Heritage Walk and Food Tour in Little India, Singapore

Ladyredot, co-founder, Irene is honoured to be invited by Monster Day Tours to participate in their Little India Walk and Foodie Express tour. Little India is one of Singapore ethic district where it is filled with rich North and South Indian culture.

Being a Singaporean, I have not been to Little India except for Mustafa, where it is a 24 hours shopping mall. [P.S: You can actually get anything (food, daily essentials, imported brands etc.) there]

We gathered together with other invited guests at 10am in the morning at Little India MRT, Exit E. It was very enjoyable; meeting different partners like Beds & Dreams Inn and other lifestyle bloggers. Dani, is a very cheerful, energetic and passion about her job. She is our tour guide, who previously works in a hotel industry. Together with Yap, tour assistance, who is equally enthusiastic in guiding the group and sharing information about what we eat and see. You can see from the pictures, they actually wore the traditional India costumes – Men, Achkan and Women, Shalwar Kameez.

Tour Guide, Monster Day Tours SingaporeMurals, Little India Singapore

There are many beautiful painted Murals along streets of Little India. The murals are all related to Indian culture. Watch out for them the next time you stepped into Little India!

The first attraction is Former House of Tan Teng Niah. It is a colourful 2 storey villa, a former house of last surviving Chinese, who owned several sweet-making factories along Serangoon Road and rubber business. He is also the first to create a five-foot way (five feet wide space for pedestrians to walk) around the estate.

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Monster Day Tours have done many types of research and trial walks around Little India. They found a HDB Block 668 where you can get a bird’s eye view of Singapore city area – Bugis, Beach Road, City Hall and Raffles Place. This is my favourite spot to take Insta-worthy pictures.

Singapore, City

After 45 minutes of touring Little India, we reached the first food spot – Komala Vilas. They are set up in Singapore since 1947 and have become a household name till today. They offer authentic Indian cuisine at a very reasonable price. It serves both South and North Indian food which gives the best of both options to patrons like myself who loves to taste as many as possible in one place.

Komala Vilas, Little India, Singapore

Monster Day Tours have prepared for us 3 dishes to share among the different tables and each a cup of Masala Tea. We have Dosai Meal, Bhattura and Poori Set. They are made of flour and comes with different vegetarian dipping sauce. The only difference is the cooking method. As a first timer to Indian cuisine (other than Roti Prata), it’s indeed a great start for the day to have such delicious and fulfilling brunch. “It’s really yummy!”

Komala Vilas, Little India, SingaporeKomala Vilas, Little India, Singapore

Yap, went around each table to give the history of Komala and explain what Masala tea is made of. The tea has five basic spices: cardamom, ginger, clove, black pepper and cinnamon. It is very fragrant and leaves a sweet aftertaste. One thing to add on, their home made Bundung – rose syrup drink is the best in Singapore (so far) I have tried. Do give it a try before you leave the restaurant.

Komala Vilas, Little India, SingaporeKomala Vilas, Little India, SingaporeKomala Vilas, Little India, Singapore

Next, we head to the highlight of this tour, which is a secret destination that Monster Day Tour did not reveal in the itinerary. I shall leave this as a top secret. You be surprised to know that such attraction is found in Little India. Do join the walking tour to find out where!

We then continued to Indian Heritage Centre. It is a new building that opened in 2015 and there are many art & cultural tours available. Around the centre, there are many shops selling Indian costumes, accessories, home decorations and tibits. We got a box of tradition Indian sweets and biscuits. The traditional Indian sweets are mainly made with sugar, milk or condensed milk and flavoured with almonds, pistachios and nuts. It’s exceptionally sweet. Beware if you are not a sweet tooth person.

Little India, Singapore

The final destination is at Tekka Hawker Centre, where it is a 3 storey building. In the first level, it is a wet market, the second level is a hawker centre and the third level is a dry market where it sells mainly clothing, dried food and accessories. Part of this tour is to taste 10 different local Indian food. Hence, Monster Day Tours team have prepared Mee Rebus, Mee Soto, Mee Siam, Nasi Brani, Satay and Indian Rojak.

Tekka Centre, SingaporeTekka Centre, Singapore

Dani gives the group information on how the food is prepared and their uniqueness. Personally, I love Mee Soto and Satay. They scouted around to find the best stall in this hawker. Tekka Hawker Centre food is also one of the cheapest hawker in Singapore. Do come with an empty stomach and get a taste of all the delicious local food.

Tekka Centre, Singapore

I am grateful that I spent a wonderful Saturday morning with Monster Day Tours, knowing more about Singapore and our Indian culture. I would like to Thank You their CEO, TY for this invitation.

Travel Partners, SingaporeTravel Partners, Singapore

Should you be interested in joining any of their tours, you can visit their website for more information.

Free Walking Tour** –

Chinatown: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 9.30am to 12noon

Little India: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, 9.30am to 12noon

Foodie Express Tour** – SGD$29 per pax

Chinatown: Every Sunday, 1pm to 4pm

Little India: Every Saturday, 1pm to 4pm

**Rain or Shine event

Ladyredot is a partner of Monster Day Tours, do quote ” LRQUOTE10 ” for a 10% off in your booking.

As a personal travel planner, we can assist in your itinerary when you visit Singapore. Do contact us at askus@ladyredot.com for more details.

“This is not a sponsored post. The tour is to allow travel partners to understand Singapore culture and join in the fun.”


IreneHi, I’m Irene. Born as a Sagittarius and living in the South of Singapore, I have been working in the Information Technology as a Business Product Manager for 8 years. Enjoying my scope that allows the challenge of learning new things every day as my role demands frequent business travels all over the globe. I have an adventurous bold soul that nothing can tie me down. When I am not sweating it out, I can be found chilling at a corner of any café, bury my head in a Sales Strategy or a Poem book, whatever my mood takes me. Besides being a yoga and gym enthusiast, my passion for travelling and planning travel itineraries show through friends who encourage me to share my travel experiences with others. Reach out to me @ irene@ladyredot.com for amazing impromptu ideas for your next trip abroad!

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Delicious Dim Sum in Hong Kong

While travelling to Hong Kong, don’t forget to spend some time to try the infamous dish of Dim Sum. Originated from Guang Dong, China, Dim Sum is a series of various small portion dishes presented in a bamboo steamer. Often linked with yum cha, which is the act of drinking tea, eating dim sum won’t be completed without having tea as the drinks. In Hong Kong, you can find Dim Sum everywhere from humble street foods until five-stars restaurants. Because of its exceedingly diverse variations that dim sum has, we conclude top five types of Dim Sum to help you start on your culinary journey. Be careful, once you have tried dim sum, you will never stop eating it.

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Cha Siu bao (Cantonese barbeque pork-filled bun)
Before you start the meal, you gonna break the bao, specifically the Cha Siu bao. There two types of cha siu bao: steamed and baked, steam cha siu bao has white exterior like mantau or baozi, while baked cha siu bao, its gonna has a special golden brown colour and its glaze with flavour. It is the bun that put yeast or baking powder in it, to make it fluffy. The filling itself exist diced pork tenderloin and mixed into a syrupy mixture. Eating Cha siu bao is like eating candy bacon.

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Shumai
Shumai is also referred to as “pork and mushroom dumpling” in Cantonese shumai. The other variation is when Shumai made from pork and shrimp mixture and wrap in a wonton wrapper. The filling is consisting the meat and seafood as in the menu and also added some of the chinese sauce in the mixture. In Chinese shumai, they used the Chinese black mushroom as a choice in the filling. The centre of the shumai usually garnishes with crab roe or diced carrot as a decorative presentation.

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Ha gao (Crystal shrimp dumpling)
Ha gao is a traditional Cantonese dumpling. This is very difficult dim sum to make the crystal skin. Ha gao is often served together with shumai. The skin is transparent and so smooth. Based on the skin, the dim sum chef skill will be judged based on how thin and translucent the skin is, but yet steady and not break when it picked up with the chopstick. The filling of the dumpling should be generous. The most important are it must be cooked well, to bring the juiciness of the shrimp and also avoiding the shrimps for becoming lumpy.

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Xiaolongbao (Steamed Basket Bun)
Xiaolongbao is smooth, tender, and some kind of translucent dumpling. It is different from white and fluffy steamed bun made by raised flour referred to a baozi. Traditionally xiaolongbao filled with minced pork. Another variant is used other meat, seafood, even vegetables as a filling. Inside the wrapping contain meat filling alongside its cubes gelatin-gelled aspic. The heat from the steaming process turns the solid cube gelatin-gelled aspic into a delicious soup. To eat the xiaolongbao usually dipped in black vinegar with a thin fine slice of ginger to make the taste more succulent.

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Fengzhao (Chicken feet)
Perhaps the most visually unappealing or appealing, it depends on who you are, the chicken feet. Some people said that chicken feet are a delicacy of Chinese cuisine. In Hong Kong, chicken feet typically steam to make it soft before its simmer with a special characteristic sauce contains: black fermented beans, bean paste, sugar or in abalone sauce. Sometimes the sauce added by drops of chilli oil, to make the heat and more taste of the chicken feet.

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Do you know that we organise food tour as well? To find out more, reach out to us at askus@ladyredot.com.


dsc_4705-jpg Hello, I’m Jenica from Indonesia.  As a law student in progress, studying law can sometimes become really boring.  That’s why I always like to wander around and exploring new, unusual places to relieve some tension.  I also like to capture my experience through lenses and especially from writing, because it helps me to create memories that will last forever, yet it can also enjoy by a lot of people.  Meanwhile, if I don’t have time to travel, you can find me easily at the markets while trying delicious street foods from various local food stalls.  Nasi goreng, rendang, and martabak are my all time favourite that will never be replaced with anything. For me, diet always starts tomorrow so  let’s enjoy the life to the fullest!  If you want to know more about me, drop me an email now.

Off the Grid in Quirino

Brief Background
Quirino (capital: Cabarroguis) is a province in the Philippines named after its sixth president, Elpidio Quirino. It’s surrounded by different provinces which are why it is considered a landlocked province. Although Ilocano is widely spoken there, locals can converse well in Tagalog or Filipino and English.
With only a total area of 2,323 square kilometres and barely 190,000 residents, it may sound like there’s nothing much to do in this quaint province. But no, there are so many things to do here! Ready your backpacks!

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Av Eugene Alvin Villar (seav) – English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Lenke

How To Get There
Believe it or not, Quirino is rarely mentioned in travel blogs and sites. Because of its geographical location, it is generally off the tourist radar.

Your first option would be to take a bus from Metro Manila. You will have to catch the late night trip so you’ll get to the town of Maddela the next morning (yes, you’ll have to sleep on the bus). This is the most economical way of getting there.

If time is of the essence and the budget is not an issue, take an hour flight (Cebu Pacific Air) to Cauayan Airport in Isabela, a town next to Quirino. Get off the plane, and find a van that will take you Cabarroguis. This land trip will take another hour to an hour and a half.

If you are not able to book a ticket to Cauayan, hop on an hour flight to Tuguegarao (Cebu Pacific Air or Philippine Airlines) and then hop on a van to Quirino. This will take three hours.

There’s no easy way to get to this place, but it’s so worth it!

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By P199Sariling gawa, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Getting Around Quirino
If you’re a laidback type of person who likes to immerse what locals do, Quirino should be on your bucket list. There are no car, motorcycle or bicycle rentals, however, you can ride a jeepney to get to your destination (yes, even to the remote mountainous areas!)

What To Do In Quirino

Eat. Eat. Eat – With all those hours you spent on travelling to Quirino, be sure to try their delicious local delicacies (this will give you enough energy for your other activities, too). Enjoy some “igado” and “Pancit Batil Patung” for lunch, dinakdakan for dinner (or anytime of the day, tbh!) and some “Royal Tubikoy” or “inandila” for dessert or afternoon snacks. And “water” them down with “tapuy.” No, we won’t tell you what they are. You have to try them!

Go spelunking – Aglipay cave has a 37-chamber cave system, 8 of which were developed for caving for enthusiasts (from basic to super challenging).

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Visit Nagtipunan – Nagtipunan, a town where part of the Cagayan River is located, is not only perfect for boating and swimming. Here you can enjoy your time away from the hustle and bustle and unleash your outdoorsy side! This place is great for camping, trekking, rock climbing, fishing, and rafting.

See the waterfalls – Quirino may not have beaches, but it is definitely blessed with so many waterfalls. Before you get to bathe in these amazing falls, you have to be up for a little bit of hiking and trekking (well, maybe not a little). List down Pensal Falls, Mabo Falls, Nantugaw Falls, Sinipit Falls, Maddela Falls, Junuan Falls, Victoria Falls, and Mactol Falls on your journal for when you visit Quirino!

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Sit back and relax at Landingan Viewpoint – Two words: breathtaking scenery. A view deck is available where you can see perpetual greens. That is green plains surrounded by green mountains after green mountains against the blue skies. The view is so beautiful and the air is so fresh you just want to stay quiet and be in one with nature (and maybe imagine yourself paragliding).

Visit Siitan River – Balasyan canoes will take you on a quiet yet enjoyable river cruise at Siitan River. If prefer to get your feet (or yourself) in the water, rent an inflated tube and allow yourself to be drifted away by the calm waters of this river. This place is so picturesque you’d think you’re on a movie set!

If you like to learn more about Philippines or secret hideouts in the world, reach out to us at askus@ladyredot.com and we’ll be glad to guide you.


mish
Hello, I am Mish! I used to work as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since I graduated, I decided to give up my corporate job to focuses on my 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. I am a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, I’m tiny but I am an Olympic-level glutton. Let me bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach me at LinkedIn.

Visit Korea on a Shoestring Budget

As the K-pop and dramas massively spreading worldwide channels, South Korea has become one of the most wanted destinations in Asia. You may expect to work like a horse and saving for your Korea trip as the myth has it, Korea is not for the budget travellers, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Korea is doable on shoe string budget with the two key spells: right timing and well-planning. Let’s take a closer look together:

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When should I go
There isn’t a right time for everyone at this four-season country, where each season exposes its unique charms. There is cherry blossom Spring, hopeless romantic Falls, sweating Summer and snow land fairy-like Winter. On top of all, there is shopping season at Asia’s cosmetic and fashion hub.

Tips:
1. For the shopaholic, good news, the national grand sales are held yearly during Feb and Oct. So even if you are on a shoestring budget, you still can enjoy the shopping pleasure during this time.
2. Summer in Korea is scorching and humid, this is usually the peak time, so best to avoid this period.

Hunt for the cheapest tickets using relevant travel apps for your selected period or check with us!

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Where should I stay
Budget traveller’s best option are apparently hostels or dormitories, where you trade in your privacy for the add-on: free breakfast, WiFi, laundry at extremely low cost. The rate starts from $10 / night. Do make sure you check all the add-ons for the best deals.

Alternatively, there are many options with slightly higher rate, starting from $17/ night for a private single room on Airbnb. Shop around; you will surely find the best accommodation deal, that will not break your wallet while meeting your comfort level needs. As usual, pick the place not so far from tourist spots otherwise, you will end up paying for transportation.

Moving around
The main cities in Korea are well connected by public transports, bus or train. Upon arrival, get yourself a pre-loaded T-money cards, which can be used to pay for bus, metro, taxi and train fares at a discounted rate.

Tips:
Download the app called Ji Ha Cheol to navigate the complex subway system while you are in Seoul.

Extra tip: if you plan to walk around or navigate your route, try the app NaverMap, the Korean version of Google map, which is localised and more accurately updated.

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What to eat
While in Korea, do as the Koreans do, another way to avoid being overcharged. Obviously, if you are going to the tourist districts, be prepared to pay extra for the same delicious street food you would find elsewhere. Watch the locals and follow them; this will save you a significant amount.

What to do
Korea has everything that pleases your taste, from the rich and exciting cultural activities such as Jjimjilbang, visiting King Palace, war museum to the modern theme parks and massive shopping malls.
For natural savvy, the national parks, sighting, islands, snow mountains, there are so many options for you. Korea has much more wonderful places to offer than just Seoul, pick a theme on what you want to experience in this beautiful country, explore and get amazed.
While most places require entrance tickets, there are many places you can go for free if combining with certain offers. Make sure to check out the promotion coupons before arriving at Korea and make the best use of the discounts.

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Tip, tips, and more tips:
– Buy the local specialities at the tax-free malls like Dong Hwa and Lotte; you get the best deals here. Buying at the popular night markets is another good option only if you know how to bargain and distinguish the qualities.
– Check out the site http://www.visitkorea.com.my/node/events-promotions/promotions/ if you want to hunt for discount vouchers on some shops or events

So the myth has been debunked. Korea is possible on shoestring budget. Don’t put your Kim Chi dream up any longer, let’s us help you to cross out another destination from your bucket list. Reach out to us at askus@ladyredot.com.


juneHello, I am June! I love to explore different roles to find out what is my passion. I used to be a travel consultant, a Kindergarden English teacher, an Expedia’s Lodging Partner Support agent, and the latest is being a freelancer. Eventually, I figure that my passion is to express the hospitality spirit from my heart and inspire others from my work. Being a writer for LadyRedot, where I get inspired and inspire others, and running my own bed and breakfast in Vietnam. I view life as a colorful and adventurous journey, join me as I share my passion with you! You can reach out to me @ LinkedIn.

How to visit Japan on shoestring budget

Japan, the little island with so much to see in culture and nature, always on the bucket lists of wanderlusts worldwide. But, there is a big but, it’s too expensive, the bias that stuck in our head all the time has stopped us from exploring this beautiful country. The reality is, you CAN visit many cities in Japan on your tight budget if you plan well, let’s us brief you a little.

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Time to visit
Cherry blossom is extraordinary in Japan, so no doubt, Spring is the best time, that is March to May, but avoid the golden week around the end of April and beginning of May.

Next best time is, of course, autumn, September to November in Japan. Finally, for winter lover, who enjoy the snowy cold, book your flight to Japan between the December – February time, again, avoid the peak at New Year or Christmas.

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Accommodation
Of course, if you are an avid traveller and has an excellent profile on Couchsurfing, you can cut off the cost of accommodation intensively. Sadly, not everyone is lucky enough or comfortable enough to crash overnight at stranger’s house, so here come a few suggestions for accommodation:
There are plenty of budget options: (around $20 – $40/night): hostel, dorm or capsule hotels are among the top choices for shoestring travellers. All these places are facilitated with shared shower, toiletries and kitchen. Around this range, you can also make use of internet café, where you can buy the pass for 5 hours or so, with shower, the internet, snack, drinks, not bad at all.

Travelling with a friend? Opt for business hotels, as you pay the same price for hostel option, but being much more comfortable and private.

A few more tips to save extra on accommodation: make use of the 24 hours’ bath if you are only transiting in town, and opt for the comfortable overnight bus to save on the hotel cost.

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Transportation
Japan has it all that will suit your budget requirements comfortably. From the bus, train to flight.

Once decided on the destinations you love to visit, check out the bus or train pass, which gives you the best deal for intercity trips. One of the best public wide coverage bus passes you can reserve online is Willer Express, where you can enjoy three non-consecutive days pass starting at 10000 Yen (about $90). The site even offers an illustration on how this option benefits you, check it out, and you will be surprised that at least you can hop to 5 major cities in Japan with the 3 or 5-day pass.

Another incredible deal you can get if you travel in Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Wakayama, Shiga, Hyogo) is the Kansai Thru pass (about $50). The single use pass works for bus, subway and train, non-consecutive day and also comes with several discounts at major tourist spots.

Compared to the seven consecutive days pass JR train at nearly $300, the bus pass is a better option for budget concern folks with the extraordinary flexibility.

Tight on time? Don’t worry; Japan is incredibly convenient when it comes to purchasing a flight pass, check out at http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2364.html for the most suitable pass.

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Food
If you fancy noodles, fantastic! Follow the locals and enjoy your cheap, delicious ramen meals, which is typical around $4-5. If you are not that into the local food, the pre-packed meals from the supermarket, convenience stores or kiosk at train stations are also very economical while still delicious and nutritious. Finally, don’t forget to hit the street markets and Japan’s vending food machines for the variety of options that won’t break your wallet.

Tips: make lunch as your main meal, as many restaurants offer the cheaper lunch set menu, starting around $9 or take away at $5. While take away the meal from groceries in the evening will help you to save a few more bucks. Another way to save is to pay attention when booking your accommodation that may offer 1 or 2 meals per day.

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What to do
Regardless if you are a museum people, nature wanderlust, photography hobbyist or a technology geek, Japan has plenty to offer for free. Make sure you research well at each destination, there are always a mix of experiences you can try for free and get the authentic tastes of Japan, like watching cherry blossom if you come during Spring time, stroll around the famous temples or time your visit right and get free entry to museums.

Finally, bear in mind that planning in advance is the best way to keep your budget in control, as being such popular tourist spot, several services in Japan got booked out several months.

So, I hope after this article; start planning your Japan trip without worrying about the cost, after all, it is entirely worth it to visit a country where the beauty of tradition and nature has well blended with the most advanced modern technology.

Or leave all the planning to us. There is always a travel plan to suit every budget and lifestyle. Just askus@ladyredot.com.


 

june
June explores different roles to find out what is her passion. She used to be a travel consultant, a Kindergarden English teacher, an Expedia’s Lodging Partner Support agent, and the latest is being a freelancer. Eventually, she figures that her passion is to express the hospitality spirit from her heart and inspire others from her works. Being a writer for LadyRedot, where she get inspired and inspire others, and running her own bed and breakfast in her homeland. She views life as a colorful and adventurous journey, join her as she shares her passion with you! You can reach out to her @ LinkedIn.

Romantic Activities In Little Red Dot

They say that keeping a relationship requires effort from the individuals involved and for some odd reason, people always seem to equate the word effort to the dreaded word “expensive”. Especially in a romantic relationship, exerting effort to show your partner how much you care does not necessarily mean that you have to spend all your life savings on one activity.

You are not required to take your other half on an expensive trip together or lavish him/her with pricey gifts. Sometimes, doing something as simple as watching the sunset together is enough to keep that romantic fire burning for the both of you.

On the other hand, money should not even be an issue if your goal is to honour your relationship by doing stuff together. So here are a few romantic activities that you and your partner can take advantage of in Singapore:

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On top of my list is, you guessed it right – watching the sunset together! I firmly believe that therein lies in each one us that alone, but an intense and profound connection to nature. Despite Singapore being a seemingly very busy city with people who look like they could never fit in a minute or two for trivial activities such as watching the sunset, there are a number of perfect spots for couples to go to, to spend a quiet time together marvelling at the setting sun. What better way to forget the frenzied hurly-burly of the city life and get all romantic with your partner without having to spend a dollar, eh?

One favourite spot for family and couples is the Henderson Waves – a place perched on an elevated height (perfect for sunset watching) and with a bridge that, like magic, lights up beautifully when dusk falls. Just writing about this wonderful place and thinking of spending an afternoon with my beau there is already getting me teary-eyed and making me feel all giddy and romantic.

There are other perfect places for sunset watching too, like the Ulu Pandan Reservoir where the sun kisses the massive water body before it rests for the night, spreading hues of yellow and orange and all other dreamy colours that sunset brings with it. There is also the famous Pulau Ubin Island – not only is it a favourite place for cycling, but it also becomes a paradise when the sun starts to dip.

There are a lot more fascinating places in Singapore you and your partner can visit where you both can spend a romantic afternoon watching the setting sun in all its majesty.

Another thing that couples can do together to spice up their relationship is to spend a quiet afternoon talking about just anything, and everything under the sun over a good cup of coffee in any of the small, comfortable and warm coffee shops tucked in the city’s less crowded corners.

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For one, there is the Whisk Café in 58 Seng Poh Road, a minimalistic café all washed in white – white walls, white pillars, white stools, everything in refreshing white. If you are looking for an old-school ambience coupled with delicious tasting desserts, the Carpenter & Cook will give you exactly what you are looking for. Their shop sports old benches and authentic cutlery that make for a lovely ambience.

A quiet afternoon spent inside these cosy cafés with your significant other will give you time to catch up amidst your busy work schedules and will provide you with the perfect venue to talk about things that concern your relationship.

I could go on and on, talking about the many romantic activities that couples can do together, but, at the end of the day, any activity can be romantic as long as both you and your partner decide to put your heart and mind into it. The main point I guess is being able to spend quality time with your significant other however way you want to spend it.

Over at LadyRedot, we can plan a romantic getaway, the special proposal even a celebration of your anniversary holiday. Just askus@ladyredot.com.


mish

Mish worked as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since she graduated, she decided to give up her corporate job. She now focuses on her 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. She is a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, she’s tiny but she is an Olympic-level glutton. Let her bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach her at LinkedIn.

How Vietnamese celebrate Tet

Watermelon, Chung cake, Tet cake, lucky money.. Yes, you guess it right, I’m referring to the biggest celebration in Vietnam, Tet Nguyen Dan. Tet, as of how the Vietnamese usually call it, is the New Year, very similar to Chinese New Year in several ways the event has its own unique charms.

Tet’s atmosphere starts prior than the main dates itself. 1 month prior to Tet, people are already rushing with the preparation: making traditional dried candied fruits, cleaning and decorating the house, making the special cakes for Tet, shopping for new clothes, just like how the Western would prepare for Christmas.

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The closer to the Tet’s Eve, it gets busier everywhere. Big cities starts to empty as everyone heads to their hometown to gather with family, every businesses rush to finish prior to the events. There is a saying: “As empty as the New Year’s Eve”, which indicated the fact that nobody outside doing any business, as this is the time to head for home, for the family. Nowadays, you will still find that most of the stores, markets closed several days before Tet or latest on the last day of the year.

New Year’s Eve for many families is the gathering time, where people will have a small meal to worship the ancestors and thankful for the protection and all the good things happened last year. In the past, when fire crackers were still allowed, then you would hear a lot of crackling and amusement. Nowadays, people anticipant eagerly for the fireworks to begin.

So, what is it like during Tet?

People dress nicely to visit the temple and the graveyard of your late loved ones. Followed by visitation of the relatives, where the children and the elders will get the lucky money, as a wish for health and luck all year around. At each house, people invite you for a drink, can be either tea or alcohol and some sweets, wishing each other for a smooth new year.

The Tet has 3 official days, traditionally, the first day is to visit the Father’s family, second day for the Mother’s family, third day for the teachers, neighbors, and friends. However, nowadays, family size tends to be smaller, people would just combine everything in a single day for the convenience.

The most common entertainment during Tet is “gambling”, kids have their own set of games, which they can use a part of the lucky money to play. Adults also gather around to gamble, on a small scale and fun way to relax rather than serious gambling.

Some of the items are always present during Tet are:

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The Chung and Tet cake
Both are the traditional glutinous rice cake for Tet, that have the square and round shape respectively, symbolised the ground on our feet and the sky above our head. The cake is a combination of the meat, green bean, sticky rice, wrapped in the banana leaf and cooked over 48 hours and served with a typical fish sauce. The cooking part is the most interesting part as everyone get to gather around the charcoal stove, take turns to be in charge and exchange the stories. Simple connection in the old style.

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Watermelon
The fruit, with the red coloured juicy flesh covered with a smooth hard green skin, is believed to represent luck combined with hard work for a fruitful year.

Once a upon a time, the king gotten angry because the prince stated the fact that with hands and brain, everything and anything is possible. The king wanted to challenge his son, he forced him and his family to live on an island, without any food or water.

One day, the birds brought some strange seeds to the island, he planted it and watermelons began to grow successfully. Since then, he has been trading the fruit for food, clothes, and water. The business went so well that he has built his own kingdom from the island, and proven his word to his father.

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Five-fruit tray
A tray of different type of dried candied fruits to invite your guests while having the chatting. the tray normally contains the 5 different types of fruits depend on where you from in Vietnam, for eg, the south five-fruit tray will contain: custard apple, cluster fig coconut, papaya, and mango which each fruit pronounced in Vietnamese are “Cầu sung dừa đủ xài”. The whole sentence means: wishing a well-being year with enough prosperity.

The core value of the New Year has always remains in the hearts of the Vietnamese: time for the reunion, for connection and good wishes. If you wish to join in with the Vietnamese and bask in good wishes and joy, come and have a chat with us anytime at askus@ladyredot.com.


 

juneJune explores different roles to find out what is her passion. She used to be a travel consultant, a Kindergarden English teacher, an Expedia’s Lodging Partner Support agent, and the latest is being a freelancer. Eventually, she figures that her passion is to express the hospitality spirit from her heart and inspire others from her works. Being a writer for LadyRedot, where she get inspired and inspire others, and running her own bed and breakfast in her homeland. She views life as a colorful and adventurous journey, join her as she shares her passion with you! You can reach out to her @ LinkedIn.