AUSTRIA

Austria is a country rich with history, beautiful places, traditions and activities that are distinct to the area. Visitors are drawn as much for the scenic beauty of this Alpine republic’s provinces as they are for splendid cities like Vienna (Wien), the historic capital, and beautiful Salzburg, birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. One of Europe’s smallest countries, Austria is predominantly a nation of upland areas and high mountains, with the Eastern Alps occupying a good 60 percent of its territory.

Trip in December 2011 | €1 = MYR4.60

First stop was Salzburg, stayed for 3 nights then took train to Vienna. From Salzburg we make a day trip to Hallstat. People says, stop by Hallstat when u are in Austria. Indeed it was a beautiful place to see and capture your great moment there. Its a small town and of course very touristy.

Day 1 Salzburg | 24 December 2015

We stayed at Best Western Plus Amedia Art Salzburg for 3 nights, double room with ensuite bathroom costs us €172 (around MYR791). One of the best hotels I’ve been to, the staff were extremely welcoming and polite. The hotel room was huge, clean and cleverly designed, which have some touch of Mozart’s music.

Best Western Plus Amedia Art Salzburg

Location is not in the center but there are bus stops right in front of the hotel that will take you to the center or to the main station in few minutes (buses run quite frequently during the day). Nearest train station, Salzburg Gnigl is just 300 metres away.

Best Western Plus Amedia Art Salzburg location

Best Western Plus Amedia Art Salzburg location

Since we arrived hotel at night time, we only had a chance to eat dinner at the nearest eating place then back to hotel and rest.

Day 2 Salzburg | 25 December 2015

Today we spent full day in Salzburg Town. Didn’t purchase any special passes for transportation, from our hotel just hop on city bus and drop-off at Salzburg Makartplatz bus stop. From here, we start our walking tour towards to Fortress Hohensalzburg.

Places we were encountered while walking towards Fortress Hohensalzburg;

Walking tour in Salzburg

First part walking map.

  • Dreifaltigkeitskirche, Catholic Church. This building just right on your left once u stop at the Salzburg Makartplatz bus stop. This is nice Roman Catholic church in the center of Salzburg. Anyway, we didn’t go inside the church. we proceed to walking to the next places of interest. 

    Dreifaltigkeitskirche, Catholic Church.

    Dreifaltigkeitskirche, Catholic Church.

  • Mirabellgarten ( Mirabell Gardens). A beautiful formal garden but only once the flowers have bloomed. Until then it’s just a bit bland and waiting for late spring/summer. Visit during winter, only few flower can be seen here. Mirabell Gardens is one of the most important shooting locations from the famous Hollywood musical “The Sound of Music”. In the film, Maria and the children dance around the Pegasus Fountain in front of the palace, singing the song “Do Re Mi”.
  • Mirabell Palace. Mirabell is a woman’s name from Italy, a compilation of two words: mirabile “admirable” and bella “beautiful”. Mirabell Palace and Angel Staircase open daily from 8 am-6 pm and admission is free.

 

  • After that we walked towards the Salzach river and enjoy the riverview of Salzburg. As your eyes roam across the city of Salzburg, it’s almost as if you are leafing through the pages of a fairy tale.

Salzburg

Day 3 Hallstatt | 26 December 2015

Today we make a day trip to Hallstatt, 75km from Salzburg. Catch a bus to Bad Ischl Bahnhof (Bus terminal) about 1 hour, then you’ll have to transfer to a train. Then get off the train at Hallstatt Station and take a ferry across the lake. This route will take you past some of the most scenic lakes of the Salzkammergut.

Hallstatt

 

 

Day 4 Vienna | 27 December 2015

Early morning catch a train to Vienna, 2hour 30min journey. Our initial plan was skip Vienna from our itinerary. Since direct train to Prague was canceled and changed to new route which is stop at Vienna first then connecting train to Prague, why not we detour in Vienna. It’s like we have won a jackpot!.

The Vienna Hofburg: Austria's Imperial Palace

 

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EUROPE HOMEPAGE | NETHERLANDS  |  FINLAND  |  GERMANY  |  CZECH REPUBLIC

FINLAND

Why visit Finland?. Many reason to visit this little hidden gem located far up North. While they might be small in size, they’re big in things to discover. The air is one of the cleanest in the world and landscapes are second to none. You can find thousands of lakes and forests – which are never far away from wherever you are. You also can pay a visit to Santa, admire the Northern Lights or experience the peace of the countryside & cottage life.

Trip in December 2015  |  €1 = MYR4.60

This was unplanned trip since I’m expecting and due in March 2016, my husband asking me “why don’t we travel to Europe?” …. “You will be busy with baby next year”… I put a smile on my face and i quickly do all the bookings and planning within 2 months before the departure.

It was a great experience traveling with baby bump. Did a spectacular walk in cold winter which I never expect I could had done it with 6 months baby belly.

The journey started from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam Schipol Airport, Netherlands back in December 2015. Before fly to Finland, we stayed in Amsterdam for 3 nights. Then we flew with Norwegian Airlines with layover at Arlanda Stockholm Airport for 6 hours, and yeah! we slept at the cafe couch at the Airport since the connecting flight to Helsinki, Finland was at 6:40am next day. Cost of this flight was US$214.08 for 2 adults (baggage 20kg added).

Flight details:
Departing Flight – Wednesday, Dec 16, 2015

Norwegian Air Shuttle Flight 4258
BOEING 737 800 JET Airline confirmation: 7DKTZY
From Amsterdam (AMS) 09:40pm – Dec 16, Wed
To Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) 11:40pm – Dec 16, Wed
Flight Duration: 2hr 00min

Return Flight – Thursday, Dec 17, 2015

Norwegian Air Shuttle Flight 4281
BOEING 737 800 JET Airline confirmation: 7DKTZY
From Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) 06:40am – Dec 17, Thu
To Helsinki (HEL) 08:35am – Dec 17, Thu
Flight Duration: 0hr 55min

Arlanda Stockholm Airport

We checked out outside of the terminal for awhile.

In Finland, we only visit Helsinki and Saariselkä, Inari. Helsinki, Finland’s southern capital, sits on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland. Its central avenue, Mannerheimintie, is flanked by institutions including the National Museum, tracing Finnish history from the Stone Age to the present. Also on Mannerheimintie are the imposing Parliament House and Kiasma, a contemporary art museum. Ornate red-brick Uspenski Cathedral overlooks a harbor.

Saariselkä, Inari is a resort village in northern Finland. It’s a gateway to the trails and ski areas of mountainous Urho Kekkonen National Park. The village’s Destination Northernmost Europe exhibition has a panorama theater with films on the region’s plant and animal life, including reindeer.

 

Day 1 Helsinki | 17 December 2015

8:35am: Arrived Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Kept our luggage at coin-locker store at the airport.  Storage costs EUR 5 / 24 h in a small locker (height 56 cm, depth 56 cm, width 28cm) and 6 €/24h in a large locker (height 86 cm, depth 78 cm, width 36 cm).

9:30am : We took train from Helsinki Airport Station (Lentoaseman Asema), 500 meters from Helsinki-vantaa airport. Train journey was about 40 minutes to the Helsinki City at €5.50 one-way per person. We met nice girl from Malaysia who studied here in Finland. She so friendly and talkative.

Once we arrived Helsinki city, we bought 1 Day tickets for public transport for €9 per ticket.

Places we visited:

  • Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki – Russian-designed Orthodox cathedral. Hilltop center of the Finnish Orthodox faith with an ornate exterior & lavish interior decoration.
  • Suomenlinna – UNESCO-listed 18th-century sea fortress. World Heritage site accessed by ferry, with cannons, tunnels, a dockyard, museums & a brewery.
  • Helsinki Senate Square – Neoclassical architecture in large public square with the cathedral, Government Palace & university.
  • Helsinki Cathedral – Landmark 19th-century religious edifice. Steps lead up to Carl Ludvig Engel’s grand neoclassical cathedral, topped with an iconic green dome.

 

Kauppatori

Suomenlinna

11:00pm : Heading back to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Our stay was nearby the airport about 1km away. Very comfortable twin room with shared bathroom. Per night at €50.40 booked via booking.com

Hotel: Forenom Hostel Vantaa Airport
Address: Ilmailutie 9
Vantaa, 01531, Finland
Phone: +358201983420

forenom_hostel

Twin room at Forenom Hostel Vantaa Airport

 

Day 2 Ivalo – Saariselka | 18 December 2015

 

5:00am : We woke up early to catch an early flight to Ivalo. We flew via Finnair at 5:50am

Departure: Vantaa (HEL), Helsinki, Finland
Date: 12/18/2015 05:50am
Arrival: Ivalo (IVL), Ivalo, Finland
07:25am
Duration 01H 35m
Finnair (AY461)

Once arrived Ivalo airport, We quickly catch a shuttle bus to Saariselka, Inari. Journey about 30 minutes (fare €10 per person).

During our trip, day light hours was only 2 hour. This is known as the polar night when the sun never fully rises. Snow reflects the light, too, so it may seem brighter than it actually is. There is also a so-called blue moment just before dawn and again before it gets dark when the scenery has a blueish tone.

Saariselka

9:00am in Saariselka

As usual, if you are staying in expensive countries, first thing to consider is self catering. So, the tips are book an accommodation with fully-equipped kitchenette and spend time in supermarket to buy some groceries. Mainly, I cooked vegetable soups, stir-fried seafood and grilled fish. I do not practice bringing food from Malaysia except Extra-Hot peri sauce, this will become handy for some extra spicy taste in your cooking.

In Saariselka, there’s only 1 supermarket available, Supermarket Kuukkeli. They have just about everything you need and quite cheap. There is also a good cafe there serving good food and reasonably priced. Staff in the place all very helpful. We spent €14.35 only for 3 nights grocery.

First day in Saariselka, we just checked out the town by foot, buy grocery and rest. In mid night, we took taxi went up to highest point of Saariselka town, Kaunispaa just to check if we get to see the Aurora but failed since the skies so gloomy and snowing heavily. We only waited for half hour because the weather was too cold to be outside and the cafe was closed.

Day 3 Saariselka | 19 December 2015

Today, initial plan was to catch a bus to Rovaniemi, Finland to visit Santa Claus Village. Distance from Saariselka is about 4 hours journey by bus. Bus fare is €46.60 for local bus & €50.20 for Express bus ( per person). Check out here for fares and timetable https://www.matkahuolto.fi/en/. We missed the early bus then decided to go for plan B, took shuttle bus went up tu Kaunispaa again.

Kaunispaa has spectacular view from mountain top. At night it is an excellent place to watch the aurora from. But we failed to see it last night. It has a souvenir shop and a restaurant too. We had a cup of Cappuccino at €3.70 at Huippu Kaunispaan cafe. Spent time playing with snow and snap some photos.

In the late afternoon, we went to Santa’s Hotel Tunturi to have lunch. It’s a bit extraordinary for us to tried out  reindeer meat in Finland. We ordered 1 poro wrap (reindeer meat) at €16.50 and Paivan Kala (fish of the day) at €14.50. vat at 14%, included. Turned out very well taste and juicy. After that, we went back to our “home” to rest before another long night to catch an Aurora.

Saariselkä is an excellent place to set off on the Urho Kekkonen National Park nature trails. The Saariselkä area’s nature trails have their starting point at Saariselkä tourist resort at the Urho Kekkonen National Park gate. The nature trails are marked in the terrain with green poles which carry pinecone symbols.

We went hiking in middle of the night at Iisakkipää Nature Trail, 3 km, leads along the lower slopes of Iisakkipää Fell through a dell with a stream. The nature trail is a circle trail the starting point for which is at Saariselkä tourist resort, at the national park gate near Tunturi Hotel. The boards along the trail have text in Finnish, English, French and German. The trail is suited for inexperienced hikers. During winter the trail doubles as a snowshoeing trail. Means, we didn’t finish the loop. we tracked back our footprints back to our “home”. Yeah! another failed attempt to catch the Aurora light.

 

Day 4 Saariselka | 20 December 2015

Today, we went to Santa’s Home at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort west village.

We took a taxi to Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort east village first before heading to west village. Taxi fare was so expensive, €28 one-way.

Kakslauttanen villages

What’s so unique about Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort? Kakslauttanen is one of the best places in the world to see the magical glow of the Northern Lights. The season lasts from late August to late April. They provide the perfect opportunity for observing Aurora Borealis as the season is long, there is virtually no light pollution and very few trees obscuring the sky nearby. And naturally the view from their Glass Igloos and Kelo-Glass Igloos is unbeatable. However, they cannot guarantee Northern Lights or any other natural phenomenon. There are many things that affect the visibility of the Northern Lights like magnetic activity, position of the sun and cloudiness of the sky.

Meanwhile in West Village, you can visit Santa’s Home. After all these centuries, Santa has finally decided to unlatch the door’s of his home to the public.

 

Day 5 Saariselka – Ivalo| 21 December 2015

Woke up early, had breakfast and catch early bus to Ivalo, Airport.

We took bus Eskelisen Lapin Linjat at 8:30am. Fare 1 adult is €10.00 direction Kiilopaa – Ivalo.

Next destination is Munich, Germany. Flew from Helsinki via Air Baltic layover at Riga, Latvia for 1 hour.

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Accommodation

Helsinki:

Hotel: Forenom Hostel Vantaa Airport
Address: Ilmailutie 9
Vantaa, 01531, Finland
Phone: +358201983420
Cost: €50.40 for 1 night – Twin Room with Shared Bathroom

Saariselka:

Hotel: Saariselkä Inn Conference Apartment
Address: Tievapolku 2
Saariselka, 99830, Finland
Phone: +358447290006
Cost: €225.00 for 3 nights – Twin Room with Private Entrance

 

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Fuji Lakes, JAPAN

Fuji Lakes was our last stop in Japan. We took a bus from Tokyo Station to Kawaguchiko Station in the Fuji Five Lakes region. Journey by bus is about 3 hours including 1 quick stop at R&R. Bus fare for return ticket per adult is ¥3000. The Fuji Five Lake region lies at the northern base of Mount Fuji about 1000 meters above sea level around the lakes Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko and Motosuko. It is one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance and a good base for climbing the mountain.

Among the lakes, Lake Kawaguchiko is the easiest to access and offers the most things to see and do for the average foreign traveler. The four other lakes are less developed than Lake Kawaguchiko and are not as easy to access by public transportation. We stayed in Plaza Inn Kawaguchiko, walking distance from Kawaguchiko Station within 5 minutes.

We arrived at 10:40pm and we walked straight to our accommodation in a cold weather. Although at night, we still can see the majestic of Mt Fuji illuminated by the moonlight. That night the temperature was too cold and we couldn’t stay outside for too long. We did quick stop at nearest mini market and bought some snacks and breakfast for tomorrow.

Trip in January 2014  |  ¥1000 = RM32

Day 1 Fuji Lakes | 19 January 2014

Had breakfast in room before start our own tour around Fuji Lakes.

We bought the 2 days unlimited bus ride for 2 lakes, Lake Kawaguchi and lake Saiko.You can get the tickets at the Kawaguchiko Station. There are several types of ticket to choose according to your itinerary. Just ask them for recommendation and information. Don’t forget to bring along the bus map, so you know where to make a stop for sightseeing spot.

Kawaguchiko Station

First day in Fuji Lakes, we ride the retro bus around lake Saiko.

Fujikyu Retro Bus

In the afternoon, we were back to Lake Kawaguchiko to catch sunset.

Lake Kawaguchiko

 

Lake Kawaguchi

 

 

There’s a mini market near the lake kawaguchiko where you can buy your grocery. We bought some of seafood and added to our ramen for dinner that night.

 

Day 2 Fuji Lakes | 20 January 2014

On day 2, we woke up early to catch early bus. We did survey where is the best spot to shoot a mirror effect of Mt Fuji from yesterday. So, we catched the bus from the station and stop at no19, Sannide mae Nagasaki Koen Iriguchi. Here’s the best view of Fujisan.

Mt. Fuji

 

At Noon, we had lunch at chinese restaurant, Then we continued to Fugaku Fugetsu (Wind Cave). The Fuji Fugaku Wind Cave is surrounded by the abundant greenery of the Aokigahara Jukai forest. Once you enter the cave, it is pleasantly cool even in summer, with an average temperature of 3℃. Up until the beginning of the Showa era, it was used as a refrigerator to store the eggs of silkworms. The cave has also been designated as a Japanese natural monument.

We took bus express back to Tokyo at 5pm after spends last few hours at Lake Saiko.

We reached Tokyo around 8pm then fetched the luggage at locker room and straight went to Chiba by train (30mins).

We stay at very nice hotel but rather small room at level 35 but nice view of Tokyo bay. Hotel name is APA Hotel & Resort Tokyo Bay Makuhari. Our room was comfortable, clean and had wonderful views of the harbor. This hotel located very near to Tokyo Disneyland. Who ever wants to stay nearby Disneyland, this is very good place to stay.

No activity for the night, just had dinner at nearest restaurant.

Last day in Japan | 21 January 2014

Early in the morning we went to in-house public bath. That’s what i like about this hotel. Nice public bath and nice harbor view. Not to forget, they have shuttle bus to Narita Airport.

Til we meet again Japan. Bye.

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Download PDF file for complete here Japan Winter Itinerary JAN 2014

Summary Cost for 2 person:

ACCOMMODATION:

  • Plaza Inn Kawaguchiko : ¥15,000 for 2 nights
  • APA Hotel & Resort Tokyo Bay Makuhari: ¥6,800 for 1 night

TRANSPORTATION:

  • Bus Express to Fuji Lake: ¥6,000
  • 2-day Sighseeing bus: ¥2,600
  • Train Tokyo to Kaihinmakuhari station (Chiba): ¥1,080 (one-way)
  • Bus to Narita Airport: ¥1,800 (one-way)
  • Jetstar flight Narita to Osaka: ¥9,380 (one-way)

MEALS & SNACKS : ¥9,044

SHOPPING : ¥36,973.

ENTERTAINMENT:

  • Entrance fee to Wind cave: ¥560

 

 

HOMEPAGE JAPAN | KYOTOHOKKAIDO | TOKYO

Paris, FRANCE

People once said, Paris is a city of romance, city of love, inspiration, art and fashion. Paris can be seen as an interesting place to visit in Europe, perhaps one of the most fascinating city in the world. A trip to Paris is the perfect get-away, experience the arty culture, shop until you drop, visit the highlights, just relax in a city park and enjoy the stunning view from the Eiffel tower.

Trip in April 2011  |  €1 = MYR4.12

This trip was finally came true when Airasia announced a new route to Paris. This 13 hours direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Paris-Orly Airport, I got it at MYR1400 return tickets per person. This trip were from Kuala Lumpur – Paris – Switzerland – Italy – Spain – Portugal and back to Paris again. Hence, on the first day, we only spent a night and the next day we took a train to Switzerland. The journey begin at 1.20am on Sunday, 24th april 2011 and we arrived at 9.00am on the same day.

Since our time is to tight, after we reached airport we quickly catch a train to our accommodation about 1 hour journey. We just do own walking tour around the Paris attractions until night time. We continue our Eiffel Tower visit on the last day of our Europe trip before we depart back to Kuala Lumpur on the next day.

Day 1 Paris | 24th April 2011, Sunday

Today, we visited some attractions after short rest at the hotel. We stayed 1 night at Timhotel Saint Georges Pigalle (currently its called My Sopi Hotel). The hotel is located a few steps from the famous Moulin Rouge Theatre and the lively Saint Georges district. It is one metro stop from the Montmartre. Only 1 minute walk to the nearest metro station (pigalle). Cost at €82.29 1 night for standard double room.

Subway in Paris

palais_of_justice

We purchased 1-day pass ticket for public transport at €20 each person. Apart from public transport, we just walk leisurely to the next attractions because distance not too far.

Places of interest checklist done:

~Notre Dame~

~Arc de Trompe~

~Champ Elyees~

~Eiffel Tower~

We didn’t manage to get the entrance ticket to go to the top of Eiffel Tower deck after a long queue. Then we decided to come back on our last day but we purchased the tickets online to avoid any disappointment later. So, after view the Eiffel tower at night, we took train back to Pigalle.

~Moulin Rouge~

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

Day 2 | 25th April 2011, Monday

Today we continue the trip to Switzerland. Although we woke up early, we missed the flight to Geneve, Switzerland. We boarded wrong train to airport. Then have to go for plan B, catch high-speed train from Gare De Lyon, located in the east of central Paris to Switzerland.

The Gare de Lyon (Lyon station), officially Paris-Gare-de-Lyon, is one of the six large mainline railway station termini in Paris, France. The station is served by high-speed TGV trains to south and eastern France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Spain. The station also hosts regional trains and the RER and also the Gare de Lyon metro station.

We purchased tickets €127 one-way each person, approximately MYR523. This train is passing through Geneve then we make interchange at Visp, Switzerland to reach our final destination, Zermatt.

Click Switzerland page to continue reading. Happy reading!

Last Day in Paris | 11 May 2011, Wednesday

We Arrived Paris Orly Airport from Lisbon, Portugal at 12:55pm. We took a taxi to our hotel which is quite near to the airport. We flew via TAP Portugal, cost for 2 person was MYR1k, flight journey only 2 hour 30 min.

After freshen up and dinner at the hotel, we continue to visit The Louvre and Eiffel Tower again until night time.

~The Louvre~

 

We stayed 1 night in Paris before fly back to Kuala Lumpur on the next day.

On 12 May 2011, We checked out from the hotel around 8:00am to catch a 10:30am flight at Paris-Orly Airport. Till we meet again, Paris…Au Revoir!

 

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Xi’an, China

The trip was includes Chengdu and Beijing. I took direct flight from Kuala Lumpur, LCCT to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport via Airasia.

china2010map

So, here i will write about Xi’an, China where this was the 2nd destination during the trip.

Day 1 – 27 December 2010

We boarded a flight no CZ6402, China Southern Airline from Chengdu airport and cost me about MYR580 (usd186) for 2 person. China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd., a proud member of SkyTeam, is directly affiliated with China Southern Air Holding Company, specializing in air transportation services. China Southern Airlines operates the largest fleet, most developed route network and largest passenger capacity of any airline in The People’s Republic of China.

Xi'an City Wall

South Gate at night.

Departed at 8:40am then arrived at 9:55am. From Xi’an Airport we took a airport shuttle bus to the Xi’an city wall. Fare per person is CNY25 one-way and journey is about 1 hour. My stay in Xi’an was Xiangzimen Youth Hostel which is very near to the south gate. The south gate, Yongning, is the most beautifully decorated one. It is very near to the Bell Tower, center of the city. 3 nights stay cost us CNY420.00 (about MYR198).

Xiangzimen Youth Hostel offers Oriental-style dormitory and private rooms, as well as free WiFi in all areas. It is only steps from Xi’an City Wall and Antique Street. Muslim Street is about 10 minutes’ walk away. I didn’t manage to get some photos of the surrounding hotel because of renovation work in progress during my stay. I should say this is very nice hotel with a friendly host. I shall come back next time!.

After done dropped our luggage and freshen up, we headed to the east square of the railway station by inter-city bus no 603 (CNY4 for 2-way ticket) to catch tourism bus no5 (306) to Terracotta Warrior UNESCO Site. It takes one hour and the fare is CNY7 per person one-way. It’s advisable to buy 2-ways ticket to avoid hassle.

Xi'an City Wall

From left: Railway Station, me infront of the museum, Terracotta Hall.

We only spent half day here and excited to see the Pit no 1. The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first opened to the public on China’s National Day – Oct. 1st, 1979. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back.

Entrance ticket per person is CNY110, including the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum,  the Museum of Terracotta Acrobatics, the Museum of Terracotta Civil Officials and the Museum of Stone Armor.

It’s an amazing experienced to see the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. The Terracotta Army is a sensational archeological find of all times. It has put Xian on the map for visitors. It was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages. Checked!.

Terracotta Army

We took last bus back to Xi’an City and continue walking to Muslim Quarter for food hunting. The Muslim Quarter is the hub of the Muslim community in Xian City, Shaanxi Province. Located to the north of the West Street in the city center, the quarter covers several blocks inhabitated by over 20,000 Muslims.  The Beiyuanmen Muslim Market located just to the north of the Drum Tower is a great choice after the sightseeing in the city center. Here, you can find any local food, Halal local food!.

Xi'an City

Walking along the narrow street which is aligned with stores on both sides, you can see that Muslim men with Kopiah (white hats) sit inside the stores and talk leisurely with each other. The main goods of these stores are authentic hand-making Muslim food which tastes very good. You will get your stomach full and still wants to try more. You won’t feel regretted for the snacks of Xian. It’s always tasty and authentic. Checked!.

Day 1 summary:

0840AM                Depart from Chengdu to Xi’an. Arrive at 0955AM.

1100AM                Check-IN Hostel [Xiangzimen Youth Hostel] for 3 night stay.

0100PM                Half day visit Xi’an Attractions:

  • Terracotta Warriors UNESCO site
  • The Beiyuan men Muslim Market & Muslim Quarter

1100PM                Sleep.

Daily Cost for 2 person:

  • Flight fare from Chengdu to Xi’an : USD186
  • Meal Breakfast : Y26
  • Shuttle Bus from Xi’an Airport to Xi’an city : Y50
  • Hostel stay 3 nights : Y420
  • Inter-city Bus 603 to Xi’an railway station : Y8 (two-way)
  • Shuttle Bus 306 to Terracotta UNESCO site : Y28 (two-way)
  • Entrance Fee Terracotta UNESCO site : Y220
  • Buggy Service at Terracotta Museum : Y10
  • Snacks : Y5
  • Meal Dinner : Y23

Shopping Items:

  • Souvenir : Y60
  • Dates fruits : Y28
  • Walnut : Y28
  • Peanut : Y12

Day 2 – 28 December 2010

Woke up early morning at 8AM, grabbed breakfast at the street just in front of the hostel. First activity of the day was cycling around Ancient City Wall of Xian. Ascend from South Gate entrance, fees at Y40 per person. Bicycle rent at Y20/100 minutes.

I’ve no idea how many KM to circle the wall. then I find out from Wiki, it was 13.7KM in length. No wonder I’m so tired and always complaining “are we there yet?”…hahaha!. But the view was so nice and worth it!. Cycled for 2 ½ hours….hungry, search for food. Here, so easy to find Halal foods..superb! 😀

After lunch, we took a taxi to Tang Paradise, located in the Qujiang Resort, southeast of the Xian City, Shaanxi Province. The site covers a total area of 1000 mu (about 165 acres) and of which 300 mu (about 49 acres) is water. We paid entrance fee CNY68 per person but as at 31st March 2017 the fee was increased to CNY120. I’m sure the entrance fee will keep increasing in future. Open from 9AM to 9PM daily.

Tang Paradise

We spent the whole afternoon until they closed and we headed to Wild Big Goose Pagoda. As the symbol of the old-line Xian, Big Wild Goose Pagoda (also called Giant Wild Goose Pagoda) is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. Since it was close because we were late, we just hang around at the water fountain area overlooking at the pagoda.

Wild Big Goose Pagoda

Wild Big Goose Pagoda

Day 2 summary:

08:00AM                Full Day Xi’an Attractions:

  • Xian City Wall
  • Cycling on the City Wall:
    Try biking on the City Wall, you will have an enjoyable and interesting experience. The bicycle deposit is CNY 200. The single bicycle costs CNY 20/100 minutes. The tandem bicycle costs CNY 40/100 minutes. The sightseeing bus costs CNY 65 for a tour around the city wall. Visitors can also tour the wall by sections which are charged differently by the distance.
  • Tang Paradise
  • Big Wild Goose PagodaEntrance fee: CNY 50 (Entrance Fee of the Da Ci’en Temple); CNY 30 (Ascending the Big Wild Goose Pagoda)
    Show time of the musical fountain

    Monday, Wednesday – Friday

    12:00, 20:30(Winter Time); 12:00, 21:00 (Summer Time)

10:00PM                Sleep.

Daily Cost for 2 person:

  • Meal Breakfast : Y10
  • Entrance Fee Xian city wall : Y80
  • Bike rental : Y70
  • Meal Lunch : Y55
  • Snacks : Y8
  • Taxi to Tang Paradise & Wild Big Goose Pagoda : Y16
  • Entrance Fee Tang Paradise : Y136
  • Buggy Service in Tang Paradise : Y40
  • Taxi back to hostel : Y12
  • Meal Dinner : Y101

Day 3 – 29 December 2010

Today, we started our day a bit late. Had breakfast at the hostels, then walked to Bell Tower in the middle of this ancient city wall. We covered Bell Tower, Drum Tower and The Great Mosque in one day.

The Bell Tower, is a stately traditional building, that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital. From this important landmark extend East, South, West and North Streets, connecting the tower to the East, South, West and North Gates of the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty. We paid entrance fee CNY 40 for the joint ticket of Bell Tower and Drum Tower. Now the ticket price was increased to CNY50. They do sell separate tickets at CNY35 each. Recommended time to visit is one hour.

The Drum Tower is located northwest of the Bell Tower of Xian, across the Bell and Drum Tower Square. Both of them are called the ‘sister buildings’ or ‘morning bell and dark drum’. In ancient China, especially from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), the drums were used to signal the running of time and on occasion were used as an alarm in emergency situations.

After the Drum Tower, we again strolled at Beiyuan Men market just behind the tower. Actually, we can’t get enough of the food. Can you imagine, halal foods are everywhere and you have no doubt to try it. From the narrow street called it Huajue Lane, it will lead you to The Great Mosque.

Great Mosque

The Great Mosque in Xian is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved Islamic mosques in China. In Xian, it is really well worth a trip to see the Great Mosque. The Mosque, is a blend of traditional-Chinese and Islamic architecture, its construction started in 742 the first year of Tian-bao period of the Tang dynasty and additions were made during the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties to make it an ancient architectural complex. Covering 13,000 square metres, its floor space is about 6,000 square metres. The Mosque is the key national historical site under special protection, and a place where Moslems lead their religious life.

Entrance fee is CNY15, for Muslim visitor is free. This Great Mosque is the only one open to visitors from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Non-Muslims, however, are not admitted to the main prayer hall or during times of prayer.

Great Mosque

We ended our day by slowly strolled back to the hostel and stopped by nearby cafe for supper. About 10pm we already rest and pack up our stuff because need to get up early to catch flight to Beijing.

Egg Pizza

CNY40 for supper.

Day 3 Summary:

10:00AM                Full day Xi’an Attractions:

  • Bell Tower
  • Drum Tower
  • Great Mosque

10:00PM                Sleep.

Daily Cost for 2 person:

  • Meal Breakfast : Y37
  • Bell & Drum Tower Ent : Y80
  • Great Mosque Entrance : Y15
  • Meal Dinner : Y22
  • Meal Supper : Y40

                  Shopping Items:

  • Souvenir : Y70
  • Boots : Y255
  • Clothes : Y49
  • Scarf : Y45
  • Coffee & water : Y16

That’s all for now. I will continue write about Beijing, the next destination on the new post. Thank you for reading.

 

 

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