Top 17 Places Visited in Taiwan (v 1.0)

Have you been in Taiwan? Do you have top list during your trip in the said country? Here are the top places that I visited during my first trip in Taiwan. What are yours?

Top 1 – Taroko National Park

During the first visit in Taiwan, my favorite place that I fall in love with is Taroko National Park. The mountains that surround the park is the main reason why I love it. Next is the Liwu River where most of amazing gorges can be found. Another reason are Shakadang Trail where I love its river, Swallow Grotto where cliffs and Indian Chief rock formation can be found, Tien-Hsiang village surrounded by mountains and of course the Eternal Spring Shrine, the temple with a falls underneath.

I will not specify anymore which area in Taroko National Park are my favorites as I like all of what I had seen in the park.

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Top 2 – Hualien Der-yen beach

Though the visit in Hualien Der-yen beach was most likely a side trip part of my tour in Taroko National Park, I like to see this kind of places in Taiwan. It always nature wins my heart in my travel.

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Top 3 – Taipei Zoo (Wensha District)

I like zoo, but I never realized that I will be enjoying so much while visiting Taipei Zoo not only because of Giant Panda and Red Panda but because of its animal diversity that will be discovered here and the natural setting of the park.

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Top 4 – Taipei 101 (Xinyi District)

Xinyi District is the financial district of Taipei where Taipei 101 is located. A symbolical building of Taipei or let’s say Taiwan as this is unique tower in the world.

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Top 5 – Shin Kong Mitsukosh (Xinyi District)

One of the luxurious shopping area of the country that can be enjoyed in Taipei. Walking here is already entertaining though there are lots of people during my visit, I found amazing that Taipei has such places like Shin Kong Mitsukosh.

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Top 6 – Ximending (Wanhua District)

These pedestrian area where surrounded by markets, shopping stores and cinemas that change the way I think about market place. My walks here was so relaxing.

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Top 7 – Shilin Night Market (Shilin District)

My last minute walk was spent here before I went to Taoyuan International Airport. And I like the ambiance of this night market.

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Top 8 – Bopiliao Historical Block (Wanhua District)

A historical block that made me realize how amazing if different culture aspirations has been put into architecture.

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Top 9 – Red House Theater (Wanhua District)

Though I was sad at first because the main building of Red House Theater is under renovation, I had a good time walking in one of the cultural and creative store to be found inside the building.

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Top 10 – [Bangka] Mengxia (Mengjia) Longshan (Lungshan) Temple (Wanhua District)

My favorite temple that I saw while walking around Taipei. The architecture design and its colorful buildings are so inviting that anyone will enjoy just to look at them.

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Top 11 – [Bangka] Qingshui  (Chingshui) Temple (Wanhua District)

The first temple that I had seen during my walks in Wanhua District. A distinguishable temple of its kind.

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Top 12 – [Bangka] Qingshan Temple (Qingshangong) (Wanhua District)

Another interesting temple that I found but I haven’t got a chance to get inside.

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Top 13 – Taipei City Hall (Xinyi District)

A government building at the middle of Xinyi District significantly shows its simplicity and can be an outlier because of its exterior design but its impression made on me was plain but authoritative.

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Top 14 – Taipei Jen-Chi Hospital (Wanhua District)

A discovered historical building that I found while walking in Wanhua District.

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Top 15 – Bangka Park (Mengxia [Mengjia] Park) (Wanhua District)

A relaxing place found during my walk where I found Taiwanese enjoys the weekend.

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Top 16 – Lin Jiang (Linjian) [Tonghua] Street Night Market (Daan District)

A discovered night market after spending walking time at Xinyi District, I found myself here when I felt hungry.

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Top 17 – Huaxi Street Night Market (Wanhua District)

Another night market that I passed by while walking in Wanhua District, but because its after noon, most of the stores are still close at the time I went here.

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In The Middle Of Somewhere : Shilin Night Market – Largest and Famous Night Market in Taipei

In The Middle Of Somewhere (Post#9) : Shilin Night Market – Largest and Famous Night Market in Taipei

When I came back to Taipei after doing Taroko Gorge day tour, since my flight was around midnight, I decided to go to Shilin Night Market. So from Taipei Main Station, I took Tamsui-Xinyi (Red Line) going to Tamsui and get-off at Shilin Station. From that station, I walked few minutes until I reach the place that I intended to be. Shilin Night Market is located between two train Station. First is Shilin Station and second is Jiantan Station. I used both Station. Going to the night market was Shilin Station while going back to Taipei, I took Jiantan Station. These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.

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Discovery : Huaxi Street Night Market (Snake Alley) – Taiwan’s First Tourist Night Market

Discovery (Post#22) : Huaxi Street Night Market (Snake Alley) – Taiwan’s First Tourist Night Market

Huaxi Street Night Market is one of the 3 night markets that lights-up Bangka and make it a culinary paradise. It said to serve delicacies including snake blood and meat, turtle blood and meat and deer penis wine, which are not normally found anywhere else. These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.

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Featuring Our World : Ximending – First Pedestrian Area in Taipei and Largest in Taiwan

Featuring Our World (Post#5) : Ximending

The first place that I explored when I arrived in Taipei was Ximending because it is walk-able from the accommodation that I stayed in the city and to immerse myself immediately that I was in Taiwan as market is one of the signature tourism of the country. At first, I was not really sure of going to the area because I don’t really shop when I travel except during the last day of the trip and yet I decided to do it to see it. After visiting the place, I find it enjoyable to just walk in Ximending.

One thing to note, the well-known Ximending Pedestrian Area was the first pedestrian area built in Taipei and is the largest in Taiwan.

These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.

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Asakusa – Home of Famous Sensoji Buddhist Temple

From Ameyoko, we continue our stroll and we never noticed immediately that we reached Okamachi Station which still along JR Yamanote Line. Because we are looking for some souvenir products that we can bring home, we decided to go to Asakusa. From Okamachi Station we went back to Ueno Station. Then, we switch train line to Ginza Line and got off at Asakusa Station.

What I was only expecting when arriving at Asakusa area was to find a market with a lot of Japan souvenirs that we can buy as it seems the name of the place is quite famous for it. Outside Asakusa Station, I already liked what I saw. As we walked along in an alley near the station with half-dome glass roof, I observed that the place is indeed a tourist destination, as each alley has stores lined, up to its end.

Half-Dome Roof Walkway

We followed the half-dome roof walkway, to look for a place to have our lunch, after our lunch we walked again until a our feet brought us to where most of the crowds are going and coming from. Few minutes passed, we found a nearby market on the way to the temple and we discovered that the temple is Sensoji. The temple was in my list when I’m doing the itinerary plan, but I not realized that the temple is in Asakusa area.

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Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street

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Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street (Facing Kaminarimon Gate)

Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street (Facing Hozomon Gate)

We continue our walk, we followed the crowd until another shopping street existed before Hozomon Gate, I learned later that the shopping streets is called Nakamise. A lot of people, I can say a crowd of people are passing Nakamise. A lot people were kept on looking and buying stuff and I myself enjoyed the street while passing it going to and coming from the temple.

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Sensoji Temple Map

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Hozomon Gate

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Main Hall (Kannondo Hall) Hondo

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Interiors of Main Hall (Kannondo Hall) Hondo

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Five Storied Pagoda

Yogodo Hall

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Awashimado Hall

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Nitenmon Gate

Asakusa Shrine

After passing Nakamise, the first structure to see is the Hozomon (Niomon) Gate. It followed by the Main Hall (Kannondo Hall) of the temple. The other significant structures to be found within the area are Five Storied Pagoda, Yogodo Hall, Awashimado Hall, Nitenmon Gate and Asakusa Shrine.

Bronze Statue of Uryu Iwako

Tomb of Toda Musui

Bronze Hokyoin-to

Aside from halls, we found some tombs existing in the vicinity of the temple:

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Kaminarimon Gate is the gate structure of the temple before reaching Nakamise.

Ueno Park – One of Japan’s First Public Park and Once Kaneiji’s Ground

Ueno Park

Ueno Park

From Tokyo Station, we took JR Yamanote Line to Ueno Station. We got off at Ueno Station to visit Ueno Park. The park entrance is just beside the Ueno Station and because of this no one will ever miss the park by any visitors. We checked the map and search for things we can see around the area. There are lots of places to see in the park and all these places had their own entrance tickets. Because that day was our last day in Tokyo, we wanted to make a wise decision because we wanted to see more places as we can in a limited time that we have.

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Grand Fountain

Day Market

Tokyo National Museum

Therefore we decided to walk around the park and not to enter to any museums. Near the entrance we passed the The National Museum of Western Art Tokyo. Next, we saw the Grand Fountain wherein at the time of our visit, beside the fountain was the temporary day market. As we walked further we found The Tokyo National Museum. During that walk I used Triposo app to see if we can see interesting areas in the park aside from museums. Facing The Tokyo National Museum main entrance gate, we turned right and found The Ueno Rinnoji Temple (Rinno-ji Ryodaishi-do) which is a Buddhist temple which enshrined two priest. The temple is part of cathedral of Kaneiji temple. Beside Rinnoji temple, the Kaneiji Temple Imperial Cemetery. After taking few photos around the temple we walked back towards The Tokyo National Museum until we were near the Gate of the Inshu-Ikeda Residence known as “Kuromon (Black Gate)”.

The Ueno Rennoji Temple

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Kuromon (Black Gate)

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Kuroda Mermorial Hall

In the same corner of Kuromon, we saw Kuroda Memorial Hall. The hall was part of the estate of Kuroda Seiki which considered as father of modern western-style painting. Kuroda Seiki offered the part of his estate to be used for furtherment of the art.

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Kaneiji Temple

From the corner, we turned right and walked until we found the Kaneiji Temple. Kaneiji temple is also a Buddhist temple. I just learned that the whole Ueno Park are grounds of Kaneiji which converted into the park after it was destroyed during civil war and the temple has been relocated to where it is now. We spent time for taking photos in the surroundings of the temple and left to continue our stroll in the park.

Prince Komatsu statue

Ueno Park – Famous in Cherry Blossoms During Spring Season

We walked back to the center of the park by taking the same path we took on the way to Kaneiji Temple. After reaching the Kuroda Memorial Hall again, we walk the pathway where we found the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. We passed the main gate of more than century old Ueno Zoo. Along the way we saw the statue of Prince Komatsu. According to Wikipedia, Prince Komatsu Akihito was a member of Fushimi-no-miya, one branches of shinnoke of imperial family of Japan and eligible to Chrysanthemum Throne if the main line died out.

Benten Gate

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Bentendo

Some Fish found in Boat Pond

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Boat Pond

We walked in the middle and main walkway of the park. The said pathway is the famous area for sightseeing during spring season where visitors expecting  cherry blossoms. In the nearby area we found the Benten Gate and Benten Hall which surrounded by ponds such as Uno Pond, Boat Pond, Shinobazu Pond and Hasu Pond. Benten Hall was dedicated to Benten a goddess of good fortune, wealth, music and knowledge.

The Shitamachi Museum

From Benten Hall we walked towards The Shitamachi Museum (Museum of Down Town Customs). The said museum was dedicated to its traditional culture of Tokyo’s Shitamachi.

Ameyoko

After leaving Ueno Park, we walked in the nearby market called Ameyoko (a short name of Ameya Yokocho – candy store alley). Based on history the market was black market before second world war where most of American products were available. But even this time, it seems that if follows the history, because the said market still selling lots of various western products and common store sellers are not local Japanese but foreigners.

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Seoul And Beyond – Random Moments

On this post, I am not really going to tell a story but just to show some photos that I randomly took while walking in some areas of Seoul and other places while doing nothing or just looking for something. And this will be the last standard post that I had with the topic about South Korea unless I come back again to this country that I fall in love with. For single photo or image post, South Korea may still appear in random pictures which I usually published everyday.

Within Seoul

1. Incheon International Airport

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After we got off the plane and walked to the arrival area of the airport, there were few people around since we arrived past 8PM in the evening.

2. Nonhyeon Bus Stop

I captured this photo because we were trying to see if we were able to use the bus instead of train to go somewhere until we realized we never understand what’s the information in front of us.

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3. Jeonggak Station Exit

When we were on our way to Insadong, we got off at this exit as we understand its somewhat the nearest exit in Jong-ro to the market until we found Tapgol Park along the road.

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4. City Hall Station Exit

I had this photo after coming from Insadong market and we planned to go to City Hall Station to buy a discounted ticket to Everland at Hotel President. All of us were fascinated with the hanging umbrellas displayed at the exit stair we took after getting off the station. We also found a modern style of entrance/exit transportation card reader.

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We had some time to walk around the area where we saw City Hall itself. We saw one of the main gate of Deoksugung (no photo captured), a palace that we haven’t had a chance to see though we have ticket for it.

5. Seoul Metropolitan Library

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6. Hotel President

Hotel President 1

This was the place where we bought our discounted ticket and memory of the Philippine Tourism center near City Hall area.

7. Taepyeongno 2(i)-ga

This was the street that we passed through while we were on our way to Sungnyemun Gate. I enjoyed the short walk in this street because both lanes has Korean restaurants. After walking at the side of Sejong-daero, we saw Namdaemun Market.

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8. Gyeongbokgung Station Exit

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During our first day adventure in Seoul, the photos captured while we were on our way to Gyeongbokgung Palace after getting off the train.

9. Sejong-daero

I captured the photo above after we came from Gyeongbokgung Palace on our way to Sejong Center.

Sejong-daero Near Gyeongbokgung Palace

8. Sungnyemun Gate

We saw this gate while walking along Sejong-daero after we came from Hotel President where we bought our Everland discounted ticket. This gate is said to be one of the eight gate that surround Fortress Wall of Seoul which surrounded the city in the Joseon dynasty.

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10. Seoul Station and Surrounding Area

Photos taken after we came from DMZ Tour, got off at Seoul Station, walked a little until we found Concos The Galleria where we had our lunch before returning to our hotel to pick-up our luggage for our flight the night of that same day.

Seoul Station 1

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11. Seoul City Tower

One of the building around the area of Seoul Station, captured this photo when we returned from an activity we attended in Seoul.

Seoul City Tower

12. Gangnam-daero

I captured this while walking along Gangnam-daero after our Everland adventure. To be honest, we stayed in a hotel which in Gangnam area but unfortunately we never really had time to explore it. The only chance we had after we came from Everland, we walked along the road and discovered we stayed in one of the busiest district in Seoul.

Gangnam-daero

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Gangnam
Small Street in Gangnam Area

 Beyond Seoul

13. AK Plaza – Suwon Exit Station Mall

Snapshot captured while we were trying to figure out how to go to Hwaseong Fortress. It is one of the noticeable building as the location is both foot and automobile traffic area.

AK Plaza - Suwon Station Exit 1

Insadong – Lovely Market Street With Tradition and Culture

It was afternoon when we arrived at Insadong area because in the morning until lunch time, the three of us attended some other stuff near at Seoul station. From Seoul station, we took Line 1 and got off at Jonggak station. We planned to go to Insadong without any idea what we are really going to see there aside from one piece of information that Insadong is a market area.

First place we found was Tapgol Park because when we went outside Jonggak station, we turned right. Out of curiosity on this park we went inside until we saw Ten Stone Stored Pagoda enclosed in glass cover. We took some time for photo shots in the park.

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Then we strolled in Insadong-gil, a street at the left side of Tapgol Park, and from there it seems some part of the Insadong market can been seen, we followed the street until we reached the market area. For us, it was really fun and exciting walk, we saw a lot of people and since it was Sunday, more people are enjoying the weekend like us. We spent most of the walk along Insadong-gil. And from here we saw different food kiosks and restaurants. Some are typical market products and some are traditional Korean products are being sell.

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Insadong-gil

We continued our walk along the same street until we found a building named Ssamzie-gil. One of the thing that I enjoyed here is the incline walkway wherein you can reach the top floors without taking stairs and only by just walking. And the stores inside Ssamzie-gil are all interesting and quite unique because you can feel the ambiance of korean markets. After enjoying the Ssamzie-Gil, we went to Jogyesa Temple (a buddhist temple) nearby Insadong. We enjoyed many and  colorful lanterns hanged around the temple.

IMG_2768Ssamzie-Gil (Entrance)

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Ssamzie-Gil (Inside View)

IMG_6144Jogyesa Temple

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IMG_2771So far we enjoyed another walking tour for the day. But before we ended the tour, we went to Insadong Information Center and we discovered another exciting activity for the three of us, wearing hanbok, the traditional korean dress. We paid the 20 minutes to take photos of the selected Hanbok we chose. Here we enjoyed so much because we saw ourselves in Korean traditional clothing and we looked differently. The three of us tried the Joseon Queen Hanbok dress, that’s why most of our photos shows what we looked like wearing Royal Korean Dress.

Dubai City Tour

It was Sunday, my last day in Dubai as holiday. In Dubai or let’s say UAE (not sure if all Arab countries are the same), they started their weekday on Sunday and will last on Thursday. Therefore, they treated Friday and Saturday as their weekends. Because I will be traveling alone, I booked a bus tour which is hop-in and hop-out bus tour type. Though there are places included in the tracks that I already visited, I still join the tour since it is the cheapest way to go around the city since I can’t rent a car because I don’t know how to drive.

Here are the routes of the BigBus Tour that I booked:

1. Red Route (City Route)

a. WAFI
b. Creek Park
c. Creek Walk
d. Al Fahidi Port
e. Old Souk
f. Heritage Village
g. Gold Souk
h. Spice Souk
i. Abra Station
j. Baniyas
k. Deira City Centre
l. Burjuman
m. WAFI

2. Blue Route (Marina Route)

a. WAFI
b. Union House
c. Jumeirah Mosque
d. Mercato
e. Jumeirah Beach Park
f. Jumeirah Public Beach
h. Souk Madinat Jumeirah
i. Atlantis On The Palm
j. Mall of Emirates
k. The Dubai Mall
m. WAFI

3. Night Tour

a. Sheikh Zayed Road
b. Burj Al Arab
c. Palm Jumeirah
d. Skycraper City
e. Burj Khalifa
f. Downtown Dubai
g. WAFI Light and Sound Show

Self tour within the area: Deira City Centre, Dubai Mall, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, and Mall of Emirates

Since I have one day left, I did not go anymore to the places that I already seen and visited. And because it still summer in Dubai, the hardest part is walking outside in a hot sunny day. During the day tour, I went outside the bus when we arrived at the Public Beach of Jumeirah and Souk Madinat Jumeirah which both belong to Blue route or Marina route.  I stayed inside the bus in other location because I am maximizing the time that I still have to see much as I can. The places I saw from the bus in this route are: the 2nd of December Street (from the formal date of nationalization of UAE from British), Union House (where the UAE was form and the huge flagpole of UAE located), Jumeirah Mosque, Mercato (an Italian themed mall), and Jumeirah Beach Park (which exclusive only for women).

IMG_2510At WAFI (day time)

IMG_2511Raffles Dubai in WAFI (at day time)

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Around WAFI (at daytime)

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Khan Murjan Entrance (at daytime)

IMG_2518Etisalat Tower 2 (along Sheikh Zayed Road)

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Jumeirah Mosque

IMG_2650Jumeirah Beach Hotel

I got off from the bus when we arrived at Public Beach of Jumeirah because I thought I can take pictures there, but unfortunately, it is not allowed to take pictures in the beach that was why I was not able to take pictures of Burj Al Arab from that place. My disappointment in the beach was gone when I went to Souk Madinat which can be found inside Madinat Jumeirah Hotel. I was really fascinated with the place because of unique style of the market and the structure design of the hotel that you will really feel you are in an arab desert place. I went outside the souk and found a great place to capture Burj Al Arab hotel from Souk Madinat or from Madinat Jumeirah Hotel. I realized that I was standing in some part of the luxurious resort hotel in Dubai. Though not all part are free to all tourist, it was just part where there are restaurants outside the hotel. I enjoyed the place and if I will be given a chance to come back, I hope I can stay in Madinat Jumeirah Hotel resort.

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Souk Madinat Jumeirah Entrance

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Inside Souk Madinat Jumeirah

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Burj Al Arab from Madinat Jumeirah Hotel Resort

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Around Madinat Jumeirah Hotel Resort

Another area that I enjoyed without getting off the bus is the Palm Jumeirah. A famous man-made palm shape structure island, where you can find luxurious hotels and residential homes of rich people. I never realized how big Palm Jumeirah until our bus entered the island. There are lots of residential and buildings already exist and other structures are still being built. For me the place is already beautiful and I was excited when we saw Altantis The Palm hotel from a far. I can’t believe my eyes that I am seeing the hotel which I only saw in the movie of “Sex and the City”. It is a huge hotel that I was not able to capture the whole building with my phone when we were at the front of the hotel. Atlantis is another luxurious hotel that exist in Dubai, I can’t imagine how much it will cost when you stay even for one night.

IMG_2537View while entering Palm Jumeirah (Burj Al Arab from a far)

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Atlantis The Palm (at Palm Jumeirah)

IMG_2541View of Dubai Marina from Palm Jumeirah

Next places I saw in daylight are Mall of Emirates, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, I took photos of these building again while inside the rooftop of the bus.

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Novotel (at Sheikh Zayed Road) where I stayed in my first 5 nights in Dubai

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IMG_2546JW Marriott Marquis Hotel

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Mall of Emirates

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Burj Khalifa

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Souk Al Bahar (near in Burj Khalifa)

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Dubai Mall

After completing the blue route, I transferred in Red route or City route bus and in this tour, I saw more of Deira area and its old downtown. I saw the Creek River, Creek Park, wooden Arabian Dhow, Al Fahidi Port, Old Souk, Heritage Village, Gold Souk, Spice Souk, Abra Station, Baniyas and Deira City Centre.

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Creek River

IMG_2589Creek Park Main Gate (at Al Riyadh St)

IMG_2591wooden arabian dhow in Creek River (at Al Seef Road)

IMG_2592Creek River (at Al Seef Road)

IMG_2593Wooden Arabian Dhow

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IMG_2598Old Souk

IMG_2599Old Dubai Souk Marine Transport

IMG_2602Old Dubai Souk Marine Transport

IMG_2603Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2604Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2605Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2606Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2607Heritage Village

IMG_2608Heritage Village

IMG_2613Creek River at Baniyas Road

IMG_2615Creek River at Baniyas Road

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IMG_2632Deira Old Souk

IMG_2633RTA Marine Transport at Baniyas Road

IMG_2646Deira City Center

While waiting for my night tour, I did some souvenir and gift shopping, these gifts serve as a token to give to my relatives and coworkers when I returned in my country.

The last part of the tour is the night tour where I witness and discovered how grandiose the city of Dubai at night-time. We drove again at the same route of Blue route. Here I saw Dubai differently and witness how beautiful Dubai City is during night hours.

The night tour concluded. And I returned straight from Deira City Centre to my hotel almost 11PM. This was how I ended my last day in Dubai. I hoped that I can go back again in this beautiful city someday because I know there are more places to discover and my few days are not enough to see them all, if I will be given a chance, at least I wanted to live here for almost a year to learn more about Arab culture and its country.