Posts tagged Photography
I bet you already know that it’s the Hungry Ghost Festival currently. During the Ghost Month the realms of Heaven and Hell are open, which releases ghosts, spirits including those of the deceased ancestors to roam the living world.
So, the Chinese are often advised to stay at home and prevent from going out late at night to avoid any unfortunate incidents that are believed to be caused by some mischievous hungry ghosts. There are also plenty of taboos to observe too, for example not to simply pee at the streets (especially true for kids) or referring the ghosts as your ‘heng dai’ or ‘hia ti’ (buddies).
When I was a child I used to believe in such things but as I grew up, these beliefs slowly vanished. My mom would bring me to Jalan Pasar in Bukit Mertajam where the festival has always been held to pay respects to the dead, and of course to seek protection and good luck from the ‘Tai Su Yah‘ (King of Hades). He is, after all the ruler of the underworld.
After London, our next destination was Paris, France. Naturally there are two ways of getting to Paris from London, either by ferry (cheaper, but longer time needed and confusing) or via Eurostar.
If you didn’t know, Eurostar is a high speed passenger rail service with its trains crossing the English Channel connecting London with Paris and Brussels. It is pretty obvious Eurostar is expensive but it would cut down the traveling time into just a little more than two hours.
Luckily we booked our Eurostar tickets earlier so we still got it at a relatively affordable price at £39. Here, we were boarding the train at St Pancras station. Anyway, if you are planning to travel to Europe including England on your own, do be prepared to fork out extra for Eurostar tickets – even if you have a Eurail pass!
And here are some useful tips: when you are leaving for home, try not to fly out from London because you would have to pay extra to cross the channel again. I myself did a mistake here by choosing to fly back to Malaysia from London. I could’ve saved myself a few hundred ringgit if I had planned to go back because my last destination was Amsterdam. More tips at the end of this post, so keep reading lol.
After reaching our crappy hostel we walked to our first attraction – The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Paris or Basilique du Sacré-Cœur in French. It is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and also prominently located at Montmartre hill, the highest point in the city.
A few people have been asking me for my Europe trip‘s itinerary and total cost. So for sharing sake here it is, we covered mostly Western Europe and Czech Republic over 28 days during summer.
London -> Paris -> Interlaken -> Lauterbrunnen -> Milan -> Pisa -> Florence -> Rome -> Venice -> Vienna -> Munich -> Prague -> Berlin -> Amsterdam -> Brussels -> London
Do note that this is never intended to be used as a reference or even a guide for your own Europe trip. It’s more like sharing the stories of your trip with a friend, highlighting the ups and downs as well as throwing in some advice and tips in the process.
Besides a return air ticket, you will probably also need a rail pass if you plan to explore more than three countries. For my case, I bought the following:
- Economy class Emirates return flight ticket from KL to London (transit at Dubai airport) – RM3050
- Eurail Global Pass (adult, 1 month continuous inclusive of air delivery) – €839 (about RM3346)
Then if you are planning to include UK in your list of destinations, prepare to pay another extra RM300-400 for Eurostar train per pax per way. Plan your trip early and book Eurostar in advance to save more here. Of course, if you plan to fly or take ferry to UK then that’s a different story.
For accommodation, I used HostelBookers. Highly recommended with plenty of info, real reviews, photos and there are no commission fees. Only 10% of the total is charged to your credit card for deposit and the rest are payable in cash upon arrival. There are three things to pay extra attention to when booking hostels: breakfast, linen and towels. It makes your life a lot easier if these are included.
Just to share some photos of the Europe trip I embarked about a month ago. Yep, for the entire month of June I was not in Malaysia so any blog updates were actually pre-written posts lol.
Anyway, we covered England and most of Western Europe‘s countries like France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, and also Czech Republic in a span of 28 days. Also, we did a brief stopover at Belgium just to catch the Eurostar back to London. Instead of dedicating a post to detail each and every place we visited, I think an executive summary of our trip in the country would suffice.
I flew with Emirates and arrived in London after transiting at Dubai. Stayed at Malaysia Hall in London, which provides affordable accommodation to all Malaysians – cheaper if you are a student studying in UK.
We had a full English breakfast and a fresh salmon toast with scrambled egg at a cafe nearby. Almost all eateries in London offer full English breakfast at 4-6 pounds, and surprisingly our first breakfast was also our best. Even the coffee was great!
Then we visited Sherlock Holmes’ Museum at Baker Street – only saw the building and went into the museum’s gift shop instead lol. Simply because we thought the entrance fee was not really worth it – felt more like a tourist trap.
The area was quite special.. it was scattered with Sherlock Holmes’ sign especially at the Tube station (London’s underground)
National History Museum boasts a grand interior, it mostly exhibits life and earth science specimens. One of the major reasons we visited was because it is free.