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