#TRAVELGR8 TO YOGYAKARTA

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This space/journal/blog whatever you want to call it turns 9 this month. I am grateful for the people who've stuck by me, seen me grow into the person I am today and followed my adventures around the world. It's been quite a journey and I found a large part of myself here... I thought I'd be tired of it by now but I still love it- documenting things my way, sharing a perspective. So thank you if you're reading this! You are a part of the reason I am who I am today. I can't believe it's been 9 years..whoa thats a long time.

Travel has definitely defined a large part of me and having the opportunity to travel to Yogyakarta was eye-opening despite being physically exhausting. It wasn't luxurious to say the least but it was an adventure. Each day we really explored into the unknown, seeing the sunrise from Borobudur, screaming at live crabs at Wedi Ombo beach, chasing chicken at every other kampong we saw, sweating it out over spicy chilli together and borrowing goats for photos. I came home physically the most exhausted I'd been in a long time and am convinced the consecutive travel I've experienced is finally hitting me but I feel refreshed by Indonesia, I can't wait to explore other parts, especially Bali which I've never been to. Having just visiting Jakarta just a couple of weeks ago, Yogyakarta was a much more authentic Indonesian experience with the friendliest locals and a tight-knit creative community I found especially inspiring. Thank you Air Asia for having me and thank you to my partner in crime, Jordus for taking these photos of me and being such sport on the trip. Here are some of my favourite moments:

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We found goats and sheep just beside our hotel and decided to take one of them on a stroll but it turned out to be surprisingly harder than we thought. They simply go crazy.

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Of course it was followed by a lot of obligatory photo-taking at every other corner. I am wearing a dress by N/Nicholas Embroidered dress and Tibi Slippers (similar one here) both from on Shopbop


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I can't say much about my experience at the Borobudur Temple except that it was breathtaking despite being a little foggy that morning. We got up at 3am to drive from Yogyakarta city to the temple and spent a good 2 hours just being in it's grounds and admiring the detail. The Borobudur is a Buddhist temple and the largest in the world, now a UNESCO heritage site. Absolutely beautiful. 

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We gave the sunrise at Mount Merapi a miss for some much needed rest and made our way up later in the morning. At base camp, we were greeted by our guides with the jeeps and the ride was pretty much like a roller coaster, but with with ash from the ground. It was a real adventure. Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has been erupting regularly since 1548. There are villages on each side of the volcano. Currently, Mount Merapi is known to erupt every four years, destroying everything these local people have and causing thousands of fatalities during every eruption. However, the locals we met do not let it deter them. They simply rebuild their homes with the aid of the government every 4 years and start life over. They were also some of the happiest locals we met throughout our trip.

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Wearing Supergurl dress

We saw the sunset in Wedi Ombo beach, it's pretty untouched by tourists so there is still a strong local presence there with friends and families escaping from the city for a day or locals catching live fish and crabs to eat. The rocky beaches were beautiful and I may have been intimidated by the crabs we saw but it was all good. Perfect way to have ended our time in Yogyakarta. 

These photos don't do justice to my experience in Yogyakarta, there was something about the city that really got to me and I'm in the midst of planning to return next month. It's a city with so much culture and heritage with beautiful temples and so many experiences from jeep rides, hiking, sky-diving and cave-exploring.. the list goes on and on. So I guess these images are just a small fraction of what I really experienced, I hope you guys enjoyed the images anyhow! Big thank you to Rachel and Christina from the AirAsia team for making this trip happen! 

Start planning your trip from Singapore to Yogyakarta with AirAsia today.


YOGYAKARTA

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Wearing Free People Top, Clare V Alice Tote and Tibi Sandals all available on Shopbop

Hello from Yogyakarta! I'm currently here with AirAsia for a few days to explore a new side of Indonesia I've never seen before and I am so excited. This were taken just during the start of the trip where we had lunch in a traditional Indonesian heritage building. Isn't it beautiful? Can't wait to show you guys more images, especially those we shot at the Borobudur Temple at sunrise. It's been such a good week. 

WHEN IN HONG KONG..

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I spent an amazing week in Hong Kong, reuniting with Nathan and spending good quality time with family before heading by train to China for the weekend. I'm not one who usually has Hong Kong in mind when I'm thinking of a getaway but it's a city that has come to stay with me for all the right reasons, that I can sometimes see myself living there. I love the similarities in lifestyle to Singapore so it definitely feels close to home. And on top of that, there is so much culture here, eating at a local cha chaan teng (or simply a local Hong Kong Cafe) with some places offering food 24/7 so you'll never go hungry, going through the streets of pet shops followed by a stroll through the flower market in Mong Kok and enjoying the skyline from some of my new favourite institutions such as Seafood Room in Causeway Bay. I also got to explore a couple of restaurants in SoHo like YardBird and it was delicious and an experience in it's own. 

It was the monsoon season so it rained every day during my time there, so it really allowed me to enjoy the 'slow life' despite the hustle and bustle that is a city like Hong Kong- I found myself reading my new book over lunch, or simply enjoying some traditional milk tea in Mido Cafe for a slow afternoon. We also decided to take the ferry out to Cheng Chau Island to see a different side of Hong Kong. It is a seaside town just about 30 minutes by ferry from Central Hong Kong where we cycled around the town. It's a little of a blast from the past, like you've travelled back 50 years in time. No tall buildings, no cars... just a lot of bikes, boats and dogs! The town is known for it's seafood, traditional desserts and old school snacks like egg-waffles, fried ice cream and frozen pineapple which you can enjoy while riding your bike towards the Cheung Po Tsai cave and enjoy the view and rock formations. There is simply too much to see and do for a day so it's perfect for a little escape. 

I couldn't have done Hong Kong better this time around- the food was amazing, together with the views of the skyline I got to enjoy everyday. So glad I made it out there! Off to Jogjakarta next week. I'm stoked to explore a new part of Indonesia and can't wait to share my adventure here. Hope y'all enjoyed the images! 

SHAM SHUI PO

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Carrying the Clare V Alice Tote available on Shopbop

Earlier this morning when I decided to fight insomnia and get up to explore the streets of Sham Shui Po... I've travelled to Hong Kong a handful of times but I don't know what took me so long to get here, especially when I'm always complaining I want to experience more of local life. The markets here are known for their cheap electronics although I saw more of wet markets consisting of fresh produce, dried seafood and vegetables and a lot of raw meat hanging in all sorts of places. The scents and sights were a feast  and I couldn't stop looking up because I felt like that was where life really happens. Sham Shui Po is one of the earliest developed areas in Hong Kong and it was once the most commercial hub of it's territory. Now, it's mainly made up of public housing. The buildings are in serious urban decay, so cramped I was wondering how much of a commodity it was for a local to be living here in such conditions. But I guess despite the intricacies, this is what makes Hong Kong what it really is. An urbanised city known for it's tiny apartments and a perfect blend of the old and the new. This is a city where you can travel back in time making a trip down to one of these streets. 

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I recently read and watched a documentary of the Kowloon Walled City and coming here was probably the closest I could get to experiencing what it was really like back. Though this is nothing like what the Walled City really is, it was a glimpse of the real Hong Kong come to life. 

ALL ABOUT THAT SLOW LIFE

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Wearing Zimmermann Swimsuit from Shopbop

After 6 hours on the road from Bangkok and 40 minutes on a speedboat, I've arrived to Soneva Kiri in Koh Kood, South-East of Thailand near the borders of Cambodia. It is a beautiful luxurious resort with it's own Soneva time, full of luxurious villas all with their own private pools and it's own eco-system where fresh produce is grown and served daily to guests. It's been an eye-opening experience especially for me, I've never been a beach person but being surrounded by new and old friends and just having to take things as it is and enjoy what's being presented in front of us has turned out to be so much fun. We've unfortunately had most part of our itinerary the resort planned for us cancelled due to bad weather but there's actually plenty to do here. Watch films in their outdoor cinema, dine in your own tree-pod hoisted up on top of Koh Kood's ancient rainforest with food and drink delivered  via a zipliner (!!), go canoeing or simply enjoy the resort's private beaches... it's the perfect way to enjoy a 'slow life' as the resort puts it. People walk here barefooted, phones are discouraged in public areas.. I don't think I've ever quite been to a place like this! 

I spent the afternoon in our beach front villa playing in the pool and drinking fresh coconut in the rain . Can't imagine what it would be like if we arrived to perfect tropic weather but it's been great so far. The hospitality is undeniably one of the best I've experienced and I can't be more grateful to have gotten to come here!

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Find out more about Soneva Kiri here

A DAY AT THE CHALK CLIFFS

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Flounced Off-Shoulder Dress

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Pleated Full Dress with Off-Shoulder Detail

I had been wanting to visit this beautiful beach with the Seven Sisters Chalk Cliffs as a backdrop for a long time now but the idea had always just been something at the back of my head, something I'll do...'one day'. Well, it never happened during the time I lived in London so when I was back last month, I called up Faiyaz and off we went, with a rented zip-car. Just 2 and a half hours away from London, not far off Brighton is the beautiful chalk cliffs, it's one of the most serene places I've visited. We spent a good 5 hours there, taking too many pictures, taking it all in, having the entire beach to ourselves before we realised how much time had actually passed. The cliffs are located about a 30 minute trek from the visitor centre so it was no easy feat getting there with bags of dresses I decided to shoot. I can't thank Faiyaz enough for driving me here and back, another one off the bucket list! Coming this far is a great way to spend a day away from the city, and run in a field of sheep, scream at wild rabbits and just be a country bumpkin so I'd highly recommend this to anyone visiting London. I'd do this all over again, and maybe spend a night in Brighton the next time. It was such a fun day- thank you Fai!

Wearing everything Self-Portrait. If you've not heard of the brand, now you know. There are no words for the beautiful pieces Han creates and it was a privilege to have worn these for our little adventure! I always get so many compliments whenever I am anything Self-Portrait! Han has become someone very dear to me and as cliche as it sounds, I have huge admiration for the guy. Thanks for always making me laugh, and for challenging me to get out of my comfort zone. If it wasn't for you, I would never have travelled so far!

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All images photographed by Faiyaz Kolia

RELIVING LONDON

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It breaks my heart to type this but my time in London has come to an end for the time being. I will be moving back to Singapore, starting a new exciting project (I can't wait to share more details soon!) and travelling more extensively around Asia I hope! My pal Faiyaz and I recently went around London shooting this little collaboration with Charles & Keith. I thought that since this would be my last time shooting a project in London for awhile, it would be best to relive some of my favourite moments I've had in London. So I hope you guys will follow me, in my shoes, and relive these moments with me. Big thank you to Charles & Keith for sending so many pairs of shoes, I feel like I've a lifetime of shoes to wear now! And to my dear Faiyaz for going around London with me in a day to shoot these. I had so much fun even though it was bittersweet. London, you always will have my heart. Thanks for some of the best times of my life. 

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Brunch at my favourite spots in East London followed by shopping for some of the freshest groceries.  This is at The Albion. Definitely needs no introduction. The food is great, fresh and not forgetting how much I ADORE the croissants.

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I love exploring new neighbourhoods in London. There is always some little corner or stretch of houses I find that never fail to make me smile. It's so romantic to me how even though I've travelled to London and lived there for a good amount of time that it still surprises me. West London is great for that. You find cute families going about their daily lives, peeping through the windows of their homes and trying to pretend you live in there.

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The grass IS greener at this side of the world. I love going for picnics, feeding birds, seeing people taking their strolls with their dogs or simply by themselves, rolling on the grass. I've had so many good moments being surrounded by my friends in parks all over London where we just lie on the grass with a bag full of food to stuff our faces with and talk for hours.

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I am always on the go in London. There is always a place to run off to, This city is relentless and full of energy. So here's to screaming at Ubers for them to pick me, running from tube to tube, hopping onto a cab and hoping the meter mysteriously stops or just running to my next destination. 

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There's no denying that I've had some of the best nights out in this city- Soho of course. Drinking way too many cocktails before dinner time and ending up in some club dancing the night away with my best friends, singing all the way home on the Uber. London, you're the best.

There is so much more I've yet to share but these are some of those worth reliving for now. Hope you all enjoyed this! 

ARTIST RESIDENCE LONDON

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The Grand Suite @ Artist Residence London
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Breakfast in bed from The Cambridge Street Kitchen

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I had the pleasure of having a staycation at the quaint little Artist Residence in the heart of Pimlico, one of the neighbourhoods I recently got to explore and absolutely fell in love with. It is to date my favourite staycation in London, courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith. The hotel is occupied in a Regency terrace on Cambridge Street in Pimlico. It is an eclectic space furnished with a diverse mix of urban and vintage furniture, together with a range of street art from various artists, hence the name. Instead of a lobby, we walked right into the Cambridge Street Kitchen, a cute little restaurant that was packed on that Sunday afternoon. We were greeted by the most friendly staff who were already expecting us and quickly brought us to our room. We were thrilled when we found out we were to be put up in the Grand Suite, the biggest room in the humble residence. The room was everything a staycation should be about. The dream bath-tub accompanied with a complete set of luxurious bath products to indulge in. The twin marble sink with that perfect gilt-edge mirror which reminded me of those I saw in the vintage markets in Paris. The big fluffy bed facing a view of the quiet neighbourhood. And the lush velvety green cushioned arm chairs that were great to sink into whilst sipping tea and engaging in conversation with friends. I already never want to leave this little haven and spent a good half- hour snapping away photos of the suite to show off to my friends about where I was spending the night. Every part of the space was thoughtfully put together. I had a welcome cocktail at the restaurant while watching life pass by in Pimlico on a lazy Sunday afternoon. We never did leave the property throughout our stay. We watched movies, drank tea,  caught up on reading....and also invited my pal, Nathan over for a glass of wine to celebrate his upcoming birthday.

After the best sleep. We ordered pretty much everything off the menu for breakfast from the Cambridge Street Kitchen and had it brought up to the room. Nathan loved the space so much he came back to join us for birthday breakfast that morning and took a bath in the dream tub. Breakfast consisted of perfectly scrambled eggs and the fluffiest pancakes which we ate in bed while sipping on freshly shaken iced tea and sharing too many laughs, it was a such a great morning. After breakfast, we discovered the basement and was told there was a Ping-Pong table- and that became the rest of our activity that morning. 

Thank you, Mr & Mrs Smith! I cannot be more grateful for the perfect time I spent at the Artist Residence, the new friends I made with the staff and the lovely neighbourhood surrounded by some of the most beautiful terrace houses. I woke up to seeing kids on horses riding around the hood and squealed in delight at how cute everything about this place was. I miss every part of it so much! Find out more about Artist Residence here