Bangkok Adventure!

After coming back from a 5-days-4-nights trip in Bangkok, I came up with a conclusion: Bangkok, you’re giving Jakarta a run for its money! 

Even on the way from the airport to our apartment in the city centre, I couldn’t help but thinking how much the city reminded me of my own hometown. The street signs, the highway, the countless billboards with actors smiling widely, each showcasing different products from mobile phones to cosmetics.

The only thing missing was the traffic jam. Or so I thought. 

But of course I spoke too soon because on our last day, we were trapped in a bad traffic jam that made us almost miss our flight.

But I had a memorable and wonderful time in Bangkok, and here’s why!

The Food

This has got to be the first on the list simply because… well, do I need to say more? Everything we ate were delicious, even when we just ordered from a random food court or an eatery we’ve never tried before.

On out first night out, we went to Siam Paragon to have the notorious dinner from Greyhound Cafe. When I say notorious – it’s simply because 2 of my girlfriends couldn’t stop talking about it! So of course we’ve got to give it a try.

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The amazingly tasty Thai Milk Tea!
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Ahem! It certainly did not disappoint!

Plus, it was super affordable and we only spent less than $100 for a full meal for 4 of us, including drinks for all!

We wanted to continue on to drink, but soon found out that on that weekend that we were there, Thailand was celebrating Buddhist Day so no alcohol was to be served anywhere in the country! Even when we visited Big C (a local supermarket chain), they had to barricade the whole alcohol section haha!

Oh well – I guess the alcoholics have to wait til Monday to quench their thirst..

The following days, we tried another restaurant highly recommended called Roast – for brunch, After You for dessert and a lot, and I mean, a lot of tomyum soup. In fact, I think we ate tomyum soup every day for each of our meal. I love it, what can I say?!

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Lychee Milk Tea from Roast
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Brunch for champs! My fave was the scrambled eggs – too good!
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Matcha Toast from After You

Another highlight when you visit Thailand is – their Mango Sticky Rice!

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Oh hello there, see me on the top right hand corner? I’m Mango Sticky Rice, nice to meet you.

I feel like such a noob saying this – but I don’t think I have ever tried mango sticky rice before. At least none that made an impression – so the first time my friend suggested buying mango sticky rice, I couldn’t have been less enthusiastic.

“Oh…” – that’s probably all I said.

20 minutes later…

“OH MY GOODNESS! THIS IS SOOOOOOO NICE!!!!!!” I said in disbelief. The combination of the mango (which is very sweet!) and the slightly salty, flavorful sticky rice and the coconut sauce.. I think I have just been reborn.

Okay, that’s a tad exaggeration, but no joke, it was so good I insisted we have that for every meal from then on!

We also went for a nice mookata dinner in this very huge, spacious restaurant by the street. It was only S$8 for all-you-can-eat food! My tummy rejoices!

The Shopping

Everyone who have gone to Bangkok have praised it as a shopping heaven and I had no expectation prior. The last time I’ve been to Bangkok was when I was a tiny cute little girl (I still am!), and the only recollection I had was watching a singing show performed by transgenders. (I couldn’t believe those women were previously men – they were so beautiful!)

But yes! Now I can testify that it’s a great place for shopping! I love it as much as shopping for clothes in Seoul. The styles were plentiful and the prices were cheap!

I ended up getting a few off-shoulder tops, pants and dresses! It was great!

We mainly shopped at Platinum Mall and Union Mall. Although we went to Chatuchak Market and another night market, we didn’t really buy anything much there.

The Massage

Another thing you must certainly do in Thailand is get a massage! Massages are cheap – 1 hour body massage was only 300 Baht (which is around S$12?) OHMY! TAKE MY MONEY!

I can’t emphasise enough how much I love getting a massage. I love it as much as sleeping – and boy, don’t I love sleeping.

We went to the massage place in Platinum Mall because it was very convenient (our apartment was just on top of the mall itself). It was pretty good – the only downside was that the surroundings were noisy!

Okay, what am I talking about, the masseur themselves were noisy!

They were talking to each other while massaging us and even answering phone calls during the massage. Haha!

I thought massage places should be tranquil and super quiet – with only soft instrumental music behind.

But oh well – beggars can’t be choosers. The massage shop itself is quite small – it had just 3 small mini rooms with beds for the body massage.

On our second visit in the evening, the neighbouring stalls were closing down so it got even noisier with the sound of the metal doors being pulled down and locked.

There goes my quiet, peaceful ZEN state.

HOWEVER! I still enjoyed it – after the hour massage I felt so refreshed and pampered my body turned into jello.

Bless you whoever invented massage!

The Drinking

Beer is ridiculously cheap in Bangkok as well! A big bottle of beer only costs S$3! We did check out a rooftop bar called Wanderlust and had this really awesome apple cider, and a bar which supposedly had an open mic called The Iron Fairies.

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Cheers!
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Good vibes at Wanderlust Rooftop Bar

However, there were no open mic that night that we were in – instead, the band was playing full-on jazz music!

I’m sorry guys, but I just can’t appreciate jazz!

We ended up mostly nibbling on buffalo wings and chugging down Hoegaarden while chatting away about our celebrity crushes.

I wish we had more time to explore other bars in the area but time was not on our side! Soon enough, our 5 days were up and we had to fly back very soon.

See you again Bangkok!

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My fellow Bangkok-travellers!

Memories in Jeju

It was a cool spring season in late April when we landed in Jeju. First time setting a foot anywhere in Korea, I did not know what I’d expect to find in Jeju. My knowledge about Korea is all about its makeup brands, tall good-looking oppas I always see in those addictive k-dramas and songs from Big Bang that my sister just introduced to me on the train from the airport.

Okay, so far I was quite impressed in all 3 areas:

  1. I already saw plenty of makeup brands in the airport that I wanted to get my hands on!
  2. I already saw one cute Korean guy on the train; standing tall with sharp suit and his bangs sweetly sweeping his forehead..
  3. Yes, these Big Bang songs were pretty catchy… *puts on repeats*

Ah Korea.. what do you have in store for me next?

Throughout our 5 days in Jeju, I found myself in awe, enjoying every minute of it.

Jeju is the perfect mixture where the city girl in me could shop til she drops, and my nature-lover side was equally fascinated its the amazing scenery and rich cultures. Above all, my tummy was definitely a happy one!

Although we found it hard sometimes to communicate with the locals, they were always nice and friendly. During our first dinner, we spent 15 minutes using google translate and pointing uselessly at words we did not know in the menu. But it was a delicious BBQ meal, and the owner of the shop graciously helped us in cooking the meat!

It’s hard to go wrong when it comes to food in Korea. We always had a good meal everywhere we went…

Seogwipo

A large city by the seaside, Seogwipo was a good 1 hour+ car ride from where we stayed. Settled on a rocky volcanic coastline, it was a popular tourist attraction with many things to offer. When we came, we were greeted by this amazing scenery…

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And we decided to try going for a submarine tour, which apparently is on Guinness Book of Records for being the longest tour submarine attraction without accident!

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Err.. that’s very reassuring.

Thanks Seogwipo Submarine for that seal of safety and confidence!

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The approaching submarine, ready to take the next group

Side note: I took this picture not just to show the submarine, but also because the guard was quite dreamy. But he turned his back on me!

AH I’M HEARTBROKEN…

(I’ve been watching too much drama)

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Snacks by the road side
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Happy me!

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innisfree Jeju House

Still located in Seogwipo, this is a place you have to visit if you love innisfree! Although the highlight is not innisfree per se, it’s the cafe located inside! Look at how cute and pretty the food here is!

I can’t bring myself to eat… and we made sure we took plenty of pictures beforehand.

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Halassan Cake. The symbol of Jeju!
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Oh my goodness.. those colourful drinks!

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Also, around the house, there are these tea plantation that’s soothing and too pretty not to take pictures in!

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Interesting note: The shop here only sells their skincare products.

I’d still be the first one to admit that I bought a lot of stuffs here! Take all my money innisfree!

Seongsan Ilchulbong

Possibly the highlight of Jeju, we took the hike up to on top of Seongsan Ilchulbong (called the Sunrise Peak) to enjoy the full scenery from above!

The hike up was exhausting but the view is well worth it.

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180m only?! Whaaa.. It sure felt a lot higher when we climbed those steps!
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Ah, stop teasing us with your view!

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If you don’t drive there, I would suggest renting a car with a driver for the whole day to take you to wherever you want to go, especially if you’re looking at nailing down a few spots in a day. We tried taking a cab before, but it ended up to be more expensive rather than if you just get a car for the whole day. We were quite lucky to come across a nice old uncle (ahjussi) to take us around, although it was hard to communicate! However, all you need is a map, and a finger to just point!

When you come down after the hike, you would find these small hills covered with flowers!

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Maze Park

This wasn’t very high on our list, but our ahjussi (our taxi uncle) recommended this for us to check out. We still had some time in the evening so we decided to go indeed! Made up of 4 different mazes from easiest to the hardest, this is something fun to do!

I saw a lot of couples in here. And I’m thinking, wow, maybe it’s a good first date spot for guys to showcase their excellent navigational skills and protect the girls from being lost!

I see your intention there, highly hormonal teenage Korean boys!

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After taking a fun walk around the maze, it ended our full day in Jeju and we were ready to eat more good food afterwards.

We also had the chance to visit some traditional Jeju houses – which is an attraction in itself. We were told that Jeju women had to walk miles every day to and from their house to fetch clean water while carrying this heavy pot over their shoulder! Not only that, they still looked after their children, cooked meals for the family, cleaned the house and did everything while the men were useless, watching tv or drinking all day long.

You’re amazing Jeju women!

To this day, you can still find a lot of female divers who are already in their 60s or even older!

What do you do with your life, Tina?

Hats off to you Jeju women!

And of course, I had to mention the most iconic attraction of Jeju – Hallasan. It’s a shield volcano on Jeju Island, and also is the highest mountain in South Korea! People would hike up the mountain and were told that the view would be phenomenal.

We planned to hike there one morning, and we woke up very early to make sure it wouldn’t be hot as we made our climb. The climb itself would take 2 hours! And all in all, it was about 10km back and forth (and it was one of the easiest routes!)

As we woke up that day, the weather seemed very cloudy, and as we were on the taxi, it started pouring and raining cats and dogs! And by the time we almost reached, it became clear that the God of Hallasan didn’t want us to do our hike!

Depressed, we had to make a u-turn and went to our hotel to….. continue our sleep because it was too early to go anywhere else.

Hallasan 1 – Us 0

Fine, we’d settle this debt next time! I would climb you one day for sure!

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Thank you for your hospitality Jeju!

(Sadly, I didn’t see any more good looking oppas for the rest of the trip!)

Tina, you *really* need to sort out your priorities.

Fight.

Robert-Frost-The-Road-Not-Taken

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together – knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

Intern Life: Part Deux

Hello guys! Welcome back to the life-as-an-intern series. In the first episode, my boss turned out to be a sexual predator, and I ordered a brainless chicken. If you miss it, read it here.

Well, I had another internship right after that. In fact, I quit my previous internship early so that I could start another internship. WHY, you ask?

HAVE YOU BEEN PAYING ATTENTION AT ALL, PEOPLE?!

But hey, I was quite efficient, right? Grab life by its horn! Grab every opportunity! Don’t simply wait, but make things happen!

Ah, indeed was the epitome of all that since I was already interviewing for another internship while I was still in one. This other internship was for a PR role in a boutique PR agency. It was a typical boutique setting – the office was located in one of those shop houses along Dhoby Ghaut.

I remember the interview quite clearly though. I did not think I would get the role because I was talking and laughing too much. Perhaps it was my way to mask my nervousness. I recall the interviewer asked me something, and I made a reference about a celebrity being dead.

Don’t ask.

However, I got called back a few days later, telling me that I did get the internship and I was expected to start as soon as possible. It was quite awkward, I had to tell my current boss at that time that I had a personal issues and that I needed to cut the internship early. I think he was quite rude and mean about it – and I don’t know whether I should have, but I thought about what’s best for myself and that I could learn something more relevant to my study at the other PR company.

So I did it! I started interning at this company where I had quite a fun and fruitful working experience. My colleagues were very nice, they were definitely older and sometimes I felt quite ‘irrelevant’ being around them but they tried to guide and teach me along although they were in and out of the office for most times.

I had to do media monitoring every morning – which essentially meant flipping the newspapers and some online sites, checking if there were any mentions on any of our clients’ brands. I would then have to compile a report and send them to the clients’ every day. Other than that, I also helped out with whatever tasks my colleagues gave.

There were nothing to complain, really. I enjoyed myself, and the only memory I could think of while I was interning there was the fact that I just got into a long-distance relationship with my then-boyfriend and I remember talking to him on the phone every day at lunch time.

My colleagues were probably thinking I’m a total weirdo for always refusing to join them for lunch.

I’M SORRY, BUT I WAS YOUNG AND STUPID AND IN LOVE AND STILL SO HOPELESSLY ROMANTIC. WHAT COULD BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN TALKING TO YOUR BOYFRIEND EVERY LUNCH HOUR? (EVEN THOUGH I STILL TALKED TO HIM EVERY NIGHT TIME TOO..)

Ah, the things we do for love..

Anyway, another thing I recalled was, during this internship I wrote an opinion piece which ended up being featured in the local newspaper and I remember boasting about it to the bosses. It was actually quite lame – the way I boasted was as if I just won a Nobel Prize.

Very classy, Tina.

Road Trip Series: Leaving our hearts in San Diego

(If you miss what happened when I was lost in LA trying to get to Disneyland, read the story here.)

This story will be the next installment of my graduation trip to the States back in 2009!

Next stop: San Diego!

When we were in Los Angeles, my friend whom I went with had a relative who was living there with his family. They were so nice and offered to take us around the city as it was quite difficult to get around with public transport.

Alas, the getting lost part previously.

Having no more privilege of being driven around everywhere, we had to make our way to San Diego the old fashioned way.

Well, by train.

We were supposed to take this train to Oceanside from LA, where we would later transit to take another train to San Diego. Long story short, we got there pretty early and the next train wouldn’t leave for another two and a half hours, so we parked ourselves in some chairs outside, bought burgers from Burger King and camped there, talking nonsense.

I remembered I was actually looking for the grilled mushroom burger, and my friend was initially confused to see no rendang burger in sight! Hellooo, we are not in Singapore anymore, guys. We are hopeless.

So there we were, just talking loudly and eating our burgers (at one point I even spilled my Coke..errr, good job Tina.), until the guy beside us who initially had his headphone on, ended up talking to us (because our voices probably surpassed his loud RnB songs..)

Always classy.

Anyway, we were finally inside the train and we must have looked pretty eye-catching because of our gigantic luggage, pink and bright red some more.

We had quite a scary episode in the train as we saw two guys eyeing us weirdly throughout the journey. We had a feeling that they knew each other, although they sat separately, which made the whole thing seem even more suspicious.

“Anyone has a scissors in their bags?” I blurted out, dumbly. Granted, it was our first trip unadvised, we were pretty much safe in Oklahoma and LA.

Their blank faces was all I could need to freak out. We all stared at our luggages, hopelessly.

“I don’t care if they take that suitcase, as long as it’s not the pink one. I put all my make-up in there…” my friend said, not comforting me at all.

“Oh, so you’re okay with being completely naked as long as you’re fully made-up?” I teased her. She looked at me as if saying, duh.

We ended up approaching the guy whom we talked to on the train stop earlier, and asked him to sit beside us ’til our destination. Thankfully, he agreed.

So that’s how we spent the rest of our trip to San Diego; having the guy there made us feel at least a bit safer. He was supposed to alight at the stop after ours, but he offered to come down and hang out with us for the night. Uhm, we declined politely.

As soon as we alighted at our stop, we saw the two suspicious guys talk, so they indeed knew each other! We hurried, we couldn’t even like, stop for a second to breathe the cool San Diego air! We were too busy getting away as far as possible from the train. We only felt relieved once we got in a cab. What a ride!

But, that had to be the only slightly minor bump on our San Diego trip; the rest was truly amazing. We loved San Diego, and we met really great people there. Everyone was super nice and friendly.

When we checked in our hotel, we met this guy, Tim, who worked as the driver for the hotel shuttle bus. We told him that we were going to Sea World the next day, and he told us we could just take the shuttle which would take and pick us up to-and-from the hotel.

The next morning, Tim drove us and we were the only people in the shuttle. Out of nowhere, he handed us some papers.

“Well, my friend works in Sea World, so he’s entitled to free passes; I asked him and got these last night,” he said.

“Eh? For us?”

“Yeah, yeah, so just show those tickets in the entrance..”

“Eh? So we can get in for free?”

Seriously, we asked such dumb questions!

“Yeah..” Tim-the-driver smiled, looking like an angel.

We were probably making a scene by laughing and screaming loudly, “Thank you soo muchhhhhhh, Timmmmmmmmm” like fifth-graders. But we don’t care. Heck, the entrance ticket was supposed to be like 60-70 bucks each! He completely made our day.

We also went to Coronado Island in a ferry with our high heels (quite a scene) and had an awesome fancy dinner by the seaside. That was the first time I had sake and got pretty drunk.

San Diego was beautiful. Throughout our stay, we made a bunch of new friends and had a lot of fun! It’s a place filled with good vibes and memories!