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Habitat by Honestbee: Uniquely Shopping and Dining Experience for Family

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

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

Potted plants for sale after entering Habitat.

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

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

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

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

Cute cup noodles from Korea and Japan.

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

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

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

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

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

Milk Made: Frozen shakes & bakes.

Tiger Beer battered fish & chips.

Crumble Vairhona Chocolate.

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

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

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

We have a soft spot for fresh bakes.

Free tasting at the Lazy Loaf counter.

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

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

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

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

At the collection point, served by robot courier!

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

Address: 34 Boon Leat Terrace S(119866)

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

MRT: Labrador Park, Pasir Panjang

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Old Siglap Flats: Goodbye Yesterday, Hello Tomorrow

Four blocks of low-rise HDB flats (pictured) at the junction of East Coast Road and Siglap Road are set to be demolished under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).

Officially opened in 1964 by Siglap assemblyman Rahim Ishak, the flats were built to house residents whose homes were destroyed by a fire in 1962. It was learnt that  the fire was sparked by firecrackers near the then-famous Siglap Market (now rebuilt into Siglap Centre) during the Chinese New Year celebrations of 1962.

Capturing the photographic memories before the estate is demolished to make way for new development.

One of the ten commercial shops that once, used to serve many residents here. This traditional barber shop had operated for more than 40 years.

There are a total of four blocks which are made up entirely of two-bedroom units. Do you know that these HDB blocks have no lifts and each block is only served by a single staircase.

Most of the 117 units are two-bedders, with a third comprising rental flats.

Walking in, you will notice a neighbourhood preschool. The little ones who had attended the school would have been grown up by now.

Searching high and low for some outdoor activities to motivate your kids? Surprised to discover an outdoor playground, still in good condition, at the back of the estate.

With the advent of modernisation, the old Siglap HDB flats and its decaying surroundings have not escaped from the throes of urban redevelopment. Being a popular residential location, it looks like construction will continue to take place in Siglap, building onto its existing popularity. This trip has been fruitful, bringing back these precious pictures to archive in my photo library.

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Family Friendly Activities: Explore Qian Hu Fish Farm

This was our first trip to Qian Hu Fish Farm at the far west of Singapore. This place offers a beautiful, rustic feel that provides a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. When we arrived, there were many families here to get an insight into farm life and have some fun.

If you are not aware, Qian Hu is an integrated “one-stop” ornamental fish service provider where fish lovers  can buy ornamental fish as well as aquarium accessories.

The sound of air bubbles and sight of fishes have such therapeutic effect where it makes one feel happier just by gazing at these ‘water friends’.

Qian Hu Fish Farm also provides group tours as well which you can check out here.

Reminisce the good old kampong days.  Remember when families got together and children were out playing and enjoyed netting fishes from the canals and streams?  Bring your kids down to Qian Hu and let them experience the same excitement and joy of catching their own fishes, bringing them home and caring for them.

Longkang fishing over here for your little ones? A fun activity for families and children where kiddos sprint into action to scoop fishes from simple fishing nets.

Catch of the day! These fishes are live-bearers.

For those who are interested to buy some fishes back, head into the Fish Gallery.

Stacks and stacks of ornamental fishes displayed neatly along the aisles.

Beautiful albino guppies!

Different varieties of cichlid fishes.

Betta corner. A good choice for those who do not want the hassle of setting up fish tank and filtration system.

Bettas, also known as “Siamese fighting fish”, are popular pets recognized for their aggressiveness, interactivity, and low cost for care and maintenance. You do not need air pump to maintain them. They are sturdy and beautiful to look at. The better grades do not come cheap though.

Open-net fish farms.

Clumsy-looking Ranchu Goldfish is popular throughout the world. It originated in China and was further developed in Japan in the late 1800s. With its round, broad body and large bulbous head, it is also known as the Buffalo-head Goldfish, especially in Asia.

Little corners for families and kids to chill out.

Qian Hu Fish Farm Trading
仟湖鱼场贸易 

71, Jalan Lekar, Sungei Tengah
Singapore 698950
Tel: 65-6766 7087 (10 Lines)
Fax: 65-6766 3995
Contact: Andy Yap
Email: fishexport@qianhu.com 
Website : www.qianhufish.com

 

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Your Guide To The Balearic Islands

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

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

Ibiza

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

Mallorca

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

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

Menorca

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

Formentera

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

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

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7 Cool Things to Do with Your Girlfriend in Singapore

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

1. Look to the Future

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

Image Credit: Great Eastern

2. Relax on the Beach

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

Image Credit: tanjongbeachclub.com

3. Update your Wardrobe

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

Image Credit: tripadvisor.jp

4. Shake the Paw of the Lemur

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

Image Credit: visitsingapore.com

5. Take a Photo on the Edge of the Abyss

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

Image Credit: dailymail.co.uk

6. Look at Singapore from a Height

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

7. Try “Star” Noodles on the Street

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

Image Credit: tripadvisor.com

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Explore Singapore: Experience Nature and Heritage in Pulau Ubin

Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle? Try exploring Pulau Ubin, an island northeast of mainland Singapore. A one-way boat fare cost $3 per person and it takes about 15 minutes to reach the beautiful island.

Visitors are greeted by the tranquil island offering untouched nature. Take a pause and keep a lookout for wildlife in the mangroves.

A must-do activity in Pulau Ubin is to rent a bicycle and get off the beaten track to enjoy the views of traditional kampong villages, nature trails that weave through old rubber plantations and discover the island’s mangroves. It is not uncommon to encounter abundant wildlife like jellyfish, kingfishers and sometimes, even pink dolphins!

House 363B has a rich historic background and it was owned by Mr Chew Teck Seng, a local provision shop owner from 1970 to 2005.

The house has since been conserved and refurbished as a model Chinese kampong house. The original architecture was retained and minimal changes were made to conserve its rustic charm. The house now serves as an immersive “museum” that takes guests back in time to life on Pulau Ubin during the 1970s. Many items in the house, including furniture, appliances, kitchen utensils and photograph were donated by past and residents, as well as friends of Pulau Ubin.

Those who are interested to take a look at this house will be pleased to know that it will be open on the 2nd and 4th weekend of the month and public holidays, from 10.00am – 2.00pm. Teck Seng’s Place is currently one of the highlights in NParks’ Kampung Tour, held on every third Saturday of the month.

We took a walk along the Sensory Trail. If the scorching heat is not a show-stopper, you should take a walk through the backyard planting of the Pulau Ubin village home where nature-lovers will love to see tropical fruits trees of different varieties. It takes about 1 hour to complete the trail.

Related image
Image Credit – Habitatnews – NUS

Some kampong houses may look dated but they still retain their rustic charm. It was learnt that the National Parks Board (NParks) will be restoring kampong houses on Pulau Ubin to their former glory.

The first of its kind in Singapore, Ubin Fruit Orchard is a one-hectare site that showcases fruits such as rambutan, lychee, logan and others.

Further into the island, visitors get to see kingfishers, magpies and native birds inhabiting along the mangroves of the Chek Jawa Wetlands. Travelers to Singapore, mark Pulau Ubin down during your visit!

From National Parks Board.

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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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