Archive for December, 2012

Dec 29 2012

Posted by under Trips

Getting to Hiroshima

Previous post: Getting to Osaka

Date: 16 December 2012

After a good night rest, that morning we were heading to Hiroshima.

First we had to leave the Shin-Osaka station:

 

 

To catch a train to Osaka (then Hiroshima)

 

Very early on Sunday morning, but the station was already busy :)

 

waiting for the train

 

Nafis’s first shot of the famous Japanese bullet train:

 

Our train had arrived:

 

Very cosy and spacious inside (definitely much more leg room than the planes!) and no need to bother with seat belts!

 

Basic information about our coach/car on the front, with indications on where the local amenities are located (toilets, garbage bins, etc) can be found in front of our seats.

Here’s a lady selling the food and drinks on board. She came around quite regularly, at least after a stop.

 

A typical Japanese scenery:

DH tried to record the speed of the bullet train, but it didn’t touch 300kph. The closest was 299kph.

 

Another look inside the train:

 

Arriving:

 

hiroshima finally!

 

There’s a huge busy junction in front of the station that we had to take the underground passage:

 

It’s a huge shopping complex on its own!

 

some Sunday afternoon activity;

 

Once out of the passage:

 

crossing a river (the station is some where on the far end of the right hand side in the picture here:

 

We walked another 100m or so from the bridge to get to our hotel.

 

Next:Ground Zero of the  Atomic Bomb

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Dec 28 2012

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Getting To Osaka

Date: 15 December 2012

Very early in the morning we found ourselves in the LCCT International Departure Lounge (we even had to do our fajar prayers there).

Inside the T-18 departure room for Air Asia X:

 

About 7 hours later (6.5 hours of flight, plus the immigration process and baggage collection), we were heading towards the train:

 

Out of the train:

 

Busy Osaka station:

 

Our hotel was only 5 minute away (on foot) from the station, but it was raining so heavily (and we were not prepared for it. We didn’t bring any umbrella):

 

so we decided to stop at the nearby for an early dinner (get it done, then after this can rest in the hotel room). Here my 2 son’s was tasked to make the order (one of them has some basic Japanese knowledge):

 

Tuna sandwiches for them, and vegetable sandwich for me (I hate tuna!)

 

soon the rain stopped, and we walked to the hotel. It was not that late, but since it was winter, it was already dark :( .

 

Next: Hiroshima, Here We Come!

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Dec 27 2012

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Day 3 in Danang – China Beach, Hoi An & My Son Ruins

Previous post: Hue & Danang at Night

Date: 23 October 2012

 

On our 3rd day in Danang we decided to visit ther old city of Hoi An. On the way there we passed by the “China Beach” as the Americans call it, wehere there are huge hotels and resorts like this

 

The Crowne Plaza of Danang!

 

The beach across the street:

 

Lifeguards on duty:

 

The esplanade is clean!

 

Like the previous post, I am going to “cheat” again by re-directing you to DH’s Blog here:

Old Hoi An and My Son Temple Ruins

 

When we got back to Danang, we finally visited Han Market when most shops were still open:

 

Nice embroidered Aodai fabrics, which can be used to make our own baju kurung!

 

I was however not tempted to buy any! They have available tailors on one side of the market:

We were coming home the next day, otherwise I might have tried getting some made by them! :(

 

We entered a nearby office/shopping complex. Went to the impressive, though quiet food court:

 

We got ourselves a nice spot:

 

We had to “top up” our “cash card”, then only place our order at the choosen stall. Since our drinks took some time to prepare, we were given a number. Here’s our number and the “cash card”

 

Nice cooling and refreshing drinks for me ans DH (Aina was resting in the hotel room, hence only 2 drinks here)

 

With that we concluded our brief visit to Da Nang. The took the flight home the next day…

 

 

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Dec 27 2012

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Day 2 – Hue Palace and Danang at Night

 Previous post : Arriving in Danang

Date: 22 October 2012

It was our second day in Danang, and we had decided to visit the Historical City of Hue, but breakfast first ;)

 

Please visit DH’s blog here for more about the place: The Imperial City of Hue

 

When we got back from Hue, we had a brief walk in the nearby area of Danang, looking for the only halal outlet there:

 

We finally found it, Mumtaz Restaurant:

 

It was a sumptuous serving, typical Indian dish.

 

Later that night we decided to have another stroll along the river. We were not disappointing because the bridge was well illuminated with animated/changing lights!

 

 

It seems that the local people are very easy going, and they too know how to enjoy the pleasant evening :)

 

Next: Hoi An, My Son and China Beach

 

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Dec 24 2012

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Arriving in Danang, Vietnam

Date: 21 October 2012

 

Danang is almost halfway between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. It’s nternational airport:

 

After we checked-in, we decided to take a stroll along the nearby river side;

 

Saw a hotel whose name reminded me of two friends :-)

 

Pleasant afternoon:

 

A new office/shopping complex, with a family bank signage ;-)

 

 

This bridge is well illuminated at night (which we found out later)

 

Came across some local lasses having fun at the Esplanade:

 

We then walked back to our hotel, stopping at the nearby Han Market.

Same produce, every where:

 

It was almost sunset, but most shops were still in operation:

 

Local delicacies?

 

DH had compiled a slide show of the place here:

http://m.naim.my/delightful-da-nang-in-central-vietnam/

 

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Dec 07 2012

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Day 6 in Nepal – Returning Home on Teej Day

 

Date: 18 September 2012

Previous post: Back to Kathmandu

 

It was our final day in Nepal :( . We wished we had more time, so that we would get to see the country when there’s less or no cloud at all.

Since our flight was in the afternoon, we decided to have a (final) morning walk:

 

We walked aimlessly, seeing more Nepali ladies in bright red saris ( we were to find out later that on that day it was the  Teej Festival )

 

Soon it was time to board the cab for the ride to the airport:

 

It was another cloudy day:

 

We started to see more ladies in bright-coloured saris:

 

They seem in a  hurry to get somewhere:

 

 

some opted for non-red, but they look ravishing nonetheless:

 

Then only the driver told us it was Teej day.

 

There was a point where the road was closed and our cab driver had to detour and took another (longer) route to the airport.

 

 

I like red so I enjoyed watching the ladies :)

 

At one point I was beginning to worry if we would get to the airport in time for our departure. After more than double the normal time to get there, we finally (to our relief) reached the airport:

 

Our flight home was on time:

 

At the departure hall, it suddenly occurred to me that I was concluding the trip to one of the places I dreamt of visiting (Nepal) and I felt sad because I never got to see the Everest :(

 

Once in the plane, and almost ready to leave:

 

The flight was full of Nepalis coming to Malaysia to work, even the toilet had temporary instruction in the local script :)

 

I hope I get another chance to return to this beautiful country, and get to see Everest!

 

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Dec 07 2012

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Day 5 in Nepal – Back to Kathmandu

Date: 17 September 2012

Previous post: down town Pokhara & Sarangkot

 

We left that morning to catch our morning flight back to Kathmandu.

 

At the airport, we met up another Malay family, travelling, just like us.

 

Our flight was delayed for more than 3 hours. We were told it was due to the thick clouds both in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Eventually our little plane arrived, and we managed to leave Pokhara, flying IN the clouds throughout the entire flying time!! We found out later from the hotel reception guy that many of their customers who were supposed to arrive from Pokhara could not make it because most flights were cancelled due to bad weather! apparently our flight was the last one out of pokhara for that day!!

 

Later that day we went out again, roaming in the Thamel district, looking for some souvenirs to be brought back.

 

There are so many shops selling pashmina shawls and the like, that I just didn’t know what to buy (yeah, budget was a bit tight too). Eventually I settled for some from this shop, though I do believe the prices were just about the same as back in Malaysia, if not actually more expensive than in Malaysia!

 

There was some rain, and very soon the street was wet and dirty :(

 

 

 

It was getting dark..

 

So we decided to walk back to our hotel

 

And finally we remembered to snap a pic of the room while it was still well-presented :)

Next post: Returning Home on Teej Day 

 

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Dec 06 2012

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Day 4 in Nepal – Down Town Pokhara and Sarangkot

Date: 16 September 2012

Previous post: The World Peace Pagoda 

 

After a brief  break at the hotel, we we made our way to the Pokhara town centre.

First stop was as a bridge, crossing the Seti river:

 

Then only we entered the town centre:

 

It was late afternoon, so the “rush hour” greeted us, as people were going home from work:

 

Though much better that those in Kathmandu, some stretches of the streets looked  depressing to me:

 

According to most guidebook and sites, we should see the Old Quarters of the town:

 

Pretty quiet and boring, until I stumbled upon a pa and ma shop:

 

With our driver (the guy in the red cap) as the translator, I managed to buy a few pieces of plain cotton, though I later realised that they were not really of good quality :( . Saw some local design sarong, but upon checking the quality of the cotton is not to my liking, and they were all imported from Indonesia (not cheap either!)

 

We later moved towards Sarangkot.

 

This is a famous spot to view the Himalayas, provided it is not cloudy like this:

 

We were pinning our hopes for the cloud to clear a bit and waited

 

and waited..

 

Instead, the cloud just thickened:

 

My view that afternoon:

 

When it should have been like this:

(from http://www.nepalopedia.com/virtual-tour/SarangkotWay )

 

The lady at the coffee house tried to sell me the handwoven ‘whatever”:

Unfortunately I was not interested (beyond my budget, and I couldn’t think what I could do with it)

 

The clouds were getting closer:

 

Met these local kids enjoying their cool afternoon outdoor:

 

No view of the Himalayas, so we concluded our outing with this jump :)

 

Next post: Back to Kathmandu

 

 

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Dec 06 2012

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Day 4 in Nepal – The World Peace Pagoda, Pokhara

Date: 16 September 2012

Previous post: International Mountain Museum and Devi’s Fall

 

The next destination before we went back to Lake Side for lunch was the World Peace Pagoda. It took us through winding roads and the countryside of Pokhara :)

 

The road up the hill was this bad:

 

Eventually the road got too bad that we had to park the car and walk up for about 20 minutes

 

We came across some farming houses:

 

Almost at the top, we could see the Lake side suburb:

 

The last 100m or so to the Pagoda:

 

It was still very much cloudy :( otherwise we would have another breathtaking view of the Himalayas:

 

Since there was nothing much to do nor to see/admire, we walked our way down:

 

This is one of the views at the foot of the hill:

 

 

Though it was downhill, I felt that it was a difficult walk back to the car, probably my feet were tired and I was hungry

 

We went to the restaurant that we visited  the day before, and I had one of the nicest chapatis I had ever tasted:

 

After the meal, our driver sent us back to our hotel for a break, before we continued our visit for the day.

 

Next post: Down Town Pokhara & Sarangkot

 

 

 

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Dec 05 2012

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Day 4 in Nepal – The International Mountain Museum & Devi’s Falls, Pokhara

Date: 16 September 2012

Previous post : Lake Side Pokhara

 

What do people normally do in Pokhara? most visitors would go hiking/trekking in the mountains. The programmes range from as short as 2 days to as long as 2 weeks!! There are many Himalayan peaks to climb, though not completely :)

 

As for us, we only had 2 nights of stay, so we decided to go for simple sight-seeing around Pokhara only in  hired car with driver.

 

Our first destination was the strongly recommended International Mountain Museum.

At the entrance, a memorial for the who lost their lives in the mountains:

 

 

Nice building:

 

Himalayas being the “roof of the world”, with Mount Everest the highest peak, it’s only obvious that the museum has such poster:

 

The museum is very spacious and well-aired:

 

Admiring the huge photo of the famous peaks of the Himalayas:

 

More photos;

 

‘Seeing” this great guy reminded me of the visit to another place dedicated to Sir Hillary, at Mount Cook Village way back in 2008.

 

No, the museum doesn’t just have photos. It also keeps a lot of other exhibits, such as these used oxygen tanks:

 

I wish I could say more about the museum. It certainly was an educational outing, because the displays and information are not just about the Himalayas, but also other mountain ranges of the world!

 

We left the museum, and came to “Devi’s Fall”

 

Historical significance of the fall:

 

It’s definitely a raging one, especially during the monsoon, like this time of the year:

 

The uniqueness of this fall is that it goes into a river that flows underground, to appear on the other side of the road, where there’s a temple. We decided to give the temple a miss, though.

 

Next we were off to the pagoda on the hill.

Next post: The World Peace Pagoda 

 

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