15 Cities, 6 Countries, 20 Days: The Ultimate Itinerary for a Austria, Balkans, & Italy road trip

15 Cities, 6 Countries, 20 Days: The Ultimate Itinerary for an Austria, Balkans, & Italy road trip


20 days of summer. 6 European countries. 15 cities and towns (19 if I visit all 5 towns in Cinque Terre)Inspired by this month's travel linkup - in which we writing wanderlusters discuss destinations as a starter (short haul), mains (a looong trip) and pudding (a destination that leaves a lasting impression) - today I share the itinerary for my upcoming trip: My 15-Course Travel ‘Tasting Menu’ across Austria, the Balkans, and Italy. 

Ya'll should know by now that I am super extra. Like, "consolidate my 'save for later' online shopping purchases into a master Excel spreadsheet and picture collage" extra. Extra, extra! Read all about it! So when I picked up the updated edition of Tim Marshall's Prisoners of Geography I naturally devoured the book in 4 days. Then I re-read the Joe Sacco graphic novel The Fixer: A Story From Sarajevo. Curious to fill in the hole that is my lack of understanding on world history (thanks a lot, Malaysian Sejarah syllabus. What were we taught about WWII? Literally only: the Japanese f*cked up our sh*t and then the Americans f*cked up their sh*t. The end. Whut) I did what any lazy person would - learn about it on YouTube. So after watching Feature History - Fall of Yugoslavia, I wound the clock back a World War and discovered that Franz Ferdinand is more than just an excellent rock band from Glasgow.
   
Thanks to this information black hole I've now got the Balkans on my mind. How does one go forward? The only way is Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Oh, and throw in a bit of Austria and Italy too for good measure, why not? This summer I'm spending just under 3 weeks touring *deep breath* Vienna, Maribor, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Plitvice, Trogir, Split, Sarajevo, Mostar, Kotor, Budva, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Pisa. Here is the Itinerary for My Balkans 'Tasting Menu' ft. Austria and Italy.

May 01, 2017

15 Cities, 6 Countries, 20 Days: The Ultimate Itinerary for a Austria, Balkans, & Italy road trip

20 days of summer. 6 European countries. 15 cities and towns (19 if I visit all 5 towns in Cinque Terre) .  Inspired by this m...

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

Australia is a country I'm familiar with. It's basically Little Malaysia, the "foreign enough to be considered worldly but somewhat nearby" choice for the college-considering Asian Tiger parent who think they're liberal, but God forbid you suggest to them that you don't move back home with them after you graduate. More than having a thousand acquaintances and friends who've studied in Australia (and a few who've stay on) I also have family there; so I've spent my childhood all over Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne. I'm thrilled to make my return Down Under (my last visit was a decade ago) with a trip to 2 of its biggest cities. Here are 10 things I did during my short stay in Sydney.




Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
1. BONDI TO BRONTE COASTAL WALK
&
2. ICEBERGS DINING ROOM AND BAR 

No trip to Sydney is complete without visiting the famous Bondi Beach, no matter what the season. Take your cue from the hardy Icebergs who train; come rain, shine, or snow in Australia's most photographed ocean pool of Bondi Icebergs Club - the world's only licensed winter swimming pool, and dive in as a visitor: "Everyone is Welcome". The more horizontally-inclined among us are happy enough to just sunbath on the famously topless beach. My ideal middle-ground between indulgence and activity is fine-dining on exquisitely fresh seafood and Italian dishes at the award-winning Icebergs Dining Room and Bar then burning the calories after with the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk 



Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney


3. CONSIDERED CLIMBING THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE, AND RIDING THE SYDNEY SEAPLANE


You know I'd go to great lengths to procure the perfect shot, me being part of that delightfully odd (and rather neurotic) #TravelBlogger tribe. Heck, adverse as I am to physical labour I'd even climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the perfect Instagram post - fear of heights be damned. Unfortunately the BridgeClimb doesn't allow you to bring your own camera (for safety reasons, I'm sure). I'm out. For an even more stunning view and more thrill without any of the exertions, I'd go with the Sydney Seaplane Scenic Flight - that is, I would have if I could've found a willing partner (packages start from 2 people or more). 

If you care more about the experience and don't mind basically spending money to sweat, definitely consider the BridgeClimb; or if you're feeling more indulgent customise a Sydney Seaplane experience - you can charter flights to anywhere within reason.
4. MANLY FAST FERRY


...instead, I got on the Manly Fast Ferry for an alternative view of the Sydney Harbour. The Manly Fast Ferry is a commuter service joining the Sydney suburb of Manly with Circular Quay in the CBD, covering a journey of seven nautical miles in a quick time of 17 minutes. 

Honestly, I got on the ferry just for a literal breath of fresh air - I can't describe how freeing it felt to speed away from Sydney Harbour and leave the chaos of the CBD behind, just letting my mind wander with the waves. But if you have more time, a visit to the beachside suburb of Manly came highly recommended. Manly is enjoying a renaissance with its hot bar scene and exciting dining options, but for an old-school treat it's all about the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary.

A round trip from Circular Quay Wharf 6 in Sydney CBD to Manly is $15.60 - $17.40, depending on the hours.


Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
5. DAY DRINKING AT THE OPERA BAR

I tried, I really did, to appreciate the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I even watched the episode of Modern Family that was basically a huge 'sponsored by Qantas!' montage. But not even Phil "Crocodile" Dunphy's adorkable and infectious enthusiasm could colour me impressed. Andrea clearly felt the same way: without even missing a beat, she steered me to the Opera Bar where we could best enjoy the city's landmarks - seen through a glass of something alcoholic. Hic.


6. CAUGHT UP WITH A GOOD FRIEND
&
 7. MADE A NEW ONE

I finally met Andrea (right), the bridge-indifferent-kindred blogging spirit of Andrea's Passions, because of - of all things - a cyclone. Debbie was tearing up a storm so Andrea had to make a diversion from the Whitsundays to Sydney, where she too was staying with Luxy (below). And this is how the three of us came to be sitting in the living room of Luxy's townhouse in fashionable Paddington, at the dining table, with me hoisting up my shirt to show the girls my, well, girls. Cue Luxy covering her eyes and shrieking with horror, and Andrea nodding and making unflinching observations. Hahaha, talk about Yin and Yang.

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
8. SHOP UNTIL YOU DROP 

Fun fact about Sydney - the shops and stores close at 5pm on weekdays (except for "Thursday lates"). FIVE PEE EM. I asked Luxy, "...but how do you pop in, after work, for a quick makeover, a new dress, or some last-minute champagne before heading out for a party?" Her bemused response: "I don't. It's either shopping on the weekends or during my lunch hour." Oh the inhumanity. 

Local brands to pick up when in Australia include Ecoya soy wax candles, Aesop toiletries, Lucas' Papaw ointment, Becca Cosmetics (give me that Champagne Pop!), classic tailoring by Camilla and Marc, Bailey Nelson eyewear, and gorgeous swimwear by Zimmermann. 

The Strand and Westfield in the CBD is worth a look into, but the best finds are always the unexpected ones. I stumbled upon a bijou pop up shop in fashionable Paddington called Love Story selling high end and designer vintage fashion. I only just managed to resist the heaving rails of CHANEL and adorable leather handbags but ended up with a pair of vintage Hermes flip flops because...I'm in Australia, I needed flip flops. Thongs. Jandals. 

Like its London counterpart, Sydney's Oxford Street - running from Darlinghurst to Paddington - is a diverse mix of edgy boutiques, high-end labels, vintage, and indie designers. Definitely worth devoting an afternoon to.



Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney


9. ART ATTACK

Sydney has a wealth of museums and art galleries (some of them are even free) - from the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in the heart of the CBD to industrial-scale art centre Casula Powerhouse in the outer suburbs of Liverpool. The establishment that made the greatest impression on me was the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It began with a walk on a scorching autumn's day, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and toward increasingly verdant tranquility as I cut across Hyde Park. 

I was lucky enough to catch The National 2017 - a large scale exhibit focused solely on contemporary Australian art. The National 2017 runs till June and is free to enter. Just as, or even more so important is the collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. These two areas of interest, combined with the collection of Australian art make for an interesting and visual lesson of history and culture. I highly recommend all 3 in one long afternoon, then a brisk walk through the adjacent Royal Botanic Garden to cool down.

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: BLACKSMITH SURRY HILLS, SKITTLE LANE COFFEE, MR WONG 




10. SYDN-EAT, EAT, EAT
The quickest way to the heart of a city is through your stomach...or something. Just know that it wouldn't be a real trip for me if I didn't sample at least some of the local favourites; be it the dim sum platters at the hottest new Cantonese joint in town or a big hearty brunch heaped with smashed avo. Further reading: Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars I Loved


Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
GETTING THERE: I flew direct from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney on Air Asia, a low-cost carrier that is to South East Asia what Ryanair/Easyjet is to Europe. Even though I paid "budget" prices I flew Business Class, on a flat bed, for an additional nominal fee. Find out how with this travel hack and never again will you compromise comfort for cost.

...next stop, Melbourne! 
April 28, 2017

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

Australia is a country I'm familiar with. It's basically Little Malaysia, the "foreign enough to be considered worldly b...

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

Coffee, cafés, cocktails, Chinese... despite a brief time in Sydney I seemed to have managed to sample a lil' bit of everything. This culinary accomplishment has nothing to do with my being intrepid (unless we're talking about how I collected 9 Kangaskhan in three days) nor there being sweet nothing else to do (quite the contrary - despite Sydney's lockdown laws there is a wealth of arvo activites for the eager visitor) but rather the diversity of offerings in the city and its suburbs. From fine dining by the beach to a classic brunch fry up, here are the 5 eateries that stood out the most in my short but sweet stay in Sydney.
April 26, 2017

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved

Coffee, cafés, cocktails, Chinese...  despite a brief time in Sydney I seemed to have managed to sample a lil' bit of ev...

Sydney, Australia: Bondi Beach, fine dining at Bondi Icebergs Club, and Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk

Sydney, Australia: Bondi Beach, fine dining at Bondi Icebergs Club, and Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk

Lunch at the award-winning Dining Room of the exalted Bondi Icebergs Club with a view of Australia's most photographed pool and Sydney's most famous beach on an unseasonably sunny Autumn afternoon - my day out in Bondi was one of superlatives.
April 24, 2017

Sydney, Australia: Bondi Beach, fine dining at Bondi Icebergs Club, and Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk

Lunch at the award-winning  Dining Room of the exalted Bondi Icebergs Club with a view of Australia's most photographed pool ...

My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: Part 1 - Mastopexy (Breast Reduction + Lift) & Liposuction, 1 Month Post-Op


It's hard to believe that only a month and 3 days ago I underwent full-body cosmetic surgery when I've spent the past 3 weeks traipsing around 4 cities in 2 countries - Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Sydney, Melbourne, back again to Kuala Lumpur - all while eatsploring (eat + exploring) up a storm in my leopard-print Aquazzuras. Last month I announced my decision and my reasons to be as candid, honest, and informative as possible regarding my choice to go under the knife. I compel you to read that post in its entirety but the TL;DR is that there is the lack of transparency from public figures who've had a helping hand which is not only shameful but dangerous in a culture and society that promotes and rewards unrealistic standards of beauty and perfection. I may lack many qualities (for one: the ability to take a taxi ride without falling asleep with my dribbling mouth open) but candour has never been one of them. So in that 'inform, inspire, and entertain' spirit of Posh, Broke, & Bored; here is the 1st installment of my plastic surgery diaries - the first 4 weeks following a mastopexy (breast reduction and lift) and upper body liposuction...

THIS BLOG POST IS NOT SPONSORED IN ANY WAY OR FORM (HEHE, FORM). ALL OPINIONS ARE SOLELY MINE AND FROM MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. NONE OF MY BLOG POSTS ARE INTENDED TO BE NOR SHOULD BE TAKEN AS PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE.
April 21, 2017

My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: Part 1 - Mastopexy (Breast Reduction + Lift) & Liposuction, 1 Month Post-Op

It's hard to believe that only a month and 3 days ago I underwent full-body cosmetic surgery when I've spent the past 3 wee...

Chiang Mai, Thailand: The Dhara Dhevi

Chiang Mai, Thailand: The Dhara Dhevi





PEACE, QUIET, & PADDY FIELDS AT THE DHARA DHEVI CHIANG MAI

April 10, 2017

Chiang Mai, Thailand: The Dhara Dhevi

PEACE, QUIET, & PADDY FIELDS AT THE DHARA DHEVI CHIANG MAI

Fendi Birthday Lunch at The Majestic Kuala Lumpur

A Birthday Lunch hosted by Fendi at The Majestic Kuala Lumpur


BREAKING MY POST-PLASTIC SURGERY CONFINEMENT AND RECLAIMING MY SOCIAL LIFE 
WITH MUMMY'S FENDI BIRTHDAY LUNCH AT THE MAJESTIC KUALA LUMPUR
💐 🥂 🍾 🎂 ✨

Oh, the sweet, orchid-scented air of freedom! What a fragrant, welcome change from the antiseptic-tinged pall of hospital wards and stagnant shroud of self-imposed social fatwa following my cosmetic surgery. As per doctor's orders, I had spent a week convalescing at home with my social life* as existent as my stomach fat post-liposuction - in other words, none at all. It was my mother's birthday week and as you know, fashion brands love to throw birthday parties for their favourite customers (case in point: Dior and Louis Vuitton). I had to miss the birthday lunches/brunches/teas hosted in honour of mummy by Miu Miu, Prada, and Louis Vuitton for the sake of my health, but happily I was well enough to attend the last of her fashion birthday celebrations - hosted by Fendi at the orchid conservatory of The Majestic Kuala Lumpur

*I DID GO OUT TO GET MY EYEBROWS AND NAILS DONE THE DAY BEFORE, BUT PERSONAL UPKEEP DOESN'T COUNT - THAT'S JUST COMMON DECENCY...
April 03, 2017

Fendi Birthday Lunch at The Majestic Kuala Lumpur

BREAKING MY POST-PLASTIC SURGERY CONFINEMENT AND RECLAIMING MY SOCIAL LIFE  WITH MUMMY'S FENDI BIRTHDAY LUNCH AT THE MAJ...

Beijing, China: The 6 Must-Visit Places That Inspired Me

The 6 Must Visit Places in Beijing, China

"Where are you from? No, where are you really from?" 

BEIJING, CHINA - AUTUMN 2008 & WINTER 2011:
 SPURRED BY QUESTIONS ABOUT MY HERITAGE, I TRACED 
MY STEPS BACK IN TIME WITH A VISIT TO MY ANCESTRAL LAND.

April 01, 2017

Beijing, China: The 6 Must-Visit Places That Inspired Me

"Where are you from? No, where are you really from?"  BEIJING, CHINA - AUTUMN 2008 & WINTER 2011 :  SPURRED ...

Kuala Lumpur: Mandala-making, meditation, & an introduction to yoga with Yogatara

Kuala Lumpur: Mandala-making, meditation, & an introduction to yoga with Yogatara
GETTING MY MANDALA ON AT YOGATARA WITH LINA TARA
SECRET BANDAR UTAMA LOCATION, KUALA LUMPUR
March 28, 2017

Kuala Lumpur: Mandala-making, meditation, & an introduction to yoga with Yogatara

GETTING MY MANDALA ON AT YOGATARA WITH LINA TARA SECRET BANDAR UTAMA LOCATION, KUALA LUMPUR

My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: The Prelude

My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: The Prelude - Why I'm choosing to be honest and transparent about it
MY COSMETIC SURGERY JOURNEY: THE PROLOGUE
WARNING: THIS BLOG POST MAY CONTAIN TRIGGERS

By the time you read this I may well already be on an operating table. Today, I’m checking into a hospital in Kuala Lumpur at 16:00 (GMT+8)  where I’ll spend the night prepping for the following life-changing morning: the day I take the first steps in my plastic surgery journey. Hold my hand, we're going in deep...

A HUGE THANK YOU TO MAXIMILIAN CLARKE WHO ALWAYS TAKES THE BEST PHOTOS OF ME 



IN THE INTEREST OF TRANSPARENCY...

My choice to undergo surgery in the name of vanity or rather my decision to be public and candid about it may seem odd to the uninitiated; given my upbringing and traditional East Asian demureness as well as the last vestiges taboo surrounding going under the knife. Regarding the former; Asians of a certain Oriental persuasion - I'm talking about the Overseas Chinese in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore; the Chinese, and especially the South Koreans - are increasingly conspicuous consumers of cosmetic procedures. In fact, most if not all of my extended circle in Kuala Lumpur have had or is seriously considering both invasive and non-invasive plastic surgery ie. fillers, Botox, implants, lateral canthoplasty and blepharoplasty (cutting or sewing double eyelids) etc. Honestly, for a while I felt like a dying breed given that the most drastic improvement I've had done to my looks was eyebrow embroidery (microblading) back in 2012: the faded, dubious rust-coloured stain of which now lives on my face looking like shameful skid marks. Please don't think that I'm jumping on the beauty bandwagon to keep up with the Joneses or rather the Kardashian-Jenners (of course, the fat lips I was mocked relentlessly for as a teenager are now the top selling product...) - the point I'm simply trying to make is that discussing or contemplating cosmetic surgery is becoming more acceptable in the East.



As for the latter reason for potential side-eye? It is precisely the lingering taboo around cosmetic surgery that compels me to be as honest and open as I can possibly be. It seems astonishing that a culture that celebrates and promotes a beauty standard unattainable by many would mock and vilify the very people who seek to reach those standards. To each their own, and to each their own opinions; but I find it disheartening at best (whatever happened to "live and let life?") and at its worst, dangerous. Dangerous that those who've had work done are held up as ideals of beauty yet the person is a target for vitriol while their newly bought looks are celebrated. All this does is compel some to be dishonest, which is especially bad if those who chose to lie are in the public eye and thus in a position of influence because it promotes the message: "If you want to be OMG INTERNET FAMOUS* get lip fillers/breast implants but then act all coy about it while selling a lifestyle to an impressionable audience and making bank by lying! Teeheeheee!" Fangirls will eventually stop drinking the Kool-Aid...but why build an empire on lies just to avoid criticism from detractors who shouldn't matter? 'Tis better to be disliked for who you are than loved for who you're not. Perpetuating a fallacy is not a legacy to be proud of.

*another thing I don't love: tween twits deciding they don't need an education, just YouTube to get ahead in life. STAY IN SCHOOL KIDS

My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: The Prelude - Why I'm choosing to be honest and transparent about it

"I'm no hero. I put my bra on one boob at a time, just like everybody else."  BUT YOU ARE A HERO, TINA,

Look, I'm not trying to start a "Life In Plastic, It's Fantastic!" acceptance movement, and even if I did I'm at least 5 years too late plus I'm not having anything (plastic or otherwise) added to my face nor body so I'm not sure I'd even qualify to be a spokesperson. Other than the fact that I'm too painfully honest to keep up the pretence as to why I'm disappearing from social commitments for the week it takes for me to recover, the simple fact is that I'm a giver. I love sharing and entertaining. It's why I put as much work as I do into my blog posts: it's not just enough for me to see and do, if anything is noteworthy I have to share it in a way that is hopefully both inspiring and informative. Of course, if blogging about plastic surgery is dissonant to Posh, Broke, & Bored feel free to tell me so. If the response is overwhelmingly "Do not want!" this will be the last you'll hear of it!

My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: The Prelude - Why I'm choosing to be honest and transparent about it
SO...WHAT? WHEN? AND HOW?

Tomorrow, first thing on Tuesday morning, I'm undergoing a mastopexy (breast reduction and lift) without implants and liposuction under general anaesthesia. My objectives are to reduce my frankly cumbersome 36E chest to a more manageable size and more pleasing shape that I may no longer have to minimise my bust line under sports bras nor eschew certain styles of clothing for fear of looking "extra". While I'm at it, I may as well streamline my figure by targeting stubborn areas of fat that no amount of exercise nor diet can shift - where weight training and cardio fail, that's where liposuction steps in - as a spot treatment, not a weight loss tool.



I'd love to share more about the procedures I'm having, the research that led me to my choices; plus the costs, options, and other nitty-gritty. To say nothing of my soon-to-be process including my day-to-day recovery and especially the results! But naturally my cup runneth over in more ways than one - I have to dash and do a hundred things today before I check in to the hospital. If you have any burning questions throw them my way on Instagram @poshbrokebored and I'll do my best to answer them. In the meanwhile...wish me luck! x


March 20, 2017

My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: The Prelude

MY COSMETIC SURGERY JOURNEY: THE PROLOGUE WARNING: THIS BLOG POST MAY CONTAIN TRIGGERS By the time you read this I may well...

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: The Good Co, Bangsar

The Good Co. in Bangsar is a healthy, meat-free, clean-eating cafe in Kuala Lumpur popular for their cold-pressed juices, artisan sandwiches, smoothie bowls, and salad pots.









THE GOOD CO, BANGSAR: HELPING BUSY MALAYSIANS EAT HEALTHIER,
 ONE NASI LEMAK IN AN INSTAWORTHY MASON JAR AT A TIME
March 15, 2017

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: The Good Co, Bangsar

THE GOOD CO, BANGSAR : HELPING BUSY MALAYSIANS  EAT HEALTHIER,   ONE NASI LEMAK IN AN INSTAWORTHY MASON JAR A...

Urban Jungle: Furla Spring/Summer 2017 Collection

The preview of Furla Spring/Summer 2017 Collection: Urban Jungle in Malaysia was held at the orchid conservatory of The Majestic Kuala Lumpur, where tropical prints and exotic shapes ran rampant in a #FieldOfImagination.








IT'S AN URBAN JUNGLE OUT THERE: THE MALAYSIAN PREVIEW OF
March 12, 2017

Urban Jungle: Furla Spring/Summer 2017 Collection

IT'S AN URBAN JUNGLE OUT THERE : THE MALAYSIAN PREVIEW OF FURLA SPRING/SUMMER 2017 AT THE MAJESTIC KUALA LUMPUR