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 🙂

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

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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

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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

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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 –  .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

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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 – ie some of those fresh seafood, mac & cheese, and so much more!

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

 

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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

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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

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#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.

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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!
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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

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Tendon Itsuki | Singapore

Fancy some great tendon ?  You don’t have to go all the way to Japan for it! Ginza Tendon Itsuki ; one of the best tempura place I’ve had in Singapore situated at the friendly Tanjong Pagar.

There are only 2 mains on their menu, the Specials and the Vegetarian.

Specials : 2 juicy chicken breast, 2 big prawns, with assorted vegetables.
I think you know what’s in the vegetarian option.

 

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The set comes with Chawanmushi, Miso soup, and unlimited vegetables. Green tea is amazing here!
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Chef at work~
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The star of the show~!

The art of eating at this place .. #FoodieTips

  1. You have tons of time to queue, otherwise good luck! (Go early, like 11.30am for lunch of 5.30pm for dinner. You would probably make it in time into the restaurant but they won’t take you without a full party)
  2. You don’t need to be anywhere else, because you smell like what you eat. Oil!!!  *they do provide Febreeze at the cashier counter,if it helps*
  3. They only accept cash – so don’t go without!  

PS : If you are still hungry (highly unlikely), head across the street for some Korean Bingsu (more to come about that)!

Ginza Tendon Itsuki
101 Tanjong Pagar Rd, 088522
Hours: 11:30AM–2:30PM, 5:30–10PM
Price : $$

Cheers,
Hungry Alyvds

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Enmaru – The Altitude, Jakarta

Japanese food is one of my favorite cuisine in the world, and so when I was at Jakarta for business, I look frantically for it. Enmaru, at The Altitude was full of surprises to my palate, with a great ambiance and affordable price range.

One note-worthy dish is their Foie Gras Chawanmushi (~7SGD). It’s tiny but mighty ( literally the size of a shot). The yakiniku was great, and you can’t really go wrong randomly ordering from their menu (this, I’ve learnt)!

 

The bespoke, Foie gras chawanmushi ~
The bespoke, Foie gras chawanmushi ~
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Fresh sashimi!
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Beef toungue~
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3 style pork~
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Tender, juicy, duck~
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Juicy, lovely, sword fish fillet!

#TravelTips : I highly recommend making reservations for window seats, so you can enjoy great food and view at the same time.

About Enmaru
Location :Plaza Indonesia, Jakarta
Price: $$ ~SGD40/person without alcohol
Hours : 11am – 11pm (except for Friday)
Ambience : Fine dining
Rating : 4.6/5

Cheers,
Hungry Alyvds

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