The Pretty Koh Lanta Days

We have been staying in Lanta for 5 weeks already but it does not feel that long. I was surprised to notice that we are actually leaving this cute island next week. Here we have a rhythm. Work and fun is kind of balanced. Below is how days go by remote working from Ko Lanta.

Get up early in the morning, with birds singing outside our window (sometimes really loud), get ready, head to our daily cafeteria, have a daily breakfast and coffee (the owner already knows exactly what we want so no need to order) and head to the office. Stay late if a lot of work; go for a sunset if it is an early day.

In Chinese, we have a saying that happy time always flies. Time in Lanta has been really amazing. We worked, explored, swam, enjoyed the food, enjoyed the sun and the sea.

The result is our skin getting a lot darker than last month. Especially for this Kinezaki, I have been misunderstood at least 7 times that I am a local Thai. It is not a bad feeling, hah, however due to the fact that summer just started, I should really be careful.

We will for sure come back to this island at some point. Actually already thinking about coming back even before leaving the island is crazy!

How to Explore a winter Taipei

The Taipei idea came out when I was talking with my friend, but the problems came along (like always).

At that time, we reached a key point of our thesis writing, had to arrange the defence like right then; work had filed up a bit; we were already planning the Asia Wanderlust trip and already had the ticket from Taipei to Beijing; already told my mum the arrival time, how indeed could I kind of tell her I would probably arrive one week later? Sounds hm… not so cool.

Luckily (tried a lot), we made it! Whoohoo.
The compensation was we had to fly to Taipei just one night after we came back from the defence (in Stockholm). Ah, what about the dirty laundries, what about tidy the whole house, and what about preparing the luggage for 4 months? In the end, two zombies jumped on the plane, with two coffees, ready to fly.

With the plane landing in rainy Taipei, things started to become cool, the weather also. We finally slept and woke up.


Our hotel E-house is located in Taipei city centre Xinmending. It has a really good location, clean, but the building itself from outside is not so “pretty”. I kept my suspicious thought at the arrival moment, but it was all gone after checking in and talking with the nice reception lady.


1. Go to one of the night markets

Oh right, Taipei is a night market city. The night market definition of night market there covers clothes, snacks, cafes, cool small handcraft products, crowds of people, and endless eating.

Rao He night market is more about food. There are western style snacks like fries, cafe, waffles, pancakes, as well Taipei local style snacks like smelly tofu(be careful), beef soup, local sweet etc.

raohe night market

Shida Night Market is more about clothes and small handcraft things. Of course, food is there, but for me, it is like a break between all the local clothes shops. Since it is near the university area, here you could easily find a stylish and cheap outfit.

shida night market

There is another night market, which is actually the most well know one in Taipei, Shilin Night Market. But now it is not recommended by locals  since it became too touristy and hard to find a close to local feeling.

2. Take a hot spring tour

Taipei has a lot of spots of hot springs. One of the popular areas is Beitou. It is accessible by metro, New Beitou Station. Beitou hot spring started its development since 1894. Till now, the whole area is covered by big and small hot spring resort.


3. Pick a book at Eslite Bookstore

It was funny when they hear about this sentence.
“We have to go to this bookstore!”
“What is the big deal, it’s just a bookstore.”
“No, it is NOT just a bookstore.”

Eslite Bookstore is a place to hang out and stay for a long day without noticing time passing. It has tons of books, cafes, music,  design shops, and so much more. Plus, it was the first 24 hours bookstore in Taiwan.

Eslite Bookstore

4. Dominate the whole city at 101

Like the Eiffel Tower of Paris, Seoul Tower is Seoul, it worth a visit. But the experience of going up went really well. Especially I like the interactive map on top of 101, which you could easily get an orientation of the whole Taipei city.
Taipei 101 is designed to withstand the typhoon winds and earthquake tremors that are common in the area east of Taiwan. Suspended from the 92nd to the 87th floor, the pendulum sways to offset movements in the building caused by strong gusts. Its sphere, the largest damper sphere in the world, consists of 41 circular steel plates of varying diameters, each 125 mm (4.92 in) thick, welded together to form a 5.5 m (18 ft) diameter sphere. Two additional tuned mass dampers, each weighing 6 tons (7 short tons), are installed at the tip of the spire which help prevent damage to the structure due to strong wind loads.[29][30] On 8 August 2015, strong winds from Typhoon Soudelor swayed the main damper by 100 centimeters (39 in) – the largest movement ever recorded by the damper.

5. Have desert at Jiufen

I learned the place Jiufen via a lovely singer Cheer Chen,“The Cafeteria in Jiufen” (video), in her limited edition album “Demo 3”. The whole album is all poems talking, this song is the only one with actual singing, along with a classic guitar.

We went there on a rainy cold day, even that it was quite crowded. Kinda got a feeling here and there, but a less touristy day would definitely be better. This is a Taiwan version of cool, seaside, pretty little town.




1. Street snacks.

There are many, as mentioned before, you could find them at night markets, but not only there. Snacks are everywhere!  I am sure you will not miss them. It might bring some challenge feeling if it is the first time you eat street snacks, but you will love it once you open the door. 


2. Din Tai Feng.       Link.

Ranked as one of the world’s Top Ten Best Restaurants by The New York Times, Din Tai Fung has its roots dating back to Taiwan 40 years ago. With its famous signature xiao long baos (steamed pork dumplings) and heart-warming steamed chicken soup, this authentic Taiwanese restaurant has been making waves with branches throughout the world, including Singapore, Thailand, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, and the USA.
Din Tai Fung’s cuisine is all about harmony. Utilising the freshest ingredients paired with a relish for simple cooking styles, the recipe selection is never too rich or heavy on the palate, and is a fresh welcome given the increasing preference for healthy cooking. With a wide selection of enticing dishes, diners are destined to tuck into flavourful creations that burst into delight with each and every bite.

Ah, you have to queue most of the times, takes around half an hour to get in. But it totally worth it.

3. Yongkang Beef Noodle Soup.    Link.

It is located in a so-called noodle soup street in Taipei, Yongkang Street. This one is the best beef noodle soup in Taipei city. The restaurant is quite small and old, there is not much to choose from the menu, however , he taste of the soup is amazing.

yongkang beef noogle

4. Mr. Black Bird. 

Mr. Black Bird became famous by recommended many time on one top Taiwan TV show ” Kang Xi Lai Le”. It is famous for its creativity in the design of cafe, and it’s modern art gallery. The coffee itself is more fun than tasty. For example, they make the sugar like a piece of fluffy cloud, it is hanged there gradually bringing melted sugar drops to your coffee (Really cool for pictures). If one day they put more effort on cafe itself, will really improve the whole experience.
Since it is famous among Taiwan pop TV shows, now and then you might come across some pop stars there as well.



5. Mala Hotpot.

One really good hotpot place. It is buffet, and opens till 5 in the morning. WOW, overnight hotpot sounds….spicy.



1. Black Bean Cafe.

blackbean cafe

We found this cafe accidentally. One early morning near Shilin Area, with the hope to find just a random coffee, we run into the cafeteria due to the coffee emergency. It is an old (but not vintage)style cafe with some art paintings on the wall. When we entered in, there were two customers inside, both of them not young. One elegant lady helped us to make the order, and recommend us not put sugar into the coffee. After my insisting, she gave us feel drops of her brown sugar syrup she made herself.
The coffee taste stuck on me. We left and came back again, ordered another coffee, still it was just perfect. That made me surprised. Then I noticed that they also sell all kinds of a tool for making coffee, not shining shining tools, more like handcrafted ones. I bought one bag of ready beans from Costa Rica, and one book I saw at the door, called “The Old Cafes”.

Book about old cafe

This helped to solve my curiosity. In this book, the author introduced some old cafeterias in Taipei, which built up the coffee culture and technique into Taipei. The Black Bean Cafe is one of them. It was opened since 1988, and never changed since then. The owner of the cafeteria, who are the elegant lady I met, and her husband spent their life in coffee, and they made the very first roasting machine Brand in Taiwan, since then, they don’t need to roast coffee from imported machine.
The shop itself has been up and down but never stopped. All the paintings are from one of their customers a long time ago. He was studying in university nearby, and became an artist with the owner’s help and support.

2. Hun Communes         Link

To work on the go is not easy. We have been testing and collecting co-working space along the trip. And Hun in Taipei is a good one. It is quite, with fast internet, reasonable coffee offering and some snacks to solve urgent hunger. The price is good as well.


Hope you are not bored reading. The end.



How we started an Asia Wanderlust

Planning the trip took a month and lots of my Chinese expertise.  It is slightly more difficult than just hitting the road.

The (ambitious!) plan was:

Travel map

  • Travel around Asia for 4 months.
  • Be away from home sweet home for so long. It’s seems like I repeat the first point but I want to emphasise it since now and then you miss the feeling of just lying down on the soft sofa and watching a movie.
  • Visit Taiwan, Jiamusi (my hometown), Harbin, Seoul, Dalian, Beijing, Chengdu, Dali and Lijiang in Yunnan province, Shanghai, and end up in a small island Koh Lanta near Krabi, Thailand.
  • Guarantee work during we do the above. Need to have enough working time as well as quality. Even have time for developing some new projects, as well as our own company branding.
  • Meanwhile, travel with parents and take them abroad for the first time.
  • Travel with bro and sis in China, create a China Wanderlust.
  • Meet friends in different cities and chit-chat about our lives, what have happened.

Sounds ambitious hah.

Luckily when I finally sit down and type these text, we are already in second last stop of the trip, Koh Lanta, the co-working space.

The trip was super good while working suffered a little from the Great (fire)wall of China. Getting a good internet through the VPN was almost impossible. Now we at Koh Lanta getting work done seems too easy since we have an amazing tropical co-working space and a permanent desk (as well as Thai food served to us daily!)

Here are all the numbers of the trip; quite interesting to see it even for me now.


Some teaser pics to kick off the Asia Wanderlust Blogging. I chose one picture from each stop below!

A small street in TaipeiTaipei

New Year dumplings making, JiamusiJiamusi

The South Mountain, SeoulSeoul

The Great Wall, BeijingBeijing

The cool Panda, ChengduIMG_5113

An outdoor playground on the frozen Songhua River,  HarbinHarbin

Dali Old Town – early morningDali

The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, LijiangLijiang

One of the tons of fancy shopping malls, ShanghaiShanghai

Typical view of a van, Koh Lanta, Thailand
Koh Lanta

I have so many pictures yet to share. Stay tuned!

No more boring days 2015

Could NOT believe it!

It has been one year since last update on Kinezaki blog. I could not deny that this is partially due to my procrastination,as well as heavy work load, life occupied with big events and small details. Now all these sound excuses though. 🙂

Never mind. Now it is 2016. I decide to take Kinezaki more seriously this year. Will continue track my trips, life and all the amazing things happening around me. Since Jan 2016, I have already flied 10 times here and there. Will create follow up posts for all these trips, as well as recall nice trip experiences I have left behind.

To start with all these, a good summary of last year is necessary. Even I didn’t update here, a lot of things have happened in 2015. I planed to write this post at New Year Eve, again procrastination dragged me till now. Hope it is not too late.

I chose 12 pictures standing for each month of 2015, to have a look. When I went through to pictures to pick up representative ones, all the good memory hit back. I have actually done a lot.


JAN:  Continue study in Stockholm, in between a trip to Helsinki.
FEB:  Enjoy the last days in Stockholm, go to museums, take a dip of the city.
MAR:  Trip to Malta. Mixed feeling of Europe, Mid-east and Africa.
APR:  Make new home, handmade furniture is not easy but totally worth it.
MAY:  Rafting and hiking in North Greece. 6 hours hiking in forest, poured with rain.
JUN:  Summer time. Creta, Rhodos.
JUL:  Islands time extension.
AUG:  Productive time in Dilesi, due to the whole summer in Greece, I was daaaaark.
SEP:  Enjoy the concerts season in Athens.
OCT:  Nafplio short trip. Could still swim by then.
NOV:  Trip to Budapest. Better than expectation.
DEC:  Meteora wanderlust.

In 2016, I will be traveling to Asia for some time, it is quite interesting to go back since I have been away for long, what I am smelling is tons of tasty food approaching which I could not say no. Hope in next post, IF I put a picture of me, I am not yet doubled.

Stay tuned.

A new collection of Kinezaki

How to start a new collection hobby. Easy.

First, I came across this amazing 30 years old Polaroid in Barcelona.


It is a bit expensive, however it works perfectly, and needs special care like looking for the particular film, waiting for long time for the polaroid to be ready (generally half an hour), and also it is a big thing to carry during a trip. Nowadays, there is only one company who still produce films for the traditional polaroid instead of the new design fancy one.  The company is called the “impossible project”. It is a company based in Netherlands, and focusing on bring back Polaroid to people as well as discovering new design and use of polaroid.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 18_Fotor

We have used this polaroid for almost 4 months, and we try to keep a new habit of taking one for each city we visit with friends and people we meet there. And having this as a starting point, I became interested to these so called “vintage” cameras. Then I started paying more attention and trying to collect them one by one.




To be honest I haven’t tried taking photos with all of them yet, however, they look really nice. I am sure one day they will capture the precious moments in life, via a careful click and an old style photo development. And this might make me cherish them more than the electronic ones that can takes 10GB photos in my hand drive and are seldom be reviewed.