The Ten Secrets You Will Never Know About the Berlin Marathon


The 45th edition of the BMW Berlin Marathon is all set to hit the streets of Berlin in 5 weeks from now. The action will happen on 15th and 16th September. Here’s a list of ten things that you need to know for the annual mega event that attracts thousands of professional athletes and first time runners from the entire globe. Apart from being a well-known event of international stature, it is also an apt opportunity for the spectators to tour the city. The course of the race is dotted with all the prime tourist spots in Berlin.

Berlin Marathon

When was the first marathon?

The first Berlin Marathon was organised in 1974. The runners started their stints from a small road right besides the Charlottenberg SC club. The total number of participants was just a meagre 276 at that time.

Who won the first Berlin Marathon?

The very first winner of the coveted race was Gunter Hallas who finished it in 2 hours 44 minutes and 53 seconds. Jutta Van Hasse was the first woman runner to win the marathon in 1974.

Where is the start of the Berlin Marathon?

This year’s marathon will start from the south side of the iconic Brandenburg gate at the Goßer Stern and finish at the Unter den Linden. The runners are free to choose the starting spot from any of the six doric columns. The marathon will be flagged off from the

How large is the Berlin Marathon exactly?

This year the BMW Berlin Marathon has entered its 45th edition. It is the 34th biggest marathon event in the entire world. A total of 61,1131 participants from more than 137 countries took part in the marathon last year. This year the numbers are expected to cross the 60,000 mark achieved in 2017.

Best viewing spots

To get the best glimpses of the marathon, the Victory Column is a great spot. It is situated just 600 meters away from the Brandenburg gate. The second best spot to view it from is the Strasse des 17 and to catch it in the final hours you need to reach the Unter Den Linden.

The participants are microchipped

The marathon runners need to wear a tiny timekeeping device called the ‘ChampionChip’ in their running shoes. These chips can’t be shared or transferred and you can either get your own chip or rent one.

Wheelchair Marathon Berlin

Who can run?

There are three broad categories of runners qualified for the run. First is the Junior category for people falling in the age group of 19-18 years, second is the master Category for people in the age group between 29-20 years and the third category is of Senior 30 years and above. Athletes above 35-40 years have been classified under Special Categories. Wheelchair and Hand cyclists have separate categories.

The course

The marathon route is a colossal 42 Km stretch that will have 42 checkpoints covering all the major tourist spots in the city. The Victory Column, the German Parliament, the Wilder Eber  and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church are some of the prime ones out of the 11 tourist attractions falling en route to the Brandenburg gate.

World Marathon Major Series

It is one of the world’s top 6 major marathons including the Boston Marathon in US and the London Marathon.

Run for charity

BMW Berlin Marathon

You could run for charity at the BMW Berlin Marathon. The Realbuzz group is associated with thousands of international charities from UK and US who assist in running for fundraising for special causes.

Where to stay for the marathon?

August and September are great months to visit the city. The weather being pleasant during this time it is an apt time for hosting the marathon. For the business travellers who are visiting Berlin during this time, the need of an accommodation is evident. The best part about this German city is there are are a number of options to choose from a lot of convenient serviced apartments in Berlin.

Hong Kong – What to Do in 4 Days


The cosmopolitan vibes of Hong Kong are the very first of the subtleties you experience once you set foot here. The glorious skyline is just unmissable. Like the perennial seasons, it changes every year. It is every globetrotters dream to make a trip to Hong Kong. Let’s together find out what to do in Hong Kong on a 4 day trip. Read on!

Top free things to do in Hong Kong

Day 1:

Take a star ferry trip along the Victoria Harbour

Victoria Harbour Hong Kong

For those who wish to savour the old style Hong Kong, a star ferry trip along the Victoria Harbour is a must. It is the best way to view the magnificent harbour in its full vigour and charm. The ever expanding Hong Kong skyline is a wonderful sight.

Visit the Peak

Victoria Peak Hong Kong

The highest mountain of Hong Kong, the Victoria Peak offers sweeping views of the city. The peak has more to it than just shopping and good eating joints. Shaped like a soup bowl, the Peak Tower is a the best vantage point of the peak for enjoying the panoramic views of the city.

The Peak Tram

The Peak Tram Hong Kong

The Peak Tram is the oldest railway system hoisted and run with the help of cables. It makes for a joyful ride on top of the Victoria Peak. For exploring the mountain and gathering breathtaking vistas of the city, you can either choose an unhurried stroll along the Peak Circle Walk or go to the deck on top of the Peak Galleria.

Day 2:

Shop till you drop in Hong Kong’s busiest market

Hong Kong market

To get the real Hong Kong experience, you need to see the Mong Kok market. Bustling with street side shops and eating stalls, the market is the king of all street side shopping experiences. The market is situated in the most congested part of Kowloon and has everything you need. It’s a bargaining experts delight!

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

You haven’t visited Hong Kong if you don’t make a short trip to Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. A day time stroll along the paved public walkway starts from the point where you get the Star Ferry and ends at the Hung Hom. A bronze statue of the great Kung Fu Master Bruce Lee greets you at the Avenue of Stars. If you can’t make it during the day, you can visit the promenade at night just in time to catch the spectacular light show along the Victoria Harbour. It is probably one of the top free things to do in Hong Kong.

Day 3:

Go to the oldest Tao temple of Hong Kong

Tao temple of Hong Kong

The most unassuming resident of the Hollywood Road, in Central Hong Kong, is the Man Mo Temple. Built in 1847, the 117 year old Taoist temple was built to pay homage to the God of Literature and War. The stone carved deities decorating the temple premises and the intricate details on the entrance door are as intriguing as the interiors. The perfumed incense hanging from the roofs welcome you as the deities rest in a colourful sanctum. It is a peaceful retreat from the usual cosmopolitan Hong Kong.

Know Hong Kong inside out

To know any city up close and personal, you should visit its museums. The Museum of History is the best place to know the topography, culture, anthropology and everything ancient about Hong Kong. Half a day’s trip is enough to acquaint yourself with the rich history of this Asian city.

Day 4:

Visit the only living feng shui forest of the world

feng shui forest

Literally translating to the ‘Lychee Nest’, this ancient village is a hidden treasure sitting in the North Western side of Hong Kong. This walled village is famous for its Feng Shui woodlands which were once inhabited by the members of the Wong family. This abundant Hakka natural reserve can be best explored by a country park or a Geopark tour.

The Hong Kong food experience

Eat your heart out in Hong Kong. It is considered a gastronomical heaven for some reason. The city is particularly famous for its sumptuous food tours. Traditional Chinese, delectable Thai, wonderful Malay and even spicy Indian food tops the charts of the visitors who throng the city every year.

For a four day trip to this city, the best bet is to find out the best places to stay in Hong Kong. The areas around central business district, Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui and the Hong Kong island are particularly affordable. A serviced apartment in any of these areas would be just perfect for a short trip.

Discovering the City | London


Capital of British culture, history and identity, London is the beating heart of the United Kingdom. One of the most historic cities in the world, London offers a plethora of activities for discerning business or leisure travellers that visit the city.

discovering london

A city to be savoured, The City of London, the capital’s CBD, contains the historic centre of the city in addition to containing many of London’s most famous modern architecture. Offering places to stay in London, thesqua.re offers the ideal base for exploring this eternally beguiling city.

History

From the first settlement of Romans in the 1st century, The City of London is a small part of one of the largest cities in the world. Whilst London has stretched beyond its borders, this agglomeration still possesses some of London’s most visited attractions, restaurants and bars.

city of london during Roman time

The City of London is commonly referred to as the City, and is colloquially known as the Square Mile. Historically, the City of London has housed London’s countless financial institutions, and that is true to this day.

Whilst maintaining a sense of the historical, the City of London contains some of the capital’s contemporary skyscrapers. The Gherkin, the Walkie Talkie, Heron Tower and the Leadenhall Building are located within the City of London.

city of london skyscrapper

The City of London has a population of approximately 10,000 people, but over 300,000 people commute to and work in the City every single day. Around 75% of all the jobs in the City of London are in the financial services or legal businesses.

There’s more to the City of London than finance

Although the City of London is synonymous with financial institutions and capital, there’s considerably more charm to the district. During World War Two, the City of London sustained heavy bombing, meaning that much of the district had to be rebuilt in the image of the past. Despite the heavy bombing, several notable landmarks remain in the City of London; St Paul’s Cathedral, the Guildhall, the Monument to the Great Fire of London, and Mansion House remain as testament to London’s past.

Londn street market

For something a little more traditional, visit one of the City of London’s many street markets. Spitalfields and Brick Lane Market offer a more anachronistic version of the city, with stalls lining the streets selling everything from street food to antiques- and offering everything in between. Around theses markets there are several world class restaurants that offer cuisines from across the world.

New Year’s Eve London


Once the over indulgence of the Christmas period concludes, London welcomes the new year in style. With fireworks, revelry and parties strewn across the city, London’s 2017 New Year celebrations are set to be the biggest yet. With accommodation across London, thesqua.re offers the ideal base for visiting the capital to conclude 2017.

London New Year Eve Fireworks

New Year in London is synonymous with the firework display on the banks of the River Thames. Although you require a ticket before attending the New Year’s firework display, you can watch the fireworks from almost anywhere in central London.  For something even more memorable, you can watch the fireworks from the river on a New Year’s Eve cruise, or from a restaurant with views over the London Eye.

Hollingsworth London New Years Eve party

If you don’t wish to spend your evening stood outside in the cold British winter, spending an evening partying in one of London’s sophisticated bars or clubs is an option. The Bourne and Hollingsworth London New Year’s Eve party features a 1940s themed Blitz Party and a 1920s Prohibition party. Similarly, the Southbank Centre’s Vintage New Year’s Eve Party is elegant and chic. For something more lowkey, try visiting London’s famous Natural History Museum.

Southbank Centres Vintage New Years Eve Party

After an evening of partying, London offers a host of activities during New Year’s Day.  Head down to Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park to enjoy rides, performances, markets and ice skating. Alternatively, take your family to one of London’s top shows in the West End district- but be sure to check the schedule to see if the show is running.

Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park

Every year, central London hosts a New Year’s Day Parade, which sees approximately 8,000 performers every year. The parade first took place in 1987, but is now an annual fixture on London’s calendar. London’s New Year’s Day Parade 2018 starts at 12 noon on January 1st on Piccadilly, one of the capital’s most famous districts. Additionally, during the same time period, London New Year’s Day Parade hosts countless events, concerts and performances. Cadogan Hall, St John Smith Square, Southwark Cathedral and Trafalgar Square host a collection of shows, ranging from classical performances to contemporary classics.

Central London New Year Parade

During the hours of 11:45pm and 04:30am, travel on London’s public transport is free. Central London becomes very busy during these hours, so be sure to plan your evening out in advance.

Explore Singapore’s distinctive wildlife


Singapore Wildlife

Although Singapore is synonymous with big business and capital, the island city contains several wildlife reserves and a zoo. Despite the apparent contradiction due to the island being one of the most densely populated in the world, Singapore’s government has made a concerted effort to maintain the wildlife. With apartments across Singapore, thesqua.re offers both the convenience of central locations and the proximity to transport links to connect guests to Singapore’s wildlife districts.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Wildlife Reserves Singapore is one of the leading zoological institutions in the world. A self-funded organisation, the Wildlife Reserves Singapore focuses on protecting biodiversity in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Each year, the four parks- Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo- welcome over 4.5 million visitors.

Night Safari

Night Safari Singapore

The world’s first nocturnal zoo, the Night Safari is one of the most popular attractions in Singapore. Opened in 1994, Singapore Night Safari occupies 35 hectares of rainforest adjacent to Singapore Zoo. Housing over 2,500 animals- with over 130 species- 38% of the creatures on the safari are threatened species. Unlike typical nocturnal houses, the Night Safari is an entire open-air zoo set amongst a backdrop of a humid rainforest. Divided into seven geographical zones, the space can be explored on foot or by tram.

River Safari

River Safari Singapore

The Singapore River Safari is a river themed aquarium and zoo situated in Mandai. Stretching over 12 hectares, the River Safari is located in between Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari. The first of its kind in Asia, the safari features attractions and river boat services in addition to river boat attractions. In 2012, the Giant Panda Forest was opened to the public. Featuring a pair of male and female giant pandas, the Giant Panda Forest is the most popular attraction at the River Safari. The pandas, which arrived in September 2012, are on a ten-year loan from China.

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo

Since 1973, Singapore Zoo has been renowned as one of the most beautiful wildlife parks in the world. With animals roaming freely in their natural habitat, Singapore Zoo has won the coveted Best Leisure Attraction Experience from the Singapore Tourism Board. The 26 hectare wildlife park is nestled in the leafy Mandai Rainforest, that stretches into the Seletar Reservoir. Over 3,000 animals from 300+ species of birds, reptiles and mammals call Singapore Zoo their home. Many animal habitats feature special viewing platforms elevated for exhibits. In addition to witnessing the animals in their natural habitat, you will witness the stunning landscapes. Regardless of whether you travel on foot or tram, you will experience some of the most distinctive global wildlife habitats in the world- from the rugged canyons of Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia to the savannah grasslands of Wild Africa.

Winter Wonderland Singapore


Over the past couple of decades, Singapore has inexorably grown as both a tourist and business hub in the East. As Singapore has been welcomed into an increasingly globalised community, the city state has assimilated Western traditions. For the fourth year in a row, Singapore will host its annual Winter Wonderland Festival, a celebration that infuses Western and Eastern tradition. With accommodation across the beguiling city of Singapore, thesqua.re offers the ideal base to explore this new Singaporean tradition.

Winter Wonderland Singapore

Hosted at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore’s Winter Wonderland is the premiere yuletide attraction in the city. As you arrive at Marina Bay, you will first be attracted to the magnificent Luminarie light sculptures that illuminate the area. Delicately crafted by Italian craftsmen, there are over 100 light sculptures in the area, with the most prominent being the majestic 22.5 metre tall Spalliera.

Luminarie light sculptures

For a non conventional Christmas event, Ethiopian Dreams provide a jaw dropping circus extravaganza. Earlier in the year, Ethiopian Dreams was a sell out at the Edinburgh Festival. Offering a combination of gravity defying stunts, skills and adventure, ticket prices to Ethiopian Dreams vary depending on age.

Ethiopian Dreams Circus Singapore

For something more traditional, visit Santa Claus himself at the Alpine House. With over 100 presents given away on a daily basis- ranging from vouchers to free carnival rides to beverage tokens-pictures with Santa Claus are available.

Santa Claus Alpine House

Wander around the Supertree Grove, the home of a charming European style Christmas market. Including over 30 festive wooden huts, this market is styled on similar markets in London, Paris and Berlin. Shop for handmade crafts, souvenirs, boutique goods and vintage items before enjoying a glass of mulled wine and something delicious to eat.

Supertree Grove shop

If you’re looking for something more filling than traditional German sausage or mince pie, visit SAVOUR- Winter Wonderland’s gourmet village. Containing five restaurants, SAVOUR offers a sophisticated dining experience which will feature celebrity and award winning michelin star chefs.

Gardens by the Bay Christmas Wonder 2017

This year, Winter Wonderland offers the biggest collection of carnival rides in their history. Featuring bumper cards, chair swings, a ferris wheel, a Christmas train and Tea Cups, the carnival rides are a great way to keep your children entertained during your visit to Winter Wonderland.

winter wonderland carnival rides singapore

Given Marina Bay’s central location, travelling to Winter Wonderland is simple. Take the Circle Line or Downtown Line and depart at Bayfront MRT Station before crossing Dragonfly or Meadow Bridge.

Enjoy Christmas with thesqua.re in Singapore.

Celebrating in New Year in Paris


Paris, the City of Light, offers countless options to usher in the New year. One of the most colourful and exciting places to bring in the New year, Paris is the ideal location to celebrate the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. Celebrate the New year in style, with a stay at one of thesqua.re’s luxury serviced apartments.

New Year Tradition in Paris

New Year Tradition in Paris

In Paris, as with the rest of France, the New Year also goes by the name St Sylvestre and begins on the 1st January and ends on February 1st. Consistent with tradition across the globe, French people start exchanging bises at midnight, with the theme continuing throughout January. So don’t be surprised to hear French people exchanging New Year pleasantries for the entire month of January.  

Where to visit?

The Champs Elysees Grande Parade:

The Champs Elysees Grande Parade

Known as the centre of the party, the Champs Elysees is flooded with revelers from around 21:00. From here, it is possible to get a great view of all the fireworks in Paris, with the Eiffel Tower flickering and sparkling in the lead up to the stroke of midnight. Unsurprisingly, the Champs Elysees is the busiest place in Paris on New Year’s Eve.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe new year night

This year, the head of Paris’ avenues- the Arc de Triomphe- will host a special event that starts at 11:00. Although one can expect fireworks, plans for this year’s show have been shrouded in secrecy, so head down to the Arc de Triomphe for an evening of surprises.

Sacre Coeur Festivities

Sacre Coeur Festivities

Located in Montmartre, the Sacre Coeur is a Parisian favourite during the festive period. Slightly calmer than the perpetual buzz of the Champs Elysees, the Sacre Coeur offers stunning views of the city as the sky is illuminated by the effervescent flash of fireworks. At Montmartre, there are countless bars, cabaret shows, and clubs to explore.  If you’re looking for a unconventional way to celebrate New Year’s in Paris, partying in Montmartre may be the ticket.

New Year’s Eve Shows and Cabarets

New Year's Eve Shows and Cabarets

Celebrating New Year’s Eve at the Moulin Rouge is a popular way of spending the evening, although very pricey. Starting at  680 Euros per person in 2017-2018, the evening includes a champagne dinner, music, dancing and caviar, with the Moulin Rouge Orchestra offers a delightful post-midnight show to cap off the evening’s events. There are less expensive packages available that offer fewer perks.

On the morning after the night before, the New Year’s Day Parade on the Champs Elysees is a shore way to remove any muggy heads from the previous evening.