Monday, June 15, 2015

To Bangkok with Olympus

I’ve written so much about Bangkok in my previous posts, including reviews on the best restaurants to dine at and the most comfortable hotels to stay in. The city never fails to amaze me each time I visit - shopping there is a lot cheaper and the food is just amazingly yummy.

Travelling to some may just be about sight seeing and enjoying what the country has to offer. To me, it means all of those, including snapping photos so that I can document every aspect of the trip. However, it can be a hassle to lug your camera everywhere you go, especially if it’s a huge DSLR because everyone knows how heavy they can get and add a whole lot of unnecessary weight to your bag. I've personally been using a DSLR before i was introduced to the Olympus OM-D E-M10 so you can imagine how much happier i was throughout the whole trip due to the fact it snaps photos with quality comparable to a DSLR, and weighs half the weight of one! This also meant more room space in the bag for shopping loots!

I started the day at a place I never always go to each time I am in Bangkok. After You is the place to be at and it comes as no surprise, especially if you are active on Instagram. With 8 outlets scattered around Bangkok, the café is best known for their coffee and highly raved about toast, which comes nicely buttered in the middle and topped with vanilla ice cream. My favourite part is drenching it generously with honey before digging into a warm fluffy toast! The most centralized outlet is located at the 7th floor of Central World.

Labelled as a hipster place in Bangkok, Asiatique is also one of the places I frequent. The open-air concept mall has shops that include indie designers so if you are a fashion person, shopping at Asiatique might just find you a unique piece or two. The Asiatique Sky Ferris Wheel runs from 5pm till late and the view at sunset is said to be a spectacular one as well.

On a side note, I really like how the E-M10 captures the vivid colors of the sky just by using the iAUTO mode. The mode is literally just a ‘point and shoot’ - so effortless yet it captures every aspect and detail in just one shot. I've never been a very technical person when it comes to snapping shots. Sometimes, it's just very difficult to capture moments especially when everything around you is just constant moving and changing. I definitely recommend the iAUTO mode when shooting sceneries - a fully automatic mode that allows you to take pictures best-suited for the scene by simply pressing the shutter button.

Digressing about food a bit, taxis can be hard to come by in Bangkok and especially during peak hour, jams can be really really bad. But hey if you really can forgo the aircon, the Tuk Tuk is a great way to move around – except that you should be prepared to bargain because they are known to quote tourists ridiculous prices.

Shopping outdoors in Bangkok always gets you the best bargain. The same item at a street side store will probably cost 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 the price of the same item you see in a mall. But if you are like me (and that the crazy humid weather isn’t exactly your best friend), go straight for Platinium Fashion Mall for great buys. The fully air- conditioned mall is a shopping haven for the girls and guys, with 3 full buildings linked together and with different levels for accessories and clothing.

To combat the weather, I found Annette and Jungle Juice right outside Platinium Fashion Mall. Annette is an ice cream truck that sells ice pops, I tried the fruity one and it was a complete saviour while standing under the scorching sun. Jungle Juice on the other hand, is a slushie truck with different slushie flavours. Definitely a thumb up and a lifesaver for such pop-up stores!

My all-time favourite place for a mid-day indulgence is Chocolab at Sofitel So Bangkok. If you like your sweets, this place is all for you. One step into Chocolab and you’ll be greeted by the distinct smell of cocoa. They make their chocolates on site and the menu is nothing but chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

The chocolate overload menu recently saw additions such as savoury food. If you enjoy savouring pastries and sandwiches for tea, accompanied by sweet treats to make your day sweeter, you don’t have to look any further. Their newest creation, a chocolate coated ball, is more than just chocolate, but a milky-berry center that will greet you after you break through the dark chocolate casing. They also run a chocolate buffet and serve ice cream or if you haven’t realized – anything that you can relate to dessert.

Everything at Chocolab is so photogenic you will be snapping away as soon as you step foot in. Although lighting was dim and i was a little apprehensive about getting great shots of all the chocolatey stuff, I was surprised that the E-M10 managed to capture the most intricate details despite the low light. The white balance was also easily adjusted with the user-friendly interface of the camera (all i needed to do was to hit a couple of buttons). Such user-friendly interfaces are a life-saver especially when shooting food - pretty glad i managed to tweak to the right settings and get my shots before my chocolate could start to melt!

Just a stone throw away from Sofitel So Bangkok is Lumpini Park. Perfect for taking strolls in the evening (or right after a very sinful meal in my case), the park has a beautiful surrounding of nature and if you are looking to take OOTD shots, the huge lake in the park is a perfect backdrop!

If you are adventurous enough, the street food in Bangkok is one you should not miss out on. A place I highly recommend is this row of street hawkers just right outside Central World. The grilled fish they serve is just amazingly fresh and comes accompanied with a green chilli sauce on the side that has this spicy kick. If you go early enough (they open around 6pm), you’ll be able to get the freshest of the catch! They run till late and the latest I’ve dined there was about 11pm.

No prizes for guessing my favourite dessert - there’s also a store on the same row that sells crazy yummy mango sticky rice. They slice the mango only when you order and really, I need someone to tell me why the mangoes in Thailand are just super duper sweet and never ever sour.
In case you were wondering, I stayed somewhere in the city hence it was easy moving around. Except for Asiatique, the places I went to are easily accessible via the BTS. The thing about Bangkok is that I never fail to end up satisfied with the food every single day. And this time of course, with a satisfied shoulder as well since I didn’t have to bring around a heavy camera, yet being able to get photos of such quality with the Olympus OM-D E-M10, which I have officially named to be my ‘favourite travel companion’.

Olympus Singapore is currently extending a GSS promotion on the OM-D E-M10 Single lens kit and Double Zoom kit. With each purchase of the camera, receive an automatic lens cap and additional battery worth $159. 

 Get a bigger bang for your buck and receive an additional $50 Olympus online store voucher when you key in coupon code “OlyxNichology” upon checkout. Once the coupon code is approved, an additional voucher will be sent along with the camera and free gifts. ** Only available for purchases on the online store. Promotion is valid from 15 June to 30 June 2015.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dilmah : Tea Inspired Me

I can't go a day without caffeine. That pretty much explains the excessive stash of coffee and tea i have at home. Of course between the two, i mostly go for tea because it is a lot simpler - just need to add hot water. Dilmah (which many of you should know) is the world's most experienced tea maker. With a selection of tea ranging from speciality gourmet, premium, organic and even fun flavoured teas, it comes as no surprise that they are one of the best.

Personally, i enjoy the Ceylon Supreme tea - a traditional unblended tea hand-picked and artisan-ally made in Sri Lanka. It has a strong and intense flavour and has great aroma. If you are into fun and modern tea, their fun flavoured tea range has flavours such as Lemon and Lime which comes of a little citrusy. For a fruity take, the Mango and Strawberry chills nicely in the fridge and is a refreshing thirst quencher on a hot day.

This July, Dilmah will be sending one very special person for an all-expenses paid trip to Sri Lanka, the magical place where their teas originates from. The contest, Tea Inspired Me, is an online competition that allows you to share your tea-inspired moments. To take part, simply upload a photo, video, audio or even a text that centers on either of these five themes - Tea and friendship, Tea and memory, Tea me and grandma, Tea kids or Tea and ethics. The photo doesn't necessarily need to have tea in it, so let your creative juices flow. Submissions must be made at

The winner will be determined by Dilmah and a winner from each participating country (in our case, Singapore) will win a weekend package for two at an exclusive 5-star hotel and exclusive Dilmah gift packs. Deadline for submissions is 20 June 2015, leaving you 10 days to submit your #teainspired moment, which shouldn't be a huge problem if you drink tea everyday (like me).