9.30 a.m. Check out of your Otaru hotel, breakfast at Sankaku Fish Market, and take the JR train to Sapporo (an hour’s journey, about ¥640, S$ 8). At the JR station in Otaru, you can buy the Kitaca card (see previous entry on “How to Get Around in Sapporo”).
11.30 a.m. Leave your luggage at your Sapporo hotel and make your way to Sapporo Beer Museumwhere you can sample “Fukkoku Sapporo Bakushu”, a unique beer brewed according to the methods used back in 1881. There is also a buffet beer garden beside the museum, serving Jingisukan (“Genghis Khan” BBQ).
Beer hall inside the beer museum
If you’re not in the mood for bbq mutton and beer for lunch, go to the shopping mall, Ario Sapporo, beside the beer museum. Shop and eat here.
3 p.m.: Return to the hotel and take a short nap.
4 p.m.: Shop around Sapporo JR Station where all the huge shopping malls are: Esta, Daimaru, Sapporo Stellar Place, PASEO, and an underground shopping mall, Apia. If you want, you can visit the Deck T38 at the JR Tower for a fee.
We ate Tonkatsu Tamafuji which is not bad, and the service is phenomenal.
9.30 a.m.: For breakfast, make your way to either Nijo Fish Market 二条市場 or Sapporo Central Wholesale Market Curb Market. The former is more convenient and historical, thus attracting more tourist; whereas the latter is biggest wholesale market in Hokkaido with a bathhouse. I recommend Nijo Fish Market because the food is cheaper and you get to walk past Odori Parkwhich houses the Sapporo TV Tower (pictured below).
11.30 a.m.: Leave the market and make your way to Shiroi Koibito Park (pictured above) also known to Singaporeans as the immensely popular 白色恋人. You need to make an online reservation first if you want to design your own cookies at the Cookie Craft Studio in the park. There is also a cafe here where you can have your lunch.
2.30 p.m. Make your way to Fushimi Inari Shrine(pictured above). It’s really nothing to see at the shrine but it’s a photoshoot location and it’s on the way to Mount Moiwa. So after the visit to the shrine, climb a short hill up to the Mount Moiwa Ropeway to take the cable car.
Alternatively, if you want to skip the shrine and go directly to Mount Moiwa, there is a free shuttle bus. Take the free bus from Ropeway Iriguchi tram stop. The tram is very fun: it’s those old-fashioned kind with electric rail embedded in the road. (The actual shuttle bus stop is about 20m from this tram stop.)
Lovers can bring a lock up to Mount Moiwa.
6 p.m. After you have seen the sunset and the night scene from Mount Moiwa, take the free shuttle bus down to Ropeway Iroguchi tram stop. Here is your chance to ride the tram if you haven’t previously. Take the tram to Susukino (すすきの), which is a red-light district, and walk around.
Branded fashion sale at Takashimaya from 28 March-3 April
We throw around the phrase “treat yourself” to justify purchases, so that our wardrobes and hearts grow fuller with every splurge on a cute dress or some new shoes. But branded goods can be a little out of our league, with the price tag of one Moschino dress equivalent to half a paycheck.
You’ll finally have a chance to rock the high-end wardrobe at the Bluebell Branded Bazaar, located at the Takashimaya Talking Hall and held from 28th March to 3rd April – they’re selling branded fashion items at up to 70% off! Here’s an idea of some of the brands that you can expect at the sale:
Brands with up to 70% discount at the Bluebell Branded Bazaarya poo
Moschino, a brand that’s dressed the likes of Gigi Hadid and Miranda Kerr for the runway, is giving huge discounts on last year’s collection – like their psychedelic Multi-Colour Wrap Dress that’s going for just $ 378 (U.P. $ 1260). With bright pop-art block letters spelling “Happy” and “Moschino” all over a leopard print background, the dress will make you the centre of attention wherever you go.
Also up for grabs is this bold Red Dress for just $ 378 (U.P. $ 1260), a one-piece that resembles a 3-piece formal outfit. Pair it with some chic red heels to rock that hot lady boss look.
If these clothes, made for the runway, are a little too loud for your taste, Moschino’s sister branch, Love Moschino, will also be on site with grand price cuts. Bring home their Love Moschino Dress in black or green at a 70% discount, for $ 93 (U.P. $ 310).
Repetto, known for their beautiful ballet shoes, also makes elegant footwear for those of us who aren’t gonna become the next Odette of Swan Lake. These gorgeous garnet Frida flats (U.P. $ 490, now $ 150) with cross fastening may not be ideal for the pirouette, but they’re totally great for spicing up your outfit with a pop of colour.
Every girl needs a pair of cute sandals to match her sun dresses. These Castaner Kitty Sandals in Elegant Marine (U.P. $ 190, now $ 60) are the perfect fit for our hot climate – with breathable canvas uppers and flexible esparto rope soles. What’s more, the ribbon laces add a touch of whimsical girliness that’ll make you feel cute and graceful all at once.
Fit all the barang for your next short trip or staycay in this stylish Weekender bag by LeSportsac (U.P. $ 340, now $ 102). This duffle bag integrates fashion with practicality, with a long rectangular body that lets you stuff in a good amount of clothes, toiletries, and even a change of shoes.
Get your haul at a further 10% discount with your DBS/POSB card
A 70% slash in prices might sound unbelievable, but here are even more perks: DBS/POSB cardmembers will enjoy an additional 10% off, with a minimum purchase of 2 items from the same brand. Time to mark this mega sale down on your calendar and start on that wardrobe upgrade!
10 a.m.: Check out of hotel at Noboribetsu and drive for one hour to Lake Toya, which has an active volcano, Mount Usu. When Mount Usu erupted in March and April 2000, over 60 new craters opened up on the west side of the mountain.
You have three options here but they are closed during winter:
–Kompirayama Walking Trail (40 minutes): starts at the Toyako Visitor Center in Toyako Onsen and leads to the Nishiyama parking lot. Along the way, you can see various ruins, including a destroyed public bath house, apartment block and bridge. The trail also passes two of the largest craters from the 2000 eruption, as well as large erosion control dams.
–Nishiyama Crater Walking Trail (20 minutes): At the end of Kompirayama Walking Trail is Nishiyama parking lot. If you want to skip Kompirayama, you may drive up to this parking lot. At Nishiyama, you will see more newly created craters around Mount Nishiyama. Several destroyed buildings, disrupted roads and broken phone poles have been left untouched for visitors to witness the destructive power of the volcano. Then you will reach another carpark.
–Observatory on top of Mount Kompirayama: The paid observatory is accessible by car. It provides panoramic views over Lake Toya and the new craters on the west side of Mount Usu.
4.15 p.m.: Check into your hotel. Since you’re driving, the location of the hotel doesn’t really matter. But as all our travelling plans, we like to stay in the city centre, where most things are accessible. We stayed at Smile Hotel Hakodate, which is just across from Hakodate JR Station, and a 3-minute walk from Hakodate Asaichi Morning Market. Of course, if you have some cash to burn, you can stay at Four Points by Sheraton Hakodate, which is just beside the station and in front of the market.
I want to talk about Smile Hotel Hakodate since some readers may want to stay here too.
Actually, there is nothing much to say. It’s a very tiny functional room with a prefabricated toilet ubiquitous in Japan; many 2- or 3-star Japanese hotels use the same model of toilet. You have to pay for parking at ￥500 a day; it’s a full day of parking, so it’s pretty worth it.
The best thing about the hotel is the fantastic location.
4.30 p.m.: Drive to Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse & Bay area. It used to be a warehouse in 1909 but has been refurbished to become a commercial shopping and eating area. You can buy your souvenirs here.
6 p.m.: You can eat at the Red Brick Warehouse area, but we scouted around and didn’t want to eat anything there. We drove to Tsunezushi, Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand sushi restaurant.
9.30 a.m.: Go to Hakodate Morning Market for breakfast. It is a small market and takes less than 30 minutes to stroll. Take your time.
11 a.m.: Drive to Old Fort Goryokaku 五稜郭, a western-style fort completed almost 150 years ago. It is worth going because this is where the last civil war of Japan took place. There are two parts of the fort. First there is the star-shaped fort itself, which is free to enter. And then there is a Goryokaku Observatory Tower, which overlooks the fort, so that you can see the star shape clearly. The Observatory requires payment.
2 p.m.: Drive and park at Mount Hakodate Ropeway. Then cross the road to walk around Motomachi, an historical area just below Mount Hakodate. If you click on the Motomachi link, there is a suggested walking route, which will be exhausting. I would suggesting seeing only the Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward andHokkaido Russian Orthodox Church. They are parallel on the road with the Ropeway, so just cross the road.
4p.m.: Return to the Ropeway to take a cable car to Mount Hakodate. Watch the sunset turn into night.
I want to manage your expectations here. It was a terrible experience for us. Firstly, the cable car wasn’t working that day, so we had to take the bus up. We waited for the 3rd bus until we could squeeze on. Up there, it was super, super crowded. All the tourists in Hakodate were congregated there. Everybody was rushing; it felt like war. It was terrible although the view was stunning.
7 p.m. We wanted to go to Asari Honten at Hakodate, a sukiyaki restaurant which is over 100 years old, but it was full and we didn’t make reservations. So we went to Asari しゃぶしゃぶあさり, which is also another sukiyaki restaurant. Not really sure why their shop names are so similar or if they are related, but it was fantastic. One of the best meals in Hokkaido.
8.30 a.m.: If you stay near the JR Hakodate station like we did, revisit the Hakodate Morning Market for breakfast, but this time, just eat and leave. No gallivanting.
9 a.m.: Check out of Hotel.
If you want to see other places in Hakodate, click on the link to their official tourism site.
And then we will proceed to the skiing town Niseko, but we didn’t ski. (Well there are many things there to do besides skiing.)
How many of us are still climbing our way to the top of the success ladder? Some of us are barely staying afloat and it doesn’t help that a meal in CBD often demands at least $ 5. As such, we often end up with a meagre amount to bring home every month.
But don’t surrender to the unnecessary “exorbitant” lifestyle. If there’s a will, there’s a way. And this is the way that we have specially paved for you to consider – a comprehensive food diary comprising of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in the CBD for a typical 5-day work week. ALL UNDER $ 50!! Yes, it’s humanely possible.
Let’s speedboat towards the 6 DIGIT bank account balance together. Read on to find out how.
Sian-Day Monday – $ 9.80
Breakfast: Chwee Kueh ($ 1.80)
Situated towards the back of Clifford Centre, a nameless eatery offering local delights awaits. We were shocked that they genuinely do not have a shop name, but #01-K3 is the clue! Receive 5 plump chwee kueh (steamed rice cakes) topped with ample preserved turnips for just $ 1.80 – what a steal! The chwee kueh are a little denser than what we would have liked, but the greasy and fragrant turnips seemed to be screaming 加油 (add oil) for my dreadful Monday. Thank you, I really needed that encouragement.
Address: Clifford Centre, 24 Raffles Pl, #01-K3, Singapore 048621
Opening Hours: 10.30am-2.30pm
Lunch: Nasi Padang ($ 3)
Despite the huge number of office workers invading the area during lunch hour, the delicious food at Shenton House lacks an online presence for some reason. Or maybe, they want to keep it a secret. Tucked away at the last eatery, this Nasi Padang has won countless hearts over the years. For just $ 3, you can order 1 meat + 2 vegetables/egg on top of the amazing portion of rice drenched in curry. Doesn’t the chicken drumstick look so appetizing? My eyes were glued to it the moment I stepped into the eatery. The meat ended up tasting slightly dry, but the crispy skin made up for it.
My nose picked up the lovely aroma of stir-fried noodles as I was on my search for dinner at Amoy Street Food Centre. I went for the classic Pad Thai ($ 5) that was indeed satisfying and good value for money. SAP Thai Food is a relatively recent addition and has a pretty extensive menu representative of Little Thailand. I was too excited to tuck into the piping hot noodles, that I even found squeezing the lime a chore. The umami flavours radiated throughout the dish, ending my Monday on a pleasant note.
Fry-My-Brain Tuesday – $ 9.00
Breakfast: Fried Bee Hoon ($ 1.50)
I don’t only get Monday Blues, I get Tuesday Blues too. So, I need to recharge for Day 2 with energy boosters like Fried Bee Hoon. This takeaway box will surprise you with just how much noodles are packed inside. The Bee Hoon is a tad plain, and could do with less oil. However, you will really appreciate this dish if you’re up for a super busy day ahead.
Lunch: Chicken Leg Angel Hair Pasta ($ 5)
Shall I invite you into the house of Italian food? Taste Affair is one of Amoy’s newest guests, injecting fresh vibes into the old building. For $ 5, you may twirl away with a good serving of Chicken Leg Angel Hair Pasta coated with a chili oil-based sauce. Looking beyond the pasta, the tender chicken actually emerged as the angel of the meal. Also, a golden poached egg is never a bad idea.
Dinner: Nasi Lemak ($ 2.50)
While you may pick your own dishes, we went with Set C ($ 2.50). This Nasi Lemak (which means ‘fatty rice’) comes with a huge scoop of green long-grain rice, filled with subtle coconut notes. Spice your carbs up with an ikan kuning, otah, ikan bilis, a sunny side up and a spoonful of sambal chili which will curb your nasi lemak cravings temporarily. For me, the sambal chili plays an important role in bringing the whole dish together, but unfortunately, it was more sweet than spicy. Nevertheless, within the CBD, this plate suffices.
Address: Golden Shoe Hawker Centre, 50 Market Street, #02-24, Singapore 048940
Sometimes, I wake up craving some Indian spices to heat me up for the day. Do you? Especially when I am in a rush, a curry puff is my go-to breakfast. The Real One Teh Tarik & Indian Food prepares a whole range of cheap eats that includes 60-cents curry puffs. Despite the puff skin being slightly thick, the flavourful filling was a joy to savour. Although they are small, I’m cool knowing that I will be having a heavy lunch later.
Address: 24 Raffles Place, #01-K1, Clifford Centre, Singapore 048621
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 9am-8pm.
Lunch: Fried Kway Teow Mee ($ 3)
Told you that it would be heavy, but I forgot to mention that it’s tasty and smoky as well. Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee – this name shouldn’t be foreign to the CBD crowd. The first outlet is kickstarted by Mr Ng’s father at Metropole Cinema in the 50s, and Mr Ng is now in charge of the second outlet in Outram Park. The noodles are smooth, thoroughly coated with a special black sauce and awesomely packed with a wallop of wok hei. And, we couldn’t possibly do without the cockles, beansprouts, fried pork lard and egg, right?
Address: Blk 531A, Upper Cross Street, #02-17, Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, Singapore 051531
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat, 6am-4.30pm. Closed on Sun.
Dinner: Hand Crafted Salad ($ 5)
To combat the greasy lunch I had earlier, I wanted something light and guilt-free. Off I skipped towards Tanjong Pagar MRT to grab my precious box of greens. Your eyes will sparkle at the plethora of brightly-coloured toppings and dressings; don’t hesitate to ask the staff for recommendations! 1 premium (protein) + 3 toppings, and a box of 5 toppings are both sold at $ 5. In the end, I decided to go for smoked duck, corn, purple cabbage, carrots and Japanese sesame dressing that evening. Not to forget, the cosy ambience and friendly staff played a part in putting a smile on my face.
Press-On-A-Little-More Thursday – $ 8.10
Breakfast: Peanut Pancake ($ 0.90)
I never want to live a week in CBD without Frankie’s Peanut Pancake. Located at the coffee shop at the junction of Boon Tat Street and Telok Ayer Street, the stall has a range of fluffy yet chewy ban chiang kueh which sells like hot pancakes. Get the combo version which is a mix of both red bean and peanut for just 90 cents. This spongy pancake is a reminiscence of my childhood and I absolutely love it.
Address: 121 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068590
Phone: +65 9849 9056
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.
Lunch: Mee Rebus ($ 2)
$ 2 noodles?! Yes, you saw that right. Uncle Ah Cai has kept his prices constant since 22 years ago; this uncle is a true friend. He wakes up at 3am daily and heads to the coffeeshop to prepare the noodles. You will be spoilt for choice as there are 8 different types of noodles – mee siam, prawn noodles, laksa, wanton noddles, fishball noodles, bak chor mee, mee rebus, lor mee. If you’re seriously troubled over what to eat, I will suggest the hearty mee rebus – yellow noodles swimming in a thick potato-based gravy.
Address: No. 62 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058692
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 6am-3pm.
Dinner: Aussie Rolls ($ 5.20 for 3 rolls)
Wrap your day up with some charming rolls from the basement of Chevron House. The rolls are usually priced at $ 2.60 onwards for one. However, get a bang for your buck from 6pm onwards. You can purchase 3 rolls for the price of 2! Mhmmmmm, all 31 of them looked delightful but the indecisive me finally settled on Tuna, Korean Bulgogi and Sweet & Spicy Calamari. The Calamari Roll stood out the most as a result of the interesting combination of textures and flavours.
Start your day on a roll, with this traditional Fujian snack. Similar to how a burrito is made, stir-fried turnips, beansprouts, lettuce, mashed hard boiled eggs and peanuts are wrapped in a thin crepe-like skin. It isn’t too heavy, so you can pop this Singaporean-favourite into your mouth easily. I particularly enjoyed the delicate popiah skin, even though I feel that the uncle could have been more generous with the sauce.
Address: Golden Shoe Hawker Centre, 50 Market Street, #03-02, Singapore 048940
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-2.30pm
Lunch: Hainanese Curry Rice ($ 2.50)
Hainanese Curry Rice Sets start from only $ 2.50 here, and this Pork Chop Rice Set costs exactly $ 2.50. It is almost unbelievable that such a generous amount of comfort food comes at such an affordable price. The pork chop is served crispy and tender, despite coming with a limited amount of fat. Watch as the auntie pours the fragrant curry over the rice; it didn’t turn out spicy at all. This was easily one of the tastiest hawker meals, but prepare your battle gear for the insane queue that stretches to no end during lunch hour.
Address: Golden Shoe Hawker Centre, 50 Market Street, #02-35, Singapore 048940
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 11.30am-10pm.
Dinner: Ninja Burger
TGIF!!! What does that mean? Suit up, it’s time to reward yourself with a treat to end the stressful week. Does a burger sound good to you? Well, it surely did sound like heaven to me. In the heart of bustling Raffles Place lies a silent Dojo, which is home to affordable burgers. In fact, they specialise in pork burgers which isn’t the most common in Singapore. Bite into a juicy pork patty dressed with a special oriental sauce, sandwiched between freshly toasted buns. You would wanna pair the porky goodness with some addictive fries that are worth all the calories. All at just $ 10 nett (Pss no GST and service charge)! It doesn’t deserve a “OMG THIS IS SO GOOD, LET ME CRY IN HAPPINESS”, but experience the unparalleled feeling of satisfaction after a week of scrimping.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm. Closed on Sun and Public Holidays.
YES, WE DID IT, WE DID IT!
Give me a Hi-5! $ 50 under a week in CBD, who says we can’t achieve that? I had a very fulfilling week putting myself to the challenge, and I genuinely hope that this will come in handy for anyone and everyone.
If you are up for this challenge, do tell us how it went and if you managed to complete it! Also, if you have other ideas for affordable meals in the CBD, please share with us!