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What’s Out There (And In Here): Traveling By Yourself To Broaden Your Mind

There’s nothing quite like getting out there, on the road, and traveling the world, viewing proceedings from the ground floor. But, when you are thinking about planning a long journey around the world, stopping over in many countries, are you going to do this by yourself, or with a group of friends? Usually, we would think about going as a group, but if you really want to experience the world first-hand, going around the planet on your own is the best way for you to broaden your mind. It’s been said a million times before, that travel broadens the mind, but if you really want to expand your horizons, mentally and emotionally, you have to explore the world by yourself, and so, how can travel broden the mind better when you are by yourself?

You Find Out What You Are Made Of

There is nothing quite like going somewhere by yourself, and having to rely on your skills and instincts to get you around. We can either feel intimated by a big and scary world, or we can embrace it, and really get involved. What you learn when you are travelling by yourself is that getting from one place to another isn’t as stressful as we once thought. In fact, even if you don’t speak the language, there is always help available, and you realise that a new environment isn’t scary and alien. And, even if you encounter a few difficult scenarios, you have to think that little bit more to get yourself out fo those situations. And once you’ve done this, you can realise exactly what you are capable of. By throwing ourselves into new situations, we embrace the whole sink or swim attitude to life. By doing this, and realising that when we make a little mistake that the world doesn’t cave in on us, we build our emotional strength.

You Develop Your Confidence

The stronger we get in an emotional sense, the more confident we feel. When we are stuck in our hometown, in a dead end job, or we are used to a certain pattern of living, we can feel somehwat hemmed in. Once you break out of all of these constructs, and you being to travel the world by yourself, you can reinvent who you are. This is one of the most enlightening feelings we can have in life. By going to a new country, we can completely change our personality, or try on new ones. Instead of being a shy and retiring person, or being a nosey loudmouthed person, we can’t try on a new “suit” and see how this different personality fits. And that’s a great thing when you are going from place to place, and relying solely on your instincts to get you by, in many ways, you might realise that the person you were isn’t the person you’d like to be. By going from place to place, and making new friends, even just for a night, you learn how to adapt to new situations quickly. You realise that these moments we have in life aren’t always about lifelong friendships, it’s about learning from others, and figuring out who we really are. These is no better way to understand who you really are than travelling and putting yourself into these new and exciting situations.

You Can Start Again

And by putting on a whole new personality, you may find a way of life that suits you more than the one you are used to. A lot of people travel from place to place, and they encounter so many new and exciting ways of living, there can be the temptation to stay in one place, possibly for the rest of your life. But the great thing about travbelling is that you can spend as long as you really want to in one particular place, and you can even rent a property, just so you really know in your heart of hearts if this is a place that you’d like to stay for the foreseeable future. Links like https://www.rumah.com/rumah-disewa/di-area-semarang-idjt28 shows you the various types of houses that are for rent in Central Java, and, on the opposite end of the spectrum spending prolonged periods of time in these places may help you realise where home really lies for you. By going all around the world, you may finally understand that there is no place like home. In this respect, you can start your life over again with a clean slate, wherever you end up, because you’ve been out there, and experienced what the world has to offer, and you’ve found what is really important to you and what you actually want out of life, whether it’s an adventure, or the simpler things.

You Learn New Skills

Naturally, as you explore the world and find new cultures and approaches to life, you learn how to navigate public transport, find great food recommended by the locals, and learn new skills within yourself. Coping skills are one of those all important tools that we need in life to tackle new and exciting horizons. Whether you learn through fellow travelers, or you naturally stumble upon new skills that you wouldn’t have considered before, these are all things you can utilise for your adventures across the globe. While something like meditation can be beneficial in every  aspect of our lives (https://alifeofproductivity.com/meditation-guide can give you some of the basics), when you are travelling across the globe, you need to find a way to relax quickly, but still have your wits about you. After a while, this idea of expanding your comfort zone means that you will thrive in situations that used to stress you out completely. By learning new skills, it’s not just about making these serve you well during your travels; you will learn how to implement them in other areas of your life, long aftet you finished your excursions. And this is the true benefit of broadening your mind while you travel.

You Will Feel A Great Achievement in Life

Last, but not least, you will feel a great sense of achievement. After all, you’ve learnt how to navigate “alien” worlds, discovered how to trust your instincts, and you’ve learnt how to apply so many new skills to get by, all of which adds up to a momentous achievement. And, these skills you learn are what will help you live a better life. Heading out across the world by yourself is a major undertaking for anyone, and many people will voice their concerns, but you will get to the core of who you are and what is really important to you. Whether this is by experience new cultures so you can look at the world a little differently, or these experiences you have accumulated has finally made you realise that home is where you will thrive, it’s hardly a surprise that the travel bug is something that so many people can’t shake. Some people don’t like to experience new things, they are more than happy in their bubble, but it’s these people who may not necessarily achieve much in life. Yes, this is a grand statement, but if you are missing something in life, or you want to discover what is out there as well as in you travelling is the simplest way to achieve so much. It’s been said before that travel broadens the mind, but it’s not just because you learn about new cultures, by going out of your comfort zone, you finally get to grips with who you really are.

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D’BUN 利满: CAFE@356 in Joo Chiat

True-blue foodies are willing to travel great distances in search of good eats. In the heart of Joo Chiat, there are no lack of culinary hotspots and most recently, D’bun (the bun specialist) newly opened Cafe@356, a cosy, homely concept that delivers the best home cooked flavours.

We know the weather can be unforgiving in the afternoon, with the sun scorching down on us. With the air-conditioned ambience, the cafe provides a great respite for customers.

Not forsaking its traditional product offerings, one can expect to find authentic light-bites. The owner shared that they aimed to make their foods with fresh, subtle and natural tasting flavours. As such, the products from our kitchens are hand made in small batches using quality ingredients.

From the way they are, the products simply doesn’t need any further embellishment.

With the mid-autumn approaching, would you like to try D’Bun Mooncakes which are baked fresh using fillings blended so that they are not overwhelmingly sweet and come in several traditional varieties. The suite of mooncake comes in these styles – snow skin, traditional baked and baked pastry.

Trying out their ever popular freshly made buns. Your first bite will be a revelation. We are not sure if they are absolutely addictive, but you just can’t give it a miss.

CHAN2 (1)

Absolutely love these light-bites, served in pretty generous portion! The soya-bean milk is a thirst-quencher.

Their shop cannot be easily missed when you step into Joo Chiat Road.

Main Branch
358 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 427603
Open Daily 8am – 10pm
T: +65 6345 8220
F: +65 6344 8110

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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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The Best Places to Introduce Your Kids to Thai Food in Singapore

There’s something quite charming about eating Thai cuisine. In Thailand, dining is a family thing. All dishes are shared at the table at once, allowing brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers to enjoy the fragrant flavours of Thai cooking together. On the whole, Thai food relies heavily on its combination of spicy and sour flavours. Of course, there are many other ingredients that add further subtle dimensions and aromas, but Thai food is certainly considered some of the spiciest in south-east Asia. If you’re thinking of helping your children become acquainted with delicious Thai food, you’ll be pleased to know there are many fantastic Thai restaurants throughout the Lion City.

Thai J泰J花園泰式創意料理065” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by 羽諾

One major bonus for Thai over other Asian cuisines such as Chinese is that it’s easier for youngsters to eat. Traditionally, Chinese food is eaten with chopsticks, which can be somewhat off-putting for little ones that can’t get to grips – quite literally – with their new found eating devices. Meanwhile, Thai food is more often eaten with forks and spoons, with chopsticks only used to eat noodle-based soups and broths. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best family-friendly Thai restaurants in Singapore.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum” (CC BY 2.0) by kewl

Jai Thai Restaurant, Purvis Street

If you’re looking for a wide range of dining options, look no further than Jai Thai’s extensive menu offering over 100 Thai dishes. They also offer individual set menus for families that aren’t overly fussed about sharing different plates. The restaurant’s specialities include Pandan Chicken and a mesmerising Thai Green Curry that goes down perectly with a side of sticky pineapple rice.

Joe’s Kitchen, Bukit Merah Lane

As casual, laid-back Thai restaurants go, Joe’s Kitchen must be up there with the best. Established for more than a decade, Joe’s Kitchen has become a go-to eatery for families looking for authentic Thai snacks at reasonable rates. Joe and his team can also tailor the spiciness in each dish depending on the tastes of you and your bambinos. Their stuffed chicken wings are the ultimate fun Thai-style finger food!

Aroy Dee Thai Kitchen, Middle Road

Specialising in north-eastern Thai cuisine, Aroy Dee Thai Kitchen offers a great-value hawker centre-style dining experience. Lots of Singaporean and Thai families like to convene here, with their generous portions, as well as extensive starter and main options. Better still, you’re more than likely to get change from $10 per head here.

E-Sarn, Ridgewood Close

Nestled away neatly in a quiet cul-de-sac near North Buona Vista Road is the casual family-run E-Sarn Thai restaurant. At the front of house, mother Neng and son Guy are extremely accommodating when it comes to recommending dishes and adhering to requests on levels of spice. If your family are fish fiends, they’ll love tucking into the steamed sea bass, topped with toasted coconuts, lime and fried baby shrimp.

Of course, an alternative option would be let your kids experience Thai food and flavours in the comfort of you family home first. Deliveroo deliver restaurant-ready Thai food to homes across the city state. This allows your children to sample the dishes they do and don’t like without the trauma of going out to eat in a busy restaurant. Once you’re aware of their likes and dislikes, it will make ordering out at your favourite Thai joint that much easier – and cost-effective too!

As Singapore is in the same peninsular as tropical Thailand it’s unsurprising that the Lion City specialises in Thai flavours. Who knows, if your children fall in love with Thai cuisine just as much as you do, it could transform extra-special occasions in the future.

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Katong Point: Choice Cuts Goods + Coffee Lifestyle Concept Cafe

Slowly but surely, Katong Point is going to be developed into a favourite hunt for the cafe-hoppers. Located at Level 1, Choice Cuts Goods + Coffee is a lifestyle concept shop/cafe/bar that offers a relaxed DIY atmosphere to enjoy specialty coffee, craft beers, or to browse through the selection of vinyl records.

When coffee is your way of life, the specialty coffee that comes in a hand-stamped takeaway cup will make you love it from the bottom of your heart. Beneath the aroma features a blend of the finest beans from Brazil, Honduras, and Ethiopia that gatecrash their way into the menu. The cafe also offers teas from T2, organic hot chocolate, organic sodas from Melbourne Soda Co., spiced chai and matcha lattes.

Fashion isn’t just about big names. Check out the various apparel designs that suits your personal style.

Choice Cuts touts itself as a place for coffee, beers & music lovers who have a penchant for anything funk and soul inspired. Brought to you by the DJs from Matteblacc / Blaccsmith.

Like-minded folks with penchant for vintage records will surely love this.

Choice Cuts will also be serving up new breakfast items:
– peanut butter & jam, banana toast
– smashed avocado marmite cheese melt
– granola bowls: vanilla bean greek yoghurt, with choice of matcha w/ banana & blueberries or peanut butter chocolate w/ mango & blueberries
Our healthy range of artisanal baked goods from Muncha Bunch will also available:
– Chia Seed & Goji Berry Energy Bar
– Carrot Cake Turnover
– Banana Bread with Walnut & Chia Seed
– Flourless Almond Beetroot Brownie

Carrot cake muffin

Banana Walnut Chia Seed Muffins.

Chia Seed & Goji Berry Energy Bar.

Need that specialty coffee to perk up your weekend, Choice Cuts is now open at 9am.

Address: 451 Joo Chiat Road, #01-07, Katong Point, Singapore 427664

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/choicecutsgoods/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/choicecutsgoods

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Affordable Western Food You Must Try at Katong Point: STREETS OF LONDON

The Katong restaurant and cafe scene never stops to attract hungry food lovers. While there are many eateries to choose from, we would like to recommend a wallet-friendly cafe (important consideration) offering no-frills, authentic dining experience right at Katong Point.

Streets of London cafe offers a scrumptious menu that includes fresh and delicious dishes and hey, talk about Instagram worthy food!

A peek at the menu which will definitely pique your interest. The spread includes the ever popular Fish and Chips, Pasta (with seafood option), Baked Fish, Babyback Ribs, London pride IPA Chicken and many more. What a way to experience communal dining in Katong without spending a bomb.

Driven by his passion for food and cooking, Chef Thomas takes pride in delivering freshly-prepared comfort meals for customers to indulge everyday.

We thought Streets of London has a very beautiful and large interior that bodes well for a good family (kids’ friendly) and friends’ gathering, not to mention a suitable go-to-spot for the Millennial to hang out. The decor looks cosy, calm and hip to customers.

Cute miniatures all the way from London just made it hard for anyone to resist whipping their phone out to take a quick picture. For the Instagrammers, Streets of London cafe certainly meets the criteria to be one of the most instagrammed place in Katong (Joo Chiat Road).

A healthier choice – Baked Fish ($12.80).

Mid-joint wings  marinated with a touch of Green Devil IPA, an American IPA style beer (7 pc for $8).

Did we forget to mention you can enjoy fabulous food and drinks at Streets of London with no GST and no service charge? Yup, you don’t need a silver fork to enjoy great food – all at the Streets of London cafe!

STREETS OF LONDON

Address: 451 Joo Chiat Road Katong Point Mall 01-01 Singapore

Contact Info: 9754 7716 | streetsoflondon.co@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Streets-of-London-305385316190806/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/weibinthomas/

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Harbin 哈尔滨 Travelogue – (Part 3): Scoot Off to The Wintriest Harbin with Kids!

Nothing lends whimsy and mystique to a picture quite like a snowy day. Frosty weather is not uncommon in Harbin during winter. First-timers to Harbin 哈尔滨 ought to take a pause and experience the local scene in its originality. It might be 7:30am in the morning but the city had already taken a life of its own.

A Walk on the Streets

Freezing cold at -24°C. Infamous for its very cold winters, bring more clothes than you will think you will need to Harbin so that you can layer.

Food of Harbin has so many kinds of specialities around Central street and Hongbo Century Square that even if we want, we could not finish trying all of them.

 One of the best street food, the sweetness and piping hot sweet potatoes will make you fall in love with Harbin.

We explored the side alleys of Central Street and had our simple breakfast in this restaurant.

Broccoli, tofu, rice cake, egg tart and glutinous rice made up our breakfast. We were holding back from ordering more dishes so that we could reserve our stomach for other delicacies.

Guandong Ancient Lane

We met an unfriendly taxi driver who refused to alight us outside Guandong Ancient Lane, which was one of our much anticipated attraction in the itinerary. We were told to walk by ourselves which would take us about  3 mins. We read from a blog that visitors would need to pay but that wasn’t the case. Entry is FOC.

Full of traditional delicacies, Harbin Guandong ancient lane displays culture of the ‘Guandong migration’ period, which refers to the historical period when people migrated  from the central part of China to the Northeast. How majestic is this building!

Everything here is indoor. The place displays an ancient feel and there is a sense of unhurried-ness. With a myriad of different dining options and picturesque spots, this might be one of the few places in Harbin where visitors can snack and relax at the same time.

 

Many pictures taken and will let them do the talking.

Russian chocolates.

We tried peanut candies!

Dragon’s beard candy (or Chinese cotton candy) is a handmade traditional art of China. It is also a traditional Chinese sweet similar to floss halva or Cotton candy.

No idea what this is…

There is a foodcourt selling classic Chinese dishes.

A great food haunt where dishes are freshly cooked in front of you. We have to admit that they look really appetising.

What A Big Catch!

Located right beside Guandong Ancient Lane is a huge shopping mall. Our first impression was akin to The Paragon where everything would be expensive but after some exploring we thought this mall was a place for bargain hunting.

More than just fashion shops, the mall is a suitable hangout for families with kids.

Plenty of pop-up cafes to have a drink and just chill.

Located at the basement was a huge marketplace for shoppers to shop for groceries and dine.

Freshly squeezed fruit juice with cute bottles.

What a big catch! We were pleasantly surprised that we could order seafood and had them cooked on the spot for us to dine. What till we see the price 🙂

Here’s our order – a lobster (CNY50 = SGD10)

Seabass (CNY30 = SGD6)

皮皮虾 (CNY31 = SGD6)

The chef ushered us to this cosy dining area while we waited for the food.

The restaurant exhibited a homely feeling which made it a favourite place for shoppers to have a respite and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee. The decor and furnishing were contemporary and inviting.

Everything was hot and fresh! Our seafood craving was satisfied in the most economical way.

Including the cooking cost, the total bill came to CNY137.90 = SGD27.60.

Hey, did we mention our food hunting continue after savouring the seafood?

Big and Small M trying the soya bean milk.

Crispy chinese pan fried dumpling (鍋貼).

Chinese flat bread (发面饼).

Cute animal buns!

Time Kingdom

If your little ones enjoy KidZania, they will surely fall in love with Time Kingdom. Akin to KidZania theme style of play, Time Kingdom is also an interactive city made for 3 – 15 year old kids who can immerse themselves into lots of fun through realistic role-play in Harbin.

The Wintriest Harbin

Harbin 哈尔滨, which is nestled in the heart of China’s historical Manchuria region, is still a place less travelled. Apart from its freezing weather during winter, taking a walk in the back alleys allowed us to see these visually pleasing buildings that transported us to a place where time seemed to have been frozen for 40 years, a flashback to a simpler and more peaceful time.

In a mood for supper? Zhongyang Dajie 中央大街 has no lack of eatery options.

Small M was wondering why the chef had to use such a big pot to place the dish.

A thriving late-night dessert culture has taken grasp of Harbin especially among the youngsters. We were surprised that Harbin offers one of the best places to be tempted by decadent desserts.

While Small M trying in vain to search for free Wi-Fi amidst the Great “Wall” of China…

Big M knows it is still possible for a selfie.

Sweet dessert for us! It would be blasphemous to talk about cafe hopping without including them during your visit to Harbin.

We have tasted the wonders of Lapland and in our first trip to China and Harbin, this trip was nothing short of amazing. The locals are warm and approachable and Harbin is safe with a lot of securities. All thanks to Scoot introducing the direct flight to Harbin, we came and captured the raw beauty of this ‘Ice City’. Harbin 哈尔滨, we will be reunited soon!

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