Best Vacation Destinations for Anthophiles

Originally, anthophiles refer to insects which frequent flowers or feed from them. These days, however, flower lovers everywhere has appropriated the term anthophile to mean a person who loves or appreciates flowers. For example, I’m a self-confessed anthophile. Since I don’t have much space for gardening in the city, I make do by displaying fresh cut flowers on my work desk, dining table and even on my bedside table.

It may seem a bit frivolous for others because flowers wilt anyway, so why keep purchasing them? But for me, it really is worth every cent. Plus, the lives of fresh cut flowers do not end on murky waters inside a vase. You can actually dry them out and craft them into potpourri or frame them into something artsy. Your only limit is your imagination!

Still, nothing beats living, breathing and thriving flowering plants. Fortunately, I do get to appreciate flowers in their natural habitat when I travel—wide, open spaces of pastel-coloured flowers in full bloom. Wherever I am, I always make it a point to visit flower farms or well-tended gardens and parks. So if buying hampers and fruit baskets from the best florist in Singapore is not enough to satisfy your anthophilous needs, perhaps going straight to the source may do the trick. Here are some of the prime vacation destinations you can visit and the best time to go there.

Untitled

Keukenhof in Lisse (The Netherlands)
(Unsplash | Owen Williams)

Tulips have become so in demand that it even caused the Tulip mania during the Dutch Golden Age that sent the prices for tulips skyrocketing. They have remained popular even up to this day. These elegant blooms are perfect for various occasions, including weddings and especially for Valentine’s Day. Every online florist in Singapore probably has Holland tulips in their inventory. To see these tulips in their place of origin, travel to the tulip fields in Holland to see millions of bulbs bloom in spring. The best time to visit Keukenhof is during the months of March to May.

Though I can’t visit those fields whenever I please, every time I miss Holland’s gorgeous tulip farms, I often order A Better Florist’s The Allison composed of multi-hued tulips. It just transports me to the countryside’s of Europe. Fortunately, you can also buy The Allison from Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi and Dubai due to their recent expansion. Seems like there are anthophiles everywhere as they’ve already gained quite a following after they’ve been touted as best flower delivery in Hong Kong, best florist in Hong Kong and one of the best florists in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The flower business is definitely blooming!

1

Yanaka Cemetery, Ueno, Tokyo (Japan)
(Unsplash| kazuend)

If your version of satisfying your floral fix during a vacation is by ordering a luxurious bouquet from the best florist in Hong Kong in between shopping sprees and food trips, then you need to level up your anthophilous game. Why not ditch your annual Hong Kong trip and pick another Asian destination for an authentic floral fix at Japan’s sakura season! This is probably the most magical season in Japan. Even the best bouquet from the best florists in Singapore can’t quite capture the whimsy and scenic appeal of sakura. When springtime comes, tourists flock to the country to get a glimpse of the ephemeral beauty of Cherry Blossoms. For a brief time, Japan gets covered in a delicate tapestry of pink and white.

Yanaka Cemetery in Ueno may seem like a morbid choice, but trust me, if you want to witness the cherry blossoms in full bloom and in relative peace, then this is where you want to be. Nagoya Castle may have the more cinematic overall experience, but you can also expect droves of people bound to be there obstructing the view. The best time to witness the sakura season is late March to mid-April. You can also check online for a more accurate schedule.

 

Advertisements

9 Things You Need To Know Before You Travel To Cuba

The Republic of Cuba is made up of; the island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud and several archipelagos. Spanish is the national language. Havana is the largest city as well as the capital city of Cuba.

Cuba is Caribbean’s largest island and the second-most populous after Hispaniola. The country has 16 provinces and is home to the world’s famous Che Guevara.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.46.53 PM.png

Below is a list of what you need to know before you arrive in Cuba.

  1. Singaporeans do not need visa to Cuba unlike Americans

Unlike the American passport which has restrictions when visiting Cuba, the Singaporean passport passes the test and you can travel to Cuba without a visa for up to 30days.

All tourists require a tourist card, which goes for $20 and which you must purchase prior to your arrival in Cuba. This can be obtained in the country you are arriving in from.

  1. Avoid Hurricane Season – July to Nov

Cuban experiences stormy weather between the months of July and November. Hurricanes are mostly ranging in late August and early October. The other months of the year offer favorable weather for you to visit Cuba.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.47.30 PM.png

  1. Print out your documents before leaving

It is advisable to have a print-out of your return ticket or even saved on your phone or laptop. During the check-in process, the airline checks to ensure that you possess a copy of your return ticket. Unfortunately, the airline isn’t in a position to have a print out done for you.

  1. Credit Card is useless there

All transactions in Cuba are done using cash. It is advisable to have ready cash on you. Foreign exchange counters are available at the airport for your access to Cuban currency.

American dollars are charged a 10% additional fee to the exchange rate when changing into Cuban money, so it is advisable to use other foreign currencies like the British pound, Mexican pesos, or Euro which do not attract such additional fee.

  1. Cuba’s 2 currencies

Cuba uses two currencies, the Cuban covertibles CUC, – which is mostly used tourists -and Cuban pesos CUP. Changing foreign currency to CUP you have to first change to CUC then to CUP. As a tourist, you can use CUP should you prefer.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.47.45 PM.png

  1. Stay in Casas Particulares aka local Airbnb

Accommodation in Cuba is mostly what is referred to as Casas Particulares. Hotels are available but are few making Casas Particulares more common. Families with several rooms available in their homes offer the boarding services at a fee. You will have a shared common space with its members.

  1. Buses are the best transportation

Travel in Cuban is mostly by bus and they have good infrastructure connecting all the major cities. Few bus companies are available that offer bus services to tourist, but should you opt for bus tours ensure to be at the bus terminus earlier since no online booking services are available.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.48.37 PM.png

  1. It is very safe in Havana

Havana is heavily guarded with security troops everywhere. This makes Havana very safe for you to even walk in the streets at night.

  1. The Internet is a scarcity

Internet access here is rather expensive and not easily available. The way for you to have access is to either check- in into one of the hotels that have Internet services, then pay for it, or buy local mobile provider (ETECSA) Sim-card then connect through one of the wifi hotspots available in the major cities.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.49.15 PM.png

Havana city is a prime touristic site. I truly enjoyed the morning strolls along the El Malecon which has a fantastic view of the bay and runs alongside the main streets of Havana. The weather was warm and humid so an early stroll was more enjoyable, refreshing and scenic.

During my short stay, I could not pass up a quick stop at the Camara Obscura. It is situated in the old town and has a breathtaking 360-degrees view of the entire city.

Want to know more about Havana and Cuba? Just askus@ladyredot.com, we have all the tips and tricks for you.


Kally Hi, I’m Kally. A Singaporean who has been relocated twice, first to Shanghai, now based in Kuala Lumpur. I have always been the avid traveller since young. I had my passport made even before I went to primary school! I travel extensively during my free time, either on tour groups or backpacking around Europe and all within the recent years. I am exposed to many different cultures and places, which allow me, to have the ability to look at many things and situation from various angles. Having gained 20 years of corporate world, I decided it is time for me to hang up my briefcase and heels to indulge my passion: Writing and Traveling. The two passions that give me pure enjoyment and liberation. As much as I enjoy traveling and writing, I strive on assisting people in making their lives easier. This is evidently shown in MiddleMe.net where I am the founder and editor. Allow me @ kally@ladyredot.com to help you to pen down your next trip abroad!

The Changi Airport – Why it is the Best Airport in the World?

Changi airport, Singapore, the world’s seventh busiest airport as we speak, is an award winning airport because it has the most excellent facilities which will make your transit one of its kind. Year after year, Changi airport receive awards for its world-class and efficient services and facilities.

Why Changi Airport Wins Award For Being The Best Airport Year After Year

Year after year Changi airport has been named the best airport because of the following reasons:

  • It serves more than 100 international airlines
  • More than 6,200 flights either land or depart per week
  • All its terminals – T1, T2, T3 and now T4 are fitted with essential traveler’s amenities that will make your travel easy and comfortable.
  • More than 550 internet and WI-FI access points.
  • A two hour Singapore city tour for passengers with more than 5 hours to the next flight

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.29.56 PM.png

Food In The Airport

At the Changi airport, there are some cafes and restaurants e.g. “Ah Kun” which serves international cuisines as well as local delicacies at affordable prices. One of the favourite local dishes for breakfast is Kaya Toast (a type of bread) and coffee. Another very typical local dish is rice noodles which are served with a coconut milk soup known as “Laska.”

Service In The Airport

At the Changi airport, you can get the best hotel services at the Singapore Airport Transit hotel. At all the terminal points, you can get excellent services such as relaxation facilities as well as hotel rooms.

To enjoy the hotel’s services, ensure that you have booked your room at least four weeks before your arrival at Changi airport.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.32.40 PM.png

Facilities In The Airport

Some of the great amenities that you will find at Changi airport include the following:

Beautiful Indoor Garden
Changi airport stands out from the pack due to its green spaces that lead You through beautiful indoor gardens. The gardens are themed differently in each terminal. For example, T3 has the exotic and rare species of trees and butterflies while T2 has a sunflower garden with little pathways for you to wander around.

Swimming Pool
They have rooftop swimming pools with Jacuzzi from where you can watch the planes take off as you enjoy yourself.

Slide
At T3, you can enjoy the world’s tallest (12 M high) slide which rotates 6 M per second.

Self-service Kiosks
At T4, get yourself served at the biometric technology enabled kiosks.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.31.26 PM.png

Wireless Connection In The Airport

Once you get at Changi airport, if you have a personal laptop or smart phone and you would like to use the internet services, you can access the free wireless internet all the minutes you will be at the airport at all its internet terminals. You will only need to register your device and access the unlimited internet.

Entertainment In The Airport

Next to the restaurants at the Changi airport, there are movie screening and TV programmes shows with comfy leather seats. You can purchase your cup of coffee or cold beer from the restaurant and then go to the entrainment section and take a seat in your desired position sit back and enjoy your movie or free to air TV programme of your choice.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.31.13 PM.png

The New Terminal 4

The newly opened terminal 4 at the Changi airport is one of its kind. As soon as you check in at this terminal, all the services are automated for self-service thanks to the human-less technology. At various stations, there are face recognition points. At this terminal, you will only be served by someone at the security screening points. This is Singapore’s first terminal with multiple biometric stations.

The terminal has four major sections i.e. departure, arrivals, transit and boarding area. As you walk into the departure area, you will be welcomed with an empty space without any columns and a high ceiling that is fitted with skylights that are petal-shaped which allows natural light to come in. The arrival area, on the other hand, has a green theme with 16,000 plants on the facet of the exterior wall.

The terminal has more than eighty retails shops where you can eat any international cuisine or buy whatever global brand you would like.

Changi Airport is a tourist spot itself, deserves to spend a little more time before you board your plane back home.


Kally
Hi, I’m Kally. A Singaporean who has been relocated twice, first to Shanghai, now based in Kuala Lumpur. I have always been the avid traveller since young. I had my passport made even before I went to primary school! I travel extensively during my free time, either on tour groups or backpacking around Europe and all within the recent years. I am exposed to many different cultures and places, which allow me, to have the ability to look at many things and situation from various angles. Having gained 20 years of corporate world, I decided it is time for me to hang up my briefcase and heels to indulge my passion: Writing and Traveling. The two passions that give me pure enjoyment and liberation. As much as I enjoy traveling and writing, I strive on assisting people in making their lives easier. This is evidently shown in MiddleMe.net where I am the founder and editor. Allow me @ kally@ladyredot.com to help you to pen down your next trip abroad!

Unusual Beaches in the World

Beach. It’s a place usually dotted with palm trees where you get sand between your toes, get a tan under the heat of the sun, and bathe in crystal clear waters. Sure, but did you know that there are beaches in this mysterious world that offers more than that?

Did you know that there is a beach in this world that has glow in the dark particles dwelling in its waters? Did you know there are beaches in this world with green, purple, pink, black, and red sand? Prepare to be amazed as we show you the unusual beaches in the world.

  1. Red Sand Beach (Rabida, Galapagos)
    This beach is unusual because, yes you’re right, it has orangey red sand. The red sand is not because of blood of course, but it’s because of the oxidation of lava that contains a high level of iron and tiny bits of corals washed up.
  2. Pfeiffer Purple Sand Beach (California)
    It’s named “Purple Sand Beach” obviously because of its purple sand. Its sand however, is not purple all over. It has streaks of purple that look like someone spilled purple and indigo watercolor. No, nobody spilled watercolor on the sand. The purple color is because of the manganese garnet deposits from the hillside soil eroded to the beach.
  3. Pink Sand Beach (Bahamas)
    Here’s another one named after the color of its sand. Pink Sand Beach is pink because of the tiny pieces of coral that are broken down and washed ashore by the strong waves. Just imagine the blue waters and the pink sand! Just perfect!
  4. Papakolea Green Sand Beach (Hawaii)
    The first thing that you’ll probably think of when you see this beach is how slimy the sand must be because it looks like it’s covered with seaweeds. But no, the green shade is not because of seaweeds but because of Hawaii’s volcanic mountains. When the volcano erupts, the lava that reached the sea produces a mineral known as “olivine.” It’s the reason why the sand is green.
  5. Glass Beach (California)
    This beach is unusual because it is covered with tiny bits of glass. Sure, it may look nice and unique, but its history is exactly the opposite. Long ago, Glass Beach was the residents’ landfill. Locals used to dump their rubbish in the beach. The glass sand is a result of the waves pounding the glass materials into tiny pieces.
  6. Maldives (no specific beach though)
    Who says you can only enjoy the beach at daytime? In Maldives, visitors laze around the beach at night. When the sun goes down, when the stars appear in the sky, the bioluminescent phytoplankton gather up and line up the shore. The microscopic organisms glow in the dark as a reaction to the strong movements of the water. Oh so magical!
  7. Giants Causeway Beach (Ireland)
    This beach is unique and very picturesque because of its mysterious rock formation. Several million years ago, basalt lava rose to the surface. When it cooled, it cracked into gigantic columns that still exist until today.

Aren’t you attempt to pack your bags and go? I am! Come and join me for a trip today at askus@ladyredot.com.

Activities to do in Iloilo, Philippines

A heart-shaped province located in Western Visayas, Iloilo is aptly called the “Heart of the Philippines.” It may only have a total land area of 5000 square km with a population of approximately 2 Million, but this province offers countless activities for the young and old!

Food Tour

When you’re in Iloilo, it’s kinda difficult to stay faithful to your strict diet. Why? For starters, mouth-watering dishes are Iloilo’s year round attractions. Find a true blue local to show you places where you can eat authentic Ilonggo cuisines: La Paz Batchoy, native “lechon manok” (roast chicken), talaba and sinamak (oysters and native vinegar), KBL (pigeon peas, pork, and green jackfruit), chicken binakol, Pancit Molo, and fresh seafood dishes (The Philippines is an archipelago, so you see fresh seafood almost everywhere).

Heritage Sites Tour

There are several historical sites scattered all over Iloilo. Don’t forget to visit Calle Real, Plaza Libertad, the Iloilo Provincial Capitol grounds, Cathedral, Lizares Mansion, Casa Mariquit, Molo Church, and Bahay Camiña nga Bato, Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral, Miagao Church, San Joaquin Church, Dumangas Church, Santa Barbara Church and Convent, Ermita Chapel, and Nazaria Lagos Monument. You will surely be in awe of the history, architecture, and culture of the people. This activity is not only fun but also very educational!

Take a dip in Iloilo’s pristine waters

No travel article about the Philippines has no section about how beautiful its beaches are. Don’t forget your swimming outfit, eco-friendly sunblock, and cameras (these beaches are soooo picturesque)! Head over to Islas de Gigantes, Concepcion, Ajuy, Sicogon, San Joaquin, Miagao, Guimbal, Tigbauan, and Oton.

Climb, Trek, and Hike

Aside from crystal clear waters, Iloilo is also blessed with lush mountains. Get a trusted local tour guide to show you the roads less traveled: Bucari, Igbaras, Janiuay, Calinog, and Lambunao. Hike hidden trails and be surprised to see amazing waterfalls, overlooking views, and super clean surroundings! Your lungs, eyes, and heart will surely thank you!

Enjoy the city life

In most parts of the Philippines, it is still possible to enjoy the so-called “city life” without losing that laid-back ambience. Iloilo City has a number of lifestyle centers where you can enjoy a cup of coffee while reading a book, spa day (alone or with your loved ones), dine at classy restaurants, and shop at malls. Don’t forget to check out Plazuela de Iloilo, Ayala Atria Iloilo, Smallville Complex, SM City Iloilo, Robinsons Place Iloilo, and Iloilo Business Park.

Or go on a city tour

Iloilo may be a province, but Iloilo City is actually a tourist hub. Aside from its numerous restaurants and shopping districts, it also has amazing museums, hotels, and lifestyle districts.  and nightlife in the province await.

Join a festival

Because the Philippines is hugely Catholic, it’s not difficult to find yourself in the middle of a religious festival while in a province. Iloilo hosts the Dinagyang Festival, a religious and cultural festival held on the fourth Sunday of January. Enjoy the tribal music, religious rituals, street dancing, colorful costumes, amazing food, and most of all, the warmth of the locals.

Not a sleepy old town, Iloilo has plenty to offer for the adventurous and young at heart. Reach out to us to help you to plan your next trip to Philippines @askus@ladyredot.com.


 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.

 

Street Food in Manila

If you are in Manila, be sure to brave the streets and try the street food. Why not? They say the best way to appreciate and learn the culture of a foreign place is by immersion, and that includes trying out what locals do or eat. Convinced? Great! Let me show you Manila’s world famous street food. Warning: this will probably make you drool (or gag, if you’re a bit squeamish).

Balut
Perhaps the most famous Filipino street food by far, Balut or Balot is both weird and appetizing. Balut is an intact duck egg that is boiled and then eaten with vinegar and salt. What do you see inside? Well, it depends on “how old” the embryo is. Some eggs are pure eggs (you know, with the egg white and egg yolk), while some eggs contain tiny developing ducks (yes, with beaks, eyes, and feathers!) We know it’s weird, but we know it’s irresistible! It is a must-try!

Day_2_-_Street_Food.jpg

By Debbie Tingzon from Doha, Qatar – Day 2 – Street Food, CC BY 2.0, Link

Kwek-kwek
Filipinos are known for repeating names like Rap-rap, Maw-maw, and Ton-ton, so you can say that “kwek-kwek” is, on all levels, so Filipino. This dish is essentially just whole quail eggs coated with a mixture of food dye, flour, eggs, and water. The coated egg will then be submerged in super hot cooking oil. The orange eggs are finally served with a very appetizing sauce made with vinegar, calamansi (local lemon), salt, onions, and pepper.

Adidas
No, you’re not gonna be eating some pieces of rubber! Adidas is actually chicken feet on sticks. The chicken feet are coated with a special sauce made with ketchup, soy sauce, and pepper and then grilled. It may look scary, but Adidas is delicious, and is best paired with rice. Why “Adidas”? Because, (chicken) feet = shoes (Adidas)!

Obet's Fried Isaw

Isaw
Isaw is grilled or fried chicken intestines on a stick. Now don’t get squeamish just yet. The intestines are purposely boiled for several minutes prior to kill organisms. It is served with a dipping sauce made with vinegar and salt, or a combination of chili, soy sauce, and coconut vinegar.

14966402162_28e362726f_o

Betamax
Named after the real Betamax tapes, Betamax is chicken blood cut into cubes, skewered, and then grilled. But how do we cut chicken blood into cubes? Well, chicken blood turns into a gelatinous state when cooled (and no it does not go back to its liquid state when grilled). Gross? Wait ‘till you taste it. It’s sinfully delicious.

Taho
Every Filipino, regardless of age, loves Taho. It is basically soy curd with brown sugar caramel and tapioca pearls and is best served warm. It’s a healthy and very affordable drink! If you’re in Manila or in any other place in the Philippines, you’ll know that a Taho vendor is nearby because you’ll hear “taaaaahoooooo!!”

Banana Que
Banana Q or Banana Que a shortcut for Banana Barbeque is banana on stick. Usually served as a snack, this dish involves deep-frying plantain bananas in boiling oil with caramelized brown sugar. It’s usually eaten in the afternoons, after or before a siesta.

Love our introduction of local food? We can help you in hunting down the local hidden food in anywhere in the world! Just askus@ladyredot.com.


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.

In Love with Art and History

In this day and age, we seldom find art lovers anymore. Kids have suddenly become accustomed to holding gadgets and you can hardly even ask them to go out of the house anymore to explore the world, much less go to a museum and appreciate the finer things in life like arts. For those who were born already in love with art and museums, though, below is a list of five of the most enchanting, gorgeous and well-stocked museums in the entire universe which, if you let your kids or friends read, might just encourage and steer them to the art path. So here goes:

timg.jpeg

The Louvre
I think everyone would agree that this museum has got to be THE most famed and prominent museum of all. It’s not a wonder why The Louvre is most frequented, why, its displays and collections are estimated to be more than 30,000 including paintings, sculptures and all other sorts of famous artworks. The great Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, graces this wondrous museum too, with a special shrine of its own protected by bulletproof glass inside a climate controlled area. Not only that, it also houses the works of other famous artists like Michelangelo, Raphael and Caravaggio.

u=1523756364,2199055316&fm=23&gp=0.jpg

The Egyptian Museum
From the name itself, this museum holds the most complete collection of all Egyptian arts in the entire world. Otherwise known as the Museum of Cairo, as it is, obviously, located in Cairo, Egypt, this building full of interesting and valuable things houses the Gold Mask of Tutankhamun which is made out of eleven kilogrammes of pure gold. Imagine that! If you are a fan of ancient treasures, then you better go and visit this place at once, for it holds over 120,000 objects from ancient times.

timg (1).jpeg

The Vatican Museum
Founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century, the Vatican Museums is said to shelter an immense collection of arts. It is a series of rooms totalling to 1,400, chapels and galleries. One of its chapels is called the Sistine Chapel, the walls of which were decorated by no less than Michelangelo himself. Also part of the Vatican Museums is the St. Peters Basilica, noted and renowned for being the biggest Catholic Church in the world.

timg (2)

The National Archaeological Museum
In Athens, Greece, this museum is one of the rare places where a well-documented history of the country can be seen. If you think that the name Ludwig Lange sounds quite familiar, it’s probably because of he, together with Panagiotis Kalkos, designed the neoclassical building we now know as the National Archaeological Museum. Noteworthy sights that can be found inside the museum are colourful paintings dating back to 1500 BC, statues, jewellery and pottery.

Tokugawa Museum 1.JPG
By GryffindorOwn work, CC BY 3.0, Link

The Tokugawa Art Museum
This private museum houses one of Japan’s National Treasures, the Genji Monogatari Emaki, which are prized and treasured documents of The Tale of Genji. The Tokugawa clan was a family of military commanders who reigned over Japan from 1600 to 1868. The museum basically contains superb samurai swords and armours, pottery and clothing that were once worn by the Tokugawas.

No museum tour is completed without the local expertise. Want to learn more on Van Gogh or Da Vinci from an art expert? Contact us at askus@ladyredot.com and we will arrange it for 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.