So it has been awhile since my last trip. Unfortunately, my plans to go to Xiamen last month was cancelled since I did not get my visa in time. The typical three days it normally takes to get a single entry visa, took over two weeks for the multiple one I requested so if you are on a tight schedule, make sure to plan accordingly.
We flew with Philippine Airlines direct to Sydney. As usual, the airline was a disappointment with no in flight entertainment system for an eight hour flight. You do have the option to download an app to access the entertainment library so make sure to do that before flying out.
Getting into the city there are a few options. The airport train costs AUD17 per person and would be the best choice for traveling alone. Taxis are the more costly choice with a one way fare of around AUD60. However, I would highly recommend getting an Uber. More than half the price of a taxi, this is by far the best option and wish I had known this sooner.
The Grace Hotel that we stayed at was an excellent choice. Large rooms with two queen beds and in a prime location in the CBS, just steps away from the main shopping area of interconnected malls.
The first day was just a lot of exploring. It had been almost a decade since I was last in Sydney and everything felt new. We decided to walk around and visit the iconic Sydney Opera House in Circular Quay. Many restaurants could be found there and we settled on Searock Grill. With a happy hour special, they had AUD2 oysters which were so sweet and fresh!
The night took us to Darling Harbour which was lined with restaurants. Reading many of the mixed reviews online, we were hesitant to try one of the establishments but decided to anyway and settled on the Italian Baia. Some of the worst food I’ve had, the scallop risotto was overly salted and the seafood pasta was mediocre at best. We complained about the risotto and the manager even made excuses and said that it was only a bit salty. Would definitely avoid the tourist trap restaurants in the area and try to discover more local fares in the other neighbourhoods of the city.