THE VICTORIA PEAK & MADAME TUSSAUDS: HONGKONG

Hong Kong

It will be a big day as there is so much in our list to complete today. No matter how I try to get ready early; but being a mother of a 10 months old kid and her lot of stuff to pack. We started again at 10:00 in Morning. I had booked the tour package of “The Victoria Peak ” from KLOOK. This tour package includes; The Victoria Peak Tram and Sky Terrace walk, Madame Tussauds and Trick Eye Museum. The cost for all three is HK $309 per adult.

THE VICTORIA PEAK

There was a time option to select at the time of booking a tour package from the website. I had selected 12:00 pm; so the reporting time at MTR Central Station was 11:45 am. Take Exit K for the The Peak Tram terminal. There was a KLOOK person waiting outside of the Central Station Exit K, holding a flag in his hand. We waited for more than 15 minutes for everyone to join, Then we started in a group towards Peak Terminal, which was 2 minutes walk from MTR central Station.

There was a different line for the tour company and different for spot ticketing. As I said above also, the line for spot ticketing was very very long. We spent around 40 to 45 minutes in line. The seating capacity of the tram is 80 but they accommodate around 100 (few can stand). It was an amazing experience, the train track was very steep, and it looks like buildings are reclining as the tram moves further. It is around 8 minutes drive and it leaves you with an amazing experience.

After reaching there, go to the sky terrace and enjoy the awesome view from the peak. You can spend time and click photos as much as you want and you can ;).

Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak

MADAME TUSSAUD’S

The best thing was ‘The Peak’ and ‘Madame Tussaud’s’ are in the same building. Madame Tussaud’s is the wax museum of all celebrities. We entered and started clicking pictures with celebrities, then we moved to Exit point, but it was not exit; there were many more from the Royal, Bollywood celebs, Politicians, Super Hero, Singers, sports, More, More and more. It was the time when I said, is there still more or this is the real EXIT :D.

But, it was fun altogether, we took so many photos with all the Stars and Celebrities. We spent around 1 hour  and the whole experience was just superb.

Madame Tussaud's
Madame Tussaud’s
Madame Tussaud Hong Kong
Madame Tussaud Hong Kong

TRICK EYE MUSEUM

The Trick Eye Museum is also situated at the Peak and on the other side of the building. It was a shopping mall and on top floor Trick Eye Museum is situated. The experience is again awesome. Some of the 3D Arts were very nice. We took so many pictures. The strange thing was, not many people had taken the trick eye museum tickets. Maybe it is not advertised more than the Peak and Sky Terrace walk.

One important point I want to make here about these places, specially The Peak and Tin Tin Buddha; as there are timings of Trams and cable cars, so advise is to finish your tour early to avoid long lines while coming back as well. Otherwise, again you have to stand in a long queue.

Trick Eye Museum
Trick Eye Museum

After coming back from The Peak we took the Bus 15C to Harbour. You can pay the Bus fare with your Octopus card. We spent some quality time at Harbour; since it was new year’s time; the small amusement parks for kids were available at harbour on an entry fee of HK $30 per adult.

We took ferry from Harbour to Tsim Sha Sui Terminal and explored the nearby place at tsim sha sui. It was great gateway to spend evening time with all amazing brands and Malls. And next to those big brands, there are small street market lines for electronics, hardware and off-course food street. The food street had authentic food and many mini cafes and bars. We had our dinner there and it was 11:00 pm already and we missed our hotel shuttle :(. But, it was a great day and tiring too. While traveling in MTR, my husband and I were discussing our next day tour plan, as the next day was 31st Dec. And we wanted to be at Harbour to see the World’s Famous “Firework Show” :).

TIAN TAN BUDDHA & TEMPLE STREET: HONG KONG

Tian Tan Buddha

Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong also known as “The Big Buddha” Hong Kong. The Big Buddha is a bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. It is located at Ngong Ping on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. This statue completed in 1993 and it symbolises the harmonious relationship of Nature and Man, the statue is sited near to Po Lin Monastery. It is a symbol of Buddhism in Hong Kong, and it is one of the must seen tourist attractions.

HOW TO REACH TIAN TAN BUDDHA/ THE BIG BUDDHA

You need to search for the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to reach Lantau Island. It is not the only mode of transport to reach Lantau Island. You can trek to Lantau Island, it is not easy and time taking, and not all can trek. You can also ride a bus, but again that is time taking and not good for those who have bus/car sickness, but is cheap.

All of the above, the best way to reach The Big Buddha is by Ngong Ping 360 Cable car. There are two types of cabins- Standard cabin and Crystal Cabin. In Standard Cabin, you will be able to see mesmerizing views of Hong Kong island and Lantau island from the window, But in Crystal Cabin offers you a view beneath your feet though the 2 inch glass.

Tung Chung MTR station is Nearest to Ngong Ping 360 Cable car starting point, Take exit B. I will advise you to buy an online ticket, as usually the line is very long for those who do not buy online tickets.

TICKETS:

TICKETS PRICE FROM EFFECTIVE 1ST OCTOBER 2018
Standard Cabin Crystal Cabin
Single Round Single Round
Adult 160 HKD 235 HKD 215 HKD 315 HKD
Children (3-11) 75 HKD 110 HKD 135 HKD 190 HKD
Senior Citizen 105 HKD 155 HKD 160 HKD 235 HKD
The Big Buddha
The Big Buddha
Lantau Island
Lantau Island

PO LIN MONASTERY

Po Lin Monastery is a highly visited Monastery in Hong Kong, It is located on Ngong Ping Plateau, on Lantun Island, Hong Kong. Po Lin Monastery was founded in 1906 by three monks visiting Jiangsu from China and it was named “The Big Hut”. It was renamed to Po Lin Monastery in 1924.

You will not be allowed inside if prayer is performing and photography is also prohibited inside the Po Lin Monastery.

It is better to finish your activities by 5:00 PM and then go back to the cable car terminal. It functions till 7:00 PM and the line will go long again as the time increases.

po lin monastery
Po Lin Monastery

TEMPLE STREET MARKET

We came back from Big Buddha at 5:30 pm and then we took the MTR to Jordan Station for ‘Temple Street Night Market, take Exit A. Walk on the Jordan Lane until you will see the temple street night market on your right. This Market is on the road with small tents and stalls. This is a good place to buy souvenirs. I would recommend  not to buy at the very first place and go for bargaining. Check the price with other sellers as well. I bought small stuff from this market. You will face the Language issue here as-well, they write the price on their calculator to avoid any confusions with customers.

Temple Street
Temple Street

There are many restaurants at temple street, all kinds of food is available. You can choose as per your cravings and what you want to try out.

The overall experience Visiting Tian Tan Buddha Hong Kong and Temple street was awesome. To visit both the places in one day is trying but we wanted to see as much as we can.

MUST SEEN PLACES IN JERUSALEM: ISRAEL

Jerusalem is one of the most visited places or I would say Holy Place in Israel; the tour is not complete if you do not visit Jerusalem. Though the weather was not favorable, I did not want to leave that chance to visit Jerusalem with my Husband (who was free that day and can accompany me). The travel time from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem is 1 hour and 14 minutes. Around 68 km.

I decided not to book any tour packages, I just want to figure everything out by-my-self. So I took the taxi to a local taxi stand from where daily transport available to Jerusalem city is cheap. You can also use public transport such as buses, they are cheap and good.

We took Sharing tempo-traveler and one way fair was NIS60 and he dropped us off at Jerusalem city; near the very famous attraction “Western Wall”. All the Famous and tourist places are near to each other, there is no extra time in travel. You can visit one place after another. But, to cover all the attractions, one needs a full day time.

“Read: Pre-Travel Guide for Israel

EXPLORE JERUSALEM 

#Western Wall

This is a very famous Holy Place. Visiting this place feels that so many religious people are gathering for their prayers. I entered after passing the security (yes, there are security procedures). And, approached the wall where everyone was performing prayers. There is a separate area for Women and Men. When I reached near the wall, they were distributing papers with prayers written on it to whoever wanted to take and perform their prayers. It was a very different experience for me- they were singing in a very low volume voice and touching the Holly wall at the same time.

Western Wall
Western Wall

Western Wall Jerusalem

#Old City of Jerusalem

You can Hire a taxi outside of western wall; who will take you to all the top-ranked places. I hired a taxi and started the tour from the old city of Jerusalem. It has no big buildings, The view is available from top. You can see the complete city from one of the top places.

READ MORE: Masada and Dead Sea

#Mount of Olives

All the places are very nearby and it will not take more than 15 minutes to reach from one to another. Don’t be confused by the name of Mount of Olives. It is good to see the Olives tree as I have always wondered how it could be.

” When my taxi driver said, ma’am see the mount of Olives. I said, where, where; I can’t see anything. Where is it? And he said we are on mount only and the trees you are seeing are olives trees. I said, that’s it? I was expecting more. Even for other places also, “Old city of Jerusalem” is the only view which you will see from the top. So do not keep high expectations as the name of these attractions.”

Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives
Old City Jerusalem
Old City Jerusalem

#Israel Museum

This is one the historical ancient places to see ancient Art work. This Museum opened in 1965, this is the only complex where you will find ‘Archaeological’ and ‘Art’. This museum has a very good collection of art by Israeli Painters.

The Opening Hours are: Sat-Mon & Wed-Tus: 10am to 5om; Tue: 4pm to 9pm

The Entry Fee is: Adult-50 NIS, Studets 37 NIS, Child 25NIS

The entry is free on every Tuesday and Saturday. http://www.imjnet.org.il 


It was indeed a very cold day, and I enjoyed every bit of it. There is a local market which is next to ‘Western Wall’ and good for buying souvenirs if you have not done yet. It is a very big market and deep inside.

” Please keep in mind that you remember the road you entered. And all the Market lanes look the same and are a little confusing for tourists. so better you come back to the same road instead of thinking to go till the end. I’ve tried that and it took me to housing colonies and it was very confusing. Then I came back and took the lane to exit through the market.

They close early, you can also pack and start back to your place if you are not staying in Jerusalem. I thought of more adventure and decided to take Bus from Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv. It was a good decision and a nice experience too. Went to the Bus terminal and took the ticket of NIS15 per person only.

Jerusalem was not the end of my tour, after reaching the hotel; I was googling about Tel-aviv and my next day tour.

READ MORE: Nazareth and Sea of Galilee

PLACES TO VISIT IN MASADA AND DEAD SEA-ISRAEL

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With the nice experience of ‘Nazareth’ and ‘sea of Galilee’, I look forward to the next day. Itinerary is planned for Masada and Dead Sea. Masada reveals the story of power  while Dead Sea provides Minimal and non-swimmer like me; an option to float.

MASADA

Masada is around a 2 and half hour drive from Tel-Aviv. The roads are smooth with scenic beauty-what else one can wish for. Masada is one of the most exciting and frequently toured places in Israel. This place tells the story of perseverance and power, faith and surrender, ambitions and tragic end.

Masada is situated on top of the mountain and the sides are steep and flat on top.Masada has a thrilling story of battle with Romans. The guide narrated each and every place , it is thrilling as a Hollywood Movie, and filled with Tension, Struggle and Love.

After Reaching the Masada National Park tourist point, you can buy the entrance tickets. Tickets for Masada National Park and Cable car to Masada Mountain ,both the tickets can be bought with combinations or separate.

Masada Entrance fee

Masada National Park ticket (Entrance and Cable-car one way)

  • Adult: NIS 58
  • Child: NIS 30
  • Israeli senior citizen: NIS 30

Cable-Car one way

  • Adult: NIS 29
  • Child: NIS 15

Cable Car round trip

  • Adult: NIS 47
  • Child: NIS 30
  • Israeli senior citizen: NIS 30

Masada is on Mountain and I was visiting this place in Month of February, so the temperature is always colder than the base national park. So keep in mind to have an extra layer of cloth if you are visiting Israel in winters.

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The facility has a very big food joint , food and drinks are available for extra charges. It is a very big joint and seating is available in-door and out-door as per your liking.

It takes around a couple of hours to visit the whole place. There is a lot of information in the place and my recommendation is to take a tour guide. The next destination is “Dead Sea ” where I need more energy to play in Sea water , Take pictures while sitting on a chair and Read newspapers on the Dead Sea. As I said earlier, it is one of the panoramic places one should visit in lifetime to experience.

READ: NAZARETH AND SEA OF GALILEE

DEAD SEA

Dead Sea from Masada is not more than a half and hour drive. The place is nicely maintained; Bathing Stations (washrooms) , hot water swimming pools and shops to buy necessary stuff.

Please note the point that you will need rubber sleepers or aqua shoes to go into the dead sea; as the stones are very sharp and you can’t walk barefoot. shops are available at the Dead sea and you can buy rubber sleepers, but you can also carry one with you.

There is mud available at the Seashore, you can apply that and go into the sea. There is a saying that this mud is full of minerals and if you apply this mud to your body, you may get rid of skin issues if someone has some. There are multiple showers which you can use to wash your eyes if you by chance did dip in the dead sea.

” Important points to be noted before you visit the dead sea. Do not shave and wax a day or two before you plan to visit the Dead Sea. The water is extremely Salty and you wash your eyes if water goes inside your eyes. You should not spend more than half-n-hour in sea water. “

When I had visited , the Sea was very wavy and I couldn’t take that “seating on chair pic”; it was very cloudy, rainy and very cold. But, I enjoyed-a-lot. The color of the Dead Sea was very different and it gave a great feel to visit such places.

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After a dip in the sea you may go to the pool for rest and then for shower, there are many shower stations and the good thing is: Women and Men shower stations are different.

I enjoyed the hot water pool on that cold day after the Dead sea; the overall experience was amazing and I want to visit that place again and enjoy more time. Definitely the plan will be in summer. I was very tired from activities and was looking forward to reaching my hotel and sipping a hot “Tea”. Yes, I am a lover of Tea, but I am not a coffee person.

And, I am looking forward to visiting Jerusalem tomorrow. The weather forecast was rainy; but weather conditions can’t bind me to visit the holy city of Jerusalem……. Please read my Day 3 trip in detail.

THINGS TO DO AT NAZARETH AND SEA OF GALILEE: ISRAEL

Israel is one of the most memorable trips I had with my husband. He was on business and I had the full luxury of time to visit all the places. This was my first trip to Israel, so the thrill , excitement and expectations were high. I started my planning by searching everything on Google, it was cumbersome. Hence, my quest to put the details in these posts.

This is a one stop blog where you will get all the information – related to places, tickets, travel time from one place to other and how much you have to spend on cabs and so on. You can customize based on the availability of time and places to visit.

During the whole flight the majority of conversation that i had was about the safety and security measure. However, I would say from my experience that Israel is a very beautiful Country with very nice and polite people.

NAZARETH

First on my list was Nazareth and Sea of Galilee and it has to be covered in one day. Nazareth is 106km from Tel-aviv; around one and half hours road journey. First thing to decide is Mode of transportation and there are multiple options available – cab for the whole day or book a tour via agencies. Taxi Charge around 4.4 NIS per unit for 2 passengers and additional charge if extra passenger. I booked through an agency as they provide guided tours as travelling alone in a cab would have been boring.

You can also book the one day tour with Rent-a-Guide for Nazareth and Sea of Galilee in USD 94 per person, which includes the Tour Guide, entrance fee of places and transport charge.dscn2374dscn2423

PLACES TO SEE IN NAZARETH

#Church of Annunciation
One of the most well known churches in Nazareth; built around 1969. But archaeological evidence shows the presence of the church since the 3rd century AD. It’s quite architecture and the paintings on the wall are very beautiful.

#Marry’s Well
This place is also known as the Virgin Fountain whose water has healing powers. This place has become famous among locals in the last few years. This place also has small cafes and little great restaurants.

#Zippori National Park
Zippori National park talks about the living and archaeology of hundreds of years of ancient history.It indicated the Jewish lifestyle during ancient time. It was indeed a big City of that time.

#St. Joseph Church
This church is a popular resting place of Joseph’s carpentry shop. This church has religious artwork on the walls and it has an underground cave; which was used as a grain store in the past.

#The Ancient Bath House in Nazareth 
In the heart of Nazareth near to Merry’s well this ancient public bath room was discovered. As per guide this bath room existed at the time of Jesus. You can visit caldarium (hot water), the most beautiful heating tunnels in middle east time.

#Old Market

It’s a very colorful market to visit. Here you can buy souvenirs for your memories of Nazareth (Israel). While walking you will find all shops of scarves, bracelets, necklaces, umbrellas, olives etc. Every shop owner opens in the morning and shuts his shades by afternoon.

SEA OF GALILEE

The Sea of Galilee is 45 km from Nazareth, around 50 minutes drive. It has a panoramic view. When I reached the place the fog was beginning to kick in and that increased the beauty of this place.

TO DO IN SEA OF GALILEE

#Water Sports
If you are visiting a lake and didn’t get wet then the tour isn’t complete. All the items like- Cruise the lake in a floating restaurant, nightclub yacht, fishing boat, kayak or canoe- all are available on rent.

#Hot Springs
Tiberius hot springs are very well known for 17 natural springs, where you can pamper yourself by taking massages, mud treatments and Turkish Bath.

#Naharayim
This place divides Jordan and Israel by Yamruk rivers which flow between both the countries. The site is also known as “Island of Peace”

“Our guide took us to a Restaurant located on the lake named Tchelet. You can have your lunch here and view the lake. They are popular to serve the fish from Galilee Lake which are known to be very tasty. It was 10 dollar per head. Being a Vegetarian is always a tough job. I asked him about vegetarian food and he gave me rice with boiled potato. How someone can eat plain rice with boiled potato that has no salt and no taste.

I gave my 10 dollars and had nothing.”

#Sound-and-Light show on the Lake
If you have time then you should stay for longer and witness the musical fountain on the lake. It’s a short 15 minutes duration show and doesn’t cost anything. It is on the southern end of Tiberius Lakeside promenade.dscn2459dscn2463

All the above places you can’t Visit in one day. So you should choose the places as per your interest. My favorite attractions are ‘Ancient Church’ and ‘Sea of Galilee lake’. Both the places are awesome in their way and I found them very peaceful. I thoroughly enjoyed my first day and by the time I returned it was already 7pm.

Although tired, my thoughts are already revolving around the next day trip – “Masada and Dead Sea”, which is Day 2 of my tour.

Read: Day 2 to Masada and Dead Sea

TOP THINGS TO DO IN SAPA: VIETNAM

When you are visiting Hanoi then you should take out some time for SAPA. It is a small, mountain town in Lao Cai Province. It is around 350 km from Hanoi and very near to the Chinese border. Fan Si Pan is known as the country’s highest peak. Sapa village still contains their ethnic beauty with around 5 tribes in and around. Sapa is very famous among foreigner visitors and most tourists make their way to SAPA. This place is so beautiful with its iconic rice paradise and forest treks.

THINGS TO DO IN SAPA

There are many activities which include, hiking in Sapa mountains, Tribal village, enjoying local cuisine, visiting Hoang Lien National Park, cat cat village, bike trekking etc. One needs a minimum 2-3 days to cover all must seen tourist attractions.

TREKKING IN SAPA

FanSiPan is the highest mountain in Vietnam, it is only 19 km from town. It looks near but trek is very difficult on tough terrain and sometimes due to unpredictable weather. e9bd1901f14c28f3dca85fe7c0736f8e

Trekking in tribal villages is also very common in Sapa. You will have a guided tour and they will take you to these tribal villages, where you will have a chance to see their authentic culture, taste their local food and walk aside on terrace rice fields.

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WATERFALLS IN SAPA

Two waterfalls are very famous in Sapa, Love waterfall and Silver waterfall. Love waterfall is located in San Sa Ho and famous for its ancient folktale- “this waterfall was the bathing spot of fairies, then one fairy fell in love with a local boy. When the Father of Fairy heard about it, he forbidden the fairy from visiting this waterfall anymore. Then this fairy turned into a bird to be with the boy”. And from then it is known as Love Water Fall. It is around a 30 minutes ride from Sapa Town.
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Silver waterfall is equally famous in Sapa, its height is 100 meter and it is very beautiful. Do not go there if the weather is rainy or foggy as you will not be able to see the height of the waterfall. Silver waterfall is 15 km away from Sapa Town.

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SAPA LAKE AND CABLE RIDE TO FANSIPAN

Sapa lake is one of the picturesque tourist destinations, take lots of pictures for your album. Here you can walk along the stretch of the lake, sit at the bench and enjoy the fresh breeze.

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Cable ride is available to Fan si Pan for those who cannot trek. Tickets are 700,000 VND per adult.  The Sunworld Fansipan Legend cable car gives you mesmerizing views of Muong Hoa Valley and Hoang Lien Son Mountain range. It will be an enthralling ride, so don’t miss it.

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These are some of the activities and destinations famous among tourists. But there is more to do and explore at this place. Such as, spend time with tribes, learn to cook their authentic food, visit cat cat village, enjoy seeing their terrace rice fields etc.

5 TOP PLACES TO VISIT JEJU ISLAND: SOUTH KOREA

Jeju Island is one of the highest visited tourist destinations in South Korea. It is situated in Jeju Province. This island contains the natural World Heritage Site Jeju Volcanic Island and longest Lava Tubes in the world. It also gives good economic activity from civil/naval bases. Its national park stretches over 224 kilometers and it is amazingly beautiful.

You really need to have at least 4-5 days to enjoy its beauty and to visit all top attractions. There are many reasons to visit Jeju Island when you are visiting South Korea, in which few I am going to list below:

AMAZING ARCHITECTURE

As I said above, this island contains a natural world heritage site. Because they have retained their unique culture, so many centuries have passed but you will find Jeju symbols everywhere. The statue is stone carved and it was demanded in 1774 by a former Korean leader. You will find in total 48 statues all over Jeju Island.

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THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN SOUTH KOREA

The Dormant Volcano Hallasan is almost 1950 meters above the sea level and if you start early in the morning then you will be able to hike up and down in a day. This mountain remains covered with snow in the winter season and at that time only trained hikers are allowed to hike.

There are more things to do like: alpine plants with all colors of flowers, woodpeckers, birds and if you remember the chipmunks movie, yes you will find chipmunks here. There are around 368 parasitic volcanoes and hiking clubs regularly hike on those slopes.

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LAVA TUBES

Lava tubes are another UNESCO Geopark, the manjang cave is more then 8 km long and they are open for visitors. It is something amazing and you can walk inside the passageway. They formed by cooling lava, these ones are dark with bats up, they are cold and slippery with some water and often narrow. This place is not for claustrophobics.

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DIVING WOMEN

In past years Jeju’s men disappeared for weeks in their fishing boats and women stuck to those rocks waiting for them over dinner. As rice won’t grow on this windy and wild island. Then women learned to dive to catch octopus, squid and seaweed. And it continued, women do deep diving to catch the fish. And they are all aged 75 and they catch the fish from sea bare-handed.

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LOVE-LAND

Jeju Island is famous as a honeymoon destination for Koreans and Foreigners. Cute Cafes, restaurants and even the theme park called Love Land. Jeju Island is so famous that there are more daily flights than any other tourist destination in the world.

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This is less to cut this list here, but there are many other things to fall in love with Jeju Island, such as, Beautiful Beaches, Oxygen massage therapy, sunrise from volcano crater, seaweed soup etc. Make your way to Jeju Island.