Tuesday, 31 July 2012

How to Take a Taxi in Shanghai (Or China, in General)

It seems like such a trivial subject, but hey, how many travelers just anyhow hop onto a cab? I know I didn't when I was a flight attendant, thanks to horror stories of how certain cabs are just exorbitant like the black ones in South Korea or just a normal cab in Japan. (Did you know a cab ride from Narita International Airport to the city can set you back a good USD500? That's why.)

To help put travelers at ease, taxi rides are cheeeeeeaaaap in Shanghai. Really really cheap. I heard from the locals that Shanghai is considered expensive in China, when you go to parts of China like Guangzhou or Hangzhou or the not-so-developed places, they're even cheaper.

To begin with, all taxis have a taxi logo light at the top of the vehicle, as with all normal taxis in any other part of the world. If anyone drives up to you offering a ride, don't take it. There are many drivers looking to earn extra moolah in China, and they don't have meters, so you might get ripped off, or taken to god-knows-where, especially if you're a tourist, and a female. 


Taxi Fare:

5:00hr - 23:00
Hop On Rate: First 3km - 13RMB, with a 1RMB fuel surcharge. 
Every 1km thereafter within 10km - 2.4RMB (~50cents?); and 
Every 1km after 10km - CNY3.6
Every 5 minutes of stop time - CNY2.1

(RMB or CNY, it's the same. -.-" China Yuan or Ren Min Bi, in case you get confused.)

So imagine taking a cab from Far East Plaza to Chijmes. That should set you back a total of 14RMB. In total. About there I think? So it's less than S$3. 
(Exchange Rate: S$1 ~ CNY5)


23:00 - 05:00
Hop On Rate: First 3km - 17RMB, with 1RMB surcharge
Every 1km thereafter w/i 10km - CNY3.1
Every 1km after 10km - CNY4.1
Every 5 minutes of stop time - CNY3.1

(I heard you can bargain taxi fares at night. I'm not a fan of bargaining, but if you like those stuff, go ahead and try your luck. ^.^)


Much cheaper than our every 20cents/250m. Not to mention we have a S$3 surcharge for every trip starting within the city from 5pm to midnight, which would make our flag down already ~S$6? *faints*

Oh, and there's a CNY2.1 for every 5 minutes of stop time. 


If you have a Shanghai Transportation Card (something like an MRT Ezlink Card or a Met Card, you can use it to pay for taxi rides. All taxis should accept the card. You can refuse payment if they decline to accept your Transportation Card. 

It's quite a pain in the pigu if you're trying to get a cab during rainy weather, or especially during peak hours (worse if it's rainy weather during peak hours. Good luck.) so it pays to know some numbers in case you need a cab badly:


Taxi Booking
  • Dazhong: (+86) 021-96822 (supposedly one of the best ones, aqua/light-blue colored)
  • Qiangsheng: (+86) 021-62580000
  • Jinjiang: (+86) 021-96961
  • Bashi: (+86) 021-96840
  • Haibo (+86) 021-96965

If you have a lot of people, you can call Dazhong to ask for a bigger taxi, which can accommodate up to 7 passengers. The fare is the same.

There is generally no booking fee if you call for a cab, except for Dazhong which charges 4yuan for each booking.


Cabs can be flagged from anywhere. I'm not kidding when I say anywhere. Even in the middle of a junction. If you can flag, they can stop. Even though there is a rule stating that they can't stop within 30m of an intersection. For the safety of all road users (yourself included), flag cabs from the sidewalk. It's left-hand drive in China, so watch the correct side when flagging, or crossing, for that matter.

Don't worry about getting ripped off by a taxi driver in Shanghai. Unlike in Thailand or certain parts of the world where they don't like using the meters, the ones in Shanghai do. And always ask for a fa piao 发票), which means receipt. (They don't say 收据 in China.)

A typical taxi receipt (fa piao), with all the necessary information:
  • Car number 
  • Driver's license number
  • Date
  • Time you got on to time you got off
  • Basis fare (don't know what that means)
  • Distance travelled
  • Waiting time
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Total

The Dazhong ones will almost always give you the receipt without you having to ask. But they all do if you ask anyway, and you can just walk away without paying if they refuse to give you one. Unless you're looking for a fight or at least a shouting match, try to resolve any problem peacefully if you can. Shanghainese are generally loud, especially their women (don't try messing with them), so if you get into a heated argument, be prepared to bask in loads of (unwanted) attention.

One thing I've noticed (which is unusual for me) is that wherever you are heading, you need to tell the driver the road name, and the nearest intersecting road name as well. So for example, if you want to go to 607 Beijing Xi Lu (Beijing West Road), you can't just tell them Beijing Xi Lu. Because their roads are usually very long and they don't have many prominent buildings (like Ion Orchard or Concourse), it's as good as telling them to go to Bukit Timah Road without any specific point.



So if you want to go to Kedi Convenience Store along Beijing Xi Lu, you have to tell the driver 
"Beijing Xi Lu, Shi Men Er Lu";

And if you want to go to Lirong Pawn, tell the driver
"Beijing Xi Lu, Datian Lu"

(Lu translates to road in Putonghua - Chinese)



Now, fighting for a cab with a mainland Chinese can be exasperating. It's either you're awfully gracious and just keep letting one mainlander after another go for the cab (when you've been standing there for the past 20 minutes and he just comes from nowhere), or you forget what you've been taught about moral values and giving way and aggressively snatch your way to a cab. I'm not good at fighting, especially with ugly social disgraces, so I'll just walk on to a busier road and get another cab. But if all else fails, use the law of attraction and tell yourself that an cab is coming to you and you alone, and it will. ;)

Have fun with taxis in Shanghai, and be safe!

For more Shanghai taxi information and tips, click here.


P.S. I could write about public transport and the trains in Shanghai, but I've read recently that there was a girl who had her upskirt pictures snapped by a pervy's phone and another was ejaculated on in the train by another pervy creep. So....right~ Cover yourself up (hard to in this sweltering summer heat), or risk it. Oh, plus, when taking the trains in Shanghai, you don't really have to walk - you get pushed your way in and out, so you're basically just drifting through the crowd. I don't really fancy rubbing shoulders, or any other parts, with a wet erection, so I think I'll just stick to taxis, thank you. \^.^/

Monday, 30 July 2012

Explore Shanghai: Xiao Yang Sheng Jian

I love traveling. It lets me discover little tidbits about places I never knew. Things that are hardly covered in travel guides (or buried deep inside one so it's really hard to get to that piece of information) and which friends living there may not tell you about because it's such a way of life to them already that to them, there isn't anything special about it to share with you about.

How many of you have heard of this thing known as a sheng jian (生煎)? 


It looks like a bao (bun), or a mantou of sorts, except that it has a crispy panfried top where the folds of the bun converge, and it's got sesame seeds on it.

The steamed bun that we are familiar with, usually with pork, chicken, char siew or other assorted fillings.

Xiao long bao
The catch: shengjian has soup in it, much like xiaolongbao, except it is nothing but xiao (small). 


Imagine panfried xiaolongbao in the size of a normal steamed bun, and you get a shengjian (fried dumpling). I'll refer to it as shengjian in case you guys get confused with the guotie which is ALSO known as fried dumplings, and then there's the bazang dumpling (rice dumplings which are triangular/pyramidal). You get the idea. 

I wish the English language could describe Chinese foods better. Like how do you describe ma la 麻辣? Hot and spicy? Hot is 烫, as in the temperature hot,and it is also 辣 spicy. 麻辣 = numbing spicy? -.-"

Back to my shengjian. The first time I had it was in Shanghai, in this restaurant known as Spicy Joint 辛香汇. 
Read about it here.
But their shengjians were dry and has no soup in it, so it was really quite disappointing and wasn't really that worthy of mention. 


I had the honor of trying the BEST shengjian in Shanghai, and it was ooooooooo~oooOO~~~~ heavenly~~~~~ 

Shengjian from the most famous Yang's Fried Dumplings, aka 小杨生煎, along Huanghe Lu, near Feng Yang Lu, near People's Square (近人民广场).

18 years of history and still going strong with 37 outlets across Shanghai, I'm sure it can't be wrong.
To maintain the quality of their Shengjian, they don't do franchising. (I'm glad they don't. With the country's notoriety for fake-anything-using-non-authentic-ingredients, I won't know what I'll be putting into my mouth.)

Started by a Miss Yang (surprise surprise~ Lol~) who came from humble beginnings selling tea eggs, fruits, and even worked at a department store and had her own boutique, she started Xiao Yang Sheng Jian in 1994 at the age of 27. 

That being said, shengjian wasn't started by Miss Yang. It's a Shanghainese specialty with a history of over 100 years, and there is even a famous guideline for eating shengjian:

皮薄不破又不焦,二分酵头靠烘烤,鲜馅汤汁满口来,底厚焦枯是败品。”
meaning the skin has to be thin yet doesn't break easily and is not burnt, the bottom 20% is nicely panfried to a crisp, and the meat fresh and soup savory. Pardon my excellent translation. Lol~


The one Shanghainese street food you HAVE to try if you're here - Xiao Yang Sheng Jian. 
No I'm not exaggerating. It's THAT good. *craving, salivates~*

Beware: Piping hot inside.

Their shengjians are served upside down, with the folded part crispy golden facing down and the "butt" facing up, unlike the usual ones as seen in the 2nd picture of this post. I believe this upside-down style has become Yang's signature. Google shengjian and those that you see in this form are most likely Yang's Fried Dumplings. =)

These shengjians are usually eaten as a snack / dianxin, hardly as a dish to go with rice or anything like that. A serving of 4 will usually fill a girl like me up. Guys may need 2 servings before you're full, or hop over to Jia Jia Tang Bao across the street (if you're at the Huanghe Lu outlet) for more dumpling extraordinaire in the form of xiaolongbao.

They don't always give you spoons, so ask for one, or make sure you have good chopstick skills.


How to Eat a Sheng Jian: 

1. Dip the shengjian into the plate of vinegar (usually given to you).
2. Hold the shengjian with the butt facing you. 
3. Take a small nibble off it so you create a hole in the pigu. (Vivid imagery eh?) 
4. Then suck, very gently, as the juices may burn you (oooooOO~~~).


Else, if you have a spoon, once you have bitten a hole, pour the juices out into the spoon, and savor the soup and shengjian separately.

Eh hem. Yeah, that's how you eat it. Without creating a mess, and without hurting yourself.


These shengjians go for 6RMB / 4 pieces. 太便宜了呗~!“批私物资” ~(a Shanghainese term I learnt from my boy's housemate meaning 反正便宜,or it's so cheap it doesn't matter if it's bad.)


You can get Xiao Yang Sheng Jian at

2/F, Huang Pu Hui, 269 Wujiang Lu, near Taixing Lu & Maoming Bei Lu,
吴江路269号湟普汇2楼, 近泰兴路 和 茂名北路


or 

97 Huanghe Lu,  near Fengyang Lu
黄河路97号,近凤阳路

Those are the most famous branches. OR,
The whole list of branches is here. Find the one most convenient for you. ;)




One month in Shanghai is not enough for me. I'm a soak-it-all-in-slowly explorer.


Monday, 23 July 2012

A Trip To Where We Began

I can't tell u too much about what I've been up to in Shanghai (yet, I'll just say it's all good and I'm excited & I WILL share when the time is right!), but I'll share some of my happenings before I left Singapore. ;)

Make a guess where I'm headed. =)


Kelongs. We don't have much of those left. Guessed it yet?


Singaporeans, you might be familiar with this place. Then again, I wasn't. Not really. So maybe not.
Pulau Ubin, even after Singapore has lost most of what it used to have and used to look like, has retained its old rustic charm. Enter a world which was us mainland Singapore just less than 30 years ago...



Bicycle rental..uh huh. 

Gravels, stones and sand line the paths formed from routes trekked, I've heard that it's a challenge to ride bicycles here. I've heard of friends and famous people falling off their bikes, but it could be because we're such city kids long used to smoothened roads and even paths. Falling off bikes could just be an inadequacy. Never mind that you used to grow up in a village like this, city living has changed us. Much. 

$2 bikes. Don't be fooled. Those are bikes for kiddos. Bikes for us adults (and teenagers long achieved reasonable adult-ish height) start from $6 for a whole day. Get the more expensive ones if you're worried about getting a shoddy bike. Then again, the more expensive ones might just be tawdry, looking like a woooo~ but actually a wah nia eh~~~ Lol.

Bottomline - check your bike. Ride on it around the stretch. Test the front and back brakes, the seat height, the gears, whether you're comfortable riding it before confirming your ride. Bear in mind you're going to be using it to get around for at least the next 2-3 hours, so make sure that the seat is comfortable. Ask someone to change the seat for you if you have to. 


Companion for the day - Christine. And her two handsome bodyguards (not shown).


All ready to set off! Christine was a pro. She seemed to know Pulau Ubin well enough to lead the way and know all the meeting points and exactly where to go. I can't remember my last time here. *hides face in shame*

Sorry. No pictures of while we were cycling. Super heh heh chuan (Singaporean slang for huffing and puffing) already trying to cycle uphill and downhill and then up again, did you really think I would have the energy (and the skills) to whip out my camera and take pictures? 

So we stopped at meeting point A (I made that up. I have no idea which meeting point is where or what. Christine said stop and park. So I did.) And walked through a boardwalk across a swamp where we saw crabs and mudskippers. I can't remember my last time seeing a mudskipper! 

It was a nice-weather kinda day, with not much sun, and it wasn't really humid either. The sweat was purely from the workout of cycling and exploring Ubin. I LOVE working up a sweat! Especially when I'm not dressed up or made up. You know how you're wearing a oh-so-nice dress and you're sweating and worried about armpit sweat stains even when you have antiperspirant on and that the makeup just feels...sticky and yucky on your face? 

None of that. The flush on the cheeks were au naturel. No need for blusher~ I can just used my sleeve and wipe off my sweat and nothing gets ruined. Haha~

We were caught in the rain, but who cares. Not when we have a pavilion to hide in, a Subway sandwich (eh hem who-eh-hem caught my eh-hem ad-hem..?), and great company with good-looking people?

Even gorgeous people have our days. 
Christine, I hereby give you permission to post any tak-glam picture you want of me. ;) 
(Note: You'll always be that gorgeous amazingly awesome girl I know~)

When we got back to our bikes, we caught a family of piggies~ Okay boars.

Mummy boar

And her kids!!!

So cute max omg they have stripes when they were little! Better camouflage I assume. From us pork-eaters. Lol~ I wouldn't bear to kill these things though....




I got sniffed while trying to take a picture of Mummy Boar. 
And seemingly arse-grabbed.

(Actually it was a kind soul trying to push me way from her in case she gets too close.)

And our trekker 地头蛇 suddenly went "Hey let's go to that nice place that sells drinks!"

.....

Where? Bearing in mind that I couldn't really remember my last time at Pulau Ubin (I really tried hard to recall, but I just can't remember), I had absolutely no idea what or where she was referring to. There's a cafe on Pulau Ubin? Nice!

And after a few lost turns, we finally found it.




Not hard to miss. You'll know you're there when you see this very Singaporean sign.
Oh how proud I am of my country's own evolved lingo. Love it to the max~ It's something foreigners may never comprehend, much less master, if they don't hang out with us enough. Even then, it may be a bit of a challenge. 



Oh be prepared if you want to use the toilets around the bicycle rental area. Your "stuff" kinda just drops down a hole into the abyss (sea?). Worried about sleazy strange men staring while you do your thing? I wouldn't worry about pervies staring up the hole if I were you. Pee down their faces! (unless they're the kind into that sorta thing....eeewww~)



I definitely felt rejuvenated that day. My arms and butt ached the day after, so I knew I worked some muscles there. More Ubin trips to come?






Hell yeah~!


Saturday, 21 July 2012

Hot Cold Magic Wand

Some of you have been sending me emails to ask about the usage of the Hot Cold Magic Wand and how to use it, its effects on helping to slim the face down. I did a little video, not perfect but it's a clue. I couldn't really do much as I had to edit it via remote access on a laptop over my iMac in Singapore. Complicated? Just know that it's a slow process, and I have thoughts on getting my own Macbook just so I could work on my blog more when I'm overseas. It's true when they say once you're a Mac user, it's hard to switch back to PC.

Here it is:



Notice how it somehow seemed to melt the fat away on the side of the face I massaged? It enhances blood circulation as well so it really helps with dark eye rings and skin renewal, thus aiding in scar healing too.

It's not really apparent on me, but you can literally "iron" your wrinkles away with this massager wand. I've tried this on some of my older actor friends and their results were amazing, and almost immediate. 

Curious? 

If you wish to give this a try, you can head down to 
Modmarket Flea - First Space Invasion @ Home Club, Clarke Quay, until 8pm today.

Look for the booth with Hankook Cosmetics, Mint will be there. I wish I could be there as well but I'm currently still not back in town. I'm digging fleas now as you can really get good deals sometimes, especially with stuff like nail polishes, clothes, bags, pre-loved items..... Go try out the Magic Wand~ Stuff like the bubble mask will be there too, and you may be lucky enough to be one of the few to bring home trial sachets. ;)

And as the Wand is still in its soft launch stage, so don't say I didn't warn you - actual launch may take a while and if the numbers of soft-launched "magic wands" run low, you will just have to wait...


You can check the wand out at Hankook Cosmetics website here too. 
Use discount code "LJHSilverAng" for an additional 20% off ALL purchases, yes, including sale items! ;)
Psst~~~They deliver worldwide~~~

Look younger as you age, how's that for age reversal? =D



When you're fifteen~~~~~~

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Ad: Bouncy Buttons

I am back~ Been making myself busy here in Shanghai, but I promise an update really soon! For now, some shopping therapy for you~ 



Bouncy buttons has really nice stuff especially for the working ladies.... Thanks for the following pieces from Collection Bounce Five.

.
Playing around with black & white. Always liked black and white pictures but I feel that they don't do colors justice. 

Actual colors:

Signature Peplum Blouse



I never thought I'd be able to carry off this top, but I think with a belt (my own) it kinda brings out a waist. Lol. Not to say I don't have one, but it's always nice to accentuate. ;)


Duo-toned Work Dress 





Comes with its own belt, but I'm wearing my own here. ACCENTUATE~ Lol! 

Get free normal postage by liking Bouncy Buttons Facebook Page!
If you like their stuff, do share and like their albums, & join their mailing list as well~ 

Hop over to Bouncy Buttons now! ^.^

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Travel Essentials

I never thought I'd be here again so soon, but I AM IN SHANGHAI!!!!! A reader was telling me the weather's not so good now here, and I agree, but I'm just happy to be away, somehow! I guess that little adventurer huay kah (flower leg? It's a hokkien saying for someone who just likes to be out.) in me took over. I feel great to be here, despite the denser-than-Singapore-humidity weather, and the 33ºC nights (I know right!!!).


Nothing feels like a no-agenda-take-things-as-thery-come holiday. In case you're wondering why my picture is lopsided, I was lying down. =D

I've never packed for a month before in my entire life, and this is my suitcase:




I'd always also have a cabin carry-on with me, in case my suitcase doesn't arrive. Happened to me before on a few occasions when I was flying. Trust me. NOT fun when you have NOTHING to change into other than the hotel bathrobe. So, yeah, a spare set of clothing, my travel-sized toiletries (including make-up remover, and makeup) and my laptop. Never ever check in your laptop (and maybe make-up, unless you want to open up and find nothing but powder instead of the compact eyeshadows/blushers/pressed powder). You have not seen how they throw the checked-in luggages around. Gee.  


And being female, traveling for one month in a Cosmopolitan city without any confirmed agenda would mean I would have to pack clothes for casual/formal/party/trekking/and-what-nots. Clothes aside, yes, ladies, what would we do without our shoes to go with every occasion?

^=^

And since I'm on the topic of packing for long holidays, I'd share what my essentials are, and maybe you can share yours too!

Toiletries (Checked-In)


  • Shampoo, Conditioner & Hair Mask/Treatment
  • Hair Serum
  • Facial Cleanser
  • Facial Toner, Moisturizer & Eye Cream
  • Contact Lens Solution
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Body Wash 
  • Body Lotion
My current lotions - VS Love Spell & VS Pink (bought long ago and decided that I should use them up before they turn bad!)
  • Wax Sheets / Shaver - you don't know when you'll need to get rid of excess hair. Unless you remember to wax before leaving your country. Unsightly hair ≠ Sexy
  • Room Spray - I hate ciggie smell in my room, and should I be given a Smoking Room somehow, this thing comes in handy. Or if the room smells of wet sock, like someone just worked out there. This is a life saver.
No more smelly rooms!
  • Pantyliners - this keeps your underwear fresh for longer so you can bring less underwear. Just change this and you're good. ;)
  • Tampons / Pads - no explanation needed
  • Scissors - you may need to cut something
  • Nail-clippers - ever experienced a chipped nail when you're overseas? 
  • Laundry Detergent - maybe it's just me, but I don't like accidentally bringing insufficient clothes and then having no fresh ones to wear. Just bring some in a small card-sized ziplock bag.

Toiletries (Hand-Carry)

  • Contact Lens Case - with solution inside in case you wanna take off your lenses onboard, or if above-mentioned mishap occurs
  • Contact Lens Rewetting Drops
  • Hand Cream
  • Facial Mask Sheets - for the driest of cabin air, when your face feels like it's going to tear
  • Facial Mist - same reason as above, less drastic measure
  • Travel-Sized Perfume - or get Travalo and fill it up with your own perfume. You carry less!

My current faces - Love Toast Gin Blossom, & DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossoms (in my handy Travalo Perfume Case!)

  • Whatever pills that you may already be taking. Including Vitamins and contraceptives. There's nothing less convenient than having your period during your beach holiday. Or end up having a holiday romance without protection. Don't ever ever do that!
  • Travel-sized make-up remover
  • Cotton Pads - for removing make-up, and for use with some toners

Make-Up 

In a separate Make-Up Pouch 
(I've listed them in the order of application so it's easier to remember)
  • Primer
  • Foundation / BB Cream
  • Concealer
  • Loose Powder
  • Eyeshadow
  • Eyeliner
  • Eyebrow Pencil / Powder
  • Blusher
  • Shading/Highlight Powder
  • Eyelash Curler
  • Mascara
  • Lipstick / Lip Gloss 
  • Relevant Brushes - for me I only bring along my Stipple Brush and Blush Brush. Everything else is applied & blended with fingers

Guys, if you are reading and shaking your head, this is what we girls do to keep ourselves smelling nice and looking drool-worthy. Appreciate us for our efforts, please? ^.^

Essential Clothes

  • Bra - 1 strapless, 1 nude, 1 sexy/really flattering
  • Underwear - the number depends on how many days you'll be there. My guide is one every 2 days. If you're there more than a week, wash.
  • Sleepwear - unless you like sleeping naked. ;)
  • Comfy Flats - when it comes to traveling, expect lots of walking. No stilettos please, unless you know you have a formal event/dinner to attend (i.e. red carpet)
  • Shoes that can go with whatever clothes you brought - You don't want to bring a lot of pretty clothes only to realize that you can't wear them cos they look so wrong with the shoes you brought.
  • Socks - if you brought sneakers/running/closed-toe shoes
  • 1 pair of flattering, but comfy Jeans - they're essential for mix-matching!
  • 1 jacket / cardigan / scarf (in case, just in case, it gets chilly. Even in Shanghai, it might get cold in a movie theatre? Or KTV rooms...)
  • Whatever other clothing that suit your fancy.

The Electronics

  • Laptop / iPad - depending on how long I'll be gone. I just wish the Apple App Store has a more user-friendly Blogger interface so that I can just blog on my iPad. Without using HTML. 
  • Laptop Charger - I can't begin to tell you how many times I brought my laptop without its charger. It's stupidity at its max. And it's such a commonly forgotten item!!!
  • Phone Charger (Apple Charger)
  • Portable iPhone Charger 
  • The charger that charges the portable charger - duh!
  • Camera
  • with the SD Card inside, please - same as above. You will feel so silly when you realize you didn't bring it.
  • Camera Charger
  • International Adapter - Because different countries come with different sockets.
  • 2-pin-friendly Multi-Plug - Hotel rooms usually only give you one working socket. Even there's more than one, you only have one adapter. This ensures you can charge everything at one go. 



My Own Other Personal Essentials

  • My hair tong - for curling/straightening/styling
  • Shades - for sunny weather!
  • Foldable Umbrella - great for rain/shine....
  • Reusable Shopping Bag - many countries these days support going green - No Plastic Bags, so having one of these folded neatly in your handbag is useful. =)
  • Relevant Country's Currencies, if you have them - love collecting coins? If not, bring them, and USE them!
  • Relevant Sim cards, if you have - most countries sell 3G sim cards so you can still be connected via email and Whatsapp, and save on overseas SMSes. You WILL end up saving a lot more, trust me. Calls via Line, Viber, WeChat, and Skype, they cost virtually nothing when you have a 3G sim card. Compare that to a S$4.50/minute phone call. Worse when it's an annoying sales representative asking you to "spare them a minute to tell you about the latest insurance/bank loan deals". 
Never forget a paper clip or a hairpin (U-pin without the round tip) if you are using an iPhone. U need it to change your Sim Card.
  • Credit Cards - this is the most useful thing ever if I run out of local currency. 
  • Extra Singapore Dollars - In case I run out of local currency and they don't accept credit cards (roadside stalls). I can just go to a money changer.
  • A Book - I need to bring one of these, no matter where I go. I know they're heavy, and I know I can download books onto the iPad/Kindle/Nook, but I still love physically holding an actual book (and the smell of a new one!!!!) Maybe one day, just maybe, I'll switch to downloads. But for now, I want my paperback. ^.^
  • PASSPORT!!!!!! - Reached the airport. With 45 minutes left before departure time, you stroll to the check-in counter, reach into your bag...and find that it is not there.... Good luck.

What other essentials can you think of, or that I've missed out? 
Do share! & next time when you travel, just come back and check off the list. ;)

 Hope this will come in handy! 

P.S. Of course, when you forget anything, you can get most of these items at the local supermarket. But if you have them and can save on unnecessary purchases so you have more money to spend for the things you want, why not?