My stay at Pullman Central Park Hotel.









I stayed at the Pullman Central Park Hotel in Jakarta when I was there for work recently. The hotel was the highlight of my whole trip and I was so happy to get back everyday after I was done with work. The interior of the hotel is really funky with a modern industrial theme and I loved the mix of pop and modern art displayed throughout the hotel. Chats with the Hotel Manager revealed that Pullman supports local and all the art pieces are by Indonesian Artists. I really like that. 
Breakfast every morning was a huge and grand affair with a really wide selection of Western, Japanese, Chinese and local cuisine. I think I looked forward to breakfast every night before I went to bed. Surprisingly, I also had the best sleeps during my stay at the hotel. I don’t usually adapt to new environments quickly and usually have trouble sleeping. I think it was the comfy pillows that lulled me into a deep sleep every night. I woke up to no tight and aching shoulders every morning – a common problem that I have! The pillows felt so good I actually came back to Singapore and got my pillows changed, hoping to recreate the good sleep that I had. 
I didn’t have time to hit the pool, but I managed to take walks around the hotel and check out the swimming facilities. The pool looked really inviting. I’ll remember to make time for it next time. One of the best parts of the hotel was the Zen Garden. I loved the serene garden scape amongst the high-rise buildings in the congested city. 
Of course, I squeezed in a spa session at the hotel. I had a 1 hour foot, shoulder and hand massage one night and it was heavenly. The best part was, I paid only about SGD40 for the massage…in a hotel spa! What a steal. 
Thank you for the wonderful hospitality, Pullman Hotel. I’ll definitely be back!
-xoxo-   
   

Highlights from the Great Ocean Road

Hello everybody! I am back! If you’re following along my Instagram, you’d have known that I was in Melbourne with my love last week and it was beyond amazing. I’ve left my heart in Melbourne, and am feeling a little lost now that I’m back. I texted my dad that I was so sad to be back and he dispensed the good ‘ol wise, cliche saying of…’all good things need to come to an end.’ What a bummer. Haha. 
The highlight of the trip was definitely the road trip along the Great Ocean Road. I’m usually a city kinda girl and it was my first time doing a road trip. So glad that we did it! There were so many amazing ‘firsts’ throughout the 4 days that we were on the roads. I spent quite a lot of time before we left to plan for the route, where to stay and options on what to do along the way. The itinerary looked like this: 
Day 1: 
Melbourne to Phillip Island
Day 2: 
Phillip Island to Mornington Peninsula to Aireys Inlet (via car ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff) 
Day 3:  
Aireys Inlet to Lorne to Apollo Bay
Day 4: 
Apollo Bay to Twelve Apostles and back to Melbourne
Major highlights along the way: 
Our bed & breakfast at Phillip Island. It was my first time staying at a B&B and this was a complete stunner. The room was a separate studio from the main house and the ceiling to floor glass doors provided an amazing view of the ocean. I didn’t want to leave the next day. 
Amazing food at a pub at Aireys Inlet. Everything was closed by the time we got in to Aireys Inlet so our host at the B&B pointed us to the pub. We weren’t expecting much from pub food and just wanted to fill our tummies for the night but were completely blown away when our food was served. Best pasta and pork ribs we’ve ever had.
 
This picture is not mine, but I saw a koala chilling on the side of the Great Ocean Road as we were making our way to Apollo Bay. We couldn’t stop in time for a picture and it looked like there were people about to help him back to where he belongs, so we just admired his cuteness from the car as we drove past. We also saw wild kangaroos along the way and one guy was hanging outside out B&B at Phillip Island! But they hop away really quick once they hear you, so I didn’t get a chance to get up close to them at all. It was still amazing spotting them from afar though. Koalas and kangaroos are so cute! 
Climbing the rocks at Erskine Falls. We tried as much as possible at all our stops to go beyond the tourist look outs and explore slightly more unchartered areas, something different. It was all so worth it. We managed to get closer to the attractions and were rewarded by even more stunning views.

The breathtaking scenery along the way. Morning, noon or night, it was so picturesque everywhere. It was clear blue skies, sprawling wide open spaces, rolling hills or deep blue oceans everywhere we went; with every option equally wonderful. It left the city girl in me so awestruck and I was constantly going, ‘WOW’. 
Last but not least, the ring. You may have seen this post on Instagram already: “He woke me up while I was sleeping on our road trip and made me get out of the car. That’s when he got down on one knee and said, ‘I’ve made you wait too long for this’…and put this ring on my finger. :)” Definitely the cherry on top of an already very amazing road trip. 
This road trip is definitely going into the memory book to be stored forever. I want to remember every single detail and I’ll be blogging about our daily adventures in the upcoming posts. 
If you’ve got unique personal experiences overseas too, why not share it with @TravelMadeDifferent! The team has an ongoing instagram contest to celebrate all travel experiences ‘Same Same But Different’ (#SSBD). You may have ventured pass your comfort zone and embarked on a camping trip, even though you’re a city girl at heart (like me!). Or you may have decided to be extra adventurous in filling your tummy by trying out exotic local food like ballot or fried maggots. We want to hear what made your travel different. And just by sharing, 40 lucky winners with great pictures and captions stand to win a $100 shopping voucher! 
Here’s how to take part: 

1) Follow @TravelMadeDifferent on Instagram
2) Post a photo/video on Instagram of your ‘Same Same But Different’ travel experiences
3) Write an awesome caption about your photo/video and include these hashtags:
#TravelMadeDifferent  #SSBD #country
Contest ends 31st December 2014, so do send in your entries before then. I’ll go look! Oh, and don’t forget that your Instagram account needs to be public for your post to be seen.
-xoxo-

  

Sydney Escapades – what to see and do in just 2 days

I was in Sydney for work two weeks ago and I extended the trip from Thursday noon to early evening on Saturday for some leisure time to myself. I had to catch the 5pm flight home on Saturday. I had just about 2 days to see the whole of Sydney so boy, did I jam pack my schedule. Here’s what I did; the places I visited and food that I had, and my recommendations if you’re headed to Sydney. 

Thursday

Sydney Harbour Bridge

I started the day about 12pm after a morning work meeting and went for a walk at the Sydney Harbour Bridge with my colleagues. We walked till about the halfway mark where people could scale the top of the bridge. The weather was beautiful – not too cold with a touch of warmth from the sun. It was a perfect day for a walk and the scenery that greeted us along the way was absolutely beautiful. You get a good view of the Sydney Opera House from here. I would definitely recommend taking a walk on this bridge when you’re in Sydney.

Museum of Contemporary Art

The museum is quite small so you can probably cover the place in an hour or less. I was slightly disappointed that there weren’t any famous works of art by the likes of contemporary artists such as Henry Matisse, Andy Warhol, Picasso, etc. I did a year of Art History studies when I was in NAFA and have always had a love and interest for art. Getting up close and personal with art pieces that I’ve only read about from books is an amazing experience.
‘Chance’ – an installation piece in the museum.
If you’ve got time, the cafe on the top level of the museum has a gorgeous view. Definitely worth spending the time for a cuppa there.
Here’s me and the view at the cafe!

The streets and shops around this area is super pretty and quaint so do spend time walking around and exploring the place.

#OOTD worth spots everywhere in this area. Haha. I’m wearing a jacket and skirt set coming soon to Wardrobe Theory. 🙂 

Westfield Bondi Junction

The shops on Thursdays close late at 9pm in Sydney. They usually close at 5pm. I took this opportunity to check out the shops at Westfield Bondi Junction. It was recommended by the concierge at my hotel. This mall is huge and it’s got all the stores that you probably need under one roof – David Jones, Target, Myer and lots of small boutique shops. You can also probably find all the Australian designers you’re looking for in this mall.
I got quite a lot of Bonds underwear (made in Australia), Pandora charms (cheaper in Australia!) and checked out all the Australian labels like Cameo, Mink Pink, Camilla, Zimmerman, Finders Keepers, etc. This mall is definitely worth a check out.


Friday

Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus

I got a ticket from my hotel for the Hop On Hop Off sightseeing tour bus. It cost around SGD$40+ and is definitely worth going for if you’re looking to tour all the touristy spots in Sydney. They’ve got passes for 24 or 48 hours. I took cabs everywhere when I wasn’t on this bus and it costs around AUS$15-20 per cab ride, so the price for this sightseeing tour bus is definitely worth it.

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House was my first stop and I had brunch by the quay. The food was only average, but the view made up for the lacklustre meal and it was completely worth it.

This view

I went inside the Sydney Opera House to have a look around but there’s really nothing much inside. It’s much better from the outside. I hear that the Oyster Bar there is highly recommended for drinks at sunset or after dark.

There are 2 bus routes for the Hop On Hop Off. As I didn’t have enough time to explore every stop, I toured the stops from the bus and only got off at Central Station to switch to the Blue Route for Bondi Beach.

Me at Central Station. (I didn’t know that there was a smudge on my camera lens, so there’s this annoying smudge on all my subsequent pictures from here. 😦 )

Red Route:

Stop 1 – Alfred St
Stop 2 – Wynard
Stop 3 – QVB
Stop 4 – Town Hall
Stop 5 – William St
Stop 6 – Kings Cross
Stop 7 – El Alamein
Stop 8 – Woolloomoolloo
Stop 9 – Opera House
Stop 10 – Botanical Gardens
Stop 11 – State Library
Stop 12 – Hyde Park
Stop 13 – Aust Museum
Stop 14 – Central Station
Stop 15 – Power House
Stop 16 – Fish Markets
Stop 17 – Star City
Stop 18 – Maritime
Stop 19 – Convention Centre
Stop 20 – Imax
Stop 21 – Aquarium
Stop 22 – King St Wharf
Stop 23 – Campbells Cove
Stop 24 – The Rocks
Stop 25 – Circular Quay

Blue Route:

Stop 1 – Central Station
Stop 2 – Chinatown
Stop 3 – Sydney Tower
Stop 4 – William Street
Stop 5 – Paddington Town Hall
Stop 6 – Bondi Beach Terminal
Stop 7 – North Bondi
Stop 8 – Rose Bay
Stop 9 – Double Bay
Stop 10 – Australia Museum

Bondi Beach

This place is a must-visit for the beautiful coastal walk. Take a right turn from facing the sea and keep walking. The route is easy to follow and I promise that the view is spectacular. I was recommended to walk all the way to the cemetery at the top of the cliff but I didn’t make it all the way there as I didn’t have enough time.
View from the beach.

First landmark you’ll see on the walk. How amazing is this pool!

You also have to have the gelato from Messina at Bondi when you’re there. It’s located opposite the beach along the rows of shops. It’s super fresh and so yummy. Messina was made famous by Master Chef when the gelato was featured in one of their pressure tests. I hear there’s usually a long line of people waiting their turn for gelato. Lucky for me, there was no queue when I was there. 

Messina Gelato. Address: 6/61 Hall Street, Bondi Beach, NSW 2026, Australia

El Bulli Restaurant
I met a friend, Ruth for dinner at this Spanish Tapas restaurant at Surrey Hills that evening. Surrey Hills is a popular area for cafes and restaurants and once again, definitely worth a visit but first, find out where the good foods are. I definitely recommend El Bulli. The food is so so good! Do call and reserve a table if you would like to go though. I hear they usually fill up pretty fast. 
Extensive menu. Spoilt for choice!

I didn’t manage to get good shots of the food as the interior of the restaurant is pretty dark. We finally settled on the chilli mussels, potato croquette and garlic chicken wings. Yummehhhh and so worth every calorie. 

Louder Than Words

I watched this contemporary dance by the Sydney Dance Company at the Sydney Theatre after dinner. The show features two world premieres, one by Sydney Dance Company’s Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela and the other by European star Andonis Foniadakis. The set and energy of the dances blew me away. It’s by far the best contemporary dance performance I’ve ever watched. So glad that I managed to catch it during my short time in Sydney.

Sydney Ferry

The Harbour Bridge at night. This was taken after a short walk from the Sydney Theatre. 

Thank you, Ruth for showing me around Sydney!

We took the Sydney Ferry for Darling Harbour after the dance performance. We sat outside on the ferry and it was such an enjoyable ride. Again, the view along the way was amazing. I think it was especially nice at night with the lights from the buildings. I definitely recommend taking the ferry at night for the view and experience.

Lindt Chocolate Cafe / Darling Harbour

Ruth took me for some iced chocolate at the Darling Harbour. It was to-die-for. The drink tasted so fresh, was surprisingly refreshing and not sickeningly sweet. I’m usually not a fan of chocolate drinks because it’s so sweet…but this was a winner. 

There are lots of bars along Darling Harbour, so if you’re up for drinks, you can definitely head there.

I had the iced milk chocolate (left) and Ruth had the iced dark chocolate.

Best iced chocolate drink I’ve ever had. Man, I wish I could have some now.

It was midnight by the time we finished our chocolate drinks so we parted and I headed back for my hotel. What a wonderful day it was. So many firsts and so many spectacular sights. I remember going to bed very happy. 🙂 

Saturday

Paddington Market
I woke up early on my last day in Sydney and headed to Paddington Market. It opens at 10am. The market was full of knick knacks, art, handicraft and jewellery. I covered the market pretty quickly and got these amazing skull candles. It made my trip to Paddington all worth it. 

I wish I could bring back one of each colour! 

CBD Shopping /Queen Victoria Building (QVB) / Pitt Street Mall
I headed for more shopping at the Central Business District after Paddington. This is my favourite shopping haunt by far. I like that there’s a mix of shops lined in rows outside and inside the malls, instead of them all being situated in a mall. I think I generally love wide open spaces. 

My favourite must-see places are The Strand and QVB. The architecture of these two buildings is very Victorian and so absolutely gorgeous. The Strand is stocked with lots of Australian designers. Definitely worth going if you’re looking to buy clothes, although it gets pricey. I went to The Art of Dr Seuss gallery when I was at QVB, got chocolate from Haigh’s (the milk chocolate strawberry blocks are delicious) and Bon Bon’s , stopped for lunch, got more Pandora and picked out clothes for my family from Marcs. It was a definite fruitful shopping trip. 

 Inside The Strand
Inside QVB

I headed back to the hotel to stash my shopping and pick up my luggage for the airport after QVB. Sydney was really good to me throughout the whole time I was there. I’m the sort who really enjoy being by myself sometimes, so it was really nice to be able to explore the city on my own. The nature walks did me good and gave me space to empty my mind to think and reflect, and the sights and sounds of the bustling city areas gave me inspiration. Sydney is a great balance of wide open spaces and city life. Thank you, Sydney! I’m sure I’ll be back again some day. 

-xoxo-

Bangkok Tales

It’s my second day in Bangkok and a large part of the day was spent at work. I come to Bangkok so often but there’s something so alluring about this city that I fall in love with it over and over again – the friendly and soft-spoken people, quaint cafes with yummy food, the mix of high and low fashion and so much more. 
Today, I had a delicious lunch of Tom Yum Goong and fusion Pad Thai at Another Hound Cafe (under the Greyhound group), snapped some OOTD shots at Siam Square – I super love the white wedges that I’m wearing from Pedder Red. I’ve got the same style of shoes in cobalt blue and leopard print. They’re so super comfortable and easy to dress up or down with. Sneaked in a cinnamon bun mid-day with a latte and it was so yummy.
Ended the day at the vintage flea market, Made By Legacy that only happens twice a year (lucky me!) and had so much fun trawling vintage treasures and drinking sangria. Of course, I had to have another foot massage before popping back to the hotel. Is there such a thing as too many massages?! 
Outfit details:
Top: H&M 
Skirt: Nasty Gal
Clutch: MCM
Wedges: Pedder Red
Jewellery: Chanel necklace & ring, Thomas Sabo gemstone ring, Hermes CDC and Rolex watch
-xoxo-

Madame Tussauds Hong Kong

On the first day of our Hong Kong trip, we visited Madame Tussauds and The Peak.

I’ve been to The Peak many times but have never gone to Madame Tussauds. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always imagined it to be small and probably not quite worth the visit. I’ve been so wrong. Madame Tussauds Hong Kong houses over 100 celebrity wax figurines! I had so much fun taking silly pictures with the figurines.

The entire place is split into the following themes:

–  Hong Kong Glamour,
– Historical and National Heroes,
– TV Studio,
– World Premiere featuring movie stars from early black and white Hollywood era,
– The Champions featuring sporting heroes,
– Authentic History that gives you a peek of what goes behind the making of  a wax figurine,
– Music icons; and
– Fantasy Kingdom that is newly expanded with different superheroes and characters.

A group shot before we boarded the tram that was going to take us up to The Peak and Madame Tussauds. The night city view on the way up is really beautiful!

Oh hi, just hanging with Brangelina. They are the first few figures that you’ll see upon entering Madame Tussauds.

Trying to look very important whilst hanging with Barack Obama in his office at the Historical and National Heroes room.

Us all at the TV Studio area with host Sandra Ng. This is a replica of the TV talk show, Sparkling Club.

Oh nothing much, just having tea with the beautiful Audrey Hepburn at the World Premiere room. I can’t focus on my tea. She’s gorgeous!

An OOTD shot, Wing Chun style with Donnie Yen. I love these Nike sneakers that I got from Tokyo!
In this Authentic History zone, you’ll see the step by step production process of how Donnie Yen’s wax figure was made. From the very beginning of measuring size, sculpting, moulding to the final stage of colouring.

 Hanging with the Beatles at the Music Icons zone. I grew up listening to their songs. What’s your favourite Beatles tune?

Pretending I’m cool and chic like Lady Gaga.

Tired of hanging with celebrities and icons, I suddenly find myself part of a classical painting. Trying my best to fit right in!

And, The Hulk got me at the Fantasy Kingdom zone! This newly expanded room houses Marcel Superheroes Iron Man, Wolverine, Monkey King, Doraemon and…
Spiderman! I was trying to re-enect that popular kissing scene between Spiderman and Mary Jane. If only Spiderman was hanging upside down too!
   
Went trigger happy taking selfies with all my favourite celebrities and icons!

This is not quite about Madame Tussauds, but we went to Tsui Wah Cafe before heading up to The Peak and these 2 dishes are so good! You’ve got to try this condensed milk toast and chicken wings when you’re in Hong Kong. I’m salivating already just looking at my pictures.

Are you tempted by all my posts to take a trip to Hong Kong yourself? Don’t forget to check out Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Summer Fun website HERE for accommodation, shop and dining offers and more ideas for a fun and exciting time in Hong Kong this Summer!

– xoxo –