Day 2 Highlights

Wooden Houses of Woloan Village 

Vegetable Fields in Rurukan Village 

Mount Mahawu 

Lunch at Astomi Restaurant on Lake Tondano 

Lake Linow, Sulfur Lake 


This is a continuation of the pervious article on engaging a private tour with Safari Tours & Travel Co. in North Sulawesi for the whole family!

Click here if you are interested in how we spend our Day 1 with Safari Tours & Travel Co. at Manado! 

So now, let’s just dive right into Day 2 experiences! Since Day 1 was all about getting wet at Bunaken Island, near Manado city, so the following day, it was all about soaking up the sun and all its concomitants in the more rural areas!

Honestly, I did not expect to be inundated by the marvellous beauty of the mountainous countryside of North Sulawesi. Near the city of Tomohon and Tondano, you get to experience quirky villages, lakes that are so serene and air so amazingly fresh as you travel up the hills passing lustrous greens of vegetable fields. It was such an enrapturing encounter, especially for nature enthusiasts, where you can get a little taste of what the local area has to offer! Just amazing!


Day 2 Highlights: Wooden Houses of Woloan Village

The journey was about an hour’s car ride from our Mercure Manado Tateli Beach Resort to our first highlight of the day- the quirky little village of Woloan just about 2 km away from Tomohon city centre!

The sky was in its perfect cerulean blue and placid white fluffy patches of clouds pasted randomly all over. It was a pretty amazing day for exploration in the countryside. Since Tomohon is located on the mountainous region of North Sulawesi, the vicinity around it, like the Woloan village, experienced much cooler temperatures ranging in its 20s oC!

When we got out of the Safari Tours & Travel Co. van to take a nice walk around, we experienced the perfect bucolic surroundings of Tomohon. With temperature at about 20 oC odd, definitely much cooler than at Manado city (which was sweltering), and accompanied by the slow paced vibe of the countryside; everything all seems to be in the perfect cosmos as we wandered off to look at the incomplete (yet accessible for viewing) humble wooden knocked down houses.

To me, Woloan village is described as quirky because it really wasn’t like the typical village we would normally have had in mind. It was basically a place where the making of wooden products happen. In Woloan village, you could see how the Minahasan style houses were being built by the carpenters. You get to see the knocked down parts of a wooden house that were ready to be shipped or delivered.

For someone who is intrigued by carpentry and wooden house craft, this is probable a nice pit stop! According to our tour guide, the humble houses that we saw, which were built along the roadside, were actually up for sale. If you were interested, you could buy it straightaway. The house you were interested to purchase would be knocked down, and shipped to your address, along with an assembler, so you need not worry about assembling the house yourself!

And of course, a quirky little village calls for a few quirky family shot initiated by the brother truly; and photographer: the girlfriend. Haha! 😀

Because these wooden houses are known for its quality and good workmanship by the skilled carpenters, Woloan village receive orders even from resorts at Bunaken Island. Interesting… …


Day 2 Highlights: Vegetable Fields in Rurukan Village

Next up, was to drive towards Mount Mahawu, but to get there we had to pass Rurukan village, which had the most beautiful vegetable fields I have ever seen. Located at the foot of Mount Mahawu, this is a must stop place en route up Mount Mahawu. Just a 20 minutes odd drive from Woloan village, this place just screamed perfection; where the blues meets lustrous greens.

I reckoned this wasn’t part of our itinerary pit stop, it was meant for a pass by to Mount Mahawu. But after looking at the beauty that passed us by whilst in the van, it was just such a pity not to ask the tour guide to let us out to see the view and fill our lungs with the amazing cool crisp air (which, I will not lie, has a tinge of fertiliser smell- if you know what I mean). Of course, it had to have that smell, we were, after all, in an agricultural vicinity right? 😀 #ecotourism?

Hectares of plant terraces and hills that stretched beyond, and overlooking the city sprawling beneath it, just sunk me into the whole agricultural scene that I don’t get much off back home. A really pleasant experience with a good change of scenery once in a while!


Day 2 Highlights: Mount Mahawu

An approximately 5 minutes’ drive upslope from Rurukan village and we finally made it to Mount Mahawu! Or at least 1 step closer to the vantage point at Mount Mahawu! Really excited I was! I mean, it was my first time up a volcano! 😀

Well saying it was ‘1 step closer’ really is just a figure of speech. ‘Cause looking at the entrance, it was a hell load of steps up up up to the viewing point! There was no rest benches for respites (if I did recall correctly), only hand railings were built in the middle of the steps all the way to the top (which is better than nothing huh?).

Elevated at 1324 metres above sea level, the crater of Mount Mahawu is 180 metres wide and 140 metres deep with a distant backdrop of Mount Lokon. Once up at the viewing deck, we all had an unimpeded view of the dry crater beneath us. Though the sun shone fiercely at us all with darting sunrays, but since we were at least a thousand metres above sea level, the weather wasn’t really warm and humid. Cool breeze and all… …

The tour guide informed us that we could take a walk around the volcano. It would probably take about ½ to 1 hour? We decided not to do so, since it was already past lunch time. Hence, to ensure we made the most of it, considering the fact that we had actually arduously climbed a bunch of steps up, we decided to just follow the trekked path slightly inwards to see what other angular views of the horizons we could be getting.

And boy, was it amazing. Though, the tall grass and all were hindering our views, but we could definitely see the city sprawled beneath us. It was pretty doped! It reminded me of when I was up on Mount Wellington when I was in Hobart, Tasmania.

Just the thought of overlooking upon everyone down below was, to me, just a very serene experience somehow. It made me feel that the world is so huge, and sometimes, our problems aren’t really that big a deal and we should just think positive and move on- one deep breath at a time. 😀

On a side note, I believe it is my duty to inform everyone that at the entrance of Mount Mahawu laid a toilet facility. Thank you to whoever decided it was a great idea to build one, seriously. Having been on the road for a few hours from Manado City and having a few respites and all, sometimes nature calls are really larger than us, you know? ;P


Day 2 Highlights: Lunch at Astomi Restaurant on Lake Tondano


Jl. Peleloan, Maesa Unima, Tondano Sel., Kabupaten Minahasa, Sulawesi Utara, Indonesia

Personal Rating:

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Total Damage  (per pax)

~ IDR $117500

We were definitely ravenous after all the climbing at Mount Mahawu, and it was time to have our late LUNCH! About a 30 – 40 minutes odd drive from Mount Mahawu down to Lake Tondano, Astomi Restaurant it was!

This restaurant stood on stilts on the waters located along the ever so tranquil Lake Tondano. We had to walk on a gangway made of wooden planks to cross over.

Never did I expect to be so impressed by the food that was served at this restaurant. I am not exaggerating at all when I say how prefect the food was. From the side dishes of stir-fried Kang Kong (Water Spinach), and some other vegetable (I have no idea the name of), to the corn and fish fritters and of course, the main star dish: mini lobsters, oh my goodness, they were all amazingly delish! For those who are allergic to prawns and lobsters, fret not. Another good option could be fried Tilapia fish. It was really good too!

We ordered a set each; 5 mini lobster sets and 1 fried Tilapia fish set. Each set came with a plate of vegetables, and 1 – 2 plate of fritters? I really do not know, ‘cause when the dishes came, they came in a swarm! I reckoned that because we ordered so much, they combined a few fritters into a single plate for us all to share. But what was definite, was that the mini lobsters was a plate for each person; which mean 1 person had about 5 – 6 mini lobsters! Oh man, that was mini lobsters heaven for me and my belly jelly!

Astomi Restaurant was so kind, they threw in 1 more extra plate of mini lobsters no charge at all. More lobster delights for all to share! Perfecto! With an amazing feast on the table, and the serene Lake Tondano as the backdrop, it was a lunch not to forget. I really wouldn’t mind heading back there again for a taste of the delish lobster at that reasonable price!

It was an impeccable late lunch experience by the lake, as we felt the cool lake breeze and enjoyed the calming waters and scrumptious meal prepared for us! My only issue was the pesky houseflies that kept hovering hungrily for our food and drinks. But for the delectable served with such a perfect backdrop, the houseflies aren’t even going to bother me. We just had to exercise some arms swiping whilst eating! 😀


Day 2 Highlights: Lake Linow, Sulfur Lake

It was already evening, with our bellies all well-fed after that incredible lunch. Even during lunch, we could already see the sun slowly creeping back into the horizon. If we had more time, our tour guide mentioned that we could go to the hot springs which was actually en route to Lake Linow. But since it was already quite late, we headed straight to Lake Linow, passing the hot springs.

Either because the sky was getting dark and most tourists had already visited Lake Linow earlier in the day, or the vicinity around Lake Linow was undergoing revamping hence most tourists wouldn’t want to visit this place for the time being, but either way, there wasn’t a soul there other than us.

It was quiet and melancholic. As compared to the afternoon at Rurukan village and up on Mount Mahawu, the scene at Lake Linow was a 180 o change. Gloomy and a little depressing. Lake Linow, when I visited, reminded me of those movies or dramas where the actor would take his row boat out into the lake in the thick fog, and just disappeared- no screams no body found, just vanished into the thick fog.

I was a little disappointed because I was pretty excited to see the change in the colour of the lake. The tour guide mentioned earlier in the day that waters in Lake Linow could change colour due to the sulfur content present in the water body. The sulfur present in the lake was said to be due to the Mahawu eruption that happened years years ago.

With the sunrays reflecting and refracting on the lake in the bright morning or afternoon, and accompanied with the sulfur content, that would explain why the waters in Lake Linow changed colour. Since sulfur is yellow, the water in Lake Linow would change between hues of yellow, amber, green and blue. But because, it was already close to dark, all we saw was a single shade of murky green. Haha! #maybenexttime

By right we should be able to smell the pungent odour of the sulfur from the lake. But when we were there, we didn’t really experience that. Probably if we had come earlier in the day, we might smell the rotten egg odour of the sulfur?

Alas, when we visited Lake Linow, the facilities were in renovating progress; the side roads and all. The café was also not in operation, and all lake activities also seized operation. We saw some Swan Leg-Paddle boats, which, if they were operating, could allow visitors have a go at wandering along the banks of the lake. That sounds intriguing… …

If you are wondering if swimming in the lake is allowed, then maybe we should all take a deep breath and think twice if we would want to soak our delicate bodies in high sulfur content? Haha! That should be your answer right there. 😛



(a) Early morning at Lake Linow (reshuffling of itinerary sequence?)

As you would know, I wished we had the opportunity to see the changing colour of Lake Linow, but due to the timing of the day we were there, we experienced a melancholic sight. But hey, it was still all pretty cool and all.

Hence, I do suggest the best time to visit Lake Linow would be in the early morning when the air would still be crisp, the surroundings in serene and the temperature by the lake still being cool and chill. I bet the experience by the lake in the morning would bring about a pleasant and tranquil moment that would fill anyone up with wonderful memories and beyond!

Thus, probably putting Lake Linow as the first sight of the day to visit would be a better choice? Followed by Mount Mahawu before lunch? That could be a suggestion.

(b) Set off from Manado City earlier

It was literally a whole day affair, and we still missed out certain little aspects of the tour itinerary. Not that the whole trip wasn’t fun and all, but in hindsight, the timing can be adjusted a wee bit.

By the time we were up on Mount Mahawu, it was already slightly past lunch time, and had we set off slightly earlier, we would be right on track. I reckoned a comfortable timing to set off from Manado City would be around 8.30 am or even earlier if you would like to visit Lake Linow at an even much earlier timing in the morning.

(c) Proper footwear please?

Regrets in life happened at specific moments of the day when you thought to yourself how brazenly you felt you could survive climbing up and down a volcano with slippers on. What was I thinking at that morning? Hey, I have no idea… …

Climbing up a gazillion steps to the vantage point on Mount Mahawu was not at all easy with slippers. With poor gripping underfoot and walking on unlevelled ground, wearing slippers does make me feel that the strap was about to snap and give up on me. Oh imagine if that had happened… … Then I would have to walk around barefooted, and how enhancingly close to nature I would have been. Hhhhmmmm… …

Picture does speak a thousand words, but trust me when I say, you need to be there to really believe it. Believe that there’s just so much more out there in this world. Believe that there’s so much beauty in this world.

So get out there, and explore! Remember to Travel Whenever!


Day 1 Highlights

Snorkelling at Bunaken Island + TIPS? 

Christ Blessing Statue 

Dinner at Wisata Bahari Seafood Restaurant 

Manado, capital city of North Sulawesi province of Indonesia. With majority of the locals being Christians, it is not uncommon to see so many churches just within walking distance from each other. Sitting in the van, passing through a village or city centre, the number of churches that zoomed us by was just endless, initially befuddling I have to add. A peaceful place to visit for a nice relaxing getaway with the entire family.

Blessed with weather that was perfect enough despite being close to wet/rainy season (November – April), was something I cannot complaint about. Surely it was not blazing shaft of sunlight piercing through the cloudless sky, such that the waters in the surrounding seas are crystal clear with no washed up debris. But at least, it was not raining or melancholic that water activities would have to be unfortunately cancelled.

It was a short family vacation of just a few days, and 2 of those days were imperatively well spent with Safari Tours & Travel Co. in Manado. So let’s jump right into Day 1 of it!


Day 1 Highlights: Snorkelling at Bunaken Island + TIPS

To me, snorkelling was the highlight activity during this entire Manado trip. I was very much excited for it. This was my first time snorkelling with my family as sidekicks. The most recent snorkelling was in the Philippines- whale shark watching (which I hardly feel it was snorkelling at all, considering the fact that I was trying to brave through my fear, haha!)

Click here if you are interested in my whale shark watching experience!

For those ardent scuba divers, Bunaken Island which is just a quick boat ride away from Manado, would definitely be a top diving spot. I am not a diver, but even just mere surface snorkelling and glass bottom boat viewing was quite enough to entice me. Could only imagine a whole new world if I would be able to dive into the sea at least 1000 metres down under to appreciate the walls of the magnificent coral gardens and the amazing biodiversity!


The Safari Tours & Travel Co.’s van came to pick us from our resort at around 9.30 am to the jetty, and by 11 am (ish), we were engaged in the first mini activity of the day: glass bottom boat viewing of the corals and marine wildlife!

The boat ride to the viewing vicinity of corals was about a half hour or so. It was definitely a nice start to the morning with the sea breeze just howling and pressing against your skin as the boat advanced towards Bunaken Island!

The glass bottom boat viewing was pretty nice; we get to see some vivid colours of coral colonies, fishes, turtles, and even blue starfishes! It was pretty cool. And for members of the family not into snorkelling, at least they wouldn’t miss out on this aspect.

After glass bottom boat viewing, we disembarked on Bunaken Island for just a short while to get our entrance ticket/tag to the Bunaken National Marine Park. It was IDR $150k per person, and the validity of it is an entire calendar year. You will get a waterproof laminated entrance tag that you will need to bring along with you as proof when there would be any random checks by the park rangers on land or at sea. The laminated tag was also a nice souvenir to bring home! 😀

Then the main highlight of the day: snorkelling! YAY! 😀

We got geared up with life vests provided and into the ocean we went! While everyone was all busy fitting into their life vests, first into the waters was my elder brother- all so very eager to try out his new snorkelling gear in the ocean.

It was an enjoyable and definitely memorable snorkelling experience, for the fact that my father got drifted quite away from the main coral colony; and the boat man had to throw in a safety float to pull him in towards the boat.

It was close to wet season, thus the water current was a little strong. We all had an arduous swim just to remain in the same position and not being carried away by the current. I, myself, was inching away slowly despite swimming hard and looking at the corals. #multitasking

It was how calm my father was at that moment when he realised he physically wasn’t able to fight against nature’s current that he very much so casually called out for help. And because he did it so casually, my brother’s girlfriend, who was up on the front deck, thought that he was joking, and didn’t thought it was a crisis.

As a result, she did not really panic to get help from the boat man. My mother, who wasn’t out at the front deck, even thought that it was my younger brother who wanted the float instead. Basically, I could only imagine the whole scene on the boat to being very calm, while my father was out in the open sea drifting away, and away… …

It was hilarious, just thinking of it now- how dramatic!

It was only until much later when we all went up to take a breather for all the arduous swimming that we realised what had happened. It was hilarious because of how calm my father was; and not alarming the masses when he needed saving! Hah… …!

After all the swimming and fighting against the current, oh boy were we jaded and mad hungry. On Safari Tours & Travel Co., lunch was provided back on Bunaken Island. A nice simple meal of rice, fish and vegetables to share. It was a nice satisfying lunch, excluding the fact that stray dogs and cats were lurking around us for scraps of our food. 😀


(a) Combat motion sickness?

The boat ride can be a little bumpy; so for those who are seasick prone; do get ready some small puke trash bags, and prior to the boat ride you could pop in a seasick pill if you need.

I am quite prone to motion sickness; and I recall the most recent encounter was en route to Phi Phi Island, back in Krabi, Thailand. I wasn’t prepared then; and neither was the guide on board. Haha! Luckily she managed to find a giant trash bag for me or I might had puked all over myself on board.

So this time, yes, even though I didn’t pop in any seasick pills, I decided to try a method I like to call: Getting on with the flow… … Though it wouldn’t work for all situations; so maybe popping seasick pills and trash bags are your next best friends.

So how this works is; when I feel like sitting on the boat was making me soon-to-be queasy, I stand right at the front deck of the boat. You know like in the movie: Titanic, when Jack opened Rose’s arms, and she thinks she was flying scene? Yeah, but not asking you to re-enact the scene with your lover, ‘cause that could be very dangerous considering the fact that you would by now be feeling dizzy and all. Haha!

Just stand near the front deck with no peripheral obstructions, grabbing on to any handgrips, and just look towards the sea horizon right in front of you. Look far and wide. Get on with the flow of boat; moving up and down, according to the waves as it crashes against the boat. And at the same time, just enjoy the unimpeded view! Going with the flow of the boat, and seeing the motion of the boat helps your body and mind adapt to it, and hence, voilà, no feeling of puking! What’s not to love about this method right? 😀

Of course this method works only if you are on a private tour; where all the passengers on board are basically people you know; and of course if you are not on a fast chase speed boat. I reckon this method would totally be disengaged when I was on the group tour on the way to Phi Phi Island in Krabi, Thailand. The guide would imperatively tell me to sit my arse down like everyone else, as we were on a speed boat and all.

(b) Do not panic, just call out for help

When it comes to you against nature; what I have learnt from this trip and seeing how many father handled it amazingly is to be calm. Panicking will make everyone panic along with you and getting those who can save you (probably) have a mental block; which doesn’t work in your favour. Of course, it is definitely easier said than done. And I wonder if I was the one in my father’s shoes how will I react.

Hhhmmm… … Maybe I will just scream for help; and drown my lungs with salt water; and yup… … the rest is history.


Day 1 Highlights: Christ Blessing Statue

We returned back to shore on Manado towards the late afternoon. Seeing that we still had some time before dinner, my father told our tour guide, Freddy, to drive us to the Christ Blessing statue located at the peak of the CitraLand residential estate.

This Christ Blessing statue stands at 98.4 ft which is fairly much comparable to the world most iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. Built by a protestant property developer, this statue has now become a new icon of Manado city as of the recent years!

A very calming sight to see on top of a hill; where the local residential houses were sprawled all below your peripheral vision; and with what it seems like Bunaken Island as the backdrop? Though I am not too sure if it is really Bunaken Island or some other.


Day 1 Highlights: Dinner at Wisata Bahari Seafood Restaurant


Bahu Mall Complex, Jl. Wolter Monginsidi 1, Kota Manado, Sulawesi Utara, Indonesia

Personal Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Total damage (per pax)

~ IDR $227241.66

Oh seafood oh seafood; glorious fresh seafood! Dining at Wisata Bahari Seafood Restaurant was basically having dinner with a view and amazing sea breeze! It was so cooling that evening after a slight rain earlier, that everything was just perfect.

There was a variety of fresh seafood, from crab, to mantis shrimp, to lobsters for your choosing. We ordered 2 crabs cooked in different sauces, 2 grilled mantis shrimps cooked in butter garlic, grilled fish, a mixed vegetable dish and 1 hotplate bean curd. It was the a satisfying seafood dinner after a long day at sea. Really delicious!

With the amount of seafood we had ordered at such a reasonable pricing, and with a view so beautiful, there really isn’t much complaints at all. Just all in a perfect cosmos.

The epically dramatic snorkelling trip with the family, the nice mini city sightseeing to Christ Blessing statue, and amazing seafood dinner at Wisata Bahari Seafood Restaurant; all these just sums up our first day trip with Safari Tours & Travel Co. in Manado!

Oh boy, wait till we experienced what was installed for us the next day! That would be interesting!

Picture does speak a thousand words, but you need to be there to really believe it. Even for the not so avid divers, Manado is a nice place to chill, have relaxing snorkelling (on dry season; when the sea current is not strong) and have yummilicious seafood everday! Manado is imperatively a nice getaway for the whole family!

So let’s believe that there’s just so much more out there in this world. Believe that there’s so much beauty in this world and Travel Whenever!


How to get there?

Dress appropriately?

What you might experience?


Operating Hours:

Wat Rong Khun

Weekdays: 08 00 – 17 00

Weekends: 08 00 – 17 30

Art Gallery

Weekdays: 08 00 – 17 30

Weekends & National Holidays: 08 00 – 18 00

Entrance Fee:


Recommended length of visit:

1 – 2.5 hours

(depending on how intense you want to immerse yourself into the temple enigma)

A trip to a temple is definitely not something I would be intrigued by in the past; I am more of a cathedral kinda girl. I was, and still am, into spires that reach way up high into the sky, not to mention the vintage architecture and at times, not so salient but fascinating details engraved into the thick concrete pillars.

Well, all that changed when I saw how majestically unique Wat Rong Khun was on Google! The white structure that glistened under the sun was a win for me instantly!


How to get there?


Since we had the car, getting there was pretty simple and so straightforward; with the help of Google Maps of course! We stayed at The Imperial River House Resort in Chiang Rai, quite centrally located I would say. But then again, with a car, anywhere is centrally located. Haha! 😀

From the resort, it was approximately a half-hour drive to Wat Rong Khun. The landmark to look out for would be the Central Plaza Chiang Rai; this mall was our beacon when travelling around Chiang Rai.

Tuk- Tuk

Not renting a car? Then the tuk-tuk is probably the next most convenient alternative! There are public buses to be taken from platforms 7 and 8 at the old bus station; which costs 20 baht each way. But in my opinion, that’s just a hassle, unless of course, you are on a budget.

But with the time spend walking and searching for the old bus station (there are two bus stations- new and old), it really does save time and effort by hopping on a tuk-tuk instead! I am sure you can haggle over the price with them too. Best of all, you could ask the tuk-tuk driver to wait for you. So it’s a two way package.


Dress appropriately?

To enter the main Wat Rong Khun temple building, visitors need to dress appropriately; meaning no shorts, no short skirts, no tank tops and definitely no spaghetti strap tops (applicable to both guys and ladies). They have staff stationed at the entrance and would call out to you if you are inappropriately/ indecently dressed.

Safe dressing would probably be those baggy pants that you would see being sold literally everywhere in Thailand, and literally almost every tourist was wearing it (both guys and ladies). I got mine from Siem Reap in Cambodia at USD $2.50. I regretted not getting more; they were so comfy like PJs! The ones sold in Thailand were definitely priced more than USD $2.50, just FYI.

For skirts, the staff present was pretty strict about the length of it. I saw her chasing a mother and daughter out because of their skirt length. They were wearing skirts with length to their knees, well… … I reckon that was considered inappropriate according to the staff. So to play on the safe side, if you really want to wear a skirt, keep it long to below the knee? Preferably near to the ankle area?

I wore a tank top during my trip there. I could enter and roam the vicinity of temple, which includes the temple gardens, the other smaller buildings and all that jazz. However, to enter the main Wat Rong Khun building, I had to put my outer layer on; which made me look like some hipster hobo. But oh well… …that works too!


What you might experience?

Wat Rong Khun

Obviously the highlight has to be the main Wat Rong Khun building. This white temple is just ethereal with a concinnate blend of white purity and dark impropriety. Upon arrival at the site of attraction, the Wat Rong Khun just shined like the leading star it was meant to be. Hordes of people from everywhere posing in front of and beside the building even before entering.

At the entrance, you would be greeted by morbid heads that hung from the trees with grassy mosses growing out of them; heads of humans, ghouls, demons, Gollum and Batman. Yup, you got that right… … Gollum from The Lord of the Rings and Batman, well… … from Gotham City!

I was honestly surprised when I saw Batman’s head hanging from the tree in the temple gardens. Gollum, I can (sort of) understand… … but Batman?!?! Haha! It was hilarious! I never expected to see a superhero within temple grounds. Because isn’t that worldly affairs? Hhhhhhmmmm… …

To get into the main temple hall at Wat Rong Khun, you would need to cross the bridge guarded by two demon guardian sculptures on each side; and passing a myriad of hands reaching for the surface. The ocean of hands, on both sides of the bridge, intensely reaching for the surface just gives me the shudders.

In my humble interpretation of what these all meant to me is that the hands represent the sea of the dead. Because they were trapped in their worldly affairs when alive, hence, even at death they couldn’t let them go that they were still unhappy. As a result, they are stuck in this plight and are trying to reach for someone to grab onto; to pull them out. Or if you think about it from another perspective; maybe they are trying to pull someone to join them? I don’t know about you, but that’s how I felt. It was quite a morbid few seconds of thought after I saw this.

Photography isn’t allowed within the temple hall, and footwear has to be removed before entering. The temple hall is a small space, with a monk sitting at the centre meditating, and people praying alongside. There was a painter busy beautifying the walls of the temple hall during the time I was there. The painter does have some extraordinary skills I have to say.

What caught my attention were SpongeBob SquarePants and Spiderman. Yup, I am not kidding… … Mr SquarePantsee and Spidey were painted (though not very prominent) onto the wall in the temple hall!

I recalled making a quick comment to J asking, ‘Wait, is that SpongeBob? What is he doing here?’ And J responded, obviously without thinking much, ‘Oh so now we know SpongeBob is a deity. Likewise for Spiderman.’

I was speechlessly puzzled! It was hilarious.

Golden toilet

Within the site of Wat Rong Khun, there exists one prominent golden building just beside the main temple. You couldn’t ever miss it. Alas, during my visit, it was codon off to the public. Probably you would have better luck on your visit!

Garden vicinity and surrounding buildings

With majority of tourists flooding the main Wat Rong Khun building with selfies and wefies, to achieve somewhat serenity (if even possible) would be to amble around the garden vicinity! There are actually quite a few things to do and see.

For instance, making a wish in the wishing well which has zodiacs characters engrave around its rims? 😀

If that isn’t to your fancy, then writing down your wishes and prayers on an aluminium key-looking ornament and then hanging it up for 30 baht?

As you wander through the temple garden, you would see hundreds of such ornament being hung up. Some under the sheltered walkway, and some made into a tree- like structures! It was pretty amazing.

The main Wat Rong Khun building is not the only white building within the site. Somewhere towards the back exists such a white building too. Not well patronise by tourists, this is a great spot to avoid the crowds and get a shot without being photobombed by people. Obviously this building is not like the leading star of Wat Rong Khun upfront, but this is good enough!




Operating hours is between 8 am and 5 pm. I would suggest arriving at Wat Rong Khun between 7.30 am to 8 am if you want an unimpeded shot of the main white temple building, and to avoid the entourage of tourists flooding in in the late morning.

Take the shot NOW!

I was complacent in thinking that I would have a next time to get the shot I wanted.

Because of the hordes of people, I wanted to return back the next time to get a better shot with fewer people. But good lighting waits for no man; or woman. The next time we were there, the sky was melancholic; totally regretted my decision.

During this trip, I learnt one thing. Take the shot when there is good lighting! DO NOT wait! You might never have a second chance to!

My trip to Wat Rong Khun was not really complete as constructions and decorations are still ongoing. Many areas were codon off to the public too. So maybe you would have better luck than I had!

This article has been converted to a travel article app on GPSMyCity. For more information, click here.

So Travel Whenever!


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Bridestowe Lavender Estate

Bay Of Fires

Cradle Mountain

Of all the time spent in Tasmania that one Summer time, and having visited both Hobart and Launceston, it is limpid to me now to consolidate my thoughts- these two cities give off totally different vibes.

On one hand, Hobart gives me the rich historic, at times shuddering, blast- into- the- past vibe. When I think Hobart, I think Port Arthur immediately. Then images of the penal settlement and all those that comes with it, came sloshing back into my head.

Click on the links for more detailed articles on Port Arthur and on the things to do in Hobart!

Sights & Sounds: Tessellated Pavement State Reserve, Port Arthur

Sights & Sounds: Historic Site, Port Arthur

Sights & Sounds: Coal Mines Historic Site, Port Arthur

Treks: Cape Raoul, Port Arthur

And on the other hand, Launceston gives me the bonanza- of- nature vibe. When I think Launceston, I think Cradle Mountain. I think of all the trek trails I had been on. How invigorated I was, and how honestly just plain happy I was. It is simply amazing that a simple activity in the woods can be so galvanising.

It is quite an enigma to why Taylor Swift kept asking if she was ‘Out Of The Woods Yet?’, when I would love to spend more time In The Woods. Huh… Huh…Get it? Get it? Out Of The Woods, and wanting back Into The Woods? No? Okay, was talking baloney. 😀

(And here right now, is an episode of how I really do love T.Swift. Evidence of my hopeless excuse to try to infuse her lyrics into this article. HHhhmm… …)

Alrighty, back to topic. So by now, you should have roughly guessed which part of Launceston is my favourite! Cradle Mountain; if you hadn’t already guessed so! 😀 But Launceston is way too huge to concentrate on only one favourite! That’s just so much one can do, and worth doing! So here are my Top 5 MUST DOs in Launceston Tasmania! Let’s spiel… …


Cataract Gorge


🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

3 – 4 hours; depending on whether you just want to have a short leisure saunter or if you want to do the simple trek trails; which is longer.

Admission Fee


Visitation Suitability

Everyone & Anyone who loves nature. Awesome for family gatherings.

The Gorge is located strategically within walking distance from Launceston CBD. This site is the perfect place to spend a day at. With easy grade walking trails options, it is basically a place for light trekking within the city’s vicinity! Super convenient and totally awesome-making! Nature within the city? Say what now?!

The Gorge has facilities like the world’s longest single span chairlift, the outdoor swimming pool, and my personal favourite- the iconic Alexandra Suspension Bridge; because it makes the perfect photo backdrop! Haha…! How typical, I know.

With treks trails that cater to people with varied level of fitness, the Gorge is very family-friendly. There is even a play area for kids too!

Lunch at the First Basin Café is also a great food option with views overlooking the outdoor swimming pool and the open greenery. With hindsight, after a nice walk to sweat it out, this eatery is the place to be at to binge on some good food to satisfy those voracious pangs.

With The Gorge offering cliffs of nature beauty and being so accessible, no wonder this is a MUST DO in Launceston!

Click on the link for a more detailed article on The Gorge!

Sights & Sounds: Cataract Gorge, Launceston


Wineglass Bay


🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

1 full day (inclusive of beach time! Yay! :D)

Admission Fee

AUS $12 – $123; pricings are for adult national park passes of different categories.

Click on National Park Passes for more information.

Visitation Suitability

Nature Lovers. Trekking Lovers. Beach Lovers.

With its curved circumference of a coastal beachline that may take on the shape of the bottom of a wineglass, it’s my personal speculation that its name is given because of the very obvious reason? This walk gives you the best of both worlds. Why so? Let me illuminate you.

Image taken from: http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=1478

Image taken from: http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=1478

Firstly, the walk from Wineglass Bay Carpark to the Lookout will give you a pseudo aerial view of the beach and the vast sea! The crystal clear waters of blue that glistens under the strong afternoon rays, along with the curved coastal beachline from the lookout is totally a site for a lunch respite with a view! This is something no luncheons at fancy restaurants can beat, now can they?

Secondly, the expedition down to the beach will give you the opportunity to reward yourself for all the arduous trekking. Unwind on the coastal sand, meander along the white sandy beach, or take a dip in the luminous waters? Your pick!

We definitely spend a teeny bit more time on the beach before heading back! I am sure we all deserve it. 😀

Hence, a tip? Do start off the trek early, so you have more buffer time to spend chilling by the amazing beach! You honestly will not regret it!

A day spend trekking and some beach time? This seriously got to be the way to have it all- a MUST DO in Launceston!


Bridestowe Lavender Estate


🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

2 – 3 hours

Admission Fee

AUS $7.50/pax during the period of lavender blooming (1st Dec – 31st Jan).

Visitation Suitability

All those who love to embrace the floral field or those who want a chillax at the café with a mind-blowing purple vista as the backdrop.

(First-timers to a floral field patch will be awed. Trust me. Been there, felt that!)

This lavender estate is just an ethereal beauty. With the vast field of purple and a peripheral vision of distance fogged mountains, this place is just perfect to spend a quiet morning along aside a cuppa at the café. I do suggest an outdoor sitting to placate the enthralling jolt of the calming purple field.

There’s quite a few places to explore within the estate. The distillery over at the wooden shed operates after the lavender blooming period. I reckon it is worth a pop by.

Of course, the star attraction would imperatively be the transcendent purple hues. The best time to visit this sight would be during the Summer months. December to January would be lovely!

Mesmerising picturesque landscape? Check! A café option for chilling. Check! What more could one ask for to spend a thwart-stress day! Definitely a MUST DO in Launceston!

Click on the link for a more detailed article on Bridestowe Lavender Estate:

Sights & Sounds: Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Launceston



Bay Of Fires


🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

1 – 2 hours
Admission Fee


Visitation Suitability

Those who love a beach that has a tint of orange feistiness.

This sight is definitely worth a come by especially at sunset. The orange rays from the sun enhances the tint on the rocks, making the colour all the more conspicuous. Love it!

The Bay of Fires will impinge on you a whole new level of beach waves crushing rocks. The sea breeze howling, crashing waves serenading and the orange lichen that encrust the rocks makes meandering through it, all the more adventurous!

This is undoubtedly the best way to end off the day exploring; a MUST DO in Launceston to unwind!

Click on the link for a more detailed article on the Bay of Fires!

Sights & Sounds: Bay of Fires, Launceston


Cradle Mountain


🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

4 – 5 days
Admission Fee

AUS $16.50 – $123; pricings are for adult national park passes of different categories.

Click on National Park Passes for more information

Visitation Suitability

Nature Lovers. Trekking Lovers.

So I have saved the best for last. And yes! I adore the Cradle Mountain region most. It was probably the highlight of the entire Launceston vacation. With so many amazing trek trail options that all seem so enticing, my only regret was not being able to spend more time to explore.

The exuberant trekking trips on the various trails available just makes me want to implode with excitement when reminiscing them. With the walks through alpine rainforest and endless vistas that comes with every trekking trip, it is no wonder this region is dub a ‘walkers’ paradise’!

The world famous Cradle Mountain with Dove Lake just sprawling at its foot is an iconic photo to take home. An approximately 3.5 hours (with plenty of time to snap pictures and for lunch) trekking odyssey around the Lake will give you different angular perspectives of the Cradle Mountain zenith.

Canoeing trips provided by Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge during the Summer is also another alternative to have the Mountain experience to remember forever!

During a hot Summer’s day, the spires of the Mountain against the cloudless cerulean sky is the perfect wallpaper! So how can I not say this is a DEFINITE MUST DO in Launceston!

Click on the URLs for more detailed articles on the Cradle Mountain region, YOU WON’T REGRET!

Treks: Lake St Clair National Park, Cradle Mountain

Treks: Dove Lake And Canoeing, Cradle Mountain

Treks: Marions Lookout, Cradle Mountain


So there it is, a list of Top 5 MUST DOs in Launceston Tasmania where I am able to say with conviction that you will bound to make the trip to Launceston all worth your ride!

Hope this helps! And remember to Travel Whenever!



Pak Kung Au -> Lantau Peak -> Wisdom Path -> Ngong Ping


4 km (2.5 miles)

Average Trekking Time:

~ 5.5 – 6 hrs (includes lunch & photo snaps)


🙂 🙂 🙂


🙂 🙂

How to get there & back?

Trekking Route- Lantau Trail Section 3

After trek thoughts?

Attractions at Ngong Ping


When people think of Lantau Island, they probably would be thinking of the Giant Buddha Statue (a.k.a Tian Tan Buddha Statue). Since the airport is pretty close by, people would actually replace their bore transit time (if they have quite a few hours (5-6 hours) to kill) in the airport and take a mini trip down to visit this renowned touristy site.

The 34- metres tall bronze statue faces the North, overlooking the sprawling land of Chinese people. This majestic statue is one of Hong Kong’s most famous tourist hotspot. People from land near and far, the East and the West, would come to this place and immerse in the most galvanising cultural experience of a lifetime.


How to get there & back?

Getting there – Pak Kung Au (starting point of the trek)

Nearest MTR station

Tung Chung

(Exit B)

Bus 3M

Take bus 3M from the bus terminal just next to the MTR station.

Bus ride is approximately 40(ish) minutes? I honestly cannot remember, as J and I were busy chatting away.

TIP #1?

There are time schedules for when the bus departs. It is located near the bus bay you are suppose to board at.

So look out for the digital time board, and if time permits, grabbing a morning bite or coffee at Citygate Outlets mall just adjacent to it; can make the morning wait so much more blissful. Haha…! #lifesimplepleasures

TIP #2?

There is no official bus stop shelter at Pak Kung Au, and if you are going there for the first time, you may not be familiar with the terrain.

So… In hindsight, inform the bus driver where you are intending to alight.

Also, sit close to the driver, so both of you can communicate. 😀

If I did not remember wrongly, the bus ride was paid using the Octopus MTR card (approx. HKD $17). But I reckon cash payment should be fine as well?

Getting back – Tung Chung MTR station

Option A

Bus 23

Walk pass Bodhi Path with the ‘Twelve Divine Generals’ along the sides at Ngong Ping Piazza.

The bus stop for bus 23 will be just at the entrance of the piazza.

Bus ride is approximately 40(ish) minutes?

Option B

Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car

A 5-minute(ish) walk from Tian Tan Buddha Statue to the cable car terminal.

This 5.7 km cable car system will take you straight back to Tung Chung in 25 minutes with an enrapturing aerial view of Lantau Island.

The cost for a single trip back is approximately HKD $115 for a standard cabin, and HKD $180 for a crystal cabin (aka glass- bottom cabin).

If it was not obviously enough, I would imperatively and strongly encourage you to choose Option B. I mean, you had already experienced a meandering bus route towards Pak Kung Au, and after trekking an extremely long arduous way, it would definitely be a nice reward to yourself by taking a relaxing cable car ride back to Tung Chung Town Center.


Trekking Route- Lantau Trail Section 3

Pak Kung Au

Alight from the bus at Pak Kung Au stop, cross the road, and you will see 3 salient Chinese characters engraved into a huge rock – 伯公坳 (Pak Kung Au). This is too obvious to miss.

At this point, it is the start of the perilous voyage up Lantau Peak- the second highest peak in Hong Kong!

Nah, just kidding… This trek is definitely well signed posted; you cannot ever get lost in this trail. Very well- paved walkway either on huge stone steps or on barren harden soil pathway. Definitely nothing to worry about!

The first part of the trek was to make an ascend up concrete rocks. And soon you will be able to have your very first pit stop at a shelter. Definitely a time to drink up, and snap pictures! From the shelter, you are able to have a glimpse at the airplane runway.

Continue on the expedition with even more climbing up concrete rocks, with short distances of horizontal pathways to catch a breath. Oh thank goodness for those horizontal pathways. Haha…

This trek is definitely very popular amongst the locals. We encountered close to 7 odd amiable locals all in light- weighted sports gears running or doing extreme brisk walking up and through the trail.

Yup, running up Lantau Peak- now that’s a perilous voyage. With my level of fitness and all, I might actually run to my early grave even before reaching the peak.

As you are ascending, don’t forget to take time to look behind you. The view is indeed so alluring with forested greenery.

Advancing further up, the cool breeze was definitely a great reward for trudging wearily up those endless flight of steps. Take some time to breathe in Mother Nature and just really enjoy and soak in the moment.

Basically this trail takes you Up Up Up… and Up some more, with only a few short horizontal paths to allow you to catch your breath. It can be quite strenuous at times- all the more a good excuse to take longer water breaks and respites on the concrete steps as you admire the greenery. Haha…

Of course, you do not wanna’ take too long a respite or you might just take longer than 6(ish) hours to complete the trail!

Lantau Peak

About 3 – 4 (ish) hours, we finally made it to the top. Oh we were so relieved we made it. The journey up made me so jaded that my tummy was mourning in hunger. It was the first time during a trek, that I had to have my packed lunch whilst climbing. We probably took way too long, past lunch time. Haha… It might be corroborated; we indeed have weak leg muscles. Yup! Don’t judge, we tried real hard. 😀

Obviously we spend lots of time on the peak which is our rewarding corollary, after climbing those treacherous steps up.  Recuperating and lunching were the only form of activities up there, aside photo snapping and view admiring- though there was not much we could really see considering the fact that the clouds shrouded most of the far distance view.

But just standing near the edge of it all, with the breeze pressing against my sticky and sweaty skin, was like turning the AC on full blast. Though it wasn’t that cold, but hey I will take it!

The descend from the peak was an abate to our exhaustion. So glad gravity wasn’t working against us this time. The way down was much quicker, and from the top, we could see Tian Tan Buddha- so near yet so far. To grabble with the tiredness of it all, the bronze statue was our motivation to press on.

As we descend, the ‘AC’ now turned to heat wave. Going down concrete steps through slightly dense forest, with the occasional need to push a tree branch or two out of the way.

Wisdom Path

The next landmark we were happy to spot was the Wisdom Path, with the Heart of Sutra imprinted on it. This marks the foot of Lantau Peak; which equates to a step closer to the sweet victory of completion! Whoo-hoo!

The Wisdom Path is the largest outdoor wood carving in the world! The Chinese characters carved into 8 – 10 metres long planks of wood are so anciently profound that I have no clue of its meaning- which is a total bummer. There are a total of 38 such planks of wood. During our respite at the Wisdom Path (yes, I know, another respite), we saw a group of 4, including a monk. He was giving the other 3 insights about the meanings of the carvings. We stayed a brief moment to eavesdrop, but decided to leave as it was getting late. Haha…

Ngong Ping (Tian Tan Buddha)

Passing the Wisdom Path, we had to walk another 30- minutes (ish) to Tian Tan Buddha. Oh boy were we glad we were finally out of the woods and into civilisation.

If not… I might just chant ‘Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods?’ – You know by T.Swift? I just might… …

So this basically marks the end of the Lantau Trail Section 3. A trek off the bucket-list! Yay!


After trek thoughts?

The pressing question would be, is this trek even worth the go?


It’s without a doubt that it was a great sense of accomplishment- having lumbered up lackadaisically on those deceitful steps, and back down the other way. The sugary satisfaction of having ‘work’ for it, and finally arriving at the most talked about bronze Buddha statue in Hong Kong. It’s a feeling that only one word can sum it all- Pride.

Though J’s and my eyes screamed tired, we could still feel each other’s sense of pride having been able to complete the trail… … in one piece. Haha…!

Yes… Not gonna’ lie, I was already BEYOND sluggish. Tired. Thirsty. Smelly. And the list goes on. But looking back now, I am so glad we did the trek with the Tian Tan Buddha as our sweet corollary! It makes the whole trip to Ngong Ping so much more memorable, and meaningful.

Because at the end of it all, we all know… … It will always be the most painful, languid memories that will remain deeply etched in our minds for many years to come. And added incentive would be seeing each other’s agonizing and excruciating facial expressions during the voyage! It’s so hilarious thinking of it now that it was definitely the walk to remember! 😀

I could still recall the moment I step foot on top of the peak. Distracted by the accomplishment and joy of enduring the climb, I felt so frivolous and to put it simply- happy.

So, YES! I would say GO and give this trek a shot if you are ever thinking of going to the Tian Tan Buddha. Because, ‘working’ for the view of the Buddha is imperatively way MORE rewarding than just taking the bus or cable car right to the foot of the bronze statue.


Attractions at Ngong Ping

There is seriously way too many things to do at Ngong Ping after an arduous trek- definitely a well-deserved welcome treat!

With hordes of people in every direction, tour guides holding their companies’ flag- gathering their tour members, and children running about, no wonder this place is the hype for tourists from all over the world.

So here are a few main attractions within the Ngong Ping vicinity.

Attraction #1

Description Admission Fee

Operating Hours

Tian Tan Buddha

At 34- metres tall, obviously this is the star of it all. It is a must-see when in Ngong Ping. Climbing 268 steps will bring you to the base of the statue and giving an awe-striking, spectacular pseudo aerial view of the Ngong Ping Village, and the distant vista of mountains and sea on a clear sunny day.

The 2- level museum inside the statue is filled with Buddhist relics. A nice experience with a ticket purchase (slightly more than HKD $30) which includes a vegetarian meal and ice cream!


(only viewing from outside)


10 00 – 17 30

Attraction #2

Description Admission Fee

Operating Hours

Po Lin Monastery

Opposite the bronze statue, the placid monastery brings you to a world of Chinese culture you have never experience before- entering inside the austerity of monastery life.

Take some time to be introspective; you will be amazed by how calming it is to be there!

An eye-opener for sure! Definitely a must-see aside the Tian Tan Buddha!


08 00 – 18 00

Attraction #3


Admission Fee

Ngong Ping Village

Just next to the cable car terminal, or just 5 minutes walk from Tian Tan Buddha, this place is packed with so many dining and retail options.

Food options that caters to those craving for authentic Chinese cuisines, or a gelato to combat the sultry heat, or just people who crave for simple delectable street food.

Wanna’ grab souvenirs home? There is a wide range of selection all at the Village!


(unless, of course, you are buying stuffs)

Ngong Ping Operating Hours

(in general)


10 00 – 18 00

Weekends & Public Holidays

09 00 – 18 30



Start the trek real early!

Lantau Peak is well-known for one of the best sunrise viewing in Hong Kong.

If possible, start early enough to be able to reach the summit just before sunrise; giving you sufficient time to catch your breath, set up your camera and wait for the sun to peak through the horizon. I can definitely imagine a view money cannot buy.

Some people do stay in hostels near Ngong Ping and embark on their voyage before dawn to catch a glimpse of the sunrise. This could be an alternative too, instead of taking the train from the city! 😀

Hope you find this article an insightful one. And seriously doing this trek is definitely worth your while, with the Tian Tan Buddha as your ultimate goal to the end of the trek. Now that is something worth trekking for, don’t you think so?! 😀

So remember to Travel Whenever and follow your dreams!


My style, if you haven’t already guess it by now, is comfort; yet looking decently presentable and in vogue (sort of, I hope)? Haha… 😀

It is quite a no brainer; really, based on my previous Fashion On The Move posts, that the clothes I wear should never, NEVER impede my movement in any way; especially on a vacation- DEFINITELY on a vacation.

Previous Fashion On The Move post:

Fashion On The Move: Floral Lace Shorts, Hong Kong

Fashion On The Move: Checkered Pants With a Pop of Red, Singapore

During my Hong Kong getaway w J, we headed to Macau for a short stopover. Weather there, in midyear, is really sultry. Though I should be sort of immune to the sweltering heat by now, considering the fact that I live in the tropics, but NO. I don’t think anyone could be ever immune to extreme weather conditions (hot or cold) no matter how long they have lived there.

To combat the heat, naturally tank tops and shorts come to mind. And sure enough, this combination was spotted at every corner n Macau. But that day, I decided my daisy printed leggings from New Look had to make an appearance and parade out on the streets!

Leggings. I love them, I really do. Soft. Stretchy. Snugly. These 3 “S”s are all I need on a checklist for a comfortable bottom to wear on a day of long walks and explorations under the merciless blaze.

I have many pairs of leggings (usually black; yes, I am boring), and in terms of patterns, they are either extremely subtle, or there aren’t at all. So when I saw this printed leggings; in DAISIES; I knew I ought to get them. Period.

What I love about this pair of leggings is that the material is not too thick, neither is it sheet thin. The daisy prints are not in-your-face-outrageous kind of prints; really well put together.

Since the statement piece of this entire look is the daisies, I kept my top simple with a cotton white sleeveless from Mango. I adore the “shoe string” detail at the center of the top. It is in such details that make the whole top seem plain, yet kind of edgy, in my opinion.

Of course, comfort comes with a good pair of footwear that I could really walk in for hours and on. Let’s be real here; flip flops comes to mind, and I am not going to lie. But… … A pair of sneakers is imperatively my to-go footwear for moments when I know I need to walk on for hours, yet wearing flip flops will bring the entire outfit down. We all have that moments we can relate to right…?

I love my Converse in pale yellow. This colour is so neutral that you can match this with any outfit you wear without thinking at all. Definitely a good colour to buy if you are getting any!

My JanSport backpack has been my staple MUST-HAVE on every vacation. I love backpacks as they are definitely huge enough to hurl in all my essentials for the day- wallet, 2 bottles of water, sunshades, hat etc.

What I love about this backpack is that it can be a fashion piece on its own. I remember I was enticed by its pattern when I first saw it.

I don’t usually like to don on so many prints in a single outfit, as it can be distracting. But I think the daisies on the leggings and the pattern on the backpack are just in a cosmos when together.

I find this whole outfit super light-weight-comfortable, yet it doesn’t compromise on its style. Really an effortless look, yet so put together in a half girly-edgy kind of vibe. It also gives me a back-to-school kind of theme; maybe ’cause of the backpack? Haha… But, honestly, I would totally wear this to school, since comfort should also be fundamental when you attend school right?

Everyone has different styles, and mine happen to place comfort as first rank; trying not to forgo vogue. Be it any styles we prefer, it’s all about being confident in the clothes we wear and everything will fall into place. 🙂

So slip on your comfys and start to Travel Whenever!

Here’s a video J and I have put together during the trip! Seat back and enjoy…



Photo credits: Lovely J

Facebook: DeeJTravels

Instagram: DeeJTravels


To Marions Lookout via Lake Lilla & Wombat Pool

Route: Dove Lake car park–> Boat Shed Track–> Lake Lilla–> Wombat Pool–> Crater Lake–> Marions Lookout
Average Walk Time: ~ 4 hours; inclusive of time back down (with plenty of time to take great shots and rest)
Difficulty: 🙂 🙂
Scenery: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Marions Lookout via Overland Track (Ronny Creek)

Route: Ronny Creek–> Crater Falls –> Boat Shed on Crater Lake –> Marions Lookout
Average Walk Time: ~ 4 hours; inclusive of time back down (with plenty of time to take great shots and rest)
Difficulty: 🙂 🙂
Scenery: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

TIPS (The PERFECT route to take)

Walks in the Cradle Mountain region are very walkers’ friendly I would say. With so many route options available leading to the same destination (as the saying goes, “All roads lead to Rome”, well in this case, “All tracks lead to a virtually impeccable landscape”), it’s no wonder we found ourselves revisiting the same spot again, just via a different trail each time.

You can choose your route base on your level of fitness and endurance, hence you will not be missing out on the spectacular vista and feeling all despondent because of the lack of fitness profiency.

You will be amaze by what each trail has to offer! Every trail opens up to a whole new world of alpine scrubs, meadows and tannin stained streams and lakes.


To Marions Lookout via Lake Lilla & Wombat Pool

Going via this route was sort unplanned as it was a wrong turn made on our part. However, it was definitely a mistake well made. It was also this route where I saw cute “Christopher Columnus” and his family.

This route passing by Lake Lilla has many uneven rocky sections. But definitely a trail to stumble across with many tiny streams of tannin waters that really looked so refreshing as it glistens under the Summer sky. Totally sparkly gorgeous!

I remember a really long and arduous flight of steps we had to surmount as we journeied towards Wombat Pool (or was it passing by Wombat Pool-I cannot remember vividly.). A rest platform is avaiable at Wombat Pool before a steeper incline- probably a good spot to recharge and hydrate before a round of heavy duty up slope.

Travelling up the rocky incline was actually one of the best parts of the hike. I always feel so invigorated when I enconunter such sections of a hike. Reminiscing the time at Cape Raoul in Port Arthur, Hobart, where I had to cross a moss- filled slippery tree log on four limps, and climbing at the edge of the cliff.

In this case, I wasn’t climbing on four limbs, nor was I anywhere near the very edge, but this activity had about the same level of fun and excietment ! 😀

The good thing about this route up is that there will be mini sections of somewhat flat (hmmmm… … not exactly flat per se) and saf(er) grounds for us to take a breather and enjoy the beauty that came with.

We could just stand many feet above sea level and enjoy the inundating landscape. The cloudless sky and the unobstructed view of Wombat Pool down below, with Lake Lilla and a partial Dove Lake view all within my peripheral version! Just awesome!

Climbing further up on partial boarded stairs and inclined gravels led us to a rest spot for people to take pictures of the magnificent Crater Lake down below. How blue and calm the lake looks, and from the top, we could see the boat shed too! This was definitely one of the highlights.


To Marions Lookout via Overland Track (Ronny Creek)

In my opinion, the route from Ronny Creek is much gentler as compared to the one via Lake Lilla. Yes, there is no running away from many flights of boarded stairs, but I just feel safer as I ascended amongst the tall alphines.

Maybe I have registered internallly that if I fall to my death, the bushes would somehow miraculously cushion the impact. I know, how silly of me to think that, but I just do. Haha…

Besides, the inital journey from Ronny Creek has all flat boarded platforms. How very welcoming it was. This is the same area where we saw many fluffy wombats!

After languorously trotting upwards, we finally reached a much cooler section of the hike- Crater Falls, where we entered the rainforest. We could really feel the temperature drop a few degrees as we entered the rainforest; so much cooler as compared to the Summer’s heat. Of course we had to spend some time inside the rainforest to cool ourselves down, hydrate, slump in the bench and listen to the waterfall crashing down.

Once we were out of the cool rainforest and into the heat, we had another round of stairs climbing and walking on unevenness before we arrived at the boat shed on Crater Lake.

From here onwards, the route is basically the same as the route via Lake Lilla.


TIPS (The PERFECT route to take)

Combining BOTH routes in one?

Because the earlier route wasn’t part of the plan (as mentioned), in order to cover Crater Falls, and having already covered Lake Lilla and Wombat Pool, we decided to get to the Falls via Ronny Creek- which was much easier. And since we were already at the Falls, so why not just continue on since the Crater Lake isn’t that far away. This was our, then, rationale.

As I have been through both routes, I reckon I have enough “qualification” to make a suggestion on how to improve/modify and make the hike more experiential?

Hence, my suggestion for the route to Marions Lookout would be to COMBINE BOTH:

Route: Dove Lake car park–> Boat Shed Track–> Lake Lilla–> Wombat Pool–> Crater Lake–> Marions Lookout–> Boat Shed on Crater Lake –> Crater Falls–> Ronny Creek
Average Walk Time: I can’t vouch the duration as I have not done this route in unison. But if I would gauge… Probably 5(ish) hours? But don’t take my word for it, give amble time to rest, hydrate, lunch and snap (photos).
Difficulty: 🙂 🙂
Scenery: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

My philosophy? After some hard work (climbing), a sweet reward (cool rainforest) will come.

Turn around and ENJOY

The key to get the most out of any walks/ hikes is to not rush through it. Take a moment or two to turn back and immerse the view behind. You will be surprise what the backdrop offers. Of course don’t take too long a pause, if not a 3 hours hike may actually take 6 hours? 😀

Hope this inspires you to do more walks in Lake St Clair National Park. Travel whenever and enjoy the hike!


Route: End of Cradle Mountain Road (Circuit Jaunt)
Distance: 5.7 km (3.5 miles)
Average Walk Time: ~ 3.5 hours (with plenty of time to take great shots)
Difficulty: 🙂
Scenery: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


How to get there?

Glacier Rock

Getting tangible with Dove Lake

Angular view of Cradle Mountain


Canoeing on Dove Lake


How to get there?

From our stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, an approximately 15 – 20 minutes drive along Cradle Mountain Road, led us to the end, and marked the start of one of Tasmania’s premier walks- the Dove Lake Circuit Track!

(FYI, taking the free shuttle service can also bring you to Dove Lake, and this is advisable since parking spaces are limited. The frequency for these shuttle services are reasonable too.)

Upon arrival at the parking lot, the partial view of the cerulean waters of Dove Lake was enough to keep us enraptured for a moment or two. Not to mention the backdrop of the 2 leading spires of Cradle Mountain protruding high up against the sky. What a picturesque vista that no image captured on camera could ever do justice to. Seriously, you need to be there to see it in full view.

Hiking Highlights and Views

We were swooned as we got closer to the start of the circuit track, though the waters ain’t as blue as it was for view at the parking lot, it looked really clear, clean and super refreshing- to an extend that J and I wanted to douse ourselves inside for a refreshing late morning splash. It only we could… … We just might… …

Between the both of us, J was a tad excited than I was. She had done research on Cradle Mountain many months before we embarked on this odyssey, so she was extremely excited for this part of the entire Tasmanian vacation.

Since it’s a circular track, venturing from either side would be the same. However, we decided to start from the left, as that was what the signage stated. Very typical, I know.


Glacier Rock

After experiencing the walk (starting from the left), I suggest that everyone should do the same. WHY?

The initial part of the walk allowed us to spend an interminable amount of time up on the Glacier Rock taking pictures with natural late morning sunlight! Furthermore, we got to have an unobstructed view of Cradle Mountain, and a pseudo bird’s eye view of Dove Lake.

It was a perfect way to start off a walk, don’t you think?

If you looked closely at the surface of the Rock, you will see parallel grooves engraved into it caused by debris within the glacier that moved down from the slopes of Cradle Mountain many moons ago.

TIPS? Try to stay rooted to the uneven rock, and try not to plunge into the lake, though how inviting it may look. The tracks may be slippery too, so don’t get too carried away with photo takings that you accidentally plunge.


Getting tangible with Dove Lake

Walking on the boardwalks around the Lake led us to a mini outlet or two where we could sit by the sandy shore with the waters of Dove Lake just a pebble’s throw away. It was a great instant to stay serene with nature, and stare at the waters with the two spires in the far distance.

This was the moment where we all took a deep breath and wished time could just pause forever.

Since the waters was just within reach and all so alluring, I couldn’t resist not putting my hands in for a cold swirl. Hey, if I can’t douse my whole body in it, at least let my hands have a go at it, huh? 😀


Angular view of Cradle Mountain

Sauntering around the Lake gave us angular views of the 2 jutting spires of Cradle Mountain that ensorcelled us as we stood beneath. After awhile we came to realised the tons of photos of Cradle Mountain we had as the backdrop- viewed from different parts of Dove Lake. Haha… … 😀

A walk cannot be complete without admiration of the flowers that grow so perfectly along the boardwalk. And what about appreciating the little streams that trickle from the rainforest? Oh yes, what about the wildlife, insects and amphibians too? 😀

Nature is just beautiful like that. If we could spare some time to pause and absorb, we would be awe-stricken.



Another popular icon in many photographs of Dove Lake would be the boatshed that stands humbly by the shore of the Lake; with Cradle Mountain afar.

The boatshed was build mainly out of King Billy pine. It was built back in the 1930s, as boating was popular back then.


Canoeing on Dove Lake

Our stay- Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge offers canoe trips on Dove Lake during Summer. It was pretty easy for us to enquire and book a slot with them upon our arrival at check-in.

The costs is not exactly cheap- it’s approximately AUS$80- ish? However, this trip provided by the Lodge, includes afternoon tea, life vests (not for keeping afterwards, of course), tips of how to manoeuvre the canoe, and a dash of insights of the Dove Lake area.

As we aren’t adept canoeist (I have never held a paddle before in my life), we weren’t so on the ball of things, and were actually behind the “class” in all tasks. It was mad hilarious. We were practically laughing our ass off during the entire 3.5 hours trip.

Let me describe to you in detail of what was actually happening, so any first-timers out there could be prepared and not face the same awkwardness as we did… … Haha…

You know the movie Dump & Dumper? The one where the pair was acting all weird, clumsy and goofy? Well, imagine them being girls, and younger.

When the rest of the “class” had already advanced further towards Glacier Rock and were there listening to the insights by the guides, we were still way behind struggling to join the pack. We were laughing half the time to even get the canoe to move, and when we did move, we were going in circles! It was seriously quite an embarrassing sight. LOL!

Finally we made it close to the Rock, but by that time, the guide had finished speaking and the “class” was ready to canoe to the next location.

This was after J tried to murder me (yes, she did) by canoeing us way too close to the Rock that had protruding sharp branches. By the time, I yelled for her to stop paddling and me trying to use the paddle to stop the canoe from advancing, the branch was already so close to me it slit my wrist a little during the mini struggle. Flies started fluttering in front of me for our canoe had perturbed their afternoon slumber. (-.-)”

Ah yes… …Definitely a Dump & Dumper moment. Don’t judge.

As J had done some really minor canoeing in Vietnam, of course I took the cue from her. Her miniscule experience in canoeing was our only asset to bring us through the 3.5 hours. Sounds like torture huh? But it was not, really. It was like a self-entertained sitcom. We did way too embarrassing things that tickled us silly. We saw ourselves being extremely way behind the “class” that it was pricelessly comical.

We were constantly reverent that the “class” could paddle like some sort of pro-athletes. Way to go people!

So I paddled when J instructed me to, and also stopped even when she wanted me NOT to. I was tired alright. I needed a break to embrace nature, leave me alone. LOL.

I felt real bad that I was at the front seat gawking at Cradle Mountain, and splashing the waters when she was at the back struggling to keep us on track with the class. So I offered to take over, with full on enthusiasm and energy thinking that I could paddle for at least awhile longer while J rested. But this determination lasted a few seconds, and in the end, we both weren’t paddling as we saw the “class” float into the horizon, while we were left at the centre of the Lake.

Okay, I exaggerated here. The guides aren’t that mean. When they saw as “liabilities” of the “class” stranded, they paddled back to get us and tied our canoe to theirs so we won’t be left behind! Hooray for the invention of ropes, seriously!

As they were tying the ropes, I could still remember I asked a very cheeky question- probably I was too tired to think straight.

“Yay. So, this is like a free pass right?”

“Oh no. You still have to paddle ya? Or we will all be here until sunset.”

After being tied to them, and knowing now there was no way we will be behind the pack, I spend most of the time playing with the waters by making mini waves with my hands as the canoe moved. J, on the other hand, was a “good student”. She paddled, and only took short pauses to rest.

For that, I would like to laud her. She has some serious determination when it comes to canoeing. You go girl!

As I was having my moment with the waters of Dove Lake, J was at the back reminding me to paddle. So trying not to be a freeloader, I mustered all my energy left in my arms, and paddled with all my might- which of course lasted for a few seconds. How feeble my arms are.

Okay people, I’ve tried. My arms just can’t. Make me walk for miles up slopes and down, but don’t make me canoe.

Would I want to experience this again? Sure! Why not? Not the part where J tried to murder me of course. The other parts of this are definitely good to relive. Haha…!

Since I was not the one doing most of the paddling (thank you J and the guides), and I could enjoy Cradle Mountain from a unique perspective. So why not? 😀 And not to mention all the laughs and embarrassing actions we did- I honestly don’t mind reliving them.

Life is all about new experiences and laughter, and so what if we “humiliated” ourselves in front of the “class” and guides? What matter most was that we had a ball of a time laughing at each other’s stupidity.

At least now I can tell people I have canoed before? Or does this not count? 😀

Hope this inspires you to insert new experiences in your life, embrace nature and travel whenever!


Route: Stormlea Road -> Summit -> Cape Raoul (lower plateau) -> Summit -> Stormlea Road
Distance: 14 km (8.7 miles)
Average Trekking Time: ~ 5.5 hrs
Difficulty: 🙂 🙂 🙂
Scenery: 🙂 🙂 🙂

How to get there?

TIPS (Toilet, Log Book, Lunch)

Trekking Route


How to get there?

The journey from our stay (Port Arthur Motor Inn) to the trail head of Cape Raoul was approximately a half hour’s drive away. Do drive prudently on the narrow gravel roads, and be vigilant for any wild creatures- bunnies, echidnas etc. You DO NOT want to run over these cute animals down. Trust me, YOU DO NOT. The empty roads with cars occasionally passing by, makes the drive pleasantly comfortable- not to mention good company with good music jamming over the radio. Aaahhh… … That was the life… …

The route to Cape Raoul is somewhat similar to the journey to Coal Mines Historic Site. We drove on Nubeena Road, but instead of continuing on (as with Coal Mines Historic Site), we made a left turn onto Stormlea Road. Just travel on to the end and voila… …

The trail for the trek starts at the end of Stormlea Road, next to the Raoul Bay Retreat- a wooden cabin standing tall on the fairly much open field. Parking spaces are available just at the mouth of the starting trail.

Another structure that stands tall on the open field is the toilet. Yes, people, a toilet.


TIPS (Toilet, Log Book, Lunch)

The Toilet

I have no qualms having an open concept designed toilet, you know; like the ones at a SPA- breathtaking and fresh. However, this is way too medieval. I may be an inch overboard on this divisive issue, but I can’t, I just can’t go into cubicles like this. Period. I couldn’t face the latrine- awfully too much of a city girl for that. There is no flushing system installed, and who knows what creepy crawlies have been there.

Of course, I pressed J into going in first to recce. She knows she can’t win in the battle or who goes first when it comes to this kind of situations. Haha… 😀 Thanks girlfriend! I will never forget the many unwilling times you wished you didn’t have to go first, but you know I am too stubborn to barge unless you took the lead.

After a few seconds (definitely less than 2 minutes), she came out. And then the decision. I was in a catch-22. Either I tighten my incredibly small feeble bladder for the next 5 hours during the trek, or I put aside the cleanliness freak inside of me, and just do it!

The latter option seemed more wise.

I went in, shut the door for 2 seconds, then dashed out gagging at the revolting smell from within the cubicle walls. To be fair, the cubicle wasn’t so bad, it was… …decent, if I must say, as compared to other toilets in the wild of course. I mean, there wasn’t any flies hovering around (thank goodness), maybe a few spider webs and ants, but it was decent. It was all in my mind. The whole idea of not being able to flush after use, and thinking of all the waste left by previous occupants just sends shivers down my spine.

I decided to try once more. Hurriedly, I did what I had to do, shut the toilet seat behind me, and scrambled out gagging for the second time. Oh boy, an experience, I may not want to relive unless imperatively necessary.

But I would like to say, thank goodness for the free use of toilet facilities provided by the Retreat, for if it wasn’t there, I would have to endure 5 hours or more of excruciating torment.

A word of advice? Use the bathroom before you leave your hotel/motel if you are like me, a cleanliness freak. Otherwise, the toilet facilities are actually quite alright. I mean, J could take it, and there aren’t any flies or flying bugs, so that’s cool right? Oh, did I mention there’s a sink to wash your hands. 🙂

The Log Book

This is probably the most fundamental thing to do BEFORE any trek in Tasmania! Sign it/ register your treks before embarking in your odyssey.

The log books are kept inside a metal container bolted to the signboard at the head trail.

This is a great preventive measure to ensure our safety, just in case we got lost in the woods, the rangers can come and get us. When will they come to our rescue? Well, I’m not sure how often they check the log books. Probably not that soon, I reckon. A few days, maybe? I do not ever want to find out either.

The Lunch

Pack some energy foods (bars, sandwiches, drinks), you need it. With loads of oomph spend climbing, and manoeuvring on the patchy ground, we needed a break on the summit to embrace nature, have water break and, without saying, to take photos of course. I brought along my favourite carton of hydration drink- COCONUT WATER! Obsessed. Invigorating and thirst-quenching with every gulp. 😀 I got mine at Woolworths in Sorell Township en route to Port Arthur.

It is vital that we constantly stay hydrated throughout the trek. We may be too engross and exhilarated with the scenery that we may forget to hydrate our body, and this can be dangerous. Bring a huge bottle or two of water in your bag pack!


Trekking Route

The trail starts of intimidating, with many muddy “carpets” sprawled at intervals to welcome us into the inland. This was the part J loathe the most, and I have never seen her so irritated before. This was definitely pushing her buttons. As we travelled on, we jaunted through very narrow walk path surrounded by overgrown tall grass, what seemed like a never ending route of tall bushes.

Once out, we inclined up a gentle slope and cross a fallen log bridge. I would say this was the most galvanizing part of the trek, and I adore this part the most. The log was huge, steady and covered in slippery green moss and algae. With lack of experience crossing something like this, I did it on 4 limps cautiously. Haha…! As I crossed, I imagine myself as a little rascal on a great adventure with my buddy, with a mission to find hidden treasures in the enchanted woods. How enthralling! I LOVE IT! 😀

Soon enough, going through the woods on a wider path, we reached a junction with a huge signboard (left heading to Cape Raoul and right towards Shipstern Bluff). This was also our indication to take a water break.

Following the left hand trail upwards, the forest bore our first magnificent view of the incredible dolomite cliffs of the Tasman National Park! Also another indication for a break! Haha… The view was breathtaking and so worth it. All the effort of braving through the mud, grass, moss, and algae seemed to all melt away with the sweat that trickled down our backs and foreheads. We took a moment to catch our breath and snapped pictures (well, mostly J did the snapping) simultaneously. While she was capturing the views with the lens, I was out and about exploring the other side of the lookout and absorbing every moment my eyes can capture and store in my brain.

At the summit, to the left, we could see the heathland on the lower plateau (Cape Raoul)- our end point before retracing our steps. To the right, the lookout opens to a stunning view down to Shipstern Bluff.

Continuing on, the trail leads along the cliff top before descending the steepest section of the trail onto Cape Raoul plateau. Trekking along the cliff top provides many amazing angular views of the sea against the cliffs. With the blazing sun dazzling the sea into sparkles, the vista is just beyond words. No camera can do justice.

We did some climbing on 4 limps near the edge of the cliff as it was pretty rocky and windy, but the journey near the edge of the cliff has the perfect view- no obstruction by those wretched trees. I was so thrilled by God’s creation, that J was yelping at the back asking me to be cautious with my steps in fear I would fall to my death! Haha… …

On the lower plateau, hurls of hostile wind gusting pushing us two steps back as we advanced one. In the middle of the plateau, lies a small lake. We didn’t venture towards the lake for the high winds were going through great lengths to prying our feet from the sandy ground. We pushed on further towards the edge of the plateau to get a better view of the rock formations. Not too close to the edge though- you never know when the wind could really pry your feet from the ground!

As we detoured, the view of the summit seemed so far-fetched that we were reverent we actually climbed that high prior! On the flipside, we languor at the fact that we had to ascend that much to reach the summit once more.

A 14 km expedition to the end of Cape Raoul (inclusive of returning the same way) and 5.5 hours(ish) spend with my best friend, trekking until we both looked half dead was so worth it! 🙂

Just a word of caution- DON’T FALL OFF THE CLIFFS! Tremendously hostile weather conditions like high winds can occur near the cliff edges and on the lower plateau! STAY SAFE PEOPLE!

Hope this inspires you to go be a nature lover, do some trekking, and travel whenever!


The Coal Mines Historic Site is definitely a tranquil place to immerse in picturesque sights of quaint rustic ruins. A peaceful few hectares of space to ramble through the uneven remnants as I mulled over how the place was run in the past. Imagine how this place was once occupied by few hundred convicts and families. Imagine how life was for them, though my imagination could only take me so far as books and TV go. How hard life must had been for them then.

This was around a 20- minute(ish) ride from Port Arthur Historic Site. A smooth drive on a cool breezy late morning as we embarked on our journey. The ride was breathtaking as we were greeted with pastures of land with herds of fluffy sheep and lush tall green grass sprawled across the horizon. The clear cerulean sky accentuated the salient beauty of nature. A beautiful sight that the camera just cannot do justice to.

What enticed us most was the emerald waters of Norfolk Bay we saw along the stretch of Saltwater River Road. It was the most serene moment to capture and store in our permanent memory. Maybe it was the position of the sunrays and the current of the waters such that there’s a cosmos, but every moment of the journey was just reverent that we had to take a few miniature stops to contain the awe.

We don’t get a lot of/ any scenic view back home you see, so such moments of pauses are imperatively necessary. 😀

There was not a single soul (excluding wild insects and bunnies) when we arrived. We took time to enjoy the sweet lonesomeness… …


Definitely a relic to remember the rich history of how the convicts lived, worked and were treated. Kudos to the people who well preserved this place!

(A continuation of the itinerary will be in the future posts.)

Hope this inspires you to go on a road trip to explore the history of an unknown, and remember travel whenever!