In the current digital age, with the deluge of traveling posts on social media, budget airlines enabling low-cost travel, and AirBnB which has transformed and transcended the entire travelling experience, the concept of travel has become an essential part of our lifestyles in various forms. It can either be a luxurious retreat to an idyllic island or a adventurous backpacking getaway. Over the past 2 years, we have travelled to various places for business and leisure, and would like to hereby share some of the places we have ventured to.
1) San Francisco
United States, a land at the far west with almost 20 hours flight to get there; well-known as a land full of opportunities with a melting pot of cultures, I went to California (West Coast), visited several cities such as San Francisco (breeding ground for startups), Las Vegas (known as Sin City) and the city of angels, Los Angeles (home of Hollywood).
Fun Fact: Did you know Americans eat about 100 acres of pizza each day, with about 3 billion pizzas sold annually in the USA?
It is also extremely rewarding to bike up from downtown San Francisco to Golden Gate Bridge (which connects to Marin County); scenic views are aplenty during the bike journey. Although the route can be challenging (the slopes of downtown SF can be really steep), it is definitely worth a shot for the experience. The whole trip is approximately 30km.
The federal prison on Alcatraz Island in the chilly waters of California's San Francisco Bay housed some of America's most difficult and dangerous felons during its years of operation from 1934 to 1963. I boarded a ferry at Pier33 and travelled approximately 20 mins to reach the isolated island.
Savouring fresh seafood platter at Pier33.
The blossom season starts from mid-Feb onwards with spectacular flowers.
The home of infamous Ghirardelli chocolate is famous for the finest Swiss chocolate. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is a United States division of Swiss confectioner Lindt & Sprüngli. The company was founded by and is named after Italian chocolatier Domenico Ghirardelli, who, after working in South America, moved to California.
2) Las Vegas
While the in Sin City, Las Vegas, I witnessed the city with lights that never turn off. Below is The Strip, an infamous street that was built with all 4-5 stars hotels.
The Venetian Hotel, the five-diamond luxury hotel is one of the most prominent hotel at the street.
With the remarkable Venice-like interior design with a canal gondola in the hotel. The frescoes that adorn the ceilings were canvases painted by Italian artists, applied to the interior of the domed vault and edges were blended for a seamless transition between the pictures.
3) Los Angeles
Los Angeles is the second biggest population city in US, with 30 million residents in the city. The city is well-known for the Hollywood Studio and Beverlyn Hills, where all the rich and famous wants to own a piece of land there. When I was walking in Beverlyn Hills, the road looks like a showroom of fancy cars, with brands like Mustang, Maserati, Ferrari and Porche.
Don’t you like to have a customised car-park meter that engraved with your last name and painted with your favourite colour? There is only one on the street, for the luxurious menswear brand Bijan.
Universal Studio Hollywood! This theme park includes the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Universal Studio Tour, The Walking Dead attractions and many more.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme.
It is also recommended to take a sky tour or hike to the infamous Grand Canyon. Its color can be deep red, brown, purple or white. Hakatai Shale - This layer averages about 1,200 million years old and is composed primarily of shale with some sandstone. The color is a very bright orange-red red and is the layer that gives Red Canyon its name.
The country was formerly known as Siam, and is known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha. I have visited Phuket many times, and it is an island full of different vibes. If you are looking to get wasted, endless shopping and parties, Patong is the area you should stay close to. If you are looking for a retreat, you can try to stay at the northern area. In my opinion, Phuket has the most affordable luxurious accommodation by the beach in Southeast Asia.
I have stayed at the Pullman Phuket Hotel, which is situated by the cliff against an amazing sea view; the cost was only $140 per night after discount.
The constant wave hitting the beach gently.
This is at Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort, that is situated by the beach with private area for guest to safely roam around.
5) Sri Lanka
This is probably one of the underrated and undiscovered gem in Asia, and was also known as Ceylon, during British colonial times. The people are called Sinhalese, and the country is famous for their Ceylon tea. If you are planning to get immersed with nature for a holiday, Sri Lanka is the place for you. It is affordable, safe, with warm and friendly local people.
Tree-top house with secluded ambience, a good gateway to be disconnected from the world.
I was there for a 5 days hike, just to enjoy the moment of immersing with the sights and sound of nature.
The Adam’s Peak hike is a beast to conquer. The accomplishment feeling of climbing 5640 stairs is amazing, and the panoramic view from the top is a great reward.
The sunrise above the mountain is speechless
Headed to the beach for another 3 days to get myself pumped-up for connecting back to reality.
A scenic train ride across half of the country that took 3 hours. The World Most Beautiful Train Ride.
Prayers at Kandy, perfect lighting.
One of the most breath-taking glossy-sky sunset at Weligama Beach.
Taiwan is a small island near the East of China, but the culture is nothing like China at all. In fact, they practice a strong Japanese Culture with politeness in greetings, snacks, food packaging, commute and sports. You can visit Taiwan during the summer to places like Kenting beaches and Kao Shiong theme park. During winter, you can visit places like natural hot springs. Regardless of the season, the shopping spree, indulging on street snacks, and visiting Taipei 101 are all note-worthy activities for visitors.
Jiufen is a mountain town in northeastern Taiwan, east of Taipei. It's known for the narrow alleyways of its old town, packed with teahouses, street-food shacks and souvenir shops.
Jiufen is best known as the inspiration for Miyazaki's Spirited Away,
When I was 7 years old, there were rumors speculating that Maldives will be gone in the next 20 years. I am glad that the country and the thousands of islands they owned are still around, growing strong with new developments and resorts. We took a plane to Male, and a 45 mins bumpy sea-plane to our resorts. The waters were crystal clear that I am able to see through the sea bed on a plane. I stayed at the Veligandu Resort’s water-bungalow, on an all-inclusive package which meant that breakfast, lunch, dinner, 24-hour snack bars, free flow alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks were all included.
To make it more attractive, the hotel gave us a complimentary Moet Chandon Champagne as a gift for our stay. At that moment, I thought there was nothing more I could ask for.
A day with perfect weather for sun-tanning, you are my sunshine.
Also known as The Land of the Rising Sun, Japan has gone through many trials and tribulations but is always at the forefront of technology, an economy leader, and many Japanese embraced and preserved cultures and traditions that dates back thousands of years.We traveled to Kyoto to visit the Arashimaya Bamboo Forest and several temples during 1st day of the new year. It is equivalent to our Chinese New Year for the locals, where thousands of people lined up patiently to get to the top of Fushimi Inari-Taisha.
It is also the only season of the year for the indigenous Japanese Snow Monkey to get a hot bath in the natural hot springs at Jigokudani Monkey Park, at Nagano.
Picturesque hiking view to the top.
Of course, not forgetting to visit Tokyo, such as Tokyo Disney Land, Meiji Jingu, Luke’s Lobster, Yoyogi Park and plenty more.
Don’t go there with an empty stomach, be prepared to queue for at least 45 mins for this scrumptious fresh lobster bun.
Are you a fan of Gundam? Standing at 18 metres tall, the RX-78-2 Gundam was constructed as part of the 30th anniversary of the Gundam series in 2009, and resided in a couple of locations before making itself at home in Odaiba, Tokyo.
Fun Fact: Do you know that the new capital (Tokyo) and the old capital (Kyoto) uses exactly the same letters?
A familiar place to us, the Lion City, where the country is also the capital city of its own. Although Singapore is 473 times smaller than Malaysia, she is a melting pot of culture, race and diversity.
Food is undoubtedly an important aspect in Singapore. From the numerous hawker centres to high-end restaurants, the Singaporean tastebud has definitely acquired the ability to source out good food wherever it is.
FAT COW - The word “FAT” in FAT COW stands for luxury and indulgence, and is also a play on the word “Fatt” which in Mandarin dialect means prosperity. You can’t miss the A5 grade Japanese Wagyu here that melts in the mouth.
ATLAS, A Grand Lobby & Bar. celebrating the GREAT Art Deco lobbies of Europe and their rich culinary and beverage traditions. They have a gin tower with more than 1,000 bottles of gin – apparently the world's largest collection of gin, that you can choose from the menu. TIPS: pre-book the place few weeks earlier, they can get booked-out few weeks in-advance.
Besides eating and drinking, the Singaporean likes outdoor activities, such as jogging, cycling, and hiking. I jogged through Labrador Park that is littered with biodiversity and war relics.
The place is a former defence battery for Singapore during World War II. This defence position was part of a strategy based on the popular belief that an invasion of Singapore would probably come via a coastal attack, and so the placements of these guns were fixed facing the sea.
Also known as the Down Under, Australia is also remarkably a continent. The country's geographical location makes it isolated from the rest of the continents.
Fun Fact: Did you know that it takes more than 4 hours to travel from Perth to Sydney?
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is one of the 20th century's most famous and distinctive buildings.
The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park, by the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Their proximity to one another has made the site a popular tourist attraction. There are eight Apostles left, the ninth having collapsed dramatically in July 2005.
Mount Buller is a resort village in eastern Victoria, Australia. It’s known for its downhill ski slopes and terrain parks. Bike trails and footpaths also crisscross the mountain. To be honest, the snow isn’t as fluffy and soft as Japan’s Nagano ski slopes, so this makes it a little more challenging to ski for beginners like me.
That’s all for this round of sharing, we implore you to explore the world and allow yourself to indulge in traveling experiences, rather than being in constant presence of the rigours and mundanity of everyday life. Instead, disrupt the arduous routine with experiences and be the bane of conformity.