Behind-the-scene shots @ Jump Street Asia

This week has been challenging in the sense that i’ve barely even had time to feed myself properly (which is bad) but it’s okay cos i rarely do this.

Monday: i had lunch at 2pm, dinner at 10pm then worked till 2am
Tuesday: i had lunch at 3:30pm (i felt so faint i made a beeline to food and nothing else), dinner at 8:30pm, then slept at 3am (my fault for going out till late)
Wednesday: i had half a noodle soup at a 10am meeting, then snacked on slices from half a zucchini at 1:30pm while driving to a shoot. Quite sad right. I just really didn’t have the time to eat!!! Luckily Adam was so nice to get a group of us food from the Bangsar Ramadhan market for dinner which i dug into like an animal at 8pm.

I am so tired that i was in bed by 10pm! But i’m still awake… blogging this post cos i know tomorrow is another jam-packed day, so i better do this now before it adds on to my ever-growing To-Blog List.

Today was by far the most tiring but FUNNEST SHOOT EVAAAAAA!!!
Photographer Vincent Paul Yong was to shoot me for a Levi’s campaign,
and i picked Jump Street Asia as the location cos i thought mid-air shots would be so cool.
Plus just BEING on a trampoline is so much fun… the last time i was on one was 4 years ago in Surrey with Yishyene!

Jump Street Asia is the first trampoline park in Malaysia, and is right behind the Robert Bosch building down the road from Jaya One in PJ. It’s in a massive warehouse and has lots of different trampoline activity areas like Dodgeball, Basketball, Free Jumping Areas, The Foam Pit, The Cage, and The Wall. Find out more on www.jumpstreetasia.com.

Thanks so much to Duncan for granting us permission to shoot,
giving us a personal lesson and providing his staff to take real good care of us!!!

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Laine Wong did my make up. Check out her new tattoo done last week by Julian Oh.
Incidentally Adam got one from Julian yesterday too so i saw two new works of his in one day!

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I’m wearing a pair of shorts from Levi’s newest collection!
It’s really soft and was super comfy the entire time i was jumping.

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Starting off with some still shots… Click to see the rest of the pix!

 

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Seoul: Staying in a historic house with rooftop garden & traditional guesthouse

I traveled to Korea by myself for 8 days in early June, and it was such a beautiful holiday!

I would push myself to explore, sightsee, eat, shop, and party as much as i could; so by the time i went back home to wherever i was staying, i would be thoroughly pooped. Coming home (cos it IS my temporary home!) to a comfortable and welcoming environment is so important to me. After being surrounded by so many people and having my eyes dart around excitedly all day long, some Joyce Recharge Time is imperative!

I used Airbnb for ALL my stays in Korea (i tried staying in 3 different places within Seoul and Jeju) and it’s so much more personal than simply staying in a commercial guesthouse or hotel.

For those who have never heard of Airbnb - it’s a community platform where hosts all over the world rent out rooms or entire apartments to travellers looking for a place to stay. Because these are locals hosting me, i usually end up forming bonds with them that i usually wouldn’t get via staying at a hotel chain. The spaces i make my temporary home are more charming and have more depth of character, which undeniably adds to my travel experience. An additional plus point is how the prices are very reasonable and lower than you’d expect!

Some hosts let out their space professionally, some do it for additional income, and some do it cos they just love company /hosting people/travelling themselves! Hosts and guests then leave each other reviews on the airbnb website after the trip, which later users can then refer to for reliable future connections.

I ended up picking two places to stay in Seoul (cos the places i wanted to stay in only had a certain number of nights available and i booked them a bit too close to my trip) but i think it was meant to be cos i managed to try out two vastly different spaces.

I spent my first three nights staying in an historic house with a rooftop garden in Jongno, an elegant neighbourhood close to Gyeongbok Palace. There were a lot of cafes, restaurants, small shops and art galleries in the area; with the most magnificent view of glittering city lights from the top of the hill when i reached home every night.

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I had the whole place to myself! It was tempting to throw a party haha.

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The place is beautifully-designed and i loved the sloping architectural lines on the ceiling

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It was nice to spend some time sitting in the garden every day while listening to chirping birds and excited puppies when they got fed next door.

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On my last night in Seoul, i moved to Sopoong Guest House in Bukchon – a 600-year-old neighbourhood filled with colourful shops, cafes, cult food stalls, art museums, and the famous Bukchon hanok village (traditional Korean houses). Sopoong Guest House itself is a hanok!

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Sopoong Guest House was SO CUTE i felt like i had stepped into a colourful Korean world.

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If you don’t have an account with Airbnb yet,
*USE THIS LINK HERE* to automatically receive USD25 credit when you sign up.
  :D :D :D

Click to see more pix of where i stayed!

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Jeju, Korea: Beach, Spirited Garden, & local wine

Korea is so cute.
The first hint of how cute it is, was on my domestic flight from Seoul bound for Jeju.

This is the placard they have in front of every seat on the plane >

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The smoking room in the airport has inspiring words plastered all over it,
giving a glimpse into what may be Koreans’ more highly regarded characteristics.

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After i checked into my awesome orchard guesthouse, i rested for an hour (it was an overnight flight where i didn’t sleep much) before catching a taxi to explore Jeju for the first time!

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Despite how big the island is, Jeju has perfectly-paved roads. I don’t think i experienced a single pothole. That’s Korean efficiency for you :p (It was hard going back to Malaysia and being jolted back to certain things that aren’t so smoothly-run!)

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If you love nature, you’ll love Jeju to no end…

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I’m honestly not a selfie kinda person, but i resort to it when traveling alone :D

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My first meal in Jeju was a seafood hotpot in a restaurant just outside Halim park.

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After lunch i took a walk to the beach just across Halim park, which as you can see is really massive and beautiful!!!
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My holimonth

Ok i know i travel a lot, and this month takes the cake but i SWEAR from July onwards i’m just gonna stick around KL and put my head down to work.

After spending 8 days in Korea, i unpacked last Monday night, did a batch of laundry, and two days later, packed again for Sri Lanka and Phuket. Clem and i (and a small but dangerous bunch of people in KL) are traveling to Negombo for Herukh & Aahana’s wedding! I’m actually a little bit scared. Made sure i brought my liver pills :p When we return to KL next week, less than 10 hours later i’m flying to Phuket for Awesomeness Fest!

I’m so afraid that i’d be too tired to pack properly when i return from Sri Lanka that i decided to put aside my outfits for Afest too. So when i get in, i just take the dirty clothes out and chuck the new ones in. All the electronics and toiletries are already good to go!

When i get back from Afest… i have two or three days before i fly off with Clem to Kuching for Rainforest Music Fest. And in those few days i’m in KL, i have 3 Italian friends traveling to KL for the first time, whom i’ll try my best to take out as much as possible!

I didn’t plan for all these trips and happenings to coincide a bit too close to each other for comfort. It just HAPPENED to be so i’m just gonna enjoy myself and, like i said, BE REALLY GOOD after that.

Staying with local Jeju sisters in an AWESOME guesthouse in an orchard!

I had the loveliest stay in Jeju with a BIG part of the experience due to the sweetest sisters i’ve ever met! I found Citrus BnB quite randomly on Airbnb and booked it for the 3 nights i’d be on the Korean volcanic island.

I can’t say i tried researching thoroughly for a place to stay cos i was so freaking busy with work and just relied on the reviews instead. So many people were saying such nice things about Citrus, i thought “ahhh can’t go wrong” and booked it.

How fortunate for ME that i had a room for the nights i wanted! You’ll see why by the end of this post.

I used Airbnb for ALL my stays in Korea (i tried staying in 3 different places) and it’s so much more personal than simply staying in a hotel or commercial guesthouse. For those who have never heard of Airbnb - it’s a community platform where hosts all over the world rent out rooms or entire apartments to travellers looking for a place to stay. You manage to find beautiful charming spaces with more character, for a lower price than you’d expect.

Hosts and guests then leave each other reviews after the trip, which later users can then refer to for reliable future connections.

Some hosts let out their space professionally,
some do it for additional income,
and some do it cos they just love company /hosting people/travelling themselves!
My bestest travel buddy Yishyene told me how she’s made friends with some of the hosts she’s stayed with in Porto, to the point she returns to visit them!

I’m so tempted to rent my own rooms out to travellers when i move to a bigger place… but that’s pondering for another day.
I just went onto the Airbnb website to sibuk and check out what kinda rooms are listed in KL, and watched a video that pretty much sums up my experience when i use them to book accommodation >

I got goosebumps watching that vid!

They’re so right about having a room with a view tho.
If i was semangat enough to go through all my travel archives and pick out all the pictures taken from inside my room, it’d be quite a cute post!

This was taken from inside my Jeju home!

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Do listen to the song below as you read the rest of my blogpost… i heard this play in Citrus Bnb during my last breakfast there and it’ll get you to understand how i felt while i was staying there…

I decided to go to Jeju after i googled “beautiful places in Korea” cos i figured if i was going to go to Seoul, i might as well try to squeeze some nature into my trip cos there’s nothing i LOVE more than spending some time in a foreign country’s natural surroundings. I just love it so much!

Jeju came up immediately on my search, and admittedly, i’d never thought of going to Jeju prior to this… i don’t know why no one has mentioned how gorgeous it is. All i can say is, look out for my following posts with pictures filled of Jeju cos it is by FAR ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES i’ve been to in my life, and no wonder it’s listed as one of the top 7 natural wonders to visit in the world!!!

I flew via Malaysia Airlines from KL-Seoul(Incheon), than took Jeju Air from Seoul(Gimpo)-Jeju. The flight to Seoul was 6 1/2 hours, and the flight to Jeju was just a tad over an hour. Jeju is the biggest island in Korea, and it takes roughly 2-3 hours to travel by car from one end to the other. I’d compare it to the size of Bali, along with all the things you have to do and see there.

You’d need a good 8 days (5 days at least) to see all the things you want to.
I barely did it justice with 4D3N.
That’s why i’m planning to return with Clem in tow + 2-3 more friends to fit one car!

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This is the entrance to where i stayed.

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So cute! So many sights in Korea reminded me of a cartoon storybook…

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It’s called Citrus BnB cos it comes with an orchard filled with citrus trees *SO CUTE i can’t take it*

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The land was bought by Young and Joo’s mother years ago, and Young has been staying there for the past 7 years, with Joo joining her this year.

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There are two houses on the land.
Young and Joo live in one, and their brother and his family stay in another.
The one above is the one i stayed in with Young and Joo, it’s got three bedrooms (two are for let).

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My first breakfast i had there, lovingly prepared by Joo every morning.
It was refreshing to have salad for breakfast. Extra points that everything is organically grown in their mother’s farm 10 minutes away.

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Their kitchen just feels like it’s got so many happy memories to me. They told me stories about how it gets to minus 10 degrees in the winter, and how they’d pull out a stove to grill food to eat while watching the snow outside. Then Young would whip out her phone to show me a picture of Jeju in winter and it looked absolutely MAGICAL.

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This is Joo and Young!
I can’t tell you how wonderful they were to have take care of me.
You could tell how much love and kindness they had in them from the way they interacted with each other, it was so sweet to watch and made me WISH i had a sister too.

I felt like they were my older sisters to me… till i found out they have sons my age and are grandmothers themselves. (Damn these Koreans look really good for their age!!)

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My first experience in a traditional Korean bath / jjimjilbang @ Dragon Hill Spa

I just got back from spending 8 days in Korea by myself!
It was awesome!

I love traveling by myself every once in a while… the last time i got to do it was when i went to Sweden. I get to spend time with myself and myself alone, push my boundaries, act upon impulse, and do everything as and when i please. I think it’s also a great time to just be with my own thoughts and find company in my own being. I’m always surrounded by people in KL (and that’s GREAT, i’m so lucky) but i enjoy my solitude too. It’s great that Clem understands cos he likes his alone time every once in awhile too.

I didn’t get to blog at all cos it was a very tiring trip! I pushed myself to explore as MUCH as i physically could, and would do 10-12 straight hours a day. Then i’d come back to do some urgent work and emails for a few hours, have dinner and then i’d have to go to bed so i could wake up in time to sightsee the next day.

By Day #7 my legs were ACHING. It was a Saturday night and i’d planned to go to Homo Hill (a popular bar area recommended by a friend), so i’d rushed home to change and get the train back out before it shut at 11:30pm. The soft white bed looked so inviting, i plonked myself face down on it and THAT WAS IT.

I just couldn’t bear to get up.
I just wanted to LIE THERE and rest.
So rest i did.

The best thing i can do is listen to my heart sometimes (and that’s not the same as my party voice).
I’ve had to dig deep to differentiate the two :p

On my last night in Seoul, i decided to make time to head to a jjimjilbang because another female tourist i met said it was her favourite thing to do in Seoul.

The thought of going alone was a bit daunting at first, but i figured i just had to GO seeing i was already in Korea and what if i didn’t get another chance!? I mentioned it to my guesthouse host KJ and he recommended Dragon Hill Spa cos it’s tourist-friendly.

I followed the directions on CNNGo’s article mention of it, but the directions are slightly misleading. To get to it, just walk to your right when you exit Yongsan station and cross the small street and it’s right on the corner.

There are no pictures for this post except this one of the entrance because… why, it would be inappropriate innit to take pictures in a place where everyone is naked! Probably get beat up.

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It’s a huge place consisting of 6 floors. There are separate men and women’s floors, areas for treatments, games floor and i’m sure somewhere for food too (tho i wasn’t taking notice of that).

I paid an entrance fee of 13USD, which lets me stay for as long as i want. Which could be all day for some, cos the Koreans take their baths very seriously!

I received a locker key attached to a rubber bracelet so i could keep my shoes in a cubby hole upon entering. Then its barefoot all the way. And that’s just the first part that goes bare.

There’s a lift on the ground floor that goes only to the 3rd floor, which leads to the women’s bath area on the 2nd floor. (I didn’t even get to go to the other floors… i had no time nor reason.)

After finding my locker, i kept all my belongings in it (using the same initial key for my shoe locker) and changed into a t-shirt and pair of shorts they gave me. I was also handed a couple of towels so i took one with me.

I made my way down a flight of stairs to the bath area and immediately got gestured to that no clothes were allowed there. I was like, “Oh… rightttt….” and meekly made my way back up to undress fully. That’s when the towel came in REALLY handy. Oh also, i just didn’t THINK that i was going to be baring my underwear in front of people that day, and happened to be wearing some urm racy red panties, which made me feel kinda awkward and silly. I was to shower before going into the baths, and tried to shower with them on. Everyone around me was naked. In the end i felt so STUPID that i hurriedly stripped them off and subsequently had to carry them around with me.

So yeah, I learnt that:
Taking the towel with me = correct
Wearing shorts and shirt = wrong
Wearing underwear = wrong
Wearing sexy underwear = even more wrong

Ok so now that i was on the right track, i walked around trying out the different baths, saunas and steam rooms. It’s an entire floor that’s tiled in blue and has different rows of partitions for standing and squatting showers. I didn’t once feel like i didn’t have any personal space, and everything looked very clean.

There were so many different types of hot baths filled with various concoctions of herbs and healing properties. It helped that there were different signs beside each amenity to explain their health benefits, and how best to experience it (i.e. 3x repetition of 10-min hot bath followed by 10-min shower). I didn’t see a single other obvious tourist in there tho.

The place was filled with women of all ages walking around naked.
Some older women didn’t give a hoot about their large hanging bits,
while younger shy ones modestly held towels to theirs.
I was holding the towel to my bits too at first, but after the first hour you’re like, “Ah whatever” and just end up walking around like almost everyone else. It’s pointless being shy in there.

I liked watching the mothers bathe their little daughters, it was so cute to watch and it reminded me of being turned and scrubbed like a helpless thing when *i* was a wee kid.

One steam room was SO hot that i tried standing it in alone for a minute but it was too much to bear that i muttered aloud to the empty room, “You gotta be kidding me” and popped out the door.

I took a walk around, trying each of the baths and steam rooms till i came to a corner where a couple of elderly women wearing black underwear were massaging and scrubbing women on rubber beds. There was a sign next to it stating the prices for types of scrubs and massages. No cash transaction is done there, they merely refer to your key locker number and charge it to your tab which you pay on your way out.

I adore massages and try a massage in almost every country i travel to, so i felt i had to do myself justice and try this at the very least! So i pointed to my preference on the menu, waited my turn, and got a 40-min treatment of being scrubbed with special bath gloves, massaged with oil, had my hair washed and even my ears cleaned!

There was an embarrassing amount of dirt that the woman managed to acquire from my skin, i couldn’t help saying, “GROSS!!” She does it all while i’m lying down, and tells me when to turn over or lie on my side. Then to wash the dirt of me and the rubber table, she fills a big basin with water and just POURS it over me! It felt quite nice actually, like a waterfall. It kinda feels like playing with water in there! I can see how the kids have so much fun! (There’s even a special shallow bath just for children.)

She gave me a good scrubbing all over and i felt it was the perfect thing for the end of a trip where i got so grimy walking around for so many days and possibly not showering properly XD Then she slathered oil all over me and gave me a funny fast massage. I don’t know how to explain it except that it’s like a normal massage but you increase the speed by 10.

Her movements were quick that i felt like a piece of dough at times but not in an unpleasant way. She managed to get the pressure points right so it felt good when she pressed on them but it made me feel like it was a bit TOO fast and that i’d prefer someone to spend some time kneading those poor old muscles!

I guess that’s the Korean bath massage then – get you hot to release all those toxins, get your skin to absorb these nutrients and herbs, scrub you down, then knead you to plump you up and get that circulation going. This could be the secret of their youthful looks after all. I thought it just due to the food.

I felt so CLEAN and happy after that. If there was a well-run Korean bath in KL i’d totally go to it! It makes sense to spend so much time cleaning your body cos cleanliness is sacredness, which leads to happiness and contentment. I’m so glad i made the effort to experience it and totally recommend it on a must-do thing in Seoul. You really get to immerse yourself in a Korean culture that’s so different from anything i’ve experienced. (Well i’ve never tried a Japanese bath but i would have to find a tattoo-friendly one at that.)

I ended up spending a total of 3 hours in there despite planning to spend only 2! Was starving after that and rushed to find this specific restaurant that’s recommended for their Korean-style steak tartare and i was ADAMANT to have it before i leave. It was a bit too rush cos i left the spa at 9pm and the restaurants shuts at 10, so you can only imagine how fast i trekked all over this hilly area (of course it had to be hilly there…) for a good 40 minutes cos i couldn’t find it. So i got sweaty all over again and was like, “Dammit! Just after that nice bath too!”

Woe and begone, i truly couldn’t find it but did manage to still have a very satisfying steak tartare in another restaurant by accident, and then went shopping till 1:30am. The malls there open 24/7 with club music playing in some of them. I shopped till i couldn’t even bear to look at clothes anymore… Seoul is so crazy. I love it.

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I went to Dragon Hill Spa – www.dragonhillspa.co.kr
There’s a more detailed blogpost of the spa *here* if you wanna read more!

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