Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Indonesia, Bali (Jimbaran)

This is my second time in Bali. I just can't get out of my mind the many unexplored places which I have missed the other time. Also, I have yet to experience the Indonesian culinary, which I didn't really indulge previously. So here I am in this island again; this time with my parents.

This is my meal on-board SQ. I have opted for a vegetarian, lacto-ovo meal and I didn't know that veg meal is so-so much more appetizing than any other meals. Swiftly, I made up my mind in between bites that I'm going to go for vegetarian the next time I'm flying.

The villa where I stayed in Jimbaran was worth the money spent. I must admit that I have splurged big time in this trip, opting for something different for my accommodation. This is my holiday treat to my parents for all the things they have done for me. 

Actually, it's quite hard to plan the itinerary when I travel with my parents. Both are into shopping and it is kind of like a pain in the butt, but it's worth it I guess when I think of the quality time I got to spend with them. Family times are becoming rarer these days, especially when everyone is so busy with their own things. 

And the villa comes with a private swimming pool. Yahoo.... Until now, I can remember a lot of good memories spent with my parents at the pool. 

On the first day, I spent most of my evening on the beach, watching the locals tending their boats. One good thing about the villa is its location. It's smacked right in the middle of the fishermen village and so we find ourselves with the Balinese as our neighbours. The Balinese are really nice people. 

Every evening, children will get together to play soccer. The youngsters will sit outside their house and discuss about whatever interest them. Some of the elderly males will also be at the veranda, enjoying the cool air. 

An elderly grandma actually approached us on our fourth day. We chatted and she invited us to her home. For me, living among the Balinese was a great experience, even though our stay was really brief.

This man makes a living by selling corns, roasted on charcoal. We bought some and the corns were really sweet to munch on. I've not had corns that tasted this good. Each corn costs about 10,000 rupiah; its price is slightly a bit more for the foreigner, but if you think through, the meager profit he is earning will be used to feed his family. 

We had dinner at Lia Cafe after that. It was packed at the cafe and I realised that most diners had made their bookings earlier on as there were quite a number of reservations on the table.

Lia Cafe is certainly famous in this area since there are so many good reviews about them online.

While admiring the sunset, we waited for our food to be served. It took them quite a long time. From being really hungry, I ended up being moderately hungry. I think the waiting time is one of the shortcomings of the cafe, as my anticipation level dipped with each passing moments.

Finally, our food arrived. We have ordered the set meal consisting of crabs, prawns, fish and squids. It was a satisfying meal overall and the price was reasonable.

A day past just like that and I'm looking forward to enjoy my time here. Will be posting more of my travels in Bali. Stay tuned.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Australia, Sovereign Hill (On My Own)

This was what I did when I was left to my own devices. Yippee.. I got myself surrounded with flowers. Away from the crowd, and as close as possible to nature. When I was in the "unexplored" places, I felt like the whole world belong to me. It's so rejuvenating. 

Just as I was squatting next to a new patch of flowers with my camera, the wind carried the words spoken by one of the staffs. I was actually amazed because they were situated quite far. I was referred to as 'the girl with the flowers'. Seriously, I hope I don't look like a flower maniac at that time. But then again, even if I did, I have no regrets because my photos turn out to be quite good.

More flowers to come...

There were quite a lot of purple flowers at Sovereign Hill. I'm not sure why. Perhaps, the gardeners love this colour?

The flowers were absolutely fabulous. I do love Sovereign Hill. Although it is man-made, it offers quite a lot of nature and I am a great fan of the many gardens that could be found there.

These are my two favourite photos because I spent a great deal of my time in here.

As you can see, there's no human being in sight. It was so peaceful and tranquil. Voices, especially incessant talking, loud wailing or crazy shouting were absent. Human activities that always drive me crazy were null too, like the banging of doors, the loud music from someone else audio players or the shrill honking of impatient drivers. 

In that moment, it is so enjoyable just listening to the sing-song chirping of this bird, along with the occasional rustling of some leaves and branches. A very rare moment for me and it's something that I will cherish. Well, I hope you enjoy this post as much as I recall my memories at Sovereign Hill. 

Got to go for now. Ciao.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Australia, Sovereign Hill

We went to Sovereign Hill on our sixth day in Melbourne. Sovereign Hill is located in the suburb of Ballarat and it took us about 1hr 20min via train. From Ballarat Train Station, we simply board the free shuttle service to Sovereign Hill.

I was lucky to get quick photo snap of the Ballarat Train Station from across the street. Time was pressing as we needed to catch the bus. I noticed too that the buildings here had a different architecture from those in Melbourne. 

Look at the architecture of this building. I was in awe because the heritage of Ballarat was kept intact. The building was built by miners in the 1850s, when gold was discovered. The discovery created a gold rush, where large volumes of people flocked to this town. The town soon became rich and people could afford to build many buildings like the one in the photo.

I couldn't take away my gaze from the fine details of the balustrade. They were amazing. And the colouring of this building, with its golden hue added up to the feeling that I was really in the gold miners' town.

Photo credit to: http://velvetescape.com/2014/06/sovereign-hill/

I couldn't wait to visit Sovereign Hill after looking around at the town. And finally, we're here. I was all prepared to step back in time to the gold rush period in Ballarat and to experience what it was like. Sovereign Hill provides us with this opportunity because it is a living museum, so everything feels quite authentic here.

I felt a rush of excitement as soon as I entered Sovereign Hill. The image before me was like a cowboy town. The smell of horse poop was indistinguishable to my sensitive nose. It hits me like cold water splashed on my face. I knew then that I was not dreaming.

There's really a bakery in Hope Bakery!! And one can shop for groceries at the Grocers.

I bought some anise sweets at the confectionery. It was fresh and made using traditional methods. I must say that I'm one satisfied customer when I tasted the sweets. They had a very unique taste.

We really had loads of fun in this place. We decided to bowl and this was when we found out what bowling was like in the olden days.

The bowling ball was so heavy; there's no way we can lift it up using one hand. This elevated, long stretch of wooden path was the bowling lane. And the pins were also made of wood. After we had bowled, we had to place the pins upright. You could imagine walking up and down from our bowling position to the pin area. It was quite a distance and bowling was absolutely a tiring sport at that time. 

We also viewed the blacksmith and the candle-maker at work here. It's so enlightening to see these special people perfecting the craft that was passed down through several generations. Would there be another generation to continue these crafts?

I do love Sovereign Hill on the whole. All the staffs were in Victorian costumes and we could engage them about the history of the town.

Panning for gold... anyone interested?

Jas decided to go for the Gold Mine Tour while I took this opportunity to wander on my own. Yeay!!! It's great to have that personal space and time. 

I waved at Jas as she went for the tour. We're to meet in 1.5 hrs time. 

I'll share the photos that I had taken while I was on my own soon. Until the next post then. Ciao.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Australia, Phillip Island

This post will be on my trip to Phillip Island. It was a memorable trip to me because I managed to visit quite a number of places in just one day. I went with the same tour to the Great Ocean Road, and I could say that by the end of the trip, my curiosity of the Island has been fulfilled.

My first stop at Phillip Island was Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm. The place was really huge. We were introduced to a lot of native plants there. 

The name 'Bush Tucker' here refers to any food, native to Australia. In the past, these food was a source of sustenance to the indigenous people. Well, I did find the name of the farm weird at first, but now it became clearer after I got to know its meaning. 

Examples of bush tucker products include macadamia nuts, lemon myrtle and wattle seed.

Lemon myrtle leaves has become my most favorite plant because of its fragrance. Just rub the leaves gently with your palms and you'll get a really refreshing smell. To me, this is natural aromatherapy, fresh and organic.

Those yellow berries - they do look really nice - but beware, they might be poisonous! And here's a strawberry gum leaf, food for the koalas. The leaf does carries a light hint of strawberry smell when rubbed together.


The best lunch in my Australian trip was salmon, cooked with lemon myrtle batter, and some chips. I had a really nice platter here because the salmon was very fresh. I can almost feel it melting in my mouth with every bite I took. I craved for more salmon at that time, even though I was full. It was that great. 

So based on this experience alone, I could conclude that fresh food do not require much seasoning, because they are just naturally good on their own.


We visited the Koala Conservation Centre next. The koalas were in their natural habitat and we had to walk quietly so as not to disturb them. In this area, there were 20 koalas in total and I tried to spot every single one of them. Unfortunately, they were so high up on the trees and many looked like furry balls, all curled up. I couldn't get a good photo at all and I thought that this trip was going to be a disappointing one.

However, as luck would have it, I ended up encountering not one, but two koalas, really close up. They were just an arm's length away from me.


This was the first koala. It was so cute that I couldn't bear to walk away from it. Hmm.. did you just notice me, little one? What are you doing, scratching the tree? I could see that koalas have really sharp claws, so don't even think of touching any of them. Koalas are NOT domesticated animals. Besides the claws, the koalas may also carry a certain koala disease (not sure what disease it is), so it's better to keep an appropriate distance from them.

My second koala sighting. This one is sleeping very soundly. 


Clear, open fields and small roads shaded by trees; these are what I like most about Australia. It is so spacious and green, with an abundance of natural wonders. I just love the simplicity of life. 

Here is another place which I went to, where I get to sample a variety of cheese.


I would like to say that this was my cheesy affair... The cheese was so yummy especially when you spread it over a slice of french loaf. Appreciating something like this is so heart-warming.

And with tummy filled again, I climbed on-board the bus, with my fellow tour group, to get to The Nobbies Rock.


It was windy here, but I loved it. I felt good because the short walk cleared my mind. Whatever recesses of drudgery I felt back in Singapore was lifted up and I felt light. 

A penguin burrow was seen in the midst of shrubs here. There were many of them, in Nobbies Rock.  These were built for the penguins to return to in the evening.


As the evening approached, Jas and I were ready for the main attraction in Phillip Island - the penguins! Unfortunately, we're not allowed to take pictures of the penguins. It's to protect the penguins and I don't feel like violating the rule. I think we should respect the rules because they were definitely made for a reason.

So I took the photo of a miniature penguin in one of the exhibits.


Overall, this trip was a journey of discovery for me. I do hope to do more of this kind of trip in other places. This will be my last photo in this post. I was at the penguin viewing area, waiting for the sun to set and the penguins to emerge from the sea.


At the end of the day, I was really tired, but happy. 

Well, that's all for now. Do tune in to my last post on Australia. Ciao.