Top Travel Destination for Die-Hard Harry Potter Fans

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Published on: August 27, 2016

If there is a place to be for “potterheads”, it would be London. “Potterheads by the way is a term used to describe Harry Potter fans. Why London? London is not only home to the royal family but also an inspiration to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series and movie franchise from The Sorcerer’s Stone to The Deathly Hallows.

Leaky-Cauldron

After the release of the last book, fans believe that the magic is still around. They are not wrong because it continues with the play Harry Potter and Cursed Child. It does not end there because another trilogy is in place based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Fans looked for ways to preserve the legacy of their beloved wizard from merchandises to tattoos and traveling to London.

Here are top travel destinations in London for die-hard Harry Potter fans:

The Leaky Cauldron

In the beginning, Harry was surprised to see Hagrid and even more surprised that he revealed he is a wizard. After telling Harry his roots, the giant took Harry to a place for school supplies shopping as stipulated on his Hogwarts Acceptance letter. The duo went inside an inn and pub called The Leaky Cauldron.

In real life, The Leaky Cauldron is at Leadenhall Market – a stunning Victorian-themed market swarming with specialty shops and lively bars. This is for the filming of The Sorcerer’s Stone but it was moved to Borough Market when The Prisoner of Azkaban was filmed.

Gringotts Wizarding Bank

Harry’s parents left him significant treasure and it was stored in Gringotts Wizarding Bank guarded by goblins. Goblins are clever creatures and are distrustful of wizards. In the books, the bank is along Diagon Alley but in real life, it was filed at Australia House.

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Platform 9 ¾ , King’s Cross Station

Harry was instructed to go to Platform 9 ¾ Kings Cross Station to board a train to Hogwarts. He was trying to find the platform. This is where Harry met Ron, his best friend and Ginny, the girl he will eventually marry. The real life platform is at King’s Cross Station and in fact, they made the platform and installed a luggage trolley halfway through its wall. This is a tribute to the movie. You can actually take a picture.

There are many “potterheads” here in Singapore and somehow that is not surprising. London should be your next target. It is time to fly there (the muggle way) and see Harry Potter’s world in the eyes of J.K. Rowling.

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The Most Visited Cities in the World

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Published on: August 23, 2016

 

The year is not yet over. You still have four months to go to a foreign city. Seeing other city aside from Singapore can open your eyes and awaken your senses. It will help your soul. With this, what city should you visit next? Well, you can consider the list compiled by Euromonitor – a market research firm.

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The list was created from the results of global travel research programme consolidated by Euromonitor. It was conducted in fifty seven countries and done by in-country analysts. Here’s the compilation of the most visited cities in the world for this year:

  1. Hong Kong: The number one most visited city in the world is Hong Kong. The city is famous for its vibrant food scene. It was once a British colony. Now it is China’s Special Administrative Region (SAR).

 

  1. London: It is not a surprise that London is the second most visited city in the world. With the Royal family in mind, it is arguably one of the liveliest cities in the world.

 

  1. Singapore: Singapore city is at the tip of Malay Peninsula. What the city lack in area is compensated by its more than three thousand multinational companies. It was also a British colony then seceded from Malaysia before becoming an independent state.

 

  1. Bangkok: Many people are enticed to visit the city because of its Grand Palace not to mention the Emerald Buddha. It is home to more than eight million people.

 

  1. Paris: Paris made it to the top five of the most visited city in the world with its magnificent structures like the Eiffel Tower not to mention its remarkable café culture.

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  1. Macau: Macau is another SAR of China. It is smaller than Hong Kong but it is a casino and gambling giant here in Asia.

 

  1. Dubai: Dubai forms part of the seven emirates. It is home to the tallest building on the planet – Burj Khalifa that boasts of 163 floors.

 

  1. Shenzhen: Shenzhen is the third Chinese city that made it to top ten. It is famous because it is considered the largest manufacturing center in the world.

 

  1. New York: New York is a city in United States. It is actually one of the largest cities in the world. It boasts of rich history and culture.

 

  1. Istanbul: Another Asian city made it to the top 10. Istanbul is the capital of Turkey and it is the only city that is considered half Europe and half Asia.

Notice that most of the cities are Asian cities. This goes to show that Asia is not the travel destination for many tourists.

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Heart and Soul of the City: Must-Visit Markets Around the World

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Published on: March 1, 2016

 

Are you looking to find the heart and soul of a particular city? Then your best bet is to head to their nearby market to experience how the locals gather, shop and spend their days. Through this, you’ll get a glimpse into their local art, culture and food. Though it’s quite hard to find a market we’d say no to, here’s a list of the must-visit markets around the world whether you’re looking for snacks, clothing or home goods.

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  1. Chatuchak Market – Bangkok, Thailand

If you’ve been to Thailand before, then you can attest that there are lots of incredible markets in the country. But what makes Chatuchak stand out is the fact that it’s the largest market in Thailand. The market houses over 15,000 booths, and you’ll be able to find everything here whether you’re looking for clothing, food or some good home décor. There are booths upon booths of everything imaginable, making it easy to spend half or an entire day in the place.

Although it sounds like a lot to go through, Chatuchak is divided into sections so you can head straight to your areas of interest. The deals here are great, and the vibe is carefree and fun.

  1. The Grand Bazaar – Istanbul, Turkey

Situated in Istanbul’s old city and known as one of the oldest markets in the world, The Grand Bazaar is truly a sight to behold. The Grand Bazaar is mostly covered so it’s easy to access and spend time in regardless of the weather. The market is century’s old and is an incredibly important landmark of Istanbul. Remember, haggling is expected here so don’t be shy about bargaining for a greater deal. Also, make sure that you check out stalls selling rugs and textiles since the place is home to these beautiful pieces.

  1. Borough Market – London, United Kingdom

There’s a great number of markets spanning across London whether you’re looking for housewares, flowers or clothing pieces. Among these markets, Borough Market is the absolute place to visit most especially if you’re a food lover. Here, you’ll find all types of food imaginable – from the classic British fare to something more exotic.

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Borough Market is rich in bakeries, cafés, seafood, and everything in between. It’s truly a great place to head to during lunchtime so you can snack your way through different stalls, and stroll around afterwards to work off all the food you ate. The market is open from Wednesday through Saturday so plan your visit accordingly.

  1. Central Market – Castries City, St. Lucia

This open-air market contains a huge amount of quality goods and foods, as long as you search in the right location. Since cruise ships often dock at the nearby port, you’ll have to first dodge vendor’s pawning off various goods before making it to the heart of the market. Once you’re through, head to the northernmost part of Central Market to find and purchase more authentic goods. Here, you’ll find better deals and souvenirs to bring home with you.

If you still have some time, try grabbing a fresh fruit to snack on as you laze around the beach. You’ll be amazed as to how fresh the produce tastes here. If you want, check on some good handcrafted goods to snap up for your family and friends back in Singapore.

  1. Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen – Paris, France

Considered as one of the largest flea markets across the globe, visiting Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen will surely transport you back in time with its stalls, trinkets and narrow streets. The market became more popular in the past years, and while most of the cheapest deals have disappeared, you can still dig dip to find some great bargains.

Apart from the trinkets, paintings and photos, the market is also rich in great bars, cafés and restaurants that you can snack in. There are lots of markets throughout the city, but we love this one’s a little unique and a home to good deals.

The marketplace is indeed one of the best places to discover a city’s culture, so make sure that you visit any of the aforementioned markets on your next trip abroad.

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Making the Most of Your Vacation

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Published on: October 10, 2015

Tips to savour your vacation, disconnect from work, and reconnect with yourself and your loved ones 

 

With the holidays fast approaching, the thought of vacation and family get-togethers may have crossed your mind. You may have started planning for your holiday destination, your budget, and activities to do. To make sure your months of planning won’t go to waste, here are some tips for having the best holiday getaway.

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  1. Make an Exit Plan

Yes, it’s possible to take a time off from work without worrying about the mess you will return to after your absence. The secret is to ask your boss to help set priorities for your work and your co-workers to manage some of your workload while you’re on leave. When you return though, at least have something for those people who helped you with your workload to return the favour.

  1. Log On Less Often

A total ‘digital detox’ (e.g. email-free, phone-free, computer-free) isn’t practical for most people. If you find that online check-ins make it harder to separate yourself from work when on vacation but can’t do without checking your emails and making phone calls, consider setting a limit for yourself. Designate an hour each day to do job-related tech usage, and make sure to stick to this schedule throughout your vacation.

  1. Break Tradition

Visiting Grandma for Christmas Eve, seeing the in-laws on Thanksgiving, and other traditions make holidays feel special. However, adding a new activity into the mix can make you and your partner or your family feel much closer than sticking to the same old habits. So, go ahead and book that Disneyland trip your kids always wished for or that scuba diving trip you and your guy have been dreaming about.

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  1. Have Enough Rest When You Return Home

Make sure to have an extra day off when you return home—you don’t want the vacation hangover or the separation anxiety to kick in while you’re in the hurry to cope up with things and workloads you missed. Having enough rest after an eventful vacation prepares your mind and body for work and gradually snaps you off from vacation mode to work mode once again.

Making the most of your vacation is just about planning well—planning for before, during, and after the trip. So, pack up your worries, leave the workday baggage, and keep these tips in mind for a vacation getaway worth remembering.

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Fit Getaways: 5 Smart Ways to Make Vacations Healthier

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Published on: October 8, 2015

Taking a time off for vacation should not mean taking the time off from your healthy lifestyle as well. Don’t throw away months of hard work for one gluttonous holiday. Stay on track while still having fun with these smart, healthy vacation tips.

Travel-Fitness

  1. Pack a Resistance Band and Jump Rope

They take up hardly any room in your luggage. You can do a 20-minute cardio and strength exercises anywhere. Add some sit-ups, wall-sits, lunges, and planks, and you’ll have a 40-minute workout wherever in the world you are. And don’t forget your iPod, MP3, or even just your phone for good tunes to keep you motivated.

  1. Stay In a Hotel With a Kitchenette

It’s easy to load up on carbs and calories with dining out. As always, the best way to ensure you’re eating healthily is to make your own meals, and you can only do so if you have your own kitchen. Wherever you’re planning to go, look for a place to stay where there’s access to a stove or a microwave and a fridge so it’s convenient for you to whip up your own meals.

  1. Ask for a Fridge

If a hotel room with a small kitchen just costs you a lot of money, at least look for a place that can provide you with a fridge. Many hotels provide mini-fridge in their rooms, so this shouldn’t be a problem at all. Stock it with nuts, fruits, string cheese, and water. Having healthy snacks on hand will keep hunger at bay, and thus minimize chances of unhealthy eating.

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  1. Walk As Much As Possible

Skip elevators and take the stairs. Bypass cabs and walk your way to cafes and restaurants. Just make sure to book your accommodation to a hotel within the city or at least close to the city to make walking a convenient choice of transport.

  1. Hydrate

Before heading out for a stroll, make sure to bring a bottle of water with you. This saves you from high-caloric vending-machine sodas and other unhealthy drinks instantly available almost everywhere. Likewise, when drinking alcoholic beverages, drink a glass of water before each alcohol. This way, you won’t be gulping down fattening beverages just because you are thirsty.

There’s no reason to let your getaway ruin your fitness goals. The best way to ensure you’re sticking to your diet while away from home is to plan ahead and make conscious effort.

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