DBS Multi-Currency Account: How to save on online shopping!

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Hello there, all you 24/7 shopaholics! Yes you, right there, browsing this on your mobile device/laptop. Don’t you just love online shopping? I do! Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I no longer have to to step out of home to shop, nor have to worry about opening/closing hours, long queues at the cashier, or jostling with crowds of fellow shoppers.

Yes, online shopping is my paradise!

But you know what I hate the most about online shopping? Poor foreign currency exchange rates and sky-high conversion fees on my shopping purchases.. It’s practically daylight robbery!

Well, not anymore, with the DBS Multi-Currency Account!

 

DBS Multi-Currency Account

All you need is a DBS Visa Debit Card linked to a DBS Multi-Currency Account (MCA), and you’ll no longer need to fuss over foreign exchange (FX) fees and conversion charges for cross-border payments – you could potentially save between 2.5% to 15% of forex fees and Dynamic Currency Conversion charges with your DBS MCA!

 

How It Works

Your MCA can hold a total of 12 different currencies:

The 12 foreign currencies are Australian Dollar (AUD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Euro (EUR), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), Japanese Yen (JPY), New Zealand Dollar (NZD), Norwegian Kroner (NOK), Sterling Pound (GBP), Swedish Kroner (SEK), Thai Baht (THB), US Dollar (USD) and CNH (Renminbi).

Note: CNH (Renminbi) is not available for direct Visa Debit payments as it is a restricted currency.

With your DBS MCA,  you can convenient buy your preferred foreign currency online via DBS iBanking or mBanking: There is no waiting or processing time, it’s as simple as making a funds transfer!

That means that you can purchase foreign currencies at the most favorable rates, then locking in your foreign currencies at the price you bought it at.

Tip: You can even set alerts on your DBS mobile app (Digibank) to to receive alerts on the rates you want! Just set your ideal currency and preferred rate on digibank and you’ll receive a notification when that rate becomes available.

Once the FX rate is in your favour, you can scoop up as much currency as you want at the price you want at the rate you’re after!

With these foreign currencies held in your DBS MCA, you can then transact directly in foreign currency with your MCA-linked DBS Visa Debit Card!

 

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One of my favourite online stores, Shopbop only transacts in USD. By holding USD in my DBS MCA, I can save so much more! (See how an item that costs $105 USD converts to roughly $141 SGD with the present foreign currency exchange rates? That works out to be a conversion rate of about SGD 1 = USD 1.343. If I’d purchased my USD at its lowest of SGD 1 = USD 1.3, I would potentially save a significant amount just on one purchase!)

The foreign currency transaction will then be directly debited from the foreign currency funds into your MCA. E.g. USD105 spent = USD105 debited from the account with no extra fees!)

I also frequent many Australian labels, such as this one: Sheike. The AUD/SGD is currently at an all-time low so it’s the perfect time to stock up on my Australian currency to hold it in my DBS MCA!

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For instance, look at how this purchase from Australian website, Sheike previously cost me $288.53 SGD after conversion from $267 AUD at a rate of 1 SGD = 0.925385 AUD at the time of purchase.

The current SGD/AUD is only 1 SGD = 0.99 AUD, which would mean that a future purchase like this could potentially only cost me $269.70 SGD instead of $288.53 SGD if I lock in my SGD/AUD rates now!!

Furthermore, banks would convert AUD to USD, before we are charged with the final SGD rates. This double conversion means we would have to pay conversion fees twice, which could be prevented with MCA.

Online shopping just got a whole lot better and so much more convenient. Now, I no longer have to fret over fluctuating foreign currency exchange rates or high conversion charges!

 

Other Perks of the DBS MCA

Just so you know.. The DBS MCA isn’t only good for online shopping – You can even do SAME DAY TRANSFER of funds online from your MCA at zero or lower fees to countries such as Australia, USA and more!

When you’re overseas, you can also save money by buying your foreign currencies via iBanking or mBanking conveniently and at favourable rates, then pay using your MCA-linked DBS Visa Debit Card.

You won’t have to bear any foreign exchange conversion fees ever again as foreign currency funds will be directly debited for your overseas purchases, or worry about carrying huge amounts of cash in foreign currencies on you! You can also check your transactions and balances on-the-go via mBanking, no matter where you are.

With no conversion fees or extra charges, say goodbye to queuing at money changers, searching for the best exchange rates, and foreign currency charges on online shopping or overseas spend – and hello to more time and money saved!

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For me, the number one perk is still… ONLINE SHOPPING. Yay to cheaper online shopping, and more substantial savings with my DBS MCA!

 

Sign up for free today!

If you want to start saving with the DBS MCA, simply pop over to DBS’s website to apply today!

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For Existing POSB / DBS customers:

Do it instantly online. Log into your DBS iBanking > select Apply > Deposit Accounts > DBS eMulti-Currency Autosave Account

Note: Remember to apply for the DBS Visa Debit Card separately if you don’t already have it! Link it to your MCA account so that it becomes your primary debiting account when you use the card.

For New DBS customers:

You can apply online for free as well and the DBS Visa Debit Card comes automatically with the account!

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Go forth and start saving on foreign currency spending with the DBS Multi-Currency Account today!

 

This article is sponsored by DBS Singapore; all opinions are of my own.

Terms & Conditions apply. Insured up to S$50k by SDIC.

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Diner En Blanc Singapore 2018

Have you heard of Diner En Blanc?

“Imagine white tables and people dressed in white around them, eating a gourmet dinner, under the fading summer light.

No one knows where it will take place until the last minute and afterwards a casual passerby will have no hint of the splendor of the occasion past. This will be the privilege reserved in the memories of those who formed part of the occasion.

And so starts the mysterious “Dinner in White” or Diner en Blanc (because it’s a French tradition), a global dining event that despite the veil of secrecy shrouding it, spreads to more cities every year on its way to becoming an international phenomenon.”

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Our first taste of Diner En Blanc started out humid, hot and sticky: We arrived at the clandestine meeting spot at 5PM (Tiong Bahru) and started making wild guesses on where the secret location of Diner En Blanc would be held. Would it be Sentosa..? Or maybe Marina Barrage?

The waiting grew long as we stood around in our all white outfits, perspiration trickling down my navel and gluing down strands of fly-away hair to my sticky, warm skin. I was having second thoughts about “dressing to the nines” as was instructed in the email. Would I feel like I was sticking out like a sore white thumb in my full-length white lace ensemble? Decided to screw it because hey, when would I get another opportunity to dress up in this outfit again? Of course, I was mildly comforted by fellow OTT dressers around me, seemed like I wasn’t the only one who decided to dress up. Heh.

Guests wandered over even as we were forty minutes into the wait, and I bemoaned the sweltering heat that was so thick it seemed to shimmer in the air.

Thank god for the fully air-conditioned coaches that finally arrived close to 6PM – I also made a mental note to myself not to arrive so on-the-dot for the next dinner soirée. We piled onboard our coach, sighing in relief with the rush of cool air that hit us and lifted our spirits slightly.

The sun started setting as the coach meandered through the evening traffic, reflecting off our faces with an orange glow as we chattered in low voices. At long last, we’d arrived. The Singapore Flyer!

It was a gorgeous sight as we stepped into view of the wide expanse next to the Flyer. White tables filled the space as people ambled about, setting up the tables with plates, trays of food, drinks and even fairy lights!

The atmosphere got dampened when fat drops of rainwater started falling upon us and sent us abruptly scattering for shelter under the nearest building. It was a comical sight, dinner guests dressed in their best whites scurrying in panic, some (myself included) using table napkins as a makeshift umbrella while others stumbling gingerly in their high-heeled shoes. Why, oh why, did the rain have to come just as we’d arrived, we lamented.

We stayed optimistic and our optimism paid off when the rain started letting up fifteen minutes later!

The dinner party got started with a rousing wave of our white napkins and loud cheers as we wiped down the damp tables and chairs, tucking in with glee into the food we’d brought and laid out before us on the table.

I am a shitty cook, but that’s what I invited my best chef friend, Jessica, for! She prepared a spread for our dinner: cold tomato soup, little slices of bruschetta, meatballs and mash, and grilled salmon with aglio olio!

Over our home-cooked food and glasses of bubbly Perrier-Jouët champagne, we made friends with guests seated next to us at the long adjoining tables, taking turns to snap pictures for one another and enjoying the festive ambience. It was a sight to behold as night time fell, and the skies turned to midnight blue hues streaked with purplish pink remnants of the sunset.

Live music serenaded the 1500-strong gathering of food lovers as we ate and chatted – We were treated to music from Le Miserables, Swan Lake, and even Beethoven’s 5th Symphony!

Lithe dancers moved in sync with the music, creating poetry in motion with their ribbons of white fabric whipping through the air in fascinating twirls and swirls. Pity the sound system wasn’t able to showcase the musicians’ best due to the loud wind that drowned out the delicate strains of melodies from the instruments. It was still enjoyable nonetheless!

When our tummies were stuffed to the brim and a round of food had been offered to and fro all our fellow table guests (I tasted this AMAZING kueh salat), the night ended with a fiery display of sparklers that lit up the air and fizzled off in seconds, much like the annual Diner En Blanc and its short few hours of merrymaking and feasting that would not leave a single trace in its aftermath.

I had worried that it would be a pretentious and silly affair, but I truly ended up enjoying myself thanks to my lovely company, Jess (and the yummy food she made of course!), our friendly table neighbours, and the laudable fact that every guest had put in so much effort and thought into this pristine white dinner party, from their food, table set up to the all-white dress code.

Ostentatious? Perhaps a little so. At the end of the night though, it was clear to see how people had been brought together to enjoy an evening of gaiety and celebration. Genuine laughter and merriment was abound as guests let down their hair, gaily shared food and clinked champagne glasses together. Despite the extravagant outfits and all the crazy hassle it was to fuss over food prep, outfit picking and table setting, it was a remarkable night. For a brief moment, I truly felt like I was in the balmy summer evening of Paris and its magic.

Til the next Diner En Blanc 2019!

https://singapore.dinerenblanc.com

*Thank you Bless Inc, for inviting me as a VIF (Very Important Friend) for Diner En Blanc 2018!

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How to get really white teeth

I just completed my third session of teeth whitening at Shining Smile Singapore and boy, am I impressed with the results!

Shining Smile Singapore teeth whitening results
See this image?

Before my first teeth whitening session at Shining Smile Singapore on 18 January, I was a shade 26.

After my first session (18 January), my teeth lightened to shade 18.

After my second session (14 March), my teeth lightened to a shade 12.

After my third session (today, 17 April), my teeth are now in between shades 6/8.

That’s an improvement of over 18 shades!!! Wowwwwww. Even I was surprised to see such a significant improvement!

I’ve been receiving a lot of inquiries about the teeth whitening sessions at Shining Smile Singapore, so I’ll try to answer all your questions here!

What is the teeth whitening process at Shining Smile Singapore like?

First, you brush your teeth with a special whitening toothpaste provided by Shining Smile Singapore.

Next, you put on the mouth piece (you are given one on your first visit, subsequently, you have to bring it for the next session), and a whitening solution is applied onto your teeth via a spray bottle.

Lastly, LED light is used to activate the whitening ingredients with a special LED machine brought in from Japan!

The entire procedure is repeated twice for each teeth whitening session.

How long does each session at Shining Smile Singapore take?

Shining Smile Singapore is now offering two different courses, one is the Quick Course (for shades starting from S20) and Advance Course (for shades starting from S40 to S22). Of course, Advance Course is meant for those who need more intensive whitening on their teeth and recommended if your teeth are in between Shades 40 to 22.

Quick Course takes 30 minutes and Advance Course takes 1 hour.

Is teeth whitening at Shining Smile Singapore safe?

This is definitely a huge concern that’s on the mind of many, because of the recent saga with non-HSA approved home whitening kits like the Beautiful Teeth Whitening Kit.

According to Shining Smile Singapore, the compounds used in the teeth whitening solvent are safe for foods and cosmetics. The LED light also uses a safe wavelength – Afterall, it’s Japanese technology and anything that’s Japanese to me is good! Hahaha.

Does the teeth whitening at Shining Smile Singapore hurt or make your teeth sensitive?

The procedure itself didn’t hurt a single bit for me, I barely felt anything except for a slight warm sensation from the LED light. I did experience mild teeth sensitivity right after the procedure – there was a bit of tingling sensation in some parts of my teeth which went away in a day or so.

This is my personal experience though, and might vary from person to person.

How many sessions do I need to do to see results? Will the results last?

I saw visibly whiter teeth from the first session alone, but the results were SUPER significant after three sessions done over the course of four months, as I’ve shared above!

However, due to the nature of tooth yellowing, no whitening method is ever going to be permanent. Different peoples’ teeth will yellow at different rates, but this will be sped up by lifestyle factors and genetic disposition.

For example, if you take a lot of coffee/tea or if you smoke, the whitening effect will definitely not last as long as without. I don’t smoke, but I do drink tea and coffee on occasion. My teeth are definitely still much whiter than they used to be previously!

How much does it cost?

For first-timers at Shining Smile Singapore, you can quote my name YINA for a special trial price of $120!

The next appointment within one month of your first session will cost either $100 (for Quick Course) or $140 (for Advance Course).

Subsequently, every maintenance session (after one month) will cost $180 each. Maintenance sessions are recommended every 1-2 months for optimal results.

This is how white my teeth are after just three sessions at Shining Smile Singapore! I didn’t photoshop or filter the color of my teeth, I swear.

Also, my Japanese therapist Aimee is so pretty AND she has got the whitest teeth and prettiest smile I’ve ever seen. I think I’ve got a bit of a girl crush on her! 😍

In conclusion

I am super super super pleased with the results of my teeth whitening sessions at Shining Smile Singapore!

Quick, fuss-free and most important of all, my teeth are so much whiter now! I think the results speak for themselves. 10/10 highly recommend!

Shining Smile Singapore is located at
#03-23 Oxley Tower, 138 Robinson Road
Singapore 068906

To inquire or make a booking: ☎️+65 96578463 (WhatsApp or SMS)

If you’ve got any questions still, feel free to leave a comment – I’ll do my best to answer!

*I was sponsored teeth whitening sessions by Shining Smile Singapore but was not paid to advertise for them!

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My first H bag

Dear Diary, I can’t believe I actually bought my first Hermes bag! 😍 And it is so gorgeous, I really fell straight in love with it.

Meet my Hermes Lindy 26 y’all! To be honest, I fell in love with it the moment I set eyes on it, and fell harder once I tried it on my arm.

I’m not huge on branded bags – I love a pretty bag, but I’m not crazy crazy over bags because bags are an expensive hobby, and I don’t feel like I earn enough to be able to make shelling out thousands of dollars for a bag a regular habit.

My favourite brand is actually Chanel, but I don’t even own a brand new Chanel because I just can’t bear to! I have two vintage Chanels that I love and bought at very good prices – I think my vintage Chanel flap was under 3k if I remember right. I’d take a vintage Chanel over a new model any day because I find the vintage styles so much prettier and classier on me!

Back to Hermes: I’ve always known that my first Hermes would be a Lindy. Amongst all the classic Hermes designs, the Lindy is my favourite, and although it might not be as well-sought-after or have as high a resale value as a Birkin or Kelly, I find the Lindy the most practical and versatile. It is roomy, easy to carry and can be put to daily use if you choose to do so!

I also feel that the Lindy suits me best, and while I would hope to own a good-looking Kelly or Birkin one day, I haven’t found one that I’ve fallen in lust with, yet.

There are many ladies who own plenty of Hermes bags and probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid at a Lindy, but it is the most expensive bag purchase of my life so far and I feel like every dollar that I paid for this precious baby is hard-earned! It is both a reward to myself as well as a reminder to keep working harder.

I don’t foresee myself investing in the next H bag after the Lindy for at least a few good years, but I may very well be wrong, who knows? Hahaha.

My Lindy is a 26 in this gorgeous shade of electric blue and has a matte nilo (niloticus crocodile skin) strap with clemence leather on its body. It came brand new in box from Luxlexicon, which carries both brand new and pre-loved Hermes bags in Singapore.

I ended up paying quite a premium due to the croc leather strap, but my heart was sold. It is exactly the color and size I was after, and the croc leather strap makes it a little more unique than a regular Lindy. It is just beautiful.

I also tried on this very classic red Lindy 30, but it didn’t speak to my heart the way the 26 did. Somehow felt a little too big and slouchy for me, yes?

First orange box of my life! 😍

Check out that pretty matte nilo leather on the strap. I generally wouldn’t go for full matte nilo leather because I think it would be that much harder to carry off, but just a little accent like this works perfectly for me.

Now, should I also invest in twillies to wrap up my bag straps in…?

Purchasing from LuxLexicon

For the ladies thinking of purchasing an H bag locally, Luxlexicon’s selection is incredible! So much eye candy in one shop.

This sunshine yellow Birkin that I tried on could change my mind about owning a Birkin – It’s so cute.

I’m also absolutely sure that you don’t need to worry a single bit about authenticity at Luxlexicon, all of their bags are 100% authentic. Flo (the owner of Luxlexicon) has such a passion for Hermes and it’s apparent from her knowledge and expertise in every single bag they carry.

Disclaimer: I paid full price for this baby and had a very good experience, this is not me advertising for Luxlexicon!

I find their prices generally very reasonable, especially the pre-loved bags – You also get a better price if you pay by cash/bank transfer as opposed to card. (I chose to pay by card because, MILES. Haha)

Thank you Flo and Jay for the wonderful service, and for reserving this beauty for me – I didn’t bring my card out and had to come back the next day for it. 😍

My brand new Lindy comes with its box, original receipt, dust bag, shopping bag and even the “raincoat” (yes, apparently some bags come with protective plastic covers for when it rains).

I also purchased a felt organizer insert from LuxLexicon for $70 – To help protect the base of my new baby from scratches and to keep it in shape too! Hopefully, I can take good care of my Lindy, because I have to admit, I put my bags through some hard use and don’t care for them well at all.

I think I might send my new Lindy to DrBags first to do a protective HP coating, it’s supposed to guard against moisture, fungus, discolorization and oxidization for up to 8 months.

Now, I can’t wait for the first opportunity for me to bring my Lindy out. Yay! May it serve me well for many good years to come!

What do you think of my new Lindy? 🤗

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Europe/UK Sep’17: 2 Days In Prague – An Introduction to Prague (Day 1)

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Where do I begin about Prague?

I’d heard so much about Prague, about it being one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and about its incredible history and streets full of old churches and cathedrals with magnificent towering spires. It’s a city I’ve been itching to tick off my bucket-list for the longest time and it finally happened!

We spent three nights and two full days in Prague, which I think is the minimum amount of time it takes to touch-and-go through Prague’s most famous sights and attractions, and to say that you’ve “been there, done that”. Ideally though, I would love to have spent four or even five days in Prague, heading out for day trips and exploring the lesser known areas of Prague and the Czech Republic, but we were pressed for time, and had to make do with only two full days in Prague.

Renting a car in Europe

So, I’ve always wanted to road-trip in Europe! I’m really glad we made it happen this time, with a short road-trip from Berlin to Prague, and back again for our connecting flight to London.

This was my first time renting a car in Europe, and I was steered to AutoEurope’s website via my best friend, Google, hahaha.

AutoEurope allows you to compare cars and prices across the most popular car rental companies in Europe, so you can get the best bang for your buck!

Of course, since you’re in Europe, just go for a continental car. Hahaha. We decided on a small BMW, which set us back a reasonable SGD360 for three days of car rental.

The logistics of the car rental was straight-forward: We picked up our car from Berlin Main Railway Station in the morning, set the GPS to go from Berlin to Prague and off we went! It was a 350km drive (roughly four hours) and we did a short stop at Dresden, on the border of Germany (more on that soon), before continuing the drive to Prague.

Driving in Europe was not as challenging as I expected, and I was particularly impressed by the courtesy shown on the highway by other drivers! Singapore really has the worst drivers in the world. Despite it being a left-hand drive (as opposed to right-hand driving in Singapore), the journey was smooth and uneventful.

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En route to Prague, also known as Praha in the Czech language.

Tips on Getting Czech Currency

The Czech republic has yet to adopt the euro currency, and one of my greatest concerns was how I would be getting my czech korunas (also known as the Czech crown), as it is not a widely-circulated currency internationally.

After scouring through various websites and experiencing it personally myself, my best advice is to simply bring along a debit card that can be used to withdraw Czech korunas from the local ATM – It’s possibly the best way to get your czech currencies and the most convenient way as well. There are plenty of local money changers in Prague, but the rates are not to be trusted IMO, and I would rather get my korunas from the ATM.

Just make sure that your debit card has either the Cirrus or Maestro logo, which is accepted in most parts of Europe, and you should be fine! (Just in case, you might want to bring a back-up card, and remember to call the bank to check that your card is activated for international withdrawals.)

I recall there being a transaction fee for every withdrawal, but I would rather pay a little more for multiple withdrawals than be stuck with too many korunas that I won’t be able to use anywhere else. There was an ATM right across the road from my hotel, and I didn’t have any trouble withdrawing korunas at all.

Most hotels and restaurants do accept credit cards, and I remember my hotel accepting Euros too, so you don’t need to be too worried about not having enough czech korunas for your stay in Prague, especially with the convenience of ATM withdrawals.

Checking into Art Deco Imperial Hotel

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We arrived in Prague at our hotel, Art Deco Imperial Hotel, just as the sun was about to set. What a beautiful cityscape right from our doorstep!

I picked Art Deco Imperial Hotel for a number of reasons: It is one of the top-rated hotels in Prague, offers parking for our rental car (at an additional fee), has a convenient location near the heart of Prague, and the building itself has a history dating back to the 14th century, with old-world baroque styling that makes for a truly unique and one-of-a-kind experience.

We paid about $330 per night, but rates vary depending on season, and it might be as affordable as $200 a night, which is a very decent price for its location and luxurious baroque-styled rooms.

Tip: Look at price aggregator/search websites such as HotelsCombined, Agoda or Booking.com for the best prices on your chosen dates!

Our car was driven to the car park (apparently not in the same building) by the valet, and we were welcomed and checked in by very warm and gracious staff who also spoke good English, we had no issues communicating at all.

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Our room was a modest but nice size – It was spotless and well-kept, which was fantastic. I liked the classic interior with its ornate furnishings and cosy ambience.

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Even the bathroom was gorgeous with its classy marble tiles and art-deco styled faucets and hardware! I always appreciate a bath tub and I loved it that my room came with a good-sized bath tub 😀

All-in-all, Art Deco Imperial Hotel scored well on my hotel score-card, with extra brownie points for their very famous Cafe Imperial, where we had a delicious dinner on our first night in Prague!

Prague at night – First impressions

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Prague lives up to all the hype that I’ve heard about it – It is one of THE most beautiful European cities I’ve had the good fortune to set foot in.

With that though, comes the bad news: The best parts of Prague like Old Town Square and its neighbouring areas have turned into one giant tourist attraction and is flooded with hundreds of people from day to night, as well as touristy shops and vendors selling overpriced food and merchandise.

To put it bluntly, if you hate crowds, you’re most probably gonna hate Prague.

Prague is still remarkably beautiful – But a lot of its authenticity has been lost to the huge amount of attention it has received as a popular tourist destination over the past years. To uncover Prague’s original charm, one must tune out the noise of the surrounding crowds and delve a little deeper.

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For instance, I learnt that the highly popular trdelnik aka chimney cake that you’ll see being sold in ten different shops, with each one touting the trdelnik as a “traditional Bohemian” pastry, isn’t even historically a traditional Czech food, but grew crazily widespread in Prague over the past few years because of its popularity with the tourists.

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(Yes, I did cave in and bought one of these chimney bread on my first night in Prague.)
Taste-wise, it was sweet, sugary and cinnamon-y, not too bad at all as a street-side snack, actually.

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This ham though, was a huge disappointment for me – We were enticed to buy the ham because of how the entire leg of ham was roasting so merrily on a spit, but when it was served in one huge hunk, the ham was barely warm on the outside, and still cold on the inside. Also, it was terribly expensive and I felt completely ripped off.

Moral of the story is, avoid these expensive tourist traps unless you’re super eager to try something that you’ve never tried before.

Night view of the Vltava and Prague Castle

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We meandered our way through hordes of over-eager Korean tourists until we reached the river-side, from which you can see the lit-up Prague Castle across the River Vltava!

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Spotted hundreds of love locks on a fence right by Charles Bridge.

Dinner at Cafe Imperial

If anyone were to ask me for food recommendations in Prague, Cafe Imperial, together with its sister restaurant Next Door by Imperial, would be my top recommedations!

If you’re looking for a traditional Czech restaurant with honest good food at affordable prices, Cafe Imperial is that rare gem: I first heard of this restaurant, very coincidentally, while having a wonderful seafood dinner in Sydney, Australia. The restaurant manager was from the Czech Republic, and when I told her that I would be heading to Prague, she told me that I had to try Cafe Imperial, and Next Door by Imperial (both helmed by the same chef) for really good Czech food.

I remember taking a snapshot of the restaurant names she scribbled down for me, and it was only until just mere days before my tripe to Europe that I realised Cafe Imperial was quite literally located just in the very same hotel I booked (Art Deco Imperial Hotel)! How’s that for serendipity?

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Endive salad
with orange segments, walnuts, homemade dressing

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Roasted quail stuffed with Foie Gras
with red wine sauce

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Grilled tuna
with fennel crust and Nicoise salad

The food was legitly delicious – That roasted quail with foie gras had all the right flavours, while the grilled tuna was fresh and appetizing with the aroma of herbs and spices.

Remember to book a table in advance, Cafe Imperial is super popular and walk-ins might not be successful so I would suggest getting your hotel concierge to do a booking for you! We had a very good dinner, and went to bed (how convenient that Cafe Imperial is located on the ground floor of Art Deco Imperial Hotel!) happy and satisfied.

Breakfast at Imperial Cafe

One of the highlights of Imperial Cafe though, is its stunning Art Nouveau décor and mosaic tiles that should be admired in the day time for all its intricacy and beauty!

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I have to admit, pictures of these gorgeous interiors were part of what drew me to book my stay at Art Deco Imperial Hotel 😉 Soooo gorgeous!

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Breakfast affair with the usual suspects: Bakes, eggs, bacon, sausages and the likes. The breakfast was pretty good, though not mind-blowing.

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LOVE those stunningly impressive pillars and the tile art on the ceiling!

Exploring Prague

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Thankful for really nice weather on our first full day in Prague!

If you’re wondering how transport works around Prague, they do have a metro line and buses around the city, but most of the attractions in Prague are all accessible via walking, which was our main mode of transport during our two days in Prague! We left our rental car parked at the hotel, which I would think is the safest option as well.

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We took a stroll from Art Deco Imperial Hotel to Prague Old Town Square, where I’d booked us on the free SANDERMANs Walking Tour of Prague – A really great way to learn more about Prague and its history with a local guide, and it’s completely free too! Since it’s free, why not, right? You can choose to tip your guide whatever amount you deem appropriate after your tour, or not at all, if it wasn’t up to your expectations.

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SANDEMANs does free walking tours in 19 different cities across Europe, which I think is really cool! They even have an app that you can download and make bookings via.

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The 3-hour walking tour brought us through some of Prague’s most famous sights like Old Town Square, the Astronomical Clock, Old Jewish Quarter, Wenceslas Square and more, and our guide brought to life the history behind each landmark or spot, sharing interesting nuggets of information I would not have gotten otherwise.

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One of the most famous attractions in Prague has got to be the Astronomical Clock! It is the oldest still-working intact example of its kind surviving to date, and is a magnet that draws in the crowds every hour with its regular “show” on the hour. As you can see, part of the clock tower was under works while I was there, but the clock itself was still the center of attention.

Our guide explained to us how the clock works but it was too complicated for me to understand it properly, so I gave up and resigned myself to just admiring the beautiful and ancient time-piece.

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There was a short break during our three hour walking tour with SANDEMANs, and we took the opportunity to grab a bit of food – Also stumbled upon this ice cream shop with great gelato that we enjoyed very much!


The sorbet there wasn’t memorable, but I really liked the creamy and intense gelato flavours! Worth checking out for a little mid-day snack.

Puro Gelato
Na Hrobci 410/1, 128 00 Nové Město, Czechia 
Phone: +420 721 438 209

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The walking tour also brought us to Josefov, the old Jewish Quarter in Prague.

Spot that strange black clock in the upper right corner with undecipherable characters on it? That’s a Jewish Hebrew clock that runs counter-clockwise. I don’t know very much about the Jews, but it was nonetheless fascinating to hear about their history.

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This is the Old-New Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in Europe that is still in use as a house of prayer. Here’s an interesting fact: Franz Kafka, the famous writer, attended the Old-New Synagogue when he lived in Prague.

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Generally, I really enjoyed the 3-hour long walking tour with SANDEMANs, so much so that I decided to book another tour via SANDEMANs for Prague Castle the following day.

We wandered about after the tour ended, and found ourselves on the other side of the river, where a bustling street festival was taking place, with people milling about the grassy plains of a park around an outdoor stage.

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It was so pleasant in the cool weather to stroll around and soak in the cheery vibes!

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Probably yet another non-authentic Czech street food, but who can resist the allure of freshly-fried potato chips cooked on the spot? Not me.

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Crowded streets of Malá Strana, just across the River.


We headed back to Old Town Square in the evening, because we had a performance to catch!

Love this scene. The sun setting in Old Town Square while kids were chasing after bubbles drifting gently through the air. It was a magical moment.

See those Gothic structures rising above the Baroque-style houses? That’s Church of Our Lady before Týn – where we bought tickets for a classical performance!

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It was a completely spur-of-the-moment decision we’d made while walking past the day earlier, and I was truly very excited for the performance! There are actually lots of little performances with popular classical repertoires happening all around Prague every day, and this one at Church of Our Lady before Týn is just one of many.

If you’re a classical music enthusiast and carely deeply for good acoustics/sound, I highly recommend watching a performance at Rudolfinum, the most famous concert building in Prague and the seat of the Czech Philharmonic.

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The church itself (dating back to 1365!) is just gorgeous, and these majestic settings made the experience extra special for me.

The “Royal Czech Orchestra” though, wasn’t a full orchestra like I was expecting, but comprised of just a string ensemble and some soloists. Nonetheless, I had a good time and thought my money was well-spent on this experience! 🙂

Dinner at Next Door By Imperial

So I tried Cafe Imperial on our first night, and of course I had to book a table for Next Door by Imperial as well! Just across the road (yes, next door, lierally) and helmed by the same chef, Next Door By Imperial has got a superb ambience and just as appetizing menu as Cafe Imperial, and we were not disappointed!

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I love it when restaurants serve fresh bread. We were given this spread to go along with the bread and it was OMFG so so so so so yummy??! Turned out to be some sort of ham pate and it was so damn good we must have polished off two baskets of bread along with it!

Crayfish soup 
with Armagnac and ravioli 

Grilled Flat Iron Steak
with roasted tomatoes with garlic and herbs

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Can’t find this on the menu anymore – But I believe it was pork cheek, and very delicious too!

A wonderful dinner like this only set us back less than SGD100 – Super worth it or what? I would imagine the same meal costing twice the price in Singapore! These two restaurants (Cafe Imperial and Next Door by Imperial) are super popular with both locals and tourists alike so remember to make your reservations beforehand!

I’ll be finishing up with part 2 of Prague in the next post, be back soon!

Europe/UK Sep’17

FRASER SUITES QUEENS GATE, LONDON – I LOVE SERVICED APARTMENTS
HOTEL DU VIN WIMBLEDON, LONDON – NOT JUST TENNIS
MALMAISON OXFORD – A LUXURIOUS PRISON STAY
CAPRI BY FRASER BERLIN – EXPLORING BERLIN

 

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