Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Visit Bangkok on One Page


Bangkok (City of Angels)
Public Transport: 1.Rapid Transit Systems (6am-12am) - a.BTS Skytrain b.MRT c.Airport Rail Link. 2.Water taxi- a.Chao Phraya or b.Khlong Saen Seap Express Boat 3.Tuk Tuk(for short trip, around 30baht) 4.Bus 5.Taxi/ e-hailing(Grab & Easy). If there is a choice, opt for the rapid transit which is the safest, most pleasant, economical, to avoid bad traffic, pollution. Boat and Tuk-tuk - to experience/see Thai way of life.

Where to stay: 1.Sukhumvit (most convenient, train stations, shops, night life). 2.Khao San Road (budget, backpackers, bars). 3.Along Chao Phraya River (riverside hotels are more expensive, scenic).  
Shopping: It is common to haggle for the best price.  
Dress Code in sacred places: modest (covers shoulders and knees). There are many Buddhist temples (Wat) in Bangkok.

CHATUCHAK | How to go: BTS Mo Chit Station (Sukhumvit Line) Exit 1. Walk 300m to Chatuchak Market and 450m to Children's Discovery Museum:
1. Chatuchak Weekend Market [Website] - biggest outdoor market on earth. There are over 15,000 stalls offering Food, Art, Antiques, Fashion and much more, an authentic Thai experience. Unique items not easily found in other places. The food, original artwork, clothes here are amazing. Must-eat: Don't miss the coconut ice cream (coco JJ), Chicken noodle soup | Opening Time: Saturday and Sunday 9am-6pm (Whole Market open). Wednesday and Thursday 7am-6pm (Plant section only). Friday 6pm-12pm (Wholesale only) | Admission: free
Plenty to see at Chatuchak Market: food, fashion, art, etc.

2. Children's Discovery Museum - In "Dino Detective Zone" the kids learn about dinosaurs and they get to dig fossils in the sand. "Creative Science room": Learn about sound, classical mechanics, energy. Create your own giant bubble from inside. There is a Tunnel of mirrors to create illusions. Different occupations Role plays with mini-size vehicles, outdoor playground and water play, build a miniature city | Admission: Free | Hours: Daily 10am - 4pm (except Monday). Water Play: 10am-11.30am | 1.30pm-2.30pm | 3pm-4pm
1. Dig dino fossils in the sand. 2. Create a giant bubble from inside. 3. Build a city [source] [bangkokpost]


WATER TAXI/ BOAT OR FERRY SERVICES:
1. Khlong (canal) Tour on Long-tail Boat - Go on a long tail boat ride to see wooden houses on stilts, floating kitchens, Buddhist temples, and small businesses selling vegetables, food, electrical items, etc. on the canal. You can experience a peaceful riverside atmosphere and see a more traditional way of Thai life up close. There are a few tourist boat service providers, here's one of them: Your Thai Guide [Website] | Boat ride fees for one hour Bangkok Canal Tour: 1,000 Baht per pax (1-2 visitors). 3,000 Baht for entire boat (3-9 visitors). 500 Baht per pax (10 or more).
A tranquil boat ride experience to look at traditional way of Thai life

2. Chao Phraya Tourist Boat [Website] BLUE FLAG BOAT cruises along the Chao Phraya River stopping at piers (8 piers) connecting to Bangkok's tourist attractions such as N3 River City/ Si Phraya: River City Shopping Mall. N4 Lhong 1919. N5 Ratchawongse: Chinatown. N6 Pakklong Taladd/ Yodpiman: Flower Market. N8 Tha Tien: Wat Arun and Wat Pho. N9 Tha Maharaj/ Tha Chang: Grand Palace. N11 Thonburi: Siriraj Phimukhsthan Museum & Royal Barge National Museum. N13 Phra Arthit: Khao San Road. Recorded tourist info is played on the boat. Hop-on and hop-off. | Fee: Single-journey (1 hop-off): 50 Baht. One-day River Pass: 180 Baht (unlimited rides) | How to go: BTS Saphan Taksin Station. Take Exit 2 to Sathorn Pier | Time: 9am-5.30pm | To Asiatique: starts at 4.30pm
A cheaper option of Chao Phraya Tourist Boat: Various Piers and attractions.

3. Chao Phraya Express Boat [Website] Cheap way to get around, avoid traffic jam with more stops but can get crowded during peak hours.

LOCAL LINE (NO FLAG): Nonthaburi(N30) - Wat Rajsingkorn(S3) | Operation: Monday-Friday
Morning Service 6.45am-7.30am. Afternoon Service 4pm-4.30pm. Fare: 9/11/13 Baht (Depends on distance)
ORANGE FLAG BOAT: Nonthaburi(N30) - Wat Rajsingkorn(S3) | Operation: Everyday 6am-7pm | Fare: 14 Baht
GREEN FLAG BOAT: Pakkred(N33) - Nonthaburi(N30) - Sathorn(Centre) | Operation: Monday-Friday. Morning Service 6.10am-8.10am. Afternoon Service 4.05pm-6.05pm | Fare: 13/20/32 Baht
YELLOW FLAG BOAT: Nonthaburi(N30) - Sathorn(Centre) | Operation: Monday-Friday. Morning Service 6.15am-8.20am. Afternoon Service 4pm-8pm | Fare: 20 Baht
Cheapest boat option, takes you to your destination. The stops (piers) that each boat line goes to.

4. Khlong Saen Seap Express Boat [Website] provides fast, cheap transportation through the city's traffic-congested commercial districts. Not for young children as it requires climbing and speed getting on and off boat, polluted canal. What's on each pier: Pratunam Pier (Interchange): CentralWorld, Pratunam Market, Platinum Fashion Mall, Panthip Plaza IT Mall. Saphan Hua Chang Pier: MBK Center, Siam Square. Ban Krua Nua Pier: Jim Thompson's House. Panfa Leelard Pier: Democracy Monument, Wat Saket(Golden Mount), Khao San Road | Fare: 10-20baht (depending on distance) | How to pay: Board the ferry. The Ticket attendant will collect the fare from you | Frequency: 5-20min | Hours: 5:30am to 8:30pm daily on weekdays (7pm on weekends)
Khlong Saen Seap Express Boat Route


CHAO PHRAYA RIVER ATTRACTIONS:
N8 Tha Tien: Wat Arun [Website] is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The 79 meter high tower is decorated with ceramic tiles and fragments of multi colored porcelain. The colorful patterns and use of perspective are an awe-inspiring. It is possible to walk a limited way up the very steep stairs of the main prang, which gives a reasonable view of the Chao Phraya river. This Buddhist temple is an architectural representation of Mount Meru, the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology. The four-corner prang of Wat Arun house images of the guardian gods of the four directions | Admission: 50 baht | Time: Daily 8.30am to 5.30pm | How to go: N8 Tha Tien Pier (Chao Phraya Boat)
An architectural representation of Mount Meru with four-corner prang. Striking riverside landmark decorated with ceramic tiles and fragments of porcelain. Visitors can walk up the stairs. [source]

N8 Tha Tien: Wat Pho [Website] - Laid inside the main hall of this temple is the 46-meter Reclining Buddha whose feet are embedded with 108 auspicious symbols made of mother-of-pearl. There are 1,360 marble inscriptions about literature and science, intricate murals, golden statues around the temple. To make a wish: purchase coins and drop in the 108 bronze bowls. Courtyard with stupas decorated with colorful tiles | How to go: N8 Tha Tien Pier. Wat Pho is next to Grand Palace. To get to Wat Arun which is across the Chao Phraya River, you have to take a boat shuttle (4baht). Wat Pho Hours: 8am–6:30pm | Admission: 100 Baht | English guide: from 200baht. Wat Pho Thai Traditional Medical School (Thai Massage Service) Hours: 8am–5pm | Rates from: 30 minutes of Thai massage: 260 Baht. Foot massage: 280 Baht
46 meter reclining Buddha is huge compared to the size of the visitors. Wat Pho complex with a group of four huge pagodas surrounded by white wall [pic: chasingplaces.com & tourismthailand.org]
N9 Tha Chang: The Grand Palace - It is a big site with halls, royal residences, pavilions, gardens, and temples. This beautiful palace is a great place for the architectural enthusiasts. Visitors are not allowed enter some buildings, they can view from outside. Within the site is The Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) where the Buddha figurine is made from a solid single piece of green jade, clothed in gold and diamonds. | Time: Daily 8:30am-4pm | Fee: 500 baht (includes entry to Vimanmek Palace and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall) | How to go: S6:Saphan Taksin Station (BTS Silom Line). Take Exit No. 2. Then, take the Chao Phraya Express Boat [Route Map] (No, Green or Red Flag Boat Line) to Tha Chang Pier (No.9). 5-10 minute walk to the Grand Palace.
1. The Grand Palace is located in the heart of Bangkok. 2. The Emerald Buddha: A ceremonial costume change, only performed by the King of Thailand, occurs three times per year: for summer, rainy and winter seasons. Each costume costs approximately $3.8 Million USD. [source]

N5 Ratchawongse: Chinatown [Website] - Located on Yaowarat Road, Bangkok's Chinatown has the biggest Chinese community and largest gold trading market in Thailand. There are restaurants, temples, shops that sell herbs, dried food, etc. The Night Market here is famous for its incredible Chinese food stalls. Should also visit Wat Traimit Temple (largest solid gold Buddha in the world) and Sampeng Lane for shopping. If you keep on walking along Yaowarat Road, you will reach The Old Siam Shopping Plaza (Classic design, traditional Thai snacks). | How to go: 1. MRT Hua Lamphong Station. Walk to 600m to Chinatown Gate. 2. Chao Phraya Express Boat (N5 Ratchawongse Pier). Walk 500m to Yaowarat Road. | Must-eat: Koay Jap Nai Huan - rice noodles with crispy roast pork belly and pig innards in peppery soup, T&K Seafood, wonton noodle, Charcoal toasted bun with sweet filling, just follow the crowd/ queue.
Depending on where you want to go. From MRT Station, walk 600m to Wat Traimit Temple. Chintown Gate is next to it. Walk along Yaowarat Road to eat the famous Kuay jab. Then head to Sampeng Lane to shop. You can also start your Chinatown adventure from Ratchawong Pier to Sampeng Lane first. [Map data ©2018 Google Malaysia]

1. Located in the middle of the Odeon traffic circle is the intricately designed Chinatown Gate. 2. Very popular Koay Jap Nai Huan. [Source]


N13 Phra Arthit: Khao San Road - 1km of backpacker strip with budget guesthouses, mid-range hotels, bars, tattoo shops, market stalls (with friendlier stall keepers), massage parlours, etc. A place that you can meet other backpackers from the West mostly, try exotic food such as fried insects, party like crazy, basically very touristy area. Popular clubs: The Club (free entrance) & Brick Bar(live bands playing Thai Indie. 300baht on weekends). Massage: 150 baht for 30 min of foot massage at Khao San Thai Massage | Time: No vehicles allowed on Khao San Road after 5pm and it will start to get busy til late | Must-eat: banana pancake | How to go: Walk 700m from Phra Arthit Pier (Chao Phraya Boat) or Walk 1km from Panfa Leelard Pier (Saen Seap Express Boat)
1. Backpackers haven Khao San Road - 1km of fun, food, party...[pic:bangkok.com] 2. Party till you drop at The Club Khao San [source]

Asiatique The Riverfront [Website] is a large-scale riverside project combining 4 large shopping complexes, open market, dining, events under one roof. There is a big Ferris wheel (Asiatique Sky- Fee:฿400 | Klook:฿350), great night view of the market and river, boardwalk, carnival, Juliet Love Garden, Muay Thai matches and stage shows. Price is more expensive compared to other night markets | How to go: Free ASIATIQUE Shuttle (but with long queue) or Express Boat from Sathorn (or Central) Pier.
Boardwalk, ferris wheel, nice lighting, Love lock Garden for plenty of photo opportunities [source]

SUKHUMVIT ROAD is the longest road in Thailand that runs through Bangkok downtown all the way to Cambodia. It is the most convenient place to stay with plenty of hotels, shopping malls, food options, clubs, train stations, vibrant 24-hour street life, also has a bad reputation for scammers. 
  • Soi Cowboy [Website] (next to Terminal 21) is a red-light district with neon lighting up a stretch of go-go bars (raunchier bars with girl dancers, live shows). Each is colorfully lit, playing loud music | How to go: MRT Sukhumvit Station or BTS Asok. 
  • Terminal 21 [Website] is an Airport-themed mall with setup of airport gates in different countries. Huge Golden Gate Bridge replica is constructed across the balconies on top of the main foyer. Each level a different city; eg: Venice-Italian marble fountain in the bathroom. | How to go: BTS Asok Station (connected via skywalk)
  • Sukhumvit Soi 38 Night Food Market. Some original stalls have moved out due to development. Thong Lo BTS Station (Exit 4).  Must-eat: Khao Niaow Ma Muang (Mango Sticky Rice). Look for a stall with a board written "Sticky rice and coconut milk with mango 60-80 baht"
  • Dine in the Dark (DID) @Sheraton Grande Hotel $$$$ - Visually impaired servers, guides, makes sure you are comfortable. The fun part is they will reveal what you have eaten after the meal. Great service and experience, pricey. Food quality is inconsistent. You can choose from the Asian, Western, Vege or Surprise menu. Next to BTS Asok Station. 
  • Issaya $$$$ - Cosy, lovely colonial house. plenty of vegetarian options. Very tasty gourmet Thai food, delicate presentation. Great flavor. Pricey. Hard to find, neighborhood is run down | Better to go by taxi or 650m walk from Khlong Toei MRT Station.
  • Roast [Website] $$$ | The COMMONS@Thonglor (1.5km walk from Thong Lo BTS Station) & The Helix Quartier (EmQuartier next to BTS Phrom Phong Station) - Top notch food. must-have: Truffle Alfredo, coffee, quesadilla, egg Benedict. 
  • Isao [Website] $$-$$$ (Sukhumvit 31) - Very delicious, fancy sushi rolls, not very authentic, crowded, price is reasonable | BTS Phrom Phong Station, walk 450m 
  • Madame Shawn $-$$ - good food, atmosphere, trendy, reasonable price, big selection of traditional Thai food, near Samitivej Hospital, Staff don't speak much English. | 1.4km walk from BTS Phrom Phong Station
  • Rung Ruang Noodles $ - Amazing fresh local pork rice noodles with great flavours. Cheap. Served fast. Options: dry, soup, spicy (tom yum) or non-spicy. With minced pork and fish balls. add-on: crispy fish skin. small portion (60baht) | 300m walk from BTS Phrom Phong Station
  • Mae Varee Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango at Soi 55 $ | very near Thong Lo BTS Station
Sukhumvit vibrant night life: Soi Cowboy Red Light District with colorful neon lighting. Soi 38 night food market has the best mango sticky rice in town.


Songkran Festival - 13-15Apr, water fight.

  • The Jim Thompson House Bangkok [Website] - reconstructed old houses turned museum. Interesting demo of silk spinning, and house tour. Authentic experience of visiting a Thai home. Learn historical importance of silk trading and development of Thai Silk industry by James HW Thompson. Quality silk product for sale. Tranquil courtyard, tasty meal at the restaurant. | Admission: 150baht | Hours: 9am-6pm (Guided tour is compulsory) | How to go: 1.BTS National Stadium Station, take exit 1. walk 600m. 2.
Visit Jim Thompson House to find out more about the Thai silk industry. [source]

MALL HOPPING IN BANGKOK CENTRAL
The Skywalk is an elevated walkway which is built under the BTS Skytrain where many shopping malls are close together. You can walk from Central Chidlom to Siam Paragon where it stops. You can rejoin the Skywalk by going through Siam Center, then it starts again and goes all the way to MBK Center and National Stadium BTS Station, without having to step foot on the regular sidewalk. | Hours: 6am-12am
1.Skywalk from Central Chidlom to Siam Paragon. 2.Skywalk from CentralWorld to Platinum Fashion Mall was opened in 2016. 3.The new skywalk opened in 2017 from Siam Center goes over the Pathumwan intersection past MBK to the National Stadium BTS station. [Map data ©2018 Google Malaysia]


1. Central World [Website] is the largest shopping mall in Bangkok city, second in Thailand, 11th in the world. Luxury goods, international brands, insane choices of food, gourmet ingredients. Trimurti Shrine is right in front of the mall. Singles offers red roses to Trimurti, God of Love on Thursdays at 9.30pm, wearing red, hoping to meet their Mr/Miss Right.  Erawan Shrine is located at the crossroad intersection in front of Grand Hyatt Erawan, opposite CentralWorld, is the most popular shrine in Bangkok for tourists, not to be missed. In a thanksgiving ceremony that is repeated several times a day, a Thai classical dance is performed.
Central World is connected to other shopping malls by Skywalk which is built under the Skytrain (BTS). The Erawan Shrine (Four Face Buddha). photo credit: Richard Barrow | ThinkStock Photos

2. MBK Center [Website] is a huge 8-storey air-conditioned shopping center, the most popular in Bangkok for shopping. You can find almost anything here: fashion (many sizes), electronics, souvenirs, jewelry, tailoring, etc. mainly Thai products and good quality fake branded goods. Bargain to get really low prices. Awesome food courts on 5th and 6th floors. | Hours: daily 10am-10pm How to go: Stop at BTS National Stadium Station & Walk 500m (connected to the Skywalk). From Jim Thompson House: 800m walk.
Popular among tourists and locals alike, MBK Center is a shopping paradise. Pad Thai (stir-fried rice noodles) is one of the dishes that you must eat at the MBK Food court (on the 6th floor) recommended by ladyironchef. Source: UKRID/shutterstock

3. Siam Discovery - The trendiest and most futuristic mall in Bangkok. Many Thai and international brands. Goods are displayed in an open concept, like how a home is decorated. Expensive. Artistic pieces/ structures around the mall. Madame Tussauds Museum is located here. | How to go: BTS Siam Station

4. Siam Paragon Shopping Centre [Website] | How to go: BTS Siam Station (exit 5) - connected to the mall. Big mall with luxury brands, restaurants, prices are 20% more compared to other malls. KidZania and Sea Life are located here.
  • KidZania - [Website] Kids can enjoy their 80 role plays like fireman, CSI detective, barber, dentist, actor, pilot etc. in establishments such as acting academy, court house, hospital, live stage, radio station, drinking water research center, disco lounge, culinary school, dental care, design studio, department store, convenience store, construction site, bank... Amazing experience for children. | Hours: Mon-Fri: 10AM-5PM. Sat-Sun & Public Holidays: 10.30AM-8.30PM | Fee: Babies:-Free. Weekdays:- Toddler(2-3):600THB. Kid(4-14):1,000THB. Adult(15+):600THB. Weekends and Public Holiday:- Toddler:720THB. Kid:1,200THB. Adult:720THB. Klook:860THB (Kid).
Very realistic mock-up at KidZania

  • SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World [Website] is a giant aquarium where you can watch the feeding of sharks, otters and penguins and get the chance to feed freshwater fish from the Feeding Pier in the Rainforest. Walk over a glass and marvel at the sharks at Shark Walk. The gigantic 8-metre-high aquarium at Tropical Ocean gives you a panoramic view of beautiful coral and fish species | 10:00 am. - 9:00 pm | Entrance fee: ฿600 (Klook, RM74). Original: ฿990.
1. 270-degree view of underwater giant tunnel. 2. diver in action

  • Taling Chan Floating Market is nearest to the city and is not too busy compared to others. People here travel and sell stuff on boats - fresh local vegetables, fruits (change seasonally), seafood, souvenirs. Thai dishes prepared on the boat. It preserves the way of living of the people along the river bank. Beware of boat touters, some over-charge and stop at every market stall where the sellers can be aggressive in getting business. Remember to bargain. 200baht from MBK Center by Uber, Must-eat: papaya salad (35baht), Large prawns(7pcs for 300baht), 1-hr boat ride 69baht, 1 hour massage 200baht.  | How to get there: Take air-cond bus no.79 from Ratchadamnoen Klang Road (in front of Central World) 38 min ride, 17 baht. Easiest way is by Taxi at 100-150baht, 25min from Khao San area | Hours: Sat, Sun & Public holiday 8am-5pm
Papaya Salad (Som Tam-unripe papaya, peanuts, fish sauce, lime juice, tomatoes, sugar), grilled prawns are must-haves. Visitors buy food from boats

  • Safari World [Website] is 40km from Bangkok. Everyone loves the giraffes feeding, car tour to see the animals like tiger, lions, giraffes upclose and dolphin show. There are 2 parks: 1.Safari Park: Drive-thru to experience close encounter with animals which are free to roam around | 2.Marine Park: Jungle Cruise, White Tiger Show, Cowboy Stunt Show, Dolphin Show, Orangutan Boxing Show, feed the giraffes, etc. Food very average. | How to go: 1.Tour from Bangkok by hotels2thailand: Safari + Marine Park + buffet lunch + round trip at ~950 baht per pax. 2.Taxi from Bangkok 270-330baht (36km) | Time: Daily 9am-5pm | Fee: Safari(1000baht). Marine(1300baht). Klook: 800baht for 2 parks.  Bus drive-thru (45baht)- view not great.
Animals free to roam - Don't open your car window! One of the highlights - Dolphin Show. [source][klook]

Lumpini Park - playground, boats, greenery. 

Popular Foods
Pratunam Market: Yum Mama (dry tom yum instant noodles with seafood, chicken and vegies).
Pad thai - Thip Samai - mahachai rd.


Ref: Klook.com, tripadvisor.com, grandpalace-bangkok.com, bangkok.com, tourismthailand.org

Monday, 28 May 2018

Types of Home Water Filtration/ Purifier System


Understanding your contaminants and what you need at home.

Contaminants which may be found in your residential water supply :
  • Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) such as pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceutical products, MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) and other chemicals. Research links certain VOCs to damage in the reproductive system, liver, kidneys and more.
  • Heavy Metals - most commonly associated with poisoning of humans are mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), Boron and lead (Pb) 
  • Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are chemicals that may mimic or interfere with the normal hormones in the body and these chemicals are being found in increasing amounts in the water supply.
  • Additives (Chlorine, Chloramines, Fluoride). Fluoride is added to the water for oral health. Fluoride has been linked to thyroid problems and other disorders when consumed internally.
  • Rust, sand and decaying matter accumulates in aging water supply system ducts and pipes.
  • Microbes; Cyst, Bacteria (eg: E.Coli) and viruses (Chlorine resistant Giardia, Cryptosporidium, etc.) and others
  • Radioactive substances (Radon and Uranium, etc.)
  • Selenium, turbidity, total dissolved solids (TDS), copper, trihalomethane (TTHM), aluminium, asbestos and others
Minerals which are beneficial for health: calcium, magnesium and potassium

The water has been treated and is safe for consumption according to SYABAS. Installing water filters at home can further reduce the contaminants in your drinking water. Filtering system manufacturers may test their own products, but a water filter isn't certified to remove contaminants unless it has been tested by an independent organization like NSF International or the Water Quality Association. Both have databases that consumers can easily search to learn more about the reliability of specific models. WQA Product Certification Areas.

Installing water filters after the water meter outside the house is not advisable by SYABAS. The use of water filters with very small pore size as in the case of ceramic filters / activated carbon filters can reduce the Free Residual Chlorine (FRC) content in treated water and also reduce the pressure of the water flowing into their house. When the water enters the tank and is stagnant, this can promote the growth of bacteria in the water, leading to skin irritation, etc. It is best to install them at the kitchen sink. Those who have already invested in water filters must carry out proper maintenance/ backwashing periodically as recommended by the manufacturer/ supplier to ensure the safety and quality of the water.

Type of contaminants Reduction Effectiveness with different water purification methods

1. Activated Carbon (AC) Filters
Activated carbon works via a process called chemical adsorption, whereby pollutant molecules in the fluid to be treated are trapped inside the pore structure of the carbon substrate. Active charcoal carbon filters are most effective at removing chlorine, sediment, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), taste and odor from water. They are not effective at removing minerals, salts, and dissolved inorganic compounds. Typical particle sizes that can be removed by carbon filters range from 0.5 to 50 micrometres (micron). In general, carbon block (compared to granular) filters are more effective at removing a larger number of contaminants, based upon the increased surface area of carbon.

Bacteria (mostly Non-pathogenic which cannot cause disease) can build up inside the active carbon filter. It is still recommended to replace or clean the filter at required time. Methods to kill or inactivate viruses, bacteria, protozoa and other pathogens: Boil the water, UV treatment, Chlorine.

Heavy metals are removed only by a very specific type of AC filter. Unless the manufacturer states that its product will remove heavy metals, the consumer should assume that the AC filter is not effective in removing them.

Water filters with carbon technology: Most of the systems in the market use a combination of activated carbon filtration and other technologies.

2. Reverse Osmosis Filters
The semi-permeable membrane used in reverse osmosis contains tiny pores through which water can flow. The small pores of this membrane are restrictive to organic compounds such as salt and other natural minerals, which generally have a larger molecular composition than water.

Pros:
  • The membrane pores are restrictive to bacteria and disease-causing pathogens to avoid waterborne diseases. 
  • Can filter/ reduce 
  1. Radioactive substances like radium and uranium, 
  2. Heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, and lead
  3. Microbes; virus and bacteria, etc. 
  4. Nitrate, fluoride 
Cons:
  • The membrane is not very effective in blocking VOCs. For this reason, a more effective carbon filter must be used as a complimentary measure to provide safe drinking water. Such chemicals are the major contaminants of drinking water after municipal treatment.
  • The removal of healthy, naturally occurring minerals in water.
  • It generally wastes two to three gallons of water for every gallon of purified water it produces.
  • Reverse osmosis is also an incredibly slow process when compared to other water treatment alternatives. 
  • The are some precautions on drinking RO water though:
    1) Don't fill RO water in plastic bottle because of leaching effect. It's best to fill RO water in glass or stainless steel bottle.
    2) It's not recommended to drink RO water immediately after exercise. Isotonic drinks like 100plus can replenish the salt lost through sweat.
    3) Maintain a healthy diet or take nutrient supplements if you're to drink RO water.
Water Filters with RO technology: Coway, Bio Pure Elken, Kent RO    

3. Nano Filtration System
Same as Reverse Osmosis (RO) in removing impurities from water. Membranes are used to prevent contaminants from passing through. The difference is Nano allows beneficial minerals to pass but RO doesn't. Monovalent ions, the examples being chloride, sodium and other minerals, have no problems passing through the nano membrane, while divalent ions and the larger ions are removed.
Water Filters with RO technology: Cuckoo


4. Distilled Water System
Water distillers are the only water system that most completely and consistently removes the widest variety of contaminants. Instead of filtering the contaminants, a water distiller removes the water, leaving the impurities behind. One way to polish the water and improve the taste is to use a carbon postfilter which will add good minerals back into the water, which will restore the clean, pure taste. Relatively unpopular as a drinking water purifier.

Pro:
  • Removes the widest variety of contaminants.
  • Using distilled water in appliances (like espresso maker, humidifier, medical equipment) will reduce scale and mineral build-up. It will also discourage bacteria growth. 
Cons:
  • Removes healthy, naturally occurring minerals in water which are required to maintain good health. 
  • Makes the water tasteless.
  • Slow process

Ref: freshwatersystems.com
https://www.freshwatersystems.com/t-steamwaterdistiller.aspx

Friday, 25 May 2018

Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk, NSW Australia


From Paddington Markets we took a bus (333) to Bondi Beach which is located approximately 7km from Sydney CBD. Here people are seen surfing, sun bathing on the beach and relaxing on the rocks.

The Bondi-Bronte coastal walk stretches 3km which can be done in 1 hour. On the way there were cliffs, amazing beaches and views, parks, toilets, drinking water fountain and plenty of photo opportunities. Restaurants and cafes can be found in Bondi and Bronte.

Tap on the Opal card when you get on the bus and tap off when you alight.


There's a sign which says Dangerous Currents and No swimming is allowed.


The famous Bondi Baths have been an historical landmark of Bondi Beach for over 100 years. Featuring both a larger lap pool and smaller kid’s pool, qualified lifeguards are on patrol during opening hours all year round. The pool and clubhouse are open to both members and the public. | Website: https://icebergs.com.au
Pretty cool swimming in a pool beside the seawater. We could see the waves crossing over into the pool.


Bondi Icebergs (Bondi Baths), a public saltwater pool, the landmark of Bondi.


Beautiful work of art by nature, sand rock formations

The scenic Bondi-Bronte Coastal Walk

Started the Bondi to Bronte walk and we came to this section where the wind was extremely strong. The force made it so hard to move forward. While the breeze was nice, the sand really gets to me. The worst part was Bernard lost his glasses. Not knowing when they went missing, we figured it would be extremely difficult to find them so we just moved on. Check out the video below:


Tamarama Beach


Events in Bondi:
  • City to Surf Fun Run - City-2-Surf is a popular road running event held annually, usually in August.
  • Sculpture by the Sea -  Australia's largest annual outdoor sculpture exhibition. It is held in October-November.
  • The Festival of the Winds - This Kite Flying Festival is held on Bondi Beach every September.
Website: https://www.bondivillage.com
Add: 1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach NSW 2026, Australia
How to go: Take the train to Bondi Junction Station. Change to Bus: 380, 381, 382 or 333 to the beach (about 15 minutes)

Thursday, 24 May 2018

List of The Best Food in Klang Valley


Here's my list. What's yours?

Klang Valley

Mee Goreng Mamak from Teh Tarik Place, Chili Pan Mee from Jojo Little Kitchen, Guacamole and chips from Fuego

  • Banana Leaf Rice - Kanna Curry House, Section 17, PJ
  • Big Breakfast (toast, mushroom, egg, meat (sausage/ bacon), beans, hash brown, grilled tomato, salad) - Antipodean Cafe | antipodeancoffee.com | Bangsar, Mid Valley, Publika, Atria, etc. 
  • Char Koay Teow - Hutong Food Court, Lot 10, Bukit Bintang. Variety: fried with chicken or duck egg. Fried flat rice noodles with dark source, bean sprouts, egg sometimes 'lap cheong' (waxed meat)
  • Chilli Pan Mee (yellow noodles with minced meat, ikan bilis, poached egg (runny yolk), chilli mix) - 1. Madam Chiam Curry Noodle House, Taman Connaught. 2. Jojo Little Kitchen | branches in Sri Petaling, Hartamas, Damansara Uptown, Mahkota Cheras, etc.
  • Claypot Lou Shu Fan (semi-transparent noodles with thick sauce, salted fish) - Pat Kin Pat Sun | pkpscafe.com | branches in IOI City Mall, Bandar Damai Perdana Cheras,  Setia City Mall, Pearl International Hotel, Klang Parade, Sri Petaling, etc.
  • Curry (Chicken curry and roti canai & dhall) -  Restoran Sri Indah, Taman Sungai Besi Indah, Seri Kembangan
  • Curry puff - 1A Crispy Puffs, Bukit Bintang Monorail (bridge). Chunky filling with egg. There are meat or vege options. 
  • Dry Loh Shu Fun - Restoran Yi Poh (originally from Seremban, now there are branches in PJ Old Town, Sri Petaling) - semi-translucent thick noodles, minced meat, char siew and chili mix. 
  • Fajitas (Mexican) - Chili's Grill & Bar | chilis.com.my | Midvalley, Velocity Mall Cheras, KLCC, etc. grilled meat served with tortilla, sour cream, guacamole
  • Fish Head Noodle -  Woo Pin Fish Head Noodles | Main outlet in Taman Danau Desa, KL. Other branches in C180 Cheras, Sri Petaling, etc.
  • Indian Vegetarian food - Annalakshmi Temple of Fine Arts, Brickfields, KL | annalakshmi.com.my
  • Green Curry - 1. Fa Ying Thai Fare & Cafe | Paradigm Mall. 2. Thai Hou Sek
  • Guacamole (Mexican) - Fuego @ Troika Sky Dining, KL
  • Hokkien Mee - Kim Lian Kee | fb.com/KimLianKee | Petaling Street
  • Mee Goreng Mamak - Teh Tarik Place | tehtarikplace.my | 1 Utama, IOI City Mall, Bangi Gateway, The Curve, Nu Sentral, Sunway Putra Mall, MyTown, etc. 
  • Pork Ribs - El Cerdo | Changkat, Bukit Bintang | elcerdokl.com 
  • Salad - Pesto Mozzarella Salad (sundried tomato, salad leaves, roasted vege, pesto dressing) - O'Briens Irish Sandwich Cafe | obriens.com.sg/malaysia | KLCC, Nu Sentral, etc.
  • Salted Caramel (and Chocolate) cake - Le' Gardenz Cafe | Kawasan Perindustrian Balakong
  • Satay - 1. Satay Station | Ampang Waterfront - Beef satay is very chunky and juicy 2. Sate Kajang Haji Samuri | satekajang.com.my - soft and flavorful
  • Seafood Spaghetti (tossed in lobster cream) - El Cerdo | Changkat, Bukit Bintang | elcerdokl.com
  • Steak - Prime, Le Meridien KL Sentral.
  • Tapas (Spanish dishes in small portion) - La Bodega | labodega.gastrodome.com.my | Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar and other branches. My favorites: Champinones (mushroom) or Gambas (prawn) Al Ajillo sauteed with garlic
  • Tuna Sandwich - Subway  
Seremban, NS
  • Banana Leaf Rice - 1. Curry Leaf Restaurant @ Jalan Rasah. 2. Top Curry House, Jalan Dato Bandar Tunggal
  • Beef Noodle - Seremban Market (Pasar Besar Seremban)
  • Cendol - Haji Shariff Cendol, Jalan Yam Tuan 
  • Chicken Rice - Chai Hong Chicken Rice (also known as Diamond Chicken Rice for its shopping mall priced hawker food) | Jalan Kapitan Tam Yeong | great combination of the sauce, chilli, rice and smooth chicken.
  • Chinese Vegetarian food - Red Tea Garden, Jalan Rasah
  • Dry Loh Shu Fun - Yi Poh (Lobak) - semi-translucent thick noodles, minced meat, char siew and chili mix. 
  • Hakka Mee - Tow Kee Hakka Mee | Jalan Kapitan Tam Yeong and Pasar Besar Seremban
  • Noodles - Hong Kong Noodles, Lobak
  • Porridge - Kedai Makanan Dan Minuman Kawan, Jalan Temiang. The most popular one in Seremban, famous for its "Chu jap chuk" (pork intestine porridge). Juicy steamed chicken, below average service. 
  • Wan Tan Mee | Keong Kee Recipe, Jalan Seng Meng Lee
  • Yong Tau Foo - Sam Kan Chong, Limbuk, Temiang, Seremban (same row as Pence Food court). finishes by 9,10 am in the morning, meaty flavorful filling


Thursday, 18 January 2018

Places to Visit in Tokyo


Prefecture: Tokyo
Asakusa

  • Sensoji Temple - Sensoji (浅草寺, Sensōji, also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple) is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. It is very colorful and popular and is Tokyo's oldest temple, famous for the huge lantern hanging from the main entrance gate, its long path lined with stalls (Nakamise Shopping Street) selling Japanese food and products and its five storied pagoda. Subway: Asakusa Station | Main hall: 6:00 to 17:00 (from 6:30 from October to March) | Free entrance
Sensoji Temple's huge lantern, 5-story pagoda, Nakamise Street, Ningyo Yaki (cake with red bean paste)

  • The Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) [Website] is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. It is the centerpiece of the Tokyo Skytree Town in the Sumida City Ward, not far away from Asakusa. With a height of 634m, it is the tallest structure in Japan. A large shopping complex with aquarium is located at its base. Restaurant reservation (at first observatory): 31 days in advance | 8:00 to 22:00 (entry until 21:00) | No closing days | Fee: First observatory at 350m - 2060 yen (3000yen for fast ticket), Second observatory at 450m with sloping glass panels (Tembo) - additional 1030 yen (1000yen for fast ticket) | Subway: Tokyo Skytree Station or Oshiage Station
Left: Tokyo Skytree night illumination. Right: The spiral ramp of the Tembo Gallery observation deck (2nd deck).

  • Asahi Beer Hall
Ueno

  • Ueno Park (上野公園, Ueno Kōen) is a large public park in central Tokyo. Tokyo's most popular cherry blossom spots (late March - early April). Kan'ei-ji Temple - remnants of a large temple during Edo period which has been destroyed. Kiyomizu Kannon Temple - home to an image of Kosodate Kannon, the goddess of conception. Walk around Shinobazu Pond to enjoy the beautiful sight of Sakura in spring and lotus flowers in summer, you will see the Bentendo Hall (an hexagonal temple) on an island in the pond. Subway: Ueno Station (next door) | Free entrance | 5am-11pm
1. Ueno Park during Cherry Blossom Festival. 2. Bentendo Temple (hexagonal temple) on Shinobazu pond

Museums/ attractions at Ueno Park which require entrance fee:
  • National Museum of Nature and Science - authentic specimens related to space, the Earth, the evolution of life, and the advancement of science and technology, based on the theme of “Coexistence of Mankind and Nature". Many taxidermy animals. Theater 360 - a spherical, wrap-around theater showing videos about nature and space. Fee: 620 yen | Weekday: 9am-5pm, Fri/Sat: 9am-8pm | Subway: 5 min from JR Ueno Station (Park Exit).  
  • Tokyo National Museum - Japan's oldest and largest museum, national treasures, cultural items. Fee: 620 yen | 9:30 to 17:00 (extended hours on some Fridays and weekends) | Closed: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a holiday), Dec 24 to Jan 1. 
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum - temporary art exhibitions by various art groups. Some exhibitions are paid, others are free. 9:30 to 17:30 (until 20:00 on Fridays) | Closed: First and third Monday of each month or following day if Mon is a holiday, New Year holidays
  • National Museum of Western Art - displays Western art, primarily by European artists. 9:30 to 17:30 (until 17:00 in winter, until 20:00 on Fri and Sat) | Closed: Mondays (or following day if Mon is a holiday), Dec 28 to Jan 1 | Fee: 430 yen (free on 2nd and 4th Saturday each month, and Nov 3)
  • Shitamachi Museum - exhibits and reconstructions that show what life was like in Tokyo from the late Meiji to early Showa Periods. 9:30 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00) | Closed: Mondays (or following day if Mon is a holiday), Dec 29 to Jan 1 | Fee: 300 yen
  • Ueno Zoological Gardens - the oldest zoo in Japan. Over 3000 animals from 400 different species. Pandas, Gorilla Woods, Tiger Forest, 5 storied Pagoda, Take Monorail ride to the west lower area - Petting zoo (ayes-ayes, pygmy hippos), Vivarium (Reptile and Amphibian House), Small Mammal House (nocturnal animals). Fee: 600 yen. Senior: 300 yen. 12-14yo: 200yen | 9:30-17:00, close on Mondays | Subway: 5min walk from JR Ueno Station
Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya
Shinjuku Gyoen Sendagaya Exit ---(15m walk to)--- Meiji Shrine ---(next to)--- Yoyogi Park ---(next to --- Takeshita Street (Harajuku) ---(15min walk to) Shibuya crossing
  • Shinjuku (新宿) - World's busiest railway station. Buy Hakone Freepass at Odakyu Line.
  • Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) - one of Tokyo's largest and most popular parks, great place in the city to see cherry blossoms. The oldest is a traditional Japanese landscape garden featuring large ponds dotted with islands and bridges where chrysanthemum exhibit is held during first two weeks of November. French garden, and an English landscape garden with cherry trees. There is a Greenhouse with flowers. Subway: Shinjukugyoenmae Station (5min walk) or JR Sendagaya Station (5min walk) | 9:00 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00) | Closed: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a national holiday), December 29 to January 3 | No closing during cherry blossom season and Chrysanthemum Exhibition | Fee: 200 yen 
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁, Tōkyō Tochō) in Shinjuku - observation decks open to the public for free, good panoramic views of Tokyo and beyond, Mt Fuji sometimes. Two towers, each with an observatory height of 202m. Subway: Tocho-mae Station (basement of building), 10 min from JR Shinjuku Station (west exit) | Hours- North Observatory: 9.30am-11pm (closed: 2nd and 4th Monday). South Observatory: 9:30am-5:30pm (closed: 1st and 3rd Tuesday) | Closed: December 29 to January 3 (except January 1) | Admission: Free
  • Samurai Museum (Shinjuku) [Website] - Display and history of samurai swords, armor and other weapons like guns, visitors can try on samurai costumes. Performance of sword battle (2-5pm hourly for 15 min) | hours: 10.30am-9pm; last entry 8.30pm | Admission: 1800 yen | Subway: 8 min walk from Shinjuku Station (East Exit). 4 min walk from Seibu Shinjuku Station
  • Harajuku (原宿) - Between Shinjuku and Shibuya on the Yamanote Line. Taskeshita Dori (Street) - extreme teenage culture fashion and trendy shops, popular Snacks, desserts like crepe.
  • Yoyogi Park (代々木公園, Yoyogi Kōen) is one of Tokyo's largest city parks, featuring wide lawns, ponds and forested areas. Ginko tree forest, which turns intensely golden in autumn. Located next to Meiji Shrine. Subway: Harajuku Station (5 min walk) | No closing time 
Next to Yoyogi park, Meiji Shrine massive Gateway (Torii). Many Japanese wine (sake) barrels. Ritual of washing the hands and mouth before entering the shrine.
  • Meiji Shrine (明治神宮, Meiji Jingū) [Website] is a shrine dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Forest oasis in the middle of Tokyo, consists of around 120,000 trees. The shrine buildings are made from Japanese cypress wood with green cooper plates used for the roofs. Huge collection of sake barrels as decoration. Pathways covered with pebbles. Subway: Harajuku Station (few steps) or Meiji-jingu-mae Station | hours: Sunrise to sunset | No closing days | Free
  1. Treasure House - displays many interesting personal belongings of the Emperor and Empress, including the carriage which the emperor rode | 9:00 to 16:30 (until 16:00 from November to February) | Fee: 500 yen
  2. Inner Garden - popular during the middle of June when the irises are in bloom.  | 9:00 to 16:30 (until 16:00 from November to February) | No closing days | Fee: 500 yen 
  3. Restaurants near Meiji Shrine - Afuri Ramen, Kyushujangara Harajukuten Ramen, Tsukiji Gindako- Takoyaki (next to Harajuku Station JR Line), Harajuku Gyouzarou (dumpling) 
  • Shibuya (渋谷) - busy shopping and entertainment area around Shibuya Station. Shibuya Crossing - Outside of Hachiko exit at Shibuya Station, world's busiest intersection. Hachiko statue - to commemorate Japan's most loyal dog.

    Chiyoda
    • The Imperial Palace (皇居, Kōkyo) is located on a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo. It is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family. Visitors can view the Nijubashi, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds. The main Palace Garden is only open to public twice a year, 2nd January and on the Emperor's birthday, when the Emperor meets the people in the inner palace grounds. During normal days, no buildings can be entered. 10 min walk from Subway: Tokyo Station. 
    Chuo
    • Tsukiji Market (築地市場, Tsukiji shijō) [Website] - Large wholesale market with Tuna auctions (max 120 visitors. 2 sessions per day from 5.25am. 15 min each session. [Auction Guide]), locals buy and eat fresh seafood, Tamagoyaki (rolled Japanese omelette), high quality sushi restaurant nearby. Subway: Tsukiji Shijo Station (Oedo Subway Line) | Tsukiji Station (Hibiya Subway Line) | Closed on Sundays, national holidays and some Wednesdays. Scheduled to close and move to another location in October 11, 2018.
    The popular tuna auction and rolled omelette snack at Tsukiji Market
    • Ginza
    Minato
    • Roppongi
    Visited Tokyo Tower at night. Went up by elevator, and down the 600 steps burning off some calories. Lookdown windows on the floor at the Main Observatory.
    • Tokyo Tower (東京タワー) is the world's tallest, self-supported steel tower, at 333m high, 13 meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Main observatory - at 150 meters is reached via elevator or a 600-step staircase (both paid) with "lookdown windows" in the floor to stand on, shop, cafe. Special Observatory (Upper deck) - 250m, can get a bird's eye view of Tokyo. Subway: Onarimon Station or Akabanebashi Station (5-10 min walk) | 9:00 to 23:00 (entry until 22:30) | No closing days | Fee: 900 yen (main observation), 1600 yen (both observation decks) *Upper deck is closed for renovation until around spring 2019
    1. One Piece Tower theme park (below the Tokyo Tower)-  shows, games and other attractions that feature characters from the manga series. | 10:00 to 22:00 (entry until 21:00) | No closing days | Fee: 3200yen
    Tokyo East
    • Disneyland/ DisneySea - 1 Day pass (either park) RM262 (Klook) | original price: 7400 yen (RM263). To bypass long lines you can get the FASTPASS ticket, and will be asked to come back at a certain time- it's free. Subway: Maihama Station. P: Popular (longer wait time, Fastpass available) in red, T: Transportation, E: Experiential, D: go thru darkness, S: Speed, R: Rotates
    1. Disneyland Attractions:
      Adventureland: Western River Railroad (T) | Pirates of the Caribbean (D) | Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions (T) | Swiss Family Treehouse (E), The Enchanted Tiki Room (Theater).
      Westernland: Shootin Gallery (extra fee) | Country Bear Theater | Tom Sawyer Island Rafts (T) | Big Thunder Mountain (P/ 102cm) | Mark Twain River Boat (T)
      Critter Country: Splash Mountain (P/ 90cm) | Beaver Brothers Explorer Canoes (T)
      Fantasyland: Alice's Tea Party | It's A Small World | Castle Carrousel | Snow White's Adventures (D) | Cinderella's Fairy Tale Hall (E) | Dumbo The Flying Elephant | Pinocchio's Daring Journey (D) | Peter Pan's Flight (D) | Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (P/ D) | Haunted Mansion (P/ D) | Mickey's PhilharMagic (3D/Theater)
      Toontown: Gadget's Go Coaster (90cm/ S) | Goofy's Paint 'n' Play House (E) | Chip 'n Dale's Treehouse (E) | Toon Park (E) | Donald's Boat (E) | Minnie's House (E) | Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (D)
      Tommorrowland: Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (P/102cm/S/3D) | Stitch Encounter (Theater, D) | Space Mountain (P/ 102cm/ S) | Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters (P/ D) | Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek! (P/ D)
    2. DisneySea Attractions
      Mediterranean Harbor: Venetian Gondolas (T) | Transit Steamer Line (T) | Fortress Explorations (E, D)
      American Waterfront: Tower of Terror (P/102cm/S/D) | Turtle Talk (Theater,D) | DisneySea Electric Railway (T) | Toy Story Mania (P/3D/D) | Big City Vehicles (T)
      Port Discovery: Aquatopia (R) | Nemo & Friends SeaRider (P/D/90cm)
      Lost River Delta: Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull (P/S/D/117cm) | Raging Spirits (P/S/R/ 195cm)
      Arabian Coast: Caravan Carousel (R) | Arabian Coast (D) | Jasmine's Flying Carpets (R) | The Magic Lamp Theatre (P/3D)
      Mermaid Lagoon: Ariel's Playground (E,D) | Jumpin' Jellyfish (D) | Scuttle's Scooters (R) | Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster (S,90cm) | Blowfish Balloon Race (D,R) | Mermaid Lagoon Theater (P) | The Whirlpool (D,R)
      Mysterious Island: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (P/D) | Journey to the Center of the Earth (P/S/D/117cm)
    • Tokyo Sea Life Park - Admission: 700yen (adult). 350 yen (senior). 250yen (junior high school) | Hours: 9.30am-5pm | Closed: Wed (or following Thursday if Wednesday is a national holiday or Tokyo Citizens Day) and year-end and New Year holidays) | Subway: JR Kasai Rinkai Koen Station (5 min walk). 20 min ride from Tokyo station (Keiyo Line)
    South of Tokyo
    Yokohama - Japan's second largest city, 1 hour away from Tokyo by train. 
    • Chinatown (Japan's largest Chinatown)
    • Minato Mirai (future port) - many attractions.
    • Cup Noodles Museum - interactive museum, history of instant noodles using exhibits and hands on workshops - My Cupnoodles Factory (design your own Cup Noodle, create your own flavours, 300 yen). Cupnoodles Park (300 yen) children's playground | Admission: 500 yen (activities cost extra) | Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (entry until 17:00). Closed on Tuesdays (or the following day if Tuesday is a national holiday), New Year holidays |  10 minute walk from either Minato Mirai Station (Minato Mirai Line) or Sakuragicho Station (JR Negishi Line and Yokohama Subway Line).
    • Hakkeijima Sea Paradise - aquarium theme park | Website | Varying hours. Typically 10:00 to 18:00 | Admission: 3000 yen (Aqua Resorts). 3000 yen (unlimited rides at Pleasure Land) or individual rides at 300-1000 yen. 5050 yen (Aqua Resorts and unlimited rides at Pleasure Land) | Subway: Hakkeijima Station (Kanazawa Seaside Line) 
    • Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
    • Motomachi Street - Shopping 
    • Food: Torikizoku (yakitori) 
    Hakone (箱根) (hakonenavi.jp/english) is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, 100km (2 hours by normal train) from Tokyo - hot springs, natural beauty, volcanic valley and Lake Ashinoko, view Mount Fuji (better visibility during colder months).
    1. Black eggs cooked in volcanic springs. 2. Amazing view up the volcanic zone at Owakudani Trail. smell of sulphur (sulfurous acid gas, don't stay too long). 3. Hakone Sightseeing Boat on Lake Ashinoko
    • Hakone Freepass | purchase here or Odakyu Line Shinjuku Station - Unlimited usage of the Hakone Tozan Railway (Odawara-Gora), the Souzan Cablecar and Hakone Ropeway between Gora to Togendai, the Hakone Sightseeing Boats on Lake Ashinoko, Hakone Tozan Buses and Odakyu buses within the free area and Numazu Tozan Tokai Buses between Mishima and Moto-Hakone. Discounted admission to other attractions/ facilities. From Shinjuku Station (round trip): 2-day pass at 5140 yen (RM188) | 3-day pass at 5640 yen | Free for kids 5yo and below. One way: 2 hours
    • Romance Car limited express train | book here - A surcharge of 890 yen (one way from Shinjuku, 85min) and seat reservations are required.
    • Owakudani - amazing view up the hill, Valley of Hell, walk up the volcanic zone, sulphur smell, black eggs cooked in volcanic springs. 
    • Lake Ashinoko was formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after the volcano's last eruption 3000 years ago. The best views of Mount Fuji from Moto-Hakone, Detached Palace Garden and boats cruising the lake.
    • Hakone Kowakien Yunessun | hakone-kowakien.com/english - hot springs. Yunessun spa zone- where you can wear swimsuits (male & female together). There is also the usual no-clothes zone. Red wine, green tea and coffee baths. fishes to nibble away the dead skin on your feet. From 1,900 JPY. 

    Food in Tokyo
    Lunch is much cheaper than dinner. Cheap eats can be found at subway stations underground, small restaurants some with vending machine, busy intersections or residential areas. Higher end, more expensive restaurants in Ginza area. Many outlets don't accept credit card - bring cash. 
    • Ramen (wheat noodles in miso meat-based broth) - Ramen Street (Tokyo Station): Different type of ramen | Ramen Jiro ラーメン二郎 (30+ branches): big pile of cabbage/ bean sprouts, thicker noodles in pork (tonkotsu) broth, fr 600yen | Afuri Ramen (website) at Harajuku, Roppongi hills, etc. many branches: chicken+dashi or vege broth, thin noodles, yuzu (pomelo) zest, fr 880yen.
    1. Ramen Street with many choices. 2. Afuri Ramen. 3. Ramen Jiro and the big pile of veggies
    • Tsukemen (ramen noodles dipped in a separate bowl of broth) - Rokurinsha 六厘舎 (Tokyo Solamachi Mall at Tokyo Skytree/ Ramen St/ Haneda Airport): popular, rich seafood+meat broth, fr 830 yen. 
    • Sushi (vinegared rice with toppings mainly seafood-often raw or vege) - Uoriki Kaisen Sushi at Tokyu Department Store, Shibuya Station | Tsukiji fish market - Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi: popular, long wait. Try one with shorter queue, they serve fresh sushi | Sushi no Midori (Ginza/ Akasaka/ Shibuya) - popular, good quality sushi at reasonable price, sushi assortment fr 2100 yen | Sukiyabashi Jiro (Ginza): 3 Michelin star, one of the best in the world, hard to book, 30k yen (20-course) | Sushi Iwa (Ginza): most talked about, 1 Michelin star, fr 5k yen.
    • Yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) -  Iseya at Inokashira Park | Torikizoku (many branches) - 298 yen each
    • Tempura (seafood or vege deep fried in light batter) - Tenmatsu (Nihonbashi and Shibuya): tempura set at 980 yen | Momose (Kudanminami, Chiyoda): hidden gem, great tempura
    • Soba (buckwheat noodles served in soup or cold) - Narutomi Soba 手打ち蕎麦 成冨 (Ginza): soba at 840 yen | Yabu Soba (Ueno): famous for handmade soba and side dishes.
    • Sukiyaki (meat, vege, noodles in hot soup made of soy sauce) - Yoshihashi Sukiyaki よしはし at Moto-Akasaka
    • Okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) - Sometaro Okonomiyaki 染太郎 at Nishiasakusa, Taito | Kiji (Tokyo Station): fr 830 yen.
    • Takoyaki (snack made of flour, octopus, onions shaped like a ball) - Minatoya at Ameya Yokocho Market (Ueno)
    • Tonkatsu (deep fried breaded pork cutlet) - Maisen Tonkatsu in Shibuya | Inaba Wako at Takashimaya Department Store in Shinjuku
    • Gyukatsu (Deep-fried breaded beef cutlet) - Gyukatsu Motomura at Shibuya, Shinjuku, many branches (served quite rare, grill is provided to cook to preferred doneness, melts in your mouth, long queue, most popular)
    • Gyoza (meat dumpling) - Harajuku Gyozaro: 290 yen for 6.  
    Dessert/ Snacks:
    • Croquant Chou ZakuZaku (Taskeshita Street at Harajuku) - pastry filled with custard cream.
    • Mille crepe - HARBS at Roppongi Hills is famous (has fresh fruits and cream)
    • Taiyaki (fish-shaped pancake filled with red bean/ custard chocolate, etc. cream) - Teriyaki Wakaba (10 min walk from Yotsuya Station): original, authentic | Kurikoan at Nakamise shopping street near Sensoji Temple, Asakusa.
    • Crepe - Marion Crepes at Takeshita Street, Harajuku
    • Tokyo Okashi Land at Tokyo Station - Japanese snacks

    Ref: japan-guide.com, wikipedia.org, flickr.com/photos/harukasan, triplelights.com, matcha-jp.com, odigo.jp