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Second week done with plenty of gatherings and a TVB drama review for ‘Destination Nowhere’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by vincentloy

First week of the semester is considered a happy-go-lucky week as no one would like to start on the assignments on the first week itself. Now, even the second week is gone and there is no more time to be wasted anymore. There are several submissions coming very soon already and I’m way not prepared yet. I did do my work, but 24 hours a day is just not enough. I’m not on track in my progress in all the units this semester. Well, I took that off my mind for a while first to enjoy this weekend.

Last Friday, I get back to the court to play badminton with my friends for about 3 hours. That was after a very stressful design studio with nothing from my part to show to the lecturers and I don’t really get what they want with their super-hard-to-understand words. It’s good to be back playing badminton after several months of not playing it already, and unfortunately, my badminton skill has not improve. The gathering did not stop there as we went for some snack and drink after that. Then, yesterday evening, we had another gathering in a friend’s house to enjoy the potluck dinner as well as to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Several hours later, I will heading out with my housemate to watch a movie. So many activities, and hence, not much time to focus on my assignments. Well, I will promise to myself to concentrate on my study from tomorrow onward.

Recently, I finished watching another TVB drama. It’s ‘Destination Nowhere’ (迷), a Hong Kong drama about a female news reporter who get caught up in the problematic collusion scheme between government official and businesses. All the hardship she faced has lead to her to be forced to become cunning and evil especially after the murder of her daughter. Those complicated cases that were actually linked to one another were then investigated by a police inspector who later felt in love with the female news reporter. This 30-episodes series starred Kevin Cheng, Kristal Tin, James Ng, King Kong Lee, Winki Lai, etc.

The plot is very interesting but there are several obvious plot holes that ruin the logic of the story in some major parts. The main cast, Kevin Cheng and Kristal Tin only get to bump onto each other in the very later stage of the series. I’m fascinated by the director’s decision to show them crossing over but not knowing each other in many occasions in earlier episodes but that were taking too many episodes. Once they knew each other, their relationship builds up too quickly. It’s a fresh thing to see this new pairing between Kevin and Kristal by the way. Their acting in this drama were also top notch especially Kristal. I’m stunned yet by another groundbreaking performance by Kristal. Her character is a very challenging one that requires execution of variety of emotions. She has a role that has to show the innocent side, leadership side, crying side, and cunning side all in one drama. She nailed it. There were time when I was sleepy and not paying attention while watching new episode of this drama on late night, and then, I immediately paid attention and went fully awake by her performance. I don’t mind giving her another best actress award but it is too early to tell right now since awards season is at the end of the year. This drama is being shown too early in the year and will be usually forgotten by the time awards season come. Other cast also did good job such as James Ng (still don’t like his face and his crying is too ugly to watch) and Winki Lai. Even the bad guy portraying ‘Wat Dee’ is putting on a very good performance. I don’t know his name but I pity him for always portraying bad guy in TVB dramas. He has the bad-guy look.

Overall, this drama is nice to watch. It is all good due to the amazing performances by the cast. Their acting kept me not wanting to leave my seat watching every episodes of this drama. There is also a good amount of suspense and dramatic moments throughout the whole series to keep engaging the viewers. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Destination Nowhere’ a total of 7.5.

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

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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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(Copyrights reserved to all images in this blog post)

Being a tourist in Perth first before being a long term student here.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2016 by vincentloy

I had my first weekend in Perth a week ago mostly in my room, still adapting to the new environment while making the necessary preparation to get me settled here before my study commences. The orientation week was over of which I had quite actively participated in some of the events organized throughout the past week. For my second weekend here in Perth which is also my last weekend before my study officially begins, I took this opportunity with my housemates to explore the city before all the stress from upcoming assignments come in. It’s a waste if I’m not becoming a tourist at here first before turning into a long term student beginning tomorrow.

Yesterday, we head out to the city centre of Perth. We took public transport and it is quite convenient and the fees are very reasonable (student price is very low). In the city, we walked along a main street where all the office buildings are and also checked out some nice places and cool-looking landmarks along the way like the Bell Tower, Commonwealth of Australia’s Building and the Perth Arena. There is also a shopping street in the city centre worth a visit. Generally, the city is quite small but it still has a great looking skyline that is enhanced by the Swan River in front of the city.

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The Bell Tower with Perth’s city skyline at the background. This picture is taken at Elizabeth Quay, a new waterfront development.

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Perth Arena, a huge indoor venue used for big sporting or entertainment events.

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Commonwealth of Australia’s Building in the city centre of Perth.

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An interesting building (name unknown) in the city centre too.

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A heritage building in the city centre of Perth in front of a modern skyscraper at the back.

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A cool looking pedestrian bridge at Elizabeth Quay.

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The main shopping street in the city centre of Perth.

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The beautiful city skyline of Perth.

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This image is a continuity of a panoramic view of the city skyline of the previous image taken on a ferry ride at Swan River.

Then, we took a ferry ride out of the city centre and then took a train to IKEA. It’s a huge store (same like in Malaysia) and I bought small pillows here of which both cost less than AUD 10. In the afternoon, we then went to a shopping mall named Westfield Carousel which is actually not that far from our campus (Curtin University) and watched a movie there. I’m shocked to learn that a movie ticket price here costs AUD 21 for a person. That’s very expensive. I can watch at least four movies with that same amount back in Malaysia. This mall is quite large (but still small compared to any malls in Kuala Lumpur). However, I would have prefer this over the much smaller Waterford Plaza shopping centre besides our hostel.

Today, we went to Fremantle. This place is quite far as it took us about an hour to reach. It is a town south of Perth where there are a lot of old heritage buildings lining up streets, many tourist attractions as well as popular beaches. We went for a quick walk in the famous Fremantle Markets, an indoor place where there are many stalls selling souvenirs, clothes, bags, food, snacks, fruits, etc. We then proceed to the Kailis Fish Market (right besides the sea) where there is a restaurant there known for selling fish and chips. We were hungry and that’s the spot we were most happy for. The fish and chip was delicious.

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Fremantle Markets.

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Beautiful street in Fremantle with many well-preserved architectural heritage buildings all around.

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View of a street in Fremantle from the Fremantle Prison.

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A clock tower in Fremantle.

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A ferris wheel in a park. Nearby this is the Kailis Fish Market in Fremantle.

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The Port Beach at North Fremantle.

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At the beach facing the Indian Ocean.

After the lunch, we visited the Fremantle Prison (now a tourist destination) and took a train to North Fremantle where the famous Port Beach is. It is a long stretch of beach along the coastline facing the Indian Ocean. It feels great walking along the beach with clean white sand and crystal clear seawater. This is the last stop of our two days trip in Perth before returning back to Erica Underwood House, our on-campus accommodation. Yup…after this weekend, we are no longer tourists as we would have four semesters of stressful study coming up!

(Copyrights reserved to all the images in this post)

Done my year-end shopping and, 2014 Christmas decorations in Pavilion KL.

Posted in Interesting Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2014 by vincentloy

It’s a boring Sunday and everybody is at home. So, I have an idea. Let’s go out for year-end shopping at KL! It has been ages since I last went for a shopping spree. Shop first this year before waiting for my year-end bonus to compensate my spending today. First choice of shopping destination; H&M in Lot 10 mall. Always my favourite since its opening two years ago. Was quite surprised today that all entry points to parking at Pavilion KL mall nearby were closed except one and dozens of cars were lining up to enter. We skipped that and managed to find parking at Starhill Gallery fortunately.

As expected, there is a LOT of people there. People including us also purposely went there to check out the Christmas decorations particularly in Pavilion KL, one of the most premier shopping malls in KL, and it never fails to impress us with amazing decorations for festivals like Christmas, Chinese New Year or Hari Raya every year. This year’s X’mas decorations in the mall is themed ‘Christmas Magnificence’.

What’s interesting of the decorations this year in Pavilion KL is that those Santa Claus, snowmen, and elves displayed were animatronic. They moved, and that triggered more excitement especially for the kids. I remember there was a carousel last year for kids to enjoy. This year, it’s replaced with a small ferris wheel in the mall. The biggest thing would be a huge red X’mas tree in the middle of the atrium that makes up as a Santa Claus too. Creative. Pictures below:

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KL couldn’t escape from Christmas atmosphere too eventhough there is no winter here! Countdown: about ten more days to Christmas!

Spent my Merdeka Day 2014 at I-City, Shah Alam.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2014 by vincentloy

I-City is an ICT-based urban development at Shah Alam, Selangor besides the Federal Highway. It is designed as a fully integrated intelligent city, comprising of corporate, leisure and residential components such as shopping mall, office towers, hotels, apartments, data and innovation centres. I-City is also a MSC (Multimedia Science Corridor) Malaysia Cyber-centre. But I guess I-City now is perhaps more known as a city of fun attractions a bit further away from Kuala Lumpur.

There is a huge outdoor as well as indoor areas totally dedicated to leisure activities or tourism. The popular attractions available over there are Waterworld (water theme park), City of Digital Parks (where most of the LED-illuminated trees are), FunWorld (small-scaled outdoor theme park), Snowalk (indoor snow experience), 5D Theatre, Trick Art Museum, Red Carpet Wax Museum, House of Horror, etc. There are of course some retails and food outlets nearby to complete the place as a great family leisure attraction. You need to spend at least a day there to enjoy all the attractions. But that is going to cost you a lot.

I spent more than three hours there with my sister’s family, from late afternoon till night. Luckily, we got there before the sunset, the time when most people would only come to enjoy the City of Digital Lights in the dark. So, we got parking easily, and it’s conveniently near to those attractions. And luckily, there is no rain today.

First, we visited the Red Carpet Wax Museum that is divided into six themes; World Icons, Celebrities, Sport Stars, World Book of Records, Interactive and All Stars Café. You got to see many wax figures of famous historical and political figures, celebrities, actors, singers, entrepreneurs, world-record holders, and successful sportsperson. But the figures there are not very much 100% alike to the real ones. And it is no match compared to the quality in Madame Tussauds of which I have visited it before in London. Of course…the price speaks for itself. Madame Tussauds’ entry costs almost RM200 for a person, and I-City’s Red Carpet only costs RM35. Huge difference. So you can easily tell from there. It’s still a great experience in there as you got to see more figures closely attached to Malaysia like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Michelle Yeoh, Lee Chong Wei whom joined the others like Queen Elizabeth II, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Jackie Chan, David Beckham, Michael Jackson, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Daniel Craig and many more in the museum. What’s further interesting is that some of the wax figures are interactive or animated.

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After that, we had a quick dinner at OldTown before continuing as my two nephews were very eager to play some of the attractions there. But before that, it’s now night-time and all the LED light decorations are on..it’s time to check them out. Simply beautiful. I wonder how much they spent in electricity bill for the City of Digital Lights every month. But the effect is really good. We ride on the giant ferris wheel before leaving. When we left when it is almost 10pm, there were still many cars and people coming in.

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Official website of the attractions at I-City which is expanding every year now: http://i-city.my/tourism/.

(Copyrights reserved to all my images in this post)

4 days 3 nights trip to Bali.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2014 by vincentloy

I have just returned home yesterday from a short four days three nights trip to Bali, Indonesia with my family. Time for relaxing and vacationing went off so quick that I certainly felt not enough. Luckily, I had two more extra days on holiday before getting back to work this Friday. In the trip, we stayed at the Harris Hotel Sunset Road. Nice comfortable room. The tour cost per person is RM2000+. As usual, I took quite a number of photographs from the trip, and will definitely share some beautiful shots here. Overall, it’s quite a nice enjoyable short trip!

26th July 2014 (Saturday)

First time going to the newly opened KLIA2, world’s largest purposely-built low-cost carrier terminal. It’s very spacious, luxurious and finally it looked like a modern airport compared to the former LCCT. But at certain point, now it looks more like a shopping mall to me as there are a lot of retail spaces inside.

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Reached Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar) after three hours of AirAsia flight. First destination: Uluwatu Temple. Here, any shot of the cliff would be spectacular. Interesting part of this place is the monkeys; tourists tend to get their attention, and try to guess what’s their response? They can take off small belongings from you so quick that you didn’t notice. One of the monkeys even snatched a sunglasses, climbed up quick to a tree and tried to wear it but couldn’t since it’s big for them.

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Then, we went for a seafood dinner at Jimbaran Bay, a perfect spot to watch the beautiful sunset and also the frequent sightings of airplanes landing since the place is near to the airport. A very wonderful atmosphere as you can dine on the beach with such a picturesque setting.

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27th July 2014 (Sunday)

Today’s tours were mostly on visiting those handicraft or product centres. First was the coffee station, where we were introduced on some information regarding coffee beans and also their famous Luwak coffee. Then, visit to the batik shop, and then to a centre selling silver and gold works. Also went to a shop selling wood carving and handicraft products, and then to a premium outlet selling the famous ‘Polo by Ralph Lauren’ apparel brand. Not interested in all these but forced to spend several hours for those was quite boring. Then, watched a cultural Barong performance and we were all bored and left the place earlier.

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In the afternoon, we went to the Kintamani Batur Lake and Volcano. Along the journey past Ubud, we saw the Tegallalang Rice Terrace. We are at over thousand metres above sea level now, and so the place is cold and windy. This is the first time I’m seeing an active volcanic mountain. There is a huge caldera lake besides the mountain.

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Last tour of the day was the Tampak Siring Temple (Holy Spring Water Temple). The place is best known for the mythical water emerging out from the land of which the locals treat it as holy water. Hence, now, the place is a tourist attraction and many went there to shower with the water. Didn’t do that but at least I rinsed my face and I felt a bit refreshed.

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28th July 2014 (Monday)

Today we went for a boat ride to the Turtle Island Farm. On the boat, we fed the fishes with bread and we got to see them through the glass at the floor of the boat. Interesting colourful small little fishes. At the turtle farms, we got to take pictures with turtles (of course), eagles, bats, hornbills, snakes, etc. But that’s a very small place and the excitement ended quick. Back to the beach, and we felt jealous seeing the others playing the water sports while we couldn’t.

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Then, we went to the iconic Beratan Temple. A lake within mountains, and a temple within the lake. A beautiful and cold environment there. The temple is also featured at the back of Indonesian note of 50 000 rupiah.

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Then, we went to Taman Ayun Temple. A small temple with a lot of pagodas and surrounded by river. Took a group photo here along with all my other tour members.

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Lastly, we visited the must-see place in Bali; Tanah Lot. A temple perched on a rocky outcrop in the sea. During low tide, the temple is accessible and joined to the land. During high tide, the temple appears to sit on an island away from the land. At the time we went there, it’s low tide. We also managed to get there before the sunset. There were a lot of tourists there.

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29th July 2014 (Tuesday)

Today we went to a shop selling the famous kek lapis (layered cake) but we didn’t buy any since we find nothing special of it and Malaysia do have it too. Then, we purchased some souvenirs from the huge ‘oleh-oleh’ (souvenir) centre before going to Kuta Beach. Reached the beach and stayed there for a while under the hot sun while watching people surfing, swimming, building sand castles, sun bathing, picnicking, etc. Then, we walked to the nearby Hard Rock Cafe and to Beachwalk, a popular indoor-outdoor shopping centre that turned out to be the latest modern attraction in Bali.

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And finally, time to go to airport and board the flight back to Kuala Lumpur.

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Hate it when the flight is delayed for over an hour and so, we reached KL very late at night. The stress of walking for almost 30 minutes from the arrival gate to the baggage claim area is already burdening, and then we were told there is no more taxi service provided since many were still on Raya holiday. No taxi service for such a huge airport. Crazy…So, no choice…had to take KLIA transit to Bandar Tasik Selatan and then my sister brought us home. What an end to the trip.

(Images in this post are copyright reserved)

 

 

7 Days 5 Nights India Trip on CNY 2012…Uniquely different and memorable!

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2012 by vincentloy

Uniquely different! This is my overall opinion to the 11th oversea trip I had, which the country we went to is India. The trip lasted in 7 days and 5 nights and I have just returned home this early morning. Feeling tired but happy over the experience gained from the trip, I am now ready to share what’s going on throughout this ‘Incredible India’ tour organized by GTT travel company. Time flies, and the trip was over. Over 600 pictures were taken, over 10 places visited, 3 cities travelled, and priceless experience gained.

22nd January 2012 (Sunday)

The flight is in the afternoon, and so it’s a usual morning, but we need to get up quite early for the rituals to be done for Chinese New Year tomorrow, and also for last preparation for the one-week long trip. I bought quite a number of shirts and jackets for the trip, so that I can choose what to wear, without much restriction. Sometimes, I agree I do wear nice clothing. Haha…back to the trip, we reached Kuala Lumpur International Airport for international flight to New Delhi, the capital of India. This is the first time we met the other tour members in the group consisting of around 40 people; a very huge group.

After a comfortable time of approximately 5 hours with in-flight entertainment provided in the plane, we finally arrived at Indira Ghandhi International Airport. It’s a very beautiful and spectacular airport, which I hardly expected from a poor country like India. It’s very cold in Delhi at night, and I was shivering. We get back to the hotel, ready for the official touring days to start tomorrow. I can’t sleep well that night, probably due to the in-adaptability to the cold environment there at the moment.

23rd January 2012 (Monday)

Early in the morning, I woke up and took the first look over part of Delhi, the capital of India from my hotel room. I can see that many are poor, and that their living condition is not really well in this densely-populated city. The environment is dusty, and the street is quite filthy. Now I can see Kuala Lumpur is way better than Delhi. The houses there are of flat roof, with no clear planning to the construction of those houses. It’s a huge city!

Happy Chinese New Year! It’s the first day of the lunar new year of dragon! According to the tour itinerary, we would be heading to several tourist destinations in Delhi like Laxminarayan Temple, India Gate and Raj Ghat (a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi). All that were cancelled as the Republic Day of India (on 26th January) is coming very soon and all the major roads in the city area are closed including those places of attractions. We can only take a view and few pictures of Lotus Temple from a far location.

What an unlucky day, and I still wonder why the authority close the roads and places so many days earlier!? Very disappointed…the day ends up with no places to visit, and after lunch, we head straight to Agra city through a 5-hours bus ride. Along the bus ride, we get to stop by and visit a gigantic temple called Jaigurudev Temple, a white-marble temple with Mughal architecture, something similar to Taj Mahal too. It’s a very nice building anyway.

We finally arrived Agra, a city with much poorer condition, but famous for the main tourist attraction; Taj Mahal. It’s already night and we went straight to the hotel we are staying for dinner too. It’s Radisson Hotel, a very beautiful hotel with excellent buffet provided for our breakfast, lunch and dinner, but we felt bored after having the similar food for two days continuously.

24th January 2012 (Tuesday)

This is the place we have to visit definitely once you are in India; Taj Mahal. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The bus is not allowed to stop near there, and we have to get on electric-powered vehicle to get to the entrance to Taj Mahal, a huge mausoleum built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in dedication to his deceased wife, Mumtaz Mahal. There is a very stringent security check before entering the area bordered by walls, plazas and gardens before proceeding to the iconic white marble structure of Taj Mahal.

The place is filled with many people, and many of them are busy occupying those spaces where they can take beautiful photographs of Taj Mahal. It is very hard for us to queue up and squeeze in just to get a good spot and take photographs in a quick time before the others take over. Taj Mahal is no doubt very beautiful in photographs, but is definitely much more impressive when seen from the eyes directly. I really love the feeling of being there looking at the structure with emphasis on axis and symmetry.

I took a lot of photographs there. Since we are given not a very long time in the place, I have no time to visit the mosques and the other structures surrounding Taj Mahal. The time limits me to observe the surrounding in details, but overall I can still feel the wonder of the place. Leaving the place, we couldn’t also get any time to buy the cheap souvenirs from the many stalls lining up outside the place.

After Taj Mahal, we went to Agra Fort which is also known as Red Fort. It is a gigantic complex of structures with great defence and is famous for having a beautiful view over the nearby Taj Mahal. It takes quite a long time if you want to go through every corners in the fort, and so we only covered major areas in the fort; particularly some main corridors, the prison, castle building, halls and plazas. The structures there are very planned, massive and intriguing.

25th January 2012 (Wednesday)

In Agra, we saw a much poorer and worst condition of the streets. We even saw a huge empty ground filled with people, and try to guess what they are doing? The answer is that they are shitting! Yes…shitting, filling the ground (an open space of public toilet) with ample of human turds that I can even see some clearly from far, from inside the bus. Luckily, we are not out there at the time, if not, it must be very smelly and much more disgusting to only just seeing that.

Today we left Agra and proceed to Jaipur, another city to be a must-visit in India. Along the route, we went also to Fatehpur Sikri, an abandoned city complex up on a hill. The structures in there are not much different with those we have seen from Agra Fort but those are now in much more vibrant red colour. There is also a very vast plaza near the entrance that appears to be very welcoming to visitors with a very beautiful 360 degree view.

After a 5 hours bus ride, we finally arrived in Jaipur, the pink city. It is a well-planned city with many buildings in terracotta colour. Because there is no terracotta term in colour, hence the city is defined as pink city instead. We went to textile and carpet factory and shop to see the demonstration over the products, not buying. After that, we proceed to the nearby spice shop and painting shop, and also no buying in the end because all those products are not suitable for us. At night, we stayed at Cambay Spa and Resort, which is not really good as food served are very limited.

26th January 2012 (Thursday)

Today is a very beautiful and sunny day. The first destination is Amber Fort, a giant and impressive-looking fort with many structures up on a hill surrounded by thick walls. A long barrier wall is also spotted over the hills around the area, which is used to protect the old city in the past. It is something like Great Wall of China, but with shorter length (still quite long).

It is a very long queue for the elephant ride up to the fort which is above a hill. Luckily we came earlier, if not, much more time would be wasted. Finally, it’s our turn and it’s a very shaky ride up to the fort on a pathway full of elephants’ droppings; smelly! We arrived at a plaza surrounded by mainly yellow-coloured facades with beautiful backdrop of the hills and blue sky.

We went up and up, going through ramps, stairs, tunnels and corridors and it is no doubt that it is another huge and amazing structure to visit. The main attraction is the Hall of Glittering Mirrors where at night, one flame is enough to create a sparkling environment due to the multiple reflection from the reflective materials used to built the hall. The views from the fort to the old city of Jaipur is also quite impressive.

Then, we proceed to Jaipur’s waterfront to take a closer look to the Water Palace in the middle of a man-made lake. It is built over 200 years ago as a place of retreat for the past emperors. After a short while, we proceed to the gem stones and jewellery factory for a little demonstration and we were brought to the shop. No buying definitely.

Then, we went to Jantarmantar Astronomical Observatory for a look over the scientific knowledge, research and determination of Indian history in astronomy. Those weird-looking structures and equipments available there are for the purposes like knowing the time of a day, determining the horoscope of the month, determining the angle and height of the Sun from the Earth, and many others. I hardly understand how most of the structures work eventhough the tour guide had explained it briefly.

Then, we proceed to the City Palace complex of Jaipur which houses several museums now, including paintings, armors and weapons, royal clothings, jars, etc. No photography is allowed inside and so I can only take pictures from the outside. We are also being brought to a hall of royal gathering which is very impressive, and also to a plaza surrounded by intricate peacock-styled gates.

After the tour in the palace complex, we went to the nearby local bazaar for a quick and dangerous shopping. Why quick? Because we were given only an hour for that long street of shops. Why dangerous? Because it is very challenging to even just cross a small road, knowing that the traffic is bad and the reckless driving behaviour of the people. We only bought some magnets there after some bargaining. We also see the Wind Palace along the street, with over 900 windows for women to look out in the past.

27th January 2012 (Friday)

Today, we proceed back to Delhi through a 5-hours bus ride. It’s quite boring staying so long in the bus. As soon as we reached Delhi and had lunch in a Chinese and Japanese Restaurant, our bus passes by the roads surrounded by embassies, and also the Presidential House of India, which is the world’s largest house for the head of state. It contains over 300 rooms and is previously known as Viceroy’s House.

What’s more interesting is that we saw there are many roundabouts in New Delhi, and that those places are filled with many people loitering around, relaxing with some playing small games including poker cards under the sun. The roundabouts are turned to something like a park. Then, we reached India Gate, a gigantic War Memorial gate-like structure of over 40 metres high for the 90 000 Indian armies who lost their lives in World War I. It’s a Western-styled gate and is supposed to be the center of New Delhi, with a very visible strong axis leading to the Presidential House.

At first, the itinerary already mentioned a tour to Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of independence of India. However, the place is still closed and we can’t get in there. Disappointed again. Then, the tour guide dropped the Lotus Temple tour too because it is quite far and might delay our time back to airport for flight home. Another bad decision! I couldn’t see the interior of the magnificent temple already! And yet, we are given an hour plus to visit a shopping mall near the airport.

It is so strict for the security check in the mall. You have to be inspected including your bags even before you can enter the mall. My goodness…I even give up on entering several shops in the mall as there are ample of guards watching you as if you are a thief. So, the shopping trip ended with nothing bought. Another disappointment. The authority was so afraid that we would bomb their place.

Finally, after an early dinner near the airport, we finally went back to the Indira Gandhi International Airport for flight back to Kuala Lumpur after a tiring trip. The procedures through the immigration and check-in are so annoying and wasting much of our time. The authority is too strict on that. Some last few pictures-taking and also some quick shopping in the airport before we leaved, and board the plane. We bought some chocolates, some small souvenirs (key chains, silver plate of Taj Mahal, and also a model of Taj Mahal). Okay…we were back to Kuala Lumpur International Airport in a very early morning, and we waited so long for that baggage reclaim. We had a breakfast at McDonalds in the airport before going back home for a sleep.

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That’s the end of my trip. Yes, it’s already ended, and the conclusion is that the trip came with some disappointments (not able to shop on products we wanted, and also not able to visit some places as mentioned in itinerary, some delays from the traffic congestion) and also some surprises (surprises over good quality of hotel and food we are attended to). It is definitely a uniquely-different trip, as we saw many new and memorable perspectives from India which appears to be a fresh location as this is our first time being in this huge country with population of over a billion people. It is still an unforgettable trip for me, and the experience gained from the trip is priceless. It is fun and certainly different visiting India. Want a future trip to India next time soon? Not really also….The trip is over and I’m back blogging as usual again…

(All the pictures from this post are taken by myself, please credit if you are sharing or re-using it…for the full 400 pictures of the trip, you can go to my facebook photo album and see all that fascinating images easily)