Category Archives: Travel

Yeonhui Espresso Bar 연희에스프레소바


My first café visit during my Korea spring trip was to Yeonhui Espresso Bar (opened September 2022), which as its name suggests, is situated in the Yeonhui-dong neighbourhood. Ever since covid eased out, this area has flourished with several cafes and started gaining traction – but it remains pretty much unvisited by tourists which is why I love hanging out here.


Perched on the second floor of a small shophouse, the café features a curved espresso bar counter in a pretty shade of nude pink with windows lined on all sides permitting the space to be bathed in sunlight. With a very limited indoor area, the seats are all outdoors, perfect for the moderate spring weather.


Here’s how to order: pick up a piece of order sheet at the counter and indicate your order with a crayon, then pass it to the barista. You may also add in special requests if you would like. The menu is divided into 2 parts – the first featuring various coffee drinks innovated by the café, such as their Yeonhui Espresso (KRW3600, SGD3.60) which features homemade orange jam and syrup with espresso and cream. The second part is a list of the conventional types of coffee such as Americano and Flat White. There is also an option to substitute to oat milk at KRW1000 (SGD$1).


On my first visit, I had the Oat Espresso (KRW3000, SGD3.06) which had a shot of espresso, sugar, oat milk and cocoa powder added to it. This was a small glass of coffee which explains the price. I liked the oat + espresso ratio and combination but would request for no sugar if I ordered it again.


As I was staying in the area, I conveniently made a second trip down where I had the Crunky Gege (pronounced je-je) (KRW4000, SGD4.08), which was a relatively new creation added to the menu. It is a small cup of Strapazzato, which is a type of coffee originating from Naples, featuring espresso with sugar, cocoa powder and cream stirred together. Of course, the bar of crunky chocolate topped on the cup is a Korean addition. This was akin to a sweet, smooth and creamy espresso-flavoured emulsion. Side note that I loved their cute coffee cup design.


There was just something very healing from sipping coffee while chasing light and shadows, watching the neighbourhood in action, unintentionally eavesdropping on conversations unfolding and thinking about nothing from my seat in the outdoor terrace.


Weekdays 8.30am – 5pm, Weekends 9am – 5pm

128-10 Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul


Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival 2023 (진해군항제)


After years of waiting for the COVID storm to calm and restrictions to lift, I finally had the chance to return to Korea, mask-free, to experience my first spring and cherry blossom viewing. Jinhae was on high priority for me since the cherry blossom festival there is one of the largest and most popular in South Korea, but its location was not the easiest to get to by public transport.


Eventually I booked a one-day tour from Busan to Jinhae on Klook and it turned out to be a hassle-free and good experience. There were also other solo travelers like me on the tour of different nationalities. There was also an option for a day tour from Seoul to Jinhae but I would not recommend that since a one-way trip would take about 4-5 hours.


Departing from Busan Station, we arrived slightly ahead of time at Gyeonghwa Station (경화역 벚꽃길), which was an actual railway station up till 2006. The entire length of the station was not long, it probably took only 5-10 minutes to walk from one end to the other.


The crowd was huge considering it was a Friday morning, but it could be worse over the weekend. It was already past the blooming peak (as of 31 Mar 2023) and with the occasional strong breeze, I caught many moments of the falling petals which were simply magical.

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At noon, we left to have lunch nearby the next destination, Yeojwacheon Stream (여좌천), which was only 10 mins away by bus. Compared to Gyeonghwa Station, the cherry blossom tree-lined streets along the stream were much longer and it was a pity we didn’t manage to walk till the end and back to the starting point even after 2 hours.

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There were also more stalls (think cherry blossom ice cream, cherry blossom latte, cherry blossom hairpins…) and restaurant/café options for a break. Again, huge crowds showed up though it was still comfortable enough to walk freely without bumping into others much.

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Heading back to Busan, we encountered a considerable amount of traffic so it took close to 2 hours to reach – still a pretty comfortable ride thanks to the coach. And if you’re still wondering, yes I would recommend this day tour to Jinhae, though I would love to complete it with a night tour!

The French and Swiss Alps


After several days of hustling with European and American crowds in Paris, I boarded a 1-hour flight direct to Geneva, Switzerland. Via a bus from the airport, I crossed back into French territory to visit Chamonix – a mountain resort in the French Alps, near the meeting point of 3 countries (France, Switzerland and Italy).


From my petite AirBnB apartment, I was treated to a picturesque view of the quaint town against a backdrop of the snowcapped Alps. This was in April, when snow no longer fell but stuck on at high altitudes enough for skiing. 

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One of the highlights was Mer de Glace, the largest glacier in France, which I had to ascend the mountain in the Montenvers Railway for. Unfortunately, due to climate change, the glacier is fast shrinking. I took a gruelling 520 steps down endless of stairs to reach the bottom and the Ice Cave carved inside the glacier – back in 1988, only 3 steps were needed. Nonetheless, my first glacier and ice cave experience was pretty majestic.


Other activities I did were: skiing (which I did not take a liking to), and ascending the Aiguille du Midi for a close up view of the peak of Mont Blanc (features a scary cable car ride).

Bidding goodbye to the town, I took multiple connecting trains to arrive in Zermatt, Switzerland. Compared to Chamonix, the town of Zermatt was more touristy and crowded, prices of food and other essentials were double-fold, and locals were less friendly. 


On the brighter note, the views were magical. My favorite being the one taken from the Zermatt Matterhorn Viewpoint (it is literally named as such on Google Maps), where I caught Blue Hour. Though I believe that it would be more magnificent in winter with snow on rooftops, the view was still very much worth the hike up. 


At Gornegrat, there was also a clear, central view of the Matterhorn, albeit with more tourists, many of which were accompanied with a bar of Toblerone… 


Sokcho Blues


It has been close to 2 weeks of a partial lockdown in Singapore, and time has gradually freed up for me to do some writing. To mourn the cancellation of my Korea trip that would originally start in a little more than a week’s time, I am reminiscing the 2 days 1 night in Sokcho last year. One of my favorite cities in Korea till date, part of me secretly wishes for it to be kept hidden from tourists, while the other part would like to express its quaint beauty to the world.

나만 알고 싶은 속초.

My first time taking an express bus out of Seoul from the Express Bus Terminal, the 3-hour ride was surprisingly smooth and comfortable, with a rest stop in the middle – that is coming from someone with motion sickness. We reached the quiet coastal city just in time for a late lunch.

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A stone’s throw away from the Sokcho Express Bus Terminal, it is a restaurant bearing a good reputation from being featured in one of celebrity chef Baek Jong-won’s TV programmes. They serve just crabs here, 3 types – the 킹크랩 (King Crab), 대게 (Snow Crab) and 홍게 (Red Snow Crab). Prices here are not cheap and there seems to be other places with better reviews for crabs, but I picked this place out of convenience.

We opted for 2 red snow crabs (70,000KRW), which are a delicacy caught in the East Sea of Korea, right off the coast of Sokcho. Ahjumma also taught us how to eat the crab legs conveniently.

Sokcho6 Don’t end the crab feast without ordering 게장밥 (Fried Crab Roe Rice, KRW2000 each). Generously fried with bits of crab roe and stuffed into a shell, this was a mouth orgasm.

We ended up paying about 35,000KRW per pax, which is still considered value-for-money compared to Singapore.

라마다강원속초호텔(Ramada Gangwon Sokcho Hotel)

– 대포항희망길 106


Our one-night accommodation was right next to 대포항 (Daepo Port), where a fish market and fresh seafood restaurants lined the circumference of the port. Apart from the scenic view of the circular port against the backdrop of the 설악산 (Seorak Mountain) from the hotel, our hotel room had a serene view overlooking the 대포항등대 (Daepo Port Lighthouse) standing in sea of sometimes aquamarine, sometimes dusty blue, depending on the light and angle.


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A 15 minutes’ walk from the port led to the entrance of a trail that runs along the coast, passing by the grandiose Lotte Resort, then along 외옹치해변(Oeongchi Beach) until it connects to 속초해변(Sokcho Beach). With the right weather, the trail makes for a relaxing stroll.


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From the heart of Sokcho Beach, our dinner venue was a short bus ride away. It was our first time trying Makguksu, a cold noodle dish made with a high concentration of buckwheat and a specialty of the Gangwon Province. The signature of this restaurant is its 동치미 막국수(Dongchimi Makguksu, 8,000KRW) – a bowl of makguksu served along with a pot of dongchimi, or radish water kimchi. Together with the dongchimi, the bowl of noodles was extremely refreshing.

Sokcho18On the side, we had 메밀전 (Buckwheat Pancakes, 8,000KRW), which were savory, earthy and nutty at the same time.

칠성조선소(Chilsung Boatyard Salon) – 중앙로46번길 45

Next morning, we had breakfast at possibly the most popular café in Sokcho. This café was indeed a shipyard right up till recent years, thus explaining not just its name but its raw structure. The complex is vast, with a gallery displaying the shipbuilding that once took place in the same space, an indoor café and outdoor sitting areas overlooking the 청초호(Cheongchoho Lake).

Sokcho27Among the items we had – Chai Café Latte (6,500KRW), Black Bean Macaron (2,500KRW) Egg Tart (3,000KRW), and Gateau Au Chocolat (4,000KRW) – the Portuguese egg tart was so unexpectedly good, I was relieved that my friend and I each bought one for ourselves.

아바이마을 (Abai Village)

After noon, we headed to this village which has a historical story of its own from the days of the Korean War. Without prior research on places to dine in this area, we picked and entered a store randomly. I had the 명태회 냉면 (Naengmyeon, or cold noodles, with pollock) which had a fiery kick to it.

영금정 (Yeongggeumjeong Pavilion)

An impromptu stop, this is a traditional pavilion from which the scenery of the endless East Sea calms you right to the bones. And if you have extra time, there is the 속초등대전망대 (Sokcho Lighthouse Observatory) nearby too.


Right before the journey back to Seoul, we made a quick pit stop at the 속초관광수산시장Sokcho Tourist & Fishery Market, which is not shown here as the lively throng of the crowd filling the main aisle of the market made it quite impossible for photo-taking. There, we tried a bit of  오징어 순대 (Stuffed Squid), waited in line for 술빵 (Alcohol Fermented Bread), and brought back to Seoul a box of 닭강정 (Fried Chicken in a Sweet Sauce) from the famous 만석닭강정 (Manseok Dakgangjeong).

Perth – Of captivating food, wine and sunsets


I am not an utter stranger to Western Australia, yet I felt as though I was stepping into a new, unknown land. When I was a mere 5 years old, I took the plane for the first time in my life and landed in Perth. Out of my own will, I was taken to see the now-vulnerable koalas, experience a farm stay, admire black swans and play in the sand dunes. All of these I don’t actually remember but am able to describe thanks to physically developed photographs.

17 years later, I came back voluntarily for a short break in part due to a suggestion, in part due to the reasonable air fare, and in part due to my absent memories of Perth. For a short 4 days, we covered places extensively without bumping into throngs of tourists or Asians – which was secretly satisfying.


With just a couple of days allocated to the city of Perth itself, we narrowed down to the most highly rated places for food and went without batting an eyelid. Our brunch at Hylin (178 Railway Parade, West Leederville WA 6007, Australia) was memorable simply for the Streetz Chicken Croissant we had. The buttermilk fried chicken was sufficiently good on its own for that crisp on the outside and juiciness underneath the skin, but further enhanced by the maple syrup-drizzled flaky croissant. Let’s also not forget about the bacon, smoked mozzarella, and tinge of spiciness from the basil chilli aioli. One thing I did forget was how sinful it was. We also got the Brisket Benny which was noteworthy for the soft beef brisket between the two slices of cheesy sourdough toast. Unfortunately, coffee here was pretty meh.


We also stopped by Chu Bakery (498 William St, Highgate WA 6003, Australia) on the way to Swan Lake, which is perhaps the most popular bakery in Perth. The Strawberry Veil, a tart pastry filled with caramel ganache and topped with fresh strawberries, cream and a gelée veil was great for the uncloying sweetness of the filling; the Salted Caramel Donut, thanks to the fluffy brioche and sweet savoury filling, was also one of the best donuts I’ve had in a while.


Yet another recommended place for brunch is Bread in Common (43 Pakenham St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia) in Fremantle. Serving as a bakery, deli and restaurant in a huge industrial-like setting, a farm to table approach is taken for the menu here. I tried Kangaroo meat for the first time, wow-ed by the well-executed dish. The meat tasted just like seared beef tataki. We also had a Pigeon dish, and of course we couldn’t resist getting their bread and cheese to go along.


I declared my best sunset of 2019 to be the one I witnessed at Cottlesloe Beach. We stopped just slightly north of the main attraction area and spent some sentimental time watching the golden hues amidst swatting away flies.


Other places visited in Perth:

  • Matilda Bay Restaurant (3 Hackett Dr, Crawley WA 6009, Australia) – amazing steak, amazing food in general
  • Petition – brunch spot. 4.5 stars on Google Maps but nothing we ordered was good… will not recommend!
  • Arrival Hall – hipster lifestyle shop and café
  • Mandoon Estate – winery in Swan Lake region
  • Crawley Edge Boatshed – no pictures because the iconic blue boathouse was covered in a grotesque pink cloth for an advertisement
  • Propeller – brilliant atmosphere and service, and the Mediterranean dishes were modernised and well-executed
  • Harvest Boulangerie – amazing ham and cheese croissant and crème brûlée Please go!
  • Swan River Gelato – their pistachio gelato tasted so natural, so good.
  • Little Creatures Brewing – for craft beer tasting
  • Kailis’ Fish Market Café – known to serve one of the best fish and chips in Perth. Decent, but not the best.

On our drive down to Margaret River from Perth, we stopped by Busselton city and toured Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden pier that stretches 1.8km out to the sea. The area was busseling with activities – a marathon and cycling event underway, teenage boys diving into the ocean, families lounging by the beach, tourists strolling on the jetty. Unknowingly, I got sunburnt in that one hour walking out into the sea and back, but the view was worth it. There was also a train that can bring people back and forth but does so in a speed slower than our walking pace.


At Margaret River, we maximized our time feasting, drinking wine, and immersing in nature. The prettiest winery we went to on this trip has got to be Voyager’s Estate (41 Stevens Rd, Margaret River WA 6285, Australia), where we enjoyed a bottle of sparkling Chenin Blanc with blue cheese and truffle crackers. We also encountered lots of tour groups from Singapore.


Deemed to be the breakfast spot in Margaret River, Margaret River Bakery (89 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River WA 6285, Australia) was a quaint little café with mismatched furniture. You must get the Banana & Honeycomb Pancakes here. Though I’ve always preferred fluffy pancakes, I indulged in their dense pancakes with crisp burnt edges.  The Chocolate Croissant was just as rich and crisp, with a good amount of diabetes-inducing chocolate hidden within.


Of the many caves in the Margaret River vicinity, we picked Lake Cave for the best visuals and it turned out to be a well-hosted, informative and eye-opening tour indeed. Nearby, we made a short pitstop at Boranup Forest to snap some photos of the towering, native karri trees.


For sunset viewing in Margaret River, we went to Surfer’s Point, just a few minutes’ drive away from the Margaret River’s river mouth. Apparently, a good spot to catch surfers but we didn’t manage to catch any in sight.


Other places visited in Margaret River:

  • Morries – not quite sure of the concept of the restaurant. Decent food.
  • Pizzica – cosy, traditional Italian restaurant that served us a legitimate fare
  • Margaret River Distilling Co. – gin, whisky and cocktail tasting
  • Aravina Estate – yet another vineyard

Our last sunset of the trip was caught at Mandurah, a small city just south of Perth. Specifically, we caught it near Halls Head Beach where barely anyone was around and where we could almost have the entire beach to ourselves.


Dinner place in Mandurah:

  • Oyster Bar Mandurah – for uniquely flavoured grilled and raw oysters

[Johor Bahru] People and Places Cafe


This semester break, I started venturing into Johor Bahru to café hop and I did wonder why I haven’t done this earlier, especially since a dish there can cost only up to a third of that in Singapore. Apart from the more common cafes, I went to this gem of a place most recently and in my head I’ve been deliberating whether to share it asap, or make a few more return trips first. But here I am starting to write just less than a week after my brunch and thus so it is that I am pretty bad at keeping such news to myself.


Located in the industrial area near Taman Mount Austin is People and Places, a 2 months old café serving up Melbournian brunch and coffee. Having already seen pictures on Instagram, I knew what to expect. Everything from the 2-storey high ceiling to the concrete layout to the drapey plants and succulent furnishings completed the look of the industrial warehouse café theme. It reminded me so much of my laid back, café hopping days in Melbourne.


To my coffee-drinking friends and readers, don’t skip the coffee here. I ordered the Mocha (RM10.5) for myself and was surprised by how smooth it was. The acidity level was also just right for me. I have not gone to many cafes in JB yet but so far, this was the best cup. The Matcha Latte (RM13) was legit as well with its distinct tones of matcha yet not leaving a powdery aftertaste.  



Our main courses then came very promptly, and very prettily. I mean – look at those pink poached eggs of the Aussie’s Avo on Toast (RM25), which also came with mashed avocado, pomegranate, feta, dukkah and dried chili flakes served on dark rye bread. This was a simple and comforting dish and I loved the colours at play.  


Call me basic as you wish, but I can never resist getting hotcakes if I spot them on the menu. The Melbourne’s Signature Hotcake (RM23) came in a portion smaller than what I expected, albeit with a price 1/3 of what I usually pay in Singapore/Melbourne. Though decent, the hotcake could be fluffier (note to self: shoot more quickly next time I’m here) and infused with more blueberries on the inside. I also thought that the pea sprout’s bitterness didn’t match the taste profile of the hotcake.



And it turns out that our favorite was their Asian take on the quesadilla – the Quesadilla Breakie (RM25). What won us over was the smooth, creamy tomyam scrambled eggs paired with sriracha aioli sandwiched between tortilla sheets, exuding an authentic but not overpowering taste of tomyam. This felt like a refreshing breath of air amongst the old western brunch classics.  


The prompt and friendly service here, short waiting time for food and drinks, and quality ingredients used here proves that this place is more than just an Instagram worthy café. It’s somewhere I would like to frequent, as it is for my usual haunts. Yes, I will be back for sure.  


P.S. As of current, the exact address of the café is not on Grab/Uber so you might have to re-pin the location to elsewhere nearby, like the adjacent road.

People and Places Café

6, Jalan Kencana Emas 2/3, Perindustrian Tebrau III, Johor Bahru

Tel: +60 7 351 5303

Tue to Sun 10am – 6pm (Closed on Mon)

New York City 2013 – The city that never sleeps

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FOREWORD \\  Last month was a whirlwind of adventures. This month, I’m trying to welcome the new year with a bad jetlag and pick out photos from the past month. This might be the longest photo journal yet. Friends would know I’m a die-hard fan of everything American. The dreamer in me has always lust for a trip to the east coast, so when it was confirmed 2-3 months prior to the date, I’ve been jumping around (and doing a whole lot of research) ever since. It’s time to party in the USA.

As our tour bus first drove into NYC I was spellbound. I had seen too many pictures of NYC from my smartphone in the past few months that when I finally see the city with my own eyes it feels surreal. Our maiden day touring the city was led by a tour guide and it started off with breakfast in Chinatown. We had the traditional fried dough fritters and porridge at Big Wong King (a dim sum restaurant) and they were really good. Turns out that in dim sum restaurants here you take plates of whatever dishes you want as they are taken around by servers (so you don’t have to order them individually). Pardon the grainy shot of Mott Street below, was testing out the camera for the first few shots!

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Well then we traveled to a pier and took the Circle Line Cruise round the island of Manhattan featuring the iconic Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. Lady Liberty was glinting in the sunlight. (Motion sickness ached up – no good pictures)

Wall Street was nearby so we walked over to the towering skyscrapers – the official financial district of New York. And probably that of the USA. Here are some scenes taken en route and along Wall Street.

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The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum was next on the list – a display of warships, fighter jets and planes. This shot taken from the USS Intrepid (ship) overlooks a snowy rooftop. Amazing weather we had that day, by the way. The gorgeous deep blue hues of the sky, though not being captured here as depicted, are extinct here in Singapore.
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Moving on to another museum – Ripley’s Believe It or Not. or aka a museum which I’m really interested in because I’ve watched Ripley’s Believe it or not shows on tv since young. It was situated in the dazzling 42nd Street of Times Square.
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By then, the sun was starting to set and the last light of the day was casting long shadows over the city – the perfect time to get high up on a skyscraper and get a magnificent view of NYC. That skyscraper is none other than the 103 storey high Empire State Building. It was peak hour for tourism on the observation deck so we queued for a pretty long moment… but all would be worth it when you stand amidst the cold gusts of winter at dusk, viewing the panoramic sea of lights that lies before you. Can’t help but proclaim that I love this shot so much. I mean, just look at that blazing trail of light.
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Later that night we headed back to the state of New Jersey where we would embark on a East Coast tour for the next 5 days or so featuring Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston and more. I’ll leave the details and pictures out of this post for next time, so let’s just fast forward to when it ended and we were dropped off at Chinatown to end our 6-day East Coast Tour. For the first time ever, I pulled out a map on foreign land. And then navigated the rest of them from Chinatown to our hotel in Times Square via subway – the 4 of us were lugging 5 luggages.

It took us a while to get to Crowne Plaza Times Square, our residence for the oncoming 6 nights. Times Square is full of human activity. The crowd is no joke. Think about Orchard Road on a Sunday afternoon and double or triple that amount of people. No wonder it is dubbed Crossroads of the World. A rather polluted one indeed, especially with the smell of smoke from cigarettes and barbecued meats and the occasional nasty pong wafting up from the underground sewer.

That night we had dinner at a Thai restaurant (can’t remember it’s name) nearby and boy portions are huge. The lethargic me could barely finish half of my pad thai!

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The whole of the next day was dedicated to shopping and nothing else but that. We got on a bus which drove out of NYC to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets… shopped… and then went back. Funny how I didn’t take a single shot of the place though.

After another sleep.. Christmas Day! The streets of Times Square were eerily empty in the morning and we were fighting against cold winds in the -7°C weather while heading to the Rockefeller Center. My hands were so numb I couldn’t bear to retrieve my camera from its bag to get the Rockefeller Tree in a solo shot. It was only when I stumbled upon the masses of skaters and tourists on the other side of the tree facing the ice skating rink did I decide to just do it. But seriously, this place had an air of Christmas spirit.

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Right next to the tree was the GE Building which held the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, or our next attraction to stop by at. Unfortunately, snow was a no show on Christmas Day. We were met with a cloudless blue blueee sky which cast the city in a bluish hue. Over here we got a great view of the Empire State Building and Central Park.
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En route the US National Tennis Center in Queens we made a stopover at Grand Central Terminal  we traveled back to Times Square for some Christmas shopping. By that time, Times Square was already full of tourists trying to snap up holiday deals. I would be a little mad at the crowd if not for a stranger who said that this was part of “experiencing New York”.

Boxing Day came right after Christmas and everyone was rushing for Boxing Day sales. So of course we had to join in the fun. On the way there we stopped by a cafe (yay) Culture Espresso (post coming soon!) where I got a cortado. The true cortado.

That night was an awesome one. We caught a WWE show at (possibly) the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. You gotta love the hype from the crowd.

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On Friday we ventured uptown to the must-visit Central Park which divides Manhattan into her upper and lower parts. We didn’t get snow that day which was to my sadness since I suppose Central Park looks a lot more gorgeous in white. Well but it was freezing even without the snow so I can’t imagine how much colder it can get. We wandered and walked the width of the park and spent some time getting engrossed in a street performance.

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Psst these ducks were going round and round in circles.
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“If you move, you’ll never catch High School Musical again.”

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Raving at yet another one of my own shots, haha. Love these leafless branches.

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So we walked across the park to get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met). Truly too profound for a noobie like me to fully appreciate. By the time we left and arrived at yet another museum,the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), we were drained from walking the entire day.

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And then on Saturday we went downtown Manhattan to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, which connects the island of Manhattan to Brooklyn (eventually we only walked half the distance). But wait,  before that we had an incredible breakfast at a well known brunch spot, Peels (post coming soon!). Anyway, the amount of pedestrian on the bridge was crazy and it was impossible to get a good shot with no tourists in the distance. The winds we experienced up here were equally crazy, but views were spectacular.
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Nearby was Chinatown and we headed back there again for a dim sum brunch at Jing Fong Restaurant  followed by ice cream at the one and only Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (post coming soon!)

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During our trip, we frequent Fifth Avenue for shopping and things really went bonkers on Saturday when there was massive human traffic. Roads had to be cordoned off and the traffic police were kept busy. Still, I tell myself that that was part of experiencing New York. Experiencing New York wasn’t always joyous, neither was it always magical. But when you piece each and every moment together, you get the complete story of New York City – a story that lives to be told. An experience that is always to be remembered.

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I am never the type who writes long essays, types long whatsapp messages and long instagram captions. Yet this time I broke my own rules. If you’ve managed to keep up with me till here… thanks.

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Bali 2012: Skies to seas

A recent 5-day field study trip to Bali, Indonesia:

That was my first overseas trip with my SLR as my travelling companion so I got pretty excited. I will let pictures speak for themselves – my favorite 36 shots out of 900 over of them.

Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel was not next to a beach, but fab enough. The 4-star hotel had a cool swimming pool enclosed by lush greenery surrounded by bright orange towers.

Dinner on the first day was at the Legong Restaurant where we had a first sight of the Balinese Legong Dance.

The mangroves near a beach.

Sanur Beach was bustling with locals on that particular holiday. Kids and teens were everywhere and the heat did not seem to get into them.

The Uluwatu Cliff was a sight to behold. It was surreal.

This man was at the bottom of the cliff, doing what he was doing for a living in the sea at low tide. Before that we saw how he slipped out of an opening at the top and disappeared within seconds. Then in minutes he was there. A tiny figure, but it was him alright.

Staring out from the cliff – what I saw was not a horizon, but The Horizon.

At the temple on another cliff.

That evening/night, we had dinner at Melasti Cafe by the beach at Jimbaran. Correction, we had barbecued seafood dinner on the beach. One of my most amazing dinners ever – I have probably not seen such a beautiful sunset in my life.

Bajra Sandhi Monument in the morning.

We spent nearly an entire afternoon at an orphanage. I could still remember their faces – happy in the most innocent way. They made friendship bands with us; we taught them English.



The next morning we were at the Singapadu Cultural Village for egg-painting, wood-carving and batik painting.

The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to the breathtaking Mount Batur in Kintamani. When we arrived we had Indonesian buffet with a great scenery across craters.

A small group of us were driven down to the crater lake of Mount Batur to conduct surveys with the locals. It was incredibly peaceful down there. I would call it the beauty of the soundless. The lake area was full of plantations of tomatoes, chili and cabbage with scattered houses.

The lake was a nice sky blue matching the sky and that was when nature touches you.

Last attraction stop was the Bali Bombing site.

And as cliche as it can be, I shall end with a quote.

“We are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.” – Carson McCullers

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Snapshot: Marina Barrage Singapore

It was a beautiful day of fluffy clouds at the barrage.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


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Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Singapore ArtScience Museum


When you first step into the exhibition, you will be handed a ‘boarding pass’. The back side holds the information and facts of a real passenger who has gone on board the Titanic back then. Near the end of the exhibition, there is a board indicating the names of all survivors and non-survivors, and so you can find out whether your identity has lived on. Being a first-class female passenger, she had survived.


Throughout the exhibition, I was filled with a sense of awe, pity and tragedy. Some artifacts were retrieved from the bottom of the sea nearly 70 years after the sinkage of the Titanic, while others were begotten from the survivors themselves. From mechanical items such as screws and technical systems in the ship to pieces of clothings and personal items, the artifacts seemed timeless.

I also remembered vividly the environment of the cabin corridors, upper deck and the Grand Staircase that weren’t real but depicted and made such that it mirrors those areas of the ship. The first class cabin corridors were a touch of grandeur, making the Titanic seem like a “floating hotel”. That said, the first class passengers were one of the richest group of people at that time, with tickets costing a few hundred thousands of dollars in today’s context. First class cabins also came with their own toilets in them, whereas public bathrooms were provided for second and third class cabins to share. But, it was not considered a terrible thing as they only bathed once a week in those times. First class passengers also had the privileges of a gymnasium and better quality materials of cutlery and tableware.

It was a tragedy that the “unsinkable” ship as people called it, faced its icy death on 15 April 1912. Many stories were told. A priest stayed on board to help the many others, a woman only wanting to stay behind with her husband, a mother and child who were separated by lifeboats. There were mishaps, the number of lifeboats could only bring about a third of the passengers to safety. The unfortunate victims mostly perished from hypothermia than drowning – the ocean was freezing. Within minutes, their lives were gone.

The news was unforgettable. From the awe of the massive structure, to the breathtaking insights, to the saddening incident, I believe everybody finds an interest in the sinking of the RMS Titanic on its maiden voyage, so this experience will be a one to remember.


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