Tag Archives: Hotels

Epson and SO Sofitel Singapore collaborate on AR experience

The world of travel, tourism and hospitality has benefitted and also changed from the technology boom over the past few decades. As we move into the future, new technology such as augmented reality (AR) has a role to play in a customer’s overall experience. How does AR plays a part in business operation in the hospitality industry such as a hotel?

AR today and in the near future, they can play a part in enhancing a guest experience beyond the luxuries, amenities, accommodation and hospitality in the hotel. How can they go about doing this?

In Singapore, Epson, a global leader in projection technology and visual communications, partners SO Sofitel Singapore for Southeast Asia first augmented reality (AR) smart glass experience within a hotel, using Epson’s latest Moverio BT-300 smart glasses. At the media event held recently, I had the opportunity to witness the launch and experience AR technology implementation in a hospitality organisation.

This was also my first time putting on the Moverio BT-300 and trying it out in a hospitality context. The Moverio BT-300 was lightweight and beautifully designed, the experience was pretty good with the visuals through the smart glasses and accompanying audio.

Guests can look forward to a true see-through immersive experience with the Moverio BT-300’s HD high-contrast display, which uses Epson’s cutting edge silicon-based OLED (organic light emitting diode) digital display technology. Powered by software from EON Reality, a world leader in Virtual and Augmented Reality-based knowledge transfer, the curated experience transports viewers into a part-real part-virtual world where informative content and videos blend seamlessly with real design elements found within the hotel lobby and suite.

 Pictures courtesy of Epson Singapore and SO Sofitel Singapore 

“It is our pleasure to partner leaders in Luxury Hospitality, Design and Augmented Reality to curate this experience that is a first in the region. With Moverio, Epson believes that the potential of Augmented Reality is limitless for commercial and enterprise usage – to create exceptional experiences using one of the most lightweight and comfortable smart eyewear on the market. By bringing the flavours and secrets within the heritage building to life through our technology, we look forward to deliver new and exciting multi-sensory experiences and showcase the familiar in a brand new way,” said Mr Siew Jin Kiat, Regional General Manager (Southeast Asia), Printers and Visual Products Division, Epson Singapore.

“We are So delighted to partner with Epson Singapore to be the first to launch the augmented reality smart glasses experience in Southeast Asia. When you step into SO Sofitel Singapore, you will be naturally captivated by the different elements of French design blending with local touches. With this AR smart glasses experience, guests will be able to discover and be intrigued by the surprising design elements,” said Mr Piotr Kupiec, General Manager for SO Sofitel Singapore.

On the pilot project, EON Reality Singapore’s Managing Director Mr Sridhar Sunkhad added, “Collaborating with Epson to augment the SO Sofitel unique guest experience will be an exciting journey that will teach us how Augmented Reality will become a part of our everyday lifestyle.”

Source: Epson and SO Sofitel Singapore press release

Starting my AR experiential tour journey from the SO Sofitel Hotel lobby, our first stop was the “The Lion Seal” emblem, designed for the hotel by the legendary Karl Langerfield. Once the AR experience started, I was greeted virtually by Isabelle Miaja, the interior designer of SO Sofitel Singapore.

Walking along the SO Sofitel Hotel lobby, I learned about the inspiration of SO Sofitel Singapore’s beautiful design, French elegance blending with the building’s unique history and modern Singapore, through the Moverio BT-300 smart glasses.

Continuing the journey inside the hotel, we entered into a special suite, the SO Sofitel Lofy suite. Through the Moverio BT-300 smart glasses, Isabelle returned on a composite screen, sharing her thoughts on the hotel design and special touches within the suite. I saw gorgeous art pieces that gave Isabelle the inspiration to combine French indulgence and the local culture of Singapore.

If you are staying at the gorgeous SO Sofitel, do try out the AR experience tour and if you happen to stay in the SO Lofy suite, you can also experience the SO Augmented room tour as well! For members of the public, if you wish to enjoy the SO Augmented hotel lobby tour, you can enquire with the guest relations officer, with sets subject to availability.

The world of augmented reality is now entering into our life, our work, the adoption and implementation is taking place among different organisations and industries. This AR collaboration project between Epson and SO Sofitel Singapore is the first in Southeast Asia within a hotel, I believe there will be more hotels entering and implementing AR technology to enhance their guests experiences.

I would like to thank Epson Singapore and SO Sofitel Singapore for the invitation to experience the new AR experience at SO Sofitel Singapore.

Hokkaido 2016 Photography Adventure Day 3

23rd October 2016 – Day 3

It’s Sunday in Hokkaido, another cold and chilly autumn morning with the cold wind blowing. My plan for the morning was to make a pilgrimage to a whiskey that I really like a lot, Nikka whiskey. The birth place of Nikka whiskey is in this place called Yoichi, just three JR stations away from Otaru. I checked the local JR train timetable heading towards Yoichi the night before, planned the time to wake up, head towards onsen, buy my breakfast from the JR Otaru station convenience store before boarding the local JR train to Yoichi.

The local JR train ride was fun and I always love my traveling experiences there. Although it was only three stations away, the distance between them were quite far apart. I loved the views from my short JR train ride, I saw the colourful trees, the sea, coast line, hills and houses. My train ride was quite busy, not too packed, there were a number of people on the same train ride too. I spotted some elderly Japanese folks drinking beer in the morning while traveling on the train!

Nikka Distillery

Upon arriving at JR Yoichi station, there were a lot of people that were riding together on the train also alighted along with me. It dawned upon me pretty quickly that we were all heading towards a common destination, the Nikka distillery! A short walk away from JR Yoichi station, I arrived at the entrance to Nikka distillery, I am awed and excited because I made a pilgrimage to my favourite whiskey!

Visiting and walking inside Nikka distillery wasn’t too difficult, you can choose to join a guided tour (in Japanese though) or you can choose to walk around and explore on your own. I chose to walk around and explore myself. There were many information at various locations on the history, significance and things related to Nikka whiskey. The most interesting segments for me were the whiskey museum and Nikka Kaikan (guest hall, tasting room). My most eagerly anticipated segment of visiting Nikka distillery was the free whiskey tastings! There were 3 types of whiskey available for tasting inside the Nikka Kaikan, there were some rules to follow for visitors, no drinking for those visitors driving and each visitor is only allowed to taste 1 glass of whiskey from each type of whiskey available for tasting.

Whiskey is supposed to be enjoyed slowly, shaking and stirring the aroma up from the whiskey, slowly sipping, enjoying the after taste before continuing to slowly sip up the rest of the whiskey. In the midst of my excitement and over enthusiasm, I drank two of the three whiskey in kind of double quick time. Although I really loved the taste and feeling, my head started to spin because I drank too fast and furious! I had to quickly grab some ice water to drink and settle myself down!

There was a place known as Distillery Shop “Northland”, a gift shop to buy gifts and Nikka whiskey. Initially, I thought of buying Nikka whiskey back home to Singapore, however, they were not able to do the duty free procedure therefore I decided not to buy it back. Instead, I bought an ice ball maker and a box of Nikka Distillery chocolates.

I checked the return trip JR train time table when I first entered into the JR Yoichi station, therefore, I had a bit of time to walk around Yoichi and have a quick look before making my way to JR Yoichi station. Japanese trains were very efficient, reliable and punctual. The station masters opened up the doors for the passengers to walk out to the platform about 10 mins before the scheduled arrival time of the JR train. The visitors queued up in rows, waiting in line for the train to arrive. The JR train arrived exactly at the scheduled time as printed on the boards inside the train station.

Reaching JR Otaru station, there was a short time transition for passengers to switch and hop on to the another JR train heading towards Sapporo. This was how great, detailed and thoughtful the Japanese placed in service delivery standards.

When I reached Sapporo, I wanted to look for the Travelers notebook by the Traveler’s Company. However, I wasn’t able to find my way around the shopping centre and I didn’t manage to buy it during my trip to Hokkaido. I went back to the same lunch place yesterday, ordered a curry beef rice, enjoyed my lunch and took the next available train back to Otaru, for my late afternoon to night view of Otaru from Mt Tenguyama.

Mt Tenguyama, Otaru

Mt. Tenguyama, is a famous and well known tourism destination in Otaru, as well as in Hokkaido. On top of Mt Tenguyama, it has one of the best views of Hokkaido, highly rated and recommended by both locals and international visitors. I took a bus from Otaru bus terminal in front of JR Otaru station towards the foot of Mt Tenguyama where the ropeway station was located. I took the ropeway up and it was a great view of Otaru, the port and the sea!

Mt Tenguyama indeed had some gorgeous views up at the top, there were a few observation points that allowed visitors to take photographs of Otaru and her surroundings from different observation points. The weather was a bit overcast and pretty cloudy when I was up on top of Mt Tenguyama. I explored around the top of Mt Tenguyama, it’s really peaceful and beautiful. There were gusty chilly winds blowing on that evening, making it very challenging for me to stay long outside in the open to take photographs (I was kind of freezing up there on Mt Tenguyama).

Waiting for the sun to set and night to arrive, I finally caught a good glimpse of the night landscape scenery of Otaru. I didn’t bring my tripod up to Mt Tenguyama therefore I made the best out of everything in a very cold autumn night with gusty winds blowing at the top of Mt Tenguyama.

Taking the ropeway ride down, enjoying the nights sceneries of Otaru. I took the bus back to Otaru city centre, went to JR Otaru station and bought a half deep fried chicken for dinner back to my hotel room whereby I was able to keep myself warm from another cold chilly autumn night.

On my last night in Otaru at Dormy Inn Premium, I went down for my night singing noodles, the hot and heartwarming Yonaki Soba, my last time to enjoy this wonderful noodles, I am not too sure when I would have the chance again. Upon finishing the delicious Yonaki Soba, I went back to my room, packed my luggage while resting before coming down to relax and enjoy at the onsen before my sleep time.

Hokkaido Autumn 2016 Day 3


Created with flickr slideshow.

Hokkaido Autumn 2016


Created with flickr slideshow.

Hokkaido 2016 Photography Adventure Day 1

21st October 2016 – Day 1

A good night of sleep and rest, I woke up to a cold, wet and overcast Otaru weather. That didn’t deter my plans to explore Sapporo and Otaru today on my Day 1 in Hokkaido. First and foremost, I went down for my morning onsen, refresh myself before heading out for my photography adventure. The weather in Otaru was pretty cold for the autumn season and the winds were a little bit gusty when I stepped out of the hotel as I walked towards the JR Otaru train station.

I had to exchange for my JR Hokkaido pass at JR Sapporo station and I hopped onto the local JR Hokkaido train towards Sapporo. It’s been quite some time back since I last sat on the JR local train and I happened to choose the train that made a stop at every JR station along the route from Otaru to Sapporo (I had forgotten about the semi-rapid JR train service!). The journey was beautiful, part of it was along the coastline.

JR Sapporo station is a pretty huge place, not just the central train station, it’s also a huge hub for the offices and shopping malls, all linked and connected together. My first stop was to visit the JR office and exchanged my JR Hokkaido pass, the procedure wasn’t too difficult. I gave them the exchange voucher, filled in a form, showed my passport and the friendly staff there processed my JR Hokkaido pass on the spot and I am ready to go riding on the trains.

Now to start on my Hokkaido 2016 photography adventure! First stop was Hokkaido University / Gingko Avenue.

Hokkaido University / Gingko Avenue

A short walk away from JR Sapporo station, about 15-20mins walk (slow walk due to ice/snow on the ground). I entered into Hokkaido University campus ground, it’s a nice and quiet campus, they reminded me of my St Lucia campus of The University of Queensland. Once I stepped inside the campus ground, I spotted the colourful autumn colours on the trees with snow on the ground, a gorgeous mix of both autumn and winter together.

The sceneries were really beautiful, even though the sky was overcast and gloomy, I didn’t let the weather affected me in my photography. I slowly walked, taking photos along with both local and international tourists visiting Hokkaido University.

Gingko Avenue is a very well known road inside Hokkaido University, very popular with both local and international tourists. Once I reached there, I was able to fully understand why they loved it so much. Two rows of trees, lining up Gingko Avenue, in the midst of the vehicles, cyclists and people along Gingko Avenue, this road gave a sense of aura of nature, peace and tranquility. I really had a good time along Gingko Avenue, taking photographs from different perspectives and angles.

Former Hokkaido Government Office

The city area of Sapporo is pretty well planned out, it’s not too difficult to walk around. I walked back to JR Sapporo station before walking down towards Odori Park, making a stop at the former Hokkaido Government Office first.

This is a historical building of importance and significance to Hokkaido. You can’t miss it, it’s a distinct red brick colour building and are you able to spot the red star? Due to time constraint, I didn’t visit the interior and exhibits inside the former Hokkaido Government Office.

I strolled around the compound, enjoying the peace and tranquility at the pond with beautiful trees. This place would look great during the spring and summer season with the flowers and greenery.

Before reaching Odori Park, I stopped by a convenience store at a junction facing a segment of Odori Park. Visiting a convenience store in Japan is always very interesting for me, there are so many different types of food, drinks, tidbits, magazines, daily neccessities that you can find inside a Japanese convenience store! Lunch was a simple sushi set with a bottle of green tea, at the corner of the convenience store where they have bar stools and bar table.

Odori Park

Odori Park is a pretty long stretch of green open space lined up with trees in the middle of tall concrete buildings in Sapporo. This beautiful green space gives people living/working there a nice area to take walks, relax, have their lunch etc. It’s a great place to visit major events held in Sapporo every season e.g. Sapporo Snow Festival.

I walked from one end of Odori Park to the other end where the iconic Sapporo TV tower stood. There wasn’t too many people at Odori Park during my time there, I saw some young children playing with snow and trying to build a snowman! I hope that maybe in the future, I can return to Sapporo again during a time whereby a major event/festival is held there and I am able to enjoy Odori Park.

The bright, colourful and beautiful autumn colours lined up the sides of Odori Park. I felt the aura of the autumn colours even though it was a bit cold with the winds blowing. It was a quiet and tranquil time for me when I was walking down Odori Park, I can’t explain how soothing it was for me, for my mind.

Sapporo Clock Tower

I began to head back up to JR Sapporo station, planning to take the JR train back to Otaru and explore the area in the night. While walking back, I stopped at the Sapporo Clock Tower, another iconic and cultural landmark of Hokkaido, it was built in 1878. The bell rings every hour to announce the time to the city of Hokkaido.

I would love to visit and know more about Sapporo Clock Tower history and culture inside the building. However, I had a number of places that I wanted to cover, therefore I didn’t manage to go in and visit.

Walking back to JR Sapporo station, I checked the timetable and caught the rapid express train to Otaru for a evening/night walk. The weather was overcast and there wasn’t much of a sunset scene as I reached the port area of Otaru. I felt the cold wind blowing coupled with the cold autumn season. I decided to head back to my hotel and rest for a few hours before coming out later in the night for night walkabout of Otaru.

Otaru former Temiya railway line / The Bank of Japan Otaru Museum (Ministry of Finance)

I like to explore railway lines especially those that were no longer in operation and remained behind as tourist/historical landmarks/monuments. I saw photos of the former Temiya railway line and wanted to check them out. Using the Otaru city tourist map, I found my way to a junction along Nichigindori Street. The former Temiya railway tracks and landmarks are still around, the platform and train waiting area.

I would love to return back to Otaru again and explore the former Temiya railway line again, in the daytime instead of going there in the night. There are still a number of places in Otaru that I wanted to go but wasn’t able to complete it due to time constraints and trying to cover as many locations as possible.

Not too far away from the former Temiya railway line junction, I saw The Bank of Japan Otaru Museum building. It looked pretty grand at night with the lights shining on the building façade.

Otaru Canal

The Otaru Canal is an iconic and cultural area of Otaru. A beautiful area in the night to walk along the canal, enjoying the night lights of the nearby buildings and former warehouses along Otaru Canal. Walking down from Nichigindori Street, I reached Asakusa Bridge of Otaru Canal, a good spot for taking photos of Otaru Canal.

A quiet stroll along the canal, towards Chuo Bridge, another good spot for taking photos of Otaru Canal and surroundings. This is really nice for a romantic couple walk along the Otaru Canal in the night where it is quiet, peaceful and tranquil. It’s always great to view history being preserved, the warehouses along Otaru Canal played a central role as part of the city’s busy port in the early 20th century.

I would love to explore Otaru Canal again if possible during different seasons such as winter and summer.

Night Singing Noodles of Dormy Inn Premium Otaru

The Dormy Inn Premium Otaru was highly recommended by my friend/Hokkaido Photo Guide Kato san. Not only was the location awesome, they have onsen, room rates are reasonable for a comfortable hotel room. There was also something special, they provided delicious, hot and heart warming singing noodles to the guests of the hotel during the chilly season.

The night singing noodles is known as Yonaki Soba, it might look like a small simple bowl of soba noodles. However, it was cooked with so much passion and care for their hotel guests to keep warm with a hot bowl of Yonaki Soba in the night from 2130 hrs to 2300 hrs.

After a heart warming, delicious and hot bowl of Yonaki Soba, I went for my daily onsen, to relax my aching muscles from a whole day of walking around Sapporo and Otaru. While it was a cold and overcast Day 1 in Sapporo and Otaru, I am very happy to be out there exploring, enjoying myself away from Singapore and taking photographs.

Hokkaido Autumn 2016 Day 1


Created with flickr slideshow.



Hokkaido Autumn 2016


Created with flickr slideshow.

Central/Eastern Hokkaido Day 4 – Kamikawa, Sounkyo

Day 4 of our program started off with a very early start, continuing from where we left on at the end of Day 3. We went to the nearby Tokachigaoka Park from Kangetsuen, for our hot air balloon adventure, operated by Tokachi Nature Centre! The hot air balloon ride is dependent on the weather conditions and for that morning, it was clear for our hot air balloon adventure! It was very interesting to see how they do the setup for the hot air balloon and we were busy clicking away on our cameras!

Hot Air Balloon Ride at Tokachi

Another first time for me, taking a hot air balloon ride! Once the hot air balloon ride was ready for boarding, we split into two groups to go up the hot air balloon ride. While one group was in the air, we took photographs of them from the ground up and vice versa, we helped each other to take photographs when we either up in the air or on the ground! When we were up in the air on the hot air balloon, the weather wasn’t that clear due to the misty autumn/winter weather conditions. Up in the air, while we had a bird’s eye view of the Tokachi area, the cold autumn/winter wind was upon our face and it was quite difficult to face the direction where the cold chilly winds was blowing from!

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If you are keen to go on the hot air balloon ride or other outdoor activities in the Tokachi region, here are the contact details of the company running the outdoor activities

Tokachi Nature Center

Minami 12-1-12, Tokachigawa onsen

Otofuke, Hokkaido 〒080-0263 Japan

Tel: 0155-32-6116

Fax: 0155-32-6117

Email: infotnc@nature-tokachi.co.jp

After our hot air balloon ride, we returned back to our hotel Kangetsuen for breakfast and checked out from the hotel. Our travel schedule on the fourth day was to go up the mountain range in Central Hokkaido. It was a bit of a long traveling journey on the road, however, we were blessed with many awesome and gorgeous clear deep blue skies and landscapes!

The Sounkyo area is a real gem in Hokkaido’s tourism and I love this place! If there are hidden gems in landscape photography around the world, they have to visit Sounkyo!

Mikuni Touge Pass (三国峠)

While traveling uphill from one area to another area, we were entering from autumn season into winter season! Such is the natural and wonderful beauty of Hokkaido four seasons! I was amazed and went into landscape photography heaven, so beautiful and words can’t do enough justice to the natural landscape beauty of Hokkaido.

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I really hope that my landscape photographs that I am sharing will tell the whole world about the hidden natural landscape beauty and gems of Hokkaido!

Stopping by Mikuni Touge Pass, there was a rest point and lookout point. We had a pit stop and we were blown away, our eyes and camera glued to the clear deep blue skyline and the mountain range. It’s so beautiful!

We continued our road trip, surrounded by snow and the mountain range, arriving at our hotel, Sounkyo Kankou Hotel (Sounkyo Onsen). Firstly, we dropped off our luggage and had lunch at Sounkyo Kankou Hotel. During our lunch, Mr. Nakajima-san of Sounkyo Tourist Association was there to visit us and host us for the afternoon! We were also very honoured and happy that a Master Landscape Photographer, Mr. Koetsu Ichinetsu Sensei will be hosting us and showing us around various locations in the Sounkyo area! Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei showed us his collection of landscape photography works and they were so amazing, so beautiful, a highly experienced Master Landscape Photographer, the Best of the Best Landscape Photographers.

Mt. Kuro-dake (黒岳)

The expectations were building up towards our next destination, Mt Kuro-dake, towering 1,984m in height, in the Sounkyo region. We were so amazed and blown away by the beauty of our surroundings and landscapes. After our wonderful lunch at Sounkyo Kankou Hotel, we eagerly traveled to the base of Mt. Kuro-dake, for our ropeway ride up to the middle of Mt. Kuro-dake, part of Daisetsuzan National Park. While waiting for turn to board, Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei brought us to a rest area at the base station and we were treated to some of his awesome and breathe-taking Hokkaido landscapes photographs printed and on display! Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei is truly a Master of Master Landscape Photographers!

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Soon, it was time to board for the ropeway journey up the mountain! The photographers soon glued themselves to the glass panel, eagerly waiting to see what the landscapes would be like and getting our cameras ready for action! As the journey up Mt. Kuro-dake began, I was blown away again by the charm, aura and beauty of the landscapes of Mt. Kuro-dake and her surroundings. It is so grand, beautiful and magnificent and I am running out of words to describe them!

I started to visualize how it would be like during Autumn season while taking the ropeway up to Mt. Kuro-dake and I make a promise that I MUST return to Hokkaido during the Autumn season to photograph the bright colours and beauty of Sounkyo.

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Upon reaching the mid way point station of Mt. Kuro-dake, we disembarked from the cabin and walked up to the rooftop of the station. We had a bird’s eye view from Mt. Kuro-dake of the landscapes and mountain range of Sounkyo. Our cameras went into crazy action mode, capturing as many different frames, angles and perspectives. It’s a dream come true for landscape/travel photographers to record and share the beauty and charm of Sounkyo.

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After taking many photographs at the rooftop, we went down and started trekking a short distance to watch people skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Kuro-dake. We had fun too, taking photographs and playing with snow! Due to time and schedule constraints, we could not explore uphill further.

Waterfall of Meteor (流星の滝)/ Waterfall of Ginga (銀河の滝)

We began our descent down Mt. Kuro-dake, enjoying our last few minutes’ view of the landscapes and surroundings. Next, we were heading to two famous waterfalls in the Kamikawa region, they are the Waterfall of Meteor (流星の滝)/ Waterfall of Ginga (銀河の滝). The Waterfall of Meteor is the female waterfall at 120m in height while the Waterfall of Ginga is the male waterfall at 80m in height. Both the waterfalls were close to fully frozen and it was a very interesting landscape sight. I am sure both waterfalls will be really beautiful during summer season!

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Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei was very kind and helpful, sharing his vast local knowledge experience, photography experience and expertise with us, the band of photographers. He was showing us where to stand and how to compose/capture various views and perspectives of the two waterfalls! It was a very humbling experience (especially for me) when Mr. Ichinetsu used our cameras to shoot in order for us to learn and have a better perspective on how to compose landscape photography in Hokkaido!

Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei style of mentoring/sharing his hands-on photography experience strikes a deep chord with me on how I should and can adopt to mentor/share my photography experiences with my photographer friends and my student/disciple under my care!

Daisetsu-Asahigaoka (大雪高原旭が丘

After our photography adventure at the two waterfalls, we returned to our limousine mini bus and traveled towards our last official photography destination of the Hokkaido Photographers Invitation Program. This magnificent destination, the Daisetsu-Asahigaoka, is where I got some of my most memorable (and probably my best) landscape photographs of the whole travel adventure. The vast land, covered with snow on the fields, the white clouds moving in the background and the sunset rays shining through the horizon. It was like in heaven and indeed it was due to the altitude of the area.

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I am now in a winter dreamland, a paradise on Earth. I always have a soft spot for traveling to Japan and Hokkaido really took my heart, mind and soul and planted it there. I really wanted to continue photographing many of the beautiful and magnificent landscapes in the Kamikawa and Sounkyo regions.

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While we were immersing ourselves into the Daisetsu-Asahigaoka gorgeous and magnificent landscape, Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei was just as enthusiastic and energetic as us! Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei was leading us to various spots around there and sharing with us tips, angles, perspectives, composing and framing the landscape photography shots! The Landscape Photography Master was walking pretty fast on the snow covered ground, leading us to various spots and we had a fun time chasing after him, rather awkwardly because we were not used to running on snow covered grounds! We ran and we left our footprints, our hearts, mind and soul at the Daisetsu-Asahigaoka(大雪高原旭が丘).

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As the Hokkaido sun sets over the Daisetsu-Asahigaoka horizon, we packed our gears and waved goodbye. This was the last official photography destination on the Hokkaido Photographers Invitation Program and we left with heavy hearts for she stole our photography hearts! It was an omen that Daisetsu-Asahigaoka was sending out to us, the band of photographers that we had to return one day, we must return one day!

Ice Pavilion(アイスパビリオン)

On our way back to our hotel, we had a stop at the Ice Pavilion and had some fun inside there! We were treated to a temperature of -41 degrees Celsius, the lowest temperature ever recorded in Hokkaido! We also had a chance to play on the ice/snow playground that they created! There was so much fun sliding down the ice slope/slide!

Do check out their website for more information and details!

Sounkyo Kankou Hotel (Sounkyo Onsen)

Returning back to our hotel, we rested and changed to the yukata, getting ready for our dinner. The hotel owner, Mr. Morita Shigenori, General Manager, Mdm. Chida Tamami and Chief of Reserved Seat Mr. Yasuhito Toda, hosted us to a grand and sumptuous Japanese Kaiseki Dinner. We were touched by the warm Japanese hospitality and we learned so much more about Japanese traditions and cuisines!

One of Hokkaido’s most iconic dishes is their snow crab. This was my maiden experience eating a Hokkaido snow crab in my lifetime till date and I confessed that I don’t know how to cut open and eat it properly. I was struggling and a bit lost, Dennis helped me out by telling me how to cut it and dip in the sauce. I must be a slow learner in eating crabs and Mdm. Chida Tamami saw that I was lost in the world of Hokkaido crabs. Mdm. Chida Tamami decided to take good care of me and showed me how to cut open the snow crab and how to eat it properly, with translation help from Moe-san, sat beside me. Mdm. Chida Tamami was such a great host with heartwarming Japanese hospitality!

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It was a lively and fun dinner, accompanied by the sumptuous Japanese cuisines. Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei was sharing with us his photography equipment and experiences; we were amazed by his vintage Linhoff film camera. Being a photography buff and film SLR user many years ago, I could not resist asking Mr. Ichinetsu for permission to touch and feel his Linhoff film camera! It was a priceless nostalgic photography experience! Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei was also sharing with us about his thoughts when he was the group during the afternoon; we were very humbled and honoured by his warmth, hospitality, and enthusiasm. That was something about Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei that got me even more in awe of this Master Landscape Photographer; he is 75 years old and still going strong!

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During the dinner, Mr. Morita Shigenori shared with us that Sounkyo Kankou Hotel is expanding their outdoor onsen and it is scheduled to open in Fall 2015, around end of August 2015! I am excited and hope to be able to enjoy at their outdoor onsen when it opens in Fall 2015!

It kind of fits nicely to my plan (hopefully it can come true!) to visit Hokkaido during autumn in mid October 2015 and Sounkyo/Kamikawa (and visit the new outdoor Sounkyo Onsen) are inside my travel schedule agenda!

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All good things must come to an end; Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei had to leave early from the dinner because he had to prepare for another visit the following morning. Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei shook hands and hug with each of us before making his leave. A true master photographer that commands so much respect among the community and his humility, priceless and a great example to learn and follow. I had a light-hearted moment with Mr. Ichinetsu Sensei when he touched my belly in a friendly way (yes, I had too much good food in Hokkaido). I promised myself to slim down my tummy before I return to Hokkaido in the near future!

Our Last Photo Shoot Outing

After our dinner ended, we the band of photographers decided to head out and check out Sounkyo night sky and go for night photography/star trail photography. We walked to the ropeway base station of Mt. Kuro-dake and spent some time there photographing the night landscapes and star trails. While our works couldn’t match up to the ones we managed to capture at Lake Akan on our second night in Hokkaido, all of us had a fun time to bond and take photographs together for one final night together in Hokkaido.

Upon returning back to Sounkyo Kankou Hotel, we sat together and rested with hot beverages from the drinks vending machine in the hotel lobby. The hot beverages warmed us up from the cold chilly Hokkaido winter night. We, this particular band of photographers, were able to bond very well, having pretty good chemistry and teamwork during the whole Hokkaido Photographers Invitation Program. I am very happy to be traveling and photographing with them for this whole program.

After a while, we went back to our rooms and headed to the onsen, to enjoy and relax from an exciting Day 4 of the Hokkaido Photographer Invitation Program. As I sat and relax inside the onsen, reflecting back on my Hokkaido trip, it was very amazing and it wasn’t a dream, I am in Hokkaido and I managed to photograph and share some of Hokkaido’s finest beauty in the Central and Eastern regions. Personally, I felt that I got my best landscape shot of my Hokkaido Photographer Invitation Program on Day 4 here in Kamikawa/Sounkyo region.

An amazing day and a great finale to mark the end of Day 4 in Hokkaido! Now I will let my photographs do the talking instead.


Created with flickr slideshow.

Central/Eastern Hokkaido Day 3 – Akan, Ashoro, Tokachi

Day 3 of our Hokkaido Photographer Invitation Program began with us checking out from our hotel in Akankousou. We had an awesome and really fun Day 2! Our breakfast at Akankousou was very interesting and it’s also my first time having such a huge Japanese breakfast!

Lake Akan (阿寒湖)

Before leaving the Akan region, we stopped by at Lake Akan and enjoyed the beauty of Lake Akan. It was tranquil, quiet and gorgeous, while walking around the edge of the lake, the morning sunshine slowly enters and gives warmth to the Lake Akan and surroundings. It was interesting to hear how Lake Akan can transform into a winter playground during winter even when the lake is frozen! Hokkaido indeed is a place for all four seasons, there’s something to see and do every season! Along the edge of Lake Akan, I discovered beautiful ice sculptures on the plants and leaves of Lake Akan. This is the power and beauty of Mother Nature in Hokkaido, the autumn and winter season coming together.

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Lake Onneto (オンネトー)

Leaving the Akan region and driving to the Ashoro region, we arrived at a very beautiful lake, known as Lake Onneto. “Onneto” means Old Lake in Ainu language and while she is an Old Lake, she is still very beautiful and charming, attracting everybody there to be mesmerized by her aura.

With the grand mountain range behind her and the Hokkaido sun shining upon her clear turquoise waters on the lake, while half her of water on the lake was frozen, we can still see the other half of the lake. We spent some there, admiring her stunning beauty, photographing and collecting memories of Lake Onneto. I am sure Lake Oneeto will attract landscape and travel photographers.

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Abbey Road Crossing in Hokkaido

While on the way to our lunch at Tonta, Mr. Kato-san stopped by a country road off the main road and it was lined up by a row of tall trees on each side of the road. This wasn’t an official destination on our travel schedule; it was the vast experience and local knowledge by Mr. Kato-san that he showed us this location.

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Photo Courtesy of Jensen Chua Photography

Lunch at Tonta

We were informed that our lunch on Day3 would be very special because Tonta is a very famous Butadon Restaurant and you have to queue for quite a long time before getting a seat in the restaurant! Mr. Higasa-san managed to make special arrangements just for our group! We didn’t have to wait too long to have our lunch at Tonta!

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Here are the details for Tonta – Butadon Restaurant

〒080-0806 16-3 Higashi-6-jo, Obihiro-shi Hokkaido, JAPAN / Tel: (+81)(0)155-24-4358 / 11:00-18:00(Mon-Sat)

During our lunch at Tonta, we had a visitor from Obihiro City Tourism Board, Mr. Furui Kentaro who dropped by and we formally exchanged name cards and greetings! Thereafter, we were served one of the best Japanese cuisines that I ever tasted! Our lunch at Tonta was like going into Food Heaven!! It was so awesome and delicious, beyond my words of adjectives and descriptions!! Simply superb and our priceless expressions and emotions upon eating at Tonta were the best testimonial we can give to our Butadon lunch at Tonta!

Tokachigaoka Observatory (十勝が丘展望台)/ Tokachigaoka Park (Clock Flower) (十勝が丘公園)

After our lunch, we dropped our luggage at Kangetsuen, the hotel that we were staying for night and drove up to Tokachigaoka Observatory for a bird’s eye view of the Tokachi area. At Kangetsuen, we met with Japanese Photographer, Mr. Takamitsu Akiguchi, who showed us around the Tokachi area.

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We were able to view the ocean from the observatory deck and it was a good location to capture landscape scenes of Tokachi area and the ocean! How clear the landscape view can be would be dependent on the weather conditions, when we were up there at the Tokachigaoka Observatory Deck, it was a bit misty!

We then drove down to the Tokachigaoka Park for a short walk around, looking at the area that we would be coming on Day 4 early morning for our hot air balloon ride!

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Tokachi River (十勝川)

For the Tokachi region, this was one of the highlights that I am looking forward to for this Hokkaido Photographer Invitation Program. This was where we would be visiting the Tokachi River and discovers the different species of birds that can be found staying along Tokachi River.

We walked down along the Tokachi River bed, spotted quite a number of different bird species. The EF 400mm f5.6 lens came out into action again on my Canon EOS 7D Mark II. It was a great test/shootout for the high speed AF action of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II! The Canon EOS 7D Mark II is a really good fast action DSLR and when paired with a Canon L lens, it would help in your bird photography adventure!

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Walking along the Tokachi River bed, we spotted the White Tailed Eagle, swans, seagulls and salmon that swam up to the gravel shore bed to spawn and after spawning, they salmon die. This was just like a wildlife/nature lesson happening right in front of our eyes while we were walking along the Tokachi River bed. The White Tailed Eagle was very challenging to photograph, when we started walking close to them, they sensed our intentions and flew off to another location further away.

Watching the sunset along the Tokachi River bed, it was a beautiful sight, with the river in the foreground. This was also the signal for us to return back to our hotel, Kangetsuen that is very nearby the segment of the Tokachi River bed that we visited.

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Rokkakutei (六花亭)

While we had some spare time on our travel schedule, we visited Hokkaido’s most famous sweets shop, Rokkakutei in Tokachi. There were many different type of sweets and it was shopping time for us, to buy gifts and sweets back home for family, relatives, friends and colleagues.

Here is the address for Rokkakutei

9-6 Nishi-2-jou Minami, Obihiro-shi, Hokkaido, JAPAN

Tel: (+81)(0)155-24-6666

Kangetsuen (観月苑)

A traditional and beautiful hotel, my room had a nice view of the Tokachi River! This was also where I had my maiden experience sleeping on a futon mattress! The staff of Kangetsuen was there to help me set it up during the evening, if not, I might be setting it up wrongly!

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Here are the details for Kangetsuen

〒080-0263 14-2 Tokachigawa-Onsen Minami Otofuke-cho, Kato-Gun, Hokkaido, JAPAN / Tel: (+81) (0)155-462001

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We enjoyed our food, drinks and company together over the past three days before going to enjoy the onsen in Kangetsuen! We went for an early night rest because we would be going for a hot air balloon ride early in the morning the next day!


Created with flickr slideshow.

10 of the Best Places to get Sand between Your Toes

Traveling around the world, the experiences go beyond the horizon, opening up eyes to the beauty of the world around us. “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharal Nehru, discovered in Gary Arndt’s “The Ultimate List of Inspirational Travel Quotes”. I love to travel, from climbing the mountains, trekking the rain forests, visiting countries to learn more about the people and their culture.

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My Dream Destination!!

There is one form of travel that I really love to do a lot and currently did not get the chance to do a lot, that is to relax and enjoy myself by the beautiful blue ocean and fine sandy beach, on an island resort or beach front dream resort. I will arm myself with my camera to capture the gorgeous sunrise and sunsets around the world. Today, I am sharing with you 10 of the Best Places to  get Sand between Your Toes, with the help of  InterContinental Hotels and Resorts that can make your dream resort getaway a reality.

** Please Note That The Following Destinations Are Not Ranked In Any Particular Order! **

1.       Son Tra Peninsula, Danang

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With its long, white sandy beaches and natural forests, the Son Tra Peninsula, also known as the Mythical Monkey Mountain, boasts such beauty that in the past it used to be revered by the locals as a landing place for fairies.The Son Tra Peninsula spans 4,000 hectares and is home to an array of beaches. Nestled in a privatebay within the Peninsula is InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. With its magnificent views, emerald blue water, gentle sea breezes and an endless untouched beach, the resort is truly deserving of its title of Vietnam’s Leading Resort in the recent World Travel Awards 2013. Guests can dine at the casual yet classy Barefoot Café and enjoy the fine tastes of a Mediterranean meal as they sink their toes into the soft, fine sand and take in the stunning views of the East Sea.

2.       West Bay Lagoon, Qatar

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West Bay Lagoon, also known as Al Qutaifiya, is a neighbourhood in Doha, Qatar. The area houses a variety of accommodations and lifestyle options, includingInterContinental Doha which is home to Doha’s longest private beach. The resort is a waterfront oasis where guests can take in sweeping views of the Arabic Gulf simply by taking a relaxing stroll down the sandy white coastline.

For a unique seafood experience, visit the Fish Market where you can select your own catch of the day, and indulge in the freshest seafood specialties tailored to your taste buds.

3.       Natadola Bay, Fiji 

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Natadola Bay is one of the South Pacific’s best-kept secrets and home to Fiji’s finest mainland resort, InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa. With its natural white sand and lush greenery, it is no wonder the beach was voted as one of the Top 10 in the world by Forbes Magazine.

Enjoy a luxurious massage in a seaside cabana, tackle the inviting waves or dive among its colourful reefs when you stay at the resort. Guests who are more adventurous can opt to explore the deserted beaches on the far side of Navo Island.

4.         Hua Hin, Thailand 

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Hua Hin has its roots as the official resort destination of the Thai royal family. Just a three-hour drive from Bangkok, the five kilometre long beach is now a popular getaway for Thai locals and travellers alike. A resort of prestigious Thai royal heritage, InterContinental Hua Hin Resort rests in the shadow of Khao Takiab, known locally as Chopstick Hill. The peace and tranquillity of the resort draws travellers who appreciate the chance to take a step back from everyday life and restore themselves – mind and body. Guests can regain their equilibrium through yoga sessions at the resort’s beachfront with the pristine white sand between their toes.

Come evening, guests can indulge in a bountiful seaside barbeque where they can prepare their own fresh seafood dinner, or seek the assistance of the resort’s renowned seafood chefs.

5.       Maesato Beach, Okinawa

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 The Maesato Beach is famed for its rich cultural traditions, abundant coral reefs, distinctive regional foods and the natural warmth of its people.

Situated astride the Maesato Beach, ANA InterContinental Ishigaki Resort Hotel is Japan’s southern-most resort that is prefect for an idyllic beach getaway. It offers a wide range of activities such as scuba diving, fishing and snorkelling. Guests can also choose to take a swim or relax along the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean at Maesato Beach. For an unforgettable ocean experience, participate in the Sea Walk to feel the sand under water as you’re surrounded by captivating marine life. Travellers will fall in love with the natural warmth of Okinawa’s people and the beauty of the island. With myriad fun-filled activities, this island getaway will make for a truly memorable family vacation.

6.       Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast

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Sanctuary Cove is renowned as Australia’s resort-style masterplanned community. Located in the northern Gold Coast region, Sanctuary Cove combines quality residential options with world class leisure facilities.

Just minutes away from Australia’s favourite theme parks in the Gold Coast, InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort is equipped with a beautiful one-acre beach lagoon perfect for a relaxing holiday to escape from the bustling city. Spend your day in the resort with an indulgent massage at Champions Day Spa and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing around the spectacular lagoon pool. Need a bite? Enjoy a delicious afternoon High Tea in Cove Cafe, before heading back to your pool lounge.

7.       Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia

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Al Jubail is a city in the eastern province on the Persian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia and the largest industrial city in the Middle East. In the middle of a bustling city life, there is an oasis that is InterContinental Al Jubail. Set on a private beach, the hotel overlooks the beautiful Arabian Gulf. It has its own scuba diving centre and is the ideal base to start your sail along the stunning Arabian coastline.

Upon reaching either of two pristine islands, Juraid and Jana, guests can swim and snorkel in the calm blue waters with barracudas, hamour and needlefish while taking in the vibrant shades of the coral reefs. Back at the resort, guests can unwind over dinner at the Laguna Pearl Café while they take in the majestic sunset.

8.       Jimbaran Bay, Bali

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Bali is a stunning island famed for its scenic views and warm hospitality. Its beaches are amongst the most famous in the world and Jimbaran Bay at InterContinentalBali Resort is often considered the island’s crown jewel.

Guests can choose to explore the local culture through village tours or simply sip on a delicious cocktail on the golden sands of Bali. Nature lovers can also opt to be a part of the resort’s turtle conservation efforts during their stay there. In the evening, guests can revel in a performance of Balinese dancing while dining at Taman Gita Terrace. Besides being the perfect way to end a day in Bali, it is also a great way to immerse deeper in Bali’s rich tradition and culture. 

9.       Manzamo Cape , Okinawa

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The Manzamo Cape is one of the most visited tourist spots in Okinawa. Facing the East China Sea, the Cape is famous for its elephant-trunk shaped rock formation.

Situated on the Manzamo cape, each guestroom at the ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort Hotel provides guest with captivating views of clear blue waters and white sandy beaches. Guests can kick start their day with a visit to the nearby Cape Manza. Its commanding views of gorgeous coral reefs and aqua blue waves crashing against rugged cliffs will take your breath away.

Next, a visit to the Churaumi Aquarium is a must do. Literally meaning the Beautiful Sea Aquarium, it is inhabited by over 16,000 sea creatures, including several whale sharks, and is the largest in Asia. End the day by setting sail on the resort’s catamaran yacht and bask in the changing colours of the sky and sea while you reminisce on a day well spent.   

10.   Balaclava, Mauritius 

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Mauritius is a resort-haven situated in the Indian Ocean. Sitting on an island offering stunning views which overlook the Bay of Balaclava, the breath-takingInterContinental Resort Mauritius is the perfect base to set off for a snorkelling or diving expedition at the beautiful Turtle Bay – or Baie aux Tortues to the locals. The resort features an outdoor infinity pool alongside the pristine white beach where children can build sandcastles with mini buckets and spades provided by the hotel while the adults take a leisurely stroll.

To end the day’s activities, guests can savour the freshest seafood from the region at Segala, one of the hotel’s 5-star restaurants, while they take in the spectacular view of the Indian Ocean.

For more information on InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, visit http://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/reservation.

After looking through the beautiful and gorgeous destinations, don’t you feel like packing your bags and flying there for a dream getaway vocation? I really really do and I wish I can visit all ten of them listed here! For a start, I better start planning to visit the nearby resorts near home first – Hua Hin, Thailand, Son Tra Peninsula, Danang, Vietnam and Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia! Of course, I also want to visit Mauritius and Fiji too!

Which of the ten beautiful destinations here do you wish to get sand between your toes ? Share your destinations with us and share this 10 destinations with your family, loved ones and friends too!

* Information and Photographs Courtesy of InterContinental Hotels and Resorts and Ogilvy Public Relations *

About IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group): IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organisation with a broad portfolio of nine hotel brands, including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo® Hotels, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express® Hotels, Staybridge Suites® Hotels, Candlewood Suites® Hotels, EVEN™ Hotels and HUALUXE™ Hotels & Resorts. IHG manages IHG® Rewards Club, the world’s first and largest hotel loyalty programme with over 74 million members worldwide. The programme was relaunched in July 2013, offering enhanced benefits for members including free internet for Elites across all hotels, globally. IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,600 hotels and 678,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories. With more than 1,000 hotels in its development pipeline, IHG expects to recruit around 90,000 people into additional roles across its estate over the next few years. InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group’s holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales. Visit www.ihg.com for hotel information and reservations and www.ihgrewardsclub.com for more on IHG Rewards Club. For our latest news, visit:www.ihg.com/media, www.twitter.com/ihg, www.facebook.com/ihg or www.youtube.com/ihgplc.

This year, IHG turns 10. Visit http://story.ihg.com/ for a visual showcase of the milestones, achievements and innovations for IHG and its portfolio of hotel brands in the past decade.

Book, Kick and Earn @ Backick.com

I love to travel and visit many different places around the world, although till date, I haven’t travel as far away as I would love to! Armed with the power of social media channels and platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, I get to know many new friends around the world who are like-minded like me, into photography, travel, leisure and recreation. How do you like the idea of combining your love for travel and social networking on Facebook and the result is backick.com, the world’s first hotel booking website where friends help pay for your travel.

Source: Photo courtesy of backick.com

What exactly is backick.com ? I was invited to their official launch event for backick.com and here’s my sharing of backick.com with everybody here. backick.com is the world’s first socially driven hotel booking website where friends help pay for your travel. With backick.com, “It pays to be popular” – totally! Taking an innovative approach to hotel booking, backick.com is a fun and social experience that allows you to monetise your social media friendships and build a self-propagating network of unbeatable hotel discounts and cash rewards.

Here’s a video of how easy it is with backick.com

Visit www.backick.com or connect with them on:

Source: Photo courtesy of backick.com 

Using backick.com is an innovative and interesting method to book your travel holidays. Your friends in your social networks and yourself  both gain rewards when making your hotel booking. Go to their websites and explore them further, share it with your loved ones and friends – Book, Kick and Earn @ backick.com !

Enjoying “A Tasty Passage to India” Dinner Buffet

In the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District at the Raffles Place area at the mouth of the Singapore River, a luxury hotel, the Fullerton Hotel Singapore stands tall and proud of her heritage and history. Inside the Fullerton Hotel, there is a restaurant known as the Town Restaurant, serving a wide variety of delicious flavours and cuisines, both local and international.

I was recently invited by Fullerton Hotel and Marina Bay Division of Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to enjoy a food journey transported from the heart of India to the Town Restaurant. The Town Restaurant is now having “A Tasty Passage to India” dinner buffet and there are many unique Indian cuisines and dishes being served at the Town Restaurant. This special Indian dinner buffet was in partnership with Taj Palace New Delhi and Jet Airways to bring a gastronomical experience into the heart of India’s cuisine and cooking.

There are many classic Indian dishes being served at the Town Restaurant, it is a beautiful restaurant with great ambience and hospitality. Do take your time to slowly taste and savour all the Indian dishes available there during the buffet. In addition to the Indian cuisines, you can also enjoy Town Restaurant’s popular selection of seafood on ice, pastas and many more delicious dishes on their buffet line.

Town Restaurant’s “A Tasty Passage to India” dinner buffet brings the heart of Indian cooking and cuisine, the authentic exotic flavours and tastes to our doorstep at the Fullerton Hotel Singapore. Here are some information on The Town Restaurant’s “A Tasty Passage to India” dinner buffet –

Prices : $52 per adult and $26 per child (6 to 12 years old)

** Prices are subject to service charge and prevailing government taxes ** 

Dates : 20th July 2012 to 31st July 2012

Time : 6pm to 10pm at Town Restaurant

For Reservations : Please contact (65) 6877 8128 OR drop them an email at town@fullertonhotel.com

It’s a great idea to bring in international authentic cuisines from other parts of the world to Singapore and it’s a great experience to taste them too right here in Singapore at the Fullerton Hotel! Do call them, make a reservation and enjoy “A Tasty Passage to India” dinner buffet! I would like to sincerely thank The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and Marina Bay Division of URA for the invitation to the delicious “A tasty Passage to India” dinner buffet and their warm hospitality! For more food photos of “A Tasty Passage to India” dinner buffet, you can find them here on my Flickr !


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

The Search For Singapore’s Next Social Travel Star

On the evening of 23rd March 2012, I was invited to an evening of great fun, food and pampering, fitting of a leisure relaxing holiday trip overseas, the host was AsiaRooms.com and it was held at the Klapsons Hotel, a beautiful boutique hotel in the Central Business District of Singapore. While we ate, enjoyed, relaxed and being pampered, this was a great and fun time to catch up with friends from the social media circle, friendly hosts from AsiaRooms.com and PR folks from XPR. This event was also AsiaRooms launch of their Search for Singapore’s Next Social Travel Star!

Do you love to travel ? Are you active on the various social media channels ? How would you like the idea of YOU, being Singapore’s Next Social Travel Star ?

Look no further, there is something great coming up for you, the social media savvy active traveler!! AsiaRooms.com, a leading accommodation site, has launched a competition to look for Singapore’s next social travel stars – a pair of travel hosts – who will travel and review twelve unique hotels across four countries!! You might be asking, what do I need to do to be Singapore’s next social travel stars ? Here’s a short video to tell you more !

Here’s some quick notes for you readers !

– Winners of the competition will debut on AsiaRooms.com’s brand new YouTube channel with their very own series of room review videos. They also get to win up to $10,000 worth of cash and prizes.

– Participants must pair up to create and submit a video no longer than three minutes of their very own room review. The video needs to demonstrate their passion for travelling and eye for details that make a holiday and hotel room stay fun and memorable

– Deadline for the submission of videos is on 11 April 2012

For more information and updates, do visit Asia Rooms on their Facebook!!

With my original background in the tourism, travel, hospitality, leisure and recreation industries, I am still in touch with these industries and armed with the power and outreach of social media networks, platforms and channels. The role and honour of being Singapore’s Next Social Travel Star is going to be an exciting and fun adventure of travel and holidays, just like being a travel host on travel channels!

I look forward to YOU, being the next Singapore’s Social Travel Star ! 

Visiting the Oasia Experience @ Oasia Hotel Singapore

An invitation to visit one of the newest hotel in Singapore, with a breathe taking panoramic view of Singapore’s central catchment greenery and heartlands, I did not hesitate to reply YES !! Together with many blogging community friends, organised by Oasia Hotel and Dice Studio, we were invited to a relaxing and casual chill out session, catching the sunset and a tour of Oasia Hotel’s beautiful suites and facilities. Located on the outskirts of Singapore’s shopping district at Orchard Road, Oasia Hotel is just 2 train stations away from Orchard MRT Station and visitors can easily travel down to do their shopping or they can also visit Novena Square and Velocity, there are just beside them.

Upon arrival at the hotel lobby of Oasia Hotel, I had a quick look and was amazed by the design and wooden designs and architecture. Reaching the pool level on the 22nd floor, only available to the guests of Club Suites, I was mesermised by the beauty and style of the swimming pools, with a truly beautiful panoramic view of Singapore’s central catchment greenery and heartlands. I quickly settled down, catching up with friends, with great food and drinks, there’s also massage for us and for the ladies, manicure and pedicure! The management and staff of Oasia Hotel were also there with us at the chill out session, chatting and relaxing with us, great hosts they were!

We were later divided into smaller groups and led by staff of Oasia Hotel to visit some of their Club Suites and Oasia Hotel facilities. The suites are very special and unique, they are designed by award-winning Japanese interior designer, Takashi Sugimoto of Super Potato, when we were visiting and exploring the Club Suites, the rooms have a lot of wooden features, along with designs that features natural stone sculptures and ambient lighting to create the ultimate experience.

Personally, I really love the suites, luxurious and comfortable, a Zen and tranquil feeling, beside the windows, there are  spaces to sit on, for me to look out and enjoy the sceneries outside, in the day and night. The shower and bathing facilities are beautiful and well-designed, a place that you might spend a bit of time soaking in the bath tub and enjoy the sceneries outside the window!

After visiting different Club Suites, we were brought around the hotel’s facilities for a tour, the swimming pool on the 6th floor,  they have an open greenery space there, ideal for small functions such as wedding solemnization. We also visited the boardroom and meeting function rooms facilities at the Oasia Hotel too. Finishing the tour around Oasia Hotel, we went back to the 22nd floor, sit back and relax, chit chat away with friends, taking photos and waiting for the sunset !! Check out my Flickr collection for more photos of Oasia Hotel !!

The chill out session was great and I had a great time, thanks to Oasia Hotel for being such great hosts with their warmth and hospitality, Dice Studio for their invitation and of course, Ee Von ! Here’s a group photo of the whole big group of us there at the chill out session !

Photo courtesy of Dice Studio 

Just for you, my friends and readers, if you like to enjoy the Oasia Experience @ Oasia Hotel, fill in the form below and you are able to get 10% off Oasia Hotel’s Special Weekend Staycation Package !!