5 Ways to Experience Bangkok

June 23, 2013 § 5 Comments

5. Marvel at the big picture

Like the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Grand Palace is the one must-see sight while visiting Bangkok. Once you set eyes on the palace, you wouldn’t question why it was so recommended. It’s magnificent, breathtaking and a visual feast.

Grand Palace @Bangkok

Magnificent!

Grand Palace @Bangkok

Gold is clearly their favorite color

4. Look closely at the details

The detail of the ornate decorations may often get overlooked by the grand architectural structures. There is a lot to look at when you visit the temples and it can be overwhelming (especially in the heat!) but it is worth taking a few closer looks at the wall. You’d be amazed by the variations of colors and patterns covering the temples. The titles of each section are vivid, beautiful and different.

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The tiles and the border don’t look like they should go together but they totally do

Could people from the past create such beautiful work if they have the attention span of a modern person?

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These tiles have a Chinese feel to them

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Beautiful royal blue mosaic tiles

It’s not just the tiles though. The wall murals depicted scenes for epic stories. Even if you are unfamiliar with Thai folklore, you can easily figure out what is going on. The stories need no explanation.

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Alligators have always been hungry and deadly

It’s worth paying attention to details everywhere you go. As a tourist, it’s easier to pick up details since you are actively drinking in the new sights. If you apply a tourist-filter to your daily life at home, you often spot gems that you have never noticed before.

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The Power of Color: Da-an 56

September 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

The Power of Color is this awesome annual festival that promotes the creative art scene in Taipei. Works from both Taiwanese and international artists are showcased in different venues around the city, and also includes a variety of events and activities over a 2 month period.

I accidentally stumbled upon the Da-an 56 exhibit this past Saturday. Da-an 56 is an old red brick house with a large courtyard, nestled  in the bustling shopping district of Taipei’s East area. I’ve passed it several times in the past, but this is the first time it’s been opened to the public. It’s very rare to see a standalone western styled house in Taipei. Except for the super-rich, most of us live in apartment buildings in Taiwan.

Da-an 56

 

Though the date of when the last owners moved out is unknown, the house looks as if it has been frozen in time, about 40 years ago. The wallpaper peeling, the floor boards creaking and the unmistakable musty odor of old houses. From the living room to the bathroom, each room and area of the property has been transformed into individual exhibit rooms for the artists.

“Thank You” by Heidi Volt

The first exhibit you see when you step foot into the house is the eye catching piece “Thank You” by Heidi Volt.

3000 digital watches were used to form a large carpet

At the start of the exhibit, all the watches are set to the same time and beeps at each hour. As time goes by, the cheap digital watches start walking to their own pace of time. If you take a close glimpse, the time on each watch is off by a few seconds or some by a minute or 2 (or more). The beeping at each hour slowly loses its synchronization and creates a cacophony of digital noises. Time really is relative isn’t it?

“Their sight/your sight in Taipei” by Akiko Ikeda
Pop up Daruma doll

I loved the 3D world created by Akika Ikeda’s pop-up cut outs of books, magazines and other media. The scenes seem to come to life when popping out of their paper home.

An Artic expedition

“Similing Face as a Flower” by Hsu Wei-Hui

Finding a gigantic pink flower in the bathroom caught me off guard completely. Upon closer inspection, you can see that the piece is created by facial masks, which is very popular among Asian women. I interpreted it as sacredness of the bathroom for women and their quest for beauty.

“3:15” Hua-Chen Huang

“3:15” Hua-Chen Huang
Glowing bathtub!

“The Rotators” by Ujino

The Rotators was a sound sculpture assembled by various different objects, mostly motor-driven appliances. Besides creating a rhythmic sound, the lights also go on and off! Also, were you creeped out by this picture? My friend was taking a closer look at the exhibit just while I took the picture. So no, that isn’t Ringu (ahhh, I’m getting the creeps already) but in all honesty, Da-an 56 can definitely be considered for a haunted house venue. It has that old, eerie feel to it that comes with the aging house. *goosebumps*

The Rotators by Ujino

“Bring the colorful telescope” by Yen-Chiao Huang

“Bring the colorful telescope” by Yen-Chiao Huang

This is what I would imagine would happen if a graffiti artist gets locked into a white room for a week.

“Erebus” by Chia-Yu Lee

“Erebus” by Chia-Yu Lee

Erebus” didn’t seem that interesting at the first glance. However, if you look at the frames closely enough, you’ll see dim outlines of the artist’s family. It was kind of like a magic eye, where you have to stare at it long and hard, and even at different angles. The first image I saw was an elderly grandma and I freaked out completely. It’s interesting how the artist manipulated the photos and her statement about the piece is worth a read.

“Passing in between” by Han-Hong Tai

“Passing in Between”

Passing in Between was by far the memorable, as you had to personally enter the exhibit. As you can see from the picture, it’s an enclosed wooden staircase with a normal human sized door but then decreases until only a mouse can make it to the end. As a human, you get stuck half-way into the staircase as you try to make it to the light at the end of the tunnel.

The tiny alice-in-wonderland door at the end

The garage door

“Doughnut in Alice’s Wonderland” by Wen-Fu Yu

Doughnut in Alice’s Wonderland” was by far the most popular piece. It’s a beautiful piece that is created completely out of bamboo. I love the reference to Alice in Wonderland as the whole Da-an 56 was by far a mind-bending, stimulating trip out of reality. But in a good way.

“Dispatchwork” by Jan Vormann

I almost missed the “Dispatchwork” by Jan Vormann but luckily for me, I caught it on the way out. I think this is my favorite piece because it reminds me that if you look hard enough, there are bits of creative sparks all around this city, fueled by color. Those sparks are subtle but they are there. They act as reminders that even in our mundane daily lives, you can always find something little that can bring a small on your face.

Playing with reflections

August 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

Walked past the beautiful Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall after a rainy day and snapped some pictures of the reflections in the puddles.

low light reflections

the beautiful archways

the national theatre and its underwater counterpart

 

 

Observing Pisa (Tourists)

July 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Stunning view of Piazza del Duomo in Pisa

While most of my travel companions made the decision to conquer the nearby outlet malls, I opted out of the Prada sales and made a solo trip to Pisa instead.

It was a very warm sunny day

Many people were surprised that I made the trip alone; apparently small Asian girls are often discouraged from travelling by themselves. Keeping that in mind, I made sure to keep a tight grasp on my bag and tried to give off the airs of a black-belt karate master. Travelling alone might be dangerous but people are more likely to approach you if you are alone. I met a lovely Canadian couple who were on their 35th anniversary Italy trip. They were very charming and decided to keep an eye on me during our ride to Pisa.

I still haven’t figured out what the words mean but I liked the colors + Banksy-ish feel

The Piazza del Duomo (“Cathedral Square”) is situated at the heart of Pisa, home of the famous leaning tower of Pisa. You can also find the Duomo, the Campanile (bellow tower), the Baptistry and the Camposanto and the Piazza del Duomo, all surrounded by lush patches of green lawn. The weather was absolutely perfect, 75 and sunny. All I wanted to do was pass out on the lawn with some lunch and enjoy the beautiful architecture around me.

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Part of the Camposanto Monumentale

View of the Duomo from The Baptistery

The Baptistery

Besides checking out the beautiful and historical architecture, the bountiful supply of tourists from all around the world made for some  fantastic people-watching moment.

You’d think the leaning tower of Pisa wouldn’t be leaning anymore, with the amount of tourists pushing it straight.Though I didn’t get a cheesy picture of myself pushing the Pisa tower (one of the cons of travelling solo), I took way too many pictures of others capturing that exact moment.

Tourist exhibit #1

tourist exhibit #2

Tourist Exhibit #3, #4, #5…

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Ciao Bella | Firenze

July 1, 2012 § 3 Comments

Church of Santa Maria Novella

All the stress and tension that has been building up in my body from the months of unbearable overtime melted away the second I stepped foot in Italy. The sun was shining and the weather was impeccable; 75 degrees and clear blue skies each day.

Anyone that’s been to Florence can’t possibly question why Forbes ranked it one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  The rich  history, art and culture oozes out of every corner. Everywhere you look is a visual feast for your eyes.

One of the 1231254 pictures i took of the duomo

Firenze is a city flooded with tourists. In fact, it felt like tourists outnumber locals by 1:5, easily pinpointed by the DSLR camera around the necks and city maps in their hands. The locals must get tired of all the visitors all the time.

Enjoying all the street art as usual

In addition to taking a million pictures of all the famous sites such as the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, I also spotted some cool street art along the way. As always, I love seeing the new urban art settling in and coexisting with all the classics.

Impressive Mona Lisa

V – I spotted this behind a street vendor’s booth!

Inspired by the Classics?

It was probably the weather, but the colors of Firenze were so vivid! Everything appeared so sharp and bright. Taipei doesn’t quite emit such radiance (it’s been mostly grey and rainy).

Beautiful colors

beautiful Ponte Vecchio

If you plan on going to see Michelangelo’s David, please remember to book ticket in advance or pay a visit early in the morning. I neglected to do either and ended up waiting in the longest line ever. One hour later and a bitch mood to boot, I was still flabbergasted when I set my eyes on David. A lot of masterpieces aren’t really that amazing in person (ahem, Mona Lisa) but it really is worth seeing this in person. It’s unbelievable that a man can create such a masterpiece of a sculpture, without forgoing the intricate details. You can see the veins in the thighs and the tension in the face.

I snuck a picture of David’s butt

Distant view of Michelangelo’s David

Hiking up to Piazzale Michelangelo and watching the sunset was by far my favorite part of the Firenze leg (Pisa, San Gimignano, Pienza and Orvieto pictures will come shortly!) The atmosphere was relaxed and cheerful, everyone seemed happy to be there in the moment.  Lots of people brought snacks and a bottle of wine. If you forgot to pack something (like me), there are food vendors selling sandwiches and a variety of alcoholic beverages. What more could you ask?

The view from Piazzale Michelangelo

The sun setting over Firenze

I wonder what it’s like to live in this city, with such beauty around all the time. Do people ever get tired of it?

Old School Swag

August 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

my grandpa was a stud!

I love seeing the vintage photos on The Sartorialist. It’s nice to remember that old people weren’t always just old people, but they were young and ballin’ at one time as well.

My awesome cousin started scanning a lot of old family pictures and it’s great to be able to see what my grandparents were like back in the day. My grandfather was in the army and actually traveled to Virginia to receive training. He is a very laid-back guy but puts effort to look good, even now at the ripe old age of 85. When I was young, I remember he would take long walks and go swimming. Now that he isn’t doing well physically, he stopped going to the gym but he still wears lots of Ralph Lauren!

Love you grandpa, I hope you get better soon.

Perfect Lighting

July 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

right place, right time = perfect lighting

Where did July go? It’s already the end of the month 😦

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