featured Slider

Ayutthaya, The Fallen Empire

Ayutthaya, Thailand


Excuse my overly-excited opening. That is honestly how I feel. When I am writing this blog post, I still feel butterflies in the stomach. Have I... Did I... Did I just see the Buddha's head with my own eyes?

This is my third time in Bangkok. In 2008, Ayutthaya was a name on the map I hadn't heard of. In 2012, I didn't have enough time to travel there. And 2016, my family and I made a sudden decision to buy the air tickets and fly to Bangkok in a week's time - unexpected, hasty and with limited planning. This time, I made it. 

Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam in the 14-17th century. The city was glorious, wealthy and magnificent, populated with millions of people and foreign expatriates. It was until 1767, when the Burmese army attacked and burned the capital, that brought the end of a golden age. What remains today are monuments with incredible historical values and beauty.

The most iconic view of Ayutthaya, the Buddha's head is located in Wat Mahathat. With a peaceful smile on his face, the Buddha's head was entangled within the roots of a Banyan tree. It must have taken hundreds of years to look like this. Why is it there? Many guesses were made, some believed that thieves had hidden the head for retrieval later but never made it, hence the tree decided to live harmoniously with the statue.

Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, Thailand

Ayutthaya was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 thanks to its rich cultural values. The remains that you see in these pictures used to be the Grand Palace, Chedi and stupas for various religious purposes. 

Many of the Buddha statues were damaged, especially in Wat Mahathat. There are lines of headless Buddha statues in the historical park, leaving only one complete statue in the wide temple area. Some of the structures were badly burned by the Burmese army, some bricks were transported to Bangkok to build the new capital, but some, are still standing tall today as a witness and survivor of the test of time.

Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, ThailandAyutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, Thailand

Ayutthaya is 80km from Bangkok, which is a reasonable distance for a day-trip. Alternatively you can extend your stay and explore more of the city. You can come here by train, bus or van (as listed here on WikiTravel). We chose to go by van because of the comfort, punctuality and ease. We're told by our hostel manager that the trains and buses are usually delayed. To take the van, just get down at Victoria Monument BTS Station, go down of the SkyWalk and find the van company. Trips are really frequent and no pre-booking is required. The five of us barely waited for ten minutes when we were joined by a few other tourists and all of us hopped straight to the spacious van. It took less than 2 hours to reach there, which was just awesome. Wait, have I told you the fare yet? For a single trip, each person only has to pay 60 baht (~RM7), 120 baht (~RM14) for a round trip. That's a good deal!

Once in Ayutthaya, the five of us hired a tuk-tuk which brought us around for a half-day tour. We paid 1300 baht to the driver, which I thought was pricey and I suggest you to bargain further. Alternatively, you can rent a bike to navigate between the temples. Some of the temples require visitors to buy entrance ticket, which is usually less than 100 baht. Our tuk-tuk driver wasn't fluent in English, couldn't explain the places to us and brought us to a rather expensive restaurant for lunch. You might want to take note on these. We didn't really mind because all of us, were too busy enjoying and capturing the beauty with our eyes.

If you wish to experience a different Bangkok, and if you enjoy seeing historical and cultural places like us, I highly suggest you to pay Ayutthaya a visit.

Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, Thailand
My 6-feet-tall brother looking small and my sister offering flowers to the giant reclining Buddha.
Thank you for the good time, Ayutthaya. You give me butterflies, not the touristy-type, not the butterflies I got when I see a pretty view and merely keep pressing the shutter button. You give me butterflies because one, I was able to be here after years of longing. Two, you make me believe that my dreams will come true. You make me believe that things will happen at the right timing.

Borobudur, Ayutthaya. Next up, Angkor Wat. I feel I'm finally ready to be present and appreciate your beauty.    

Flying colours!

A few weeks ago I volunteered in an awesome project. Our task was to paint murals for a primary school in Puchong. Geez what a great job we'd done! The results are super adorable.

I first heard about this interesting voluntary group from my friend Pey Sien. Her friend Mr Jian, is dedicated to providing free mural painting service for primary schools. For the past few years, he and his team had brought magic to numerous children through colours. They're officially known as 凡人壁画自愿组. Interestingly, the founder hasn't come up with an English name for his NGO yet. I'll call them the Ordinary People Mural Painting Volunteer Group. They are the ordinary people who do extraordinary things. 

An engineering degree from UM didn't satisfy Mr Jian. He decided to change his life course to a meaningful one, that is to cultivate and contribute to children's education. Mural painting is a voluntary project that he does apart from his teaching job in Kuantan.

I think all these murals are his designs! He prepared 15 of them, each with a special theme related to love (my favourite was the lion and tapir in the 'Love friends' mural - super cute). Our job was to first sketch the drawing on the wall with chalk, then bring the animals to life with vibrant paints. 

Some friends, even my family, doubted if I could draw. They thought I was there just to clean brushes and pass water bottles. Here's one proof, mum. #achievementunlocked
That happy monkey is one of everyone's favourites! The theme for this mural is "Love earth".
'Love to save money.' Hmmm need to work on that.
At first I was intimidated by the idea that we had to draw 15 murals, in two days. Fifteen baby, fifteen. I had zero experience, zero expectation about how long or how challenging it's going to be. Can we do that? It's our first time. Are two days enough? What if it turns out ugly..?

Well before I even started worrying, things began to come together quickly. Every volunteer was so talented and engaged. The plain brown walls had the first chalk sketches, the first stroke of paint, then the animals started to look animated one after another, touch-ups here and there, all the way to the final outcome... it's amazing. We did it. To be able to witness the whole process is so fulfilling. 

To me this was a good experience in many ways. The inner child in me were running around happily, having a good time with the cute animals and playing with the paint. And the fact that I could actually contribute, and paint, it brought me a huge sense of satisfaction and pleasant surprise.

The gentleman in white shirt is the headmaster of the school. Teachers and parents turned up to help too. The community engagement was amazing.
The amazing people. The corridor behind us is looking awesome now. Hope the children like it.
While it seems like you're giving while volunteering, you gain more than you'd imagined. Along the way, we gain a sense of satisfaction, self-worth, gratitude, new skills, and warm smiles.

Dedicating time and commitment for a good cause is definitely not easy. Let's give a round of applause to Mr Jian and his team for their interesting ideas and contribution. ☀

Someday is today

It's been a while since I write on the blog, in fact it's been a while since I ever write anything. I was occupied with so many things - research, projects, activities, people, events... And I decided to put writing on the bottom of my to-do list. I'll write when I have time, I thought.

So time went by, day by day, week by week... "Just maybe another week then I'll start writing. I just don't have the time yet..." "Or maybe next month when this deadline is over..." "Or maybe one of the nights this week I'll sit down and write. Yeah I'll definitely do that."

Guess what happens?

Nothing, absolutely nothing.

I wish I can tell you proudly that I did it and you look at me and think I'm cool. But that didn't happen.

I was thinking, "Someday I'll have time to do it. Someday." What I did was purely to push it away, tuck it in the bottom of the list and wait for that someday to arrive. Suddenly and miraculously.

You can call me wishful thinking or pathetically optimistic. And I thought I was prioritizing well. Geez I was wrong.

Writing and reading have been my passion for the longest time. When these important things are set aside, it's destructive I'm telling you. I'm unhappy.

To me writing is a way to vent out emotions and opinions. Whenever I transfer something from my brain to paper, I feel more relaxed. Not sure if you know this, but the mind of an introvert is horribly full. I use writing to organize and streamline ideas and thoughts. And quite embarrassed to say, I seldom share my deepest thoughts verbally, even with good friends and family. What I do is write. I write them all out. I'd written so many pieces that I could never share publicly. They're extremely private content and I'll be dead meat if somebody ever reads them. In the few months without writing, my head is so full I'm going nuts. Imagine a person with constipation, for months. The level of discomfort and disgust is comparable to that.

Fortunately time is not wasted. I start to see what makes me happy and unhappy. I'm reshuffling my to-do list and move writing to a higher spot.

I took a while to understand and realize some super basic concepts - which is ridiculous but I'm an idiot who could only learn from mistakes.

1) Prioritizing doesn't mean totally giving up this for that, it means managing your time efficiently so that you can handle the most important things first and then complete the other things that you wish to do. I got this simple message by observing a few women and mothers who manage their time like a boss. The only way to have time to do what you want, is to find time for it.

2) Sacrifice can be over-rated and detrimental. Don't lose yourself completely in pursuit of other things. And if you stop doing what you really love, you're not going to be happy. An unhappy person is unattractive and unproductive. Taking the women that I observed as example, I think those who manage to keep their passion and interest while handling career and family, seem happier and prettier. Don't lose yourself.

My dear, that someday will never come if you don't move your butt. The bottom of the to-do list can never be checked if you don't squeeze time to do it.

Someday is today.

If you're already aware of these and practicing, I congratulate you. You're brilliant. Oh I sound as if I'm enlightened and in an ultra-zen mode. Of course I'm not! The fact is I am a timid, stubborn and pessimistic person. But I'm starting - at least today I am writing a short piece like this on a Sunday afternoon. I hope the momentum will last.

Thousands of photographs are sitting in my hard drive, untouched. I think they deserve to be seen. Here are some photos of my trip to Melaka in June. We spent a wonderful weekend there. I also did a short video of the homestay we stayed, the Riverside Lodge.

The Chee Mansion, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Melaka.
Built by the first chairman of OCBC as a dedication to his father.
You can guess a person's taste from his dwelling.
Calligraphy and agarwood at 沂水閣沉香书艺廊 YSG Excellence Sdn Bhd.
Sunset at the ever-so-crowded Jonker Street night market.
Villa Sentosa at Kampung Morten. It's a living Malay house museum.
The Coffee Jar. The best thing about Melaka is having my friend Qiu Ying as our guide. She knows the Malaccan history, local legends, and cool friends who run adorable coffee shops like this.
With the girls in front of The Coffee Jar.
It's a debate of the century - which is the best cendol in Melaka? To me the best is the one by Bibik House.
A beautiful frame and a beautiful house.
We waited for nearly an hour for a table at the Daily Fix Cafe.
I was very skeptical at first but... their food was unbelievably amazing. 
Wai Shan, who insisted on sitting and waiting for our table at the Daily Fix cafe. She was right.
Wai Shan

Hey, thanks for reading till the end. I hope I'll continue to have the courage and strength to write, take photos, and share it with you because honestly, sharing your essay publicly can be damn intimidating. Somebody might be judging my grammar or photography skill now... but whatever. 

Hope you have a good week!

Someday is today, baby. I'm back. 

Sunway Presents 2 Amazing Hotels for The Best Weekend Getaway in Ipoh!

Hi, weekenders! Weekend is coming right in front of us. Are you ready to have a nice break at this weekend? If you do ready, the illustrious Ipoh is waiting for you!

Right up until now, Ipoh is still being a primadonna of the weekend getaway for the domestic tourists. Most people came here to savor the succulent cuisines, heritage sceneries, and the fun recreations before they experience the main trip in Kuala Lumpur or Penang.

Now, it is time for you to really enjoy Ipoh. Stop treating Ipoh only as a checkpoint on the weekend because Ipoh is actually treasuring wealthy of great attractions. Moreover, there are 2 Sunway Hotels in this city that ready to welcome you to experience the best weekend in Ipoh.

Sunway Lost World Hotel Ipoh
Persiaran Lagoon Sunway 1 no. 2
The benchmark of Sunway Hotel is to offer the efficiency, variety, yet promising service quality accommodations. These core values are conceived perfectly by the Sunway Lost World Hotel Ipoh.

The efficiency and variety value displayed as the hotel built within the integrated resort adjoining the recreation park and spa. It makes the guest can cater various needs on the site one at the time. This amazing Sunway Hotel takes the guest can have a perfect weekend lazing in on the great rooms and then experience fantastic entertainment with friends or family on the Sunway Lost World Tambun Theme Park, Water Park, Adventure Park, Amusement Park, and the Zoo. You can also enjoy the good retreat on the dedicated spa house.

Promising service quality can be felt inside the property. The 3-star Sunway Hotel is presenting 174 modern guestrooms that scattered amidst the lush hills. Modern amenities are embedded on each room, such as the AC, TV, writing desk, electric safe, electric kettle, Wi-Fi, sofa bed, and marble bathroom - to ensure your convenience. There is a wide window on the room showing a stunning view of the residential area or the theme park.

The full-service hotel also offers great facilities inside the resort, adjoining to the theme park. Those are including the wide selection dining outlets, and the hot springs and spa. The Hot springs and spa are best enjoyed at night. There are infinity pool, glowing rainforest pool for kids, crystal pool and spa, steam cave, the geyser of Tambun, foot spa, and jacuzzi there.

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3 no. 1
This Sunway Hotel is amazingly presenting the total retreat for your weekend. Escaping to this hotel will make you come back home healthy and fresh, both the body and mind. The 5-star Ipoh hotel stranded on a 16.19-acre valley, covered by a majestic natural wonder of Paleozoic limestone hills, rainforest, natural caves, waterfalls, and geothermal. The hotel offers a place to rest complemented with natural therapeutic features.

There are 25 unit private villas here, array in 2 types covering the Garden Villa and the Water Villa. The Garden Villa is attached to a private garden, while the Water Villa is like floating above the expansive beautiful lake. Each villa provides total serenity amidst nature with the highest privacy featuring a private patio, swimming pool, hot spring jacuzzi, outdoor bathroom, and veranda/seating area.

A unique feature of this amazing hotel highlights the natural healing therapy. There is an ample geothermal hot springs jacuzzi set amidst the greenery of Ipoh where you can relieve the muscles and joints tension. The natural sauna is available inside the natural steam cave with geothermal hot spring pool, which is good for detoxification. On the other side, there is also a natural ice bath pool for blood health and the fish spa pool for skin rejuvenation. This hotel indeed presents ultra-holistic retreat through the complete spa treatment and wellness program.

In line with the concept, the best Sunway Hotel offers 2 dining outlets serving the super fresh and healthy menu using fresh local products. The Pomelo is the signature with enchanting indoor and outdoor dining area. On the other side, Jeff Cellar is a unique wine bar set inside the limestone cave. 

Such a perfect agenda for your weekend right?

Riverside Lodge 河边小住


During our recent trip to Malacca, we spent most of time gathering with friends and chilling at the Riverside Lodge. We read, sketched, talked and watched movie. We did the subtle things that we usually wouldn't do in our hectic schedule.

I think my view on travelling has changed over the years, from a hustling tourist to now, a more patient and observant traveler. 

When my pace slows down, I can observe and experience more than I could.
When my mind slows down, I feel freedom and peace.
When my pace and mind slow down, traveling has become a natural and instinctive part of life.

And in that way, to travel is to live, to live is to travel.

日常 | 河边小住

上个月去了马六甲,这次的行程主要是和朋友聚聚,和留在河边小住里休息。 我们在那里阅读,画画,聊天,看电影,做一些梦幻细致,平时忙碌的生活里很少有机会做的东西。




After eating the famous duck noodle right in front of the houses, we strolled along Malacca river. 

Making videos is definitely more challenging than I thought. Not only we have to think about the flow, the ambience, movement and angle... to me the most difficult part is definitely the editing. I remember a friend used to tell me that editing a video is a process similar to cooking, you have to make sure everything harmonizes and has a rhythm, a life. I'm still learning to catch and feel that rhythm.

I've been to Malacca countless times and usually I'd stay at Jonker Street. Of course it is fun and vibrant there, but also crowded and busy. This time, we had fun at the crowded tourist area, and then came back at night to the quiet neighbourhood, drank wine and watched a good movie. Isn't this awesome?! This has been a wonderful experience, both staying here in Riverside Lodge and making the video. I'll see you again. Have a good day!

Be Audacious, Be Bold

Evetopia x Audacious Wear

My sister Wai Shan and I teamed up to do a photoshoot for her friend, Jolynn's new boutique - Audacious Wear. Yay this is the first time the #yongdubu team is out rocking together professionally, ahem. 

I was really surprised when Wai Shan was asked to be the model for their clothing. Okay in some ways I wasn't surprised at all. My sister is known among her peers for her beauty, though we're in denial because we see her slacking around the house everyday in her sloppiest look. It's pretty unbelievable to see her this gorgeous when I was filtering the photos. Is this my sister who makes weird noise and sings weird lyrics? There's hardly any angle that she looks ugly in. I mean, mum and dad, how come I didn't get those genes......? 

Talking about the brand - Audacious Wear, their founder, Jolynn is only 20 years old, she used to work in a famous boutique, gained some experience and now decided to start her own business. 

20 years old, doing her degree while also starting her own business - what am I doing with my life?

Evetopia x Audacious Wear

We took all the photos in Empire Damansara. If you've been there you'd know that it's more like an open space with beautiful-looking shops and cafes, which is awesome for a photoshoot but not so awesome because of the heat. The sun was glaring and the weather was too hot, we barely had time to even discuss about the style and also, handle the curios gaze of the onlookers. 

Wai Shan is obviously tall and pretty, Jolynn looks like a cool Korean girl with her bright-coloured hair. Wai Shan can put on any outfit and look divine, Jolynn has a great figure and posture. When the two gorgeous girls were standing side by side twirling their dresses around, you can imagine the amount of attention we attracted from the onlookers... 

Nevertheless we completed the project. They did a fantastic job and I couldn't be more proud of the outcome. There're so many good shots! Here are some of my favourite looks. 

Evetopia x Audacious Wear
Evetopia x Audacious Wear
That collar-bone.
Evetopia x Audacious Wear
Love the elegance of this dress.
Evetopia x Audacious Wear
Evetopia x Audacious Wear
Jolynn's mum styled her hair.
Evetopia x Audacious Wear
Evetopia x Audacious Wear
Evetopia x Audacious Wear
Evetopia x Audacious Wear
Evetopia x Audacious Wear
Evetopia x Audacious Wear
Evetopia x Audacious Wear

Evetopia x Audacious Wear

I like that all her pieces are unique and look effortlessly cool. Obviously and clearly, she knows what she's doing. 20 years old, doing her degree while also starting her own business - this is quite inspiring.

Just a note to you and myself: 

If you've always wanted to do something, just start, whatever small step it is, the next step can only begin when you have taken the first. Be audacious, be bold. Good luck.