perBED Hostel, Sun Moon Lake.

Before we went for our trip to Taiwan, my friend and I made a pact. We would each pick a city in Taiwan that we were going to visit and book an accommodation there without consulting each other.

Naturally, we both got slightly nervous, mainly because we did not want to disappoint each other with our surprises. To be honest, I am generally pretty easy with where I spend the night while travelling, as long as there are no cockroaches, demons or poltergeist present. But I have to say, not only was I fine with the hostel my friend chose in the end, I was actually very pleased with our accommodation at Sun Moon Lake.

Once she had established that I did not mind staying in dorms, she decided to research into a few places and found this new undiscovered gem called perBED Hostel. It sounded very backpacker-ish, and it did live up to its name, only with an interesting twist. Instead of having the backpackers sleep on normal bunk beds in separate rooms, the hostel has decided to convert cargo boxes and other industrial things into beds and put them all in one big room. perbed1 Continue reading “perBED Hostel, Sun Moon Lake.”

Copenhagen brunches.

In my opinion, Copenhagen is one of the most underrated cities in the world.

From time and again, I still get questioning look from people whenever I say that Copenhagen is one of my favourite cities in the world. Some even go so far as asking, “Where is Copenhagen again? Is it in Europe?”.

That’s how underrated this city, and Denmark is. The city where the famous statue of Little Mermaid is situated. The capital city of where the world renowned writer Hans Kristian Andersen came from. The city where Carlsberg brewery can be found (everyone must have heard of Carlsberg, surely!). The city which hosts the headquarter of Maersk, the biggest shipping company in the world. The capital city where LEGO, the world-renowned toy company, comes from. The city where Noma, the world’s #1 restaurant is! I mean come on people. Either I only care about things that no one else in the world cares about, or most people are simply ignorant, or Denmark has the worst marketing team ever.

And now, I shall add one more thing to the already long list of why Copenhagen is amazing: the city has many cafés with some of the best brunches that I have ever had.

Now, brunches aren’t really my thing, so I wouldn’t call myself a brunch guru. But I have had enough of them, especially in Singapore, where they are simply unimpressive. Brunches are always overpriced for the portion that they serve and most cafés, at least in Singapore, only focus on decorating the place and making the food presentation pretty (so they can charge a premium to it)  without paying much attention to how it actually tastes (there are exceptions of course).

But I remember being very impressed with Copenhagen brunches, at least those few that I have tried. Or perhaps I was just being biased about this city as usual. But who cares, here are the list of my favourite brunch cafés in Copenhagen (note: it’s all of them):

Continue reading “Copenhagen brunches.”

Header of the Month: Marina Bay from Lantern.

February marks the end of my four-month travel drought, and I feel it is only right to attribute spotlight of this month to this million-dollar view of Singapore, a place that has been my anchor when I couldn’t travel.

I would say it time and again, Singapore is a really magnificent place. Take this view of Marina Bay Sands for example. It still leaves me in awe every time I stare at it, the grandness of it all, coupled by the fact that this cavernous structure that is enough to fit a Boeing plane was built on top of a piece of reclaimed land.

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One of the best places to have an unobstructed view of Marina Bay is from Lantern, a rooftop bar on top of Fullerton Bay Hotel. I have been to the place three times now (once in a pouring rain), and loving the place more with every visit.

Continue reading “Header of the Month: Marina Bay from Lantern.”

Look Mum No Hands!

I have a new favourite thing in London: pop-up bars!

They are basically bars, set up temporarily in strategic locations, generally during summer I suppose.

Look mum no hands in itself is a unique coffee-bar. Their permanent outlets can be found in Old Street and Mare Street in London, and it is designed for cyclists. They show films and cycle sports on their big projector screen, and they hold workshops and have mechanics to fix bikes.

The pop-up bar can be found in Southbank, right under Hungerford Bridge. I remember I was walking by the River Thames, weaving through the tourists while ‘My Heart Will Go On’ was being played by the street musician.

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And then right there, just opposite the musician, tucked in a corner under Hungerford Bridge was Look Mum No Hands pop-up bar.

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Continue reading “Look Mum No Hands!”

Millefeuille at Café de la Paix, Paris.

It is my last day here in Paris after 2 weeks of awesome family holiday (which I still have a lot to write on), and I have some time to spare before my train from Gare du Nord to London in 3 hours’ time. It is lunch time and raining – a sensible person would have taken this opportunity to go to a nice café to sit and have some proper lunch before catching the train.

Unfortunately (or fortunately in this case), I’m not a sensible person. I went to a nice café alright, but instead of having a sandwich or salad like a normal person would, I decided to have dessert for lunch.

Café de la Paix was recommended by a friend of mine and his exact words to me were: “If you have the time and money to spare, please go to café de la paix and order a millefeuille.”

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I did have the time and just enough money to choose between a salad or a millefeuille for lunch. I obviously chose the latter.

Continue reading “Millefeuille at Café de la Paix, Paris.”

Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding live in Singapore.

As you can tell, I haven’t been travelling for a while, as testified by the number of ‘throwback’ travel posts and an increase in the content of ‘When Not Travelling’ category. It is not necessarily a bad thing since this gives me time to write my past travels before some interesting facts fade permanently from my memories (I have a lot to catch up, I’m not kidding you!). Staying put also gives me opportunities to enjoy what Singapore has to offer.

In this case, seeing world-famous celebrities live in action. Singapore is a really good place for that. With generally law-abiding population and world-class security, watching concerts is relatively safer and less life-threatening compared to countries like Indonesia, where overexcited people have proven to cause deadly stampede. I consider myself very lucky to be able to catch both Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding in the same week!

Taylor Swift’s Red concert was nothing short of amazing. She was an incredible performer and her whole concert felt like a very perfectly-planned show. Her script was very well prepared and the transition smooth. It is no wonder that her two shows in Singapore were both sold out. I spent painfully a lot to get my seats, but it was worth it. Amidst the crowd of screaming teenagers, I felt like one again and I’m not embarrassed to admit that my throat felt a little sore the next day for singing (screaming) along to her songs.

Although I am slightly more embarrassed to admit that I did go hysterical at the first sight of her shadow.

But I mean it's Taylor Swift!
But I mean it’s the shadow of Taylor Swift!

Continue reading “Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding live in Singapore.”

Montigo Resorts at Batam.

Anyone who has travelled with me knows that I have extremely low standard for accommodation. My logic is that since I will spend most part of the day travelling, I just need a bed to sleep and a clean bathroom to shower. I will normally opt for a hostel or a very cheap hotel, and so far both have worked fine with me. Rarely has an accommodation given me a bad impression that I do not wish to set my foot there again. In fact, I would recommend most of them to friends travelling.

Up until two weeks ago, I only had two places that I would advise anyone to avoid at all costs. First was the apartment that I stayed in Hong Kong. It was actually clean enough considering it looked very old, but for some reason it gave me the creep. As we were sitting down in the living room chatting away at night, we suddenly heard a surge of water bursting from the pipe in one of the bathrooms. We were understandably surprised and in a desperate attempt to push away any thoughts of ghosts from my mind, I went to check the bathroom and somehow came up with a scientific explanation to calm myself down that perhaps it was because the water in the heating system overflowed. As I’m writing this, I had no idea how I managed to talk to myself and my friends into believing that. As if to prove me wrong straightaway, my friend found a few sheets of test papers on top of a shoe rack and the name of the student was ‘Demon’. Now I know that Hong Kong people have an interesting way of naming themselves (Apple, Orange, Kitty, Ice, Star, Bambi, etc), but when a Demon appeared together with bursting water pipe, it was enough to scare all of us that we had to watch funny Bollywood videos to calm ourselves down.

Second was a hotel in Copenhagen that I stayed in summer 2013. I have never been so sure that poltergeists exist until then. I distinctly remembered putting my earrings on the table only to find the next morning that they were gone. After turning the room upside down, my dad found each side of the earrings at different corners of the room. What was even creepier was that they were not the only items that had moved overnight. I was charging my camera battery and in the morning the battery was no longer in the charger. Instead, we found the battery separated from the charger below our blanket. Either one of my family members had a case of violent sleepwalking that none of us knew about or my memory was certainly failing me or…

Anyway, the point is so far, only these supposedly supernatural encounters have created an impression so deep and deterring that I swear I will never go back again. Montigo Resorts have somehow found a loophole in this theory and gave me the next scariest experience than demons and poltergeists: cockroaches.

Yes, you read that right, cockroachES. With ES. Plural. Four to be exact. And I only stayed there for 2 nights. For a place that we paid quite a considerable amount for (even with the 1-for-1 voucher that my friend had, it was still quite a pinch), I was expecting at least a basic level of hygiene and that guests can be pretty much cockroach-free. But no, our first encounter of a huge cockroach was during our late-night dinner right on the first night and my friend saw something fly across the room. We (I) tried to ignore it and pretend that it COULDN’T have been a cockroach – what were the odds?

But as we were finishing our dinner, one of my friends exclaimed, “OMG, I see it now. And it really is a cockroach.”

Very understandably, I screamed and jumped up the couch, barely being able to stand because my knees had turned jelly.

We all stood in suspense until the cockroach crawled out of the villa. Only then did we dare to head back to our room, only to find another one was waiting inside our bathroom. And the next day, I saw another one at a different toilet. As an added bonus, we were also visited by a hairy giant spider. I felt I was right back in Nepal whereby everyday was a battle with a new species of crawling and flying creatures.

Spider hunter.
Spider hunter.

If not for the extremely comfortable pillows in the villa and my energy completely drained out from the shock of seeing cockroaches, I would probably have been insomniac over those two nights.

Continue reading “Montigo Resorts at Batam.”