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Lake Toya, Japan

Spot of Tranquility.

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Little India, Singapore

Spices, gold and splashes of colour!

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Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay

Garden City, City in a Garden.

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Bryce Canyon, USA

Thor's Hammer

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Chocolate Test, Singapore

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." -Charles M Schulz

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Chinese Gardens

I hate to admit this, but it is only after more than 2 decades of my life that I am finally visiting the Chinese Gardens

It was a public holiday and we decided to explore a part of Singapore that we have never been to. 

What greeted us that day after we exited from the Chinese Gardens Mrt was light blue skies with fluffy white clouds- beautiful but it often means that it is going to be a very hot day. 

The walk from Chinese Gardens MRT to Chinese Gardens first led us to open fields on both sides of the walking path where people were playing cricket, while others were just chilling under these barren trees. 

Built in 1975 and designed by an architect from Taiwan, the Chinese Gardens is modelled after the northern Chinese imperial style of architecture and landscaping.

Everything was just picture perfect at the Chinese Gardens. This is the "Bai Hong Qiao"  (white rainbow) which follows the style of the 17-Arch Bridge at the Summer Palace in Beijing.

It was easy to believe that you were not in Singapore- if not for the sweltering heat and the HDB buildings that formed a backdrop to the gardens. The Chinese Gardens has been described as a tranquil place by many, but it was not so on the particular public holiday. People were celebrating the festive occasion and it was a joy to busk in the singing which was accompanied by drums and a guitar.

For some reason, when I saw these manicured bushes, the first thing that came to my mind was computer games. Those computer games that I played when I was young seemed to have these little shrubs- was I just imagining things?

At every turn you took, there would be something that you will be attracted by. These include little stone bridges, bamboo (scant as they may be), and lotus ponds.

We did not manage to explore these tea houses because they were in the midst of refurbishment works.

We then climbed seven stories of the pagoda and were treated with this view. The pagoda design follows the design of the Ling Ku Temple Pagoda at Nanjing.

I am always grateful for greenery in Singapore, where I quickly scoot to the nearest tree and seek shelter under its shade everytime the Sun shines mercilessly (which is basically a good 70% of the year).

It was a nice soaking in the greenery and interesting architecture. More information on the Chinese Gardens would have been welcome! 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Centara Grand (Bangkok)

I have been going to Bangkok more often than I expect to. Not that I am complaining since the hotel expenses were paid for this time. 

Everything about Centara Grand hit the mark. 

1) Hotel 

The check-in counters are located on the 23rd floor  and all the rooms are located above that. This can only mean that you get some pretty good views from your room. 

The room had free and fast working wifi. The only issue was that you had to log in again after a period of inactivity. Cable channels were available on the TV as well.

Bed was comfortable - the pillows felt too soft though, probably time to upgrade those pillows!

There is something with modern hotels and their preference for glass screens separating the sleeping area and the toilet. Don't worry though, there is a white screen as well as curtains for those who rather not have the glass screen.

2) Amenities 

This hotel has a tennis court, swimming pool and gym- everything that you require to keep fit on a trip (assuming that you are not fulfilling your exercise quota by going to the shopping malls nearby instead). I only used the gym and it was well equipped- the moment I stepped in, I was given a towel and a bottle of water. Now that's service for you!

3) Breakfast 

The breakfast selection was wide ranging- a whole selection of bread and muffins, some resemblance of Chinese food, and the usual baked beans and potatoes. Pity though, their Thai food did not look exactly appetising. One popular counter was the Thai tea counter where Thai iced tea was made on the spot.

4) Location

The location here is amazing. A fully air-conditioned short cut to Central World, 5 minutes walk to Siam Paragon, 5-10 minutes walk to Platinum mall. At night, there were many night stalls set up near the Central area and I did a fair bit of cheap shopping at the night market.

Centara Grand
999/99 Rama 1 Road
Bangkok, Thailand 

Sunday, July 5, 2015


My friend was craving for spicy food and the cuisines that popped up immediately in my head were Sichuan or Thai food. We opted for the latter. 

Sawadee, established in 2000, used to be located in Sembawang. It then shifted to its current location in 2013. 

We had Olive Rice ($13) which was served with chicken strips and fried dried shrimps. The chicken strips were sweet and were a perfect combination with the fragrant olive rice. Maybe it's time to depart from my usual staple of pineapple rice and opt for this everytime I go to a Thai restaurant!

What would be a Thai meal without some Tom Yam? We ordered a Tom Yum Talay ($10). I am used to eating the mild versions of tom yam in Singapore and the spiciness in this gave me a jolt. Generous on the seafood, this was a clear indication of the quality of the food served here.

We were very attracted by the Thai Style Otah ($15). Cooked on a traditional clay plate, this is not the usual otah that we eat and is instead fish mousse with a strong taste of coconut milk and herbs.

We also had a Hearty Duck Curry ($15).  The lychee and pineapple lent some sweetness to this dish, which was otherwise a little heavy on the coconut milk. The duck was executed well and was not tough.

This is a pretty good option if we want to depart from our usual options of value-for-money Thai meals at Jai Thai, Nakhon etc.

9 Tan Quee Lan Street
Tel No: 6 884 6884