Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

10 Things for Holidays in Singapore

The no-nonsense quick guide for visitors wanting to see and understand Singapore. Top Ten Things to do in Singapore

I have always wanted to compile a “Top Ten Things to do in Singapore” list. So here goes…This list is meant to be a first-stop no-nonsense quick guide for visitors wanting to see and understand Singapore.

A subjective list, from someone who is very familiar with Singapore tour:

Ranked #1: Eat chicken rice

You may or may not have heard of the Singapore chicken rice. In anycase, please, just go try it at least once. It’s available almost anywhere on the island. The good part is, you are not likely to regret it.

Ranked #2: Visit Night Safari

I have been to zoos/ theme parks around the world and have not seen anything like this. Watching animals at night with your family/ loved once makes the experience one of its kind.

Ranked #3: Take a picture with the Merlion statue at the Marina Bay

Taking a photo with the Merlion statue is of course a “touristy” thing to do. But doing that brings you to an important part of the island that tells the history of Singapore – the Marina Bay. The bay is still changing and growing: skyscrapers contrasting with the colonial buildings, decorated with interesting structures like the Esplanade Theaters and the Marina Bay Sands.

Ranked #4: Check out the Renowned Public Housing: HDB Flats

Tell the cab driver to bring you on a mini-road trip to the relatively older housing projects in places like Bedok, Tampines and Clementi.

Ranked #5: Visit Little India

Make this trip to Serangoon area. You are likely to enjoy this.

Ranked #6: Visit Universal Studios

Singapore/ Resorts World Sentosa
Universal Studios Singapore/ Resorts World Sentosa is a much-talked-about new addition to Singapore. Although the Universal Studios is much smaller than the ones I have been to, I had great fun with my family holidays.

Ranked #7: Visit the Asian Civilisation Museum

I must say that among all the museums in Singapore, this is my favourite. It offers quite a unique perspective to Asian cultures.

Ranked #8: Eat at a Hawker Centre

A big part of Singapore culture is food. When you are tired of the restaurants in the malls, check out one of the hawker centres. They can be found at many parts of Singapore.

Ranked #9: Shop on Orchard Road

I must admit that this is another one of the “touristy” things that some experienced travellers might avoid. But Orchard Road today is quite different from what it was some years ago. Worth checking it out!

Ranked #10: Eat Chili Crab

Clearly I have included another food item. I must have forgotten. I cannot emphasize enough. Food is a big part of Singapore culture!

That’s all, folks! Hope this list was helpful. Please do give me your comments! Thanks!

Tips and Guide that you have to know in China

China is an amazing country, with the highest population in the world, has the most beautiful sceneries in the world and is one of the fastest developing countries in the world. With winning the bid for Beijing Olympic 2008, China has become more recognized in the world. And in 2010, Shanghai (China) held one of the biggest expo in the world. With many world events that China hosted and will be hosting, visitors and tourists from all over the world are increasing rapidly every year.

Below are important tips when holiday, vacation or visiting China for business or for leisure:

Shangri La Pudong Hotel Shanghai (www.discountworldhotel.com)

–         Choose the right hotel deals. As good hotel is a plus to get your good resting before continue on China discovery journey. Bringing phone card and calling card  to call back to your country

–         Chinese people known for the shyness and humble and does not show their feeling and emotion in public. So as a foreigner in China, it is good to respect the etiquette and learn not to speak and act bluntly

–         When you have gift for Chinese, below is the gift that is a taboo for Chinese:

Clocks, Straw sandals,crane, Handkerchief, Anything white, blue or black

–         Learn to eat by using chopstick; spoon and fork is rarely use in Chinese restaurant in China. Most of the food is share in China, it is a culture. When using chopsticks, do not stick the chopstick standing upright in rice bowl, as it will look like incense burned at chinese funeral.

–         When drinking alcohol with Chinese, always toast first before having a first sip ; it is Chinese etiquette

–         Eating in Chinese meal usually including more than 7 course foods. Chinese believe that it is better to serve more food than serving less, leaving the guest hungry.

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Singapore Travel Experience

The taxi, bus and MRT are options to get to the city from the airport. However if you carry a lot of luggage it is not suggested to take the MRT from the airport to the city as there is no dedicated space for luggage and no reserved seating (unlike Hong Kong’s Airport Express or Tokyo’s Narita Express). Further the train stops a dozen times before reaching the downtown core. Taking a cab for parties with more than 3 members is the best option here.

My trip to the Strand Hotel (Rates from $160 nett including breakfast) in Bencoolen Street cost $20 on a busy friday afternoon, including ERP and airport charges. If you arrived late in the afternoon , it is suggested that you explore the surrounding area of the hotel first rather than venturing into areas such as HarbourFront or ClarkeQuay. The intersection adjacent of the hotel leads you to two shopping areas. If you head left, you’ll find the CityLink Mall, Suntec City, Raffles City and Marina Centre. If you head right, you’ll find yourself in Singapore’s famous Orchard Road Shopping Belt. I opted for the latter, and got there via the Bras Basah Station on the newly opened Circle Line. The cost of the trip was $2.10 per person before redeeming the $1 refundable deposit.

A transit to the North South Line in the busy Dhoby Ghaut station is required though to get to the middle of the shopping belt, but at a late friday afternoon, it was a better option than taking a taxi. Taking a taxi in Singapore can both be cheap or expensive. On a Sunday, as I will explain latter, it is a good value, but on rush hour (4-7 PM) it can get expensive. A trip from my hotel to ION Orchard cost $8 by taxi on rush hour, as there is the $3 CBD Pickup Charge, 30% Rush Hour Surcharge and ERP added to the base fare of the taxi ride.

Anyways, if you go by MRT there are three stations to stop to shop in Orchard Road. Dhoby Ghaut is right under the Plaza Singapura Shopping Centre, whileSomerset gets you to 313@Somerset, Orchard Central and The Centrepoint. Orchard Station is convenient for Ngee Ann City, Lucky Plaza, Paragon, Wisma Atria, ION Orchard, Shaw Place, Tangs, Wheelock Place and Far East Plaza as well as malls located on Tanglin Road. I suggest stopping at Orchard first, as you will spend plenty time strolling along the shopping malls there.

For cheap eats, especially if you’re looking for Halal Singaporean Food is Far East Plaza. The Upper Level provides a couple of eateries that are Halal and $5 will give you a full stomach. The winner though is Hainanese Delicacy , an outlet that only serves chicken rice. Just request the waiter your desired chicken part (e.g. Breast) and the serving style (Roasted or Steamed) and in 2 mins the meal is served. The place is always crowded and sometimes closes early.

A portion is only $4, but you’ll likely yearning for more. For shopping books, which are a good value in Singapore Tour from a Southeast Asian perspective, go to Borders in Wheelock Place or Kinokuniya in Ngee Ann City. The later offers a huge selection of Japanese books and magazines. After exploring the many shops in ION Orchard, stroll your way to the other shopping complexes. 313@Somerset is a great place to spend your cash, especially with a HMV and Uniqlo outlet in the mall.

Hungry for dinner? Food Republic offers dining options that suit any hungry tastebuds at affordable prices. To get back to the hotel, I suggest taking a bus opposite 313@Somerset. Hop on any bus that lead to Bras Basah Road for $1 and get off at the Hotel Rendevouz stop, which is only 50 m from rest from shopping heaven.

Off the Beaten Path in Amsterdam

If its your first time in Amsterdam, its always safe to take the classic tours: a stroll around the outdoor flower market, the canal rides, and a visit to all of the citys popular museums. However, if this is your fourth or fifth time in Amsterdam, you might want to try something new-and there are a lot of other attractions you should see. Theyre just not as widely commercialized.

Below are the best offbeat Amsterdam destinations you shouldnt miss out on.

Accommodations

Off the Beaten Path in Amsterdam

You might want to steer clear of popular hotels especially if youre visiting Amsterdam during the peak season. Alternative accommodations include houseboats, hotels, hostels, and renovated houses located along the canals. One hotel in the city, though, offers an offbeat enough experience. The Ambassade Hotel comprises 10 seventeenth century houses built along the canal. This means that youll be living at the citys historical center.

Just off the center, though, near the Van Gogh museum, the Hilton hotel offers the same suite the Yoko and John Lennon took for their “Bed-in” for peace back in 1969. The room was redesigned to capture how it was when the couple stayed in the hotel, under the guidance of Yoko Ono herself. Lyrics and other Lennon memorabilia were also added to the room.

A word of warning, though: the Yoko Ono and Lennon suite is off the beaten path but a stay there is far from cheap. If you just want to view the hotel room, the staff will let you provided that its vacant. You just need to ask them.

Feasting on History

Off the Beaten Path in Amsterdam

To enjoy the best of history in Amsterdam, you have to go beyond the classic canal rides. For an overview of the city, you should give the Amsterdam Historical Museum a visit. This currently resides in Amsterdams old city orphanage building.

Youll get to glimpse the highs and lows of the city when you visit this museum. Included in their collection are archeological finds, paintings, furniture and even special exhibitions.

If you happen to be in Amsterdam in August, youll get to see The Hoerengracht. This is an art-installation made in the 1980s by Nancy Reddin Keinholz and Edward Keinholz. The installation offers a glimpse of Amsterdams infamous red light district.

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