/bɪ ə gʊd gɜ:l/ n. moniker of she who blogs here [also known as, bie]; adj. personal awesome advice to all female kiddos

meet the fam #thechennies

meet the fam #thechennies

While sorting out my photos, I came across my snaps from Bandung and Taichung/Taipei, where I went for short work trips earlier this year. If you didn't read my stories (AND WHY NOT? NEVER SUPPORT!), here's a behind-the-scenes look anyway.


May 2014 issue

Basically, the recommendations for a quick getaway to this hilltop destination are covered in my story. More on what I really liked in snaps below :))

{Hilton Bandung Hotel} Website
This is self-explanatory, eh? With the exchange rate in our favour, you get to enjoy a relatively large-sized room for a fraction of what you usually pay in cities. Not too shabby woohoo~ Being part of an established and international brand, you wouldn't expect anything else but I still have to say that the hotel offered me a luxuriously comfy sleep (I should know since I usually sleep poorly on vacations, even pre-baby) and dished out top notch quality meals to satisfy my tummy. Parents would really appreciate their weekend Kids Club, where children get their fix of games, movies and entertainment, while mummies and daddies get a much deserved massage.

Kids get their own check-in counter!

With their My Little Hilton mascot

They even have kiddy-friendly setups in the spa for the wee ones...

... and a dedicated children spa menu, using only hypoallergenic products. (Psst, there are mum and daughter spa treatments! What a lovely touch!)

{Bandung Treetop Adventure Park} Website
I miss climbing so much, but given that my fitness level has dipped to nothingness, a obstacle course romp in the trees was as close as it gets. Compared to our local equivalent of Forest Adventure, the Bandung version has a whole lot more obstacles and you get to go up to incredible heights. The final course has you do a Tarzan Jump and I quote, "Don't miss the nerve-racking Tarzan Jumps, where you grip a rope, leap off the platform and scream your lungs out as you swing through the air in a harness." (So lame to quote myself, but my brain doesn't function quite properly past midnight - which is when I am writing this.) My heart was thumping so hard but since there was no going back (and the other reporters were behind me), I had to jump - might as well make it as painless as possible. I have to admit though, I was afraid that my scream would be embarrassingly girlish (read: bloodcurdling shrieks) but the rest said it was more a YAHOO-I'm-having-the-time-of-my-life holler. Phew. The first step (jump) was truly a leap of faith then it's a truly exhilarating rush!

{Rumah Batik Komar} Website
It's a shame that I can't share the behind the scenes photos with you (they made us promise photos were for personal viewing only) because the intricate detailing of the moulds blew me away. And they have over 500 moulds, ranging from a small replica harley davidson logo to huge stamps of weird squiggles that turn out to be beautiful floral motifs. It was stupendous. We got to make our own prints and I did a silly cartoonish one for the Chennies. Bielet really loves it though, so mission accomplished! Hee.

{Burgundy} Website
My sis and her boyfriend went to Bandung a couple of weeks after I returned (on my recommendation, of course!) and I told them they just had to check this restaurant out. Stunning scenery, romantic ambience and really scrumptious dishes. Only drawback is that the drive up (round and round the hill on a pothole-ridden road) was most disconcerting. Price-wise, it's comparable (quite a steal, even) to our local establishments, but that's considered expensive compared to the rest of Bandung.

{Kampung Daun} Website
If you prefer a more traditional dining experience, this place has Indonesian-styled huts for its diners. It's spread out over a large area so you can go up to view the waterfalls or if you're lucky, see a local wedding celebration being held at the large hut right at the top. Food is really delish, but again, considered slightly pricey. If you're wondering, it's not just for tourists - there are many locals (okay, maybe Jakartians) who pack this place too. Best to call in advance for reservations.

For the record: There is NO bandung drink in Bandung. They (including the other Indonesians hailing from the capital) don't even know the drink, though the Malaysian reporters and I tried convincing them it really exists back home.


Jun 2014 issue

Boy, was I chuffed to accept this assignment. EVERYONE knows how much I adore Taiwan, right? (Although yes, I still can't speak Mandarin to save my life.) Other than my previous post on how I stuffed my tummy, here's more:

{Wang Steak} Website
The premier chain of restaurants under the mega Wowprime brand (Taiwan's largest F&B operator, with 12 brands and over 360 outlets across Asia!), this steakhouse uses only the best six parts of a cow for its steak. For those of you who have travelled to Taiwan before, have you eaten here before? Despite Taipei being my self-proclaimed favouritest city, nary a glance did I throw this restaurant's way. It was night market after night market when I visited. Only after I read up for the trip and paid attention that I realised there was a Wowprime outlet on every other corner. Impressed, no? Remember to check out at least one of their eateries when you next visit Taiwan! Although the set menu seems like A LOT of food, the portions are manageable, the quality is high and it is a really good deal for the price. (Sorry my handphone doesn't really do justice to the dishes, but suffice to say, our meal was delish. The good thing about travelling in groups is that you get to taste many many dishes. Yum!)

{Sufood} Website
This Italian-inspired vegetarian restaurant was the reason for our trip. If you don't already know, they have opened their first overseas outlet in Singapore (click here for Sufood Singapore - I popped in recently and liked how they stayed true to the homely decor of the original outlet. Didn't have a chance to sample the food to see how it measures up but I've read good reviews!) We were brought to the farms to sample and see firsthand how the produce is grown. The staff are really attentive, and they are trained to remember what everyone at the table is having: no mean feat for an eight-course set menu. Plus, they aren't supposed to bring the dish to you and ask, "Excuse me, are you having the xxxx?" During the presentation, their exec shared with us that in a poll of uni grads, Wowprime is consistently ranked the number one choice of company that they would like to join. Beating even Google. NOW, do you understand the pervasiveness (for lack of a better word) of this brand?

(Again, sorry for the low light pictures. This is just to give you an idea of what's offered. Best if you head down to our Raffles City outlet to check it out for yourself. The dishes are really quite novel and if you love mushrooms as much as you, this will fast be on your favourite eateries! Great value too, because the set menu costs just $25. And you can expect the same excellent service because our local team got sent to Taiwan for a two month learning stint!)

Fresh from the farm! Traffic stopping tomatoes and pretty mushrooms in blush tones.

We got to make Sufood's best seller Star Pizza. I was afraid we had to make it from scratch (since I also cannot cook to save my life) but we just had to put the different ingredients together. Phew!

{Famonn} Website
Another Wowprime chain, this is a cafe for your coffee and cakes. I don't know about the coffee, but I really do like the cakes.

{National Museum of Natural Science} Website
Decided to check it out as it was near the hotel we were put up at and there was a cool Alice-in-Wonderland exhibition going on. The first part of the exhibition was a collection of different Alice books with weird and wonderful art in different languages. Quite cool, actually. The second part was more interactive displays and games (kind of so you imagine what it's like to be like Alice in her Wonderland). I felt a bit silly jumping around by myself with other people around (because I very much prefer wii-ing in the comfort of my own home) so I left quite quickly. Walking around, I realised the museum was massive and they had so many extensive galleries and presentations going on. I certainly didn't expect this so I simply didn't have enough time to cover everything! But what little I did was fascinating (and disturbing - one of their exhibits at the Life and Death gallery showed a heat sensor reading of a person who was dying until he/she died. Stone cold dead. I nearly freaked out, if not for the group of primary school students heading into the gallery.)

{City Inn Hotel II} Website
I've been to City Inn before and I really like the chain's central locations, simple and plain rooms, plus easy on the pocket. (See my post on City Inn Hotel Taipei Station Branch I.) Perfect for single travellers or couples! The staff are very helpful and responsive too. I had deliberately left behind some items as my luggage was bursting at the seams, and I received an email from them a couple of days later to inform me that it had been taken to their Lost & Found for storage up to three months. And when I replied to say I didn't need the items, but wanted to feedback on the driver who drove me to the airport - he was drinking some can drink and gulping really loudly, which was annoying, BUT the point is he was texting and looking at his phone while driving - the staff checked and conveyed their apologies, and even provided me an explanation why he was behaving like that etc. (Btw, the hotel arranges for airport transfers, to be paid to the driver directly.) Still, I hardly think this will dent my good impression of the hotel and I still strongly recommend this hotel for anyone travelling to Taipei :))

While I really really REALLY missed the girls (okay, and the hubby too) - 4D3N for both Bandung in January & Taichung/Taipei in April - I was glad that they coped well without me. Apparently, they were really good girls and listened more to my mum when I was away. That means I can go for longer trips. Anyone? HAHAHA.


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