Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Feb 25, 2016

6 days in the Mongolian Gobi Desert!

Mongolia has always been a mysterious land to me. Almost always portrayed either as an enemy nation in Chinese period dramas or just shown as a land of distinct barrenness. But there is an indescribably rustic yet romantic appeal to its' vast lands and nomadic life. And that was what brought me here. In fact, my entire Trans Siberian journey was motivated by Mongolia.

After some intensive online research, I decided to stay 8 nights in Sunpath Mongolia.  Other than its tourist friendly website, the fact that they do a lot of tours was the main reason I decided to stay with them.
 
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Mu friends were surprised when I told them I joined a tour group in Mongolia. After all, I'm known to be a free spirited DIY traveller that couldn't care less for a rigid schedule. If you are Travelling to Mongolia, here's my tip; get a guide/driver or join a travel group. Because there is NO WAY you can enjoy the Mongolian wilderness by yourself without public transport or experience in outdoor camping and navigation. Another thing to be afraid of is being robbed when you are camping alone in the vast wilderness so no, don't go alone.
 
Since I was there for only 8 nights, I settled on a 6 days tour to the Gobi Desert . This blog entry shall document my experience of those 6 days. 

Dec 16, 2015

10 hours in Cologne (Germany)

Synonymously named with a type of perfume, Cologne the city has proven to be just as sweet as one.




As part of my europe solo endeavour, i took a midnight bus from Paris to Cologne. Arriving around 7am in a carpark wildly barren (to me). I somehow managed to navigate myself to a place with free toilet ( 9kg handcarry FTW) where I freshened up and to the Main Metro station. I left my bag in the awesome Leave Luggage machine for 7 euro (24 hr).

Nov 9, 2015

Getting Data Sim in Kansai

So I visited Japan for the Cherry blossoms earlier this year. While I was there, i bought so-net’s Prepaid LTE Data Sim card. Unlike b-mobile which needs to be pre-ordered and shipped to the airport, so-net’s prepaid data sim are sold either via a vending machine or a shop inside the Airport. Which is of course, extremely useful for people who decide to splurge on a data sim card in the last minute. Not to mention the data plans are the cheapest by far.

 

Official website:  http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/en/index.html

 

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Sep 1, 2015

Review: Schützenbach Backpackers & Camping / Hostel

I had a dormitory Bed with Schützenbach Backpackers & Camping / Hostel while I was in Lauterbrunnen for 6 nights. This is my review of the place.
 
Name: Schützenbach Backpackers & Camping / HostelAddress: Schützenbach, 3822 Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Tel: +41338551268
website: https://www.facebook.com/Schutzenbachbackpackers/timeline 
Price: €33.5 (price varies depending on season & room types)

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Aug 21, 2015

Review: Sommerhostel Salzburg (Hostel)

I stayed 3 nights in the Sommerhostel Salzburg hostel and liked it a lot. Here's my review of the place.
 
Name: Sommerhostel Salzburg 
Address: Strubergasse 1, Lehen, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Website: Booking.com
Check in: 14:00 - 16:00 hours
Check out: 14:00 - 16:00 hours
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Aug 18, 2015

Megabus Stops in Rome, Venice, Milan & Paris

I just returned from a 5 weeks trip and to facilitate my budget travel, I took Megabus coaches a lot from one country to another.

If you are not familiar with Megabus, it is an intercity Bus service that is pretty famous for their low fares. Their wikipedia description attached below.


Megabus website: http://uk.megabus.com


" Megabus, branded as megabus.com, is an intercity bus service of Coach USA/Coach Canada and DATTCO (a non Stagecoach company, under contract) providing discount travel services since 2006, operating throughout the eastern,southernmidwestern, and western United States and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Megabus is notable for using curbside bus stops instead of traditional stations, low fares starting at $1, and in recent years, operating a point-to-point network of routes with buses making few stops en route to their destination. "
source: Wikipedia


I took the Megabus for the following routes; Paris to Cologne. From Rome to Venice. From Venice to Milan and from Milan to Paris.

This blog entry is to share details about the bus stops for Rome , Venice, Milan and Paris because Megabus does such a lousy job of describing their Bus stops to their potential customers. The information here will be useful for anyone planning to travel with Megabus and departing/arriving from these points.



Aug 7, 2015

Picturesque Prague: Old Town Square

I came to Prague with almost no expectations. Sure,  I've seen the photos and videos and I know there are songs that reference it. But all those didn't quite seap into the brain of this traveller who doesn’t usually have a taste for city scape.




Jul 25, 2015

Jun 24, 2015

Doing my teeth abroad with Dental World Manila (Philippines)

*Sponsored review* 


Mabuhay!! Warm greetings from the even warmer Philippines! I think this must be the first time I’m blogging while on a trip, helps that I lugged my super bulky laptop along this time. For those of you who have been following TCC’s facebook/Twitter page, you’d have known that I’ve been trying to find a good dentist in Manila for a while.







Photo credit: Carl Vinson Carlos


Jun 20, 2015

Itinerary: 11D10N in Hangzhou, Shanghai & Suzhou.

They say “ 上有天堂,下有苏杭“, implying that the beauty of Hangzhou and Suzhou is on par with Heaven. And indeed, these 2 places were beautiful.
 
I just came back from a 11d10n trip to China. The trip involved 3 beautiful cities and 5 towns, not a very rushed trip as you can tell.  I personally prefer to take my time meandering around a new city and experiencing the different possibilities. I also had to allocate more time for myself to find  my way around as I was travelling alone in a place I have never been to before. 
 
 
 
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But going around on my own made for a really experience rich trip that I can't wait to ramble about. However before I venture into 1000 word long essays of each attractions, here's a picture itinerary with some description. This entry will share the flow of the trip and hopefully, give prospective travellers some information to base their next trip on.
 
Let me know if you guys liked such entries.

May 14, 2015

Review: Dolphin House Osaka Hostel (Japan)

When I impromptu-ly decided to fly to Japan for the sakuras (Cherry Blossoms), the first obstacle I faced was the unbelievable lack of accommodation during the last weekend of March to the 1st week of April. Hotels and hostels everywhere were sold out! God must have taken pity on me as I somehow chanced upon this little place in Osaka.
Here is my review of the Dolphin House Osaka .
 
Hotel Name: Dolphin House Osaka
Address: 577-0801 Osaka Prefecture, Higashi-osaka, Mikuriyaminami 2-1-38-A802, Japan
Contact: +81(0)80-9554-5580
Website: http://www.booking.com/hotel/jp/dolphin-hostel-osaka.en-gb.html
Price: SGD16 - SGD20 (Price varies)

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May 9, 2015

Traditional Han Costumes with Sakuras in Kyoto

It might not be very apparent in this blog until recently but I actually travel quite a bit for someone who holds a full time job. I often get so caught up with life that I cannot fully share my travel journey on blogs and most of the photographic memories captured just stays in my Harddisk.

 

 

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But I’m not here to talk about my backlogs really. I’m here to say I travel a lot. And if possible, I travel alone. And people around me often asks, why do I keep travelling alone? Why? Because I want to open up chances for beautiful encounters like this to happen!

 

 

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I chanced upon Vicky and Qian in the famous Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto and little did I know we would end up connecting so well.

Apr 26, 2015

Cherry Blossoms @ Kema Sakuranomiya Park

“ Kema Sakuranomiya Park is a riverside park boasting water, greenery and cherry trees, which is built on the river terrace between Kema Araizeki (overflow weir) and Temmabashi Bridge. Incorporating classical buildings such as the Mint, Water Square and walking trails, the park is a good place for strolling and jogging. It is known as a cherry blossom-viewing spot for its magnificent 4,700 cherry trees. “

https://www.osaka-info.jp/en/facilities/cat7/post_323.html

 

After my failed attempt to dine in the Sailor Moon Cafe in Nakatsu, i took a train down to Sakuranomiya Park. At that point my spirit was pretty down and my hunger was not making myself any better. But with time ticking by I decided not to waste any time lunching in a restaurant but instead aim to have a picnic in the company of the cherry blossom trees.

 

So onwards I go!

 

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ADDRESS :〒530-0025 Area including 1-chome, Nakano-cho, Miyakojima-ku, Osaka City
TRANSPORTATION : Short walk from Temmabashi Sta. on the Subway Tanimachi Line or the Keihan Line, Osakajo-Kitazume Sta. on the JR Tozai Line, or Sakuranomiya Sta. on the Osaka Loop Line

 

I alighted at the small JR Sakuranomiya train station and pondered about how to go to the park. Unfortunately,  the locality map was more confusing than anything. I eventually decided to try my luck by picking an exit and going that direction. I exited from East Exit 1.

Apr 21, 2015

Cherry Blossoms @ Kita-Ku, Osaka (Seeking SailorMoon Cafe!)

On the 3rd day of my Kansai trip, I decided to stay within Osaka city and for the first part of my day I decided to lounge in the Sailor Moon Cafe called Cafe Talismen.  I arrived at Hankyu Nakatsu Station (中津駅 Nakatsu-eki?) on the Hankyu Railway around noon and tried to navigate myself with GPS.

 

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Nakatsu Station (中津駅 Nakatsu-eki?) is a railway station in Osaka on the Hankyu Kobe Line and the Hankyu Takarazuka Line, and is operated by Hankyu Railway. There is another train station with the same name nearby but they are not linked. Nakatsu is within Kita-Ku (北区 Kita-ku?), which is one of 24 wards of Osaka, Japan. This particular area is 1 train station away from Umeda and is primarily a housing estate area.

 

“ Kita-ku, particularly the Umeda area surrounding Osaka Station, is one of the main commercial centers of Osaka. Kita-ku is also a financial administration center, housing the headquarters of the Japan Mint and the Osaka branch of the Bank of Japan. “

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kita-ku,_Osaka#Shrine_and_Temple

Apr 11, 2015

Cherry Blossoms @ Wakayama, Japan 2015

I went to Wakayama on the very first day of my spring Kansai 2015 trip. I hadn't thought nor researched much about Wakayama prior. The idea of going beyond Kyoto and Osaka only struck me while i waited for my flight to depart Changi Airport. Talk about YOLO LOL.

 

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“Wakayama Prefecture (和歌山県 Wakayama-ken?) is a prefecture of Japan located on the Kii Peninsula in the Kansai region on Honshū island.[1] The capital is the city of Wakayama”

www.wakayama.lg.jp/english/

 

Mar 13, 2015

Getting picked up in Osaka & nearly missing the last train. Adventures in Osaka Castle & Dotonburi !

29th October 2013, my 3rd day in Kyoto! This is the day I conquer Osaka! Well, not really. The day didn’t go super well but I had quite an adventure as after 4 trips to Japan, I finally encountered the weird, perverse and shady side of Japan. Will talk more about it at the bottom!
 
 
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After getting around the Kyoto for the last 1 and a half day, I've started to get the hang of the things. With thanks to one of the staff from Ayado Gion, I found out that it is actually cheaper for me to take a Railway Train to Osaka instead of taking a Bus to Kyoto JR station and then take the train to Osaka. 

Jan 8, 2015

First experience at a Japanese Public Bath (Kyoto)

As most of you might know, I went to Japan for a short holiday (last last year. This is a VERY delayed post). In the last week of my CoFesta trip I went to Kyoto and stayed at Hostel Mundo. Nearby the hostel was a public bath which the owner of the hostel highly recommended. According to her, Choja-Yu (长者汤) is the second oldest public bath in Kyoto.

 
Address: 上長者町通松屋町西入須浜東町, 450上京区 , 京都府Japan
Tel: +81 75 441 1223 
 
 
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According to Midori-san (Hostel Mundo’s Owner) , Choja-Yu Public bath operates till 12:00 midnight. But when i was there the public bath signage seems to say that it closes at 11:30 even though I did stayed till 11:45 pm =X.

Jan 5, 2015

Autumn Kyoto day 7 (Kinkakuji & Nijo Castle)

The 28th October 2013 marks the 7th day of my extended CoFesta Ambassador trip in Japan last autumn. I was invited as an Ambassador for CoFesta in recognition of my continuous work of sharing Japanese related content online. I extended the trip and made it into a 12 days trip from Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto.

 

- Read about my CoFesta related travel trips here (Click!)

- Read about my Japan related travel blogs & tips here (Click!)

 

 

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So yes, that Monday morning marked my first morning in Kyoto! I’ve been dreaming of a Kyoto flooded red with maple leaves ever since reading the grotesque and romanticised descriptions in Yami no Matsuei.  After a tedious and anxious day of rushing for my Shinkansen and lugging my luggage from Tokyo to Kyoto the day before, I woke up at 10am haha. By the time I got out of the Hostel it was already 12:30pm hahaha. This is why I like travelling solo; I sleep and rise according to my own wishes. 

Dec 3, 2014

Gohotels (Manila) Review

Hotel Name: GoHotels
Branch: Mandaluyong (Cybergate Plaza, EDSA)
Address: UG/F, Robinsons Cybergate Plaza, EDSA cor. Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City
Contact: +63(2) 3988788/  +63(2) 3988119
Website: http://gohotels.ph/index.php/mandaluyong
Price: 880 peso – 1388 pesos (Price varies)

 

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Gohotels is a chain of Essential Service hotel in Philippines. They have numerous hotel chains all over the country and even in Palawan Islands. I stayed at the Mandaluyong (Cybergate Plaza, EDSA) branch last month for 4 nights when I was on my Manila YOLO Cosplay Trip. This is my simple review of the place.

Jun 24, 2014

Review: Smile Hotel Tokyo Asagaya Hotel ( Tokyo, Japan)

I stayed in Smile Asagaya Hotel during my Spring Tokyo trip and had a very good experience there.

 

Nearest Station: 1 min walk from Asagaya station
Address: 3-37-11, Asagaya-minami, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 166-0004, Japan
Contact : TEL:03-3220-8755/ FAX:03-3220-8766
Website: http://www.smile-hotels.com/english.php 

 

 

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ROOMS


I stayed alone in their single room for 4 nights. As that was the only room type I had access to, my review will solely focus on that.

 

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The rooms are really small and only absolutely necessary walking space is allocated. However, being in space constrained Tokyo, that is something to be expected.  I am a petite Asian girl and I find the space comfortable enough for a single adult. However friends of heavier volume might find it difficult to manoeuvre around. 

 

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The room includes the basic amenities such as

  • A small fridge
  • Cup and water boiler
  • 1 Complimentary green tea sachet that is refilled everyday
  • Telephone (I did not try calling out)
  • Television with remote control
  • Air conditioner / heater
  • Small 1 door cabinet with 2 hangers
  • A bathing robe/nightgown
  • Towel
  • Disposable slippers
  • Air freshener spray
  • Comforter
  • Single bed with 1 pillow and blanket
  • A wooden chair
  • Toilet
  • Shower and bathtub
  • Complimentary shower soap, shampoo and conditioner. 
  • Complimentary vanity pack (shower sponge, comb, toothbrush & toothpaste)

 

In front of level 2's lift is a metal rack with pillows that hotel guests can freely take to their room. Staying in level 2 itself meant I quickly grabbed a buckwheat pillow for myself the first day I checked in :D .

 

 

BEDS


The bed was a simple mattress with pillow and thick blanket but man, it was SO COMFORTABLE!

 

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The mattress was soft but not too soft and was at the right density for both comfort and good spinal support. The buckwheat pillow also gave the sleeping experience additional points as not only does it smell heavenly, it also felt very good on my neck.


I tend to feel anaemia easily so I always have to sleep with a high enough pillow. If I don't,  I wake up with massive headache. I might have to say the bed and pillow is probably the best of all hotels/hostels I've tried, beating even 5 star hotels.

There is additional comforter in the top cabinet.

 

 

TOILET 

The toilet is tiny and feels a little cramped even for someone as small as me. However the basic amenities are in place.

 

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There are hot and cold water for shower and  at the wash basin. Complimentary vanity items such as toothbrush, tooth paste, shower sponge and comb are provided. 

 

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Much like most of Tokyo, the hotel also provides automated toilet bowls.

 

 

CLEANLINESS

Everything looks clean and new. Nothing to jump about ;)

 

LOCATION 

Absolutely in love with the location! The nearest JR station is JR Asagaya Station. And any hotels near a JR station is good for tourists!

 

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On first look, Asagaya looked like an unfamiliar place for a tourist to stay in. But it is actually only 5 JR Train stations away from Shinjuku.

The hotel is a comfortable walking distance (5 minutes walk) from JR Asagaya train station and the area is a bustling little suburb by itself. Being an area where local Japanese reside in, the area is filled with restaurants, cafes, super markets, grocery shops and drug stores. Things there are generally more affordable too.

 

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I bought most of my souvenirs from budget stores or candy stores around Asagaya (Alert: cheapskate! LOL) . I bought a lot of Japanese chocolates back as souvenirs for my family and friends xD

 

 

HOTEL SERVICE 

The counter service is available 24hours a day, which is good of course.  The hotel requires all guest to leave their room keys at the counter before going out. When they return, the Hotel guests will pick up their room key by telling the staff their room number.

To be honest I find this arrangement highly insecure. No form of identification was required to pick up the keys. What if some stalker decides to try something funny?

 

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The hotel staffs I came in contact with were all very helpful and friendly.  Deep conversations in English would be difficult but simple directions and usual travelling questions would not be a  problem there.

One of the staffs even kindly printed out a train map and wrote down travel instructions for me!  Highly impressed and touched ;)

 

OVERALL  

Overall, I must say I am very pleasantly surprised by the hotel. Other than the ‘key pickup’ part which made me felt a little insecure, I really enjoyed my stay with them.

The hotel has relatively new furniture, is clean, well maintained , reasonably priced and well located. I honestly cannot ask for more!