This Hole-In-The-Wall Café in Tokyo Raises the Bar for Latte Art

This Hole-In-The-Wall Café in Tokyo Raises the Bar for Latte Art

How do you usually begin your day? Getting a cup of joe to settle your nerves, so they don’t later fray? According to the latest scientific research by the University of Toronto, it shows that just by looking at a cup of coffee can make one feel more alert and attentive – even if you do not drink it. Maybe it is the idea of caffeine in your bloodstream or the sight of beautiful coffee art!

Fancy a Rainbow Latte?

Located a stone’s throw away from Hatchobori Station, this hole-in-the-wall café has been named as one of the top 50 cafes in Tokyo. Roar Coffee House & Roastery is well-known among the locals, especially the white-collar workers. 

As its name suggests, the coffee beans are freshly roasted in-house, and the owner-barista takes pride in creating a colourful latte art that will put a smile on your face. Even if you’re ordering a coffee to-go, you can still expect to find a multi-hued latte art in your paper cup.

This teeny sit-down espresso joint is a perfect hideout for the busy Tokyoites. Time flies when one is enjoying a coffee break here. Watch how the barista prepares each cup of coffee with meticulous precision, you can choose between a white or brown canvas for your latte art. If you opt for a white canvas, the latte art is served with a separate shot of espresso for you to pour it in.  

For the non-coffee drinkers, there is an extensive list of tea lattes available, and you can request for the rainbow latte art on it too!

Address

Roar Coffee House & Roastery (ロアーコーヒーハウス&ロースタリー)

2 Chome-19-11 Hatchobori, Chūō, Tokyo

Nearest station: Hatchobori Station on Hibiya Line

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday 8:30 AM – 6:30 PM (Closed on weekends)

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Here’s Our Pick of the Best Things to do in Singapore – August 2019

Here’s Our Pick of the Best Things to do in Singapore – August 2019

If you constantly find yourself planted behind a desk or stuck in the car for much of your day, you’re not alone. Thanks to our urban lifestyle and the convenience of technology, people in Singapore are more inactive than ever. All that sitting down could be taking a toll on your health. Furthermore, in an era of instant communication and rocketing productivity, it is even more important to practice self-care. This month, we curated a list of invigorating experiences to get your body, mind and soul moving.

And congrats, you’ve made it more than halfway through 2019.

Circle of Life in Singapore Zoo (till 31st August)

Can’t get enough of The Lion King? How about a trip to the Singapore Zoo? Move to the jungle beats and spot animals that inspired Mufasa, Simba, Timon, Pumbaa, and the laughing Hyenas. Sing along to the tune of Hakuna Matata as mobile sets of iconic scenes from The Lion King move around the zoo. Tired of walking? Hop on the savannah themed tram for a musical performance as you ride through Singapore Zoo’s Wild Africa. Stay till the evening for a wild nocturnal experience at the Night Safari with drum and fire performances.

Fall in love with dance at da:ns festival 2019

Image of da:ns festival 2019 Footwork courtesy of Esplanade

How’s your new year’s resolution progress? Have you acquired a new skill? Calling all the dance lovers and the curious, Esplanade presents da:ns festival 2019, featuring an exciting line-up of performances and workshops from August to October. Switch up your weekend routine and discover the joy of movement with Esplanade’s Footwork for beginner.

For more information about the workshops, visit the official page here. 

Baybeats 2019

Image of Baybeats 2019 courtesy of Esplanade

Get ready to rock your weekend away at Singapore’s biggest independent music festival, Baybeats 2019! Featuring an eclectic mix of music artists, ranging from hip hop to doom metal, the three-day festival from 23 Aug to 25 Aug turns Esplanade into a music playground, which is free for all to attend and sway along to every tune. In case you didn’t know, Baybeats was founded in 2002 as a platform to nurture budding musicians and raise the profile of Singapore’s music scene. Today, it is one of the highly anticipated music festivals in this region.

For more information and the latest updates of Baybeats 2019, visit the official page here.  

Singapore Night Festival 2019

Singapore’s ever popular after-dark art festival returns from 23 Aug to 31 Aug. Make the entire Bras Basah and Bugis district your runway. For those serious about levelling up their Instagram feed, there is no better time to put on your hypebeast gears and snap away at epic neon-lit art installations.

The annual street festival will take place over two weekends in August and you can expect bigger and brighter whimsical art installations as it’s the Singapore Bicentennial this year. Apart from the insta-worthy art installations and when you’re tired of queueing to get the best shot, take a break at the Festival Villages at Dhoby Ghaut Green and Armenian Street Park. The two villages feature dozens of street food kiosks, so get yourself some tasty grub and watch the streets come alive with roving art performances!

For more information and the latest updates, visit the official page here.

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4 Unusual Staycations for the Adventurous

4 Unusual Staycations for the Adventurous

What does silence sounds like? Living in the city means we are constantly exposed to environmental noises. Normal conversations at 60 decibels (dB), moving trains at 95dB, electronic dance music concert go as high as 140dB. Over time, our urban lifestyle, in spite of the conveniences, are causing us to feel stress out and mentally overload.

Maybe you are just bored of the sound of the city. And when a 2D1N luxurious staycation with a rooftop infinity pool or a swift getaway to the nearest beach resort doesn’t help, then the only cure is to venture into the unknown, a brand-new set of playlist awaits you to reclaim your inner bliss and a sense of wonder.

So… where to? 

We picked out 4 unique places ranging from rustic to exotic, above the ground and on the sea, that are totally worth all the hyperbole in this digital-default world. These accommodations are more than just a place to lay your head, they prove to be a destination in its own right.

1. Junk Cruise, Halong Bay, Vietnam

There is no denying that Halong Bay is Vietnam’s top sight. In the day, there are boatloads of tourists cruising in the emerald waters to marvel at the spectacular karst formations that make up the UNESCO-listed Halong Bay. Legend has it that the thousands of limestone islets rising from the sea are actually dragons, no wonder there is a lingering air of mystery and otherworldliness surrounding the dramatic landscape.

In fact, Halong Bay literally means bay of descending dragons, and interestingly, the geographical shape of Vietnam is like the letter ‘S’, which reinforces the myth of dragons, which are symbolic creatures in Vietnamese folklore.

Can’t get enough of the staggeringly beautiful Halong Bay in the day? Consider spending a night there on a luxury boat with top tier amenities and cuisine. Climb aboard Junk Cruise by Indochina (it’s a beautiful boat by the way). There is never a dull moment on Junk Cruise when the deck is your land and the sky is an ever changing art. After the sun has set, star-lit skies await you.

2. Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island, Canada

Ever heard of this adage ‘it’s about the journey not the destination’, well, that just doesn’t apply here. Sleeping in a gigantic floating sphere among the treetops is the strangest yet peaceful experience of a lifetime. Yes, you will be gently swaying in time with the trees. 

We guarantee this makes for an unforgettable “glamping” experience in Vancouver Island, the biggest island on the west coast of North America. You get the best of both worlds – close to nature and in the thick of it, and steps from sandy beaches, but still given the comforts of home. Not to worry, you won’t be living like Tarzan, there is WiFi on site and each sphere is equipped with basic amenities like room heater, fresh water, couches and beds. You simply only need to bring along your toiletries and precooked meals. There is a shared cookhouse equipped with a microwave and a barbeque pit.  

3. Kumbuk River Resort, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

Ever thought of sleeping in a guesthouse that looks like a giant elephant? We know this probably sounds crazy, but it is possible in Sri Lanka. Meet the 40-foot elephant made of wood and straw in the midst of the Sri Lankan jungle created by the award-winning eco-lodge, Kumbuk River Resort.

We know tourism can have a significant impact on developing countries, but what if we thought about tourism as more than just taking a vacation? What if it is a way to support the local community, and at the same time, we can minimise our environmental impact. We’ve seen eco-tourism’s increasing popularity, and even more so when there is also “instagrammability” in the destination.

The elephant villa is an architectural feat. It has successfully place Yala National Park on the map and inspires positive aspects of eco-tourism like environmental conservation efforts by both guests and locals. 

 

Kumbuk River Resort is located on the banks of a lively river that separates Yala National Park from civilisation. There are four types of accommodations ranging from rustic to luxurious. But do not come here expecting a modern, 21st century way of living. There isn’t any swimming pool nor spa salon. But you’re welcome to swim in the Kumbuk River, traverse the treetops, or simply just sit under a tree and get some headspace in this peaceful and verdurous location.

With rooms for only ten guests at any one time, privacy and serenity are guaranteed. Apart from the elephant villa, you can choose to stay in a treehouse or a converted truck. 

It is truly innovative of Kumbuk River Resort to combine sustainability and recreational activities in Sri Lanka’s premier wildlife reserve, Yala National Park. Save this for your next trip when you are looking for a different experience in Sri Lanka. 

4. EcoCamp Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

There is no place like this. A dream destination for all outdoor enthusiasts. Even if you’ve climbed the Alps before, this Chilean national park will take you to new heights. Nestled at the heart of Torres del Paine National Park, sits the award-winning EcoCamp Patagonia – world’s first sustainable geodesic dome hotel. Inspired by the indigenous dwellings of Alacalufe nomads, the domes are sustainably built off the ground for ease of relocation and operate on renewable energy. They do remind us of the Finnish Lapland’s igloo and instead of witnessing the aurora borealis, the lack of light pollution here means that it is ideal for astrophotography at night. Each dome has ceiling windows that are perfect for stargazing. We can guarantee that waking up to towering glaciers, sunsets on the lagoon, snow-capped mountains will be one of the best moments in life, go ahead and caption #adventureofalifetime.

EcoCamp Patagonia also offers guided excursions around the wild Patagonian plains, but if you wish to relax, you can also join fellow campers for yoga and massage. What about meals? There is a large community dome which is a lively dining hall that serves delicious meals. It is also a place where you’ll find fellow campers exchanging adventure stories. 

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Bubble Tea Theme Park to Open in Tokyo

Bubble Tea Theme Park to Open in Tokyo

Bubble tea is more than just a drink, it is a way of life for many. Originally a staple of the night markets of Taiwan, today, the sweet milk tea with chewy black tapioca toppings (a.k.a pearls or boba) has become a global phenomenon. Apart from sports, food is the common denominator that brings people together (or queue together).

Refreshing Summer in Tokyo Tapioca Land

The bubble tea craze has swept over Japan in the past couple of months, which led to the inception of Tokyo Tapioca Land! Think bubble tea kiosks, larger-than-life whimsical art installations like a bathtub of boba, and even thematic rides! 

With daily temperature over 30°C and rainforest level of humidity, summer in Tokyo can be pretty intense. Fans of this addictive tea-based beverage are in for a refreshing treat! Tokyo Tapioca Land will open from 13 August 2019 in Harajuku, which is Tokyo’s leading fashion and culture district. This is definitely a highly instagrammable place to hang out and we secretly wish that this theme park will be available in Singapore too! 

 

When: 13 August to 16 September 2019

Where: JR Harajuku Station, 6-35-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Ticket: Same day tickets are ¥1,200 (one drink included). You can also buy advance tickets for ¥1,000 from the site here.

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Slow down and See Singapore on a Kayak

Slow down and See Singapore on a Kayak

It is arguably true that shopping and eating seem to be every Singaporean’s pastime, and not forgetting – we are adept at queuing too. Perhaps, in my opinion, the size of this island-nation is why everything becomes a little too crowded. But hey – we’ve got to work with the geography we have, and we should consider ourselves fortunate that we are relatively safe from seismic activity in the region.

Perhaps the questions we should be asking ourselves are, why we feel the lack of space and why are we yearning to be someplace idyllic despite having plenty of cutting-edge, man-made marvels. 

I supposed it is a paradox of our time, the issues go deeper than surface-level. We have taller buildings but shorter tempers, we have more conveniences, but less time. 

And what happens when you have completed exploring every shopping mall in town?

It’s time for a change of scenery. 

You want to shed the week of sitting in front of a computer by feeling the motion of your arms and legs, feeling the wind in your hair, listening to the forest soundscape, basking in the sun. You wish you could once again feel that sense of unhurried living that descended upon you when you were travelling abroad or on a scenic cruise.

Obviously taking a stroll around HDB blocks and the labyrinthian maze of reflective office towers do not count.

Let’s get away from the concrete jungle for a while. Singapore is more than just a mega-shopping mall although she looks like that.

Kayaking in Singapore

KayakAsia is a Singapore-based eco-adventure travel company that organises kayak trips. These  trips will take you to some of Singapore’s best-kept secrets that are serene, uninhabited, completely free from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Photograph by truptid via Instagram

Usually these kayaking trips take about 5 hours, and they are suitable for beginners, including those who cannot swim. You can even bring your dogs along to enjoy the great outdoor which definitely beats your regular walk in the park! You’ll be surprised to learn that mangroves kayaking in Singapore is possible in Sungei Khatib Bongsu and Mandai, and discover the 7 unspoiled, rustic Southern islands of Singapore. 

It’s good to know that there are still adventures off-the-beaten track in this small and crowded city.

Just don’t forget to slather on sunscreen!

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