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Making the Most of a Short City Break

City breaks are a brilliant way to see more of the world. A short city break can be much cheaper than a long holiday, you’ll also need less spending money and less time off work, and because flights are so readily available now, you can get to many places within just a few hours travel time. If you’ve got kids or other responsibilites and commitments, a short city break is a chance to get away on your own, with friends or your partner without having to take time out or drag your family across the world.

A short city break is a perfect chance to explore a new location, hitting museums, restaurants and galleries, taking in some of the cultures and having a bit of a blow-out. But, one problem people often find with city breaks is that they just don’t have enough time to fit it all in. When you are visiting one oft he best cities in the world, you can easily come up with a list of things to do, that’s longer than both of your arms and legs. There are museums, galleries, restaurants, bars, zoos, farms, clubs, theme parks, and there’s architecture to admire and parks to take in. People live in these cities full time and still don’t manage to take everything in, yet you are trying to do it all in a couple of days. Many of us return home with plans to return in the future to tick off more of our to-do list.

So, how do you get more out of your stay? How do you manage to do as much as you can, so that you can return home feeling satisfied and fulfilled?

Image Credit – https://unsplash.com/photos/mpzFnoQCwWU

Research Online

If you are only staying somewhere for a few days, you don’t want to spend one of them finding your feet and finding out more about what there is to see and do. You want to go armed with this information. So, as soon as you book your trip, or even before, start researching your destination. Old fashioned travel guides are excellent, and still have their advantages, mainly that you can travel with them. But, nothing beats online research for up-to-date information. Check out the most popular attractions at your destination, but also look for those smaller venues and attractions that the locals love, but tourists don’t know about. Learn some necessary language skills, understand the currency and learn about your public transport options.

Prioritise

Once you’ve started your research, you need to start writing a list of things that you’d like to do. While it would be great to do it all, it’s important to realise that you might not be able to fit it all in confortably, and the last thing you want is to find yourself running around, not getting to fully appreciate the places you visit because you need to rush off to your next spot almost as soon as you get there.

So, prioritise your to-do list. Write the things that you are desperate to see or do, those things that you couldn’t bear to miss, at the top and make sure you fit them in. See anything else as a welcome bonus.

Book in Advance

Booking tours like one from The Paris Guy, as well as tickets to events and attractions online before you travel, can be an excellent way of saving time and money. Tickets purchased online are often cheaper, and you’ll save time queuing. It also means that you know you’ll do these things, which can help you plan and prepare.

If you don’t know your destination well, a tour can be a fantastic way to see lots of sights quickly. You might find some that you’d like to go back to in the future.

Leave Room for Change

Planning and organising your time is brilliant. It can save you time, help you to fit more in, and ensure that you get to see those things that you really don’t want to miss. But, too much structure could be a bad thing. It’s important that you also leave room to be spontaneous. So that if you see something that you fancy while you are exploring, you’ve got time to go. Try to see your plans as more of a guide that you can be flexible with. Don’t end up missing out on something that you could love, just because you feel tied down to a plan.

Take a Break

When there’s so much to do and see, and you are only away for a couple of days, the idea of taking a break and getting some rest might not seem very productive. But, sometimes, it’s what you need. When you work hard at home, you need to get some rest on your days off to avoid burnout and stress. It will also help you to do more. Give yourself an afternoon to relax. Sit in a coffee shop, read a book and enjoy a coffee and you’ll feel better. Your energy levels will be raised, and you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of your time.

Get Plenty of Sleep

It can be tempting to stay up late into the night enjoying the nightlife of your destination, and if that’s how you want to spend yout time, go for it. But, if you’d prefer to make the most of your days and fit more in, get to bed early and get a good nights sleep. Then, get up early, enjoy your breakfast and start your day. Remember, there is more open in the mornings than at night.

Eat Well

Image Credit – https://unsplash.com/photos/oAYlDfiZcJ0

If you want to spend your time on the go fitting lots in, it’s essential that you take care of yourself. As well as getting lots of sleep and some rest, you should be careful about what you eat. Introducing too many different foods quickly can cause illnesses, and fatty and greasy foods can leave you feeling fatigued and sluggish. Instead, opt for healthy and filling meals with slow-release energy that will keep you going. You should also take a bottle of water out with you when you go out and keep stocked up on healthy, energy-boosting snacks.

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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.

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

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

You Find Out What You Are Made Of

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

You Develop Your Confidence

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

You Can Start Again

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

You Learn New Skills

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

You Will Feel A Great Achievement in Life

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

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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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Road Trip: Pacific Coast Highway

It is not often we can get a chance to be across the globe. As evidenced by the beautiful scenic pictures that keep cropping up in our trip planning, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) promises unique landscapes and plenty of places to stop and explore. However, we are still toying with the idea of whether to take a domestic flight or drive along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

The distance stretches up to 800 km and it does not seem possible to complete the route within a day without exploration.

A tad daunting, perhaps.

An initial thought was making interval stops before hitting Los Angeles (LA). That means shortening the time we have in LA, an itinerary that we felt are not conventional to many travellers as they prefer to spend more time in LA with the availability of amusement parks. After some research, it seems hard to miss out attractions along PCH.

All thanks to Outdoor Blueprint, they made trip planning easier with these attractions laid out neatly.

SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

MONTEREY BAY

Monterey Bay Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

BIG SUR (Limekiln State Park)

Limekiln Big Sur 26
Image Credit – https://californiathroughmylens.com/big-sur-attractions

Big Sur Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

SAN LUIS OBISPO

San Luis Obispo Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

 

POINT CONCEPTION (The Santa Barbara Channel)

Image Credit – https://exoticwinetravel.com/santa-barbara-urban-wine-trail/

Point Conception Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

If you have driven across Pacific Coast Highway before, do feel free to share your travel hacks.

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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.

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D’BUN 利满: CAFE@356 in Joo Chiat

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHAN2 (1)

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

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

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

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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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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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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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Insta-worthy #BEACHPLACE across South-East Asia

South-East Asia is known for countries that are rich in traditional cultures, amazing, extremely delicious food, great people and a whole lot of picturesque settings. Not only are these places totally affordable, visiting these countries will surely change the way you look at life. So, going back to my title, check out these totally insta-worthy beautiful beaches where you can get all the #vitaminsea that you need.

1. Rai Leh, Thailand

Rai Leh or also commonly known as Raileu is one of the most beautiful beaches in Krabi, Thailand. If you’ve even come across Krabi on a postcard or in any images, Rai Leh is the exact beach that you are looking at. It is the ultimate Andaman gym for rock-climbing fanatics as the limestone formations here are what they would call a dream come true. Let the waves wash away your stress on this beautiful, broad strip of white sandy beach that is perfectly framed by massive cliffs each end of the beach.

Image Credit: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/

2. Dreamland Beach, Bali

This once-hidden paradise that is located on the Bukit Peninsula was first ‘discovered’ around the 1970’s and has since become a popular destination for surfers all over the place thanks to its great shore breaks. Though it has grown to be so popular in the last 40 years with new, luxury hotels sprouting up, this beautiful island has retained its hang-ten vibe with small shops and beach shack cafe’s that promotes total relaxation.

Image Credit: http://www.bali-indonesia.com

3. Nha Trang, Vietnam

Surrounded by a necklace of hills, not forgetting the picturesque stretch of beautiful coastline with white sandy beaches and clear waters with an abundance of marine life and thriving reefs. Nha Trang is konwn as the Riviera of South China Sea not only because of its beautiful beach, but also because of this island offering a myriad of sightseeing and recreational activities as well as breath-taking structures that date back to the Champa Kingdom.

Image Credit: http://www.vietnamtravel.guide

4. Rawa Island, Malaysia

Are you looking for a more seluded vacation? Rawa island is a small island 16km off the east coast Peninsular Malaysia and is greatly known for its clear white sand, turquoise waters and its exclusivity. As it is owned by the family of the Johor Sultanate, Rawa only has two resorts available on the island, making it the perfect weekend escapade.

Image Credit: http://onnsapuan.blogspot.com

5. Sipadan, Malaysia

Sipadan Island in Sabah, Malaysia is a beautiful, untouched piece of art with clear, crystal waters and home to the finest marine life in Malaysia. This amazing world heritage site is voted by divers all around the world as one of the top five dive sites in the world. This crown jewel houses species like barracudas, hammerhead sharks and hawksbill turtles and the reff wall plunge into great depths just meters away from the beach. This island totally defines what peace and relaxation means.

There are many more islands around South East Asia that are totally beautiful and worth every visit. But how to do we get there? Thanks to Malindo’s cheap flight that flies to all these destination, basking under the sun here is a total dream come through without leaving a hole in your bank. Go ahead and start finding for your cheap tickets today and start your new chapter of life in SEA.

 

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When The Kids Are Away The Parents Will Play

Have you ever thought about taking an adult only holiday? Even if you have never heard the term before, you have to admit that it already sounds awesone. To do this, you can either leave the kids at home for the summer – that’s a little cruel – or arrange two separate holidays. All, you need to do is find someone, a family member or friend, eager to take your kids on a fun-filled magical holiday to somewhere like Disney World while you head off elsewhere. Couples thinking about having kids are the perfect target for this because they often quite like the idea of a test trial family holiday.

But what will you do while your kids are off meeting mickey mouse? The better question would be what won’t you do!

Extreme Sports

Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com

Depending on the age of your kids, you might get away with completing some extreme sports while on vacation, but don’t count on it. Not every child loves the idea of hurling themselves off a building attached to bungee cord or soaring ten thousand feet up in a plane to jump out. Not every parent is thrilled with the idea of letting their child do this either. But, if you’re vacationing without the kids, you can do this without worring about their safety and just get that blood pumping.

Our recommendation for this possiblity would be to head to Vegas and forget about the casinos. Instead, find the tower where you can go bungee jumping…in the dark!

Wonders of Wine Tasting

Image Credit: https://pxhere.com

You could also think about spending a vacation sampling what is surely one of your favourite beverages. Wine tasting is a very adult adventure for obvious reasons, and it’s rather fun. You get to see how the wine is made and engage in the cultural side of drinking wine. How about trying something like the Coquelicot Estate Wines; Tasting Room because it’s sure to satisy, intrigue and delight.

Regardless of where you head in the world there are some fantastic choices for wine tasting but exploring Southern France would be our recommendation for this activity.

Tee Off at 9, Lunch at 10, Massage at 11

Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com

Alternatively, you could focus your adult holiday around something like golf. Golf is a little boring for kids, and the closest you’ll get on a family vacation is probably going to be mini golf. However, for adults it can be very enjoyable, relaxing and even offer some serenity. The other good thing about golf is that the courses are often retreats. That means they have some fantastic luxury features.

Take Palm Springs for instance. The golf isn’t always what attracts people but rather the luxury lifestlye and incredible enivronment. Get Swedish massages and much more while you relax and unwind in a haven that you’ll probably never want to leave.

Ultimately an adult only holiday can be just what the doctor ordered to help you relieve stress, get some much needed me time and escape the craziness of the family vacations. We hope you have a fantastic time if you book one for yourself.

 

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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.