Tag Archives: Travel

Restaurant Review: Som Tam, Bangkok

5 Oct

The hotel we are staying is located near Siam, so we decided to have lunch at Som Tam at Siam Square Soi 5 before checking-in our hotel on our first day in Bangkok. Once you arrive at the restaurant, tell the staff the number of people dining at the restaurant, and he will give you a menu.

Som Tam, Bangkok

After deciding what you would like to eat, ask the staff to take your order, have a seat and wait for your turn. I personally think that staff has super good memory, as he remembers what each group of people have ordered and provide a table accordingly.

Fresh Coconut@Som Tam

Fresh Coconut@Som Tam

Refreshing and cooling drink! Perfect for the hot weather!

Papaya Salad@Som Tam

Papaya Salad with Fermented Crab

This place is famous for its papaya salad, of course we had to order one. Oh my god, it’s super spicy, so if you can’t eat spicy food, you might not be able to finish this dish! This dish is so spicy that even my parents felt the heat, but the ingredients were very fresh and all the flavour and texture combined together was awesome!

Fried Fish@Som Tam

Fried Fish

This is probably one of my favourite dishes in Bangkok! Well, I have to say the fish isn’t the freshest, but definitely the tastiest! A bit spicy but not too much, sour, sweet and salty… all-in-one! Should have ordered some sticky rice to go with it! Totally worth the price!

Thai Sausage@Som Tam

Fried Thai Sausage

This is the first time I see these fried thai sausage, interesting shape, a pretty nice appetizer and snack.

P.S. Sorry that I didn’t write down the exact name of each dish and the price!

Environment: 8/10 (Convenient location, but can be a bit crowded)

Service: 7/10 (Not the best service, as some staff tried to avoid us when we were asking for help)

Food:  8/10 (Pretty good for the price, especially the fried fish)

Overall: Good quality food for the price! I would consider re-visiting again next time!

Address: 392/14 Soi Siam Square 5, Rama 1 Road, Bangkok, Thailand.

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Day 1@Bangkok, Thailand

2 Oct

Taking a break from work, I decided to go on a short trip (22 Sept to 24 Sept) with my parents to Bangkok. I bought my travel package (flight + hotel + insurance) online through Wing On Travel, and it was approximately HKD$3,400 per person, not the cheapest but acceptable I guess.

It’s my first time going to Thailand, and I was a bit excited, as it seems like all my girl friends love Bangkok. However, I wasn’t expecting a lot of shopping, as my parents are not a fan of shopping, so it was more of a first impression of Thailand and some standard sightseeing for this trip.

Early Flight to Bangkok
Early Flight to Bangkok on CX

Luckily we managed to get on the plane that morning, as all the flights operated by Cathay Pacific were cancelled that evening, due to Typhoon Usagi.

After we landed in Bangkok, we took the Airport Rail Link to Phaya Thai and changed to BTS Skytrain for Siam. I think the train network in Bangkok is pretty efficient and easy to use, but it’s a bit pricey. Oh, and there’s 1 thing that bothers me: at some stations, the staff is willing to sell the tickets to you at the counter; however at some stations, you have to line up for change at the counter and then line up again to buy your ticket at the ticket machine. Maybe I should get the Rabbit card next time.

BTS Ticket (Front)

BTS Ticket (Back)

BTS Single Journey Ticket (Front & Back)

As it was a bit early to check-in our hotel, our first stop was Siam Square. I originally thought the shops would be opened at Soi 5; however it seems like there was a renovation or something going on, so no shop were opened. In the end, we headed directly to Som Tam for lunch.

Som Tam, Bangkok
Waiting outside Som Tam for a table

After lunch, we headed to our hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, to check-in. Although the hotel is located in a quiet street, it was pretty easy to find our way there.

Courtyard by Marriott, Bangkok
Courtyard by Marriott, Bangkok

After settling down, we headed out again, stopping by Erawin Shrine and then took the BTS Skytrain to Mo Chit Station. When I go travelling, I actually enjoy visiting supermarkets, convenience stores and weekend markets; therefore the Chatuchak Weekend Market was a must-go for me.

Sudden Rain
Look at the heavy rain out there!

Thai Tea
Favourite Thai Tea Found@Mo Chit Station

When we got off at Mo Chit Station, it was raining cats and dogs outside, so we could only wait till the storm passed by. When we were waiting, we saw this Drink Station, which I read many good reviews on the Internet beforehand, and now I see why, Thai Tea has become one of favourite drinks now!!!

It’s slightly more expensive than the ones you buy on the street, but it really tastes so good! My dad tried to buy the tea back home, but all we could find was a huge tin sold at Central World Supermarket, and we thought it was a bit too much. If anyone knows where to get smaller packaging, please let me know in the comments below!

Luckily the rain stopped, and finally we were at Chatuchak Weekend Market. Just walk through the park and follow the crowd, you will eventually find your way there!

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Chatuchak Weekend Market
Snapshot@Chatuchak Weekend Market

Chatuchak Weekend Market consists of everything, from souvenirs to home decoration, to food, to clothes… you name it they have it! I would definitely re-visit this place again and do some crazy shopping!

Food Stall@Chatuchak Weekend Market

Fried Squid Egg
Fried Squid Egg

Coconut Ice Cream
Coconut Ice Cream with Palm Seeds & Sweet Corn

I don’t know how to explain the fried squid egg, as I have no idea what I was eating. It was okay, but not my favourite. As for the coconut ice cream, it was good, especially under the hot weather; but the flesh was a bit too hard.

After a lot of walking around, my parents were tired. The moment we decided to rest for a while, it started to rain again! So we didn’t go to Or Tor Kor Market but got on the BTS Skytrain, and headed back to Central World, where I did some crazy shopping at Boots and had dinner at Kum Poon to end our day.

Bangkok Shopping Haul

26 Sep

Sorry for abandoning my blog for more than 1 year. To “celebrate” the re-activating my blog, I would like to share with you all my recent 3 days 2 nights trip to Bangkok.

It’s my first time to Thailand; I had a great time, but didn’t buy a lot, as I was with my parents and was busy sightseeing. The following is most of the things I bought:

Thailand Food Haul

Just randomly bought some Thailand instant noodles, biscuit and snacks. My mom also bought some Thai seasonings, so that she can try making real Thai food at home.

Soap & Glory Haul

As we can’t get Soap & Glory in Hong Kong, I went a bit crazy, especially because they were doing a Buy-1-Get-1-Free offer at Boots.

– The Scrub of your Life (395 THB)
– Hand Food (295 THB)
– Heel Genius (295 THB)
– Scrub ’em and Leave ’em (395 THB)
Flake Away (395 THB)
– Righteous Butter (395 THB)
* Original price stated above.

Elephants...

After this trip, I found that I’m a bit obsessed with elephants, and couldn’t resist looking at things with elephant prints. In the end, I got 6 elephant postcards at Chatuchak Weekend Market (5 THB for 6 postcards) and a NaRaYa key holder (100 THB).

Weekend trip@Macau

26 Apr

I have been longing to see The House of Dancing Water since the day I saw their advertisement, but have never had the chance to pay a short visit to Macau. Therefore, I was so excited when my friend suggested going to Macau during Easter. We bought the Hard Rock Hotel Package through The House of Dancing Water’s official website, and paid an extra MOP$280 to upgrade our tickets from Zone C to Zone B. While we called the hotel to upgrade our tickets, the staff  kindly reminded me that the seats available are near the stage and we would get wet during the performance; so if you don’t want to get wet, do check with the staff before buying your tickets.

Day 1

We bought our Turbojet tickets online and chose to leave Hong Kong at 10:30am. We took the free shuttle bus to the Grand Lisboa after we arrived Macau. We weren’t interested in gambling at all, we just wanted to get off somewhere close to the area around Ruins of St.Paul’s. The shuttle bus stopped in the basement, so we had to pass through the casino to get back to ground level, and I think many people were also taking advantage of the free shuttle bus service too.

When we got to the area near Ruins of St. Paul’s, we spotted a long queue outside 2 shops. I have seen them being recommended in our travel guide book so we decided to give it a try. The 2 shops are next to each other, so we split up, my friend queued for the egg crisps while I queued for the pepper meat balls.

Pepper meat balls (Pepper buns) are one of my favourite Taiwanese foods, but I haven’t seen them being sold in Hong Kong, so I was very happy to see them. Although this shop is also from Taiwan, it cannot be compared with the ones I ate in Kaohsiung. It was yummy and juicy inside, but I think there’s not enough meat fillings and spring onions inside, and I think it’s a little bit pricey. Pepper meat balls are very hot just out of the oven, so be careful!

Tai Kwan: Pepper meat ball (Pepper bun)

Tai Kwan’s pepper meat ball (MOP$13)

As for the egg crisps, the shop was packed with people, so customers could only choose either buying a small pack at MOP$10 or a larger pack at MOP$20. We chose the smaller pack because we weren’t sure if it was good or not. My thought? I didn’t really like it, neither did my friend. They are just egg biscuits, smell good but were a bit dry, not particularly tasty. I, however, do appreciate and support these traditional shops  for their history and their insistence to keep these traditional food. I enjoy watching them make these egg crisps by just using simple tools and everything is hand-made.

Pun Veng Kei

Pun Veng Kei: Egg Crisp

Pun Veng Kei’s egg crisp (a packet@MOP$10)

It was very crowded in the tourism area and the weather wasn’t really good, so I wasn’t in mood to take photos.

Untitled

I wonder how local people react to the crowd of tourists around their home every day

A sneak peek of Macau

A sneak peek of Macau from the top of Ruins of St. Paul’s

We then walked to the Fishermen’s Wharf, which was absolutely a disappointment. Not sure if we went there at the wrong time or day, there wasn’t anything special at the area. No shops, no restaurants, nothing to see at all. Maybe it would have been better if it was a sunny day, at least it would be nice to walk along the promenade. If you only have a day in Macau, don’t bother going there.

We then went back to the area near the Ruins of St. Paul’s to buy some souvenirs. I only got a pack of dried meat, as I wasn’t interested in almond cakes or any other products.

Dried meat

Dried meat

After that, we went for lunch at Wong Chi Kei. Well, I have to say I’m not a fan of Chinese-style noodles like wonton noodles and fish ball noodles, but I tried their restaurant in Hong Kong and I liked it, so when my friend said she wanna try Wong Chi Kei, I didn’t object. I wasn’t feeling well, so I chose something light, noodles with ginger and spring onions. It was tasty and reasonably priced, considering it’s located at the center of the tourism district.

Wong Chi Kei: Noodles with ginger and spring onions

Wong Chi Kei’s noodles with ginger and spring onions

After that we took the shuttle bus to our hotel. We were lucky to discover that the hotel offers free shuttle bus service somewhere near the tourism district while we walked to the Fishermen’s Wharf. My first impression of the Hard Rock Hotel: it was hippy and modern but I didn’t like the uniform of the reception staff. Our room was pretty spacious. The facilities inside the bathroom were nice too, especially the bathroom scale, a very good tool to check if you have gained too much weight during your trip. There’s also a very creepy magnifying mirror inside the bathroom, it’s so clear that you can see every pore and every fine hair on your face. I, however, didn’t really like the idea of separating the toilet and the bathroom, especially because there’s no wash basin inside the toilet.

Hard Rock Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel

After a short rest at the hotel, we went down and had a walk around the City of Dreams. We also got our free tickets to watch the Dragon’s Treasure Show after the House of Dancing Water.

Finally the highlight of the trip! My camera wasn’t good enough to take fantastic photos, as it was pretty dark inside and the performers were moving around all the time, so it was hard to capture them. Even so, I would definitely recommend people watching it. It was full of excitement and laughter. We were seated in the 2nd row in Zone B, and we did get wet, but it was fun. The performers tried to interact with the audience, and sometimes they intended to get the audience wet. To me, the most exciting part of this performance was seeing Faye Leung, a former principal dancer of Hong Kong Ballet and one of my favourite dancers; I love watching her dance, so it was great to see her dance and perform again, though it wasn’t a real ballet performance and she wasn’t wearing pointe shoes. If I have a chance, I would like to watch it again, because I believe you will have a different experience each time, depending on where you sit and the performers’ interaction with the audience.

After the amazing performance, we went to watch the Dragon’s Treasure Show, which was disappointing. I think this show is made to suit people who are planning to gamble and get some luck while they are at the casinos. Little kids might like it too, but definitely not for me. Only watch it if you have time and can get the tickets for free.

Day 2

We didn’t plan anything special for the next day, we just went to The Venetian and had a walk at the Grand Canal Shoppes. It was a little bit disappointing too, as it wasn’t as lively as I thought it would be. We firstly had a Portuguese egg tart at Lord Stow’s Bakery & Cafe, which was just okay, it wasn’t hot enough.

Lord Stow's Bakery & Cafe: Portuguese Egg Tart

Lord Stow’s Bakery & Cafe’s Portuguese egg tart

Then we went to Victoria’s Secrets, but didn’t find anything, as they only sell a small range of products. After hanging round a bit, we went to Tai Lei Lok Kei to eat their famous pork chop bun. They are a bit pricey, and they are marked a bit higher than their original store. However I think it’s very delicious; the pork chop was tender and juicy, and the bun was crispy on the outside and soft inside. It would be perfect if there were caramelized onions, but it seems like the Macau-style pork chop bun doesn’t come with onions. Anyway, I would still recommend this!

Tai Lei Loi Kei: Pork Chop Bun

Tai Lei Loi Kei’s pork chop bun

After a delicious and simple lunch, we headed back to our hotel to grab our stuffs, and took the free shuttle bus to the Taipa temporary ferry terminal. The ferry trip back to Hong Kong was included in our hotel package, and you can choose your own schedule when you check-in the hotel, as long as tickets are still available.

Getting on board the ferry wasn’t fun at all. We originally planned to take the ferry at 2pm, but we arrived earlier than expected. It took us a relatively long wait to pass through immigration, and when we arrived at the waiting area it was a few minutes to 1pm, but the staff still put us on the 1pm ferry instead of the 1:30pm one. In the end, we had to run to get on board, and I’m not joking, it was a very long run from the waiting area till we reached the ferry. We knew the ferry would wait for us, but we also knew that all the other customers were on board already, and we felt like we have to run to avoid them waiting for us.

Slightly chaotic, anyhow that’s the end of my weekend trip in Macau!

P.S. Do make good use of the free shuttle bus service offered by different hotels and casinos when you are in Macau. 

Day 4@Auckland, New Zealand

10 Apr

Today’s plan is to take the ferry to Devonport. It was really sunny, and my legs were burning under the sun while waiting for the ferry to leave the pier. Finally, the ferry left at 12pm, it was only a 12-minute ride and the view was spectacular.

Ferry ticket to Devonport

Ferry ticket to Devonport

View during the ferry trip

View during the ferry trip

View during the ferry trip

View during the ferry ride

I was planning to visit Mount Victoria, as I heard the view from above was great, so I walked along Victoria Road and climbed up Mount Victoria. It’s easy to find your way up, but be aware, it is a pretty steep slope, yet definitely worth it. On top of the mountain, you will have a very nice view of Auckland downtown and nearby islands. It would also make a nice place for a picnic or just lying on the grass for a rest.

Slope up to Mount Victoria

Slope up to Mount Victoria

On top of Mount Victoria

Cute mushroom decoration on Mount Victoria

Cute mushroom decoration on top of Mount Victoria

Mobile cafe on top of the Mount Victoria

Mobile cafe on top of Mount Victoria

View from Mount Victoria

View from Mount Victoria

View from the top of Mount Victoria

After spending some time on Mount Victoria, I went back to Devonport downtown and had a walk there. There were a number of cafes, restaurants and little shops. I got snappers and chips at Catch 22, which was just okay. There were lots of chips, but I would like it with more salt, instead of just a small pack that they provided. There were two pieces of snappers, one large and one small. The smaller one was good, but the larger one wasn’t that good, as the batter wasn’t crispy. Overall, the fish was good.

After lunch, I had a walk along the coast, and then I took the ferry back to downtown Auckland, and that was basically the end of day 4.

Day 3@Auckland, New Zealand

21 Feb

Got on the Auckland Explorer Bus at 9:30am, and paid NDZ$40 for a day pass. I got off at the 1st stop, the Bastion Point Lookout, which I think is a must. From there, you get to see a very beautiful view of the coast. If I have time, I would definitely spend more time there.

Meadow at Bastion Point Lookout

Meadow at Bastion Point Lookout

The view of the coast from Bastion Point Lookout

View of the coast from Bastion Point Lookout

Overlooking Auckland CBD from Bastion Point Lookout

Overlooking Auckland CBD from Bastion Point Lookout

Then I got off at stop 5 (Auckland Museum), and then changed to the satellite bus, which took me to Mount Eden, the most famous landmark in Auckland. After I got off, I had to walk all the way to the top. It’s a pretty steep slope, but definitely worth it. The view from above is amazing, and it provides good views in all directions over the city. On our guide, it said that the tour buses are banned up on the mountain, but when I left, I heard that it is still available and replaced by smaller vehicles, so better double check that if you want to visit there but don’t want to walk up the slope yourself.

Bowl-like crater at Mount Eden

Bowl-like crater at Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

After visiting Mount Eden, I took the satellite bus back to the museum. I got a discount with my Explorer ticket and paid NZD$5 to enter the museum. This is a good place to spend a few hours so as to understand the history and culture of New Zealand. You can also pay a bit more to watch a performance, which I believe is performed by the natives.

Auckland Museum

Auckland Museum

Later I got an American hot dog at one of the mobile vendors, and sat down at a nearby area, where they were having a live music performance for free. The hot dog was just average, though I like the sweet chilly sauce.

Mobile vendor selling hot dogs

Eye-catching mobile vendor

American hot dot

American hot dog

Then I headed to the Wintergarden, which is near the museum and it’s free of charge. Not a lot of flowers blooming, but I did get some good shots of some lovely flowers.

Wintergarden

Wintergarden

Flower at Wintergarden

Flower at Wintergarden

Fern at Wintergarden

If you don’t want to spend time figuring out the public transport system, the Explorer bus is perfect. However, if you want to spend some time on each attraction/stop, I don’t think you will be able to. It’s better to find out where you want to go and plan ahead, so everything fits into your schedule. It is also recommended that you visit the places on the satellite bus route first, before heading to other attractions on the main route, as the satellite bus has limited service hours. You could, of course, pay a bit more and get a 2-day pass, but for me, I don’t think it’s really necessary. If you need to visit some of those attractions, I’m sure you can go to the transport center and ask for directions.

Cute ducks at the park

Cute ducks at the park

Weird tree at the park

Weird tree at the park

Headed back to the city and watched one of the street performances, as Auckland was holding the International Buskers Festival at that time. The performers come from different parts of the world, and their performances are entertaining and fun.

Street Performance

Then on the way back to my hotel, I got a burger from Burger Fuel. The C N Cheese burger is huge, it has a beef patty, lettuce, tomatoes, aioli, cheese, tomato sauce, onion, sesame bun. The burger is good, and I particularly like the sesame bun, as it’s slightly toasted.

Burger Fuel

C N Cheese Burger

C N Cheese (NZD$9.6)

Day 2@Auckland, New Zealand

9 Feb

Early in the morning, I went to the City Farmer’s Market in the centre of Auckland’s Britomart precinct. There weren’t a lot of stalls there and it was a bit quiet. They were mainly food stalls, selling street food, bread, fruits and vegetables. Nothing much special when compared to Sydney’s weekend markets, so I just hang around for a while and left without buying anything.

City's Farmers' Market

City Farmers’ Market

Then I went down to Quay Street and walked towards Auckland’s Fish Market. I ended up at a few different locations, the Princes Wharf and the Viaduct Events Centre where they were holding the Auckland Seafood Festival. There were a lot of people lining outside to join the Festival, but I wasn’t too interested in paying NZD$20 to enter, so I just walked along the Waterfront. Found this interesting place at Wynyard Quarter where they have a kids’ playspace, some interesting buildings and a small market with a few stalls selling food, clothing and accessories. Definitely should visit this place and walk around!

Interesting advertisement

An interesting ad at Princes Wharf

Wynyard Quarter

Wynyard Quarter

Silo Park

Interesting buildings and art works at Silo Park

Wind Tree

Public Art: Wind Tree

Dockline Tram

Dockline Tram

Originally I planned to grab lunch at the Fish Market, however nothing really attracted me. I really miss the crowded Sydney Fish Market. One place worth visiting at the Fish Market though, it’s the little grocery place where they were free tasting. At last, I ended up buying a pork sausage roll at one of the food stalls at Silo Park, which was pretty good. It came with a pork sausage, aioli, carmelized onion and ketchup.

Auckland's Fish Market

Auckland Fish Market

Pork Sausage Roll

Pork sausage roll (NZD$7.80)

Then I sat down under the sun, lying on the grass, eating my pork sausage roll and wrote some postcards.

After that, I started wandering around, I ended up at Victoria Park first and then Victoria Park Market, which I believe hasn’t really completely re-opened yet.

Later I headed towards Auckland Art Gallery, a nice place to spend some time there, especially to enjoy some artworks by local kiwi.

Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland Art Gallery

After that I went to Albert Park for a walk and walked around the campus of University of Auckland nearby; at last I reached Beach Road then back to Queen Street.

Albert Park

Albert Park

University of Auckland

University of Auckland’s campus

On the way back to my hotel, I got some more postcards, bought a box of sushi for NZD$5, which was okay, and a peanut brownie cookie from Mrs Higgins. It was good, just wasn’t that special, it’s basically a brownie in the shape of a cookie.

Sushi

Sushi (NZD$5)

Mrs Higgins' Peanut Brownie Cookie

Mrs Higgins’ peanut brownie cookie (NZD$1.80)

Day 1@Auckland, New Zealand

6 Feb

I made a search and found that Air New Zealand had the lowest one-trip flight fare from Sydney to Hong Kong, apart from China Airlines. I went to Air New Zealand’s official website, and found that if I stop over at Auckland, it would only cost me an extra AUD$30, so I decided to stop over for 5 days, which was the option with the lowest fare.

I’m sure it’s not my first time in New Zealand, but I don’t remember where I have been and which airline I was on when I was young. As far as I remember, I haven’t been on Air New Zealand for the last 12 years. I have been flying a lot with different airlines these few years, so I thought it would be interesting to see how other airlines do and make a comparison.

The boarding time printed on the boarding pass was one hour before the flight departs, but we only started boarding 25 minutes before. I think they had some problems with passengers who booked their tickets with another airline, because the flight was a shared code one, so they firstly had to find these passengers and change their boarding pass. Later when most passengers were on board, there was a missing passenger. After that passenger was found, another passenger lost his/her passport and I don’t think that passenger eventually found it.

After some delays, I was finally off to Auckland. I was on the Works, so I was served lunch. I chose the beef casserole with mash and peas, it also came with sushi and an apricot cake. Not the best flight meal I have ever had, but it’s good, especially the mash and the dessert. The beef casserole was a bit salty and the beef was slighty dry. The sushi isn’t like real Japanese nor Korean ones, but I was a bit surprised to see them serving sushi as a side.

Air New Zealand flight meal

Air New Zealand flight meal

One thing I really like about NZ is their seat, it’s very comfortable. In the past, Cathay Pacific used to be one of my favourite airlines, as their flight meals and service are usually pretty good, and they have very good entertainment system with a wide range of movie and music selection. However, recently I don’t really want to fly with CX, especially for a long haul flight. This is mainly because their seat is very hard and really uncomfortable.

After 3 hours, I finally landed Auckland; getting through customs and immigration was pretty smooth. I heard many bloggers saying that it usually takes a long time to get through; however the staff only asked me a few questions on what kind of medicine and food I had and then I was set to go.

I took the Airbus Express, it took me less than an hour and I arrived at my hotel. After I settled down, I went out and immediately headed to the post office to get some stamps so that I can send some postcards to my friends. I later realize that most of the souvenir shops do sell stamps, so you don’t really need to go to the post office to get them. Then I was hanging around, going in and out souvenir shops, just in search for some pretty postcards but not other stuffs, because my luggage is overweight, so I can’t buy anything! I also went to Countdown, the New Zealand version of Woolworth, to get some breakfast, water and snacks.

The highlight of the day was heading to The White Lady for a burger. It was voted as the Number 1 thing to do in Auckland, so I went there at around 6:45pm, and I saw around 8 people making an order while I was waiting. I ordered an egg burger, and it took some time for it to be done.

The White Lady

The White Lady

Ordering Counter at the White Lady

Ordering Counter

History of the White Lady

History of the White Lady

The White Lady's Egg Burger

Egg Burger (NZD$8.90)

There were fresh lettuce and tomato, browned onion, ketchup, grilled meat patty, and a fried egg. The beef patty was good, though it was a bit salty. The lettuce and tomato were super fresh! I can’t say it’s the best burger, but I’m a fan of food stalls on the street; so the White Lady is definitely different from many burger shops out there, and their burgers are delicious.

The White Lady (Corner of Fort Street & Commerce Street, Auckland, New Zealand)
Environment: N/A
Service: 8.5/10
Food: 8.5/10

Floriade 2011, Canberra

21 Sep

I guess the last time I went to Canberra was 10 years ago, but I completely don’t remember how Canberra looks like, and I have no idea where my mom put the photos we took, so I have no way to recall everything that happened during my trip years ago in Australia.

I have been looking forward to this event for a long time, because during my semester break, I didn’t get a chance to visit Canberra with my friends, so I have been trying to find an excuse to pay a visit. Floriade definitely is the perfect excuse for a weekend escape and to embrace the coming of spring.

I did a bit of research on the Internet, and many people recommended going to the Floriade around 2 weeks after it officially starts. However, I know I won’t have the time to have a weekend escape once school resumes normal (crazy assignments coming!). Seeing how nice the weather would be on the first day, I decided to have an impromptu trip with my friend.

Murrays Coach

Murrays Sydney Floriade Coach

When I was in the US, I always took the coach to travel between cities. One of my favorite coach companies was MegaBus, because their seats were comfortable and they had free wifi, though not always stable. I have to say Murrays’ service did impress me. Their seats were comfortable; even after a 3-hour trip, I didn’t feel any pain at all. The company has a Floriade Special Package; $49 return trip from Sydney to Canberra, drop off and pick up directly from Commonwealth Park. Very convenient for us, who don’t know how to drive or foreign travelers. You also get to choose your departure time in Sydney, 7am or 9am. We chose 7am, so I had to wake up at 5:30am that morning!

The company did make a mistake though. Originally the coach was to pick us up at the place where they dropped us off in the morning at 5pm. We confirmed with the coach driver before we headed to the Floriade that morning. However, the coach didn’t arrive until 5:30pm. The coach driver who picked us up told us that the driver from Sydney misunderstood the pick up location, so he actually waited for us somewhere outside on the Commonwealth Avenue instead.  Luckily one of the passengers mentioned to him before he left the shuttle bus stop for Canberra Centre, and of course the company realized they left their customers waiting (I guess there were a total of 16 passengers!), so he came to pick us up to catch the 6pm coach back to Sydney. The coach, that was supposed to pick up, was going to pick up more passengers at Jolimont Centre and leaving there at 6pm anyway, so there was no delay in our schedule. Provided it was only the first day of Floriade, I think it is understandable and I guess the same thing won’t happen again.

P.S. The coach driver who picked us up from the Commonwealth Park was actually the one who took people from the Commonwealth Park to Canberra Centre, a free shuttle service from Thursdays to Sundays. I think his name is Roy, and he’s super friendly and nice!

It was actually pretty crowded, and I didn’t expect so many people on the first day, but it was an enjoyable day, except for the hotdog we had at one of the food stalls there, the sausage wasn’t heated enough and my friend said she felt like it wasn’t fully cooked.

There were a lot of  signs around the park, like the one below, it actually took me and my friend some time to figure out what they mean.

Interesting sign

Tasty donut puffs!

Tasty honey donut puffs to start the day!

Tea pot and tea cup made of oranges

Tea pot and tea cup made of oranges

Gnomes

You can paint your own gnome

I’m no expert at taking photos, but hope you guys enjoy them.

Sorry, but I had to highlight the following photo, because these flowers reminded me of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC! I was there in 2010! Check it out if you are in the States in March!

The Commonwealth Park is so big, my friend and I walked around and love it so much.

Nerang Pool

Nerang Pool

Walking around Lake Burley Griffin. Such a great place to spend the afternoon!

Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin

Taking the free shuttle bus from Canberra Centre back to Commonwealth Park.

Commonwealth Avenue

Definitely should visit Canberra during spring for the Floriade! I would love to visit Canberra again, love the cleanliness and quietness during the weekend.

Floriade’s official website: http://www.floriadeaustralia.com/

Murray’s official website: http://www.murrays.com.au/