Minsu: 日月潭山季花園民宿, Nantou

Staying in 民宿 (minsu, homestay) is part of enjoying Taiwan’s hospitality culture and this uprising of ownership and entrepreneurship. Unlike AirB&B where you may be staying in a room next to the owner, a lot of these minsu are professionally managed with a touch of homely feel. In my last year’s trip to Taiwan, we stayed in 歐風小鎮 (Europe Villa) at Cingjing and Flower Happiness Bed & Breakfast at Hualien. In this trip, we stayed in 歐風小鎮 (Europe Villa) again to the delight of his family!

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We also tried out a new Minsu which is driving distance to Sun Moon Lake and 九族文化村 (Aboriginal Village Theme Park) at Nantou.日月潭山季花園民宿 is another pretty minsu with a huge huge garden! Whenever I stay in a minsu in Taiwan, it made me want to sell off all assets in Singapore and setup a minsu in Taiwan too! I will then daydream hosting people from all around the world! Haha.

Here are some pictures for you to daydream too!

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They even kept a fat turkey in here! I hope it’s not to fatten up for Thanksgiving Dinner! Haha.

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Theres also a little hut for their 3 cats!

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Two of their cats.

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After taking a quick morning stroll at their garden, breakfast lovingly prepared by the owner is waiting for us! Look at the amount of food!

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Look at that the huge garden behind us! I hope AirB&B can be legalize in Singapore and I can rent out 1 room in my imaginary future home to people visiting Singapore! Haha.

Sicao Green Tunnel (四草綠色隧道), Tainan

In Tainan, other than feasting oyster after a learning boat trip, and drinking coffee after squeezing through those narrow doors, there are many other places to visit! However, most of the places doesn’t take up a lot of time and thankfully, we got a tour guide driver who can drop up and pick us up at whenever we need!

I enjoyed this short boat ride in Sicao Green Tunnel. It is a romantic ride and a picturesque green tunnel where it is formed by the mangrove tree naturally. Friends who loves photo-taking will love this place! One tip, get in the queue early to get a front row seat to get the best view. Otherwise, get the last row seat, you also get many chance to take beautiful pictures of the trees meeting together forming a tunnel and the reflection on the river. Wow. A simple ride but beautiful ride. Even though I don’t quite remember the names of the 4 types of mangrove tree introduced as it is all in Mandarin.

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According to Travel King, here is a short excerpt:-

“Sihcao Green Tunnel in Tainan was once a salt canal. 750 meters long and 20 meters wide, the canal was used to transport salt products from the drying field to the storage back in the days. The rich habitat of the mangrove the canal cuts through is the wetland environment with the most variety of species and plants in Taiwan. It is now organized into a tourism canal for visitors to examine and experience this well reserved wetland.

…The Sihcao Green Tunnel takes you into the canal to examine closely to the plants and the species along the way. The 30 minute raft ride through the well preserved mangrove with greeneries covering the sides and rare species resting randomly in the woods is very relaxing.” – Travel King

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The hat is provided for sun fearing people but a fear of head lice prevented me from taking one. Heh.

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This boat is called a raft and it has it’s own reason. Because the boat does not have proper seats. We were all sitting on a stool! Haha.

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Can you spot little crabs at the side? It’s white and orange!

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This is the best picture I took and I had to risk hitting my head on some branches! Haha.

Narrow Door Cafe 窄門咖啡, Tainan

After the crazy oyster feasting at Cigu Lagoon (you can read in my previous post here), lunch is far from our mind but we certainly didn’t mind stopping by for coffee and thus made an impromptu stopover at a cafe. For our cafe loving Singaporeans, this cafe will be a novelty not because of their coffee but because of where it is location.

Hole-in-the-wall cafes like these aren’t many in Singapore, especially not one stuck in an old building. This cafe, Narrow Door Cafe, has the narrowest entrance to a cafe I’ve ever seen. If you didn’t notice, you may walk right past it without realizing it.

NARROW DOOR CAFE 窄門咖啡

2F, No. 67, Nánmén Rd
Zhongxi District, Tainan City, Taiwan
臺灣臺南市中西區南門路67號2樓

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This is the entrance, right there, and in a way, it is also unofficially discriminating people on the not so skinny side. We walked in holding our breathe and sucking our stomach for fear of an unimaginable embarrassing moment or worst, scoring an abrasion on our fat arms.

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The entrance is not wider than half a metre and undoubtedly, such location will not pass the test of our SCDF (Singapore Civil Defense Force), can you imagine what will happen if there’s a fire? Haha.

But nonetheless, it is an interesting find!

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Alishan Sunrise, Taiwan

Last year we visited Alishan and on the first day, we enjoyed a light drizzle and had the entire forest to our own. Read more here on our previous forest walk last year. This year, blessed with no rain, we had to share the forest with 2 large tour bus group which disturbed the forest’s tranquility and beauty with their loud noise.

We also missed the Cherry Blossom season in Alishan by almost 3 weeks and all that is left is on a tree or two.

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Despite not having to enjoy a peaceful forest walk or the full bloom of Cherry Blossom flowers, we were truly blessed to enjoy clear sky to enjoy sunrise! Here are some photos to showcase a little of the actual magnificent view of the sunrise at Alishan.

Here’s a little tip! When catching the train, do get on the first trip and proceed to the last cabin! Because the last cabin is the cabin closet to the stairway towards the viewing platform and once you get off to the platform run to the front! There will be a guide there to tell you which angle will give you the best view as it varies from season to season!

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We had to wake up really early at 3.40am to be ready for the first train at 4.30am. Look at my sleepy face without makeup on!

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At some point in time, the sun is so bright that you just have to look away!

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After watching the sunrise, there are some booths here selling hot french toast! The best after the cold long wait!

Oyster Farm Tour in Cigu Lagoon, Tainan (七股潟湖龍海號+烤蚵)

In this trip, we visited Tainan and unlike Taipei, Tainan is laid-back and you hardly see much vehicles or people on the street. We visited many places in Tainan but the highlight was definitely the tour to the oyster farm in Cigu Lagoon!
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We took the Long Hai Hao Raft where they tour around the living habitat of the Taiwan oysters!

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The boat captain invited some passengers for hands on experience!

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You see that ball of rock looking stuff? That’s how they farm the oysters in the Lagoon! When you pull them out, TADAH, there are a whole lot more below the first ball!

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This is followed by the much anticipated oyster feast!

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The oysters are smaller than those farmed in Australia and even though I am not much of an oyster fan, I stuffed more than 15 oysters in my face. They were so fresh that by eating it as it is after a simple grill over charcoal brings you on an oyster high. BBQ Oyster with a little Wasabi is my favourite!

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Slurps. I’m salivating right now.

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We also ordered a grilled fish which the staff helped grill to perfection! This was one of the meals which we really eat our hearts out!

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For a mere NT $ 330, which translate to slightly over SGD 14, we had unlimited supply of oysters for an hour. Don’t understand that 1 hour, one of us armed with 2 cans of Heineken, ate almost close to 50 oysters.

Yang Min Shan: Calla Lily Season and Xiao You Keng

Comparing to 2014 Taiwan trip with my family, there are about 40% places of interest which are repeated compared to this year’s itinerary. Hence, I will not be sharing the places by Day but by some of my favourite places which we didn’t visit last year. If you are keen to find out where we visited last year and this year, just go click here.

During our trip in April 2015, we visited Yang Ming Shan, a dormant volcano, which is in the vicinity of Taipei. Even though we missed the cherry blossom season by a month, we are blessed to be right there in the middle of Calla Lily Season!

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Calla Lily season starts from March to May and it is where many Calla Lily farms open up the area to the public at Bamboo Lake (Zhu Zi Hu). The owner of the farms reaps most of their business within these 2 – 3 months, harvesting Calla Lily and collecting entrance fee. There are some farms which open to public and earn by selling the flowers. Visitors can pay NT 100 for X number of Calla Lily handpicked by the visitors. As for the farm we went, we paid NT 150 but the farm do not allow visitor to pick the Calla Lily to ensure there are a lot more for viewing. Out of the NT 150 entrance fee, NT 100 can be used to buy flowers already prepared for sale or for food and drinks. The reason why we picked this farm is because we went during the mid season and because of their strictly no picking rules, they have a lot of lilies left unlike those farm which allow visitors to pick them.

For once, this place looks better than it is here in photos!

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Gosh, I look like I’ve got a beer belly in this picture. Heh.

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On top of visiting Calla lilies at Yang Ming Shan, we also popped by Xiao You Keng which is a small area where you can smell sulphur and witness hot steam coming out from the ground! It reminded me of Hell Valley in Hokkaido which we visited last year! It stinks really bad.

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Brr, it’s extremely cold and windy. Look at my awkward smile. GAH.

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Self Planned 11 Days 10 Night Taiwan Family Tour Itinerary

I’m back! It has been three months since I last blogged, like huh?! Where did those three months went? I just came back from an 11 days 10 night self planned road trip to Taiwan and I’ve a lot to share!

Similar to last year’s trip to Taiwan with my family, we engaged the same guy who is our tour guide/driver/ part time photographer for our trip, Mr Chen Zhong Xi (Xiao Xi)!

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We shared with him on some of the locations we intended to visit, while he planned the rest of the itinerary, proposed the hotels and recommended various local dishes to eat along the way. For his service, we paid him NT$ 61,500 (approx SGD 2,700) for the 11 days of transport in a mini van for 6 of us! He is definitely not the cheapest driver around because is also a licensed tour guide and a photography enthusiast.

He is not a chatty person, but someone who is reserved, responsible and yet sincere. So if you are looking for someone to plan your itinerary for your family and drive you around Taiwan, you can contact him! He can communicate in English via email and whatsapp too! Find more of his details in the file or drop me a note.

Here is the itinerary for our trip! –> Taiwan Trip _Finalv2

Drop me a mail if you can’t seem to download the file, I can email it to you. If you follow my older posts, here is the post on the itinerary for our last trip back in 2014.

Just click on the Taiwan tab under Category on the right, and you can see more details and attractions of various sites!

#queenlaurelsfirst

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We celebrated Queen Laurel’s First Birthday yesterday and she is really too cute! Love her cheerful and curious personality! I can’t wait to see her grow up to be a sassy little toddler, conquering her little adventurous world!

For her birthday, we got her 2 toys! I went shopping alone and when I took a picture and sent him my choices, he commented that I am bias as I picked toys based on my childhood preference. I didn’t realized it until he pointed it out! I picked it because I love lego and Polly Pocket as a child! I also love Playdoh and pretend toys like Kitchen sets (the irony of it as I can’t cook to save my life) !

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Isn’t she the cutest!?

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I so want to kidnap her home!

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A small DIY dessert table!

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Awww.

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Her smart mama also created a hashtag for her guests to share the photos taken! A great idea!

Lunch at New Ubin Seafood

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Block 27 Sin Ming Road (behind Block 26), #01-174
Sin Ming Industrial Estate Sector A, Singapore 575680

For my sister’s birthday, we went to try out the much raved about New Ubin Seafood a week back. It is located in an Industrial Estate and it is hard to imagine how a restaurant despite locating itself in such a secluded place gets so popular. But it is no secret that Singaporeans love their food so we are very willing to travel around the island just for good food! The food is great and even on a Sunday afternoon, reservation is strongly recommended.

“New Ubin Seafood is a Singapore family run business offering fresh seafood and top quality meats, served in a unique array of Cze Char, Chinese, Southern Indian and other Asian / Western cooking styles. Our beginnings can be traced back to Pulau Ubin itself, where the restaurant first opened in 1986 on the island’s north shore.”

– Extracted from New Ubin Seafood Menu

Each individual dish is great but because we ordered a lot of “heavy” dishes, we were too full and bloated at the end of the meal. A bad combination of food choices though. Be warn! Heh.

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One of the must tries which everyone on Facebook / Instagram / Blog recommended is their US Black Angus Ribeye Steak at $12 per 100 grams. It was cooked to perfection where we requested for it to be done in Medium. The meat is really tender.

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My parents and grandma don’t take beef, so we ordered another Kurobuta St Louis Style Ribs at $38 for half a rack. The pork is good but not as good as the beef. Hah. I’m just biased. The meat is tender and doesn’t stick to the rib bone. The sauce is a little salty for my mum though.

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We ordered Regular Sri Lankan Crab at SGD 38 each and enjoyed their Buy 2 gets 1 free promotion. We picked Black Pepper which is fantastic, Garlic Baked, also really good and Salted Egg, a mistake because my sister also ordered Salted Egg oysters! But otherwise, the Salted Egg Crab is good as well, they are not stingy with their ingredients, the amount of salted egg they use is really substantial. But the crabs are really small though.

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This was a bad decision, perhaps it’s because we ordered 2 salted egg dish. The Salted Egg Oyster at $15 for a small portion is yummy when you take the first bite, but subsequent one it gets a little too heavy for us.

Would I go back again? I think so, their beef is great and I love their Black Pepper crab.

Little Brother’s Birthday Dinner at the Little Diner (no pun intended)

Little Diner
789 Bukit Timah Road Singapore 269763
Phone: +65 6466 4088

My parents abandoned us and took off to Winter Wonderland in Harbin over the long New Year’s Eve holiday and tasked my sister and I to bring my brother out for his birthday!

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After booking out of Tekong, he requested for Western meal! We decided that since he was being so braved and strong in army, we brought him out to Little Diner and ordered as much as we could to let him try out a wide variety of “western” food as possible. Do try to make reservation as they are really small and it gets filled up pretty quickly!

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The food was great and I like that it is a cozy diner tucked in a quiet neighbourhood in Bukit Timah, which means we don’t have to squeeze with the crazy crowd in town.

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Here are all the food we ordered!

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Rustic Lamb Ragu $19.50, love the tender soft lamb which was cooked to perfection.

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Mikey’s Fish & Chips $18.50, was good and my brother loves it.

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How can we not have some greens with all the sinful dishes we had? Smoked Duck Breast Salad $13.50, the smoked duck paired with the salad was fantastic. Love that we added some greens to our meal.

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We changed our fries from one of the dish to their much raved about Truffle Fries and it really good. I love that they are not stingy with their Truffle oil! Yums.

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One of their daily special, beef chili’s or something but it was mediocre.

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Another of their daily special, pan fried salmon and it was cooked to perfection! One of my favourite.

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Version 2.0 Baked Mac & Cheese Royale $20.50 which is another delight with Truffle oil in there.

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All American Buttermilk Fried Chicken $18.50, their signature and it was really good. Their is a surprising buttery milky taste which blended well in their batter and in their tender fried chicken!

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Happy 21st Birthday Roy! We are so proud of you!

Looking forward to 2015

It has been a while yet again since I last blogged, and 2014 zoomed past in a hurry which gave me no chance to bid goodbye! 2014 was a blast with lots of exciting holidays and I was surrounded with lots of people whom I love and care about. 2015 is one which I look most forward to with many exciting events lining up!

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Here’s a quick preview of what 2015 is going to look like!

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February 15 – A crazy period at work where it is going to be chaotic with lots of flowers, love letters and dong dong dong chiang (Chinese New Year music) blasting around! It is going to be a long 18 days of no rest day where we try to clear as much stocks as we can and help customers with their preparation for Chinese New Year.

21 May, 2014 10:55 pm

April 15 – Taiwan Trip with his family! This time round, we are bringing his parents to Alishan and Cing Jing Farm which we love and we will be visiting new places like Kaohsiung. It is apparently Cherry Blossom Season in Alishan and we are hoping for nice cool weather!

May 15 – A short getaway with my family to Penang for some street foods and heritage sites visiting! This time round, my two aunties and grandma are coming along!

July 15 – Perth and Western Australia self drive trip! Driving to visit caves and vineyards in Margaret river! If you have any recommendations on any must do, must eat or places to stay, do leave me comments!

August 15 – I am turning big THIRTY. OMG. I saw a health variety show which shared that women look best in their 30 as it is the time when they reached a balance between youth and maturity. BUT, immediately after 30, they start ageing quickly and going downhill. I was happy for a few seconds until I hear the second part. GAWR.

Nothing planned for the last quarter for 2015, but I will be finally settling some administrative stuffs after 3 long years.

It is going to be a great 2015! What about you? Any exciting plans coming up in 2015?

Greens from the “Sky”

Today, I was privilege to bring our Japanese friends to visit Sky Greens Farm, a vertical urban farming at Lim Chu Kang to learn a little bit more about vertical farming. This is one solution to farm some food for our growing population and definitely a great idea to add some greens in our crowded urban area! Hopefully this simple technology can take off and we can see more greens in our residential estate too!

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Almost 4 storeys high!

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Hands on experience to harvest the vegetables!

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Our familiar Nai Bai!

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Look at the amount of greens!

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We had a tasting session too!

The BIG way to shop at Warehouse Club, Singapore

With so much news coverage and social media going on about the latest retail format in Singapore, it will be hard to miss the news on Singapore’s first membership-only retail warehouse – Warehouse Club – right next to Joo Koon MRT!

I remember visiting Costco in Sydney and Melbourne during our incentive trips, buying lots of stuffs and envying that they have a place to buy items in bulk which has great savings and random and exciting items! I remember buying big bags of chocolates, a set of Sharpie markers and a big owl soft toy at great prices!

When I visited Warehouse Club today, it really resembles Costco in Australia! There are many bulk-sized groceries and brands which we’ve not seen elsewhere. Also, there are many limited stocks items where it is mainly a hit and run! Items with shorter shelf life going for a steal, limited stocks with great offers!

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Cute and colourful Heinz bottled sauces!

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Hor Fun Party anyone? Plenty of green chili here!

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Any serious chefs out there? Lots of herbs and spices!

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1 kg Japanese curry sauce! Wow!

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1 kg Korean chili paste!

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Anything with mustards!

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Everyone loves Nutella!

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Hellooooo Panda!

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Cheap butter and huge tub of cocoas, in time for festive baking!

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This is something I’ve been hunting down for the longest time and I’m surprised the price is similar to the one in New York! Peanut Butter & Co! OMG. *hyperventilating*

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50 cents a bottle snapple anyone? What you see is what is left.

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In the end, I resisted all temptation and got these for my friends. A friend told me “A moment on the lips. Forever on the hips.” Oh gosh, the harsh reality and especially when you are inching towards the big 30. Yikes.

I wish they had greater and more exciting and impulsive non-food items like Sharpies, cosmetics/health and beauty items and stationaries! Till then, you really should pop by just for fun! A lot of determination to say no to those snacks!

Our Family Basic Military Training Experience at Pulau Tekong

Just yesterday, my family accompanied my little brother to Pulau Tekong where he will transform from a boy to a man! This is what all Sinaporean Son has to experience and they have to give close to 2 years of their life to Army! We had a lot of fun visiting the camp and looking around his bunk! It was a very well organized half day tour and we are all guilty for smiling and laughing too much while my brother was nervous on what’s to come.

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My brother just shave his hair and we noticed he got a really round face! HAHA. Here’s us waiting for bus at Pasir Ris Interchange!

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Waiting for the ferry at the Jetty.

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One of the highlight of the trip is to see their bunk! Everything is exactly like the local movie “Ah Boys to Man”!

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We tested the bed and it is actually quite comfortable!

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They shared with us on the items in my brother’s goodie bag!

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A sneak peak on the obstacle course! Looks fun but they are supposed to complete the course in 6 minutes. OMG.

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Their Officer Commander gave a talk on what’s to expect and sworn in the new recruits. The pledge is pretty funny, it started with “I, (Full name & NRIC Number),…” and ended with “WITH MY LIFE” filled with gusto. Haha.

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They also asked us to follow their Facebook Page so we can track their progress! Wow! Talk about technology and social media.

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We also get to sample the meal! Wasn’t too bad!

Dear Little Brother,

We have great faith that you will do just fine in the BMT given your small light built and love for Nerf! Stay strong and know that we love you lots! Good luck and enjoy the journey, make a lot of friends and make the best out of this experience! See you real soon!

With love,

Your crazy eldest sis

S.E.A Aquarium, Singapore

Ok, so I’ve been playing tourist in my own country for the past few months. First Kusu Island, then Trickeye Museum and now S.E.A Aquarium! There were many fascinating exhibits and most of them were well maintained. The aquarium is also a lot bigger than Underwater World. But I was also disturbed by the poorly maintained and small exhibit for the dolphins. These highly intelligent animals should be swimming freely in the ocean!

Thankfully I got the tickets for free as the tickets are really pricey considering that you can probably finish viewing the aquarium in an hour. But it is a nice place to spend with your little ones. I bet they will surely enjoy themselves in there.

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Here are some of my favourites.

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Sharks in “Shipwreck”

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Pretty yellow seahorses

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These jellyfish looks so mysterious.

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Electric eels. Don’t you dare provoke them.

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Hammerhead sharks!

Trickeye Museum, Singapore

It has been a month since I last blogged (OMG) and I’ve been overwhelmed with work and yoga as the festive draws near. But today, I was homebound with a massive cramp and I thought what better way to clear some backlog while trying to distract myself from the cringing pain. Boo.

A while back, we went to the Trickeye Museum in Sentosa and yes, the novelty of this place has probably worn off especially in the blogosphere but I didn’t expect all of us to enjoy ourselves this much! This place can be completed in under 2 hours and it is suited for people of all ages! An advice, do head there in the early evening, a few hours before closing to avoid the crowd.

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Here are some pictures of myself taking silly pictures while I grin like a teen. Heh.

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I need to try this for real!

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“Look at this stuff
Isn’t it neat?
Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl
The girl who has everything?”

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Weee

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Ohmmmm….?

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Strong arms. Suck in my tummy yo.

Kusu Island Tour with National Heritage Board

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I love being a tourist in my own country! Having lived in Singapore for almost 30 years (minus a few months, GASPS!), there are still many point of interests yet to be visited! Thankfully, we have the good people from National Heritage Board who organize interesting and insightful tours around the island during Singapore Heritage Festival!

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Last weekend, we had a chance to visit Kusu Island on a free tour and seen some interesting sights on the small and tranquil island. Kusu Island is said to be a holy island where many devotees visit once a year. There are 2 places for worship on the island where one belongs to Malay and the other Chinese. There are stories which passed down by both Malays and Chinese in Singapore which shared that a magical tortoise turned itself into an island to save two shipwrecked sailors who is a Malay and a Chinese.

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Some of the devotees after receiving blessing, in the form of a protection ribbons , can choose to tie the ribbons to the tree instead of bringing it home.

“At the top of the rugged hillock on Kusu Island stands three kramats (or holy shrines of Malay saints) to commemorate a pious man (Syed Abdul Rahman), his mother (Nenek Ghalib) and sister (Puteri Fatimah) who lived in the 19th century. Many devotees will climb the 152 steps leading to the kramats to pray for wealth, good marriage, good health and harmony. The shrines are also popular with childless couples who would pray for children. Despite misconceptions, they do not pray to the kramats.”

Source: Wikipedia

This is rather interesting to me as even though it seems like the shrines is devoted to the Malay saints, the religious practices seems like practises from the Taoist culture.

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“Also located on Kusu island is the popular Chinese temple – Da Bo Gong 大伯公 or Tua Pek Kong (Grand Uncle). Built in 1923 by a wealthy businessman, the temple houses two main deities – the Da Bo Gong and Guan Yin 观音 (Goddess of Mercy). The former is highly regarded as having the power to confer prosperity, cure diseases, calm the sea and avert danger, while Guan Yin is known as the ‘giver of sons’.

Source: Wikipedia

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Other than the two main sights above, Kusu Island is also popular for its lagoons and clean beaches. Visitors are allowed to go swimming and sunbathing at these lagoons. Picnics are also allowed on this island.

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There is also wishing well and tortoise sanctuary which are managed by the Sentosa group.

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Guess who we met while on the way back? Stephanie! She is on her way to the island in the later tour group.

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You can visit Kusu Island by taking a ferry at Marina South Pier! Tickets are priced at SGD 18 for adult/two way and SGD 12 for children below 12. You can check out the ferry schedule here!

Gold Loving

Taking a break from sharing on my holiday pictures, here’s a frivolous post on jewelries.I’m not sure if it’s age or I’m becoming more practical, when it comes to accessories, I now have a weakness for gold. Not gold plated jewelries, gold colour jewelries or brass jewelries, but those 24K or 22K gold accessories which my parents and grandma love! The ones which you can exchange for cash at  a pawn shop in time of crisis.

The thing is, I can’t wear silver, it tarnishes very quickly after the first wear. I’m also not the kind of lady who likes costume jewelries from luxury brands, this pair of pretty earrings cost SGD 620 which is made from glass pearls. You are basically paying for the brand and all the advertisements.
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Source: Here

So instead of buying accessories which doesn’t quite last or has little value, my heart yearns for gold! This year, I decided to pamper myself and buy myself a little present. A 22K gold ring from Poh Heng. Before you scream, OMG, Serene is turning into a granny, look at this little pretty! And this, cost me slightly above SGD 500 and it is probably something that I can pass it on to my future grand daughter! Haha.

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The Peace Park, Gotemba City

// To recap, we signed up and went for Hong Thai Travel’s 8 Days Hokkaido / Tokyo tour package and in this post and the upcoming posts, I will be sharing them via the days (e.g Day 1, Day 2 etc) but if some locations interest me enough, I will share them in details in a post on its own! This is so if anyone is researching on Hong Thai Travel’s tour package, you can have an idea on what to expect. So stay tuned!

The overview of the tour package can also be found here. Day 2 to Day 6’s itinerary is already shared in previous posts! Day 2’s post is here, Day 3’s post is hereDay 4’s post is hereDay 5’s post is here and Day 6’s post is here!

One of the main attraction in Day 6 is the Peace Park in Gotemba City!

“The Peace Park in Gotemba City commands a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji and houses the chalky stupa. Approximately 70% of visitors to the park are tourists from overseas, and the park serves as one of the golden spots in sightseeing in Shizuoka Prefecture. It is located on the mountainside of the outer rim of Hakone crater, commanding a good view of the city. The stupa, the symbol of the park, keeps the Buddha’s ashes presented by late Indian Prime Minister Nehru. 4 golden images of Buddha are also housed. In front of the stupa, the guardian dogs of respective Asian countries stand in line. In addition, The pond circuit-style Japanese garden, the Buddhist Monastery of Nihonzan-Myoho-ji Temple, images of Deity of Mercy ‘Nade Kannon’ (lit. rubbing Kannon) and 33 Kannon images are also well worth seeing. You can enjoy yourselves here all year round, in particular, the cherry blossom and autumn leaves viewing times.”

Source: Here

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At the bottom of the park is a small temple dedicated to Goddess of Mercy and it looks like the usual traditional Japanese temple.

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Spotted this huge tree of Hydrangeas! So beautiful!

After visiting the temple at the bottom of the park, you get to take a short walk up the slope to look at the main attraction!

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The white chalky stupa! Guarding the stupa are many lion statues from different countries!

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It is definitely an interesting place! Too bad it wasn’t a clear day! Otherwise, it would have been the perfect location to view Mt Fuji!

Hong Thai Travel: 8 Days Hokkaido/Tokyo: Day 6

// To recap, we signed up and went for Hong Thai Travel’s 8 Days Hokkaido / Tokyo tour package and in this post and the upcoming posts, I will be sharing them via the days (e.g Day 1, Day 2 etc) but if some locations interest me enough, I will share them in details in a post on its own! This is so if anyone is researching on Hong Thai Travel’s tour package, you can have an idea on what to expect. So stay tuned!

The overview of the tour package can also be found here. Day 2,  Day 3,  Day 4 and Day 5’s  itinerary is already shared in previous posts! Day 2’s post is here, Day 3’s post is hereDay 4’s post is here and Day 5’s post is here!

Continuing with Day 6, we left Hokkaido and flew back to Tokyo to continue our holiday! It was a bittersweet day as there is so much more to see in Hokkaido but yet, Tokyo is one of my favourite city after New York!

After landing in Tokyo, we went for a simple lunch at a hotel restaurant and proceed towards Gotemba City.

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The first stop was The Peace Park in Gotemba City which provides a beautiful view of Mt Fuji when there is a clear day! It also houses a white stupa of Buddhist origin. Will share more of this beautiful Peace Park in a separate post! As you can tell from the picture above, it wasn’t a clear day and we didn’t get to meet Fuji-san.

Today’s itinerary was only The Peace Park and thereafter we were supposed to check in to the hotel for a traditional dinner and some onsen soaking. Our tour guide who very kindly decided to stop by Gotemba Premium Outlet for an hour just for us! If you have been to a Premium outlet, you will know that an hour is not definitely not enough! The place is huge but in that one hour, I managed to grab some great deals!

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Bought some pretty Cath Kidston pretty makeup pouches at 60% off! It works out to be around SGD 20-30! Woohoo! Addidas was also having a sale where after 5pm, most of the items which are already on discount gets an additional 40% discount! Bought a gym bag for yoga which cost less than SGD 30, more yoga tops between SGD 20 – 40, and a board shorts for my brother! I even splurged on a Kate Spade sling bag! There wasn’t a major discount but it was definitely cheaper than in Singapore. Scary impulse buy in that 1 hour! Haha. It was the most exciting and yet stressful shopping experience.

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Along the way, we finally met Fuij-san! Haha, Mr Fuji was a little shy that day!

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We then concluded the day with a comfortable night stay at the hotel and some onsen soaking! This is also where I got a strange insect bite which resulted in a swollen foot on the last day!

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