Just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, the neat little coastal town of Sausalito provides a rare pocket of laidback Mediterranean charm. Viewed from a distance, Sausalito presents a neat tumble of houses with the bay at its feet — a sight that bears closest resemblance to Italy’s famous Amalfi Coast. A succession of marinas and boatyards stretches across much of the waterfront, a tranquil mooring ground for the town’s well-loved and oft-visited houseboats. Richardson Bay’s calm waters also call for an afternoon of leisure, whether it’s paddling on kayaks or strolling comfortably across the boardwalk. All signs of life point to Sausalito’s past as a bustling maritime port.
Back in the 1800s, Sausalito’s calm inlet was the gateway linking the thriving Northern California Redwood industry to the rest of the country by rail and sea. Today the famous waterfront — known as Bridgeway — is visited mostly by boatloads of tourists from across the water.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I have just returned from an epic loop of the Pacific – Singapore, Hong Kong (leg stretch), San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne (leg stretch), Singapore – in 10 days. Typically, I am not a very regular ‘grammer, but I do tend to get a little Insta-happy while on the road – which is a lot at the moment. Let’s face it, it’s nice to share your favourite moments like hanging out with Olympic rowers on a fresh Saturday morning (yes a little off topic, but certainly a once in a life time opportunity) and the rarity of west coast sunsets.
What a fabulous trip it was; I met some really talented people, discovered many fabulous shops and got to know each city that little bit more. My travelling equals more destinations on Travelshopa. Going off this last trip, 2016 is going to be one mega year for travel + shopping. Have you started looking for flights yet?
One of my favourite things when travelling is talking to people. It’s how I uncover many city secrets, and walking helps me add in the details like the little details on the side of a street, the smells and general sounds of a city. San Francisco is especially pretty and always reminds me of my hometown Sydney; the harbour, shopping and food are all world class.
One fond memory was when a chatty cabby with all time “let’s get away from this traffic” skills was taking me from point A to point B. While climbing the steepest of streets and dodging trams, we were solving the problems of the world revisiting the modern history of his homeland, Singapore. Suddenly, I discovered on Google Maps (aka modern day backseat driving) that we were totally off track and at a crossing unlike any other. My costly detour turned out to be a cultural exploration of the rainbow flag ordained neighbourhood, The Castro. The Sydney girl in me felt instantly at home and reminiscing Oxford Street during Sydney Mardi Gras.
No destination was what I call a virgin visit so there was a strict agenda. Officially adding California (ok… and Australia) to Travelshopa has been a vivid dream for a while, and it’s exciting to know that our coverage of these destinations is going to be available for all to enjoy very soon. For now I am delighted you can explore California off the beaten track – Napa Valley, San Diego and Palm Springs, until we are ready to take on the big smoke.
For all of Seoul’s modern trappings, it is also a place steeped in tradition and history. The five grand palaces, fanning out from the heart of the city are standing testaments to Seoul’s regal past. While all five palaces enjoy status as cultural treasures of Korea, Changdeokgung was especially popular with the royals for its lush landscape of gardens, ponds, and pavilions.
Originally built in 1405 as a secondary palace, the complex served as the seat of government at intervals throughout the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). The most well-preserved of the five remaining Joseon palaces, Changdeokgung was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 for its exceptional architecture and the way it was built in harmony with the surrounding landscape. Seated at the foot of Ungbong Peak of Mount Baegaksan, Changdeokgung is a prime example of pungsu-jiri, a Korean form of geomancy that closely resembles fengshui. The palace’s official and residential structures, and its famous rear garden ‘huwon’ were designed to embrace the uneven contours of the land, thus distinguishing it from conventional palace architecture.
The compound is laid out in a traditional fashion, with three gates and three courts, with the residential area built to the rear of the administrative section. Bold, upswept roofs give the building its character, drawing nature and its beauty within. The overhanging eaves are decked in ornamental carvings and adorned with japsang — animal-shaped roof tiles and figurines. Silhouetted against the white winter sky, Changdeokgung’s dignified and elegant form is made all the more apparent.
99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
It seems I have given myself the dream job title – Chief Travelshopa – and my days revolve around travelling and shopping. Well ain’t that far from the truth… But let’s not let the truth get in the way of my fairytale.
While I have said before “When I am out and about, I am either shopping or working. Never both.”, I confess the truth is I ‘go shopping’ more than the average. And I have made more than my fair share of mistakes when ‘on the job’. These may have felt like fatal errors at the time – my bank manager keeps reminding me – they have been important lessons and this year I am committed to sticking to these shopping resolutions.
Shop at local designers and retailers in your hometown (and beyond) to create your personal style. I promise you will stand out from the crowd, and everyone will be asking where you got this and that. And how? My secret is write a shopping bucket list, subscribe to travel/airline websites and book flights as the deals are released throughout the year. Oh… and use your points.
How many times have I returned with a suitcase full of designs perfect for… not my daily way of life?!! Grrr. White platform stilettos that scream hello Mykonos 1994!!! And umteen pairs of jeans with patchwork, leather strips, and tassels from the very (not so) chic French Riviera in 2002. So… while you are working through your bucket list, repeat after me: Thou shall not buy another outfit that could second as a Halloween costume. When in doubt… buy a candle. Candles make great souvenirs.
You may think local brands may not offer the basics; but quite the contrary. Build on your essentials with eclectic pieces that you will want to keep forever, and your best friend will want to borrow (and maybe never return). Seriously… don’t fall for trends that sit outside your own style. Period. You will only look back and say… yep… that’s (not) me in the leather studded jacket with shoulder pads.
I truly believe sometimes it is better to buy 1/3 of the clothes (or home decor pieces) for three times the price. Each time I buy an investment piece (that’s not on trend) I cherish it. It goes everywhere with me. And I get attached to it. You will love and look after quality pieces, and inadvertently you will make more conscious purchases.
Last year we talked a lot about conscious shopping (rather than conscious uncoupling). There are so many brands and events supporting some worthy causes. I mean how ethical can a $2 school uniform be?!!! Shopping with ethics makes shopping that much more fulfilling. It’s simple.
Black candle by Maisonne.
A new year presents everyone a fresh crop of shopping opportunities. And for us that means creating our shopping bucket list for the year, and answering the very important question… where to shop in 2016?! Which shopping destinations do we think think are worthy of checking out – world famous and a few surprise hidden gems.
With 8 destinations officially covered on Travelshopa (5 of which we added in late 2015), 2016 brings us new, exciting opportunities. We will continue to add to the list of must-visit shopping destinations in Asia plus we will be spreading our wings and covering much loved shopping capitals such as Los Angeles, Melbourne and my hometown Sydney.
If travel sits on top of your New Year resolutions, we’ve got you covered. Here is a taste of what is to come; a snapshot of some of our favourite shopping precincts in forthcoming destinations on Travelshopa in 2016. Don’t fret if your bucket list shopping destinations are not found on this list; we are bound to cover more. If there is a particular city that you are travelling to this year, which you would like shopping details on, let us know in the comments below. It would be our pleasure to meet you there to provide you with personal guided tour.
A melting pot of old-world charm, alluring bohemian accents and rich culture, there’s no better time than now to wander round the cobble-stoned streets of Galata. A must see in the area is the Galata Bridge which is a leisurely stroll from the Old City to New City.
Dubbed as the chicest shopping corridor, Serdar-I Ekrem in Galata is where you will unearth small-scale boutiques filled with creations of Turkish designers – like the elegant Atelier 55 (Serdar-I Ekrem Sok. 55), boasting a range of fashion staples from Turkish and international designers alike.
For one of the most photogenic views in Istanbul you’ll just have to climb Galata Tower. Expect a bird’s eye view of the glistening Bosporus Strait and a charming view back towards the Old City. Don’t forget your selfie stick!
Cheongdam-Dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Thanks to the notorious number #1 hit by PSY, Gangnam is now recognised as one of the more fashionable and luxurious spots in Seoul. And hands down, we agree. This glitzy district is a mecca for everything high fashion and fine dining – with many luxurious boutiques and restaurants along the picturesque streets as well as at the Galleria Luxury Hall.
If you’re all for upcoming Korean talent and would rather omit the luxury flagships stores, do not fret. Cheongdam-Dong also holds a bevvy of fashion industry leaders – think avant-garde Korean designer boutiques along the main strip as well as the hidden back streets. We can’t wait to show you around this area!
You can’t move past Gangnam’s futuristic architecture. The façade of Galleria Luxury Hall glistens at night, and Acne Studios Cheongdam evokes a minimalist front, resembling a white lightbox on the outside with metal structures inside – contemporary at its best!
West 3rd Street, Los Angeles
Large is size, LA offers an eclectic mix of opportunities, so a car will enable you to see more, quickly. On your way to shopping up a storm on West 3rd Street, take the back streets to take in some American residential architecture and perfectly manicured gardens. Lucky you, should you be there around the holiday season to see a smorgasbord of gardens and front doors all light up.
Whether it’s digging through vintage stores in West 3rd street or shopping for luxurious goods at the Fashion District in Downtown LA – the unofficial trendsetter satisfies every type of shopper in the book. Expect charming Parisian themed boutiques, fragrance shops, luxury fashion, eclectic homewares and more.
With its prized possessions like Disneyland and Dodger Stadium bagging the title of being the most Instagrammed places in the world – it’s no surprise to encounter photo ops in every other corner. Yes, we do mean EVERY other corner! California has plenty of street art and murals for an #ootd shot unlike any other.
Shanghai is the result of east meets west – a heady blend of traditional Chinese and colonial magnificence in a contemporary setting. Hailed as the “Oriental Paris” and known as the center of China’s fashion industry, there’s no doubt that shopping is an obvious staple in the bustling city.
Though Nanjing Road enjoys its position as the top Commercial Street in China; it is at Tianzifang – the French Concession area of Shanghai where you will face a treasure trove of artisanal gems – unique handicrafts and noteworthy art galleries. Deke Erh Art Culture (No. 2 Lane 10) is a boutique offering home décor and one-of-a-kind gifts for family and friends back home.
Visitors flock the city to experience its pulse and rich history and so should you – apart from the shopping of course. Take in the city’s panoramic views from the observation deck of the Shanghai World Financial Center. Certainly not for the faint hearted – the deck offers views from 474 metres above ground level!
Even though it’s undergone an inevitable gentrification, Fitzroy has managed to retain its creative edge, thanks to the slew of bookstores, art galleries, local fashion boutiques and artists’ markets in the neighbourhood. Just a short stroll from Melbourne CBD, Fitzroy is indeed a one-stop spot for independent designer shopping.
Gertrude Street is the ultimate paradise for all bohemians at heart – filled with quaint stores carrying vintage wares, curios and oddities. If your taste tends towards a sophisticated style, visit Tanner + Teague (287 Smith St.) at Smith Street – contemporary fashion combined with signature looks and a European aesthetic for him, her and kids.
After visiting Brighton beach’s fêted bathing boxes – we can’t resist them ourselves – head over to Queen Victoria Market for a culture infused photography sesh’ from the pulsating and vibrant stalls and pushcarts while indulging in a little something to fill your tummies.
Nestled just 5 kilometres east of the Sydney CBD, Woollahra is best for a placid village-style shopping affair. Though its gastronomy culture is as influential as any today – this suburb boasts some of Sydney’s finest cafes – its fashion quotient isn’t too far behind.
A unique plethora of local fashion boutiques, speciality stores and art galleries fills the heritage-listed terraces – with the bulk of them located at Queen Street. Quincy (76 Queen Street) is the quintessential shoe and bag boutique providing the most coveted collections from renowned designers.
Do not neglect some Instagram-worthy clicks of the contemporary and heritage terrance houses in the surrounding streets.
Where to shop in 2016
Images sourced from Google images and Bucketlistly
2015 was an incredible year. Your readership and response on our site have been very heartwarming. We are delighted that our efforts to make you live life more, are appreciated. To say that we are looking forward to 2016 is an understatement. We are, for lack of better words, beyond excited with all the projects we have planned for you!
Let us look back at the top stories on our blog this year. From the most thorough shopping guides to on-trend globetrotter styles and exclusive interviews with local designers, these are the articles that made a mark.
What do you want to read on our blog next year? Do let us know in the comments box below.
There are generic guides, and then there are Travelshopa guides. What sets us apart is that we indulge only in your shopaholic needs. We pride ourselves on giving you carefully curated city shopping guides of world-class shops, brands, and designers. Which city do you want us to feature next?
Not just a place to observe Peranakan traditions, Joo Chiat’s new breed of boutique establishments, ranging from cooler-than-thou cafes, art, and furniture galleries and eclectic shops make Joo Chiat a fascinating place to explore.
Most of these are produced in limited quantities and sourced overseas, guaranteeing that your vintage piece is truly one-of-a-kind.
Wan Chai may be known as the city’s red light district, but now it is the place where locals are flocking for their fashion-forward threads and cool objects du jour. It’s got all aspects covered. Chic fashion boutiques, cool interiors showrooms and edgy lifestyle stores.
A cut above the standard, most stores selling homewares in Bali are partial to indigenous village industries and are highly supportive of the work of local artisans.
In this day and age where literally everything goes up online (and could potentially go viral), it is important that you always look your best, including traveling in style. No, you don’t need a glam squad. All it takes is shopping the right pieces and knowing how they work for you. At Travelshopa, we are committed in creating fashion stories, like Trend Report, What To Wear, and How To, to empower you to be your best whenever and wherever.
No matter where in the world you’re travelling – Singapore to New York, Paris to Milan, or anywhere in between – it’s important to always look stylish.
BEHIND THE SEAMS
Interested in knowing the story behind the shirt you bought? Want to know where it’s from and how it is made? This is what our ‘Behind The Seams‘ articles are for. We literally speak to designers and ask them about their inspiration, thought process, and everything in between. From pre- to post-production, we delve deeper into how these world-class products are made. Our conversation with Keng How was a key 2015 story.
Do you also own an exciting new label? Let’s talk!
Contemporary high fashion label – biro, delivers a strong yet silent manifesto on the value of timeless, functional wear. The anti-thesis of fast fashion, biro intervenes against a disposable material culture with a collection of elevated basics that emphasise quality and craftsmanship.
Nothing is better than coming home to a place that envelopes you with love and chicness. That’s why other than travel and shopping, we are passionate in inspiring people to improve their home and workspaces one habitat-related story at a time.
Got insider tips on what to talk about or whose place to feature? Write to us, Travelshopa.
Pastel colours, defined as any colour with a lighter hue, have less impact on our emotional state. They’re more softly spoken than their bright-coloured counterparts and therefore instill a sense of calm and sophistication – perfect traits for a workspace.
Best of 2015