#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.


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

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! 

MILAN PHOTO DIARY

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I wouldn't exactly call this a guide. But it's some of the places I got to visit during my long weekend I spent in Milan. Milan may not be real Italy, as people would say. It wouldn't be the place to go to experience what Italian culture really is. But it's a city with it's own heartbeat and has stolen the hearts of Italians all over Italy who move here to experience the fast-paced city life. Milan, for me is a design capital for fashion and the arts, heritage and amazingly good food with an unbelievably generous aperitivo culture. I couldn't have asked for a better time there. Here's what I got up to during my short time in the city that you should definitely visit if you make it to Milan:

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Milan isn't know for being the city for lovers. But Parc Sempione on a lovely day is perfect for a picnic, like what we did. People come here to kiss. To snuggle when the sun is out. To get a tan in their bikini. It's such a fun but relaxed atmosphere where you really see people really enjoying the city park that is easily accessible from the city centre.


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Wearing a Maria Stanley dress and Adia Kibur earrings

Shop in the Brera district- known for once being home to bohemians, artists, only part of the area has survived modern reconstruction. The street is beautiful and now filled with small boutiques and galleries. 


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Corso Como is a restaurant, gallery, hotel, book store, and fashion and lifestyle store all in one and it is beautiful.

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Naively used to be the entire water network for Milan, connecting from the nearby rivers of Ticino and Adda. It is now a lively street filled with shops, art studios, restaurants, pubs, bars and is perfect for a romantic stroll down the canal with a loved one.


bv cadg2Spazio Rossana Orlandi is always a highlight during Milan Design Week- it's a design/furniture gallery and courtyard cafe and is located in an old tie factory in Via Matteo Bandello. I saw some of the most unique pieces of furnishing for the home. Rossana Orlandi is a known for discovering and championing new designers while providing support throughout their careers. 

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Owned by the design duo behind Dsquared2, Ceresio 7 Pools & Restaurant is located at the top of the Dsquared2 headquarters where the who's who of Milan flock to for dinner and drinks. Come for an  Aperitivo and people-watch while enjoying the sunset and some nibbles. 

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Wearing Free People's Bohemian Winds Maxi dress

Cliche but still stunning. Especially in the morning before the city wakes up.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II- of course everyone in Milan has to see this stunning shopping arcade for themselves after the Duomo. The arcade is open 24/7 so if you'd like to enjoy frolicking around the premises before the stores open, it is jolly well a good idea. 

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You've probably heard of EATALY in New York, so you can only imagine an Italian version of it would be a gazillion times better. I was grinning from ear to ear at all the food available. It is a one-stop store for anything related to Italian food that is my kind of heaven. 


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Fondazione Prada is dedicated to contemporary art and culture and is home to Bar Luce- a cafe and bar designed by Wes Anderson that feels like a movie set from one of his films.

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Wearing a Ganni lace mini dress

Città Studi is such a cute and quaint neighbourhood not far off the city centre, with some really traditional-looking Italian homes. It is lovely to stroll through and peep into the houses to wonder the life that goes on in there.


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Carlo & Camilla in Segheria is one of Italian chef and personality, Carlo Cracco's restaurants... It is genuinely one of the most beautiful spaces I've stepped into and the cocktails were out of the world. Food was great too. I loved the Italian way of dining. Every night we started our aperitivo in the evening and start getting seated for dinner at only about 9. We usually finish dinner close to midnight and it makes really enjoying the company, conversations, food and drinks such an experience.

I cannot thank my Italian counterparts, Gabriele, Alessio and Giulia enough for giving me such an authentic experience in Milan and for hosting me throughout my time there. I had such a great time and saw so much in such a short period but was blown away by what the city had to offer. And when you make it to Milan.... also don't forget the patisseries!

Shot in collaboration with Shopbop.

AT THE DUOMO

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Wearing Free People's Bohemian Winds Maxi Dress

While I may be all for going after a local experience, see the Duomo from the distance and visiting the terrace of the cathedral was a dream in itself. Skip the long lines for the tickets into the Duomo and go straight for the terrace where you get stunning views of Milan and see the intricate details of the roof of the cathedral. 

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The details took my breath away, it is no wonder this took 6 centuries to complete. I wasn't even that keen on going up to the Duomo but when my friends who are local to Milan took me up, it was with no regrets despite the countless of steps before getting to the terrace. I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my Saturday morning with my favourite people.

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The weather was perfect. I am wearing a Free People dress, you can find a similar one here


TO PARIS OR NOT TO PARIS

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I'm back from my whirlwind of a week in Paris and thought I'd share some of my favourite moments- and a thing or two that might come in handy if you're heading to the city (one that does not involve the Tour Eiffel).

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Stroll through Jardin du Luxumbourg early in the morning, with croissant and latte in hand and enjoy the gardens before the rest of the city wakes up.

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Eat...at Ellsworth Paris. One of my favourite meals. Fried chicken is amazing. Had the most beautiful plate of sardines. I never want to stop coming here. Ellsworth currently offers the best brunch in Paris and opens for lunch and dinner on the weekdays. Make reservations. Please. (I just don't want you to miss out..!)


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Paris is all about the windows and balconies. So take a gazillion photos of them, and on them when you get the chance. Eat breakfast on the balcony. Smoke on the balcony. Drink wine on the balcony. Dance on the balcony. Kiss on the balcony.

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In Paris, Airbnb > Hotel. It's all about the Parisian experience after all. *Ps, don't forget the balconies!

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Explore the hood. Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Le Marais. Montmartre.... You never know what you find. ......

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Especially when you find courtyards like these....

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......which lead to cocktail bars like these....

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Drink wine, eat frites (or fries as we call it) and people watch for hours. Al-fresco style.


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Make sure you eat in Derrière... then finish the night in the bar next door, Andy Wahloo.


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God... I can't say it enough! I love Paris.... I love it, I love it, I love it.


TAKING MOROCCO

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I am thrilled to finally be able to share these images and my experience from one of the most unforgettable adventures I had in Morocco. It seems only apt for me to bring 2015 here on Missingavenue to a close with a destination that has since defined me and not a day goes by where I am not thinking about the beauty I saw throughout that one week right in the heart of summer. Morocco was more than just another holiday for me, it was everything I had dreamed of and everyday I was presented with fresh new perspectives, scenic landscapes, fortress cities, heartwarming and souls. I had never felt more myself than I had during that time I was there. This is a place that is a world of it's own, and one that's filled with happy accidents.