Friday, January 28, 2011

~ Driving up to Muar ~

It has been 7 years since Hubby drove up to Muar (麻坡). At that time, we got pretty lost finding our way to the temple especially so since we had no GPS. Last week, Hubby made his second attempt and we travel up to Muar with my in-laws.

We woke up at 4 plus and left home at 5 plus in the morning. Breakfast was at Restoran Queen Park and we reached 南亭寺(善才爷庙) around 9am. Despite it's secluded location, don't be surprised to see  Singapore cars (like us) who travel all the way down for prayers.  

There are many CNY goodies on sale and we bought some back along the way. I must say the 辫子酥 is extremely delicious! It's taste, softness and sweetness is just right!

After leaving the temple, Hubby drove down to the city for lunch. While asking the locals on the road directions, I learned that Muar City has 6 main roads, (大马路(海乾街)、二马路、三马路、四马路、五马路以及六马路) where many old shophouses are located along them. Muar is a food heaven and we also pass by the famous 贪吃街.

We managed to find Yong Sheng Confectionery (荣成礼坊) which is located along the 二马路.

So far, the only problem we have is finding a clean toilet for Gladys (especially when she complains of a tummyache). We went to Wetex Parade (a leading department store in Muar city) and the toilets there are very new and clean. ^_^ There are many retail shops and resturants within the mall and The Store also occupied a few storeys within Wetex. We bought some new shorts for Denver and shop around for awhile.

Since Hubby is the only driver on this trip, he was already very tired and had a difficult time driving back to Singapore. We made it back home around evening time just in time for dinner. It was a simple half day trip down to Muar but everytime, there is something new to see and learn on our little trips. :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2011 CNY Festive Bazaar at Chinatown

During the Lunar New Year period, Chinatown (牛车水) is definitely the place to be if you want to soak in to the CNY festive mood. It is the central hub of all kinds of activities with night markets, colourful streets, nightly performances and all kinds of CNY decos, goodies, flowers on sale! Although the prices might be slightly pricier compared to the neighbourhood and we have to take little baby steps squeezing through with the crowd along the streets getting ourselves all hot and smelly, we always attempt to bring the children here every year to let them experience this very important festival of the year.

The festive bazaar is situated along Temple, Smith, Pagoda and Trengganu Streets (near Chinatown MRT), there are over hundred of stalls selling all kinds of souvenirs, festive goodies like sweets, assorted cookies, waxed duck, barbecued meat, pomelo, oranges, cny decorations, flowers, clothing, drinks and many more. Visitors will be spoilt with choices

As the night falls, the pretty lights and lanterns will dazzle the entire Chinatown. It is also at this time where the crowd starts to swamp in to have their dinner, shopping, photo-taking or simply immerse in the pre-CNY atmosphere.

If you are tired after walking through the bazaar maze of stalls, you can head towards Kreta Ayer Square (right behind the splendid Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum) where there are nightly stage performances or have a look at the longest Chinese paper-cutting exhibition (Impressions of Singapore).

Each paper cutting tells the different stages of the development of Singapore and I was impressed by the art craft.

Alternatively, get entertained by the amazing "The Spheres" performance by Strange Fruit Dance group from Australia. Initially I thought they were just big lighted balls on the poles but it turns out that the performers are on top of the 5m high flexible poles and doing their act! WoW! From now till 29th Jan, you get to see this show at the open car park beside Banda Street.

There is a full range of activities held within Chinatown and not forgetting the Chinese New Year eve count-down party on 2nd February! If you still did not feel the festive season knocking on your door yet, quickly head down to Chinatown and feel the heat!

Friday, January 14, 2011

~ IKEA @ Tampines ~

Recently we have been frequent visitors of IKEA @ Tampines for various reasons.

1) It is not too far from our home plus the parking is FREE!
2) Gladys enjoys playing at the Småland and we have 1 hour of free time. ^_^
3) Free 2 cups of drinks with OCBC - IKEA Friends card. Denver has exceeded the maximum height requirement for Småland and hence he gets to follow us to window shop and eat. ;)

Småland - The Magic Forest is a wondering place to put the kids in while the adults shop around. (Note: Children entering the play room must be within the 90cm - 130cm height limit). First, you need to press for a queue number for your child. Do anticipate a longer waiting time during peak hours/weekends. Then, fill in a registration form at the counter and wait for your queue number to flash on the board.

The child will need to clean his/her hands and go for a temperature check before entering. Afterwhich, it is just pure fun where the kids get to run, jump, climb in the play room. There are also little corners for those who prefers to watch a movie, read a book or do some colouring. Parents can pick their child up when it's time to go.

Generally, we are here for a leisure walk around the store while many others come here to get home furnishing ideas or purchase their desired furnitures.

IKEA stores are very kids-friendly and family-orientated. There are little play stations at different location and the children can play with the toys in the children section. Apart from Småland, the children department is most popular among kids. Fun slide at the entrance, toys, colourful, vibrant and beautifully designed furnitures & rooms kept the children occupied at all times.

Another plus point to come to IKEA? We get to collect our free drinks at the IKEA Resturant & Cafe using the IKEA Friends card. Occasionally, you get to enjoy some special dining promotion. For example, since Dec last year, kids get to dine for free (kids meal only) with any main course ordered! Promotion is only valid at IKEA Tampines for weekdays (after 5pm) and till 31st Jan 2011. So the more kids you have, the more kids meal you get for FREE!

Not to forget one of our children's favourite - IKEA's $1 Hotdog. ^_^

PS: Not to forget Giant and Courts are just nearby too! ^_^

Saturday, January 8, 2011

~ 1 Day Trip to Malaysia ~

29th Dec 2010 - It has been 5 years since we last visited the Ostrich farm in Desaru. ( Our final trip for 2010 is driving up to the Ostrich farm again... but this time with Gladys who has never been to the farm before.

The ticket prices have increased by RM 4 from Adult - RM8, Child - RM4 to RM12 and RM 8 respectively. Opening hours is from 10am-6pm.

The environment is still pretty much the same as how I remembered it 5 years ago. Some of the ostriches roam around the farm freely and you can see the baby ostriches at various development stages.

Upon entering, there is a briefing by the farm attendent to learn more about the ostriches. Visitors can stand on the Ostrich egg and take a picture to witness that it can withstand the heavy weight of an adult without breaking.

For RM1 each, Denver & Gladys get to feed the Ostriches. As the Ostriches pulled the vegetables pretty hard during feeding, the kids tend to drop the feed on the ground. Nevermind, just pick it up and feed them again. :)

Gladys needing a little bit help from Daddy to complete her feeding task. :)

For RM 15, you can also enjoy an Ostrich Ride plus a photo taken and printed on a certificate to signify that you have ridden on an Ostrich. Haha :) The kiddos welcomed the challenge and sat on the Ostrich without giving much thoughts.

After all the knowledge sharing, feeding and riding sessions, we bought 2 sticks of Ostrich satays and a plate of Ostrich omelet from the Surf & Turf Restaurant (which is situated next to the farm). The taste wasn't as bad as I thought and there are also other selection of food from the menu.

We left the Ostrich farm and drove down to Ulu Tiram - Today's Mall. It is a fairly new "shopping" mall but alas there isn't many shops open at all.

The entire mall looks empty to me and there is a lot of parking space. The main attraction to visit Today's Mall is to go to the Tiram Indoor Water Park. It is the first indoor water themed park in Johor, decorated with paintings of sea animals, plants and there are water slides and a 26,000 sq ft pool area. We didn't enter the water park today but maybe next time when we are ready. :)

Tiram Indoor Water Park
LG 75, Lower Ground Floor , Today's Mall, Jalan Kota Tinggi
81800 Ulu Tiram , Johor.

Apart from the Indoor water park, there is also bumper cars, a mini jumping castle on the same floor. Unfortunately, the bumper cars ride may not be suitable for younger children as the speed and impact is too great them to control. Hubby got bumped onto his knee and Denver hit his front tooth which caused some bleeding.

Exploring around the complex, there is an arcade center, SUPERSTAR Cinema, a haunted house and Giant supermart. Today's mall looks like a simple leisure mall instead of a shopping complex. It would have been an attraction if more variety of shops are open that will bring the crowd in.

* Not to mention we can't even find many eating outlets within the Mall to fill our stomach. Awweeeee.. :(

We left Today's Mall shortly and headed on to AEON Tebrau City Shopping Centre which is just a few km ahead. This is definitely a more decent shopping mall with Jusco, cinema, fashion outlets, resturants etc.

We shopped around and bought some new shirts for the kids before driving back to Singapore in the evening. It is actually not a bad idea to just drive in for a day and enjoy the food, shopping and scenery in JB. :) (i.e. exclusive of the massive traffic jam you might experience at the causeway) ^_^

Monday, January 3, 2011

~ BPDGTravels Most Popular Posts - 2010 ~

Our travel blog - bpdgtravels has been setup for almost a year and although I won't say we have been to many places around the world or have fantastic viewership, it is interesting to see where our viewers are coming from and what they like to search or read on.

Marina Bay Countdown is definitely the hot favourite (黑马)for 2010 with most people searching and viewing within 2 weeks after the entry was posted, winning the top spot.

Our top 3 audience sources came from Singapore, United States and Malaysia. I believe many Singaporeans like to search for information and nearby activities like Jurong East swimming pool, Chalets and Batam trips. :)

It is the start of a new year and we hope it will be another great year with more information and memorable moments to share. HAPPY YEAR 2011!