driving the great ocean road

By far one of my favorite parts of visiting Melbourne was seeing the great ocean road. I mean what can beat a beautiful scenic ocean drive along the Australian coast, with a road trip worthy Spotify playlist, and of course good food along the way.

The route that we took as recommended by Melody’s friend looked like this:

Melbourne –> Lorne –>Cape Otway  Lighthouse –>  Gibson Steps –>12 Apostles View –> Back to Melbourne

In the end, I’m so glad we decided to rent a car instead of taking a tour bus. It was great just being able to pull over and make random stops as needed, for fun and unique Australian road signs or finding sleepy koalas in tall trees next to the road. I highly recommend the route that we took, but be prepared for the long journey. We were a bit rushed because we had to make it back by 7pm to Melbourne. However, the day trip is totally possible!


melbourne: city & beach life

Two things I’m drawn to are bustling cities and beautiful beaches. Luckily, Melbourne had both and quite close to each other. One day on my trip, I walked around the city, found a gorgeous cafe called the grain store to eat a leisurely brunch and then walked over to this amazing place for donuts called short stop. The rose earl grey donut was amazing. Like my friend said, it sounded like a donut made for me. Not only was the donut delicious, they served it to you with a glass of sparkling water (on the house) and friendly service.

Afterwards, I was able to hop on the free tram (in the city) and get to Flinders street station and catch a 20min. train to Brighton beach. The train ran pretty frequently getting there and back. It was about a 5 minute walk to the beach from the station and I got to see the iconic bright bathing houses. Even though it was warm but windy spring weather, there was a man I saw sun bathing outside his bright red bathing house! I was of course in a thin jacket, scarf, and sunglasses, trying to keep warm.

The beach was full of tourists taking many photos in front of the different bathing houses. I’m glad I took the time to see and enjoy the beach in Melbourne. I highly recommend it if you are visiting. Stay tuned for more photos on my adventures in Melbourne…


beach adventures with jake

One of the things I look forward to with coming back home for the summer is hanging out with this guy. He’s a constant reminder to me about God’s faithfulness when I see how much he has grown in 1 short year. We had a chance to take him to the beach for the first time! He absolutely loved it. From building sand castles, jumping the waves, and eating yummy snacks, seeing him zonked out in his car seat on the ride home with his stuffed giraffe as a pillow was evidence enough of a good first time. Not only did he have fun riding the waves, he was so fashionably dressed for a two and half year old! I will give him credit for being the hippest toddler I’ve had a chance to take photos of.

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And of course, some photos of us two via our iphone! 

mo-mo jee young loves you jake! xoxo.


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beach bliss in thailand {koh nangyuan}

The most beautiful island I saw during our trip to Thailand was Koh Nangyuan. We took a longboat out there from the beach outside our hotel in Koh Tao, which cost 700 baht (21 USD) for the both of us, roundtrip. It’s a tiny island with only 1 resort/hotel. There are actually 3 small islands that are connected together by this strip of white sand. The tide was a bit high when we got there in the morning, so the connecting sand to the last island was covered in water. We saw one couple trying to get to that third island walking through the ocean with their bags held high above their heads. They seemed to make it without the luggage getting wet.

It was a pretty unique beach when you have water coming in on both sides of the sand! There were a lot of people snorkeling and scuba diving as well. You do have to pay a fee to enter this island (100 baht), and you are not allowed to bring plastic bottles with you. The food and drinks are a bit pricier at the one restaurant they have at the resort there. Also, you do have to pay for the beach chairs as well. However, it was worth the bumpy boat ride we took to get there. This would definitely be a must see place if you go to Koh Tao. I think you can take boats out here from Koh Samui as well, but it would be a much longer ride!

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snorkeling, scuba diving & sharks

This was my third trip to Thailand, but my first time to Koh Samui. We flew direct to Koh Samui from Singapore, which was around 2 hours, but pretty expensive! We stayed in Koh Samui for 1 night then took a ferry the next day to Koh Tao, another smaller island that was about 2 hours away.

Koh Tao is known for the scuba diving. There are a lot of smaller islands nearby and great beaches for snorkling and scuba diving, with lots of coral, fishes and more. Janice wanted to get her scuba diving license so that was the main reason in choosing Koh Tao! There were so many different scuba diving companies in Koh Tao. Janice used Masters Divers, which she seemed to really like.  The cost of getting your certification and other courses are apparently much cheaper in Koh Tao! Despite her attempts at persuading me to take the classes with her, I decided that my vacation would not be the time to face my fears of scuba diving (there’s a story behind my fear). I wanted to relax, read, and just spend time on the beach, which I did plenty of.

During our trip, we had a good amount of time to explore the different beaches of Koh Tao. We went to a beach called Shark Bay that had great coral and fish not too far from the shore. We had a bit of trouble actually getting to the beach because the tide was so high. Basically, we walked to this restaurant that overlooks the ocean and you need to take these stairs that lead into the ocean and swim to the beach. The woman that worked there, said this was the ONLY way to the beach. We had our bags with cameras and things we didn’t want to get wet, so we had to find another way in. After walking in circles, trying to find another path, we ended up walking through a blocked off construction site next door. We luckily saw other beach goers coming out from that way!

I enjoyed snorkeling and was hoping to see some sharks!! Unfortunately, I didn’t have any shark sitings, just a lot of fish and coral. At times, I did feel a bit nervous snorkeling by myself in the ocean, because there weren’t many people in the water and no life guards. Luckily nothing bad happened, but I guess that’s the risk you take when you go to these more secluded beaches. Overall, shark bay was a very peaceful and beautiful beach. I highly recommend checking it out, if you are in Koh Tao!

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i {heart} chicago

Next stop on my great American tour was the midwest, starting with Chicago. I had the best tour guide, Jane aka Ms. Cho. I honestly don’t remember the last time I went to Chicago, but I did go a while ago. Once I saw the “beach” with the Chicago skyline in the background, I was in love. I loved how there were so many people outside running, biking and hanging out at the beach. However, I was kindly informed by my friend Joe that it’s pretty cold and miserable during the winter.

Besides the amazing weather and timeless architecture, I enjoyed all the good Chicago food. In case you missed my gazillion instagram posts, I had the signature Chicago-style deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s and a Chicago-style hot dog from Portillo’s. I definitely found the food to be a bit too salty at times, but it was still satisfying.

I enjoyed Little Goat Diner which was started by Stephanie Izard. She was the only woman to win Bravo’s Top Chef. We actually did see her at the restaurant to come out and talk to some fellow diners. I was so surprised to see Korean food like kimchi in some of her dishes! I had to try the  kimchi & bacon & eggs & pancakes. They were surprisingly good and the kimchi was ripe as I like it. I heard that they actually make the kimchi there. I wonder where she gets her recipe from.

In the short time I was there, I definitely felt like I ate my way through Chicago. I also happened to be there in time for the taste of Chicago, which happens once a year, which meant a lot more eating. Chicago, I’ll be back again sometime. You’ve got a piece of my h e a r t.

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Stay tuned for more on my midwest travels to Michigan to see Melody!


Bintan Beach Explorations

For Chinese New Years, we had a lovely 4 day weekend. I went to Bintan, Indonesia with a group of friends. It was only a 1 hour ferry ride from Singapore. Our hotel ended up being pretty much in the middle of no where! Howeve,we had a big group of people so we were able to entertain ourselves at the pool and played a lot of games. On the third day, we finally got some sunny weather and went to beach. It was a good 45 minute drive from our hotel, but definitely worth it!

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a time to rest: bali

During my fall break, I got to travel to Bali with two of my good friends. Bali was one of the places I’ve always wanted to go to. Now, that I’m in Singapore it’s a pretty cheap and only 2 hour flight away! I loved every minute of it, from the amazing villa we stayed at to the cute town and beach. We only stayed in Seminyak because we were only there for 3 days. I am definitely coming back though, to travel to the other parts of Bali!

We stayed at le jardin, a beautiful villa in Seminyak. It was a 10 minute walk to the beach and the service there was amazing. I loved getting breakfast served to our villa in the morning, afternoon tea, welcome massages, our private pool, having two floors and much more! Seminyak has some good restaurants that are by the beach. We got to eat at Ku De Ta and Potato Head. I highly recommend both places! The food and ambience is great. You are on the beach and definitely go to see the sunset. I took more photos on my iphone at these places. I will have to post those later as well.

Here’s my list of places I want to travel to next!

  • Bali
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Going in a few weeks!)
  • Bintan
  • Vietnam
  • Italy (I know it’s not really close to Singapore, but I’m dying to go!)
  • Penang, Malaysia
  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand