Travelogue: Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is Japan’s bustling capital; mixes both modern and traditional. The one thing I enjoyed most was definitely the weather. Winter is one season you will not get in Singapore.

Frankly, I don’t really enjoy myself, probably because Tokyo reminds me of Singapore.

Advanced Singapore.
The buildings. The subways. Rush hour. The crowd. The cleanliness.

Nevertheless we managed to keep ourselves busy throughout the trip.

Subway was one of the complicated systems in Tokyo. I finally ‘master’ the subway lines after 5 days!

Just like Singapore, everything is expensive including food and transportation. You can rarely see locals taking the cab. Flag price is approx. S$8.

Enough said. Let’s go into details!

Day 1: –

Thank you United Airlines for flying me safely. For the price I have paid, I shall not complain. Nevertheless, you got the basics covered.

From the airport, you may opt for bus, express train or cab to travel to your apartment. Bus will definitely be the cheapest option but may not be the most convenient one. After much discussion, we decided to go for the Express train (Y$4000) for 2-ways.

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Figuring out what is next at Shinjuku is another challenge. It is the busiest train station with countless train lines and exits. In a nutshell, we got lost but we managed. Duh!

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After a great dinner despite getting lost in translation, we went to explore more. As expected, we got lost and we managed again!

Day 2: –

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Harajuku is another famous place among the tourists. If you love cosplay and anime, you might want to include this in your itinerary. Otherwise, skip it! It is just another ‘Bugis Street – Singapore’ lined by many shops towards fashion and trends for teens.
Just a station away, Shibuya reminds me of ‘Orchard Road – Singapore’. It is popular for shopping and entertainments. It is also know for the large intersection in from of the station.

Day 3: –

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Mount Fuji – an active volcano about 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. Right after the Mount Fuji, we head for lunch before taking the cruise on Lake Ashi. Final destination was Mount Kamogatake. That experience taking the gondola with 100+ people is unexplainable.

If you are looking for tours, you might want to consider Japanican.com! They offer great tours at reasonable prices.

Thank you Eriko-san for being such a wonderful tour guide!

Day 4: –

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Disneyland was one of the selected itineraries, which was a disappointment personally. If you are looking for great rides, you may skip this. But on a brighter note, I enjoy the shopping! Those snacks are delicious!

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Odaiba is one of the places you may consider to visit. Venus Fort offers premium outlets while Aqua City offers almost everything. Oh yes! If you are travelling with kids, do consider the Aquarium.

Day 5: –

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On our last day, we managed to find Donki, or Don Quixote, the king of stores in Japan for their huge selection of affordable goods. There, we managed to get a lot of souvenirs for family and friends! P/S: If you want to get snacks from Japan, don’t bother finding it in the city. Everything can be found in the airport. They offer same prices.

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Nevertheless, it was a wonderful trip. Thank you for being such great companies. 😉

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Travelogue: Johor Bahru – Johor, Malaysia

The little brother will be serving the national soon and then, he requested for a getaway. Thus our impromptu getaway to Johor Bahru!

Do not underestimate Johor Bahru. There are sure a lot of things to do there!

That aside, our trip was supposed to be a relax one – no rush. Right after check in, all headed to the swimming pool. What can go wrong with swimming pool right? LOL.

Bayu Marina Resort.

A little run down but comfortable and acceptable for family. Well, I got a 3 bedroom for 2 nights at SGD$300. So, I am not complaining.

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If you are not aware, JB is currently ‘HOT’ for its Pasar Karat (Bazar JB). It is open every night located just behind City Square. Don’t be surprise to find unique stuffs. But of course, majority of the sellers are selling vapes and scarfs. Those are like the ‘IN’ items in JB at the moment.

Second day was well spent at Angry Bird theme park located at Komtar JB. Those with kids don’t miss this park! Wait, even adults enjoy it! 🙂

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We managed to squeeze some time to shop too. If you are unfamiliar with JB, here’s a list of shopping places you might want to consider.

1. Johor Bahru City Square – Located near JB Customs
2. Komtar JB – Beside Johor Bahru City Square
3. KSL – May consider accommodating at KSL Resort (convenient!)
4. Johor Premium Outlets – Branded stuffs
5. Pandan City Mall

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Here’s what I usually do before travelling – RESEARCH!
I usually google the places to go and of course, good food! That’s how we found Murtabak Majid Special Cheese No. 1.

I recommend cheese and murtabak lovers this place! Trust me, you won’t regret it. 😉 Oh yes, before you head back, drop by CacaoRich Chocolate to buy some unique chocolates back!

Murtabak Majid Special Cheese No. 1
No. 38 Lot 5581, Jalan Kurniawan, Kampung Kurnia, 80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Open from 12-7pm weekdays / 12-5pm weekend

CacaoRich Chocolate
19A, 19B-B2, Jalan Ah Siang, Tanjung Puteri, 80300 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Travelogue: Melbourne – Victoria, Australia & Hobart – Tasmania, Australia

Oh I finally have to time to update this. I’m extremely sorry for the delay, everyone! It feels like just yesterday I was there enjoying the cold breeze. Now I’m back here in Singapore, enduring the haze. Sigh.

Warning: This is going to be a long post. Good luck 😉

Day 1: Melbourne City – Melbourne, Victoria

We arrived on a Friday morning. That feeling when you are not in your office on a Friday – TGIF! Perfect!

Thanks Ket & Ramil for fetching us. Also, thank you, Emirates for the wonderful service. I cannot imagine 8 hours flight without comfortable seat, updated movies, delicious food and friendly flight attendants.

It was 4 degree when we touched down. There’s this thing about Australia’s weather that I can never understand till date. Quoted by Ket – schizophrenic weather! LOL – I know right!

According to the itinerary that I personally prepared, we were supposed to go for Preston Food truck event after city tour. However, we totally overlooked on the time after busy shopping in H&M. Heh!

The next stop – Box on Collins Seafood Restaurant! If you don’t mind spending on good seafood, this is the place! I personally think it’s a little pricey there but why not if you get good food and good service! 😉

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Day 2: South Wharf – Melbourne, Victoria

We decided to ditch Harbour Town and go for South Wharf. Oh at least I’m familiar with the place!

Took a train ride down to Flinders and decided to walk to South Wharf. For someone who hates walking and sweating, it was indeed a nice one. Thanks to the perfect weather and scenery. I definitely enjoyed it!

It was my first shopping trip with Alfa – She sure can shop! We went in most of the shops and came out with shopping bags in hand. Everything was on crazy sales! That summed up my Saturday. Yes! That’s all I did on the Saturday.

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Ended the day with some Malay cuisine requested by Ket.

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Day 3: Mount Wellington – Hobart, Tasmania

We booked a 6am flight, hoping to save some cash. We got all packed and checked-in online. All ready to go!

Hey guess what? We woke up at 6am! Yes, we missed our flight to Hobart! I can imagine them calling for me in the airport. Go on, laugh yes laugh. I even laughed at myself. Never been this careless and clumsy. Next step – rebook flight. Duh!

Hobart is the capital and mist populous city of Tasmania. It is also Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney. – Thanks Wikipedia!

If you are someone who appreciates nature, do consider Hobart! I love how calm and peaceful Hobart is. Hobart – a place to consider for retirement. ☺

First day in Hobart itinerary – checked! We managed to go for our Mount Wellington tour. Beautiful! Let the photos do the explanation! 😉

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Day 4: Salamanca Place – Hobart, Tasmania

Taking the local’s advice, we decided to ditch Cadbury Chocolate Factory and go for some fresh seafood at Salamanca Place. If you have a lot of time, try the different restaurants and let me know which one you prefer 😉

Unfortunately I was spoilt for choices and opt for Mures Fish Centre. Not bad but I’m sure there’s better ones.

And lastly what’s holiday without shopping!

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Day 5: Hobart City – Hobart, Tasmania

Indeed a quick trip! I’m sure there’s a lot more for me to see in Hobart. ☹
Well, the more I should plan for another trip. Heh!

Final day in Hobart was a no rush. We had brunch and had our final walk around Hobart. Then back to hotel for cab to airport.

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Here are some points to take note if I decide to visit Hobart again.

1) Rent a car at the airport – You can save cab fare of AUD$60++ (airport-city) which means AUD$120 for the whole trip. If you are going on your own, there’s Hobart airport shuttle bus that alights you at your hotel in the city – AUD$18 per person

2) Avoid flights to Hobart on a Sunday. The shops close at 3pm on every Sunday. Don’t waste your trip.

Best Western Hotel, thank you for being so lovely. For a 4-stars hotel, I personally think you should upgrade your facilities. You’re lucky to have beautiful and amazing staffs!

Meanwhile, Mantra Hotel – St Kilda, you need to work on your customer service. TERRIBLE! I wouldn’t recommend you to anyone. Trust me, I am easy to please. When I say terrible, you must be very bad.

Day 6: The Willows – Melbourne, Victoria

The day everyone has been waiting for is finally here! Thank you Ket & Ramil for entrusting me with the photography & videography. I’m very sorry for the non-perfect work. It was my first, definitely my last. I’m bad with it. LOL

It was such a simple and beautiful wedding. I cannot believe you finally found someone you will spend your bimbo moments with.

Love you bimbo!

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Day 7: Yarra Valley – Melbourne, Victoria

First stop – De Bortoli Wines

No comments on wines – I don’t drink. Food was not fantastic and service was not that great compared to the first lunch I had at Chandon. I would still recommend Chandon to all. View was better at Chandon too!

Next stop – Yarra Valley Chocolaterie

A must place to visit for all chocolate lovers. It is not a big place but enough for you to find weird chocolates! Yummy! If you happen to be there, don’t miss their brownie ice creams! Oh my god – I’m drooling as I write this ☹

Final stop – Yarra Valley Diary

The same place I visited the last time. Another must place to visit for all cheese lovers. Taste as many cheese as you want and buy them all! They don’t just sell cheese. You can get other stuffs like dips, crackers etc.

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Day 8: Queens Victoria Market – Melbourne, Victoria

Started the day with breakfast at Simply Spanish – my all time favourite! I’ve never failed to have my meal there every time I visited Melbourne. It’s a must – trust me!

Shopping starts the moment we end our breakfast. Final round of shopping ☹

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Day 9: Dandenong Mountain – Melbourne, Victoria

We spent our last weekend, appreciating the nature. Greenery view and fresh air – what more can I ask for?

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Oh yes, if you did make trip to Dandenong Mountain, do drop by Pie in the Sky! The best pie in town! Again, I’m drooling ☹

Day 10: Singapore

The days always end faster when you are enjoying your time. Again, thank you Ket & Ramil for the hospitality. I definitely enjoyed myself there.

Love,
Shama

Travelogue: Singapore – 8 Things to Do

Don’t be surprise with the things you can do in Singapore!

1. Food Searching – EAT!

rwimagePhoto courtesy of http://www.misstamchiak.com

Singapore is known for the rich heritage of food dishes consisting of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian influences. You might want to view “Best Local Famous Food to Eat – Singapore” to have your check-list of authentic local cuisine in Singapore.

2. Cafe Hopping – Desserts!

cafePhoto courtesy of http://www.behindthebasics.blogspot.com

Not only known for rich heritage of food dishes, we also have a lot of cafes scattered around Singapore. Singaporeans love to “lepak” – chilling with friends at cafes. Visit “Cafes to Visit in Singapore” to see some of the top cafes!

3. Shopping!

Singapore AirportPhoto courtesy of http://www.wandererguides.com

Besides food, Singaporeans love to shop too! That’s like the next thing to do after eating. Click on “Best Places for Budget Shopping in Singapore” to see the budget shopping places. If price is not your concern, then Orchard Road is your place. 😉

4. Club Hopping – PARTY!

zouk-singaporePhoto courtesy of http://www.thehoneycombers.com

Now that you are satisfied with food and shopping, you should not spend your night sleeping in your room. Singapore is happening at night too! Most of the clubs open till 6am. Here’s a list of the best clubs in Singapore. Click on “Best Clubs in Singapore” to see. 😉

5. Park Hopping – EXERCISE!

parkPhoto courtesy of http://www.wherecoolthingshappen.com

For those non-party animals, don’t worry! There are many other activities you can do in Singapore. Singapore is a city nestled amid lush greenery found along our roadside and parks. There are many parks, park connectors, nature reserves, heritage roads and heritage trees found across Singapore which provide for a unique experience of the island’s natural beauty.

The Park Connector Network is an island-wide network of linear open spaces around major residential areas, linking up parks and nature sites in Singapore, allowing everyone to enjoy the splendour of these green spaces.

Plan your hike, cycle or even picnic now! Here’s the list of “Top 10 Parks and Gardens”.

6. Art Galleries & Museums Hopping – HISTORY!

singapore-art-museum-1Photo courtesy of http://www.spicerover.wordpress.com

For those who are more interested in history, you might want to go on our art galleries and museums hopping. There are many in Singapore. You may learn a lot on our cultures, race and many more.

Click on “Top 10 Art Galleries & Museums” to make your plans now!

7. Temple & Mosque Hopping – HISTORY!

templePhoto courtesy of http://www.lashworldtour.com

While you are on history discovery, do consider the different temples and mosque in Singapore. You will definitely learn a lot on the different religions and practices. Here’s a list of them!

1. Temples – Buddhist
2. Churches
3. Mosques
4. Temples – Hindu

7. Sentosa Resort

sentosaPhoto courtesy of http://www.sentosa.gov.sg

In Sentosa alone, there are many activities you can do. That includes the Beaches, Nature Walk and Attractions such as USS, SEA Aquarium and Dolphin Island.

8. Other attractions

banner-highflyersPhoto courtesy of http://www.birdpark.com.sg

Of course, our all-time favourite attractions such as Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park, River Safari and Night Safari.

Get your tickets now via Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Travelogue: Melbourne – Victoria, Australia

Just looking at the photos below, I’m already missing Melbourne 😦
Melbourne was the furthest I’ve been to so far. Due to work, I had to travel on my own for the first time last year.

I didn’t really get to go around Melbourne due to work. Most of my time was spent in the office. When I’m off work, the shops are either closed or I’m too tired to walk around.

But I definitely managed to visit some places! I remember it was Winter when I first went to Melbourne. Pretty and cold.

Melbourne, a city in Victoria is known for its plazas, bars, restaurants and cultural events along the Yarra River. It is also known for Arts performance and music activities.

It is so convenient for one to walk around Melbourne city. I would suggest you to walk around Flinders St, Elizabeth St, Little Lonsdale St and also, Southbank.

They sure have good things to shop and good food to grab.

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Apart from the scenery, I always looked forward to the food there. Probably because I’m not a fan of rice. I enjoy wraps and sandwiches.

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One of the must-go place is Yarra Valley Wineries. There, you will be spoilt for choices. There are many winery areas. Chandon was one of the winery I visited.

Trust me, they serve delicious food! You should try all of them. You can also learn how wines are made. Knowing the process, I’m sure you will be able to appreciate wines more.

On the way back, do drop by the dairy shop! They sell different types of cheeses you might like!

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If you have the time, visit Queen Victoria Market. Go lane by lane not to miss any of the stuffs. I am always amazed at how organised they are. The vegetable section, the beef, pork and chicken etc.

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Before I left for Singapore, I managed to meet my BEST ex-GM, Glen!
It was Spring when I had to fly back for work. This time round, I was not alone with Ket.

Michael and Maman were there too! Apart from the wraps, seafood is must-eat in Melbourne. Freshness is beyond description.

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If you managed to fix your transportation, do visit Mornington. Wonderful sight I’ve ever seen before so far. If you are lucky, they might have events running during your trip. Don’t miss it!

Just a little tip, remember to wake up early when you are in Melbourne. All shops close early there 😦

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I’ll see you soon, Melbourne! ❤ 😀

Travelogue: Manila, Philippines

Manila, capital of Philippines. The first time I stepped my feet, it gave me the ‘Bangkok’ feeling. The only thing that irritates me; everyone speaks to me in tagalog. I know I can’t blame them! We asian looked the same. 😐

This trip was postponed for many time till I finally decided to just booked my tickets despite it being expensive on Vesak Day. The trip is definitely meaningless without these girls. Thanks for being the best hosts!

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First pit stop before my hotel was Tagaytay! It’s supposed to be Manila’s “Genting Highlands”. Unfortunately the weather was not cold that day.

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Lunch was great! That was my first filipino food and I enjoyed it. Not too different from Malay and Thai food, the flavours are just right. With just the taste, you know how much effort is put in to cook. Delicious!

Another thing I appreciate there is the view! OMG, that’s the thing lacking in Singapore. Every time I travel out, I always look forward to the sight-seeing.

Right after lunch, we decided to go for dessert. Bag of Beans; a perfect place to get your meals or just chilling. It’s so pretty and comfortable!

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Next pit stop was Tagaytay Highlands! Amazing place. Apparently it’s only for members. Lucky me! Thanks Ket and brother 😉

Final stop before our hotel was one of the SM Malls. Manila really reminds me of Thailand. The kind people. The delicious food. The shopping!

On a side note, Melissa shoe is cheaper in Manila! Grab it if you are in Manila 😉

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We finally checked-in at New World Makati Hotel. Hotel was great but I think there are better hotel with cheaper price there. You might want to do your research. But if location is your concern, New World Makati Hotel is perfect! It’s located just in front of Greenbelt. All you need to do is walk from one shopping centre to another shopping centre 🙂

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On the same night, I managed to squeeze some time to meet my SkinnyMint home agents. A bunch of fun people! Thanks for inviting me, people.

I managed to shop a little the next morning before our host fetch us to the salon. Ket made everyone do their hair! Lol.

Like Ket said, “trust the Lourd!”

I went without any idea what to do with my hair and look what Lourd did to my hair! Amazing. He sure has magical hands. Also, I like how systematic his salon is. Every staffs seem to know what to do. Service: 10/10 Superb! and of course, affordable price too.

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Thank you, Creation by Lourd Ramos. Last min shopping continued on my last day. I will definitely come again, Manila.

Travelogue: Batam, Indonesia

Batam is a small island in Indonesia’s Riau archipelago. It is only 45mins boat ride from Singapore. Also known for its beaches, raucous nightlife and malls offering duty-free shopping, Batam offers activities including windsurfing, parasailing and jet skiing too.

That makes it a perfect short getaway for many!

Right after the sister’s wedding, we decided to go for one.

Batam View Beach Resort completes the trip. It is indeed a hotspot for many families and friends. It comes with many facilities such as swimming pool, private beach, sea sports centre and more.

I have no complaints on room, service, food etc. Satisfied much! They also provide free shuttle bus from Nongsa Terminal to the Resort. 😀

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Unfortunately timing was bad when we headed to the sea sports centre. Low tides! cry
Therefore we were advised not to jet ski. 😦 Still, we sure had fun at the swimming pool with the little boy!

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Another must-do in Batam: SEAFOOD! Wey Wey Live Seafood is one of the famous seafood place. It is located at Harbour Bay. There’s a long stretch of seafood restaurants there! But sadly, due to the crowd, waiting time may be a challenge.

Taste was great and price was cheap! Oh ya, I almost forgot!
Don’t miss their Pisang Keju aka Cheese Banana Fritters. It’s the best! It can be found on the streets. Those food carts 😉

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Breakfast and lunch we should not miss! Nasi Padang! Yummy! 😀

Before we head back for Singapore, shopping at Nagoya Hill Mall is another must-do. That’s the biggest mall in Batam. You might want to consider other places such as DC Mall, BCS Mall and Harbour Bay Mall.

On Labour Day, the ex-colleagues decided to go for one night at Batam! This time, we stayed at Harris Resort Waterfront. Another resort I would recommend! There’s a lot of activities you can do there. That includes water polo, volley ball, flying fox and more.

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Again, no complaints on room too! It was indeed a big room for two of us. 😉
Dinner was at Golden Prawn 933. Taste was average. We also managed to squeeze some time for Kek Lapis factory!

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We ended the night with singing our lungs out at K1. They sure update their songs well!
K1 is located just around Nagoya Hill Mall. Cheap and great! 🙂