Amboseli National Park is located approximately 260 km away from the city center of Nairobi. With its magnificent location at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain, combined with the abundance of wildlife encounter, makes it one of the most-visited safari parks in Kenya just after Masai Mara.
The name “Amboseli” comes from a Maasai word meaning “salty dust”, and this stunning Safari Park consists of five different wildlife habitats: open plains, acacia woodlands, rocky thorn-bush, swamps and marshland. With the advantage of the different habitats, you are able to encounter a wide range of wild animals here, ranging from the the feisty lions to the gentle gazelles etc.
So this year in June, I have finally managed to explore a new continent – Africa! Initially I was only doing some researches for my potential trip next year, but when I was doing the research, I was so drawn to this place that I want to go immediately! At the end, I’ve managed to book everything and had all my injections done within 5 weeks time!
As this was a kind of a last minute, instead of a long trip which I really wanted, my friend and I decided we will do a shorter safari of 7 days. The quote provided by the operator “Heritage of African Jungles” was very reasonable – staying in mid-range lodges and tents, visiting 4 different parks/safaris, inclusive of all meals and park entrances etc comes to USD$1250/person. I was initially a bit skeptical about it was there weren’t many reviews of them, and the price seems to be relatively lower than most other operators, BUT, not only the owner Naomi was super responsive and helpful (she also ends up being a very forward thinking modern Kenyan woman), our driver Francis was absolutely amazing as well! Thanks heaps guys!!
Our flight did not land Nairobi until after noon time, so we were not able to start the safari tour straight away, as most safaris depart very early in the morning around 7am. So we ended up having an extra half day in Nairobi. While there are so many worthwhile places to go in the city, we were only able pick two due to a short time frame – The Giraffe Center and The Carnivore Restaurant.
Upon our arrival of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the first thing we did was to draw some Kenyan shillings from the ATM. The rate is actually better if you draw money from the ATM in comparison to the currency exchange shops at the airport, and you MUST have some local currency with you, as USD is not accepted in some places. Secondly we went and got ourselves a sim card for our phone. I was told that Safaricom has got the best reception, but their service counter at the airport was so super slow, so we ended up buying from Telkom instead (second biggest telecom company in Kenya), and the sim card worked just fine! There are places in the mountains/grass plains where you will have absolutely NO reception, but that goes for all sim cards.
Anyways, once we got picked up from the airport, we went to the office to pay the left payment, then headed straight to the Giraffe Center, which is about 40 minutes drive away from the City Center. We got to the Giraffe Center at around 4pm, and the place is still fairly crowded with people inside and lining up outside. The entrance fee is KSH$1000/person. The venue itself is quite small, but because the giraffes are sooooo adorable and cute, you can literally spend hours here!
If spending a day chilling on a white sandy beach, or diving into the amazing blue cave are the best things to do in Okinawa during Summer time, then hopping on a boat to go on whale watching tours is a must during the winter.
Humpback whales migrate seasonally, traveling to cold polar waters during summer seasons and to warmer waters during winter seasons, and thanks for the warmth of the Okinawa waters during January to March each year, it makes it a great place for us to watch these gigantic mammals in action.
The humpback whales do not feed during the winter months, but breed, and the Okinawa waters is their ideal breeding grounds. During this season, whale breaching is seen often, showing dominance and power. (Though I did not see it myself)
There are many Whale Watching tours that operate in Okinawa, majority of them leaves from Naha or Chatan. However, as my hotel is in Onna area, I didn’t want to spend so much time driving back and forth, so I decided to join this smaller company called the “Onna Whale Watching Association” (恩納ホエールウオッチング協会). They are the one and only company that leaves from the area.
Our tour starts at 8:30am in the morning, and to my surprise, it was quite a small group, there was only about 11 people in total, which made the boat very spacious. We were handed out a flyer when we board the boat, which is a little introduction of the whales, and what behaviors are we expected to see. And because they are the only operator in the area, we pretty much had the whole water by ourselves, no need to fight with other boats.
It took us about an hour before we reached the breeding area. We waited for around 5 minutes, before we had our first encounter with the humpback whales. They were so close to us!!
We stayed and watch the whales for a bit over and hour, we were lucky enough to be able to spotted the whales many times, although we did not see them breach (I REALLY WANT TO!!), we did see two whales coming up at the same time, so that’s pretty awesome too!
If you are considering to visit Okinawa during January to March, be sure to book yourself a whale watching tour, it’s something you will not regret!
– You can ask the hotel front desk to help you book
– The waves tend to be very big during this time of the season, remember to take the sea sick pills before boarding (Even if you don’t usually need it)
I can almost say, it is no doubt that seafood taste better in Hokkaido than anywhere else in Japan! During my recent trip to Hakodate, it’s like a seafood fiesta, and sea urchin is one that should not be missed!
Although Japan is not the only place that have sea urchin, other countries such as Canada, Korea also have them, but, the ones in Japan is still the top of the rank! There is a very famous sea urchin restaurant inside the Hakodate Seafood market called Murakami (むらかみ), and is popular amongst both the locals and the tourists. Although you cannot order which sea urchin, but instead, the chef will only serve you the seasonal best at that time.
We went there around 11:30am on a weekday, and there was already a line waiting. We waited for about half an hour before we were seated. The restaurant is quite small, and can only accommodate approximately 30 customers at one time. The lunch menu is also quite simple, ranging from around 1500yen to 5000yen per dish.
It’s been a busy summer month, in a blink, it’s already the end of August! Just before we approach the end of summer, I must write and let you all know about this Luke’s Lobster Summer Pop-up Shack in Omotesando area of Tokyo!
Originated from New York City, Luke’s Lobster is now it’s spread across the whole of United States, and opened its first International shack in Tokyo a few years back. If you have been to it’s first location in Omotesando, you would know how crazy the line is. It doesn’t matter at what hours you go, there’s always people lining up for it.
Last time round when I was in Tokyo, I was surprised when I discovered the Summer Pop-up Shack of the brand, and the best part of it, there’s no line! It’s a bit different to the original location, it’s a small corner store where you can sit down and eat (the other one is at an outdoor location for take away only). As it’s a bit hidden, it seems like not many people (even locals!) knows about it.
It’s always fun to go to Tokyo (Japan) during summer time, because you will see Summer Special everywhere you go! Whether it’s a music event, firework festivals (nearly one every week in Tokyo!), or short term pop-up stores, there’s just soooo many summer specials that’s happening around Tokyo!
I was just casually walking around the Omotesando area one day, and I saw a long queue of people lining up. Went closer to check it out, and realized it’s the Lipton Ice Tea summer pop up store. I’m sure most of you are very familiar with Lipton Ice Tea, and probably would agree with me that drinking Lipton Ice Tea on a hot summer day is a great way to quench your thirst and conquer the heat!
This summer, Lipton Ice Tea just got better! They are offering “Fruits in Tea” in two location in Japan! One being in Osaka, and the other is in Omotesando area of Tokyo. Good things don’t last long, this pop-up store will only be there for the summer time, opening until the 27th August.
There are two options for the tea. You can either choose the recommended blends, which are “Beauty Strawberry”, “Recovery Raspberry” and “Oasis Lychee”, or mix your own blend. For the DIY combination, it involves 5 steps. 1 – Choose a tea base (2 bases); 2 – Choose a base fruit (6 fruits); 3 – Choose a topping fruit (6 fruits); 4 – Choose a type of super food & herb (6 types); 5 – Choose a syrup (7 types). For both the option, you get to choose your own tumbler as well, and there’s a total of 4 styles. The tea and tumbler package is at 1000yen, which is at a very reasonable price.
I gotta admit I’m not the type of girl who can cook a full 5 course meal at home, but I do however, enjoy baking a lot, and that’s probably because I have a sweet tooth. While I was on my last trip to Seoul, not only was I able to have the Hanbok experience (traditional Korean clothing), I was also able to join this amazing baking class held by I’m Green Guesthouse in Seongbuk-gu, which is only about half an hour away from Myeongdong.
So, I found this experience thru Airbnb. Despite the fact that I have been using them a lot for accommodations, it was the first Airbnb “experience” I’ve ever had. Airbnb launched this trips program at the end of last year, and it has been quite successful, with over 500 activities happening in 12 cities worldwide, and Seoul was one of them. I was really attracted by the photos promoting this baking class, and made a booking with them immediately.
The host/teacher is Yon Woo from I’m Green Guest House, she was very kind, and gave very clear direction on how to get to her place. I arrived at the guest house around 10:30am, and was greeted warmly by Yon Woo, her assistant Arailym, and her husband Kitae. I was really amazed and impressed when I walked into the guest house, it’s so neat and tidy, and very homey. The room where the activity took part was very spacious, and my eyes were attracted to all those different types of teas on the shelf. It was only after talking with them that I know Yon Woo teaches students how to make flower cupcakes, while her husband is a teacher of tea! Continue reading “Bloom Your Own Edible Flower Cupcake and Eat It in Seoul!”