DT: Travel & Living Journal

Archive for the ‘Asia Trip’ Category

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On the second day of our trip, we went to the Window on China Theme Park or in Chinese known as 小人國 (I skipped the boring part of visiting one of the old streets) which is located in the area of northern Taoyuan area, right just next to the Taoyuan International Airport.

Window on China Theme Park is one of Taiwan’s amusement park and the main attraction is where they display miniature of historical buildings and famous international landmarks around the world. Window on China Theme Park is more similar to the one located in Shenzen but these 133 miniature landmarks are all perfectly presented on a 1 to 25 scale to the original building whereas the one in Shenzen showcases in a human-size scale models.

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One of Window on China mascot – Lucky

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Xiao Ren Guo direct translate means “small people country”

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Miniature of Taichung port and harbour

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Using my Canon Ixus 130 miniature effect

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Airport and airplane

The miniature world is divided into 3 main sections;

1. Mini Taiwan / Mini China – Displays the all well-chosen famous buildings from Taiwan and China where you can experience the Taiwanese and Chinese culture based on the style and feature from the past and the present.

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One of Taiwan’s famous monument, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

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There even display other miniature such as zoo. Can you spot the monkey hanging on the line?

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And even kungfu panda was here too.

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Loves this model of amusement park

2. Mini Europe / America – Display the beauty of European buildings and the amazement of American sights.

Can you identify any one of these landmarks?
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3. Mini Asia – Features the vivid buildings and landscape of Japan, Korea, India and the Middle East.

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I put this as my profile pic in facebook and my friend thought I went India. (==”)

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My dearest family – mom and 2 lil bros

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Did you spot coaster rail behind?

Besides miniature, there are many different exciting rides and adventures either on land or in water in this amusement park such as roller coaster, riverboat, bumper car and lots more. In addition, the popular cartoon and comic character, Doreamon Story House was also features here too which just being opened in two years ago. But I will share all of these in the next post or else my this post will be bulky with overload photos. So stay tune!

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Ended my post with this. Wore this shirt which I bought from Wufenpu on the night before for NT$200

[Credit to: Window on China Theme park homepage & brochure]
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Date of Visited: 20 December 2010

Going Taiwan on Christmas Day is kinda fun but joining organised tour guide is kinda disaster. So, never ever join organised tour guide if you want to enjoy Taiwan trip to the fullest. However, because for this trip of mine which can consider part of family trip, so no choice but to join them.

Woke up as early as 3 am for the last minute packing and cooked some breakfast for my 2 lil brothers. There is only one direct flight from Kota Kinabalu to Taipei and this flight is only available at 6 am via Air Asia. The journey took us 3 hours and around 9 am, landed on Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

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My second visit on Taoyuan International Airport.

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A warm welcome by Taiwanese boy band, Fahrenheit

After done with all the passport checking and luggage claimed, we went and met our local tour guide which will bring us around Taiwan for this 7 days trip. Our first pitstop was having lunch. Oh gosh! Luckily enough going for lunch first before start to go other destinations because I was super hungry at that moment. I don’t fancy ordering foods inside the cabin because I think it is not worth it. Cost more than RM10 for just a small plate of meal which exactly won’t fulfilled my empty stomach but for my 2 lil brothers, they were eating just like a prince.

Taiwan Buffet Steamboat

Lunch at Bar B.Q., which is typical steamboat and barbeque buffet style. Not much choices but I am not that picky when comes to food.

Here is the list of the places we went on the first day in Taiwan:

Jiufen

In Chinese means “nine portions“, is a mountain area of northeast cost of Taiwan. The roads to Jiufen are steep and narrow. I was wondering how the big bus that we are riding on could pass through these roads. Guess the driver must has highly professional driving skills.
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The mountain view from Jiufen

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Narrow alleys and streets for pedestrians only

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But packed with various of local foods and snacks. This is where I found out the jumbo sausage is actually wild boar.

Taipei 101

Taiwan’s landmark skyscraper and served as a symbolic icon for Taiwan. Formerly ranked as the world’s tallest building from 2004 until 2010. Here is the ideal place for those who want to experience high end shopping.


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Christmas Tree standing outside the mall

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Dazzling Swarovski Christmas tree in Taipei 101 Mall

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Adorable advertisement board on a tourist bus

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Wufenpu Fashion Area

This area is best known for wholesale garment market and the largest clothing line market in Taiwan. At here, you will see lots of bags contains of clothes lying on the floor and their clothes are definitely cheap. So for ladies who like to shop, I will recommend this place but the drawback of this place there is no fitting room; which similar to the pasar malam (night market).

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Shilin Night Market

End our first night by visiting the most popular and bustling night market in Taipei. This night market is divided into two different sections; the food vendors which opposite of the railway station while the other side across the road is selling fashionable and accessories items.

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[Credit to: Wikipedia, Wikitravel]

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It is time for Taiwan.

Done with my Japan trip, now I am gonna share my travel adventures and stories around the sweet-potato-shaped island (said by Nateniale’s travel). Hope you don’t mind if I share your blog here.

A bit confused and puzzled where should I start from because among 3 of the trips I went in year 2010, this is the one and only trip which I joined organised tour guide. Kind regret for joining that and I am highly recommend that if can, you better travel by your own.

In that case, I decided start by introduce Taiwan’s Night Market and their Foods. That is what Taiwan popular for as one tourist destination and become the topspot among sightseeing foreign travellers recently.

According to a website, there are more than three hundred nights market in Taiwan. These markets offer enormous variety of authentic Taiwanese food, tasty snacks and drinks. What I believe is that xiaochi foods is the highlighted foods among most of the night markets. Xiaochi, translates in Chinese means “small eats” or finger foods.

Let me introduce some of the infamous night markets that I went during my winter trip in Taiwan.


1. Shilin Night Market, Taipei

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“Shilin Night Market is rated #1 for all Taipei things to do !” – Yahoo Travel

This is the first night market I went on the first day arrived Taiwan. Can’t deny that it being ranked as no. 1 as it is often considered to be the largest and most popular night market in the city of Taipei. Shilin Night Market encompasses two distinct sections; the food market stalls opposite the Jiantan Metro Station and the durable goods market surrounding the Yang Ming Cinema on Anping Street, Dadong Road and Wenlin Road.

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These Taiwanese sausage is huge and long. Sometimes it is wild boar sausage.

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Iced lime jelly or known as Aiyu ping in Chinese

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So many things to see, so many foods to try but unfortunately, we were only being given less than 1 hour to walk around such a huge night market. I even miss out the famous massive fried chicken cutlet which cost approximately around RM5. The queue was so long and I had only 5 minutes left before get it to the bus.

2. Fengjia Night Market, Taichung

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“Low prices, all included” is the main feature of this market where it sells all kinds of cuisines, clothes and accessories. Also known as the Wenhua Night Market, this market is located next to Feng Chia University in Taichung’s Situn District along Wen Hua Road and Fuhsing Road. It extends along Wen Hua Road as far as the Chijian Night Market, making this area claimed to be Taiwan’s largest night market cluster.

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The super duper long ice-cream

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The boots is so damn cheap. Regret for not buying them because out of my size.

3. Liouho Night Market, Kaohsiung

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One of the great night markets in Kaohsiung, Southern Taiwan.

Prepare yourself for the collection of snack vendors photos which I took from this night market.
(Caution: Make sure you are not review with your empty stomach)

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I love this snack. This is basically the hot dog cover with bread.
Every night when visit the night market, sure I won’t miss this one.

4. Ximending, Taipei

Ximending is the source of Taiwan’s fashion, subculture, and Japanese culture and has been knowned as “Harajuku of Taipei” or even “Shibuya of Taipei”. It is one of the most happening and bustling shopping district in the Wanhua District, Taipei.

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In my opinion, it is better to shop other place before you shop here because some of the items are quite expensive. Nothing much to shop here because from the pic, you can see that on the day we arrived there, it rains heavily. I just bought myself a lovely and unique umbrella.

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Besides the above four night markets, we also went to other 2 night markets which were not that so crowded such as Shinkuchan Night Market and Chung Hua Night Market.

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Shinkuchan Night Market in Kaohsiung

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Chung Hua Night Market on the Christmas eve.

However, due to recent foods and healthy issue, some of the night market’s drinks and shaved ice deserts tested positive for plasticisers. So beware of those foods where you visit Taiwan.

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But for me, I just can’t get enough of their foods.
On my left hand side is the sausage cover by bread and on the other side is fried chicken cutlet.

Wish to visit TAIWAN again!

[Credit to: Taiwan’s Night Market homepage, Taiwan – The Heart of Asia homepage, Wikipedia and The Wall Street Journal]

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Before I went Hong Kong for summer holiday, I received message via MSN from Nicole asking whether I interested to go Japan with her or not. At that moment, I had another plan to travel to Australia with my mother and siblings for December holiday.

So I was thinking, if I choose to go Japan, I might need to apply more leave and of course might leads to unpaid leave, which means my montly salary will be deducted. But when reconsider again, when will I had this golden opportunity since most of my friends are recently busy working and lacking of money, therefore unable to travel with me. After thinking for almost 2 weeks, finally i said “YES” to Nicole and there goes two little ladies backpacking by their own. Oh yeah! I would like to stress here that Nicole and I are actually luggage draggers, not backpackers. Hahaha..

Before going to Japan, plenty of preparation need to be ready before enter Japan. For example, during application for visa, I need to go photo studio to take picture with white background. Not only that, lots of requirement needed just to apply such a small piece of visa such as letter from your company, full itinenary of the trip, a photocopy of fixed deposit and so on. Even Nicole had to contact her sister in Singapore in order to get the Japan Rail Pass. That’s why some people prefer to follow organised tour guide to avoid the troublesome requirement.

Some of the readers asking me how much had I spend for this trip. Well, including transportation, accommodation, foods and not forgeting madly shopping, roughly around RM5k – RM6k. But before this, I had compared with organised tour guide where it costs RM5-6k for the tour package. That price not yet included your shopping ooo…

Started to make entry post on 14 December and just ended it recently on 22 June, it took me half year to finish positing of this Japan trip. So, for those who just recently read my blog, here is my Japan trip itinerary because I don’t blog consecutively.

Day 1 (26 October 2010)
5 Different Airports in 24 Hours
First Night Dinner at Osaka

Day 2 (27 October 2010)
Kyoto City Tour

Day 3 (28 October 2010)
Osaka at Daytime
Osaka at Night Time

Day 4 (29 October 2010)
Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street
Akihabara Electronics District

Day 5 (30 October 2010)
Tsukiji Fish Market
Harajuku & Takeshita Dori
Shibuya – Another Shopping & Entertainment District of Tokyo

Day 6 (31 October 2010)
Lake Kawaguchi of Mount Fuji
Tokyo Tower, the Looks alike Eiffel Tower

Day 7 (1 November 2010)
Tokyo Disneysea

Day 8 (2 November 2010)
Japan Transportation & My Last Day in Japan

Extra Features:
1) J-Hoppers & Fukushima
2) Tokyo House Ikebukuro

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SAYONARA JAPAN!

This afternoon, I received message from my bestie that she are leaving to Japan for 3 months for the training purpose. What a great opportunity she has! How I wish I got this opportunity too? To dearest Matilda, have a safe trip and enjoy your life there. Wish to visit you but now is summer season in Japan. Must be damn very hot!

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Attractions? Checked. Accommodation? Checked. Foods? Checked. And now end my final post on my adventurous autumn Japan trip by sharing a bit regarding Japan railway and public transportation network.

Frankly to say that the actual period I had in Japan was actually 7 days, not 8 days because Nicole and I spend our last day mostly on the Shinkansen and Kansai International Airport.

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What is Shinkansen by the way? Shinkansen, the first bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. Running at the speeds of up to 300 km/h, Shinkansen is known for punctuality and it will depart exactly on the scheduled time. So ,don’t expect for Shinkansen to wait for you.

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Aerodynamic nose of the fabled Shinkansen

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The journey from Tokyo to Kansai International Airport took us 3 hours by Shinkansen

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The number on Shinkansen indicates whether the truck is reserved or non-reserved.

Similar to airplanes, most of the Shinkansen offer seats in two different type of classes; ordinary or enocomic class and business class or known as green car class. Due to Nicole and I are Japan Rail Pass holders (will talk about this later), we can only reserved the ordinary class. However, no matter what class it was, for me the seat is so comfortable and so spacious compare to the airplanes. Hey what! I’m almost forgot that everytime I on board, I had no problem with the tight legroom space because I am shortie by the way. Anyway, it is not a bad sign to have the Japan Rail Pass because we can reserve the seat for free.

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Look at the picture at the upper right, Shinkansen offer a generous amount of foot space. Even their number are being numbered and lettered in the same style as on airplanes.

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The safety guideline.

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We knew that we were almost reach airport when we saw Hep Town.

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Finally reached Kansai International Airport, which closer to the city of Osaka.

Japan’s public transportation network leades the world in terms of efficiency, safety and comfort. Most of the places especially the attractions can be reached by taking the public transportation including Mount Fuji. However, when seriously look into their railway line, it is awesomely so complicated and complexity. On the first day we arrived, we were almost lost and confused for 10-20 minutes when we plan to buy ticket to the guest house from Kansai International Airport by using their ticket machine. At the end, we gave up and we went to the ticket office to buy the ticket instead of using the ticket machine.

Don’t believe? Look at the map of the railway line on the top of the ticket machines below.

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Not only one

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But there are two. Really makes both of us scratched our head.

Talking about that Japan Rail Pass, Nicole recommended to buy it as we plan to visit more than one region of Japan. If you plan to visit Kyoto, Kobe, Nara and even Osaka besides Tokyo, then you need this as it offers an incredibly economical way to travel throughout Japan. This pass gives an unlimited travel on almost all trains of the nationwide network of JR lines, including the Shinkansen as well as on many JR bus lines. We can simply travel at anytime we want without reserve any ticket and like what I said before, we can even reserve the seat for free.

However, this Pass can only be purchased outside of Japan before the visit. It is not for sale inside Japan itself. Nicole bought this pass from Singapore by the way. There are two types of Japan Rail Pass and each of these types is available for either 7 days, 14 days or 21 days.

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My name and details on Japan Rail Pass

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We spend our last at Kansai International Airport, Japan’s second largest airport.

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For this trip, we took Jetstar where departed from Singapore and transit to Taiwan before reach Japan.

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Not WELCOME but it’s GOODBYE TO JAPAN!

Finally, that’s the end of my Autumn Adventurous Japan trip with my university housemate, Nicole. It was really one of the amazing and wonderful trip I had. Before this, both of us had been travelled many places during our further study in Sheffield, United Kingdom including the trip of 20 days around Europe. It was a sudden invitation from her to ask me to go Japan. Honestly to say, that moment Japan was not in my current travel list but I am truly not regret on the decision I’d made to travel with her. Lots of exciting experience I had including lost in the middle while try to find the locations and not forgeting too the language barrier we encountered.

Hereby I would like to thanks to Nicole for the invitation and thanks to for doing all the planning and booking the accommodation. Well, she is the host for this trip. THANKS NICOLE!! Can’t wait for our next trip.

[Credit to: Japan-Guide.com, Japan Rail Pass homepage and Wikipedia]

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Konnichiwa, everyone!

My Japan post almost comes to an end. However, still feel like something is missing if I don’t introduce and share with you the foods I had during my trip there.

As you know, most common and famous Japanese cruisine is like sushi, salmon, sashimi and so on. We are so lucky to live in a country that offers a very large variety of dishes and regional specialities. So when Nicole and I went to Japan, their foods are not a big deal for us.

If you plan to go Japan and want to have a fresh Japanese cruisine especially salmon, sashimi and even the expensive sea urchin, plan your journey to Tsukiji Fish Market (click here).

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How can you resist this and you might want order second bowl.

Besides the above, not forgeting to try the origin of where takoyaki from. Takoyaki or commonly known as octopus ball is a ball-shaped, pan fried dumpling made of batter. The best location to search for delicious Takoyaki would be non other than Osaka, as this is the city where it was first popularised from.

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Shinsekai is the spot where Nicole and I had this Takoyaki (click here)

And in case you are green tea ice-cream lover, you should try the tastiness and sweetness of this dessert in Japan. Not only matcha, they do have houjicha – Japanese roasted green tea ice-cream.

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Now I feel like I want fly back to Japan just to have this.

I can’t have the above almost everyday during my 8 days trip in Japan or else it will burn a big hole in my pocket. Even the normal meal I had during my first night arrived in Japan which was Tori Kaarage (fried cutlet chicken) with rice, had cost me RM45 (click here).

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Tori Karaage

From there onwards, Nicole and I hunt for our dinner at 7-Eleven or even other 24 hours convenience store such as Lawson, Circle K Sunkus and even Family Mart. These convenience stores primarily sell foods including a large range of meals from sushi to bento and even spagetti. Honestly to say their 7-Eleven are far more better than the one we have in Malaysia. They even offer services to heat your cold foods.

Nicole and I won’t never miss a day to visit these convenience stores to get our meals from breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love to buy their bento where sometimes a completely meal set with chicken, egg, potato, fish and even prawn together with rice.

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Yummy yummy Japanese dishes as my dinner.

So next time if you got the chance to visit Japan and run out of idea where to have meal, let’s go to these convenience stores as they are everywhere and easily to allocate. I didn’t took any pictures of these convenience stores but you can refer to one of my post during my trip to Taiwan (click here).

ITADAKIMASU EVERYONE!

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Date of Visited: 1st November 2010

If you came back from Tokyo, besides Mount Fuji, sure most of the people you know will ask whether had you been to Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland is the first Asia Disney theme park opened outside the United States.

Tokyo Disneyland is one of three main entertainment sections of Tokyo Disney Resort which opened on 15th April 1983. Then Tokyo Disneysea came in September 4th, 2001 with a park themed based on nautical exploration to create a world where imagination and adventure set sail. Due to the time constraint, Nicole and I can only choose one; either the Disneyland or the Disneysea. Since both of us had been to Paris Disneyland and I just came back from Hong Kong Disneyland, therefore both of us agreed to visit Tokyo Disneysea. The other reason is because this is one and only ocean theme park exclusive to Japan.

In order to get to Tokyo Disneysea, we need to take Disney Resort Line monorail.

Note: Tokyo DisneyLand and Tokyo DisneySea are separate themed park. So, if you want go for both, you need to purchase admission ticket for two.

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Before this in my Shibuya entry (click here), I ever recommended that if you plan to go Tokyo Disney Resort, to take a safeguard in case you didn’t bought the online ticket, you are advisable to purchase ticket from there. Why?

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Don’t wait until you reach there or else you will regret.

Once we reached Tokyo Disneysea, we saw a huge model of globe which similar to the one in Universal Studio (although I haven’t been yet to any of the Universal) in the entrance of plaza. It is one of the two symbolic icon of Tokyo DisneySea.

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DisneySea Aquasphere
There are seven uniquely themed areas or known as “ports of call”. One of it, Mediterranean Harbour is the entrance of the park which opens up to another six more nautically theme ports; Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta and American Waterfront.

1. Mediterranean Harbour – the main entrance “port of call” and themed as an Italian port city, complete with Venetian gondolas. Here, we saw an artificial gigantic volcano, Mount Prometheus, located in the center of the park. is another symbol of Tokyo DisneySea.

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1. Mediterranean Harbour (1)

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Another Venetian replica
2. Mysterious Island – the smallest “port of call” features a large volcano and located in the center of the park. It is also known as Vulcania Island. This area has little greenery, and is mostly rocks and ornaments.

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One of Mysterious Island’s attractions which featured from Disney movie

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3. Mermaid Lagoon – Tokyo Disneysea is incomplete without the home characters to “The Little Mermaid”. The facade is made to resemble like the Palace of King Triton and features colourful seashell-inspired architecture. This unique “port of call” is mostly indoors and recreates the feeling of being underwater. Lots of attractions and rides are available in this area but mostly are geared towards younger children.

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Time to be “Under the Sea”

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4. Arabian Coast – recreates an exotic Arabian harbour, combining another Disney popular animated film, Aladdin with an enchanted world from the 1001 Arabian Nights. As such, the architecture and atmosphere are inspired by many Middle-Eastern and Indian influences.

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5. Port Discovery – This “port of call” is hailed as the marina of the future. It is also sometimes known as “Tomorrowland” of Tokyo Disneysea.

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Align Center

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6. Lost River Delta – features the most famous attraction Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, which based on the Indiana Jones film and it is the sixth collaboration between Disney and George Lucas. Don’t tell me that you don’t know who is George Lucas. Still don’t know? Go google it.

For this ride, both of us had to queue for almost two and half hours. Most of them are Japanese and I only saw few Caucasians in the theme parks. My most here define as 99% and I had checked the calender. Neither school holidays or public holidays but everywhere crowded with the locals. Guest they no need to work or school.

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7. American Waterfront – represents the northeastern seaboard of the United States in the early 20th century. This land is dominated by the large passanger ship (picture as below).

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The most popular attraction, Tower of Terror. Not sure whether similar to the one in Paris Disneyland (click here) but what I know I don’t want another long queue again.

So there you have it. A brief introduction of the seven different themed areas and their attractions in Tokyo Disneysea accompanion with the picture I took. Lastly, never leave Tokyo Disneysea with empty hand.

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There are 2 items unable to allocate to be part of my collection – fridge madgets and Mickey T-shirts. Too bad!

How to go there:

Take the JR Keiyo Line to Maihama Station which is adjacent to Tokyo Disney Resort. Turn left once out from station to take the Disney Resort Line monorail which cost 200 yen. For Tokyo Disneyland, it is just few walking distance.

The admission fee and opening hours is vary from time to time. For safeguard, do visit the website for more details. Before I forgot, do print out the map as I can’t find any English version. Luckily I print out earlier for my research before I reach there.
[Credit to: Wikipedia, Wikitravel and Tokyo Disney Resort main homepage]

UPDATED: Tokyo Disneysea is being recognised as one of the world’s best theme parks (click here).


  • ken: >so cool ah the miniature world.. gotta admire the precision and accuracy of the structures :)
  • Diana Diane Teo: >CathJ and ladymariah - Thanks so much! =)
  • Diana Diane Teo: >Armstrong - Although quite sad because it comes to the end, but I am quite happy to see it ends with good ending. :)Sailor - Thanks for the compli