Free WiFi for tourists in Japan

NTT East now provides WiFi for tourists. NTT East operates in eastern part of Japan. Example: Tokyo, Hokkaido and Yokohama. Remember those days when we rent handphones in Japan? No more!

Where are the hotspots? You will see the stickers pasted on shop from.
Alternatively, you can also check the hotspots here before you go.

Two methods:
1)Using iOS or Android app. Download the app “NAVITIME for Japan Travel” app, provided by NAVITIME JAPAN and obtain the WiFi ID and  password. http://flets.com/freewifi/step.html#app

2) Free WifiCards with WiFi ID and password from various location. Passport required. http://www.flets.com/freewifi/spot.html

The other cities do provide WiFi for touriset, but not by NTT East.

Osaka  Kyoto
Kobe Fukuoka
Nagoya Hiroshima

One final note though, do remember that you are on vacation, put that phone away.
It is Japan. Time to appreciate the lovely people, culture and surroundings and the loved ones with you.

Burger Bakar Idaman

We visited the Gelang Patah Tuesday Night Market, last week and tried the Burger Bakar.

Awesome burger, better than the McDonalds, A&W, Subway and even the pasar malam favourite…Burger Ramly.

Price ranging from RM8 to RM13, it was delicious. Has to be considering the pasar malam was just across the street.

Burger Bakar

To get there, via the Tuas 2nd Link, take the Gelang Patah exit, turn left at the Petronas T-junction and take another left  at the next T-junction and into the carpark.
Fullscreen capture 2492013 22930 PM.bmp

Halal food Shinsaibashi

When one is in Osaka, a definite must do besides Tokyu Hands is Shinsaibashi. It is a covered shopping street, a long stretch.

We had lunch at a halal Turkish restaurant named Nazar right in the middle of Shinsaibashi. It is on the side lane which have Nike and Krispy Kreme.
The street has a nickname: “European Street”
Osakashi Chu-Oku Higashi Shinsaibashi
1-16-13 matsumura Biru-F2

Just a simple Doner Kebab. They also recommended the bread called Ekmek.
Menu: http://www.nazar.jp/menu.html
Getting there: http://www.nazar.jp/access.html

Nazar Restaurant

our K.O.K.A Trip – Kyoto.Osaka.Kobe."America"

Itinerary for the upcoming Kyoto Osaka Trip in June 2012.
We scored a cheap flight with AirAsia, SG to Osaka (via KL) about $600 for 2 inclusive of taxes.

Lets call it K.O.K.A trip, as I hope to squeeze in Kobe and a little bit of “America” in it. It’s actually Americamura in Osaka.
I bet this will be the closest that I will want to get near America. We’re against their racial profiling for Muslims at the airport immigration. And for that reason together with long queues, we are skipping Universal Studios Japan.

Here is a rough itinerary. Things will change according to weather, and more importantly both our mood and/or whims. Expecting a few rainy days in Kyoto in June too. Anyway, after all, it’s Free & Easy.

Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
Sun
Mon
Tues
Nara Deer
1015
Walking Streets Tour
Imperial Palace
Manga Museum
NishikiMarket
9am C/Out
Namba 2 days
unlimited pass
Osaka castle
HouseLiving
Tokyu hands
Lunch
Lunch
Kyoto Uni
Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
Kyoto
C/In
Drop Bag
Arashiyama SaganoTrain
Monkey
Walking
Streets
Tour
MoviePark
Hotel Nikko

Transport museum
Float
Garden
Science
Museum
Dotonbori
Kyoto
Station
Bamboo
MossTemple
Foot onsen
maiko
Finish at
Kiyomizu
Dera (Pillar)
Handicraft Center
Botanic
Garden
Kaiyukan
Tempozan
Ferris
Shinsaibashi
Dinner
(Gion Area)
Dinner
Unagi?
Dinner
Dinner
Dinner
Dinner
Dinner
Gion Night Walk
(Bento next day)
Shop Taka
Last Night
Kyoto Station
Natural
History
Tsutentaku
Sleep
Hokke
Kyoto
Sleep
Hokke
Kyoto
Sleep
Hokke
Kyoto
Sleep
Hokke
Kyoto
Sleep
Nikko
Osaka
Sleep
Nikko Osaka
Sleep
Nikko Osaka


charming Putahracsa, heritage Railway Station and nostalgic PlearnWan

We checked out from our hotel in Bangkok and made our journey down to Putahracsa Hua Hin.

Took BTS to Victory Monument Station, walked on the circular overhead bridge facing the monument. Had a little misadventure, we walked to the right side of the circular overhead bridge, when we should have walked to the left side towards the Rajavathi Hospital. Blessing in disguise though, we now know we can travel to Ayutthaya by minibus in future.

Along the road, there will be lots of white minibuses. Just ask a friendly face, and say “Hua Hin”, they will point you in the right direction. The services on this road only caters for the minibuses to Phetcaburi, Cha Am and Hua Hin. Other roads will have services to Ayutthaya and Pattaya etc.

Upon arrival in Hua Hin, actually walked to Putaracsa Hotel. Once we checked in,  we hired an automatic motorcycle for 200 Baht a day. The lady owner required a copy of my passport and license and a simple proficiency test. Bike check… once done, look for a gas station to fill her up, (in my non-existent Thai language again, though we looked the part), I attempted to ask the attendant to pump at 40 Baht, the Stations only accept 50Baht for pumping).

Oh yes, we did get helmets, a red and white one, it looked basic enough and I wondered if this was the best they had, and if that helmet would make any difference. Soon enough, it proved to be our savior as we fell off the bike at the first u-turn we had to negotiate. My non-familiarity with auto bikes was evident here. Ouch! A few bumps and bruises and some TLC by a Thai elderly woman who helped us up, the helmets had saved us when fell gently on the road.

Btw, there were road blocks at night too. We approached one, were told to slow down but once verified we had our helmets on, they waved us on quickly. Some offenders were stopped and got the ticket though. In Hua Hin, non-helmets, side saddling and toddlers carrying were actually a common sight.

We rode the auto bike extremely slowly to PlearnWan.

For the second time this trip we were at a public place during flag lowering. Everyone stopped in their tracks again. Yesterday in Bangkok Chatuchak everyone just stop, wherever they were facing any direction…it was quite a sight, its like some X-Men unleashing its TIME FREEZE power. This time around, at PlearnWan, I was right in front of the flag, as the flag lowering was in progress. Awesome! You can view the video recording too.

Food sellers can board the train to sell their food or simply transact through the windows. I guess even if the board the train, they will walk the whole length of the train and probably follow the train southwards and alight 1 or 2 stops away. They then take the next train northwards to sell and return back.

We went to the Bismillah, Southern Thai Muslim Restaurant along the Hua Hin Railway track for dinner.

 At night, they have an adjacent stall selling Teh Tarek (Milk Tea) and Fried Chicken with Yellow Rice. We had the following:

2 plain rice + Stir-Fried Beef Chilli & Tom Yum Soup = 130 Baht.
1 hot milk tea + 1 hot tea w/o milk = 20 Baht

   

Did I mention about the lovely resort we stayed in? Putahracsa Hua Hin.

We took the Oceanbed Pool Villa at SGD$250 per night via an Agoda promotion.

 

Rocking with Stone Temple Pilot at a room with private pool, jacuzzi and a BOSE set. I’d not ask for more.


 

On 26 Dec 2011, we were both lazing at home, watching the news on TV, when we saw images of Hua Hin affected by flooding and high waves. I do hope the lovely folks at Putahracsa: Aom, Aun and Kwang, the lovely stall owners we had met in Hua Hin will be safe.

 http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/272549/waves-wreak-more-havoc-on-southern-coast

1 night in Bangkok

Our last trip to Bangkok was in 2006. We were actually arranging for a Chiangmai-Ayutthaya-Bangkok-Hua Hin trip, but due to the recent flooding, we had to abort it. After some deliberation, we then decided to do Hua Hin and a night in Bangkok.
 
We looked forward to arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport and taking the 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chatuchak Weekend Market was still opened when we left at 7pm. It used to close at 5-6pm, not too sure the reason for this. I did find out though that City Hall will no longer manage the market in 2012. State Railway will be claiming its rights to manage it. There seems to be plans to open on weekdays and to change its layout too. (story here)
 
No, these boxes were not Xmas presents. Those were sandbags used during the flood.
 
We took a short walk to MBK for halal dinner and some shopping.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We stayed at Novotel Siam Square for the night. In 2006, it was still located at MBK, but they are now at Siam Square, still spanking new. We also read that during the flood last month, the hotel opened up 250 rooms for the staff to stay in with their families. I’m sure it meant a lot for the staff and families.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My feet in the middle of the Thai Foot Massage. Check out the swollen blood veins of my feet.
 
The morning after…thought I was looking at pair of girls feet. No kidding, just check out the blood veins at my feet no longer popped out.
 
The beautiful sunrise at Bangkok overlooking Sukhumvit area.
 
We had to checkout early and make our way to Hua Hin, via a minibus from somewhere around Victory Monument area.
 

Seoul Day 10: World Cup Stadium Not & Return Home

Our last day in Seoul, we decided to visit World Cup Stadium and hopefully some groceries shopping at Homeplus.

 
Denied entry into the stadium. Apparently, there was a concert rehearsal for the afternoon. There was like 4 fans with posters queueing up. Only 4. We gave up and proceeded to the supermarket.


A few shots of the stadium. Still wished I could have catch a K-League game in Seoul. I did try but the season ended, and FC Seoul played their last game of the season, 1 week before we arrived.



The peep.



R&B point.






Huge array of shells, crab sticks, lobsters, seaweeds etc, which we bought and eat with our instant noodles or rice. Supermarkets like these, with their fresh seafood is a quick easy way to save some money from overpriced halal food. Halal meat is rare, so we halal food is expensive. The savings on food, we splurged it on coffees instead. 😛

.




Took the subway back to hotel, packed our bags, constructed a Xmas looking tip and check out.




Took the bus from the bus bay in the middle of the street.





There were some interactive activities at the airport terminal while waiting.



Did I mention I was looking for a Samsung NX100 advertisement while I was in Seoul. Interestingly I did not see any, till the very last day at the airport.





Goodbye Seoul! Thanks for the beautiful experience. Till we meet again.
Gamsa hamnida.

Seoul Day 8: Nami Island (Halal Drama Cafe)

Finally we hit Nami Island aka Republic of Naminara. Looked forward to eat at the Drama Cafe on the island. We had trouble reaching there a few days ago, due to the shutdown of the old train services. A new line had in fact just opened on that day, and we did not understand the whole situation till we went to the tourist information counter. Even then, the counter was not able to print out a map of the new rail. We got a hand drawn one. We were hoping to go Nami in the old train. Can you imagine, we missed it by just a single day?? Such luck!!

Anyway, day 8, we took the new train system to Gapyeong Station. It was like only the 2nd or 3rd day in operation. Everything fresh and sterile.


Walk out of Gapyeong station, there will be a line of waiting cab and just say,”Nami Island Ferry Terminal”.

Bought “a VISA” to enter Nami Island. It was basically a ferry ticket, but as Nami Island prides itself as a Republic, they have their own passport and you will need “a VISA” to enter. I was wondering if the current UN president had a role in this, but this island was around even before his appointment.

Marketing itself as a UN ambassador or UNICEF of some sort, the global UN spirit is all around, the ferry that took us there was also full with an array of international flags.


 
We had lunch at the Drama Cafe a Halal certified Vegetarian restaurant.




The order came in 2 metal tins, 2 metal spoons and 2 pairs of gloves in a metal tray. Took a quick look around they were all shaking the tin vigorously. We were a bit apprehensive as it felt like playing with our food.

Single hand shake
Double handed shake

The Kimchi pancake. Egg, onion, cabbage, vege and kimchi.

Animals seem to roam freely here. Absolutely lovely. Pretty chicken.

 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Seoul Day 7: COEX & War Memorial

We were actually looking forward to take an old train ride to Gapyeong. Somehow though, the train service was not listed, when we looked at the electronic signboard.We asked at the Information Center, the officer could not speak English but he tried his very best. We admired his effort. He explained to us that the train was no longer in service and replaced with a new system on that very day. He gave us directions there using the new metro system but we were not keen since it was afternoon and will reach Nami late.

We aborted the plan for Nami and went Coex Aquarium, walked around the COEX Mall and capped it off with Itaewon and the War Memorial.