Revisiting the excitement of Macau




 My travels have certainly taken me to some wild and wonderful places, but one of my most enjoyable trips has to be my excursion to Macau. This dazzling Chinese enclave has certainly attracted a lot of global attention thanks to its booming gambling industry, and whilst I previously took a look at some of Macau’s alternative offerings, it’s hard to deny the sheer vitality of Macau’s casino culture.



So I’ve been checking upon on the latest developments in Macau’s casino scene to see how it’s adapting to increased competition from digital casinos providing alternative gambling options like online lotto, as well as some of its more garish entertainment offerings!

Despite the economic slowdown a few years ago, it still seems like Macau is a construction site that’s constantly adding some seriously spectacular casino resorts that are all outdoing each other in architectural extravagance.



A quick look at the skyline of the Cotai Strip reveals a glimmering selection of skyscrapers that are jostling for position in providing the most dazzling gambling experience. My favourite building has to be the immense Studio City Macau which forms a massive arc of towering skyscrapers - perfect for grabbing a good selfie in front of!

But there’s so many other architectural gems to enjoy when wandering the streets of Macau, from the futuristic designs of the MGM Cotai, to the gaudy old-world charms of the Grand Lisboa Palace - and definitely don’t miss the mini Eiffel Tower at the Parisian Macau!



What’s clear from these new casino resorts is that they’re fighting a tough battle to stave off the intense competition from online competitors like Coral who have a lottery offering that can be played just about anywhere from a smartphone which is seriously hard to beat for sheer convenience.

And it’s not just the gambling options that Macau is upgrading in its bid to retain its position as the number one global casino destination, as resorts like Broadway Macau have endeavoured to deliver a family-friendly holiday experience with carnivals, live music shows and special culinary extravaganzas that give you just one more chance to experience the delights of Macau street food!



In addition to this is the fascinating news that there’s expected to be a Hollywood-style movie theme park built in the enclave in 2018, which suggests that despite the innovations in online lotto gaming, Macau is finding some pretty interesting ways to make new revenues!

Just Like That Passion Pit Song, 2015 Was A Good Year






Nine countries (six of them finally outside of Asia!), countless memories, and with all my trips combined, at least an entire month out of 12 that I was on the road, traveling. While I always try to write these year-end posts with optimism, always try to end the year on a high note, this time around, there is little effort needed to try and put a positive spin on the year that was - because oh my gosh, has 2015 been good to me. Hashtag blessed.

2015 actually started on the road - in Seoul, Korea, where I spent my first ever New Year's away from home. And it was a blast! There would be three more trips to Korea towards the end of the year. Because Seoul is officially my favorite city.

Next came a long weekend of eating in Singapore and another food trip in Taiwan (my first time there - and I really must come back!). Nom nom nom. Good times.

And then there was the mother of all trips - the adventure I said I would take before I turned 30, which I did! Our nearly month-long cross-country adventure in Europe took place in June. I've yet to write about any of it because I just don't know how to start - there's so much to rave about! All the beautiful places we went to, all the history we experienced, the food we ate, and of course, the company - the amazing travel buddies on the trip with me.

I can talk about all the tourist-y places, the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum and the Gaudi buildings, but I doubt I'll do a better job than Wikipedia or Lonely Planet. I can write about all the food we ate, but my friend Rissee would certainly be much more credible in matters of taste (see what I did there? Haha).

Instead, every now and then when I find myself daydreaming about our trip, I would be going back to those little moments - Ics, Rox or Rissee behind the wheel as we drove around Provence and Tuscany in our rented car; walking around Paris with Mabs to go to that church that housed the remains of an incorruptible saint; doing burpees by the bay in Barcelona with Ics and Ris; going for an early morning solo run in quiet Rome, and seeing the coliseum before the flocks of tourists came; exploring Avignon with Ris on an early morning run; sitting back and enjoying the view in our quaint and incredibly adorable B&B in Chianti; surprising Mabs for her birthday in aforementioned B&B; going on a beer tour in Prague and meeting other people from our hostel; trying out funny brownies (that had no effect on us whatsoever, hmp) in Amsterdam with Ics! The list is nearly endless. The best travel moments are always bittersweet, aren't they? They exist in one's memories to remind him of a happiness felt in the past that he will never be able to recreate again.

Someday, maybe I will write about all of them. For now though, here's a video of our epic trip, edited by our resident (nutty) videomaker Mabs, also known as All The Cray We Had In Europe, Told Through A Passion Pit Song About The Year Rissee and I Were Born:


My travels this year would've been more than enough to fill up this year-end post, but the amazing thing is, so many other things happened beyond those trips, serving as further proof that 2015, the year I turned 30, was a year on steroids.

Career-wise, I'd have to say I had a pretty amazing year. It wasn't easy, it wasn't always fun, but it was definitely fulfilling. Working with the team who launched a great campaign, with a powerful message that I personally believe in and live by - I couldn't have asked for a better corporate gig. I could only hope for even greater things in 2016.

Then there's the rekindling of an old passion, explored in a new way. I pretty much abandoned this blog in 2015 - but not because I stopped writing. In fact, I abandoned this travel blog because I was writing - it's just that I was writing something else.

The idea came to me some time during the summer, but really, it had been stewing in my head for a long time - it was only then that all these little bits of details came together to finally make sense. It stayed as random notes and doodles on my notebook for a little longer, until I attended a few writing classes towards the latter half of the year. It took the month of November - and the push of NaNoWriMo - to help me accomplish something I had never done before, but had always wanted to, always dreamed of doing. By the end of November, I had written draft zero of my first novel.

There's still a lot of work that needs to be done - and editing, as I am finding out, is a little bit of a bitch - but I'm optimistic. I already wrote 50,000 words, there's no turning back now.

Just as there is no turning back from 2016 - another year of possibility, another year to do that which brings us joy, another year to explore places we never thought we'd go to. There is not much else to say except I can't freaking wait. Let's do this. 2015, you've been so freaking amazing, and 2016 will be just as great. Hashtag positivity.


How to Stay Safe During a Trip to Cambodia - Things to Look Out for






Cambodia is a country that many of us dream of visiting, but one mistake that we typically make is failing to consider the harsher realities. Traveling to a foreign country can be a great experience, as long as you research the place you are visiting and do all of your homework ahead of time.
 
 
First of all, consider the costs and think it well through, as there are many opportunities to save. Check all the options for airfare and accommodation to have a wide choice, and remember to prepare whatever you can beforehand, as with coupons for Target from such places as Discountrue  or other online services you will be able to do that on a budget. However, that is just half the battle, so read on to learn more about the important tips you'll need to make your trip to Cambodia a safe one!
 
 
Keep Your Valuables and Cash Hidden
 
 
Cameras are a common item that is stolen from tourists, so if you must walk around with yours, be sure to stash it in a place that cannot be easily accessed by pickpockets. Hide the gear in a deep pocket, but make sure it is within reach for any photo opportunities that might present themselves.
 
 
Don't allow yourself to stumble around with a map in mind, either. Learn where you are going ahead of time. Pickpockets know all of the telltale signs of a tourist. When you head out, keep as much of your money and valuables back in the hotel room as possible, as a person who looks like they are carrying a lot of cash can become a target.
 
 
Watch Out For Open Buildings
 
 
Many Cambodian nightclubs and buildings are constructed with maximum openness in mind. The nation has a very humid climate and as a result, their infrastructure provides as many open spaces as possible. Unfortunately, this provides a perfect atmosphere for thieves to run amok, stealing wallets and purses from unsuspecting tourists who do not realize they are under siege.

 
And if you are thinking that you can catch a thief, good luck. The Cambodian streets are a labyrinth, one that is very hard for newbies to navigate. When you decide to enjoy Cambodian nightlife, be sure to select seats that allow you to rest your back up against the wall and avoid bringing important documents with you, such as your passport.
 
 
Don't Be Too Friendly
 
 
Be careful of who you strike up a conversation with. Most Cambodians speak fluent English, which causes tourists to let their guard down. If one thief or con artist sees you engaged in conversation, they are very likely to come join. Once they have latched onto you, it is unlikely that they will leave you alone.
 
 
Should you suspect that a scam is heading your way, simply pretend that you don't speak English. If a criminal is unable to establish any form of communication with you, they will be left with no choice but to leave you alone. This works especially well for all of the bilingual travelers out there. Good luck! 

Travel to India: Tips to Stay Safe





From the ancient era, foreign travelers have come and explored India in different ways, its natural beauty, rich culture, astonishing architects; Indian cuisines are prime attractions of the travelers. India is considered one of the significant historical countries where almost each state has carried historical data and historical relic. To make India trip safe, travelers should contact real estate agents, or they can meet property dealers or property brokers to get a house in a safe place.
 



Actually recent day’s property business has been emerged sharply; there are a lot of people who are involved in this business and deal with property. Currently people prefer to buy a well finished house where they would get all kinds of facility, from car parking to security, each and everything has been available. In busy schedule, buyers do not want to take extra burden or responsibility, so readymade housing complexes and apartments are convenient options for them. In this case they would be offered two options one well furnished room and without furnishing room. In case of furnished room, they would get a complete house, where necessary furniture and essential stuffs are there. And non-furnished room, where buyers have to set up and decorate their house as per their choice and budget.  A lot of property dealers who are ready to assist the buyers in this area.

 Features of the house:

Property brokers are the middlemen who maintain the communication between buyers and sellers. They have played important role in negotiation. In India, a lot of modern housing complexes are being built which have equipped with modern facilities and amenities. Interior and exterior design of the housing apartment is completely new and trendy. Its modern look, contemporary arrangements make the complex different. Real estate agents are giving buyers numerous options, according to requirements and budget, buyers can avail their house, 2BHK, and 3BHK houses are available in the market and once you contact property brokers, they would help you to negotiate the price of the house, even you would get legal advices from them also. Generally across the India, buyers would get various alternatives such as small apartments, spacious apartments, low budget housing complexes and luxury complexes. So all you need to do is to contact convenient property dealers, speak to them and try to explain you preference, now it is their responsibility to seek an apt and suitable house for you.

Builders profile:
Across the country there are a lot of small and giant organizations who are building the housing complexes, some of them are eminent builders who have been working in this sectors more than forty years. Their work, innovative idea, and sincerity are globally acknowledged. They have already shown their work of art by creating outstanding housing complex or commercial space.

Conclusion:
So if anyone is planning to visit India or stay in India, but do not understand how to get a convenient house, is requested to contact Indian real estate agents, they would help him/her to obtain a house in suitable place. Visitors are requested do not need to worry, as Indian real-estate companies are giving you top quality apartment which not only best quality but also you can stay safe and secured.

SMTOWN at COEX Artium Virtual Tour, Part 1: Celebrity Shop, Official Goods and Merchandise






SMTOWN at COEX Artium
58, Teheran-ro 87-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Directions / How to get there:
Take Seoul Subway Line 2 (Green Line), get off at Samseong Station, Exit 6. COEX is directly connected to the subway station.

My friend and I got to check out the SMTOWN complex at the Coex Artium during our recent trip to Seoul for the new year holiday. It will only officially open on January 13 so we didn't get the whole experience, but there was already plenty to see when we went.

The complex is made up of 6 floors:

1F - Welcome Stage
2F - SUM: Celebrity Shop, Artist Goods, Artist Picks, Gifts)
3F -  SMTOWN Studio: Music Video, Photo, Recording, Hair & Make up, Vocal, Dance
4F - SMTOWN Liverary (lol): Cafe, Music, Media, Books, Special Goods
5F - SMTOWN Theatre: Hologram Theatre, Community Hall, Interactive Amusement
6F - SMTOWN Theatre: 3D Printing

I took a whole lot of pictures so I'm cutting this virtual tour up into two parts. On this post I'll be sharing pictures of the celebrity shop and the official goods they sold. Enjoy!

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