Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Survival Skill at China 01

Hey peeps! Have you read our post about China ?
Cs is back from Taiwan and Cy is at Vienna? Come back to read about it soon.

Today, we are going to write our very first travel guide for China.

1. Always bargain. Best is start at 80% off the original price. Eg, if they sell the product at RMB 100, start bargaining at RMB 20. There will be a point where they ask you for your preferred price. Tell them the lowest price possible, as in 50% of what you will pay for. But do make sure you buy the product after bargaining if you dont want to be cursed by the shop owner.

2. If you plan to travel by train, get the train ticket a few days before to avoid standing.The price of the ticket is same as sitting. If you are going to travel for more than 10 hours, you should really get the sleeping ticket at least 4 days before because those people who bought the standing ticket will try to share your seat with you or sleep along the corridor and it is impossible for you to move around at night. You will not want to experience that. lol. But for the sleeping ticket, you need some luck as you will not want people snoring beside you whole night long. hahaa.

There's upper,middle and lower berth for train. The ticket is only 10-20 yuan difference between each other. You can never sit straight for middle berth and lower berth. The bed is so small that you can't move around also. The tip is get into the train asap so that you can get to sit the seat along the corridor. It is very limited. But, you can sit on the lower berth bed also provided that the person is awake. There's one good thing about their culture because they are willing to let the rest sit on their bed when they are not sleeping. But, it will be weird if you don't know them personally. Oh yeahh..bring more drinks and food too because china citizen will start munching once they got into the train. My friend told me that there's no difference between soft sleeper and hard sleeper. So, no point wasting extra money. =) Other than train, you can survey flight ticket as they will have cheap promotion. I bought my Dalian-Hangzhou ticket at 400 RMB. But, the weather at China is unpredictable. I got stuck in the airport for a day because of the bad weather.

3. If you are travelling at Beijing, use the subway instead of buses. The road at BJ is way too complicated. You need to be a living compass. lol. There's north road north, south road east and etc. Beijing is like a big square puzzle. hence, subway is good enough as it will bring you to all the tourist spot. They are renovating the one at Summer Palace ! Wheee. Subway at Beijing is so much cheaper compared to the one at Shanghai.

4. Taxi at China is very cheap and they use meter. It will be quite a good option if you want to save money. The starting rate is RMB 8 if I'm not mistaken.

5. Buses at Beijing charge you for an extra ticket if your stuff took the place of a person. So, if you bring a luggage with you, you have to pay for 2. The bus fare is around 1-2 RMB which is much cheaper compared to the one at Hangzhou where the cheapest bus fare is 2 RMB and it is uncommon.

I will stop here this time.
Want to know where you can shop with minimum amount of money or how to stay in style with super low budget?

Stay tune for the next travel guide with pictures!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beijing Day One- YongHe Lama Temple

If you missed our Forbidden Palace post, read here.

From The Forbidden Palace, we moved to YongHe Lama Temple by Sunway line 4. The entrance ticket is RMB 24 per entry but student can only pay RMB 12 with student ID.
I will strongly recommend this place if you don't like to waste time walking at a huge place like The Forbidden Palace because they have similar building and colors. Different part of China have different color of building. Different dynasty have affected the building structure and color. For example, all buildings at Beijing are red in color, white in Suzhou and Hangzhou, and green in Xi'an I've heard. And the building architecture are different too.
Yonghe Lama Temple is one of the major Tibetan Buddhist Temple in the world. You will notice Lama walking around the temple. You can see words written in Tibet language too.

The front view of Yonghe Lama Temple

A very unique entrance ticket.
 There's a brief introduction and map of the temple.
 Another version of the map. Don't be fooled by the map. The place is not that huge. You can finish the place in half an hour.
 After you pass the entrance, you have to walk through rows of tree before you enter the temple. Meet my travel partner, AL.
Next I will be showing pictures around the place. =)

From YongHeGong, we walk to GuoZiJian and the Confucius temple. The entrance fee is RMB 10 and you can get to visit two places at once. GuoZiJian is the place which is the highest institure of learning back then.They are 4-star tourist spot.

 There's nothing much on Confucius temple. It's like the place people pray to get good grades for exam. I will be showing pictures with captions! So, lets the pictures do the talking ya?

One of the exam hall.

 At the oldest exam hall.

I'm always fascinated by the trees at most tourist spot. I think they are few hundred years old or more than that. Who knows?

Stone tablet engraved with name list of Jin Shi from the last Ke Ju exam in China history.  

It reads 'University'.

Between Confucius Temple and GuoZiJian
 Besides that, you get to see the exhibition held inside GuoZiJian. It's more like a museum and you can get all the information inside.
Name list of 'Zhuang Yuan' from the old dynasty

 Exam is held in cubicles.. Student have to answer the questions, rest, eat, drink and sleep in this small cubicle.Each exam is held for 3 days and students are not allowed to move around and talk to each other. They have to do all their activities in the small cubicle. They actually renovated the place as before so we get to see the actual condition.
Example of student asnwering the exam paper.

Example of student sleeping in the cubicle.

Example of the exam paper. Exam is normally held in April.

Example of exam slip.

The canteen.

Wax maniquin of the olden days.

Meet Confucius !

You need to pay RMB 100 for a small red plate so that you can write your wish behind the red plate. They will give a piece of small jade so that you can keep it with you.

The end.

Next, it will be the last post of Beijing.

Stay tune with us =)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cradle Mountain-Tazmania Maze

 " Hi all, back from a great Christmas trip to Sydney with the family. But well, I better finish off some unfinished post on Tasmania before i can start any on Sydney. Maybe you are all bored of Tassie already and I'm starting to forget a lot. But here goes"

Third day in Launceston was a great day, we pack our bags and off we drove to the Cradle Mountain. The drive was pretty scenic with a lot of farm land, green and animals to see. Along the way, we pass by a mural town where the town won yearly awards for murals drawn on the shops wall in the whole town. I think its call Sheffield. You should stop by as its pretty interesting town. Pretty much the further we drove away from the city, the quieter it was and more farm land we see. There wasn't much pit stop as well as its only 90 minutes to our next destination. 

After going through a course of winding road up the hills, we reached our destination. "Tasmazia". I bet you will be like, hey Missy, you got your Tasmania spelled wrongly larrrrrrrr. If the name isn't obvious enough, the place house 8 crazy huge/medium/mini mazes in the heart of cradle mountain lake district.

The place is easily missed by passerby as just an ordinary farmland with a small house on the front. Not many tourist at this area, i guess it not a tourist spot. Anyway, I am really interested in this firstly cause they have a huge lavender farm (sadly, no lavender bloom in July, huge mistake for not checking). People, if you like me like lavender, plan your trip in summer, that's in December to February in Australia. Secondly, after much research on Tasmania, most of the things sound pretty much the same. Historical and Scenic. I wanted something more fun, hence mazes was a great idea. Lot of fun lost in the mazes.

Anyways, Tasmazia has 8 mazes, a model village, a huge lavender farm as i have mention as well as pancake place and gift shop. I pretty much spend my whole entire day there and concluded the day driving to our new hotel Cradle Mountain Chateau for the night of spa and relaxation.

Here's some pictures of the day:

Overview of the maze, a tiny map to cheat.

In the great maze, there's trap doors and hints to collect.

Random boards for your humor
One wrong turn and you find yourself in spook town. eeikz.

dare to go into the spook house?
one sip add 1 year, 10 sip add 10 years. haha... liess...

Confusion maze. seriously confusing. 

Got lost in the confusion maze
Spend so much time looking for the checkpoint.

Asking for direction
The Village of Lower Crackpot,  
Cheat one maze
The answer to the cheat one maze it to go thru this trap that say no entry and u will reach the checkpoint. following picture.

Whee..mission completed=D

School kids lining up to go home after all the fun.
It's time for us to go too.

500 Staverton Road
Promised Land 7306
Tasmania, Australia.

Cheers. Bye for now. Come back for more=D. Will write on hotel review and more.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

You will go there once, MYANMAR

It was a short 5 days trip.
If you were to ask me ' Is Myanmar a nice place to go?'.My answer will be 'Yes'.And if you were to ask me 'Will you go Myanmar again?'.My answer will be'No',no hesitation.
No offence to Myanmar, I personally think that the environment there is still in 60's or probably 70's(because there is a lot of 70's vehicles,some might even older than your grandfather).If their government were to implement a policy to recycle 10 year-old vehicle,I guarantee to you that you cant even see a single tyre on the road,maybe in their garage. BUT, this is what make Myanmar a place worth going!(at most least once)
Ok cut the crap.Let the photos tell you a thousand words.
We arrived at Yangon,current capital of Myanmar in the evening.We resided in Ocean Pearl Inn located near Botataung Pagoda.There were inn staff driving us from Yangon Airport to the inn.
Don't get cheated by its outlook.The inside is cleaner and tidier and more comfortable than a 2 stars hotel in Malaysia.And you can enjoy a 5 stars hotel service in this hotel.In Hilton,there will be jockey to park your car.In Ocean Pearl,there will be jockey to park your umbrella.They even give us their umbrella when we were lack of one.Can Hilton give you a car when you are lack of one?Joking la.But frankly their service win a 5 star rating .No Joke.Their staff were very friendly and helpful.And most importantly it costs only 10 USD per night.

At night we went to the famous Botataung Pagoda to explore its night view.


Despite a sleepless night, we woke up early in the morning to visit Bogyoke Aung San Market located about 

20min taxi drive from our inn.

I wouldn't say Myanmar is a place to eat.There were no unique local food that could stimulate my appetite.

Myanmar Jade! too old for me but they are colorful. Generally cheaper than buying in Malaysia but I ain't a jade fans.

stylish classical guitar.almost wanted to buy but the salesman refused to give discount so finally didn't get to own a guitar Made in Myanmar.
After shopping and loitering for 2 hours in Bogyoke Aung San Market,

we went off  for lunch by taking cab.Street view in Yangon is another point of attraction. Their driving skills and boarding talents are MARVELOUS.Passenger could get into the cab a.k.a. 猪仔车(piggy car) without the vehicle stopping.

This was the locals strongly suggested Nasi Briyani. It's so so for me.
Bandung cendol with cheese topping.Forgot its name.

After lunch we went back to inn for packing.Our next destination was Mandalay,the former capital of Myanmar.The inn staff helped us to book bus tickets.Estimated travel time from Yangon to Mandalay was 10+ hours. 

People said, you have never been to Myanmar if you do not go Mandalay.That's is TRUE...