I love the land of the rising sun.  Food had always been the top of my list, and not forgetting the hospitality in the Japanese culture and of course the nice weather.  Bringing the girls to Japan for a holiday had been on my mind for the longest time.  I worried a lot about the radiation to the girls but after speaking to a few doctors, I decided to just stop being worrisome and enjoy the destination.  We planned 7 months ahead because we heard about rooms being sold out in popular ski resorts.  We planned a 16 days holiday; 16 days also partly due to the fact that my helper is going for her home leave for 3 weeks and I thought being away would be the best way to avoid the chaos at home.  We finally decided on Tokyo and Hokkaido.  Tokyo for the Disneyland and Hokkaido for the snow.

Red eye flight into Tokyo. The kiddos slept throughout while Daddy and Mummy became their pillows.  We arrived deadbeat and stiffed.  Because of my prior experience of the teeny weeny rooms in Japan with Mum in May, we wanted bigger rooms because the kiddos would be running around in the room.  We tried the Hilton at Odaiba City this time.  We were very impressed with the size of the room given. It came with a nice view of the rainbow bridge. Due to its close proximity to Aqua City and Diver City,  staying at the Hilton Odaiba was pleasant.  Nice restaurants were 2 mins walk away and there were alot of kids’s activities in Daiba. Hilton Odaiba is a good neighbour hotel of Disneyland and thus there were free shuttle for us to and fro Disneyland and Disneysea.

Although we had a week in Tokyo, we planned our schedule leisurely.  Daddy always liked his holiday the chillax way and with Alexis around, there was no way to be chillax. If I were to pack the schedule, I would end up with a grumpy Daddy.  We are late risers and daylight in Tokyo was short during winter. With that, we basically had a few hours a day to walk around.  Once the sky turned dark, the weather became too cold for all of us to stay outdoor.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

We were told that the LEGOLAND is small and we would probably be disappointed. However it turned out that we had to beg the kids to leave.  The centre was indeed small but the kids were so engrossed into the activities. They had indoor playgrounds, 4D cinema, an interactive lego laser ride and a lego model building class.

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Tokyo
Island Mall 6F, Decks Tokyo Beach,
1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 135-0091

Tokyo Disneyland

Initially we set aside 3 days for Disneyland and Disneysea. After visiting Disneyland for the 1st day, we decided to just keep the other 2 days to visit other places in Tokyo. Disneyland Tokyo was alright.  Just that the feel we had was too similar to Hongkong.  It was really crowded too, each ride took us at least 45min to queue.  A few of the roller coasters were also closed for maintenance.  The kids were disappointed with that.   The restaurants were also jam packed with park goers. We had a hard time getting tables and queuing for food. Good thing was we all had the magical feel that was always given during a visit to the Disneyland.  Get the tickets at Disney stores in the city Disney Store or online to avoid the queue.

Tokyo Disneyland

 

Tsukiji Fish Market

We were initially told that the fish market would be relocated by the end of 2016.  Good news for us! The relocation has been moved back till further notice.  Getting to the fish market was rather straightforward via the train.  We brisked through the inner market. There was tuna auction on most days but limited to the 1st 120 visitors per day.  The auction would start at 5am and queue could form as early as at 2am.  We got our brunch fixed at the outer market, it was rather hard for us as we were walking around with the stoller.  For mummies going there with your bubs, use a baby carrier instead. The streets were crowded and it was literally impossible for our stroller to pass through.   Do check their website for the calendar and opening days.

Tsukiji Fish Market Website

 

Sensoji Temple

My 2nd time here in 2016.  Visited the famous temple with the kiddos and soaked in the atmosphere of the busy streets vendors and rich culture.  A brief stop before we headed over to Tokyo Skytree which was one train station away.

 

Pokémon Centre at Skytree

Add: 1-1-2 Oshiage | Tokyo Solamachi, Sumida 131-0045, Tokyo Prefecture

Do not expect much at this venue. It is merely a merchandise store that sells a lot of toys and souvenirs. However even though it was just that,  that was enough to make the kids go crazy.

 

Meiji Jingu

Love the tranquillity of this place.  Lauren left her wishes here.

 

Owl Café Harajuku

This small café exceeded our expectation.  60 min session was truly educational and highly recommended. Lauren had the chance to interact with all the owls and even handled them on her arms.  Booking is required so make sure you reserve your slot at the link above before you head down.  If animal café is your cup of tea, there is another cat café down the road. Mocha Cat Café

 

Off to our next destination, Hokkaido!!

 

 

 

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June holiday would not be complete without a overseas holiday for the girls.  Hong Kong was a last-min decision between Kel and I; I had taken too many leave from work for the past few months and Kel’s work schedule in June looked crazy.  A short getaway to Hong Kong seemed like the best option for us.

This was also the 1st time we were bringing Alexis on our own.  The last time we went Bangkok with the girls, Alexis was only 6 months old and we had Aunty Siti with us. This time round was a dry run for us to experience the Feisty Alexis for 4 days before the real deal of 16 days at Tokyo and Hokkaido with the girls in December.

Singapore Airline

In love with the giveaways by Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airline

Watching Zootopia!

Singapore Airline

Thank you SIA for making my flight a breeze.

Singapore Airline

Alexis squeezing into the basinet to catch some sleep

Singapore Airline

Kid’s Meal

 

The flight experience was better than expected, probably I was expecting scary moments but Alexis did well. The bulk head seats helped a lot by allowing Alexis some space to walkabout.  We took it easy on the 1st day, some walking and dining nearby the hotel. Dining was bad due to the fact that Hong Kong’s eateries were not really that child friendly.  There wasn’t child seat and I had to carry Alexis on my lap. Alexis was throwing everything on the table onto the floor and I couldn’t really finish my food because she was screaming to get off my lap. In the end, I went out without eating much.  Lauren was a sweetheart, knowing Mummy wasn’t in her best mood. She was constantly trying to get Alexis’ attention so that to give me some “me” time.. Lauren also helped me a lot to ensure that Alexis was safe when I was attending to some other stuffs.

Hong Kong Airport

Taken by my sweetheart Lauren.

Hong Kong Airport

Queuing for Taxi

Hong Kong Holiday

 

We went for the Star Ferry ride on day 2.  A nice way to view the beautiful harbour of Hong Kong.  Walking around Tsim Sha Tsui, window shopping (because it was impossible to shop with Alexis) and dining at Cha Chang Ting.  We walked to the famous Australia Diary Co and had some eggs and sandwiches before heading back to the hotel to rest.  Part of the plan was to go the The Peak via the tram.  Unfortunately , the queue for the tram up to the peak was way too long, We were told it could take more than 1 hour to queue. The unbearable summer weather also made it impossible for us to queue an hour with a screaming Alexis strapped in an ergobaby.  We ended up taking a taxi up to the peak and had dinner at Wildfire. It was part of Father’s Day celebration but I seriously thought Kel did not find any part of that day a celebration.  LOL.

Hong Kong Holiday

Day 2, here we go!

Star Ferry

Wan Chai Pier

Star Ferry Hong Kong

Beautiful harbour view

Star Ferry Hong Kong

It’s also my 1st time taking the Star Ferry

Star Ferry Hong Kong

Have to credit Kel for this amazing shot

Hong Kong Holiday

Trying my luck to go shopping with Ms Feisty

Australia Diary Co

Finally here after walking a good 35min! Australia Diary Co

Parklane Hotel Hong Kong

Not really resting in hotel when you have these 2 super energetics jumping around

The Peak Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s beautiful skyline view from The Peak

Hong Kong Holiday

Happy Father’s Day!

Hong Kong Holiday

Dinner at Wildfire The Peak

 

 

We braced ourselves for Day 3, Disneyland. Summer in Hong Kong was no joke. The sun was scorching hot and most of the rides were outdoor.  The heat made our trip to Disneyland the most unpleasant theme park experience ever.  Honestly I preferred our previous trips to the Universal Studio Singapore. The quality of rides and the pricing of the tickets were much more competitive. The fact that there were no express pass offered in Disneyland (there was a Fast Pass but it was not like our USS’ express pass) also lowered the satisfaction level we had.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Disney MTR to Disneyland Hong Kong

Hong Kong Disneyland

So bright that Lauren couldn’t even open her eyes.

Hong Kong Disneyland

She was not very cooperative

Hong Kong Disneyland

Family photo!!

Hong Kong Disneyland

Queuing for their rides

Hong Kong Disneyland Toy story

CLAKs with Buzz and Jessie!

Hong Kong Disneyland

I love you Ms Feisty

Hong Kong Disneyland

Going back all tanned and sweaty.

 

After day 3, I was very determined that Hong Kong is only possible for year end holiday. Hong Kong in June will never happen again.  The shopaholic Papa and Mummy attempted some shopping after our lunch at Lei Garden. Unfortunately we realized it was not possible with Alexis screaming to get off the Ergo carrier. The moment I let her down, she was scrambling all over the place.  That was the mere 5 mins of walking experience Alexis had on Day 4.

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Things we liked this holiday:

  1. Hotel- We stayed at Parklane Hong Kong. Conveniently located right next to Causeway Bay MTR station.  Tons of eateries at your door steps. Sogo and Times Square are just a stone’s throw away.
  2. Food- It’s not wrong to name Hong Kong a food paradise. We were never disappointed with any of the eateries.  We especially like the Mun Fai Chiu Chow noodle at Causeway Bay  (22-24 Jardine’s Bazaar Causeway Bay) and the Eggs at Australia Diary Co (47 Parkes Strret, Jordan).  The girls were in love with the food too which took 1 obstacle off the list.
  3. The Peak- The last time I was there was during my Pak Tor time with Kel. Its like a walk down memory lane but this time round with our 2 gems along with us.
  4. Family Support- Because it’s our official 1st CLAK holiday, I am super grateful and appreciative of Kel and Lauren. They helped in every possible ways.  Great Teamwork! Psst.. Kel was the one washing the bottles and packing the diaperbag daily.

 

Things we learnt from this trip and hope to improve or avoid in future:

  1. Never attempt Hong Kong in Summer with kids and no help. Hong Kong’s summer is hotter than Singapore, IMO.  Sweaty and frustration were the main descriptions for this holiday.  Things might be better if we were in a cooler weather.
  2. Eat at a restaurant rather than a eatery if you have young children. Restaurants have higher chance of child seat and a table to yourself thus you are probably not as embarrassed when your child starts throwing tantrum.
  3. Use an ergo carrier rather than a stroller when you are exploring Hong Kong. Streets are not that stroller friendly. We only used the stroller to Disneyland, the remaining of the time we conquered the island with Ergobaby.
  4. Taking a taxi up The Peak might be an easier option as the queue for Tram can take more than an hour.
  5. Get your Disneyland Tickets online here. I realized there were some promotion but we were not offered that when we bought the ticket on site.

 

 

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My relationship with my mum is special – special because she is both a Mum and a Dad to me. Dad left us when I was 10. Mum single-handedly brought us up; the very hard way.  Hard for her but to us we did not appreciate what she had done when we were younger.  Earning $900 a month before CPF deduction, she managed to raise my 2 younger brothers and I to who we are today. That is truly remarkable indeed! As a mum myself now, I often wondered how that was possible.  My mum is quite afraid of me.. actually my entire family is quite afraid of me because of my authoritative nature; I guess I naturally became like that because I had to play the role of mum/dad to my younger brothers when Mum was often working then.  I had to protect my 2 brothers from bad influences or people who tried to take advantage of us.  My mum is also quite a softie; she would give in to our requests most of the time and sometimes we would be audacious enough to raise our voice at her.  I remembered when I was 15, Mum brought me to Bangkok for a holiday. Just me and her, I guessed she wanted some bonding session with me but I ended up making her cried.  I regretted that action till this very day. I told myself I would make it back to her; so during the days when I was a cabin crew with Singapore Airlines, I took Mum with me on my flights to Rome and Cairo.  I was not very pleased with the trip because I did not find that Mum truly had an holiday (sleeping on train and most of the places we visited was “touch and go” due to the limited time).  I told her then that when I saved up in the future, we would go for a nicer holiday.  It is depressing as I recalled this because I realized that since I started a family on my own, the holidays were always with my hubby, kids and friends.  I had forgotten about the promise I made and Mum of course did not take it to heart.

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So… this year, I planned and finally brought Mum to Japan on her birthday. Just the 2 of us; like when I was 15. To bring back those memories and to keep my promise; although it was many years after that I fulfilled this, it was still better than never. I decided on a free and easy itinerary to Tokyo and Kyoto; 6 days/5 nights but it felt like a 2 weeks trip because we covered so many places.

 

Day 1

Overnight flight and arrived Toyko Narita at 8am, took the coach from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station at 1000Yen per pax as our hotel was a 10-min walk from the station.  For those travelling to Japan, renting a WiFi device is so convenient and strongly recommended. I booked mine online (a promotion from ANA) and collected the device at the airport upon arrival. The device was superb, find out more here.

The ride took slightly more than 2 hours. Then the unexpected happened;  when we arrived at Tokyo Station, the google map brought us all around and my poor Mum had to walk 45 mins with me trying to find the hotel. Finally when we reached the hotel, we realised it was just 5 mins away from where we stopped (if we had walked the opposite direction instead). Faints..

Kyobashi me

We stayed at Courtyard Marriott at Ginza. The location was very convenient; located right next to Kyobashi metro (Ginza Line). After we checked in, we freshened up and took a train to Asakusa to visit the famous Senso Ji Temple. Asakusa was lively with a lot of stalls lined up along the way to the temple.  Mum suggested a restaurant and so we went in. Omg… the restaurant had 100 items on its menu but Mum chose only FRIED RICE!!… Hahahaha. Japanese cuisine was not to Mum’s liking.  I had my Salmon Don..yummzz. Super satisfied 1st meal in Tokyo.

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Senso Ji Temple is a buddhist temple located in Asakusa. It is one of Tokyo’s most colourful and popular temples. Almost like a must-go if you are in Tokyo. According to a legend folktale, 2 brothers fished out a statue of goddess of mercy from the river and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Senso Ji temple was eventually built nearby for the statue of the goddess of mercy.

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Mum and I paid our respects and walked around the shrine to admire the architecture before heading to Shibuya for some people watching and shopping. Shibuya is on the same Ginza line thus it was pretty straightforward to get there. I brought Mum to cross the famous Shibuya crossing and people-watch from a cafe on the 2nd floor.  Mum suggested going back to rest before dinner but you know what? Once we were back, she buried herself under the blanket and said she was not hungry and wanted to call it a day…. I ended up trying to find a place to taopow a quick meal. Because it was a public holiday that day, most of the shops were closed. The shopping mall like Takashimaya closed at 7.30pm and by the time I walked there, the staff told me it was closed… sob sob.. I walked to a 7-eleven and got some bentos back to the hotel room. Mum finished everything… Hahaha.. Poor Mum, I think my holiday style was too much for her.

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Day 2

After yesterday’s incident, I reminded myself to go slow.. But there were really so many places I wanted to bring her. One very important place I thought was the Tsukiji Fish Market. Tsukiji Market will be moving to its new location in November 2016 thus I really wanted Mum to visit before the relocation. I asked her if she was keen to witness the Tuna auction (by the way, to witness the auction, one probably has to arrive at 3am to start queuing as only 120 pax are allowed per day). Mum freaked out upon hearing the “3am”.. Thus we went at 9am to visit only the outer and inner markets.  Tsukiji fish market was 2 metro stations from where we were staying and about a 15-min walk from the Tsukiji station. The Tsukiji fish market was amazing; the outer market was filled with many small restaurants, food stalls and stalls selling ceramic knives and dried/fresh ingredients. Mum tried their street food such as fish cake and torched scallops.  Then we moved on to the inner market (wet market). The inner market opens to public at 9am as prior to that was their peak business hours.  Mum kept mentioning that there was no fishy smell despite the fact that it was a wet market.  There were a lot of vehicles and everyone was in mad rush. We had to watch our back as the vehicles were moving fast and of course we did not want to get into the fishmongers’ way.  We had an early lunch at a restaurant and I made Mum tried some sushi. Her sushi were torched as she could not stand the idea of eating raw fish. Still it was unbearable for her. She had to take a lot of ginger with each piece of sushi she ate.  We continued exploring the outer market before making our way to Meiji Shrine.

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Meiji shrine was tranquil compared to the busy streets of Tokyo. The fact that it was located next to the busy Harajuku station made us feel like we were in a different part of the city. The moment we exited the station, we were greeted with busy streets filled with youngsters and hippy shops.  We were greeted by the huge torii gate at the entrance to the shrine. It was a nice and relaxing 10-min walk to the main shrine from the gate. We stopped by a cafe for some desserts and drinks as Mum was complaining about her tired feet.  At the main shrine, we were lucky to witness 5 beautiful couples giong through their traditional Japanese wedding ceremonies.  We made offerings, wrote wishes on emas and bought alot of charms for our family members.  I suggested Yoyogi park which was located adjacent to the Meiji Shrine but Mum seemed too tired for any more walking that day. We decided to sit along the streets of Harajuku to watch the fascinating fashion style of young Japanese before heading back to the hotel for a rest.

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After resting for 2 hours, we headed out to Tokyo Tower. Mum gave me a list of places she wanted to visit and Tokyo Tower was one of them.  We were greeted by the magnificent Tokyo Tower when we exited Akabanebashi station.  Mum was in awe! A 10-min walk brought us to the foot of the tower. I would strongly recommend Tofuya Ukai restaurant located at the foot of the tower a try if you are there (but do remember to make a reservation). Thumbs up food.

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Because it was a day before Mum’s birthday, we were given a cake at the observatory deck. Mum loved the attention… and I could see how delighted she was when every crew we passed by wished her “Happy Birthday!”

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Day 3

Bidded a temporary farewell to Tokyo before heading south to Kyoto.  As we were more familiar with the Ginza area now, it took us 10mins to walk to Tokyo station to board the Shinkansen to Kyoto.  We took the Nozumi super express train which took only slightly more than 2 hours to reach Kyoto.  I wanted Mum to experience the much talked about bullet train and she mentioned that it was indeed so fast that she could feel the pressure in her ears when the train was moving at top speed.

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Once we arrived at Kyoto, we took a taxi to our Ryokan. Taxi in Kyoto was cheaper than in Tokyo; at least 30% cheaper.  We stayed at Ryokan Kohro, a small ryokan located at Rokkaku. The location was great because it was right next to the Nishiki Market and the busy shopping district.  We arrived around noon but our room was not ready. Hence we left our bags and headed for lunch nearby. Mum kept complimenting the beauty of Kyoto as we walked the streets. We took a taxi to Arashiyama.  The beauty of Arashiyama made Mum forgot about the pain in her feet. The well known bamboo grove…. very beautiful indeed… It was then I truly understood the saying “Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times”.  If only it was not as crowded that day.. we had a hard time trying to get a picture without people passing by. And it was almost impossible until Mum had to stop a group of tourists to snap a nice picture of me…  We passed by the Tenryu Ji temple and went in to admire the serenity of the temple. Despite the number of visitors in the temple, the place gave a sense of peace and zen. There was a hall for meditation where we saw many people meditating.  When we exited the Tenryu Ji temple, we passed by the Nonomiya Shrine. It was a small shrine and we saw devotees making offerings and we went in to make our offerings too.

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Taxi to the Yasaka shrine… I know it was a shrine after shrine we visited but I tried to choose those that were close to other attractions so we could do other things after that. Yasaka shrine was pretty near to our ryokan.

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After the usual rituals in the temple, we walked down towards the busy shopping district. We passed by Gion, a street with so much character. It is actually Kyoto’s most famous geisha district and….. we were really LUCKY to meet a geisha!!! We were Super excited and mum started running after her… Running, yes running. She had actually forgotten about her painful feet and started running after her.  I ran infront of them to capture a picture of mum beside the geisha.  After that, she suddenly remembered her painful legs and started complaining again. We walked towards our ryokan and passed by Pontocho, a scenic dining area in Kyoto. Restaurant on the eastern alley overlooked the beautiful Kamogawa river.  I stood by the bridge and for that moment I missed my hubby terribly much…

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Headed back after a casual dinner and mum went for the public hot bath which was offered by the ryokan. Mum changed into the robe and went for the bath while I stayed in the room to complete some work (.. sob sob… working on holiday).. Mum came back 20mins later and I was shocked and asked why didn’t she enjoy the bath a little longer since it was her first time trying and I believed the hot bath would help with the muscles ache that she was experiencing. Mum told me she did not know where to look when she was inside the bath as everyone was completely naked…. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH…. I hugged her as she was soooo cute.  We slept on the floor and were woken up early next morning for traditional Japanese breakfast in our room. We were quite reluctant when they came in to make our bed (actually was to keep our bed) as we were still very sleepy.  The breakfast was rather heavy but we both agreed it was a very good experience indeed.

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Day 4

We checked out and left our bags with the hotel front desk. We took a taxi to Fushimi Inari Taisha – a place famous for its thousand vermillion torii gates. Of course the standard rituals first before we moved to the beautiful trail of torii gates. The torii gates along the entire trail were donated by individuals and companies, and you could find the donator’s name and the date of the donation inscribed on the back of each gate. I read that the hike to the summit of the mountain and back would take about 2-3 hours, however, visitors were free to walk just as far as they liked before turning back. That was what happened to me; I gave up half way; not even half maybe a third of the way and came back. Of course Mum waited for me at the foot of the trail.

Along the exit/entrance of the shrine were stalls selling souvenirs and restaurants. We had a simple lunch at a Japanese restaurant and some coffee at a nearby cafe before taking a train back to where our ryokan was. We did some shopping before bidding Kyoto goodbye.  Took the Shinkansen back to Tokyo and checked in to Shinjuku Washington Hotel at 10pm.  The room at Shinjuku Washington Hotel was really tiny. So tiny that Mum and I had to discuss where to place and open our luggages. We were not very pleased with the hotel. Actually we chose this hotel because we wanted to go for a tour organized by Yokoso Japan and the pick-up location was at this hotel.  The noise insulation at the hotel was really bad. We could hear our neighbour’s conversation clearly and each time our neighbour opened their room door, it felt as though someone was  trying to break into our room. That was quite terrifying!

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Day 5

Our land tour with Yokoso Japan. I booked the Mount Fuji 5th station, Shibazakura Festival and strawberries-picking tour as Mount Fuji was one of  the places in Mum’s bucket list. Organised tour itinerary is really not a thing for me because holiday to me should not be restricted and defined by a timetable. The tour meet-up time was at 7.20am and because it was the golden week in Japan, the traffic was extremely slow. Due to that, the tour leader had to cancel the strawberry-picking session. 🙁 Not only that, our journey to Mount Fuji 5th station took 5 hours!!!! Thus, we only had less than 2 hours there; actually after minusing an hour for lunch, we only had about 50mins to explore. Honestly we did not need 50 mins because we were under-dressed. It was very cold and windy, and we could barely stand straight. Took a few shots and quickly headed inside, I sent a postcard from there to my hubby but till date still not received.  🙁  The coach drove for another 2 hours to the Shibazakura festival.  It was a field full of Shibazakuara/ moss at the base of Mount Fuji. The sight was beautiful, it would be better if it was not that cloudy that day and Mount Fuji could appear in the background.  There were many food stalls and we bought some finger food and headed back to Tokyo. Because of the bad traffic, we arrived at our hotel at 930pm.  Almost 4 hours behind schedule and without the strawberry-picking sessions. So moral of the story – avoid visiting during the public holiday in Japan.

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Day 6

Our last day in Japan. Actually we only had a few hours because we had to get to the airport by 4pm.  Explored Shinjunku and Kabuki, showed Mum the neon lights filled Tokyo before we took the airport limousine coach to Narita. OK.. because we arranged for it at the last minute, both of us had to take a different scheduled coach to the airport. I was so worried for Mum as I was assigned to go first because I had to return the WiFi device and to get tax refund for the goods we had purchased.  This taught me a lesson, next time I shold have reserved the seats early.

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As I am writing this post, I feel really happy that I brought Mum on this trip. I feel so good to spend the 6 days with her. I am making a promise here so that all of you will be my witness. I will bring Mum for one holiday every year as long as she wants to.

 

P.S.  Mum, I hope when you are reading this post, that you too felt happy about the trip and all the love and effort from me because this was probably the most fulfilling trip for me this year. I promise the next trip will be one that is a fully organised tour and we will not have to walk so much. I love you, Mum.

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After coming back from Sydney, Kel got to travel for work. Because he had to stay behind while I was away to look after the girls. He pushed all his trip behind. Me being the super super sticky wife, could not bear the thought that I had to be away from him for so long.  After enduring 5 days, I booked a last min flight on Tigerair to Bangkok to spend the weekend with him. I left on a Saturday 8am flight but my 1st experience with Tigerair was disapointing. My flight got delayed for 5 hours and I only reached Bangkok at 3pm in the afternoon. My original ETA was 940am. 🙁  I reached the hotel at 4pm and rushed to Platinum to do some shopping as Kel was with customers at that time.  I bought quite a few apparels within an hour and headed back to Grand Hyatt to meet Kel for dinner.  Had his favourite MK Gold at Paragon. Walked across to Siam and found a nice dessert joint, Mango Tango.  Very nice mango and smoothie.

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Siam was lively at night,  I continued my shopping at the roadside stalls and ended the night with a nice foot and body massage. I plan to stay at Siam Novetel for my next trip. This area seemed to suit me better.

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We stayed at Grand Hyatt this trip, the hotel has the very luxurious upscale feel. A very different feel from my usual hotels in Bangkok. Although not as convenient for me to shop,  I still enjoyed the experience because it gave me a very different feel.

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We went for the must have breakfast in Bangkok. Soi 19 Wanton Noodle. Long queue as usual and we needed 2 bowls of noodle. each bowl was 100 baht. Not cheap for the amount they are serving. (You can finished with 2 mouthfuls) Actually did not see locals eating there. Mostly tourists and Singaporeans. Located at Soi 19 Petchburi Road,
Pratunam, Bangkok.  If you are around that area, do make a trip to try. Ermmm actually there is also a stall in Singapore where they serve similar Wanton Mee. They are not related to the stall in Bangkok but the taste is quite similar. It is located at Blk 151 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5 Coffeeshop, Singapore 560151

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Spent some time drinking coffee and people watched before Kel sent me to the  airport. 24 hours in Bangkok but felt so accomplished.  Chop Chop and get to see my love. Nothing to complain except the disappointing experience on Tigerair.

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I am very lucky to be part of a company that brings their employees for yearly incentive trip. This year we went Sydney! That was also partly dued to the fact that we did really well last year and our big boss fought to have us travel a little further.

We did a red eye flight into Sydney and arrived the next morning. I would not bore you with the details but lots of photos. Touching a little at the interesting places we went.

Day 1 was basically letting our body get use to the time zone, there was only 2 hours difference but the fact that we did not rest well on board made us all zombies on the first day. We took things light and lunch at Darling Harbour.  Lunch was at Nick’s seafood. I love their calamaris.. Ok I love any calamari. Nothing too fanciful but you know when you are half zombie, you do not really bother about the food.

We went to the Opera House and took lots of photos. More like I took alot of photos for my colleagues.. So here is the only one that someone else took for me.

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We had dinner at Aqua hosted by our Sydney’s colleagues. The dinner was fantastic. Really really good and I heard it wasnt cheap too. Really good food. But my camera was flat so I did not get any photos of the dinner. Worth a try if you are in Sydney.

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Day 2.

We went for the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. I was half hearted on this itienary because of my acrophobia.  I am the type who cant even look over the shopping centre railing so when I heard that the bridge climb is going to be climbing all the way to the top. I almost fainted.  You know you cannot really reject your boss’ proposal so I gritted my teeth and went ahead with the rest.   I found out that the climb was very costly at AUD$278 per person. Woah….  The experience was scary but I was really proud of myself that I overcame my fear and climbed all the way.  Some tips for those who are keen to try. You CAN bring your sunglasses along so dont listen to people who tell you that you cant. You will be given a strap to hold the sunglasses. No cameras, no phone actually nothing except sunglasses and emergency medications are allowed. Wear shoes with shoelaces and comfortable attire. (You will be given an overall to wear)  Here are some photos taken by the crew.

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Day 3

We went to the beautiful Blue Mountain! The name Blue Mountains is derived from the blue tinge the range takes on when viewed from a distance.  It took us 2 hours ride on a coach from central Sydney to reach Blue Mountain.  We visited the 3 Sisters; the Blue Mountain’s most spectacular landmark; an unusual rock formation representing three sisters who according to Aboriginal legend were turned to stone.  Strolled along the amazing bushwalking tracks in the reserve and also had lunch at the breathtaking Echo Point.  We spent half the day and left for our Sailing experience from Darling Harbour. I took motion sickness pills before the ride and it really helped. I truly loved the sailing experience and of course all the photos onboard were fantastic!! We even got to steer the boat! Although not as steady but with all the encouragements and guidance, I was seriously considering to continue on a boat trip back in Singapore.

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Day 4

Hunter Valley and horse riding day. Ok when they mentioned horse riding, I thought was those in Singapore Zoo where someone will lead the horse and you ride slowly.  I was shocked when they placed me onto the horse, told me 4 simple instructions on how to Go, Stop, Left and Right.  Then I was off to go with Charlie (my horse) into the wild, yes wild as in out in the field where you can see Kangaroo jumping beside you and a hare popping out from the tall grass in the middle of your path. Honestly it was not easy at all. My horse was always hungry, he would stopped and eat as and when we walked pass any grass patch. He would walked right into bushes and tress and all the branches would swept all over me and I had to scream for help.  Charlie would gallopped when he realized he was too slow and needed to catch up.  Ok the gallopping was scary. Firstly I felt as though I was going to fall off.  Next my bum was super sore from the slamming when Charlie gallopped.  (Now I understand why Jockey has to stand when they are riding). Finally after a 45 min or so of riding, we got back to the stable.  One of my colleagues fell off her horse because another colleague’s horse went to irritate her horse. Omg… she got a cut on her arm and face. But even so… everyone agreed that this horse riding was a fun experience.

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Last day

Sydney Fish Market. For really really fresh seafood breakfast!! Lots of Sashimi and Oysters( I dont take Oysters).  Then we headed to Paddey’s market nearby before going Home Sweet Home…

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Time to work hard to look forward to next year incentive trip!

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