Oz Oz, Oy Oy Oy!

Australia is a nation that is in itself occupies a whole continent. Located at the south of Indonesia, Australia consist of the mainland continent, plus the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is also the world’s sixth-largest country by total area.

Australia’s climate varies throughout the different states and territories, with most of the states experiencing four seasons except for the tropical north that experiences only wet and dry season. Also, do take note that the seasons are a complete opposite to those in the northern hemisphere, December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring. We went in June last year so it was very very cold. The winter season also doesn’t necessarily mean snow, although in some areas in Sydney there was snow the night before we visited there (hello, Katoomba!) but the most we experienced was really bitingly cold winter wind, and on other days some rain showers.

We decided to divide our visit to 2 states, Sydney and Melbourne. We took the red-eye flight (12:15 am) to Sydney from NAIA Terminal 3 via Cebu Pacific and reached Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport at around 10:30 in the morning. Travel time is 8 hours plus 2 hours time difference, Sydney being ahead by 2 hours.

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Fun in Taiwan: Sun Moon Lake

2016 has been my best year in terms of traveling, and I’ve yet to write anything about my 2016 trips. So let me start it off with our Taiwan trip last April 2016.

Taiwan, officially called the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia, with neighbors including China (west), Japan (northeast) and Philippines (south).  It is around 4 hrs and 30 mins trip from Singapore Changi Airport to Taoyuan International Airport. We went there on the first weekend of April hoping to catch the tail end of the sakura/spring season.

Early Saturday morning, we took the red eye flight to Taiwan via Scoot. Once we arrived in Taoyuan International Airport, we took UBus 705 (N$30; S$1 = ~22N$) (found in Terminal 1) which took us to the HSR (High Speed Rail) Taoyuan Station.

Cherry blossoms found outside Taoyuan HSR Station

Cherry Blossoms found outside Taoyuan HSR Station

TAIWAN HIGH SPEED RAIL 

Taiwan High Speed Rail (also known as THSR, HSR, or Gāotíe) is a high-speed rail line approximately 345KM in length running along the west coast of Taiwan from Taipei Main Station in the north to Kaohsiung in the south.  Similar to Shinkansen of Japan, the HSR can reach speeds of up to 330 km/hr. There are 3 different seating sections: non-reserved (car 10-12), reserved and business class. There are automated ticket vending machines available in the stations, as well as counters. More information on traveling via Taiwan HSR here.

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Japan Diaries: Universal Studios Japan

One of the must-go to places in Osaka for a theme park lover such as myself is definitely the Universal Studios located in Osaka bay, Japan. USJ was the first theme park under the Universal Studios brand built in Asia. It also houses the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the first in Asia and is probably the main attraction in USJ. It was raining on the day that we went there but it didn’t stop us from having the best time in USJ.

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Japan Diaries: A Side Trip to Nara

Nara is a spectacularly picturesque city which is second only to Kyoto for the richness and beauty of its temples, shrines and gardens. It is located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest and largest temples.

From our hotel, we took the JR Train (Osaka Loop first, then continued on the same train to Nara station via Yamatoji Line). Once we reached the station, we went around, bought some snacks at the local supermarket, asked the tourist information center for some directions on where we can eat and off we went. Everything is just walking distance from the train station although there is a Nara Sightseeing Bus that stops at all the tourist spots within Nara. We opted to just walk since it was a nice day to stroll around anyways. 🙂

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JR Train for Nara

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Japan Diaries: Dotonburi & Shinsaibashi

Osaka was the first and final stop of our Japan trip. After another shinkansen ride from Nagoya to Shin-Osaka, we took the Midosuji subway Line to Dobutsuenmae Station, which is the nearest station to our hotel, Hotel Chuo. A glitch on this subway station is that there was no elevator! In short, 3 flights of stairs with heavy luggage. Anyways, after leaving our bags in the hotel for storage, we were starving and upon one of the guests recommendation, we made our way to Osaka’s food haven, Dotonburi.


Read more on our Japan Adventures through my Japan Diaries series. ❤


Dotonburi

Dotonburi is definitely one of the must-go places in Osaka. Once well-known as a theater district, it is now a popular nightlife and entertainment area characterized by its eccentric atmosphere and large illuminated billboards.

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