Monday, June 19, 2017

My Next Trip - Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe 2017


My next trip will be to Japan - Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe. Went to collect some maps and brochures from the Japan Tourism Board Singapore. They proved to be so useful, so easy to understand and I dont have to plan much except for the transport details.

Now starting to pack my bags but recently had some health problems with my eyes, hope nothng serious happen that forced me to cancel my trip. Need to really go slow on my travel, think I had to adjust some itinerary to suit my health problems. Not easy to grow old but luckily I bought my pre illness travel insurance from NTUC so that in case my health gives me problem while travelling, I can be at ease seeking medical help at the clinic in Japan.

I googled and found that there's a Singapore Medical Group in Osaka Station. So I wont have problem with the language problem in case I need to see the doctor there. Always good to have on hand the address and telephone number of english speaking medical institution when going to a different country where English is not their main langauage. Incase you are curious to know the name of the clinic.

It is Raffles Medical Osaka Branch.

Located in: Herbis Osaka

Address: Japan, 〒530-0001 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita Ward, Umeda, 2 Chome−5−25

Hours: Open today · 8:30AM–1PM, 2–6PM

Phone: +81 6-6345-8145

Also very important to register with my Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs each time I travelled in case of emergency and help.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day 7 - Nanjing/Hangzhou Trip 2017 - Bye Bye Hangzhou - Shuttle Bus from Pinghai Road,Hangzhou to Hangzhou International Airport

Finally, after all the last minute shopping for souvenir gifts, we decided to head back to our hotel to collect our luggages to head to the airport. We decided to take the Airport Shuttle Bus. Crossed over the road to Grand Metro Park Hotel to purchase the airport shuttle bus ticket.

Head to the hotel's reception to purchase the tickets at RMB20 each. The bus frequency is about every 30 minutes and takes about 1 hour to reach the airport but the bus will make another stop near Hangzhou Railway Station (not east) to pick other passengers and will stop about 20 minutes there but for those who are in a hurry, they can transfer to another bus that was leaving the pick up spot. So give yourself ample time to the airport.

Please NOTE, need to walk out to the road along Pinghai Road to take the airport shuttle bus, the bus wont drive into the driveway of the hotel. It will stop along Pinghai Road just outside the hotel.

We had dinner at the airport and craving for some home food, we ate Hainanese Chicken Rice that costs so expensive (more than S$10 per plate), and it does not taste as good as back home in Singapore but no complain cause we are really hungry.

For those who wish to purchase the famous Hangzhou Longjing Tea, they are available in the airport but more expensive than those sold downtown but they comes in beautiful packaging.

Our flight back to Singapore by Scoots was delayed by one hour, I guess was due to bad weather cause several other flights were delayed too. Finally, a smooth and comfortable flight by Scoots. This was my first time taking Scoots and I will take it again cause of the spacious seats and if they have good promotion fares.

This bring me to the end of my travel story of Nanjing/Hangzhou trip 2017 and look forward to my next trip very soon. :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Day 7 - Nanjing/Hangzhou Trip 2017 - Last Day - Lunch and Last minute shopping

After our boat ride, we headed for lunch in one of the food court located in EXIT D in Longxiangqiao Metro Station. Lots of stalls selling different types of food and cheaply too. The food taste is good too, no need spend huge amount in restaurants, etc. Good place to hide from the freezing cold outside.

Our lunch less than S$10.

We even had waffle in the food court too.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Day 7 - Nanjing/Hangzhou Trip 2017 - Last Day in Hangzhou - West Lake Boat Cruise

Our final day in Hangzhou, after checking out of the hotel, we left our luggages with the reception as our flight was a night flight. So we make use of the time to do some sightseeing. It started to rain but luckily wasn't very heavy but temperature drop to 7 degrees. So freezing cold. The only time we saw the sun throughout our 7 days trip was in Wuzhen. We made our way to West Lake again but this time, we decided to go for the boat cruise to tour round West Lake and stop by one of the island called Three Pools Mirroring the Moon.

There are so many different types of boat but we choose the bigger boat for stability and neither do we want to self row the smaller boat.

The boat cruise's ticket was RMB70 and for above 60 years old was a discount of RMB10. The ticket is for the boat ride plus entry to the island. We can choose to alight at any pier that the boat landed but need to buy ticket again if we want to hop on the boat again to go to another pier.

More about the types of boat and tickets, refer to the source - Travelchinaguide.

They also sell tickets for standing only so there are chances there are not enough seats in the boat and is free seating.

We boarded the boat at Pier No. 2 and it took only 10 minutes to reach the island (Three Pools Mirroring the Moon).

Actually there's nothing much on the small islet, is just like a small garden. It is possible to take the boat to go other parts of West Lake but we did not go to other parts of the Lake, cause of the freezing weather. After touring the islet, we boarded the boat from the same pier that we alighted and headed back to Pier No. 2.

As it was spring time, I had a wonderful time, taking lots of photos of the flowers blooming.

Took the boat back to West Lake Pier No. 2 for lunch and last minute shopping.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Day 6 - Nanjing/Hangzhou Trip 2017 - Dinner - Hangzhou Dongpo Pork

Hangzhou is famous for their Dongpo Pork, so when in Hangzhou, we just need to eat the pork. There are many versions of the origins of Dongpo Pork but all associated with the famous poet Su Dong Po.

There is a very touching legend on Dongpo pork: in the Yuanyou Period in the Song Dynasty, as a local official in Hangzhou, Su Dongpo launched tens of thousands of workers to dredge the West Lake, build dikes and irrigate fields for the benefit of the people. During the Spring Festival in this year, people brought him much pork and wine called Shaojiu. Su thought that he should share with the workers, so he told his family to cook the pork and send it to the workers. Unexpectedly his family mistakenly cooked wine and meat together, as a result, the pork was extraordinary delicious. As Su Dongpo was a nice official and widely eulogized, the pork that was cooked in this way was called “Dongpo Pork“ by the local people. From then on, “Dongpo Pork“ has become a famous traditional dish of Hangzhou. (Source: History Cultural-china.com.)

We went to the famous Wai Po Jia (Grandma's Restaurant) again but the queue was so terrible (2 hours wait), we were already so tired from our sightseeing, dont have the patience to queue and the weather was becoming colder at single digit, especially at night. So we ended having dinner at a restaurant near our hotel. Almost every restaurant will serve the famous Dongpo Pork in Hangzhou. This is for single portion. Tasted good but the layer of fats was really thick.

Tomato Omelette

Kungpao Chicken (OMG, the chicken pieces were about the size of the peanut hahaha) and dont taste good, very bland.

Braised tofu

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Day 6 - Nanjing/Hangzhou Trip 2016 - Wuzhen Part 2 - Very beautiful ancient watertown - very worth making a trip to visit

I let my photos talk for themselves about Wuzhen. It's really worth making a trip to visit the ancient watertown of Wuzhen especially the west scenic zone. Wuzhen comprises of the East zone and West Zone, but the west zone is more charming and beautiful. It is possible to visit both the east and west but we two old folks visited only the west, our legs does not listen to our heart hahaha, we wanted to go both the zone but legs too tired.

The ticket costs RMB120 for the Wuzhen West Scenic Zone and RMB100 for the Wuzhen East Scenic Zone and a combo of both places costs RMB150. No discount for senior citizen above 60.

After scanning the ticket at the entrance gantry, there's a queue for free ferry to go to the opposite side where the historic street was located. It saves some walking. It is possible to walk to the historic street without taking the free ferry but the ferry provided a short cut and saves some leg power and time.

The boat trip is less than a minute ride but a real short cut to the historic street.

The Indigo Fabric Workshop is a large, environmentally-friendly, print and dye workshop with an area of 2500m². Paved with green bricks, the cloth-drying space is filled with tall poles and terraced cloth frames. In addition to using bluegrass as dye for fabric, the dyehouse also employs its unique color roasting technique which can reproduce bright colors from plants belonging to the local flora, such as tea, mulberry bark and tallow leaves, hence its Chinese name, Caomu Bense, which means "true color from plants" in Chinese. As a traditional specialty product of Wuzhen and the favorite natural clothing material of the local people, patterned indigo cloth is an ideal souvenir for tourists.

Source: Wuzhen.com

Dont worry about food, there's some eateries, restaurants and push carts selling food, noodles, etc. As we had heavy morning buffet breakfast, we decided to buy some tea eggs and purple sweet potatoes for light lunch.

The rest of the photos shows the charming and beautiful ancient watertown of Wuzhen.

After a long satisfying trip at Wuzhen, we headed out to the bus stop for K350 to bring us back to Wuzhen Bus Station. The fare is RMB2. If you decided to visit the East Scenic Zone, take the free shuttle bus at the same bus stop, I guess you have to show the driver your admission ticket to take the free bus to the east zone.

We did not go to the east zone, besides of tiredness, we also worried about not catching the last bus (I think is 6.30 pm for the last bus from Wuzhen to Hangzhou), as we did not buy the tickets in advance, we hurried back to the bus station. Luckily there's no problem getting the tickets , the same story goes about our passport being in the hotel so we showed the staff the photocopied of our passports and the bus tickets that we bought from Hangzhou to Wuzhen. If we missed the bus, we had to take the taxis outside the bus station, I guess they would charge very expensive, at more than RMB100+.(But if there's four people, I think is worth it cause the ticket alone costs RMB30 for the return trip per adult), but I did not like to take taxis in foreign countries, they drove so fast and in one of my past travel trip, we almost got into an car accident cause the taxi driver drove so fast and braked so suddenly that we almost hit our heads at the front seats. The driver could even apologized by saying "Paisei"(Embarrassed or ashamed).

Once inside the bus station, head to the gate no. as indicated on the bus ticket.