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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Japan Day 5 – Tsukiji Fish Market, Akihabara and Dinner in Shibuya

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On our 5th day we did a mix of places and our first stop was Tsukiji Fish market for some breakfast. We initially planned on camping the night before to catch the Tuna auction early in the morning but we scrapped that idea as we figured proper sleep was more important than seeing cold slabs of Tuna being sold off for millions in the cold EARLY morning. But hey if you’re up to it, then by all means go ahead. We were just too tired after walking around back to back on our 5th day so yeah sleep is our priority.

Getting there was fairly easy for us as we were staying in Shinjuku which literally connects you anywhere. So we hopped on the Oedo Subway Line from Shinjuku Station to Tsukijishijo Station. It takes about 20mins and costs 270 Yen one way. As soon as you reach the station, simply follow the signboard to Tsukiji Market. The building is actually just above the station.

There’s the outer part and inner part of the market. Since we just wanted to grab some breakfast, we wandered off at the outer market and found rows and rows of tuck shops serving fresh bowls of sushi! Continue reading

Bangkok – Shopping

My friend and I planned a random getaway one day and decided on Bangkok. We found a really chic hotel in the Sukhumvit area called Salil Hotel. It’s not a flashy luxurious place. But they sure have great room deco and also really convenient location which is just like a 5mins walk from the Nana BTS train station.

Bangkok is known as the shopping paradise. So of course shopping was one of our main agenda for the trip. Among the places we visited were Chatuchak Market, Terminal 21, Siam Paragon, Asiatique and also Central World.

Chatuchak Market:

Opening hours: Saturday/Sunday 9am – 6pm
How to get there: Hop on the skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station, take exit no. 1

Before venturing into this huge place, I downloaded a map of the entire market. It’s pretty useful to plan your time there as the place is simply far to big to cover in one day. My main target was clothes and shoes so I stuck around the bottom left side of the map. I ended up buying t-shirts, souvenirs (soaps shaped like fruits), sunglasses, a dress and lots of local snacks at the cheapest price around Bangkok. Also do try the coconut ice-cream there. So smooth and good!

Terminal 21

Opening hours: 10.00am – 10.00pm daily
How to get there: Take BTS to Asok Station

My friend and I loved the fact that this mall was just one stop away from our hotel and conveniently linked to the BTS station. The unique thing about this mall was the fact that each level is themed after different countries. Even the toilets are fancily decorated. Good spot for shopping too as I bought a top, shoes, handmade bracelet and earrings for around 300 baht each. You just need to find the right shops and hunt for good bargains.

Siam Paragon

Opening hours: 10.00am – 10.00pm daily
How to get there: Take BTS to Siam Station

This shopping mall is more for the luxury brands and high end shopping. I didn’t spend too much time here but worth a look too.

Asiatique

Opening hours: 5pm – 12am daily
How to get there: Take BTS to Saphan Taksin station. Then take the free shuttle boat to Asiatique.

This place is like a warehouse with a bunch of shop stalls within it. Something like a mini Chatuchak but with a more polished and organised look. Things aren’t as cheap as Chatuchak but it’s fairly cheap as well. I bought earrings for like 150baht, a lovely lace blouse for 200baht and customised lanyard card holder for 50baht. There’s also a shop selling cheap food items which make perfect souvenirs. I got various flavoured nuts, and seaweed for around 200 baht a packet. Getting here was pretty fun too as we took a free shuttle boat which was next to the Saphan Taksin BTS. It’s around a 10min boat ride over the Chao Phraya river. While you’re there it’s also worth a visit to the Mango dessert shop called Mango Tango. The mango sticky rice was so worth it!

Central World

Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm
How to get there:
– Chit Lom BTS exit 9
– Siam BTS exit 6 to skywalk

I didn’t do much shopping here but more of for the food. Had really yummy smooth mango peach gelato at Gelate and there’s a bunch of really great restaurants on the 7th floor. My friend and I had lunch at Mango Tree and ordered this huge grilled fish with dipping sauce while my friend ordered some kinda seafood noodle and the bill came up to about 500baht. After that I had ice cream again but this time at Coldstone for brownie icecream.

Travel Tips:

  • Bring a foldable umbrella – It rains quite a bit here. I was caught in the rain many times and regret not bringing an umbrella with me. Of course you could buy one easily. But I didn’t want the hassle of bringing back another umbrella. I already have far too many at home. Also while you’re at it, do try to wear sandals or shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. I made the mistake of wearing my cloth material flats and had to wash and hair-dry it at the hotel each time.
  • Buy a local sim card – One thing I do as soon as I touch down in another country is to definitely get a local sim. You can get it at the airport or 7/11 shops. It’s always good to stay connected (like for searching info for places to eat, using waze, or maps and contacting your family/friends if you ever get lost while wandering off on your own). There’s 3 different providers to choose from which are True, AIS, and DTAC. I hear that they all have similar coverage and the price are also the same for the traveller sim pack. I got the 299baht plan for 7 days with 1.5GB of data. Definitely more than enough for my 4 day stay.
  • Buy a Rabbit Card (BTS travel card) – I got mines for 550baht (50baht refundable deposit and loaded with 15 trips) at the BTS station. This is really useful if you stay in the central part of the city and plan on using the BTS a lot. Saves the hassle and time from buying tickets each time. I ended up using only 9 trips during my stay. But definitely still worth it and i highly recommend it to those who are staying in central Bangkok for about a week.

Typo Online Sale – Stationary Galore!

For these past few weeks, my colleagues and I went a little crazy with the Typo sales. We’re major fans of pretty stationary. So when we saw these crazy deals, we bundled our orders together and had the items shipped over to the office.

First Round

Two boxes came in with our stuff. Check out the goodies in the box!

I got the 2015 A5 planner in Blush Pink and the Tiffany Blue A5 Journal for only SGD5! That’s only 2.5 dollars each! Original price for the pink planner was SGD24.95 while the tiffany blue journal was SGD17.99. I saved a total of SGD37.94!!

I also bought these two staplers for SGD5. And again only 2.5 each! Original price were SGD14.99 each. So I saved SGD24.98 for these two items.

Total Original Price: SGD72.92
Total Price Paid: SGD10
Total Savings: SGD62.92


Round 2

With such a great deal during the first round, we decided to get more stuff. But this time with more people and we ended up with 10 boxes shipped over to the office! I only ordered two items though which was a travel journal and a tape dispenser. Both items for only SGD10. Original price of the journal was SGD24.99 while the tape dispenser was SGD17.99.

Total Original Price: SGD42.98
Total Price Paid: SGD10
Total Savings: SGD32.98

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 9 – Gundam Expo at Ngee Ann City Takashimaya

There was a Gundam Expo at Ngee Ann City Mall in Orchard during 4th – 28th June. One of the main highlights were the huge models of Mecha (robots) prominently displayed outside from the mall.

Inside the mall itself there were various models for sale and also some special ones on display.

There was even a special limited edition SG50 model on sale to celebrate Singapore’s 50th National Day.

Expat Life: Week 8 – Mustafa Centre

Mustafa Centre is a popular destination for tourists looking for cheap souvenirs. The place is a 24 hours shopping centre selling just about anything and everything from watches, to cooking ware, food items, electrical items, shoes, bags, perfume, memorabilia and much more. The place is situated within walking distance from Farrer Park MRT. It’s quite simple to get there as there are signboards leading towards the place and since it’s a popular spot, you can simply ask anyone around and they’ll lead you the way.

Some of the popular items here were the perfumes which are sold at cheaper prices and also food items such as chocolates and snacks which would make a great souvenir.

They also have a food centre at the rooftop floor where I had some really good indian cuisine. I took the escalator up but you can also access the floor from certain elevators. I ordered the mango lassi, lamb kebab and pakoras.

I also walked away with a new phone casing for my Samsung S3. Yes I still use an S3 and it’s very rare to find phone cases for this nowadays. So I was glad to find this one for 10 dollars.