contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.


Melbourne, VIC
Australia

_MG_4535header.jpg

Les Petites Choses

S A N T O R I N I

Kelven Ng

The second half to our week long trip in Greece in June was to a place that we have had on our bucket list ever since we met. Seeing all the amazing photos taken here, we had an idea of the views we would see when we arrived but as usual, we were still left with our jaws on the floor. The temperatures during our stay were HOT though. At one point, the van we were in said it was 42 degrees Celsius!

We spent our 4 days here wandering around the island - seeing Oia but also renting a car and driving around to the surrounding towns. You could see most of the island in a day if you had access to a car so I recommend that if you find yourself in Santorini.
The main town on the island is definitely Oia. The days we spent here were extremely hot. But you do what you gotta do to see that iconic view. We honestly haven't sweat like that before but in the end it was worth it. To say that we saw the view in all of the post cards is pretty special. But, I will say that the view isn't just what you will experience if you want to see a sunset over Oia. What the pictures don't show is the immense amount of people clammering for that same view. It can be a bit stressful, loud, and not at all relaxing. But as in life, it's all in your perspective. We had a fantastic time here.
How we got there?
After our 3 night stay in Mykonos, we hopped on the Seajet ferry from the new port and headed over to Santorini. Costing about $60 EUROs per ticket, the trip is only about 2 hours long and it is comfortable ride. The only issue? Be prepared to be crowded on the way out of the ferry. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you have ever been on one of these ferry rides.

Where we stayed?
It may sound strange to say but our hotel in Santorini was one of the biggest highlights of our trip. San Antonio Santorini is located between the town of Oia and Imerovigli. The hotel is fairly isolated as it sits between in the middle of two cliffs but that is what gave this place such an incredible view. I’ll let the pictures do the talking even though they really don’t it justice.

We spent a lot of time at the hotel during our stay in Santorini simply because you had everything you would want for a honey moon here. Infinity pool overlooking the caldera, great food at the restaurant, incredible weather, outdoor private Jacuzzi and veranda with a view, you name it. The hot temperatures during the week we were in Santorini also gave us good reason to stay in our comfortable room.
What we ate
We have to admit that we ate a lot at our hotel. The food was delicious and surprisingly some of the best we had on our trip. The wine menu was extensive and there was also some great variety in the food menu too. This restaurant was the epitome of a meal with a view.

When we weren't eating at the restaurant, we were wandering around Oia and other towns and snacking away as we went. In all honesty, it was so hot on some days that we did not feel hungry at all. But, we did enjoy more of the grilled squid, roast lamb, and tzatziki with pita bread.
Overall
We are so glad that we had the chance to visit Greece. This was our first time venturing into Europe together since we met and this trip did not disappoint. Greece had always been on our bucket list and we promised that we would go and see it together. The incredible seaviews will remain with us forever. Time to look forward to the rest of Europe :)

M Y K O N O S

Kelven Ng

Wow, it has been a long time since our last entry. The last time we posted, we had just left Australia and moved to another new country and new home. A year and a half has passed! Less than 2 weeks ago, I got to marry my best friend and without a doubt, my better half, J :) But anyway, we'll save that for perhaps another post. This post is to document our recent travels to a place we both held in our bucket list, Greece.

Two days after our wedding day, we had our bags packed and headed from Vancouver to Montreal to Athens and then finally to Mykonos. Needless to say, it was a long, full day of travel. We had only 7 full days there, so we had to make the most of it.

Arriving by plane from Athens, our first stop of the minimoon was in Mykonos. Now, we were told prior to coming that Mykonos was the island known for its parties and night life but despite being hardly the party people, we had to see this town for ourselves. We were here for only 3 days and 3 nights so our time was short but here are some highlights of what we saw during our stay.

What we did

Roaming around Mykonos town was definitely a highlight for us. Streets of white walls, doors of varying shades of blue, a few purple flowers thrown in between - it all sounds too much like everything we've seen in post cards but it is truly what you see here. The streets were laid out in a confusing array of twists and turns and that was by design. The town was constructed in a labyrinth like fashion to fend off invaders in the past and it manifests a charm that you don't see very often. Within Mykonos town are the windmills which stand up on a low cliff that overlooks Little Venice. Both are must sees.
On one of the days, we rented a car and toured the island. Since Mykonos is only about 40 square miles, it was fairly easy to get around quickly. It was the only way to see some of the amazing, pristine beaches strewn across the island. The cost was 45 EUR per day. Alternatives to renting a car would be to rent a scooter or an ATV. Both are good options for exploring and will make parking much easier. Having said that, the streets of Mykonos were quite narrow and a car is definitely safer.
Set upon one of the most stunning places I have ever been to, it was a no brainer to hire a captain to take us on the water for a sunset cruise. We went with Mykonos on Board and asked Artemis to take us on a private sunset tour to surprise J. It was easily one of the biggest highlights of our entire trip. Highly recommend you find Artemis for a cruise if you are ever in Mykonos.

Where we stayed

We stayed at the Roccabella Mykonos and it was perfect. After a long 30+ hours of travel, it was such a welcome sight to arrive at this hotel. Roccabella picked us up from the airport on a private shuttle and when we arrived at the reception of the hotel, we were greeted with smiling faces and a glass of champagne. We were then given a walkthrough of all the amenities of the hotel and finally, we arrived in our room. We opted for a sea view room with rooftop jacuzzi. Needless, we were left wanting nothing more. It made it easy to stay in the hotel if we wanted some time to relax (ie. in the rooftop jacuzzi, overlooking the water, all the while with a glass of champagne) but with Mykonos town being only 10 minutes away, it also made it easy for us to get out and explore. Shuttle rides to and from the hotel were free. The breakfast served every morning was fantastic as well - fruits, greek yogurt, granola, omelettes, coffee, pastries, pretty much anything you could ask for.

What we ate

Mykonos is full of good eats and great restaurants. Katarina's Restaurant in Little Venice within Mykonos Town has an amazing view from the patio that overlooks the water and the windmills. Great place for a few appetizers and drinks while watching the sunset.
Kiki's was a place I really wanted to go based on reading reviews but it was a ways away from our hotel and the town. That was the day that we decided to rent a car and drive around the island. Located north of Mykonos town, Kiki's is a restaurant that apparently does not have any electricity or telephones. In fact, there are no signs pointing to the restaurant at all. Yet, despite all of that, when we got there, there was an hour and a half wait. Good thing there was a great view of the water and the beach below! It was a scorcher that day with temperatures at around 30+ degrees so waiting wasn't fun but while you wait, there is free house wine and water. When we finally sat down for our late lunch, we had a great traditional Greek meal with whole grilled seabass, squid, and raki.
Funky Kitchen came as a recommendation from Rocabella and it was also fun and yummy. It was our first night in Mykonos when we were here so we were admittedly zombie like from our lack of sleep but from what we remember, the service was fantastic and the food was a great twist of modern and traditional Mediterranean.

Aglio E Olio was actually a pleasant surprise for us because we felt like having some Italian after 2 months of essentially not eating any pasta leading up to the wedding. It was brand new and situated in the heart of Mykonos Town. We were commenting that the layout and decor of the restaurant was one of the most impressive we have both seen anywhere, not just Greece. The charcuterie board was... well... massive and beautifully presented. Unfortunately, by the time we finished that, we were full!

Overall

We were very pleasantly surprised by Mykonos. We came in with the impression that this would be a party island but it was so much more than that. It was everything we could have wanted for our minimoon and we could definitely see ourselves being back.

P H U K E T

Kelven Ng

It has been a year since we vacationed in Bali, a vacation that was intended as a reward for having just found our apartment that would be our home for the next year in Melbourne. It was a fantastic break that made us yearn for another "resort-y" vacation where we can simply lazy about and worry about nothing other than what to eat and how early we should jump in the pool.

Fast forward a year and a bit later and we are now planning our move back to the Pacific Northwest for a great opportunity so we thought we would commemorate it by going on another relaxing vacation - this time, to Phuket, Thailand. Having never been to Thailand, this seemed a good time to try. Phuket has great beaches, amazing food, and accommodations, so why not?

We explored the islands surrounding Phuket by speedboat and it was incredible. The weather worked out for us despite it being the tail end of the rainy season. If you get a chance to visit Phuket, we highly recommend doing a speedboat tour. There are plenty of places to see close to Phuket and a company such as Phuket Sailing Tours will give you a great idea of what is nearby.
We were also taken to a floating village for lunch which was great cultural experience. The food was great too! 

We were also taken to a floating village for lunch which was great cultural experience. The food was great too! 

We stayed at two places during our trip to Thailand. We will review both below:
Anantara Phuket Villas

Our trip to Phuket started with a stay at the Anantara Phuket Villas. The resort is just 20 minutes from the airport so it was a relief to be able to relax so soon after our long flights. From the moment we arrived at the gates, we were treated like honored guests. We were served a refreshing drink and given jasmine bracelets (the smell is just heavenly) as we were checked in. The resort has a  traditional Thai feel to it, luxurious but not over the top.

We rented a private villa with our very own pool and were we ever glad we did. The villa was beautiful and spacious. Everything about this villa oozed luxury but not in the cold, sterile, modern way. The pool was big enough for a nice swim to cool down during the day and attached to the pool was an outdoor bath. Our only complaint was that the outdoor bath took ages to fill up (you would need about an hour to fill it up so start drawing the bath early).

There were a few options at the Anantara for food. La Sala is the venue for the buffet breakfast (quality Thai or western breakfast with lots of options, this was included in our room rate) but you could also come here for any other meal during the day. This is where you would want to go within the resort for a more traditional Thai meal. To be honest though, the food fell short of our expectations considering the price we paid for our meals ($30-40 per person).

The other restaurant was Sea Fire Salt. More of a fine dining experience, your meals are served on hot blocks of Himalayan salt. It is a unique experience but again, the food was not exceptional. We paid almost $80 per person (keeping in mind that we are in Thailand and street food usually costs less than $5) and we were left feeling underwhelmed.  There were not too many local food options near the hotel, so we had to stick to what was available.

Overall our stay at the Anantara was fantastic other than a few hiccups. If you want to experience staying in a resort that is more traditional, luxurious, and private, Anantara is a great option. However, don't expect great value for the food available at this resort.
SriPanwa.jpg
Sri Panwa

Well I will start off by saying that our stay at the Sri Panwa was the highlight of our trip.  The private ocean view villa with pool was everything you could ever want. The suite was enormous (over 1,000 square feet) and included two separate buildings - one for the bedroom and ensuite bathroom and a second one for a living area with a separate kitchen and bath.

The views from our apartment were jaw dropping. Imagine a vacation where you have the choice to wake up to and/or swim in your very own infinity pool while overlooking the ocean from a view about 50 meters from sea level. You can expect the private ocean villas to all have fantastic views.

The food at Sri Panwa was also really good. We found the food to be more authentically Thai and although much more expensive than the street food you could find in the city, still far better value than the food we had at our previous stay at the Anantara. The must-do at this hotel though, had to be the Baba Nest open air roof top bar. No pictures do this setting justice. Basically 360 degrees of unobstructed panaramic view of the ocean and islands in the vicinity, this is a setting that makes you feel like you're a million miles away from home and you're so content with that.

Whether you're looking for a honey moon or just a vacation to really spoil yourself, the Sri Panwa was all that and more. We couldn't have asked for anything else here and we cannot wait to come back.
One of the highlights of Sri Panwa though... had to be the roof-top bar (below).

One of the highlights of Sri Panwa though... had to be the roof-top bar (below).

L B 2

Kelven Ng

Coffee has become a way of life for us here in Melbourne. I could not get through even a couple of hours of work in the morning without one. Luckily there are just about an infinite number of independent coffee shops within a 5 minute walk from the office. The problem with having so many choices is that it can make you indecisive, but one that we found recently called LB2 had me quit all other coffee shops in the vicinity. Located in the CBD, close to Southern Cross station, this is yet another coffee shop located in a laneway (aka alley).

The coffee is fantastic here. Even though Melbourne has an abundance of coffee shops, I really can taste a significant difference between one served here and one served across the street. Not only is the coffee good (they have a lot of variety and consistently bring in new roasts to try), they have great people here too. While this place is located in the heart of corporate Melbourne (a lot of lawyers, accountants and consultants come here), Veng and Emily have become familiar faces to me now but they know their coffee inside and out and they help to create a laid back atmosphere to the whole joint.

Anyway, talk is talk but they serve some fantastic coffee here. It is places like this that make me sad when I think about the options back in Vancouver.

L B 2
Down a back laneway
2 Gallagher Place
Melbourne, VIC 3000
LB2 Cafe on Urbanspoon

The 10 things I learned through travelling

Kelven Ng

I was born and raised in Vancouver, a city that by all accounts has and always will be considered home for me. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I finally left the city to stay in Toronto for a summer. That was my first real taste of what it was like to leave my bubble. When I decided to pick up my bags and move to London for a year, I left with the feeling that there had to be more – more to be seen, to be heard, to be tasted and to be experienced. Since then I have had the privilege of living for extended periods in Melbourne and London and I have travelled to so many amazing places in Africa, Europe, Asia and now Australia.

I have learned so much while travelling. The thing is, everyone takes away something different from the experience. But if I had to summarize what I had learned, it would be this: 

1. The world is much bigger than your own backyard. It might have been easy to be content with staying in my home town of Vancouver but if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that the world has so much more to offer. Home will always be home. Travelling to Ghana/Zambia, Japan, Turkey, and Ireland amongst other places has taught me that not only is there so much more out there. Had I stayed in one place the entire time, I shudder thinking about what I would have missed out on. 
That moment when you glance upon something that leaves you breathless... that's when I knew that I made the right choice to come here. 

That moment when you glance upon something that leaves you breathless... that's when I knew that I made the right choice to come here. 

2. What matters most. What is the saying? “You don’t know what you got til it’s gone?” While I did say that the world is huge and I’m so glad that I didn’t remain content to stay in one place, being away from home has slowly made me realize what is truly important. Some might say that it would have been easier to realize sooner, only, you don’t really understand what or how much to appreciate something or someone until you do.
There's something about the west coast that will always draw me in. 

There's something about the west coast that will always draw me in. 

3. To reserve judgement. We’ve all done it. Whether in high school, uni or even now, we’ve all judged people or developed an opinion of someone or some situation. Travelling all over the world, you see all kinds of people, in all sorts of situations. You see people in a rush to catch their flight, people who drink a pint alone at a pub, people who make conversations with random strangers and it made me realize that we are all individuals and that we should never be so quick to judge.

One of my most memorable moments in Europe wouldn’t have even happened if we let our judgements get the best of us. Myself and my friend Angela met a lone traveller on our ferry ride from Split to Hvar island in Croatia. He was really friendly and offered to drive us to Hvar town. This guy was huge and much older than we were (I mean, he could have easily crushed me and who knew what would have happened to Angela haha) but after some consideration, we decided to go with it. We ended up having a bottle of white wine in a completely off the road Croatian bar that a tourist would have never found, on a “VIP” table overlooking the Mediterranean – it was incredible. The bottom line, we are all different. We are all our own individuals and as much as coexist, we each have our own world. 

People are inherently good - travelling has not swayed me from that belief one bit. You would be surprised at the goodness of people that you meet on the road. 

People are inherently good - travelling has not swayed me from that belief one bit. You would be surprised at the goodness of people that you meet on the road. 

4. The world is not based on how others see you. When I lived in London, one thing I found about living in such a transient metropolis is that people will get by regardless of how others think of them. And that's the point – chances are you are never going to see them again. So, much to point no. 3, even if you had your opinions, you know what? It doesn’t matter. Worrying less about what others think and more about what you think of yourself is one of the most critical things I learned over the years. 

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s going to happen. So embrace it.
When you think about it, being happy in the moment has little to do with how the world sees you. 

When you think about it, being happy in the moment has little to do with how the world sees you. 

It's a work in progress but I really learned to be comfortable doing... whatever. That included eating on my own while travelling through Europe - in fact, it became one of the most relaxing moments of the day. 

It's a work in progress but I really learned to be comfortable doing... whatever. That included eating on my own while travelling through Europe - in fact, it became one of the most relaxing moments of the day. 

5. The little things make the biggest impact. I heard someone say once that the most dangerous thought that someone can have is that their contribution is going to be so small that it doesn’t matter, so they won’t do anything. I couldn’t disagree more.  From standing on the Cliffs of Moher watching the sun set, to listening to the current over the Victoria Falls as we swam on the edge, to sipping wine al fresco in the town of Vernazza, so many times, I remember moments where I stood there thinking… what could be more perfect than this? To me, it is the small things that make all the difference.
6. Shit happens. Forget travelling, in our everyday lives, shit just happens sometimes. To quote Bruce Wayne’s father, “why do we fall?” It’s so we can learn to pick ourselves back up. Travelling isn’t all great, all the time. From being ticketed at the beginning of my trip to Cinque Terre for having the wrong train pass, to having heat stroke in Zambia, to suffering food poisoning at the beginning of a road trip through the Isle of Skye, you learn to roll with it - to adapt. I learned that even if something happens, you still get there – if you want it. If we let every obstacle hold us down, we wouldn’t get anywhere in life. Push through.
Ah, Barcelona. The place where it rained all week long and I encountered bed bugs for the first time. 

Ah, Barcelona. The place where it rained all week long and I encountered bed bugs for the first time. 

I turned off my alarm and nearly missed my early morning hot air balloon ride in Cappadoccia, Turkey. Good thing the driver banged on every door to see where I was! 

I turned off my alarm and nearly missed my early morning hot air balloon ride in Cappadoccia, Turkey. Good thing the driver banged on every door to see where I was! 

7. That you may end up more lost than you were before but most importantly, that you are ok with it. Some people think that people who are well travelled just know what they want in life - That they are more enlightened. If an increased sense of wanderlust counts, then I agree with you. You realize that there is so much that you want to do, to see, to experience still and that even if you came back even less decisive, you’re ok with it. A trip doesn't change the person you are instantaneously. But you might find that your perspective on things change without you even realizing it.  
Getting lost is not the end of the world - especially when you have views like this along the way. 

Getting lost is not the end of the world - especially when you have views like this along the way. 

8. The realization that the place you left behind is actually perpetually in a time vacuum. After coming home from living in London, it was strange to see that nothing of significance had changed. You ask friends and family what’s new and most would say, “not much really.” It makes you think… how can that be? It feels like I have changed immensely over the same amount of time, how come it feels like time stands still here. If anything, this feeling gave me the push to keep exploring, to keep experiencing. It was a feeling that told me, "don't waste time, do whatever you can now." 
9. Who your real friends are. I have had the pleasure to meet some incredible people along the way. From living in London and Melbourne to travelling elsewhere, I am so grateful to be able to call some people that I have met, friends. I learned from them that it is not at all about the amount of time that you've known a person that determines how good a friend they are. It can be hard to leave behind friends and family back at home, but I realized that true friends will be there no matter where you are. You make an effort, they will keep in contact and you will still be able to share your experiences with him, if only vicariously. Those that don’t stay in touch and don’t make an effort, well … they were not much of a loss in all likelihood.
You know you were a part of something good when you look at everyone and say that these are not just coworkers. 

You know you were a part of something good when you look at everyone and say that these are not just coworkers. 

10. To live a life that you won’t regret. I’ve come to realize that we have one life to live, so I’m going to live. Without regrets. Without the thought, “I should have done this” or “I wish I saw this or experience that.” Travelling to me, was a good step in that direction. Travelling with her makes it all complete.