Thursday, July 30, 2015

For Those Who Love Roses- Jurlique's Limited Edition Precious Rose Hand Cream

My love for the rose scent has been validated by Jurlique on their 30th anniversary celebration. You know you have taste when a skincare giant chooses to endorse the flower scent that you adore *wink* Jurlique has elected the rose to be the flavour of their special hand cream that is only for sale in conjunction with the brand’s birthday.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Travelling with AirAsiaX to Chengdu China

When the wanderlust bug in my stomach starts to get cranky, there is no point avoiding it. I will be down with depression, lack of appetite, lack of interest in everything. To those who know me, they will quickly get me the mouse. The cure is to get to my hero airline- AirAsia! *with tadaa sound* AirAsia offers 12 destinations in China from Kuala Lumpur. Which part of the republic? This time, to the land of adorable giants, Chengdu!
When the wanderlust bug in my stomach starts to get cranky
The cure is to hop on an AirAsia flight
Quiet Zone in AirAsiaX

There are certain things that I would like to keep to myself but that would be called selfish. So, I will reveal my new flying approach- I flew to Chengdu via AirAsiaX Quiet Zone. This zone is right after the Premium Flatbed cabin and spans from row 7-14. It is only available in AirAsiaX (flights above 4 hours).  I felt a relief when I discovered this zone. This zone aims to maintain a quiet environment. Lights on these rows are dimmer to create a softer ambience for relaxation. Only passengers above 10 years of age are allowed in this zone. This means, no putting up with wailing babies and tantrum-throwing kids. Best of all, meals will be served first so that passengers can tuck themselves in for a more undisturbed sleep. I have been served a splendid combination of marinated roasted chicken with special stuffing with sweet and savoury cranberry gravy, roasted potatoes and vegetables. AirAsiaX displayed their dedication in in-flight meals by preserving the taste and quality. The flight to Chengdu took approximately 4 hours 20 minutes. I was more rested and touched down China looking as fresh as a daisy!

Peace and quiet in the AirAsiaX Quiet Zone
Off to Pandaland
Good hospitality by AirAsiaX stewards
My meal- Roasted chicken stuffed with special filling with cranberry sauce and vegetables
Departing for Chengdu
When I arrived in Shuangliu International Airport, summer was evident as I felt no difference in the weather from where I came from. A lot of Chinese words greeted and me and verified that I have reached China. I started my journey in Chengdu in a car, cruising from the airport to the hotel. “Chengdu should not be underestimated” I monologued. Structured highways illuminated beautifully at night. The city is organized in a way that merchandize of the same types are cluttered together to ease shopping. It was also exciting to see Chinese versions of Starbucks and McDs. Chengdu is a rising star alongside Shanghai and Beijing as tourism and business hub. These are what you should not miss when in Chengdu.
Arrived at Shuangliu International Airport
Chinese Starbucks
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

You cannot leave Chengdu without seeing a single panda. This research base is the pioneer in protecting and breeding the endangered animal. If you are uninitiated about pandas or bears at all, this visit will surely have you converted into a panda fan. These national treasures come in the most adorable and fuzzy form. Seeing them chew bamboos and frolicking in the outdoors is certainly an antidote to stress. Blending among the flora and fauna of that park makes a great family outdoor activity. The verdant park offers many photographing opportunity with nature. I went in the park as a tourist and came out with panda fever! I promised myself a panda soft toy before returning to Malaysia.
Entrance of the Panda Research Base
Adolescent pandas lazing
Adult pandas in the outdoors
Capture the peacock fanning his tail for goodluck
Serene bamboo forest
Le Shan Giant Buddha

When in Chengdu, do not miss the opportunity to see the Le Shan Giant Buddha with your very own eyes. This UNESCO World Heritage site is indeed a magnificence to behold. It is quite unbelievable that the 71m high sitting Buddha is hand-carved out of a cliff. To me, it looks like a scene out of Storm Riders where Ekin Cheng and Aaron Kwok battled swords. It took ancient people 90 years to build in year 713 in the Tang Dynasty. Anyone before the Buddha will be awed with dropped jaws. The statue of Maitreya has symmetrical posture and looks which have been elegantly captured in its solemn stillness. Charter a boat to view the Buddha from the river or to the island itself to climb up to the top of the Buddha. It is truly Chengdu’s wonder and trademark.

Amazed at the Le Shan Giant Buddha
Popi popi
TaoPing Qiang Village

Modernization can consume tradition and culture in the city. For those who have a relish for undiluted culture, a visit to the TaoPing Qiang is a must. It is a 2 ½ hour drive away from city center. It is one of the few preserved ancient villages in China. The way of life and home structure are still the same as it is 1000 years ago. The architecture unintentionally survived battles, wars and earthquakes. The technique used to build the homes has already extinct. Till now, there are still native dwellers living in the same ancient buildings that homed 56 generations. Take a look at olden water and drainage systems that are maintained. Villagers are still seen in their ethnic costumes. In TaoPing Qiang, I tried my luck with dried yak meat and got some trinkets back home as souvenir.

Interesting trinkets at the village
The structure that survived wars and earthquakes
Kitchen of real homes still used till today
Corn dried as fodder 
The view of from the village is native and untainted
98-year old native still going strong
She brought out a headgear just for the photoshot!
Wuhou Memorial

Wuhou Memorial holds the Legend of the Three Kingdoms. This place will definitely captivate those with a penchant for Chinese history. Even to people without Chinese education like myself, the depths of Chinese intelligence and stories of emperors, warriors and imperial advisors will blow you away. The memorial ultimately homes 2 grand treasures and the tomb of Liu Bei. The first treasure is ancient poem from Zhu Ge Liang and the second is a pair of tablets by Zhao Fan, indoctrinated by Mao Ze Dong. Liu Bei’s tomb is famed for its modesty was built by Zhu Ge Liang. Visitors also get to walk on paths that have been stepped upon by Zhu Ge Liang thousands of years ago, capturing what the legendary figure experienced when strategizing his battles. Here, take home a replica of Zhu Ge Liang’s fan made of crane feathers that inspired him a long time ago.

1st treasure- Zhu Ge Liang's ancient poem
2nd treasure- ancient tables by Zhao Fan
Path frequented by Zhu Ge Liang while strategizing
Deep thoughts on Chinese legends
Mount Emei

Mount Emei is one of the four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China. It is also listed as one of UNESCOs World Heritage site. This trip is for those who are physically inclined. It is 3099m above sea level and climate is cold due to the latitude. 663 steps had to be trodden before reaching the cable car which brought us up to the peak. During the 663 steps, there is no escape from fresh air. Lush greenery and its pristine surrounding are rare from what we get from the city. At the top, sits Buddhism architectures that hinted martial arts practice long ago. All along the trail, there were stalls selling food like sausages, buns, instant noodles and hot drinks to thaw the fingers. I savoured my beef instant noodles amidst the chilly weather backdroped by the green forrest. It was the best tea-time of the year!
Primates greeting us on the way hiking up the mountain
Stalls selling snacks but beware if you have a weak tummy
Lush greenery along the trail
Buddhist structure and temple
Golden temple at the peak

Best tea break ever!
Shopping in Chengdu

To those who need some retail therapy, there are plenty of prestigious international brands at the IFS shopping mall. Find for the building with a giant panda climbing to the top. It is just next to Chunxi street which offers just as much opportunity to swipe the credit card. Tai Koo Li is a also another recommendation for shopping.  For street bargains and budget buys, I went to Kuan Xiang Zi alley and Lotus Pool. Resist the urge to buy your keychain souvenirs until you reach there. You can thank me for it later.

IFS shopping mall
Go to the sky roof of IFS mall to look at the panda face-to-face
Chun Xi street
Do not get your keychains anywhere else buy here at Lotus Pool Market
Taking a breather after shopping
Kuan Xiang Zi Alley
Budget buys and lots of souvenirs for loved ones at home
Food in Chengdu

Food in Sichuan is one of its kind. Famed for spicy food, I had my fair chance to tease my tongue. The kick of authentic Sichuan food is contributed by the Sichuan pepper. The pepper, still attached to the stem is added not only for the spiciness but also the numbing sensation. Of course I had to try the Ma Po taufu which originates from Sichuan. The Sichuan hotpot is a must when in Chengdu. The favourite meal comes in herbal or spicy soup with lots of meat and veggies to be cooked in the soup. Dinner over the steamy pot certainly compliments a merry environment with family and friends. In Pandaland, fresh fruit stalls selling local fruits like peaches, lychees and fresh figs were really tantalizing as it is a rare sight back in Malaysia. Chinese pastry shops also caught my attention. I caught whiffs of the aromatic biscuits and could not resist from getting a few home. 

MaPo Taufu
Sichuan food is spicy
Try the Sichuan hotpot
Jiu Jai Gou and Tibet

Destiny has not brought me to Jiu Jai Gou yet. This superb wonder land is said to be magical beyond words. Chengdu is so far the only hub for people to reach there. Chengdu is also a famous interchange for travelers to Tibet.  I will return for my magical moment in Jiu Jai Gou.
Jiu Jai Gou- My magical dream
All good things have to come to an end. My summer trip left me mesmerized and ready to take on the daily challenge when I am home. It was a very insightful visit with cultures experienced and scenery savoured. I left Chengdu with a heavy heart. However, my Quiet Zone was waiting ahead. An early snack and peaceful slumber all the way back to my home sweet home safely- a great way to wrap up my wonderful summer holiday.

This trip is courtesy of Sarah Mai from
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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dorsett Grand Chengdu- A Luxurious Hotel Experience to be Shared

China is bizarre. From giant Buddha structures to door-less toilets, they all leave me in awe. So goes the same for my accommodation during my 5-day trip to Chengdu. My stay was not of the bizarre variety but it was amazing enough that I would make it an attraction itself. My stay was arranged by the Dorsett Grand Chengdu (DGC). Every night, I immersed myself in comfort and luxury that left me smitten.
I swear I could do a cartwheel with that space
Unpretentiously upscale
DGC was brimming with hospitality the moment I landed on panda land. We were greeted by DGC personnel who tagged my bags and sent them straight to my room. The hotel transport came with wifi which immediately satisfied our Watsapp needs.

Dorsett Grand Chengdu personnel greeting us at airport
Wifi in the transport makes me happy
After 45 minutes, we reached DGC with cordial greetings from the staff. Our eyes reflected sparkles of the posh lobby. I took a breath of the classy ambiance. Beautiful chandeliers emanated soft hues of elegance. This 5-starred hotel is unpretentiously upscale with 42 storeys accommodating 556 rooms. I was excited to hear that I was going to share the same experience with international celebrities like Backstreet Boys and Fahrenheit who patronized the same hotel before.
DGC staff waited for our arrival and greeted us warmly
Beautiful chandelier
Lotus inspired motives
I was ushered to my Deluxe King Room and quickly made a few cartwheels around the room…in my mind. The room was very spacious. I felt half of my travel exhaustion relieved. The interior of the room is contemporarily Western yet maintaining the Eastern vibes with Chinese motives. The sight of the foot-thick mattress with white crisp sheets and plush pillows was disarming. At the side, there is also a smart working desk for those who cannot leave work behind. Each room includes free wifi, a panoramic view of the city, iPod dock, a safe and coffee/ tea making facilities. I unwound under the rain shower with toiletries of my favourite orange scent that was soothingly sweet. DGC toiletries are environmental friendly too. The bathroom with a luscious tub has a bay window overlooking Chengdu’s skyline. I must say that it was difficult leaving the bathroom with the night view of buildings illuminated.
Ushered right to my room
King sized bed just for me me me
Luscious bathroom
Love the orange scented toiletries
Chinese motives
Eastern inspired deco
Chinese painting
Chinese tea making facilities
Night scenery from my room
Lots of space invested in the interior
There was a convenient store and some food stalls down the road. But not wanting to depart with my luxurious room, I decided to order room service which was provided with great customer care. Being in foreign land, it is always comforting to know that your needs are priority. I fed myself and sunk my head in the pillows and was fast asleep.
Room service
Every room comes with a bay window
Morning came too soon. But, it is always worth it to wake up to a hearty breakfast. I woke up to a great start with breakfast buffet at Yue Rong Cafe at level 2. We were spoilt with a wide selection of local and international food. My favourites were their crispy waffles with maple syrup and yummy pork buns, washed down with warm soya milk. Waiters were very friendly and ready on their toes to serve. Yue Rong Cafe also serves lunch and dinner buffet. I had the opportunity to try the local favourite hand-pulled noodles in duck soup, the spicy Sichuan Dan Dan noodles and shredded noodles all acrobatically made right infront of my eyes. 

Friendly waiters at Yue Rong Cafe
The scrumptious buffet spread
Fruit juices to boost the day
My favourite matches for breakfast
Tried my hands at noodle making
Spicy dan dan noodles
Noodles freshly made in front of me
Shredded noodles
 If you are searching for fine Chinese dining, CDG will not fail to impress you. The Fu Yue Xuan Chinese Restaurant at level 6 is the perfect choice for both business and family dining. They offer the finest of Tan Fu, Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine that can whet local and international appetites. The artistically embellished dishes tasted as good as they look if not better. The prestigious restaurant is not only comfortable but exudes poise and style that enhanced the dining experience.
Fu Yue Xuan's elegent setting (Photo credits to Dorsett Grand Chengdu)
Food deco itself is credible- Flower is made of toufu with one wolfberry, floating in superior soup
Honey prawns
Goose liver in oats
Delicious wagyu beef
 I will always remember the hand-painted piano at the lounge which I used to admire while waiting for my friends at the lobby. It is a great place to catch up with friends over a drink or a slice of cake. There is also the self-service gym that is accessible with the room key which makes it open 24 hours. The fairly complete range of equipments allowed me to shed off the extra weight gained during the trip at any time of the day without compromise.
Hand painted piano
24-hour gym
I had the opportunity to look at the meeting and banquet facilities which can cater for small meetings to large conferences. There is a graceful ballroom that is pilarless- perfect for wedding fengshui. For locals who are searching for a place to hold their once-in-a-lifetime event, the DGC has an exclusive bridal dressing room furnished with sofas, restroom and vanity dressing tables that allows a cozy changing space for the bride and bridesmaids. Mah-jong rooms are also available to those who fancy a game or two or to make it an activity during their event.

Pillarless ballroom
Mahjong room
The DGC is situated atop metro lines 1 (Luomashi Station) and 4 offering convenience in both business and leisure. I made more time for shopping as the Chunxi Street was just a 15-minute walk away from the hotel. Good news to those who do not mind walking to beat the traffic, the Climbing Panda at the IFS shopping mall is also just a few streets away. Kuanzai Alley for more shopping is just a straight road ahead from the hotel. The hotel provided concierge and limo services as well as tourist maps and pamphlets to facilitate my travel.
The IFS mall
Shopping at Kuanzai Alley
China has redeemed herself in my eyes with this world class hotel. After my fourth night at the DGC, I had to leave Chengdu with a heavy heart. The top-notch hospitality from the hotel really made my stay at home away from home. I would like to thank the staffs of DGC for their ever-present smiles and warm service which will be imprinted in me till my next visit to Chengdu.
An experiential stay at Dorsett Grand Chengdu
This summer, Dorsett Hospitality International offers families the chance to make their holiday budget go even further. Visitors can book 2 rooms at any hotels in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, London and Malaysia between 15th June to 30th September 2015 and enjoy 50% off the second room. As parents enjoy the savings on accommodation, children under 16 years of age will receive a cuddly Dorsett teddy bear who can accompany them on their holiday and a Dorsett backpack which comes with selected children’s amenities which they can fill with treasures accumulated along the way.

For more information, kindly visit:

Dorsett Grand Chengdu


This trip is courtesy of Sarah Mai from
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