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A little bit brighter / Bali, Indonesia

It was December 2015. My friend Chacha and I thought of going far from home for a holiday. Since circumstances did not permit it, we ended up with Bali as the destination for our first exploratory trip together. And thank goodness it turned out to be the perfect alternative for us. The trip itself gave us 17 days of discovering the amazing gems in the breathtaking land of Bali. Bali is truly just one of its kind. The beauty, the people, the culture, and what we personally addressed as the “goddess” ambiance all came together to welcome us with open arms. The laid-back atmosphere and tranquil environment went beyond our expectations.   Our first destination was Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan. It is an island not far from Bali, approximately 40 minutes of ferry travel time from Sanur beach point. The Lembongan and Ceningan areas are still in the process of land development. We took that as a huge advantage for people like us, who would like to discover a sense of cultural origin in a …

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The City of Tomorrow / Dubai

For someone to grow up in a city like Singapore, it’s tough to feel homesick when you travel to United Arab Emirates, Dubai particularly. I remember the flight ticket to Dubai was affordable (and I believe it’s still the case now) and that made my trip even more worthwhile. Truth is, Dubai is a still city in progress. It’s not as modern and cosmopolitan as Singapore or London in my opinion, but it’s growing at a rapid pace just like any other metropolis. For those looking for the novelty of U.A.E, fret not; it still offers its own kind of charm. Going from places to places in a rented car, we started the journey with an evening in the desert. Golden sun, musical wind in the sand dunes, and a magical view of nothingness. We took relaxing camel rides around while watching the setting sun linger on the horizon. And the one thing that Dubai could promise us during our stay was the fine sunny weather, which promises majestic sunsets, too. There was no better …

one day

Oneday Wallflowers / Bangkok, Thailand

One of the many things to love about Bangkok, Thailand is being able to buy relatively affordable but still exquisite flowers. Case in point would be Oneday Wallflowers, a flower stall located in the Sukhumvit Soi 26 area. Much should be written about this shop, but like it’s soft-spoken owner florist Lux Suriyakumphol, the dainty creations he produces does the gentle marketing for the business. The fresh-picked and high-quality flowers are flawless for all occasions. The blooms and greens in Oneday are imported from Bangkok’s biggest flower market before being arranged into memorable handiwork for their clients. Apart from the colorful beauties, the shop also sells succulents, dubbed as the perfect plant for forgetful gardeners as they only require easy care. A good thing to note is that Lux is an architect, which means that he is very much hands on with everything about the shop’s offerings. Visit Oneday Wallflowers shop and delight in the diverse floral arrangements and potted plants on sight. And there’s always the pleasure of walking back toward your place, your …

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Solitary / Bali, Indonesia

It all started with two words: why not? That rhetorical question gave me my solitary adventure in Bali November of last year. My cousin just came from the island from her backpacking trip-around-the world and she had nothing but praises for the renowned tourist attraction. She said it would do me wonders to travel alone and just let myself be in the ‘Island of the Gods’. I have always travelled with family and friends and deciding to forge ahead by myself suddenly gave me an unexpected thrill. I had money to spare, time on my hands, and a resolve to know myself better, so why not? Thus began my most cherished season to find courage within me and beauty around me. Admittedly, the allure of this Indonesian tropical paradise has been enhanced with Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir (adapted into a film starring Julia Roberts), Eat Pray Love. But as I would find out, the charm of Bali is not only due to its breathtaking sunset beaches, mystical temples, and spa clubs; its real staying power …

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Privé / Singapore

Privé offers a laid back alfresco dining experience amidst a lush garden setting of the refreshed Chijmes. This standalone pavilion features natural furnishings and charming decor details that add to its French vibe. The distinctive round structure encourages patrons to look out and enjoy the greenery past its walls. The glass walls enable guests to do so without having to sacrifice comfort as one can opt to stay in the air-conditioned hall. Still, it is highly advisable to experience the relaxing atmosphere of Privé out in the open. This quaint restaurant offers casual Western cuisine coupled with fuss-free service. Their abundant choices of pastas, pizzas, and all-day breakfast will vie for your attention, along with their signature items of gourmet burgers, milkshakes, and the famous eggs Benedict. From their picturesque socializing area right down to their photogenic food dishes, Privé seems to be the best location in the city central for a memorable alfresco experience. 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996; +65 6337 7810; chijmes.com.sg/prive/ Words by Evita Limlengco Photography by Franz Navarrete

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Nature’s soundtrack inspires / Hua Hin, Thailand

Cities have their charms, but I always find myself drawn to the open landscapes and nature, mostly to recuperate and clear my thoughts. One of my commendable spots for such an activity is Hua Hin, a haven of serenity in a town of Thailand. Walk around Hua Hin and you can find people, sometimes with a book in their hands, sitting by the shore and watching the waves, and listening to the tranquil soundtrack of the ocean. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, located an hour away from Hua Hin, is heaven on earth with waterfalls, caves, white sand beaches, and limestone caves that will leave you wanting more. Laem Sam Beach, accessible either by foot or by boat, gives you plenty of space to roam freely with its perfectly white sandy beach under your feet. The accent of the place seen in its combination of tropical palm and pine trees. En route to the beach, we hiked around the shore to the peak of the smaller mountain and marvelled at nature’s beauty. In front …

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No such thing as bad weather / Mount Rainier

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” -John Ruskin After three days of sunshine in Portland, we drove to our rented cabin in Packwood, Washington. Along the way, we met with bouts of rain, which felt like a sign of the coming two days we would spend just outside Mount Rainier National Park. The plan was to get a couple of days of hiking in before heading back to Seattle. I was especially looking forward to Skyline Trail from Paradise, which was a 5.5 mile trail that would take us four hours through views of Mount Rainier’s peak, Nisqually Glacier, and valleys of subalpine wildflowers. Alas, the weather on Rainier had other plans. The days we spent in and around the National Park were heavy with fog, and almost always raining. Looking back now, it felt like nature’s way of telling us to rest. Since parts of Skyline Trail were snowed in, we took …

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Between Cities / Japan

If I had to pick a favourite country, Japan would be it. With that being said, I’ll proceed with an obviously unbiased account of my trips there. Japan to the average person is mainly known for anime and sashimi, but let me tell you this: I don’t watch anime and I am averse to raw fish. So how is Japan my favourite country if I don’t indulge in these two things? Well, it’s their impeccable attention to detail that I find fascinating. I challenge you to find another Asian country that takes design and aesthetics more seriously than Japan. In Japan, it seems like no expense has been spared in making things look good and working efficiently. Traffic light consoles, directional signs, and even trashcans are well-made. This attention to detail is most apparent when you use their subway systems. You’ll find that trains arrive on time, down to the exact minute. Ah, the trains. You can get to almost any town by rail in Japan. I liken the train rides to a flipbook, where …

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Oneday Hostel / Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok’s eclectic accommodation scene offers travelers plenty of quality for their baht. Young, sleek, and vibrant, Oneday Hostel is a designer boutique spot that’s rebranding the whole concept of staying at hostels. Priding itself in exuding a certain sense of sophisticated inspiration, Oneday’s industrial-meets-rustic design is both relaxing and exhilarating. This hostel offers dormitory-type accommodation and private bedrooms. Their snazzy communal area feature upholstered leather sofas, inclusive computer stations, and a cool breakfast room where people are encouraged to take their slow time. The exposed brick walls style is certainly an interesting feature and can be found in most rooms. With its Sukhumvit Road location, Oneday patrons are assured of being near where the action is, and yet a distance away to give much-needed privacy. The hostel is walking distance from the BTS Phrom Phong Skytrain and a stone’s throw away from some of the capital’s famous eating joints, street food galore, ultimate shopping, and bustling nightlife. When you’re done with your exploring, have a sound sleep in your comfortable bed to wake up refreshed to …

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Wayfarer Guest House / Melaka, Malaysia

For travelers looking for inexpensive accommodation, staying at guesthouses is becoming a popular option. And why not? Many guesthouses, usually remodeled family homes, are situated nearby downtown areas and tourist destinations. Such is the case for Wayfarer Guest House at Melaka. This beautifully-designed, family-run place is located in the heart of the historical city of Melaka. Apart from its great location, this airy place also offers patrons unobstructed, stunning views of the Melaka river from its balcony rooms. They have 8 cozy but spacious rooms ready for occupancy- all attached with the modern comforts of your own bathroom, hot shower, air-conditioning, and free wifi. The guesthouse features lovely timber floors, wooden shutters, and interesting bits and pieces of furnishings that’s historically artistic. The details of the place are geared to give guests that aged, rusty impression that is both warm and charming. Next time you find yourself in Malaysia, do stay at Wayfarer Guest House and see how relaxing it is to feel right at home in their surroundings. Lorong Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia; +60 …