Friday, November 30, 2012

Places for Coffee or Brunch in Melbourne

A dear friend who lives in Melbourne recommended a few good places for coffee and brunch. There were no obvious signage at most of these places therefore it was not easy to locate them.

Seven Seeds
Address:114 Berkeley St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
Phone: +61 3 9347 8664
Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday 7am-5pm
Sunday 8am-5pm

Take a look at the picture of the entrance (on the left) and I bet you will agree you are likely to pass the place as well.

Hardware Societe
Address: 120 hardware St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Phone: +61 3 9078 5992 
Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday 7.30am-3pm
Saturday to Sunday 8.30am-2pm

Can't remember what we ordered but the portion was quite generous so we shared 2 meals among us 3 gals. We totally love this place; the design, the ambiance and of course the food. The food in terms of presentation and rich in ingredients. Not to mentioned it was affordable as one meal cost less than AUD20. Simply delicious!

Manchester Press

Address: 8 Rankins Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Phone: +61 3 9600 4054

Top left picture: The arrow points to the cafe sign, top right picture: the name of the cafe was witten on the top right of the mural.
What you are looking for was right in front of you yet you could easily miss it.

Brother Baba Budan
Address; 359 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Phone: +61 3 9606 0449

This place serve the same coffee bean as Seven Seeds. We sat there, had coffee and at the same time enjoy the surrounding.

Why don't you just check out these places and let me know what you think?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Bloom in Europe

Summer is a colourful season when flowers bloom. The flowers that bloomed in Europe are so different from those in Asia.

I wonder what were their names.

Buckingham Palace, London, England

Brussels, Belgium

Budapest, Hungary

Sculpture Park, Oslo, Norway

Salzburg, Austria

Paris, France

Versailles Palace, Paris, France

Zagreb, Croatia

Monday, August 27, 2012

Capture The Colour Contest

There's this contest sponsored by for bloggers whereby you have to submit five pictures each representing the following colours blue, green, yellow, red and white. 

The following are my entries to the said contest. To find out more you can go to the competition page.


 This picture was taken in Prague Old Castle during the Changing of Guards last summer. We came early to get a nice spot to witness the occasion. The uniforms were in a very beutiful hue of blue.


 This was taken on top of Berlin Dome. It was taken last summer so you can see people laying on the grass enjoying the sun. The view around the Dome was stunning.


 This picture was taken in my home country Batu caves, Malaysia in February during the famous Deepavali Celebration. This man had walked up 272 steps to reach the top of the cave where he was seen in this picture carrying the 'kavadi' as offering to lord Murugan. 


 Taken from the bull ring in Madrid.

 This was taken after I reached the submit of a mountain in Sortland, Norway. The ice has not melted even though it was already summer. The bridge that connected Sortland and mainland can be seen in the picture and part of a fjord.

I have nominated my friends for this contest
Roman Giger

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My favourite place in Singapore

Everytime I go to Singapore I would not fail to come to this place located in Sentosa Island among the stretch of restaurants. This place is called Azzura. it's very happening when there's a crowd there, we would jumped in and out of the pool or jacuzzi, dance on the podium and drink till we get drunk. When there's no crowd we just sat by the beach and chillaxing (Chilling and relaxing)

The entrance

 The swimming pool

The other end of the pool

 The sitting area

The sitting area

The dining area and the bar

The dining area

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Culture

The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

- Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Florence, Italy

Naples, Italy

Madrid, Spain

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Plitvice National Park

One of the highlights of my European trip is the day trip to Plitvice National Park, one of the two national parks I've been in Europe the other being Cinque Terre. I would say any visit to Croatia would not be complete without a stop at the park. 

There's lakes, cascading waterfalls and trees throughout the park. Simply breathtaking, stunning, awesome, unbelievable and all the superlatives you can possibly think of.
I think if heaven was a place on earth then it would look like Plitvice.

The natural phenomenon that shaped the lakes thorugh sedimendation of limestone only occurred in few other places around the world, the most famous being Pamukkale in Turkey. It was said the landscape changes everyday. It is recognised as a World Heritage site and the following is a brief desciption from the site:

"The waters flowing over the limestone and chalk have, over thousands of years, deposited travertine barriers, creating natural dams which in turn have created a series of beautiful lakes, caves and waterfalls. These geological processes continue today. The forests in the park are home to bears, wolves and many rare bird species".

There are buses from Zagreb's main bus station. I reached the station around 7.00am but the tickets for the earliest bus was sold out so I had to wait for the second bus. I noted the last few buses back to Zagreb so that I would be mindful of the time. I brought some sandwiches and drinks for lunch in the park at the station in case the price there is expensive and to avoid being stuck in a long queue.

The sitting arrangement in the bus was very messy. A seat could be assigned to 2 people. My seat was actually taken by another person, so I went to sit at another empty seat. Halfway another person who boarded the bus was suppose to take the seat I was occupying so I went to reclaim my original seat. In the midst of all these mess I met a Korean gal. When we reached the destination she introduced two other Korean gals whom she met in the bus station while waiting for the bus. These 3 Korean gals were each travelling solo and together we formed a travel group. Power to gals solo travellers.

The entrance fee is 110 Kroner (discount would be given to ISIC holder). There are a few routes detailed at the ticket centre, each take between 2-8 hours and each can be covered within a day. There are 4 places where you can stop each called Station 1, Station 2 and so on. Each has washrooms, food stalls with eating area and information centre.

The route we chose started at Station 2 (main entrance) and the duration is estimated to be 4 hours.  We begun with a bus ride to Station 4 then followed by a walking trail to P2 where we wait in line for a ferry ride across the biggest lake in the park to P3 before continuing on another walking trail all the way to Station 1. However this time the path would get steeper. Then we took a bus from Station 1 to get back to Station 2. The bus ride and the ferry ride are included in the entrance ticket. I would highly recommend this route if you are like me who like to save the best for last. P1, P2 and P3 are places where you board ferry and only P3 has the same facilities like the stations.

We had early lunch once we reached Station 4. We sat at the eating area and ate what we brought. The line to buy food was rather long. Along the walking path we stopped for numerous photo sessions as Koreans they love to take pictures (of various poses and angles).

We often walked on wooden walkways along the walking trails and at some point the lake was just below our feet. The lakes are in the most beautiful and gorgeous shade of blue/green and turquoise. Swimming is not allowed but you can dipped you feet in the water.

The most breathtaking sight are found at the end of our route on the last walking trail with cascading waterfalls.

If heaven is this beautiful then I want to go to heaven. I imagined myself as a pixie with wings flying around Plitivce as my playground.

The route we chose.

Pictures courtesy of my Plitvice travel buddy.

Check out more pictures in google image here.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Guided Tour to Roland Garros

When I reached the location the last guided tour had  already begun but the people who worked there let me join the last tour in the midst. I can't thank them enough for their kindness.

Top right is the souvenir shop. Bottom left: The entrance. Bottom right: Signage showing the directions and distance of the other Glam Slam venues; Wimbledon (365km), Flushing Meadows (5839 km) and Melbourne Park (16950 km) 

The top part of the stadium is engraved with names of the winners. 

The Tour

 Center court where the finals are held.

This is the ladies' locker. Locker #19 is reserved permanently to Steffi Graf the 6 times champion. The locker is still there just that the number now becomes 18bis.

Rafael Nadal's favourite locker. Every year the defending champion get to choose his locker first. Apparently Nadal always choose this locker. The guide said probable because its close to a bench. I forgot the locker no. Maybe soon this locker will his permanently as the 7 times champion.

 To the left is the sitting lounge.  The picture in the middle is the press conference room and the guy seated was my guide for the tour. On the right is the locker room.

There's this room filled with players' signatures on glass surface attached to the wall.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's all about the money (Transport)

My transportation expenses for my European trip

 From                To                   Mode of Transport                       Local currency       Amount   MYR 
1 Paris                Ghent              Bus (Eurolines)                               EUR           29.00     121.80
2 Ghent               Brugge           Train                                                  n/a      
3 Brugge            Brussel           Train                                                 EUR             8.00       33.60
4 Brussel            Antwerp         Train                                                  EUR             6.70       28.14
5 Antwerp           Rotterdam     Train                                                  EUR           18.40       77.28
6 Rotterdam       The Hague     Train                                                 EUR             4.30       18.06
7 The Hague      Amsterdam    Train                                                EUR            10.70      44.94
8 Amsterdam     Haarlem         Train                                                EUR            10.30       43.26
9 Amsterdam     Berlin              Bus (Eurolines)                              EUR            64.00     284.90
10 Berlin             Oslo                Airplane (RyanAir)                         EUR           50.99      221.29
11 Oslo               Trondheim     Airplane (Norwegian Air)               EUR           37.31     165.78
12 Trondheim     Bodo              Train (                                  NOK         299.00     170.83
13 Bodo              Sortland         Bus (Nordland Fyikeskommune)  NOK         166.00       97.08
14 Sortland         Tromso           Ferry (Hurtigruten)                          NOK         625.00     350.35
15 Tromso          Budapest        Airplane (Air Baltic)                       EUR           29.10      578.15
16 Budapest       Zagreb           Train (MAU-START)                       HUF       8100.00     133.65
17 Zagreb           Budapest       Train (MAU-START)                       n/a
18 Budapest       Salzburg         Train (MAU-START)                     HUF      10530.00     166.74
19 Salzburg         Zurich             Train (OBB)                                   EUR             85.20     371.18
20 Zurich             Munich            Train (SBB)                                   CHF           107.00     434.88
21 Munich           Prague            Bus (Eurolines)                            EUR              35.03     150.64
22 Prague          Vienna             Bus                                                EUR              12.60       52.92
23 Vienna           Venice             Train (Trenitalia)                           EUR             70.34     302.45
24 Venice           Florence          Train (Trenitalia)                           EUR             36.40     156.52
25 Florence        Pisa                  Train (Trenitalia)                            n/a
26 Pisa               La Spezia         Train (Trenitalia)                            n/a
27 La Spezia     Rome                 Train (Trenitalia)                         EUR              36.50      156.95
28 Rome            Naple                 Train (Trenitalia)                          EUR             10.50         45.15
29 Naple            Rome                 Train (Trenitalia)                          EUR             10.50         45.15
30 Rome            London              Airplane (RyanAir)                      EUR              61.99       275.27
31 London         Madrid               Airplane (RyanAir)                       GBP             95.06       466.09
32 Madrid          Barcelona         Bus (Alsa)                                     EUR            30.51        131.19
33 Barcelona     Lyon                  Bus (Eurolines)                             EUR            64.00       279.57
34 Lyon              Paris                  Train (SNCF)                                EUR            66.50       289.51                                                          Grand Total                                                                                                                     5693.32

I spent approximately RM20,000 for my European trip that covered 31 cities in 101 days. On average I spent RM200 a day.

(1 Euro is around RM4.2-4.35)


Monday, April 2, 2012


I have been a member since late 2008 and have not looked back since. My first surfing experience was in Singapore.

Overall for me Couchsurfing was relatively safe. I guess I was pretty fortunate.
The generally rules were to check out the following:
-references from other members who met or stayed with them
-whether he/she has pictures and friends
-Whether he/she has been vouched
-whether he/she is a verified member (name and location)

It can be really difficult to get a host in major cities like Paris and Rome especially during summer. I sent around 10-20 requests in each city sometimes even more. I spent a great deal of time going through profiles and references. It’s like a HR Exec looking at resumes to fill up vacancies. Sometimes I have to post a shout out in the last minute group requesting for host.

If someone was unable to host or someone who accepted my request when I have already accepted someone else, I would actually asked them if they would like to meet up with me for drinks and coffee. Some ended up showing me around and offer me to stay with them the next time I'm back in the city.

Some hosts are actually people whom I’ve met in my home city and have become really good friends. Some offered me to stay at their place when I told them my plan to go to Europe but the problem was most of them will only be in Europe at certain time. So my itinerary was scheduled around their availability. So you will see that I traveled in a zigzag manner.

As precaution, I gave my couchsurfing ID and password to my best friend so she can check on my whereabouts from time to time. I even created a facebook event page for a group of close friends to post the details of my hosts' addresses and contact numbers. I guess you have to be tactful and practice common sense.

Personally the only awkward moments was when I was in Dan Haag where I could not click with my host and in Prague where the place is full of cats’ fur. Other than that It was all good.

I attended some of the weekly meetings, from there I met people who eventually become my guide in some cities and travel buddies.

My hosts are the most awesome people. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to those who have welcomed me with open arms to their homes. I am forever indebted to them.

P/S: Lately there are creepy people with hidden agendas who have become members for the wrong reasons. Check out group posts for any indication.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thaipusam at Batu Caves

I often bring couchsurfing members to Batu caves. Everytime I will attempt to explain how was the place would be like during Thaipusam. Let the pictures do the talking.

I will make it a point to come every year during Thaipusam. I am planning to go on the eve of Thaipusam in 2013. 

"Once a year, Batu Caves become the centre of a great religious procession. Almost 1 million people pay homage to the highly revered deity, Lord Murugan during the 3-day long festival. Thaipusam falls on the tenth day of the month of Thai in the Hindu Almanac and that would usually be in late January or early February".

The bazaar or stalls selling everything from clothing, shoes, food, drinks and so on. Some stall offer services like henna painting, shaving your head bald, manicure and so on. There were lunching/dining/eating area. There's an amusement park nearby.

Stall selling deserts

The entrance to the cave. The  gold statue is Lord Murugan.

 A kavadi bearer taking a rest

 Another Kavadi bearer

 On the stair

This worshiper has a spear through his cheeks

Another kavadi bearer found inside the cave.

These boys had nails poked on their backs.

The shirtless men are the priest. People were queuing to get blessing from the priests and gave their offering. 

The formation of the cave

 Inside the cave

At the top of a stair with 272 steps.