Sunday, 6 January 2013


I hope you have enjoyed reading Phuket as much as i did (yes i read it several times myself) and as promised, next stop:

 Darwin, Australia, 26th March to 29th March 2012.

I can count myself very lucky because if not for the winning post on a Facebook contest that a friend of mine won, I would not have stepped foot onto the Northern territory in any near future. It was the first flight to Darwin provided by SilkAir and there had been 4 other winners and their partners, together with a large group of media people on board. There were many formalities that the airline provided and we were well taken care of.

I suggest if you ever step foot on Darwin, do ample research or purchase a packaged tour so that you guarantee yourself good places to see and experience. The hotel, Medina, we checked into was close to a pool that was capable of having artificial waves. The area was surrounded with only 2 blocks of flats and were really near the coast. If you are hungry, they serve food right next to the lobby hotel, 'Curve'. However, you may want to be careful what you order because these food come in good portion but at a rather expensive price. Although food is pricey, be sure that it will be tasty.

The view right outside the lobby and the pool with good waves.

This is possibly the most tender and very delicious pork leg i have ever eaten. Also, it whooped my ass when i saw the cost on the menu.

Prawn mixed with sausages and olive oil. Big on portion and this is a good dish to share aside from the main course.

After filling the stomach, be sure to be dressed casually and equip yourself with a camera and be on your way to explore the nearby places. You will be surprised what your feet may bring you. Don't expect that much of a shopping because the shops close at maximum 5pm Aussie time and for people like me, i enjoy the quietness and tranquility of the town where there is not much traffic or people. Water is crucial because water actually costs more than liquor or juices. So if you are interested, get a 5 liters, get another liter of water for the bottle, and top it up before you leave the hotel.

As it was a media-ish tour, there was not much of 'Own-Time-Own-Target' time and we were quickly engaged with the flight group again. The tour in town was extravagant and really entertaining. You will know why soon enough.

We had to rush back to the hotel, get dressed up and get on a bus to 'Crocosaurus Cove' where you get to see different shape and sizes of crocodiles, right smack in the middle of the town. If you are considering to go to this place, be sure to wear smart casual because it is rather warm in the cove. Bring along your swim suit if you are daring enough to take on the cage of death where they put you in a cage and lower you into the water with the giant crocodile right in there staring at you. Other than that, take your time in there to walk and look around because the area is not very large but you will be able to chill at their cafe that serves special drinks that are not on the menu.

So the focus here is definitely the many transparent capsules that allow visitors to get in close proximity with the baby crocs. (and i was obviously failing in making them comfortable in my presence.)

 Can you imagine if the plastic fence was not there and you are surrounded by all these hungry reptiles looking at you straight in your eyes telling you that you are delicious.

 Of course, lucky for us, we get to tempt them to jump out of the water with a good piece of meat attached to a rod. It was rather entertaining!

In the day, we were engaged by a few Aboriginal who brought us all to look around their sacred sites. We stood atop a hill after climbing a long way up and Robert, the head of the aboriginals, explained how they set different level of fire to communicate with others across the river. For example, a small fire means a funeral is going on, a big fire means trouble, and a fire with sticks beating on it means a certain ceremony is starting. Here's a little more about Aboriginals. They believe that they can only marry only one partner a live time and they have different sacred lands for different gender that once violated, it is deemed rude. They love nature and believe that mother Earth is sacred, which was why some of us got blessed by Robert along the ocean.

 This is Robert. He is tall, hairy and bare-footed. He is an Aboriginal.

 She is not an Aboriginal, but i thought she looked really gorgeous and portrayed a Tyra Banks. She works for the tourism and i forgot her name.

After a rich culture education, we went to different shops to look at their specialty goods of certain luxurious brands. di Croco, for a photo shoot with the leather everything. And Paspaley, shooting with pearls. Really expensive pearls. Those photo shoots actually make things really awkward among everyone because everyone has to clear the area for you and the sales person actually puts their products onto you and you have to look rather amused and happy while everyone else watches. Of course, because of the weather, i was dressed FAR from prepared for the photo shoot and you will see why.

After rushing all the way back, we get to spend a tiny bit of time in the wave pool that i mentioned earlier, and yes, this time, i was dressed appropriately for the photo shoot. While everything was happening, i can explicitly remember that two girls, no more than 18, asked one of the winners for his number. This is where you gasp because that dude is married to his beautiful wife who was there with him and he is probably in the late twenties or early thirties. Anyway, if you are interested in a good time riding on waves and not be exposed to the sea, this is where you should be. Be sure to be in your tights or fitting clothes if not you will be rather exposed to everyone as the wave pushes you forward.

A good lunch is what you need to have after using up most of your strength pushing against the waves only to ride on it back to shore. 'iL Lido' was where we ate and i have to say the food standard still did not disappoint despite the mad rush in wolfing down the costly food that we did not manage to slowly enjoy.

I must tell you this next place is probably the next to-do thing when you are in Darwin. Ask the Aussie where do you see jumping crocodiles up close and they will tell you this is the place to go. The place is right at the river and you will board a rather huge double-decked boat and be on your way to see some crocodiles up close and very personal. Accompanied by the captain with a thick accent introducing to you what to look at, his partner will be wave pieces of meat right hooked up to a rod and dappling onto the water. In the matter of minutes, you will see a 6 meters long crocodile swimming your way and with just a bit of encouragement of that piece of meat, you will see it jump 2 meters out of the water. You will then have your chance to have eye contact with the crocodile and be sure you don't put anything out the window for obvious reasons. These are a few snapshots.

 This little thing was picked up after the mother met with an accident on the road which is common in Australia.

 And so we head to the double decked boat.

 It circulates the meat.

Testing water.

 Trying his luck without effort.

 And then goes all out.

 These pictures had no need for zoom. YES we were that close to them. What separates us from it was only the wooden planks that made the boat.

 These birds will do all sorts of diving in the air for food i swear. It's like they know aerobics!

 Oh hi!

Aside from a long bus ride to this next place, i recommend EVERYONE to go to this place to stay for at least one night, and if you get bored easily, at most 2 nights. 'Wildman Wilderness Lodge' is located deep into the rural area and is in the middle of Darwin and Kakadu National Park. When you reach, you will be surprised the place blends into the nature. The habitats and tents are facing the plains and i guarantee you that it will be the closest to nature you ever will be living in luxury. You get different assortment of birds flying past the distant canopy and you have wild wallabies hopping around munching on whatever was in the short grass. If you come in a family, the tent will not disappoint you but be warned that the tent does not come with air-con. If you are coming in a twos, the habitat will definitely be the choice to take. Ask about an organized tour around the area because i believe they have quite a package at the right amount of "ka-ching". In the evening, you will be in for a treat because the sunset will blow you away and the sparkles of the stars in the sky will leave you speechless. However, if you are not a bug person, stay indoor when night falls because the bugs will start flying towards the lights and you will be traumatized at the amount of bugs stuck by the net that prevents them from entering the area. Good thing they provide the insect repellant!

During dinner, if you feel adventurous, do order those exotic dishes that you have not gotten to try in your own country or state. For me, my policy when i am overseas is that i am willing to try anything and everything because it may be the one and only time i will be eating these. So for starter, i ordered kangaroo kebab while i got my friend to order crocodile salad, just to try. Kangaroo kebab simply tasted like medium rare beef only slightly more muscular while crocodile felt like squid that tasted like chicken. Great experience especially when the staff were polite and gave great service.

If you can't sleep, head down to their main lobby because you can hang out by the bar with no crowd at all. If you are alone, order a drink and have a chat with the service-person right there at that moment because you never know what you will find out about different people overseas. For several of us, we stayed behind for a beer and hung around the bar for a few hours to have a chat with the tour guide, and the bar tender. I must say, we learned a whole lot. The tour guide got a degree in Law and felt tired that his future was dictated by his parents. So he came back to Darwin and worked as a tour guide since and enjoying every single moment of his life. The bar-tender was backpacking alone from England and heard about the lodge and started working for them. She mentioned that right before our tour came, there had been a flood and the roads were blocked off until the day before we came (lucky or what). During the flood, she said all the staff were instructed to stay in their dorms and she freaked out when she peeked out and saw a crocodile swimming right outside their doors (yes, when i said close to nature, i meant it).

In the morning, try to wake up just after dawn because you will get a full view of many things. The never-before-seen bugs left on your door, morning dew sparkling under the rays of light, families of wallabies hopping around (and if lucky, right at your doorsteps), and birds flocking from trees to trees. I love this place.

 This outdoor pool is so correctly located that you will definitely want to take a dip in there.

 These are the tents. Also there is the puddle of water left behind by the flood.

 Our habitat. Most of the surrounding are simply glass panels. So wherever you turn, you get to see the nature, and your neighboring habitats. *winks*

 The outdoor gathering place for everyone to just chill while occasionally looking at some bugs sitting right next to you, chilling.

 The sunset.

This is the showers. If you are daring enough, you get to show the animals out there the tribal side of you. I dare you not lower the blinds.

Due to the size limit of the blog, you can only see blocks of brown across the field. Look carefully and you will see the wallabies looking right back at you.

To be even closer to the nature, we were then brought to see two different water falls, Wangi Fall and the Florence Fall. Wangi Fall is closed for swimming because rumor has it, thousands years ago, there lived a rainbow serpent that only allowed females to swim in the water and it had mermaids keeping the men away. No men were allowed to enter the premises and believe it or not, in the past 100 years, 20 people drowned at the Wangi Fall, all of which are men. So we proceed on to Florence Fall for a swim and made a few dives although we were not allowed to. That was the first time i got to swim in a fall and it was really refreshing. I suggest you bring a float and a goggle to share and take a dive to see what is under water. If you are adventurous enough and is a good swimmer, you can try swimming towards the fall. I swear it will be tiring as hell.

Wangi Fall. We couldn't get a good shot so.....yeah.

Florence Fall. We took a long time navigating downwards because we got away from the group. If only we could free fall into the water, and not die!

There was our group of people while we quickly strip down to our swim suits.

And...that was it!

Beside the travelling portion which may be the factor you reconsider, i would say Darwin is a place to come to if you want a slow paced holiday where everyone greets everyone. If possible, have a good apartment and cook your own food and water because these items will cost a bomb. Given a choice, i will want to head back there and reconnect to the nature again. Having this entry brings back all the joy simply because i saw what i never had a chance to and it felt great.

Before moving on, please meet my winner.

Without him, i would not have been in this place experiencing such things. Truly amazing and thank you!

Thank you if you made it this far as it is a rather long entry. But if you stay tune long enough, you will be able to see what was my third and longest trip i had! Here's a sneak peek!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

End of the year

And there goes a few months since the last post and it is a new year. I hope all of you out there have had your good times and the bad times because hey, you made it past all of it. We often look back into the year and ask ourselves what have we achieved, are we proud or ashamed of something we did, or simply, what exactly have we done because time passed too fast for anyone to remember. Well, I did some looking back and i had my fair bit of overseas trips in year 2012.

So now i am going to embark you with a series of trips over the past 12 months and if you get bored at any point of time..... well that won't happen.

First stop, Phuket, Thailand, 18th March to 20th March 2012.

It was a short three days getaway but i can promise you that it was a good trip to relax your minds and bodies in an instant. Geared and headed to Patong beach after a short plane ride, i suggest you be in your good board-shorts, singlet and a good pair of shades, because your holiday officially starts when you are out of the airport.

Start with checking into the hotel. On your way there, keep your eyes peeled on the street stalls so you can fill bits of your stomach with local delights. You may also want to keep your eyes on the busy road and away from those locals who may be aggressively touting you to take their tuk-tuks. If you are tired and have a little spare cash, sure, take it for the experience. If not, i would suggest you walking because you get to see more things around especially if that is your first time in Phuket. It is a tourism-dependent island so you can definitely see loads of foreigners and with that, you can find many different varieties of bars around. From Irish bar to American dining, you will be amazed how diversified they are. Despite all these people flowing into the area, the locals are still hospitable and showed no biased treatment towards any race or skin color. One thing you must do over there is to tailor-make yourself a few shirts. Trust me, they are really good at what they are doing, all at a low price and good skills. When i was there, they took less than 3 days to complete 5 shirts at approximately less than SGD$30 each, all fitted nicely to the sculpture of your body. What was better? The prices are negotiable.

Once you get used to the surrounding around your hotel, you are all set to go further. Get yourself a good meal and embrace yourself for a buzzing night life. Some roads will be closed to cater to the crowd that will be around. Bangala Street is a must-go location to experience the night life. You have people asking you to visit their bars or clubs to watch performances like the "Ping Pong Girls", "Thai-girls" etc. Girls with mini-skirts dancing on the table against a pole to deafening Thai songs will be a common sight while you roam the street. Explore these places with an open mind and you will garner loads of things then may just blow your mind. If walking gets too tired, you can choose to enter one of many massage parlor to get yourself....well, loosened up. When you walk by a small counter selling tours around the islands, don't hook up with them just yet. To make sure you get the best deals, set a targeted budget you want and when the person quote you the price, push it down to that budget (or even lower). Remember, the lower the budget, the more other things you get to spend on!

During the day, you can choose to take a stroll down the beach or just somewhere nearby to do bits of your shopping. The fun part of these shopping will definitely be the bargaining and minor flirting with the ladies manning the shops. Don't feel embarrassed because the prices of the goods there are racked up by a huge margin. Enjoy the shopping and haul your loots!

Here are some snap shots of Phuket:

This is one of the largest shopping area around the beach. So it's rather hard to give this place a miss. They have everything!

 This dude recommended the best spots for tourists to take pictures at as canoes down to different islands just around the area. Be ready to tip them because they will not be embarrassed to ask for a tip, or even state the amount!

 This kid here practically brought the entire boat to dock by the beach. While this picture was taken, i felt his fragile body and how skinny he was!

Phuket will be a good place for anybody to have a short and affordable trip to relax a person's mind off the busy and stressful work load in Singapore. Keep your eyes on bundle deals during seasonal sales provided by travel agencies. This can be an impromptu trip that you have decided with your friends while walking around shopping for nothing and happen to meet with a travel fair. Well, at least that's for me.

Let's take a break from here because the next one is going to be exciting. We will be going down south to the Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia.

Here's a preview:

Friday, 3 August 2012

For what's worth.

SIA girl will be flying off sooooon! TAKE CARE KAY!

 A few of the 10 present tonight

Everyone has different values in life that are worth so much to them. Some are quantitative values, and some are not. What makes a hard day at work less torturous is to have a group of friends who treasure your companionship like how you treasure theirs.

Starting from the complaints at work to a couple of friends while we were on our way to a faraway land to feed our starving stomachs to having a hearty meal while all 10 of us talk about anything under the sky, ranging from Korean fanpop to economical situation in Europe and New Zealand. There were jokes about how some of us gain or lost weight over the short span of time since we last met and poking fun at each others' fat cheeks or huge biceps. Then, there were epic moments when we found out that one of us didn't know what Udders was and ultimately, not knowing where to download apps for her phone. (i still cannot forget how epic it was. Right Cass?) Let us not forget how bitchy some people may get reacting to certain comments or reaction.

These are the memories forged with long-lasting friendships and never-ending love for each other, feeding off energies and laughter of one another. The exact moment where time froze and the only thing you could remember doing for the day was having fun with your friends, washing away the stress and anger anyone accumulated.

Friends come and go. I have seen many and experienced many, seeing how people give up on their friendship with others, or those with me. These bunch of crazy loonies ,who goes around terrorizing neighborhoods with laughter and stalking pairs of eyes that follow any pretty (or not so pretty) people whenever they step into the shop, are definitely here to stay, for the long run.

I won't need to run, I won't need to hide.
I don't have to act, I don't have to fight.
All i need are those so close to me, to my heart.
For what's worth,
Let's go!

And then lastly, for those who are partying this weekend, Never close our eyes.