Monday, October 20, 2014

Explore Amsterdam

What to do in Amsterdam?

Go for a canal cruise (Lovers Cruise)
Visit a Diamond Factory (GASSAN)
Shop around Dam Square
Visit Mdm Taussauds Wax Museum
Enjoy Argentinian Steak nearby Dam Square
Go to Zaanse Schans Village
Go to Keukenhof Spring Gardens (late March - early May)

There are many things for you to do in Amsterdam.

Eating in Amsterdam
- Hannibal Lunch Room
- Argentinian Restaurant
- Rokin (pubs)

Day trips out of Amsterdam
1. Keukenhof Gardens
2. Zaanse Schans
3. Volendam

Airfare to Amsterdam
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Here is some of the pictures that I took while I was in Amsterdam.

At Hannibal Lunch Room, near the Heineken Musuem.

Typical local Dutch food - meat ball.
Mixed with some onions and it was tasty, so I love it.

Nice croquette - bite-sized patty on a bun.

                                           Outside the Heineken Museum -
              Try to go for the Heineken Experience, which is conducted by the Heineken Museum.

At Zaanse Schans village.

                                              Had a demonstration of cheese making process.

                                                                Beautiful clogs for sale

Clog making machine.

Small piggy banks as souvenirs.

You will find many Argentinian resturants that serve steak nearby the National Monument.
The direction is to walk past the monument to the NH Hotel direction, but just keep to the right of the monument, and you will find all the restaurants  - Chinese, Mexican, etc there. Many choices for you.

 When you face the NH Hotel, and the National Monument (white pillar), just keep to the right side, and walk along the road, and you will see ASIA (Chinese) Restaurant signage. And you just keep walking towards there, you will find food easily.

There is a carnival going on while I was in Amsterdam (18Oct). I heard that there will be 4 such carnivals in a year, and each time, it will last for a week.

                           It was getting more crowded as we approach the evening on a Saturday.

Enjoy Amsterdam.

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Enjoy !!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pictures of Skagway

Dear all,

thanks for coming back. And in this post, I like to share with with you my wonderful experience of taking the helicopter ride up to the glacier, with a guided walking session up there!

Amazing, and it is not cheap to pay for the price. But every cent is worth it. It costs me USD319 for this wonderful experience. So, if you travel to Skagway, Alaska, on board a cruise ship, you can book for this shore excursion from Princess directly. However, if you are traveling to Alaska on your own, be it self drive or overland, you can still book the excursions directly from one of the operators there.

Skagway is only a small town, and it became famous due to the gold rush Klondike. Thousands of people went in search of their fortune and they all thought there they could become rich by gonig to the Alaska gold fields, but in actual fact, these gold fields were in Yukon, Canada.

This Gold Rush was to spawn a narrow-gauge railroad that would pay an important part in the development of Alaska and Northern Canada. But before the railroad was even a thought in anyone's mind, thousands of stampeders had headed for the gold fields. The Klondike was 650 miles north of the head of navigation at Skagway and Dyea, Alaska. In the summer and fall of 1897 stampeders by the thousands converged on these points.

The gold actually had been found in Auguest 1896, by three prospectors on Indian Creek (now Bonanza Creek), a tributary of the Klondike River, but because of the remoteness of the area, word of the great find did not reach the outside world until a year later. When it did, it started one of the greatest mass exoduses in North America history, with perhaps 100,000 people heading
 for the gold fields and up to 50,000 actually made it there.

Back in 1897, before the railroad was built, the only way to get to the gold fields was to hike through treacherous land and sometimes under extremely harsh conditions over the Chilkoot Trail or the White Pass.

Today, visitors can take the railway to the White Pass, and travel into Yukon, Canada and enjoy the beautiful scenery around.

As for me, I am sharing the photographs that I took while on my helicopter ride up to the glacier, and my glacier walking experience up there. Enjoy.

Looking for Cruises to Alaska, or anywhere else in the World - Asia, Caribbean, America, Europe, South America?

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Recommendation -
Take the Railway to White Pass, and then followed by the Yukon, Canada excursion.
Take the helicopter ride up to the glacier and enjoy a guided walk of the glacier.

For Singaporeans, I am planning a trip to Alaska which will cover the Denali National Park, Fairbanks, etc in June 2016.

Get connected with me on facebook.

Happy exploring ...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park

Join the Golden Princess for the Alaska Cruise through the a Inside Passage via
the Glacier Bay National Park.

"So many of us come to Glacier Bay to be overwhelmed by mountains, to be dazzled by glaciers, to be thrilled by animals. We want wilderness with a capital W. Instead of sitting quietly and looking carefully, we tend to tally everything we see. What is yo be gained in tracking the number of tidewater glaciers admired, the count of eagles sighted, the sum of bears photographed? To mistake enumeration for enlightenment is to have seen nothing at all. In a place calibrated by epic measurements of time- in ice ages, glacial retreats, forest growth- we sometimes ignore the quiet moments unfolding around us. There is grandeur here, but there is also simple grace in the way an oystercatcher turns a crimson-eyed gaze our way. There are natural melodramas throughout the bay, but what could be more astounding than knowing that the feathery bloom of dryas plants on bare ground is really a prophecy of forests to come? And where is the power of crashing ice falls without the vibrating silence afterward?"
- Sherry Simpson

I enjoyed the scenic cruising of the Glacier Bay National Park by Golden Princess. At about 6 am in that morning, our Ship picked up the Park Ranger from the Visitor's Centre, and later in the morning, we had the opportunity to listen to the live commentaries as we approached Margerie Glacier as well as the Lamplugh Glacier.

The Cruise ship crossed the Icy Strait before it entered this wild and pristine national park area. This is the last wilderness area within Alaska. There had been some explorations by John Muir by kayak into this part of the remote world. A lot of passengers had gathered on the Observation Deck on Deck 14. It was icy cold, as I felt the chilly winds sweeping across my face. There were some others who chose to see next to the windows in the Horizon Court dining area, while they enjoyed their buffet breakfast. Lots of greens in the salad, with tasty muffins, different kinds of freshly baked bread, smoked salmon, tender chicken meat, soup and etc.

As the ship slowly approached the Margerie Glacier, many of us could see the huge chunk of ice, like the massive tongue , stretching out into the water! The eternal ice reflected the light shining on it. The commentary continued, as there were names being mentioned of the Johns Hopkins Inlet , as well as Muir Inlet which we had sailed past. We were all wrapped in our windbreaker, and shawl, as we admired the grandeur sight right in front of us, marveling at the wonders crafted by the Mother Nature.

For those adventurous, they have to take the floatplanes to be unloaded at the Muir Inlet before they could embark on their solitude journey, within this wilderness area. When you get a chance to disembark at Skagway, there are local companies which organize flights over this magnificent Glacier Bay, and then you can take in the sheer beauty of this immense space of ice, glacier, mountains, and the thick forests beyond. It must be an awe-inspiring aerial view from above! Yes, pay some money and go for this unforgettable experience in the air ! For me, I had chosen to go on a helicopter ride up to the glaciers, and I had the opportunity to walk on the Icefield from Skagway. So, you will soon realize a short trip by cruise to the Alaska area is not good enough, as there are so many activities that you could go for, and time always Never seem to be enough.

Slowly, the Cruise ship started to make their turn , so that those who remained in their stateroom with balcony, could admire at the beauty of these giant glaciers.

In another hour's time, we slowly sailed towards the Lamplugh Glacier. And we saw many little sheets of ice floating on the water.. More ice, sheer white massive spaces...

Alaska Cruise Deals

31Aug - 16Sep
17D Canadian Rockies & ALASKA Cruise (Princess Golden)

I am back from my trip. And I believe a number of you know that I lead tour groups from Singapore. We were lucky as we were blessed with wonderful weather both in Canada, and the Alaska. There were beautiful sunny days except in Ketchikan.

Our itinerary by EU HOLIDAYS (Singapore) covers Banff, and the Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. I am sorry, I couldn't upload my pictures today, as I am experiencing some issues with my laptop (in fact both of my laptops!)

Canadian Rockies

Below is the route of our travel.

Vancouver - Kelowna - Revelstoke
Revelstoke - Banff
Banff - Kamloops - Golden

For those who always love more time to explore, I would strongly recommend at least 2 nights stay in Banff, as it is such a lovely little place, and there are many beautiful scenic spots nearby. If you love trekking or hiking, there are many wonderful trails around.

When I get to upload my pictures later (soon, I hope), you will get to see pictures of the following places:
Emerald Lake
Gondola ride up to Sulphur Mountain
Bow's Falls
Peyto Lake
Moraine Lake
Columbia Icefield by Snow Coach & Athabasca Glacier
Lake Louis (jewel of the Canadian Rockies)

If you enjoy nature, and want to have more time, you could opt to go for a self drive as there are many campsites in the Canadian Rockies. Enjoy your picnic, go for canoeing on the placid lakes, and go on the many walking trails. I will need sometime to write more about each of these places for you.

The cruise that we took was on Golden Princess, and it took us through the INSIDE PASSAGE, via the Glacier Bay National Park, and it lasted for 8 days and 7 nights. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, as there were so many activities to keep us occupied with Zumba/yoga fitness classes, trivia challenges, nightly performances, presentation by the Naturalist on topics about the Alaska Region, wine tasting session, and etc. By the time we finished our cruise, it didn't feel like we actually spent eight long days out at Sea. There are lots of shore excursions for the passengers to get to see or enjoy more out of their Alaska  Cruise holidays.

This is our Cruise Schedule on GOLDEN PRINCESS
Day 1 Seattle (Sat departure)
Day 2 Out at Sea
Day 3 Juneau
Day 4 Skagway
Day 5 Glacier Bay Scenic Cruising
Day 6 Ketchikan
Day 7 Victoria
Day 8 Seattle (Disembarkation)

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Olevia Cheong

Thursday, August 21, 2014

2015 TRIPS

Trips for 2015

NOTE - I will be away leading a trip to Canada + Alaska from 31Aug - 16Sep 2014

21Jan - 10Feb 2015 - Patagonia Trek 

Mar - 9D Iceland Photography Trip (led by local photographer)
Apr - Kashmir + Tulips
06-22Jun - South America (Brazil / Peru / Amazon Jungle)
Jul - Kashmir & Ladakh 
Jul - South Africa + Zimbabwe Camping Safari

Sep - 02-13Sep 12D Greece
Nov - Nepal trekking

Are you ready to explore a new country and travel to somewhere with a group?
Or do you love adventure and travel, but not able to find your own travel kaki?

Patagonia Trek - (21Jan-10Feb)

MALE travel partner wanted!


Last 4 vacancies for June - South America (Brazil / Peru/ Amazon Jungle)

More updates will be added at a later date.


Looking for Travel kaki to Patagonia Trek

Dear all,


El Calafate, El Chalten, Perito Moreno Glacier, Torres Del Paine National Park, W Trek, Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego (Land of Fire)

21Jan - 10Feb 2015

Patagonia, which is located in Chile, and Argentina, has been my dream for a long time. And now, I have set my mind to do the trek there for next year !! JUST DO IT....

Parque Nacional Torres Del Paines home to what is undoubtedly some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Patagonia, if not all of South America. Rising up high above the Patagonia steppe are the 3 impressive granite towers that give the park its name, surrounded by towering mountain peaks, the most famous of which are Los Cuernos and Paine Grande.. This park, has shimmering lakes, sparkling glaciers and cascading waterfalls, and it is also an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including the Patagonian rhea and guanaco, as well as flamingoes, condors and other birds.

W Trek 
This is the classic trek in the Patagonia area, but the maximum altitude reached is only about 1,000 m, and thus most of the people will not have any issue with the mountain sickness. You will walk into the Glacier Grey, French Valley and Los Cuernos ... The best that you can see in the Patagonia with this trek.

Perito Moreno Glacier
We will make our way to this stunning glacier from El Calafate, a little town on the shore of Lago (Lake) Argentino.

Tierra Del Fuego (Land of Fire)
This is a large island separated from mainland South America by the Magellan Straits. Most of the island belongs to Chile, but 30% of the archipelago is in Argentina, including Argentina's southernmost town - Ushuaia. This is Patagonia at its most remote, with a landscape of windswept plains, forests and swamplands, home to rheas, condors, buzzard eagles, seals and sea lions, all of which thrive in these conditions.

Budget - $9k 
Including Return flight to Argentina, and 2 domestic flights,
trek arrangement, hostel//camping, meals on trek, optional activities

Required to walk 5-8 hours a day for the W Trek, with your own pack - 7kg for 5 days.

A few of us are confirmed on going for this trip. A male traveller is wanted to join us, but all other females are welcome to join us.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Floating Market in Kashmir

Dear all,

I like to share some of the photographs that I took during my trip to India this year.

We went under an organised trip and had intended to go there to see the tulip bulbs in their Tulip Festival. However, luck was not with us, and most of the time, by end of March every year, the tulips would have in full blooms, but for this year, there had been too much rain, and thus we were in Kashmir early. In fact, I know of some other friends who went there just one week later, and they managed to take really beautiful shots of those flowers.

In this post, I like to share with you these shots of the floating market, which is uncommon in most of the world, except in Bangkok, and Kashmir. In the morning, we have to wake up as early as about five thirty in the morning. Took some tea/coffee, and then put on our jackets (It is chilly, and about about few degrees in the morning) as Kashmir is located at an altitude of 1,600 m above sea level.

These local people, who paddle their boats and gather at their usual market place to exchange goods which are mainly vegetables and food. As it is still very early Spring, there were little fruits available too.

The locals paddled, and then stopped in the middle of the Dhal Lake, and then some of them would approach another boatman to ask for the price, and before you see the owner, weighing the vegetables to hand over to the buyer. Then there are few other boatmen who need to ply their way around, as there were just too many boats in the middle of the lake. Easily, there were about more than thirty of such boats in the lake.

Please enjoy the pictures. You can fly to Kashmir easily from Delhi with daily connections, but for peak season, starting April , and also the summer months, you will need to book in advance as the groups are all arriving into Kashmir, to proceed overland to Ladakh, the 'moonland' district from there.

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Looking for a package to Kashmir -
Apr 2015 (min 2 to go)

Kashmir overland to Ladakh
Jul 2015 (min 4 to go)

Olevia Cheong