Dec 30, 2014

Hirano Shrine, Kyoto

I meant to save the best for the last  write this long time ago and guess what, it's already 8 months since the date I was in Japan for sakura. Very outdated, yes and considered the fact that I went to Japan the second time in October, this seemed very irrelevant anymore. But I wanted to share the photos, more importantly those sakura flakes photos, as well as, the Oukasai Cherry Blossom festival that we coincidentally went to in April.

Oukasai festival is held on April 10th every year (at least it was on the 10th when we were there), is a festival where you can see many Japanese dressing up as Samurai, geisha and many other more parading along the shrine into the roads. And like many other sakura viewing parks and gardens, there are plenty of foodstalls cater for those who had hanami here. We opted to have our lunch at one of the stalls under the pinkish sakura 'snow'.

And of course, not forgetting to snap some photos under the romantic sakura trees. Seriously, my words can't even describe the feeling and the atmosphere there. You just have to be there to experience it yourself. Pink sakura petals falling off the tree and forming a pink blanket below. Surreal! The sound of camera clicking non stop whenever the wind blows (I contribute to some of the clicking, haha), ok that was not so romantic. But you get the picture la.

To make my statement, here's some of the clicking done.


the crowd waiting for the parade to start

I quite like this picture as it feels like Inception;
 I am taking photo of a man taking photo of a lady taking photo of the parade
some of the 'geisha'

with the two samurais, the main character for the festival

my favourite photo 

Dec 26, 2014

Prambanan Temple @ Yogyakarta

So, I did mentioned in my previous post that the combination ticket for Borobudur and Prambanan temple is USD30. Smart of them to peg the ticket price to USD and charge that to foreign tourist who had no choice but to get it. If buy separately will cost about USD 48 for both temples. Yup, very expensive.

After we spent 2 hours at Borobudur, it's another hour journey to Prambanan temple which is a Hindu temple and Borobudur is Buddhist influenced. Personally, I preferred Prambanan than Borobudur, probably because of less people photobombing my photos as it looks good in photo.

In the end we also spent 2 hours here before leaving to Ratu Boko, a decision I regretted soon after I bought the tickets. That will be another story for another day.

Basically, the temple is dedicated to the God Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Gosh, now I recalled those history and religion that I learned while in university. And from what I can recalled, the temple was badly affected during the earthquake while Borobudur temple was badly affected by the eruption of Mt. Merapi and covered by ashes.

Dec 21, 2014

Oh Mamma Mia!

So, this was the second time I watched the famous musical based on the songs by ABBA. The first time I watched in New York, I enjoyed it very much and it's my hubby (then bf) and my first official date together. This time around, I brought my parents to their first ever musical in KL.

Expensive tickets, even after 30% discount
I managed to get some pretty cheap tickets, 30% off using the Maybank card and I initially thought that the seats that I bought were great (from the floor plan la), but the actual one was quite far from the stage but still manage to see the singers dancing and walking around.

At one point, my mum asked me whether the songs are pre-recorded. Of course not! I would not pay so much to watch some pre-recorded show man! And I keep reminding my dad not to fall asleep and waste my money, lol. Of course, they are not as they were fully entertained by the songs and the singing and they can't stop singing even after the show end. So I guess it's money well spent. Oh, btw my mum told me that one of the three dads is actually the real life husband to Donna. If not mistaken the guy acting as Sam. Wow, no wonder one the songs that they sang together was so nice.

As for my review on the show in KL, I enjoyed it as well, but I find the atmosphere in New York is nicer as the audience actually get up and sing and dance along during the last 3 songs. But nevertheless, the show is great and excuse me now, I need to go and get these ABBA songs out of my head.

The stage, smaller than the one in New York

Dec 20, 2014

Time for Some Year End Ramblings

Trips Roundup
So, I have not been writing crappy stuff about my life or things I currently enjoyed doing at the moment. Things had been quite good in terms of travelling this year with the highlight of the country being Japan. Went once in April for the sakura and another time for the koyo in October. Sakura in Kyoto and koyo in Tokyo, what a mouthful, haha. Fact is I never get tired looking at all the sakura photos while sadly my camera was temporary spoiled after immersed in water, the second day in Tokyo. Hence the lack of photos and updates on that trip. Perhaps one day I will blog a bit about the Tokyo trip. Went to Singapore for the Sound of Musical, which I quite enjoyed and some shopping and catching up with my brother. Then it's to Krabi for the hubby's birthday retreat in August and Yogyarkarta in November.

Next year's plan include Korea in April for the sakura and Boracay in May. After that, no more plans. A friend asked me whether wanna join her for Croatia trip but it's a bit expensive for me and I still harbour the thoughts of visiting Norway and my epic Trans Siberia one day, one fine day!

Dramas roundup
I have been watching most of the TVB dramas in Astro on Demand and I enjoyed most of them especially those aired during the first half of the year. My favourite is still Storm in the Cocoon, mainly because I love the main actor and the scenery in the drama. Others such as M club (for the song), Swipe Tap Love (for the 009 dog) and Black Heart White Soul (simply because of the outstanding performance of Roger Kwok). The rest, ok ok only, haha.

Photography roundup
Not much on photography trip this year. Mainly concentrate on doing my photobook and canvas print. I think I lost some of my magic touch after marriage. Maybe it's due to stress or maybe not much great trips for the past 1 year. Sigh.. need to arrange for more photography trip next year.

So that sums up pretty much the happenings in 2014. Personal wise, had some major breakdown back early of the year. Don't want to talk about that much here but that incident cut my heart very deeply and once a while I found myself unable to control my emotions and cried many times, multiple times. Career wise, still stuck at the same position. Same old thing.

What install for 2015? I dare not think about that much as I can foresee a very stressful and depressing year ahead with all the treatments and what not. Not having much hope for the future, sadly.

Dec 14, 2014

Borobudur temple, Yogyakarta

This must be one of the most expensive temple I ever visited which cost USD 30 for the combination ticket to Prambanan temple as well.

And it's tad a bit disappointing as I would expect something like Angkor Wat. The trip to Borobudur temple from Jogja was an hour journey. Initially,  I wanted to catch the sunrise at the temple and suppose to leave around 3.30am but after seeing the rain non stop for the last few days in Jogja, I decided to change to 7am instead. We woke up around 6am for breakfast before leaving to Borobudur. We hired a car with driver for 10 hours and he fetched us from one place to another.

When we reached the temple, we were swarmed by a group of local students who wanted to practice English with us and asked us to give them grades based on their conversation with us. In the end after I gave the only one who practiced with me an A, the rest just came and asked me to sign their card. And they never practiced with me. But as I wanted to go off, I just signed and gave them an A as well. Cheating but I was too lazy to answer their repeated questions. One funny thing I find about here was that, the locals love to practice English with us eventhough we can speak some Bahasa Indonesia.

So in the end we spent around 2 hours at the temple, trying to maximise the money that we paid to get in.

the local students who practiced English with me

The carvings

View from the top

View from bottom

View from far

Dec 13, 2014

Ramayana Ballet @ Prambanan Temple, Yogyakarta

Yup, I am finally back from my week long trip to Yogyarkarta spending most of my time in the hotel and doing nothing but sleep and overdose of HBOs and Fox Movies. Followed hubs to Jogja as the capital is fondly called for his conference and hence spending a week there where else the sightseeing can be done in 2 days. One day for the Borobudur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko temple and the night for the famous Ramayana ballet. Another day was for shopping in Malioboro where I got myself batik cloth while exclaiming "so cheap, so cheap" all the time.

It was also supposed to be my birthday trip but I think my plan birthday trip for hubs was much better. At least food wise. Not much of a fan of Indonesian food though there was some decent foodstalls along the roadside near to where we stayed for the week. I think even the hotel staff were surprised to see that we stayed that long in Jogja.

Enough of rambling, back to the main reason for the need of sharing this out.

RAMAYANA Ballet which is the famous dance performed in Jogja and can be seen from many places in Jogja but after hearing my friend who went there before, I chose to watch it at Prambanan temple. I was actually hoping for dance at the open theater but when I saw the pamphlet, it's only up to Oct and from November onwards, during the rainy season, the dance will be held indoor.

We chartered a car with driver to the temple which was around 20 minutes from our hotel, Jogja Plaza. We prebooked the tickets with one of the tour agent stationed at our hotel and we opted for first class which cost us IR 175,000. There are a total of three classes and first being the middle one. Luckily we arrived early and managed to take photos with Rama and Hanuman before the plan started.

I was really happy when I found out that they were going to performed at the out door theater but sadly it only lasted for a mere 5 minutes before the rain start pouring down. Hence, the play had to be moved to indoors and I would say they oversold the tickets as the indoor theater is much smaller than the outdoor one. We cheated and went to sit at the VIP seats instead although we pay for the cheaper seats, haha. I was surprised that my hubby who always follow rules actually took my cheating suggestion and moved to the more expensive seat. That's the best decision ever as we managed to get a good glimpse of the dance. One note though, there are no speech during the whole 2 hours of the play but the story was conveyed using dance and singing from the Gamelan troupe.

Basically, for those who had watched the Kecak dance in Uluwatu in Bali will be familiar with the story and it's a story of how Rama saved his wife, Sita from the villain who captured his wife while he was out hunting for the golden deer for her. Oh, another advantage of watching indoor was that the story was told via projector screen while there is none for the open theater.

Overall, I would highly recommend the play. It's something that you have to watch in Jogja, the same like when you are in London or New York, musical broadway is a must.

Nov 4, 2014

Tokyo and treasure hunt

Came back from Tokyo a week ago and so many things happened during the trip. My dslr was immersed in water after my water bottle cap came off and thank god that it was recovered after I am back but I have to forgo a lot of nice photos in Tokyo.

It rained for 2 consecutive days in Hakone and all we saw was mist, mist and mist. No sight of Mt. Fuji at all. Actually all I wanted to touch and see in Hakone is the famous pregger tree  at the Hakone shrine. Let's see whether all the wishes I made at the shrine and temples in Tokyo come true. So far, one has come true ie my camera recovered. Basically every temple and shrine I went, I prayed for its recovery.

Comparatively I preferred Kyoto more than Tokyo as I was in Kyoto during the best season of the year, sakura season. Feels like wanting to book a trip to Korea next April to see the sakura in Seoul next year. Temples are definitely better in Kyoto than Tokyo. But the experience of ryokan and eating fresh sushi off the famous Tsukuji fish market were awesome. One of the highlight of the trip although the sushi cost a bomb. Nine pieces for 2500 yen but it was so good.

And just last weekend, went for my company'a annual treasure hunt event, this time with new alliance. Managed a 20th placing eventhough we practically answered so many questions wrongly. But nevertheless, it was good as we dressed up as school kids for the event, the theme was back to school. And for the first time, I went to the premium outlet in Johor, nothing compared to the US ones but still managed to get a Coach bag for myself, two shirts from Sacoor Brothers and jeans from Calvin Klein.

The next few weeks will be busy as I will be flying off to Jogja for a week and then continue with my annual leave to accompany my grandma as my parents will be going to Vietnam. Must prepared myself for long nagging sessions.

Oct 12, 2014

Lan Ling Wang

If you read my blog, I am not much of a reviewer of movies and dramas except for the occasionally tvb drama. You see, I don't watch much of dramas except for tvb and maybe one or two Korean or Taiwanese drama.

But somehow, one fateful day I stumbled upon this chinese drama from China showing on AEC while channel surfing and one of my favourite Taiwanese actress was in it, Lin Yi Chen. I got stuck, addicted and somehow could not get over the drama and after watching that episode on tv and got myself mesmerized with all the good looking actors in it, seriously there are so many good looking actors in this drama called Lan Ling Wang, haha..yup I am that shallow, I watched a drama based on how good looking the actors and actresses are.

Googled for the whole series and start marathon from the start to the end with total of 46 episodes and phew..overall a good drama with good setting and acting. Oh yea, found out the main Chinese actor is called Feng Shao Feng and he acted in tvb Drive of Life before. No wonder he looked so familiar. Sad ending but at least it's fast paced and the first 20 episodes were really nice. And it's based on the real historical figure of this Prince Lan Ling who wore a mask whenever he went for battle and managed to defend the LuoYang city with 500 men against 100,000 men from the Zhou kingdom.

Now excuse me, I have to go dig for more of this genre dramas. Did not expect myself to fall in love with historical chinese drama, haha.

Sep 14, 2014

Day 3: Phi Phi Island Hopping @ Krabi (1 Sept 2014)

So today was the hubs birthday and I let him decide on which island hopping he wanted to hop on and he chose Phi Phi Island. As usual the transport picked us up from the hotel around 9 am and proceed to drop us at the jetty or more like a bunch of speedboats and long tail boats near to Noppharatara beach. We are going for 7 locations around Phi Phi Don and a few island, actually three island only.

Once we got into the speedboat, thank God I bought the motion sickness pill and swallow a few before the journey start. Or else, the whole journey I will spend vomiting and I don't think the other passengers will be happy about that. First stop was Bamboo island and we spent about 45 minutes here. Basically, the whole journey is touch and go island hopping. We didn't snorkeled the first half of the journey but only started after lunch which was a bad move by the guide. He dropped us not too far from the beach in Phi Phi Don and it was VERY choppy. I went down to the sea and only manage to stuck my head into the water for 5 seconds and that's it. I had enough as I kept having water going into my mouth and kept grabbing onto hubs. Since his birthday, I decided to just stay on the boat and let him enjoyed his snorkeling activities.

After we done with snorkeling, we went back to the hotel for a short swim and nap before dinner by the sea and then Ao Nang for the massage and shopping. Didn't shop there as much as Krabi night market as the deal was not that good. We ordered 5 seafood dishes and freak out when the food came as it seemed a lot but then again Mr. Hubs whacked everything clean on plate. Glad that we found the Ao Nang seafood restaurant and managed to see the sunset.

So basically that sums up how my hubs being spoilt to the max during the four day retreat. Day 4 was spent soaking at our pool, fully maximising the pool and the room and went for our last Banana + Nutella pancake.

Now I want my own birthday retreat!

Sep 8, 2014

Day 2: Sea Kayaking & Night Market at Krabi (31 August 2014)


Back from my retreat at Krabi, or more like spoiling my hubs to the max at Krabi. It's for his birthday treat which is suppose to be a surprise but since I need him to lock down his leave, gotta let him know earlier though the location remained secret till the final week.

Day 1 is just spent taking the flight into Krabi and lazying around the hotel area as we reached Krabi at 5pm. We checked into Small Hotel near Ao Nang beach with a pool accees room, another surprise I planned for him since I know how much he loves swimming. Never regret the decision although it's slightly more expensive but worth it.

So before the trip, I have been researching on activities in Krabi. As we had only two full days, I decided to go for sea kayaking or more like mangrove swamps kayaking and island hopping to Phi Phi Island. If you asked me, I will definately prefer kayak more than the island hopping.

We actually booked the trip via a local agent in Krabi and it costs us 3500 baht for one full day island hopping and half a day for kayaking. The reason for me not having a full day kayaking as we were in Krabi during the weekend and we decided to drop by the weekend night market at Krabi town.

So off we went for the kayaking trip on day 2 and we took the Ao Thalene route which we kayak a bit at the sea before entering the lagoon and into the mangrove swamps. We were very excited after sitting in the truck for 45 mins before reaching the destination. There were another 5 Malaysian girls in our group and we were joined by another French couple who resides in Malaysia as well. We were extremely lucky as before we flew off, I had checked the weather forecast and it's suppose to rain the weekend we were there.

Once we got into the kayak, we began pedalling, hubs behind and I was in front. But somehow we still manage to paddle to the wrong direction and went all over the place instead of following our guide. We crashed into the pier, almost crashed into a motorboat and stranded in the mud, all happened in the first 20 mins of our kayaking. Finally we managed to steer the kayak to the right direction and followed the tour guide. The first 15 minutes were just around the sea and once we entered the lagoon, we were stunned. It's a different environment altogether, and we just sat back and relax and let the current carried us into the swamps. After a while, we were drifted to the mangrove swamps but we did not need much energy to paddle. It was the best time for us relax and listen to the surroundings. I especially love the fact that they restrict motorboats from going in or more like nature restricted that as the water is quite shallow and muddy. After that, we paddle back to the pier and went back to the hotel.

At night we hailed a taxi or more like a truck that shuttle from Ao Nang to Krabi town which costs us only 50 baht per person, much cheaper than the tuk-tuk that offered 300baht per trip.

We love the night market very much as there were plenty of food and in the middle of the square, there are chairs and tables for the patrons to have thier dinner and entertainment. Hubs as usual went crazy over all the food and souvenir shopping while I went overboard with the sleeveless tees which cost 100 baht per piece.

After that, we took the same truck back to Ao Nang in front of the 7-11 shop which cost 60 baht per person at night.

Aug 5, 2014


I am sure many of us have heard or at least experience once photobomb incident before. I still remember when I was young and went to China, or more like Shenzen for travel, I got a lot of photobomb from tourists and somehow like to get into my view. And imagine there was no digital camera that time and after deveoping the photos, it's heart sick to see such photos being photobombed by so many people.

Nowadays it has become a normed for photobomb even during big ceremony events. The one that I remember very well was the photobomb by Benedict Cumberbatch during the Oscars this year. And who can forget the best photobomb of the year by Prince Harry during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this year. Epic!

source from parade.condenast
source from

Come to think about it, I kind of accepting the norm of photobomb and sometimes it's quite funny when I looked back at photos that I had been photobomb, for example the time I had in New Zealand (photobomb by my tour guide in a very funny way while the 3 of us were so serious).

Another time would be in Peru when a llama suddenly came into the picture and not forgetting the time when a cat photobombing my pre wedding photos which later on we decide to include him/her in the photo. 

Bomb by a Llama in Peru

Bomb by my guide during my New Zealand trip

Bomb by the cat who decided to join in the photoshoot

Aug 2, 2014

Jul 31, 2014

Too Much of Murphy's Law

Yup..sudah jatuh ditimpa tangga.

I was in such a bad luck the last few days. My hand-phone k.o during my trip to Singapore and came back from the trip, my car tyre pancit. Sigh, and I have plans to go for swimming and need to be cancelled because I don't have a car to drive to work. And my swimming still sucks, not able to move at all and still rely on my papan apung.

Luckily my phone is back on after spending RM80 to fix it at one of the handphone shops in One City. Apparently, my phone needs to be re installed with the Samsung software of something. Must be playing too much of Snoopy and Smurf, haha.

Anyway, back to Singapore trip, the main purpose is to watched the Sound of Music musical which I know all the songs at the back of my heart. In fact, I like the musical very much and shockingly my brother who slept through most of the musical he went with his wife, was widely awake the whole time! And after I googled, only then I realised that the original version is the musical and not the movie. The movie is based on the musical and hence there is some different arrangement to the songs. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much, singing along to classics such as Do-Re-Mi, My Favourite Things, Edelweiss and of course The Sound of Music. I would rank this musical the second in my favourite list after Lion King. Seriously, nothing can beat Lion King. I have another one coming this December. Gonna bring my parents to watch Mamma Mia, which I quite enjoyed with all the classic ABBA songs. Bring back the Dancing Queen!!

Jul 5, 2014

Heian Shrine @ Kyoto

We saw from the white board in our hostels saying that the sakura flowers will be full bloom in Heian Shrine and this is the best time to view the flowers in their glory state. As we spend almost half a day in Philosopher's Path and Ginkakuji Temple and admiring all the pretty sakura flowers along the path, we barely had an hour in the shrine. It is free to walk around the shrine but we need to pay around 500 yen to enter the garden which was full of tourists. If you ask me, the garden is nice but nothing to shout about comparatively to Philosopher's Path and Hirano Shrine. Maybe because it was full of tourists and we did not take much nice photos in there and there's a cost to get into the garden. But it's worth going in for the willow cherry trees and the almost mirror lake view. And while we were there, there was some event going on for school children.

It's quite easy to get to the shrine from the Philosopher's Path as we just walk along the path until the end and went through some housing area.