Ethiopia Pt II: Addis Ababa

Click here for trip report index.

We had three days in Addis Ababa and we decided to take it easy on the sightseeing. On the first morning, the staff at our accommodation helped us call a taxi to Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum, the number 1 attraction in Addis Ababa.

Cab to Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum

Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum

Never ever again

Plaque outside

It was a solemn visit and out of respect, we didn’t take any photographs inside. There was no entrance fee but visitors were encouraged to give a donation to fund the museum. The museum reminded me of Tuol Sleng in Phnom Penh and Liberation War Museum in Dhaka. It was quite sad to learn about the atrocities which took place not so long ago.

We were quite lost, not knowing where to go. Ended up walking around a bit around Meskel Square before a getting a cab to TO.MO.CA.

Meskel Square – one of the transportation hubs in Addis Ababa

Map of African flags at Meskel Square

Ying swore that TO.MO.CA. had the best coffee.



Ethiopia coffee map


After her coffee, we decided to go to the next cafe but somehow we didn’t manage to locate it despite asking directions from the locals.

Passed by a local market while finding the next place

Then the rain came and we decided to abandon our mission. We ended up in Edna Cafe where we had some simple food.

Random cafe

More coffee for Ying


The rain had subsided by the time we were done with the meal and we managed to find a van which brought us back as a taxi. Taxis are surprising expensive for a developing country; a short 5km ride could be around 100-150 ETB (5 to 7 USD). It prompted us to try out public transport the following day.

We were dropped off at Yod Abyssinia which was walking distance from our accommodation.

Yod Abyssinia

There was a travel agency on-site and we enquired about hiring a guide and car for the day. Couldn’t recall the exact amount but it was more than we would like to pay.

Fly Ethiopian to Singapore – that was what we would be doing. Too bad the flight was canceled.

Since almost every travel literature on Addis Ababa recommended a visit to Yod Abyssinia, Ying and I dropped by for dinner later in the evening. We reached there fairly early and soon the place started to fill up.

Musicians getting ready

The drinks were served pretty fast; I got a beer while Ying decided to try the honey wine.

Castel beer

Honey wine – so sweet that it attracted bees

The server came around with water so we could wash our hands

Injera – traditional Ethiopian food – we ordered chicken stew to go with it.

Injera was an acquired taste. Neither of us had a lot of them.


Some fish and rice – in case injera didn’t agree with us

Most tourists like us didn’t come for the food alone; there were also traditional Ethiopian song and dance performances.

Ying thought the dances were quite provocative

Got the waiter to take our photo while waiting for the bill

Ying couldn’t finish her honey wine and we would give it to the Americans at the next table.

The meal cost wasn’t cheap at over 500 ETB but I guess it was more for the experience.

The next morning, after yet another good breakfast, we headed for the National Museum.

We managed to figure out the minibuses which were the mainstay of the city’s public transport. The shared minibus to Arat Kilo, where the museum is, was only 4 ETB.

Achievement unlocked – Addis Ababa’s minibuses!


Main building

Inside of the building

Its most famous exhibit is “Lucy“, the 3.2 million year-old bone fossils of humans’ ancestors.

Lucy welcomes you home

Lucy – amazing that it is 3.2 million years old

There were also many artefacts from a nearer period; although they are also several thousand years old.

Photogenic local boy who approached us and said hi

Level 2 had the art pieces.

Last Supper

Multi-ethnic Ethiopia

Depicting royal procession

I had no idea what this was

Royal mosaic

Red terror



Shoeshine boy

The farmer

There was also a section on traditional culture.

No offence but rather uninspiring in my opinion


On our way out, we were approached by a boy who was selling chewing gums. We were charmed by his good English and he pointed out the car owned by the former emperor. We ended buying some gum from him.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral was down the road from the museum but it was closed when we attempted to visit.

Holy Trinity Cathedral

Sneaky photo of the government building

Arat Kilo roundabout

Lunch was on our agenda and we somehow managed to figure out the correct minibus in the direction of Antica, a well-known Italian restaurant in Addis Ababa.

Italian lunch

And then Ying decided to have another and I caught up with the news there.

What else but the World Cup

Passed by Starbucks clone on our way back to hotel

While making our way back, we coincidentally ran into the ET crew from the LFW-ADD flight who gave us a ride to the nearby Edna Mall. He insisted on giving some chewing gum, knowing that we couldn’t be getting any back in Singapore.

A free ride

He wanted to treat us to movies which we weren’t too keen. However we entertained ourselves by observing the Ethiopian middle-class kids and families at the arcade/amusement park before calling it a day later in the afternoon.

Our final day in Addis Ababa was a relaxing one. We slept in and ventured out only at lunch time. Attempted to visit Medhane Alem Cathedral but it was close for unknown reason.

We wounded up at Edna Mall again and decided that a movie was a great idea to while our time away. Blended was entertaining enough. Found it quite interesting to be watching a movie about Africa in Africa (albeit South Africa).

With more than enough birrs for the evening, we decided to have our dinner at La Mandoline, one of the top rated restaurant in Addis Ababa. Spent quite some time locating the place on foot but we were still to early for dinner.

La Mandoline

We ordered some dessert and drinks before the restaurant was open for dinner.

Had dessert before main course


Obviously we were the first to be seated and the place started to fill out soon. The service was pretty good with the French owner making sure that nothing went wrong at the front of house. He also called us a cab at the end of our dinner, making sure



The nice meal ended up our short time in Ethiopia. It wasn’t the easiest of place to travel around but the people were generally nice and helpful. With that said, we don’t see ourselves returning anytime in the near future.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s