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It Took Me More Than 24 Hours To Reach Middle Earth

Five years ago when I went Japan for the very first time, I stopby at 5 different airports in 4 different countries within 24 hours when it only took within 5-6 hours to reach Japan directly from Kota Kinabalu (check out my old post here). And now, I repeat the same things again, stopy and landed in 5 different airports in 4 different countries but then, this whole journey took more than 24 hours to reach New Zealand. Of course, no doubt I was tired and exhausted but it's really worth adventures to experience for.

Kota Kinabalu International Airport Terminal 2
#1: First stop - Kota Kinabalu International Airport Terminal 2

Johor Bahru Senai International Airport
#2: Second stop: Johor Senai International Airport

JB Airport Bus
#3: Took public bus to Singapore to meet my sister before catching another flight

The reason why I chosen to fly into Johor Bahru instead of Singapore was because I managed to grab one way fare for only RM56. I'm not kidding! 

Singapore Changi International Airport
#4: Third stop: Singapore Changi International Airport

British Airways

#5: Our official airline to New Zealand - British Airways 

British Airways - Business Clas
#6: My seat (How I wish!)

Sydney International Airport
#7: Fourth stop: Transit for three hours at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport


#8: Changed to another airline, Qantas before reaching the desired destination. We were served by a handsome Korean steward. (P/S: I still remember his name and he talked to me when I took this photo) 

Auckland International Airport

#9: Finally final stop - Auckland International Airport. Kia Ora New Zealand! 

It's been quite a while I didn't fly in an extremely long haul flight and away for a long long long holiday. This trip to New Zealand took approximately 16 days including spending a day in Sydney and Singapore. Unlike what I used to do previously, this time around no sneak peek to share with cause I shared most of my photos in Instagram (@dtdianateo) but there are few things I love to share are something which we're least expecting from this trip:

#10: It's blooming sakura everywhere in New Zealand. Para para sakura, come and dance with me!

Two of my friends who haven't been to Japan mentioned that no need to waste time and money to Japan for sakura viewing anymore. LoL! 

#11: Enjoyed the beauty of sakura in our favourite town, Queenstown

Last but not least, one of the things I'm looking forward in New Zealand is Air New Zealand. We're lucky to spot The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey aircraft before leaving to Sydney. And their Men in Black themed in-flight safety video is so freaking funny.

 Air New Zealand The Hobbit - 02
#11: Air New Zealand, the airline of Middle-earth

 Air New Zealand The Hobbit
#12: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey aircraft 

Do you want to stay connected always while in overseas?

As I'm the type that can't live without Internet, most of the times I bought local sim card but for countries like Japan, South Korea, Australia and including New Zealand, local sim cards tend to be quite pricey and hence, rent a Pocket WiFi would be economical option.


This is the second time I used Wiyo Pocket WiFi to stay connected, find directions and upload all my travel photos instantly in New Zealand. Thanks Wiyo for the mobile internet access throughout my  two weeks trip in New Zealand. #sponsor [Will blog more about this soon]
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Japan (2013) Day 4: Kitano-cho of Kobe

Date Visited: 13 October 2013

The first half of the day both mommy and I spent touring around Himeji Castle and Kokoen Garden, then we continued to the next city, Kobe. Just mention about Kobe and instantly remind of Kobe Beef. Unfortunately, our mission to there not for the sake of world's priciest and signature marbled beef cause we can't have it due to religion belief (that's too bad) but solely for sightseeing and wandering around the city. 

Japan - JR Kobe Station
#1: Welcome to the sophisticated city of Kobe

What To Do & See In Kobe
There are plenty of things to do and see in this attractive city:
  • Harborland - popular waterfront area
  • Kobe Port Tower
  • Mount Rokko
  • Sun Yat-Sen Museum and Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
  • Nankin Machi (Kobe Chinatown)
  • Kitano Foreigners' Residences 
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Japan (2013) Day 4: Himeji Castle & Kokoen Garden

Date Visited: 13th October 2013

Rise and shine! Without realised, it's the fourth day we're in Japan. And today our travel adventures are going to be a long day cause we are covering two different cities in a day - Himeji and Kobe. For this post, I will specially cover on Himeji first.

Using the 3 Days JR Kansai Area Pass we bought earlier, it will be more worth to cover more underlying destinations including Himeji with unlimited travel on local JR trains. One of the plus points of using this pass is that JR trains to Himeji are considerably faster than those non-JR trains. 

Japan - Himeji Signboard
#1: The journey from Shin-Osaka to Himeji took 67 minutes using JR trains. Upon reaching Himeji station, heading to Central Exit
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Japan (2013) Day 3: Universal Studios Japan, Osaka

Date Visited: 12th October 2013

"I want to go to Disneyland" my mom said to me.
"But there is no Disneyland in Kansai area" I replied to my mom.
"However, there is Universal Studios Japan in Osaka" I added.
"Cool! Let's plan a trip there" she expressed out happily.

So theme park, here we go again! My mom never been to Universal Studios in Singapore but I don't know what made her so eager and thrill to go to the one in Osaka. Perhaps, she is young at heart, just like me. I can't deny I love to go theme parks and so far I've been to quite number of theme parks around the world such as Disneyland in Hong Kong and Paris, Disneysea in Tokyo and Universal Studios in Singapore. 

Japan Universal Studio 00
#1: The iconic globe of Universal Studios 
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Japan (2013) Day 2: Kofukuji Temple & Nara Park

Date Visited: 11th October 2013

Deer is what I can imagine when comes to Nara. These notable symbol of Nara is believed to be messengers of god.

On the second day in Kansai region, we decided to plan ahead by travel further out from Osaka city. In case you read my previous post regarding Travel Between Kansai International Airport (KIX) and Central Osaka, you will know there is a myriad tickets and rail passes to select from. 

Japan 2013 - Day 02 Osaka to Nara 02
#1: JR-West Rail Pass - Kansai Area Pass

There are two JR regional pass for West Japan (Kansai region)
1) Kansai Area Pass - Valid for unlimited travel in non-reserved seats from KIX to Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara and Himeji. Available ride on Limited Express Haruka.
2) Kansai Wide Area Pass - Unlimited access rides in the wider Kansai region including covers Okayama, Kurashiki, Konosaki Onsen, Wakayama and Shirahama 
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Foodie Friday: The Coffee Lab by Frankie Interior Design

Note: It's non-halal.

Coffee, cakes and chit chat - That's what my BFF and I love to do when we met up. And among all the latest lifestyle cafes in Kota Kinabalu, we prefer to hang out in The Coffee Lab by Frankie Interior Design

What we like about this cafe is not just they serve great coffee and affordable desserts, but they do also served scrumptious main meals for lunch. Imagine Japanese cuisines such as Chicken Katsu Do, Curry Chicken Don and Oyakodon are available here at reasonable and lower price.
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Japan (2013) Day 1: From Kansai International Airport (KIX) to Central Osaka

When majority keep sharing and posting "I Want To Travel Around The World With My Other Half!", but how come no one actually share that "I Want To Travel With My Parents!"?

When I found out there was direct flight from Kota Kinabalu to Osaka (Kansai International Airport) via Malaysia Airlines, without second thought instantly I bought not only one but two tickets specially for my mom as her birthday present last two years. Not only for its hassle-free from transit in Kuala Lumpur but the airfare was pretty affordable and reasonable - only RM797 for return, including 30kg luggage allowance, complimentary meals and beverages and in-flight entertainments.

My initial plan was to do the same route like I did previously for my maiden trip to Japan; Osaka, Kyoto & Tokyo but in the midst of planning, I decided to change the plan which was just solely focus on Kansai region.

Japan - Osaka 01
#1: Ready for boarding MH54!
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