Friday, November 27, 2015

Amalfi Coast

28Nov 2015

Wow, tomorrow, I will be going to Switzerland and Paris with my son, and mother. And this is the first time my 11 year-old boy is travelling to Europe, and he is extremely happy, as he loves the cold weather.

I have been to Switzerland and Paris many times, due to my tour leading job assignments. And I must say the feeling is completely different this time, as we have more time to go around and explore the various places and museums, without having to rush through with time, on a tight schedule on those commercial tours.

And I am doing my research for the next trip to the famous Amalfi Coast, in Italy. And I will add in my research details here on this post, and will come back to update, as I have more details with me. In fact, I was so fascinated by this place ever since I read about this spectacular coastal drive almost 9 years back. I had bought a book from Italy - Amalfi Coast, and there are some write ups and descriptions to the various towns, and communes in this UNESCO Heritage Site.

The most famous towns here -

My plan is to fly into Naples (Napoli in Italian), and then take a train or bus to Salerno, and then travel by bus from the East towards Sorrento, and then proceed back to Naples for the flight back to Rome for my international departure.

Why Travel to Amalfi Coast?


Discover the jewel of the crown -
Sorrentine Peninsula & the spectacular coastal scenery of Amalfi Coast

Sorrento - Salerno (55km)
This coastal drive is unrivalled for its scenic beauty with the rocks, tumbling down right into the sea, and offers splendid views of the ancient towns, and panoramic seascape

The town of Amalfi was the capital of the maritime republic known as the Duchy of Amalfi, an important trading power in the Mediterranean between 839 and around 1200.

Enjoy the Sunny Microclimate here in the Amalfi Coast, for its cool winters

Discover the enviable patrimony of art, history and culture of this region

Experience the Infinite blue of the sky of Campania

The Dates of my travel
31Dec 2015 - 10Jan 2016

Where will I be staying

One night in Naples
One night in Salerno
Two nights in Amalfi
Two nights in Ravello
Two nights in Positano
One night in Mairi

I have been to Naples a few times, but I like to visit the famous Archaeological Museum here.
And I just discovered that the fireworks is the most beautiful here in Italy on the eve of the New Year.

I was captivated by the lovely setting of the town from the movie - Under The Tuscan Sun. And the beautiful view of the town, with its imposing cathedral with the majestic dome, just continued to haunt me, as seen on the picture of this famous town on the internet.

Being a person, who loves nature, and the seascape, I want to go on the hiking trail - Path of the Gods, which according to my research , is not a difficult trail. The rewards would be the sweeping panorama of the Mediterranean Sea and the towns perching on the cliff.

As far as my research goes, this was once the powerful Amalfi Republic, which was once one of the four major Maritime Republics in the past. The four Maritime Republics are Amalfi, Venice, Pisa and Genoa.

Ravello is unquestionably the most elegant of the small cities on the Amalfi Coast.

I will try to visit ATRANI, and MAIORI.

There are buses which travels from Sorrento to Salerno, and passing by these towns of Positano, Amalfi, and etc.

Ferries only operate from April to October. So, I will not have a chance to take a ferry to enjoy the views of the town from a different perspective.
Naples - Sorrento
Naples - Capri
Capri - Sorrento (or Naples)
Salerno - Positano / Amalfi

Try the lemoncello, which is a famous liquer made from the local lemons which are big, and produced here in the gardens of the Amalfi Coast area.

Will update when I get to eat the pizza, macaroni, pastiera cake, and typical dishes of the maritime cuisine includes cold mussel-and-clam salads, Mediterranean fish stews.

I will engage a local guide to show me the way of the Path of the Gods, and  a walking tour in Positano, to understand more of the history of this town.

More Updates and Pictures coming along.

And I will write  a book about Travels in Amalfi Coast after I return.

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User - olevia.explorer

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Holidays in 2016

Dear all,

I have a number of trips line up for the year 2016.

Do feel free to join me if you like the destination, as most of the time, I have arranged for special location to be included in my trip -

Amalfi Coast, Italy
Cambodia & Angkok Wat
Iceland Adventure

The dates of the trips are as follows - 

Amalfi Coast, Italy 
31Dec - 10Jan 2016
Walking, exploring, Bed & Breakfast, photography.
Amalfi region - Positano, Ravello, Amalfi.

Cambodia & Angkor Wat (UNESCO)
03-09Mar 2016
Culture, history, architecture.

Iceland Adventure
28Mar - 08Apr 2016

Catching the aurora borelis.. Lakes, National Park,
options for snow mobile
Soft adventure, sights , natural scenery,
Land of ice & fire.

12D Enchanting Italy
23Apr - 04May 2016
Sightseeing - Culture, history, food.
Includes _ Lake Como, Cinque Terre (UNESCO), and Tivoli Gardens from Rome, Colosseum, Florence.

04Jul - 17Jul 2016
Mt Altai, and camping in the National Park.
Great for adventure, hiking, photography, local culture.

31Aug - 17Sep 2016
Note - High altitude, and camping by Lake Yamdruk for one night.
Sightseeing, and travel to Lingzhi & Everest Base Camp with option to trek to the base camp in about 2 hours.
Travelling in jeep.
Tibet - got to apply for special permit.

Reasonable level of fitness is required.

October -
South America

Will update the blog, and indicate the individual page for the various itineraries.

Note -
I am preparing to launch a book on travel in Bali island, and later Patagonia, and more.
Read about my Bali travels on my other blog -

More Pictures being uploaded to
Username - olevia.explorer

Information -
Hidden beaches, special warung and local eateries recommended by the local,
activities for the family, adventure, diving, etc
Also covering the islands of Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Penida.

To get a FREE COPY of my Bali guide, please visit my website and SUBSCRIBE to my mailing list.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Video of Jiuzhaigou National Park

Welcome back.

I have just uploaded a few videos of the various ponds which I took while I went to Jiuzhaigou National Park, in the Sichuan province in China last year.

Jiuzhaigou National Park
(From Wikipedia)
Jiuzhaigou (pronounced [tɕjùʈʂâɪkə́ʊ]; Chinese: 九寨沟; literally: "Valley of Nine Fortified Villages"; Tibetan: གཟི་རྩ་སྡེ་དགུ།, ZYPY: Sirza Degu) is a nature reserve and national park located in the north of Sichuan province, China.
Jiuzhaigou Valley is part of the Min Mountains on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and stretches over 72,000 hectares (180,000 acres). It is known for its many multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, and snow-capped peaks. Its elevation ranges from 2,000 to 4,500 metres (6,600 to 14,800 ft).
Jiuzhaigou Valley was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1992 and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1997. It belongs to the category V (Protected Landscape) in the IUCN system of protected area categorization.

Sichuan Province
(From Wikipedia)
Sichuan (Chinese: 四川; pinyin: About this sound Sìchuān, formerly Szechwan or Szechuan) is a province in southwest China. The capital is Chengdu, a key economic centre of Western China.
The name of the province is an abbreviation of Sì Chuānlù (四川路), or "Four circuits of rivers", which is itself abbreviated from Chuānxiá Sìlù (川峡四路), or "Four circuits of rivers and gorges", named after the division of the existing circuit into four during the Northern Song dynasty.

Huang Long Scenic Area
(From Wikipedia)
Huanglong (simplified Chinese: 黄龙; traditional Chinese: 黃龍; pinyin: Huánglóng; literally: "yellow dragon") is a scenic and historic interest area in the northwest part of Sichuan, China. It is located in the southern part of the Minshan mountain range, 150 kilometres (93 mi) north-northwest of the capital Chengdu. This area is known for its colorful pools formed by calcite deposits, especially in Huanglonggou (Yellow Dragon Gully), as well as diverse forest ecosystems, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and hot springs. Huanglong is also home to many endangered species including the giant panda and the Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey. Huanglong was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992.

My itinerary
Day 1. Fly to Chengdu. Overnight
Day 2. Drive from Chengdu to Huang Long (8 hours)
Day 3. Visit Huang Long National Park
Day 4 Visit Jiuzhaigou
Day 5 Visit Jiuzhaigou
Day 6 Visit Jiuzhaigou
Day 7 Visit
Day 8 Visit Fairy Pond
Day 9 Depart from Jiu Huang airport to Chengdu.

Getting to Jiuzhaigou
The nearest airport is located at Jiuzhai Huang Long airport. The 3 letter code is JZH. There are flight connections from Chengdu airport, the gateway city to Sichuan Province.

Entrance Fees
You need to buy the tickets directly at the Park entrance - and the last time, we paid 350 RMB.

Peak Season
September and October are the peak seasons for travel to Jiuzhaigou as many flocked to this national park to admire at the crystal clear waters of the numerous lakes /ponds, as well as the various waterfalls within the park.
My friend and I came in early November, and it was already snowing in Huang Long due to its higher elevation at 3,200 m.

Travelling around
You could hire a car with a driver or take a taxi to Huang Long from Jiuzhaigou. This can be done as a day trip from Jiuzhaigou.
As for Jiuzhaigou, it is best you book a hotel within walking distance to the Jiuzhaigou National Park entrance, which will be so much more convenient. Our hotel was located about 20 minutes walk from the Park entrance.

Jiuzhaigou National Park
You could take the shuttle from the Park entrance to the 3 different gully. And in between, you could choose to walk around along the well-marked trails.We walked for at least half a day each, as we wanted to enjoy the nature and the beautiful settings instead of just whizzing past from point to point to just see the view point.

Huang Long Scenic Area
It is less crowded here, and do note that snow comes early due to the higher elevation here. When we were there in early November, it had started snowing. Come prepared with your jacket. However, it is advisable to try to visit this place in October, as it can get slippery along the board walk due to the snow fall.

I will update and give you the recommended hotels located nearby Jiuzhaigou in the next post.

For flight and hotel bookings, you could visit my website -

NOTE - RATE SHRINKER technology which can help you to save money for all your travel bookings.

Watch the video of Jiuzhaigou, which I had posted on Youtube.

Click Below to watch the Video
Five Coloured Pond


More Videos on YouTube.
Olevia Cheong

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Best time to visit Galapagos


The Galapagos island with its profuse wildlife is one place which really fascinates me.
And a quick check, let me realize that January is the best time to actually go there.

People say that Dreams Do Come True. And I must say that I am happy that I had finally made my trip to go trekking in Patagonia in Jan/Feb earlier this year. And I had the chance to travel to South America for the Iguasu Falls, Rio De Janeiro as well as Machu Picchu, one of new Seven Wonders Of  The World!

I did some research on Ecuador and find that the best time to travel there for the Galapagos is actually from January to April.

The information below is taken from the USA Today website.

Best time to visit Ecuador

South American country of Ecuador may be small, but it features an incredibly diverse range of landscapes that encompass numerous attractions. Tourists considering the best time to travel to Ecuador have to take regional factors into account. Four distinct climatic zones exist in Ecuador, each with its own weather patterns and optimal visiting seasons.

Andes Region

The Ecuadorian city of Quito and the surrounding highlands lie along the Andes Mountains. Winter in the Andes lasts from June through September, featuring cool and dry conditions. Winter temperatures hover around 50 degrees Fahrenheit on average. Summer runs from December to March, bringing on slightly warmer temperatures. Summer coincides with the Andean rainy season, so travelers can expect occasional showers. Altitude plays a major role in influencing the relatively low temperatures in this region. Frommer recommends the dry season as the best time of year to visit the Andes of Ecuador.

Pacific Coast Region

Ecuador's Pacific Coast rotates between wet and dry seasons. The rainy season spans December through May. High humidity and hot temperatures prevail around this time of year. Surprisingly, the weather is much sunnier during the rainy season, despite the intermittent afternoon showers. Lonely Planet recommends this season as the best time to visit the beach. Cooler air temperatures appear from June to September, attracting whales and dolphins to the waters along the shore. This period constitutes the dry season, but the skies become overcast and it is usually to chilly to swim in the ocean.

Oriente Region

The Oriente sprawls to the east, consisting of tropical rainforests and marshy lowlands. It rains year-round in this region, but the precipitation levels are particularly high between December and April. Visitors will experience drier weather from August to November. As such, this is the best time for jungle treks. Temperatures in the Oriente reach upwards of 90 degrees during the day, so be prepared for sweltering conditions.

Galapagos Region

The Galapagos  Islands sit over 500 miles west of mainland Ecuador, but this archipelago still belongs to the country. The dry season in the Galapagos spans June to December. The air and ocean waters are colder around this time of year, and the seas tend to be rough. The rainy season commences in December and continues until May. Conditions are warm and sunny, with light rain showers on most days. Visitors can enjoy Galápagos wildlife viewing year-round, but each season has its draws. Sea tortoise and sea lion nesting occurs in the warm rainy season, whereas albatrosses and penguins follow the Humboldt Current to the archipelago in the cold and dry months.

Peak Tourist Seasons

The peak tourist seasons in Ecuador coincide with North American and European vacation periods. Travelers can expect larger crowds and higher prices for lodging and transportation between June and August as well as December and January. Hotels, flights and tour groups fill up quickly during these months. As such, the Lonely Planet Travel Guide suggests making reservations well in advance for trips around these periods.

Off-Season Budget Travel

Travelers can take advantage of lower prices on goods and services during the off-season months in Ecuador. The periods between February and April as well as September and November constitute the off-season here. Many hotels, restaurants, tour companies and transport operators reduce rates over the off-season. Crowds are minimal, and visitors are likely to find cheaper deals no matter where they go.


Aside from universal holidays like New Year, Christmas and Easter, Ecuador boasts a couple of other big celebrations throughout the year. Carnival kicks off in February, transforming the 
weekend before Ash Wednesday into a torrent of street parties, dancing and water-balloon tossing. Also of interest is Ecuador Independence Day. Falling on the 10th of August, Ecuador's Independence Day ushers in a slew of military parades and patriotic festivities around the country.



There are a number of animals, particularly sea birds, that have specific breeding patterns. For example, the waved albatross come from all over to Española Island to stay for the rest of the year. In October, their courtship is at its peak and is a sight to see.

Other animals have specific seasons during which they breed, and are more active or more abundant in the water during these periods. Take a look at our wildlife section and read up on a specific animal to determine if there is an animal season you just can't miss.

Blue footed booby
Where is it found: Can be found on most islands in the archipelago, at the shoreline.
When is it found: All year round.
Interesting fact: During mating rituals, male birds show off their feet to prospective mates with a high-stepping strut. The bluer the feet, the more attractive the mate.

Nazca booby
Where is it found: Best nesting colonies in Genovesa, Española and Floreana.
When is it found: All year round.
Interesting fact: The largest of the three species of Galapagos boobies.

Flightless Cormorant
Where is it found: East coast of Fernandina, as well as on the northern and western coasts of Isabela.
When is it found: All year round. Nesting tends to take place from July to October.
Interesting fact: The only cormorant in the world that has lost the ability to fly. With only 1500 estimated individuals, it is one of the world's rarest birds and is the subject of an active conservation program.

Red footed booby
Where is it found: Colonies can be found on Tower, Darwin, Wolf, Floreana and Punta Pitt on San Cristóbal.
When is it found: All year round.
Interesting fact: Red-footed boobies are strong flyers and can travel up to 93 miles in search of food.

Greater flamingo
Where is it found: Floreana Island, Isabela Island, Santiago, Rábida Island and Santa Cruz.
When is it found: All year round.
Interesting fact: The Greater Flamingo lives around the brackish waters of some lagoons of Galapagos.

Where is it found: Nesting areas on North Seymour, Floreana, Isabela, Genovesa and San Cristóbal.
When is it found: All year round.
Interesting fact: Great Frigate birds steal food in mid-air from other frigates, as well as other species, like red-footed boobies and tropic birds.

Where is it found: Mainly on Fernandina Island and the west coast of Isabela Island.
When is it found: All year round. Most nests are seen between May and January.
Interesting fact: Endemic to the Galapagos, it is the only penguin that lives north of the equator in the wild.

Waved Albatross
Where is it found: The Waved Albatross breeds primarily on Española Island in the Galapagos archipelago.
When is it found: All year round. The eggs are laid between April and June.
Interesting fact: Derives its name from the wave-like pattern of its feathers on the adult birds.

Giant Tortoises
Where is it found: In the wild at Isabela, Pinzón, La Pinta, Santiago, Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal and Española.
When is it found: All year round.
Interesting fact: The largest living species of tortoise, reaching weights of over 400kg and lengths of 1.8mt.

Galapagos Green Turtle
Where is it found: Can be found on most islands in the archipelago.
When is it found: The prime season for nesting is from December to June.
Interesting fact: Males never leave the sea, but females come ashore on beaches to nest and lay eggs on several of the islands.

Galapagos Land Iguana
Where is it found: Endemic to the Galapagos Islands, is primarily found on the islands of Fernandina, Isabela, Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Hood and South Plaza.
When is it found: All year round.
Interesting fact: They enjoy a symbiotic relationship with birds; the birds remove parasites and ticks, providing relief to the iguanas and food for the birds.

Marine Iguana
Where is it found: Can be found on most islands in the archipelago, at the shoreline.
When is it found: All year round.
Interesting fact: Found only on the Galapagos Islands, has the unique ability to live and forage in the sea.

Lava Lizard
Where is it found: Can be found on most islands in the archipelago.
When is it found: All year round.
Interesting fact: There are at least 28 species, including seven which are endemic to the Galapagos Islands.

Sea Lion
Where is it found: Can be found on each of the different islands of the Galapagos archipelago.
When is it found: All year round. Breeding takes place from May through January.
Interesting fact: Feeding mostly on sardines, sea lions sometimes travel 10 to 15 km from the coast over the span of days to hunt for their prey.

Humpback Whale
Where is it found: Particularly around the islands of Bartolomé and Española.
When is it found: July, August and September.
Interesting fact: In the 19th century, the Galapagos Islands were the center of whaling in the Pacific Ocean.

Typical Itinerary on board  National Geographic Endeavour

Below you will find the list of islands as well as the various activities that you can enjoy while you explore the various islands in Galapagos 

Isla Bartolome
Walk to the top of Bartolome's volcanic cone for the stunning view of Pinnacle Rock and the surrounding golden sand beaches
Snorkel among schools of multi-colored reef fish and get an opportunity to swim with Galápagos penguins

Isla Santiago
Follow a path along a series of tide pools and underwater caverns in search of Galapagos fur seals, marine iguanas, sea lions, shore birds, and Sally Lightfoot crabs

Isla Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is the home to the Charles Darwin Reasearch station, learn about the science undertaken here and visit the neighboring captive breeding program for endangered species of Galapagos giant tortoises ; by their partners in conservation, the Galapagos National Park Service. Then, travel to the highlands where the tortoises forage to observe and photograph these tortoises in the wild.

Isla Isabela
Explore the largest island in the group, home to enormous marine iguanas, abundant sea turtles, the only species of flightless cormorant in the world and the only penguin species that inhabits the equator. Cruise by boat and hike against the backdrop of giant shield volcanoes, and snorkel in the cool, rich waters that often draw whales and dolphins to the area.

Isla Floreana
At Champion Islet, snorkel among sea lions, or peer into an underwater world in a glass-bottom boat while keeping an eye out for the endangered Floreana mockingbird. 

Isla Fernandina
Discover the marine iguana haven of Punta Espinoza as we hike over lava flows. Galapagos hawks, sea lion nurseries and the rare Galapagos flightless cormorant will be found as we explore this island.

Isla Espanola

See swallow-tailed gulls, Espanola mockingbirds, boobies, and waved albatross on this birder's paradise. Walk among vivid green and red marine iguanas and unique lava lizards, and observe sea lions up close on a pristine white-sand beach.

Will be updating more information 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Suggested Itinerary - Italy

Dear friends,

thank you for dropping by my site.

I will be updating and adding on Suggested Itineraries to the various countries that I had visited. Hope that it helps you in your planning.

Contact me -
should you have any questions and I am more than happy to help you , and direct you to the right connections/ travel operator for your trip.

Today, will be the first one on my suggested itinerary to Italy.


TOP 10
The list below is the Top 10 places I would recommend you to visit, but due to time constraint, it might be better to visit Italy a second time, say just to cover the Tuscany region with its many hill stations - Siena, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, and etc.

Vernazza, one of village at CINQUE TERRE

Gondolas at Venice

Beautiful Capri Island, Italy

 TOP 10

Today, I like to suggest this itinerary on your first visit to Italy.

Suggested Itinerary

12Days Italy

Day 1 Arrive in Milan
If you arrive in the early morning, you might want to catch up on some sleep in the morning, and then enjoy a walking tour nearby the DUOMO SQUARE and visit the Milan Cathedral. There is a Subway Station to DUOMO, La Scala Square, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II,

Day 2 Milan - Como - Milan
Today, you can join a one day excursion to Como, a lovely town, by the shore of Lake Como. Hollywood star - George Clooney owns a beautiful villa here which is said to cost Euro39 Million.
I love Lake Como, and it is such a beautiful lake and indeed there are many beautiful villas here. Enjoy the serenity, and there is absolutely no night life here in this small town. Go for a walk around this place on your own by foot.
By train - 36 minutes.
Milano Centrale to Como S Giovanni

Day 3 Milan - La Spezia - Cinque Terre
Take a train from Milan - La Spezia
6 45 am - 12 20 pm
5 hour 35 min

And then connects to Cinque Terre from La Spezia by train. Get your One Day Pass for Cinque Terre from the Tourism Office in a hallway off platform 1 at the La Spezia Station.

Cinque Terra means Five Lands, and it comprises the five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.

Cinque Terre is crossed by a knitted mesh of footpaths. The coastal footpath links all five villages, allowing you to be able to hike from the first village to the last village in five hours.

So, it is a good idea to stay overnight at Riomaggiore, if you have intention to go on the hike through all the five villages. Otherwise, Vernazza is a lovely village to stay.
Note -
You can do a shorter walk from Riomaggiore to Manarola on the trail named - Via Del Amore, which takes about 45 minutes. This is relatively easy, and flat, and it is wheelchair accessible. Walk on this trail, and you could see spectacular views of the sea, and there are some sculptures along the way.

Day 4 Cinque Terre
Today, you could go on the full day hike if you like to. Otherwise, just spend time on one of the villages, and enjoy the meals, especially the seafood, and pesto sauce. Just have a relaxing day to soak in the beauty of the colourful houses perging on the hills of the terraced vineyards. Good to take the train all the way to Monterroso, and walk the trail back to Riomaggiore.

Day 5 Cinque Terre - La Spezia - Florence
Travel back to La Spezia by train, and then connect by train to Florence.
La Spezia Centrale - Florence
1 hr 27min

Likely to arrive in Florence by mid day. Go to the Old Town of Florence, and walk the town visiting the famous Florence Duomo (Cathedral), and walk to Piazza Della Signoria, then go on to Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge which was spared from the destruction during the Second World War.
Try to ascend to the top of the cathedral to enjoy views of Tuscany.

Day 6 Florence 
Today, go visit the Accademia Gallery for the Michelangelo's David, Uffizi Gallery for the numerous paintings, Palazzo Pitti. There is possibility for you to book online to pay a fee to skip the line, and visit the Gallery with a guide.

Day 7 Florence - Siena - San Gimignano - Florence
Make a day trip out to visit Siena (UNESCO), and San Gimignano. There are local companies organizing this. Or you can book online.

Highly Recommended
Do visit the Siena Cathedral. There is a Piccolomini Library inside. Note you have to pay to enter the cathedral.
You are not allowed to take pictures inside the Piccolomini Library, and the following pictures were taken from the book, entitled - Siena Cathedral & the Cathedral Museum, which I bought inside the Cathedral.

Pictures of Piccolomini Library and Siena Cathedral.

                                                                  St John the Baptist

Pius II Convokes a Diet of Princes at Mantua to proclaim the Crusade against the Turks.

Enea Silvio Makes an Act of Submission to Eugene IV.

                                          Ensea Silvio Crowned Poet by Emperor Frederick III.
*** I simply love the Piccolomini Library & Siena Cathedral!

Day 8 Florence - Venice
Florence - Venice
1 hr 51 min
Explore Venice on foot, visiting the Palace Dodge, St Mark's Basilica. Stay overnight here on this beautiful and romantic place, where no where else can beat the ambience.

If you have more time to spare, spend another night in Venice, and travel the next day to Burano, and Murano islands.

Day 9 Venice - Rome
Venice - Rome
2hr 56min
Explore and go walk by foot and you can easily go to these three places as they are reachable by foot and only within 20 - 30 minutes walk from each other.
Trevi Fountain, Piazza Espagna, Piazza Navona

Piazza - means Square

Day 10 Rome
St Peter's Church, Vatican Museum.
To go to Vatican Museum, you can buy ticket to skip the queue too. If you go to the line waiting outside the Museum, you will often be approached by people who will offer you this service. Note - On certain days, the queue is really long due to the arrival of guests or visitors disembarking from the Cruise ship for one day in Rome.

Day 11 Rome
You can join one day tour out to Hadrian's Villa or to Catacombs, which you could book online easily.

Day 12 Departure

I will be back to offer you other itineraries for just exploring Tuscany  -
Florence, Siena, Cortona (Filming location of Under The Tuscan Sun), San Gimignano, Montepulciano, etc.

Another itinerary will be solely on the island of Sicily.


Olevia Cheong

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tibet 31/8 - 17/9 2016

Grand Tibet Adventure

31Aug 2016 - 17Sep 2016

The trip is confirmed .

Highlights -

1. Xining - Qinghai Lake

2. Train ride - Qinghai-Tibet train from Xining - Lhasa

3. Nyingtri (4D3N)
 - Bayi / Darksumtso / Lamaling Temple
- Lunang Village

4. Lhasa - Potala Palace, Jokang Temple, Bharkor

5. Namtso Lake - the largest lake

6. Yamdruk Lake (4,400) - camping one night

7. Shigatse

8. Gyantse

9. Rongbuk Monastery

10. Everest Base Camp
- OPTION to hike to the Base Camp

From Singapore, we fly to Chengdu, and then connect by flight to Xining.

The reason for flying to Xining (2,275m) to stay 2 nights is to try to acclimatize, as Lhasa is located at a plateau with an altitude of 3,490m above sea level. It had happened many times that people fly into Lhasa directly on the first day of their travel, and end up with serious mountain sickness. There are people who had to be flown out of Lhasa when it gets serious, and it affected young people as well, not just the senior people.

On this trip, I have added in Nyingtri /Nyinchi / Linzhi which is the prefecture level city, with the administrative seat at Bayi town. There are forested parks here, and beautiful lakes, as well as local village at Lunang.

No trip is complete without visiting the famous Potala Palace! We will also visit the Drepung & Sera monasteries. Then we will move onward to the two lakes - Namtso Lake as well as Yamdruk Lake.

The Potala Palace (Tibetan: པོ་ཏ་ལWylie: Po ta la, ZYPY: Bodala) in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region was the chief residence of theDalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. It is now a museum and World Heritage Site.
The palace is named after Mount Potalaka, the mythical abode of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. The 5th Dalai Lama started its construction in 1645 after one of his spiritual advisers, Konchog Chophel (died 1646), pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government, situated as it is between Drepung and Sera monasteries and the old city of Lhasa. It may overlay the remains of an earlier fortress called the White or Red Palace,on the site built by Songtsän Gampo in 637.
The building measures 400 metres east-west and 350 metres north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 m. thick, and 5 m. (more than 16 ft) thick at the base, and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes. Thirteen stories of buildings—containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues—soar 117 metres (384 ft) on top of Marpo Ri, the "Red Hill", rising more than 300 m (about 1,000 ft) in total above the valley floor

                                                                     Picture - Internet

Namtso Lake
Namtso Lake is the highest lake in the world sitting at 4,718 meters (almost 3 miles) above sea level. Some 60 kilometers (37 miles) to the northwest of Damxung County seat, it is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet and is adored by the local people. During the Tibetan year of sheep, pilgrims from far away come to walk around the lake, a mission that takes over ten days to complete.
Legend has it that Namtso Lake is the beautiful daughter of nearby Bam Lake. She was married to the Nyainqentanglha Mountains. As time went by, she could not stand the frigid weather and loneliness any longer and so, with a sad heart, threw all her jewels, ornaments, and necklaces into the lake. Thus, it is said that there are boundless treasures at the bottom of Namtso Lake.
And another highlight of our trip is to enjoy one night of camping at Yamdruk Lake.
                                                                  Picture - Internet
Yamdruk Lake (From Wikipedia)
Yamdrok Lake (also known as Yamdrok Yumtso or Yamzho Yumco; Tibetan: ཡར་འབྲོག་གཡུ་མཚོ་Wylie: yar-'brog g.yu-mtsho, ZYPY: Yamzhog Yumco; Chinese: 羊卓雍錯湖; pinyin: Yángzhuō Yōngcuò Hú) is a freshwater lake in Tibet, it is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet (28°56′N 90°41′E). It is over 72 km (45 mi) long. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams. The lake has an outlet stream at its far western end.
Around 90 km to the west of the lake lies the Tibetan town of Gyantse and Lhasa is a hundred km to the northeast. According to local mythology, Yamdok Yumtso lake is the transformation of a goddess.
Then we will continue our journey to Shigatse, Gyantse, and Shegar. Visit Rongbuk Monastery, before we arrive near Everest Base Camp, and there is an option to go on the trek for 2 hours to reach the base camp.
We welcome for a few more people to join us on this trip.
Olevia Cheong
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Monday, October 12, 2015


I am happy to share what I did in Dubai when I have 2 days there on my return flight from Amsterdam.

Many people have heard of Burj Al Arab, the self declared 7 star hotel in Dubai. That has become the iconic landmark of Dubai city, and you can find many minitiatures of this sail-shaped hotel available for sale.

I had decided to go for the high tea at Burj Al Arab. After a quick check with their website, I realized that the hotel offers two locations  for the high tea.

Sky Tea - Skyview Bar

Price - AED 620 per person (not available for Friday)

Sahn Eddar 

Sahn Eddar is located on the first floor and offers Live Entertainment 7 days a week.
Dress Code - Smart Casual

Price - AED 500 per person inclusive of non alcholic beverages
        - AED 560 per person inclusive of a glass of Champagne

Skyview Bar

Located on the top floor of Burj Al Arab, Skyview Bar instantly matches expectations with unrivalled views of the Palm Jumeirah and The World islands, is inviting you to experience a magnificent afternoon tea. Enjoy a selection of tea, coffee, sandwiches, pastries and cakes served with a choice of delicious homemade jams and the mouth-watering Devonshire clotted cream.

Time - First seating - 13:00 & 13:30; Second Seating - 16:00 & 16:30

Though I was very tempted to go for the choice of Skyview Bar, I went to Sahn Eddar in the end, as  I dont think it would be a great view in the afternoon given the change of weather from summer to winter. The view after sunset from the Skyview Bar will definitely be spectacular, of the cityscape of this vibrant city, with certain of the illuminations.

High Tea at Sahn Eddar

7 Course
Selection of Tea

I will now share with you the food items I had eaten at this sumptuous High Tea. I love it so much, and it is really worth every single cent of the money I paid.

White Chocolate "Petite Pot" with Strawberry.Panna Cotta

                                                Assortment of Finger Sandwiches

                         I have a small appetite and after eating all these sandwiches, I was almost full.

Duck Confit Pie, with Ceps and Foie Gras with Cranberry Dressing.

Reminds me of our Chinese dim sum

Freshly Baked Scones 

Devonshire clotted Cream & Homemade Preserves


 I took this little Raspberry mousse with white chocolate. But there are actually more selections to the 

French Pastries.



                                                         Sparkling Date Juice

                                             Blackcurrant & Hibiscus Tea

                                                   YOU SHOULD BE HERE !

I will be back to go up to the Skyvew Bar on the Top Floor.

If you have a sweet tooth just like me, you must not missed this incredibly delicious and sumptuous High Tea at Burj Al Arab!

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