Happy Good Friday! Regardless of whether you celebrate this holiday or not, I'm sure we're all thankful for the much needed break. I don't know about you, but I really needed this one. Ming is currently back on Easter break. However, I am still plagued by school and so we thought it would be nice to go somewhere to catch up with each other. We had plans for either Phuket or Hong Kong but... with my school assignments and tests looming, we decided to go somewhere nearer.
Bintan has many resorts. Ultimately, we chose The Canopi, a 7-month old resort. It is owned by the Genting Group. The resort priced themselves rather reasonably compared to the other luxury resorts such as the Banyan Tree and Sanchaya. Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by the resort. Everything is as honest as it can be. If you're interested in going to The Canopi, you might want to keep reading...
One of the weirdest travel experiences
So, upon arrival at the Bintan Resorts Ferry Terminal, we found ourselves looking around for directions until we noticed this lone signboard with "Canopi guests this way please." written on it. It pointed us in a direction that was away from the general crowd, towards an unlit room with a single lady inside. It was in the day, so... why not? Everything seems less scary and less unforgiving when there's light.
Lady at the counter: Canopi?
Lady at the counter: Ok, passports please.
We handed over the passports.
Lady at the counter: Ok. This is the express lane. I will take your passports and you can collect it at your hotel.
Ming was like "??????" Well, I too found it odd but it wasn't enough for me to NOT say "okay". I smiled and together with the lady, we cruised through the immigration gate while everyone else was still queueing on the other side. We found ourselves at the entrance where we waited for our hotel staff to pick us up. This was when Ming started to get reaaaaally anxious and p/s his anxiety is reaaaaally contagious as well. So, I started to doubt myself.
Long story short, we got our passports back and apparently, it is TOTALLY normal. Weird huh? So...... if you happened to encounter the same thing, don't freak out or go against it; just go with the flow, I guess?
"We have the lagoon all to ourselves"
Currently, they have 40 tents. When we were there only 12 of these were occupied. The place was huge..... and we literally had the lagoon all to ourselves (cause everyone else was busy doing activities outside of the resort).
Here is also what was odd: when we were booking our tent on the website, a good 70% of the tents were fully booked. The system works in such a way that it allows you to reserve your tent way beforehand and only pay for it upon your arrival. I guess many of those who did reserve, did not show up in the end. So, if you ever find yourself in a sticky situation where there are no tents left to reserve, email the resort immediately and they might be able to find something for you *wink*.
We got the Safari tent through a promotion, so we paid SGD$240 for 2 nights.
Since some of you found the Asos Inspired: Pomelo's post useful, I thought I could do something similar with what I wore in Bintan haha. Most of them are from Revolve Clothing (www.revolveclothing.com) and I am sure you have seen many other beautiful fashion bloggers wearing pieces from them. Revolve carries a lot of cool brands, some of which I find retailing for cheaper price than on comparable sites like Nastygal or Asos. So, something for you to consider yeah?
"Everything also must pay"
Yeappppp. That statement above makes us sound like a pair of right ol' sourpusses but legit, you have to pay for every activity there is to do on the island. It was a bit of a downer because... some things ought to be free? Beach towel - have to pay. Float - have to pay (per hour). Water activities - pay up please. Just to be clear, Ming and I do not expect everything to be free. We understand the need to maximise profits, but they seemed to charge for everything so... if we didn't pay, there really wasn't anything we could do.
Some of these water activities, due to their steep prices, did not seem very attractive. There were land activities too like ATV riding but those weren't available during the time we were there so, we spent most of our time lazing in the lagoon or pool, whatever they want to call it, and in the tent.
Oh! We did pay for an activity though. It seemed to be the most reasonable one of all - an hour-long mangrove kayaking session $60 for two. Not too bad. Not too bad.
"Ahem... Ming got a new camera"
In case you're wondering how come Irina's pictures are now so high-res now.... well, Ming got a new camera. He's been waiting to fully maximise it so... why not in Bintan right? He's really not too bad of a photographer. I had fun being his subject haha.
Ming - Some of these are taken using the iPhone. DO NOT BE FOOLED.
I wouldn't say it was a must-do activity. It really depends on your personal preferences. It wasn't anything terribly exciting but it was definitely calming and soothing for the soul. The surroundings were rather quiet, with only the gentlest hints of birds chirping. A question you might be interested in: A lot of mosquitoes?
No. The staff was kind enough to give us mosquito repellent.
Tips: Do not order the BBQ
There was an option to order a DIY BBQ dinner. They have prawns, wings and the other typical BBQ stuff. To be fair, we didn't opt for the BBQ. This was simply due to bad reviews on Tripadvisor, and not because we tried it and didn't like it. If you happen to try it and enjoy it, power to ya mate!
For all you know, by the time you do decide to visit the Canopi, the resort might have vastly improved on its F&B offerings. Failing this, you can always opt for the safer choices at the resort's restaurant. We ordered the pepperoni pizza and nasi goreng. It wasn't phenomenal, but it was alright. It could have been much worse really. We had a really good simple night that we didn't mind at all.
Price range: Probably above $30? I'll check with Ming for this.
There were other tents with views of the lagoon and private jacuzzis available. We looked at these tents, which were priced higher than our own tent, and still thought that the Safari had the most value for money. The jacuzzis were rather small and placed just outside the tent... it's not very private at all. As for the rooms with the lagoon view, they were maybe 15 steps closer to the pool than Safari tent... and hey guys, it's only 15 steps (or more?). Plus, it was nice walking around the area.
The place is still heavily under construction so... at 7AM, you'll hear the sounds of machines and trucks. If you're a light sleeper, don't. Only visit Canopi... maybe half a year later when the construction has more or less died down.
One of the most important information you might want to know: the wifi signal was reasonably strong. I managed to stream and watch a movie hehe.
I wore this out on our date night when Ming had just come back.
Other random information:
1. Where you should go for dinner: Rin Restaurant
The price range is definitely pricey. A simple California maki goes for approx. SGD18? However, the restaurant is located by the beach. It had a really beautiful view. Ming justified the price with not-too-bad food, great service, sea breeze and amazing view. I won't deny these one bit. Rin is 10 minutes away from Canopi. We paid approx. SGD25 for return transport.
2. Which resort you shouldn't stay in in Bintan: Nirwana Gardens
Rin Restaurant is located in Nirwana Gardens, another resort in Bintan. We went for a stroll after dinner and ended up near the concierge. We asked the Nirwana Gardens staff for a simple favor: to call our driver to pick us up. The staff said "Sorry, we can't do that. You have to call from your room and you will be charged." We were like.... "ok???" So, we walked back to Rin. The staff at Rin, which is a separately owned entity from Nirwana btw, were so sweet. One of the waitresses called our driver using her mobile phone and another got us tea while we were waiting. I love understanding people like them. It makes life so much more worth living.
Pssssst!!! In case you're interested in any of their pieces,
Revolve is having an exclusive 3-day sales (starting today) for Singapore!!!!!!
Also, I'm thinking of holding a private flea! It will, of course, be slightly less accessible than the public fleas. It'll be fun, I promise! If you're interested, do email me at email@example.com and I'll be sending over a private invite if it's really happening! Look forward to your email!
P/S If you're worried about seeing ONLY my clothes and my style, fret not, I've other friends with other styles and clothing sizes to sell their stuff too! So it'll be diversified and rly cool! :-)
School is gonna start next week. I have somehow managed to get myself a 2-day week timetable. So for now, I've gotta think about how to really occupy myself on my free days.
My grandma lost her eldest child last week and for my mom, a sister. I vividly remember how she held on to me and said, between sobs, "There were eight of us. Now, there are only six." Suddenly, upon hearing those words, I felt all my grievances about being an only child melt into shame and seep away into the cold ground. Well, at least there will be fewer losses for me to deal with in future, right?
I stumbled upon this video and I thought it'll do us good to watch it. Note to self: We are all going to be parents one day. And if we are to be parents, let's at least be responsible ones. I mean, we have total power in dictating the kind of generation we are going to raise. I, for one, wish to witness future generations free from verbal abuses or, rather, any form of bullying. Remember how when we were young, we had the tendency to use words we did not fully comprehend.
I recalled a time where I casually inserted the word "lame" into a conversation with my mom. Puzzled, she was like, "Lame? Like limp lame?" At that time, I scoffed. While "lame" may not have been nasty enough a word to cripple my childhood experience, there are definitely harsher words out there floating around the ears of innocents. These words might actually hurt someone's self esteem, fo'real.
Also, though the video mainly focuses on girls, I do think that this message is equally as important for the boys. Bullies know no gender.
We use words that we ought not to lightly because we have imposed our own relatively harmless meanings (refer to video here) onto them. However, no child nor adult should be subjected to derogatory words, even if said words are meant as teases. As I grow older, I'd like to be more aware of social issues - both domestic and global - so that I don't burden my future children with a narrow mindset or embarrass them with a family environment that promotes borderline racist.
I've sooooooo many clothes I've to clear from my closet. Would a flea be a good idea, or should I just stick to carousell? If you didn't already know, I've begun putting things up on my carousell account, @irinatyt. I'm still pretty new to the whole system so...... pardon me if my item descriptions aren't satisfactory.
Hey, would you be interested in coming over to my place if I were to have a garage sale of my wardrobe? Would you come??? But wait, is that illegal in Singapore, though? Hmm..................... Let me know cause I rly have a lot of goodies to sell!!!! Some pieces are even totes new!!
I was going through the photos in my phone and felt the overwhelming urge to have them up. I haven't shared much with you guys recently and would love to let you have a glimpse of what I had been up to during the holidays. It's not everything, but these sure are something to me.
The day Ming and I took a flight to BKK, the moment my last paper ended. It was also the very day we ate something wrong and had food poisoning. So, we stayed in the hotel for the half of the entire stay. It wasn't fun then but in the hindsight, it was memorable to just lounge around, fight for toilet, puke our guts out and and splurge on foodpanda.
After BKK, I had the opportunity to help Hoho out with her ballet kids.
It had been ages since I visited my hometown. Hence, my mom put together a family trip for everyone. So, I thought this trip would be a good opportunity for the significant people in my life (who happened to be free then) to see what it was like growing up for me in Malaysia. It was nice that they could finally put a place to the stories I've told them about. The town I came from. The houses I used to live in. The places I used to go. The food I used to eat. And how everything had a part to play in making who I am today.
Found an old picture of my mom and aunts in the temple my grandpa built. Grandpa was such a hero.
(Filter rly does make a difference right.....)
Best bak kut teh of all time
Soon, it was Christmas! I decided to continue my cookies-giving practices to my friends last year. What made it better was having Ming together in this. We only managed to make one batch and ended up delivering to only half of those on the list. This coming break, friends, we'll give you what we owe... promise!
Looking Christmasy enough for Christmas dinner :*)
We were actually in BKK to celebrate our anniversary. However, since we were down with food poisoning, we forwent the date we had planned for ourselves. To make up for that debacle, we decided to play it up on our last monthsary of the winter break. I got us both tickets to get our adrenaline pumping at the MegaZip Adventure, Sentosa.
To be honest, it wasn't easy at all. Seriously, the obstacle course looked waaaayyy easier than it actually turned out to be. My legs were shaking from the first obstacle to the last and at one point I even turned to Ming with a look that said, "Why did we put ourselves through this....." But but but, all in all, it was seriously worth it. After getting used to the ropes and regaining our sense of balance, it was really a blast!
Yi Ming: Nothing bonds two people better than adversity.
This photo was taken by a really cute 5 year old boy. He was brave enough to take the zipline alone...... how. He was so cool I knew I had to befriend him.
RAC, one of the reasons that attracted me to Ming, was spinning at Zouk. The whole lot of us decided to yolo it out. It was nice to feel young again. Slightly wretched but it's okay hehe. Those of you guys who said hiiiiiiiii, thanks for acknowledging me while I'm intoxicated and could have potentially embarrassed myself. It was nice meeting y'all :*)
It's been a good year with you, my love. I've never understood the term "best friend" when used on boyfriends, but I know now. With you, I feel less alone. Like in this world, someone actually gets me.
And so, here is where I end my post. Reminder: It's okay if 2015 wasn't your year. Humans make mistakes and circumstances may suck sometimes, but we always learn. No matter what, remember to always hold your head up high and know your worth! Here's hoping that all of you sweethearts are blessed with lots of happiness and love this 2016.