Japan Trip, Kansai Region

This was our first trip to Japan, a country we always wanted to visit. Our travel took us to the Kansai region covering cities Osaka, Nara and Kyoto.

This trip again is done on backpacking. Below was our itinerary:

London Heathrow to Paddington using Heathrow Express

We used the Heathrow Express service to get us to Paddington Station. Using the 90 days advance express saver weekend, the fares for 2 adult and 1 child costed us 11 pounds. The journey was fast, around 15 minutes.

Tickets machines at Heathrow

Scan your prepaid ticket QR

Arriving at Paddington Station

Transit via Dubai International Airport

On our flight from Malaysia to UK, we are transiting via Dubai. Dubai airport is home to the largest operator of A380, Emirates

2 weeks Travel UK/Europe

We spent 2 weeks travel on backpacking to UK and parts of Europe.

Our destination included,

  • London, UK
  • York, UK
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Paris, France
  • Florence, Italy
  • Rome, Italy

Our first destination will be London.

Ghent, Belgium

During a business trip to Belgium, I had the opportunity to visit Ghent. Leaving from the town of Liege, it takes around 2 hours by train to Ghent.

The Liege train station, Liege Guillemins has a really beautiful architecture



To get to Ghent take the train that is heading to Ostende

The train stop at Ghent is at Gent Sint Pieters station


From here to Ghent town it’s easiest to take a tram. You can get a 1 day pass for EUR6 from any of the ticket machines, please take note these are located outside the train station.

Best place to start exploring is getting off the tram stop at Gravensteen where the tourist office is.

As it was only a day trip for me i only managed to cover the most popular sights. 

Inside St Bavo’s cathedral 


The Belfry


The Gravensteen 


At Graslei 


Around the canals


At Graslei there are many boat tours which cost around EUR7 for those interested in the river cruise. Ghent is really beautiful and easily can be explored by foot or trams. Given more time the day city card is good value that covers transport and entries into most attractions.

Roermond Designer Outlets

Roermond designer outlets in Netherlands is a popular shopping place for designer brands at discounted prices. Here many popular brands like Nike, Timberland, Coach, Prada can be found. Allocate at least a full day (if not more) ­čśÇ

On weekends it can get pretty crowded

   
             

Drielandenpunt, Vaals

I am heading to Drielandenpunt in Vaals (a town in Netherlands) where the borders of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands meet. There is also a viewing point where these 3 countries can be seen.     

Aachen Hbf

It can be reached by taking a train to Aachen then take a bus from Aachen Hbf to Vaals. From Vaals town it will be a short hike to Drielandenpunt. 

                 

Backpacking in Netherlands, Germany and Austria

We did our first backpacking holiday covering the Netherlands, Germany and Austria over 8 days. 

The trip started in Amsterdam which we flew in from Kuala Lumpur on KLM non-stop flight. Flight time around 12 hours.

Our trip will cover mostly Germany and much usage of trains, hence, we made use of a Rail pass covering just Germany as this pass is available for selected countries of choice. We chose a 5-day flexi pass which gives the flexibility to select the days to use it (can be non-consecutive). The pass covers all trains such as intercity (including ICE but non-reserved seats) and local trains but not buses, trams and subways within cities.

 We bought the pass in Kuala Lumpur (from MSL) prior to the trip.

German Pass 5-day flexi for 2 adults and 1 youth (for eligible and is cheaper)

Here’s some helpful information on the rail pass:

  • For our train from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to Cologne (Germany), the Germany rail pass is valid after the Netherlands border therefore purchase a supplemental ticket to cover from Amsterdam to Germany border station (in our case to Emmerich). This way both supplemental and rail pass ticket can cover the single train journey
  • For our final leg overnight City Night Line train (unfortunately DB the operator has stopped all overnight trains) from Munich to Amsterdam, we use the same method with the rail pass, purchasing additional for the beds and supplemental for the Netherlands part. Use the tickets offices at stations to book this as these options are not available from the website or kiosks
  • The rail pass is valid for all German high speed trains like ICE but only on non-reserved seats. Most of the time these seats are available but for popular routes and during peak hours it can be a challenge to get seats. Booking reserved seats is possible with additional fee, but we did not use it
  • Try to use as much high speed or express trains to cut journey time. Use google maps for information on best train options
  • A bonus of the German rail pass, it can be used to travel to some cities outside of Germany (https://www.germanrailpasses.com/en/passes-prices/pass-extension). We used this to travel from Munich to Salzburg and is valid also for high speed trains such as the OBB Railjet

  Our travel itinerary as below:

Day 1 – Amsterdam, Cologne and Cochem

Day 2 – Burg Eltz and Trier

Day 3 – Cochem’s castle and vineyards

Day 4 – Middle Rhine cruise St Goar to Bacharach and Munich

Day 5 – Munich

Day 6 – Salzburg, Austria 

Day 7 – Amsterdam

Day 8 –  Zaanse Schans

Arrabbiata Pasta

Here’s another quick and simple recipe using Arranbiata which is a spicy tomato pasta sauce. You can get them in bottles from supermarkets.

   
 

Ingredients

  1. Spaghetti
  2. Onion 
  3. Capsicum
  4. Champignons mushroom
  5. Can of carrot and peas (for added fibre and protein)
  6. Arrabbiata sauce
  7. Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cook the spaghetti, add salt to the water. When cooked, drain and plate it
  2. Heat oil in pan and add onions
  3. Next add the capsicum, mushrooms and carrot/peas
  4. Add in the Arrabbiata sauce, if the sauce is too thick or dry, add some water
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Pour sauce over the spaghetti 

Bak Kut Teh noodle 

Here’s a recipe for a noodle meal using Bak Kut Teh as the soup base. Bak Kut Teh refers to a herbal soup quite popular in Malaysia which is boiled with pork ribs and (usually) serve with mushrooms, fu chuk (a kind of soya sheets), taufu pok (thin beancurd), yau char Kway (Chinese crullers) and vegetables.

This recipe is a non-meat version and with noodles. The Bak Kut Teh packet i am using is the one below (you can find the same or other similar brands in Chinese sundry shops).



Ingredients

  1. Bak Kut Teh packet
  2. Rice noodles
  3. Mushrooms
  4. Iceberg lettuce
  5. Light and Dark Soya sauce
  6. Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Boil a pot of water and add the Bak Kut Teh packet in (should be able to make 2-3 servings)
  2. Add little bit both light and dark soya sauce together with salt/pepper to taste
  3. Boil 1-2 hours, be careful not to break the herbal bag
  4. Soak the rice noodles in water to soften it then set aside
  5. In another pot pour in required soup serving (dispose the herbal bag)
  6. After water is boiling, add in noodles, mushrooms and lettuce last (just enough to cook it)