SKY BAR ROOFTOP AT LEBUA

SKY BAR ROOFTOP AT LEBUA

THE BEST RIVER VIEWS IN BANGKOK

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Made even more famous by hosting the Hangover II boys during filming in Bangkok, Sky Bar rooftop at Lebua State Tower offers one of the best views in the city. 63 floors up and overlooking the river, it has become a must-do for a sundowner cocktail. Around ten minutes’ walk from Saphan Taksin BTS it is very easy to find, just look up and walk towards the tall cream building with the gold dome on the roof. It may not be the most relaxed experience as people will flock here on a clear day and it gets crowded, but the vista is one you won’t forget in a hurry.

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If you arrive before 18:00 (when Sky Bar opens) you can still have a drink and enjoy the view from Distil. This comfortable oyster and whisky bar has an outdoor terrace with a comfortable cushioned sofa area. The view isn’t as good as the main restaurant and bar but it’s slightly more relaxed as no-one is pushing and shoving to take pictures. Because of the popularity of Sky Bar it can sometimes feel like you are at a cattle market. The staff usher you down the steps at an impressive speed, and won’t let you take pictures from the top of the stairs. Once you are in the bar area there are no seats and if you are only having a drink it can feel a bit claustrophobic.

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If you are a fan of the movie try a Hangovertini. The mixologist at Lebua created it especially to celebrate the film, and although many people did not like how Bangkok and its citizens were represented on screen, the blend of green tea liquor, apple juice, Martini Rosso and rosemary honey, goes down much better here than the movie ever did. There are plenty of other original cocktail choices, as well as a good range of beers and wines. If you are coming for a special occasion it is worth considering dinner at Sirocco, where you can enjoy a romantic dinner at the world’s highest rooftop restaurant.

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Although the crowds at Sky Bar and the lack of seating don’t make for a relaxing drink, the unusual cocktails and arguably the best views in Bangkok make a visit here well worth the trip.

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German Artist Creates Art from Chaotic Splotches of Tea, Coffee and Juice

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Stains of coffee and fruit juice are dreaded by most people, but German artist Angela Mercedes Donna Otto actually uses them as the basis for her creative artworks. She randomly pours colored drinks on paper canvases and spends hours contemplating the splotches, looking for familiar shapes.

At the base of Angela Mercedes Donna Otto’s art is “apophenia”, a term used by psychologists to describe the pursuit of the human mind to construct meaning, order and forms even from chaotic structures (e.g. seeing faces and shapes in clouds). She starts the creative process by making random splotches of coffee, tea and various fruit juices on a paper canvas, to create all kinds of chaotic patterns. Then, she spends hours on end in her studio, contemplating the stains and using her imagination to identify meaningful patterns and shapes. Finally, the motifs she finds in the visually stimulant material are extracted from the patterns by drawing with colored ink. Though they are carefully worked out in detail her pictures provide a wide range of interpretation, different approaches and scope to “see more”.

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Aogashima Island – Living inside a Volcano

Can you imagine yourself living in a giant volcanic crater? Well, for starters, you can forget about Starbucks. But it sure would be the ultimate destination to get away from it all. It’s not all that surprising then, that about 200 people actually inhabit the Japanese volcanic island of Aogashima, with only one school and a single post office.

Aogashima, a part of the Izu Archipelago, lies two hundred miles south of Tokyo, in the Philippine Sea. The island and its 205 inhabitants (as of 2009), are a part of Japan and governed by Tokyo. When I first saw pictures of this breathtaking location, it sort of reminded me of an inverted pudding on a plate. Or an oddly shaped donut. But Aogashima is really a volcano within a volcano. The island is quite well known for having a volcanic caldera within a larger caldera. So what you have is one big, giant crater, which is the island itself, inside which is nestled a much smaller version of itself. This gives the whole island a rather mysterious appeal, almost like something out of a fantasy movie. It’s hard to believe there are such places still left in the world, untouched by noisy human activity.

The entire population of Aogashima lives on a small part of the island. This is where most of the amenities are located, such as a general store and a helipad. While it’s unrealistic to expect a great night life or gourmet food options in a place as remote as this, Aogashima isn’t totally devoid of activities to pursue. For starters, it is a great place to relax and unwind, basking in all the serenity. Scuba diving is a popular activity in the intensely blue waters. You could also consider hiking and camping by the volcano, or visiting the volcanic hot springs. In the very center of the island is a geothermal sauna. The main volcano has scalding hot steam vents around one side, which are used to power the public sauna – a perfect way to relax after a long day of hiking. You can even cook food at the steam vents, in the pots available outside the sauna to steam your goodies. Accessibility options to and from the island aren’t too great:, as it can only be reached by ferry and by helicopter. Once you’re on the island, you have access to a 24/7 live feed of the harbor, so that you can keep an eye on the weather before venturing out.

If you are planning on visiting Aogashima , you might want to know that it is actually an active volcano. The last massive eruption was over 200 years ago, in 1785. 140 people are said to have died back then, and since it has been a while, the volcano might be in store for another eruption sometime soon. If you’re not the kind to take risks, you might as well sit back and enjoy breathtaking pictures of this amazing beauty of an island. I’ll leave you to it.

Amateur Artist Turns Apartment Building into Urban Art Gallery

Dmitry Bochkarev, an amateur artist, from Moscow, Russia, has turned an ugly communist-era apartment building into a colorful art gallery, by covering the walls, staircases and doors with various painted artworks.

While most graffiti artists sneak around to find places where they can exercise their artistic talents, amateur artist Dmitry Bochkarev asked people’s permission before he began painting on their walls and doors. It all began 17 years ago, after Dmitry experienced clinical death. He had a vivid dream that helped him discover his talent for painting, and from then on he started painting the inside of his apartment building, in Moscow’s  Biryulyovo district. Until then, the place was just a grey reminder of the Soviet era, and a victim of littering and ugly graffiti. But once colorful cartoon scenes and nature-inspired landscapes started appearing on the walls, it all stopped. Not even vandals have had the heart to ruin Bochkarev’s artworks, and neighbors say it’s the best thing that ever happened to their community. Residents started smiling to each other again, and they became so proud of their art-covered building that they even organize viewing tours for friends and family.

Photo: ITAR-TASS

Dmitry Bochkarev has spent the last few years painting away on the inside of the 12-storey building, using mostly newspapers, books and magazines for inspiration. His collection of urban works of art includes popular cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse, medieval castle walls painted around apartment doors, nature sceneries, and even spaceships. There are still a few gray walls left to cover up, and Dmitry is currently brainstorming with the residents of the building, for ideas on his next masterpieces.

Photo: ITAR-TASS

The idea of turning a grim old communist building into an urban art gallery is pretty cool, and it’s apparently turning into a trend in former Soviet Union countries. Just a few months back, I wrote a post about Ukrainian artist Valery Haroun, who did the same thing in an apartment building in Odessa.

Photo: ITAR-TASS

Photo: ITAR-TASS

Photo: ITAR-TASS

Photo: ITAR-TASS

Photo: ITAR-TASS

 

Chinese Company Knocks Off Entire Austrian Village

A Chinese metals and mining company has invested nearly 1 billion dollars into replicating an entire Austrian scenic village just an hour away from Huizhou city, in subtropical southern China.

Nestled deep in the breathtaking Northern Limestone Alps, the village of Hallstatt is one of Austria’s most popular tourist attractions. Featuring a rich culture and history dating back to prehistoric times, and gorgeous natural surroundings, this unique piece of heaven draws in hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Did I say unique? I meant once unique, because Chinese company China Minmetals Corporation has recently completed a replica of the iconic Austrian village in a scenic location, close to the city of Huizhou. The cost of this knock-off project was around $940 million. The Chinese have always been known for their skill in creating knock-offs, from designer clothes to smartphones, and fueled by China’s economic growth, their projects are becoming even more ambitious. They started out by copying iconic landmarks from around the world, then they moved to whole districts inspired by western civilization  and now they’re building replicas of entire settlements. I’m betting they’ll be replicating entire countries pretty soon.

Original Hallstatt (left) and the Chinese replica (right)/Photo: Gizmodo

Most of the people in the original Hallstatt were irritated by their homes being copied in another country, but once they realized the potential marketing benefit of such an endeavor they had a change of heart, and many of them even flew off to Huizhou for the official inauguration. Still, they made it clear they weren’t happy with how the copying was done. Members of Minmetals Land staff were deployed in old Hallstatt, taking pictures and gathering data while mingling with tourists and raising suspicions among locals. No one was ever informed of the company’s plan, until one of the Chinese spilled the beans, by accident. ”They should have asked the owners of the hotel and the other buildings if we agree with the idea to rebuild Hallstatt in China, and they did not,” hotel owner Monika Wenger said ahead of the opening ceremony.

Chinese Hallstatt/Photo: BBC

Although it has exact replicas of Hallstatt’s church clock tower, and several private houses, as well as Disney-like photo spots, this Chinese knock-off isn’t nearly as popular as the original.  In 2005 it had only 50 visitors, and while that figure has risen to around 2,500 in recent years, it’s still not even close to the number of people who visit the Austrian settlement every year. Ironically, more Chinese tourists fly to Austria to see the original…

Chinese Hallstatt/Photo: DPA

Chinese Hallstatt/Photo: DPA

Original Hallstatt/Photo: chel1395

My Holiday in Bali, Birthday Surprise for Mom

So this time I`m gonna write about my own holiday in Bali, again… By the way, this is the third time in this year I go to Bali. First was in January with my university. Actually, it was more like industrial visit plus holiday also. And the second time was in July when I had my long journey traveling from  Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and ended up in Bali… So the third time was in October.

My mom has a birthday in October, so I want to give her a birthday present but totally had no idea what it would be. I also want to give her something special before leaving her for a semester during my job training in Kuala Lumpur. That time I still waiting for my working permit accepted by the immigration. Then I had an idea to have one more holiday to Bali. So I check flights and hotels, how much will it cost. Then I bought the ticket and hotels too… She was surprised 🙂

Then we went to Bali only for 4 days. We used Air Asia, then the flight was delayed for about an hour. So we arrived in Bali at night, but luckily the hotel`s representative picked us up, so we don’t need to find taxi in Bali to reach the hotel. I also rent a car in Bali during our stay.

First day, we went to Beachwalk mall in Kuta and had a dinner.

And then the second day we went to Ayana which used to be Ritz Carlton. We want to visit the Rockbar at that time. I suggested to go there by my friend who has job training there. But unfortunately the rockbar is open at 4 while we came at 1.30 at that time. So we change to Potato Head Beach Club. It`s like a restaurant with a pool, and a side pool bar. So u can really enjoy and spend your time there. It also has direct access to Seminyak Beach.

And while swimming there, I had a funny conversation with a guy. I was swimming alone and suddenly this guy came to me and started a conversation. He said that “What a nice sunset ya…” and I was just nodding. Blah blah blah he kept talking to me anyway. He said that he`s from Jakarta and wonder where do I come from. I just let him guess. He guess that I`m from Thailand, then I shook my head.

Then he made next guess, Singapore?

No…

Malaysia?

No…

Canada?

Nooo…

Ah really? Where do u come from?

Then I said “Actually it`s just 2 hours from your city… gotcha”

No way! Really? HAHA Thats funny… But u look like from Thailand or somewhere else…

Yeah? haha, I`m from Bandung…

Then he was like invite me to dinner but I already had plan for that night with my friends who are having holiday in Bali also. So after we went back to hotel, had a lil rest then my mom drive me to Beachwalk coz I’m gonna meet my friends there. After hang out at Beachwalk, my friends taking me to Sky Garden… Then my mom pick me up, but she was like angry. She doesn’t like that I go to such place.

Then the next day we went for lunch in Ibu Tinuk… And after planned to go to Kudeta. But I read from TripAdvisor that there`s a lot of complains about Kudeta. So we changed our mind and heading to W Retreat&Spa. The hotel is one of Starwood Property. Last time I made my job traning in Sheraton also which is one of Starwood Property. Starwood has lot’s of brand like Sheraton, W, Westin, Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection etc.

The hotel was great. And we went to Woo Bar for enjoying the sunset. Quite expensive actually but the service wasn`t really excellent actually.

Then we went back to the hotel and had a massage 😉 what a nice holiday…. Then usually we went for supper in Kuta. There`s a seafood restaurant, but i forgot what the name is.

Last day in Bali we just rest all day long in hotel coz my mom felt sick. And in the evening we went to late lunch and went to Gusto’s Ice cream. I read in tripadvisor that it`s a must visit place. The owner, which is French sell her own home made ice cream and it tastes so delicious. I got 3 cups of ice cream there =p

Then we went back to hotel to get our luggage then go to airport since we had a late night flight. We arrived in Bandung the next day at 00.30 a.m. What a nice holiday… Miss that time >.<