Friday, August 25, 2017

Grocery Haul x Redmart


Another haul from Redmart because of the great sale values, foreign brands carried, free delivery and I won more Redmart vouchers from my previous purchases (thanks to Organic Valley Cheese and Dettol). That means I do not have to carry the items home from the supermarket myself. This time around I even managed to get $1 off for choosing a non-peak delivery time. 

Charmin disposable seat covers, for use in public toilets when I am travelling. 

Airwick freshmatic refills x2, 4-in-1 aerosols (odour eliminating, lemon scented) also x2, aroma gel stick ups that are patches you stick in your wardrobe/car/room. 

More Dettol shower gels coz I really liked the Gold range of glitter shower gels and the menthol ones are nice too, it leaves a cool tingling feeling.

Betty Crocker Star Wars fruit flavored snacks, it's gummies packed in individual serving size packets.

John West dressed crab in a can, never tried it before. Planning to put this on salads and toasts.

Schweppes blood orange in glass for myself to try before getting more and ginger ale 1.25L bottle.

And I got loads of beverages because my home has nothing except sports drinks left.

Vita Coco 1L coconut water x2
Snapple peach tea & pink lemonade
Florida's Natural 1.75L juices x3
Ribena sparkling original can 24 x 330ml
Ribena sparkling orange can 24 x 330ml

Some stuff for cooking meals: enoki mushrooms, garlic ginger paste, chaat masala. Then I got some stuff for tea-time: Meiji nata de coco yoghurt, 2 packs frozen youtiao (I've never seen these before).

Friday, August 18, 2017

Getting there by Trains

Getting to China by plane is really common. I was considering other options boat/cruise or even on land by car/train, I am not even going to contemplate bus. When I read this tripzilla article on how a bunch of girls managed to travel from Singapore to Europe over land in 7 weeks for S$3,000 (per person) I was simply amazed! There are more such adventures on blogs and travel sites.

Personally, I think I might make it if it were all luxury, maybe Oriental Express might consider planning one such journey from Singapore through China to Europe. For now, the luxury train Eastern-Oriental Express runs from Singapore to Bangkok Thailand over 3 days and the nearest departure dates are 14 Sept 2017 (usd $4,262) or 24 Sept 2017 (usd $6,250). 


Alternatively, you can get from Singapore to Bangkok via local trains that have at least 1 run a day. Travelling Gold Class on KTM ETS from Singapore to Bangkok will take 3 or 4 days and cost less than S$100, not including lodging and customs fees. Of course you will have to change trains and book overnight stays in a B&B on the way there. Or try and catch an overnight sleeper train (pic below). Firstly, you have to travel across the border from Singapore to JB Sentral by bus in order to catch a train to KL. The stations are KL to Penang to Padang Besar (border) to Bangkok.

From Bangkok you can take a train to Nong Khai station and onto Thanaleng Laos (1hr outside Vientiane Laos). This part of the journey will cost less than S$100, not including lodging and customs fees. Therafter, all land travel in Laos is by bus. You can travel to Luang Prabang by boat or bus for another S$50 or so, 10 to 12 hours. From Luang Prabang to Hanoi by bus for under S$100, not including lodging and customs fees. 

From Hanoi to Shanghai, you have to stopover at Nanning. So its 12 hours from Hanoi to Nanning for under S$100 and another 12 hours from Nanning to Shanghai for under S$200, prices do not include lodging or customs fees. The alternate route is Hanoi to Lao Cai - Hekou (border checkpoint) to Shanghai.

$650 for transportation
$250 fees and taxes
$350 for lodging
$350 for food
Total cost $1600
Total journey time is 8 or 9 days at least

Compare that to a direct flight from Singapore to Shanghai on Singapore Airlines economy class. The journey will take 5 hrs 20 mins, no stopovers, one-way and cost S$1,306 including taxes.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Getting a Ride...

Everyone has heard about how expensive cars cost in Singapore and the registration, road tax, COE just kills it. I was considering alternatives and the first thing I thought of was second hand cars. Not those sitting in the used car lots for years but rather those with a few years remaining on the COE. That way I can save money & effort to still get a pretty decent ride. Used cars are old enough so I won't cringe if I dent it and new enough to not worry about car servicing, although everyone warns you about that.

Looking at sgcarmart, I found a Chevrolet Aveo 5 with 3 months on the COE for just S$2,900. It was registered in 2007 so its 10 years old. Back then, the retail price would have been around $80,000 and COE $40,000, plus another $20,000 for registration, road tax etc. So this price is just ridiculous to me. For under $10,000 category, this was the only new-ish car I could find, all the other vehicles are kinda vintage-y. 

I am also really impartial to this Renault Kangoo, also made in 2007 and has about 4 months left on its COE. Selling for S$5,000. The original retail price of this car is around $60,000 plus another $60,000 for the other stuff. You can load a bunch of things into the back. For example, goods to sell or buy, groceries for your eatery or yourself, all your worldly possessions.

If you have more people to transport, the Mercedes Benz Sprinter seems fairly popular @ $17,000 with a year left on its COE. Sits 14 people including driver.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Getting into China

I've taken vacations in China before and never had to worry about it, it seems Singaporeans too require visas to enter China if planning to stay more than 15 days. Entry visas are also required for Hong Kong and Macao through a different application process. The visa application costs under $200 each and allow stays from 3 months (the most common) to 5 years.   

China doesn't recognize international driver licence and in addition to that, tourists are not allowed to drive vehicles. Foreigners with a valid residence visa (PR or Citizen) can apply for a China driving licence. If they already have a driver's licence in their home country, they just need to pass a theory test. As for right-hand drive or left-hand drive, it depends on the location you are in (state specific). 

To apply for PR in China you need to be directly related to a Chinese Resident/Citizen, make a minimum investment of USD $100,000 in China, have a job in China guaranteed by your company or have made an important contribution to the country. Previously, the temporary residence permit allowed over 60 year old retirees to purchase a landed home in China in order to get a residence permit. Not sure if that is still valid today.