journey to jordan

From floating in the Dead Sea, to seeing the ancient ruins of Petra, and riding camels in Wadi Rum (where they shot the Martian), Jordan was pretty incredible. From the moment our plane landed, everything felt so surreal. Yes, we actually floated in the dead sea, and got to put the mud on our body and faces. Apparently, it’s really good for your skin! After spending a few hours at the Dead Sea, we were off to Petra with our tour guide. It was great because we didn’t go with a big tour group on a bus. We had a tour guide that drove us around (with wifi in the car) and tailored the tour to our requests.

We had the most beautiful views as we drove from the Dead Sea to Petra. We drove along the border of the Dead Sea. We stopped at the side of the road in this cafe with an incredible view of these mountains, when we saw a wild pack of dogs further down the road barking. We also saw a falcon flying above. As we enjoyed the scenery, we heard the dogs barking even louder. We saw three foreigner cyclists, zooming down the hill with this pack of wild dogs barking at them, and as they passed us in the cafe, we heard them yelling a stream of expletives. I think they were pretty glad to have passed by the pack of wild dogs alive. Those were just some of the small memorable moments that I didn’t get to capture on my camera.

We spent the whole day exploring Petra (about 7 hours). We left early in the morning around 8:30am. The weather was really nice, not too hot and not too cold. We did wear a few layers, because in the shade it was a bit cooler. We walked the whole trail all the way to the monastery which is at the highest part and has the best view. There are about 800 stairs you need to climb to get to the top. Make sure to climb to the top because the view was worth it! People can pay to take the donkey ride up, but honestly that looked a bit dangerous. I would recommend just walking up the stairs if you are able to. Also, pack snacks with you as well, as food is a bit pricier inside, but not unreasonable.

The last photo below is from Wadi Rum, a beautiful desert in Jordan. That was definitely one of the highlights of my Jordan trip. We were able to sleep in a fancy tent (bed & toilet inside) in the middle of the desert. I mean, when will I ever do this in my life again? We had a delicious meal of chicken and lamb that was cooked underground with a fire above. We also had a chance to ride camels in the desert. Make sure to hold on tightly, because when the camel goes up and down, it’s a bit bumpy. Our camels were quite calm, and lovely.

People have asked me if it was “safe” there. And overall, I would say yes. There wasn’t a time where I felt unsafe. There were tons of tour groups from all over at all the sites. It was interesting when we were in Amman (the city) and at the Citadel, looking at the old amphitheater, and some kids and adults would come to us and ask to take photos with us. That has never happened to me before when traveling. I guess Asians are a novelty. Overall, I really enjoyed the city and the historic sites in Jordan.  If you are planning on visit, let me know, and I can recommend some more places and our tour guide!


a glimpse of 2016 through photos

This is a long overdue post, about 3 months late of my travel highlights from last year. 2016 was indeed full of adventures close and far from Singapore. I started off 2016 in Batam, Indonesia and then traveled to Hong Kong, Thailand, LA, NY, Iceland, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Melbourne throughout the year. I loved being able to go home for Christmas for the first time in 8 years since I’ve been overseas.

I’m also thankful for the friends that visited me in Singapore, the friends that traveled with me for different trips, and the friends that hosted me when I visited. Some of the highlights of my travels were conquering my fears. I was able to go rock climbing in Krabi, Thailand, get my open water scuba diving certification in Tioman, Malaysia, and summit Mt. Kinabalu. So many times, I wanted to give up during these times, but my friends kept encouraging me which made a huge difference.

Next stop on my travels: Jordan and Israel next week! 

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blogging alongside my students

melbourne: a stroll through the park

My friend, Melody, just happened to literally live across from the Shrine of Remembrance and the Botanic Garden. How convenient is that? Not only are these two places free to enter, but incredibly beautifully built and well managed.

I loved being able to walk through the botanic gardens and see little kids on field trips with their matching and required hats walking in lines. I loved being able to walk around in the afternoon and not sweating after 10 minutes like in Singapore’s Botanic Gardens. The Botanic Gardens was pretty huge, and I didn’t get to see all of it. I did like the area by the pond, and saw ducks with cute baby ducklings.

I got to learn a bit more about Australian history in the Shrine of Remembrance as well. Here are some of highlights from both places!


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…


coming home for christmas

It has been 8 years since I’ve left NY. I’ve never gone home for Christmas and instead during that time, I’ve celebrated Christmas in different countries including Korea, Thailand, and Singapore. Some of the memories I’ve made were  volunteering and giving out gifts at an orphanage in Korea, relaxing on the beach in Thailand, or watching Christmas movies in sweatshirts with the AC blaring while pretending that it’s cold outside. However, it’s not home. It’s not with family. It’s not Christmas in NY.

I just splurged and bought my ticket home for Christmas this year. So what am I looking forward to besides the 24+ hours of travel time, jet lag, and freezing weather? Hopefully a snow filled Christmas morning, ridiculous Christmas lights on homes (think full sized lighted reindeers on roof tops), and the tree at Rockefeller Center. Oh, there will definitely be some hanging out by the fireplace, opening presents with family on Christmas morning, and walking along Fifth avenue to take in the Christmas lights.

There’s something quite magical about Christmas time in New York. It’s hard to really explain it in words, it’s just something you have to experience. The countdown begins to Christmas!

Some photos I took in New York this past summer at the observatory of the Freedom Tower and the Brooklyn Bridge.dsc_0294dsc_0297dsc_0319dsc_0325dsc_0326dsc_0327dsc_0332dsc_0323dsc_0345