Experience Bagan!

Bagan is an ancient city located in southwest of Mandalay, Burma. It can be considered as one of the world’s greatest archeological sites—more than 2,000 temples can be found here.

The weather in Bagan is generally hot but during the months of November to February the temperature can drop towards the night. When travelling during this time, it will be best to bring a jacket to keep you warm during the night.

1. CATCH THE SUNRISE AND SUNSET:

Our guide brought us in one temple and asked us to climb up. There’s a crowd already gathered on top by the time we got there. We waited until we witnessed how the horizon changed as the sun was rising. It’s really really REALLY lovely!!

My friends and I spent 2D2N exploring Bagan. Here are a few things you can do during your trip in Bagan:

Catch either the sunrise or sunset or if you can do both it’s better. I’m confident that it will leave you in awe. Plus, it’s Instagram-worthy. *wink wink*

We literally didn’t want to go down even after the sun had already risen. We can’t get enough of the view. On a side note, I think climbing temples and pagodas is already banned by the government as climbing can be damaging to these very old monuments.

2. FLY OVER BAGAN:

There’s another way to see the sunrise—it will cost you around S$400. You can opt for riding a hot air balloon. The view and experience—worth every money! For our hot air balloon ride we chose Balloons Over Bagan. And our pilot was Mike Petteford. Thanks Mike for making our ride an unforgettable one.

The Classic Balloon Flight package includes transport to and from our hotel to the launch and landing site, a celebratory glass of champagne, some light breakfast, postcard and a certificate.

The view on top is amazing!!!

Enjoy some champagne and snacks upon landing. #ThisIsTheLife

We saw this little girl selling her drawings. And being an artist, I just felt the urge to encourage and support her talent. And honestly, they are quite nice. Her name is Imani, which means faith. I hope she grows up into one excellent artist and person. And maybe get to meet her again.

3. CONNECT WITH THE LOCALS:

Burmese are one of the nicest people I’ve come across with. So go and take time to visit one of their village and interact with them. My friends and I spent half day touring around Minnanthu Village where we got to experience the following:

  • Experiencing their livelihood
    Weaving, making and selling Cheroot (Burmese cigar), and sand painting are a few of the things they do for living.
  • Applying Thanaka Sunscreen
    You’ll notice that almost everyone have a yellowish-white marks on their faces. It’s a natural sunscreen they use which is called Thanaka. The powder comes from grinding Thanaka wood on a Kyauk pin stone. Then water is added to produce a paste. Aside from protecting you from the sun, it also has a cooling effect and tighten pores. It smells fresh and clean as well.
  • Talking with the locals
    Got to meet some locals while we’re touring around the village and some herd of goats and a dog as well!

4. PAGODA & TEMPLE HOPPING:

Bagan’s archaeological zone is such a big place and exploring it by foot is impossible. So there are three modes of transportation you can choose from—E-bike / Bicycle, Horse Cart and Private Van.

  • E-bike / Bicycle
    Renting a bike is the cheapest way to go but it will be hardest since most roads are rocky and uphill. The best choice is the E-bike, if only you know how to ride something like a motorcycle. We wanted to try this one and go around to see the pagodas but our schedule was tight so we didn’t managed to.
  • Private Van
    Comfortable but you don’t get to have that genuine rural experience and it’s the most expensive among the three.
  • Horse Cart
    This one is a popular choice among tourists. The only downside is that sometimes it can get uncomfortable especially when passing on bumpy roads. Among the three, we end up choosing this.

Please leave a comment down below if you have tried other things other than the ones I’ve mentioned. And I hope you have an amazing trip to Bagan.

Day 5 & 6 — Taichung/Taipei, Taiwan

Day 5 Itinerary: 

Chun Sui Tang | Miyahara | Fengjia Night Market

Off to Taichung!

We took the Taipei to Taichung High Speed Rail (THSR), one 2-way trip costs around TWD1,400. This is the fastest way you can take to Taichung. After about 40 minutes, we arrived in Taichung.

We got distracted by this bakery on our way to Chun Shui Tang — the store who started the whole Bubble tea / Milk tea craze! Anyway, those breads looked so inviting — wasn’t able to resist it, we end up buying. Not complaining though, their breads are good!

After the long search, we finally found Chun Shui Tang‘s pioneer outlet in Taichung. They have other outlets but we had to go where it all started. Just had to!

Each of us ordered our own milk tea. I think it’s the most satisfying thing to do after walking and searching for gem. Personally, I like their milk tea, it’s not too sweet or bland, just right! They also offer dishes that you can munch while drinking your bubble tea.

If you’re fond of sending postcards, they have a post box where you can buy milk tea design postcards and drop it there. There’s also stamping station, where you can stamp the post cards before sending them or you can just stamp any of your belongings for remembrance.

Chun Shui Tang
No. 30, Siwei St, West District, Taichung City, Taiwan 403


Our next stop which is Miyahara.

But first, some family groufie while wandering the rainy streets of Taichung.

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Miyahara is a shop that sells ice cream, tea and lots of pastries that are wrapped in all sorts of pretty packaging. They are ideal to give out as gifts. The interior of the shop is really cool! It somewhat have a Hogwarts feel to it. Well sort of…

Oh just FYI, their cheesecake is the bomb! I love it! You have to taste it!

You also have to try the ice cream, it’s quite popular among locals and tourists — the queue says it all. While waiting for your turn, you can think about what flavour to get as they offer A LOT of flavours!

Miyahara
No. 20, Zhongshan Rd, Central District, Taichung City, Taiwan 400


Our last stop: Fengjia Night Market.

We strategically picked out a hotel that’s just walking distance to the night market. So we can spend more hours checking the shops.

As we we’re walking around, we spotted these wall arts:

I was like! “Ermegherd! TOTORO! Best day ever!!!” LOL We spent some time posing on these walls. They also have Minions and other wall art which I wasn’t able to take photos because I was busy ogling at Totoro. I love Totoro BTW, but I think you already can tell as I have said the word “Totoro” multiple times already. Ha Ha


Day 6 Itinerary:

Caihongjuan Village (Rainbow Village) | Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Before heading back to Taipei, we toured around Caihongjuan Village. We’re lucky enough that the weather is cleared up because it was raining since we arrived in Taichung.

You will meet a person wearing an Iron Man mask and rainbow coloured outfit hence, he’s called Rainbow Iron Man. He will gladly take photos / selfies with you — an added entertainment to this colourful place.

Managed to meet and had a picture with Mr Huang Yung-Fu, the artist himself! He was so sweet and accommodating and cute (look at his V-pose).

The village itself is not that big but it’s one of those must visit places in Taichung. And it can really brighten someone’s mood. Just look at the place.

And our final stop:

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The gloomy and rainy weather is back by the time we arrived in Taipei.

To inject some fun to an overcast weather, we did these sort of silly things.

CKS Memorial Hall at night.

‘Til my next trip!

 Day 1 & 2   |   Day 3 & 4

Day 3 & 4 — Taipei, Taiwan

Day 3 Itinerary: 

National Palace Museum | Golden Waterfall | Jiufen Old Street

I won’t be able to upload artworks from the National Palace Museum because my memory card got corrupted. Anyway, the main reason why we went there was to see the Jadeite Cabbage but unfortunately, the time we visited they moved it somewhere else. I know right? Sucks! Luckily, we managed to see the Meat-shaped stone. It looks so real that when you see it, you start craving for Dong Po Rou (Braised Pork Belly). For more info about this artwork go here.

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Who wouldn’t be hungry after seeing that? LOL We had our lunch at the Xianjufu Cafe. It’s located on the 1st Floor East Side of the Main Building (Exhibition I). Let the feast begin!

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Next stop: Golden Waterfall and Jiufen Old Street. We didn’t expect that there will be a road closure due to the heavy traffic. A lot of people are going there since it’s a holiday, it’s the first day of the year. Vehicles aren’t allowed to go up anymore so we decided to walk to the Golden Waterfall first. It’s an uphill trek but the view is worth seeing!

Finally, we were able to reach Jiufen after the unexpected delay. If you are a fan of Hayao Miyazaki, you’re aware that the movie Spirited Away took inspiration from this town. Jiufen will literally transport you to another era, this place is enchanting! As crowded and far as it is, I think it’s still worth visiting.

We managed to try the Bawan Dumplings and Bao Bing. Bawan dumpling is a glutinous dumpling with red meat filling. I think some people call it red dumplings because it’s red and it’s a dumpling. Ha ha

I’m not a fan of the taste, though. x.x What I love is the Bao Bing or shaved ice dessert. It is usually topped with red azuki beans, mung beans, taro balls, peanuts, soya beancurd and finish it by pouring some milk over it. Yum!

A very tiring but satisfying day. Excited for Day 4!


Day 4 Itinerary: 

Niu Ba Ba | The Red House | Ximending Night Market | Taipei 101

Starting our day with hearty beef noodle soup. It’s not just any beef noodle soup, it’s from Niu Ba Ba Restaurant. They serve the most expensive beef noodle in the world according to World Record Academy. Consider trying it out when you’re visiting Taipei. There are six different reasons for the price – quality of beef, custom cuts, freezing technique, soup blending technique, noodle quality, and minimal seasoning.

If you are not willing to pay $324USD for a bowl of beef noodles, they also carry “ordinary beef noodles” which costs around NT$500 – NT$1500.

And here it is! My very own beef noodles! I didn’t get the most expensive one. I liked everything about it. The beef was soft and the soup…it was beefy goodness!

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Niu Ba Ba (牛爸爸牛肉麵)
Address: 149 Minquan East Road Sec. 6, Taipei
台北市民權東路6段149號(國防醫學院大門旁)
Getting there: Take the metro – Bannan Line (blue) to Kunyang Station. Take a bus (284, 617, 903, 645, Blue 36 or Red32) to National Defense Medical College station and alight. Niu Ba Ba is located on the left side. Click here for the Google Map location.
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 09:00pm
Telephone: +886 2 8791.7187
Website: www.beeffather.com/


Before heading to Ximending, we dropped by Le Cake for some Sun cake and pineapple tarts. Their flagship store is in Jiufen but we went to the Taipei branch. I wrote some info below on how you can get to there. I will share all of the pastries and goodies I got from Taiwan on a separate post.

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Le Cake Taipei branch (李儀餅店)
Address: Taipei Main Station, Underground Mall, Unit 11-2B
Getting there: Located in the Underground Mall of Taipei Main Station. It is near Z3 and Z6 exit.
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 09:00pm
Telephone: +886 2 2331.3017
Website: http://www.lecake.com.tw


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We checked out The Red House first when you go out Ximen MRT station. Since it’s nearby the exit, it’s quite convenient to go there first before heading to Ximending night market.

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Milk tea craving satisfied from50嵐! Yum!

We had Japanese dinner at Ximending. Food’s good and many people are eating here. It must be a good sign right?

Our last stop for the day: Taipei 101 Observatory.

Just a little trivia, building dampers originated from Japan, where there’s frequent earthquakes. Damper works by isolating the building from the earth, which creates relative shift that produces a counterforce, effectively reducing earthquake energy.

And to cap off the night, we had some Mango Diamond Ice from Big Tom. I know the weather’s freezing, but who wouldn’t say no to this?

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Day 1 & 2   |   Day 5 & 6

Day 1 & 2 – Taipei, Taiwan

Day 1 Itinerary:

Flight from Singapore to Taoyuan Airport | Shilin Night Market

This post is long overdue but I’ll post it anyway. Just because.

The yearly family trip destination for 2015…Taiwan! It’s that time of the year to bring out the sweaters. Oh yeah! Sweater weather here we come!

Upon checking in, we got our Hello Kitty print boarding passes (had no idea that we’re flying on a Sanrio airbus). So psyched and shocked when we boarded the plane. **Hello Kitty fan over here.** 

Everything in the plane is Sanrio-fied (pillows, utensils, monitors, everything!) What an exciting way to start our trip.

The flight from Singapore to Taipei takes about 4h25mins so I managed to squeeze in two in-flight movies—Hotel Transylvania 2 and A Wonderful Nightmare.

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By the time, we landed in Taipei it’s already past 8 in the evening. But that doesn’t stop us from going to Shilin Night Market*. 

*TIP: Go there on a weekend, more shops are open compared on a weekday.

There are a lot of cute stuff you can find here. Lookie! Star Wars inspired Minions—Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, Stormtrooper, Yoda and R2-D2.

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Ending the night with some Taiwanese snacks—pancake filled with sweet potato and cheese, chicken feet, salt & pepper crablets and many moooore! Get ready to eat, shop and eat while you’re in Taiwan.

Day 2 Itinerary:

Tien Lai Resort & Spa | Yangmingshan National Park | Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Rise and shine people!

We stroll around the neighbourhood first to get some breakfast before going to Tien Lai Resort in Yangmingshan. I ordered some Fried chicken cutlet and sausage noodles with mushroom sauce. Yum!

Tummy’s happy, hot spring here we come!

Went to Yangminshan National Park afterwards since it’s near Tien Lai. Go to Xiaoyoukeng (小油坑) as well when you’re in YMSNP. I guess the view will be nicer during summer or spring when the weather’s not gloomy.

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We decided to watch the NYE fireworks show at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Look at those people waiting! If you plan on watching the show in the future, be prepared with the amount of crowd. It’s nice to bring some mat or cardboard where you can sit on. Because placing your butt on a cold cement for a long time sucks. LOL Scarfs/blankets and hot drinks will also be helpful in keeping you warm.

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Selfies while waiting.

And the countdown begins. 5..4..3..2..1..

Happy new year!!!

Day 3 & 4   |   Day 5 & 6

Majestic Mt. Pinatubo

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I’m psyched to share my first hiking adventure with you. Yey! I’m no expert, so if you’re looking for pro-tips, you won’t find it here. But stay with me, I’m sure you can pick something useful—or not. Kidding!

Btw, this happened last February. Soooo..yeah.. Super late post! Guilty as charged! O.O

Going back to the topic. Make sure to do some preps, a few weeks before the actual trek. Go for a jog or run or cycle, anything that will help in increasing your endurance and in conditioning your muscles before an intensive activity.

Things you need (or the things I brought):

  • 1L of water (our guide provided another 1L so that makes it 2L of water)
  • Towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Cap
  • Scarf
  • Snacks (I brought jelly sticks—no judging please)
  • Money (prepare small change—you need it when using the toilet)
  • Slippers / extra clothes (change to something comfy after the hike)
  • Toiletries (if you are want to take a bath after)
  • Phone / Camera (you know why)

We started our ascension around 6 in the morning, so we were able to witness the sunrise on our way. Before the actual hike, we had to ride a 4×4 for around 2 hours or less to drop us at the starting point. The ride will be bumpy and dusty, this is where the sunglasses and scarf will come in handy.

We had a quick stop at this place they called Toblerone Hill (I guess because of the shape) to take some photos and selfies.

Be prepared for a rough and rocky terrain. Do yourself a favour and make sure to wear durable shoes. And if you are planning to wear trekking sandals, do wear some socks. This will save your precious feet from blisters. Also, do not force yourself. Take your time and don’t get pressured by others’ progress. Better be safe than sorry. Take quick breaks and enjoy the view. Hiking is something that can de-stress you, so have fun and take it easy.

The real challenge was the 30minute trek to the crater but it was worth it! The view was…beyond words to describe.

When we reached the crater, it was already drizzling so the view is quite gloomy. Rain or shine I think the scene will be breathtaking. Be the judge.

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And as enticing as it is to jump into the water, swimming is prohibited. It was quite an experience and would love to go for more hiking trips. Hopefully anytime soon.

A Secret Garden

Spending most of your time around a bustling metropolis can be quite stressful. If you are longing for a peaceful break, I suggest taking some time off and get your rest at Sonya’s Garden.

Sonya’s Garden offers bed & breakfast so we planned to spend a night there. We really enjoyed everything—scenery, people and food!

Our room was Ah-Mazing! It was relaxing and just spend some me-time immersed in the sound of mother nature. The name of our cottage is Fennel.

Even the bathroom is nice.

I got a new camera, replaced my Fuji X10 with X100T. And so far, I am loooving it! All the photos in this post was taken using my new cam.Sonya's Garden7

Our stay includes a tour around their garden. Sonya’s promotes wellness so they grow organic food. And even their chickens only eats plants that grows in their garden. Ate Lonya was the one who showed us around the area.

Here are some of their homegrown produce.

This flower taste nice—sweet and tangy. They include it in their salad. I just forgot the name! If anyone knows what is this called, please let me know. Please please..Sonya's Garden11

We ended our day with a very relaxing massage. The three of us tried the Signature Sonya’s Massage (P879.00) that lasts for an hour. So relaxing. zZzZzZ….Sonya's Garden26

The next morning, we went out to do some gardening with Mang Bernie. He showed us how he plants the lettuce and some herbs. According to him, mint is the easiest herb to grow for beginners.

Upon checking out, they gave us a gift—each of us got a mint and tarragon plant. Hopefully we can grow these plants and have a lifetime supply.

For more information on Sonya’s Garden Bed & Breakfast, drop by their site.

The Bangkok Experience

I was dumbfounded by the richness of Thailand’s culture. They really did a good job with keeping their culture until this day.

Our first stop: Jim Thompson House

They have a souvenir shop where you can buy all sorts of products made with silk (scarves, bags, shirts, pouches and many more)Kriscel Go 2013 BKK Thailand-4

This wood was used in the past to transfer intricate designs to silk.Kriscel Go 2013 BKK Thailand-6

We also visited The Grand Palace and Wat Po (the famous Reclining Buddha) by riding the Chao Phraya River Cruise.

This is a good example of a photobomber. Ha haKriscel Go 2013 BKK Thailand-14

Some more shots inside the temple.

Wat Arun from a far.

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Lunch like a royal family at Blue Elephant. Lol

Chicken Curry. Yum! ლ(´ڡ`ლ)Kriscel Go 2013 BKK Thailand-33

Of course, what’s a BKK experience without going to a night market.

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MBK at night.Kriscel Go 2013 BKK Thailand-42

We also checked out the newly opened mall, Terminal 21. It’s a one floor-one concept shopping mall. The concept represents different market streets around the world. Each floor is decorated in to a well-known city streets such as Rome, Tokyo, Japan, Istanbul, etc. The toilets also differs depending on the country they represent—I checked every toilet. Lol

Artsy streets of Bangkok.

I can say, Suvarnabhumi Airport is one of the nicest airports I’ve been to.Kriscel Go 2013 BKK Thailand-44

’Til my next trip. ❤

Haven in the City

Being busy is now part of everybody’s life. But it was never wrong to stop and take a break. Let’s unwind and take a breather. Let’s visit Gardens by the Bay.

The Supertrees Grove.

You can walk around and see many fascinating stuff. Like this “floating” sculpture—Planet by Marc Quinn.

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A close-up of the Canonball Tree.Kriscel Go 2013 Singapore-145

If you don’t have anything to do at night, you really have to stay and wait for the light show (OCBC Garden Rhapsody.) It so surreal.

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You should also visit the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest while waiting for the light show.

FLOWER DOME:

These flowers looks like fairies.Kriscel Go 2013 Singapore-153

This flower is so cool. It’s leaves are grey and only the flowers have a colour. Looks photoshopped  but it’s not.

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CLOUD FOREST:

Btw, it’s cold inside the dome since they are mimicking the Cloud Forest.

If I have to choose between the two domes, I prefer the Cloud Forest just because it’s dope!

For more information about the Gardens by the Bay, visit their official site.