Nov 25, 2015

Chinese Version of Criminal Minds

Once I start, I couldn't stop.

Nay, not eating, or talking or sleeping. I am talking about starting chasing a drama. Close friends would know that I was actually a TVB drama addict. I can marathon a few episodes or even a full drama in two days. But since the last few months, I have been shifting my focus to C-dramas, chinese dramas produced by China. Haha, gotta be specific. It started when I was in Kuching following this ancient fairy mixed wushu drama, The Journey of Flower just to pass time at night and recently I am hooked to another new C-drama called 'Love Me if You Dare'. Ignore the title, it was tad too cheesy, but the drama is good considering that it's something like the chinese version of Criminal Mind and I love Criminal Minds.

And nothing will get me hooked if the lead actor is not good looking, haha. Yup, the main actor was good looking (and he was the same actor in The Journey of Flower) and with a nerdy and bizarre personality makes it more attractive to watch. The storyline so far is not bad and I found out that it was adopted from a novel.

Sigh, I miss those good old tvb dramas with good storyline and good looking actors like Mysteries of Love. Kenneth Ma was so yau yeng in that drama! Meanwhile, just gotta feast my eyes on other chinese speaking country production drama besides HK.

Ok, end of another 'wu liao' post

Nov 22, 2015

Canola Flowers in Spring @ Daejeo, Busan

The vast field of canola flowers
Canola flower is something I did not expect when I was in Korea. Instead I was expecting pink sakura flowers blooming. But to my disappointment, most of the flowers already dead by the time we reach Busan and Seoul. Basically, the trees already botak when we were in Busan but still managed to catch a glimpse in Seoul. Kind of sad and disappointed but as my friend said, why sad when I had seen the best sakura in Japan.

So I was glad that instead of the pink flowers, we caught the yellow flowers instead. Also thanks to this friend who pointed out where to catch the flowers in its full glory. We picked the best day with the best weather to see the flowers at the farm near to Busan town. It's actually quite easy to reach via the subway and it is a walking distance from the train station. You can actually see the farm from the train before approaching the station.
No tripod, so have to improvise using boxes available at the farm. 

We were lucky that the sun came out to greet us after hiding for the last few days in Busan

Looks at all the paper windmills

One of the few decent photos that my hubby managed to take

The farm reminds me of Sekinchan

We walked a bit to the canola flowers farm and since it was only 10am, the crowd had not come yet and we had the place to our own for quite some time. But the sad part was, i brought my tripod but my husband forgot to put in the tripod head, so instead of getting nice photos, I had to use the boxes and other stuff as the tripod. Was a bit sad but it did not dampened my mood to snap nice photos away.

Actually was quite impressed that my husband managed to snap some good photos of me, haha.

To get to the canola farm, take the metro line 3 and stop at Gangseo-Gu Office.

Nov 20, 2015

Missing in Action

*blows dust off my blog*....

I did not even realised that I have not written anything for the last few months, although I found a few drafts sitting or rather rotting in my notebook. Yea, I know I have not been diligently updating about what's happening in my life right now, I rather not write here as it's mostly depressing and half of the time trying to survive my insane working assignments that come one after another. Went to Kuching for a job assignment and then coupled with some issues of my condo which I was really pissed off with the neighbour downstairs making demands while he conveniently forgot that I was also the victim of him conveniently forgot that these issues should be resolved during the warranty period and not after. Which I then make myself conveniently forgot to answer his and the management calls.
Came back from Kuching and realised that I gained weight due to the constant eating and drinking of the 3 layers tea almost every other day. I just can't stop drinking this 3 layers tea with milk , tea and palm sugar which makes it even tastier. Did not realised that Kuching have quite a bit of nice food and I super love the Sarawak laksa, kolo mee and the pork satay. All located quite near to our hotel. We even tried the Kelabit food nearby the hotel.

The Kong Peah is slightly different from the Sitiawan. I personally think it's a bit oily 
The Kongsi gelap chicken rice. The owner and the chicken chopper are all tatooed

Kelabit dish.
Albeit the pricey menu, it was actually quite nice.
The restaurant is called Tribal Stove

Jul 8, 2015

Qing Xin Ling 清心嶺 @ Ipoh

Qing Xin Ling at Ipoh
So, over the weekend the photography gang decided to throw a farewell for one of the gang who is leaving for the states in a month's time. After much deliberation, we decided to head to Ipoh for the weekend, for food and for photography as requested by Bee. As she is the queen of the gang and also the one that we were celebrating, we booked two rooms at Sekeping Kong Heng which is smacked in the middle of the Ipoh old town complete with food and plenty of photography opportunities.

Initially, we did not have any idea for photography until I saw some photos from my friend who went to this place called Qing Xin Ling near to the Gunung Rapat. It's actually located quite near to a few famous temples such as Sam Poh Tong and Kek lok Tong and not too far away from the Simpang Pulai toll plaza.

Models of the day

Mirror lake

I can see a bit of Krabi plus Gui Lin 
Qing Xin Ling is located in the middle of some taman perumahan and hence it's a bit difficult to find without the GPS. We managed to reach the place at noon after stopping in Bidor for breakfast. Seriously, the food in Pun Chun restaurant is getting more expensive with the amount of mee that they gave. I would not go back and pay RM 7 for a fraction of the wan tan mee and it's not even like the best mee in the town.

The entrance fee to Qing Xin Ling cost RM 4 and they have chalets in the village which can be stayed overnight. Qing Xin Ling is more like a cultural village with lots of old antique stuff dated years back and the whole place is not very big but there's plenty of things to explore and take photo. And hence started the craze of flipping hair and turn around portrait shots. Haha. Trick that I learned in Hanoi.

Reenactment of a shop scene from the 60s

Bee basking in the attention given 

Love this shot of the gang.
Too bad I am not in the picture
We spent about 2 hours in a place taking numerous ridiculous shots and stopping at each corner, haha. The whole village is very vintage and there is even an old juke box playing oldies. We spotted so many vintage things along the way. Oh, do walk up the hill which displays most of the vintage stuff along the hill. Although it' kind of creepy some parts but it's a very good view. There's even an antique place for washing clothes.

Kind of glad that we manage to see this place and enjoyed it so much even for my non photography friend who tagged along. Most of the time, she had to be the model of the day, haha. The cultural village looks a lot like a scenery from China.  With the limestone as the background, it does have a bit of Gui Lin's vibe in it.

Those colourful houses are actually chalets

If you stayed inside the cultural village, entrance fees is free

After Qing Xin Ling, we went to the old town to check in and time for makan makan. That will be another post in another day.

Jun 19, 2015

Yonggungsa Temple 해동 용궁사 @ Busan, Korea

Ah.. I have been neglecting my blog again. I find it getting harder to sit down and really write out my travel experiences while trying to remember the details of at least how to get to the place. I wrote a summary of getting there in my itinerary but here I will share what are some of the alternatives as provided by our hotel. Mr. SON actually gave us a printed paper on various alternatives to go to this temple. I was actually toying the idea between this temple or Beomeosa but since the weather forecast to be raining whole day, we just went for this one. It's ironic that in Malaysia, I never appreciate those weather forecast as 90% of the time it is wrong but here in Korea, 100% of the time it is accurate even to the detail hourly forecast.

This temple is located by the sea and by looking at pictures from the internet, it is supposed to be a very pretty temple with nice scenery but sadly when it rained, everything looked white and foggy. Nevertheless, we went there anyway and it was so cold and I regretted not to bring a thicket jacket. yea, I am that vain as I only brought two thin nice jacket and I wanted to save my luggage space for more masks, skincare products and shopping. 

To get here we just follow the instructions from the piece of paper provided by Mr. Son and it was another 10 minutes walk into the temple. Inside the temple, there were still bits and pieces of sakura left but it was miserable to see mostly had fallen. I think I had maxed out my sakura luck in Japan last year :(

As the sky started to pour, it was getting foggy and we were so cold that we spend most of the time inside a cafeteria. We quickly take a few shots and then left the temple shivering while waiting for the bus. My plan was to catch the bus back to Dalmalji hill but after we stopped at one of the departmental store for directions, we changed our mind. The staff told us that the sakura flowers had withered and not worth going there. Ok, then let's go for shopping, haha. We went back to Nampo and start the shopping madness by buying 10,000 won bags. Seriously, the bags here are so cheap and nice and so Korean, haha. Yup, so Korean.

Jun 17, 2015

Recommended Dessert in Hanoi

One of the reason why I enjoyed Vietnam is because of the food and the pho. Ok, mainly because of the pho and the dessert. I am getting a bit nonsensical here, haha. You see, before we left for the trip, I gave the task of food to my travelmate and she is the one who dictates what and where to eat most of the time. We tried a few places but majority of the time, we just spent sitting at those small portable food stalls eating pho. I can only read pho ga as chicken pho and most of the time, we just ordered those.

But I am not gonna dwell much on pho and bun cha and those stuff. What I wanted to share here is more like the dessert we had while we were in Hanoi. We did not try much but these two are my top favourite dessert.

Fruit Ice Kacang style at To Tich
To Tich is a very short road and once you turned into the junction you can find many of the shops selling similar kind of dessert. Look for the one with the most people. There are plenty of choices on the menu and you can even order this topped with ice cream. Price starts around VND 25,000
Photo from internet courtesy of Alexis Fong
The fruit ice kacang. Do not judge the dessert by it's bowl, it's one of the best I had so far

The location of the shop
Photo courtesy of Alexis Fong (ripped from the internet)

Coconut Icecream with sticky rice at corner of  Hai Ba Trung and Phan Chu Trinh road
This shop has no name and basically it's at the corner of the two roads. You won't miss it as it was quite packed

Mango sticky rice with pandan flavour

the famous coconut ice cream with pandan sticky rice topped with coconut flakes

The shop, look for the green rooftop

Jun 14, 2015

Vietnam in a Nutshell

Finally had the time to sit down and write some stuff happening over the few weeks. After Korea, I went to another impromptu trip to Hanoi, Vietnam but this time with my colleague. Hanoi is a place I wanted to go very badly especially Sapa Valley after I have seen the photos.

For this trip, I just booked like some sort of ground arrangement tour with our hotel, Glance Hotel. I send them my planned itinerary and they gave me a quote on the things I wanted to do and see. And it seems ok, hence the booking. This must be the shortest research I ever done for my trip and also the most relaxing one since the hotel already arrange everything for us. The details of my itinerary is as follows:
View of the paddy fields in Sapa 

Day 1
Arrive in Hanoi and wow..I got such a good impression of the airport. From landing to picking up our bags in less than half an hour. Small and compact airport but yet not suffocating. Much much better than our klia2 which takes forever to reach the boarding gate. We got picked up from the airport and send to our hotel in the old quarters. I asked for a day use room as we reached early in the morning we wanted to take the overnight train to Sapa on the same day. Actually before the trip, I have compared the cost of going on my own and taking the arrangement offered by the hotel. It's not much difference, hence we took up the offer. If we to take the overnight train itself, it cost about USD 40 per way. So we spend some time to wash up, sleep, walk around the old quarters and then dinner before being transport to the train station. First time sleeping in the train and it was really eye opening but nevertheless the journey was quite comfortable.

Day 2
Reach Lao Cai in the wee hours of morning and again we were transported to our hotel, Panarama hotel in Sapa to freshen up and breakfast before the hiking. The journey up the hills took about an hour and by the time we reach Sapa, we were famished and dashed to the breakfast counter. We did not even washed up as since we are going for trekking and will be sweaty afterward, why bother to wash and sweat again, haha. And we even wore the trekking clothes as pajamas the night before in the train! We went to the Cat Cat village and some rivers nearby for swimming. While the rest of our group's Ang Moh swam, the Asian us sat under the umbrella and shade. At night, we walked around the Sapa town.

Day 3
Today, the trekking was a bit tough especially going down and we were swarmed by Hmong women offering to accompany us during the trekking. I was glad to have one of them to hold me while I descend the rocky trail and end up buying some souvenirs from them. Later on, I realised I paid double for that but it's ok since it's for repaying her for helping me. We took the night train back to Hanoi at night.

Day 4
The famous red bridge in Hoen Kiem lake
Reached Hanoi early in the morning and the hotel arrange for transport to ferry us back to our hotel. We stayed at the same hotel, Glance. We slept for a while more before getting down for breakfast. Today, we explore the attractions in Hanoi. We walked from the old quarters to the Temple of Literature and to the One Pillar pagoda and then to the other side of the Hoan Kiem Lake for the dessert before ending near the bridge. Walked about 30km in that one day!

Day 5
Halong Bay
It's the day for the 1 night cruise in Halong bay. It's a 4 hour journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay and we stopped by one of the places for souvenirs. Did not buy anything here as it was pretty expensive but I got to admit the embroidery was pretty impressive. I almost wanted to buy one myself. We checked into our cruise by lunch time and we had lunch while the boat cruising along the bay. After that we went for kayaking into some of the more secluded area and this is the first time my friend experience kayak and she is pretty good at it! Even better than my husband. Our cruise had a mother and son from Malaysia but we were intrigued with the couple from Thailand. Was speculating whether they are really a couple or the girl is just an escort for the much older guy. And who the other older woman who followed the couple along? These are some of the questions we were so dying to ask but refrained from doing so. At night we had squid fishing but sadly we did not manage to catch any squid.

Day 6
Halong Bay
Sunset at Halong bay
The next morning, it was raining and there was no sunrise to catch. So continue sleeping until breakfast and then off to one of the caves. We alight from the cruise around noon after lunch and then it's another 4 hours back to Hanoi.

Day 7
Tam Coc
I wanted to go this place after hearing raving reviews from my dad but boy, we picked the wrong time to go as it was hot as hell and I just practically sweating by just standing outside the aircon bus. It took us about 2 hours to get there from Hanoi and this is another day trip we booked with the hotel. The highlight will be the sampan kayak by the locals using their feet instead of hand. I spent most of the time hiding under the umbrella in the boat. One of our tourmates, a Polish guy kept asking me to help him take photos and dictate me how to take them. I was a bit pissed off and ran off after the first time helping him. If you want me to take photo of you, let me do it my way la. So when the guide suggested him to share a boat with us, I quickly dragged by friend to a boat while the Polish guy is busy showing off his photos to another Singaporean couple. Luckily we did not share the boat with him as I can foresee that he will block most of the view with him in front. After that, we went for biking along the paddy fields for another 45 minutes. I almost forgotten how to ride a bike.
Train tracks in Hanoi town
As it was the last day in Hanoi and the only day we can go to the night market, we spend almost 4 hours walking around the night market trying to finish our dong. It was good have someone helping out with the bargaining, haha.

Day 8
Flight home
It's time to head home.

Apr 27, 2015

Korea Itinerary: Seoul and Busan in 9 days

My favourite shot along way up to the N Seoul Tower
I finally had the time to properly sit down and recalled the itinerary of my trip to Korea recently. Better to pen it down before it get lost in my memory box and sit somewhere collecting dust. You see, the trip was planned in a time to coincide with the cherry blossom in Korea. Yea, you can say I was a bit addicted to catch all the pink flowers after Japan last year. After this trip, I realised how lucky I was last year when I was able to catch the sakura perfectly but no so this time around. We were slightly a week late and most of the flowers already dead by the time we reached Busan and in Seoul, there were still pockets of sakura.

Initially my plan is to spend all 9 days in Seoul and hence the booking of the flight to and fro Seoul. I did a big mistake here as I decided to fit in Busan. And to take the KTX all the way from Seoul to Busan. The better option is to fly into Busan and fly out from Seoul.

So the summary of my itinerary is as follows;

Day 1 
KL to Seoul to Busan
We reached Incheon around 3.30pm and came out from the immigration around 4.20pm. We went straight to the KTX counter as we wanted to catch the 4.30 direct train to Busan from Incheon and to reach Busan around 8.30pm. Yup, the train ride is almost 4 hours long and imagine my horror when the girl at the counter told us that the sitting tickets were finished and there was no more sitting tickets for the rest of the day. I actually thought of booking it upfront at Korail website but since I was not certain of the timing that we can land, I decided against it. Double horror as it was Sunday weekend!! So we were discussing which were the best options when there was this couple in front of us decided to take the standing tickets instead. Suddenly, I remembered that Korail also provide standing tickets but at a lower price. But still, 4 hours of standing, I was not sure whether hubs can take it (he had worse stamina than me). Standing or left stranded in Incheon. So standing it is. We were able to get seats from the airport until Seoul station and luckily only stand for an hour. For info, for standing tickets you can sit as long as there was no one at the seat. After all the mishaps and adventures, we reached Busan station around 8.30pm and proceed for dinner in one of the restaurant. We then take the subway and stopped at Nampo station for our hotel, Elysee hotel. I really love this hotel for the strategic and the hospitality of the owner, Mr. Son. He even send me the detail descriptions to reach his hotel from the Nampo station along with photos!

Day 2
Yonggusa temple
It was forecast to rain when we were in Busan and it rained whole day we were there. So we decide to just go to Yonggusa temple and spend the rest of the day 'lepaking' around Nampo after knowing that the sakura flowers in Dalmaji hill had also died. So we ask Mr. Son for the directions there and he gave us a paper which comprise of all the alternatives of going to the temple. I will share the details in a more detail post, lol.

The sea of canola flowers hidden among the tall buildings in Busan

Day 3
Canola flowers and Gamcheon
Initially I planned for Gamcheon and combined with Beomeosa temple but my friend texted me and asked me whether I was going to see the famous yellow flowers ie the canola flowers or rapeseed flowers in Busan since I told her that the sakura flowers already dead in Busan. She gave me a link and I read that there is a festival going on to celebrate the flowers. To reach there, take the metro line 3 and stopped at station no. 315, Gangseo-Gu Office. You can see the yellow flowers even from the metro. The best time to visit should be around early to mid April, I think. Not too sure on the timing as we were there in mid April.

Gamcheon, the Santorini of Busan
Then from there, we went to Gamcheon also known as Santorini of Busan. To reach there we take the metro line 1 and stopped at ToSeong exit 8. After exit turn right at the intersection walked a few metres until you see the Cancer centre. Take bus no. 2 or 2-2 to the Gamcheon village. You won't get lost as there are a lot tourists going the same way.

Bulgoksa temple in Gyeongju.
One of the UNESCO heritage and a must visit temple in Korea.
Day 4
Gyeongju and KTX to Seoul
I had intention to see the famous cherry blossom festival in Jinhae, hence the pit stop at Busan. However, upon consultation with Mr. Son, he mentioned that most of the flowers are dead..sad..I had been repeating the flowers death for many times now. He suggested to go to Gyeongju which we may still able to catch the sakura as it was little north of Busan. He gave us directions and alternatives to reach there. We took the KTX, fastest but more expensive as we had to rush to Seoul in the evening. And this day, I did a very big mistake, an accountant should not make. I forgot about the Korea day pass that I booked from Korail for KRW120,000 + for two person which I could have use for this day, the day I traveled using the most KTX trains (and also it is the day we going to Seoul using KTX) and could have save back on at least KRW 40,000 for two of us. We stopped at Singyeongju, which is a little outskirt from the town and took bus no. 700 from outside the KTX station which lead us straight to Bulgoksa temple. I will share other alternatives to Gyeongju in another post. This one is getting too long and my hand is aching trying to type as I recalled my itinerary. We also went to Seokgurum grotto, not too far away from Bulgoksa temple. You can take the bus no. 12 from the tourist information centre or just hailed the bus from the bus stop outside Bulgoksa temple. Cost is KRW 1,500 per person.

After that, we took the KTX back to Busan, take our luggage and went to purchase the ticket for Seoul at 7.30pm. As it was a sunny day and I did not want to waste a sunny day in train travelling, I decide to only go to Seoul late evening. And the worst has yet to come. We stayed in Myeong Dong and the guesthouse I booked was at top of a hill. By now, my husband already in foul mood and blamed me for booking such cheap and inconvenient place to stay. I was really upset as not only he did not help out with any of the booking and itinerary but I was the one dragging the big bag up the hill and the room. So I ignored him for the rest of the night.

Day 5
Gyeongbukgung, Changdeokgung (including secret garden), Insa Dong and Myeong Dong
A secret garden amidst the palace ground. I felt transported back in time
It was raining the first day in Seoul, sadly and I was not in a good mood to go anywhere after yesterday's night incident. We just visited the famous palaces around Seoul, the most famous ones and also the secret garden in Changdeokgung. We bought the KRW10,000 ticket package which includes going into the two palaces we went, Jongmu shrine, and also Changyeonggung. If we buy separately, it would cost total of KRW 14,000 for 4 palaces and 1 shrine. As it was raining, we did not really enjoyed the palaces that much except for the morning trying out costume at Gyeongbukgung for free. After secret garden, we went to Insa dong for souvenir shopping and later Myeongdong for shopping.

Day 6 
Yeouido Park, Deoksugung, Namsangol Hanok Village and Seoul Tower
Still holding to my hopes of seeing sakura, we went to Yeouido park near to the National Assembly. We took the line 9 subway and exit 1 or 6. We walked for about 5-10 minutes towards the sea and then we saw it. Too bad, again half of the flowers were dead. We did not spend much time here and rush over to City Hall subway station to Deoksugung. We managed to catch the change of guards at 2pm and after that proceed to Namsangol Hanok Village after recommended by my colleague. From there we went back to Myeongdong for fried chicken (will review that later) and then proceed our 'Mt. Kinabalu' hike up to Namsan park/Seoul tower. The 'Mt. Kinabalu' hike is more like what my husband describe, haha. For me it was not that difficult walk up with all the beautiful scenery and sunset. We locked our lock at the famous lock place and then proceed with going up the tower with popcorn and coke for the night view. Normally, I won't spend such money on popcorn and coke on top of the tower but since it was a tough hike for my husband, got to reward him.

Day 7
Nami Island and Petit France, Dongdaemun and Cheongyecheon stream
Check the weather forecast and this day, it was also sunny. We took the 8am ITX train to Gapyeong from Yongsan. I will elaborate more on the mode of transport to get to Nami Island in a more detail post about Nami Island and Petit France. I feel Petit France a bit overrated but since it's the filming location for My Love from the Star and also Running Man. A bit advice though, do not take the local subway from Gapyeong back to Seoul especially on a sunny weekend. It's madness as we were packed in sardine for an hour standing. I can't barely move an inch. After that, we went straight to Dongdaemun market and to see the famous Cheongyecheon stream.

Day 8
Bukchon village, Ginseng chicken, Myeong Dong
The rainy atmosphere of Bukchon
Another rainy day today as we head towards Bukchon. As we only woke up around 10am, we took our own sweet time to get ready. I kind of regret not going to Bukchon when it is sunny as the place is amazing for portrait shooting. To reach Bukchon, stop at Anguk station exit 3. After that, it's lining up for the famous ginseng chicken, Tosokchon near Gyeongbukgung.  And then it's more shopping in Myeongdong and Lotte Department store. I managed to nab a few tops from the Myeongdong subway underground station.

Day 9 
Flight back to KL
We use the airport express (AREX) to the airport. To take the AREX, stop at Seoul subway station and walk towards the KTX Seoul station. You can get the tickets at the Korail counter or the lower ground counter before the entrance of the AREX.

Apr 26, 2015

Pray For Nepal

Heard about the Nepal earthquake today and feel sad for the casualties. The quake even affect those in India, Bhutan and Tibet and also coincidentally, these are the few places I had a chance to visit three years back.

When I looked at the photos of the demolished UNESCO heritage in Kathmandu, my heart sank. I quite like Kathmandu honestly and its quirky traits and now most of the buildings were in rubble. My prayer goes to the people of Nepal and not forgetting those who are affected by the earthquake. I will forever treasure the memories and the good times I had when I was in Kathmandu 3 years back.

Apr 21, 2015

Anyeong Haseyo

I am back from my one week trip to Korea, spending time between Busan and Seoul. Man, this trip is much much more expensive than Japan last year. I think I spend almost double the amount including on shopping. I don't dare to see my credit card statement. Sigh..why the hell I end up buying more than 100 sheets of face masks while I only have 1 face to use?? Guess I had to sell some of them to earn back some money to pay off my credit card debts. The only consolation I can tell myself that this will be the second last trip for the year at least.

In summary, I enjoy Korea but sadly we reached when most of the sakura had fallen so we left with pretty much bare sakura trees in Busan. But with very pretty yellow canola flowers. There are still some left in Seoul but pretty much the rest of the sakura had fallen. I will share my itinerary and cost for the trip which I am not very satisfied this time as I did a few stupid mistake and end up costing more than what it suppose to be. I could have save back at least a few hundreds by just opening up my brain...sigh

Stories wise, quite some adventure happened here and there, with my husband forget to bring the tripod plate and end up we had to buy one in Busan to even bargaining for the clothes which I thought the Koreans don't really bargain and to speaking Chinese in Seoul, mostly in the shopping area.

Apr 6, 2015

Backpacker or Flashpacker

I kind of abandon my blog for a very long time due to personal reason but now I got to stay positive and think positive. Just hope I can stay in this state for some time before another emotional breakdown. I find that whenever I have a upcoming trip or travel, I will automatically feel better, think more positive and focus all my energy into researching for the trip or trips.

I think I have gradually graduated from a backpacker to a flashpacker. I feel that I was more a backpacker when I was in my twenties and now being in thirties and married, travelling takes a whole new different view and off course packing involves two instead of one person. Even when I called myself a backpacker in my twenties, I rarely carried those gigantic backpack save for the Tibet, Bhutan & Nepal adventure. Most of the time I used a rolling luggage bag and carried a small backpack for my big ass camera. I find that giant backpacks tend to consume me as I was quite a petite size (which I keep telling myself that) comparing to the giant backpack.

In my twenties I love staying in hostel and plus the budget constraint I had, it suited me well. I think the last time I stayed in a hostel for my whole trip was in New Zealand and Japan. Ok, it seems like I am still much of a backpacker in my thirties as well. So how do you classify yourself as a backpacker or flashpacker? For me, it's the accommodation, my style of packing and what bags to used, budget constraint in buying food or shopping and mode of transportation. I find that the older I get, I am more incline towards a bit of luxury. I still use the occasional excel worksheet to work out my itinerary and cost just like how I am doing now for my Hanoi trip in May, which it will be definitely a flashpacker trip. And I find that only my friends who are accountant / auditor background will use an excel worksheet to work out the itinerary and cost, haha.

So in conclusion, which mode would I prefer now? I guess it's mixture of both flash and back. I still tend to find cheap accommodations such as B&Bs, hostel but at least with a private bathroom. I still cut on my transportation, getting the best and most cost effective way to travel around. I still haggle like mad eventhough it was just to reduce a few ringgit (probably I feel happy and sadistic just to get what I want according to what I am willing to pay).

Feb 24, 2015

Not so Happy Chinese New Year

It's the start of the goat year but frankly speaking, I don't have much hope or looking forward to the year. Been having many personal and career wise problems around until I wish I could just run away. Suffocating best describe what I am going through right now.

A lot of personal stuff going on around my life right now. Start of something I dreaded but glad that at least he is free of problem. I would rather I have the problem so that one day if I fail, he still can find another one to fulfill his wish. I do not know how long or how much can I take before this day comes.

Jan 25, 2015

Koyo (Autumn) in Japan

I think I have mentioned it before, my dslr died when I was in Tokyo last autumn due to water. And I had to rely on my friend's camera and my handphone for most of the photos. Besides sakura, autumn is another season whereby most of the places in Japan is full of tourists. For koyo viewing and it's much longer period than sakura.

I checked that the time I was there (mid Oct) was not the peak season for koyo yet. Leaves are still in green and we only saw full blown autumn in Nikko, which is around 3 hours away from Tokyo city. Yes, we purposely sit 3 hours of train to see the autumn leaves. When we were there, I kind of regret not staying a night so that we can queue for the cable car.

Most the autumn photos are taken using my Samsung S3. Not as nice as dslr but better than nothing.

Floor full of autumn leaves

The famous bridge in Nikko, Shinkyo bridge

Kegon waterfall at Nikko

So nice

Jan 20, 2015

What Snacks to Buy in Japan, or At Least What I Bought

my haul from Japan

I kind of compile a list of food stuff that I bought from my two trips to Japan. Can't say I am the expert in this but I kind of observed and see what other tourists bought, haha.

The list goes like this:

Many flavours of Tokyo Banana

1. Tokyo banana
This one I totally went crazy the last time I went to Tokyo. Story goes like this. I first saw someone holding the tokyo banana bag when I was in Kansai airport and almost everyone was holding one. So I came back and googled. The next time I went to Tokyo, I sapu so many boxes but mostly for other people la but I think I bought almost 10 boxes. There is one flavour only available at Tokyo skytree. We walked all the way there. Regretted didn't buy more. And I kept a few in the fridge to extend the shelf life which is usually a week. Both the hot and cold version taste very good.
Verdict: Highly recommend and it comes in many flavours

The many Kit Kat universe
credit to japanverse
2. Kit Kat
I bought three boxes in Osaka with green tea, sakura and hokkaido red bean. Came back to Malaysia and saw these flavours, I can get in Sukiya, sigh..waste my effort in carrying. So I googled other flavours and bought a lot more in Tokyo, this time in smaller packs as I was not planning to give anyone, haha.

photo credit to Cheryltay

3. Potato Farm chips
This by far the best chips I ever tasted. Period. Much much better than Mcd fries, haha

photo credit to Shizuokagourmet
4. Japanese mochi
I prefer the one I got from Kyoto called Yatsuhashi, shaped like a triangle. I got this a lot when I was in Kyoto last time. The normal round balls mochi were kind of too sweet for me.

check out all the flavours
credit to
5. Pocky
Again, it's available in Malaysia but for the different flavours you can't get here.

6. Royce chocolate and potatochips
I got this again because I saw some air stewardess rushing into the tax free shop in Haneda airport and grabbed so many. I asked one of them, "Is this good (referring to the chocolate)?" She replied, "Royce is the best chocolate in Japan." Needless to say, I was sold and bought one pack home. Had to wrapped it with ice pack to prevent from melting. And not forgetting the very unique potatochips in chocolate. Fattening but so addictive!