Vesak Day Long Weekend Trip to Ho Chi Minh City from 18 May to 20 May 2019

One month just passed with a blink of an eye. Before I know it, I am already on my way to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Though a short trip, it is always good to be able to get away and spend quality time with family outside Singapore.

This is a key advantage as we are close to many neighbouring countries which is just within 5 hours by flight.

I am always excited when the thought of visiting this beautiful country surfaced. Food, is (of course) the main attraction other than the relaxing lifestyle that draws me here.

Without fail, it is almost a S.O.P. to pamper myself with a good meal at the airport lounge each time prior to departure. This is what I like best about travelling out of the country. The feeling is beyond description.

My highly anticipated lunch at TGM Lounge.

Sashimi Bento Set – An assortment of fresh sashimi.

Beef Shogayaki Set – Sliced beef fried with ginger sauce and onions.

Chicken Teriyaki Set – Pan fried chicken cooked with Teriyaki sauce.

Korean Rice Cake and Dumpling Soup Set – Korean rice cake with kimchi and Kurabuta pork in hot soup.

All set comes with miso soup and steamed rice.

A great sumptuous lunch as always.

Time to depart…….

Swift arrival into Tan Son Ngat International Airport after 1.5 hrs as scheduled.

Headed off to the hotel after immigration clearance.

It is really convenient to travel via taxi (Vinasun) to the city from the airport. The ride to the city centre takes about half an hour.

This time round, I am staying over at the Liberty Central Saigon Centre Hotel.

Woo….Loved the nice & spacious inter-connecting room that I have. ☺️

This is a relaxing trip with no specific itinerary (more for family bonding) given a short 3 day 2 night stay over.

In order to kick start, you need local currency to begin with. 😀

I would always recommend to change the currency when in city centre as the rates are much better.

There is this particular money changer, Ha Tam that I would highly recommend as their rates are certainly one of the best in town.

Upon settling down, it is a standard routine to spend time visiting the usual place that we are comfortable with.

Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon – the exterior structure is still under going restoration works.

Saigon Central Post Office

Alley street shopping beside central post office

Diamond Plaza

Takashimaya Saigon Centre

Saigon Square

Beautiful night view of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City

A new trendiest place for tourist is probably this Cafe Apartment (42 Nguyen Hue), an old eight-storey residential apartment that is occupied by cafes, restaurants and shops that is mainly run by young Vietnamese.

More beautiful night views along the main open square from the City Hall building.

Catching up on food fix goes without saying for sure.

There are a lot of good & delicious food in Ho Chi Minh City; Vietnamese, Japanese, Italian, Indian, etc and best part, value for money. 👍Thus, putting me in a spot. 🤣🤣

Good sumptuous spread of morning breakfast served at the hotel

Enjoying great dessert at Meet Fresh at B2 of Takashimaya Saigon Centre.

Meet Fresh Mochi – the mochi is superbly good with the brown sugar.

Meet Fresh Taro Balls with Crystal Jelly & Noodle Jelly

Strolling and window shopping at Ben Thanh Night Market

Followed by a good dinner at Hai Lua in Ben Thanh Night Market. This is a must dine place each time I visit Ho Chi Minh City. Strictly no compromise.

Grilled Meat – taste like our satay meat.

Shrimp Sugar Cane – one of their local delight.

Water Morning Glory Sauteed with Beef – cooked with oyster sauce with a generous serving portion of beef slices.

Big Grilled Prawn – live prawn grilled to perfection.

Red Snapper Grilled with Salt & Spicy – this is a must order dish. The fish meat is so tenderly good and smooth in texture.

Seafood Fried Rice – another must order dish as it comes with generous chunks of diced squid and prawn.

Vietnamese people loves to hang out in cafes. In Ho Chi Minh City, you get to find a lot of cafes chain with notably popular brands like Trung Nyugen Legend, Highland Coffee, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves, Starbucks, amidst many other smaller cafes joint.

My all time favourite chill out joint is Trung Nyuyen Legend as I loved their internal decor.

It gives the homely feeling.

The place is relaxing & calm especially when having friend’s gathering or simply sitting here doing nothing and watching the world goes by.

Green Tea Latte with Jelly

L’amour Coffee – comes with a tinge of cinnamon

Yogurt with Fresh Fruits

Banana Crepe with Honey From M’drak Mountain

Buzza Pizza is one of those value for money Italian cuisine that is worth trying.

Seafood Soup & Garlic Bread – this is one of the champion seafood soup that I ever had. The tinge of spiciness in the soup gives it a oomph!

Vongole Pasta – another power dish though plain looking. Really tasty.

Hawaiian Pizza – the use of fresh pineapples gives this dish a different turn out compared to the usual canned pineapples that we used to have.

Wrap & Roll is good with local Vietnamese cuisine and wherever possible, I will have the spring rolls here as well to get my fix.

Square spring rolls with crab meat

Wrap & Roll deep fried spring rolls with pork and seafood

Grilled pork skewers

All items will come with a set of vegetables as condiments. Vietnamese people are really healthy conscious as you will have generous serving of vegetables with your meal.

Pizza 4P’s – This is one new Italian joint that I did not get to try the last time round when I was in Ho Chi Minh City. So this time round, I had to make it happen that I get to try.

This restaurant is always jam packed with diners and advance reservation is highly recommended if you want to dine here.

Baked Mash Potato & House-made Raclette

Shrimp & Mushroom Fettuccine

Burrata Parma Ham Pizza – before the Burrata being cut

After the Burrata being cut

Certainly worth the visit 👍👍👍Glad that I came. ☺️

Castella lovers, you should make a trip to Tai Yang King Castella shop to get your fix.

Freshly baked castella cake at affordable pricing.

The process of castella making…

The end product and bon appetit.

Final item before leaving Ho Chi Minh City. It is always a must to visit Gio Cha Minh Chau for my Vietnamese Pork and Beef Sausage.

These sausages are good especially with condiments in Banh Mi and I like to use it for fried rice as it gives out an umami taste when frying it with Thai Fish Sauce.

Hmm…. the mere thought of it already had me salivating…. 😋😋😋

One for the road meal at Orchid Lounge prior to home coming.

This is one of those better lounges that I like. Though simple but serves champion food.

Short staycation has come to an end. As usual, always had mixed feeling about leaving this beautiful country.

Given the short span of time, covering of food grounds is extremely limited with the wide range of food selection available here. A lot of prioritization is required. That is my dilema faced for food fixing trip.

Having said that, I am now one step closer to my Jeju and Seoul trip in a month’s time….. Woohoo……

Till then and hope you enjoy your read.

Food Fixing Trip in Kuala Lumpur from 19 Apr to 21 Apr 2019

The long awaited food fixing trip is finally here. I am always feeling perplexed and in great dilema when the thought of going to KL for my food fix.

Reason being, there are too many good food given the short time span. Each time, there are some must-eat items on my food list and it seems that these are the usual suspects. 😂

They are so good that I do not have enough stomach space to accommodate other items which are equally enticing. 😫 A lot of prioritization is needed and all these arises because I only get to come here once a year.

Well, having said that, it is still a happy and manageable situation to be in.

To kick start the food trail, a great meal at the lounge is a must and this is something that I enjoy especially being complimentary. 😀

There is no price in guessing where. Yes, it will be none other than TGM lounge, my all time favourite.

Japanese Breakfast Set – comes with Japanese style salt grilled salmon, Japanese poached eggs, spinach goma-ae, kimchi pickles, steam rice & miso soup

Daily Breakfast Special – American breakfast (toast bread, fried eggs, sausage, ham & green salad)

Korean Spicy Noodles – served in special hot spicy soup topped with kimchi, sausage, luncheon meat and sliced Kurobuta pork

After a satisfying meal, it is now time to depart for the real stuff.

Swift arrival as scheduled.

I must admit that this is my best KL airport clearance experience ever. Immigration clearance is super smooth and efficient without queues. 😲 A significant improvement over the years. 👍👍👍

Happy to see my reliable limousine taxi driver friend, Mr Lau once again who will see to my ground transportation logistics.

Arrived into St Giles Service Apartment after a comfortable 45 mins ride from KLIA Main Airport.

Really loved the spacious 2 bedroom service apartment.

Without further ado, the food trails starts…..

Commencing with Village Roast Duck (Basement of Garden Mall), the long awaited meal.

Mixed seafood hot & sour soup – so good that you will be tempted to encore another bowl.

Assorted seafood pumpkin broth – their signature recommended soup. Great for non-spicy lovers.

Stir fried four types of vegetable (french beans, egg plant, ladies fingers & petai) with sambal sauce – this is one dish that is not to be missed for spicy lovers.

Roast peking duck with pancakes – value for money recommended item.

Their pancakes wrap is so good and compliments well with the generous serving portion of the de-boned meat.

Special roast duck cantonese style – a die die must eat. The crispy duck skin and the tender de-boned meat goes extremely well with the dark soya sauce.

Barbeque pork (char-siu) – the star of the item for me, so charcoalie good and melts in your mouth type bbq pork.

I notice for this trip, there is a new food street wing extension located in the basement of Garden’s Mall.

Spotted this kafe, Oyster King. Just felt the strong urge to check it out after glancing through the menu.

Superior Fried Oyster – taste different from back home which I am used to. Well, overall still taste good and they are pretty generous with the oyster given.

Oyster King Fried Rice – just so so, nothing great to shout about (certainly I can do better than this) 😉

Enjoying kueh kueh at Nyonya Colors (Basement intersection of Garden Mall & Mid Valley Mall).

Simply loved their kuehs selection.

Thai Mee Siam – something different. Very appetizing with the tom yum paste

Nasi Lemak Pandan – simple yet tasty

Mee Rebus – different from our local version

Finally, I had a chance to try out PappaRich (3rd floor of Garden Mall) in KL. The menu has much more varieties here.

Steamed Homemade Otak-Otak

Fried Dumpling

Chicken Satay

Ipoh Kway Teow Soup with Steamed Chicken

Kway Teow Beef with Ginger

Nasi Lemak with Fried Chicken

Another must eat, Pulau Ketam Yong Tau Foo (Basement intersection of Garden Mall & Mid Valley Mall).

Chee cheong fun yong tau foo. It’s just so good with generous serving portion of the yong tau foo items.

Followed by a nice curry puff at HOMI. The curry puff skin is crispily additive.

Savouring cheap & good Signature Hokkien Mee at Oriental Wok at the Food Street inside AEON Mall.

Alibaba & Nyonya (2nd floor of East Atrium Mid Valley Mega Mall)

Assam Laksa – deliciously good

Fresh Water Prawn Yee Mee – fresh water prawn cooked in thick gravy served on top of crispy fried yee mee, the “wok hei” says it all.

Cendol Gula Melaka – the fine shave ice blends well and it is not overly sweet.

Mikey’s New York Pizza (3rd floor South Court of Mid Valley Mall)

NY Cheeseburger – the classic honest to goodness cheeseburger. Topped off with American cheese, lettuce, onion, pickles, tomato and signature crack sauce

Looks are definitely deceiving, trust me, the burger patty is damn champion!

Snacking at Jinjja Chicken (Basement of Mid Valley Mall at the new wing extension)

6 piece wings with soy garlic sauce

One other joint for local delights, Little Penang Kafe (1st floor North Court at Mid Valley Mall).

Lorbak – tender chicken rolled in soya bean skin and deep fried to perfection.

Otak-otak, spicy fish steamed in banana leaves.

Penang Hokkien Prawn Mee – a northern favourite. Delicious mee & beehoon in spicy prawn and chicken stock. Topped with prawns, tender chicken strips and fried onions.

Penang Curry Mee – a most sought after hawker dish in Penang. Mee & beehoon in coconut based gravy; combined with fragrant and fiery chilli paste. Garnished with cuttlefish, prawns, fish ball and cockles.

With all the calories building up you need a place to shake them off. 😀

This is the place to shake off those excess calories. A nice big gym on the 5th floor of the hotel awaits.

Well, 3 days 2 nights just passed when you are having a fun time getting the food fix. Overall, it has been a great trip as usual. Importantly, I am happy with the accomplishment thus far though I hope more can be done. 😎

One for the road meal at Plaza Premium Lounge at KLIA prior to departure.

For now, I will look forward to my upcoming Ho Chi Minh trip next month for another round of fooding fix. 😉

Hope you enjoy what you read and hopefully you are being inspired by the food presented.

Relaxing Trip to Shenzhen from 11 Apr to 14 Apr 2019

It has been almost 2 years since I last travelled to Shenzhen. I used to visit Shenzhen while transit over Hong Hong for the Consumer Electronics Fair held twice a year in Apr and Oct.

Well, this trip came at quite a last minute when the thought arises from one of my friend. As we have not met each other for the past 2 years, thought it will be good for a meet up for old times’ sake.

This is more of those bro’s gathering that prompted me to join.

What I misses most is the food and massage, so these are additional push factor for this trip too. 😀

I decided to fly in direct to Shenzhen Bao An Airport (for this trip of mine) instead of via Hong Kong which is my usual travel route since this being a super short trip, I do not wish to incur additional time on travelling.

As usual, started my trip with an anticipated meal at TGM Lounge.

Salmon Butteryaki Bento Set – Pan fried salmon cooked with butteryaki sauce & serves with miso soup

Tempura Bento Set – An assortment of deep fried seafood & vegetables served with miso soup

Always love the great dining experience before boarding.

Time to depart…..

Flight was delayed due to heavy rain as cargo handler has to stopped cargo loading activities for safety reasons. Well, that’s part & parcel of travelling. Stay cool and enjoy a relaxing time on board flight.

Arrived safely into Shenzhen airport. Hotel was just 2 MTR stops away from Shenzhen Airport Station.

From there, it is another 10 to 15 mins leisure stroll before reaching the hotel (杰豪皇庭酒店).

Room is super spacious at reasonable rates. Best part, it is owned by a friend of mine. 👍

There is a couple of good foot reflexology joint in Fuyong (福永) and 大唐足道 is one such joint that is worth going to.

It is a must to do ear cleaning and pedicure alongside the foot reflexology. It’s like having an overhaul (similar to sending in your car for servicing). 😀 Strictly no compromise. 😎

Enjoying a super late dinner at 潮汕砂锅粥 along the side street.

Claypot porridge with fresh shrimp & frog leg. Really great for tummy warming especially on a rainy wet night.

Fried cabbage with dried chilli (手撕包菜), this is one of my favourite vegetable dish.

Another favourite egg dish, steam egg (水煮蒸蛋). Look at that silky texture egg. How can anyone possibly resist that!

Typical complimentary breakfast served for hotel guest.

There is a restaurant in the hotel (杰豪粤菜高级食府) that serves great dim sum too and it is also one of my must-eat list as well.

潮州粉果- dumpling wrapped with turnish, dried shrimp & mushroom

腊味萝卜糕 – fried carrot cake with generous serving amount of turnip.

皮蛋瘦肉粥 – century egg & slice pork porridge, certainly awesome as breakfast item.

珍珠咸水角 – fried dumpling, a chewy mochi texture dumpling filled with turnip and dried shrimp.

杰豪虾饺皇 – signature prawn dumpling, also a generous serving portion with hugh succulent prawn filling.

蟹子烧卖皇 – crab meat siew mai, look at the generous portion that you get.

豆浆油条 – fried dough stick with soya milk. This is something unusual where you dip/soak the dough stick onto the soya milk before savouring it.

One other good place for breakfast will be Top One Restaurant (一飛港式茶餐厅) which is conveniently located right beside the hotel.

Signature wanton noodle (招牌鲜虾云吞面). The noodle is springy-ingly delicious.

Toasted luncheon meat & egg sandwich (烘底餐肉蛋三文治). Simple traditional Hong Kong style sandwich for morning brekkie.

Sausage and sunny side up egg add-on to go alongside for a complete meal experience (at least in my own standard).

Food is generally tasty and they do cater for lunch & dinner menu too.

Another must go place is none other than Haidilao Hotpot (海底捞火锅) at Maoye (茂业天地) whenever I am in Shenzhen.

It is located is Futian (福田) area, near to Hua Qiang Bei (华强北).

The prices here is definitely much more economical compared to back home.

I really enjoyed the complimentary hand care session while dining there and the service standard is way more superior compared to back home which is always the reason for my repeated visit.

For those who enjoys dining at 海底捞 火锅, I would strongly urge you to try this outlet and let me know if you change your perspective of dining.

There is one place that I like to go for 焖锅. It is at Simmer Huang (黄記皇). Their special recipe 酱汁 is what makes this dish ticks.

First, the service staff will prepare the stew pot by placing the condiments and vegetables on the pot.

Followed by the main items, chicken thigh, frog leg, fish tofu and inoki mushroom wrapped with beef. (There are many food items that you can pick & choose to your liking)

Thereafter, will set the fire to begin stewing the food items.

Look at the live prawn. So fresh and waiting to be cooked.

After the food is being heated up, the live prawn goes in.

Finally, here comes the star of the dish, the special recipe 酱汁.

The end product…. 😋😋😋

Apart from food, electronic shopping is also one of my key agenda in Shenzhen. The place that I frequent will be 赛格电子广场 at 华强北 as well. So usually after that, it will be followed by having a sumptious meal at 海底捞火锅.

There are a couple of shopping malls in Shenzhen too. 中州购物中心 is one of such. It is located in 灵芝 and is conveniently connected to Lingzhi Station on Line 5 of Shenzhen Metro.

Another mall will be at Coco Park. You may refer to my previous blog, Enjoying Shenzhen for more read up.

Right across the mall is the Lingzhi Park (灵芝公园). It is a nice park and you get to see the locals enjoying the day and relaxing in the park. Really care free lifestyle.

Love this nice horse statue structure located in the middle of the park.

Speaking about parks, there is another park, 忘牛亭公园 near to the hotel that is scenic too. Go and check out this park if you happen to be in 福永.

Spotted this confectionery store, Nayuki (奈の雪茶) while at 中州 Mall.

I was drawn in by the colorful breads and cakes that was beautifully displayed.

荔枝玫瑰 – lychee rose swiss roll.

Isn’t it inviting?

Supreme cheese grape tea (霸气芝士黑提). Uniquely different. 👍

Shopping streets in Fuyong (福永). A lively place that comes to live at night.

Snacking at 波客派. This outlet specialises in fried chicken.

Unfortunately, I had to succumb to the temptation and ordered one of the beer-battered deep fried chicken set meal (啤酒炸鸡套餐) to satisfy my curiousity.

During this trip, I managed to catch up on the latest movie, P Storm (反贪风暴4) as well at the OSGH Cinema.

A great show indeed.

Enjoying a good break at the Guest Lounge prior to boarding.

Hot meal of kimchi ramen

Snacks to go

Well, 4 days 3 nights has just passed while I am having a relaxing fun time. It has been a great trip as usual.

Farewell Shenzhen……

Will now look forward to my upcoming food fixing trip in KL in 5 days time. 😉

Southern Kyushu Trip from 31 Jan to 16 Feb 2019

This is my yearly ritual for my Chinese New Year getaway and the start of a new trip for 2019. You can imagine my excitement by the mere thought of it especially soon after my recent year end trip.

I have initially planned for this trip from 2 Feb to 16 Feb 2019. Unfortunately, the flight tickets are way too expensive this time round which left me worried about having to cancel this trip.

After filtering with the various dates, I managed to get a flight ticket from Japan Airlines at a price that I am prepared to part at least 😂😂 (guess I am left with no other choice unless I am prepared to cancel this trip).

The itinerary for this road trip has been planned with all the accommodation pre-booked in advance, so this is a definite must go. Accommodation costs can set you back on your budget if you booked it last minute. This is also one of the key reason that I have to make things happen.

So with this slight amendment, I will have to depart 2 days earlier on 31 Jan instead of 2 Feb. Luckily, I managed to book the 2 initial nights at a reasonable pricing.

This trip will focus on covering the balance 5 Prefectures in Kyushu namely Saga, Oita, Kumamoto, Kagoshima and Miyazaki. With that, I would have completed the entire Kyushu which means I am left with Honshu and Okinawa to explore.

Having said that, I am good to go for now as planned. Woohoo…..

Without second guess, enjoying a good supper at Plaza Premium and SATS lounge prior to my red-eye flight at 02:20 hrs.

Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa, Kway Teow Soup and Fruity Red Velvet With Pistachio Sauce

It was an uneventful flight as usual and we arrive into Haneda Airport as scheduled at local time 09:50 hrs for my connecting flight to Fukuoka Airport at 12:15 hrs.

This is my first time flying via Japan Airlines and I must say that I am happy and impressed with the flight service. Will definitely consider flying with them again in future.

First meal of the trip at Japan Gourmet Port inside Haneda Domestic Airport

Jakoten (Fried Fish Cake) Udon

Beef Don

Following closely by a steaming pork bun.

Thereafter, proceeded for my connecting flight to Fukuoka.

Here I am after a 2 hour flight.

After claiming baggage, headed off to the airport subway for Hakata Station. It is just 2 stations away and the ride took about 6 mins.

I will be staying over at the Hakata Green Hotel No 2 which is a short walk away from the Hakata Station East Exit.

As it was raining, we have decided to spend the rest of the day exploring the shops inside Hakata Station.

While walking along the alley street from the hotel, just felt compelled to step in to KFC. 😂

The minestrone soup, fried chicken and scone biscuit with maple syrup just taste so good… maybe made in Japan I suppose… 😀

Had a good & fun time sampling free snacks in the various malls (Hankyu, Hakata Ekinaka Shopping Street, AMU Plaza and Deitos). These are some of the interesting things that we do whenever we are in Japan. 😉

Had a good sushi meal at Uogashi.

Followed by more food snacks at A&K Beer & Food Station on Level 10 of Hakata Station.

Beef Steak – goes extremely well with the sauerkraut (german kimchi). Quality is good but definitely no where in comparison to Kobe Beef. Guess I am truly spoilt after my last encounter that I subconsciously tend to compare when it comes to savouring beef. 😂

Seafood Pizza – their pizza crust is thin with a tint of charred makes it tastefully good and importantly value for money at ¥1,000.

It has been a long and tiring day since we started with all the travelling and what better way than to end the night early to recharge ourselves to prepare for tomorrow.

Day 2 – Rise and shine to a nice cold morning at 6 degrees.

Breakfast is at my all time favourite Doutor Cafe near Hakata Station.

This visit holds a special memories to me as it was exactly 3 years ago at this same Doutor Cafe outlet that I first had the experience and fell in love with it thereon. I feel so blessed and fortunate to be back again 3 years later to the same outlet.

After a good charge up, strolled down to Hakata Canal City (within 10 to 15 mins walk from Hakata Station West Exit) for retail therapy.

Hakata Canal City is a large shopping and entertainment complex in Fukuoka. It is often called the “city within the city” as it boasts numerous attractions including shops; cafes; restaurant; a movie theatre.

Hakata is known as the land of the ramens. So a visit to Hakata wouldn’t be complete without having a bowl of ramen. Since I am here, there is no reason not to pay homage to their ramens.

A good way to experience ramen will be to visit the Ramen Stadium on the 5th floor in Canal City. It consists of 8 different restaurants and is a great place to sample ramen dishes from all over Japan.

Most of the restaurants have machines outside where you purchase a ticket and some machines have English menus too. Else, you just need to place order based on the pictures on the machine.

Well, we settled at 本田商店 and ordered a meal set to satisfy our ramen cravings.

Guess you can never go wrong when you are in the land of the ramens. 😅

On the 1st floor of the North Building of Canal City, chanced upon Tempura Tendon Tenya Asakusa Tokyo.

They serve really champion tempura that I simply could not resist. Best part, value for money aka cheap & good. Oishi desu👍

Enjoying “water dance” at the fountain area in Canal City.

After Canal City, popped over to Kawabata Shotengai to continue shopping at their old style shopping street.

Since being in Fukuoka, it is a must to have a meal at Ichiran and what better way than to dine at their Ichiran Honten (flagship store) in Nakasu, Fukuoka.

Ichiran Ramen is a Japanese ramen food-serving business specialising in tonkatsu ramen.

They only serve one type of ramen.

Strolling the street of Nakasu and enjoying the night view.

Kyoto-style home cooking at Obanzai aburi-yaki sake nana restaurant located on Level 9 of OIOI Plaza.

Day 3 – Waking up to our natural alarm clock this morning. Today, we will be departing Fukuoka for Saga.

Had a quick bite at MOS Burger prior to car collection.

Collected my car at Nippon-Rent-A-Car Shop near to Hakata Station West Exit.

I was issued with a Toyota Corolla Axio for the next 12 days road trip. As usual, did my routine car check prior to driving off.

First stop, did a detour to Kitakyushu to Kanmon Tunnel.

Kanmon Tunnel is an undersea tunnel crossing the Kanmon Straits between Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi and Kitakyushu, Fukuoka in Western Japan. This is the direct link between Honshu and Kyushu, two of Japan’s 4 main islands.

Brief history of Kanmon Tunnel

The Kanmon Tunnel at 3,461.4m in length was planned in 1937. Although construction was intterupted by the war, this undersea tunnel was completed 21 years later in March of 1958. Underneath the roadway, the tunnel is even equipped with a path on which both pedestrians and cyclists can pass (780m of which is underwater).

The Kanmon Tunnel and the Kanmon Bridge which opened in 1973 plays an important role even now as major arteries connecting Honshu and Kyushu.

I started walking from the Moji side through the pedestrian tunnel.

From the tunnel entrance, you will need to take a lift to the B1 to commence the start of walk.

Intersection point between Fukuoka (福岡) and Yamaguchi (山口).

Here I am on the other end of the tunnel, Shimonoseki side.

Enjoying beautiful sightseeing coastal view.

Had a superb blowfish and sushi meal at 平家茶屋.

Headed back down to Tosu thereafter. Tosu is a city located on the eastern part of Saga Prefecture.

Checking-in at Chisun Inn Tosu for the next 2 nights.

Interestingly, the hotel is just minutes away from Tosu Premium outlet and we decided to drop by given its close proximity instead of waiting for the scheduled visit tomorrow.

Snacking Cold Udon and Takoyaki at the Outlet Food Court.

Spotted a huge Komeda’s Coffee joint near to the hotel and couldn’t help but stopped by for a cup of kohi and some light snacks.

Certainly a great way to end a great night.

Day 4 – A gloomy and wet morning. Took a leisure drive to Yobuko Morning Market Street.

Yobuko fish market is one of the 3 biggest morning markets in Japan. It is located in Karatsu, in the Saga Prefecture of Kyushu.

Here you will find a lot of local fresh produce. The market is open from 7.30am to 12 noon daily.

Scenic view of Yobuko port.

Street snacking along the morning market street.

Seems like squid is their specialty here.

Next, visited Imari, one of the 2 towns (another one being Arita) in western Saga Prefecture that are known for pottery.

Followed by a visit to Arita Porcelain Park, a small theme park located in Arita Town, Saga Prefecture.

The Porcelain Park is a recreation of a traditional German village and is located just on the outskirts of Arita on the road to Hasami.

Settled for a quick lunch at 旬鲜酒房 in Porcelain Park.

Ordered their premium set and a bowl of udon before heading back to Tosu Premium Outlet.

Continuing with round 2 of retail therapy.

Early dinner at Pietro Italian Restaurant in the outlet mall.

Salad with Butter Baguette

Minestrone Soup with Garlic Baguette

Sausage & Bacon Pizza

Mushroom & Bacon Japanese-Styled Spaghetti

This is certainly one of the better Italian meal that I have had. All the above items are damn power. 👍👍👍

Try it if you have the chance to do so when you visit Tosu Premium Outlet.

As the night is still young, spent the rest of our time along the main street of Tosu.

Had a sweet dessert treat at Bleu Champs Theme Patissiere before calling it a night.

I must admit that this is one of the tastiest Tiramisu cake that I ever had so far.

Day 5 – A bright morning awaits. Today we will be departing Tosu for Oita.

Kick starting our tummy with a great breakast at Komeda’s Coffee.

We will be covering a couple of attractions while enroute to Oita.

1st attraction – Yabakei Gorge, an area of outstanding natural scenery and beauty located on Kyushu in the north of Oita Prefecture, south of the town of Nakatsu.

2nd attraction – Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge, Japan’s highest pedestrain suspension bridge.

It is located in the western Oita Prefecture and is like walking across the sky. Similar to the Mishima Walk that I had in Tokyo.

It presents panoramic scenes of Oita’s verdant countryside, including 2 waterfalls, the Naruko River and the valley 173 metres below.

A shot of observatory deck taken from the bridge.

Had an early lunch at one of the eatery shop near the bridge area before heading off to the next attraction.

While enroute, drove past Makinoto Pass in the mountaineous area. This is a pass (located at an altitude of 1,330m high) connecting Aso and Beppu through the Yamanami Highway. It is also popular with trekkers climbing up the Kuju Mountain Range.

3rd attraction – Harajiri no taki (Waterfalls). One of Japan’s Top 100 waterfalls and when seen from above, the falls are lined up in beautiful arch shaped, thus dubbed or nicknamed the Oriental Niagara.

The Harajiri Falls are about 120m wide and 20m high. It seems as though the waterfalls appear out of the blue in the middle of the flat land.

Beautiful sight and certainly great for picturesque.

There is a suspension bridge above the falls, Takimi-bashi. It provides visitors with a great vantage point to overlook the magnificient falls as well as to get around the site.

Final attraction – Usuki Stone Buddhas, a collection of stone sculptures of Buddhas in Usuki, Oita Prefecture.

In Japan, Buddha statues are usally made of wood or metal. Stone statues are rarer and Usuki’s are the only stone Buddhas in Japan to be designated as national treasures.

Checking in to Hotel Nikko Oita Oasis Tower thereafter where I will be putting up for the next 2 nights.

Spending the rest of the night at JR Oita Station before ending another eventful day.

Enjoying our simple, quiet and peaceful re-union dinner at 大分旬海鲜料理 on 4th floor of Amu Plaza.

Day 6 – Wishing one and all a Happy Lunar New Year. 祝大家在新的一年里; 心想事成, 事事顺利, 财源广进, 身体安康, 万事如意, 恭喜发财!

All time favourite breakfast joint, Doutor Cafe.

After a hearty breakfast, set off to Yufuin for sightseeing.

1st stopover – Lake Kinrin (金鳞湖), famous for its morning mists created when water welling up from hot & cold springs mix.

Can you spot the morning mists?

Beautiful scenery around Lake Kinrin.

How do you like my silhouette shot? 😃

2nd stopover – Yunotsubo Kaido (Yunotsubo Main Street)

“Yunotsubo” is a street near Yufuin Station which gives off the atmosphere of the Edo period. It is filled with a variety of shops which sell Yufuin and Oita specialty products, food, souvenirs and many more. It is always packed with tourists.

Enjoying a good steak snacking

Cooling off at Bee Honey. Their honey is really tasty.

Up close and personal with Mount Yufu while driving up the mountain range.

3rd stopover – Lake Shidaka, a lake at an altitude of 600m located in the Aso Kuju National Park.

It is famous for being designated as one of the best scenery in Beppu Sansho in Taisho Period.

Proceeded to Beppu to spend the rest of the afternoon before heading back to Oita.

Had a good lunch at 味噌乃家 in Youme mall.

Made a pit stop at Tamoura Beach.

Was totally memerised by the beautiful scenic coastal drive from Beppu to Oita.

View of Galleria Takemachi Shopping Arcade from our hotel room.

Going for Yakitori dinner at 五郎一 located inside Galleria Takemachi which is right across the hotel before retiring for the night.

Day 7 – Greeted with a wet morning. We will be bidding farewell to Oita and making our way to Miyazaki.

Charging up at Komeda’s Coffee for a power breakfast before checking out of hotel.

Immediately after check-out, drove off to Umagase while enroute to Miyazaki.

Umagase is a cape that cuts out into the Pacific Ocean. The coastline marked by intricate waterways sandwiched between cliffs.

The cliffs are 70m high and the waves’s splashing against them is an enchanting sight.

Superb view of the Umagase cliff from the Umagase lookout.

Can you spot the Hososhima Lighthouse?

Bonus vain shot taken at Umagase Cliff. 🤗

Hososhima Lighthouse, standing at approximately 100m above sea level was built with red brick in 1910 and was reconstructed in 1941.

Cooling off with their local soft serve at the Umagase Teahouse before moving off to the next destination, Takachiho Gorge.

While on the journey, spotted Joyfull restaurant along the way and decided to step in for a late lunch.

I have seen many Joyfull restaurant for this road trip and had always wanted to check it out but did not have the right opportunity to do so for the past few days.

I am glad that I checked it out else I will be missing out big time. 😀

It is similar to Victoria, Bikkuri Donkey, Saizeriya and Steak & Hamburg.

Verdict : the food is damn champion and super value for money! 😋😋😋 👍👍👍

Continuing my journey to Takachiho Gorge after a satisfying meal.

Takachiho Gorge is a narrow chasm cut through the rock by the Gokase River.

You can enjoy the gorge in two perspectives; one from below by renting a boat and rowing down the river.

Two from above by walking the paved path that runs along the edge of the gorge.

Manai Waterfall is about 17m high and was selected as one of 100 most beautiful falls in Japan.

Sennin no Byoubuiwa Cliff is 70m high. Only the hermits who have divine power can make this beautiful cliff hence the name. (Sennin means a hermit and Byoubuiwa means a wall of rock)

Kihachi no Chikaraishi Rock is a 200 ton rock. According to legend in Takachiho, Mikeiri-no-mikoto got rid of Kihachi whose behaviour is bad and governed Takachiho area. This is the stone which was thrown at Mikeiri-no-mikoto by Kihachi for seeing which of them is the strongest.

Takachiho Three Bridges – you can see three different structured bridges from Takachiho Gorge walking path. The spot you can see three different structured bridges together is very rare. The lowest bridge is called Shin-bashi bridge, the second one is called Takachiho-ohashi Bridge and the highest one is called Shinto-Takachiho-ohashi Bridge.

Onokoro-ike Pond / Onokoro-jima Island is a small island which is in Onokoro-ike Pond. This island is the first island made by deities. In spring, they have a shrine festival at Takachiho Shrine. On the festival day, they will carry mikoshi and go into Onokoro-ike Pond with turning around Onokoro-jima Island three times as purification ceremony.

Checking-in to APA Hotel Miyazaki Nobeoka Ekimae for the next 2 nights.

Nobeoka is a city located in the north of Miyazaki Prefecture and is a small quiet town.

Lady luck must be shining on me. There is a Joyfull Restaurant just behind the APA Hotel and best part, it is open 24 hours. That means I will be able to try more of their menu items given its close proximity.

There is no prize in guessing where to go for dinner next. 😀

Another wonderful meal awaits before ending the night.

Day 8 – mid way through our 17 days’ trip.

Starting the morning with a power breakfast at Joyfull Restaurant.

Made a visit to Aoshima Island this morning.

Aoshima Island is a small beautiful island just off the coast of the resort beaches south of Miyazaki City.

Aoshima is connected to the mainland by a bridge and is ringed by white beaches surrounding a subtropical jungle at the island’s centre.

At the centre of the island is Aoshima Jinja, a colorful shrine set back in the jungle that is said to bring good luck to married couples.

Had a great lunch at Aoshima Cafe & Restaurant beside the garden.

Enjoying the flowers at the garden after lunch.

Scenic view from Iruka-misaki cape along the coastal drive.

Another shrine visit up next, Udo Shrine.

Located on the Nichinan Coast south of Miyazaki City is dedicated to Yamasachihiko, the father of Emperor Jimmu, the mythical first emperor of Japan.