China, Food, Growing Up, Harbin, Harbin Flood Control Memorial Tower 哈尔滨防洪纪念塔, Harbin Polar Land, Katong Kids Inc, Photography, Siberian Tiger Park, The Idea Box

Harbin Family Travel – What to do in Winter?

Our visit to Harbin, the renowned ‘Ice City’, located in the south of Heilongjiang Province. This city is favored with beautiful natural scenery and re-living the fond memories of our stay with little ones.

We tried the northeastern Chinese dish, otherwise known as Tie Guo Dun 铁锅顿 at Zhongyang Pedestian Street.

The ingredients of the stew are simmered to its best in this deep metal pot.

It will take a while but the finished product is rewarding.

Tasty!

Zhongyang Pedestrian Street is about 1.5km long and is always filled with festive atmosphere all year round. This is the main street where tourists would never fail to check off their bucket list.

Harbin means snow, and abundance of it!

Everywhere is considered a playground for the kids!

Street food at its best. Don’t forget to try the red sausage (hong chang), bingtang hulu (fruits on a stick, covered in toffee), and the ice cream which never melt during winter.

Zhaolin Park is located at the bank of Songhua River. In winter, the park becomes a silver world with ice and snow. As can see, the Songhua River is frozen.

Skiing in Harbin, one of the fun activities to do.

Harbin cuisine..

The Sun Island Scenic Area lies on the north bank of the Songhua River in Harbin City, where Harbin Ice and Snow Festival takes place every Jan to Mar.

Harbin Polarland is the first polar land themed park combining animal shows, polar land sights and an interactive experience into one.

Siberian Tiger Park is a big-must to visit attraction. The park is really huge where it consists of young tiger area, the mature tiger area, the king tiger area, a walking area and a platform for viewing the tigers.

Buying live prey to feed the tigers. Watching from the bus.

Keep snowing away..

The sight was surreal.

The average night temperature is -20°C and the kids were just loving it. What a rare opportunity to be soaked in such weather.

We blogged our Harbin trip here.

Harbin 哈尔滨 Travelogue – (Part 1): Holiday Inn Harbin City Centre, Zhongyang Dajie 中央大街, Euro Plaza, Mykal Mall and Saint Sophia Cathedral 圣索菲亚教堂

 

Harbin 哈尔滨 Travelogue – (Part 2): Jiuzhan Park 九站公园, Stalin Park 斯大林公园, Sun Island  (Tai Yang Dao) 太阳岛, Harbin Polar Land, Siberian Tiger Park 哈尔滨东北虎林园, Harbin Flood Control Memorial Tower 哈尔滨防洪纪念塔 and Zhongyang Dajie 中央大街

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

 

 

Cafe, Photography, Travel, Travel Blog, Traveler Wifi, Vacation, Wifi Router

Okinawa Travelogue – (Part 1): Naha Airport, Urban Monorial, Mercure Okinawa Naha, Kokusai Street and Heiwa Dori

This is our first very trip to Japan, and what a way to start off with Okinawa, a Japanese prefecture comprising in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan’s mainland. Nicknamed the Japanese Hawaii, it is not difficult to see the influence of chinese and americans on this sunny island.

Naha Airport

Thanks to Jetstar, visitors can finally get to Okinawa on a 5-hour direct flight from Singapore. The Naha Airport is very clean and neat.

As usual, we would hit the brochures rack after clearing the customs. We forgotten to bring our itinerary and the travel guides were really a life-saver.

We would be driving but not on our first day. The length of Okinawa is about 100km from North to South so driving is easy and a must to visit more attractions. However, we heard that the Monorail is very efficient and connect conveniently to Naha City. It would be a shame not to try the Monorail as a tourist.

On our way to the monorail, we were fascinated by the stores that we spent about 2 hours browsing through the lovely japanese products!

Guessed we were not the only one, there were visitors glued to the Naha airport shopee.

A must-try taro tart from Okinawa.

Okinawa Urban Monorail

The Okinawa Urban Monorail, also known as Yui Rail, is a monorail line in Naha.

We bought day-tickets valid for 24-hour where we could take limitless rides. It cost about SGD35 for 4 of us. The time will start the moment the ticket is being tapped.

The seats were kind of low but the ride was very smooth, especially with the playing of lovely music during each announcement.

Our accommodation is Mercure Okinawa Naha which is right in front of the Yui Monorail Station“Tsubogawa”.

There’s our hotel, so near!

Mercure Okinawa Naha

We booked this hotel because it was one of the cheapest we could find in Naha and it was close to the city. The hotel room was small but we decided to stay here cos’ it has a car rental counter at the hotel lobby. We could collect and return the car over here.

Rented our hybrid (which we would share more later) from DH Rental Car.

Kokusaidori Street

Kokusaidōri, literally “International Road”) is Naha‘s main street, stretching for roughly two kilometers through downtown Naha.

This is the iconic spot for photography in Naha main street, just outside the monorail station.

Look at these little children on an excursion and they were having a sing-along session.

Souvenir stores selling Okinawa goodies.

Kokusaidori is lined by restaurants, cafes and departmental stores. It is similar to the Orchard Road of Singapore. Most stores would close by 10pm.

Here is where we can find special Calbee products. The exterior is brightly-colored and instagram-worthy for many hipsters.

Okinawa is sunny and warm, so there is not a need to bring thick clothing during the summer.

This is our favourite place for meals – YUI Garden.

The food were amazing cheaper compared to the streets and the quality were superb.

We had our lunch here.

Do you find such prices in Singapore?

Heiwa Dori

Heiwa dori is a covered shopping arcade featuring many shops, supermarkets and convenience stores that sell beauty products and local snacks.

A certain allure to this picture – a life of the locals.

And we tried the local snacks…

About $1 per piece.

Small fish market at the corner.

It cost about $85 for a steamed crab. Not cheap.

But it’s the walking along the streets and exploring little alleys that makes discovering Okinawa so special.

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.

Coffee, Concubine Lane, Eat, Education, Food, Ipoh, Malaysia, The Idea Box, Thean Chun, Vacation

Ipoh Travelogue – (Part 4): Coffeeshops, Street Food and Sights

Walking around Ipoh and can’t help but fall in love with these buildings and street scene. Nevermind about some of the charming but yet crumbling architecture; they only seemed to add to the allure.

Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong, a name synonymous among the locals, where a cup of white coffee and wanton mee would fill your soul. Located next to it is Kedai Kopi Sun Yuan Foong which offers one of the best chee cheong fun in town.

Many came and testified that Restoran Ipoh Kong Heng 怡保光興茶室 serves one of the best popiah, Kai si Hor fun and egg custard in town.

It is common to find Thean Chun being packed with customers throughout the day. From shredded chicken meat with hor fun, thick beans sprouts, caramel custard to chee cheong fun, everyone will be spoiled for choices.

If you find comfort in a bowl of sumptuous pork noodles, be sure to try Restoran CY Noodle, a corner shop at 26-9, Jalan Theatre, Ipoh.

Touted as one of the top 10 must-try confectionery shops in Ipoh, Biskut Lam Fong 南方饼家 freshly served Tambon cake, horseshoe cake, salty danwei, pork lotus cake, glutinous rice cake, and other varieties of biscuits.

For a moment, one wondered whether is this still a coffeeshop?

A traditional convenience store still plying its trade in the wake of online shopping.

Located next to Concubine Lane is the 90’s Classic, a local barbershop!

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, 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.

It was about 6am and customers were already inside.

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

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.

Char siew bao.

Authentic Lo Mai Gai (糯米鸡).

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

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!

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

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.

Serving the best thick and creamy white coffee since 1937.

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

The coffee shop operates from 6am to 5pm.

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.

It’s about building and celebrating our cultural differences.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

The prices are reasonable too.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Strawberry picking where kids will fall in love with it.

Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre

What a way to spend the night exploring the Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre, which is adjoined to the WEIL Hotel.

This is the biggest and striving shopping mall in the entire Ipoh!

Address:

105, Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil Lot G25, Ground Floor, Ipoh Parade, Ipoh, Perak

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.

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.

Even till late into the night, you will never fail to see bubble tea lovers flocking to the outlets to grab their daily dose of…

refreshing bubble tea!

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

We had a hard time finding a parking lot after driving a few rounds and finally managed to find some spaces in an old estate located behind Memory Lane.

Open every Sunday morning, it is known as “Memory Lane” or fondly referred to as “Loken” or “Pasar Karat” (rustic market) by the locals.
Located in Jalan Horley, it is the place to go to for rare and secondhand items at reasonable prices.
A stall selling cold drinks, a perfect respite from the blazing sun!
The life of the locals. The kids enjoying their self-invented game while the folks working hard for better days ahead.
Cute tote bags with different themes and designs going at RM10 each.
Yes, we remembered these old school, childlike games that will not break the bank.
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.
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.

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.

And kids could entertain themselves feeding the ever hungry fishes.

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.

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.

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

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.

We came across the locals fishing along the river outside Kellie’s Castle!

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.

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

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.

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

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

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!

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.

The menu for your archive when you visit Ipoh.

Yummy!

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.

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.

Address:

64 & 66 Jalan Mustapha Al-BakriIpoh 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.

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

Where cables were going for as cheap as RM1 each.

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.

Another version..

I finally settled for this stall.

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

My order.

All these for RM21!

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.

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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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Traditional Nyonya Food – Peranakan Inn @ East Coast Road

The Peranakan Inn Restaurant located at East Coast Road.

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.

 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.

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

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.

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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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.

9/11 Tribute Museum, America, Big Apple, Brooklyn Bridge, Bryant Park, Cafe, Christmas, Christmas Markets, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Education, Ellis Island, Food, Katong Kids Inc, Kids Activities, Photography, Playground, Review, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Times Squarwe, Travel Blog

New York Travelogue – (Part 2): Brooklyn Bridge, Charging Bull, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Washington Square, Times Square and Bryant Park

Our stay in New York City – Club Quarters Hotel at the World Trade Center. Beautiful view of the city’s skyscrapers at the skydeck. The hotel’s snack bar has unlimited flow of canned soft drinks, coffee, nuts and snacks for guests.

The hotel was located near to the 9/11 Memorial and the vicinity was not as congested with human crowds as Times Square. The skydeck overlooking the reflecting pools.

And so we took a 3km walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City. It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning the East River.

Popular pop-up food stalls in New York City.

The kids soaking themselves in the sights and culture on each stop.

Travelling to New York on a budget. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip if you kno whow to avoid paying too much money. Avoid pop up stalls selling simple food we thought it was expensive. Instead of signing up for guided walking tours, we thought it would be better to explore by ourselves using google maps.

At the start of the bridge walk. The bridge is a quite popular tourist attraction the best time to be here is early in the morning so that we can avoid the crowds later in the day.

There was a bike lane at the bridge in which a steady steam of cyclists never fails to utilise that lane. We were blessed that the weather was about 15 degrees else we would be sweating by the time we finished our walk.

This is the best place to catch sunrise and sunset. Photo-taking was a challenge as the crowds began to build. We chanced upon a camera team recording MTV.

Just to note that the pedestrain walk is made of wood. Reality is often different from what you see from social media where tourists dressed in tip-top costumes and high heels just for sake of taking the insta-worthy pictures. Hope the heels did not get stuck! We would suggest to forgo vanity for practicality when walking the Brooklyn Bridge.

Charging Bull, which is sometimes referred to as the Wall Street Bull or the Bowling Green Bull, is a bronze sculpture that stands in Bowling Green in the Financial District in Manhattan, New York City. It is the symbol of the US Stock Market.

The jetty was a short walk from the Charging Bull. With the tickets we purchased from 9/11 Museum, we would be taking ferry to the Liberty Island.

It was freezing cold! Visitors could opt to sit at the balcony or the sheltered basement.

Getting closer to the Statue of Liberty..

It was not a wasted trip. We thought of the possiblity of viewing Statue of Liberty from the mainland but decided to pay a visit to the island. It wasn’t expensive and by getting near here would mean we could take decent pictures.

It was also a perfect place to view the Big Apple from another angle.

To our pleasant surprise, we did not know that our tickets also included a visit to the Ellis Island. The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is located in the Main Building of the former immigration station complex and tells the moving tales of the 12 million immigrants who entered America through the golden door of Ellis Island. Today, the descendants of those immigrants account for almost half of the American people.

We learned about the history of early immigrants. Actually we were not big fans of museums.

Once we returned to the mainland, we hopped onto the subway to Washington Park.

This place was basically an outskirt from the busyness of the city. Not much attractions but it would be a charming place to immerse ourselves with the life of locals.

And we were being interviewed by the college students who were doing a social experiment.

We tried McDonald’s 🙂

Some said NYC is a city of endless possibilities. We were amazed upon reaching Times Square. It was so beautiful!

Located in the heart of New York City, Times Square is home to some of the most famous attractions New York has to offer.

We were just trying to find sweet spots for photo-taking.

Exploring the stores.

Macy’s Herald Square is the flagship of the Macy’s department store chain; it is located on Herald Square in Manhattan, New York City.

Big M got what she has been looking forward to.

Amazon Books located on 34th Street (Manhattan).

The prices were not cheaper than online. In fact they were priced the same.

The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. We did not go up as that would mean paying for expensive tickets.

Located in Midtown Manhattan between 7th and 8th Avenues from 31st to 33rd Streets, the Madison Square Garden is situated atop Pennsylvania Station. If one were to wonder why it is so famous, this is the home ground of the famous New York Knicks.

Up next is the Bryant Park. Surrounded by skyscrappers, Bryant Park is Bryant Park is visited many people each year and is one of the busiest public spaces in NYC.

The ice skating rink would come to life during Christmas. What an atmosphere!

There’s no better place to chill out other than Bryant Park.

Next to the Bryant Park was the Whole Foods Market which offered a full range of high-quality and natural food. It is overlooking the beautiful Bryant Park and the New York Public Library.

At 43,000 square feet, the store has two levels of retail space that will host a full range of high-quality natural and organic goods, as well as the “News Agency,” a coffee and juice bar, which will pay homage to the look and feel of the city’s classic newsstands. Here’s our order. Microwave ovens were provided for diners to warm up their food.

We love the Big Apple!

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London Travelogue – (Part 5): Stevenage and Emirates Stadium

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, everything’s $1!

A haven for shopping.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.