Travel Live! A Week at Switzerland Part 3-Interlaken and Skydiving!

IMAG7784The three of us headed to Interlaken (meaning the city in between the lakes), where well known for its natures and the Alps. One of the main reasons for this trip is doing skydive in Interlaken, crossing out one more item on our bucket list so we are all very excited about the last few day of the trip.

We arrived Interlaken OST station  in the evening after the short visit to Lusern. The city centre is nothing exciting really, filled with luxury hotels, branded shops like Swiss watches and souvenirs shops, streets of restaurants and two big supermarket. Pretty much touristy. However, I found it very contrasting when behind these city like view are the stunning mountains covered in snow along the Alps, and the peaceful lake aside. I;m really excited to see the nature side of Interlaken.

About 20 minutes walk to our hostel Lazy Falken, we had a chill evening. Unfortunately, our first attempt of skydiving is cancelled due to the bad weather the other morning so we then rescheduled it for the day after. Skydiving is totally weather dependent, not just sunny or not but the wind speed and so.

Tips: So bare in mind if you desperately wanted to do skydiving or any weather dependent sport like paragliding, make sure you free up few day slots in a row. 

Due to the expensive lifestyle in Switzerland, we didn’t have a good chance to try out food in a restaurant (I only ate microwave meal and sandwiches). We decided to enjoy a good one replace our disappointment of the cancellation. Finally we picked the All You Can Eat set will a cheese fondue and a grill and unlimited order of all ingredients. We were served will a table full of food, from cheese, salad, dried seeds, pickles and bread, wrust, chicken breast, horse steak and tiger prawn to potatoes and rice. It cost around CHF 60/pp. I promised I’m so full and unlimited cheese is so satisfying!

The last full day in Interlaken is quiet intense. Since we’ve rescheduled the jump at 3 pm, we have to get up at 0530 to catch the first train at 0635 to Jungfraujoch, the highest peak in Europe along the Alps.

Tips: Highly recommend to take the early train to avoid the crowds or tours in order to enjoy some quality time with the Alps or catching the sunrise.

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Amazing view

After 2 hours ish ride, and changed 2 times, with interchange stops that you can do snow sports, we arrived! The train ticket is like the admission fee of Jungfraujoch, with series of spots and activities you can do on hill.

Stepping out of the station is like a convention centre, with interactive and art displays about Jungfrau the history of building the rail. We headed to the first viewing stage where you can see the tip of Jungfrau and a series of mountains with clouds flowing between. Words can’t even describe how incredible and stunning the view is, especially when the sun beams hit on the mountains, the snow are shinning.

Then we get back inside and walked past the exhibition like the ice hall and entered another exit to see the mountain with probably the most iconic tourist spot where the Swiss flay stands. There’s a Lindt chocolate shop at the end of the building, with lower price and more variety of their products.

Reminder: The height of Jungfraujoch is above 3000m (10000 ft.), it’s totally normal to get the Altitude sickness, that cause by different air pressure, oxygen level of the high altitude. You may fell hard to breathe, dizziness, headache or even throwing up. So don’t panic or force yourself go any higher uphill and report any sickness. 

We took the train back to Interlaken and getting ready for skydiving! We were all so excited and nervous about that. We booked with Skydive Switzerland and got the pick up to the flying space. There were a simple brief about the diving position and precaution the we were getting ready in our jumpsuit and gear! I was assigned to my tandem Field. It’s weird that I didn’t feel nervous any more but with pure excitement. Got on the plane, safely attached to our tandem, flying over the beautiful scenery, maybe 10 minutes or so and it’s time

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With my tandem Field and my lost shoe hahah

Sliding to the door, bending knees, head back and JUMP! Around 45s of free falling, body facing down, I didn’t feel much fear or force that I was expected. Then when the parachute opened, you are now in a standing position, well, 13000 ft. above. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. The bird eyes view is so damn beautiful, the mountains, the lake, the plains… it’s like you’re walking in the sky. There’s nothing like that feeling in my life, EVER! It felt so right to me and never felt so peaceful before.

i-lose-my-shoe02Well, there’s a little funny incident in my dive, one of my shoe slipped off the second I jump. And I ended up with only one shoe when landing. Everyone is having a good laugh about that 😀 I promised I’ll do skydiving again and again!

Travel Live! A Week at Switzerland Part 2

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It’s the fifth day of the trip!

I finally met up my friends from Hong Kong in Zurich. We stayed at the little old town Maur and had an super amazing time! Definitely recommend this city just 30 minutes away from Zurich, along a huge lake and beautiful nature.

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The host and Swiss homemade dinner

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Traditional Rosti

Another highlight of my stay is the great hospitality from our host. We stayed at the cozy little room in their 200 years old cabin, filled with details of memories. One the first night, the host Reinhard took me and another guest in the house Silke to the concert at a church where his wife Elisangela is working at. It’s an very unique experience to listen to prayer and songs in a totally foreign language and meet the big family.

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Stunner in the rain

It’s was raining on the second morning. I stuck with my original plan to go for a walk along the lake. Although it’s quite difficult to get photos in the rain, I managed to capture the other sides of her beauty in the rain.

After wandering for almost 3 hours to the one end of the lake, I took the bus to get back to the house. Reinhard and Elisangela prepared us the Swiss traditional dish Rosti, a potato pancake, along with wrust and fried egg. We spend the night sharing our travel and life story. Was such an amazing night to meet friends from all over the world.

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Doing the stunt !

We left the next morning, Sun are shinning bright so we head to the central for another photo. The next destination is Interlaken. Reinhard suggest that we should go for a walk in Lucerne since we need to interchange there anyway.

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Lucerne is one of the most famous cities in Switzerland, with the famous bridge and lion statue. The main street is filled with renaissance vibes and a bit too touristy for me. The view is definitely stunning under the sun though.

We then continue our rides to interlaken. Stay tuned for more adventures update here !

Travel Live! A Week at Switzerland Part 1

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I’m currently in Switzerland for a week b break of Easter. Had a great time already and got some stunning shots that I can’t wait to share with you all. I’ll keep the trip updated, and write about the trip highlights, itinerary, adventures and some travelling tips.

Day 1 Basel

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My flight landed in BSL airport in Basel from London STN at 10 am. Since there’s plenty of time until I can check in in Zurich, I planned to spend the afternoon to Basel.

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The Basel World

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The Basel Minster

I’m amazed and stopped few times by the modernism architecture along the way to the city center.

The Fondation Beyeler

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First things first, I went straight to to the contemporary art museum the Fondation Beyeler, where called as one of the art lover bucket list. With a permanent collection of modern art like Picasso and Van Gogh’s and a pop up exhibition .

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During my visit, the exhibition is for Jean Dubuffet, a contemporary artist who breaks the rules about doing art. His art instantly became one of my favorite, with colorful and joyful sprites, really fun to look at !

In the afternoon I headed to the train station and going to Zurich in the evening.

Day 2 Zurich

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Stunning view !!

Luckily it’s a sunny day! Go straight to the city center (central station -1 stop from train station HB ) and walk along the river. The sun hits on the colorful buildings and reflected on the shadows.

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I walked from one end to the other, cross the bridge then back to the station. In the side of the old town, there’s restaurant and churches that you can climb up to catch the view of the Zurich city. The other side is more like a luxury and designer shops.

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Then I walked up hill, to the university of Zurich and visited its Zoological Museum. The best thing about it is free to entry! With 2 floors of animal specimens and interaction corners, 2 hours are easily spent.

Travel tips:

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Transportation in Switzerland is pretty easy, with strictly scheduled tram and buses connected everywhere. Simply by a day passes for certain zones in different city for different durations. Although there’s no one to check your ticket on the bus, bare in mind to buy a ticket since everyone is cooperating and be responsible.

If you need to go to cities from cities, I suggest you to get the half fair card (CHF 120) that can apply to your all travel tickets.

Stay tuned for more details about the trip!

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Travel Strategy: Inspirations of Day Trip to UK Cities from London Part 2

10509603_10202168631963616_7334239794689673106_nSometimes I love having a spontaneous weekend trip to different cities in the UK. Most of them are well-known for a specific things like its historical buildings, architecture or those famous one born in the city etc. So, if you’re not particularly very into any of those factors, I suggest a day return trip from London would be enough for most of them.

Here are some of the alternative recommendations besides Part 1:

Yorkshire

My Rating: 5 ★ 

The only thing I know about York before I get there is probably Yorkshire pudding, but I instantly fell in love with this little old town when I get there. The town centre is full of handmade or art crafts shops along the narrow street made out of stone. Everyone is chilling with a cup of coffee or a pint in hand in the big park next to the beautiful cathedral or along the stunning cannel.

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The National Rail Museum in York in quite fascinating as well. The museum is partly open-air,  displayed full sets of trains according to their service era or serial number, from the oldest steaming on to the latest bullet train. Detailed explanations of how people build those train, rails history and life in the old days. Easily spent a whole afternoon taking photos in and out of the trains.

I and my mom tried the British tea set in the Yorkshire famous tea room Bettys, well, personally I found it just average and there’s plenty of better scones around the UK.

Brighton

My Rating: 4 ★ 

One of my friend is studying in Sussex University, so I’ve spent few weekends there. Brighton is a beautiful seafront city specially in the summer. The Brighton Pier is a mini carnival, with indoor arcades and outdoor rides. It’s great fun to spend the afternoon in it testing your luck. Alternatively, it’s nice to simply grab a cool beer and chilling under the sun.

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The Royal Pavilion

Walking through the city centre, you’ll see The Royal Pavilion, a place of the British royalty and refurnished into an Indian style dome. Next to the pavilion is the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, with varies collection from the porcelain decoration, Egyptian pottery to the contemporary interior design. The museum is recording the timeline of Brighton history. In the main street, there’re plenty options for nice restaurant, from budget to fancy dinning. Bill’s

If you’re ready to stay overnight in Brighton,  don’t forget to check out the clubs along the beach front. Since there’s two universities around, the club will filled with students and wild vibes!

Oxford

My Rating: 2.5 ★ 

10482498_10202327245648859_6200730125176097825_nLots of people struggled choosing between visiting either Oxford or Cambridge, the two world class  universities in the UK. I would say the two are quite similar with a classic Royal like college, but personally I prefer Cambridge than Oxford.

Once you get out of the train station, you will see a bronze Ox statue that represent the city. The main attraction is the college itself and the museums surrounded. The city is also known as the birth of the classic Alice in The Wonderland, but only you could find that in the souvenir shop.

Travel Strategy: Inspirations of Day Trip to UK Cities from London Part 1

10553352_10202378387487373_1097319061743792693_nApology for the late post! Was a super busy week dealing with filming and editing for my last project of the year. This month I decided to write about my life in London, embracing my identity partly a Londoner (for 3 years) and partly a tourist, still exploring the UK.

During summer 2013, my mom came to visit for a month and we decided to travel throughout the  Britain. Here are the list of cities that we’ve been that may help when you plan your trip around UK:

Salisbury + Bath

My Rating: 5 ★ 

One of the main reason of my mom’s trip to the UK is to see the heritage and mystic Stonehenge. Personally I think Stonehenge is a tourist must see compare to the other check-in spots, these strange stones has a fascinating story behind indeed. Remember to book your ticket with certain time slot that helps you to skip the walk-in queue and secure your entrance to the stone circle.

We travelled from London Victoria to the old town Salisbury in the morning. At the entrance, we were given a time slot ticket and a guild headset. Then there was a transfer cart to take the visitors to the stone circle group by group. The Stonehenge are bounced that we couldn’t get close access. The headset guild introduce the history, myth, and fun facts about the stone.

After lunch in the old pub in Salisbury we headed to bath. I instantly fell in love with this little old town. We visited the Roman Baths Museum, where included the actual hot spring pools, the temple and artefacts from the Roman period. I recommend to rent the audio guide as well,  surprising well made with detailed information and special narrative with  virtual characters that made the history easy to remember. It’s a lovely to spend your afternoon in the Roman Plaza, it became super beautiful when the sunset hit the main street and everything turns into golden colour. Chilling with a cup of coffee or gelato, with the classical guitar playing along. I’ll definitely visit again in the summer time!

Cambridge

My Rating: 3.5 ★

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Mom outside the King’s College campus

Cambridge is well known for its college. If you’re a fan of Academicism or simply want to listen to  some proper British accent, Cambridge is worth visiting. I didn’t try the punting since it’s a bit pricey but the campus and botanic garden is very nice indeed.

The most interesting part about Cambridge to me would be there’s lots of free, hidden, small museum that you will find around another corner. These museum are usually sponsored by different departments in University of Cambridge, that specialized in a field of collection and researches. I found some weird one but I like it.

The city centre have everything for daily life, shopping mall, restaurants and so on, nothing really special though. Day trip is pretty enough for me.

Manchester

My Rating: 2.5 ★

10494698_10202282905780390_6574679349631947492_nManchester is another big metropolitan city in the UK, with busy town centre, a city university and national museum and so.

There are a National Football Museum that still pretty interesting for sport dummy like me. And the city is full of modern architecture and contemporary art piece. Well, it maybe a holly place for football lover, match is proper in Manchester Stadium. However, I won’t say it’s a must visit city for a regular tourist like me.

Ultimate Guide to Bricklane Market, London: Insider Tips from East Londoner

10446477_10202158111900621_8023066287751226761_nChilling with a pint of cool cider along with live jazz music on a Sunday afternoon? That’s proper for a East Londoner like me.

If I have to pick my favourite place in London, the answer would be Bricklane Market on Sunday without any second thoughts. Bricklane Market is one of the well-known street markets in London, it’s different from the others like Camden or Nothing hill, with the real East London vintage vibe (oversized sweater and ripped denim jeans). It became my habit to go there at least once weekend in a month, I can nearly tell where’s where with my eyes shut and my friend joke about I spend more time there than my uni. If you’re looking for some insider tips of the market, here are few things you should know:

Come on Sunday or you Missed EVERYTHING!!

Ok, every times I talked to people that found nothing special about Bricklane came to one and only conclusion: They never visit it on Sunday. Yes, there’s plenty permanent vintage boutique in the area but there will be pop-up cloths racks, food cart or street performers that filled up the street only on Sunday! A big empty car park will turn into a pop-up market that half filled with food stalls from all around the world and half with budget vintage or designer shops.

So plan a visit on Sunday, nearest tube station: Shoreditch High Street/Liverpool Street

Budget Vintage Fashion

Fancy some hippies round glasses, oversized leather jacket, turtle neck sweater, high waist denim? Bricklane will be the shopping paradise for you. The style here are more like a rock n roll, worn out 70s-90s style than the classy Parisian vintage, so the price are relatively cheaper than any other vintage market I’ve ever been! Simply look through the pop-up one along the street or in the car park, most of the time they will have sales like all racks for 5 quid or 10! You can even try asking for a cheeky price cut when around 5 at  the closing time!

Here are some of my favourite budget vintage shop:

Beyond Retro

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One of my favourite coat brought in Beyond Retro

Definitely my first pick! Sailor anchor with a yellow background is symbolic! It’s a vintage chained stall all over the UK or even Stockholm. Located 5 minutes away on a side street along Bricklane, only true vintage lover know the place. With an outlet that clothes are always on sale and every sales are one fashionista!

Rokit

Another vintage chained store, located in the middle of Bricklane, the two stores are separated by a brand outlet. Each one have a slightly different theme, and both men and women fashion. The racks are classified into styles or materials, and those Rokit Recycle are redesigned pieces perfect for the petite vintage.

Vintage Basement

Two floor filled with vintage clothing, all pieces in the basement are 10 quid under!

Foodie Paradise

Sunday Bricklane is not just for fashion lover but all foodie, literally you will find one in every ten steps! There are few places filled with food carts and pop-up food stalls:

Old Spitalfield Market, with all kinds of freshly made food

Sunday pop-up corner/Truman Brewery Food Court

Along Bricklane

Last but not least you can’t leave before you get a proper British salted beef bagel! 10/10 with tender salted beef server with mustard and London gherkin in the signature bagel! Fancy something stylish, try out the Cereal Killer Cafe or amazing Mexican restaurants along the road!

Art and Lifestyle

Once you step outside Shoreditch High Street Station, on your left hand side of the  main road there’s a series of designer brand inside Boxpark, a pop-up venue made with shipping containers. You will find some really fun and stylish stuffs to get home. Along Bricklane, you will find some show look like a garage or filled up with messy antique. If you’re not afraid to get your hand in the messy, you may find some really unique and budged decorations.

If you’re a music lovers, you should love the Rough Trade, with all kind of Indie, Alternative music. On the weekends, the shop will turn into a gig venue, as well Cafe1001 right opposite to Rough Trade. You can find lots of vintage, classic vinyl records in the market as well.

Not far from the station, there’s a flower market named Columbia Road Flower Market, you can get all kinds of plants in there.

If you ever see me there on Sunday, don’t hesitate to say hi!

Travel Strategy: Festival/Seasonal Celebration in Hong Kong Ocean Park

148658_1492059829681_5414362_nI’m a fan of any theme parks, Disneyland, Universal Studio, pop-up carnival… I do influenced by the fun and care-free atmosphere, they make me feel young(er) again. Hong Kong Ocean Park is the one and only local theme park that like no others, it’s totally  worth a visit for whom ever planning a trip to Hong Kong. Ocean Park is a theme park locate at the Southern district in Hong Kong, with two main sites, one uphill as The Summit and one at the bottom named The Waterfront.

Ocean Park is basically divided into two theme, The Waterfront is popular among family visitors that filled with animals, including a huge and beautiful aquarium with all kinds of marine species like sharks and tropical fishes and an animal park with 4 China’s exclusive species Panda and all kinds of birds; The Summit is perfect for those who is bold and looking for adrenalin rise, it’s full of thrilling rides, 3 roller coasters, turbo drops, water rides, 360 degree swings…and much more! So there’s always a spots in the Ocean Park that suit everyone’s taste.

The permanent stuffs in the park are great enough for a enjoyable visit. However, Ocean Park has much more to offer while it’s come to special theme during festival or seasonal holidays. Here are some highlights themes you might consider in your next visit or even revisiting it:

Halloween Bash (mid Sep-31st Oct)

Tired of dressing up like an armature and doing pub crawl, or looking for some real trilling experience in Halloween? Plan a visit in Halloween. Ocean Park Halloween Bash is the most famous event in the year to all locals. It had already been holding for the past 15 years and remain one of the most popular time of the year.

The park will extend its opening hours from 6 to midnight and turned into a haunted park. Some of the venue will turn into haunted house in the evening, and each year the will have different trending themes, for example in 2015 there’s one with zombie like the Walking Dead and one with Vampires. Personally I love those haunted house with local themes that related to local ghost stories that dedicated to Hong Kong’s myth, for example decorated like an old haunted hosing estate or high school that make it extra scary when we can be related to the environment. Be careful when those actors/actresses scare you out along the side!

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Biggest show in Halloween Bash! Must see especially the last show on 31st Oct

The Halloween Bash is very entertaining indeed, you can interact with performers dressed up as all kind of ghost wandering in the park(Trust me, the ghost are much more scarier than you can imagine, with professional f make up and all the bloody disgusting stuffs will creep you out!) or go to the special shows in different corners. With lots of the most talented contracted performers, dancers recruited for Halloween, the shows in Ocean Park are surprisingly amazing. I remember the time they have a band gig called ‘Rock in Hell’ and dancing with all the ghosts in the midnight, that’s what I call a proper Halloween!

Summer Splash (July-Aug)

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Bubble bath tube !

Want something alternative to go apart from the beach or wanted to be soaking wet in the summer? Then come to visit Ocean Park in the summer holiday! There’re pop-up games for summer time, there used to be like a water maze, water fight or a 20m slides that make sure you will get wet in the hot weather! The park even increase the water amount in some of the water rides that make sure everyone get wet once again. Don’t forget to enjoy the special shows for the Summer Splash like the diving performance or music with splash!

*There’s lockers for putting belongings but if you want to save money, just bring come with flip flops, a water proof bag for your electronic gadgets and sets of cloths for change.

Christmas Sensation (whole Dec)

60997_10200357029071575_1368209386_nChristmas to Hong Kongnese is more like a celebration for young adult than a family fest. We celebrate with going out for western meal or watching special lighting decorations on those skyscrapers along Victoria Harbour.

The Christmas edition in Ocean Park is indeed very festive! The park will be refurnished like a winter wonderland, with Santa’s house you can meet and greet the old man and his elves, special rides and performances and artificial snow once in an hour! Well, seeing snow is especially exciting for local when Hong Kong never snow. There’s lighting ceremony in the park is extremely beautiful!

Travel Strategy: How to Get the Cheapest Musical Ticket on Broadway and London Westend

IMAG1876I always wish to see live musicals from the day I’m in love with musical movies like Grease, Chicago, West Side Story and much more… I went to see my first ever musical Mama Mia when I study aboard in London and couldn’t get enough of it. Last year, my favourite musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch was rerunning by the original director/writer/composer/actor John Cameron Mitchell after a decade of its first off Broadway release so I made my first visit to the US/ the first time solo  improvise trip to New York.  Besides most of the method you can found to get the budget ticket on the internet like the TSTK Booth or buying on Timeout, here are some tips for getting them in both Broadway and Westend based on experiences:

1. Last Minute Walk-in

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Got a student discount ticket for Mama Mia in London. First musical checked!

The time I went to NYC I first tried to get a cheap ticket over the TSTK booth where ticket are usually selling up to 50% off, however those tickets are half price of some nice seats so it was still a bit pricey for me. From my previous experience in London, I always came across a decent price for a musical ticket when I just walk-in the and ask for the cheapest ticket so I decided to try my luck in NYC as well. The staff told me to come to check 30 minutes right before the show goes on and I ended up watching 5 musicals in a week of their amazingly affordable price.

Apart from walk-in limited discount ticket for like students or senior, the last minute walk-in is only available 30 minutes before the show is on and only for off peek show time like the weekdays. These are lowest priced ticket for the seats left from selling during the day  and varies with availability which usually gone real quick. So I suggest you wait at the ticket booth a little bit earlier to ask for the last minute ticket in time.

By using this advantage, I got to see Body Guard Musical in London for 25 pounds, 27-37 USD seeing Chicago, Jersey Boys and Les Miserable on Broadway. Sometimes these are seats on the front roll but don’t hesitate to get it, it’s indeed a great seat with view of the whole stage and I garreteer music  won’t be over loud.

2. Special Seating

Not much people know about this type of ‘seat’, well, there are no seat technically and they are limited offer mostly on weekend afternoon show time. You will be still allocated a position for standing behind the back roll of the grand circle. If you don’t mind standing for 2 hours, it is a very good choice to see some popular show in a low price in case they don’t have the last minutes tickets.

Standing 2 hours were easier than I thought and time files while I was seeing the 2014’s Tony Award winner “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”, fun and credit to the amazing actor Jefferson Mays. Keep an eye on any empty seats since you can sit in if the seat is not occupied after the interval break.

The alternative choice for cheap seats are what they call ‘view may varies’ seat, which mean the view may be distracted by equipment like spot lights or amplifier. From my experience, the front roll of the second floor/mezzanine/upper circle is some nice seat indeed, that you can see the whole stage and big scaled choreography.

3. Free Lottery Ticket

If you are not desperate seeing a particular musical or want to give test your luck to win a free ticket, participating in the lottery is worth a go!  Most of the show offer one free lottery ticket per each show, so you can join in by leaving your name and contact for the lottery draw mostly an hour and a half before the show starts. you have to be present while the lucky draw, so don’t plan to participate in multi draw which you will not be able to show up immediately to claim the free ticket.

Tips to have a higher chance of winning is aimed at some less big scaled musical like the Lion King or Phantom of the Opera to minimize the competition.

4. Special Screening

Special screening is held on some random weekday afternoon and for special occasion like booked for student visit or charity or pre show of a new cast. Keep an eye on the official website of each musicals and they will announce special offers on these date. This kind of show is usually offer by shows that have a bigger theatre and   more popularity. I went to see the Lion King in London just for 35 pounds!

Golden Era in Art History: Picks of Modern Art Museums

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Just got back from Stockholm and ready to start this month with theme Art and Lifestyle.

I’m a huge fan of modernism. Modern art is always fun to look at and there are many genius are involving. I try to visit as many modern art museum as possible when travelling to different cities. I’m currently expending my collection of authentic pieces from my painter Francis Picabia (since he’s not that famous, he doesn’t have any personal exhibition so I can only found his works one by one in each modern art museum.). Here are countdown of my 5 favorite modern art museums:

 

#1 MoMA, New York

No matter are you an art fan or a regular tourist to the NYC, you won’t be disappointed at MoMA.

MoMA not just collected works from names that everyone know in modern art like Dali, Frida, Warhol, Matisse…but their finest collections! Like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Monet’s Water Lillies, Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon(and way more to name.)! It was like heaven to me once I entered the painting gallery, finally seeing those paintings that I used to be learning from and familiar with in real live!

There are exhibitions about contemporary installations, films and photography as well in MoMA, no problem spending days there. And visit to the museum shop is a MUST!

 

#2 Centre Pompidou, Paris

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Center Pompidou is the biggest modern art museum in Europe, the center itself is already a piece of modern architecture and capable of multi functions like theater and conference room.

Apart from a huge collections of famous modernism art work, I highly recommend the contemporary art session. There are lots of interesting and large scaled  installations that visitors are able to interact with. These installations are one of the best ways to raise discussion over social issue.

 

#3 Tate Modern, London

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Painting from Francis Picabia

It’s obvious from the name the museum is all about modern art. Good things always comes for free! There are no admission fee for the permanent exhibitions including collections of paintings to installations. Time by time there are paid special exhibition and pop up exhibits on the ground floor in the museum as well.

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Don’t forge to check out the stunning view over the Thame on the second floor balcony!

Tate modern is well known of its generous support to British contemporary artist, which offering an open space and programs for young artists to start up their projects. Art of the leading contemporary British artists like Damien Hirst and Sara Lucas had been featured in Tate before.

 

#4 Kiasma, Helsinki

If you consider yourself a socialist or activist, you will like Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki. Kiasma is different from the other modern art museum.  Without a permanent collections of art works, Kiasma temporary exhibitions collaborate with contemporary artist and their up-to-date works.

These exhibits are more like intervention toward hot topics in the society like globalizations, 3rd world war, feminism etc, and with various medium like film, sculpture, installation and so on. You may ended up involved in social debate there, who knows!

 

#5 Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo

IMAG1193If you are a fan of architecture, you will be amazed by those unique and smoothness post-modern architecture in northern Europe. You will be surrounded by art just entering the area of Oslo pot and sure to recognize the this stunning museum designed by Renzo Piano.

Astrup Fearnley Museet is supported by private company and aimed at cultural exhibition, like bringing American and European pop art together. It has a large collection of Damien Hirst’s(British significant contemporary artist who graduated from my university, Goldsmiths, UoL)well known installations of animal specimen.

Volunteer Trip in Taiwan: Tribal & Cultures Experience that You Can’t Miss

1526808_10202957483081300_210882518_nI volunteered in YMCA since 2009, I enjoy doing services and this opportunity had brought me lot of precious memories along with some of the best people I’ve ever met.

Under a global citizen scheme of YMCA, I had a volunteer exchange aimed at elderly issues in臺中TaiChung (middle part of Taiwan) for 10 days in winter 2014. We had a inspirational and unforgettable trip to volunteer in a whole new environment. Since we were taken by staffs in Taiwan YMCA, they offered us some ultimate activities we never expecting with the tribes that you can’t come across in a travel guide.

Private Hot Spring in the Woods

After spending two days visiting the services center and exploring the city in南投Nantou, we arrived 野百合民宿 YeBaiHe Hostel, located in a valley with natural hot spring in 仁愛 RenAi province. If you’re looking for a hostel that relaxing in the nature with high privacy, this will be the ideal place to spends a few nights.

The hostel is very hidden, needed to be picked up by the owner to a narrow, one-way path (barely called a road). First thing we came across is the open garden with the public hot spring, we were arranged to a dorm for 4 and each room has its private hot spring pool as well. The owner of the hostel was from布農族Bunun, one of the Taiwanese aborigine ethnic groups, the taught us how to make some tribal accessories and offered us hot pot and grill of local farm’s ingredients.

We spent the night bathing in the private hot spring and slept like babies!

Beauty Alert: Hot spring is very good for blood circulation due to its temperature, and the minerals in it refreshed your skin. However, don’t jump in a hot spring if you’re too hungry or full. Don’t stay in for too long and remember to keep yourself hydrated and cool down after a while in the hot spring.

Adventures in the Rainforest

TaiChung still kept some of the rural environment of Taiwan. We visited one of the rainforest and guided by another tribe. We had a brief session of simple safety precaution and basic knots making skills before going in. We walked through the mist along thousands years old woods. The guide stopped us in front of a fairly empty space with massive trees surrounding us and told us it’s the time to swing on the tree like. The moment we were still in confusions, he pulled a string on one of the trees like 15 meters high and started tiding a safe lock on the lock on our body . WE HAD TO SWING ON THE TREE! I was bit terrified when it came to my turn, I step on the holder with one foot standing straight and both hands grabbing the string, while other pushing me up hill then released, I was strung in the air like 10 meters above the ground! I literally felt like Tarzan and swing across the forest, it was an amazing experience to feel the excitement and freedom!

If you want to have some adventures like this, there’s local travel agency that customize different tours around the area according to your needs.

Volunteering in Rural Taiwan

I know it’s a bit hard to accomplish but definitely worth a go, especially a very special and precious chance for me to volunteer in a different country and culture.

Due to the mountain and valley type geometric condition of南投Nantou, leaded to transportation problems for health care and low job opportunity, the area are left with lots of elderly that their family are working big cities in Taiwan. The aging and elderly problem is the focus service in this trip.

We arrived a charity run day-care center for elderly in埔里鎮Puli, that elderly in the area can gather for food and activities. We had a warm welcome by the elderly in the center with a lovely dance and eventually we shared our performances and little gift that we’ve been preparing for the entire trip. Although we speak different languages (most of them still speak Japanese due to their history that some of the tribes are taken by Japan) we had an amazing time together.

The experience was differ from I thought, the elderly in the center are very healthy despite their ages, they go to day care is looking for companies and better way to spend their days. They were so happy even we just sat and talked, the moment when they held my hand and giving me blessing touched me deep down. All they want is not money sent from the city but their family and accompany.

Watching Sunrise on top of the Tea Field

Don’t miss the sunrise in Puli! Driving to the top of the hill at 5 am, first the sky was covered in mist, then there’s a yellow string curled up the clouds and finally golden light beams burst through. It was just like a water color painting and blessed to see what the nature had gave us.

Photo credits to my best friend Michelle.C 🙂