spunktitud3

Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun


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Set Sail with the Royal Albatross

Royal Albatross
When I feel like I need to take a little break and doing something special without the hassle of leaving the country, I love taking to the seas. Feeling the sea breeze on my face and relishing the carefreeness of the open sea never fails to rejuvenate me. This time, I went on a sunset cruise on a special luxury tall ship named the Royal Albatross, which has its fame in The Dark Knight as Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne’s private yatch.

Royal Albatross
Docked alongside the Adventure Cove Waterpark at Resorts World Sentosa, it is a sight to behold, especially when it has all its 22 sails down. The sails and rigging were designed by master rigger Jim Barry, who also designed the ships featured in Pirates Of The Caribbean.

Royal Albatross
The Royal Albatross offers a 2.5-hour Sunset Sail cruise every Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. They also have additional cruises on festive days such as Christmas, New Year’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day. Of course, you can also hire the entire yatch, which has a maximum capacity of 130 people, on a private charter if you have something special to celebrate.

Royal Albatross
Getting on board the Royal Albatross

Royal Albatross
Guests were already excited and making selfies before the start of the cruise.

Royal Albatross
Relaxing on the open deck while waiting to set sail

Royal Albatross
Watching the crew getting ready to start the ship is pretty interesting. If you are brave enough, you can upgrade your cruise ticket to take the helm with the captain for 15 minutes.

Royal Albatross
You can also fulfill your dream of being sailor (or pirate!) for a day on a Mast Climb. The ship’s 22 sails are all manually operated by over 200 ropes, and you get to climb on one of them, ascending 21 metres abover the ship deck where you can get a great view of Sentosa island.

Royal Albatross
Time to get the party started!

Royal Albatross
Spotted Princess Anne’s note of appreciation to the owner for hosting her and her 2 local charities. If it is good enough for a princess, it is definitely good enough for me :)

Royal Albatross
The luxurious air-conditioned Grand Salon on the middle deck where guests can relax and have their dinner. Definitely a winner for a romantic night out or cosy gathering with friends.

Royal Albatross
Little bar by the side. All the wood carvings were handcrafted by the crew during their free time.

Royal Albatross
For an overnight charter, the yatch has 5 on-suite cabins which can take 10 guests.

Royal Albatross
The spacious 40 square-metres Owner’s Cabin is the largest cabin.

Royal Albatross
It comes with an oversized shower.

Royal Albatross
One of the four smaller cabins. Looks cosy enough for a good night’s rest, if you are not out on the open deck taking in the beauty of the starry night skies.

Royal Albatross
Each sunset cruise comes with a complimentary welcome drink.

Royal Albatross
We had ours on the upper deck while waiting for a glorious sunset.

Royal Albatross
The skies didn’t disappoint. And thank God for good weather.

Royal Albatross
Going the extra mile to ensure guests get to keep the best memories. We need more people like him.

Royal Albatross
As night falls, the ship is lit by more than 60,000 LED lights, forming a warm ambience for guests to chillax on the upper deck.

Royal Albatross
Buffet-style dinner, which is included in the cruise price, is served on the restaurant-grade galley.

Royal Albatross
The menu was diverse to suit most palates.

Royal Albatross
If you are lucky, you can catch a mini fireworks display on your way back to shore, courtesy of the nearby Universal Studios Singapore.

Royal Albatross
With less than 100 working tall ships left in the world, you come to appreciate the passion and effort that went into restoring the Royal Albatross to its current glory, and sailing it more than 15,000km from North America to Singapore. It is definitely a special experience to be on this beauty, and it does not need to be a special day for one to set sail with her.

Get more details about the Royal Albatross here.

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Gold Coast: A tick off the bucket list – Skydiving!

Skydiving in Gold Coast
I don’t even dare to take the rides at theme parks, so I don’t know how I found the courage for this impulse purchase – a skydive! My travel partner has been wanting to skydive for a long time, but everytime he was booked to do one, it rained. So he was understandly excited when he saw skydiving being one of the suggested activities in hotel guide at Halcyon House. Fate has it that Mauro, the hotel’s charismatic General Manager, was just as enthusiastic about skydiving, and promptly booked us for a skydive with Gold Coast Skydive.

Skydiving in Gold Coast
Fear didn’t strike me until the moment they suited me up and got on the plane.
Me: Is this the height we gonna jump?
My tandem partner Tom: Nope, this is only 3,000 feet, and we are going to jump at 12,000 feet. This is only a quarter of the height we gonna jump.
At that moment, I was praying real hard. What da f*** did I just get myself into, I said to myself.

The scariest moment of my life came when we started to jump one by one. There was no turning back.


Skydiving in Gold Coast
I SURVIVED! Gosh, I am so proud of myself LOL.
Skydiving in Gold Coast
The freefall was quite cool, and I felt like Superman. Tom was awesome and uber experienced, and made it more fun.
Skydiving in Gold Coast
Taking a moment to enjoy the scenery from above. I got to control the parachute for a while, though I got a little dizzy from the spinning when you pulled only on one side.
Skydiving in Gold Coast
My first thought when I landed on the beach: “I’m hungry.” Good, I am back to normal LOL. The parting humor at the skydive centre left a smile on my face. No doubt this would be an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. I am SO happy I checked this off my bucket list! :)
Skydiving in Gold Coast

Myanmar – Balloons over Bagan

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Balloons over Bagan


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Japan – Deer oh Deers! Nara’s Most Famous Residents at Nara Park

Nara DeersNo visit to Nara will be complete without meeting its most famous resident, the free roaming wild deers (シカ ‘shika‘ or 鹿) at Nara Park 奈良公園, which is also the location of many Nara’s attractions including Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha, Kofukuji and Nara National Museum.

Nara DeersNara Park is just a leisurely five-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station or a a 20-minute walk from JR Nara Station. The park can also be reached by bus. If you are ever in doubt, just follow the deers which are literally EVERYWHERE you can think of, like in the shrubs or even inside a drain.

Nara DeersConsidered to be holy messengers of the gods, Nara’s 1,200 deer have become a symbol of the city and designated as a natural treasure under the Cultural Properties Protection Law. According to local folklore, deers in Nara were considered sacred due to a visit from Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto, one of the four gods of Kasuga Shrine, who appeared on Mt. Mikasa riding a white deer. Killing one of these deers was a capital offense punishable by death up until 1637.

Nara DeersSo these deers literally do whatever they feel like. Including stopping traffic.

Nara DeersNara’s wild deer are super chill with people, although they can get a little pushy when you start feeding them. They can be quite a handful at times as well…

Nara DeersLike this one who happily trotted into the pond just outside the Nara National Museum for a dip.

Nara DeersAnd came to ask to be fed after its skinny dipping. Shika biscuits, which smelt just like the wafers we eat (I had to resist trying them myself), were sold at kiosks along the park at 150yen for a stack. Our hotel kindly prepared a little bag of biscuits and bottle of water for our little adventure.

Nara DeersWhile the deers are generally tame, just be cautious as they can get aggressive. Afterall, they are wild animals.

The deers are pretty intelligent, and have learnt to bow to ask for food.

Nara DeersOnce the deers see the biscuits, be prepared to be surrounded and nudged around like a superstar. They butt you with their heads when you don’t feed them quickly enough, and the one behind lightly bit my arse to get my attention.

Nara DeersSee the affection they show just to get their treats.

Nara DeersThis clever one went for the shortcut and simply stood in front of the deer biscuit stall :D

Nara DeersGreedy little fellas. They are also very practical – they leave you as soon as you run out of biscuits to feed them.

Nara Deers“No biscuits for me? Bleahhhhh.”

Nara DeersOnce they are well-fed, they pick a spot and start snoozing. Nothing you do will move them, not even putting a biscuit right under their noses. So come early in the day when they are still hungry.

Nara DeersWe caught some hotties in traditional costumes playing ball at the park too. There was a festival nearby as well, and I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with the locals, both human and animal.

Nara DeersOne for the wefie album ;) It was quite an experience getting upclose with the deers after hearing so much about them. It was totally worth the trip, not to mention there’s so much cultural sights to visit in Nara. I will be back to visit my furry friends…with thicker pants.

 

Read more about my travels in Japan


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Yilan – Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Just across Ji Mi Park in Yilan is Chalet Gelato, a cute little cafe serving gelato made from the season’s freshest produce.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋It’s also a great rest stop especially on a hot day to enjoy a well-deserved dessert.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋How does a lemonade topped with freshly plucked peppermint leaves or matcha freeze made with tea leaves from Shizuoka prefecture sound? :)

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋The floor to ceiling glass lets you take in the greenery surrounding the little cafe while staying cool.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Really helpful to have the popular combinations of gelato flavours listed out on the board, and look out for the seasonal flavours. What’s your favourite?

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋All the flavours look just as tantalizing. The flavours are usually determined by what fruits or nuts are in season, and kept as natural as possible. When in season, they have an interesting dragonfruit flavour.

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Nothing artificial is added when making the gelato, just lots passion and hard work. Can you imagine squeezing a whole bucket of oranges by hand?!

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋I chose a lychee rose and matcha flavour combination.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Time to enjoy. The texture was smooth and not overly sweet, with nature’s taste filling your palate.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Time seems to move slowly in Yilan, as you automatically slow down to take in sights of its mountainous naturescape.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋I enjoyed the refreshing peppermint lemonade.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋And an affogato makes the day even better. Coffee, anyone?

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋
Address: 宜蘭縣宜蘭市和睦路鐵道一巷27號(宜興路與民權路交叉路口)
No. 27 Hemu Railway Road, Lane 1, Yilan, Taiwan
Tel: +886 3 933 3030
Opening Hours: 9:30AM – 6:00PM daily
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/chalet.gelato

Read more of my travels in Taiwan