It was the worse overnight bus we took in Myanmar. My friend almost vomit, and I was cursing about the loud yell every time the bus stop at any drop off point. We arrived in Mandalay bus station at 2am. Upon arriving, there are many shouting in local language, I’m not sure if it’s some arguments, or they are just trying to get attention of bus passengers. And it was very dark and dirty at the bus station.
What makes the whole thing worst is our terrible driver. He was not there when we arrived, we called him and the phone was off. Eventually we called our travel agent in Yangon, and he made some calls, and told us to wait a while. So we sat down in a rundown coffee shop until he showed up at 2.45am. Then we went to hotel to check in and rest til morning. Read More
We began our day by breakfast at Black Rose restaurant, the same place that we had our dinner the night before. The breakfast was complimentary from our hotel. Despite bad experience the night before. the breakfast serving was considered prompt, perhaps because we were the only group there. The breakfast portion was not bad.
After breakfast, at 9am, our driver was ready at the hotel reception. And we set off to Mount Popa. The whole journey takes probably around 1 hour or more. Our nice guide brought us to some small temple for toilet break where we snapped some photos of Mount Popa monastery from far. Read More
The bus journey took almost 10 hours. We arrived at Bagan bus station almost 6am. Our driver was ready with a paper of my name. He was a nice guy, very friendly, very polite, very warm, and spoke little English. We requested him to bring us to a place where we can go to toilet, he drove us to a guesthouse and let us use the toilet for free. My friend even took shower there lol. From guest house, we officially started our Bagan sightseeing journey. We were told to pay USD 15 as entrance fee to visit Bagan and Mount Popa, the ticket is valid for 5 days.
Our first stop of temple was Shwezigon Pagoda, it was a mini-sized Shwedagon pagoda. Since it was early in the morning, the temple was very quiet and the weather was not too hot yet. It was the best time to visit a pagoda. After Shwezigon, we visitied Htilominlo Pagoda. It was a brickstone temple with detailed carvings. Read More
Relief was overflowing as we landed on this golden land. Perhaps it was the worry and stress that have built up during the planning stage. Or perhaps it’s the visa issue.
We spent few weeks going back and forth discussing whether we should take customised tour from travel agent, or to do DIY trip that involves heavy detailed planning of places to visit and how to navigate. The former would be expensive but convenient, while the latter is super cheap but extremely inconvenient. Eventually we settled on renting car & driver for sightseeing during the day, and overnight buses for travelling between cities. Thus the cost incurred and the convenience level is at medium range. Read More
This is how the trip was initiated.
I’ve been curious about this country for some time, but the flights from Singapore aren’t that affordable. One fine afternoon, I was browsing around jetstar website since they have promotion and bookings must be done on that day before 6pm. And I spotted sg-ygn-sg return flight for the price of SGD 95 only! That is ridiculously cheap. I called up my friends and told them they need to decide RIGHT NOW. And there we go, booking successfully made within few hours.
Since it was our last day in Japan, we decided to sleep more. We had late breakfast and followed by checking out. Then we took bus to Kinkakuji temple. However there was no direct bus, we had to change many buses, and the waiting time for bus was too long, and there was a lot of traffic on that day. So, 5 stops before Kinkakuji, I decided to make a turn back because I calculated the remaining time and felt that we didn’t have time to visit the temple anymore. So we took bus to Shijo Kawaramachi and had lunch there. After lunch, we went back to hotel to get our luggage. We then took bus to Kyoto Station to catch our 2.59 pm shinkansen train to Tokyo. We arrived at the platform 1 hour earlier, so we just sit on the bench and waited for our train. It was almost 4 hour journey to Tokyo. We alighted at Shinagawa station instead of Tokyo station because the ticket allowed us to alight at either Shinagawa or Tokyo station. I chose to alight at Shinagawa because it’s closer to airport and we could take Keikyu Line that goes direct to Haneda airport. Even though it’s direct, it’s still a long way to reach airport. Read More
Missed Gion Matsuri Festival, Ginkakuji Temple, Path of Philosophy, Nanzenji Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto
I was fully aware that 24 July is the day for Gion Matsuri Festival. However, I was not aware at all of the timing. I read from Japan Guide under main events, that the exciting part is happening on 18.00-23.00 when the streets are closed for traffic. I immediately assume that the Festival is happening on that time. And the next paragraph said the procession happens on 9.00-11.30, so I misunderstood it by thinking that the procession is at 9.00 at night! They need to revise the wordings in the website!! Read More
We arrived in Kyoto on time, at 6.30 am. The bus dropped us in front of Kyoto Station. We took the metro to Gojo. It was difficult to travel on subway with big luggage. Upon exiting the station, we saw McDonald and decided to have breakfast there. After breakfast, we walked to Econo-Inn with the help of Google Maps. Upon reaching the hotel, we kept our luggage with the receptionist and used the hotel wifi to plan for the day’s activity. It was a nice hotel because it provides free bread and drinks from 7am-11pm. Also, there are microwave and fridge for us to use. I really like the hotel. Read More
We started our day by visiting Tsukiji Fish Market again, but this time we weren’t too ambitious to catch the chance to see tuna action. It was a busy market, especially the inner market. The officer who was supposed to stop visitors from visiting inner market, didn’t notice us because he was talking to other people. Therefore we entered the inner market and were almost being hit by so many vehicles that were used to transport seafood. Then we decided to exit inner market and went to outer market instead. On our way out, the officer came to us and told us not to visit inner market before 9 am. At outer market, I had my breakfast of salmon and fish roe with rice. My mom wasn’t used to sashimi so she passed the breakfast. Read More
We started our day very early as we wished to see the tuna auction in Tsukiji Fish Market. So we took the first subway at 5am to Tsukiji-shijo. It was already so bright at 5am, I guess it’s because it’s summer. Unfortunately, upon reaching the station, there was a notice that the market is closed for the day. We tried to walk around the market just to check the situation. It was quite quiet, but still there were people working at the market. Since there were really no sign of lively market, we took subway to Harajuku. Most of the shops were still closed because we were too early, eventually we bought food from 7-11 for early snacks, and then went to a 24-hour restaurant to have soba. Then we walked to Meiji Shrine. Read More