Friday, March 1, 2024

Rediscovering Ayutthaya

It had been more than 15 years since my last visit to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand, and memories of its serene temples and rich history lingered in my mind. This time, I embarked on a day trip from Bangkok, eager to witness the changes and immerse myself in the city's cultural tapestry once again.

The journey from Bangkok to Ayutthaya was a smooth ride, taking approximately 1.5 to 2 hours by minivan - of course you can also that the bus or train, whichever rocks your boat, offering a convenient and affordable travel option for travelers. Alternatively, there are also private taxis or organized tours that are readily available for those looking for a more personalized experience.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by a sight that surpassed my expectations. The transformation of Ayutthaya was a great surprise, with modern amenities seamlessly integrated into its historical landscape. From well-maintained carparks to informative signages and clean restroom facilities, the efforts to enhance the visitor experience were evident at every turn. Kudos Tourism Thailand - am in awe.

As I strolled through the ancient ruins, a sense of admiration washed over me, witnessing the ongoing restoration projects that breathed new life into all these centuries-old structures. The attention to detail showcased a profound respect for Ayutthaya's history and cultural heritage, preserving its legacy for the younger generations.

Among the notable temples I explored were Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Wat Phra Mahathat, and Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, each offering a glimpse into Thailand's illustrious past.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram stands as a testament to Ayutthaya's architectural splendor, with its intricate spires and ornate reliefs reflecting the grandeur of the Ayutthayan era.
Operating hours : 8.30 AM - 5.00 PM
Entrance fee : 50 Baht

Wat Phra Mahathat is renowned for its iconic Buddha head entwined within the roots of a Bodhi tree (no pic taken as I have visited this site a decade ago hence I wandered to new areas), invites visitors to delve into the spiritual heart of Ayutthaya. 
Operating hours : 8.00 AM - 6.00 PM
Entrance fee : 50 Baht

At Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, towering stupas and serene courtyards beckon travelers to explore its storied past. 
Operating hours : 8.00 AM - 6.00 PM
Entrance fee : 20 Baht

As I marveled at the architectural marvels and soaked in the tranquil ambiance of Ayutthaya, I couldn't help but share my experience with my sister -  yes I WhatsApp-ed her, eager to plan our next adventure here together. Again.

Ayutthaya has always been special to me in a way (my first trip using Bangkok as a base), its charm and the timeless allure of Thailand's cultural and heritage. Everytime I travel to Thailand, I am reminded of the connection between past and present, can't wait to revisit Ayutthaya.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Exploring Divana Virtue Spa in Bangkok

Nestled in the bustling energy of Bangkok lies a sanctuary of tranquility and rejuvenation: Divana Virtue Spa - serenity in the heart of Thailand's capital. Divana Virtue Spa stands as a testament to the country's thriving spa industry and its dedication to holistic wellness.

Thailand's spa industry is renowned worldwide for its traditional healing practices, therapeutic techniques, and warm hospitality. Rooted in ancient Thai culture and influenced by Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, Thai spas offer a unique blend of therapeutic treatments that harmonize the body, mind, and soul. From traditional Thai massages to herbal compress therapies, the spas here offer a diverse array of treatments designed to alleviate stress, promote healing, and restore balance to the body. Spa treatments not only alleviate physical tension and discomfort but also foster mental clarity, emotional well-being, and spiritual renewal.

Through a trained masseur touch, aromatherapy, and mindful relaxation techniques, spas create sacred spaces where guests can unwind, recharge, and reconnect with themselves on a deeper level. From reducing stress hormones to improving circulation and promoting better sleep, the benefits of regular spa treatments are far-reaching.

Divana Virtue Spa stands out as a true gem in the vibrant city of Bangkok. Rooted in Thai heritage and infused with elegance, Divana Virtue Spa offers haven of tranquility where guests like me can escape the chaos of city life and embark on a journey of holistic healing.

What sets Divana Virtue Spa apart is its unwavering commitment to excellence in every aspect of the spa experience. From the moment guests step through its doors, they are enveloped in a sense of serenity and luxury that permeates every corner of the spa.

Divana Virtue Spa boasts a range of world-class facilities and amenities designed to indulge the senses and soothe the soul. From the Thai-ambience treatment rooms adorned with aromatic scents adn sound, to tranquil relaxation lounges and steam rooms, every aspect of the spa is meticulously crafted to provide guests with an unparalleled experience of comfort and relaxation.

Divana Virtue Spa Bangkok offers a diverse range of rejuvenating spa experiences, each designed to invigorate the body, calm the mind, and soothe the soul. Among their exceptional packages are the Ayurvedic Rose Glamour, the Super Detox Hot Stone Retreat, and the Wildflower Compress treatment.

Ayurvedic Rose Glamour
This luxurious package draws inspiration from ancient Ayurvedic practices, incorporating the timeless essence of roses. The Ayurvedic Rose Glamour treatment at Divana Virtue Spa begins with a gentle exfoliation using rose petals and essential oils, followed by a soothing massage aimed at restoring harmony and vitality to the body.

Super Detox Hot Stone Retreat
The Super Detox Hot Stone Retreat is designed to cleanse and revitalize the body from within. This treatment is enhanced with detoxifying ingredients and skilled massage techniques aimed at releasing toxins and improving circulation.

Wildflower Compress
The Wildflower Compress treatment at Divana Virtue Spa offers a holistic approach to wellness. This signature package features a unique blend of indigenous wildflowers, each chosen for its therapeutic properties and aromatic fragrance. The compresses, infused with herbal essences, are gently applied to the body in a rhythmic motion, releasing tension and promoting deep relaxation. 

Divana Virtue Spa also curates a selection of premium spa products made from the finest natural ingredients, sourced locally and internationally. From organic botanical extracts to therapeutic essential oils, each product is carefully chosen to enhance the efficacy and sensory experience of every treatment.

In a city known for its frantic pace and energy, Divana Virtue Spa offers a sanctuary where guests can escape the chaos of city life. It sets the standard for luxury and relaxation in the heart of Bangkok. Whether you seek solace from the stresses of daily life or simply wish to indulge in a moment of self-care, Divana Virtue Spa invites you to embark on a journey of holistic wellness and renewal unlike any other.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Rise of Inside Flow Yoga and the Flourishing Wellness Industry in Bangkok

In the hustle and bustle Bangkok, where the pace of life often move at lightning speed, the wellness industry has emerged as a beacon of light in balancing the tranquility of its people. Among the endless wellness offerings in this industry, yoga stands out as a practice that promotes physical health, mental well-being and spiritual harmony - all in one. Within this diverse landscape of yoga styles or types in Bangkok, Inside Flow Yoga has emerged as a prominent choice for those seeking holistic wellness.

Inside Flow Yoga: A Journey to Inner Harmony
Inside Flow Yoga is a dynamic form of yoga that seamlessly blends movement with breath, creating a fluid and meditative practice that challenges the body and calms the mind. Originating in Germany, Inside Flow Yoga was founded by the visionary yoga instructor, Young Ho Kim. With his background in martial arts and dance, Kim infuses his teachings with a unique blend of technics, creating a style that resonates deeply with wellness/yoga practitioner around the world.

Inside Flow Yoga in Bangkok: A Sanctuary of Serenity
Inside Flow Yoga found its way to the spiritual streets of Bangkok few years back, charming the city's yoga community with its innovative approach. Since its establishment in Bangkok, Inside Flow Yoga has garnered a strong following, drawing practitioners from all walks of life who seek the transformative power of yoga.

In February 2024, Inside Flow Yoga enthusiasts in Bangkok were treated to a special event that brought together practitioners and trainers for an immersive experience of movement, music, and mindfulness. The event served as a celebration of community and connection, offering participants an opportunity to deepen their practice and forge new friendships within the yoga community of Bangkok.

Expanding Horizons: Inside Flow Yoga in Pattaya
Building upon its success in Bangkok, Inside Flow Yoga is set to expand its presence to the picturesque coastal city of Pattaya end 2024. With its stunning beaches and tranquil atmosphere, Pattaya provides an ideal backdrop for those seeking to reconnect with themselves through the practice of yoga. The upcoming Inside Flow Yoga event in Pattaya promises to be a gathering of like-minded souls, united in their quest for inner peace and physical vitality.

The Future of Wellness in Thailand: Nurturing Body, Mind, and Spirit
As the wellness industry in Thailand continues to evolve, it is poised to flourish and sustain in the years to come. With an increasing awareness of the importance of holistic health and well-being, more individuals are turning to practices like yoga as a means of self-care and self-discovery. The rich tapestry of Thai culture, this provides a good ground for the wellness industry growth, offering a wealth of traditional practices that complement modern approaches to health and wellness.

In a fast-paced world where stress and anxiety often seem to reign, it is known that the rise of the wellness industry represents a powerful counterbalance, offering a sanctuary of serenity amidst the chaos of daily life (work life balance of some sort). Whether through yoga, meditation, or other holistic activities, the pursuit of wellness happiness is not just a trend but a fundamental human-need-acknowledgment of our desire to live lives that are balanced, meaningful, and full of vitality.

Inside Flow Yoga stands as a shining example of the transformative power of yoga, offering practitioners in Bangkok and beyond a pathway to greater health, happiness, and of course - harmony. As the wellness industry in Thailand continues to thrive, it is my hope that more individuals discover the joy and fulfillment that comes from nurturing body, mind, and spirit in equal measure from Inside Flow Yoga.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Palmierra 28, KL | A Instagrammable Iftar spot

I kept saying I want to talk to the owner Yaya, so many questions running in my mind.
Why Palmierra?
What does it stands for?
How old is the restaurant?
What inspired her to open a restaurant?
And the most important question of all…
Who is her ID?
This is what usually happens when I can excited over something good.

Love the vibe, love the energy and love the idea. You guys have to come lah, be it Ramadan or otherwise, wajib dating (dating pun ok) and (make sure) pakai cantik-cantik, kay! Keyword : Instagrammable.

Just my luck to be able to check-out this place and sample their upcoming Ramadan buffet set. Mind you, this is a restaurant and yet they are able to assemble 60 dishes+drinks for their guests, and fret not my friends… as I will share what they have and my top 3 pick. Aci tak….

Kerabu spread – kerabu mangga as usually will be everyone’s top pick. Who can resist such contradicting taste that explode vibrant of flavour in our mouth – sweet, sour, salty and that umami flavour all at once.

Paru belado – remembering Ujang famous ‘Aku Budak Minang’ book, belado babe! Anything belado will always ONZ in my book. Nasib rasanya betul-betul ONZ.

Arrays of kuih – Koci. Rasa semua cukup. Cuns.

Udang masak sambal – This is the ONLY one I couldn’t find where the lauk station is, but I kept seeing it on everyone’s plate. I sincerely believe due to my height challenge, the delicious lauk udang perpetually being blocked by other media friends. Sampai ke sudah tak rasa, dengar cite sedap. I believe them!

Singgang – This is the most rarestest dish cause I rarely see singgang being one of the dishes due Ramadan buffet or any buffet for that matter. I personally feel it is one of those dish that should be in a buffet line as it is simple and light for buka puasa – not overwhelming.

Choices of masak lemak – Like seriously, pick your choice (Hint : They also have lala masak lemak cili api). InshaAllah tak kecewa.

Aside from the above mentioned, they do have the usual satay, ikan bakar, char kueh teow, sup tulang (I heard it is one of their highlight as well), English section such as ayam buttermilk, mac and cheese, fried calamari, fries and many more.

Ahh…. Next we talk about drinks. They serves teh tarik and kopi panas, on top of the air balang such as sirap, air asam boi and a few others. Air kosong pun ada, not to worry. Psst… Air asam boi dia sedap (my favourite of all time!)

If you wanted something different for Ramadan Iftar and bored of hotel buffet, you can always come here.  Especially if you happen to stuck in KL after office, this will be an ideal place to feast your hungry tummy

Salam Ramadan.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Iftar at Pasar Baru & Ramada - Le Meridien, PJ

Never realised there’s a Le Meridien in PJ until Miera told me ‘at Paradigm Mall’ so she said. Apa lagi, I head there to join her and sample Iftar buffet that they will be offering come Ramadan month.

Le Meridien did it in a very unique way as they offer 2 area/concept for Ramadan Iftar – Ramadan Bazaar at Pekan Baru Coffee House and Ramada at their Grand Ballroom. And guess what, I get to try both spread recently and I have to say that Le Meridien outdo themselves this time around. Their spread was unlike many others, few was unique to Le Meridien (until I see one that can outdo them that is, ahaks).
Let’s start with why I said theirs was unique…

A must have dish will be ‘kerabu’ and the spread that they have was vast (well, at least to me) – ranging from kerabu kacang botol isi kelapa (favourite), kerabu limau bali udang kering, kerabu kaki ayam kacang panggang, kerabu maggi ala Thai and many more. Impressive huh… and this is just the ‘salad’ starter.

Another must have will be the ‘belangas’ of ‘gulai kawah’, from gulai daging umbut pisang (the umbut pisang is not that common) to gulai nangka dengan ikan bilis, to rendang Minang and Ekor Asam Pedas to name a few. These goes well with hot white rice, and what us Malay will say – makan panas-panas masa Tengah lapar. Syok!

Sup Gearbox! You heard me right alright! It is also available here.

I tried the Hydrabadi Rice as I saw plates having this, my first impression was full strong taste of spices that pairs well with lamb varuval (another one of my favourite dish), lala goreng kari and ayam golek (you must must try the ayam golek sambal, sumpah sedap!!!).

After eating the so called ‘Kepong’ claypot yee mee (ala-carte), I was too full to try the mee ketam.

Then there’s the Chinese selection that serves stir-fry black pepper chicken, wok-fry butter prawn and many more.

Of course, the dessert session is the one everyone is aiming for as the spread was amazing and simply beautiful. They even have churros station (yup! Serve live hokkay).

The western dessert showcases arrays of delectables such as chocolate éclair, pandan layer cake, strawberry mousse, crème brulee, chocolate pot de crème to name a few.

Bubur manis ie lin chi kang, pengat durian and bubur pulut hitam aside from bubur lambuk is also made available for their Ramadan guests.

11 March – 8 April, 2024
Ramadan Bazaar – Pasar Baru
RM178 nett p/pax

18 March – 8 April, 2024
Ramada -  Grand Ballroom
RM128 nett p/pax

So apa tunggu lagi, JOM!

Thursday, February 1, 2024

CNY Roasted London Duck by InterContinental KL

I was welcomed with sumptuous yee sang starring dragon fruit, star jelly & chia seeds making it InterContinental KL signature vegetarian yee sang set. I foresee I will be seeing a lot of dragon fruit being incorporated into the Chinese New Year meal set as we are celebrating the Year of Wood Dragon this 2024.

We started our set with healthy mixed vegetables, steamed fresh bean curd, plant-based minced meat & olive and stir-fried mixed fungus with black truffle paste stuffed in a fortune money bag. I love how the broccoli was cooked as I can still the freshness and softness busting as I bite. My ultimate moment when savouring a good cooked mix vege dish with broccoli.

Every hotel has its own highlight dish and InterContinental is offering their ever so famous signature Roasted London Duck, that comes in three unique preparations - The Yee Sang with Shredded Roasted London Duck, Kirin-style Roasted London Duck, and last but not least the Grilled Boneless Chicken Roll with Spicy Sesame Sauce & Roasted London Duck. This comes as a surprise for me as we are all aware that Peking Duck is the famous one thus far and now the throne is taken over by InterContinental Roasted London Duck! And I have to asked, why is it called London Duck… guess what, it actually flew in from London. If you want to know more or curious of the taste, bring your family and friends to taste this delicious dish.

We were then spoilt with Steamed Live Dragon Grouper with Wan Fungus, Shimeji Mushroom & Superior Fish Sauce that was absolutely mouthwatering, to me – steamed fish can never go wrong and it is light yet flavourful. A steamed fish soup gravy is always a favourite of mine.

Other dishes that we sampled were Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Dendrobium Orchid, Matsutake Mushroom & Fish Maw, Steamed Mini Lotus leaf Rice with Yam and ended with steamed Nyonya “ninko” with Shredded Coconut. A perfet set!

All-you-can-eat Festive Buffet Offerings at Serena Brasserie for your family gatherings:
Lunar New Year Reunion Dinner Buffet
9 February | 6:30PM – 10:30PM RM258+ per adult / RM129+ per child (6 – 12 years old)
Lunar New Year Long Lunch (CNY Day 1 & Day 2)
10 & 11 February | 12:30PM – 4:00PM RM 198+ per adult / RM 99+ per child (6 – 12 years old)
*Children ages 5 and below eat for free.

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