Wednesday 29 August 2018

KANAGAWA: Hakone, Kamakura and Yokohama

So here I am sharing yet another non mainstream itinerary with you all, and this time, it’s from my last month trip to Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. I hope you’ll find this useful one day, esp when you’re traveling to Japan and seek for a different experience :)


Touched down Haneda Airport early in the morning, had my coffee fix and we finally headed straight to Hakone to begin our trip. But first, lunch at cafe KOMON. I had the Roast Beef and Rice with 12 Kinds of Vegetables and Hans had the Hotoriya Special Curry and Rice with Fillet Cutlet. The food was lovely and the view was extra beautiful.

After we finished our meal, we went cruising on Lake Ashi to experience the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise. It's a sightseeing destination for lake cruises on pirate-style ships offering scenic mountain views, forests and of course the striking red gateway to the Hakone Shrine.

Next stop was The Great Boiling Valley, Owakudani. It is a volcanic valley with active sulphur vents and hot springs in Hakone. And while you're here, don't forget to try the famous owakudani black egg. It is believed that if you eat the egg, you can live 7 years longer.

Also not to miss is the Hakone Ropeway, where you can enjoy Hakone's scenic panorama from the top.

When you travel to Japan, remember to spare some time for a tea break because Japanese matcha is definitely the best; and so we had our tea and snack time at Amasake Chaya just before we moved to the next destination: Hakone Shrine.

The Hakone Shrine is a Japanese Shinto shrine on the shores of Lake Ashi in the town of Hakone. It is also known as the Hakone Gongen.

Dinner was a yummy shabu shabu at the hotel that we stayed in: Ichinoyu Honkan, Hakone.

And I ended the day with a 10 minutes onsen! Just because the hotel room has a private onsen inside. I know, how awesome ;)


Checked out from out hotel and we were picked up for a transfer to Kamakura. First stop was the Hokoku-ji Temple. It is an old temple which is famous for its bamboo garden, also known as the Bamboo Temple.

From one temple to another, next one that we visited was Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. It is said to be the most important Shinto shrine in the city of Kamakura. Again, while you're here, don't forget to take pictures in front of the sacrificial barrels of sake wine before going up to the main Shrine.

Lunch was shirasu and kaisen don at Wasai Yakura, Komachi Street. Definitely one of the best meal I've had in Kamakura. Ocean-fresh baby sardines and fish cuts, served with chawanmushi, miso soup and pickled, yum!

After lunch, it was time to experience the Ichijyo Ekan Sanso, a truly charming tea house with beautiful little garden and scenery. It was built by the 9th Prince of Emperor Goyozei 370 ago and it's one of the important Cultural Asset in Japan.
Thank you to our guide, Mr. Kawano, we had a lovely tour and afternoon tea while enjoying the beautiful scenery and relaxing sound of the river.

Right before dinner, we were given some free time to enjoy the local culture at Komachi Street, a place where you can find many souvenir shops, enjoy local food, snacks and also good coffee.

Dinner was at Ristorante Amalfi, an Italian Restaurant with a scenic view of the sea and of course, great food.

Done with dinner and it was time to take a rest at Kamakura Park Hotel before continuing our trip on the next day.


Third day was Yokohama day. We left Kamakura early in the morning for Yokohama and our first destination of the day was Cupnoodles Museum. It is a fun and interactive museum that shows the history of instant ramen noodles using a combination of whimsical exhibits and hands on workshops. We had such a memorable experience, from learning about the history of ramen, the space ramen to making our own cup noodle, how lovely.

Not forgetting lunch at Pie Holic, a pie buffet restaurant with varieties of pie, from savory to sweet, from vegan to all meat, you choose.

Not far from our lunch place is O R B I, a joint collaboration between BBC Earth and Sega and is one of the most high-tech museum attractions featuring giant, immersive films on nature, animals & landscapes.

Next in the schedule was back to the hotel: Yokohama Park Hotel to freshen up before dinner.

We ended the day and wrapped up our whole 4 days 3 nights Kanagawa trip with Yukata de Marine Rouge experience. Cruising through the Yokohama Sea while wearing traditional Japanese Yukata, having dinner on board Marine Rouge and of course enjoying the night view from the top deck. What a perfect way for a farewell.

Till next time, Japan!

Friday 17 August 2018

QUEENSLAND: Brisbane & Gold Coast

Sharing our five days four nights Queensland itinerary with you guys, just in case you'll be traveling around Queensland in near future ;)


I remember it was on Monday night that we had a red eye flight to Brisbane via Sydney with Qantas Airways.
We arrived in Brisbane on Tuesday morning and we were picked up by Limoso Luxury Transport to go straight to NEXT Hotel Brisbane, to check in and freshen up before lunch.

We had lunch at Lennons Restaurant & Bar, located on level 2 of the hotel we stayed in and the food was great. Sonia, Andy and I decided to share our food because we we saving our stomach for some snacks while touring around after, so we ordered ricotta gnocchi, crispy skin duck breast and salad on the side.

Right after lunch, it was finally time to tour around the city and we were guided by Emma from Brisbane Greeters, a free public service by the locals who love living in Brisbane so much that they are enthusiastic about introducing their city, and it’s open to everyone.

We were touring around from Queen Street Mall to Brisbane Arcade, passing through the Victoria Bridge to the Brisbane Sign at South Bank and finally The Wheel of Brisbane, all by foot because everywhere is within walking distance from our hotel.

Dinner was at Stokehouse Q, located on the riverside, just a few minutes walk from The Wheel of Brisbane and the food was splendid! I had the Market fish served with broccoli, shio koji and curry leaf, yum!!

Ended the day by enjoying a night ride on The Wheel of Brisbane, a breathtaking way to have 360 degree panoramic view of Brisbane City from the heart of Brisbane's cultural, lifestyle and entertainment precinct, The Parklands, South Bank.


Had a quick breakfast at the hotel and straight to the famous Wednesday Market, Jan Power's Farmers Markets Queen Street which is situated at the heart of Brisbane, George St, where you can find varieties of yummy food, snacks, drinks and many more.

After we filled our stomach with snacks and coffee, we continued our walking tour to QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art) at Stanley Place to take a look at the most ambitious exhibition to date of work by Australian Artist, Patricia Piccinini: “Curious Affection”.

Truth be told, the art pieces gave me a scare at first. However, as I browsed through the exhibition and read the stories of them pieces, it turned out to be more and more interesting and I surprisingly found myself becoming more curious about “Curious Affection”. It’s influenced by science, nature, surrealism and the unconscious, with themes ranginng from relationship and fertility, to wonder and ambiguity.

We had super yummy burgers at Ben’s Burgers for lunch and not forgetting my coffee fix before we made a move to James Street for a shopping spree and more coffee!

One last stop before dinner was The Story Bridge Adventure Climb.
Climbing the Story bridge to experience the awe-inspiring 360 degree view of Brisbane, its river and surrounding mountain ranges.

Dinner was a nice banquet at Madame Wu; and right after dinner, we were picked up again by our driver from Limoso Luxury Transport for our transfer to Gold Coast.


Woke up at The Island Gold Coast, feeling great!
As usual, we had our breakfast at the hotel and the coffee was awesome.

Right after breakfast, we were supposed to experience the Whale Watching but the owner from Whales in Paradise was kind enough to let us know that the water was really rough earlier that day. 
Andy and the rest were still going to experience the whale watching, but knowing that Sonia and I are not fond of rough water, he gave us another option which was the River Tour and we loved every second of it.

Lunch of the day was brought to us by Charis Seafoods! It was my first time trying deep fried uni (sea urchin) and am not hating it. We also had boiled prawns, oysters, fried calamari salad and also fish and chips.

Done with our lunch and finally to the Warner Bros. Movie World! It was just a pity that we only had 2 hours to enjoy the theme park but nevertheless we still got a few nice pictures to show show you guys. Well, my eyes were on the DC Rivals HyperCoaster all the time but I had no guts to ride it, it’s just too scary for me, maybe next time ;)

Ending the day at the Pacific Fair Shopping Center and we had a nice ramen there. Just for your information, Pacific Fair is the biggest shopping mall in Gold Coast with over 400 shops in total, including retail, supermarkets, F&B and more.


I was actually not present on the last day because I had to go back for my best-friend’s wedding but I’ll still share our itinerary here with you guys. Featuring pics from Sonia and Andy ;)

Breakfast with a Gold Coast city view at SkyPoint Observation Deck.

Next stop: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, where guests can experience a koala cuddle and take a photo with it, so jealous!

Lastly, it was the time to wrap up the 5D 4N tour by enjoying the evening at the NightQuarter.
NightQuarter is the Gold Coast’s creative playground. Located in Helensvale, the market is divided into unique precincts featuring micro-restaurants, emerging fashion and unique live music spaces.

To sum it all, we had a wonderful time in Brisbane & Gold Coast and I’ll make sure that I’ll be back again, hopefully soon. Care to join me for the next one? ;)