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Travel
22 February 2017

Words: Andrea
Photos: Andrea & Daryl Aiden
The second half of my whirlwind 4D3N adventure in North Tokachi, Hokkaido.

This blog post documents the second half of my whirlwind 4D3N adventure in North Tokachi, Hokkaido a few weeks back, you can read Part 1 here.

Kamishihoro Region: Snow-Shoe Trekking on Lake Nukabira
After our 8am outdoor morning onsen retreat at Nukabirakan, we geared up in snow-proof outerwear we rented from the nearby Nukaira Gensenkyo Ski Resort (best time to ski: late December – beginning March!), and proceeded to make our way to the Higashitaisetsu Nature Guide Center to embark on a 3-hr long 4km snow-shoe trekking experience to Taushubetsu Bridge.

If you have never snow-trekked before, just imagine you and an intimate trekking group trekking through fresh 2-metre thick powder snow, through the quiet woods and over a froken Lake Nukabira. The untouched and undisturbed landscape will only stir up the silent adventurer in you, and make you want to spend an entire day trekking through the woods till dusk.

For more information on the snow-shoe trek we did, head on to this website. The guided tour costs 3700 Yen (approx. SGD $48), and includes snow-shoe rental fees.

Kamishihoro Region: Higashitaisetsu Highland Railway
If you still have energy after your trek, you can attempt to go on a trolley ride that runs on the former National Shihoro Railway. You’ll get spectacular views of Daisetsuzan National Park. Though just be mindful that it may be closed on certain days during winter if there is too much snowfall on the tracks!

For more information: http://arch-bridge.sakura.ne.jp/

Tokachigawa Region: Garden Spa Tokachigawa Onsen
I would definitely recommend spending an additional night in Kamishihoro, however, as we were pressed for time during this trip, we had to set off towards the region of Tokachigawa, where we got to have lunch and have a nice post-trek soak at the brand new Garden Spa Tokachigawa Onsen.

This onsen does not provide accommodation, but it does play home to 4 restaurants that serve Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, so it’s definitely a good rest stop if you are driving around the region. The spa its dedicated to both families and couples, and while most onsens are separated according to gender, this spa is unisex, and will require all its guests to be in a swimsuit. If you do not have one with you on hand, the spa has clean ones ready for you!

The onsen will cost 1500 Yen (approx SGD $19) for adults, and you can stay for as long as you like from the hours between 9am to 9pm.

Tokachigawa Region: Daiheigen Hotel and Tokachigawa Swan Festival

For our final night in Hokkaido, we checked into Daiheigen Hotel. This hotel is definitely bigger than most of the hotels we’ve experienced, and caters more to tourist groups. So if you are looking for a more intimate cosier hotel, I would recommend finding an alternative hotel!

Daiheigen Hotel and its surrounding hoteliers have a shuttle bus provided every night during winter to ferry its guests to the Tokachigawa Swan Festival Saririnka. It happens every year between the end of January to the end of February and is essentially a light and music festival on snow-filled fields. Definitely a must-go for a romantic night stroll or a nice family night out if you’re traveling with kids!

We were slated for an early morning sunrise hot air balloon experience, but due to weather conditions, our ride had to be cancelled. It was disappointing we couldn’t go on a winter-time balloon experience, but at least our spontaneous morning walk around the hotel brought us to horses and an amazing sunrise view!

Final Thoughts
I’ve said this numerous times, but this trip to Hokkaido was definitely one of my best trips ever. I’ve snow-trekked, ski-ed, soaked in an outdoor hot spring with snow falling down on me, visited an igloo for the first time in my life, and was exposed to the coldest temperatures I’ve ever been in, and I was filled with so much joy doing everything I did. I’m definitely coming back next January with Imran and my family, and I cannot wait for them to experience everything I’ve experienced in this trip. Till next time Hokkaido!

Love, 
Drea

Travel
16 February 2017

Words: Andrea & Dreachong.com
Photos: Andrea
We had 3 hours to spare in 'The City That Never Sleeps', so we cafe-hopped our time away to these 3 beautiful spots!

I was recently in Bangkok for an exciting campaign shoot for online fashion house Pomelo (more on that next month!), it was a super quick trip, but we managed to find 3 hours of spare time before our flight back to Singapore. In those 3 hours, we obviously do what Singaporeans love to do best – Cafe hop! Here’s what we managed to cover, and what you can easily cover, whenever you have a bit of time in Bangkok.

Outfit: Michael Kors / Belt and Shoes: Polo Ralph Lauren

Patom Organic Living

Located in Thonglor’s residential neighbourhood, the spacious natural-light-filled cafe is essentially a modern glasshouse encapsulating Patom’s belief in balanced living. The space houses locally-sourced products from groceries to lunchboxes. Their outdoor area is occasionally used to hold food markets, selling fresh produce from the local network of farmers.

Address: 9/2 Sukhumvit 49/6 (Soi Prompak), Klongtan-Neur, Wattana, Bankok 10110 Thailand
Opening Hours: 9am – 6:30pm

Outfit: Collate The Label Dress /  Bag: Michael Kors

Shugaa

It’s apparent that this double storey concept cafe’s interior is influenced by the primary ingredient used in the menu – sugar. Here, you’ll see soft pastel tones and stylish crystalline shapes and structures. The menu features dainty desserts and delectable French-Japanese brunch items. If you’d like to go one step further into the dessert making process, make your way to the DIY Fondant Corner located on the second level.

Address: 27 Sukhumvit 61, Klongtan-nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 8:30pm

Fill In The Blank

The first thing that greets you as you enter this cafe is its homely and rustic vibes. Their menu offerings also reflect the country-living vibe and make for a hearty and lovely meal. What we tried and will be back for: their creamy and flavourful Penne Alfredo with Mushroom and Broccoli.
Address: 28/10 Sukhumvit 61 (Soi Major Cineplex Ekamai)
Opening Hours: 9am – 7pm


Other Cafes we Recommend:

Although we didn’t have time to visit more cafes, these were the ones we wished we had the chance to visit:


Vanilla Garden

Nestled in the cluster of cafes in the Ekkamai neighbourhood is this quaint Japanese compound consisting of two cafes and one library – Vanilla Bakeshop, Vanilla Cafe and Sauce. Opt to seat outdoors with a crispy cronut because that’s where you’ll get the best view of its luscious and cinematic garden.

Address: 53 Ekkamai Soi 12,Sukhumvit Soi 63 10110, Thailand
Opening hours: 7am – 10pm
Website http://www.vanillaindustry.com/index.html

Nikko Cafe

Don’t judge this Japanese eatery by their earthy industrial exterior. This is a coffee house the locals patronise, so you know how good the food and drinks are going to be. Even if you don’t go for the food, this spacious establishment is great for people-watching and enjoying meaningful conversations over their matchas.

Address: Ekkamai 12 and Sukhumvit 23, Bangkok 10110
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NikkoCafe/

I hope you enjoyed this really short guide we put together, let us know in the comments below if you have any more recommendations for cafes in Bangkok! I hope to be doing more cafe guide series, just stay close to the blog and my socials! x

Love,
Drea

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