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Melbourne, Australia Day 1: Maiden Visit to Australia & Wandered around Melbourne's City Center

Date of Visit: 30 September 2012

I always wanna go Australia since I was 8 years old and after have been waiting for more than 10 years, finally I booked a ticket to Australia via AirAsia during their promo price was as low as RM640. For me, it was a great steal seeing that I bought 6 months in advanced, at least and this time around, I choose to travel alone. There are many places and cities in Australia to choose from for visiting and holiday purposes but I choose Melbourne mainly because one of my college hostelmates was staying there for her Master programme and she offered me to stay at her place for free. Thanks to her cause if not, for sure I will hurt my wallet badly as Melbourne is claimed to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. [Source]

Day 1 Melbourne, Australia 01
#1: Melbourne, Australia's second largest city and it is the capital of Victoria state.

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Gaya Souvenir Centre - Largest Souvenir Store at Kota Kinabalu

#1: Gaya Souvenir Centre is strategically tucked in the well-known and busiest street, locally known as Gaya Street

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Mingalabar from Myanmar 2014 (Sneak Peek)

Starting off my brand new year trip for the year 2014 by visiting Myanmar.  After we did the mini college gathering trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia last year, this year we did again by going to Myanmar.  We choose Myanmar cause we managed grab the best deal which cost as low as RM138 for return flight eventhough it was during peak season. What a steal! Plus by visiting Myanmar, I officially unlocked all the 10 ASEAN countries – Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar but not SEA countries yet cause one more left – Timor Leste and now I’m waiting for AirAsia to commerce new route to there.

After decade of isolation, Myanmar which also known as the “Golden Land” is now on everyone’s travel bucket list, offering an intriguing history, magnificent natural beauty and the edginess that comes with a country still in transition.

 #1:Visited Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon right after we reach Myanmar. Got free Wireless Internet!

#2: Watching sunrise with hot air ballooning over Bagan is one of the most breathtaking things to do in Bagan.

#3: With more than 2,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries still standing, Bagan is one of South East Asia’s most awe-inspiring man-made spectacles. It is Myanmar’s very own Angkor Wat.

#4: Only can be seen in Inle Lake and I personally love this town. 

#5: One of the floating villages in Inle Lake. It has been known as Venice of the East cause the local here only use boat as their mode of transportation. 

#6: One thing for sure travel around Indo-China countries was totally lost count on how many hours for the bus ride. Bus ride from Yangon to Bagan took almost 9 hours, Bagan to Inle Lake for more than 9 hours and Inle Lake back to Yangon for almost 11 hours. Totally another #butthurt case again.

#7: My college friends which brought lots of laughter and fun throughout the trip. Now we are discussion where will be our next trip.

Although I done visited all the 10 ASEAN countries, I still love to return few of the above countries to visit number of cities or places which I haven't go such as Hue, Hoi An, Halong Bay in Vietnam; Phnom Penh in Cambodia; Chiangmai, Chiang Rai and Hua Hin in Thailand; Medan, Yogyakarta in Indonesia and more. Too many of my travel bucket lists that I'm not sure when I able to accomplish them but one thing for sure, I indeed had a great time with different people I travelled with. 

Last but not least, I would like to extend my gratitude to Lily Riani from Globetrotter, Rusli from Ramble &Wander and also Jeff Chuah from Jeff’s Travel for the helpful advice and guideline for this Myanmar trip.
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7D6N Hong Kong & Macau Itinerary (2012) Version 2.0

Here is the compilation for all the posts relating to my trip to Hong Kong & Macau in year 2012 for 7 days and 6 nights. And below of the post, there are even few travel guides given based on my own experience, especially for those who are going Hong Kong & Macau for the very first time.

Day 1 (17th September 2012) & Day 2 (18th September 2012)
Arrived Hong Kong & Stanley Market on Second Day
Day 2 Stanley Street 07
How To Get To Stanley Market: From MTR Central Station Exit B, head to Exchange Square bus terminal and take bus 6, 6A, 6X or 260.

Central Post Office & Victoria Peak
Day 2 Peak Tram 08
How To Get To Victoria Peak: There are several ways to reach this place - 
  • If you like to walk just like me, from MTR Central Station and head to exit J2. Turn right, through Chater Garden, cross Queen's Road Central and make way up to Garden Road. Pass the Bank of China Tower and Citibank Plaza on the left and St John's Cathedral on the right before arriving at the terminus, which is on the left hand side. The walk to the tram station will takes roughly around 15 to 20 minutes; or
  • Take bus 15C from the lay-by outside the Star Ferry pier in Central; or
  • Bus 15 from Exchange Square bus terminus (near MTR Hong Kong Station, Exit D); or
  • Minibus 1 from MTR Hong Kong Station public transport interchange; or
  • From Central's Admiralty Station Exit B, Lippo Centre Bus Terminus and take bus 12S

Star Ferry, Clock Tower & Symphony of Lights
  1. (Left) Clock Tower 
  2. (Top right) Star Ferry
  3. (Bottom right) Symphony of Lights: Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade along Avenue of Stars to Hong Kong Cultural Centre: MTR Tsim Sha Tsui East Station, Exit J. Follow the signs and walk for around five minutes. 
Day 3 (19th September 2012)
Taking Turbojet From Hong Kong to Macau

Day 4 (20th September 2012)
Big Buddha, Ngo Ping Village & Citygate Outlets 
How to Get To Big Buddha: Tung Chung MTR Exit B and head to Ngong Ping 360 Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal is located just a short stroll away. Alternatively, if you happen to be unlucky like me, take Bus No. 23 and it will stop directly there. As for Citygate Outlet, you will see it once get out from Exit B as well.

Day 5 (21st September 2012)
Golden Bauhinia Square, Avenue of Stars & Ladies Market (Mongkok)
  1. (Left) Golden Bauhinia Square & Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre: MTR Wan Chai Station, Exit A5. Walk across the footbridge, then turn right and head through the lobby of Central Plaza. Continue across the connecting overhead walkway, then descend to the ground level. Walk towards the waterfront ahead and the statue and monument will be on your left. The entire walk takes approximately 15 minutes. 
  2. (Top right) Avenue of Stars:  Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Exit E, walk towards harbour and go through subway (pedestrian tunnel) to the waterfront; or East Tsim Sha Tsui KCR Exit J and walk through subway. 
  3. (Bottom right) Ladies Market: MTR Mong Kok Station, Exit E2. Walk along Nelson Street for two blocks. Ladies Market is tucked between Boundary Street and Dundas Street on Tung Choi Street.

Day 6 & 7 (22nd & 23rd September 2012)
Hong Kong Disneyland

How To Get To Hong Kong Disneyland: Take the Tung Chung Line to Sunny Bay and then transfer to Disneyland Resort Line.

Disney's Hollywood Hotel

We booked a package which include 2-day pass for 2 adults and 1 night stay in Disney's Hollywood Hotel under a special package rate that applies for Hong Kong citizen only.

Extra Features

Besides above, there are more things that eventually you can do and see:
Hong Kong
  • Ocean Park - Hong Kong's homegrown theme park, which besides being an amusement park but it also consists of oceanarium and marine mammal park.
  • Museums such as Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Science Museum, Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre.
  • Countryside such as Lamma Island, Cheung Chau or Tai O if you want to avoid from the hectic environment and get more closer to nature.   
  • Travelling on a tram is ideal for looking at different sides of Hong Kong. Not only it is cheap to ride but it also allows you to see completely different lifestyles in different districts in a short time.
  • Macau Tower for bungee jump perhaps
  • Fisherman's Wharf  
  • Museum of Taipa and Coloane History and Taipa Houses Museum

Hong Kong & Macau Travel Guide (based on my own personal experience)
  1. Both Hong Kong and Macau are separate and independent immigration system from mainland of China, hence it is visa-free for Malaysia to enter up to 90 days for Hong Kong and 30 days for Macau. [Most common questions: How about Shenzhen and Zhuhai? Both are part of China, hence visa is required]
  2. The best time to visit Hong Kong and Macau would be between October to December cause it has the least rainfall, less chance of a typhoon (almost non-existent after October), less humid and more sunshine. Last few years during my maiden visit to Hong Kong, it was during Chinese New Year period and there were quite number of celebratory events such as lion dances, fireworks, and parades. Many shops and restaurants close on the first three days, so it may not be an ideal time to visit. Plus, it was overcrowded especially visit from the people of Mainland China. Imagine the queue for cable cars in Ocean Park took almost two hours. Another tip given by Boyfie was try to avoid visit Hong Kong and Macau during China so-called "Golden Week” which falls from 1st-7th October annually cause this is the time where more and more China people visit there.
  3. If you are looking for accommodation around Hong Kong, I would highly recommended to stay along Nathan Road between Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok especially for those who is looking for super-budget guesthouse. Well, of course expect nothing else except for tiny small room. As for Macau, as far as I know there is no backpackers or even hostels around Macau and it being claimed to be backpacker unfriendly. So if your budget is tight, it is better to stay in Hong Kong and plan a day trip to Macau perhaps. 
  4. Hong Kong's spoken official language is Cantonese but I found out there's no problem of speaking English with the local. Macau's spoken official languages are Cantonese and Portuguese. If you know how to speak Cantonese, it will be a great advantage for you. Although most of the signboards and streets within Hong Kong are available in English, but they are seldom used among local people including those who can speak fluent English. Take for example, the local people refer Stanley Street as "Chek Chue" and it will be helpless if you are try to mention the word of Stanley when asking for direction from the local. Therefore it is advisable before you go to anywhere, ask the hotel staff to write down the street names using Chinese characters, and try to learn how to pronounce where you are going in Cantonese, if possible.
  5. So far visit Hong Kong for forth times and I can say it is pretty convenient to travel around if you have Octopus Card which not only can be used for all types of public transport (except most of the red-top minibuses and taxis), Octopus is also accepted for payment in almost all convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurant chains like McDonald's many vending machines. Basic Octopus cards cost $150, with $100 face value plus $50 refundable deposit. A $9 service charge applies if the card is returned in less than three months for the refundable deposit. As for Macau, I did share a little bit of tips how to travel around by utilise the free shuttle buses provided by hotels and casinos - click HERE

And that's wrap up my Hong Kong & Macau Version 2.0 travelogue. As for the next travelogue, I am seriously cracking my head out thinking where and which should I continue cause I have tons of travelogue in queue to be published online. And for your information, this is again another scheduled post of mine cause I am currently away for another travel mission. Don't know when I able to complete my never-ending 2012 and 2013 travelogue.
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My Travel Loots from Hong & Macau (2012) Version 2.0

Hong Kong & Macau's Haul 01
#1: My travel loots from Hong Kong & Macau version 2.0 (Click here for version 1.0)

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Disney's Hollywood Hotel & Breakfast at Enchanted Garden Restaurant

One thing that I didn't mention during my visit to Hong Kong Disneyland was actually both Boyfie and I spend a night staying in one of Disney themed hotel. There are two themed hotels available within Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel - Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Hollywood Hotel. We opted for the latter one cause it was slightly cheaper compare to the first one. We booked a package which include 2-day pass for 2 adults and 1 night stay in Disney's Hollywood Hotel under a special package rate that applies for Hong Kong citizen only.

#1: Baby blue modern exterior of Disney's Hollywood Hotel
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My Reflection on 2013 & Resolution for 2014

Just like previous years (here, here and here), this post serve as my first official blogpost for the brand new year 2014. Nothing much interesting things happened to my life except for travel, which indirectly being part and parcel of my life within these few years. As for my working life, I received few freelance jobs that able to support few of my trips and because of that too, I able to fully sponsor my mom a trip to Japan. Well like they said, "Work hard, Play harder!"

Simplified it and here's the recap of my travel adventures for the year 2013:

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