Friday, January 01, 2016

Norway - Tromso Winter Trip Part 2 (Dog-Sledding)

Norway Tromso dog sledding


Continuing from Part 1 of my Norway - Tromso trip where I saw the Northern Lights, we went Dog-Sledding the next day!

The reason why we decided to go dog-sledding is because we were afraid that we won't get to see the Northern Lights during this trip and it would a lame trip. Like we spent so much to fly and stay there ya! So we decided to try some other arctic activity as well and we decided on dog-sledding.

Reservation and Cost

We made a reservation with http://www.activetromso.no/ as the company is affiliated with Lauklines Kystferie (the accommodation we stayed in by the fjords) and hence are able to fetch us from there. It cost 1300 NOK per pax (approximately S$200) for a 7 hours activity, and we are required to make full payment on their website via Paypal. I made the reservation about 2 weeks prior to our arrival via email. As with everything, it would be better to reserve earlier since they only have one slot a day and can only accommodate 5 pairs. I think is is pretty worth it for the duration!

Attire

I borrowed their pants and boots because my boots and jeans just cannot make it. They have coat as well, and they rent them out at no extra cost. Not the best smell though. Hahah. It is recommended that we wear long underwear as well as fleece because it can get really cold!  I must say their boots are really superb. Super slipped proofed! I can run on the snow/ice and climb up/down slopes with no issues. (Step aside timberland). 

So that morning, I woke up at 8.30 to prepare breakfast for Mr Gan and also to prepare some sandwiches to bring there. The guide will be picking us up at our accommodation at 9:20am. We decided against bringing the DSLR because we foresee that there is high chance of us damaging it. LOL. Luckily we didn't! I think if we did, there will be no more DSLR. But that also means you all got to bear with my super cannot make it iPhone photos.  The low light situation didn't help as well.

Upon reaching there, we were promptly asked to change into their winter gears if needed. Remember to use their washroom before heading off! There's no washroom in the wild! After all 10 of us were ready, we were ushered to the back of the house, down a slope to where all the dogs and sledges are. The sun started to rise then. 10am there looks like 6am in Singapore.

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Most of the dogs were still sleeping when we reached. But one after another they woke up.

Norway Tromso dog sledding

Oh and this activity is super not suitable for people who are afraid of dogs.

I think the experience is really amazing! It started with the guide teaching us how to prepare our sledge for the activity. There are 5 dogs to a sledge, arranged in the formation 1,2,2. The one right infront is the alpha dog aka the leader of the pack. Not all the dogs can be one! (Just like in human world). After the introduction, the dogs all woke up!

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We then followed the trainer to fetch the dogs to the sledge.

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Here's the trainer demonstrating how to put on the harness for the dogs and connecting it to the sledge.

Norway Tromso dog sledding

Here is two of our pack!

What is dog-sledding about

For this dog-sledding, there is one rider and one passenger. Dog-sledding is about teamwork. When going uphill, the rider got to get off the sledge and help the pack by pushing the sledge. When the sledge is going too fast, the rider got to step on the brake and guide the pack to slow down. And finally the person sitting inside got one thing to do. That is to to hold onto the anchor and throw it out of the sledge when the rider loses control of the sledge.

I'm not sure whether this applies to all dog-sledding out there, I know some only allow you to be a passenger than a rider.

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Bonding with the dogs. SUPER CUTE AND CUDDLY LUH THEM. Both Mr Gan and I love big dogs. Awww. 

Norway Tromso dog sledding

Then we were told to get into position!!

Norway Tromso dog sledding

Mr Gan was the rider and I'm the passenger. To be honest it is quite cozy inside. I just dumped everything inside and held on to my phone.

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Here we are, waiting for the rest to get ready.

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Getting ready! 

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And off we go!!!

Within the first few minutes of the ride, our sledge went over some humongous tree branch and that threw Mr Gan off the sledge and me running off with the pack without the rider!!! 

And because I couldn't see what's happening at the back, I only realised it after I heard Mr Gan's shout and the sledge picking up speed. I remembered what the guide said and quickly threw the anchor out to stop the sledge. But I guess I threw it wrongly and that didn't stop the sledge. LOL

Finally the sledge stopped after hitting the pair infront and the guide and Mr Gan caught up. Oops. Luckily never bring DSLR yo! And luckily never butter finger throw out the phone instead hahahhaa. 

Norway Tromso dog sledding

It was really an enjoyable ride apart from the occasional tree branches poking your butt from below. But well cushioned from the thick attire.

Then an hour into the ride, this happened,"I need to pee."

Usual troublesome and lousy bladder me. I didn't know how or whether there will be a stop station later or what. So I couldn't enjoy the ride very much.  Finally I decided to tell the guide when we stopped for the rest behind to catch up.

So how? Answered nature's call in the nature. Behind some sparse bushes and on the ice. LOL. Anything that will make me comfortable. Super happy after that! But quite troublesome cause too many layers.

Norway Tromso dog sledding

We reached the midpoint about 2 hours later and I decided to switch place with Mr Gan. Just to try being a rider! Experience yo!

Norway Tromso dog sledding

It was really fun and enjoyable!! Much more things to do than being a passenger. But after an hour into the ride, I began to feel really tired. And it was my turn to fly off the sledge and send Mr Gan running off with the pack. Not once, but twice. 

Super lousy me also got stuck going up the slope. LOL. Thankfully one of the other riders got off his sledge and help me push the sledge up. That was when I decided to give up and switch places with Mr Gan and be a passenger instead. It is also easier for the pack since Mr Gan can help push the sledge more.

Norway Tromso dog sledding

And because I kept removing my gloves to take photos, my hands got frost bite. LOL. Better get a gloves that can use phones! Damn raw and painful T.T

After the end of the activity, which is at 3pm or so, the sun has set. LOL. We hugged our pack and directed them back to their kennel. Ended the activity with coffee and biscuit with the group before going back to our accommodation for another afternoon/night of camping for northern lights. But we won't so lucky the second night.

I'm glad everything turned out well and we were able to see northern lights and try out dog-sledding!

Higher recommended to go Norway - Tromso to see the northern lights and try dog-sledding!!!

Will definitely go back to Tromso again!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Family day at Universal Studio Singapore (USS)


YES I KNOW! USS AGAIN! But Singapore being Singapore, there's nothing much we can do. USS is considered the most exciting and fun compared to bird park or science center right? I wonder where else do people go for their family day... Hope I won't ever be tasked to organise one *prays*.

Even though it's my third time at USS, I was really excited about it! I think cause it was my first family day, so I was really thrilled about it! But actually it's more like colleagues' day for us cause we didn't bring our family along. Hahahha. Then also because BATTLESTAR GALATICA IS UP!!! A bit scared but was really looking forward to it!


Hey first time taking a photo with the globe yo!

And don't underestimate our attire, lots of thoughts went into choosing the best attire, bag and things to bring. Celine's and my choice of attire goes like that: Cannot be white top, cause might get wet and dirty. Neither can it be black, cause will be hot. The shorts cannot be those that will absorb water, so denim is the best. Shoes must be waterproofed. Finally, cannot bring too big a bag cause very inconvenient for some rides. So that's how we ended up in our almost coordinated wear. LOL.  Did I mention that we brought the same plastic bag to put our cardigan cause bag too small? HAHAAH. Apparently the rest didn't really bother about our analysis. Learning from my last trip to USS, I also brought along poncho and a water bottle.

And budget us decided to walk to USS than to take the train which cost $4. Haahah. Wah becoming more and more aunty recently. Surprisingly quite fast and not very hot!


After having some family day introduction at the Sesame Street Theatre, we immediately headed off to the Puss in Boots ride! I really wanted to just go straight for the Battlestar! But I agreed with the strategy to go by increasing thrill.

Celine and I were duper excited! The rest were just chill and strolling, but we were like running. HAHAHA. Young at heart no choice luh~ And because we were there at 10am, there's no queue at all! I remembered queueing for like an hour for it last time? And us being people who cannot follow instructions, took photos on the ride. Oops.

Thereafter we went for the Enchanted Airways Roller Coaster, which we called it the shrek/dragon roller coaster. No queue still! Not bad still like this ride!


After which we straight away chiong for The Revenge of the Mummy! Saw Aaron on the way and jio-ed him along. I'm starting to get excited! Hahhaha. Cause I remember the drop for the mummy ride is quite exciting! No queue also!! Super shiok! And I happen to be one of those irritating people who likes to scream on ride until the mouth very dry then bo bian cannot scream kind. Oops.

Since there's no queue, we went for a second round! Attempted a heart shape photo with Celine during the ride which turned out to be more like a trapezium. LOL #fail. And again, I think USS should allow us to capture a photo of the photo. They are not even making money from it! (USS are you hearing this?)


Cannot remember when we took this photo. But going by the background and the state of my hair, seems like it was taken after the mummy ride. (Need to bring comb along next time)

AND FINALLY!! BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!!! *hyperventilating*


We went for Cylon first, the inverted roller coaster in blue with your legs dangling, because the queue for Human, seated roller coaster in red, was horrendous. Turned out, the queue for Cylon was the horrendous one. We queued for almost 1.5hours for it. Oh god. I almost fell asleep while queuing. Zzz. And someone even stepped on my toe. ._. Ok luh no link, just irritated someone stepped on my toe so must mention it. 

But OMG the ride is super fun! There's only one steep drop at the start, but there are many different inversions! It has been so long since I took a ride with a inversion and I MISS IT SO MUCH!! I particularly love the vertical loop and the zero-g roll. SHIOK!!! *hyperventilating*

Zah who sat beside me was hilarious. "Omg omg omgodddddddd... AHHHHHH" *repeats* HAHHAHAHA.

After that we decided to go for lunch instead of queueing for the Human cause we are human and need to eat. Nom. Ate at Mel's which is the best in USS already. After eating we decided to take some rides first before trying out the Human Battlestar. Don't want to be a Merlion yo!


And we decided on the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, which is the water ride where the suay person will get the water. LOL. Good place to test your luck for the day! And my poncho was put to good use! 

And I made a new friend, Li Shan, who conquered all the rides with me! Hahha. Each of us have different threshold for rides. Some was Mummy's, and some was the Shrek roller coaster *cough*Huishan*cough*. The rest of us who go on the Battlestar has no threshold. HAHAHAH. 


And as usual, must keep dry. Brave soul on my right was also the suay soul. HAHAH.

Thereafter Tina, Aaron, Li shan and I decided to try the Human Battlestar. Waiting time was 45mins, but we decided to go ahead. Turned out, zero queue! Totally no mental preparation and we went on it. And also at first thought that the 45 mins can digest my food more. Hahaha. Luckily never merlion in action.

AND OMG THE FIRST DROP IS INSANE!!! HAHAHA. SUPER SHIOK!! Other than that, I think nothing much leh. HAHAHA. I was anticipating some inversions but don't have. But the first drop is really very good luh! Especially when the launch speed is quite fast. We immediately went for a second round! Having taken it once, can raise our hands now! (look ma, no hands!) Free hands very shiok!!


And the hardcore us (Aaron, Li Shan and I) went for the Cylon ride again. No regret! This time round they launched the Human and Cylon together and it was more exciting! I think it's supposed to be launched together, but sometimes the queues made it not possible. It is definitely more exciting when launched together because can hear more screaming (remember? I'm one of those irritating people who likes to scream) and also see the other ride goes past/comes very close to our's.  


Ending off with this group photo of the young peeps at my company! We are from 5 different divisions! Thanks Shem for the photos!

And theme park can really make me very excited!! 

Thursday, November 05, 2015

4D3N Phuket Kata Beach Trip – How to get there, Where to stay, What to eat and What to do

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Hello world!~

Trying very hard to keep up with the blogging momentum here!! I have been writing so many papers at work that sometimes I just don't feel like writing anymore. Hahahah sick of writing. And I'm scared that my writing style here will become like business/report writing. Oh god I hope not.

Anyway I'm back from a brainless trip to Phuket!! Brainless cause all we did is eat, sleep and not use any brain. I guess sometimes we just need trips that require no planning at all. Actually Bangkok will fit the bill every more but we have been going Bangkok way to often. LOL. Some people join tour but tour sucks luh, they make you wake up at unearthly time like 6am?! 

Anyway it was a rather impromptu trip. We saw that the tickets were quite cheap at SGD194 for 2 pax and booked it. Decided on 4D3N covering the weekend. Actually only 3N2D considering we reached there in the evening and left early in the morning on the last day. Cannot too long cause Phuket like nothing much to do. Brainless but cannot brainless too long ah.


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Super excited to get awayyyy.  Wheeeeee~

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Wing photo in the sky and over the sea! Which I assumed is Phuket? Actually I don’t know. Hahahaha. Maybe is Malaysia, oops.

So first thing when going Phuket is to decide whether to go Patong or Kata Beach or Kamala. I think still got many others but these 3 are the more popular ones. We decided on Kata Beach cause.. my dad and uncles always go there. Hahaha. so might as well yo.

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How to get from Phuket airport to Kata Beach


Unlike Bangkok, there is no train in Phuket. And taxi there is very expensive somehow. So we have think of ways to get from Phuket airport to Kata Beach. We decided not to rent a car cause Kata beach is pretty small and we don't foresee that we will venture very far cause it's supposed to be a lazy trip yo! 

Then Mr Gan did some research and found that we can actually hire a driver to bring us from the airport to our hotel and back from Phuketshuttle.com. It cost THB1700 for a return trip which is actually cheaper than taking a taxi! Plus we only need to pay the driver when we got there so we have the flexibility of cancelling it if we have other plans subsequently, which we didn't luh. Hahaha. The initial plan was to pay for the full round trip on the TO trip. But us being prudent, negotiated and they agreed to let us pay half on the TO trip and the other half on the FRO trip. Very scared they don't turn up okay. 

At the airport we saw that there’s those minivan (like the huahin’s) that will take you to Kata beach and other beaches. But how the return trip will be like we are not too sure. And as our return flight was pretty early, there might not be any taxis or minivan, so we didn't want to risk it. If next time our flight timing is better, we might try this.

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After locating our driver, off we go to Kata Beach! Here’s us being super noob and touristy looking at maps and finding out what we can do. 

Avista Kata Beach Resort and Spa



After reading through countless reviews on tripadvisor, we decided on Avista!

We saw some others but they are too expensive! Avista cost only THB9045 for 3 nights which works out to be approximately SGD120 per night? Pretty affordable given that it comes with breakfast as well.

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There’s a steep road up to the resort, so if you are not physcially abled/fit, i think this place isn’t very suitable. I always pant after walking up and Mr Gan piggyback me up once. Hahahaha. Good training yo!

And here's the awesome hotel room which is the main reason why we chose there. Cause it's a relaxing trip, the hotel is very important! Ok kidding, even if it's not a relaxing trip, we will also choose a good hotel. Mr Gan and I are quite particular about hotel and we always take extra effort to choose one that is good and not too expensive. We are definitely not budget travellers, but we choose what we deem as most value for money.  Generally if read enough reviews it wouldn't be too wrong.

The main thing about reading reviews on trip advisor or any review site is to read the worst comments. Then see if you are okay with the negative points they mentioned. And see if it's repeated and how recent are the comments. Sometime people say the facilities not good, but it was in 2013, then you can read the recent ones and see if they mentioned anything about renovation. Sometimes the guest are just anal.

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It's really very relaxing. We went to the pool to swim for quite long, drink cocktails, talk to other guest about how the cocktail sucks, etc.

What to eat at Phuket Kata Beach


Lots of restaurants to choose from! Like a short distance from our resort there's a lot already! There is this area where a few restaurants gather together. It's a very popular place and a lot of people go there! I think can just go there for food! Mr Gan and I ventured further up to nowhere on our last night and there's nothing much.


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When in Thailand, eat fried sweet and sour fish! Less than $15 each and damn nice!

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We ate our breakfast at some awkward timing one afternoon and order room service for lunch. Hahaha. Finding excuses for our laziness.

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This was what we ate on our last night. Decided to try some other cuisine which I think we should have just kept it to Thai food. 

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Lots of menu reading and eating

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The restaurant near our resort which is very good!

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Happy days~

What to do at Phuket Kata Beach


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Massage every day. LOL.

And what's Phuket without the beach? We did go to the beach but as it was the monsoon season, we did not manage to try any sea sports. If we did you all will probably not see me here anymore. Hahaha.  But luckily it didn't rain throughout our stay there so we still managed to go to the beach and swim. No photos cause very inconvenient to bring phone along! No one to look after our belongings for us.

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Starting and ending my post with a photograph of the sunset which is beautified by my yoga poses. HAHAHA