American Village, Car, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Food, Growing Up, Japan, Okinawa, Shopping, Shuri Castle, Travel, Travel Blog, Traveler Wifi, Tsuboya Pottery District, Umikaji Terrace, Vacation

Okinawa Travelogue – (Part 3): Tsuboya Pottery District, Shuri Castle, Umikaji Terrace and American Village

It is more convenient to travel around Okinawa by driving. It was raining most of the time but we didn’t forgo visiting Tsuboya Pottery District.

Tsuboya Pottery District

Traditional houses with red earthenware roof tiles, accompanied by ceramic studios and stores.

Cute little huts showcasing one-of-a-kind mugs, plates, and pitchers.

Shuri Castle

We visited Shuri Castle on our next stop. Shuri is the name of the former capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Shuri Castle (首里城, Shurijō) served as the residence of the Ryukyu kings for several centuries until Okinawa became a Japanese prefecture in 1879.

The place was huge and expect lots of walking.

The castle interior is very clean and visitors are required to take off their shoes (carriers are provided). Interiors of the Hokuden and Nanden are constructed like modern museums.

A replica of the king’s throne and crown are among the exhibits.

Traditional Japanese dance by the boys.

And we tried the traditional snacks!

The most famous and popular dessert in Okinawa is the Blue Seal Ice Cream.

Big and Small M satisfied their cravings after completing the tour of Shuri castle.

Umikaji Terrace

The Umikaji terrace is situated on a hill below the Senagajima onsen Hotel. This place has the romantic feel as planes flew above us while we sight the beautiful sea view right in front of us.

A tiring climb up the flights of stairs to the peak and discover the beautiful views.

The terrace is close to the beach and the sea waters are generally mild and peaceful for one to explore the area.

The waters of Okinawa are so clear!

Tacos restaurants, ice cream shops and cafes literally packed the terrace.

Greece and Mediterranean vibes, that’s what everyone acclaimed after a visit to the Umikaji Terrace.

Umikaji Terrace

We drove further up north and reached the Mihama American Village, which is a large entertainment complex located in central Okinawa. Actually the American Village is not so fantastic but we supposed it is still a need-to-check-out attraction.

There is this Ramen shop outside the American Village and many diners flock to eat here.

Their ramen was one of the best we ever tried!

Our tasty orders, look at the thick broth.

The most recognizable feature of the American Village is the large Ferris wheel.

The shopping mall is not huge but there is this 100 Yen shop which is a nice store to find good items.

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

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Eat, Education, Food, Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, Growing Up, Japan, Kokusaidori, Okinawa, Photography, Tomari Iyumachi Fish Market

Okinawa Travelogue – (Part 2): Aeon Naha, Kokusaidori Night Street, Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, Kaigungo Park Playground and Tomari Iyumachi Fish Market

Still on the first day. After a rest, we visited AEON Naha during the evening. The shopping mall is directly-connected to Monorail Koroku Station and this is the view from the monorail station.

What was fascinating was that the residential buildings beside the monorail station looked exactly like Singapore’s HDB flats!

A closer look.

Aeon Naha

A big fan of Aeon malls wouldn’t want to miss exploring them.

We were here to have our dinner at the foodcourt.

The foodcourt was filled with students hanging out here after their school.

The prices were reasonable and the quality of food wasn’t compromise in terms of quality.

This is our favorite section in the Okinawa shopping malls. At certain hours, they may have discounts off the racks, some as much as 50%!

Kokusaidori Night Street

We thought spending one full day in Naha city would be enough. A meaningful visit to Okinawa should involve driving out to discover the attractions which travelling along monorail would not be possible.

When night falls, Kokusaidōri comes alive. Restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and shopping malls will be packed with people.

People thronging the streets and traffic is slow moving, sometimes coming to a complete halt. And it’s good to take a pause and admire the city of Naha.

Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters

On our second day, we picked up our rental car (Toyota Sienta) from the hotel and drove to the Former Japanese Navy Underground HQ, which is about 3km from Mercure Naha. This hybrid car is fuel-efficient and we only filled the petrol twice (~SGD100) throughout 5 days of usage which allowed us to cover about 650km.

The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, a 450 meter tunnel complex which was served as an underground headquarters during the Battle of Okinawa was established in 1944.

Best part of our visit here was the underground tunnel.

A reminder of the tragedy of the Battle of Okinawa.

The Chief Commanding Officer’s room.

Kaigungo Park Playground

At the exit of the Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, we get to see the Kaigungo Park playground. Sob sob, it was raining most of the time in Okinawa and the kids were unable to play the slides.

However, we must say Okinawa definitely bring their playgrounds up to another level. Imagine this is where kids can slide for more than a minute and enjoy excitement to the fullest.

Tomari Iyumachi Fish Market

The Tomari Iyumachi Fish Market located at Tomari Fishing Port. It is a medium-sized seafood market with shops selling fresh tuna, salmon, grilled lobster, scallop, unagi, squid and many more.

There is a processing plant screened with glass for viewing. Workers are working hard to bring the freshest catch out for sale.

This is the best and biggest fish market in Okinawa where you can get same-day-fresh seafood and other marine products.

We had our breakfast here.

Freshly grilled and juicy lobsters.

She must be very happy!

Visitors come here for a taste of great Okinawa seafood!

Highly recommended to come here as the prices are reasonable.

As there are lack of sitting places, most of the time people would need to stand eating.

 Tomari Iyumachi is the direct sales fish market in Naha with tuna specialty vendors from the Okinawa Fishing Cooperative and mozuku vendors in addition to wholesalers. The best time to visit Tomari Fish Market is in the morning.

Our gripe was the frequent rain but this has been a great trip so far!

Just finding joy in the little things. Click here to follow Katong Kids Inc Facebook Page to stay tune on the next travel post.

All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Cafe, Photography, Travel, Travel Blog, Traveler Wifi, Vacation, Wifi Router

Okinawa Travelogue – (Part 1): Naha Airport, Urban Monorial, Mercure Okinawa Naha, Kokusai Street and Heiwa Dori

This is our first very trip to Japan, and what a way to start off with Okinawa, a Japanese prefecture comprising in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan’s mainland. Nicknamed the Japanese Hawaii, it is not difficult to see the influence of chinese and americans on this sunny island.

Naha Airport

Thanks to Jetstar, visitors can finally get to Okinawa on a 5-hour direct flight from Singapore. The Naha Airport is very clean and neat.

As usual, we would hit the brochures rack after clearing the customs. We forgotten to bring our itinerary and the travel guides were really a life-saver.

We would be driving but not on our first day. The length of Okinawa is about 100km from North to South so driving is easy and a must to visit more attractions. However, we heard that the Monorail is very efficient and connect conveniently to Naha City. It would be a shame not to try the Monorail as a tourist.

On our way to the monorail, we were fascinated by the stores that we spent about 2 hours browsing through the lovely japanese products!

Guessed we were not the only one, there were visitors glued to the Naha airport shopee.

A must-try taro tart from Okinawa.

Okinawa Urban Monorail

The Okinawa Urban Monorail, also known as Yui Rail, is a monorail line in Naha.

We bought day-tickets valid for 24-hour where we could take limitless rides. It cost about SGD35 for 4 of us. The time will start the moment the ticket is being tapped.

The seats were kind of low but the ride was very smooth, especially with the playing of lovely music during each announcement.

Our accommodation is Mercure Okinawa Naha which is right in front of the Yui Monorail Station“Tsubogawa”.

There’s our hotel, so near!

Mercure Okinawa Naha

We booked this hotel because it was one of the cheapest we could find in Naha and it was close to the city. The hotel room was small but we decided to stay here cos’ it has a car rental counter at the hotel lobby. We could collect and return the car over here.

Rented our hybrid (which we would share more later) from DH Rental Car.

Kokusaidori Street

Kokusaidōri, literally “International Road”) is Naha‘s main street, stretching for roughly two kilometers through downtown Naha.

This is the iconic spot for photography in Naha main street, just outside the monorail station.

Look at these little children on an excursion and they were having a sing-along session.

Souvenir stores selling Okinawa goodies.

Kokusaidori is lined by restaurants, cafes and departmental stores. It is similar to the Orchard Road of Singapore. Most stores would close by 10pm.

Here is where we can find special Calbee products. The exterior is brightly-colored and instagram-worthy for many hipsters.

Okinawa is sunny and warm, so there is not a need to bring thick clothing during the summer.

This is our favourite place for meals – YUI Garden.

The food were amazing cheaper compared to the streets and the quality were superb.

We had our lunch here.

Do you find such prices in Singapore?

Heiwa Dori

Heiwa dori is a covered shopping arcade featuring many shops, supermarkets and convenience stores that sell beauty products and local snacks.

A certain allure to this picture – a life of the locals.

And we tried the local snacks…

About $1 per piece.

Small fish market at the corner.

It cost about $85 for a steamed crab. Not cheap.

But it’s the walking along the streets and exploring little alleys that makes discovering Okinawa so special.

Just finding joy in the little things. Click here to follow Katong Kids Inc Facebook Page to stay tune on the next travel post.

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Hard Disk, Hard Drive, LaCie Mobile Drive, Storage Devices

LaCie Mobile Drive – USB-C External Hard Drive (Sleek Design, Lavish Space)

Now that Big M is in secondary school, laptop has become a necessity to her. Using laptop for school work will inevitably lead to consuming more memory in the laptop when saving files.

As there is a risk of loss of data if the internal hard drive fails due to unforseen circumstances, we decided it would be wise to get an external portable hard drive as a backup.

LaCie Mobile Drive

We were so used to using thumb drives in the past and were kind of clueless about external hard disks/drives. Thanks to good recommendation, we settled for LaCie Mobile Drive 2TB (Seagate’s storage brand) eventually. For info, you can choose capacity of 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 5TB, of which it can last you for a very very long while.

Sleek and Metallic Design

The LaCie Mobile Drive does not look “light” in appearance; it is really light when hand held. With an ultra-sleek and stylish metallic design, there are many reasons why it appeals to users. Take a look at its specifications:

– High-capacity portable external hard drive for on-the-go creative projects

– Works with Mac and Windows systems out of the box

– Connects via USB-C for high-speed data transfers

– Offers USB 3.0 cable for connectivity to legacy computers

– Slim, travel-friendly design

– Comes with easy-to-use software for customisable backup

– Includes one-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps plan

Transfer Speed and Performance

LaCie Mobile pocket-sized slim style fits comfortably in the palm of one’s hand, so it is not a concern that it will be bulky and troublesome to bring outdoors. We are free to take thousands of photos, music and videos that consumes terabytes of storage space.

Big M transferred about 105 GB of data and it took about 15 to 20 minutes to port them over to LaCie Mobile Drive. There are still a huge storage space left. The connectivity/data transfer rate was fast, especially with the support of USB 3.0.

Website https://www.facebook.com/seagatesin/

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/lacie_tech/

Twitter : https://twitter.com/SEAGATE

Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/user/SeagateTechnology

Picking a good external hard disk can be tricky but we thought LaCie Mobile Drive is a good buy as it offers both capacious and protection of our needs.

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

 

 

Coffee, Food, Growing Up, Ipoh, Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre, Kids Activities, Malaysia, Parenting, Photography, Products, Review, Shopping, The Idea Box, Travel, Travel Blog, Vacation, WEIL Hotel

WEIL Hotel Ipoh – Beautiful Hotel, Memorable Stay

It was our first time visiting Ipoh and apart from enjoying everything what this lovely town has to offer, our trip was made even more memorable by the hotel we stayed.

Welcome to the WEIL Hotel, Ipoh.

When it comes to scouting on the best leisure and family accommodation, refreshing swimming pools and delectable food to indulge in, WEIL Hotel could very well be the answer to your travel needs.

Upon arriving at Sultan Azlan Shah Airport after an hour flight, our next destination would typically be the hotel. All thanks to its close proximity to the airport, we hardly had time to warm our seats before realising that we had arrived at the hotel after only less than 10 mins (6km)!

We arrived happily and left happily. There are many reasons why we would return to WEIL Hotel again.

Beautiful Lobby – Where You Find Space to Chill

If our short, magical stay were to mean anything, the best takeaway from this stay would be the warm customer service we experienced. The hotel had it nailed and we felt safe and comfortable the moment we stepped into this place.

The lobby looked very new, spacious and guests would be pleased to see there were many armchairs placed for them to chill.

Superior Suite

The Superior Room comes with a size of between 32 sqm to 39 sqm. “WOW” is the magic word to describe when one enters the superior suite.

The room was equipped with a king-sized bed, a study desk and chair, armoire, safe, and a fine stand for luggage.

With crisp linens and soft pillows, it would not be hard to have a comfortable night’s sleep!

The hotel also provides a smart phone for traveler to use.

I loved the large well-equipped bathroom where large fluffy towels and face cloths were supplied sufficiently.

Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre – Adjoined to WEIL Hotel

Being inter-connected to Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre was a big plus to staying at the WEIL Hotel. During our stay, it was so convenient to dine and shop at the shopping centre at the same time.

With such a big mall, it was inevitable not to eye the all of the shops, kiosks, and food outlets!

Departmental Store – Parkson

Entertainment – Golden Screen Cinema (GSC), K Box Karaoke, Laser Battle

Pharmacy – Watson’s, Guardian, Caring Pharmacy

Apparels & Jewellery – Hush Puppies, Uniqlo, FOS, Voir Gallery, Minoshe, Lazo Diamond, City Time

Books & Stationery – Popular

Food & Beverage – Sushi Tei, Dave’s Deli, Kenny Rogers Roasters, Chicken Rice Shop, Marrybrown, Subway, Starbucks Coffee, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Shihlin Taiwan Street Snack, Kopitiam Avenue, Llaollao

Services – Pahlawan Money Changer, Rosemary Floral & Gift, Imax Internet Cafe

Convenience Store – Qbiz

Grocery Store – Jaya Grocer

Breakfast @ The TIFFIN

TIFFIN offers a relaxed ambience where guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Known for its popular Nasi Lemak and Roti Canai, it is no surprising that TIFFIN is a favourite among the hotel guests.

A hearty breakfast!

Take a Dip in the Pool!

Where kids would go crazy over this huge infinity pool. Your vacation would not be completed without dipping into the refreshing water.

No matter whether it is day or night, the pool offers beautiful panoramic view of the town of Ipoh.

How about chilling out here in an al fresco dining concept at the Cabana?

The Rooftop Gastro Bar Restaurant

The Deck Gastrobar is a rooftop bar at WEIL Hotel.

Situated at level 13, we can choose al fresco dining or chill out here. On the weekends, this place will come with a live band to keep guests entertained! They have also introduced the Live@The Deck serie, which highlights entertainment by live bands on Thursday & Friday and DJs from KL on Saturdays.

How true is that!

Yuk Sou Hin – A Favorite for Locals & Tourists Alike

We were recommended to the food at Yuk Sou Hin, a pork free Chinese restaurant, where we could also experience the authentic dishes of Ipoh. Their signature Smoked Duck with lychee wood is a must-try dish 🙂

Food lovers, especially Malays who enjoy Chinese food, will definitely love this.

When it comes to a delicious Chinese cuisine and dim sum, Yuk Sou Hin certainly delivers one of the best authentic dishes in Ipoh. We had dim sum breakfast here and these orders relished our mouthful of happiness!

Yoga @ The Lawn

To engage the guests, the hotel also held Community Yoga Session at its rooftop area – The Lawn.

The busyness of life can cause a ton of anxiety and take a toll on your health, and yoga can be the  perfect workout for loosening up and destressing. The participants were up here early in the morning working out and practicing their moves.

Nearby Attractions

An accommodation like no other, WEIL Hotel is located close to many attractions which you can read in Ipoh Travelogue here.

Concubine Lane, where we experience the charm of Ipoh old town.

Kong Heng Square, where hipster cafes and boutique shops gave modern trendy feel to the surroundings.

Tong Sui Kai (Dessert Street), where it becomes one of the most happening places in Ipoh when the sun sets.

Memory Lane, where it is the best place to go to for rare and secondhand items at reasonable prices.

Kelle’s Castle, where it offers one of the most instagram-worthy spots in Ipoh!

The next time you’re in Ipoh, be sure that WEIL Hotel will make your stay memorable in every possible ways!

WEIL Hotel

Website / Bookings: http://www.weilhotel.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/weilhotel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/weilhotel/

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Coffee, Concubine Lane, Eat, Education, Food, Ipoh, Malaysia, The Idea Box, Thean Chun, Vacation

Ipoh Travelogue – (Part 4): Coffeeshops, Street Food and Sights

Walking around Ipoh and can’t help but fall in love with these buildings and street scene. Nevermind about some of the charming but yet crumbling architecture; they only seemed to add to the allure.

Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong, a name synonymous among the locals, where a cup of white coffee and wanton mee would fill your soul. Located next to it is Kedai Kopi Sun Yuan Foong which offers one of the best chee cheong fun in town.

Many came and testified that Restoran Ipoh Kong Heng 怡保光興茶室 serves one of the best popiah, Kai si Hor fun and egg custard in town.

It is common to find Thean Chun being packed with customers throughout the day. From shredded chicken meat with hor fun, thick beans sprouts, caramel custard to chee cheong fun, everyone will be spoiled for choices.

If you find comfort in a bowl of sumptuous pork noodles, be sure to try Restoran CY Noodle, a corner shop at 26-9, Jalan Theatre, Ipoh.

Touted as one of the top 10 must-try confectionery shops in Ipoh, Biskut Lam Fong 南方饼家 freshly served Tambon cake, horseshoe cake, salty danwei, pork lotus cake, glutinous rice cake, and other varieties of biscuits.

For a moment, one wondered whether is this still a coffeeshop?

A traditional convenience store still plying its trade in the wake of online shopping.

Located next to Concubine Lane is the 90’s Classic, a local barbershop!

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

 

Okinawa, Travel, Traveler Wifi, Vacation, Wifi Router

Overseas Wifi Router with Traveler Wifi

Travelling with a wifi router has made traveling much more pleasant. After using Traveler Wifi for the first time during our previous trip, we decided to rent it again for travel to Okinawa.

Connectivity is important and this companion has become a must-bring item for every trip.

 Traveler Wifi offers secured global coverage which support 4G networks. Plug-and-play is the way to go and it is hassle free.

And it accompanied us to every part of Okinawa. From our Mercure Okinawa Naha.

To Okinawa Fruits Land.

To Cape Maeda.

 

To where few tourists would explore in Todoroki Waterfall.

To attending make-your-own-ice cream workshop at the Blue Seal Ice Park.

To explore whimsical cafes at Stateside Town.

Traveler Wifi

Website /  Bookinghttp://traveler-wifi.com/cms

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/travelerwifi/

Service Locations: http://traveler-wifi.com/cms/service-locations

Call for Enquiries –

(65) 94877330 (General Enquiry) – [Mon-Fri : 9am – 6pm]

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.