Happy Thursday loves!! Being back in LA for my sophomore year of college, it’s really hit me how much I miss Asia and Singapore. I knew I was going to miss it, but I had no idea how much. So for today’s post, I thought it would be fun to put together a small collection of my absolute favorite photos of my beautiful home. If you’re looking for some SG travel inspo, I have it right here for you!
Living in Singapore, long weekends would typically consist of a quick trip to paradise, Phuket. Going about once a year for a while, it’s become one of our home away from homes. After our last trip, I decided it was finally time to sit down and share all the things I love about Phuket with all of you. I will leave all the links down below and hope you venture out to this little gem of an island in South East Asia!
After staying at a bunch of different hotels and resorts, we finally found our favorite and go-to place to stay: Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort. While it is about an hour drive from the airport, the resort sits only ten minutes away from the downtown area (Patong and Karon) making it super easy to get around. The resort is sprawled out over a huge piece of property with it’s own private beach, tennis courts, an amazing spa, two tropical pool, multiple eateries/bars and stunning, comfortable rooms. While the rooms may be a little older than others, they’ve been kept really well and feel modern with a vintage twist. The private beach is only a few steps away from the pool area and are lined with lounge chairs and bean bags, while crystal blue water and really clean sand. They offer a range of water activities from jet skiing to kayaking and surfing. In the middle of the day when you’re looking for a quick bite, you can just head over to Ton Son out by the pool to order anything from Thai to Italian and American. You can also head over there for before-dinner drinks where they offer classic cocktails as well as tropical/Thai cocktails. One of my favorite things at the hotel was the energizing shots they had at breakfast. Every morning they had a couple different kinds to really get your body working and wake you up. My favorite was the watermelon-chili shot which was just to die for. And what’s a trip to the beach without some relaxing time at the spa? Le Spa offers different treatments from massages to scrubs and facials, all beach and tropical themed. Our time at Le Meridien is always made even better by the super friendly and helpful staff. We absolutely LOVE staying at Le Meridien and cannot wait to spend more nights there.
Like I mentioned above, the food at the hotel is not like any others. It’s very different and authentic, but still really good. However, I love spending time around Patong and Karon exploring other places to have meals. One of our all time favorites is Eat. Bar & Grill in Karon. Priding themselves on incredible service and hearty, rustic food, the little bar/restaurant serves burgers, steaks and other unique dishes. After going there four times over our past two trips, I’ve had some of my favorite dishes there. Some that I would recommend are the burger and fries, the chateaubriand (steak), the beef tartare, the lobster cappuccino, and most importantly the mojito bucket (5 servings of a mojito in one big bucket, photo below). This year we also went to Baan Rim Pa, which is one of the only “fine dining” restaurants in Phuket serving authentic Thai food. We had the chicken and crab Thai dumplings, grilled eggplant salad, minced pork with noodle crackers, green curry with chicken and stir-fried morning glory, and a really good passion fruit mojito. The food was all really good and some of the best Thai food I’d ever had (and I’ve had a lot of Thai food). Other than those two places, we also love going to different seafood restaurants along the water front and trying different dishes. As most of you know, my family LOVES food and one reason we love going back to Phuket so often is because of the huge variety of amazing restaurants to chose from.
While you can have your hotel arrange a car/transport for you, one way I love to get around is by taking a tuk-tuk. A tuk-tuk is motorcycle powered vehicle with seating for passengers attached to it. They’re commonly found around South East Asia and are open air. I love driving back to our hotel at night after dinner with the wind blowing through my hair and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore in the background. Depending on where you flag one down, a 10-15 minute drive can be anywhere from 10-12 SGD, which may seem a bit pricy but is normally much less than having your hotel arrange transport for you. If you are around Patong or Kata beach, it’s really easy to walk around. Whether you’re beach hopping or looking around the market, I always say that walking around is one of the best ways to explore a new destination. And the excitement of Phuket nightlife makes the evening a lot more fun and interesting.
What I Wore:
When I go to the beach, my absolute must-have is a ton of bikinis. I love mixing solids with solids and solids with prints from different brands. Some of my favorites for bikinis are Cotton On, Victoria’s Secret (now Pink), She In and Hollister (and Jolyn for suits that won’t budge). I don’t like wearing the same suit more than once a trip (I know, I’m a snob), so I love having variety in my suitcase. In addition to suits, I wear all different kinds of cover-ups and summery rompers and dresses that work at both the beach and a casual meal out. For sunglasses, I personally don’t love wearing nice/high-end glasses at the beach because I love spending time in the water and body surfing waves so I’m always paranoid that I’m going to lose a nice pair. I typically have a couple cheap pairs of Cotton On sunglasses that are perfect for the setting and look bomb in all those insta photos. For a more in-depth look, check out my summer beauty post (linked below)!
I always love a good beach getaway, and Phuket is the perfect destination for a stress-free and relaxing weekend away. Have you been to Phuket? If so, what’s your favorite thing to do there? If you haven’t what’s your favorite beach getaway destination? Comment down below!
I hope you all enjoyed this post, and I will talk to you soon!
If you read my last post on ‘Top 10 Places to Eat in Singapore’ (linked down below, make sure to check it out!), you know that one of my newest restaurant finds is Dallas Restaurant and Bar, located at the Marina Bay Sands along the waterfront. I stumbled upon this place one day while walking around MBS with my family, and ended up going that evening for a night out with my girlfriends. The bar right on the edge of MBS, so it’s half indoors and half outdoors. We sat at a high table outside, and it was beautiful to see the Central Business District all lit up and reflecting on the water. We also had front row seats to the nightly light/laser show. Their drink menu had a huge variety with 21 cocktails and lots of wines, beers and other spirits.
As far as drinks go, they were super reasonable ($14 per drink) and big sizes. On Tuesday’s from 6pm-9pm (MBS happy hour), their Yuzu Mojito, Mimosa and Dark ‘n’ Stormy are all 50% off ($7). I had the Singapore Sling and the Salted Caramel White Russian, and they were both super yummy. One of my friends ordered a standard Margarita and said it was one of the best she’d ever had. We didn’t have any food, but it looked really good (I will go back and try it and update this). They do have a brunch/lunch and dinner menu (looked so good!), but they also had a bar food section with fries, calamari and fish tacos, which seemed perfect for a light dinner.
If you’re looking for a place to go for drinks on a night out in Singapore, highly suggest checking out this place for inexpensive drinks with a priceless view!
Address: 2 Bayfront Ave, #01-85, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972
‘Mega Guide to Singapore’ post: https://swimeatlove.com/2017/11/16/top-10-things-to-do-in-singapore/
‘Top 10 Places to Eat in Singapore’ post: https://swimeatlove.com/2018/04/08/top-10-places-to-eat-in-singapore/
Heading to Singapore soon? Looking for places to eat? Don’t worry, I got you covered. Today I’m going to share my top 10 places to eat in Singapore! Looking for more than food, check out my Mega Guide to Singapore linked down below. Happy eating!
1. Kaya Toast- One of Singapore’s most iconic foods, kaya toast stores can be found all around the city making for an easy, inexpensive and delicious breakfast before a day out on the town.
Address: All around the city
2. P.S. Cafe- One of our go-to brunch spots, PS Cafe has a huge variety of western and Asian brunch and dinner options. A few of my favorites are the king prawn spaghetti, the turkey cranberry sandwich and their famous truffle fries (a huge plate, so make sure to share!). While they have a few locations around the country, the one at Palais Renaissance has the most chill and down-to-earth atmosphere.
Address: 390 Orchard Road, Palais Renaissance, Singapore 238871
3. Crystal Jade Palace- There’s lot’s of options for dim sum all over, but one of my favorites is Crystal Jade Palace for Sunday lunch. The food is super flavorful and authentic with a huge variety of dishes. Some favorites are the stir fried carrot cake with XO sauce, Teochew dumplings and deep fried yam puffs.
Address: 391 Orchard Road, #04-19, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Singapore, Singapore 238872
4. Dallas Restaurants & Bar- I found this place when I was out with some friends last month, and it’s my new favorite bar. The drinks are $14 during regular hours, and $12 during happy hour (and they’re generous servings). To top it off, the bar has a beautiful view of the business district (located at the Marina Bar Sands along the water), and the lights of the city are beautiful at night.
Address:2 Bayfront Ave, #01-85, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972
Pricing: $ (as far as drinks go)
5. db Bistro- We’ve been to this restaurant at the Marina Bay Sands twice now, and it was amazing both times. The cured tuna sandwich and the moules frites were some of our favorites. It’s on the pricier side, but generous servings and perfect for a nicer lunch or dinner out.
Address: 2 Bayfront Avenue, B1-48, Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018956
6. Coffee Academics- Another favorite brunch spot, right in downtown Orchard. It’s a huge space with lots of different tables and seating, so it works for groups of any size. Some of my favorites are the acai bowl and the mac&cheese. The coffee is super good as well!
Address: Scotts Square, #02-01/02, Scotts Square,, 6 Scotts Road, Singapore 228209
7. Wine Connection- A family favorite for dinner. Their variety of cheeses and wine is incredible, and they’re all amazing. We love doing cheese board so we get to choose the cheeses and meats we want. The salad and tartines are also so good. Some of our favorites are the comte cheese, the cheese and mushroom and pan con tomate tartines and all the salads.
Address: 11 Unity Street, #01-19/20 , Robertson Walk, Singapore 237995
Pricing: $$ (without wine), $$$ (with wine)
8. Imperial Treasure Steamboat- This place has quickly become one of our favorites, a place we bring all our guests and visitors too. The soup is a pork bone base, and adding all of the meat, dumplings and veggies makes it delicious. But the best part is the tray of 16 different condiments (including chili, garlic, spring onions, sesame sauce, peanut sauce and so much more) to make the dipping sauce.
Address: 2 Orchard Turn, #04-09/10 Ion Orchard, Singapore 238801
9. Ka Soh- This place in the business district of Singapore is known for it’s fish bee hoon (I personally am not a huge fan), but all of their other food is just as worthy of being known. There’s nothing fancy about it, just hearty, down-to-earth Singapore food with Taiwanese influence. The stir-fried kway teow was SO good, we’ve been back a few times already and love it every time. There are a few funky bars on the same road, and it’s just a 10 minute walk from Clarke Quay so it’s perfect for a night out.
Address: 96 Amoy St, Singapore 069916
10. Lantern- This is definitely not a place I would go all the time (on the pricey side), but for sure on special occasions. The restaurant/bar surrounds a pool and overlooks the Marina Bay Sands, sitting right on the water side. The drinks and the food are both amazing, but pairing that with the beautiful view just puts it over the top.
Address: 80 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049326
Pricing: $$ (food), $$$ (drinks)
‘Mega Guide to Singapore’ Post: https://swimeatlove.com/2017/11/16/top-10-things-to-do-in-singapore/
Hello everyone and happy Thursday! Today’s post is going to be all of my favorite/recommended things to do in Tokyo. I grew up visiting Tokyo at least once a year (sometimes twice), and it has quickly become my home away from home. When I was younger, I didn’t really appreciate all the amazing city had to offer, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown more and more in love. There’s so much to do, so much to eat and so many places to go, but this is my little guide to spending time in Tokyo!
- Crepes at Takeshita-dori, Harajuku- This first one is pretty basic, but it’s always a must for me when I’m in Tokyo. Walking down the chaotic Takeshita street, there are tons of little creperies selling crepes of all kinds. In the summer when it’s hot and I’m ready for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, I love getting a crepe to share with my family as a sweet treat.
- Kohmen, Shibuya/Harajuku- I don’t think many people have ever visited Tokyo without having an amazing bowl of Ramen, it’s a staple. But with so many options, it can be hard to settle on one place to go. One of my family’s favorites is Kohmen, located in a small alley in the backstreets of Harajuku. My favorite ramen to get there is the ‘tan-tan men’ (ramen in a spicy peanut sauce). During the summers, they have a ‘hiyashi’ (cold) tan-tan men, which is everything I want on a hot summer day. In the winter, the hot tan-tan men is the best way to warm myself up.
- Tiger Gyoza, Shibuya- My parents have been going to Tiger Gyoza for a long time, and we all just love it. While they do have regular sized gyoza, they also have giant gyozas (just like the name). And along with the normal gyozas, they also have funky fillings like lamb served with an amazing coriander sauce.
- Tenkaippin, Meguro- Another one of my new ramen favorites is Tenkaippin in Meguro. It opened just about a year ago, and is SO good. They have loads of condiments and choices for your ramen, but nothing too fancy. Sometimes just a simple, heart bowl of ramen is all you really need.
- Aponte, Ebisu/Meguro- My dad discovered Aponte a few years ago, and it’s quickly become one of our Tokyo favorites. Right by the Ebisu train station, it’s a tiny little place run by just a few young guys (they run the bar, kitchen and front of house). The kitchen is open and creates a really cool space for the chefs to talk with the customers. The place only has a few tables, and the rest are counter seats. They specialize in seasonal pastas, pizzas and mains, and have incredible desserts. HIGHLY recommend checking this place out next time you’re in Tokyo.
- Anmitsu at Azabusado or Tatsutano- I’ve never been one to have much of a sweet tooth, but I love Japanese sweets/desserts because they tend to not be too sweet. Anmitsu is shaved ice with matcha syrup, anko (red bean) and shiratama (small mochi balls), just a whole lot of deliciousness.
Kohmen website: https://www.kohmen.com/
Tenkaippin website: http://www.tenkaippin.co.jp/
- Backstreets of Shibuya- My absolute favorite place to shop in Tokyo is the backstreets of Shibuya. While a lot of people are drawn to the famous crossing (so am I, as you’ll read later), I love exploring the areas behind it. There’s Seibu, a huge Forever 21 and H&M, a Donquijote, and lot’s of little, small boutique stores. You’ll still get the crowds and the chaos, but a little more relaxed.
- Karuizawa- Just a 60 minute bullet train ride from Tokyo Station, Karuizawa is a small town with a huge outlet mall right next to the station. From Kate Spade to Coach to Le Creuset, there are over 100 stores to shop at. Just on the other side of the station, you’ll find a quaint little neighborhood filled with vintage stores and onsens (bath houses). At the end of the day, there’s a whole strip of restaurants to eat at before heading back to Tokyo. If you want to spend the night, there are tons of little ryokans and hotels around the area. We stayed at the Karuizawa Prince Hotel for a few nights, and it was beautiful!
- Takeshita-dori, Harajuku- I know this is pretty much on every list of things to do in Tokyo, but I couldn’t help but put it on here. As touristy as it may be, I just love the chaos and excitement of this street. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been here, but every time I go I find a new store or eatery that I end up falling in love with. If you want to see the peak of the craziness, go on a Sunday afternoon. If you want it to be a little more chill, try to go on Monday-Thursday mornings.
- Roppongi Hills- Roppongi Hills is a huge shopping area/mall filled with tons of eateries and higher end stores. While I prefer the Shibuya-type shopping, I know my family loves spending time here (and I like going for the food:). It’s a really pretty half indoor, half outdoor area that we could easily spend half a day at.
Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza (Outlets): http://www.karuizawa-psp.jp/en
Karuizawa Prince Hotel: http://www.princehotels.com/karuizawa-east/
- Shibuya Crossing- As mentioned above, I love the Shibuya Crossing. No matter how many times I go, I am always so amazed at what I like to call the “organized chaos”. The mix of local businessmen and tourists is always so cool to see, and the giant billboards and loud sounds always takes my breath away. If you are ever in Tokyo, going to the crossing is an absolute MUST DO.
- Asakusa, Senso-ji temple- The huge red temple in the middle of Asakusa is stunning and beautiful, but the areas ans streets around it are just as amazing. A perfect morning is walking through the temple, and them strolling around the back streets before heading back into the city for the day.
- Meiji-Jingu, Harajuku- If you aren’t able to make it out to Asakusa to see the Senso-ji temple, just hop over to Meiji-Jingu in Harajuku and walk around the area. The rock-lined walkway to the temple is a peaceful and beautiful walk, and is the perfect weekend afternoon activity.
Looking for a fun getaway for the summer? Can’t decide where to go? I got the chance to spend a few days in Seoul last summer, and I absolutely loved it! Seoul was never a place that I thought much of and I never really had a strong desire to visit, but I am so thankful that I did. I tagged along with my mom on her business trip, so we didn’t have too much time to explore the city as a whole, but we were able to do some fun things and explore a couple cool places. I just wanted to write this to share all the things we did, and hopefully give you some inspiration to visit this really awesome city!
We stayed at the Sheraton Seoul Palace Gangnam, located in the Seocho-gu district. While it’s not walking distance from downtown, it’s only about a 10 minute drive (and a 30 minute drive from the airport). It’s also caddy corner from the Shinsegae department store as well as the Goto Mall, which is the underground shopping mall connected to the Gangnam subway station (super useful to help get around). The department store and the mall combined has enough to keep you occupied for at least a whole day. The mall has tons of sit-down restaurants ranging from Italian to Chinese to Korean, and the basement of the department store has a huge supermarket as well as lot’s of little eateries.
There’s an office building right next to the hotel with a bingsu shop (forgot the name of it, but you can find bingsu everywhere), which was a perfect little afternoon snack for my mom and I after a day of shopping.
On the second night, we went to the Myeongdong district which is a large outdoor shopping area. The only thing I can relate it to is Takeshita Street in Harajuku, Tokyo. It was crazy, chaotic and super fun. The streets were absolutely filled with beauty stores, clothing shops, and food vendors. We spent a couple hours walking around and buying some fun Korean beauty products, and then walked over to Ziu Spa, where we spent 3 hours getting pampered. It was a traditional Korean spa, so they had two big thermal baths as well as two sauna’s (one rock and one salt), where we spent the first 20 minutes before we got famous Korean body scrubs, massages, face masks and body masks. The session ended with cupping (this was the first time I tried it and it was so cool!). After feeling totally blissed out, we walked over to a Korean BBQ restaurant where we had lot’s of meat, beer and soju:)
On our last full day, we were lucky enough to have lunch at an Imperial Korean Restaurant, where we were served lots of traditional Korean foods including kimchi, bulgogi beef, japchae, buchimgae and lots of other dishes in a private (really fancy room). The restaurant was in an old traditional house with a huge Korean garden out back. We spent half an hour walking around and soaking in all the beauty after our delicious meal.
That night, we decided to stay close to the hotel and had another Korean BBQ dinner at one of the restaurants at Goto Mall. We found out that the restaurant did both BBQ and hot pot, so we decided to do both (because it was our last night and why not?). There was so much amazing meat, vegetables, kimchi, and of course ice cold beer. It was the perfect way to end our little getaway.
While there is so much more I would have loved to do and see, I am so glad I got a chance to visit this vibrant city, and I hope to go back again soon. Below I have attached some links to some of the places/things I talked about, and also have some photos to share. Enjoy, and happy traveling!
Sheraton Seoul Palace Gangnam: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=4542&language=en_US
Shinsegae Department Store Gangnam: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SHP/SH_EN_7_2.jsp?cid=273804
Goto Mall/Gangnam Terminal Shopping Center: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SHP/SH_EN_7_2.jsp?cid=2021659
Seoul on TripAdvisor: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g294197-Seoul-Vacations.html
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!
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: http://www.eatbargrill.com/welcome/
Favorite hotel: http://www.lemeridienphuketbeachresort.com/
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: https://swimeatlove.com/2017/03/18/top-10-travel-tips/