Life, Photography, Reviews, travel

Kawagoe Bell Tower @ Kawagoe, Japan

The Bell Tower at Kawagoe is a must-visit when you are visiting Kawagoe in Japan. It is right in the center of the old town, a famous landmark in the area. Due to the high of the tower, you can easily see this afar and brings the crowd to the area. The bell is still operation and rings 4 times a day (6am,12pm, 3pm & 6pm) which is done automatically. The bell can also be rung manually on odd occasions or during festivals.

bell tower

The bell is well preserved they don’t allow visitors to climb on it. The ladder has been bolted down with planks to prevent people from trying. The tower has been rebuilt several times due to damage but the main structure is still there. There is no entry fee to the bell tower and you can feel free to visit multiple times. The other thing I have noticed there are no stores that sell souvenirs inside the tower so don’t look for a store there. There are plenty of shops around the tower to buy your gifts. Not to mention the local street food. If you are in Kawagoe, this is a must visit stop.

Thanks for reading

Travelgirl

food, Life, Reviews, travel

Lune Finally Comes to Sydney + Travelgirl’s Lune Experience in Melbourne

Hi Everyone,

OMG!! Lune is coming to Sydney and the location is TBA. Lune is a famous bakery in Melbourne selling some of the best croissants in town. The line can go on forever so having a store in Sydney would help those who can’t fly to Melbourne all the time. These yummy croissants even stay fresh after being on a plane for a few hours, they are just the bomb! So I’ll today, I thought I’ll share my experience in Melbourne a month ago when we tried to buy croissants over the new year.

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Our friends who lived in Melbourne told us to try the almond croissants & the normal ones. They have a nice crunchy outer layer and the inside is soft and smooth. So we decided to wake up and get there before 8am to beat the crowd. The store is actually around 20mins walk from our Airbnb so we decided to just walk there. There was no line when we arrived, then we saw a sign with a few people also looking disappointed. They only sell takeaway at Fitzroy (their factory) so we quickly took the Uber. Once we arrived, we knew it will be a bit of a wait.

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Look at that line! One thing for sure, we are in the right place. Can you see that tall guy in the line, that is Daddy M waiting ‘patiently’ in line waiting for his breakfast and coffee. After nearly 45 minutes in the line (remember this is all takeaway customers), we are finally there. Yes, that is the hole you make your order, pay and get your food. The worst part is due to the holiday season, the only sell the original croissant and the lemon cruffins. Without any choices, we bought both to take home and share it with everyone.

I love the fact the box has wholes around it so it ensures the moist doesn’t make the croissants soft and soggy. A plain croissant was $6 and lemon cruffins were 7.50 each. Not cheap for bakery food but they are worth the price especially the croissant. It smells nice, crunch with a nice texture and a soft center. I didn’t like the lemon cruffins that much as it was overly sweet for my liking but Daddy E thought it great. He had like 2 of them throughout the day.  Honestly, I can’t wait for the Sydney store to open so I can get my hands on more plain croissants and try the almond one which we missed in Melbourne.

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Thanks for reading

Travelgirl

Life, Photography, Reviews, travel

Qantas Airline Review | From Sydney To Bangkok with Travelgirl

Hi Everyone,

For my flight from Sydney to Bangkok, I redeemed my ticket via Qantas Frequent Flyer points. I haven’t flown with Qantas for some time so wasn’t expect much as I have heard they haven’t really improved their service for many years.

qantas review

It was a full flight so it took a while to get everyone on board especially having the take the airport bus to the plane which was parked elsewhere. The economy seat configuration of the plane was 2x4x2 and I booked my seat on the side. There was surprisingly nice leg room considering I am quite tall so that was nice to know I don’t need to cram so much for 9 hours on the way there.

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The video on demand was great! Had many shows and movies and I ended up watching a few things.

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Having said all the good stuff for this flight, now we go onto the stuff I was disappointed with. The food was terrible. For a full paid service, the food and quality we were given were not up to standard. Below was our meal. The main meal which I chose pork belly with rice they gave us a cheesecake, a small piece of bread and drink plus a bottle of water. I was still hungry after the meal. Luckily the taste of the pork belly made up for it. In between we did get offered a piece of fruit and an ice block. Just before we landed, our light meal was a tart. Didn’t taste good at all. The food quality and quantity really have let down the whole flight experience.

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Service was average though there was one male staff had really nice manners and was very tentative. The rest of the staff was either impatient or wasn’t really interested which was a shame. As mentioned above, I only chose to fly Qantas as I redeemed points for this flight but if I had to pay full fare, I may have to re-consider unless I had a really good deal flying to my next destination.

Thanks for reading

Travelgirl

Life, Reviews, travel

Let’s visit Wiseman Ferry @ Australia

Hi Everyone,

A quick weekend getaway to Wiseman Ferry was a great choice for us as it was only a 90 minutes drive to Sydney. I have been here for a work conference a few years ago and visiting the town again, I really didn’t see any change to it. As mentioned in my previous blog, the town is pretty small. You only have a service station and a few cafe/restaurants and a local supermarket.

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Wiseman Ferry is a small and quiet town. It is so remote that the nearest fast food is at least 30 minutes drive away. The one service station there charges a premium for fuel. Same with the supermarket selling the necessities. Restaurants and cafes are also not as of high quality but charge a substantial price to their food. Most people I believe will probably drive out to the bigger towns to find a bigger chain supermarket like Woolworths or Coles to stock up on necessities and fresh food.

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We have been to the town twice during our weekend and both times the roads were very quiet. Not many people were walking on the streets. I think mainly this is due to most people don’t live around here and those living around here are on holidays like us or prefer to stay indoors as the town doesn’t have much to offer. Having said all the above, I would still visit again for the few orchards around the area especially summer where there would be more different fruits on offer.

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Thanks for reading

Travelgirl

Life, Reviews, travel

Quick Tour of Westin Hotel @ Doha, Qatar with Travelgirl

Hi Everyone,

Our visit to Doha will end in a few days so I’ll take this opportunity to show you around The Westin Resort in Doha. We booked this hotel as a stopover option when we booked our air ticket so our room for two nights was just $100USD! That was an awesome deal considering this is a 5-star hotel with great reviews.

the westin doha

Doha is hot around the clock so I nice pool is needed. There are two pool options in the resort. There is a swim up pool bar, a kids pool. If you prefer something indoors, they do have a heated indoor pool option. By night, one of the pools was turned in a poolside party area for guests who want to join in.

Other than the pools, the hotel also offers a few squash courts. One court was used during our quick visit but I thought it was a nice facility to have compared to others we’ve seen in other countries.

Apart from the sport options, there is also a nice gym, a hairdresser, massage and beauty salon & various high-quality restaurants.

The resort was huge and there were two sections. We stayed on the further side but also the newer end. The glass roof was put into good use as by day, the sun hits directly through to the hotel and by night, you can see the stars through the glass. On every floor, there are many sparkly lights to ensure the hotel is lit up nice and bright.

The service here was excellent. Nothing to fault and would consider staying here once more if we stop over Doha again. If you book online, it is pretty expensive but if you try to book it through Qatar airways during promotional periods, this hotel is definitely worth being picked as the stopover hotel.

Thanks for reading

Travelgirl

Life, Reviews, travel

Gold Shopping with Travelgirl @ Hamad International Airport, Qatar

Hi Everyone,

I have heard about lots of gold shopping in airports at Doha and Dubai but never seen the ranges before so I was looking forward to checking these places out. Apart from gold shopping, there are also lots of European luxury brands around Hamad International Airport to cater visitors and their local people for any last minute splurges.

qatar gold shopping

First, we were dropped off by our Uber driver right at the departure terminal. Uber in Doha was super convenient we virtually used them the moment we landed so keep that in mind when you visit this beautiful city. After a small incident (Baby M had a massive nose bleed and we were taking to the airport hospital for clearance), you will see many shops around the main area. This is when we saw lots of goldddddd.

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There were lots of choices, designs and price range. They had many staff on deck but I still had to wait for some time before I can get any assistance to look at any piece. The photos I’ve taken were only a small amount of stock available and there were lots more to suit any budget. I looked at a pair of earrings and it worked out just $150AUD but it was very light and thin. I find many of their signs are like that, maybe to suit the market? I didn’t end up getting anything but just after we had a quick meal, we did see Hermes where they had a nice range available – even more than what was offered at the stores in Europe.

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Just right near our gate, there were some really nice kids indoor play area. It was a great addition for parents who need to get rid of their little one’s energy before a long plane ride.

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Thanks for reading

Travelgirl

Life, Photography, Reviews, travel

Quick Tour of Westin Hotel @ Doha, Qatar with Travelgirl

Hi Everyone,

Our visit to Doha will end in a few days so I’ll take this opportunity to show you around The Westin Resort in Doha. We booked this hotel as a stopover option when we booked our air ticket so our room for two nights was just $100USD! That was an awesome deal considering this is a 5-star hotel with great reviews.

the westin doha

Doha is hot around the clock so I nice pool is needed. There are two pool options in the resort. There is a swim up pool bar, a kids pool. If you prefer something indoors, they do have a heated indoor pool option. By night, one of the pools was turned in a poolside party area for guests who want to join in.

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Other than the pools, the hotel also offers a few squash courts. One court was used during our quick visit but I thought it was a nice facility to have compared to others we’ve seen in other countries.

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Apart from the sport options, there is also a nice gym, a hairdresser, massage and beauty salon & various high-quality restaurants.

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The resort was huge and there were two sections. We stayed on the further side but also the newer end. The glass roof was put into good use as by day, the sun hits directly through to the hotel and by night, you can see the stars through the glass. On every floor, there are many sparkly lights to ensure the hotel is lit up nice and bright.

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The service here was excellent. Nothing to fault and would consider staying here once more if we stop over Doha again. If you book online, it is pretty expensive but if you try to book it through Qatar airways during promotional periods, this hotel is definitely worth being picked as the stopover hotel.

Thanks for reading

Travelgirl

Photography, Reviews, travel

Museum of Islamic Art @ Doha, Qatar (P2)

Hi Everyone,

Let’s continue visiting the Museum of Islamic Art at Doha. As mentioned yesterday, there are many rooms with various themes in the museum. There are different collections from around the world with various themes and most importantly, they are from different eras which makes it very interesting.

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I was amazed at all the patterns and colours used on these tiles and wall displays. Designs back in the days are actually more creative than modern art in my opinion. At the same time, it feels like the current designs we have are just inspirations from what was developed hundreds of years ago.

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The below are ones that are made from wood. The workmanship is of high quality and is all done without machines. Remember now we have technology that could make everything perfect through machinery but these ones are all done by the worker’s skills.

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Another piece I like was this document holder. Look at that design. It makes me scared to actually use it as it looks too delicate to be one. Or even the compass, look how each item has been made with thought and with good use of material.

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There are just too many things to see and explore. They all represent something significant in their country and era which is why they are bring displayed here. They could be something we can obtain now in 2019 but back in the days, things are difficult and maybe considered important or valuable tools/objects. Below are some of the displays I really liked and would like to share them with you.

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Thanks for reading

Travelgirl

Life, Photography, Reviews, travel

Museum of Islamic Art @ Doha, Qatar

Hi Everyone,

Many people stay indoors during the day in Doha as the heat is just a bit too hot for some people. As tourists, w would try to also find things to do during the day but of course, would be indoors. We took the opportunity to visit the Museum of Islamic Art. We ordered an Uber and arrived around 15 minutes after leaving our hotel.

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

The heat hit us immediately once we got out of the Uber. The museum is built on a man made area with water surrounding the area. As you can see below, there are lots of open space but nobody was out due to the sun and heat right in the middle of the day. This museum houses many different treasures from around the world. After some quick snaps, we quickly made our way inside.

Before you go to the museum, make sure you wear appropriate clothing. This includes no singles for both men and women, no mini shorts and skirts for females or any revealing clothings. There is no entry fee either which was great for those visiting and want to visit numerous times as there is so much to see. If you check the website, there are many floors and rooms to explore so be prepared for a full day visit.

We explored many rooms and some of them had some really interesting collection. Below are some of the things from the first few rooms I loved. I love details on these bowls and jug. It just seems so precious to use and is best to have them displayed so other people can appreciate them as well. As the museum has lots to offer, I will share with you the different collections I enjoyed in the coming blogs.

Thanks for reading

Travelgirl

Photography, Reviews, travel

Katara Cultural Village @ Doha, Qatar

Hi Everyone,

People in Doha tend to go out late at night as the weather is cooler than during the day. The weather during the day could be at least 35 degrees heat and due to their culture, people are all covered up including tourists. This will make going during the day difficult but by night, the city comes to life. While in Doha, we decided to make a quick visit to Katara Cultural Village. We took an Uber and the driver took us there very quickly.

katara cultural centre

The first thing I’ve noticed about Katara Cultural Village was the lack of lights. It was dark in most places but people seem was happy doing their own things. We were also told that kids in Doha sleep late due to the late even lifestyle. We arrived at Katara Cultural Village just at 11pm and was surprised that families were still out and about happily kicking a ball or riding bikes around the open area. To be honest, I wasn’t able to take many pictures as the place was pitch dark.

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There were some places with lights including cafe, restaurants and convenient stores. We walked towards the multi-purpose hall and everyone was just sitting around the enjoying the nice cool evening breeze with the sound of waves surrounding them as we were close to Katara Beach. If I do go to Doha again, I would try to visit Katara Cultural Village during the day (combating the heat) as I can imagine how nice the village would be with their traditional architecture.

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Thanks for reading

Travelgirl