#003 Daily Photo: Pasir Ris Town

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Pasir Ris probably has the only town centre in Singapore that is surrounded with so much green spaces. I like seeing the town centre set against the empty fields and wide blue skies.

But unfortunately, all this is is going to be a history of the past soon. The town is stipulated to be redeveloped in the years to come, more public housings will be built and a tender has been released for developers to take up. It is wise now to take more photographs for memory sake and cherish whatever is going to be gone.

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#002 Daily Photo: Marina Bay

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Marina Bay Sands, find your legitcrazyrichasians inside there
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Merlion, half fish half lion mascot

I think 2018 is a year that Singapore is feeling “shiok” for the massive publicity, there are many indirect benefits for a small city state.

First, we successfully held the trump-kim summit, an incredible event that the whole world is looking at.. We stood by the tv, together with the koreans and people around the world, hoping for a peaceful progress of the historic meeting. This event has help to market Singapore as an ideal location for meetings and businesses.

The movie, Crazy Rich Asian also set tongues wagging about Singapore, both mainstream and social media are talking about the disparities of the real and portrayed sides of the country, and most of us identify ourselves as “crazy rich asians” instead.  But all in all, it is a fantastic movie that you should go for.

Putting these aside, i think Marina Bay is a really unique place worth talking about. Because where in the world can you revel in the remarkable views of the skyline, enjoy musical performances at the esplanade, watch a spectacular water show, feast on local hawker food and get your nature fix, all at a walkable distance? All the above mentioned is located around Marina Bay. That being said, being small has it advantageous too.

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Credits: mapaplan

#001 Daily Photo: Singapore Port

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Sunset over the Port of Singapore
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Silhouettes of PSA during sunset

Location: Marina Bay Cruise Centre

I think any Singaporean would be really proud of their skyline, it is always a nice feeling to sit at the CBD and watch the sun set or enjoy the breeze of the wind. I think the govt did a reasonably good job with urban planning and making our CBD attractive.

I am inspired by bloggers who takes pictures of their own city/town and post it up daily. I’ve been trying to learn how to see things in a different lens. Everyday life can get really dull, boring, rigid and stressful. Sometimes being stuck in the same environment and routine can drive people crazy. That is why i often take breaks and go out of town to broaden my horizons and get a mental break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Singapore. It is easier to get a break when you’re in a entirely different environment, i’m the kind that hardly gets stress up when i’m in a foreign land, i absolutely love the process of getting loss, finding directions, speaking to strangers and discovering surprises at every corner.  

That said, i’m trying to incorporate this mindset into my daily life, distance myself from the usual thought and familiarity of the activities while enjoying the new experiences. This would require some practice of mindfulness (which is good!) to become a tourist at my own land. Alas, hope this effort would last!

Longest wooden bridge in Thailand

This is a place that i never expected i would visit, not even known on most recommendations i see online. Prior to my Thai trip, i planed to explore some non-typical places to visit in Thailand, most of the travel blogs recommended the usual places, Chiang mai, Chiang rai, Tak, Issan. But none of which is within my reach… I came across a random blog that introduced to me this mystical town called Mon Village.

This village is situated at Sangkhlaburi District, next to Kachanaburi and 5 hours away from bangkok. Making the trip there is equally fascinating.

Going from Kachanaburi: There are two ways to go there, either by private van or public bus, depending on your budget and comfort. There is only one ticketing office for the private van, based in a shop house(dark translucent doors) opposite Kachanaburi bus terminal, asked around for direction, we couldn’t recognise the shop at all. At the office, one can immediately recognise the locals who is of Burmese descent as they have white face painting over their cheeks. I was surprise that there is only 2 tourists waiting for the bus, and 1 european guy who arrived late as the tickets are sold out fast.

We finally arrived after a long road trip, with a few stops along the way. It was a tough journey with some steep roads, lots of risky bends and a couple of police checks when nearing Sangkhlaburi (so get ready your identification/passport near you). But i enjoyed the long trip anyways, something that is impossible in Singapore.

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Daily night market selling Thai and Burmese snacks.. You can find 711 round the corner
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P. Guest House is the only place where you can rent a bike
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Halal vegetarian Samosa
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Impressive bridge built by the local community of Sanghklaburi.
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love the vibes of this place
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Check out the smiley face
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Beautiful night lights, cool and calming 
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Mon village
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woke up at 6am to see this
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floating bamboo bridge replacing the wooden bridge when it collapse in 2013.
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Man on his long boat
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away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok
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The practice of offering food is a Theravada Buddhist tradition, its their way of laity support for the Monk’s training.

One of the main activity at Sangkhlaburi is to observe/take part in the morning alms giving tradition. As early as 5 am, one will be able to see monks from the nearby monasteries walking along the street to receive alms. Here are some dos and don’ts for photographers who are not partaking in the ritual..

  • Always Keep a respectful distance, do not obstruct the laity or monks, use a long lens if you need.
  • Dress modestly: This is doubly important if you plan to participate in the almsgiving. Take off your shoes if you’re giving alms.
  • Never use your camera flash: It distracts the monks’ concentration from the spoils the solemnity of the ritual.
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They are probably the first in line to offer alms to the Monks, as their spot is quite a distance away from the main street where most devotees congregate
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I am as excited as they are…
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The most senior monk usually walks at the front
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offering of rice & flowers
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Giver and receiver… The monastics depend on the generosity of the lay community to sustain, therefore the monks accepts any food that is offered.
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The ritual is done in silence; the almsgivers do not speak, nor do the monks. Note the lady removes her shoe out of respect
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Beautiful sight, one that you can’t see in Singapore
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This lady devotee humbly wait for their arrival
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She prostrate before the monks when they are close, the sincerity of her offering(just rice) is far greater.
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what a sight to see, the saffron robes in contrast to the colourful clothes of the laity.

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Monks walk in meditation
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Sunrises over the Thai-Burmese border
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At 442 metres long, the wooden bridge is one of Sangkhlaburi signature sites
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Mile stone of Sangkhlaburi
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Traditional breakfast, you can opt for a meatless porridge. You can’t miss them as they are situated near the village entrance
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Traditional Myanmar textiles, local handicrafts and restaurants. Do buy something or eat here to support the mon community.
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Scenic view from the bridge
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Uttamanuson Bridge
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Village boy posing for you, do tip them if you can, it’ll help them in a way or another.
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There’s not much happening here, but you’ll likely receive smiles as you wander through the village.

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Mahabodhi-styled stupa
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Dharma Cakra

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Even the main Buddha is a replica of the Buddha in the Bodh Gaya Chapel

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Chedi Buddhakhaya
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Wat Wang Wiwekaram

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Three Pagoda Pass
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Over here you can get over to the burmese side if you have a visa.
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Memorial plaque of WWII Death Railway

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Cave visit

I really enjoyed this area and strongly recommend it to others looking for a Thai adventure just outside of Bangkok!

Paaaataaayaaaaaa

I always wonder if Nasi Pattaya has anything to do with this place.. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Pattaya is one of the best beaches outside of bangkok, only a few hours away from the capital, it is one of the most accessible cities. Several long-distance buses depart from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Mochit), the other being Southern Terminal (Ekamai).  Bus tickets in Thailand are relatively cheap and you’ll get to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Here are some pictures of my trip to Pattaya… Let the pictures do the talking.

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Entrance to the bus hub is guarded by security personnels.
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Don’t worry about getting lost
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The place is well organised and easy to navigate.
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Counter 48 near to the first floor exit is where you can purchase tickets to Pattaya
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This place is full of Thais and Tourists going to all destinations in Thailand.. as well as to Laos and Cambodia.
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Grab some snacks and drinks for your journey..
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Left baggage is private-run, use at your own risk.
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Cross over to the departure platform to board your bus.. Ask a local or the staff if you’re unsure where.

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I would say that the bus is well maintained and comfortable, comparable or even better than some Malaysian buses.
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Arrival at Pattay! Read the signboard carefully…
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…it isnt even air conditioned?
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Remember to check out the return timing to Bangkok, Mochit.
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There are also buses to Suvarnabhumi Airport
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The Bus that brought us here
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Lots of tuk tuk and taxi drivers waiting to ketok you, remember to bargain!
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took a motorbike and alight here
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Overall first impression of the beach is okay, it is a pretty touristy, long and narrow beach. Otherwise, really convenient to access from the nearby hotels.
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I wouldn’t mind spending one afternoon here just people watching and chill
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Good holiday vibes at Central Festival Pattaya
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Busy streets at night.
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This is where you can get cheap facial treatment, unfortunately this mall is almost due for redevelopment
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Typical bar scene in the red light district

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Spot our local brand
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again.. Spot our local brand

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Only in Thailand you get to see Ronald doing a wai and at his usual posture.
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Other than gogo bars, beer bars, this street is filled with seafood restaurants too.

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Muay Thai bar
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walking street pattaya
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Steps leading to Wat Phra Yai Temple

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18 metre tall Buddha
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Can’t help it but it does feel like Buddha is really please with his offerings
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Buddha Approves.. hahaha
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Beautiful sky, it was nearing sunset.
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View from Pratumnak Hill is really gorgeous
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Excellent view of Pattaya town and the gulf of Thailand
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Naval Monument with statue of  Thai Admiral Kromluang Chomphonkhetudomsak credited as the founder of the Royal Thai navy. Many Thais visit here to pray and make merits. You can also offer firecrackers as an utmost respect.
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Chance upon another temple at the hilltop, but i didn’t get the name of the temple. Let’s just name it the cat temple.
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Haven’t seen more cats in the same compound ever in my life.

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Spent like an hour here…

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Will i come back again? hmm probably yes for the cheap and worthy facial treatment at mike shopping centre. Not my kind of place (mainly caters to farangs who come for the sex industry), but i really enjoy the vibes and beautiful beaches.

Batu Caves, my first cave visit

Besides the good food and shopping, Batu Caves is another must visit attraction when visiting Kuala Lumpur (13 kilometres north of the city).

The Batu Caves is the most widely known Hindu Temple in Malaysia (almost like a local icon), dedicated to Lord Murugan and at every Thaipusam (which falls in late January/early February), it will be crowded with Hindu devotees carrying Kavadi and milkpots to express their devotion.

The Batu Cave Temple is also known as 10th Caves or Hill for Lord Murugan as there are six important holy shrines in India and four more in Malaysia. The three others in Malaysia are Kallumalai Temple in Ipoh, Tanneermalai Temple in Penang and Sannasimalai Temple in Malacca.

you will see this upon exiting from the train station
Lord Hanuman: Welcome to Batu Caves!

The Batu Caves temple complex consists of three main caves ..

  • Temple Cave (Free to enter)
  • Dark Cave (Fee charge for Tour)
  • Art Gallery Cave (Fee charge for Entrance)

One of the most iconic feature of Batu Caves has to be the 42.7-metre high statue of Lord Murugan (tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world).  The statue, which cost approximately 24 million rupees, is made of 1550 cubic metres of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 litres of gold paint brought in from Thailand.

The Iconic Lord Murugan Statue

This area is a limestone hill comprising three major caves and a number of smaller ones. The limestone formations found in the caves are said to be around 400 million years old, the temple is considered an important religious landmark by Hindus.

Feed the birds for a wonderful photo taking opportunity

There are many stalls there selling religious artifacts, food for feeding birds, drinks, indian vegetarian restaurants. So don’t worry if you’ll get thirsty or hungry there.

Majestic view of the entrance and the hill behind
272 steps to heaven

Be prepare to burn your leggy fats, pay extra caution as the steps are rather steep.

They can be rather friendly…
Devotees attending a worship session at the cave temple

You are welcome to observe the worship session, just kindly remove your footwear before entering the temple sanctuary. Note: do not disturb the sanctity by taking photos with  your flashlight on.

All i can say is.. you need to put effort if you want to achieve something. The view here is worth every step i took.

Lots of monkeys and pigeons around..

Check out the wonderful view before leaving…

As you climb up the 272 steps towards the Temple Cave, you will find a path branches off to the Dark Cave.  Follow the path and in no time you will feel the cool breeze coming out of the cave entrance.

There are registration tables where visitors can sign up for the tour.  You will also find a mini-exhibition of the bats you can find the Dark Cave.  You will most likely be able to only hear the bats flying around in the cave due to the darkness so this is the best time to see what those bats would look like upclose.

The Dark Cave is where visitors can explore the enthralling cave ecosystem with a guided educational tour.  The Dark cave is at least 100 million years old and the limestone that surrounds it was originally formed from shells and coral, from when this entire area was underwater.

The cave is also home to millions of both fruit- and insect-eating bats where their droppings (also known as guano) supports an ecosystem within the cave, with cockroaches, spiders, crickets, snakes and other creepy crawlies living off either the guano, the bats themselves or each other.

There will be a guide explaining the formations

For RM 35 (Adult), you can sign up for the Dark Cave Educational Tour – Just come in your comfortable shoes and clothing and keep yourself hydrated as the tour is about 45 minutes long and the cave can get quite hot at times (with temperature of 27º -29º Celsius and 85-90% humidity year round). Torchlight and helmet will be provided.   Do note that the Dark Cave tour is not available on Mondays; the tour is available from Tuesday to Friday 10am to 5pm and on Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays 10.30am to 5.30pm.

Coming By Train. KTM Komuter train takes you to the caves on the Batu Caves – Port Klang line. An adult single fare is RM2.00 from KL Sentral to Batu Caves. The journey from KL Sentral to Batu Caves takes about 30 minutes and trains run on a frequency of 15 to 30 minutes.

Discovering Melaka

Melaka is 3 hrs drive from Singapore! 
Getting to Melaka from JB is simple, just head over to Larkin Bus Terminal and get your tickets. If you are traveling from JB to another state and are looking for a cheap hotel to stay for the night, there are a few Budget Hotels across Larkin Bus Terminal. And nearby are 711 convenience store, 24hrs mcd(at bus terminal) and mamak stalls that open till wee hours.

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Here at Larkin Terminal, there are many options to other states, Singapore and even Thailand. Upon reaching the terminal, alot of touts will swamp to you like flies and you’d even hear them before you see them. It is always good to compare before buying, explore all options but take note, tickets do run out very quickly on weekends & holidays.

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One of the many halal eateries in Larkin terminal, McDonald can be found around the corner.

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You may shop and burn your time here at the shopping arcade, there are shops selling all kinds of merchandise. Purchase some light snacks and drinks or top-up your traveling phone cards here.

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Rule No. 1 for Traveling When you are Not in Singapore: Always be punctual for your boarding time, no matter how terrible your experience has been with other transport operators & irregardless how unreliable their timings are. At Larkin, your ticket will state which berth to head to, so be nice and board at least before the departing time.

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Getting to the The Stadthuys
Moving around in Malacca is a breeze, I find it pretty clean and organise, compared to the other states I’ve been to. For eg. The layout of Melaka Sentral is pretty simple, one side for interstate buses and the other for domestic buses. Just hop on to the other side once you arrive. Domestic bus refers to buses that travel within Malacca, berth 17 is where you can hop on the bus to the Stadthuys aka the Dutch Square.

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Lots of green smack right in the middle of the terminal~
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No abandoned furniture and more trees!

1. Visit the oldest functioning Protestant church in Malaysia
When you visit Christ Church and the Dutch Square, you are only exploring a small part of the heritage city! The Christ Church was built by the Dutch in the 18th century in the heart of their newly established town, the church is very picturesque from outside and is the main landmark of Melaka.

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Taking selfies infront of this logo is a must!

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Gaudy trishaws decorated with all kinds of cartoon characters. Watch them light up at night with their music blasting. You will be dazzled~

2. Those who work hard will be rewarded 
Workout your heart(as if walking so much is still not enough) and climb up St Paul’s Hill. Explore the ruins of St Paul’s Church and find out the history of this historic complex.

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Scenic View from the top of St Paul’s Hill

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3. Walk down St Paul’s Hill and check out the canons. 
This is one of the many Portuguese ruins in Malacca and the Porta de Santiago is one of them that’s part of a fortress called  A Formosa, This is the surviving gate for the fort.

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4. Dont Mess with.. Melaka is not so SERIOUS.
Unlike the campaign slogan, Melaka is doing its best to create a relaxing vibe through its street art and culture. The best way to see  street art is to stroll down melaka river, check out the back alley or simply by wandering around with no fixed direction. Here in Melaka, something will definitely catch your eye; a snapshot of daily life, the highly decorative religious buildings (even churches are painted in striking red) or a hippyish decorated hostel.

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Melaka River

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Dharma is everywhere

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Religious groups coexisting harmoniously side by side.

5. Find out what Satu Malaysia means.. 
When in Melaka, take a stroll down temple street and admire the harmony of various religious places of worship built beside each other. They are: Hinduism – Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple, Islam –  Kampung Kling Mosque,  Three Teachings – Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism) and Xiang Lin Si Temple (Buddhism).. It is a living testimony to future generations that racial and religious harmony is possible.

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The Cheng hoon Teng temple is the oldest Chinese temple still functioning in Malaysia. The temple contains exquisite and extremely colourful decorations and sculptures brought from China in the 18th century. This temple is close to the Jonker street, next to the temple is another, more recent, Xiang Lin Si Buddhist temple which offers a good view of the Cheng Hoon temple from and the whole street from its 2nd lvl terrace. Overall a must see site for tourists.

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Wayang Stage opposite the Temple
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Every corner of Melaka is so instaworthy

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Be amaze by the historic structures of Melaka

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6. H&M is here to provide free air conditioning when you cannot take the heat any longer. 
It’s kind of interesting to see the contrast of a modern retail chain surrounded by old buildings. Will be a good place to take shelter from the heat/rain outside!

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a new modern store at the entrance of Historical Jonker Street

7. Rent a bike and explore 
Simply download the Melaka Bike share app, follow the instructions and start riding. It cost only 10rm for a day!

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8. Buy Local products and Artifacts 
There are loads and loads of souvenirs everywhere in Melaka, you can even get them at the bus interchange. But this is the place where you everything is cluster in one building, you may compare prices and do some bargaining.

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Get your souvenirs here, remember to ask for the best price.

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I would really bring back lots of these handicrafts if i drive a lorry
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Take a break, have some fries
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Palawan Walk Market
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Another stretch of shops selling local specialty & souvenirs
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a night market just beside Palawan market

9. Take a ride on Menara Taming Sari, the only 360 degree viewing tower offering you a panoramic and spectacular view of Melaka City. 20170217_195907-01

10. Visit Jonker Street Night Market
This Night Market only operates on the weekend! Be sure you plan your trip right~

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Check out the pineapple tart signage

Most of the bars and posh dining places are along Jalan Hang Jebat. Nice place to chill and mingle with tourists from all over the world. I don’t think i have seen that much angmohs in my life, not even in Singapore’s Clark Quay.

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locals dance in the Hueykuan
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a huge wayang stage right in the middle of jonker streetZ

Locals were taking turns to go on stage and sing, mainly elderly people, but very entertaining. Awesome boost to the already very hype up atmosphere.

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Traditional Teochew Mua Chee

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Successful Campaign

This is what i love about Melaka, bold, cultured and clean. Their “Dont mess with Melaka” Campaign originated as a campaign to promote higher standards of cleanliness in Melaka. I believe the slogan encourages the community to love and protect their state, maintaining the cleanliness, lowering crime levels, becoming responsible states citizen.

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Malacca, I will be back!