Japan – I’ll be back for you.

I’ve been away for a bit – to the land of the rising sun.

It was my maiden trip to Japan! I used to not be interested in Japan mainly because its yet another city, but I was soooo wrong. This entire trip changed my perspective of Japan. In fact, I think I fell in love with the country and every little thing about it… the food, the culture, the clean toilets and the sassy ass washing bidets…etc

Not forgetting the travelling pals! Its our 3rd trip together and I think our group dynamics is pretty interesting.

So our trip features 9 full days of running around – 3 days in Kyoto, 1 day in Hakone, 4 days in Tokyo with day trips out to Chiba’s Disney Sea and Nikko.



The M (Moron) gang! Our M story has come a long way ;P


Temple @ Nishiki DSCN4519

Ichiran Ramen – Kyoto branch! It reminded me of ramen with a sharp chilli spice – Quite shiok really, but my favourite ramen is still from Ramen Santouka.


The famous Kinkakuji – Golden Temple in Kyoto. (Grateful for the sunny day too!)

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We went to Zenrinji/ Eikando Shrine basically for this bridge – entry costed us 600Yen – but so glad there was some autumn foilage to see! (Kyoto’s autumn season only starts in Nov apparently)DSCN4628 DSCN4640


My fellow M (Moron) and I with food in our hands – Kiyomizu dera food streetP1020814


I really like our group pics! Check out the awesome quality courtesy of Veron’s camera.DSCN4670

The famous Kiyomizu-dera temple. The half not featured behind this building is actually under some reconstruction. It was a Sunday so the temple was pretty packed.


Back in our little Airbnb apartment in the Jujo area, southeast of Kyoto station. We would buy lots of snacks from the supermarket and then go back heat them up and feast like kings! This was supper. The great thing about our Kyoto lodging albeit a little out of the way was the fact that it was roomy and had pretty good kitchen facilities!


Our daily outfit shots outside the house!

This photo below is taken at Tenryuji @ Arashiyama. Check out the autumn foilage!P1020933

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We spotted some Maiko and Veron was the most daring to ask for a photo with them! On second thoughts, later on I found out that tourists can actually have a Maiko transformation done in Kyoto… so I wasn’t too sure if these 2 ladies were real Maiko now, cause, why would a Maiko want to be mobbed by tourists at a tourist spot like Arashiyama? DSCN4726

This is my favourite pic taken at the famous Fushimi Inari endless Torii gates! This is also where Memories of a Geisha was actually filmed.P1030073

We headed to Hakone the day after for a very big but secret mission. However, we met with heavy fog and bad weather. (Still kinda pretty though – I love the mystical feel of this) P1030218 DSCN4825

Also, we did not know that all the food stalls would be closed by 5pm! Oh the horror! After a couple of quiet discussions, we changed plans to Plan B… which was to plan to go to the Onsen/ public bath in our beautiful hotel for an hour.P1030285

Well I was supposed to bring Veron there and just enjoy and make sure we were there for a full hour… Back in the hotel room, the guys were busy blowing up balloons.


This was our mission:P1030329 P1030321

And was a success!!!! So happy to them both (Look at Chunkiat’s face!) :) Its always nice when you know both parties in the relationship, and of course so nice to be apart of it all and also witness such a true and sweet moment.


This was post proposal. I really love this goofy pic of all of us, especially Jason, Choon Yew and I at the back being like calefare. hahahah


We headed back to Tokyo swiftly after our epic plan in Hakone – The weather was also not very favourable for sightseeing the next day. I must say I will remember Odawara for 1 thing – their awesome udon and their super cool food market on the basement of the station. The best food I ever had (minus Tsukiji fish market’s sushi) came from here.


Back in Tokyo we did some shopping at Ikebukuro and chanced upon Tokyu Hands!!!! Its a stationary heaven really, I think me and Veron spent 2 hours there and bored the guys out :P oops.

Our Tokyo leg of the trip was pretty hectic – we were awake on most days at 5am or 6am and only back to our apartment (Also Airbnb but not worth mentioning cause it had a couple of issues) at like 9 or 10pm.


For one of our early mornings – we got up at 5am Tokyo time (4am in Singapore) to eat fresh sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market. The freshest I’ve ever had!!! It costed us about SGD 35-40 each, but it was sooooo worth it! I loved how the sushi chefs did not add too much rice to overwhelm the sushi too.


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Then we headed to the famous Sensoji Temple in Asakusa for some sightseeing! It was REALLY touristy.




Our sights that night featured the famous Shibuya crossing and the Daiso store @ Harajuku lol. (Wished we had more time tho!)



We had our stop to Disney Sea in Chiba on Friday (finally it was sunny after 4 days of rain). Because we were bound for Tokyo station from Shinjuku to change trains to Mahaima (Disney Sea stop), we met with rush hour traffic. This was my experience being packed like sardines on a train. Also thankful that Singapore does not have such a situation though we are kind of close.image_1

Minnie! More pics with Veron, will upload when I get them :)

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Managed to catch a beautiful sunset too!image


Jason & I on one of the kiddy rides. :P DSCN5033 DSCN5134

Our last day of sightseeing meant us travelling 3 hours out to this place called Nikko in the Tochigi prefecture, some 100km North of Tokyo. Our main purpose, a glimpse of nature and autumn foilage. We actually rescheduled this day trip to the very last cause the weather wasn’t favourable when we first arrived in Tokyo, and we wanted to go on a sunny day. Thank goodness for the accurate weather forecast!DSCN5140 DSCN5163 DSCN5171

Lake Chuzenji in Okunikko area.DSCN5174

The mountain at the back is called Mount Nantai. Its so conical, don’t you think? DSCN5198

Then it was off to Hangetsuyama, to view Chuzenji Lake from above. and its surroundings. The weather was so good on our way up, the bus driver told us that Mount Fuji was visible from afar! Can you see that little tiny cone in the centre of all the clouds in this photo? That’s Mount Fuji! The tallest volcanic mountain in Japan! So blessed to have been able to see it, especially after terrible weather in Hakone which restricted us from viewing this!DSCN5233 DSCN5238

View from Hangetsuyama’s peak! We’re a bit late for the autumn leaves have already started to yellow, and most of the trees, barren.

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View of the conical Mt. Nantai on the bus ride down.DSCN5314 DSCN5319

Kegon no taki. Oh I love the reds and yellows here!DSCN5326 DSCN5335 DSCN5344 DSCN5354

Last but not least, Ryuzu no taki… Its more beautiful in photo than when we saw it for real… maybe cause we were in a rush. We only had 15 min to view this before catching the bus back to the Nikko station – it was a mad rush cause we had a train to catch.. So maybe we did not find the correct viewing point where other people took their wonderful shots of Ryuzu waterfalls.


All in all, Japan was pretty amazing! And I’d love to go back. Top on my list would definitely be to visit the Fuji 5 lakes or the Kawaguchiko area… and the next if I had more time would be to don a kimono and walk around in one… :) Till my next trip, its time to save up yet again.



Just came back from our family tripper to the Maldives on Tiger Air a few weeks back, but really one of the most memorable trips as a family we had in a long while. :)

The biggest takeaway about Maldives is that no, you don’t have to spend a bomb to visit Maldives! Its actually really affordable now with “Budget Maldives” opening its doors!

The Maldives is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, made up of 26 Atolls. Male is the capital of Maldives and its located on the south of the North Male Atoll. The local island my family headed to is located 35km away from Male, in the South Male Atoll and its called Maafushi Island.

So here’s some photo spam and some details I thought I’d share about local island living in the Maldives!

Flight time’s about 4.5h from Singapore. Customs check and baggage collection were really swift and fast!

The Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is on a separate island called Hulhule Island and its a 10min boat ride away from Male, Maldives. Boat rides are about USD1 to get to Male, and frequency of boats come every 15-20min

We had to catch another boat to the local island of Maafushi from Male’s Villingili Ferry Terminal, so prior to that we went sightseeing! (Which was a bad idea in the midday sun cause it was so hot and the roads were pretty hard to drag our luggage around)

Here’s us at the Friday Mosque, one of the oldest mosques on Male.

This is the cafe street near Villingili ferry terminal. Good to chill out there while waiting for the Ferry cause ferries only come once at 10am and once at 3pm.. and there are no ferries on Fridays. (thats to Maafushi that is)

Bumpy ferry ride which took 2 hours! (And i nearly got boat sick cause of the gasoline smell)

Arrival on Maafushi at 5pm in the evening, just in time for check in and sunset watching….. which was soooo worth it!

The bluish green waters and the orange yellow yolk like sun in the backdrop… woah, unforgettable really, especially after a long day of travel (2h pre flight check in, 4.5h flight, 3h layover for ferry, 2h ferry ride)


Maafushi Island’s a cozy little local island which has only recently opened up for budget travel back in 2009 when the government allowed the opening of guest houses on local islands to boost the tourism economy. White Shell Beach Inn, the inn we stayed for our 1st 2 nights on our trip was the very 1st guest house to be opened on Maafushi island. Currently there are more than 20 guesthouses on Maafushi Island. An average cost per night per room is about USD 60-70 per night per pax.

Most of the locals on the island are Muslim, so there’s no wandering around in swimwear on the island, except for one beach on the Northern/ North West part of the island. This beach is coined by the locals – sexy beach, and is barricaded with wooden screens as well.

The island has an interesting character, even the houses too! Every house has a uniquely painted door and the locals are super friendly. I remember walking around the island and then we saw an interesting fruit in one of the houses and were just staring at the tree with curiosity. Then without hesitation, the guy living in that house happened to see us looking, and he plucked some fruit to let us try.

One of the cute coloured doors!

A view at Maldivian language

Shell picking.. which bro and dad got super hooked on!

A more secluded beach on the North Eastern side of the island.. some tourists & locals go there to chill

Sexy beach at sunset

Beach side dining! Interestingly though, food prep on the island takes 1.5h. So for every meal apart from breakfast we always end up waiting 1.5h before actually eating.

The police station.

Most guesthouses also organizes day trips from USD 5 -40/pax. These activities can be fishing, diving, snorkelling, resort hopping, male tours, local island tours etc. There’s much to do at an affordable price!




Our lodging for the 1st 2 nights of our 5d4n trip.

White Shell sits right at the sea shore, so you can practically hear the sound of the sea from your bedroom, and also at breakfast. (P.S. their breakfast is amazing!!!!!!! Or should I say I really enjoyed the Maldivian cuisine)

Activity board – There’s trips to uninhabited islands, sandbank trips, dolphin trips, fishing trips, resort hopping, snorkelling and diving sessions etc

Happy dad and breakfast by the beach!

Our activities planned for the day was Snorkelling 101 + Resort hopping to Fihalhohi (A resort South West of Maafushi)

Snorkelling 101 was tough cause the house reef was about 3-4m deep and the current was quite strong, making it difficult for most of the participants to be at peace while at sea (especially if the person attending is not really a strong swimmer). The guys at White Shell Beach Inn who organized the session for us had a hard time, cause they had to guide us one by one in the strong currents to the reef and they were also pretty short handed. But really, the reef was nothing short of amazing! I wished I learnt how to dive though cause even on such a small house reef lies so many beautiful aquatic animals, I don’t know what more I’d see if I went deeper (with an oxygen tank). Plus, the quiet of the sea’s pretty calming.

We headed to Fihalhohi Resort later for lunch + more snorkelling because we were told that the resort boasts a shallow and house reef which is also great for beginners and we actually haven’t got enough of the sea yet. True enough, the house reef there was great! It was only chest deep and there was much to see! Bro and I had a great time shell and fish hunting all afternoon. Sadly though, lots of the corals on the edge had been trampled on.

A shot of the corals / fish at Fihalhohi with my waterproof disposable cam!

Water Villas on Fihalhohi resort!

Beach front on Fihalhohi.


We moved to Kaani Beach Hotel the next day (which is just a 50m walk from White Shell)

Hotel view at night, full moon in the background

Kaani Beach has pretty well organized activities, but you don’t get as great breakfast and breakfast view as White Shell. The rooms are better and more modern than White Shell though!

We went Dolphin watching with Kaani beach, which was such an upclose and personal experience.

Here’s the boat driver + helper on our Dolphin trip! These guys were awesome. They even gave us a guided tour of which islands are which as we rode up the atoll.

I think the highlight of the whole trip would be our Maadhoo Island day trip. Maadhoo is an uninhabited island in the South Male Atoll. Basically people go there to just chill by the beach, and the hotel usually organizes a BBQ lunch for everyone.


Pretty awesome 5d4n. Took back loads of fond memories of the beautiful place and lots of nice bonding with my fam too :)