Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hiking up Mt Takao Japan

Aching for a short hike not far from Tokyo city? Mt Takao is the answer! Located in Hachioji, just less than 1 hour train ride from Tokyo, you get nature and a pretty good hike!
This website Takao-san tells it all, information you need to get to Mt Takao and start your hike!

Cheapest way from Tokyo is to take the Keio Line all the way to the end Takaosanguchi.  My travel from Shinjuku was about 45min 390Yen.

From the station, it is an easy walk to the start of the hike where the cable car station is.  There are 7 hiking trails within the mountain.  My choice was up with Inariyama route - this passes through the trees and forest - would have been a fantastic choice during the autumn leaves, when you will see trees with loads of red leaves lining the way up.  It was an easy hike up, and directions are easy to follow, all in all only 1 hour needed to get right to the top.

 At the top the view is pretty awesome!  From there, either take any of the other routes back down or if you have time and/or more adventurous, continue on to the other peaks or all the way to the very end Mt Jimba which would take about 5h.  I decided to carry on for another hour however turned back since I wasn't going to make the 5H hike to Mt Jimba.
Top of the mountain

I opted for Route 4 down which passes through a suspension bridge and connects to Route 1 all the way down (route 1 is all paved).  Of course for the less sporty, you can choose cable car up from base to half way.  The way to the top still needs to be hiked.

It's an easy hike for a weekend (there are loads of people and even small kids), and you wouldn't get lost!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Suzhou Taihu One-Day tour Up Piao Miao Peak

Suzhou, popularly known as the garden city, city of lakes etc etc (and of course they always say city full of pretty ladies - I would not comment on that).  So what to do over the weekend there? Ideas of visiting the Gardens, the Tiger Hill etc popped up, but in the end we decided to head for the 2nd highest peak in Suzhou - Piao Miao Peak at the Xishan National Park area, which is an island in the middle of TaiHu.  Although it is the 2nd highest peak, Piao Miao is only at 337m above sea level.  The manager and I wanted to do some adventure and sadly this was the most adventurous climb we could find...
The day started real bad - gloomy cloudy with light rain and drizzle, which made the going tough.  Took the subway all the way to the end of the tunnel, alighted at Mudu station and waited for taxi to take us all the way there.  The thing I dislike about travelling in China sometimes - public transport/coaches/buses are hard to get to reach these places of interests.  They are far out from the nearest public transport station (in this case about 30-40km away) and buses don't usually go there, or if they do, be prepared to take 3H to get there.  Taxis are hard to get, and you have to rely on private cars to drive you there where they usually quote exorbitant prices, in this case RMB130 for a one-way ride of about 45mins.  It is not much for sure, but I just get the feeling that that in itself is too high a price for the journey and definitely would not do it on my own. 
It being a rainy day, of course it was hard to get transport, and after 45mins we reached the foot of the so-called mountain and the driver had to wait for us as it would seem difficult for us to grab a return ride that day seeing how deserted it was. 

No 1 peak in TaiHu

The tea plantations

View from close to the top
Then the entrance fee - RMB60.  Yes another exorbitant amount for that small little mountain.  I hiked so many mountains in Korea for FREE and they were a lot higher and more scenic!  And they had to make us take a tourist bus within the compound for RMB20 each because as they said - the hike up is a very long walk - as if it is a crime to even think about walking up!  I have no idea where they get the idea from, but it is VERY common in China for places of attraction to have tourist buses to ferry you from point A to point B and EVERYONE takes them!  I would have much preferred to walk (same goes for the manager) but 1) we have a driver waiting 2) they seemed reluctant to tell us how to walk.  So we got the tickets and hopped on the bus which took us almost all the way up.  Small chat with the driver revealed the fact that the walk up the driveway was about 3KM and he too seemed reluctant to let anyone walk up (evidenced by the fact that NO ONE was walking) - apparently the buses go in a loop and will drop you off at one point and carry on.  Whatever.  So we got up to almost the peak and had to walk up about 500m of steps to the very top where due to the bad weather, everything was shrouded in mist. 
At that point, we discovered the hiking trail and decided to walk down instead of taking the bus.  It was a nice walk down, albeit slippery and I was in my running shoes - no traction whatsoever.  But we made it, all of 3KM downhill to the base, where we had to catch the bus again to bring us back to our starting point where our driver waited.
Not saying that it was totally a waste of time and money, the place was nice but would have been better if the weather cooperated a little and we would have been able to really see a lot more.  Also, then we wouldn't have had to pay the driver to wait which would have given us time to really walk up the mountain and leisurely walk down instead of taking that stupid bus.  Sure I complain about having to pay the entrance fee, but that is sooo common in China, and I do pay them to visit places of attraction and I'm not saying I regret visiting the place, I just don't get why they are charging so much and for every single place!  I would still have gone to Piao Miao (but maybe not on my own) but I guess I'm trying to think why the you have to pay entrance fee for every place including gardens and parks!  If it's UNESCO i get it, but this is apparently very obviously NOT UNESCO.  Like those parks in Shanghai, even those obscure ones charge you RMB5 per entry, it's not much but it's a park! 
That being said, I'm still glad I went, at least I could say I've been to Piao Miao, not many tourists go there I suppose, most heading to Tiger Hill or the gardens within the city premise. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Further Adventures of LIttle Missy in Sri Lanka - Down South

Although not as famous as its counterpart, the much bigger South Africa, Sri Lanka has also quite a number of national parks and wildlife safaris for tourists!  Scattered in various parts of the country, each national park is particularly known for seeing certain types of animals.  My mission was LEOPARDS and one of the most popular national park is Yala National Park southwest of Sri Lanka.  Of course, there being only 20-25 leopards in the entire national park, the chance of seeing one is 1 in a million à possibly impossible maybe.  But you never know if you don’t try! 
The journey from Colombo to Yala (or Tissa which is the base for most people) is a long one, however made easier and more comfortable with the new expressway which opened early 2014!  Yes, you can still choose the traditional way of going direct from Colombo to Tissa with the semi-luxury bus (Note, it is NOT luxury at all – no air con, and just a normal public bus that stops along the way).  But with the new expressway, it connects Colombo to Matara non-stop and within 1-1.5H you are at Matara (which is south of Sri Lanka costs LKR500).  From there take a public bus (those semi-luxury costs 150LKR) to Tissa which is 3H away! Total travel time maximum 5H compared to the traditional 8H! And the best part, for the first 1.5H you get the comfort of AC cushioned bus! Although the bus station (Kudewala) is not as central as Peeta bus station, it is not hard to get to.  You could get a bus down in 40min or grab a tuk tuk down.  I was told construction is underway to connect Matara all the way to Tissa with the expressway, that would mean getting down to Tissa in 3H!!!!

Matara Bus Station

The off island temple

At the stop in Matara, there’s a small temple island that’s connected to mainland with a hanging bridge.  When I was there, the waves were really strong and wind was blowing so hard that even walking along the bridge, I felt like I was gonna be blown away anytime! And I’m like 50kg with a 3kg pack on my bag.  I probably wouldn’t recommend anyone below 45kg to attempt that walk unless you have supervision J That temple is nothing to shut about and the fact that donation is enforced made me uncomfortable.  Donation should be voluntary, but upon entering, the guy will hold out his hand to make you donate.  I said later and when I got up top to the Buddha statue, another guy was standing there and pointing to the box to get me to donate.  Then there is another “tollgate” at the top where another guy again blatantly asked me to donate and when I said I already did, he gave me a face…  When I went down to exit, that same guy asked me to donate again and when I told him I did at the top already, he gave me a face too! What’s up with these spiritually people!!! Pissed me off a little. 
Anyway, onto my bus ride to Tissa, was quite uneventful but I was damn lucky.  Met a local guy (seriously forgot his name) who sold his safari and guesthouse to me at a good price!  He was trying to sell me La Safari Hotel for 1500LKR per night (which is a really good price) but when we arrived there, that room was already sold out.  So he took me looking and searching for other GH at the same price! Talk about service!  Finally found one at Mihisara for that price which included WIFI and hot shower which was adequate enough.  The safari I got for 5000 LKR (exclude breakfast).  My tip – to exclude breakfast from any safari tour cos with breakfast the price was like 5800-6000! And what breakfast you get?? Sandwich with cheese and egg + water. Like that will cost me 1000LKR!!!
Anyway the local guy brought me out to dinner at a local place where we had curry + rice.  Was really good and it is buffet style and very local, but when paying up, the local guy told me the owner wanted to charge me foreigner price (350LKR) instead of local price (150LKR) Talk about discrimination!
Most people base themselves in Tissa for Yala trip, it is a cheaper town and not far from Yala.  Of course you could join Yala Safari tours where you stay overnight in Yala itself, but that cost a bomb!  Tissa town is nothing to shut about, really small and nothing much happening there.
Next morning, the safari starts real early with a 5am pickup and arriving at Yala at 6am.  FYI, it is 3000LKR for entry into the safari which is always included in the safari tour package.  Entering Yala, you are surrounded with sand and drying/dying trees.  Everything was bone dry!!! It was afterall the dry season.  In the jeep with 7 of us, we raced through the roads in search of bears and leopards.  Well we saw a beer (there are only 10-15 bears), but leopards were hiding from us.  The usual suspects like deers, buffalos, birds, crocodiles!  And elephants too!  The highlight of the trip was witnessing crocodiles hunting a poor little deer right in front of our eyes! AWESOME!  The safari ended at 11am and by the time I got back was dead tired.  But another day is ahead of me.  This day, I arranged with the local guy to bring me around Kataragama and the temples.  He got his cousin DIM to take me around for free! Well I paid for his fuel for the motorbike but basically I paid nothing and got a free guide!


The dusty road ahead

The best location in the whole Yala Park!

Stop over at the beach halfway

We rode to Kataragama and visited the famous temples there – Dewalaya and Kiri, Hindu and Buddhist.  Tips to others: Wear socks!  Entering into the temple vicinity requires you to take off your shoes! Which means walking around on hot scorching sand/marble in your bare foot.  Which was the equivalent of walking on hot stones!  Man, my sole hurt so much!!!!  When I went, the celebration just ended the week before.  When the celebration was held, there would be parades and dancing every night at the temples and people would come from all over Sri Lanka and crowd the temples.  Sounds amazing.

Kiri Verda (Buddhist temple)

Entrance to Dewalaya

Lotus for the buddha
Visiting the temples you can get a feel of how religious the Sri Lankans are and how much they respect their religion.  There were tons of people there, praying and buying fruits as a form of offering to the gods. And everyone was wearing white! I’m guessing it’s a sign of purity in the eyes of the god.  Also, now I understand why everyone was telling me to visit in the mornings or evenings (although I couldn’t quite understand why not afternoon) because the ground/floor will be super hot from the sun in the afternoon!
After Kataragama temples, we went to Wadasiti Kanda, which is 2km away from the temples.  You could take a tuk tuk there or walk (it’ll be a long walk though).  I was told that it’s just a walk up the mountains to the temple, but lo and behold it was a climb! And I told myself I’m not gonna take another hike again after Adam’s peak! It was 4km uphill all the way and steps all the way up!  When I said about how devoted they are, it was also apparent by the fact that they all, young, old, able-bodied or crooked knees, would willingly take that hike up to pay their respects!  I saw old ladies possibly 50-60 years old, climbing without aid up, although with a bit of trouble, but still went up!  I’m not saying it’s easy climb or hard, but 4km all up the stairs, not something that is to be taken lightly.  And you see little kids do the same! And most of them did the climb barefooted! Just walking on the rough steps and stones like it was nothing!  And also beware of those terrible monkeys waiting to attack!  One monkey attacked a little girl and scratched her head!
The steps on wadasiti

So it was 1 h later we reached the top.  The temple is nothing to marvel about and yes, you have to take off your shoes and walk barefoot in the vicinity.  But the view up there is pretty amazing! You can see the entire Yala National Park from up top!  It was super hot in the late afternoon and yes almost impossible to walk barefoot so I guess that was why I was told to go in the morning not afternoon…
After the climb we had a little snack of prata with sambal!  Their prata is made of coconut + breadcrumbs, very interesting combination! And you can really taste the shredded coconut in it! And the sambal reminds me of how we used to eat prata with sambal as well!  Nice!  And of cos in Sri Lanka EGB (Elephant Ginger Beer) is a must try!  The ads are everywhere – No ECG No Food! So of course I had to try and I must say it really tasted like beer with real ginger in it!  The ginger taste is very strong, which I like, and the combination is very refreshing!
That night, I basically concussed till the next morning.
Sithulpawa temple – Had no idea that temple existed and had no plans when I initially wanted to go Yala, but a talk with my counterpart in Colombo office revealed this beautiful temple set in a beautiful environment!  And I just had to visit!  With DIM, we travelled the 34km from Tissa (took almost 1H).  The road started off smooth and easy as we passed through Yala National Park (looking and trying to spot leopards Haha), then it was dirt road all the way for half the journey.  The dirt road is not bumpy but just dusty with bumps cutting the smooth road every 3minutes.  Along the way, we stopped at a temple with a nice view for some photo taking.

The lake at Sithulpawa temple - there are crocodiles in it


At Sithulpawa temple, there are 2 temples.  The temples are built on top of 2 separate hills and ladies, you are required to cover up your torso (at least the legs).  Short sleeves are ok, but no sleeveless.  I was wearing bermudas to my knees but was deemed indecent, so had to wrap myself up with a white cloth (FOC, Dim had to deposit his ID as collateral).  But seriously, I don’t think that white cloth helped.  The wind was so strong it was blowing it apart anyways.
It’s a hill, so it was a short walk up the first temple, and yes barefoot please!  The view up there is really amazing!  You have a huge lake down at the bottom and all the jungles around.  The opposite temple is a little higher up and the trek up is alittle longer but nice!  And from up there, the wind is really really strong that you have to be careful not to lose your footing!
I jump
The area is not so big, you’ll be done in about 1H, and then it’s time to go.  Passing through Yala National Park again, we saw groups of deers running around and hiding from us. 
Then it was time to travel back and leave the country.  The bus from Tissa to Matara comes very frequently (every 5-10 minutes) so no worries about the schedule.  Upon arriving back in Colombo at Kaduwela bus station, I was told initially to take a bus to somewhere close to my hotel in Colombo so I don’t have to spend much on taxi/tuk tuk.  Who knew that bus was not running to that destination anymore when I arrived at 6pm.  After some confirmation, a couple of local bus driver took me onto their bus to drop me off somewhere else to catch another bus that was supposed to take me to where I was heading.  Who knew that bus was NOT going there and I was caught in a situation where the conductor spoke NO English.  Luckily, a local guy spoke pretty good English and after finding out where I wanted to go, told me where to get off and got off with me to catch the other bus to the city center for me.  That was very nice of him to help me in that way!  He caught me the bus to near Hilton Colombo (I think it was bus 190 or something) which was just a 5min walk to my hotel!  That was pretty cool! 
It was a long and tiring day, also having to wait for the red-eye flight at the airport with nothing much to do and no WIFI.
Overall impression of Sri Lanka – Nope, it is not the cheapest place for tourism.  Local buses are cheap, and street food is pretty inexpensive.  But tourism in terms of visiting attractions and guesthouses are not the cheapest (You pay much less in Thailand for accommodation of backpackers’ standards).  A trip to safari alone costs at least 5000 LKR (almost SGD50) and my trip to Adam’s Peak cost me a bomb! Food can be pretty inexpensive for snacks, but a proper curry and rice meal I paid SGD3.50 for (yes it is buffet style but how much can you really eat) which is not exactly very cheap.  Of course, the locals eat for SGD1.50, now that is cheap!  But the people are in general really nice and helpful (except for those scammers in Colombo who always try to get you to visit the Gem exhibition which seems to be forever ongoing and forever “last 3 days” and forever elephants parade at Gangarama Temple).  Otherwise, I met really nice and helpful people along the way (some people said that was because I was a female travelling alone).  The place is clean and not cluttered, nothing like what India is about.  Sure, infrastructure could do with some improvements to cut down the travelling time between places and that is on the way.  If you don’t take local buses, private cars are expensive and yes it also reduces travelling time but really expensive.  I was told you have to obtain some kind of permit in order to self-drive and how long that takes is a mystery.  Worth a visit!  Will I be back? I don’t know, there are so many other places and countries to visit!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Express expedition Up Adam's Peak - The Off-peak edition

Adam's peak - located in central Sri Lanka, and is a pilgrimage site for a lot of locals.  It is also a UNESCO world heritage site.  The peak period for climbing is Dec - May where the weather is perfect, and April is the busiest month.  Other times, climbing is still allowed, but due to weather, might not be the best periods.  Also, during those off peak months, the shops along the way are closed and there are no lights along the way.  Same goes for the temple right at the top of the peak - Closed (though I heard from my guide that they open the temple after 12 noon).
The hike up from base can be done within 3 hours, subject to individual ability.  It is 2,200 steps up, about 7km distance.  And yes they are steps, especially the last 3km, where the steps just go up, up and up all the way.  So in a way, it is not a tough hike, just treat it as a super intense steps class! But of course, going down would not be as easy with steps as it would be with just soil and slopes...
You could easier do this in 1 day if you plan well, like what I did, although it was really really tiring and I would probably not recommend it if you could avoid it.  Getting to the starting point, you can choose to take train or bus to Hatton and then tuk tuk or van to Dalhousie.  Train will take longer than the bus though.
The journey from Colombo to Hatton is about 4.5hours with the bus, and from Hatton to Dalhousie, where you start the hike, is about 1-1.5hours depending on the mode of transport.  I decided to do it express style so I spend minimal time and get maximum effort and reward.  You can check out the various bus timetables at and these buses leave from Peeta bus station in Colombo.  Buses don't leave on time (Hey it's Sri Lanka!) but they pretty much leave within 30minutes of scheduled times.  The private options are the little vans with air conditioning while the others (even though they call it semi-luxury) are within AC.  AC vans cost 320 LKR to get to Hatton.
Prior to my journey, I had contacted Hotel White Elephant at Dalhousie to help me arrange for a guide for the hike as I was gonna do it immediately upon arrival and leave immediately without staying.  The manager of the hotel, Nilantha, was very helpful and confirmed everything in order before I set off from Colombo.  I would recommend him as a point of contact should you need help for the hike.  A guide is not necessary even during off-peak if you are doing it in a group.  However, as I would be alone, it is of course better with a guide to lead you to the right path, and when you are hiking in the absolute dark, it feels better with someone beside you.  The guide costs about 2,500LKR.  I did not stay at the hotel, but it looked like a pretty nice place to bunk in.  Also as I was gonna be getting in real late, I arranged with him to get me a ride from Hatton to Dalhousie.  You could of course get a tuk tuk for about 1,700 to 2,000 LKR to travel, I got a van for 5,500LKR return. 
It was nice of him to offer me a couch to rest while I wait for the hike.  Most people do the sunrise hike up to see the sunrise, which means you leave at around 2pm and wait at the top.  Of course, you can do the hike up anytime!  My guide, Roshan, is a 22 young boy who has done the hike like 170 times!  The guides here all hike up without any gear, nope not even water, just a super big torchlight and a fleece jacket.  Thumbs up!  The hike up, as I mentioned, is 7km.  It took me 2.5H to get to the top, and that meant waiting 'forever' for the sunrise.  And it was super cold up there! Believe me, I had my down jacket and it was not enough.  You can buy tea for 100LKR from the people who lives up there.  During my climb, I was alone with my guide, but up there, there were about 3-4 groups of people waiting. 
The first 3km was easy peasy

The steep steps up the last 3km

Misty and windy

Shops closed along the way during off season

The weather was not kind to me on the day of the hike.  It was windy, and cloudy.  By that I meant huge gusts of wind along the way up, especially near the top where you literally feel like you are about to be blown off.  Yes, I was swaying almost! And the clouds didn't help.  We had no sunrise, only daylight.  And the peak is not really a mountain peak.  The steps lead you to the top where the temple sits and along the sides are buildings meant for shops.  So when you reach the top, you kinda get the feeling "This is it? Where's the peak?"  A little disappointing though, but I guess Adam's Peak is not really a mountain peak to conquer for a view or on top of the mountain feel.  It is afterall a pilgrimage most Buddhist make!  So without the sunrise, pretty much nothing else to see.  So at 6am, we made our way down.
Let's just say going down on steps is not my favourite things.  Jelly legs!  But going down feels alot better than going up!  Along the way down, with the light, it was much better with the view, although still clouded with mists. 
With the daylight, you could definitely enjoy the walk down better, with the waterfalls in sight and the temples along the way.
River along the way from Delhousie to Hatton
By the time I got down, it was 8am.  All in all, had not really slept for the past 17H and the tiredness was getting to me.  Off to the bus stop at Hatton for the onward bus journey back to Colombo for much needed rest.  Don't worry about buses as they run pretty often, although if you want private AC bus, they run only at specific times.  Again check the schedule.  Mine broke down 2H from Colombo and we were stuck in the van with no AC and had to be transferred 10mins from Colombo bus station to the semi-luxry bus. 
It was a nice experience, although it could have been better if weather was kinder to me.  But hell, I think I'm too old to do this kinda 24H whirlwind shit with no sleep.  At least I could say I conquered Adam's Peak.  Having said that, it feels different having conquered Adam's Peak compared to other mountains.  This feels a little more generic? Like "yeah i done it", not like "YEAH! Did it!" kinda of feeling with other mountains, maybe because this is more of a pilgrimage hike, where everything is well paved, just follow the steps up and shops and temples along the way, a little organized, and not really a peak at the top.  A little disappointed, but I guess that is what it really is, a journey of cleansing and paying homage etc.  But hey, I still liked it, would have been better with great weather and sunrise.  Now for the next adventure!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Hike Up Mt Qixing in Yangmingshan

What is a trip without incorporating hiking in it?  I'm in Taiwan so might as well pay a visit to Yangmingshan especially in this great sunny weather!
Yangmingshan (website) has a lot to offer and you really need 1 day if you plan to visit more than 1 area.  My plan was simple, just to hike up Mt Qixing at 1120m.  Not that tall actually.
Travelling to Yangmingshan takes time.  If you are in taipei, then just head to Jiantan or Beitou (NTD15 for the buses from either stop) where there are buses to Yangmingshan.  I took the Red 5 from Jiantan station which took about 45mins.  Alight at the very last stop.  From the Yangmingshan bus terminal it is a 10min walk to the Visitor Center.  Or if you already know where you want to go, you can just hop onto the internal shuttle buses at the station.  Bus 108 stops at several areas in Yangmingshan and is only NTD15 per trip!
At the visitor center, you can walk to the start of the climb up to Mt Qixing.  The trek up takes about 1H and brings you to the main peak.  The trek is an alright trek, with nothing much to enjoy during the trek as you are in the forest surrounded by trees and such.  It was a lot of uphill climb but the route is perfectly paved in concrete/wooden steps for most of the way.  Until at about 1.3km mark where the steps are carved out of stones.  But still well maintained. 
From the main peak, you can see the east peak which is a 5-10min walk across.  The view from up top is pretty alright, though I wouldn't say amazing.  Surrrounded by peaks and mountains and a lot of greenery.  Was abit foggy so couldn't quite make out the towns and buildings below. 
The peak!!

At the peak

Left - Dried up Menghuan Pon

At this point you could either make your way back or head on to another exit point - LengshuiKou which is 1H down.  From there, you can take the shuttle bus either back to Yangmingshan bus terminal or to the MRT station.
For me, this was an easy trek.  2H up and down, but logistics took a longer time.  If you have time, pay a visit to Qingtiangang, which was also recommended.  Easily you could spend an entire day in Yangmingshan.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tulip Mania is in the House

Flowers, never really my favourite thing.  Maybe that's why I've never received them from guys/boys I've dated or associated with.  But Tulips, now that's what I call amazing flower.  I'm not a flower person but tulips I Love Love Love.  Roses are nothing compared to tulips.  Tulips are just amazing living organism, with the varying shapes and sizes that some you can't even tell they are Tulips!  Deceivingly so, some tulips look like roses.  And so it is, I had to go visit the Tulip gardens in Netherlands when I was there.  It was a MUST on my list of things to do (other than visiting the red light districts and well weed...).
For only 8 weeks in a year, the Keukenhof gardens are open for visitors with displays of all kinds of flowers and the kaleidoscope of colours was a feast to the eyes.  This year it opened on 20 March.  The best time to visit is actually end April, early May, but I was only in Netherlands end of March, so better early than never!  Still, in late March, it was very crowded and the tulips were mostly already in bloom.  Except for the famous tulip fields which were not 100% colour bloomed yet.
It's easy to get to Keukenhof and everything you need to know can be obtained from the website.  EUR15 per person for entry.  They have shuttle bus services in Leiden and Amsterdam which is an additional EUR13 or so per pax.  Drive if you have a car as it's only EUR6 for parking.  But... enough of the introduction, let the flowers do the talking.
Hyacinths.  They smell incredible!

Feels so loved and fortunate to be surrounded by tons and tons of tulips of all colours and types


We spent more than 1H in this conservatory itself... Too many flowers!

It's not just flowers, everything Dutch too - The oversized cloaks and the windmill

The half bloomed tulip fields

They have orchids as well

Go early.  Preferably when it opens to avoid the crowd as the place started to fill up after noon time.  Also, we spent about 5H covering all corners of the place - there are a number of conservatories, exhibits etc.  So plan your time wisely!  It is defintely worth a visit!  Even for guys :)