My 4 Favorite Places in the World

To start off the week, I thought I’d do a post that I’ve been wanting to do for a while (but also DREADING!). I’m sure most of you already know that I love to travel and explore the beautiful world we live in. I’ve been blessed with a life that has allowed me to experience so many new cultures and wander through the beautiful landscapes of so many places. So, as you can probably already tell, today’s post is going to be my 4 favorite places in the world. I’m just going to preface this by saying that it was nearly impossible to come up with a list of only 5 places (also this is in no particular order); every place I’ve ever visited could have a place on this list, but I did it, so here it is!

1. Singapore

I’m just going to start out with an obvious one, my beautiful little tropical city/state/island/country of a home (I think I got everything, haha!). To be 100% honest, growing up in SG I don’t think I appreciated it as much as I should have. I went through so many stages where I was so bored and just couldn’t wait to get out of there. But as I got older and reality began to set in that my time was running out, I began to realize how much beauty there was all around. I’m not going to ramble on for too long (trust me, I could write pages), but I will link some of my past SG blog posts below. All I’m going to say is that SG is one of my most special, unique, and colorful countries in the world, and I have been beyond blessed to be raised and shaped by this place that will always be in my heart.


2. Lake Nojiri, Japan

Every summer, my family and I travel to Lake Nojiri in Northern Japan where we own a lake cabin/house. The cabin has been in my family for over 50 years (my dad also grew up going there in the summers), and is a very special place for us. There’s nothing fancy about it at all (we just got running water and a flushing toilet 2 years ago), but it’s the most magical place in the world. It’s one of those places where reality just takes a back seat and you spend your days swimming, boating, cooking and eating. On a typical day, we usually wake up fairly early, eat breakfast together, spend time by the lake either swimming, lifeguarding or tanning, and then spend our afternoons shopping and getting everything ready for dinner. Our cabin is on a hill looking down on the lake, so the sunrises and sunsets are absolutely stunning. One of my favorite days of the year is はなびたいかい (hanabi taikai- the firework festival); we drive down to sit on the docks, bundled up in sweatshirts and blankets while we watch the beautiful hour-long fireworks that reflect alluring fireworks on the calm waters of the lake. Just being able to sit there with my family with nothing else to worry about is such a special thing, making this place so near and dear to my heart.


3. Phuket, Thailand

Phuket has appeared a lot in my photos, but I don’t think I’ve ever explained why we go to Phuket so often or why I love it. The flight between Singapore and Phuket is only about an hour and 40 minutes (and super affordable!), making it the perfect destination for a quick beach getaway. Phuket is filled with gorgeous beaches, shimmery turquoise water and amazing food (most importantly, haha). We typically wake at around 8 (that’s late for us!) and have a leisurely breakfast before we head down to the beach for the day. Then in the late afternoon, we head back to the room to shower and get ready for happy hour and dinner. We almost never eat dinners at the hotel (since the prices are usually marked up), so we catch a tuk-tuk (a motorcycle-driven taxi) and head to some of our favorite local places for some really good Thai food. All we need is 3-4 days in Phuket to feel re-energized and ready to go. Once my family leaves South East Asia, quick little Phuket trips is one of the things I’ll miss the most!

Favorite restaurant:

Favorite hotel:

4. Paris, France

When I was a freshman in high school, I had an amazing opportunity to go on a week-long trip of a lifetime to Paris for a language immersion program. We paired up and home-stayed with families who opened up their homes for this purpose. We were expected to get from the house to the school (or wherever else we were meeting) by ourselves on the metro (and again on the way home). The mornings were spent at a language school working on our French, and the afternoons were spent walking around the city and doing everything you would do in Paris. Some of my favorite things we did were going up the Eiffel Tower, taking a boat ride down the Seine, walking through Montmartre up to the Sacre Coeur, attending a Macaroon baking class, and shopping on the Champs Elysees (and of course the incredible amounts of cheese, pastries and bread that was consumed). What stuck with me the most about this trip was that the further away I got from being in Paris (afterwards), the more I appreciated it. While I did absolutely LOVE it while I was there, I was amazed with how much stuck with me. It’s been four years to the day since I was there, and cannot wait to get the chance to go back! (Disclaimer: this was before I took infinite amounts of photos everywhere I go, so enjoy this one of me by the Eiffel Tower eating some cotton candy:)


Singapore Blog Posts:

Top 10 Travel Tips post:

Life Through A Lens #20- Christmas at Home

Top 10 Things to do in Singapore

Planning on visiting Singapore or always wanting to visit? These are my top 10 things to do in Singapore. It may only be 31 miles wide and 17 miles long, but the beautiful island is PACKED with fun things to do!

1. Eat! I know this may sounds basic, but eating may be the national pass time of Singapore. With a rich sense of culture (and a diverse culture) the variety of amazing foods and restaurants to try in Singapore is infinite. You can go as local and authentic as eating at the Hawker stalls (outdoor food courts) or dine in style at Celebrity Chef’s restaurants at the iconic Marina Bay Sands. A couple famous Singapore dishes I would highly suggest trying are Chili Crab, Chicken Rice and Laksa. (Blog post on my favorite Singapore restaurants to come!)

2. Spend some time at Marina Bay Sands. The iconic three-tower building is full of shopping, food and culture. Whether you’re looking for some high end shops, a museum or some really good food, The Sands is the place to be. And step right outside the doors to find my favorite view of the country, a 360 view of the Central Business District and the Marina right on the water.

3. Visit Little India and get a Henna tattoo. I know this is one of the stereotypical “touristy” things to do, but I still think it’s worth the visit! Little India is an area in Singapore filled with Indian stores and restaurants. The decorations and bright colors liven up the streets. Henna is an Indian plant based temporary tattoo. You can find little shops all over that do henna for $5-10, and they’re beautiful.

4. Take a walk down the Singapore River. The river runs through central Singapore, and is surrounded by Clarke Quay and Boat Quay, both of which are filled with cute little restaurants and cafes, perfect for Sunday brunch.

5. Ride the bus or MRT (underground subway). One of the best things about Singapore is how complex and useful their public transportation system is. Granted, I’m still learning how to use it, there isn’t anywhere on the tiny island that a bus or train can’t get you.

6. Spend a day walking through Orchard Road (downtown) to experience the diverse nature of Singapore. Start out at the Ion mall to see all the high end designer boutiques, and make your way to other malls, like Lucky Plaza, to experience the more local and down to earth malls.

7. Evening drinks at Lantern at the Fullerton Bay hotel. While this is on the pricier side, the incredible evening view of the Marina Bay Sands right by the water is worth it. Lantern’s drinks are delicious and the atmosphere is perfect for a fun night out. To top it all off, you get the perfect view of the MBS laser show, reflecting off the water.

8. Spend a day at Sentosa, a little island south of Singapore (it is connected). With sandy beaches and beach clubs, a day at Sentosa makes for the perfect getaway. Whether you are with kids at the water park or sipping drinks at Tanjong Beach Club, it’s always a good time.

9. Spend a few hours at the Singapore Art Museum. This small and quaint museum is constantly changing their exhibition, but is always very impressive. Their showcase of original and different art makes every trip enjoyable. I’m definitely not a museum person, but I do love this museum.

10.Spend the night at Clarke Quay. Right along the Singapore river, Clarke Quay is the nightlife hub of Singapore. Whether you’re looking for a nice restaurant, a swanky bar or a fun club, Clarke Quay has it all. Every night it’s brightly lit and full of lights and life!

If you make it to Singapore, let me know and let me know what you did!

Life Through A Lens #12- Korea

Flying out of Gimpo airport in Seoul, and headed back to Haneda airport in Tokyo.


Ended the trip with some white wine and a Korean sunset.


A picture-perfect view of the rainbow-lit Alotf at night.


The bustling Myeongdong at night.


After spending 2 1/2 hours at the spa, we ended the night with delicious Korean BBQ and beer.


I loved Seoul, but this Matcha Bingsoo was the absolute winner.


The Express Bus Terminal was full of beautiful greenery.


The cutest little coffee shop (with the best lemonade).


Chilling with my favorite people (haha!) and the best lemonade I’ve ever had while I wait for my mom to finish her meeting.


The Terminal in Gangnam, Seoul.


When in Seoul… and it happened to be The Bachelorette day as well.


Rewinding with some iced coffee (and Kate Spade:) after a day of touring Seoul.


I was in kimchi heaven! We found rows and rows of kimchi (from cabbage to shrimp to garlic stalks) in the supermarket.


Tantan-men (spicy, peanut sauce noodles) for lunch at Shinsegae Department Store on the first day.


The Starbucks at The Terminal in Gangnam, Seoul.

Thanks for an amazing trip, Seoul! We’ll be back:)

Curling: My Experience with the Japanese National Team

This year, my mom’s work retreat took us to Karuizawa, Japan, a beautiful place only 1 hour away from the bustling city of Tokyo. This event had gathered 102 of my mom’s colleagues and their families, for a fun-filled weekend. We got to the Karuizawa station at around 11am on Saturday morning,  and spent the first two and a half hours shopping and getting a quick bite to eat for lunch. The Karuizawa Premium Outlet had rows and rows of stores, ranging from Old Navy, to Nike, to Gucci, and had crazy good deals. For lunch, we found a small Chinese-Japanese restaurant, Yuejihua, with the best Dan Dan Noodles I’ve ever had. After we all wolfed down our bowl of noodles, we were off to Karuizawa Ice Park to learn how to Curl with the Japanese National Team. All 102 of us (ranging from 4 to 65 years old) filed into the 8-laned ice rink with our curling shoes, long pants, sweatshirts, gloves and hats on. 4 of the Japanese National Curlers were introduced, as well as a number of other instructors. We were divided up into groups of 6, and began our ‘lessons’. The first step was learning how to fall, both forwards and backwards. The ice wasn’t as slippery as it had seemed, and the grips on the bottom of our shoes made it easy to walk. After learning how to fall, we took off the grip from one of our shoes, and learned how to push off from the side in a bent-down position. This would be the technique used to glide off the beginning of the lane and slide the stone down the ice. Once we learned how to push-off, we were introduced to the very exciting curling stone. Weighing 20kg, these stones have handles that allow you to grip on well, but also release. We got used to the feeling of the stone against the ice, and were soon pushing off and pushing the stone. Once we were all settled on the ice and ready to go, it was game on! We played 3 full rounds (a normal game is played with 10 rounds) against 3 different teams within the large group. Although my team of 6 people lost 3/3 games, it was one of the most interesting and fun games I’ve ever played. Meeting the Japanese national team was incredibly fun, but overall, curling is a 10/10 would recommend activity!

Outside the Karuizawa Ice Park
Outside the Karuizawa Ice Park
Me with four of the Japanese National Curlers!
Me with four of the Japanese National Curlers!
My sister and i with the 20kg curling stones
My sister and i with the 20kg curling stones