysia and we need to exchange it at the train stations in Japan to be able to use it. I couldn't recommend enough of this JR Pass as it was really useful and cheap during our two weeks trip in Japan, travelling from Tokyo to Kagoshima to Nagasaki to Osaka to Kyoto and back to Tokyo. Seem like a handful eh. JR Pass also covers train to Ibusuki in Kagoshima and train to Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki. Also covers intercity train (JR line) in Tokyo and Osaka Loop Line. A convenient way to travel since we just need to show the pass to the station master and we are able to enter and exit as many times as we like during the period stated in our JR Pass.

Ueno train station itself is a must visit, a lot of shops and restaurants here. We bought some buns and drinks from a mini mart there. Coincidentally the buns that we picked were all filled with custard. Urgh! Not that I don't like custard, but too much of custard and sweet things for breakfast seems abit...
Well, most of anything that we ate in Japan is sweet.

Just a short walk from the station is the Ueno park and Ueno Zoo. We walked to the Ueno park which is just a short 15 minute walk. The park is lovely, full of trees with colourful autumn leaves. Lots of people brought their family and kids there too. It's my first feel of the autumn season. All the different colours of green, yellow and red leaves makes a great autumn feel.


The zoo nearby is also one of the attractions there famous with the pandas. As we had an appointment with my aunt, we didn't manage to cover all the area in the huge park. We rushed back to the station to meet my aunt at Shimbashi station getting out at Karasumori exit. We went to aunt's house to get her bicycles to cycle around Tokyo town. My cycling skills were not that good and if at that time in Tokyo you saw someone screeching a yellow bike in a crowded area, perhaps that's me. We cycled to a temple nearby and then to Tokyo tower.

The Tokyo tower, it feels to me, have some similarity to Eiffel Tower in Paris. If you buy a keychain or souvenirs replica of the Tokyo tower, it would probably get mistaken for the Eiffel Tower. Didn't buy any though. At the building below the tower, the ground floor is filled with souvernirs and the second floor is mostly for food and games.


We then cycled to the Imperial Palace, about 15 minutes from Tokyo tower. The Imperial Palace grounds was huge, we parked our bicycles at a corner near a station and walk over to the Palace. The palace was well guarded by lot of guards all over the place. We went to the free entry zone area. Even at free entry zone area, you will need to get a token before getting in. The token need to be returned back to the guard when exit. The guards need to count the headcount I think, of people coming in and going out of the palace grounds. Need to be wary of anyone lurking around to harm the royal family perhaps.
While walking back to get our bikes, we were scared for awhile thinking that our bikes were lost and gone. Phew! It was just too hidden in the corner that we parked our bikes.


At night, we were suppose to head to Shiodome but instead we lost our way and found ourselves in the busy street of Ginza. Lots of branded goods were sold here. Colourful lights and beautiful decorated shops were commonly seen in this area. No money to shop for branded goods and both of us were not too keen in shopping, had us wandering around the streets window sight seeing and ended up going back to our hostel early since it was getting cold. At that time around 7pm, it was already pitch dark. The sky started to get dark at around 5pm. For our dinner, we tried their mini mart food, getting their cup noodles, snacks and drinks.

Woke up early for our Hakone trip the next day. We took the JR line to Shinjuku to buy our Free Hakone Pass at 5000 yen. Wonder why they call it free since it was not free at all...should be called 'Unlimited Hakone Pass' or something like that. The FREE Hakone pass of 5000 yen can be use for two days but only one time entry and out from Shinjuku. Means that you will need to stay a night in Hakone if you want to fully utilise the two day pass. Anyway, we went there for only a day. The pass can be use for unlimited travelling using Odakyu line and various mode of transportation in Hakone. From Shinjuku we took the Odakyu Line train heading to Hakone Yumoto (journey almost about an hour and half). Then from there we took a bus to MotoHakone-ko. Once we reached, we were greeted with awesome view of Lake Ashi and the surrounding hills.


Both of us strolled along the lake, enjoying the scenery and having pack lunch at the lake side. We bought some 'yong tau fu/lok lok'-like kind of food from a 7-11 store. Yes, yong tau fu/ lok lok selling in a 7-11! A white colour food which I thought was a steamed pau was actually a soft fish paste which can be either fried or eaten with steamboat ingredients. Regret didn't take a photo of it. Full and satisfied, we continued to the Ancient Cedar Avenue Trail and later to HakoneMachi-Ko. While we were at the Ancient Cedar Avenue trying to find our way to HakoneMachi, we were abit unsure of the way and asked a group of old folks that we met along the way. The folks tried to converse with us in Japanese which we understand abit by their body language and my very limited japanese vocabulary. Lastly a lady in the group said 'IshioNi' which I think meant let's go together. And so we follow the group until they boarded their tour bus which left us again lost of direction to HakoneMachi. The folks didn't even tell us to NOT follow them anymore. Haha! but at least we were near our destination with just about 5 minutes more walking. We found the boarding location to the pirate ships that took us to Togendai-Ko. From Togendai-Ko we boarded a ropeway to Owakudani which was also called the hell valley where you can see the smoking volcano and eat the famous black eggs there. After that we got on another ropeway to Sounzan and then to Gora. The queue to the ropeway was long and both of us were waiting in the cold weather outside the building for the queue to get in the ropeway line. Once we reached Gora, we boarded the train back to Hakone Yumoto and then back to Shinjuku.

Throughout the day, although mostly we travelled in all modes of transportation but it was definitely not a boring trip. We saw a lot of things, met a lot of people and saw a lot of incidents. One incident was in a train where a child of about 7 years was shouting 'Baga' repeatly to her parents all the way from inside the train to the moment they left the train. =='
The weather was cloudy that day and we didn't get to see Mount Fuji when we were in MotoHakone. Back to Shinjuku, an area always bustling with people and cars and lights, we headed to the famous intersection in the middle of the area. Couldn't decide what to eat, ended up in Yoshinoya eating their beef rice set. People there do really eat fast. Makes us abit slow in comparison.

Tokyo Disneysea was waiting for us tomorrow. Gotta get to bed early.

We bought the Disneysea tickets a few days before in a mini mart. Didn't understand the language in the kiosk as all were in Japanese, we then request the help of the staff to buy the tickets. Same price but minus the queue in Disneysea. Okay, there was not a long queue in there on the day itself, probably due to we were there early. Once we got in, we practically rushed to get the fastpass for our chosen rides. We headed first to the 'Journey to the center of the earth' ride to get the fast pass. Fast pass printed time still have another half an hour to go. We then headed to the '20,000 league under the sea' ride. Waiting time only 5 minutes, so we went right in. This ride was normal and nothing exciting. Stormrider was a much more fun ride. After that we got back to the first ride. Heart practically skip a beat when the carriage we were in speed upwards and out the mountain, then down the hill. It was fun though.
My friend tried the 'Rage' ride which had a 360 degree turn by himself. I was waiting like a mother waiting for her child outside the ride sitting on the bench provided outside. ^^
Not long after, it began to drizzle. Caught many of their shows for that day and the one I like most was the 'Big Band Beat' musical show. It was awesome. clap! clap! To get into this 'Big Band Beat' show, we queued in the cold rainy weather for almost an hour. Shivering with our rain coats and umbrellas, finally we got into the warm auditorium.

Outside it was raining heavily and we were shivering in the cold outside. We got ourselves something to eat and hot drinks which was like giving coal out in winter. A warm feeling! After getting warm, we started to head to the Mediterranean Harbour for the fantasmic show but however, due to the weather, the show was cancelled. Disappointed! We left the theme park after it got dark as it still continued to rain and we were cold and wet. Long for a warm shower then.


Checked out from Oaks Hostel the next morning and went to my aunt house to keep our luggage there while we went out again until it was time to get on our night train to Kagoshima Chuo.


We kept ourselves busy for the day by first visiting the Tsukiji fish market and later walking around Shiodame, Shin Okubo (korean street in Tokyo) and lastly Ameyoko.

Wonder if Tsukiji fish market is abit overrated as a tourist spot? Once inside, I felt like I was in the middle of the traffic. All different vehicles moving in all directions. I scared I will get crashed and smashed like a tomato over there. And since we were too late for the auction which starts around 5am and abit too early for the fish market area which opens around 9am, and feeling like we were blocking all modes of transportation there, we briefly strolled along their shopping and food street and left the area. But hey, Tsukiji market got a map of its own and a brief history on the leaflet that we got. An area too big that we even got lost trying to find the initial exit that we got into or is it our directions are really that bad??? Anyway, found the exit, met my aunt and on our way to other areas of town. To Shiodame which is full of high rise buildings. We initially wanted to see the actions from the big clock over there but the time does not matched with ours. Give it a pass. My aunt brought us to eat sushi in a cheap restaurants in the same area. Quite cheap, 2000 yen for 3 persons and we were full to the brim. Next we went to the Korean Street at Shin Okubo. The street was full of Korean restaurants, shops and all Korean stuffs. Objective: To look for an item requested by my sister... My sister just went to Korea and she asked my aunt to help her look for Korean things in Tokyo's Korean street...Nice!
Lastly to Ameyoko, full of fresh products from sea and vegetables to snacks and other food and fruit items. Enjoyed the experience seeing and tasting all kinds of different foods in the market there. Before we headed for the train station, had a shabu shabu dinner at aunt's house.


We use the JR Pass for our night train. Only Nobi-nobi seats or cubicles are free using JR Pass. It's a two tier stretch of cubicles. It's just for a night, so what the heck! Our night train looks quite comfy although after the ride I felt nausea. We boarded the Sunrise Seto at 10pm to Himeji and change train to Kagoshima Chuo at 5.25am. Reached Kagoshima Chuo station at 10.49am. We checked into our hostel while waiting for my aunt to join us. My aunt couldn't use the JR Pass, so she bought a flight ticket to Kagoshima. All of us, following the map got lost while heading to Sakurajima port. Felt like we were walking in huge circles but lastly we reached the port after seemingly endless directions given by passer-bys. A young lady was even kind enough to walk us through a few streets to ensure we were on the correct path. We finally reached the Sakurajima port and boarded the ferry to cross over to Sakurajima island. Sakurajima is still an active volcano and continues to spew ashes in the air. The volcano was beautiful. Once reached Sakurajima, we paid the ferry fees which was about 150 yen and walked around the area nearby. We found an onsen nearby and got in. First time experienced going to a public onsen here. Felt uncomfortable at first but when all the others are doing the same, it doesn't feel too weird. After we were done, we rested awhile before heading out to the larva trail and then the foot bath. Walked until it got dark and boarded the ferry back to mainland.


The next day, Ibusuki was on the list. Yay! Boarded a nice and cute train to Ibusuki from Kagoshima Chuo station. When we reached Ibusuki, we boarded a bus to take us round the area. We first got down at 'Healthy Land' where all the public baths were but unfortunately all the onsens was closed on that day. The reception at the gym told us to try the sand bath nearby. We walked in the directions that she directed us and got down to the sand bath center by the seaside. This sand bath center was not quite popular with tourist as it was quite secluded. The lady there said we were the first Malaysians there. She said normally only locals would go there and tourist would go to other popular sand baths areas. It's fine with me as the place is not crowded and we had fun being buried in hot sand by the seaside. I can feel the warm of the sand and my pulse was getting faster in other areas of my body as well. 10 minutes is the maximum you can be buried under the hot sand.


Got out and waited for the bus to take us to Nagasakibana which was the tip of the Satsuma peninsula. Another place worth going to. Breathtaking view and calm surroundings. I bought some souvenirs from the shops along the area. Even got a present from an old aunty in one of the shops. Arigato! Friendly lady. Took the bus again this time to Tosenkyo to try the famous noodles restaurants there. Indeed a unique experience as the ramen were put in running cold water circling around the middle of the table, then dip in shoyu to eat. Plus point a heater besides us to keep us warm.


We were back out at the bus stop to get the last bus back to Ibusuki station. As we still had some time before the train came, we indulged ourselves in another foot bath outside the station. Heaven for our tired legs.


Nagasaki station was attached to a shopping mall and it greeted us in colourful Christmas decorations. Found our way to Casa Noda Hostel and we were excited when we were shown our room. We had a fantastic view of the sea, comfy beds plus our own shower and toilet. Me and my aunt slept in the twin beds room and my friend who was supposed to sleep in the dorm room got in to sleep with us due to the noise in the dorm room.

Must try their famous castella cake in Nagasaki. Well, how is one not going to try castella cake? It's all over the town. Everywhere you go, you will see castella cakes selling in one shop or the other. While we were exploring around Nagasaki town, we met a trapeze performer for the circus at Huis Ten Bosch, which we were going there the very next day. What coincidence!


Huis Ten Bosch was everything it claims it's about from the moment we stepped in to the station. Great place! Won't mind coming here again. Beautiful sceneries, attractions, lots of shops, and the main point is the night lights at the flower gardens. A performer singing old ballads adds to the great atmosphere. Romantic! We had champon noodles and dumplings for our dinner there. The 3D illumination at the building in front of the flower clock was another great show. We were in awe! Fireworks too! We went back happy and satisfied.

The following day, we toured Nagasaki town visiting the famous Atomic bomb musuem, Peace statue park, spectacles bridge and the Glover garden.


Breakfast was toast with jam and boiled eggs provided by our hostel. Chatted with few of the other guest, one being a Japanese working part time in the hostel trying to learn English and another Italian guy studying in Nagasaki trying to learn Japanese. And with my aunt being a Malaysian living in Tokyo for 20 years conversing with an Italian guy in Japanese feels abit weird. After that, we went our separate ways with my aunt heading back to Tokyo while me and my friend headed to Osaka.

We took the 7.30am train from Nagasaki station to Osaka station. In between we changed train at Shin Osaka station. Once reached Osaka station, we followed the directions to our hostel at J Hoppers. A clean hostel but the downside was you got to carry your luggage up the stairs and we were staying at 5th floor. phew!! It was sunny in Osaka on the day that we arrived. We make use of the good weather to visit the famous Osaka castle and Shitennoji Temple.


Nara is about half an hour from Osaka. The place has a lot of deers wandering freely around the park and shrines. In Nara, we visited the Kasuga Taisha Shrine and the famous Todaiji Temple.


After two days in Osaka and we were off to Kyoto. Kyoto was once the capital of Japan. We were lost that day in Kyoto trying to find our hostel. We called up the inn and got ourselves to Gojo station but we still couldn't find the inn. Ended up the owner of the inn came out to where we were to bring us there. Jiyujin Inn is a nice and comfortable inn. A comfortable stay there. In Kyoto, mostly all the attractions are temples. One of the more famous ones is the Kiyomizu temple.


The area of the temple is huge and during autumn, the trees are a pretty sight. When we were there, there were a lot of people and students, abit too crowded for my liking.There were people fanning incense smokes in their faces, people drinking from the hill water, ringing bells and making wishes, and also not forgetting the legendary love rocks there. A variety of charms were available for purchase at the shops. I too do not miss the chance to pray and make wishes there. Dropped a coin the container, rang the bell and pray for a MIRACLE!

Gion street.

Last day in Kyoto, we walked the surrounding area of our hostel before boarding the train back to Tokyo. In Ueno, there was a building where they sold all kinds of stuff in cheap price. It's called Takeya if not mistaken. The foods and snacks sold on the ground floor were much cheaper than those sold outside in mini marts or even supermarkets. We spent a lot there buying snacks home. Caught up with my aunt and her family for dinner that same night having bbq meals. The banana cream pie that they recommended sold at Victoria Cafe was delicious. Wonder if have the chance to taste it again?


Last day at Tokyo and we decided to go for an island excursion to Enoshima. Before that, a brief stop at Kamakura to visit the shrine and shopping streets. At Enoshima, you must try the meal with raw anchovies. Delicious and you can't get any fresher than at Enoshima. The anchovies are eaten with wasabi, shoyu and rice. Also a lot of other varieties to eat it with. Most of the restaurants there sold this item. After a full stomach, we walked to the end of the coastline until we reached the place where the cave entrance is. We didn't go in due to time constraint but while walking there, the view was definitely breathtaking. A sight to behold.


An earthquake strucked in the east coast of Japan, in Sendai, tremors felt in Tokyo, but we were down south heading back to Tokyo and we didn't feel a thing. Narita airport has been closed down until further notice but luckily Haneda airport was still open. We could still go home.

This trip was an enjoyable one. Thanks to my companion for the wonderful memories. Although at times we might have been at each other nerves but I really enjoy travelling with you. Love you lots.

Posted by puileng 19:37 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Journey to Daro, Sibu


Have you ever heard of a place called Daro located in the outskirts of Sibu?

I haven't any idea where is the place until my best friend announced that she will be getting married there recently. Full of questions marks, of course all of our other friends questioned the soon to be bride on the place. And that's how we came about going to Daro...

My friend is a chinese married to a man of the Melanau race. Her wedding was on the 25th of August 2012.

On the morning the day before, me and a group of friends departed to the LCCT airport on our journey to Sibu airport. Our bride-to-be was at Sibu airport to receive us. We drove a rented car following the bride-to-be to her wedding location, Daro. We started our journey from Sibu at about 3.30pm. On our way, we stopped by our bride-to-be rented house in Sibu before proceeding our long journey to Daro.
The first leg of our car journey took around 45 minutes to reach Jetty Kg Semop to take the first ferry, journey about 10 minutes to cross the river. The ferry was able to take up to almost 15 cars.

Second leg of our car journey took about 20 minutes to take the second ferry at 'Feri Ng. Kecil'.
This time, the ferry took about 30 minutes to cross the wide river. It looked like an ocean to me. You wouldn't feel that the ferry is moving unless you were up at the viewing area. This ferry even had a small area for passengers on board to buy some snacks and drinks. The last leg of the journey took about 15 minutes to reach our inn in Daro, 'Eng Soon Lee Inn'. By that time, it was already pitch dark at 7pm. We dropped our luggage there and proceeded another 20 minutes to the house of our bride-to-be's husband in Kampung Nanggar Besar. It was definitely another moment that not many could experienced, visiting a typical malay house in a remote village in the outskirts of Sibu. His family prepared dinner for us. According to my bride-to-be friend, the village has been without water for more than 2 years. Their source of water was to collect the rain water or purchase water from other places. Luckily they still had electricity in their village.

Although dinner prepared was simple with dishes of fried fish, steamed small prawns, and stewed pumpkins served with rice, the environment and experience is unique to me. We all sat on the floor with small servings of each dish placed in front of us. Slices of apples and oranges were served with plain water to quench our thirst after a long journey to reach there. As we were having our dinner, relatives of the bridegroom family started their preparation for the big day. They were there to prepare all the ingredients that needed to be cooked the next day for the guests. Male relatives were seen outside the house preparing for the big day too. After the dinner, we said our good byes and left their house. As we were driving out the village road, the lights of the house became dimmer until it was totally pitch dark behind our moving vehicle. A new experience to be driving in such condition.

The big day arrived and before we proceeded to the wedding location, we had a breakfast of roti canai and nasi ayam penyet nearby our inn. Roti canai kosong cost RM1 and roti canai telur cost RM1.30. Nasi ayam penyet costs about RM7 but it is definitely more delicious and tastier than back at my place. Small doughnuts of 10 pieces only cost RM1. Where to get this kind of food in my place??? So cheap.

After breakfast, we filled up our car petrol tank at a nearby petrol station. The petrol station was also unique to us. Maybe we haven't seen such kind of petrol station before. We then drove for about 20 minutes before reaching the wedding location. The bride rented a house next door for preparations. We visited that same house and we were greeted with more food served to us. Although still full from the breakfast earlier, we still ate some of the food served. Food served was dishes of pumpkins, mixed vege, beef curry, pineapples and rice.
Everyone was in a jolly mood in the house. During that time, it was still Raya mood for all the guests too. While waiting for the bride and bridegroom to start the 'Bersanding' ceremony, we chatted with some of their relatives.

'Bersanding' is a Malay word which literally means 'sitting together of the bride and bridegroom on the bridal couch'. The main part of the 'Bersanding' is the sprinkle of scented water or in the case of my friend, sprinkle of perfume, which signified the blessings of family members and friends. I got a rare chance to do the sprinkling and blessings in her wedding. Usually, in my other malay friend's wedding, I just attended the 'jamuan makan' (serving of food) sessions. After the 'Bersanding' ceremony, we congratulated again the newly wedded couple and said our good byes, this time leaving Sibu back to KL.

We proceeded our long journey out to Sibu airport and took our flight back home. Although the trip was short, the journey long, we had a wonderful time making our way into the remote villages in Daro.

Posted by puileng 20:57 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

A day at Universal Studios Singapore



Anticipation and excitement was all over my face when came the day to go to Universal Studio in Singapore. Been hearing about the latest ride 'Transformer The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle' at the park since its launch. First thing when we got into the park, we headed straight to the ride before the crowd built up. It was hard to head straight for the ride because all along the way to the ride, there were lots of interesting shops, streets and movie characters walking by. The Transformer ride is definitely recommended! We enjoyed the ride and was planning to go for it again if there were enough time but the park had a lot more to offer.

Our next ride was the 'Revenge of the Mummy. This ride was thrilling and not suitable for the faint hearted. After this ride, we were wondering whether there were any more ride scarier than this. Yes there was! 'The Battlestar Galactica: Cylon and Human' ride. Two of my friends went on the ride. I dared not go on this ride after witnessing the ride from below. It twists, turns and propels you over 14 storeys into the air. While waiting for my friends going on this ride, suddenly there was a phone dropped to the ground from above the moving roller coaster. Ouch! Some people really do not know how to follow instructions as all items are not permitted on this ride. What happens if the phone hits other passerby down below...


The 'Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure' was not really that thrilling as compared with the other rides. We got wet in this ride and after a few more other rides in the park, our clothes were completely dried. So, no need for raincoat to avoid getting wet. And hey, getting wet is the fun of it. We went on almost all the rides in the park; 'Canopy Flyer', Dino-Soarin, Madagascar: A Crate Adventure, Treasure Hunters, and also the King Julien's Beach Party-Go-Round. We were like big kids during our ride on the merry go ride. It was fun nonetheless.


The Crate Adventure was a slow ride and not much to be anticipated from this ride. The Canopy Flyer was fun but the queue could take up to 50 minutes when there were a lot of people.


Their waterworld show was entertaining with lots of actions, stunts and splashing of water. The performers are great in interacting with the audience before the show. At the venue, there were seats segregated by customers preference on getting wet or dry. There are three category of seating which is dry, splash or wet. We chose the splash seating. However, we were a teeny weeny bit disappointed on not getting splash with even abit of water.


Another recommendable show in the park was the 'Monster Rock'. We enjoyed this show very much with all the monsters (Dracula, Frankeinstein, mummy, etc) singing, actions and cute drama. Cute?? Omigawd, I actually thought the monsters are cute!!! I was in chuckles when the dracula sang a short version of the chinese song 'Moon represents my heart' in the show.

Other shows that we managed to catch were the Mel's Dinettes, Daddy O's, The Rockafellas and the Hollywood Dreams Parade.

The Mel's Dinettes and Daddy O's were performers singing 50's and 60's songs in front of the classic 1950's drive-in diner. The Daddy O's performers was cute in their antics and singing. Enjoyed their performance very much.

Only managed to catch a glimpse of 'The Rockafellas' show, where the performers performed street dances in New York section of the theme park.

The Hollywood Dream Parade was a parade of all the movie characters on magnificent floats that started from the Waterworld section until the New York section of the theme park.

All throughout the day, we managed to take photos with most of the characters there. I managed to take photos with Po Kung Fu Panda, Marilyn Monroe, Brendan Fraser, Shrek, some ancient like characters in Egypt, the penguins and monkeys from Madagascar. Some other characters I saw but couldn't take photographs with them due to time constraints were Puss-In-Boots, Charlie Chaplin, some Sci-Fi Characters, Betty Boops, Woody Wood Pecker, Frankeinstein and all other monsters. To take photographs with these characters, we need to line up and sometimes when they announced photos for the last five, we were usually the sixth or seventh. Disappointed...But they are there throughout the day, so if you didn't managed to take photos with them the first time, keep coming on the few other times.


The staff there were extremely organised, cheerful and friendly which made our day at the theme park. All the attractions were equipped with clear information on what to expect from the rides. This theme park has a lot of facilities and rides suitable for the disabled. Mothers and small children could make use of their stroller rental, and baby nursing room facilities. The toilets are kept clean all the time. Applauded them for being so thoughtful and attentive in the small details. It really made our day! Thanks Universal Studio Singapore! It was like being a kid all over again.

Posted by puileng 07:35 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Awesome Europe Adventure


all seasons in one day 12 °C

"It's your captain speaking. We'll be landing shortly at London Stansted airport. Please return to your seats and fasten your seat belts...."
Finally, we will be reaching London after 14 hours of sleeping, waking, day dreaming, eating and sleeping again...The time is 4pm (UK time). In a daze and excitement, we passed through immigration, baggage claims and slowly observing the airport area to look for the coaches that could take us to Liverpool street in London. We took the National Express which is £17 for return fare. Soon after we bought the ticket and looking for our platform, we noticed another coach more cheaper £14 for return fare...aikss....haiz...nevermind... I couldn't find the brochures that I brought home on the train fares but it's definitely more expensive than the bus fares. Okay, off we hopped on the bus (55 minutes) to Liverpool street to meet a friend of ours. The bus stopped at Stop G, which was just a few steps from the Liverpool street train station. Met up with our friend and bought underground tickets to King's Cross St. Pancras. We were staying at the 'Clink 78' hostel in that area. Checked in and back out in search of our dinner for the night. In actual, didn't even felt hungry but we ate something nonetheless. Went back to our hostel as we were quite sleepy even though it's just around 9pm.

Awoke the next day, full of energy. Had breakfast in our hostel, chatted with some of the other backpackers, and off we went to our first destination. The National Gallery. We bought an underground day ticket for £6.60. (Other option is you could buy the Oyster Card) The stop to reach Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery was 'Charing Cross station'. (From King Cross station, just take the Victoria line to Warren Street station and change Northern line to Charing Cross station.) A lot of paintings in the National Gallery to be seen, but I've no artistic blood in me, so it was a breeze walk through with some sit downs on the many chairs provided inside. Outside, the blue blue sky was more interesting than inside the gallery :p We then went to St James Park which was more lively and colourful with the venue being dotted by sunbathers, families, birds, ducks and lovely colourful flowers. The park was just within walking distance from the National Gallery and also near the Buckingham Palace.

After walking around the grounds of what was to be the wedding venue of Prince William and Kate Middleton in a week later, we walked or was it took a train to St Paul's station (can't remember), we reached the St Paul Cathedral. Along there, we walked across the bridge over Thames River and found ourselves at the Borough market which had a variety of food, fruits, veges, cheeses and desserts. We bought something and sat at a nearby park to eat our lunch. The potatoes and pickles cucumbers top with cheese and pepper is especially delicious. We then took the underground train to Tottenham Court Road Station and visited the British Musuem. You could spent a few hours here as there's a lot to see in this musuem.

Later at night, we met up with a friend at Chinatown (took underground train to Leicester Square). Had a great dinner of roasted duck rice and chinese food. The first day in UK and we were already missing chinese food. We walked to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament after our dinner. Good for digestion after a full meal. We saw a splendid night view there and also the London Eye which was just opposite the river. Still full, we walked along the river towards London Bridge. From the London Bridge, we had a great view of the Tower Bridge which was lit up in lights over the river. It was quite windy and cold then, so we retired early for the night.

It was a fine beautiful day on our third day in London. Oxford Street was packed with a lot of departments stores of branded goods. We walked along the stores to Regent Street which was also filled with lots of shopping stores. Shopping wouldn't be complete without visiting the famous Harrods which can be reached by underground train to the station 'Knightsbridge'. Lots of people were there when we walked in there. The security guards advised us to put our bags in front of us to avoid being pickpocket. We came out with only freshly baked breads from Harrods.

Hyde Park was just within walking distance from Harrods and we sat there for hours enjoying our lunch, chatting endlessly and just people watching under a cool shading tree. It was a very satisfying feeling just sitting on the grass relaxing and chilling out with friends. Later, we took the underground train (thanks for the guide and training provided by Mr C on how to read the map of London's underground tube) to Tower Hill. Our destination was the famous Tower Bridge which was often mistaken as London Bridge. A sunny day still, even at 4pm in the evening. As we were feeling quite hot and exhausted walking along the bridge with tons of people, we retreated to coffee and ice cold drinks at Starbucks. Later after that, we got to a platform where we could get a good view of the Tower Bridge and we waited until the sky gets dark and watched the Tower Bridge being lit up with night lights.

The next morning, we woke up early to get to Stansted Airport for our flight to Amsterdam by 'Easyjet'. It was a holiday in London as we got to know from the taxi driver, a Bank holiday...hmm... Ok, it was abit quiet during 7am in the streets of London that day. After an hour and a half of plane ride, we reached Amsterdam Schipol Airport. Took the train to Amsterdam Centraal station and from there we dragged our luggage to the city centre to find our hostel. We walked past 8 alleys and finally saw our hostel with the owner sitting in front of the entrance. Luckily he helped us with our luggage up the hostel's steep and narrow staircase. We freshen up abit there and started looking at the map to get to Anne Frank Musuem. Earlier we bought the online tickets to the musem as we heard it could get quite crowded and long queue. Luckily we did, as the queue to the Anne Frank Musuem was very very long. We skipped the long queue and get in the fast lane for online tickets. I read about Anne Frank during our literature class in secondary school and the story remains with me since. A truly captivating and sad truth about a young Jewish girl and her family in hiding during the war. Been wanting to come to her musuem ever since I found out about it and finally I've been able to walk through their original hiding place. Although most of the original placing of the items and furnitures in the house was no longer there, but it still gave one the feeling of how Anne and her family lived by during that two years by some short video clips in every room and glass cases showing the orginal diaries and personal belongings of the families. Wooden panes creaking when one walked on it reminded me of how old the building already was. No photos were allowed inside the musuem. The musuem is located along the canals of Prinsengracht.

Being in Amsterdam, it's never complete without visiting their famous red light district. No photos were allowed here too unless you want your camera being flung down to the canals. All along the district, there were lots of sexy women posing in front of full length windows trying to attract customers. There were also shops promoting live sex show and shops selling all kinds of sex related items. There was a sex musuem in the city centre which was only €3 per entrance.

We visited Rijksmusuem and also the famous 'I AMSTERDAM' big letters nearby the musuem. While on our way to the Magere Brug, we got lost and asked for directions to the place. That's how we came to meet a nice lady who invited us to her house for a cup of coffee later in the evening. We agreed and came back later to her house after we done sightseeing around the area. Her house was warm and cosy with a nice view of the canal in front. She told us about the life there and her adventures travelling around the world. We chatted for a few hours and later bid our goodbyes. Wonder if we had the chance to meet again.

On her advice, we changed our last destination which was suppose to be 'The Stolen Windmill' to another place also with windmills which was called the 'Zaanse Schans'. We took a train from Amsterdam Centraal to 'Koog-Zaandijk' station. The windmills were just within walking distance from the station. There was a free map of the place outside of the station. This place was indeed very beautiful and we didn't regret coming here one bit. Walking further along the bridge towards the windmills, the scenery was more countryside. It's best to go around by bike.

One thing I noticed about Amsterdam was that the people here were especially friendly and helpful. They helped without us even asking for it. Once we took the wrong bus and look lost with our map and all, the passengers there helped explain to us the place to take the right bus to our destination and even helped us to speak to the driver to get us down at the right place. The lady who invited us for coffee was another example of the friendliness of the people there. And another couple whom we met near the canals although not sure of the directions of the place that we asked but helped us nonetheless with using their handphone to search for the place. Well, there were many nice people but also some bad apples even. Just be careful with who you are trusting with.

We made reservations for sleeper train to Vienna, booking a 3 bed compartment. I'll definitely remember the incident of how we thought we lost the sleeper train tickets and when we tried to buy the train tickets again, it was already full. Looking lost and down all day, we tried to cheer up on our day trip to the windmills and came back to the train station to search our luggage again before deciding what to do next. LUCKILY, we manage to find the tickets in one of our luggages and we were almost jumping with joy. The worst case was we either had to look for another hostel or sleep at the train station for a night before heading to Vienna the next day...but we are on schedule and Vienna...here we come!!!

The 3 bed compartment in the train was quite small after loading our luggages in. The compartment even had a small washing basin and mirror. All three of us was sitting on the train floor with the bed as our table to eat our dinner. We bought salads, bread and ham from the train station. After opening our salads, we realised it didn't provide any forks or spoons...Okay, so we ended up eating the salads with our bare hands :p It was quite gross but it was fun and enjoyable and we were laughing all through our dinner.

We had a rest in the beds provided and we reached Munich, Germany around 7am to change bus to Vienna. It took another 3 hours and finally reaching Vienna Westbanhof station. It was a short walk to our hostel. The lady at the reception was quite friendly, introducing to us the nice foods to eat in Vienna. Some of the foods she recommended are Wiener Schnitzel (deep fried beef / pork in bread crumbs), Gulash and Sacher Torte (Choco cake). The train in Vienna was very convenient, reaching most of the places that we wanted to go to. The highlight of our two days in Vienna was the Royal Palace (Schloss Schonbrunn). It was worth the visit. The place was so huge, you could spend a whole day there walking around the palace grounds.
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Our hostel in Vienna was spacious. It was an apartment being equipped with a kitchen, refridgerator and all the utensils we needed. Our room can accomodate at least 5 people inside. However, being that big, it was a bit creepy too with the wooden plank on the bed creaking as we accidentally touch it or the heater that kept making some noise when it was used or NOT in used. We could even see the flaming fire that was used in the heater whenever we turned on the tap or shower for hot water.

Next of Vienna, we were then heading towards Salzburg....the SOUND OF MUSIC!!! We were excited and playing the songs in our mind even before we reached there.

After reaching by train to the main station, we found our hostel (International Youth Hostel) after going a few round in circles. This hostel was the most comfortable and clean of all hostel that we stayed in. We took the 4 mixed dorm room. The room had 4 lockers with each locker big enough to stuff our luggage and it's opened and closed using our door key cards. There's a female shower room at the 2nd floor and it had a lot of cubicles and hair dryers, so there's no worry of waiting a long queue for your showers. After finish settling in, we took their Sound of Music tour which is €33 per person. We were brought to another location to board the tour bus to be on our way to all the places and location scenes of the famous movie. Familiar music was played on the bus and the guide was explaining to us the places and views as we passed by each town and countryside. We stopped by some places and ended our tour at the Mirabell Gardens. Mirabell Gardens was one of the location scenes where Maria and the kids sang the Do Re Mi songs. Some of the other places we visited in Salzburg were the Nonnberg Abbey, Katakomben (lovely and beautiful tended graveyards), Residenzplatz and the Cathedral. Once while walking around the town, we were exhausted, tired and we just dropped down and sat on the pavement, oblivious to the onlookers, to have our packed lunch. Walking around the city and countryside of Salzburg during this time was an amazing feeling. The flowers were blooming, there were people cycling around, even the dogs were on a cheerful mood.
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Venice, a place where people described it as romantic and enchanting was our next destination. However, the place doesn't gave us the feeling of what the people described it was. There were more of motorboats than gondolas in the canals and rivers in and around Venice. Lots of people were in this famous island too when we reached. Luckily we stayed on the mainland at 'Mestre' instead of in the island. I can't imagine having to drag my luggage up and down stairs and uneven walkways and not counting having to get lost in this ENCHANTING city. Okay...it's part of the fun to get lost in this city but not so when it's dark. We were lost somehow and together with a lost Japanese lady, we managed to find a way back to the main train station after a few round in circles. Well, not all is bad. We did enjoy the gelato ice cream there and walking through the maze of narrow lanes and bridges, discovering something new in each pathway we turned.

Train from Venice to Rome took four hours. We checked in at Alessandro Palace and Bar Hostel. It's just within 5-10 minutes walk from the main train station. We bought a day train ticket and first went to the Colloseum. As we were enjoying the Rome's greatest known monument, there were some ancient dressed gladiators putting their props on us and started taking photo for us with our camera. Unaware of their motives, we played along until they started asking for €20 for the photos taken. After some short dispute, we paid them €5 just to get them away from us. So a warning to all visitors to Colloseum or anywhere in Rome in fact, be wary of people trying to take photos for you with their ancient looking or costume as it is definitely not free. Most of anything in Rome is not free. After the ordeal, we proceeded to walk around the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The famous Trevi fountain was another main tourist attractions. It definitely attracted A LOTSS of tourists there. We were rubbing shoulders and bodies just to get to the side of the fountain to make our wishes.

The custom is to throw a coin over your shoulder while facing away from the fountain. First coin to ensure your return to Rome and second coin grants a wish. Other places that we visited in Rome included the Castel Sant'Angelo, Pantheon and Piazza Navona. While in Piazza Navona, it is interesting to watch the many artists at work, drawing potraits for customers on the spot. A nice relaxing place in Rome.

Vatican City is the smallest nation in the world with a population of 900. The Vatican Musuem was worth to visit. Entrance fees is €15 per person. It is advisable to book online with additional charge of €4 per person as the queue to this famous musuem can get quite long, especially during the peak season. This musuem houses an astonishing collection of arts and treasures inside an equally astonishing and beautiful building. We were in awe looking at the amazingly detailed carved ceiling and the central round staircase. There's a park inside the musuem. There was so much to explore here that one could take up a whole day here. The Sistine Chapel is a must visit in the musuem.

(Reminder: All trains in Italy need a reservation ticket. Even though we were using Eurorail Pass at that time, we still need to get a reservation ticket to board any train in Italy)

Our next stop was Geneva, but we made a transit in Milan. We had 5 hours of time in Milan and without wasting any of it, we took the city train to Duomo, the world's largest Gothic cathedral. It took 600 years to complete this cathedral.
Nearby the area, there was a shopping arcade, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where it housed some of the well known brand such as Louis Vuitton and Prada.

Arriving Geneva at night, we stopped by a restaurant for some food before checking in at our hostel (City Hostel Geneva). We slept one night here, packed a days clothes, left our main luggage at the hostel and headed towards Lucerne, which was about 3 hours by train.
Arriving at Lucerne, you will notice the best known landmark of this town, the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke). It is famous for its distinctive water tower and the fire in 1993 that almost destroyed it. The water in the main river of the town was crystal clear, you could see the bottom of it. Lots of swans and ducks dotted the scenery of this beautiful river. The weather was cold when we reached. We quickly walked towards our hotel (Tourist Hotel) which was facing the river to check in for the night. The next morning, we went up to Mount Pilatus by cable train. The view up there was breathtaking. IT WAS AWESOME UP THERE!!! There was an option of getting up here by the cable train or hiking 7-8 hours from downhill. After we took the cable train up, we still needed to climb up some steep stairs to some of the view points. Going downhill, we took the cable car to another stop which was another good location for families picnics and outdoor activities.

Back to Geneva for the night. Visited Lausanne the next day, a quaint and enchanting little town. We walked along the streets towards Lake Geneva. As our Eurorail passes entitled us for a free cruise on Lake Geneva, we boarded the ship and stop at Montreaux, which was also home to the popular castle by the lake, 'Chateau de Chillon'. We also visited Bern along the way.

In Geneva city, while we were walking along the bridge to Jet d'Eau, my friend was almost pickpocketed by some Brazilians who pretended to ask for the time. Saw their hands on my friend's bag and we quickly pulled him away from the ordeal. Feeling abit unsafe, we went back to our hostel early that night after dinner. Our last day in Geneva was spent touring the town by riding on their public buses. We stopped by at a morning market which was full with people while the rest of the other areas of town seems abit desserted as most of the shops were closed on Sunday. Later, it's time for our flight back to Manchester.

Reached Manchester in the evening. After a few change of trains and walking, we finally reached my friend's apartment. We had home cooked food of baked beans and rice, which was a relief of all the bread, pasta and flour meals that we had over the past 2 weeks. Our next few days in Manchester was spent relaxing around the town shopping and eating. We also visited York and Dunham Massey (a deer park).

Really thanks to our friend for accomodating us in his apartment, bringing us around, cooking all the delicious food and dessert, and for all the many many things that you had done in our trip for the 3 weeks that we were there. A big hug to you!!!

The blog I've written here is not enough to fully described the experience that we had, the chatter and banter between us, or the secrets that we shared. I really enjoyed my 3 weeks long break here, experienced lots of culture and food, got to know my friends better, meeting new people, learning new things, and it was quite sad to leave. However, I've recharged my energy to face more challenges at work back home. So, to my boss, can you please approve my leave if I were to take another long vacation... :p haha...

[Some of the photos above are masterpieces of Mr CCS photography skills]

Posted by puileng 01:31 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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