Chromatic Outlook : Bank of America Plaza

Chromatic Outlook (Post#42) : Bank of America Plaza

The tower is recognized as 107th tallest building in the world. 14th tallest building in USA. It has a title as well as tallest building in Georgia and tallest building in any US state capital. The tower can be seen anywhere in the city even from a distance. These photos are part of Atlanta Walks Photo Collection November 2015.

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A View of Yamashita Park and Marine Tower

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Yamashita Park with Marine Tower

Yamashita Park

The green park that we saw before we reached Hikawa Maru is Yamashita Park. The place is appropriate in such place where both locals and visitors enjoys the walks while appreciating the beautiful view that Port of Yokohama offers.

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Yamashita Park

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Hotel New Grand – at the front of Yamashita Park

Marine Tower

Marine Tower is located near where Hikawa Maru docked. Its front is Yamashita Park. The tower is considered as the tallest lighthouse in the world. We just took photos of the tower and we did not try anymore to visit its observation deck.

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Marine Tower

An Express Ramble Between Landmark Plaza And Landmark Tower

Landmark Plaza

After spending time taking photos with the steel structure art called Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo, we walked in to the next mall called Landmark Plaza just beside Queen’s Square and based from the brochure that I got, the plaza is one of the most popular shopping complex in the city. Like the Queen’s Square mall, we just passed the mall too as all the shops are still closed.  At the ground of the plaza, we spent time walking around the area and we took some souvenir photos because the mall has open space in the middle where it boast the elegant design of its floors up to the ceilings together with its pillars that supports the building. The mall is just beside the Landmark Tower.

 

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Photos outside Landmark Plaza

 

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Some photos inside Landmark Plaza

Landmark Tower

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Entrance to Landmark Tower

During the trip, we thought that we can visit the tower later that day. Because of that, we decided to visit the tower as our last place to stop. But unfortunately, the day we spent it Yokohama was not really enough to see all the places recommended to visit. The opportunities we have in this tower was only to see it from the outside.

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Landmark Tower from the outside

A Day Walk in Yokohama – Popularly Known as Port City of Japan

It was Saturday and our second day in Japan. I had my itinerary for that day but initially I was having second thoughts on the plan, it’s just that too many places that I wanted to see for a short period of time. But since I can’t decide of places that will replace the activity for the day, I ended up following the plan that I created which was to visit Yokohama.

Yokohama is the second largest city by population (according to Wikipedia) in Japan following Tokyo. I think one good reason of being one of the largest city  aside from being near or beside Tokyo as its strategic location is also because the city is part where Tokyo Bay is located. Currently Tokyo Bay was heavily industrialized where a lot of development occurred and Yokohama progressed along with it.

Based on history, Yokohama tremendously affected by what Japan called Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and World War II bombings which impacted the development of the city.

Seeing the city with my very own eyes, if there are historical evidence of war in the place or ruins of earthquake, it may not be evident to the sights and places that we visited during the day trip. The whole day that myself and my family spent in Yokohama was indeed a worthy visit.

From Kayabacho Station, we took Tozai Line to Nihombashi Station, we transferred to Ginza Line to Shimbashi Station and from the same station we took JR Tokaido Line going to Yokohama Station. Around 10AM, we reached Yokohama Station, from the station we took Tokyu Toyoko Minatomirai Line which is a local train in Yokohama. We used the Passmo card in the local train.

We reached Minatomirai Station, we got off the station and we found ourselves inside the mall, wherein the Queen’s Square is just at the top of the station. I felt excited because it seems that there’s something exciting to discover in the city.

Hidden Panorama - Yokohama

During our visit in the city, the places we saw in Yokohama were:

1. Queen’s Square and Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo

2. Landmark Plaza and Landmark Tower

3. Nippon Maru Memorial Park

4. Minato Mirai 21 and Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History

5. NYK (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) Maritime Museum and NYK Hikawamaru

6. Zuo-No-Hana Park / Zuo-No-Hana Terrace

7. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

8. Osanbashi Pier

9. Yamashita Park and Marine Tower

To be honest, one day was not enough to see everything in the city, seeing all the brochures that I got, there are more places that I wanted to enjoy and discover. I hope I can comeback again wherein time is not really a constraint.

It was a great day spent in Yokohama.

Tokyo – From A Small Fishing Village To A Bustling Metropolitan Prefecture

When I am researching information about Tokyo, there is a curiosity about the history of one of the popular or famous city in the world. Tokyo’s former name was Edo which was part of old Musashi Province (information from Wikipedia) wherein fortified by Edo clan. Edo  was a small fishing village around 18th century, but seeing Tokyo right now, as I knew that it was a city until I understand that it’s not just a city but a metropolitan prefecture of Japan. It is the most populous metropolitan area of the country and where Japan’s government located.

After seeing some part of Tokyo, knowing what it was before is an amazing thing to discover. Realizing how far it progressed from where it was before is truly considered exponential growth and success of the small village.

A Metro To Remember

The inbound flight that I was able to book to Japan was through Narita Airport. The said airport is 1 hour train to Tokyo Downtown. At first, when I started planning my family’s itinerary, Narita area was first on my list to visit while in Japan with the reason that it is near from the airport and considering utilizing our time. Then I changed the list when I was finalizing the itinerary, I replaced Narita with Tokyo.

We left home from Dasmarinas Cavite around 1AM of September 11, allotting 4.5 hours before the scheduled flight. The past few days that week in my country had gloomy weather as almost every afternoon to evening, in Metro Manila and its outskirts had been raining. We left early as we were trying to anticipate road traffic challenges that may arise if the weather will be the same. I was really glad that Friday early morning, the road was quiet as we travel on the way to the airport. We had smooth travel from home to the airport and the good thing about that morning, it wasn’t raining at all. Around 2AM we’re already at NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) Terminal 3.

At the airport, we followed the norms of people traveling international such as paying travel taxes and flight checking-in. After checked-in, since it was still early and we had ample time to spare, we had our breakfast at local food chain in the airport. Next, we went to immigration gate. After passing immigration, we went straight to the airline’s gate. While waiting at the designated gate of our flight, I was thinking about Japan. In my mind, in just less than an hour or so, I will be on my way in a country called “Land of the Rising Sun”. A country which for me was only a dream. At that moment of my life, I felt excited because soon the dream in my mind will become a reality. And the momentous about it, I’m traveling with my family.

The flight was more than 4 hours. The plane took off around 5:30AM in Manila. We landed in Narita International Airport past 10:35AM. Japan was 1 hour ahead in Philippines. We disembarked the plane and walked towards immigration section. Standing in one of the airport in Japan was the realization of my thoughts that I was really in Japan. When we passed the immigration officers, that was the time I believed we will really see and experience Japan.

After the immigration, one of the first thing that’s unique with Japan at the airport is their toilet where you have a lot of options to do aside from the normal stuff that people does. What I’m referring to is that, their toilets has options to play some music or soothing sounds while doing your business. And most of the manual stuff like flushing before and after, it will be done automatically for you. Well, in my country that’s not the case, though some malls has toilets with automatic flush after doing your business.

We were adjusting in the airport and I was thinking what’s the next thing to do, we tried to figure out how we were going to Tokyo downtown. We found Skyliner desk, Skyliner is a train line that directly goes to Nippori and Ueno Station (another option is Narita Express train line that goes straight to Tokyo Station). I chose Skyliner because our Japan Railpass was not yet activated and it has only 7 days, we will be in Japan for 10 days so we were saving the other 3 days. I also knew that we still have chance to experience Narita Express train once we return to the Airport, for our scheduled flight back to Manila. Skyliner is just one of the great trains that we were able to ride while in Japan. I bought the tickets for four and then I looked for ATM to get some money. We went upstairs  (where the departure floor is located) to pickup the pocket WiFi in Japan Post Office that I reserved for rent prior arriving in Japan, WiFi will enable us to connect to internet while roaming around the country which is a LTE connection, unlimited data and cheaper for 10 days compared if I will activate data roaming in my mobile from my country and the best of all, all in the family can connect internet seamlessly.  After I picked-up the wifi, my father told me that he lost his jacket somewhere and it seems he left it after we passed the immigration officers. My father and my sister went to Information Desk at the airport and requested to looked for the jacket. It was a good thing that we had some photos of the jacket and we were able to show it to airport officers. In few minutes of waiting, my father’s jacket had been returned to him immediately. That kind of experience in a new place was really a great thing. I appreciated how people in that place were so efficient and trustworthy that they can easily find my father’s jacket. It may be a different situation if we were in another country.

Because of the incident, we came back to the Skyliner train desk where we bought our tickets and we requested to replace our tickets as the ticket schedule has passed already. They issued us new tickets for next train which will be leaving soon. We hurriedly went down to the train platform but the train doors were already closed when we arrived and its departing, we missed it for the second time. I came back upstairs and let my family wait in the platform as it’s quite inconvenient if all of us going up with our luggage. I talked to the train officer and advised me to get new ticket. I returned to the Skyliner for the second time, the third schedule given to us was at least an hour waiting time, a very sufficient time for all of us not to miss the train. Missing the train is not really something that’s surprising for us to experience because its our first time to find the train platform and it’s also first time to ride a train in Japan.

From Narita Airport Station (because there is Narita Station which different station), we arrived at Ueno Station after an hour.  Japan is a country where train is the most common and most efficient public mass transportation. After arriving in Ueno Station, we started to use our Passmo card I bought together with the Japan Railpass. Passmo card are usable to all trains and buses around Tokyo, but it cannot be used for long travel. Passmo card are accepted to many cities in Japan, maybe in the next coming years they have one card for all transportation which I will be looking forward to in the future. I did my research about public transportation in Japan and understood that there are specific tickets for some train lines. That’s why I made sure that we have the appropriate ticket for the train line we will be taking. From Ueno Station, we transferred to Tokyo Metro Subway and took Hibiya Line towards Naka-meguro and got-off at Kayabacho Station where our hotel for 4 consecutive days in Tokyo is very near and the hotel we will be staying is Sotetsu-Fresa Inn Nihombashi Kayabacho.

Honestly, based on my plan, after we arrived in Japan, we planned to see some places in the afternoon as part of our activity to end our first day. The original plan was to visit Ueno Park, but the plan did not happen because both of my parents were already tired as we haven’t slept due to early flight that day, I decided to cancel the planned activity.

The following places we visited in Tokyo are: Ginza for the first day, Ryogoku, Akihabara for the fourth day and Ueno, Azakusa, Tokyo SkyTree for the 9th day in Japan. Detailed stories of each places are posted or will be posted separately on the link given below.

Day 1 – Ginza

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Day 4 – Ryogoku Kokugikan

Hidden Panorama - Tokyo Fishing Village Metropolitan Prefecture

Day 4 – Akihabara

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Our second and last Saturday in Japan spent another day in Tokyo. Early in the morning, we took Shinkansen train from Kyoto to Tokyo. We left Kyoto Station around 6:23AM and we arrived in Tokyo Station around 9AM. Though these two cities far from each other, the Shinkansen train made us felt that both are just near each other. The estimated distance between Kyoto Station and Tokyo Station are around 500 km and it only needs more than 2.5 hours travel within the two stations. It was 3rd time we had Shinkansen Train, though it was not the fastest Shikansen, but it still comparable in terms of its speed, for what I’m aware of the Shinkansen train we took just late of 10 minutes compared with the fastest bullet train. Because it was long weekend (as September 21 is a public holiday in Japan), I anticipated that a lot of people were traveling and we reserved our ticket a day before and it’s almost fully booked  when I reserved our tickets, the seats we got were not beside each other and one seat was in another car train. I let myself apart from my family as I can be on my own and let my youngest sister be with my parents in another car train.

When we were at Tokyo Station, we looked around for luggage locker because our hotel for the night is near in Narita International Airport. After checking-in our luggage, we roam around again for the last time in Tokyo.

Day 9 – Ueno Park and Ameyoko

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Day 9 – Asakusa and Sensoji Temple

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Day 9 – Tokyo SkyTree

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After taking our time with photo shots in Tokyo SkyTree, we decided to go down as we need to catch-up train going Otsuka to attend an event. From Tokyo SkyTree Station in Tobu Line, we returned to Asakusa  Station, then transferred to Ginza Line. We got off at Ueno Station. At Ueno Station  I just realized that I have to cancel our travel in the place that my family need to be, due to my unintended mistake, we had to take train to Tokyo Station instead to Otsuka Station as we need to catch-up the last trip of Narita Express train from Tokyo Station to Narita Airport Station, as our hotel for our last night in Japan was near the airport.

At Tokyo Station we walked so fast as we need to find the luggage locker we used to checked-in our luggage and bags at the station. We arrived at the train platform for Narita Express train at least 5 minutes before its scheduled departure as we were catching our breath. For all of us it was really a nick of time because if we missed the train, we have to take a taxi which was really expensive coming from Tokyo to Narita.

We arrived past 9PM at Narita Airport Station. Then, we took the shuttle bus to the hotel we booked. We checked-in at the Narita Tobu Airport hotel before 10PM. Before we ended the night, we had a wonderful and delightful dinner at the hotel as both of my parents complimented the food we had that night and I felt relieved to what I heard.

We woke-up early and did last-minute packing of our luggage and checked-out the hotel. We took the shuttle bus back to the airport. We arrived at the airport, had enough time before our flight. I went back to the Post Office booth and returned the WiFi device I rented. We checked-in in our flight and passed the immigration. We went to the designated gate of our flight and waited for our departure. At that time I felt that days passed so fast. I remembered 9 days ago, we just came in to Japan and yet that moment we’re about to leave the country. I sensed that in few hours I and my family has to go back in reality of our lives again.

I had a great time in Tokyo and oveall in Japan, though there are lots of places that I haven’t seen but we had wonderful time and we had fun as Japan offered us a lot of places to see to enjoy our trip in this country called “Land of the Rising Sun”.

Until I return again.

Japan Highlights At The First Visit

I know that it’s been a while since my last post. After being busy in a project at work, I was busy planning my next out of the country adventure this year together with my family.

Traveling in a country with visa is most likely a dream to me because your chances to see that country is whether the visa application is approved. If the visa approved we are really lucky. If not, the hope will probably gone as there’s no way to come to that country in a normal and legal way.

When I heard that Japan loosen a bit of its strictness in processing visa specifically for tourists visa to promote their tourism, I put some thought to visit the country since last year. Then, I waited my chance for cheap airline ticket since I am planning to travel together with my family (with my parents and my youngest sibling). Last February this year, I received alert email from one of the budget airline in my country and I grabbed my chance to book tickets for myself and my family. Honestly, it was difficult to get cheap ticket with combined promo rate both for departure and arrival flight but with perseverance I was able to find combinations of dates for our travel.

Almost 7 months had passed and I’m still not sure if we can really travel to Japan for many reasons. And last August, I processed all our visa applications and submitted it to one of the authorized travel agency of Japan Embassy as their office does not accept anymore applications directly from applicant. I completed all the requirements and prepared for the visa fee. I applied a single entry for all of us. And after 3 days of processing, the agency called me and notified me that the visa were already approved. I was ecstatic when I heard the news, because the major worry of the travel planning if we can push visiting Japan got resolved. When I returned to pickup the passports, I was surprised for one thing. I received a multiple visa for 5 years in Japan while the rest of my family just got single entry. For me and my family, being approved even for single entry in Japan was one of the great things happened because it gave us a chance to see the country even for once. I just thought that if there is a need to re-apply for visa, it will be probably easier because we’ve had a record that we had visited Japan.

Even before visa application processing, I already started searching places to visit in Japan. Since after the booking of our flight, I have hope that I will be able to see Japan. When our visa approved, that’s was the time I made a real itinerary. I planned the places to visit and the accommodation where were going to stay. I aligned all the accommodations that we need to all places we planned to visit. Since I’m always on a budget, I selected hotels walk able to and from the train station, as I learned that taking a cab in Japan is quite pricey. I also bought necessary advance tickets such as train pass and sumo ticket to reserved guaranteed slot for my family.

My family and I traveled the country within 10 days, these includes two flights to and from Japan. In total we spent at least 8.5 days roaming around in Japan.

Here are the following places we’ve  got a chance to visit.

1. Tokyo

Ginza

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Akihabara

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Ueno

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Asakusa

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Tokyo Skytree

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2. Yokohama

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3. Mount Fuji and Kawaguchiko

Mount Fuji

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Kawaguchiko

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4. Miyajima and Hiroshima

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5. Osaka

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6. Kyoto

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Our trip was really quick by I tried to see as much as we can since I was with my family. In the next coming post. I will described the experience that myself and my family had in our first visit in Japan.

Until then.

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

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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.

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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.

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Chromatic Outlook : Petronas Towers

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Chromatic Outlook (Post#12) : Petronas Towers

We had an opportunity to spent some of our holidays in Malaysia, three days of it was spent around Kuala Lumpur – the capital of Malaysia. When someone heard the name of this country, most commonly thing we think is Petronas Tower. The tower is also called as Petronas Twin Tower and served as the landmark of the city. As per Wikipedia, the tower was the tallest twin tower from 1998 to 2004.

Other old post related to Kuala Lumpur adventure:
City Tour Around Kuala Lumpur

This post has been updated to add the link of and to participate in the following:
Black and White View – Jun 13, 2016
Black and White Wednesday – Jun 15, 2016
The Weekend in Black and White – Jun 17, 2016

View At My Window : Cafe’s at Marina Tower Ground

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View At My Window (Post#9) : Cafe’s at Marina Tower Ground

When I went to Abu Dhabi, one of the mall that I visited was Marina Mall which is located in Al Marina. The ambiance of the cafe’s surrounding Marina Tower were quite refreshing. Captured this photo last August 2014.

Abu Dhabi – A Capital Emirates

When I went to Dubai, I had a chance to visit the capital city of United Arab Emirates which is the Abu Dhabi. From Dubai, it is just 1.5 to 2 hours travel. I came to this city with my college friend through the bus we took from Al Ghubaiba Bus Terminal. We used NOL card in our travel but before that, we made sure that it has at least 100 AED to cover our return travel.

At the start of the trip, I fell asleep immediately but it didn’t last long because I suddenly woke-up due to the loud voice I heard coming from the driver. After that I was not able to sleep anymore until we reached Abu Dhabi. We arrived at Al Wahda bus terminal in Abu Dhabi, where there is a nearby mall with the same name – Al Wahda mall. At the mall we had our lunch first before we started our tour.

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It’s a hot sunny Saturday that day, I myself does not really want to walk outside because in just a matter of few minutes, my whole body will be soak in sweat, which is an uncomfortable feeling while traveling around. We decided to visit first the famous mosque not only in UAE but even in the world, it is non other than Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. We took cab from Al Wahda mall to the grand mosque. Seeing the mosque from afar is already amazing, being there is another thing.

We arrived at the mosque and my first impression is, it is like an all white mosque. And the design of the mosque is magnificent. I saw a lot of mosque from other countries but for me, this one is like a palace mosque, not only because of its size but the impression struck on me when I saw on it are purity and tranquility.  I learned that the mosque is the largest mosque in UAE and the eight largest mosque in the world. I am aware that before we were able to get inside the mosque, we need to change our clothes to Abhayas, we lent it (required with ID) from the visitor center located at the lower ground of the mosque (tourist will be informed by the security guards of its location). After changing to appropriate attire, we started our mini tour inside the mosque.

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Snapshots outside of the mosque

At the front, left and right side of the mosque, you can find a pool which refreshing from the eye because of the ocean like color of the pool. While walking along the hallway, I admire the details of the design and to think its a hallway and not the main hall yet. When we came at the mosque, we are not allowed to walk just anywhere in the Courtyard (it is the huge open space at the front of the main prayer hall), we walked in the middle of the courtyard when we are on our way to the main hall of the mosque.

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At the hallway

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IMG_9358One of the ceilings that I saw while walking along the hallway

The open space called Courtyard and the main hall

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On my way to the main entrance of the main prayer hall

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shoe cabinet at the entrance of the main hall

Before we enter in the main prayer hall, we removed our shoes and put it in the cabinet allocated just outside the main hall. The cold breeze we felt at the entrance of the main hall was refreshing maybe because of the hot temperature outside the mosque. At the entrance, we saw a magnificent chandelier and the ceiling design that it has. I was really amazed how grandeur it is. At that moment, I can really say it deserve to be called grand mosque. And the glass door has great designs embedded with bright colors that for me, it’s like a magic door that if you open, there are great things to see.

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Entrance of the main prayer hall

My expectations became higher and higher which I was not disappointed because at the time that I entered the main prayer hall the majestic hall design are far greater from the entrance, details to its architecture and interior design are noticeable that what you can say is it’s amazing. Looking at the interior design, you can tell that the time it was being build, it was thought carefully and the outcome is magnificent. We walked silently as to  show respect to the mosque but my eyes keep on looking around the hall and I took pictures as much as I can to remember all the things that I saw inside the main prayer hall. I respected the people who put an effort to build the mosque because they show how high they regard their belief through the building of the said mosque.

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Magnificent Chandelier in the middle of the Main Prayer Hall inside the mosque

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Interior design inside the mosque

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Open space – courtyard

After spending sometime inside the mosque, we decided to go to Marina Island. We went straight to Marina Mall and had our snacks at Marina Tower. Marina Tower is a good place to see most of the Abu Dhabi in a relaxing way where you will not suffer from hot sunny day. There are restaurants where you can have a great view from the top of Emirates Palace, Presidential Palace, the business district of the city and beaches along the coast line.

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Marina Tower in Marina Island

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IMG_9464Some scenery to be found inside Marina Mall

IMG_9450Elevator to the top of Marina Tower

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IMG_9430Marina Village at the bottom, Emirates Palace at the top

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IMG_9425Scenery from the top of Marina Tower

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IMG_9490Sunset View near Marina Village Seawall

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IMG_9493New Presidential Palace

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IMG_9497Emirates Palace

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IMG_9498Snapshots from the ground of Marina Island

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IMG_9499Dates Tree

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IMG_9529Some photos outside Marina Mall near at Marina Mall Ring Road

IMG_9530Marina Tower

Like Dubai, there are on going constructions in different parts of Abu Dhabi, not looking far away, the corner of the Marina Island, development still in progress. In such as desert place, I am still surprised how people able to live in a place where there is no natural resources such as food and other immediate needs of people. I heard from my friend that UAE are all importing most of the goods they need like food such as rice and vegetables, because there is no place in this country that will allow them for farming. By knowing that, I understand that this country has rich and great economy because they are able to surpass the challenges of the desert that they are living in.

I know there are still other places to see in Abu Dhabi, but unfortunately our day was over and we cannot stay longer in the city as we need to go back to Dubai. I enjoyed my day in the city and wished that someday I can still go back and see the other places that I missed to see. Until then.

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.

Climbing Skypoint At Q1 – 5th Tallest Residential Building In The World

It was my last week in Australia for my third project before going back home, I planned a 3 days vacation which combine my time in lieu at work and few vacation leaves. As per my project schedule it was my last week at work as well, but because of my planned vacation, the last week become my vacation week, my last day at the project ended a week earlier.

I was really excited in my holiday plan in Gold Coast in Queensland, I stayed in Australia for 14 months and never been to Gold Coast until my last week in my project in Australia happened.

In my 3 days holiday, I was not able to squeeze in a tour on my first day as it was the same day of my flight from Melbourne to Gold Coast. I took the earliest flight to Gold Coast but unfortunately even taking earliest flight will not guarantee that I will make it to the tours available because of timing is so close to each other.

After I landed at Coolangatta Airport or Gold Coast Airport , I bought a ticket where it combines airport bus return, local busses around Gold Coast and busses to theme parks at Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle. The airport shuttle bus took me to my accommodation at Meriton Service Apartments Broadbeach wherein I was booked for 3 days.

My first day activity was unplanned and because I am traveling solo, though Gold Coast is famous of theme parks I did not planned to go to any of it because of the main reason that theme parks are not place for a solo travelers. I haven’t tried going to Carnivals alone, because for me, theme parks are places together with friends and families or I may go there if it’s part of the tour that I booked.

After I arrived at the hotel, I did check what’s on in Gold Coast that I can take in the afternoon with the aim to maximize my time until I found Skypoint brochure. I was curious on climbing adventure in the tower ads then I decided to try it. From Broadbeach accommodation, I took local bus and Q1 building which is located in prime location in Surfers Paradise. From bus stop , I walked to reach Q1.

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Q1 Building (from the beach)

At the ground floor, I found the Skypoint Climb store where I bought my ticket for the adventure climb. Because the climb has schedule and I was a bit earlier on the schedule, I went up to Skypoint Observation Deck (entrance included in the climb) which located at 77 to 78 floor. When I hopped in to the elevator, I experienced one of the fastest elevator, we reached the observation deck around 47 seconds and at the ceiling of the elevator, you can see the top and visualize how fast the elevator travels from the bottom to the top and vice versa.

At the Skypoint Observation Deck, I had a great time enjoying 360 degree view of Gold Coast. I saw a beautiful coastline, the city itself and the surrounding nearby mountains and hills in the area. I can’t imagine I was in the tower and seeing all of the views that I only see in TV.

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IMG_5166Around Gold Coast From Skypoint Observation Deck (Before Sunset)

I went down again when the time is almost near for the climb. Then I met the other people who will join the same climb. Our guide met the group and went inside the Skypoint store and there she gave us overview or introduction to the climb activity. Then, told us to prepare ourselves by getting our safety suits and harness equipments, she taught us wearing the stuff while giving useful information of safety climb. Why we were wearing safety uniforms and harness? Because we will climb the top most part of the Q1 building which is outside the observation deck. The idea is already scary and what about the actual feeling at the summit of the tallest building in Australia?

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IMG_5183Around Gold Coast From Skypoint Observation Deck (Night Time)

We were at 77th Floor where we started the climb and we went outside to reach the summit of the building. Our guide helped us and instructed us to put the harness in the grill where it fits and connected us so we will not be fall no matter what happened. We followed the stairs track and we went around the area and the crow’s nest which is the summit of the climb. While we were climbing the stairs, there were part of the climb we looked downward to the ground and other parts of Gold Coast area. We posed in various areas for photo shot. We witness the sunset while climbing the summit and we experienced the cold breeze outside the building.

After spending sometime at the summit. We descent the area and went back to 77th floor. That’s how we ended our Skypoint climb. I sensed that all of us in the group enjoyed the climb adventure.That was the first climb I did in a building and I had a great time. I bought one photo as my souvenir and another free photo which is a group shot for all of us at the summit. Most of the photos shared here were captured at the Skypoint Observation Deck.