• Fiji with Fiji Airways (Part 2) – Tokoriki Island
  • travel |    25 October, 2017  |    349 Comments    |   
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  • In this post, we bid goodbye to Vanua Levu for Tokoriki Island! We took a domestic Fiji Link flight from Labasa Airport (another Airport on Vanua Levu Island) back to Nadi, afterwhich we headed to Port Denarau to catch a South Sea Cruises Ferry that would take us to Tokoriki. The ferry disembarkation process was a unique one – there is no jetty: hotels and resorts on Tokoriki Island would send their house boats to the ferry, located somewhat 1 kilometre away from the island, in the middle of the ocean, and we would have to board the next boat while out in the choppy waters. Relieved was I when we got onto our Tokoriki Island Resort house boat. (Just to clarify, we stayed at Tokoriki Island Resort on Tokoriki Island. Tokoriki Island is also home to many other fantastic resorts you can check out!)

    Tokoriki Island Resort

    Upon arrival, we were greeted with the familiar tune of the Ukelele, accompanied by voices chiming in with “Bula!” or “Welcome to Paradise!”. At once, any hint of motion sickness I got from the boat rides were gone, and we were made to feel at home once more. We had limited time at Tokoriki as our flight to Singapore was due the next day. If we had had a little bit more time, I would have liked to arrange a day trip via the resort, out to Cloud9 Restaurant – a pizzeria located in the middle of the ocean off Malolo Island.

    Alas, we made do with what we could with less than 24 hours to enjoy Tokoriki Island Resort. We snuck in a little bit of exploring off the porch of our Sunset Pool Villa, and me being me, noticing an opportunity to climb something, jumped onto the trunk of a tree, to Elsie’s dismay. The next morning, we got to experience a Tokoriki Island Resort “unlimited” spa special – I’ve been told it’s the only one of its kind – all guests have to do is pay FJ$370 (approx. SGD $244) to enjoy 3 days of unlimited massages, I know I would be making use of that if I had two more days!

    Besides planning a trip to Cloud9, or enjoying your unlimited number of massages, should you visit Tokoriki Island Resort, you can also get to experience the following activities, which are planned and updated weekly online and onsite for their guests: an Island Beach Picnic, Guided Snorkel Safaris, Village Visits, Light Tackle Fishing, and Dive Certification Courses.

    Final Thoughts

    If you have a bit more time in Fiji, there are many other wonderful things to explore and do on the islands. If I could, I would have loved to visit and hike volcano Mount Yasur, and if I was a little bit braver, I would swim with Manta Rays, or even sharks! For the more sporty adrenaline-junkies, there are white-water rafting and tandem skydiving opportunities too.

    Giveaway

    Alas, I hope you enjoyed our blog posts on Fiji! To end off this special series, Fiji Airways and I are giving away a pair of return economy tickets from Singapore to Nadi!*

    Do note only flights will be covered for you and your traveling partner. You will have to foot your own transfers, transport, accommodation, activities, and meals while in Fiji! Do also note prize redemption must be completed by 1 November 2018, and travel must be completed by 10 January 2019! Please familiarise yourself with the Terms & Conditions first before participating in this giveaway.

    If you want to win, simply leave a comment on this blog post (Part 2 of my Fiji series), with your Name, Age, Email, and Reason why.

    Good luck!

    * Terms and Conditions of travel:

    1. Reservations and ticketing must be made through a Fiji Airways staff member at least 30 working days prior to date of travel.
    2. Having a valid passport, visa application and associated costs are NOT the responsibility of Fiji Airways & Fiji Link.
    3. This ticket is NOT transferable, CANNOT be en-cashed nor can it be redeemed in any other form.
    4. Only the prize winner may redeem this prize certificate. Name changes are NOT permitted after ticketing. Once ticketed, normal fare rules, appropriate change fees and conditions of carriage apply.
    5. Due to high travel season and load factors, blackout dates may apply.
    6. Travel is valid on Fiji Airways [prime] services only and point to point services only.
    7. Ground transfers, resort accommodation, other meals, and incidentals are NOT included in this offer.
    8. Booking must be made between 15 December 2017 – 1 November 2018. Travel must be completed by 10 January 2019.

     

    Update: Congratulations Anthea Chua on winning 2 pairs of Fiji Airways tickets! We hope you will enjoy your Fiji vacay, we will be in touch shortly with the redemption details. Thank you everyone for participating in this amazing giveaway!

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  • Fiji with Fiji Airways (Part 1) – Savusavu, Vanua Levu Island
  • travel |    25 October, 2017  |    6 Comments    |   
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  • Bula! That’s hello in Fijian. Just recently, I embarked on a magical 6-Day Fiji adventure to Savusavu Island and Tokoriki Island with Fiji Airways (Fun fact: Fiji is made up of 333 islands in the South Pacific and has a population of approximately 896 000!) It was like living the dream honeymoon, except there was no “honey” in sight for me (Imran couldn’t leave Singapore for work!): We got to chance to stay in upscaled-luxury versions of what the Fijians call “Bures” (Fijian for a wood-and-straw hut) with direct access to the beach or the sea from the balcony of said Bures, explored tucked-away waterfalls which we had all to ourselves, went on a romantic sunset cruise, swam in private pools I can only dream of – I mean seriously! Fiji is paradise.

    Today’s blog posts – Part 1 and 2! – will hopefully give you a visual insight into what life and culture at Fiji is like. Apart from the postcard-esque landscape, the Fijian hospitality is unparalleled, and at times, I couldn’t help but feel guilty for not matching up: am I saying “thank you” enough? We’re ending off our Fiji series with an amazing giveaway: one lucky ready will stand a chance to win a pair of roundtrip Economy flight tickets on Fiji Airways. So head on to for Part 2 for that!

    Fiji Airways

    We started our Fijian journey with a direct 10-hr flight from Singapore to Nadi International Airport on Fiji Airways. F.Y.I, Fiji Airways now flies to and fro Fiji twice a week – perfect for anyone planning a week-long vacay to Fiji! Nadi primarily acts a transit point to all the other Fijian islands, so upon arrival at Nadi, you can opt to take a ferry from Port Denarau (20 minutes away from Nadi) to the Mamanuca or the Yasawa Islands, or take a domestic flight on domestic carrier Fiji Link to your preferred island, which is what we did! We hopped on our Fiji Link flight to Vanua Levu, Fiji’s 2nd largest island, and when Fiji Airways told me to grab a window seat, they were not kidding – overlooking the ocean and mountains during sunrise felt incredibly surreal, I’ll let the images speak for themselves.

    Namale Resort and Spa

    Upon arrival at Savusavu town, we took a quick 10-minute ride to Namale Resort and Spa, our first home in Fiji. Driving into Namale, you can’t help but notice the abundance of palm trees, it was only later I found out Namale used to be a coconut plantation, and has since been converted into a luxury resort housing only a maximum of 38 guests at any one time. Being an all-inclusive resort, you can enjoy activities at Namale like Kayaking, Stand-Up Paddle, Tennis, Indoor Bowling, a private breakfast session at their Veidomoni “Lover’s” Deck (check out the heart-shaped pool!), or unwind at the spa’s hydrotherapy room post-flight (overlooking the ocean!) at any time of your choosing. Of course, if you want to experience more, there’s always an evening horseback ride, sunset cruise, a Salt River Drift Excursion, a hike through the rainforest to the hidden Namale waterfall (where you can arrange for private breakfast or lunch, which I did!), or a scuba trip into the Koro Sea. What I especially enjoyed during our stay at Namale was their once-a-week intimate communal dinners we got to experience on our second night. Over the course of the dinner, we befriended an Australian and an Indian couple on their couples getaway, watched a traditional Meke performance performed by the local villagers, got invited to join in on a group dance, and indulged in a buffet-style dinner featuring local produce. If I had to explain what the Bula Spirit is all about, the image of that night’s dinner would sum it up.

    Koro Sun Resort

    For our second getaway on Savusavu Island, we checked into Koro Sun Resort, housed 10 minutes away from Namale Resort. During the planning stages of the trip while doing research on places to stay in Savusavu, I was immediately drawn to three things at Koro Sun: their Edgewater Villas which gives guests direct access to the ocean, their signature Banana Leaf Wrap and Massage at their iconic Rainforest Spa, and a very picturesque swing built over a quiet stream nestled next to Koro Sun’s golf course. We got to experience all three of the above, and more: topping it off with a private excursion out to Vuadomo waterfall, which we had to buy Kava for and present to the local villagers as a nominal respectful gesture for using “their waterfall”.

     

    Vanua Levu – Final Thoughts

    My only regret when it came to Vanua Levu Island was not exploring the island enough – the island spans 5587 square kilometres and it would take a few more days to explore what the island has to offer. I would recommend staying in Savusavu for a total of 2 nights before moving onto another part of Vanua Levu.

    Self-drive – which I did consider – would not be the best option as many of the attractions require you to be off-road, and there may not be Google Maps to help you there. The best option would be to stay at resorts that can best cater to your needs, who can then help you arrange for private tours and excursions!

    Meals will mostly have to arranged within the resort as getting to local towns will be difficult if you do not have a vehicle to send you around (unless you hire a private driver). Most resorts are all-inclusive, coming with their own restaurants which you can dine at!

    Now that you got a peek into resort life at Savusavu, next up we head to another Fijian Island: Tokoriki! x

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  • The Instagrammer’s Guide To: Cafes in Tokyo
  • travel |    20 October, 2017  |    No Comments    |   
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  • A list that I’m so excited to share and compile with you guys! This list has been 5 trips in the making – gathered from online recommendations, Japanese magazines, my Japanese friends, and my own chance-upon luck!

    There are many more cafes in Tokyo (apart from what’s on this list) that I’ve been to, so this list is not completely exhaustive. However, this list has been curated to only feature cafes that I personally feel are “Instagram-Worthy” (they have all been featured on mine!), perfect for your OOTDs and your Instagram feeds!

    P.S. Be sure to be nice and mindful and order something from these places before snapping pics, some establishments are quite picky about this!

     


    Shibuya

    Canvas Tokyo
    5 Chome-19-6 Hiroo, 渋谷区 Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0012, Japan

    • Daily 10am – 7.30pm
    • All-white interiors with soy-milk-based smoothies? Yes please!

     

    Fuglen Tokyo
    1 Chome-16-11 Tomigaya, 渋谷区 Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-0063, Japan

    • Monday & Tuesday 8am – 10pm, Wednesday & Thursday 8am – 1am, Friday 8am – 2am, Saturday 9am – 2am, Sunday 9am – 12am.
    • With its moody wooden interior, Fuglen is calling out for intellectual hipsters to come hang out.

     


    Jiyugaoka

    Latte Graphic
    Japan, 〒152-0035 Tōkyō-to, Meguro-ku, Jiyūgaoka, 1 Chome−8−18

    • Daily 8am – 11.30pm
    • Be sure to go early and grab the Instagram-worthy couch!

    Jiyugaoka Bakeshop
    2 Chome-16-29 Jiyūgaoka, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 152-0035, Japan

    • Monday – Thursday 8.30am – 8pm, Friday & Weekends 8.30am – 10pm
    • Their clam chowder and pastas are a must-try. On warmer days, you can sit out on their rooftop!

    Cutest and coziest breakfast spot at Jiyugaoka, Tokyo. #dreainjapan #jiyugaoka #tokyo

    A post shared by Andrea Chong (@dreachong) on

    Sunset Coffee
    1 Chome-26-14 Jiyūgaoka, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 152-0035, Japan

    • Weekdays 10am – 5pm, Weekends 11am – 6pm
    • Love this coffee booth in Jiyugaoka, pop by for a quick coffee to-go!

    Kosoan
    1 Chome-24-23 Jiyūgaoka, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 152-0035, Japan

    • Daily 11am – 6.30pm, Closed on Wednesdays
    • My favourite place for traditional Japanese desserts. Housed in a traditional Japanese wooden home, go early to get seats by the window overlooking their in-house garden.

    👘🍃 #dreainjapan

    A post shared by Andrea Chong (@dreachong) on

    Yakumo Saryo
    Japan, 〒152-0023 Tōkyō-to, Meguro-ku, Yakumo, 3 Chome−4, 八雲3丁目4−7

    • Mon – Sat 9am – 5pm
    • Another must-go for breakfast. Reservations are a must.


    Omotesando

    Commune 2nd
    3 Chome-13 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan

    • Daily 11am – 10pm
    • I could hang out here all day! This “food court” is home to almost 10 or more different types of food vendors a la Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg. There is also a caravan that one can stay at (rent via Airbnb!).

    Shozo Coffee
    Japan, 〒107-0062 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, 港区Minamiaoyama, 3丁目13

    • Weekends 11am – 6pm, Weekdays 9.30am – 6pm, Closed on Tuesdays.
    • A cute little wooden hut located right behind Commune 2nd.

    Café Kitsune
    3 Chome-17-1 Minamiaoyama, 港区 Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan

    • Daily 9am – 7pm
    • Watch out for the minimum order spend when visiting this café!


    Harajuku

    Eddy’s Ice Cream
    Japan, 〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区Jingūmae, 4 Chome−26, 神宮前4-26-28 1F

    • Daily 11am – 8pm
    • Excessively decorated ice cream for the gram.

    Home to the fluffiest and most delish pancakes I've ever had. #dreaxtcl #dreainjapan

    A post shared by Andrea Chong (@dreachong) on

    bills
    Japan, 〒150-0001 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, 4 Chome−30−3, 東急プラザ 表参道 原宿

    • Daily 8.30am – 11pm
    • The Australian-born chain gets really crowded during the weekends, so try to do breakfast (order their pancakes) on weekdays instead!


    Naka-Meguro

    Sidewalk Stand
    Japan, 〒153-0042 Tōkyō-to, Meguro-ku, 目黒区Aobadai, 1 Chome−23−14, 斎藤ビル

    • Daily 9am – 9pm
    • Located right next to Cherry-Blossom filled river Naka-Meguro, this café will be perfect during the Cherry Blossom season. Their rugged concrete exterior is quite different from the clean bright aesthetic that Japanese cafes love to veer towards to.

    Setagaya

    Darwin Room
    Japan, 〒155-0032 Tōkyō-to, Setagaya-ku, Daizawa, 5 Chome−31, 代沢5丁目31−8

    • Sunday – Thursday 12pm – 8pm, Friday & Saturday 12pm – 10pm
    • Get coffee in a bookstore dedicated entirely to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution!


    Yanaka

    Tokyobike
    4 Chome-2-39 Yanaka, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0001, Japan

    • Daily 10 – 7.30pm, Closed on Wednesdays.
    • Get coffee first, then rent a Tokyobike to explore the Yanaka region, which is filled with boutique stores, cultural sites, and unique cafes and restaurants!

    CIBI
    3 Chome-37-11 Sendagi, Bunkyō-ku, Tōkyō-to 113-0022, Japan

    • Thursday – Monday 8am – 6pm, Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
    • We didn’t manage to grab a picture as it was super crowded on the Sunday we went. A café I would go back to nonetheless!

     

    Other cafes I can recommend that did not make it into this list, but I still feel are worth going: Café Gram in Jiyugaoka, Aoyama Flower Market in Omotesando, and Coffee Valley in Ikebukuro!

    Till our next café-guide! If you have any more suggestions on where to go in Tokyo, do leave a comment below! x

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