The flag of Turkey
Istanbul, despite all the headlines of social unrest recently is actually a city full of beauty. Istanbul is a place where Europe and Asia meets. As a result, the mixture of cultures from the east and west can be identified easily. Istanbul was the capital of the once prominent Ottoman Empire and now the modern country of Turkey. I visited Istanbul in the winter of 2013 and I fell in love with the city straight away. In this vibrant metropolitan, you can find many centuries-old mosque, churches and markets that are intricately decorated. The locals are friendly and always ready to help. At the heart of the city, Istanbul is packed with modern restaurants, shops, galleries and nightclubs. It was all very exciting but escaping to the outskirt of the city definitely gave me a new perspective of the city. I took a day trip by boat to a fishing village called Anadolu Kavagi nearby. (Link to the article about Anadolu Kavagi’s cats HERE) The boat also toured down the Bosphorus Strait where the suspended Bosphorus Bridge. It was refreshing to be out at sea and breathe in the salty breezes.
The Bosphorus Bridge upon completion in 1973 was the 4th longest suspension bridge in the world. Two British engineers, Gilbert Roberts and William Brown designed this bridge that extends from Ortaköy to Beylerbeyi. Here are some images of the Bosphorus Strait and Bosphorus Bridge. Enjoy!
As for now, Happy Jetsetting! ✈
The Bosphorus Suspension Bridge
The View Of Istanbul
Sunset at the Bosphorus Strait
Silhouette Of A Seagull
The View Of Halong Bay Is Really Breathtaking
Hạ Long Bay is located in the northeast of the country and it was first listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The beautiful and uniquely shaped islets and limestone pillars are scattered all around the emerald waters of Hạ Long Bay located in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Bay features around 1,600 islands and islets of limestone karsts in various shapes and sizes. Hạ Long Bay (in Vietnamese Vịnh Hạ Long) means descending dragon bay. The sound of ‘Hạ Long’ is similar to Cantonese ‘下龍’, which also means descending dragon. The similarities between the Vietnamese and Cantonese language was one of the things I found interesting while traveling in Vietnam. Okay, back to the place… I thought the islets at Hạ Long Bay were so fascinating because on each little islet there were life. It was covered in green vegetation. I believe the biodiversity at Hạ Long Bay was quite unique, including tropical evergreen, oceanic and seashore bio system.
Another Cruise At Ha Long Bay From Afar.
I visited mainly Bai Tu Long Bay, which belongs to the northeast side of Hạ Long Bay on a cruise for two-days-one-night. On the cruise that my friend Belicia and I went on, the average age of cruisers (not including us) were probably age 55-70. We were definitely the youngest cruisers and people on the boat. Even though most of the cruisers were double our age, it didn’t stop us from having a great time. It actually made our cruise experience better. Bel and I were able to have intellectually stimulating conversations that gave us a new perspective on life, cultures and travels. I felt like I was surrounded by a bunch of loving aunties and uncles that were super chilled and loving life. This bunch of lovely elderlies taught us how to enjoy the life of ‘slowing down’.
Waking Up On My Cozy Bed On The Cruise With This View
The thing I enjoyed the most in this cruise was the breath-taking view of course. We had a huge window from our room that looks out at the stunning view from outside. There were curtains in the room to cover the windows but I slept with them open. In the morning, the first thing that I saw when I opened my eyes was this beautiful emerald coloured sea and bays softly lit by the sunrise behind. I was absolutely enchanted by the beauty unfolded before me and I thought I was still dreaming. The water softly collided with the boat, creating a gentle soundtrack in the background. I could also smell a hint of sea salt, scented from the sea. The moment was glorious. As I rose from my bed, my senses started to grow more aware of all the magnificence happening around me. A deep inhale, alas! ‘It is real, it is happening’ I thought to myself. I then reflected on how marvellous the works of the Creator are and how lucky I am to be able to experience His love for His works. For me, nature is great evidence that there is someone/something greater than all of us here on earth. It is difficult to deny that there isn’t a greater power once I have experienced such marvelousness.
As for now, Happy Jetsetting! ✈
A Tranquil Moment
A Golden Sunrise Complimented By Refreshing Sea Breeze
I Can Never Get Enough Of This View
A Fishing Boat At The Bay
Lok Lok Steamboat (樂樂火鍋)
During my trip in Penang, I got to try a lot of the local foods. Penang cuisine is very diverse because it processes a blend of Indian, Chinese, Peranakan, Malay and Western cuisines. The mixture of cuisines reflect Penang’s image as a multicultural city very well. Most of these local cuisines can be found at road-side stalls, which is also known as ‘hawker food’. They are usually gathered in a cluster, where each stalls sell different type of dishes or cuisine to the neighbouring stall. Hawker food is usually cheaper than eating at indoors restaurant, making it very popular among both locals and tourists. In 2014, it was actually voted one of the top culinary destinations by Lonely Planet. In the photographs above and below, you will notice that there is a variety of food in sticks. These pictures represent a unique Penang-Chinese cuisine call Lok Lok. Lok Lok, in Chinese 樂樂 (which means double joy) derives from the traditional Chinese/ Cantonese hotpot meal, only difference is that the food is served skewered. In a traditional Chinese hotpot meal, the food would normally be cooked in hot boiling water or in a well-seasoned soup. Once cooked, the food would either be picked up by chopsticks or special sieve. However, Lok Lok makes it more convenient for eaters to pick up their food from the pot of hot boiling water. Another difference between Lok Lok and traditional hotpot meal is that Lok Lok’s cooking pot is attached to the eating table.
Be Careful! It’s Hot!
I really enjoy Lok Lok or hotpot meals because it can accommodate people with all types of dietary requirements (apart from the raw diet). The food ranges from seafood and meats to different types of vegetables. After the skewers of food are cooked in the boiling water, the food is usually dipped into a variety of sauces such as satay sauce, chilli sauce and fish sauce. You can tailor it to the taste of your liking, which is also another pro for this type of cuisine. Lok Lok is easy and almost self-serving but there is an element of fun in it as you interact with those you are dining with. There is nothing wrong with eating this alone, but as many Chinese influenced cuisine, this is best enjoyed when one is eating with others. To add to the atmosphere, the prices for Lok Lok are relatively cheap. I ate in a group of four and we stuffed our faces till our heart's content at the price of $50 Malaysian Ringgit in total. (That’s approximately equivalent to $94HKD, £9.80 British Pounds or $12USD)
My Friend Katheleen Enjoying Her First Lok Lok Experience.
Lok Lok Stall Vendor Preparing Food For Customers
How Can One Resist An Unlimited Supply Of Food?!
So where can you find Lok Lok in Penang you asked? I had my first Lok Lok experience in downtown of Georgetown at the Pulau Tikus Hawker Center. The place is open air, so be ready to sweat as you savour every bite of goodness in the never ending heat of Malaysia. Do comment below, would love to hear about your Lok Lok experiences!
Address: Pulau Tikus Hawker Center, Jalan Burma, Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
As for now, Happy Jetsetting! ✈
P.S. Check out my vlog on http://bit.ly/VlogLokLok
I have seen a lot of pastel-coloured sunsets on the Internet and I never really thought that I would see it in real life. Well, that was all changed when I visited Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay in Vietnam. Halong Bay is located in the northeast of the country and it was first listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The Bay features around 1,600 islands and islets of limestone karsts in various shapes and sizes. I visited mainly Bai Tu Long Bay, which belongs to the northeast side of Ha long Bay. On the way to Bai Tu Long Bay right before the evening, I was enchanted by how beautiful the skies were during sunset. I was absolutely captivated by the beautiful pastel colours in the sky. The hues of pinks and blues were ever so pleasing to the eyes. The fresh salty air gently brushed pass against me as the cruise slowly meander its way through the surrounding beautiful scenic wonders. I could not help but let out a deep sigh of awe and wonder. The photographs here do not represent the complete picture of the magnificent beauty of the pastel sunset in Halong Bay but can only offer a small glimpse of it. I hope these photographs will give you a sense of the loveliness of Halong Bay and can entice you to visit this natural wonder.
As for now, Happy Jetsetting! ✈
Looking out at the view from the round windows at my bedroom
Central African Republic Bear by Artist: Patrick Pelenzi
The United Buddy Bears is an art exhibition that promotes the message of living in peace and harmony. Each bear is 2 meters tall and there are around 140 Buddy bears, representing the countries recognised by the United Nations. Each Buddy Bear has a unique design because they were all painted by different artists on behalf of their native countries. The variety of designs represent that despite the diversity, it can be joined together in one work of art. According to The United Buddy Bears website, the bears stand together in a circle ‘hand in hand’, symbolising the future vision of a peaceful world.
Background History: The United Buddy Bears was first exhibited in Berlin in 2002. From then on, the United Buddy Bears has been around the world, such as , Rio De Haneiro, Paris, St. Petersburg, New Delhi and many more.
The exhibition was recently in Penang’s Capital Geogetown, where I visited. The exhibition started on August 28, 2016 and ended on October 31, 2016. I wonder where the exhibition will travel to next!
The United Buddy Bears Official Website
As for now, Happy Jetsetting! ✈
(VLOG Link at the Bottom)
Me standing in between the United States Bear and United Kingdom Bear
(From Left to Right)
Bear 1: Uzbekistan by Miu Mau
Bear 2: Uruguay by Carlos Paéz Vilaró
Bear 3: United States by Bill C. Ray (and Julian Ray)
Bear 4: United Kingdom by Marilyn Green
Bear 5: United Arab Emirates by Ubeid Surur
China Bear By Artist Xiuguo Dong
Xiuguo Dong, who painted the China’s United Buddy Bear, stated that ‘the bear has a funny smile, as he is laughing about all the rumours in the world that might distract us.’
Me Taking A Picture Standing Next to Bear Malaysia by artist IMUDA
Congo-Brazzaville Bear by Simon N' Sondé
My Bear Hug Moment With Bear Of Guatemala, Painted By Artist Mayra Fernández De Schäfer
Kuwait Bear by Thuraya Al-Baqsami
Me Shooting Some Video Footages Of The Colourful United Buddy Bears
My Friend Teresa Posing With The Kyrgyzstan Bear, By Artist Yuristanbek Shigaev
Bear Of France By Artist Bruno di Martino
The design of this bear is very intricate. With 3D painting of the iconic Eiffel Tower along with other iconic French architectures covered in gold.
The Bear of South Korea (Left) and North Korea (Right) Joining Hands
South Korea Bear by Artist Jin Aun Kim
North Korea Bear by Chang Bok Rim and Ik Hyon Kim
A Closeup of the Bear of Finland by Mirka Raito
Me Taking A Selfie With The Bear Of Malaysia
Address: Padang Kota Lama, Georgetown, 10450 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy. (Psalm 65:8)
It has been four years since I visited Fiji. (Wow! How time flies…) I was in Fiji for a service trip but honestly, I felt like it was more of a vacation in paradise. Even though I had to do heavy labour such as moving bricks, cutting down trees etc. I enjoyed every single part of my trip. To be able to spend a week waking up and falling asleep to the sound of ocean waves as background music and shower under a blanket of stars during the evening time is definitely an experience I would do all over again. I was especially struck by how the sky in Fiji can produce so many colours, especially during sunset time. Being a busy urban girl, I was used to seeing smog and tall buildings as my backdrop. But Fiji, showed and reminded me how amazing and alluring nature is. I hope that you will enjoy looking at these photographs of Fijian sunsets as much as I enjoyed shooting them. There is an element of calmness in these images, don’t you think?
Oh, how glorious is Your creation. Everything is just perfect, beautiful visuals and audios that calms my soul.
The Mountains looked like it was on fire because of how vivid the colours of red and orange were from the sunset behind it.
A silhouette sunset photo of me taken in Fiji
(this is the same photograph seen in my very first blogpost, Link here TRAVEL 101)
At the end of the trip, I was convinced that I didn’t want to be anywhere else but in Fiji, staring at the eternally beautiful sunsets. I was sad to leave such a beautiful country, but I am looking forward to visit again!
As for now, Happy Jetsetting! ✈
Me taking a Selfie with the Malaysian United Buddy Bear in Penang
(Keep reading, I have a surprise at the bottom!)
Recently, I took the opportunity of a long weekend to travel to Penang. It was a spontaneous trip and I booked the tickets less than two weeks before I went. I wanted to visit Penang mostly to see my friends living there, but also for leisure just because I have never been. (Well, my parents said that I visited Penang when I was around 5, but how can one remember what the place is like then? Besides, Penang has probably changed a lot since then.)
Admiring a beautiful front porch in Penang
Because of how I have left everything to the last minute, I had very limited time to prepare for my trip i.e. a suitcase or what camera I was going to bring to the trip. I wanted to do something different to what I had been doing before, just like how I spontaneously booked this trip. For my travels, I usually take my DSLR with me for picture taking but this time I wanted to give vlogging a try. I looked into easy and light recording devices and found GoPro to be my best choice. However, it was too expensive for me to purchase one of my own straight away. I also needed a small luggage to hold all my belongings because mine was worn out. I didn’t have the budget for a luggage and a new recording device within such a short time before my travels or the time to shop for them.
Before I lost all hopes, I came across a travel equipment rental company called Rent-a-Suitcase in Hong Kong, where I am currently living. This company rents out not only suitcases and GoPro cameras but Mobile WiFi hotspots, camping & outdoor gears and cameras and lenses such as the 360fly panoramic camera, Olympus OM-D EM-5, Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 and many more.
This travel equipment rental service is perfect and exactly what I was looking for! I was able to rent out a suitcase and camera for less than 7% of what it would cost me to purchase. The rental service is great because I could try out different camera and luggage models if I were to rent it more than once to see whether they are equipment I want to invest buying in the future.
With My RIMOWA Salsa At The Boarding Gate In Hong Kong International Airport,
Ready To Take Off!
All Set For Departure In Penang Airport, Not So Ready To Leave…
Gopro Hero 3+, I Rented This Model For My Penang Trip.
The GoPro Hero 3+ was such a fun toy for recording and picture taking. I definitely enjoyed traveling with it. I have never used a GoPro before this trip, so I was a bit nervous about whether I would be able to learn how to use the device quickly. The staff at Rent-a-Suitcase was so helpful and taught me how to use the GoPro in less than 15 minutes! This rental service also comes with a water resistant GoPro case and a long clutch (like a selfie stick) for video taking.
The GoPro and the GoPro stick makes it very easy for me to shoot video footage and selfies
A Picture Of Me Admiring The View At Penang’s National Park. Taken With GoPro Hero 3+
(More on Penang's National Park coming soon!)
A Selfie In Penang With My Crew
Thanks to Rent-a-Suitcase, I was able to enjoy such luxurious items without blowing off cash on purchasing traveling equipment. The company was quick to reply my queries. The staffs were very friendly and were ready to give advice on their services. The location of the pickup and drop off point of their rental services is located at the heart of the city, which makes them easily accessible and very convenient to locate. Overall, I definitely recommend giving Rent-a-Suitcase a try and a big thumb up to them. I will be using their services again for sure!
Thanks for staying with me till the end! Now for the surprise it is this… drum roll...
My very first VLOG! All footage recorded with a by GoPro Hero 3 +! Please let me know if you like it or not, and whether I should keep doing VLOGS. As for now, Happy Jetsetting! ✈︎
This is a sponsored article, but all opinions are my own!
Cat Enjoying The Attention And Love
Around two years ago, I visited Istanbul during my Christmas break. I spent 7 days traveling around Istanbul with my friends and we wanted to get out of the city and find somewhere less commercialised. From our research, we found a fishing village called Anadolu Kavagi that can only be reached by ferry. We were excited to visit because via the travel route, we can see many beautiful views of the Sea of Marmara as well as the Bosphorus Bridge that connects Europe and Asia. Upon arrival at the Anadolu Kavagi Fishing Village, I was struck by how many cats there were around the island. I later found out that locals welcome cats in the area because they help catch mice and rats from stealing the locals’ marine produce. In return, the cats can also enjoy the fresh seafood harvested by the locals. I hope you guys enjoy looking at these photographs of cats and apologise to those who are not cats lover. (sorry, not sorry. Meow.)
As for now, Happy Jetsetting! ✈︎
Staring Out Into The Distant Sun
The Local Cats Are Friendly And Are Not Shy For Strangers To Pet Them
A local feeding a group of cats. It seems like this was a daily routine because there were a group of cats gathering around this place before the man came out with food.
Cats Enjoying Their Meal
Soaking Up Warmth From The Sun
Purr, I Love Receiving Love, Purr.
Address: Anadolu Kavağı, 34825 Beykoz/İstanbul, Turkey
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On the first day of my trip in Penang, my friend Jaslene’s mum took the crew a tour around the island. Along our mini road trip, we stumbled across a neatly decorated farm called the Audi Dream Farm. In this little cozy farm, there were many small animals such as parrots, rabbits and goats available for petting and feeding. My friends and I chose to feed the parrots and goats, because they were animals we don't get to see everyday. Our encounter with the animals was a lovely one. It was definitely a space to relax in and a sweet escape from the business of the city life. My crew and I visit the farm on a weekday afternoon, so there weren’t many people around. However, according to the lady working there, she told us that during weekends it could get crowded because it is a place popular with local families.
Yellow and Green Parrots
Vivid Aqua Coloured Parrot
Parrots getting violent with each other over food. Didn’t realise when I took this photography until later when I looked back on it.
Little Blue Parrot Taking Its Time Feeding On My Friend’s Hand
Fighting For Food
For more information, check out their Facebook Page
Audi dreamfarm 145, MK B, Sg.Rusa, 11010 Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
As for now, Happy Jetsetting! ✈︎
Some may know Taipei as a place full of vibrant night markets and street foods, others may know it as a city that never rest. But did you know that Taipei is also quite famous for their bakeries? Yup, that’s right. Taipei is covered with bakeries, and Taiwanese take their love for baked goods seriously. Every time when I visit Taiwan, I always make sure I visit the bakeries there and see what new trends they come up with. In my recent summer trip, I managed to visit three bakeries that are relatively well known in Taiwan. I wished I could have the chance to visit smaller, family run bakeries, but sadly I could not because of limited time. Anyways, I hope you enjoy scrolling through the photographs of scrumptious looking baked goods, and try not to droll too much. Happy scrolling!
Taiwan Quinoa, Strawberry and Cranberry Bread
Wu Pao Chun
The pictures above are from the Wu Pao Chun’s bakery. This bakery is an internationally acclaimed bakery with slightly more expensive prices for its produces. However, I would definitely recommend this place if you are up for trying some high class, award winning breads. My family loves the bread at Wu Pao Chun and it is a must for us to drop by every time we visit Taipei. We love the breads there because it is dense and has a good amount of chewiness to it. Taiwan Quinoa, Strawberry and Cranberry bread from the picture above is one of my personal favourite. But if you were to try the bread Wu Pao Chun is famous for, then I would recommend the Taiwan Longan with Red Wine Bread. It was awarded the Silver Price of the Coupe Louis Lesaffre Cup in 2008, which is sort of like the world cup of baking run by the French.
Address: B2, No. 88, Yanchang Rd., Sinyi District, Taipei (Eslite Spectrum Songyan Store B2)
For more info visit their official website: http://www.wupaochun.com/
Sweet Yogurt Jelly Dessert
Century Cake Bakery
The photos above were taken at Century Cake Bakery. The bakery was first opened in 1980 and they now have a few stores around Taipei. I think this bakery is a family run business and it has a very strong local flavour. The bakery target for local customers and the price of the baked goods are in an affordable price range. The bakery have many baked goods that are tailored for local tastes and are baked with local ingredients such as black sesame, savoury preserved duck eggs and red bean.
Flagship store address: No. 552, Section 1, Donghua St, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
Check out their official Facebook Page
Ijysheng Bakery (一之軒)
Ijysheng bakery, similar to Century Cake Bakery is a bakery with over 35 years of history. Ijy first opened in 1980 near Shida Night Market and the National Taiwan Normal University. The bakery was and still is a success. It now has over 14 chain stores around Taipei. Ijysheng bakery offers a wide range of mouth-watering baked goods, and they even sell tarts and cadies too.
The bakery is a success now, because it not only sells high quality breads for day-to-day consumption. It also offers cakes or desserts that come in nicely wrapped packages for gifting purposes. The nicely wrapped gift boxes of baked goods is popular not only amongst the tourists but with locals. In Taiwan or many Asian countries, gifts exchange plays a heavy role in business and personal relationships. There is a saying in Chinese that one should never visit someone empty-handed. Gift exchanges do not just happen during festivals and holiday seasons but also in occasions such as visiting someone’s house for the first time or seeing a friend in the hospital.
First store address: No. 53, Shida Rd, Da’an District Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Visit its official website for more information: http://www.ijysheng.com.tw/
As for now, Happy Jetsetting! ✈︎
Hi Jetsetters, welcome to my blogisphere. I am Esther, your guide for today! I hope you will enjoy this tour of my visual travel diary.
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