Elephant Sanctuary, Chiang Mai | Thailand

I’m a huge animal lover, and Chiang Mai is definitely well-known for it’s many rescued elephants. Riding an elephant might seem like a pretty awesome bucket list, but supporting such act is cruel to these amazing animals. We opt for a day giving the elephants a much deserving spa, and get to know them up-close.

We were picked up by the driver, who whisk us and 6 others from different hotels and race on our way to the sanctuary. It was about an hour drive up north, and definitely was a pleasant ride. Nothing more.

The moment we arrived, we were greeted by some decent hot pad thai, fruits, a bottle of water, and some ‘uniforms’ for us to change into. If you don’t want to do that to look nice on picture, remember – your clothes(and shoes!) are possibly garbage after. I opt to look ugly ūüôā

My princess!

We were thought the way to sense the mood of the elephants, the way to feed and engage with them properly. We were all given a big bag of bananas, and are on our way to get to know them. Honestly, it was such a joy just feeding them, and I was told that you should talk to them as they do recognize your voice and that would be useful when we bring them for their walk into the jungle.

What happened after this, I could not capture – but it was such fun throwing mud onto the elephants, giving them the well deserving spa scrub in a heavy downpour. Did I say, this is not the best season to go to Chiang Mai? It rains almost the entire day!

After that, we lead them back to the pool, and jumped in with joy. Brush, brush, and brush here we go. The elephants are so much fun in water and the baby elephant, ‘Jackie Chan’ just goes in for a dive and around.

#Traveltips : Take less photo yourself and just enjoy the moment. High risk of drowning your phones and cameras unless it is waterproof, but I highly doubt it is elephant-proof. They literally weigh a ton(s)!

Love,
Alyphantslove

Chiang Mai, the hidden gem in Thailand

Hello, I’m back!

It’s been a while since I have blogged, maybe I have very little to talk about, or perhaps just too lazy to ‘be in the moment’ and document things a little lesser. Either¬†WAY, I’m back – and fresh from a family vacation to Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai.

Traveling from anywhere in Asia, Chiang Mai is a great short weekend destination, and definitely have tons to offer. Here is a short guide on how you can spend 3 days in Chiang Mai at ease.

#Traveltips : Do go on a weekend, as I loveeee the Sunday Night Market. 1.5km of markets with very unique, different things to see, buy and eat.

There are tons of markets in¬† Chiang Mai, but most isn’t really worth the time (yes, I went to a few for a peek but to no satisfaction post going to the night market!).

Day 1 : Arrived in time for lunch or dinner, and fit in the night market! Wonderful place to eat, shop, and experience!

Day 2 : Start in the center – walk around the old town and you will be seeing temples after temples..but probably not all in 1 day! (You can, but it might be really tiring and you miss the little things that makes each unique!)

Day 3 : Take an excursion outside the city! We chose an Elephant sanctuary tour to get close to elephants without harming them in the making. Avoid riding them!!!! *check it out on Klook, or there are plenty of travel sites that offers them.

Day 4 :Back to temple time and go up the famous Doi Suthep! On a good day, you should be able to see the entire city pretty clearly. If you are into a good view, head up there!

I’ll be adding more details around each individual day and amazing food we have tried and tested, so check out my other posts on Chiang Mai!

Love,
Alyvds

Lat Tali Lat , Damansara Kim

I’m really lucky to be a Damansara girl, because chances of finding new cafes and restaurants around this area is like finding mushroom after the rain.

I past through this quaint little cafe with a pretty quirky, memorable name: Lat Tali Lat(is a childhood game everyone knows bit probably never plays anymore unless you’re 5, in the 90s) perhaps once too many times.

I’ve always wanted to try it but the timing isn’t always right. They are open only at 11.30am till 3pm, reopens at 6pm till 10pm.

Finally, today is the day, and I must say am pretty happy I did.

The interior is pretty cute, with colourful lanterns and homey decorations around.

They gave us a bowl of cookies whilst we wait for food. How cute!

I ordered the buttered chicken with fried pao, along with a pretty well-known dish here, moo-ping ( pork satay). Both dishes are done well, and I particularly love how juicy those satays were.

Mum ordered their weekend only Laksa with ribs. It’ really good but might be too spicy for some. Bolegnese was very homey, and Thai tea was really good and not overly sweet. Surprised! All and all, Good experience and good food! Definitely would visit again.

Price :$

Location :

73, Jalan SS 20/11, Damansara Kim, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

Cheers,

Alyeats

Pullman Phuket Arcadia , our favourite playground

So we got married at Pullman Phuket Arcadia a few years back, so coming back here was an amazing walk down memory lane (pun intended) along  the protected Naithon beach.

Firstly, we were welcome back with much love: a platter of fruits ornately arranged in a cubic shape, alongside with an actual cubic.

Main pool view
View from our room

We love the surrounding beaches too, from the Sirinat national park where we did some light snorkeling and Banana beach for some serious waves, and just lazy time in the pool.

Beach along Sirinat National park..

The breakfast spread in Pullman is amazing, from Bloody Mary stations, proper waffles, Thai noodle soup, ham, and many more.

Thai soup noodle
Ham. Enough said..

Bloody mary station

For cheaper food option, right along the beach are at least 10 Restaurants if not more. One of our favorite recurring ones are great for grill seafood and everything Thai : green and yellow curry, Tom yam, sticky rice, banana fritters, and more. Couldn’t go wrong even if you point randomly on the menu but they do serve some Russian food which we did not try. Nope, not in Thailand (at least for me).

Grill goodness~

Cashew chicken. Tomyum, Vege (half eaten cos I can’t keep their hands off!)
Mango sticky rice

All and all, the perfect weekend getaway.

TravelTips: Taxi is cheap to Pullman  but metered taxi

Check it out : www.pullmanphuketarcadia.com

Love,
Alyvdstravel

Matsusaka beef : Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M, Osaka

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big foodie, and visiting Japan definitely satisfy much of that!

Two years back, I have made a trip to Kobe to experience the hyped Kobe beef, and the hype was indeed true. This time around, we set our goals to try out Matsusaka – the Japanese black beef, to see if we need a pitstop to Kobe. Boy, we were not disappointed. In fact, it was so great, that we did it twice!

We picked Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M, and picked the platters to share.

We chose the platter for tasting with 6 different parts that comes with vegetables as well.

Firstly, to grill the wonderful meat and vegetables, we use the fats for Matsusaka beef.

Amazing food in the making.
The garlic rice was awesome. Really simple, and great.

To mix it a little, we ordered the Japanese Black pork as well. It’s pretty good but no match for our love of Matsusaka beef.

Japanese black pork.

The room (all dining are private) was really small, so unfortunately the moment we ask if there was any table – the waiter eye us from top to bottom. We were lucky we fit the bill.

The second time, we visited the branch Р .We ordered the same platter, but with a few different parts in it. Just as good, just as fatty(the right amount) and delicious.

Their Yuzu sherbet was also really delicious, and I completely forgot about my reservation note – to celebrate my Mum’s birthday. The waitress came in with an awesome birthday cake/dessert – and made that day a really special evening.

Top notch on the services, and food – amazing and memorable.

#Traveltips : Make reservation to avoid disappointment ; because despite having quite a few branches, each can accommodate perhaps not more than 10 groups of guest.

Check them out : http://www.matsusaka-projects.com/english/
Price :~ 15,000 -20,000 yen per person.
Ambience : Cosy 
Rating : 4.8/5.0

Cheers,
Alyvdseats

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

On the last day of our Japan trip this year, we have a good half day to kill. I have always been a huge fan of Aquarium, and Osaka’s Kaiyukan is something special.

We took a short boat ride from Universal Studio via the Captain Line, and the ticket was slightly reduced when purchasing it with the Kaiyukan’s entrance fee.

The moment we enter, we were greeted by a beautiful walkway; tunnel-shaped tank with amazing rays and fishes.

Next, we took a quick escalator, going all the way up to the top, and move your way down slowly. Firstly, we saw the Japanese forest and see some of the tiny small-clawed otters, salamanders and crabs- before moving down towards the jewel of the aquarium.

The beauty. Star of the Aquarium.

From sea otters, seals, sea lion, capybara, penguins, to whale sharks. WHALE SHARKS!!!! The aquarium is definitely amazing to walk around , and the interactive exhibits was great for kids and adults(yes, touching sharks and rays, seeing ringed seals so close – that was amazing!!).

It takes a good 2 hours around the aquarium on a weekday ; possibly a little more over the weekend. I’ll definitely come back again in the future!

Look at Patrick Star~~~

#Traveltips : There are tons of luggage storage locker ( cost 700 yen for a big one) so it is quite convenient to make this our last stop before flying! Bigger and easier storage would be the ones before entering the aquarium outside the souvenir store.

Check them out : http://www.kaiyukan.com 

Location : 1-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato-ku, Osaka City 552-0022

Hours : 10.00am – 8.00 pm
Fee : 2,300 yen for adults, 1,200 for kids.
         2,700 yen with Captain Line ferry ride ,  one-way

Cheers,
Alyvds

Pike place market , Seattle

Pike place is a market with charm from the 80s. Every store around it is a gem, with very authentic and marketplace buzz.

I particularly love the Beecher’cheese store, the spice shop, the many fruits and vegetables store, the pasta store, oh my it’s heaven for foodie!

Walking to the market from waterfront
the original (third?) starbucks with super huge queue…

Beecher’s cheese curd in the making..

The best mac n cheese~~ yummz~~

Pasta store with amazing, even exotic flavour~

Spice heaven here in MarketSpic

 

Variety of tea to choose from!

I can’t do justice with the amount of things I’ve seen and those that I’ve not had the chance to try out, so I’ll definitely put that on my list for a redo. There are many restaurants and musicians around, enough to make you spend many hours here exploring!

#Traveltips : If you really want to go to Starbucks, be sure to be really early as the queue gets ridiculously crazy!

#Traveltips: Get some light bites instead of sitting in a restaurant. Tons to  try Рie some of those fresh seafood, mac & cheese, and so much more!

Check it out : http://pikeplacemarket.org/

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle

I was fortunate enough to visit Seattle for the second time in 2 years, and this time around, me and my girls bought a City pass and did our very best to maximized it.

Chihuly Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly will always be one of my favorite gallery. I just love the art and emotion, the movement and interpretation on every  single piece that is so carefully(or lack of it) put through and I love it all !

Greeted with a playful display at the entrance~
Me for scale on this super impressive massive structure!

It’s so beautiful, inside and outside – I’m beyond words.

You can watch the demonstration of glass art making, and it was really entertaining and informative as well.

#Traveltips : Check out their website just in case you may be disappointed by some private events.

#Traveltips : It’s very beautiful in the dark too, so go a little late if you want!

Location :305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA
Pricing : Get the City pass!!

Love,
Alyvdstravel

Boca, authentic Portuguese food | Singapore

I’m a big fan of Portuguese food post our road trip last year. No, I’m not talking about what you eat in Nandos. Like, the really good Portuguese food. ¬†I found this gem behind my office by chance, and have been a big fan since.

One of my favorite dish, the Octopus leg is done amazingly well, along with many note-worthy appetizers and bar food. The steak with Portuguese sauce was good, along with the main highlight – the Portuguese tart. The Portuguese tarts is to die for, as nice as the one we have had in Belem, the original Pasteis de Belem.

Lovely fried salmon appetizer ~~~
Octopus leg with sauteed onions and spinach.
Steak with Portuguese sauce.
The Portuguese tart, dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon powder.

Great ambiance, service and wine. Definitely recommended for a romantic eand ladies night.

Ceramic birds everywhere!

Check them out ; www.boca-restaurant.sg

Price : $$$
Location : 6 Bukit Pasoh Road, 089820 Singapore

#easyrecipe | Fried noodles with scallops

So happy to be back in the kitchen after eating out a lot these few weeks. I usually improvise with what I have in the fridge, so here goes – a simple recipe for fried Mee Sua (it’s healthier than yellow noodles, and the texture are pretty good in soup or dry) with scallops or any seafood you like!

I’ve prepared the ingredients as below, and you can start cooking from clockwise.

imag0374
Use the ingredients from clockwise.
  1. Heat the oil, and lightly fried the onions. Next, add in the corns as it takes longer to soften. The mushroom goes next, as it gives up quite some water into the mix which helps getting everything cooked evenly.
  2. Add in a pinch of salt, tiny pinch of garlic powder to the mix, and let it cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add in the vegetables (kai lan in my case) and 1 spoon of oyster sauce and mix well.
  4. Toss in the scallops, and flip it around for another 3 minutes or when the color and texture changes.
  5. Add in the egg(s), and break it under low heat, before adding in the noodles.
  6. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes, and it’s ready to serve. Quick and easy!
imag0377
Walah~ simply fried Mee Sua.

#Cookingtips 1 -Make sure the heat is maxed when add in vegetables – as some vegetables on low heat may give up a bitter taste.

#Cookingtips 2- Cook the noodles in boiling water separately for 3 minutes before running it under cold water to remove the powdered taste from the noodles that would add thickness to the sauce. It helps to give it a more chewy structure as well.

Enjoy~!

Love,
MiniChefAlyvds