Living in the fast-paced city life in Singapore, we had a good time soaking in the scenic Hokkaido for a couple days during our holiday in Japan. For us, Mount Usu was the centre, literally, of the trip. En route to the places where we visited, the active volcano was within our view most of the time. And thank God for the opportunity to catch the last of the cherry blossoms at Asahigaoka Park!
Except for the fried foods, somehow it seemed as though oil wasn’t used at all to cook all other foods. Despite the healthier food compared to Char Kway Tiao and Laksa, the 3 of us put on more than 6kg due to, what else but eating almost 24/7. We were snacking in between meals and we had an overdose of seafood because it was just too fresh! Like any Singaporean, we enjoyed walking down the streets of Otaru for barbecued street food and shopping. The famous Hokkaido chocolates and other dairy products really lived up to its name. It must be the milk that makes the food smoother and creamier! One thing you MUST try when you go – to us, the life-changing cream puff from Patissier Kitakaro. Normally you’d prefer to share a cream puff because one the size of a fist would be too rich and creamy to eat it all up by yourself. But for the cream puffs at Pattisier Kitakaro, one was not enough! They offer 3 or 4 variations – we thought the one with the cheese pastry was interesting, but we still prefer the original version. Oishii!
Another highlight was the bathhouses we enjoyed in the Jozankei View Hotel and Hilton Niseko Village. The waters were mineral laden spring water and soaking in the view in peace and quiet in the outdoor baths was really an experience, because we had to enter the baths in our emperor’s clothing. We heard there were natural hot springs up in the mountains so we have to make another trip to experience those!
We were also amazed by the excellent service by the Japanese practically everywhere we went! Their courtesy, politeness and calm nature were really something for us to learn from.
Hokkaido, till we meet again!
Places we visited: Otaru, Sapporo City, Lake Toya (view of Mount Usu), Noboridetsu Date Jidaimura Feature Attractions, Asahigaoka Park, Rera Chitose Outlet Mall
Where we stayed: Jozankei View Hotel, Hilton Niseko Village
Check out hotelscombined.com for the best hotel prices!
We head to Sentosa's Siloso Beach just to chill. :) Sentosa island is located at the southern tip of Singapore and it's just 2 minutes away by car or train from the main island.
There are countless attractions on Sentosa and you'll have to spend more than a day to thoroughly explore what the island has to offer. There are hotels on Sentosa as well so you can stay for a night or two. Attractions include those under Resorts World such as Universal Studios Singapore and the S.E.A Aquarium. For a full list of activities on Sentosa, click here. You may also visit Resorts World's website here.
Getting to Sentosa island is easy! Other than taking the Sentosa Express (SGD 3.50 per entry/ride into Sentosa) like we did, you can choose to go by air (cable car) and land (taxi/car/bus/foot), but not by sea (swimming). Most of the transport options are offered from Vivo City (alight at Harbourfront MRT station - click here to watch us take the MRT train in Singapore.)
Visit Sentosa's website at this link to find out how else you can get to Sentosa.
Fact! Sentosa island was set up as a fortress during World War II. The Fort Siloso attraction on Sentosa gives you an insight into what went on in Singapore in 1945.
Though we have no snow in Singapore, we are surrounded by water and have a good variety of water sports to enjoy! Try cable skiing at Ski360° (www.ski360degree.com) at East Coast Park! The cable ski technology is from Germany and Ski360° is the only cable ski facility in Singapore. The cable ski park is situated just between Lagoon Food Centre and the East Coast Park Seafood Centre. Come down for some fun under the sun!
Map source: gothere.sg
There are many other activities to enjoy with your family and friends at East Coast Park including cycling, roller blading, holding a barbecue, staying over at a chalet and so on.
Other water sports to enjoy in Singapore include sailing, canoeing, dragon boating, windsurfing, water skiing etc. at these places:
SAF Yacht Club
Mana Mana Beach Club
Marina Country Club
National Service Resort & Country Club
National Sailing Centre
*Tip! The best way to get here is by taxi. (Address: 1206A East Coast Parkway, East Coast Park
Tel: 6442 7318)
@Ximending, Taipei, Taiwan
Elyn visited Taiwan last month and just like any other Singaporean, she had a good time indulging in the food and shopping! We just love the street food in Taiwan - fried chicken, smelly tofu, mee sua (type of noodles) and BUBBLE TEA! So much so, that you can find these foods in Singapore as well! Try the Taiwanese street food from stalls like Shihlin Snacks, and a cup of Taiwanese bubble tea from the many bubble tea chain stores you'll see around all Singapore including Gong Cha and Koi. Shopaholic and foodie Singaporeans love to visit Taiwan for a short getaway so if you are here, you might want to visit Taiwan for a couple of days too! 赞！You can get to Taiwan on a budget from Singapore via Jetstar, Tiger Air and Scoot for as low as $250, round trip!
Singaporeans go gaga over Taiwanese bubble tea - the more popular brands with outlets sprawling across Singapore being:
@ SEA Aquarium: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Resorts World Sentosa, 098269
Finally! The SEA Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa is now open! We took a (long) peek into this large attraction and saw many sea creatures we never knew even existed. The touch pool was interesting, I mean, how often do you get in touch with a starfish? If you like to take time to visit each exhibit, you could spend a good half a day just fish-gazing. The gigantic water tanks and dimly lit walkways immerse you into the ocean-like experience.
A friend visiting from Canada once told us how she was so amazed when she saw someone (must have been a local) pointing to a fish in one of the exhibits and commenting on how delicious it would be steamed when she visited the aquarium. Lol. Honestly, that was exactly what we did too as true locals.
The SEA Aquarium is located on Sentosa island. With most attractions on Sentosa being outdoors, the SEA Aquarium would work great as a plan B if it rains!
Click here for tickets prices.
For the huge crabs and lobsters, they will remain our friends, be it in the sea, or on a plate. On a side note, there are many other attractions on Sentosa island, so you could plan for an entire day on there.
@ Marine Terrace Wet Market
You can't get it any fresher in Singapore unless you go fishing. The best place to get the freshest vegetables, meat and fish at the best prices is at a wet market in Singapore. Wet markets are commonly found in the heart of housing estates. The idea of wet markets originally was for customers to see the animals or seafood live before they were slaughtered. But because of hygiene reasons and urbanisation, this is no longer permitted and stall holders simply chill the food well. The stall holders are friendly and customers are usually residents living in the area. Wet markets however are gradually phasing out with the presence of more supermarkets.
A housing estate also has other amenities like a hawker centre, hair salons, clinics, bakeries and coffee shops at a housing estate to serve the neighbouring residents. Most people don't have to travel more than 5 bus stops (about 12 minutes) to get what they need. Visiting a housing estate tells you how life is like for locals here. Click here to know more about roaming an estate.
For wholesale options, you can visit Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre for fruits and veggies, and Jurong Fishery Port for seafood.
There are about 80 wet markets in Singapore today. Here's a list or wet markets you could get a fish or two from:
Chinatown Complex Market
Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre
Bedok North Market and Food Centre
Tampines Round Market and Food Centre
Teban Gardens Market and Food Centre
Clementi Market and Food Centre
Blk 724 Ang Mo Kio Food Centre
Kovan Hougang Market and Food Centre
Admiralty Wet Market
Marsiling Lane Food Centre