#GoingGlobal2015: Can you teach social enterprise in existing education systems?

goingglobal2015

So here I am, preparing myself for my first ever talk at the United Kingdom after having graduated from Imperial College London just about 10 years ago. returning to home soil in Malaysia to build my career & contribute to solve some of her problems. It still feels surreal, but one does not simply miss out on an opportunity to be on a panel with amazing youths all over the world to debate whether social entrepreneurship could be taught at the @HEGoingGlobal!

It’s been a fantastic journey throughout, even a surprise to myself, that I would be here doing what I do. Basically, my current portfolio are the following: I’m¬†a social entrepreneur at EYE Project, a digital marketer at SocialGrooves.com, the digital manager to Dato‚Äô Lee Chong Wei, a founding Global Shaper at the Global Shapers Community Kuala Lumpur Hub but most importantly, a Malaysian building his own version of a #betterMalaysia. And I remember all I ever¬†wanted to do was make a difference to people’s lives.

And now, to be part of a global event organized by the British Council, is one way I can thank everyone who ever supported me to be where I am today. Thank you, my family, friends, partners, associates, social media followers and all. You guys made me happen :’)

Teaching Social Enterprise? Young Social Entrepreneurs Debate

So yeah, this Going Global Panel Session will be happening on the¬†1st June at Queen Elizabeth II Centre, London, in less than 2 weeks! Here’s where I need your help: what do YOU think about this topic? Can we create social entrepreneurs, or is it something we have to personally experience first in order to “make the leap” headstrong into social¬†entrepreneurship?

In other words, even if there were such thing as a course on social entrepreneurship, how should it be done? Do share your answers, as it will be a good piece of material for discussion during the event.

Now here’s more about the¬†panel: it will be taking place at the¬†Going Global, a forum for education world leaders to debate international higher and further education issues and challenges, and to discuss collaborative solutions. ¬†The key theme for the event is ‚ÄúConnecting Cultures, Forging Futures‚ÄĚ, the idea that the fusion of diverse cultures generates a creative force, which is a major catalyst of leading edge innovation. Investment in the connection of these cultures produces a tangible return and measurable impact for the future.

Vonnie

 

The session will be chaired by Vonnie Sandlen, Women’s Officer and President Elect for 2015/16 of NUS Scotland

Follow her at @NUS_Vonnie, and her organisation at @nusScotland

 

reginaRegina Agyare, Chief Executive Officer, Soronko Solutions, Ghana
http://www.soronkosolutions.com/
Follow her at @ragyare, and her organisation at @SoronkoF

Regina is a software developer and social entrepreneur with a passion for using technology to bring social change. Regina is an Ashoka Fellow, an Aspen Institute of New Voices Fellow, a GOOD fellow, a Global Shaper of the Accra hub of the World Economic Forum, Vital Voices Fellow, finalist for the African Digital Woman of the Year and a Change Leader with Tigo Reach For Change. Ashesi is a private, non-profit liberal arts university located in Ghana, with a msion to educate a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders in Africa; to cultivate among its students critical thinking skills, concern for others and the courage to transform a continent. Her university education included economics, leadership, and entrepreneurship. She started working in the corporate sector. While she was initially unaware of social entrepreneurship, she was interested in solving social problems. She approached her lecturers, and was encouraged to apply her learnings to tackle social problems, and link up with alumni. Her university education helped her as a social entrepreneur with problem solving, business and computer science skills, access to advice and encouragement, and linking her into a network. She also learnt the need for a sustainable business, not reliant on funds. She reflects that had the focus of her education been social entrepreneurship, she would perhaps have started her social enterprise sooner.

AyuAyu Chuepa, Founder, Akha Ama Coffee, Thailand
http://www.akhaama.com/
Follow the organisation at @Akhaamacoffee

Ayu (Lee) was born and grew up in a remote village. Encouraged by his parents, he was the first from his village to study at university. He wanted to provide opportunities to others. He reflects that traditionally education in Thailand teaches students to compete for jobs in industry, government or hospitality, be motivated by money, and move to the city, rather than encouraging them to return and contribute to communities they may come from. Ayu’s education has played an important role for him in overcome barriers that he may otherwise have faced. His university education gave him credibility and enabled communication across linguistic, educational, professional and geographical boundaries, important for sharing experiences of coffee farmers and promoting his social enterprise. Ayu sees higher education as providing relevant skills and knowledge applicable to needs assessments, understanding problems faced by the community, and developing a business plan. However, he asks, how can knowledge from university be brought back and applied to the community, e.g. to solve social problems. How can students be enabled to choose options that involve helping communities, rather than just focusing on making money or studying for itself?

chrisChristopher Tock, Co-founder and Executive Director, Empowering Youth Endeavours, Malaysia
http://www.eyeproject.my/
Follow him at @spinzer, and his organisation at @eyeprojectMY

Christopher is a passionate advocate for youth empowerment. He is a Global Shaper of the Kuala Lumpar hub of the World Economic Forum. He sees life experience, rather than university education, as important in the journey of a social entrepreneur. While he advocates that social entrepreneurship cannot be taught, he sees exposure to social enterprise as necessary in order for those who take up social enterprise to get the support they need, especially from peers. He sees four main factors as influencing a young person’s decision to approach social entrepreneurship as a career decision: 1) how supportive universities are to the idea of SE, 2) the level of activity from student-based NGOs such as ENACTUS, 3) access (or distraction) to too many opportunities and 4) most importantly their respective family background. From his own experience of higher education, rather than the specific education he received, he found that being away from his own environment, being involved with student organisations, and being encouraged and supported by peers, educators, and family, assisted him on his journey as a social entrepreneur.

joshuaJoshua Bicknell, Co-founder of Balloon Ventures, UK
http://www.balloonventures.com/
Follow him at @rightkurfuffle, and his organisation at @balloonkenya

Joshua found that there was no clear route into social entrepreneurship. While Joshua did not study entrepreneurship or social entrepreneurship, his university studies in History and Politics equipped him with skills in writing, developing a coherent argument, telling a good story, researching and public speaking that he uses daily as a social entrepreneur. He ‚Äústumbled‚ÄĚ into running a social enterprise, although his idea from research he did for his Masters dissertation. He did not initially know what social enterprise was, and would have liked more exposure to social enterprise and business, with it being presented as a viable career path. He sees a big responsibility/opportunity for universities to open the minds of young people and show them all the possibilities in the world. He reflects that in today‚Äôs climate, where there is competition and uncertainty, entrepreneurship skills ‚Äď social or otherwise – are essential, and should be included in university education.

Join the conversation by clickong on #GoingGlobal2015 #socent or follow these accounts, including my own for live updates! @SocEntGlobal @HEGoingGlobal

 

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Eye of the Tiger appears at the Creative Pioneer Awards 2014

So I was nominated last year at the Creative Pioneer Awards 2014. Never would I have thought I’d be cool enough to be a part of it haha. Here’s a belated thanks to everyone who liked and shared my entry!

 

I’ve always believed that by helping others achieve their mission in life, you’ll be rewarded by experience no money can buy.

I didn’t expect that the reward to come back to me by way of being nominated as one of the Top 5 Creative Pioneer Awards in 2014 last year under the Entrepreneurship category.

Although I didn’t win the title, it went rightfully to Melvin Tong and Kelvin Tong founders of Extreme Supercars, the twins who have inspired so many others by showing that nothing can stop you from pursuing success!

Shared quite a lengthy story of my latest updates to contribute towards the various industries I’m part of, a continuation of my last interview with the Star Rage. I want to dedicate this moment to my parents, my 3 beautiful sisters, my colleagues in EYE Project and SocialGrooves.com and of course the Global Shapers KL folks among many others! Thank you SO much!

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Who wants to go visit Taipei 101 & Cycle to eat Stinky Tofu?

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 Eat, shop & go on two wheels in Taiwan!

2Before that grab the best travel deals at Taiwan Travel Fair ūüėÄ

Whether you are considering a first or subsequent visits to Taiwan, there‚Äôs never a better time to tour the island than in 2015! Taiwan Tourism Bureau Kuala Lumpur (TTBKL) is organising its first-ever Taiwan Travel Fair in Malaysia. With the theme of ‚ÄúTime to Enjoy Life‚ÄĚ, it will be held at 1 Utama Shopping Centre, where the public can get the best deals for Taiwan travel at this one-stop event from 25 to 29 March 2015.

With the first Taiwan Travel Fair, TTBKL hopes to present great value travel deals to Malaysian families. They have tied up with top Taiwanese and Malaysian travel agencies to offer a variety of exciting packages and the most attractive travel deals for all destinations in Taiwan. This also includes customised packages or tours specially-catered for Muslim visitors.

For visitors of the fair who purchase any tour package from participating agents, they stand a chance to participate in a lucky draw for every RM500 spent. Prizes include Taipei return flight tickets sponsored by China Airlines and Eva Airways; and East Asia cruise on Star Aquarius, Star Virgo and Aquarius liners sponsored by Star Cruises. So do make a date with us and visit the Taiwan Tourism Fair to bring back these fabulous prizes!

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The Taiwan Travel Fair will be held at the Oval concourse in 1 Utama Shopping Centre from 25 to 29 March 2015. Opens 10 am daily. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/tbrockl !

Based on a survey conducted by Taiwan Tourism in 2012, the top attractions for inbound tourists are sights and sceneries, food and shopping. As such, the Taiwan Travel Fair will also highlight three major experiences under the theme of ‚ÄúTime to Enjoy Life‚ÄĚ:

Time to Eat

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When it comes to food, Taiwan has it all. Dine like royalty without paying a king’s ransom for it. From juicy seasonal fruits, sumptuous traditional Chinese dishes, healthy vegetarian dishes, icy desserts to creative tea drinks, Taiwanese cuisine makes full use of local ingredients and age-old techniques to surprise and satisfy your palate. Don’t forget the world-famous night markets, filled with the enticing aromas of delicious street food and snacks!

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Time to Shop

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Taiwan is a shopaholic’s dream come true, with many large shopping centres and chain department stores in all four corners of the island. Shop for anything you want, from high-quality made-in-Taiwan 3C products, to famous highland tea and handmade weavings. For the fashion lover, all kinds of affordable clothing, leather goods and branded products are at your fingertips. In Taiwan, you are sure to find just about everything you want.

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Time to go on Two Wheels

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These days, the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) trend is gaining popularity as people begin to be more health and eco-conscious. Taiwan is well-known for its LOHAS practices, and there is no better way to experience it than to travel along the breath-taking coastal highways by bicycle! Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and appreciate the simple yet wonderful things in life with your loved ones.

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for more images on Taiwan click
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/sqkswmm87sveplk/AABYBp3AqE6M1rwbKUDBe2haa?dl=0

 

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A Truly Remarkable Gem Island

Happy New Year ! 

It’s really been a while since any one of us (Spinzer or me) has updated the blog. We have been pretty busy and I have so many postings to share with everyone especially “The Gem”.¬†It was an invitation by a good friend of Spinzer since his uni days, Cheng Chun. for a celebration to mark their new age that ahem..starts with 3X with all the ex Imperial College & LSE mates.¬†

A sneak peek! 

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It’s an island which located at Marang, Terengganu. Gem Island is quiet, private with clear water. A perfect getaway with your loved one and even family. They cater full onboard package which includes accomodation, meals and promised relaxation!¬†

Let’s first talk about the journey.¬†

We checked in at Subang Airport to fly there with FireFlyz, my current favourite air travel choice for the airport is WAAAAYYY NEARER than going to KLIA2. Once we arrived at Terengganu Airport, we took a cab ride approximately about 40 minutes to Marang Jetty for a pre-planned boat ride to “The Gem” (Fine… It’s actually widely known as Gem Island OR it’s original name, Gemia)

 

10.00pm of Day 1

We arrived in the evening and dinner was about to be served! YUMMMZZ

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We have a big group of us, with steamy hot steamboat for the cold season (It was the start of Monsoon on the East Coast)

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Some of the steamboat and seafood ingredients we’ve been served. Seafood is ultra fresh and yummy there!¬†

Apart from the catching up between all the ex uni mates, there were of course many of them with their plus ones like me (Spinzer’s plus one) and making new friends there. Time flies I guess, everyone was once a student and now some are even parents!¬†

 Let me show you around and also the room! 

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The basin and mirror is situated out of the toilet. It’s the first item I see upon opening the door.

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I love the open concept bathroom, it has natural lightings (apologies for the bad shot, but I only have this shot)

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The Bedroom with cosy decorations. I’m a very earth friendly /conscious person, hence I strongly love basic decorations made of woods, mosquitos nets over the bed as the night itself, I laced the mosquito nettings to cover the bed and left the balcony doors wide open for breeze, air and calming sea sound.

 5.20am Day 2 

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 For the very first time, I see Spinzer woke up really early, about 5 am to catch the first glimpse of light from the patio

All we needed to do was look LEFT. Our camera was not the super pro one, hence, we couldn’t get the best photo as captured in my own head and stored in my mind.¬†

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 Listening to the calming waves while enjoying the scenery. 

 7.15am of Day 2

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You’re right! All the chalets are situated ¬†on the water. When the sun shone brightly, I can even see lil fishes swimming around the water underneath my chalet, and a lot crabs going on the rocks playing, sunbathing without the fear of humans.¬†

 

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¬†My favourite rattan swing chair, wrapped me up perfectly for me to enjoy the scenery. The chair on the right belongs to Spinzer! Hmmmm! I DON’T SHARE! *joking*

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How do you like the sea and chalet? I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! 

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Gem Island is also a certified island to conserve turtles. This is where they protect the lil eggs till their hatched. 

 

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Turtles! Turtles! 

 

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Once thet are hatched, the management ans turtle experts based on the island will keep them in a big tank where water will be changed and make sure they are big enough to be released back into the rough sea full of predators :”(¬†

The above image is a plastic tank where all the turtles will be put in when their permanent tank made of cement which is way bigger is getting cleaned in the morning we were there. 

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They have a beautiful albino Hawksbill Turtle too! 

 

8am of Day 2 

Before heading to breakfast, I must again take some photos with the ocean view. 

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Our Selfie! 

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The groupie swing that I love. I just love swings…no joke, I even play it at the playgrounds on and off now.¬†

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The view towards the East. Well, there’s a sea water pool as above the pic.. I didn’t bother to jump in though. How can you compare to the gigantic sea?¬†

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Spinzer and the sparkling reflection of the sea. If you look into the top right of the photo, You’ll be able to see another island which I named it the Singa Island (Lion Island) .. More details up later about Singa Island.¬†

 9.20am of Day 2

Here’s where the fun starts!¬†

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Clear Blue Sea on a private island and now BEACH! The water is crystal clear where we can see fishes swimming really near us and a bundle of dead corals nearer to the shallow part. There are still live corals around the deeper sea and here and there. 

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What I did was make sure I do not touch the corals and putting minimal sunblock on my body as the chemicals component found in sunblock had been proven to be EXTREMELY damaging to our coral beds and water.

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One of my favourite photo during the trip. 

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¬†You might be wondering what are these guys doing? It’s also my first encounter throughout all the beach travels I have done. These men are loading the rubbish from the island and sending it back to the mainland for proper disposal.¬†

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Apart fro shells, you will be able to collect a lot of stones too as Gem Island is famous for being a “rocky” beach

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After a while of snokerling..I became tired and I got into the other side of the island which has a pretty rough seas and much rockier! It much windy here and I took a short nap.

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Look! It has huge rocks with stronger waves. Completely the opposite of the clear and calm beach where I snorkled earlier. You could come over and take a dip in this side of the beach. However, due to the Monsoon Season, we were advised not to. 

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 Off you go for Kayaking! 

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Spinzer taking a shower before we head for our yummy lunch! 

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I couldn’t help but upload this to share with all of you reading this now. It’s this blue and clear.. The view is simply breathtaking. Back to Singa Island, If you see the waves there, this is also a place where visitors can do surfing. Generally for beginners or surfers looking for relaxing surfs. The waves are choppy but not exactly STRONG. But it’s good enough for Noobs like me to come back and learn.

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This is the other end of the beach, nearer to Singa Island and shark point. The current and waves are strong here too, where I believe can do a lil surfing. 

 

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The lil creature is found between the rocks, where water are so clear!

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Me being me.. My itchy hands decided not to let the lil crab to rest in peace. Spinzer took this an as evidence. YET… Sometimes, I wonder why curiousity kills the cat (Trust me, I’ve been in and out of troubles due to my why where how and WHAT attitude about everything!)¬†

 

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¬†Singa land is actually the other end of Pulau Kapas, I have been observing it and trying to find road access to it. According to local staff, some parts have no beach and the fastest way is to take a speed boat! *YAY* Also, The area around Singa Island (Yes! also where we can surf) are the known “Shark Points” where sharks are often spotted at the areas. I swear to myself I will go back to Gem Island again to watch the sharks, kayak against to waves, surf and swim around the shark point area.¬†

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Next up, I skipped lunch and had the Thai Masseur for some relaxing time! 

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The massage room is for one person use and it’s near the end of the island. At good days, you can see baby sharks swimming around even below the patio of the chalet.¬†

 

4PM of Day 2

About 4 plus, everyone decided to have picninc across the other island, Pulau Kapas. It’s so funny, Kapas actually mean Cotton in English. *Tee-Hee* Some boys like Yew Kuan and gang swam across to reach Kapas Island, some of us kayak across there with a few took the speed boat with our precious PICNIC food! >.<¬†

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 Look at the heroes who swam across and Kayaks :O

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 Cheng Chun, our generous host who prepared extra foods including traditional local kuihs (cakes) and snacks for us to savour on and brought it across for us! YUMZ 

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 The banana cheese fritters are to died for! This is also my first time trying it.  Sinfully DELICIOUS! 

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¬†After some snorkeling session and makan time at Pulau Kapas, we had to packed up to return back to Gem Island.. The sky’s getting darker ūüôĀ¬†

Pulau Kapas Snorkel: Nowhere near comparable to Gem Island (the part where Spinzer & I snorkeled in the morning), the coral beds has been badly damaged and lesser fishes with the sight of much more rubbish in it. I spotted an old shoe somewhere in it  >_<

 6.30PM of Day 2

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We came back to the island with a whole mutton greeting us! Chef (the one in red) is an expert who caters all our western, local food in Gem Resort! I’m constantly hungry I know.. That explains my body size T_T

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 With two experienced chefs and sous chefs in Gem Resort, you know you will never have awry food! The feast with BBQ mutton, seafood and fresh fruit juices!

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It’s our last night here.. Time flies so fast…Good night Folks!¬†

 9.00AM of Day 3

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Spinzer decided to take a sunbath. He never did gets tanned anyway! As fair as a white chicken as always. 

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 I visited the beach again.. I really love this place and planning for another trip with my girlfriends hopefully in 2015. 

¬†Apart from a beautiful getaway island. Gem Island could cater for private functions accomodating up to 100 people with 45 rooms all booked solely for you and your family and friends. Obviously It’s going to be a great place for Weddings. With the view, good food and island all to you and your loved ones, how awesome!¬†

I’m pretty sure you would like to know how much we spent for the trip, here’s a breakdown for it

 1) Return AirFare (FireFlyz) =RM450 

2) Cab Fare (Terengganu Aiport to Jetty) = RM70 (I actually forgot the accurate sum, but it’s somewhere between here)

3) Boat Ride from Marang to Gem = Inclusive in the package

4) 3 Days 2 Nights Package = RM900++

*The above prices are solely for 2 person 

** 3 days 2 nights including extra payment for Massage sessions (2 person), meals, Activities and Facilities onboard as seen as above

 

Best Time to Travel to Gem Island

End of March to August

You can still travel there whenever they are open. They are closed yearly during the Monsoon season from around Oct to Early Feb if I’m not mistaken.¬†

¬†Lastly, Spinzer and I would sincerely thank Cheng Chun for making this happen and giving us a good price for the trip as well as other friends. It’s a gathering so meaningful for everybody too ūüôā . Do buzz me if you are planning for a Gem Island trip and would like to have some good advise/deals!¬†

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