Friday, 30 May 2014

The All New Ducati Monster 1200/S Launch @ Zouk Singapore

Organized by Ducati Singapore, in partner with Monster Energy Drink, held at Singapore's prestigious club Zouk (rank #5 globally by DJ Mag Top 100 Clubs poll), the all new DUCATI MONSTER 1200/S is about to be launched.

Hours before the event started, the crew had their hands full preparing for the big show tonight, ensuring lights, sounds and all else were ready. Oh, and did I mention? Free flow of booze too.

Of course, not forgetting the Monsters that will take center stage, waiting to unveil themselves to Ducati fans and other motorbike enthusiasts.

The crowd outside anticipated with excitement as you could hear conversations revolving around subjects like:

"Do you think the new Monster 1200S would be of significant difference to the previous model? "

"Can't wait to see the new face lift of it!"

and the usual "should I get it or not?".

After much preparation and now that everything's in place, let the show begin!

Tada! With the new Monster 1200S!

Once doors were opened, with their cameras ready in one hand and drinks in the other, the crowd flowed in eagerly. With the sexily dressed Monster Energy Drink models standing by to spice things up, the Monster 1200 and 1200S machines were unveiled!

Everyone surrounded the Monsters immediately, posing, talking about it and snapping away as the Ducati crew attended to the audiences questions one by one.

With the Monster 1200


After entering the Audi family, Ducati aims to be a technological leader by constantly working on the combination of mechanics and the electronic systems to make their bikes more versatile to cope with different situations.

The Ducati Monster 1200S has equipped itself with upgraded suspension, brakes, and electronic mapping that unleashes 10 additional horsepower. It's liquid-cooled engine with trellis frame produces up to 145hp, and has 3 different riding modes; Sports, Urban and Touring with each mode storing the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and ABS settings:

Sports mode quickens the entire bike's response.

Urban mode provides the softest throttle response and has a restriction peak power of 100hp for safety in the rain.

Touring mode offers medium throttle response yet its able to unleash the fully claimed 145hp

Another added feature is the adjustable seat height, while the S model is graced with tin-coated Öhlins fork and rear shocks. With such slew of new modifications, this naked bike is more menacing than ever.

Let's party!

Even as the event ended at 10:00pm, the party continued on till late at Zouk as the celebration for yet another extraordinary bike produced by Ducati.

Congratulations to Ducati Singapore for the Monsters 1200 launch success!

Check out the full video review of the 2014 Ducati Monster 1200/S in the link above, produced by Motorcycle USA.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Seoul Special! Plus - A Visit To Ducati KOREA

Seoul beautiful
Seoul is the capital of South Korea, and is the world's second largest metropolitan area with a population of more than 25 million people.  

This May, my girlfriend and I, despite our busy schedule, decided to fly our way to KOREA to make our long-awaited holiday together happen! Excited for all the shopping, eating, sight-seeing, and of course, I'll be visiting Ducati Korea!

I took an overnight flight from Singapore to Korea, hoping to get some rest on the plane so by the time I land, I would be ready to conquer the endless shopping streets Seoul had to offer!

Obviously, my thoughts didn't go as planned. Sleeping on the plane was never comfortable because somehow or rather it's quite difficult to achieve an ideal sleeping position given that limited space and there's nothing to support our "dropping" heads.

Not having mentioned the lights that will turn on when meals are served (even if you don't wanna eat), making way for the passenger sitting next to you when he/she needs the lavatory, babies crying due to air pressure etc etc etc etc etc etc.

Ya, many factors.

Being once an air stewardess with Singapore Airlines (read here), I would rather work my flight over than be a passenger anytime. Time passes faster too. 

Unless maybe you're on the A380 First Class Suite with a fully flat bed (as shown in the picture above). Stilllll, there will be some sort of disturbance like occasional turbulence and inflight announcements that could disrupt your sleep.

Incheon International Airport

After approximately 7 hours flight time (Korea local time is 1 hr ahead of Singapore), I arrived at Incheon International Airport, took the KAL Limousine to Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas Hotel located in Gangnam where we stayed throughout our holiday.


Our Suite
Checked into our Junior Suite and after having a short nap, we headed out to explore the exciting sites Seoul has in store for us!

I don't even have energy to smile properly LOL

Still pretty sleep deprived, we decided to head out early so as not to waste the day away.

Day 1: N Seoul Tower, Love Lock Bridge


We had to fill our grumbling tummies for energy, so as we walked the streets of Gangnam area, we randomly picked an authentic-looking Korean restaurant to have lunch in. However, as the menu were all in Korean, we couldn't read it. So we just ordered what we knew: Bibimbap and Kimchi Tofu Soup with Rice which tasted pretty alright.

P.S. It is a dining tradition in Korea whereby they serve little side dishes like preserved Kimchi, radish, salad, anchovy to whet your appetite before the main course.

Singaporeans love it because it's like "Wah! Pay $10 for my main course but got free 6 side dishes! So worth it." Hahaha.


Train station
Korea has developed a very organized subway system with connecting lines to almost all parts of Seoul with the station names in English, Mandarin and Korean for the benefit of travelers from around the world. Taking the subway was a breeze and we took it every where we went.

N Seoul Tower

N Seoul Tower
Also known as Namsan Tower, is a communication and observation tower that marks the highest point in the whole of Seoul, South Korea. It was built in 1969 (yes, quite long ago) and costs $2.5million.

After it was opened to the public in 1980, it has since been the landmark of Seoul with an observatory room, open hall, viewing decks, souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes for the public's enjoyment.

"N" stands for "New", "Namsam" and "Nature".

Bus Stop No.3 - N Seoul Tower
We took the subway to Chungmuro station and took Bus No. 2 that took us directly to the N Seoul Tower.

Weather makes all the difference when it comes to traveling. It could make or break your holiday.

When we arrived, the weather was a little gloomy, affecting visibility towards the panoramic view of Seoul from the observation deck.

Man, our arms that form a heart shape is so lopsided

Oh well, we did not let it dampen our mood and made the best out of it by enjoying the cooling weather at 19 degrees!

Pretty flowers, pretty girl
Doesn't the whole picture above look as if we're in France, Paris? Lol. As if only.

Anyway, look at how well the flowers grow in the cool climate. Gosh, even my cactus wouldn't last more than three weeks under my care. Hahaha.

Love Lock Bridge

All the Love Locks
Check out all the Love Locks! Woah, possibly more than a lock wholesaler would have.

This place was meant for couples to symbolize their love by attaching a lock to the railing of the bridge, and throwing the key away so their love will be "locked" together forever!


Some would scribble their love notes on mobile casings, paper, sweet wrapper etc and attach it to the bridge. Then of course, there would definitely be mischievous punk asses who'd hang up crap like a condom wrapper.

Lock it down in Love!
Over the years, the number of locks accumulated tremendously as the Love Lock Bridge becomes a popular tourist site. So much so that almost every space on the bridge is filled with locks, people started putting their locks elsewhere, wherever they can find.

Fries and Kmichi Hot Dog

As it started to rain, we proceeded into the cafe there to have some churros, hot chocolate and snacks. Before we know it, we sat there for the next 2.5 hours just having our girl talk ;)

Who's the tallest amongst them all?

It seems like a trend to see who can construct and build sky scrapers around the world. Now, do you know which is the tallest among all?

Burj Khalifa

It's Burj Khalifa in Dubai, soaring at 828 metres.
I honestly have no idea why it's so high for.
Maybe one day we can take a lift up to Space or something.

Day 2: Bukchon Hanok Village, Hongdae

Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village is a residential area that sits between the two palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung. Known for the traditional houses, many yangbans (people from the ruling class) lived here during the Joseon Dynasty.

Bukchon Village was actually not created for tourists as there are residents living in the houses, but because of traditional environment that has been preserved, it gives a beautiful nostalgic feel that naturally attracted a lot of attention.

Hello Bukchon!
The weather was awesome today, sunny yet cooling at the same time with temperatures just hovering over 21 degrees. I read about how beautiful this place was so I gave my girlfriend a heads up on the excessive number of pictures I'm going to take. No one is stopping me hahaha.

Directions to Bukchon Village
We took the subway and alighted at Anguk station. From there, we took a 15 minutes stroll to Bukchon Hanok Village. There were cafes, museums, and even a winery for your exploration.

Ready to start our tour
As Bukchon Village is a residential area, there were certain things to observe:

- Please keep noise levels to a minimum
- Please do not litter
- Please keep group visits to a maximum of 10 people
- Please do not use microphones or loudspeakers
- Please do not take photos or film the insides of houses, even if the door is open

And as I was reading the above list, a tour guide was speaking through a microphone and had a speaker attached to her waist, with the volume at the maximum, leading a group of tourists.........

These traditional houses have high walls built for safety and privacy

We strolled through the quiet residential lanes of Bukchon, taking photos, talking about the pretty houses as the village continue to work it's charms on us, soaking in the atmosphere of the Joseon Dynasty. For once, this place doesn't feel commercialized, unlike the usual cities.

Traditional door improvised with technology
We loved the tiled roofs and their wooden doors with metal ring knobs. However, don't be deceived by it's look! It isn't as old school as you think! As I've guessed, technology caught up with time and there you go:  

Digital door locks, that go by numerical password.

We randomly wandered through different alleys of this 600 year old urban environment, as we did not have a map nor GPS with us, nor did we read the signs.
We wandered.. and wandered.. and...


When old school meets new

Of ALL streets, I walked into this one.
Of ALL alleys, I strayed into this one.
Of ALL corners, I turned into this one.
Of ALL bikes, it's a..

I chanced upon the old Ducati Evo 848 while it seemed quietly nestling at a corner unit traditional house, waiting to be discovered. I'm amazed at my fate with Ducati haha.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo excited for me too

It's little surprises like these proving there's no way what happened could've been planned that makes me feel really happy and blessed :))


We walked out of the residential areas, onto streets filled with cafes and restaurants of different characters and art.

Tea time!
Cafe Rosso

Time for some coffee/tea and cheesecake! We picked quaint little Cafe Rosso as it was like a little France cafe in the urban area of Seoul. Boy, their Green Tea latte and cheesecake were reeaallyy good.

The Famous Toksochon Ginseng Chicken 

Singaporeans, does this look familiar? The Queuing part

In Korea, you have to visit the correct restaurant if you're looking for really good authentic ginseng chicken, and Toksochon has it!

Just 10 minutes walk from Gyeongbokgung Station, Toksochon is popular among the tourists as well as locals, hence usually a long queue can be seen outside the restaurant. Even the Late President, Roh Moo-hyun, have dined in before!

Traditional floor seating

Ginseng Chicken
Woot! Look at thaaattt!

Their signature chicken ginseng soup is made with glutinous rice stuffed in the chicken, gingko nuts, ginseng, garlic, jujube and 30 different types of medicinal herbs and grains. One word: Solid.

The chicken was tender and juicy, eating it together with the fragrant glutinous rice which was soaked in the aromatic ginseng soup, mm... every mouthful was really rich and flavorful. We finished every bit without a single drop of soup left!

Hongdae Night Shopping

Night market

Hongdae is an area that is most popular among youngsters as there are plenty of street/restaurant foods and cheap shopping, catered to university students. To get there, we took the subway to Hongik University Station.

Did some shopping and, eat again.

I don't know why we were eating again when we just had a freaking full dinner like, not long ago. I guess we just wanted to try something different and were craving for some street food.

Again, the menu was only in Korean so we just anyhow pointed and hoped for something yummy.
Well, we got some sort of barbeque pork intestines, eaten with raw onion, carrots and mint leaves.

You eat it like that
Does it sound delicious?
Does it look delicious?


Day 3: Nami Island

Selfie on the subway

After walking and exploring for more than 10 hours each day, we woke up slightly later today as our bodies needed to recuperate and gear itself for the real shopping (yeah, we haven't really started).

Nami Island Pine Trees

We decided to check out Nami Island, which was made popular by the Korean drama series "Winter Sonata" that was a mega hit worldwide. Not that we were a fan of the show, but we heard that it's quite a beautiful place.

Subway, Taxi, Ferry

To get there, we took the subway to Gapyeong Station, after which take a taxi to the ferry point where there's a ferry that comes every 5 minutes interval to Nami Island.

Nami Island entrance

Jump for Korea!
Upon reaching Nami Island, we were greeted by lush greenery all around with countless rows of trees. In Autumn, they all turn orange yellow and in winter, it's all white. Definitely a beautiful sight.

Rows and rows of neatly grown pine trees

The island was very quiet and peaceful. As we walked through the rows of pine trees, we could hear birds singing away and the gentle breeze glide on our skin. It was a great place to have picnic too as the weather was perfect at 21 degrees.

Train tracks
When you get the Nami Island, there are clear directions to the attraction points. If you're unsure, just follow the crowd. There are various modes of exploring the island too, such as:

Walking on foot
Rent a tram
Hop on the little train

Other than on foot, the rest of the transportation modes would require additional charges. You may purchase the respective tickets at the island.

Act only
We strolled along the park and when we came across the Winter Sonata picture above, we knew we were on the right track to see the famous statue of the two lovebirds in the show. Again, not that we were a fan, but since we're already here...... hahaha.

The lovebirds statue
There you go! We found them, sturdily rooted to the ground, just like their love in the show.

And that's what you're supposed to do: lame around, poke fun and take photos. Lol.


Nami Island is quite a pretty place, but that's just about it. Great for couples to take a quiet romantic stroll, or a peaceful place to break up also (hurhur), or just to have fun around and do a picnic like my girlfriend and I!

Leaving Nami Island selfie

As the sun started to set, we took the last ferry departing Nami Island, back to Gapyeong Station where we took the subway to Itaewon Station for some walking and dinner.

Quaint little Japanese restaurant
 Feeling a little tired and famished after walking through the whole of Nami island, we randomly walked through the streets of Itaewon and came across this Japanese restaurant which looked really authentic and cosy, we decided to give it a try!

Pork ramen

Dinner is served! Boy, it was delicious. The meat was succulent, the soup was rich and flavorful with noodles so smooth and bouncy, every mouth was a loud slurp!

Day 4: The Bulgogi House (Korean BBQ), MyeongDong Shopping Street

My koreanized act cute face

After being in Korea for 4 days and seeing like Girls Generation/SNSD posters everywhere, I was inspired to look more Korean today. Or at least, I tried. Hahaha xD

My girlfriend and I decided to skip breakfast and go for some solid Korean BBQ for lunch, so our hotel's concierge recommended us Seoul's famous The Bulgogi House restaurant in Gangnam. Cost about SGD$55/pax.

Let's tuck in
By the time we found the restaurant, it was already close to 3:00pm, the entire lunch crowd was over so we kinda had the whole place to ourselves. We ordered the BBQ beef which came along with what, 9 side dishes? It was a a lot, for two ladies.

The staff there would assist us in the BBQ-ing and refill of our side dishes so all we had to do was just sit and eat.. and eat.. and eat.

Too full

Before I know it, I was beyond full that there wasn't any space more for my tummy to expand and  my hair messed up on it's own. It was too much to take hahaha but the beef was pretty good.

That's it, this shall only be the meal of the day because I think my tummy would take a few days to digest all that I've just ate. Phooo!

Next Stop: MyeongDong Shopping Street

Endless shopping

MyeongDong is one of the main shopping district in Seoul. It's a must-visit place for all tourists and even their locals frequent the place often. It's a shopping heaven for ladies with designer and local brands around, not having mentioned many repeated skin care boutiques like The Face Shop, Skin Food, Etude House, Aritaum etc etc.

We took the subway to MyeongDong Station, and yep! We shopped and walked there for the next 6 hours non stop without rest.

There were endless rows of shopping and more often than not, you'd get a bit lost and confused with all the different lanes and corners.

Well, it was one good way to burn some calories from the heavy lunch this afternoon :)

Day 5: Ducati Korea

Since I was in Korea, I decided to pop by Ducati Korea to check out what cool stuff they have and share it with you guys back in Singapore! ;) Ducati Korea's HQ was located in Seoul, not far from Gangnam area where I was staying at (Grand Intercontinental Hotel Parmas). 

Ducati galore

When I arrived, I was like "Wow, they have such a big showroom! Almost four times the size of what we have in Singapore!"

Their open showroom had a ceiling height of approximately 30 metres, full floor-to-ceiling glass windows and comprises of 2 storey:

Level 1 - The showroom
Basement - Service Center

From above

Clearly enjoying the luxury of space, the Ducati Monsters, Hyperstradas, Hypermotards were arranged neatly in order on the ground and premium ones like the Panigale 1199 were placed on top (as seen in the picture) where customers can access via a back staircase.


Instead of purchasing tables, they decided to make good use of old tyres from Ducati bikes by stacking em' up and with a simple tempered glass top, it becomes the showroom tables! Doesn't it enhance the whole "motorbike" feel?

Their retail section is situated closely to the showcased bikes for customers' easy access, and it gives them with a better idea of how the whole look feels when they're on a Ducati bike, wearing matching apparels.

With Cole, Director of Ducati Korea

Knowing I was going to visit Ducati Korea, Ian (Director) and James (Marketing) from Ducati Singapore told me to look for Cole, the Director of Ducati Korea, and send him their best regards!

P.S. Hahaha how genuine it is to have someone from Singapore send regards to Cole personally :p

The friendly staffs introduced me to Cole, where we sat down for a little chat before him being so kind to show me around the place. 

From left: Myself, Jasmine

Cole introduced me to his marketing personnel, Jasmine, a young and pretty Korean girl who is on her way to taking her motorbike license! Curious, she asked how long I've been riding and I told her about 7 years, explaining the fact that in Singapore, we have a progressive system whereby it takes close 3 years to get a Class 2 (>400cc) bike license.

Surprised, guess what she shared with me?

Yes. If that was your expression above, mine was a bit worse.

In Korea, to ride a Motorcycle (<125cc), all you need is:

- be 17 years old and above
- Possess a Driving license (you don't even need a motorcycle license)

To ride a Motorcycle of ANY capacity:

- be 19 years old and above
- 5 Hours Theory Class
- 1 Theory Test
- 10 Hours of Practical Riding Class
- 1 Practical Test

The above can be completed within 3 days, after which you'll have a Motorcycle license which enables you to ride any bike you desire. Yes, that includes a 1300cc Goldwing or Harley Davidson.

Yes, it is.

Oh but in Korea, motorbikes aren't allowed on the highway. So, it's B-roads and city rides all the way :)

Okay let's get over it, moving on...............

Ducati Monster 1200S

The all new Ducati Monster 1200/S has arrived in their showroom, sitting prettily, waiting patiently for the homogenization process to be done before it could unleash it's monster within when it gets onto the roads ;)

Checking out the Monster's 1200 Ohlins
While Ducati Singapore will be unveiling the Ducati Monster 1200/S real soon on the 30th May 2014 at Zouk, I feel privileged to be able to check it out here first :p Hehe

Ducati Korea Service Centre

Located at the Basement, Ducati Korea's Service Centre stands at approximately 3,000sqft including an outdoor and storage area. A very comfortable space for their mechanics to work their magics on the bikes.



On the Panigale 899
What an awesome time it was visiting Ducati Korea and their superb crew! Cole did share that he is planning some riding trips for Ducatists around Seoul soon, be it a city tour or along the coastal line. I'll definitely make sure to join them the next time I fly to Korea! So exciting :D

Thank you Ducati Korea!

Day 6: Flying Back to Singapore

My neatly packed luggage
After doing a little bit more shopping and eating, it's time to wrap up our wonderful holiday here in Korea.

Guys, something to note when it comes to women shopping habits. Our mindset is like that when we enter into a shopping arena: Don't care how much luggage space we have, BUY FIRST THEN SAY.

Doing the impossible

This is what happens. When it's time to pack our luggage, we'll be like

"shit, how to stuff everything in??"

And after 45 minutes of sitting/hammering/jumping on the luggage to make it close, thinking we successfully had it all packed in, we look to the side, only to see another huge big bag of shopping, and we go,

"CRAAAAP! Still got some more!"

This is when the partner comes to help. So guys, you're supposed to have some extra luggage space reserved for us ok. Hahaha. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Hahahaha.

Lucky I did not overbuy, so I had some space for my girlfriend though she decided to hand carry all the excess in a big plastic bag back home, like an aunty. LOL.

Flying back to Singapore from Seoul

On the plane, flying back to Singapore for Ducati Monster 1200/S launch at Zouk! ;)
See you guys there!