31 March, Sunday

31 March, Sunday

Image by mandyli via Instagram.

31 March, Sunday

TIBET, Nyingchi – Tucked away in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Nyingchi city stands as one of the last remaining havens of unspoiled nature in the world.

As the gateway to Tibet from Sichuan and Yunnan, the city offers an eclectic selection of local produce: Chinese herbal medicines; Menba wooden bowls; bambooware; pottery and fruits such as oranges, apples and grapes.

But it is the raw beauty of the land that has tourists flocking here. Featuring stunning scenes of verdant mountains and luxuriant, wending rivers, the city plays hosts to a number of natural attractions, ancient forests and historic temples.

Opt for a homestay at Tashigang for a truly immersive and rejuvenating holiday away from it all

What to Do to Avoid Jet Lag

What to Do to Avoid Jet Lag

You’ve been eagerly awaiting that exact moment when you would step off the plane, to feel snow for the first time falling gently upon your face. Sure you might be a little sore from the 14-hour plane ride, but the chance to experience life halfway across the world would be well worth it.

But wait. What’s this fuzzy brained feeling you’re getting as you try to get up from your seat? Your stomach feels both empty and full at the same time, and there’s this weird taste at the back of your mouth. You can’t decide if you want a candy bar or a full steak meal – are you even hungry? You’re confused and feeling more and more irritated by the minute.

Jet lag is the bane of travellers whose trips take them across time zones. It can dampen the enthusiasm of visiting a foreign country, cause you to make a careless decision and mar the start of a long-awaited holiday. Severe jet lag can even make you feel hungover, which is not great for waiting out the long lines at immigration.

Science knows that jet lag occurs when the body’s natural systems are disrupted, but little is known about why, However, we do know that using cues to signal the body can help you recover from jet lag quicker, or at least reduce its effects.

Here’s what you can do to reduce the unpleasantness of jet lag, or even avoid it altogether.

1. Eat Carbs Before Flying

The night before you fly, make sure to load up on a carb heavy-meal, such as pasta. It seems that eating a meal dense in carbohydrates for dinner before you fly has a subtle effect on your body, increasing your ability to fall asleep – especially if you’re flying westwards.

Scientists are not sure why this happens, but we do know that carbs provide tryptophan, which is needed by the brain to make the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter serotonin.

2. Start Your Day with Protein

The morning after your arrival, choose a protein-laden meal to start your day. One of the main side effects of jet lag is drowsiness as your brain is still operating on the old time zone. Eating a protein-rich meal can help alleviate this by providing the nutrients your brain needs to remain alert throughout the day.

If you don’t have the appetite for breakfast, try going for easy-to-digest options like scrambled or poached eggs. Otherwise, a protein shake or meal replacement can also be a good way to help stay awake and stave off hunger at inconvenient hours.

3. Keep Up the Workouts

While you’re feeling headache-y and out of sorts, hitting the gym may be the last thing you feel like doing. But change into your workout gear and go for a workout anyway, as the exercise can help your body get rid of excess energy or otherwise unkink itself from the shift in time zones.

If pumping iron isn’t your style, going for a run or swim can also be similarly beneficial.

4. Make Your Room Dark and Cold

Restoring your sleep cycle will also help you recover quickly from jet lag, yet it can be difficult going to bed when your body is still primed for wakefulness. To help signal your body for sleep, make sure your room is as dark as possible.

If your accommodations has blackout curtains, use them to block out errant light, even if you’re used to sleeping with some background light. A good, comfortable sleeping mask will also help.

As for temperature, make sure your room is comfortably cool, without any chilly drafts blowing directly at you. The ideal temperature for sleep is 20 degrees Celsius, so set the AC or thermostat accordingly.

5. Go for Extra Legroom

Even if you do manage to fall asleep on the plane, chances are you wake up feeling tired and unrefreshed. This most often happens when you’re stuck sleeping in a narrow position with no leg room, which forces your body into a stress position.

To help combat this, consider paying for extra legroom so you can stretch out your legs, relieving the tension from cramming them in a tight space. This in turn can help your body achieve a more relaxed posture, which can help you sleep better.

6. Drink Plenty of Water, Often

You’ve probably heard this one a thousand times already so we won’t nag you any further. Just remember to have a drink every now and then during your flight and in the days after, to keep your body properly hydrated, which can keep the worst of the symptoms at bay.

Pro-tip: If somehow plain water isn’t working to make you feel hydrated, try including some isotonic or sports drinks. Mix one part isotonic water and one part drinking water, and sip until you feel better.

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Discover Berlin: City of Art, Design and History

Discover Berlin: City of Art, Design and History

Berlin is renowned globally for ousting London as the capital of cool. With a maze-like Holocaust memorial right at the city centre, world-class opera houses, artisanal coffee shops and vivid art scene, Berlin is both glamour and grime.

Once headquartered by Nazis, later bombed to bits by the end of WW2 in 1945the city was also divided between its allied victors into four zones which brought about the two Berlins: East and West. Consequently, the Berlin Wall was built in 1961 and finally breached in 1989.

Photo by imiqu77 on Shuttertock

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall which heralds the reunification of East and West Berlin, and symbolically– the end  of the Cold War.

And if you have a penchant for design and architecture, Berlin offers a long history of design that dates back to the Bauhaus – one of the most influential design movements during the 20th century.

With a population of 3.7 million and branded as a hub for innovation and creative industries, Berlin is ever evolving although the past still looms large in shades of greythe muted coloured buildings in the East once ruled by the Soviet Union. The past is very much present wherever you go but keep your eyes peeled– the modern and open-minded metropolis is always full of surprises.

1. Brandenburg Gate and Museum

Photo by Visit Berlin

Ah, possibly the most famous and widely photographed landmark of Berlin. No trip to Berlin would be complete without posing in front of this monument that symbolises a peaceful and unified Germany. For photograph, head over during sunset when the neoclassical triumphal arch will be awash in golden light. Also, don’t leave without immersing yourself in the Brandenburg Gate Museum which will take you through the past three centuries of Berlin’s history using a mix of interactive and multimedia exhibits.

Getting there:
Ubahn station: Brandenburg Gate

2. Holocaust Memorial

Photo by Visit Berlin

A short stroll from Brandenburg Gate, you will find yourself surrounded by two thousand, seven hundred and eleven grey concrete slabs rising from the ground. The Holocaust Memorial located in the city centre is a remembrance of the Jewish community murdered during the Nazi reign (1933 – 1945), and it serves as a sombre reminder where prejudice and racism can lead.

Getting there:
U-bahn station: Brandenburg Gate

3. Berlin TV Tower

Photo by Visit Berlin

The unmissable tower (some called it a disco ball) which can be seen from any angle in the city was built in the 1960s. The Berlin TV Tower (Fernsehturm) is the tallest structure in Germany, and the only television tower in Europe. For a quintessential Berlin experience, you definitely have to visit the TV Tower and perhaps, enjoy a drink or two at the bar. Tip: Skip the queue and enjoy the panoramic vistas from high with a fast track ticket here.

Getting there:
U-bahn station: Alexanderplatz

4. Berlin Cathedral

Photo by Visit Berlin

A work of art itself, the Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) is a former royal church in 1905 that is steeped in trials and tribulations. The former building was severely damaged during the war. The current cathedral was completed and reopened in 1993, and is considered to be one of the outstanding Italian Renaissance architectural masterpieces. Presently, it is the largest house of worship located in the heart of Berlin, it also serves as a museum and a concert hall. Tip: Climb to the top of the dome to witness the urban sprawl.

Getting there:
U-bahn station: Hackescher Markt

5. Berlin Wall – East Side Gallery

Photo by Visit Berlin

The largest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall has turned into an open-air mural gallery since 1990. Over 100 murals were created by 21 international artists to depict the political changes in Germany at that time. The graffiti laden walls aptly captured the freewheeling spirit of the German capital. Today, this is one of the most instagrammable spots in Berlin you wouldn’t want to miss!

Getting there:
U-bahn station: Warschauer Straße station

6. Checkpoint Charlie

Photo by Visit Berlin

If you were to visit East Berlin before the fall of the wall, this was the only entry point- and only foreigners and diplomats were allowed to pass through. The checkpoint epitomised the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union, and have had plenty of nail-biting momentous events. Interestingly, the checkpoint was also one of the filming locations for James Bond in the 1983.

Getting there:
U-bahn station: Kochstraße

When to visit?
Berlin is at its best in Spring, Summer and Autumn (Starting from May through September).


 

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Gateway to the Old Shanghai

Gateway to the Old Shanghai

Once a fishing village, Shanghai which literally translates into City on the Sea, holds thousands of years of history that parallel the development of modern China. 

Travellers of this generation may know Shanghai as one of the world’s great gleaming metropolises, but this historic city had been an attraction in its own right at every age. Perhaps, most famously so during the 1920s and 30s, when it earned the nickname “Paris of the Orient”, thanks to the rise of its status as a hub for new cultural norms and artforms. 

Photograph by travkinwang1988sh via Instagram

While Beijing has her grand imperial palace that dates back to the 15th century, Shanghai’s old-world charm can be felt in Zhang Yuan – possibly the largest and best preserved old-style residential quarter that offers a glimpse of old Shanghai. 

Photograph by ryuutanyou via Instagram

The rows of traditional alleyway houses, Shikumen, translated as ‘gates wrapped in stone’, or ‘stone gate’ in Mandarin, have a unique housing style notable for their mix of Western and Eastern architecture elements: Wooden doors with Romanesque art which are marked by semi-circular arches and decorative facades. These houses are typically two-story high and constructed with bricks and wood.

Photograph by wendygaogao via Instagram

Wandering into Zhang Yuan is akin to entering a gateway of a bygone era. The origins of Shikumen-style houses date back as early as the 18th century, a tumultuous and revolutionary time in Shanghai that saw the influx of British and European communities.

At first sight, Shikumen-style houses look like rows of European townhouses, but you’d be surprised to find the interior resembling a typical Chinese courtyard house when you step inside.

To better appreciate Zhang Yuan’s unique architecture style against the backdrop of today’s modern Shanghai, you’ll have to find a vantage point. From high, you’ll notice that the houses are arranged in a grid pattern, which is a classic feature of a European town.

Photograph by Capellashanghai via Instagram
Photograph by Capellashanghai via Instagram

For architecture and photography enthusiasts, you wouldn’t want to miss this locale. Do remember, though, that this is still a residential area, so please be respectful.

How to Get There

Take metro line 2 and alight at subway stop – Nanjing Road West (Exit 4) and walk towards Taixing Road.

Book your flight to Shanghai with Singapore Airlines (Early Bird Promotion) – Economy Class SGD 468 

Sale Period: Until 16 April 2019

Travel Period: 1 April to 30 September 2019

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3 Places for Brunch and Coffee in Tokyo

3 Places for Brunch and Coffee in Tokyo

We know, we know. Tokyo is the Mecca of raw fish, beautiful pearly rice, and silky handmade noodles. No one really goes to Tokyo to have a cuppa joe and an avo toast with poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce on the side. But don’t be so quick to dismiss their variations of coffee and brunch. The Japanese impart their elegance and attention to detail on any cuisine they touch; Tokyo is not the city with the most Michelin stars—for the most varied types of cuisine—for nothing.

So put aside any pre-conceptions and open yourself to new experiences, for, after all, that is precisely why we travel. The Japanese certainly did so when they opened these cafés , so why don’t you too?

We’re only going to list our absolute favourites here because, while we do think that brunch in Tokyo should be experienced at least once each time you are there, there are many fabulous food establishments elsewhere in the city that you ought to let your stomach experience too.

1. M House

M House takes its inspiration from a mishmash of cultures—and we mean that in the best way possible.

We admit, a large part of our love for M House stems from its gorgeous space.

Stepping into its premises, we are greeted by long, clean lines and a monochromatic colour scheme punctuated by warm splashes of wood. But once we ventured into the terrace, the space morphed into a sunny Greek seaside café complete with ocean-blue stripes and an indoor water fountain. Upstairs, it’s all elegance: black walls with white wall panelling.

Photo by  k.n__810  via Instagram

What about the food? We are happy to say that it’s as wonderful as its décor. The egg dishes, in particular, stand out because of the freshness of Japanese eggs. You’ve never tasted eggs and salmon like this, and the French toast brioche is positively bursting with richness. For an indulgent meal, don’t pass on the uni and scallop omelette. Hey, you’re on holiday, after all!

Address:

4-23-13 Ebisu | Mercer Bldg., Shibuya 150-0013, Tokyo Prefecture

Tel: +81 3-3441-7551

Opening Hours

Mon to Fri: 11:00 AM – 15:30 PM, 18:00 PM – 23:30 PM

Sat and Sun:  10:00 AM to 23:30 PM

2. Path

The Dutch pancakes at Path are to-die-for. The pancakes must be made from magic, because they somehow defy the laws of physics. Biting into them, they are at once buttery, crispy, and flaky outside, while also fluffy, eggy, and cloud-like inside. They taste as if a croissant had a child with a soufflé. And, if making them more perfect is even possible, they are then topped with silky prosciutto and creamy burrata, with all the flavours tied together with maple syrup. It’s a sublime mixture of flaky, airy, creamy, salty.

Photo by  izuntan  via Instagram
Photo by ___k.a.r.i.n___ via Instagram
Photo by m__a_i_cocco via Instagram

Path is the offspring of chef Taichi Hara and patisserie Yuichi Goto, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that the pancakes are as astounding as they are, what with this shining pedigree behind it.

Be warned, though. Tokyo’s discerning eaters are as enamoured with this concoction as we are. Lines start to form from 8am before Path even opens, so get there early.

If you’re really not a morning person, Path transforms into a moody fusion bistro at night, serving dishes like horse sashimi and quinoa salads.

P.S. Though we have listed it as a brunch place, it is really worth your time to visit Path at any time of the day.

Address:

1-44-2 Tomigaya | A-Flat 1F, Shibuya 151-0063, Tokyo Prefecture

Tel: +81 3-6407-0011

Opening Hours

Tue to Sat: 8:00 AM – 15:00 PM, 18:00 PM – 00:00 AM

Closed on Monday.

 

3. 4/4 Seasons Coffee

4/4 Seasons Coffee—pronounced “all seasons”—offers 7 single-origin coffee beans, each processed differently, roasted and ground in house daily, and bringing with it a characteristic flavour. If you’re overwhelmed by the selection, the friendly baristas are always happy to chat with you and explain the provenance and flavour profile of each bean and brewing method.

This is what we like about 4/4/ Seasons Coffee: it’s specialised but never pretentious, and we always feel welcome in the place regardless of whether we’re a coffeeshop kopi drinker, a Starbucks fanatic, or a coffee enthusiast who buys his own beans and brews them using an Aeropress.

The food at 4/4 Seasons Coffee doesn’t play second fiddle to their coffee, either. Though its food menu is clearly not the focus, everything is made from scratch and baked in house, like a daily and rotating selection of bread and cakes. For that extra oomph, ask the barista the best pairing of coffee and bread of the day. It was a revelation to us.

Photo by  m_y_y_y_m via Instagram
Photo by  jiheeesz via Instagram

Address

2-7-7 Shinjuku | 1f, Shinjuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture

Opening Hours

Mon to Fri: 8:00 AM – 19:00 PM

Sat and Sun: 10:00 AM – 18:00 PM

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