Different Names Same Good Food / Anyone for a Yong Tau Fu?

Different Names Same Good Food / Anyone for a Yong Tau Fu?

In Malaysia and Singapore, the popular noodle soup is known as “Yong Tau Fu”. In Thailand, it goes by the name “Yen Ta Fo”. Different names for the same good food!

A mix of crispy fries is readied for a Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu.

Originally a part of traditional Hakka cuisine, the scrumptious noodle soup is enjoyed by many people across peninsular Southeast Asia. Particularly in Malaysia, it has pride of place among top 100 dishes with a national heritage status.

Yong Tau Fu has been among many big hits on the menu for hundreds of years. Its various recipes were brought in by the Hakka people, one of major groups who migrated into the Region from southeastern China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu with a side dish of crispy fried condiments. They can be added to soups or eaten with dipping sauces.

As its name implies, the recipe is made of tofu stuffed with ground pork and then deep-fried to give it a distinctive crispy flavor. It is the perfect match for a bowl of soup, good with dipping sauces, and makes a delicious accompaniment for noodle. Nowadays near-original versions of Yong Tau Fu can still be found everywhere in Malaysia.

Meantime, the Thais like their Yen Ta Fo slightly different from the original. They treat it as a noodle dish that comes either with or without deep-fried tofu. Instead, the Thai recipe features fish balls, pleasantly crisp calamari, pig’s blood cakes, and tender shoots and leaves of water spinach. Some Yen Ta Fo joints offer pork-stuffed tofu, while others may do without it entirely.

Known as Yen Ta Fo, the Thai noodle meal with its signature pink soup is served with pig’s blood cakes and tender shoots and leaves of water spinach.
Hakka noodle, as the Thais call it, is a variation of the Yen Ta Fo recipe.

The Thai version is distinguished by the signature pink soup that gets its color from fermented red bean curd. The Thais also like their Yen Ta Fo with a variety of condiments, including taro fries, shrimp balls, jellyfish, and wood ear, aka black fungus. Some like their Yen Ta Fo the Thai way in spicy chili soups. A lot of people confuse Yen Ta Fo with a similar recipe without the pink soup. Although made with the same ingredients, the latter is known as “Kuaytaew Khae”, literally Hakka noodle.

Ingredient of Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu
Be spoilt for choice! There’s nothing like a full-course Yong Tau Fu served Malaysian-style.

Traditionally, a Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu begins with first-course meals consisting of a mix of crispy fries, such as tofu, purple eggplant, stuffed meals, and sweet pepper, aka bell pepper. It’s hard to beat a good dipping sauce to start with. Then it’s time to eat them with a soup and add noodle to complement a great meal. Yong Tau Fu is ranked among Malaysia’s top 100 dishes with a national heritage status, along with other big hits such as Nasi Lemak (a rice dish cooked in coconut milk with anchovies and hot sauces), Nasi Ayam (chicken rice), and Ketupat (rice dumpling in palm leaf pouch).

Queueing for a Yong Tau Fu in Singapore. If you’re patient, it will get to your turn.
(Left) A Singapore-style Yong Tau Fu comes in a noodle soup. (Right) Crispy fried anchovies, locally known as “Ikan Bilis”, add flavor to a Yong Tau Fu meal.

In Singapore, where Yong Tau Fu is a culinary success story, rice vermicelli is served on a plate along with a bowl of spicy soup called Laksa. It is recommended to try this with Chee Cheong Fun, a rice noodle roll that comes in either dry or wet versions. There are plenty of Yong Tau Fu joints to be found. The price is reasonable, but keep in mind the line is rather long. If you are patient, it will get to your turn. Enjoy your meal!


You may also like…



10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia

10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia

Do you fancy a walk with Komodo dragons, or cave exploring, or taking selfies on a stunning rice terrace? Do you feel like making a trip to see snow-capped mountains? Here are ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the ASEAN that might interest you.

In all the Region is home to 38 sites on UNESCO World Heritage List. They are selected for providing, among other things, significant natural habitats, exceptional beauty of the landscape, outstanding example of human settlement, unique cultural tradition, flora and fauna, evidence of earth’s history, and the conservation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

The sites range from Komodo National Park, where Indonesia’s rare megafauna roams freely in the wild, to spectacular rice paddy terraces in Bali and the Philippines, to examples of outstanding land-use and sea-use in Vietnam. Living ASEAN presents ten sites that you might want to put on your next itinerary.


Photo: Bahnfrend

– Komodo National Park / Indonesia –

Komodo National Park is located within the Lesser Sunda Islands at the center of the Indonesian archipelago. The site was established in 1980 for the purpose of conserving the world’s largest lizards and their habitats. Proceed with caution. Although Komodo attacks are rare, the animal can be aggressive towards humans at feeding time. The giant lizard eats almost any kind of meat. They scavenge on carcasses of animals especially deer. The volcanic islands have been named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Photo: Chris Wary

– Kinabalu Park / Malaysia –

A beautiful place to go climbing in Southeast Asia, Kinabalu is among Malaysia’s first national parks. The 4,095-meter-high Mount Kinabalu is the centerpiece of the park. It was designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 for its outstanding universal values and biological diversity. Located in Sabah State in the northern part of Malaysian Borneo, Kinabalu National Park attracts thousands of mountaineers each year.


– Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park / Vietnam –

Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in north-central Vietnam is known for its pristine mountain landscape, tropical forests, rich wildlife habitats, limestone karsts, and a vast network of caves. Son Dong, the biggest cave, was discovered by a local named Ho Khanh in 1991. A joint Vietnamese-British team explored the caves in 2009. The national park was open to the public for the first time in 2013.


– Jatiluwih Rice Terrace, Bali / Indonesia –

The Jatiluwih rice terrace in Bali showcases one of the most complex methods of agriculture and water management systems that have existed since the ninth century. Cut into the mountainside, the beautiful paddy fields get its water supplies from a system of canals and weirs, known as Subak. It’s the living embodiment of a traditional philosophy known as Tri Hita Karana, or the three reasons of prosperity; namely, harmony among people, harmony with nature, and harmony with God. It’s a truly amazing place to visit if you are nature lovers.



– Lorentz National Park / Indonesia –

Lorentz National Park in Papua, Indonesia, was named after the Dutch explorer who visited the island in the early 1900s. The largest protected area in Southeast Asia, Lorentzt was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 for a wealth of graphic evidence of earth’s history. It’s one of the most ecologically diverse parks in the world encompassing a full array of ecosystems from marine sanctuaries and mangroves to tidal and freshwater swamp forests, as well as rainforests, tundra, and equatorial glaciers.



– Dong Phayayen – Khao Yai Forest Complex / Thailand –

The vast forest complex that covers six provinces is home to four national parks and a wildlife sanctuary. The site stretches from the Cambodian border in the east, to Khao Yai National Park in the west. Khao Yai itself lies largely in Nakhon Ratchasima and includes parts of nearby provinces such as Saraburi, Prachinburi, and Nakhon Nayok. The complex ecosystems provide natural habitats for 2,500 species of flora and 800 species of fauna. Recently a streak of 18 tigers were discovered and photographed by hidden cameras. Parts of Khao Yai National Park have been set aside for tourism and has facility for wildlife watching at night.


– Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park / the Philippines –

Tubbataha Reefs is a marine park at the center of the Sulu Sea. Its two reefs are said to have existed for 15 million years. The North Reef spans 15 kilometers that serves as nesting sites for sea birds and marine turtles. The South Reef is 6 by 3 kilometers. The pristine coral islands boast extensive lagoons that serve as habitats for marine species, such as whale sharks, sting rays, spiny lobsters, leopard sharks, giant jacks, barracudas, parrot fish, hammerhead sharks, guitar sharks, snappers, lion fish, tortoise, clownfish, grey reef sharks, and manta, a devil ray that’s sometimes seen leaping high out of the water.

Southeast Asia’s Car Market Updates

Southeast Asia’s Car Market Updates

Here’s an update on Southeast Asia’s automotive markets at the close of 2017. Used cars made up the largest sector in the car markets of Myanmar, and Cambodia. Thailand ranked number 12 among the world’s top motor vehicle producers. Indonesia was the largest car market in Southeast Asia. Region-wide, Toyota reigned supreme as the bestseller except in Malaysia, which was happy to stick with homegrown brands.

The ASEAN car market represents a diverse assortment of brands and a great deal of variety in the way member countries respond to their specific needs. The mix includes thriving homegrown brands, world-class motor vehicle producers, as well as heavens for new and pre-owned cars and trucks.


Toyota Avanza is Indonesia’s bestseller among SUV’s and APV’s.

– Thailand and Indonesia –

Thailand and Indonesia are major regional economic players. Indonesia boasted the largest automotive market, while Thailand ranked number 12 among the world’s leading motor vehicle producers. In 2017, its total production was expected to top two million units, of which more than half were exported. A slight decrease in 2017 export volumes was more than offset by a 12-percent increase in the internal car market.

The Toyota Hilux pick-up truck reigns supreme in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

The Thai automotive industry has been a success story since 2000. The country produced a little over 400,000 motor vehicles in that year. Toyota Hilux has long been the bestselling model especially in the provinces throughout Thailand. Apart from carrying goods and agricultural products, the truck was used in various forms of human transportation. But for people living in or near the city, Toyota and Honda cars were the preferred choices.

Indonesia, the ASEAN’s largest automotive market, ranked number 17 among the world’s top motor vehicle producers. Its 2017 production was expected to far exceed 1.2 million units, up from 1,177,389 in 2016, during which 1,048,134 new units were sold on the domestic market. Sport utility vehicles (SUV), all purpose vehicles (APV), and larger trucks were the favorites, considering Indonesia had the largest population in the ASEAN.

Bangkok ranks number 2 among the world’s cities with bad traffic jams. At the same time, Thailand is an automobile manufacturing hub in the ASEAN. / Photo:

The two countries are grappling with the same problem – traffic congestions.  A TomTom traffic index ranked Bangkok, and Jakarta number 2, and 3, respectively, among the cities with the worst midtown traffic snarl-ups. It was a high price to pay since it was the automotive industry that generated incomes from exports, employment, and tax revenues. As technology advanced, both countries were hoping to count on electric cars and new urban public transport to improve traffic flow.


Motor vehicles designed for left-hand-side driving cause much difficulty in Myanmar, which had adopted right-hand-side driving since independence. / Photo: Samutcha Viraporn

– Myanmar and Cambodia –

It was a different situation in Myanmar and Cambodia. Strong economic growth in recent years has seen sharp increases in demands for pre-owned motor vehicles. In both countries, new cars accounted for less than 10 percent of total sales in 2016, during which Myanmar imported as many as 120,000 secondhand vehicles from Japan. Here Toyota Probox was the favorite. Trouble was the all-purpose vehicle from Japan was designed for driving on the left side of the road (the steering wheel being on the right-hand side).  After independence, Myanmar had changed to move traffic in the right side of the path. If you are front seat passengers, watch out for passing and oncoming vehicles when you get out of the car in Myanmar. Judge the space available when getting off the bus, because you could find yourself in the middle of the road.

Suzuki Carry truck

To solve the problem, the Myanmar Government has enacted a law banning the importation of secondhand automobiles designed for driving on the left side of the road. But it would take a long time to see any results. To meet an increasing demand for new automobiles, Suzuki has recently opened a factory in Myanmar. In 2017, it produced 2,700 Suzuki Carry trucks, of which about 1,000 units were sold in the domestic market. In big cities like Yangon and Mandalay, more new cars from Europe and Japan continued to make their presence felt, albeit very slowly.  

Secondhand cars are everywhere in Phnom Penh. / Photo: Samutcha Viraporn

Meanwhile in Cambodia, secondhand Toyota Camry and Lexus SUV’s were the favorites among people in urban areas. The country imported pre-owned automobiles mostly from the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. In the small new-car market, the Cambodians generally preferred the Toyota brand with pick-up trucks being the all-time bestsellers. The same was true in nearby Thailand and Laos, where the light-duty trucks were used to carry both farm products and human passengers.


The homegrown brand Perodua Axia is Malaysia’s bestseller.

– Malaysia –

The only ASEAN country with successful homegrown brands, Malaysia boasted the third largest automobile market in the Region. Here, new car sales exceeded 580,000 units per year with the Perodua taking the largest portion of the market. (UMW Corporation held 38 percent of shares in the Malaysian car manufacturer.) Perodua sold about 200,000 cars per year, far outranking Honda which sold a little over half that number. Proton, another homegrown Malaysian brand, came in third place, while Toyota in fourth.  


Singapore halts car population growth and concentrates on developing urban public transport. / Photo:

– Other ASEAN Member Countries –

Keep an eye on the Philippines, whose automobile market grew by a whopping 20 percent in 2016. The same was expected in 2017, during which new car sales were expected to be about 450,000 units. Singapore was an entirely different story. It was government policy to keep new car sales growth below 0.25 percent. Meantime, it was focusing on proper maintenance of existing automobiles and developing urban public transit, for which Singapore has already invested US$22.9 billion.


You may also like…







Colorful Changes in Bangkok: 6 spots welcome the new year with color

Colorful Changes in Bangkok: 6 spots welcome the new year with color

In this final month before the New Year, wherever you look in Bangkok you’ll see joyous festivities with colorful lights. Come with Living ASEAN to six of them!

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Gott /// Photography:  Rittirong Tongjunsuk, Tanakitt Khum-on

Thailand Illumination Festival 2017 – Ratchada

This garden of more than 15 acres bustles with fascinating activities under the brilliantly glowing light of more than a million bulbs. Here you’ll find a tunnel of many colors, a Christmas tree festooned with lights, models of the 12 constellations of the zodiac, and an indoor sound and light show featuring songs composed by H.M. Rama 9. Open to visitors free of charge Monday – Thursday from 6 to 10 PM, and Friday – Sunday 6 to 11 PM until January 6, 2018: Ratchadapisek Road Soi 8, opposite the Esplanade shopping center.

Thailand Illumination Festival 2017
festival of lights
Thailand Illumination Festival 2017

festival of lights
Beautiful Bangkok – Magnolia Ratchadamri Boulevard

Here a “3-D projection mapping” light show by the artist group “Limelight” paints a 60-story building with images depicting Bangkok ways of life, culture, and history. Shows from Dec. 14 – 31 2017 five times daily, at 7, 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, and 8PM. On New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) there’s a special additional show for the 2018 countdown at 11:55 PM.

festival of lights
Beautiful Bangkok


CentralWorld Shopping Plaza has set up an amphitheater in front for a wondrously decorated “land of music” featuring world-famous Argentinian artist Javier Gonzales Burgos. The huge Christmas tree surrounded by statues including Santa, polar bears, and reindeer is a visual highlight.

festival of lights

festival of lights

Harry Potter: Christmas in the Wizarding World – Siam Paragon

The space fronting on Siam Paragon has become a magical country, giving muggles a not-to- be-missed photographic opportunity under the theme “Christmas in The Wizarding World,” put on by Warner Bros. Consumer Products and GES,
organizers of the international show “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” on its first visit to Thailand.

festival of lights
Harry Potter: Christmas in the Wizarding World

festival of lights
Let’s Celebrate 2018: The Holidays Bring Me Here – Central Embassy

A ten-meter Santa Claus, largest in Southeast Asia, rises majestically above Central Embassy shopping plaza, this year brilliant with more than a million Christmas lights. Here also is “Santa Playland,” designed to take everyone back to a fun-filled childhood atmosphere.

festival of lights
Let’s Celebrate 2018: The Holidays Bring Me Here
festival of lights
Let’s Celebrate 2018: The Holidays Bring Me Here

festival of lights
Winter Wonderland the Grand Celebration – The Emquartier – EMPORIUM

The Emquartier – EMPORIUM has transformed the trade center to be a miraculous land of winter under the theme “Winter Wonderland: the Grand Celebration,” with a 12-meter white bear and an army of small white bears beaming smiles at all
passersby. There is also a light show with content changing each week.

festival of lights
Winter Wonderland the Grand Celebration
festival of lights
Winter Wonderland the Grand Celebration


You may also like…

3 Places You Have to Experience At Lhong 1919

3 Places You Have to Experience At Lhong 1919

The culturally historic Chinese-Thai Huo Chuan Laung Steamer Pier built on the Chao Phraya in 1850 was reborn in 2017 as “Lhong 1919.”

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Taliw /// Photography: 

The charm of original Chinese architecture and murals on 167-year-old walls have been preserved, and it’s already an everyday Bangkok tourist destination where locals relax and take pictures. Don’t forget to sample the delectable tastes and fantastic décor at these three dining and coffee-drinking establishments:


We start with a premium Chao Phraya riverside Thai restaurant at Wharf No. 41, the former site of a rice mill. Billed as “Rong Si seafood, intense Thai tastes in a modern Chinese atmosphere,” the original building was reinforced and preserved, with some worn-out components kept for décor: old roof tiles liven up the walls; a refurbished wooden banister serves as room divider.

Menu Suggestions

  • Stuffed lotus petals (miang kleep bua) with roasted tidbits – coconut, nuts, dried shrimp, etc. – and a unique and fresh dipping sauce.
  • Crab stew (lon pu yai): a true Thai taste featuring the very freshest crab catch
  • Stir-fried crab in curry sauce (pu phat phong karee): full-flavored, thick with fresh crab meat
  • Deep-fried snapper in fish sauce (pla kaphong thawt nam pla) with a fine hidden sweetness
  • From the drinks menu, iced black tangerine and honey yuzu

Pla kaphong thawt nam pla
Crab stew (lon pu yai)
honey yuzu


Nai Harng, a first-rate “street food” eatery, mixes old-fashioned with contemporary. The décor is full-on “Yaowarat” Chinese, with bright neon lights and the Chinese community of old Siam represented in murals and the open-kitchen design of the building itself. A grilled pork/river shrimp vendor cart out front emphasizes the street food theme. 

Menu suggestions

  • The famous signature dish, “Nai Harng fried rice,” from Patara Fine Thai Cuisine, a Thai chain with branches worldwide
  • River shrimp baked in agar noodles (goong ob wun sen)
  • Papaya salad (som tam), an intense Thai taste served with crispy-skinned, succulent barbecued chicken and hot sticky rice
  • Healthy, colorful drinks made from organic butterfly-pea (anchan) flowers
  • Anchan iced coffee, iced anchan and lime, and sugarcane juice with grass jelly
River shrimp baked in agar noodles
Nai Harng fried rice
Anchan iced coffee and iced anchan and lime


For a very special atmosphere plus drinks and sweets you’ll find nowhere else, we finish our tour at the Huo Chuan Laung Pier branch of Plearnwan Panich dessert shop, a restored wooden building connecting to an ancestral mausoleum. The flavor of this eye-catching retro-style café is based around antique Chinese-style furniture and ornamentation.

Menu suggestions

  • “Half-breed” (luk khrueng) coffee combines old-style Thai boran or oliang with international coffee beans for a mellow taste, sweetness added with cold fresh milk
  • Healthy dark iced sesame tofu coffee for the lactose-intolerant
  • Sangkhaya: egg and coconut custard


You may also like…

Nature Is Mighty / Bali’s Mount Agung

Nature Is Mighty / Bali’s Mount Agung

Bali’s Mount Agung has begun erupting the past few days, spitting plumes of volcanic debris and ash out of the crater filled with red hot lava. Excitement mixed with fear as the current eruptions raised concern for safety of the people on the Indonesian island known for beautiful beaches, coral reefs and forested mountains.



Here are some breathtaking pictures of the latest eruptions posted on Instagram by the people who witnessed them. Click here to see more.


You may also like…



Loy Krathong and Water Festivals around the Region

Loy Krathong and Water Festivals around the Region

Loy Krathong is a season of festivity celebrated annually in much of the Southeast Asian mainland. For the Thais, it’s a festival of lights, and one of the Kingdom’s landmark events. The same is true for Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. There are many different reasons to celebrate.

/// THAILAND ///

A Krathong featuring the likeness of Phya Naga, the mythical Great Serpent, in Laos // Photo:

In Laos, the equivalent of Loy Krathong Festival usually happens before anywhere else in the ASEAN. Known as Boun Awk Phansa, it is celebrated on the day of the full moon of the eleventh lunar month, or around October in the Western calendar. The occasion marks the end of the three-month-long rains retreat often referred to as Buddhist Lent.

The celebration begins at dawn when laypeople attend almsgiving ceremonies at temples across the country. The night is aglow when colorful floats made of banana leaves, flowers, incense sticks, and candles are launched in thanksgiving to the river spirit. The tradition is known as Lhai Heua Fai.

Rowboat races are landmark events in the Cambodian Water Festival in Phnom Penh. // Photo:
The atmosphere of the Cambodian Water Festival near Tonle Sap Lake in front of the Royal Palace // Photo:
Bon Om Touk or Water Festival in Cambodia // Photo:

In neighboring Cambodia, the occasion is celebrated big time and goes on for three days. Known as Bon Om Touk, the Water Festival is commemorated with plenty of fun events hosted by communities around Tonle Sap Lake on the 14th and 15th nights of the waxing moon, and the night of the new moon. The tradition culminates in exciting rowboat races and a ceremony dedicated to memories of a waterborne battle against Cham states that are central and southern Vietnam today.

Myanmar celebrates its version of Loy Krathong based on traditional stories about King Asoke the Great and the mythical Phya Naga. The Myanmar experience, which is specifically about the public veneration of the Great Serpent, is held on the day of the full moon of the 12th lunar month.

The Loy Krathong tradition doesn’t exist in Vietnam, except for a few areas in the central part of the country.

A spectacular light and sound show in Sukhothai, the purported birthplace of Thailand’s Loy Krathong Festival. // Photo: Sukhothai Loy Krathong and Candle Festival
The atmosphere of a venue for Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand // Photo: John Shedrick
A sight to behold, sky lanterns symbolize the letting go of problems and worries in people’s lives. Locally known as Yi Peng, the Lantern Festival is popular in the Northern Region and coincides with Thailand’s Loy Krathong Festival. The unique tradition has been officially prohibited in the past few years for aviation safety reason and a precaution against house fires. // Photo: Mith Huang
Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand // photo: Robertpollai

As for Thailand, Loy Krathong has become one of the country’s tourism industry success stories. The festival takes place annually on the night of the full moon of the twelfth lunar month, usually around November. It is often claimed that the festival has its origin in the Sukhothai Period, but this proved not to be the case.

Written work by King Rama IV in 1863 indicated that the practice was adopted by Thai Buddhists during the reign of King Rama III. It has become a traditional veneration of the Buddha ever since. Like so, the Kingdom pays tribute to the teaching of the Buddha with light. The floating of Krathong or banana-trunk floats symbolizes letting go of episodes that debase life and the dignity of the human person.

The Thai Loy Krathong experience is seen as a chapter in the influence of the civilization of India. Brahmanism and Buddhism both spread into the Southeast Asian mainland until about 1500. Eventually the countries of the mainland became predominantly Buddhist.

Convergent evidence points to a piece of written work by King Rama III, which mentions Thao Srichulaluck, or Nang Noppamas, as a court lady during the period of the Phra Ruang Dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of Sukhothai from 1238 to 1438. The story refers to the practice of making banana-leaf containers bedecked with lotus flowers and setting them adrift in the river as a means of paying homage to the Buddha. Other evidence also refers to candle lighting and pyrotechnic displays as the public veneration, but falls short of mentioning the Krathong.

Loy Krathong is celebrated nationwide in modern-day Thailand. The exact date of the festival changes from year to year. As for 2017, the full moon of the twelfth lunar month falls on November 3. The Thais mark this important day with almsgiving and other acts of kindliness. At night they head for the river, where they launch the Krathong adorned with flowers, incense, and candles. Some ask forgiveness from the river spirit for any wrongdoing they may have committed. Others trim their hair and fingernails, put them on the Krathong along with some money, and set it adrift as a way of making all the bad things go away.

A colorful bread Krathong
A DIY block of ice Krathong in Thailand

The river is aglow with candle lights as the season of festivity culminates in spectacular firework displays. Lately loud firecrackers have banned in some areas for safety reason. As a means of protecting the environment, only biodegradable materials, such as banana trunk and leaves, are encouraged. As a result, foam sheets that were popular twenty years ago have begun to disappear, albeit not entirely. But the fight to safeguard the environment continues, which gives rise to many inventive ideas. Some people use bread, tree barks, even blocks of ice as a means of keeping the Krathong afloat for the duration of the festival. Others are seen using booklets of lottery tickets that didn’t win to buoy up the weight of the basket.


You may also like:





A New Boutique Hotel in Singapore’s Historic Chinatown

A New Boutique Hotel in Singapore’s Historic Chinatown

Embracing warmth, comfort, and privacy, a new boutique hotel takes up a row of six former shophouses in Singapore’s historic Chinatown. The beautifully renovated Hotel Mono retains the charm of Southeast Asian styled architecture, while highlighting the distinctive personality of Rococo-era ornamentation.

/// Singapore ///
Story: Weena Baramee /// Photography: Hotel Mono

An expression of art and the interior inside the Lobby at Hotel Mono

Its Rococo aesthetic is apparent in the lightness of interior design, cozy spaces, and the tall and narrow windows that speak to the French stylistic period. The gentle black and white theme on the exterior seamlessly interweaves with the lifestyles of traditional Singapore and the city’s urban bustle. 

Loft style décor that is a component in interior design
Single Room
Relaxation in a Rococo styled studio

A striking new landmark on historic Mosque Street, the 46-room Hotel Mono is an independent hotel catering to the needs of design-conscious travelers. Its statement-making black-and-white facade has been turning heads. The hotel occupies a row of six conservation shophouses, which have been completely transformed in an extensive refurbishment by President Design Award-winning firm Spacedge Designs. Hotel Mono was officially opened in November 2016.

The stylishly chic hotel presents an appealing proposition for discerning travelers – high quality rooms and service standards at very attractive prices. “We want to provide accommodations that are the best value for the money and a five-star service experience,” said GM Glenn Quah.

Besides charm and comfort in every room, guests enjoy better quality beddings, bathroom amenities and more spacious rooms, for prices comparable to the budget accommodations in the same area. Rates at the 46-room Hotel Mono start at just $160 net per night for a Double room, while a Family room sleeping four people costs under $300.

The bathroom ensemble reflects simplicity with contemporary flair.

Its bathrooms represent the conceptualization of a hip retreat for design-savvy travelers (and locals) – guests who appreciate the originality of design. A bold and contemporary design language is relevant throughout the hotel. Every room features a seamless integration of metal bars that traverse the space like lines drawn in the air, meantime, functioning as light fixtures, coat hangers and sculptures.

The boutique hotel celebrates the quality of being the only one of its kind. Due to restrictions and particulars in the floor plans of shophouse styled architecture, no two rooms are identical. Their unique characters are manifested in the name that affirms the validity of these bold and original design concepts.

Link :

Ten Rather Odd Singapore Laws

Ten Rather Odd Singapore Laws

It’s not just the ban on chewing gum: Singapore has some wildly strange laws that a lot of folks aren’t even aware of. Don’t you go running around naked at home, now, or – if someone sees you – you could get arrested!

/// Singapore ///
Thank you: Eve K Honda from AECOM Singapore


There are quite a few look at things a foreigner or tourist might find astonishing: this is against the law, there’s a law against that in Singapore. Generally they’re supposed to make for a better quality of life, but you’d better be careful about letting mosquitoes breed, forgetting to flush the toilet, going naked in your own house, or acting gay.

1. It’s not a good idea to walk naked in the house, because if someone outside sees, they can call the cops on you.

2. You’re not allowed to pee in a public place other than a rest room. Of course you might pee playing in the ocean, who’s going to know? But if you’ve have dumped your load in the restroom and not flushed, there’s a penalty. Sometimes you’ll even see a warning sign.

3. If you’re gay, it’s forbidden to act on it in public. A girl and a boy usually can kiss and hug each other, no problem, but gays have to be a little secretive in Singapore.

Singapore officials spraying mosquitoes

4. You can’t have a place where mosquitoes breed. There are random inspections all the time, where they even look at planter pots. You can be fined 2000 Singapore dollars for this one. One construction site was reported to be playing host to 6000 larvae, and they had to halt construction for a full year.

5. So sorry for all you party-lovers! You’re not allowed to drink alcohol in public places here between 10:30 PM and 7 AM – except occasionally at government-approved events.

6. It’s forbidden to gather or store rain water or even sea water for personal use, because it’s considered a national resource.

The merit-making activity of releasing animals is also forbidden in Singapore.

7. You may not give human food to animals in public parks such as ducks, geese, or fish. Each species has to be given the right kind of food. The merit-making activity of releasing fish, birds or turtles is also forbidden.

8. Talking in an elevator isn’t allowed. In Singapore even if you see someone chatting cheerfully with a friend, you’ll notice that when the elevator door opens everyone shuts right up.

9. In an MRT station during peak hour it’s forbidden to stop and turn all the way around, or even change the pace you’re walking up.

Grass lawn, a type of green area found everywhere in Singapore

10. You’ll see grass lawns all over town, but they’re for dogs to do their business, not for kids to kick balls or run and roll around in.

Points 8-10 are behavior guidelines, no legal penalties, but they are social mores. If you don’t follow them, the locals can get quite offended.


Environmentally friendly building designed by WOHA Architects

Singapore takes urban development and building design very seriously: every project is in overseen by a specific agency to ensure regulations are followed to the letter. Singapore is especially concerned about environmental quality, and has with having guidelines from important agencies, such as

Green Mark by BCA

BCA (Building & Construction Authority is an international standards agency that assigns value to projects regarding environmentally significant factors such as green space, sustainability, climate response, energy efficiency, environmental impact, etc.

Urban Design Guidelines

The city planning agency Urban Redevelopment Authority ensures that building designs are in harmony with national policy calling for such things as “smart technology”: buildings have to be “smart.”

Well-cared-for trees trimmed by skilled personnel

NParks Guidelines

The large National Park Board (NParks) Agency is responsible for the Island’s greenery and plant life, assigning identification numbers to each variety. Qualified and knowledgeable officials are in charge of gardening and tree trimming, especially for the designated “heritage trees.”

PUB Guidelines

The Public Utilities Board is in charge of drainage nationwide. Construction sites must manage their own drainage problems, and no drainage into public areas is allowed. The PUB also enforces laws  preventing people from wasting water.

Tourists and foreigners who enter to work in Singapore should study and learn these strange – and strict – Singapore laws. The basic consideration here is that life should be orderly in order to properly develop the country and its citizenry to make the most efficient use of the limited resources of this small island nation.


You may also like…







Seven of the Hippest New Places Everyone in Bangkok Should Check Out

Seven of the Hippest New Places Everyone in Bangkok Should Check Out

Here are seven newly opened spots you should make a point of seeing next time you visit Bangkok. They are not only great tourist spots, but museums of knowledge where you can enjoy yourself the whole day long.

/// THAILAND ///

Story: Weena Baramee /// Photography:  Nantiya Busabong, Tanakitt Khum-on, Sitthisak Namkham, Soopakorn Srisakul, Ritthirong Chanthongsuk


The new Changchui Creative Space on Sirindhorn Road sprawls over 4 acres (11 rai) with restaurant, coffee shop, and a wide variety of other shops scattered about. Inside you’ll see a collection of buildings often set at unusual angles and built mainly with recycled materials: corrugated iron, glass, wood panels, wrought iron, and old doors and windows such as you might see in Bangkok communities. The eclectic beauty of this mix is what gives Chanchui its unique identity. Here are all sorts of beautiful spots where it’s fun to pull out your phone and take selfies.

Link :

YELO House

For 40 years a Ratchathewi district warehouse for printing equipment, after that this building sat abandoned and lifeless, but it’s now been transformed into a creative space for inventors, designers, artisans, and support personnel. The 480-square-meter indoor space holds an art gallery, office, meeting hall, co-working space, photo studio, and an area for holding workshops and organizing events. The name YELO comes from “You Ever Live Once,” expressing how the old warehouse has come back to life and vitality once more.

Link :

Warehouse 30

Creative Community Mall is the brainchild of Duangrit Bunnag, famous Thai architect and teacher. Here he has transformed an old warehouse from the mid-1940s into an exciting creative space stretching over 600 square meters and divided into rooms where visitors can dig in and indulge themselves in whatever catches their fancy at a co-working space, art exhibition, clothing store, flower shop, bookshop, hip coffee shop, and on and on. The space also includes the Warehouse 30 flea market for homemade articles and a multi-use space for setting up exhibits, workshops, or various events.

Link :

Baan Bangkhen

Here’s a new vintage-style spot where the visitor can chill out and travel back in time to old Thailand, with lots of places with murals and scenes perfect for picture-taking. Almost every corner holds a treasure trove of knowledge from the past. The café and restaurant are open 24 hours, and also there’s a new building nostalgically designed as an old-style Thai commercial house full of an exciting collection of antique furniture and ornamentation.

Link :

TCDC Charoenkrung

TCDC has moved to a spiffy new location: the central post office building on Charoenkrung Road. An 8,700-square-meter area five stories high holds a general library, material library, makerspace, co-working space, workshop, and an area for small or large exhibitions. The building was built in 1940 C.E, Throughout the building and especially on the front, you’ll see beautiful period art deco works commissioned by the Department of Architecture.

Link :

Bangkok City Library

The Bangkok City Library at the Khok Wua Intersection is a true learning center. Filling a space of more than 4,590 square meters, its light-colored walls, high ceiling, glass windows, and skylights give a feeling of spacious comfort that simply invites you to sit down for a good read. The library is 4 storeys high, books arranged by category on each storey, with comfortable seating in every corner.

Link :

Siam Serpentarium

This repository of knowledge about the lives of snakes offers a mixed media exhibition light and sound show suitable for people of any age and gender. The building is in three main sections: the “virtual museum” zone which holds the mixed media show with lifelike models and 3-dimensional pictures, a “snake garden” with more than 50 species of snakes both common and rare, and the “Naga Theater.” In this last zone snake doctors demonstrate how to extract snake venom from live specimens, and there is a stage play about naga and garuda legends.

Link :