Volkswagen Tiguan, please bring us off road

Handsome and masculine, our courtesy Volkswagen Tiguan brought us around town (and countryside) in style. The new VW Tiguan outline gave a distinct yet refined image.

Little vehicle commanders

“Exterior”

Be it Urban or Rural backdrop, this ride is always in style.

One might take a second look at the sharply defined contours, the running leds present an imposing presence.

 

VW Tiguan refused to be subtle.

“Interior”

When you start the car, “SengkangBabies profile” gave us a pleasant welcome. Our ride can customise multiple profiles for different driver.

You can programme your driving style, display and seats, etc. I would hate to re-tune all my favourite settings.

 

A touch of class and luxury inside the cabin.

Techie drivers would love the abundant automation and infotainment features in this ride, but the “traditional” me got a bit intimidated with all the buttons :p

Touch screen infotainment console paired with Apple Carplay, let music stream into the Dynaudio speakers for a surround experience.

 

Paranomic sunroof is always the kids’ favourite. Besides a seamless top view from front to end, they keep bugging me to let natural air flow in!

Designed for creature comforts, aircon “on demand” for front and rear passengers. We heard Tiguan’s biogenic filter (unique for SUV line) can prevent pollen and allergens from entering the cabin. This would be welcome news for those who suffer from allergy.

Flip a tray out for your colouring book or even Ipad, kids would be entertained though the journey.

 

Abundant boot space (600l) for our family. We could easily load shoes and blading gears for our sports outing. We can even fold the middle row to accommodate one or two junior bikes.

 

“Safety and convenience features”

The Tiguan R-Line comes with VW’s new feature, “Adaptive Cruise Control“. The auto system will help maintain a safe distance from the car infront, we heard “Front Assist” will even brake to prevent an accident.

Volkswagen Tiguan pick up 5stars in euro NCAP tests, making it one of Europe’s safest cars.

Picture below (top left), the Head-up Display unit is pretty cool, we need not look down to check whether we are speeding.

 

All round sensors will warn the driver if someone is driving too near, so we can take defensive actions.

The sensors also help us to safely navigate our car into tight parking lot. We appreciate the 3D drone-like top view of the car, showing Tiguan’s four corners (and blind spots). Otherwise, we can always auto-park with “Park Assist” (both parallel and vertical parking is possible)

Be it a family car (comfort and safety) or executive SUV (for off-road thrills), Volkswagen Tiguan performs well in both segments.

Our R-Line 380 TSI 2L petrol engine delivers maximum power of 220ps (between 4500 and 6200 rpm) and an impressive maximum torque of 350ps at a low 1500 rpm.

We kept our Volkswagen Tiguan busy with more family activities 🙂

 

We would like to thanks Volkswagen for the courtesy car, travelling was definitely cooler and more stylish over the weekend.

 

Volkswagen Tiguan
Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line

Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line is retailing from $192,000 (COE inclusive). More photos and specifications can be found on VW website.

 

 

 

Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary – never ride an elephant again

Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle sanctuary (EJS) is the best activity in our Chiang Mai itinerary! If you love elephants, you will get an opportunity to get super close to these gentle giants. (TripAdvisor review)

Chiang Mai Elephant
Chiang Mai Elephant

There are a few no-ride elephant venues in Chiang Mai, we chose Elephant Jungle Sanctuary because it seems to be more active in Instagram.

 

The tickets are not exactly cheap, so we need to make sure that our tour operator is reliable.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is about 2.5 hours drive from the city (near to Doi Inthanon). Majestic mountain ranges beckon to us over the horizon.

 

On a side note, you might have stopovers at rest points (R&R), do look out for a famous local cuisine, braised pork leg. It looks plain and ordinary but super succulent and tasty!

Back to the elephants, EJS estimated GPS location is 18.658668, 98.648556. Do take note Elephant Jungle Sanctuary do not entertain walk-ins. You must secure a booking through their website or phone, and a 4×4 pickup will pick you up from your hotel on tour day itself (if your location is 5km from old city)

Visitors have to change into “tribe” uniforms, and undergo an orientation. Operation of EJS, feeding protocols, and simple commands for the elephants etc.

Image credit ES

 

We learnt why EJS promotes No-riding policy because Asian elephants’ spines are not meant for carrying loads or humans. We might end up hurting them. Secondly, Elephants (and animals) which are trained to perform and entertain might be subject to abuse for them to “conform” to instructions.

We do not wish to harm these majestic beasts’ wellbeing.

 

Elephants have big appetite, they can consume up to 300kg of food every day! We know they were always happy to receive more bananas!

Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

We do not need to peel the skins, Elephants consume them whole. And please save the bananas for the elephants, not humans :p

Bon Bon means “lift your trunk” and feast on bananas. These elephants are so adorable, do pardon their slightly mushy snouts haha.

Image credit ES

Some of the elephants were rescued from manual labour like logging or farming. Some were chained before and subject to other forms of cruelty.

In Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, the operators depend on tourism receipts (education and awareness campaigns), and donations to let the elephants retire peacefully.

 

Both kids and parents enjoyed the elephants interactions!

 

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Image credit ES

Part of the package includes “mud bath” and “showering” with the elephants. Wow, their huge surface area means we need to work fast. Elephants use mud as a form of sunscreen and shield themselves from pesky mosquitos.

The guide did warn us that elephants can coconut “lingo for shit”  into the pool without warning. And Elephant poos are enormous lump of Yucks!

Image credit ES

The guides and crew were all friendly. “One” bringing Xin cross the bridge, and “Mario” acting wacko haha 🙂

Image credit ES

The crew are very considerate too. If they noticed you are too clean, they will cake you with mud. Natural spa treatment yeah 🙂

Image credit ES

Majestic yet gentle beasts. Elephants easily weigh in excess of 500kg, do not stay in their blind spots!

 

Elephant love to bath, humans had fun too, Songkran style! Did I mention the waters in the hills are cold.

Image credit ES

 

After bathing the elephants, we trek back to a waterfall. Do take note of the strong current and chilling water.

Video  (YouTube link): Checkout waterfall and elephant mud spa. Highly recommended for families 🙂

A trip to Elephant Jungle Sanctuary provided us with an educational yet enriching trip. Our kids understand they should never ride an elephant again.

Image credit ES

Lunch at EJS was simple yet one of the best during our Chiang Mai stay (no exaggeration!) . Simple vegetable and delicious curry fused perfectly and everyone requested for second helping.

Chang beer is optional, and Chang means Elephant in Thai 🙂

Dining spot offers a scenic view of the waterfall.

You will get dirty with mud and sometimes a little bit of poo.
You will feel cold, and shiver at the waterfall.

But showering and feeding with the elephants will bring back everlasting memories. We will never forget our friendly encounters with the elephants.

What a mammoth experience 🙂

Do take note that baby elephant might not always be available. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary have different camp visits everyday, and venue might be slightly different.

A half day tour is more than enough. EJS do have 2D1N itinerary.
– Fees – Adults THB 1,700 (about SGD $65), Child THB 1,300
– GPS 18.658668, 98.648556
– Do take note transport will be provide by EJS, you cannot drive in yourself
– More photos of EJS on their Instagram and website

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

If you are looking for shopping centres in Chiang Mai, you would be disappointed. All our 5D4N Chiang Mai Family Itinerary photos have been uploaded :

– 5D4N Chiang Mai Family Itinerary
– Day 1 photos — Airbnb stayGrand Canyon Waterpark
– Day 2 photos – Doi Inthanon
– Day 3 photos – Buatong waterfallSiam Insect ZooDoi Suthep temple
– Day 4 photos – Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Old city

Follow out hashtag #skbChiangMai

 

 

 

Autumn Harvest at Flower Dome

[ Media Invite ]

We were invited to Gardens By the Bay’s  (GBTB) Autumn Harvest. Pumpkins were strewn everywhere, in all shapes and sizes. Love the spread of orange and yellow hue through Flower Dome.

 

Autumn Harvest

What comes to mind when we think of Pumpkins?

Halloween? Pumpkin soup (南瓜)?

Or perhaps the mice which can turn into a Pumpkin carriage in Cinderella?

Look at the Golden Harvest, I am curious where did GBTB flew in so many varieties of Pumpkins! GBTB brochure highlighted “Season of Abundance”.

Take a closer look, some of the pumpkins have painted faces haha, quite adorable too 🙂

We got to know that Pumpkins originated from Greek, and it meant Large Melon. A special breed “Atlantic Giant” can weigh 1 ton!

(L) Jack and the beanstalk folk tale and (R) a busy elf crafting a pumpkin house

 

Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, you will not miss this huge 6m tall fruity statue. Very creative vegetable and fruit giant, how many fruits can you identify?

 

These Pumpkins and scarecrows definitely look spooky, especially in the evenings. Spotted some psycho Joker face too! I guess they will be recycled for Halloween haha 🙂

 

 

Besides visiting the Pumpkin harvesting in Flower Dome, we got an opportunity to design some Pumpkins too.

Pumpkins need not be Orange in colour (haha), and kids were invited to stretch their imagination. Did I mention these pumpkins are heavy, easily 3 to 4 kg.

Who say Pumpkins must have two eyes :p
The boys’ green “Monster Inc” inspired pumpkins, I suggested adding some spider legs too. It comes with a headset for some pumped-up music juice too.

Pumpkin infused arts and craft. Families had Fun decorating the melons, we got some creative inputs from Elves too haha (IG @ThePartyElves)

I was half expecting some Pumpkin ingredients in our refreshment :p

 

Presenting SengkangBabies Pumpkins, we did not bring the pumpkins home. We found a delightful video Pumpkin fertilisation and harvesting too, YouTube link.

 

Besides Autumn Harvest, Flower Dome never fails to amaze us, love the other flowers and decorations too. 

If you are a fan of Autumn (sorry no Maple leaves yet), or Pumpkins, do pop by Flower Dome soon. “Autumn Harvest” display will end on 29 Oct 2017.

 

Do follow Gardens by The Bay website, Facebook and Instagram for the latest update. You can expect the beautiful Mid-Autumn lanterns to shine again from 22 Sep.

Do pop by our Gardens By The Bay outings here.