Hotel review: Diary of Taipei – Taipei Station Branch

Hello friends! I am back! Sorry it took so long. Anyway, check out my review and tell me what you think. Enjoy! 🙂

I was looking for a triple bedroom at agoda.com, and stumbled upon this hotel. First, I checked out the room photos and it looked nice. Second, I typed my preferred dates and it was available! Third, they had breakfast included in the triple bedroom.

The Introduction

The moment we entered the hotel lobby, Mandarin-speaking staff greeted us. I could only understand basic Mandarin so my friend helped me talk to the staff. I think some staff could understand Basic English too.

Check-in Time was around 3 in the afternoon but since we arrived way too early – at around 12noon, we left our luggage near the dining area (they will give you a small paper that you need to present in order to claim your luggage afterwards) and headed out for lunch (Din Tai Fung! Wait for my next review)

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Nope, these luggages weren’t ours. HAHA.. hmmm, come to think of it, I wasn’t able to take a decent luggage photo. XD

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The lobby was quite small but well lit and clean. It has a small circular cushion or sofa for 4-5 guests to sit on. It has two elevators on the right side of the hotel reception for easy access.

The Location

The hotel was just a 5-minute walk to Z10 MRT exit, though you still need to walk for around 15 minutes to reach the underground train station. No worries though, you can check out a lot of stores while walking underground.

Some stores around the hotel area: 7-Eleven convenient store, Starbucks

From Z6 MRT exit, you’ll find H&M, and near the area Mc Donalds and Uniqlo.

From M8 MRT exit, there’s TIM HO WAN (dimsum overload!) and Pablo’s Cheesecake (with no long lines!)

The Room

They gave us a quadruple room instead of a triple bedroom. So nice and generous of the hotel! J The room was small but very clean. It has a table near the door, a mini refrigerator, and a TV. I liked the ambiance and the lights were all working fine. Each queen size bed had four pillows each! So we had eight pillows in total! It was great! The pillows were fluffy and the bed was just right. We had a good night’s rest because of it. Except when your neighbors slam their door without holding the doorknob.

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The Bathroom

The bathroom was small but the shower is oh-so powerful! I wished to have more time spent in the shower; it feels like I was being massaged at the back. Haha.

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Bathroom amenities include hotel slippers, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, cotton buds and floss, soap, cup, towels, and pumping shower gel and shampoo (which smells so nice!)

The Food

Breakfast was great! I love the food! They served a variety of food: bread, vegetables with meat, noodles, rice, hot porridge and condiments and my favorite SOUP haha. (check the photos)

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SOUP!!! MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE, anytime anywhere! hahaha 🙂

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Hot Porridge in the morning!!!! Mix it with pork yummy!!!! (see pic below)

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CHECK THIS OUT: The hotel offers unlimited water, coffee, hot chocolate, soft drinks and apple juice! Plus eat-all-you-can bread. Hihi You’ll never go hungry here! J

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UNLIMITED APPLE JUICE!!!! I WAS SO HAPPY!!! 🙂

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AHHHH STRAWBERRY JAMS THAT I COULD BRING HOME TO MY DAD. hehe 😛

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Overall rating: Super satisfied!!! Check in and check out time was fast and hassle-free! I will definitely come back and recommend this hotel to everyone! 🙂

Have you stayed or considered this hotel? Tell me more about it! 🙂

Restaurant review: The Equinox

Restaurant: The Equinox

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Location: 2 Stamford Road | Level 70, Equinox Complex, Swissôtel The Stamford, Singapore 178882, Singapore

The scene

I love taking photos and told my friend that I wanted the best view of Singapore, so he booked us dinner for 2 here at The Equinox restaurant. This is a very classy place and the ambiance is just perfect – dim lights with candles on each table. It was also beautifully decorated and well-ventilated. The place is very cozy and comfortable too.

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The service

When we arrived at the venue, we waited for the receptionist for about 4 minutes because she was entertaining some guests to their seats before us. My friend booked us window seats because that’s ultimately the best view ever! Oh, that’s an additional S$20 too!

Service was pretty good. The waitress was attentive and would frequently ask us if we still need anything. The servers would give us bread rolls while we waited for our meals. ( we were so FULL after the second meal ;D )

The food

Food was really great! I love everything about it! I could still remember telling my friend, “OMG, this is so good.” , “This is so delicious!” or “ The Black Truffle Butter is the best!!!”

Here’s what we ordered:

Appetizer:

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Wagyu Tataki, Bonito Braised-Turnips, Grilled Leeks, Truffle Ponzu Scallop

Main Course:

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Sea Bass, Cooked in Paper Bark, Saltbush Gremolata, Baby Vegetables

Seared Scallop, Mussel and Broad Beans Minestrone, Calamari, Chervil Oil

From The Grill:

Creekstone, Grain Fed Prime Angus, U.S.D.A 28 Day Aged – 225g Tenderloin

The Sauce:

Black Truffle Butter (THIS IS THE BEST. I highly recommend you try this)

The Side:

Steamed Broccolini with French Fries, Ginger, Garlic, Chilli

Drinks:

Sprite and Earl Grey tea

Do the math: Additional charges – Miscellaneous + 10% Service Charge + 7% GST

The price

Very expensive but so worth it! Go give it a try! *wink*

The dress code

Remember it’s a classy restaurant, so please wear semi-formal attire.

Overall rating: I give this restaurant a 10/10!

Given the chance, I would definitely go back here! This place has the best view of Singapore especially at night! You would see The Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands, The Esplanade, etc in all their glory! Hahaha.

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Of course, don’t forget to bring your trusty camera and take lots of great photos!

Nothing but great memories! 🙂

I can’t thank my friend enough for bringing me here! He made one of my dreams come true!

Thanks for reading my review!

Please visit and follow my Instagram @sarahmaytanhuanco

See you! ❤

Tangkuban Perahu Bandung,Indonesia

Selamat pagi

Welcome to Tangkuban Perahu!!!

Tangkuban Perahu is an active volcano, situated 30 km north of the city of Bandung the direction of Lembang. It is the only crater in Indonesia that you can drive up to its very rim. Mount Tangkuban Perahu has a distinctive shape, and looks like an “overturned boat”. The huge crater is an astonishing view and you can walk around and explore this for around two hours. Here you will be greeted by sulfur fumes which the crater continues to emit although the volcano is not active.
Like so many of Java’s unusual geographical features, there is an interesting legend behind this fascinating mountain as expressed in the local legend of Sangkuriang. Sangkuriang was a strong young man, who had been separated from his mother, Dayang Sumbi since childhood. Yet, through God’s he came to meet her again. On the way home, he stopped by a small village where he met and fell in love with a beautiful girl, without realizing that the girl he loved was in fact his own mother, Dayang Sumbi, who had remained youthful through the years.

When Dayang Sumbi discovered the terrible truth of her lover’s real identity, she was horrified and knew that she could never marry her own son. She, therefore, challenged him to build a dam and a huge boat during one single night before she would agree to marry him. Seeing that her son was about to complete this impossible wish, she called on God to bring up the sun early. With a wave of her magic shawl, Dayang Sumbi lit up the eastern horizon with flashes of light. Deceived by what looked like dawn, the cocks crowed and farmers rose for a new day.

When Sangkuriang realized that his endeavor was lost, in his rage he kicked the boat that he had built turning it upside down, which was transformed into Mount Tangkuban Perahu, the name that in the local Sundanese language translates roughly to “overturned boat”.

Tangkuban Perahu has definitely a significant role especially in the development of the surrounding Parahyangan (land of God) Highlands. Its eruption contributed immensely to the formation and fertility of the hills north of Bandung when through its flow of lava carrying large boulders into the valleys, these formed huge cliffs over which waterfalls leapt to form the lake that today covers the Bandung plain.

Located at the highland just at the outskirt of Bandung, Tangkuban Perahu Crater is surely a perfect place to enjoy cool air and relaxing sceneries after a series of shopping activities in some of the city’s factory outlets or the popular Pasar Baru Trade Center.

Reference: http://indonesia.travel/en/destination/392/marvel-at-tangkuban-perahu-s-volcanic-crater

Here’s my review on Tangkuban Perahu:

The Price

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The locals have different entrance fee and it’s waaaay cheaper than the tourists’ fee. My friend told me that I should try to look like a local (I even practiced some Indonesian language) but the man at the entrance wanted to see my ID.. so yeah, I paid the tourist fee of : Rp 200,000 or $15 or P683. Hahaha! XD

The Scenery

I’ve been telling my local Indo-Chinese friend to bring me to Tangkuban Perahu and I’m glad we did paid a  visit. We visited on a weekday, so there was no traffic going up to Tangkuban. I love the sceneries and of course the cool weather up there! It’s been raining in Bandung for the past weeks, and I thank God He answered my prayer. It didn’t rain when I was there in Tangkuban Perahu!!! I was  able to see the beautiful crater and took lots of photos. The surrounding was just like Baguio, in the Philippines: cool weather, full of trees, and lots of sellers. Hahaha.

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The People and Items

Deciding which souvenirs to buy. Hmmm…haggling nicely too! My charm worked! HAHA. 😛

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We also went to the other side and a friendly seller (even if we didn’t buy anything from him) gamely took our photos! To thank him for his effort, I gave him Rp 20,000. Vendors will keep bugging you to buy their products, so be wise and try to haggle/ negotiate nicely. I was able to buy five (5) shirts. Strawberries, Hand crafted ball pens, figurines, caps, foldable batik bags (I bought four), keychains, necklaces, baby shirts can also be found there.

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Recommendations:

Tofu

  • Try the fried tofu with sweet and spicy sauce. It’s so yummy!
  • Visit on a weekday to avoid the traffic and the crowd.
  • Bring umbrella because of the unpredictable weather.
  • Wear rubber shoes for comfortable walking and climbing.
  • Roam by yourself or with a local friend.

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Thank you so much to my Indo-Chinese friends who brought me around Bandung Indonesia. I had so much fun! 🙂

Thanks for reading my review!:)

Please visit and follow my Instagram @sarahmaytanhuanco

Let’s exchange letters and postcards! Direct Message or Email me your complete name and address 🙂

Roman Forum, Roma

I just love Rome and its beautiful ruins! So this is what it feels like in the ancient Roman times haha. These are ruins of several important government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. The Forum Magnum or simply called the Forum has been the most celebrated meeting place in the world, in all history. It has been the site of processions, trials, gladiator fights, and venue for public speeches. Simply majestic!!! 😍🏰

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Frozen’s Olaf

I can’t believe it! Until now, kids are crazy with Disney’s Frozen! But who can blame them? The characters are so cute and the story is beautiful!

Everyone loves Olaf, the fun-loving snowman. He had some famous lines that makes us go “Awwwww”

Here’s our favorite quotes from Olaf:

“Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.” ❤️ Ahhh yes. This is indeed true! Hihihi

“Some people are worth melting for” ❤️ OMG. This is just the best line ever! I’m sure you’ll all agree with me. 😍

“Winter is a good time to stay in and cuddle, but put me in summer and I’ll be a Happy Snowman!!!” ❤️ And everyone panics and says: “NO Way!!! He’ll melt!” Hahaha 😁

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“Hi! I’m Olaf and I like warm hugs!!!” ⛄️

I am finally here in Switzerland!

One of my dream destinations is to visit Switzerland and see the beautiful Swiss Alps! Well, believe it or not, I am here!!! So blessed to have this wonderful experience of a lifetime. Enjoy some of my Switzerland photos! 🙂

My ride while touring Engelberg 🙂

MOST AWESOME RIDE EVER!!!!! (SO happy, hence the all caps. HAHA)

 Authentic Swiss Cheese!!! Take your pick!!!

Softest and thinnest sliced meat ever! hahahaa! Devour them all! 😛

I’m on top of the WORLD!!!! ❤

A photographer’s paradise

I’ve been patiently waiting for this day to come. I love traveling and taking photos and so visiting Burano Island in Italy is indeed a dream come true!

We rode a boat which can accommodate around 50 or more people to the island. It was cloudy but that didn’t stop me from exploring the beautiful island. It only rained after I took a lot of photos and was about to board the boat back to St. Mark’s Square -talk about good timing!

Burano Island is famous for its pretty-colored houses, cute windows and doors, decorated restaurants and of course, freshy-catched seafoods!

Burano Italy

Before exploring island, we had our late lunch at this beautifully designed restaurant called Trattoria Raspo De Ua. The restaurant is adorned with nets, boats and different local paintings from their walls to the ceilings! You’ll definitely feel the island vibe while having lunch! I was able to try their seafood risotto, fish lasagna, fried calamari and shrimps. Our tour director was “quite” right – we don’t need to have dinner after all! The serving portion was generous enough to keep us full throughout the day. We were allowed second servings too. However, the “always hungry me” gave in and ate dinner at some Chinese restaurant near our hotel. HAHAHA. XD

Well since this is an island, people living here need to have water boats, small boats or whatever you call it to go places, no cars allowed please. XD

Here’s a photo of a house with cropped windows: I did try my best to take a good shot of this. Really. Story behind this? I was in a hurry and I cannot step back further anymore because I’d fall into the water, hahaha so there. 😀

Hope you enjoyed the views of Burano Island as much as I did! ❤

All photos by: Sarah May Tanhuanco

Trip to Kiyomuzu-dera temple, Kyoto Japan

Kiyomizu-dera temple- one of the most celebrated and popular temples in Kyoto. Kiyoi-mizu” 清水寺 means pure water.

Going to see the Kiyomizu dera requires you to climb up a long path. As you approach the Kiyomizu dera entrance, a lot of souvenir shops -left and right are waiting for you. You need to allot time if you want to visit all the shops there. 20140706-203758.jpg

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20140706-203850.jpgAt last, was able to reach the entrance. This is the Deva Gate. *huff and puff* getting all tourist-y, I took this shot and saw the NO PICTURE sign afterwards. Ooops! But why? All tourists were taking photos anyway. Haha
20140706-203901.jpgThat’s me posing at the Kiyomizu-dera Stage just infront of the Main Hall. This was built using a special method, the pillars were assembled without using a single nail! Awesome isn’t?

20140706-204234.jpg“To jump from the stage of Kiyomizu” is an old Japanese saying which means “to do something daring” or “to take the plunge courageously”.

20140706-204413.jpgThe stage. Famous for its location overhanging a cliff. Down below you could see the Otowa Waterfalls.
20140706-204536.jpgSpectacular Kyoto City view from the Kiyomizu-dera Main Hall/Stage.
20140706-204702.jpgPagoda view. 20140706-204805.jpgWrite your prayers and wishes. 20140706-204917.jpg
20140706-205517.jpgStairs going down the Otowa Waterfalls!
20140706-205647.jpgAt the Otowa Waterfalls just beneath the Kiyomizu-dera stage. Here three channels of water from the spring of the mountain fall into the pond. According to local beliefs, each channel represents: 1 Health and Longevity, 2 Success in Love and 3 Wisdom and Knowledge. (Not in particular order)
A person can only choose one channel to drink because the Buddhist monk doesn’t want greedy people. So.. Choose wisely!! The water is also said to have healing properties too. 20140706-205816.jpgYoung and old people lined up to be able to get a drink.

People come to drink water from the falls by collecting it in long-handled tin cups. The tins cups are then placed in a ultraviolet machine for reheating.
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20140706-210055.jpgWalking around the area. Very calm and serene.
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20140706-210220.jpgSpotted: Japanese school children
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Hope you enjoyed the Kiyomizu-dera tour!! Tune in for more Japan travel photos!

Summer time!

Too hot? Craving for something cold this summer? When I heard that “riiiiiiiiiiing!!! Riiiingggg!!”, I quicky got a tray and zoomed out of the house. Hahaha. And shouted: “Manong!! Wait!!! Bibili ako!” (Mister!! Wait!!! I will buy some ice cream)

I am refering to the oh-so-yummy “dirty ice cream” as Filipinos called it.

Manong got strawberry, cheese and mango flavors for today! I would want some chocolate and cookies and cream next time! 😊

I ordered six P10 ice cream in a cup plus one P15 ice cream in a bread!

Too yummy for words! 😄

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St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London taken near the Millenium Bridge.
Trivia: One famous UK group filmed one of their music videos here ❤

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