{Phuket: Island-Hopping, Tom Yum & Chill Vibes}

Having been bitten by the globetrotting bug, I headed to Phuket, the mecca for beach lovers, over my summer break. I’d only ever visited Phuket during cruise vacations, so this was the first time I had the opportunity to explore more of the beautiful beach town. It was also my first trip abroad with the squad (4/6 of us!), so I was even more hyped for this trip.

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The trip was extremely spontaneous, having only planned it 2 weeks in advance when our schedules miraculously lined up and gave us a 4 day window for a vacation together.

Our Itinerary

Day 1//Sun Flight from Singapore to Phuket

Phuket Weekend Market

Day 2//Mon Island Hopping with JC Tours: Phi Phi Island + Maya Bay + Khai Island
Day 3//Tue Patong Beach

Shopping at Patong

Day 4//Wed Flight from Phuket to Singapore

Read On: Our Adventures

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{Shanghai-HK, Part 5: Food, Sights & Shopping in Hong Kong}

Part 1 |Part 2| Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

This is the last instalment in my Shanghai-HK series, but I’ll be back real soon with a post about my Phuket getaway! Anyway, this will just be a quick listicle featuring my must-visit destinations in Hong Kong, whether it’s your 10th time there (it was, for me) or if you’re new to this city. From sightseeing, to eating Michelin-starred food and of course shopping, this list has you covered!

Citygate Outlets

Nearest MTR Station: Tung Chung

This is a great way to kill time if you still have a few hours to your flight, as the outlet mall is just a shuttle bus away from Hong Kong’s airport. It offers mid-range luxury brands like Kate Spade, Coach, I.T and Samsonite, etc. at outlet prices (10-50% cheaper than in stores), and there’s no shortage of food options to satisfy your post/pre-flight cravings!

The fastest and cheapest way to the city from the airport is also via a shuttle bus from the airport to the outlets/Tung Chung station, from which you can take a train straight to the city area.

Langham Place

Nearest MTR Station: Mong Kok

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You might remember the viral video of an escalator malfunctioning, and tens of people tumbling backwards/downwards…well, this is the very escalator featured in that clip. Langham Place certainly doesn’t deserve a bad reputation from just a one-off incident; I’ve been to this mall a few times during my prior trips, and I love shopping here! Its spaciousness and modern design are already a huge wow factor, not to mention the hundreds of tenants that include major chain brands, beauty shops and eclectic design shops.

Argyle Street

Nearest MTR Station: Mong Kok

For Singaporeans, this is basically the Bugis Street of Hong Kong, with the trendiest clothes going at dirt cheap prices ($5 for shorts anyone?). All the clothing I bought in HK was from this mall. It’s conveniently located near Langham Place and Ladies’ Market, and you can find walking directions in the Mong Kok MTR station.

Scouring all 3 floors of this mall could take a few hours, so budget enough time and cash for this stop!

Sino Centre

Nearest MTR Station: Yau Ma Tei/Mong Kok

For K-pop and anime lovers, this place is nothing short of heaven. There’s 3 storeys of retail heaven small beaten up shops stuffed from floor to ceiling with albums and merchandise. The main demographic of customers to this mall are males, who throng the place in search of anime merchandise, which include replicas of their favourites characters and manga books as well.

As a K-pop fan, I’ve visited this dingy mall on every trip to HK, because it has all the albums, posters, fan merchandise and Korean magazines that you could possibly dream of. The prices are reasonable, and the selection is considerably wider than what can be found in Singapore.

Ladies’ Market

Nearest MTR Station: Mong Kok

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Street food, replica handbags and gaudy touristy tees – Hong Kong’s busiest night market has it all. Stalls open as early as 5pm and last through the night, but it is considerably less crowded if you go earlier, as tourists and locals tend to descend on the place after dark.

When my family was there, we overheard a store owner offering Caucasian tourists a shawl for HKD$100 – the very same shawl she had tried to sell us for half the price. They do mark up their goods to target non-Chinese/Asian tourists, so make sure to bargain for the best prices!

Harbour City

Nearest MTR Station: Tsim Sha Tsui

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On the way to Harbour City, you’ll walk past some grand-looking hotels and museums that overlook the harbour, though it’s almost always foggy. There’s also a nightly light show at Victoria Harbour which starts at 9pm, so be sure to watch it at least once on your HK vacation!

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Harbour City is by far my favourite upscale mall in HK, not only because it offers a stunning view of the city skyline (and the adjacent cruise terminal), but also because it has a massive duty-free shop for all the top international & Korean beauty brands.

Personally, I went slightly overboard at the Innisfree shop, because the deals and freebies they offered were insanely attractive, and the prices of all their products were significantly cheaper than in Singapore. If you’ve used up all your HK currency by this point, not to fret, you can easily swipe your credit card here (as opposed to in the smaller malls or markets)!

Times Square

Nearest MTR Station: Causeway Bay

Give this mall a miss if you’re short on time, because it’s just 13 stories of high-end luxury brands and some overpriced art galleries. If you’re looking for more affordable shopping in the area, try taking the MTR to Admiralty, where there’s a massive SOGO department store, as well as Forever 21, Ikea and Korean beauty stores.

Kam’s Roast Goose

Nearest MTR Station: Wan Chai

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If you want to try Hong Kong’s only Michelin starred roast goose, then Kam’s Roast Goose Restaurant is the place to go. Be prepared to shell out a fair amount of cash to dine at this place, and make sure that you go there early to avoid the hours-long line that forms around dinner time. My family and I headed there at around 4pm, when there was thankfully still no queue for a table.

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The roast goose was succulent and tender, but it was too oily for my liking. Well I guess I’m not cut out to be a food connoisseur, because I wouldn’t have given this restaurant a Michelin star; their goose was good but not spectacular.

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IFC Mall

Nearest MTR Station: Hong Kong

IFC Mall lies on the opposite side of the harbour from Harbour City, and is located in the central financial district. The mall offers mid to high-end luxury brands, as well as many floors of unique (and expensive) dining options.

If you want to take the Star Ferry from this side of Victoria Harbour to Tsim Sha Tsui, the jetty is just walking distance from this mall.

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And so we’ve come to the end of my Shanghai-HK series, but I’ll be back soon with all the latest details of my recent Phuket adventure, so stay tuned! Be sure to follow my blog and like my Facebook page so you’ll stay up to date with my latest globetrotting adventures!

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Part 1 |Part 2Part 3 | Part 4| Part 5

{Shanghai-HK, Part 4: Hong Kong Disneyland}

Part 1 | Part 2 |Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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I’ve been to HK Disneyland 4 times, but I’ll probably never get bored of visiting the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’. Anyway, this post will be pretty short since most of you would’ve been to HK Disney before…and it’s far smaller and less crowded than Shanghai’s Disney so there’s no need for any tips on how to make the most out of your day here; you can easily sit each ride multiple times, since the queue times are non-existent. So let’s jump right in!

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You can easily take the metro from any part of HK to Sunny Bay station, and then transfer to a Mickey-themed train on the Disney Resort Line, which brings you to Disneyland directly.

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Be sure to plan your trip the day before, so you know what time to set off from your hotel – you don’t want to be late for the park opening!

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It’s another 5-minute walk from the station to the park entrance, and there’s many good photo-taking spots even before you enter the park!

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Read On: Exploring Disneyland

{Shanghai-HK, Part 3: Shopping in Shanghai}

Part 1 |Part 2| Part 3 | Part 4Part 5

Shanghai is undoubtedly a shopping and food paradise, with good bargains to be found in every store, and all the food you could possibly indulge in. So in this post, I’ll be covering all the best shopping spots in Shanghai for travellers on any budget, as well as highlights of food we found in the city.

West Nanjing

Nearest metro station: Nanjing Road (West)

This area is shopaholic heaven for those of you who love fashion chains like Uniqlo, H&M, Marks & Spencer’s and Zara, and you could easily spend the whole day there. The first thing you’ll encounter when exiting the metro station is an entire lane selling street food and assorted desserts, so you’ll be spoilt for choice!

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Read On: The Best Places to Shop in Shanghai

{Shanghai-HK, Part 2: Shanghai Disneyland & Disneytown}

Part 1 |Part 2| Part 3 | Part 4Part 5IMG_6576

Visiting all the Disneylands in the world is on my bucket list, and so far, I’ve conquered all but 2 – if anyone wants to sponsor flight tickets to LA or Paris, I’d be eternally grateful – anyway, fair warning, this post is going to be chock full of pictures, given that I’m an extreme Disney addict and am trigger happy.

My family are Disney veterans, so we planned our trip such that we would visit Disneyland on at least 1 weekday, so we could enjoy taking the rides with no queues. Ideally, if your schedule permits, plan your Disney trip on Tues/Wed/Thurs as opposed to other days, because the queue times will always be significantly shorter (10 minute wait time on average vs 40 minutes on weekends/Fridays).

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And in typical ‘kiasu’ fashion, we showed up at 7.30am, although the park only opens at 8.00am. But it turns out that everyone else had the same idea, as there was a massive crowd waiting at the gates by the time we made it there. There were a lot of queue cutter – this is China after all – but the crowds were cleared very efficiently once the park opened.

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People began sprinting in the direction of their favourite rides, strollers and all; it was a rather terrifying sight, because in the other Disneylands I’ve been to, people were more chill and just brisk-walked to their rides instead of running the way these people did. It was drizzling intermittently our first day, but we didn’t really care for the rain, because honestly Disney >>> rain???

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Read On: Follow Me Around Disneyland + Tips

{Shanghai-HK, Part 1: Our Itinerary + Staying At The Disney Resort}

Part 1 |Part 2| Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

So…I’ve finally gotten around to writing this post after procrastinating for a whole month, and I’m really excited to be blogging about the 11 day trip to Shanghai and Hong Kong that my family went on in May this year, to celebrate surviving my first year of college.

The trip was nothing short of magical, and I low-key fell in love with Shanghai: the food, the sights, Disneyland and the people, but more on that in Part 3! First things first, here’s our trip itinerary:

Day 1// Wed Morning flight from Singapore to Shanghai

Shopping at Disney Town

Toy Story Hotel

Day 2// Thurs Shanghai Disneyland
Day 3// Fri …still in Disneyland 😛
Day 4// Sat West Nanjing

People’s Square

Day 5// Sun AP Plaza (a.k.a. the fake market)

Oriental Pearl Tower

Super Brand Mall

Disney Store

Day 6// Mon Qipu Road Clothing Market

East Nanjing

Sightseeing at the Bund

Day 7// Tues Flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong

Citygate Outlet shopping

Day 8// Wed Argyle Centre

Langham Place

Night Markets (Ladies’ Street)

Sino Centre

Day 9// Thurs HK Disneyland
Day 10// Fri Causeway Bay shopping

Kam’s Roast Goose Restaurant (Michelin-starred)

Victoria Peak

‘A Symphony Of Lights’ @ Victoria Harbour

Day 11// Sat Harbour City + Duty Free shopping

Flight from Hong Kong to Singapore

Whether you’re planning a holiday with your kids to Disneyland or you’re a shopaholic looking for the best bargains in both cities, I hope this 5-part series will help you plan a memorable vacation in either of these 2 stunning cities! If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to drop me a message or just hit me up on my other social media sites. 🙂

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I hopped off the plane at L.A.X. Shanghai with a dream and my cardigan (does anyone get the reference?)….only to end up on the tarmac and be herded unceremoniously onto a waiting airport shuttle that brought us to the main terminal. I’ll be the first to admit that I was kinda shocked at how rural Pudong Int’l airport seemed; I had expected a nice fancy airport a la Singapore’s Changi Airport, given that Shanghai is a big city.

And gosh, I thought the weather in May (end of spring) would be bordering on hot, but NO IT WAS 16 DEGREES OUTSIDE. I was unbelievably happy to get away from the eternally humid and hot Singapore, to this pleasantly cool/cold ‘air-conditioned’ environment. We were most certainly off to a good start; read on for more!

Read On: Exploring Disneytown & Staying At Toy Story Hotel

Life in YLLSoM

Maybe I’m googling wrongly, but there seems to be a dearth of information with regard to what life in NUS Med is like, which is why I’m attempting to write such a post – key word being attempting. In this post, I’ll try to give you a rough overview of what life as a first-year medical student is like, though everything expressed here is my own opinion, so don’t hold me liable to any damage to your sanity (did we even have any left after A levels???) if you enter med and realise it’s not like what I described.

A day in the life of an M1

(we’re M1’s, 2nd years are M2’s and so on)

  • The first lecture starts at 8.30AM; we normally have 2 to 4 hours of lectures every morning, with a 30 mins break in between to grab food
  • Lunch break!! How long you have depends on your afternoon schedule – or you might be able to go home on a good day
  • There may or may not be tutorials later on in the day, but they generally end by 4/5pm latest
  • In M1, we have 4 subjects: Anatomy, Physiology, Histology & Biochemistry
    • Anatomy: Lots of Latin and names of muscles you never even knew you had
    • Physiology: By far the most logical & interesting subject, cos it explains how the body works
    • Histology: 50 Shades of Pink; it’s been almost a year and I still can’t differentiate between the blobs
    • Biochemistry: Like H2 Bio all over again (memorising names and pathways) and thankfully not very significant in the syllabus
  • Anatomy hall is once a week, we get to examine the parts we’re studying on actual cadvers, thanks to our silent mentors (the people who donated their bodies to science)
    • Beware the fumes, and if you have a weak stomach…you’ll just have to get used to it.
    • It’s 100% free and easy, you can enter any time during your assigned 2-hour slot, and leave once you’re done with the session objectives
    • There are always many profs on standby to take your questions, so ask them anything/everything, cos they’re a treasure trove of info and can even give hints before exams 😛
  • Tutorials are compulsory, they take attendance
    • They’re for you to clarify stuff with your tutor if you’re the type who studies beforehand, or treat it as a 2nd lecture if you still haven’t caught up with the content
    • Is there anything more to be said about tutorials???
  • House system
    • You’ll be sorted into 1 of 10 houses at the start of M1. I’m in Honoris/House 8, so if any of you end up in our house, be sure to say hi to me!! 🙂
    • Each house has 30 people from your batch, and those are the people you’ll be stuck with for most of M1/M2, which could be good or bad, depending on how well you click with them. It’s pretty much like a JC class.
    • For our batch, they split each house into 4 CGs (7-8 people in each clinical group), and you’ll attend tutorials and visit hospital wards with them. If you don’t like your CG, don’t worry, you’re only gonna be with them for 2 years; from M3 onwards, you get to choose your own CG, so you can form it with your good friends instead! 😀

Read On: The good & the not-so-good

The (not-so-definitive) guide to applying for NUS Med/YLLSoM & NTU/LKCSoM

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been looking around for more info on whether your grades will make the cut for local med, or what the application timeline is like. I remember being in your shoes last year, equally lost and worried as to whether I would be able to make it to a local medical school, and googling for tips didn’t really dig up any results. So, I’ve written this post to shed some light on the application process for NUS & NTU, as well as to give y’all some useless tips on how to prepare your portfolio and the subsequent Focused Skills Assessment + Situational Judgement Test.

Below are some of the topics I’ll be covering in this post:

  • Timeline for NUS
  • Grade requirements
  • NUS Application + Portfolio
  • NUS: FSA + SJT
  • NTU Application
  • NTU: MMI
  • Admission outcome & the waitlist

Timeline for NUS

Early March A-level results release
Mid March Submit application
End March Shortlisting for the interview + preparation of portfolio
Mid – End April NUS Selection (FSA + SJT)

NTU Selection (MMI)

Early May Notice of acceptance!!
May – End July Accepted/rejected + waitlist

Sorry but I can’t really remember the timeline for NTU, but if you follow the NUS timeline, you won’t miss any of the NTU deadlines either, cos both have extremely similar application processes. And you can’t apply for NTU unless you took the BMAT last November.

Read On: FSA+SJT+NTU Application

{Seoul, Part 7: Namsam Tower, Cat Cafe & Tax Refunds}

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Seoul is notoriously rainy in July, so we were worried that it would rain on the day we decided to visit Namsan/N-Seoul Tower, but thankfully, the clouds were on our side and kept it cloudy but not rainy for the whole day! We also went to Namdaemun and a cat cafe in Myeongdong on the same day; read on to be bombarded by more pictures of fluffy cats, you’ve been warned.

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I’ll also be covering the process of getting a tax refund at the airport at the bottom of this post, so click on to find out more!

Read On: Namsan Tower, Cat Cafes & Tax Refunds @ Incheon Airport

{Seoul, Part 6: JYP, SM, YG Ent.}

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

This post is for all my fellow K-pop fans out there and contains directions to navigate your way to the various K-pop entertainment companies (JYP, FNC, YG), INFINITE’s Hapjeong dorm, and I’ll also feature a wonderful shopping paradise – COEX Mall, plus loads of pictures of SM Town Land/SMTOWN@coexartium.

I visited JYP Ent, SMTOWN@coexartium and Coex Mall in one day, and went to YG Ent the following day. These places are a mecca of sorts for us K-pop fans, so if your itinerary has a blank spot, why not make a ‘pilgrimage’  to the very buildings the idols work and train in?

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You’ve been warned: this post is basically a flood of pictures and my fangirling.

Read On: Visiting JYP, YG & SM Ent