Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sydney Stories : Day 1

We arrived Sydney the day before. The 7 hr ++ flight was a bit bumpy at first but exceptionally smooth once we enter the Indian Ocean airspace.Q managed to find herself a new boyfriend onboard and it saves us the headache from trying to keep her entertained during the journey :P. However, landing was quite scary as it was VERY VERY windy in Sydney that evening. The plain literally tilted side to side just before landing but managed to be stabilized seconds before touch down. I was literally holding my breath as from what I have read before, wind gust during landing can be very dangerous. Took the taxi (read my previous post on taxi rides from airport) and reached the hotel at around 10.00 pm however we were still not that tired as it was just only 8pm Malaysia time. So we went out to have dinner and stock up on groceries at the nearby supermarket. It was still windy outside but we put on the right gear and were ready to face the wind this time ;-) We were exhilarated when we saw Opporto and our dinner issue was solved. Went back to have dinner and turn down for the night. 

Welcome to the Continent!
Sydney Night Aerial View
Q and her new (boy)friend
Arrival. Be prepared for one of the strictest customs in the world!
Well prepared to battle the wind!
The next day I woke up very early (4.30 am Malaysian Time). Made breakfast in our room - toast and egg. yumss.. Totally love the fact that we can cook in our room and all the cooking gadgets are being provided by the hotel; i.e.: microwave, toaster, cuttleries, plates, kitchen towel and even liquid dishwasher. Location wise, the place is perfect. It's located on a quiet road but very close to all the attractions. It is within walking distance to Paddys Market, George Street, QVB as well as The Sydney Eye Tower and its surrounding area (major shopping area). It is also located in front of the Hyde Park and you can enjoy strolling at the park in the afternoon, nice, isn't it?

Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar
Small lobby but functional. Sliding doors will be locked at 6 pm. Use your keys to enter.
Cafe. The smell of coffee in the morning, heavenly..
Standard room
Most important meal of the day! The red container is used to cook rice in the microwave. Can be bought from Woolworths for less than 10AUD. Very useful for travel. Long grain rice can also be bought at Woolworths for 3AUD.
Day 1 OOTD ;-)
Hyde Park
Our first destination of the day was to Paddys Market. It took us 20 mins walking from our hotel/apartment to Paddys Market and it was drizzling that morning. It was on a Friday and it was not crowded at all. One thing about this market is that the stuffs here are really cheap (do not convert to RM. Haha)! We went crazy buying t shirts, sweaters and souvenirs here. I also bought a sheepskin UGG for 88AUD which is oh so comfy.. At first I thought it was the original UGG brand boots (UGG is actually US based even though ugg originated from AUS), lest that I know that those boots are called ugg regardless of the brand. Nevertheless, It's totally worth it as u get the same quality at a fraction of the price ;-) I also went overboard by adding in the waterproof spray and ugg socks at that ;-p So, if u want to buy the original UGG boots,  pls make sure you buy it at the right place as you will find so many shops in Sydney selling uggs claiming that they are selling original UGGs..

Bought my UGGs here ;-)

As I have mentioned before, we have already bought our Sydney attractions tickets in advance. So our next destination of the day was to Madamme Tussauds. On the way, we had an early lunch at one Kebab joint we found en route to the Museum Train Station. The name of the place is Yummies Kebab Pizza Pide, it had delicous Pides and Pizzas! More information can be found here. The review is not so good but for us the food is descent and most importantly halal. However, i have to agree that the pizza is better than the Kebab.

We took the subway from Museum Station to Wynyard and walk towards the Aquarium Wharf. However,  there was no clear signage towards the place. Apart from that, there's no detailed direction provided on websites on how to get there i.e which exit to take at the subway station. So that's when ur phone is really needed. Googlemap was  instrumental in helping us to locate the place (u have to have internet connection for this). I just discovered that you can use Googlemap to literally direct you to the place. However, you still have to use your own instinct as its not always accurate. But it does help with getting a good sense of the surrounding area. So I would recommend buying the data package for ur phone as I have mentioned in my previous post. Or otherwise you can install an offline map app on ur phone and download the local map prior to your departure. It is about 20-30 mins walk (slow pace) to Madamme Tussauds and do check the weather beforehand. You might want to bring/buy an umbrella or raincoat with you. Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife Sydney is situated at the same area. So its recommended to cover all those in one go.  

Museum Station - No escalator and no elevator here.
double decker train
odw to Aquarium Wharf

That was my second visit to Madamme Tussauds so I'm not that excited. The most interesting figure would be Obama but it costs a bomb to have your picture taken with him. As usual, these kind of establishments have their own photographers and will sell you pictures upon ur exit. Pictures taken by them costs a minimum of RM90! So we'd rather not waste our dollars and opt not to buy them.After that we went to the Aquarium. It was just ok and could not compare to the one in Osaka. But Q enjoyed it nevertheless.After we were done with the Aquarium it was already 4.30 pm and the Sydney Wildlife was already closed.

Q busy snapping away

So we decided to go to Circular Quay (pronounced as Key) and take a walk at the harbour towards the Sydney Opera House. Q was already acting out by this time and the captain was exhausted. So we just made it brief and quick and just took a few pictures of the Sydney Opera House from afar. The place is crowded at night and we just watched from quite a distance. 
Circular Quay

Sydney Opera House from afar

Went back to our hotel/apartment at 7pmish (it was already dark like its 9pmish) and made a trip to the supermarket, again. Love the place ! ;-)

Q is crazy bout this Kinder Surprise. Bought loads of this while we were there...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Brunei, Again

I was on a business trip to Brunei prior to our departure to Sydney. It was my first time taking an airline other than our own MAS and AirAsia and I was pretty nervous. However, it turned out that BruneiAir was not bad at all. The interior looks new, clean and crisp and modern. The best thing was, before take off, they put on a video reciting doa (prayers) for a safe journey which managed to calm me down. I stayed at the Rizqun International Hotel where the location is one of the best in town as its near to shopping area and the night market. However, do take note that the internet connection at the place is hopeless. We went on a short tourism visit on one of the night and heard of stories about Brunei and made one conclusion - Bruneians are really blessed and each of them are literally born on a pot of gold. One can't help but envy about such a good life they have.. :)
I did not take much pictures during the trip as I was not in the mood for it and all of em are taken with my handphone, so bare with it ya...

Premier Lounge KLIA
Just discovered this place located at the KLIA satellite building

On board Royal Brunei Air
Rizqun International Hotel

Sunrise view from my hotel room
Sunrise and sunset is spectacular in Brunei

New mosque and Prime Ministers Office

Waterfront area
Solar PV Farm Brunei
Power of the Sun
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Shin Ramyun - cant find halal version back home in Malaysia