We have been to Europe in March, May, June, July, August, but never April until this year due to Morocco. When I was routing our itinerary to transit through Europe to Morocco (since it was cheaper to fly to Europe and then Europe to Morocco), I originally planned a week in Switzerland but the hotel and train are just so expensive and I accidentally found that end of April is the tulip season in Netherlands so I added Netherlands to our trip! The flight from Zurich to Amsterdam (stopover few days) then to Marrakesh was only $244 including $35 for check-in baggage fee with Lufthansa.
It was an early starting day for us as our flight was at 6:55 AM; breakfast starts at 4:30 AM in the hotel so we had breakfast when it opens. The breakfast was mediocre with no hot item, we took some quick bites and got on the first hotel shuttle to the airport.
Zurich Airport is a very efficient airport, there were a lot of flights early in the morning and they staffed appropriately that the lines were moving quickly. We arrived Amsterdam at 10:25 AM and it took like 20 minutes to walk all the way from the gate to the luggage claim: I have never seen an airport hallway this long before! I can’t understand why they designed it like this! However, I was impressed by how they placed the advertisement on the conveyor belt haha!
After baggage claim, we walked out to the arrival hall in search for the GWK Travelex to redeem our Holland Pass and purchase the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket. The arrival hall is huge so instead of wasting time, I walked to the information desk and asked, the lady pointed us to the GWK Travelex and once we got there, they said redeem the Holland Pass at the store with a huge airplane engine. It looked like a KLM store with a display of a real airplane engine and the cockpit where you want into it:
I presented my voucher to the lady to exchange the “medium” Holland Pass. How it works? The Holland Pass has three sizes: small, medium, and large. The small size included 1 gold and 1 silver ticket; medium included 2 gold and 2 silver; while the large included 3 gold and 3 silver for a fixed price. The benefit of having the pass is that you can skip the line in most of the attractions except for Van Gogh Museum. There is a list of attractions where you can redeem or get free admission to in each gold or silver category. For example, the famous Van Gogh Museum (worth $17) and Keukenhof ($16) are gold category while Lovers Canal Cruise (worth $18) is silver category. As like other passes, do the calculation to see if it’ll save you money or not! I booked through Viator because it offers 10% off first booking, you can sign up here for a $10 discount as well and search for Amsterdam and Holland Pass. Our medium passes cost $46.47 per person with 10% discount; price has increased since!
After we redeemed our Holland Pass, we walked to the train ticket counter at the airport to purchase the 2 Day Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket for €26.00 per person. All set!
We are staying at Lisse for our first night so we can spend more time at the countryside to see the tulips and there are buses from the airport to Lisse. One is the Keukenhof bus line 858 that I heard crowded and no room for luggage. Second is the line 361 bus to Lisse but the interval is not as often as the 858 bus and not sure about the luggage storage situation. Also, to save our precious good weather time, we decided to Uber to the hotel – Hotel de Duif. It cost €31 but we got there in 20 minutes. Once we got off the highway, we saw fields of colorful tulips, wowwwww look at the colors! I was super excited!
We checked in but our room was not ready, as expected, we stored our luggage, grabbed a map, and walked to the world famous Keukenhof. It took only 15 minutes walk from the hotel to the park so convenient! We saw a tulip field next to the park, some already passed bloom and the petals fell off to the ground.
We handed 1 of our gold tickets and went in, skip the ticket line!
and it was crowded….as expected….
Tulips, tulips, tulipes!
Once we walked out of the main entrance square, it wasn’t as bad because the park is huge so people get scattered out 🙂 The park planted more than 7 million tulip bulbs throughout the park in different arrangements and designs per year! I am not a gardener so I don’t pay as much attention to the names of each variety of tulips or flowers; I just focus on taking photos after photos after photos….I found that the bright red tulips were the most challenging as their color is so saturated that the camera sensor couldn’t capture the shades and details of them. For example, the red tulips in the middle:
Without doubt, the pink and purple tulips got my most attention since they are my favorite colors 🙂
I have to be creative with my angles because in reality sometimes it was like this:
Move on to the next types of tulips…I love the mixture colored ones!
Shades of pink and purple?? Oh yes!!!
Hard to get a photo with the tulips and sometimes required patience to wait…
Before I lost track of time, better to have lunch first; I’ll faint if I don’t have food! There’s a cafeteria-style restaurant inside the park with a good selection of choices and most importantly, the prices were surprisingly reasonable!
Going through the food line….
and then the challenge of finding a table to eat but we have sharp eyes haha! Our quick lunch for €20.50 not bad!
Continue with the tulips! More, more, more!!!
Pink, pink, pink, never bored of pink!
I love this shade of purple/lavender!
Some of the cherry trees were in bloom too!
Hot pink, not my favorite!
With my favorite shades of pink tulips 🙂
And with my love 😀
Actually, it was like this haha have to be creative with the angle!
View of the daffodil field from the park:
Back to the tulips…hum….they planned this type here and there, like a pineapple LOL wondered what they are called?
And matching yellows too!
We walked to one of the edge of the park and there is another tulip field there…looked like they are harvesting the tulips!
Finally, we saw the windmill; the only windmill in the park! But this is not the postcard perfect angle……hum…
We walked around the windmill to search for the perfect spot…here?
But no tulips hum…here it is but super crowded!
We figured since we are staying overnight in Lisse, we can wait till later in the afternoon to check it out again, hoping the day trippers and tour groups will be gone by then!
There are a few souvenir stores throughout the park, we went into the one next to the windmill….and some photos in front of the windmill:
Inside the store with tons of wooden shoes hanging on the ceiling.
We browsed through the shop and concluded our favorites are the wooden tulips, I was joking that this was the first time I received flowers from Jason haha!
They were €10 for 4 and we ended up buying 12 of them! They also have a few nicely decorated gazebos that you can line up to take photos with. This one was the one that I think worth the queue for hehe with the pink motorcycle, isn’t she cute?
Not bad of a line…
Moving on…this is a display only not a real windmill that you can walk up to 😛
Next, we walked to the orchid pavilion, the amount of orchids they have inside there was shocking! They even arrange in hearts!!!
I have never seen so much orchids in one place!!!
Blue and pink orchid that you can buy home but our home is too far….
Right outside the orchid pavilion were a row of cherry tress but they just passed peak bloom 😦
How about tulips plus daffodils?
Here comes the Hyacinth, so beautiful in purple shades!
Red with yellow bottom tulips:
After seeing hundreds and thousands of tulips, Jason’s favorite was this one. I totally agreed with him, the combinations of colors were very dreamy and eye catching!
Endless of tulips!
This purple shade just look like the wooden one we bought!
Eyes dizzy yet?
A white one in the middle of all those red/pink ones….by accident or by design?
Their smell was very light hehe!
Another combination of yellow and bright pink, total opposite of Jason’s favorites!
How many shades of pink?
We have been photographing tulips for 3 hours already and we just reached one of the ends of the park! No wonder people could spent a whole day here!
In Netherlands have to take a photo with the wooden shoes haha!
Pink is the color of this season 😀
What is this design pattern?
See it better from higher place and look down 🙂
Another kind of yellow and red combination!
Huge musical “box”….well a wagon!
The back of how it operates:
When I thought we reached to the end….there are more!!!!
You can also purchase those giant flowers to bring home too……..
No water flowers wow great for travelers like us who often not home for over 2 weeks haha!
Another display design:
Hum…..the mosaic design not that special to me…perhaps I don’t like the color mixtures!
Back to more tulips!
I like the pearl-purple ones!
Besides the gazebos, there is also a farm where you can be interact with some animals, great for families!
She was staring at me!
Turkey, didn’t expect it to be here!
Jason with the sheep!
We prefer the tulips more LOL
It was like past 5 pm and tour groups were leaving back to Amsterdam….we walked back to the windmill and there was hardly a line at the boat 😀
The view from the top of the windmill:
Significantly fewer people than earlier in the afternoon!
The postcard photo:
We left the park at 5:30 PM, we spent over 5 hours in the park couldn’t believe it! I decided to walk over to the tulip fields for photos and Jason sat there to wait for me…..he missed out a lot 😛
So many yellow tulips!
Pink to purple shades of Hyacinths!
I ran all the way to the end of the field and walked back…it took 10 minutes!
Then, another 15 minutes back to the hotel, we were so tired and hungry by then!
Our small room but comfy:
For dinner, we headed over to Dragon Town which was just a few steps away from the hotel. We didn’t expect good Chinese food in the countryside of Holland but was very surprised! They offer a la carte or “buffet” that is “unlimited” order of dim sum and sushi dishes. The waiter who is Cantonese, explained to us that maximum of 5 rounds and each round of 4 items per person. We thought the 4 items per person as 4 different items so we ordered duplicates as 1. We filled out the card guessing on what they are based on the photo and the Dutch pinyin of Chinese names LOL. For example “Tjew Yim Kai” for those who are Cantonese, can you figue out what it is?
It is pepper and salt chicken! I did a great job of figuring those out since back in the days that’s how we write notes to our friends based on Cantonese pinyin of things 😉 How about “Hack Tjew Kai”?
“Black pepper chicken” LOL! We raised the card to signal we are ready, he came and said total 4 items per person opps but he was nice enough to place the order anyways! Our first round:
Here come our first round and people who were in the tables around us were amazed on how much food we ordered and able to finish LOLLL!
To name a few…oysters for Jason, Peking duck, shrimp teriyaki, beef teriyaki:
Don’t I look super happy? FOOD!!!!
The BBQ pork (Char Siu) was a little bit too dry, other dishes were good!
Sour and spicy soup but it turned out to be very sour and not spicy at all!
2nd round…look at that box of sushi for Jason! The sushi quality was very good; they weren’t cheap on the ingredient!
Not done yet…..our dim sum, fresh off the steamer:
The black pepper beef was good that I ordered a 2nd round!
For the 3rd round, we ordered the mango roll again, it was so refreshing and tasty!
More shrimp dumplings “Ha Gao”
We had a full and satisfying dinner, didn’t expect the quality of Cantonese dim sum and sushi will be that good and for only €28.50 per person, great value!!! We highly recommended Dragon Town in Lisse! The first day in our 28th country: Netherlands was excellent, I fulfilled my dream of visiting the greatest tulip garden of all – Keukenhof and it did not disappoint!