Top 5 cities to go for its food during long weekends in 2016 (Singapore travellers)

Have you heard the good news? Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has announced 2016’s public holidays.

The news outlets reported that there will be six long weekends in 2016. But if your workplaces gives you off-in-lieu for Saturday public holidays (not all companies do), you actually have eight long weekends (nine if you take leave on 8 August, Monday).

2016 long weekend singapore yqtravelling

I really love weekend travels. Even though this means that my trip is short, I don’t want to use my work leave. I’m a hoarder even when it comes to annual leave.

If you are planning to go for more weekend travels in 2016, I recommend these locations to go for their yummy yummy food.

Ipoh, Malaysia

I would visit Ipoh again and again for its food. It might not be as famous as Penang for its local food but that little town serves really good chicken.

Ipoh Beansprout chicken
Beansprout chicken feast in Ipoh.

How to reach Ipoh from Singapore: 

Long-distance bus (7 to 8 hours)
Several bus companies run Singapore – Ipoh routes.

Train (6 + 2 hours + waiting time)
You can take the night train from Singapore/Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur. From KL, there is high-speed train to Ipoh, but the price isn’t budget friendly.

Airplane (1 hour 35 minutes)
Firefly and Tigerair has flights between Singapore and Ipoh. Remember to research on the timing.

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Pronounced as “Jogjakarta”, the town on the Java Island is home to gorgeous historical sites such as Borobudur and Prambanan. But the food is fantastic too.

Nasi gudeg Jogja
Nasi gudeg

I was deceived by nasi gudeg the first time I ate it. I thought the dish had a surprisingly generous serving of beef boiled so soft that I don’t have to chew it like a cow. Later found out that the “beef” is actually young jackfruit. I was disappointed but it’s still a very tasty dish.

mie nusantara siomay
Mie and siomay

I also had the best mie while in Yogyakarta. It was in a noodle shop inside the main shopping mall. The noodles were springy and seasoned lightly with soy sauce.

How to reach Yogyakarta from Singapore: 

Airplane (2 hours 15 minutes)
AirAsia flies to Yogyakarta at a rather good timing. But the flight back leaves in the morning which is annoying.

If you find the flight timing for Yogyakarta terrible, your second best choice is Jakarta since it is the capital. There you can drink all the avocado juice you like.

Bangkok, Thailand

I went to Bangkok for my birthday in April, spending a three-day weekend there. I ate normal stuff like pad thai, I didn’t eat enough food. I still haven’t tried Mango Sticky Rice.

Pad Thai
Pad Thai

How to reach Bangkok from Singapore: 

Airplane (2 hours 25 minutes)
Loads of budget airlines fly from Singapore to Bangkok. Pick those with good departure and return timings so you can maximize your trip.

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

When I was in university staying in the dorm, my Vietnamese neighbors would cook with fish sauce. The potent smell wasn’t to my taste so I avoided Vietnamese food.

Then I went to Vietnam and I discovered that fish sauce is kind of like durian–stinky when you smell it but delicious when you taste it. I also discovered many other deliciousness that doesn’t involve fish sauce.

Vietnamese Pho

Vietnamese Pho

Declious banh mi in Saigon
Declious banh mi (Vietnamese baguette)  in Saigon
Extremely addictive Vietnamese Coffee.
Extremely addictive Vietnamese Coffee.

How to reach Ho Chi Minh from Singapore: 

Airplane: (2 hours 5 minutes)
Loads of budget airlines fly from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh. As usual, pick those with good departure and return timings so you can maximize your trip.

Shanghai, China

I would travel to Shanghai for just a weekend so I can eat the food. In fact, I’m doing it at the end of May.

My tongue still longs for the taste of shengjianbao: dumplings fried on one side ’til crispy. Take a bit and the soup flows out so you have to slurp it up fast. After two slurps, you can eat the meat along with the crunchy part.

The most delicious tiny buns/dumplings: shengjianbao
The most delicious tiny buns/dumplings: shengjianbao
小笼包 (xiao long bao)
Can you look at these delicate 小笼包 (xiao long bao) and not feel like licking your screen?

The home-cooked style restaurants in Shanghai are fantastic too. The soups come in porcelain basins and the servings are gigantic. I loved Grandma’s Place (a chain restaurant) when I was in Shanghai.

A feast at Grandma's Place.
A feast at Grandma’s Place.

How to reach Shanghai from Singapore: 

Airplane (5 hours 25 minutes direct)
Choosing a plane with a good timing is critical. I am taking Malaysian Airlines so I will reach Shanghai early at 7:30am on my first day and leave at 2pm-ish on my last day.

Another good alternative is Taiwan if you don’t want to fly that far to Shanghai.

Check out all the Weekend Travels posts:



#FoodFri White coffee @ Ipoh

white coffee in ipoh

The best white coffee I ever had was in Ipoh.

The slightly burnt taste with a smooth evaporated milk finish…


Find out more about Ipoh:

Tune Hotel Ipoh promo Jan 2 to Mar 31, 2013

ipoh tune hotel promo

I’m breaking my usual posting schedule to bring you a deal.

I found out about a Tune Hotel Ipoh promo. It’s a collaboration between Tune Hotel and the Malaysian railways to encourage people to take the ETS from KL to Ipoh. Even if you are not taking the train, it applies to you too!

Room rates are
RM68 nett from Sunday to Thursday
RM100 nett for Friday and Saturday.

Rates include 1 unit Cozy Package (24 hours air conditioning, 1 towel and toiletry set, 24 hours TV and WiFi.

Use promotion code KTMIPOH

Other terms and condition

  • Stay period: 2 Jan to 31 Mar 2013
  • Rates valid for 1 double room or 1 twin room (subject to availability) per night
  • Black-out dates for stays: 1 Jan, 24-27 Jan, 10-14 Feb
  • Promo only for Tune Hotel Ipoh

(I’ll bring the flyer to a scanner soon so you can read all the nitty gritty fine print.)

My thoughts on Tune Hotel Ipoh promo

I’ve stayed at Tune Hotel Ipoh before and liked it a lot. My promotion then was a lot cheaper than what they have now: RM61.14 for room, 12-hour air conditioning, rental towel and “free essentials toiletries kit”.

But the deal’s quite good for weekenders. I just did a fake booking and the fees turned out to be RM142 for all the benefits they are including.

The hotel is a little walk from the old town area where food is congregated. Exercising is good, my friends.

I also love Ipoh for its food and sights (they have a damn castle!). It’s a great weekend trip if you are in Peninsula Malaysia or Singapore.

Will you be going to Ipoh?

Among the ruins of Kellie’s Castle, Ipoh

Kellie's Castle

My blog is turning into a Visit Japan blog with all these posts about Japan! We interrupt your regular program with a visit to Kellie’s Castle in Ipoh.

I first read about Kellie’s Castle in a guidebook. It sounded like a fairy tale gone wrong. Let me tell the story with a bit of help from Journey Malaysia.

“Once upon a time, in a land far far away, a Scot by the name of William Kellie Smith made a lot of money in Malaya.

“In 1909/1910, he built a Moorish-styled manor for his family (wife Agnes Smith and daughter Helen Agnes). When his long-awaited son was born, he decided to extend his house into an even grander building.

“Unfortunately, the great building was never finished as many of the workers caught the Spanish flu and died. Smith was said to have died in Portugal of pneumonia.

The wife, daughter and son who left Malaya never returned.

“Nobody lived happily every after.


Yes, that is the sad tragic tale of Kellie’s Castle.

Kellie's Castle Ipoh
Kellie’s Castle Ipoh

From town to Kellie’s Castle

As L and I were not familiar with the public transport, we took a private cab recommended by the Tune Hotel Ipoh receptionist. I believe it was a RM40 trip to the site and back to Ipoh town.

The castle wasn’t as creepy as the travel brochure portrayed. Kellie’s Castle wasn’t the grey stone castle of Scotland which I had imagined. Instead, the walls were mostly brick red.

Most of the castle was crumbling. There were dangerous areas on the upper floor with nothing to protect the visitor from falling of the building.

Living on the edge at Kellie's Castle
Living on the edge at Kellie’s Castle

One of the rooms was reportedly haunted by a young girl. The problem is, I don’t think Helen died when she was young. I think it’s one of the stories people make up to pretend it is more mysterious than it is.

Haunted room at Kellie's Castle
Haunted room at Kellie’s Castle

Yellow House

Yellow House of Kellie's Castle
Yellow House of Kellie’s Castle

Behind the red building was a crumbling yellow house. This used to be the original manor but was somehow damaged really badly.

I mostly felt sad wandering in the unfinished compound. Some of the walls were newly painted but most were uncovered and other had moss crawling all over.

What made me happy were the two sets of people having photoshoots.

A couple was taking pre-wedding photo shoots while we were there. I adore wedding shoots at historical places as they are more interesting than generic flowerbeds.

Wedding shoot at Kellie's Castle
Wedding shoot at Kellie’s Castle

Then a bunch of people were also taking cosplay photos. The people dressed up in futuristic warrior outfits while the camera folks held reflective boards.

Cosplay shoot at Kellie's Castle
Cosplay shoot at Kellie’s Castle

When I showed my colleagues photos of the castle, they were unimpressed. I think they wanted to see buildings as grand as Edinburgh Castle.

Have you visited Kellie’s Castle? Did you see ghosts there?

Stay: Ipoh Tune Hotel review

I’ve only stayed at Tune Hotel once before the Ipoh Tune Hotel stay. It was in Kelantan and the twin bed room wasn’t too bad. My parents who have stayed at Tune Hotel KLIA-LCCT complained that their room was too tiny they can’t even open their luggage.

Tune Hotel Ipoh opened in March 2012. They had a sale in mid-January and I snatched up two RM39 double-bed rooms.

Similar to AirAsia’s tickets, the bare price only includes the minimum “comforts”, so I had to pay an extra RM15 to buy a package of 12-hour air conditioning, rental towel and “free essentials toiletries kit”. All together, it was RM61.14 for the room, with service charge.

The hotel is in the “new town” side of the river. The location is not too bad as it’s within walking distance to a lot of the famous eateries nearby.
Continue reading “Stay: Ipoh Tune Hotel review”

Glutton in Ipoh

I spent last weekend in Ipoh and scratched Perak off of my Visit Malaysia project.

Well, I didn’t know much about Ipoh before heading there. The most common thing I’ve heard when people talk about Ipoh is its food–hor fun (white flat noodles) and white coffee.

I tried doing research on sites in Ipoh but the four-pages of description in guide books made me underestimate the place. I didn’t even bother jotting down sites to see (except Kellie’s Castle). Luckily, Lilian did her research and informed me of some interesting places.

Instead of a travel guide book, I brought along a food guide instead. (Typical YQ.)

Food guide book

The guide was helpful not only as a food map but for me to coordinate myself on the grid. Sometimes my human compass skill fails me and Lilian would step in and ask for directions. (I am still allergic to asking for directions. Problem of being an ISFP?)
Continue reading “Glutton in Ipoh”