June 28, 2024

Day 2 in Sydney Australia: Museum Train Station Walking Tour

Our first day was spent traveling; travel time from Manila to Sydney was more than 8 hours and we arrived earlier than expected. We passed Immigration, got our luggage and we went to Customs. We did not bring food only vitamins and medicines, the usual first aid kit so we answered “Yes” on the “Passenger Information Card”. I put our first aid kit on our hand-carry for easy inspection. 

Before our trip, I asked our hotel for directions and they gave us 3 options. 

1. Ride a train from the airport to Museum Station and walk to the hotel. The fare is around 17.50AUD per person. 
2. Ride Airport Shuttle Bus called Airport Connect (pre-booked). The fare is 16AUD per person.
3. Taxi ride, cost ranges from 50AUD - 65AUD for 25 - 35 minutes. 

Sydney Airport Train Station 

Among the 3 options, we chose the train for convenience so after Customs, we walked to the International Airport Train Station. You can easily find your way because there are signs. We bought an Opal Card at the counter, 40AUD for adults and 30AUD for my 15-year-old son. Opal card is a smartcard ticket that you use to pay for public transport in Sydney such as trains, buses, ferries, and light rail.

Airport Train Fare is so expensive because you need to pay for Gate Pass + Train Fare. As of this writing the Adult Gate Pass is 17AUD and Child Gate Pass is 15AUD. Adult Metro and Train Fares range from 4AUD to 9.84AUD (peak fare) and 2.80AUD to 6.88AUD (off-peak fare). 

Hyde Park Inn

Travel time from Sydney International Airport to Museum Station is less than 20 minutes and Hyde Park Inn is just across the train station so commuting was easy. My husband paid the full amount for our stay and since the check-in time was 1PM we just left our luggage and explored the area. You can read my Hyde Park Inn review here

Lunch at David’s Kitchen 

We walked until we reached the Pitt Street Mall but we still went back to David’s Kitchen because rice is life. David’s Kitchen offers Malaysian & Asian Cuisine and they serve different dishes so maraming choices. You can dine at the restaurant or you can order for take-out. The price is also budget-friendly compared to other restaurants so we kept coming back for our take-out food. 

After lunch, we went back to the hotel and waited for the check-in time. We were able to check in before 1PM. It was a long day for us so we took a rest first before going out. 

Museum Train Station Walking Tour 

We were supposed to go to China Town and Paddy’s Market but I changed my itinerary when I learned that there are few tourist spots that we can visit near Hyde Park Inn. We can visit the Hyde Park, Hyde Park Barracks, Anzac Memorial, Australian Museum, and St Mary’s Cathedral. No entrance fee for these tourist spots. 

The Anzac Memorial is open daily from 9AM to 5PM but we were not able to visit this museum because during our trip, I needed to book a schedule so no walk-in. The Hyde Park Barracks is open daily from 10AM to 6PM but we also needed to pre-book the ticket. So we just took a picture outside and visited the Australian Museum, Hyde Park, and St. Mary’s Cathedral. 

Anzac Memorial

Anzac Memorial is a war memorial and a place of commemoration, remembrance, education and reflection. 

Hyde Park 

Hyde Park is Australia’s oldest park with 16 hectares of open space located in the heart of Central Sydney. 

Sydney Tower Eye 

Sydney Tower is the tallest structure in Sydney which stands at 309 meters. 

Australian Museum 

Australian Museum is open every day, except Christmas Day from 10am - 5pm. It is the oldest museum in Australia and a heritage-listed museum. 

“Here, in a public museum, the remains of the arts, etc., as existing among them, may be preserved as lasting memorials of the former races inhabiting the lands, when they have ceased to exist." -  George Bennett 

St. Mary’s Cathedral 

According to their website, ‘’St Mary’s Cathedral stands on the site of the first Catholic Chapel in Australia. Constructed in local sandstone, the Gothic Revival style of its architecture is reminiscent of the great medieval cathedrals of Europe.” 

After our walking tour, my son and I went back to the hotel while my husband went to Pitt Street Mall to buy dinner and groceries. 

June 25, 2024

Where to Stay in Sydney Australia: Hyde Park Inn

As expected, everything seems so expensive if we travel to a first-world country, so I already knew that it would take a lot of work to look for an affordable hotel in Sydney Australia. I spent a lot of time searching for a hostel and hotel that would fit my budget. I read travel blog posts and hotel booking reviews. 

Among the hostels and hotels I listed, I booked at Hyde Park Inn even though this is over my budget. I read mixed reviews about this hotel, some were disappointed and some were satisfied but I still chose this because it has a mini kitchen so we can prepare our own food just like when we went to Copenhagen and Oslo. Don’t forget to register on their website so you can avail of the 5% discount, best rate guarantee, and free car parking. 

Hyde Park Inn is a 4-star hotel that is centrally located in Sydney CBD. It is near the Museum Train Station, restaurants, Pitt St Mall, and tourist spots. It offers different rooms so it is ideal for families or big groups. Since we are just a family of three, I booked the Standard Studio. Full payment is upon arrival at the hotel and in case of no show, a penalty of 1 night will apply. 

Hyde Park Inn Standard Studio 

One queen bed, one single bed, and an ensuite bathroom with a shower 
Split system air-conditioning 50-inch LED TV’s and DVD player 
Kitchenette with tea coffee making facilities, bar fridge, toaster, and convection microwave oven. 
Free, unlimited Wi-Fi for multiple devices is also provided 
Work desk, dining table with seating for 4, lounge, and armchair for relaxing 
Max occupancy on existing bedding is 3 people. Room size 36sqm 
Subject to availability, an additional rollaway bed for 4th person can be arranged at an extra cost Strictly non-smoking 

Hyde Park Inn offers a guest laundry facility which is available for 24 hours, just purchase your own washing powder at the reception. They have complimentary in-room entertainment where you can watch Movielink in-house movies, and read international magazines and newspapers using PressReader. In addition, they also provide complimentary Guest Changing Room and Luggage Storage Room so just in case you are arriving before the check-in time.

Check-in is from 1PM and check-out is before 10AM. We arrived at the hotel before 11AM so we just dropped our luggage so we could explore the area while waiting for our check-in. We were able to check in before 1PM and this was our room for 6 days. 

For toiletries, they only provide hand soap, head-to-toe wash, and tissues. 

The room has a kitchenette but there was no stove. But we were still happy because we had a fridge, kettle, toaster, and a convection microwave oven. 

The kitchenette has cutlery and crockery but it was incomplete so we asked for additional forks and teaspoons, yung iba hindi na namin nirequest. 

Hyde Park Inn has a Complimentary Continental Breakfast but guests have to prepare their own meal in their own room because they do not have a dining room or cafe. 

The continental breakfast includes: 

Packets of assorted cereal 
Orange juice 
Fresh milk 
Pre-packaged fruit cup 
Assorted condiments (jam, peanut butter, marmalade, honey, Vegemite, butter) 
Tea & Coffee 

There are nearby groceries and convenience stores so we bought additional breakfast meals like bread, ham, bacon, sausage, etc. Tap water in Australia is safe to drink so we only bought juice and sodas. 

One thing I like about Hyde Park Inn is the location… 

1. It is near the train station and HOHO bus stop so we did not have a hard time commuting. 
2. It is near restaurants and Pitt St Mall so we can buy our own food before going back to the hotel. 
3. A Duty-Free Shop is also nearby so we can buy last-minute souvenirs or pasalubong. 
4. There are so many tourist spots within the area like Anzac Memorial, Australian Museum, Hyde Park, Hyde Park Barracks, and St. Mary’s Cathedral. 

Hyde Park Inn 
271 Elizabeth Street, 
2000, Sydney NSW, Australia

June 21, 2024

7 Days Trip in Sydney Australia

Almost a year ago, Philippine Airlines had a Great Mabuhay Miles Getaway Sale so we checked their promo. We’ve been meaning to go back to Japan before the pandemic because we have a valid visa so we want to use it. Unfortunately, when we checked the promotion Japan has blackout dates. 

We were left with two choices which are Taiwan and Australia, but we took a risk with Australia even though we don’t have visas yet. My husband even called Mabuhay Miles while he was in Jakarta so we spent thousands on that international call because we had no idea about a toll-free number. But at the end of the day, we were still happy because even though we added the phone bill, mura pa rin yung airfare namin, kapresyo lang ito ng Davao trip ko.

After purchasing our plane ticket, I bought our travel insurance and started searching about “How to Apply for Australian Tourist Visa” in the Philippines. 

Two months before our flight, we booked our hotel and I chose Hyde Park Inn because of the good reviews, location and it has its own kitchen. 

When I applied for our visa, this is my submitted itinerary 

Day 1: Manila to Sydney Flight 
Day 2: Explore Chinatown 
Day 3: Sydney Tour 
Day 4: Bondi Tour 
Day 5: Blue Mountain 
Day 6: Taronga Zoo + Luna Park 
Day 7: Sydney to Manila 

But during our trip, there are a few changes. We did not go to Chinatown anymore because we discovered that there were few tourist spots that we could visit near our hotel. We no longer visited Luna Park because we were so tired already. 

Day 1: Manila to Sydney Flight 

On the day of our trip, our internet connection was fixed after one week of no connection so I was cramming. This was the only time that I purchased our tour tickets via Klook. I printed our vouchers and off we went to NAIA. We checked in, ate dinner, and waited for our flight. The flight is on time.

Sydney Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tours (Open-Top) - Essential Ticket 48hrs 
Taronga Zoo and Sydney Harbour Hopper Ticket - 1-Day Hopper Pass with Taronga Zoo Entry 
Blue Mountains Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Pass with optional Scenic World Tickets - Lyrebird Pass 

As of this writing, I couldn’t find the exact links of the activities I purchased and Klook is giving me these options. 

Manila to Sydney 8 hrs and 35 mins 

After 8 hours of traveling, we arrived at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport; we went to immigration, got our luggage, and went to customs. Then we went straight to the Airport Train Station and purchased our Opal Card here. 

We went to Hyde Park Inn to drop our luggage, ate lunch, and went back to the hotel for check-in. We took a rest and started to explore the tourist spots near the hotel or Museum Station like Hyde Park, Anzac Memorial, Australian Museum, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and from afar, we can see the Sydney Tower. 

I purchased a Big Bus Tour Sydney Hop On Hop Off ticket via Klook. This tour has 2 routes, Sydney Route and Bondi Route so I bought the 48-hour ticket to cover the two routes. 

For Day 3, we traveled to Circular Quay via train, and from the train station we just walked to the Big Bus. The duration of the Sydney Tour is 1 hour and forty-five minutes so we enjoyed the view while listening to the pre-recorded commentary. 

After the tour, we ate snacks and started our walking tour at the Sydney Opera House and Botanic Garden. Dito pa lang ubos na energy namin. 

Day 4: Bondi Hop on Hop Off Tour 

Day 4 was another Hop On Hop Off Tour and we took the blue route which is the Bondi Tour. The first bus started at Central Station but we did not go there and just waited at the Australian Museum bus stop.

Australian Museum is a few minutes walk from our hotel so while waiting for 9:45AM, we visited Hyde Park, Hyde Barracks, and St. Mary’s Cathedral. 

The Bondi Tour duration is 1 hour and 30 minutes, there are 14 stops but we are only interested in Bondi Beach. We explored the beach, ate lunch, and waited for the bus so we could go back to Sydney.

We went back to our hotel for a quick rest then we went back to the Australian Museum Bus Stop so we could continue our Hop On Hop Off tour. We explored Darling Harbour Tourist Spots. 

Day 5: Blue Mountain

We woke up early because we needed to be at the Central Station before 6:23AM. We wanted to ride the first train going to Katoomba Station. Travel time is 2 hours. 

I purchased the Lyrebird Pass which includes the Hop On Hop Off Bus and Scenic World Tickets. We had unlimited rides on the Scenic Skyway, Scenic Railway, Scenic Cableway, and Scenic Walkway.

Day 6 Taronga Zoo + Hopper Cruise

I purchased the Taronga Zoo + Hopper Cruise ticket so we had a Taronga Zoo ticket, Round Trip Ferry Transfers, and 1 Day Access to Manly-Watsons Bay Ferry. We traveled to Circular Quay and walked to Wharf 6, this is where we are going to claim our ticket and ride our ferry. 

After exploring the zoo, we took advantage of the Hopper Cruise Tickets so we were able to visit Manly and Watson’s Bay. 

Since this would be our last time to tour, we spent more time in the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge before we went back to our hotel. 

Day 7 Sydney to Manila Flight 

Our Sydney to Manila flight was so early so after our breakfast, we checked out and traveled to the airport via train. Late nag-open ang check-in counter so natagalan kami sa pagcheck-in at sa Immigration. Nagmamadali kami sa pagkain ng lunch and pagbili ng last minute pasalubong. Nakakastress yung pauwi namin, parang kulang sa oras. 

Sydney to Manila 8 hrs and 15 mins  

Even though our last day was kind of stressful, I can still say that our Sydney Australia trip was a stress-free trip, why? We did not get lost. We were able to go from point A to point B without asking for directions. We did not miss rice because there was an Asian restaurant near our hotel. Our room has a kitchen so we were able to save money on food. The voucher tickets that I purchased saved me time in doing our itinerary. 

Sydney seems cashless society because some stores and restaurants do not accept cash. Good thing that our credit card did not fail us. Prior to our trip my husband went to the bank to buy Australian Dollars pa for our pocket money na hindi rin naman pala namin magagamit.Well, ginastos ko yung iba to buy pasalubong. 

And because of our stress-free trip, we planned to go back to Australia and visit another state. If money is not an issue, for sure nakabalik na kami kasi may valid visa pa kami kaso no budget pa. Hehehe!

Australia is the third continent that I have visited. 

June 19, 2024

Dinner at Modern Shang

 A few months ago we ate at Modern Shang and I promised myself that I would return on my next check-up but last month my mom wanted to eat out bago daw siya umalis sa amin. So I suggested Modern Shang and am so happy because there was an ongoing credit card promo when we ate. Fifty percent discount, a minimum of PHP3000 and a maximum of PHP6,000. 

My mom ordered The Emperor Feast PHP1588 and Mango Cream PHP148 and my family ordered Xiao Longbao PHP268, Hototay Bowl PHP398, Orange Chicken Bowl PHP398, Small Deep Fried Squid PHP418, Buchi PHP208 and Nutella Buchi PHP228. I am a creature of habit talaga, Deep Fried Squid ulit kasi order ko, hehehe!

I’ve seen the bundles menu before pero wala naman kasi dito yung gusto namin na ulam kaya iba pa rin order namin. My mom wanted The Emperor’s Feast kahit good for 3-4 persons so ending hirap na hirap kami ubusin but she was happy because she was able to try different dishes. 

Emperor’s Feast 

Our Signature Xiao Long Bao (4pcs) 
Deep Fried Pork Ribs 
Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet 
Sauteed String Beans with Minced Pork 
Sauteed Water Spinach with Minced Pork 
Egg Rice 

First time din ng anak ko sa Modern Shang and he also enjoyed his Xiao Long Bao, Orange Chicken Bowl, and Nutella Buchi. I tried both buchi, mas gusto ko yung mongo beans ang filling.