Showing posts with label traveling in Asia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label traveling in Asia. Show all posts

Review APA Hotel Keisei, Ueno Akimae Japan

Hi , everyone... all is well? I certainly hope so.

I would like to share more about my trip to Ueno, Japan. I have shared the beauty of Ueno Park (read: Cherry blossoms at Ueno Park, Japan  ) and the surrounding temples as well as things we can do while transiting in Japan  (read: 8 Things you can do while transiting in Japan 

Now let me take you to the hotel I chose during my stay in Ueno, Japan. This trip took place in 2018 and it was my first trip to Japan, to be followed by other 3 transits and visit. I have to admit I do fall in love with Japan since my first visit! Well, who wouldn’t?

So, welcome to APA Hotel Keisei Ueno Akimae Japan!

I love this hotel!

It was located in a very strategic location because it is only a walking distance from Ueno station, which is one of the hubs for you who like to visit  Tokyo and the surrounding areas. It is only one fast train away from Haneda airport. Those who want to visit Tokyo on a transit or even spend the night here in Ueno. For me, it is like a great opportunity as I got a chance to  try shinkansen or the fast train as well. 

The hotel is not far the famous Ueno Park and all its wonderful temples and museums. It's also near American Market in Ueno, one of the landmarks in the area, and Hard Rock Cafe Ueno if you happen to collect some stuff from them like me and my hubby. Many food vendor and supermarkets are around as well.

The room might be small but it has everything you need. It is very compact yet it is still comfortable. I was enjoying the facilities they have inside the compact room which is surprisingly complete as well. Although it’s small, it has the comfy bed with all its pillows, robe, slippers, working station, all the charging station, evenbooks to read and hair dryer. They also put cute origamis on the sheet as a heartwarming welcome gesture. I am impressed!

The bed is comfy and the amenities are from Shiseido :). Can you imagine that? This brand is very famous and quite expensive in Indonesia LOL.  The rate is manageable and I believe it's sensible for the facilities and location they offer.

Happy to go back here again if I gat another chance to visit Ueno again.

So what do you think about the hotel? I will share more about my visit to Japan soon okay. Meanwhile, stay safe, happy and healthy.

Lost in Angkor Wat

And my itchy feet take me further...

This time, I had a wonderful experience in Cambodia.

Has anyone visited Cambodia before? Did you visit the capital city Phonm Penh? Or you managed to visit Angkor Wat as well?

I decided to republish some of my posts with updates and more photos. Again, I come to realize that I still have tons of photos to share.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Attending a 2-day seminar on Genocide in Phnom Penh ( I will share the photos on another post), I welcomed myself to this fellow ASEAN member states.

Phnom Penh is nice obviously. I did have that familiar warm feelings that I got whenever I visited ASEAN countries. Then, as people say, a visit to Cambodia will never be complete without paying a visit to Angkor Wat. Covering the area of more than 162 hectares, Angkor Wat is without a doubt the largest religious complex in the world. No wonder this temple complex has been proclaimed as the symbol of Cambodia and is proudly appeared on Cambodia's national flag.

So, without further due, I flew to Siem Reap with Angkor Air and plunged myself to the ancient-old mystical Angkor Wat.

It was an amazing journey indeed! One I still cherish until now.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
one lovely corner at Angkor Wat Temple

First thing first, I flew to Siem Riep from Phnom Penh. It took around 50 minutes fly and we landed at Siem Reap International Airport. As soon as I arrived at the Siem Riep airport, , I got my tuk-tuk to take me to the hotel, had an appointment with the driver for my early-morning ride, and snuggled to my lovely Wooden Angkor hotel (really recommended for sure and you canread my comments for Siem Reap and Phnom Penh at tripadvisor)

The first thing crossing my mind while stepping my itchy-feet here was Borobudur Temple. Well, it is actually quite different because Borobudur is a Buddhist Temple, while Angkor Wat is the Hindu temple. Excuse my ignorance and simplistic approach.

Borobudur is indeed an amazing artifact as well and visiting Angkor Wat, to some extent, was like paying a pilgrimage to its homeland. Maybe because both are amazing temple complex and both are listed in UNESCO World Heritage.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that Angkor Wat is a combination of Buddhist and Hindu  temples. In the beginning, many of the early temples being built here were depicting Hinduism. The original construction of the temple was dedicated to Vishnu, the preserver in Trimurti, Hinduism triad deities. It was first built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman, the King of Khmer Empire ruled in the 11 - 12th century, for the state temple as well as his mausoleum. the Khmer architecture, during this golden era, is vividly shown by intricate details; the structures, the elements , and the motifs. All of them can be seen through elaborate towers, galleries, bas-relief, and more.

So back to my visit, I started the day very early, I was picked up at 4.30 AM and obviously I was not the only one arranging such early rendezvous. By the time we arrived at the temple, lines of tuk - tuk was already long. And by the way, trying to get a good spot amidst hundreds of people already flocking in Angkor Wat since 5 am was not that easy apparently. 

it was pitch black dark at that time and I was literally squeezing myself. I raced to the spots where we have the view of the whole temple, with the lake in front of it for its beautiful reflection.. The place was already packed with sunrise-hunter like me and tourists who smart enough to start the day early to avoid the scorching sun later on.

Then, after moving at least 3 times, I got my spot. Although I was just an amateur photographer and mainly relying on my no-so-advanced smart phone that I used at that time, I felt like it was such a waste if I didn't immortalise the moment with my gadget.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
and the sun kissed the morning....

The temples are amazing and there are so many things to see.

As it was a huge complex, I really have to manage my time and make my priorities.
I was a bit more ambitious at first, but after reality hits me (plus scorching sun the beginning of March when I visited and still quite early in the morning), then I dragged myself until the very last minute to the main attractions.

I was starting with Angkor Wat, enjoying its magnificent sunrise
Reflecting the five peaks of Mount Meru (the home of the Gods in Khmer - Hindu) Architectural masterpiece, Angkor Wat stands majestically until present day. This particular temple was abandoned for quite some times, particularly as Buddhist dominated the later successor of King Suryavarman II.

Then I continued the journey, trying to absorb the ancient vibes in its grandioso form, strolling around walls upon walls of hundred-year-old stories printed on those bas-reliefs. Here are some of the photos I took along the way.

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
somebody tell me what the story here...

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
one of the bas-relief in Angkor Wat...

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Apsara Lady...

Then to I went to Bayon temple, famous for its smiling Buddha. Here you will see so many of them.

Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

As the day continued, I walked further to Ta Phrom to see the famous spot of the Lara Croft's Tomb Raider. Remember the movie? The one starred by Angelina Jolie? Ta Phrom has been getting more and more attention because of that movie and because of its unique huge trees growing amidst the temples and becoming inseparable part of it. But I guess I will do so on the next post. I have also visited several other parts of this gigantic complex. So, stay with me as I will get back to you, will you?

Exploring Cambodia and Siem Reap
So, what do you think about Angkor Wat?
Do you like visiting ancient temples like this?
What do you like most?

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Btw, just a little tip to those traveling here. 

  • Don't forget to dress as required and fully considering the season. Summer can be very hot and humid so get your comfortable cotton dress or t-shirt and hat if necessary. 
  • Get your tumbler and fill it full as you will walk a lot. 
  • Wear you favorite sneakers as without even realizing it, I walked from 5 AM to 5 PM, just occasionally take tuk - tuk  to go to different places and have lunch.   
  • Get your tuk-tuk since the very beginning and make sure you make a clear deal with the driver. Tips will be highly appreciated as well. I forget how much I paid for my trip. I guess it was around USD 50 for the whole trip (from hotel, around the complex and to the airport - yes I took tuk-tuk to and from the airport :). But it was back in 2013 and before the pandemic. The price might change already.
  • As the complex is huge, make your priorities by choosing the places you want to see and explore, especially if you need to catch your plane later that day as well.
  • And finally, enjoy the trip. It's really worth all the efforts!

See you on the next post!

WW: Hagia Sophia Revisited

Alley at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

We have heard from the news recently that Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofya in Istanbul, Turkey is now becoming mosque again. It was originally built as Cathedral then turned into mosque for several times before it functions as museum. Until July 10th, 2020, when President Erdogan of Turkey announced that Hagia Sophia will resume its function as mosque again.

Morning light at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

I just remember my last visit there and  revisit this amazing place through my external hard disk. Again I just realize I have so many unpublished photos of Hagia Sophia. 
Even after all those times, I am still awed by its magnificent details.

Hope you like the following photos.

the chandeliers at Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey

the outer part of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

amazing ceiling at Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey

Details at  Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Welcome to Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Welcome to Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Welcome to Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

the second floor of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Mosaics of Jesus at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

more Jesus mosaics at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

more Jesus mosaics at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Join us on (almost) Wordless Wednesday and enjoy the link party 🎉 

WW: Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

Welcome to Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar

Here comes more photos from my previous trip to different parts of the world.
This time, I have Shwedagon Pagoda which is located in Yangon, the former capital city of Myanmar. I actually visited this place back in 2013, in one of the senior-official meetings of the bilateral consultation between the two countries.

READ: Myanmar, the Land of Gold: Shwedagon Pagoda

I suddenly came across this folder as I rummaged my external hard disk looking for "untouched photos". And trust me, I got tone of them LOL.

Well, as you can see, Myanmar is rightly coined as the land of Gold. At least as you stroll around in the famous temple of Shwedagon, which is known for its gold-plated domes and gilded stupas. Impressive. 
Despite the political situation and conflicts that happen in some part of the country, I do believe Myanmar has the potential to be a wonderful destination.

Here are some snaps I took in Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar.

Our entourage.. late in the evening

Join us on (almost) Wordless Wednesday (click for the link) and have fun with the linky party 

Spring time in Japan

Staying at home for two full weeks, although amidst never ending home works for the kids and my own assignment, makes me take the liberty to dig up my files and post some old photos and videos. I realised I have tons of them even from 10 years ago, when we lived in Geneva, Switzerland , and took so many photos during our road trip to more than 20 countries in Western and Central Europe. Well, let's see whether I can bring them back alive and put them in My Purple World.

One thing for sure, it is now spring in many parts of the world, particularly in the western hemisphere. In Indonesia, spring is probably all year long, as we only have dry and rainy seasons along the year. 
And I love spring.
It always brings back the colors and the fun after a long, dull, cold winter.
It brings hope for new beginning, a new chapter of life.
Something to look forward to.

Well, as we are now fighting the pandemic, wherever we are, we long for that beautiful and warm spring, don't we? But as many of us are practising physical and social distancing, some are even in lock down, let's celebrate spring virtually. 

Morning cherry blossoms walk in Ueno Park, Japan
I still have so many photos of spring that I haven't really put here.
Including those from Spring time in Ueno, Japan, back in March 2018.
I transited in Tokyo on my way to Noumea, New Caledonia in the Pacific.
It was two years ago but it felt like yesterday.
That was also my first time coming to this Land of the Rising Sun.

I just managed to make the video of my spring trip to Japan.
I's been too long but not that long enough to forget how lovely the trip was.

Feel free to enjoy the photos as much as I do and tell me what you think about spring.

I did manage to go to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden as well to see more cherry blossoms and enjoy more spring in Japan.

But hey, spring time in New York City is also beautiful.
We had so much time enjoying the cherry blossoms in Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the UN Rose Garden, and Flushing Meadow, Corona Park, Queens.

Cheers from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Now I kinda miss the UN Headquarters which looks lovely every spring due to those beautiful lines of cherry trees blooming in the Rose Garden, against the background of East River and the Queensboro Bridge. Well, you can see how I miss those places!

Happy spring, everyone!

So how do you enjoy spring in your place?
Is it your favorite season?

Meanwhile, wherever you are, stay healthy, happy and safe!
Happy spring and cheers..