Best Sunset Spots In Blue Mountains

6 Great Sunset Spots in the Blue Mountains

With the massive uptick in Instagram usage, the need for new Instagram spots is unrelenting. Luckily, I’ve already visited a bunch of sunsets spots in the Blue Mountains which are perfect for your Instagram feed. These are my favourite sunset locations in the Blue Mountains.

Cahill’s Lookout

Cahill's Lookout Sunset Blue MountainsNot long ago Cahill’s Lookout used to be just a dirt track on the side of a suburban road with very few visitors. But it was improved a couple of years back to include a reasonable car park and a nice concrete path. And now it’s often packed with sunset hunters including the odd small tour bus. But it’s worth it.

With sunsets like this, how can you not be tempted?!

And besides, it’s really close to Katoomba.

Lincoln Rock (AKA Flat Rock)

Flat Rock At Lincoln RockLincoln Rock is a booming place mainly because it looks a bit like Wedding Cake Rock in the royal national park. Well, sort of. It’s flat… and you can get photos at it. And lots of people go there. So yeah, you can too.

At sunset, it’s really cool with the sun setting in the background. Be sure to check out the nearby cave where you can get a classic Instagram shot of the sun setting through the opening of the cave.

It’s in the Wentworth Falls area and you’ll need a car to get out there. Definitely worth a look, but not my favourite spot despite it being a hit with Instagrammers.

Blackheath Lookout

Blackheath LookoutIf you’re further up the mountains than Katoomba, there are a couple of good spots in Blackheath for sunset. The first one is Blackheath Lookout.

This is the spot that hang gliders take off from and it has a great view over the Megalong Valley. The sunset from here is bang on. Also a good spot to capture the milky way.Blackheath Lookout SunsetJust head over the railway tracks from Blackheath and follow the signs. If not, this map will help.

Hargraves Lookout

Hargreaves Lookout Blue MountainsHargraves is one of my favourite spots for sunset in the Blue Mountains primarily because it has such a massive area where you can set up your rig, take in the peace and quiet and basically avoid other humans.

The best spots are right down the end of the ridge amongst the trees. It’s also possible to get the Milky Way from here, but it can be crazy cold in winter. Think of 0ºC with 50km/h winds. Nasty.

It’s also an easy place to get to with a car, but forget about it if you’re on foot.

Sunset Rock

Sunset Rock Mt VictoriaSunset Rock is famous for sunsets, funnily enough. And it’s very unpopular. That is, I’ve never seen another person there. Maybe that’s because it’s high up in the Blue Mountains at Mt Victoria, away from public transport. Also, I’ve only ever been there in winter.

The good thing about this view point is that there are plenty of great foreground objects and well as some interesting undulating landscapes.

This is another favourite of mine because of the lack of other humans.

Hassan’s Walls

Hassan’s Walls is not a tourist destination. But plenty of locals like to come up here for sunset. They’re smart. Because Hassan’s Walls is my favourite spot for sunset in the whole of the Blue Mountains (even though it’s just outside of the Blue Mountains in Lithgow – I can still do that, right?).

Hassan’s Walls has been up(down)graded over the years to include a massive metal boardwalk with fencing. So you’re going to need to jump that to get any good photos, just like any instagrammer worth his or her salt is prone to do.

My favourite spot at Hassan’s Walls is to the right near the cave. Jump the fence before entering the cave and there are lots of great sunset spots. Just don’t fall off the edge or death is a near certainty.

These are my favourite sunset spots in the Blue Mountains! Share your favourite spots in the comments and I’ll try and get out there and update this post.

BA34 787 9 Economy Cabin

Review: BA34 from Kuala Lumpur to London

I recently was really lucky to get a great deal on flights to Madrid via an odd route. Basically, you had to book through an OTA such as Expedia or last minute and select a European destination and a different return city from you departure city. I chose KUL-MAD-SIN and ended up on BA34 to London as this is where is transited.

The flight departed on time and although it was a full flight, the departure lounge felt half empty. I’m guessing that’s due to the configuration of the cabin on this 787-9 which has a tiny economy section and quite spacious premium sections.BA34 787 9 Seat Back EntertainmentIf you’ve flown on a 787 in economy before, you know what the deal is. Narrow seats, large overhead storage bins, nifty tinted windows.

As soon as the plane took off, drinks were served and there was loads of alcohol. One of the things with airlines such as Qatar is that they’re sometimes a bit stingy on alcohol. British Airways were not.

After drinks dinner was served. The choice was between chicken satay and meat and potatoes. The dessert was some sort of cake which was enjoyable. Even though the dishes were ugly, they tasted quite good and so much better than I was expecting. Better than my previous flight with Qatar I think.BA34 FoodI find sleeping on a 787 really difficult. It’s all the more difficult when there is a metal entertainment unit under the seat in front like there was for me. If you have big feet and long legs, you can’t fully stretch out both legs under the seat in front of you and it greatly disturbs your sleep. How on earth I can buy an iPad with 256gb of memory that’s as 1cm thick and yet we still have entertainment units the size of a 1990s PC is beyond me. It needs to be fixed.BA34 787 9 Entertainment Unit Under SeatAfter many hours of trying to get comfortable, I was finally able to sleep. I think I got close to 6 hours of on and off sleep which is the minimum I was aiming for on this 12.5 hour flight.

Breakfast sounded disgusting. Vegetarian omelette or omelette and steak. Of course no one wants a steak for breakfast, so by the time the meal service came to me, all the vegetarian options were taken. Needless to say, the steak was really nice! I’m glad I got it in the end. Of course the omelette was like a piece of rubber, but it was edible. A standard airline omelette.BA34 MealsThe staff. I haven’t flown on Western airlines much over the past decade so I’ve gotten used to Asian and Middle Eastern service. And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly the BA crew. Not that over the top sickly sweet thing you can sometimes get, but a genuine pleasantness that is sometimes missing from the Asian airlines. And they felt much more professional than some of the Asian airlines as well. If there was an emergency, you felt that they had things under control.

The flight arrived into London slightly early without any hiccups whatsoever. A perfectly uneventful flight with pleasant staff and decent food. The $350 for the return journey was money well spent and I can highly recommend BA on the KUL-LON route.

Secret tip: pick an aisle seat on a window block of 3 to avoid getting an entertainment unit under your seat.

Chocha Foodstore KL

Chocha Foodstore, Kuala Lumpur: Incredible Modern Asian Food

Located in a newly gentrified area of Chinatown in a shop which not long ago was the bedroom for homeless people, Chocha Foodstore is the very epitomy of modern Chinatown.

The building is a stunner. An old shophouse with original tiles throughout and even much of the original paintwork. This combined with an architect’s eye transforms this once rundown shop into one of the trendiest cafes in Malaysia.In Front Chocha FoodstoreWe ordered the Biang Biang Inspired Noodles, Duck Confit Rice Bowl and a couple of drinks. We loved it all.Duck Confit Biang Biang NoodlesThe Biang Biang Noodles were thick & wide sheets of pasta topped with crushed peanuts and chilli oil. For me, the noodles were slightly too thick and wide, but you do sort of need something big for all the saucy goodness to rest on.

The duck confit was great and the mix of barley and rice was enjoyable. The asian style salad was a beauty and its sharpness cut through the fattiness of the duck just perfectly.Drinks Chocha FoodstoreThe drinks were a fermented ginger drink and a sour plum thing. Both were delightful and something quite different from typical cafe drinks.Patio ChochaOne thing to note is that coffee is not available here. And usually for me that’s a cardinal sin. But I agree with the owners that coffee just doesn’t fit in this cafe. And that’s kind of refreshing.Inside Chocha FoodstoreInternet here is very fast at 30mbps down and 20mbps up and there is plenty of space for opening a laptop if you need to get a few bits and pieces done.

Lastly, we need to talk about price. I’ve read a few reviews saying this place is over priced. This place is expensive by Malaysian standards, but it’s definitely not overpriced. You get handmade noodles, house made drinks from fresh ingredients and perhaps the best looking cafe in Malaysia. For that, you have to pay above average prices. And here you do. But the prices are so reasonable by world standards that it’s just not worth commenting on.Chocha Foodstore Kuala LumpurIf you’ve got no cash, don’t come here.

Love this place.

Chocha Foodstore
156 Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur
Instagram: @chochafoodstore
Opening Hours: 11:00 – 23:00 (closed Monday)
Biang Biang Noodles: Rm18
Duck Confit Rice Bowl: Rm26
Ginger & Sour Plum Drinks: Rm18 each

Best Socks For The Camino De Santiago

Best Socks for the Camino de Santiago: Are Expensive Socks Really Worth It?

Darn Tough Socks are expensive, but durable and super comfortable. No Blisters!

Quality: 5/5
Durability: 5/5
Comfort: 5/5
Price: 3/5

I’ve walked the Camino 3 times now and on my most recent walk, I decided to try a new pair of socks with the hope that I could stop the shocking blisters that had dogged my first 2 Caminos. And so it was that I turned to Darn Tough socks for the 500 miles from Merida to Santiago.Camino De SantiagoWhen I received the socks from Darn Tough, I was surprised at how thick they were. They were a lot thicker than socks I had previously worn on the Camino and this worried me. Would they make my blisters worse because of more sweat? Would they dry in time at the end of the day? Would they cramp my feet in my shoes?

The first day out of Merida was only 10miles (16km), but the temperature was 97ºF (36ºC) and it was physically exhausting. I was sweating like I’d never sweated before. But strangely enough, my feet felt completely dry throughout the whole day. The socks have an incredible ability to wick away as much sweat as you can throw at them. So despite being thicker socks, they never really overheated my feet and my feet never got wet.Darn Tough Micro Crew For CaminoThe first afternoon of washing the socks was also a test of how quickly they would dry. And to my surprise, they dried quicker than my underwear. This was a story that repeated itself even as temperatures started to fall as we crossed the mountains. They’re a mix of merino wool & nylon and that’s probably the secret — great wicking and quite quick drying.  The socks always managed to dry before being needed the next day!Darn Tough Merino Wool NylonAfter 500miles (790km), I arrived in the ancient city of Santiago and the socks were still like brand new and my feet didn’t even have the first sign of a blister. Success!

What’s more, the socks today still feel like they are brand new. They fit perfectly, they stretch like they did when I first bought them, and they don’t have any signs of wear. I could easily wear these for another Camino without having to replace them. Incredible!

And that’s the great thing about Darn Tough socks. They are guaranteed for life. If they get a hole in them at any stage in their life, simply send them back to Darn Tough and they will send you a new pair. No questions asked.Socks For Camino Darn ToughThese socks are expensive. I used the ATC Micro Crew which cost $21 (check current price). But when you consider how much use you get out them, I actually think the price is quite reasonable. I also own a pair of much thicker Full Cushion socks and think they would be best for cooler weather. Perhaps a winter Camino! But for a October/November Camino, the ATC Micro Crew Darn Tough socks were perfect.

So if you’re looking for the best socks for the Camino, Darn Tough socks are my recommendation. They are worth every cent. Check out their website here –> www.darntough.com.

Lazy Lolla, Bandung Front

Lazy Lolla, Bandung: Disappointing All Round, Lots of Room to Improve

Lazy Lolla is one of those places that has been promoted crazily by Bandung food bloggers over the past few months and we just had to try it out for ourselves. Is the food really like that of a 5 star hotel? Amazing? Awesome?

Well, all we can say is that we didn’t feel quite excited about Lazy Lolla as many food bloggers. We ordered a cappuccino, taro shake, nasi goreng lazy lolla and creamy chicken mushroom and vegetable.Lazy Lolla, Bandung Food And DrinkFirstly, the food tasted quite good. The nasi goreng was wrapped in an omelette as you might get in Thailand and was quite decent. But it’s not as good as the Nasi Goreng Cikur you can get next door at Roempi. The Creamy Chicken was also not bad and something that most people would be happy with.Lazy Lolla, Bandung FoodBut the coffee wasn’t good. My cappuccino had good temperature, but the milk was frothed in a very old school style and the overall flavour wasn’t nice. I wouldn’t order this coffee again. The Taro Shake was quite good and we were happy with that.Lazy Lolla, Bandung DrinksThe fitout here is spacious and quite comfortable, but I was a bit confused about the big lounge chairs. They didn’t seem to match.Lazy Lolla, Bandung InsideI tested the internet at 16mbps down and 4mbps up which is fast enough for most things that people want to do. It’s actually a pretty relaxed place to open a laptop and get things done!

Prices here are low. In fact, they are super cheap for the sort of place they are. Thumbs up.Lazy Lolla, Bandung Coffee MachineSo all in all, Lazy Lolla is a pretty good place, but the standard in Bandung is so high right now that they need to be better.

Lazy Lolla
Jalan Anggrek 29, Bandung
Instagram: @lazy.lolla
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 23:00
Cappuccino: Ro22.000
Taro Shake: Rp25.000
Nasi Goreng: Rp31.500
Creamy Chicken: Rp35.000
* Add 15.5% tax & service to all items

Scenery In Liechtenstein During Day Trip

Day Trip to Liechtenstein from Zurich: How to Get There, What to See, Where to Stay

On my recent visit to Switzerland, I was so close to the tiny country of Liechtenstein that I just had to go. It’s one of those countries that you go to just because you can. And that’s what I did.

How to Get to Liechtenstein from Zurich

Liechtenstein is much easier to get to than I had anticipated. You’re basically going to choose between train or rental car.

Car

I hired a car for my quick trip through Switzerland and I think hiring a car is the best way to get to Liechtenstein and also the best way to explore this tiny country. I got a great deal on holidayautos.co.uk out of Zurich Airport (only US$37 per day!), so check them out. The drive is about 1 hour 30 minutes on a motorway from the airport or downtown Zurich.Liechtenstein In Day From Zurich

Train

But if you don’t want to drive, the next best option is to catch a train. It’s possible to catch a train from Zurich Airport to Zurich Main Station and then onto Sargans. This trip will take about 1 hour 20 minutes depending on connection times and time of day (check https://www.sbb.ch/en/ for details). Sargans is really close to the border of Liechtenstein and from there it’s a 15 minute bus ride to the town of Balzers (just book your ticket on the SBB site to Balzers and the bus will be included in the price). There’s a couple of things to see in Balzers: Gutenberg Castle and Jubiläumskirche (a picturesque church).

The best part about catching the train and bus to Liechtenstein is that it’s included as part of the Swiss Travel Pass (a pass giving you unlimited train travel in Switzerland)! Even travel on the bus within Liechtenstein is included in the Swiss Travel Pass (you can buy them here).Interesting Church In Liechtenstein

Bus

Once inside Liechtenstein, there’s a really good bus network that can carry you around most of the country. While driving around, I even saw buses going right up above the snow line and into the mountains, so you should be able to get everywhere you want (using your Swiss Travel Pass again – you can buy them here).

Where to Stay in Liechtenstein

Accommodation in Liechtenstein is expensive. If you have a car, you can choose to stay anywhere really, including Switzerland. But I chose to stay in Liechtenstein itself and got a really fantastic hotel with the BEST breakfast called Hotel Kommod (check the current price). It was expensive (US$130/night), but the quality was far above what I expected and it was very modern and also sound-proofed to the max. It’s located in an industrial area which is odd, but if you have a car, that’s irrelevant. The bus also stops out the front of this hotel.Vaduz Castle LiechtensteinYour other options are going to be spread throughout the country and there doesn’t appear to be any one large concentration of hotels. During my research Hotel Restaurant Kulm looked like a good option especially because it has fantastic views and only cost $110 per night (booking.com price is here).

What to Do in Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is small and you really don’t need to spend much time there. In fact, I spent one night and about 6 hours the next day driving around. The main spots are Vaduz Castle, Gutenburg Castle, Jubiläumskirche and the awesome mountain road via Triesenburg to Malbun ski region.Snowy Liechtenstein On The Road To MalbunThe mountain road is worth going up whether you’re catching the bus or driving your own car because the views are phenomenal especially as you go up through the residential area of Triesenberg. You can even stop here and grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants, but be warned that they can be very expensive (think US$50 per person or more).

At the top of the mountain, the road proceeds through a tunnel to a valley at the back of the mountain and then on to the town of Malbun.

Here you’ll find ski fields and LOTS of snow, even in early November mainly because the altitude is 1600m above sea level compared to 450m in Vaduz. So awesome.

For me, the mountain road is actually the highlight of Liechtenstein. To get there, follow the signs to Triesenberg on the main 28 road south of Vaduz. The road to Triesenberg from Vaduz Castle was closed when I visited in November, but you might have better luck.

Where to Eat in Liechtenstein

Where you eat in Liechtenstein really depends on your budget and how much you care about your time in Liechtenstein. If money isn’t the number one factor for you, I highly recommend choosing one of the restaurants with a view in Triesenberg. Honestly, the views paired with good local food would be amazing.View From Triesenberg LiechtensteinBut if you’re on a budget, there are plenty of cheap options. Liechtenstein like any other country has fast food options such as McDonalds as well as supermarkets where you can buy pre-made sandwiches. It just depends on your travel style.

Liechtenstein is an easy country to visit if you’re already in Switzerland, particularly Zurich.  Just allocate a day to go there and you will have visited one of the smallest countries in the world!

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about how to get to Liechtenstein.

 

Spadaa Koffie, Bandung: No Sugar on Sunday (Really), but Everything Else is Good

Spadaa Koffie is a small coffee shop owned by the same people who own Blue Doors. And just like Blue Doors, we think this place is a hit.

Let’s just get a few criticisms out of the way first so we can get onto the good parts. No coffee shop should deny their customers sugar. But Spadaa (and Blue Doors) will not give sugar to their customers on Sunday. It’s the height of coffee snobbery and we hate it with a passion. Secondly, my eggs didn’t have salt on them. That’s it. These are my only criticisms at this stage.Spadaa, Bandung Food And DrinksWe ordered the Mushroom Sliders, Big Breakfast, Magic and fresh juice.

The Mushrooms Sliders was not sliders. It was mushrooms on toast with scrambled eggs. Not sure why they call it sliders. Naming aside, the meal was fabulous. Mushrooms seasoned beautifully, the bread the best in Bandung (yes, amazing sourdough) and the eggs light and fluffy (despite having no salt). A fabulous meal. But not sliders!Spadaa, Bandung FoodThe Big Brekkie was halal meaning beef bacon. I guess you have to compromise when the majority of your customers don’t eat pork. The poached egg was cooked to perfection, mushrooms tasty, bread delightful and the tomato packed with sambal. Delish.

The coffee was predictably very good and in line with the best cafes in Bandung. The juice couldn’t be faulted — freshly squeezed juice pure and simple.Spadaa, Bandung CoffeeThe fitout is completely different to almost anything else in Bandung. A large garden courtyard surround by 4 seating areas.

The seating area on the roof is a winner.Spadaa, Bandung Big TreeIf you need to get work done, the wifi is fast enough at 12mbps down and 4mbps up. There are also plenty of power points if need them as well.

We’re fans on this place. We really are. But they need to cut out this coffee snobbery crap because it doesn’t go down well with customers who simply like sugar in their coffee. They, after all, are the customer.Spadaa, Bandung InsideOne last thing. I’d like to give a big shout out to the 4 guys I spoke to in the upstairs area.

Spadaa Koffie
Jalan Ternate 5, Bandung
Instagram: @spadaakoffie
Opening Hours: 07:00 – 23:00 (food until 21:00)
Mushroom Sliders: Rp47.000
Big Breakfast: Rp70.000
Magic: Rp30.000
Fresh Juice: Rp42.000
* No tax!

Kuro Coffee, Bandung Coffee

Kuro Koffee (Papaya Supermarket), Bandung: Awesome Anti-Mainstream Coffee Shop with Great Coffee

If you like small and cozy coffee shops that aren’t overrun with the Instagram crowd, you’re going to absolutely love Kuro Koffee.

This coffee shop is the sort of place you come to if you love great coffee without all the fuss that goes along with it in many places. In other words, a coffee lover’s dream.Kuro Coffee, BandungI ordered a latte and it was excellent. Served in a custom porcelain cup from Japan, I loved that they were happy to experiment with a different cup. I love it.Kuro Coffee, Bandung SusanSusan’s Sakura Lemonade was too sweet for my liking because she mixed all the sugar syrup in. But the flavour itself was fantastic and a little bit different to most drinks you find in Bandung.Kuro Coffee, Bandung DrinksPrices here a very good for the qualily. Rp25.000 for that cafe latte was brilliant.

The fitout is really quite pleasant. Air conditioned inside, pleasantly cool outside (the smoking area). There are a couple places to sit and open a laptop and the wifi is fast with 20mbps down and 4mbps up.Kuro Coffee, Bandung Outside AreaThey also do a range of food, but we haven’t tried that yet.

Kuro Koffee is one of my new favourite coffee shops in Bandung. The focus is on quality and not just trying to follow the latest trend. Awesome.Kuro Coffee, Bandung Coffee Machine

Note: A new outlet has just opened in Paskal Hypersquare.

Kuro Koffee
Jalan Sukaasih 1, Bandung (Inside Papaya Supermarket)
hello@kurokoffee.co
kurokoffee.co
Instagram: @kurokoffee
Opening Hours: 08:00 – 21:00 (Sun from 10:30)
Cappuccino: Rp25.000
Sakura Lemonade: Rp30.000

Mr Guan, Bandung

Mr. Guan Coffee & Books, Bandung: Incredible Old Building Worth Visiting for Coffee

If you’re sick of the same same feel of Bandung coffee shops with their white concrete walls and floors and lots of industrial steel, you’re going to love Mr. Guan Coffee & Books.

Mr. Guan isn’t the first coffee shop to open inside of an old colonial house, but I think they’re probably doing it the best right now. The fitout is really awesome with original tiles, lots of old style furniture and a colour scheme that takes me straight back to 1940. It really is something.Mr Guan, Bandung CounterThe coffee here is good too. They do a bunch of manual brew stuff, but there also have an espresso machine if you’re into cappuccinos and the like.Mr Guan, Bandung DrinksAside from drinks, they also have a menu of light bites and some rice based dishes. It’s all very reasonably priced and far below what you expect to pay at Bandung’s top cafes these days.Mr Guan, Bandung InsideMr Guan, Bandung DoorThere are plenty of tables for working on and the internet here is fast. I tested it 11mbps down and 29mbps up. I get the impression that it goes faster than that as well if you’re here when it’s not so busy.Mr Guan, Bandung Sitting In Front Of WindowOne last point. The outdoor are is lovely and a perfect spot for those who love to smoke and drink coffee.

Mr. Guan Coffee & Books
Jalan Tamponas No.22, Bandung
Instagram: @mrguancoffee
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 22:00
Cappuccino: Rp25.000
Ice Matcha Susa: Rp25.000
* No tax!

911 Coffee Lab, Bandung

9/1/1 Coffee Lab, Bandung: Good and Cheap Coffee Shop Where You Can Hang Out and Smoke

With so many expensive coffee shops in Bandung doing great coffee, we sometimes wonder why people aren’t trying to tap into the cheaper market by producing great coffee at a great price. 9/1/1 Coffee Lab fits the bill perfectly by doing great tasting coffee for a price with is half what you often pay elsewhere.

Located in small building on Jalan Saparua, 9/1/1 Coffee Lab (sometimes written 911 Coffee Lab) has as many seats outside as inside. This means that if you’re a smoker, there are plenty of places to sit back, have a coffee and a cigarette. Inside or outside. This also means that if you hate smoking, you probably won’t like this place.911 Coffee Lab, Bandung InsideThe drinks we had were good, but quite a distance from the best in Bandung. That said, they were better than we had in our recent 2 week trip through Europe which generally has bad coffee.911 Coffee Lab, Bandung Coffee ToolsMy cappuccino was made manually without an espresso machine. The coffee was good, but I’m afraid it was too cold. Only lukewarm. Still, worth every cent I paid given it’s so cheap.911 Coffee Lab, Bandung CoffeeAt Rp16.000, it’s one of the cheapest milk based coffees in Bandung and certainly the best at this price point. Perhaps why the cafe seems to be so popular.

The menu has a range of typical snacks such as pisang goreng for good prices.

If you’re price conscious but still like good coffee, come here. It’s really good.911 Coffee Lab, Bandung MuralWifi barely worked when I visited.

9/1/1 Coffee Lab
Jalan Halmahera 2, Bandung
(0813) 1373 7389
911coffeelab@gmail.com
Instagram: @911_coffee
Opening Hours: daily 08:00 – 23:00
Cappuccino: Rp16.000
Red Velvet Latte: Rp20.000
Pisang Goreng: Rp15.000
Cake: Rp5.000 (cheap!)
Muffin: Rp8.000 (cheap!)
*No tax added!!!