The Datai Langkawi: The Tropical Paradise You’ve Always Dreamed Of

The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi

There are so many things we loved about The Datai Langkawi —

The fact that it is surrounded by lush virgin rainforest. The abundance of wildlife, including tame dusky leaf monkeys and cheeky macaques intent on climbing through the guestroom balcony window. The constant cicada noises that echo through the surrounding forest. The balmy sea breezes that cocoon you in tropical bliss. The sound of calm waves washing along the shore by the Beach Club. The sunbirds and swallows and hornbills that drop in to say hello. The resort’s dark wood furniture and modern touches here and there. The pretty orchid blossoms that are thoughtfully placed throughout the bedroom and bathroom. The little green frogs in the lilypad pond by the Lobby Lounge that insist on hopping all over the place — up pillars and down corridors. The panoramic view of the Thai islands belonging to Tarutao National Park in the distance (we were that close to the border!). The two swimming pools — the smaller ‘family’ pool by the beach and the larger one that the lobby overlooks. The fancy breakfasts each morning at The Dining Room (think DIY cocktails and à la minute signature dishes, among a decent buffet spread). The much-needed peace and quiet. And, as a cherry on top: the fact that there is high-speed wifi pretty much everywhere. Including down at the beach, and at every far-reaching restaurant of this sprawling place, so you can do your work wherever you are!

The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi The Datai Langkawi

(Oh. Bring sunscreen and insect repellent!)

Photo Diary, 23 April : Joo Chiat Road – Koon Seng Road – Tembeling Road (Singapore)

Singapore Singapore Singapore

It’s always a pleasure exploring areas of this country that we’ve never been to. Joo Chiat and its surrounding streets are pretty photogenic. Koon Seng Road is famous for its vibrant shophouse style terrace homes, many of them decked out in Peranakan tiles and traditional embellishment, so that was a treat to photograph. As with most old neighbourhoods, it didn’t surprise me that we managed to locate a few grungier side roads and back alleys with the usual chaos of peeling paint, air-con compressors and abandoned furniture.

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Weekends with Angie & James | Part X: Easter Staycation @ Hotel Fort Canning, Singapore

Hotel Fort Canning Hotel Fort Canning Hotel Fort Canning

Hey, long time no blog! I’ve decided to keep going with the Weekends Series (no, I haven’t been lazy, don’t look at me like that). Something a little different from our usual routine (or maybe not so different, since we love our staycations) – we checked ourselves into the elegant Hotel Fort Canning for a couple of nights over the Easter long weekend. Never heard of HFC? It’s one of Singapore’s lesser-known colonial style hotels (lesser-known because it’s tucked away in a lush heritage park instead of located along the streets of the central business district, so people never really get to see it in all its sprawling glory).

Hotel Fort Canning Hotel Fort Canning Hotel Fort Canning Fort Canning Park

I highly recommend this gorgeous hotel to anyone wanting to just hide away from the city and surround themselves with nature. If you like birdwatching, get up early and head out into the park to get your fill of Singapore’s intriguing birdlife. That said, beware of territorial birds – we almost got caught in the crossfire between two warring red junglefowl.

Fort Canning Park Fort Canning Park Fort Canning Park Fort Canning Park Fort Canning Park Fort Canning Park Fort Canning Park

Surprisingly, I managed to get back into my writing groove during our stay, so I guess my brain isn’t quite dead yet. I was so ridiculously inspired I managed to write upwards of five thousand words of something decent over the span of just a few hours.

Currently listening to:

Whisk & Paddle @ Tebing Lane, Singapore // For nature lovers with a penchant for waterfront dining

Whisk & Paddle, Singapore Whisk & Paddle, Singapore Whisk & Paddle, Singapore

In the middle of nowhere, set amongst a backdrop of lush greenery, located on the banks of the tranquil Punggol Serangoon Reservoir, Whisk & Paddle ticks all the away-from-the-bustling-city boxes, plus they dish up some good grub and lip-smacking beverages to make any discerning foodie want to fork out some serious cash here. With such an extensive menu and plenty of tables to go around, it’s the perfect place to bring a group of friends for a hearty brunch. And yes, that’s pretty much what we did over the weekend.

Whisk & Paddle, Singapore Whisk & Paddle, Singapore Whisk & Paddle, Singapore Whisk & Paddle, Singapore Whisk & Paddle, Singapore

Although quite a mission to get to, a few of us from the Cafe Hoppers team gave the much raved-about waterfront cafe a try. And it was worth the effort – I got to try a glorious Black Sesame Latte (S$5.50 – characteristically gritty, but pleasantly palatable), and we quite enjoyed the spacious al fresco dining area, which teemed with life. While the cafe also provides guests with an indoors seating area (complete with a galaxy of colourful exposed light baubles overhead and even a cosy sofa corner with cushions), try to sit outdoors if you can – it’s warmer, but the vibe is much more intoxicating.

Whisk & Paddle, Singapore Whisk & Paddle, Singapore

As for the food, you’ll see that Whisk & Paddle offers simple and hearty fare that all brunch lovers will approve of. From perfect scrambled eggs to obligatory smoked salmon, bacon on waffles to full breakfast spreads (pork sausage, roasted cherry tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, the lot), and of course an extensive drinks menu filled with quintessential cafe must-haves like flats whites and earl greys, along with curious oddities like gula melaka lattes and matcha & rose lattes, you’ll probably have a hard time deciding what you want. And no, they don’t just serve brunch, they’ve got pastas, pizzas, bar snacks, and an intense dessert menu for the weekday lunch and dinner crowd to indulge in.

Whisk & Paddle, Singapore

Multigrain Toast with Scrambled Eggs (S$8.50)
Includes choice of Smoked Salmon / Honey Baked Ham / Streaky Bacon / Sautéed Mushrooms.

Whisk & Paddle, Singapore

Whisk Breakfast Pan (S$19.80)
Eggs of your style, smoked pork sausage, streaky bacon, Lyonnaise potatoes,
roasted cherry vine tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, 2 slices of toast and French butter.

Whisk & Paddle, Singapore

Prawns & Kelp Spaghetti (S$21.80)
Spaghetti, tiger prawns, kelp, chilli padi, garlic and Italian parsley.

Whisk & Paddle, Singapore

Italian Carbonara (S$8.50)
Spaghetti, garlic, egg yolk, bacon, parmesan cheese, poached egg and crispy parma ham.

WHISK & PADDLE
10 Tebing Lane
Singapore 828836
Opening hours:
3:30pm – 10:30pm (Tues to Fri)
9:30am – 10:30pm (Sat, Sun & Public Holidays)
Closed on Mondays, except for Public Holidays.
Official Website


Exploring the surroundings

“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone,
then all you can see is what is not there any more.”
Robin Hobb

All of us explored the area after brunch. We walked along the reservoir and eventually got to the famous red bridge, which supposedly leads to Pasir Ris. Which makes sense, geographically, but it’s still interesting to note, because I don’t really associate Punggol with Pasir Ris. But, yes, they are literally neighbours. One day, I will do a proper exploration of the place.
Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk

Japan 2016: Enjoying the crisp Autumn air of Nakameguro in November

Meguro River, Nakameguro, Tokyo Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan

Since we’d already been to all the essential must-visit spots around Tokyo over the last few years (y’know, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Asakusa, and all that), we made it our priority this time around to avoid the well-trodden areas and to hit up more obscure parts of the city. Cue Nakameguro, which is pretty famous for its cherry tree-lined river and tranquil streets.

The area around the Meguro River is enchanting in Autumn, when the hidden late morning sun shrouds the quiet walkways in silver light. While Nakameguro certainly is a bit of a ghost town on weekdays, James and I quite enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere, plus it was something we probably needed at the start of our week-long finally-some-time-away-from-work vacation in Japan.

Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan

After a quick photowalk around the area to satisfy our wanderlust, we stopped for lunch at a ramen joint. Nogata Hope was a good choice, though I’m not so sure what their restaurant slogan means…? “Hope your good “Ramen” life” indeed. If you’re thinking of visiting the Nakameguro area and need a good meal, I recommend this place. They serve up some pretty good gyoza dumplings too! I don’t recall if they had an English menu (we deciphered the Japanese on our own), but you can probably just point to what you want or ask the staff if you aren’t sure what to order.

Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan

Other blog posts about Japan you may like:

Hiking up Mount Takao (高尾山, Takaosan) will literally take your breath away

Dōtonbori (道頓堀) – A Food Lover’s Paradise in Osaka, Japan

Visiting Shirakawa-gō & Staying the Night in a Traditional Gasshō-Zukuri Farmhouse

Temple Hopping in Kamakura (Engaku-ji & Meigetsu-in)

First Impressions of Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture

Hitting up Wimbly Lu Chocolates for a matcha latte + an update about life

Wimbly Lu Chocolates, Singapore

Celebrating the last chill weekend before everything gets all hectic again. In a couple of days, we’ll be heading to Kuching for an overseas wedding, then hopping straaaight into the Christmas fray back in Singapore right after that. The fam’s all coming to join us from Down Under on Christmas Eve and everything’s going to be loud – and James will no doubt want to host an ambitious Christmas dinner or something crazy. Looking forward to it all, but for now, I think I’m happy just having a laid-back Saturday. In other news, I’ve rekindled my fondness for matcha lattes.

Wimbly Lu Chocolates, Singapore Wimbly Lu Chocolates, Singapore Wimbly Lu Chocolates, Singapore

I wrote a blog post about Wimbly Lu Chocolates back in February – have a look if you’re interested in knowing more about the cosy little cafe! ;)

Wimbly Lu Chocolates, Singapore

Hiking up Mount Takao (高尾山, Takaosan) will literally take your breath away

Takaosan, Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan Takaosan, Hachiōji, Tokyo, JapanTakaosan, Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan

If you’re in the mega-city of Tokyo for a week and need to get away from the concrete and crowds for a moment, there’s no better place to go than on a nature-filled hike up picturesque Takaosan 高尾山 (“Mount Takao”). Only 50 minutes by train from Shinjuku, it makes for a convenient and memorable day trip for anyone with a penchant for the outdoors. In fact, plenty of Tokyoites make the journey to Takaosan because of its accessibility (yes, believe it or not, the mountain is still actually considered part of metropolitan Tokyo), and because it’s just really, really pretty up there.

Takaosan, Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan Takaosan, Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan Takaosan, Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan

So, what exactly are the highlights of Takaosan? Well, apart from the stunning scenery (made especially glorious in autumn), there are plenty of hiking trails to choose from, as well as a super snazzy cable car tram thingy (the steepest one in all of Japan, no less – slanting up to 31 degrees up the hillside) that brings you halfway to the top, to make your journey to the summit that much easier. Also, as a sort of bonus, you can see the glorious Mount Fuji from the top on a clear day (it has to be a very clear day because it’s still pretty far off). That said, James and I did actually manage to catch a glimpse of the hulking natural landmark in the distance, with the setting sun going down behind it. Pretty amazing.

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Oh, and if you’re ever up on Takaosan, make sure you try some of the famous cheese tarts, sold at the Tenguya Shop. They’re not overly sweet – in fact, they’ve got a hint of savouriness that washes down well with a cup of hot coffee or tea. Seriously, don’t leave the mountain without some! We bought a box of 6 and brought it back to the apartment to have for breakfast the next morning. SO WORTH THE CALORIES.

Takaosan Cheese Tarts Takaosan Cheese Tarts