Little Drops of Heaven – Green Island

Volcanic action formed one of the most peaceful and smallest islands in Pacific Ocean – Green Island. This tiny island is also known as “Fire Island” or “Fire-Burned Island”. It is located 33 kilometers off the eastern coast of Taiwan on an area of 16,2 square kilometers. For everyone who wants to run away from the crowded land, traffic and pollution this is the perfect place to relax. Once you are surrounded with green mountains, coast and plush vegetation, you will enjoy the vacation. On the west side of the island is a small town with port and airstrip, while the rest of the island retains its natural beauty both on seaward and on the land.

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Weather and tips

Tropical climate of the island provides vacation whenever you want, but the best time for visit are fall and spring. Winter is theirs the coldest period and temperature is about 20 ºC. While summer is the hottest period of the year and also, you can attend typhoon season.

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The best way to visit the island is by renting a scooter. You must have a motorcycle license, no exceptions.

If you want to camp you can go next to the hot springs, in the elementary or middle school.

Be sure to visit salt water hot springs, there are only three in the world. On the Green Island is one of them, the others are in Japan and Italy.

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Underwater world

If you like fish, crustacean species or shellfish you will love this place. Around the island lives more than 300 species of fish (abundant is reef fish). These tropical colorful fishes that are swimming around corals can give a wonderful view. One more thing that is going to amazed you, is that you can see coral flourishing under the waves. Be aware of sea snakes on the western side of the island. There live more than four species, they are very poisonous but with gentle nature.

There are many ways you can explore underwater world: with a glass-bottom boat, a semi-submersible, or tourist submarine. For strong water lover`s great way to become a part of an undersea world is diving. The most popular places for exploring underwater are Nanliao, Tapaisha and Chaikou.

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Attractions

Tests of the archaeologists have shown that on this island have been living native cultures from around 4,000 years ago.

The most beautiful landmark on “Fire Island” is Lyudao Lighthouse. It is high about 33 meters and great time to visit that place is before sunset. The most important sightseeing here is religious site at Guanyin Cave, Goddess of Mercy (wrapped in a red blanket). On the entrance into this cavern you will see remarkable Chinese arch and on the inside you will notice stalagmite that looks like deity. The first village on the island is still standing with houses from old stone surrounded with fascinating crags. The Great Wall exists on one more place, on a Haishengping Bay. Actually, it is a mini Great Wall that takes you to a lookout, right from the main road.

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Sleep, Eat and Have Fun

Quiet but very friendly place with hotels and restaurants is Kungkuan Village. You can find more hotels, hostels, guesthouses and B&BS in Nanliao Village. There are also many restaurants with a plenty of fresh seafood. Green Island is not for bars, pubs and discos lover`s, but if you like drinking beer by the ocean you should definitely visit this place.

Whenever I am stressed from work, Taiwan is one place I love to visit again and again. Want to know the local Taiwanese’s secret locations? Join us in our adventures by signing up our website!


KallyHi, 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!

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What do you need to be prepared for an Oversea Marathon?

In 2016, Ladyredot wrote an article about 2016 Hottest International Marathon  and this year I took part in Taipei Standard Chartered Marathon 2017. It wasn’t a half or full but quarter marathon (10KM) in Taipei City. The starting point is at The Presidential Office Building and end at Dajia River Park.

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I started my preparation 2 months before the actual day. I trained myself at a steady speed of 8min/KM. Knowing your body well is vital even though this is not the best optimal speed. To those who are keen to participate in an overseas run, train well and hard!

Packing the right running clothes 

I have done a pre-checked of the weather forecast and it was very cold in February. I have consulted some friends who are experienced running in such temperature on what to prepare. Many of them advised me, I do not need to worry as when I run, my body will get warm up. This is not true! The wind is so chilly and temperature is at 12 degree. Luckily, I wore a Uniqlo Heat Tech Extra Warm underneath the running top with a Windbreaker Jacket. Of course, long running tights is essential rather than running shorts.

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The Right Food 

I reach Taipei 3 days before the marathon. Taipei is a food heaven that no one could possibly disagree. I went to Rou He Night Market, Jiu Fen Old Street and Xi Men Ding.

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I tried to control myself from having Mala Steamboat (Spicy Hot Pot) so as to not cause any stomach discomfort during the entire trip (especially before the run). Some of my personal recommendations:

  1. Yong He Soya Bean, No. 102, Section 2, Fuxing South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 – Legendary local Taiwan Breakfast (must tried the warm soya bean milk and egg pancake)
  2. Ya Rou Bian (Duck Noodle), No. 98之2號, Section 1, Zhonghua Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108 – I preferred to have this for breakfast. It warms my tummy in the cold weather. The soup is clear and tasty.
  3. Addiction Aquatic Development, No. 18, Alley 2, Lane 410, Minzu E Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104 – I am a Japanese Food Fan, hence coming here is like going to Tsukiji Fish Market. You can get fresh sashimi, sushi, uni (my favourite!) and grilled Japanese food. Before I forget, grab a bottle of sake. It goes perfectly well.

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The run is on Sunday, 12th. I brought 3 in 1 Instant Milo and Cereal Bar from Singapore for an early morning breakfast at 4am. It gives me the energy needed as the marathon is starting at 6.30am. Having the right food, gives you the confidence to complete the run.

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Having the Right Mind and Attitude 

This is my first 10KM Marathon. To many, it might seem easy. To some, it might be challenging. I joined with an open and positive mindset. Running an oversea marathon is one of the tasks I want to achieve in my Achievement List (similar to my Skydiving experience in November 2016 – Pg. 77).

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Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. You will discover the power of self-motivation and determination once you set your mind to it. Now, I am a proud 10KM Finisher!

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Do you have a bucket list to complete like Irene? If yes, talk to us now at askus@ladyredot.com to explore how we can help you to strike off that list!


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 traveling 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!

Breathtaking Scenic Spots in Taitung

Unknown to many, Taiwan has its own version of Hawaii that is Taitung. It is a city located in South East Taiwan with a population of about 108,000. It has a chill and laidback vibe, which matches the simplicity of its surroundings. In this article, we give you a virtual tour of Taitung by showing you its hidden breathtaking spots.

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Dulan Beach
Dulan is a serene town on the east coast of Taitung city. It is a tiny community surrounded by mountains and wonderful beaches. Dulan beach has fine, clean, brown sand with waves that are perfect for beginner surfing. What makes it even more amazing is that you rarely see people go there. You can have its entire stretch of coastline all to yourself. It is a perfect place to get in touch with nature.

Taitung or Taidong Forest Park
With an astounding scope of 280 hectares, this park is huge enough to contain a lake within its premises. Pipa Lake is home to many aquatic animals and plants and is one of the scenic spots in the park. Taitung Forest Park is truly a secret haven within a concrete city.

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Jhibhen Hot Spring
A few minutes away from Taitung City lies the town of Jhibhen. It is a small town blessed with hot springs with crystal clear and odourless water. Many Japanese-style baths and outdoor hot pools are available for the visitors to enjoy. Aside from the relaxing hot baths, the surrounding evergreen mountains also contribute to the tranquillity in Jhibhen.

Tianhou Temple
This vibrant, well-maintained temple complex is situated at the northern tip of Zhonghua Road. It is the largest temple in Taitung and is dedicated to Matsu or Mazu. Aside from being a place of worship, it is also famous as a tourist attraction for its beautiful details that exhibit their rich history and culture. Tourists should wait until the evening, as its main courtyard is also used for swordplay practice.

Paposogan or the Seashore Park
This park is perfect for those who want to have a quiet time. You can go for a walk or hop on a bike and enjoy the scenery. It also has public art installations, which are inspired by wood and of course, the ocean. In the morning, the crisp sea breeze from the powerful Pacific Ocean will greet you, and in the evening, the soft ambient lights will take you to a dreamy world you will never forget.

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Chu Lu Ranch
Opened in 1973, this 70-hectare slope land has Holstein cows that produce 500 tonnes of milk annually. Aside from its country vibe (which you will surely appreciate) and pleasant weather, you can also enjoy drinking tea in its outdoor tea shop, strolling in the maple trail, grass surfing, horse back riding and riding horse-drawn carriages. If you want to experience an ecological and cultural trip, this should be on your destination list.

Jhaorih or Zhaori Hot Spring
Being one of the only three hot springs with seawater, it’s no wonder why this is so famous. It has outdoor pools where tourists can pamper themselves while enjoying the mild weather and the calming sound of the waves. On rainy days, visitors can enjoy the indoor hot spring spas. And the best thing? Because of it faces the Pacific Ocean, you get the best sunrise view.

Looking for the hidden gems in Taitung? Let us show you where we hide them. Have a chat with us at 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.

Hot Springs in Taipei

Planning to go to Taipei in 2017? You have to write this down on your to-do list: hot springs in Beitou!

Brief Background
Because of Taiwan’s geographical location, blessed with warm, clean, crystal-clear, sulfuric water in the form of hot springs. Beitou, the mountainous, northernmost district of the city of Taipei, is positioned just over the dormant Datun Volcano Group, which is also why it has the most number of hot springs across the globe.

Most of the bathhouses and other buildings in Beitou still bear evidence of the Japanese Occupation of Taiwan. The town began restoring the Japanese infrastructure in the 1990s after so many years of neglect when the Japanese left.

Although hot springs are more commonly featured in spas and resorts, Taiwan’s hot springs are potable and are safe to drink.

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Common Courtesy
Courtesy and respect are very important especially when you are using a shared facility with tourists and locals alike. Before you go, please note that it is imperative to follow the rules when it comes to bathing in hot springs.

Most bathhouses require the guests to wear head caps for sanitary purposes. If the property has separate pools for men and women, you are expected to bathe nude, but if all genders can share the same pool, you may bathe in your swimming attire. Be conscious of your health as well, as there are time limits in some pools, and prolonged bathing in hot temperature water could be dangerous for some.

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Where to Go
Millennium Hot Springs or Beitou Garden Spa
Anyone who wants to soak up the goodness of hot spring water should go to Millennium Hot Springs. This bathhouse is open to the public and is very affordable. Aside from the indoor bathhouses, the visitors can also enjoy the outdoor pools with different temperature.

Thermal Valley or Jade Springs Valley
This tourist attraction is a pool of jade-colored water with temperatures ranging from 80 degrees Celsius to 100 degrees Celsius, hence its nickname “Hell Valley”. It’s too hot you could feel the steam before you even get to the pool. What makes it this hot spring even more amazing is that it contains radium, which is believed to have therapeutic benefits. However, the temperature makes this attraction not suitable for bathing, so this is mainly for sightseeing.

Beitou Quanyuan Park Foot Bath
After a long day’s walk, you might want to pause for a bit and relax by soaking your tired feet in this natural hot spring. There are no charges to use the facilities, which makes it, even more, a must-visit place for tourists on a budget. Although this private park is a little out of the way, it is worth it.

Hot Spring Spas/Resorts in Beitou
There are many properties in Beitou which offer in-house hot spring spas to visitors. The most famous ones are Sweetme Hot Spring Resort, Spring City Resort, and Beauty Age Hotel, which are a perfect place to unwind as they offer private bathing.

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What to Prepare
A normal swimwear or even wearing a bikini is fine. Most spa will provide a robe for you as well. You might want to bring along your own toiletries especially if you do not want to use the common shampoo or soap as the other guests. Most of the hot springs will insist on a swim cap for hygiene purposes so it is best to bring that along or you’ll have to purchase on the spot. A good sturdy pair of non slip flip-flops is great if you do not wish to walk from the changing room to the hot spring pool barefooted.

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Afterwards
Take plenty of water as you will be dehydrated from the hot spring. It is advisable that you take a light meal after a hot spring activity as well instead of gouging yourself on a full blown meal.

Hot Springs in Taiwan are a definite worthwhile to go. In fact, many visitors from neighbouring countries will plan a yearly trip just for its health benefits. Would you like more information on the hot springs in Taipei? We love to customise your trip for you! Just talk to us at 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.

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Celebrating Chinese New Year in Taiwan

Chinese New Year, one of the most important celebrations to Chinese all around the world. Whether you are in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore even in the States, you will probably be participating in some of the festive celebrations in your community.

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Background

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the first day of the Lunar Calendar but has no specific date on the Gregorian calendar. It falls anytime between late January and early February. In 2017, it falls on the 28th of January.

Aside from being the most important holiday in Taiwan, it also is the longest, being celebrated for 15 days. The official holiday, however, only lasts for a day or two dependable on different years.

Traditions

Prayers to the Ancestors
The festival is time for the Chinese people to honour their deities, so they go to temples and pray. They also offer sacrifices to their ancestors.

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Cleaning
Days before the New Year, the locals make sure to meticulously clean their homes to welcome good luck and get rid of evil spirits. The home cleaning should not be done on New Year’s Day, however, as doing so may deflect good luck and fortune.

Red
The colour red, which symbolises joy and fortune in the Chinese tradition, is widely used during the Chinese New Year. Locals decorate their houses with red posters with Chinese sayings written on them, put up red lanterns and wear red clothing.

Flowers and Oranges
In Taiwan, plum blossom and water narcissus are also used as decorations. Plum blossom symbolises courage and hope while water narcissus symbolises good luck. Oranges symbolise luck and fortune.

Loud Firecrackers
Setting off of loud firecrackers is also done, which is believed to ward off bad luck or ill fortune. The louder the firecracker, the more auspicious it gets.

Visits to Family and Friends
The Chinese New Year happens during the winter season and is the perfect time for the locals to enjoy their break and visit their family and friends. They enjoy good food with the company of each other and even go to tourist spots during this time.

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Red envelopes
Young children receive cash in red envelopes, called Ang Bao given to them by married adults. The adults, however, do not receive anything in return, as it’s not customary to give gifts to them unless the gift comes from their employer. It will be a denomination of even numbers like $2, $6, $8 and $10. The number 4 is deem unlucky by the Chinese.

Celebrations

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Bombarding Master Han Dan
This special ceremony is held in Taitung. A man is chosen to be “Master Han Dan”, the god of wealth. He wears a pair of red pants and holds a bamboo fan to shield his face. Four followers carry him on a sedan chair. The people will then throw firecrackers at him for abundance.

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Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival
Held on the same day as the Lantern Festival, the people visit Yanshui Wu Temple for worship. Fireworks will be set off on the ground level, rather towards the sky, like thousands of mini rockets launching towards you. It is considered lucky to be hit by one of the rockets. No doubt, it is absolutely dangerous and one must be well prepared to be suited up in a safety suit and helmet.

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Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Held in Pingxi of New Taipei City, the lantern festival concludes the 15-day New Year celebration. The Kongming Lanterns were originally used to pass military secret messages, but are now used for festivals and celebrations. The lanterns are handcrafted using oiled rice paper and bamboo frame. The small candle inside it is then lit, and the heat it creates lifts the lantern up the sky. Most people write their wishes on the lanterns to send them to the gods above, hoping their wishes will be granted. It is truly a sight to behold.

 

If you like to experience the true local festivals, drop us an enquiry at askus@ladyredot.com for a chat on how we can help to create unforgettable memories for you.


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.

 

 

Breakfast At Heart

Talking about the most important meal of the day always leave me drooling because I don’t always treat myself to a good sit down breakfast even when I have time.

Nothing wrong with McDonald’s or KFC’s breakfast, I love them both but when comes to a treat, the craving usually points towards a full English Breakfast where I have a full plate of baked beans, hash browns, bacon, toast, scrambled eggs and sautéed potato or mushroom.

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So when I choose to go for breakfast, one of the rare times it is due to my stay in hotels that accompanied with breakfast but most of the time, it is because I end up in an all day breakfast place. And… I simply love having breakfast even for dinner! Here are my personal favourites, a must visit if you are in town!

Wild Honey Singapore
I just love the restaurant and I was actually there for their opening! Imagine getting scrambled eggs when I missed my McDonald’s strict timing of 11am. This place is where I will treat myself to a good Sunday brunch once a month. It is a tad pricey but the service is quick and good, sometimes you do need to queue for a table. The food is superb and mouth watering as they served a lot of different countries’ breakfast. The toast is soft, the scrambled egg is runny but the highlight of their breakfast plate is their sautéed potato.

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Website: http://wildhoney.com.sg/

Location: 333A Orchard Road #03-02 and 6 Scotts Square #03-01

Check Café Taipei
I stumbled this find with my family when we were on a holiday in Taipei a while ago. The atmosphere of the café is clean and bright with a lot of natural lights seeping in through their huge glass pane designs. Their English breakfast simple and light, the best part on their plate is the freshness and sweetness of the cherry tomatoes. I couldn’t get enough of it, given that I usually don’t eat cherry tomatoes. A definitely a must go if you want to start your day right in Taipei.

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Website: http://www.checkinn.com.tw/EN/cafe/

Location: 253 Songjiang Rd. Taipei, Taiwan, 104

Mr Pancake House, Shanghai
What breakfast is completed without pancakes, no doubt it might not be the original English Breakfast but they do serve a mean pancake. Mr Pancake House is the place to go to for a solid but classy American breakfast. Their pancakes are light and fluffy. The best part is that they are not stingy with their portion, I always never get to finish the full plate!

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Location: 877 Wuding Lu, near Jiaozhou Lu 武定路877号, 近胶州路

Acme South, Kuala Lumpur
This place is the only halal place out of the above restaurants and this means they don’t serve pork. However, you don’t really miss out anything at all since they will let you choose between having the beef bacon or the chicken sausages. Their service is impeccable and I always leave a tip. The best item on their plate is that their scrambled eggs just melt in your mouth and their toasts are still warm from the oven. Worth the calories, I tell you!

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Website: http://acmebarcoffee.com/acme-south/

Location: LG10 Bangsar Village One


Writer’s Profile

Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

National Bike to Work Day

If you live in the city like me, you’ll be used to taking public transportation to work unless you drive. I know many of you probably drive to work, a little secret of me: I don’t have a driver’s license yet. Shocking but true!

Living in Singapore where you can reach one end of the island from the other end in 2 and half hours just by taking the train, there is really not much of a need to add on to the already congested roads and pollution to the environment. Even when I was relocated to Shanghai, a lot of places are easily reachable with their underground trains as well. Plus my workplace was within 10 minutes of walking distance from where I lived. Something that I planned when I search for a place in mind.

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It was only when I moved to Kuala Lumpur, I realised that driving is no longer a luxury but a necessary evil to get from point A to point B. Their public buses are often late and driven at carelessly. Their public trains don’t get you anywhere except within the central city itself and it is unpunctual as well. That being said, I still survive taking Uber and Grabcar, private drivers that release me from the pain of public transportation.

Yet when I saw in Netherlands and Taiwan, office gentlemen and ladies who actually cycle to work every single day, it is truly admirable. Of course, a lot on the government’s side to make it safer on the road for cyclists, whether it is having a separate pavement for cyclists and pedestrian or linking roads and highway to get in and out from the central city or even a safe place for you to park and lock your bicycle without fear of it being stolen or vandalized.

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Other than the fact I pointed out on reducing carbon footprints and helping to save the planet, cycling to work gives you back precious time stolen from sitting in your car as you inch your way through the traffic jams. Cycling through parks and gardens on the way to work, calms you down as you pass by greenery and fresh morning air rather than breathing down the road dust and tar. It also doubles up as the workout you always wanted but never have time to hit the gym due to long hours tied to your desk.  It’s a great way to go to work!  

Today is the day we celebrate and encourage National Bike to Work day. If you can, try taking your bike to work today! As for me, I’ll rely on my two bare feet as I pitter-patter from my bedroom to my study, with two ginger furkids as my bodyguards.

If you want to seek career advice from an expert, head over to MiddleMe and join the like-minded folks. Have an awesome weekend, people!


Writer’s Profile

Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com