10 Unique Accommodations You Can Rent on Airbnb

I’m counting down less than a month till I fly off for my month long break – ‘Hurray!. (One of) the best things about travel planning is the search for interesting accommodations around the world. While researching on what Croatia has to offer me, I got distracted and went on browsing other accommodations on Airbnb. What I really like about Airbnb is the huge selection of accommodations for rent by people like you and I. And when I say accommodations, I don’t just mean apartments, or resorts, but also TREE HOUSES, CAVE HOUSES and even IGLOOS?! I think it’s time I give the awesomess a shout-out (Prices are quoted in USD)

1. The Boot
You can totally be part of a fairytale.

Where: Aporo Rd, Tasman, Tasman 7173, New Zealand
Price: From $269 per night (2 pax, no surcharge for extra people)

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Read more!

Awesome McDonald’s Item You Wish They Were Available in Your Country

I have a confession. I love McDonald’s as a child and I still do. Despite all the hoo-haa around the health issues, I’m going to remain a sucker for those Extra Value Meals. I’m currently stuck at home with stomach flu and I’m really not doing myself a favour by writing this post, but I had to you always crave what you can’t have.

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photo credit: Justin in SD via photopin cc

McDonalds is a global brand and it’s available in more than 120 countries around the world. Having influences from every continent with a diversity of cultures and cuisines, it is no doubt that their menu will have such different varieties depending on your geographical location. I’m from Singapore and during my years in the United Kingdom, I’ve always wished that I didn’t have to fly 7000 miles for my McSpicy. In random order, these are the awesome McDonald’s items I’m craving now and you wish were available in your country.

1. Avocado Beef Burger (Japan)

Avocado chunks, two slices of bacon, a grilled beef patty, slivered onions, a slice of cheddar, and a wasabi sauce – also available in chicken and shrimp. (OMG)

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2. McKroket (Netherlands)

Meat ragout covered in breadcrumbs which is subsequently deep-fried, sandwiched between the classic buns. (Melts in your mouth)

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3. Seaweed Shaker Fries (Asia)

Golden crispy french fries coated with seaweed seasoning (MY FAVOURITE)

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4. Ovomaltine McFlurry (Switzerland)

Ovomaltine + McFlurry. (Need I say more?)

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5. Samurai Pork Burger (Thailand)

Pork patty marinated with teriyaki sauce.. (I’m drooling over my keyboard)

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6. McPaneer Royale (India)

Grilled juicy paneer topped with cream cheese and onion sauce. (mmmMMMmmmm)

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7. Rice Fun Wrap (Taiwan/Hong Kong) 

Juicy chicken or tender beef patty with rice – IN A WRAP (Asian Burrito? Hell yeah, gimme some)

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8. Double McKofte Burger (Turkey)

Heavily spiced kebab like patty – also available in lamb (I smell double trouble)

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9. Greek Mac (Greece)

Juicy patties in a pita with yogurt sauce and salad. (This is addictive I swear)

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10. Double Bulgogi Burger (Korea)

Patties marinated in Korean’s favourite Bulgogi saucemelty cheese, creamy mayo and crisp lettuce (Double because a single ain’t enough)

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11. McSpaghetti (Philippines) 

Classic Spaghetti with perfect tomato sauce and crispy chicken on the side. (I can’t even)

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12. Cinnamon Melts (Random)

This warm delicious cinnamon-spiced rolls topped with delectable cream cheese icing is available at various outlets across the globe. Sorry if it’s not available at yours, (not).

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 6.14.05 PM13. Strawberry Custard Pie (Oman)

Irresistible strawberry custard in a warm crispy pie. (I think I just licked my lips) 

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 6.31.09 PM14. McShrimp (Russia)

Battered shrimps!!!! (Can they bring this to Singapore?)

7068706693_8304815e3515. Flaming Green Curry (Singapore)

Chicken patty seasoned with green chilli lime sauce. It’s like the McSpicy, but hotter and better. (I’m probably going to head to my nearest McDonald’s soon)

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Bonus: More Awesomeness from Japan

Seriously, the list can go on forever and it’s making me extremely hungry. But as I was typing this list out, I figured that Japan deserves it’s own section as they have come up with the most wonderful and appealing items for their McDonald’s menu. Notwithstanding the fact that some are limited edition items, they are so awesome they need to be introduced – hint hint McDonald’s Singapore.

16. McCarbonara Sandwich

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18. Chicken Cheese Fondue 

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19 Ebi-Fillet-O

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20. Bacon Potato Pie 

xxx-daily-meal-mcds-pies-02-1625-4_3Gosh I am so hungry right now and I need to stop to grab some food. If there is a takeaway point (aside from making you hungry) it’s perhaps a visit to the local McDonald’s when you’re traveling to a new country.

(tummy growling)

Peace & Love,

Eileen x

 

 

Accommodation Guide in Sri Lanka

I visited Sri Lanka last December, and due to popular demand from my accommodation guide, I’ve written one for Sri Lanka as well (check out what I wrote about South Africa here).

Sri Lanka was quite a challenge as I had started my research late and the ones that I was interested in were fully booked out! Most of the places were either too expensive or slightly dingy. I’m not particularly picky with my accommodations but I do appreciate good lodging that are also value for money. Nonetheless, I was pretty satisfied with the finds given the little time I had. Hope whoever reading this will find this useful.

Oh by the way, most of the prices quoted in this list is inclusive of breakfast, some even dinner.

The same disclaimer applies: the prices I quote in SGD are what I paid for during my trip, per person, per night. Prices for accommodation are seasonal (and there might be promotions to take into account as well) and hence you should not rely entirely on my quotation. Please check with the respective hosts for their most current rates if you are planning a stay with them.

Anuradhapura

London Palace

Anuradhapura is a good place to begin if you want to visit the UNESCO sites in Sri Lanka but there isn’t much lodging options available. My travel buddy stumbled upon London Palace, showed me the price and pictures and I was sold. Indeed the place was as good as it had looked on picture. After a long drive from Colombo to the accommodation, I was ready to plop on the comfy bed they prepped for us with blankets and cloth twirled into creative shapes. The place  is tucked away in a secluded corner of Anuradhapura. They serve pretty decent Sri Lanka dinner and they were very generous with the sides.

How much I paid: SGD 21

(Rs 4500/$34 per room)

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photo credits: London Palace

Dambulla

Sundaras Resort

One great thing about Sundaras Resort is the location. It’s literally walking distance from the Golden Rock Temple. Plus, they are known to serve really good food. Out of the 3 nights, we had our dinner there twice. The room we stayed in was really big. we EACH had a double bed. The owner of the Resort, Damien, is a pretty cool dude too. Have a chat with him when you’re there!

How much I paid: SGD 34

(Rs 7,000/$54 per room)

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Sun 2

photo credits: Sundaras Resort and Tripadvisor

Kandy

Elegant Hotel

It is the consensus of both my travel buddy and I that Elegant Hotel was our favourite accom in Sri Lanka in terms of budget, room, service, view and food. YOU WAKE UP AND HAVE BREAKFAST WITH THE MOUNTAINOUS VIEW. It is slightly out of the way but well worth the extra distance from Kandy Town. The hotel staff will be more than happy to call a tuk tuk for you anyway if you need one. Read my guide for tuk tuks here.

How much I paid: SGD 25

(Rs 5,300/$40 per room)

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photo credits: Tripadvisor

Nuwara Eliya

Unique Cottages

We paid slightly more for this place because it was a treat for my birthday. The staff were very warm, I even had a cake delivered to my room! For the price we paid, they have rooms with a nice balcony, and some others with a jacuzzi – obviously I picked the latter.

How much I paid: SGD 78

(Rs 16,300/$125 per room)

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photo credits: Unique Cottages and my camera

Adam’s Peak

Punsisi Rest

We did not realise we had to climb up to our accommodation even before we climbed Adam’s Peak. However, we did have a preview of the landscape when we managed our way up before the actual climb. The staff were really friendly and they even lent me their walking stick for the actual climb. Other than the stairs that were uncalled for, it is a good chill place to just relax before or after the climb.

How much I paid: SGD 33 including DINNER AND BREAKFAST.

(Rs 6,800/$52 per room)

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photo credits: Tripadvisor

Mirissa

Palm Villa

There are accommodations stretching along the Mirissa Beach but Palm Villa was hands down our best pick. Hidden away from the crowd, Palm Villa offers you the privacy and the serene beach life you desire. After our climb at Adam’s Peak, it was the perfect place for us to unwind. The food’s also really good and we have a sumptuous seafood bbq on our first night. The only setback was that we didn’t stay longer!

How much I paid: SGD 47

(Rs 9,900/$75 per room)

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If you draw that curtain in the morning, you will see the ocean. Who doesn’t want to wake up to that view?!
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photo credits: Palm Villa and my camera and myself as the model

Galle Fort

Seagreen Guesthouse

There were plenty of boutique accommodation to choose from in Galle Fort and we settled for Seagreen accommodation. Not only were we not disappointed, we were also pleasantly surprised. The best was comfy, the room was clean and Seagreen Guesthouse came with a really nice roof terrace where you get a clear view of the sunset. 

How much I paid: SGD 29

(Rs 6000/$46 per room)

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photo credit: Seagreen and my camera

Hikkaduwa

Tandem Guesthouse

It was only when we got to Hikkaduwa that we realised the number of BnBs and guesthouses available (It didn’t seem that much when we researched online). Nonetheless, we were happy with Tandem Guesthouse. It was the right location for the places we wanted to go to (in between Hug Inn where they dish up really awesome food, and International Dive Centre, the main purpose for visit Hikkaduwa). The rooms were clean as well and the staff were really helpful.

How much I paid: SGD 32

(Rs 6,540/$50 per room)

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photo credit: Tandem Guesthouse and my camera

Colombo

Airbnb Host: Div

Colombo is sprawling with luxurious hotels and with the name they carry, it’s not doubt that they are out of my budget. Because we were going to stay in Colombo for 4 days, we decided to rent an apartment instead. I used my all time favourite accommodation hosting site Airbnb, and found Div who rented us his lovely apartment. We even have the chance to chat over lunch. There is a roof terrace that comes with the apartment where you get a perfect view of the city and the Indian Ocean. Would definitely recommend his place as an alternative to travellers on a smaller budget.

How much I paid: SGD 43

(Rs 8,970/$69 per apartment)

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photo credits: my camera and Airbnb

The accommodations for this post may not be as “wow” as those I found in South Africa, but the staff and people I met were kind and friendly and they made my stay very enjoyable. Most of the options are pocket-friendly for travellers who seek decent accommodation on a smaller budget. If you’re visiting Sri Lanka, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you aren’t, consider visiting won’t you? The people will welcome you with open arms.

Peace & Love,

Eileen x

5 Places That Define My Childhood (but have now closed down)

Feeling a bit nostalgic so I’ve decided to do up a post that takes me down memory lane! Here are 5 places that defined my childhood but are sadly shut now. If you’re from the same era as me, hopefully these places remind you of your good times in the past as well!

1. FunDazzle

I was sourcing all over the internet but I couldn’t find a picture of the old Fun Dazzle in Singapore! Shame. Fun Dazzle was the closest place to heaven for kids in my era. Looking back now, the ball pits were probably super unhygienic. But as a child, swinging from bar to bar, cruising down a zip line and jumping into a pool of colourful balls, is probably the best feeling ever.

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photo credit: S n o R k e l via photopin cc

2. Curly Fries and Root Beer Float from A&W

Remember the brown bear in the orange shirt? Remember their curly fries, their root beer float, their corny dogs? Remember A&W? I speak for the majority “A&W, PLEASE COME BACK TO SINGAPORE!!”.

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photo credits: A&W Facebook SG

3. THE Char Siew Bread from Red House Bakery

Not sure if many of you know this place but I used to patronise it a lot as a child. I would go there after tuition class on Saturdays and indulge in the freshly baked Char Siew (“honey roasted pork”) bread. Oh, and I will never forget the slanted floor. The Red House Bakery indeed has it’s own charm.

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photo credits: stproperty

4. Day Outs at Escape Theme Park

Many complain that this was small, and crappy and obviously not as exciting as theme parks overseas. However, I really REALLY enjoyed it. There were the go-karts, the flipper ride and the panasonic alpha 8 ride. Did you know that the log flume at Escape Theme Park was the highest in Asia? It was 5 storeys high consisting of not one but TWO drops.

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photo credits: panoramio

5. Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

My grandmother and I use to take the train in and out of Singapore so this a memorable location for me. The place is rich with heritage and the architecture is one that signifies the relationship between Singapore and Malaysia. Following an agreement between Singapore and Malaysia, the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station ceased its operation (emotional moment).

For those who want to know more about this place, I’ve included an interesting short documentary on Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

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Even though these places no longer exist (or operate) in Singapore now, there are so many new establishments that bring equally exciting experiences. Guess we should be more appreciative of them in case they disappear in years to come!

Peace & Love,
Eileen x

101 Survival Guide on Climbing Adam’s Peak

Before Adam’s Peak, I’ve never properly hiked up a mountain before. The closest experience was Bukit Timah Hill or Mt Faber in Singapore. I’m not very fit so I found the journey up Adam’s peak very exhausting. However, I was told that even seasoned hikers find it challenging because of the endless steps – plenty are too steep and slippery. For the benefit of other adventurous amateurs, here’s how I survived climbing Adam’s Peak.

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1. Start by believing you’ll make it to the top

Like I mentioned before, positive attitude always helps. See yourself at the top with arms spread out to the side. Picture yourself walking up like a champion, and keep telling yourself, you will make it for sunrise.

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2. Keep your eyes busy 

It’s dark and you can’t really see much but you’ll definitely see buddhas, temples and shrines on your way up. Pray for strength if you need to. A little faith helps.

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3. Consider using a walking stick.
It helps, a lot

Especially for hikers with weak joints, a walking stick will ease the pressure and make the hike a lot better. Towards the end of the climb, we were practically relying on our walking sticks to drag us to the top.

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4. Make friends with fellow hikers and laugh at your misery together

Just like Michael Jackson sings, “you are not alone…“. Everyone is going through the same shit together. You’ll make friends, like we did, with some Russians, Portuguese, English, Germans etc… Hear each other swear in different languages. It actually sounds rather comforting.

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5. And even make furry friends

This little one followed us all the way up and was encouraging all the hikers along the way. (thumbs up buddy)!

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6. Drink up because you’re going to sweat plenty

We packed 3 litres of water for our journey and we finished it by the time we got to the bottom. Yes it will be heavy, but it’s necessary.

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7. Do not ask how much longer you have to climb before you reach the top

I made this crucial mistake. The first time I asked how much further the journey will be, I was told 1 km. The next kilometre I asked the same question, and the answer was  yet again, 1 km. Every time I hear it’s 1 km further, I push myself so hard only to realise it’s another “1 km” – it’s demoralising. Arghhhh! Don’t ever ask. Just climb on.

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8. Instead, stop for a cup of tea

There were several pit stops and even a small cup of warm tea can help fuel up.

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9. Keep reminding yourself that it’s going to be worth it

When you’re finally at the top, it will take you a moment to realise you’re actually at the top. I can remember someone shouting to us “12 more steps”. Those words felt like gold.

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10. Be sure to bask in the glory of the beautiful sunrise

This was the moment everyone was waiting for. It’s really nice watching the sunrise up there with everyone, because you know for a fact every single person left and right went through the same experience. (Awwwww…)

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11. And while you’re up there, remember to wrap up warm because the wind gets strong

I underestimated how cold it would be and had to buy a windbreaker before I started the climb. It only cost me 400 Rupees  and it did the job (I don’t care how ugly it looksAnything goes to keep warm.)

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12. Find inner peace at the peak and give yourself a pat on the back for the effort you’ve put in

Locals actually climb Adam’s Peak for religious purpose, so while they’re praying, respect their space or have your own zen moment. It’s good to prepare yourself mentally for what’s to come… the journey back down.

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13. Slowly brace yourself for the journey back down.

One step at a time. It’s harder than going up because you might just slip and slide and…

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14. At least the view will make it more bearable.

Know that the sunrise isn’t the only reward you’ll get. Feels like you’re in heaven.

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15. Stop to take pictures (with proper lighting, finally)

You HAVE to take pictures of the awesome moments, especially with the best companion you can ever have.

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16. On top of that, you’ll get to (properly) see what you’ve walked pass in the middle of the night

Take it easy, there’s no hurry. When you go, ooo and wahhhh as you walk, it takes your mind off the painful stairs.

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17. And slow down again, to take even more pictures

All for memory sake.

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18. Pack some breakfast and enjoy it in front of a priceless view

You will get hungry

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19. And keep on taking pictures. After all, when you’re almost at the bottom, you’ll be happier that you’ve come so far, rather than worry about how sweaty and tired you’ll look

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20. Turn around and look at it again, congratulations, you’ve just conquered Adam’s Peak

The exhaustion was absolutely worth it

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Peace & Love,

Eileen x