Bosphorus Cruise, Istanbul


Late in the afternoon, we were at Eminonu Harbour, the ticket for the Bosphorus Cruise is 12 Turkish Lira and it go through the waterway separating the two continents,. Europe and Asia with a possibility to take photography of marble palaces, ancient wooden villas of Ottoman architecture besides modern resdentias and luxurious apartments.




Our tour is operate by TurYol, 90 minute cruise nonstop from Eminonu by the Galata Bridge, up the Bosphorous  to the Faith Bridge, then turn around and return to Eminonu.




Our last night in Istanbul, we tried to enjoy every minute of it. Not really impress of this cruise as you can simply take a ferry or a boat from one town to another and it is cheaper than the cruise, the journey is about 25 m9nutes to 30 minutes.  From the domestic airport to Istanbul we took a ferry to the old city and the ferry has travel the similar route as Bosphorus Cruise.




We took a tram back to the Sultanahmet to have our dinner at one of the Korean Restaurant. We went back to our hotel to have a early night.





Alishan Nature Park, Taiwan

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It took us about 3 hours to reached Alishan Mountains,  half way up to the mountains, it was fogging and the roads totally covered by the mist. All we can see is misty white covered a large part of the mountains and the reserve. We got into park and found our way to check in our hotel, the tour company had booked us into a lousy village hotel, every where we can see dirt and spiderwebs around the walls and floors.

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The staff working there were very friendly and we  booked our additional trips to visit the reserve and  morning sunrise with them.  Our driver was not allow to take us into the reserve, it was a regulation set by the reserve, and  we must wake up at 3.00 a.m. in the morning for this mini tour. We been offered 2 tours – one is by the train which we  will see only the morning sunrise and the train trip and another more expensive tour  which covered all the important landmarks in the Alishan and cost 3 to 4 times different.

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Ailshan National Scenic Area is a mountain resort and nature preserve in the mountains of Chiayi County. The reserve is about 415 square km in area which include wilderness, four villages, waterfalls tea plantation, Ailshan train station and hiking trails. This place is popular with tourists and mountain climbers, and it become one of the major landmarks in Taiwan.

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Ailshan is well known for the sunrises, and on a beautiful day one can observe the sun come up on a sea of clouds in the area between Ailshan and Yushan.

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We went for our walk to the train station and in time to see the sunset, then we went to the local restaurant to have our dinner which they offered steamboat and various dishes as a package deal.  Enjoyed our dinner and wine, we back to our hotel to have an early night for the next day excursion. When we reached our hotel,  the place were full of butterflies and moths, I have never see such a great varieties of these before.  So spent a great time time taking photos of the butterflies and moths and totally forgotten I need to wake up at 2.00 a.m. the next morning for the mini tour.

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Zhi Gong Temple, Kaoshsiung, Taiwan


We have our lunch in a restaurant and on our way to tea testing.  The factory is on the side of the main road and lot of coaches with loads of tourists busy testing the different favor of tea and titbits.  I couldn’t resist the titbits of dried fruits but I don’t fancy chinese tea so I didn’t buy any of that.  To be fair , even though I am not expert in tea but do like the tea which we been given to drink. The tea is light and smooth to my throat and that is good  bag of tea for me.

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We are on our way to Alishan, and stop over at a Tao temple known as Zhi Gong Temple.  We had enough of temples visiting and hopefully this will be the last one. I am not sure the name for the temple  but it is beautifully and grandly built and preserve for the locals believer to do their prayers.   The temple facing a metal-chain built bridge over a wide flowing river.  It is dry season  in Taiwan so we can go for a walk on beach to stretch our legs and beside this beach there is steps leading to the top of the mountains  but we are not sure we can hike there.

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After our paying our respect to the Zhi Gong we walk around the local shops and bought some titbits and drinks as we still have a long drive to Alishan.  I thought Taiwan is not a big country but I am surprise that we spent more times sitting in the mini bus then tripping around the landmarks of Taiwan.

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Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (佛光山佛陀紀念館)


On our 2nd day in Taiwan, to visit the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center in Kaohsiung (佛光山佛陀紀念館). When we reached the center the vans, cars, coaches are not allow to park in front of the center. Part of the center are still under construction.  Walked into the main hall are shops selling gifts, collectible sculptures and local foods to tourists.

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The Fo Guang Shan Buddha is behind the main hall and entrance fee is not free. The site is situated immediately behind the main temple and covers more than 100 hectares. The complex faces east and is built along a central axial line. There is the Welcoming Hall, the eight Chinese-styled pagodas that stand for the Noble Eightfold Path, Photo Terrace, Bodhi Square, Memorial Hall, four stupas that symbolize the Four Noble Truths, and the Fo Guang Buddha.


This center is like a museum than a temple there are engraving and paintings on the wall on  The  the story of Buddha Enlightenment and walking along the paths there are sculptures of Lo Han.  At the main hall of the Fo Guang Shan there are two different temples where the Buddha and Guang Yin at site for the believers to pay their respect.


We spent half of the day at this center and stop a one of the shop for our lunch, then proceed to our next destination of tea testing at the tea plantation

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Anping city, Tainan, Taiwan (安平城 – 台灣)

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Our  first day in Taiwan, where we reached the airport at 5.30 a.m. and waited 3 hours for my husband and son to join us from Hong Kong.  My friend arranged for a tour company to supply us a driver to guide us all round Taiwan.

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Our first destination is Anping City in Tainan to visit Anping Old Fort.  The weather in July is humid and hot, it took about 2 hours from the airport to the Anping Old Fort. We were quite tired and our children preferred to sit out then walked in a old museum gallery.

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Fort Zeelandia  – 熱蘭遮城 was a fortress built over ten years from 1624 to 1634, in the town of Anping (Tainan) on the island of Formosa (present-day Taiwan), during their 38-year rule over the western part of that island. Although the site was previously named Orange City (奧倫治城), Anping City (安平城), and Taiwan City (台灣城), the current name of the site in Chinese is Anping Fort (安平古堡).

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During the seventeenth century, when Europeans from many countries sailed to Asia to develop trade, Formosa became one of East Asia’s most important transit sites, and Fort Zeelandia an international business center. As trade at the time depended on “military force to control the markets”, the value of Formosa to the Dutch was mainly in its strategic position. “From Formosa the Spanish commerce between Manila and China, and the Portuguese commerce between Macao and Japan could by constant attacks be made so precarious that much of it would be thrown into the hands of the Dutch.

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We had about 2 hours visiting times in this place  and then we went to the mo cho temple to do prayer. We stop at the restaurant for tea and enjoyed the local cuisine of King Prawn roll and then we drove to visit another gallery and the driver will drove us to our hotel to check in and at 7.00 p.m.  we will go to visit the night market  around Anping City.

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We had our dinner at the night market and stroll from stall to stall trying all the different foods. it is so cheap to eat and shop in Taiwan.  before we called a night, we found a massage palour and to massage our foots.  We have a fantastic foot massage from the staff. We only stay for a night a Tainan and bad event happened to the city where the night market was, the underground gas pipe burst and killing hundred of the locals and tourists a day after we left Tainan.  I would love to use my photos to tribute to those locals and tourists being killed in this unfortunate accident.

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Phoenix Ancient Town “Fenghuang, China – Day 6

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I have learn my lesson; in China I don’t have to wake up at 6.00 a.m., as the morning sun rise  around 7.00 a.m. I am ready to go for my morning walk around the riverside and love to see the local scenery where the tourists were still in bed.

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Phoenix is in an area of outstanding natural beauty where mountains, water and blue skies. Upon arrival visitor will be impressed by its air of mystery, elegance and primitive simplicity. This is a world that is dominated by the color green. The mountain slopes are covered with green foliage, the fields are green and even the Tuo Jiang River reflects the greenery. The bridges over the water and unique houses built on stilts display a harmony that is so often portrayed in traditional Chinese paintings. This is particularly true when mist pervades the scene in the early morning or after rain. It soon becomes apparent that the claim to being one of the two most beautiful towns in the whole of China.

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I am lucky this morning as the sun-ray reflected through a tree and shone on the pavement, The multicolor created a halo whenever someone walk through it.  I have not seen this scenery in Avatar Mountains but happy to see it here.  After about half an hour the mist covered part of the river and slowly the river was totally covered in mist. It was spectacular view and it lasted only for 10 to 15 minutes.


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The locals  use the river to do their washing, bathing, washing food and vegetables. This morning the local were busy washing clothing, faces, swimming and bathing in this river. Some workers were collecting the rubbish from a boat and others were putting stones on the river to create a walking path across the river.  I am impressed by the simplicity  life style in this little town.

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When I  was back in Singapore about 3 days  and read from the newspaper report that this town have been covered by flood. the water rose above to the top of the bridges  and about 140,000 tourists and locals have to be excavate to a safe place. My heart go to these locals and wonder how long will it take them to rebuilt their homes again.

I will continue my this last part of journey in my next blog as I was too sick to join the tour after this Phoenix Ancient Town.

Phoenix Ancient Town (Fenghuang), China


After our visit to Red Rocks Forest, Zhangjiajie, China, our driver proceed to drive us to Phoenix Ancient town also know as ‘Fenghuang’. It took about 3 to 4 hours to reach Phoenix Ancient Town and the hotel which we booked online do not has any car park  so our driver had to let us off behind of the hotel. It about 10 minutes walk to the hotel and once we check in, we took our dinner at the restaurant in the hotel


It was not expensive to eat in the restaurant as my children and one of my friend didn’t want to go shopping in the nite at the Phoenix Ancient Town. We left the hotel around 8.30 p.m. and our guide arranged for the driver to take us to visit the nite market where there were stalls selling local crafts, and embroidery.


There is an entrance fee charge for entering into this town, it used to be free of charge but the local governments want to charge tourists for visiting this town so the monies can be used for upgrading this town.


‘Fenghuang’ is Chinese for ‘Phoenix’, the mythical bird of good omen and longevity that is consumed by fire to be re-born again from the flames. Phoenix Ancient Town is so called as legend has it that two of these fabulous birds flew over it and found the town so beautiful that they hovered there, reluctant to leave.


There were lot of locals and tourists in this town and it was surrounded by the river. We were shocked to see that lot of night clubs or bars have notices that Japanese are not welcome in their clubs. The shops and the streets are brightly light up and there are bridges for tourists and locals to cross over the the other sides of the river.


We did some shopping and went back to the hotel around 10.30 p.m. as our guide will meet us at 8.30 a.m. the next day. This is quite a different experience as we didn’t expect night shopping in this ancient town and all the shops opened till 11.00 p.m.