Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Balkans (2018): From Dubrovnik To Split, Croatia

From the intact walled city of Dubrovnik, we travelled to Split - the second largest city of Croatia. The journey from Dubrovnik to Split takes approximately 4 hour and 30 minutes via bus, therefore we pre-book the morning bus so we able to reach Split by afternoon in order to have more time to explore the town. Do take note as the bus route passing through Neum Corridor which is Bosnia-Herzegovina territory, make sure to have your passport ready. 

2018 Croatia Split 01
#1: Split - the second largest city of Croatia

REACHING SPLIT BUS TERMINAL
Unlike Dubrovnik whereby its bus terminal is located out of the town, the main bus terminal of Split is just situated within the town center. From here, it takes only less than 10 minutes walk to our hostel. Besides the bus terminal, we even spotted the ferry port and train station are just around the corner making the changing or connecting with other means of transport is so convenient in Split. However if you are wondering why don't we travel from Dubrovnik to Split with train is because there is no train between these routes available so far. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station

When come to staying in Taipei, I can't deny Ximending is always my top choice. But because of my recent trip where I travelled alone and arrived Taipei quite late at night, I decided to stay somewhere nearby the Taipei Main Station then. 

I almost booked other hostel until I saw this, it's like love at first sight...

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 01
#The inviting lounge/common area

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Taipei & Kyushu Prefecture (Sneak Peek)

Taiwan on the right side.
Japan on the left side.

I'm referring to escalator etiquette, by the way.

I just came back from another trip of mine and this time, I visited both Taiwan and Japan - it's like killing two birds with one stone. My initial plan is to visit Kyushu Island but to date, there's no direct flight from Malaysia. So in order to get there, the option is either fly from Singapore, Taiwan or Hong Kong and I chosen Taiwan cause I love to be back to Taiwan again. 

DT Instagram

As usual, here's another quick sneak peek from my recent trip there:

2018 Taoyuan Taiwan
你好, Taiwan! I did a post why I love Taiwan so much - Reasons Why I Revisit Taiwan Again!

2018 Fukuoka
From Taiwan, we took a flight to Fukuoka.

2018 Japan Yufuin 01
We rented a car and did a quick stopby at Yufuin for this colourful and lovely village.

2018 Japan Beppu Umi Jigoku
Umi Jigoku - one of the must visit attractions in Beppu.

2018 Japan Kumamoto
Kumamoto Castle and Kumamon - Two iconic of Kumamoto Prefecture.

2018 Japan Nagasaki
Learning the history in Peace Park in Nagasaki. Regret for didn't stay longer here.

2018 Japan Fukuoka Ichiran Ramen
Fukuoka, the birthplace of Ichiran Ramen.

After spending 6 days in Kyushu Island which I personally think it's pretty short, I flew back to Taiwan again and stayed there for few days. Among all the things in Taipei, the highlight of this trip is particularly the hostel I stayed. At first, I only stayed for a night only and I decided to book to stay with them again right after back from Kyushu.

2018 Taipei Star Hostel Main Taipei Station
When I post this in Facebook and Instagram, quite a number of my friends and followers asking me what's the name of this hostel. I will blog more of this in the next upcoming post.

Thinking of so many travelogues still pending, don't know when will I able to finalise them. I should stop travelling but you know, it's hard - "Once bitten by the travel bug, there is no antidote!"

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Balkans (2018): Old City Walls of Dubrovnik

When my friend and I were in Dubrovnik for two days, we went nowhere except casually strolling in and out of the Old City only. Two days might seem long but it's actually sufficient to cover major attractions including walking around the old city walls of Dubrovnik - that's what we did on the second day. 

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 01
#1

A walk along this prominent ancient medieval walls that encircles the Old Town is one truly unique and amazing experience. A visit to Dubrovnik is incomplete without a walk around this mighty city wall and it's absolutely must-do-thing when one visiting this "Pearl of the Adriatic" city. With the entrance fee of HRK150 (approx. to RM104), it's really worth to pay a visit as we're rewarded with awe-inspiring views over the deep blue Adriatic sea and inwards over the orange rooftops of the Old Town buildings from the top. 

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 02
#2

There are three entrances leads to the old city walls of Dubrovnik; from near the Pile Gate, the Ploce Gate and the Maritime Museum. The Pile Gate entrance which closer to Onofrio's Fountain tends to be the most famous choice among the visitors and therefore the busiest one. From here, we climbed up towards Fort Bokar, the key point in the defense of the Pile Gate. 

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 04
#3

From Fort Bokar, we sighted another magnificent fortress across us and it's known as Fort Lovrijenac or St. Lawrence Fortress. One interesting thing about this fort is that it has a triangular layoout with three terraces. The entrance fee we paid earlier not just a visit to the old city walls but it also included a visit to this fort too - thanks to my friend who notice about this, or else it's really a waste.  

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 05
#4: Fort Lovrijenac or St. Lawrence Fortress

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 06
#6

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 07
#7

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 08
#8

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 09
#9

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 10
#10: Somehow we feel like we're in Santorini, Greece

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 11
#11

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 12
#12

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 13
#13

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 14
#14

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 15
#15

The walls run uninterrupted for about 2km long surrounding the city and we took about 3 to 4 hours to walk all the way around them. It's best to start your visit as early as possible - not just to beat the crowd but to avoid the scorching hot sun up in the afternoon. And in case you are feeling tired and thirsty, don't worry cause there are few cafes available for you to have a sit and order a cup of drink to cool down yourself. You can even grab an ice-cream too! 

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 16
#16

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Ice-Cream Day 2
#17: Everyday ice-cream+ing in Croatia

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 17
#18: This looks alike The Hobbit Village

Old City Walls of Dubrovnik
Admission Fee: HRK150
Opening Hours: 8:00am to 7:30pm daily

TOTAL SPENDING ON SECOND DAY IN DUBROVNIK
My total damages on the second day in this expensive city:
PARTICULARS
AMOUNT
€/KN
RM

Accommodation
Hostel Angelina Old Town – 1 night

Food & Drinks
Second Day in Dubrovnik

Admission Fee
Old City Walls

Others
Magnet


€30


221 kn


150 kn


21 kn



145


153


104


15

TOTAL (RM)
417
Exchange Rate: €1.00 (RM4.84) = 7.13 kuna on average 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Balkans (2018): Can't Help Falling In Love With Dubrovnik, Croatia

After spending 4 days in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2 days in Sarajevo and 2 days in Mostar), from there I move on to another new destination, Croatia - the 44th country I visited to date. Just like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia is a country positioned in the Western Balkans. It is to the east side of Adriatic Sea with bordered by Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast. I picked Dubrovnik to be the first city I'm going to step my foot on Croatian soils.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Cover

GOODBYE MOSTAR, HELLO DUBROVNIK
There are no trains travel between Mostar and Dubrovnik due to some diplomatic dispute, as what I heard from the local but don't worry as one can still travel by bus. Almost all my bus tickets travel from one city to another city around Croatia bought directly from Get By Bus website. I chosen the earliest bus departed from Mostar so that I can arrive Dubrovnik at least before the lunch hour in order to meet my travel buddy. To be more precise, I wasn't travel alone throughout my Croatia trip then. 

Do take note that in Mostar, there are two different bus stations; Bus Station East and Bus Station West. If you are staying within the Old Town, then pick Mostar Bus Station East as the latter one is 20 minutes walk away. Another thing you need to take note is that on all intercity buses, you need to pay extra fee of €1-2 to the driver if you intend to place your luggage underneath. So keep some change ready.

2018 Bosnia Neum Border Check Point
#1: Always be prepared your passport by your side as there would be border checkpoints. 

Since travelling across the border, always be prepared your passport by your side cause the bus will stop at border check points, and the police officers would board the bus and request for a valid identity documents. There would also at some point where all the passengers are required to get off the bus, carrying their own luggage and queue up for custom inspection. Therefore, do expect for longer bus ride from what as per scheduled earlier due to these document validation and custom inspections.

2018 Mostar to Dubrovnik
#2: Despite all the hassle of crossing the border, I was rewarded with exquisite Croatian coast. Reserve the seat on the right-hand side for this spectacular view.

ARRIVED DUBROVNIK BUS STATION
After 5 hours and 30 minutes bus ride (which was an hour and 30 minutes behind the schedule), I glad finally I could took off my butt from the seat. The first thing I did once I arrived Dubrovnik Main Bus Station (Autobusni Kolodvor) was to exchange some Croatian kuna. Of course, this is not an ideal place to get the best rate but I need some local money to grab the local bus to the old town cause it is quite distance away - about 20 minutes ride. The bus stop heading to the Old Town (Pile) is located just in front of the main bus station and from there, one can take buses #1A, 1B or 1C and a single journey cost 15 kn if purchase directly from the driver (10 kn if purchase from the kiosk, but I can't find the kiosk nearby). 

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Autobusni Kolodvor Bus Station
#3

A WALK THROUGH THE OLD TOWN OF DUBROVNIK
I wasn't aware that the local bus stopped right outside the main gate, Pile Gate until I spotted all the passengers inside the bus got off from the bus. Immediately I did the same thing when one of the beautiful and friendly passengers told me this is the final and last stop. Initially I thought that one need to pay entrance fee in order to get into the Old Town but I was totally wrong. It's absolutely free and you can enter and exit anytime as you like.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 09
#4: The main gate of Dubrovnik, Pile Gate 

The first thing that caught my attention right after I entered through Pile Gate is Stradun, the main shopping street and gathering spot in the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. Along the street, you will find countless of souvenir stores, galleries, restaurants, cafe, money changers and etc on your left and right side. Besides that, you will be entertained by the performances of numerous street entertainers while making your way through the crowd. It's like Stradun is one street that never sleep at all.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 01
#5: Stradun, the central street of Dubrovnik old town

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 02
#6: Onofrio's Fountain, one of the ancient fountains of this city where you can directly drink the fresh water from.

We continued to discover more of this historical city right after done with quick check-in into the hostel we booked prior our arrival and also feasted our hungry tummy with burger for lunch break. Both of my friend and I wandered aimlessly and getting ourselves lost walking up and down through the pathway, lanes and small alleys in the maze of narrow city streets. Each and every corner of Dubrovnik is an unrivaled beauty waiting to be admired.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 03
#7: Getting lost by discovering the small passage

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 13
#8

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 04
#9: Old Port - This is where visitors waiting to board on the boats depart to nearby island such as Lokrum, Cavtat, Mlini and more.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 05
#10: Romantic baroque staircase modeled on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy leads to Church of St. Ignatius

Do you know that Dubrovnik is also known as King's Landing? This is because the HBO mega-hit drama series Game of Thrones (GOT) is almost completely filmed in this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage site. No surprise to spot quite number of shops around Dubrovnik selling assorted GOT merchandise. There are even GOT guided walking tours available to those die-hard fans. Unfortunately both of my friend and I never interested with any of these cause we never watch any single episode at all.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 11
#11: Anyone fan of Game of Thrones here?

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 10
#12: Besides Game of Thrones, only to find out that even Star Wars: The Last Jedi was filmed here as well.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 06
#13: We went for sunset tour organised by the hostel

On its other end, Stradun finishes in an attractive square surrounded by few of its most prominent historical sights of Dubrovnik such as the City Cathedral, the Church of St. Blaise, the Sponza Palace, the Rector's Palace, the bell towers and the Orlando's Column. All these enchanting monuments are the finest and most harmonious examples of the late medieval and early renaissance architecture. Dubrovnik Old Town doesn't lose its vividness after dark. Numerous musical and theater performances on the city square and variety of happenings in the countless city venues preserve the dynamic of the city life long after sunset.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 07
#14: Bell Tower on the left side, Rector's Palace in the middle and the Church of St. Blaise on the right side after the sunset.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 08
#15: Stradun doesn't lose its vividness even after dark

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Food
#16: Food we had on the first day in Dubrovnik. Eating in Dubrovnik is quite pricey

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 12
#17: Magnets are my biggest weakness when comes to shop for souvenirs

HOSTEL WITHIN OLD TOWN
One thing I can't deny is that living expenses in Dubrovnik is relatively higher than the rest of the cities of Croatia I visited, especially in terms of accommodations, food and even transportations. While doing research looking for hostel within the old town, I came across few but because of the negative comments, hence we ended up staying with Hostel Angelina Old Town instead. Although it cost €30 per night which is way more from our tentative budget but it's definitely worth the pay particularly for its convenient location, fairly clean for both dorm and bathroom.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Hostel Angelina Old Town 1
#18: Each bed is equipped with socket and lamp. And private locker is given to each guest.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Hostel Angelina Old Town 2
#19

Hostel Angelina Old Town
Date Stayed: 18 May to 20 May 2018 (2 nights)
Room Rate: €30 per night for a bunk bed in 12-bed mixed dormitory room without breakfast (Booked via Booking.com)

TOTAL SPENDING ON FIRST DAY IN DUBROVNIK
For this post, I would only share how much I spent on my first day in Dubrovnik. As for the second day, I will share on the following post.
PARTICULARS
AMOUNT
€/KN
RM

Transportation
Mostar to Dubrovnik via bus
City bus to Pile Gate

Accommodation
Hostel Angelina Old Town – 1 night

Food & Drinks
First Day in Dubrovnik

Others
Postcards


-
15 kn


€30


211 kn


9 kn



79
10


145


146


6

TOTAL (RM)
386
Exchange Rate: €1.00 (RM4.84) = 7.13 kuna on average 

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