Published: February 24th 2009July 26th 2004
Perth, Western Australia
26th July 2004 - 5th August 2004
My first encounter in a western country occurred some 5 years back. S and I had just completed our Year 2 in the University and decided it was time to reward ourselves with a trip to Australia. I still remembered vividly that in order to cut costs, we took a Malaysia Airline flight to Kuala Lumpur before flying south to Perth. At $692, the price of the air ticket was not cheap in today’s standards considering that Tiger Airways and Jetstar are now offering direct flights to the same destination @ rock bottom prices. However, in those days when the Sin-Perth route were dominated by Qantas and Singapore Airlines, $692 was already a bargain. The advent of budget carriers had certainly made traveling much more affordable than before.
We were students on a budget and coupled with the strong Aussie Dollars, surviving the 11 days was a huge challenge. It was fortunate that the Beatty Lodge we stayed in came complete with kitchen facilities. We would self cater and heat up our foods purchaed from the nearby Dewsons supermarket. I had my first taste of Subway sandwiches in Australia because it was affordable and filling for our stomachs. Whenever I had Subway sandwiches in Singapore, it reminded me of my first meal in Perth, in the cold wintry evening.
We did our own travel research before the trip and were glad that we managed to cover most of the sights during our short stay. It was a blessing that despite being an expensive city, many of the services were free for all. We loved the free CAT (Central Area Transit) Service that brought us around conveniently within the CBD. And so were many of the city’s beautiful museums and King’s Park. We took the free guided walks in order to gain a better understanding of the city. The only paid tour we joined was a half day winery and chocolate tour to the Swan Valley where both of us were almost completely knocked out at the end of the day.
Starting early in the morning, we were back in the lodge just after nightfall at 5.30pm on most nights. I had heard it before my trip but it still took us sometime to accustom to the fact that the shops in CBD roll down their shutters at 5pm. It’s amazing how different the lifestyle was in Australia. While many associated Perth as another boring city, I was happy with the experience - fresh air, blue skies & a laid-back lifestyle. Our 11 day itinerary was never rushed. We walked a lot, at our own leisurely pace. I was glad that we were younger then.
I guess if somebody were to ask me if it was worth going to Perth, I would certainly give it a “yes” considering the low airfares and favorable exchanges these days. Perth is no longer an expensive destination compared to 5 years ago. There’s no better time to visit the place than now. Budokan, 24th February 2009