Today we were hanging out within 高雄Kaohsiung, and we wanted to head out to 旗津 Cijin Island. The 10-minute ferry ride was more like drifting across the waters 😛
Once we got off the ferry, we rented a 4-seater electric bicycle (NT600 for 2 hours) to get around the island. A map was provided and all we had to do was to follow the trail and stop whenever we felt like it.
Though it was a really hot day, we could still feel the pleasant sea breeze. We took our time to stop and enjoy the scenery 🙂
Initially, it was Ms K who did the “driving”, and then halfway through, I got my chance to try, and there was no turning back, LOL! I thought it was so fun! With Ms K guiding me along, it was an easy ride. I even managed to “drive” through a particularly crowded street while trying to find our way back to the bicycle rental shop. Another cheap thrill for a non-driver 😛 Hubby might have almost fainted sitting at the back though 😛
We met up with our driver 王师傅 at our hotel 頭等艙飯店高雄‧站前館 Airline Inn – Kaoshiung Station for our day trip to 屏東 Ping Tung at 9am. He was the alternate driver whom 許大哥 (who took us from 高雄国际機場 Kaohsiung International Airport to 東港码头 Donggang Ferry Terminal) offered, as he had a last-minute assignment. We could not help but feel a little disappointed as we thought 許大哥 was really friendly and experienced. While 王师傅 seemed to be rather unfamiliar with this area (and we appeared to have done quite a bit of detours during the earlier part of the trip) he was a very safe and patient driver.
The original NT4000 10-hour (9am to 7pm) plan which included petrol, toll, parking and passenger insurance (excluding entrance fees) was:
酒店出發 > 霧台谷川大橋 > 霧台 > 原住民文化園區 > 山川琉璃大橋 > 涼山瀑布 > 佛陀紀念館或旗山老街 > 回高雄
We ended up extending by more than an hour and we topped up an additional NT500 on our own accord for his patience. Here was what we did:
Our main to-do list in 鹿児島 Kagoshima included taking the pretty train to 指宿 Ibusuki, and to check out the 砂むし sand bath over there!
There are 3 return trains for Limited Express 指宿のたまて箱 Ibusuki-no-Tamatebako per day, so making reservations is a must!
The interior of the train is very pretty and there are seats that are facing the windows, so that passengers can enjoy the coastal scenery in its full glory. Unfortunately, those seats are extremely popular, and we did not manage to reserve them.
It was OK though, for everyone was busy walking within the train and standing up to take pictures during the 50-minute train ride. There was also a staff who provided some props and helped everyone take pictures 🙂 This was the most lively train ride we had so far 😀
From 高千穂 Takachiho, we took a bus to 延岡 Nobeoka, and then train to 宮崎 Miyazaki (to collect our luggage), and then continuing on to 鹿児島 Kagoshima. It was already close to 3pm by the time we reached our hotel to drop our luggage (and we started at 6am!).
Since the weather looked good, we thought we should cover 桜島 Sakurajima today, otherwise the whole day would seemed like it’s just taking different transport from Point A to Point B. 🙂
We had purchased the Kagoshima Welcome Cute Pass (¥1,500) (when we got off the train at 鹿児島中央駅 Kagoshima-Chuo Station), and so after checking-in and dropping our luggage, we rushed to take the tram (aka streetcar) from our hotel to Kagoshima Port. Through brisk walking, we made it in time to catch the 15:40 ferry to 桜島 Sakurajima, and arrived at the volcanic island a short 15 minutes later. 🙂
One of the main highlights of this trip was to visit the beautiful 高千穂峡 Takachiho Gorge!
We had a hard time deciding if we wanted to do this as a day trip (might be too rushed), or to do an overnight stay and watch the cultural show at night (which we might not understand at all). Eventually, we decided to take it easy and stay one night at the gorge, as we would be travelling long distances often during this trip.
It took us a while to find the B&B 浮き雲 Ukigumo, where we would be staying for the night. The friendly owner spoke English very well, and directed us to a shortcut to get to the 高千穂峡 Takachiho Gorge 🙂
We were feeling very excited today, as we would be visiting 霧島神宮 Kirishima Shrine (aka Jingu), which worships 天孫瓊瓊杵尊 (Ninigi-no-mikoto), the grandson of 天照大神 (Amaterasu-omikami), the Sun Goddess.
According to Japanese mythology, Kirishima is the place where Ninigi-no-mikoto arrived in Japan, in accordance to Amaterasu-omikami’s orders to reign over the ancient Japan, and subsequently, his descendants were the Emperors of Japan, first being 神武天皇 Jinmu-tennō Emperor Jimmu.
We visited 鵜戸神宮 (Udo Jingu) Udo Shrine (2 days ago) which worships 鵜葺草葺不合命 Ugayafukiaezu-no-mikoto, the father of 神武天皇 Jinmu-tennō Emperor Jimmu and son of Ninigi-no-mikoto. Miyazaki is truly the land of Japanese Mythology, and there are many more shrines dedicated to these mythological deities.
We woke up bright and early to catch the 8:19am bus to 鵜戸神宮 (Udo Jingu) Udo Shrine (dedicated to 鵜葺草葺不合命 Ugayafukiaezu no Mikoto “Unfinished Cormorant-Feather Thatching” , the father of 神武天皇 Jinmu-tennō Emperor Jimmu, the mythical first emperor of Japan).
It was a super cloudy day, but rain was expected later in the afternoon, as well as whole of tomorrow (due to a nearby typhoon), so today was the best day to go 日南 Nichinan area for 鵜戸神宮 Udo Jingu & 青島 Aoshima, and we had to make sure that we get up the first bus!
It was a pleasant morning ride with little traffic. We first passed by little houses and saw some farmers doing a bit of burning (perhaps to fertilise the soil?).
After 50 mins, we passed by 青島 Aoshima (which we would come back to later), and began to see the beautiful coastal view 😀 en route to 鵜戸神宮 Udo Jingu (another 40 mins).
We woke up extra early to visit 金山岭长城 Jinshanling Great Wall on our second day of arrival in Beijing!
Luckily it was still clear skies this morning, and we grabbed the buns that we bought last night and went to take the subway to 望京西站 Wangjing West Station.
At 望京西站 Wangjing West Station, we exited through Exit B, which led directly to an overhead bridge. We could see another bus interchange when we looked towards the right, but that was NOT the one. Instead, we took the stairs on the left at the end of the bridge and turned right to see a small police station on the right. We kept walking straight, past the public toilets, and saw a bus interchange with 2 gates and took the left one that says 金山岭 Jinshanling.
We had arrived just before 7.50am this Sunday morning, and there were easily 30 people in front of us (There needs to be a minimum of 20 passengers before the bus will move off, and the bus has a capacity of 50 passengers.)! Continue reading
Categories: China, Travel
Tags: hike, nature
No trip to Melbourne is complete without a drive to Great Ocean Road (GOR), one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives! We did our day trip with A Tour with a Difference, which was a company run by a lovely couple.
Grace was our guide for the day, and there were 5 of us in this tour today. Being a small company, they take in a maximum of 11 people for each tour, so we were really lucky to have such a cosy size, for that meant we were all very comfortably seated in the 7-seater Mercedes!
We gathered at a common location for pick up around 7.30am. From there, it was a 1.5 hour drive to our first stop for morning tea break, with Grace giving explanation and pointing out to various location of interest throughout.
Wifey and her friend, Ms M, had wanted to do a forest walk when they were in London, and they had initially planned on visiting a distant forest. But after sharing their plans with their boss, he suggested Hampstead Heath instead, which is more do-able and is nearer to London.
Hampstead Heath (locally known as “the Heath”) is a large, ancient London park, covering 320 hectares. This grassy public space sits astride a sandy ridge, one of the highest points in London, running from Hampstead to Highgate. The Heath is rambling and hilly, embracing ponds, recent and ancient woodlands, a lido, playgrounds, and a training track, and it adjoins the stately home of Kenwood House and its grounds. The south-east part of the Heath is Parliament Hill, from which the view over London is protected by law.