Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Day trip to Johor Bahru via Public Transport

Last week, I went on a day trip to Johor. You know something? Travelling around Malaysia has been on my wishlist for the longest time. Yes I know that Malaysia is our nearest neighbour and it’s just across the Causeway, but truth be told, my parents have never liked the idea of going to Malaysia because of perceived safety concerns. Every time I try to broach the topic, nobody is keen, or we simply end up travelling to some other “safer” country instead.

The reason why I’m so keen to travel around Malaysia is because of the novelty of it being soooo close to us and cheaper thanks to the ringgit. And of course, I love anything that gives me a glimpse of how Singapore was like back in the 70s and 80s. I love all the luxuries of modern living but I also like experiences that are steeped in history. I have in the past scoured old maps of Singapore, reminiscing how things looked like previously. Oh another big reason to visit Johor in particular is because I don’t need to take a flight to get there. I almost always fly by Singapore Airlines, it being after all our tried and trusted national carrier, so any savings on transportation is welcome!

Am so glad to report that after a decade of waiting, I finally visited JB again last week. Yes my last trip was probably a decade ago, and much has changed at JB Sentral! The journey to get into JB was quite eventful on its own. Thank goodness I was travelling with great kaki so we managed to pass the time somehow. Even though we chose a weekday to cross the border, it being the December holiday period, between the Christmas and New Year holidays to boot, the crowd at the immigration checkpoint was probably as crazy as that on a weekend! We took a total of 1.5 hours to cross the Malaysian checkpoint! My friend, who has travelled to JB countless times, shared with us numerous tips on how to choose the shortest queue. It’s so hilarious the tips he mentioned, like you must observe the THICKNESS of the queue and not just the length! These tips on how to cross the Malaysian checkpoint as quickly as possible probably needs an entire post on its own!

Kedai Bak Kut Teh Hin Hock

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Dine at Stevens – Choose from 11 cuisines in 1 dining destination

The recently opened Dine at Stevens is a development housed within the Mercure Singapore on Stevens and Novotel Singapore on Stevens, that boasts a grand total of 11 restaurants. A number of the outlets are housed in individual "pods" that are designed to resemble lily pads from an aerial view, while the rest are within the 2 hotels.

So what can you fine at Dine at Stevens? An impressive 11 different cuisines and various price points to choose from:

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Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre

We were recently invited to check out Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre as they have a new promotion called Jump Start Your Weekend. I was keen to book a date soon after our return from our New Zealand travels, because you know, you always need another holiday to recover from the 1st holiday! And it’s also nice to be able to look forward to a little something when you feel depressed that your big holiday is over. And as for Edward, he loves hotels and is always keen to check out yet another! Staycation here we come!

Holiday Inn Orchard City Centre Staycation (12)

As far as I can see, there are only 2 room types at Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre and we were provided the Premier King room. We had asked for a room on a high floor and with a good view, something that we always ask for when we check into hotels. In this case, we managed to snag a 7th floor room (the hotel is 8 storeys high) and facing the expressway. Yes this is actually the better view because right across the expressway is the Istana grounds, so its basically greenery directly after the expressway. And I must say the windows were thick enough such that we couldn’t hear the expressway traffic anyway, so that was fine.

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How to make the most of Singapore’s cool weather

The cool weather in Singapore lately has been absolutely divine! I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am! It won’t last very long, probably only a few days more of this glorious "temperate" weather to go. And now that it has stopped drizzling, all the more you should be spending your time outdoors. Yes, now is the best time to go enjoy Singapore’s great outdoors before the heat and humidity returns again. Here are 10 outdoor ideas for you to make the most of Singapore’s winter! Also ideas for what to do just after it rains in Singapore.

Visit the Singapore Zoo

Toddler feeding elephants at the Singapore Zoo

Guess what, if you feel lethargic in Singapore’s heat, so do the animals! Now would be the best time to go see the animals at the Singapore Zoo when they are at their liveliest. Even though our Singapore Zoo is world class, if you’ve ever visited other zoos overseas in cooler temperatures, you will notice the animals moving about much more than they do in Singapore. So now would really be the best time to visit or revisit again the Singapore Zoo.

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Grand Hyatt Melbourne Collins Kitchen– Mouth-watering dishes from the Burn City Pop Up

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During our holiday in Melbourne, we had the opportunity to check out Collins Kitchen at the Grand Hyatt. The name Collins Kitchen might bring about a rather casual restaurant image in your mind, but it is actually a pretty contemporary looking restaurant with an ultra high ceiling and an enormous kitchen in full view of the restaurant.

While we were there, Burn City Smokers was helming the kitchen and they will be there until the end of November. Burn City Smokers, as their name suggests, are experts in the art of smoking with wood, combining traditional techniques with modern flavour and style. Their menu for Collins Kitchen include Tasmanian free range baby back pork ribs, smoked lamb rump, pork scratchings, corn bread and popcorn ice cream sandwiches. Basically all the good stuff that will leave you feeling like you’ve just been to a traditional Southern American barbecue.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Collins Kitchen (20)

The 3 of us were very impressed with the food, the ambience and the service. We managed to get a nice booth seat next to the windows so we felt like we were in our own little world, even though the restaurant was packed since it was Melbourne Cup day. Speaking of which, all the ladies were dressed to the nines, with their fascinators and all. Aside from the spring salad which was a little difficult to eat (too many long stems), we enjoyed all the dishes that we ordered. The meats were fabulous as expected. The hanger steak had beautiful flavour while  my 8 hour smoked beef short ribs was bone tender and very rich tasting. It might actually be a good idea to share this, because a little goes a long way!

Collins Kitchen Burn City Pop Up

More than once during the meal, and during the course of my holiday, I mentioned to the Partner that we should plan another visit to Collins Kitchen. Great pricing (this meal would probably have cost much more in Singapore!) and a great experience, alas we just didn’t have time during our trip!

Scroll down for more pictures!

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