My Time Capsule: 2012


Beijing: The Frozen Summer Palace

Beijing, December 2011

Summer Palace is the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China, situated 15 kilometres from central Beijing. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres, three quarters of which is water. Summer Palace was used as a summer residence by China's imperial family, as the retreat from main imperial palace, the Forbidden City. My first time visiting Summer Palace was about 20 years ago when I was a kid. All I can remember, it was spring and colourful flowers were blooming everywhere.

Last year I visited during winter, it was freezing and snowing quite hard. Thus everything looked totally different. With those thick snow covering almost everything and most part of Kunming lake was already frozen. The contrast of red buildings against the white snow and misty lake, somehow looked mysteriously beautiful. It felt like I was wandering inside a snow globe.

the entrance


the Heralding Spring Pavilion

it's it !

I spent couple of hours wandering around the Summer Palace. And since the area is enormous, I only managed to explore some parts of it. Actually I'd love to spend more time to admire the scenery. But the weather became too cold to handle that I could barely feel my feet and body.Winter in China can be harsh sometime. Note to self: don't forget to bring  a blanket from the hotel to keep my body warm :p

frozen Kunming lake

The Tower of Literary Prosperity

Hall of Benevolence & Longevity

Before exiting the palace, I passed by the Hall of Benevolence & Longevity. There's some animal bronze statues there. One of most famous statue was Qilin, an auspicious legendary animal that has the power to punish evil and repel the wicked. It's a symbol of good omens, protection, prosperity, success, and longevity by the Chinese. Depictions of the Qilin show a creature with the head of a dragon, the antlers of a deer, the skin and scales of a fish, hooves of an ox and tail of a lion. It's sometimes called the Chinese unicorn.


For dinner, we went to a Mongolian restaurant which famous for the roast lamb menu. I'd say that this is one unique restaurant which is a large area with at least 30 white round tents or they call it Mongolian yurts. We were led to one of the yurts, passing by the open kitchen that equipped with modern rotating spit for roasting the lamb. We entered one of the yurt with interesting interior in red and gold colour. We were served 7 kind of menu that mostly were lamb as basic ingredients. There was also a group performance of singer and dancers to keep us entertained during dinner.

Mongolian Yurts

the interior inside the yurt

lamb BBQ Mongolian style

the grilling process in the kitchen

I've uploaded a video of the lamb roasting process. It's an amateur video from my pocket camera, so please don't expect something fancy. I just want to show you the cooking process in the restaurant :)

Anyway, I'd like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas! May joy and happiness snow on you ! HO HO HO HO


Review: Rondji Restaurant

Ubud. Every time I heard or think about Ubud, the first thing that cross my mind will be "tranquillity". It's located among rice paddies with stunning tropical valley views. While the city centre is getting very crowded nowadays, some parts of Ubud still remains peaceful.

2 weeks ago I was planning to meet Febbie from Jalan2 Liburan who lives in Belgium. Febbie and her husband were having a romantic getaway in Bali to celebrate their anniversary :p
We had some options to choose before finally settled to have lunch in Rondji Restaurant. One of the newest restaurants in Ubud that located next to Antonio Blanco Museum.

Rondji Restaurant

I have to say that the location is superb with gorgeous view from the terrace. My favourite spot is chilling on one of those comfy sofas while admiring the greenery afar. With laid back ambiance, it feels like I could stay here the whole day.

stunning view

roofed terrace

so homey


When we were having a hard time to decide what to order from the menu, the waiter served iced tea as a complimentary drink and peanuts for us. Followed with a cold hand towel with a touch of beautiful frangipani. And while we were waiting for the food, the waiter came back to serve complimentary warm breads and butter. Such a great hospitality, right ? And don't worry about the WIFI, it's free and accessible throughout the restaurant


It didn't take long for the food to be served. Yvan, Febbie's husband ordered Poulet Roti. Roasted chicken breast and leg served with mashed potato and gravy. While the portion looks quite small, according to Yvan it tasted good.

Poulet Roti

I ordered assorted satay which consists of chicken satay, beef satay, prawn satay and fish satay (sate lilit). All of them were grilled to perfection and tasted delicious. Served with rice, peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce with sliced chili. In my opinion, it would be perfect if the rice portion were a bit bigger.

Assorted Satay

Best of all was this Bebek Rondji, a deep fried duck with scrumptious crispy skin and flavourful meat. Served with rice, sayur urap (vegetable with grated coconut and spices), and 3 kind of sambal (condiment with chili based sauce). It's so yummy that I would definitely order this every time I visit Rondji restaurant.

Crispy Duck

the sambals

We were already full when the owner of Rondji restaurant, Mr. Mario Blanco kindly offered a complimentary dessert for us. It was fried bananas with vanilla ice cream and swirl of strawberry sauce. A simply mouthwatering dessert with beautiful plate presentation to end a meal on a sweet note.

Fried banana with vanilla ice cream

My overall experience in Rondji restaurant was just awesome. Beautiful place with stunning views, delicious meal and great hospitality. I couldn't ask for more. So next time when you're in Ubud, don't forget to stop by this restaurant. In case you're lost, just ask the direction to Antonio Blanco museum.

Rondji Restaurant
Jalan Raya Campuhan, Ubud 
☏ +62 361 975502


Germany: 20 Hours in Berlin

Germany, August 2011

After 18 hours journey of long flight and transit in Singapore and Frankfurt, I finally landed in Berlin, the capital and the largest city in Germany. I had to fight the urge to jump straight into my hotel bed. Despite of the jet lag and looked like a zombie, I decided to wander around the city and managed to visit some of the Berlin icons.

It was just a short stay because the next day I was going to Warsaw in Poland. Here's some of the pictures that I managed to snap with my eyes half open  :p

hop on & hop off tour bus

I desperately need a caffeine boost in the morning

pretty pastry

Ka De We, the most famous trademark department store in Berlin

honestly I don't know the name of this pretty building. Any Berliner here to help?

Bavarian girl

one part of the Berlin wall

Pergamon Archaeological Museum

canal boat tour in Berlin

Brandenburg Gate

Charlottenburg Palace, the largest palace in Berlin

6 o'clock in the morning, I woke up to this stunning skies

sunrise in Berlin. Guten Morgen !

Have you ever been to Berlin before ? What have I missed ?


Hong Kong: Crystal Cable Car & The Big Buddha

Hong Kong, December 2011

Finally I made it to the Big Buddha in Ngong Ping village! It's kinda embarrassing to say that I've never visited this place before. Even though I've been to Hong Kong for countless times and even lived there when I was a baby. Anyway, I'm glad I finally did last year.

There are 2 options to reach the Ngong Ping village which are by taking cable cars or public transport through Tung Chung road. I chose the cable car because I wanted to ride the crystal cable car with a glass bottom that allowing you to have bird's eye view. I was excited and scared in the same time. What to expect? I'm a combo of acrophobic and aerophobic! I needed to go to the loo every 5 minutes before the ride and my palms were sweating for nervous. Turned out it was a thrilling ride or that's what I tried to put on my mind to keep myself at ease. I mean seriously, the scenery was breathtaking as long as I didn't look down to the glass bottom that made my heart skip a beat.

Ngong Ping Cable Car

the Big Buddha from afar

glass bottomed cable car.....I tried to smile

arriving at Ngong Ping terminal
The journey took about 25 minutes from Tung Chung terminal to Ngong Ping terminal. I wandered around the pretty Ngong Ping village, a culturally themed village with some western outlets (Yes, they have Starbucks and Subway there). I love the wishing tree at Bodhi wishing shrine. You can buy a wishing card and write your wishes on it then attach it to the board. There is a legend saying that wishes made under the Bodhi Tree will come true.

Bodhi wishing shrine

After about 30 minutes wandering around some shops in the village, I arrived at the gate which leads to Tian Tan Buddha. There are statues of 12 Divine Generals which each of them represents a different time of day and a different part of the Chinese zodiac. The scenery is so beautiful there, surrounded by green hills and the Big Buddha that towers overhead.

the gate leads to the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
the general Pajra represents 7am-9am of the day and Dragon of the Chinese zodiak

240 stairs
I was at the bottom of the stairs and looked up, it was quite crowded that day. I'm not sure if it's always like that though, since it's one of the main attraction in Hong Kong. So I started climbing the 240 stairs to reach the Buddha statue. It was getting harder after half way to the top, luckily the weather was cool so I didn't get tired easily. Good exercise for the bum and legs!

almost there
And....finally I reach the top of the stairs, under the Big Buddha statue. There are six smaller bronze statues known as "The Offering of the Six Devas" and are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. These offerings symbolise charity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary to enter into nirvana. Tian Tan Buddha is a 34 meters tall bronze statue and it sits on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar.

Tian Tan Buddha

a large bronze statue of Buddha

statues with offerings for the Buddha

If you plan to visit Ngong Ping by cable car, please make sure to book the ticket online through their website. Trust me, it saves a lot of queueing time. I've booked my ticket in advance yet I queued for about 1 hour before getting to the cable car. And I saw the crazy lines for those who haven't booked the ticket, it would probably took them more than 3 hours in lines. Also it's better to visit in the morning, because the crowd gets worse in the afternoon.


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