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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 (:
Goodnight!

XX
Sophia Chong

Featured New Zealand Travel

Waiheke weekend and how we met FAQs

May 10, 2017

We spent the weekend in Waiheke Island and it was nothing short of beautiful. I didn’t think I would like it that much initially but that was definitely one of my favorite days in Auckland so far. I took a 9.5 hour plane ride last Tuesday from Singapore to Auckland (New Zealand) to visit Jin and I’m here to stay for 3 weeks. He has work in the day so I’m just using this time to reset myself, and do up some work.

So, many of you seem very curious about our relationship so here’s a FAQs since I’ve some free time on hand (:

  1. Is he a korean/kiwi and does he speak fluent English?
    He’s full korean and yes he can speak fluent English cos he lived and studied overseas.
  2. How old is he?
    He’s 29 this year
  3. How tall are the both of you?
    He’s 182cm and I’m 168cm, and we both think our heights fit perfectly :p
  4. He’s so sweet, he’s always cooking for you!!! Can he cook well?
    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES. He makes the best pasta and I love it when he makes me korean food – toppoki!!!
  5. Does he live in Korea?
    Nope, he lives in New Zealand now.
  6. Why is he always so emotionless on your Instagram Stories?
    “I’m a man of many expressions, they just don’t get to see it” quote Jin. He’s just very shy and awkward in front of camera. He asked me if he’s suppose to smile or what haha.
  7. Is maintaining a long distance relationship difficult?
    Well, on my part I wouldn’t say it’s very difficult. Sure, sometimes I wish he was with me to celebrate some moments or a shoulder for me to lean on in tough times. But I think generally we are very independent people and having whatsapp and facetime make things a lot easier. We talk every day and send loads of pictures to each other just to update each other about our lives. Sometimes, he stays on the phone with me while I fall asleep so I feel like I’m sleeping next to him. We are both primarily at the stage of building our careers so some space apart helps to let us grow in different ways together. Although it’s a little expensive to maintain a LDR (air tickets, overseas expenses etc) but we only see each other every 2-3 months so if we spread out the costs, it’s probably the same or even lesser than a regular relationship. Besides, it’s fun that we get to travel to see each other. It’s like going on a holiday! We have only been seeing each other for 5+ months but we have already experienced 4 countries together 😀 Also, it’s interesting to learn about each other’s cultures. I’ve always had a keen interest in Korean politics (particularly North) and I love getting insights from him. So…LDR difficult? Nah not really for now.
  8. Will you move to live with him?
    We’ve briefly talked about this but nope, not at the moment or near future.
  9. Can you speak Korean then?
    I’m learning from him and kdramas hone my skills so I can speak just a little bit now.
  10. How did you guys meet?
    Here’s the question everyone’s curious about! I shall just answer it here once and for all.

     We met on.........Tinder.

    BUT our story is a little different so let me bring you through hahah.
    One fine day, my mum was asking me why wasn’t I dating anyone for such a long time and she was getting a little worried. I told her that I just didn’t have time to be in a relationship and I haven’t met anyone I really like. I kinda do have a type which is tall asian guys who are more westernized (so like studied/lived abroad but can’t be douchy or spoilt at the same time. TOUGH RIGHT?) So I thought ok fine, I’ll go on Tinder. So I saw Jin’s profile and went like hmm not bad, tall quite handsome dress quite nicely and he doesn’t seem like a Singaporean which is good cos that means he probably doesn’t follow me on IG or know who I am at all. After all, I wanted to talk to someone who knows me for ME and not the Instagram girl. At that time, he was in Singapore to visit his brother hence we were able to match on Tinder. But honestly, we didn’t think much of this “match”. We barely texted each other initially and we didn’t meet up and suddenly he told me he was back in Korea for 3 weeks to finish up a project. For some odd reason, we started texting more, almost every night after he left Singapore. And it went on for 2 months. And he still hasn’t came back to Singapore. He did ask me for my Instagram handle, but I just came up with some random excuse that I hardly use IG so no point following. The only thing he knew about me was my first name. Not even my last name so he couldn’t google shit up. I really just wanted him to talk to me without knowing other “unnecessary” stuff about me and so he did. I’d send him bare face pictures but he didn’t stop talking to me. We continued talking every day, sending random photos, created a joint Spotify playlist to share songs we love, drunk called each other at 3am to talk about life, work, family and such. Sometimes, he would run out of his house and talk to me at his rooftop at 3am in 0 degree. And inexplicably, we started getting attracted to each other despite having not met each other before. It felt special, yet weird at the same time? I remember asking my close friends if there was something wrong with me for feeling this way for a guy I’ve never even met before. From “what are you doing”s, it became “wish you were here”s and “it’s weird that we feel this way about each other”s but somehow we couldn’t shake it off. In the end, he couldn’t come back to Singapore cos he had to relocate elsewhere (he was deciding between NZ and Japan at that time) and we both felt like it would be a waste to just let it slip just because of distance. How special and rare was it that our feelings were mutual under such a circumstance. So we took a leap of faith to meet in Seoul and agreed that if we don’t feel the same, we will just take it that we gained a new friend and he was just gonna be my tour guide in Seoul. I was so scared on the plane to Korea. I was scared to death actually. What if he was a creepy guy, what if he turned out to be completely different, what if he was a rapist or a human trafficker. Yet on the other hand, there was something reassuring in the guy I had been talking to for the past 2 months and it must really have been something solid for me to be willing to take the leap of faith. And so it did…he was everything I thought he’d be, if not even better. He was caring, sweet, understanding, good-looking, tall, humorous, weird in just the way I like. And we fell in love almost immediately in Seoul. I fell for his weird antics, his genuine heart, the way he makes me feel when I’m with him and he fell for me ; the me that he doesn’t care about on Instagram, the me without make up and fancy clothes, the me who had accidentally let out a burp on our 3rd day, the geeky me who can’t stop talking about North Korea politics while all he cared about was art and design, museum and galleries, and also the me who loved to do embarrassing things to him in public. So that was how we met, and we still thank God every day for this even though we met on the most unexpected and unassuming platform.

I can’t wait to explore every corner of this world with you. 

XX
Sophia Chong

Bali Featured Travel

Bali with Jetstar Asia!

November 10, 2016

It’s almost a habit now to visit Bali at least once a year since I first stepped foot on let’s say, one of my favourite places in Asia. There’s an unending list of reasons why Bali is so well-loved by many ; the roaring surfer waves, chi chi seafront beach clubs, famed babi kuling and nasi goreng, and breath-taking landscapes. The list goes on.

This time, I flew by Jetstar Asia and it was just a short 2hr 45min flight. I’m a frequent Jetstar flyer and I have to say it’s one of my favourite low-cost airlines simply because of its extensive flight route, good flight timings, reasonable leg space, clean and well-maintained planes and also the range of in-flight food menu it provides.

 It was a late afternoon flight so I got myself some hot meals onboard for that empty stomach of mine (ok, maybe it’s just gluttony haha). I also got myself the emergency row seats which have more leg space. $30 for guaranteed comfort, why not? Oh, just a little tip for you if you’re planning to get the emergency row. Pick row 13 instead of 12 because the seats at row 12 can’t be reclined whereas 13 can!

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Did you know that their hot meals onboard are made freshly daily? Say goodbye to stale airplane food!

I had the Black Pepper Chicken combo while Vera had the Penne Pasta combo and both exceeded my expectation. The chicken wasn’t tough and the black pepper sauce added fragrance to the dish. The penne pasta wasn’t stale nor soggy so we finished our food within minutes!

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During our return flight, we decided to try Ayam Bakar and Shrimp pineapple fried rice but the former two were still my personal favourites! If you’re too stuffed for a full meal, you can always opt for snacks like chips, chocolates and sandwiches. I couldn’t stop munching on these Almond biscotti!!!
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It didn’t take us long before we reached Bali. Nothing some food and conversations can’t do (:

And voila, our first stop was straight onto a boat to Nusa Penida!

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Wearing TJM upcoming JUICESEA swimwear!

During the first leg of our trip, we stayed at Akana Sanur which is away from the hustle bustle of Kuta but near enough just to swing by for a meal. I really enjoyed my stay at Akana ; the rooms were spacious, clean and comfortable, service was excellent and breakfast was good!

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Open air toilet concept!

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Motel Mexicola Restaurant @ Seminyak

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Sunday Beach Club @ Uluwatudsc09687 dsc09696 dsc09701 file_001 file_0022 file_003 file_0033 file_007-11-41-22-pm

Feeling Bali now?

Jetstar Asia is the perfect airline if you’re looking for a holiday without bursting your budget. Like I’ve mentioned earlier on, they have extensive flight routes, good timings, have very little or minor delays, decent leg space (which you can pay a small fee to upgrade if you’re particular about it) and freshly made hot meals onboard! Not to mention, they have many flight deals all the time!

http://www.jetstar.com/sg

XX
Sophia Chong