I first came across the Secret Island Party (SIP) last year in October. I do not remember why we did not go last year but it was on my list for 2014.
The concept is to keep the venue secret till about 2 days before the event. Special ferries are arranged from the Central Pier to take you to the secret island. You also have 3 tickets - Saturday full ticket, Sunday full ticket and all weekend ticket - to choose from. 
At the location the initial hour is spent is registering and collecting your tent. This year they had 5 music stages (only 1 with live music). There was food and drink, face painting and DIY T-shirt printing, tarot reader and yoga classes. And the best part was it was all a short walk away from a beautiful beach.
A little sense of adventure is enough for you to be a SIPper (as they call it). The sense of freedom, community and happiness (a result of all the above average liquid consumption) is worth this slightly over priced trip. 
Zoom Info
I first came across the Secret Island Party (SIP) last year in October. I do not remember why we did not go last year but it was on my list for 2014.
The concept is to keep the venue secret till about 2 days before the event. Special ferries are arranged from the Central Pier to take you to the secret island. You also have 3 tickets - Saturday full ticket, Sunday full ticket and all weekend ticket - to choose from. 
At the location the initial hour is spent is registering and collecting your tent. This year they had 5 music stages (only 1 with live music). There was food and drink, face painting and DIY T-shirt printing, tarot reader and yoga classes. And the best part was it was all a short walk away from a beautiful beach.
A little sense of adventure is enough for you to be a SIPper (as they call it). The sense of freedom, community and happiness (a result of all the above average liquid consumption) is worth this slightly over priced trip. 
Zoom Info
I first came across the Secret Island Party (SIP) last year in October. I do not remember why we did not go last year but it was on my list for 2014.
The concept is to keep the venue secret till about 2 days before the event. Special ferries are arranged from the Central Pier to take you to the secret island. You also have 3 tickets - Saturday full ticket, Sunday full ticket and all weekend ticket - to choose from. 
At the location the initial hour is spent is registering and collecting your tent. This year they had 5 music stages (only 1 with live music). There was food and drink, face painting and DIY T-shirt printing, tarot reader and yoga classes. And the best part was it was all a short walk away from a beautiful beach.
A little sense of adventure is enough for you to be a SIPper (as they call it). The sense of freedom, community and happiness (a result of all the above average liquid consumption) is worth this slightly over priced trip. 
Zoom Info
I first came across the Secret Island Party (SIP) last year in October. I do not remember why we did not go last year but it was on my list for 2014.
The concept is to keep the venue secret till about 2 days before the event. Special ferries are arranged from the Central Pier to take you to the secret island. You also have 3 tickets - Saturday full ticket, Sunday full ticket and all weekend ticket - to choose from. 
At the location the initial hour is spent is registering and collecting your tent. This year they had 5 music stages (only 1 with live music). There was food and drink, face painting and DIY T-shirt printing, tarot reader and yoga classes. And the best part was it was all a short walk away from a beautiful beach.
A little sense of adventure is enough for you to be a SIPper (as they call it). The sense of freedom, community and happiness (a result of all the above average liquid consumption) is worth this slightly over priced trip. 
Zoom Info
I first came across the Secret Island Party (SIP) last year in October. I do not remember why we did not go last year but it was on my list for 2014.
The concept is to keep the venue secret till about 2 days before the event. Special ferries are arranged from the Central Pier to take you to the secret island. You also have 3 tickets - Saturday full ticket, Sunday full ticket and all weekend ticket - to choose from. 
At the location the initial hour is spent is registering and collecting your tent. This year they had 5 music stages (only 1 with live music). There was food and drink, face painting and DIY T-shirt printing, tarot reader and yoga classes. And the best part was it was all a short walk away from a beautiful beach.
A little sense of adventure is enough for you to be a SIPper (as they call it). The sense of freedom, community and happiness (a result of all the above average liquid consumption) is worth this slightly over priced trip. 
Zoom Info
I first came across the Secret Island Party (SIP) last year in October. I do not remember why we did not go last year but it was on my list for 2014.
The concept is to keep the venue secret till about 2 days before the event. Special ferries are arranged from the Central Pier to take you to the secret island. You also have 3 tickets - Saturday full ticket, Sunday full ticket and all weekend ticket - to choose from. 
At the location the initial hour is spent is registering and collecting your tent. This year they had 5 music stages (only 1 with live music). There was food and drink, face painting and DIY T-shirt printing, tarot reader and yoga classes. And the best part was it was all a short walk away from a beautiful beach.
A little sense of adventure is enough for you to be a SIPper (as they call it). The sense of freedom, community and happiness (a result of all the above average liquid consumption) is worth this slightly over priced trip. 
Zoom Info

I first came across the Secret Island Party (SIP) last year in October. I do not remember why we did not go last year but it was on my list for 2014.

The concept is to keep the venue secret till about 2 days before the event. Special ferries are arranged from the Central Pier to take you to the secret island. You also have 3 tickets - Saturday full ticket, Sunday full ticket and all weekend ticket - to choose from. 

At the location the initial hour is spent is registering and collecting your tent. This year they had 5 music stages (only 1 with live music). There was food and drink, face painting and DIY T-shirt printing, tarot reader and yoga classes. And the best part was it was all a short walk away from a beautiful beach.

A little sense of adventure is enough for you to be a SIPper (as they call it). The sense of freedom, community and happiness (a result of all the above average liquid consumption) is worth this slightly over priced trip. 

Villa Belle is the fantastic combination of luxury with a home-like feel. 

After a month of looking at various private villas in Koh Samui we zeroed in on Villa Belle for our family vacation. The advantage was that they had 3 bedrooms with 3 attached bathrooms and all the rooms had a double bed. This villa is ideal for 3 couples.

I was a little skeptical about not being by the beach, but trust me, the view from top of a cliff is breath taking! 

We got off to a bumpy start due to some confusion regarding our airport pick up. Starting the trip with arguments and displeasure was a very very uneasy situation for me. But Noom, the villa manager, was apologetic and did not charge us for our first meal at the villa. That truly helped tempers calm down.

The villa is located on top of a hill and is not close to the noisier parts of Koh Samui. It is not easy to hail a cab here so you will have to depend on Noom or a taxi service to take you around. During the day I would recommend Noom.

The chef at the villa is Noom’s wife and she is superb. She cooked our lunch on the first day and the dinner on our last evening. If only we had a longer stay at Villa Belle we would have eaten a lot more at home. And the best part - the chef services are shockingly reasonable!

You also have a live-in maid, Gift. Gift moves around the house like a ninja cleaning your room, making your bed and clearing up your breakfast. It was a delight to see her leaf and flower art she used to decorate our beds in the evenings.

I can go on about the cleanliness, the Apple TV, good internet speeds and all the amenities that Villa Belle provides…but this is not what sets it apart from other places I have stayed at. It is the people who run and manage Villa Belle. They make you feel special and also very very bad that your stay is so short.

It was the perfect location for my dad’s slightly delayed 60th birthday celebration and we all do hope we get a chance to go back and stay longer at Villa Belle.

Fewer the Pictures, Richer the Memories?

2014 has been a good year. I have been to 5 new cities and have 4 more new cities to explore before the year ends. One of the pluses of being in Hong Kong is that many countries are more accessible today.

Every time I travel a lot of my time is spent on documenting the travel which I believe is critical. My husband gets rather irritated when I keep stopping to shoot a video or strike several poses to get that perfect profile picture. But there is an observation I made this year - my photos and videos of the trip have been fewer than before. It was really hard to create an album on Facebook or a video for Tumblr.

That made me wonder. I had fantastic holidays in gorgeous locations - some of which I was not even aware existed till I booked my flight tickets - yet I had not spent time documenting the experiences. So does that mean fewer the pictures, richer the memories?

Or as an engineer would put it, number of pictures or videos from a holiday is inversely proportional to the richness of the memories created in that holiday.

I believe the above statement is true.

The life we experience when we are not looking at it through a Retina HD or AMOLED display is so real. Yes, you may have fewer hyperlapse videos for followers to like or a profile picture that is not hawt enough…but it is a change that all of us should try to make.

Whether it was cycling in a Vietnamese village, lying by the beach and reading The World of Suzie Wong in Cebu, the evening I spent alone in Seminyak smoking some shisha while sipping a cocktail observing the passersby or snorkeling in Mango Bay in Koh Samui with my parents, sister, brother-in-law and husband…these and many more are memories that will stay with me. The need to document remains and so though my pictures are fewer I will try to make it up with words.

Coming up on the blog will be details of my 4-day vacation in Koh Samui. Please keep following, liking and commenting…despite the 'switch off mode' in some of my recent vacations…I still love the interactions on social media!

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