Page 8 of Budokan Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei » Banciao City August 20th 2012

Monday, 20th August 2012 Our final day in Taipei before flying back home the day after. We were blessed with clear skies as we made our way to Banqiao City, a couple of Metro stops west of Taipei Station. Our destination in the morning was the Observatory at the top of New Taipei City Hall. We were greeted by a team of friendly volunteers who directed us to the correct lifts (19 & 20) for the Observatory at the 32nd Level. It took a while for our lift to climb up to the top as it was making a couple of stops along the way. Admission was completely free (unlike her Taipei 101 cousin) and I'm thankful that the crowds were really thin on a Monday morning. Apparently, few visitors seemed to have known the existence ... read more
The Observatory is on the right
Yesterday, tomorrow, forever
No crowds

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei August 19th 2012

Sunday, 19th August 2012 We staged a visit to the Taipei Zoo this morning knowing that the rest of the day would be scorching hot after checking out the weather forecast. It probably made more sense trying to cool down in one of the many malls in the city. However, given that our main objective was to visit the two pandas, Tuan Tuan & Yuan Yuan, we were undeterred by the weather. Reaching the zoo via the Metro was convenient since it was located at the tail end of the Wenhu Line. With a change of trains at Zhongxiao Fuxing Interchange Station, the zoo was a further 20 minutes away. The entry fees were a nominal NT30 after discount. This would certainly put the hefty admission fees charged by other zoos to shame. An outing to ... read more
Shenkeng town
I loved to see that
Cooling down at our shop of choice

Asia » Taiwan » Hsinchu August 18th 2012

Saturday, 18th August 2012 This was not a typical Saturday as we headed out of Taipei for our journey to the city of Hsinchu, about 90km southwest from where we were staying. Travelling by the TRA Chu Kang Express took a good 2 hours as the train was making frequent stops along the way. Still, it was a comfortable experience as the train meandered through the Taiwanese countryside, dotted with farms and greenery. 12.49pm. The iconic Hsinchu Train Station greeted us as soon as our train arrived. Built in 1893, two years before Japanese colonisation of Taiwan, the art-deco structure was every photographers' dreams. With about another hour to go before our connecting train to Zhuzhong (Liujia Line) and Neiwan (Neiwan Line), we headed to the Sogo Departmental Store to grab a quick lunch from Yamazaki ... read more
Hsinchu @ dusk
Our dessert treats @ Neiwan
Neiwan Old Streets

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei August 17th 2012

Friday, 17th August 2012 We showed up at the Taipei Main Station in the morning hoping to purchase the train tickets to Yilan County. The plan was to soak ourselves in the Suao Cold Springs before visiting the popular Luodong Night Market in the evening. However, tickets for the reserved seating on the Tze Chiang Express were sold out for the morning. I guess we had ourselves to blame for not purchasing our tickets the day before. Since our plans were dampened by the lack of tickets and the wet weather that followed in the afternoon, we decided to head indoors to the cineplex @ Q Square. Movie-going in Taiwan was a costly affair as we soon found out. A pair of tickets plus a small serving of pop-corns and drinks cost a whopping NT700 for ... read more
New Kid on the Block - The Q Square

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei August 16th 2012

Thursday, 16th August 2012 Yes, I'm back in Taiwan after a hiatus of 1 year from my last visit. Having collected my ROC immigration stamp from the Taiwanese Customs for my 5th time in the last 7 years, we were happy to base ourselves in Taipei while doing a couple of day tripping excursions. url= Hotel Taipei Station Branch III was our choice of accomodation in the city given its easy commute from the Taipei Main Station. Barely a year old, the facilities were brand new. We were well taken care of by a team of committed staffs who were always happy to serve. Six days on, we were certainly impressed by their level of professionalism towards all their guests. Without a doubt, I would stay here again if I'm back in Taipei in... read more
The yellow colored cabs overlooking our hotel in Taipei
The many signages made moving around the Taipei Main Station a painless routine
Sweet endings to end Day 1

Asia » Malaysia » Johor » Tangkak July 29th 2012

Sunday, 29th July 2012 Time: 6.10am AC was kind enough to give us a ride to our meeting point at Anson Road for our One Day Durian Fiesta Trip. We were glad to have made it today since after this weekend, there would not be another trip until the next durian season in mid-2013. On the way, we caught up with a few of my colleagues from my ex-company, a sort of Alma Mater for me. Ever since moving back to Tanjong Pagar in April 2012, I've managed to keep those friendships alive through our weekly lunch sessions. After clearing the customs, our Aloha Express bus dropped us for breakfast at a local coffeeshop at Gelang Patah, some 10 minutes away from the Second Link. I opted for the Wanton Noodles while the rest of the ... read more
I opted for Wanton Noodles
The Fiesta Begins
Gateway to Durian Fiesta

Asia » Singapore July 8th 2012

Whenever and wherever I travel, I always made it a point to help myself with those Inflight Magazines hidden beneath the seat pocket in front of me. Not only do they made a good read during those boring moments in the sky, they also provided avenues for me to draw inspirations for my future trips. Since most of my regional travels revolved around budget carriers, my collections were mainly taken from Jetstar and Tiger Airways. There were a few rare collections from Vietnam Airlines, Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines which I flew with them on several occasions in the past. Air Asia had since discouraged fellow passengers from taking their 360 Inflight Magazines away from the plane. Part of my collection also stemmed from friends who knew that I had developed the habit of collecting Inflight ... read more

Asia » Malaysia » Johor » Johor Bahru June 2nd 2012

Saturday, 2nd June 2012 Barely 3 months from our last stay, we decided to check out the Mutiara Johor Bahru again last weekend. What a difference it made given the deterioration state of service at the Front Office. Our room check-in was only possible after 4pm as the previous guest had left the property only at 3 in the afternoon. A simple apology or any attempt of a service recovery was expected but conveniently forgotten. Clearly, the unhelpful staffs did not understand the meaning of "customer service" and "basic courtesy". Ironically, we had booked a Deluxe Room this time round. We had expected something decent to come out of it. Instead, our 1 hour was spent chit-chatting at the lobby while waiting for our room to be ready. 4pm. The only thing that separated our Deluxe ... read more

Asia » Singapore » Chinatown May 30th 2012

Tanjong Pagar Best-Kept Secrets - Dao Ji Ipoh Hor Fun Wednesday, 30th May 2012 There is this stall in Tanjong Pagar Market that I patronised quite frequently over the past few weeks ever since my office shifted to this area. The stall was manned by an elderly grandma who was probably in her 80s together with her middle-aged daughter. On the stall menu, there were only 2 items on offer – Ipoh Hor Fun or Macaroni. For $2.50 ($2.70 for take-away), my choice of Hor Fun came with a generous serving of mushrooms and fresh greens, 2 prawn dumplings and some chicken slices. What made my Hor Fun so special was their homemade gravy. If you noticed closed enough, you would probably realised that their gravy was heated up slowly over a charcoal stove. Yes, charcoal ... read more
Cheap Chow Licious
Generous servings of mushrooms and prawn dumplings

Asia » Singapore May 5th 2012

Saturday, 5th May 2012 Over Vesak Day holidays earlier this month, I booked myself a private room at the Aqueen Hotel Lavender for a quick weekend getaway from the hot weather. As my url= of the property turned out, it was saddled with its own fair share of shortcomings despite its contemporary room design. I should have guessed it, given that I've only paid SGD 117 for a night's rest in pricey Singapore. Well, that's 3-star comfort for me in a non-touristy neighbourhood. I tried to make do with whatever the room offered even though sound proofing to cut off unwanted noise from the elevators and the neighbourhood was almost non-existent. The streets surrounding Aqueen were having their own sort of religious celebrations. Clearly, ... read more

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