China, Diary of a Foodster, Dongmen Food Street, Eat, Food, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, The Idea Box, Vacation

Shenzhen Travelogue – (Part 3): What to eat and explore in Dongmen Food Street

What a way to ring in the Lunar New Year with the outbreak of coronavirus, which was bit disheartening. However, we made it back to Singapore before the outbreak came a month later. Despite this, one can’t deny that Shenzhen, adjacent to Hong Kong on the Mainland China border, is an affordable, convenient and fun destination to travel.

Airbnb

Shenzhen’s imposing urban sprawl and cloud-piercing towers can make it an overwhelming destination at first look. Accommodation in Shenzhen is much cheaper than Guangzhou and this Airbnb stay came at half the cost. We were pleasantly surprised that we found this gem which was so much better than our stay in Guangzhou.

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Nevermind that we have yet to explore every corner of this loft apartment. Small M is definitely contented with the interiors.

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The local school is located next to our building and it is not surprising to hear the children clamouring during their breaks.

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The loft unit is expansive and does not compromise when it comes to comfort.

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Dongmen 东门 food street is the place to satisfy your food cravings

Dong Men (东门, which translates into East Gate) is a large labyrinth of shops selling not just clothings and apparels but also delectable food. If you are taking the train, alight at Laojie station and exit D.

Image Credit - Travel China Guide

You will pass by a shopping street before arriving at the food street.

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We were bombarded with lots of street food options the moment we stepped into this place.

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Eat to your heart’s desire. Shenzhen’s local cuisine in the form of beef sticks, stinky tofu, grilled squid, takoyaki, and, for the adventurous, shellfish.

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Pork blood jelly is abundantly popular in Chinese cooking. It was widely sold during our younger days but has since been banned in Singapore due to food hygiene.

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Grilled Skewered Squid stuffed with meat fillings.

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A popular street snack in Asia. Stinky tofu (chou do fu) that has been fermented and smells like it has gone bad. Do you dare to eat it?

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Everyone is no stranger to Taipei Shilin Night Market 士林夜市, one of the largest and most popular night markets in Taiwan. 蚵仔煎 oyster omelette is found here too.

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We know that Tiger Sugar 老虎堂 has garnered a large fanbase in Taiwan and Hong Kong. This is how Tiger Sugar get its name – the moment when dark brown sugar syrup interacts with the thick milk in the cup. Getting a hold of it in Shenzhen without waiting in a long queue is certainly a bonus!

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We are feeling peckish and these local seafood looked really appetising!

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This plate of flower crabs and big prawns cost about SGD$17.

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This tiny pizza store is probably Shenzhen’s best kept treasure. We were initially sceptical of the pizza’s quality as it only cost SGD$2.

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But the queue did not cease and we saw how the pizza were freshly made and baked in front of you.

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It comes with a solid-looking crust and glistening cheese and tastes great.

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We find ourselves back in the queue for a second order even before we finished eating the pizza!

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Also, we settled for this piping-hot grilled fish which this is sure to satisfy any fish-lovers cravings. It looked really damn good. The fish is first grilled before allowing it to poach over a fire in a rich broth alongside other ingredients such as vegetables and an assortment of other aromatics. A big NO to chilli for the kids.

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Hungry for more? You should visit Shenzhen one day!

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Just finding joy in the little things. Click here to follow Katong Kids Inc Facebook Page to stay tune on the next travel post.

All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Asia, Cafe, Cameron Highlands, Chang Jiang White Coffee (長江白咖啡), Coffee, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Education, Funny Mountain Tau Fu Fah (奇峰豆腐花), Gunung Lang Recreational Park, Instant Noodles World, Ipoh, Ipoh Bubble Tea Street, Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre, Katong Kids Inc, Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong, Kids Activities, Malaysia, Ming Court Hong Kong Tim Sum (明阁香港点心), Mural Arts Lane @ Jalan Masjid, Photography, Travel, Travel Blog, Vacation, WEIL Hotel

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

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

Ming Court Hong Kong Tim Sum (明阁香港点心)

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

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

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It was about 6am and customers were already inside.

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

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

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Char siew bao.

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

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

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

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

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Address:

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

Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong

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

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Serving the best thick and creamy white coffee since 1937.

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

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The coffee shop operates from 6am to 5pm.

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Address:
15A,Jalan Bandar Timah Ipoh, Perak

Street Art in Ipoh – Mural Arts Lane @ Jalan Masjid

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

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

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It’s about building and celebrating our cultural differences.

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Address:

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

Chang Jiang White Coffee (長江白咖啡)

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

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

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

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

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

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Address:

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

Funny Mountain Tau Fu Fah (奇峰豆腐花)

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

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

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The prices are reasonable too.

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Address:

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

Gunung Lang Recreational Park

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

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

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

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

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Address:

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

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

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

Cameron Highlands

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

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

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

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

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Strawberry picking where kids will fall in love with it.

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Ipoh Bubble Tea Street

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

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

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

Piping hot bowl of noodles will be served to you.

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Address:

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

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

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Just simple travel. 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.

Asia, Birch Memorial Clock Tower, Car, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Food, Gerbang Malam, Ipoh, Katong Kids Inc, Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple, Kellie's Castle, Kids Activities, Malaysia, Memory Lane Flea Market, Perak Guan Yin Tong, Photography, Restoran Sun Yeong Wai, Shopping, Sin Eng Heong Kedai Biskut, The Idea Box, Travel, Vacation, WEIL Hotel

Ipoh Travelogue – (Part 2): Railway Station, Birch Memorial Clock Tower, Memory Lane Flea Market, Perak Guan Yin Tong, Kellie Castle, Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple, Restoran Sun Yeong Wai, Sin Eng Heong Kedai Biskut and Gerbang Malam

Why you should visit Ipoh? When I arrived at the small-sized Sultan Azlan Shah Airport, I had the impression that Ipoh had nothing much to offer. But dwell in this lovely town and I realised this is one of the most rewarding destinations in Malaysia.

With diversified of attractions and things to explore, you will find no lack of Ipoh Apartments to book via Traveloka.

Come Day 2, I woke up to the beautiful and scenic view of the city and mountains from the WEIL Hotel. We had our itinerary planned and wasted no time to get to where we need.

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Ipoh Railway Station

Most of the attractions are located in close proximity to each other, so travelling is easy. We hopped into our rented car and made our way to one of the historial landmarks – Ipoh Railway Station. Did we mention that it is just 3.5km away from the iconic WEIL Hotel?

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Ipoh’s railway station was completed in 1917 under the British colonial administration. Along with the Old Railway Station in Kuala Lumpur, it is one of the most beautiful examples of colonial architecture.

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The War Memorial right in front of the Ipoh Railway Station to honour the prisoners-of-war (POWs) who died building the Thailand-Burma death railway.

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This railway station was once featured in the Hollywood film, Anna and the King, starring Jodie Foster and Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun Fat.

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If not for this visit, I would not know that this grand old building houses the railway station and the now closed Majestic Station Hotel Ipoh which had up to 100 well-appointed guestrooms!

The Ipoh Railway Station served by the new, fast, KTM Electric Train Services (ETS). All passenger train services to/from Ipoh are on the new KTM Electric Train Services (there are no KTM Komuter trains from Ipoh).

Most ETS services run on the KL Sentral Railway Station, Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh route. Click here for the ETS timetable from Ipoh to KL.

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The building seemed dated and affected probably by lack of proper maintenance but it is still worth a visit when you come to Ipoh.

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Address:

Birch Memorial Clock Tower

The Birch Memorial Clock Tower (Malay: Menara Jam Peringatan Birch) is a clock tower situated in Ipoh, Kinta District, Perak, Malaysia.

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Unveiled in 1909, the clock tower was constructed to commenorate James W. W. Birch, the first British Resident of the state of Perak.

The clock tower has been overlooked by many tourists who prefer to flock to touristy attractions. On closer look, it is well preserved and I feel it is necessary to visit this place and understand the cultural heritage of British colonialism.

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Address:

Memory Lane Flea Market

I reckoned many of you may not consider visiting a flea market, giving the excuses of sweltering weather and old and filthy goods.

I do not agree.

As we approached Jalan Horley, we just couldn’t help but thankful to have the opportunity to travel and mingle with the locals.

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Open every Sunday morning, it is known as “Memory Lane” or fondly referred to as “Loken” or “Pasar Karat” (rustic market) by the locals.

A stall selling cold drinks, a perfect respite from the blazing sun!

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Located in Jalan Horley, it is the place to go to for rare and secondhand items at reasonable prices.

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While the folks are working hard for better days, the kids enjoying themselves at the back of the car.

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Yes, we remembered these old school, childlike games that will not break the bank.

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Cute tote bags with different themes and designs going at RM10 each.

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What a place for collectors to purchase rare stamps dating as far back to Straits Settlements period. An interesting visit to Memory Lane for us. We could find many second hands and used items that we thought were well extinct. Definitely the place to visit on a Sunday morning to trigger memories of the old days.

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Address:
Jalan Horley, Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak, Malaysia

Perak Guan Yin Tong

On our way to Kellie’s Castle, we chanced upon Perak Guan Yin Tong.

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Built beside a limestone hill, this ancient Buddhist temple honors goddess of mercy Kwan Yin Tong. This would be a place for believers to visit.

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And kids could entertain themselves feeding the ever hungry fishes.

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Address:

Lot 3851, Sungai Pinang Besar, Pangkor, Perak

Kellie’s Castle

We drove a little further up and arrived at Kellie’s Castle.

Kellie’s Castle is a castle located in Batu Gajah, Kinta District, Perak, Malaysia. While it may look complete on the outside, the ruined mansion was unfinished on the inside.

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It was built by a Scottish planter named William Kellie-Smith either a gift for his wife or a home for his son. Work on the castle started in 1915, but was unfortunately halted a few years later with Kellie’s sudden death and the castle was never completed.

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Nevermind about the hot and humid weather. Kellie’s Castle is one of the most Instagram worthy spots in Ipoh.

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It was an interesting experience exploring the castle’s hidden rooms. Be prepared to climb flights of narrow stairs to reach the top where you could get a panoramic view of the plantation and castle ruins.

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Opening Hours : 9.00am – 6.00pm
Admission Fee :
* RM 5 (foreigner)
* RM 4 (adult)
* RM 3 (secondary school students)
* RM 2 (primary school students)
* FREE (child aged six and below)
Address:
31000 Batu Gajah, Perak, Malaysia

Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple

The Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple is a tourist attraction situated in the natural and picturesque area of Gunung Rapat in the south of Ipoh – the capital of Perak state in west Malaysia.

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We heard so much about Ipoh being famous for its limestone hills and we could finally see it right in front of us!

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Confucius was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period. It was believed that one would get smarter praying to Confucius. What do you think?

Although there is a lot of marble tiling, there are still lots of natural large statactites.

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This place features golden statues of Buddhist and Chinese mythological deities.

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Take a walk here to experience the calming ambience of this lovely cave.

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Address:
Pesiaran Sepakat 3, Tmn Endah Jaya, 31350 Ipoh, Negeri Perak, Malaysia

Restoran Sun Yeong Wai Roasted Duck Ipoh 新扬威烧鸭饭店

We love roasted duck and if we were ever to visit Ipoh again, we are 1000% sure to visit Restoran Sun Yeong Wai again!

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Passed down from father to son and established in Ipoh for more than twenty years, Sun Yeong Wai is now a brand closely synonymous with Roasted Ducks, barbeque and roasted dishes.

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Yummy!

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Address:

63, Jalan Mustapha Al-Bakri, 30300 Ipoh Perak

Sin Eng Heong Kedai Biskut

While we were dining, we wondered what was happening behind us.

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Started in 1961, Sin Eng Heong is one of the oldest biscuit shop in Ipoh.

Sin Eng Heong Kedai Biskut was attracting a long long queue of customers despite the overwhelming heat. They have the best kaya puff in town, so popular that you have to be prepared to queue up to 2 hours.

We got into the queue while the family was still eating. Impatience got the better of us and we walked out after 45 mins.

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Address:

64 & 66 Jalan Mustapha Al-Bakri, Ipoh 30300, Malaysia

Gerbang Malam

Come the night, I took a walk down Gerbang Malam. While the pasar malam was smaller as compared to Memory Lane, there was a food street at the other end.

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It was nice walking down the street looking at the stalls and cheap products.

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Where cables were going for as cheap as RM1 each.

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The salted-baked chicken is one of Ipoh’s most famous delicacies. The chicken is marinated with ginger, rice wine, and other Chinese herbs such as female ginseng and wolfberries, then it is wrapped in paper and baked with salt.

Many visitors come to Ipoh to taste none other than their kai see hor fun, consisting of super smooth flat rice noodles (kuey teow) produced in Ipoh, shredded/sliced poached chicken, chopped spring onions, boiled shrimps, and garnished with chopped red chillies.

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Another version..

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They produced tasty chicken and bean sprouts. A must-try dish in Ipoh!

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All these for RM21!

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So what to do in Ipoh? Simple travel and eat is the way to go 🙂

Address:

Jalan Dato Tahwil Azar, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak, Malaysia

Click here for Ipoh Travelogue (Part I) – 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

Just simple travel. 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.

Asia, Burps and Giggles, Cafe, Coffee, Concubine Lane, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Education, Food, Growing Up, Hotel, Ipoh, Ipoh Booth Cart, Kong Heng Square, Malaysia, Photography, Review, Singapore, Thean Chun, Tong Sui Kai 糖水街, Travel, Travel Blog, Vacation, WEIL Hotel

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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Brightly colored umbrellas.

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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Hey, admission is free!

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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.

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We were very full but capturing pictures is a must!

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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).

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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Traditional Tea House / Wood Craft Workshop

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

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The friendly owner invited us to tour his premises.

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

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

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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.

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Chicken Wings at RM2.70 per piece.

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

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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.

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Address:

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

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California Travelogue – (Part 2): San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, Maritime Museum, Ghirardelli Square, Lombard Street and Chinatown

Soak into the sights, sounds and smells of San Francisco. We did a tour of the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The Park includes a magnificent fleet of historic ships, a Visitor Center, Maritime Museum, Maritime Research Center, and Aquatic Park Historic District.

It was an easy tour as the place wasn’t huge.

A short walk further down was the Maritime Museum which was located in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building.

Ghirardelli Square is a convenient stop for chocolate and ice cream while already visiting at Fisherman’s Wharf.

No trip to San Francisco is complete without tasting sweet chocolate from those chocolate dream-makers at Ghirardelli. Ghirardelli’s sundaes are real special.

We did not drive during our stay in San Francisco. Instead, we walked, walked and walked.

As you can see, the roads here were steep and it was a test of endurance and good form of exercise.

This picture is a good example to get a sense of how steep the streets were.

We did have the chance to see the splendor of the West Coast, here was what San Francisco looked and felt like.

Strolling down one of America’s crookedest streets in the form of Lombard Street is a blessing! The steep, hilly street was created with sharp curves to switchback down the one-way hill past beautiful Victorian mansions.

Lombard Street is definitely one of the most photographed spot in San Francisco. Tourists just couldn’t resist its charm and uniqueness.

 This street has eight tight hairpin turns through the neighborhood where guests can either drive, or walk, down for an interesting adventure.

After exploring Lombard Street, we walked to the Chinatown.

San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest one in North America (surprisingly well maintained) and covers 24 city blocks.

Trying out the delicious and yummy dim sum!

We finally found the the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory after getting lost! Located in Ross Alley, formerly called the “Street of the Gamblers”; the little factory here makes fortune cookies.

We had no idea why it was so popular among tourists. In fact, we don’t think there is anything special about fortune cookies. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant sight watching the lady sitting at the assembly line, folding and filling the cookies by hand.

Big and Small M at the Dragon Gate, the official entrance into Chinatown on Bush Street, where Grant Avenue takes you into the heart of Chinatown.

Another Macy’s in San Francisco 🙂

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Traditional Nyonya Food – Peranakan Inn @ East Coast Road

The Peranakan Inn Restaurant located at East Coast Road.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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California Travelogue – (Part 1): San Francisco Cable Car, Powell Street and Fisherman Wharf

After our New York trip, we took a 6.5 hour flight to San Francisco.

San Francisco, in northern California, is a hilly city on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. It’s known for its year-round fog, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and colorful Victorian houses.

Our first impression of San Francisco was its cleaniness. The tram was really clean and a big contrast to NYC in which it was not crowded.

Thanks to our friends staying in California, we were recommended to take the BART train to Powell Street.

So clean and fresh!

We would be staying at Axiom Hotel, which was just located above the Powell Station. It took about 2 to 3 mins walk to the hotel.

The reason we chose Axiom Hotel was it’s close proximity to the train station. The place was centralised to every tourist activities but we were cautioned that it was near to the Tenderlion neighbourhood where the streets were shady and you wouldn’t want to bump onto people you wouldn’t want to meet. Glad that there was a right soul who walked up and told us not to cross the street, else we would be venturing into the neighbourhood. Yes, the google map did fail us at times.

Cute robot to attend to our needs.

Burger King was beside our hotel.

We were glad that the cable car station was outside our hotel. During peak hour, the queue could linger till late into the night. The ticket cost $7 each.

We are going to the Fisherman’s Wharf. Fisherman’s Wharf, on the northern waterfront, is one of the city’s busiest tourist areas. Souvenir shops and stalls selling crab and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls appear at every turn.

The streets of San Francisco was just amazing. It would take a lot of energy just to walk up the slopes and they were appearing at every junction we stopped.

Slopes again. How to survive without owning cars here?

No experience is more uniquely San Francisco than a ride on a cable car. A must-try experience here!

It’s convenient to travel here and we don’t really need to drive.

The Ross store is a great place to find cheap stuff.  

Love these laundry buckets so much (only $13) but how to bring back home 😦

The crab meat and prawns were very juicy. It cost about US$70.

Spent the afternoon exploring the streets.

If In-N-Out Burger comes to Singapore, it will beat all the fast food restaurants hands down.

Our favourite pasttime. Buying a loaf of cheap bread when visiting the harbour to feed the birds.

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9/11 Tribute Museum, America, Cafe, Chinatown Gate, Club Quarters Hotel, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Education, Food, Growing Up, Hotel, Hotel Review, Katong Kids Inc, Little Italy, Manhattan Chinatown, New York, United States, Vacation

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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FARM Florist: Farm Fresh Flowers curated to capture the best memories ever

To pride itself as a reliable online florist that promises full refunds for all orders that arrive late is certainly a special florist that every customer should be amazed of. FARM Florist, a subsidiary of Masons Home Decor, takes pride in offering the highest quality flowers with afforable rates.

Their website – https://farmflorist.com/ – is easy to navigate and explore. What really stands out are the friendly features that allow customers to sort by their choices and filter the price ceilings when shopping online. Thumbs up!

Over at FARM Florist, there are so many assortments of flowers that you can shop at ease on all occasions. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, giving flowers is a timeless romantic gesture that bounds to wow your other half.

FARM Florist has the knowledge and experience to ensure your flowers deliver on time and have you receiving the most gorgeous flowers that you have seen.

You may not be the first but you certainly won’t be the last. Bookmark FARM Florist and browse through the beautiful hand bouquets. Your best memories are created here 🙂

Email: hello@farmflorist.com

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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.

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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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