Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Japan Day 2 - Kyoto

20 Feb - Today is the day we will be going to Kyoto on our own as YB stayed behind in Osaka to do his shopping. Since we have never visited Kyoto tourist attractions before, we targeted 2 sites for the day - Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari-taisha, two very well known places in Kyoto.

To beat the crowd, we decided to set off early from Osaka and rely on Google map to tell us which train to take to Saga-Arashiyama JR Station from Osaka. The folks at Google must be a genius to integrate all these information and make them available to people at their fingertips on demand. I can't imagine how can I survive the trip without Google map as taking trains in Japan can be very very challenging. Just imagine there are 25+ platforms in a typical station and you are wondering which platform to go to for your train.....

Arriving at Saga-Arashiyama JR Station 90 mins later

Entering Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Bamboo Canopy

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove starting point

After we had enough of photo taking, we took a leisurely walk through the Arashiyama Park to enjoy the nature scenery and peace before making our way slowly to Togetsukyō bridge.

At peace with nature

*mds* mentioned the river water is glittering in the sunlight and I decided to capture it with my camera lens with shocking effects.

Scenic shops in the park closed during off seasons

Togetsukyō bridge in the background

Togetsukyō bridge

After we are done with the bridge, it was closed to noon time and our stomachs are hinting to us it is time for lunch. We tried walking around the area hoping to find a ramen restaurant that serves decent food but all we got are soba noodles or udon. In the end, we settled for soba noodles at a shop next to the Saga-Arashiyama JR Station. Thank God that we did ate there as the shop gave us 2 raffle tickets to participate in spinning the wheel game at the JR Station.

Look familiar? Reminds you of the lottery in the Tabikaeru game didn't it?

After we finished the game (we got 2 white balls), we depart for our next destination - Fushimi Inari-taisha. The highlight of this attraction is the rows of torii gates called Senbon torii as they lined the path snaking its way up and down the mountain. It is estimated there are about 10,000 torii gates along the paths.

Fushimi Inari-taisha entrance

Front view of the torii gates

Back view of the torii gates

Torii gates making in process - applying the finishing touches.

Initially, we wanted to walk up the paths available in the mountain, but after the exhausting climb halfway through, we gave up and decided to return back to base. By the time we reached the entrance, it was close to 6pm and we decided to head back to Osaka, dropping by Kyoto to have our ramen dinner.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Japan Day 1 - Osaka

19 Feb - This trip was made possible thanks to YB who won a pair of Silk Air ticket and he has gracefully gave 1 ticket to us. Of the various destination, we chose Japan and it is off to Hiroshima we go on Chinese New Year 初三.

Departed in the wee hours of the morning and we arrived in Hiroshima just in time for breakfast. As the airport is not connected to the train line, we have to take a connecting bus trip to Hiroshima JR Station.

As we need to rush off to Osaka, we bought a bento set and settled our brunch on the train.

Arrived at our Air BnB accommodation for the next 3 days near Osaka Ebisuchō Station. Quite a big house for the price we paid and very near the station 5 exit. Only complain was that the heater was not strong enough. The host (Franx is the company name) is quite friendly and he picked us up and showed us around the house. The weather here at this time of the year is cold, ranging from 1C to 10C.

By the time we settled our luggage, it was already 3pm and we promptly went in search of our lunch near Osaka Station. We settled on Ichiran and their ramen is awesome!


We went  on to visit the Kuchu Teien Observatory but we did not went up as we felt there is nothing much to see since the sun has set. Instead, we visited their souvenir shop and tour around the building.

Kuchu Teien Observatory

Managed to take a picture of the long escalator down

Next, we visited the Osaka Pokemon Center and have fun taking pictures with the various Pokemons!

Sleepy Snorlex

Sleeping Snorlex

We also visited Dotonbori and took pictures with the famous Glica advertisment!

Ended the day with some crab sushi at Dotonbori

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Maldives declared state of emergency for 15 days

Just read the news yesterday that Maldives has declared a state of emergency for 15 days due to political crisis and today our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a travel advisory for Singaporeans travelling to the Maldives, advising them to defer travel to the country. PTL for letting us enjoy our trip to Maldives before this event occurs. Thank you Lord.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Maldives Day 6 - Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa

24 Jan - Today is the day we will be departing the resort, where we had fun snorkeling in the waters and enjoying the food and facilities. Before we leave the place, we decided to walk around the resort and take pictures of the beautiful scenery one last time. This morning, I had also received a message from Singapore Airline that our flight will be delayed by 2 hours, so instead of going off at 10am, we are booked on the next available speedboat departure time, which was 12pm.

School of fish swimming near the beach

Viewing the endless horizon

Villa over water with their snorkeling ground

Island swing

Centara Ras Fushi

Centara Logo

Our Silk Air flight back home =)

Friday, February 02, 2018

Maldives Day 5 - Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa

23 Jan - After breakfast at the Ocean Restaurant, with nothing on the agenda, we put on our snorkeling mask and went snorkeling again! This time, we managed to see more colorful fishes swimming near the reefs around our villa. *mds* managed to capture most of them in her new underwater camera.

Captured this giant clam stuck in the middle of corals

One last shot at our beautiful backyard

With lunch time approaching, having tried all the restaurants on the island, we decided to stick to the one which served the best food - The La Brezza. 

Today will be the last night on the island. We tried to make use of the Jacuzzi in our room and the massage facility on the island since we are given USD $150 for our 3 night stay with Gold Package. The massage is ok, just that the price is super expensive. *mds* managed to negotiate for a special price for our massage. Thank you *mds* =)

For the night, we tried to pack our luggage a little to prepare for tomorrow departure. 4 days sure has gone in a flash.