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iop's Travel log

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Log entries 1 - 10 of 32 Page: 1 2 3 4

Aug 17, 2006 06:00 PM Pompei and Caserta

This day I was on a mission to visit the world famous town of Pompei.. I would say the scale is pretty magnificent. Imagine walking the streets of a whole large town and many having the possibility of allowing entry into the site of the ruins of the houses! At first you do not notice it, but as you walk along and find more information about the rooms and houses, it get pretty interesting to know how the people of many many centuries lived their lives. Some houses still retain the paintings on their walls. The mountain that buried this town too, looks menacing in the background of the town, but fortunately it's peaceful in present times.

The weather in late August proved quite a challenge for tourists there as there are hardly any shelter above your head because the roof of the ruins are no longer there, so be sure to buy your water from back at your hotel and not at the site, as this can be very expensive. I saw a few that couldn't stand the heat and got heady spells, resting on the pavement.

I took all in all 3 hours cos I tried to walk all the streets, and I was alone, so if you are in a group you will definitely cover less and maybe in lesser time if the weather gets scorching.

The afternoon half I made a quick decision to go to Caserta, where there's Reggia di Caserta. It's not far from Naples, about 40mins on Trenitalia. The palace exhibits is pretty much like any fantastic grand palace visit - large halls, frescoes and gold here and there and statues and chandeliers. But the main highlight for me was the garden walk. When you get to the other side of the palace, your eyes will only see the end of the huge and long palace garden. At the end you could make out a cascading water by the side of the hill. But walking to it is totally a different thing! It seems much closer but when you walk up it seems endless.. The sloped paths leading up the waterfalls have been blocked for safety reasons, but I suppose you could bypass that hole in the blockage (cos I did!). You need to do some more stunts at the top through a hole in the fence. and when you make it right to the top of the structure, the view is amazing! See my picture on Caserta.. It's a sight that cannot be captured on camera!

Aug 16, 2006 06:00 PM First Italian Encounter - Napoli (Naples)

It was infact that I transited in Malpensa first that I saw a part of Italy, but a transit doesn't count cos you don't see places for sightseeing..

Naples came across quite stark compared to what I had imagined Italy of. It's quite hard to paint a pretty picture of what I saw in the main Piazza, which is supposed to be the one of the most significant places of any city, where the a major part of the crowd commute and congregate for meetings etc. The roads are run down and there is quite a significant amount of rubbish there. Graffitis are a norm in Italy but it's pretty extreme in this part of Italy. If they're artistic, I'd say "Go for it!" but most were pretty rubbish..

But as the days further progressed, it also very easy to find the beautiful side of Naples - especially in the south - the areas around Galleria Umberto all the way to Castel D'ovo and further down the coastline where there are rocky beaches..

If you plan to visit the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, make sure you do not miss out the section on these huge statues and sculptures. The hall they are housed in, are off from the main building across a courtyard, so maybe people might not miss it and think they've seen everything.. They are famous sculptures like "Colossal Statue of Hercules" and "Toro Farnese".

Jun 23, 2006 06:00 PM Gyeongju, Daegu

The hike up mount Namsan in Gyongju is some climb if you are not a hiker like me. But this mountain host the Namsan belt of historical sites, part of the UNESCO site for Gyeongju Historic Areas. It's best to set off in the morning if you want to travel up there. I did it late, but fortunately for me the sun set around 730 pm so I had some time to explore up there. The worst thing on my mind was to be stuck up there as I have no torchlight. There are no signs in English so beware not to get lost if you do not know how to use a map. The one I got was that accurate either. But the views from the top are really memorable ones - with the rice fields and low mountains making the scene.

Next day was to Daegu, but I arrived there to late cos i needed to catch the bus to the airport at 1230. I actually wanted to go Haeinsa Temple but there was not enough time. Will try again next weekend.

May 04, 2006 06:00 PM Kamakura - Full of Shrines, Temples and Tombs

Another ancient city around 1.5 hours from Tokyo. There are many shrines and tombs and temple in the town itself so wear a really good walking shoes. Expect to walk a lot here as road traffic is crawling here. Daibutsu is one of the attractions that is a must see. It is a large Buddha statue. You can even get into its interior for a small fee. One of the adjacent temples on this side of town also offers an excellent view of the entire city and the beach! A good readup of the sites in this town is highly recommended as there are no English material to read when you get there.

May 03, 2006 06:00 PM Nikko - World Heritage Site

This is truly a rich place to see Old Japan. Be sure to spot the "3 Monkeys" doing that famous "Hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil". Maybe i got the order wrong! Hahaha!.. It could get pretty crowded here but still bearable. A ticket can get you to 5 of the entrances but some entrances requires additional cost. It takes around 2 hours from Tokyo city, but beware! Reserved train seats for return trips may have already sold out when you get there at noon! There are still the non reserved seats but noone wants to stand for around 1.5 hours.

Apr 25, 2006 06:00 PM Narita and Tokyo for 2 weeks

Again, managed to catch more of Tokyo during the weekends. At Asakusa temple grounds, you can sightsee and also buy local and traditional items for souvenirs, etc. It seems like the tour operators stop by here as you can see many other tourists. If you are here on your own trip and want to get here by yourself, you need to get on the Tokyo Metro. The other lines do not come close to this place.
At Ginza, this is an upmarket shopping street area. Also I returned to places like Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akihabara just to check out if there are any corners i missed here! Shinjuku and Shibuya are shopping areas, and Akihabara is famous for its electronics market (not to mention those neon signs...).

Mar 25, 2006 09:00 PM Narita and Tokyo for 2 weeks

My first time ever that I get to explore Tokyo, the great metropolis, on the weekends! It quite a lot to take in if you're there for only a few days.. At night the neon signs and giant screens at some areas really define the city as it is. For a first timer, I would have to say it's quite daunting to travel on their rail networks, so you really have to read up on their different rail systems available in their country. Expecially in Tokyo there are numerous forms of it- the Tokyo subway, Keisei lines, JR lines, and the Shinkansen. Rail travel here is pretty expensive for the rest us Asians. The cheapest way imaginable of getting to the middle of town from the airport is approximately just over 1000 yen for one way for a journey of 1.5 hours on a combination of Keisei and JR train trip. Of course from the airport you can also opt on the limousine bus (also 1.5 hours) but markedly more expensive, but DO watch out! There maybe peak hour jams on the highways during the pre- and post- office hours, so I always prefer the rail option. The most economical way to travel for me from the airport is to get on the Keisei Line then a clean transfer to a JR line at Funabashi station. Even for each line there are different trains serving at different paces. There are timetables for all of these, and they all come on time.

Mar 21, 2006 09:00 PM Beijing Airport for 2 days

There is nothing much to see in the environs of Beijing Airport. It's hard to get around places if you don't speak Mandarin. But I can say that the new airport terminals look futuristic!

Mar 06, 2006 09:00 PM Incheon, Seoul and Gyeongju

Just 2 days at home in Singapore before going back to Korea for work..

Took a day trip to Gyeongju in the southeastern part of South Korea. Hosting 2 UNESCO sites in one rural small city, tombs of kings are everywhere here. I only managed to do one site which is Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto. They cost KRW4000 (~4USD) for entrance each (they are seperate sites). There is a bus link between them as the seokguram grotto is near to the top of the mountain. This link will provide a wealth of information for visitors:

There is a bus from Incheon Airport going straight to Gyeongju, but making a pitstop 2 hours into the journey. The entire journey takes 5 hours in the daytime and 4 hours at night.

Feb 07, 2006 09:00 PM Off to Incheon

Here again for work until 3rd March. It's less cold now in February than in December. It's also a little more humid which makes it better.

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