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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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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 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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London Travelogue – (Part 1): Gatwick Airport, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown Gate and Trafalgar Square

This is our first trip to London and we were told that it is an extremely expensive city for vacation. All this while, we thought it wouldn’t be possible until we discover some London hacks that made our trip a reality.

For once, we realised apart from travelling with the usual prominent airlines there are actually options to travel with budget airline to London for an affordable price of $1.1K in total for 2 adults / 2 childs (one way) – Norwegian airline.

Journey to London

Norwegian airline offers a direct flight from Singapore to London without any stopovers. To ensure further comfort, inflight entertainment are available. Ear phones were not provided.

The inflight meals were simple and nothing fanciful.

As we booked the flight early, we managed to get the best seats which gave us more room.

The 14-hour flight was surprising smooth without any turbulence and we arrived at London Gatwick airport by 5:40am.

If you are travelling to London Zone 1 or 2, we would recommend you not to take the express train which cost about $20 per adult. Our travel from Gatwick to Islington/Highbury was horrid as we needed to change platforms during the morning peak hours.

Towing 4 big luggages with us up and down the subway stairs without elevators and waiting for multiple trains before squeezing in was no joke. The weather was about 10 degrees but we were already perspiring. We would recommend booking the airport transfer (Blackberry cars) instead as the price was almost the same with no hidden charges.

The train ride brought us to the Victoria station where we would need to buy Oyster cards to travel in the London Underground, or the “Tube”. In simple terms, this is a version of our MRT. London is segmented by 9 zones with the touristy areas being in Zone 1 and 2.

Image result for london map zones
Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_fare_zones

The morning crowd at Victoria station were beginning to build up.

We had our breakfast here before continuing our journey to the Airbnb.

This was already the third train ride. We were tired.

Finally arrived at Highbury & Islington station.

But not before taking a 5 min bus ride and another 2 min walk to our Airbnb apartment. For all the hassle, it would be wiser to take Blackberry cars next time.

Covent Gardens

Covent Gardens is one of the ultimate Instagram spots in London. An iconic area with thriving street arts, we heard that it is usually crowded with tourists. However, it was not that bad.

The streets were easy to explore and it was not uncommon to take a pause every now and then to soak ourselves in the historic architectures. Covent Garden is a popular tourist spot such that Din Tai Fung has recently established an outlet here.

Something similar we have seen back home.

The locals love coffee so much and very often cafes would be packed with people. The scent of fresh coffee permeated the cafe and we couldn’t help but to order a cup.

Address: 13 Floral St, London WC2E 9DH, UK

Leicester Square / Piccadilly Circus

As Covent Garden is located centrally, it is near to Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Google maps may not be reliable. Having these street directories made it easier for us to find our way around.

We were in for a treat during winter as Leicester Square Christmas Markets was up and running.

Not a fan of shopping but food tasting was our theme during this trip. Unlike the States, Christmas markets are common throughout Europe and UK.

Didn’t stay too long in the Christmas markets as some strangers kept looking at our belongings. We decided to leave and go into M&Ms World for safety reasons.

Address: 1 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7DE, UK

Have you been to M&M’s World? It is situated directly opposite Leicester Square Christmas Markets.

The bright, colorful storefront would inevitably draw anyone in. The staff were friendly and helpful, even if you are not buying anything.

Abbreviation familiar to a tween.

Address: Leicester Square, 1 Swiss Ct, London W1D 6AP, United Kingdom

London Chinatown is close to Leicester Square. The nearest underground stations to Chinatown are Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Bus available are 14 / 24 / 27 / 29 / 134 / 168 / C2.

Eat all you can for $10.50.

We dined here over the next 2 days as the price was cheaper compared to other restaurants. Some restaurants open till 3am.

Address: 10 Wardour St, London W1D 6BZ, UK

Our jet-leg started to kick in. One final stop at Trafalgar Square before we ended the day. The attraction here is surrounded by museums, galleries, cultural spaces and historic buildings.

Trafalgar Square is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. Its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars with France and Spain that took place on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar.

Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK

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Road Trip: Pacific Coast Highway

It is not often we can get a chance to be across the globe. As evidenced by the beautiful scenic pictures that keep cropping up in our trip planning, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) promises unique landscapes and plenty of places to stop and explore. However, we are still toying with the idea of whether to take a domestic flight or drive along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

The distance stretches up to 800 km and it does not seem possible to complete the route within a day without exploration.

A tad daunting, perhaps.

An initial thought was making interval stops before hitting Los Angeles (LA). That means shortening the time we have in LA, an itinerary that we felt are not conventional to many travellers as they prefer to spend more time in LA with the availability of amusement parks. After some research, it seems hard to miss out attractions along PCH.

All thanks to Outdoor Blueprint, they made trip planning easier with these attractions laid out neatly.

SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

MONTEREY BAY

Monterey Bay Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

BIG SUR (Limekiln State Park)

Limekiln Big Sur 26
Image Credit – https://californiathroughmylens.com/big-sur-attractions

Big Sur Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

SAN LUIS OBISPO

San Luis Obispo Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

 

POINT CONCEPTION (The Santa Barbara Channel)

Image Credit – https://exoticwinetravel.com/santa-barbara-urban-wine-trail/

Point Conception Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

If you have driven across Pacific Coast Highway before, do feel free to share your travel hacks.

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Planning a Holiday with Kids in Tow

Planning a holiday for just you and your partner is hard enough. You have to make the decision on the location, how long for, and what type of hotel you want to go for: It’s a long process of having to whittle it down to just one or two hotels, before you can finally pick something that you like the look of. So, imagine how hard it is to do this when you have a family in tow as well. There’s suddenly so many more factors for you to consider, some of you will know exactly what we mean. For others, this might be your first rodeo with something like thiks, so you’re going to need all the help and advice that you can get. Luckily, you have come to the right place, and we’ve got plenty of little pointers for you that should help you with the whole process. Have a read on to find out more.

Image Credit: http://www.theconsumervoice.co.uk

1. Evaluating the Cost

So, you might have gone into this whole booking process without realising how hard it is to actually book a holiday for you and your family due to cost. Cost really is a big thing, even if it was just for you and your partner to go. The only diffrrence is, with children, you can’t just take them whenever you want during the year. You have a responsibility to keep them in school, meaning you’re going to have to take them during the school holidays. This is a notoriously expensive time of year for a holiday, and the last thing that we would want is for you to miss out. So, why not consider taking out a personal loan. If you Google, ‘personal loans near me‘, you should be able to find plenty of companies willing to offer you the money. Taking a short term personal loan out doesn’t mean that you’re getting yourself into some sort of spiraling debt. But it does mean you’re going to be able to enjoy your family holiday, without worrying about the cost.

 

2. Evaluating the Location

The location plays a big part as to whether you’re actually going to have a good holiday. Some places are just too quiet, which when you’re taking a family, isn’t what you need. You need somewhere that has plenty of activities to do. They will get bored of just being around the pool, so outside activities should keep them entertained for a little while. The hotel as well is going to play a big part in your holiday happiness. If the hotel has no kids facilities, there is going to be nothing for them to do that would allow you and your partner to have an hour to or to yourselves. When you’re on holiday, it’s really important to take an opportunity like this to keep yourselves entertained or refreshed as well.

3. Evaluating the Effort

Sometimes a holiday is just effort. You have to worry about the whole packing process, and more importantly, the travelling process. Travelling on a plane with young children can either be completely fine, or you’ll have the devil child with you. So evaluate the distance of travel, and whether your children might be too young to tackle it.

 

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Your Guide To The Balearic Islands

Just to the East of mainland Spain, there are four Spanish islands that make up the Balearic Islands. While they are classed as Spain, they are quite diverse and different from the mainland Spain. The islands are Ibiza, Menorca, Mallorca, and Formentera. With great beaches and great weather, it can be hard to know where to visit first. So here is a bit of a breakdown to the Balearic Islands, to help you choose where your next vacation may be.

Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/spain-ibiza-sea-in-the-background-1321927/

Ibiza

The island of Ibiza has long been known as a bit of a party town, wih mentions in many pop songs and some world-renowned clubs and DJs performing there. And while this is true, there is plenty more to the island than just clubbing. The north of the island has a very bohemain character and feel to it, with a very relaxed atmosphere, with many great places to eat and dine. Ibiza Town, the capital, has some unique history to explore, as well as being closer to the clubbing scene.

Mallorca

The largest island of them all, Mallorca has a lot to offer and is a popular spot for families. There are some of the clinches about being a Spanish island, with plenty of high-rise buildings by the beach. However, there is more to the island than that, especially if you go slightly more inland to stay somewhere like Marriott’s Club Son Antem in Llucmajor near Palma. There are some stunning mountains, beautiful coves, and some quaint old towns.

Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/menorca-booked-turquoise-sky-hdr-935987/

Menorca

To the east of Mallorca is the smaller island of Menorca. It has a more relaxed feel to it than the previous two islands, and is much less of a party or clubbing destination. There are some adorable little port towns, like Ciutadella, and the port in the capital is actually one of the deepest in the world. There are some modern resorts, as well as plenty of options to stay closer to the sea or rent villas more in-lands.

Formentera

The island of Formentera is a pretty tiny, and does often get forgotten about when you think about the Balearics. It has some of the best beaches out of the whole lot of them, though, so doesn’t deserve to be overlooked. While there isn’t a lot else to do there, the place has a certain rustic charm that can make it worth the trip. It is quite exclusinve as far as islands go.

The Balearics are easy to access from Spain by boat or flight, but there are many other places like the UK, that offer direct flights to them. Because the islands are smaller, and have to prepare for the tourists, they cna cost a little more than mainland Spain might. However, the islands are pretty small, and you may not even need to hire a car to explore it all. It can be pretty easy to go from each island too, so if you can’t choose which one to go to, then you might not have to.

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7 Cool Things to Do with Your Girlfriend in Singapore

Someone says that Singapore is a technology miracle, another one claims that it is the front window of Asia because it is an energetic and inspiring place, which has managed to become one of the best. Singapore is many-faced and magnificent like Ukrainian girls. You can choose many different epithets for the island-city-state of Singapore, but all of them will surely be vivid and not ordinary. Singapore remains one of the greenest cities in the world, having so many astounding futuristic buildings and attracting a big number of people from all over the world. So, what can you do with your girlfriend in Singapore?

1. Look to the Future

The future of science fiction movies will come in Singapore very soon when the first spaceplanes start landing in the airport Changi, and robots say, “Next in line, please!” You should surely look at the steel baobabs of the Gardens by the Bay. In the evening, the lights are turned on, and the magic garden begins to shimmer with colored lights, just like in the Avatar. At an altitude of 22 meters, supertrees are connected by the sky bridge, from which the domes of futuristic greenhouses are visible.

Image Credit: Great Eastern

2. Relax on the Beach

When the brain melts because of the heat, you can escape from the stone jungle to the beaches of the tropical island of Sentosa. You can visit each of them during the day because a free tram runs along the coast. If both of you prefer a relaxing holiday in the hammocks under the palm trees, go to Tanjong beach, and if you want to suf and play volleyball, go to the beach of Silos. You can also visit the mangrove thickets of the island of Pulau Ubin. In this Singaporean village, you can ride a bicycle through rubber groves, eat grilled shrimps and look out for rare birds from wooden bridges.

Image Credit: tanjongbeachclub.com

3. Update your Wardrobe

In Singapore, you can find ten boutiques per square meter because local people like brand-name things. Good dressers with packages of Chanel and Louis VUitton go from one showcase to another. If you do not have enough money to buy a Prada handbag, go to Bugis Street, and you will buy the same but from Chinese masters. tripadvisor.jp

Image Credit: tripadvisor.jp

4. Shake the Paw of the Lemur

The Singapore Zoo is one fo the most advanced in the world. More than 300 species of animals walk freely through the rainforest. Here, you can have breakfast with organutans, feed the giraffe or dwarf hippo during lunch, and watch the dinner of predators in the evening. Both of you will be excited like kids.

Image Credit: visitsingapore.com

5. Take a Photo on the Edge of the Abyss

Only a lazy person did not see the pictures of the hotel Marina Bay Sands on the Internet. Three 200-meter towers, crowned with a gondola, perfectly fit into the landscape of Singapore’s space harbor. Many people go here to take a photo in the famous swimming pool on the roof, here the water seems to pour over the sides to the abyss. What a stunning view of the bay you will be able to enjoy there!

Image Credit: dailymail.co.uk

6. Look at Singapore from a Height

To see whole banana-lemon Singapore at your feet, don’t miss a chance to ride the Ferris Wheel. From the height of a 55-storey building, you will be able to distinguish even the Indonesian islands on the horizon. In the evening, the city lights up with millions of light bulbs, and you feel like superheros on top of the world. If you have a special evening, you can book a separate booth with champagne and dinner for two.

7. Try “Star” Noodles on the Street

Chinese rice with slices of duck is friend in soy sauce on every corner of Chinatown, but you need to stand a kilometer line to try noodles with chicken from the street chef Chan Hong Menga, his street tent has been awarded a Michelin star. If you are fond of spicy chili, go to the Indian city block.

Image Credit: tripadvisor.com

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Sleepwiz Eye Mask: Sleep Better Effortlessly

One of the most useful essentials that one should have would be the eye masks. It is known that poor sleep can interfere with every aspects of our life but with SleepWiz™ eye masks, you can sleep as soundly on a brightly lit environment as you would at home in your comfy bedroom.

SleepWiz™ eye masks are specially designed to create the ideal environment for us to get some good rest so that we can wake up relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated. Making a name for itself, SleepWiz™ was also featured in BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post as a recommended hack to fall asleep quickly.

For the Side Sleepers

Everyone has a propensity toward one position or another, but side sleepers are the most common of the variations. It is not common for side sleepers to find themselves tossing and turning more than back sleepers which could lead to poor sleep.

SleepWiz™ has introduced an eye masks for the side sleepers which include:

Luxiere™ 100% Silk Eye Mask for Side Sleepers

Image Credit: SleepWiz

For the Back Sleepers

SleepWiz™ has introduced an eye masks for the back sleepers which include:

ErgoDream™ 3D Ergonomic Eye Mask for Back Sleepers

Image Credit: SleepWiz

Why Sleepwiz?

We had the opportunity to try and after using for 2 nights and we felt it was comfortable for the following reasons:

 A restful night to feel refreshed the next day – The luxiere boosts melatonin levels naturally without the use of pills or chemicals while the DreamWeave technology makes the eyemask impenetrable to light, allowing for longer deep sleep phases, while retaining the natural fibre’s luxurious softness

            Comfort and practicality – by using thin dual straps that ensures the mask stays in place which is useful if you’re a side-sleeper or tend to move a lot when you sleep. The extra wide design also makes it adaptable to faces of different sizes.

                    100% mulberry silk – to ensure your skin stays hydrated and reduce fine lines 

SleepWiz™ eye masks are light, flexible and practical. It certainly doesn’t take up much space. Hey, did we mention this makes a good travel essential items during your road trips? Free shipping within Singapore is provided. You should get one too!

SleepWiz

Websitehttps://eyemask.sg/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialSleepWiz/

Instagram: hello@eyemask.sg

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

A brand new morning, a brand new experience. We hopped onto a cab outside our hotel after agreeing to a fare of CNY240 for a day trip. The Harbin of today is still very much influenced by its Russian past. Due to the strong decades’ presence of Soviet Russians, it is not uncommon to see glimpses of Russian style in architecture, education, art, food, clothing, language and more aspects of life.

Our first stop was to visit the Russian Village which was located near to Sun Island.

The river was literally frozen.

Russian Village

Russian Style Town or Artist Village in Harbin Sun Island by the north bank of the Songhua River, is a Russian architecturally-styled village with small detached houses within. During winter, this place seemed more like a ghost town albeit with curious tourists coming to explore the vincinity and experiencing Russian foods and products.

We were discouraged from entering the Russian Village by our driver as this attraction was quiet and nothing much exciting to explore. He did, however, drove us around the outskirts of the Russian Village to take a view from the outside.

Some sights at the entrance…

Food vendors selling sweet potatoes, sausages and Bing Tanghulu Candied Hawthorn Stick or 冰糖葫蘆.

Bicycle rental available.

Address: China, Heilongjiang, Harbin, Songbei, Pingyuan St, 平原街

Harbin 哈尔植物園

It was a weekend and the traffic was quite bad in the morning. It took us one hour to reach the next destination which was appealing to Big and Small M. What’s in store here?

Visitors who want to visit Harbin 哈尔滨植物園 definitely have to come with reserved transport as after entering, you would need to drive up to 1km before reaching the spot with fun-filled activities.

This is the only restaurant here for us to catch a lunch.

Our order – a tad saltish and not very appealing though it did fill our stomaches.

And we had fun after that! Building a snowman 🙂

During winter in Harbin, the temperature is usually below 20 degrees. One of the most popular activites is the winter swimming event which is a physical activity showing off the strong physique and iron of local Harbin people. Over here, the swimming pool was dug for winter swimming.

The performance takes place every hour. We were standing in the freezing cold awaiting for the show to start.

Would you dare to try this? Certainly not us!

Dog sledding but we did not try as we would need to pay extra (which we didn’t know after paying an exorbitant price for the tickets). We had no regrets not trying dog sleeding as the dogs did not look excited to run at all, so unlike of our experience in Finland where every husky were given a name, trained to perform a specific role in sleigh-ridding and much more excited to run.

Pony ride.

Family-friendly rides that we get to enjoy here.

Alas, we wished we could stay longer to maximuse the ticket value but the temperature was really overwhelming today at -24°C. Our bodies were smarting from the cold. We had to cut short our fun and returned to the car.

Ji Le Temple 极乐寺

Who says visiting Harbin is all about ice and snow?

Ji Le Temple or Temple of Bliss is located at the end of Dongdazhi Street, Nangang District in Harbin. It is the biggest Buddhist building complex in the Heilongjiang province. The entrance gate, Hall of Heavenly King, Grand Hall, Sacred Hall, Sutra Depository, Bell Tower, Drum Tower and the Seven-storey Buddhist Pagoda are the main buildings.

Related image
Photo Credit: visitourchina.com

The entire building of Temple of Bliss is magnificent, elegant and dignified, retains the style and features of temple architecture of China. Before reaching here, our driver brought us to his neighbourhood to buy a winter coat for Big M. It was a good buy as the price was almost half of what we need to pay at shopping malls. It was about 4pm when we reached here and the temple was already closed, unfortunately.

We thought it is a lovely temple that offers a peaceful break from the busyness of the city where one can soak in its tranquility and understand more about Chinese Buddhism. Big M wearing her new winter coat 🙂

Along the streets were lined with shops selling Buddhist wares.

Address: 9 Dongdazhi St, Nangang Qu, Haerbin Shi, Heilongjiang Sheng, China, 150001

Harbin Confucius Temple 哈尔滨文庙

Harbin Confucius Temple was built in 1926 and completed in 1929. The temple ground occupies an area of 25,000 square meters and its construction area is 5,674 square meters. In 1996, the temple was listed on the key historical sites under state protection.

The temple’s symmetrical structure consists of three courtyards dotted with old trees and rare flowers. Due to its likeness to the Imperial Palace, it has earned the moniker “the Forbidden City of Harbin”.

heilongjiang confucian temple
Photo Credit: Harbinice.com
inside the Confucian Temple
Photo Credit: Harbinice.com

Address: 25 Wenmiao St, Nangang Qu, Haerbin Shi, Heilongjiang Sheng, China

Harbin Food at Its Best

Night falls and we were craving for food. The best time to try chinese hotpot is during winter and our driver brought us to this restaurant.

Great service – the staff opened the door for us when he saw us walking up the stairs.

Chinese hotpot 火锅 , also known as Chinese fondue, is one of the most popular meals in China. It consists of a simmering metal pot with broth at the center of a table, and all raw ingredients placed beside the metal pot, so people can add and cook whatever they like in the broth.

A hearty meal for us after a long day out!

The spirit of Northern Chinese cuisine lives on the wholesome goodness at Lao Beijing Roasted Duck 老北京明炉烤鸭. We took a stroll at the streets and caught the sight of a chef roasting the duck which inevitably drawn us into the store.

Specially-bred and fattened ducks are glazed and hung in a wood fire to roast until the browned skin is crisp and the meat succulent.

Noticed the QR code below? Everyone is using e-payment in China now. The presentation of the duck was just like any other chinese restaurant in which the chef carved the duck in front of us.

Heavenly goodness at its best.

The price of a whole duck including the wraps and sauces – SGD 12.

The Heart of Harbin

Not to be outdone by the likes of bigger stores such as Mykal Supermarket, the supermarkets in the heartland are possibly one of Harbin’s best-kept treasures. It was a pleasant experience browsing through the store products and discovering the local produces.

Most of the product prices were much cheaper compared to those in the shopping malls.

Salted promfret fish.

Mantou, often referred to as Chinese steamed bun, is a type of cloud-like steamed bread or bun popular in Northern China. The name mantou is said to have originated from a tale about Zhuge Liang.

Some sights during our walk.

Bing Tanghulu Candied Hawthorn Stick or 冰糖葫蘆. These two guys were shouting at the top of their voice to attract customers to their store. A nice try. We stopped and bought one to try out.

Teresa Teng Music Restaurant

We blogged about Teresa Teng during our trip to Taiwan 金寶山 Chin Pao San which you can read it here. Our Harbin trip brought us back to the memory lanes where Teresa Teng Music Restaurant allows fans to reminisce the evergreen hits of 邓丽君that bring you back to the 70’s and 80’s.

Dine, wine and enjoy live performance of her songs.

Harbin’s charm lies in the way it yields glimpses of a timeless China. Our experience thus far has been magical. Planning to visit China? Try Harbin 哈尔滨.

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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.