Author: The Flaneur

Australian writer. Travel writing, opinion editorials, short stories, poetry.

National Gallery of Victoria, Australia

The National Gallery of Victoria has a selection of wonderfully curated exhibitions. On the banks of the Yarra River, make your way past the mesmerizing water feature to some of the permanent fixtures or traveling features.

My friends and I had time to kill on our last day in Melbourne so we slipped inside and wandered the halls of Eastern artworks, Medieval iconography, and ancient Egyptian artefacts. The exhibitions were extensive and I was impressed to see such a diverse representation of history in the permanent exhitions of this space.

It was a wonderful way to spend our time in Melbourne and it was free to enter as well. The gallery cafe offers delicate teas and the tiniest of sweet treats. I definitely recommend scheduling afternoon tea after your visit to the gallery.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

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Peak Tram, HONG KONG

The Peak Tram is good fun for young and old. It’s a classic tourist venture in Hong Kong and for good reason. The Tram takes you all the way to Victoria Peak, where you can access the Peak Walk (40min round circuit with views of Victoria Harbour) Madame Tussauds, viewing platforms of the city and other retail.

The tram is popular, so expect queues. One thing they don’t advertise is that you can use your octopus card to purchase a tram ticket (the octopus card is a regular transport tap on/off card). If you don’t have one of those, they sell tickets on site.

Kids love it, and adults do too. A fun day out for everyone!

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Federation Square, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Federation Square is a great meeting place central to all things Melbourne. Directly opposite Flinders Street Station, you can access trams, trains and Yarra river cruises all within a stone’s throw. It’s a cultural hub, right on Swanston Street making it close to Degraves boutique cafĂ© shopping strip, as well as theatres and churches. Federation Square also has features of its own, with bars and restaurants, even a film and sound museum for the family.

It’s hard to avoid Federation Square when I Melbourne. You’ll find its a central hub to meet and explore.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Nanjing Road, Shanghai, CHINA

Nanjing Road is hyped up beyond compare. It’s a famous retail strip in Shanghai that leads through to The Bund and the water there.

Personally, I was underwhelmed by Nanjinglu mostly because I went to Shanghai to sightsee, rather than to shop. The outlets are impressive and offer fantastic markdowns, so bring your cash if you’re into that sort of thing.

If like me you’re not, have a stroll and see if you can find hidden gems along the way. There are handicraft shops and boutique couture.

If you’re not retail minded, however, it’s just a road that leads to the waterfront.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Lantau Island, HONG KONG

I didn’t do as much of Lantau Island as I could have, but I left feeling as if I had seen what I needed to see. This island left me with mixed feelings; I was overwhelmed by the attraction of it as a tourist trap. I was curious about the opportunity to visit a local village, but wary that it may be tainted by manufactured superficiality. I was gobsmacked by the amount of retail stores that boasts teachings of piety and self-reflections from Buddha, on commercial wares flogged at obscene prices. I was floored by the irony. And the Starbucks and the wifi. I hope that the Shaolin Monastery practiced Buddha’s ways of freedom from material possessions, but I was uninspired by the copious trinkets and wares for sale. And the fact that the 30m bronze Big Buddha was only erected for the masses in recent decades.

I’m still reeling from the contradiction of it all.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Grand Mercure Xi’an on Renmin Square, CHINA

The Grand Mercure is a fantastic hotel to stay at in Xi’an. It’s central to most of the sightseeing landmarks around the city centre and is within walking distance from the Muslim Quarter, Bell Tower and night markets.

The hotel staff spoke limited English which made transactions a little confusing; we had trouble confirming the logistics of a deposit using credit card. We also had miscommunication around how many beds were available in our room.

However, the language barriers aren’t a reflection on the service or the hotel, just keep in mind that Xi’an is less cosmopolitan than other Chinese cities like Shanghai.

We were very pleased with our room and we’re warm and comfortable through snowy winter nights. Would definitely stay here again.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Tacos and Salsa Mexican Bistro, Bangkok, THAILAND

Tacos and Salsa is one of those gems that you either stumble upon accidently or go searching for. Just off Soi 18, this place is always buzzing with energy.

The food was delicious. I had fajitas with fresh guacamole, sizzling chicken and smooth sour cream. The burritos are cheesy and the ceviche is a perfect marriage of flavours. Competitive prices, excellent food and knaff decor- what more could you ask for?

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.