By Anthony Dylan 

The early morning flight reminded me of the years gone by. The choice of either heading out in the middle of the night, early morning or late morning really depends on the duration of the flight and the time zone. The only time I am not able to dictate too much on is when I join a travel tour. 

My flight on MH125 was slotted at 935am in the morning. As my ride from Subang Jaya began at 6am, it took about 40 minutes to reach Terminal 1 of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. 

We have not travelled any longer than 2 hours flight time since 2019. The last being Shanghai, China. This was our first time. The other flights were to Langkawi and Kuching, mostly. An interesting point to note is that we favour using Malaysia Airlines and Batik Air for now as AirAsia have continued to depress us instead of impressing us for too many occasions. We thought it was best to just avoid them for now and hope they improve their services overall. 

We travelled to Perth this time. We chose to travel towards the beginning of summer in November 2023. The last time we came was nearly 12 years ago, in April 2012. I have a sentimental value for Perth as I studied at Curtin University of Technology and returned home at the end of July 1996. 

We took a B737-800 plane which, to those who are not familiar, is a narrow-bodied aircraft. The flight time was just under 5 and a half hours. The flight was smooth, and the Perth International Airport looked the same as when we last came. 

We used an UBER as there were no more shuttle buses to the city and the train did not seem to be having a good day. Nevertheless, the blue skies provided a beautiful entry to the city of Perth on a Saturday afternoon. 

Unlike our last trip, we basically wanted this trip to be based within the city and stayed at the Holiday Inn in the city centre. This provided us with the opportunity to launch our walks towards the many interesting sights the city could offer. The free CAT (Central Area Transit) added to the convenience of travelling as these go in designated loops. These loops are colour coded with the CAT buses and cover most tourist areas. 

We had the opportunity to do a walk in the Northbridge area. This area is considered the Asian area as there are many shops and restaurants catering for Asians. This included the many Vietnamese restaurants. We went there because we wanted to buy the famous ‘Corica’ apple strudel. This has become so famous amongst Malaysians and Singaporeans who have been to Perth that some literally bought and brought with them into the flight for their family and friends. This is the same one which ‘Fruity’ and ‘Strudel Bakery House’ in Klang have attempted to benchmark on. To be honest, ‘Corica’ is a notch above them but close enough for those who are not particular. 

There was also an interesting Gelato place called ‘Cuccini’ which we thought was Italian but was from a well-known gelato family of Hossein and Hesam from Iran. We only knew when we purchased their incredible bitter chocolate. We dare say it was better than ‘Gusto Gelato’ or ‘Bocelli’s’ in Perth. 

Perth is an interesting place to discover good eats away from the norms of tourist traps. We had very good Italian at ‘Simple Italian Cucina’ in Perth. Their Roma Lasagna, Botanica Pizza and Wild Olive mix were inexpensive. We also had Venezuelan food at the ‘Angel Falls Grill’ and tasted good ‘punta’ (which was rump steak), pumpkin salad and sweet ‘plantain’. ‘Tiisch’ and ‘Bagel and Beans’ gave us very good sourdough sandwiches and bagels. 

We also managed to take the free CAT to King’s Park Botanical Garden. We hiked most of the gardens and made t back just before it closed. Along the way, you would be able to see different species of indigenous plants which all were well marked. The park is a good place to go to for excellent city views and fresh air. 

On another day, we also took the free CAT towards the new landmark bridge connecting East Perth with Burswood. The ‘Matagarup Bridge’ was a nice walk as it connects directly to the ‘Optus Stadium’. The grounds were open for public walks. 

We took a train ride from the Perth Underground to Fremantle one Friday. This was chosen because the Fremantle markets would only open from Fridays through Sundays. It would be better to avoid the weekend crowd. It was nice to walk around town and go through the famous ‘cappuccino’ strip which housed the famous ‘Gino’s’ (known for their coffee, milkshakes and Italian desserts). We headed to get our sourdough loaf from ‘Abhi’s Bread’ as we read that their sourdough starter was over 24 years old when he started his hand-crafted bread in 1994. Of course, in Fremantle, I had to stop by my old hangout. ‘Cicerellos’ for my fish and chips. 

Fremantle is a nice place to walk as there are many historical areas to discover and the train rides towards the sea. Fremantle is a port city located at the mouth of the Swan River. Ther iconic Round House, Maritime Museum, beach walks and the awesome scenery would easily take a day. 

Perth is not a shopaholic paradise. To us, that is a good thing as people do walk more and use public transportation quite a bit here. This has not changed since my university days. In fact, it got more convenient. There are shopping centres but most of the good ones are outside the CBD (central business district) area. Westfield Carousel, Lakeside Joondalup and Karrinyup are the notable ones. 

Shopping in the CBD area is limited to Hay and Murray Street as the main spine. William Street creates a spine towards Elizabeth Quay. We went there as well as the Supreme Court gardens. You must not miss the iconic Bell Tower and the beautiful Elizabeth Quay Bridge. This bridge is a pedestrian bridge and brings you above one part of the amazing Swan River. 

We had good weather during the week of our stay and thankfully the days were also windy. No days exceeded the maximum temperature of 25 deg C. As we bade goodbye and entered our seats on a newly fitted B737-800 on MH124, we wished we had spent a few more days here. Nevertheless, the trip was one which has sparked an interest in travelling again. Wanderlust, it is real. 

Here I wish everyone a blessed Christmas 2023 and a good New Year’s Eve.