Japan Day 6 – Shinjuku & Harajuku

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This was the last day of our trip and so we just explored the area near our neighbourhood. We woke up rather early that day to clean up the apartment and checkout by 8am. The reason why we got up rather early is to make sure that we manage to secure lockers at Shinjuku Station. We hear that it fills up really fast and considering it was a Saturday, we didn’t wanna risk not having any lockers for our luggage. By the time we reached the station it was a little past 8am and we managed to secure lockers at the same spot when we first came to Tokyo. So happy to dump our luggage there and spend the rest of our day exploring.

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But before that, we needed to secure our bus tickets to Narita Airport later in the evening. So we headed up to the appropriate bus stop at the Shinjuku Station West Exit and the ticket booth is just conveniently across from it. One way ticket for adults is 3100 Yen and the journey takes about 1.5 – 2 hours. So do keep in mind of your required travel time and plan accordingly so that you don’t end up missing your flight! Continue reading

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Expat Life: Week 11 – Ramadan Bazaars & Flea Markets

Ramadan Bazaars

This post is a little late by a few weeks. Hence why i’m still blogging about Ramadan Bazaars even though it’s already Raya. Well better late than never! Throughout my stay in Singapore i’ve been to two of the popular bazaars here (one in Arab Street and the other in Paya Lebar).

First up is the one in Arab Street because it’s the closest for me. This one is situated right next to the Sultan’s Mosque and is pretty small to the usual bazaars that I get back in Malaysia. Most of the stalls here were selling Ramly burgers, kebabs, briyani rice, hotdogs, and some fried snacks such as karipap (curry puffs), pisang goreng (fried banana fritters) and etc. I tried not to compare with the variety that I get back at home, but I still couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed in this one. I was hoping to get the more rare kuihs such as tepung pelita, seri muka and etc. Also I was craving for murtabak (some kinda meat pancake?) and nasi tomato (tomato rice). Not sure if it’s just that particular day, but while I was there, there were only like a few stalls and selling similar things.

Next was the bigger bazaar situated right next to the Paya Lebar mrt station. This one was huge and well planned. All the stalls are located under big white canopies which were set up specifically for this event. So rain or shine, it’s business as usual. I was a little too excited to see the huge canopies and hence raised my expectations. Unfortunately among the huge numbers of stalls only a few sections were catered for food. The rest were for clothes, shoes, and other Raya prep stuff. Since I went there for the food and not for shopping, it was a bit of a let down as I still couldn’t find my nasi tomato and murtabak! Most of the food stalls were again kebabs, Ramly burgers, fried snacks and etc. They did have more variety compared to the one in Arab Street. Other than the usual stuff mentioned earlier, I also saw char kway teow, otah-otah, grilled squid, coney dogs, pizzas, mixed rice and a variety of drink stalls. I went ahead and got the grilled squid, coney dog and sugar cane drink.

Although I didn’t manage to find what I was craving for, it was still a fun and festive experience. If I had to recommend a bazaar, it would definitely be the one in Paya Lebar. Especially if you’re looking at doing some Raya shopping as well. There were a lot of stalls selling baju kurung, baju melayu (traditional malay outfits) and Raya cookies.

Flea Market at *Scape

Singapore has plenty of flea markets around and one of the more “hipster” flea market was at *Scape which is just a short walk from the Somerset mrt station. I went there towards the evening where there was a live band performing. In terms of stalls, it’s quite small scale. But i do love the items on sale. From phone & laptop accessories, to necklaces, custom charm bracelets, clothes and my fav was the vintage watch stall. This particular shops assembles their own watches with a vintage style. I got mines for around 40 dollars and it comes with warranty too!

Other than the stalls outside, do check out the shops inside the building as well which hosts a lot of items sold by young entrepreneurs.

Expat Life: Week 6 – 7 – Bugis Street, La Marelle Boutique Cafe and Anchorpoint

This week was all about budget shopping and snagging great deals. Singapore is known to be quite costly in terms of shopping as compared to back home in Malaysia. However if you know where to go, you can grab some really great deals here too!

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It’s no secret that Bugis Street is “THE” place to go to for a cheap and affordable shopping trip. You can get just about anything here from clothes to shoes, to touristy souvenirs and food. To get here you simply take the MRT to Bugis station and it’s directly across the road upon exiting the station. The place consists of 3 floors so do take your time and explore all floors. A lot of the shops also sell pretty similar items, so I would advise you to check out all the stores first before buying. I admit it’s a little difficult to avoid impulse buying when all the stuff are so cheap, but it definitely is worth waiting out. I got great deals for all my clothes. Ended up walking away with 2 tops, 2 bangles and 1 structured midi A line skirt which i’ve been searching high and low for. So glad I finally found the perfect one at only $15! I also grabbed a necklace set and a pair of studs from Lovisa at one of the malls (can’t remember which one lol). Anyway Lovisa was having a store-wide sale up to 70% off. Below is a list of the stuff I got with the pictures and price.

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Black embellished sleeveless top – $15 || Blue structured short sleeve blouse (Shop Name: Cupid) – $15 || 2 Bangles (Shop Name: Lumi) – $10 || Necklace set with earrings (Shop Name: Lovisa) – $9 || Anchor-shaped studs (Shop Name: Lovisa) – $2

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Dark blue midi A line skirt (Shop Name: Fresh) – $15

After a good shopping spree, it was time to grab a bite and I headed down to La Marelle Boutique Cafe situated along Baghdad Street. It’s not too difficult to find the place. Once you’re at Baghdad street just look out for a mural on the wall which has the name of the cafe painted on it. The place is situated on the 2nd floor and it’s easy to spot the entrance as the staircase is brightly colored in hot pink.

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I really love the bright and unique interior. It’s also one of the few hipster cafes in Singapore which are halal. I tend to have really late lunches on weekends so by the time I reached the place it was already around 4pm. I ordered this really cool coffee called “The Nutty Professor” ($6.50). It’s basically an espresso popsicle in a cup of nutella and a side of milk. You basically just pour the milk in and keep stirring till the coffee popsicle melts and blends in with the milk and nutella. Really good stuff! I also ordered the “Ultime Breakfast” ($18) which consists of 3 pieces of buttered bruschetta bread, 2 sausages, a couple pieces of various meat slices, sautéed mushrooms and baked beans. Yes it was a LOT. It was pretty good but nothing to rave about. I would probably check out their other stuff next time. The desserts looked really good though. But alas I was too stuffed. So i’ll save that for next time.

Some interesting sights at Parkview Square while walking back to Bugis MRT station.

The following day I decided to check out the outlet stores at Anchorpoint. I heard the stuff there have discounts up to 70% and I was particularly keen on checking out the Charles & Keith and Cotton On outlets there. The place is situated across from Ikea. I took the MRT to Queenstown station then headed towards exit 1 and walked to the bus stop. From there I took bus number 195 and stopped at the 2nd stop (right in front of Ikea). As you alight from the bus, just head to the right and walk towards the overhead bridge to get across to the other side where Anchorpoint is located.

My first stop was of course Charles & Keith. As soon as I stepped in I got really excited after checking out the price tags. High heels as cheap as $19! That’s a steal! Best of all the shop wasn’t overly crowded despite the huge discounts. Sure there were quite a lot of people but it wasn’t terribly bad. So I had the leisure of taking my time to really scour through the shoes and find a number of great deals. I ended up buying 2 pairs which only costed me $41.80 in total!

Lilac Heels – $21.90 || White and black strappy wedges – $19.90

After that I dropped by Cotton On. Found a couple of racks filled with clothes worth $10 and below. But I didn’t find anything particularly eye-catching. So onto the next store, I checked out Typo just because I love quirky stationary. Didn’t really plan on getting anything but I couldn’t help it. The heart-shaped corkboard was only $2 and the super adorable pineapple-shaped ice tray was only $3! So I spent a total of just $5 there. What a great deal and I can’t wait to test out those pineapple-shaped ice cubes!

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Heart-shaped corkboard – $2 || Pineapple-shaped ice tray – $3

If you’re a fan of brands such as Charles & Keith, Cotton On, Giordano, G2000, and Typo, definitely check out the outlets in Anchorpoint. Well worth the trip there!