S-series: Montigo Resorts, Nongsa! (P2) – Candlelight dinner by the pool & Couple Chef experience cooking class!

read part 1 here: Couple Spa experience and our Villa – http://blog.myfatpocket.com/claireaudreylim/2017/12/02/claire-and-simon-goes-to-montigo-resorts-nongsa/

Hi people,

Welcome to Part 2 of us going to Montigo.


As the sun sets and the sky turns a deep blue, the street lights turns on in batches, and my wife gets ready for the night…

She dressed up for the occasion, because we are going out to our romantic dinner by the pool in celebration of our 2nd Marriage Anniversary (belated). Well what can I say, anyways I kinda screw up because I didn’t bring anything nice for the night. We’re going to a resort right? So I packed T-shirts and shorts loh!

The dinner though, it’s got to be the highlight of this trip. Look at the table people.


Isn’t this amazing?? 

Its like overkill for an average blue collar worker like me… But what the heck, since I’m here I might as well enjoy it. So off we go along the little boardwalk to our candle lit table!


We have the whole ‘island’ to ourselves, with a personal waiter attending to us only. If this isn’t ‘atas’ then what is?


The lanterns frame my lovely wife nicely, but as usual.. she’s on social media.. Well nevermind, let’s move on to the food. We chose the Indonesian set dinner ‘D’ which includes the following:


1. Indonesian Trio Sampler


2. Soup Iga Sapi


3. Ikan Kakap Gulai


4. Ayam Panggang Taliwang


5. Black Sticky Rice Pudding


The food were good, atas food are always good. And with such romantic setting, what can we ask for more? For most part, our waiter made us feel at ease and we have enough privacy to engage in meaningful communication. The environment is conducive enough for that. We were really full and satisfied, but the staff here had other plans…


Tadd’s Restaurant surprised us with a generous serving of rich brownie cake to commemorate our anniversary! We were really touched by the thought and effort of the staff at Montigo Resorts, Nongsa in letting us fully enjoy our time here. This is going the extra mile, where else can you find such service?

We couldn’t finish the cake because we just had our 4 course meal, and they offered to send the cake to our villa. Awesomeness. 

And with that, we retired for the night. 



We woke up early the next morning and decided to skip breakfast so we can enjoy the dipping pool in our villa.


The pool was plenty big for 2 person, I’m sure its big enough for a 4 person pool party. But I am anti-social so I’d rather it be just me and Claire. We spent some time playing a fool and doing some pool exercises because well its gentle on my bad knees. You guys can check the vlog Claire made to see what we were up to…

Next we hit the bath because we’ve got another activity coming up. And I haven’t show you the bathroom yet. I think. So here goes.


The tub is big enough to easily fit 2 person in there, but that also mean it will need a massive amount of water to fill. Not exactly economical, environmentally speaking.


Its huge. But I guess you’ll need to watch the vlog to actually appreciate how big the bathroom is..


And here’s our huge poster bed again, one last look before we leave the villa for good.


And so, its good bye to our villa. It was awesome. While it lasted.



This is great, we went to the The TIIGO bar to find a large table set up for our cooking class. Our chef/instructor is there to guide us through every step. It feels really atas because we have one instructor to just 2 trainees.. And I don’t work well being so closely supervised.. LOL.


Anyways heres the list of what we’re gonna prepare today. 

  1. Gado-Gado
  2. Gangan Fish Fillet
  3. Baked Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaf

This will also be our lunch today. Sounds great eh? Lets get on with it.



First, chef ask Claire to boil the vegetables for the Gado-Gado while I fry the tempe. Feel so good to be frying stuff because I can’t do it at our home due to not having a hood installed over our stove.. 



Then Claire squeeze the moisture out of the vegetables and set our dish. The special sauce was not prepared from scratch because its a closely guarded secret…nah I’m joking. Maybe because it will take too much time so the chef prepared them before this. 



Watch her haolian her plate. Who cares right? I’m next anyways.




Mine’s messy, but well it reflects my character what. So its really unique… I think.


And then we eat it.. It was… ok.. I didn’t have much faith in our cooking so… yeah.. 

Next we’re going to prepare the baked fish in banana leaf.



Seasoned fish fillets ready for wrapping. Chef said that the bay leaves are one of the most important seasoning here, I think the turmeric too, a lot of the tasty dishes we had here are seasoned in turmeric. We heat it in a pot first before chef brought it to the back kitchen and stuff the packages into an oven. 

Next we prepare of last dish: Gangan Fish Fillet, which is by far the easiest because all the ingredients were prepared for us, so we just had to assemble them. In this case, we just throw them into a pot and boil them till they’re cooked. 



There you have it, we cooked our own fishy 3 course meal sans all the preparations needed. I guess, when you’re out on a holiday, you just want to do all the fun parts right? Preparation can be really tedious. LOL. 



And so we have come to the end of our trip. It was jammed packed with activities that will keep you entertained for sure. We did all the things that a couple would be doing together and more, with our couple spa, cooking class and that awesome middle-of-the-pool candlelight dinner. Well what more can we ask for? With a weekend getaway like this, we don’t even need to walk because there will always be a buggy nearby, ready for you.


There was still time on our schedule before we have to get to the ferry terminal. So we did some exploring around the TIIGO bar area. This beach with those lanterns hanging overhead must be meant for a beach party.


And the jetty, not sure what its used for, maybe Montigo Resorts host fishing trips?


Maybe its meant for our elopement. But we’re married anyways, there’s no need to elope right? 


And with a pic of all the different keripik or kerupuk. Considered dirt cheap compared to the prices in any of our supermarkets back home. So I bought a huge bag of them back to feed my friends. LOL.

Do consider Montigo Resorts, Nongsa when you have a mind to go on a short getaway. Its the best resort/hotel I ever been to in all my 32 years, and its just ‘next door’. Easy easy!

Jl. Hang Lekir Nongsa
Batam, Indonesia

Home Page

SG sales office: +65 6505 9381

Peace out.

Simon Tey

S-series: Montigo Resorts, Nongsa part 1! Couple Spa experience and our VILLA!!

Watch the full video here! *pls note that my voice is different because I tune to reduce the background noise*

Hi people,

Claire and I went to the Montigo Resorts, Nongsa for a overseas weekend staycation.

We took the Batam Fast ferry from Tanah Merah, Singapore to Nongsapura, Batam Indonesia.



We of course have some snacks first before boarding, we got here a little too early and the customs officer didn’t let us go to the departure area. Killiney Coffee, but I think its not managed by Singaporean side though…


It only took like 45 mins for the ferry to carry us there, but its enough to make me sick. I’m weak with boats..


The resort staff was already there at the Ferry Terminal waiting for us and he drove us to Montigo Resorts, Nongsa in about 10 mins. From one country to a resort in another country all within an hour. Super easy. There are regular shuttle buses from Montigo Resorts between Nongsapura Ferry Terminal and the resort, so transfer is never an issue here.


Check those awards on the wall, sure gave us a peace of mind knowing we are in good hands.



Because our room wasn’t ready, the staff suggest we go for our lunch first. So I went to check the map of the resorts trying to get an idea how to walk to the restaurant. But to our surprise, there’s no walking needed here at Montigo Resorts, Nongsa. Not that you are restricted from walking, but there are so many buggies around ready to pick you up and bring you to wherever you wanna go! The convenience.. I feel like a king during my stay here. Please bear with me, for I will keep repeating the ‘king’ word in this post.



Lunch was at this nice resort themed restaurant Tadd’s Restaurant. They offered generic Western and Indonesian cuisine, I of course chose to have Indonesian, so the staff there recommended the Rijsttafel set, which means ‘rice table’ in dutch. I guess its due to the Dutch influence long ago when those ang mo colonized Indonesia. Its basically a sampling of 7 different dishes served with rice.


It was ok, I think I had really really high expectations because my Indonesian colleague at work sometimes bring her mom’s home-cooked food and even though they were cold by lunch time, it tastes super awesome! She will be very popular if she decides to open a restaurant I’m sure. But for these, we liked the chicken stew in coconut yellow broth but would really love to have more broth in the stew.



Then next we went on to TIIGO Beach Club for our ‘welcome mocktails’. What smitten me was the view from the bar. Above you see Claire slacking on one of the poolside pavilions, this place looks awesome by itself already. Then look below…


…this is essentially what you will see during your time here, enjoying the mocktails or cocktails conjured up by the resident bartender. There was even a DJ doing her soundcheck here, meaning there’ll be a party tonight. Well too bad we aren’t really party animals.


These are the 2 mocktails they made for us. Don’t they look pretty darn instagrammable? The ang mo guy’s face in the background bokeh though, that’s a big spoiler for me and Claire. That guy was an unreasonable jerk who was really rude to the staff here because of a cheese issue. Well deal with it bro, this ain’t your house.


I guess the bartender liked us, so he made us another mocktail and I thought this one suits my taste buds better, Claire was too darn full to stomach anything by now. And its also similarly instagrammable. Feeling awesome already, being treated like kings and queens here.



Due to us enjoying ourselves too much at the bar, we didn’t have time left to check out our room before our Couple Spa Experience at Montigo Spa. I was a little worried because I’m not a fan of massages you see. I am also very shy with taking my clothes off in front of strangers. The only consolation here was that my wife will be with me all the time so I won’t feel too awkward.


The buggy drove us there and we were ushered into the premise so we had no chance to snap a shot of the exterior. But its all very spa like with the attap huts and bamboo board walks. Herbal tea was served immediately and we have to fill up a questionnaire to make sure we don’t have any medical condition that might be affected by the spa treatment. Like allergies etc, everyone here was really professional.



We also had a choice of the essential oil type that we prefer.



In the hut, we were sent into the ensuite bathroom and were told to change. Well I’m really nervous by now, nobody believe me when I said I was shy, I really am shy. So for the next 1 hour plus, both me and Claire had our bodies rubbed and cleansed by 2 professional masseuse. I think they were very experienced because the amount of strength and the stamina to consistently massage us at that level of force is inhuman! After that though, I didn’t have any aches or pain so I must say they sure know their stuff.



After the spa, we took a shower and were escorted to a small room to chill. The room was decorated like a hipster cafe, but we were served herbal tea with honey. Well its a spa, so herbal tea is the norm.




This must have been the biggest lodging we ever stayed in. The villa has 3 storeys high: 1st floor we have the very large living room with a kitchenette and outdoor porch area with a dining area and our own infinity pool, because all the villas were sitting on a hill side slope, the 1st floor is overlooking a road below so you can enjoy your own privacy here in the pool. There is a bathroom on this floor too, fully furnished with a sink, rain shower and toilet.



On the 2nd floor, we have the guest room with ensuite bathroom, fully fitted of course. Then we have the master bedroom with this king size four-poster bed, a day bed, full height windows, a dresser and an extra large bathroom with a large bathtub that can easily fit 2 adults. Every thing is large here.


And the 3rd floor is the rooftop space. What luxury! If this is my house, this will be my favourite place to hang out. FIx this place with a few beach umbrellas and this place is perfection!


And the sun sets in the distant horizon…

Coming up in Part 2:

  • Dinner by the pool
  • Dipping our feet in our own private pool
  • Morning Couple Chef Experience
  • Goodbye Montigo Resorts, Nongsa

Stay tuned!

Simon Tey

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 5: Last day in Japan. Harajuku, Yoyogi Park and Shinjuku.

Watch our Vlog Day 1 here:


Here comes the last day of our trip to Japan. Its the last day, so its gotta be the most boring day of this trip. We were already feeling the ache of leaving a place we liked so much but have no choice because we belonged somewhere else. Sad truth.

Anyways, we check out of the hotel early, took us some time to drag our luggage in light rain and find that elusive XL locker at the nearby train station. After that, we only have half a day left before we have to be at the boarding gate for our flight home to Singapore. Depressing.


We went to Harajuku and just started wandering around that neighbourhood.



After walking pass some hipsters and hipster shops, we saw these happy wall plugs…


…in this coffee place. This photo is bad at representing the coffee place, well I didn’t have the right lens on my camera at the time and the cafe was crowded inside, so we only took pictures outside. Its called ‘The Roastery’ by Nozy Coffee and its the best flat white I had during this entire trip.




Then I thought this industrial warehouse was a nice backdrop and made Claire go up to pose for a photo, in full view of the crowd plying the streets below. #YOLO


Then as we went on walking, we realize we were quite close to Meiji Jingu. So might as well have our lunch on-the-go there.


We’ve been here before the last time we visited Tokyo, and this time is not unlike the first time to me. Walking under this giant Torii Gate into the sacred grounds of Yoyogi park is like entering a different world..DSC04801

the paths were all shaded under ancient trees and often shrouded in mist adds a deep sense of mystery as we make our way to the Shrine complex..


Before we enter the shrine, we’ll have to cleanse ourselves. Well I didn’t change my religion to Shinto, but we just thought we’re guests in the country so we should show our respects to the Gods they believed in. Basically I just wanna blend in and stay invisible.


Didn’t manage to take any amazing photos here, well I’ll just take a shot of us writing an “Ema”, just like what we did back in 2013.


We’re basically retracing what we did in Tokyo a few years back. It was kinda my thing, I’m emo this way. A lot of things happened after that trip and now everything is as stable as it can be, with annoying Claire beside me all the time. I am content.


Is that olive? I’ve no idea.


Then we took a quick wefie when no one is looking along this secluded path, and went off to more random places this city has to offer. Night is closing in real soon.


We walked all the way to Shinjuku, took a bit of time. We found Blue Bottle Coffee, one of the more popular cafe chains here, I remember my fellow coffee-loving-colleague bought me a bag of beans from the US, that was really nice. Oh but that was after this trip, if not I would have done the same. Such a nice gesture.


Well, I was getting really tired so I didn’t take much photos now. We just kinda walk around aimlessly, then take the spanking airport train to Haneda Airport..


See what’s written on our faces? The unwillingness to leave.. and go home..



Here’s our last shot, after buying some souvenirs from the airport retail areas, right before they close.. Some display commemorating something I don’t know what. At this point we were just simply depressed. Japan has to be my top travel destination. I haven’t been to any European or American places but I always wanted to visit Japan, and visit again, and again and again and again..

The rest of the night was spent on the plane, then arrive is scalding hot Singapore, went home, washed up, on the air-con and went to bed.

Good night people. Farewell Japan, till we see you again.

Simon Tey

Video: Japan, Hakone Tokyo Day 1: Our Airbnb at Miyagino & Dinner at Odawara Fish Market Den!

I’m sure you guys have already read the posts written by Simon. Today I’m here to share the videos. Might as well break them into individual days so that it’s easier to watch right?

You can also read the below posts here:

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 1: Arrival in Hakone and Odawara Castle – 

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 2: Exploring Hakone 1/2 (Image-intensive!)

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 3: Exploring Hakone 2/2 (Image-intensive and excessive words!)

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 4: Let’s go back to Tokyo! Ichiran ramen, Cat Cafe & Senso-ji.

So here’s the clip for Day 1, we bought limited express tickets to Hakone Yumoto, then went to our Airbnb at Miyagino, and then Odawara to visit the Odawara castle and had dinner at Odawara Fish Market Den! I highly recommend this place for dinner!

During the journey to Hakone, we also laughed alot in the train. Videos allow you to know more about us and how lame we are LOL! So pls watch it! haha.

Day 2 will be published next tuesday!


Claire and Simon heading to Japan! Osaka, Nara, Kyoto on 11th November 2017 for 8 days!

Hi hi people we are off to our favourite place again! This will probably be my last trip to Japan until 2019 because I have other plans for 2018. First in Feb would be korea! 😀

For the trip, we are traveling from Osaka to Nara, then Kyoto and back to Osaka again. This will be my longest trip thus far I guess, about 8days! Will be taking about 2 weeks leave next year November too so that would be the longest trip ever wahahha. Btw I can’t wait to see the autumn leaves. The autumn leaves in Japan are the best!

Remember to follow me on @claireaudreylim to watch my IG stories and @travelfarenough_ to see more travel photos! 😀


Claire and Simon heading to Montigo Resort Batam (Couple retreat!) on 5th November 2017!

Hey guys!!

Simon and I will be going to Montigo Resort Batam tomorrow! Very excited because I can finally rest and relax! Do follow me on IG @claireaudreylim to watch my IG story and I have also created a new IG account solely for our travel photos only!! It’s @travelfarenough_

I swear im going to sleep alot but we have fun activities to do too! I will probably feel very tired but it’s okay at least I got to go on leave on 6 Nov Monday. hehe.

I heard that Montigo is perfect for couple retreat! So if you guys are attached you definitely have to stalk me to see what I do there. Of course I will be back with a video and blog post but isn’t IG story better? :p

Update* Blog post is updated at

1. http://blog.myfatpocket.com/claireaudreylim/2017/12/02/claire-and-simon-goes-to-montigo-resorts-nongsa/ 


[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 4: Let’s go back to Tokyo! Ichiran ramen, Cat Cafe & Senso-ji.

Watch Day 1 of the video here:

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 1: Arrival in Hakone and Odawara Castle 

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 2: Exploring Hakone 1/2 (Image-intensive!)

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 3: Exploring Hakone 2/2 (Image-intensive and excessive words!)

Hi good day people,

Today we come to day 3 of our short trip to Japan. Today we check out of our Hakone/Miyagino bnb and move on with our itinerary of the day:

  1. Head to Tokyo taking the most value for money train
  2. Find our next bnb at Shiodome/Ginza area
  3. Drop our luggages and head out for lunch, preferably a hearty ramen meal
  4. Visit Senso-ji again after 2 years,

Then we will see how much time we have left before deciding to visit other places I’ve saved on my Google Map.



We were running a little late leaving the bnb, I wanted to catch the cheaper local train back to Tokyo. First we have to catch a bus to Odawara, but because I was in a rush, I took the wrong bus that stopped us one train station short at Hakone-Yumoto station. Oh well we might as well check out the ‘Evangelion shop’ there, its one of my all time favourite anime so I really can’t help it can I?


Check out that life-sized Rei Ayanami mannequin by the shop front. I read that they will change the mannequin’s clothes according to the seasons. So fun. But like all gimmicky stuffs, the shop sells useless souvenirs at a premium. I didn’t get any because we’re kinda short on our budgets for such things..


We took a local train from Hakone-Yumoto to Odawara in the end, but it was so darn slow.. So after that experience, I told Claire we probably should just spend the extra money on a express train, if you guys still remember the name, its called Romancecar by Odakyu. The picture above is an empty train cabin, notice how large the windows are? That’s one of the main selling point, other than the speed. Notice the conductor doing all their pointing and calling all by himself at the back? Pointing and calling is an actual thing that the Japanese train conductors practice. Check out the wiki page here.



The familiar sight of skyscrapers and streets lined with shops means we’re back in Metropolitan Tokyo. Not that I love the cold hard and grey concrete jungle, but this means we’re gonna have lunch! 

I didn’t take any photos of our commute from Shinjuku, where Romancecar dropped us at, to Shiodome and the walk with me dragging 2 luggages up and down overpasses all the way to our Tokyo Airbnb. During that time, I told Claire: “I’m not sure how long I can keep on doing this, lugging both our luggages where you couldn’t manage the climb etc. But while I’m still able, I’ll keep on doing this.” Don’t ask me why I say this, maybe its to let her know and appreciates my effort. But I’m sure she does.  Its just that there are times when she’s like a daughter to me. A wife seems to be all of the following at once: girlfriend, best friend, daughter, sister, mother, etc. 

Anyhow, we decided to hunt for Ichiran Ramen at Shinbashi. Ichiran is a chain store found almost everywhere in Japan. And they were successful simply because they taste awesome.  


I know no Japanese words, but well pictures will tell me lots. So we ordered through pictures and matching the Japanese words on the order slip. 


I ordered the strongest taste aka Japanese taste and it looks pretty damn tasty when it came. Look at the thickness of the broth below!


This has got to be the best lunch we had in this trip. Looking at the pic, I’m craving for more now.. But alas, I’m back in my home writing this post.. No Ichiran here in Singapore…

After the lunch, we carried on with our journey to Asakusa, before we took the below picture, we spent like 15 mins staring at gashapon machines outside a souvenir shop and with me hesitating to convert some cash to small change for more gashapon play. We got a couple of pins, one of which is on my daily backpack now. 

I know, boliao (lame) right? Me at 32 years old and still playing with such things. Pardon my inner child. LOL.




Then we went to take a selfie at the iconic Kaminarimon, just because the last time we were here, the giant lantern was undergoing renovations.. 


And we took with both sides of the Lantern. LOL


And of course, the always bustling street that links to Senso-ji. Always vibrant, and seldom devoid of people. I quickly took this shot of Claire when there’s an opening between the horde of passer-bys. 


This is like the normal condition along this street.


A quick check on Google tells us that this is one of the best place to have a melon-pan. Its actually a butter/suger bun baked crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, it just happen to look like a melon that’s all. 


We look happy, but its not really as nice as we expected, Google isn’t always right.


And this old school looking coffee place served me instant latte from a Krups full-auto machine, I wanted an artisan coffee you know, not cheap and dirty automatic machine made latte.. It taste like 600 yen’s worth of shitty-ness..


Opps, did I missed this under-shot of the Kaminarimon lantern?


And here’s a pagoda, I noticed mostly only Buddhist Temples have pagodas, I wonder..


And then Claire went and get a divination stick, she got a bad one, so there were instructions to ‘tie your bad luck’ here in the temple so that the bad luck won’t follow you home. Cool eh? What about me? Sorry I’m not a believer, so no sticks for me.



The skies started to turn dark after Senso-ji. We took a train to Shinjuku to do some shopping and for me to visit some 2nd hand camera shops in the area. We also had our dinner here at Hamakatsu Nishi-Shinjuku Branch. Awesome Tonkatsu with rice, pity I didn’t take any pics there, I think Claire did.


This particular roll of vending machines actually meant something to us. We were here too on our very first trip to Japan. I know vending machines are found everywhere in Japan, but these ones, during autumn 2 years ago.. We walked passed them in the rain. And we went up to them, and cursed because they only had cold drinks. LOL. Sounded like some lousy memory.


And so we walked aimlessly around Shinjuku and went into Kabukicho area by chance, and also found one of the shortlisted Cat Cafes Claire wanted to visit here in this area, by chance as well.


More brightly illuminated signages and masses of people crossing the roads. It was when I looked up at one of the buildings here and saw the Cat Cafe Calico’s signage, then we can have our first experience with cat cafes.


Cats are fickle minded animals with an attitude problem. I think they actually have control over us, being so cute and always playing hard to get. We humans try our best trying to get their attention and do silly stunts hoping they will like us. But only to suffer the usual heart break when they ultimately got bored of you and just walk away, sit down somewhere and sleep. Rather sleep than watch our stupid performances. Damn you cats! I’m starting to like dogs better now…


See, human #2 is totally hooked with this cat’s soft, fluffy fur.


They stare at you will those cold eyes. Like our presence is a bother to them. We paid good money to enjoy an hour of being judged by these felines.


See! Show us its arse! This must be an insult! That’s it, we’re out of this hateful place!



It happens to be Claire’s birthday on that day as well. It was really late in the night and the only cafe that’s still open was a Starbucks. So we bought a new york cheese cake after queuing for like 30mins. Then went to Don Quixote looking for a candle, before heading back to our Airbnb. We realized we didn’t have any lighter, so I lighted the candle with the mini stove in the apartment. Its amazing how they pack everything we need to live inside an apartment that’s only about the size of my living room back home.


So I made Claire make a wish and have her blow the candle. This photo will forever be saved in our memory box. Who needs extravagant shit when a simple slice of cake and a candle can meant so much to 2 person.


And that’s all folks. Stay tuned for Part 5 next.

Simon Tey

Melbourne 7D6N (Spring) D2: Breakfast Thieves Cafe and Pie in the Sky Olinda (No.1 in Victoria!)

Travel on Airbnb and get more than $40 in travel credit! Click here! 

Watch our travel video here!

Check out the other posts!
Melbourne 7D6N in summary plus my outfits
S-series: Cafe hopping in the coffee capital MELBOURNE, visited 11 coffee places! Check this out!
S-series: Gear review: Carl Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 lens + some shots of our Melbourne trip! 
Melbourne 7D6N: The Airbnb we stayed- Light & Airey Collingwood loft apt
Melbourne 7D6N (Spring): Day 1 Melbourne Tullamarine Airport, Skybus Express and Myki Card! 
Melbourne 7D6N (Spring): Day1 P2 Southern Cross Station and the Higher Ground Cafe Melbourne! 

Today is the day to Hike! We are heading to Mount Dandenong/National Rhododendrons Gardens! But before that breakfast first! Cafe hopping is a must in Melbourne and after our first cafe experience in Melbourne at Higher Ground, we are all the more excited for Breakfast Thieves and EGGS! 1

I really love the setting of the cafe, very modern but chill and cozy! This makes me wonder if the cafes in Singapore got their decor inspiration from the ones in Aussie?


We can’t wait to start on our coffee and food! 6

We had our typical order, mocha and flat white. And we also ordered a breakfast dish to share. We always share our food because I have quite a small stomach. A big breakfast can literally last me through the day. So by tasting here and there I can try more food. kekeke. 

Simon wrote a review on Breakfast thieves’ coffee before. You can click here to read it. 3


check out my awesome mocha! 5

The egg and veggie combi dish (I forgot the real name) was amazingggggg. Just the sight of it makes me hungry. It’s such a healthy and delicious dish! 8

There were also sweet treats available. We didn’t try any of these even though they were so tempting! 

After our happy breakfast and some photo taking sessions, we went to Southern Cross station and took the train to Upperfern tree gully railway station followed by a bus to Mount Dandenong.  9



Simon and his Gloria coffee. 13

Vending machines in the station too but we still love the ones in Japan. 12

Because the wife needs sweets and snacks so the husband had to buy for her. 😀 14

And the train is here! 15

Fast forward to the bus! 16

This Yoghurt Berry Mix from Select (it’s like our cold storage) is so good! Probably explains why the health star rating is only 2.5. lol 17


and here we are at Olinda! 19

The flowers are so blue and beautiful! Everywhere is just so nice! I love nature! 20




and here’s the famous Pie in the Sky! 24

Check out the pies! So many choices!


We ordered the boring mushroom pie (lol) and an additional Beef Burgundy pie. 30

So rustic and lovely and cute! 28


Plain Aussie Pie. 26

Mushroom. 29

I was so tempted to try these macaroons but I’m scared of the calories. lol! Anyway we had our pies under a shelter in the National Rhododendron Gardens, and we thought the pies tasted decent but not amazing. However, still good enough to fill up our stomachs. 31

Check out this view man people! Look at all these lovely trees! I am so happy because I really love tall trees! 😀

Anyway I will continue our journey in the next post. We had fish and chips, donuts and ramen. How do you think the ramen in Melbourne taste? I shall share all these in the next post! Thanks for reading. ^^


Travel to Perth: 6D5N in Summary with video!

Hello!! Here’s me again with another travel summary! Wow I feel like I haven’t blog for a very long time… I have been pretty busy this 2 months. Not complaining at all. I am super super grateful for all the opportunities. 🙂

So before everything else, here’s the travel video for you!

This is my first family trip and it was so fun even though we lived like pigs everyday! It is the first time Simon brought his parents overseas and I can see that they were very happy. I would be too, if I have a kid next time and he does the same thing for me.

I met his relatives before, a few years ago when the cousins were still so young and small. Now they are all grown ups and looking so matured. Janelle is a makeup artist at MAC and she is so good at her job. They have really strong Aussie accent and I think if we stayed there longer we would too.

As it was a trip with the parents, we thought it will just be a follow our parents around kind of trip so we didn’t research anything at all. We ended up doing our research the first day in Perth because his uncle thought that it’s better for us adults to explore Perth on our own. LOL! Damn GG.

We didn’t go to Margaret River. I know I know, everyone say it is a must go. Next time we will go!

We scoot to Perth and the total fare was about $1700. Actually the fare can be lower, I couldn’t wait anymore so I just asked Simon to book immediately. 😡

Our flight was at 12pm + and we landed at about 6pm. There is no time difference between Singapore and Perth.

Uncle James picked us up at the airport and we went straight to his place. We are really blessed. San Yi prepared breakfast and dinner for us everyday. We wake up to smoothies and coffee waiting for us and always have wine and tea to go along with our dinner.

The next day, Uncle James drove us to Bassendean station and we took the train to Fremantle. This is a summary post so I only post some of the photos I have, remember to return to see the other photos. ^^




Our first stop was to Fremantle Prison. The price was on the higher side but I thought it would be fun to visit. But the tour was about 1hr plus and we still have to wait for the next round so we decided to skip this and went to the market straight. 5

Here at Fremantle Market! This is definitely the must visit if you are in Perth! 11

The fruits and vegetables there are so green and fresh! 7


Simon and I was like should we try Japanese food in Perth. We tried ramen in Melbourne and it was not a good experience hence we assumed that this won’t be good too. But my lecturer told me that the jap food was surprisingly not bad. If any of you are going Perth soon, go try this and let me know?


Perth is a really chill place. We don’t need to rush and we just take our own sweet time everyday. We decided to roam around and happen to spot this field with my favourite trees. We continue walking and then decided to take the ferris wheel. More on that next time but it was fun although short! 18

Fish and chips are so popular in Perth. We went to 2 different outlets because we want to compare. One at Cicerello Perth and the next one at Kailis Fish and chips! 19

This is from Cicerello. We actually prefer the fish at Kaili’s. 


Sorry no pic. Next time! 23

Then we walked to Megabes Products to find tshirts for Sebas and Ivy. I remembered Ivy told me she love tshirts with country names printed on them.

Day 3!

We went Kings Park with our parents and Uncle James.


View from Kings Park! So pretty! 26


After the walk, we went to Annalakshmi Restaurant at Barracks Square for indian food. It is buffet style but all vegetarian food. The concept is you eat what you want and pay what you feel. It’s a non profit institution basically. Even though the food choices are limited, it tasted pretty good. And anything for a good cause is worth visiting. 28

After that is our couple time again where we went to Crawley boatshed to take photos with the popular boatshed! 31

I love seeing those black swans! 34

then we end our day with a carrot cake at Dome Cafe before going back Sanyi’s house for dinner!

Day 4 – hunting for good wine! 36

First stop was to Sandalford wines! They have really good wines! A pity we cannot bring them back to Singapore. 38

Then to Providore, the chocolate sauce and condiments were so good. 40

We also visited the Margaret River Chocolate Company where we tried so many chocolates until I got ulcers. Chilli chocolate tastes really funny.

It was already raining but we decided to go Caversham wildlife park. Honestly we already don’t know what to do. LOL.


We spent the rest of our afternoons there checking out animals. 43

I also recommend you to try the Connoisseur ice cream if you haven’t before. I think it’s better than Magnum! 44

There’s a meet the animals session where you get to hug the Wombat ( i think? ). If you are wondering if I did take a photo with him, no I didn’t. 45

We uber/grab to Yahava Koffeeworks next! 46

had coffee and bagel here and decided that the coffee from Yahava in Singapore is better. 47

But the scenery outside is so beautiful so it’s not a wasted trip afterall. 

Day 5 –

We went to Watertown Brand Outlet Centre then The Tuck Shop Cafe followed by Sayers Sister. Our plan was to follow our parents for the remaining days but we ended up wandering off again. 49




If you google cafes in Perth, The Tuck Shop is always being recommended! And I got to agree the food is really good here! 53


I never tried the other items on the menu but I highly recommend the lamb pie and fries with gravy! SO GOOD I tell you. I think I can eat 3 myself.

We went to Sayers Sisters next for coffee and cake. 56

I wanted to try the coffee only but Simon ordered the cake too. If I’m not wrong, it’s flourless chocolate cake. 


Feeling like a stuffed toy now, we went to Hyde Park. It’s just a really huge park with basically nothing and only trees. But it was so relaxing and beautiful. 59

Since we have no where else to go, we decided to take a train to Cottlesloe to visit the Cottlesloe beach. 60

It’s amazing. 

Day 6. 

We went to Janelle’s workplace to find her and San Yi bought me lip pencil and lipstick! So nice of her! 61

then to Hillary Boat Harbour, and bought the super delicious honey cake.

http://www.thehoneycake.com.au/visit-our-shop/ if you go perth you must buy. It’s so good believe me!

Our late lunch was at D’Big mama at Coventry Village.


Uncle James recommended us this place and we really like the food. 64

I honestly eat alot during this trip. Simon gained like 3-5kgs?

On our last day! We have some time to spare before our flight so we went to Swan Canning Riverpark and then University of Western Australia UWA. 65


The university is so beautiful. How I wish I was studying there.

For lunch we went back to D’big mama again to try the new bamboo noodles. 68

Read the review here!

And we went back to San Yi house to eat duck meat and nachos before packing up and to the airport.


71Thank you San Yi and San Yi Zhang for hosting and taking care of us! It was such a wonderful week! We will visit you soon. 😀

And that’s all for today. Anyway people I have decided to cut down on my travels to 2-3 times a year. I have been spending my extras on my travels and I realized the amount of money I could save if I could just practice a little bit of self control. What would I do if I don’t have the extras anymore right? I can travel anytime I want after I retire. So now my priority now is to save and retire early.

And in the meantime look forward to my Japan trip in November!! yay!!!

Till the next time people! 😀
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[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 3: Exploring Hakone 2/2 (Image-intensive and excessive words!)

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 1: Arrival in Hakone and Odawara Castle 

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 2: Exploring Hakone 1/2 (Image-intensive!)

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 4: Let’s go back to Tokyo! Ichiran ramen, Cat Cafe & Senso-ji.

Watch our day 1 vlog here:

Because I’m too long winded like bagpipes.


We left Owakudani and came to Togendai on a bus, because the rest of the ropeway to Togendai was under routine maintenance, our luck is great. But we still get to ride this rather convincing pirate ship inspired sight seeing boat.



That’s a small pier for the local fishing community, no idea why I included this shot.


Here’s Claire, trying to get a nice tan. (Actually, I asked her to do that. My bad.)


It is said we can catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji on this boat. No such luck today. So I took a shot of Mt Komagatake, which we unfortunately didn’t have the time to visit.


Arrival at Hokone Machi, and this is the first thing I see, 2 foreigners harassing a local peddler. Wait wait I’m just joking, I think they’re just trying to buy a couple of ikayaki on sticks.


We walked for a good 15 mins, passing the restored Hakone Checkpoint, but we were a little late so everything there is closing. We just decided to walk pass it and look for the Ancient Cedar Avenue.



So here we are, surrounded on both sides by towering cedar trees.


Its like entering another world. Suddenly we’re like hobbits in the land of the Giants. Like Jack and the Bean stalk kind of travel.


How the trees grew so straight and so tall? Something I will never know. Now this is my kind of travelling, surrounded by greens and admired the overwhelming force of nature.


Walking along the Ancient Cedar Avenue, one will arrive at Moto-Hakone. Another quiet little town trampled by tourists in the area. Well at least you still see people getting on with their live fishing for dinner.


Our main objective here is to visit the Hakone Shrine. Or more specifically, the Torii gate on the lake. So of course we went straight towards it, and we’re surprised to see a queue forming up in front of it, with people trying to take a photo with it. Its just like the blue boathouse on Perth’s Swan River, a long queue in the rain trying to get a nice shot… Well we just follow the mob mentality and queue meekly all the way to the last spot.


When its our turn, I urge Claire to move forward quickly to pose for a shot. I hate this kind of situation, where there are people behind me waiting for their turn. No matter how patient they can be, the fact that they are waiting put lots of pressure on me…

So when pressured in such a way, my shots became even crappier than they already are.. But the good thing is, as it turns out, there will also be people ready to help you take a photo.


I asked a friendly guy behind me to help us take a photo, after Claire made me do it of course. If you people haven’t already know, I’m hopelessly shy in such situation. The guy who took my shot happened to also be the one who commented about my ‘S’ brand mirrorless full frame camera. Well, dude, don’t hesitate anymore. Sell your current set up and pick up a used one of my camera model for cheap. You won’t regret it. 


After all that, since there’s some daylight left, we climbed the little hill (stairs) to the main shrine area. After we ‘purified’ ourselves at the spring back at the base of the hill. Some mutual respect won’t hurt.


We were greeted with this ring of grass. I haven’t any clue what’s this about. But well we are not going to disturb it. Now, in the safety of my own home typing this, I did a quick Google search on this ring of grass. It turned out to be that, by stepping through the ring, its an act of purification to clear ourselves of misdeeds and impurities. Bummer. Should’ve just walked through it. 


And this is the famed Anzan-sugi (cedar of safe delivery) of which Claire stood like 3 metres away from it at all times. Well we heard stories of Singaporean people visiting the shrine to touch this tree in order to ensure a safe delivery or even to get pregnant. Not time yet.


I think this must be the kuzuryu fountain, because I counted 9 heads. Apparently there’s also a superstition about floating a piece of paper on the water to pray for something. Kinda forgot the details, you guys just have to go there to find out.


Its quickly turning dark now so we beat a hasty retreat back to Moto-Hakone town.


Here comes the boring part.. We took a bus to Kowaki-en where there’s a park in/near the Hotel that always have fireflies during summer. Its early summer now, means its summer right? So we went there to hunt for the glowing bugs.

Little did we know, the bus we took to the area was the last bus. And we were blissfully ignorant of that fact, went on walking one big round around the perimeter of the hotel because we don’t know whether or not can we trespass the hotel premises without staying there. I followed my map and found a park after 45mins of walking. The sun has set and oddly enough, the park has lots of lamp posts but only 20% of them were lit. It was deserted save for 2 couples we encountered on our way in…

Then we saw a signboard saying ‘fireflies sighting area 2’ and knew that we came to the right place! I did a Google search about the fireflies and read that they were most active around 8pm. It was 6.30pm. So me and Claire, we stood there and waited till 9pm. Catching nothing but mosquitoes… What a disappointment!!

During that time we did walk around and there were many more people also trying to look for hotaru (fireflies). In the darkness, one Japanese guy even asked me something in Japanese, I heard something like ‘mieru’ and ‘desu ka?’ I’m like ‘Sorry I can’t speak Japanese.’ And he went silent mode.

So in the end we just decided to leave the park and walked towards a nearby building, which so happens to be Kowaki-en, the hotel we didn’t dare to intrude.. Well no one stopped us and everyone seems welcoming enough. Even the nice toilet which I used has warm seats for me to facilitate my bowel movement. We then found out at the bus stop that we’ve missed every bus that service the area.

We walked about 50mins to the nearest train station, stopping at 2 konbini (24 hrs convenience store as it is called in Japan) for snacks to fuel the walk along mountain roads. When we finally see the station from a small cliff, it was salvation.



But little did we know after the train brought us to Gora, we have to walk the horrible short cut back to our bnb. I decided to walk along the road because the short cut was a little too dark and Claire was getting a little jumpy now. So I thought the road will be better.

The roads here winds a lot and when we cleared a bend, there’s a good 100m of unlit stretch. Its almost 80% darkness, if you can calculate darkness like that. I sense Claire’s fear because her palms were getting a little moist now. I dug out my headlamp, I have lots of stuff in my bag; I’m Dora-simon, and started shining the light on us. Why you might ask? My biggest fear would be a speeding car mowing us down along this narrow mountain road you see, although I love Japan so much I wouldn’t mind dying here, but I would prefer it to be a death of natural causes. So we have to make ourselves visible.

It is here, half way along this dark road that we saw a single firefly. No people I’m not making this up like a publicity stunt. We saw it, its giving off an intense, slightly greenish glow. Maybe its dark here so I thought it was intense, but yeah it flew pass us and then turned off its light, its gone just like that. I have to say, its kinda mesmerizing when it flew slowly, almost deliberately towards and pass both of us like that. Claire love it, got real excited and her palms sweat even more.

And you think I’ll end the story here? No chance. We continue on to light, and saw the stairs that comprises the 2nd half of our beloved short cut. We decided to continue that way because its lit by a few lamps. Claire was still a little jumpy at this point, and when she’s like that… Her reflexes and stuff will all go into shut down when she trip over something. That’s what happened.

When we got out of the short cut, there was a 10cm tall step. At the moment right before she got to the step, I talked to her. So she got distracted and missed the 10cm tall step. Her foot landed in a bad position and she sprained her ankle. Dang it. My bad.. She said when she missed the step, she just frozed in shock and let her foot land in whatever posture she was in at the time…

So i apologised profusely and helped her walk the rest of the way back to our bnb. Back in the bnb I made her ice her foot.

Lousy end to our Day 2. There’s still Days 3 and 4 and she have to do all that with her bad ankle. That sucks.

To be continued.

Simon Tey