Saturday, November 25, 2017

Harbin: Winter Snow Sculpture Exhibition in Heilongjiang province, China


Harbin is the capital city of Heilongjiang province in the northeastern region of People's Republic of China. Since Heilongjiang province is situated in the northern of China and near the border with Russia with the extreme cold winters, compared to other Chinese cities. The local government of Heilongjiang province promotes Harbin city as the most beautiful Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival during the winter, between December to February yearly.

Tourists from local and abroad travel to Harbin during the peak season of Winter season to visit and experience extremely cold weather at Ice and Snow Sculpture Exhibitions. Both of Ice and Snow Sculpture Art Exhibitions are located nearby to each other, on an island, which is separated by a huge lake from Harbin downtown. It takes about 10-15 minutes by cab from Harbin downtown to these exhibitions. Ice Sculpture Exhibition and Snow Sculpture Exhibition are located at two different places but they are near to each other. Ice Sculpture Exhibition opens until at night while Snow Sculpture Art Exhibition opens in the daytime. As such, we head to Snow Sculpture Art Exhibition first before going to Ice Sculpture Exhibition.

There is an entrance ticket fee for Ice and Snow Sculpture Exhibitions respectively. It is very expensive considering, these exhibitions are held for 3 months only. Do expect the entrance fee costs between RMB200 to RMB300 per person for each exhibition. It is very cold in Harbin. We never experience the coldest winter in our lives which can drop to -30 C. Even though we wear many layers of clothing including thick skiing gloves, we still feel numb and freezing after staying outdoor for sometime. That's the torture feel of freezing in Harbin.

Traveling within cities in China has become more convenient and easier for foreigners who aren't able to read and understand Chinese. Ctrip is a one-stop website where you can book from travel package, air tickets, train tickets to hotels at anywhere in China. This is the official website of Ctrip:  http://english.ctrip.com/

Traveling by domestic flight is very expensive in China. We want to get some local experience by traveling and sleeping on the train from Beijing to Harbin. It takes more than 10 hours train ride thus, we decide to book soft sleeper bedding in a private room for a comfortable ride. It is smooth, comfortable and clean rides throughout our journey. Shower is prohibited on the train but the water supply is sufficient for us to brush our teeth and go to bathroom business. Hot water vending machine is available to make hot drink and noodle soup in the cup.

Traveling and sleeping in the train from Beijing to Harbin overnight
Traveling and sleeping in the train from Beijing to Harbin overnight. It is comfortable and clean train ride throughout more than 10 hours journey
At the entrance of Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China
At the entrance of Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China
Celebrating Chinese New Year festival with fireworks and dragon dance at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China
Celebrating Chinese New Year festival with fireworks and dragon dance at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China
Fairytale Castle in Snow Sculpture at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China
Fairytale Castle in Snow Sculpture at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China



Visitors enjoy walking, playing with their top spins and cycling on the frozen lake at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China
Visitors enjoy walking, playing with their top spins and cycling on the frozen lake at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China

Castle wall in ice sculpture at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China
Castle wall in ice sculpture at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China

Enjoying the slide on ice sculpture in very cold winter at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China
Enjoying the slide on ice sculpture in very cold winter at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China

Sliding activity on the ice sculpture at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China
Sliding activity on the ice sculpture at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China

I love this romance snow sculpture at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China
I love this romance snow sculpture at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China

Some Snow Sculpture designs display at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in China
Some Snow Sculpture designs display at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in China

Giant ship and Palace in Ice Sculpture at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China
Giant ship and Palace in Ice Sculpture at Harbin Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Heilongjiang province, China

Heading back to Harbin downtown and overlooking at the frozen lake at Harbin in Heilongjiang province, China
Heading back to Harbin downtown and overlooking at the frozen lake at Harbin in Heilongjiang province, China

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gallipoli: Anzac Cove Beach Cemetery, Turkey


This is the final stop at Gallipoli before leaving Turkey from the capital city of Istanbul in Turkey. At the beginning, we didn't know why Australia and New Zealand celebrate Anzac Day with dawn service memorial on April 25th yearly. To understand this historical Anzac Day, our tour guide takes us to Anzac Cove Beach Cemetery at Gallipoli, Turkey.

On 25th April 1915, a force of allied soldiers from the United Kingdom, France, India, Canada, Australian and New Zealand were supposed to storm the flat terrain of Brighton Beach which would lead them into the inland. Their ultimate goal was to capture Gallipoli Peninsular in order to open the Black Sea to Allied Navies.

However, due to poor communication, the troops ended up landing on the wrong beach North of Brighton. The terrain was very steep and became a huge disadvantage to the opponent which was Turkish troops. It became the death place for thousands of allied troops and the war lasted for 8 months only.

The word of Anzac Cove was agreed by Turkish Government as the official name in 1985.

To me, it is very touching moments when I read a beautiful speech by the first Turkish President, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to the first visitors to Gallipoli from Australia and New Zealand in 1934:


 “Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives!
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. 
There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”


This strong message brings our strong unity ties between our former enemies without feeling anger and hatred. We learn from the mistakes.

Do you feel the same?


Memorial at Anzac Cove with touching message from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1934 at Gallipoli, Turkey
Memorial at Anzac Cove with touching message from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1934 at Gallipoli, Turkey

Lists of the names of Anzac troops who fought and died at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, Turkey
Lists of the names of Anzac troops who fought and died at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, Turkey
Anzac and Suvla cementaries are located along the coast road of the Eceabat and Bigali road at Gallipoli, Turkey
Anzac and Suvla cementaries are located along the coast road of the Eceabat and Bigali road at Gallipoli, Turkey

Anzac cementaries along Coast road of Gallipoli in Turkey
Anzac cementaries along Coast road of Gallipoli in Turkey
The Turkish 57th Regiment Memorial at Gallipoli, Turkey
The Turkish 57th Regiment Memorial at Gallipoli, Turkey

Feeling brotherhood ties where Turkish troop saved an injuired Anzac troop can be seen at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, Turkey
Feeling brotherhood ties where Turkish troop saved an injuired Anzac troop can be seen at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, Turkey

Monday, September 18, 2017

Canakkale: Troy (Truva) ancient city in Turkey


This is a must to stop over at Canakkale to visit Troy (Truva) wooden horse and the ruins of an ancient city nearby which proved that there had been nine separate periods of settlement (3000 BC - 400 AD).

Troy at side view at Canakkale, Turkey
Troy at side view at Canakkale, Turkey
Front view Troy at Canakkale, Turkey
Front view Troy at Canakkale, Turkey
Inside Troy wooden house at Canakkale, Turkey
Inside Troy wooden house at Canakkale, Turkey
Heading to The East Wall of the ancient city at Canakkale, Turkey
Heading to The East Wall of the ancient city at Canakkale, Turkey
The ramp still remains intact at the ancient city near Troy wooden house in Canakkale, Turkey
The ramp still remains intact at the ancient city near Troy wooden house in Canakkale, Turkey
The remaining of the ancient city near Troy wooden horse statue in Canakkale, Turkey
The remaining of the ancient city near Troy wooden horse statue in Canakkale, Turkey
The ruins of the ancient city nearby Troy wooden horse statue in Canakkale, Turkey
The ruins of the ancient city nearby Troy wooden horse statue in Canakkale, Turkey

 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bergama: Pergamon (Greek ancient city) in Turkey


Pergamon is a popular tourist destination in Bergama which is located near to Aegean Sea in Turkey. Pergamon was an ancient Greek city which became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during Hellenistic period under Attalid dynasty (281-133 BC). During Hellenistic period, Pergamon was well-known as a major learning centre and developed city in the ancient world. 

Pergamon site is located on the top of the mountain in Aegean region. To get to Pergamon archoelogical site, you can only access by getting on and off the cable car ride. We actually join the seven days ground tour which takes us to all popular attraction in Istanbul and also outside of Istanbul city. Public transportation is impossible to reach there as it is located very far from the nearby city in Bergama. Once you reach to the top of mountain, you will find many remaining sites of monumental temples, theatres, gymnasium, altar and library on the sloping terrain and surrounded by the city wall of Pergamon.

Heading to the archaelogical ruins from the ancient Roman city of Pergamon by cable car in Turkey
Heading to the archaelogical ruins from the ancient Roman city of Pergamon by cable car in Turkey
Welcome to Bergama or also known as Pergamon, the ancient Roman city in Turkey
Welcome to Bergama or also known as Pergamon, the ancient Roman city in Turkey
Pergamon was cited in the book of Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia
Pergamon was cited in the book of Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia
Pergamon was one of the modern city of Bergama that became the capital of Kingdom of Pergamon during Hellenistic Period in Turkey
Pergamon was one of the modern city of Bergama that became the capital of Kingdom of Pergamon during Hellenistic Period in Turkey
The remains of royal palaces in Pergamon, Turkey
The remains of royal palaces in Pergamon, Turkey
The Temple of Trojan at Pergamon in Turkey
The Temple of Trojan at Pergamon in TurkeyAdd caption
It could be a theatre during the ancient Roman city of Pergamon in Turkey
It could be a theatre during the ancient Roman city of Pergamon in Turkey
The remains of archaelogical ruins from the ancient Roman city of Pergamon
The remains of archaelogical ruins from the ancient Roman city of Pergamon
Some of the elements remaining at Pergamon city in Turkey
Some of the elements remaining at Pergamon city in Turkey

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Kusadasi: Virgin Mary's House, Ephesus & Basilica St John in Turkey


We headed from Pamukkale to Virgin Mary's House, the popular site of Ephesus and The Basilica of St. John burial site before ending our day trip at Kusadasi downtown near the beach area. We followed the group tour from the first day of the tour when we arrived at Istanbu as it was impossible to travel by ourselves due to limited public transportation from one city to another city in Turkey. The road journey was hectic and tiring but we were lucky to have friendly and chatty members within our group.  

Virgin Mary's House near Ephesus in Turkey where it was believed that Virgin Mary spent her days in the ancient city of Ephesus
Virgin Mary's House near Ephesus in Turkey where it was believed that Virgin Mary spent her days in the ancient city of Ephesus
Baths at the State Agora is Roman bathing facility nearby Ephesus in Turkey
Baths at the State Agora is Roman bathing facility nearby Ephesus in Turkey
A calm cat enjoyed sunbathing at Ephesus site in Kusadasi, Turkey
A calm cat enjoyed sunbathing at Ephesus site in Kusadasi, Turkey
Bouleuterion housed the meetings of the council (boule) as well as musical performances and contests nearby Ephesus in Turkey
Bouleuterion housed the meetings of the council (boule) as well as musical performances and contests nearby Ephesus in Turkey
Heading to the popular attraction site called Ephesus in Turkey
Heading to the popular attraction site called Ephesus in Turkey
Ephesus is one of the seven wonders of the world as the greatest outdoor museum with the lists of gloriest historical events in Turkey
Ephesus is one of the seven wonders of the world as the greatest outdoor museum with the lists of gloriest historical events in Turkey
Ancient Ephesus in Kusadasi, Turkey
Ancient Ephesus in Kusadasi, Turkey
The characteristics or  identities to represent Ephesus Ancient Building in Kusadasi, Turkey
The characteristics or  identities representing Ephesus Ancient Building in Kusadasi, Turkey
Ephesus Theatre in Kusadasi, Turkey
Ephesus Theatre in Kusadasi, Turkey
The remains of Ephesus Theatre in Kusadasi, Turkey
The remains of Ephesus Theatre in Kusadasi, Turkey
Basilica of St John in Kusadasi, Turkey
Basilica of St John in Kusadasi, Turkey
The remains of the burial site of St John near Ephesus in Kusadasi, Turkey
The remains of the burial site of St John near Ephesus in Kusadasi, Turkey
The tomb of St John in Ephesus, Kusadasi, Turkey
The tomb of St John in Ephesus, Kusadasi, Turkey
The Basilica of St John is on the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill near the center of Selçuk, just below the fortress and about 3.5 km from Ephesus in Kusadasi, Turkey
The Basilica of St John is on the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill near the center of Selçuk, just below the fortress and about 3.5 km from Ephesus in Kusadasi, Turkey
Enjoying sunset at the popular beach in Kusadasi downtown, Turkey
Enjoying sunset at the popular beach in Kusadasi downtown, Turkey

Friday, June 2, 2017

Pamukkale: Hierapolis & Thermal Pools (Travertine Hot Springs) in Turkey


Pamukkale is one of Turkey's top attractions after Cappadocia. Tourists and the locals flock to Pamukkale for thermal pools. The thermal pools (travertine hot springs) was used as a spa since the second century BC. Terraces of travertine hot springs is known as the nature wonders of the world from the minerals reaction between calcium and hydrogen carbonate to create calcium carbonate and limestone. It is scientifically proven to cure many diseases thus it becomes an attraction side for the visitors to bathe or soak their feet.

Hierapolis ancient city is also located in Pamukkale. There are many remaining of building structures can be seen at the site. Walking at the site can be challenging if you aren't fit as the pathways are uneven and most of the sites are located quite a distance from one to another and some are located on top of the hill which require to walk up the steep hill. Thus, it is advisable to wear comfortable sports shoes and pants with your cap as walking at the site can be difficult under the hot weather. 

Heading to the top of the hillof the sanctuary of St Philip (one of the twelve aposties of Christ at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
Heading to the top of the hillof the sanctuary of St Philip (one of the twelve aposties of Christ at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
Octagonal Baths building before heading up the stairway at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
Octagonal Baths building before heading up the stairway at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
Church of the Sepulchre was built around a first-century Sacellum tomb belonging to the Roman cementery at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
Church of the Sepulchre was built around a first-century Sacellum tomb belonging to the Roman cementery at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
St Philip tomb at Pamukkale, Turkey
St Philip tomb at Pamukkale, Turkey
The remainings of semicircular structure with seating for the priests during the liturgy at Church of the Sepulchre in Pamukkale, Turkey
The remainings of semicircular structure with seating for the priests during the liturgy at Church of the Sepulchre in Pamukkale, Turkey
Some of the interior remainings of Church of the Sepulchre at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
Some of the interior remainings of Church of the Sepulchre at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
Different Cross designs can be found at St Philip tomb at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
Different Cross designs can be found at St Philip tomb at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, TurkeyAdd caption

The theatre was used into late Roman times dating to AD 352 and the spectators were divided accordingly to the social class at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
The theatre was used into late Roman times dating to AD 352 and the spectators were divided accordingly to the social class at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
The theatre is divided into two parts by the central diazoma and vertically by 8 staircases into 9 kerkides at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
The theatre is divided into two parts by the central diazoma and vertically by 8 staircases into 9 kerkides at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
The remainings of the theatre at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
The remainings of the theatre at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
An exciting visit to the most popular attraction site, Pamukkale Themal Pools among tourists and locals in Pamukkale, Turkey
An exciting visit to the most popular attraction site, Pamukkale Themal Pools among tourists and locals in Pamukkale, Turkey
Enjoying the view of the thermal (salted) hills on the ground at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
Enjoying the view of the thermal (salted) hills on the ground at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey


Heading to the main spectacular of the famous thermal pools at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
Heading to the main spectacular of the famous thermal pools at Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
At last, we arrive at the thermal pool which also known as Cleopatras pools after 15 minutes walk from the entrance at HIerapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
At last, we arrive at the thermal pool which also known as Cleopatras pools after 15 minutes walk from the entrance at HIerapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey
Removing shoes before stepping into travertines terraces at Pamukkale Thermal Pools (Cleopatras) pools in Turkey
Removing shoes before stepping into travertines terraces at Pamukkale Thermal Pools (Cleopatras) pools in Turkey
In ancient times, the travertines terraces were overflowing with water at Pamukkale Thermal Pools in Turkey
In ancient times, the travertines terraces were overflowing with water at Pamukkale Thermal Pools in Turkey
The nature wonder of Pamukkale Thermal Pools or also known as Travertines Terraces which attracts many tourists to Pamukkale in Turkey
The nature wonder of Pamukkale Thermal Pools or also known as Travertines Terraces which attracts many tourists to Pamukkale in Turkey
Spectacular view while soaking our feet in the thermal pools at Pamukkale, Turkey
Spectacular view while soaking our feet in the thermal pools at Pamukkale, Turkey
  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Cappadocia: Goreme Museum, Avanos, Pasabag Valley and Underground City in Turkey


Cappadocia is a very beautiful city which has many unique rock formation of its landscapes, rock-cut churches and mysterious underground cities. It is a must to visit Cappadocia when you visit Turkey. Cappadocia is located in the middle of Turkey and to get there is the only way by plane, from Istanbul to Cappadocia. We followed the local tour entirely in Cappadocia to Goreme Open Air Museum, Avanos, Pasabag Valley and Underground City of Kaymakli & Citadel of Uchisar. It is impossible to get around in Cappadocia by public transportation due to the locations and language barrier. We were fortunate that we were in a small group tour of 10 of us. 

Do remember to arrange hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia with your tour guide as it is prearranged a day or two days early to avoid disappointment. We didn't manage to experience hot air balloon ride due to snowing and windy in the morning.  

Goreme Open Air Museum in Cappadocia, Turkey
Goreme Open Air Museum in Cappadocia, Turkey
One of the rock-cut churches with beautiful frescoes (wall paintings) at Goreme Open Air Museum in Cappadocia, Turkey
One of the rock-cut churches with beautiful frescoes (wall paintings) at Goreme Open Air Museum in Cappadocia, Turkey

Goreme Open Air Museum is a member of UNESCO World Heritage since 1984 in Cappadocia, Turkey
Goreme Open Air Museum is a member of UNESCO World Heritage since 1984 in Cappadocia, Turkey
Most of the churches in Goreme Open Air Museum were operated between 10th to 12th centuries at Cappadocia in Turkey
Most of the churches in Goreme Open Air Museum were operated between 10th to 12th centuries at Cappadocia in Turkey

The locals are still staying in this old city of Avanos which is still famous for its earthenware pottery production in Cappadocia, Turkey
The locals are still staying in this old city of Avanos which is still famous for its earthenware pottery production in Cappadocia, Turkey
The popular town of Avanos is set on the banks of the Kizlirmak the Red River, is one of the popular tourist destination to visit in Cappadocia, Turkey
The popular town of Avanos is set on the banks of the Kizlirmak the Red River, is one of the popular tourist destination to visit in Cappadocia, Turkey


Pasabag Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey
Pasabag Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey
Underground city of Kaymakli & Citadel in Capadocia, Turkey
Underground city of Kaymakli & Citadel in Capadocia, Turkey


An ancient multi-level underground city to shelter over 20,000 people together with their livesstock and food stores in Underground City of Kaymakli and Citadel of Cappadocia, Turkey
An ancient multi-level underground city to shelter over 20,000 people together with their livesstock and food stores in Underground City of Kaymakli and Citadel of Cappadocia, Turkey
Each room is connected to next room and every floor in the underground city of Kaymakli and Citadel in Cappadocia, Turkey
Each room is connected to next room and every floor in the underground city of Kaymakli and Citadel in Cappadocia, Turkey