Monday, 12 Aug ’19, raining and raining.
Today we took another tour from KLOOK; Taste of Waiheke Day Tour from Auckland. This tour cost us almost S$160 per person including tasting 10 different wines, countless olives, ferry tickets from and back to Auckland, shuttle around Waiheke Island and lunch. (*≧ω≦*)
The morning started as usual with quick breakkie at the Coffee Club. From there we walked to the Queen’s Wharf to redeem ferry ticket and depart from Auckland Ferry Terminal by 11AM. <(￣︶￣)>
The ferry took us about 35 minutes from Queen’s Wharf, short stop at Devonport, then finally to Waiheke Island. The sky was so blue this morning and the grass was beautifully lush green. Waiheke Island is the most populated and second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand.
A lovely 74 years old lady with blue signboard “Taste of Waiheke Day” greeted us then brought the 10 of us to her shuttle.
Our first stop was Stonyridge Vineyard.
Sunday, 11 Aug ’19, sunny & windy.
So much for our sleepless night and woke up early on weekend just to received a phone call about our skydive; the itinerary was canceled due to bad weather. Such a heartbreaking morning news for both of us since we didn’t have any plan B. And this skydive was one of our must-do activity we were looking forward! ╮( ˘ ､ ˘ )╭
Thanks to Veron. She quickly suggested both of us to take our ferry ticket to Devonport – the ticket we weren’t so interested yesterday. So off we quickly rushed to Queen’s Wharf, changed our tickets and waited for the ferry at the Port 2.
The ferry took us just 12 minutes from Auckland’s port to beautiful Devonport. From the breathtaking sea and city views to the stunning beaches, boutique shopping, charming accommodation and café culture – it’s no wonder it’s rated one of the top spots to visit in Auckland.
Saturday, 10 Aug ’19, another rainy days
There was our favorite breakkie place just next to our hotel, the name was Coffee Club. We went there almost everyday when we were in Auckland. ♡ ～(‘▽^人)
Stef, my friend whom I accidentally met (around) 5 years ago at Jakarta airport and instantly became facebook friend, decided to spend one of her precious day with me and Veron, today. She arrived around 9:30AM when we were having our breakfast at Coffee Club. This was our second time met in person and she was such a lovely young lady!
Friday, 9 Aug ’19, tenshi no koi 天使の恋
Both of us had lack of sleep on the plane. After spent 2 hours 45 minutes transit in Brisbane and fuelled ourselves with coffee and hot chocolate, we continued our 2 hours journey to Auckland. I had a slightly better sleep on the second flight, with the new app I downloaded yesterday “sleep sound” – to trick my brain into relax mode. (´-ω-`)
And why don’t you take a look at this beautiful dawn at Brisbane airport!
Thursday, 8 Aug ‘19
First and foremost, I was ecstatic when I finally got my VISA, which was 2 days ago!!
FYI. For someone who’s holding a green passport, I understand that applying VISA sometimes could be troublesome. That’s why I did submit all the required documents to the VFS long before my flight, which was on 2nd July – I was the first one to come and queued. I was so sure to get my VISA within 2 weeks, but by end of July still no news – I sent emails to VFS but they said they will escalate it to NZ immigration. I did sent emails but only received auto-generated reply. By early August I did call NZ immigration many times and even left my number but only machine picked up my international calls. In the end one of the email said they were still processing my VISA to Beijing. Whaaaaat!!! (ノ°益°)ノ
At last! Early morning on 6th Aug, when Veron – my travel buddy slash colleague panickedly came to my desk asking about my VISA, I finally received my long-awaited email from NZ Immigration!! I jumped and hugged her, almost cried. This was crazy man! Next time I will start applying 2 months before my flight!! (っ´ω`)ﾉ(╥ω╥)
Or change my passport to red. <(￣︶￣)>
Tuesday, 21st May 2019 >> Raining!!!
As expected it was raining on the last day! Our funny hotel does not have breakfast area, we had to walk about 25 meters to the other hotel behind it. <(￣ ﹌ ￣)>
But before that, me and Ann both had a very bad stomach upset! We suspect it was the egg coffee and egg cocoa we had yesterday. Remember I said it tasted as my mum’s batter? The raw eggs inside our coffee and cocoa had cause problem to us in the morning. Eating raw and undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella, a type of harmful bacteria. Symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, fever and headache. These symptoms usually appear 6 to 48 hours after eating and may last 3 to 7 days. (ಥ﹏ಥ)
20th May 2019, it was still hot but a bit cloudy.
We woke up quite early this morning because we had to arrived at the southern-east part of the Cát Bà island to enjoy bikin before it crowded by the tourists. We enjoyed our quick breakkie while the cruise making its way to stop at Lan Hạ bay area. (´｡• ᵕ •｡`) ♡
I had bread with a tasty passion fruit juice, sat myself on the decking area outdoor while admiring the morning beauty of the limestone mountains around me. Ann prefer to stay indoor with the aircon.
19th May 2019; another hot day!
And finally, today was the long-awaited day! We’re going for a cruiiiiise!!!
This was me and Ann’s main goal in taking this holiday. It took us quite long time to search and finally I found this UniCharm Cruise from the internet just few days before our flight to Hà Nội. And apparently this was the cruise recommended by Ann’s friend too! What a coincidence! I found their website and chat to their staff. And because we were recommended by Ann’s friend we got 20% discount. Because I chatted to the staff we got additional 10% discount. In total we paid USD310 for two, for an unforgettable 2D1N cruise day. ٩(｡•́‿•̀｡)۶
I could say this was the best cruise in Hạ Long Bay! Unicharm Cruise somehow has its own special route where there were no other cruise knows, not over-crowded by tourist, passed by gorgeous limestone mountains, interesting activities, 4-stars-hotel class, super clean and superb food – you definitely want to try their fresh prawns!! (っ˘ω˘ς )
18th May 2019; it’s Hot! HOT! HOTTT!!!!!
It was 39°C outside!!! ＼＼٩(๑`^´๑)۶／／
We applied my uv lotion SPF50 from Biore and uv spray SPF50 from Skin Aqua, and off we ordered a grab to the Hồ Chí Minh Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square. The taxi dropped us at the east side of the square at street, near the government office. It was a super green square, but all was closed we couldn’t enter from there and we had to make a long way u-turn. (」＞＜)」
Everywhere was closed and even with tall-ugly-green wall where we couldn’t even peek what’s inside. We couldn’t see One Pillar Pagoda! But after walked about 1km made our u-turn we finally could see the way in to the Mausoleum where tourists were gathered and queuing to get in. We were told the queue was start even before 9AM. And since we both didn’t like queuing to get ourselves roasted, we gave it a pass and we countinued make our ways to the West Lake.
17th May 2019 ~ hot day!
Landed in Nội Bài International Airport, my buddy trip Ann, exchanged her money. I remember it was USD 1 = VND 23,300. From there she got enough money and we booked Grab to our hotel in Old Quarter Hà Nội for VND 254k, about 40 minutes.
Our itinerary for today was not too much – as it was almost sunset when we finally arrived in our hotel. Our official first stop was the famous Hoàn Kiếm Lake. But on our way to the lake we had our early dinner at the Highway4 Restaurant. The fine restaurant was located around the Old Quarter as well. We went up to the second floor and sat at the lower table – just like the locals do. <(￣︶￣)>
This restaurant was famous for their Nem Ca Xa Lo4 (Catfish Spring Rolls) so that was the first thing we ordered. As much as I wanted to try their Sun-dried Venison with Salt & Ant Dip, but I finally decided to order something else; Bu Niong La Chuoi (Strips of Beef grilled in Banana Leaves).