Thursday, March 27, 2014

3D2N Nanjing Trip via Scoot - Attractions and Hotel Recommendations

Was in Nanjing 2 weeks ago. Second time there after my business trip last year. Brought along my mum and girlfriend over. Thanks to Scoot Airlines, got a very cheap deal last year during their 3,000 fans facebook promo. Nanjing two-way trip via scoot only cost me $70+ SGD per person. Guess a normal two-way flight will cost about $300 to $400 SGD. Scoot's airline was good, luckily we didn't experience any flight delay as heard from my friends. Unlike other budget airlines, Scoot has 9 seats per row instead of 6. Had much space for movement, was quite surprised since this was my first time flying on Scoot Airline.

Flew to Nanjing Lukou International Airport, and took a high speed train down to Shanghai. If you're taking a high speed train as well, opt for the 2nd class which cost about $28SGD. First class seats cost about $40SGD, I took both class before, and personally I find that not much difference. Probably first class seats give you more privacy as there's lesser people, and more spacious. Stayed there for 3 days, before we come back to Nanjing again to explore this culture rich capital of Jiangsu province. Weather ranges between 3 to 12 degrees Celsius. Will blogged about Shanghai later.

The scenic view from the revolving restaurant in XuanWu Hotel. Catch the sunrise in the early morning. Buffet starts from 6.30am to 10am .

We stayed at Lakeview XuanWu Hotel, conveniently located just infront of the XuanWu Gate which you can walk through to see the XuanWu River. Also located beside the metro station, which easily connects you to the other parts of the city within minutes. The revolving restaurant gives you a 360 degree view of the Xuan Wu river while you enjoy your breakfast buffet in the morning.

Part of the Qinhuai River (秦淮河) , which can be seen in Confucius Temple. 

After visiting Xin Jie Kou (新街口) in Nanjing, we took a cab and reached Nanjing Fuzimiao 
(南京夫子廟), or some called it as Confucius Temple.  One of the many tourist attractions, Fuzimiao refers to not only the temple, but also the entire street. It's pretty a big place, and you probably need to take sometime to slowly explore. 

Shoel and me infront of the Qinhuai River (秦淮河)

This Chinese Lantern hanging high infront of the Qinhuai River adds on the oriental mood and liven up the place. It's big, compare the size to Shoel!

Outside the Confucius temple with my Mum

As the temple entrance fee was not complimentary, we've decided not to visit instead. Had visited enough temples during our trip, and probably it's not worth it to pay for another one.  Anyway, a temple should be a place for worship and not for the sake of making margins!  You won't lose out much if you give the temple a miss, because there's many other things to look out for in the area!

The street view of Confucius temple

This experienced master engraved my Chinese Characters name onto the marble stones.

You can also easily find these name engraving shops in Nanjing Fuzimiao. Cost 15 to 20 Rmb ($3 to $4 SGD) per piece with engraving services included. We've made a few as souvenirs! Use it as name chops or lucky charms!

Shoel and me in Chinese Traditional costumes. The Emperor and Concubine. Do we look like? 

There's also a photography booth , with Chinese traditional costumes provided. Each piece cost about $30 Rmb  ($6 SGD) A few types of costumes to choose from!

Mum and myself outside Zhuang Yuan Ji Di, (状元及第)

As we had already decided to stay till evening time to catch the night scene of Fu Zi Miao and QinHuai River, thus we settled our dinner in that area as well. Found this place , Zhuang Yuan Ji Di, (状元及第), which serve traditional Nanjing food, like duck soaked in brine (盐水鸭), Pan-fried beef dumpling (牛肉锅贴), Tangbao or Steam dumplings(汤包) and many more. An unique place which requires customers to pay for coupons first, and then use the coupons to purchase the food items. However, the extra leftover coupons can be returned and cash back later.

Another delicacy in Nanjing, fermented beancurd, or smelly toufu. (臭豆腐)
Definitely not my favourite, just posing. ;) 

After dinner, you can continue to take a walk , and visit some tealeaves and tea sets shops. So lucky, we were served complimentary tea, because Shoel bought a tea seat for her grandma.

My suggestion is to stay till evening time to catch the lights and night scene in Fu Zi Miao!
Here you see the lighting at Qin Huai River.

Shoel outside the Confucius Temple

My mum and myself infront of the Qin Huai River

Xuan Wu Gate (玄武門) 

The next day morning, we took a stroll after breakfast to the Xuan Wu Gate (玄武門) and 
Xuan Wu River (玄武湖). Entrance is free.

Plum Blossom in Xuan Wu River Park

We were lucky to catch the plum blossom in the park, I heard it's the season in Nanjing!
 I heard from the taxi drivers, the breath taking view will be actually located in Nanjing Plum Blossom Mountain, 梅花山. But a pity we didn't have time to visit that place!

The happy girlfriend!

More shots here, my Nokia Lumia 1520 takes really good pictures!

Shoel and myself

Nothing much, just a shameless selfie infront of the Xuan Wu Gate. Got feel? ;)

四海一家   free flow of beer!

My colleague suggested and bought us to this buffet restaurant,四海一家,  just beside our hotel. Located in a shopping mall, this buffet restaurant offers international cuisine, with free flow of beers and wines! Cost about $50 SGD per person, but it's definitely worth that price. Fresh seafood, a variety of choices, so many that we didn't know which one to choose from!

Free flow of Wine too. 

If you would like to visit this restaurant, here's the details: 
Website: 四海一家
Address: 201 Central Rd, Gulou, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
Phone:+86 25 8376 6008

And lastly... some selfie shot before we left for Singapore! Just some shots taken on the streets outside Xuan Wu Hotel.

Shoel likes this shot!

And here ends our Nanjing Trip! Will definitely return again!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

i Light Marina Bay 2014

Marina Bay Singapore AmBAYssadors 
Credits: Iskandar 

iLight Marina Bay 2014 is back! Held bi-annually, with the theme Light+heART, iLight Marina Bay 2014 features 28 innovation and environmental-friendly installations from all around the world. This year, one special point to note is that some of the artists had made use of  recycled materials and energy efficient lighting in the creation of their light installations. Many thanks to Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore, was invited together with the rest of the Marina Bay Singapore AmBAYssadors to walk down the brightly lit waterfront to view the artworks. 

Map of installations

Attached the map of the installations here. Take note of the number stated on the map. Some of the installations highlighted below in my blog entry will be labelled with the number, for easy identification.

A9 : JouJou-Ours by Uno Lai, Taiwan
Shoel posing with the bear, reminiscing her childhood days? 
Right outside Marina Bay City Gallery, you will find these brightly lit bears. The artist believes that interactive arts are not just about technology, but it should reflect simple arts to express love. Inspired by childhood memories of hugging soft toys to sleep, Joujou-Ours is an installation that encourages all to come closer to embrace these light installations.

My Nokia Lumia 1520 accidentally took this shot while I was walking down the waterfront. Artistic yea? 

A8: #Weheartlight by Light Collective, United Kingdom

Light Collective had worked closely with students from different schools in Singapore, through a series of workshops. The process of constructing this installation helps to emphasize the role of education in guiding our future generation towards a more sustainable future. 

One of the boxes here which feature a very heartwarming message, symbolizing ever lasting love.

The installation is made up of 200 simple light box, personalized with images and text, with red as the predominant colour for half of these boxes. When assembled together, the light boxes make up the installation, #WeHeartLight.

A5: Bedazzled, Meinhardt Light Studio Pte Ltd, Singapore

One of the many creative artworks. As the name of the installation suggest, the artist wants the viewers to immerse themselves in the 'starry night' and bedazzled by the artwork. As the city grows, the impact of light pollution also increases. As a result, many of us from the urbanized city will not be able to view the stars from the dark skies.

Shoel and myself locating the 'stars' !

A4: Happy Croco, Bibi, France

Beware! Crocodile spotted!
"Do not enter croco will bite!"

Displayed in the middle of the waterfront, is a huge croco light installations whose backbone is made up of recycled traffic cones. This luminous 20m long sculpture uses two types of LEDs and low energy light bulbs. The creative work of the artists brings a new lease and delightful life to our everyday discarded items. Did the brilliant use of the recycled materials into a urban crocodile brings a smile on your face, just like the title suggest? Happy Croco!

A2: The Wishing! Tree, The Living! Project, Singapore

Over at this installation, it's probably the only installation which requires the public plays a part to make it a success.  As the name suggest, The Wishing! Tree allows the public to pen down any of their wishes, on a strip of paper, attached to luminous blue lights. One simply just need to throw it up and it's done! The more wishes are made, the more 'healthy' the tree grows!

I took this opportunity to pen down my wish too!

Nothing fancy, not cliche, but deep from the bottom of my heart, I hope the passengers and crew of MH370 can be found soon. Too many news report everyday, but none of the sources can be 100% true. I guess, at this very moment, none of us will be able to apprehend the feelings of the families and friends related to those on board...

 God Bless...

B14: Celebration of Life, Justin Lee with Dorier Asia Pte Ltd

Celebration of Life exhibits the adaptation of the Asian culture with the contemporary society using 3D light projection onto the walls of Art Science Museum. I personally find that the unique use of Pop-Art with oriental music and icons symbolizes our inter-connectivity on this globe, with the power of internet, East and West no longer seem so far apart. In fact, the extreme poles are drawing closer, so much so that the cultures blends so well with one another. Viewers can expect an approximate 5minute show and suggest to catch the best view on the helix bridge.

Show Timings:  8.15pm – 8.30pm – 8.45pm – 9.00pm – 9.15pm – 9.45pm – 10.00pm – 10.15pm – 10.30pm – 10.45pm

 B12: Flash, Nathan Yong with Otto Solutions Pte Ltd

Catch this flash ring located at the end of the helix bridge. It gives a good camera angle which captures the distinct Marina Bay icons such as MBS and Helix Bridge. Couples can also take a photo together in this ring, with the ring lights at the edge of the circle, it brightens up the people in the center, and thus give an excellent portrait shot! Seen here , Irene Soh, family blogger posing with her boy!

B9: Cloud, Caitlind R.C. Brown & Wayne Garrett, Canada  

One of the many highlights in i Light Marina Bay 2014. I heard some bloggers were asking where's the 'cloud' ? That was also our last station of the night. The artwork actually illuminates distinctively from far, and one will not miss it. This light installation has attracted many to come forward to pull the strings hanging loosely below the 'cloud', which actually leads to the switch of the lightbulbs that make up the art piece. 

 Joining in the fun. Everyone's curious what lies beneath! 

i Light Marina Bay 2014 last till 30th March 2014!
7.30pm to 11.00pm.
Marina Bay WaterFront
Free Admission 

Do remember to hashtag your photos #ilightmarinabay on instagram too!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bedok Reservoir Forest Adventure Review

Forest Adventure located in Bedok Reservoir, near Carpark A

If you're looking for an adrenaline rush adventure and attraction in Singapore, catch Forest Adventure located in Bedok Reservoir Park. Many thanks to Forest Adventure Singapore, together with a group of friends, we were invited to experience the first tree top adventure course in Singapore.

With my colleagues Eileen and Andrew

A brand new concept in Singapore and also Asia, Forest Adventure is designed by one of Europe's most successful designer of Tree Top courses, and was opened on 25th August 2007.

First step ! How to put on your gears and helmet!

First timers? Fred not. The friendly and experienced instructors over at Forest Adventure are always lending a helping hand.

Helmet too tight? No, it was just right. ;)

For those who wants to use your own helmet, I'm afraid you are going to be disappointed. Participants are required to use only Forest Adventure helmets and gears. Don't worry, I've tried it, it's clean and hygienic. If you can't be convinced, you can put on your bandana before putting on the helmet. 
However, own gloves are permitted as it is not provided by the organizers.

Kelvin putting on his helmet and all ready. 

It's not only for friends, but families too. Here's Eileen helping her cousin, Trina to fix her helmet.

Getting ready for the briefing before the course starts. 

There will be a 15 minutes briefing before the adventure begins. The experienced instructors over at Forest Adventure explained  the important safety precautions, the site map, and the necessary instructions. We were taught on the usage of the safety harness, which plays a very important part in the course. Bearing in mind that the course will be unaccompanied by the instructors, all of us are responsible for our own safety while climbing up the trees.

That expression...

Before I promised to take up this blogging assignment, was still contemplating whether I should go for it. Had height phobia since young, but with the encouragement from the organizers and colleagues, decided to give it a try. From the picture above, I was still not quite convinced about how much fun and satisfaction I could achieve from this course, even the instructor tried her best to introduce the course further... looks like Andrew(on my left) wasn't quite convinced too!

Drawing out our carabiners together before going for the trial run. We didn't pose for the picture though! Pure coincidence!

A trial run on the ground before going up the trees! Remember to secure yourself to the safety red line on every tree!

The course has a total of 34 different stages 5meter above ground, and 4 zip lines across the water! Yes, not one... but FOUR! (also known as flying fox) According to Forest Adventure, this is the first in the world!  Expected time of completion was about 2.5 hours. Warning! It's going to burn away much of your calories, so take some light refreshments before the course to ensure you have enough energy for the forest trail. Drink lots of water if it's during a hot and sunny day!

Testing the gears on the ground before moving up to the trees.

Andrew walking on the iron rope about 40 to 50 cm from ground. This basic training allows us to warm up before going up to the trees.

Trying to overcome my height phobia even though it's such as low height. Didn't know how tense I was until I saw this picture. My hands were grabbing tightly to the rope. Wrong demonstration, please don't follow what I was doing, you might get serious and nasty rope burns!

Flying fox trial. The basic course prepares the participants necessary skills and techniques required for the obstacles. You will probably get confused if what the instructor was explaining initially ,thus, please pay extra attention! However, if you're still feeling lost after the briefing, this basic course allows you to hands on and put the instructions into practice.

Done with the training. The cousins are ready for site 1 obstacles!

Site 1 obstacles are generally easier, after all, it's the start of the adventure! Give some chance! Wheeee~

Swing your way to the rope net ! Shout it out loud if you need to!

Done with obstacles from site 1! Ready to zip our way across the reservoir!

Find it quite hard to convince myself to zip down initially, but it didn't get me too long before I 'fly' across the reservoir. Feel the windy breeze on your face and feel like a king! Okay, to be frank, I didn't feel like a king for my first zip. I was grabbing the harness very tightly. But trust me... I didn't know flying fox was always the most enjoyable part until later..

Eileen zipping across the reservoir. Looks like Alien invasion?

According to Forest Adventure, the longest zip line is 176m and the shortest 127m. This is just for your info, guess you won't really be bothered with the distance while flying, because you will be enjoying so much that you still find the distance too short!

The first four who had completed site one. No Kick! Okay lah, to be frank... got some kick lah. Legs wobbling already.

Ready for site 2?

Yes we are!

We had a common consensus that site 2 was the most challenging one. There's few 'extreme' section, made of extremely physically challenging obstacles. Look out for color labels before the start of the obstacles, and many of the stations here are label black color. Which meant extreme difficulty! However, fred not if you think  you are not ready for such obstacles. This site is made up of 2 routes. Even before you embark on this extreme path, there's another 'escape' route which directs you straight to the next flying fox.

One of the extreme stations. Trying to balance myself on the wooden log. 
Ay Seh, don't play play.. Got feel right.

I find the trick in doing this station is to quickly step on the next wooden log after each successful attempt. Make use of the swing momentum to reach out to the next log, or else it will be quite difficult as the distance from one log to another can be quite far apart.

Eileen flaunting her sexy pose.;) 
We had our safety carabiner on top, so it's very safe up there, though it was an extreme site.

Andrew still enjoying himself ...

Or maybe not... another extreme station.

Basically after you have completed the extreme challenges in Site 2, nothing seem impossible now. By then, height phobia was already not in my mind after those obstacles! Though some of the stations in Site 3 may seem quite challenging as well, but it's definitely not as physically challenging as compared to the previous one.

A glimpse of the obstacles in Site 3.

Height Phobia? What's that? Taking a relaxing walk...

Forest Adventure is probably the place for those who always yearn to do circus stunts.  
When walking on land is too mainstream...

Careful Eileen!

Site 4 is another area which you shouldn't miss! This site will be the highlight of the entire course. One of the obstacles include a 12m Tarzan swing, whereby participants will jump from a 8m high platform and swing into a rope net of 2m below! Participants will also experience a 2 seconds free fall... almost everyone shouted (screamed) their hearts out while swinging down from the 8m high platform! You wouldn't understand how's the feeling like until you experience it yourself! Of course, I scream too. Let it all out... ALL OUT!

Go Andrew!  According to Eileen, she heard Andrew's scream when she was at site 3. The distance from site 3 to site 4 is one zip line apart!

Another thing to look out for if you're finishing the obstacles course in the late evening. 
(last group at 4.30pm)
Catch the sunset across the reservoir while zipping down! Nice view!

A recapped and site map of the Forest Adventure, located in Bedok Reservoir Park. Starting from initiation to Site 1, and end with site 4... zipping down to base camp again.

The satisfied group after the completion of the forest adventure course! Certificates will be given at the end of the course to certify completion.

Many thanks to Forest Adventure for the invitation once again. Though we admit that we were quite exhausted at the end of the day, but the experience was definitely a rewarding one. No words can describe that sense of satisfaction and achievement after completing the course, unaccompanied by the instructors. Most importantly, I guess I had overcome height phobia, not permanently, but Forest Adventure had definitely provided me a good training ground to overcome that fear. 
Highly recommended, and will return back again!

Things to note: 

Opening Hours:
Grand Course
The Grand Course is open every day from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm
The last departure  is at 4.30 pm to end before dark

Forest Adventure is closed on Monday except public holidays – booking is essential
Locate Forest Adventure: 

Nearest MRT : Bedok
 Bus: 5,18,21,22,28,59,65,67,69,168. Alight bus stop no 75349 “the Clearwater condo” if you are coming from Tampines Avenue 1 or  bus stop no 75341 “opposite Clearwater condo” if you are coming from Bedok North Road.

If you are driving take the PIE Changi, Exit 6 Bedok North Avenue 3. Turn left on Bedok North Av 3 and turn right at the traffic light on Bedok Reservoir Road. Drive 70m and turn left into the carpark. You will see signs to Forest Adventure.

Suggest to use carpark A situated on Bedok Reservoir Road, opposite Aquarius Condominium.
Alternative parking can also be found at:
  • the multistorey carpark on Bedok Link
  • carpark B on Bedok North Road
This will add 5 to 10 minutes to your journey

For more details,
Please check out official webpage : Forest Adventure