Sunday, December 20, 2015

Hotel review - Ambassador Row Hotel Suites by Lanson Place Part 2 - Hotel Design and Breakfast

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Note: This article was written base on experience of staying in Ambassador Row Hotel Suites by Lanson Place's Superior One Bedroom Duta Suite. The following info is important to you because it tells you on which month we stayed, and the price relative to the amount of time between the date of stay to the date of booking. You may experience higher or lower price at different months/seasons and if you book further or nearer to the date of stay.

We booked on:     August 2015
We stayed on:      October 2015
We paid in total:  RM603.20 (in total, tax included) @ Superior One Bedroom Duta Suite, 2 persons, 2 nights, breakfast inclusive


Spacious it may be, being cooped up in the room can get a little boring, especially for the fact that the room offered no scenic view, only the rooftops of other apartments and a scatter of construction that seemed to be ubiquitous in Kuala Lumpur. Sometimes I would walk out of the suite and take a stroll within the confines of the hotel suite, exploring its grounds for some adventure.

Hotel lobbies are generally spacious, but not like this - Ambassador Row Hotel Suites has their lobby ceiling at the top of their 20 story building! No, not really, the ceiling above the reception area is only 2 story high, it is the area beyond that one could look up into the sky...

Friday, December 18, 2015

Hotel review - Ambassador Row Hotel Suites by Lanson Place Part 1 - Superior One Bedroom Duta Suite

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Note: This article was written base on experience of staying in Ambassador Row Hotel Suites by Lanson Place's Superior One Bedroom Duta Suite. The following info is important to you because it tells you on which month we stayed, and the price relative to the amount of time between the date of stay to the date of booking. You may experience higher or lower price at different months/seasons and if you book further or nearer to the date of stay.

We booked on:     August 2015
We stayed on:      October 2015
We paid in total:  RM603.20 (in total, tax included) @ Superior One Bedroom Duta Suite, 2 persons, 2 nights, breakfast inclusive


Where would you stay if you are visiting Kuala Lumpur? That was the question my wife and I asked ourselves every time we dropped by the capital. Hotels are expensive for long stays so we looked around the city center to see what possibilities exist. It was by chance that we stumbled upon Ambassador Row Suites online so we gave it a try, a decision which drove us to return to this same hotel suite more than once.

Superior One Bedroom Duta Suite, cozy like home, the mess of home to match...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Singapore Food Blog - Chong Qing Grilled Fish 重庆烤鱼

Location: Bugis, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Note: This post is written base on the dining experience in Liang Seah Street branch. Experience may vary from that of other outlets.

Recommended: Grilled Fish (what else...)

I was unaware of this Szechuanese restaurant until my friends brought me to try it out. Apparently Chong Qing Grilled Fish is quite famous and throngs of customers were waiting for a seat when we left. Fortunately for us, we arrived before dinner peak hour and managed to avoid the same fate as those diners.

Despite the fact that Chong Qing Grilled Fish occupies 2 shop floors, the interior is not too spacious, with seats arranged close to each other and conversations within earshot. Coupled with the fact that the grilled fish was served piping hot (no, really...), we felt like a steaming can of sardines, with the aroma of grilled fish to go with.

With a name of Chong Qing Grilled Fish, there wasn't any surprises that the main dish of choice was various Szechuanese based grill fish, coupled with a limited selection of other dishes to go with the spicy main offer. Although grilled fish took the main spot, the other list of dishes would help cater to a larger group and more varied tastes.

Our choice of dish - Golden Snapper 红曹 in Pickled Cabbage flavor hot pot (酸菜)

Monday, December 14, 2015

2014 Germany Trip - The Memorial Church of the Protestation (Gedächtniskirche der Protestation)

Location: Speyer, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


If you arrive from the direction of the Speyer train station on foot, most probably the Old Gate (Altpörtel) will be within your sights and you would logically wander towards it, then from there to Speyer Cathedral, drawn by its majestic sight. However if you were to look towards the other direction from the Old Gate, you may see the skeletal spire jutting from the horizon. That was how I spied upon this church and decided to spend some time exploring that part of Speyer.

The Memorial Church of the Protestation, view from afar

Saturday, December 12, 2015

2014 Germany Trip - Holy Trinity Church (Dreifaltigkeitskirche)

Location: Speyer, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


I wandered around Speyer aimlessly after completing my tour in and around Speyer Cathedral. It was grand and imposing but it somehow lacked the kind of impact I felt in other churches I loved in my trip. In my stroll around the alleyway nearby the cathedral, I stumbled upon this church building that was partially hidden from Maximilianstraße. With a curiosity that could kill more than a cat, I took a step in to see what this building held within.

Baroque exterior

Thursday, December 10, 2015

2014 Germany Trip - Imperial Cathedral of Speyer (Der Kaiserdom zu Speyer) (UNESCO World Heritage)

Location: Speyer, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


Finally, I am writing about the focus of my visit to Speyer, a city that is barely mentioned in guidebooks, if mentioned at all. Strolling past the unmistakable Altpörtel (Old Gate), Maximilianstraße afforded me an unobstructed view towards Speyer Cathedral, an edifice listed in UNESCO World Heritage List for being one of the most important Romanesque building in Germany, a status well earned by being the largest Romanesque church still standing to date. Despite it being listed in the said UNESCO list and being hailed by the German National Tourist Board as one of the Top 100 Sights of Germany, it remains relatively unknown to most travelers.

Its official name is the Imperial Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption and St Stephen (German: Dom zu Unserer lieben Frau in Speyer), however it is a mouthful to call it by its full name every time one mentions it. Fortunately it is more commonly known as Imperial Cathedral of Speyer (German: Kaiserdom zu Speyer) or just Speyer Cathedral, a name which my post will use to save my poor hand from typing more.

Approaching from Maximilianstraße

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

2014 Germany Trip - Speyer Old Gate (Altpörtel)

Location: Speyer, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


There is little doubt that the Old Gate would be the one of the first significant structure a traveler would feast his eyes upon when he arrives from the direction of the train station. Its pencil straight pointing to the sky was my first impression of the old town of Speyer when I arrived at noon, the medieval clock on its face confirming the sun's position in the sky.

The view after entering the city from the direction of the train station.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Force Awakens - Star Wars @ Changi Airport

Location: Changi, Singapore

The Force is almost Awakened, with less than 2 weeks to go! As a Star Wars fan, I am certainly excited by the exhilarating trailers unveiled since last year, my excitement building to almost suffocating levels. I was in Changi International Airport to pick up my wife and I was surprised to see a life-sized TIE fighter and a menacing troops of First Order troopers on the Departure level.

I searched online (Star Wars @ Changi) only to realize that I almost missed the chance to capture the moment of both the First Order and the Resistance in action - from 12-Nov this year to 5-Jan-2016, Changi International Airport will play host to an X-Wing in T3 and the aforementioned TIE Fighter plus First Order troopers in T2.

Prepared for The Force Awakens

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

2014 Germany Trip - Speyer

Location: Speyer, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


The purpose of my arrival in Speyer was singular – to visit the UNESCO World Heritage that shared the town’s name, the Speyer Cathedral. In fact I spent less than half a day touring the town area from the train station to the river Rhine which bordered the town.

Interested readers be warned though, this series of my visit to Speyer visits only churches and cathedrals. If you are not into religious architectures and UNESCO heritage buildings, then Speyer may not be a suitable destination for you.

A view down Maximilianstrasse, the famous main street which leads unobstructed to Speyer Cathedral.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To the interested readers, here is my 1 day itinerary in Speyer - in fact it took less than 6 hours in total if I wanted to but I spent some time for a stroll to get to know the town better. Click into each link to visit the dedicated post to the place of interest.

Morning: 
  • arrive in Speyer train station around 11 a.m.
  • took a selfie with its Altpörtel, the old gate of Speyer and Alte Münze, the Old Mint (<0.5 hour)

Noon: 
  • visit Speyer Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1 - 1.5 hours)
  • visit Dreifaltigkeitskirche, an unassuming building hiding a beautiful fresco (1 hour)
  • visit Gedächtniskirche and marvel at its beautiful stained glass windows (1 hour)
  • take a stroll around the old town all the way to the river (1 – 2 hours) 
  • day ends and head back to my point of origin
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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Singapore Food Blog - Tart Blanc

Location: Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Recommended: Various tarts, Mint Cucumber tea


I have to confess that Millenia Walk is not my usual haunt - in fact I have never been there before if it wasn't for a Groupon voucher which we purchased to try out this store named Tart Blanc. For SGD11.80, we get to enjoy a tea set worth SGD24 for 2 that include 2 tarts and 2 hot beverages. With such an irresistible offer, how could we not give it a try?

Tart Blanc fits the description of "hole in the wall" literally by fitting into a small space, accommodating at most 5 - 6 couples, its counter occupying the other half of the store. With an unassuming exterior, we almost missed it if we were not looking for it. However my limited French allowed me to appreciate this artisan cafe's choice of various shades of white as its main theme, from the Chinese lantern styled lamps to the paint on the wall, for "blanc" is "white" in French.

Tart Blanc - it is French for "tart white", an apt description of their main selling pastry and the color of choice for interior decor.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Singapore Food Blog - Oriole Coffee & Bar

Location: Orchard, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Note: There are a number of food spots under the same name but with different focus. This post is written base on the dining experience in Oriole Coffee and Bar in 313 Somerset branch. Experience may vary from that of other outlets.

Recommended: Fully Loaded (SGD20), Capelinni Crabmeat (SGD26), St Louis Pork Ribs (SGD26), Oriole spiced ships (available with Fish and Chips, or St Louis Pork Ribs)


There are few food spots or cafe in Orchard Road where we would enjoy a lovely brunch and Oriole is one of those. Although the cafe cum bar opens until late night, we almost always patronize for brunch or lunch, not dinner. It has a hip kind of feel to its decor and I like the way they attend to the details, from the simple but stylish menu to the fonts on the table numbers.

There is an outback look to things in Oriole on the exterior with its wooden tables. The similarity to an outback is distinctly less so in the mostly ocher interior. Seated at the planked tables outside enhanced that feel but fortunately the interior is air conditioned, so we can still choose to enjoy a less outback setting in a comfortable atmosphere. Sometimes the interior is fully seated and we have to take a seat outside, which could be quite comfortable if it is not too hot.

Oriole's stylish menu

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Singapore Food Blog - Paul @ Takashimaya

Location: Orchard, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Note: This post is written base on the dining experience in Takashimaya Shopping Center's branch. Experience may vary from that of other outlets.

Recommended: Chocolat Frappé à la Menthe (SGD6.50), Mint Cucumber (SGD8.90), Roulade de Poulet (SGD23.90), Piece de Boeuf (SGD28.90), Cabillaud Royal de Méditerranée (SGD29.90), Millefeuille nature (SGD6.80), Tarlette Chocolate (SGD6.30)


Paul should be quite well known to most in Singapore. If you are not familiar with one, just visit the one in Takashimaya like I did – you will not miss the snaking queue of diners waiting impatiently for a spot to sample their patisserie. They have set up branches in various spots but my favorite haunt remains the one in Takashimaya.

I usually prefer to patronize Paul before noon for a hearty brunch, a time when the crowd is thinner and the queue more acceptable. I prefer a seat within, admiring the interior decor reminiscent of European styles but sometimes I can only get a seat outside of the cafe, staring at patrons of the mall and get stared back in return.

Paul, and a certain somebody behind...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Perak Man of Lenggong Valley @ Lenggong Archaeology Gallery (Galeri Arkeologi Lenggong)

Location: Lenggong, Perak, Malaysia

I like to experience the culture and history of my travel destinations, so naturally UNESCO World Heritage Sites are on my itinerary. And it would be a short leap of logic that I search for such sites in Malaysia, revealing only a disappointing 4, with only 2 of them cultural, the rest natural. The one which piqued my interest was the Archaeological Heritage of Lenggong Valley, a short hour drive away from my hometown of Ipoh.

Prior to this visit I would not lay my eyes on Lenggong. It was an unassuming town that spanned a few streets and nestled within a lush valley. A February rainy day changed my perception by providing a different scenery to the driving experience. The road trip under low hanging clouds when we approached the town felt surreal, and I pretended for more than once that I was driving into a hidden valley isolated from the rest of civilization. If I can drive into such situations in the future, I would not hesitate to do so again. I may even drive to Lenggong just to enjoy the experience.

Lenggong Archaeological Gallery - the parking lot was quite empty...

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Singapore 2015 World Stamp Exhibition Philatelic Passport

I was arranging my philatelic properties when I spied upon the Philatelic Passport from the Singapore 2015 World Stamp Exhibition. A philatelic passport is a folder or booklet that is created in conjunction with stamp exhibitions so that visitors, enthusiasts and otherwise, could go on a treasure hunt to collect stamps of various nations to fill up the blank spots of the passport. This not only give visitors a chance to engage themselves in an immersive activity but also helped generate extra income for the stamps traders.

For me that was the first time I engaged in such activity so naturally I was excited to get started. The booth to get the appropriate nation's stamp is marked next to the nation's slot in the passport to help hunters get the stamp easily. With my passport in hand, I started going around to find the relevant booths, each offering various stamps from the nation for my selection and a cancellation after I applied it to my passport.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Singapore Food Blog - Sanpoutei Ramen 三宝亭

Location: Holland Village, Singapore

Recommended: W Soup Tonkutsu Ramen (SGD17)


After Hatched, this was the second time I visited Holland Village for lunch, and unlike the last, this was a ramen shop. It was recommended as our destination for a get together, and off we went to visit my latest ramen experience.

It wasn't difficult to locate the Sanpoutei Ramen, its distinctively Japanese shop front gave itself away with bamboo decors, its name in gold emblazoned across carbon black backgrounds. Its interior, though small and packed, was likewise decorated, immersing diners in an atmosphere as close to Japanese as they can muster.

Sanpoutei Ramen, from Niigata since 1967. Quite a history.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Singapore Food blog - Tim Ho Wan 添好運 @ Plaza Singapura

Location: Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Note: This post is written base on the dining experience in Plaza Singapura branch. Experience may vary from that of other outlets.

Recommended: Prawn Dumpling (晶莹鲜虾饺) (SGD6), Pork Dumpling with Shrimp (鲜虾烧卖皇) (SGD5.50)


Every time I walked past Tim Ho Wan in Plaza Singapura, I was amazed by the sheer amount of people willing to brave the queue to get a taste of dim sum. Of course the fact that they advertised themselves as a Michelin star restaurant from Hong Kong did help push up the hype that generated such a loyal crowd. Me, who despise long queues, did not get the oppurtunity until a day when I saw that the queue was just the length of a few customers. So naturally I availed myself the chance to sample a taste of a 1 star Michelin restaurant specializing in dim sum.

Menu

Monday, September 21, 2015

2013 Hanoi Trip - Halong Bay Part 5 - Hiking Dao Go Cave (Hang Đầu Gỗ)

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Full experience of my visit to Hanoi can be accessed through the list below:


More about Hanoi can be read through the list below:

After departing from the floating village, we cruised through the waters for some time, admiring the lowering sun and its reflection from the churning wake of other passing vessels. Our next stop ahead was much more secure than the floating structures of our last stop, for it was a concrete pier built on a side of an island.

Cruise vessels amassed on the pier and the size of it allowed them to comfortably line beside each other, their captains and crews sharing light conversations and cigarettes before the return of the passengers. Upon disembarking from the ship, we followed our guide to begin our hike.

Window to the Sky

Saturday, September 19, 2015

2013 Hanoi Trip - Halong Bay Part 4 - Floating Village

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Full experience of my visit to Hanoi can be accessed through the list below:


More about Hanoi can be read through the list below:


If we were just on board the ship and stared at the passing scenery for 6-hour, that would be a rather impersonal way to admire the natural appeal of Halong Bay. Fortunately for us, the trip included 2 highlights to dispel the monotony - a visit to the floating villages and a hike through the caves.

The UNESCO level beauty of Halong Bay hide an ugly past - caves of all sizes riddled the limestone karst islands scattered throughout the bay, lending pirates a haven after preying upon trading ships. With so many hiding places among the islands, it was a tough time for the authorities to wipe them out or to patrol the waters.

Hues of green

Monday, September 14, 2015

2013 Hanoi Trip - Halong Bay Part 3 - Halong Bay (Vịnh Hạ Long)

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Full experience of my visit to Hanoi can be accessed through the list below:


More about Hanoi can be read through the list below:


Halong Bay is one of the most recognized name in the South East Asia, sharing its fame with the likes of Angkor Wat and Borobudur. Thousands of limestone karst islands of different size and geometry dotted the bay in the north east of Vietnam, attracting uncountable visitors near and far to cruise the waters every year, including us.

Most ships cast off at different times, depending on the speed of their passengers boarding. As the ship chugged away and cruised the waters, we just relaxed and enjoyed the moment while the captains enjoyed a slight competition in speed between different ships. Some enterprising businesses would power their boats close to each cruise and jumped aboard like a pirate, surprising unsuspecting passengers and peddling not death but fruits.

Land, sky and sea

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2013 Hanoi Trip - Halong Bay Part 2 - Bai Chay Tourist Wharf (Cảng tàu khách Dl Bãi cháy)

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Full experience of my visit to Hanoi can be accessed through the list below:


More about Hanoi can be read through the list below:


I was unfamiliar with my surroundings when I arrived, only trusting that we were not kidnapped to places unknown with the gathering of touristy faces disembarking various tour buses and vans. Even through my bleary eyes and stiff back resulting from the 3 hour long monotonous journey could I see that we were at a pier of some kind. Entering the squat building with its glass exterior, we waited for our guide to purchase tickets while stretching our sore muscles, glad for some exercise.

Our entrance ticket to Halong Bay, with the date stamped 1 Nov 2013 and a price tag of VND80,000 (~RM12).

Sunday, September 6, 2015

2013 Hanoi Trip - Halong Bay Part 1 - Road to Halong Bay

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Full experience of my visit to Hanoi can be accessed through the list below:


More about Hanoi can be read through the list below:


I have been lazy in writing recently, and the trip to Halong Bay was nearly forgotten. I better starting completing the record of that journey now before such a joy fade into nothingness. This post is long overdue anyway.

One of the highlights of our Hanoi trip was a day trip to Halong Bay, which all Hanoi visitors would put onto their travel plans. After all who would want to miss a trip to one of UNESCO's World Heritage? However I found that there are certain things seldom highlighted about the journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay, so I decided to list down some points I found indispensable.

Guardian

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Travel through Philately - The First Currency of United Arab Emirates (Emirates Post)

I have wanted to add some Middle Eastern first day covers into my collection but had been reluctant to pay a premium in eBay for it. Fortunately Emirates Post manned one of the booths in Singapore 2015 World Stamp Exhibition, and I got myself a few remaining ones. One of those sets depicted the first set of United Arab Emirate's (UAE) currency - the UAE dirham.

UAE'S first set of banknotes, featuring AED 1, AED 5, AED 10, AED 50, AED 100 and AED 1000.

UAE's first set of coins, featuring 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 fils, and 1 dirham.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Singapore 2015 World Stamp Exhibition


My first ever stamp exhibition visit coincided with Singapore's grand celebration of its 50th birthday, making this year's visit a memorable one. It is an honor for the nation to host this high profile philatelic event, which gathered showcases spanning 66 countries and trade booths from various nations for collectors to fuel their obsession. The decennial exhibition was last hosted by Singapore 20 years ago (in 1995), and is held with the full support and patronage of the Federation Internationale de Philatelie (FIP) and under the auspices of Federation of Inter-Asian Philately (FIAP), so it is natural for this exhibition to gather postal authorities and philatelic traders from different corners of the world.

The last time Singapore hosted the World Stamp Exhibition was 1995, and they returned to the position to coincide with the nation's 50th birthday.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Travel through Philately - The Silk Road 丝绸之路 (China National Philatelic Corporation)

Continuing my stretch of First Day Covers of China themed philately, I uncovered another of my collection - The Silk Road, coinciding with my recent fascination with the trade route made famous by the journals of Marco Polo. This is a 2012 issued cover, and unlike the previous sharing of the Grand Canal cover, I managed to collect the full set this time.

The 4 stamps depict different topics, namely "Millenia-Old Capital" 千年帝国 (description of Xi'an), "Magnificent Pass in the Desert" 大漠雄关 (describing the relentless desert scenery), "Mysterious Kingdom" 神秘故国 (describing lost kingdoms of the Silk Road), and "Extraordinary Scenery of the Western Regions" 西域胜景 (describing the wild beauty of Central Asia).

The miniature sheet, titled "Exchange" 交流, shows the epic Kumtag Desert of Dunhuang 敦煌 with the entrance to Mogao Caves (莫高窟) and an inset stamp of preserved Buddhist artwork.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Travel through Philately - Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal 京杭大运河 (China National Philatelic Corporation)

Seems like I am on a grand tour of China with my collection of China themed First Day Covers. I just bought myself a set of 6 FDCs on one of China's ancient architectural marvel that is inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List - the Grand Canal. Although I have heard of the name, I am quite unfamiliar with its history and significance so I decided to explore further online.

Like the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canal was a feat of civil engineering marvel - longest wall in the case of Great Wall, longest artificial river in the Grand Canal's case. Both were built and connected in different eras, lasted throughout the ages into the modern world, and were first breathed life in the riotous Spring and Autumn Period (春秋时期). 

Lantern Lighting Pagoda 雷峰塔

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Travel through Philately - Old Town of Li Jiang 丽江古城 (Hong Kong Post)

I shared the 3rd from a Hong Kong Post series on World Heritage in China here, and had the first here, so where is the 2nd? Here it is!

There is still no lack of beautiful scenery in China despite the pollution as a result of their industrialization, and one of them was the Old Town of Li Jiang. Even though there were redevelopments targeted at wooing tourists, enough of the original remnants remained to exude an atmosphere of a historical town.

Hong Kong Post's World Heritage in China series #2: Old Town of Li Jiang

Monday, July 20, 2015

Travel through Philately - China Dan Xia 中国丹霞 (Hong Kong Post)

The long hiatus from my last philately post left me with considerable time to arrange and catalogue my collection. From within the collection I found another of Hong Kong Post's Mainland Scenery Sites series - this is the third of the collection, focusing on the colorful landscape of China Danxia (丹霞). And it is by preparing this post that I learned a crucial misunderstanding which I had held for quite some time.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Singapore Food Blog - TungLok XiHe Peking Duck

Location: Orchard, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Recommended: Peking Duck
* Lokkee is operated by Tunglok Group. Other reviewed eateries from the same group include Lokkee and TungLok XiHé Peking Duck.


My friend and I craved for some ducks for our 2015 Chinese New Year Reunion, and since I saw a picture from another friend dining in Tunglok Xihe Peking Duck, I suggested this as our possible choice to savor this famed dish from China. Its location in Somerset was another reason for our choice as it was almost equidistant to each other’s abode. 

TungLok XiHe Peking Duck is located on a high spot, awarding a panoramic view of Orchard Road.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Singapore Food Blog - Five and Dime Eatery

Location: Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Updated 2-Aug-2016: This business is permanently closed.

Recommended: Golden Custard Lava Cake (SGD12), Mentaiko Pasta (SGD18)


Sometimes reading “Lists of… to Die For” could be rather rewarding. At least it brings you to places you wouldn’t necessarily wander to. Take Five and Dime for example, its location a hideout among the affluent along River Valley Road, a modern shop nestled between some residential houses which architecture was frozen in time. Of course their location is not the focus here and yet I couldn’t help but to marvel upon how an eatery got itself into such a quaint spot.

Welcome to Five and Dime!

Friday, May 1, 2015

2014 Germany Trip - Schneeballen (Snowballs) of Rothenburg from Diller Schneeballenträume

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


What should you try when in Rothenburg ob der Tauber? Schneeballen of course! That's translated to "Snowballs", an apt name to the coated balls the size of your fist. I first got to know this candy food when in Heidelberg, and knowing that this is a product local to Rothenburg, I immediately set it as my goal to get some from this town.

According to online sources, this pastry has been around for about 300 years in the regions of Franconia and Holenlohe. Originally reserved for weddings, it is now available throughout the year, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the place to get it, from bakeries selling it besides its main wares to specialized shops selling it as its main ware. It is made by deep frying dough in boiling fat and dusted with confectioner's sugar while warm. Its outlook is what earned its name.

Schneeballen = snowballs

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2014 Germany Trip - Rathaus und Turm @ Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


As shared in my previous post, Marktplatz is but a crossroads and navigation point to gain one's bearing in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Unless visitors are blind the renaissance mud brown facade of its town hall, the Rathaus, would not miss anyone's attention. Since I visited on a weekend, the halls were not opened for visits but another section of the same building, the tower, was still accessible for those in search of a magnificent view.

Rathaus (town hall) of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Monday, April 27, 2015

2014 Germany Trip - Marktplatz @ Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


Whether the visitor choose to visit the Marktplatz or not, most probably he will still walk through it at least once in his visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The vacant square affords a sense of direction, whether one is searching for the famed Plönlein or navigating his way from one end of the wall to the other, it serves as a compass for one to return to while aligning his way to the next destination.

Marktplatz under the sun

Saturday, April 25, 2015

2014 Germany Trip - St James's Church (Evangeliches-Lutheran Kirchengemeinde St. Jakob)

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


My wife once asked me why I loved photographing churches. My reply to her was that I photographed not just churches, but most of the religious places, especially those which are historically rich in value and pleasing in aesthetics and architecture. To most people one church is no more different from another. For me however they each tell a different story. The stained glass weaves biblical lore and the spires, from the ornate to the simplistic, project the architect’s pride and dreams. St James’s Church in Rothenburg, one of its most important, is so similar yet so different.

St James's (St Jakob in German) Church

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hotel review - Aleenta Phuket Resort and Spa Part 4 - Final look at the hotel grounds

Location: Phuket, Thailand

Note: This article was written base on experience of staying in Aleenta Resort and Spa Phuket's Pool Villa. The following info is important to you because it tells you on which month we stayed, and the price relative to the amount of time between the date of stay to the date of booking. You may experience higher or lower price at different months/seasons and if you book further or nearer to the date of stay.

We booked on:     September 2014
We stayed on:      October 2014
We paid in total:  THB27,659.50 (~RM2771) (tax included) @ Pool Villa, 2 persons, 2 nights, breakfast inclusive

The overview of the whole hotel experience can be accessed from here: Thailand - Aleenta Phuket Resort and Spa


One more breakfast and we were left with spare time to kill before it was time to depart to the airport, ending our short but satisfying excursion to this beachside paradise. Strolled around we did in the hotel’s compound, wandering places and exploring niches. It was then that we realized how big Aleenta Phuket was, its grounds including other villas with their own gardens.

The infinity pool at dusk

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hotel review - Aleenta Phuket Resort and Spa Part 3 - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Location: Phuket, Thailand

Note: This article was written base on experience of staying in Aleenta Resort and Spa Phuket's Pool Villa. The following info is important to you because it tells you on which month we stayed, and the price relative to the amount of time between the date of stay to the date of booking. You may experience higher or lower price at different months/seasons and if you book further or nearer to the date of stay.

We booked on:     September 2014
We stayed on:      October 2014
We paid in total:  THB27,659.50 (~RM2771) (tax included) @ Pool Villa, 2 persons, 2 nights, breakfast inclusive

The overview of the whole hotel experience can be accessed from here: Thailand - Aleenta Phuket Resort and Spa


A lazy wake up and a swim in the pool later, we strolled to The Natai, Aleenta Phuket’s in-house restaurant serving local delicacies and our breakfast spot perched high over the seaview. With a spectacular view towards the endless sea and a nicely landscaped garden of pools, it couldn’t make a morning any more pleasant.

The Natai's menu in wooden cover

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hotel review - Aleenta Phuket Resort and Spa Part 2 - Pool Villa experience

Location: Phuket, Thailand

Note: This article was written base on experience of staying in Aleenta Resort and Spa Phuket's Pool Villa. The following info is important to you because it tells you on which month we stayed, and the price relative to the amount of time between the date of stay to the date of booking. You may experience higher or lower price at different months/seasons and if you book further or nearer to the date of stay.

We booked on:     September 2014
We stayed on:      October 2014
We paid in total:  THB27,659.50 (~RM2771) (tax included) @ Pool Villa, 2 persons, 2 nights, breakfast inclusive

The overview of the whole hotel experience can be accessed from here: Thailand - Aleenta Phuket Resort and Spa


At 180 m2 (1937.50 ft2), Aleenta Phuket’s Pool Villa is a choice for vacationers balancing between luxury and cost. It is neither the smallest nor the largest but for honeymooners and couples without kids, it is more than enough. With fencing and gates, the villa is surrounded by an extra layer of privacy most suitable for those looking for sunbathing with no tan line (I quote from their website on this).

We of course excitedly explored every inch and amenities of the villa when we were left to ourselves. The Pool Villa was laid out in generally 3 sections – an enclosed living area with TV, another enclosed bedroom area with an adjoining dressing room, and finally the open section with the pool between both where we could enjoy sunbathing and swimming. 

Welcome to the Pool Villa! This is how it felt when the attendant brought us to our villa, opening the gates with a dramatic flourish.

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