Hokkaido Part 1

I have to blog about this trip in parts because it will be too long if I do it in one post. So bear with me.

My trip to Japan was not a planned trip at all. Considering the fact that I have never been to Japan, I wouldn’t say it was a properly planned one. I knew I wanted to go somewhere on the first week of May so my first choice was Hanoi, Vietnam but then via AirAsiaGO, I saw that the price to Sapporo, Hokkaido was almost the same.

Hokkaido immediately became my first choice because the hottest it could get was 16°C and I just wanted to get away from the scorching weather of Singapore and Malaysia!

Since I have never been to Hokkaido or Japan itself, I NEED to know what to expect. That’s just me, sometimes I can’t be spontaneous. So I read blogs to find out about transportation, food, places to visit etc. Most of them are just too vague and I wish they could be more specific so I am going to try and be detailed in case you are like me.

My trip was only for 4 days and 3 nights (too short!). AirAsia X had the cheapest deal obviously. In case you didn’t know (I didn’t), they have a direct flight to Sapporo. It’s about 8 hours journey there, it’s best you take the Flatbed but it’s very limited so you have to book early.

My flight from KUL was an overnight flight so I left at 2335hr on 3rd May and arrived at around 0815hr on 4th May.

DAY 1 (4 May 16, 11°C): Moerenuma Park, Sapporo

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It was raining slightly when we arrived at New Chitose Airport and I was not used to raining and windy in that temperature so I was struggling a bit.

When I was reading people’s blogs about their Hokkaido trip, I found out that renting a car is the most convenient was to get around Hokkaido. I am not sure if it’s cheaper than travelling by public transport but I agree it was easier to drive there mostly because you don’t have to walk so much in the cold weather. (hot cannot, cold also cannot just what do I want?)

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There are plenty of car-rental companies but the cheapest one with English website and GPS was OTS Rent-A-Car. I would highly recommend renting from them. They were easy to deal with and were very helpful. The car we rented was Toyota Aqua but in Malaysia it’s known as Toyota Prius and it was a Hybrid car so you really saved a lot!

There’s a free shuttle bus provided by OTS to pick you up from the airport to their office.

The total cost was ¥12,000 for 3 days but I rented it together with a portable wi-fi that costs an extra ¥2,000 so the total was ¥14,000. You may want to get the Expressway Pass too, it works like Smart-Tag in Malaysia but they have a 2-day price (at least) for tourists. If you pay cash at the toll it can be very expensive so it’s best you get the pass especially if you plan to travel outside Sapporo – which you should!

(Important: If you have a Malaysian driving license, you need to get the International Driving Permit at JPJ to be able to drive in Japan. It costs RM150 for a year)

We didn’t have a plan on our first day there, as I said, I didn’t properly plan for this trip. It didn’t help that it was raining.

Besides reading blogs, I also searched ‘Sapporo’, ‘Hokkaido’ tags or places on Instagram to see where people go to and discovered Moerenuma Park. Since we didn’t plan to go out of Sapporo on our first day, so we decided to just explore Sapporo – in the rain.

Sapporo has some beautiful parks but Moerenuma was my favourite.

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From the top of the hill, you can see tennis courts, baseball field, a river and mountains. It was not too high to climb so you’ll be fine.

It was also the day I discovered the best part of Japan. Their toilets!

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They are clean, dry and warm! The build-in bidets are the best. Maybe it’s weird that I’m excited about toilets but it’s the one thing I missed when I returned to Malaysia. The ‘music’ button is for making flush sound. I am not sure why but Azlani said it’s for when you make a lot of sound when you shit. LOL maybe.

That’s all for now. I will continue Part 2 of my trip next time! :)

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Penang

Most of the time, we are always about exploring foreign countries when we haven’t even seen much of our own country. Because we thought that we are here, we can go anytime we want but in the end we never did.

I went to Sarawak for the first time just maybe a year ago and I have never been to Sabah. I think that’s a shame and I will check that box soon, I hope.

I went to Penang recently for a short getaway. I never really treasured Penang before and I’m glad I have now because Penang is LOVE. I honestly don’t mind living in Penang. The vibe was all good there.

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Paper hot air balloons (Processed with VSCO with c8 preset)

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My first meal when I arrived – Mee Sotong. I’ve never had this before. The queue was long for this but it was worth it! You can find it at a food court alongside the paper hot air balloons in Georgetown. I apologise for the vague information. I can’t recall the name of the place :(

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Batu Ferringhi was fine but I didn’t go for a swim because it was more for water sport and you’re not allowed to swim so far. At least that’s how it was at Parkroyal Resort. I wanted to stay at Hard Rock Hotel but it was fully booked.

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Teluk Bahang Dam (Processed with VSCO with a8 preset)

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And then we went to check out a triathlon and duathlon event that was going on at Teluk Bahang Dam. It was cloudy when we got there but it was beautiful. We even bumped into my best friend, Aliaa’s ex-boyfriend who was competing so we stayed a while to support him. Not that Aliaa cared…hahah

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It was so hot on the first day in Penang but it rained all day the second day and this was the queue for Nasi Kandar Line Clear. Normally, I will not queue for food especially when it’s so uncomfortable but since I don’t go there everyday so I just went ahead with it. Well to me, it’s just like any other Nasi Kandar.

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I told myself I must eat as much as I can when in Penang because I don’t really eat in Singapore :( and so I ate as much as I can as you can see.

The queue for this cendol is always long. This was my second time but if you don’t want to queue, you can get inside the restaurant, order something else and the waiters will get the cendol for you. Since I wanted laksa, so I didn’t have to stay in the long queue. Try to go there around 4-5pm, it won’t be too crowded inside.

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This is the gorgeous McCalister Mansion. I just love everything about it. The building and interiors are stunning and just perfect for special occasion dinner. But be careful when choosing the meal for each course especially when you’re not familiar with the menu.

And of course we had to go up the Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) since we were already there. Unfortunately the view was not fantastic from up there because it was dusty and cloudy.

There’s still more to see and eat actually but I didn’t have the whole week for that. I hope next time I can visit the hipster cafes there. Oh did I mention, there are loads of Starbucks in Penang? almost at every corner. There’s even a stand-alone Starbucks there.

Overall it was a lovely trip and I could definitely retire in Penang.