I can’t believe it’s already May. Another few weeks until I mark my 6 months move to Qatar! I travelled to some pretty exciting places in April, particularly across Asia. My layovers included UK, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and South Korea. I also planned a spontaneous trip to India to visit the Taj Mahal on my days off. South Korea and India were both new countries for me to add to my country count so I am now at 33!
This was the second month in a row that I was rostered a Manchester flight and to my delight the flight came with a whole day off in Manchester. I really love the UK, something about it reminds me of home.. maybe it’s the miserable weather that reminds me of Melbourne. The only issue I have with travelling to the UK is that each time I go I end up spending so much money on shopping. On this layover I did my best to avoid the shops, I really tried. Since I’m a massive bookworm I spent the morning of my day off at the John Rylands library. The library has serious Harry Potter vibes so in other words you could say that I was in heaven. On my way back from the library, I happened to pass by some shops and thought it wouldn’t hurt to pop my head in and have a look around…. nek minnet goodbye salary. Manchester – 1, Dani – 0.
After a long 4 months of bidding for a Thailand flight, I finally found it on my April roster. It’d been a while since I had been to the land of Thai and I was missing my old mate. The hotel was super dooper nice with a large swimming pool and private beach. My layover consisted of pool, beach, sun, thai food and coconuts #thehardlifeofcabincrew
Seoul, South Korea
This has been one of my favourite layovers so far. South Korea was high on my travel list for quite some time now, mainly because I loveeeee Korean food and I needed Korean bbq in my life ASAP. I spent the morning of my layover at the Changdeokgung Palace dressed in a Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress. This was truly an amazing experience and one I will never forget because I felt like I was living out my childhood dream of becoming a real life Disney princess!!! Unfortunately i wasn’t allowed to take the dress home and wear it for the rest of my life.
Fitting my crown
The traditional Korean clothes for males… that hat though
Lucky for me, I managed to catch the end of the cherry blossom season in Seoul. There weren’t many left but I was happy to see just a few. After visiting the palace, I went to Yeouido Park to see the last remaining cherry blossoms.
I finished off the day in Hongdae for my much anticipated Korean BBQ feed… it did not disappoint! Hongdae is located near Hongdik University and it’s filled with the youth of South Korea. It’s famous for it’s urban culture and nightlife. I plan to come back to Seoul on my days off so I can spend some proper time in this city. I really loved it here!
Straight after South Korea, I was on my next flight to Japan… ain’t no rest for the wicked! Despite my extreme lack of sleep, I was super excited to travel to Japan. It’s one of my favourite countries I’ve ever travelled to and it was in fact the first country I ever visited outside of Australia back in the olden days when I was 15 years old. It’s the place that ignited the passion in me to see the world!
Since I was very young when I first travelled to Japan and my memory is going bye bye, I wanted to hit all the tourist spots once again, especially the famous Shibuya Crossing which is known for its crazy scramble intersection.
The famous Hachikō statue at Shibuya Station
After catching some cherry blossoms in South Korea, I thought I would try my luck again in Japan. It’s been a dream of mine to travel to Japan during the cherry blossom season. Unfortunately, I missed it completely. If you look below at exhibit A, you can see all the cherry blossoms already on the floor. I will have to try again next year!
Exhibit A – cherry blossom fail
I spent the afternoon in Harajuku which is one of the places I didn’t visit on my first trip to Tokyo so I was excited to finally make it here. Harajuku is a town in Tokyo famous for it’s quirky fashion scene. It’s a bit of a tourist hot spot but I still enjoyed the local’s style and the cool vibe of this place. I also enjoyed an amazing udon noodle soup here…. mmmm I love Japanese food!
Spontaneous trip to Agra, India
This was a bit of a last minute decision but one I am so glad I made. I had 3 days off on my roster and thought I would take advantage of my staff discount and go on an adventure to somewhere new and exciting. The Taj Mahal has always been a site on my ever growing bucket list that I have longed to visit so I decided April 2018 will be the month I tick it off my list!
I caught a night flight to Delhi which landed at 2am in the morning. I organised to be picked up from the airport and driven straight to the Taj Mahal, roughly 3 hours away in Agra. My aim was to see the beautiful sunrise at the Taj. It did not disappoint. The sunrise is absolutely stunning, but not as stunning as the actual Taj Mahal itself. It has definitely been added to my list of favourite buildings in the world. There is so much intricate detail that you wouldn’t believe, including all the beautiful hand-made stone work which I fell in love with. I have decided that I now want a husband who’s going to build me a mausoleum when I die… that’s all.
Fun fact: The grass is imported from Australia because it can withstand the heat.
After spending the morning at the Taj Mahal, I then visited the Red Fort of Agra which was the main residence for the emperors of the Mughal dynasty including Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal.
After this I visited the Tomb of I’timad-ud-Daulah which is also labeled “Baby Taj” because it’s almost identical to the Taj Mahal but smaller in size. I then visited the workshop of the family who created the stone work on the Taj Mahal. I couldn’t believe the same family are still running the business and creating ceramic plates and tables using the same handcrafted stone work that they used on the Taj Mahal. The family working now are the 17th generation.
After a long, hot and tiresome day in Agra, I drove back to Delhi and caught a late night flight home to Doha. Don’t tell me I don’t know how to make the most of a day!
Now let’s move on to my layover destinations for May (I don’t have too many flights this month because I have holidays beginning on the 19th of May)
1. Male, Maldives (dreams come true❤️)
2. Sydney, Australia
3. Jakarta, Indonesia
4. Bucharest, Romania
To end the month, I am planning to spend a couple of days in Prague so I can catch a couple of my favourite people. After this, I will grace Melbourne with my presence for one week. I look forward to seeing all my loved ones. It’s crazy to think that I will probably be writing my next blog entry back home in Melbourne! Until then… have an amazing month everyone xxx