Tag: Holiday

Snowy Sensations

October 12th, 2007   •   8 comments   

One of the reasons why we were so thickly dressed in Melbourne was because my son Ethan wanted to see snow. And see snow we did (well some snow since Spring plus global warming made quick work of alpine icicles). Waking up at the ungodly hour of about 4.45 am, we took a day trip to Mount Buller, a famous ski resort about 3 hours drive from Melbourne City and spent a day in a white winter wonderland. Having been to Hokkaido in December, I must add that Mount Buller isn’t in quite the same league. Nonetheless, it was great to see Ethan’s face light up as he pelted us with snowballs .

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A view of the alpine “village” with ski resort hotels atop Mount Buller. As you can guess from the photo, it wasn’t as cold as we imagined it to be.

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Farming Fun at Warrook

September 25th, 2007   •   7 comments   

Regular readers of this blog would probably know by now that my kid Ethan loves the rural life. This was why we had to make a farm stop during our recent Melbourne trip, at the widely acclaimed Warrook Cattle Farm. A charming 100 year old homestead located South East from Melbourne City, the rural attraction conducts regular tours for “city tortoises” like us. The sprawling estate boasted of many different farmyard residents and is a real life working farm yielding animal products like milk, meat and wool.

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A metal crafted signboard at the cattle yards. Reminds me of Charlotte’s Web somehow.

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Marvellous Melbourne Museum

September 16th, 2007   •   10 comments   

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One of Melbourne’s foremost cultural destination, the Melbourne Museum is both an architectural icon and a wonderful repository of natural history. Located next to the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens, the museum is part of Museum Victoria which is Australia’s largest public museum organisation. Touted as the biggest museum in the Southern Hemisphere, the museum was housed in a modern monolith of massive proportions.

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Built in the 1990s in the modern style, the museum was designed by Denton Corker Marshall and constructed at a cost of A$250 million.
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Healsville Sanctuary – a Natural Respite

September 13th, 2007   •   6 comments   

One of our first stops recently en route to Melbourne was Healesville Sanctuary, an open concept reserve for Australia’s indigenous wildlife located just off the picturesque Yarra Valley area. While it wasn’t quite as fabulous as our own Singapore Zoo and the prices of the tickets were rather steep at A$23 per adult (good thing Ethan gets in free as he is under 4!), we still did enjoy ourselves somewhat. I suppose the weather (yeah I missed it!) helps tremendously plus of course those cute marsupial furries…

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Part zoo and part wildlife conservation facility, Healesville Sanctuary is a sprawling reserve of native Australian marsupials, monotremes and others.

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Melbourne – Cosmopolitan City of Soul

September 11th, 2007   •   15 comments   

My family’s recent holiday in Melbourne was a great adventure, spanning 8 days and covering different kinds of experiences. Its difficult to capture everything in one blog post, so I will split it into several parts, interspersed with regular posts on marketing. First on Melbourne City itself.

Led by Lord Mayor John So (a Chinese no less), Melbourne City presented a unique melting pot of different cultures while being both sophisticated and cosmopolitan. Walk along its streets and chances are that you will see people of different ethnicities happily mingling with each other. One of its major advantages is the weather, which is mostly cool and breezy any time of the year without going to extremes.

Melbourne residents are sports fanatics, and it was interesting to see many of them jogging, cycling and playing Aussie football at virtually any time of the day. The city is also full of life, with museums, historic buildings, art performances, restaurants, shops and parks adding much colour and vibrancy. A quirky aspect of the city is its transport system. You can either get around on foot, bicycles, buses, trains, trams, taxis, cars, and even skateboards and horse-drawn carriages!

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Off to Melbourne!

August 31st, 2007   •   13 comments   

Am taking a break in the beautiful state of Melbourne in Australia for the next week or so with my wife and kid. Our itinerary is likely to have lots of koalas, kangaroos, wombats, penguins and all things child friendly. Have a great week all!


Sun, Sand and Sparkling Seas

June 24th, 2007   •   25 comments   

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Central Krabi Bay Resort – Our Spot of Paradise

If you enjoy tropical getaways, you will love Krabi. Located along the coast of the Andaman Sea, it is one of the more rustic and less commercialised beach getaways in Thailand. Almost everything a beach bum wants – sparkling crystalline seas teeming with colourful fishes, white sandy beaches, great seafood – can be found there. The icing on the cake is that great Thai hospitality which always makes experiences extra special.

Here’s a photo essay of a our recent holiday there. Enjoy.
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Off to Krabi!

June 8th, 2007   •   11 comments   

A beach at Ko Samui (not Krabi), which was my last beach holiday
I will be going off to Krabi for the next few days for a much deserved break. Have fun guys and don’t miss me too much. Ahhhh… I can already smell the salty scent of the sea, sizzling seafood, the sand and the endless bottles of beer…. 😉

Bangkok on New Year’s Eve – A First Hand Account

January 4th, 2007   •   7 comments   

Courtesy of AFP/Getty Images
My family and I went for a short break recently in Bangkok during the New Year’s Eve and New Year period. Probably one of the few holidays that we will remember for a long time but not for the reasons you imagine.

Everybody who has been following the news will know that this was the exact same period of time when nine bombs went off recently hours before the countdown in Bangkok. This led to an outcry amongst the politicians, especially ousted Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who violently objected to being linked to this. There is now a big debate going on about who was responsible for this spate of violence, with at least many believing that it was not the work of the Southern Muslim insurgents whom Thaksin tried hard to quell.

The casualty count was about 3 dead and at least about 50 injured. I was just glad that the damage to this incident was limited.
While we were there on NYE, we heard from the locals that the countdown party at Central World Plaza just a stone’s throw away from our service apartment at Centrepoint Langsuan was cancelled. The reason? Nine bombings calculated to sour the mood for New Year celebrations in one of Southeast Asia’s most happening party city.
Hotel front office staff, taxi drivers, restaurant owners and the like were chatting about it like it was just part and parcel of their everyday lives. According to one cab driver, “this is just part of life in Bangkok. No problem.” No wonder, considering how many hoaxes and bombings take place here regularly.
On that night itself, we were celebrating our first New Year’s Eve away from Singapore at a fancy Italian restaurant along swanky Langsuan Road (just a short walk from our service apartment). Amidst chasing after my son Ethan, having a few sips of wine (and later beer in the apartment room), and enjoying the huge T-bone steak in from of me, we were mostly nonchalant to the acts of terrorism. We even saw the fireworks going off in a few places, at Chao Phraya River and the urban city centre while sipping beer and watching movie reruns. It was only later as we gradually found about the extent of the damage that we sobered up a little.
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Why Japanese Service is Ichiban

December 23rd, 2006   •   2 comments   


Even fish mongers treat you like a god!

A key reason why I enjoyed my recent vacation to Hokkaido so much was the customer experience. Let’s face it. Japanese service quality is light years ahead of ours. Almost everybody I know who visited Japan raved about it. However, they do also have certain chinks in the armour as you would see later.

First, let’s talk about what great service is. Delightful service goes beyond being polite and courteous. It looks at ensuring that every single touchpoint to a customer is taken care of. It emphasises being quick and responsive to customer’s needs. It empowers staff to be flexible and to take quick remedial action in service failures. It pays close attention to the fine details and little nuances.
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