Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Best of Sydney - Day 2

Best day in Sydney!!!Why? Because Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge are right in front of my eyes. No wonder Sydney Opera House was voted as one of the new 7 wonders of the world, the building itself is an art, you just don't get bored staring at it all day. Please be prepared that you will be bombarded with the photos of me with opera house.

For the whole day, we were just hanging around Circular Quay around. Let me just summarize our itinerary for the day.

1. Kings Cross - Circular Quay
    How to get there :
    a. By train: Kings Cross station to Circular Quay station
    b. By bus: Kings Cross Bayswater Rd to Phillip St (we opt for this one since the train was under maintenance)

My first look at Sydney Opera House from Circular Quay :)

2. Circular Quay - The Rocks
    How to get there : 10 mins walking distance
    Brunch @ Pancake On the Rocks
Great food - from top Pancakes, Pork ribs, Pizza, Crepes and Mocha :D

3. Shopping at The Rocks Market
    Great place for windows shopping. Did buy some magnets for souvenirs though.

The Rocks :)

4. The Rocks - Pylon Lookout Point on Harbour Bridge
    How to get there: 15-20 mins walking distance via Bridge Stairs,
    Entrance fee: $13 for adult

Along the way - Sydney Opera House from the bridge stairs
Love the sky and the sea~ believe, this photo is totally unedited (view from Pylon Lookout)

From Pylon Lookout :)
Prepare to climb up 200-step staircases. Personally do not think that going up pylon lookout point is a must, since you can get a great view from the harbour bridge, right in front of the entrance of the Pylon Lookout (and it's free).

5. Pylon Lookout - Oz Jet Boating
    How to get there: 20-25 mins walking distance to Circular Quay
    Fare: $75 (We manage to get discounted price at $38 through groupon :D )
Great experience. Thrilling 30 mins ride with astonishing view of opera house, harbour bridge and royal botanic garden. We got all wet after the ride. Prepare yourselves with towels and spare clothes.

6. Royal Botanic Garden (To Mrs Macquarie's Chair, get the best view of Sydney)
    How to get there: 10 mins walking distance to reach the garden, another 30 mins walk to get to the scenic spot

On our way to royal botanic garden (you can notice my clothes are wet after the jet boating ride :P)

Picnic-ing at royal botanic garden
Hiding from the rain @ Royal Botanic Garden

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House from Mrs Macquarie's Chair
The picture will be 100x more beautiful if it has not been raining :(
On the way to Sydney Opera House

7. Sydney Opera House

Night view of Sydney Opera House
View of Harbour Bridge from Opera House

And finally, we are heading back to Kings Cross, by taking bus no. 32x from Alfred St, Circular Quay. I love Sydney!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sydney Trip - Day 1

So, Australia trip.... my first trip outside of Asia. A trip that I have been waiting for more than a year, I couldn't say that it is one of the best trip I had, and it probably was the worst trip due to what had happened to us when we first arrived.

Things doesn't go too well for us when we touch down at the kangaroo land. Why? Because we have been held for more than half an hour by the immigration officer. They checked our return flight ticket, our cash, took away our identity card, passport, and even handphone. To be frank, I was really pissed at that moment. We told them every detail they need, we all have a job back in Malaysia, we showed them all the online tickets that we have bought for the trip and still we were left there for more than half an hour. It just doesn't feel good when you were not being trusted and the people were talking to you in a sceptical tone. 

Thinking about the incident just made me mad again. But like what my friend said, we already paid for the trip, we need to move on and try our best to enjoy the city. 

Finally, we were good to go. For those who rely heavily on internet, my first advice is to purchase an OPTUS 3G prepard simcard, it comes with a 500MB data per day @ $2 only. Especially for those who are travelling in group, it can be shared among each other with hotspot. 

I just can't believe that things can go from bad to worse. Most of the trains in Sydney was currently under maintenance and will be back to operation after 2 days. But we were suggested by the airport staff there to take a cab instead as there are 4 of us. The taxi fare most probably won't be exceeding $60, and the bus fare is already $14 per person.

And it prove that the staff was right, we manage to reach our hostel, Jackaroo hostel King Cross with the taxi fare of $55.50. Slightly cheaper than what all of us would have to pay for the bus ride. For those who wants to know how's the taxi fare system in Sydney, I shall enlighten you. It starts from $4 and rise by 10 cent every 3 seconds, which is kinda scary. 

I have to say, you can't be more picky about the hostel location. It is just beside, literally beside the train station. (  So, after drop our bag at the hostel, we are good to go for our first destination, St. Mary's cathedral. We could have travelled from Kings Cross Station to St James Station. But since the train station is closed. For those who plan to stay in Kings Cross, always walk to the Bayswater Rd to catch a bus. Look for a bus start with 32+, It will get you to Elizabeth St where you can walk to Hyde Park or the St Mary's Cathedral.

I'm just so glad that we bought that prepaid simcard. google maps do come in handy. We seek for directions from google maps and figure out where we should get off the bus. 
I love google map!!!

I guess I need to highlight this, despite how the immigration officer treat us, we met a very nice bus driver. Probably we didn't do enough homework, as we never plan to travel by bus, we realize most of the people are using an OPAL card (please get one from any convenience store), we asked the bus driver how much is the bus fare and we were told not to worry about it. So we got a free ride, yahoo!!!

So, there's St Mary Cathedral in our background

So, this is me, right in front of the cathedral, look at the crowd back there, it's a wedding
We went in the cathedral and it is even more beautiful from the inside, we can't take photos but the beauty of it will always be in mu memory

Next, we walk towards Market St. Along the way, you will pass by Sydney Tower too, right above Westfield shopping centre. And then we reach the Queen Victoria Building. I have to say, it is the most beautiful shopping mall I have seen.

We tried out the extremely delicious macaroons from Zumbo...
Exiting the Queen Victoria Building, we continue to walk along Market St to reach the SEA Life Sydney Aquarium. We manage to buy the ticket at an cheaper rate via Groupon Australia (a good site to search for interesting deals) I can't say that I am really impress with the aquarium, but it is still pretty amazing to be able to see Duyong.

In the aquarium

Right in front of the aquarium, here we are at darling harbour. It's pretty crowded, I guess everyone waiting for the weekly firework show on Saturday 9pm.

at Darling Harbour
The night view of Darling Harbour

The firework show~ I hope I'm still in Sydney to enjoy the show again

Our first day in Sydney started pretty rough, but our journey just get better and better. The fireworks spark in the dark and finally chase all the clouds away from my heart and certainly anticipate for another great day in Australia.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Korea Folk Village - Suwon

I will definitely recommend Korea folk village as one of the must-visit in Korea. It is such a beautiful place, full with performances to let us understand the Korean culture better.

To get there from Seoul, you need to take subway line 1 to Suwon station. It will take you about an hour. Once reached Suwon, get out from the subway station and walk towards the tourist information centre and check for the timing of free shuttle bus to go to the Korea Folk Village.

On the other note, Suwon is where famous Korean actor - Joo Won and soccer player, Park Ji Sung came from. :)

So there are a series of performance throughout the day in Korea Folk Village. Be sure to check the timetable and identify the performances that you want to watch. In my case, we didn't manage to watch all the performance as we are busy taking pictures around the villages.

These are some of the performances that we managed to catch up:

Acrobatics on a tightrope
Equestrian Feats
The scenery inside the village is just breathtaking

Traditional Korea architecture

Beautiful lake inside the village

I'm with the rooftop prince!!!

You can dress up Korean traditional costumes for free~~ thanks the theater performers who took photo with us, we are wearing the costume of the King and Queen~ ipeudda

Ma ma~

With the performers :)

There are traditional costumes hanging in the villages, we can just take it and try it for free

It's amazing that I can fit into this little carriage

It will take you a day to go around the whole village, if you're hungry, don't worry, there's a big food court for you to enjoy your lunch
Yum yum :)
If you plan to take the shuttle bus to Suwon subway station, do be reminded that the last free shuttle bus is at 4pm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Korea - Winter Sonata

I always admire the chinese idiom "It is better to walk a thousand miles than to read a thousand books". Well, I'm practicing it. Travelling has been part of my life and my most favourite thing to do.

So, I got to visit the place I had been dreaming of going since I watched the Korean drama Winter Sonata, Nami Island. I only managed to visit it during spring season though I thought the place will be most beautiful in winter.

It took around 2-3 hours to reach Nami Island from Seoul. We departed from Hongik University station. Proceed to Sangbong Station (line no.7) and take Gyeongchun Line. It takes about 45 minutes to reach Gapyeong Station. Please prepare to stand throughout the 45 minutes of the ride if you are taking the train. Based on my experience, the train is crowded with the elderly. From what I noticed, it seems like they are all prepared to go for a hike or something. 

It is a nice experience taking Korean subway, there are salesman who actually walking from coach to coach selling their products but my legs do get really painful standing throughout the train ride.

Once you get to Gapyeong station, take a taxi to Namiseom parking lot and take the ferry from Namiseom Dock to Namiseom Island.

On the ferry to Nami Island


And we're finally here

Can't wait to start taking photos

The place where yu-jin and jun-sang had their first kiss, the table is no longer there, they placed it with this instead :(

Still remember the scene? I'm quite disappointed with the vandalisme act by the tourists

Vandalisme everywhere, sigh~
These photos remind me of the old times
the power of a drama~ they even have a bronze statue

Best activity on the island~ rent a bike and cycle around the island

Beautiful view around the island

Visiting the winter sonata museum
The highlight of the trip, the beautiful ginkgo trees

Remembering Park-Young ha T_T

Overall, for those who will be having a short trip to Korea, I will not recommend Nami island as a must visit place. It is too much hassle, and from what you can see from the photos, most of the scenic spots were ruined due to vandalisme and it is over crowded with tourists.

But it is still a beautiful island, do drop by when you have extra time :)