Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Jog from Yishun to Ang Mo Kio Today - The Calories Burnt Would Hopefully Even Out the Calories Gained Afterwards

There's something i need to do today at Ang Mo Kio and while the easiest way is to take the train; i decided to make good use of my pair of legs to jog there instead as i needed to burn off the calories for the massive gain afterwards. 

So here i was; starting from the Nee Soon Central Community Park near my house. Strangely, the park was identified as one of the factors why i purchased the HDB flat but i seldom jog there.

Reaching Khatib MRT station.

I have used this route before, on occasions when there's a light drizzle and i could still make use of the shelter from the train tracks. There's a slight problem though; the area gets quite eerie at night, especially towards the reservoir side where public housing is limited. 

Aside from Safra Yishun, HomeTeamNS is also going to have a clubhouse in our notorious town of Yishun. It's supposed to be operational from June but COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a stop of construction work in Singapore. If the situation improves, guess we would see it opening by end of the year.

It's exciting as there's a "four-storey, 2,800sqm Indoor Adventure Hub" that's similar to Forest Adventure @ Bedok Reservoir but indoor! Most importantly, Orchid Live Seafood would be moving to the new clubhouse too; that would guarantee a few visits from me although i expect pricing to be revised upwards.

Jogging past ORTO; guess i am not the only crazy person to jog at 3.00 pm!  Anyway, ORTO is a relatively chill out place in Yishun where one can partake in prawning, fishing, dining, karting etc. You can even enjoy trampoline at this Katapult Trampoline Park wtihin ORTO. Its most recent tenant is The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum

Coming to the major traffic intersection; should Yishun ever need to build a wall to separate itself from the rest of Singapore, this would be one of its main entry points. 

The narrow route towards Ang Mo Kio; i wouldn't mind jogging in broad daylight even though the lack of any other human was still quite disturbing. What if i am bitten by a snake?! 

Sungei Seletar - this river is super near the kampong that i used to stay at until i was six years old. I have attempted to find the exact location but i think i would need my dad's help.

Some construction work along Lentor Avenue; in the past, there's a side road that leads to the Springleaf area which was then a mix of kampongs and clusters of private housing. 

Shit, no traffic lights, no zebra crossing! 

Thanks to the circuit breaker, the usually heavy vehicular traffic from the Seletar Expressway (SLE) was non-existent and i could cross without any difficulty. 

Underneath SLE; completed in 1998, this expressway serves as an important joint for Central Expressway (CTE), Tampines Expressway (TPE) and Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE). 

Finally seeing some high rise buildings here but the road looked a bit strange to me. I used to drive along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 before i scrapped my Toyota Vios and i remember it was a straight road.

SMRT train traversing the track along the North South Line.

Coming back to the strangeness of the road, i think the authority is redesigning the road to enlarge the residential plot and contain it to the left of the train track when you travel towards the north. 

You can still catch a glimpse of the old road from the above.

Dark clouds behind me; as you can see, i spent quite a bit of time taking photographs and the worst thing i want is to have rain pelting me when i am so far away from home! 

Yio Chu Kang MRT station! Even though there's no shopping mall next to it, it's within walking distance to Nanyang Polytechnic. I studied at Singapore Polytechnic but in the past, i would swim at Yio Chu Kang swimming pool which is just beside the station. 

Could you still remember the choices you made for secondary school after collecting your PSLE scores? Presbyterian High was actually my third choice but i got in to my second choice which was Yishun Town Secondary School.

Banner of the politicians who governs the constituency currently; most notable would of course be Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore. I remember it's a six-member constituency; who is the extra person? 

Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West with its 120-step staircase! I have always wanted to check it out and maybe i should if travel curbs are still in place in the next few weeks! 

Standalone McDonald's restaurant at the outskirt of the garden; how many of such McDonald's are there in Singapore now? I know of Safra Yishun, Kallang, West Coast, Queensway and Bishan Park.

Masjid Al-Muttaqin has been at this location for a long time, even before the HDB blocks next to it were built. From Wikipedia, i gathered that it's almost the same age as me; except i am older by a few months! 

The destination for my jog; AMK Hub as i had to withdraw money for the items i would be purchasing later and to play safe, i decided to take out S$200, just in case.

Jog took me slightly more than an hour, across 8.2 kilometres. My younger sister, an avid jogger, was surprised as she thought the distance was longer than that. Now that she can't visit the gym due to circuit breaker, maybe she can consider this route. 

Route according to the RunKeeper app! Maybe i should attempt jogging to the beautiful Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park as it's not that far from AMK Hub. And after that, maybe to Toa Payoh which is literally the heart of this little red dot.

True objective of this jog; to procure durians from Ah Di. I assumed i was early as it's only about 4pm when i arrived but his durian stall was already swept clean of the king of fruits! All's not lost though as i had asked him to reserve one cat mountain king and two golden phoenix durians for me! Heng ah! 

Time to indulge after burning so much calories from the jog! 
As expected, Ah Di Durians don't disappoint. 

Departure Hall of Krabi International Airport @ Thailand

The departure hall of Krabi International Airport is literally just a big room with shops on three sides and seating area placed right in the middle; it may not seem much but i feel it's better than the equivalent-sized Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung.

There were a number of convenience stores where you can get snacks, drinks, souvenirs and also a book store where you can get something to read to rid yourself of the boredom while waiting for your flight.

Good thing about souvenirs purchased in airports are that their quality is usually better although correspondingly, the price is also likely to be higher. However, the fridge magnets here were actually priced quite competitively at only about S$2 apiece. 

Fancy shopping for pearl jewelry? 

A black canyon coffee takeaway outlet; i always prefer branded coffee chains as the drinks are at least consistent in their taste. Pricing wise, a hot mocha (large) had a price tag of 120 baht; is it considered expensive? Compared to Singapore starbucks, i think it's still cheaper.

Another coffee joints; Doi Chaang coffee

Health-conscious individuals may consider the bottled bird's nest but if you are concerned about animal rights, do note that the harvesting of bird's nest is considered controversial and its health benefits are contentious. 

I thought one level was it but there's a lower level for duty free products! They really need to improve on their signage as not many people were checking it out! 

Cosmetics, skincare products, snacks, perfumes, alcohol etc. Unlike the duty free shops at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport which is managed by King's Power, this one here is under Leon Duty Free.

I made a beeline for the Absolut Vodka display; i am actually a collector of the liquor even though i don't drink them. Unique and newly introduced bottles are needed to add to my collection and i already have everything that's on display.

One thing i really love from the retailers in Thailand is that they would publish top products favoured by tourists and i find them extremely helpful in assisting me to make my decisions. Taste is of course rather subjective and it's eventually your call.

Back at the waiting hall again; there were USB charging ports available. With the popularity of power banks, i don't really utilize them as much as i did in the past. 


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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Aonang Beach - Swordfish Sculpture & A Walk Down Memory Lane @ Krabi [Thailand] #aonangbeach #swordfishsculpture

On the last day of my Krabi trip, i decided to make my way down to Aonang Beach to take some photos. That area held great memories as we stayed at a resort back in 2011 that's literally a stone's throw from the beach!

The road leading to the resort; as you can see, it was just about right for a tuk-tuk! A tour bus would need a darn experienced driver in order to navigate this road.

Left side of the beach; the colossal cliff created a beautiful backdrop and behind it is pretty near Phra Nang Beach, one of our destinations for the 4-island tour we joined in day 2.

Right side would be closer to the commercial street alongside the beach; hence, the flotilla of long-tailed boats awaiting for customers on day tours or just taking a shuttle to the neighboring islands / other local beaches.

One thing i remember clearly from the Aonang beach in 2011 is that the sand was mixed in with broken bits of sea shells. Those with delicate feet should note to put on a pair of beach sandals / slippers.

With such amazing sight in front of us, my visit in 2011 was relaxing and provided me with much bandwidth to recollect my thoughts and decide about my future. It was during this trip that i was giving ample thought to resign from the department i was at in NUS then.

Continuing my walk on the street level.

Golden Beach Resort - the place Alex and i stayed at back in 2011. We didn't feel that service was great then and swore not to return unless the price was dirt-cheap. With so many new hotels and resorts in Aonang now, tourists are now spoilt with choices.

Oh my gosh, Blooming Massage is still around?! I recall having a terrific massage at this non-air-conditioned parlor where our souls were soothed by the therapeutic sound of waves crashing to the shore. And they served bananas and biscuits after the session!

Price list for your reference; surprisingly, their price for traditional Thai massage remained unchanged from 2011! Due to a lack of time, i didn't manage to go in for a massage and wonder if they continue to provide complimentary bananas and biscuits..

After the terrible tsunami arising from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, signposts were put up to notify visitors of the hazard zone and the evacuation route. From the above map, the assembly point appeared to be beyond BlueSotel which was about 600 meters from the beach.

Sun-tanners - unlike the past, i don't like to suntan nowadays as the powerful UV rays can be real harmful to our skin. Don't know why the Caucasians love it so much. My mom would have brought along an umbrella, worn her shades and ensure she slathered on bottles of lotion to protect her skin from the rays.

Boarding the long tailed boat - as there are a number of exclusive resorts / areas accessible only via the water, you can constantly find customers. Maybe not during this COVID-19 pandemic though as tourism is severely hit.

Price list for your reference, i presume you can still bargain.

Something strange though; please refer to the compensation notice. Do excuse me if i interpret it incorrectly but did it mention that there will not be any compensation if the boat crashes or sinks?! p.s. please also keep in mind that national marine park fee is not inclusive.

More photos for your viewing pleasure!

Time-lapsed of people boarding a speedboat for a day tour. The vessel doesn't look huge but it managed to accommodate about 37-38 persons!

From far, it has the shape of a turtle but the above was a cluster of islands that we visited as part of the 4-island tour on day 2! Click here to check out where we went and what we did!

This wasn't here back in 2011.

The Swordfish Sculpture that's erected in a prominent spot along the beach and widely considered as an iconic landmark in Aonang. Contrary to its popular reference; the bronze sculpture, that cost 5-million baht to build, was not based on swordfish.

Its image was based on sailfish which is smaller than swordfish, and the sculpture "commemorates an incident about 15 years ago, when local fisherman caught an enormous number of the iconic marine animal off of Phi Phi" island.

Many people thought Phi Phi Islands are under Phuket which is incorrect. I guess many people thought so as you get a lot more tourists to Phuket than Krabi and Phi Phi Islands are accessible from both Phuket and Krabi.

Beautiful isn't it? If you are lucky to catch the sunset on a good day, this sailfish sculpture was an incredible backdrop against the setting sun. 

Speedboat from Barracudas Tour; i remember it well as it was the same company we signed up with for the Phi Phi Islands tour nine years ago! 

Towards the tail-end of Aonang beach. 

Another sculpture although i am unsure of its origins and purpose. Oh well, it does provide a 'window' for me to take a photograph of a different, slightly artistic feel. 

I can still walk further down to reach the right-end of Aonang beach but decided not to as i remember the stretch was quite narrow and nothing to see. The structures on the right of the picture are restaurants and you may consider dining there to catch sunset, if weather permits.  


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