Tuesday, February 19, 2019

LAOS - VIENTIANE IN ONE DAY

I still remember when I told my friends that I'm visiting Laos during Chinese New Year, they ask me: Where is Laos? Is it a country? I was like: LOL! You guys snooze during geography and history class is it? I bet all Laotian will cry when they hear you guys XD




Sad but it's true - Malaysians as a member of South East Asia country don't even know where Laos is.     


A "recommended" mobile wifi company reply me with this when I was trying to rent a mobile wifi 



So here's everything you need to know about Laos before visiting the country:

Laos' geographic location, surrounding by other countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and China.


Here are some facts about Laos:
  • Laos literally means "Lands of Million Elephants"
  • A communist state: The Lao People's Democratic Republic (safe for tourist)
  • Currency: Laotian Kip
  • World's most heavily bombed place (severely impacted by the Vietnam War)
  • Own one of the best beer in Asia - Beerlao (any drinkers wanna confirm this?)
  • Highest consumer of sticky rice - Khao Niaow
  • Coffee being the country's biggest export, they have one of the best coffee
  • Buddhism is the biggest religion



After reading all the facts about Laos, I guess you pretty much understand the general facts of Laos this country. So let me show you what you can do and where you can go in Vientiane for a day! 


red eye flight sees the best sunrise


Can someone tell me their secret of looking good after a 3am flight? Because I'm surely feeling super shitty after arrive in Laos early in the morning - messy hair, bad skin condition, don't even know what am I suppose to do! We booked our itinerary through Malaysia's travel agency hence everything has already well-arranged including transportations, accommodations, meals and entrance fees.



I guess good thing about this arrangement is we don't have to plan the itinerary/do research about this trip - just follow our tour guide, down side is we don't have the leisure of exploring the city at our own pace/flexible schedule. Seeing that there are not much busses or taxis around, I guess it's pretty difficult for tourists to go around? 



Well anyways, while my brain is still feeling delirious and groggy from the flight, we've arrived the first sightseeing attraction: 

Wat Si Saket




Famous for housing more than 10,000 buddha statues that comes in different sizes and rows of seated buddhas date from 16th - 19th centuries, Wat Si Saket is an beautiful piece of Siamese style buddhist architecture that built in year 1818 on the order of Chao Anouvong - the last king of Lan Xang Kingdom and it may be the oldest temple in Vientiane. We might arrive Wat Si Saket slightly late or else we might able to catch the daily ceremony of locals praying and food offerings to the monks. 







Wat Si Saket famous cloister wall with buddha statues made from wood, stone and bronze.

As one of the few temples that survived from Siamese-Lao War in year 1823, it might be the unique architecture style that saves Wat Si Saket from being destroyed when Vientiane was burnt and looted during that war. This temple was used by the Siam armies as headquarter and lodging place during the war. Later on, The French colonial government restored Wat Si Saket in year 1924 and again in year 1930.



The buddha statues in this temple comes in different position and these positions are called Buddhist Mudras. Mudras, known as the way of training the mind and healing the body, Buddhist mudras are usually about training the mind in the ways of Dharma. One of the most important Buddhist Mudra is the Bhumisparsa Mudra, where Sidharta Guatama (Buddha) found enlightenment using this mudra. 



Bhumisparsa Mudra
"calling the earth to witness"



There's one glass storage room that house destroyed buddha statues where they were severely destroyed, some beheaded and broken during the war and were found underground during excavation works. That glass room kept me thinking. It really does serve as a reminder that regardless what we do or how we think, we need to respect each other's religion without condemning it. With respect, I think we will find more peace on earth than ever before. 







Wat Si Saket:

Entrance fee: 5000kip per person (RM2.40)
Opens daily from 8am - 12pm, 1pm - 4pm




After visiting Wat Si Saket, our tour guide lead us walking to the Presidential Palace that just located at the intersection outside of Wat Si Saket. Its elegant Beaux-Arts architecture style with tall colonnades and shaded balconies made this architecture stands out among the rest.









Wat Ho Phra Keo






Known as "The Temple of Emerald Buddha", Wat Ho Phra Keo located just right opposite of Wat Si Saket and can reach by foot within 3 minutes. This Bangkok-Rococo style architecture is no longer serve for religious purpose as it is now a museum, it was originally built in year 1565 as Lao's royal family private temple and home for the emerald buddha (which was snatched by Northern Siam). The emerald buddha was later reclaimed in year 1778 and now sits in Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.






Wat Ho Phra Keo was destroyed by the Siamese armies in 1827 and then rebuilt and restored several times. The current building date from 1942, directed by Prince Souvanna Phouma. Usually photo takings inside museums and temples are not allowed in Laos as flash lights from camera will destroy the murals and the longevity of treasures and relics collected. 



While I was browsing through the treasures of Laos inside this museum, I can feel they told the fate of Laos - always struggling, to live, to make peace with others. Regardless how many time they have been brought down, they will always find the chance to stand back up. Sometimes to live in such harsh condition is much more difficult than leave everything behind, but this shows the never surrender spirit of Laotian.



Wat Ho Phra Keo

Entrance fee: 5000kip per person (RM2.40)
Opens daily from 8am - 12pm, 1pm - 4pm






Pha That Luang





Or commonly knowns as the "Great Stupa" is the most important Buddhist monument in Laos as the large golden stupa enshrine the breast bone of Buddha. There's a local legend that monks send by Indian King Ashoka to spread Buddhism arrived Vientiane in 3rd century BC and a stupa was erected to enshrine a sacred relic. In 12th century, the Khmer built temple around this spot where remains have been found. 



Standing at 148 feet tall, the highest and largest stupa is all covered in gold leaf.


lol I did not photoshop the birds into my photo



Surrounding Pha That Luang, there are a few temples and monuments you should check it out: 
  • Wat That Lang Neua 
  • Wat That Lang Tai
  • Reclining buddha
  • Hor Dhammasabha Buddhist Convention Hall
  • Statue of King Setthathirat




Due to time restriction, we do not have the chance to visit Pha That Luang ( I wonder why we didn't request too!) as we are rushing for lunch. I guess this is the down side of booking a complete tour - once you get a tour guide that think things aren't as interesting as it is, your trip is officially gone! lol. We just end up seeing Pha That Luang from the front with some brief explaining by the tour guide. Damn why tho!

Pha That Luang

Entrance fee: 5000kip per person
Opens daily from 8am - 12pm, 1pm - 4pm





After lunch, we head to the architecture that I love most in Vientiane:

Patuxai Victory Monument






This seven storeys tall monument is the pride of every Laotian as it was erected to commemorate Laos independence from France and dedicated to all the Laos that were killed during the fight of independence as well as from earlier wars with Siam and Japan. 



In Sanskrit, Patu means gate and Xai means victory, this victory monument reminds me of Arc de Triomphe in Paris but the architecture is decorated with traditional Laotian style. Right at the middle of the arc is the Kinnari - half bird half female figures, as well as other embellishment like lotus leaves and nagas. If you walk through the arc and look up, you will see ceiling paintings so beautiful which tells the story of gods, goddesses and elephants. 


interior of the monument
Surrounding Patuxai was the Patuxai Park which has a beautiful palm trees and lotus pond. A lot of tourists were around when we reach and even locals came here to rest and spend their free time here. There's this musical fountain donated by China which is very photogenic as well. I wonder when is the time the musical fountain start.



With just 3000kip (that's RM1.40!), we get to visit the seven storeys of Patuxai which has administrative offices, gift shops, museums and observation deck. Although it may seem beautiful from outside, each floors of Patuxai are not well renovated as the floors are full of dust from the cements and the air ventilation is quite bad.






After climbing 7 storeys, we finally reach the top of Patuxai where we can see the surroundings of this victory monument from high up. 



love this window grill, it brings peace to visitors




the panoramic view of Vientiane







There are not much to see as the sky wasn't clear and it is a bit hazy. We didn't spend a lot of time at the observation deck. As you can see from my photos, the building is rather old and I believe it hasn't had any refurbishment since 1957. But nonetheless its beauty is doubtless and it is even prettier to see during night time when the lights are up. 

Some photography tips: 

There are less people and tourists at the opposite side of the fountain hence you can get clear picture of you and Patuxai! There's where I went to take all my stunning photos as four side of the arc looks the same, hence it doesn't matter which side you're at, you still get some very beautiful pictures. 

Patuxai at daytime




Patuxai at night time 


Patuxai at night is like a piece of shiny jewel standing in the middle of Vientiane. Once again we don't have the luxury of time to explore Patuxai at night but the tour guide allow us to stop at the middle of the road and take some photos from afar. If you have time, do visit Patuxai at night, I tell you it's totally worth your time!

Patuxai Victory Monument

Patuxai park and the monuments surrounding are free to visit
Entrance fee to the observation deck: 3000kip (RM1.40)





Lao National Museum (NEW)




We went to this new Lao National Museum ( as the old one is permanently closed and relocated to this) and find that the museum isn't open for operation yet! LOL! This new national museum is located 6KM from the city centre and there's these stone jars that caught my attention:



If you did some research about Laos, you definitely will know about the Plain of Jars. Since we did not include visiting the Plain of Jars site, seeing these huge stone jars outside of Lao National Museum did somehow make me feel this car ride to National Museum worthy a bit. 



If you don't know about Plain of Jars, these stone jars are from megalithic archaeological landscape that's located outside of Vientiane. More than 90 jar sites has been discovered and each site has from 1 to 400 jars. Archaelogists say these jars are associated with prehistorical burial practices as human remains are discovered inside these jars as well as burial goods and ceramic around the jars.



The sites of stone jars remain one of the dangerous spot in Laos as it was heavily bombed by the U.S Air Force, they dropped more bombs at Plain of Jar sites more than the whole World War II combined. There are large quantity of unexploded bombs in the area hence tourists can only visit clearly marked and safe pathways. I bet it will be such a sight to see the Plain of Jars. 

Lao National Museum

Entrance fee: 10000kip per person





These very much concludes my first day in Vientiane, Laos. Although Laos is not a rich culture, but it surely has rich history and culture that can be seen in all architectures, temples and Laotian lifestyle. Can't wait to blog about my remaining days in Laos!





what I wore: Atelier Prive Melson
All photos taken using Olympus OMD EM10MK3 and EPL9





Wednesday, January 23, 2019

FINE LITTLE DAY WITH SCHORL

What makes one fine day for you?



To me, it will be chilling with friends at this quaint little cafe which is not too crowded, with jazzy cafe music playing at the background. Golden yellow rays of sunlight shining in from the window, we were talking, laughing at our silly jokes. 





Or it could be a rainy afternoon, I made a cup of hot chocolate, wearing my cosiest sweat shirt and pants with an interesting book, sitting by the window or balcony, while listening to the sound of the rain, I sip my cup of hot beverage and read.




These are the feelings of what my day a fine one, and exactly how I felt for Schorl's products when I opened up the package I received.

heart-warming handwritten note
they do write personalised message as well!



Founded in 2016 and made locally in Malaysia, products from Schorl are made using carefully selected natural ingredients as well as calm formulation ( no paraben, no SLES, no alcohol, no synthetic fragrances and no artificial colouring) that suits all skin type. They are natural friendly, cruelty free and definitely suits for people like me who is always on-the-go.



As I mentioned in my previous blog posts, I love products that are made by natural ingredients where I know toxic and chemicals aren't going into my system when I use the product. I've become more and more natural-conscious throughout the years and Schorl products kinda fit what I'm looking for in my daily skincare regime.



What's in my package?
Calendula Cleansing Stick
Purslane Hydration Mist Essence
comes with a bottle of Chrysanthemum tea as gift





Aside from being natural and cruelty free, did I tell you they have this innovative cleansing stick that I can bring anywhere I go? Including onto the plane with me? Yays to cleansing my face during long hour flights!

Schorl's Calendula Cleansing Stick
RM62




compact and travel-friendly cleanser


This balm-like texture twist-up cleansing stick is made with combination of these natural ingredients:

  • Calendula
  • Canadian Willow Flower Extract
  • Lemongrass Essential Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil

The first thing I notice when I open the tube's cap is that smell of lemongrass and tea tree oil reminds me of massages and spa experience that I've been longing for! I really really love the smell of lemongrass, it makes me feel so close to nature and also act as natural bug repellant too! Hence it was love at first SMELL when I twist this cleansing stick up and glide it in circular motion around my dampen skin.





Suitable for all skin type (even sensitive skin!), this Calendula cleansing stick cleans dirt, oil and impurities of my skin, immediately I can see the glow of my skin after rinsing off! It also has calming, anti-inflammatory, removes excessive sebum as well as reduces blemishes effect from all those natural ingredients it contains. 



skin doesn't feel dry or tense after cleansing



And what comes after face cleansing? Yes, you are right! Toner! Schorl has just release this new Purslane Hydration Mist Essence that can also act as toner, as well as use it on skin before/after/quick make-up fix! 



Purslane Hydration Mist Essence
RM72


When I look at the bottle I saw the word Purslane and I didn't know what plant is this! It's so new to me that I barely heard any other skincare brand using this plant so out of curiosity, I googled Purslane and found out that it is a edible super plant that has a lot of benefits to human body! Its leaves contains Omega-3 fatty, tons of Vitamin A as well as zinc, calcium, copper and so much more. 




Purslane Hydration Mist Essence contains BHA (Galactosyl Salicylate), Purslane, Allantoin, Oligo Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin B5. These ingredients brings these benefits to skin upon application:

  • Gentle exfoliates
  • Anti-inflammation and anti-irritation
  • soften skin and restore skin to its youthful state
  • hydration and moisturizes
  • soothes sensitive skin





I love to use this Purslane Hydration Mist Essence as the last step of my makeup routine, to set the makeup and make sure they stay throughout the day. I found that my skin feels more supple, hydrated and moisturised for longer hours when I spray this mist around my face. Hence it has become a staple routine to my daily skincare steps, it quenches the thirst of my skin during all these hot Chinese New Year weather.







I think we can all agree that when skin is hydrated, moiturizes, oil-balanced, it really is truly a one fine day, right?




For more information:



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

PANTENE MICELLAR SHAMPOO SERIES: CLEAN AND GENTLE TO MY HAIR

Pantene is always my first choice when it comes to shampoo series and I've lost count how many "family feud" when my dad wanted to buy a cheaper shampoo but I die die want to buy Pantene just because I really see the difference in terms of quality and effectiveness.



I grow up by using Pantene all these years hence I felt my hair is healthy because of the good foundation I built up since young. Shampoo series is the most important regimen when it comes to hair care and it could affect the outlook of hair, texture and also moisture level as well as hair growth. Using the right type of shampoo is what we all should know since young!






Pantene has more than 70 years of history developing shampoo series that suits all type of hair and is continue to do ground breaking research when it comes to hair care products. Being the number one hair care brand, Pantene has did it again by bringing their latest innovation: Pantene Micellar shampoo series which detox, purify and moisturise your hair and scalp. 


Pantene Micellar Series


Blue: Detox & Purify (for normal to oily hair)



Green: Detox & Moisturize (for normal to dry hair)



During the launch of Pantene Micellar shampoo series, I've learn so much about micellar that can purify polluted tap water and make it clean again hence it's doing the same to our hair: detoxifying and purifying the pollutant elements to create a healthy growing environment for our hair.



Not just any ordinary micellar formula, Pantene Micellar series formulated with silicone-free micellar formula, it balances and nourishes scalp and hair without drying them out and yet, at the same time the micellar will cleanse away dirt and impurities, leaving us just healthy and perfectly oil-balanced hair!




Did I tell you that these shampoo series contains Pantene's legendary PRO-V formula too?



These Pantene Micellar shampoo series are available in two sizes (both shampoo and conditioner):

  • 300ml for RM24.90
  • 530ml for TM35.90

For a limited time frame, from 15th January - 18th January 2019, Watsons Online Store offers pre-order sales for Pantene Micellar Shampoo Series (530ml shampoo and conditioner pack) for only RM50 with the Gift-with-Purchase deal! The first 100 Watsons Elite members who purchased are entitled for free hair salon vouchers too! So log on to www.watsons.com.my or Watsons Malaysia Facebook page / Instagram page for more deals information!









If you have greasy, oily hair like I do too, do try out these Pantene Micellar shampoo series as I love the after wash result: clean, refreshing, and doesn't weigh down hair even though it's nourishing! Love my current hair to bits after a few wash from the Pantene Micellar Detox & Purify shampoo series.







Thank you for being such a reliable hair care companion as always Pantene!