Spirited Away in Jiufen, Taiwan – a fantasy travel guide

June 23, 2017

Being a huge fan of Studio Gibhli’s Spirited Away, I knew the moment I stepped foot in Jiufen a few years ago, that I had to go back again. Only on my second trip, there would be more time to explore the spidery alleys, and hopefully an overnight stay. Thankfully, my friends were open to the idea, so we included this magical town in our plan, and got ourselves spirited away.

The real story behind Jiufen

Tucked in the hills northwest of Taipei, Jiufen was founded during the Qing Dynasty, and only nine families lived in the humble, secluded village then. The villagers ordered and purchased supplies in nine portions, hence it was called Jiufen (九份), or “nine parts” in Mandarin.

How to find Spirited Away in Jiufen

Beautiful scenery in Jiufen

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Art, Life, Malaysia

Urbanscapes 2017: Art Meets Local Expression

May 10, 2017

How the 15-year-strong Urbanscapes has managed to escape my knowledge for so long baffles me, but I’m glad to know that Malaysia’s art scene is alive and thriving.

I recently found out that this is the nation’s longest-running creative arts festival. Urbanscapes felt like that safe space for creativity I wish I’d known about when I was younger, when artistically-inclined students like myself were still finding a balance in an academically-inclined environment.

Live discussion at Urbanscape 2017.

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5 things I learnt from quitting my job without a plan

April 22, 2017

One year ago, I made one of the most terrifying decisions of my life. With every last bit of courage left in me, I handed in my resignation letter. After work that day, as the rain pitter-pattered outside, I burst into tears in the car. Then I got into an accident (no one was hurt, but my wallet took a hit).

You’re probably wondering, “Why did you get so upset? Leaving a job is just part of work life, isn’t it?”

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6 questions Asian female solo travellers face before their journey

January 30, 2017

Travelling alone as a female isn’t a big issue to me. I can easily argue that solo female travel has been on the rise over the past decade and there are more of us now than ever before. However, being an Asian female meant that there was another level of uncertainty to address.

Although the trend of solo female travel is emerging in Asia, there are still a few things holding wannabe wanderers back. Before leaving for a three-month solo backpacking trip last July, I received plenty of questions and feedback from my family and friends. Many were supportive and excited for me, but some were confused and worried.

I realised that a number of their concerns were deeply rooted in Asian cultural identity and anxieties. So I thought I would compile a few of them and see if other travellers have faced the same. Here are 6 questions Asian female solo travellers would hear at some point prior to their trip and what they can do under these circumstances.

“Is it safe for a girl to travel alone?”

In South East Asia, there is sadly still the belief that it is alright for guys to go anywhere alone because they can take care of themselves, while girls should travel in groups as “it is not safe”. Women are expected to remain within the domestic sphere, protected from danger. Although this gender stereotype is shifting, it still has a long way to go.

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10 lessons of 2016: A year in review

December 31, 2016

2016 has been one surreal, strange year. The world has seen some crazy, shocking and seemingly impossible things. Years from now, people will look back at 2016, wonder what we were on, and take a swig of strong drink.

Me? It’s been one wild journey. There were good times – absolutely amazing times. And there were also bad times, which I decided to take as lessons, blessings in disguise if you may.

If I could only use one word to summarise my year, it would be “bravery”. Letting go of fears, leaving my comfort zone and taking the leap – I guess throughout the year, I’ve been doing crazy, shocking and seemingly impossible things myself.

To make sense it all, I thought it’d compiled a list of things I’ve learnt and am grateful for. Perhaps it might help me make sense of where I’m going in 2017.

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Destination, England

The Peter Pan trail of London anyone who won’t grow up can get on

December 27, 2016

Do you know the way to Neverland? Second star to the right, and straight on till morning. Or perhaps you can find it in London.

For over a century, Peter Pan has sprinkled fairy dust over London and turned it into a magical playground. He flies across the city in search of his wandering shadow. He whisks the Darling siblings to a land untouched by time. He fights Captain Hook and races through the woods with Lost Boys.

And this extraordinary tale of The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up all began in one ordinary city. This is the Peter Pan literary trail of London anyone can get on. Continue Reading…


How to protect your back while backpacking

November 17, 2016

As a backpacker, your back is your most important asset on the trip. 7-10kg may not sound like much at first, but stretch it to several weeks or months (along with the occasional need to run with it), and that’s a whole lot of weight to shoulder!


Exploring Brussels with my backpack.

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