Golden Gate Bridge, Photography, San Francisco, United States

California Travelogue – (Part 3): Golden Gate Bridge

One of the best highlights of our trip to west coastwas the visit to the Golden Gate Bridge, an iconic structure connecting the city of San Francisco to Marin County, California.

The seafloor features including large sand waves and rock pinnacles.

A stroll down the bridge can get pretty busy and touristy during the day. We just need to be patient to get the perspective shots we need.

And this makes her a really happy girl.

The Golden Gate Bridge is known as the engineering feat and iconic of so many aspects of American culture and history.

We were glad to carve out the time to pay this iconic site a visit. For both, they finally made a mark on this special spot in San Francisco.

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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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!

 

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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.

 

 

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.