Archive for the Wonders and Places Category

5 days 4 nights CNY 2017 trip to Hanoi, Vietnam

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2017 by vincentloy

Hi…I’m back to my blog after disappearing for almost a week. My trip to Vietnam with my family has just ended. When I returned home yesterday, it’s already February and half of the Chinese New Year festival has already passed. Time flies, especially when it is enjoyable time. Here below is my highlight of the trip to Hanoi, Vietnam from 29th January 2017 to 2nd February 2017 (5 days 4 nights) with many lovely pictures to share.

29th January 2017 (Sunday)

The flight to Hanoi was at around 9am and so we have to be at the airport by 6am (3 hours earlier). Hence, we have to wake up at 4am (still middle of the night) and has to leave home by 5am. That’s so early and the consequence of it is that we had lack of sleep for that night. The flight to Hanoi took a little over 3 hours and the best thing this time during the flight is that I’m able to catch breathtaking aerial view of KL city as well as Genting Highlands.

We realised that the time in Vietnam is one hour earlier than in Malaysia. Our first destination in Hanoi is Ba Dinh Square. It is a plaza (main square of Hanoi) that has the President Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (he was the first president of Vietnam) and the Parliament House. Next, we walked and visited the nearby President Ho Chi Minh’s Residence with exhibition of his office, presidential cars and the One-Pillar Pagoda.

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Then, we went to take a view of the West Lake and visited Zhen Guo Temple which is by that lake too. I don’t smell any air pollution but the sky there is cloudy and foggy all day long (same for everyday of the trip too). That is not good for taking pictures.

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30th January 2017 (Monday)

Today we took a 2 hours and 30 minutes bus ride to Ninh Binh province. There, we took ‘sampan’ (traditional boat) ride at Tam Coc, which is often referred to as the ‘Halong Bay on the land’. It is as though we have entered the lost world seeing the river and the hills around you over there. One interesting thing are that the people used their legs instead of their hands to drive the ‘sampan’ and we got to pass through several dark low-lying caves while on the ‘sampan’ on the river.

 

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Then, we went to the Bich Dong Temple and Pagoda that sits on the side of a hill. After that, there’s another 2 hours bus journey to reach Halong Bay and we immediately settled at hotel once we reached there. We stayed at villas of the hotel named Royal Halong Hotel. On the evening, we visited the casino in the hotel which is very small.

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31st January 2017 (Tuesday)

Perhaps the most exciting day of the trip as we head to the main attraction of Vietnam, Halong Bay. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. We boarded a small cruise ship and toured around the vast region of the bay where thousands of islands with different forms rise from the sea. We then ride a thrilling speed boat to explore the bay further. We also visited Tien Cung caves where there are interesting rock formations beautifully illuminated in the caves by the bay, and climbed a hill to catch an aerial view of Halong Bay. That view is majestic from the pavilion on top of that hill and that means our tiring climb to the top is rewarding. Visit to the bay ended with a seafood lunch on the cruise itself.

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In the afternoon, we visited a Pearl and Mineral Geological Museum. It’s not a museum. It’s basically a place with many people persuading you to buy their stuff. This is one of the disadvantages of following tour group. Then, we visited a small indoor night market where the locals sell their products like woodworks, paintings, fake goodies, souvenirs and snacks but we are not interested on them. We also managed to watch a water puppet show (famous in Vietnam) in our hotel.

1st February 2017 (Wednesday)

Today we took a 4 hours bus ride back to Hanoi. Once reached Hanoi, we had a wonderful buffet lunch in a huge restaurant and it is super crowded with tourists. I could have taken a lot of plates of food but couldn’t do so because of the huge crowd queuing to get them, and the excessive tourists from China made it worst with their rude behaviour. After that, we visited the Hoan Kiem Lake with a Turtle Tower on a small island in the middle of the lake. There is also a temple besides the lake and a red bridge.

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We also took trishaw ride to explore the 36 Ancient Streets, a cluster of traditional streets in the busy capital of Vietnam. The tour guide gave us plenty of time to do shopping there but there is nothing we love to buy over there. Hence, time is like wasted. What’s more disappointing is that the rest of our tour group members decided to skip a tourist destination just to give them more time to shop at the 36 Ancient Streets. The place we skipped is the Temple of Literature (First University of Vietnam). What a waste…thanks to the ridiculously foolish tour group members.

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2nd February 2017 (Thursday)

There is no more tourist attractions for us to visit today. Just getting a bit more rest in the hotel room while enjoying the view of the city in the morning. After checking out from the hotel, we immediately went to the airport for flight back to Kuala Lumpur. Back to home at around 6pm.

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The tour group we participated here is by Golden Deluxe Travel company. The price for one person is RM2200 and that not includes additional RM150 for several additional arrangements during the trip (speed boat ride at Halong Bay and trishaw ride at 36 Ancient Streets). The tw0 hotels we stayed are very good and comfy and their breakfasts are excellent too. The food served outside is generally acceptable but we just couldn’t adapt to their tastes and styles. We do not dare to try the outside food that they served by the side of road due to poor hygiene. We only bought some snacks and a decorative magnet home. Generally, Hanoi is a great place to visit and the main attraction, Halong Bay is truly exceptional.

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this blog post. Kindly request permission if you wish to use them.)

 

16 days 15 nights trip to Taiwan for workshop and holiday.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2016 by vincentloy

This is the longest trip I ever had in my life so far. 16 days and 15 nights in total. This trip to Taiwan from 21st August 2016 to 4th September 2016 is certainly a memorable one. The main purpose for the realization of this trip is to attend an international workshop organized by National Yunlin University of Science and Technology. The workshop is a compulsory event to attend for one of my units in this semester of study. The workshop is themed ‘Resonance’ and it also saw participation of students from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan (of course), etc.

Two days of the trip were already spent on the flights. We took the cheapest flights possible and we had transfer back in Kuala Lumpur, giving us a chance to stay for a short while in our motherland to meet our family. A trip from Perth to KL took about 5 1/2 hours and a trip from KL to Taipei took about 4 1/2 hours. In total, it took me 10 hours to sit miserably in the aeroplanes for the flights to reach the last destination; Taipei. I felt very uncomfortable and I couldn’t sleep in plane. Same situation happened in this one too.

10 days of the whole trip was for the workshop. Our usual routine in these 10 days was waking up early, going to the campus, attending own classes, learning some new softwares, met and worked with new people, drawing stuff, and also creating prototype from various digital fabrication techniques and going back home late. The last few days of the workshop were particularly intensive. I only managed to sleep for about two hours every night back then. It was very tiring but the end result made us felt worth it. Eventhough my group’s prototype isn’t really very successful in the end, but the idea behind it was strong. We certainly had fun in this workshop which was held in Douliu, a small town about 2 1/2 hours drive from Taipei.

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The remaining days (4 days 3 nights) were then dedicated fully for vacation in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. I have been to Taiwan but that was like 8 years ago. Hence, it feels quite good to be back in Taiwan. However, I don’t really enjoy being in Taipei. The city is too busy and crowded. The streets are packed, messy signboards are everywhere, confusing traffic in every corners, and the buildings are very dense. It was already late on the first day when we arrived in Taipei from Douliu. Hence, we spent the evening only walking around the hotel we stayed in and not going far, since we were all drained of energy from the just concluded workshop.

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On the next day, we visited Taipei 101. It’s a must visit attraction in Taiwan especially for people who like to see landmark or skyscraper like me. Taipei 101 is a 508-metres tall building which was once the world’s tallest building. It is now the most important icon for Taiwan. We went up to the observatory levels of the skyscraper and I bought my favourite replica model of the building up there too (at a very expensive price…I still find it worthy since it is my interest to collect building replicas). Great aerial view from the top of the tower and we can also view the huge damper ball up there which is an engineering marvel used to balance the tower and reduces building’s vibration during strong wind or earthquake. We had a wonderful lunch at Din Tai Fung Restaurant at the base of the tower where a shopping mall is located (only luxury brands are there). Then, we proceeded to Tamsui Old Street and visited Fisherman Wharf and Love Bridge. Later in the evening, we went to Shilin Night Market.

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The following day, we went to Jiufen, a town situated on a hill with a majestic panoramic view over surrounding hills and the sea. There are shops and old buildings on slopes, and it gave a very interesting atmosphere to visitors walking in those lanes. We also visited the nearby Jinguashi, a tourist spot focusing on the gold mining history of the town. The natural setting of that place is beautiful. In late afternoon, we went to Shifen, a town popular for the setting off of sky lanterns, which is a practice particularly suitable for couples. In the evening after a downpour, we went to Keelung to visit its Night Market and Waterfront (Maritime Plaza).

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On the last day before we went to the airport for flight back to Australia, we had our last minute shopping at Ximending, the most popular shopping district in Taipei. We actually went to this place several times. It’s always crowded with people, very happening, and has a lot to offer from shops of various brands. That is certainly the best place for shoppers. We also pay a visit to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, a huge complex in honour of Taiwan’s first President.

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That is it. I think I spent over RM4000 on this trip. I bought two pairs of shoes (one normal shoes, one sport shoes from Adidas), a crystal replica model of Taipei 101 with light base, two boxes of pineapple cakes (Taiwan famous snacks), a key chain, a fridge magnet, and a bag.

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A lot of expense was on food which is expected since Taiwan is popular for its night markets everywhere that sell a lot of interesting snacks, food and beverages. I had a great time in this trip at Taiwan with my friends. It’s exhausting but it’s really fun! Now, the trip is over and I have to get back to reality…time to place my focus back on my design studio since there is a very important submission on this coming Friday!

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this blog post)

Back from bringing my parents for a trip in Perth during their early Raya holiday.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2016 by vincentloy

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to wish ‘Selamat Hari Raya’ to all the Muslims around the world especially to my Malay friends and ex-colleagues in Malaysia. Have a wonderful celebration. For the other Malaysians not celebrating, have a happy holiday! This applied to my parents who were spending the break by travelling over to Perth to visit me and also to tour around the city. I have been here for about 5 months already and since Perth is a small city, I’m quite familiar with the places and navigation around here already. And hence, I can be a free tour guide for them.

They arrived here last Sunday and had already spent four days here. They departed to airport not long ago for their flight back to Kuala Lumpur and I have just returned home from staying in the hotel with them for the past three nights. We stayed in Seasons of Perth, a four-star hotel in CBD area. It looks only three-stars rating for me to the best. It is old with very outdated finishing, but it does have large room and the good things about this hotel are that it is cheap and it is located very near to tourist places in the CBD like the popular Hay and Murray Streets.

Once they arrived and checked into the hotel, I brought them to the Kings Park to view the State War Memorial and also to catch a glimpse of the beautiful city skyline from the park during the sunset hour. That view never gets old for me. Then, I brought them for dinner at a restaurant called Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown and I ate my favourite steamed cod fish (or some say tooth fish here).

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On the second day, I brought them to walk around in the city, viewing some famous places like the City of Perth Library, Perth Town Hall, London Court (unfortunately most of the alley in it is now under renovation), Hay Street and Murray Street (two popular pedestrian malls in the city). Then, I brought them to the Elizabeth Quay, a must-visit new place in Perth for the tourists for the Swan River’s view and also for all the interesting things over there like the twin-arches bridge, Spanda sculpture and the iconic Swan Bell Tower. Then, I brought them for early lunch by having dim sum at Northbridge in a restaurant that I have tried it before. The food there taste very good and my parents enjoyed it very much until we came back for the same place two days later (this morning) for lunch again. The restaurant is Fortune Five Chinese Restaurant.

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After the lunch, we took the ferry from Elizabeth Quay to South Perth that only took about 10 minutes for a ride. South Perth is just opposite the city and that is where the Perth Zoo is, the place that we will be visiting for the whole afternoon on our second day. The zoo is not huge but contains a lot of exhibits of animals. What’s disappointing are that the quantity of animals in the zoo is very little (it’s only one for each of almost all the species on exhibit) and that the paths are not continuous. With that kind of layout, it is easy to miss some exhibits.But overall, it is still a satisfying experience visiting this zoo which is so near to the city. We ended the day by having dinner at Theo and Co Pizzeria, a famous pizza restaurant at East Victoria Park.

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On the third day in the morning, we boarded train to head to Fremantle, a port city south of Perth. The train ride only took 30 minutes. Fremantle is a city full of many old and well preserved heritage buildings and streets. It also has beautiful beaches and the majestic view of the vast Indian Ocean. We walked around there and visited the Round House, the first permanent building in the city which is originally a gaol (a jail). I didn’t bring them to see Fremantle Prison because there is nothing spectacular on that prison actually and that we couldn’t spend longer time there. Then, we head to the nearby Bathers Beach and had fish and chips for our lunch at Kailis Fish Market and Restaurant at the harbourside. Before leaving Fremantle, we walked in the Esplanade Park and observed all the happenings there from the on-going Winter Festival. There are some activities especially for kids and family like the outdoor skating rink. It’s weekday and so the Fremantle Markets is closed. Too bad, my parents couldn’t visit it but it’s not a major issue.

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Then, I brought my parents to visit my Curtin University campus in Bentley. They said it’s a huge complex but for me, it’s large only because of all the parks, fields and trees. Then, I brought them to visit my on-campus accommodation and also the nearby Waterford Plaza as they wished to visit the supermarket here. For the evening, I brought them to Crown Perth, the casino resort not far from the city. This is also my first time visiting the casino. We tried our luck for a short while and we won a bit to our excitement. The hotel there looks great and very luxurious. There is also a convention centre over there. That’s it for the day.

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On the fourth (last) day of their trip, there is nothing I can do for them since they have to be at the airport by afternoon already. We just spent rest of the time walking in the CBD area again and had early lunch at Northbridge. Then, I bid farewell to my parents again as they left to the Perth International Airport for their flight back home. How I wish I can fly back with them since I have remaining three weeks of holiday before my next semester of study commences. It’s okay. I will be back to Malaysia by December!

They were here for four days but they were actually only visiting the city for two days technically since the first and the last day were spent mostly on the arriving and departing stuff that took up most of the time. They are sure to come back here again probably during next year’s any holiday season or during my graduation. If they are here longer, I can even bring them to Swan Valley (I have visited it and it’s quite nice over there especially with all three free tasting of chocolates, wines, cheese, nougats, nuts, honey, beer, cooking ingredients, fruits, etc), the Pinnacles, the Wave Rock, the Lobster Shack, and even a whale-watching tour (my dad is interested on it but it only runs from September to November…it has its own season). That’s all now reserved for their next trip here. My dad is also eager to return here for the casino since the minimum bet here is low and very much affordable. Okay…that’s it for my description of the trip of which everything went very well especially with the nice sunny weather every day during the trip. But it’s freezing cold especially when the wind blows at night in these few days. It’s the peak of winter season now in Australia and so there is nothing we can do besides than wearing more.

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Looking back at those past oversea trips I had.

Posted in Wonders and Places on June 30, 2016 by vincentloy

Here I am, coming back to my blog as frequent as I can in these days due to the semester break I’m enjoying right now. It’s the last day of the month today and I would like to wrap it off with a post on a topic. Ohh, is there a topic? Nope.

Out of sudden, in all the free time I have now which allows me to daydream more than usual, I started thinking back on all the past oversea trips I had. I think I’m very fortunate to have been able to travel to quite a number of countries in the past. It’s something that used up a lot of money, but in return, rewarded me with very interesting experience and discovery of various places and cultures across the world. Maybe I’m in need of a new vacation. Well, I most probably have to wait till next year’s Chinese New Year holiday for that.

Here below are 15 quick info of my past oversea trips that are worth your time to read as I find them interesting:

<1> Number of countries (not including my country, Malaysia): Around 15, will be about 20 if those quick stopovers were counted.

<2> Best oversea trip: Italy. It is a beautiful country and had the opportunity to visit all its main cities in one go; Rome, Venice, Milan, Florence and Pisa. Saw amazing structures like Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa, St Peter’s Basilica, Milan Cathedral, etc. Also nice weather at the time when I visited the country. Winter and yet not too cold, and sunny.

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<3> Worst oversea trip: South Korea. The country didn’t have much interesting places to visit. A giant city but with nothing special or spectacular. Winter there is a bit unbearable for me (too cold). And the worst thing is that I felt sick along with many of the tour members (I vomited, hate the feeling) during the trip. Also I almost lost my camera in the trip. Bad experience over there. Snow is the only consolation.

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<4> Longest oversea trip: 10 days. Been to central Europe once, covering about 5 to 6 countries in one go. But 10 days are actually not enough for that.

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<5> Shortest oversea trip: 1 day. Actually less than that…just a half day tour in Singapore. A quick visit to Marina Bay Sands in the midnight and Resort World Sentosa in the morning, then off back to Malaysia. What a lame trip.

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<6> Nearest oversea trip: Of course Singapore. It’s just an island below Peninsular Malaysia, and it’s even linked by two bridges.

<7> Furthest oversea trip: Central Europe trip. Almost similar to my other Italy trip. Took two flights to reach Europe which is better as I couldn’t stand sitting in the plane in a direct flight of over 12 hours.

<8> First oversea trip: To Hatyai, Thailand with my parents. That was like 12 years ago if I’m not mistaken.

<9> First oversea trip with whole family: To Hong Kong in 2006, a year before my mother passed away. The trip itself is nothing special but is very memorable for me as it is the only trip I had with my whole family when my mom was still around.

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<10> Usual time to go for vacation: Of course during holiday season especially during Chinese New Year when my father will be able to take long leave from work. Also sometimes went out for trip during Raya holiday as well.

<11> Most number of oversea trip in a year: 2014. Had three oversea trips that year. One is by company, and two are with family. Two of those trips were to the same place; Bali, Indonesia. The other one was to Yunnan, China.

<12> Coldest temperature in oversea trip: I think is around -19 degree celsius. Yes, there is a negative in front. That was during a trip to peak of Mount Titlis in Switzerland during their winter season. Thick snow everywhere.

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<13> Warmest temperature in oversea trip: Around 38 degree celsius at Hatyai, Thailand.

<14> Craziest thing I saw in an oversea trip: A huge open field in India as a dumping ground for the people. That’s not dumping rubbish I meant. It’s a vast place for people to shit. Yes…they squat and finish off their business and they can still chat to each other during the process. I saw it in my own eyes while in a bus passing by that area. What a sight!

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<15> Wonders of the World that I have visited: Great Wall of China, India’s Taj Mahal, and Rome’s Colosseum. 3 out of 7. 4 more to go. That’s not including the Great Pyramid of Giza.

I think I had quite an awesome time in the past during these oversea trips that I had before. Looking forward to more of such trips in the future. Who doesn’t like to forget everything about work and go out for a nice holiday?

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Trip to Swan Valley, Perth today.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2016 by vincentloy

Me and my housemates went to the Swan Valley today, a place I suggested since we have basically went to most of the interesting places in Perth that are not that far away earlier. Swan Valley is basically a region only 30 minutes away from Perth’s city and contains many plantation fields, wineries, breweries, distilleries, local-produce factories, farms (animals, lavender, cheese, fruits), restaurants and cafes. The downpour this morning didn’t dampen our spirit to start off the day by heading to the city to rent a car.

We got a nice car (with quite an expensive rate) and we spent the whole afternoon in the Swan Valley. The trip wouldn’t be successful if we didn’t stop by at the Visitor Centre near the entrance to the valley. The staff over there was very helpful on explaining some important places that we should visit in the valley along their recommended 32-km long food and wine trail. Wow…I didn’t expect the valley to be that big. We only covered a small part of it for our trip today. Their guide in pamphlet is very useful, especially the map.

First, we went to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. We had our lunch there. I have tasted my best ever dark chocolate drink over there. We also did a quick free tasting of chocolates before we left. Our mission today is actually to get all the complimentary tastings without buying. They must be hating us but it’s not our bad since the complimentary tastings are provided and suggested everywhere in the valley. The chocolates are not bad (but not the best also that I have tasted) but I do enjoy their dark chocolates in tiny little pieces’ one. Just next door, we also visited the Providore Local Produce station where we get to taste interesting cooking ingredients like the sauces, spices, creams, olive oil, etc. My tongue felt weird after tasting some of that.

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Next destination is Lancaster Winery where they served complimentary tasting of wines and you can add it up with cheese if you like to. I don’t really like cheese and so I just ignored that part. One particular type of red wine we tried today is quite good and is not that sweet. We also tried white wine. It’s winter season now and so it’s not the best time to take pictures of the plantation farms since all the trees are dry now with nothing much to see. But it is still a beautiful sight for a vast field of plantation everywhere in the valley.

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Next, we went House of Honey to taste the honey of course. There are so many different kind of honey and their sweetness produced and on sale over there. There is even one particular one (I forgot the honey’s name) that has healing ability when applied on the skin. Interesting, but I worried it may heals quickly but ants will be crawling towards you. Haha…forget about it. We moved on to the Mondo Nougat and Chocolate and Morish Nuts. Both are side by side. Free tasting again and the staff were very friendly.

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The last destination in the valley that we covered is the Mandoon Estate and Homestead Brewery. We noticed there was some sort of a party going on there. It’s a beautiful place and we had beers over there. Nice environment with the plantation field again and frequent view of airplanes on the sky.

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Before we returned the car to the rental shop before calling it the end of the day, we went for a quick walk in Kings Park. I’m still not bored visiting the park (have visited it three times and is expected to visit the place again next week), mainly due to the magnificent city’s view from there. Back for my conclusion for the Swan Valley; it’s a great place to visit and most importantly, it’s free for all the tastings. All in one region: Swan Valley. The place is scenic and you must need a car to travel in there. You can also join in some tours provided if you reached there by public transport. For that, you have to ask for more information at the Visitor Centre. I had an awesome day there and would certainly love to go back there again in near future.

(Copyrights reserved to all the images in this post. Kindly request permission if you intend to use any of them)

Semester break is the time for me to turn from a student to a tourist in Perth.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2016 by vincentloy

Semester break has started just not long ago and there is like a month left before the next semester of my study begins. I’m enjoying the holiday but I started to feel bored already. I’m now desperately finding things to do. This is a typical student’s life. When you are in the semester, you have to work so hard and couldn’t sleep much to complete the assignments. When everything is over and the holiday begins, you start to wonder what to do during the holiday.

I started off the break by transforming myself from a student into a tourist. Last Saturday, me and my friend went to Fremantle, a port city not far south from Perth. It’s a beautiful city with many historical heritage buildings, port, harbors, museums and beaches. Hmm…I think I have described about the city in my earlier posts. So, I’ll just move on with some beautiful pictures I have taken there.

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Fremantle Prison, one of the most iconic structures in Fremantle, but doesn’t look iconic to me.

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View from Round House overlooking a beautiful heritage street in Fremantle.

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Fishermans Wharf, the place to enjoy my fish and chips and I’m afraid of the many sea gulls over there waiting to snatch my food.

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Sunset in Fremantle.

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View of the ferris wheel in Esplanade Park, Fremantle. Look at the sky! Beautiful tone of colours.

We went to the Fremantle Market, Fremantle Prison (only outside view since the admission fee is expensive), Round House, Bathers Beach, Fishermans Wharf, Esplanade Park, and also wandering around some nice-looking streets surrounded by heritage buildings, cafes, shops, etc. After an early dinner of having fish and chips (a must meal over there), we took a quick time enjoying the breathtaking sunset view (it’s winter now here and so the sunset is on 5.20pm…so early) before leaving Fremantle and call it the end of the day.

Today, we went out again. This time is on city exploring in Perth. Ahh..not really city exploring since there is actually nothing much to see or visit in Perth Central Business District (CBD) since it’s very small compared to many other bigger cities I have been to. But Perth is still a very beautiful city and it’s ranked one of the most livable cities in the world. There are certainly reasons for that achievement and I can feel that since moving to here from past February. Today, we just head down to the Elizabeth Quay, the latest waterfront development of the city facing the beautiful Swan River. The quay is completed but developments in it are very slow. They all remains as flat plots of land without any sign of construction of buildings proposed over there. However, Elizabeth Quay is still a popular destination with parks, iconic Swan Bell Tower, some new pavilions selling food and beverages, jetties, bridge, playground, Spanda sculpture, etc.

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View towards the city from the Double Arches Steel Bridge in Elizabeth Quay. Spanda sculpture is on the right.

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Swan Bell Tower at the back. The thing that attracts me is those purple bras on display along these pergolas, marking the ‘Purple Bra Day’. What on Earth is that?

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View to the bridge I went to just now and the Swan River.

In the afternoon, we proceed to the famous Kings Park, a huge park overlooking the city. I think it is the largest inner-city park in the world (and just now I have only covered a tiny bit of the overall park and even for that I have already spend like three hours there). This is a perfect spot to enjoy the magnificent view of the city’s skyline. It is not far from the city, a very popular place to relax and enjoy the nature and the view, and contains gardens, bridges, fountains, sculptures, art gallery, cafes, souvenir shop, State War Memorial statue, viewing decks, open fields, outdoor theatre, etc. We met a local man whom is a photographer and he brought us to walk around the park. Hmm…out of sudden, we got a free guided tour in the park.

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State War Memorial, a monument to commemorate the Western Australian soldiers who perished in the past wars, particularly the World Wars.

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The beautiful city skyline of Perth, the compulsory view from Kings Park.

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A nice-looking bridge in the park, but this is quite far from the main entrance area of the park.

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A short timelapse video I made just now showing Perth’s city skyline from Kings’ Park in the afternoon.

The weather started to get really cold once after the sun disappeared. My hands were freezing. Nothing is better than a hot meal for dinner at Waterford Plaza near my house to end the outing today.

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Visit to Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) today to kick-start my one-week mid semester break.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2016 by vincentloy

It’s time for mid-semester break! Can’t believe that I have gone through seven weeks of the semester already. That was surprisingly quick, and it is now half way to go before the end of my first out of four semesters required to complete my postgraduate study. In this one week of break, it’s not all about relaxing and chilling after all since I’m equipped with some heavy assignments to work on. But before stressing myself out on that, I have decided to start the holiday with a quick visit to Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) today at north of Perth.

I guess it costs AUD 30 for adult to enter, but for us as students (visiting the place with my housemates), we got to enjoy the concession rate (AUD 22 for student). Before the visit, I have checked on the reviews for this place and many returned with highly positive feedbacks. Furthermore, it is the largest aquarium in Australia and the 10th largest in the world. When we first saw the exterior of this tourist destination,  my high expectation faded as its exterior is not appealing and it looks very small.

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Of course, the main attraction would be the fishes and the sea creatures inside. Well, the aquarium featured several settings (that’s typical for most layout configuration for any aquariums worldwide). It has five distinct areas: The Great Southern, The Shipwreck Coast, The Perth Coast, The Far North and The Marmion Marine Park. I do see some interesting creatures on display in here but I’m not in awe, especially when I had just visited Singapore’s SEA Aquarium not long ago which presented a far better experience for me who enjoy seeing marine life. I can’t avoid myself from comparing these two, and hence AQWA lost out by a mile.

It is relatively small in AQWA (couldn’t believe it is the 10th largest), and the lighting quality is poor. Its layout is also not convenient. There are too little sharks in here (and they are very small too), and too many sting rays (bored of seeing plenty of them here). There is only one turtle (yes, one!) I managed to see and some of the creatures just love hiding and don’t want to let us view them. They put a huge but fake crocodile and then show us two real crocodiles which are just the size of my arms!…The underwater tunnel is long but there are not many interesting fishes or sharks in there. I’m not impressed. It can do much better. The coral reefs are not exceptionally beautiful while on the other hand, some glasses (tanks) are quite dirty, hampering our sights to these beautiful marine creatures. Well, AQWA still has some good points. I particularly like the Danger Zone (zone where dangerous and venomous sea creatures are exhibited) and I like the idea of bringing part of the aquarium outdoor.

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Well, we spent only about a little over an hour in there. Nothing much to see and it needs to improve and expand to attract more visitors. I definitely won’t visit again. It makes me wanting to visit Singapore’s SEA Aquarium again eventhough it’s pricier. I had fish and chips nearby there at the Hillarys Boat Harbour and enjoyed an ocean view for a couple of minutes before heading back home.

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