Dazzling Ginza for Shoppers

Prior to Ginza, we stop by at Ueno to check out Ameyoko. The bustling shopping street is crowded with stores offering a bit of everything from clothes, sporting apparels, shoes, chocolates, fruits, seafood to dried food. I read somewhere that Ameyoko is one rare place in Japan which allows price bargaining (negotiating) wow…

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But don’t quote me, we didn’t try and we didn’t buy anything.
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Sensoji Temple in Asakusa

After the delightful sushi breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market, we made our way to Asakusa district (pronounced as Ah-sock-sah) to visit the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Asakusa Sensoji (金龍山浅草寺), also commonly known as Asakusa Kannon Temple has a rich history dated back to the 7th century.

The charismatic temple built in 645 A.D was one of the few places in Tokyo which survived the air raids during World War II. This means we are treading a sacred place serving the same purpose today as it did more than a millennium ago! Amazing!

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A Short Getaway to Hong Kong and Macau

Here’s a recap of our Hong Kong and Macau trip during National Day period back then. But you’ll soon realise that images are mainly taken in Macau, that’s because majority of our time was either spent in Hong Kong shopping malls or Shenzhen Luohu Commercial City. My camera didn’t left the bag…a heavy white elephant, until our day trip and my first visit to Macau.

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Known for its glamorous casinos, the sin city of the East has more than 30 casinos within its relatively small land area, no surprise for people to associate Macau to gambling. But looking beyond that, Macau has a rich and varied past, being a Portuguese colony for centuries. The East West cultural blend is seen in the mix of Chinese styled historic buildings, baroque-style churches and old fortifications in the surrounding. And the street names are in both Portuguese and Chinese. All these are uniquely Macau.

I like the pastel coloured classical buildings around Senado Square famous for its wave-patterned mosaic pavement.

Senado Square in Macau

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Throwback Travel: Jakarta

Our Jakarta relatives invited us to join them for New Year Eve’s countdown in Indonesia which we gladly accepted and look forward to welcome New Year at a new place. Flight from Singapore to Jakarta takes less than 2 hours but somehow we never thought of visiting until now. Bintan and Batam were the only places which I’ve been to.

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The Magnificent Todaiji of Nara

Todaiji Temple (東大寺), situated at a short walking distance from Kofukuji, is probably the most famous Buddhist temple in Nara. The imposing temple and its massive Daibutsuden (The Great Buddha Hall) house one of the largest bronze statues in Japan to honour the Buddha Vairocana. Todaiji Temple is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For some reason, the Sika deer will not venture passed Nandaimon gate.

WingShark's Note:
From Kansai International Airport(KIX) to Nara, the journey is approximately 2 hours, operated from 7:40 am to 9pm. So don't forget to add Nara to your itinerary of visiting places around Osaka!
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UNESCO Listed Todaiji

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Oh Deer Nara !

Nara (奈良) was once the ancient capital of Japan and it is today a famous tourist destination, well known for its temples, shrines and gardens. The compact city can be easily reach via the efficient transportation network from either Osaka or Kyoto under an hour. Hence there is no reason to skip Nara when you are visiting Kansai region.

WingShark's Note:
From Kansai International Airport(KIX) to Nara, the journey is approximately 2 hours, operated from 7:40 am to 9pm.
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Blitz Visit to Hanoi

Before I started planning for the trip to Hanoi, I had thought that it would be more or less the same as Singapore’s hot and very hot kind of weather. But the weather check gave a pleasant surprise – there’s season change in Hanoi. Yes, Hanoi has winter months but no, it’s unlikely you will see streets covered in snow. Then again, you never know, even Middle East countries are experiencing snow nowadays.

We were there in mid-February and day weather was very comfortable before becoming a-jacket-is-needed kind of cold when night falls. Very European kind of weather – I like!

Now if only I had more time for this rather short trip, technically 1.5 days to spare. Halong Bay or Sapa will have to wait but well, I just make do with it and enjoy. Took a taxi from Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport to May De Ville Old Quarter Hotel and hit the streets immediately after checking in. The first stop is Hoan Kiem Lake where the locals go for morning exercise.

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