Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cafe hopping across the border - Johor Bahru!

It's been awhile since i updated my blog and i'm finally back with a new blog post! I have to admit that i've been too lazy to update this blog of mine but i'm still thankful to you guys who religiously visit this site every other day just to see if there is any update. I'm now kinda more on other social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram (id: andystorm) or Snapchat (id: imandystorm) to update bite sized of my life here and there nowadays but rest assured i will never neglect my blog totally! It's just that i now take a bit more time to think of content to blog. Pai seh ah, LOL 

I have been reading articles on the up and coming cafes in Johor Bahru, Malaysia (JB) for the past few months and always wanted to go across the border to visit these cafes but the number 1 thing that is deterring me is the lack of transport knowledge. The cafes are spread out everywhere throughout JB and i honestly think it's not easy to get from places to places, even on a cab since most of us are not familiar with the area. So the plan to go cafe hopping in JB was always KIV, until i read online about this Jalan Dhoby "hipster" area that is of walk-able distance from City Square Mall!
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(Source unknown - please let me know if this image belongs to you)


Above is a hand drawn map that i found online which roughly shows the way to the hipster area where you can find quite a number of cafes. It takes about 10 to 15 mins to walk from City Square Mall to the area, quite easy to navigate honestly if you follow the "map" religiously. There are also signage along the way to tell you which road you are at. Once you find one of the cafes, you probably will be able to spot the rest since they are all situated in the same area.

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#1: IT Roo Cafe
17, Jalan Dhoby, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
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Touted as the best chicken chop in town and awarded the “Best Chicken Chop in Malaysia” title by The Star newspaper in 2003, how can i not give it a try! I wanted to have a proper lunch before any cafe food so i suggested that we head to IT Roo Cafe for their chicken chop! For their famous chicken chop, you can choose to have either the Grilled or Fried version (RM14) and it comes with a potato side along with coleslaw. Honestly, the dish is delicious and filling but then again i feel that i can find similar tasting grilled chicken chop in Singapore. The taste of the chicken and mushroom sauce is not really that unique to me but still do give this famous chicken chop a try and do let me know what you think!

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#2: The Ice-Cream Project
31, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
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After a proper lunch, it's time to explore the area and we passed by The Ice Cream Project. Wasn't sure what kind of ice cream they serve but we decided to go in anyway (the place was air conditioned and the weather that day was quite hot too, LOL) The place is located opposite IT Roo Cafe and it should be quite easy to spot because of the instagram worthy swing and fake grass right outside the shop. Apparently The Ice Cream Project (TIP) only serve 5 flavors (including original) and the ice cream are all made to order using liquid nitrogen. Each cup cost RM10, not the cheapest ice cream around but definitely worth it! I ordered the Brownies and cream and it was delicious! Every mouth of filled with chewy brownies and the original milk flavor was not overbearing. I would definitely want to come back to try other flavors! :D

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#3: Coffee Valley
12, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
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I would say Coffee Valley was one of the hidden gem we found that day. Tucked at a quiet corner and only accessible via the back valley, we would have easily missed it if we weren't looking for somewhere to take our #ootd that day! LOL

When we saw the staircase leading up to the cafe, we had no idea what kind of cafe "Coffee Valley" is and what they serve. We decided to go up anyway and we found a nice little cafe on the second floor which to me, is a perfect place to spend the afternoon with a group of friends. They serve brunch, drinks and waffles at a really affordable price! (Can't remember the pricing though) Even though we were full from the chicken chop and ice cream, i still wanted to order their signature waffle just to give it a try, haha. #fatdieus The waffles were made to order and came nice and fluffy with a scoop of ice cream along with the sauces. I also ordered a cup of hot chocolate to paired it with the waffles. Really nice place and i would definitely bring my friends here for my next trip! I want to try their brunch sets! 

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#4: Roost Cafe
9, Jalan Dhoby, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
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It was already evening by the time we finished Coffee Valley and exploring the area and we wanted to head to Faculty of Caffeine for the last stop aka dinner (yes, we were full but still need to eat dinner right? LOL) but by the time we found the place, it was closed -_- Apparently they only open till 6 pm. Anyway Faculty of Caffeine is not really at the Jalan Dhoby area, i will share more on it when i visit the next time. So since Faculty of Caffeine was closed, we went back to Jalan Dhoby and decided on a cafe that we passed by earlier - Roost Cafe. Ordered 2 mains - Banger and Mash and Eggs Benedict. The food there is pretty decent and reasonable priced. We sat on the 2nd level which looked rather "hipster-ish" with all the funky designs like the bookshelf you see in the photo above. Pretty nice place to chill at night.

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One of the #ootd shots that day at the back alley, which also led us to Coffee Valley.

That's 4 cafes i visited that day and i'm quite sure i will be sharing on the other cafes in JB within the next few months! The awesome thing about cafe hopping in JB is the pricing! You know how we always spend like $30 or more for every time we have brunch in Singapore? Well, guess how much i spent that day? A grand total of SGD$25 for all the food that i had! (after dividing by half since leon and i split the bill) The amount reflected on the menus are the same as in Singapore but that is before conversion, which i think is about RM2.75 is to SGD1 now? *throw confetti* LOL Plus it's so convenient to take the public transport to go over to the JB and back. That's all i have, till the next JB cafe post! 


Crossing the border,                            

Friday, June 12, 2015

Visit to #TrappedSG Escape Room!

Recently i was invited by Trapped.sg to head down to their outlet to have a go at one of their 5 escape rooms that they offer! I've always been a fan of these escape rooms because it really requires you to work together as a team to find clues, solve puzzles, use the very last bit of your brain juice to find the way out of the room within a certain time limit. 
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Trapped.sg has 2 outlets in Singapore, one at Kandahar Street and the other at *Scape. The room that we attempted that day was the "Hunger Games" and it was hosted at the Kandahar Street outlet. Nearest MRT would be at EW12 Bugis.
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I invited the "brunch buddies" group (4 of us) to join me for this exciting escape room challenge! Each room can take a group size of about 2 to 10 players but from my experience, i would recommend the team size to be about 4 to 6 players. (Even though there is a saying, the more brains the better. LOL) I mean imagine having 10 people in one small room trying to find clues and solving puzzles, it's definitely gonna be noisy and everyone will be all over the place! LOL
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Before the start of the game, the game master will give you a briefing on the game rules, the story line for your room (in our case, something along the Hunger Games movie) and what is expected of you and your team. 60 mins was all we had to "escape" from the room and the next thing we know, the huge countdown timer started. #panicmodeon HAHA
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The thing about these escape rooms is that you are literally "thrown" into the room without a single clue so you really have to start from scratch and find clues to gain access to the next room. You have to literally rampage through everything (at the same time be mindful of the game rule of not flipping any furniture, lol. We got scolded a few times for moving the furniture, opps) You have to solve the different puzzles, find the locker combinations etc. It was really stressful but exciting at the same time. You will realise the one hour you have passes really fast! zomgbbqwtf

Oh ya, did i mention they provide you with a wireless phone before you enter the room? Well, you technically have 3 calls to the game master just in case you are stuck at any one point and require a clue to advance further. I honestly think we made more than 3 calls that day, lol. According to their website, the "Hunger Games" room is 80 out 100% difficulty and 86% intensity. I have no idea how smaller groups can handle the intensity when the 4 of us literally went crazy inside. LOL Sometimes the clues are just right in front of us and we can just missed it or the clue can be found at the last place you would think of, example - the air vent or in the power socket on the wall. LIKE SERIOUSLY. tian ah...
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As you might have guessed it, we failed our mission. Damn! I thought we were smart enough to solve it. LOLOLOL

When the 60 mins were up, the game master came into the room and started explaining the flow of the game. Like what we are supposed to look for, how to solve the puzzle etc. Throughout the explanation, in my mind i was like, "how would you expect anyone to think of this?!" but apparently he said a quite a number of teams managed to solve the whole game in under an hour. I guess we are just not good enough or maybe we are just tired after work. #excuses, lol

Overall it was a really fun experience and i would totally love to do it all over again. Not the same room since we already know how to "solve" the Hunger Games room, but the other 4 rooms. Throughout the 1 hour session, i really felt that i was really squeezing my brain juice to think out of the box to solve the puzzles. If you are looking for a challenge with your friends, or you think you have amazingly high IQ and problem solving skills, i would highly recommend you to give Trapped.sg a try! More details like the different rooms, location and pricing can be found on their site - http://www.trapped.sg! Thanks Trapped.sg for the invite, i will be back!!!!! :D


Seriously mindblown,                       


Saturday, May 30, 2015

香港 Hong Kong '15 - Day 4 & 5

The last post for this 香港 trip which consist of Day 4 and 5. Normally when i finish a blog travelogue, it would meant that i am departing for another trip real soon but i guess this time it's not the case, HAHA. I'm still in Singapore, working my ass off, growing more white hair from all the stress (but in the meantime also trying to plan for another trip, probably within the next few months, LOL) Who knows i might just go for another impromptu trip! I'm trying lah. HAHA
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Woke up quite late and decided to head down to this old rustic cafe that i have been passing by for the past few days. My cousin told me i should totally visit the place because of their old school breakfast and setting. Mido Cafe, 63 Temple St, Hong Kong. I ordered a cup of hot cocoa and traditional toast with luncheon meat and egg. Awesome! :D
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After breakfast, i went to explore the area and came across the street market. Very happening place.
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Came across a store where they sell the HK famous curry fish ball so i decided to order some for myself. Apparently i got cheated because the auntie prepared the largest portion (instead of the usual 1 or 2 sticks) for me, probably because she realized i'm a tourist. I ended up with a huge bowl of fish balls (about 25 of them?) and had to pay like SGD7 for it? So angry. Kept eating while walking around until my jaw became sore from all the chewing. TMDDDD! >:(
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Just had to take an #ootd in front of the old grey buildings of Hong Kong.
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Went to this "Mei Ho House" cafe which is a cafe at a hostel. Address: Hong Kong, 石硤尾巴域街九龍深水埗石硤尾邨41座 It's a very nice place to chill and maybe meet people, make friends because it's located in a hostel area for backpackers and tourists. I literally spent my whole afternoon sitting there. LOL The design of the place is really nice as well! :D
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Salad. French Toast. Hot Chocolate to last for the entire afternoon at Mei Ho House Cafe.
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Passed by this long street where they mainly sell pets and fishes. The fishes are individually packed into these plastic bags and hanged outside the shop. It makes me wonder what happens at the end of the day the shop closes... do they refill the oxygen in the bag or do they pour the fishes back into a tank. Whichever way, it seem like a lot of effort.
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Had to give this milk pudding a try since i'm in Hong Kong and my cousin recommended me the ones from Yee Shun. Not a fan of milk so i chose the chocolate version. Still very milky, not to my liking. HAHA Do give it a try in Hong Kong!
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Last day in Hong Kong and i forced myself to wake up for one last breakfast. Chose a cha chaan teng 茶餐厅 to have the standard Hong Kong breakfast (which i loveeee!) Ordered the Polo bun set with ham and egg, additional luncheon meat toast and lemon coke (?!). Last day liao, must order more what! HAHAHAHA I was really full when i left the place, hehe
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Decided to explore the area and digest my heavy breakfast. HAHA Went into another street market and also this jade market. The morning life in Hong Kong is really interested. Exactly like what was depicted in the HK dramas, LOLOL
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Thanks to Visondata for providing their portable WIFI device, i was able to stay connected throughout my 5 days in Hong Kong! Normally when i touched down at my destination, one of the first things i would do would be to get a local sim card, but this time i could do without getting one! Having one of these portable WIFI devices allows users to stay connected to the internet while traveling, without worrying about hefty data roaming charges. How awesome is that! :D

VDS currently offers their portable WIFI rental to 15 popular destinations including Japan, Korea, Europe and more and rental cost as low as $9 per day, definitely cheaper than what local telcos offer for data roaming. With the device, you can even connect a few devices to it at the same time! So if you are traveling in groups, you guys might want to share and rent one of these WIFI devices to stay connected throughout the trip! It was very useful having data connection throughout the trip because i depend on GPS to navigate around and also to search for places and food around the area.

Just 4 simple steps in renting your WIFI from VisonData:
#1: Make a reservation via phone or online - http://visondata.com.sg
#2: Pickup the device at the store (#05-41C,IMM Building 2) or arrange for courier.
#3: Enjoy your device at your destination!
#4: Return the device at the store or arrange for shipping.

Once again, thank you VisonData for extending your service for my Hong Kong trip! Connection was great throughout the trip. I was able to stay connected, update my Facebook Status, upload photos on my instagram, contact my friends using whatsapp and many more! I would definitely want to rent one of these devices for my future overseas trip! :D

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Time to checkout of my hotel and head to the airport!
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Jetstar flight back to Singapore. Good bye Hong Kong.
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#selfie on board. First solo trip a success! Weeeeee~
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Like i mention in my very first post, this trip was rather a fulfilling one. I came to Hong Kong without knowing what to do, where to go. I just wanted to leave the country to get some "alone" time and move on. When people say go for a trip, you will feel better. It's somewhat true and false at the same time. True as in you get to reflect but false because when you spend time alone, you tend to think more and further. Irregardless, it was a fruitful trip to me.


Till the next trip,                           

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 & 5