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Tag Archives: travel

An afternoon in Penang – an Insider’s guide of the best things to do.

For as far back in my childhood as I can remember, we always take a family holiday in Penang.

If you are new to Penang, it is an island off the Malay Peninsula, in the Strait of Malacca.

If you are staying longer than 24 hours, then there are loads of beach resorts. We normally stay in Rasa Sayang hotel at Batu Ferringhi.

If you are only there for a short visit, I thought I’d show you my favourite places. The capital of Penang is George Town. What I love about George Town are the beautiful British colonial buildings with a Chinese twist. The colonial buildings are all scattered over George Town. I love how colourful they are. Penang street art Another fun thing you could do in George town, Penang, is the street art walk.

Ernest Zacharevic was commissioned in 2012 by the Penang Municipal Council to create a street art project in Georgetown called ‘Mirrors George Town’ in different locations of the old town.

The little children on the bicycle art by Ernest can be found in Lebuh Armenian. Nearby on Lebuh Cannon is ‘Reaching up’, also by Zacharevic. Isn’t it adorable? Strangely nostalgic too.  This “I want Bao” mural , found in Armenian street is by Ming Xiang Tai. I really love this ‘Prayer’ street art, found in Armenian Street art alley.

As yet, I am unsure who the artist is. If you like seafood, then head to the Da shu xia (Tree shade) seafood restaurant at 177C Lebuh Victoria in George Town.

You know the seafood is fresh there because, you get pick your own fish or crab from the aquarium before cooking.

Hidden inside the restaurant is this mural by an unknown artist. The tins of Milo and Ovaltine malted chocolate drinks brought back childhood memories. I’m sure you would be hungry after a busy morning of street art.

Here is a hidden gem, only known to locals for lunch. Ha! The secret is now out.

This is Mo Teng Pheow located in Jalan Masjid, off Chulia street in Penang.

This is Penang’s famous 60 year old kuih factory. Kuih are bite sized Malaysian cakes made from rice or glutinous rice, and they used to be sold by street vendors as illustrated in the mural. Penang hidden gem restaurant Behind the kuih factory lies this canteen – the secret!

Check out the decor. Love the tiles, brick wall and pops of yellow and red. At a very affordable price, you get to sample all the Malaysian classic dishes, cooked in the traditional way.

On the right hand side, you can see the colourful plate of kuih.

We ordered Nasi Lemak (my favourite dish) – coconut rice with, spiced anchovies and tamarind prawns. Then there is assam Laksa – a noodle dish with a spicy and sour fish broth, and Nasi Kuning (yellow sticky rice) with a chicken curry.

Goodness me, I’m feeling so hungry now.

Finally, hope you have enjoyed this post and will find it useful when you visit Penang in Malaysia.

There are lots to do in Penang, but I thought I’d just share my favourite from this Summer.

Have a lovely week all.

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell).

Top spots to visit in Dorset, Devon and Wiltshire in South West England.

This has been one of the warmest Summers I have ever experienced in the UK. We’ve had 3 whole weeks of dry heat and sunshine.

I really think it’s been the perfect time to explore UK’s coastal areas.

I recently wrote about where to eat, shop and play in Margate, South East England.

So now, I thought I’d turn my attention to South West England.

My most recent visit were to Dorset, Devon and Wiltshire.

I’ve always wanted to see Durdle Door (image above), one of Dorset’s most iconic landmarks on the Jurassic Coast.

I can tell you now that it didn’t disappoint. Isn’t it breathtakingly beautiful?

Durdle Door is a limestone arch formed by the waves from rock erosion. Durdle is from the old English word ‘thirl’ which means drill.

If you are planning a trip to Dorset or driving further down to Devon, then I would highly recommend Durdle Door as a stopover.

Adjacent to Durdle Door is the beautiful Lulworth Cove and village.

This house is called Cove Cottage, and I believe it is available for hire. If I ever owned a house in the countryside, I would love to have one that looked like this. I’m not sure how easy it is to maintain a thatch roof, but they sure look pretty don’t you think? These English stone houses look so idyllic and romantic. If you have a sweet tooth, then you have to visit The Doll’s House, a minty blue 19th Century Grade 2 listed cottage, that was once inhabited by fishermen, until 1992. You can find yummy cream teas and ice creams here. Perhaps what they are most famous for here, are their home-made fudge with natural ingredients and flavours, sourced locally where possible. Did you know that Thomas Hardy lived in Dorset? Many of the places he describes in his books were based around the surrounding areas there.

This was a poem that he wrote about Lulworth Cove scribed on the wall in the village. I thought I’d show off my Salted Caramel ice cream from Jake’s in front of the Hardy wall. We stayed at Hawkchurch Resort and Spa in Devon, at the border of Dorset. It’s a 5 star luxury retreat with views over the Axe Valley. This is a view of our holiday lodge at Hawkchurch, and might I add, complete with an outdoor hot tub.  The decor had a relaxed Scandi Coastal feel, and we felt instantly at home when we arrived.

It’s so nice to have a kitchen on holiday, so we can cook up delicious meals at leisure, as we unwind with a glass of wine in the evening. We were surrounded by beautiful countryside and greeted by the gentle baa of sheep. There were also holiday homes for sale at Hawkchurch Resort and Spa.

I was curious, so got a little tour of the homes for sale. These beautiful holiday lodges start from £80,000 to around £200,000. Here’s one of the double bedrooms. The homes come fully furnished and dressed. They even have super cute roll top baths in their bathrooms. I think I would request for mine to be pink. How about you? There was a reception area with friendly staff on hand to assist guests.

I was fascinated by the lighting in the lobby area. How fun is this version with glasses? The facilities at Hawkchurch Resort and Spa was second to none.

They had a large indoor swimming pool, a spa that offered the best back rubs, and a restaurant with delicious theme nights.

We particularly enjoyed Fish and Chips, and Curry night. devon lyme regis A short car drive from Hawkchurch Resort & Spa took us to the picturesque harbour village of Lyme Regis. There were so many colourful doors to snap. I was in total insta heaven. It was a pleasant stroll on the beach, with a nostalgic British seaside vibe. devon How cute are these colourful beach huts for hire?

I’ve never hired a beach hut before, have you?

I guess it’s nice to have a base, if you were spending the whole day on the beach. This is the door colour of my dreams, at Bayleaf cottage. The best place for breakfast in Lyme Regis, Devon, is The Town Mill Bakery. All their breads are freshly baked on the day. I believe they also have a traditional Mill next door, but this was not open when we were there.  This was the most delicious Turkish eggs I had for breakfast at the Town Mill bakery with bacon rashes and sourdough bread. Since we’re on the topic of food, I thought I’d show you a great place for lunch in Lyme Regis called Swim on Marine Parade, which is right on the beach.

The view is amazing and the decor is a super cool Boho Urban jungle style. This was what I had for lunch and it was so tasty. It’s called Sunbeam, and consisted of red and white quinoa, falafel, baby spinach, hummus, roasted peppers, slow roasted tomatoes, quick pickled cucumber and red onion, toasted seeds and citrus dressing.

It was as delicious as it sounded. I didn’t do much shopping during my time away, but I did stock up on my favourite Dorset tea. We had such a fabulous trip in Devon and Dorset.

Our drive back to London took us past Wiltshire, and we decided to stop over for lunch at Pythouse Kitchen garden. There is also a walled garden which at the time we were there, was not yet in full bloom. I bet it looks amazing now. I’ve written about my trip to the walled garden a few years back. Our lunch was amazing. Everything was homegrown from their gardens. It was such a treat to see Stonehenge on the drive back too. top places to visit England Hope you have enjoyed my little tour of South West England. It certainly was an amazing time away with the family.

( All photography are my own. I would like to thank Hawkchurch Resort and Spa for inviting me to stay.)

The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection hotel.

I realise I’ve already been back for 2 months from my Summer trip to Tokyo, and I still haven’t written about it.

This is a Tokyo post, but more to thank The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection hotel, for hosting our very short overnight stay after Kyoto, en route to Hong Kong.

The Prince Gallery Tokyo is located in the Nagatcho business district, sandwiched between the Imperial Palace and Crown Prince’s residence. It is on the top 7 floors of a 26 storey tower (photo above).  As we got off the lift, we were greeted with double height ceilings and far reaching views over the city.

This is the impressive reception area, surrounded by floating sculptural pieces of art and a contemporary fireplace.

Aren’t those curved seats beautiful? What do you think of this little bar area encased in marble? The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho Feast your eyes on the view from the reception area.
Our bedrooms were pure luxury. You can see the amazing picture frame window at the far end.

As we gazed out of our window, this was what we saw. Here is the elegant desk area with a super large television. Here’s a little tour of the bathroom. Our hotel room had the most amazing facilities. Here is the walk in rain shower and bath. All the bathroom fittings were beautifully curated.

Outside the hotel was this Classic House at Akasaka Prince, built in the 1930s and now home to one of Prince Hotel’s restaurant, bar and café. We ate at Akasaka Prince. It was Western food, which was a relief as we had been eating Japanese for most meals, so welcomed the change.

The food was delicious. There were more restaurants at the hotel, but since it was only a stopover for us, we didn’t get to sample the other venues. We did however enjoyed the wonderful hospitality at the Club Lounge on the 34th floor. I really wished I could have stayed longer.

The next time I visit Tokyo again, I will definitely return to the Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho.

(All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. )

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