Travel with chozun

Travel Profile: Exploring the Flavours of Asia with Gwen Tan

Gwendolyn Tan is a food loving social media queen, working in international social media management across Asia. Currently based in Melbourne, Australia and originally from Singapore, Gwen spends a lot of her time travelling the world chasing the newest flavours and sights from her favourite places.

 

Gwen currently manages the social accounts of some of her favourite food spots from around Asia, while working with a collective who offer some of Asia’s top food vendors a home to display what they’ve got to offer. One of these places is HWKR street food, located in the heart of Melbourne. Gwen’s current travel goals are set on exploring the land down under, and experiencing all Australia has to offer. From the vast open deserts, bustling laneways, award winning beaches and unique flora and fauna Gwen has a lot of travelling ahead to see all that Australia has to offer. We had a quick chat with her about some of her top suggestions for places around Asia to grab a bite to eat, her ideas on how travelling impacts creativity and how she thinks travel is changing for the solo millennial.

 

Places been: Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia

Going to next: Probably Adelaide, Australia. Maybe I’ll go in February too because Fringe Festival is on then and they have some really incredible international acts I’d like to see. And pretty good food too.

 

Ultimate travel tip: Plan where you want to go in advance. It helps having an itinerary, especially if you’ve not been to the place and you only have a few days. It helps you build up the excitement too.

Favourite country in Asia for food: Japan has the best food for sure. I don’t really have a specific place in mind, but I suggest the fish market (Tsukiji I believe). One of the most interesting foods I’ve eaten was raw horse meat sushi. It tasted way better than it sounded.

As a creative person, do you find that travelling inspires you? Which destination have you found has inspired you the most and why?

Definitely. I love Japan the most. Tokyo was a great place with amazing food and culture. They are very advanced in technology and you get to learn quite a bit. I went to Akihabarai and there were so many interesting and new things. One night I went to a  Robot cafe which my friend recommended I go and see. It was amazing how the people had choreographed their performance with the robots and got me thinking about the future of people and machines. Another place I thought was cool but bizarre was the maid cafe, where there are girls dressed as traditional western maid who you can take photos with and drink interesting teas.

 

Taiwan was another place I found which was very rich in culture and again, had crazy delicious street food. I went to the museum of strange things and I got to see really weird creatures like (alive!) three-headed turtles and fish with two mouths. These experiences are etched in my mind, which could become useful whenever we need some creative ideas for campaigns!

 

 

What advice would you give to anyone travelling to Australia for the first time?

Plan ahead and do a bit of research. Travel with someone who can drive too because you’re going to need it for all the road trips. Some of my favourite road trips in Australia are the 10 day trip around Tasmania, driving up the East Coast of Australia, and many of the beautiful drives in Victoria all within a couple of hours of Melbourne.

 

 

How has your experience moving to a new country impacted your view of the world and how you travel?

I would say I became more open. I feel that my ideas are more accepted here compared to my home country. Melbourne is a very creative city. It inspires me everyday, from its streets to culture to food. I am also more independent than I was previously. I feel like I can be more creative now and express myself better.

How do you think social media has changed the way young people travel? How do you think it’s changed the way we experience food when we travel?

Those travel videos on Facebook and Instagram Stories and posts makes people want to travel. There’s this travel bug going around when you see amazing and beautiful snaps of a certain place. We save these posts so we can revisit them or they could be a reference when travel to that particular destination. It’s kinda like a bucket list (I’ve done a similar campaign that saves IG photos where you can build a bucket list). For food, obviously we’d love to save those social posts we want to eat. #foodporn is one example of how people who love social media + food came about. We travel with our smart phones and updates our friends/followers almost instantaneously wherever we are. E.g. If I’m at the Grand Canyon, I want people to see that I’m there and share the beautiful sights. I saw a friend share her snaps on Grand Canyon a couple of days ago. I was so jealous!

What advice would you give you travellers who want to take more creative photos, see more creative places, or embrace creativity in a new way?

No advice. Just be yourself! Capture whatever you feel will tell a great story. If you want to experience wild and crazy things while you’re overseas, obviously the experiences you have will affect your capacity to take crazy photos (like the one I took when I went skydiving). If you’re into more calming, relaxing travel, then find your niche and stick to it. I think authenticity is important because we travel for ourselves, not the camera or the internet. If you’re having a good time, and experiencing what you want to, then just so happen to capture it in a photo – that’s going to be so much more valuable than trying to plan your trip around pleasing the internet.

Travelling with friends, or allowing yourself to meet new people along the way can often be the best way to discover new and creative places. If something is underground, it’s underground for a reason. The more you talk to people and explore, the more you’ll learn and discover. Also, travelling to places where you might not speak the language isn’t always an issue if you’re good at making friends or know how to use technology. I find that no matter where I go I can always find someone who can speak English and Chinese (I speak both) as well as the local language. We help each other out. Otherwise, the internet has really good translation apps,  and oftentimes you can pick up on social cues to work out what’s going on.

 

Written by Stefan Petersen.

 

Uncovering the past: The Most Underrated Museums in South East Asia

By Justin Vidamo (2012)

It’s a lovely experience walking around a museum by yourself. You can move at your own pace, allow yourself some solitude to mentally engage with carefully curated artefacts, and welcome inspiration from introspection and self-reflection. Travelling can sometimes end up in a flurry of things to do, see and taste, without having the time to really take in the subtleties of the foreign environment you’ve entered. Museums can empower you with archives of knowledge, and give you the opportunity to pay respect to the extraordinary cultures and histories of thousand year old cultures . As noble peace prize recipient Orhan Pamuk put it, a museum should not just be a place for fancy paintings but should be a place where we can communicate our lives through our everyday objects.

To pay our respects to International Museum Day this Friday 18 May, we’re uncovering what we think are the most underrated Museums in South East Asia. We believe that the following historical archives pay due to the liven experiences of, and beauty of South East Asian cultures.

Vietnamese Women’s Museum – Hanoi, Vietnam

To best summarise Hanoi’s Vietnamese Woman’s Museum, the word “inspirational” would suffice. Although the Museum features the word “Women”, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not equally fascinating and enjoyable for both men and woman. The gallery offers a fascinating introduction to the life of Vietnamese women, their hardships, achievements, and historical milestones which assisted in progressing Hanoi into Vietnam’s magical capital of today. Besides displays on everyday life, marriage and childbirth (which are far from banal) it also brings to life the lived experiences of women in the wars against the French and Americans.

Other rooms deal with contemporary phenomena like the roving merchants of Hanoi, and the cult of the Holy Mothers with Mother Goddess. The museum’s final floor features traditional clothing of women from each of the 54 ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Another floor exhibits a collection of agricultural and domestic tools used by women throughout the country. The exhibits in this one museum will begin to open any traveler’s eyes to much that is compelling and special about Vietnam.

Angkor National Museum – Siem Reap, Cambodia

As the largest religious monument in the world, it’s no surprise that World Heritage listed Angkor Wat is the most popular tourist destination in Cambodia and in everyone’s top 5 must see places to visit in South East Asia. The once in a life time experience can be quite overwhelming in the humid Cambodian tropics, crowded with millions of patrons each year, all trekking through miles and miles of fascinating temple, Fully absorbing all Ankor Wat has to offer can be an arduous if not impossible feat while immersed in the ancient temples. Take some time to explore Angkor National Museum before heading to Angkor Wat. 

Angkor National Museum is an archaeological museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and presentation of Angkorian artefacts. The museums 7 galleries feature collections mainly dated from the Khmer Empire‘s Angkor period. There is an extra gallery dedicated to history of hundreds of years of Buddhism, with 1,000 Buddha images highlighting the religion’s significance in Cambodian culture.

Penang House of Music – Penang, Malaysia

Travel to one of the most-loved cities in Malaysia is always a good idea, especially when it has some of the best food, festivals, street art and museums. Some of these include the Upside Down MuseumCamera Museum and Ghost Museum, but here at chozun 途赞 we think one of the most underrated museum in not only Penang, but the whole of Malaysia, is Penang House of Music. Located in vibrant George Town, the museum hits the sweet spot between meticulous research and an engagingly fresh vibe.

Penang House of Music vividly display a plethora of traditional Malaysian musical instruments, holds jam sessions with respected local musicians, live sets, and has interactive exhibits to fully immerse yourself in rhythmic sounds of Malaysia.

Instagram @penanghouseofmusic

Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre – Luang Prabang, Laos

Laos is the super chill capital of South East Asia, with awesome food, stunning sunsets, copious amounts of roaring waterfalls, and world-class hand crafts. Weaving, silk work and dyeing run deep in Laos culture, and The Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre offers insights into these age old tradition.  The centre is a cultural hub of artisans where Lao textiles truly come alive. Ock Pop Tok is a wider community of talented artisans, founded 18 years ago with 5 weavers and has expanded to provide employment for over 500 women in Luang Prabang and nearby villages. Fifty percent of the revenue from Ock Pop Tok goes back into the government and NGO supported Village Weaver Projects.

Set in the grounds of a thriving tropical garden on the Mekong, it’s the perfect place to absorb the fascinating culture Laos has to offer while learning more about this unique art form. Free guided tours are available where you can  meet the weavers, immerse yourself within the artisan community, and even observe the silkworms. Unforgettable classes are provided for a small donation, specialising in traditional weaving and dyeing techniques. On site they have the Silk Road Cafe, where you can grab a coffee or refreshing sugar cane or coconut juice to. They’ll even pick you up in a tuk tuk and provide a scrumptious Laos lunch.

Navigating Hong Kong’s MRT: From Cha Chaan Teng to Guerrilla Street Art

Photo by @jampatcon

This week at chozun 途赞, we’re taking you on a ride on one of the world’s most envied metro systems. Why? To celebrate the 10th and 12th of May: world train week! We’re looking into one of the world’s best Metro systems – Hong Kong’s MTR and it’s sweetest surroundings. We cover some of the most awesome, underground, must see spots in Hong Kong. As with many of the world’s top cities, Hong Kong’s metro allows you to access many of the city’s sweetest spots.

 

Staple stations & their top surroundings

Central Station

Around central station there are some of Hong Kong’s most popular and unique bars, cafes and activities. The bars and breweries we recommend the most in the area include stock market based bar Wolf MarketCe La Vie terrace, Ashley Sutton’s Iron Fairies Bar65 Peel for some crafty Hong Kong brew, and NYC’s iconic Hong Kong sister PDT (Please Don’t Tell). One of our favourite coffee spots in Hong Kong is Elephant Grounds, which is not only based near Central, but can be found near Admiralty station, Causeway Bay station and Sheung Wan station. If you fancy some creative flair with your caffeine dosage, Leo’s Espresso offers remarkable and instagramable 3D coffee art. The espresso bar is located roughly halfway between Central station and Admiralty station – so either stop will allow you to witness Leo’s incredible work.

Central station is also only a 8-10 min walk from Peak Tram stop from which you can access the remarkable viewing points and hiking tracks at Victoria Peak. If you’re around Admiralty station, Peak Tram stop is even closer. If central station wasn’t offering enough already, you are only a brisk 10 minute walk from the city’s beautiful Zoological and Botanical Gardens. If you’re looking for a quick and easy bite to eat, Hong Kong is famous for it’s Cha Chaan Teng‘s, authentic no-frill eateries. Our top Cha Chaan Teng recommendation near Central station would have to be Lan Fong Yuen. Open since 1952, it’s no wonder the pork buns are to die for.

 

Tsim Sha Tsui station (Kowloon)

Situated in the epicentre of Kowloon, it’s no surprise that Tsim Sha Tsui station offers some of Hong Kong’s most iconic scenes within a 10 min walk.  These include fantastic views of the Symphony of Lights (also accessible from East Tsim Sha Tsui station)Harbour City Mall and Temple Street Market. Tsim Sha Tsui Station also leads directly to Victoria Harbour where there are ferries across the bay, and incredible city skyline views. Kowloon Park 九龙公园 is also a short walk from the station and provides some sanctuary from the busy street, with Tai Chi, swimming pools, stunning flower gardens, a large tranquil lake with flamingos and an exotic aviary.

If you’re after a drink, Eye Bar rooftop offers exquisite views of the city and delicious beers and cocktails. If you’re in the mood for an alcohol free coffee fix, N1 Coffee & Co is one of if our favourite spots. Our top Cha Chaan Teng recommendation near Tsim Sha Tsui station is Relax For A While – their congee menu will bring a tear to your eye.

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Causeway Bay station

Causeway Bay is best known as the dynamic and fast-paced retail heart of HK. It’s dived between Eastern and Western quarters. The Western quarter offers luxury malls, department stores and boutiques. It’s Eastern end is filled with a bargain hunter’s dream where they can explore  Jardine’s Crescent street market. If you’re in the mood for a drink with a view, Skye Bar is a must. If you’re into the cuter, quirkier kind of experience, Rabbit Cafe is the answer to the infamous cat cafes of Japan.

Causeway Bay station is also conveniently located a brief walk from tranquil Victoria Park 维多利亚公园 where they offer popular Tai Chai. Various meeting points are in close vicinity too, including Hong Kong Central LibraryOur top Cha Chaan Teng recommendation near Causeway Bay station is Yee Shun Milk Company. We can never go past their traditional HK milk pudding.

 

Sheung Wan station

Sheung Wan is in renowned for it’s chill vibes, street art, numerous cafes, eateries, bars and markets. Based west of the main business district, the station is directly connected to the Macau Ferry Terminal. Hollywood Road and Cat street Market, and Graham Street Market are the perfect places for antique shopping – we’re sure with some luck you’ll find treasure you never knew you even needed! The station is a 5-10 min walk from the local heritage Man Mo Temple. 

If you’re someone with a sweet-tooth, Oddies Foodies dessert bar offers some unique and delicious treats including liquid nitrogen cookies and cream bites! If you’re after a refreshing afternoon aperitif, The Old Man is one of your top picks. Our top Cha Chaan Teng recommendation near Sheung Wan station is Hoi An Café, which was incredibly founded in the same year as Central’s infamous Lan Fong Yuen. The buns and baked goods are a gift from the gods and the main reason we head to Hoi An Café.

How the subway works in Hong Kong

Offering free wifi, navigating the MRT is easy as both Google maps and Apple maps plan your journey for you. Otherwise, you can grab an physical map from a local station or download the MRT App. You can also observe the in carriage displays that tell you what stations you’re approaching. It’s best to avoid the  rush hours of 7.30am to 9.30am and 5pm to 7pm on weekdays as the MRT gets quite hectic. There are usually trains running very two to ten minutes between the hours 6am to around midnight or 1am.

The main options for using the MRT are buy grabbing an Octopus Card, Tourist Day Pass or Single Journey Pass. Hong Kong also has efficient bus, ferry and tram services – but for convenience we don’t think it gets better than the MRT. Other important trains in HK include the Airport Express Line, a special Disney Line, and a light rail network for the northwestern part of the region. Train directly to China’s mainland are also just a stone’s throw away!

Photo by Nic Low on Unsplash

 

Phnom Penh: A Locals Guide to an Emerging City | 在金边的一次地道的旅游

Bordering Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, Cambodia has some serious competition in the tourist market.  Yet in recent years the South-East Asian country has been growing its reputation as a must-visit destination. 

与泰国,老挝和越南接壤的柬埔寨在旅游市场上有一些激烈的竞争。 然而近年来,这个东南亚国家的声誉却越发升高。

Emerging from a dark period of war and revolution Cambodia has been steadily establishing itself on the world-stage again, with tourists flocking to absorb the rich culture on offer.  Stunning temples, island hot-spots and a friendly people are abundant to those that make the journey.

从黑暗的革命战争时期开始,柬埔寨一直在世界舞台的上稳步发展旅游业,游客被这个国家的丰富文化所吸引。令人惊叹的寺庙,岛屿和友善的人民为旅程添加了热情。

For many their first encounter with Cambodia is Phnom Penh, the Kingdom’s capital. And it can be a startling first-impression; bustling and chaotic, Phnom Penh throws everything at you and invites you into the fold. We got in touch with Ruby Cray, a teacher who now calls Phnom Penh home, to get the run down on this cool and alluring city. Read on for a few of her recommendations!

对于首次接触柬埔寨的很多人来说是首都金边。第一印象可能是一个令人惊讶的; 繁华和混乱的融合,金边向你公开一切,并热情邀请你来做客。 我们与现在称金边家园的老师Ruby Cray保持了联系,让她在这个迷人的城市中探索。 请阅读她的一些建议!

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8 Tips For a Better Road Trip | 自驾游攻略 – 8个贴士

There is something undeniably romantic about the humble road-trip.  A constant inspiration, it’s the centre of literary masterpieces and a movie genre in its own right. But turning it from the stuff of dreams to a reality can be a logistical nightmare. After attempting a mad dash down Australia’s desert centre I certainly came away with a few pieces of knowledge I wish I had before. Read on for a few tips on how to make that road-trip an (enjoyable) reality.

低调的旅行有一些不可否认的浪漫。 一个持久的灵感是文学杰作和电影的核心。 但把它从理想变成现实可能是一个令人失望的结果。 在尝试疯狂冲击澳大利亚的沙漠中心之后,我确实希望早点有些基础知识。今天的内容是关于一些可以让自驾游成为更有趣的建议。

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