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Stockholm Metro Station - Probably The World's Longest Art Installation

Metro station is normally served as a transportation hub to accommodate passengers in order to travel from one point to another. Hence, it's hard to come across any metro or subway station in any cities or countries that willing to put extra effort to manicure the station. Not until my trip to Stockholm of Sweden where their metro station is definitely one of a kind and sight to behold. 

Majority of the Stockholm's metro stations are spruced up with awe-inspiring statues, mesmerising murals and art installations on its platform, walls and even waiting hall. So spending a day in Stockholm by hopping from one station to another is basically like visiting the world’s longest art exhibition.  

Here’s just a small sample of the beauty my friend and I managed to discover below the ground:  

1) T-Centralen Subway Station 

This station is believed to be the first Stockholm's station to feature artwork installation. Painted the entire station in blue shades together with the simple motifs – stylized flowers and leaf creepers, the idea is to create calming atmosphere for the passengers pause and a chance to clear their mind as this station is where people always in a rush and hurry.  

#1: T-Centralen Subway Station 

#2: Painted in blue shades together with the simple motifs – stylized flowers and leaf creepers to create calming atmosphere

How To Reach T-Centralen Subway Station:
Can be reached by all subway train in Stockholm. 


2) Tekniska Högskolan Subway Station  
Close to the Royal Institute of Technology, the main intention of opening this station is to ease the convenience of the professors and students in order to get to the classes. And the most eye-catching of this station, are probably the five regular polyhedra located on the platform, each one representing one of Plato’s five elements: fire, water, air, earth, and ether. 

#3: Tekniska Högskolan Subway Station  

#4: The most eye-catching are the five regular polyhedra located on the platform

How To Reach Tekniska Högskolan Subway Station:
Tekniska högskolan is on the subway's red line no. 14 


3) Stadion Subway Station
Not far away from T-Centralan, I can say that this is probably one of our favourite where you can spot a colourful rainbow in vivid colours painted against the bright light blue between two platforms. This instantly makes me wanna sing, "Somewhere over the rainbow" song. Not just the platform is pretty attractive, but we also attracted to murals and art installation at the waiting hall.

#5: Stadion Subway Station

#6: One of our favourite metro station in Stockholm 

#7: Even the art installation on the wall is simply gorgeous

How To Reach Stadion Subway Station:
Stadion is on the subway's red line no. 14 


4) Solna Centrum Subway Station
Originally this station were painted solely in green and red only, but over the time, the artist decided to add more details and arts such as houses, rivers and trees. The bright green indicates the forest and the powerful red represents an evening sunset setting behind the treetops. 

#8: Solna Centrum Subway Station

#9: Red and green are the main highlight colour of this station 

How To Reach Solna Centrum Subway Station:
Solna Centrum is on the subway's blue line no. 11 


5) Kungsträdgården Subway Station 
Consider to be one of the city's most stunning stations and unsurprisingly, also to be one of its most photographed stations. Located in the middle of downtown Stockholm, Kungsträdgården is one of the Stockholm's oldest public parks. Hence, almost everything on the station portraits the story of the site above ground where the colour scheme of red, white and green is a reference to old French formal garden.  

#10: Kungsträdgården Subway Station 

#11: This station is painted to portrait Stockholm's oldest public park.

How To Reach Kungsträdgården Subway Station:
Kungsträdgården is on the subway's blue line. It can be reached by taking the no. 10 and 11 trains.

Actually, there are even more subway stations in Stockholm waiting to be discovered but due to limited of time, my friend and I only able to visit and cover 5 as the above. How we wish we could spend longer time in this wonderful city of Stockholm? 

HOW TO GET AROUND STOCKHOLM
With its extensive subway, the ideal way to travel around Stockholm is by taking metro/subway. The metro system called the Tunnelbana and has exactly 100 stations. Metro is probably the fastest way to travel to many inner suburbs not served by suburban rail, as well as offering a scenic view from the bridge between Gamla stan and Slussen. If you are in Stockholm for a short period of time but want an unlimited access on subways, you can consider to buy a pass with 24-hour just like we did. 

#12: 24-Hour Ticket for unlimited access not only on subways, but it also can apply on bus, trams and commuter trains. 

#13: Wondering when lah we can go travel? I'm freaking miss travelling so much 😭😭


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Overwater Villas of Gayana Marine Resort

Due to its strategic location lies by the coast overlooking South China Sea, Kota Kinabalu has countless of tropical islands not far away from the city center. You can reach the island less than 10 minutes of boat ride from the city jetty. How convenient is it, right? If you are planning to have a short island staycation within the short distance of Kota Kinabalu but then, still giving peace and relaxation you are looking for, there are few you can opt for. One of them is Gayana Marine Resort

#1: Gayana Marine Resort

Rest serenely at the edge of a jungle on Gaya Island, Gayana Marine Resort boasts spacious and extraordinary water villas with wooden interiors and superior facilities. My husband and I booked to stay here before the commencement of last year MCO. Besides Gayana Marine Resort, they do have another sister resort, namely Bunga Raya Island Resort which is our next wishlist to experience. 

Gayana Marine Resort 02
#2: Register ourselves at their office in Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal

HOW TO GET TO GAYANA MARINE RESORT
The only way to reach this overwater bungalow is by taking speed boat provided by the resort at Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. All guests need to register themselves at the office in Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal before depart to the resort. The boat transfer is scheduled to depart at 12pm and the boat ride takes about 20 minutes. 

Boat Transfer (Free of charge)
Check-in: 12pm
Check-out: 11am

Distance from airport to Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal: 15 minutes (Approx. RM10 with GrabCar) 

Gayana Marine Resort 05
#3: Crystal clear turquoise sea water and we're blessed with clear blue sky on our day of visit. 

The sea was calm and the boat ride was pretty smooth. Without we realised, we have arrived the overwater villas we're anticipated for. I have to admit that this is my first time overnight on one of KK's islands after living in the city for so long cause normally we only went for a day trip. Upon arriving, we're greeted with welcome drinks and friendly hospitality where they played the local music instrument to welcoming us. Feeling like a VVIP walking on a red carpet. 

Gayana Marine Resort 04
#4: Infinity pool overlooking panoramic sea view

THE ROOM
There are 4 type of villas in order to cater different need of the guests; Rainforest Villa, Ocean Villa, Breeze Villa and Palm Villa. The most luxe of all would be the Palm Villa features private plunge pools, glass floors in the living room and double shower and tubs for two offering seaviews whereas Breeze Villa are great for a group of families as it comes with separate living rooms and two bathrooms. 

As for us, we booked the Rainforest Villa facing the lush green rolling hills of unspoiled tropical jungle. All the stand-alone villas feature a spacious open deck and fitted with upscale amenities such as:
  • Air-conditioning 
  • LCD/Plasma screen
  • DVD player
  • Minibar with fridge, kettle and tea & coffee making
  • In-room safety deposit box
  • Ironing facilities
  • WiFi within the room 
Gayana Marine Resort -Rainforest Villa 1
#5: Room fitted with top-class amenities to the highest degree of comfortable and convenience of the guest 

Gayana Marine Resort -Rainforest Villa 3
#6: Ideal honeymoon spot for the newly wed couple

Gayana Marine Resort -Rainforest Villa Bathroom
#7: Private bathroom includes luxury amenities and powerful hot rainshower.

Gayana Marine Resort -Rainforest Villa 2
#8: Private open deck with sun beds 

THE RESTAURANTS
Due to its isolated and remote location which is completely cut off from the rest of the island, the only option for you to hunt for food is to dine-in at their restaurants. There no other restaurants, bars or even shops nearby. Hence, it's advisable that you can purchase some food and snacks earlier from the city's convenience store before departing to the resort. 

There are two restaurants available within the resort;
  1. Macac Restaurant - All-day dining venue serving Western fusion food with a distinctly Malaysian twist by the pool, including wood-fired pizza, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, salad and noodle soups.
  2. Alu-Alu Seafood Restaurant - Open for lunch and dinner, serving fresh Chinese cuisines where guests can select their meal from the menu or even pick live seafood from the restaurant's tanks. 
During our stay here, we dine-in in both of the two restaurants where we had our lunch (first day upon arrival) and breakfast (the following day) at Macac Restaurant and dinner at Alu-Alu Seafood Restaurant. Overall, we found the food was pretty decent and not bad but somewhat overpriced. 
 
Gayana Marine Resort - Macac Restaurant
#9: Macac Restaurant - All-day dining venue including where we had our breakfast here.  

Gayana Marine Resort - Macac Restaurant 2
#10: Macac Breakfast - Poarched eggs, grilled sausages, petit marinated sausages, hash brown, savory tomato relish and saute shitake mushrooms. 

Gayana Marine Resort - Macac Restaurant 3
#11: Freshly baked pastries and colourful fruits 

Gayana Marine Resort - Alu-Alu Seafood Restaurant 1
#12: Alu-Alu Seafood Restaurant - Open for lunch and dinner, this is where you can have fresh seafood from the fish tank. 

Gayana Marine Resort - Alu-Alu Seafood Restaurant 2
#13: Our dinner at Alu-Alu Seafood Restaurant - seafood fried rice paired sweet and sour fish

MARINE ECOLOGY RESEARCH CENTER (MERC)
One of the special features of this resort that distinguish them from the rest is the establishment of MERC, a learning and educational centre to create awareness about the marine ecosystem due to increasing threats on the marine life. They even propagating Giant Clams and restoring damaged coral reefs on the island. What amazed both my husband and I was there is a spacious theatre hall on the island where they will play a short video regarding MERC and marine life. It's fascinating even for adults like us. 

Gayana Marine Resort - Marine Ecology Research Centre 1
#14: Marine Ecology Reseach Centre - Guests can get up close with sea creatures from starfish to bamboo sharks. 

Awaken to the sound of gentle waves lapping below in the morning and witness the stunning tropical sunset in the evening, we were completely immersed ourselves in once-in-a-lifetime luxury experience that pampering the body and enlightened the soul. This is why I always feel that our homegrown island resorts eventually can compete with most of the world-renowned island resorts in Maldives. Why travel so far away when you can experience in your home country Malaysia, right? Come and let's Cuti-Cuti Malaysia now! 

Gayana Marine Resort 07
#15: Final photo for memories before taking the free boat transfer back to the jetty at 11am 






The rates includes breakfast for 2

Proudly to announce that Gayana Marine Resort is now open for weekend stays starting from 19th March. For reservations and enquiries, kindly please contact this number 088-380390 or email them at rsvn.gayana@echoresorts.com.

[Credit to Oyster]
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New Zealand Day 5: Huka Falls of Taupo

 << Previous Post: Day 5 - Hobbiton Movie Set <<

Since our tour to Hobbiton Movie Set ended around noon time, we have ample of time for the next sightseeing. But before that, let's fill up the hungry tummy first. 

#1: Asian always be Asian. My friends and I decided to settle our lunch at Japanese Restaurant instead.

From Matamata town in the Waikato region, we continue by driving to Lake Taupo, approximately 1 and half hour drive. Lake Taupo is the largest lake by surface area in New Zealand, and the second largest freshwater lake by surface area in geopolitical Oceania. Not far away from the lake is the country's most visited attractions, Huka Falls which one of the main reasons we drove to Taupo. 

Not far away from where we parked our car, we can hear clearly the sound of the gigantic, strong and furious water flows. As we got nearer, we're blew away by the crystal clear turquoise coloured fall.  No word can ever described how stunning this fall is. Sometimes when we're too busy with life, we tend to forget how incredible is our mother's nature works. It's best for us to stop a while, and admire while we still have the chance to do so.  

#2: Huka Falls of Taupo

#3: Walking trails and viewing platforms for the photographer and nature lovers to relish the falls at every possible angle.

#4: Jet boats zooming 

#5: One of the most beautiful waterfalls in New Zealand

Don't worry about the admission fee cause it's free. As well as the parking lot. So do stopby here if you have the chance. 

We settled our night in Rotorua, which takes another 1 hour drive there. If you are planning to drive around New Zealand, try to gather those friends who have valid driving license so that you can rotate the drivers. Driving from one point to another in New Zealand can be exhausting. 

ACCOMMODATION IN ROTORUA

#6: 

#7: 

Roto Vegas Motel
Date Stayed: 17 September - 18 September 2015
Room Rate: RM296 for a room with queen size bed and a single bed attached with private bathroom

#8: Since there's kitchen within our room, we decided to cook our own dinner. To save cost as possible as we can
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New Zealand Day 5: Hobbiton Movie Set

 << Previous Post: Day 4 - Paihia & Russell <<

It's the day we have been anticipated for and we're overly excited for it. If you are a movie fan of The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, I bet this place will definitely included in your travel itinerary and you shouldn't miss it at all cost. No introduction needed for this place cause once one mentioned about New Zealand, instantly Hobbiton will be on their mind. 

#1: Hobbitton Movie Set

What and Where is Hobbiton?

Set in the heart of Waikato region, Hobbiton is a movie set used for shooting the world-renowned The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit movies which adapted from an epic high fantasy novel. Found by Sir Peter Jackson who is the movie director, this privately owned 1,250 acre family sheep farm caught his attention for its breathtaking rolling hills and lush green pastures where he concluded it's an ideal scene for "The Shire", as described by the novel author, JRR Tolkien.

Practically, there are two ways to reach Hobbiton:

1) By self-driving. If you are from Auckland, it takes approximately 2 hours drive to Matamata town. U can opt to stay in the nearest town such as Hamilton (like we did) or Rotorua which both take about 45 minutes drive. Don't worry about the parking when reach the site cause it's free. 

2) Coach transfer. If you don't feel comfortable with driving around New Zealand, you can book for coach transfer from Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton. 

#2: The departure time, departing on the place of departure

Guided Tour

Hobbiton doesn't open for walk-in visitors, hence you need to pre-book your ticket in advance via online. The time slots and places are pretty limited, so it's wise to book earlier to avoid disappointment. There are few tours available for the visitors but I found the regular tour which costs $89 for adult and $44 for youth (age between 9 to 16) is fairly sufficient for us to cover almost all the movie set we're looking forward for within 2 hours of tour. 

#3: Pre-book your ticket in advance via online. They don't accept walk-in customers. 


Because we booked the 10am guided tour, we left our sweet and cosy AirBnB in Hamilton as early as 8am cause the drive took roughly around 45 minutes to reach Hobbiton Movie Set. It's a wise choice to self-drive in New Zealand because the scenery along the drive is amazingly stunning and awe-inspiring. When we arrived at the destination, we parked our car nearby the general office. And in order to reach the movie set, we have to hop on to their tour bus which has been included in the fee. While inside the bus, some introductions through films were being played. If case you're wondering did I watch all the movies? The answer is, "No" for The Lord of The Rings but "Yes" to all the Hobbit trilogies. Maybe I should find some time to sit down and watch The Lord of The Rings. How about you guys?

Being me again, I think it's best to share more photos for you to justify how beautiful this place was...

#4: Rolling grassland of The Shire

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10: The only manmade tree in this movie set which made of steel and silicon

#11: Am I qualify to be part of The Hobbit? 

#12: The only Hobbit holes where visitors are allowed to go in

#13

#14: The Home of Bilbo Baggins, the main character

#15: The Green Dragon Pub where visitors get claim a complimentary drink from 

This place is so real, and surreal too. I just can't believe that what I had watched and seen on a big movie-screen and now, they are standing right in front of me. Everything looks exactly like the one in the movies - except for the size of the Hobbit homes which tend to be slightly bigger than the movies. This movie set totally exceeded our expectations, especially the hobbit holes where they are so detailed and fascinating. Not forgetting too the colourful bright round doors with the picturesque and charming garden that never fail to amaze the visitors. 

The one and only downside is - because it's a guided tour and you unable to visit on your own, do expect a big group of people during the tour. So taking photos might be challenging here, and sometimes you need to take it quick and fast as possible as you can. I'm not sure how much does the private tour cost but we felt that the regular tour is sufficiently worth more than that. It aint' cheap though!

Overall, my friends and I do enjoy walking through the enchanting village of Hobbiton. Even if you have never watch any of these movies, you will still find this so-called Middle Earth tour to be interesting and amusing. Definitely one of the top tourist spots you shouldn't miss in New Zealand. 


You can book your ticket from here.
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