5 free things to do in Melbourne.

With minimum wages scheme in Australia, things can get pretty expensive around here. So, for long-term travellers or people just on a shoestring budget (i.e. me), here’s my list of 5 free things to do in Melbourne, just within CBD area that is.

1. Hop on City Circle Tram

City Circle Tram

Put on your most comfortable pair of shoes and get ready for some serious walking around Melbourne CBD area. Feel free to hop on/off this free city tram that runs every 12-15 minutes, 7 days a week. It’s pretty awesome for newbies to the city as the on-board audio commentary gives you details and some insights of the city’s landmarks and major attractions. It is a loop service so, no worries if you missed a stop or two.

For more information: http://www.yarratrams.com.au/using-trams/visitors-new-users/city-circle-tram/

2. Lose yourself in street art

This is my 3rd trip to Melbourne and I’m embrassed to say, I never knew Hosier Lane existed till today! It faces the entrance of Federation Square (just next to Flinders Street Railway Station) and the street art there is just mind-blowing. Please check it out for yourself to be amazed! I always knew Melbourne was all about street art and graffiti but, trust me, this is totally a whole new level.

3. Explore National Gallery of Victoria

 

What’s not to love when you can spend an afternoon wandering from gallery to gallery without paying steep prices?! There are 2 National Galleries, 1 in Federation Square (NGV Australia) and 1 along St. Kilda Road, further down South, (NGV International). NHV International boasts a wider range of exhibitions so I’ll recommend that for the less artsy soul. 😉

For more information: http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/

4. Cycle along Yarra River

 

Melbourne’s bike share is a good option for travellers looking to cycle and explore the city area. If you return it within 30 minutes, you don’t have to fork out a single cent. It can get a bit tiring walking all day so if I can get a free ride, hey why not?!

5. Have a picnic

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There are plenty of parks in the city for you to spend a lazy afternoon in. Royal botanic gardens, Yarra Park, Fitzroy Gardens, Carlton Gardens are just a few to name. Lay down on the grass, soak up in the summer heat, with a book and a coffee. How perfect does that sound!

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

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Yangon in 48 hours.

‘This is Burma’, wrote Rudyard Kipling. ‘It is quite unlike any place you know about.’

Often mistaken to be the capital of the country, Yangon is the heart of Mynamar. Formerly known as Burma, Mynamar is a country rich in culture and hospitality. As the economy in Mynamar is still picking up progressively, travellers haven’t invaded this beautiful haven in full force yet. So, be prepared to be heavily reliant on hand gestures and have tremendous difficulties especially with regards to moving around via public transportation when you’re there. If you’re stopping by in Yangon for a quick 48 hours or so, this post should help you in your planning so keep reading.

1. Shwedagon Pagoda

In a land of pagodas, Shwedagon Pagoda is the biggest and most iconic of all to marvel at when in Yangon. The grandness of the 99m tall stupa will amaze you as arrive at the pagoda and make your ascent up. What Angkor Wat is to Cambodia or Halong Bay to Vietnam, Shwedagon Pagoda is to Myanmar. Hence, anytime of the year it’s gonna be crowded with both locals and tourists alike. But, the good thing is the temple is large enough to find a quiet spot and have a moment.

2.  Mingle with the locals 

You’ll love the country for the warmth of the Burmese people and their hospitality. Most of them have trouble speaking proper English and yet, the depths they go, to try and help you out just warms your heart. At so many instances, when I struggled to move around or when I needed insider info on places of interest or about nearby towns like Bago etc. speaking to the locals was really helpful. After all, there is only so much travel blogs and books can tell you about a country.

3. Circular railway

This 3 hour loop train ride for USD 0.10 around Yangon is a must-do, if you don’t mind the rather long travel. It’s the best way to have a sneak peek into the lives of the locals. Over the various stops, you’ll pass by a couple of markets bustling with activities that you will be tempted to hop off the train for a purchase or just to snap a couple of photos. Not a huge fan of train rides, but I must say this was a pretty memorable ride.

4. Aung San Market

Yangon’s market isn’t really cheap as opposed to those neighbouring countries like Cambodia. Nonetheless, wandering around the market and manoeuvring through the narrow alleys in the afternoon is an experience by itself. The market ranges from sale of handicrafts to textiles to local food. You’ll be sure to pick up something along the way.

5. Local food

Trying out the local food is always the most anticipated activity for any traveller; I’m definitely no different. Mohinga, the dish shown above, definitely isn’t very appealing on the eyes but, tastes good. This rice noodle dish in fish based soup and accompanied with deep fried fritters is a very popular breakfast dish among the locals in Myanmar.

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

Highlight #1 – Opera house, Sydney.

Credits to the brother for this shot – “the crescent juxtaposed”.

It was my second time to the Opera House having gone there last year, but I would say this time round was a proper visit cause I got to go for the in house guided tour. It’s AUD 35 for an hour, but I recommend you go for it. It’s worth the buck!

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The tour left me in awe of the building I was standing in. The insight about the Opera House’s history, the political struggle behind the building, the engineering breakthrough with regards to it’s architecture made me realize why exactly the Opera House stands as one of our world wonders.

Concert Hall, Opera House

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I also attended a play, Australia Day, put up by Sydney Theatre Company in the Drama Theatre, Opera House. It was purely a well-scripted and directed comedy that touched on the racial matters that plagued the society with as well as the local political scene. As a foreigner, it took me a while to understand the local slangs and understand the humor. But in spite of that, I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 hour long comedy. Not to be a spill the beans, but the Australia-born Vietnamese dude delivers his role extremely well and his comebacks to the racial remarks made at him were awesome!

Here’s a good review about the play by Time Out for those interested.

Tickets are from AUD 45 onwards and it will be playing till the 27th of October. Do catch it if you’re there! Really recommend it for some good laugh.