A love story about Western Australia and Bandi

Here comes another long post full of love.

IMG_5316.JPG

You would’ve known by now how much I love Australia from this legendary road trip post. I never stop thinking to come back to Australia ever since, so when Jetstar teased us with another cheap Australia fare, we didn’t think twice. This time, we chose the west coast. We bought the ticket in 2016 (I know, we planned waaaay too ahead), just because. Come to think of it, I’ve never been itinerary-less in the past 9 years… We always have planned ticket somewhere. We knew we were going to have another road trip, so we extended the party to Bandi’s mom, because she has been wanting to visit Australia. The party then grew bigger when my bestie, Angel and her mom joined the trip. Given the condition, of course I will plan the trip, because… it’s me. =p

Fast forward to June 2017, Bandi discussed with me if he should go for the short assignment to Australia that’s offered by the company’s counterpart in Australia. I knew he wanted the chance, but he didn’t want to leave me. I mean, 3 months is not a long time (compared to the 2 years of Long Distance Relationship between Singapore and US for god’s sake) but we have grown to be so dependent to each other, we can’t imagine living apart anymore. I swear this will sound cheesy, but I seriously think I will live each of my every day with Bandi and never get tired of it. He is literally the best part of my every day.

Well, Bandi and I went for business trips once in a while, but never more than 5 days, and usually we miss each other so much. So, would we take this chance/challenge? We ended up saying yes to the chance, because… when opportunity knocks, you answer, no matter what the situations are, you’ll make it work.

So, I said goodbye to him in Changi Airport on 3rd July 2017. :(

IMG_5521.JPG

This cheeky guy whom I miss so much

The Western Australia trip fell in between of Bandi’s assignment, so at least, I got to see him for a while. I must say… it was one of the best trip I’ve ever had. Australia is BEAUTIFUL. I say this again and I will keep saying this.

We drove total of 2,485 km in 8 days

It was by far our longest road trip ever, probably because we do a return journey, and thankfully Bandi could switch driving with Angel so each of them would get a rest. Me? Oh, I can’t drive. :p

I loved every places we visited and let me go through each of them below:

#1 Margaret River

Wine region southern from Perth that happens to have the BEST bakery in the world. I might sound exaggerating, but it was seriously the best coconut cake, sourdough bread, pies ever! Which bakery, you ask? You will find it. It’s literally called “Margaret River Bakery” and everyone knows where it is, it’s in the main road, you will find it, I swear. Our host recommended it to us, and when I brought it up to the Jane Brook Vineyard’s owner (which happens in Swan Valley, hundreds km away), he knew this place too!

We didn’t do a lot of things here, mostly just walk around town, go to grocery store and ended up cooking most of the time coz our airbnb house was just sooooo comfy! We also didn’t do any wine tasting in Margaret River because it was raining all the time so we escaped from Margaret River to Busselton, which is about 40 minutes driving from.

Well also drove to Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, both are beautiful, but it was a very windy day, thus I felt so cold all the time!

#2 Busselton

It was one sunny day in Busselton on the second day when we wanted to walk along the longest Jetty on earth. It was getting windy when we walked half way though, but the view was remarkable.

IMG_5219

Busselton is a charming little town with a rich history, it reminds me of Stars Hollow, a fictional town in Gilmore Girls, especially the part where I saw the Repertory club, which is totally similar with Miss Patty’s Dance School!

IMG_5201.JPG

#3 Fremantle

Another town full of history, but the highlight of Fremantle of course, the famous Fremantle Market! Oh my god, I love this market! I know we loved Asian market (like the ones in Taipei), but this one is just topping every markets we visited. The things they sell are just so high quality and full of variety. You have to try the HONEY CAKETry the cocoa one! I loved it so much, I bought 1 box back to Singapore and my colleagues finished it in minutes.

We also bought tea from Roogenic, which is amazing! We also ate the Poke Bowl at Ipoke Bar, which was sooo delicious and the ramen (didn’t remember the name but so yum!).

#4 Kalbarri

If I had to single out the best part of our trip, it is definitely Kalbarri! We started the awesomeness by passing by the Pink lake of Hutt Lagoon, which fascinated me so much, because it was really pink. I was in awe for a minute there, like… is this serious? How could this be so beautiful and so real? I thought those pictures in the internet was edited… It wasn’t… The pink lake is real!

FullSizeRender 5.jpg

And Kalbarri National Park was…….. I’m lost for words. It’s beyond beautiful! Beautiful would be an understatement.

I finally come to a realisation that of all the places I’ve travelled to, I’ve always enjoyed landscapes the most. I don’t fancy visiting city, I love beaches (but not a fan of stickiness feeling), I love mountains but scared of cold, but landscapes are just the perfect match for me. I love standing in high places looking out to vast oceans or greens or rocks. I love hiking in national park!

Recommended tracks that we did:

Track 1: Natural Window (Skill level: Easy)

The track to Natural Window was short and easy, so everyone was able to do it. You can extend the track to the loop track from and to Natural window, which I would looooovveee to do it because it’s a rocky track and from high places. I love rocky tracks and I love looking out from high places! But sadly we couldn’t do it that time because we choose to go to other tracks, and it was an 8 km tracks, will need half day to finish. (I swear I’ll be back and do it.)

Track 2: Z-Bend (difficulty level: Easy)

The first ending of the track is a platform where you can look out to the Gorge River. The walk from the carpark to here was easy and pretty near.

Track 3: Z-Bend Extended to the river (difficulty level: Hard)

From the platform, you can choose to continue the bushwalking (how Aussies call trekking :p) to the river below. It requires some serious physical fitness because you need to climb up and down the rocks and stairs. Some parts were pretty scary and dangerous too, but it was FUN and the view was AWESOME. Only Angel and I did this track because of the difficulty level, and Bandi was waiting in the cars with the Moms. When Angel and I walked back up, we were so heated up that we took off our clothes in a winter weather! Felt like an accomplishment to beat up winter. XD

Track 4: Coastal Cliffs Walk (difficulty level: Pretty easy)

The walk is easy because it’s pretty much just the same level walk throughout, by the cliff. Can you imagine the view?!

You can choose how long you want to walk, there are a couple of points with car-park. Angel, her mom and I decided to walk from Natural Bridge to Grandstand (2.6 km walk if I’m not mistaken). We did it during the sunset time and the view was breathtaking. I LOVED IT.

I specially made vlog for our Kalbarri trip, you can watch it on our youtube channel, Bay Travels. :)

#5 Swan Valley

Whoever said Disneyland is the happiest on earth obviously never visited Swan Valley. Well, this might be bias because I was high most of the times in Swan Valley. We went to so many vineyards to taste wines, so let me try to remember each of them and write the story.

Once we reached Swan Valley, we saw polices doing blow checks to car-drivers, to know their alcohol level, to avoid drunk driving. I right away knew it was a perfect place. Good news is… I don’t drive, I have unlimited threshold of alcohol. LOL

The first place we visited was Swan Valley Visitor Centre, which I recommend everyone to do because the visitor centre officer is just so friendly and knowledgeable about the town! They know literally every vineyard existed in Swan Valley. I told them what I like, which is sparkling wine and asked them which route should I take and some recommendation for food.

IMG_5899.JPG

What does people do in Swan Valley actually? We visit the vineyard/winery, ask them nicely if they do wine tasting, if yes, they would pour the wine and you drink, if you love it, you buy it. You will get bonus of some interesting stories from the owner! Fun huh?

Taste #1: Pinelli

I love all of the wines they poured for us, especially their white rosé!

Taste #2: Funk Cidery

This one was not a free tasting, we paid AU$15 for 6 different 30 ml ciders, they have around 20-ish and we could choose which one we wanted. All of them are bombs! Love love love!!!

IMG_5898.JPG

Taste #3: Jane Brook’s Vineyard

Oh how I enjoyed our time there. We had nice and friendly conversation with the owner and tasted a lot of their wine. I settled with opening 1 bottle of their most amazing sparkling wine and had brunch there, beside a creek, in an amazing sunny winter day. Oh I hope I live like that every day. What a wonderful day.

Taste #4: Tyler’s Vineyard

We were actually recommended to visit Tyler’s vineyard by the Ugg Boots’ merchant that we met the first day of exploring Perth. Angel and I were chatting with the merchant that we would visit Swan Valley the day after and she right away recommended this place which could personalise your wine label with your photo, to make it even more fun, Tyler’s vineyard has animals with Happy the dog as our greeter!

Happy the dog was named happy for a reason indeed! I also made acquaintances with Digby and Gizmo, the sheep.

Taste #5 Mann Vineyard

This is A MUST VISIT! They have Cygne grapes that they patented, which made awesome sparking wine! They are specialised in sparkling wine and they still handmade them! Please pay them a visit, but I believe they only open when their wines are still in stock, August onwards. You need to visit the visitor centre and ask them first.

#6 Perth, Kingspark, the Pinnacle

Driving from Kalbarri back to Perth, we aimed to reach Pinnacle dessert just in time to view the sunset, enjoy it and continue to Perth for dinner. We reached Pinnacle dessert just right about 5 minutes before the sun swallowed by the horizon, we even still witnessed the amazing view from the car while we drove deeper into the dessert. I ran right from the car and climbed up onto the sand hill without my shoes, sadly, I didn’t get to see the sun anymore once I reached the top of the hill.

IMG_5727.JPG

The dusk was serene from top. A brief magical moment of how wonderful the world is. Bandi and I promised that we will come back to this place, bringing a slide, so we can sand slide in the sand dunes the whole day. :)

The rocks in Pinnacle is one of a kind, if you’re into geological formation, you should spend more time exploring this national park.

In Perth itself, nothing much to do except chilling in the cafe, shop around and visit parks. The must-visit of course is the gigantic Kings Park which has some awesome views.

IMG_5858.JPG

We travel for food

And of course, we will list down the unforgettable food we encountered during this trip, and here are the best ones which we recommend you to try if you happen to be around!

#1 Alfred’s Kitchen – Swan Valley

This road side’s simple sandwich shops served us the best sandwich we ever had in our life! A local recommended this place because it was mentioned in Australia’s master chef and the review popped up in the national newspaper, all for one reason only: it’s freaking delicious!

IMG_5953

#2 The Bakery – Margaret River

I mentioned this on top, and highlighting this again. All of their pastries are freshly baked and yummy! We also had breakfast on our last day in Margaret River there. :)

I really enjoyed my time in West Australia, it was just a tiny piece of WA that we explored and I was already so amazed by how beautiful it was. And again… that thought revisited, what if we lived here, this amazing part of the world, far from the buzzing cities, just us.

We don’t have a privilege to just drop everything and go, our passport doesn’t allow that, our bank account won’t survive that and we don’t only live for ourselves (at least for now). We have to make a plan.

But we’ll do anything for love. It’s undeniable. You can’t just fall in love and forget about it. You can’t just give up without fighting for your love, can you?

So… wish us luck! :)

Cheers,

May, loving the world more and more

The Next Hotspot: Ipoh

Have you heard of Ipoh, a capital city of Perak, Malaysia? If you haven’t, you will soon. With the great theme park coming up, more budget airlines opening destinations there and easy access via bus, Ipoh is gonna booming soon!

Thankfully, I have a good friend who is an Ipoh Mali (a local from Ipoh). The six of us took overnight bus from Singapore around 10 pm and reached Ipoh 8 am in the morning. The bus was so comfortable and costed S$45. We flew back to Singapore with Tiger Air.

In Ipoh, try to rent a car and do self-drive. Public transport is not recommended, according to the local guy. Watch our blog in youtube below about all the food we ate and the places we visited. Kellie’s castle was the star! I also listed down the places below.

IMG_4334

Kellie’s Castle, a beautiful surprise in Ipoh.

The full blog of our adventure in Ipoh:

Food and places in Ipoh:

1. Kellie’s Castle

31000 Batu Gajah, Perak, Malaysia

2. Gua Tempurung

Pusat Pelancongan Gua Tempurung,, 31600 Gopeng, Perak, Malaysia

Come early (before 12 noon) if you want to do caving and get wet!

3. Cave Temple

Sam Poh Tong Temple [三寶佛洞] – Cavern of Triple Gems

Gunung Rapat,  31350 Ipoh

— List of eateries we visited (including the GPS coordinates)—

1. Dimsum Place:

Restoran Yoke Fook Moon San Bhd

No. 65-69 Jalan Leong Sin Nam, 30300 Ipoh

GPS Coordinates: 4.596819, 101.086496

2. Ice Cendol:

Ice Cendol Kacang near Padang Kelab Kilat

Jalan Bunga Raya, Taman Pasir Pinji, 31650 Ipoh

GPS Coordinates: 4.571068, 101.084247

3. Mochi & Peanut Dessert

Hong Kee Mah Chee 芳记(麻芝与花生糊)

572-580, Jalan Queen, Pasir Penjih, 31650 Ipoh

GPS Coordinates: 4.573137, 101.086918

4. The Big Tree (where we eat Sagot):

Chung Kee Famous Yong Tau Foo 忠記兵如港大樹頭炸料粉

652, Jalan King, Taman Hoover, 31650 Ipoh

GPS Coordinates: 4.582214, 101.085834

we ate:

– Sagot, some other yong tau foo

– dry curry bee hoon noodles

– assam laksa

5. Snow Beer/ Snowflake Beer:

Kafe Sun Yoon Wah 新元华美食阁

(Some stalls in Concubine Lane

7, Jalan Bijeh Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

GPS Coordinates: 4.596117, 101.078861

6. Ipoh Bean Sprout Chicken (Nga Choi Kai):

Restoran Cowan Street Ayam Tauge & Koitiau 高温街芽菜鸡沙河粉

44, Jalan Raja Ekram, Kampung Jawa, 31350 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

GPS Coordinates: 4.597580, 101.085842

Opening Hours: 6.30-11PM (Thu-Sun)

–> I swear by Jon Snow King of the North, this is a must place to visit, their food is crazy delicious!!!

7. Ipoh Hor Fun + Cheong Fun (Morning):

Restoran Ipoh Kong Heng 怡保光興茶室

(Beside Thean Chun 天津茶室)

75, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

GPS Coordinates: 4.596385, 101.077912

We ate:

– Custard Pudding

– Satay

– 3 kinds of Cheong Fun

– Ipoh Slice Chicken Hor Fun

– White Coffee (so good I drank Rickie’s coffee and they all complained!)

8. Ipoh White Coffee:

Kedai Makanan Nam Heong 南香茶餐室

(Original Old Town White Coffee Store)

2, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh

GPS Coordinates: 4.593212, 101.077006

The following is other best coffee that May missed out. lol~~~ (Rickie typed this)

Kedai Kopi Sun Yuan Loong 新源隆茶餐室

(Branch of Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong)

Medan Bendahara 2, Taman Taiping, 31650 Ipoh

GPS Coordinates: 4.585366, 101.080190

9. The Salted Chicken:

Ayam Garam Aun Kheng Lim 宴琼林盐焗鸡

24, Jalan Theatre, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh

GPS Coordinates: 4.594757, 101.083371


I hope this post will inspire you to go to Ipoh and I hope you’ll enjoy Ipoh as much as we did! :)

Cheers,

May, loving Horfun

Chasing Waterfalls

I experienced something new again last weekend! I went canyoneering for the first time in Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines! The trek was 10.5 kilometres full of walking, swimming, jumping, and hiking ended with this beautiful Kawasan waterfalls.

Photo 29-4-17, 3 30 11 PM

Unfortunately I didn’t take so many pictures that day because I was too busy surviving not to die (am not a daredevil like so many people think I am), so I hope the story of Kawasan Falls will still convince you to go despite lack of pretty photos. So here we go…

We arrived at Cebu last weekend and we hired a local transport to bring us to Moalboal. The trip took about 3 hours because of the bad road and traffic. We stayed in Parrot Resort and we asked the receptionist about what activities to do (we didn’t do any homework about Cebu obviously) and was recommended to do full day canyoneering with an adventure tour called Cyan Adventure, which turned to be a very good idea. Shout out to Mark, our friendly guide!

We paid for 3,450 pesos (equivalent to S$100) for the full gear (wet suit, boots, life vest, helmet), transport from and to our resort, and meal. There were 10 other guests going with us that day, which ended up becoming our friends, what a wonderful gift of travel, making new friends.

The adventure started around 9 am with one hour rough and bumpy road trip to Badian Canyon area. After parking the multi cab (van that’s used for public transport in Philippines), the guides paid our entrance fee and then we started hiking for good 20 minutes then we were approaching the forestry and starting going down to our first water dip, ahhhh it felt so good, the water was cold!

Photo 7-5-17, 8 07 08 AM

Riding the multi cab

Photo 7-5-17, 8 07 32 AM

The start of the trek

Photo 7-5-17, 8 08 36 AM

The first dip felt so good after long sunny hike!

It was pure awesomeness from there, 3 hours full of walking, swim, slide with streams, jump off from edge, pretty much what an adventure should be.

There was this time when they jumped off from an 8 meters high rock to the lagoon (I skipped it anyway and walked down the slippery rock but Bandi had the best time of his life boohoo-ing all the way) and once you reached the water, there was a vast stream of water and you had to jump again and let your body moved by the stream down the limestone cave. Oh MY GOD… It was really really beautiful, I was again amazed by how amazing our mother earth is. I don’t have the photo but you really have to experience it at least once in your life.

Bandi Jumped

Bandi was loving it!

The jump became higher and higher and if you love heights, you’re gonna enjoy every second of it. The high jumps are optional, of course, because there is no way I’m gonna do that. Bandi, on the other hand, enjoyed the feeling. I love every second of the adventures except this part, just because I hate the feeling of falling.

The last jump was 12.5 meters and look at Bandi doing it happily, while I had to climbed down on the edge of the waterfall… :(

Bandi Jumped 2

Photo 29-4-17, 2 59 48 PMPhoto 29-4-17, 3 00 19 PM

So, that last jump wrapped up the whole adventure, but sadly we had to walk another 30 minutes hungry and tired. When we finally reached the end of the trek, we were served (super late) lunch and beer!

Photo 7-5-17, 11 51 24 AM

Cheers to great adventure and new friendship!

Life is formed by amazing moments like this. I’m truly grateful with all the wonderful people we’ve crossed path with and the breathtaking places we’ve seen. I hope I’ll live my life like this forever, the only way I want it to be.

So, if you have plans to go to Cebu, don’t skip Kawasan Falls! Go canyoneering and meet new people, life’s good! And if you don’t have plans to visit Cebu or Philippines in general, start planning it, the beer is freaking $1 for god’s sake! Our next target for Philippines is Palawan! We love the Philippines!

Cheers,

May, sore from the hike.

 

 

 

Hiking Lion Rock at Hong Kong

If you’re googling about what to do in Hong Kong as a tourist, you will be served with list of shopping places, sinful eateries and Disneyland.

Little did I know, Hong Kong has huge area of greenery and reservoir, which pleasantly surprised me. Hong Kong gained more respect from me because I’ve always adored big bustling city that can reserve nature, it’s important to boost the economy, but green is not less important. We all know how expensive Hong Kong land per meter square is. If you know about Singapore’s expensive land, Hong Kong is even more ridiculous, so reserving the green is admirable act. Kudos, Hong Kong!

I had 48 hours in Hong Kong with my three girlfriends, Angel, Tannia and Renny. Since we live in different countries, we always make effort to meet once in a while. So we all book tickets to Hong Kong, where Tannia lives. She knows great places to hike in Hong Kong. We planned to hike to 2 places, but if you know me in person, you know that’s not gonna happen to me. *Grin*

Where is Lion Rock and how to get there?

Lion Rock lays in Kowloon Island. If you decided to go there by MTR, I’m wishing you luck because the walk is crazy far from MTR (Wong Tai Sin) to the beginning of the trail. If you stopped at Wong Tai Sin MTR, please hail a cab and go to Fat Jong Temple. We took cab from central area to the trail entrance (going up from Fat Jong Temple). The cab driver refused to drive up at first but we assured him that there’s motor road all the way up (which is true), so he drove all the way up to the trail entrance.

Here’s the entrance of the trail! Angel, Olive, Tannia, Me and Renny!

How long is the hike and is it difficult?

The hike started with a very boring stairs surrounded by trees for about 15 minutes, and then the view turned to be nicer when we reached higher altitude. We stopped a lot of times of pictures and idiotic video making.

I had great times and I believe my friends did as well because they loved making fun of how ‘weak’ I am. I complain a lot when I hike. I hate the burning feeling on my chest and throat whenever I climb up (probably the abnormal ECG test thingy) but I love views from above (not from the edge), so I guess I have to suck it up.

The difficult part started from here, look at the photo below. When you see that, behold your guts, it’s all burning thighs from there.

Get ready!

It took about solid 20 minutes full of heavy breath and burning quads oil we reach the top. The view was awesome, it’s a view of Hong Kong. You can see the old airport which runway turned into a park from the top. Move to another rock formation, you will see the pretty bridge that links Kowloon Island to Tsing Yi. Pretty amazing.

My favorite shot!

If you like looking out to cities, this is a must!

If you’re wondering why it’s named Lion Rock, it’s named that way because of the rock formation that actually looks like a head of a lion. Use some imagination now!

The lion head is the rock behind us, imagine the eye of the lion is the deep line above my head.

The descent trail was more fun than the ascend, there were more variety of rocks and paths which made it less boring. It took us about 2 hours up and down the Lion Rock, including photo taking time, and believe me, we did a looof of that. Personally I don’t think Lion Rock is a difficult trail, however it could be very exhausting if you’re unfit. And get ready to be sore the next day. Oh I love the sore feeling, judge me.

So what did we do at night after hiking? Guess what? We partied till morning! Haha! We celebrated Renny’s birthday with an amazing Thai meal and continued to dance the night away. After all, we didn’t meet very often, so we wanted to make every moments count.

If you’re visiting Hong Kong and looking for an outdoor activity, I really recommend hiking to Lion Rock, of course it would be more fun doing it with friends. :) Good luck and have fun!

Cheers,

May, finally free from work deadline and up for more adventures.

Seoul in the eyes of a non K-pop fan

This is the first time I’m travelling during festive season (Christmas and New Year) so this is also the first time I paid expensive ticket to go somewhere. I usually go to random destinations depends on the ticket price, so I would start a blog post bragging about how cheap my flight ticket is. Not this time. :(

We got a free one-way ticket to Bangkok to start holiday with and I didn’t want to be stuck in Bangkok for so long, so we decided to fly to Seoul, South Korea. We knew nothing about South Korea or Seoul in particular. There are only 2 things people tell me from their Seoul Trip:

One is everything related to K-Pop or K-drama. Two is how cheap their cosmetics are.

Both turned out to be the highlights of Seoul. I’m not a fan of K-Pop, I know nothing about K-pop and K-drama, so point number one is invalid for me; but point number two… oh boy, are they right about it.

Looking at Seoul from a non Kpop fan perspective, I must say that Seoul is interesting, Seoul is hip, Seoul is loud, but it is lack of personality. City is not an ideal destination for me, so I have certain expectation when I visit cities. I don’t say I’m disappointed with Seoul, no. Seoul has so many things to offer. I visited Seoul in winter, the most harsh weather of all, and I still enjoyed it. But if you want to talk about soul of the city, Seoul doesn’t have it. It’s not like London or Tokyo who will give you goosebumps when you explore them. Oh I really love London, London left such an impression for me. You don’t have to like a city to know its personality. Hong Kong for example, has a personality. Not the personality that I love though. I don’t fancy Hong Kong, I visited once and had returned yet. I will probably will return because my best friend lives there, not because I like it. But anyway, there is a possibility I found Seoul a bit boring because I visited during winter, it was super cold. Maybe I’ll visit again someday when the weather is warmer.

Cranky me, kept asking to go inside because it was super cold.

Cranky me, kept asking to go inside because it was super cold.

I don’t know if this makes sense. So to cut it short, Seoul has lack of personality. Contrasting to its name, Seoul is soulless. I just felt some of the part of it is artificial. It doesn’t make this statement true. It’s just my opinion.

I took a stroll at MyeongDong and totally understood why beauty products competition in Korea is very steep. There are millions of different products, you will get lost following the trends.

img_2096

Then I went to Hongdae, which is my favourite spot in Seoul, it’s full of hype and so alive. Youngsters perform in the street, clubs are loud during Friday night, Food is cheaper than the other hip neighbourhoods, beer is cheap and stores are full of promotion and discounts. Hongdae is the little sister of Orchard Road who is in meth.

But it is in Bukchon Hanook Village, I found a gem in this busy and loud city. This small village full of traditional hanook houses is just so beautiful and picturesque. It’s an Oasis in this newly developed country’s capital city. While walking around, I imagined how people lived there a thousand years ago, during spring when the flowers bloomed, must be a luxury.

Picturesque view. You have no idea the struggle I had to take this angle.

Picturesque view. You have no idea the struggle I had to take this angle.

A sticky tripod and an effort to get a good angle. Voila!

A sticky tripod and an effort to get a good angle. Voila!

We planned to visit Nami Island cause the place popped up repeatedly in everyone’s blog, so it seemed like a must-visit place. However after further reading about the small island which rocketed to fame out of a K-Drama and the fact that I couldn’t survive more than 15 minutes in the outdoor winter wind, we decided not to go.

The thing that I adore the most from Seoul as a visitor is their superb transportation system. One card for everything, just like in Singapore. Their MRT is clean, fast, reliable, just awesome. We took the bus 1 time and had the same good experience. While the best thing about Seoul is… THE FOOD, the spicy food to be precise. Just like so many Indonesians, Bandi and I love spicy food and Koreans mean it when they say it’s spicy. Their spicy is not a gimmick, it really is! If you know the famous Samyang spicy ramen noodle, there are a lot of Samyang’s spiciness equivalent in Seoul.

Dry trees during winter can be a nice prop too. The gloominess creates such drama.

Dry trees during winter can be a nice prop too. The gloominess creates such dramatic effect.

The only good thing about visiting Seoul during winter is the fact that you can go skiing, which we did. It was our first time skiing so we bought a package from Expedia for a day trip to Elysian Ski Resort which includes English speaking beginner’s ski lesson. The journey from Seoul to Elysian Resort took about one and a half hour, providing no traffic jam. Sadly we were stuck in the traffic when we returned to Seoul. It’s a big city after all, traffic jam is part of it.

This is so heavy, ugh! I was sweating inside.

This is so heavy, ugh! I was sweating inside.

Selfie in goggles!

Selfie in goggles!

Overall, I enjoyed Seoul. I probably would love enjoy it more if I visited during spring because it was so cold when I visited (-5 degrees for the love of god, I thought I would die) and most of the trees were dead. I don’t usually go shopping when I travel, but there is no way you visit Seoul without buying their skincare products. And surprisingly it was fun to shop skincare. I am vain too afterall. Judge me.

Check my vlog about Seoul here:

Bandi and traveled to East Java during the Chinese new year break, together with Bandi’s family. It was one hell of journey. I hope I’ll have time to write it and edit the blog because Q1 is the busiest time of my work. For now until April, I will take a travel-off period because I really need to work. Help me god, I will have some time off here and there so I can do some simple blogging.

Talk to you guys next time!

Cheers,

May, literally typing this while sitting on the toilet bowl.

Personal: We’re gonna keep going.

I wanna travel for the rest of my life. I hope this is not a phase. I hope this is not “travel as much as you want before you have kids because once you do, then it’s over” kind of thing. Bandi shares the same vision with me and I know that’s what’s important.

Family means no harm, we know that. We fully understand that as Asian kids, we have to take our family as consideration in our decision, no matter how liberal our thinkings are. Trust me, we could’ve just gone, resign from our jobs, withdraw our investment and just go. But we don’t do that, do we? we balance our love to travel with being good asian kids. Working, have stable income, sending money home and make our parents proud. That’s the only way to make Asian parents proud. Oh and yeah, to have baby, which is a little overdue now.

I was not that kid of person, I do care about my mom, but I used to not care about what she thinks of me, but Bandi has thought me that you can have strong character and still make other people happy, that I should not be extremely stubborn, that idealism can be flexible.

Bandi made me a better person, I’m still selfish, I’m just less selfish. And together, we are good. I feel it. With him, I feel good. I feel that we can actually go around the world, with our own timeline, with our own ways.

And we never think to actually stop having income and travel around the world like hippies, because everyone has different way to travel. We’re just taking our time, one city at a time. We still want to travel comfortably, but still on budget though. We don’t spend much money on other things, really. I don’t have any other hobbies that cost a lot of money. I borrow books from library, I stop buying them, and I write. Bandi plays football with his friends, which doesn’t cost anything, really. So, how come we have so much money for traveling? Because we don’t spend money for other stuffs.

I wanna travel for the rest of my life. There are so many things in this world I wanna see, there are so many places in this world I wanna visit. I don’t wanna stop now, I don’t wanna stop when we have kids, I don’t wanna stop when we get old. I don’t wanna stop ever. I wanna keep living life like this. This is not a phase, this is not a “hobby before kids”, this is our life. When we stop travel, we stop living.

And when we have kids, we will still travel. How? I don’t know, we’ll figure it out. There were so many things happened in my life which I didn’t know how to handle, but I figured it out. Now with Bandi, I’m sure we can do it. We have figured out so many odd things. We survived freaking long distance relationship, so I guess we could always try, as long as we’re together.

Nothing is being on hold because we still want to travel. we are not “still want to travel”, we are traveling for life, not still, not then. We’re gonna keep going, because we love it.

Malang, East Java, Indonesia, 31 January 2017.

May.

Serendipity called Jeju

Don’t you just love it when you have a fortunate accident, an unexpected wonder, a serendipity? That’s Jeju Island for me. I almost skipped this small island, but thankfully a friend of mine insisted I had to visit it because I would love it.  He persistently asked me to go. And yes, he’s right. I LOVED IT. I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT. I left a piece of my heart there. Yes, to that extent.

To be fair, I always love island destination and I love road-tripping, so going around an island in a car usually ends wonderfully for me. We rented a car in Jeju and grabbed a local map, the rest was history. We got to see so many wonderful things in Jeju and oh boy, this island is a gem!

The first thing across my mind whenever I found an awesome destination is to share it with the world and to tell everyone to come. So, here are the things in Jeju that I absolutely love and would experience again when I come back and hopefully inspire you to visit:

1. Staying in this cute and humble airbnb called “Sun Story”

I’m so thankful we stayed in this airbnb. The place was just so comfy and unique, and oh the owners are a happy couple who were so kind and welcoming. I happened to break their shower head and they did not fine me -ha! They also recommended us to hike Oreums, which brings us to the next reason why I will definitely come back to Jeju for more!

img_2293

The off-path humble bed and breakfast.

Surviving winter

Surviving winter

Imagine chilling during summer on that hammock.

Imagine chilling during summer on that hammock.

2. Hiking the Oreums

Oreums are like hills, big vast hills. Hiking the oreums is like bushwalking in Australia. One of my favourite thing to do while traveling. Yongnuni Oreum means dragon hill, and if we could take a look from the top, the oreum looks like a sleeping dragon. The track was easy and good to walk on with family. Bandi and I had a very good time hiking this Oreoum during winter, it was a wonderful weather and wonderful view from the top! Definitely something to do if you’re in Jeju!

Let's go!

Let’s go!

What an incredible start of the year!

What an incredible start of the year!

3. Eating Black Pork BBQ in this Ajumma’s Restaurant

We didn’t know the name of the restaurant, but Bandi read in someone’s blog that Running Man had an episode there. Eating black pork BBQ with Kimchi Soup and purple rice, surrounded by ten side dishes is one of the best meal I’ve ever had in my life. Each of them create such a beautiful symphony in my mouth and everything they say about Korean BBQ made sense. (P.s I didn’t fancy Korean BBQ until that meal in that Ajumma’s restaurant) Turned out you just need to go to the right place. If you want to visit this place by public transport, I cannot help you because I don’t know how to type the name, but if you’re driving a car, just key in this phone number (784-1007) to your GPS. Just park on the road side, the store looks like this. You’re welcome.

I don’t know what’s its name or write it in alphabets, but this is how the restaurant looks like!

A wonderful meal experience and one of the best dishes we've ever had in our life!

A wonderful meal experience and one of the best dishes we’ve ever had in our life!

4. Play on the beach and in the clear turquoise water

We did not get to do this because it was winter when we visited. Even though in the picture it looked sunny and warm, it was 7 degrees. The closest we got to the water was this boat canoeing in the bay. We didn’t so much cash left but when we were driving around and saw people canoeing happily in this sunny winter weather, I wanted too, so we stopped over, parked the car and asked how much it was. It was 10,000 won for 30 minutes per person and they accepted credit card, yay! They have credit card machine everywhere, so we could be conveniently over-budget.

Row row row your boat!

Row row row your boat!

I think it's safe for Brownie to plan in the water during winter because of those layer of fats. LOL

I think it’s safe for Brownie to plan in the water during winter because of those layer of fats. LOL

5. Chill in the café watching the sun sets in the blue sea.

Bonmal Cafe. Remember this name and visit when you’re in Jeju. It was a shame that we didn’t get to spend longer time chilling here because we got to go to the airport.

A very instagrammable cafe

A very instagrammable cafe

Great coffee too!

Great coffee too!

Great place to chill!

Great place to chill!

6. Drive around the island

Hands down, my most favourite thing in life is road-tripping (so ironic because I can’t drive –  so I’m stuck with Bandi for the rest of my life), and it’s even more fun road-tripping in an island, because you’ve got to go back in the circle to the place where you started, just like coldplay song, “Oh let’s go back to the start…” Yeah, I’m dramatic that way.

7. OSULLOC Green Tea Museum (and Green Tea Ice Cream FTW)

This place is not overrated! You must have heard about this place somewhere or someone must have mentioned it before because this place is famous, and it is famous with good reasons! Yes the green tea museum is not so big, but I could still get to learn some stuffs about tea culture in Korea and do you know that green tea and black tea are from the same plants, the difference is the process of roasting! Well, I didn’t know that, I always thought they were from different plants! I also got to see the beautiful tea plantation (just like the one we have in Bogor, East Java, Indonesia). They sell high quality teas too, just like TWG, but much cheaper. I don’t understand why people have to choose to be a coffee person or a tea person, why can’t I just be both? I love both teas and coffees! I want to be both! Aaaaakkkk! So yeah, their tea is amazing. I bought some for my mom and mother in law because… who doesn’t love a good cup of tea, right?

The small but informative green tea museum!

The small but informative green tea museum!

Tea plantation!

Tea plantation!

None of these are overrated. Truly delicious products of the humble green tea.

None of these are overrated. Truly delicious products of the humble green tea.

8. Hiking Mt Hallasan!

Okay, we did not get to do this because it was winter and I would die going up to a mountain while winter. I was dying climbing in summer, how do you think I would survive winter climbing? But the next time I visit Jeju, I will conquer Mt. Halia! This is a promise!

9. Watching sunrise in Seongsan summit.

Climbing up to the Seongsan Summit (or most of people call sunrise peak) is not difficult and it’s one of the must-to-do things in Jeju. We woke up very early to watch the first sunrise in Seongsan, but little did we know, thousands of people wanted the same thing, so the hiking trails were packed with people and we were not allowed to continue to the peak and were redirected to another peak. We stayed for 15 minutes only to realise how chaotic it would be once the sun rose and everyone would leave on the same time and the road would be jammed. So we left early and watched the sunrise on some random people’s ranch, together with this horsey. :p

img_2195

10. Visiting all the wacky but informative themed museums

From Hello Kitty land to Sex Museums, Jeju offers all kind of different and unique themed exhibitions. The most famous would be the Teddy Bear museums, which we didn’t go because we chose to go to the Love Land, which is a park that celebrates all things sexual. Oh la la! Yes, I ditched the huggable Ted for some dick sculptures. Judge me.

Other themed park/museum that probably suit your fetish-ahem, I mean interest, is Maze Park, Stone parks full of penis-shaped stone, mini land (full of mini size of world’s famous buildings/landscapes), K-Drama museum, Ripley’s believe it or not museum, glass museum or Women’s divers museum.

Guess what?

Guess what?

And…. the greatest reasons of all… Jeju is feminist and environmentalist.

Jeju has long history of strong women. Jeju is well-known for their women’s divers and women from Jeju are strong and independent. My kind of women, wink. This fact just made me fall in love even more with Jeju.

Jeju uses renewable energy! Looking at those pretty windmills when we drove around island made me happy. It’s really the new time, it’s the time of renewable energy!

And of those things I listed still didn’t convince you to pack your bag and go to Jeju, I hope this clip I put up together will. Enjoy!

Cheers,

May, missing Jeju already.

Personal update and about aspiring in youtube.

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

hiiiii

It seems like forever since I updated personal matter in this blog. My life has been a whirlwind of roller-coaster this year and I did not really have time to sit down and reflect and actually write what I’m thinking. Even now I wanted to open my laptop and blogged about my personal update, I hesitated. I just feel like the older I get, the less trust I have with the world. I didn’t feel like pouring out my life to the internet anymore, like I used to when I was young, when blogging was carefree. As you grow older you expect yourself to be in certain standard. To be wise, to act decent, to just be a successful human being according to your own definition.

But I guess, I’m nowhere near that, and I don’t want to restrict myself from being a kid I’ve always been. I always have a young heart, wild and free. I know that for sure for a very very VERY long time.

So here I am… in the intersection of thirty something life.

2016 is crazy, crazy beautiful and crazy sad. I worked hard, I actually gave a damn about my career, which was very weird for me because I never see myself working in the office forever. This happened because I have a great team, great colleagues and I believe in the company I work for, Schneider Electric which is doing something good for the earth, renewable energy, hear hear! So I actually care about my work and my career.

I played hard too, wasted in some party, went out with friends and had really good times with my friends. I traveled to places I’ve never been before, I freaking climbed mount Fuji.

And I learned hard too. I lost my brother and my father. And it broke my heart in pieces in the way I could never imagined before. It was then I truly learned what being strong mean. I always thought I was strong… hell no, I was still learning to be strong. It’s not about not to cry, it’s about not to break. You can cry, you can brief, you can be angry with the world, but you can’t break.

I realized life is so short. How well will I spend mine?

You have no idea how long I’ve struggled about what I want to do with my life. Funny the way I said it like I know now what I want to do. I have a plan even though it’s still quite blurry now.

You guys know I love to take photos and videos and I love to travel and these things are great combination, right? I’ve been making videos about my travel and I even started vlogging when I was in Norway. I just felt that it was very brave to throw yourself out there so people can see you, watch you and comment about you. I know it sounds stupid, but it’s true. Putting youtube videos for public consumption is brave, and did I mention fun? Sometimes when I’m in the train I would just daydream about things I would love to shoot. Like sunrise, snow, animals running in the wild. I hope you can understand what I mean… I started to accept myself for what I actually like and enjoy doing even though it’s seems obscure now. I like the whole process, shooting, editing, publishing.

So two weeks ago I invited my friends to create video which does not have any relation with travel at all. I wanted to know if I only enjoy shooting scenery or I enjoy shooting in general. It was a two and a half hour shoot and the editing part was super long! It took me 16 hours to edit! And guess what, I had fun! And I wanted more. And I have sooooooooo many ideas in my head about what I want to do next.

Of course I will not leave my first love which is blogging, oh I love writing! But I will concentrate more on making videos because I want to learn more about shooting and editing. Of course I still need to learn to write too because hey, we’re learning everyday in our life. :)

Please search “Bay Travels” in youtube. That’s my youtube channel, subscribe if you like it! I have some great plan about it and I want you all to be part of it! Please leave a comment if you guys want me to shoot you and give me some ideas about videos, we can work together! :)

Here’s the video that I was talking about, 16 hours of editing. What a fun project. :)

And I finally finished my Okinawa Vlog, I cannot emphasize anymore how much I love Okinawa!

I’m going to Changi Aiport in 1 hour to travel! I will be back in new year and will be crazy busy until April because of work. I hope I still can squeeze some time to blog and vlog and keep the ideas rolling.

Thanks for reading this til the end, it’s been almost 10 years of online blogging with wordpress and I will never stop blogging! High five all of the bloggers out there!

And of course, wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

Cheers,

May, excited.

You don’t

You don’t always get what you want in life. The moment you accept it is the moment you become an adult.

You don’t always get the answer from your questions.
You don’t always see the reason behind every actions.
You don’t always venture from your risks.

You don’t always get the people you love to stay.
Oh honey, I hope you do, but in life, you don’t.
Life is so fragile, so short, so priceless.
All the unknowns and the unsure are the ones that give life meaning, letting you try without insurance.
Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you fail.
Sometimes you try again, sometimes you let go.
You don’t always know, dear and you don’t need to always agree with your heart. But follow your heart as it will never be wrong.

It hurts sometimes, I know. But as long as you’re still alive, the pain is still bearable. You’ll be alright, deary.

You’ll be fine before you know it.

You don’t always get to feel the way you wanted to.

You don’t always understand what’s going on in your heart or your head.

You don’t always agree with what you feel or what’s been filling your mind.

The thing is, most of the times you’re trying to fight what’s uncomfortable, when you should’ve just embraced it. Let it sink in, and if it hurts you, then let it hurt you and it will make you stronger.

Nothing in this life, NOTHING should make you feel less. You are you, just stronger, wiser, better, tougher.

And don’t forget to have fun. That’s the only way life should be. Fun.

2016.12.09

I will be happy again.

“Death is what gives life meaning, to know your days are numbered and your time is short.” I heard this sentence in Dr. Strange movie, a week after my Dad passed away and 10 months after my brother passed away.

I’m not good with grieving. I guess nobody is. Death is certain, but timing is relative. I was still healing my broken heart of losing a brother so early in my life, when I received a news that my Dad passed away so suddenly one night, because of heart attack. I broke down and cry. I was shaky and I didn’t know what to do. The first thing I did was opening my whatsapp chat window with my Dad. He just sent me a video two days before and I did not reply him… because I was such an asshole for not having the time to watch the 3 minutes video. And then that moment, I opened the video. It was an advertisement about a Dad and his daughter. The Dad fetched the daughter to school when she was young, just like my Dad and I. The Dad went to hospital and thankfully, the Dad survived. The Dad then walked the daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. At the end of the advertisement, there was a message saying to tell your father that you love them.

I did not.

It hurt me so so so much because I did not have second chance. I wish I did. Oh how I fuckin wish I did.

I flew back home as soon as the sun rose, and went straight to the funeral home. I met my Dad, he was lifeless. I couldn’t believe how painful it was to see him lifeless. I know he knows that I love him. I’m very very sure he does. I always have loved him and I will always love him. Death doesn’t end relationship. I believe both of us know it.

I don’t want to live my life with regrets, I want to forgive myself for not texting him back. I want to be happy again, because I know that’s what he wants too.

That day, when we sent him away and spread his ashes to the sea, I felt a little piece of my heart dissolved. A part of me just left. I will never be the same, life will never be the same again. You know when you miss someone and you can just call or text or fly home? Now I cannot do that anymore. I can’t just call or text when I miss him, because he’s no longer exist in this world.

And oh god, how difficult it is to understand this concept, that my Dad no longer exist, that nothing… NOTHING could reverse this fact. He is dead. He is no longer there. His room is empty now, there were only his things, his photos, his journals, but not him.

It takes some time (3 weeks) for me to finally write this, to finally let the reality sinks in. I have lost a father, whom I dearly loved so so so SO MUCH, whom sacrificed a lot of things in his life for me, for the daughter who didn’t text him back.

My Dad… was the one who taught me how to write journal, cause he wrote one too. It was the beginning of my love affair with books as well and with writings. My Dad… taught me how to draw, before he had a stroke that paralyzed right part of his body. My Dad… was my hero. My Dad could do anything. ANYTHING.

He cheated death so many times, I thought he would live forever. I took it for granted. I thought I had time.

That’s our problem nowadays. We thought we had time.

We didn’t.

We spent so much time and money buying stuffs, which will not mean anything once we’re dead. I spent the whole day cleaning up my Dad’s room, I threw 90% of stuffs from his room. I only kept his journal, his sketch books, his letters, his birthday cards, and his photo albums. Those are memories. The rests are trash.

My Dad… had taught me a lot of things and passed me values all of his life, even after he was gone.

I will be a better person for you Papa. And I will be happy again. Not now, not today… but I will be.

file-17-11-16-3-18-06-pm