Tuesday, December 28, 2010

~ Melaka Trip (19th-20th Dec) - Day 2 ~

We had breakfast at a coffee shop (5mins walk from the hotel) which is where we strolled last night by the Melaka river. The other kuehs tasted ok but I find the Zhui Kueh (水粿) a bit too soft and bland. The sauce is also too salty for my liking. On the contrary, the wanton noodles is nice!

The rest of the day is spent shopping at Sutera Mall and KSL City. KSL City is a rather new shopping mall located in Johor Bahru City Centre whereas Sutera Mall is in Taman Sutera Utama. Comparing to both malls, I somehow prefer Sutera which has more to offer.

 Gladys vroom vroom on her bike at Sutera Mall.

The best attraction we experienced is the "Pasar Malam" outside KSL City. There is a LONG stretch of stalls along the road side. Definitely not the same you will find in Singapore. The Pasar Malam here is huge and you can find so much more! There are stalls selling leafy vegetables, raw pork, fresh fish, food stalls selling duck, beancurb, zi char, kuehs etc and non-food stalls selling shoes, clothing, accessories, toys and many more. The entire road is packed with people!

Lucky for us, we came here on the right time, right day as it is only open on Monday evening! We had 豆花 and it is so tasty cos they put black sugar which is sweeter. Hubby also bought some 烧肉 and we eat along the way.

We would probably have settled our dinner at the pasar malam if we did not plan to dine at "Restoran Ah Meng". :)

That ends our 2D1N trip to Melaka. :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

~ Melaka Trip (19th-20th Dec) - Day 1 (part 2) ~

After settling at the hotel, the drivers drove us around Melaka town and also through Jonker walk for the next hour. We passed by various hotels, shop houses, shopping malls and nearby places of interests.

We got off at Jonker Walk and started our walk through the busy streets. Roadside hawkers have started setting up their stalls selling various local delicacies, fashion wear, accessories, handicrafts, footwear and many others.

For us, we are only keen on trying out the various food.

Personally, I am not a durian lover but my hubby and children are. We happened to see a stall selling durian puffs and Hubby went over and bought some. It seems yummy and delicious enough as Denver & Gladys finishes theirs and fight over for the last piece. Hubby had to buy more to fulfil their appetite. :) Not to mention there is also a crowd who are keen on these puffs.

My personal favourite is the chendol! It is different from those that we have back home and it's definitely another must try in Melaka.

With all the walking, drinking and eating, Jonker Walk World Heritage Park is the right place to rest our tired feets and have a toilet break.

Next, continue with our food hunt and dinner.

Gosh! I have put on some weight already but really can't stop myself from eating. ^_^

We walked back to the hotel from Jonker Walk and had a good rest before heading out for a stroll in the night.

According to the sign, we are on the bank of the Sungi Melaka (Malacca river) opposite Kampung Morton. There are river cruises but we did not get on board since it was pretty late already. Perhaps next time.

Night view of the Melaka river

Saturday, December 25, 2010

~ Melaka Trip (19th-20th Dec) - Day 1 (part 1) ~

Our trip to Melaka was decided at the very last minute and we had the vans and hotel booked only a few days before Sunday. Since there are 16 of us travelling on this trip, we had two 10-seater vans that will be taking us around for the next 2 days.

The drivers arrived on time to pick us up at bbil's place by 6am and we were on our way crossing the customs on a cool Sunday morning. Around 8am, we were able to stop by Restoran Queen Park for our breakfast. The place is pretty crowded and there are many stalls selling various local food.

One of my favourite is the peanut pancake aka "min jiang kueh" (面煎糕, Apam Balik). Unlike the usual soft and fluffy one that we usually had in Singapore, this one has a crispy skin with peanut filling. It is so yummy to eat when it is warm and the kids love it.

For the next 3 hours, we were resting and napping in the van as it takes us to Maleka. Although it is not a very long drive up from Singapore, it can be pretty tiring and Hubby surely enjoys taking a break from the driver seat and enjoying a personal time off.

It is not our first trip to Melaka and hence we were pleased to visit the Portuguese Settlement apart from the Jonker walk, museum, shopping malls and temple that we have been to previously.
The Portuguese Settlement is a Kristang (Christian) community in Ujong Pasir which is about 3-5 km from Melaka town, Malaysia.

According to Wiki, the Kristang are a Malaysian ethnic group with mixed Portuguese and Malay and for some possibly Indian or Chinese ancestry, which arose during the Portuguese colonial period (16th to 17th century).

The Portuguese Square (also known as ‘Mini Lisbon’) located within the settlement is central to the Portuguese community of Melaka where you can find great Portuguese restaurants, souvenirs and cultural performances.
We arrived pretty early and hence it was quiet and most of the shops are closed. Nevertheless, we walked by the seaside and around the settlement to have a feel of it's culture. I figured it should be more attractive to visit during the weekends and in the evenings.

It is an attraction to visit the settlement during the Christmas season. As you walk by the houses, you will find that they have beautifully decorated their homes and front yards with all kinds of Christmas decos. From all sorts of Santa Claus, reindeer to elves and Christmas trees. It is indeed an amazing and beautiful sight. I can only imagine that it will be even prettier in the night when the lights are up.

After leaving the settlement, we entered Melaka town and went for some early CNY shopping. There are so many pretty dresses and we spent some time at the Brands Outlet. :p

Not forgetting ice-cream treats for the kiddos. (3 flavour ice-cream scoops in a cup for RM1)

Lunch was at Newton food centre which is near Mahkota Shopping Mall. We had chicken rice, char kway tiao, fried oyster, black-chicken soup, popiah and chendol for dessert. Apart from the food stalls, there is also another area at the back where you can find stalls selling clothing, assorted souvenirs, art & crafts and accessories.

2pm - Time to check-in to our "hotel" for tonight. CK Hotel is a new budget hotel located around Chinatown, Melaka and is about 20 mins walk to Jonker street. We located his hotel during our search in tripadvisor and it is currently rank no. 22.

It is a 3-storey building with about 26 rooms including standard, deluxe and family suites. There is a mini front lobby area with stairs up to the rooms. (Note: there is no lift). We stayed in a Deluxe Triple room (unit - #02-01) for RM128 which is good for 4 of us. The room is clean and spacious with air-condition, mini TV and water heater.

Generally, our stay in the hotel is still acceptable since we are only here for a night. The pricing is not too expensive and there are a couple of shops around. However, There are a few pointers to note for keen travellers.

1) Although we are located on the 2nd floor (which is not very high), I still find it tiring to make my climb up the stairs after a tiring full day journey. It also might be inconvenient for the elderly folks or parents carrying young toddlers/babies.

2) Some of the rooms do not have windows and hence you may be staying in rooms facing the 4 walls only.

3) The toilet is a bit small but we managed to help the kids bath nevertheless.

4) No separation of smoking and non-smoking zones.

5) As we are near the street level, there may be some noise from the traffic or the public during the night.

6) Simple locks for the room doors which doesn't feel very safe to me.

Still, the hotel is pretty new (less than 2 years old) and the facilities are neat and tidy. Air-condition is cooling and it is good enough for a short stay which comes with an affordable price tag.

Monday, December 20, 2010

~ Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2010/2011 - The Wishing Sphere ~

If you have passed by Marina Bay waterfront recently, you would spot that it looks slightly different from usual. Yes! Thousands and thousands of white spheres are floating on the waters marked out by the buoy markers. Due to popular demand, the number of wishing spheres have doubled to 20,000 and they contain all the wishes, hopes and dreams each would like to pen for the New Year.

Important pointers to note : The spheres are made of plastic and non-biodegradable. Once the event is over on 1st Jan 2011, the wishing spheres will be removed and sent for recycling into new products. The marker pens used are non-toxic and free of chemicals.

We also pen our wishes down for the New Year and this is our first time in doing so. Denver wished that we will live a happy life together while Gladys started with an abstract artwork.

I couldn't make out what she is trying to draw initially but we figured she may want to wish for a greener world. (Not forgetting loving Mommy. ^_^) We wrote our wishes/dreams for the New Year and you can do it so! Apart from Singaporeans, tourists are also intrigued by this event and wrote down their well wishes in different languages. While writing, it is just as interesting to read others people wishes too. Some are quite meaningful while others are funny.

It's about 11 days to New Year and there are a series of celebrations lined up at the Marina Bay.  It has become a yearly event with Countdown party, Fireworks as we bid farewell for 2010.

Visit for more details.

Friday, December 17, 2010

~ Evening walk @ Sengkang Floating Wetland ~

We visited 2 reservoirs over the last weekend. :p After our dinner on Sunday, we headed down to Sengkang Floating Wetland in Punggol Reservoir (Singapore's 16th reservoir) for a walk which was officially opened on 7th Nov 2010.

The wetland is a floating structure about half the size of a football field with a bridge and broadwalk connecting the Sengkang Riverside Park and the Anchorvale Community Club & Sengkang Sports Complex. While it’s main function is to cleanse the water in the reservoir, it is also homes to many plant and animal life.

We walked on the foot bridge and spotted a couple of plants species along our way. Further down is a mangosteen pavilion and a couple of orange seats where public can have a rest and enjoy the view of the wetland.

The combination and linkage between Anchorvale CC, Floating Wetland and the Riverside park transforms and beautifies the entire area, making it a great hangout for sports activities or simply taking a stroll and enjoying some family time together.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

~ Lower Peirce Reservoir ~

Last weekend, we wanted to drive down to Lower Seletar Reservoir (after dinner) but somehow we ended up at Lower Peirce Reservoir instead. :p Since we have never visited this catchment area before, we might as well have a look around at one of Singapore's oldest reservoir.

Lower Peirce Reservoir - Singapore's 2nd impounding reservoir was built in 1910 at the lower portion of Kallang Valley. It was originally known as Kallang River Reservoir but was renamed to Peirce Reservoir in commendation of the services by the Municipal Engineer, Robert Peirce. It was again renamed to Lower Peirce Reservoir after the construction of the Upper Peirce Reservoir.

As we were driving up to the reservoir, we spotted many long tail monkeys! There were dashing across the road and climbing on one of the lamp post. We stayed in our car and moved on as they disappear.

The sun starts to set and very soon darkness falls, we stayed on the main tracks watching people fishing by the reservoir. There are also a few joggers and we seem to spot a forest trail on the right but with the minimal lighting, it would be wiser and safer to stay on our path.

It is a place where people usually comes for a jog, to fish or simply have a walk around the reservoir. If you enjoy some peace and quiet and a unique tranquil and scenic setting, Lower Peirce Reservoir might be an option to consider.

Monday, December 13, 2010

~ Moments @ SAF Changi Chalet - Day 4 & 5 ~

6th Dec (Mon) - Today is a more relaxing day for all of us especially after 2 nights of BBQ-ing and cleaning up. We decided to go and watch the movie - Rapunzel at Downtown East with the cheaper weekday ticketing price. The story protrayed in the movie is very much different from the original hence making the entire show more refreshing and funny.

The children didn't miss out hanging out at the arcade games while they are here.

It started to rain in the afternoon and we were back at the chalet. While the children were still actively playing their games, Hubby and I preferred to rest. We packed our bags as we planned to go back home after dinner tonight. However, seeing Denver and Gladys feeling so disappointed on returning, Hubby and I changed our initial plans and decided to stay for another night. We drove back home to pack our working clothings and things as we need to leave early in the morning tomorrow.

The children were extremely delighted when they learned that they get to stay for another night (even if it is only for a couple of hours more). At least our efforts are not wasted for going through all the hassle. :)

We had dinner with Bbil's family at Changi Village and had stingray, squid, char kway teow, fried rice etc. That pretty much ended our 5 days 4 nights stay at the SAF Changi Chalet and in my opinion, it has been one of our best experience we had so far. Hopefully if we were lucky enough, we will be back again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

~ Moments @ SAF Changi Chalet - Day 3 ~

5th Dec (Sun) - Hubby has been 'recalled' back to work today so he missed out all the fun the kids had at the beach. Awwww.... :(

Finally...we were blessed with a sunny morning after all the heavy downpour and drizzling which we have experienced for the past 2 days. Instead of letting the children continue staying indoors and play with their games, it's time for some outdoor activities.

Bbil brought along his fishing rod and we took the children out for some 'fishing'. Well..not exactly. :) Basically it is just to let each of them have a feel and try on how to fish. We didn't catch any fishes of course.

Since we didn't have any luck with fishing, the children decided to play with the waters instead. Initially it was just walking by the shore and sinking their feet. Soon enough, Royston, Denver and Gladys started to get themselves all wet.

Jasper was so lucky to spot a crab (which just died) and the children started to get all excited grabbing it. Apart from dead crab, we saw dead fish as well.

Gladys is having a good time, enjoying herself as the waves splashes on her. She didn't even really mind the murky sea water getting into her mouth. Since she couldn't swim, I have been keeping an eye on her just to make sure she stays safe.

How are the boys doing? Royston is the first to sink himself into the waters. Denver follows suit while Jasper needed some encouragement from his daddy before joining in the party. Denver and Royston had a lot of fun especially when the waves came and hit on them. Kudos to them for their bravery as this is definitely different from swimming in the pool where the waters are clean. The boys didn't really get use to the salty waters but it is a rare and unforgettable experience for them.

After lunch, Gladys was so tired that she dozed off in the living hall. The hot afternoon sun really makes us sleepy. However, that doesn't stop her from going to the beach again. We were back to make sandcastles again in the evening.

It was low-tide and Gladys was able to pick up a stick and make sketches on the sand. She drew a very cute girl and Mommy helps to fill up the space with the different sea creatures. :)

Daddy was finally back from work after 5pm and he joined us at the beach. Apart from seashells, we saw a starfish and some dead jellyfish. Ewwww...

It has been a full day event at the beach and I'm so hot and busted. Second day of BBQ session also started after 4pm and we had another round of eating and drinking which lasted throughout the night.