Relax

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Sunken Garden, University of the Philippines, Diliman.  Taken on a Sunday afternoon.

Occupied for a week in a year for the university fair; otherwise, it’s pretty much free for everyone to enjoy.  The field is great for sports and the surrounding shade is perfect for picnics, studying or just plainly relaxing.

 

For the weekly photo challenge Relax

Discovering Doutonbori

Dancing crab. Glico Man. Takoyaki.

These popular symbols of Osaka can be found in one place–Doutonbori!  Of course, this lively section of Namba has so much more to offer.  When dropping by Osaka, Doutonbori is definitely a stop you need to take.

I would like to say that it’s very easy to find–it’s just a short walk from Midosuji Line’s exit 14 in Namba–but Namba Station is HUGE.  And take a wrong turn, and you’ll end up in another part of the district.  There’s that, and from what I remember, there are no signs pointing to Doutonbori after you’ve gone out of the exit.

My plan for strolling around Doutonbori kept getting put off in my first few nights in Japan (because see above), but I made sure that I find it in my last night.  I kept going around in circles again, turned at some streets until I finally came across Glico Man.  GOAL!!!

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“achievement unlocked!”

Now that I’m finally in the right place.  there are two more things to do: eat and shop.  Was I able to do both?  Unfortunately not because of Mosburger.  I’ll talk about it more in another entry because my trip to Doutonbori is the cap to a very long day (Arashiyama-Bamboo Forest-Kinkakuji-Doutonbori).

Going back, well Doutonbori food is not a totally lost cause because I had a cup of coffee in one of the cafes there.  After getting my caffeine fix, I started walking around to take in the lively night life:

If there’s a word of wisdom I can cap my Doutonbori experience with, it would be this: friend, COME HUNGRY.

A Symphony of Lights

Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor has probably one of the most iconic skylines in the world.  It becomes even more vibrant come 8 pm every night, as buildings light up for A Symphony of Lights.  Launched in 2004, the light and sound show is named the “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by the Guinness Book of World Records.

The show lasts for over 10 minutes and according to the Hong Kong Tourism board site, it can be seen from three vantage points:

  • Tsim Sha Tsui promenade outside Hong Kong cultural center (MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit L6)
  • Golden Bauhinia Square (MTR Wan Chai Station, Exit A5); and
  • from the Harbor cruise

There’s music and live narration accompanying the light show.  The narration part is alternately done in English (MWF) Mandarin (TThSa) and Cantonese (Sun).

I caught the show from Tsim Sha Tsui promenade during my 2014 trip, and here are some choice shots:

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Check any travel guide about Singapore, and the Botanic Gardens would certainly be among the top recommended attractions–and rightly so.  It’s pretty much free to go around (except for the minimal fee to get to the National Orchid Garden), and yet it’s very rich in nature and history.

The gardens are a vast sanctuary in the heart of the city.  There’s so much to explore, it’ll take literally a whole day or maybe even two to fully experience what the gardens have to offer.

My plan was to get there early, but being the nocturnal creature that I am, I woke up pretty late and got to the gardens at around 11 am.  I started my looooong stroll from Bukit Timah Gate, where I took some shots of the Eco Lake:

After a brief stop and looking at the map several times, I decided to make National Orchid Garden my priority, then the small tropical rainforest.  I’d then check out the other gardens if I still had the energy to do so.

And stuck to the plan I did. Here’s a mini-gallery of the different sections of the National Orchid Garden:

And choice shots from the rainforest:

A must when going to the Botanic Gardens is plenty of time, fully charged camera battery and enough space in your SD card, comfortable shoes, and a bottle of water.  (There are drinking fountains throughout the garden where you can refill the bottle, too.)

When I do go back to Singapore, I’ll definitely check out the Botanic Gardens again and visit the rest of the sections I wasn’t able to explore as much as I wanted to. Besides, there are upcoming attractions to this newly inaugurated World Heritage Site 🙂

Singapore Botanic Gardens is open every day of the year from 5 am – 12 mn, although certain sections have their own schedules.  It is also very accessible via bus or train, and tourist shuttle services are available as well.

‘Til next time!

Sightseeing in Singapore: Marina Bay

One of the things I love about Singapore is how walkable the streets are, and for a state so progressive and modern, they do have a significant amount of carefully planned space that people can enjoy.

Marina Bay is one such place.  It’s surrounded by a commercial  and business districts; museums and plenty of open space and just enough greens.  And Marina Bay is more than a showcase; it’s a symbol of Singapore’s history and progress.

In my second most impromptu trip ever in 2014, I walked around National Botanic Gardens at high noon, stopped by the hotel to rest for about an hour, headed to Gardens by the Bay and finally walked around Marina Bay.  I’ll write about the gardens on separate posts (and a dedicated one on the Botanic Gardens, as requested by my boyfriend^^).

But for now, here are some highlights of my stop at the bay: