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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.

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Ipoh Travelogue – (Part 3): Ming Court Hong Kong Tim Sum (明阁香港点心), Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong, Mural Arts Lane @ Jalan Masjid, Chang Jiang White Coffee (長江白咖啡), Funny Mountain Tau Fu Fah (奇峰豆腐花), Gunung Lang Recreational Park, Cameron Highlands, Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre, Instant Noodles World and Ipoh Bubble Tea Street

An inexpensive way of exploring Ipoh is by way of eating. For some well-establishments, diners need to be there early or else be prepared to wait.

Ming Court Hong Kong Tim Sum (明阁香港点心)

Famed for their dim sum, Ming Court comes to life the moment it is open at 6am. Customers from all walks of life will flock to Ming Court and the crowd within the restaurant will build in no time.

To avoid the crowd, I was already there at 6:05am. The restaurant’s business was so good that you might find homeless people sitting outside for handouts.

It was about 6am and customers were already inside.

Get your dim sum fix here. The restaurant adopted an old school style where waiters would serve classic dim sum selections in aluminium trays.

I noticed the portions were pretty small. Disadvantage it might be, but that meant that I could get to try more dishes before I am full.

Char siew bao.

Authentic Lo Mai Gai (糯米鸡).

Delectable Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Beans, one of my favorite.

Siew Mai (Shrimp and Pork Dumpling). There were 4 pieces but did you notice their size?

Just make sure you need to taste their Muar Chee, steamed glutinous flour dessert wrapped in finely grounded peanuts. It melts in your mouth!

Hearty breakfast! Ming Court Dim Sum restaurant is unmistakably a must-go-to eatery in Ipoh for breakfast.

Address:

36 Jalan Leong Sin Nam | 30300 Ipoh, Malaysia, Ipoh, Malaysia

Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong

Some of the best street food in Ipoh could be found in a coffee shop. Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong serves one of the best Ipoh white coffee that is more aromatic than other places.

Serving the best thick and creamy white coffee since 1937.

One of the best breakfast on earth – toasted bread spreaded with homemade kaya (coconut jam).

The coffee shop operates from 6am to 5pm.

Address:
15A,Jalan Bandar Timah Ipoh, Perak

Street Art in Ipoh – Mural Arts Lane @ Jalan Masjid

Street Art exploration is one of the fun activities in Malaysia. After the last trip to Penang, walking around the streets to be mesmerised by street art was actually fun.

These masterpieces were the brainchild of Eric Lai, a local art teacher. He initiated the street art project after being inspired by Ernest Zacharevic’s art.

It’s about building and celebrating our cultural differences.

Address:

Jalan Masjid, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak, Malaysia

Chang Jiang White Coffee (長江白咖啡)

Chang Jiang White Coffee in Ipoh was the next stop. The Coffee place was opened back in the 70s by the proprietor Mr Kong Wing Kheong.

Ipoh Chang Jiang White Coffee is also one of the Instagram-worthy locations. While retaining their high quality signature coffee, the place had also been refurnished with a rustic charm.

Customers can choose to sit outside or inside, whichever their preference.

Nice atmosphere and great coffee over here. On daily basis, many tourists would stop by here for coffee breaks. When the place is packed (usually in the afternoons), customers will have to take a queue number to wait for their turn.

Pure coffee is known as “white coffee”. The white coffee was thick and creamy. Would recommend to taste their coffee instead as the food were so so.

Address:

7, Jalan Windsor, 30250 Ipoh, Negeri Perak, Malaysia

Funny Mountain Tau Fu Fah (奇峰豆腐花)

The most famous tau fu fah shop in Ipoh is over here. Apart from walk in customers, cars were streaming in by the roadside to make their orders.

Choose to savour the delectable bowl of tau fu fah in your car or slurp it up on the spot. Soft, smooth and refreshing!

The prices are reasonable too.

Address:

49, Jalan Theatre, 30300 Ipoh
10:00am – 7:30pm or until finished. Closed on Tuesdays.

Gunung Lang Recreational Park

Gunung Lang Recreational Park is located off Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (formerly Kuala Kangsar Road). It is developed around a scenic backdrop of limestone hills of Gunung Lang and Gunung Bilike.

To reach there, one must pay RM3 (adult) / RM1.50 (Senior Citizen) for a boat ride from the jetty.

Over here, there are lookout towers, children’s playground, campsite and a mini zoo.

Beware of mozzies whenever you visit a park. Spending an hour here would be sufficient.

Address:

Taman Rekreasi Gunung Lang, Off Jalan Kuala Kangsar, 30010 Ipoh, Perak

Open Time:
Monday to Thursday – 8am – 12noon / 1.30pm – 7pm
Friday – 8am – 12noon / 2.45pm – 4pm
Saturday, Sunday, Public holiday – 8am – 6.30pm

Boat Ride Fees:
Adults – RM3
Children (3 – 12 years old) – RM1.50
Senior citizens (above 55 years old) – RM1.50

Cameron Highlands

If you have a day or two to spare, you can consider exploring Cameron Highlands. A two hour journey by car from Ipoh, Cameron Highlands is the most popular of the highland retreats in Malaysia. Located at almost 2,000 meters at its highest point, it offers visitors cooling climate.

What to do in Cameron Highlands? I explored the Boh Tea Plantation.

The Lavender Garden, floral theme park with a small field of lavender.

Honey bee farm to learn a thing or two about bees and understanding the health benefits of honey.

Strawberry picking where kids will fall in love with it.

Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre

What a way to spend the night exploring the Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre, which is adjoined to the WEIL Hotel.

This is the biggest and striving shopping mall in the entire Ipoh!

Address:

105, Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil Lot G25, Ground Floor, Ipoh Parade, Ipoh, Perak

Ipoh Bubble Tea Street

Ipoh’s Bubble Tea Street is opposite the WEIL Hotel, a short walk away.

A new concept of dining, I tried the Instant Noodles World. Instant Noodles are served in home brewed base soup.

You can choose from the wide selection of instant noodles from all over the world..

Piping hot bowl of noodles will be served to you.

Address:

BLOCK C G-6,
IPOH SOHO 1,
JALAN SULTAN ISKANDAR
30000 IPOH, Perak

Ending our Ipoh trip at Bubble Tea Street, where there are galore of over 10 bubble tea outlets! You will be spoiled for choices.

Even till late into the night, you will never fail to see bubble tea lovers flocking to the outlets to grab their daily dose of…

refreshing bubble tea!

Just simple travel. Click here to follow Katong Kids Inc Facebook Page to stay tune on the next travel post.

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Ipoh Travelogue – (Part 1): WEIL Hotel, Concubine Lane, Ipoh Booth Cart, Thean Chun Coffee Shop (天津茶室), Kong Heng Square, Burps and Giggles, Yum Cha Tea Bar and Tong Sui Kai 糖水街

Think of Malaysia, think of Ipoh. Located within the state of Perak, Ipoh took our breath away and we were just drawn by its slower pace of life as we took a short break away from Singapore.

This trip was so impromptu that we only had a couple of days to come up with the itinerary and we thought the trip went pretty well! In this blog series, we will cover some of the best cuisines in Ipoh, well-preserved historical landmarks and quaint cafes that make you fall in love with this town.

Instead of hopping into a dreaded 8 hours journey by coach, we took the budget airline and arrived at Sultan Azlan Shah Airport after an hour flight.

The airport was relatively small and you would probably be visiting these two booths – Car Rental and Purchase of SIM Card.

I bought a 6GB plan for RM35, which was more than sufficient for a 3-day use.

We rented a MPV which cost about SGD100/day. The car park was just in front of the airport so picking up the car was a breeze.

We would be staying at the WEIL Hotel. Apart from just 6km from the airport, this beautiful hotel is adjoined to the Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre and had so many reasons why visitors should be staying there.

Concubine Lane

Our first stop was exploring the Concubine Lane, which was along Lorong Panglima and is the busiest among the three lanes today with shops and restaurants. As cliche as it may sound, one of the must-do activities in Ipoh is the heritage walk around the old town area.

It was no surprising that the street was packed with tourists since it was a weekend.

Brightly colored umbrellas.

It might sound sinful, but what a shame it would be if a visit to Ipoh was completed without trying some of their unique desserts!

We sampled the Honey Ice Ball (RM5 per ball); an ice ball bigger than the size of a fist shaped with shaved ice then drizzled generously with gula melaka (palm sugar syrup).

Kuma Brand‘s rainbow cheese toast (RM13 per toast) certainly captured our hearts! Brushed with butter on the surface, the bread was being toasted to golden yellow.

The fun part of it? Stretching the cheese to your heart’s delight.

We tried the cold dessert at Tau Fu Fa, which was a great respite from the sweltering heat. To create the traditional atmosphere, long and squatting stools were set up for dine-in customers.

Their bean curd literally melts when you eat it. A must-try dessert shop at Concubine Lane.

Panglima Dua Lima, a charming little cafe housed in an old shophouse serving freshly prepare Ipoh white coffee.

The cafe was coated with attractive interiors. Old wall, wooden furnishing and displays of old school items added a rustic charm to this place.

Address:
30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Ipoh Booth Cart

Situated on the upper floor of the corner shop lot Restoran Sun Yoon Wah was Ipoh Booth Cart. We wouldn’t know of this place (opposite Concubine Lane) if not for the banners placed outside.

This place catered to a few booths or kiosks selling souvenirs and drinks.

Hey, admission is free!

Thean Chun Coffee Shop (天津茶室)

Thean Chun Restoran is highly recommended in the media and they are famous for their “Kai See Hor Fun” aka Chicken Kuey Teow Soup, egg caramel custard, chee cheong fun and satay.

We were very full but capturing pictures is a must!

Address:
73, Jalan Market, Ipoh, 30000,
Ipoh, Perak, 30000, Malaysia

Kong Heng Square

Nestled amidst Ipoh Old Town colonial buildings is Kong Heng Square Artisan Market (KHSAM).

An area rejuvenated with rustic blend of old and new architecture and shady trees, has been given a new “life” with burgeoning local arts, crafts and eateries. It is a hub where passion meets creativity.

I fell in love with photography few years ago and felt that Kong Heng Square actually was a good spot for photo-taking.

Previously a decrepit and abandoned space, Kong Heng Square has been rejuvenated into one of the cool hangouts in town.

Can you believe on top of this building is actually a hotel?

New Star Salon, an old school barbershop that have stood the test of time.

Popular Plan B Cafe, a place for all-day dining.

We heard much about Burps and Giggles and glad that it was conveniently located at Kong Heng Square.

Customers are greeted with great ambience and the cafe is furnished with eclectic decorations.

Don’t miss out their Fish & Chips and red velvet cake.

Yum Cha Tea Bar

The Bubble Tea world is on a rage. We heard that Yum Cha Tea Bar is selling White Rabbit Bubble Tea here.

Tasted but not to my liking..

Should have tried the matcha flavour.

Traditional Tea House / Wood Craft Workshop

As evening beckoned, we chanced upon this interesting tea house as we went to collect our car.

The friendly owner invited us to tour his premises.

Every bit of the interior was lovely and filled with charm.

According to the owner, this place was used to host wood craft workshop and corporate sharing sessions.

Tong Sui Kai 糖水街 or “Dessert Street”

Tong Sui Kai 糖水街 or literally “Dessert Street” is one of local’s famous food spot with many stalls selling local delicacies such as rojak, cockles, noodles and many others.

Chicken Wings at RM2.70 per piece.

Wanton Noodle (Stall 44) at RM10 and Ice Kacang at RM5.

Memories of Ipoh on our first day.

Why not try Ipoh when planning your getaway? I am in love with Malaysia. Looking forward to explore this beautiful country again.

Address:

Jln Sultan Ekram, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak, Malaysia

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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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Jin Yu Man Tang Dessert 金玉满堂甜品 – The Flow @ East Coast

Katong’s little known world of desserts is quietly gaining popularity. Just when you thought the area is all about the famous 328 laksa and Katong throws out a little surprise.

Jin Yu Man Tang Dessert 金玉满堂甜品 which serves up local Chinese, HK, and Taiwan-style desserts is located at The Flow.

As it is facing Hotel Indigo and Holiday Inn Express, it is a convenient place for tourists and locals to check out.

Customers can choose to dine at the second floor.

A cute little swing for photo-taking.

Apart from desserts, Jin Yu Man Tang Dessert 金玉满堂甜品 also serves light food in the likes of snacks and noodles.

Their menu includes:

Snacks 小吃

Noodle

Double Layered Milk Pudding Series (Cold / Hot) 双皮奶系列 (冷/热 可选)

Peach Gum Series (Cold / Hot) 桃胶系列 – 孕妇慎用(冷/热 可选)

Gum Tragacanth Series 雪燕系列 – 孕妇慎用(冷/热 可选)

Fried Custard Series 炒蛋奶 ( 新鲜美味 / 即点即炒)

Sago Milk Series (Cold / Hot) 西米露系列 (冷 热 可选)

Chinese Herbal Jelly Series 龟苓膏系列

Grass Jelly Series 凉粉系列

Taro Ball & Grass Jelly Series 芋圆仙草系列

Mango with Mini Rice Ball Series 芒果小丸子系列

Milk with Clear Jelly Series 牛奶水晶系列

Hot and Cold Desserts Series 糖水系列( 冷 热 可选)

Tea / Drinks Series 茶 / 饮料系列

The Flow

66 East Coast Road 01-03

Singapore 428778

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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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Kallos – (Empowering teen girls to live out their faith in a relevant way): Dinner With Dad

When was the last time you had a relaxed dinner alone with your teen daughter? Come, go on a fun dinner date with your teen daughter.

Kallos’ means beauty in Greek.

1 Sam 16:7

 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

Hope to get hold of this lovely T-shirt soon for Big and Small M, as a reminder that they are beautiful inside.

And that’s all that matters.

Everyone had a taste of the popular Nasi Lemak, served in local buffet style at Old School Delights.

Organised by Kallos, which mission is to help young girls to live out God’s purpose in their lives, I thought this would be a meaningful occasion to have a personal dinner with Big M.

There’s more to life than grade.

Very often, we as parents are guilty of letting grades to define our kids.  It is a timely reminder not to allow our children to define their worth solely in terms of academic achievement.

This simple box of memories.

It is personal, old school, childlike, and will not break the bank. Everyone took a walk down memory lane as we shared stories about our school days.

As fathers, we have been shown the brutal truth of how life operates on in many occasions.

Life can be tough when the rubber meets the road. But each time, we try our best to take the lessons we are being taught, dust ourselves off and stand back up as tall as we can.

Sometimes we have been successful, sometimes we have not been, but isn’t that just a part of life?

What was your biggest reality check when you became a father or daughter?

Jason Wong, founder of the Dads for Life movement, sharing with us on ways to build up our daughters’ self-worth and how to support them during stressful times.

Create regular conversations with them make parents aware of what they are experiencing in school and their lives. This is not just about asking their grades or whether they have done their homework.

When parents create an environment where our children can share his/her successes, failures and anxieties, they will be a step closer to fulfilling their calling.

One memorable sharing by Jason was when he was sharing about his late father. When it came to the end of his life, he would make sure there were two books near to him every day – the bible and photo album.

The bible would draw him closer to God (knowing he would be meeting his Creator soon) while the photo album would bring back beautiful memories of how he had spent his life with his family.

Shiwei Quek, Director of Kallos, shared about the undeniable salience of fathering. The role that a father assume can be trying and challenging.

As father, we learn to celebrate the good days and venting about the tough ones – the throwing up by our little ones, tantrums they are creating, and disapproving of the boys they are going out with, amongst others.

Create happy memories for our daughters, that they will internalise and grow up to be healthy adults who are able to deal with life’s curveballs.

Continue to give them the reassurance, to let them have a sense of self worth.

As daughters, tribute our love for our fathers by way of words and actions. It can even be a simple phone call.

This means even after my father has placed my hand into the groom’s hand and I am no longer staying with my parents.

My best bud.

Affirmation time through writing letters for each other before we closed with prayers.

Kallos

Websitehttps://www.kallos.com.sg/

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Traditional Nyonya Food – Peranakan Inn @ East Coast Road

The Peranakan Inn Restaurant located at East Coast Road.

Despite being newly renovated, we could still feel the artistic touch and reminiscence of the rich and cultural Peranakan heritage. Diners will be immersed in sophisticated comfort and plush interiors.

 Developed by Chinese-Malay Peranakans, Nyonya cooking is the result of blending Chinese ingredients with various distinct spices and cooking techniques used by the Malay/Indonesian community.

A treasure trove of Nyonya cuisine that you should scribble onto your must-eat list.

This is a beautiful, historic-rich neighbourhood that is widely adored for its colorful rows of Peranakan shophouses. So take your taste buds on a culinary adventure, Peranakan Inn is the place to get your fix.

East Coast Road
Singapore 428909
Tel: 64406195
Open Daily 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm

 

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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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New York Travelogue – (Part 3): The High Line, Chelsea Market, Subway, Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square

This was our final day at New York City. Our main goal was to cover two attractions. Some say The High Line is a must-go attraction and we shouldn’t give it a miss.

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

Saved from demolition by neighborhood residents and the City of New York, the High Line opened in 2009 as a hybrid public space where visitors experience nature, art, and design.

Elevated 30 feet in the air, this former railroad has taken in a form of a beautiful stretch of pathway.  The walk is about a mile and a half in length and takes you from Gansevoort Street up to 34th. We arrived just when the sun was setting and took some beautiful shots.

The Chelsea Market was near to The High Line. An indoor food hall, most of the shops in Chelsea Market were food related.

A suitable place for cafe hoppers also, not to mention there was a variety of shops selling gifts, spirits, groceries and more. The building was formerly used to be a biscuit factory, which was why much of the interior and aesthetic was a reminiscence of its past.

Intrigued to see the Youtube office here..

Not surprising to see the Google’s office here as Manhattan’s Chelsea Market building was bought over by them.

So, that wrapped up our New York vacation. We hope to have more time to visit Pennsylvania and Washington DC. Maybe we will do it next time 🙂

Ending our Big Apple vacation with some memorable pictures.

Definitely not to our liking, we were still figuring out how to take the subway in NYC before we left. Absolutely confusing.

Big M at the vibrant Manhattan’s Chinatown, where when you are in food hunt, you know you will never go wrong with dumplings, pork buns and hand-pulled noodles.

You have all the reasons to walk the famous Brooklyn Bridge. It is likely to be crowded but hey, who cares? We are talking about the epitome of Big Apple.

 Who says you can’t find pockets of spaces to connect with others in one of the most densest cities in the world?

Dazzling with lights all day long, there’s a magnetic pull about Times Square. One of the most visited places in the world with over 360,000 pedestrians daily, we just loathe this place, wondering why Singapore can’t replicate it. This little adventurer was totally mesmerised. The next part of our journey would see us at the west coast of America – California where we would see San Francisco, Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

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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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New York Travelogue – (Part 2): Brooklyn Bridge, Charging Bull, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Washington Square, Times Square and Bryant Park

Our stay in New York City – Club Quarters Hotel at the World Trade Center. Beautiful view of the city’s skyscrapers at the skydeck. The hotel’s snack bar has unlimited flow of canned soft drinks, coffee, nuts and snacks for guests.

The hotel was located near to the 9/11 Memorial and the vicinity was not as congested with human crowds as Times Square. The skydeck overlooking the reflecting pools.

And so we took a 3km walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City. It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning the East River.

Popular pop-up food stalls in New York City.

The kids soaking themselves in the sights and culture on each stop.

Travelling to New York on a budget. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip if you kno whow to avoid paying too much money. Avoid pop up stalls selling simple food we thought it was expensive. Instead of signing up for guided walking tours, we thought it would be better to explore by ourselves using google maps.

At the start of the bridge walk. The bridge is a quite popular tourist attraction the best time to be here is early in the morning so that we can avoid the crowds later in the day.

There was a bike lane at the bridge in which a steady steam of cyclists never fails to utilise that lane. We were blessed that the weather was about 15 degrees else we would be sweating by the time we finished our walk.

This is the best place to catch sunrise and sunset. Photo-taking was a challenge as the crowds began to build. We chanced upon a camera team recording MTV.

Just to note that the pedestrain walk is made of wood. Reality is often different from what you see from social media where tourists dressed in tip-top costumes and high heels just for sake of taking the insta-worthy pictures. Hope the heels did not get stuck! We would suggest to forgo vanity for practicality when walking the Brooklyn Bridge.

Charging Bull, which is sometimes referred to as the Wall Street Bull or the Bowling Green Bull, is a bronze sculpture that stands in Bowling Green in the Financial District in Manhattan, New York City. It is the symbol of the US Stock Market.

The jetty was a short walk from the Charging Bull. With the tickets we purchased from 9/11 Museum, we would be taking ferry to the Liberty Island.

It was freezing cold! Visitors could opt to sit at the balcony or the sheltered basement.

Getting closer to the Statue of Liberty..

It was not a wasted trip. We thought of the possiblity of viewing Statue of Liberty from the mainland but decided to pay a visit to the island. It wasn’t expensive and by getting near here would mean we could take decent pictures.

It was also a perfect place to view the Big Apple from another angle.

To our pleasant surprise, we did not know that our tickets also included a visit to the Ellis Island. The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is located in the Main Building of the former immigration station complex and tells the moving tales of the 12 million immigrants who entered America through the golden door of Ellis Island. Today, the descendants of those immigrants account for almost half of the American people.

We learned about the history of early immigrants. Actually we were not big fans of museums.

Once we returned to the mainland, we hopped onto the subway to Washington Park.

This place was basically an outskirt from the busyness of the city. Not much attractions but it would be a charming place to immerse ourselves with the life of locals.

And we were being interviewed by the college students who were doing a social experiment.

We tried McDonald’s 🙂

Some said NYC is a city of endless possibilities. We were amazed upon reaching Times Square. It was so beautiful!

Located in the heart of New York City, Times Square is home to some of the most famous attractions New York has to offer.

We were just trying to find sweet spots for photo-taking.

Exploring the stores.

Macy’s Herald Square is the flagship of the Macy’s department store chain; it is located on Herald Square in Manhattan, New York City.

Big M got what she has been looking forward to.

Amazon Books located on 34th Street (Manhattan).

The prices were not cheaper than online. In fact they were priced the same.

The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. We did not go up as that would mean paying for expensive tickets.

Located in Midtown Manhattan between 7th and 8th Avenues from 31st to 33rd Streets, the Madison Square Garden is situated atop Pennsylvania Station. If one were to wonder why it is so famous, this is the home ground of the famous New York Knicks.

Up next is the Bryant Park. Surrounded by skyscrappers, Bryant Park is Bryant Park is visited many people each year and is one of the busiest public spaces in NYC.

The ice skating rink would come to life during Christmas. What an atmosphere!

There’s no better place to chill out other than Bryant Park.

Next to the Bryant Park was the Whole Foods Market which offered a full range of high-quality and natural food. It is overlooking the beautiful Bryant Park and the New York Public Library.

At 43,000 square feet, the store has two levels of retail space that will host a full range of high-quality natural and organic goods, as well as the “News Agency,” a coffee and juice bar, which will pay homage to the look and feel of the city’s classic newsstands. Here’s our order. Microwave ovens were provided for diners to warm up their food.

We love the Big Apple!

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New York Travelogue – (Part 1): 9/11 Tribute Museum and Memorial, Manhattan Chinatown and Little Italy

An experience like no other, we took an 8 hour flight and headed to the Big Apple. We were looking forward to bunches of cool attractions at the amazing NYC!

We heard it would cost about $70 to take taxi from JFK International Airport to World Trade Center. It was the peak hour when we arrived and it took us about 1.5 hr just to clear the customs which everyone had to undergo stringent checks. Nonetheless, we opt to take the airtrain.

Strangers to NYC, we were trying to figure out how to buy the airtrain tickets.

Using our Traveler Wifi Router, we googled how to make our way to World Trade Center.

Our stay in New York City – Club Quarters Hotel at the World Trade Center.

This was the Standard Room that we booked which was rather squeezy but we had to manage our expectations as hotel lodging did not come cheap.

One of the most important stops in NYC was none other than the 9/11 Tribute Museum. Before this trip, we had educated Big and Small M on the history of 911 and why it was such a big thing to visit NYC.

The 911 Tribute Museum was near to our hotel and it became our first stop naturally. Visitors could get to experience the events of 911 from artifacts to personal stories. A big plus over here was that we could also purchase ferry tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty.

The Museum offers visitors the ability to learn factual information about the events of 9/11, the unprecedented rescue and recovery operation and the rebuilding of both Lower Manhattan and of people’s lives.

Video clips of the terrorist attacks.

The day when the whole NYC come to a standstill. Many stories were left untold.

Down the streets was the National September 11 Memorial Museum. The Museum occupied about 110,000 square feet of exhibition space, telling the story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, archives, narratives and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts. The ticket prices were $26/Adults and $20/Young Adult. We did not enter though as we thought the exhibits were more or less the same.

The 9/11 Memorial is free of charge and open to the public daily from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Honoring the lives of those who were lost. Occupying eight of the 16 acres at the World Trade Center, the Memorial is a tribute to the past and a place of hope for the future.

The two reflecting pools are the center piece of the 9/11 Memorial’s design, a work titled “Reflecting Absence” by Michael Arad. The pools cover the exact footprints of the original Twin Towers. Each is about an acre in size and together they make the largest man-made waterfall in North America.

The names of every person who died in the terrorist attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001 are inscribed in bronze around the twin memorial pools.

We took a stroll down the streets of New York City.

This was our first day at the Big Apple and we seemed to have lost way.

We spent the evening visiting Manhattan Chinatown. This was the neighbourhood where Chinese immigrants brought their traditions and culture to the lower east side of New York City.

Manhattan Chinatown is a densely populated neighborhood that draws foodies and tourists to its many Chinese and Southeast Asian restaurants for dumplings, pork buns and hand-pulled noodles.

We really loved the peanut dumplings and soya bean milk here that we patronised twice.

Passed by this noodle house and we gave it a try.

Clearly, their noodles wasn’t disappointing. The bone broth soup filled with dumplings. Every dumping was meaty and packed with salty goodness to make it a homey meal in this winter day.

Always remember to include tips when dining in the States.

After our dinner, we headed down to explore Little Italy. Little Italy’s streets are lined with restaurants serving Italian staples on red-and-white checkered tablecloths.

It was pretty small and we covered the place within 15 mins. It was a long day but our hearts were full!

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London Travelogue – (Part 4): Camden Market, Stables Market, Oxford Street, Hamleys and Harrods

When searching for quality markets to visit in London, the name of Camden Market will inevitably appear in the most recommended places to explore. We heard there were few hundred stores here and thought it would be a nice place to have our breakfast in the morning.

We walked about 15 mins from the London Tube to reach Camden Market.

Anything that is colourful and bright will capture the kids’ attention. Camden High Street is lined with shoe stores, leather shops and vintage clothing and vintage vinyl.

Being a tourist attraction, do not expect to find cheap stuff here.

Finally reached the market!

The labyrinth of shops led us to various food vendors.

Craving for Asian food, Thai delicacies were just so yummy.

It didn’t take long before these furry friends were in front of us yearning for little treats. Bad idea to toss some crumbs, only to invite more of them to come.

Next to Camden Market lies the Stables Market. Over here, there were many boutiques and pop up shops.

Venturing into the narrow alleys was fun in itself as we browse through the apparels and home goods.

An interesting spot for photo-taking. We had a hard time waiting for the right moment to take pictures 🙂

The popular Pret A Manger sandwich chain that are scattered all over London. This time trying it and we ended up dining there for at least three times during our stay.

We found ourselves at Oxford Street, a major road in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus. It is the Ochard Road of Singapore and jam-packed with people everywhere we went.

Where you can find the sleek lines of Apple’s products here.

Hamleys is the oldest and largest toy shop in the world and one of the world’s best-known retailers of toys. With Christmas round the corner, they were showcasing all performance to bring in the crowds.

The streets were awashed with buskers singing or playing musical instruments.

Finally we had the opportunity to take a photo here at the main Oxford street.

As night fell, we were treated to a magnificent Christmas lights extravaganza with a dazzling array of fairy lights and decorations. Everyone was soaked in the joyous mood, holiday spirit of London.

London underground station Marble ArchBond Street & Oxford Circus, Central Line, Zone 1
At Oxford Circus station you can also use Bakerloo Line and Victoria Line.

Next, we explored the Harrods. This is a department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London. It is owned by the state of Qatar and no wonder everything here was so, so expensive!

Our favourite section was the food halls on the ground floor which were the most popular departments at Harrods. This is where you can find a wide range of fine delicacies is offered in 4 huge halls.

Although items were way too expensive, the effects of Brexit weren’t felt at all. The mall was filled with so many shoppers that one would not see any spirit of recession.

To get here, look out for London underground station Knightsbridge, Piccadilly Line, Zone 1.

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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.