Connect with us

Travel & Escape

Singapore—it’s a small island, after all



SINGAPORE—Singapore’s main island is sometimes described as diamond-shaped — fitting, perhaps, since the sparkling city, which has a starring role in the movie Crazy Rich Asians, is known for its materialistic pursuits. But look past the shiny veneer and you will find a compression of Chinese, Indian, Malay and other heritages reaching back far beyond Singapore’s half-century history of independence. And thanks to the superb street food and efficient public transit, you do not have to be crazy rich to enjoy this cinematic city, which is now more accessible than ever with Singapore Airlines’ new non-stop service from Newark, N.J.

Friday5 p.m. In good faith

Begin your visit with a snapshot of Singapore’s past and present on Telok Ayer Street, where Chinese immigrants once arrived on boats.

Though land reclamation projects have since filled in the waterfront, and gleaming skyscrapers have sprouted around this narrow street, shrines and temples of many creeds have persevered in this faithfully preserved neighbourhood.

Linger for a few quiet minutes inside Thian Hock Keng, a carefully restored 19th-century temple built by Hokkien immigrants to give thanks for a safe passage across the sea. Past the minarets and arches of the nearby Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Center, walk deeper into Chinatown, where Sri Mariamman, the nation’s oldest Hindu temple, invites visitors to admire the ornate gopuram (gatehouse tower) and colourful shrines.

7 p.m. The Pan-Asian palate

Hawker centres, or food courts, are a quick introduction to Singapore’s Pan-Asian palate, allowing diners to sample dishes like crab fried in chili sauce, chicken poached with ginger, and roti served with a fiery curry sauce. Locals debate which hawker centre serves the best rendition of a particular dish. Lau Pa Sat distinguishes itself with its soaring cast-iron frame and national monument designation. At night, vendors grilling meat on skewers take over the adjacent Boon Tat Street, erasing the boundary between this lively hawker centre and the rest of the city. If you want a more down-home atmosphere, Amoy Street Food Centre (7 Maxwell Road) is popular among locals and Michelin Bib Gourmand critics alike. Expect to pay 3 to 6 Singapore dollars, or about $2.25 to $4.50 (U.S.), for a filling entree.

9 p.m. Beyond the Singapore sling

The candy-coloured shophouses on Amoy Street now house CrossFit gyms, hipster barbershops, Korean barbecue joints and other businesses reflecting Singapore’s trends. Native, less than two years old, dazzles with cocktails made with local ingredients that range from fresh mangoes and salt-baked tapioca to jasmine blossoms and even ants. The hyperlocal approach informs every detail, from the soundtrack of the bands to the compostable coasters of dried lotus leaves and banana stalks (cocktails around 20 Singapore dollars).

Saturday11 a.m. East Coast style

Avocado toast and single-origin coffee may rule brunches in gentrified Tiong Bahru and up-and-coming Jalan Besar. But when you begin your morning in the laid-back Katong district, full of Easter egg-coloured 19th-century villas, opt for the traditional bite of kaya toast, buns or white bread slathered with coconut jam and slabs of butter, served with soft-boiled eggs. Hungry diners (and Instagrammers) line up at the nearly century-old Chin Mee Chin Confectionery, a local institution where charcoal-grilled buns (1 Singapore dollar each) and heaping servings of nostalgia make up for the brusque service. For a heartier meal, sample the district’s interpretation of laksa, a spice-packed coconut curry noodle soup, at various spots such as 328 Katong Laksa (from 5.35 Singapore dollars) and Marine Parade Laksa (50 East Coast Road, No. 01-64; from 4.50 Singapore dollars).

12:30 p.m. Glam life

Serving as the cultural heart of Singapore’s Muslim community, the palm-lined neighbourhood of Kampong Glam remains popular with travellers and shoppers alike. Orient yourself around the landmark Sultan Mosque, 90 years old yet looking fresher than ever thanks to the 2016 facelift that put an extra shine on its golden domes while preserving the original timber door. To go deeper than browsing the near-identical accessory stores, rug shops and hip cafes with vaguely European names on Arab Street and Haji Lane, download the Singapore Heritage Trails app, a free platform with crowdsourced itineraries that uncover stories behind the colourful facades all around Singapore.

2 p.m. Look and touch

Rest your legs at Looksee Looksee, a 25-seat reading room stocked with an eclectic collection of books on design, art and food. Interior designer John Lim and architect Yong Sy Lyng created this space using whimsical furniture, tropical prints and quirky fabrics. The pay-what-you-want beverage service features brews by the local tea company A.muse Projects. If this puts you in the mood for souvenir shopping, Supermama next door has porcelain sets featuring the city’s unmistakable skyline, designed in Singapore and made in Kyushu, Japan.

3:30 p.m. Artful living

The former city hall and Supreme Court buildings were reborn as the ambitious, light-filled National Gallery Singapore in 2015, reflecting the country’s growing interest and pride in homegrown art. Here, you will find paintings and sculptures from around Southeast Asia that connect the diverse regional styles that transcend national boundaries. Works by local artists like Georgette Chen and Chua Mia Tee offer intimate glimpses of Singapore’s past and present. (Tickets are 20 Singapore dollars for non-residents.)

5:30 p.m. Culture club

Jutting out of the waterfront like two durians (a beloved local fruit so pungent that it is banned on public transit), the performing arts venue the Esplanade hosts more than 3,000 events that range from world-class concerts to unpretentious community programs. On any given evening you might happen upon a production of electronica music and video installation, or a concert of art songs by Enrique Granados and Benjamin Britten.

Even if you are not catching a performance, set aside a few minutes for the well-manicured roof terrace garden, which offers sweeping views of the city and Marina Bay.

8 p.m. Cure for hunger

No longer a notorious red light district, Keong Saik Road on the edge of Chinatown has seen globally oriented restaurants and bars taking up its Art Deco edifices and narrow shophouse. Among the cevicherias and Australian steak houses, three-year-old Cure stands out with its smart prix fixe menus (five courses on weekends, 120 Singapore dollars; three courses on weekdays, 95 Singapore dollars). Irish-born chef-owner Andrew Walsh serves no-holds-barred dishes like a custard of dashi in an onion broth, Wagyu paired with piquant harissa, and snapper steamed tender with fennel. A popular option among locals is Kok Sen Restaurant (30 Keong Saik Road), with diners lining up on the sidewalk for its tze char, or home-cooked Hokkien Chinese cuisine, with dishes like spicy jumbo prawn soup (16 Singapore dollars).

11:30 p.m. Gardens of good

Few things would encapsulate Singapore better than Gardens by the Bay, a nature park that is at once lush and futuristic. The 250-acre grounds encompass themed conservatories, winding trails and Supertrees, or vertical gardens rising up to 16 storeys and threaded together by suspended walkways. While air-conditioned indoor parks and the 22-metre-tall Skyway close at 9 p.m., the free outdoor gardens remain open until 2 a.m., giving you ample time to admire the wildly lit grounds — with thinner crowds and naturally cooler temperatures.

Sunday9 a.m. Not that Coney Island

Those who can’t commit a whole day to the time capsule of Pulau Ubin, a rustic island of tin-roof shacks and mangrove-lined lakes, can indulge in an easier getaway with a trip to Coney Island Park. Over 80 bird species, including collared kingfisher and spotted wood owls, call this 50-hectare nature reserve home. Rent a bike from one of several vendors at the nearby Punggol Point Park and breeze through the coastal forestry, or join a guided nature walk (free; registration required at to discover diminutive beaches.

2 p.m. It’s a small island after all

Steps from Pulau Ubin dock, the lively 270-seat Little Island Brewing Co. serves up SPA (a Singaporean take on India pale ale) and other unpasteurized and unfiltered beers. Grab tamarind-marinated wings (8 Singaporean dollars) and kick back to live music. Jumbo jets taking off from the adjacent Changi Airport are bound for faraway places. But you will want to stretch your weekend in Singapore as long as you can.


The art-filled Vagabond Club, with its own “whiskey library,” offers 41 intimate rooms in the heart of Little India and Kampong Glam; from 275 Singapore dollars.

A former spice shop and distillery is now The Warehouse, a 37-room boutique hotel. You do not need to jump in the adjacent river to cool down, either: The rooftop has an aquarium-like pool. (From 240 Singapore dollars.)

Centrally located, Chinatown makes a convenient home base with one-bedroom Airbnb rentals starting from 100 Singapore dollars. Jalan Besar, with its coffee shops and rentals averaging between $110 and $150, provides a more laid-back alternative to trendy Tiong Bahru. Keep in mind, however, that short-term rentals under three months remain illegal in Singapore.

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)




(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at

Continue Reading

Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel




(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

Continue Reading

Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!




Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

Continue Reading