Sunday, November 26, 2017

Japan Day X - Black Hair Salon x Yourwifi Travel WIFI rental

Following my previous post on KKday, i had 2 other sponsors for my trip to Japan. Due to my line of work (which does not permit coloured hair), it’s been quite awhile since i done something fanciful to my hair. The last time was like 4 or 5 years ago for my Korea trip? I really wanted to change my hair colour (even if it’s just for 2 weeks!) because i know i’m gonna take a lots of chio photos in Japan so i collaborated with Black Hair Salon, and turned my hair to the colour that i’ve always dreamt of - Ash Grey

I was told the whole process will take about 5 hours to mentally prep myself, LOL Cannot imagine how long it would take for girls with long hair. Charged my power bank prior, loaded a couple of Netflix shows in my phone and headed to their outlet at Bencoolen Street (relocating to Capitol Piazza really soon!) and i was so ready for the transformation. Had the honour of having Black Hair Salon’s Co-founder/ Director - Anthony, to do my hair. With that said, i was assured that my hair is in good hands as i had to catch my flight just a few hours after leaving the salon.  
Instead of bleaching the whole head, i wanted to leave the sides and back black so i translated to Anthony what i wanted and we started with the hair cut, followed by 5 rounds of bleaching. The whole process was very smooth, and i felt no pain from the bleaching at all (despite all the horror stories i heard) My hair went from black, to orange, to yellow, to ash blonde (which i secretly quite like) and finally dyed it to grey. One last hair wash and my hair was wrapped in the towel before going back to my seat. I was SO EXCITED to see the final result (wore contact lens that day so i could see the whole process, LOL) On the surface i was like calm and composed but on the inside, i was almost exploding. The moment they took off the towel, i can’t help but grin from ear to ear. It was exactly how i imagined it to be. Sound like I’m exaggerating as if i did some life changing surgery but you get the idea la. HAHAHA  
Bleached coloured hair is not easiest to maintain as everyone know - special purple shampoo should be used to maintain the colour, conditioner as the hair will be dry blah blah blah and as you can see from my instagrm photos, my ash grey hair was fading to blonde as the days goes by in Japan BUT i’m not complaining. Just look at how the hair colour made such a difference to my photos below!  
If any of you guys are looking for a hair transformation, do checkout Black Hair Salon as they specialise in creative colouring, chemical treatment and more. Just take a look at their instagram - @Blackhairsalon to see the awesome creative colours they did for their clients and influencers! For more info, checkout their website at http://blackhairsalon.com.sg 

Once again, thank you Black Hair Salon for the collaboration! :) 

When it comes to traveling to a foreign country, it’s really important to have 4G connectivity and/or Wifi so you can use apps like WhatsApp to contact people, Google Map to navigate around etc. One way is to get a local sim card and the other way which is getting popular amongst the millennials, is to rent a portable WIFI router. Each way have their set of pros and cons but let me share more on the portable WIFI router since i used one for my Japan trip.  
Yourwifi kindly extended sponsorship for my 2 weeks Japan trip and i collected the device from their office located at 6 Eu Tong Sen Street prior to the trip. I was offered the Japan Unlimited 4G data router with download speed up to 75Mbps. The device came in a pouch with a charger and cable. 

There are several advantages when it comes to using a portable WIFI router for travel:  
I need not worry about not having enough data throughout my 2 weeks in Japan, and there were basically coverage everywhere i went. From Tokyo to Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and eventually Osaka. Also not to worry about battery life as well, the device i was assigned to could last 20 hours. Up to 5 devices can be connected at the same time which also meant that you can save money but just renting 1 device compared to getting 5 sim cards.  
All i had to do upon landing in Japan was to turn the device on, log on to the WIFI hot spot with the password (just once) and my phone was auto connected every time i turned on the device. Easy peasy! My phone was basically connected throughout the entire day and i could access the net anytime i want. 

If you are thinking what about making calls, i’m quite sure there is a workaround by using line call or WhatsApp call using data *wink*  
Renting a portable wifi from Yourwifi is really easy. All you have to do is place an order online via their website - https://yourwifi.com.sg and input your departure date, arrival date and destination (they will calculate the total price for you) Upon confirmation and payment, you can collect the device 1 day in advance (or arrange courier with additional charges) and leave for your destination! Upon arrival back, you have 1 business day to return the device. (Read their FAQ page HERE if you have any other questions)  
Yourwifi provides coverage for more than 70 countries and there will be no recurring bill (for unlimited data devices), just pay a flat rate upfront and you are good to go! I would highly recommend getting a portable WIFI for your travels so you don’t have to worry about not having reception or connectivity. The device is also pocket friendly, or you can just turn it on and leave it inside your bag for the whole day :) 

For more info on Yourwifi and rates, visit their website at https://yourwifi.com.sg and “like” their FB page for promotions! 


With that said, i have shared on global travel holiday expert - KKday, Creative Hair design - Black Hair Salon and portable travel WIFI - Yourwifi. It’s time to go through all my thousands over photos taken in Japan and start preparing for my intensive travelogue which I’m quite sure most of you will be quite interested in! Oh man, this blog is becoming more and more like a travel blog, LOL 


Till the next post,

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Traveling to Japan with KKday, your global holiday expert!

Planning a holiday is never easy. From sourcing affordable air tickets, to deciding which hotel/ airBnB to stay, down to narrowing the places to visit etc and all these planning can take months. The easiest way out of having to plan would be to book a tour package where you just pay a fixed price and get everything settled for you, down to the details. All you have to do is just be at the airport at the stated day and time with your luggage and off you go to another holiday. 

But the thing is, joining a tour group probably means you have to wake up at ridiculous timings, endure different kinds of people in the group (don’t get me started. I’ve heard so many horror stories, lol), get little “me” time to explore the places you really want to spend more time at but couldn’t because everyone have to follow a fixed schedule and worse, visit places you have no interest in. Simply waste of time. 

Well, planning a trip is now much easier thanks to the internet and travel apps but nevertheless there is still requires some effort and time needed. I’ve been to so many places overseas and i have got to say that planning for Japan was the toughest. (I’m definitely gonna do one long post to share on how i planned my Japan trip. I’m quite sure there are people struggling out there and avoided Japan because of the tedious planning involved. Trust me, i used to be one of them

With that said, I had a few sponsors for my trip to Japan and they really made my planning and life much easier when i was there. For this post, i will share on KKday! (Note that not all activities in this post are sponsored. I paid for most of them myself!

KKday is a global holiday expert and they provide the best tours, experience and tickets. They provides all kinds of unique experiences from Scuba diving, rock climbing, cooking classes, secret sights, full day tour, tickets, charter service and the list goes on and on. Not for 1 or 2 countries, but more than 53 countries and 170 cities! If you think of an attraction in a particular country, they probably have it listed on their site. 

What i really enjoyed about using KKday (which i shared in my taiwan travelogue before) is the CONVENIENCE. Not needing to queue up at the attraction to purchase tickets (keyword: waste time) and being able to touch down and collect what i need at the airport without scrambling here and there is a major plus point when it comes to traveling. All you have to do is purchase your experience/ tickets from KKday’s website beforehand, follow the voucher instructions upon landing at my destination and you are all good! 

Before flying off to Japan, i got 6 experiences and tickets from KKday. Some of them are even cheaper than purchasing over the attraction counter! Save time, save money. Approve. 


#1: Odaiba Tokyo Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari - Hot Spring  


Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari is a hot spring “theme park” where you get to spend time there chilling, eating, resting and of course, soak yourself in different hot springs. You first choose your traditional yukata design, change and walk around the halls with your dedicated bracelet where all purchases will be recorded so you don’t have to bring cash around. Play games, have a meal or some snacks and at any point of time you want, you can just head to the onsen, change out and dipped yourself in different temperature hot springs. Really nice and relaxing place to spend your afternoon or even at night after a hectic day. I will definitely share more on Ooedo-Onsen on my Japan travelogue! 


#2: Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea 2-Day Pass 


This 2 places needs no introduction, also known as the most magical place on earth - Disneyland and DisneySea! Bought the 2 day pass since i’ll be visiting both anyway. DisneySea is like exclusively Japan and it was so amazing!!! I was really impressed on the whole brilliant time pass system. It’s not like USJ where the more money you spent, the lesser you have to queue. In Disneyland/Sea, you either queue patiently or diligently get your time pass every 2 hours. Bought my tickets on KKday, skipped the queue and went straight to the gate, scanned the QR code and i’m in! Hassle free. 


#3: Universal Studios, Japan + Express Pass  


I have read SO MUCH about USJ before flying to Japan. Like how you need to plan a strategy to conquer the entire park and make full use of your time there. Like be there 1.5 hours before opening (i read that they open at random timings, even before the stated hours) then run for your lives to get a timed ticket to enter the Harry Potter world if not you might never get to go in and things like that AND this is why i decided to get an express pass. The lowest tier for just 4 attractions cost about the same as your entry *insert roll eyes emoji* I reached early, and made full use of my time and express pass. Standby for one whole blog post on USJ, lol. 


#4: KEISEI Skyliner  


Like what i mentioned earlier, KKday is about tours, experience and tickets so you can also purchase sim card, wifi router rentals, metro tickets beforehand and collect them at the stated collection point. If you fly to Tokyo, you either land at Narita airport or Haneda airport, and from these airport, you have to find a way to downtown Tokyo. Either by airport limousines (bus), car or Shinkansen. I opt for the KEISEI skyline which brings me from Narita airport to Tokyo in just 36 mins, definitely one of the faster and more comfortable.


#5: Tokyo Tower Observatory  

There are 2 main towers in Tokyo you can visit - mainly Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower. I opt for the Tokyo tower because it’s cheaper and more iconic. Purchased the tickets from Kkday, printed out the voucher and exchanged it for entry to the tower. No collection of vouchers needed. Would you prefer the day view or night view? Do note that the tower is undergoing renovation/ restoration works so one side of the tower might not be available. Check their website for more information. 


#6: Tokyo Robot Restaurant Cabaret Show  


Honestly speaking, Robot Restaurant Cabaret show has never crossed my mind when it comes to planning my Japan itinerary. I guess this is what KKday deem as “experience”. Saw this amongst the list of recommended attractions in Tokyo and also read online that it’s a MUST WATCH for first timers to Tokyo so i thought why not give it try. Tickets are a little pricey, but after i came out from the restaurant, i was like, IT’S SO WORTH IT. The action is literally in your face, there is music, dance, pyrotechnics, and decorated floats and huge robots throughout the 1.5 hours show. The atmosphere was so high and everyone was enjoying themselves. It’s difficult to put it into words, you have to be there to know how good it is. 

That’s 6 different attractions, experiences and tickets that i got from KKday. That’s just 6 of the many experiences in Japan. There are so many destinations such as Korea, Bangkok, Taiwan, Paris, London and the list goes on and on. Even if you are not traveling, you can also checkout the Singapore attractions and you will be surprised at the discounted prices and advanced ticket purchase to our Zoo, Adventure Cove, USS and even entry to MBS Sky park! Hope this post will “enlighten” and aid you in your upcoming travel planning! 

*This post is a collaboration post with KKday


Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Better Florist: I just got "bloomed"!

Just a couple of months back blogged about sending a bouquet of flowers from Abetterflorist over to my friend's office to congratulate on the new job. Well, this time i got "bloomed" again by them with the most instagram worthy pastel hydrangeas, not one but THREE different pastel colours in a bouquet. When i reached home, my dad was like, "someone sent you something" In my mind, i was like is it my Lazada buys, or has my EzBuy arrived or is it some PR kit, but my dad simply said, "You go see it for yourself"
HELLO GORGEOUS.

My face immediately lit up because it was such a pretty bunch of flowers! On abetterflorist website, this bouquet is also known as The Andrea ($81) and just when you thought the catalogue image is pretty, wait till you received the real thing. I immediately posted an insta-story and i got so many commenting on how gorgeous the flowers look and they asked me if i had any promo code to share, LOL #lifeofaninfluencer 
What i really like about Abetterflorist is that all their bouquets are carefully curated and will definitely bring a smile to anyone who receive their flowers. With a wide range of flowers to choose for different occasions, affordable price and FREE same day delivery, abetterflorist is a saviour to all guys (and maybe some girls). Just order online within a few minutes and have it delivered to your loved ones.
Now that i shared this amazing flower delivery service with you guys, you must be wondering if i really have a promo code to share, well... if you use my referral link to get the code (http://abetterflorist.refr.cc/imandystorm) you are gonna get $15 off any bouquet! Well, time to make someone's day with these beautiful bouquets! :)

Signing off,                         


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Canon G7x Mark II

For someone like me who blogs and loves to travel, the one thing that is really essential to me would be a camera. I have to admit that nowadays majority of the photos you see on this blog and on my instagram are all taken by my iPhone 7+ and edited using VSCO app (This is like the most efficient combi ever, LOL) But hey, if i didn't tell you guys, would you have realise it or notice the difference in photo quality? Probably not. The iPhone camera quality is so good nowadays that most of us would just chuck our expensive camera at home and rely on our iPhone. Don't get me started on the portrait mode. It's insane. 

But still. 

I still feel that when traveling, i still would want good quality photos, additional toggle functions etc. That perfect camera was the Canon G7x. Compact, amazing quality, flip screen, WIFI transfer. When i first heard the news of this camera, i knew i had to get it. (In fact, i called in to those sim lim square shop to ask when will their first shipment arrive, haha) It's like the ultimate dream camera any blogger can think of. 

Used it for about 2 years before it started becoming cranky. Touchscreen not working, on/off button not functioning etc. Brought it to the Canon hospital for servicing for about 3 times. First time was under warranty, 2nd time no warranty so i paid about $100+ because i felt it was worth saving and the third time was the last straw. Motherboard spoil, need to pay like $400 to replace it. FREAKIN' 400 BUCKS. I was like no.

It's time to get a new one. 

I thought maybe i should consider upgrading to a semi-pro/ mirrorless camera to get better quality photos so i did my research and narrowed down to a few choices - Sony A6000, Lumix GF9 and Canon EOS M10/3. Then i realised i would also want to get the “pancake” lens to do those chio bokeh portrait shots. Calculated the total price and it was like erm, close to $1000? 

Part of me want to upgrade, but the other part think the camera is so gonna be under utilised and i probably would be too lazy to bring it out. (Read iPhone + VSCO) In the end, i went for the G7x Mark II at $655 after the “privilege program”, basically a nicer way to say trade in. 

So here’s my new camera. Upgraded version of my previous G7x.


Did i regret getting this instead of the mirrorless camera? The answer is no.


Ready for Japan,                        

Sunday, September 17, 2017

7D6N Taiwan Travelogue: Yehliu - Ximending

This is the last post of my Taiwan travelogue. I’m so glad i managed to complete it before my Japan trip! (Japan is gonna be a 2 weeks trip and i have no idea how am i going to finish writing about it, LOL) I know my Taiwan trip is 7D6N and with this post, there is only a total of 5 post. Well… that’s because there was one day i didn’t do much except for going to the hot spring (Beitou i think) and for the last day, it was just basically checking out of Orange Hotel and flying back to SG, which leaves a good 5 days to blog about!  
For the last full day at Taiwan, i planned a trip to Yeliu Geopark (野柳地質公園) since i have not visit the place before. Did my prior research and realised the place isn’t exactly very near to main Taipei. Most people go there to see the natural rock formations including the iconic "Queen's Head" (女王頭) 
The easiest way to get to Yeliu Geopark would be to go to Taipei West bus station Terminal A, go to Kuokuang window and purchase a ticket to Yehliu Geopark OR via ZhongXiao DunHua MRT station exit 4, take bus 1815 to Yehliu. The whole journey will take about 1.5 hours and cost around NT96 (S$4.30) per pax. 
Entrance ticket into the park will cost you NT80 (S$3.50) 
As Yeliu geopark is a famous tourist attraction, there are 2 things you will see when you enter the park - people and rock formations. It’s almost impossible to take a photo without any tourist in it so you either have to wait patiently for the right opportunity to get your golden shot or live with having people in your photo. 
Managed to get a shot, heng. LOL  
The iconic "Queen's Head" (女王頭) which we have to queue to take a photo with it. There is even a security guard there to manage the queue. Remember what i say earlier about having tourist in your shot? This is one good example, LOL There is also another synthetic "Queen's Head" at the entrance of the park for those who just wants a photo with it, HAHAHA We spent a good 2 hours exploring the park, enjoying the scenery and sea breeze. Not really my kind of thing but it’s good to at least visit once to know what’s the hype all about this place. Guess it’s more for the older folks and tour groups who enjoys nature. 
Yeliu Geopark is actually located at northern Taiwan which explained the long bus journey. Right beside the park is the Yehliu Ocean World (野柳海洋世界), an oceanarium which you can consider visiting after the geopark to make your trip more worth it. Took the return bus back to Taipei and continue to explore ximending area since it’s our last night here. Time to do some last minute shopping and also to visit the toilet themed restaurant! 
My favourite street muah chee which i mentioned a few times throughout this travelogue! This is the cart where you have to hunt for it because it’s not stationary and can be anywhere. Super soft and delicious. Just go for the original peanut one, good enough! One portion cost NT30 (S$1.30) or you can get a bigger portion in a box for NT50 (S$2.20).
Definitely a must try and it makes a really good street snack. I think some of them even put a bit of the peanut shavings in the middle of each muah chee, so it’s double the goodness! 
Modern Toilet Restaurant 
2F, No 7,Ln 50,Xining S. Rd., Taipei City  

It’s actually my second time here (i came during my first Taiwan trip) but since it’s kelvin first time to Taipei, i thought it would be nice to bring him to a themed restaurant.
In case for whatever reason you have not heard about this modern toilet restaurant, it’s basically a toilet themed restaurant where everything is modelled like a toilet. The seats are toilet bowl, the drinks are served in urinal shaped flask etc. It’s quite a novelty if you haven’t been to a place like this. The price of the food is quite reasonable, taste wise not amazing but it’s best to get a set which comes with the soup, drink and dessert for the whole experience. 
Even the dessert is a chocolate soft serve ice cream in a shape of a poop, LOL  
Spent the rest of the night exploring Ximending. The feel of ximending is like myeondong in Korea. A lot of food, fashion, facial products and people. For souvenirs, most people usually get snacks like pineapple tarts and nougat biscuit or products like face masks which can be really cheap if you get it in bulk. 
Don’t forget to try the famous Ay Chung Rice Noodles 阿宗麵線 which is apparently the no.1 must have street food in ximending. I’m not gonna elaborate on what this mee sua is about because you probably know or heard about it. Good to at least try once. Not my kind of food though. 
That’s all i have for my 7D6N Taiwan travelogue! Phew. I finally finished it. I went Taiwan in January and now is already September, LOL BUT i’m still glad i completed it. Oh no, i still have my Yogyakarta trip to write about and i’m heading to Japan next month! Did i mentioned i bought tickets to Hong Kong for next march because there’s an SQ 2-to-go promo ongoing right now? My blog is seriously becoming like a travel blog, LOL For those who have been following or chanced upon this travelogue while planning for your trip, hope this post helped! Once again, hope you enjoyed this Taiwan travelogue and do follow my adventures on instagram @andystorm for updates! :)

Signing off,                        

Sunday, August 27, 2017

7D6N Taiwan Travelogue: Shifen - Jiufen - Taipei

This is probably gonna be the second last post of my Taiwan trip (Phew! I’m almost done!) Since i’m only covering the highlights of my trip, the number of posts will not tally with the number of days i spent in Taiwan. For this post, i will be covering on my trip to Shifen and Jiufen which is slightly out of Taipei. Just like the Taipei 101, i would say your first time to Taiwan won’t be complete if you did not make at least a day trip down to Shifen and Jiufen! 
Getting to the Pingxi area from Taipei will take some time and effort but it’s not that difficult. Firstly you have to get tickets (NT$59) from Taipei main station, take a northbound train towards Ruifang. Do take note of the cabin (in this case, car) number and also your seat number as seats are assigned when purchasing. Make sure it's indicated.
Headed to the 7-11 to get some bites for breakfast and chanced upon the famous 純萃喝 bottled milk tea. Not a fan of coffee or tea so it didn’t matter to me when it first came to SG but what i didn’t know is there is so many different varieties. Decided to randomly try the “Sumiyaki” iced coffee (or is it mocha?) and oh my tians, i love it! Too bad it’s not available in SG. Even if it is, it’s still overpriced compared to the price in TW. 
At Ruifang (瑞芳) station, there will be another counter where you have to purchase transfer ticket to the Pingxi line (平溪線) for NT$80. If you are in luck, you won’t have to wait long for the transfer train, if not the next train might be probably an hour later. 
Here comes the colourful train that bring us to our first stop - Shifen (十分) 
Shifen is famous for their one activity, which is the release of sky lantern (天灯) Everyday tourist flock there just to release one of these lanterns where they write their wishes on it. It’s like a must do when you are there. 

There is like 2 pricing, 1 for the ones with only 2 colours, and the other with 4 colours. Each colour represent something so most people tend to go for the 4 colours one which cost NT200 ($9). They have like luck, wealth, career, love etc so you just write your wishes according on each side. At the end, the store keeper will ask you to stand in the middle of the tracks and take photos before releasing the lantern into the sky. The photos usually turn out amazing and well composed. Highly trained since they do it every single day, LOL 
One of many stray (but cute) cats that we spotted at Shifen. 
One thing you will notice at the Shifen is the long queue for this famous stuffed chicken wings which they grill on the spot. Basically it’s chicken wings stuffed with rice. We decided to join in the queue to see what the hype is all about and ended up queuing for at least 30 mins. 
FINALLY AND IT WAS SO GOOD OMG. Should have gotten more than one. LOL 
The iconic bridge which i think leads you to the famous Shifen waterfall (十分大瀑布) but most people will just take the opportunity to take nice #OOTDs and group photos on the bridge. 
Something like this. HAHAHAHA 

I have never been to the Shifen waterfall before because i heard it’s quite a distance away on foot but in the end we decided to rent a scooter (NT200) I was quite skeptical at first because it’s literally a motorbike and we will be on actual road with cars but kelvin was quite confident of riding it so yea, #yolo. The journey took us about 10 mins on bike, followed by another 10 mins on foot, so much faster. 
The spectacular Shifen waterfall (十分大瀑布) which i read that it will create a rainbow as it splashes into the lake and it’s widely regarded as the most scenic in all of Taiwan. Did i see a rainbow that day? Can’t really remember. Probably not then. 
Selfie with the waterfall since it’s my first time there. We had the train timings on hand so we had to rushed all the way back, returned the bike and catch the train. So glad we made it for the train or else we had to wait another hour for the next one. 
Sotong balls anyone? 
It was getting late but we still decided to head to Jiufen since it’s Kelvin’s first time to Taiwan and i really like Jiufen (九份) because of the view and the food. From Shifen, we took the train back to Ruifang. Right outside the station is a taxi stand where they offer rides up to Jiufen at NT200, journey time - 15 mins. 
The famous Peanut ice cream roll which i missed so much! It’s so freaking good omg. 2 scoops of ice cream (taro or pineapple), grounded peanut candy and cilantro in popiah skin. Every bite into this roll is just so tasty, all the ingredients blended so well together. This snack is so famous that they even prepared a “sample” plate for tourist to take photos, HAHHAA 
I opt for the pineapple ice cream filling and every mouth was so refreshing! 
Came across this pastry cake with different fillings and i bought the pineapple one. Really good and not very sweet. Good to get a box or two back as souvenir. 
A couple years ago i came across this stall selling Taiwan sausage and the store owner herself, the auntie is the mascot of her store. Very comical with her huge wig and huge glasses. Not only that, the Taiwan sausages at her stall were very authentic and delicious. Definitely must try! 
Last but no least, Jiu Fen Taro Balls (九份芋圓) It’s like our blackball in Singapore but not as fancy. Homemade taro balls in warm ginger soup. Very comforting especially during cold weather. Very chewy and easy to eat. 
It was pretty late when we finish exploring the streets of Jiufen. We returned back to Ruifang station via public bus and got tickets back to Taipei (NT49) The train was pretty crowded as most tourists will visit Pingxi area for a day trip and return back to Taipei at the same timing, not to say the journey was pretty long as well. This marks the end of a long day out at Shifen and Jiufen. 


One more post to go,