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Saturday, 19 April 2014

Tokyo 2014: Day 3 (Shinjuku Gyoen, Shibuya)

Post about our third day in Tokyo.

We went there for one week springs holiday. Previous two days were spent visiting fabric town in Nippori (where our hotel is located), and shopping for cheap souvenirs at Nakamise Dori and Ameyoko. We also went to Kappabashi Dori, where plenty of shops selling kitchen supplies.

Third day began with a visit to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. From Nippori, we took JR train to Ueno and from there switched to Tokyo Metro line to Shinjuku Gyommae, the nearest station to the park. Entrance fee is 250 yen for adult, free of charge for children.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Beautiful flowers at Shinjuku Gyoen. It was early spring and most of the trees were still in barren state but we found a few early blossoms.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Tokyo Trip 2014: Day 2 (Ueno, Asakusa and Kappabashi)

We went to Tokyo during springs for one week holiday. It was raining during the arrival day so we didn't go far, just exploring Nippori (where our hotel is located) and short trip to Ikebukuro.

The following day, weather forecast sounds better so we took this chance to visit a park. It's in the middle of March and sakura season will not start until few weeks later, but we are hoping to catch some early blooms. We have 2 days metro passes at our disposal (we bought Keisei Skyliner + Metro package at Narita Airport yesterday), so we plan to fully utilize the passes and plan our activities according to Tokyo Metro coverage area (the pass is valid for 2 consecutive days and offers unlimited rides within Tokyo Metro network only). However, Nippori is served by JR line only and we still have to pay 130 yen train ride to Ueno for the nearest Tokyo Metro station.

Arrived at Ueno Station, we walk to Ueno Park which is located just across the road from the station's exit. Many are heading in the same direction, most of them visiting Ueno Zoo or some of the museums located in the vicinity. We don't have enough time to visit any of them, instead we just strolled around the park. Nothing much to see because most of the trees are still barren. We saw workers setting up temporary structures along the main strip, probably preparation for the incoming hanami season. After a while we found a small secluded temple with blooming trees nearby. Early blossoms! Our camera immediately went to action. Spent about an hour there just to get the best flower shot.

Ueno Park
Ueno Park, said to be the best place to enjoy sakura (obviously not at this time though). Structures along the roadside are being set-up for the flower festival.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Tokyo Trip 2014: Day 1 (Nippori, Ikebukuro)

We were in Tokyo last March for one week holiday. After arrival at Narita Airport, we took Keisei Skyliner train to Nippori, where our hotel is located. The journey from airport to Nippori Station took around 30 minutes. Outside the station, it was drizzling but we decided to brave the rain and walk to our accommodation. It's not easy because we carry two huge trolley bags, a back pack, and a child in stroller but luckily the hotel is just 400 meters away. We reached the front door relatively intact.

Nippori Textile Town
Nippori, a bit out of town but within striking distance to Tokyo's touristy area.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Ambassador Transit Lounge - Changi Airport (Terminal 3)

A review about Ambassador Transit Lounge at Changi Airport.

Although we travel frequently to overseas destinations with full service carriers, most of them are personal trip or vacation. Therefore, we always hunt for fare deals, which mean cheap tickets with restricted conditions such as no mileage earned, or just a portion from the total distance traveled. Without holding any frequent flyer status, airline's lounge access is a luxury we don't have. There's also is pay-in lounge which is open to everyone, but entrance fee applicable. In our recent trip to Tokyo, we were granted complimentary access to Ambassador Transit Lounge while transiting at Changi Airport, thanks to Changi Transit Program.

Passengers travelling with Singapore Airline or Silk Air are offered SGD20 voucher if they are connecting at Changi Airport, the voucher can be used for shopping or one time access to the lounge. After weighing all options, we choose the latter.

Ambassador Transit Lounge Changi Airport
The lounge is located at Terminal 3 mezzanine level. It is easy to find once you're at the main terminal area (airside). Movie theater and transit hotel are just nearby.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Tokyo Trip 2014: Day 1 (Arrival)

Hello there!
We've just come back from a week vacation in Tokyo!

Three of us (me, wife and son) went to Japan for holiday the second time (the first one was in 2011). We went there on mid March and spent seven wonderful days touring around Tokyo. It was the beginning of spring and the weather was great! The sakura season has not yet started but we were lucky to find some early blooming trees!

Before the trip, we were in dilemma between Tokyo or Osaka. We've never been to Kansai region and Osaka looks tempting. The air fare is not much different. But at the same time we missed Tokyo so much since our trip three years ago. At the end, Tokyo win. Booked Singapore Airlines, the main reason is because I've never fly with Airbus A380 yet (it's a shame after so many years in service...). SQ operates regularly with A380-800 for SIN-NRT route. Other options such as MAS, JAL, ANA or Air Asia use different types of aircraft.

Here's our story during the first day.

penang airport
Flight booked through SQ website, PEN-SIN-NRT. The first leg was from Penang to Singapore with Silk Air (SQ subsidiary). At Penang Airport, our bags were checked-in directly to Narita and we were also issued boarding pass for SIN-NRT route.