(Travelogue) Bangkok Diary; 6th-18th June 2013

Flying to Bangkok to me is a regular affair. This neighbouring country, the ‘land of a thousand smiles’, offers great street food and bargain buys –a shopaholic’s empyrean, a food lover’s heaven, and also where many fashion retail owners and blogshop owners bulk up on their stock of apparels.

Today, 19th June 2013, marks my 13th day in Bangkok; it won’t be long before I have to bid this unforgettable city goodbye again.

As an insouciant traveller and a lucid wanderer, I eradicated any form of touristy sightseeing plans (much less join a tour group), and explored the country in my own random spontaneous ways.

Being a solo-traveller, I have gotten lost and found my way around (thanks to google maps and friendly locals or I’d still be lost); I’ve walked the off-the-beaten-paths and relish the serenity aspect of it that no one else cares for because it isn’t a prominent landmark that everyone talks about; and the best part about travelling alone is that I can roam around freely without following a stringent schedule (this also applies to what time I can wake up –anytime).

Armed only with an iPhone 4S – no dslr, not even a compact camera – my shots are mostly random and candid, taken out on the streets, portraying Bangkok the way I perceive it. Continue reading

3 Day 2 Night Cruise Trip to Malacca on board SuperStar Virgo

Nothing beats a short getaway on a cruise, to escape from the stress of life, without having to be reminded of the hectic routines of a regular day on land. The well-equipped ship has all the essential needs, facilities, entertainment, and more than enough food you can stomach.

A cruise trip is what I’ve been anticipating for the last 10 years (or more).

My memories of my first cruise – which was when I still wasn’t tall enough to reach for the standard light switches – vaguely revolves around eating (but not a lot because as a kid my appetite was still pea-sized); scouting around for seasick passengers (but in vain); and pouting for not being able to enter places with age restrictions, such as casinos and bars –not that I wanted to gamble or drink, but it was mere curiosity (hence my trip was declared incomplete in my books).

It was after more than a decade of hankering that I could finally step on board the very same line of cruise I once experienced as a child, and I cannot be more thankful to my two fabulous friends, Jasper and Wee Teck, who made this trip yet another unforgettable chapter in my life, amplifying the vibrancy of my blogging journey to a new high. Continue reading

Spice Market Café –A must-visit buffet restaurant in Penang

Spice Boutique – located at the entrance of Spice Market Café – houses an array of over 100 varieties of dried herbs and exotic spices, together with an assortment of curry powders, which will ignite your culinary imagination in a whirlwind tour. They are available for purchase, or simply for your exploration pleasures –to expand your knowledge on the diverse range and endless applications. Herbs and spices are great for enhancing the flavour of your dishes without adding artificial flavourings or fat.

Spice Market Café is an informal buffet-style restaurant, marketed as international, but tends to be heavily Asian influenced. The restaurant is pork-free, although obtaining a Halal certificate still poses a challenge for them, especially for items like sashimi.

One thing that disappointed me was the lack of traditional Penang cuisine, but the scrumptious spread made up for it. After all, we’re in Penang, and you can get Penang food everywhere else.

The spread is determined by the season and availability of ingredients, but variety and quality are two factors that remain consistent.

I visited on 19 November 2012 (Monday): Continue reading

Hong Kong Wine & Dine Month, 1 to 30 November 2012

The essence of Hong Kong is subtly but surely incorporated into most of our daily lives –for instance, our obsession with dim sum and our addiction to Hong Kong TVB series is of widespread unanimity.

Being a 4-hour flight away from Singapore, many Singaporeans visit Hong Kong on a yearly basis, mostly for the love of food and shopping. Come November, the Wine and Dine Month gives you all the more reason to visit this vibrant city; the month-long festival will showcase a series of events ranging from food, drama, music, business forum and festival sports.

I attended the Hong Kong Festival 2012’s launch event at Wild Rocket, where we sampled a Hong Kong-inspired 7-course meal created by Singapore celebrity chef Willin Low. Galvanised by his trip in September, the menu features an interesting blend of Hong Kong signatures with innovative touches.
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Tiger Airways’ new den at Changi Airport Terminal 2

As an avid traveller, cheap fares and value-for-money hotels are what I’m always on a lookout for –this leaves me with more allowance to eat and shop! Being spontaneous and slightly impulsive, I am often enticed by sales fares, where most of my destinations are determined by how much the prices are marked down. I want to visit everywhere at least once!

I’ve travelled to China (Guangzhou), Taiwan, Bangkok, Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh) and Malaysia (Penang and Kuching) with Tiger Airways, departed from the Budget Terminal. Tiger Airways has awesome sales fares!

For my upcoming trip to Hanoi with Tiger Airways, I will no longer be checking in at the Budget Terminal.

To alleviate any confusion or anxiety, for those who’ve booked their air tickets way in advance like myself, Changi Airport Terminal 2 is where you should be heading for check-in!

With new plans for a larger terminal building, Tiger Airways has relocated from its former base, the Budget Terminal, to its new (temporary) comfy spot at the Changi Airport Terminal 2 on 25 September 2012.
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A story of Miguel and Julia; a splendid stay at Oasia Hotel

The following story is written based on observation, comprehension and drawn loosely from real-life experience. The character is fabricated, but the subjective nature of reality gives this story a high possibility of turning into actuality.

The protagonist is a 37-year-old gentleman named Miguel. He is a businessman from Los Angeles, who travels widely to attend business meetings and to oversee business operations.

With the clever recommendation from Travelcasts, and great reviews from TripAdvisor, he snagged a Weekend Savers deal from StayFarEast.com, an online booking site with the best rates, for a stay at Oasia Hotel.

He booked a Package Club Room for $300++ that includes daily buffet breakfast at the Club Lounge, unlimited internet access, buffet dinner for two at Zaffron, daily cocktail and canapés from 6pm to 8pm at the Club Lounge, exclusive usage of pool at the Living Room, on top of all facilities available for room guests.

It is 11.45am on a scorching Saturday. Miguel steps foot out of the aircraft, finally, after a 17 hours non-stop flight from Los Angeles. His muscles, stiff and sore from the lack of activity; his energy level, wearied due to jet lag -the common woes of a long haul traveller. His wife, Julia, who accompanies him on his trips, felt no less enervated.

Upon entering the hotel premises, guests were greeted with warm smiles and a prepossessing ambience –a handsome brown-hued lobby with a stunning high ceiling.

When it comes to authenticity, décor elements at this charming enclave are idiosyncratic, conceived by none other than Japan’s leading interior design firm, Super Potato.

As Club Room guests, Miguel and Julia were promptly and courteously ushered to the 22nd floor for an express check-in.

Refreshing welcome drinks and wet hand towels were served upon getting seated; check-in was completed swiftly. Miguel and Julia couldn’t wait to check out their ‘home away from home’.

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ShareTea 歇脚亭

Native to Taiwan, Bubble Tea first made its debut in the 1980s. Since its launch in Singapore slightly more than ten years ago, a flurry of Bubble Tea joints have sprouted island wide, where you can spot a store in every nook of the heartlands and in the city.

Classic Milk Tea ($2.40 for Medium, $3.50 for Large)

Sharetea is a premium Bubble Tea brand that was first established in Taiwan in 1992. After gaining immense popularity with the Taiwanese locals, the highly favoured brand is now breaking into the international scene with over 100 outlets across China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, New York, Australia, Indonesia, and Brunei.

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Changi Village Hotel by Far East Hospitality

Changi Village Hotel is prudently located away from the bustling city centre, in close proximity to the airport –it makes for a soothing retreat for you and your family to spend quality time together, and is a hot favourite among business travellers and transit passengers arriving for a one or two-day stopover.

Speaking from a local’s point of view, sometimes all you need is a staycation; a getaway to clear your heads; a place to relax, rejuvenate and re-charge your batteries after a long week at school and work; a place to escape from the frantic city life, free from daily responsibilities.
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Landmark Village Hotel by Far East Hospitality

Singapore Blog Awards 2012 invites 15 international bloggers, from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Philippines to attend the awards ceremony.

Chosen bloggers received a 3D2N hotel accommodation sponsorship in one of the seven participating hotels under Far East Hospitality Hotel & Residences: Oasia Hotel Singapore, The Quincy Hotel, Orchard Parade Hotel, The Elizabeth Hotel, Landmark Village Hotel, Changi Village Hotel and Albert Court Village Hotel.

On top of that, 7 Singaporean omy.sg bloggers were chosen to host them on the 20th and 21st of July, and I was one of them!

I was enthusiastically anticipating their arrival, before our paths crossed for the firsts time at the welcome party held at Landmark Hotel.

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Payuk Bali Cooking Class (Part 2: 4 more recipes included)

Continuing from my first Payuk Bali Cooking Class post, here is the second part.

In part one, I mentioned about visiting the local market and rice fields before arriving at our final stop, Payuk Bali Cooking Class, as part of the package.

I also shared 4 recipes; one of which is the Balinese Multipurpose Spice Base –an important component in most of the recipes shared in my post.

As Payuk Bali Cooking Class is held in a traditional family residence, we had the opportunity of interacting with locals staying there.

Language was the main barrier to communication –most of them do not understand or speak English. Our communication with each other is conveyed through body language and genuine smiles.

We stepped into a little hut, where a lady of mild temperament dwells in during the day.

She spends her days roasting coffee beans and extracting coconut oil from fresh coconuts.

Soft-spoken in nature, she barely exchanged more than a few sentences with our guide, Agung, who speaks their native language.

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Payuk Bali Cooking Class (Part 1: 4 recipes included)

It’s been more than a month since my Bali trip, and I miss the place tremendously: the warm smiles, the breathtaking views, the proximity to nature, the adventures, and without a doubt, the food.

Check out some of my adventures in my first post here: https://melicacy.com/?p=3828

It was one lazy morning, when I was just soaking up the serene surroundings in the villa (read my post on Petanu River Villa here), that I spontaneously decided to join a Balinese cooking class.

The best way to discover a foreign country, at least for me, is through its cuisine. And learning how to cook its local cuisine takes the educative journey to the next level.

I haven’t done any research on cooking schools prior to the trip. That morning itself, I did a quick search on google and emailed a few schools to enquire if they have a vacant slot for the afternoon.

After a few minutes of waiting, the anxiety took over. I decided to call them up to enquire, rather than waiting in vain, lest they don’t check their email every hour of the day.

The first school I called up was Payuk Bali. Turns out they have a class taking place in the afternoon at 3.30pm that I can join. Hooray!

After picking me up from the villa in a mini van, our guide, Agung, brought us (a nice couple from Africa, Wandile and Given, and I) to the local market and the rice paddy field before heading to a family compound for our cooking class.

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Fun in Genting: Day 2

Good morning Genting!

It was 19°C that morning, 7.55am to be exact.

I put on my hoodie, my mum her denim jacket, and we sallied forth to Coffee Lounge at Maxims Genting Hotel for breakfast.

We passed by this restaurant the previous day, and I have been anticipating all night for this meal!

I’m soooo not a morning person, and I hate waking up early. Back at home in Singapore, I would skip breakfast and laze in bed all morning.

BUT I simply cannot resist good food. AND it certainly was worth the sleep deprivation. Wake me up any day for this. I will spring out of bed.

The buffet spread is wide-ranging: from Local Favourites to Nonya to Chinese to Western to Japanese to Indian –there’s something for everyone.

It’s always my inner curiosity taking over; I wanted to try every single item!

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Resorts World Genting with omy.sg (Day 1)

5 lucky omy.sg bloggers were chosen to go on a 3D2N trip to Genting!

The theme is ‘love’ and our mums were invited along for a pampering retreat.

I have been to Genting once, when I was a toddler –so young I can’t even recall.

Mum is an ambitious woman. She is my heroine; someone I admire; someone I idolise; someone I look up to. But because of her hectic schedule, we hardly spend time together. She drives me to events in between her meetings and appointments, but that’s about the amount of time we spend together: the journey in the car.

The objective of this trip is to spend more quality time together, take many photos and videos for memory keepsakes, and to also share with you our wonderful memories in Genting on my blog.

I’ve compiled snippets of videos to summarise my Genting trip, split into two separate videos: Day 1 and Day 2-3.

Day 1

1.30pm: Check in at First World Hotel
2pm: Lunch at Ming Ren (Check out my review of Ming Ren here: https://melicacy.com/?p=3864)
3pm: Free & Easy
7.30pm: Dinner at Genting Palace (Check out my review of Genting Palace Restaurant here: https://melicacy.com/?p=3856)

We boarded a Five Stars Travel coach that departed from Golden Mile at 6.30am, with two stopovers for refreshments and toilet breaks along the approximately-5-and-a-half-hour journey.
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Resorts World Genting with omy.sg – Day 2 and 3

The trip was indeed memorable. My impression of Genting – a casino gaming destination – is banished. It’s a holiday destination that panders to people from all walks of life and a wide range of activities to cater to people of all ages.

Apart from 3 casinos, there are 2 theme parks, countless shopping avenues and over 90 F&B outlets spanned across the mountain resort.

Check out my video from Day 2 and 3!

Day 2

8am: Breakfast at Coffee Terrace (Omg this place is awesome. Not to be missed!)
10am: Theme Park
1pm: Lunch at Hainan Express
3.30pm: M Spa
6pm: Dinner at Happy Valley
8pm: Sam Hui Concert

Day 3

10am: Breakfast at World Club Lounge
11.30pm: Visitors’ Galleria
1pm: Onboard coach back to Singapore
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