London May 2016, Day 5: Sky Garden, Harrods and the British Museum

We had a more leisurely itinerary planned for day 5 after a long previous day in Paris. We took the tube to Monument station and took a short stroll to the “Walkie-Talkie” building, so nicknamed because of its uneven rectangular shape. On the 35th floor is the Sky Garden, an indoor garden spanning three storeys…

London May 2016, Day 4: A Paris Excursion

It was finally our day trip out to Paris and we headed out in the dark and rainy morning to catch 4.30 am bus to St Pancreas Station. From there we caught the Eurostar train. The trip wasn’t too bad, taking only 2 and a half hours from London to the Gare Du Nord Station in Paris….

London May 2016, Day 2: Westminster Abbey and Kew Garden

Day 2 began with a hearty buffet breakfast at Tavistock hotel. Fried, boiled and scrambled eggs, watery baked beans, hash browns, sausages, bacon (a little on the hard side),grilled tomatoes, toast and jams, prunes and stewed fruits, cereal, juices, coffee and tea – a good enough selection and variety to keep us going until lunch….

London May 2016, Day 1: Sightseeing as a Tourist

We made a self-planned family trip to the UK in May earlier this year. The first 6 days in London was tourist-centric (with a day trip to Paris in between so technically I can say that I’ve been to Europe!), with a more relaxing 2nd half spent in Edinburgh. We landed in London Heathrow on…

Final Japan Post: Tokyo Imperial Palace Gardens and Souvenir Shopping

On our sunny, last day in Japan we headed to the Imperial Palace to see the East Gardens which were open to the public. We caught the Toei line to Kudanshita station then walked through the picturesque Kitanomaru Park, passing by the Budokan Hall where a ceremony was being held.

Visiting Mt Fuji, March 2015

If you have a free day in your itinerary, I highly recommend considering a day tour to Mt Fuji. We booked one through japanican, namely the Mt Fuji Golden Tour, for our third last day in Japan. The tour included 4 stops and a bento lunch on an air-conditioned bus.

Belles Hot Chicken & Bourke Street Bakery @ Barangaroo, Feb 2016

On a warm sunny morning, we headed to Barangaroo, which is just a few minutes’ walk from Wynyard in Sydney’s CDB. I strongly recommend going, if you want a great view of the harbour without the crowds. We meandered around Barangaroo reserve park, which has a bicycle and walking track right along the water’s edge. After the walk, we…

Asakusa: Okonomiyaki and Testa Rossa’s Silky Milk Pudding

With only three full days left in Japan, we decided to take it easy for the day and head to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. The temple was few minutes’ walk from Asakusa station and like our last visit in 2009, was packed with tourists and locals. There were even two girls at the entrance looking after other people’s kids (who were placed…

Shinjuku Gyoen Splendour Plus Harajuku Gyoza and Crepes

The sun finally came out on day 9 of our Japan trip, which was perfect as we made our way on foot from the hotel to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. The admission fee was the best Y200 I ever spent. You can ask for an English map at the gate, which is helpful in planning your…

Kamakura’s Big Buddha and Hasedera Temple

Our first full day in Tokyo started off with buffet breakfast at Stella, BW’s restaurant located on the first floor. Their breakfast range had more variety than Hearton’s in Kyoto, but their seating area was small so there were a few mornings when we had to wait. Our plan was to head to Kamakura to see the…

Onwards to Tokyo – Ryogoku and Disneyland

We caught the Shinkansen to Tokyo arriving around 12pm, then changed to the Chuo rapid line for our destination of Shinjuku. Navigating the bustling (and huge) train station and streets of Shinjuku with luggage was a little stressful but luckily our hotel, Best Western Astina Shinjuku, was just a few minutes’ walk from the station.

Moss and Sand Gardens of the Silver Pavilion and an Afternoon of Sweets

Grey skies and rain set the tone of our sixth day in Japan, as we took the bus from the hotel to our first stop, the Hello Kitty Koubou shop in Northern Higashiyama. The shop was tiny but full of Hello Kitty goodies from handbags, pencil cases, hair accessories and very cute (if you can afford it) kimono-clad…