My Time Capsule: 2017

18.4.17

Switzerland: Küsse Aus Luzern

snowing on a Christmas eve


Luzern will always hold a special place in my heart, simply because I used to called it home.

17 years ago, I boarded my first long haul flight heading to a new country in a continent I had never been to before. It was the first time ever I travelled alone without my family nor friends. It was my first time moving to a foreign place with no one I was familiar with and the language I could barely speak. It was when my solo adventures began. The period of a lot of firsts in my life. At that time I just wanted a new chapter after a frightening plane incident I experienced the previous year that shook my life.  It caused me psychological scars and I started to have a severe phobia of flying and being enclosed in a small space...and the rest is history.

"Will I be okay? How will I cope when I miss my family?" Those questions kept playing on my mind when I cry silently during the 12 hours flight from Singapore to Zurich. At that era, the information I could gather from internet was limited thus I really had no idea what to expect. So I was surprised just how well I survived. Luzern welcomed me with a bright warm smile. This city has a relaxed atmosphere. There was always people approached me whenever I was lost or needed help. I began to fall in love with the city. I love the lovely weather. I love the scenery from my balcony which facing to Luzern lake with snowy mountains as a background. I love the quacking noises of ducks and swans by the lake that greeted me every afternoon when I brought a huge loaf of bread for them. I started to make friends at school and dormitory. After a while I called Luzern as my home. Every time I sent letters and postcards for my friends and family in Indonesia, I'd wrote down "küsse aus Luzern" which means kisses from Luzern.

Long story short I was ecstatic when my family asked me to arrange a Christmas holiday to Switzerland two years earlier. I've missed Luzern too much. I couldn't wait to see how the city look like after I left ages ago. Unfortunately it was snowing really really hard throughout the week that I had to cancel most of my itineraries. I stayed warm in my hotel room most of the time. Here's some pictures I managed to snap during my stay. Decided to edit my pictures different from my usual style which is mostly vibrant. If you've seen my instagram account, you would have notice that I love playing with colour. As far I remember I hardly shared black & white picture before. I guess some colourless pictures for a change would be interesting so I played a bit on my phone using Snapseed app.

Please let me know your thoughts, okie? :)


Kapelbrücke

Kapelbrücke


view from my room balcony

Jesuitenkirche

buried in snow

Des Balances, pretty hotel I was staying at

shopping area Hertensteinstrasse

frozen lake

Old Swiss House

snow everywhere

Löwendenkmal or the Lion Monument

always love leafless snowy tree :)

Luzern city from across the lake

Luzern

Seebrücke Luzern 


Luzern, I will be home again...hopefully sooner rather than later :)


9.4.17

Chiang Mai: Witnessing Gruesome Torture In Hell

*Contains graphic violence, nudity and adult situations. Viewers discretion advised and please read with an open mind.*


what the hell!


"Welcome to Garden of Hell, Heaven and Golden Land of Buddhism."

Yai, my local friend translated what's written in Thai alphabet; above the gate I was about to enter. There's no ticket booth or any staffs on sight. We just need to put 10 baht coins into the slot machines and the automatic gate to the hell will be opened for you. We were the only visitor that afternoon in the garden full of demonic-looking life size statues. Though the garden was bright with sunshine, I found the quietness was rather blood-curdling.

Wat Mae Kaet Noi or famously known as the Hell temple is located on the outskirts of Chiang Mai city. It's pretty challenging to find for the first timer because we couldn't find any sign board or direction to this temple. Phi Ton, our chauffeur drove carefully through some narrow street before we finally saw a couple of skull statues greeted us in front of the gate. What I knew about Buddhist temples are, usually displays beautiful and tranquil elements but this temple is the opposite. Wat Mae Kaet Noi is loaded with disturbing and gory statues so the visitors could take a peek what will hell be like.


gigantic pimple-loaded statue

I watched a short documentary film about this temple sometime last year (scroll down to watch the video) and instantly put it on my bucket list. Some of you who have been following my journey might have noticed that I have a special interest in horror thingy, cemeteries and skulls. While travelling, I usually try to squeeze time to visit haunted places or admiring some tombstones on graveyard and one of my fave is Catacombs of Paris that I visited a few years back.


horrid torture

thieves got their hands chopped off

Heaven and hell. Angel and demon. No one has ever scientifically proved they exist but some religions believe it. And of course every religions have different ideas about this. I can't say that I'm a fully believer either but most of the time I have big curiosity of these topics and I am intrigued to find out. However it irks me when I see people fight each other, so persistent that their religion is the best. Why can't they settle with the idea that everyone has their own opinions? Oh well, who am I to judge what's right and wrong though? I, myself a grown up woman who cries over cartoon movies or gets upset when my fried chicken skin is snatched by other. Doh!


that looks awfully painful 

boiled alive

Nope, not Moana. It's Nang Tani, the spirit of the Banana Tree

The head monk Pra Kru Vishanjalikon once stated that the scariest thing is our mind. He built this temple to remind people about goodness and morality. Also to share his vision about the scary punishment in Naraka or hell when you do sinful acts during life. Every so often, students are taken to this temple for a school trip so they can learn about the consequence of leading a bad life. Yai told me that there's 5 prohibitive articles in Buddhism, which are:

1. To abstain from taking the lives of living beings.
2. To abstain from taking that which is not given.
3. To abstain from sexual misconduct.
4. To abstain from telling falsehoods.
5. To abstain from distilled and fermented intoxicants, which are the occasions of carelessness (which also includes drugs).


Phya Yom, the Death King

the punishment for a cheating wife

What I learnt from the temple was the punishment in Buddhist hell are specific to the crimes committed. Like the one from the picture above, a cheating wife got something that looks like a humongous eggplant inserted to her vajajay. Thieves got their hand hands chopped off by a chainsaw. Some murderer got their body processed inside what looked like a meat grinder or their body split in half. Some souls got boiled alive inside a huge bubbling vat. And so on. Some tortures are way too vulgar to describe. I even had to looked away because I can't bear to imagine how excruciating it is!


ouch!

the Krasue

The detail of the statues are mind-blowingly fine that I almost got a heart attack when I turn my head around and suddenly there was a Krasue swinging loosely only 5 centimetres from my face. Gosh! Even more, some of the exhibits have mechanical and electric light components which can be activated by inserting a ten baht coin into the slot. The frightening-sounding audio plays some spine-tingling painful screams and crying from the aborted babies.

In the Southeast Asia folklore, Krasue is a nocturnal spirit in a form of a beautiful woman with her internal organs hanging down. The Krasue in under a curse that makes her always hungry and hunting every night for a flesh or fresh blood. Besides attacks cattle and chicken, the Krasue also preys on pregnant women and feeding on unborn babies with vampire-like teeth, causing miscarriage.
That's scary! Why doesn't she suck belly fat instead?


labour and birth while some Krasue waiting eagerly


the baby tree!

After spending a good 1 hour taking pictures of those heart wrenching and demonic statues, I kinda relieved when I finally arrived at the peaceful garden of Heaven. The sun suddenly seemed shine brighter and the surrounding felt peaceful. No more desperate agonising scream sound torturing my ears. There's not much to see here though so I just walked around for a while amongst the smiley-faced statues, together in heavenly happiness.



peaceful and smiley face

The Hell Temple is an interesting alternative if you want to see something different other than tons of gorgeous temples in Chiang Mai. Even if you don't believe in any religions or the existence of heaven and hell, I do still think people could learn a lesson or two about this life. Please do visit with an open mind though. After all this world would be a better place to live when human beings learn to stop hurting each other. Don't you think so? :)





Wat Mae Kaet Noi
Highway 1001, Tambon Pa Phai, Amphoe San Sai
Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50210
Thailand
Opens from 8am to 6pm

16.2.17

Travel Updates: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai & Bangkok

February 2017


Wat Rong Khun

Family holiday is over! It was indeed a memorable 10 days trip around Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Visited one Wat to another Wat which have its own beauty and uniqueness. And of course I went gaga over those sinfully delicious Thai food. Anyway, apart from the White Temple or Wat Rong Khun, here's some highlights of my trip in Northern Thailand:


Golden Triangle

tunnel at illusions at Hall of Opium

We flied from Surabaya to Bangkok via Singapore then bound for Chiang Rai on the next morning. First thing first, we headed to the Golden Triangle area because we wanted to buy and taste some opium (kidding! :p). Though I'm not a museum person, I insisted to visit the Hall of Opium which turned out to be such a great place to learn about the history of opium trading and how to smuggle it (HA!). Too bad it's not allowed to take picture inside the museum but pssttt....of course I never take a NO. I sneaked some clicks though it turned out blurry :'(


Yai at Mae Sai border between Thailand and Myamar

Because it's my first time to Northern Thailand, I thought it would be convenient to book a tailor made private tour for my family. Less hassle as I don't need to spend too much time in browsing which hotels to stay or which landmarks to visit like what I always do before travelling. Le princess needs to be spoiled once in a while, no? I just want to sit and relax and enjoy the ride :p

After comparing some local agents, I decided to book the land tour through Aimo tours. It's not a sponsored post nor a paid advertisement. I simply want to share this with you guys because their service has been beyond excellent. So next time you need to book a tour in Chiang Mai or other destination in Thailand, you'll know which company to consider :)

Booking process was easy breezy. Sophia who had been dealing with my emails are very efficient and helpful to accommodating all my requests (I avoid any kind of elephant rides and Tiger Kingdom). Yai, our local guide is also a super nice guy who ensured we truly enjoyed our journey. Apart from the itineraries I made, he added some 'off the beaten path' places which are impossible to find if I wasn't with him. Also when he found out that we are more interested in street food than restaurants, he took us to his favourite Beef Noodle stall somewhere secluded I can't even remember the place now. Lol! When they found out that my Dad was down with stomach infection, the manager showed up with a bag full of medicines and offered to take Dad to hospital. Seriously, I had quite a lot of experiences with travel agents around the world but these guys go the extra mile. Well done, Aimo tours! I'm genuinely impressed. Please keep doing the top-notch work that you are doing now :)


Choui Fong tea plantation

Karen long neck village

the Blue Temple

While the famous White Temple is undoubtedly beautiful however I am more impressed with the Blue Temple or Wat Rong Seu Ten in Chiang Rai. The huge white Buddha statue looks stunning against the bluish details and paintings interiors. It's also quiet so I could wander around freely and took tons of pictures until my camera battery ran out.


Khantoke dinner

Doi Suthep

Chiang Dao cave

Doi Inthanon

sunset at Wat Aranyawiwake

Of course a trip to Chiang Mai won't be complete without a visit to Doi Suthep and Doi Inthanon. But I was actually deeply in love with Wat Aranyawiwake. I've never heard about it before thus I didn't put it on my itinerary. Thanks to Yai, he decided to take us there on the way back to Chiang Mai city after trekking in Doi Inthanon National Park and Mae Ya waterfall. It was nearly sunset when I got there and the warm goldish sun beam enveloped the temple area. There was no one on sight but my family. It was so beautiful...so peaceful, I got goosebumps all over my body :)


songthaew ride with Ma, Pa, sis, nephew and bro :D

I requested one free day in Chiang Mai to do some shopping and street food hunting. After a week ride on a fancy Mercedes van now it's time to try the local transportation, Songthaew! It was so much fun, we giggled all the way. And because songthaews has no fixed schedules nor routes, we shared seat with some locals who were on the way to traditional market. I liked it a lot that I kept hopping on and off songthaews for the whole day. Lol!


Assumption Cathedral, Bangkok

Or Tor Kor market

Flied and stayed in Bangkok for 3 days for further shopping spree and Thai food adventure. So happy to finally visit Or Tor Kor market. It's my idea of food paradise, really. I walked through stall after stall with a big grin on my face, like a little girl's first journey to Disneyland.


Mae Ya waterfall

only 1% of 5.678.345.927 food I devoured in Thailand

There's more places I've been to during the trip including an almost deserted old temple made of teak wood in a rural area and the infamous Hell Temple which I'm going to publish on the next blog post. So stay tuned while I'm unpacking tons of luggage after the trip. It's a good thing I had around 200 kg baggage allowance otherwise I'd need a cargo service to bring all the stuff I bought in Thailand (mostly my food & snacks, dog toys and dog treats) :p



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