Windmills. Tulips. Wooden clogs with pointed tips. Folk costume.... These are the symbols of Netherlands (or Holland) - an Europe country that I yet set foot on, though I've been to this part of the world for almost 1o times. The beautiful images of the country was the backdrop of the Hongkong drama (僵). Of course, I'm not there to seek exciting encounters withe the vampires, but the beautiful landscape that also comes with the architecture (both old and new).

It is one of those rare solo trips that I embarked on, with the last one dated back almost a decade ago. And, this is the furthest one from home. I've not been planning so intensively for a long long time. It's kind of tedious for a start as the geographical location and its culture are totally new to me. The process of getting to know it as I tried to figure out the transportation and the accommodation had made me look forward to the trip even more :)

The overall experience was rewarding - the sense of satisfactory drawn from each accomplished day trip was immense :)

Critical success factor:
  • Planning is critical in such trip, especially when travelling solo. 
  • Flexibility is another important element to ensure the objective is achieved. 
  • Ask, when not sure. Indeed, the Dutch are friendly and helpful :)
  • Be friendly. People will reciprocate.

The weather was something beyond my control. Planning and re-planning had to take into account the weather! Wet days implied more indoor activity. Outdoor activity like walking around the canal ring must be carried out in friendly weather. That's where I needed to exercise flexibility to my plans. The weather could be quite eccentric! Glad that I had grabbed clothing that fit into both hot dry and wet cold weathers!

With the intent to stay in this city for a week, it was definitely worth the time to orientate myself to the transport system and being familiar with the route. I had to exercise good observation skill.

Being alone also means that I could manage my schedule with far more flexibility - I could alter my plan last minute, depending on the situation. That happened on the day when I went to Zaanse Schans a day earlier than planned because I could cover Haarlem in half a day, much shorter than expected. I decided a last minute stopover at Volendam on my way to Edam since I needed to hop into another bus to go Edam. There! I had a nice lunch and leisure walk in the coastal town. My meal time became much more flexible, depending on when and what I chanced upon. There were also places that I might not have ventured to if I was not alone. 


The posts (that follow this) documented mostly the preparation for the trip and the meals I had during this trip. Photos dominated these posts. 

The panel on the right, "My FOOTPRINTS" is where I recorded what I saw and my experiences of the places visited - mostly through the photos taken at these places.

Day 0 & Day 8 (20170606, 20160613) Inflight Meals

From Singapore to Amsterdam 

It's supper time before catching some 😴

From Amsterdam to Singapore

Movies on Board

From Singapore to Amsterdam

Watched 3 pretty good movies, among them, only heard of "Beauty and the Beast" - that was shown in cinemas in Singapore.

1. Beauty and the Beast 2017
Now, I understand why someone told me they watched his movie with tears eyes.
Indeed, I was overwhelmed with relief and joy when seeing the cast came back to life!
Good showing of the fairy tale ☺️

2. My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday
A Japanese drama that offers a twist to how we see "flash back" though one could be rather confused over the reversing timeline - but, it's interesting. It again, like the anime I watched last December, a clever and creative use of timeline and space 😉

3. Confidential Assignment
Korean movie about a collaboration of two cops, one from South Korea and the other from the north. Actually, the plot was quite predictable. It's one of those highest earning movie this year. It's a male domineering show. That leaves me to wonder who the actress won award, as indicated in the Wikipedia page 🤔

From Amsterdam to Singapore

1. Les Miserable
I watched this before, in one of my previous trips (when it was just released).
Great musical.

Without fail, each time, I would discover something new each time watching it, be it on stage or as a movie. This time, more about what's happening behind the barricade.

2. Garden of Words + Centimeters per Second
Attempted to watch this anime the 2nd time. The first time was in the flight to Amsterdam.
However, it's too slow... I gave up after watching the first part, "Garden of Words".
No go.

3. Ilo Ilo

This is another movie that I watched the 2nd time onboard.

Stay Connected to Home

"You are watching BBC live now from Singapore"
Sounds familiar?

That's what we get to hear at this unearthly hour - when the other side of the globe (when I am now) is sleeping. Nice to see that familiar face and hear that familiar voice when wake up in the foreign land. Always feel close to home with BBC when overseas, since those good old days in Bhutan more than a decade ago.

Good morning, Singapore 🇸🇬

Day 8 (20170613) Something warm before boarding

Somehow, I missed piping hot meals in Amsterdam - except the one at NEMO - that soup 😊

Here's a bowl of meatballs, and a cup of cuppacino.
Hm.... a satisfying breakfast (part 2)

Day 7 (20170612) Meals for the Day

Lunch and Dinner were familiar names

This is the KFC I spotted in Amsterdam, near Dam Square. How can I miss it?

Hm... Here's the 2-piece meal. They were smaller than what we have back home; also, there's only one choice - the "original" flavour Where's the drumstick? 🤔
So thoughtful! It provided wet tissues to clean the fingers!

In the same day, I also found Burger King when I made an advance enquiry about the trip to the Airport at Amstel Station 😉

Here, I could have salad instead of fries! Yeah!
Happy dinner.

Day 6 (20170611) Meals for the Day

Lunch at NEMO Museum
A chicken drumstick with vegetables as a stick of kebab + vegetable soup



Dinner - my first McDonald's meal



Day 5 (20170610) Meals for the Day

Lunch at Volandam.
Hot chocolate milk and salmon steak.


Hahal Grilled Chicken wings from a nearby store - juicy & tasty.

Day 4 (20170609) Meals for the Day @ Haarleem @ Zaanse Schans

Stranded at Starbucks because of the heavy rain - on arrival @ Haarlam
Cappuccino for an hour. Well, this would not happen in Singapore!

First serving of ice cream in Windmills Village, Zaanse Schans.
It's nice feeling to sit on a bench, watching people with the vast green as the backdrop.

Quick bites when transiting from one place to another


Day 3 (20170608) Meals for the Day

Lunch at the Stedelijk Restaurant - the slowly cooked guinea fowl.
Water did not come cheap here, too! 3.50 euro for a small bottle.


Dinner - from Nieumarkt 
Nice juicy grilled spare ribs with salad and chips that cost 13.90 euro



Day 2 (20170607) Meal for the Day

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner!

Coca cola with Vanilla flavour.
Fruits do not come cheap here. This cup of berries cost 3.50 euro!

A sandwiches for dinner; saved some for next day's breakfast, too!

Junkyard hotdog for lunch.
A baguette 🥖 with a long hotdog 🌭 and a few slices of bacon 🥓 
A bit too salty.
Bought at a roadside stall outside the Rijksmuseum.

Day 1 (20170606) Meals for the Day

Lunch at the Central Station
Tasty 😋
The portion is huge and I had the rest as dinner.


First time seeing chocolate milk presented in this manner where I got to mix the two 😆



Found! Not just caffeine, also interesting fruity water.


Day 1 (20170606) Arrived. Checked in.

Arrived at Schiphol Airport.
No immigration card needed to be filled.
Signage was clear.
Cleared immigration in about 15 minutes.
Baggage collected in another 15 minutes.
It's so easy to navigate 😄


It's easy to get to the train station but would be good to seek advice from the service desk.
Information available in the website is good for planning, but there are other options to reach the same destination.

The train network and efficiency is similar to the Japanese. Got an idea how it's like?

Indeed, it helps a lot when all the tickets were purchased prior departure.
Owing to the fact that no check-in was required from the train station at the airport and it was a smooth transfer from the train platform to the metro platform at Amstel, I was stuck when need to exit at the Weesperplein metro station. There! I noticed that there's a red round "SOS" button at the exit! Haha...  the station personnel was helpful 👍 Oh, not forgetting the helpful young chap who showed band brought me to the metro platform when I was a bit lost - not knowing if there's a need to check-out the train station first then check-in to the metro station. I'm also thankful to the passerby who picked up my travel pass when I dropped it without noticing.

Am really grateful to these helpful people whom I met in Day 1.

It was also pretty happening when making the return trip from the Central station to the hotel. Burning smell and smoke at the train platform! All passengers left. My immediate reaction was - ! I did not plan for alternative return route! So, what can go wrong can go wrong!  There's when I went back to the map.

Well, I decided to wait instead, but the hour would be spent in the canal cruise 😉
Not bad an idea! The metro was back to service when I returned an hour after.


This day is about orientation, which I think it's important since I would be here for a week.

The next most commonly used public transport s the tram.
Took tram line 2, the famous line that was highlighted in the IAMsterdam site.
It's clear and easy to access.

Similarly, the free ferry that operated between central station and the northern "islands"