Saturday, October 4, 2014

An unexciting visit to Perth

I visited Perth, Australia, with two of my friends over one of the September weekends. I flew in by Jetstar and got out by Scoot. The Jetstar flight got delayed but fortunately, I was covered by travel insurance. Because I booked early, my total airfare was close to SGD 400. Again, I stayed over at my friend's spacious apartment in the CBD and that minimised my lodging expenses. 

The itinerary was very predictable. Everything you have heard about Perth is very true. It is quiet, slower paced and lacks commercial tourist attractions. Outside the CBD, the number of Asians who have migrated to Australia or are working here, is very high. Still, this is not as high as the number of foreigners working in Singapore.

Day 1 started very late. Our rescheduled 7 am flight reached Perth airport at 1230. By the time we got to the city center, it was 2-3 pm. Our first meal was at a local fast food burger joint Grill'd somewhere in the vicinity of London Court. The burger below set me back by AUD 15 dollar! Food photos are the good work of my friend.

After the re-fuel, we walked quite a fair bit to reach a factory outlet store known as Harbor Town. There were lots of local bargain hunters as well as tourist who were looking to pick up good deals on brands such as Ray Bans, Kathmandu and other sporting goods. 

We settled our dinner at a Chinese Vietnamese restaurant in Northbridge. Northbridge is very vibrant place with many drinking places and restaurants, considering that the city shuts down close to 5-6 pm!

Day 2. From Perth station, we took a 30 minutes train ride to the outskirts, to Fremantle, or as locals affectionately call it Freo. It is a quaint looking place with many cafes, some museums and a nice lovely beach. A trip to Freo is not complete without visiting the markets which sell local produce and small trinkets which you can buy home. The markets are not as crowded as the one at Bugis thankfully.

Fish and chips are also a must, but be mindful of the seagulls that swarm in when people do not clear their trays. we had ours at Kaili's but I thought that it would have been better that we ordered from their fish market rather than mainstream fast food section.

Day 3. Each one of us paid close to AUD 80 for a half-day speed grazing tour of the Swan Valley. The lady leading the tour, Loris, was very professional, and brought us through the many small craft shops selling coffee, wine, jam, nougat and honey. Although the group comprised mainly local retirees and Singaporeans (older than 40!), I think me and my friends bagged a lot more stuff than we had expected. We ended at around 2-3pm and dinner was in-house BBQ grill and watching English Football.

Day 4. Nothing was planned and we looked at Perth CBD for one last time before returning to Singapore, without delays.

Looking back at the whole experience, I can understand why some people would want to live here and retire. It is not as crowded as most Asian cities and the houses are much bigger. If you are nature loving kind of person, there is always a park or beach within an hour's drive. If you miss the city very much, you can always fly into Singapore and Malaysia to relive the squeeze.

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