Annual Tulip Festival near Melbourne – a field of vibrant colours

Bucket List Must Do Melbourne Tesselaar Tulip Festival Cover

This is not the Netherlands, this is Australia!

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Each year during the months of September/October, there are two big tulip festivals. One is in the Wynyard Tulip festival in Tasmania, and the other one is the Tesselaar Tulip Festival in Victoria. The later is only 40km East of Melbourne, which makes it easily accessible by car. Don’t worry, if you don’t want to drive, you could also get there easily by a train which departs from Melbourne, then board a shuttle/bus to get you to your destination.

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This year, the Tesselaar Tulip Festival was from the 8th September till the 4th October. I arrived Melbourne on the 3rd afternoon, which means the only day I could go was on their last day. During the 4 weeks of the festival, they have different events on every weekend. I would highly recommend you to check out their schedule before your visit.

According to Google Map, the journey shall only take approximately 45 minutes. Since it’s not a long ride, I have decided to have lunch at Melbourne first before we head over to the festival.

Well, a 45 minutes journey ended up being a 2 hours ride! Instead of using my Google map on the phone, I was using a GPS which I borrowed when I rented my car. For some strange reason, this GPS keeps directing me to roads that either did not exist, or was too narrow for my 4WD to get thru… Ok, it may also have to do with my bad sense of directions, and lack of skills in driving too. BUT, thanks to the GPS, we went on a route thru the Dandenong Ranges National Park, which was an extremely bumpy, yet fun ride – I encountered a wild deer in the middle of nowhere!! I have no idea where it came from, but it was there, starring at us. So sometimes, a little detour on a journey aren’t so bad at all.

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Oh my deer!!

Finally, I arrived the Tesselaar Tulip Festival at around 3:30pm. The weather was super nice when we got there.

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The entrance tickets are very cute, unfortunately you don’t get to keep them as they collect them at the gate 😦

About 10 minutes after entering the festival, it started pouring, and it was so windy and cold and wet, all I could do (and most of the others as well) was to hide in the shelter to wait for the rain to past by. The weather was not very nice that day, it keeps raining, then sunshine, then raining, then sunshine… but it made the flowers look very pretty, with the rain dew drops on the flowers.

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This is one of my favourite out of all the pictures, just love the dew drops on the flowers, looking so fresh and pretty

Continue reading “Annual Tulip Festival near Melbourne – a field of vibrant colours”

Purple is in the air – Jacaranda Festival in Brisbane

Bucket List Must Go Australia Brisbane Ipswich Goodna Jacaranda Festival Purple Cover

Purple is the color of the month!

Are you ready to be drown in purple-ness? Because this is what this post is all about!! Be surrounded by pretty purple flowers.

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Overview of the park

In the Southern Hemisphere, we are stepping into Summer, and one of the must do in Summer for Brisbanians are to go and see the jacaranda trees! Basically, these purple pretty flowers could be seen in every corner of Brisbane, but of course, there are places which I would highly recommend you to go and visit, such as The University of Queensland, New Farm Park, Kangaroo Point etc. But my favorite jacaranda viewing place must be at Goodna. Each year, they have a festival just to celebrate this beautiful season!
(Where to see Jacaranda in Brisbane – http://blog.queensland.com/2016/10/12/jacarandas-south-east-queensland/)

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Let’s Exercise in Tokyo – Indoor Batting Center

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“Every single strike brings me closer to the next home run!!”

I’ve never played baseball in my life, but believe it or not, one of my must-do  when I’m in Tokyo Japan is actually to go hit some ball! Even though I know nothing about baseball, but it’s actually a very fun activity just swinging your bat and hit the ball (or miss most of the time like me).

Now, you may ask, where on Earth am I gonna find someone who’s gonna pitch, or where are you gonna find the bats? Don’t you worry, we are in Tokyo!! Nothing is impossible here! In Japan, they have something called the “batting cage”. It’s like a golf driving range, except it’s with baseball. All you need to bring is money, and yourself, then you are good to go!

My favourite one to go to is the “Shinjuku Batting Cage” right in the center of Kabuki-cho of Shinjuku. The place is hidden in the little alley behind the Toho cinema at Kabuki-cho, so you may not have seen it around.

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Exterior of the batting center
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How it looks like inside (Credit: Photo from internet)

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A Super Cafe in Sydney – Coffee, Weekend Market, Florist & more all in one!

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“OCD – Obsessive Coffee Disorder!”

If I were to ask you, what are the places that ones must visit in Sydney, I’m sure everyone will answer The Opera House, Bondi Beach, Darling Harbour, Fish Market etc. Well, let me add one more to your list – “The Grounds of Alexandria”. And if you are a coffee lover like me, then there is absolutely no reason why you would miss it!

Travel Australia Sydney The Grounds of Alexandria Coffee Roaster Weekend Market 澳洲必去雪梨假日市集Travel Australia Sydney The Grounds of Alexandria Coffee Roaster Weekend Market 澳洲必去雪梨假日市集

For the Sydney-siders, “The Grounds of Alexandria” is no news to them. It is a “super cafe” located in the inner west city fringe suburb of Alexandria Melbourne. It is not just an ordinary cafe, but one that you could spend a whole day exploring on a Saturday!

“The Grounds” is made up of coffee roaster, café, bakery, bar, restaurant, outdoor garden, weekend market, florist and a mini farm all within this acre of land in Sydney. It is pack all week long, and especially on the weekend, because of the amazing weekend market they have.

Travel Australia Sydney The Grounds of Alexandria Coffee Roaster Weekend Market 澳洲必去雪梨假日市集

Travel Australia Sydney The Grounds of Alexandria Coffee Roaster Weekend Market 澳洲必去雪梨假日市集
Freshly baked mouth watering pastries

The florist was my favourite section out of the whole complex!

Travel Australia Sydney The Grounds of Alexandria Coffee Roaster Weekend Market 澳洲必去雪梨假日市集Travel Australia Sydney The Grounds of Alexandria Coffee Roaster Weekend Market 澳洲必去雪梨假日市集

Travel Australia Sydney The Grounds of Alexandria Coffee Roaster Weekend Market 澳洲必去雪梨假日市集
The very famous rainbow roses

Continue reading “A Super Cafe in Sydney – Coffee, Weekend Market, Florist & more all in one!”

Mouth watering seafood rice bowl in Tsukiji Market Tokyo

Japan Tokyo Tsukiji Sushikuni Uni Sea Urchin Cover

“A seafood diet is the best diet ever – whenever you see food, eat it!”

For many of the visitors going to Japan, one of the “must do” would be to visit the Tsukiji fish market, and to see the biggest tuna auction in the world! In order to do that, you will need to get up super early to line up for one of the 120 spots available each day. I’ve tried once arriving there at 5:00am, only to realized all the spots were already taken. (It starts at 6:00am, and I guess I was too naive to think that 5:00am would guarantee myself a spot)

Without the Tuna Auction, Tsukiji market is still a great place to experience the local Japanese market, and most importantly, to taste the freshest seafood in Tokyo!

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Some restuarants will have live tuna cutting show at the front of their entrance – this usually happens during morning time

One of my all time favourite is this family run restaurant called the “Sushikuni (鮨国)”! It is a small restaurant with simple decoration, nothing fancy, and it’s only got 4 tables plus a few counter seats in front of the sushi bar. But don’t let the simplicity fool you! This little restaurant is one of the most popular restaurant in the whole of Tsukiji, and you are expecting to line up for hours if you come here at lunch time!

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People lining up on a Saturday morning even when it was raining
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Remember this green signage so you won’t miss the entrance

Sushikuni is famous for their “over flowing sea urchin rice bowl” – the sea urchin is literally over flowing from the bowl! What makes this rice bowl so special is, not only the sea urchin is super fresh, the bowl actually contains two types of sea urchin, so you can double your sanctification! Other than the sea urchin rice bowl, they also have many different style of fresh seafood rice bowls, and a-la-carte available.

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Picture menu on the outside of the restaurant with price
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Menu, English version is also available

Okay, back to the main topic – “Over flowing sea urchin rice bowl” – The last time I went there, the sea urchins were both from Hokkaido, one wast the “Bafun uni”, and the other one was the “murasaki uni (purple sea urchin)”. I personally like the “murasaki uni” better as it tastes sweeter, but overall, they were both heavenly delicious!

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Two types or Sea Urchin- LEFT: Murasaki Uni; RIGHT: Bafun Uni

Continue reading “Mouth watering seafood rice bowl in Tsukiji Market Tokyo”

Hand made udon covered in snow? Yummy curry soup udon!

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“Udon know how much you mean to me”

Udon, a long loved traditional dish of the Japanese culture. For those who don’t know what is udon, it is thick noodle made out of wheat flour, and could be eaten hot or cold, dried or with soup. The udon itself doesn’t really have much flavour, it often depends on the condiments and/or soup it is served with.

Just like spaghetti, fresh udon tastes so much better than those readily made one. The texture of the fresh udon are much more chewy, and doesn’t become soggy even after soaked in the soup for a long time.


There are quite a lot of restaurants that serve freshly made udon in Tokyo, but at Shodai (初代), it’s the soup that makes it so special! They are most famous for their “white creamy mashed potato curry soup udon”. Yes, Japanse drinks curry soup!! Curry soup is a more watery version of our conventional curry, and usually it is less salty.

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Famous curry udon with white fluffy potato espuma cream

img_3657-copyAlthough there’s no chunk of meat in the udon, but because the curry is cooked with vegetables and meat, the flavour is very rich. Together with the extremely creamy mashed potato foam on the top, this bowl makes it to one of the must try in Tokyo!

Continue reading “Hand made udon covered in snow? Yummy curry soup udon!”

Meat Meat and More Meat

Travel Japan Tokyo Shinjuku Kaukicho Dondon Yakiniku 日本新宿歌舞伎町どんどん焼肉

“Hi all, nice MEATING you here”

One of my absolute must do thing when I visit a country/city is to taste the local delicacy of that place. I believe the joy of food brings people closer to each other, and it lets you bond with the locals, to learn and submerge in their lifestyle and culture.

“Food is more than survival!”

Due to my job nature, I have been going to Japan on a monthly basis, and most of the time, you travel alone during a business trip, which sometimes makes it hard to eat different type of food. I find myself ended up eating sushi, ramen or ended up in cafes most of the time when I’m in Japan. Last month when I was in Tokyo, I was lucky that an old friend of mine were also in the city at that time, so we’ve decided we are going to pig it out!

Travel Japan Tokyo Shinjuku Kaukicho Dondon Yakiniku 日本新宿歌舞伎町どんどん焼肉

Travel Japan Tokyo Shinjuku Kaukicho Dondon Yakiniku 日本新宿歌舞伎町どんどん焼肉
Getting close with the locals

Yakiniku – literally means grilled meat in Japanese, is a very popular food choice for Japanese people. It is not an “everyday” type of meal, but usually when you have some sort of celebration, or when you want to have a relaxed time with friends over a meal with a beer, then Yakiniku would be the pick.

Travel Japan Tokyo Shinjuku Kaukicho Dondon Yakiniku 日本新宿歌舞伎町どんどん焼肉
A combination of different type of beef, yummmmm

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Hampton Court Palace

Travel Bucket List UK London Hampton Court Palace 01

Keep clam and put your crown on!

We may not all own a crown, but we can definitely go visit a palace, to see and learn about how the royal lives in the olden days.

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West Gate

Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in Richmond upon Thames, and is about 19 kilometers South West from Central London. It was built as a private estate, and was then dedicated to King Henry 8th in 1525. As the palace was built and rebuilt during two different time period, it left the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles – Tudor and Baroque.

The Palace is open to the public now a days, and is one of the many tourists spots in London. The Hampton Court Palace seems less luxurious then the famous Buckingham Palace, but have a more royal touch compared to the Kensington Palace. As this Palace is situated outside of the London city, it is usually less crowded, which makes it a nice place if you prefer some quietness.

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Fountain Court

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Value for Money – French cuisine in Beijing

Bucket List Must Eat China Beijing French Cafe Flo Cover

La bonne cuisine est la base du veritable bonheur – Good food is the foundatio of genuine happiness!

From the same group as the award winning French restaurant Brasserie FLO, Cafe Flo offers a more relaxed and affordable dining experiences in one of the hippest area of Beijing -San Li Tun.

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Entrance of Cafe Flo
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Cute bike decoration at the front of the cafe

Recently opened in July 2016, Cafe Flo on the third floor of Taikooli (Sanlitun) had already attracted many journalist and blogger to write about it. This is the third branch of this restaurant, and is a low-key copy of the popular high-end French restaurant Maison Flo (formerly known as Brasserie Flo).

The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining experience. During the summer season, strong cooling fans are available at the outdoor area, and you could easily spent your whole afternoon under the sun here.

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Indoor seating area

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There are quite a lot of choices of food and beverages in their menu, covering entrees, main course, desserts, and all types of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Their platter for sharing looks extremely delicious, too bad I was by myself and could not try them out.

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A typical lunch (excluding alcoholic drinks) would be around USD$30/person, which is quite reasonable. The presentation may be simple, but the taste is outstanding!

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My lunch

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A Cafe + Florist in the hippest area of Tokyo

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“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a live”

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STOP! It’s time to think what’s really worth it in life

I didn’t really had a life in the last 2 weeks since I had been really tied up with work… Two back to back business trips and tight deadlines for various projects, stressed!! So yesterday I told myself, I must take a break before I collapse, and since I’m in Tokyo this week, I shall use this chance to explore the quieter side of this metropolitan city.

A short 15 minutes walk from the busy Shibuya area, I’ve arrived the Omotesando area. For those who don’t know Omotesando area well, it is one of the trendiest and hippest place in Tokyo, with all the high end luxury boutiques in the area. It is also well known for hidden cafes and restaurants.

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Exterior view of Nicolai Bergmann Nomu Cafe

While I was wandering around the Omotesando area, I came across this florist + cafe place, which is very nice and cool! It’s called the NOMU cafe, which is part of this famous florist Nicolai Bergmann in Tokyo. Just imagine enjoying a cup of nice coffee surrounded by the lovely aroma of flowers… hmm.. that’s exactly how this place is.

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Continue reading “A Cafe + Florist in the hippest area of Tokyo”

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