Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 2013 Travel Adventure Summary

Unfortunately not all of my video clips were found and I only managed to piece together some clips that were already in my office's PC. Haha!

Not going to type much for my last entry of 2013.

Just wanna say Happy New Year through this clip I made!!


With that.... GOODBYE 2013!!!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

South Korea Backpacking Trip Under RM1000

Anyone can travel cheaply if you're accompanied with a like-minded travel-mate who also shares the same opinion that we can sleep literally anywhere without paying. :)

So can a trip to South Korea be cheap? Here was what I did.

1. Have a very cheap-skate traveler as a travel-mate. 

First thing to note, I didn't go here alone. I was with a fellow travel-mate from Indonesia. One of the best budget and itinerary making traveler I've ever met so far. It's an honor to travel with this person because I get to learn a lot from traveling with him.

Eh, HIM?

On a side note, he's also a very respectful person and won't do anything foolish to you. :)

The itinerary was done wholly by him after rejecting my version. Hahaha. Every independent traveler that I've met so far prefers to plan their own itineraries instead of copying others. More freedom and self-satisfaction. The plan was to fly to Busan, get on an overnight bus to Sokcho, do a day hike at Seoraksan Mountain and then head to Seoul via bus during the night.

Our route for South Korea

Saturday, December 28, 2013

How to Survive a Solo Trip to Europe in Winter 2013

I have to give a hand to fellow traveler Mr Helmi for this idea of a blogpost. Hehe. And decided to go with it. There were several considerations when having only three months of up-front preparations before a trip to Europe, a cheap return ticket to Paris, and almost nill of savings!

I struggled hard to gain and save enough money just to make this dream of setting foot on European soil an unforgettable experience. My very first concern was money, money and more money. And then came the planning, routes and accommodations. I thank mr. Google for all the limitless information. :)

1. Earning enough money

I bought the tickets during an online Saudi Airlines airfare promo which costed under USD500 for return tickets to Paris. Traveling time - next three months! I had almost no savings in my account as I just came back from Korea and Australia the previous months and I panicked! Hahaha.

So how did I solve this? I sold everything that had value and slaved away as a driver or companion to elder people that needed my help. Please.. don't ask for details :)

By the end of three months, I gathered about RM3000 for the trip.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Swimming with Sharks in Karimunjawa of Indonesia

Wahh.. kemain tajuk blogpost kali ini. hehe.

The trip to Karimunjawa was planned for almost a year by my dear friend, Helga whom I met during a blogging contest back in 2011. He was a mere teenager back then, now a strapping young lad with a career.

I booked an AirAsia plane ticket to Solo where I'll brave the journey alone up to Semarang which is around 5 hours away by public bus. If I took the executive bus, the ride would've taken me 4 hours at least. It was initially planned that I'd meet up with Helga and his friends of four in Semarang where we'll head to Jepara together.

Below was the itinerary for 4 days and 3 night in Karimunjawa with the costs incurred throughout the trip.

Friday 1 Nov 2013
06.00 - 07.00 From Terboyo to Jepara via  bis ekonomi (13k)
07.00 - 13.00 Arrived at Jepara by using bentor (10k) to the port to get  lunch (20k)
14.00 - 16.00 From Jepara to KarimunJawa using Kapal Ekspress Cantika 89 (110k)

It was a cushioned seated express boat with a TV in it. Very comfortable for our two hours boat ride.
16.00 - 17.00 Arrived at homestay in Karjau (70k/2 orang)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Sunday Hike up Bukit Tabur, a Not so Safe Place

Twitter has caused me to meet a lot of new people for reasons I myself have never thought of. Some of them became travel-mates by chance and some just people whom I tweet to randomly, talking about random stuff. It was pretty easy to meet up in real life.

So one fine day, I randomly decided to follow a friend from twitter on a hike to Bukit Tabur. It was my first time meeting this person which we apparently have already planned an overseas trip to Hong Kong next year, but never actually met in real life! Haha!

It was fated. I'll get up close and personal with my future travel-mate during a hike.

We agreed on her fetching me from the Sri Rampai lrt station at 8:00 am, Sunday morning. I wasn't really briefed on what not to wear and wore my sandals, jogging pants and a t-shirt. With no internet at home to easily access valuable information from google, I decided to go-show only with less preparations.

The view from one of the peaks at Bukit Tabur. My new friends could be seen below! Do you see them?

Ada apa dengan Bukti Tabur? It's not really a touristy area but it should be! Bukit Tabur is a hill located in Taman Melawati, Malaysia and also known locally as Bukit Hangus. The hill is very prominent as it is part of Klang Gates Quartz Ridge also known as the crystal hill. It is divided into the eastern and western section by the dam. Most hikers are familiar with the western section. The eastern side offers more challenging hikes but is said to be steeper and riskier if unfamiliar with the trail. (source : wikipedia )

Dark, slippery and rocky. Wasn't sure if my sandals were up to this. 
We went up via the western side as it was said to be an easier route. Besides, it was raining that day. We ended up waiting until 10am to start our hike as we waited for the rain to stop. I even received warnings from twitter not to hike as it gets dangerous and slippery when it rains.

The warning fell on deaf ears. :P

Reached the second peak where we could see the town below.
It was nice that during our hike up, we'd be greeted with numbers painted on mossy rocks like the picture below. Giving us assurance that the trail we followed was carefully chartered and presumably safe.
The sign seems to beckons us to move further up. 
After a while, about three hours later, we decided to turn around. We received news that some-one while descending on the other side, slipped and fell into a gorge. It was frightening news. It caused a traffic jam up there and some of the hikers that were in front of us really did turn around. We followed suit to descend while hearing a faint sound of sirens from a distant ambulance.

Too bad I didn't finish the trail. Will come again Tabur. 
I learnt from this hike that it would be nice if I had a water pack in my back with a silinder that connects directly to my mouth. Haha. And a pair of sturdy hiking shoes would be perfect!

Our shoes and sandals (me) in unity after the trail.
As for now, am overly happy that my sandals didn't buckle during the hike and performed just fine. In mud and all! Bravo! Hoping to follow new hiking trips in the future. Next time I'll certainly come prepared. :)

Happy traveling peeps. May the odds be ever in your favor! *ehh.. macam dalam wayang the hunger games plak :/*

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Searching for Santa in Paris 2013

I think many of my friends on twitter already know my initial intention for going to Europe a few weeks ago. It was none other then to search for Santa so that I sit on his lap and make absurd wishes and experience snow! Snow, an impossible rarity in my part of the world. :P

I started my search the first thing I did in Paris. After setting my sights on Seine River and crossing over numerous bridges...

The Seine River that divides Paris into left and right banks.
.. and getting lost with funny signs to amuse me...

To cross the street or not, that is my question. Haha. 
... and gawked at naked statues in public parks...

OMG! And this is displayed in a PUBLIC area!! *snaps pictures to display in my PUBLIC blog*
...and failing miserably at taking selfies at the iconic Eiffel Tour. ...
I seriously don't know how that lamp post got there. Hahahahaha! 
...and finally... just finally... when I was at the verge of giving up hope in finding my Santa Claus...

I met him... ehh...
Do you dare to say he's fake in my face? How dare you? Hak hak hak =P
And my quest has been fulfilled. Next thing on my to-do list in Europe would be... looking for snow. Coming up soon.. 

Merry Christmas to all my family members, friends and readers who celebrates this and Happy New Year! Have you been naughty this year? If yes, don't dream getting a present from Santa!!

Happy traveling tweeps!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Being an Arabian Princess at the Sand Dunes of Mui Ne, Vietnam

5 hours south of the sleeping town of Dalat, the girls and I headed to Mui Ne via bus. The scenes that feasted our eyes on the bus changed drastically from the view of blue top mountains of Dalat to the yellow, sandy hills of Mui Ne. It was like going through a fast-forward movie strip .

Heading to a totally different part of Vietnam. From the North to the South. :)
Right after we arrived at a single strip of wide road where hotels and resorts were visibly seen on both sides of it, the bus finally dropped all of its passengers down. Some jeep operators came to us with tours to various attractions in Mui Ne. Among the tours offered were afternoon tour packages which involves visiting the infamous white and red sand dunes of Mui Ne and also the Fairy Stream (Suoi Tien).

Lily chose the tour sold above the counter. I believe I paid USD 12 per head for that (there are 6 of us). But later outside, a jeep driver offered a whole jeep regardless of pax for USD 50. T__T *nampak tak permainan di situ?*

So here are the list of places that we went that day as set by the tour package.

1. Walk Along the Fairy Stream (Suoi Tien)

A miniature grand canyon in Vietnam.

Walking barefooted in an ankle-deep, cold stream under a hot sun does me wonders!
The Fairy Stream is a little river that winds its way through bamboo forests, boulders and the dunes behind a village. Some parts of it actually resembles a miniature version of the grand canyon, though I never been to there before. Hehe. So while you walk up via the sandy hills, it will lead you to a path overlooking the oasis-like valley and then return by wading in the waters. The sand and rock formations seen on the side were formed from typhoons.

2. Sand-boarding at the Red Sand Dunes

I was definitely surprised by what I saw! The place was like a dessert!

My travel-mates negotiating the price for renting a sled. 
While they sled away, I instead sat down and just enjoyed the view. :)

Oh.. somebody said I looked like a princess of the dessert, despite of my rugged attire. Haha. #eh

I swore, this is my first time wearing baggy pants during any of my travels. Guess the sand did this to me. :P
A group of people heading to a spot to do some sand-boarding.
3. Riding an ATV at the White Sand Dunes

The sands here were whiter and the hills of sands were BIGGER! Too bad no sleds were offered here. There were only ATVs for rental and that's just what we did. 

This place was just beautiful! 
So off on ATVs we go! Each with a driver though. Haha! 

The ATVs that we rented. 
The view during the ride was spectacular. No words to describe my feeling that day. I was just simply speechless! Sadly, one of the tires under the ATV I rode on got loose! We got stranded for awhile, waiting for another ATV to save us. hehehe. Wondered how the ATV broke apart under me. Was I that HEAVY? 

This is actually a lake. *methink*
And so ends my Arabian princess experience at a place resembling a dessert. Hahaha. Happy traveling peeps! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What's Inside The Crazy House of Dalat?

I received a very interesting question on my previous post on Dalat. and decided to answer it with a blogpost. =P

So what's inside the Gaudi inspired Crazy House of Dalat in Vietnam? It's actually a hotel with several rooms, all uniquely different and positioned in odd spaces around the area! Haha! So if you're interested to book a night at this unique hotel, you can either google Hang Nga Guesthouse or just click here. 

If you're not keen to stay a night and come only for a visit (like us), just pay 40,000 dong for the entrance ticket.

The place is so full of crooks and crannies, you'd be wondering how the other person came to the other side!
Room rates are from $22 to $48. But unless you don't mind being peeked by visitors from the outside, I strongly advise against staying here. 

For every room that was available that day, we could simple just look in and snap a picture. Entrance not possible though because all the rooms are locked. 

An example of the interior of a room. It looks like you're staying in a tree house!
There's also a common cafe on the ground floor which is also exquisitely decorated as if you're in a tree.

A common dining room. Or maybe it belongs to the owner?
OH, and occasionally you'll chance upon a carving in the stone.. which strangely reminds me of a woman's bare breast!!! *OK, maybe my mind is not that pure anymore. T___T*

OK, tell me, this isn't some sort of "fruit"!
And last but not least... do you really want to wake up with a bear right beside your bed? Food for thought.

Whoahh! A life size bear! 
In the end, it's totally up to you. :)

Hope this answers the question in my previous post. Happy traveling peeps! ^___^

Friday, November 22, 2013

Girls' Trip to Dalat, Vietnam

"Life is weird, first you wanna grow up, then you wanna be a kid again"

I jumped again, on another airplane just about two weeks after I got back from India. I was on a traveling rampage, unstoppable and full of zest for a new adventure! Some people from the office were already shaking their heads at my sudden (sometimes unexplained) disappearances. Hehe. I spent about RM500 in India and figured, hell, why not another trip? I still got some money left. So Vietnam was my next destination. And this time around was with a bunch of crazy girls. :)

Grown-up kids! A 5 days girl trip to Vietnam! 
Traveling makes me feel like a kid again. New awe-aspiring experiences, new delights, new people to meet, new discoveries... just like a kid experiencing things for the first time. It heightens my senses, making me feel young and vulnerable again.

Only while I'm away was I able to stop being an adult. Stop worrying about responsibilities, bills to be paid, deadlines to meet, work to be done...... all I had to worry about while traveling was sleep, eat and have fun! =P

OK, that's obviously a lie. Staying safe and not getting lost was taken in consideration too. Hehe. Another traveler friend of mine was in charge of the itinerary. I only met the other three girls for the first time at the airport. I never worry about getting along with new travelmates. I just do. Naturally. #tsahhh.

Our first city that we visited right after touching down in Ho Chi Minh International Airport was the French influenced town of Dalat in the north. It took a rather tiring 8 hours via pre-rented bus to get there. I think we each paid more than a hundred for this bus-ride. It was unavoidable as we had limited time. :(

Five days to cover three cities. Kerja gila bukan? Here were the places and activities we did during our two nights stay there.

1. Cable Car and Truc Lam Pagoda

We took a cable car ride to the top of a hill where a tranquil Buddhist temple called Truc Lac sits, facing the beautiful Dalat town below. While the girls were snapping away at the beautiful flower garden there near the temple, I kinda sneaked away to explore the outer parts of the place. I pretty much had enough of temples (from my previous Cambodia trip) and wanted to see something new.

I believe that's Vietnamese for Cable Car, no? Hehe.
What did I find after following some pathways mindlessly? I found a lake! 

Getting lost and found a lake just after a pine-tree covered hill. 
Ok. so, that's not exactly a lake. Just a glimpse of blues in within a crisp layer of pine-trees. I only made to the gate-way that would've led me to the lake. hahaha!

An ecotourist outdoor place. Hope to try this next time. 
It was during this time I felt I was late and the other girls might be worrying sick about me. So I headed back. I was right. The girls were plopped right outside the temple waiting for me. But at least there was a cute Vietnamese entertaining them, talking in a perfect American accent.

2. Datanla Falls

The name of this place sounded so much like our Malay word with almost the same spelling "Datanglah" which means "welcome".

Datanla Falls. Noticed how shiny the statue's boobs are! I heard the locals rub it for good luck. T__T
Half-naked statues aside, no-one was allowed to bath at the waterfalls. But that wasn't the main attraction there. Datanla Falls is actually more famous for their outdoor activities - roller coaster ride (like below), cliff climbing, forest trekking, and abseiling in the waterfalls! Unfortunately, I only tried only one of the above. 
The Alpine Couster at Datanka Waterfalls. Exhilarating! 
3. Bao Dai's Summer Palace

How did the royal people of Vietnam lived l ike? Was there anything unique and traditional about how the royals lived their lives? When I stepped into their house, all I see was a westernized way of living except one part of the house where there was a beautifully decorated throne. It was to me, surprisingly simple.

In and about the palace. 
It belonged to the last king of Vietnam named Bao Dao and used as a summer palace. The family lived a pretty modest life despite their royal status.

4. Hang Nga’s Crazy House (Crazy House), Dalat

The owner of this house turned artistically, twisted hotel is actually a daughter of a very influential person in the region. She is an architecture and has acknowledged that the building's desing was inspired by Antoni Gaudi, the famous Spanish Catalan architect.

We sure had fun discovering the many weird pathways going all over the place! Haha!
I personally thought it as a gigantic playground for adults. We could play the children's game "hide-and-seek" and will never be found. Am sure of it! =P

5. XQ - Su Quan Co. Ltd.

This place is a silk embroidery factory and we came upon it by chance while waiting for the rain to stop outside. We didn't know about this place and turned out to be a very pleasant visit!

Everything on display was threaded in silk. A delicate patch of artwork!
There were many things on display behind big glassed frames. Hanging high on the walls of this store or factory, or whatever you call it. You could also watch one of the workers working on a piece. Upstairs there's a great display room where you'll see a large dining table and decorated on its walls are large artworks of life-size people in extraordinary silk embroidery! I tried catching the liveliness off the artwork but my camera failed to do the job! T__T

6. Dalat Railway Station

The railway station is over a century old, the oldest railway station in Vietnam and is built in the French colonial architecture. We wanted to take a ride in it but since it was so late in the afternoon and it raining, the operators decided to cancel the ride. Oh ya... there's a quota of 12 people to ride the train to have it operational. Since there were only the six of us, it was still not possible to ride on one. Oh ya, it's listed as a national architecture relic since 2001.

I is sad.

Modeling was all we could do to overcome our disappointment. Haha.
So instead of moping around for not being able to take a scenic ride to Trat Mat, we opted to camwhore instead. The classical way! :)

Eh.. only one picture of me on this blogpost? Wait for the next post then. You munt puke. :P

Till then happy traveling! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Preparing for my Winter Sonata Trip 2013

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been preparing mentally and financially for this winter trip. This means taking extra workload (part-time jobs), selling off personal things on the net and researching for the cheapest itinerary possible.

The thing is... I'll be going during winter and I don't have the proper attire to withstand such cold weather. LOL. And so bit by bit, I'm buying things needed for this : heattach clothing from Uniqlo (the fleece, turtle-neck t-shirts are being sold at RM39.90 per piece), leather boots (Jusco is having a winter sale. Hiks), gloves (found at Sogo selling for RM9.90 each!), and a reliable down jacket (still looking for the cheapest one). Hopefully money invested in these will be re-used for my future hiking trips which might involve more snow. =P

So Jard, where are you heading to this December?

Lemme drop you a small hint in form of a picture. :D

Eiffel, I'm in love! #eh (pic taken from google search)
Oh, and why so quiet on twitter? Well... that's quite a complicated question. Haha! Currently having an intense feeling of deep affection for a certain some-one. Wakakaka! So am better off from twitter, else I'll be annoying a whole bunch of followers by my corny tweets. *ahh, jadi malu* Until of course, I'm able to neutralize this feeling. =P

Lastly, I wanna share this inspirational quote I found online.

Be crazy.
Be stupid.
Be silly.
Be weird.
Be whatever...
Because LIFE is too short to be anything but... HAPPY! Happy traveling tweeps! :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sipping Hot Chocolate on the Great Ocean Road

Hot Chocolate anyone?
It was cloudy that day I joined a group tour to explore Great Ocean Road. I joined it by signing up at the Tourist Information Center near Federation Square in Melbourne city center.  Paid a hefty AUD 120 for the tour on Friday (the day after tomorrow) and waited at one of their pick-up points at 7:30 am!

This marks my very first time joining a group tour alone. Alone among strangers which I hoped against all odds would be friendly and welcoming. Imagine stuck on a bus with 19 odd people. They'll be talking among themselves, while I'll be sitting at one corner, alone with my thoughts.

I'm a shy person. I don't talk much. A stranger asks me a question, I might just answer yes or no. So I got worried. Haha.

"Will there be a person to help take my pictures?"
"Will there be strange questions regarding me traveling alone? Or perhaps asking about my hijab"
"Will there be some-one accompanying me during the walks, lunching, toilet breaks?"

And most importantly, "Will they forget me if I suddenly wasn't on the bus?"

I didn't want to be the odd person out and eventually thought of renting a car to do GOR alone, just to avoid these awkward moments. But I braved myself and went on with it. 

On the 20 seater bus, there were several others which the tour guide chirpily introduced to all of us. She was holding a clipboard with our names on it and calling out to everyone. Woo Hoo! There were an American family on their Autumn school holiday, a couple from India who lives and works in Sydney, an elderly couple also from USA, a father and son couple from France, a solo, cutey girl from Japan, another solo, but elderly woman from Southern India and then there's lill shy me. The only muslim on the bus. ^___^

I eyed the Japanese girl sitting in front of me. Her with her adorable outfit, ponytails at each side of her head and super bright pink DSLR. OK, I told myself, she'll definitely be my friend by the end of the day! Thankfully the mini bus had a row of single seats on the left and seats in pairs on the right. 

And so the journey continues with the tour guide cheerfully talking onto the portable microphone attached to her head. Making me sitting back and relax... as the sun rose higher in the horizon.

8:16 am and to Great Ocean Road we go! *music playing in the background*

***to be continued***

Ps: damn I miss storytelling. muahahahaha! 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Luna 1878 - Melbourne's Winter Night Market

I hopped on a train heading to Hurstbridge. Clinton Hill is situated right along that line. When I got there, I wasn't sure which exit to use but I only saw one. So.... Hahaha.

Little did I know there was an underground staircase just outside the station to the "other-side". My host, Soo Ying was panting while she dashed up the stairs to meet me. She was on her way to work and parked her car at the other side. She could've informed me but I might not know where to locate that underground staircase though. =P

We went to her car to store my heavy backpack and we hopped on another train into town. She usually parks her car there before going to work via train as it is more economically-wise. The parking fees in town are so expensive! And parking at this station is free!

A Victorian looking train station.
But the not so Victorian looking train. =P
First stop for me that day was her working place, a dainty Japanese restaurant on Bourke Street called Edoya. She invited me for a seafood dinner with her two colleagues. And furthermore, her place provides free Wi-Fi connection which is simply heavenly for me. :)

Sorry for the low quality of this picture. Used an ipad for this. :)
I was told there was a night market famously known as Luna 1878, being held every Wednesday night at Victoria Market. And Soo Ying asked a friend to accompany me there. I got a bit shy and decided to venture there alone. By walking there by myself. Haha. And instagramming as I went. Solitude is my friend. :)

I visited the famous Federation Square and Flinders Street during the night. Also enjoyed free Wi-fi there.  
Walked towards Queen Victoria Market from there and spotted some artsy alleys with graffiti (left picture). And when I reached the night market, it was crowded with people lining up to buy food! (right picture).
$69 for an artsy shirt is too much for my budget. But I love the ambiance of the place. =P
Concurrently with my visit to Melbourne, last August the Queen Victoria Market comes alive every Wednesday evening, transforming itself into a whimsical winter wonderland full of roving maestros, cabaret stars and stage delights. Thus the LIVE band below.

At one end of the market there was a LIVE band playing the newest hit song. ^__^
I found some stalls selling and serving sizzling hot plates, some exotic dishes made by local hands, and colorful desserts. Basically it was a great spot for youngsters to hang out. Enjoying food and music everywhere. I actually thought that they served free food there, what with all the super long queues I saw just to grab a bite. But lo and behold, it sure wasn't ordinary food they were selling there!

This my friend is hot soup in a bread, shaped as a coconut! You can peel of the bowl-like bread and eat with your soup! AUD 10 per bread bowl! 
I didn't want to go there empty-handed, or at least in this case, an empty stomach! Eh! So I lined up with the other fellow Aussies/immigrants/tourists/whatever and bought this waffle strawberry ice cream for AUD 8.

And so my night in Melbourne is complete! Muahahaha! 
Good music. Good food (albeit expensive), I soon made my exit and headed back to Soo Ying's restaurant so that we can head to her house together. 

So long Luna 1878!! Till we meet again!! :*

The entrance and exit into the area. Luna 1878, celebrating the night! :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 1 in Melbourne - Understanding the Transport System

I stayed at a quieter area located south-east of Melbourne's city center. It is reachable by both trams and trains. The only bus I rode on was the one that reads Melbourne Visitor Shuttle on it which is free! Else all other transport needs a myki card to access.

My journey in Australia started with me purchasing an OPUS simcard from Sydney's international airport before flying off to Melbourne a few hours later. I paid AUD 15 for unlimited calls and internet connection for the next 8 days. I thought it was a perfect deal! And I needed a local simcard to contact my couchsurfing host in Melbourne.

Once I reached Melbourne, I took the SkyBus situated some where outside the arrival hall. $17 one way from the airport to Southern Cross Station.

Just look for the red box like the picture above for a ride into town. :)
While on the bus, surprisingly, a man of Cambodian ethnicity sat beside me. I knew this after we started a conversation. He told me of how he escaped Pol Pot's cruel regime via boat and washed upon Malaysia's shores before being deported to Australia. He told me that Malaysian ringgit was equivalent to Singaporean dollar at that time. I was also filled in on how Australia helped refugees like him get an education, a job and citizenship in Australia. I was spellbound and deeply touched by his story and respected the government of Australia more for helping people like him :)

In all retrospect of things I've learnt from my 8 days stay in Australia is that in one sense, Australia is a country made of and by refugees. Where-ever I went, I'd see Asian/Middle East faces here and there. Even the earliest white settlers were in chains, sent there as convicts because the prisons in their original country were too full. Later-on, many later settlers were people who were either in flight from a hostile country or in search for a better future. It is said that about 650,000 'sponsored' refugees resettled in  Australia after World War II. This proves Australia to be very generous in providing a safe haven for refugees. While doing some history check, I also found this interesting site on Refugees Who Have Made a Difference.

20 minutes later... I reached Southern Cross Station. It was humongous!

Southern Cross Station, the third busiest major railway station in Melbourne.
I later contacted Soo Ying Oi via SMS and she sent me directions to where we would meet. Before using the trains here, I first had to purchase a myki card and reload it. Unlimited usage per day to any stations in Zone 1 costs me AUD 3.50 and AUD 7.00 for Zone 2 during weekdays. And during weekends, all stations in both zones will cost only AUD 3.50. 

This card enables me to use all the trains in Zone 1 in one day. 
I bought the card at a ticket counter in Southern Cross Station and it comes with a booklet that contains the train network map. You could also see the zones as denoted in yellow and blue respectively in the picture below.

Map taken from here. 
After getting my bearings sorted out, I then headed to Clinton Hill Train Station to meet up with my host. That will be on my next post. :)

Till then, happy traveling tweeps!