Category Archives: travel

Travelogue 4: The Penang Foodscapade. (Cultures and Sights)

28th December 2014 – 1st January 2015

It was a quick and much-needed getaway for us, especially after the hectic natures of our work over the past months. Fun was an understatement to describe the whole trip. It was.. FULL-filling for our stomachs, literally. But on this post, it’ll be about the sights and museums that we came across.. Food post shall be done separately! 🙂

Though the beginning of the trip proved unnerving, especially when we were in the departure lounge waiting for our flight and the breaking news about AirAsia QZ8501 going missing made me feel extremely uneasy. Thankfully our flight wasn’t on AirAsia!

We booked Red Inn Penang to stay in for our trip via Hostelbookers, and I’m really glad to say that what we saw in real life was also what we saw on the website when we were checking it out!

*Photos are not going to be in any chronological order, because admittedly I can’t really remember which days we went to what places, so I’d be sharing about where we went instead!

Pre-flight excitement! 🙂

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Red Inn Penang – where we put up for the whole trip. First ever backpacker’s experience for me and it was fun! The main area was a big wooden platform with beanbags, low tables, power outlets and even a flat-screen TV! It’s a common sight to see the guests chilling on the beanbags with a novel, or with their laptops doing work/planning their next travel destinations 🙂

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We went to Sun Yat Sen’s mansion (if I didn’t get the term wrong), and were wowed by the intricate architecture, and the many different escape routes that he used back in his days when he was trying to carry out plans for his revolution. And all the furniture that was in the house are the exact ones he used.

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1 thing about Penang – they’re known for their street art, and in general they’re quite cute. Needless to say it meant that there were many tourists doing all sorts of poses too!v

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We went to explore the jetties too and were pretty impressed at how laid back the life was there. Sure indicates a sharp contrast, comparing it to the hectic lifestyle Singapore has. Not to mention that it was quite an interesting sight to see people riding on their motorbikes/scooters on the jetties to get home too haha!

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1 of our favorite places just behind our inn – Behind 50! Yes, it’s a little cafe/bar that’s really just behind 50 Love Lane – hence its name. And we chanced upon the most unique drink there – Hot Honey Milk. It became our favorite the moment we took the first sip and it was absolutely perfect as a wind-down drink before bed time too 🙂


Fort Cornwallis, where we saw the various cannons and structures that were used as a shelter of sorts during the war.

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Penang Camera Museum – somewhere that I was really excited to explore because I do my fair share of photography in my free time. And the number of vintage cameras in the galleries.. *insert lovey eye emoticon* For those who’re really hardcore in photography, this is the place to visit!

The Camera Museum
49 Lebuh Muntri
10200 Penang, Malaysia 

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Armenian Street, where it’s 1 of the more touristy parts of Penang. And yes, that’s a flea market that’s really going on there, with clothes displayed on top of the car and all.

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We checked out Penang Time Tunnel too – 1 of the must-visits when in Penang! It’s pretty similar to Trick Eye Museum and Images of Singapore (Penang version of course!) come together, and it was our first time in this kind of place, so we had fun taking photos there too and being silly 🙂

Penang Time Tunnel 
Jalan Green Hall, Georgetown, 10200 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia


We checked out Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion – also known as Blue Mansion because of the colors of the walls inside the mansion. Very unique architecture, and the place itself is so rich in history. n fact, parts of the mansion have been converted into hotel rooms for guests too! The story of Cheong Fatt Tze and his life has been made into a theatre production in Singapore before too, and the place itself has been used for many filming productions. The blue-ness (is there even such a word?) was something very unique and Western, which is something you wouldn’t really expect to see in an oriental styled house. Within the mansion itself, is a restaurant so beautiful that it took our breaths away when we saw it. The amazing fusion of oriental and Western influences within a dining setting was one so intricate, that not many would have imagined pairing them together. Imagine oriental styled crockery laid out together with Western style cutlery and tablecloths, Western styled lighting with oriental walls. Such a great beauty, indeed.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion 
14, Lebuh Leith, 10200 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

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These metal street art sculptures are everywhere in Penang too! Makes for interesting photo spots and also a great way to find out about the early histories of Penang, and how certain traditions and places came about.


Somehow, while the backpacker’s experience left me with a bad case of hives on my legs (dammit!!), it was an experience that I loved because it was something I’d never done before previously, and it was an interesting one because we explored a lot of places on foot, which is our favorite thing to do because we learn much from being like the locals in that sense 🙂

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Posted by on January 31, 2015 in Jem, Photography, travel


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Gold Coast’s foodporn!

In continuation of the Gold Coast chronicles, here’s bringing you the foodporn that we indulged in! Believe me when I say that we had not a single bad meal during the entire week when we were in Gold Coast. The food was really that good and fresh. No surprise that we both put on weight this trip, AGAIN.

This isn’t totally exhaustive, because there were some smaller eats (ie sushi, kebabs, pizza) that I didn’t snap a photo of, so yep. There’s a crazy abundance of pizza+kebab stores all around, and they were pretty decent! The kebabs are NOT the skewers kind, rather, they’re wraps with heaps of veggies and meat. Really sinful, but oh-so-good. And their sushi rolls are much longer than the ones that we have in Singapore – think about 3 sushi rolls put together!

Half Rack Baby Back Pork Ribs, Belly Buster’s. This was pretty good, and the meat really fell off the bone with the lightest touch of the fork! (Y)
Rump steak, Belly Buster’s. Day 1’s dinner when we were thinking that steaks would be a nice way to kick off our holiday! This was actually pretty good in terms of the meat, but sauce wise I think garlic cream sauce isn’t a very good compliment, so it didn’t turn out as well as I expected :\ Nonetheless, overall the meal was a pretty decent experience (:

Belly Busters
Cavill Avenue, Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland 4217

I forgot the name of this ice cream place, but I remember that the word ‘Copenhagen’ was in it, and I remember that it’s literally at the doorstep of Cavill Mall, which is incredibly near Hotel Grand Chancellor (: Nope, I didn’t order the strawberry oreo, because I stuck to my good old peppermint chocolate 😀 And it was yummy!
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The Seafood Place. This place is absolutely unpretentious. No kidding. It’s really just a simple little shop along the street that serves takeaway fish and chips, though for those who’d want to eat it piping hot from the fryers, there’re tables and chairs outside the shop to sit at.. And that was what we did! (: We felt we had to sample fish and chips here, for the kick, since we were here in Gold Coast..

And damnnnnnnn that was by far, the best fish and chips I’d ever had. And in general I’m not that big a fan of fish and chips – not that I dislike it, but it’s just that fish and chips wouldn’t be the first choice of food if I were at a cafe or whatever.

The fish was incredibly fresh, and there was such a generous bed of chips beneath the fish and the sides.. Talk about carbo overload.

McDonald’s in Gold Coast had rainbow bread! Oh and they had macarons too! 😀 But I didn’t get a photo of it, neither did I try it.

Margherita Pizza, Vapiano – Day 3! (A$14.90)
Carbonara Fettucini, Vapiano. (A$18.90)

Please bear with me, I need to rave about Vapiano. I was craving margherita pizza, and I didn’t want to have takeaway pizza from the street shops because I wanted a slightly nicer ambience. So we were walking around, looking to see what we could find.. We were near Soul, in Cavill Avenue and we looked up to see Vapiano’s – Pasta, Pizza, Bar, and hence we just decided to walk in. The concept is that you queue up for your food, and see the chefs cook them for you, and a buzzer is given if you order a pizza because they obviously require a tad more time to bake.

The margherita pizza was cheesy and yummy, but the carbonara pasta was DA BOMB. I’m not kidding when I say that their pasta was really, really good. Perfect al dente texture, awesome creaminess. It had the both of us raving about it big time. And the concept and layout of the place was brilliant too – the place was chill like a bar, with high stools and tables, warm lighting, good music, and the alfresco area overlooked 1 of the empty spaces within Cavill – common for buskers to entertain there every night!


Soul Retail, Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise


Taiwanese food on Day 4! Just a simple bowl of rice, hard-boiled egg and yellow pickles with chicken for me, and pork for Jem. (A$6.90 each) Had the urge to have some rice, after feasting so much on Western food the last few days. This was at Hazel Tea Shop, and around the area where this place is, there’re quite a lot of Asian eats! Though needless to say, they’re definitely way more expensive in Aussie! We also ordered some bubble tea there too, and it turned out surprisingly okay, considering that I wasn’t expecting them to be fantastic.

Hazel Tea Shop
Chevron Renaissance
Shop 8, 3240 Surfers Paradise Boulevard
Surfers Paradise 4217 Queensland

We decided to stop by Chocolateria San Churro for hot chocolate! I stuck with the iced one because it was quite warm that day.. And damnnnn was the iced chocolate milkshake good. It was so flavorful!
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I must emphasize that their cakes are huge, in comparison to the cakes that I see in Singapore’s cafes. 1 slice could well be enough to share between 2 people!

Chocolateria San Churro
47/48 Circle on Cavill

3184 Surfers Paradise Boulevard
Surfers Paradise, Queensland 4217
We were back at Vapiano’s on our 5th night!! J missed the pasta so much and he insisted on making the trip back again.

Gamberi – linguine with prawns, tomato+herb sauce with white wine, carrots, cherry tomatoes and spring onions (A$20.90). This was not too bad, but I wasn’t used to having shredded carrots inside my pasta. However the overall taste was pretty good, and the prawns were fresh!
Strawberry panna cotta and tiramisu – what’s an Italian meal without these 2 desserts? 🙂 The strawberry panna cotta was yummy – strong strawberry taste! The tiramisu however, was a tad overwhelming in the coffee taste.

Day (or rather, night) 6: River Cruise!

Our decision to go for the river cruise was very impromptu. We were looking through random brochures at the hotel lobby and we chanced upon it, and we felt that it might be worth the experience to go for it – after all, how often would we get the chance to do so?

We walked out of the hotel to the travel information booth just slightly outside (they’ve loads of these around the area) to enquire, and the lady at the booth helped us to make the reservations. Talk about prompt and efficient service! (Y)

So we went for the Rivers Restaurant Cruises and Boat Charters company, and man was their service and food good!! We had the dinner cruise and it turned out to be 1 of the best decisions we made, after hot air ballooning. For A$69 each, it was pretty worth it.

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The prawns were so incredibly fresh and sweet! I’ve always loved prawns, and even though he’s not a fan of prawns in general, he reckoned that the prawns were really sweet and he kept taking more! 😀

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Last day: We went for hot air ballooning!! The best experience ever, seeing the beautiful landscape from a bird-eye’s point of view. The champagne breakfast that we had after the hot air balloon experience was sumptuous too! It cost us A$250 each, for a 30 minutes flight + champagne breakfast, but it was very well worth the money and experience.

Fun fact about hot air ballooning: After a successful flight, champagne is always served as a celebration for the success of the flight (:
It was our first time ever having a champagne breakfast – something that we’d never done before in Singapore. Breakfast was at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard – a truly beautiful Victorian-style place, with a breath-taking landscape because it was situated near the hills. Perhaps the only downside of it was that it was really cold, especially because it was pretty early in the morning too.

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Honestly speaking, for the entire trip in Gold Coast, I had way too much scrambled eggs and sauteed mushrooms, so the frittata was a change. Though honestly speaking, I didn’t like frittata that much, because the taste of it was just a little weird to me.. Perhaps it’s just a matter of preferences! But I loved the sauteed mushrooms – I could never get enough of them!!

For those who’re considering a trip to Gold Coast/Brisbane/Cairns, the details for this particular hot air balloon company can be found at (:

O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards 
Lamington National Park Rd 
Canungra Valley, Queensland 4275
Back to San Churro’s for their hot chocolate, and this time round we added churros to go along with them! We kinda had a bit of dark chocolate overload though, even though the hot chocolate really warmed our cockles (:
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Our very last meal in Surfers Paradise, before we boarded the bus back to Brisbane Airport to go home 😦 This was at Ocean’s by Omero’s. which is literally next to the beach. I can’t remember the names of the food that we ordered, and I can’t find the official website for it either. Mine is the one with the broccoli floret and Dianne steak (I only remember that the word ‘Dianne’ was mentioned on the menu for my meal), and Jem’s was Surf and Turf if I didn’t remember wrongly. This was really by far, 1 of the best ways to wrap up our Gold Coast trip, because the food was so good and the seafood was so fresh. (Y)

Oceans by Omeros
4 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
Queensland 4217

In honesty, I had done research on what are the places to give a shot at, and even made a list.. But when we reached Gold Coast, we didn’t even use the list! Have to admit that just walking straight into an eatery/cafe/restaurant could yield even greater, if not better, surprises 🙂 I miss everything about Gold Coast now, and I actually teared a bit after our last meal, because of the thought that we had to come back home.. There’s just a charm about Gold Coast somehow that made me fall in love with it the moment I set foot on it. I will go back there 1 day.

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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Food, Gold Coast, Jem, travel


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The Gold Coast chronicles.

Came back from Gold Coast already, and I miss every bit about the place right now.. And it’s been a week plus.

For starters, 1 of the biggest things that I miss about Gold Coast is the weather. Okay, in part it’s also because it’s spring now, and hence the temperatures are awesomely cooling. Think natural air-con! Even at 29C, I don’t feel like I’m about to melt into a mush because the humidity level there is around 50+%, in comparison to Singapore’s 90% (did I get the figure right?).

The only catch is that nightfall comes pretty early – the sun started to set around 5plus, meaning that by 6pm Australia time (translates to 4pm Singapore time), it’s dark already. Something that I still find a little hard getting used to initially, but then again that’s seasons. At least from what I know, summer means that daylight would be way longer, but correspondingly hotter too.

This post is going to be a very long one, with lots of visuals, so yep! Food aspect will be done another time because this current post is already very long, and I don’t want it to be too confusing and hard to read!

Day 1 of touching down in Brisbane (and subsequent 1 hour bus ride to Gold Coast) was mainly settling into our hotel, and exploring the area around our hotel to find out what was interesting, and what we could have for lunch/dinner, since breakfast was provided by the hotel every morning (:
It was made even better when we reached our hotel, Hotel Grand Chancellor Surfer’s Paradise, to find out that we had been given a free upgrade to the Deluxe room from the original Standard room that we’d been assigned initially! 😀 For our home away from home for that week, it really had a homely feel 🙂



This was the amazing, amazing views that greeted us when we looked out from our balcony :’) how blessed we were, to get a room that has the best of both worlds in terms of the view – how often would we get the chance to look out from the balcony and have BOTH the ocean view and the city view!? Behold the great beauty of the Pacific Ocean!

Day 2: Dreamworld!


This, is known as Wipeout. It involves a lot of crazy turns and being upside down at 1 point in time. As with all roller coaster/motion simulator rides, this is definitely NOT for the faint-hearted/motion sick people. Or alternatively, if you’re up for the challenge, do it with your eyes closed if you don’t want to risk throwing up! (: I did that and it worked! The thrill was honestly very worth it!


We spied a koala sleeping amidst the branches! 😀 And yes, the best part was that we got to touch and hug the koala! 😀
The national treasure of Australia, literally. What’s Australia without kangaroos?

Dingos! They look like dogs, but they actually belong to the wolf family.

Day 3: Movie World!!

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This was before we went up to Green Lantern – our first roller coaster in Movie World, to ‘warm up’ for the other rides ahead!
Austin Powers lookalike!!

So I passed my phone to a random girl to help us snap this shot and what happened subsequently was hilarious, when the girl accidentally pressed something on my phone and the camera function timed out.

AP: ‘She’s trying to log into your Facebook! She’s trying to hack your Facebook and type a funny status! Don’t trust her!’
Well, that was the general gist, and we kept laughing throughout it all.


Arkham’s Asylum! Yes, for those who don’t follow movies very closely, this is from Batman! The number of twists and turns here is insane, and our feet were literally dangling in the air for this ride as we were once again, turned upside down at some points too.

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DC Comics!


1 of many parades in Movie World.
Hollywood Stunt Drivers

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This was Wild West Falls! The slide can’t really be seen, because my main purpose in snapping this pic was to show the beauty of the rainbow whenever the ride takes the slide down, the big splash of water would make the rainbow appear 😀 The angle of the slide is incredibly steep (nearly 45 degrees?), and both of us were completely drenched when we slid down it!
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Behold, Superman Escape! By far, the most epic ride I’ve ever taken in my life. #achievementunlocked
That drop was absolutely insane, and the roller coaster doesn’t crawl to the top before the sudden drop – it’s a rush throughout it all!

I have to admit that this was a huge step for me, because in general I used to be quite scared of roller coasters ’cause I didn’t feel I was cut out for the crazy adrenaline stuff. It’s really thanks to Jem, who kind of pushed me out of my comfort zone to go for them even though he knows that I’m scared of them, in addition to the fact that I HAD to have the time of the month during it. But nonetheless, I still survived it! 😀

Day 4: Paradise Country!

First time milking a cow!!

Sheep shearing in progress!

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This horse is called Country Boy (: Gentle soul. BUT his poop comes in huge globs and is INCREDIBLY smelly. Enough for us to retreat from his stable while covering our noses!
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We managed to finish touring Paradise Country by early afternoon, so by around 3plus PM Aussie time, we were back at Surfer’s Paradise. We also couldn’t miss out Skypoint Observation Deck, also known as Q1 (Queensland 1). The view was absolutely breathtaking – so much so that the word ‘breathtaking’ really doesn’t do it justice. My photos honestly couldn’t do much to emphasize its beauty, in part because I don’t think I’m a very good photographer.

The building is 77 storeys high! :O

Bird eye’s view!
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How majestic and magnificent the Pacific Ocean is (:
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We actually saw the sun set right in front of our astounded eyes :’) Slowly but surely setting, inch by inch. Such an incredible sight to behold, not to mention that this was actually my first time REALLY seeing the sun set in front of me. And to share such a moment with a special someone really meant the world to me :’)
So many people were crowded around the windows where the view of the sunset was, to get photos.. Totally expected of everyone to try and snap pictures, because this was such a grand sight to behold 🙂
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Day 5: Pretty much of it was spent chilling, and exploring. And riding the waves, literally!

Day 6: Hot-air ballooning! Which unfortunately failed on this day, because the wind conditions were too strong and the balloons couldn’t inflate properly despite much efforts from the crew and the pilots, so we had to postpone it to the next day.. But even then it was worth it because we got to see another part of Australia that we’d never known about at all – Beaudesert!

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Lots of cows and horses grazing in the fields nearby 😀
The town of Beaudesert! So quiet (in part because when we were there, it was around 8AM Aussie time), but yet so simple in terms of the lifestyles 🙂 It was really amazing to be in this little town, albeit for a short while. It’s 74km south of Brisbane, and the drive from our hotel to Beaudesert took nearly 2 hours.. The look of the town really reminded us of a town from a movie scene, for some reason.

Waking up at 3AM Aussie time was honestly not fun, because we slept for only 4-5 hours.. So needless to say it was really difficult to get up. Not to mention that it was incredibly cold out as well – probably below 20C? And the winds were incredibly strong too.

We decided to do a dinner cruise too – very impromptu plan, but am really thankful that it worked out very well 🙂 It was a beautiful experience, albeit cold because the temperatures always dip further at night. For A$69, this is something that really was enjoyable, not to mention new to us as well!

This was from Marina Mirage, where the cruise boats are docked at.
Yes, this is actually a church! It looks like something out of a fairy tale or Christmas story hahahahaha 🙂
View from the boat (:
Interior of the boat, where the seafood buffet dinner was spread out. And the empty space was actually the dance floor! (:

Please ignore my look here.. I honestly look very cui because I was so tired from lack of sleep. Oh and this gentle giant is the guy who’s in charge of the cruise operations, and he hails from New Zealand! He also was the main entertainer (singing) throughout the cruise too 😀

Day 7 (Last Day 😦 ): We managed to do hot air ballooning again!! Thankful that this time round the weather was in our favor, and so the flight was very successful 😀

Although it meant that we had to wake up at 3AM again zzzzzzzzzz. This time round I totally fell asleep on the bus, en route to the fields where the flight took place, because I was way exhausted and could feel the sore throat bug coming to me thanks to insufficient sleep and excess of heaty food :\

Inflation in progress
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And up we go!
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I tried out the paranormal function on my iPhone.. Can’t say this was the best though, because I really wanted to enjoy the breathtaking view in front of me.
Cattle grazing
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Post flight, this was how the balloon was stored :O And it was really NOT easy to stuff the deflated balloon into the bag – it took a lot of effort!
Horses grazing 🙂 The hilarious thing about these horses was their reaction when the hot air balloon basket, already loaded up onto the truck, was near them, and our pilot pressed the lever that would set off the flames – the horses all skittered away! It was quite amusing to watch them run away hahahahahahahaha.
O’Reilly’s Winery! Yes, a Victorian style winery. Incredibly beautiful and peaceful, but really cold!
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I honestly didn’t look forward to going back to Singapore.. Everything about Gold Coast was so idyllic, not to mention so chillax and peaceful.

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Posted by on October 10, 2013 in Jem, travel


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