Why Travel ?

Perhaps, this is a question where everyone has his or her opinion. I believe that some go for the shopping, some go for the scenery and travelling to see sights that they never see before. There are also a small bunch of people that travel to enjoy hospitality products, such as hotels and premium cabins on flight and trains. I personally won’t find that travelling on economy is a fun thing to do, really. For me it is actually the most tiring and negative part of the whole trip. Imagine sitting in the seat for hours ! Good luck, when you get the middle seats. If you decide to go Europe, the best region on earth for me, it is easily a 12 hours and above flight. With that said, if you are the handful of people that travels on, let’s just say business class, it will be the dream of your life for the next 12 hours. Even when I am awake, I can dream of flying in Singapore Airlines Suites or the Etihad First Apartment, a pity that my wallet can keep up with the pace of these products, oh, for trains I think there is no other better example than the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, even a couple days won’t be enough in that cabin.
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For me, my dream is to visit the world before I die, or actually seeing these amazing places. I do find it amazing, really, after all I live in a small but amazing country call Singapore, everything is good in Singapore, the safety the infrastructure, it is a global financial hub but there is something we don’t have, which is the charisma of other countries with their gorgeous buildings, natural “heaven made” wonders and also their years of history. Singapore? We are celebrating SG50 this year. This to me is a life time goal that I hope to complete, there are more than 196 countries in this world, number of cities? I couldn’t be bothered to find out. But I am pretty sure that I have not even visited 10% of the countries. Minus out North Korea, Iraq and a couple more countries there are still a ton left for me to see in steps. Another ideology of mine is to visit the UNESCO world heritage sites there are, with more than a thousand in the world. I have really just visited just these few, given that there are close to a 1007 sites in the world. Italy has the most with 50 follow up by China then Spain.
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Although I may have said that economy flights are super discouraging, I would definitely still fly them. I would fly at any chance I get, come on Singapore Airlines Economy flights are of a superb quality too. Some people always say, save money, travelling is expensive. But I believe that it is actually worth it from any angle. Why wait until a day that you want to travel but you found that your legs aren’t up to par? Why wait till you can’t do so, time is a non-renewable resources and you will never know when you will run out of it. Some of the places that I really love are Madrid, Prague, Switzerland and crap I think I love the whole of Europe really. But I do hope to visit South America, US and South Africa real soon. What are your favourites countries ? I am dying to know.
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Au Parc Cafe (Ho Chi Minh City)

I have first heard of this place where reading up prior to the trip to Saigon. After reading the reviews and seeing the menu online from the website, it seems like a great place to start one of our day while in Saigon. Au Parc cafe is a gem located in the midst of the chaotic bustling city, and at the least of your expectation. It was definitely crowded when we arrived in the late morning. Setting up shop in a shop house, Au Parc take up all levels, you can find regular cafe style sitting on the first floor to relaxing couches and sofas on the upper floors. If you prefer to put on your shades and bask in the warm sun feeding your tummy while the world goes by, alfresco seating are also available outdoors.
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2015 Ho Chi Minh Grad Trip: Day 3 Brunch, Opera House and Bitexco Financial Tower

After perhaps, 2 days of chiong type touring in this immerse heat, today was obviously a lazy morning, probably aided by the cheap beer I had while in this countries. Thus the first place we attack was Au Parc Cafe, a gorgeous cafe situated among the chaotic city. The surrounding was great as the Independence Place and a garden was just nearby, after 2 days of orientation we found the place in no time, thank god for our tummies. To share more, I will review the cafe in a separate post soon. In short the brunch was a little too satisfying, since I had the Full English Breakfast where the portion was huge, it also came with a bread basket that comes along with nutella, honey and their homemade spreads. It was satisfying and definitely get the day to go along.
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2015 Ho Chi Minh Grad Trip: Day 2 Attractions, Ben Thanh Market and Dennison Wee Bargaining Power of Buyers

Despite the trip being a relaxing and mind capturing one for us, HCMC present us with a lot of curiosity and with all other holidays, time is definitely not on our side and we are all yearning to see and capturing everything. with the sun shinning high we set out for a day of exploring. On our agenda today was Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, Independence Palace and Ben Thanh Market.

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2015 Ho Chi Mnh Grad Trip: The Refinery

The name definitely lives up to it’s reputation and glamour, The Refinery is a sophisticated French bistro set in a old opium manufacturing plant, probably why it’s quite secluded and hard to find. It’s a great place given the atmosphere and price. Make your way through a seemly impoverished and rundown entrance, you will find a nice and relaxing courtyard that trees are lighted up in the evening, making the place so much better. In the courtyard, besides The Refinery, there are similar elegant restaurant and beer gardens. Although without pre reading and research it will be impossible for me to find this gem, despite it being only a street away from my hotel in Saigon. Despite the abundance of French food in Ho Chi Minh, The Refinery seems like a popular place, full of people by the time I get there, I had actually wanted a outdoor table to soak up this great environment, a pity that it had all been taken up L. You do find that the location was actually a selling point of this bistro, while enjoying my meal I had actually managed to get away from the madness of this city, the traffic, the continue horning and people. Furthermore, I am feeling so refresh after that amazing body message.
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2015 Ho Chi Minh City Grad Trip: Day 1 Cheated, Interaction and Heaven

After probably a pretty short flight we have finally arrived in the land of Saigon, a place that could be said was once was ravaged by war, causing thousands of casualty and also many suffering, perhaps it could also be said as the place full of heritage French Cultures. It was ages ago when Saigon or now known as Ho Chi Minh City used to be a French colony, although years have come and gone, there is still a scent of French that you can see from their daily lives and architecture. For example, one of their famous meals locally, the baguette, which is one of their street food, it can be said as a fusion where the east meets the west. They use freshly baked bread and the ingredients contain some meat and vegetables, it is usually very cheap, sold in the carts push around on the streets by locals usually around 10,000 to 20,000 Dong which is around 0.60 to 1.20 SGD. Alright, back to my revisit of the day, clearing customs at the airport was probably the longest crap ever and it definitely shows the efficiency of their government if they want to improve in the Hospitality sector. Although there were different queues for groups like the Locals and ASEAN passport holders, despite us being ASEAN members it didn’t really helped much, probably aided by some westerns in my queue also, it is quite obvious right? Often when I am clearing the custom overseas, I try to be as polite as I can, with thank you and good morning but their face still sucks. This is probably one of the time where I am really glad to be a Singaporean, I have never ever had to wait more than 5 mins to clear the customs, probably why we do not even have priority queue for Biz Class passenger in Changi Airport.

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2015 Ho Chi Minh City Grad Trip: Introduction

Dear Readers, as promised, I am going to start writing on my recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City or more commonly known as Saigon. This trip was actually quite a dream come true for me, perhaps I mean not in the destination but the company. As the tittle suggest, i went with some of my Secondary School class mates on this trip, we have been talking about going on a trip for quite some time and finally it became a reality. It was fun, meeting up with this bunch of good friends and live together for a couple days. Besides, I have never ever been in Vietnam also, so it will be good to immerse in the culture, try out the food and engage with the locals. This trip was actually quite unplanned and relaxing was the main focus here. That means sleeping, eating and maybe some messaging……

It was really enjoyable with this bunch of people, all those walking, eating and drinking authentic Vietnamese coffee. South-East Asia for now and we promised ourself for Europe and Venice in 2 years time, after we complete our National Service. Time to save some money folks.

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