Thursday, April 4, 2019

Her Top 10 Favourite Places

I find it’s very hard to answer when people ask where’s the best place you’ve ever visited or favourite places around the world. Every place tells a different story, gives you a lesson, different experience you can’t quite get anywhere else. One thing I always remind myself from the beginning: never compare. Lately, travel means more than just sightseeing or visiting tourist destinations. I want to connect more with people and nature. I want to immerse myself in a different culture. I want to create, help others and give back. I want to travel with purpose. After running from one place to another for the past 10 years, I realised travel has been a huge part of me I can’t even explain. Travel has helped me to find myself, my purpose, favourite home away from home, new family, dream jobs, huge opportunities I never thought I could get in life, even travel helps me to fix my broken heart. It’s amazing the moment you decide to trust life, go into the uncertainty and get comfortable with the uncomfortable ( it’s painful sometimes ) life has amazing ways to surprise you. From Jakarta to Cape Town, from Orlando to Bhutan, from Singapore to South Africa, I’d like to share my top 10 favourite places with you. Any places with good people, raw nature, unique traditions and culture, chaos would steal my heart away.

Nepal

Oh Nepal! You know you’re going to have a magical trip when the minute you land, you just feel this peaceful, calm feeling. You probably ask me what am I talking about, well it’s hard to describe it but Nepal has this good vibe you can’t really find anywhere else. I love how polite, kind and warm Nepalese people. It’s safe and cheap. Of course everybody knows about Mount Everest and Himalaya, but even if you just have few days to explore Pokhara and Kathmandu, you’ll see how Nepal going to blow your mind away and humble you.


Oahu, Hawaii

If I can’t make it to Los Angeles and New York, Oahu Hawaii would be my third dream cities in the USA. I love any cities with mountains and beaches, plus Hawaiian people are super cool and chill. I am grateful that I got to spend some time exploring Oahu last September 2018. What is life when all you do everyday just hiking, beach, poke bowl and repeat?


New York

It all started from MTV TRL and Sex and The City. I always picture myself, 30 something, run around New York City wearing stylish and chic red coat and a coffee in my left hand. A modern day Carrie Bradshaw. If you ask me what are my biggest dreams, I’d say moving to New York. I want to work in the biggest, coolest entertainment companies in the world. Continue creating bigger contents with my dream team, making positive changes, be a part of huge productions, see things happen on a big scale. I can continue talk about it but yes there’s something about New York City that you won’t find it in other big cities. I love how NYC offers big opportunities for those who wish to pursue a career in entertainment industry. From Broadway, to SNL, to fashion industry, and late night jazz session or just an afternoon stroll in Central Park, I’m still dreaming of New York City. Endless possibilities.


Cuba

One random evening I was having dinner with my girl in Singapore. I told her I wanted to visit Cuba but of course I had no idea how I’m going to go there. Less than 5 months, my company sent me to Cuba for a special project. Oh, the beauty of dreams come true! I love Cuban people, culture, Old Havana is just soooo beautiful and inspiring.


Komodo Island, Indonesia

I visited Komodo Islands in 2018 with a goal not only to see komodo but also to see the last sunset of the year and the first sunrise of 2018. I joined an open trip with Indahnesia, a travel company you can find on Instagram. It was my first ever experience live aboard for 3 days and honestly the best way to end the year and start a new year with a bang. We did a lot of hiking, snorkeling, island-hopping and visited Komodo National Park. I’ve been incredibly lucky to travel the world but haven’t seen so much of Indonesia, so I told myself once a year visit at least one new place in Indonesia, not just Bali. This place still remains as one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. The nature just wowww.


Kyoto, Japan

I visited Japan for the first time in 2018. Such a cool country with unbelievably good food! I can’t wait to go back and explore more of Japan someday.


South Africa

I celebrated my 29th birthday in Cape Town, Durban and Mpumalanga, South Africa. Nothing beats early morning game drive to see the big 5 roaming free in nature.


Myanmar

I will never forget my first time visiting Myanmar. I was lost, didn’t know how to get to certain places, but Burmese people were very kind to help me. From a man who walked me to the bus stop, to two girls who dropped me back to the airport and even paid for my bus ticket, to so many Burmese I met along my journey…everyone was so kind and friendly. I celebrated end of 2017 in Bagan on a hot air balloon ride, I remember I told the universe I wanted to revisit Myanmar again and so last year I made it back to Yangon, Mandalay and Inle Lake.


Sumba, Indonesia

I recently visited Sumba, Indonesia for 5 days after been dreaming about this hidden paradise for so long. Sumba is absolutely stunning. I am going to post more about Sumba in the next few days, but in the meantime if you have any plans to visit Indonesia sometime this year, be sure to put Sumba on your list. The easiest way to explore Sumba just join the open trip by Alam Indonesia ( you can find them on Instagram ). They run tours every Thursday for USD350 for 5 days 4 nights and USD290 for 4 days 3 nights. All inclusive, except flight tickets. Of course you can still explore Sumba on your own, but keep in mind, some places in Indonesia still very raw and it’s always good to have local people with you.

Bhutan

Trust me when I say Bhutan is one of the special countries you should experience once in your life time. It’s more than just magical. I visited Bhutan last February 2019 to attend the Punakha Festival only to find myself completely in love with Bhutanese people, culture and beautiful nature. Two weeks after my trip I released my first travel zine of my little adventure in Bhutan.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Valencia, Spain


5 years ago today I left Indonesia with a luggage full of dreams to work at the happiest place on earth Disney World. Not only I had one of the best years in my life but also I made bunch of new friends and then we all become like family. I shared my apartment with few beautiful girls from Germany, Italy and Brazil. Despite of how different our personalities, I love how we support, help and take care of each other as if we're sisters. Even after we parted ways and continue living our own lives, we all still stay in touch. And it's amazing how life reunite us once again, maybe not in Disney but other places on earth. I got to visit my sweet darling Flavia in Valencia, Spain few months ago after haven't seen her for ages. Somehow I always knew the next time I visit Europe I'd see her again... so when she told me she just left Tenerife and moved to Valencia, I didn't even think twice to book my flight tickets to see her. One of the coolest, strongest, kindest, badass chicks I know. 

Valencia reminds me a little bit of Tomorrowland in Disney. It's modern, super cool, I love how Spanish people just really chill and extremely warm. My good friends have warned me that it's so easy to fall in love with Valencia and they were right. From food, coffee, culture, art to Spanish people... there's just so much to love about this beautiful city. 

















Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Bhutan



Almost a month ago I visited Bhutan for a week with a mission to attend the Punakha Festival and of course to experience the beautiful, magical Bhutan, The Land of Thunder Dragon. Special thanks to Druk Asia, my two sweetest guides Yeshi and Namgay and the kindest Bhutanese people I met along the journey for the warm welcome and hospitality. It was honestly just one of the best experiences in my life to be cherished forever. Adding images of Bhutan to this post bring back so much memories from the moment I landed in Paro, drove to Thimpu, color burst of Punakha Festival, Taktsang Monastery and many more. But I will always remember how being in Bhutan even just for a very short time truly changed my life for the better. Bhutan gives you this peaceful, joy, content feeling I never experience before. Everything is so different, so beautiful. As you leave the airport and drive towards Thimphu, you’ll see not only beautiful nature, colourful prayer flags hanging in the air but also Bhutanese people dress up in their traditional clothes gho ( for man ) and kira ( for woman ). My guide Yeshi even brought one set of kira for me so I can wear it for Punakha Festival. 

We spent our first 3 days in Thimphu, visiting Buddha Point, Thimphu Dzong, few museums and temples, Simply Bhutan where we get to taste a local life, Pho Chhu suspension bridge and Druk Wangyal Chortens. After Thimphu, we moved to Punakha for another 2 days to attend Punakha Tshechu at Punakha Dzong. I’m so glad that I chose to visit Bhutan in February where it’s low season, the weather slightly cold, the skies are blue, we even experienced a tiny snow fall on our way to Punakha and during Punakha Festival week where I get to pretend to be CNN travel host or Nat Geo photographer on assignment. We arrived quite early at Punakha Dzong on the first day of the festival to witness beautiful colour burst of Bhutanese people dressed in their traditional clothes and three days celebration. In the 17th century, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal of Punakha in western Bhutan defeated the invading Tibetan forces which led to the unification of the country as one nation. To honor this victory, a grand celebration, the Punakha Drubchen was held. It went on to become an annual festival of the district. Expectedly, the major part of the festival is a theatrical reenactment of the epic battle. The battle scenes are performed by the local militia men (pazaps) dressed in the battle gear of those ancient times. This highlights the fact that during that period there was no national army as such, and the battle was fought by young men from the eight village blocks (tschogchens) of Thimphu who came forward voluntarily to do battle with the enemy.

It’s always fun to learn new culture. To try Bhutanese food which surprisingly not so different with Indonesian food, to share dinner with the locals, to hike for hours all the way up to Taktstang Monastery and to visit temples even market with fairground that reminds me of Disney World. I could just stand at the fairground for hours watching the kids and adults laughing and having good times. The fairground was so simple, but even the simplest things in life can make you truly happy. And then it just hit me so hard. I know how incredibly lucky and blessed I am to have seen and experienced so much of the world, to have access and opportunities to try mostly everything I want and still sometimes I take things for granted. I forget there are people with bigger problems out there, less access or opportunities but they are happy to have just enough. When we were in Taktsang Monastery or Tiger Nest, my guide Yeshi reminded me to pray for not only myself but for others too. He said we are very lucky to make it to Taktsang Monastery while there are so many people been dreaming or wanting to come here but they just can’t make it yet, so we pray not only for ourselves but also for other people and the world. 

Who knew It took me couple of crazy decisions, a courage to let go and forgive, a big dream, a heartbreak and curiosity to make it to Bhutan. I learn so much about life, love, how to forgive, to let go, to give back, to be just..enough and simply grateful with everything I have today. I found new family, made new friends, took lots of pictures..creating stories again through my photography. I even released my first travel zine ‘Bhutan’ two weeks ago and extremely grateful for all the love and supports I receive. I’ve been lucky enough to witness so many dreams come true but this one totally blow my mind away and will always remain as one of the most humbling experiences.

You can still get my travel zine Bhutan on Blurb ( for softcover ) and Amazon ( for hardcover )