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  • 7 Things To Do In Central Java After The Pandemic

    Welcome to New Normal! After a long recovery journey, finally, this world allows us to live with several adjustments! Covid-19 has locked us inside for months. Surely you need to catch a breath just to roll out. As your travel partner, how about a trip down to Central Java Province, Indonesia? This tropical country offers its wonderful sites to be visited in the New Normal Era. Some spots are now waiting for you, here are the 7 must-visit spots in Central Java Indonesia! via GIPHY Hortimart Agro Center Image Source: Picture by yearofthedurian.com This tourism destination is located in Bawen Regency which can be reached by around 1 hour by car from Semarang, the capital city of Central Java Province. Hortimart Agro Center is another escape to have a family trip! Hortimart offers a different travel sensation such as pick local fruit directly from the tree, shop for hand-picked fruit, and other fun agro-tourism activities. Let's find out more about Hortimart Agro Center! Agro Estate Hortimart Agro Estate Hortimart provides an estimated 27 ha of gardens with various organic fruits and vegetables. Uniquely, there are 3 huge rainwater reservoirs to irrigate the gardens. So, if you come in the dry season, Hortimart will still look green!  Agro Tour Hortimart Immerse yourselves by touring with an orange car available in Agro Tour Hortimart! A tour guide will explain the history of Hortimart, various fruits, vegetables, and others. When harvest time comes, you can go straight to the garden to pick ripe fruit. The kids have to take part in this and don't forget to pay after! Isn't it fun? Agro Mart Hortimart If you can't take an orange ride around the garden, do not hesitate to have a look at Agro Mart Hortimart. Take the fruits and vegetables you need freely on display or you can buy it up if you want! Agro Resto Hortimart After strolling around the garden, picking the fruits and shopping at the Agro Mart, it’s time to eat some healthy foods at Agro Resto. Most of the foods served here are vegetarian but still, it's mouthwatering!   Saloka Theme Park Image Source: Picture by Saloka Park  Welcome to Central Java Paradise! It is only one and a half hours’ drive from Semarang. Crowned as the listed destination in Wisata Pesona Indonesia and International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), Saloka Theme Park offers you 5 different worlds that are truly fascinating. This is the time to set you free to experience the miraculous of Saloka Theme Park with your family. Here there are 5 magnificent worlds for all ages that you must try! Zona Pesisir (Costal Zone) You will fall in love with this spot at first sight. It's designed identically like a beach. The breeze soothing you along the way. Not only embraced by the beach view, but also see some educating yet exciting attractions here, like Lumbung Ilmu Galileo (Science Center) to introduce your kids to the Hall of Famers from around the world, dive into History by visiting Zona Prasejarah (Pre-historic Zone) and Zona Bumi (Earth Zone), know more about living things in Zona Flora & Fauna, get familiar with Human Body in Zona Tubuh Manusia (Human Body Zone), and explore the remarkable Solar System in Zona Antariksa (Outer Space Zone). All those things you can joyously learn by pictures, writings, replica videos, and games! After educating yourselves, your brain probably needs some fuel to be awake! No worries, just go find Kafe Jenju right around there for some snacking! Pizzas and Donuts are available at reasonable prices. Place your orders then eat on the surfing board! Well, to boost your adrenaline, Cakrawala Ferris Wheel is a must ride! This 23m giant windmill brings you up and down for 15 minutes to enjoy the view of Rawa Pening Lake, Rice Paddies, and Central Java Mountains! The last attraction in Zona Pantai (Beach Zone) that you must visit is Arena Jejogedan & Kapal Jenju (Dancing Arena & Jenju Boat). Illuminated by the colorful lights completely embellishing the stage during the dance performances at night! Zona Balalantar (Balalantar Zone) Inspired by the wildwoods, this place will give you another sense of nature! Feast your eyes on the iconic Resi Waringin tree to welcome you to your Journey in Zona Balalantara! Just like Zona Pesisir, here you can find deeply enjoyable attractions such as Angon Ingon to get to know more about birds, fowls, turtles, rabbits, and other unique creatures, Agro Wisata Ijo Royo Royo to indulge your eyes with greeneries scene, mini cart in Safari Bocah to carry you around the Flower Garden and Mushroom House, challenge yourselves in the Haunted House Adu Nyali, play with water by riding Jamur Apung, stroll around from above by riding Kumbang Layang and try an agility game in Adu Tangkas. Make sure you don't miss any of them! Zona Kamayayi (Kamayayi Zone) Bring your kids here, you’ll never regret it! There are 7 attractions for you to choose from! It's completely suitable for children from 1 to 6 years of age. It serves a comfortable indoor playground. Your kids can try out Fire Station, Area Mandi Bola, Trampolin, and 12 other amusing games in Polah Bocah, a colorful sensational hanging bike that will make you feel as though you are flying around in Kupu Kupu spot, take a canoe ride through a replica of the polar ice caps in Pinguin, teach the kids to drive a car in Tata Titi, blast the penguins with water guns in Semprat Semprot, spin on the sea horse carousel in Komidi Kuda Laut, and the last stop of this area is Teka Teko, a gigantic teapot to relax in. The kids will definitely not mind spending all day here! Zona Ararya Get thrilled and scream out loud in this space! We’re sure that this is the most favorable attraction you are waiting for. Unleash the exhausting week by riding the spinning round plate that tickles your tummy in Bengak Bengok, feeling a sensation drop from 90 feet then pulling up at high speed in Paku Bumi, sitting on a drifting swing in Obat Abit, some other attractions you must ride before you leave are the Bumper Cars in Senggal Senggol and Sled in Lika Liku. Recharge your energy at Rimba Cafe and give a try to some mouth-watering dishes!  Zona Segara Prada  Comprising of culinary and amusement centers, this place is perfect for you to call it a day! Enjoy the savory Chicken Katsu at Kedai Daimami and play rapid river in Gonjang Ganjing or if you still up for some learning, head to Taman Galileo for some science facts outdoors.  We highly recommend this place as the best destination for the family. Don't forget to do some shopping at Saloka Art Market before leaving. No doubt, Saloka Theme Park will be a memorable experience!   Semilir Eco Park Image Source: Picture by Warisan Indonesia on Instagram One of the trending tourism destinations in the Central Java Province, Dusun Semilir is a one-stop destination for both locals and tourists. Imitate the stupa of Borobudur Temple, this site offers you lots of attractions to explore like a playground, photo spots, local cuisine, shopping, mini zoo, European village miniature! Semilir Eco Park is supposed to be the favorite culinary resort in Semarang. No wonder there's a culinary zone that makes everyone drool! They're Gunungan Resto, Teras Gunung, and Gunungan FoodPark. It provides you a place to gather with family or business associates while enjoying a view of the five mountains. You will also get to experience a vast food paradise zone with local food counters!  Besides the local restaurant, this spot also preserves some animals in a mini-zoo called the Pet Village! You can get here by walking or riding a mini car. Despite still being under construction, you will still be able to visit the European village miniature! Feel free to take photos in every corner of this site. The pastel colors of the home will make yourselves look chic!  Just like any other tourism destination, Semilir Eco Park facilitates you with a large shopping center. You can find Batik, Home Decor, Local handicraft, Classic Households, Bags, Accessories, and Snacks! So exciting it deserves to be on your bucket list right?!   Kopeng Tree Top Adventure Park Image Source: Picture by Kopeng Tree Top Standing in the middle of Pine Forest, Kopeng Tree Top Adventure Park is the best place for the family to have an adrenaline-rushing adventure! It's designed from tree to tree to get on multiple different levels. It's a fairly exotic place where both children and adults find agility games or go camping. Here’s what you will find there! Outbound Treetop Another outdoor activity that challenges you. It offers you Zipcoaster, Skiban, ATV, Caving, Pottery, and Team Building. The players will be fitted with safety harnesses first, so it's safe! Camping Kopeng Tree Top gives you 3 thematic options for some modern camping! Star Camp can be occupied a maximum of 3 people that take up camping concepts. Get free breakfast and a 50% voucher for Tree Top Games. Family Camp suitable for a family. You'll get VIP facility like breakfast, dinner BBQ, bonfire, bathroom, heater, 50% voucher of Tree Top Games, and Zorbing Games. And the luxurious VVIP camp is called by Glamping Camp, it accommodates up to 6 people with 2 room types. It has a private garden and an aesthetic pond. Other facilities you'll get are Breakfast, lunch, coffee break with 2 kinds of snacks, coffee, tea, and dinner BBQ, bonfire, heater per room, and free entrance all games. No need to wait, book your camping room now! Having Lunch at Treetop Sky Resto A unique Tree Top Sky Resto is the most crowded spot. Even if you only wanted to snack on some fries here, you need to fill out the waiting list first! While waiting, you can capture lovely moments around! No wonder there are visitors going up here only to take pictures for its enchanted nature.   Umbul Sidomukti  Image Source: Picture by Umbul Sidomukti Located in the Ungaran Mountain area, the main charm of this family destination is the swimming pools of fresh natural springs water! You will engage in a variety of activities such as swimming, outbound activities, lodging, camping, and gathering. Here are the listed activities that might suit you! Swimming at Taman Renang Alam Feel the cool freshwater by swimming here! The visitors claimed swimming in these natural pools is like swimming in the clouds. It's located on the hillside so that you can see clouds and rolling hills! Sightseeing at Umbul Sidomukti Flanked by two ravines and surrounded by green landscapes you will feel a calm atmosphere, far away from the urban frenzy! It's the best site to witness the sunrise while seeing the peak of Ungaran Mountain. You will never get enough of these breathtaking views! Umbul Sidomukti Outdoor Attractions Experience the adventurous side of Umbul Sidomukti by engaging in these outdoor activities available for you to pump get your adrenaline pumping! You can try the Flying Fox, Marine Bridge, Highest Triangle, and Sepeda Awang. Stay at Umbul Sidomukti Resort Want to stay longer in Umbul Sidomukti? We got you two references! Choose either the Villa Pondok Kopi or Homestay Pinus to stay with family, friends, or honeymoon with your loved one. You should know that both of them are impressive!  For coffee lovers, you can sit and relax at Pondok Coffee Umbul Sidomukti. Sip a cup of coffee and encounter a super beautiful region, only in Umbul Sidomukti!   Celosia Flower Garden Image Source: Picture by Taman Bunga Celosia on Instagram Famous with its artificial landmarks, Celosia Flower Gardens is one of the recommended sites around Ungaran Mountain. Who could resist exploring with the mountainous views here? We listed you what to do in Celosia Flower Garden. Let's jump to it! Coloring Your Instagram Feed Visit the flower garden area where you won't run out of photo spots! Every corner of the park enshrined in its moment. Capture the sophisticated Hobbit House, Floating Chair, and Air Baloon with family or friends! Being a flower garden, there are lots of varieties of flowers, all well preserved and blooming beautifully for your eyes to snap them! Having a World Tour at Artificial Landmarks  This place is truly mind-blowing. Celosia Flower Garden grants your dream of traveling around the world all in one place! You can go to multiple continents at once. Meet the iconic Eiffel Tower from France, the Merlion from Singapore, Windmills from Holland, the Face Heads of Easter Island, and the Stonehenge miniature from the UK. A great opportunity to take some pictures with your family or friends!  Fill your social media feeds with instagrammable photos. Especially if you are a fan of everything that is Korea, you can rent a Korean Hanboks and take some pictures with the Cherry Blossoms!   Cimory Restaurant and Milk Factory Image Source: Picture by bekti_s on wikimapia Integrating the concept of education and natural tourism into one area, make sure to check out Cimory Restaurant and Milk Factory! The natural beauty shown in Cimory is dominated by a variety of green plants and animals. See turtles, deers, birds, rabbits, cows, and many more! On another side, you can also see the variety of vegetables growing flourish in the area! Recently, Cimory promotes its brand new spot named Mini Mania Cimory! You can hunt for photos with well-known landmarks in the world such as Stonehenge, Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, Pisa Tower, Liberty Statue, and Pyramid. It doesn't stop there. We highlighted the best place for foodies. Cimory Restaurant serves both local and western yummy foods to satisfy your hungry tummy! All dairy products are worth trying. You can go to Cimory Store to stock your dairy needs there. It sells Yogurt, Milk, and Chocolate or if you still want to eat savory foods at home you can grab frozen sausages, steak, and many more! You will never regret spending your weekend here. As a suggestion, you should reserve a table beforehand to ensure you have lunch peacefully cause It might be crowded at any time! The holidays are coming! Pack your bags and plan a trip down to see wonderful Central Java Province, Indonesia! Don't forget to mention HalalTrip on Instagram if you visited those places above. via GIPHY...

  • Top 10 Things To Do in Langkawi

    Langkawi is known to be the gem of Kedah, famous for its pristine beaches, stunning natural landscapes, and local legends. Its weather is perfect all year round to settle for that beach trip you had been craving for (but heed our advice to bring along sunblock or sunscreen if you are afraid to be kissed by the sun.) Exploring Langkawi is convenient via rented vehicles but fret not if you don't have a license as it is easy to grab around. Apart from being a great beach destination, Langkawi is known to be a duty-free island, providing you the best shopping experience. Let's dive into the 10 things you can do in Langkawi! via GIPHY   1. Hop on the Langkawi Cable Car and walk on the Langkawi Sky Bridge Image Source: Photo by Ryan Chu on Unsplash Search for activities to do in Langkawi, and you will definitely see Langkawi Sky Bridge as one of the lists. Suspended at 2,300ft above sea level, you will be awed by the panoramic view of the surrounding islands and the greeneries of Mount Mat Cinchang.To get to the Langkawi Sky Bridge, you will need to get on the Langkawi Cable Car. Along the way, you can already witness the beauty of what nature has to offer. You may feel this is a very typical activity to do (even I thought so too), but the views are stunning and it is something not to be missed! 2. Explore Oriental Village Image Source: Photo by Dayang Bay Langkawi One will pass by Oriental Village when heading for the Langkawi Skybridge as the booth of the Cable Car is located here. But it is unfair to just leave this place without exploring. This open-aired themed complex housed restaurants and stalls selling souvenirs and craft items, to name a few.There are other activities that you can explore here such as the 3D Art Museum. During my trip, I've purchased my attraction ticket from Klook, and it was a great deal as I was able to visit the 3D Art Museum and the SkyRex. But my best discovery was the free rabbit farm where you can purchase food for the rabbit and feed them. I can literally spend hours being surrounded by those cute rabbits and play with them!   3. Take a dip at Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls Image Source: Polycarp Norbert Nyulin on flickr.com Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls is also known as Seven Wells. It got its name from the seven pools which are situated in the higher area of the waterfall. To get to Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls, you need to climb up 638 steps but let me assure you that it is worth it! Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls is ideal for swimming and picnicking. It is definitely the best rest point before heading back down.You can easily follow the road from Oriental Village to reach Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls. The distance made it easy to plan for my trip when I was there. There are two viewing points to the waterfall; the base of the waterfall already offers you a stunning view. But I feel it is unlikely to swim here though picnicking is fine. I remember climbing up to the higher area early in the morning, and there were already groups of friends and tourists enjoying the water. As we descended down, we came across more families on their way up and I should say that Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls is a famous spot for locals and tourists. There is also a hiking trail that will lead you to the summit of Mat Cinchang if you love hiking.   4. Enjoy the sun at Pantai Cenang Image Source: Photo by Jay Tun on Unsplash Pantai Cenang must have been the busiest beach on the island. Locals and tourists flock to Pantai Cenang to enjoy the sun and enjoy various activities available. Pantai Cenang is surrounded by hotels and resorts, making it one of the most convenient beaches to travel to.If you are looking for some water sport activities, Pantai Cenang is known for it. You can find vendors providing water activities like jet ski and paragliding. Stroll along the long strip of beach, discover cafe to quench your thirst and relax and hop between shops to get some souvenirs. Pantai Cenang is also home to the Underwater World, one of the largest aquariums in Malaysia.   5. Get up close with animals at Langkawi Wildlife Park Image Source: Photo by Steve Douglas on Unsplash If there is one thing that excites animal lovers, it will be the zoo. But Langkawi Wildlife Park isn't only just your typical zoo. You can experience a close encounter with most animals, including feeding them! It will be a great adventure if you are traveling with families or even with friends.I have yet to experience a feeding zoo before, so I was excited when I visited Langkawi Wildlife Park. Getting a bag of feed and studied what animals can and cannot eat was fun. You may also want to check from time to time on various activities that the park organized, like cuddling a raccoon or touching a snake.   6. Take a boat tour down Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Image Source: Photo by Makarios Tang on Unsplash There are a few boat tours that you can engage in when in Langkawi. Being the UNESCO World Heritage site and an important ecosystem in Malaysia, there shouldn't be an excuse for you to give Kilim Geoforest Park a miss!Kilim Geoforest Park is notable for its mangrove swamps and karstic hills. Not to forget, the various wildlife you can spot like monitor lizards, otters, and different species of birds. Boat tours' prices vary from vendor to vendor and whichever suits your need. Most tours will bring you to explore the mangrove forest, crocodile caves, and the bat caves.   7. Savor a plate of Nasi Dagang at Nasi Dagang Pak Malau Image Source: Nasi Dagang Pak Malau on Facebook It might be out of the way but having breakfast at Nasi Dagang Pak Malau will be a great start to your day. And as the place closes at 2 pm or when they sell out, we advise that you come as early as you can to avoid disappointment.Nasi Dagang was traditionally served with fish curry, but at Nasi Dagang Pak Malau, you can find different dishes like chicken curry and beef rendang. The rice itself is flavorful and aromatic, cooked with onion, ginger, and fenugreek seeds. At Nasi Dagang Pak Malau, it's not only about the food but also about the setting. Surrounded by paddy field with the backdrop of the mountain, this should be the right way to start your day!   8. Hunt for local food at the night markets Image Source: Langkawi.com Often, you may have heard that night markets are only on selected days or only on the weekends. But not in Langkawi. The night markets here are held every single day at different locations of the island. Operating from 5 pm onwards, you can find arrays of local vendors selling food, apparel, and even souvenirs.Personally, I love night markets and I am that person who would settle for food at night markets as my dinner or supper. Not only that they are inexpensive, but the choices of local food are endless. According to a local grab driver, the Kuah night market is the largest night market to compare to the rest. Check out the schedule of each night market and make sure to make a trip down!   9. Stay at The Temak Villa Image Source: Photo by Booking.com Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of us would love to stay near the city/town area for accessibility and convenience. It is something that I would look for in an accommodation when traveling, but it would be nice if it is away from the crowd too. The Temak Villa fulfills all these criteria, adding up to the marvelous customer service, nothing can stop you from booking a room here!The Temak Villa is located at Pantai Tengah, approximately 6 minutes walk to Pantai Cenang. Its location is strategic, close to most attractions in Pantai Cenang. At such an inexpensive rate daily, The Temak Villa has all the amenities you needed for a trip, not to mention that you get your own villa with a garden view.   10. Shop 'til you drop Image Source: Photo by Tobi Law on Unsplash I've mentioned earlier in the article that Langkawi is tagged as a duty-free island. But let me break it to you that you can hardly find branded goods here. Also, not all stores and shopping malls are duty-free so if you are particular on this, do check them before putting items in your cart!One of my best buy in Langkawi duty-free shops are chocolates and perfumes. Not only are they great for souvenirs but for your own personal use too. You can also find cookware, watches, and bags, to name a few. Just a word of advice, make sure you have enough luggage space and make sure to check on your country's custom duty regulations. Langkawi provides a laid-back trip to those who want to escape urbanization and modern town. Expect to indulge in the culture and local lifestyle here. Personally, I did enjoy my short trip here, exploring what the island has to offer. Langkawi should be on the list of your travel destinations, as I can assure you that you will have a unique experience here! via GIPHY...

  • How to Benefit From the First 10 Days of Dhull-Hijjah

    "There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days." [Bukhari] Here are some ways to benefit from the first 10 days of Dhull-Hijjah. Image Source: Photo by Sulthan Auliya on Unsplash   1. Fasting in the first 9 days of Dhull-Hijjah The Prophet ﷺ said, "One fast during these days is equal to the fasting of one complete year, and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the Lailatul-Qadr" [Bukhari] and when the Prophet ﷺ was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah, so he said: "It expiates the sins of the past year and the coming year." [Muslim]   2. Increase in Nawaafil prayers The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: "On this day, Allah, the most Exalted, descends to the nearest heaven, and He is proud of His servants on the earth and says to those in heavens, look at My servants, they have come from far and near, with hair disheveled and faces covered with dust, to seek my Mercy. Even if their sins are as much the sand or the froth of the sea, I shall forgive them." "and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the Lailatul-Qadr", as described in the Quran as, "better than a thousand months" [Al-Qadr 97:3] Nawaafil Prayers you can do: Dhuha Rawatib Tahajjud Witr Eid Prayers   3. Recite the Dua of Arafah The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:  "The most excellent dua is the dua on the Day of Arafah, and the best of what I and the prophets before me have said, is لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ ، وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ ، وهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ "Lā ilāha illallāh, waḥdahu lā sharīka lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-ḥamdu, wa huwa ‘alā kulli shai’in qadīr" "There is nothing that deserves to be worshiped in truth except Allah, He is Alone and has no partner, to Him belongs the dominion and to Him belongs all praise, and He is All-Powerful over all things.'" [Muwatta]   4. Dhikr Our Prophet ﷺ said: “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel,  takbeer and tahmeed during them.”  [Ahmad] لْحَمْدُ لِلَّٰهِ"Al-hamdu Lillah"All praises be to God لا إله إلا الله"Laa ilaha ill-Allah"There is no god but Allah سُـبْـحَـانَ ٱلله"Subhaan-Allah"Glory be to God الله أكبر"Allahu Akbar"God is [the] greatest   5. Make Lots of Dua The Prophet ﷺ also said the following about this day: There is no day on which Allah ransoms more slaves from the Fire than the Day of Arafat. He draws closer and closer, then He boasts about them before the angels and says: ‘What do these people want?’ [Ahmad] Who and What Do I Make Dua For? Parents Family Friends Brothers & Sisters of Islam Those who have passed on World Peace Internal Peace Rizq Guidance Ease Istiqomah Imaan   6. Charity The Prophet ﷺ said: “When a person dies, all their deeds end except three: a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and a child who prays for them.” [Muslim] The Prophet ﷺ said: “Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” [Tirmidhi] The Prophet ﷺ said: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” [Tirmidhi] The Prophet ﷺ said: “Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).” [Muslim]   Let us follow the advice of our beloved Prophet and may Allah give us ease and guidance to perform our ibadah and forgive our sins. In Shaa Allah....

  • 6 Singaporean Island Getaways without a Passport

    Itching for a getaway or a day trip over the long weekend? With Phase 2 in effect, you can island-hop without a passport right here in Singapore! Did you know that Singapore has 63 islands, including natural and man-made islands? These gorgeous islands have plenty of activities and attractions that you can enjoy while still maintaining safe distancing. Fun fact: Did you know that Singapore used to own Christmas Island that we now know belongs to Australia? We have more places to explore in Singapore than we think! Why not be a tourist in your own country during this period to satisfy your wanderlust? Here are 5 offshore islands you can visit over the weekends without a passport. via GIPHY   Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat Image Source: Singapore Island Cruise and Ferry Services Looking to have a serene and romantic beach getaway on an island that is NOT Sentosa? Lazarus Island is exactly what you are looking for. Known as Singapore’s best island escape, Lazarus Island overlooks a beautiful lagoon with white sands that are perfect for an unforgettable day out. You can take a romantic stroll and dip your toes in the sand or swim in the glittering turquoise waters. This 800-meter stretch of beach is perfect for a picnic with your loved ones and to celebrate any special occasions. Plus, you can be assured that you are safe distancing at this beach as the island is usually not plagued by crowds. To get to Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat, take an $18 round-trip ferry from Marina South Pier to St John’s Island. Upon disembarkation at St John’s Island, turn left to walk across the causeway connecting these islands.   St John’s Island Image Source: Singapore Press Holdings If you are planning to visit Lazarus Island, you might as well explore St John’s Island as the ferry will disembark here. This island has a very interesting history that history buffs would appreciate. St John’s Island was once a quarantine station for cholera patients, lepers, and unwell immigrants that were headed to Singapore during a period where cholera was spreading throughout the archipelago. Visiting the island during this period of Phase 2 would perhaps make you think a bit more about how Singapore has grappled with diseases over the years. Don’t let its history put a damper on your mood – St John’s Island now offers a nice slice of nature with one of the cleanest lagoons for swimming out of all the other offshore islands. You can take a relaxing dip around the shores or go snorkeling to explore the marine life with its colorful corals. You can also go on a trekking route where you can catch a breath-taking skyline view of our mainland. You will find even more amenities on this island than Lazarus Islands such as chalets or bungalows that you can rent to stay overnight. These chalets come with a kitchen and the campsites come with basic cooking amenities that are perfect if you want to have a barbeque party. To get to St John’s Island, take an $18 round-trip ferry ride from Marina South Pier to the island. For children, the round-trip ferry ticket will cost $12.   Coney Island Image Source: Sim Ding En at Wonderwall.sg Did you know that Punggol has its little island called Coney Island? Coney Island is located beside the Punggol Waterway and it was launched as part of the up and coming Watertown Punggol. It was planned to be developed into a commercial and residential area with a beach facing the Johor Strait. Fortunately for us, Coney Island has not been developed to be an urban jungle and still sports a remote and rustic ambiance. You can rent a bicycle from Punggol Jetty or Punggol Point and cycle your way from Punggol Waterway to Coney Island. Admire the scenic waterside view as you cycle on the promenade, you might even catch a glimpse of a wild otter if you are lucky. Birdwatchers, rejoice! There are plenty of brightly colored birds to admire at the natural forested walkways as you make your way to Coney Island. Once you reach the island, explore its hidden beach and the Lorong Halus wetland! Aside from cycling there, you can take Bus 84 from Punggol Interchange and alight at the northern end of Punggol Road. You can also take a taxi or drive to this northern end. From the northern end, walk across the walkway from Punggol Promenade Nature Walk to Coney Island. Opening Hours: Open daily; 7 am – 7 pm (Daily)   Pulau Ubin Image Source: NParks The most popular offshore island aside from Sentosa is Pulau Ubin. Pulau Ubin, which is Malay for “Granite Island” pays tribute to its history where granite quarries used to operate there back then. Here, you will be rewarded with a rustic version of Singapore where you will be surrounded by the lush greenery, mangrove swamps, a tranquil sea, and one of the last remaining kampungs in Singapore. Rent a bicycle and cycle to Chek Jawa Wetlands to admire the rural floral and fauna which includes a beach, mangroves, and the forest. Climb up the seven-story high Jejawi Tower to admire the jungle from above. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of hornbills and other wild animals. You can try out various biking trails such as the Ketam Mountain Bike Park, Free Ride Skills Park, and Dirt Skills Park, or try hiking at Pulau Ubin’s Puaka Hill. If you are headed to the island over the weekend, make sure to try out Maleh Café, a Muslim-owned establishment, near the Pulau Ubin jetty which is only available over the weekends! To get to Pulau Ubin, take a $6 round-trip bumboat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to the island.    Kusu Island Image Source: lifeguide.sg Also known as Tortoise Island, Kusu Island is a popular site of pilgrimage as it housed the famous Da Ba Gong temple and three keramats (gravesite of saints). Two major pilgrimages are made to these sites every year. Did you know about the old legend of Kusu Island? The legend goes that there was a giant tortoise that miraculously turned into an island to save a Malay and Chinese men who were shipwrecked. To show their gratitude, it was said that these men built a temple and a shrine in honor of the tortoise. You will also find tons of tortoise statues around the island. Make sure to visit the tortoise sanctuary where you can watch these reptiles in action! There is also a beach and lagoons that you can dip your feet or swim in. Kusu Island is a place where multiple cultures and religions meet, making it a rich heritage site that you should visit at least once! To get to Kusu Island, take an $18 round-trip ferry from Marina South Pier to Kusu Island. The ferry will have a stopover at St John’s island first before it heads to Kusu Island. Image Source: Singapore Island Cruise and Ferry Services Who says you can't travel and satisfy your wanderlust in Singapore? There is more to Singapore than our busy cityscape and the glitzy Sentosa Island! Have an enjoyable getaway or a day trip at one of these offshore islands and experience the many tranquil beaches, glittering lagoons, rich culture and heritage that they have to offer! But make sure to always wear a mask when you are out and about, and remember to practice safe distancing! If you are planning to explore these islands, use this Singapore travel guide to island-hop without a passport! So switch your busy office for the beach instead over the long weekend! via GIPHY...

  • The Difference Between the Eids

    Cover Image Source: Photo by Abdullah Mukadam on Unsplash Ever wondered why there are two different Eids on the calendar? Well, here’s a brief overview of what Eid is all about. With many names each depending on where you’re from, Eid refers to the same two events that are significant on the Islamic calendar. One common misconception around the Eids is that they have sometimes been confused as being the “Muslim New Year”, but both Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr are both two different things and neither being the related to a New Year. Why are the Eids always on Different dates every year? On the Gregorian Calendar, you may have asked why are the Eids not on the same dates every year. The reason behind this is that Muslims follow the Islamic Calendar, a Lunar calendar as opposed to being a Solar calendar, this makes the Islamic Calendar lag behind the Gregorian Calendar at around 10 days every year.   What is Eid al-Adha? Image Source: Photo by Md Shairaf on Unsplash Let’s start with Eid al-Adha since it is just around the corner. Eid al-Adha, or sometimes known as “The Feast of Sacrifice” is celebrated at the end of the Hajj Pilgrimage, that’s where it gets its name “Hari Raya Haji'' in Southeast Asia. Celebrated in the month of Dhul-Hijjah in the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha is a celebration to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) total dedication to Allah (SWT) and the end of the Hajj pilgrimage, which is also very much tied to the tale of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was instructed by Allah (SWT) to sacrifice his son, Prophet Ismail (AS), to show his dedication to Him. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) loved his son but was not going to go against the commands of Allah (SWT), so he was ready to carry on with the sacrifice. He was eventually given a ram in place of his son to sacrifice. Ever since then, Muslims all over the world would celebrate Eid al-Adha to commemorate the tough test that both Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Prophet Ismail (AS) went through to show their obedience and dedication to Allah (SWT). How is it celebrated? Keeping in the spirit of commemorating Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) test, it is common for Muslims to perform Qurbani during Eid al-Adha. Qurbani is the act of sacrificing domestic animals such as sheep, cows, and camels to be distributed amongst family, friends, and the less fortunate, each getting a third of the share. For those who didn't offer Qurbani, it is recommended for Muslims to offer donations to charity during this period instead. The day starts with the special Eid Prayers and Takbir followed by a khutbah after which the act of Qurbani will be performed. After distributing the meat to the different recipients, the rest of the day is dedicated to spending time with the family and friends over food cooked with the meat from the Qurbani.   What is Eid al-Fitr? Image Source: Photo by Farhan Azam on Unsplash Eid al-Fitr, also known as Hari Raya Puasa or Aidilfitri in Southeast Asia, is the celebration of the completion of fasts in the holy month of Ramadan. During the whole month of Ramadan, it is required for all able-bodied Muslims to fast from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from consuming any form of food or drinks during this time. The month of Ramadan is also the time when Muslims pay Zakat, a form of alms-giving, another one of the five pillars in Islam.  Eid al-Fitr is a celebration to mark the end of the month-long sunrise to sunset fasting during Ramadan. An interesting fact around Eid al-Fitr is that the day of the celebration is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon the night before, if the crescent moon is not visible, Eid al-Fitr will be postponed to the day after. How is it celebrated? Celebrations for Eid al-Fitr technically starts at sunset the day before the actual day itself, where people make last-minute preparations. Similar to Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Fitr starts with the special Eid Prayers, Takbir, and Khutbah. Eid al-Fitr is also an opportune time for Muslims to visit and gather with their family and friends, exchanging gifts with one another.   Difference The reasons and meaning behind both the Eids are the main difference between the two Eids. In a nutshell, one commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) dedication to Allah (SWT) while the other Eid is a celebration to commemorate the end of the month-long fasting. It may seem that the proceedings for both Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr are almost the same, there is a contrast. Eid al-Adha, because of Qurbani, Meat is a very prominent factor in Eid al-Adha. On the other hand, Eid al-Fitr is sometimes known as the “Sweet Eid” due to the range of sweets and delicacies people serve during Eid al-Fitr.   Similarities As established before, the two Eids are in commemoration of different occasions and have different meanings to them, however, they do share some similarities. The most obvious ones are that both are called “Eid”. The word Eid translates to celebration or festival in Arabic. Fun Fact: the greeting “Eid Mubarak”, which means “Blessed Eid”, is traditionally and widely accepted as the form of greeting amongst Muslims on both the Eids as well. Second, both the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha encourages the deed of charity or Zakat. Emphasizing the importance of charity and equality in Islam. Contributions in the form of Zakat will be distributed to those who are most in need. Possibly enabling them to join in the celebrations as well. The Takbir is also present in the morning of both the Eids as well. Ask any Muslim and they will say that the beautiful sound of the Takbir is definitely one of the most prominent aspects of any Eid. Donning the best attire, coming together with family and friends while also not forgetting the less fortunate is the reason why Muslims look forward to both the Eids so much. With different cultures from all over the world injecting their influence in the way the Eids are celebrated, the core reason why both Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr are major events in the Islamic calendar will always remain the same.   via GIPHY...



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