Mar 11, 2012

London, UK

10 (Sat) - 11 (Sun) Mar 2012

Lodging: Malaysia Hall, 30-34 Queensborough Terrace

Day 1

Continued from the previous post, yup, we reached London Victoria Coach Station at about 11am.

First of all, get yourself a tube map, which is extremely useful if you're travelling in London.

You can get one piece of these from any tube station in London I guess.

We bought a day ticket each for each day at £7 (only for Zone 1), an Oyster Card is actually more worth buying after hearing from my friend because it has a cap at £7 each day (making it the same as a day pass). However if you travel a lot, which one should be doing, there's no difference buying a day ticket or using an Oyster Card.

Buckingham Palace

We first blindly walked along road right from Victoria Coach Station, which fortunately led us to our first attraction - Buckingham Palace

Despite being overwhelmed by the number of people surrounding the palace, I didn't know what's happening and what's this palace all about. So what're all these people doing?

Buckingham Palace is the residence of the British monarch, who's currently Queen Elizabeth II. I guess they're watching the change of guards, which are supposed to be happening outside the gate, but we didn't manage to watch. So we're just taking photos around the palace site.

St. James's Park

St. James's Park is just 50 steps away from the palace, resided by a number of uncommon flowers, birds, and oh ya, squirrels! :)

Until this point, we hadn't taken a tube yet, hence the walk continued and we passed the Horse Guards Parade which is a huge square and on the other side of it you can watch the horse guards changing shift (in front of the Horse Guards building).

Don't be in their way when they're riding, they'll just yell at you till you siam.

Palace of Westminster

Westminster Station
Along Whitehall which is off the Horse Guards, we reached Westminster Station by walking and that means the most iconic building of London should be visible then - Palace of Westminster

What making it so iconic is actually the remarkable clock tower of the palace, called Big Ben

Street scam
Westminster Bridge, a bridge over the River Thames is just behind the Palace of Westminster and on the bridge, my goodness, they're a few foreigners trying to attract pedestrians to play and bet with them while they're doing tricks like the Three-card Monte.

Instead of cards they used cups to cover the ball or steel containers to cover the plate and please, DO NOT BET YOUR MONEY WITH THEM!!

Their bet is £40 each time and if I'm not mistaken, you won't win because it's a street scam. And as we noticed, there might be fake pedestrians who're able to win (to make you feel that one can actually win), and these fake pedestrians could be in their party. I could even see hidden ball in one the scammer's closed palm.

Leo almost fell into the trap and the way they urge you to bet is putting £40 into your hand, telling you that if you win, the money is yours (to make you feel the money first before you even decide).

They don't allow photography but I managed to take one, so once again, avoid these scams and enjoy the wonderful scenery of London.

London Eye

Forget about the saddening things and lets continue. London Eye is located diagonally to the Palace of Westminster. We didn't take a ride on it though.

One more shot for the palace across the River Thames

Malaysia Hall, 30-34 Queensborough Terrace
It's time to get to our lodging place to deposit our bags first before another walk around the city. We'll be staying in Malaysia Hall. It's located near to the city center and the nearest tube station is Bayswater Station.

Unfortunately and fortunately, only Malaysians are allowed to lodge in Malaysia Hall and I felt so lucky to be a Malaysian at that point of time. LOL~ And the rates are really low compared to the rest of the hotels/hostels in London. It's £9.11 per person per night for our stay.

Check out our room (Room 412)!

Not very spacious, but hey, somewhere near hotel standard, isn't it?

Now the canteen, wow, the environment gave me the feeling that I just entered Malaysia from London through a door, and it must be the Anywhere Door (どこでもドア) then. LOL~!

Ok, seriously, Malays speaking Malay and selling Malay cuisine were really making the atmosphere right. Leo has been craving for the delicacies and apparently we're gonna have lunch there.

Nasi Campur with 2 dishes @ £3.40

Laksa Ayam @ £4.50

Satisfaction overflown! And let's burn the food by continuing our London journey. Next we took the tube to Leicester Square Station to visit Chinatown.

Found this Malaysia Kopi Tiam along Charing Cross Road after getting out of Leicester Square Station. I love the way they appreciate Malaysian cuisine.

Chinatown 倫敦華埠

It took us a while to find the street directory that would lead us to Chinatown after exiting Leicester Square Station and we must have missed it when we're walking along Charing Cross Road.

Oh well, thank God we made our way back to where we should be heading.

This Chinatown is more "Chinese" than I thought, perhaps the use traditional Chinese characters.

Tower Bridge

Another iconic landmark of London is not the London Bridge, but the Tower Bridge, also a bridge over the River Thames.

Leo suggested that we visit it at night because it'll be more beautiful with lights.

And from the Tower Hill Station, we walked to the Tower Bridge and he's right, night view should be better and luckily we brought tripods.

London Bridge

Leo has told me that London Bridge is just a very ordinary bridge but I insisted that I just want to take a look since every kid learnt to curse it when they're young.

Not hard to find, because there's a tube station called London Bridge Station.

This is the London Bridge. End of story. One shot and leave, before it falls.

Before calling it a day, we made full use of our day tickets by taking the train back to Westminster Station to take some slow shutter speed shots.

Day 2

Starting the day off with food from the Malaysia Hall canteen was awesome!

Nasi Lemak biasa @ £2.50

Roti Canai @ £2.00 & Teh Tarik @ £1.20

It's time for checkout and bye bye Malaysia Hall!!

Camden Town

Leo's friend recommended Camden Town and that'll be our next destination. Camden Town, however is in Zone 2. Therefore we took a tube to the nearest station to Camden Town (Euston Station) in Zone 1 and walked there, and it's really quite far.

Camden Town has this long stretch of shopping street with really fancy shop outlets and it's pretty crowded.

But well, shopping is definitely not my forte, it's then rather meaningless for me to visit this shopping paradise, but I would recommend my shopaholic friends, of course.

Camden Lock
The shopping street leads to the Camden Lock Market where you start to smell something nice.

But sobz, we're poor kids, no money for good food... T_T

Borough Market

When Yiting mentioned Borough Market to me as a place to visit in London, I misheard the name and I was like, "is it because you get to borrow something from the market?"

It's told that variety of delicious foods can be found in this market where some scenes of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) were filmed.

It's located just opposite the London Bridge Station.

But when we reached there...


Another time and energy wastage...

Stop Lynas, Save Malaysia!

In February when I was travelling in Switzerland, all of a sudden, the issue of setting up a rare earths plant in Kuantan, Malaysia by Lynas arose and the citizens of Malaysia started the Stop Lynas, Save Malaysia! campaign to show anger and disagreement towards this implementation by Lynas, because the repercussion of the radioactivity is extremely deadly.

The citizens and even foreigners have supported the activity by putting up the phrase Stop Lynas, Save Malaysia! on papers, banners etc all around the world.

Leo and I utilized the significance of Big Ben and did the same thing. Stop messing with our soil!!

After our hard work of taking the shot, we proceeded to Trafalgar Square and nearby, there's this Malaysia House. So glad that we're able to occasionally come across some Malaysia-related stuffs in London.

Malaysia House, 57 Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is a famous square in London where usually everyone visits.

A number of films and TV series feature Trafalgar Square owing to the fact that it's an archetypal London location, although I don't find it that exemplary.

National Gallery

The National Gallery is located on the north side of Trafalgar Square.

Admission is free, opened on Sundays, so why not?

Photography is not allowed in this art museum, and the naughty and mischievous me feels even more like taking photos if you don't let. Muakaka...

Paintings on golden frames are huge, so pray that they don't fall on you when you walk pass. ^^

Hyde Park

Boy and Dolphin
Hyde Park was the last attraction we visited, but we didn't manage to visit the entire park because we're running out of time. We only stayed around the area of the park that's near to the grand entrance.

Flowers were colourful, sun was warm. Hmmm...

It's really time to get back to the bus station to leave London. I guess we're supposed to go to Victoria Coach Station but we went to the Victoria Tube Station.

We first asked the officer at Victoria Station where should we board the National Express and he said we have to make one whole round to somewhere where National Express coaches are terminated.

We're already late and so we quickly ran around the Victoria Station district to find the National Express service that we're supposed to board and we almost missed it!

Thank God at last we found it, else we'll be having another night in London and I won't be able to fly back to Sweden in time because my luggage was in Portsmouth.

Please read my blog post: Porstmouth, England (Day 3)

In conclusion, I like London and I think it has a closer culture to my home culture, considering it as a part of Europe.
✔ Like Malaysia and Singapore, U.K. has left-hand traffic (but I don't understand why on escalator you keep right if you're not rushing)
✔ English!! My goodness, I can finally speak English in Europe to anyone without worrying whether they can understand me or not.
✔ You'll see lots of Asians here in London, perhaps somehow it favours more immigrants and visitors from a foreign continent.

For more photos, please check out my photo album London, Uk on Facebook.

Javin Tham A master's degree graduate in engineering, a musician at heart, loves playing with soft toys.

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