Marvelling the Old City of Chiang Mai

On the first full day in Chiang Mai I was quite tired from the two flights I had to take the day before (we had a one day layover in Singapore) so I slept in. After having breakfast from the nearby bakery, I dragged myself to explore the city.

Since it was a little bit hot and we were still really tired, we opted to take Grab to one of the temples that was written as my must-see, Wat Chedi Luang. We went passed Tha Phae Gate, one of the gates in the wall that surrounds the old city, and made a note that I must return there when it wasn’t so crowded with tourists (wishful thinking as I later found out). The wall was built during the reign of King Mengrai for the purpose of protecting his kingdom. There are several gates, each one of them with a certain astrological significance.

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Tha Phae Gate – always full of tourists

Wat Chedi Luang was just as I expected, grand and spectacular. When I entered though, the first thing I noticed were this huge tree stretching to the sky, the Dipterocarp tree and the shrine beside it. Inside the shrine is the city pillar (Lak Meuang) which acts as a protector to the city. In Chiang Mai, the city pillar is called Inthakin meaning Indra’s pillar. Based on the legend, the pillar was given to the Lawa people who once resided before Chiang Mai was even founded by the god Indra to protect them. You can find city pillars in most cities in Thailand.Read More »

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Dreamy Thoughts at Porto’s Majestic Café

This post was originally written for my old travel blog Dream Explore Wander on 16 November 2015.

Sipping my tea at Majestic Café in Porto, Portugal, I couldn’t help but feeling dreamy. Yes this café might just be a tad bit touristy but who cares? It was definitely worth the visit.

The front door of the café was wide open the day I came letting the summer breeze entered its amazing room. At the back I could see a grand piano and someone waiting to play. Though there were a lot of people chattering around me, I was lost in my own thoughts of the elegant interior of the café.Read More »

An Impromptu Trip to Semarang

This past two months have been really hectic for me. A week after coming back from Chiang Mai, I had to go to Kuala Lumpur for my bi-monthly infusion. I did not look forward to my KL trip and I felt like I didn’t rest enough after Chiang Mai so when my sister told she would be coming home right after my KL trip, it gave me a boost of enthusiasm.

My sister comes home to Jogja only once in a while. This time she decided to fly to and from Semarang since the ticket was cheaper by far. I had a great time showing her some new culinary spots in Jogja.

Since she was flying back from Semarang, my mum and I (and my mum’s friend as our guide in Semarang :D) decided to take her there. I thought it would be nice visiting Semarang and continue our culinary adventure there. I had some places in mind and we planned to go from Jogja early so we could stuff ourselves silly before she headed back to Singapore.Read More »

My First Impressions of Chiang Mai

The last time I traveled somewhere new was in 2014. I went to Bangkok and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I remember it all so clearly. I hated the city, the pollution and all the noise. I also remember that I would’ve tolerated Bangkok a lot more if I wasn’t in so much pain. My body felt strange, it ached everywhere, it just didn’t feel right.

By the end of the year, I knew what was wrong.

Fast forward to present time, I am still in treatment but it is not as hard as the years before. I go to the hospital every two months for an antibody infusion. Since this infusion does not have heavy side effects, I am able to lead a somewhat “normal life”.

One day my sister suggested a holiday for the whole family to relax and unwind, after all there was no doubt we needed it. When I asked her where, she wasn’t sure so we searched for options. I didn’t want to go too far as I didn’t want to overtire myself with long distance flight. After much searching, I suggested Chiang Mai in Thailand. I read that the city is relaxed (unlike Bangkok) and there are lots of cafes and restaurants. We all agreed.Read More »

Foodie Talk: Nasi Campur di Aroma Kasongan, Yogyakarta

Minggu lalu salah satu teman baik saya datang ke Jogja. Dia sih sudah tidak asing dengan Jogja, namun kedatangannya selalu saya tunggu-tunggu karena pergi dengan dia selalu menyenangkan. Saya memang tidak pernah membuat rencana, kami biasanya spontan memilih destinasi.

Kali ini saya mengajaknya untuk mencoba Aroma Kasongan. Saya sendiri belum pernah namun kelihatannya menarik. Kasongan juga salah satu area yang sering saya kunjungi untuk “cuci mata”. Duh barang-barang di Kasongan sungguh menarik.

Lokasi tempat ini di Jalan Raya Kasongan, jadi gak susah untuk mencarinya. Saat lihat foto-foto Aroma di Instagram, saya kira tempat ini besar ternyata tidak terlalu namun saya langsung senang ketika masuk.Read More »

Discovering The Truth About Dracula Castle

This post was originally written for my old travel blog Dream Explore Wander on 31 October 2016.

The day I decided to visit Bran Castle was all grey and cold with a chance of snow. Great. I took a peek at the sky and for a second I wanted to snooze for five more minutes. If only I was just visiting another castle. But no, I was going to Bran Castle, THE Dracula Castle. Any fans of Stoker would be stoked (pun intended) to see this place, and I too was excited about it. Besides, the gloomy weather gave some sort of dramatic effect.

My friends and I walked from our hostel to the said bus station that was supposed to take us to Stadionul Municipal. We had some trouble finding the right bus, but after asking a local with our very limited Romanian, we finally managed to find the bus. After getting inside the bus, we didn’t exactly know where to get off. Here was inside the bus, three very foreign looking tourists trying to find the right bus stop. We were lucky that the locals on the bus happily helped us.

The bus station was sad. It looked abandoned. I wondered if it would look more “cheerful” during the warmer months. No one was really there, and I was getting anxious that we were in the wrong place. A few people came, but I was still unsure. Maybe this was just the wrong time to see the castle, there didn’t seem to be many tourists like us, wait…is that wrong or perfect timing? I couldn’t decide. More people would justify that this was in fact the correct place to get to Bran, but more people would mean a crowded castle. As my mind was arguing with itself, a bus came. At the front of the bus was a sign “BRAN”. Oh yeah. Dracula Castle here I come.Read More »

A Glorious Morning at Sukorame Rice Field

It was the morning of my dad’s birthday. We set off at 6AM to go to Sukorame Rice Field (Sawah Sukorame). This rice field had been on my radar for quite a while and after much searching, I found the place to be doable for my physic. So off we went.

There are many things I love about rice fields. The colour, miles and miles of fresh green. The calm, meditative atmosphere. The sound of birds chirping like no one’s business. The silent wind that makes the scarecrows dance. This is the many reasons why I will never get tired of them, even when I see it every day.Read More »