Treking Through Tegallalang Rice Fields

Swinging over the rice fields!

For Easter break, my family flew to Bali to get away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore.  We are staying in a charming villa in Jimbaran which is located in southern Bali.  On the first full day in Bali, we relaxed in our villa, and went to the beach.  We were all as red as tomatoes by the time the sun set, and the pain of having a sun burn carried on till the next day.

This is the silver store Prapen

Katoot was our driver on the second day, and took us to Ubud, the heart of Bali.  We stopped by at some silver shops in Celuk, and got to see how earrings and broaches are made by silversmiths.  The first store we went, Prapen, was such a unique store, with fish ponds flowing through the various showrooms, beautiful green foilage, and handmade art made with natural matrials such as stone, wood, and gems.  It’s a must see if you’re looking for unique accessory pieces and luxury home items.

Batuan temple

The oldest temple in Bali, the Batuan Temple was our next stop.  This temple is a Hindu temple, and was built in the early 11th century with alluring stone and brick architecture.  Before entering some ladies had to rap us in a kamben, which is a cloth that everyone wears to enter the temple, to show respect to the gods in Hindu religion.  We paid 10k Rp for each of us as a donation to the temple.

Our final stop for the day, were the Tegallalang rice fields, located in Ubud.  It was an hour and a half away from Jimbaran.  We arrived  there before the sun set and paid 10k Rp per person to enter.  I expected the rice fields to be in the middle of a jungle, but the valley of rice fields were behind a street of shops and cafes. There were a lot of people walking around taking pictures, and we walked along the staircase- like fields amazed by the view.  What makes these rice fields so world renound are the green layers of fields creating a staircase effect.  Streams of water trickle through the fields, and the pallet of greens make this place a true gem.  The sight is breathtaking, and the pictures don’t do it justice.  My brothers and I enjoyed walking through the fields, and swinging on a swing which overlooked the rice fields.  The swing hung from two tall coconut trees that the people made.  There were a few swings at this rice field, but the one we went on cost 50k Rp (around $5), and was around 10m above the ground.  It was an exhilerating experiance.

It was a wonderful day of cultural exploration, and we enjoyed the beautiful natural surroundings that Bali has to offer.

 

Colours of Hoi An

Walking through a path full of lanterns!

I was so lucky to be able to spend my birthday and New Years in Hoi An, Vietnam!  I had the best time with my family, and the architecture of the town is very charming!  The weather was a bit chilly and cold, but a great change to the hot and humid weather of Singapore.  We did two days of tours: riding through the fields, and learning about My Son.  I love learning about all the culture and history filled inside this endearing town.  Hoi An is a UNESCO world heritage site with its architecture inspired by France, China, and Japan.  I definitely recommend visiting, even if its just for a few days since there is so much to do!  These are a few pictures that I took, and experiences that I cherish.

Me riding on a water buffalo!

Riding through the fields was one of the tours that we did, and I had the best time!  We each had our own bike, and road for the whole morning.  Though riding in the bustling streets with cars passing by was a bit frightening, going through the fields, and getting the pleasure to go on the back of a water buffalo was exhilarating!  In the vegetable fields that we road through, people planted rice, tomatoes, watermelon, and many other vegetables and fruits.  There were a lot of older people working in the fields, and were very friendly, waving their hands as we rode by.  Water buffalos help farm and pull the tools through the fields.  We got to plant rice and work with the buffalo to make the dirt the right consistency.  After our bike tour, we had a river ride in traditional boat baskets. We wore the traditional straw hats of Vietnam to make our experience complete!

This is us at My Son!

Another tour we did was to My Son, a Hindu temple built during the 4th to 13th century.  The mystery of this temple intrigued me, and I loved learning the rich history about this UNESCO world heritage site.  Why the bricks of this temple keep their red color through centuries, but bricks we made today  turn brown and black from the weather in six to ten years is a mystery to everyone.  A majority of the temple’s design was from the religious Mount Meru, and some temples were for only the kings to enter.  This temple was discovered by French archaeologists during the 20th century.  When you go to the temple, there will be faces of the gods gone, taken by thieves, and some of the temples ruined by the bombings from the U.S during the Vietnamese War.  My Son has a raw and organic feel since so much of it is still unearthed, and is in the centre of a jungle.  I was really awed by the natural beauty of this temple, and the history that it is filled with.

She is the sweetest lady!

Hoi An and its surroundings are a wonderful tourist destination where you can enjoy charming cafes, and purchase treasures such as silks, pottery, coffees, and teas while meandering along narrow cobblestone streets lined with silk lanterns.

Kampong Glam and it’s Charm!

Masjid Sultan!

Lickety!

My egg waffle and ice cream!

This Monday, my mom and I explored one of Singapore’s most charming and eclectic neighbourhoods.  It is located near Bugis.  Masjid Sultan a mosque, anchors this interesting area.  Shops and cafes in historical buildings line Arab street leading to Masjid Sultan.  We had a quick snack at the most adorable waffle and ice cream shop called Lickety.  The whole cafe has a fun and youthful vibe, with popsicle lights, and ice cream pillows all over the place! Their specialty is egg waffles, which are waffles that have a ball shaped design on them, with ice cream.  I got the vanilla and red velvet mixed waffle with raspberry passion fruit ice cream, and rainbow sprinkles! It was delicious!  There is a Malay Heritage Centre a block away from Lickety, so we decided to stop by to learn a bit about the Malay culture.  There was a Malay wedding ceremony going on in the neighbourhood, and we could hear the music, and the instruments that were playing when the bride and groom with their family members walked around the area celebrating.  It was very fascinating to get to listen and see a bit of the Malay culture!

Street art spotting down at Haji lane had been on my bucket list for the winter break, so we walked down the street, to explore the area.  There are endearing small stores and restaurants throughout the lane, with unique and chromatic designs on the wall.  It took around an hour to walk down the lane, and walk through most of the stores.  It had been a while since I visited the area, and I loved it!  The culture filled neighbourhood won me over, and I totally recommend it to those who haven’t explored this gem in Singapore!

Desserts From a Bird’s Eye View!

Our view!

Walking up to the tree house!

On the last day of our trip to Phuket, my mom and I strolled down the beach to the hotel next door from where we stayed: Anantara.  This hotel is gorgeous, with traditional Thai villas for each room, and a huge pond that is at the heart of the hotel.  We ate at “The Tree House”, that had a spectacular view facing the pond.  What really convinced my mom and I to eat here was that they served the food in a huge bird cage.  When we got there, we each got a drink, while waiting for the food to come.  The bird cage had three tiers full of sandwiches and desserts!  We ate our way through from bottom to top, enjoying the, six different types of sandwiches, and ten different kinds of desserts!  Some of the foods were inspired by the local Thai ingredients such as lemongrass, mango, and some pink jello.  We were stuffed by the end of the meal, and had around three desserts left, which surprised us since I have a bottomless stomach for desserts!  My mom and I loved it, and it was a nice girls day out!

Lagoons, Caves, and Canoes!

Heading to the lagoons!

On this day, our whole family took a boat ride to explore some small islands off the coast of Phuket.  We went on John Gray’s boat and visited three lagoons, and took a canoe to travel through each one of them.  When we got onto the boat, we ate lunch while sailing west, and enjoying the sea view.  All the food that we ate on the boat was made by local chefs onboard the ship.  They served green curry, fried rice with pineapple, grilled chicken and fruit, all of which are very common in Phuket.  It was interesting to taste the local cusine.  It was a really nice and sunny day to travel on boat.  We traveled on a cruise ship that accompanied around fifty day passengers.

Jumping off the boat with Kai!

The first lagoon we visited!

The first lagoon we went to had steep cliffs with trees growing from them.  Kai and I went on the same canoe with the most interesting tour guide!  He paddled the boat for us, and explained everything he knew about each lagoon.  He explained how snakes and some other creatures lived at the top of the cliffs, and we even got to see some monkeys.  Once we paddled through the first lagoon, we went straight to the second one, with a short swimming break.  We got to jump into the sea, to cool down.  The next lagoon we went to was near by, but harder to get to since we had to lay down horizontaly in the boat to prevent ourselves from hitting our heads in the low caves.  If it had been high tide, the water would have filled up the entrances, and we couldn’t have gone into the cave.

Making a krathong!

Our krathong!

The two flower birds.

After that, we made a krathong, as an offering to the water gods.  It is what people in Thailand make to ask for forgiveness from the god of oceans for polluting the waters, and is also a way for them to wash off their sins, and make wishes for the year to come.  The base is a banana tree trunk, and we decorated it with, banana leafs, vegetables, and flowers.  It was amazing to see all the different designs of krathong, since everyone decorated it differently.  The one Kai and I decorated had birds made out of flowers, with some lettuce, and folded banana leafs.  We used nails to keep everything in place, so after we put them into the sea, we had to collect them again since they weren’t eco-friendly.   It was really fun, and great way to experience the culture of Thailand.  The Loy Krathong holiday is celebrated during November, but they wanted us to experience some thai culture so we did it in October instead.  For more information about the holiday, click here.

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In order to get to the third lagoon, we had to go through a cave full of bats!  We paddled all around the cliffs, and enjoyed the sunset, and the view of the ocean.  We swam in the waters for a bit, and raced back to the cruise ship.  The last canoe ride was into a dark cave to release our krathong.  We lit the candles up, and made a wish while releasing them into the water.  We followed the krathong around the cave, and enjoyed staring into the candle light.  On the cruse back to the docks, we all relaxed on the top deck, and star-gazed the whole time.  We looked for different constanants, and had a great time talking to each other, away from phones and other distractions.  Even though we were all exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel room, I had an amazing time with my family, exploring the lagoons of Phuket!

 

 

Khao Rang Mountain!

Kai and I

 

My family traveled to Phuket, Thailand for fall break!  We went for a week and stayed at JW Marriott.  We’ve been coming to Phuket since I was born, and it’s like a second home to me.  One of the places we visited was Khao Rang, which means Big Mountain in Thai.  It has a spectacular view, where we saw the South side of Phuket.  We walked around the top of the mountain, and then went down a few flights of stairs to a cafe called Tunk-Ka Cafe.  We got two sweets to share; a banana split, and some deep fried bananas served with a honey sesame sauce.  It was my first time having the deep-fried bananas, and they were really good.  It was a good snack to fill up our stomachs, and the view that we got to see while we were eating was amazing!  I hope we can go back there again, since we all had a great time.

Fantastic Freak Shakes!

 

Our Freak Shakes!!

Me and my brother enjoying our shakes!

 

Two weeks ago, my brother Keiden and I, decided to spoil ourselves with a delicious freak shake!  Making a freak shake was on my bucket list since summer. Although it has around a thousand calories, I was craving one.  First we made chocolate milk, and put it into the fridge so it would be nice and cold.  Then, we started melting chocolate to put it on the rim of the mason jars.  Once we did that, we sprinkled all different kinds of fun confetti (sprinkles) onto the melted chocolate part (just to add the freak shake effect).  We put the mason jars into the fridge for a few minutes so the chocolate wouldn’t get over our hands.  When the chocolate set, Keiden and I put the chocolate milk into our jars, and topped them with the most unhealthiest things possible; whipped cream, sour strips, Oreos, and even a Ferrero Rocher! Go hard or go home!  This was a rare occasion, since my mom doesn’t like me invading her kitchen.  The final result was delicious!  The satisfying shake was huge, but me and my brother finished it in less than three minutes!  Literally.  On top of that, I made some great memories, such as spraying whipped cream into Keiden’s mouth!

The View of Singapore!

On top of the world!

Around a month ago, my family went to Tanjong Pagar to explore the area.   We found a 50 storey condo called Pinnacle.  Anyone can go up there for $6, and enjoy the 360 degree view!  If anyone is in Singapore, I totally recommend stopping by to see the magnificent view of Singapore.  My family just walked around for about an hour, but I think we got to  spend some quality time together!  The view is seriously amazing!  I got to see places in Singapore that I never new existed.  There was a little playground that Keiden and I played at for a bit.  Besides the Pinnacle, Tanjong Pagar has some cute restaurants and cafes to offer.  We stayed for a night around the area, and for dinner we enjoyed some Italian pasta made from scratch.  The pasta was amazing, and the couple that opened the restaurant were very sweet!  In the morning, Keiden, Mom, and I went to a small bakery, and got some croissants and drinks.  It was a very fun morning, since we got to have a delicious breakfast, and a beautiful view of historical homes in Singapore!  Although my family lives in Singapore, we enjoyed seeing an unexplored part of this country!

My Little India Adventure

The house of Tan Teng Niah.

Little India is a very exhilarating place, where you can find good food (Indian curry) and tons of interesting stores and things to do.  Whenever my family goes, we always try to find new restaurants and sights to see.  This time, we ate at an Indian restaurant called Banana Leaf.  We ordered butter chicken, naan, and some rice.  It was scrumptious! After the pleasurable meal, my brother and I got a henna tattoo; which is like a brown ink that they draw onto your skin, and it stays for around a week.  The lady drew a beautiful flower print onto my hand which I absolutely love!  My brother got a camouflaged wolf on his hand for ten dollars (It’s not that cheep).  There are a lot of  historical buildings, and it is fun to simply walk around the area.  We went to see the former house of Tan Teng Niah.  It was a wonderful house filled with colour!  Little India is a place filled with excitement , and is a great place if you want to learn about the Indian culture!

Tokyo Disneyland!

“Where dreams come true!”

The lamp post went wacko!

 

About two weeks ago, I went to Tokyo Disneyland with my close friend.  We went with her mom, and I had the best time.  Since we went in the summer, it was scorching hot, and we were sweating the whole day; however, the heat didn’t stop us from having a spectacular time at “The happiest place on Earth”!  We went on a lot of rides including, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Space Mountain(They are the most thrilling rides)!  Disneyland is “Where dreams come true”, and just walking around it makes you feel like you entered a magical universe.  My friend knew where Mickey’s face was secretly hidden inside of the architecture, and she showed me all different kinds of fun things that I would have missed if I wasn’t with her.  I think that Disneyland is a magical and extraordinary place where everyone can have an amazing time!  I hope that I can go again with my family and show them all of the fun things my friend and I did.  If anyone happens to be in Tokyo, Disneyland is an awesome place to visit!