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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 (Part 9) - Sapporo again and Going Home

This post will be jumping a bit around the last 2 days.
We stayed in Sapporo on the last 2 nights of our road trip but made day trips to other places not too far away.

1.Kame Curry Udon 北海道咖喱饂飩 亀

Date: 15/9/2016

We came back from Ohibiro and hubby wasn't keen to have ramen. So I suggested curry udon of which he gladly said yes.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 (Part 8) - Yoichi and Otaru

Date: 16/9/2016 (forgot to record today's weather)

We woke up, went over to Times Car Rental and collected our car for the day.
This time, we no longer got an upgrade. It was a subcompact, Mazda Demio. Car collection time was much shorter as the center knew we just returned a car the day before, and the briefing time was really brief, well, it's protocol, they still had to do it.

We went to Sapporo Curb Market to have breakfast. I will write about it in the next post.

After an unsatisfactory breakfast, we went on our way to Yoichi


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 (Part 7) - Obihiro and Tokachi Subprefecture

After the land of Seafood, here I come to the land of agriculture.

Tokachi is a subprefecture in Hokkaido and Obihiro is the city in this subprefecture. Tokachi has a large agriculture sector and the main crops produced are wheat, potatoes, beets, and beans, but there has also been progress in the production of nagaimo (Chinese yam), lily root and burdock. The amount of arable land in Tokachi is the highest in all of Hokkaido.

Animal husbandry is big business in Tokachi with a major dairy industry. Tokachi itself has 40% of beef and dairy cattle in all of Hokkaido. Tourists come to Tokachi to visit dairy farms and savour the dairy products. 十勝牛乳 is a common milk brand in Hokkaido and the name is translated as Tokachi Milk, produced by Yotsuba company.

Tokachi produces the largest amount of wheat in Japan. The headquarters of 3 nationally renowned pastry companies Rokkatei, Ryugetsu, and Cranberry are also located in Obihiro. There are many interesting pastry shops in Obihiro and I don't think it is possible to try all of them in one trip.

There are lots of restaurants in Obihiro. Really a lot! And I saw quite a number of them putting a sign infront of their shop that English Menu is available. The Tokachi Subprefectural Bureau is heavily promoting Tokachi as a tourist destination, but is often overlooked by foreign tourists. There are many websites providing up-to-date information for tourists, and they even have printable translating sheets (for pointing) for basic conversation needs. They do understand that tourists need to be understood and tourists hope to enjoy this area and not feeling lost.

Quiet streets at 8.30am

Obihiro's Shopping Street, but it was nothing interesting
Weather for the days when I was in Obihiro



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 (Part 6) - Kushiro

Kushiro is a port city, located on the east coast, facing the Pacific Ocean. It is also known as the fog city, with the summer being the foggiest and it even has a fog festival in late July each year. Here is an article about Kushiro's Fog Season

But I don't want to go there for fog. Luckily dense fog dissipated few days before I arrived and sadly, fog came back for a day during my coastal drive to Obihiro. Luckily it wasn't dense, just imagine days with some haze in Malaysia, not the serious type.

Kushiro is famous for seafood. This city is most famous for Pacific Saury (Sanma) and Hanasaki Crab. It's a huge fishing port with many fishing towns nearby.
So, I definitely came here for the seafood and I find it hard to find sufficient stomach space to eat within the 16 hours I was in the city.

Besides that, Kushiro is also the place to watch Japanese red crested cranes (The emblem of JAL), of which is on the endangered list. And if one loves nature a lot, and loves birdwatching, the Kushiro Marshland will be quite interesting.

The weather of Kushiro during our visit

We arrived in Kushiro at about 7pm. Checked in at Kushiro Castle Hotel and walked to the city centre for dinner.

Walking on Nusamai Bridge

This road seems quiet. On the right side is the bustling night area, with restaurants and entertainment centers.

We were hungry. When we arrived at the street I was looking for, I thought I found Aburiya. It was all in Japanese, and we couldn't read, but the menu looks same same. But this restaurant was not welcoming. Same thing happened like how it was in Kihachi Abashiri. We saw vacant counter seats, but they politely, apologetically showed us to the door after we said '2 persons'. Well... Ok ok.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 (Part 5) - Teshikaga

Teshikaga 弟子屈町 is home to breathtaking landscapes of farm land, two crater lakes, and active volcanoes. Famous tourist attractions in the town include Lake Mashu, Lake Kussharo and Kawayu Onsen. The whole area is actually part of a huge caldera called Kussharo Caldera, and is one of the biggest in the world with 22 X 26km in diameter, slightly less than TWICE the size of Penang Island. About 65% of Teshikaga is part of Akan National Park.

This area has active volcanic activity, which explains the sulfur fumaroles and the highly acidic hot springs in Kawayu Onsen area. In Japan there are a few hell valleys, two on Hokkaido, and one of them is located here, at Mount Iou. I feel very excited visiting so many volcanoes today

Weather for this area today. And temperature is lower at higher elevations. 


Monday, October 10, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 (Part 4) Abashiri

From Lake Notoro to Cape Notoro

Abashiri is a port city that is famous for a few things.
1. Drift ice cruise
2. Prison Museum
3. Drift Ice Museum
4. Coral grass in Lake Notoro
5. Line caught Kinki
6. Red King Crab and Blue King Crab
7. Japan's largest Pink Moss park
8. Whale watching
9. Abashiri Okhotsk Blue Beer
10. Rare sushi - think Octopus Eggs, Crab Ovum

We arrived in Abashiri at around 7.15pm. The town was so quiet.

Parked our car, and went in to check in at Dormy Inn. Then, we walked over to Kihachi to have our planned sumptuous  dinner of blue king crab, kujira, and line caught kinki. We walked in to the restaurant, was greeted with a big smile. Then we said, 2 persons please. Straight away they spoke so much that we couldn't get it, until they said 'FULL'. We saw the counter seats were still very much available, and yet, they told us it is full. I don't know if it's because we are foreigners or what, but surely it wasn't nice to be turned away when we saw half the big counter area looking vacant.

It had been a long tiring day and all I wanted that night was a feast. A feast I had planned for and dreamed of eating. But for that moment, we had to find another restaurant quickly as we haven't been eating any proper food since morning, besides the chocolates, cheese, ice cream, chips and a glass of warm milk.

I didn't have a plan B, unlike the other cities of which I had a list of restaurants  to visit. I was just eager to go to Kihachi. Abashiri is a quiet town at night, unlike the other cities. Maybe not that quiet in the suburbs where people live, but in the city center, it's very quiet. I can't even notice another restaurant just by looking left and right.

Not wanting to waste time searching Tabelog, we quickly walked back to the hotel and get our car, thinking to drive to Kaitenzushi Kanigen for rare sushi. Actually, I planned for Kanigen to be visited at 6.00pm, but because we were far behind schedule, we just went straight to Kihachi. Then when we reached Kanigen, it was closed! Oh how careless I was that I didn't notice their off day that was written on Tabelog itself. Nothing to eat now. See, no back up plan!

I went on Abashiri's tourist site and found Hananoren. I remember the name of this restaurant, reading it from somewhere, and so, let's try this out.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 (Part 3)- Asahikawa and Sounkyo

The view , around 85% up Mount Kurodake. Notice the stones....


Asahikawa (旭川市) is the second most populous city in Hokkaido. Most people will visit Asahikawa for its zoo that has penguins and polar bears. Tour groups will mostly stay in neighbouring Sounkyo and bring the tourist to Asahikawa zoo. But we won't be going there, maybe next time with the kids.

Weather for the day we were there

Asahikawa Station

Asahikawa is a city of Ramen. Hokkaido has 3 man types of ramens and Asahikawa is famous for its soy sauce ramen, and the noodles are curly! There is a Ramen Village , quite far from the city center, but if one is in the city center, just drop by the actual stalls.

all the famous ramen near Asahikawa station


Friday, September 30, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 (Part 2) Furano & Biei

rolling hills in Furano

Day 2 : 11 September 2016

We woke up late to collect our car. We were supposed to collect the car at 8am, but we woke up at 9.10am. We were just too tired. We packed up and got to the Times Rental office at 10am. Luckily the car was still available.

We rented the car with 'Super Safety' Insurance package, so the inspection procedure was much faster as everything will be covered by Insurance. In less than half an hour, we hit the road!

Because we woke up late, we skipped breakfast at Kitakaro's headquarter's in Sunagawa and headed straight to Furano instead. Looks near? It's 113km away!


Monday, September 26, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Roadtrip 2016 (Part 1) Sapporo

On our way to Hokkaido from KL. Taken on the plane.

Date : 9 /9/2016
We took a bus from Paradigm mall to the KLIA2 4.5 hours ahead of departure time. Traffic was heavy from Petaling Jaya to USJ. We arrived at KLIA2 at about 9pm. Although we had already checked in online, the queue to drop baggage was really long with only a few counters opened. One hour before boarding, we walked past the gates. The terminal is really far, so, we tried to get in a bit earlier.

My first time going on a night flight and I can't sleep well. The flight duration was about 8 hours from Kuala Lumpur to Chitose , arriving at about 8.10am.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 - Driving in Hokkaido

1. Why we decided to drive?
2. Getting International Driving Permit
3. Renting a Car
4. Driving on Expressway and National Highways
5. Road Safety and differences with Malaysia
6. Petrol
7. Daylight Hours and Weather Conditions
8. Parking
9. Navigation


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 - Planning

5 years ago, I never imagined myself going on a self-drive holiday in Japan. As we can't speak and read the language, it's virtually impossible. My husband and I agreed that if ever we will travel to Japan, we should follow a tour. But... of late, due to the advancement of technology, a free and easy holiday in Japan is possible. There's Google Map, Google Earth, Google Translate, Tabelog, Tripadvisor, Booking.Com, Agoda and so many other internet resources to aid non Japanese speaking tourist to plan for a trip.

A road trip needs proper planning. This is not my first road trip.
Before I had kids, my husband and I went on an East Coast Road trip, visiting Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor and back to Perak. Driving for about 1200km as well in 6 days.

Japan is a country that doesn't speak my language, but there's so many things to see, experience and eat, and it's not a 'cheap' country to visit.
So, I must think a lot, consider a lot and make my plans, carefully.

I do not travel often, and going to Japan was not something I thought of until this March
I don't like to miss out on things, so I will try to have my cake and eat it too. LOL.
So, let's make this trip a good one.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Xin Quan Fang Curry Mee @ Ipoh

This place is also known as "Mataliu Kalifun' , which meant police station curry noodles in local Cantonese.

Goodness me..... A simple breakfast needs an hour, if you plan to visit here.

The restaurant was full, and everybody was waiting and waiting. Customer turnover seemed slow. Somehow, it's hard to comprehend why it's so slow, until one peeks at how the 'chopper' cuts the pork. I just felt like taking over the chopping job, lol. Too slow, pinching here, pinching a bit there, then loosen up like playing masak masak... Aduiiiii


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Restoran New Hollywood @ Ipoh

~Pork Free Kopitiam~

It's not easy to find a kopitiam that caters to our Muslim friends in Ipoh. Most of the time, there is something with pork served in the shop, as pork is a common ingredient in Chinese food, but not all Chinese food contains pork. Pork can just be replaced by Chicken in most cases.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Boracay 2015 - Day 5 and a Wrap!

Date: 19/12/2015

We woke up early and had our breakfast. We each took the local breakfast as it's going to be a long ride today. Local breakfast consist of rice and dishes, so it's going to be more filling.

This time, we had our breakfast indoors because the tables and chairs were all wet from the morning rain. I had Pork Tocino, and it taste very much like budget Chinese Char Siu. Not that good. It didn't taste like the Pork Tocino I made few years back. But the garlic rice tasted awesome, so.. it's ok.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Boracay 2015 - Day 4, Station 3 Fun, Cakes and Yum!

Day 4: 17/12/2015

We slept well and woke up refreshed! I love the bed here. :)

We went to the beachfront cafe to have our breakfast. Too bad the typhoon shelter boards were still all around. So, we sat outside. That morning, the cafe had no local breakfast, so we all took American breakfast.  I took sausage and scrambled eggs, one took sausage and sunny side up and another took bacon and sunny side up. The coffee here was good! We each took 3 cups!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Boracay 2015 - Day 3, Station 1 move to Station 3

Day 3 16/12/2015 morning.... check out day from Residencia. The typhoon has gone a bit further away....but still not too far. The bad day yesterday still had some effect on me.

This morning's breakfast as fast, as we pre-ordered the day before. I ordered Bangus (Milkfish) Breakfast set and my friends had Loganisa (Filipino sausauge) set.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Boracay 2015 - Day 2 Station 1, beach hopping and it's bad day

Date: 15/12/2015

We woke up to a gloomy sky. It was a drizzling morning. The sky gets bright earlier than in Malaysia.
I went out to the beach for a short stroll.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Boracay 2015 - Day 1, The journey there

Date: 14/12/2015

We wanted a ladies' trip.

We 3 good friends decided to have a break on our own, going to somewhere we do not plan to bring our kids to. Few options were discussed and then....Boracay it shall be.

Bookings for tickets were made 11 months ahead and hotels were booked 9 months ahead. Meals planned and reviews read.

We boarded the plane and I sat beside a nice Filipino lady who was returning home for a holiday after working in Malaysia. We chatted and she warned me not to easily trust people in Boracay. She told me how her mother lost her money when her mother kept her bag in a locker while working on the island.

And after a while she told me.... Typhoon is coming!



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Krabi Trip 2015 - Eateries we went to

Besides all the streetfood we walloped, we went to a few restaurants or eateries... And I want to share with you my experience.

1. Ao-nang Seafood Restaurant

We were walking around on our first night there, not idea what to eat.... hubs just took my hand and walked in. Located on Aonang Beach, it's at a prime location where one can dine and watch the sun set. That's what we paid for.
The food was salty, way too salty, but I will say, they do smell good. If only they didn't oversalt, the food will actually taste quite nice.
Price wise, it's not very budget friendly, as my hub's pineapple fried rice was THB350 or was it THB380? I remember I was nagging him for ordering it as I believe other places will be much more cheaper. Our meal here cost us THB980.

I ordered Seafood Tom Kha and lemongrass chicken stir fry. White rice wasn't that nice as well. Had better white rice in Krabi.

After going here,I found that the review on Tripadvisor was kind of.... bad.
To be fair, the view was great.

our meal with a view


Monday, May 23, 2016

Krabi Trip 2015 - How we got around

Here's how we got around in Krabi....
We didn't jump on any bus or songthaew except for tour transfers of which was inclusive. It was fun riding in a songthaew with the wind blowing in your hair.

As for how we got there, we flew with Firefly but if we are ever going back to Krabi for another time, we will have a road trip. It takes roughly 7 hours to drive there. Google map works even when we were out at sea island hopping :)

pillion riding at Thara Park


Monday, May 16, 2016

Krabi Trip 2015 ~ Attractions We Went To - Beaches, Hot Spring and Emerald Pool

In Aonang, there are 2 beaches. Nopparattara beach or sometimes spelled as Nopparat thara and Aonang beach of course.

1. Aonang Beach.

It's the busy beach.
The left side of the beach is where beachfront hotels are, middle is where tours get onto their boats, and the right side is where seafood restaurants are.
If you stay around Moo 2, this is will be the nearest beach .

It's fiercely hot in the afternoons and the beach still looks good when the tide goes down.

the right side of Aonang beach at sunset, low tide


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Krabi Trip 2015 - Things we did~ Massage

Thai massage.... it's good and relaxing.

My maiden Thai Massage.

Actually I planned to have it on the second day... but since we had time to kill on the first day before we can check in, and since we were already at McDonalds for lunch, why not cross the street to Atta-rak for a nice time of pampering.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Krabi Trip 2015 - Things we did ~ Island Hopping

Guess which boat is ours?
*The smaller one*

Island hopping is the 'main thing' to do in Krabi, as the better beaches and waters are out there, away from the mainland.

We have visited a few islands in Malaysia prior to maiden trip to Thailand.. and had the experience of swimming with lots of fishes and seeing colourful coral towers that are brimming with life in the midst of crystal clear waters. And I do mean crystal clear..... so clear that you can see what's in the sea from your boat, jump in and get shocked that the water is so deep, LOL.

So, we decided not to spend too many days going island hopping....just one day enough.
I thought I only wanted to go for Hong Island trip... but my dear decided to go a full day...
This is the one we took.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Krabi Trip 2015 - Things we did ~ Shopping (General)

In this section, I'm going to include convenience shops and hypermarts as well...

1. Night markets and any market

--- covered in a section of its own.... Read here
Souvenirs and sunhats are cheaper here than at Aonang.

We bought a belt and wallet here


Monday, May 2, 2016

Krabi Trip 2015 ~ Food We Ate

Oh my, this is going to be a crazy long post.

As my husband and I love food, we ate non stop during our trip.
There are times when my tummy feel like bursting...but please forgive me as it's my first time to this land of deliciousness.

It's hard to not try all those yummy looking food

Reading this post about 'Krabi Markets' will give you a better idea of the 'markets' I will be mentioning in this post

Noodles and Rice
We ate quite a few noodles in Krabi.

Kanom Jeen
Name:     Kanom Jeen
Price: THB20-30 depending on type of meat used. Crab gravy will be THB30
Location: Krabi walking streets, Krabi morning market. I didn't see this in Aonang area in June.
Description: It's quite similar with Laksa Kelantan, thin rice noodles with a light creamy gravy. Yumz!
Verdict: I love love love it.


Krabi Trip 2015 - Things we did~ Visit Markets

I am market freak. Be it night market or morning market, or afternoon market, they all appeal to me, as we can see more.
As Malaysians, we are familiar with Pasar Malam but rarely do we have the same pasar malam at the same place for a few days in a week.
In Krabi town center, walking streets are almost daily, except on Thursday and the fruit market opens daily until 10pm. I love the morning market, there's so much to see.

Here is a compilation of the markets I went to in Krabi and Aonang.

1. The ever famous Weekend Walking Street in Krabi Town

Time: 6pm to 10pm. (they start setting up around 5.15pm)
Days : Fri, Sat, Sunday only

What's there? : Cooked food, Stage performance, Eating Area, souvenirs, clothes, leather ware

Food I saw : Kao Soi (Northern Thai curry noodles), Chicken Kway Chap Noodles, Kanom Jeen (Thai laksa), Kao Yum (Nasi Kerabu), Yum (Kerabu of all sorts), mushroom soup, pork sausages, traditional rice dumplings of all sorts, snacks of all sorts

This is the stage where I was entertained by some kids doing streetdance. The kids will go around with their hats after that collecting tips. To give or not, it's optional.
See those people on yellow chairs, there's tables too, for you to sit and eat the bought food.


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