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Honestly, when I was told that we were going to Jim Thompson Farm, my first impression was I was going to see silkworm, the production of silk and their products. I didn’t know Jim Thompson has a farm. For those who are unaware of Jim Thompson, it’s a brand that sells silk product; from handkerchiefs to pillowcases. Jim Thompson has a factory outlet and several shops in Bangkok.
I was pleasantly surprised when I reached there. It was a farm where you could see a sea of various flowers, including sunflowers! There were giant pumpkins for you to take photos with too. It’s not what I had imagined. I felt like I was taken to a modern farm, or I am just on the prettier side of the farm.
The farm was separated to various sections, flower section, heritage and marketplace. The flower section is apparently the most gorgeous one, and the best spot to take plenty of photos! I wasn’t as impressed as the remaining sections.
Anyway, I am not a flower person. The views were pretty no doubt, it’s quite zen to see the flowers move gracefully with the cool breeze. However, after witnessing the sea of sunflowers, all other flowers pale in comparison. Jim Thompson Farm has a small field of sunflower too! The whole group of us decided to trek across a small piece of forest and field to reach the sunflower field. I can’t imagine the length we go just for the sunflowers.
Moreover, we had yet to have our lunch then! Once again, I am not impressed with the tall grass and insects. I felt like I was in some sort of training when I was walking through the forest, but there is no point for me to turn back. I could only move on. Nevertheless, it was all worth it.
Just when you think this was the only adventure that we have on the farm, we have difficulties looking for food. Even though the map suggested that there are eateries available in the map, which it had. However, the variety and the prices of the food inside the farm is limited, and the furniture was not friendly for dining purposes. Moreover, it drizzles halfway through the meal, and all of us have to grab the food and find shelter, which was very much limited. I highly recommend you to have your meals at a proper restaurant before going to the farm.
Would I recommend going to the Jim Thompson Farm? Yes! Flower lovers would love this farm. Family with kids would like the environment too, as the children would have an eye-opening experience here. They could see flowers, tadpoles, tiny frogs and a lot of other things. I did have my share of fun at the Jim Thompson fun, but honestly, only the flower sections were worth it.
I was really excited to visit the Palio Village, as I read from several blogs that it’s a great place to take photos and you could feed alpacas there. This is one of my must-go places even before the trip took place. Hence, when I finally reached the Palio Village, I was really excited. I walked around in circles of the villages, taking photos and looking for signages to the farm where I could find the llamas. However, I could not see any stable. I started to do some googling, only to realise that I am in the wrong place. The alpacas are housed in Primo Piazza.
Palio Village and Primo Piazza are 2 European style site which are highly recommended on social media. In photos, both places look highly similar.
However, the difference between them is the farm. Palio Village is a place mainly for photo taking and some shopping, but the farm is in Primo Piazza.
You have to pay for the entrance fee to Primo Piazza too. Each ticket allowed you to get a bunch of grass to feed the sheep, donkey and alpacas.
We had a relatively short tour in Palio Village, and we requested our driver to bring us to the Primo Piazza. Primo Piazza is much more spacious, and it looked like European-Inspired countryside. I didn’t really walk around the place much, as all I could think about is feeding the alpacas. I just zoomed right there!
Now, imagine the stable housing the sheep, donkey and alpacas, and most tourists are there to feed the alpacas and the sheep only. 90% of the tourists who were feeding these animals are children. I am one of the rare adults that were enjoying the feeding session. It was pretty fun, and exciting to see the alpacas chomping stalk and stalk of grass. They weren’t hay. At least, it wasn’t it didn’t look like hay to me. It was hard to take photos because you would get photobombed by grass or children.
Children being children, one of the young boys pulled my hand and demanded me to give him grass. Demanded, because he said “Give me some grass!” to me while pulling my hand which was holding on to the grass. Well, out of goodwill, I did. However, at the same time, I was giving a death stare to the father who is pretending as if nothing happened. Then, I learnt this one valuable lesson, in future when I have a kid, he/she is going to learn and mirror my actions. I need to put on the best self every day.
Would I recommend going to Palio Village and Primo Piazza? Personally, I prefer Primo Piazza to Palio Village. Both are equally good for photo stops, but the added bonus for Primo Piazza got to be the farm. It’s an excellent place to bring your kids there. However, if you are there just to take photos, go to Palio Village. There’s no entrance fee, which is great for the budget traveller.
I had previously written about Day 1 in Khao Yai. There are 2 parts to it, you can read them here and here. For the first 2 nights in Khao Yai, we stayed at Phuwanalee Resort. We booked a 3 bedroom Thai villa with them. We decided to stay here due to the location and the price of the resort.
We reached relatively late to the Phuwanalee Resort, as we were out having fun in the day. Night fell relatively early in Khao Yai, and the town is not polluted with lights. It’s quite a nice change in the environment. One of the staff, Joy, received us when we were alighting from the van. She really lived up to her name. We bought us to our villa and my goodness! I am impressed by it! (Joy even bid us farewell on the day we checked out. Such great hospitality! )
It’s an open concept 3-bedroom villa. There are 2 room with king size bed, whereby 1 of the room is a honeymoon suite. The third room is a twin room. All the rooms were separated, meaning all of us can have the place all for ourselves. As for the living room, it’s outdoor. Or instead, there is no living room. There are dining tables, sofa and chairs available. It’s a charming place to chill in the morning and at night.
Our villa is a beautiful building by itself. It’s made of wood. The interior seemingly belongs to a vintage hut. It’s a different vibe as compared to a modern hotel. Nevertheless, the room is well equipped with air condition, air dryer, mini pantry and etc.
The entire resort is surrounded by plants! The staff took great care of the guests too. They put insect repellant at every other corner of the resort to ward off the mosquitos. Could you believe that there is a waterfall in the resort? Yes, there is one, and I only found out about that the next day. We didn’t have time to have a tour of the resort, but I dare say that the resort is relatively huge. It would be good to save some time to explore around this resort.
Would I stay in this resort again? Yes.
Would I recommend this resort to anyone? Yes.
Recently, I went to Khao Yai, Thailand for a short holiday. Honestly, I am quite excited about this trip as I wanted to go to Khao Yai, as I kept hearing about it for a few years. On top of that, I would really love to embrace the sight of the sunflowers. This was also the last trip of the year. It's also one of the rare occasions that I went on the trip with my family to Thailand. I decided to pen this down while my memory is still fresh.
We booked the air tickets and accommodation relatively late. Hence, the overall price of the air tickets and accommodation were on the higher end. On top of that, most of the hotels and resorts were fully booked! It was quite hard to find one during the dates that we were there. Nevertheless, we managed to have everything settled 2 weeks before the trip.
On the day of the day of the trip, we took Thai Airways to Bangkok. We hired a car charter with a driver for the entire trip. I would suggest doing this as the driver would drive you not just to Khao Yai, and it's definitely easier to get around the town. There is no public transport in Khao Yai, and I didn't see any tuk tuk while I was in Khao Yai too. The drive from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Khao Yai was slightly less than 3 hours, as we managed to get a really smooth traffic that day and we even had a short stop to buy some snacks.
Stop 1 - PB Valley Khao Yai Winery
The first stop of the trip was a visit to PB Valley Khao Yai Winery. Initially, we wanted to take a tour around the winery first. However, we reached 20 minutes late to the place, the buggy had driven off, and we could only join in for the next tour(, provided there were seats available).
One important point to take note is that if you have to book the trip 1 week in advance! They had a huge notice placed at their counter. We were lucky to be able to join the next tour partly because our driver was able to negotiate with the saleslady. (That's another bonus for hiring a private driver.) To be on a safe side, it best to book the tour in advance and be there early as they would start to push the crowd to take the buggy half an hour before the start of the tour. Anyway, since we have some time to spend, we decided to have lunch at their restaurant first.
Fried Pork Knuckle
The Fried Pork Knuckle was the first dish that was served to us, and we were famished; hence we devoured it when it arrived. Honestly, it was pretty good. It reminded me of Germany, but it wasn't as good as theirs. The meat was a bit dried. However, I have to comment on the mashed potato and the sauce. The combination of these 2 was perfect. Honestly, that was my favourite part of the dish.
We were pretty hungry and ordered quite a number of dishes. I don't eat spicy food hence I ordered a salmon fillet for myself. The salmon was cooked nicely. You could see a tinge of slight pink when you sliced the meat. The texture of the fish was not too hard.
Most importantly, this serving was good enough for 1. Anyway, Khao Yai is not surrounded by ocean. Hence, their seafood is slightly on the pricier side.
Seafood Pad Thai
Like most Thai food, the Seafood Pad Thai was slightly on the sweeter side. The prawns were tasty. I am not a fan of Thai Food, so I don't really fancy this dish.
Strawberry and Grape Sparkling Juice
This was the highlight! The drink was refreshing in a good way. They mixed strawberry, homemade grape juice and soda together. The result was perfect! It's a great drink to have at the end of a long ride on a hot and sunny day! There were sliced strawberries in the juice as well, which I enjoyed eating! I am a fan of strawberries.
These weren't all the dishes that we ordered, but as I said I am not a fan of Thai Food and the meals were spicy. Hence, I would not be discussing much them.
Anyway, you could enjoy a 10% discount if you are going on a tour here. The ticket comes with a 10% voucher, so remember to use it!
Now, let's talk about the tour! All of us took the buggy on tour around the farm. The tour has 3 stops; grapevine farm, production factory and a shortstop for wine tasting. At the first stop, we get to have a 10 minutes photo stop at the grapevine farm. There was only a small section of the farm opened for our viewing. The grapes were pretty tiny. It's smaller than the grapes that you see in the supermarket. At the second stop, we went to the production factory. Honestly, there was nothing much to view. Most of the guests were looking forward to the last stop; wine tasting! To my utter disappointment, the wine was not fantastic. It can't be compared to French/New Zealand and Australian Wine. However, their grape juice tasted so much better, and that was the saving grace for the tour. Honestly, I find the trip a little underwhelming, but it is still a good education tour of wine in Asia.
Things to do if you want to go PB Valley Khao Yai Winery:
Book the tour at least 1 week in advance
Reach the winery at least half an hour before the actual time of the visit
Put on sunblock as the sun is really glaring!
I would continue Day 1 in another post, so stay tuned!
This is a typical training for a SPY.
We would report at 7pm, and it would always start with an update.
Then, we would split into our various team for discussions, or we would be dancing.
On weekends, when we have more time, we get to create a beautiful mess.
On other days, we would be listening to talks.
However, most of the time, we were dancing or practising our cheers.
When all of this was happening, we learnt to strike a pose fast in front of the camera.
Conflicts did occur, but all of us tried to help one another even until the end of the journey.
We worked hard.
We had fun!
In this post, I would be talking about the various committees and their responsibility. For the 42nd batch of the Singapore Contingent, we have the Corporate Communication, Cultural, Exhibition, Logistics and Sports committees. There is not fair distribution in the numbers of members, as it's more of a personal choice. On top of these committees, there was the National Leader (NL), Youth Leader (YL), Assistant Youth Leader (AYL) and treasurers.
Let's start with the easiest first:
在这篇文章中，我将讨论各个委员会的责任。 我们有企业传播，文化，展览，物流和体育委员会。 除了这些委员会，我们也有国家领导人（NL），青年领袖（YL），助理青年领袖（AYL）和财务主管。
National Leader is appointed by the SIS board and NYC. Technically, he/she is the advisor of the contingent.
Youth Leader and Assistant Youth Leader
These 2 leadership positions are voted by the contingent members. Practically, they have to take care of everything and anything, including managing people's expectation and emotions. Moreover, the dynamic of the contingent varies greatly. The age ranged from 18 to 30 years old. There are working adults and students. All of our backgrounds are very different. Naturally, there would be conflict. On top of this role, they are also a member of one of the committee.
我们能投票选择我们的青年领袖（YL）和助理青年领袖（AYL）。 实际上，他们必须照顾所有的事情，包括管理人们的情绪。 除此之外，他们还是该委员会的成员之一。
What is the first thing that came to mind when you think about treasurers? MONEY! They took care of the contingent funds and helped every single one of us with the reimbursement.
当你想到财务主管时，会想到什么？ 钱！ 对了！他们负责处理资金，并帮助我们获得报销。
The corporate communication team has the luxury to enjoy more time on board the ship and during the programme, as the bulk of their responsibilities are during the pre-departure period. The team would have to take care of the sponsorships, collaterals, uniforms, photo shoot, the image of the contingent, public relations, marketing and so much more. In simple terms, we aim to make everything looked good and be shameless when asking for sponsorship. I was in this team as I like marketing and design. I was also the Chairman of this team. I would talk more about this in another post.
The logistics team pretty much have to take care of the contingent's logistics, luggage (yes! I am referring to our personal luggage) and welfare. During the training period, the committee made sure that we were well fed. The team catered food and at times sought sponsorship for the food too. They even had to take care of our packing list, provide advice on our packing so that we do not need to lug our luggage in Japan. The most important part of their job is to ensure that most of the logistics need to be packed nicely before and even after the trip. We have to return some of the items. Hence, this team had an important role to answer for these items when we returned back on the sunny island.
物流团队要照顾特遣队的物品，大家的私人行李和福利。 在培训期间，委员负责点餐。 他们工作中最重要的部分是确保大部分物流需要在旅行之前甚至之后很好地包装。 我们必须退回一些物品。 因此，当我们返回新加坡时，这个团队可以为这些把物品归回原主。
The name of this team is slightly misleading, even though they did drag us out to do some sports, eg. running and dragon boat. (And, those are not my favourite times.) The team would need to create contingent cheers, gangway cheer, show us the games and dance, teach us the SSEAYP songs and many more. Honestly, you would never know of gangway cheer until you joined the programme. Basically, I would feel like they are the team that is supposed to make activities seemingly fun.
这个团让活动看起来很有趣。他们也确实拖我们去做一些运动，例如。 跑步和龙舟。 （并且，那些不是我最喜欢的时间。）团队需要创造欢呼，为我们展示游戏和舞蹈，教我们SSEAYP的歌曲等等。 老实说，在你加入这个项目之前，你不会知道什么是舷梯欢呼。
Like the Sports committee, the team name is slightly misleading. The team had to take care of the exhibition about Singapore in Japan. The purpose of the display was to showcase the culture of Singapore so that the youths have a better understanding of the little red dot. The team also had to produce a summary of the culture of Singapore and other countries. At times, they also had to engage speakers to give us simple language courses. They too have to create a contingent handbook for the 27 of us. The manual consist of all the cheers, song lyrics, and essential notes that we would need to remember on board the ship.
展览团队的目的是展示新加坡的文化，让年轻人更好地了解小红点。 他们还必须总结新加坡和其他国家的文化给我们。 有时，他们还必须聘请演讲者为我们提供简单的语言课程。 他们也必须为我们27个人制作一本临时手册。 手册包括我们在船上需要记住的所有欢呼声，歌词等等。
The Cultural Team main purpose is to come up with an hour-long performance. The performance had to showcase Singapore too. It was not easy. They have to create the script, choreograph the dance, source for pieces of music, create the background images for the performance and even sourcing for costumes. There were also short performances to take care off too. On board the ship, there were also last minute rehearsals to dance the night away.
文化团队的主要目的是提出一个小时的表演。 表演也必须展示新加坡的文化。 这并不容易。 他们必须创建剧本，编舞舞蹈，音乐作品的来源，创作表演的背景图像，甚至采购服装。
Last but not least, there is an informal Executive Committee, which is also known as the EXCO. This committee consisted of all the Chairperson of the various teams, YL, AYL and NL. This team discussed on all the pressing matters such as scheduling of timetable, hair colour, and other nitty-gritty details. It's not a fun team to be in.
As I am writing this post, I have to say that we are a group of talented people. We managed to score sponsorships! Thanks to our resourceful AYL and other members. Most of us contributed to something. Some of us pulled string to help with the choreography of the dance. Some were talented to do the photography, videography, scriptwriting and etc. We managed to create uniforms, conduct photo shoots, do a voiceover and even provide copyediting. Honestly, all of these activities would not be a success without the help of every individual.
Honestly, even until today, I don't know how we did it, but we managed to go against all the odds.
And, that's all for today!