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Golden Sunflower Fields of Saraburi

During the December holidays of 2014 (goodness, I’ve kept this story much too long), a good friend of mine invited me to visit her and explore Thailand. She proposed a grand roadtrip, to see Thailand from the eyes of a local. All the way from Bangkok, then across the northern border to Laos.

I was keen for a change and always up for adventure, so I packed my bags and took her up on the offer. And I have to say, all my expectations of Thailand and Laos were blown away. I was totally impressed, had my eyes open to a whole new world and absolutely fell in love with Thailand and Laos.

One of the main highlights of this epic road trip was when my friend brought me to Saraburi district. She had heard by word of mouth that there were gorgeous fields of sunflowers that were in full bloom during November and December. It was northeast of Bangkok, just less than 2 hours drive in north central Thailand. So off we went!

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We set off from Bangkok city early in the morning and drove along theย PhatthanaNikhom-Wang Muang Road. I was really quite surprised to see that there were many convenient rest stops along the way. And I never expected Thai food to be so exceptionally excellent, even at rest stops! This simple bowl of noodles, fish cakes, pork and fried dumplings was perfection.

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We drove along winding roads, passed by lots of rice fields (they were empty since it was off-season) and finally when the yellow sunflowers started to come into view, I couldn’t help but be completely thrilled. Just by the roadside, there were fields and fields of sunflowers. And the best thing was, there were no crowds of people or tourists.

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I can see why the sunflower is the symbol of Saraburi province. The fields were glorious. The farmers usually grew rice but during the off-seasons they planted sunflowers as a substitution crop.

The farmer and his family had set up a little stall in front of the fields. He sold some fruits, sunflower seeds and snacks. There was no entrance fee. He let us walk around freely and take as many photos as we wanted.

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Having never seen any sunflower field before, it felt quite surreal to me to walk through the sunflowers and take in the view of golden yellow against the green hills and blue sky.

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Have you ever been here before? Comment below and let me know how your experience was! ๐Ÿ˜€

Here are some other related posts on Saraburi and the sunflower fields!

From 10best: Has good expert tips on using the train if you don’t have a private car to get around.

Get to know Saraburi: other sights to see around Saraburi.

A Saraburi Travel Guide

 

 

 

 

Fresh Blooms at Pudu Ria Florist, KL

If you’re in Kuala Lumpur and need to put together a bouquet or want to learn how to make a terrarium; this wholesale florist warehouse is a good place to go to. Really huge, lots of flower varieties and plenty of gardening tools.

I couldn’t resist getting into the chilled room and be up close with these colourful beauties. Here are photos from my blurry mobile camera and some from the Canon EOS 550D (50mm lens).

Details on the location and contact are below ๐Ÿ™‚

Pudu Ria Florist Official Facebook

Pudu Ria Florist Official Website

Directions:

Hiking at Legendary Bukit Tempayan Pisang

My friends and I decided to be adventurous and hike at the hill with legends of princesses, were-tigers, dragons and where war was waged between celestial beings.

It wasn’t too difficult to hike the trail up to the observation point (especially since I have a very low stamina). Took roughly over an hour to go in and out. The view of Pulau Muara Besar from the observation point was rather nice.

The dirt trail was narrow and the forest vegetation was very thick. Would recommend only going hiking in a group to be safe. There were two caves that we checked out along the trail: Gua Radat and Gua Harimau.

A Celestial War

As the folktales go, this hill was inhabited by celestial ‘Bunian’ princesses that possessed magical stones of light. A war broke out between these celestial princesses against the guardians of Mount Kinabalu (in neighbouring Sabah, Malaysia). It was said that the Bunian princesses used earthen jars with banana stems as a sort of cannon to shoot with. When the war was waged, it was said that people could see lights coming from the hilltop.

Apparently someone made a film out of it in Malay…though I wouldn’t be too keen to watch it. Looks unappealing to me. Here’s the link to the trailer.

Tiger Cave

Gua Harimau means Tiger Cave. Legend has it that a husband and wife were travelling along the way and at one point, they were somehow separated. When the husband looked for her, all he found were shredded clothes and blood. The husband ran to a nearby village and gathered a search team. When they came upon Gua Harimau, they found the wife was already dead having been attacked by tigers. The husband slayed them butย  due to his grief he ended up committing suicide soon after.

Gua Radat

Radat Cave was named after a man called Awang Radat who visited the cave on the nights when the full moon appeared to meet a Bunian princess. Seems he had supernatural powers too and married the princess.

 

You can read more about the legendary folktales written by Rozan Yunos hereย or from The Borneo Post here or from Sutera here.

Sunset Cruise in Langkawi

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It was my first time visiting Langkawi. From the first glimpses through the taxi windows while en route the the hotel from the airport, it looked quiet and green (quite like Brunei). I was there for an annual company meeting for a week. On one of those days, after an exceptionally tiring meeting; the company had scheduled a cruise on a large sailboat.

While the sun was slowly beginning to dip lower towards the horizon; we boarded a ferry at a jetty and were brought to the sailboat.

It was rather impressive but again, all I remember was being very tired and wanting to rest but finding no place to sit. It was also rather cramped for space to move around as there were so many of my colleagues aboard the boat.

The novelty of being on a sailboat was still wonderful. They served us some finger food and drinks as we celebrated the long service awards for our colleagues aboard the ship.

I sneaked a look at the captain’s cabin, how surreal. We sailed around and took in the orange, violet and pink sunset and the small islands’ sillhouette against the horizon.

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I wonder if I will ever have such an experience again. It was so beautiful. Langkawi was incredibly chill.

The Blue Lake of Brunei

Clear, blue, peaceful and a little other-worldly comes to mind when I went to Lugu Lake in Tutong district. A friend of mine got me to try out stand-up paddle boarding (a.k.a. SUP) and the location couldn’t have been better.

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I had the fear of murky waters, snakes, crocodiles, mosquitoes, etc. but was quite surprised to see that you could see all the way through to the bottom of the lake. I was even more surprised not to see mosquitoes or get a single mosquito bite while I was there.

It was really weird to see trees at the bottom of the lake (since it was originally a forest but got flooded with rainwater after construction started on the housing area nearby). Definitely other-worldly.

A lot of people come here to dive and swim too but it doesn’t get too crowded (at least for now).

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Would definitely recommend a day out here with friends. Just bring your floats or sign up for a SUP class (Steve the instructor is really nice, taught us well and took lots of photos and videos of us!).

Related Links:

Official website for Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Brunei

What’s At Lugu Lake?

Paddle Boarding at Lugu Lake

Modern and Stylish JinHold Hotel

This hotel had a clean, industrial and minimal design that changed the vibe of my recent trip to Miri, Sarawak. When I walked in here, I thought to myself, “Now this is a real vacation!”

Here are some photos I took to share with you! (I greatly regretted not bringing my camera, so I apologize for these blurry camera phone photos.)

The architecture already looked like it was from a major city like Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. Very 4-star rating worthy.

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I couldn’t take a photo of the clean and cozy room because the moment my family walked in, they sprawled themselves and their stuff everywhere (and you wouldn’t wanna see that!) You can check out the hotel’s official website to see the rooms. Here is sadly, just a shot of the bathroom sink with the amenities.

A good hot shower in a hotel is very important to me and I can say that the rain shower feature gets my approval.

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Checked out the 2nd floor area where the swimming pools, golf putting green, hammocks, laundry room and gym were.

The swimming pool was so inviting! There was a kid’s pool too and it even had a little waterfall feature.

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They have hammocks!

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This laundry area makes waiting for your clothes seem chic.

At the ground floor lobby, there was a simple water fountain, library and the Restaurant Mak.

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And because it was Christmas, the obligatory tree lit up with all its decorations was a beautiful sight.

The only small disapproval I had about the hotel was that the complimentary breakfast could have been better in quality and taste.

The security was also not yet properly set up; you could go up to the floors and the basement car park without needing to scan your keycard. Hope they set that in place soon.

Would definitely like to stay here again.

Related Links:

Official Website for JinHold Miri

EcoPark by Night

Locals call it the Eco Park. It’s official names are Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas or the Sungai Kedayan Eco-Corridor.

It was officially opened to the public in October 2017 and it was certainly a grand affair in conjunction with celebrations for His Majesty the Sultan’s birthday celebrations.

Went for a nice evening stroll here and enjoyed seeing the liveliness in Bandar Seri Begawan. The pathways were busy with people jogging, kids cycling or rollerblading and some hawkers selling food and drinks along the way.

You could rent a regular bicycle, tandem bicycles or even electric bicycles; in all shapes and sizes. You could bring a picnic blanket and rent some soapy water and wands to blow lots of bubbles for the kids to enjoy.

It was nice to walk along the Brunei river and have a great view of the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque and man-made lagoon.

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Overall, a nice hang out place when you’re with family and friends ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be posting about having a picnic in the Ecopark in the daytime so stay tuned!

Related links:

Sungai Kedayan Eco-Corridor

Sunday Morning in BSB

His Majesty Launches Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas

Rural Japan: Kagawa Prefecture

I had the opportunity to intern at Kagawa Medical University for 3 months. This is the exploring that I did after just arriving the day before. Living in rural Japan with no Japanese language proficiency was a fun experience!

Continue reading “Rural Japan: Kagawa Prefecture”

Jonker Walk: Heritage & Leisure

If you are in Melaka and looking for a place to walk around at leisure to take in the sights, eat all the good food, chillout in a cafe, have a drink by the river, do a bit of shopping, see colonial architecture and take in a mix of cultures; then Jonker Walk is the place to be.


A friend introduced me to chicken rice balls at Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball restaurant. Tasted alright, not exceptionally different from other chicken rices I’ve eaten.

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The pictures below are at the Swiss Garden Hotel Melaka.

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Here are some more photos from my walk around Jonker Walk on my second visit to Malacca. This trip, I had more time to roam and visit cafes.

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Gotta stop by The Daily Fix cafe for sure! My friends liked the salted egg pancakes especially.

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There was the one-bite durian puff! The auntie recommended to eat it in one bite so that the yummy filling wouldn’t spill all over you.

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Portuguese egg tarts were also a must to try.

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Teaser: Western Australia

While I was onย my family trip inย Western Australia, I took a some videos and lots of photos. It was a tight schedule and I forgot to pack my camera! (Sorry for the low quality phone captures). Hope this little 2 minute video will be a bit of a teaser for you. I’ll go into more detail on each place in upcoming blog posts so stay tuned!

P.S. video was put together using Filmora.

Travel Bites: Melaka

My first impression of Melaka was colourful, chill and slightly hipster. Jonker Walk is easy to stroll around and cafe hop. I could spend a whole afternoon just wandering and taking pictures of the buildings and eating good food. I felt it was easier to walk around compared to Georgetown, Penang because it was much smaller but still jam packed with sights to see.

My Malaysian friends told me that Jonker88’s famous Gula Melaka is a must try. The sticky sugary syrup had the signature smoky flavor. So good over the shaved ice. Melaka was super hot during the day time so it was perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunday Morning in Bandar Seri Begawan

My first post is dedicated to rediscovering my home ground, Brunei! The ‘Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures’ located on Borneo island in Southeast Asia.

Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) is the capital city and on every Sunday morning, it is exceptionally  vibrant and bustling with activity. With the roads closed and car-free from 6am to 10am, people are able to walk freely, set up stalls and organize some fun activities. The Brunei-Muara district office set it up as ‘Bandarku Ceria’

It was around 7.30am. The humidity and the sun had not yet unleashed its full potential but I was thankful that I had plenty of sunblock on as I joined a throng of people making their way on foot after crossing the police roadblocks.

Spontaneously decided that I must ride a bike too. #sunday #bandarkuceria #brunei #latergram

A post shared by Alyssa L. (@lyslyslys18) on May 9, 2017 at 8:51pm PDT

Continue reading “Sunday Morning in Bandar Seri Begawan”