Singapore: Marina Mandarin

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Ever since my previous trip to Hong Kong I have become a bit of a sucker for architecture.  So when I was invited to Singapore by MigMe and Changi Recommends I was super excited to hear that I would be staying in the Marina Mandarin.

Aside the fact that the room view was the iconic Marina Bay Sands (what can be better?), I was actually more impressed by their interior design.  It is the type where it is almost impossible to find in Korea sadly.  The marble lounges, restaurants, pools, were all top notch however what I really loved about this hotel was their implementation of exotic plants, fountains and other water elements to their interior design.  They also had real life birds which chirped (cannot be heard in the rooms) across the open space giving the hotel an exotic botanical garden feel to it.

I remember I asked the receptionist about Singaporean transport and they really took their time explaining the bus routes and the subway system.  They were really helpful in making sure I can get most out of the experience in such a short time in Singapore.

Do check out their lunch specials which includes a range of cuisines from around the world.  Oh and do be careful their basket of Babybel cheese in the morning as Westerners will find it very different to what they are used to.

This may be a ‘sponsered’ post n’ all…but you all know here (if you’ve been with me long enough) that I either speak the truth or not say anything at all…so meh~

*A very big thank you to Marina Mandarin for their hospitality and exceptional service*

Hong Kong (Part 1)

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This was probably my 6th or 7th trip to Hong Kong and it was probably the first time I had such an amazing time. Not only did I spend Christmas for the first time in 3 years with my family, but I also got to meet up with some of Hong Kong’s top Instagrammers. Their perspective of Hong Kong as shown on their photos made me look at this bustling city in a different light. I use to always think the apartments were too tall (Hong Kongers like to live in the shadows apparently) and can use a bit of a scrub here and there. However, this time round I have started to appreciate the architectural prowess of Hong Kong, and in fact now that I look at it, the peeling of the paint, the tetrical shapes, and the dark mouldy patches of old apartments give it so much more character.

A final note on the amazing Instagram community in Hong Kong; their creativity, bond and passion for photography were so inspiring…I’m so jealous >.<

Someone make one for Korea pliiz?

A very big thank you again to those who made this vacation extra special! Bare love~

Oh and while you’re here do check out these amazing instagrammers from Hong Kong – @edwardkb, @vnthota, @twheat, @vdubl, @maurice, @flosslai, @kyle_yu, @vincelsl

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Nami

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Have you tried internet shopping in Korea? I’m not sure if you have experienced opening up internet banking in Korea but …it’s SUCH a hassle!  If you don’t know any Korean or have any Korean friends to come with you to the bank, it can be very very tricky.  I remember booking some tickets online and yet still, i had to make payment confirmations over the phone.  This is not a particularly good idea since I have a little phobia when it comes to phone conversations in Korean.

However, finally there is a website that makes travelling a lot easier for foreigners coming to or already in Korea without awkward conversations over the phone. Although still a small website, Funtastic Korea enables those to make reservations to selected and beautiful destinations, and ta-dah~ Nami Island is one of them. Being a person who also detests planning to places which are difficult to get to, Funtastic Korea does all the boring work for you so once you check out online, meet at the bus stop, get on the bus, sit back and relax.

Nami Island (남이섬) was probably the most hyped up places in Korea which is all thanks to (surprise surprise!) a ‘drama’ which aired WELL before my time. Collaborating with Funtastic Korea finally gave me the chance to see what all the fuss was about. Although the nature was beautiful (must come back here during Autumn), the most unique thing that stood out were the hobbit like clay sculptures which were in the weirdest positions. I wasn’t even sure if they represented Korean women from a long time ago, but the sculptures were either breastfeeding in the most awkward positions…and even twerking!

If those were accurate representations of Koreans from centuries ago, it is then proof that Koreans were actually the ones who made twerking a thing.  Sorry Miley.

*This post was in collaboration with Seoul Mansion and Funtastic Korea*

 

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Seoul Mansion

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Hongdae has now probably become one of my favourite places in Seoul.  Frankly speaking, I was a little intimidated by the intricate maze like alleyways so due to my non-existent navigation skills, finding the hidden cafes and shops have been complete failures in the past.  I guess one of the charms here are the unexpected things you’ll find, so ditch that map and get lost for fun I say…

So when I was invited to stay at Seoul Mansion, located just 2 minutes away from Hongik Univ. subway station, I thought what a great opportunity to finally master the area.  Although Seoul Mansion is listed as a ‘guesthouse’, I would say it’s more like a ‘family hotel’, run by an awesome group of people consisting of family members and friends.  What was different about this place compared to other guesthouses or hotels was the vibe.  With even a stove, a washing machine, and all basic domestic necessities provided, it really feels like you are coming back to the comfort of your cozy home after a long day.  As I am travelling more often around Korea nowadays, it was really the first time staying at someplace else where my tense shoulders loosened up.  It literally felt like Hongdae had become my second neighborhood.

With a complimentary healthy breakfast, a rooftop terrace with a killer view and the live and kicking streets of Hongdae just seconds away, Seoul Mansion really has the whole package.  Either hit the clubs and explore the electric nightlife, or be an old fart like me and spend a quiet evening at the rooftop terrace playing cookie run whilst watching the fiery skyline set alight.

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*A big thank you to the team of Seoul Mansion and Funtastic Korea for an adventurous week~ loved every minute of it!