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WTaipei Hotel Stay + OOTD feat. Jack Wills & Rosebullet

By | Asia, Awesomeness, Fashion, OOTD, Travel | One Comment

Nobody fancies being rushed about on a holiday – after my first few trips out of Singapore, I’ve come to realize that the idea of a holiday to me, is being able to wake up anytime I want, and deciding on a whim where to go or at least, be able to shift my plans around leisurely. And spend some time rolling about on the expensive and so-cushy-and-comfy-it-will-swallow-you hotel bed!

For our first night in Taipei, we checked into W Hotel, a 5-Star hotel along Zhongxiao East Road, after a morning spent exploring other parts of Taipei.

I took a look at the Wonderful room we were assigned, and decided there and then that I would spend time luxuriating in that plush environment. (I think my husband guessed that too, because he headed out in the morning to get breakfast while I idled my morning away haha).

{ W TAIPEI }
10 Zhongxiao East Road Sec. 5, Xinyi District
Taipei, 110 Taiwan
Phone: (886)(2) 7703 8888  |  Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram

January night view outside W Taipei: It's conveniently located beside a huge departmental store (Hankyu) where the MRT is also connected to, and you also can find an 诚品 (Eslite) store around the corner!

January night view outside W Taipei: It’s really conveniently located beside a huge departmental store (Hankyu) where the MRT is also connected to, and you also can find an 诚品 (Eslite) store around the corner!

Lobby of W Taipei - on the first floor, where comfy cushions and round sofa seats welcome you to rest before heading off to your next destination

Lobby of W Taipei – on the first floor, where comfy cushions and round sofa seats welcome you to rest before heading off to your next destination.

Check-in was at Level 10 . It’s also where you can find WooBar, WetBar, the outdoor pool, and The Kitchen Table (dining/breakfast area)!

Lift lobby!

Lift lobby!

Sorry about the weird color - the lift lobby was really kind of psychedelic with all the moving lights!

Sorry about the weird color – the lift lobby was really kind of psychedelic with all the moving lights!

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On the 10th floor of W Taipei - Woo Bar

On the 10th floor of W Taipei – Woo Bar, just beside the check in counter

I could speak in mandarin, but the helpful staff spoke fluent English and check in was fuss-free and quick.

The check-in "WELCOME" and concierge "WHATEVER" area.

The check-in “WELCOME” and concierge “WHATEVER/WHENEVER” area.

W Taipei is 31 storeys tall - we were given the Wonderful room on the 28th floor! The rooms above 10th storeys can only be accessed via keycards.

W Taipei is 31 storeys tall – we were assigned the Wonderful room on the 28th floor! The rooms above 10th storeys can only be accessed via keycards. Yen Bar is on the 31st floor, but unfortunately, I did not have time to visit it!

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I usually bring my laptop overseas with me for work so I'm happy to find a great work area - long desk - with many ports!  Free WiFi in WTaipei is only for Starwood Preferred Guests (membership), but that wasn't a problem for me as I had my portable WiFi devices from GlobalWiFi to supply me with continuous internet connection!

First things first, recharge all the devices! I usually bring my laptop overseas with me for work so I’m happy to find a great work area – long desk – with many ports!
Free WiFi in WTaipei is only for Starwood Preferred Guests (membership), but that wasn’t a problem for me as I had my portable WiFi devices from GlobalWiFi to supply me with continuous internet connection!

The Wonderful room, which was almost half the size of a 4-room HDB Flat in Singapore at 43sqm, came equipped with many things – a city view from the window, their W Signature bed which was so comfy I fell asleep immediately and almost couldn’t get up.

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The dressing area was big and spacious – the bath’s doesn’t have any doors, but if you’re worried about privacy, there’s a sliding door at where the grills are that separates the dressing area and the bed. The lavatory is isolated and has a self warming seat + automated seat cover (which sort of scared the bejeezus out of us when we opened the door to use it)! 

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One of my favorite feature - their well lit dressing area and the huge mirror they have in the room! The lighting was perfect for makeup application as well as to check out my outfit of the day. (This was my in-flight outfit)

One of my favorite feature – their well lit dressing area and the huge mirror they have in the room! The lighting was perfect for makeup application as well as to check out my outfit of the day. (This was my in-flight outfit)

Took a walk briefly around the outdoor area on the 10th floor when we came back from dinner!

Here you can see WooBar, the gym on 11th floor and the pool

Here you can see WooBar, the gym on 11th floor and the pool

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I don’t have a bathtub back at home, so usually I would bring my own bath bomb when I travel overseas but this time round, I forgot – and I was glad to find WTaipei’s sachet of relaxing bath salts in their provided toiletries!

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Other than the bath salt, they also carried BLISS toiletries for their guests’ usage! The citrusy scent from the BLISS products was very welcome and refreshing ;)

My view of the bustling city from the 28th floor of W Taipei - I wouldn't expect less from a 5-star hotel!

My view of the bustling city from the 28th floor of W Taipei – I wouldn’t expect less from a 5-star hotel!

I fell asleep really quickly, but for some people they might not be used to the silence in the room - I was intrigued to find this beneath the bedside table - A White Noise machine?! Apparently it can emit sounds of rain, thunder and even ocean waves for periods of 14, 30, or 60 seconds. It's the first time I've seen any hotel offer this!

I fell asleep really quickly, but for some people they might not be used to the silence in the room – I was intrigued to find this beneath the bedside table – A White Noise machine?! Apparently it can emit sounds of rain, thunder and even ocean waves for periods of 14, 30, or 60 seconds. It’s the first time I’ve seen any hotel offer this!

Goodnight, Taipei!

Goodnight, Taipei!

 


Next Morning | 隔天早晨


Waking up - first things first, check the weather!

Waking up – first things first, check the weather!

A lovely 18 degrees!

A lovely 18 degrees! I then start plotting my outfit of the day, haha.

Was so famished I nearly wanted to raid the well stocked mini bar! Mineral water's free, btw!

Was so famished I nearly wanted to raid the well stocked mini bar! Mineral water’s free, btw!

Good morning, Taipei!

Good morning, Taipei!

They actually provide a nice selection of magazines so I spent a part of my morning flipping through them for OOTD inspirations hahaha. Finished up a bottle of HABA's Firming Lift Up Beauty Drink which I left in the fridge the night before  to  chill! It minimizes visible pores, enhances tissue regeneration and combats fatigue - and I was interested to know how this would help me on a long day!

They actually provide a nice selection of magazines so I spent a part of my morning flipping through them for OOTD inspirations hahaha. Finished up a bottle of HABA’s Firming Lift Up Beauty Drink which I left in the fridge the night before
to chill! It minimizes visible pores, enhances tissue regeneration and combats fatigue – and I was interested to know how this would help me on a long day after claims of celebrities swearing by it!

Outfit Plotting!  Cashmere Top from Jack Wills,  Scarf from H&M and Floppy hat from Klarra!

Outfit Planning!
Cashmere Top from Jack Wills, Scarf from H&M and Floppy hat from Klarra!

Accessories of the day:  Bangles from & Other Stories, rings from ASOS, Bvlgari & Sretsis

Accessories of the day:
Bangles from & Other Stories, rings from ASOS, Bvlgari & Sretsis

Had to call concierge twice to request for late check out and also for assistance with the luggage! Hahaha. They were really on time and super helpful – the concierge kept asking if I needed help inside because I sounded like I was struggling with a baby elephant.

Finally made it out of my room at 1pm and met up with the guys at the lobby! JUST HAD TO TAKE AN OOTD at the outdoor area because it’s so beautiful!

Thank you Yina for helping me take this!!!

Thank you Yina for helping me take this!!!

Cable knit details from Jack Wills jumper & Rosebullet skirt alike!

Cable knit details from both my Jack Wills jumper & Rosebullet skorts!

My beloved Bag from Long Champ which I picked up from Paris airport on my previous trip to Europe!

My beloved Bag from Long Champ which I picked up from Paris airport on my previous trip to Europe!

It was really coincidental that the hat (from Klarra) and skort (from Rosebullet) matched so perfectly color wise! It was really windy that day though so I had to retire the hat halfway through hahaha.

It was really coincidental that the hat (from Klarra) and skort (from Rosebullet) matched so perfectly color wise! It was really windy that day though so I had to retire the hat halfway through hahaha.

The skorts were super comfy and apt for the cool autumn weather! Paired them with the most lightweight boots ever from  Nine West - these were so comfy (no zips, etc) and weighed practically next to nothing (meaning I didn't have to drag my feet around or sacrifice my luggage weight to bring them there!)

The skorts were super comfy and apt for the cool autumn weather! Paired them with the most lightweight boots ever from Nine West – these were so comfy (no zips, etc) and weighed practically next to nothing (meaning I didn’t have to drag my feet around or sacrifice my luggage weight to bring them there!)

OOTD Breakdown:

Top: Jack Wills Tinsbury Crew in Grey Marle (Singapore outlet in Raffles City)
Skorts: Rosebullet
Bag: LongChamp Le Pilage Cuir
Shoes: Nine West
Accessories: Bvlgari, ASOS Spike & Pearl Stack Rings, Hat in burgundy from Klarra!

This set of pictures were taken at the beautiful settings of W Hotel's outdoor area on the 10th floor!

This set of pictures were taken at the beautiful settings of W Hotel’s outdoor area on the 10th floor!

I love how the outdoor area of the W Taipei looks so different in the day and at night!

I visited W Singapore, and realized that it smelt familiar – I believe they use the same scent and choice of eclectic decoration for all their hotels around the world – I love such details when it comes to branding – the same fonts, the same elements and bright accent splashes of color  (purple lights and red decor!) that bring a very modern and edgy look to their chain of hotels.

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With my best photographer of the trip! Hahhaaha.

With my best photographer of the trip! Hahhaaha.

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One last shot with Yinagoh before we left for (late) lunch!

One last shot with Yinagoh before we left to explore Taipei and also for (late) lunch!

Some people may feel that it’s time wasted, but I felt well rested and happy and I think that’s a great mood to start the day! That being said, ever since I came back from Taipei, I’ve been adjusting my sleeping habits and am waking up earlier to get more things done in the day (more about that another time).

Everyone knows that I’m REALLY picky when it comes to lodging – toilets must be clean, beds must be comfy, carpets must not be smelly and such – not too sure if that’s a good or bad thing, haha. But a good night’s sleep is really needed on a vacation. Ample space for luggage. Windows for sunlight to come in. Location, and all! The convenience of W Hotel’s location is really unbeatable – I really should have taken more time walking around that area. More Taipei posts to come! (Gah I’m so anal when it comes to editing photos.)

P.S. This is not an ad!
P.P.S – All images taken with an Olympus EPL7 ; )

Travel: Penang Foodie Trip 2014, Day 3… and a half

By | Travel | 2 Comments

Part of a 3 post series:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

It was a Saturday, and the day we return to Singapore! (FYI, we arranged for the trip to be from Thurs – Saturday so that we didn’t have to jostle much with crowds!)

Was feeling horrible at the end of Day 2 so I ended up sleeping in while the hubs went to get breakfast – actually I don’t think I even knew he disappeared till he woke me up! The plan was actually to get more toast from Toh Soon Cafe for me (hehehe) but it was closed : ( (I think because it was a public holiday that day!)

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He bought me fishball koay teow th’ng (also spelt as kway teow / known as noodle soup) which was really really good and comforting for someone with cramps and a terrible sore throat! At least I thought it was a normal fishball… which I found to be really flavourful (i.e. salty) – he then later droppped the bomb after I’ve finished every morsel that… IT WASN’T THE NORMAL FISH BALL!

Me: er, Crocodile meat?

Him: Nope

Me: Turtle!!?!?!? *horrified look* 

Him: Nope

Me: THEN WHAT?!

Him: EEL. 

D:

Sorry but the visual image of an eel getting chopped up and pounded into a fishball was really D: for me. Haha. But oh well it tasted really good, especially when it comes with what looks like a meat ball getting run over by a steamroller. I really loved this one because I’m a noodle fan and everything is so savoury and fragrant when paired with the kway teow – the flattened pork piece, the eel fishballs, shallots, and some duck meat bits!

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In case you’re wondering, it didn’t come in a box like this. The husband actually went to get tupperware (and got chopped for it) so that I could eat it properly in the hotel. Awwww… points added, dear!

And because the husband isn’t gonna help me hold the chopsticks (he was already chowing down his meal), I had to improvise hahaha.

the things bloggers do...

the things bloggers do…

He also grabbed some egg tarts for everyone but I found it to be normal only la.

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This post is gonna be a short one because our flight’s at about 4pm which meant that we only have half a day. Or if you count from check out time (which is 12pm)… 2 hours, haha. Our driver came to pick us up after we checked out and off we went to get yet another item off Yang’s checklist – Bangkok Lane’s Mee Goreng!

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This store is run by Indian-muslims (Our guide told us that they call them “mamas” in Penang – and i was like, no wonder it’s called mama-tiam (mama-stores)!) and they serve both Rojak and Mee Goreng there!

It’s relatively stuffy in there but it wasn’t that bad, lah.

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I think the bald dude was the master chef, haha. They work in harmony – the younger guy spins the wok and fries the noodles while the older guy throws in the ingredients from his side. It’s quite fun to watch – and also, they speak Chinese and dialects hor! I was really amused when I heard him say “Yes, I give you big packet, 10 dollars” in FLUENT HOKKIEN. (wa hor li tua pao eh, zhap kor!)

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And our plate of very pretty noodles with a generous serving of cabbage!

The husband read that it has “sotong” inside. So he ask for more “sotong”, thinking that it would mean SQUID. but no… IT WAS CUTTLEFISH! (Yes they are different, read here!) And that’s how we ended up with a plate of noodles that had too much sotong.

I didn’t try it, but from the looks on their faces they don’t seem to be very impressed hahaha. They also got rojak!

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After the meal I had to try to find some instant durian teh tarik for my dad. BUT the store selling it was closed (public holiday! argh) so we ended up at this Ban Heang outlet instead – they sell all sorts of biscuits, snacks and coffee for you to bring back!

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I couldn’t find durian teh  tarik here though, so I grabbed quite a few different kinds of coffee and brought them back for our fathers. There’s a branch at the airport too, but the prices are slightly higher in the airport! Aiyo.

Passed by this place on the way to the airport and it was some famous CKT place. Yang's only regret in Penang was not eating enough food lol.

Passed by this place on the way to the airport and it was some famous CKT place. Someone commented that this place is overpriced (RM10 for a plate of CKT when usually its 5.50 somewhere else) and overrated, but we would have loved to try it out la.

 

I did some math and realized that the perfumes in Penang's airport turns out to be cheaper by a bit - using Love Chloe as an example, it is 300RM in Malaysia, SGD $150 (iirc!) in Singapore, and SGD $198 in Sephora. I can't say the same for everything else though cos I just did a quick walk in there.

I did some math and realized that the perfumes in Penang’s airport turns out to be cheaper by a bit – using Love Chloe as an example, it is 300RM in Malaysia, SGD $150 (iirc!) in Singapore, and SGD $198 in Sephora. I can’t say the same for everything else though cos I just did a quick walk in there.

Trisha almost had Penang White Curry noodles at one of the cafes in the airport but thankfully we took a closer look and realized… it was the Penang White Curry Mee (INSTANT NOODLES). -_-”

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Went up the plane rather famished as the last bit of food I had was at 11pm, so I was quite thankful to have ordered a meal onboard hahaha. Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak! Hehehe.

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This time round, Trisha bought a packet on flight too for herself! I am super addicted to the chilli sauce. I’ve never liked chilli or typical malay nasi lemak before till I tried this Nasi Lemak on AirAsia. As you can tell I got it on both flights… and mind you, I paid for it. I really liked it lah! I honestly cannot compare this to anything outside because I don’t eat a lot of Nasi Lemak, but I would say this is the best thing you can get onboard AirAsia flights, haha.

And with that Nasi Lemak, my trip ends… on a horrible note though, I was sick for an entire week after my return and on the flight back I wasn’t able to equalize, so it was really painful for me. No more flights when I’m sick, I swear.

I enjoyed this trip very much even though I was super under the weather – It must be the company, and I was glad to have the understanding of my travel mates because I’m really fussy about food and hate walking, haha.Thank you Yang, Trisha, and Casey for being so wonderful! Looking forward to more foodie trips together!

Also, I hope my body co-operates and stays healthy till my next trip – Europe, I’m coming (and saving up) for you! In the mean time, I’m gonna go back to editing my Kota Kinabalu and Korea posts! : D


Places of Interest:

{ Pitt Street Koay Teow Th’ng (椰腳粿條湯) }
183 Lebuh Carvarvon, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Opens from 8am (seems to be closed by 2pm and on Mondays) – foursquare

{ Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng } 
270 Jalan Burma, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Open from 9am – 6pm, seems to be Closed on Mondays – foursquare

{ Ban Heang (萬香) }
200 Jalan Macalister, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia – foursquare

I didn’t do any planning for Penang, my husband was the one who picked out the food places hahaha (othre than the guide) and he mainly searched online for help. You can refer to MissTamChiak’s Penang post, or some Penang Facebook groups here and here

Travel: Penang Foodie Trip 2014, Day 2

By | Asia, Chinese, Food, Life, Travel | No Comments

Part of a 3 post series:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Day 2’s plan was pretty simple and worked out once e had went through the check list of things to do left after day one – and because our hotel’s in a pretty good location, it was decided that we will wake up and get our asses to the cafe once it opens – at 8am.

As you can imagine, with me around… that didn’t really go as intended hahaha. We arrived at 830am approx after a 5minute walk, and was greeted by a sight of a full cafe – but still we managed to get seats quickly because someone was leaving, whew!

(P.S. – To save y’all the trouble cos this is one super duper long post, the list of places we went to for day 2’s at the end of the post!) 

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Toh Soon Cafe (多春茶座)

Toh Soon Cafe’s located in a narrow alleyway, and all clad in green, along with a pretty old looking hand painted signboard. I really loved looking at all these hand painted signboards when I was in Penang!

They open at 8am and closes at about 630pm – a pretty long working day, I must say! But we can have toast any time, I don’t really care! :D

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I didn’t see it, but I was told by Trish’s BF that they cooked their toast below O_O and that egg maker looks familiar. Like that I just buy that and make my eggs can already hor?

What was on the menu

What was on the menu – various kinds of bread and I regret not trying egg on toast!

Penangites eat their eggs with light soy sauce, and in Toh Soon we were served this in a glass cup which made slurping it up all the easier!

Penangites eat their eggs with light soy sauce, and in Toh Soon we were served this in a glass cup which made slurping it up all the easier!

TOAST! I love Toast, and this cafe does it really well!

TOAST! I love Toast, and this cafe does it really well! Lightly toasted with just the right amount of kaya inside. Yums.

Peanut toast, and whole wheat bread toast. And kopi.

Peanut toast, and wholemeal bread toast. And kopi.

A table of food! I loved the barley here too - you can chew on the barley bits!

A table of food! I loved the barley here too – you can chew on the barley bits, which I loved! We paid a total of about $22.50 RM at this place for quite a bit of food, which was still really reasonable considering that we had quite a bit of food! 3 toasts, 5 drinks, a packet of nasi lemak, one curry puff…

Toh Soon Cafe's located right beyond this sign (I'm standing at where the cafe is). It's not hard to miss but it's in an alleyway so it might not be immediately obvious.

Toh Soon Cafe’s located right beyond this sign (I’m standing at where the cafe is). It’s not hard to miss but it’s in an alleyway so it might not be immediately obvious.

This cafe was one of the must tries on the list too, but we didn't have space for this...

This cafe was one of the must tries on the list too, but we didn’t have space for this…

Or so we thought. Barely 20 steps and 10 minutes later (stopped by a convenience store to get Pi Pa Gao lol), we later decided to stop by the Kheng Pin Kedai Kopi Cafe which was super near the hotel and nibble some more. o_o;;;

I enjoyed the cafe's Luo Han Guo drink immensely! It had jelly bits inside which was really welcomed. It was sweet, refreshing and the abundance of longans in the drink were a great plus!

I enjoyed the cafe’s Luo Han Guo drink immensely! It had jelly bits inside which was really welcomed. It was sweet, refreshing and the abundance of longans in the drink were a great plus!

Lor Bak in Penang, aka 五香 / Ngoh Heong in Singapore!

Lor Bak in Penang, aka 五香 / Ngoh Heong in Singapore!

Uncle frying Lor bak... The cafe's famous for the Lor Bak I heard, and the boys really liked it. They even ordered a second plate which they finished with no regrets.

Uncle frying Lor bak… The cafe’s famous for the Lor Bak I heard, and the boys really liked it. They even ordered a second plate which they finished with no regrets.

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Travel: Penang Foodie Trip 2014 (And some other touristy things) Day 1

By | Asia, Chinese, Food, Travel | 35 Comments

** NOTE: REALLY LENGTHY POST! **

Part of a 3 post series:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

So just last weekend, the husband and I + another couple made our way to Penang for a foodie trip! I was really looking super forward to it – all the cheap and good local food *rubs hands* and since I’ve started to eat spicy food I’ve been more appreciative of local fare and the timing couldn’t be better! (Till I fell sick, that is.)

Okay, some tips for you!

I made 3 mistakes before going on the trip:

1. Not booking the flights early enough 

We paid like, $100 more per couple because we booked 1 week later (which was about 3 weeks before we left). So, book like at least a month earlier, or watch out for good deals!

I’m glad we booked our flight with AirAsia (everyone thought I was asking them to book AirAsia because of the Nasi Lemak hahahaha) because it departed and arrived on time – which was most important for me. I HATE waiting and delays.

(p.s. AirAsia’s having a DBS promo from now till 29th July! $50 (one-way) all in fare to Penang. Fly by 31st Oct. DAMN.)

2. Bad choice of hotel

It was slightly cheaper than some others in the area and also the proximity to places with food good was a plus, but getting served terrible initial service just left me a really bad impression on all of us. Asking us to wait 30mins for the rooms to be ready (check in time was 2pm, we arrived at 2:50pm) was fine – what was not fine, was that they had the cheek to tell me this ridiculous line: “1 room = 30 mins. 2 rooms = 2 x 30 minutes” when we went back to ask about the room after 30 mins. WTF.

And in the end, my room had stained sheets, a stray hair on it (I have blonde hair and that black curly strand surely wasn’t mine) AND a dirty bath mat. BAD HOTEL. We just wanted to take a nap before we continued with our food hunt but because of this we had to wait listlessly around the lobby.

Maybe we should leave a comment about this hotel on tripadvisor because I’m really unhappy with my experience. *arrows husband*

3. Falling sick before my trip

Not that we could control that, but on hindsight I should have taken extra care of myself so that I could enjoy my trip. My entire trip was all about poisoning myself with heaty food and then trying to counter it with lozenges, pi pa gao and cooling drinks. SIGHHHH.

Anyway, that all being said, I had quite a bit of fun! I was amazed at how soundly I slept (and how early each night too) and how much I managed to eat without landing myself in hospital given the condition of my health, heh.

A few things you’ll want to ask me cos I had these questions too:

Transport? 

You can walk, take buses (they actually have hop on / off bus trails) or you can be like us lazy folks and hire a driver for RM250 / day (really great rate we got!) or RM30-80 an hour. Our driver is female, and she does this on a freelance basis so to avoid her getting spammed, email me if you’d like to get her contact details!

Footwear? Clothes? 

Slippers are fine but it was rainy and there were puddles everywhere so I was happy to have worn my slip ons. Temperature’s like Singapore so just wear whatever you would if you’re headed out for a long time. Don’t expect to duck into a shopping centre when you feel hot. SUNSCREEN IS A MUST. I took Heliocare oral pills every 4 hours, and also applied sunblock / reapplied my bb cushion (with high SPF) every 4 hours. Kiasu, Kiasi.

How much money to change? 

A meal in Penang typically costs RM$2.5 – RM5.5 for a plate or bowl of anything. Drinks are even cheaper! It came up to less than RM10 for the 4 of us for drinks. We changed $400 SGD (250RM was for the driver) and still had PLENTY left over even after buying snacks and kopi. I didn’t buy anything at the ONLY mall we went to.

Flight to Penang took approx 1hr 20 mins via AirAsia, and thankfully we experienced no delays at all so we arrived on time and it was instantly agreed upon that we should all just head straight to get some food before checking in at the hotel!

Okay la, enough rambling. Now let’s go to the food!

First stop:

{ Sunshine Market Food Court at Bayan Baru }

Opens: 8am – 11pm (but stalls have their own opening hours) 
Address: Kompleks Sri Selera, Jalan Mayang Pasir 3, Jalan Mayang Pasir 1, Bayan Baru, Bayan Lepas, Penang.
Recommended: Refer to foursquare list (but there are so many recommendations (conflicting ones too) that it’s best you just TRY.

Tom Yum Bee Hoon! I quite liked it despite my sore throat. Then again I've been on a spicy food addiction recently...

Tom Yum Bee Hoon! I quite liked it despite my sore throat. Then again I’ve been on a spicy food addiction recently…

Orr lua! They liked the egg but I didn't hear "WAH!" from them (I don't take oysters so I can't comment on this)

Orr lua! They liked the egg but I didn’t hear “WAH!” from them (I don’t take oysters so I can’t comment on this)

Jawa mee (aka Penang's Mee Rebus). It looks good, but that's about it.

Jawa mee (aka Penang’s Mee Rebus). It looks good, but that’s about it.

Tom Yum Fried Rice - It's like claypot tom yum rice served on a plate - the "claypot" taste is really strong and it kind of took away all the tom yum taste for me.

Tom Yum Fried Rice – It’s like claypot tom yum rice served on a plate – the “claypot” taste is really strong and it kind of took away all the tom yum taste for me.

My girlfriend Trisha is a noodle addict like me hahaha and she saw someone order it and tailed the auntie back to the stall to order a plate of their wanton mee. Here they serve it with soy sauce and I think it wasn't too bad, but nothing spectacular either.

My girlfriend Trisha is a noodle addict like me hahaha and she saw someone order it and tailed the auntie back to the stall to order a plate of their wanton mee it looks like wanton mee, but it’s actually maggie mee in sauce with fried fish. Here they serve it with soy sauce and I think it wasn’t too bad, but nothing spectacular either.

MUAH CHEE WAS THE BEST, PLEASE BUY THIS.

But THIS…  THE MUAH CHEE WAS THE BEST, PLEASE BUY THIS. SOFT. FRAGRANT. Practically melts in your mouth (if you take a piece that is small enough, haha). Oh my god I’ve never tasted muah chee this good before. And I thought the muahchee I had when I was a kid was good enough. This one comes with shallots which was weird to me but tastes SOOOOO good you’ll be surprised!

Thank you Casey for being so persistent on buying the Muah Chee even though the uncle was having his lunch break hahaha. I miss it already because I know I’ll never find something like THAT in Singapore!

Now we all needed to walk it all off before having dinner and the guide took us around Penang to the famous touristy spots (aka Wall mural spots lol) so that I could take some photos and admire the art!

George Town, the capital state of Penang, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site - "officially recognised as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia" - Read more about George Town on Wikipedia.

George Town, the capital state of Penang, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – “officially recognised as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia” – Read more about George Town on Wikipedia.

I enjoyed looking at these old buildings, hand painted signboards, aged walls and the blue sky behind these beautiful buildings without a skyscraper in sight. But oh yeah it WAS hot.

I enjoyed looking at these old buildings, hand painted signboards, aged walls and the blue sky behind these beautiful buildings without a skyscraper in sight. But oh yeah it WAS hot.

Penang, like Singapore - is a multinational country. The road signs are mostly in Malay, but you'll be surprised that the Chinese Penangites speak Hokkien! Their Hokkien is a little different from Singapore's though - it's interesting to read the differences (I wiki-ed cos I couldn't comprehend some of their hokkien)

Penang, like Singapore – is a multinational country. The road signs are mostly in Malay, but you’ll be surprised that the Chinese Penangites speak Hokkien! Their Hokkien is a little different from Singapore’s though – it’s interesting to read about the differences (I wiki-ed cos I couldn’t comprehend some of their hokkien)

About Penang Street Art


There’s a great deal of street art in Penang and I think it’s really good for tourism and business – plenty of stalls around there to quench your thirst should you feel parched while walking around to take photos – whether its good food or not is another thing though, haha.

When you arrive at the airport (which is small, but clean and new, btw) you can grab brochures at the departure gates for maps, food recommendations and there’s a map with a list of street art for you to check off! The most famous ones are the Motorcyle and Kite ones by the fantastic Ernest Zacharevic (facebook, website)  – some of the others, as a reader highlighted to me on dayre.me (thank you, @szemin!) are imitation art, but in my honest opinion, they’re really good too!

Alternatively, you can read up about the various street art here or just look around on Penang Global Tourism’s facebook page.

We started off at one end of Gat Lebuh Chulia and found some gems in an alleyway! 

You can spot minions from Despicable Me everywhere - they're drawn in all sorts of situations and costumes!

You can spot minions from Despicable Me everywhere – they’re drawn in all sorts of situations and costumes!

The minion painting was located right at a warehouse and even at the doors there were plenty of scribblings and some very interesting Chinese words which elicited a chuckle from me when I read them both (one on each door).

The minion painting was located right at a warehouse and even at the doors there were plenty of scribblings and some very interesting Chinese words which elicited a chuckle from me when I read them both (one on each door).

And this was my first "realistic" wall art. It might look creepy but I think there was plenty of effort put into this! This isn't by Earnest but an imitation - nonetheless, well executed and admired by many!

And this was my first “realistic” wall art. It might look creepy but I think there was plenty of effort put into this! This isn’t by Earnest but an imitation – nonetheless, well executed and admired by many!

This was painted by a local artist, Louis Gan. It's also full of effort and it must be hard to work on a scale like this but still get all the proportions right!

This was painted by a local artist, Louis Gan. It’s also full of effort and it must be hard to work on a scale like this, given the height of the mural!

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"The cats walking for animal awareness mural is the 8th of 11 murals created for the 101 Lost Kittens project, to generate greater awareness of stray animals."

“The cats walking for animal awareness mural is the 8th of 11 murals created for the 101 Lost Kittens project, to generate greater awareness of stray animals.”

evonnz-penang-food-trip-2014-22

Down this abandoned alleyway you'll find even more street art, but the more notable piece is the Bruce Lee one!

Down this abandoned alleyway you’ll find even more street art, but the more notable piece is the Bruce Lee one!

""Bruce Lee" is one of the murals painted by ASA, Artists for Stray Animals, in George Town, Penang for the 101 Lost Kittens project."

“”Bruce Lee” is one of the murals painted by ASA, Artists for Stray Animals, in George Town, Penang for the 101 Lost Kittens project.”

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This one's an original Ernest Zacharevic!

This one’s an original Ernest Zacharevic!

And so is this more famous one!

And so is this more famous one!

Read More

Day 01 Part 1, SFO: Home Plate, Lombard, Ferry Building Marketplace

By | Life, Travel | 7 Comments

… continuing from where I left off, my blur girlfriend’s 2am wake up call.

Somehow we still managed to get a good rest – I guess it’s because any bed would feel extremely comfortable after you’ve not laid on one (and on your back) for 18-20 hours! The flight from HKG to SFO took 14 hours and it was BACK BREAKING.

We were slightly behind schedule (just 30 mins!) but still managed to score a good seat in Home Plate, which was along Lombard – we left all the dining choices to Mag because I trust her to hunt down the best food joints for all of us : p Thank you, Magmag!

(Before we get started, let me apologize about the quality of the pictures. I have some resizing issues on WordPress and it’s annoying the heck out of me. My pictures are not crisp because it’s 1000 px and the max is 700 px. And I already had a bunch of pics edited so the next batch will be better!)

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Home Plate SF – homeplatesf.com

Reservations: (415) 922-4663

2274 Lombard St
(between Steiner St & United States Highway 101)
San Francisco, CA 94123
Neighbourhood: Marina/Cow Hollow

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The place was pretty nondescript - If I needed to find a word for it it would be... Homely? It was the typical American Diner decor!

The place was pretty nondescript – If I needed to find a word for it it would be… Homely? It was the typical American Diner decor!

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We got a seat after waiting for barely 5 minutes! We lucked out cos… right after we got seated a line formed outside and it was reallllyyy long!

Pretty Mag & I while waiting for our food to be served!

Pretty Mag & I while waiting for our food to be served!

Their home made scones came first (on the house as long as you’ve ordered something, I believe), and it was absolutely delicious! It could be that I was super hungry, though. But we all agreed it was fantastic and couldn’t stop dipping it in the strawberry / pear jam that we were provided!

Yes, I finished every morsel of mine! I had to stop myself from asking for more because I needed some space for breakfast!

Yes, I finished every morsel of mine! I had to stop myself from asking for more because I needed some space for breakfast!

The food soon arrived and we got all excited… taking photos. Hahaha. The husbands knew better and let us finish taking photos before tucking in.

asd

Top: Yang’s meal, Ham & Cheese Omelette I believe, and the Home Run Special, with Buttermilk Pancakes, Sausages and Omelette! Interestingly, their sausages are flat, and their hash browns are not the ones you’re used to in McDees. It was like rostis – flat!

Bottom: Crab Cake Eggs Benedict, and THAT CANADIAN BACON YOU MUST ORDER. It’s served with maple syrup. OH MY GOD it IS HEAVENLY. And it should be just like $4.90 USD! #affordable

Now that we’re all filled up with awesome food (we kindda over ordered : x), we were ready for our trip to Lombard, the crookedest street in the world! We took a cab since there were 4 of us and it was just further down by a little bit – it made more sense as any bus trip / tram trip was 2 USD.

Behold, the crookedest street in the world!

Behold, the crookedest street in the world!

In case you were wondering how is it crooked… well… it was a MAJOR S Course, DOWNHILL!

First of all, SF is already known to be extremely hilly. The slopes are like 45 to 65 degrees and you probably cannot stop yourself from rolling if you were pushed down a steep hill. It was that scary! It made me heave a sigh of relief for not opting to drive / or even think about driving through this S course.

Here’s a red line showing you how curved it was. NOT exaggerating here.

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I saw a car hesitate before going down – I would too lor! The driver spent like an entire minute deliberating (could see he was regretting it already) while others waited behind. Finally someone honked him and he finally went forward… I do wonder how it is like at the bottom of the hill though. You could also pay a taxi cab to bring you down instead, if you’d like to at least experience going down once!

The road was both STEEP and CURVY... and this was what was captured with Olympus. I loved the view!

The road was both STEEP and CURVY… and this was what was captured with Olympus. I loved the view – can you see the Golden Gate Bridge? And also, the pretty pink hydrangeas at the side!

The husband looks EXTREMELY dorky here. And somewhat satisfied I'm not sure with what.

The husband looks EXTREMELY dorky here. And somewhat satisfied, I’m not sure with what.

Tried taking some OOTDs but sort of failed because cars were threatening to knock me down hahahah and also people were crossing every other minute! I was actually really smiling at someone on the other side of the road as they were patiently waiting for me to cross and after this shot I beckoned them over and called it a day *blush*

Tried taking some OOTDs but sort of failed because cars were threatening to knock me down hahahah and also people were crossing every other minute! I was actually really smiling at someone on the other side of the road as they were patiently waiting for me to cross and after this shot I beckoned them over and called it a day *blush*

After Lombard, we took a trolley (they call it the cable car!) to Fisherman’s Wharf, which was just right down the (steep) street!

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These people, they were going upslope and could stand like that AND take pictures. Thank god our trolley down was a little less crowded and we got a seat. I have height phobia and was super afraid of dropping off the trolley, especially since my butt was already sliding down the seat!

You can find out more information about the cable car lines and cost of the rides here. To be frank though, some people didn’t even know that you have to pay. I’m serious. It seems like no one really bothers… until checked.

We had a small window for photo opps after the trolley stopped and we badgered the guys to take pictures for us hahaha. Make our fares worthwhile, you know!

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So lucky that we got a rather pretty trolley in the colors of Christmas! Of course, I badgered the slightly unwilling husband to get a photo with me hahaha. It ended up being one of my favorite photos! Sorry for my messy hair – I have naturally wavy hair and I didn’t get a chance to blow it straight, cos I was too tired.

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Walking down to Fisherman's Wharf

Walking down to Fisherman’s Wharf

I didn’t want to cover Fisherman’s Wharf because Mag and her husband Lips had already covered it the day before, so instead, we skipped to Ferry Building Marketplace (okay, we took a bus there. It was a looong 15-20mins walk down, and time (and also leg power) is precious while you’re on a holiday!)

... But not before getting some pressed pennies first! The guys rolled their eyes at us but eh it's a good keepsake ok! I have it flattened proper and tucked away safely in one of the photoalbums April gave me, which contains all our memories for this trip!  The penny presses are available everywhere I believe - I saw it in Vegas but didn't want the husband rolling my eyes at me hahaha. You could choose from 4 different penny designs and roll it yourself! Pretty entertaining for a first timer (and kids).

… But not before getting some pressed pennies first! The guys rolled their eyes at us but eh it’s a good keepsake ok! I have it flattened proper and tucked away safely in one of the photoalbums April gave me, which contains all our memories for this trip!
The penny presses are available everywhere I believe – I saw it in Vegas but didn’t want the husband rolling my eyes at me hahaha. You could choose from 4 different penny designs and roll it yourself! Pretty entertaining for a first timer (and kids).

 

Taking a leisurely stroll from Pier 33 to Pier 35.

Taking a leisurely stroll from Pier 33 to Pier 35. Lips & Mag in matching white pants lol

Was amused by the parking meters - did you know that it can cost anything between $30 - $60 for parking?! Gosh! And I guess that explains the Visa card acceptance on the machine.

Was amused by the parking meters – did you know that it can cost anything between $30 – $60 for parking?! Gosh! And I guess that explains the Visa card acceptance on the machine. SO. EXPENSIVE.
*luckily we didn’t drive*

We went to Pier 35, which was the place to get our tickets for Alcatraz (which I didn’t visit in the end due to a scheduling conflict… I’ll explain later!) and also the pick up point for the ferry to Alcatraz.

I shall just be satisfied with having looked at the miniature replica of the Alcatraz then ._.

I shall just be satisfied with having looked at the miniature replica of the Alcatraz then ._.

(the pictures will be better from now on)

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Ferry Building Marketplace – ferrybuildingmarketplace.com

Ferry Building Marketplace
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111

“The Ferry Building Marketplace is located along the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street. It is the center of a transit hub that connects all of San Francisco’s neighborhoods and the surrounding bay communities. The marketplace is accessible by MUNI, BART and Ferry Boat. The historic trolley cars (Line F Market) stop directly in front of the Ferry Building.”

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First stop was Blue Bottle Coffee for them – I don’t drink coffee, so I quenched my thirst with a bottle of water for 99 cents at one of the stalls! The stores near the Alcatraz ticketing booth were selling it for like $3. No way!!!

Mag, way too much sugar!!!  // Blue Bottle Coffee also have coffee beans for sale!

Mag, way too much sugar!!!
// Blue Bottle Coffee also have coffee beans for sale!

I wandered around the place and took some random snaps!

Little bakery at one of the  entrances to the market

Biscuit Bender, with very pretty bakes located at one of the entrances to the market

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Annnndddd more cake shops...

Annnndddd more cake shops… Miette Patisserie, an absolute delight to look at with the pink and green decor!

Cupcakes. Cupcakes everywhere!

Cupcakes. Cupcakes everywhere!

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The grocery store where I got my water - they were also selling fresh produce - so much organic stuff for sale readily available in SFO, I'm kicking myself for not bringing anything back.

The grocery store where I got my water – they were also selling fresh produce – so much organic stuff for sale readily available in SFO, I’m kicking myself for not bringing anything back.

Passed by a store with the loveliest scents ever! Okay, maybe just at that point of time. But I was really in love with the Lavender scent! Wish I took at least one back but the husband was eyeballing me already : x (He doesn't share my slight obsession with aromatherapy)

Passed by a store with the loveliest scents ever! Okay, maybe just at that point of time. But I was really in love with the Lavender scent! Wish I took at least one back but the husband was eyeballing me already : x (He doesn’t share my slight obsession with aromatherapy) The shop, McEnvoy Ranch (website here), also sells body care – soap, lotions and creams ;)

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We searched for a place to enjoy our drinks and take a breather before deciding on the best place / way to view the Golden Gate Bridge, and found one right across a lovely book store, just by an exit near the pier! We stayed inside of course, away from the seagull droppings.

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Disturbed the husband while he was looking at the maps

Disturbing the husband while he was looking at the maps. THIS was the only day I bothered to draw my eyeliner. Or maybe one of the two days.

And taking selfies with the pretty girlfriend again : D

And taking selfies with the pretty girlfriend again : D

The lady sitting opposite us with her two kids and husband were really friendly, and asked us if we needed help – and we asked her for the best place to view the Golden Gate Bridge!

“Best kept secret of San Francisco… Uber!”

After advising us on a few possible locations which were quite out of the way and had a lack of cabs, she whispered to us and said, “Let me tell you about the best kept secret of San Francisco… Uber!”

Yes, Uber the Get-A-Taxi company! My husband was dying to try it out on this trip because unlike Singapore which only has the Uber Black service available, SFO has all the Uber services available – and we had a $10 credit coupon! And indeed, it was a god-sent at places where there were not much cabs available!

You simply open your app, and you can get 3 kinds of drivers:

  1. Taxi-cab drivers who are on Uber (and have their cabs rented from the taxi cab company).
  2. Uber drivers who rent their cars from Uber
  3. Drivers who are using their own cars and using Uber to earn cash on the side

It was really interesting, because this means you’ll almost never have to wait too long for a taxicab (unless they get lost), because you can see where the uber drivers are on your phone and even a profile to recognize them (and vice versa, they can see how you look like).

We once met a female Uber driver, and I was really curious about her safety and all, so I asked “Isn’t it dangerous for a lady to be driving and picking up passengers?” (She’s rather pretty too!) And she said, “Nah… I have no money for them to steal!”

And that’s because Uber uses your credit card details – this means a cashless transaction, which also means, no tips! No physical monies are being exchanged – the driver gets paid when you get off the cab.

Most shockingly, we asked one hunky driver why he chose to join Uber (handsome and very nice physique okay! hahaha) and he simply said it’s cheaper than driving a taxi cab – Uber costs only $2000 USD a month to rent and they even give you a car (a brand new Toyota Prius, too!) to drive, as opposed to taxi-cab rentals which costs $6,000 USD a month, not including fuel costs for either option! I WAS SHOCKED!

FYI, trips in SFO cost us $12 – $15 USD on average. Like say, from Powell to Chinatown – $12.

Nah this is not a paid advertorial about Uber lah – I don’t think I’ll ever use Uber in Singapore unless I’m in a real need of cab (and stay in say, Bukit Panjang or Punggol on RAINY MORNINGS where it’s super, duper, extremely hard to grab a cab or even book one on call). But it is definitely an interesting service to explore while you’re overseas!

Aviators from Shopunk! (@shopunk on instagram!) ; ) And also where we're headed next after viewing the Golden Gate Bridge... Haight-Ashbury!

Aviators from Shopunk! (@shopunk on instagram!) ; ) And also where we’re headed next after viewing the Golden Gate Bridge… Haight-Ashbury!

More on the Golden Gate Bridge, Haight-Ashbury, and dinner at Zuni’s on Day 01, Part 2: SFO coming up soon! Good grief I HAVE SO MANY PICTURES and so much to say!

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