#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.


MILANO


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Wearing Maria Stanley Frades Dress and Adia Kibur Caitlin Earrings- all from Shopbop.

Ciao! From Milano! I can't say it enough how delighted I am to be here with some of my best friends, and most importantly, being able to get a local experience from start to finish. Like hopping onto a cute little fiat rental thats available all over the city, having a picnic lunch in Parco Sempione and falling asleep on the grass whilst being surrounded by unbelievably good-looking Italian boys sunbathing.

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I've been walking like crazy in my Soludos and they've been so helpful in getting me around the city. I can't tell you how genuinely comfortable these are despite the wedge. Get something similar here.

I'm excited to share more images from the city alongside a little guide to some of the spots I will be going to together with Shopbop. So stay tuned! These were shot in Brera, one of the most beautiful, and evocative streets in Milan. Known for being home to artists and bohemians in the city. It is now full of small boutiques selling apparel, art and other knick-knacks. I loved it and it is a must visit in Milano. 

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. 

#COPENHEAVEN

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Summing up the last of my travels for 2015, I headed back to Copenhagen. The city that has my heart, that gave me complete peace of mind and closure and that I have found myself to obsess over. It’s like ever since I visited for a first in September last year, everything I find out that is Danish fascinates me and I simply cannot stop. I was a completely different person leaving Copenhagen last Fall and revisiting this winter- now stronger and happier than I have ever been in a long time. 

This time around, I was lucky to have been able to experience a slightly more local perspective of this city. I reunited and stayed with my friend Mads who showed me around, introduced me to everything possibly Danish and was the best companion. To end off the trip, I stayed at the gorgeous Avenue Hotel in the lovely neighbourhood of Frederiksberg. Humble, cozy and everything I could possibly feel about ‘hygge’ in a place- I absolutely loved my experience and couldn't have done it any other way.

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My stay at the Avenue Hotel was lovely- the interiors were everything I had dreamed of an authentic Scandinavian experience. It's a little cozy boutique hotel off Frederiksberg and I love that it was right in the centre of a buzzling neighbourhood so I got to experience how Danes went about their everyday lives. I was sipping tea amongst locals in coffeeshops nearby, strolling in Frederiksberg park and it was so great that the hotel offered bikes for rent to go around this bike town. Being able to rest and recharge in my room was something I looked forward to everyday, with it's fluffy sheets, a hot bath and a cute view of the hood. I would wake up ready and excited for new adventures in Copenhagen and there would be breakfast waiting downstairs- rye bread, half-boiled eggs, butter and granola and hot tea... Just everything I need for the perfect start. 

I am humbled and grateful for my stay at the hotel, for the lovely staff who made me feel right at home and went the extra mile to take care of me seeing that I was not well. Being alone anywhere can be daunting.. and I am so glad that I chose the Avenue Hotel to be my home for those couple of days. It was the perfect place for me to get myself in the right frame of mind, after a full day of self-exploration new perspectives. I loved every minute of it. 

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BLUE TOWN

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I made it to Chefchaouen last week and it was nothing but a dream come true. My entire time in Morocco has been a dream and I still feel the need to occasionally slap myself. Chefchaouen in particular was a surreal moment, I had come across the small town a couple of years ago in an article online and was so curious about it. An entire town painted blue. And to think that it is real. We drove what felt like forever from Fes with our guide, Ismail, and got to mingle with some locals, see them out and about their daily routines, mixing with tourists alike who were so mesmerized by the blue town. It was the perfect balance, away from the hustle and bustle we experienced in Marrakech. Although tourism has definitely made it's way there, it felt authentic. We heard the loud calls to prayers and rings made by locals which added to that experience and saw locals shopping for fresh produce at their daily market.

Chefchaouen is a magical little village perched just below the northeastern Rif mountains of Morocco. The powder blue accents and narrow lanes were beautiful and it just felt like such a mystery to me. In 1920, the Spanish seized the town in 1920 and in 1930, Jewish refugees painted the everything from white to blue. The blue is also said to make the town cooler and every spring, villagers apply a new coat of blue paint we we have learnt from Ismail.

Morocco was very daunting and overwhelming in the beginning. In Fes and Marrakech, we would get so lost in the Medina and the thousands of stalls in the souks. Chefchaouen was a lot more peaceful, cleaner and we felt a lot more secure. It is undoubtedly said to be one of the safest and cleanest parts of Morocco. I was lost for words and could not be more thankful to be able to finally see this place for myself. I wish I could have seen more, so another trip is definitely back in order, we were only there for a day trip but I would have loved to be able to stay some of the quaint little hotels and guest houses. This place is a must-see in everyone's lifetime and I am so glad to be able to share my experience here.

*Ps, we dined at Restaurante Tissemlal in Hotel Casa Hassan and it was one of the best meals I had during my time in Morocco. The beef tagine was to die for and so were the kebabs or brochettes as they call it in French.

TEMPLE OF DAWN IN THE HEART OF THE CITY


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It's almost Spring here in London! I'm thrilled about it and it brings a big grin to my face whenever I pass a blooming tree or bush, like I am ecstatic and life suddenly feels full of joy and happiness again. I'm weird. But they say that is what the gloom in London does to you. To be honest, I haven't even felt the gloom that much here, so it's easy to say I've been very comfortable and very, happy. I miss the heat! I can't remember the last time I was sweating the shit out of myself apart from going through thousands of market stalls in Chatuchak Market in Bangkok. Or enjoying a hot bowl of Pork Ribs Soup for breakfast in a stuffy hawker centre in Singapore. It feels like it's been too long, and yet, I don't want to go home, unless it is for a holiday. My fondest memories holidaying in Asia usually come from time spent in Bangkok. So I thought since I have some backlog of photos from my time there last December, I'll share this set from the time I visited Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn.

I think for many Singaporeans who frequent a city like Bangkok, we never really fully appreciate how much Thailand is such a cultural and religious city. We go there for the weekend markets, the breathtaking malls and the epic food. When I suggested to a friend that I really wanted to see Wat Arun for myself again, we were more than ready to spend a morning not shopping, or not hanging around at a restaurant (seems like that's all we ever do in the city). I think it's been at least 10 years since I've been a tourist in Bangkok. Going to a touristy place, taking a gazillion photos, absorbing the beauty and grandeur of the temple amongst other tourists with cameras strapped around their necks.

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This temple, is breathtaking. One of the reasons I never really bothered with temples in Thailand whenever I went is because I was brought up a Christian. I was curious about the photos I had seen of the Wat Arun Ratchawararam, or the countless of times I drove past. It is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Thailand, located on the west of the Chao Phraya River. What blew me away after panting my way through the steepest slopes of steps I had ever climbed was the beautifully encrusted porcelain all around the stupa-like pagoda. I learnt that the towers of the temple are decorated with seashells and bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China. Thailand is such a religious country, and it really feels nice to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city like Bangkok at one of their temples.

I won't go into details about the history of the temple but as touristy as it sounds, it IS stunning. And it is a fun activity to do with friends and family climbing up and down the steep steps and enjoying the view of the city from the top. Access Wat Arun from the Chao Phraya River, so you enjoy a quick boat ride sipping on coconut juice you can get from any of the stalls around the river, and then spend a few hours admiring this beautiful place.

If you're heading to Bangkok, make sure you check out my guide here

LIFE SO FAR IN LONDON

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Photos by myself and Bryant

Life in London so far has been very surreal for me. Every morning, I wake up in my cozy little room and still feel the need to slap myself that I am no longer in my Singapore bedroom that's filled with bits and pieces I've collected since I was a child and the random pieces of furniture I am not allowed to get rid of. It was always a mess. I am now finally waking up in a space that reflects me, that I am now solely responsible for and damn, it feels good being able to do adult things. I still need to figure out the wash and maybe get my hands on a taser or rape alarm just in case of emergencies but other than that, I can say London has been treating me too well. I am thankful for my friends here, and friends and family further away from where I'd like them to be. I really did think once real life began, it meant everything was on my own now. It kind of is but having friends who almost never let you do things on yourself has been a blessing in disguise. Its only been three weeks but we have our routines and I'd love to share them.

Sunday mornings (or whenever we get up in our hungover selves) are meant for Victoria Park. I buy a cup of Sri-Lankan spiced chai from The Pavillion and we stroll through the park, watching the cutest of families enjoying the outdoors. We buy some bread and feed the ducks. They get aggressive once in awhile but we always end up leaving with our stomachs hurting from so much laughter. I always shout 'eat it, bitches!' whenever I am throwing bread at them as if I am the queen. We then usually head to some kind of market or we'll stroll to Lauriston Road, which is a little street full of cute little shops and restaurants. 

Weekends in London are exciting simply for that reason. One that we recently checked out is Broadway Market which is somewhere along London Fields and goes on every Saturday, small little shops, coffeeshops, food stalls and random knick-knacks with good music.  

Sundays are for the Columbia Road Flower Market, one of my favourites. We usually lunch nearby after spending the afternoon making our way through hundreds of people buying flowers. It's as squishy as it can get but so much fun watching everyone. I then head home to make my flowers for my room. Recently, we had Spanish tapas at Laxeiro's, a quaint family run restaurant does a pretty mean paella. 

Museums are everything to me. I'm sad I haven't got to visit a lot of my favourite ones since being here due to a pretty tight schedule. But I got to check out Guy Bourdin's exhibition at Somerset House last week and it was amazing. 

Dishoom will always be my favourite spot for a meal in London. So much value for money, great food and atmosphere. I talk about it everyday and am so glad we finally got to have a meal there after having to give up several visits due to the long wait. Congrats on becoming one of London's best eats! I'll do a post on Dishoom soon enough, I hope. And spam everyone with loads of food porn. 

Friday nights are always house parties at my place. I'm lucky to have awesome housemates who cook great meals together with me and we'll drink and dance all night. Weekend nights are usually spent at Eat Tokyo or other Japanese restaurants, then drinks at someone's crib. We either talk the night away or head out dancing at one of the clubs along Soho. 

I'll work on a proper guide to my favourite spots in London soon but for now, if you're in London, these are great and I hope you enjoy them!

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