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Day 2 Highlights

Wooden Houses of Woloan Village 

Vegetable Fields in Rurukan Village 

Mount Mahawu 

Lunch at Astomi Restaurant on Lake Tondano 

Lake Linow, Sulfur Lake 

TIPS?! 

This is a continuation of the pervious article on engaging a private tour with Safari Tours & Travel Co. in North Sulawesi for the whole family!

Click here if you are interested in how we spend our Day 1 with Safari Tours & Travel Co. at Manado! 

So now, let’s just dive right into Day 2 experiences! Since Day 1 was all about getting wet at Bunaken Island, near Manado city, so the following day, it was all about soaking up the sun and all its concomitants in the more rural areas!

Honestly, I did not expect to be inundated by the marvellous beauty of the mountainous countryside of North Sulawesi. Near the city of Tomohon and Tondano, you get to experience quirky villages, lakes that are so serene and air so amazingly fresh as you travel up the hills passing lustrous greens of vegetable fields. It was such an enrapturing encounter, especially for nature enthusiasts, where you can get a little taste of what the local area has to offer! Just amazing!

 

Day 2 Highlights: Wooden Houses of Woloan Village

The journey was about an hour’s car ride from our Mercure Manado Tateli Beach Resort to our first highlight of the day- the quirky little village of Woloan just about 2 km away from Tomohon city centre!

The sky was in its perfect cerulean blue and placid white fluffy patches of clouds pasted randomly all over. It was a pretty amazing day for exploration in the countryside. Since Tomohon is located on the mountainous region of North Sulawesi, the vicinity around it, like the Woloan village, experienced much cooler temperatures ranging in its 20s oC!

When we got out of the Safari Tours & Travel Co. van to take a nice walk around, we experienced the perfect bucolic surroundings of Tomohon. With temperature at about 20 oC odd, definitely much cooler than at Manado city (which was sweltering), and accompanied by the slow paced vibe of the countryside; everything all seems to be in the perfect cosmos as we wandered off to look at the incomplete (yet accessible for viewing) humble wooden knocked down houses.

To me, Woloan village is described as quirky because it really wasn’t like the typical village we would normally have had in mind. It was basically a place where the making of wooden products happen. In Woloan village, you could see how the Minahasan style houses were being built by the carpenters. You get to see the knocked down parts of a wooden house that were ready to be shipped or delivered.

For someone who is intrigued by carpentry and wooden house craft, this is probable a nice pit stop! According to our tour guide, the humble houses that we saw, which were built along the roadside, were actually up for sale. If you were interested, you could buy it straightaway. The house you were interested to purchase would be knocked down, and shipped to your address, along with an assembler, so you need not worry about assembling the house yourself!

And of course, a quirky little village calls for a few quirky family shot initiated by the brother truly; and photographer: the girlfriend. Haha! 😀

Because these wooden houses are known for its quality and good workmanship by the skilled carpenters, Woloan village receive orders even from resorts at Bunaken Island. Interesting… …

 

Day 2 Highlights: Vegetable Fields in Rurukan Village

Next up, was to drive towards Mount Mahawu, but to get there we had to pass Rurukan village, which had the most beautiful vegetable fields I have ever seen. Located at the foot of Mount Mahawu, this is a must stop place en route up Mount Mahawu. Just a 20 minutes odd drive from Woloan village, this place just screamed perfection; where the blues meets lustrous greens.

I reckoned this wasn’t part of our itinerary pit stop, it was meant for a pass by to Mount Mahawu. But after looking at the beauty that passed us by whilst in the van, it was just such a pity not to ask the tour guide to let us out to see the view and fill our lungs with the amazing cool crisp air (which, I will not lie, has a tinge of fertiliser smell- if you know what I mean). Of course, it had to have that smell, we were, after all, in an agricultural vicinity right? 😀 #ecotourism?

Hectares of plant terraces and hills that stretched beyond, and overlooking the city sprawling beneath it, just sunk me into the whole agricultural scene that I don’t get much off back home. A really pleasant experience with a good change of scenery once in a while!

 

Day 2 Highlights: Mount Mahawu

An approximately 5 minutes’ drive upslope from Rurukan village and we finally made it to Mount Mahawu! Or at least 1 step closer to the vantage point at Mount Mahawu! Really excited I was! I mean, it was my first time up a volcano! 😀

Well saying it was ‘1 step closer’ really is just a figure of speech. ‘Cause looking at the entrance, it was a hell load of steps up up up to the viewing point! There was no rest benches for respites (if I did recall correctly), only hand railings were built in the middle of the steps all the way to the top (which is better than nothing huh?).

Elevated at 1324 metres above sea level, the crater of Mount Mahawu is 180 metres wide and 140 metres deep with a distant backdrop of Mount Lokon. Once up at the viewing deck, we all had an unimpeded view of the dry crater beneath us. Though the sun shone fiercely at us all with darting sunrays, but since we were at least a thousand metres above sea level, the weather wasn’t really warm and humid. Cool breeze and all… …

The tour guide informed us that we could take a walk around the volcano. It would probably take about ½ to 1 hour? We decided not to do so, since it was already past lunch time. Hence, to ensure we made the most of it, considering the fact that we had actually arduously climbed a bunch of steps up, we decided to just follow the trekked path slightly inwards to see what other angular views of the horizons we could be getting.

And boy, was it amazing. Though, the tall grass and all were hindering our views, but we could definitely see the city sprawled beneath us. It was pretty doped! It reminded me of when I was up on Mount Wellington when I was in Hobart, Tasmania.

Just the thought of overlooking upon everyone down below was, to me, just a very serene experience somehow. It made me feel that the world is so huge, and sometimes, our problems aren’t really that big a deal and we should just think positive and move on- one deep breath at a time. 😀

On a side note, I believe it is my duty to inform everyone that at the entrance of Mount Mahawu laid a toilet facility. Thank you to whoever decided it was a great idea to build one, seriously. Having been on the road for a few hours from Manado City and having a few respites and all, sometimes nature calls are really larger than us, you know? ;P

 

Day 2 Highlights: Lunch at Astomi Restaurant on Lake Tondano

Address

Jl. Peleloan, Maesa Unima, Tondano Sel., Kabupaten Minahasa, Sulawesi Utara, Indonesia

Personal Rating:

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Total Damage  (per pax)

~ IDR $117500

We were definitely ravenous after all the climbing at Mount Mahawu, and it was time to have our late LUNCH! About a 30 – 40 minutes odd drive from Mount Mahawu down to Lake Tondano, Astomi Restaurant it was!

This restaurant stood on stilts on the waters located along the ever so tranquil Lake Tondano. We had to walk on a gangway made of wooden planks to cross over.

Never did I expect to be so impressed by the food that was served at this restaurant. I am not exaggerating at all when I say how prefect the food was. From the side dishes of stir-fried Kang Kong (Water Spinach), and some other vegetable (I have no idea the name of), to the corn and fish fritters and of course, the main star dish: mini lobsters, oh my goodness, they were all amazingly delish! For those who are allergic to prawns and lobsters, fret not. Another good option could be fried Tilapia fish. It was really good too!

We ordered a set each; 5 mini lobster sets and 1 fried Tilapia fish set. Each set came with a plate of vegetables, and 1 – 2 plate of fritters? I really do not know, ‘cause when the dishes came, they came in a swarm! I reckoned that because we ordered so much, they combined a few fritters into a single plate for us all to share. But what was definite, was that the mini lobsters was a plate for each person; which mean 1 person had about 5 – 6 mini lobsters! Oh man, that was mini lobsters heaven for me and my belly jelly!

Astomi Restaurant was so kind, they threw in 1 more extra plate of mini lobsters no charge at all. More lobster delights for all to share! Perfecto! With an amazing feast on the table, and the serene Lake Tondano as the backdrop, it was a lunch not to forget. I really wouldn’t mind heading back there again for a taste of the delish lobster at that reasonable price!

It was an impeccable late lunch experience by the lake, as we felt the cool lake breeze and enjoyed the calming waters and scrumptious meal prepared for us! My only issue was the pesky houseflies that kept hovering hungrily for our food and drinks. But for the delectable served with such a perfect backdrop, the houseflies aren’t even going to bother me. We just had to exercise some arms swiping whilst eating! 😀

 

Day 2 Highlights: Lake Linow, Sulfur Lake

It was already evening, with our bellies all well-fed after that incredible lunch. Even during lunch, we could already see the sun slowly creeping back into the horizon. If we had more time, our tour guide mentioned that we could go to the hot springs which was actually en route to Lake Linow. But since it was already quite late, we headed straight to Lake Linow, passing the hot springs.

Either because the sky was getting dark and most tourists had already visited Lake Linow earlier in the day, or the vicinity around Lake Linow was undergoing revamping hence most tourists wouldn’t want to visit this place for the time being, but either way, there wasn’t a soul there other than us.

It was quiet and melancholic. As compared to the afternoon at Rurukan village and up on Mount Mahawu, the scene at Lake Linow was a 180 o change. Gloomy and a little depressing. Lake Linow, when I visited, reminded me of those movies or dramas where the actor would take his row boat out into the lake in the thick fog, and just disappeared- no screams no body found, just vanished into the thick fog.

I was a little disappointed because I was pretty excited to see the change in the colour of the lake. The tour guide mentioned earlier in the day that waters in Lake Linow could change colour due to the sulfur content present in the water body. The sulfur present in the lake was said to be due to the Mahawu eruption that happened years years ago.

With the sunrays reflecting and refracting on the lake in the bright morning or afternoon, and accompanied with the sulfur content, that would explain why the waters in Lake Linow changed colour. Since sulfur is yellow, the water in Lake Linow would change between hues of yellow, amber, green and blue. But because, it was already close to dark, all we saw was a single shade of murky green. Haha! #maybenexttime

By right we should be able to smell the pungent odour of the sulfur from the lake. But when we were there, we didn’t really experience that. Probably if we had come earlier in the day, we might smell the rotten egg odour of the sulfur?

Alas, when we visited Lake Linow, the facilities were in renovating progress; the side roads and all. The café was also not in operation, and all lake activities also seized operation. We saw some Swan Leg-Paddle boats, which, if they were operating, could allow visitors have a go at wandering along the banks of the lake. That sounds intriguing… …

If you are wondering if swimming in the lake is allowed, then maybe we should all take a deep breath and think twice if we would want to soak our delicate bodies in high sulfur content? Haha! That should be your answer right there. 😛

 

TIPS?!

(a) Early morning at Lake Linow (reshuffling of itinerary sequence?)

As you would know, I wished we had the opportunity to see the changing colour of Lake Linow, but due to the timing of the day we were there, we experienced a melancholic sight. But hey, it was still all pretty cool and all.

Hence, I do suggest the best time to visit Lake Linow would be in the early morning when the air would still be crisp, the surroundings in serene and the temperature by the lake still being cool and chill. I bet the experience by the lake in the morning would bring about a pleasant and tranquil moment that would fill anyone up with wonderful memories and beyond!

Thus, probably putting Lake Linow as the first sight of the day to visit would be a better choice? Followed by Mount Mahawu before lunch? That could be a suggestion.

(b) Set off from Manado City earlier

It was literally a whole day affair, and we still missed out certain little aspects of the tour itinerary. Not that the whole trip wasn’t fun and all, but in hindsight, the timing can be adjusted a wee bit.

By the time we were up on Mount Mahawu, it was already slightly past lunch time, and had we set off slightly earlier, we would be right on track. I reckoned a comfortable timing to set off from Manado City would be around 8.30 am or even earlier if you would like to visit Lake Linow at an even much earlier timing in the morning.

(c) Proper footwear please?

Regrets in life happened at specific moments of the day when you thought to yourself how brazenly you felt you could survive climbing up and down a volcano with slippers on. What was I thinking at that morning? Hey, I have no idea… …

Climbing up a gazillion steps to the vantage point on Mount Mahawu was not at all easy with slippers. With poor gripping underfoot and walking on unlevelled ground, wearing slippers does make me feel that the strap was about to snap and give up on me. Oh imagine if that had happened… … Then I would have to walk around barefooted, and how enhancingly close to nature I would have been. Hhhhmmmm… …

Picture does speak a thousand words, but trust me when I say, you need to be there to really believe it. Believe that there’s just so much more out there in this world. Believe that there’s so much beauty in this world.

So get out there, and explore! Remember to Travel Whenever!

Dee

Mount Wellington

Salamanca Market

Port Arthur

Maria Island

Bruny Island

The initial reaction I got from most people when I told them I was leaving for Tasmania on a getaway would be them telling me there was really nothing to see but trees and more trees.

Well, I am here to say that there’s a huge misconstrue going on. Sorry guys, there’s really so much more to it than just trees. And even if it is ‘just’ trees, the trees are situated at locations with backdrops so ethereal it’s unbelievable!

So why Hobart they asked?

Well… … Here’s why…

Top 5 MUST DOs in Hobart Tasmania. Let’s spiel shall we…?

 

Mount Wellington

Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

1 – 2 hours; depending on how many photos you want to snap, and how long you wanna’ amble on the metal platforms gawking at the magnificent bare view.

Admission Fee

FOC

Visitation Suitability

Everyone & Anyone

You cannot say you’ve been to Hobart without placing yourself at the summit of Mount Wellington. Nope you cannot, period! The sweeping view over Hobart City which towers 1270 metres above ground is the must-do-spot to be at!

If you are lucky, a single trip up on 4 wheels (car; for the families or people who have tight itinerary schedule etc.), 2 wheels (bike; for the dynamics who hanker for an adventure uphill) or 2 feet (for trekkers who enjoy longer ramble through cold dense forest) welcomes you to a sprawling peripheral vista of Hobart in a whole new light. I remember driving up there twice in a day with no luck at all, considering the fact that thick cold fog shrouded every inch of the area. It was pretty dangerous just impelling slowly up the narrow sinuous road.

Thank goodness, on our last day in Hobart City, the weather did clear up, and BAM! With minimal trekking of any kind to get views as splendid as these, no wonder it is the MUST DO in Hobart; spoken by the locals!

 

Salamanca Market

Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

1 – 2 hours; depending on how much food you can stomach.

Admission Fee

FOC (exclude bought goods)

Visitation Suitability

Everyone & Anyone

Operates every Saturday, all year round from 08 30 to 15 00 along Salamanca Place, this place is swarmed with locals and tourists all in for a piece of Hobart’s unique cultural experience.

With 300 odd stalls all in tandem along Salamanca Place, you better get there early on an empty stomach so you could try all the local produce and goodness. Not only does this place sells delectable foods, handy crafts and cute souvenirs are massively available for purchase. Some less perishable food items like nougats and honey are available in sample sizes for you to try before buying.

And if you are in luck (yes, I realised I do say that a lot, but come on, right timing is really fundamental, and you know it), live performances of song, dance and magic tricks will get the crowd howling for more. It is absolutely the time to reel off on a lazy Saturday morning!

TIP?

After ambling through the market, and soaked in the atmosphere of it all, take the food TO-GO! Head on down to wharf, just about a 100 metres away, for a nice ‘picnic’ with the view of Sullivans Cove!

I mean, come on, awesome food, perfect local culture experience, and brunch by the wharf overlooking the Cove? Rating is a definite 5 without a doubt; a total MUST DO in Hobart!

 

Port Arthur

Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

4 – 6 days; depending on how in-depth of the place you want to cover.

Detailed information on things to do at Port Arthur, click the URLs below for past articles.

Admission Fee

AUS $35 – $130; pricings are for adult tickets into the Historic Site

Detailed information on which pass package to choose?

Click: Sights & Sounds: Historic Site, Port Arthur for more details!

Visitation Suitability

Everyone & Anyone

 

Once a convict settlement, this area is now with rich history of how the convicts lived amongst the officials and their families. Ambling in the Historic Site during the self-guided tour, with the handy iPod commentary playing does make the entire experience come alive.

A suggestion would be to stay in the Site until dusk when it gets real quiet; just you, the ancient old buildings, and your imagination of how life was like years ago. Aahhh… Now doesn’t that sound like the perfect history lesson outside the classroom?

Well… at least that was how I like it- just me pretending I was in that convict era; imagining how the convicts were in the Penitentiary. Yup, no judgement please, I like to be in the moment okay? 😀

Other than wandering off in the Historic Site during the day, the GHOST TOUR is something you might wanna’ check out, for experience sake. I mean, you owe it to yourself to just lock those jitters in a box for one night and just do it! You are really in perfect hands of the adept ghost guides, they do these sort of thing on a daily basis, so I am confident it’s safe… … Right? 😀

There are loads to do at Port Arthur like visiting the Coal Mines Historic Site (which is FOC; by the way, and the drive there is quite awe-inspiring #justsaying) and trekking of course! Trekking up Cape Raoul was a beauty too!

Port Arthur is undoubtedly a MUST DO in Hobart to complete your trip!

Click on the links below for more detailed articles and pictures on Port Arthur!

Sights & Sounds: Tessellated Pavement State Reserve, Port Arthur

Sights & Sounds: Historic Site, Port Arthur

Sights & Sounds: Coal Mines Historic Site, Port Arthur

Treks: Cape Raoul, Port Arthur

 

Maria Island

Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

1 – 2 days

Admission Fee

AUS $12 – $123; pricings are for adult national park passes of different categories.

Click on National Park Passes for more information.

Visitation Suitability

Natural Lovers

The convict hold up before Port Arthur, this quiet island gives you the first hand experience of life as a convict during those times. Not exactly the ‘first hand’ experience, ’cause we all know that’s never going to happen, but it is as real as it gets!

Accommodation on the island would be the once Penitentiary. Yup! How wicked awesome is that?! Of course, this means no electricity, no room decorations, and definitely no room service! Toilets and showers are just a short walk away. It’s time to rough it out people!

For those who prefer day trips, that’s cool too. Mode of transportation on the island is either on foot or on a bike. Definitely choose the latter to cover more grounds on the island.

An imperative MUST DO is to take an approximately 2 hours return (4.4 km one way) stroll to the Painted Cliffs at Hopground Beach from Darlington. The sculpted sandstone cliffs boil in prominent orange in the late afternoon; definitely a moment to snap and remember forever!

A hidden gem just slight North-East, this is a thumbs up MUST DO in Hobart!

 

Bruny Island

Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Length of Visit

1 – 2 days

Admission Fee

FOC (exclude the cost on the vehicle ferry)

Visitation Suitability

Natural Lovers

Travelling to Bruny Island was my first experience on a vehicle ferry. Up till today, I am still somewhat fascinated by the whole idea of loading the car onto the ferry can being transported to an island. Sorry, but it’s not very often you get to drive up a ferry and enjoy the breeze while you’re at it!

There are many cruises and tours that bring you to the island, but I suggest driving there. Not only do you have a say on what you wanna’ do there, the luxury of time and space is just so crucial when on this serene island.

The Neck Game Reserve is a good stop to be at to have a symmetrical view of the sea divided by the isthmus of land. A nice tranquil drive on Bruny Island Main Road to the South of the island provides nice lunch options at the Hot House Cafe, and trekking options up to the Fluted Cape.

If you are lucky, spotting of a clan of wild wallabies is not a problem!

Click on Sights & Sounds: Food Hunt: Treks: South Bruny National Park, Bruny Island for a more detailed article on Bruny Island!

Loads of things to do on the island that captures the heart. An enrapturing island less populated, and very personal; it’s no wonder a MUST DO in Hobart!

So there, a list of Top 5 MUST DOs in Hobart Tasmania that I am able to say with conviction that you will bound to make the trip to Hobart all worth your ride!

Remember to Travel Whenever!

Dee

How to get there?

Best time to visit?

Sights & Sounds within Cataract Gorge

Recommended Walking Route

Have a lazy Sunday to spare in Launceston CBD?

Well… … Cataract Gorge is imperatively a place to visit for days when you feel like giving your feet a shot at being the mode of transportation.

No car. No bus. No train. And frankly, no grappling with maps or GPS! Whoo hoo…!

A super frivolous weekend focused solely on nothing, really. With no major agenda for the day… … Just let your feet bring you places! We all definitely need days like these in our itinerary; what I like to call ‘Buffer Days’. A whirlwind vacation is no vacation at all- if you know what I mean. 😀

During such ‘Buffer Days’, I am basically the lyrics of Bruno Mars’ The Lazy Song. Just a sinuous minor change to a few phrases and it will all make perfect sense. Watch this… …

Today I don’t feel like doing anything

I just wanna walk aimlessly

Don’t feel like picking up my phone (GPS)

So if I get lost, just let me be

‘Cause today I really don’t feel like impelling

Ooh hoo Ooh hoo

So… … Maybe I am not a songwriter for the obvious reason, but hey, the lyrics really nailed it spot on!

What’s perfect about Cataract Gorge is that even if you get lost (which is highly impossible), no worries! You are still very close to the vicinity of the city- which means there will be loads of people to ask for directions, ’cause it’s after all the day you don’t feel like picking up your phone (GPS), right? *winks*

 

How to get there?

Address

Operating Hours
Cataract Gorge Reserve, 74-90 Basin Road, Launceston TAS 7250, Australia

24/7

Note: Certain sights within the Gorge are not 24/7

a) On foot- The Healthier Choice!

We stayed at Hotel Launceston (Address: 3 Brisbane Street, Launceston TAS 7250, Australia), so it was approximately a 2 km walk to Cataract Gorge; roughly 30 minutes tops.

If you decide to stay at Hotel Launceston too (which was not a bad stay- reasonably decent), here are the directions.

Directions from Hotel Launceston to Cataract Gorge (~ 30 minutes walk)

1. Leisure stroll pass Launceston City Park on Brisbane Street.

2. Make a turn right onto George Street and a left onto Paterson Street.

3. Continue straight all the way on Bridge Road, passing Kings Park.

You will know you are near the ‘entrance’ of the Gorge when you espy the iconic Kings Bridge suspended over the Tamar River/ South Esk River. Just tranquil when the morning sun hits the bridge with the dense trees as backdrop and the calm river sprawled beneath it. Definitely a enthralling way to start the odyssey into the Gorge! 😀

b) By car

If your stay is further away, or just don’t wanna walk, a quick car journey of approximately 15 minutes tops from the CBD will get you to the destination.

Main parking area is located at the First Basin- follow the signage from York and Frederick Street.

If it isn’t already obvious enough, the mode of transportation unquestionably will be on foot. You get to have the experience of walking through the streets, and to take your time to see the humble buildings together with the less salient landmarks- plus points! 🙂

The walk on Bridge Road just before seeing Kings Bridge (near Stillwater Restaurant & Café) has this quirky wall graffiti. I don’t know about you, but it is such little sights (though seemed to be very mundane) along the way that makes the whole walk so much more meaningful.

Zooming by in the car does get you to the destination fast, but you are really just missing out the smaller yet better things in life! It’s not about the final reach, it’s the climb, no? ;D

 

Best time to visit?

Summer. This is by far an understatement, but yeah. Summer is definitely the best time to do any outdoor activity. It is also the time when facilities are open; and open for longer hours. Facilities include the outdoor swimming pool at the First Basin.

A time when you get to see the Gorge’s open field suffuse with sunlight. And many locals welcome Summer in a paroxysm of joy with evidence of enjoying a picnicking or sunbathing- the perfect time for a nice family and friends chillax.

 

Sights & Sounds within Cataract Gorge

There are just way too many larking activities to do and sights to see at Cataract Gorge. Here are just some suggestions (in no particular order).

Sights & Sounds #1

Address/ Telephone Operating Hours Admission Fee (Inclusive of GST)
First Basin Chairlift Located near the First Basin Café.Address

69 Basin Road

Cataract Gorge

Launceston TAS 7250

Australia

 

Telephone

(03) 6331 5915

(Chairlift Office)

 

DailySpring & Fall09 00 – 17 00

Summer

09 00 – 17 30

Winter

09 00 – 16 30

Adult

AUS $12 (One Way)

AUS $15 (Two Way)

Concession (Seniors & Pensioners)

AUS $10 (One Way)

AUS $12 (Two Way)

Children (< 16 years old)

AUS $8 (One Way)

AUS $10 (Two Way)

NOTE: Children < 4 years old can travel for FREE.

This is the world’s longest single span chairlift, that covers approximately 457 metres with the terminal ends at the First Basin (near the Basin Café), and at the Cliff Grounds (near The Gorge Restaurant). You could hop on for a ride on either terminals.

The low speed chairlift provides an opportunity for a wide- angled pseudo aerial view of the ancient rock gorge. You probably will not be blasé about the view you are receiving from up there.

Sights & Sounds #2

Address Operating  Period Admission Fee
Swimming pool Located near the First Basin Café.Address

69 Basin Road

Cataract Gorge

Launceston TAS 7250

Australia

November – March

FOC

The outdoor swimming pool is just located below the First Basin Café. During Summer, we saw loads of families and groups of teens having a day of fun chilling by the pool, and picnicking on the open field around the pool vicinity. The atmosphere was shrouded with inordinate amount of giggles, shrieks and staccato laughter here and there. It was an experience that just screams a definite Summer!

Sights & Sounds #3

Address Operating Hours Admission Fee
Alexandra Suspension Bridge Located near the First Basin Café.Address

69 Basin Road

Cataract Gorge

Launceston TAS 7250

Australia

 

Daily

FOC

This is probably a must- snap landmark, aside the Kings Bridge (at the ‘entrance’ of Cataract Gorge). Situated just upstream from the First Basin, this bridge gives the view of both sides of the Gorge.

Standing in the middle on the suspension bridge will present you a distant view of the swimming pool, the Cliff Grounds and the First Basin from a slight elevated angle. Turning your attention to the back, you will see a gentle current flow of water down the South Esk River which pours nicely into the First Basin.

We managed to catch local teens in action as they set their air floating mattress to sail onto the First Basin. We also saw adults standing near the edge of the ‘cliff’ and making several plunges into the waters of the Basin, which was then followed suit by the kids as well.

Hhhmmm… … How safe was it? I don’t know. I was kinda not in congenial with the whole idea of plunging into the waters like that, but hey, who am I to judge right? They looked like they had done that way too often, so I guess swimming in the First Basin is a yes? I really do not know.

Sights & Sounds #4

Main Walking Tracks
Short Walks & Treks

1.      Cataract Walk

2.      Duck Reach Circuit

3.      Zig- Zag Track

There are so many tracks at Cataract Gorge. Some are mere short ones for those who just want a sneak peek on the tracks and the vistas it provides, and a few longer tracks for the energetic who wants a punch at it. I reckon the more popular walks would be the Duck Reach Circuit Track, and the Zig- Zag Track.

The Duck Reach Circuit Track, though rates level 3 with some uphill sections, is still suitable for children. This circuit leads further up the Gorge to the Second Basin and to the Duck Reach- which is the earliest municipal hydroelectric power station in Australia. This hydroelectric power station is now a popular tourist attraction, open as a museum (Interpretation Centre) since 1995. The walk takes about 1.5 hours to complete one full cycle.

Cataract Gorge is just too huge with most of the tracks somehow connected. The added bonus is that the Gorge is definitely well-maintained with clear signage to inform you which track you are leading to.

Depending on what you want to see, the many tracks to choose from will get you spoilt for choices! Imperatively a great morning walk for the entire family!

 

Recommended Walking Route

Route:

Cataract Walk–> The Gorge Restaurant–> Causeway Track –> First Basin Cafe –> Alexandra Suspension Bridge –> First Basin Cafe –> Zig- Zag Track

Difficulty:

🙂

Scenery:

🙂 🙂 🙂

This is definitely not the must- walk route to take, but I feel through this route, we sort of cover most of the Gorge. We get to see the highlights Cataract Gorge has to offer, so I’m pretty much satisfied with it.

Cataract Walk

The Cataract Walk starts from the ‘entrance’ of the Gorge, at Kings Bridge. There are two ‘entries’ into the Gorge. The one on the left takes you through the Zig-Zag Track, and the other takes you through the Cataract Walk.

You might really want to consider the latter option, as the Zig-Zag Track from the ‘entrance’ takes you up steeper incline, whilst the Cataract Walk basically bring you through levelled ground. So unless you want to get your adrenaline pumping right at the beginning, the latter option just describes a way to pass a lazy Sunday!

The leisure Cataract Walk takes you through picturesque cliffs and rock formation with the semi-serene South Esk River flowing down the bank. After a distance of walking, you will notice a flight of steep ladder steps that leads you to a lookout, where you can espy the Alexandra Suspension Bridge from afar. The mounting up stairs to get the elevated view does give the Gorge a new perspective to it all.

The Gorge Restaurant

The walk to The Gorge Restaurant could be your respite for lunch. There are quite a few peacocks, peahens and their peachicks running loose outside the eatery. Toddlers and all were pretty much fascinated by the beautiful creatures. Playground facilities for kiddies are in this area as well.

The First Basin Chairlift terminal is also around this vicinity. Hence, if you are feeling kinda sluggish, a ride across the First Basin could be your ticket with a majestic view! 😀

Causeway Track

I do strongly suggest a walk through Causeway Track instead of taking the chairlift. I can vouch a nice photo along the way with the backdrop of the iconic Alexandra Suspension Bridge! I don’t think you would want to miss that!

First Basin Café

We had our lunch at the First Basin Café. The food portion was huge (for us), and the coffee wasn’t too bad. Best of all, the Café has a nice landscape view of the swimming pool and open fields below. You could also see the chairlifts passing by.

Not fancying Café food? A food kiosk just outside the Café has light snacks too!

I would recommend the Café though. #justsaying

Alexandra Suspension Bridge

The stroll to the suspension bridge was definitely a great way to walk off lunch. Just a short amble pass the swimming pool and you can get an awe-inspiring view of the vicinity! Without a doubt, a time to snap a hell load of pictures!

Zig- Zag Track

To get back to Launceston CBD, we had to get to the ‘entrance’ of the Gorge; either retracing our steps through Cataract Walk, or out through the Zig- Zag Track.

Well… … We all know retracing steps can be a little dreary, so Zig- Zag Track it was! Now going via this route is undeniably efficient-making in terms of energy consumption. Because most of it was descends. And when gravity works with you, life is so much easier. 😀

So that was how we ended a lazy Sunday (with gravity working in our favour) at Cataract Gorge!

Notice that I did not include the Duck Reach Circuit Track. Reason being we weren’t that all prepared for the walk all the way to the power station, and back. Besides, it was a lazy Sunday after all, so a simple easy- to- do track that covers the main highlights is good enough for us.

It all depends on what you want to get out of from the walk. If I were to visit Cataract Gorge again, then the Duck Reach Circuit Track will absolutely be the route I would take! 😀

It was definitely a gratifying laidback day packed with simple walks, good company and enchanting views. Totally no frets at all, just the way I like it on a weekend! If you are ever in Launceston CBD, I would definitely recommend a lazy weekend day trip at Cataract Gorge!

Remember to Travel Whenever!

Dee

1. Spring Clean, Decorations & Lion Dance

2. Get a NEW(ish) Outfit

3. Get a Haircut

4. The Reunion Dinner

5. Eating New Year Snacks

6. It WAS All About The Ang Paos a.k.a Red Packets

Traditional New Year TIPS/ Superstitions

Travel TIPS: Sights & Sounds

Today is the fourth day of Chinese (Lunar) New Year. And for those who are wondering and are curious about how Singaporeans (or at least, my family and I) prepare for, and what we do during Chinese New Year, well this is the right article for you.

This is the year of the Goat, hence those born in 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979 etc. have their Chinese Zodiac sign to be Goat. The Chinese Zodiac is a recurring cycle of 12 years.

If you are interested in how the Chinese Zodiac come about and how the order of the animals are arranged, visit: http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/story.asp for an intriguing read.

There are a few variations to the story, and this is not what I was told by my Mum; who heard it as a kid from her uncle, but the idea and story plot is roughly the same.

Depending on how much you believe in the Zodiac sign, those born in the year of the Goat are generally polite, kind, and compassionate- basically attributes of a goat, when it is not terrorise that is. 😀

If you are interested in what are the lucky numbers, colours, etc. for those born in the year of the goat, visit: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/social_customs/zodiac/sheep.htm.

Hey, maybe this is the year you win the lottery? 😛

Here is a list of things and Traditional TIPS I find essential to my family and I during Chinese New Year, or whilst growing up. Whether this list is a good representation of the majority of Singaporeans or anyone around the world who celebrates Chinese New Year… Well… I leave the judgement to you.

So here goes.

 

1. Spring Clean, Decorations & Lion Dance

To many Chinese household in Singapore, spring cleaning and hanging of Chinese New Year decorations marks the start of  the preparation towards the New Year. According to my Mum, this is usually done about a month(ish) prior.

My family is rather, how should I put it… The Procrastinators? We are pretty last- minute in things like these. Haha…!

My Mum would clean the house and call out to us kids to help out. And usually to no avail; especially the boys- they will never budge.

I don’t remember about last year, and I cannot vouch for the subsequent years in the future, but this year, I did helped out a teeny tiny bit, after my Mum’s perpetual earnest  implore for help in the cleaning and decorations.

The reason why the general households here are serious about spring cleaning is due to the believe that when cleaning, we are ‘cleaning’ away any bad luck residue in the house, and welcoming good luck into the family for the year ahead.

My mum always say, “Even if it’s not a special occasion like New Year or Christmas, we should also keep the house clean and tidy, no?”

In response to her, I have no comments there. 😛

On a more serious note, there should not be any form of sweeping on the day of Chinese New Year.

Why?

Well… Scroll to the second last section of this article on ‘Traditional New Year TIPS/ Superstitions’; all will be explained there

New Year decorations are usually in the colour red, pink, yellow, and gold. Mainly red.

Decorations like the display firecrackers, lanterns, and the ginormous display pineapples,  are in red. The Chinese New Year flowers however, the Plum Blossoms and Peach Blossoms, are in pastel pink. Super cute flowers in a nice vase as a table centre piece.

Basically, it’s the time of the year where red (or shades of red) is the new norm. #happycolours

Red symbolises good luck, while yellow and gold are traditionally used in regal services. As such the latter colours are emblems of wealth and happiness.

Red is also a salient colour, hence it is believed to be able to drive the bad luck and ill fortune away.

According to a Chinese myth, the Nian (which is a beast- like creature) attacked villagers during the period of Chinese New Year. Since the Nian’s weaknesses were loud noises and the colour red, villagers would don on this prominent colour and made loads of noise using drums, firecrackers, empty plates and bowls to ward off the evilness.

In modern day context, it has now become a tradition to have lion dance troupes invited to houses, companies and even schools or local community centres to perform. During such performances, heavy drumming can be heard blocks away as a symbol to chase off the Nian, and bring in prosperity.

As a kid, I was extremely afraid of the lion dance performances and their loud drumming. I recall weeping and hiding behind my grandmother one night while strolling pass a community centre with my brother.

Those dances scared the daylights out of me. I actually thought the ‘dragon’- like- thing was going to eat me or something. Yup, a little wimpy as a child, it’s hilarious. No wonder my brother was in fits of laughter as he watched me cried myself silly in my grandmother’s warmth embrace. Haha…!

 

2. Get a NEW(ish) Outfit

To many, this is the best excuse to go on a shopping spree; taking it to the streets or online.

As for me, I do not have the habit of wearing something brand new on New Year’s day. As long as it is NEW(ish), I’m cool. My definition of ‘NEW(ish)’ would be outfits that I have worn probably a couple of times? As long as it looks presentable, it’s all alright. Oh, also, outfits (not worn) that were bought ancient months ago counts too, DUH… 😀

My outfit for Chinese New Year this year, fits the bill perfectly in the latter part of the definition. This cotton pasley dress from Valleygirl was bought last year. Seeing it hung on the rack required a few seconds to contemplate even trying it on.

It was the pasley and the patches of pink peach blossoms that caught my eye, as I instantly link the prints to Chinese New Year. After slipping it on in the dresser, I knew right away I had to get it. Pronto.

I love cotton material clothes, so soft and comfy, it doesn’t feel too sticky even after a long day’s wear under Singapore’s humid climate.

However, there is just ONE teeny tiny criteria one must follow when picking out an outfit. No black please.

Why?

Well… Scroll to the second last section of this article on ‘Traditional New Year TIPS/ Superstitions’; all will be explained there.

Though this criteria is not that all adamant in some families, but in mine, my mother will unleash if I ever wear dark and dull colours, yet alone black- don’t even think about it.

So this dress from Valleygirl was definitely a thumbs up from my Mum. #mumapproveddress

I remember one year, years back, I wore some shade of grey, with a tinge of prints in yellow and pink, she unleashed. Oh man… We do not wanna’ go there.

On the flip side, my Mum is all cool for having accessories in black. Shoes and bags, she’s fine.

 

3. Get a Haircut

Hair salons are the busiest during this festive season. Ladies, especially, booked to get their hair done weeks prior; all having the aim to look fresh and well groomed for the big day during Chinese New Year.

So mentioning that my family are The Procrastinators right?

Well… My Mum and I got our hair done on the night before the eve of Chinese New Year. Yup, that’s how last-minute we were.

And, acting on impulse once more, I chopped off whatever inch of hair I had to be able tie it up. So right now, my hair is so short, I kinda, sort of, maybe, think I may have acted too rashly. Haha…

Also note that all hair cuts should be done BEFORE Chinese New Year.

Why?

Well… Scroll to the second last section of this article on ‘Traditional New Year TIPS/ Superstitions’; all will be explained there.

 

4. The Reunion Dinner

Reunion dinner to me as a kid growing up, is a time when we would head down to my grandmother’s place and have a delectable feast of steamboat.

A steamboat dinner is basically having raw meat, seafood, vegetables, fish balls, crab flavoured sticks, alongside canned mushrooms, abalone, clams etc. on the table, with a big metal pot (containing soup of your choice) on top of a portable electrical stove/cooker as the centre piece.

And what you do is to basically just toss in all the raw food into the hot soup (at intervals), and cook it! Pretty simple and fun, especially for curious kids; since they love to play cooking and all.

You could have soup and all the cooked food with rice, noodles or bee hoon (rice vermicelli). Of course the sambal belacan chilli is definitely a must. It goes so well with the rice or bee hoon. It’s an amazing explosion in the mouth. Yum Yum!

In my family, instead of using the modern electrical cooker, we use the portable gas stove, where in order to work the machine, my Dad had to insert in a bottle of butane gas. Really old school.

I remember my grandmother would fry bee hoon for us, so we would have the luxury of choice. Rice or bee hoon, you pick! Definitely bee hoon for me. Her fried bee hoon is pretty awesome I must say. Love it!

So why is it a tradition for us to have steamboat? Why not eat something else?

Steamboat requires cooking to be done on the spot. There is no way one can fill up his plate with food and head to the sofa to watch The Big Bang Theory, or head to his laptop and play games while eating. You need to be around the table.

Hence, this sort of creates an environment for all to really sit down on this 1 special night on Chinese New Year’s Eve to have a decent meal together; hence the word ‘Reunion’. It’s something really exceptional to me.

This year however, was different. We did not head down to my grandmother’s place for a steamboat feast. Instead we booked a restaurant in town to have our gathering. We had it at Red House (Address: 68 Prinsep Street, Singapore 188661). It was an eight course Chinese dinner with steamed Goby fish, tiger prawns, braised duck etc.

Honestly, steamboat at grandma’s beats tiger prawns any time.

 

5. Eating New Year Snacks

Chinese New Year, is a Fatstival.

It is a time of feasting on good meals with family and friends, and also a time when you can get to visit relatives at their homes and eat New Year snacks while you’re at it!

It’s not every day you get to sink your teeth into the moist, soft buttery pineapple tarts, or the sweet, tender almond peanut sugar cookies or the hard- to-miss white sugary Kuey Bankit, or the king of all New Year snacks- Bak Kwa; a savoury sweet barbecued pork jerky so mouth-watering that once you had one, you have to finish the entire box. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya…

So I cannot resist the urge to stop eating those delish little treats- so small, but totally deadly. Not only are they deadly for weight- conscious people (e.g. 1 teeny tiny pineapple tart = 82 calories), they are deadly to the throat as well. #noselfcontrol

About a month prior to Chinese New Year, my Dad bought back one of my favourite New Year treats- sambal shrimp rolls. Luckily he didn’t buy pineapple tarts, or that will be gone before Chinese New Year as well.

Don’t judge, pineapple tarts and sambal shrimp rolls are my 2 weaknesses. Love them, and hate them after.

I don’t know about other households, but we do not have the rule that says we cannot eat New Year treats before New Year.

So the bottle of Sambal Shrimp Rolls was opened and my little brother and I probably finished the entire bottle, in a week or so. And we both got real sick. Yup. So small and delish, but totally deadly.

I was on medical leave for the next week. Fever could go down, my throat was in bad shape, and I was coughing like mad, probably vomited a couple. We both definitely got lashed by Mummy Dearest for not drinking enough and being a glutton. Haha…!

Even up to now, my health isn’t completely 100%. My throat still hurts a little, but having no self-control, I still nibble on the snacks as I go from one house visit to the next.

Hey, when people offer you delish snacks, it’s impolite to reject their good intentions right? But this year, I am selective in my nibbling. I do not want to be on medical leave for another week again.

 

6. It WAS All About The Ang Paos a.k.a Red Packets

Chinese New Year is a time to visit relatives and friends near and far. It’s definitely a great time to catch up with friends whom you seldom see. And during those visitations, common traditional exchanges will be seen.

(a) Exchange of luck

Upon entering the home of the hosts, the guests will usually wish the hosts good luck, fortune, health, etc. and in the process, give 2 mandarin oranges to them. The act of giving the oranges is a gesture of giving luck and wealth to the hosts. Hence, in exchange, the hosts will give 2 mandarin oranges back to the guest.

(b) Giving/ Receiving Ang Paos

Ang Paos usually come in the colour red. However, pink, yellow and gold are sometimes seen as well.

If you are married, this is a tradition you cannot run away from. Giving red packets (with money inside, usually in EVEN amounts) to kids, teenagers, and basically anyone not yet married. In this process, the receiver would wish the giver good luck, fortune, health, etc.

I remember my Mum would teach us as kids on what to say to the elders, and we would recite simple mandarin phrases to them when the elders gave us the Ang Paos.

Up till today, we are still struggling with the simple phrases (we don’t use such phrases on a daily basis, so pardon us :P), and the boys would just invent funny rhyming Chinese phrases along the way; some totally makes no sense. -.-‘

I recall as kids, my brother and I would be so excited about the Ang Paos we collected. And upon arriving home, we would immediately count all the money we had received for that day of home visitations. And, at the end of it all, we would see who received more. Most of the time my brother will have more than I, as he’s the eldest. What a bummer.

There was one year, ancient years ago, when we both gotten the same amount, but my little brother had a few dollars more than us. Apparently, his cute toddler face got him an extra Ang Pao. He was very proud of himself that night. Haha…

In recent years, collection of Ang Paos wasn’t as exciting as when we were younger. I mean, we were happy to receive the Ang Paos, just not as hysterical as before.

Guess, it WAS all about the Ang Paos as a kid, but not now.

Now… it’s probably all about the New Year snacks. Haha!

 

Traditional New Year TIPS/ Superstitions

Traditional TIP #1: Sweeping during Chinese New Year?

Note that there should NOT be any form of spring cleaning done on the actual day of Chinese New Year. That’s a BIG NO-NO! I remember as a kid, my Mum would remind us not use a broom to sweep the floor during the day Chinese New Year as it will sweep away the luck and good fortune. I remember asking her about the use of the vacuum cleaner, and she mentioned, apparently using the vacuum cleaner and mopping is still alright? Haha…! Guess we’re all not that stringent in this traditional custom?

Traditional TIP #2: Donning on black during Chinese New Year?

Black is usually associated with mourning. Hence, on a joyous occasion, one should avoid such a colour tone. Don on bright colours to welcome the festive cheer.

Wearing black also shows that one has no respect for the host during home visitations. It may seem like you are bringing bad luck to the host.

So yeah… No black, ya?

Traditional TIP #3: Cutting hair during Chinese New Year?

People usually get their hair in tiptop condition before the New Year. And if you really need a haircut, you should do it after the New Year.

The saying goes, if you cut your hair during Chinese New Year, it is considered bad luck.  This is due to the pronunciation of the word ‘hair’ in mandarin, which is pronounce as ‘发’ (fa) which is homonymic to the word ‘prosperity’ in mandarin.

In a nutshell, cutting your hair is like ‘cutting your prosperity’. Hence, people deem that as bad luck.

BAM! So now we know…

Traditional TIP #4: Accidental breaking of glass during Chinese New Year?

I’m sure you have heard that if you break a mirror you get 7 years of bad luck. Well, likewise for glass of any sort, try your best not to break them within these 15 days of Chinese New Year.

However, when accidents happen, it’s just unavoidable- Not like we love going around breaking glass for no apparent reason right?

So when this happens, say something good to shroud the unavoidable.

Hey, make the best out of a ‘bad’ situation right? Think positive!

My grandmother told my Mum that when this happens just shout,” 落 地 开 花   富 贵 荣 华” (luò dì kāi huā   fù guì róng huá)!

It will clear away the omen. 😀

There are so many traditions and superstitions (I am sure there are more which I may have never heard of before), you cannot possibly adhere to all of them religiously. Things like no washing of hair during the first day of Chinese New Year (that’s a big No No for me), or being vegetarian during the first day of Chinese New Year (our family doesn’t follow this) etc.

I reckon that we should just follow the traditions our family has already set precedent. This defines us all as Chinese households, yet within each household there could have a tinge of difference in our traditions and customs – SAME but DIFFERENT in subtle ways.

 

Travel TIPS: Sights & Sounds

Wondering what activities to do during the long New Year’s break?

Well… For those who do not celebrate Chinese New Year, or those in Singapore on a short vacation, then you are in great luck!

There are really quite a lot of happening events held in place to spread the festive cheer! And some of these events are held annually.

Those who do celebrate Chinese New Year can also take a stroll to these places with your family and friends. It can be memorable as well. We can all be a tourist in our own country, why not? I am sure there are bound to have a few instagram-worthy shots to take!

(a) Chinatown

Event

Location Date, Time Admission Fee
Chinatown Street Light Up Pagoda Street

New Bridge Road

Eu Tong Sen Street

Nearest Train Station: Chinatown

Feb 21, 19 00 – 02 00

Feb 22 – Feb 26, 19 00 – 00 00

Feb 27 – Feb 28, 19 00 – 02 00

FOC

The timings for the street light up in March are roughly the same as in February.

http://www.eventfinda.sg/2015/chinatown-street-light-up/singapore/chinatown

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Chinese New Year, I think of the hordes of people all doing their intense shopping in preparation for the New Year. In addition, I think of the massive decorations put up along the streets of Chinatown. It’s Red Red Red all over. The hanging of bright red lanterns and the blast of Chinese New Year songs can really light up the mood of anyone.

Since this is the year of the Goat, massive goat structures were put up near Hotel 81, along New Bridge Road. This is a great hot spot for many to take shots with. And it’s especially awe-worthy at night when everywhere is all lighted up with pretty fairy lights and lanterns!

(b) The Float @ Marina Bay- Singapore River Hongbao

The Singapore River Hongbao is an annual event held at the iconic Floating Platform @ Marina Bay. This mega event ushers in the New Year with all things Chinese. A vibrant festival that assures locals and tourists the best Chinese cultural experience here in Singapore. With live entertainment, and local favourite street foods (e.g. Bak Kut Teh (Herbal Pork Bone Soup)), this is definitely the place to be during Chinese New Year!

For a mind-blowing New Year experience, and if you don’t mind the crowd, head on down during its Opening Night (2 days before Chinese New Year), or attend the Chinese New Year Countdown Party! Fireworks display could also be seen during these 2 days!

Event #1

Location Date, Time Admission Fee
Lantern Display and God of Fortune 20 Raffles Avenue

Nearest Train Station:

Promenade

Personal TIP?

If you are not pressed for time, alight at City Hall station and walk through CityLink Mall- Singapore’s first underground mall, with lots of shopping options along the way. This leads you to The Float as well, just follow the signage! 🙂

 

Feb 21 – Feb 28, 14 00 – 23 00

FOC

In my opinion, this event is best visited at night- when all the lanterns are glistening, together with the 18- meter tall God of Fortune. More than 60 ensorcelling lanterns at this event were meticulously hand-crafted by professional craftsmen on- site. Not to mention, the twelve Zodiac animals are on display as well.

It’s imperatively always much livelier at night for such events!

Event #2

Location Date, Time Admission Fee
Tightrope Walking by Guinness World Record Holders 20 Raffles Avenue

Nearest Train Station:

Promenade

Feb 21, 19 15

Feb 21, 21 15

Feb 22, 19 15

Feb 22, 21 15

FOC

The gravity-defying stunt by 2 acrobats from The Acrobatic Troupe of Xin Jiang, China will make you heart skip several beats in fear for their safety. It is definitely worth a head down to witness their incredible skills and bravery!

Event #3

Location Date, Time Admission Fee
Dance Performance by Xin Jiang & Taiwan Troupes 20 Raffles Avenue

Nearest Train Station:

Promenade

Feb 21 – Feb 22, 19 45

FOC

There is seriously way too much going on along Singapore River. And all these events starts just 2 days before the Chinese New Year! So if you missed some events this year, fret not, there’s always Singapore River Hongbao 2016 to usher in the year of the Monkey!

(c) F1 Pit Building (Next to the Singapore Flyer)

Event

Location Date, Time Admission Fee
Chingay 2015 1 Republic Boulevard

Singapore 038975

 

Nearest Train Station:

Promenade

Feb 27 – Feb 28, 20 00

Feb 27

Category 1: SGD $50

Category 2: SGD $40

Category 3: SGD $28.50

Feb 28

Category 1: SGD $60

Category 2: SGD $50

Category 3: SGD $28.50

https://chingay.org.sg/chingay2015/ticketing-details

This is grandest parade in Singapore, as part of the Chinese New Year celebration. Since it’s Singapore’s 50th Birthday (SG 50), the theme for this year’s parade is ‘We Love SG’. It is said to be the biggest most spectacular parade ever organised with 11k performers from different cultures, and many jaw-dropping displays of flowers made out of used plastic bags- definitely environmental conscious! #goinggreen

Hope you now have a better insight on how Chinese New Year is celebrated here in Singapore (or at least celebrated by my family), the DOs (Traditions) and DON’Ts (Superstitions), and the Sights & Sounds during this festive period!

For those who celebrates Chinese New Year, how did you spend your first few days of it? If I did miss out on any essential do let me know; love to hear it! 😀

Wishing you a Happy and Blessed Goat’s Year 2015.

Remember to cherish your family and friends.

Dee

 

Address

191 Jalan Besar Singapore 208882

Operating Hours

 

Monday – Sunday (6pm – 6am)

Closed on Tuesdays

Personal Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Prelude

Dim Sim Order

 

Prelude

This dim sum place probably isn’t as inordinately talked about as compared to you know who. But, based on my two cents worth, I would say it is definitely comparable or maybe better for a few reasons.

So here goes… …

The wait time is definitely shorter, and the variety of dishes available on the menu is wider. It is imperative that you would be spoilt for choices, to a point that you wish you could have a disposable stomach in exchange for your current one so you could add in more delectable delights. In addition, the staff are very accommodating and efficient to make your entire dinner experience a pleasant one.

I went there twice, but had only tasted the food once. Yup, silly us went there when the restaurant was closed on its off day. To think that in this modern age with Google all so accessible, we actually made such an embarrassing mistake! So dearest, DO NOT go there on a TUESDAY! Alas, we were compelled to settle for something less satisfying and more pricey. What a downer it was.

We didn’t need to wait at all when we arrived at around 6 in the evening on a Wednesday. There were probably 2 groups of hungry gastronomers who arrived at around the same time as us.

The restaurant location, Jalan Besar, is not in your usual urban city district. Surrounded by the typical Singaporean’s quaint looking shop houses at almost two to three storeys high, this neighbourhood brings you back to the time during History lessons in school where you saw black and white photographs in textbooks of vintage houses in the 1800s or 1900s. With the surrounding plain concrete walls cracking and floors less maintained as compared to the urban part of Singapore, this area is good to somewhat preserve the history of Singapore.

Though it is within the near vicinity of the famous local street shopping district- Bugis Street, they are just worlds apart. Bugis Street is a place awash with youngsters clad in street fashion and accessories, loud music blasting in the atmosphere and bright luminous lights spotlighted on every corner to attract patrons. To get cheap buys and bargains this is the place to be at for tourists. On the other hand, Jalan Besar is a more reserved street and not jam-packed with people, and not as brightly lit.

 

Dim Sum Ordered

Given a fairly huge table for 2 people, we kept the orders coming in slow. We like having the food piping hot, so ordering them in intervals allowed us to have buffer time to appreciate the small dishes.

We started off with a plate of pan-fried dumplings and fried Mee Sue Kueh. Heavily coating the glossy dumplings in vinegar and topping it with a good bunch of thinly shredded ginger, is definitely the way to go for me. The harmony of the succulent juice oozing from the piping dumping as my teeth sink into it; together with the vinegar and ginger is just a cosmos.

The Mee Sue Kueh is just divine. My first time having this dish, and I would say I had a pleasant experience. The Mee Sua (Chinese noodles made from wheat flour) is well seasoned; flavourful, and compact such that the nicely cut cubes of the Mee Sue Kueh will not fall apart went picked up with a pair of chopsticks. Something quite unique I must say.

Of course a dim sum dinner cannot be called as one if a plate of Siew Mai (pork dumplings) is not ordered, now can we?

What I like about a Liu Sha Bao (Golden Custard Bun), is the oozing of the molten salted egg custard from the bun as it melts in your mouth mixed in saliva. Alas, I could say I have tasted better Liu Sha Bao.

I would have to say so too for the fried carrot cake and the Zhu Chang Fen (Rice Noodle Roll). Nevertheless, to each his own I reckon- everyone has different taste buds right?

IMG_6645

The plate of fried tofu (bean curd) topped with pork floss was well fancied by J. On the other hand, I had my qualms. They are a little jarring to my palate.

The last dumpling dish was of course a plate of steamed Har Gow (Prawn Dumpling). You can never leave a dim sum house without trying their Har Gow. One thing I would say is that this house doesn’t scrimp on the prawns. Packed loaded with quite a decent amount of prawns within the cavity of the dumpling skin, this Har Gow is sure a good way to end off a satisfying dinner and move on to “dessert”.

As usual, we always end an exquisite dim sum meal with our kind of desserts- egg tarts and Char Siew Soh (Baked BBQ Pork Pastry). I adore Char Siew Soh more than egg tarts in general. So there’s not fight here- I admit my biasness on this. I love how the crispy crust meets the savoury sweet (mostly sweet) red pork inside- the combination of them both is just luscious.

Overall a delightful trip to this dim sum place with additional baggage of treats (egg tarts, and Char Siew Soh) brought home for the family to sample on! 😀

Travel whenever and remember to get yourself some DIM SUM! 😀

Dee