China, Food, Growing Up, Harbin, Harbin Flood Control Memorial Tower 哈尔滨防洪纪念塔, Harbin Polar Land, Katong Kids Inc, Photography, Siberian Tiger Park, The Idea Box

Harbin Family Travel – What to do in Winter?

Our visit to Harbin, the renowned ‘Ice City’, located in the south of Heilongjiang Province. This city is favored with beautiful natural scenery and re-living the fond memories of our stay with little ones.

We tried the northeastern Chinese dish, otherwise known as Tie Guo Dun 铁锅顿 at Zhongyang Pedestian Street.

The ingredients of the stew are simmered to its best in this deep metal pot.

It will take a while but the finished product is rewarding.

Tasty!

Zhongyang Pedestrian Street is about 1.5km long and is always filled with festive atmosphere all year round. This is the main street where tourists would never fail to check off their bucket list.

Harbin means snow, and abundance of it!

Everywhere is considered a playground for the kids!

Street food at its best. Don’t forget to try the red sausage (hong chang), bingtang hulu (fruits on a stick, covered in toffee), and the ice cream which never melt during winter.

Zhaolin Park is located at the bank of Songhua River. In winter, the park becomes a silver world with ice and snow. As can see, the Songhua River is frozen.

Skiing in Harbin, one of the fun activities to do.

Harbin cuisine..

The Sun Island Scenic Area lies on the north bank of the Songhua River in Harbin City, where Harbin Ice and Snow Festival takes place every Jan to Mar.

Harbin Polarland is the first polar land themed park combining animal shows, polar land sights and an interactive experience into one.

Siberian Tiger Park is a big-must to visit attraction. The park is really huge where it consists of young tiger area, the mature tiger area, the king tiger area, a walking area and a platform for viewing the tigers.

Buying live prey to feed the tigers. Watching from the bus.

Keep snowing away..

The sight was surreal.

The average night temperature is -20°C and the kids were just loving it. What a rare opportunity to be soaked in such weather.

We blogged our Harbin trip here.

Harbin 哈尔滨 Travelogue – (Part 1): Holiday Inn Harbin City Centre, Zhongyang Dajie 中央大街, Euro Plaza, Mykal Mall and Saint Sophia Cathedral 圣索菲亚教堂

 

Harbin 哈尔滨 Travelogue – (Part 2): Jiuzhan Park 九站公园, Stalin Park 斯大林公园, Sun Island  (Tai Yang Dao) 太阳岛, Harbin Polar Land, Siberian Tiger Park 哈尔滨东北虎林园, Harbin Flood Control Memorial Tower 哈尔滨防洪纪念塔 and Zhongyang Dajie 中央大街

 

Harbin 哈尔滨 Travelogue – (Part 3): Russian Town, Harbin 哈尔滨植物園, Ji Le Temple 极乐寺, Confucius Temple 哈尔滨文庙 and Teresa Teng Music Restaurant

 

Harbin 哈尔滨 Travelogue – (Part 3): Scoot Off to The Wintriest Harbin with Kids!

 

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.

 

 

 

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Cape Chinen, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Education, Food, Japan, Okinawa World

Okinawa Travelogue – (Part 4): Cape Chinen, Okinawa World, Gyokusendo Cave and Lieta Nakayama

Okinawa is famous for its capes. We drove up to explore Cape Chinen, a well-known beauty spot in Okinawa which is located in the southern area of the main island of Okinawa.

Passed by lovely little villages.

Cape Chinen

Common to find free parking.

It can get very windy when visiting outdoor attractions in Okinawa.

Visitors can choose to walk further up to enjoy the beauty of nature.

It started to drizzle again and we decided to stay under the shelter.

Make a stop at Cape Chinen Park and observe panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. When comes to the night, it makes a clear spot for stargazing.

Okinawa World

Okinawa World (おきなわワールド) is a touristy theme park about Okinawan culture. The park’s main attractions are a massive natural cave, a craft village and a snake museum.

Okinawa World consists of Kingdom Village, Habu Park and Gyokusendo Cave. Expect to spend about 3 hours to discover the entire attractions.

Much attention was given to the Gyokusendo Cave as we arrived rather late. With a length of about 5km, this is the longest of the many caves in the south of Okinawa Island and the second longest cave in the entire country.

The cave is well-lit and cooling.

A natural museum beautifully carved over 300,000 years. Ceiling of the spears.

The blue fountain.

Within Okinawa World, we also explored the Kingdom Village and tropical orchards.

There are some 450 tropical trees that bear 100 types of fruits like mango, papaya, pineapple and such.

At the Craft Village, take a look on how the locals recycle empty bottles and transform them into charming Ryukyuan glass.

Walk a further in and we saw the Ryukyuan photo museum. Photo-taking in traditional clothing is popular among tourists. Recall that in the past, only royalty and the gentry wore them.

They loved it!

Lastly, the Nanto Brewery opened our eyes to see how they made habu snake liquor.

We had our dinner at the Food Market..

To stroll the tempting displays of food selection is to embrace Okinawa’s food culture.

We really like the way shopping malls put up these cooked food for customers to buy. The best part was the reasonable prices as one can see.

A microwave oven is placed near the cashier for us to warm up the food.

And this was how we settled our hunger pangs.

You need to pay toll fees when driving through Okinawa expressway. In fact, it cost more paying toll fees than petrol during the trip.

How not to make a pit stop when A&W appears.

Big and Small M are fans of American food!

We moved to our second hotel stay at Leita Nakayama. We booked this hotel as it is near to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and not expensive.

It was a pleasant surprise that the hotel room was really big and we didn’t realise.

It comes with 2 bathrooms, 2 toilets, 1 bedroom with 2 beds and a living room. Washing machine, dryer, fridge, microwave oven and cutlery are provided.

This is the beautiful view from the hotel’s balcony.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.