After a long trip away from home, there are lots of clothes to unpack and wash and also a lot of sleep to catch-up to adjust back from the time difference and uncomfortable plane seats. The last thing we (being very jet-lagged and tired) want to do is to deal with household chores like mopping and vacuuming the floor. But you will be surprised how dusty the house can get even when it is empty for 2 weeks, especially if there are ongoing construction/renovation work in your estate.

This is where companies offering professional cleaning services like Helpling Singapore come in – for $20 an hour, you can hire a cleaner to do the following household chores for you- dusting, wiping table and cupboard doors, vacuuming and mopping of all floors, cleaning of mirrors and emptying rubbish bins.

helpling standard cleaning package

Putting this into perspective, when I have already spent thousands on airfare, accommodation and travelling for the past few weeks, what’s another $40 to $100 (minimum booking duration for Helpling is 2 hours; I estimate it will take about 5 hours to finish up these chores in my house) so you can rest from the trip and outsource the hard work to somebody else.

What I like most about Helpling is its transparent pricing structure – $20 per hour of cleaning and if you want to clean other areas beyond the standard cleaning package as indicated above, you top up the number of hours you need according to what you need clean (as shown below). No need to waste time haggling with the cleaner on pricing and scope of work – all these are sorted out before the cleaner even turns up at your house.

helpling cleaning service transparent pricing

One key concern that almost everyone, including myself, have about cleaning companies like Helpling is security. Giving someone complete access to my home is quite daunting – we were quite concerned about our own safety and our home and belongings. When I checked with Helpling on this, they assured me that Helpling’s service is safer than the black market or independent cleaners. All Helpling cleaners are Singaporeans, legal, vetted, personally interviewed, and have their criminal records checked by Helpling before they are being deployed.

If you need further reassurance, take a look at Helpling’s FAQs – “All our cleaners are evaluated for their experience as well as their background. In the highly unlikely event of suspected theft, according to the insurance procedure, Helpling will require you to lodge a police report, and we will assist with the police in their investigation. If theft is proven, insurance will be able to cover the cost of the stolen property if it is irrecoverable.” so in the worst case scenario, homeowners are covered by Helpling insurance.

helpling singapore cleaner

The booking process for Helpling’s cleaning services is also very easy and fast – simply tap “Find a Cleaner” and follow the instructions about what are your requirements in terms of number of hours and additional services to book a cleaner.

helpling singapore app cleaner booking

If you have a good experience with a particular cleaner, you can request for the same one again next time as the Helpling app will store your previous booking so that you can easily make repeat bookings. With the app, you can forward booking details directly via email or SMS to notify your flatmate or family when the cleaner will arrive. You can also store the details onto your phone calendar for you to keep track of when the cleaner will arrive.

helpling singapore app booking simple

You can download the Helpling app for iOS on iTunes or Android on Google Play Store. For more information on Helpling, see


Never been on an eco-tour? Last year in 2014 several million people went eco-touring, according to The International Ecotourism Society. If you like hiking, bicycling, kayaking, and nature, this type of holiday might be perfect for you. It’s a wonderful escape into the woods, the mountains, or a secluded beach far away from your high-rise work place.

The best eco-tour companies follow eco-friendly protocols that minimize the environmental impact of travel. The tours are kept to small groups of perhaps 10 – 12 travelers. The guides are often trained scientists or environmentalists. You might spend overnights in an eco-lodge or a campground. You might volunteer for a day on a local project to plant trees or protect wildlife.

Here are 5 popular country destinations and eco-tours:


Here’s one unique option: learn how to create the best travel video and go snorkeling too! On this eco-tour, you will travel to Thailand and meet up with 2 highly experienced videographers who will lead your group. You will spend time in the forests of a national park seeking birds and animals to photograph and record on video. You will be taken to hidden lakes and caverns, and later you will stay at a beachside village. You will meet the local villagers and watch as the men spearfish for food and income. You get plenty of time also for snorkeling in the beautiful clear lagoon waters. Each day you receive tips on improving your videos, and the guides give you some fun challenges along the way. There’s even a Muay Thai fight demonstration to see before you leave. By the time you return home, you’ll have great travel videos and stories to share with your friends and co-workers. Tour provider: Original Trails.

Thailand eco tour


The chance to see tigers and other animals in the wild is the highlight of this eco-tour. Here you will travel to India where your guide will escort you to national parks and tiger reserves deep inside the forests. You will stay in a “jungle lodge” and spend the days on safari as you learn about the natural habitat and enjoy sightings of birds and animals such as deer, antelope, bison, leopards, and tigers. Later in the week you will have the opportunity to canoe along rivers or see the jungle from atop an elephant! You will also be taken to see ancient cave paintings at a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tour provider: Chinkara Journeys.

India eco tour


If you want to feel like you’ve really been transported to a different place and time, go to Mongolia. This is a huge and sparsely populated country where some people still maintain the nomadic life known to their ancestors. Here you will be a guest in a Ger village, help families take care of their goats and camels, try your skills at horseback riding, or watch displays of falconry or archery. You will have the chance to explore the vast Gobi desert and see an exhibit of dinosaur bones and eggs found in the region. While trekking inside the deep gorges of a national park, your group might spot wild sheep or ibex standing atop a cliff above. Other local wild animals to see include muskrat, deer, foxes, eagles, and vultures. Your week will begin and end in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, where you can also visit a Buddhist monastery or shop for souvenirs to bring home. Tour provider: Amicus Mongolia.

Mongolia eco tour


For those of you interested a more challenging and athletic adventure, consider traveling to Tanzania in East Africa where you can spend the week trekking inside Kilimanjaro National Park. Kilimanjaro is the tallest of any free standing mountain in the world (about 5.8 km in elevation). Your first day will include a meet up with your guide and porters and other travelers in the group, then an easy walk through a forested area with trees, streams, flowers and dense vegetation. The porters carry tents and food and other supplies, you will wear a day pack. Overnights are spent in pitched tents in the outdoors. Eventually the trail leads up the mountain and by Day 6 you will reach the icy peak, Uhuru, the highest point in the entire African continent. The descent back down Kilimanjaro is not as difficult, and you will arrive back at your basecamp by Day 7. This is one of those “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences for those who are in good physical health and enjoy mountain hiking. Tour provider: Escape Trekking Adventures.

Tanzania eco tour


It seems everyone enjoys a trip to Greece, whether their fancy is to sail around the many islands or to simply chill out on a beach. On this eco-tour, you will participate in multiple activities, from hiking to bicycling, kayaking and snorkeling – oh yes, and horseback riding too! In the capital city of Athens, you will explore the ancient Acropolis temple and see other important historical landmarks. Later on your group will leave the peninsula for Naxos Island where you can ride your horse along pristine beaches or ride a mountain bike from one small village to the next. Finally you will hop over to the island of Santorini for kayaking, snorkeling, more cycling, and viewing of impressive sunsets. Wherever you venture, there are friendly people, delicious foods, and beautiful vistas. You’ll want to stay longer! Tour provider: Bike Hike Adventures.

Greece eco tour

These eco-tour companies offer tours in English and sometimes in other languages as well. Sometimes the tour packages include airline fees, but often they do not. Each and every company is a little bit different. It is a good idea to research their offerings thoroughly and to ask a lot of questions before booking a vacation.

The best way to learn more about the companies mentioned above and many others too is by online directory: try EcoTourLinQ. On this site you can search by country using the Search menu or by typing in the Search box. The resulting page will offer button links to specific eco-tour companies – click on any button and the eco-tour website will open in a new tab.


Review of Hello Kitty Cafe at Jeju Hello Kitty Island

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJune 28, 2015
Hello Kitty Cafe Jeju

After a morning of fun at the Jeju Alive Museum, we proceeded on to another interesting themed museum – the Hello Kitty Island (also known as Jeju Hello Kitty Museum). The Korean GPS coordinates (by phone number) to get to Hello Kitty Island is 7926114 – just input this number into the onboard GPS provided […]

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3 Exciting Festivals to Visit This Summer

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJune 25, 2015
Summer Festival

It is summer, it is festival season! All over the world people are gathering around either a feeling, or a musical style, a piece of cultural heritage or something completely different – it doesn’t matter in the end, what’s important is to get together. What I plan to present below are three examples of festivals […]

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Great Deals of Up to 50% off in Quality-Assured Unique Travel Experiences with Klook

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJune 24, 2015
Klook Curated Travel

We like to travel free and easy and plan our itineraries on what to see and do in the destination itself. Arranging for hotels and air tickets is the easy part as there are many hotel and airfare aggregators to compare prices and book accommodation and airfare. The challenge is in finding out the best […]

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3 Asian Cities You Can Visit with 40% Off All AccorHotels + Free Breakfast

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJune 22, 2015
accorhotels super sale

2015 is a great year to travel as we have 10 long weekends this year because of various public holidays in Singapore. It is mid-year now and there are still 5 more long weekends with a super long one coming up in August (4 day long National Day and SG50 celebrations). If you have yet […]

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Defying Laws of Gravity at Mysterious Road in Jeju, South Korea

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJune 13, 2015
mysterious road jeju south korea

Having experienced the fun optical illusions in the Jeju Alive Museum, we travelled north to a road near Jeju City. This road is known as Jeju Mysterious Road – the locals call it Dokkaebi Road. It is mysterious because objects on this road seem to defy the laws of gravity! See the picture below – […]

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Experiencing Uniquely Singaporean Chats with Viber’s “Singapore Lah!”, “Singapore Shiok!” and “Fun in Singapore!” Sticker Packs

by Zhiqiang & TingyiMay 23, 2015
viber sticker packs

Emoticons add a lot more colour to our text messaging conversations but there is only so much an emoticon can convey. Singlish is a unique local “slang” where it will be hard pressed to find emoticons which convey expressions like “bo jio” or “sian”. Attempts to text Singlish will typically be overruled by the autocorrect […]

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Top Things to Do when Visiting Las Vegas

by Zhiqiang & TingyiMay 23, 2015
las vegas

Las Vegas is regarded as a city where dreams come true, but there is much more to Vegas life than sticking, twisting and getting married. No matter whether you are heading to Sin City on your own, with a partner or with the family, there are plenty of activities on offer in this great city; […]

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Money-saving Car Rental Tips

by Zhiqiang & TingyiMay 14, 2015
Car Rental Hire

When you’re travelling for vacation or business travel, expenses can add up pretty quickly. For a lot of travelers, renting a car may seem like an essential that is based on their daily routine but renting a car can add a steep increase to your travel bill. The liberation of having a car can seem […]

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