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Featured Travel

Exploring Nanjing Part II

December 4, 2017

I’m back to share more about my overdue Nanjing trip and I wanna start with my favourite part of the trip. As some of you may know, I’m a Christian but I respect all religions so when I heard that we are visiting Niushoushan Cultural Tourism Zone aka Buddha’s palace, I was pretty excited. I like anything related to history (for the 1000th time haha).

Does it not look like Europe or something? I was shocked by how modern the architecture is!

I haven’t seen anything so grand in a long time and the detailing of the sculptures plus thoughts that were put into building up this magnificent site was just mind-blowing. I particularly like the Usnisa Palace and it was interesting to have my first vegetarian buffet!

Usnisa Pagoda!

For the first night of the trip, we were staying in Gongtangtou Homestay which is located in a serene, off the track village. I’d highly recommend you stay here for a night. We started the morning in their cafe with floor to ceiling shelves of books and whisked into the aroma of coffee, basked into the greenery in the day and ended the night with a dinner prepared by the hosts with their local catch. 

You’ll be shocked by how many beautiful spots there are in Nanjing for nice photos. Talk about golden hour and oriental background! If you’re looking at learning paper-cutting, clay figurine and shadow play from art and craft masters, you can do that at Ganxi Mansion!

Being a frequent traveller to China, this trip to Nanjing really opened my eyes to another side of China ; somewhere more cultured, historic and a good blend of old meets modern. I’d definitely love to visit again and this time, I’d make the Nanjing massacre memorial hall top on my priority list! Followed by dumplings, iced plum juice and more chinese food!

Lastly, a big thank you to Nanjing Tourism Board for organising this trip and Holiday Inn Nanjing Aqua city for making my stay such a comfortable one! I hope to be back again soon (:

If you’d like to find out more, you can click on these links :
Facebook: Travel Nanjing
Instagram: @travelnanjing

Sophia Chong

Featured Travel

Exploring Nanjing Part I

October 11, 2017

When I first heard about going to Nanjing, I was half excited half apprehensive. Half excited cos I love history and nothing says history better than Nanjing city, and half apprehensive cos I’ve been to China many times and I was a little afraid it would be like Guangzhou (where I always go for work trips). Well anyways, I’m back and I can safely say I really like the city and wish I had a little bit more time to explore more sites on my own. Nanjing strikes a contrast to other cities I’ve been to in China. It’s sanitary, people are nice and their museums/temples surprisingly have a very contemporary touch to it which I love. At some point, I didn’t even feel like “China” at all. Not to mention, they have a lot of local delicacies which I’ll briefly bring you through in my photo diary below. If you’re not a fan of overly oily or mala kinda chinese food, then this is the place for you! I love how lightly stir-fried their dishes are. I hope through this first segment of photo diary, I can make you feel a little like you’re in Nanjing with me too!

That’s not all. I visited some really jaw-dropping sites which I’ll share with you in part II (:
On a side note, I don’t think a lot of people know but Scoot does fly direct to Nanjing and it only takes about 5 hours so it’s very fuss-free no transit flight. Hotels and b&b are readily available. I stayed in Nanjing Aqua City Holiday Inn this time and the location is unparalleled. It’s right smack in the city with lots of malls surrounding, and walking distance to some major sites like The Qin Huai River and Nanjing DaPaiDang!

That’s all for now, be back soon!

Sophia Chong

Featured New Zealand Travel

Lake Taupo & Acacia Bay villa

May 25, 2017

We spent the weekend hitting the roads to Lake Taupo, 4.5 hours drive from Auckland city. We, or rather I needed an escape from the city and bask into New Zealand’s famed nature and Lake Taupo seems like one of the best choices in the north island. Lots of greens, cows, sheeps and horses along the way which I really enjoyed. NZ has such beautiful skies that every sunset is so unique and beautiful. This blog post is done up in a way where I want to express myself from “the moment” so I’ve little scribblings on every photo which either express how I felt at the moment the photo was taken or little details of it.

River leading to Huka Falls. On the way to Taupo, you will see New Zealand’s longest river, The Waikato River. We did an hour hike along the river near hula falls and I probably breathed the freshest air I’ve ever inhaled there.

Moving on, we drove half an hour from Huka Falls to Orakei Korako which is is a highly active geothermal area most notable for its series of fault-stepped sinter terraces. You can find lots of mud pools and geothermal pools (not for swimming/soaking tho) there.

Cute little sheeps everywhere!
Fun fact : Did you know that NZ has the highest density of sheeps per unit area in the world? There are approx 27.6 million sheeps in NZ and there are only 4.6 million human population. SHEEPS RULE THE WORLD!

The balcony which I spent every morning drinking my coffee. It would be a perfect dinner/breakfast spot during summer.

I was very blessed to stay in an incredibly gorgeous and spacious lakeside villa with breathtaking view of the lake and mountains during my time in Taupo and I’d highly recommend it to anyone especially if you’re on a honeymoon or if you’re travelling in a big groups (cos it can fit about 10 people comfortably). I’ll spare you the details for now and feast your eyes with pictures (:

Sleeping in the master bedroom with a floor to ceiling glass window is the best cos I stargazed to sleep and woke up to a scenic view of the mountains. Can’t describe how soothing that is for the soul.

Stone bathtub just outside our room

If you had been catching up on my Instagram stories when I was in NZ, you’d notice that Jin and I are such a cooking couple. We love cooking together and eating together to a movie so we couldn’t resist the BBQ pit in our courtyard. I have to say it was a challenge to bbq in 10 degrees celsius so he did most of the work while I stayed indoor most of the time :p

We love spending time like this. Food wine music movies and conversations. 

And one hell of a kickass movie room!

Staying in this lakeside villa certainly made our road trip a better one. We loved coming home to such a big yet cosy heated house, with stars as our ceiling and our favourite jazz playlist playing throughout the house with their home sound system. The villa is  secluded in a very private and safe estate, and is very accessible to supermarkets and cafes within 15 mins drive. There are 4 bedrooms so it can comfortably fit a big group and you can use the facilities at the point including tennis courts, a petanque area, 2 private boat ramps & access to private beaches.

One thing that we really like is that the place is very tastefully decorated with nice art pieces and ornaments. The kitchen is also furnished with good quality and sufficient cutleries, pots and pans, condiments and sauces! Yum!

Here’s the link to the villa if you’re planning a trip to NZ/Lake Taupo. Highly recommend!

I just got back to Singapore yesterday and I’m so jet lagged so I’ll be back soon (:

Sophia Chong