The chances are high that you use a smartphone on a daily basis to speak with friends, to look at the weather forecast and to access your email. You could very well be employing this very same device to purchase products and services throughout the online community. The rise of digital sales has become one of the most important industry trends throughout Singapore and this movement is expected to gain pace in the coming years. This brings up an interesting question. Might there come a day when physical retail outlets are no longer viable options for the average consumer? What does this mean for the entire marketplace and how might this impact your finances? These are all very important questions that deserve a bit more clarity.
Let’s take a look at what some of the experts have to say.
The Rise of the Digital Sales Experience
There is no doubt that virtual sales solutions are on the rise. It is
now possible for you to purchase a product with a swipe of your finger. Transactions take
place within seconds and the presence of massive online shipping services such
as Amazon ensure door-to-door deliveries within a timely fashion.
Of course, all of these trends are very attractive to the average consumer. There are two main reasons for this observation. The first involves an undeniable sense of convenience; especially for those who lead busy lives. The second is associated with cost benefits. As the amount of online competition continues to grow, the average retail seller will be forced to cut prices in order to retain his or her client base. These very same entrepreneurs will employ modern e-commerce platforms such as Shopify Singapore to create a seamless consumer experience. This is why customers are taking advantage of what the online community has in store.
Getting Back Down to Reality
All of the observations mentioned above are quite compelling for those
who believe that brick-and-mortar sales may soon go the way of the dinosaur.
However, this hardly signifies that such establishments will disappear overnight. The
fact of the matter is that countless consumers still prefer a hands-on
experience when purchasing a product or committing to a service. This is why we
are likely to witness another interesting trend.
Traditional retail establishments will be looking to bridge the
proverbial gap between a digital presence and their physical
outlet. In other words, they will take advantage of online promotional tools in
an effort to entice clients to visit their store. This double-pronged approach
should produce stellar results and many owners will be able to vastly increase their existing client base. The Internet is not nearly as much of a
threat as some of us have been led to believe.
We are nonetheless living in extremely interesting times. The notion of
virtual sales was fictional only 20 years ago. This is why it is rather
difficult to predict what the future may have in store. Either way, those who
are able to stay ahead of the curve should enjoy success.
There’s no substitute for a good night’s sleep, but for many of us, this can be hard to achieve and as rare as a pearl in an oyster. Your body and brain need that rest in order to repair and refresh your whole being for the new day. However, if you spend the night wrestling with sleep in close combat, you greet the morning grumpy and ill-prepared for what’s to come.
Vital for your 7 to 9 hours’ rest is a good bed. It needs to offer support for your spine and comfort for your pressure points. Not only this, but it should also be big enough to provide space for you to move as you travel through dreamland.
That’s right. Don’t judge a bed simply by
lying on it (online outlets now offer home trials on mattresses for as long as
100 days), you need to know if it will give you ample room to roam during the
There are many reasons why you need a bigger
bed, not least of all is your own proportions. Here are 4 factors to
consider when buying your next mattress:
Your width and length. Amazingly, we tend to settle for less than we need when it comes to a mattress. We take what we see in the showroom instead of finding the ideal bed elsewhere. Considering that a mattress should last you for up to 10 years and you’re going to spend 33% of your life in bed, doesn’t it make sense to invest in something that matches your body size and lifestyle?
Lone sleeper? If you’re on your own, you still need extra space to get comfortable. Nowadays, there are many more mattress sizes than ever before. Check out the guide to see how you can broaden your options on a buying decision. Your mattress should be at least 4” longer than you are.
Couple comfort. A standard double bed only gives each person 2’3” of space – that’s less than a baby gets in a crib! If you both lie on your backs, put your hands behind your head and your elbows are touching, that’s too little room for comfort. You’re going to end up disturbing each other since the average person moves around 60 to 70 times every night.
Family time. What happens when your offspring join you in bed? Those infants can pack a decent punch and usually when you’re least expecting it. So, make sure your bed is family sized. And, remember, those little ones ramble around more than you do at night, you might as well factor that in when making a buying decision.
Since our current lifestyles include
bedtime activities from eating to working, it makes sense that your mattress
reflects this. Improve your chances at getting a good night’s sleep by getting
a bigger bed – your body, brain and state of mind will thank you for it.
Day is the perfect occasion to show the special woman in your life how much you
love and appreciate her. It is the best day to show some romanticism and make
her happy with a thoughtful gift. However, when you are bad at picking gifts
things can be a little bit complicated. No matter how much you would love to
surprise your spouse with a great gift, you may simply be stuck when it comes
to finding the best present for your loved one.
on if you need a little guidance in choosing a meaningful Valentine’s Day gift
for the woman you love.
1. Two tickets to her dream destination
We all have a travel destination choice on the top of our bucket list that we fantasize about visiting at least once in our lifetime. There is probably no other better gift than the gift of travel experience. Buying plane tickets to a trip that your spouse has been wishing for is one of the most meaningful gifts. It is a great way to prove how much you want her to fulfil her dreams and that you want to be part of each of them. Find out where is the place that your loved one has always dreamed of visiting and take care of all the planning aspects such as booking tickets and finding accommodation. If you are really committed to making her happy, you can also make a list of all the must-see attractions of the destination. Your dedication to helping her fulfil her dream will definitely fill her heart with joy.
2. A chic piece of jewellery
While choosing a piece of clothing can be a little more complicated because you must find the perfect size and ensure that it suits her personal taste, a chic piece of jewellery might just be the right present. Every woman has a special relationship with jewellery because it enhances her sophistication and completes her look. Gifting a silver bracelet for women is a great way to remind her that she is cherished and loved. Moreover, a chic piece of jewellery is a romantic gift that will stand as a beautiful reminder of the person who gave it to her.
3. A hobby-related item
all love to practice our hobby as it makes us feel proud of our skills. But
seeing our significant other being supportive and attentive about our passions
is even more fulfilling. You simply can’t go wrong with a gift related to her
hobby because it will prove that you are interested in whatever she is passionate
about and that you want to be part of it. Consider your spouse’s hobby or
passion and gift her a tool or accessory that will enhance it. For example, if
your spouse loves painting, you can buy her painting accessories such as an
easel, paintbrushes or an artist palette.
4. A romantic dinner
Cooking a romantic dinner for your
spouse is one of the most classic Valentine’s Day gift ideas. The effort and
time invested in preparing a delicious meal, creating a romantic mood and atmosphere,
and planning a relaxing night just for the both of you will prove to your
partner how much you love her. Find a private location where you and your
spouse can spend time alone and decorate it with flowers and fairy lights. In
order to set the mood for the night, you can play slow romantic music and light
up some scented candles.
5. Chocolate and flowers
When you are dealing with so many everyday tasks, you may forget about planning a present early in time. However, if you really do forget about buying a present for your loved one, you should find a last-minute gift that will salvage the situation. Offering chocolate and flowers to your significant other is a forever-lasting tradition that will never lose its charm. Although it may not be quite the most unique and creative gift idea, buying a last-minute present such as chocolate and flowers can totally save the day. A box of delightful chocolate paired with a bouquet of her favourite flowers is easy to find and you can grab them on the way to your Valentine’s Day date.
6. Be present
today’s modern world, we are all so busy with our jobs and everyday
responsibilities. Thus, finding free time to spend quality moments with our
loved ones can be difficult. Sometimes, presents don’t have to be a physical
item to make your spouse realise your love and appreciation. Sometimes the gift
of your time can be the best way to make her happy. Make sure that on
Valentine’s Day, you offer your significant other all your free time. Prepare a
list of activities that you both enjoy doing and spend the whole day together
giving her all your attention.
7. A puppy
Getting a puppy for Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful
surprise. Everybody simply adores a wagging lap-warmer. If the special woman in
your life loves animals and would like to have a furry friend to fill her house
with joy, gifting her a puppy can be a magical experience. You will give her
the gift of the unconditional love, surprise kisses, and a wagging tail every time
she returns home. However, before gifting a puppy to your spouse, make sure that she is
willing to take the commitment to invest time, energy and love in offering the
best conditions to her pet.
8. Couples massage
A day at the spa and couples’ massage is the perfect way to
spend quality time with your loved one while relaxing and relieving the tension
that the both of you have accumulated due to your busy lifestyles. The calming
and soothing environment will help you enjoy the relaxing moments side-by-side
and strengthens your relationship. All you have to do is to allow the
professionals to do their work while you both disconnect from your everyday
responsibilities and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
We hope that these Valentine’s Day gifting ideas are useful for you and if you like to add on this list, please feel free to comment below!
It has become a trend to do outdoor stuff and be immersed in nature, thus the rising popularity of outdoor sports. There are a lot of sports being enjoyed outside, and these have a lot of good feedback reported on the internet. Some even claimed that outdoor sports have changed their mood and helped them cope with daily stress and anxiety from work or school. Outdoor sports is not only a good way to get to know new people, but it is also a way to stay fit as well.
Get in with the trend and try these outdoor sports:
is one of the most popular activities that people, young and old, love—and it
has a lot of health benefits too. While soaking in the scenery as you pedal
down the park or a breathtaking trail, you can increase muscle strength,
flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. Cycling also strengthens bones and
improve posture and coordination as you burn off those extra calories. If you
want to track progress as you
improve your overall cycling experience, upgrade your bicycle with a few
accessories like power meters.
gained popularity lately and for a good reason—the stunning view of nature and the surroundings from
the top is undoubtedly spectacular. While it’s not exactly a piece of cake,
there are a lot of training facilities offered around America to ensure that
you’re doing good before you take on a mountain without supervision. When you
do attempt a climb, make sure you have the necessary tools and accessories
needed to make sure you’re safe to climb rocky slopes.
are benefits as well to mountain climbing—it can improve stamina, endurance,
and muscle strength because it uses lots of muscle groups. Since focus is
necessary when climbing safely, it’ll help with concentration and mental
Some won’t even see this as a sport since it’s so relaxing and fulfilling, but hiking means you have to tread different terrains and walk for a long while before you can find a place to rest in. You have to build up stamina, endurance, and willpower to overcome the challenges and obstacles in your path. Since it can be difficult, hiking often requires mental focus, and it will help tone most of your muscles as well. You will also be well-rewarded with the beauty of nature as you hike up the hill and you might even meet some rare birds and animals!
Don’t you just enjoy the sea and the breeze as it blows across your face when you ride the waves? It’s an amazing experience where you can learn how to balance and improve your confidence in life. Surfing is actually a good way to release stress, and it promotes you to be active. The best thing about it is you also get to swim and enjoy the view of the beach. Surfing improves cardiovascular fitness and, at the same time, helps your core and back strength.
is one of the most excruciating sports out there, but one of the best one if
you aim to lose more weight. It will tone your muscles—both arms and legs, and
it requires teamwork and focus as well. There are accessories that can help you
track your vital signs and progress as well if you want to know how much you’ve
improved, but overall, rowing is one of the most effective exercises out there.
This is one of the most relaxing activities on the list, and it doesn’t require much stamina and strength; in fact, it can be fun and make you competitive. Archery develops the focus and concentration, as well as patience. If you can hone these skills, it will help improve confidence, and it’s an awesome skill to show off to friends.
are you waiting for? Grab your gear and head out those doors to try one—or
more!—of these outdoor sports. Bring a friend to make it a more fun experience.
Seasons are changing, and summer is fast approaching. Adventures, new things to learn, and the sea are just a few things to get excited about during this sunny season. Before venturing forth, don’t forget to prepare accordingly because the blistering heat of the sun can get pretty intense. Ah, summer! One of the most anticipated seasons for both the young and the old. The bright sun, the clear blue sky—no wonder it’s the best time to get out and try out new things. With that said, here are five things to try this summer!
to an Amusement Park
Amusement parks are a summer staple for anyone, so for the people that haven’t tried yet, this summer may be the best time to do so! There are many amusement parks in the United States that you can go to, like the ever famous Disney parks! There are twelve of these across six different resorts, so one is sure to find a favourite park to go to.
On average, an amusement park will likely have around ten rides that are perfect for the thrill-seeking individuals. Amusement parks are also the perfect places to try new food as they will sometimes have themed food that is perfect for the summer season. There are also many stalls filled with minigames that anyone could enjoy. Try to visit an amusement park near you and experience the thrill that summer can bring!
When it comes to summer, the big blue ocean
also comes to mind, so why not try surfing? Although surfing has a huge learning
curve, trying to get into it is pretty easy since experiencing your first wave
is just as exhilarating as you think! Learning the basics of surfing may sound
complicated, but do not fret since there are many surfing classes available at known
surfing spots. Don’t be afraid to test the waters!
With so many islands known for being great
surfing beaches, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to travel around to these known
spots too. Choose a country to go to that is known for beaches, and you are
bound to find a great surfing spot there.
Up a New Hobby
Summer is also a great time to start taking up a new hobby. From learning how to cook to creating new art, there are many hobbies to choose from that are pretty easy to get into. One such hobby is photography. Since summertime is one of the best times to travel, taking photos is one of the best ways to make memories of these trips. Any photo-taking device can capture great moments, especially now that smartphones can do as much as DSLRs can; so take those aesthetic photos to your heart’s content!
Another hobby that is sure to be a big hit in
the summer is swimming. With a number of beaches, lakes, or even pools to
choose from, it wouldn’t be hard to get out there to take a swim.
Golf is another sport that you can learn
during the summer season. With so many amazing beginner courses offered at golf
courses, it wouldn’t take long for a prospective golfer to learn the ropes.
Another great thing about golf is that you can ride around golf carts, making
it easy to traverse from different parts of the field. Some people consider
riding golf carts to be just as calming as it is to play the actual sport.
Having a handy club car battery charger
during these long cart rides will prove helpful too—you wouldn’t want to be
stranded too far from your destination now, would you?
Finding a golf club that will help beginners is a great start, so don’t be afraid to try it out! They will teach you how to choose your club, find the right ball, and as well as the basics of the golf swings and stances.
Road trips are also a great way to spend the
summer outside the house. Take a ride with a group of friends or family, and
enjoy the journey toward your destination! A cross-country road trip around the
United States is a great way to bond with family and friends, especially since
the time spent with each other will be long.
Before you set off on your adventure, don’t
forget to check the vehicle as this will be where you spend most of your time.
Make sure that the car is cleaned up and that the gas is full. Don’t forget to
pack some snacks and lots of entertainment options, from music to movies.
Lastly, don’t forget important documents like passports, licenses, and
registrations. Better to be safe than sorry!
Summertime is a great time to try new things
especially for doing activities outdoors. So jump out of the couch and go
straight out to experience summer in full force!
The Napali Coast of Hawaii’s Kauai island
could without a shadow of a doubt be called one of the most beautiful stretches
of coastline in the world. Adding to the attraction of this wonderful and unspoiled
part of the island is the fact that Kauai has not been subjected to the sorts
of tourist pressures that many people believe has transformed the other islands
in the chain that makes up Hawaii. This makes Kauai the perfect destination for
those who simply want to enjoy the natural wonders of paradise – and nowhere
will this enjoyment be more acute than when exploring the Napali Coast.
A jewel in the crown of an island also known as ‘The Garden Isle’; the Napali Coast at Kauai Island itself boasts a galore of natural wonders.
A stretch of mountainous coastline that stretches beyond 16 miles in length, every mile of the Napali Coast is filled with wonder. Valleys stretch into the pristine forest and are the first stop of cascading waterfalls on their journey towards the ocean. Sea caves echo with the boom of the surf while pristine beaches and offshore corals beg for exploration.
For those wishing to take in this natural
wonder, there are numerous options available.
The first of these is to hike the Kalalau Trail. However, be warned that this is an adventure that is not for the fainthearted, especially people who have a fear of heights. The challenge of the hike means that camping for at least one night will be part of the adventure. However, the sheer beauty of the natural surroundings and the brilliance of the stars overhead do not make this a hardship.
The second way to take in the majesty of the Napali Coast is to do so via the water. There are numerous tour operators that ferry visitors from the North and South shores of the island to take in the magnificence of the coast. Those embarking on these excursions will have the choice of watching intensely for signs of sea life (including whales) from the comfort of the deck or plunging into the clear azure waters to enjoy some of the best snorkelling experience that Kauai has to offer. The leisurely experience will have most captains skirting the edges of the incredible peaks and valleys of the Nā Pali Coast State Park. Refreshments are usually served onboard and it is one of the most perfect ways to enjoy the magnificence of this coast with the entire family. A Napali Coast boat tour is definitely one of the top ways to experience the coast.
Sometimes, taking to the air is simply the best way to appreciate the grandeur of nature at her very best. Those wishing to take in the entirety of the Napali Coast and its varied environments might wish to explore the option of an airborne tour in the comfort of a small plane or a helicopter. Visitors will be treated to a spectacle of plunging waterfalls and verdant valleys, as well as the edge of the coast where it meets the saltwater. Your pilot will be more than willing to accommodate your requests to view the varied landscapes. This lends an air of freedom to what is already one of the highlights of any trip to Kauai.
Kauai is simply one of the most beautiful islands in the chain that is Hawaii and the Napali Coast is one of the most stunning natural destinations in the world. It is the essence of what makes Hawaii and its islands a destination of choice for tourists from all over the globe. Make sure that you do not miss it on your trip to this paradise on Earth.
I really do appreciate my eyesight. I really do. Apart from the fact that I tend to experience dryness in my eyes from time to time, my eyesight hasn’t really bugged me. In fact, I have an almost perfect vision that sometimes surprises me because of my bad reading posture.
Recently, I was invited to a comprehensive eye examination at Videre Eyecare and I took up the offer just so that I could find out how my vision has degraded since my last visual acuity test in 2010 (almost a decade!).
2. Retina 550 (Fundus Photography) Examines the health of the back part of the eye.
3. Refraction with Vision R800 The first in Southeast Asia, it uses a fluid lens instead of traditional lenses. Accuracy goes up to 0.01DS, unlike the traditional way that only goes up to 0.25DS. It also consists of a smart test that uses an algorithm to boost efficiency and consistency of the refraction.
4. Slit-Lamp Biomicroscopy Examines the health of the front part of the eye; cornea, lens, conjunctiva, meibomian glands opening.
5. Tear Analysis a. Cornea 550: Measures the height of tear meniscus. b. LipiView: Examines the health of meibomian glands and lipid layer of the tears.
A comprehensive eye examination at Videre costs $168 and it takes about an hour for you to go through all of the tests at one sitting.
The best part?
The results are instantaneous and there’s no need to wait for weeks unlike in the past. Furthermore, the machines that are being used for the comprehensive eye examination are very new and cutting-edge.
If you’re wondering
how frequent or how often one should go for a comprehensive eye examination,
there is no one fixed rule or standard. If you have medical conditions such as
diabetes or hypertension, it is recommended that you do an annual eye check-up.
Likewise, if your family has a history of glaucoma; it is recommended that an
annual eye check-up be done as well.
For children and
teenagers, a comprehensive eye examination should be done yearly or twice a
year because their eyesight can change rapidly during their growing-up years.
As a matter of fact, I used to put on glasses for astigmatism when I was 7
years old and subsequently, I didn’t need my glasses anymore because my
condition has improved by leaps and bounds.
If you’re a working
adult and you’re in your 20s to 50s, you probably don’t need to do the
comprehensive eye examination yearly. In fact, I think once every two to three
years should be adequate if you don’t experience any drastic changes in your
eyesight and lifestyle. However, as soon as you feel that your eyesight is off
the mark, quickly arrange for a comprehensive eye examination to avoid any
complications that may develop over time.
What I Like About The Comprehensive Eye Examination
The Comprehensive Eye Examination that I did at Videre Eyecare was hassle free and the test results are almost immediate. Furthermore, the experience was highly personalised and the new machines that are used for the tests are highly accurate.
What I Didn’t Like About The Comprehensive Eye Examination
I didn’t quite enjoy
the eye pressure test as I am ultra sensitive to having foreign objects (which
in this case is a bout of harmless air) spurted into my eyes.
Other than that, there is practically nothing else that I didn’t like about the Comprehensive eye examination; although I have to admit that the price of $168 for a comprehensive eye examination might be out of reach for some people. However, having said that, there are comprehensive eye examination services that are available for $80 but the machines used may not be up-to-date. Then again, whichever options you choose, just remember that your eyesight is precious and you should really take good care of your eyes.
Book for your comprehensive eye examination with Videre Eyecare today!
The world’s most popular musical, The Phantom of the Opera makes a triumphant and long-awaited return onto the world stage and truly, it is still a classic musical that never fails to captivate the hearts of audiences worldwide.
Phantom of The Opera is the tale of one haunted man who is battling with obsession and jealousy and seeking love from a woman after being shunned away for so long. Its dark past mixed together with fascinating music will completely entice you. From the costumes to the sets and the beautiful singing, Phantom of The Opera is truly mesmerising.
When Christine performed her rendition of “Think Of Me”, you could feel the emotions in her voice, and “The Music Of The Night” places an emphasis on the Phantom’s struggle with loneliness and how he relates it through his music.
Phantom’s obsession with Christine was rather extreme, especially when it resulted in unlawful crimes such as murder and kidnap. To some, it may be a romantic tale of unwavering love but for me personally, it portrayed a sign of unsoundness in one’s mind and heart.
After the show, we were given a chance to tour the backstage and it totally opened up my eyes because I saw firsthand the huge amount of effort and coordination that is required for the show to perform smoothly. Citing an example, we were told it requires almost 20 men to safely place the stairs in time for the masquerade scene! Working in tandem with the stage crew, the actors and musicians put their entire heart, mind, and soul into the production as they bring the audience through a wave of thrills, excitement, and anxiety.
Throughout the show, you’ll definitely be feeling all sorts of excitement and anxiousness as to what comes next. You would also come to understand why The Phantom of the Opera is still one of the best musicals in the history of theatre since its opening in London’s West End in 1986. It is truly a show not to be missed!
Show Times and Venue
The Phantom of the Opera is now showing at Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands from now till 8 June 2019, Tuesday-Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 pm & 8 pm and Sunday at 1 pm and 6 pm.
Ticket Prices & Discounts
Ticket prices start from SGD$75 (E Reserve tickets) and if you purchase your tickets through the Marina Bay Sands Box Office, you can enjoy a 30% Discount off all A Reserve, B Reserve and C Reserve tickets. *Applicable to Single seats only (i.e one ticket per transaction)
I have always been fascinated by Jing Yong’s novel, “The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre” and it was through this novel that I came to know about Wudang Mountain and Emei Mountain. Hence, when the opportunity to travel to Wudang Mountain came, I took the plunge and embarked on this epic journey that lasted 7 days.
Prior to this trip, I tried to do some research and get as much information as I could about the places that I will be visiting but it seems that most of the information available are written by Westerners who went there to learn martial arts. Hence, I decided to pen down my experience so that the information can be useful for those who are planning a trip to Wudang Mountain.
There isn’t any direct flight from Singapore to Wudangshan. For this journey, I took a 4-hour Cathay Pacific flight from Singapore to Hong Kong and then another 3-hour Cathay Dragon flight from Hong Kong to Xi’An. The flights would typically cost about SGD$746 for a return trip.
The Cathay Pacific flight CX 714 and CX 715 (B777) were rather uncomfortable as the seats were pretty cramped and the non-touchscreen in-flight entertainment was rather old-fashioned with the old-school joystick control. On the contrary, the Cathay Dragon flight KA 943 and KA 946 (A330) were more comfortable and the in-flight entertainment system was way better and more modern than the Cathay Pacific flight.
I put up at West Capital International Hotel for 2 Nights and Wudangshan Xian Guan (武当仙馆) for 4 Nights. Accommodation at Xi’An will cost about SGD$160 and accommodation at Wudangshan will cost about SGD$282.
Jinjiang West Capital International Hotel is located at the City Centre and I would personally recommend the hotel because of its location. There are multiple places of interests/attractions such as the Drum Tower, Muslim Quarter, City God Temple of Xi’An and etc, and they are all within walking distance from the hotel. Service was exceptional and the room was decent. The buffet breakfast spread is fabulous and I enjoyed it very much.
I really enjoyed my stay at Wudang Xian Guan. Although I couldn’t find the property listing on Agoda, I found it on Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency. If you visit the English version of Ctrip i.e. Trip.com, Wudang Xian Guan is translated as “Taihe Health Care Home in Wudang Mountains”. Don’t be taken aback by the English translation though. I personally feel that the more appropriate English name for the property should be, “Wudang Immortals Inn”. The room has an oriental vibe and I look forward to waking up every morning because of the amazing forest view. The food served is mainly vegetarian and there is a large space just outside the hotel where one can practise Taichi in the morning. As the property is located next to the Cable Car Station, access to Tianzhu Peak/Golden Hall is really convenient. If you are looking for a place where you can do some introspection, this is definitely it.
China uses the Renminbi and the typical exchange rate for 1 Singapore Dollar was about 5 Renminbi (RMB). As my flight transited at Hong Kong, I changed some Hong Kong Dollars as well and the exchange rate for 1 Singapore was about 5.8 Hong Kong Dollars (HKD).
What to Buy in Wudangshan
At Wudangshan, there are numerous martial art academies and temples; and at the various attractions/places of interest on the mountain, there are plenty of shops that sell local produce, swords, tea leaves, beads and etc. If you would like to buy some souvenirs for yourself or your family members and friends, I would suggest that you do that at the foot of the mountain where there are more varieties and it would also be cheaper.
Some items that I would also recommend getting would be tea leaves (from 20 RMB) rice wine (from 80 RMB), chrysanthemum flower tea, and zodiac sword souvenir (from 88 RMB). If you are into amulets (from 68 RMB), crystals, wooden beads, and the likes; it is widely available too. However, do exercise caution as some goods could be imitations/fake products.
What to Buy in Xi’An
Xi’An is very well known for its jujube dates, walnuts, almonds and sour plum powder. While you can’t tabao/pack back the freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice, you should really try it! There are also souvenir shops selling keychains, terracotta warrior figurines, and memorabilia for about 10 RMB per piece.
Places of Interest & Activities
To get to Wudang Mountain from Xi’An, I took a bus and the journey was about 5-6 hours long. A bus ride from Xi’An bus station (opposite Xi’An Railway Station) to Wudangshan Town will cost 120 RMB per person. The bus will depart from Xi’An at 09:30 am and should arrive in Wudangshan Town by 05:30 pm (information correct as of April 2019). Once you arrive at the visitor centre of Wudangshan, you will then have to purchase an entrance ticket to the entire scenic area (excluding Purple Heaven Palace and Golden Summit) for 243 RMB. The price includes unlimited bus rides to different venues at Wudangshan and insurance.
Wudang-Style 9-Form Taiji Quan & Ba Duan Jing
There are numerous martial arts academies at Wudangshan and it can be very challenging to decide on one that will be suitable for your learning needs. I was very privileged that we had a dedicated Teacher who taught us the Wudang Style 9-Form Taiji Quan & Ba Duan Jing.
Purple Heaven Palace
Purple Heaven Palace is a historical site designated for state protection and the coloured paintings on the timber of Purple Heaven Palace make the palace look beautiful and imposing. The Purple Heaven Palace is also where the emperors in the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties often issued orders to construct altars to bless their ancestors in heaven, request the assistance of the deities to ensure prosperity and good weather for the crops to have a bumper grain harvest. Entrance to the Purple Heaven Palace cost 15 RMB per person.
Golden Hall /金顶
Located on the top of the Tianzhu Peak, the main peak of Wudang Mountain, Hubei Province; the Golden Hall was built in the 14th year of Yongle reign (1416) of Ming Dynasty. The Hall is the biggest gilded copper temple in China, and is 5.54 meters high, 4.40 meters wide and 3.15 meters deep.
All statues and tools are made of bronze. The most valuable statue is the bronze statue of Zhen Wu, another name for the Northern Emperor, Beidi, a popular Daoist deity. Between them, the statues and hall represent the best of Ming Dynasty copper work. Visitors can also revel in the natural surroundings, taking in magical sunrises and sultry dusks.
Entrance ticket to the Golden Hall cost 27 RMB per person.
Taihe Cable Car Ropeway
If you want to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the mountain ranges, you can get on the Cable Car from Qiong Tai to Tian Zhu Peak. A round trip ticket will cost 150 RMB per person.
Nanyan or “South Cliff’ temple is one of the most breathtaking sites of the Wudang Mountains. Devotees would view the cliff as a gateway to heaven, and it’s easy to imagine the cliff as the edge of the natural world. Situated on the cliff around the temple are over 500 iron statues of ancient figures and officials, blending traditional art and culture with the stunning natural surroundings.
Taizipo is one of the main scenic areas of Wudangshan and the ancient buildings of Taizipo were designed according to the legendary story of Zhenwu Practising Taoism. It was first built in 1412 during the Ming Dynasty and has been refurbished during the Qing Dynasty in the 17th century. The main scenic spots include Huilongguan Monastery, Chunyang Monastery, Laojuntang, and Baxianguan, and etc.
About 10 minutes down the road from Taizipo, the Carefree Valley is an extremely scenic area that will provide you with numerous hiking trails to keep you busy for a full day. There are ample spots for photo opportunities and there are various kinds of animals in the valley; especially the monkeys. It’s a holy and beautiful place for visitors to escape from the noise and enjoy the natural landscape.
If you cross the river and head to the plain-looking stage area, you can enjoy Kung-fu shows at 10 am and 4 pm. To the left of the stage is a small lake with a tea house.
I spent two days in Xi’An and I am really grateful for this opportunity to visit this beautiful city that has such a vibrant culture and rich history! Xi’an is more than 3,000 years old and was known as Chang’an (长安) in ancient times. For 1,000 years, the city was the capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. Xi’an is the undisputed root of Chinese civilization having served as the capital city for the Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui and Tang dynasties. It has often been said that “if you have not been to Xi’an, you have not been to China!”
Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses
The Terracotta Army (Terracotta Warriors and Horses) are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum in Lintong, Xian, Shaanxi Province. It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China.
Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his afterlife. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archaeologists immediately. They came to Xi’An in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artefacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC).
Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features at the museum. They are replicas of what the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigour.
The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first opened to the public on China’s National Day – Oct. 1st, 1979. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back.
No. 2 Pit, found in 1976, is 20 meters northeast of No. 1 Pit. It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was unveiled to the public in 1994. Archaeologists came upon No. 3 Pit also in 1976, 25 meters northwest of No. 1 Pit. It looked like to be the command centre of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses.
Altogether, over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to their former grandeur.
Since 1 October 2010, the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses and the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum have been combined into one large attraction area, Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, which also includes three other small sites opened in 2011. The Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum and the nearby three unopened sites (namely the Museum of Terracotta Acrobatics, the Museum of Terracotta Civil Officials and the Museum of Stone Armor) constitute the so-called Lishan Garden.
Entrance ticket costs 120 RMB per person.
Bell Tower and Drum Tower
Dating back to the
1380s, the very beginning of the Ming Dynasty, Xi’an’s majestic Bell Tower and
Drum Tower are symbols of the city’s rich past and are some of the largest and
best-preserved of their kind in China.
Every Ming-era city in China had a bell tower and a drum tower to help signal the time and mark important events. The Bell Tower in Xi’an, located at the very centre of the old city, is an imposing 27.4 meters high and located in a busy traffic circle. Visitors need to take an underground walkway beneath the traffic circle to reach the tower.
Visitors can climb up
to the Bell Tower’s terrace where the wooden tower sits to get a bird’s eye
view of the surrounding area. However, the view is not very impressive since
the tower is surrounded by busy roads in all directions. Please note that getting
up to the terrace requires climbing many stairs. Inside the tower, there is a
small museum that houses a huge bell, as well as some handwritten memos about
the relocation and renovation of the tower. There are also bell and chime
performances at various times throughout the day.
As an iconic landmark of Xi’An, the Bell Tower receives many tourists and there may be long lines at certain times. While people can pay a small fee to go upstairs and visit the interior of the tower, most visitors find the exterior of the Bell Tower more impressive, especially in the evening when it is illuminated with colourful lights. Since the tower is quite tall and prominent, you can easily appreciate it for free from across the road.
Xi’An Drum Tower
The Drum Tower, located at the south end of Beiyuanmen pedestrian street and about 200 meters to the northwest of the Bell Tower, was built in 1380, even earlier than the Bell Tower. The Drum Tower houses many large drums and some antique furniture, as well as short musical performances featuring drums and other traditional instruments at various times.
Great Muslim Mosque
Bigger than many temples in China, the Great Mosque is a gorgeous blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture and one of the most fascinating sacred sites. The present buildings are mostly Ming and Qing, though the mosque was founded in the 8th century. Arab influences extend from the central minaret (cleverly disguised as a stumpy pagoda) to the enormous turquoise-roofed Prayer Hall (not open to visitors) at the back of the complex, dating to the Ming dynasty.
Facing west (towards Mecca) instead of the customary south, the mosque features classic Chinese temple features and memorial arches, not to mention the glazed-tile Chinese-style roofing.
It’s a beautiful place to visit in spring, as the white and pink magnolias burst into bloom; in the slow season, the mosque can also be a haven of solitude and an oasis of tranquillity in a very busy area of the city.
Entrance ticket costs 25 RMB per person.
Just as its name implies, the Muslim Quarter, also known as Huimin Jie in Pingyin, is the hub of the Muslim community in Xi’An. Located to the north of West Street in the city centre, the quarter covers several blocks inhabited by over 20,000 Muslims. There are about ten mosques in the area; among which the Great Mosque in the Huajue Lane is the most famous and popular.
Beiyuanmen Muslim Street has a long history. It is said that in olden days, foreign diplomatic envoys and merchants lived here and then they married and had children, so gradually, the population increased. Today, most of the inhabitants here are the descendants of those immigrants. All the Muslims here are the pious and devout followers of Islam so they form a tight-knit community, which maintains its own culture and traditions to this day even in such a modern society.
Xi’An City Wall and Yong Ning Gate
When Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), captured Huizhou; a hermit named Zhu Sheng admonished him that he should ‘built high walls, store abundant food supplies and take time to be an Emperor,’ so that he could fortify the city and unify the other states. After the establishment of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang followed his advice and began to enlarge the wall built during the old Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), forming today’s scale of Xi’An City Wall.
The wall includes four gates and they are respectively named as Changle (meaning eternal joy) in the east, Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south and Anyuan (forever harmony) in the north.
The South Gate (Yongning Gate) is the most time-honoured and magnificent one among all the city gates. There are bicycles for rental up to the South Gate so it is popular for visitors to ascend here. If you stay near the Bell Tower, it is recommended that you take a 10 minutes’ walk along South Street to get to the South Gate.
Xi’An City God Temple
Located on West Avenue in downtown Xi’an, the Xi’an City God Temple is the largest city god temple in Shaanxi Province. As one of the only two remaining Taoist temples in downtown Xi’an, it has been listed as a key historical and cultural site under state protection. With a history of more than 600 years, the temple is still a magnificent site today.
First built in the twentieth year (1387) of the reign of Emperor Hongwu in the Ming Dynasty on the Jiuyao Street within the East Gate of the City Wall, the temple was rebuilt at its current location in the eighth year (1432) during the reign of the Ming Emperor Xuande. Being one of the three largest capital town god temples in China at that time, the Xi’an City God Temple, also known as Capital City God Temple, exercised control over all town god temples in China’s northwest provinces.
Originally, the temple was very grand and included a main hall, a sleeping hall, subordinate halls, the Music and Dance Building, and a memorial archway. As time went on, only the hall which was rebuilt in the first year (1723) of the reign of Emperor Yongzheng in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) remains.
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is a Buddhist pagoda located in southern Xi’an, Shaanxi province, China. It was built in 652 during the Tang dynasty and originally had five stories. The structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian, and its exterior brick facade was renovated during the Ming dynasty. One of the pagoda’s many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and traveller, Xuanzang. Today, the interior walls of the pagoda feature engraved statues of Buddha by the renowned artist Yan Liben.
I’ve been to China twice; the first was to Harbin and the second was to Beijing and that was more than 10 years ago! I am really glad to have been on this trip to witness the many rapid developments that are happening in China and being a history and culture buff myself, my trip to Xi’An was really an eye-opener.
Having said that, I enjoyed my visit to the Wudang Mountains the most and I really want to be back. The air there is really fresh and the next time I visit, I will probably be staying there for 6 months.
Planning a holiday party is not easy because you have to deal with a lot of individuals in your home or backyard, and you have to manage every little aspect of it; choosing a menu, setting everything up, entertaining your guests and potentially, supervising the children. Below is a short list of tips and trick that will help you manage everything easier, in a hassle-free fashion.
Establish a Theme
Regardless of the number of guests you are going to host, you have to decide on a theme. This will set the tone of your party and give the entire event a befitting atmosphere for the occasion. To establish a theme, think of what everybody has in common. Will your guests be only ladies? If yes, try an Easter cocktail tasting experience with your girlfriends and get them to bring their own alcohol.
If you’re getting together with a larger, diverse group, an
Easter movie themed party will make everybody happy.
Having kids over? Try a treasure hunt party that will make
everybody go crazy over the prizes.
Establishing a theme will make everything easier and you will most probably be able to plan the whole event faster and more effectively.
Make a To-Do List
Throwing a legendary Easter party will involve plenty of aspects that you can easily overlook along the way. To prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed by all the planning, we suggest creating a list and breaking down everything that you have to do based on the answers to the following questions:
Where will the party take place?
Who are my guests and how do I invite them?
Should I serve food? What type of food should I serve?
Should I include party games?
Who will watch the children if they attend?
The answers to these questions will offer you a better
action plan to guide your decisions on. Follow it to simplify things
Have a Budget and Stick to It
When organising an Easter party, make sure you plan a budget and stick to it because how successfully your Easter party is going to be depends on how you manage your party-planning process. Keep an inventory of things that you have bought and things that you still need to purchase.
Before buying anything, you should take a look at what you already have and develop your grocery and supply list according to that. This will lower some of your expenses and allow you to plan your party professionally.
Here are some easy-to-follow tips:
Create a spreadsheet. Categorise all the items and ingredients that you have on hand. Based on your estimations and needs, purchase what you lack.
See if you can pull off a potluck party. If you don’t have that much cash on hand, consider a potluck style party. This will bring people together and will offer a great sense of community.
DIY giftable centrepieces. Create your own decorations and centrepieces and gift them at the end of the party to your guests. They will be able to reuse them and it is a great way to save some money.
DIY Your Decorations
Easter party decorations can be easily managed at home. You
don’t have to worry too much about spending incredible amounts of money on them
and you can turn the entire activity into a family activity. Invite your
children to partake in it and you will have great family time. Get the supplies
that you need. For instance, you can find affordable ribbons and
make Easter garlands out of them. Glue some pom poms on them and maybe cut out
some bunnies out of colourful paper. This will offer you enough flexibility to
create some decorations for children and adults as well.
Make a DIY Happy Easter Sign from supplies that you find at
home. Place it on your door or even indoors, to offer a more festive vibe to
Cook in Advance
Preparing a menu ahead of time and shopping for some of your supplies in advance will allow you to avoid the Easter crowd and the high food costs due to the increased festive demands. However, some of your ingredients will still have to be purchased with only a little time ahead. Vegetables and fruits will inevitably go bad if you buy them too early.
To ensure that things don’t get chaotic before your big party, you should consider preparing a big part of your menu in advance. This is entirely manageable if you look for recipes that require similar food preparations as the rest.
Include easy-to-prepare quiches, tasteful loaves of bread and slow cooker dishes. These may be the easiest options that you have at your hand. If you want to exceed your guests’ expectations, you could try some mouth-watering and fancy-looking dishes like the Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.
Plan for Games and Activities
If you have enough guests over, you should consider entertaining them. Board games always make perfect party games. See what you have at home and if you lack such games, ask your guests to bring some over. Easy-to-learn and fun games should be at the top of your list. Research what people have to say on the matter and if you want, you can even purchase some games yourself.
If you want to keep children entertained as well, a treasure
hunt type of activity will most likely get them going. Hide small “treasures”
like chocolate Easter eggs, chocolate coins and other goodies in your backyard.
Create riddles and offer them hints and clues on the treasure’s location and
allow them to take home all the goodies found.
Planning the perfect Easter party is not that difficult as it initially seems. However, paying attention to several variables and planning ahead of time is necessary to pull off a fun, entertaining and somewhat fancy event. Make sure that you only invite guests whose presence you will appreciate as you don’t want to end up in a sticky and awkward situation that’s hard to get out off. And even if you lack a generous budget, research for DIY decorations and ideas that will help you make use of simple materials that won’t cost much.