Black Sesame Paste, Canton Tower, Chimelong Paradise, China, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Food, Katong Kids Inc, Photography, Playground, Ruxuan Seafood Congee, Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street

Guangzhou Travelogue – (Part 3): Chimelong Paradise, Canton Tower, Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street Black Sesame Paste and Ruxuan Seafood Congee

Wrapping up our stay in Guangzhou. Today we brought Big and Small M to Guangzhou Chimelong (长隆) Paradise which is one of Guangzhou’s top tourist attraction.

Chimelong Paradise

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We chose a weekday to avoid the crowd and it was a good move!

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The park wasn’t the scale of Disneyland and we thought the some of the rides were too kiddish for us. To maximise our time, we took repeated rides for some of the thrilling stations.

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And they had fun!

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We thought if you’re not hard up to visit an amusement park, probably you can give it a miss. It cost about SGD50 per pax which is quite pricey for the quality of the rides inside.

Guangzhou Chimelong Tourist Resort is mainly composed of Chimelong Paradise, the Xiangjiang Safari Park, the Water Park, the International Circus, the Crocopark, and the Golf Center.

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Canton Tower

The Canton Tower stands at the intersection of Guangzhou’s new urban central and the Pearl River scenery zone. It is the tallest TV tower in the world with a total height of 600m. The bubble tram on top of the tower is a must do as you will experience the best views of the city from there.

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Having a meal at Canton Tower!

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Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street

On our last night, we explored the other side of Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street and found one of the best black sesame paste (芝麻糊).

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Zhi ma hu is grounded black sesame seeds made into a sweet pasty dessert. Drawing onlookers.

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Customers can mix different flavours into the same bowl without charging extra price.

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The street is filled with many eateries…

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We love this place! The street is vibrant, cool and happening. Well worth a visit when in Guangzhou.

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Ruxuan Seafood Congee

This restaurant is famous for the seafood congee served in clay pot. Ruxuan is a Guangzhou based chain, and serves Cantonese congee and other Guangdong style dishes.

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We had one of the best meals here in Guangzhou before leaving for Shenzhen.

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Alipay International Version, Baiyun International Airport, China, Guangzhou, Photography, Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street, Shopping, Singapore blogs, Singapore Parent Blogger, Singapore Travel Blog, The Idea Box, Travel, Travel Blog, Vacation

Guangzhou Travelogue – (Part 1): ICC SIM Card, Baiyun International Airport, Alipay International Version, Dim Sum Spot and Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street

In deciding to explore other parts of China, we chose Guangzhou and Shenzhen this time round.

Guangzhou is also known as Canton and is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong. Before the trip, we purchased SIM cards from Qoo10. Note that ICC Cards allow us to avoid the “firewall of China”.

Buy ICC Card from Qoo10

We only need to plug-and-play the SIM cards into our mobile phones upon arrival at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and we are ready to go. You can use in Hong Kong and Macau too.

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Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

Adorable children having an excursion at the airport!

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Guangzhou Metro is located within the airport. Look at how the airport interiors are beautifully furnished.

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Guangzhou is conveniently connected by metro so we would not need to take any taxi. We felt it’s more worthwhile to buy one-trip tickets instead of 3-day pass which cost us RM50 per pax.

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Use Alipay Tour Pass from now on

Our first time using Alipay International e-wallet and all goes well!

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This is the metro “card” or token.

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Remember to download Guangzhou Metro Map app.

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Our Airbnb is located near the Chen Clan Academy Station which is a metro station on Line 1.

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The hassle of staying at Airbnb. The host will only inform the location upon arrival so we need some time to locate the place.

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A street peddler selling novels. For a moment, we thought the novels looked like “wu ling mi ji“..

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A shame not trying the food at this restaurant. It was jam-packed throughout the day. Look at the queue outside!

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Our Airbnb

So, this is our Airbnb building.

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This will be our abode for the next few days. The place is not so fantastic – weak / non-existent wifi, dusty and water heater not working well.

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But hey, we are staying next to a shopping mall!

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The place was bustling with activities early in the morning.

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One of our favourite bakery where we bought egg tarts every day.

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Yummy egg tarts for breakfast and supper. Only SGD1 per box of 4!

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Guangzhou Dim Sum is just thumbs up

It was said that the modern form of dim sum is believed to originate in Guangzhou (or Canton) and later transmit southward to Hong Kong. So we are at the right place to taste one of the best dim sum.

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Dim Sum in Guangzhou is cheap when compared to Singapore or Hong Kong. Per steamer basket is about SGD2 as compared to SG of about $3.50.

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We actually over-ordered. Did not expect the steamer basket to be “JUMBO” size…next time we will be aware.

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Here is our order. We spent over an hour trying to finish the food to fill up our small tummies.

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One do not need to pay an astronomical sum for good food. Here in Guangzhou dim sum food-hunting is one of the best finds.

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Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street is the place to go

We did our research before the trip. It seems everyone was raving about shopping in Beijing Road. We discovered that Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street is much better in terms of price and variety.

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Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street, or simply as Shangxiajiu, is a commercial pedestrian street in Liwan District, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.

Promoting mobile phones and attracting street onlookers to have a time of e-game!

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Yummy taro pie from McDonald’s.

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This street is awesome to find clothing stores, snacks and restaurants. The stretch of Shangxiajiu is more than 800 meters long and you can see many Lingnan style balcony buildings here.

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Many tourists here all the year round finding cheap buys.

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When night falls, the street comes alive.

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There are many traditional snacks of Guangzhou for us to taste.

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Blue Seal Ice Park, Eat, Education, Food, Japan, Katong Kids Inc, Kids Activities, Kokusaidori, Okinawa, Orion Happy Park, The Idea Box, Travel, Travel Blog, Traveler Wifi, Urasoe Park, Vacation, Wifi Router

Okinawa Travelogue – (Part 6): Urasoe Park, Blue Seal Ice Park, Orion Happy Park and Kokusaidori Yataimura

The Urasoe Park has arguably the longest slide in Okinawa. Every kid who visited the place will definitely fall in love with the amazing slide that takes about over a minute to complete.

Urasoe Park

The speed was limited by rollers and we wished we could go faster. But nevermind, the fun part could not be taken away.

It does look fun and thrilling. Something that we can’t find back at home but a word of warning that too long a slide could hurt the buttocks.

Just a short drive up from Urasoe Park is another playground where kids can indulge in flying foxes and long slide, again!

Fun, fun and endless fun…

Address: 115-1 Iso, Urasoe, Okinawa 901-2132, Japan

Blue Seal Ice Park

Blue Seal Ice Cream originates in Okinawa and has now branches all over Japan. Beside selling yummy delicious ice cream and Japanese style crepes, we discovered that it allows visitors to join in ice cream making workshop.

The blue seal ice park is where you can experience making your own original popsicle. It’s a popular tourist destination close to Naha-city.

Beside ice cream making, they also provide soft serve for us.

Address: Japan, 〒901-2300 Okinawa, Nakagami District, Kitanakagusuku, アワセ土地区画整理事業区域内4街区

Orion Happy Park

We don’t fancy beer but it is still a good experience to watch how delicious Orion beer is made at Orion Happy Park.

The tour is free and starts every 20 minutes. We get the chance to enter the beer production site to see the manufacturing process.

Beer tasting is part of the take away.

Address: 2 Chome-2-1 Agarie, Nago, Okinawa 905-0021, Japan

Kokusaidori Yataimura

Kokusaidori Yataimura, otherwise known as Kokusai Street Food Village, is the must-go-to place to taste Okinawa’s authentic dishes.

At our final evening in Naha, we walked down the main shopping street Kokusaidori. The Yatai Mura has a nice atmosphere at night with all the lights and lanterns.

Several food outlets offering not too pricy food selections. Array of kanji characters scrawled across chalkboard signs and restaurant menus.

Kokusai Street paved the way for the revitalization of Naha as a cosmopolitan blend of different cultures and backgrounds.

Any reasons to love Okinawa? We found plenty of them.

Address: 3 Chome-11-16,17 Makishi, Naha, Okinawa 900-0013, Japan

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Road Safety Community Park at East Coast

The Road Safety Community Park is open to the public. Apart from imparting traffic rules and safety through role play to children, it also brings fond memories to those from earlier generations.

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Since its early beginnings in the 1950s and then after its refurbishment in 1981, the Road Safety Park has taught us how to be safe road users.

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The Road Safety Community Park has has lost much of its lustre but still, it exudes charm from the yesteryear.

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This is the place where we were taught the importance of following traffic rules in Singapore and what precautions to take before crossing the roads.

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And what follows are the mini SHELL service station..

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Bike Air Pump station where cyclists can take a breather and pump their bicycles’ tyres.

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Reading road signs and knowing the rights of a pedestrian are inevitably one of the important lessons of life.

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The VICOM Inspection Centre.

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A beautiful weather and what a way to relive our childhood!

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America, Big Sur, Blogger, California Academy of Sciences, Christmas, Christmas Markets, Education, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Growing Up, Katong Kids Inc, Monterey, Parenting, Photography, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Singapore blogs, Singapore Parent Blogger, Singapore Travel Blog, Solvang, Stanford University, Travel, Travel Blog, Traveler Wifi, Vacation, Wifi Router

California Travelogue – (Part 4): Golden Gate Park, California Academy of Sciences, Facebook, Googleplex, Stanford University, Big Sur and Solvang Village

Time passes so fast, it would have been a year before we complete our US travelogue. We had a magical experience visiting the Golden Gate Bridge the day before.

And we were ready to leave San Francisco, but not before collecting our rental car.

We had 5 pieces of luggage and were told that we had to take a Buick Enclave to fit our family inside..

Wasting no time after the car collection, we hit the Golden Gate Park.

The San Francisco Botanical Garden is a living museum within Golden Gate Park where it houses landscaped gardens containing over 8,500 different kinds of plants from around the world.

A short distance away is the California Academy of Sciences. We heard that it’s a must to check out this discovery centre as by far, it’s an educational experience that every kid will never forget.

The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park has three combined attractions where we could explore the aquarium, planetarium, and a natural history museum.

Our first time seeing a white alligator, one of the rarest in the world!

There was a school excursion and many curious kids are here at the rainforest exhibit.

The building just offers endless fun! We spent about 2 hours here which was rather short before hitting the road.

We drove along the Pacific Coast Highland where there are 13 incredible stops on your visit to California. Well, we tried our best but it was challenging to visit every single attractions.

We stopped by Silicon Valley to visit Facebook Headquarters and Googleplex.

Continue our journey and checked Stanford University.

Hit the road again..

We passed by Santa Cruz, Monterey and on our way to Big Sur, cattle feeding on the hills.

Taking a breather and had our lunch before moving to our next accommodation.

Finally arrived at our Airbnb!

The landlord provided instruction how to retrieve the keys.

A big house where we stayed together with the landlord.

The next day, we hit the road again (as usual) where we covered about 450km per day.

Stopped at rest points to have our meals.

After driving about 300km, we finally reached Denmark. Did we hear correctly? More than a 100 years ago, a group of Danes settled in a corner of this idyllic place.

The beautiful Solvang is a city in Santa Barbara County, California. This charming Danish village is nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley that looks and smells like Christmas year-round.

Every spot is so tempting for us to pause by to take photos.

Yummy! We were seized by the delicious scent of freshly-baked pastries.

Small M was thrilled to see the famous windmill!

Solvang town where visitors will see all kinds of shops and bakeries, as well as windmills, which everyone loves.

Just one of their growing up years.

It was a perfect day to sit out and map out our Solvang plans for the day.

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Golden Gate Bridge, Photography, San Francisco, United States

California Travelogue – (Part 3): Golden Gate Bridge

One of the best highlights of our trip to west coastwas the visit to the Golden Gate Bridge, an iconic structure connecting the city of San Francisco to Marin County, California.

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The seafloor features including large sand waves and rock pinnacles.

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A stroll down the bridge can get pretty busy and touristy during the day. We just need to be patient to get the perspective shots we need.

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And this makes her a really happy girl.

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The Golden Gate Bridge is known as the engineering feat and iconic of so many aspects of American culture and history.

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We were glad to carve out the time to pay this iconic site a visit. For both, they finally made a mark on this special spot in San Francisco.

 

 

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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.

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

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

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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.

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Harbin means snow, and abundance of it!

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Everywhere is considered a playground for the kids!

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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.

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The Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom of God or Saint Sophia Cathedral in Harbin is a former Russian Orthodox church located in the central district of Daoli, Harbin City, Heilongjiang, China.

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Harbin cuisine..

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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!

 

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Cape Chinen, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Education, Food, Japan, Okinawa World

Okinawa Travelogue – (Part 4): Cape Chinen, Okinawa World, Gyokusendo Cave and Lieta Nakayama

Okinawa is famous for its capes. We drove up to explore Cape Chinen, a well-known beauty spot in Okinawa which is located in the southern area of the main island of Okinawa.

Passed by lovely little villages.

Cape Chinen

Common to find free parking.

It can get very windy when visiting outdoor attractions in Okinawa.

Visitors can choose to walk further up to enjoy the beauty of nature.

It started to drizzle again and we decided to stay under the shelter.

Make a stop at Cape Chinen Park and observe panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. When comes to the night, it makes a clear spot for stargazing.

Okinawa World

Okinawa World (おきなわワールド) is a touristy theme park about Okinawan culture. The park’s main attractions are a massive natural cave, a craft village and a snake museum.

Okinawa World consists of Kingdom Village, Habu Park and Gyokusendo Cave. Expect to spend about 3 hours to discover the entire attractions.

Much attention was given to the Gyokusendo Cave as we arrived rather late. With a length of about 5km, this is the longest of the many caves in the south of Okinawa Island and the second longest cave in the entire country.

The cave is well-lit and cooling.

A natural museum beautifully carved over 300,000 years. Ceiling of the spears.

The blue fountain.

Within Okinawa World, we also explored the Kingdom Village and tropical orchards.

There are some 450 tropical trees that bear 100 types of fruits like mango, papaya, pineapple and such.

At the Craft Village, take a look on how the locals recycle empty bottles and transform them into charming Ryukyuan glass.

Walk a further in and we saw the Ryukyuan photo museum. Photo-taking in traditional clothing is popular among tourists. Recall that in the past, only royalty and the gentry wore them.

They loved it!

Lastly, the Nanto Brewery opened our eyes to see how they made habu snake liquor.

We had our dinner at the Food Market..

To stroll the tempting displays of food selection is to embrace Okinawa’s food culture.

We really like the way shopping malls put up these cooked food for customers to buy. The best part was the reasonable prices as one can see.

A microwave oven is placed near the cashier for us to warm up the food.

And this was how we settled our hunger pangs.

You need to pay toll fees when driving through Okinawa expressway. In fact, it cost more paying toll fees than petrol during the trip.

How not to make a pit stop when A&W appears.

Big and Small M are fans of American food!

We moved to our second hotel stay at Leita Nakayama. We booked this hotel as it is near to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and not expensive.

It was a pleasant surprise that the hotel room was really big and we didn’t realise.

It comes with 2 bathrooms, 2 toilets, 1 bedroom with 2 beds and a living room. Washing machine, dryer, fridge, microwave oven and cutlery are provided.

This is the beautiful view from the hotel’s balcony.

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Okinawa Travelogue – (Part 3): Tsuboya Pottery District, Shuri Castle, Umikaji Terrace and American Village

It is more convenient to travel around Okinawa by driving. It was raining most of the time but we didn’t forgo visiting Tsuboya Pottery District.

Tsuboya Pottery District

Traditional houses with red earthenware roof tiles, accompanied by ceramic studios and stores.

Cute little huts showcasing one-of-a-kind mugs, plates, and pitchers.

Shuri Castle

We visited Shuri Castle on our next stop. Shuri is the name of the former capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Shuri Castle (首里城, Shurijō) served as the residence of the Ryukyu kings for several centuries until Okinawa became a Japanese prefecture in 1879.

The place was huge and expect lots of walking.

The castle interior is very clean and visitors are required to take off their shoes (carriers are provided). Interiors of the Hokuden and Nanden are constructed like modern museums.

A replica of the king’s throne and crown are among the exhibits.

Traditional Japanese dance by the boys.

And we tried the traditional snacks!

The most famous and popular dessert in Okinawa is the Blue Seal Ice Cream.

Big and Small M satisfied their cravings after completing the tour of Shuri castle.

Umikaji Terrace

The Umikaji terrace is situated on a hill below the Senagajima onsen Hotel. This place has the romantic feel as planes flew above us while we sight the beautiful sea view right in front of us.

A tiring climb up the flights of stairs to the peak and discover the beautiful views.

The terrace is close to the beach and the sea waters are generally mild and peaceful for one to explore the area.

The waters of Okinawa are so clear!

Tacos restaurants, ice cream shops and cafes literally packed the terrace.

Greece and Mediterranean vibes, that’s what everyone acclaimed after a visit to the Umikaji Terrace.

Umikaji Terrace

We drove further up north and reached the Mihama American Village, which is a large entertainment complex located in central Okinawa. Actually the American Village is not so fantastic but we supposed it is still a need-to-check-out attraction.

There is this Ramen shop outside the American Village and many diners flock to eat here.

Their ramen was one of the best we ever tried!

Our tasty orders, look at the thick broth.

The most recognizable feature of the American Village is the large Ferris wheel.

The shopping mall is not huge but there is this 100 Yen shop which is a nice store to find good items.

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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.

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