Monday, February 18, 2019

Explore Hua Hin - 华欣 [Day 5 & 6]

The last installment of our Hua Hin Trip! It was a pretty short stay here but I think it was good enough to cover the places we had wanted to visit, we took a pretty slow and relaxing pace. Read on the gem which we discovered and a must-visit for a meal when you make your trip here as well as the mode of transport we got around in.

Day 4

Hua Hin Railway Station
No trip to Hua Hin is complete without a visit to this iconic railway station located in Hua Hin subdistrict, a short distance away from the centre of the town. It is the most beautiful railway in Hua Hin and yes, it is still in operation. Read more about the history here.







If you decide to take a train here to Bangkok, you can purchase the tickets right at the station. the estimated duration is about 4 hours as compared to taking a car, that is, if you would like to relive the past! 



Day 5

Maeklong Railway Market 
This railway market is located in Samut Songkhram Province, an hour south-west of Bangkok, it is located just next to Maeklong station. I read that this local market is unique with stalls lined along the tracks with fold out umbrellas sheltering their stalls, locals love to visit to get their fresh supply of groceries and tourists like us who would like to have an experience, doing marketing like the locals. It would also be an experience to let the kids watch how the market would transform into an operating railway within minutes and resume their business again. 




Thankful to have Neck and Pla to accompany us, they had been most helpful in assisting us in translating English to Thai.


Dining
We were told that we could get the cheapest seafood meals in Hua Hin. One street across Hua Hin Night Market, eateries and restaurants lined the street. You will never go wrong with restaurants with queues. 

We went for Lung Ja Seafood on the second and third night. You can check out my Instagram highlights on the dishes we ordered, all for about SGD103, which we felt that it was really reasonable.


That was how huge the prawns were! To be frank, the size was a bit too exaggerating, I held back and ordered one size smaller.




We made a return on the second night, they remembered us and was nice to give a discount for returning customers. What a nice gesture! On the other hand, be sure to check the bill on your part too as human errors are invitable where sums would be calculated wrongly at times.  

This is a MUST VISIT if you are in Hua Hin. We found this gem accidentally, this restaurant has two names, Som Moo Joom by the day, Jek Be-Ak Seafood Restaurant in the night and is always crowded, for both locals and tourists love to patronise it.


The shop was quite distinguished even though it does not have a name. The wooden architecture of the shop caught my attention while the tuk tuk whizzed past each time we were on our way back to the hotel. It was located at intersection between Naeb-Khehars Road and Dechanuchit Road. Just slightly further down if you are facing 7-11, you can see Hua Hin Night Market right opposite.


It was like a typical Tzhi-Char stall and it served Sukiyaki in claypot style! The broth was clear and mildly sweet and got even sweeter after all the ingredients were added in.


We added on some dishes to go with, the salt and pepper fish slices was really delectable!


crab cakes

Filled with chunky crab meat and lots of other ingredients

Do note the business operating hours and also the interior seating closed at 8pm sharp. We were seated inside eating halfway and suddenly, the staff told us that we had to change to the seating to the exterior as they were closing up for the day.




Address:
51/6 Dechanuchit Road,
Hua Hin, Prachuabkirikhan
Thailand 77110

Operating hours:
Som Moo Joom: 6am to 2pm
Jek Be-Ak Seafood Restaurant: 5.30 pm to 8.30pm

If you are a fan of Mango Sticky Rice, located just right opposite of where we stayed,

Hilton Hua Hin Resort and Spa 


turn to your right and cross over to the opposite. Neck recommended this stall to us, probably one of the best you can find in Hua Hin. If you are lucky, you probably met with a no-queue moments.



Getting around Hua Hin

Except for the first and fith day, for the rest of our stay in Hua Hin, we got around with these services. 

Tuk Tuk is easily available just right outside the hotel, usually the drivers would offer a package of a few locations to go for that day. You can choose which are the places and they would advise accordingly to the location in sequence. Always ask for the charges first before you hop on a tuk tuk, try putting your bargaining skill into use. Usually, they charge between 1200 to 1500 Baht for the round trip. 

You can also hire mini van too if you feel more comfortable and of couse having said that, if you would like to travel to further places. Tuk Tuk has a limit to how fast they can operate so if you are rushing for time, it is advisable and definitely safer to go for the mini van. 



Songthaew is another option, it is a public transport (bus) but with no designated stops. It has several routes by using colour indication on the map. Tourists will be most likely using the green route that runs between Khao Takiab and Hua Hin Airport. 

With Soi 72 (Night Market) and Sa Song street intersaction as midpoint, you pay 10 Baht per person in the day and 15 Baht in the evening to go to night markets as well as Khao Takiab (Monkey Mountain) 

This is much cheaper than Tuk Tuk and you pay between 10 - 20 Baht for a one way trip. We took Songthaew from Blu Shopping mall to Market Village, which cost only 10 Baht per passenger. There was no bell to alert the driver, so if you need to stop, just knock on the panel behind the driver and pay your fare after you alight.



Basically, this sums up our stay in Hua Hin with Day 4 spent idling the hotel and visiting the malls. Quite slow pace in this province as compared to the bustling Bangkok. I cannot wait to share with you our Chiang Mai adventures next!

I usually have readers asking me to share my contact for Neck, you can watsapp her at her mobile:
+66 83 305 5270 and said that you got her contact from Piggy family. Nope, I do not earn any commision from her. Just helping to spread words for a good service which I have engaged before and hope she can help you with your trip too!

Click on the following links below if you have decided to make a trip to the beautiful Khao Yai and relaxing Hua Hin. As for Bangkok, there is always something new for me to discover whenever I make a trip.

I shall shall with you on our most recent trip to Chiang Mai in December soon before I forget about the details!

Hua Hin [2018] Day 1 & 2
Hua Hin [2018] Day 3

Khao Yai [2016] Day 1
Khao Yai [2016] Day 2 
Khao Yai [2016] Day 3

Bangkok [2015]
Bangkok [2018]

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Disclaimer: This is a totally non-sponsored post, I am most happy to share my travel experience to all and hope it has been helpful with certain information. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

[Media Invite] Trails of Tan Ah Huat by Let's Go Tour Singapore

Singapore in the 1920s, every nook and cranny of the streets and the history, how much do we know about it? Not to mention Generation Z, our kids.


Most of the time, we learnt of Rags-To-Riches stories but how about a commoner like Tan Ah Huat (a fictional character) played by founder of Let's Go Tour Singapore, Robin Loh, who came to Singapore by boat, his life as an entrepreneur by selling his very own ointment to meeting the love of his life, Lim May Hua.

I was invited and attended the media launch of "Trails of Tan Ah Huat". Though it was a fiction story but it got me curious to find out more about Ah Huat's life and the outcome between him and Ah Huay.

Left: Robin Loh (Tan Ah Huat) , Right: Vera (Potential Ah Huay Junior) ?

Similar concept to those overseas bicycle tours, get yourself started on this trail riding on the two-wheelers or upgrade to an e-scooter and travel back to the 1920s. I decided to bring Don and Vera with me on the trail, I was sure that Xav would love to join us on this unique story-telling experience. I find this a very interesting way to expose the kids to learn about Singapore history apart from the books, everything and characters just come alive!

Try and immerse yourself in the story and at the same time, learn more in-depth about certain historic sites in Singapore, interestingly weaved in by Let's Go Tour Singapore.


Infact, this was the very first time I explored and went around the concrete jungle on a bicycle. The feeling was very different as compared to cycling in the parks. I chose a City Bicycle while Don and Vera shared an e-scooter, imagine how excited Vera was!

The tour duration was a total of 4 hours, led by an experienced, licensed tour guide cum story-teller.
Photo credit: Let's go Tour Singapore

The journey had a few pitstops for water breaks and at the same time, story-telling and sharings of the past continued from our guide, we watched short video clips which allowed us to see the transfomation of these places over time. 



Kampong Glam

The story continued at Raffles Hotel

When Vera meets Mr.Singh (soft toy), the iconic employee of Raffles Hotel 

And I had to give praise to Vera for standing on her feet for the whole journey without much whines! I could tell that she was enjoying the moments with her daddy, whizzing around the city!


We rode on to Boat Quay and Clarke Quay before we hit our final stop at Chinatown. This area used to be an area I used to frequent as a child and my secondary school was at York Hill, so I would always passed by the area when I took a bus home.

Never did I know of the existance of Pek Sin Choon, one of the oldest tea merchant in Singapore! It was established in 1925 and is now the market leader of supplying quality tea leaves to 90% of our renowned local delicacy - Bak Kut Teh as well as to some hotels and restuarants.


Pek Sin Choon does offer tea tasting too, do drop by the shop if you are in the hood.


We took a seat at Nanyang Old Coffee for some refreshment and enjoyed the traditional kaya butter toast coupled with a cup of Teh-O.


I had always pass by this coffee shop but little did I know that further into this shop, there was an exhibition area!


Our tour guide shared with us how the culture of a typical coffee shop was like back in the past.


When patrons did not have money to pay for their Kopi,


they would would simply turn their empty cups upside down before they leave the shop and their names would be jotted down on a board as they took their leave.

The debt board for patrons who owed kopi money

I did used to pour hot milo onto the saucer when I was young to cool the beverage whenever I was at the kopitiam so that it would be faster to cool, drink up fast and go!

Drinking Teh-O the old school way

The story continued at Smith street, these shophouses were refurbished and now, in used by the retail and food and beverage industry. The stories of the past of these shophouses and streets, how much do you know? The bustling street of Chinatown now, especially during Chinese New Year, had a history totally contrast to the modern era.

Opium dens, prosituition and even rows of death houses for the terminally ill, to check themselves in and await for their fate - death. For logistic reason, upon check-in, the sick would be housed on the third floor and would changed to the second floor after their condition deteriorated and finally, the ground floor where the funeral palour would normally be, after they passed on.

As for the ending of Ah Huat and Ah Huay, I shall leave it to you to find out.


Esplanade was our last stop before we made our way back to the starting point. Along the way back, the sighting was pretty scenic and tranquil. I, totally enjoyed the scenary and the wind blowing into my face as I rode.

Photo credit: Let's go Tour Singapore






 



Be it you are a Singaporean, permanent resident, expatriate or traveller, if you are seeking for an unique and in-depth local experiences. Go take little a trip around Singapore town on, go for immersive tours like ‘Trails of Tan Ah Huat’ that weaves powerful storytelling with Singapore’s history and sights and in an engaging manner, trust me that there was never a boring moment! 

The total duration of the tour is 4 hours (8.30am - 12.30pm) and is priced at:
- $99 per pax (adult)
- 10% discount for kids aged 9 and above.

Some may asked who can attend this trail? Anyone, as long as you know how to ride a bicycle, otherwise, go for the e-scooter (additional charges apply). Should you need a child seat, do inform in advance and do indicate while you do your booking.

On averge, group size is about five to six people but it can go up to 20.

The tour price includes the following:
- The use of bicycle,
- Helmet
- Bottled Water
- Licensed tour guide and storyteller
- Poncho
- Local drinks and snacks at certain stops
- A straw hat
- 'Good Morning' towel.


Apart from "Trails of Tan Ah Huat", Food Lovers can opt for a Bike and Bites Food Tour or Peranankan Food and Culture Experience.  
You would not want to miss this out, this has been on the Top Ten Tours consecutively for 5 years on Trip Advisors1 Do not wait further, set a morning for this and grab your tickets at: 

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Disclaimer: This was a media invite from AT Marketing Consultancy, all opinions are of my own.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Coconut Chicken Soup

Last week's weather was more on the cooler side, I felt slightly cold when I stepped out of my house. I thought it would be good to start the week with homecooked food before we started to dine out again especially when Chinese New Year is drawing near. 

I decided to cook coconut chicken soup for dinner and bought the following: 
- Thai Coconuts (I bought 5 since there are 5 of us). Get from supermarkets and go for those with slits on the cover if you do not know how to cut open a fresh coconut. 
- Skinless Chicken Thighs 
- Sweet Corn 


A pretty straight forward soup to cook for the family, good to have a scrapper to scrap the coconut flesh otherwise you can use a metal spoon but the process can be quite tiring if happened that we chose an 'old' coconut instead of a 'young' coconut. 


Method: 
1. Pour the juice into a pot. 
2. Using a scraper or a metal spoon, scrap the coconut's flesh and put it into the pot. 
3. Blanch the chicken thighs, put into the pot together with the juice and bring to boil.
4. Add in other ingredients like corn , wolfberries and red dates. 
5. Serve using the coconut husk, something different in presentation and it saves you from washing more bowls. Quite a good idea for lazy people like me. 


I used a pressure cooker to cook, you can also use a slow cooker or a normal pot to boil. If you are wondering, can coconut be too cooling for people whose body constitution is more to the cooling type? Red dates and wolfberries are the 'heaty' category, in this soup, it helps to neutralize the 'cooling' properties. 

This is a simple, flavourful and nice soup to cook for the family. Do give it a try! My fussy pot, Vera, actually asked for a second serving!

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Monday, January 21, 2019

[Review] The Nutcracker (Chinese Version) by The National Ballet of China 中国版 - 胡桃夹子

20.19 Jan 18, a rare and privileged mummy and daughter date on a Friday evening watching our first ever ballet performance together. Excitedly, Vera chose to wear a ballerina outfit when she got to know that she was going to watch a ballet performance - The Nutcracker (Chinese Version) by The National Ballet of China!


The National Ballet of China celebrated its 60th anniversary by bringing this top-class performance with its 65 dancers to Singapore! I read that this performance was highly raved and very well received in Paris! This mersmerizing ballet performance weaved in a mixed element of western ballet and Chinese culture, tells an intriguing story of a Chinese family celebrating Chinese New Year, an adaptation of the Christmas classic, accompanied with the music of Tchaikovsky.

Photo credit: MyChinaChannel

The opening scene was a bustling scene of a temple fair in Beijing of Children running around and adults buying Chinese New Year goods, preparing for the coming Chinese New Year. There was a pair of cousins, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, playing with a mask of a fairy-tale monster named 'Nian' (年) and their grandfather shared with them the origin of the festival. As the twelve zodiac animals appeared as part of the dancers' costume, Vera started to name them one by one!

On Chinese New Year Eve, Yuan Yuan was gifted a Nutcracker by a foreign friend who visited her grandfather. However, feeling jealous, Tuan Tuan and his friends ganged up and grabbed the nutcracker away from Yuan Yuan.

Photo credit: MyChinaChannel

After the reunion dinnner, Yuan Yuan fell asleep in her bedroom, holding onto the Nutcracker. She entered the world of dreams where this little surpise came! The Nutcracker came alive and tried to save Yuan Yuan by fighting off the 'Nian monsters with the troop of sword-bearing tigers.

The scene where the ballerinas went en pointe, wearing the feathery white costumes coupled with their elegant and graceful movements in unison, as if a flock of cranes were dancing, was my favourite scene! With the falling of white confetti, it made the scene the most captivating of all!

Photo credit: MyChinaChannel

Photo credit: MyChinaChannel

Photo credit: MyChinaChannel

Yuan Yuan then requested to the Queen Crane and got herself transformed into a crane and flew off to the Porcelain Kingdom to be with her beloved nutcracker.

Photo credit: MyChinaChannel

Spectacular sets, asthetically pleasant gorgeous costumes were used with each different scene! In the Porcelain Kingdom filled with amazing things all around!

Photo credit: MyChinaChannel

Symbolizing wealth, the Giant Gold Ingot made its appearance together with the adorable dancers from Singapore!

Photo credit: MyChinaChannel

Photo credit: MyChinaChannel

Nearing the end, Yuan Yuan woke with the Nutcracker tightly hugged in her arms and realised that it was just a dream and decided to share the Nutcracker with Tuan Tuan. The ballet performance ended with a scene a glowing sky with sound effect of fireworks and lited fire crackers as they welcome another beautiful year! 

Photo credit: MyChinaChannel

Overall, it was a spectacular evening and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole performance! I was sure it did spark some interest in Vera, inspiring her to be a ballerina when she told me she would want to dance on stage like the dancers! Thank you for having us, it was a great exposure for Vera! 


About The National Ballet of China

The National Ballet of China was founded in December of 1959 comprising China’s outstanding professional artistes.  A world-renowned ballet company helmed by Feng Ying, a well-known ballerina who is also the Executive & Artistic Director,  The National Ballet of China has performed other world-class classics such as Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Giselle, Carmen, Onegin, The Little Mermaid, and La Bayadère as well as original creations like The Red Detachment of Women, The New Year Sacrifice, Yellow River, Raise the Red Lantern, The Peony Pavilion, The Crane Calling and The Light of Heart.


The company has made great achievements in talent training and stage productions, as well as in ballet promotion and education. Its cohort of ballet dancers, choreographers, musicians and stage artists have also won major international awards, and have collaborated with international stars in their respective fields. The company has a repertoire of more than 200 ballets, several of which are now known as classic Chinese works of art, and have become famous internationally.

About MyChinaChannel
MyChinaChannel (MCC) is a local media company that began operations in 2010, with the express aim of bringing quality Chinese content to the global audience. MCC has established close relationships with state and private media companies in China, including powerhouses CCTV, SMG, and Xiamen Broadcast, in order to seek out the best that the Chinese media market has to offer. Over the next few years, MCC will embark on an expansion of business, including content creation and bringing live shows from China to Southeast Asian countries.

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Disclaimer: We were invited by AT Marketing Consultancy to The Nutcracker for review purpose. 
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