Hangzhou’s Hefang Street (河坊街) is a vibrant old street that will keep you entertained. Shopping in stores that are more than 100 years old, discovering diminishing arts & crafts, drinking the famous Longjin tea and having fun playing dress up! Hefang Street had always been an important place for trade some 800 years ever since the Southern Song Dynasty. In 2000, the street has been made a pedestrian street and renovated to depict old Hangzhou. Continue reading
Paris, a city of romance and sophistication, has plenty of attractions. My time is precious in Paris, so I’ve planned my itinerary to maximize time to get the best out of Paris. Knowing which day the attractions have extended hours or when they are closed helps to avoid disappointment. Note that the opening hours vary during summer and other months. Continue reading
Itinerary covers main attractions in Paris – the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre Coeur, Catacombs, Pantheon, Chateau de Versailles, Centre Pompidou, Musee D’Orsay and Les Invalides. In Provence/ Southern France – Arles, Nimes, Orange, Pont Du Gard, the Camargue, Gordes, Roussillon, Menerbes, Lourmarin, L’Isle Sur La Sorgue and Aix En Provence.
Luckily, we found ourselves an airport shuttle – Navette Aeroport on the way back home from Paris. The two of us had a total of 6 luggage and it would have been too tiring to haul them around, going up and down stair cases, changing stations at the metro system!
Navette-Aeroport provides shared shuttle service to the airport. Depending on when and which part of Paris you are leaving from, it should take around 40 minutes to 1 hour to get to the airport (or more during peak hours).
Our flight was on a Sunday, so there wasn’t too much traffic so we calculated our time for 40 minutes to reach the airport. We were the first couple to be picked up and we didn’t take into consideration that a few people were picked up along the way so by the time we reached the airport, it was 1.5 hours before our flight departure. It was extremely tight for us to do the VAT tax refund, queue up at the ticket counter, go through security and customs. But we made it on time, went through everything and even had about 10 minutes to shop at duty-free before boarding! So you might want to plan for extra time to get to the airport if you are using the shared shuttle.
The cost was amazingly reasonable – 20 euros for the two of us. If you ask the hotel to call, they usually will take a commission and it ends up more than 20 euros. The receptionist at Hotel Du Nord called for us and didn’t take any commission (thanks!).
Millions of visitors flock to Paris every year for shopping. Not only do you get the most complete range of high fashion, most importantly, you get the benefit of a 12% VAT Tax Refund, and sometimes the benefit from the exchange rate too. A very important note to bring your passport along for shopping to get the tax refund procedure done. Continue reading
We visited the Louvre on day 3. Having too much to see and absorb, besides the artwork, we only managed to see the inverted and the stone pyramid and were too tired to see the big pyramids outside. (The inverted pyramid is supposed to be a symbol of chalice and Mary Magdelene is supposedly buried underneath the stone pyramid in The Da Vinci Code). Continue reading
Hotel Du Nord is a charismatic hotel and it is so full of travelling vibe that the owner must be an avid traveler himself. I love the decorations used at the hotel. They are not grand or anything, but it’s the little things that gave the hotel personality. Upon entering the hotel, we were greeted with a splash of red – the red wall and the red little porter. Continue reading