Anyway, from Gatwick (where AAX now lands, and not Stansted), we took the Gatwick Express before switching to the tube at Victoria which took us to the Bayswater station. We stayed at the Best Western Phoenix Kensington Gardens, and I would recommend this establishment to you lot out there.
It's just a couple of minutes from TWO underground stations (Bayswater & Queensway) and really, everything was literally around the corner: Halal makan places, convenient stores, souvenir shops, Whiteleys shopping mall (complete with H&M and HMV), and even Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. And for those who simply can't tear away from your nasi and sambal, Malaysia Hall's pretty close by as well. So yes, perfect location as far as we were concerned.
|And the best part? Free wi-fi!|
|Sunrise seen from our rather spacious room|
|Perfect weather for a walk|
|...or getting in touch with nature|
|And checking out some art|
|Note the chipmunk|
|And the pigeons|
Our days were of course filled with a lot of walking, undergroud-ing and yes, shopping. X'Mas was just around the corner, so the sales had already begun. Still, our first real stop just had to be at Covent Garden. Kiddo had never been there before, so she did enjoy the street performances as well as the shops. The Apple store was also a main draw for us, but in case you're wondering, no, we did NOT pick up the iPhone 4s which had a price tag of GBP499 (apparently it'll be cheaper here when launched very soon). But in the end, I did pick up a set of Bose headphones. Woohoo.
Anyway, kiddo's real treat came when we got to Regent Street.
Which meant only one thing: Hamleys! Where a birthday shopping spree rightly ensued.
Shopping for adults meanwhile took place the day after, which included a raid on Sports Direct like never before and the rest of Oxford Street, dan kawasan-kawasan sewaktu dengannya. (If you follow me on twitter, you'd know that I bought a QPR jersey here. Yes, QPR!)
On another day, we also made our way to Portobello Road for the famous market but since it wasn't the weekend, business was a bit slow. Still, it was a good walk down the road, and we did pick up a couple of cool trinkets.
Shopping wasn't the only thing on the agenda as we hit a number of the obligatory touristy spots. You know, Big Ben, London Eye, Trafalgar Square, Harrods etc. Of course our transportation of choice was the underground (one-day tickets are always the way to go), although there was that one time we took a wrong turn and decided to take the black cab since all our kaki were already lenguh.
OK, coming back to Bayswater and the good makan places there, we first went to this place that served Middle Eastern food called the Halal Restaurant. Yes, it IS called the Halal Restaurant. Food was pretty decent with the obligatory kebabs and shawarmas.
But the star of Bayswater's definitely Noodle Oodle, a halal Chinese joint that serves the most delectable roasted duck ever. Also famous as the restaurant that Gordon Ramsay visited to learn how to make hand-pulled noodles, we made three visits there and were more than satisfied on all occasions.
Admittedly, the service could have been better. On our first visit, despite ordering on the touchscreen monitor, they kept sending the wrong orders, which was quite funny. And they kept telling us "50pence" every time we wanted cut chillies. Haha. But seriously, even if you're not staying near the area, take the train and try out the place!
Up next: Stonehenge