ALL ABOUT THAT SLOW LIFE

IMG_6343IMG_6322IMG_6418IMG_6399IMG_6408
IMG_6339

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!

IMG_6218
IMG_6488

Find out more about Soneva Kiri here

WANDERING IN CHIANG MAI

CM4-2CM2-2IMG_9330IMG_9328
unnamedCM10-2CM14-2CM7-2CM8-2IMG_9329IMG_9333unnamed-1unnamed-2CM9-2CM1CM6unnamed-3IMG_9332CM11-2CM12-2CM13-2CM16-2CM3-2CM19

I treated myself to a short getaway last week to Chiang Mai and it was everything I had hoped for it to be. It has been more than 10 years since I've last been and my last time there was a lot of touristy stuff done with family like visiting elephant camps and doing river rafting. My friend, Nalinna, who I recently caught up with in Bangkok invited me to stay with her in her home and it was an amazing experience to say the least. I can't say we even did much because there is so much I have yet to see in this part of Thailand but it was me being able to let go of a lot of things that had been happening in Singapore and find peace with myself again. I've always preferred staying with friends whenever I travel to get a more authentic expereince of really experiencing 'living' in a new place so I was really glad I got to spend time with Nalinna and her family in her beautiful home. Her family runs a little curry restaurant called Hinlay Curry at Natwatkate Road and everyday I found myself the most happy just helping out around at the restaurant whether it was plating up dessert or washing some dishes. Its weird to some to think that I took an aeroplane to hang out in a restaurant but I simply loved being with Nalinna and her family. It warmed my heart to see how passionate her parents were to running the little eatery. As for Nalinna, some of you may find her familiar as she calls herself the 'forest wanderer' on Instagram and I'm not kidding when I say this girl truly lives up to that name. I don't think I've ever gotten so close to nature in my entire life and Chiang Mai was definitely the last place I expected to do that. Nalinna is passionate to her craft, so amazingly talented, beautiful and filled with so much fun and energy. Whenever she sees an interesting flower or plant she goes up to it, takes some photos and admires it from afar. She has also explored several forests all over the mountains and I was lucky to spend a day with her up in Chiang Dao. She was such a great tour guide and sharing with me about her time growing up in Chiang Mai and the UK, introducing me to Northern Thai cuisine which I absolutely love and giving me the most authentic experience one can get. I am so lucky. Having been to Bangkok every year for the past 13 years of my life, I found Chiang Mai vastly different- it is a lot more peaceful and all about the slow life. No hustling or bustling. Locals are also less hostile, a lot more patient and friendly. It was a refreshing change from what I am used to and I cannot wait to be back again.

MY GUIDE TO BANGKOK

IMG_5368-2

BANGKOK- Truly the city that never sleeps. This guide is long overdue but I wanted it to be as detailed as I possibly can so that it will be useful for whoever who reads it. If its your first time travelling to Bangkok, then I suggest maybe you grab a sandwich and continue reading. This post is MASSIVE to say the least but I hope you enjoy the visuals and more importantly, the sights, tastes and sounds when you do visit Bangkok whether it is your first, second or tenth time. 

PRETTY IN PINK

IMG_2373IMG_2421

Topshop lace blouse, culottes and heels. 
Still Products envelope clutch.

I was lucky enough to be dressed by Topshop and a couple of other labels for Bangkok International Fashion Week, crazy time with a crazy bunch of bloggers who I now call friends. Rachel from Still Products was kind enough to send me a couple of her handmade leather accessories and this clutch was my favourite, especially in my all pink ensemble for a hectic day of meetings, shopping and shows.

IMG_2438 IMG_2359

I've always loved the idea of being able to support local talent here in Singapore but to tell the truth it's been hard for me because it's usually never my style or just not up to standards. It's exciting to see where Still Products is going, Rachel painstakingly makes all her accessories herself from clutches, pouches and my favourite mini leather tassels. I'm loving the minimalism that's put into her brand which allows all the items to do the talking. I'm really happy to be able to support small start-ups like these so I can't wait to be able to share with you guys the other accessories I've gotten over here! Hope everyone is having the best week so far!

BANGKOK HOUR BY HOUR

IMG_6084-2

11:00 Woke up at the W Hotel Bangkok.
  IMG_6094

01:30 En route to brunch with Natalie, stuck in Bangkok's insane traffic.
  IMG_6153-2

02:30 Lost in Ekkamai, trying to find our way to brunch.
  photoIMG_6240-2

03:00 Finally made it to One Ounce for Onion, had their signature ragu with toasted croissant and some smoothies. Delish!
  IMG_6297-2

04:00 Trying to get ourselves a cab back to the hotel.
  IMG_6338-2

05:30 Watching the girls do their thing.
  IMG_6348-2IMG_6353-2IMG_6359-2

09:00 At the opening of McQueen in Central Embassy with these ladies.
  photo-2

10:00 Goofing around after too many cocktails at Central Embassy.
  IMG_6423-2IMG_6431-2

10:30 Japanese dinner at Thonglor.

Check out Natalie, Nun and Eugenie's blogs. 


BANGKOK THROUGH MY EYES

IMG_5520th2-2th1-2IMG_5951-3IMG_5894-2IMG_5362-2IMG_5931-2IMG_5367-2IMG_5357-2IMG_5485-2IMG_5368-2
IMG_5934-2

All photos by me

I'm currently in Bangkok again having a ball, came here alone, checked into a hotel alone and just explored alone for some of the time and it has been amazing! Being able to have the luxury of having Bangkok so near to home makes the city my second home as all of you already know, I'm obsessed with this city- the arts, culture and just everything. I usually have an entire list of place of places to visit when I get here from new cafes and restaurants to boutiques but this time I decided to take things slow and just enjoy Bangkok for what it is. I ended up photographing a lot of the little things that are what makes Thailand such a unique country, one that stands out from the rest if you ask me. Markets and pushcarts just literally perched anywhere serving the most delicious food, to the friendliest people. The familiarity of it all has just allowed me to really appreciate this city again because we tend to take it all for granted, especially for someone like me who comes here and immediately hits the shops and restaurants. I've been literally eating so much street food, immersing in the culture, making friends with everyone I meet and it has been such a beautiful week. Also reuniting with Natalie and Eugenie who are here from L.A and having so much fun with these ladies. Bangkok, you have my heart!

Working on my revised guide to the city, stay tuned!


Hutsadin Elephant Foundation

IMG_8207-2
IMG_8190-2

Shot in March at the Hutsadin Elephant Foundation, wearing head to toe Zara.

Since we are already past ice breakers, I thought I might share one of the most unforgettable experiences I had in Hua Hin as a kick-start. My dad and I needed a short getaway and Thailand is always the best option, and while Bangkok had always been top of the list for me, we decided to do some exploring, and enjoy some father and daughter time together. So once we arrived at Bangkok's international airport, we hopped on a bus that would take us to one of Thailand's favourite beach destinations. It will filled with tourists and I was shocked to see that all the Thai locals I met were in the service industry. Hua Hin lives and breathes on Tourism alone and it's obvious. The beaches are beautiful but I got tired of it all just after a day. So I suggested a day with the elephants at Hutsadin. It is no secret that elephants are beautiful, majestic creatures. And despite it being Thailand's favourite and sacred animal, it's hard to believe they are also the most commonly abandoned animals in the country. This is due to how expensive it is to care for and feed these creatures. I went to Hutsadin with no expectations, simply expecting maybe a little tour and the usual elephant ride but we were greeted by lovely volunteers who warmingly showed us around the foundation, introduced us personally to each and every one of their babies and gave us abit of background on how to care for the elephants and the people that run the foundation. It wasn't surprising that many of these volunteers were caucasian who came from all walks of life, probably coming to Hua Hin for a retreat and then finding themselves at Hutsadin. It wasn't uncommon so language wasn't a barrier that morning. 

hua2hua3hua1

I was lucky to be able to spend time with Song Khran, the youngest of Hutsadin's 6 elephants and followed him, his trainer and a fellow volunteer to take a walk. Hutsadin is one of those places which provides a lot of space for their elephants which is great and I immediately felt like I was in another world, kind of just like walking on safari. Song Khran was a darling, we got to feed him, he showed us a few of his tricks and just overall learnt so much about him and his personality. I politely asked his trainer if I could have some photos taken with him and he immediately made me sit on him. Oh god, can't tell you how crazy it felt to actually be on an elephant, with no chairs, no rope but just grasping tightly to his hair for support. It was one hell of a ride but one that I would never forget because this big baby sure did warm my heart. My dad and I got our mini elephant show where Song Khran performed for us, and sat on one of the oldest elephants they had through the little 'forest' which the foundation is built on. It definitely was different from the countless of elephant rides I've had growing up as a kid and frequently visiting Thailand. Hua Hin might be a tourism board's dream come true and the perfect beach destination filled with luxurious resorts and perfect blue seas but Hutsadin was what made it for me. We were thrown into an old van to head back to Bangkok and ended up stuck in traffic for nearly 6 hours but my experience at Hutsadin and thinking how surreal it was kept me through. 

The elephants need us and Hutsadin is all they have got for now, if you would like to learn more about the foundation, please visit their website here. It's crazy how expensive it costs to care for an elephant each year. The food is one thing but each elephant drinks about 150 litres of water and showers about 5 times daily. Mutiply this by 6! And during the dry season, trucks are needed to carry the water for the elephants in the foundation. Hutsadin is a non-profit organization and everything goes to the elephants and their mahouts (their personal care-taker). If you are ever in Hua Hin, get your driver to take you to this magical place and let your heart be warmed by their hospitality and these loving creatures. You can even do the Mahout experience which is probably the only reason I feel I have to come back to Hua Hin for. For 1000 baht, you get a very up close and personal, hands-on approach to what it takes to care for the elephants day to day from taking them to walks, giving them their baths, preparing their food and feeding them. Genuinely, Hutsadin is worth it. And so are these beautiful creatures.

Make a donation here.