Free stuff in Bristol

Bristol is a beautiful, bustling city. It’s got a river running through the city centre and is surrounded by hills and greens when you look at the right places. 

Here’s what I did for free this weekend. 

1. Bristol Italian AutoMoto Festival.
I’ll be honest, I accidentally walked into it. I saw a crowd and got curious. Thank goodness it wasn’t some sort of a mob going on. 


Unfortunately, Instagram story doesn’t save the posts (because it’s designs to be like snapchat), so I don’t have any more photos and videos to share. You might still be able to see more if you head over to my Instagram @baine.teo. 

Chances are, the festival won’t be around when you’re here. So head right over to St Nicholas Market, which is only open Mondays to Saturdays, 9.30 to 17.00. I got myself a Pulled Pork Roll from Grillstock to fill my tummy. Delicious!

Pull Pork Roll from Grillstock. Choose your sauce!

The market also boasts Bristol’s best falafel, but I’ll save that for next time. 

2. Cabot Tower / Brandon Hill

At the base of the Cabot Tower. Warning: its quite a climb.

Situated 15 minutes (walk) from the city centre, Cabot Tower, which is situatied right above Brandon Hill, marks the highest point in Bristol. From there, you could look over the city and is best enjoyed on a sunny day, of course. 

Panoramic view from the top of Cabot Tower. It offers 360 view of Bristol and the surrounding areas.

3. Clifton Bridge

I’ve always been told I must visit the Clifton Bridge. “It’s a beautiful bridge!” people tell me. More specifically, my dear friend Joe H. If you’re already at Brandon Hill, the bridge is only 15 minutes walk away, so why not? 

The beautiful Cliffton Suspension Bridge.

Beautiful sight, isn’t it? 

So there you have it. 3 things to do when you’re in Bristol (and not Swindon). Although I’m not exactly being fair here, because unless you’re here at the right time, you won’t get to see the amazing car festival!

Is living in Singapore really more expensive than Bristol?

Moving to a new city is always not easy, let alone to a new city in a new country. To make things worse, since Singapore is consistently ranked as the most expensive city to live in, cost of living measurements shows that one will actually “spend less” while living in the UK if they moved from Singapore. Is that true? That’s what this series of blog is for. I am going to keep track of my monthly expenses to see if that’s true.

How is Cost of Living Calculated?

I’m sure you’ve seen those articles where Singapore consistently rank first as the most expensive city to live in. This measurement is typically done by comparing the prices of a select group of items, such as bread, meat, fruits and vegetables, cost of cars, petrol, housingcheese, wine, clothes, shampoo and things that you require to get by in your daily life. Also included are cheap meals in a restaurants, meals in a fancy restaurants, internet and mobile services and so on. Is it truly representative, though?

Are Cost of Living Index Accurate?

Yes, if you’re an expat.

There are 2 factors to consider here.

The first is the basket of items. Obviously, if we selected items like cheese, milk, salads and sandwiches, they will cost more in Singapore. Conversely, if we selected things like white rice, teh-o, milo, cars, and nasi lemak in an angmoh country, they will be crazy expensive (although if you try to find “Singapore fried noodle” in Singapore, you won’t be able to find any). Most people in major cities get around by public transport (New York, London), but the country they are in does not have a COE system, unlike Singapore, where we are both a city and a country.

The second is the cost of those items. Selecting a correct list of items is not sufficient; we need to make sure that the cost of those items in the list is correct. Look at the example below:

EIU WCOL Prices
The prices of items collected by the EIU WCOL. [1]
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never paid for a S$259 white business shirt before, let alone one that costs $525. Or a $54 haircut with shampoo and blow dry.

Anyone who lives in Singapore knows that those values above are ridiculous. This was actually the index that prompted Deputy Prime Minister (who was also the Finance Minister) to come out and dispute those claims. Not only it reflects poorly on Singapore (it becomes more expensive for businesses to send expats over), it also results in an unfair cost of living adjustments for Singaporeans travelling overseas. Just look at the table below put together by the Singapore Department of Statistics.

COL Comparison
Taken from gov.sg [1]. Values from 2015.
I quote:

  1. All prices are converted from local currencies to US dollars. This means that the appreciation of Singapore dollars will cause the computed COL to rise even when there is no real increase in COL.
  2. The items in the EIU consumption basket are quite different from the goods and services regularly consumed by Singaporeans. In fact, prices of close to 95% of comparable items in basket were higher than those in the survey by DOS. Among them, 40% had prices that were more than double what Singaporeans pay.

And let’s not forget that

Only Singaporeans Understand

That is why the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy created an index of their own in 2015 [2], because only Singaporeans (or Singapore residents, for that matter) understand. Their study provides the annual indices and ranking for expats and ordinary residents, which refers to people like you and me. And their results are one bit surprising. In summary, Singapore is ranked 4th most expensive city for expatriates (London ranked 7th), but drops to rank 48 for ordinary residents (London ranked 21). That’s a drop in 44 places! Even the BBC picked this up [3].

The company uses an agent called ECA to calculate the cost of living. Their basket of items and the cost of those items were never revealed to me (I’m still trying to get those list), we have some data available on their public space.

Ranking Comparison

In the table below, when the cost of living has been adjusted for Ordinary Residents, it is evident that the Cost of Living is much lower than many other cities. In fact, the COL Index for Singapore 53.54, versus 71.90 for London. There is also a poor correlation between ECA’s published rankings and the ACI’s survey results, with only Zurich and Geneva coming in consistently as expensive.

ECA Ranking Rank
Zurich, Switzerland 2
Geneva, Switzerland 3
Tokyo, Japan 7
SINGAPORE 18
Oslo, Norway 20
London, UK ?
ACI Ranking for Expats Rank (ECA Rank)
Zurich, Switzerland 3 (2)    
SINGAPORE 4 (18)   
Geneva, Switzerland 5 (3)     
London, UK 7 (>20) 
Tokyo, Japan 6 (7)     
Oslo, Norway 8 (20) 
Ranking for Ordinary Residents Rank (Expat Rank)
Zurich, Switzerland 2 (3)  
Oslo, Norway 4 (8)  
Geneva, Switzerland (5) 
London, UK 21 (7) 
Tokyo, Japan 22 (6)
SINGAPORE 48 (4)

Double Standards?

Anyone who’s been to Singapore knows that eating out is a way of life. Food is cheap, good and readily available. Yet this is always never considered in most indexes, because an equivalent of hawker centres and food courts do not exist in most countries. Look at the table below – where are our hawkers and food courts? FYI, only 22% of Singaporeans cook every day [6].

Cost of Living, Bristol vs Singapore, Numbeo
Cost of Living, Bristol vs Singapore, Numbeo. Where is food court and hawker centre in this list?

Next, an assumption that shopping habits, preferences and consumption patterns will not change. Yet one is expected to start cooking their own meals, because somehow that is not a change in consumption pattern or habit. Try telling expats they have to eat ‘zap cai png’ everyday, because that’s what the locals do.

What now?

Maybe it’s lousy policies, maybe I’m not representative of the typical Singaporean population. Yes, the GBP has fallen against the SGD by close to 20% since Brexit, and that’s the only saving grace. Now to figure out how can I survive here without having to deep into my own pockets. Tip number 1: eat more bread and bring a rice cooker.

Sources:
[1] EIU vs DOS: https://www.gov.sg/factually/content/is-singapore-the-most-expensive-city-to-live-in
[2] Cost of Living, Wages, and Purchasing Power Index http://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/aci/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2015/10/ACI_2015-COLA-FINAL_29-Oct-2015.pdf
[3] BBC, “Is Singapore really the world’s most expensive city?” http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170407-is-singapore-really-the-worlds-most-expensive-city
[4] ECA Cost  
https://www.eca-international.com/news/june-2016/singapore-rises-in-global-cost-of-living-rankings
[5] Singstat Table Builder http://www.tablebuilder.singstat.gov.sg/publicfacing/createDataTable.action?refId=9473
[6] Singaporeans Mealtime Habits Revealed https://www.reach.gov.sg/participate/discussion-forum/archives/2015/08/28/singaporeans-mealtime-habits-revealed
[7] Table 162 Resident Working Persons Aged 15 Years and Over by Usual Mode of Transport to Work, Industry and Sex   http://www.tablebuilder.singstat.gov.sg/publicfacing/createSpecialTable.action?refId=8615

Prep up for your June Holiday Trip!

Heading somewhere this June? Check out The Planet Traveller’s sale at Paragon basement 1 this weekend! Winter apparels (like Northface jackets) are at up to 30% off, and Crossing luggages are having a buy 1 get 1 free promo!

Wait no longer! Sale ends 15 May 2016! While stocks lasts!


Like us on Facebook or follow our blog for more wonderful deals like this!

Did you buy something at a bargain? Share with us!

Via The Planet Traveller

Malacca – beyond Jonker Street

Having a headache planning for a short getaway? Malacca is just 3 hours’ bus ride away and is very affordable. Most people think of Jonker Street when they hear Malacca, but there’s so much more to Malacca than just Jonker Street.  Thanks to Eugenie, we were able to seek out places unbeknownst to non-locals!

Remember to like us on Facebook or drop us some comments while you’re at it!

And oh, don’t shun those old, dirty looking shops, please. Chances are, the older the shop, the better the food. Why? Like a friend of mine once said, “If they’ve been around for so long looking like this (old and dirty), they must be doing something right.”

Egg Tip: “Take our advice and throw the whole damn thing into your mouth.”

Alright, let’s get down to business. There are a total of 8 items in this list. The addresses and business details are found of this page.

Continue reading Malacca – beyond Jonker Street

London Budget Travel Tip!

The Sterling pound has weakened considerably due to fears of Brexit. But that is good news for everyone else – it means we get to travel to the UK for cheap! Skyscanner recently shared 5 ways you save when travelling in London. Check it out here!

Here are some of our own tips:

1. Stick to the tube and buses!

London is extremely well served by public transport. Most attractions or places of interest can be reached by the Tube. Simply get yourself an Oyster Card (their version of our EZ-Link) and you can easily ride on the buses and trains. What’s better, there are daily caps for the fares, so if you’re visiting several places in a day, it’ll probably save you some money!

London Bus, the Original.
Hop onto a London (Double Decker) bus for a cheap and comfortable tour of London!

2. Don’t Drive

Well, kind of related to the first, but there’s enough reasons for it to be listed as #2. First, parking is usually very expensive. A full day parking in a hotel in Greater London could cost you up to £50. That’s enough to cover a day’s meal! Second, there’s a congestion zone right in central London – it’s like Singapore’s ERP, only that you pay in Pounds!

3. Join a Free Walking Tour

One of the best ways to explore a city, join a Free Walking Tour! The SANDEMAN’s Free Walking Tour is extremely informative and it takes you right through some of the most famous places in London! Listen to the stories of the 6 wives of Henry VIII, and how a drunk, homeless man managed to sneak into the Buckingham Palace!

And oh, did you ever notice the street signs in London read “Westminster” and not “London”?

The "Daigon Alley" of Harry Potter.
The “Daigon Alley” in Harry Potter was an exact replica of this street. The producers had originally wanted to film here, but the streets were too narrow to accommodate the equipment. Hence, an exact replica was created in the studios.

The tour starts at Convent Garden Piazza, right in front of the Apple Store. Although the tour is free, please know that the tour guides are also not paid – they work for tips. If you’ve had a great time, please tip your guide!

4. Visit a Museum – For Free!

Yes, most museums are free to visit! I’m not a huge fan of museums, but if you’re a museum kind of person, be sure to check them out! There’s the Natural History Museum, Science Museum (for the Engineer in you), and many more!

Rocking the moon.
The “Daigon Alley” in Harry Potter was an exact replica of this street. The producers had originally wanted to film here, but the streets were too narrow to accommodate the equipment. Hence, an exact replica was created in the studios.

 

TOP 10 Travel Tips from Mastercard

We all look forward to that trip planned so many months in advance. But with so many things to look out for, we sometimes still miss out little details. Here’s a TOP 10 travel tips from Mastercard. Bookmark this post for future reference!  

Keep these tips in mind for your next trip! Source: http://newsroom.mastercard.com/photos/top-10-travel-tips-from-mastercard-2/

Taken from Mastercard