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Go-To Hike Trails in Singapore

For a country known for its incredible buildings and urban city life, Singapore actually puts a highlight on its natural attractions as well. That being said, one of the best ways to see the scenic nature is through hike trails. One way or another, these hike trails are also places you shouldn’t miss. The picturesque views invite both locals and tourists alike, whether for early morning jogs or just to bask in the beauty of nature. So, without further ado, here are some of the best hike trails to go to in Singapore.

1. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is one of the many hike trails in Singapore known for the richness in plantlife and wildlife. It also has the tallest hill in Singapore. This is why the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is more ideal for those who like to walk around in nature. Another reason why it’s one of the best to go to is that there are four different trails you can take. One takes you directly to the peak of the hill while the other tree accounts for the scenic views around the nature reserve.

2. Hindhede Nature Park

Right next to the Bukit Timah Nature Park is the Hindhede Nature Park which also has equally great hike trails. The trails here are actually easier to traverse which makes it great for beginners and leisure hiking with kids. This location also houses a variety of animal species so it will be very much worth it take stops and look around. There’s also the incredible Hindhede Quarry towards the end of the park.

3. TreeTop

The TreeTop Walk located at the MacRitchie Reservoir is already a pretty popular hike trail even though it’s also a pretty hard climb. Though there are steep slopes and most of the path is wavy, you’ll find it very much worth the time and effort once you reach the top. At the top of the trail, there’s a long suspension bridge that gives you a view of the whole forest. Again, this is a fairly hard trail for complete beginners, so make sure you have enough water and that you’re fully prepared to make the hike.

4. Pulau Ubin

The Pulau Ubin hike trail is probably one of the best places to go to if you really want to take a break from the city life. This granite island has almost everything that nature lovers look for. There’s an abundance of wildlife, there’s rich greenery, and an overall picturesque view of the island. In addition to that, there’s also a coastal boardwalk which you simply won’t see in many other trails. Another great think about the Pulau Ubin trail is that you can go around in bikes if you get too tired walking!


What You Need to Know About Owning a Car in Singapore

For those of you who don’t know, Singapore is an extremely difficult place for you to get a car, especially because of the fact that Singapore is a small country, with a small land, not enough roads, and too much vehicles around. Although Singapore is doing a great job in handling traffic, it is definitely not enough because of the amount of vehicles in Singapore. Owning a vehicle in Singapore is incredibly expensive as the tax and certifications are very hard to get. To get a certificate, you would have to pay about $50,000 Singaporean dollars before your vehicle can actually hit the road.

The sad part is that despite paying that amount, your certificate is only good for up to 10 years. The tax on vehicles can be very expensive due to the imports of these vehicles, which could mark up the price of a small SUV by $100,000 Singaporean dollars. If this amount of money doesn’t scare you, then maybe the next paragraph will. Singapore only allows the number of private cars on the road to increase by 0.25% per year, which is very small considering the number of people who want to have a car and maybe even dreamt and already saved up for it.

What makes it even worse is that the government has decided that by February of 2018, they will cease to allow additional cars on the road, which means that if you are desperate to drive, you have to wait for someone to give up their certificates first in order to get permission to drive. Hopefully this is not a permanent case and Singapore would be able to do something about their traffic and increasing vehicle population without the hindrance of people who would love to drive or own a vehicle of their own.

Owning a car may be a dream for some and although it is not impossible to get in Singapore, it can still be very difficult. Aside from the financial struggles a car would put you through, obtaining ownership of a car and getting the certificate could also be another problem. If you really want a car, do not let this stop you and although it can be hard, you have to be diligent enough until you are able to get what you want. The public transportation in Singapore may not be bad at all, but it all depends on you if you want that vehicle. Singapore is a land of opportunity, but you must never forget your competition.


Upgrade Your Food-tography Skills

5 Tips to Take Better Food Photos Using Your Phone
Taking food photos – or ‘foodstagramming’ as people call it – has become a universal habit for a lot of social media users today. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’ll immediately dig into their food without snapping a photo or two. Good thing is we’ve listed down some of the best and simplest tips on how you can capture Instagram-worthy food photos even with the most basic smartphone’s camera.

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  1. Opt for Natural Lighting. Unless you’re taking photos in a poorly lit room or at night, we suggest that you turn off your camera flash and take advantage of the natural light instead. You can do this by moving the subject next to a bright window; or if that’s not an option, use photo editing apps or certain filters to brighten up your photo. An added benefit of no flash, you’re less likely to annoy your fellow diners if you’re in a restaurant.

 

  1. Snap Fresh Food. An easy trick to take gorgeous and sumptuous-looking food photos is to shoot them as soon as they’re cooked (or served). Remember that food tend to lose its visual appeal fast so don’t let it sit for too long before taking pictures of it.

 

  1. Practise Focus and Framing. If there’s one thing that makes photo-taking challenging on a phone, it would be the lack of zooming features. But even without this feature, it’s still possible to take good photos by tapping your phone’s screen to adjust the camera focus. Aside from that, practising proper framing also helps create a more compelling and dramatic image of your subject.

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  1. Set White Cloth as a Reflector. Another good way to snap good photos is to use a white napkin or any white cloth as a reflector to mirror the light and fill in the dark areas in your subject. You can even use the same cloth to soften and filter harsh lighting.

 

  1. Use Photo Editing Applications. Don’t have the time to set a good photography environment? Then leave everything to a photo editing application. For natural-looking filters, try VSCO Cam or Camera+. Another popularly used app is Snapseed – alongside its amazing filters, it also has a tool that creates a desirable background blur and depth of field.

You don’t really need a DSLR camera in order to take exceptional photos. Being creative and maximizing your phone’s features could be more than enough to capture mouth-watering food photos.

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4 Decor Ideas for Small Bedroom Spaces

 

How can you possibly turn your small bedroom into a functional space that contains all of your personal things, plus a bed, bedside table, TV, a big closet, and perhaps a couch? Don’t worry even if you have limited space. The trick lies in the furnishings you choose and keeping most of the space clean and clutter-free.

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  1. Choose the Right Curtains

You might need darker drapes to cover the sunlight, but you also need light-coloured curtains to make a small space look bigger. To hit two birds in one stone, layer your curtains. Use dark-coloured drape underneath a light-coloured one that faces the room. Preferably in the same colour of your wall, the curtain will blend in and give an impression of larger space while at the same time blocking the bright sunlight from streaming into your room.

  1. Go Minimal

Limited spaces require less stuff to give it a free-flowing feel, so make sure you decorate minimally but tastefully. Keep the room clean and clutter-free, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have your walls free from hanged decors. Paint your walls in cream shade and hang some of the work of your favourite artists. Find your own style while considering the balance between decorative pieces and art.

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  1. Opt for Multi-Functional Furnishings

For smaller bedrooms, invest in a bed that has built-in storage underneath to take care of your room’s storage and keep it clutter-free. If you want to add an interesting element, then add bedside tables and/or nightstands, which will not only provide you with lamps for night time reading, but also provide additional storage for your knick-knacks, books, and other decorative trinkets. Consider them as bedroom pieces for flaunting your personality.

  1. Play With Reflections

Install a floor-length mirror in one of your walls to open up a small space. The mirror creates an illusion of extended space by reflecting what’s already there. Another technique to use mirrors is to place them across the best angle of the room. If you face an amazing outdoor view, place the mirror across the view to reflect the pleasant sight and allow you to see it from multiple angles.

If you want to double the size of your room instantly, without spending a fortune for major renovation, redecorate your bedroom and have these tips in mind. It will not only make your room look bigger, but also unique and stylish.

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5 Excellent Bookstores in SG  

Despite the ever-growing prevalence of tablets and e-books, the appreciation of original, ink-and-paper books is far from lost here in Singapore. We have big bookstore chains and cosy independent bookshops filling our literary needs. Here are five of our favourite places to go to:

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  1. POPULAR

Living up to its name, POPULAR is the most famous bookstore in the country, which isn’t a surprise given that it is also our oldest and biggest bookstore chain. Aside from offering literature in all genres, POPULAR is also the top bookstore for getting textbooks and school supplies.

  1. BooksActually

A perfect place to book aficionados, BooksActually is a charming bookshop filled with literary classics like those of Joyce, Nabokov and Steinbeck; modern works from writers like Murakami, Zadie Smith and Ian McEwan; as well as novels and stories from local Singaporean writers.

  1. Times Bookstores

Times is the best bookstore if you want to read travelogues, guide books and works of nature writing, although they also offer all kinds of literature. Their branch at the Changi Airport terminals are the most well-equipped and ideal for those looking for travel reading materials.

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  1. Basheer Graphic Books

This is the go-to place for art students, professionals and hobbyists. Basheer Graphic books offers a comprehensive range of books on art, with special titles on drawing, cartooning, animation, product design, interior design, fashion, picture books, landscaping, crafts, typography, photography and architecture.

  1. Kinokuniya

The “bookstore of all bookstores”, Kinokuniya is the single largest bookstore in the country, even one of the biggest in the region. Its more than 400,000 books in stock and 200,000 monthly visitor should give you an idea how big it is. Needless to say, they have the largest collection of books and magazines in Singapore.

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