Saturday, February 11, 2017

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - Taoyuan Tourist Night Market (桃園觀光夜市)

Night Markets in Taiwan is one of the Must-Visit on our list when we were planning our itinerary. When the night falls, the buzzing night life begins. There are many night markets in Taiwan, and it has become an important part of the Taiwanese's lifestyle.  Simply take a stroll through the markets and you can feel the pulse of the city after-hours life. A great place to experience the local culture and sample authentic Taiwanese food.

The nearest Night Market to our accommodation - Audi Garden Business Hotel, is Taoyuan Tourist Night Market. Located in downtown Taoyuan City, it is decent sized and is about 20-30 minutes walk from where we stayed. Definitely a good light workout before our supper.

Lots of mouth-watering food awaits us but we did not get to eat a lot as we had a heavy dinner at another food market. Still, we did grabbed a few more bites at various food stalls.

Delicious soya bean curb

Stinky Toufu 

We even packet food back to our hotel for late night snack!

Spotted an Indian food stall at the night market and suddenly had a feel of home!

Apart from the food stalls, there are also game stalls for children and adult to play. 

Taoyuan Night Market may not as popular as the other night markets, and there seems to be more locals than tourists. Still, we enjoyed our night walk through the lively spot and had a taste of the local culture and food.

Taoyuan Tourist Night Market (桃園觀光夜市)
Address: Located along Beipu Road (北埔路)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

DIY Baking @ Love Fun Baking House (Mount Austin)

Happy 2017! Our road trips to Johor Bahru continues and it's time to introduce more FUN places across the border to start the year!

Last December, we celebrated Christmas in JB and found a great place where children and adults can have hands-on experience in baking at a really affordable price. It does not matter whether you have experience in baking or not, all are welcome to join in the fun of DIY baking!

Weekends/public holidays can be pretty crowded, hence its a good idea to call-in and make a reservation to avoid disappointment.

(1) Select your Baking Project & Payment

Time to start baking! Before you begin, take a look from the menu at the counter and select the baking project you wish to engage in. You can either pick by the difficulty level or by the pastries/cakes that you would like to bake. Prices start from RM30 onwards and the entire process takes about 2-4 hours depending on the complexity of the project. After selection, simply make payment and you are ready to begin! Since it was Christmas festive period, Denver & Gladys decided to make a Christmas Log Cake. 

(2) Familiarization of Space/Items

I was attracted by the colourful and vibrant setting upon entering Love Fun Baking House. As a Chinese saying goes "麻雀虽小, 五脏俱全". All the equipment is neatly spaced and arranged, making it such a breeze and ease for bakers to collect their items/ingredients.

Every item is clearly labelled so that children and even amateur like myself knows how to identify and locate them. 

The main zones with the baking house includes : Ingredients Area, Mixing Area, Baking Area, Drinking Area and Washing Area.

The Drinking Area is for bakers who wish to take a drink (water or sachets of coffee/tea) while the pastries or cakes are baking in the oven.

(3) Collection of ingredients

After putting on the aprons, baking crew handed the kiddos a list of ingredients needed for their baking project. They also received a tablet containing step by step instructions on how to bake the Christmas log cake. Then, they were briefed on what to do, and the children are left on their own to work independently as a team! 

Apart from locating the items, they also have to weigh them to ensure the portion is right.

All ingredients collected successfully and neatly placed on the table! 

(4) Follow the Instructions

Next, its following the step by step instructions on the tablet. If there are any doubts, simply approach a baking crew and they will be happy to assist. 

Apart from the hands-on opportunities, the children also learnt a lot of baking techniques in the process as well.

Standing from afar, I do find our boy looks extremely handsome with his apron on. :)

Looks like a potential baker-to-be in action. 

Christmas Log Cake - Baked by Denver & Gladys! Not only does it looks good, it taste delicious too!

(5) Cleaning Up

The children does not only engages in baking solely, they are also responsible to clean the working space and all the items (bowls, spoons, spatula etc) that was used throughout the process. Used equipment also has to be placed back to where it was taken. This may not be what the kiddos like to do but it surely teaches them about responsibility and being thoughtful to others. 

(6) Packaging and Photo Taking

Before packing our Christmas Log cake back to the hotel, we wouldn't miss taking photo with the final product before it landed in our tummies. 

Definitely a great achievement and heaps of satisfaction within a short span of 3 hours! No wonder they are requesting to come back again for more baking!

If you are looking for activities that will engage the whole family, DIY Baking @ Love, Fun Baking House is definitely worth considering. Plus, you get to bring home your baking treats! I missed the opportunity to bake with the children but am definitely looking into joining them on our next visit! 

Love Fun Baking House (爱烘焙聚乐部)
Address: 31 & 31 - 01, Jalan Austin Heights 8/4, Taman Mount Austin, Johor Bahru 
Opening Hours: 1030am - 9pm (Closed every Monday)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Dahlia Dreams 2017 @ Gardens by the Bay

Apart from visiting our relatives & friends, going to the temples, taking strolls at River Hongbao and Chinatown, admiring the floral display at the Flower Dome has become part of our Chinese New Year tradition as well.

Dahlia Dreams is back again and we were greeted by pretty hues of yellow, orange and red Dahlias and Begonias flowers.

Its the Year of the Rooster and we spotted new sculptures of roosters and chickens at the entrance, adding more festive ambiance to the Flower Dome.

I believe its since the Year of the Horse that we have been seeing new wooden sculptures appearing within the conservatory every Chinese New Year. With the new addition of the Rooster, we are anticipating to see the complete collection of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals in a couple more years to go!

This year we spotted Begonia flowers. Tuberous begonia flowers come in many colours and forms. The single or double blooms may be in shades of red, salmon, pink, orange, yellow, and white. They are actually edible, with a lemony sour taste!

Bright yellow chrysanthemums on the flower bed.

Unlike the previous year, I am seeing a little less of the Dahlias flowers, but am still pretty happy to see a mixture of other floral - Sunflowers, Hibiscus, Chrysanthemums, Orchids 

Among the Dahlias flowers, my personal favourite for this year is the star-like (8 petal) flower, 

Denver & Gladys posing and growing up with the Gardens every year.

What did she spotted?

Nice Orchid arrangement on a leaf shape petal.

The Flower Dome is transformed into a Chinese Garden with moon gates, pavilion and a three-tier pagoda. Every corner and space is very scenic for families to take photos together.

I particularly love the lanterns which looks absolutely gorgeous! 

Besides admiring the beautiful floral display in the Flower Dome, there are various craft booths where the entire family can have fun customising their very own prosperity egg or learnt the art of Chinese Calligraphy.

Good news! Local seniors enjoys FREE admission with local adult conservatory tickets purchased. Applicable to Local Single or Double Conservatories ticket (Valid for on-site & online purchases). Offer is valid till 12 Feb 2017.

Dahlia Dreams 2017 is ongoing now at the Flower Dome from now till 19 February 2017. Opens daily, from 9am to 9pm. Admission charges to the conservatory applies.

For more information, visit Gardens by the Bay Website.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - Audi Garden Business Hotel (Taoyuan)

It took me many weeks of research before deciding where to stay in Taiwan. It wasn't an easy task as we have to consider the room size, bedding type, price, location, nearby eateries and more. They may not be the most luxurious, but our stay has been comfortable and pleasant.

Hotel Stay @ Taoyuan

We arrived in Taiwan very early in the morning and planned to take a shuttle bus (台湾好行) from Taoyuan Main Bus Station (桃园客运总站) to Xiao Wu Lai  (小乌来风景区). Hence, Audi Garden Business Hotel (欧帝花园商务旅馆) was our best pick as it is about 10 minutes walk to the bus station. Plus, if you are planning to take the train, it is also near Taoyuan Train Station. For shopping needs, it is near ShinKong Mitsukoshi (新光三越) and a few streets away from Taoyuan Night Market (桃园观光夜市)

It cost about TWD560 from Taoyuan Airport to Audi Garden Business Hotel. We were able to drop off our luggage at the counter and head on with our tour first as the room is not ready yet.

Walking distance to Taoyuan Station

We booked a family room which comes with 2 double beds which is comfortable for our family of four to stay. Booked through and paid about TWD2630 (~SGD120) for 1 night stay that comes with free breakfast for 4 pax.

The room is bright, neat and clean and there is ample walking space to place our luggage and still room available to move about.

Reading lights at the side of the beds and Free WIFI in the room. 

Basic amenities like electric kettle, extra blankets, fridge, hairdryer, toiletries, safe box are available as well.

Bright, clean and spacious toilet. It feels good to enjoy a nice shower after a long day trip.

One of the best treat that we LOVE about Audi Garden is the availability of internet PC, and 32" monitor within the room! The children can connect online while adults can watch TV programs on the 42" LED TV. They also have Free Blu-Ray Movies on Demand but too bad we only stayed for 1 night.

Audi Garden Business Hotel Lobby area. 

There is a water dispenser at the lobby area and behind the counter is a stairway down, leading us to the restaurant where we have our breakfast.

Dishes may look simple but we really enjoy a decent local breakfast that serves tasty porridge and warm dishes.

Bread and spread, plus soya milk and coffee/tea.

We had a pleasant stay at Audi Garden.

Audi Garden Business Hotel
 No.7, Ln. 48, Zhongzheng Rd., Taoyuan City, Taoyuan County 330 


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