Bali Travelogue – (Part 2): Turtle Island, Water Blow, Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Ubud Art Market, Tegenungan Waterfall, Beachwalk Shopping Center and Transmart Carrefour

We woke up early for breakfast the next morning. The night before, we managed to find a driver from Carousell who arrived at 10am to pick us up at Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa.

Turtle Island Bali Tanjung Benoa Tour

It is important to do your research before arriving to a country so that the trip will be fruitful. There were some attractions we would like to cover and some which did not appeal to us.

We were yearning to participate in baby turtle release programme. Kuta Beach Sea Turtle Center program aims to protect sea turtle eggs and increase hatching rates.You can join in the baby turtle release and release your own baby turtle into the ocean.

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Image Credit: Bali Sea Turtle Society (BSTS)

However the season of turtle release had just ended and we thought the other alternative was to visit the Turtle Island which was at Tanjung Benoa, about 5 km from our hotel.

After some negotiation of ticket prices, we boarded onto the glass bottom boat and made our way to Turtle Island.

We were wondering what was the purpose of the glass bottom when the speed boat was moving so fast and making it near impossible to see any marine life from here.

With a packet of bread given by the tour guide, we realised it was fish feeding time when the boat came to a halt in the middle of the sea.

What a beautiful sight! Schools of fish gathered near our boat and started snapping the bread crumbs hungrily.

A small infinity pool greeted us when we arrived at the Turtle Island.

A local guide at the Turtle Island brought us along the place to explore. This was our first stop. Tourists crowded around 2 big turtles and hauled them up to take pictures. Both turtles hardly had any time to rest before another group of tourists surrounded and picked them up for more photo-taking.
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Turtle conservation area where baby turtles were housed.

Small M’s first experience holding a real turtle.

This big turtle was residing by itself in a bigger pool where it was left untouched by visitors. We guessed we could be paying more and that was the reason why we were allowed to carry it.

Turtle Island, in fact housed several other creatures such as these…

We thought Turtle Island experience was just so-so. Not strongly recommended to visit. But still, we wanted to come as it was near to our hotel.

Address: Tanjung Benoa, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia

Water Blow in Nusa Dua

It was an amazing sight watching Water Blow from Youtube. Water Blow in Nusa Dua is basically large waves from the Indian Ocean constantly crash against the jagged limestone edges on the peninsula’s south-eastern cliff.

Entrance to this place is free.

An important thing to take note. It would be advisable to visit here when the tide is high. We came during low tide and it was a pity that we couldn’t witness the majestic effect of the large waves.

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http://www.gustibali.com

The Water Blow site was scenic and picturesque. Feel the breeze and pause to admire the beautiful sea views.

Video Credit – ClipClick

Address: Semenanjung Nusa DuaNusa Dua, Bali 80517Indonesia

Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud

Up next, we travelled up north to Ubud to visit a must-see attraction in Bali – Tegallalang Rice Terraces. The distance was about 40 km  but the ride took us about 2 1/2 hr to reach.

We took some interesting pictures along the way.

Tegalalang rice terrace opening hours are 07.00 am to 18.00 pm. It was raining when we arrived and we had to walk about 15 mins from the carpark to the rice terraces. The entrance fee is IDR 10.000/pax.

We were really impressed when the first sight of rice terraces beckoned us. Tourists were eager to catch the beautiful views although it was raining. If not for the rain we would have venture down to walk in the rice terraces.

Cafes sprouting in the vicinity to offer some of the best view of the rice terraces for tourists.

There were many shops along Tegalalang selling varieties of handicrafts, souvenirs and paintings.

We stopped by at this restaurant to have our lunch which also gave a panoramic view of the rice terraces while dining.

Some simple dishes for our lunch.

Getting up close to the rice terraces was one of our best experience so far in Bali. It was that surreal and brought a calming and therapeutic effect on us.

Our driver brought us to a nearby padi field where the farmers were harvesting the crops. This was an educational experience for Big and Small M which was important lessons as part of travelling.

The ducks were excited at the sight of water.

Many of them were swimming happily in the water.

Address: Jalan Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80561, Indonesia

Ubud Art Market

Next we stopped by briefly at the Ubud Art Market where you can find hand-craft goods, handmade woven bags, clothings and accessories. We did not venture inside as it was raining.

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Image Credit – http://www.bali-indonesia.com/ubud/ubud-art-market.htm

Address: Jalan Raya Ubud No.35, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Tegenungan Waterfall

Our itinerary brought us to the Tegenungan Waterfall where we needed to pay IDR 15.000 per pax as entrance fee.

The footpath towards the waterfall was lined with street vendors who were eager to get your attention to patronise with them.

There are 2 ways to experience the waterfall – either to view from here or make the effort to climb up and down 172 stairs. We chose the former.

Bumbu Asli restaurant in Tegenungan waterfall.

Address: Jalan Ir. Sutami, Kemenuh, Sukawati, Kemenuh, Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80581, Indonesia

Beachwalk Shopping Center

We spent a lot of time on the road in Bali and we were pleasantly surprised we managed to cover quite a number of places within a day. Our next stop was visiting Beachwalk Shopping Center.

Beachwalk Shopping Center is fairly new and huge. We felt it was a nice mall to explore and dine, especially at the food court.

We had our dinner at Kafe Betawi.

Trying out Bali local delicacies.

The food court had many selections. Prices were akin to that in Singapore though.

The food looked so tempting that we had to try them.

Address: Jalan Pantai Kuta, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

Transmart Carrefour

We even managed to squeeze in one last stop at Transmart Carrefour before returning to the hotel.

A mini foodcourt at the second level.

Authentic Thai tea In Indonesia!

If we were any fans of shopping, fruits would probably be one of the choices. We enjoyed discovering fruits which were not easily found over in Singapore. One such find was getting BIG dragon fruits over here.

Address: Sunset Road Building Lantai 3, Jl. Sunset Road, Kuta, Pemogan, Denpasar Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80221, Indonesia

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Bali Travelogue – (Part 1): Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa, Bali Collection and Discovery Shopping Mall

This was our first family trip to Bali which is one of more than 17,000 islands in the Indonesian archipelago and is located just over 2 km from the eastern tip of the island of Java and west of the island of Lombok. The island is currently home to about 4 million people.

We hopped onto an early flight and arrived early at Denpasar International Airport.

Upon checking out, we headed straight to get a SIM card at the airport which we strongly recommended against if you are intending to get one. It cost about SGD$35 for just a basic plan and we only realised the exorbitant price (in SGD) after making the payment. It would be better off purchasing one from trustworthy online travel sites.

To minimise any hassle of finding transportation to the hotel, we decided to book airport transfer before arriving here. It was a breeze as our friendly chauffeur from Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa were already right at the airport arrival hall awaiting for us.

Did we say the drive from airport to the hotel only takes 20 mins? You can find out everything about this family-friendly hotel in the previous blog here.

AddressJl. Pratama No.86, Benoa, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

+62 361 894 7888

Bali Collection (Nusa Dua Shopping)

Our hotel offers shuttle services to Bali Collection which is a shopping, dining and entertainment complex located in Nusa Dua. This is a touristy mall featuring international and luxury fashion brands to traditional handicraft and souvenir outlets catering to the guests from nearby five-star hotels.

We did not purchase any items or dine here as it was pretty pricey. Nonetheless, we thought it was worthwhile to explore this mall within less than 30 mins.

Ole Ole restaurant, one of the various dining options at the complex.

Bali Collection opens daily from 10am to 10pm. Guests staying at one of the hotels in the Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa areas can take a free shuttle bus (from opening time to around 9pm) service.

AddressITDC area, Nusa Dua, Kuta Selatan, Benoa, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80363, Indonesia

Discovery Shopping Mall

Getting a Grab car is possible in Bali but it does come with a hassle as it is not welcome among the community of taxi drivers. We managed to get into a taxi after negotiating a reasonable price with the driver. We learnt that travelling on Bali road wasn’t that straight-forward. Due to the fact that the roads were really narrow and coupled with heavy traffic, a ride could take us 40 mins instead of 20 mins even if Google map told us the distance apart was only 14 km.

Along our way, we noticed a little girl (on the right of the picture), all alone, peddling a couple of small items 😦

Next, we visited the Discovery Shopping Mall which was located along Kartika Plaza Street, Kuta. Visitors coming to Bali would almost definitely explore Kuta during their stay.

Truth be told – Discovery Shopping Mall is not new and looks dated to us. However, it is one of the largest shopping malls in Bali and the second largest shopping hub in Kuta after the newer Kuta Beachwalk.

This large three-storey mall houses some of the popular lifestyle and familiar F&B outlets such as KFC, Cold Stone Creamery ice cream, Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut.

A visit to Bali is not completed without trying their local dishes.

Here were the dishes we ordered.

Finally tried the crispy duck, one of Bali’s most popular dishes which we were craving for. The meat was tender and skin was crispy. Coupled with Bali sambal, our dinner was full and hearty!

That’s all for Day 1 where we were exhausted by the time we returned to the hotel after a day of activities. More than just shopping, stay tune on our journey in this Island of the Gods which offers some of the most natural sites to explore and yes, they are picturesque as well.

Opening Hours: Sun – Thu 10:00 – 22:00, Fri – Sat 10:00 – 22.30

Address: Jalan Kartika Plaza, Kuta

How to get there: Jalan Kartika Plaza, opposite the Waterbom Bali and beside the Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel.

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Fun with Kids – Our Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa Experience

Our flight to Bali might be a first-time experience but little did we realised there were so much fun we experienced there. As the school holidays beckoned, the kids were yearning for a break in a nearby country that they could travel less and enjoy more.

When it comes to scouting on the best family resorts in Bali that have it all in accommodation, entertainment for the whole family, well-equipped kids’ club, refreshing swimming pools and delectable food to indulge in, Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa could very well be the answer to your family needs.

We arrived early at Denpasar International Airport and apart from being greeted by the lush surroundings and beautiful building structures, our chauffeur was already right at the entrance waiting for us with juices and cold towels to freshen us up. All thanks to Bali Mandara Toll Road, the drive from the airport to the hotel only took us 20 mins.

Along the way, our friendly chauffeur took time to answer all our queries and introduced attractions which were worthy-to-visit.

The Lobby – Where You Find Cosiness & Space

The lobby of Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa was expansive and came with innovative designs. Sunlight radiated the open lobby and huge round sofas with colorful fabrics beckoned visitors to chill out at all time of the day.

We stepped into the hotel lobby which was designed with unique natural elements and that certainly helped to set the tone for the rest of our hotel experience.

There was no lack of seating places at the lobby area.

Where entertainment meets relaxation – pool games, table soccer, dart boards and such seek to keep us occupied.

Big and Small M were given welcome gift packs upon checking into the hotel.

Tanjung Family Adventure Suite

We done our research that this is a family-friendly hotel before we came. Our abode was the Tanjung Family Adventure Suite that came with a whopping 81sqm of space. There were 2 spacious rooms  – a parents’ room with our favourite contemporary decor and a colourful, themed kid’s room with twin beds and hey, with PS4 in the room, Big & Small M were literally glued to the screen!

Our big and comfortable king-sized bed.

We were pleasantly surprised that our suite came with a total of not just 2 but 3 TVs – 1 in parents’ room, 1 in living room and 1 in kids’ room. Complimentary wifi is available throughout the hotel (even at swimming pool area) which was crucial factor for us.

The bathroom and wardrobe are inter-connected and moderately sized. Though it did not come with a bathtub, the rainfall shower certainly made up for it.

Lovely balcony with backdoor seating over-looking the sparkling waterfront of Tanjung Benoa Beach where we get to catch sunrise and sunset without leaving the hotel.

The swimming pools were built near to the beach. Guests could just step out of the pools and walk onto the beach.

From our balcony, we could see the beach activities and sea sports in action.

Spacious lounge area with sofa seating leading to the kids’ room.

Mini-fridge and tea/coffee-making facilities corner.

Kids’ room for Big & Small M to experience. It comes with PS4 gaming console.

The bathroom came with bathtub. Neatly placed beside the sink were toiletries, toothbrush and toothpaste.

Take a Dip in the Pool!

A vacation couldn’t be completed without taking a dip in the swimming pools. Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa has a total of 4 swimming pools – shaded atrium pool with outdoor Jacuzzi, a fun kid’s pool with a slide and fountains, a pool with a swim-up bar and an infinity pool with plenty of sun loungers.

Here we were having a game of volleyball and making friends from other countries.

Big and Small M do not have special request. Just having great fun in the pool instead of shopping would be something they really enjoy. Their expressions represented a thousand words!

The special kid’s pool was equipped with a waterslide, fountains to play in and super-sized tipping water buckets.

Shaded atrium pool with outdoor Jacuzzi where we could rest and sip on refreshing beverages.

Stepped out onto the beach where you could experience watersports, seashell picking and playing with frisbee.

Kids Club

The Kids’ Club is open from 9am to 5pm and 6pm to 9pm daily. The staff were experienced and attentive to the needs of the children. With CCTV monitoring and locked door, parents would feel safe leaving their kiddos inside while they enjoy other activities.

The amenities included a slide, climbing wall, costumes, arts and crafts, and lots of toys to play with. There’s a computer zone, a ball pit, and a photo booth with playful props so kids have a fun memento to take home.

Click here to view the Kids Club daily activities.

Breakfast @ Pasar Market Cafe

We had our breakfast (between 6:30am to 10:30am) at the Pasar Market Cafe where we could choose either indoor or outdoor seating. The hotel offers an international array of food, serving up sumptuous buffet breakfasts with live cooking stations and a great selection of fruits, pastries, juices, cereals and hot dishes.

Quite a handful of selections so we will let the pictures do the talking 🙂

The air-conditioned indoor dining area.

We loved the little touch from the hotel as well. The staff would know our names (even though we did not mention which table we were at) and approached us to know how was our stay and asking if they could help in anyway.

Family Bonding Activities

How about some family bonding time? We know there are so many activities to do in Bali and one trip may not be enough. But over in Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa, the kids and family activities had us fully engaged that we just want to spend more time here.

Hey, we had our first attempt at Balinese Cooking Class where we made different dishes! We hope we did well though.

Soup Calon Ikan (fishball in seafood booth).

Sate Lilit Ayam (Balinese seasoning minced chicken in satay, served with mix vegetable urab and steamed rice).

Dadar Gulung (Fragrant grated coconut in palm sugar, wrap with glutinuous flour crepes).

Fruit craving activities where we learnt how to cut watermelons into beautiful designs.

Tea Tree Spa treatment.

Our short stay was nothing short of amazing – all credit to the warm and friendly hotel staff and activites that made our hearts full!

Thank you Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa for your warm hospitality and making our stay memorable in every possible ways. Stay tune for upcoming blog posts on our journey to Bali which give you more reasons why you should visit this island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs.

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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.

Choosing Our Favourite Flavours from Emicakes this Christmas {Log Cakes Giveaway!}

Christmas is just around the corner and while everyone has their favourite ways of celebrating the occasion, what we can’t do without is to treat ourselves to the signature flavours of Christmas cakes from Emicakes.

Celebrating its 25th year of presence in Singapore, Emicakes has several flavours of Christmas cakes to choose from with inviting layers of cream that aren’t too cloying. For the health conscious, Emicakes now offers “eggless” alternatives to almost all regular cakes. Without sacrificing the quality and premium taste of the cakes, these guilt-free eggless cakes are up to 85% lower in cholesterol compared to regular cakes, which makes these treats the “healthier choice.” The Christmas offerings are not only beautiful that you would fall in love with them at first sight, but also tastefully crafted.

Mini Yam Logcake (Real yam blended with cream cheese swirled into soft and fluffy vanilla chiffon).

Winter Frost (Premium D24) – 15% off until 20 December 2017 only.

Tiramisu Wonderland (Emicakes’ popular logcake with vanilla chiffon soaked in coffee with smooth cream cheese)

Need a sweet treat to quell your rumbling tummy? Delight yourself with this 20-cm Choco Truffle Cake that is light, moist and appealing 🙂

Customised your round cake with these designs here – Floral Blush, Floral Swirls, Lavender Dream, Pastel Flourish, Pink Glow, Rosette Garland, Rosey Delight, Rosey Posey, Tiffany Blooms and more!

Hey, we had a hard time debating which cake to partake, satisfying and not too sinful. When planning your Christmas celebration, do try out Emicakes!

GIVEAWAY!

Special thanks to Emicakes, they are giving 2 winners with a small log cake each of either Truffle SparklePure AddictionTiramisu Wonderland or D24 Cheer.

All you need to do is:

  1. Follow the Facebook at Emicakes & Katong Kids Inc
  2. Share this blog post of the giveaway on your Facebook and set it to public.

Terms & Conditions:
1. The winner will walk away with a mini log cake of either Truffle Sparkle, Pure Addiction,  Tiramisu Wonderland or D24 Cheer flavor.

2. The winner must be agreeable to provide his/her contact details to Katong Kids Inc.
3. Judges’ decision is final. Closing date: 13 Dec 2017.

MyTaiwanTour: Taipei Culinary Experience

Bitten by the travel bug and can’t wait to explore Taiwan? Every visitor personal interests may differ but when planning your itinerary, MyTaiwanTour offers custom curated journey that is bound to make your trip even more enjoyable.

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Determined to bring to the best of 台湾小吃 from the ever popular Taiwanese night markets, Taiwan Culinary Experience tour aims to bring you the full sights, sounds, fragrances and flavors of Taiwanese cuisine.

Image may contain: textYou will get to start at a historical market where to sample various traditional Chinese delicacies before heading over to Taipei’s undisputed gourmet ghetto, Yongkang street and the surrounding alleys. With an experience guide providing valuable tasty tips around the neighbourhoods, visitors get to sample several dishes in some famous restaurants.

They will be sure and save enough room for the movable feast’s ultimate destination, a guided tour of the world famous Ningxia night market, where you will sample a variety of dishes prepared by some of the city’s top street chefs.

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The Taipei Culinary Experience is fairly omnivorous, but with advanced notice we can customize the tour to accommodate specific dietary needs. To learn about more MyTaiwanTour’s Taipei Culinary Experience, click here.

ITINERARY

  • transportation

    16:30 Meet your guide at MRT CKS Memorial Hall Station Exit. 2

  • transportation

    16:40 Taiwanese traditional market

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    17:20 Explore Yongkang Street

  • transportation

    19:00 Night Market Experience

  • transportation

    20:00 Drop off at MRT Shuanglian or Zhongshan Station

    Inclusions

    • A professional English speaking tour guide
    • Food and beverages
    • Goody bag with a bottle of water and surprise gifts

Planning a trip to beautiful Taiwan soon? Click here and here to read our blog on 10 tips before visiting Taiwan.

Like our Facebook Page here to get the latest updates of our adventures!
Disclosure: 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.

POSB Smart Buddy – FREE Watch with E-Payment for Schools and Selected Merchants

The POSB Smart Buddy programme / 储蓄银行智能伙伴计划 was launched in in 19 primary schools in August. This ground-breaking programme uses wearable tech (a free watch) to teach students how to save and spend wisely by helping them track their savings and spending habits digitally.

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Image Credit: POSB Smart Buddy

What makes POSB Smart Buddy watch stands out is the function of e-payment. The watch helps children take an early step towards digital payments and also monitors their activity levels. Parents can in turn remotely pre-set their child’s daily allowance, send them emergency money, and monitor their kids’ spending, savings, eating habits and activity levels – all with an accompanying app.

The programme further creates a digital payments ecosystem within the school where the school’s canteens and bookstores are set up with digital payment terminals. Students can simply tap and pay with their free POSB Smart Buddy watches.

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Image Credit: POSB Smart Buddy

During the demo session, we were given a first-hand experience to set up the Smart Buddy watch and made purchase on the spot.

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The steps to purchase were straightforward – basically, you would just select your orders and click “Pay Now” at the terminal.

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Tap your Smart Buddy watch over the Nets machine and balance will be deducted.

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Parents can monitor their kids’ expenditure from the app, anytime and anywhere!

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You can also use your Smart Buddy watch at any of these merchants.

Look out for the NETS contactless symbol when you pay.

Paired with a mobile app, you can instantly allocate allowances, check on savings or spending, and be informed of your child’s whereabouts with the bus tracker and in-school locator feature. Most of all, you get to do them all while on the go.

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For more information on POSB Smart Buddy or requesting your child’s school (if they are not yet on board) to adopt this programme, click here.

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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.

 

The Changi Village Story: Eat, Play and Explore

Tucked away at the far eastern coast of Singapore is a small and yet well-known neighbourhood by name of Changi Village. Those who love photography, cycling and sight seeing would inevitably hop into a bumboat and head to Pulau Ubin. Even if you are not “that” adventurous, Changi Village can also offer you as the ultimate destination to experience some of the best-kept treasures in Singapore.

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Just the mention of Changi Village Hawker Centre would remind everyone of some of the popular Nasi Lemak stalls there. Personally, I feel that the Nasi Lemak tastes largely the same and I have no preference of any particular stall to patronize.

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If you get to travel to this far eastern side of the country, remember to come with an empty stomach. The lure of irresistible Nasi Lemak – rice cooked in coconut milk, mixed with some slices of cucumber, fried ikan bilis and peanuts, fried egg and chicken wing or drumstick and lastly, smeared with delicious sambal is sure to win everyone’s heart.

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You can call this place super ulu but it is not going to stop hip cafes and eateries from opening here. Chocolate Origin specializes in chocolate cakes and confectionaries. It uses the finest ingredients to get the cakes tasting oh-so delicious, ensuring all goodness when you take a bite.

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Crepes & Puffs is a quaint cafe boasting a wide range of delicious confections for all taste buds. On weekdays, it even attracts loyal customers dressed in their office attire who come for its artistically created crepes, puffs, pastries, cakes and other treats.

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Delicately prepared by Shanghainese chefs, Tang Tea House is famed for the freshness and authenticity of its halal dim sum ranging from chicken pau, har kow, siew mai and steamed chicken dumplings.

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Stepped into the corridors of these blocks you can find traditional shops selling…

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Chap Huay Tiam certainly brings us back to the old school days. Myriad of tidbits, old school biscuits and customized goodie bags for all occasions are what you can find here.

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Photo Credit: chaphuaytiam
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Photo Credit: chaphuaytiam

Not heading to Pulau Ubin? Try renting a bicycle here and explore the vicinity!

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ST Bakery serves a variety of fresh bread and cakes. The prices are reasonable and affordable too.

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Johor Bahru Pau / Tim Sum [新山手工包點]  selling unique assortment of delicious paus which includes black sesame pau, chicken, pork big pau, braised pork pau, Amy Yi’s Jumbo Pau, Sured-Win Jumbo Pau and other dim sum items.

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More shops around the blocks.

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If you are feeling adventurous, take an exploratory trip down at Changi Point Coastal Walk which stretches 2.2km.

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Also referred to as the Changi Boardwalk, you may even catch views of the waters out towards Johor. Last but not least, remember to bring along your insect repellent and sunblock when you are here!

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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.