After a day of Cultural tour, we went on a little adventure in Ubud. We started the day with White Water rafting which is, to be honest, not as exciting as I imagine it to be. The walk down to the river banks was the most tedious as the steps were slippery and steep. Thereafter, it was more of a river cruise with occasional rapids in between. We are so going to try the more thrilling white water rafting in New Zealand next year!
It was nonetheless a refreshing and wet experience to get away from the heat.
Drama King. Haha. We saw some people doing river tubing where you have an individual floating down the river sitting on a floating tube. A few of them flipped over and we saw one got stuck between rocks. One of them even fell off the tube and starting floating quickly down the river. It was a scary sight and thankfully the guy was saved by one of the guides on a raft! He must have drunk a whole bucket of water!
Thankfully I brought my trusty waterproof camera along.
Look a quick dip in the water much to the dismay of my clean freak partner. A simple lunch buffer was provided but we saved our stomach for finger linking good BBQ pork ribs at Naughty Nuri’s!
That’s TJ in the background, our driver guide from Beat Bali, joining us for some yummy BBQ food!
The sauce is tasty with the BBQ meat grilled to perfection and falling off the bone so easily.
We then toured the Ubud Market and look around at their souvenirs and crafts but regretfully we didn’t bring out much cash for that day. Ended up with a simple wooden carved Omm sign for our new place.
We took a rest at our resort before heading to Yoga Barn for a before dinner yoga session. They allowed walk ins and you can just pay for a single class as a tourist. It can get crowded pretty quickly and you may want to pop in earlier to secure a slot.
His first yoga session! I love the session at Yoga Barn. Their teacher gave clear instructions and it is always interesting to see people from around the whole, with different mastery levels in a class! You can see some Yoga Guru doing handstands and various balancing pose easily while us struggling to avoid looking like a topsy turvy potato sack. Thankfully the teacher who taught us was very encouraging and gave various tips for the different poses.
Dinner was at Petani which is a short walk from our hotel.
After the climbing up and down steps for white water rafting and yoga session, I ended up with aching legs! We had an early night for our sunrise climb up Mount Batur the next day! Till date I still can’t believe I made it up and down Mount Batur!
On the second day of our Bali trip, we engaged Beat Bali’s driver, TJ, who brought us around to see the sights of Ubud.
First stop of the day was Tegalalang Rice Terrace. It is a smaller but nearer Rice Terrace from Ubud and it is the perfect place for some nice photos under the bright morning sun!
There are some decorated platform at the houses facing the rice terrace and anyone can pop by for some pictures and drop a small fee in return for the residents. You can spend as much time here walking up and down the terrace as you like. I saw an adventurous couple walking all the way down the slope.
The next stop, we visited Tirta Empul Temple, the holy spring temple. Locals and tourists alike can participate in the purification process by taking a dip in the water. Each spring represents something and towards the end of the line, is the spring for the dead. So if you are keen to try, do observe and ask around before popping in!
In all of the temples we visited, both the man and ladies will have cover up their legs as a sign of respect. Ladies who are having that time of the month are mostly barred from entering as it is considered unclean.
So I’ve finally decided to update my blog with all the travelling I did this year! The last time I shared in this blog was in September 2015 and wow, how time flies! It has been more than a year and with all the travelling (Bali, Taiwan, Batam and India!), proposal and wedding planning, I seriously need to get down to logging the holidays down before I completely forget!
Back in April 2016, we went for on a 7 days 6 night trip to Bali. Yes, almost a week long and there are lots to do other than chilling by the beach or in a villa. It was his first time in Bali and I wanted to let him see some cultural part of it and how it is different from a regular resort island.
On the first day of our trip, we touched down Bali in the late afternoon and realized that the entire flight’s luggage was left behind in Singapore! So we had to file a report, wasted an hour at the airport just to fill up the form. Our driver, Bagus, whom we booked through Beat Bali Adventure Tour picked us up and brought us to a mall to get the local Data Sim card, which is almost half price compared to the airport. Bagus and TJ from Beat Bali are the best and they came highly recommended from our friends. They speak impeccable English, having many years of experience working in an International Cruise ship, and being Balinese themselves, they were able to share interesting information on their local culture and practices. They were also exceptionally friendly and helpful and we had a great time throughout the trip. On top of our airport transfer on arrival, we also booked our Mount Batur Tour, White Water Rafting, a day tour around Ubud and a day tour around Semiyak with them. We basically co-plan with them our Bali adventure before the trip via Whatsapp.
Upon reaching Ubud, we checked in our hotel and had a quick dinner at the nearby Dirty Duck. The crispy duck was good but wasn’t as fantastic as I remembered. We then headed back to our hotel room and the wait for our luggage continues.
The first activity of the day after checking in to Hamptons Inn Bed and Breakfast was to visit the Fremantle Prison! We joined the Prison Day Tour Package at AU$28 per pax which included the Doing Time and Great Escape tour.
Personally, I very much prefer the Doing Time tour which brings us around the prison and showing us how the inmates used to live in there. The Great Escape tour mainly revolves around stories on inmates attempting to escape which requires more listening than exploring. I got a little tired in the middle of the second tour and if you only have the time to do one tour, do the Doing Time tour! Before you show up at the prison, do check online on their tour timing and arrive 10 minutes before the tour.
Before the tour, we checked out their small gift shop and saw some cute gifts!
Before the start of the tour, the coordinator will ring a bell and in we go into prison! The following pictures were from the first tour, Doing Time!
This is where the inmates strip themselves butt naked for checks before registering themselves in.
These nets were installed first to prevent inmates from committing suicide, but because the nets were so rough and hard, it didn’t do much except to prevent dead bodies from dirtying the floor. However, it did protected the prison officers as the prisoners often throw their metal buckets filled with shit. Literally.
Ok, maybe a look a bit too happy to be in prison!
There is a church build for them too and not all attendees are devotees. Most of them just needed a breather out from their cell.
A bare minimum!
According to the guide, this prisoner who drew this is still alive and he is a serial rapist but was given parole on good behaviour. And even though the artwork looks nice, they are not original creation. He is merely replicating famous artwork.
This is a work of a prisoner who wrote a message for his daughter.
The funny guide also demonstrated how punishments were carried out back in those days.
This is a gloomy place and there is a strange chill to it. This is where the prisoners were hung. The next series of pictures are taken during the Great Escape tour. There were no overlapping sights between Doing Time and Great Escape Tour.
A Catholic church was also build for the prisoner later because they started having a lot of Irish origin prisoners.
This picture is taken when one prisoner was found hiding (and trapped) under the floorboards for days while trying to escape. The prison officer thought that it was really funny and if they were to tell it to the rest of his colleague, they may not believe him. In the end, he covered up the floor board, got a colleague to watch him and went back to take a camera and took this picture. The prisoner face is blurred out a little because he is still alive in his senior years.
Last year we visited Alishan and on the first day, we enjoyed a light drizzle and had the entire forest to our own. Read more here on our previous forest walk last year. This year, blessed with no rain, we had to share the forest with 2 large tour bus group which disturbed the forest’s tranquility and beauty with their loud noise.
We also missed the Cherry Blossom season in Alishan by almost 3 weeks and all that is left is on a tree or two.
Despite not having to enjoy a peaceful forest walk or the full bloom of Cherry Blossom flowers, we were truly blessed to enjoy clear sky to enjoy sunrise! Here are some photos to showcase a little of the actual magnificent view of the sunrise at Alishan.
Here’s a little tip! When catching the train, do get on the first trip and proceed to the last cabin! Because the last cabin is the cabin closet to the stairway towards the viewing platform and once you get off to the platform run to the front! There will be a guide there to tell you which angle will give you the best view as it varies from season to season!
We had to wake up really early at 3.40am to be ready for the first train at 4.30am. Look at my sleepy face without makeup on!
At some point in time, the sun is so bright that you just have to look away!
After watching the sunrise, there are some booths here selling hot french toast! The best after the cold long wait!
// To recap, we signed up and went for Hong Thai Travel’s 8 Days Hokkaido / Tokyo tour package and in this post and the upcoming posts, I will be sharing them via the days (e.g Day 1, Day 2 etc) but if some locations interest me enough, I will share them in details in a post on its own! This is so if anyone is researching on Hong Thai Travel’s tour package, you can have an idea on what to expect. So stay tuned!
The overview of the tour package can also be found here. Day 2 and Day 3 itinerary is already shared in previous posts! Day 2’s post is here and Day 3’s post is here!
Day 4 was a fun filled day with plenty of activities! We started off at a plum and blueberries farm and had lots of fun picking and eating as we go! Haha. I will be sharing more pictures in a separate post for this sight!
Next up, we went to a Mt Showa Bear Ranch and had lots of fun feeding them!
Just next to the Bear Ranch is Mt Showa, the youngest active volcano in Hokkaido! Will share more on the Bear Ranch and Mt Showa in other posts.
During this trip, our itinerary didn’t include visiting any flower farms in Furano so the tour guide decided to stop by a sunflower field for us to take pictures!
As we have some time in between, the tour guide decided to stop us at a Seaweed information center which was outside of the itinerary! At this place, it shows us how seaweed was collected and processed and there were lots of seafood products on sale.
Lunch was yummy with Hokkaido scallop being the prime ingredient, we had grilled scallop, scallop in soup, scallop in rice and a stuffed squid. The rice was really good.
We then proceeded to Fort Goryokaku which was beautiful! A pretty and peaceful park and if you are here during the cherry blossom season this entire park will be in pink! My favourite was going up Goryokaku Tower to see the overall view of the Fort which is a star shaped fort! Will share more pictures in other posts!
Hokadate Meiji-Kan (Old Post Office) was not listed in the itinerary but it turns out to be a beautiful place! I love the vibe of this place and there is a building selling pretty stuffs! Stay tuned to check them out in a separate post!
After visiting the Old Post Office, we went for the worst dinner ever! It was a buffet with some hot food and BBQ but as Japan is under a nuclear energy crisis, the place didn’t turn on it’s air conditioner or probably turn to a temperature which was not cooling and we had a stuffy, warm and smelly dinner.
Immediately after dinner, we head up to Mt Hakodate via cable car and the queue is crazy long! We queued up for almost 30 minutes before boarding the cable car and it was crowded! But we are not complaining as the view and cool breeze is enjoyable!
After a very long day, we finally checked into our hotel which was spacious and clean!
//Last week, I shared on an overview of our long awaited Hokkaido/Tokyo trip via Hong Thai Travel and I also shared on some of the places of interest we visited in our Day 2 and Day 3 of the trip. In this post and more, I will be sharing on some of the sites we visited in Day 3 in details with a lot more pictures! So stay tuned!
In the Shiraoi Ainu Museum houses a replica village of Ainu houses along a lake. Ainu people are the indigenous people of northern Japan and every hour (starting 15 minutes after the hour) there is a free performance with traditional Ainu folk dances and songs demonstration. Some of the performance are simple lullabies while others are chilling performance before the killing of animals.
There is also a museum at the village showcasing the lives of Ainu people. It is a little creepy when we visited as there aren’t anyone else there and the thought of the movie, The night of the museum popped out. Heh.
The other section of the village was an area with bears and Hokkaido dogs in cages, which I thought was pretty unnecessary. The cage is small and the living condition was not exactly the best. It is definitely interesting for tourists to see live animals but they could improve their living area. As for the Hokkaido dog, can’t it be trained and be allowed to run freely?
Outside the village, there are also some souvenior shops selling wooden crafts and they even cut a tiny piece of wood to let us smell them. It is a nice fragrant!
I heard you, I know you guys missed me! Haha. Work has been busy and I’ve successfully set up the store and it is currently up and running! The Lord heard my prayers as He has bless me with a smooth sailing set up. To top it off, the store is a beautiful one. Thank you Lord.
For the past weeks, it was all work and commuting from West to East every day. No time for Yoga (boo) but lots of time for a good read! Will share more about that the next time.
But among the busyness, I didn’t forget Christmas! This Christmas, we spent meaningful time with my family! All thanks to my sister, we gathered at home and feast our hearts out with her lovingly prepared home cook food! Grilled salmon, baked vegetables and Shepard’s pie, all prepared by my sister and assisted by us! We also had a supermarket bought turkey (reheated to perfection by yours truly!) and we brought along an Ice cream log cake which my family gladly polish them off! Everyone had room for dessert! Haha.
The Chef and her Sous Chef! I’m the Pseudo Chef. Haha.
My dad always has that weird gleeful smile in pictures.
My Gram gram and bro.
Here are some presents which I’ve received this year for Christmas! My mum is lame, she bought me Young Hearts panties, size S. OMG. My butt is huge and seriously mum, I’m turning 29 this year. I cannot believe it. My sister got me a gold plated owl bracelet, Chomel ear stubs which will not tarnish, and a pretty belt! My cousins got me an Owl phone case which I can’t wait to change the covers. A random red pouch from my another cousin and the best gift this christmas! An iPad Air from him! I almost cried and want to kill him for spending so much on a Christmas gift! As you can probably see, my family buys random token gifts for each other. We don’t buy luxurious gift! It’s the thought that count! I remember my sister buying me Wind chimes, Mugs, Photo frames from a neighboring gift shop when we were young. Haha. But I love love the iPad Air! Will come in handy during our trips! Weee!
This video shared by peonies and pancakes is indeed beautiful. I love the part where you are stuck with bad memories but when you meet new people along the way, you build and collect more memories. I love the last part where the old man was protecting his memories as they slowly slip away with age. It is sad but also so sweet.
Yoga in my favourite city in the world? Oh yes!
Last Sunday we had a date night Sunday at the Singapore Art Festival 2012 and we watched the most precious and captivating free performance ever! Flux caught the hearts of many audiences. Flux,a theatrical performance by French group Theatre du Centaure, tells the story of a mythical creature, the centaure – a half human, half horse creature – which lives among us. The way the performer and the horse dance in sync is so magical that it made us felt like we were in a Disney movie! Love that it was originally presented at the man-made ranch and later, when the mystical creature reappears at the river, the performance is moved to the floating stage.
Thereafter, we went to listen to some lovely music performance by our local acoustic duo Kim + Sarah. I like Sarah’s voice!
In the past during our dating days, Jason and I often hangout at Esplanade listening to free music performance and while listening to Kim + Sarah, they reminded us of that fuzzy feeling we had back in those days. It’s hard to perform in front of live audience and it’s even harder to sing it well and I’m glad they did both just right. Haha. Do head over to Singapore Arts Festival this weekend! Date night doesn’t have to be expensive! Some great things come free too! Heh.
Anyone out there seen this musical in NYC? It is from the original cast from its sold-out off-Broadway shows in New York – Tina Jensen (as Barbara), Priscilla Fernandez (as Dr. Laura) and the director Sonya Carter who will double up as Janice. It looks like something that we will enjoy together with a group of girls! SSS, want to go watch this? I love musical. Any day! Haha.
” Follow three radio DJs – eccentric Barbara, “Little Miss Perfect” Janice and rambunctious sexpert Laura – through topics close to the hearts of women in this lively and fun musical play.
The plot is set in the final broadcast of the radio show, Girl Talk, after 10 years,the three ladies are set to end things with a bang. Expect lots of fireworks as three very distinct personalities come together, bring different aspects of their lives and experiences on food, men, babies and sex of course!
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, single or married, divorced or widowed. Because girls will always be girls. So let loose and get ready for a smoking good time at Girl Talk! “
He brought me to watch Wicked on Christmas Day and it was wickedly awesome! I love musical and it is far better than Mama Mia (NYC) and Lion King (Singapore)! Love the set! It was magical and the transformation between scenes kept my neck stretched throughout the show! I was mesmerized by the costumes, set, plot and voices! Even though their voices are not as powerful as their counterparts seen in Mama Mia in NYC, it is still good!
Attended FutureChina Global Forum’s Gala Dinner at Ritz Carlton and it was a fabulous night!
Guest speaker MM Lee Kuan Yew
He is really old. He is really wise. They discussed about bilateral ties between China and Singapore, China and Taiwan, China and US, bilingualism in Singapore, democracy and other intellectual topics. MM Lee is not only wise he is definitely witty. I’m in awe when he spoke and I am inspired to work in China, if only the opportunity is a job I desire.
Mouth-watering Western Cuisine
The tomato is so sweet and when it burst in my mouth, I can hear it scream!
The fish is so tender and the sauce is creamiliciously awesome!
I think I do not have one sweet tooth, I have a whole row of them.
Top Notch Service Staff
From the random service staff who bring us to the lift to the staff mending the taxi staff, their service standard is superb. Their friendliness, professionalism and efficiency are exceptional.
We had a fabulous night.
Last Saturday our church had an outing event with the BB boys. If not for the rain we would have went cycling at East Coast Park. Instead, we headed to Changi Airport T3 for some indoor games!
We got them to form the longest line possible ,and they eagerly lie flat on the ground! HAHA
Handling these hyperactive, easily excited, noisy but fun-loving bunch of boys is no easy feat! We had a lot of fun though!
We went to the Singapore Philatelic Museum and they were having a Christmas Day Open House! That means the entrance is free! I love museums! It’s not just about stamps but it also features the history of Singapore and postal services around the world! It’s a colourful place and I had a lot of fun!
You know you’re the Queen when you appear on a stamp.
If you missed the Christmas Day Open House, they’ve got a New Year’s Day Open House coming up too!
Siqi & Sue Ann
Tabi & Serene
We made it! I know I know, it’s only 5km and it’s a walk. But still! It was a great day blessed with great weather and great company! For the very first time, my pink puma shoes feel right at home!