Saturday, July 18, 2015

Nappark Hostel @ Tanee Road, Khaosan, Bangkok

I booked the entire Ladies NapSpace Dorm for all eight of us for at least 3 months ahead. Since they didn’t require deposit I was always at the edge of my seat, making sure that they don’t give away my reservations.

YES I can be super paranoid.

Angel, Ingrid and myself reached earlier than the rest of the gang so we were automatically tasked to look for the place. I was even more paranoid throughout the entire 2 hours journey to the hostel from Don Mueang Airport.

Is it supposed to be 2 hours?!?! 

We found out later that Michelle and the rest took less than half an hour with a cab to the hostel from Don Mueang Airport - I reckon that was kind of a good bus experience. EXCEPT – that we had to walk around the famous infamous Khaosan Hostel (where Hangover 2 filmed) in our rollers -_-“ seriously we are real backpackers who are just practical about shopping!! And yet we are roving around our rollers looking super impractical and lost in one of the busiest street in South East Asia.

Okay, nevermind. 

We got dropped off 15 minutes-walk off Nappark Hostel so we had to... WALK. I am usually good with walking all over the place, I did that for almost 8 hours in Seoul, but something about passing tourists, lots and LOTS of tourists tire me much easily. Through super huge Bangkok roads with all kinds of vehicles rushing through the hours. When we finally found Nappark Hostel, loved how it is located inside a comfy shady (by trees!!) area of Tanee Road, 5 minutes off Khaosan Road! Also loved that you can start shopping right of the entrance hehe






When we finally reached the hostel, checked ourselves in, we were told that our dorm is 4 floors up.

We looked at each other. TIME TO TRAIN THOSE BICEPS!

(I know my bestfriends would probably have cursed in their hearts but they never show it ^_^ they probably just want to kill me in my sleep)

And then HELLO! 

SO GOOD to have the entire floor / dorm to yourself! We had a fully functioning washing machine and a half functioning heater which seemed to work but really did not do its job quite right I guess.
A study table, our own shower rooms and toilets, and our favourite of all – a peaceful garden :)

^Our dorm actually has a balcony (but none of us used it because it's too hot outside.)

^Look at how beautiful the garden is! Gives me this great idea of turning a balcony into a small garden!! Or better yet, somewhere you can meditate or calm down - after all that shopping probably:)  

^The adorable shower room and toilets with typical Thai stuff on its rustic cemented wall :)  





For more:  

Nappark Tripadvisor 
Nappark Website 

Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Day 4 - First day in Kyoto, Japan

Prior coming to this beautiful country, I asked those who've been to Japan which were their favourite cities, and why. 5/6 of my friends voted Kyoto as number 1 using similar keywords to describe their experience, authentic and beautiful.

I didn't know what to expect really... I never spent a lot of time Googling about Japan neither have I discussed a lot on this beautiful country, but I do know one thing - I love Japanese food...

I know so shallow. But thank God after this visit, I know a lot more about Japan than meets the eye.
The people, the lives, what matters, what are they looking forward to.

Upon reaching Kyoto (via Shinkansen and local train).

We started our day meeting up with our Airbnb host Ms Rumi (a self proclaimed grandma who proposed the idea to the owner of the home to turn that home we stayed in into a meeting point for conversations and gatherings for the people around her area - because "people are just too busy with their own lives, we don't talk anymore"). I remember describing Rumi on Instagram as this beautiful cool collective chick who would randomly help a kid on the street to cross the road - as mysteriously kind.

She looked very shy and cold at first  --- but she is nothing but kind and friendly with the best of intentions. And then we were welcomed by a beautiful traditional Japanese home !




I was also so happy that the journey to Rumi's home had flower shops around so I would mesmerise on them everytime we passed them :) SO HAPPY.

KYOTO WAS SO COLD!  The heater was on all the time and we had the blankets up to our nose the entire stay! And I remember the first thing we did when we reached the town, I decided I wanted HOT SOUP. I also loved how Rumi told us that to keep warm - *she slowly shoves a local sake to us* - is to drink alcohol too ^_^

Kyoto Town 

Reached town - walked around and had this epic sukiyaki!!!!!!!

OMG I love Sukiyaki. I LOVE.

Soft white taufus yes, hot and spicy soup yes, kimchi yes, vegetables yes, MEAT yes.



Sengakuji Temple 

The next day, we decided to check out the famous Samurai Temple called Sengakuji first thing in the morning and take in one of Japan's famous legacy - the zen garden amidst Sengakuji Temple. Quite frankly, when we reached Sengakuji we had little knowledge of what's going on because we decided to opt out the chargeable media and tour guide. Instead we followed this huge guided group of Western tourists from behind and eavesdropped from time to time :p

Yes, I'm notorious for doing this.

This temple carefully unfolded the stories and experiences of how the samurais committed and dedicated their lives to protecting their feudal kings. They unfolded their daily routines, which include their hiding places when protecting their kings. The layout and architecture - the nightingale floors, where it squeaks when intruders walked in. Are all part of the learning and training of being the finest warrior.


After Senkaguji, we visited the famous Kinkakuji Golden Temple, where throngs of tourist poured in (much more than Sengakuji) and it felt more like a tourist area. And in my constant chase of the ladies dressed in the traditional Kimono (it didn't matter whether they were the original geishas or not, I understood that they're like the real ninjas because they don't really show up on broad daylights) I found three around the area!!

It was my first time seeing these beautiful ladies clad in the traditional Kimono (let alone in Japan) so I got super excited I took a photo of them halfway across the street :) :) :)

They look so cute!!


The Kinkakuji Temple was a Zen Temple covered in gold and was also the retirement villa of the super wealthy and famous shogun (commander in chief) Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. 

Their rock gardens and temples are incredible... I truly began to understand the peace and tranquility of going through a rock /pond garden.  

And then we continued our journey to town by looking for the trams / trains. While walking we tried every possible Japanese bakeries they were, we loved their buns so much........... And found this particular bakery the best! The chef over here was so kind to offer us to try his freshly baked buns and HIS buns HYPNOTISED us.

We couldn't stopped talking, thinking about them after that. THEY WERE SOFT, DELICIOUS, TASTY and BOUNCY.


Thank you kind MR BAKERY CHEF ! You're an angel! (If only I saved your name and your bakery's name!!)


Kyoto Manga Museum 

We found out there's a manga museum in Kyoto and with a free itinerary like us, there is only one thing to do - CHECK IT OUT! Also because I had absolutely no education about Manga I figured the best way to do is learning it from Japan!!

The International Manga Museum in Kyoto : http://www.kyotomm.jp/english/ is a building with up to 3 floors with thousands of mangas from around Japan with a detailed history and story written on each of the manga and on each of the section.

If you ever do come to this museum, you can opt to stay here entire day, or really just look out for the things that will fascinate you. If you're lucky or if you follow their website, they have featured events from time to time sometimes they have private sessions with famous manga artists as well. Unfortunately, when we were there - there were no featured events nor artists. So we took our time exploring the floors.

This make-your-own-manga section captivated me, so I spent quite a fair bit making my own comic here :)  They have a special app to churn the mangas out with tons of special effects and dialogues and interesting characters, I loved it so much !!


I tried to do my own love story but there were a bunch of people waiting to use this computer as well, so I decided to not end my love story :(

We spent the afternoon in the museum until evening just enough time to catch dinner before heading back home. It was raining and cold and we were so hungry... and then we SAW THIS.

TEMPURA HEAVEN. 


OMG YES.

We walked in and followed, mimicked, observed through this line of people putting all kinds of tempura to pair with their soup / udon/ soba. SOUP?! IN THE COLD?!

OMG YES YES.


I chose brinjal, crab and chicken :P

That night we almost froze to death when it reached 2 degrees probably even 0 halfway through...
HOLY COLD!

Related articles: 

Day 3 - Shinkansen to Kyoto
Day 2 - Disneyland 
Day 1 - Tokyo, Shibuya and Akihabara

Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.