Sydney, Australia (19th-25th November 2014) 6 nights trip

Posted by vivien | Others | Monday 1 December 2014 12:55 pm
2,980 Total Views

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200 pictures in this post!

Our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney, take about 8-9 hours. We took a morning flight, leaving KL time 9:10am, reaching Sydney about 8:20pm, 3 hours time difference. Before departure to Australia, make sure you apply for ETA visa, i did mine with Holiday Tours & Travel Sdn Bhd. by just online inquiry in their website (Apply through travel agency is cheaper), and bank transfer RM30 per visa, and they will send back a text file which we just need to print it out.
Holiday Tours & Travel Sdn Bhd.
A-0-1, Block A, No.1 Jalan Seri Utara 1, Sri Utara, Off Jalan Ipoh, 68100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Website: www.holidaytours.com.my

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view from plane window when we almost reaching sydney, taken on local time 8pm! when the sun is just starting to set

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Bought a weekly pass called “MyMultiZone3″ $63 allowing us to use all train,ferries,light rail and bus for our 6 nights trip. To get back to airport using train, we will have to pay $21 extra as “airport access charge” return tickets.

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Taking the google recommended route :) International airport -> Wolli Creek, then to Kings Cross station. I think it is easier than switching train in Central which is a biggest station and longer walk between platforms.

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most city trains has 2 level seatings

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Our hotel for the first night in Springfield Lodge in Kings Cross (a red light district) but we felt pretty safe although they are here and there some scantily clothed girls. The double bed is really small to be shared by two. We actually bought 4 different type of rooms for 6 nights stay(small double, basement double, twin, basement twin). I preferred basement twin and we got transferred to stay in budget basement twin for the rest of the nights. It is actually best to stay in basement twin as the fully equipped kitchen is on basement, and there are elevator, whereas our first night in this small double room is on the top floor which has no elevator, and carrying big luggage in narrow stair is a pain

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another view of the room, kettle/cup/fridge are hidden in the cupboards

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bathroom

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narrow stairway to this top floor, try to get other room with elevator access, and don’t stay in top floor(ie rooms starting with 4xx)

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hallway on top floor

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front view of our hotel Springfield Lodge, just 5-10 minutes walk from Kings Cross station with Coles supermarket opposite the station.Some other good hotel you may try are Regents Court/Lido Suites Hotel/Bayswater Sydney which located is similar area as this hotel

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Kings Cross station

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Kings Cross to Central, go on a 2 hours train ride from Central to Blue Mountain Katoomba station

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“Blue Mountain Line” train available hourly from Central to blue mountain’s Katoomba station

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Once reach Katoomba station, you may buy $40 Explorer link bus ticket (http://www.explorerbus.com.au/home.aspx), refer to their timetable for their bus only available 9:45 till 5:30pm, we didn’t use this option, instead went cheap using MyMultiZone3 which includes travelling on their local bus in blue mountain area, however as we realised later, their local bus has very limited stops are well, basically local bus doesn’t commutes from Katoomba area to Leura, and we end up walking a long way back to Leura station.

Our first stop in blue mountain: Katoomba

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One of the lookout in Katoomba

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Katoomba Cascades

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toilet in blue mountain open only till 5pm

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plenty of ducks and white feathered bird in this park somewhere near Katoomba cascade

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Map of katoomba falls area (Reid’s Plateau, Katoomba Falls, Katoomba Cascades)

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Scenic World experience:9am-5pm unlimited rides on the 52 degree Railway, Skyway, Cableway and 2.4kmWalkway $35

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Unlimited ride for $35, or you may opt to walk from above till below to the train area, then taken the one way train up for $14

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Scenic Railway train ride operates regularly during the day, with the last train leaving at 4.50pm, looks exciting, but quite meh, the ride is a very short one, only exciting for first few moments, then it stops and reach the bottom station

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so called 52 degrees train ride.

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looking out from train wide window

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from the scenic railway bottom station, we could walk and reach the cableway station

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15 mintes walk to cableway

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this is the walkway to cableway

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cableway car

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from cableway, we can take another ride similar to cableway, but with glass floor.

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Us waiting for the skyway tram (on the left coming towards us)

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glassfloor

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open air skyway ride

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to reach this way called “scenic way” station

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this is the Explorer link bus timetable mentioned earlier.

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From Scenic World, we waited for local bus to take us to famed Three Sisters. Above left of 3 stones jutting out is the 3 sisters.

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closer view

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from 3 sisters, we can walk towards the Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Leura cascades, which marks the beginning of our long and tiring walking, little hiking to Leura train station

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to Leura Cascades

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One of the lookout along the way

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walk out into main road, Leura cascades yet to be found

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going back into the trail again which reads “to Leura Cascades”

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walk…

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Bridal Veil Lookout to the right, we walked left to Leura Cascades

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finally Leura Cascades

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walk back to main road, only Explorer link bus and TrolleyTour bus(http://www.trolleytours.com.au/) stop here. No local bus will bring us to the train station. Here marks another long and tiring walk to Leura train station. Fortunately Google Offline Map which could detect our location to the rescue. Nobody walking/hiking in sight, and only a few cars passing by and it is almost bout 4pm.

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Finally a sign which reads “Leura Mall”, which is just next to station. By the time we reach Leura mall, around 5:30pm, all the shops are closed :( Can’t try flowerpot scone in Wayz Goose Cafe anymore (next to lolly candy store)

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So we waited for the hourly train back to Central station

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15 minutes walk from Central station to Mohr fish.

Address: Mohr Fish, 20 Devonshire St , Surry (11am-10pm)

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menu

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dine in menu 1

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dine in menu 2

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takeway menu 1

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takeaway menu 2

Their fish and chips (only $9.50 for takeway) is really quite good and really cheap, their tartare sauce is good as well. Their bouillabaisse soup($12.50 for takeaway) is just so so, not recommended.

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Our room for 2nd nights onward, this is better, twin bed, and kitchen just next door

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shower, the shower door is jam though

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Bought an adapter as can’t find it in Malaysia

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Flour and Stones, cakes for breakfast

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Monday – Friday: 7am-4pm; Saturday: 8am – 2pm

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Really really nice vanilla cake, the cake is incredibly soft and not heavy, paired with delicious cream and nice homemade raspberry jam

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view of Sydney tower from Hyde park which we didn’t manage to go up

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on our way to Circular quay walk towards opera house

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harbour bridge

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circular quay ferries

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opera house just to the right

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on our ferry ride to Watson bay

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view of opera house from ferry

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Watson Bay

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Doyles Takeaway or the more expensive “Doyles On the Beach” to the left

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Doyles takeaway

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seating area

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nice fish and chip!

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nice pacific oyster

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lamingtons bought from Flour and Stones earlier, it is just so so for me, not liking the rough coconut shreds on it.

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It is a moist cake with the same raspberry jam i think, but the rough coconut just not nice

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walked thru military road, Gap Road and Old South Head road to the Gap park, continue 2.1 km to Macquarie Lighthouse (Australia ‘s first lighthouse)

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closed up

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yacht club for the rich

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We took ManlyFastFerry from Watson bay to Manly, instead of using our weekly pass from Watson back to Circular Quay then back out again to Manly.

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Lunch before the next long walk, Papi Chulo

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menu

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menu

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open kitchen

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our orders

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oyster with green apple mignonette, $3.50 each

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Curly fries, very very salty, perhaps this could be beer food, but simply too salty for us

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cauliflower, i think they pre-steamed the brocolli, saw them putting into oven for just a moment, then serve on a plate with red pepper sauce, tablespoonful of breadcrumb thingy, and lots of cheese, not bad, quite a good invention, the red pepper sauce is nice

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view from restaurant

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Address: Papi Chulo 22-23 Manly Wharf, Manly, Sydney

Monday to Friday 12pm – 3pm and 5.30pm – 10.30pm; Saturday 11.30am – 10.30pm; Sunday 11.30am – 9pm

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Then we took Bus 135 from West Esplanade Stand J, Manly to North Head Scenic Dr opp Q Station, then walk about 20 minutes to North Head scenic drive.

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There is actually a bus station much nearer ro North Head called north fort museum bus stop, but the bus stopping time are very limited, for afternoon only 2 trips back into city (1:55pm and 3:55pm), we waited for the 3:55pm. There are timetables like this in all bus station, very useful indeed, and the time bus arrival time is very much accurate, about 5-10 minutes difference maximum

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bus route of bus 135 is also depicted in bus stop

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after walking 30 minutes of so, we reach north head area in Manly

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Fairfax walking track in north head with a few lookouts

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one of the lookout looking out to beautiful cliff with waves

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looking towards Watson bay in the opposite shore and Sydney city at far distance

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Manly beach

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walking towards shelley beach

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along the way, there is this nice swimming pool just next to the Ocean, how cool is this, actually went swimming few laps and the water is freezing! Shelley beach is nothing much there, and there is a signage saying that the beach is polluted (with garbage etc) especially after heavy rainfall

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Ferry ride back to city, freezing with cold air blowing…

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another view of Sydney opera house

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we went to Friday night market in China town and saw a stall named Mamak selling roti canai, roti telor and satay, the chinese looking girl can flip a mean roti canai, really good skill

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prices of rotis

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Saturday morning to Eveleigh Market in Redfern, MUST VISIT, a lot of local food producers gathered here showcasing and selling delicious stuff. This market is on every Saturday from 8am to 1pm, with over 70 local farmers and artisan food producers. 245 Wilson St, Redfern

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busy busy

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cheap and fresh oyster

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4 types: live sydney rock, live pacific, live delux pacific and black label

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as recommended by the person, i tried 2 black labels on the left. It is huge, but very fresh tasting and there is some scallop texture thingy in the middle, yummy! only $2.50 each. To the right is the usual Sydney rock oyster

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fresh apples by Mr Apples, no wax, sold by kilo, tasty

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Margin’s Mushroom, according to them their mushroom can last 3 weeks in the fridge as it is very fresh. Their mushroom is sent to distributor in Melbourne, and “re-distribute” back to stores in Sydney, so buying it fresh here could last you quite long in the fridge

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very fresh looking, no bruises

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sold by bag

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Some tasty looking dessert by Gumnut, didn’t had any

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Yalla sell some seriously delicious yogurt and dips! so good

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promotion for their dips

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price list

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my strawberry yogurt for $3, they have promotion, 4 yogurts for $10, very creamy and tasty

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this guy from Fare Gourmet looks like Italian/Greek people, a little bit of Dustin Hoffman lookalike, seems quite serious about making brownies which is what he mostly sell

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delicious angus beef from Moobi Valley from hunter valley, the beef is very tender and nice

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waiting for my steak sandwich

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yum yum

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creative: almond base bread

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Willowbrae Chevre cheese has very creamy and delicious cheese, veerryy nice!

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Then off to take the take the train to go the The Rocks market (near Circular Quay station), open from 10am to 5pm every Saturday and Sunday of the year, before that we went to the Tea Cosy for their famous scones, located along the Rocks market. Address: 33 George Street, The Rocks, their scones are baked fresh and available every Saturday and Sunday 9am till 11:30am, any later you will have to order their high tea set with sandwiches etc

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menu

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Website: The Tea Cosy

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Order and pay inside, you will given a number stand, once the scone is freshly baked out of oven, they will send it over to your table

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fresh scones, can’t really say the scones are the best, but it is warm and quite nice, and the cold buttery cream, and homemade pear and apple jam with just the right sweetness complements the scones really well, go try

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one of the unique stores in The Rocks market, kangaroo real leather by Alan Warner, bracelet or necklace. There are also stalls selling necklaces made with read leaves inside, unique necklaces made with watch skeletal, basically a lot of unique accessories made locally. MUST VISIT this market

One of the notable stall is AHW Creations with their unique “watch” necklaces etc.

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more stalls

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our lunch in the market, just so so, $15 for 3 skewers of choice, complementary rice and salad

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La Renaissance (Address: 47 Argyle St , The Rock, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm) just next to The Rocks market, their macaron is really nice without being sugary sweet, tried their jasmine green tea flavor

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one of the cafe near the market selling gigantic pies!

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very near to the Rocks market, we can walk to Observatory Hill Park  (Upper Fort Street, Millers Point) for view of Sydney harbour bridge. On this fine saturday, we saw a wedding ceremony and 2 other brides taking photographs in this park

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some kind of bird with long beak widely seen in Sydney

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view of bridge from observatory park

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took a bus to Lorraine’s Patisserie Pies, Shop 5, Palings Lane, 320 George St (opposite Wynward station) only to find they runs out of hot pies, only cakes available. They are known for beef pies

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Not far away is Sydney ’s Angel Place , an art installation – Forgotten Songs of 110 empty birdcages suspended high in the air that play the songs of fifty birds, artificial of course

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Nearby is Strand Arcade 412 George street with famed Haighs Chocolates (9am-4pm), the chocolate is very nice!

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in Strand Arcade kitchen department, they sellling unique items by Ariete, popcorn maker, Slushy maker and cotton candy maker, and there are not that expensive

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Adriana Zumbo macaron in QVB Queen Victoria building, 455 George Street (9:00 am – 6:00 pm), tried their salted caramel, very stick sugary sweet, don’t like it, perhaps other flavors are better

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walking towards David Jones gourmet food hall, basement 65-77 Market Street (9:30am-7pm), just down the road from QVB

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to try their Reuben sandwich from Ruby & Rach

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this is really good, normally i don’t eat pickles, but everything just meld together, warm toasted bread, very delicious, MUST TRY

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Short distance walk away is Hyde Park, a medium size park with 2 couple taking wedding pictures here

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one of wedding picture taking group

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back to Chinatown to try the Emperor’s puff  (Emperor’s Garden  Cake & Bakery, address: 96-100 Hay Street, Haymarket) which always have long queue. Their puff is piping hot as it is baked fresh, but the filling just taste of artificial vanilla pudding, can skip this. From chinatown, it is a short walk to Central station, then train back to hotel

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Coffee, Tea & Me near our hotel

87c Macleay St. Pott Point Mon – Sun 7am – 8pm

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everthings looks retro and artsy, sandwich being warm up in hot griddle on the left

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bagel sandwiches available

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i chose salami, tomato and cheese

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Woolsworth supermarket just few shop down the road, expensive cili padi ;)

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The ever famous Bourket street bakery is available in Macleay Street in Pott Points as well, just across the road in small alley from Coffee, Tea & Me

Address: Bourke Street Bakery

46a Macleay St (entrance via Crick Ave ) 7am-5pm Monday to Friday; 8am-5pm Saturday and Sunday

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inside the store

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Pork and fennel roll, not bad

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Their dessert are really nice, both the tart (lemon curd tart and ginger creme brulee tart) are with very creamy smooth fillings but their crust remain crispy and nice even after few hours, wonder what they put in the crust, possible not all butter, some shortening perhaps?! And the flourless chocolate cake is very light, almost light like a chiffon cake. Side note: David Lebovitz post on this bakery.

Found out they actually have own recipe book “Bourke Street Bakery”, definitely have to try to make their ginger brulee tart one day. Recipe as below

Lemon Curd Tart (eatlove)

Ginger Brulee Tart (The Boy Who Bakes)

Ginger Brulee Tart (eatlove)

Ginger Brulee Tart (A Table For Two)

Ginger Brulee Tart (Life is Great)

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Go back to put our Woolworth loot back in hotel, then walk quite a bit, and took bus from Oxford Street to Bondi Beach! We stroll a bit in Bondi market, nothing much there, except maybe for a stall selling leather bags made from local Sydney designers. Other than that, many are chinese looking people selling very normal looking accessories, can skip this market. Then we went to Bills to try their award winning ricotta hotcakes.

79 Hall Street
, Bondi Beach(7:30am-10pm)

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inside the restaurant, busy on a Sunday aftenoon

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footpath seating permit on display

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orange squeezing machine

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here it is ricotta hotcakes with banana and honeycomb butter

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laced with ricotta inside, nothing spectacular, taste like normal pancake, and very heavy, felt so full afterwards

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adriana zumbo ice cream just next door, too full to eat anymore, did taste test their dark chocolate which is very nice, also tested their pandan coconut doesn’t taste nice

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Bondi beach, too overcrowded

For activities in Bondi, you can check out this informativel link:

http://www.sydney.com/destinations/sydney/sydney-east/bondi/beach-lifestyle

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people everywhere

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huge beach

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Bondi Icebergs with full size swimming pool just next to Bondi Beach, looks spectacular

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walking towards Tamarama beach and Bronte beach

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nice view towards Tamarama beach and Bronte beach

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coastal walk map showing the 3 beaches in this area: Bondi, Tamarama & Bronte

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This is a very nice spot(MacKenzies Bay) between Bondi Beach and Tamarama breach, just be careful of the rocky steps, and they are shades under the rocks where we can have a nice afternoon nap between dipping into cooling water in between the rocks covered with seaweed. They are some rocky formation which block of some of the strong waves, very nice to just sit and dip inside the sea swayed occasionally by the stronger waves, have to be careful as well as strong waves will shove us towards the shore.

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Tamarama beach

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Closer view

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Bronte beach

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Closer view of Bronte

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Bronte beach minimum and maximum air temperature board

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taking bus from Bronte to Bondi junction, then take train back to Kings Cross station

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Tonight we will pack our luggage, bought some vege, cooked instant noodle and stayed in for the night. For a 6 nights trip, our daily activity is getting shorter and shorter, first night we went back reach the hotel at 10pm plus but we went back hotel earlier as the days go by, the last day we reach hotel about 5:30pm, tired from trip and wanting to go back home already. I think for oversea trip, 2 nights could be short, 3 to 4 nights could be ideal? Above is their kitchen, very fully equipped. For this trip, we stayed 6 nights, with 5 full days in Sydney, perhaps to try 4 full day for next travel? For this time, it is quite stressful trip as planning for all itinerary and the kiasu me wants to go everywhere, not like the previous more relaxing Bandung trip with driver or the visiting friend’s previous maid in Cambodia with not any itinerary

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all the cutlery and some basic seasoning (salt, pepper, oil, soy sauce)

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many pot and pans

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even a seating area

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at night, eating the haigh chocolate, very smooth and nice

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Last day, trip to Sydney fish market is recommended to avoid the weekend crowd, we took Sydney Light Rail from Central Station to the Fish Market stop) It is open from 7.00am till 4pm

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Fish market

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Doyles is just opening although we reach the market quite late, about 10am i think, some very fresh looking oyster, cheap as well, $2-$4 each to try

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Peter’s

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Our cold platter, $30, fresh and nice

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sashimi service available

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Just specify the price of salmon you want, and they will cut it out for you

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My $5 worth of salmon sashimi, cold and fresh salmon sashimi

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John Dory fish and chips, the john dory is very ordinary, in fact a bit fishy, not nice

Thereafter, we walked to nearby Harris St and took bus 443 to reach George street, just opposite of Wynyard Station, took the train from Wynyard to Milson Point, it is too hot a noon day sun, and we are just plain tired mentally physically on this last day, we didn’t explorer Milson Point, instead just took the train to the next destination: Strathfield, then bus 525 or 526 from Everton St(just next to the station) to Underwood Rd Near Homebush Bay Dr to DFO Homebush, a direct Factory outlet, selling items at discounts (open mostly 10am-6pm). Found some good deals on Oakley and bought a heels from Shoe Warehouse, not very cheap for me, although could be cheaper for Australian standard, there is an Oroton shop filled with people and people are buying their bag etc.

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cheap cherries available now, only $6.50 for this 750g box

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some drink sold in airport purportedly to prevent jetlag, increase circulation and hidration.

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even sold in vending machine

Some food/places we didn’t manage to try:

1) Mr Crackles,155 Oxford St(corner of Oxford&Crown) thurs-Sat:Noon-2am pork belly roll
2) John Montagu (Monday — Friday:7am-4pm;Weekends:7.30am-4pm), 144 Cathedral Street, Woolloomooloo
3) Fratelli Fresh, 11 Bridge Street Mon-Fri: 6-10pm
4) Popolo, 50 McLachlan Avenue, Rushcutters Bay
5) Buffalo Dining Club, 116, Surrey St, Darlinghurst(noon-11pm)
6) Black Star Pastry, Newtown for their Strawberry Watermelon Cake!

Cost breakdown for this trip:

1) (2 pax)6 nights hotel stay: RM2400 (we book the hotel like 1 month before which resulting in cheaper options are not available, if you booked earlier, may get RM300 per nights in Kings Cross’s Springfield lodge)
2) (2 pax)airfare for 2 pax: RM1512
3) (2 pax)Misc for flight(20kg to and 25kg back, meals, insurance etc): RM388
4) (per person) Miscellaneous spending (tickets + food + some shopping): AUD$850  ~ RM2500 (including $84 weekly transportation pass + blue mountain scenic world pass $35 + approx $300 for food only per pax)
(per person) Total spending approx RM4,700

Useful Sites

Sydney Trains: http://www.sydneytrains.info

Found this site: http://www.wotif.com/ very good in providing info of price of each hotel (ie listing out lowest price for each day of the week for hotels)


 

19 days working trip to Chennai, India

Posted by vivien | Others | Saturday 20 September 2014 10:33 pm
16,461 Total Views

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We should have taken the KLIA express pass, but accidentally bought the KLIA transit ticket. The boarding area for both train are in different ends of KLIA sentral

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first meal: Caesar salad in KLIA

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Non-vege option in MAS flight, quite nice with spicy chicken, even though it look bland

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hotel room in The Park Hotel, Anna Salai

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toilet

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shower

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room with a clear glass dividing the bed and shower area

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hotel swimming pool on the 8th floor

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gym on 9th floor

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breakfast

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cornflakes and banana

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omelette station

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fruits in breakfast

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sambar = dhal curry

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paneer paratha

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vada

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steam fish

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muffins

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pastries

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aloo paratha

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my omelette

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thosai available during dinner

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very delicious home-made bread

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dinner plate 1

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dinner plate 2

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dinner plate 3

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dinner plate 4

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dinner plate 5

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dinner plate 6

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fried bread with potato

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aglio olio

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basil tomato

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in pesto, salty, generally the food in the hotel is very salty until we wrote in comment sheet and submit to the reception, then the food become less salty from that day onward

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freshly made naan

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apom is quite nice with cheese and mexican beans

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very delicious mushroom pizza

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extremely thin crust and super delicious!

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very good banoffee pie

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not liking this

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dessert plate 1

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dessert plate 2

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dessert plate 3

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dessert plate 4

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Lunch in food court in office

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chinese prawn fried rice, ok, tired of indian food and went for this one fine day

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vegetable fried rice on another day

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apna ka dhaba, our colleague in India brought us to this nice indian food for lunch 2 minutes drive from office

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No. 8/113, Kavimani Salai, Mogappair West, Chennai

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papadam with fresh mint dipping

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naan/paratha/kulcha

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Main course

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rice/briyani

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delicious chicken curry dish

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yummy aloo paratha and kulcha

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chicken briyani

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India KFC Menu, everything in India comes in vege and non-vege options

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KFC menu

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office pantry, the food here is super cheap

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this plate above cost only about 5o rupees (~RM2.70) prevailing currency rate 10,000 ruppees = RM540

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office lunch meal 2, love the paratha here

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office lunch meal 3

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office lunch meal 4

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office lunch meal 5: samosa at 10 ruppess (~50 cent)

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madras coffee house in food court in office building

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filtered coffee, slightly too sweet

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nalas aappakadai serve food apom, but their gravy (chicken curry, mutton chetinad are nothing worth mentioning, disappointing actually)

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nalas menu

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tapao the apom and bought it up to office to eat

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nandos in india are bigger portion (bigger chicken and sides) and same deliciousness

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nandos menu 1

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nandos menu 2

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nandos menu 3

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nandos menu 4

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India Pizza Hut

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firecracker pizza

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Pizza Hut menu 1

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Pizza Hut menu 2

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Pizza Hut menu 3

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Pizza Hut menu 4

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So Cheezy Super Vegetables pizza, not nice as the cheese on the side taste like some fake nachos cheese sauce

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There is a buy 1 get one free deal on every wednesday, and we got the above Paneer Vegetables pizza for free. Between the 2, super cheezy is just so so, the paneer pizza is better

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pizza hut bill

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India subway: Non Vege option

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India subway: Vege option

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Subway menu 1

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Subway menu 2

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My aloo patty (potato patty) with addition of egg is superb, love the spiciness of the potato patty

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Starbucks india in Phoenix mall

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My masala chai lattee is a spiced latte, not bad for me. But for those who don’t like cinnamon etc spice, it may be awful

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ibaco ice cream in Express avenue mall, quite nice and cheap

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My ice cream of 2 flavor cost only 114 ruppees (70 ruppees for 100g)

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Hard rock nachos

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humos dip platter, all the dips are really salty :(

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chicken

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tequila prawn, quite salty for me

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my berry drink is really sweet :(

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this is realllly good, Hard rock cafe cheescake: Baked cheesecake with honeyed sour cream topping is really delicious, the bottom is walnut biscuit crumb is really good as well

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yummy!

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Hard Rock cafe drink menu

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Hard Rock cafe appetiser

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Hard Rock cafe starter

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total bill for 4 pax, only around RM50 per pax

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sign in airport, 10,000 is only RM540, so little! Even when entry to India, we have to sign a custom declaration mentioning we have no more than 10,000 Indian ruppees!

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cafe in Chennai airport

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vege fried rice in airport, just so so and portion so small

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Non vege meal in MAS plane back to Malaysia

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Pringles in India are already produced under Kellogg’s

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My dream panini grill, quite expensive: 5600 ruppees

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Everest is one of the famous brand for indian spice, bought a sambbar masala for making dhal curry

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my food loot from india


 

Bandung, Indonesia 3 days 3 nights trip (20-23 August 2014)

Posted by vivien | Others | Saturday 30 August 2014 11:39 am
17,778 Total Views

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Gino Feruci Braga hotel located in braga, around RM140 per night for twin sharing room with breakfast. Not recommended for ladies staying alone as we witness 2 pretty ladies going into a room with door wide open and menS smoking while lying on bed.

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clean bathroom

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nice shower

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our visit to convenience store located stone throw away

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Pink Pomegranate Magnum, sweet milky, okay

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Avocado frosties

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buffet breakfast in our hotel

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fruits

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salad

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sushi, okay

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pasta, okay

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our driver, paid him RM175 per pax for 2 full days of driving us around to outlet stores, supermarket etc include lunch and dinner (totaled 8 of us RM175 * 8 = RM1400) He came pick us around 8am and we back to hotel about 9pm/10pm for 2 days, nice and comfortable seats, only peeve is hard to get to the last row for those sitting behind

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gift from our driver: layer cake, just ok, slightly dry

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buying local snacks, mostly fried (fried banana, tempe, peanuts etc)

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Visit to Toko 3 selling jeans at reasonable price (Levi’s is around RM100-200) Above is just a fake mannequin

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Free length altering for jeans

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Our first lunch: nasi padang in Mitra Sederhana Pasteur, this shop has many branches in Bandung. The dishes are appetizing and nice, except 2 items: the beef tendon are not probably braised and still very tough and beefy smell, one vege which probably just blanched with no taste and raw smell

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Avocado milk with chocolate, not that nice, milky taste

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Mitra Sederhana Pasteur in Jalan Pelajar Pejuang 45, No.64

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Nice snacks outside a supermarket we visited: Srabi Notosuman Polos, coconuty snack

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Free dinner included: Stone Cafe

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Great view and cooling weather

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dining room

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Food included in our tour package: nasi penyet (menu price for this is about RM20 for each set containing rice, chicken, a small bowl of sweet sour soup which is too sweet for a soup supposedly should be savoury) Nice chicken dish though

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Nice, rice is container in the banana leaf dome

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complimentary fruits

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Visit to a mall: Champelas Walk, they are many local shops around this area as well, but we opt to go lunch earlier instead :S Only realised many shops around when the driver driving us to our lunch destination

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In supermarket: their kraft cheese are not refrigerated!

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Best meal in this trip: the fried tofu is surprisingly very nice, crispy outside, but soft inside, the other dishes are very appetising as well when eaten with hot fluffy white rice

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Shop Name: Kedai Belacan indonesian cuisine: Jalan Halmahera No.4 Bandung, West Java, Indonesia

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Another shopping mall: Trans Studio

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Avocado produced locally

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Dinner to same nasi padang shop, but another branch. The dishes is nothing special now since we had it the day before, and the dishes are cold and probably better to dine in this shop for lunch time, the rice felt cold and slightly hard as well

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Pisang keju, fried banana topped with grated cheese, yummy, IDR12,000 (almost RM4)

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closed up

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yummy, sweet and salty with firm banana flesh

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nasi padang available in Air Asia Indonesia

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beef, vegetables, fried anchovies with white nice, very nice and homey

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Nasi Palembang

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flavoured rice with beef stew, the beef is very sweet, not nice

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chicken rice

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wanted to have other dishes, but this is the only dish leftover, just ok

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AirAsiaIndonesia

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KartikaSari, bought it in airport

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banana bread, hot out of oven when bought, can be kept for less than 1 week. IDR40,000, about RM11, taste just ok

Overall, i find the clothing in Bandung is not very cheap, just reasonable price, total expense (roughly):

Air ticket (all inclusive of meals, baggage etc): RM240

2 days tour (van transport + lunch + dinner): RM175

Hotel (3 nights per pax for sharing room): RM220

Spending money: RM500

Total ~ RM1100


 

Osaka, Japan trip 3 days 2 nights (May 14-16 2014)

Posted by vivien | Others | Saturday 28 June 2014 2:14 pm
Tags:
19,784 Total Views

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This a very short trip to Osaka, Japan. We took the midnight flight (Wednesday 1am flight), reach local time 8:25am same day, and return on Friday morning flight 11am, reach KL 4:45pm. Overall, a tiring trip as i didn’t get a good sleep on plane to Osaka Kansai. Very short trip indeed, we only in Osaka on Wednesday and Thursday, whereas Friday is straight to airport to catch the plane

Google map i created on all places we visited or plan to to visit but not managed to:

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=201341234096199556521.0004f5312ee9439a1e4af&msa=0&dg=feature

Osaka Subway Map

Japanese yen prevailing during our trip: 100 yen for RM3.22

First we pick up WIFI gadget for 4G USB internet gadget, the dongle is good, but the battery could last only few hours. We are also able to get Osaka map in the airport although the person manning the counter refuse to give us one each, but only 1 map to be share for 2 person :(
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Yokoso Japan which we bought in Japan travel agency in Amoda building (across from TimeSquare), not that much cheaper, but to save our limited time in Japan, converted to RM60 for one way express Nankai train from osaka kansai airport to Namba (where our hotel is) and a one day unlimited subway pass

Be sure to buy the returning Nankai express from city center to airport as it is not included in Yokoso

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Our JR Nankai express Limited train, i think took around 40 minutes from airport to Nanba/Namba

Nankai Airport Express departs the airport station every 30 minutes, there are 2 types of Nankai airport express, one is without any stop which is about 1050 yen, the other type is with a few stops for about 900 yen

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The seat are numbered so make sure to sit at the right place, else a pretty attendance will instruct you to do so

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Walk just 5-10minutes from JR Namba station to our Hotel Hillarys (next to Den-Den town, nothing much there), the check in lobby in on 2nd floor of the hotel
Address: 3-4-10 Nipponbashi, OsakaNaniwa-ku, Osaka Prefecture 556-0005, Japan

Website: Hotel Hillarys

Our hotel room cost about RM250 for a twin sharing room per night

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Free hot drink and soft drink available next to lobby in the hotel

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soft drinks etc

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hot drink, hot chocolate is not bad

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our bathroom

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dressing table

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7-eleven situated below the hotel

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so many types of food

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more food

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our first stop: lunch in Ippudo Ramen, it is very near to JR Namba station

Address: 3-1-17 Nanbanaka, OsakaNaniwa-ku, Osaka Prefecture 556-0011, Japan
Opening hour: 11am – 3am (after midnight)

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There is a great lunch deal, pay just 100 yen or 150 yen more to enjoy dumpling + rice or chahan (fried rice) Their fried rice is superb with garlicy taste and substantial portion, must try

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Their specialty ramen, add egg for only 80 yen (RM2.60)

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toppings, can add additional noodle for only 120 yen (around RM4)

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side dishes

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free toppings available on each table

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sauces

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our shiromoru (tonkatsu pork bone soup base) with addition of eggs

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look at that, so yummy

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gyoza is so so, but it does come with rice. So we can easily order 1 ramen, add Y100 for gyoza and white rice, i find it so much cheaper to eat Ippudo in Japan than Malaysia considering their great lunch deal

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Only 1970 yen (around RM64) for 4 of us to feel stuffed

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next stop, we travel from Namba subway station to Umeda, there are like 5 Umedas (Hankyu Umeda,  Subway Umeda, Subway Higashi Umeda, Hanshin Umeda, Subway Nishi-Umeda) Although all of them of closed by and connected, but it is best to find out which subway station to go as it is easy to get lost underground, and some of the station are on ground level, whereas the subway ones are underground

From Subway Namba (it is different from JR Namba station), go to Platform 2 and take Midosuji Line Senrichuo to Subway Umeda station.

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Morihan green tea latter in Hankyu Umeda supermarket middle B1F

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only 200yen for super yummy cold green tea match latte

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some good looking strawberry in the supermarket, quite expensive though

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desserts in the supermarket

One great thing about Japan supermarket prepared food area(sushi, sashimi rice, fresh fish, bento etc), i think they closed at 8pm generally (the one i went to in JR Namba, near Takashimaya closed at 8pm), and they start offering 10 or 20% discount on 7pm, and around 40% discount on 7:30pm, and the deal is best on 7:45pm, where we could get sashimi rice originally 2000 yen at only 600 yen etc

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Pablo cheese tart, a famous tart shop, looks very cloying though

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In Umeda, if necessary, exit to ground level to find Hankyu Umeda so that won’t lost in subway, we managed to find Hankyu Umeda through interconnected underground walkway.

In Hankyu Umeda (station code: HK01, this station managed by another company thus we have to pay 260 yen) taking a 30 minutes train ride using Hankyu Takarazuka line to Ikeda station (station code: HK49 where The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum is located)

Once reach Ikeda, after exiting the subway card-scan “barrier”, exit right, go down the stairs then take another right, around 10 minutes walk to the ramen museum.

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The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum

Hour: 9:30am-4pm

Address: 8-25, Masumicho, Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture 563-0041, Japan

Website: Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum

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view outside the museum

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opening hour

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cool wall

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pay around 300 yen to personalize your own instant noodle, we skip this

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adding topping

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Or you opt for a quick way to get some ramen, go to the “Tasting Room” and buy instant noodle from vending machine

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more vending machine

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cheese curry noodle etc

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school children making ramen

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Side note, we actually wanted to try Endo sushi(Open hours: 11AM-10PM) in Keihan city mall, but end up going to Keihan Shopping Mall. The 2 malls are nearby but not walking distance, at the end we skip it and go directly back to Umeda station, then walk to Umeda Sky Building to see the floating garden observatory instead

Address: 北区大淀中1−1−88, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 531-0076, Japan

Website: Osaka Floating Garden, Umeda Sky Building

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Business hour: 10am to 10pm

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admission, adult 700 yen, we got 10% off by showing subway 1 day pass

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elevator to the top, ticket are sold at the top

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open air area, very breezy, cold !

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looking down to the elevator and street

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another look

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take train from Umeda subway station to Namba subway station (where our hotel is located), 2 crab legs for 700 yen, expensive and not worth it

Address: 1-6-18 Dotonbori (shop with big crab moving billboard)

Website: Douraku

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Famous okonomiyaki restaurant: Mizuno

Address: 1-4-15 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Business hour: 11:00-22:00 (less busy time is between 3-5pm, no need wait)

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Their top 5 Okonomiyaki

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Set available

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More set available

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We ordered yam flour okonomiyaki with roast pork and scallops(Yamaimo-Yaki ¥1,620), around RM55

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the pork is super yummy, almost melt in the mouth with that amount of fat

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yam flour mixture

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looking good

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teriyaki sauce, and a small smothering of english mustard (good kick)

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and mayo, done, soooooo gooood

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Another pancake we ordered: topped with grilled onions, cheese and shrimp; Standard Mix(Maze-yaki, Miduno-yaki ¥1,405)

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our 2nd pancake done

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yakisoba, fried noodle (970 yen), not bad, fully of bacon and vege

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3995 yen (around RM130) for a satisfying and yummy meal for 4, what a steal.

Website: Mizuno Osaka

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Famous Macau Lord Stow Portuguese egg tart have a branch in Osaka

Address: 1-10-5 Dotonbori Chuo (only outlet in Japan)

Business hour: 10am-12 midnight

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many different type of tart: original egg tart, apple tart etc

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veeerrry delicious, best egg tart i tried

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2nd day: Kuromon market, a 15 minutes walk from our hotel. Best to reach about 8:30am till 9am, not too early else some stalls are not yet open

Address:  2-4-1 Nipponbashi, OsakaChuo Ward, Osaka Prefecture 542-0073, Japan

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We bought this, 450 yen for sweet and juicy strawberry yum~~~~

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Reasonably price dried scallop snack can be bought in Kuromon market

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one of the stall selling kobe beef

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2000 yen for each tray, they will pan fry it for you

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menu (2000 yen kobe beef cubes, 600 yen waygu sashimi, 1200 yen wagyu soft steak, 600 yen wagyu rump steak, 2500 yen wagyu sirloin steak etc)

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8 pieces of kobe beef(2000 yen) shared among 4 of us, yum

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grilled oyster, 3 for 500 yen

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cheap sea urchin, can skip this, it get unappetisingly fishy towards the end as too much to be shared among 2 of us who eat it

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grilled unagi, grilled salmon etc, the unagi looks good but not cheap though (2600 yen to 3300 yen; RM84-RM106) should have tried it though as it looks to be grilled from fresh and not those supermarket type which are doused in too much teriyaki sauce

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We tried the grilled scallop, 3 pieces for 600 yen, delicious!

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this stall selling soy product

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we had the fresh soy milk, refreshing and not sweet

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shop selling tuna

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we tried the otoro (1st grade tuna) 2 pieces for 600 yen

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Taste ok, i won’t crave for it though, maybe 1 piece is not enough for us to fully taste it :P

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cutting up tuna

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closed up

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one of the grocery-supermarket, cheapest strawberry seen in whole trip, 298 yen (RM9.60) not as big as the one we bought earlier.

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best shop for otoro(fatty tuna): Shop name:Uomaru

Address: No. 17 No. 7 〒 542-0073, Chuo-ku, Osaka Nihonbashi 1-chome)

Hour: 6:00 to 17:00

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This tray of tuna from the above store (i think it is chutoro, 2nd grade tuna, first grade is called otoro) only 780 yen (RM25) for super satisying cold sashimi pieces, very delicious

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Lunch: Jiyuken

Address: 3-1-34 Nanba, OsakaChuo Ward, Osaka Prefecture 542-0076, Japan

Website: Jiyuken

Hour: 11:20 to 21:20 (go early at 11am till 11:20am to avoid lunch lunch crowd lineup)

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Their famour curry rice with raw egg, pour some their special soy sauce and mix the whole thing up, not bad, can try

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Their fried chicken/pork cutlet are not bad as well

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Famous Glico sign in Dotonbori

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View from the other side of the road, taken from Glico sign side

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Gu, sister company of Uniqlo (a cheaper brand in comparison with Uniqlo)

Business hour: 11:00~21:00
Address: 2-1-17 Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka

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One of the famous Takoyaki store: Koka Flow in Americamura

Address: 2-18-4 Nishishinsaibashi, OsakaChuo Ward, Osaka Prefecture 542-0086, Japan

Website: 甲賀流 Koka Flow

Business hour: 11am-10pm

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“Negi-pon” takoyaki. The takoyaki has green onion on the top and put a ponzu sauce

Piping hot and very hot (unlike Malaysian which are of harder texture)

Not bad, can try

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Kit Kat store in Shinsaibashi Street turn out to be just a normal snack store, we though they would sell all different flavours of kit kat

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Their subway got Aged Bacon and Green Asparagus sandwich and Smoke Salmon and Avocado sandwich! I want…

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Unplanned snack: Hop Chou a la creme, it is piping hot of of  oven they are selling

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only 100 yen

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Wish i know their secret, how they managed to put so much pastry cream inside a crunchy baguette like bread, so so good, i had 2 of these, not overly sweet and very delicious

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Daimaru department store in Shinsaibashi to check out Burberry blue label which only available in Japan

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元祿壽, famous kaiten belt sushi chan

Address: 1-6-9 Dōtonbori, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu, Japan

Business hour: 11:00 till 10:30pm

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Only 135 yen (RM4.4) each plate

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all 135 yen each!

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Taste ok, just going through the motion of wanting to try kaiten belt in Japan :P, their green tea are unique whereby you put some green tea powder into own cup and a tap in front out come hot water

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roe from some fish, taste fishy, not good

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mark this shop above, nearby dotonbori (somewhere walking distance between our hotel and dotonbori)…

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because they sell the cheapest green tea kit kat i see in whole trip, only 228 yen (Tax included) for a pack of 12pcs of mini green tea kit kat

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and mark this shop above, somewhere between our hotel and dotonbori as well

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because they sell the cheapest 9 pcs packet green tea kit kat, only 198 yen (tax included)

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Kit kat sold in Don Quijoute in Dotonbori(famous 24 hours shop which sells almost anything under the sun in a 6th level huge store)

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More flavours of kit kat in Don-Quijote (also known as Donki locally)

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flying back

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my kit kat loot

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All kit kat bought :)

Overall, we spent just under RM2000 each for this short trip, mission accomplished!

Breakdown of spending:

680 (air tix) + 110 (food on board, insurance etc) + 250 (twin sharing 2 nights) + 60 (yokoso train ticket) + 50 (WIFI usb dongle, 3 days sharing between 4 pax) = 1990

Some other restaurant we didn’t managed to try

1) Domus Dotonbori (the kimchi and spicy pork) established in 1980
Chuo-ku, Osaka Dotonbori 1-5-9 Hisayuki building B1F
542-0071大阪府大阪市中央区道頓堀1-5-9 久幸ビルB1F
it’s located in the basement down a set of stairs off the street
Business hour: 11: 30 – 10: 30pm

2)Muteppou ramen, near Subway: Daikokucho, 1 subway stop from our hotel-Namba station (main branch in Osaka, having branch as far as Australia)
Address: 1-5-21 Ebisuhonmachi, OsakaNaniwa-ku,
Hour: 11:00-15:00 & 18:00-23:00


 

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Vietnam 3 days 2 nights trip

Posted by vivien | Others | Sunday 15 December 2013 9:27 pm
9,517 Total Views

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Nam Giao, first restaurant we went to after check-into hotel near Ben Thanh market

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beef noodle with strong hint of basil, refreshingly nice.

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Address: Nam Giao

136/15, Le Thanh Ton, Quan 1

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Our hotel on first night in Thanh Thu Hotel, just 1 minute walk to Ben Thanh market, booked in Agoda for approx USD24

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View of ben thanh market from front of our hotel

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Ben Thanh market

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drink stall in market

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crab meat in market

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bought lotus seed as souvenir, VND300,000 for 1kg (ie around RM45 for 1kg)

it is cheapest bought in Benh Thanh Market, supermarket will be more expensive (at least 400k VND per 100g)

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Lunch lady popularized by Anthony bourdain, near Hoang Sa street

11AM-3PM. (sells out before 1 pm)

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dish on wednesday is chicken noodle soup, nothing spectacular, but it is a big portion homely satisfying dish

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Quan 94 crab restaurant, there is 2 restaurant of this same name, the original one is located on 84 Dinh Tien Hoang street

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dirty oil :(

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our soft-shell crabs with tamarind(cua lot xao me), the sauce is very unappetizingly sweet, not good at all, very expensive at 200,000 VND, around USD10/RM30

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Le Van Tam Park

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Green papaya salad

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love the crunchy prawn cracker, not so fond of the dried beef liver though, just ok i find

From noon to night
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Walking toward Banh Xeo 46A

46 Dinh Cong Trang, Tan Dinh, Ho Chi Minh City (a small alley)
Opens from 10am to 9pm daily

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The pancake is very crispy and nice on the edges, but it get oiler towards the middle, quite a nice dish actually, good for sharing as it is very big portion

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Banh canh Stall in 12C Nguyen Phi Kanh, be there at 2:50pm and you will see the above open the shop and start setting up the stall

banh canh gio heo (tapioca noodle and pig foot soup)

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big pot of noodle with pork

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slightly sourish and nice, big piece of yummy pork

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Fanny ice cream quite popular in Vietnam

Tôn Thất Thiệp road (8am – 11pm)

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My favourite ice cream is here in Kem Bach Dang, went there twice for their yummy durian ice cream

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in Le Loi Street

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VND70,000 (around USD3 or RM10) for this yummy durian ice cream, very nice!

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yummy Che Thai with some durian pulp on top

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Sam Bo Luong, weird drink with barley, seaweed, lotus root etc, too sweet and not nice

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Pho Khoa Thu in District 4

Directions: Head down Ben Van Dong Street in District 4 and make a left onto Nguyen Khoai Street. The stall is located 300 meters down the road on the left hand side and is open from 5 to 10 PM.

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homemade chilli sauce

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beef noodle soup, i not so fond of the soup, could there be some msg in it? It is piping hot and fresh tasting nonethelss, can’t decide i like this or not

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a popular shop in District 4, Oc Oanh

534 Vinh Khanh, District 4
from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m

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Cang Ghe Rang Muoi Ot (crab claws fried with chili salt), the chilli salt is just ok i guess(msg in it i think), the crab is very fresh though (VND80,000, around RM12)

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Mong tay xao rau muong (fried bamboo clam with morning glory and garlic), the sauce is very sweet, not nice at all! (VND 50,000, around RM9) I have to ‘wash’ the bamboo clam with water to remove the overly sweet sauce

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sugar cane

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Pho Bo in Phu Gia, my most favourite beef noodle in around 4 tried in Vietnam

(6am – 8:30 pm)
Pho Dac Biet (Special for) 55,000 vnd
146E Ly Chinh Thang St, P.7 District 3, HCMC

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With loads of spring onion, yummy, the soup is clear and fresh tasting

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railway station in District 3

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Truong Dinh, The goat inn

Sunday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Address: 105 Truong Dinh Ngo (District 3)
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110,000 VND (around 5USD, RM16) for this

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the meat is tough and the rice paper is tough as well, not good

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Reunification Palace or Independence Palace

The ticket hours – 07:30 am to 11:00 am and 1:00pm to 4:00 pm
Adults: 30.000d/nguoi/lan

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Nam Loi where i had the most expensive bowl of noodle in Ho chi minh

43 Ton That Dam Street near corner of Nguen Cong Tra. Morning: 6am-noon, afternoon from 2-7pm.

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Pate Pastry

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1 bowl of fish with yellow egg noodles + 1 pate pastry for VND 82,000 , around RM13

The soup is quite good!

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Bitexco Financial Tower (Can go on afternoon, and stay there to watch the city turn dark)

Mon-Fri: 1pm-9pm; Sat/Sun/Public: 10am-10pm, 8:45pm last entry
49th floor sky deck
Address: 36 Ho Tung Mau Street, District 1. VND 200,000 (equivalent 10 USD) for the sky deck

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Free water on top of sky deck

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restaurant in skydeck

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yummy chocolate souffle in  a french restaurant – Augustin Restaurant, they also have grand marnier souffle which we didn’t try

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Pho Ngan, just few shops away from the famous Pho Hoa in Pasteur street

Phở Ngân
258B Pasteur St., District 3, HCMC
Business Hour around 0600 – 0000

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Post office built by same person who built Eiffel Tower

Saigon Central Post Office  7:00AM-7:00PM,Sat/Sun 7:00AM-6:30PM

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Shri restaurant on top of Centec Tower

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We order the cheapest item on the menu, surprisingly very nice bread, yumm!

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first night’s hotel:

Thanh Thu Hotel (USD 24 booked in Agoda)
34 Nguyen An Ninh Street | Ben Thanh, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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HCM118_SaigonRiverBoutique

Saigon River Boutique Hotel (USD 35 booked in Agoda)

58 Mac Thi Buoi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam

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Breakfast in included in this Saigon Boutique hotel

Note: In this trip to Vietnam, we brought only USD, and exchange our USD to VND at vietnam airport for a pretty good rate, VND21099 for 1 USD


 

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