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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 5): Stevenage and Emirates Stadium

We were greeted with light rain on our final day in London. The sky was cloudy but we were determined to end the day fruitfully.

With most of the main attractions covered, we took it easy today and googled for nearby places to explore.

The rain started to pelt and we took shelter at a train station.

Hopping onto the train with our Oyster cards, we had no idea where to go. Since we were not driving, taking a train ride to see the surroundings might be a good idea.

Thanks to the rain, the weather were freezingly cold and we were loving it!

The train took us into the countryside and we passed by hills, seen cattle grazing and lovely houses.

We were kind of lost and didn’t know where to alight. The train captain was surprised we had no destination in mind and recommended that we visit a little town by the name of Stevenage. Stevenage is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, 28 miles north of London.

Alas, oyster card is not valid here and we had to pay a fine of about $50. The staff was friendly and chatted with us while he prepared tickets for us to exit.

A lovely little town to explore. Maybe not that fantastic for sightseeing but it was an ideal place to buy cheap loots.

Stevenage was pretty much like Bedok neighbourhood where you could find rows of shophouses.

Delicious germany sausages..nice to try in such a cold weather.

Yes, everything’s $1!

A haven for shopping.

The Iceland store. Wait till we see how cheap the items were.

How we wished we were living over here. It’s near impossible to find such prices over in Singapore. These items were not junk qualities either.

At the other end of the town, there were restaurants and a large Cineplex.

Had our dinner here. The chicken looked kind of dry.

We headed back to our Airbnb but before that we suddenly realised our place was near to Emirates Stadium! And so we alighted from the train and followed the signs to Arsenal.

It took about 15 mins to walk from the train stadium. Along the way, we came across houses and they were so beautifully lighted and decorated with Christmas props.

The residents living in these houses were probably the most blessed of all. Just 20m in front of the Emirates Stadium, they could attend EPL match at their convenience every week!

They might not appreciate soccer but it was a worthwhile visit to the famous soccer club.

This capped off our London trip and we booked a Blackberry Car to the airport at 1am. No hidden cost and the driver was professional. The next time we visit London, we will definitely book with them again. Next up, we will travel over 3500 miles or 8 hours of flight time to New York City!

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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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London Travelogue – (Part 2): London Bridge, Borough Market and Tower Bridge

We were on the road for about 17 hours and jet lag made us woke up on and off. Not to mention our Airbnb was next to the main road and we heard at least 7 ambulance or police sirens the whole night, causing us to wonder about the safety of the neighbourhood. Taking a breather before hitting the streets.

A quiet park near our Airbnb. Will remember to collect some dry sycamore leaves back home next time to use as bookmarks.

The florists were getting already for Christmas – unboarding fresh Christmas trees.

London has an efficient bus transportation system where we could use the oyster card to hop on a straight bus to the London Bridge, our first stop of the day. Each trip is based on flat rate of $1.50. The weather was cooling at around 10 degrees but our visit to London was marred by drizzle almost everyday.

London Bridge & Tower Bridge

Both bridges are situated next to each other. A stop here would mean hitting two birds with a stone. To reach London Bridge, you should take the Tube to either London Bridge or Monument Tube Stations. Our bus ride stopped at the London Bridge terminal.

A random pop-up cafe serving brekkie.

London Bridge has actually been replaced numerous times during the history of the crossing. It doesn’t just refer to the current bridge over the River Thames joining the City of London with Southwark, it refers to all of the bridges throughout history that have spanned the Thames in this location.

The weather was erratic and we were praying that it wouldn’t rain today!

Borough Market

Borough Market is diagionally located from the London Bridge. A walk across the junction brought us to this popular market where its layout reflects its rich history, with a warren of passageways and open spaces providing atmosphere and offering shoppers some of the best bites in London.

It would be more convenient to visit Borough Market before Tower Bridge.

From Monday 4th December to the New Year, Borough Market is open seven days a week. For the rest of the year we’re open Monday to Saturday. The Market is located next to London Bridge station, which is serviced by the Jubilee and Northern lines on the London Underground and by mainline trains from all over London and the south of England.

We were surprised that the market was pretty huge. There were so many stalls and we couldn’t help but to pause now and then to try the pastries and local delicacies.

Three Crown Square, the Market’s largest trading area, is devoted to produce, including fruit and veg, meat, fish and cheese, while the spaces around the periphery offer a colourful and eclectic blend of foodstuffs from all over the world.

And so we gave in to temptation, trying out their delectable beef piled on some tasty bread. A delicious treat? Maybe. But we were cautious not to indulge too much, lest we come across other selections.

Surprising cheap finds in UK.

There’s a good argument to head over here for fish and chip. This award winning outlet has been revered for serving classic fish and chip dishes.

Just the way it should be – good, fresh ‘fish and chips food’ done right.

Who says busking is a pursuit of the down and out? This busker challenged the notion as he sang his heart out. A small tip would be well appreciated. Your trip to London will not be complete without a gluttonous trip to Borough Market.

Address: 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, UK

Tower Bridge

The iconic Tower Bridge and River Thames at the backdrop. The sight of the majestic Victorian Gothic style towers made Small M such a happy girl.

There can be no better time than to luck out at Tower Bridge in the chilly, crisp December period. Just as I was meddling with the focus, this friendly seagull hopped right up in front of my lens, clamouring for a shot!

We meandered our way past Tower Bridge and there were quirky cafes serving some of the best all-day English Breakfast with avacado and scrambled eggs on toast.

Often, we remind ourselves that we can feel a pair of sturdy reins in our hands, but at some point the horses dragging us along will scatter. We appreciate what we have while we have it. This is our first trip to London and we are loving it.

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Habitat by Honestbee: Uniquely Shopping and Dining Experience for Family

Just by word of mouth is enough to draw us to explore Habitat at Honestbee. The newly-opened supermart prides itself as a multi-sensory, tech-meets-food grocery and dining experience like no other. See, smell, hear, touch and taste fresh flavours and food items from across the globe – all in one habitat by honestbee.

When we arrived, many curious and eager shoppers were crowding at the entrance, opening or setting up their “Bee Pass” to enter/exit habitat. Yes, first of its kind experience. You do not need to bring any physical wallets and there are no ATMs to be seen as well. Just your “Bee Pass” will do.

Potted plants for sale after entering Habitat.

We read that Habitat occupies the space of slightly larger than a football field. Upon stepping into the compound, we were greeted with so many shoppers (probably their first time).

A long queue was forming at the coconut stall. Amazing, each fresh trimmed coconut was selling for only $0.95! No wonder they are the best sellers. We thought it’s a worthy buy, at least not spending more than $4 on bubble tea.

Big & Small M made a beeline to take a mandatory photo with the friendly bee when it came by.

Exploring the section near the entrance before our hunger pang strikes. According to Honestbee, the produce were sourced directly from farmers and established producers from across the globe.

Cute cup noodles from Korea and Japan.

If you are observant enough, you get to see peoples’ orders are packed quickly and transported by these conveyor belts.

 Dining here is akin to having design thinking, digital marketing and digital awareness coming alive right in front of you.

And so, we had our lunch here. To order our food, we can’t order direct from the stalls. The only way to order is through your Honestbee app under “Habitat”. E-receipt is emailed to you and via the app, you can track your order and receive notification that your food is ready to collect.

Honestly, Habitat wasn’t as big as we thought it was. Probably much of the space was taken up for storage or collection/packing. It would be good if Honestbee can introduce stationery or some electronic items in the future to make the shopping experience more fulfilling.

Finally managed to find seats after waiting for quite a while. This is Little Neck Clams and Bacon.

Milk Made: Frozen shakes & bakes.

Tiger Beer battered fish & chips.

Crumble Vairhona Chocolate.

Poofy Pancakes served with vanilla chantilly cream, maple syrup and fresh berries.

Australia Grass-fed Flank Steak. Served with roasted chat potatoes, roasted plum tomatoes, herb salad.

Cute and shiny utensils. They are actually made of plastic 🙂

We have a soft spot for fresh bakes.

Free tasting at the Lazy Loaf counter.

Exploring the remaining sections. Fresh seafood are a hit with shoppers. The best part was that you can pick your seafood and the masterchef will cook it for you.

While almost everything is automated, we still need human assistance to help us figure out how to complete our purchase.

Scan our order and the trolley will check out and be automatically rolled into the packing area.

In case you are wondering whether you need to “rush” to the collection point after checking out your trolley, there is no need to. You can still dine or shop additional items and when ready, just proceed to the collection point to collect your honest purchase.

At the collection point, served by robot courier!

Shuttle bus is also available between Harbourfront to Habitat at Honestbee.

Address: 34 Boon Leat Terrace S(119866)

Bus: 10, 30, 30E, 51, 143, 175, 176, 188, 188E

MRT: Labrador Park, Pasir Panjang

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Family Friendly Restaurant: Thai-licious Boat Noodles @ Liang Seah Street, Simply Delicious!

Thai cuisines are undeniably one of the best cuisines in the world. Very often, we would think that tasting such heavenly dishes would require us to be whisked off to the Land of Smiles to experience it. Not really.

In fact, it didn’t take too long by word of mouth for us to try out the mouth-watering array of dishes brimming with the exicting flavours of Thailand at Thai-licious Boat Noodles, newly-opened and conveniently located at #01-01, 8 Liang Seah Street.

The ethos at Thai-licious Boat Noodles is all about woking up the best and authentic Thai food in Singapore at reasonable prices to boot.

Free Wi-Fi is a bonus to the ever data-hungry geeks for them to share Instagram worthy pictures of Thai-licious’ dishes to whet your appetite.

Good Old Thai Food

It’s time for our taste buds to fall in love with Thai food. Thai Boat Noodles are notably the restaurant’s core cuisine. We were at a lost on what to order simply because there are too many incredibly good cuisines to choose from! But still, we manage to savour some of their best dishes and just one trip here might not do justice to the allure of this restaurant.

These are our humble orders..

Strong flavoured Thai Boat Noodles (pork/beef) are notably the restaurant’s core cuisine. Served in either small ($1.90) or large bowls ($7.50) and packed with such awesomeness, it would be hard to resist and give it a miss.

Seafood Tom Yum Soup ($12), hot and sour soup base that is aromatic. It comes with fresh mussels, crunchy tiger prawns, thick cuts of fish and squid. We tasted and it was really spicy!

The Braised Pork ($15) brings out the flavour of tender cuts and it is served with blanched bean sprouts and crispy garlic sprinkles. A big favourite by Big & Small M 🙂

The Thai Papaya Salad ($10) comes with a generous portion of shredded ingredients consisting of thick, crunchy unripen papaya shreds, long beans and cherry tomatoes flavoured with the right amount of sweetness and tang.

Phad Thai Wrapped in Omelette ($10.50). Widely recognised as one of the best Thai street food, our insatiable craving for Phad Thai has become the must-try food in the bucket list during our visit to this restaurant. The picture says it all – you will only understand why after tasting a mouthful of Phad Thai, with the sauce flavour, bean sprouts, crunchy prawns and ingredients blending together in such harmony.

Braised Beef Tendon Rice ($8.90), with tender pieces of beef slow-cooked in a flavorful sauce of soy sauce.

Spicing up our evening with galore of these Thai food!

We ordered these desserts which tasted super chewy but not sticky to the teeth. The Thai Mochi ($7) which comes in 3 flavours such as Mango, Thai Milk Tea and Taro, is a treat for the sweet toothed. Expect delightful ice-cream fillings enveloped in a smooth skin of glutinous rice-flour.

Topping up with the ever popular Mango Sticky Rice ($10).

Thai-licious has a rather extensive menu with over 50 items for a small sized eatery, hence customers can return to savour dishes they have yet to try whenever the Thai hankerings kick in. Did we mention that Thai-licious has no 7% GST charge and their dishes are specially prepared by chefs from Thailand? 🙂 

Thai-licious Address & Opening Hours
8 Liang Seah Street, #01-01, Singapore 189029
Mon –Thur: 1100 to 2200
Fri – Sun: 1100 to 2400

Social Media
Facebook: fb.me/thailiciousboatnoodles
Instagram: Thai-licious Boat Noodles

Restaurant & General Inquiries
Email: contactus@thailicious.com.sg
Tel: 69179857

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Why Any Millennial Will Feel At Home In Singapore

Western millennials are having a huge impact on modern life. They aren’t expected to live the same sorts of lives their parents did as the world has become freer and technologically advanced. The major narrative of a generation home ownership. However since the populations of every city in every country have skyrocketed since the 70s and 80s, that is one prospect the younger generation may have to wait for. Thankfully, governments are adapting to this, some quicker than others. This is allowing millennials all kinds of options on where to live but most of all, work. People in their 20s and early 30s are more concerned with living, rather than settling. Their appetite for travel, experiencing new cultures and leading different lives is their driving force. With these things in mind, where could you see yourself living if not for where you are right now? This question is always an odd one to answer, but it you could pack your things up and move to a foreign land, where would you go? If you want a nation that is modern, aspiring, readily invites in young people, where cutting-edge technology plays a huge role, careers are nurtured and developed by employers and there are lots of leisurely things to do, look no further than that faraway city-state of property, Singapore.

Forging Your Own Path

Singapore is the financial gateway into Asia. Its remarkable power to attract businesses, companies, banks and financial firms to it’s small but robust city has long-since been respected by all the major economies. Hence why, although it only has around 5.7 million people and curates around 555 billion in GDP, it has been invited to attend the G20 summits where the heads of government and state, discuss the global economy. So, if you are young, want to be an entrepreneur and start your own business of any kind, want to work in the financial industry, in marketing, sales, technology or tourism, Singapore is ready to welcome you with open arms.

Many companies offer apprenticeships as they wish to keep themselves stocked with the brightest and best talent from all over the world. Rest assured that if you have a degree in business and or some kind of financial discipline such as accounting or investing, then any of the top financial corporations would be your best bet to get a job. By 2020 at least 1/3 of the workforce will be a millennial, which will be staggering since the population of the city-state isn’t that large. This just shows that any young person with the determination to succeed in one of the aforementioned fields, can and should see Singapore as a safe haven where they will be desired by the top recruiters.

A Place To Call Your Own

Moving thousands of miles from home should be worth it as your new residents should be somewhat similar as that you could have found in your own country right? Well, Singapore is perhaps the most Westernized country in all of Asia, and perhaps only rivalled by Hong Kong in this respect. There are lots of options for a young couple or a single bachelor. The skyline is known all over the world for being on of the best and that’s not just because of the financial district where many headquarters are. Malaysia and Singapore have worked together to make sure they are offering all kinds of good, affordable properties to people from all over the world with varying money situations.

Look at one of the portals of iproperty and you’ll find some excellent styles of renting and buying options. Bear in mind that the high-rise buildings that have been designed and built for a large tenancy community also have some of the best services around. Condominiums are perhaps for the more affluent that have a good salary making it easy to pay for their own place in a somewhat closed community. However, if you are someone that wants to live modestly you can get a room or flat to rent in the high-rise estates. Expect to get your own room, shower room and share an open plan kitchen and dining area. It’s advisable that you learn about the different areas of Singapore before you plant your flag. Each district has its own characteristics, such as being in the heart of the city, as opposed to further into the countryside. Garnering the distances to and from your work is vital for the daily commute.

A Day Out to Leisure

When you’re young and have cup-fulls of energy, you need to live somewhere where there are like-minded people around you. If you are considering moving to Singapore, then you need to know what it has to offer in terms of leisure. Sentosa Island is an island resort where there are roller coasters, restaurants, hotels, spas, events and a great nightlife.

Mega Adventure Park is near Mount Imbiah and features a tall zip line that participants in the park must get to after a series of challenges. One must traverse through the park, that is situated among vegetation. You laterally navigate through climbing rope and using your daringness and balance to get to one station to the next. At the end there is zip wire that you travel back down toward the start and finish line. Great fun for a group of friends that want a challenge for the day.

Universal Studios on the island has a Jurassic Park, with dinosaur models and tours that show this time period in a fun but educational manner. Of course there are also roller coasters to ride as well as water rapid rides that soak you as you plunge through the water. There’s also a luge and sky ride that has you get on a small go-kart-like vehicle and race to the end of the track against your friends.

Artify Studio is where you can discover if you have some shade of talent regarding painting and artwork. Anyone can come and try at one of the sessions. Great for groups or to go by yourself in order to hopefully meet some new people and make friends. Here you’ll learn about portrait painting and using all the colors in the rainbow, with good effect. The studio in which you do your painting is large and neutral, so it’s rather calming and homely.

Moving with Movements

Millennials have one thing that sets them apart from their parents mostly, and it’s about politics and social issues. The younger generation is much more active in political and cultural problems because of social media. We’re not bombarded with all kinds of information so we learn about things that would have to seek out, just by being online. Singapore is no different and since it is an autonomous city-state, it must look after itself. The Sustainable Singapore Movement deals with just this as, environmental and green energy issues are at the forefront and main purpose of this group.

You can become involved and start to do you bit. By attending different meetings and talks, you can learn about what kind of problems are facing the millions of people that live in Singapore. Although the mainstay of the economy is the financial services aspect, lots of businesses such as in retail and technology sell physical products. This means that there is an intake of plastics, metals and different materials that are not quite naturally mined and drilled for by Singapore. As well as disposing issues, clean water is another hot topic that should be of concern, especially to the millennials. Feeling as if you need to be involved somehow in the wider-reaching issues in Singapore once you have landed and situated yourself, you can go on group-events that tackle issues of littering and a lack of knowledge among local people about green energy etc. Recycling initiatives are high up on the agenda as they are key in developing a sustainable Singapore.

Eating and Cuisine

You’re in Asia, or just at the front door anyway. Therefore you’ll be surrounded by spices, sourness and hot flames. Like many East Asian food cultures, seafood and rice are the main foods consumed by the populace. For anyone new, they should know that rice and seafood is relatively inexpensive in grocery stores so you can expect to not spend a lot of money on the weekly shop.

Restaurants have indeed adapted to the Western palate but mostly, have keep to the traditions of cuisine that loves spices and herbs. You can find just about any kind of food you like here. From diner-style American, classic British, or good wholesome hearty Cantonese food. Since Singapore is bordered by Malaysia, there are lots of different influences in the food such as curries, noodles, grilled meats and fish broths.

Image Credit: http://inc-asean.com/the-inc-life/this-new-study-offers-7-startling-revelations-about-millennials-one-is-a-little-too-much/

Singapore is going to be one of the most desired destinations for millennials because it’s becoming more and more affordable. There are lots of career opportunities for someone who is young and ready to learn while climbing the corporate ladder. On the other hand you can, of course, start you own business, working in a business or apply to work in the tech industry. Singapore has lots of things to do for fun as well, with areas of the city-state dedicated purely to leisure and entertainment. Renting or buying, you have different options of properties to make your stay enjoyable and flexible.

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