Day 6 in Okinawa: Kouri Shrimp, Okinawa Fruits Land, Neo Park, Mazemen Mahoroba

Kouri shrimp food wagon okinawa

From Hotel Koza to Kouri Island, where the Kouri Shrimp food wagon is located, we took the expressway and paid the toll of 720yen. Traveling so much also meant needing to refuel. Petrol at JASS was relatively cheaper this time at 133yen per litre. At the airport on our way back to Singapore, there were state-sponsored surveys happening – apparently there are plans for a railway line to connect Naha in the south and Nago up north, and they were interested in what travelers thought and if they would use it. I told them it made more sense to drive because I was just buying way too many things and lugging them onto the train would be too troublesome. 😀

A pretty scenic drive…

Kouri Shrimp is so popular that it is already crowded from the moment it opens for business at 11am (*do note that it is closed on Thursdays).

The most unusual thing about this place has to be that the toilet is ‘hidden’ behind an unmarked white door.

Kouri Shrimp Okinawa

You order the food and pay at the food wagon, and return to collect your food there too. The wait is about 15 to 20 minutes though it feels much longer when the weather’s so hot.

I’d already done my research and knew exactly what I wanted. The beef is a steal at just 500yen! We decided to eat in the car instead of at the 2nd floor deck behind Kouri Shrimp ‘cos the weather was just unbearably hot.

Thankfully, the beach is close by so people can cool off in the waters.

I think the shrimp would be much more delicious without the shells but I was too lazy to peel them. Hot weather, remember? D:

Okinawa Fruits Land

This place is really kid-friendly. Go on a quest to try and free a king supposedly captured by fairies. Answer questions and collect stamps along the way…

Blue seal ice cream okinawa

And of course, I had to have Blue Seal Ice Cream again. The pineapple sorbet flavor is really good. The milk tea one so-so.

Then it’s off to Neo Park but before that, we popped by the Seria store that is near to Neo Park. It’s the only 100yen shop I’ve been to in Okinawa that allows the use of credit cards!

Neo Park

Neo Park can be described as being really “open concept” as you can go right up close to the animals here. Very kid and family friendly!

Why, hello there, little piggy!

It was soon time to return the rented car to Orix. There is an ENEOS petrol station just next door! So you can top up the petrol tank before returning the car. Orix also provides a free shuttle service to Naha airport – we alighted at the domestic terminal. Found a locker rental service for baggage storage then took the monorail to Makishi station where Kokusai Dori is. Around 15mins was all it took and cost just 300yen.

We didn’t quite know what to eat for dinner because we were spoiled for choice along Kokusai Dori! Then I recalled that we didn’t eat at Mazemen Mahoroba after visiting Makishi Market as it’s closed on Tuesdays so off to MM we went…

Mazemen Mahoroba

Mazemen mahoroba

Mazemen mahoroba is located in a dark alley. But isn’t that where good hole-in-the-wall eateries are? 😉 Just trust Google Maps to get you there. Thankfully we had our wifi device from Native!

Keep to the main road then turn in to a small, dark alley and walk till you see a white vertical signboard a few metres ahead and it’ll be Mazemen Mahoroba.

Spicy Taiwanese Stir Noodles 😀

Stir Noodles with Charred Cheese – can be jelat after a while. Go with the spicy Taiwanese stir noodles instead…

*Free Oimeshi: you can ask for some rice to “finish up the left over sauce in your bowl”.

Kokusai Dori at night:

The coolest thing has to be seeing the folks dressed up as Super Mario characters driving go-karts around Kokusai Dori!


I love the surprises around every corner. If we don’t return to Okinawa, at least we’ll have all these memories flooding back from reading my blogposts again. 😀 Blogging on the go is tedious but so necessary.

Day 4 in Okinawa: Aeon Nago, Churaumi Aquarium, Hotel Koza Dinner During Typhoon Kong-rey

Though we managed to avoid Typhoon Trami, we didn’t realize Typhoon Kong-rey was hot on its heels. So I’m typing this now in the comfort of our hotel while the howling of the wind continues outside. When I asked the hotel staff if it was safe to head out to buy food (thank you, Google Translate), the reply was “Very, very dangerous!” *gulp* We went anyway. There’s no stopping two Singaporeans from getting their makan. Haha! Even though the supermarket was just two blocks away, and definitely within walking distance, I insisted on driving there. I wasn’t afraid of being blown away but I was terrified of having something fall and hit me whether it be an air-conditioning unit, signboard, or tree branch. 😀

In the morning, the drive up north to Churaumi Aquarium was rather challenging. Visibility was very poor in some areas due to the heavy rain. But the drainage system for the Expressway was apparently very good. There were hardly any waterlogged areas.

Couldn’t even see the license plate of the car in front:

It’s about a 2-hour drive up north to Nago. You take a ticket from the entrance toll gantry (machine). At the exit toll gantry (where there is an actual human), hand over the ticket and pay cash. The GPS even calculates toll payable and notifies you even before reaching the toll station! 🙂

For us, the toll payable was 1020yen.

After that crazy long drive, with our bladders about to burst, we made a quick stop at Aeon…

Aeon Nago Shopping Center

We had udon at Sanuki Udon Hanamaru. Picked this seasonal item ‘cos it looks so good. The croquette is really good too. Plus, there’s free chilled water you can help yourself to, like in many foodcourts in Okinawa.

We were running a little low on petrol after the long drive so we popped by JASS, where regular petrol cost 140yen/litre.

Churaumi Aquarium

We parked at the multi-storey carpark, which we found simply by following the long line of cars ahead of ours. Despite the heavy rain, there were still lots of people headed for Churaumi. I suppose, like us, they had pre-purchased tickets AND visited Okinawa mainly because there’s this fantastic aquarium with whale sharks. Not one, but two!

And rays and lots of fish…

Plus exhibits to scare you…

Camera-friendly fish below:

We wanted to visit the Ryugujo Butterfly Garden too but it was closed due to the impending typhoon. So we decided we should return to the hotel.

The toll for the return trip via expressway was 720yen.

We stopped by Plaza House Shopping Centre too but just about all the shops and eateries were closed. A supermarket and a taco place remained open though.

Hotel Koza (business hotel)

Parking at Hotel Koza costs just 500yen/day, which you pay upfront when you check-in. Then you’re free to park at any of the lots belonging to the hotel.

There is a supermarket nearby so we drove over to get some dinner – basically sushi and other cooked items. And beer. I’ve had more beer in one week in Okinawa than in my entire life, I think. I’m not sure why Okinawans live such long lives when they have cheap beer and cigarettes. 😀

Not too shabby a meal when a typhoon’s sweeping by, eh? The winds are crazy. Have you ever seen a lamppost moving? Well, now I have.

And what you see on TV is real.

Okinawa supermarket during typhoon

Lots of food sold out. But there’s always still some sushi and lots of sashimi. 😀

Images Of Okinawa Two Days After Typhoon Trami

Okinawa after typhoon

This life-size dinosaur has been strapped down. Just in case the strong winds get it moving about and scaring folks? 😀

Uprooted trees in Okinawa

Uprooted trees

No water after okinawa typhoon

No water here. Luckily I had wet wipes with me. 😀

Starfruit tree barren after the typhoon. Starfuits littering the ground.

Valley of Gangala cafe closed

When traveling around this time of the year, whether to Japan or to Taiwan, there is a high possibility of encountering a typhoon. This time round, it’s Typhoon Trami, just as we’re about to journey over from Singapore to Okinawa. I’ve seen some horrifying images and videos of the damage caused by this natural disaster. And now we get to see, first-hand, what it’s like to be in Japan two days after a typhoon has struck.

Truth be told, apart from some leaf litter by the sides of roads in the more rural areas, everything seems back to normal. Electricity and water supply disrupted in just a handful of places.

The weather has been terrific. Hopefully it stays that way for the rest of our holiday. 🙂

Plan Your Next Holiday With One-Dollar Wifi And 8 Dollars Off Any Activity

Plan Holiday Activities

I’m currently planning the itineraries for our year-end holidays and taking full advantage of Native’s amazing discounts. Like Klook and KKday, Native helps you book attraction tickets and activities ahead of your trip. Unlike its competition, Native is offering huge discounts, especially when you use their promo codes (valid in the month of August only, and at limited quantities). There’s $1/day wifi, which beats any promo I’ve seen on Changi Recommends so far. And use my promo code and get $8 off any activity, no minimum spending required!

On the app (Native / Native Experiences), it states S$2 off, but just key in GRACE8 (in capital letters) and get $8 off. You’re welcome. 😉

Native app promo code

Get the folks you are traveling with to download the app and enjoy the SGD8 discount too. Each person can only use the code once. 😀 For already discounted passes (like those for travel in Japan), a further $8 off will be very much appreciated indeed.

Hurry and make your bookings now!

SilkAir Inflight Meals + Economy Class Review

SilkAir Inflight Meals +Economy Class Review

According to the in-flight magazine, SilkAir flies to 52 cities (and counting!) and serves over 300,000 meals on board every month. So, do the SilkAir inflight meals taste good? And what about the overall cabin experience, and the service from the cabin crew? Is SilkAir the “poorer cousin of Singapore Airlines” like someone commented to me recently? That’s what I tried to find out when we flew to Cebu on SilkAir.

BREAKFAST:

silkair inflight meal menu

It was either scrambled eggs with chicken sausage and potatoes OR minced chicken with rice. Definitely go for the former option. I found there was too little minced chicken on too much rice, and it wasn’t very tasty either. Add some chopped up chili padi maybe? 😛 I actually missed chili sauce a lot while I was in the Philippines.

silkair inflight meal

LUNCH:

silkair inflight food

We were told to choose between “chicken with rice or fish with potatoes”. He wanted fish (and I wanted fish too) so I went with the chicken. And he regretted his decision while I was like “wow, green curry!!!” The chicken with rice was MUCH better than the fish, which tasted like it was from a lousy caterer PLUS it was left to sit around till it got soggy. But the potatoes were good – it’s hard to go wrong with potatoes, really.

silkair inflight meal review

As usual, their bread and butter pleased him. And I really liked the sliced fruit – peaches and watermelon. Yum!

And besides the usual “coffee, tea or juice for you?”, there’s also the option (which the cabin crew don’t really tell you about) of wine, beer, and even vodka orange!

This is totally his. I don’t drink on flights. It’ll totally make sense to you if you encounter an emergency evacuation…

silkair free drinks

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As for the seats, I really don’t see any difference between these seats on SilkAir versus those on budget airlines. There’s also not much space for stuffing (slightly bulky) bags under the seat in front.

silkair economy class seat review

You can access the SilkAir inflight entertainment system via your own mobile phone or tablet but you will have to download their app. Too troublesome. I read the book I had with me – Joe Biden’s ‘Promise Me, Dad’ – and we also got to watch some cartoons, American Ninja Warrior and some funny videos.

No sound required as the images speak a thousand words:

silkair economy class

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Service was kinda bad on the flight to Cebu. A stewardess spilled some hot liquid on my arm (and disappeared without apologizing) and later dropped a pair of bread tongs on the guy seated in front of me. *sigh* The butter on the flight is good but the butter fingers are not appreciated. Then since we were seated at the back of the plane, even with the curtain drawn, we could hear the gossip going on… some bitching about passengers on another flight. Tsk tsk. I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t happen on a Singapore Airlines flight. So that comment about “poorer cousin” and all, I think there’s some truth in there somewhere.

The funniest thing happened on the flight back to Singapore, though. There was a couple seated in front of us and one of them had apparently ordered a cake to be served during the flight because the other person was celebrating a birthday. But the clueless flight attendant actually came over AND ASKED them if they had placed an order for cake before serving anything. Bam! Surprise gone. And some time after that, the stewardess came over and asked us to complete a survey, and gave us a pack of SilkAir playing cards as an incentive for doing that survey. THEN, get this… she gave the cake to the person in front, and presented them a similar pack of playing cards as a ‘birthday gift’ from the crew, and then asked them to fill out the same survey form! 😀 I was so amused. (Yay! I got a birthday gift too… eight months early!) 😀

I’m not sure what cabin crew life is like. Probably it’s really stressful and there might be a need to vent and release some of that pent-up frustration but that chatter should never reach the ears of passengers. I’m not sure if I’ll be flying with SilkAir again soon, but I’d most certainly like to get on a Singapore Airlines flight – there, I’m really made to feel at home without the risk of hot water spills and flying bread tongs. And definitely no bitching. Cheers to that.

What’s New At Resorts World Genting

Resorts World Genting Tower 3

Before our recent trip to Resorts World Genting, our very last visit was a number of years ago. And when we went back this time, there was a new hotel tower at First World Hotel (bringing its total number of rooms to 7,351) and a new cable car system, among other updates! Though I detest long bus rides, I can easily be tempted to make another trip to Genting again as it’s now an even cooler place to be at… even if you do not gamble.

We stayed in room 28868 (how auspicious?) on the highest floor and found the room in Tower 3 to be very new and clean. That said, the pillows leave more to be desired but I guess it won’t matter to most folk, anyway. I was the only one sleeping in the room at night; my darling was busy earning some moolah in the casinos. 😀 I also love that you can order Motorino pizzas, meatballs, chicken wings, etc, with room service!

I’ve previously blogged about some new restaurants & cafes you need to visit. If you haven’t read the posts yet, click on the links below:

#1: Burger & Lobster

#2: Cafés Richard

#3: Motorino

This isn’t the best photo of their new cable car system, but I actually enjoyed the ride in the Glass Floor Gondola. A ride in one of the special gondolas with glass flooring will cost RM 50. The regular ones cost just RM 8. End to end, the 2.8km journey takes just 10 minutes, half of what the older cable car system took.

Resorts World Genting cable car

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At Sky Avenue, there’s so much food to indulge in. If I had to start (small) somewhere, I’m going back for more of Tokyo Secret’s cheese tarts. Freshly baked (and HOT), these yummy tarts will leave you craving for more…

Resorts World Genting Tokyo Secret

And oh… cheap(er) GongCha bubble tea too! 😀

Aside from eating and visiting the casino, there are more family-friendly games for those who are young and young-at-heart. We went to the arcade to play basketball and I also wanted to try my hand at fishing for a prize at the ‘duck pond’

I won’t play this game again… ever:

Resorts World Genting arcade

You pay RM 23.20 to get an arcade card with 20 credits. For this duck ‘fishing’ game, you’ll spend 4 credits, and get to fish out 2 ducks. I thought I’ll be sure to get at least one tiny, consolation prize with 2 tries. I got nothing. I’d rather have spent the credits on the basketball machines – each game there costs just 3 credits. 😦

Don’t want to spend any money? There’s always the lovely view to admire at the hotel. You’ll have to do that at the lobby though. The opaque hotel room windows cannot be opened more than, say, 4 inches.

Resorts World Genting review

For breakfast, there’s A LOT to choose from at Resorts World Genting. There are so many restaurants, eateries, cafes, etc. And of course, there’s The Food Factory for a buffet spread.

The Food Factory:

Resorts World Genting Food Factory

(above) The chef is cooking some carrot cake for our breakfast. Yum! The food factory can seat some 1,600 guests. Don’t expect gourmet meals, of course. Just eat for the purpose of satiety. When we were having our breakfast, we enjoyed items like scrambled egg, niang doufu (to pair with porridge), mini pancakes (plus a chocolate fountain), bread, pastries, etc. I love fruit so I was surprised to find that there was just one kind of fruit: yellow watermelon.

On the way home to Singapore, our coach stopped at the Awana rest stop. It’s not as busy as the one at Yong Peng, so the food at the canteen has been sitting around for a while, if you know what I mean. We happily stocked up on snacks at the store though.

Resorts World Genting bus rest stop

If you aren’t heading back to Singapore, but prefer to visit KL instead, you can take a bus to KL Sentral then a train to Pasar Seni to go to Chinatown. 🙂

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From Singapore to Genting, we took a coach from Golden Mile Complex. For reasons unknown to us, the coach from ‘The One’ was an hour late and the seats weren’t too comfortable either; you cannot have it recline much without ending up lying on someone’s lap. 😛

*Watch out for the Twentieth Century Fox World Theme Park that is slated to open later this year.

5 Reasons Retirees Will LOVE The Luxury Cruise Ship ‘Insignia’

Oceania Cruises

It’s not often one gets to board a cruise ship docked at Harbourfront just for a look-see, especially when it’s a LUXURY cruise ship. My pal Bosco and I got to do a tour of the ship, and enjoy a quick lunch on board, thanks to Sky Premium. Apparently, it’s an around-the-world cruise which starts and ends in Miami. See the world in 6 months on this cruise? Yes, sign me up… when I’m rich and retired! 😀 I certainly won’t mind being on this ship with lots of friendly, smiling crew. In fact, the ship can accommodate up to 669 passengers, and it comes with 400 crew members; so any time the retired ol’ me needs help, I’ll be sure to get it. 😀

Insignia Cruise Review

Here are 5 reasons why I think retirees will enjoy being on Insignia:

#1: The Chillaxing

Insignia Cruise

At the Sundeck on deck 11, you get to enjoy the blue skies, a good tan, and simply laze by the pool. If you don’t fancy swimming, there are two hottubs filled with saltwater (which might be better for your skin) 🙂 Also, there’s a new specialty cocktail every day at the pool bar. Hang on… I might not want to wait till I’m retired. 😀

Insignia Cruise Hot Tub

#2: The FOOD

Oceania Insignia restaurant

A little bird told me that Versace plates are used in one of the restaurants on-board. But you’ll have to make a reservation with your cruise booking (or immediately after boarding the ship) in order to get a table. *wink*

Insignia restaurant

Here’s the lunch we were treated to:

Oceania Insignia Reviews

What we had for lunch: (1) Maine Lobster and Daikon with Caviar, (2) Stuffed Provolone Cheese Pasta Purses with Butternut Squash Cream, (3) Pink Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Black Truffle and Foie Gras Demi-Glace, (4 *Alternative main) Den Miso Glazed Sea Bass, (5) Papuan Chocolate Volcano, (6) Petits Fours and Macaroons

I’d say it’s either hit-or-miss with our lunch menu that day. The lobster + caviar starter was, obviously, a delicious treat. The stuffed provolone cheese pasta purses which followed were slightly cloying and ‘jelat‘ after the first mouthful. The beef and fish mains were good. The Papuan Chocolate Volcano was a huge HIT, but the petit fours and macaroons left much to be desired. If this accurately reflects food standards on-board the Insignia, well, I guess passengers will quickly figure out what they should or shouldn’t order – after all, they’ll be on-board for a while.

Insignia has 2 specialty restaurants which require reservations. For Italian fare, head to Toscano, unless you’re craving for some good ol’ steak, in which case you should head to their steak house ‘Polo Grill’. At Toscano, staff will bring out a giant wheel of parmesan every night. The food is made fresh every night and it’s very fine dining with Versace plates, no less. There’s also vinaigrette and olive oil pairing, somewhat like wine pairing. 😀 The restaurant has some 8 selections of olive oil and 4 for balsamic vinegar.

At the Steakhouse (Polo Grill), you can indulge in some steak, lobster, crab, primerib, chicken, etc. There’s also a themed night depending on which port the ship is at. The chefs will procure the ingredients from that particular city for your meal.

*Ice cream is made on the ship every day too. There’s a range of sugar-free desserts at every restaurant, and they’re made to be suitable for diabetics. And the Insignia has begun serving vegan food too!

At ‘Waves’ located near the pool, you can grab some hamburgers, hotdogs, etc. In short, you’ll never go hungry on the Insignia. And on the rare occasion that you’ve missed a meal, fret not, as there’s 24-hour room service.

Special mention: the Papuan Chocolate Volcano is a must-try…

Oceania Insignia around the world cruise

#3: The Staff

The staff on-board the Insignia are very friendly, and always ready to greet you with a smile. They might also be able to call you by name by the end of the cruise.

Oceania Cruises

#4: The Pampering

Insignia Cruise Spa

Head to the Spa for everything from manicures to waxing, massages to haircuts. You can even get a new hair color here.

Oceania Insignia Cruise Spa

 

#5: The Entertainment

Oceania Insignia

What’s the point of getting on a cruise if there’s no entertainment to look forward to? On board the Insignia, there’s the gym, of course. For those who prefer more sedentary activities, there’s mahjong, card games, jigsaw puzzles, stage shows, art classes, and last but not least, THE CASINO! The casino is open only on seadays and remains shut when the ship is in port (it’s illegal to operate the casino when in port!)

From 7am to 10pm, head to the fitness center for spinning sessions, yoga, pilates, etc.

Insignia library

We did not get to visit the suites, but we did get a look around the library. There’s a beautiful hand-painted ceiling which you must see. The library looks very homey as it’s designed to look like someone’s living room – to be the passengers’ home away from home. There’s comfy furniture and a good selection of books. I’m told that because the seats are so comfortable, people come here to read, but they do also find themselves falling asleep here. 😀

Elsewhere on the ship, from 4pm to 5pm, passengers get to enjoy tea with a string quartet playing. There’s also a baby grand piano on-board (I hear they have a talented pianist too) and if it’s your thing, you can also indulge in some cognac and wine tasting. The Insignia is very atas indeed.

But the most important piece of information I noted during the tour of the ship is that the Insignia has very good Wifi, what with the new satellites they’ve invested in. And even if you’re not too IT-savvy, there are ‘Internet Managers’ on board to help you out every morning and afternoon.

If you’re a retiree with some extra cash to spend, I’d highly recommend you give this cruise a go. I think it’ll be fun, meeting other retirees from around the world and trading (life) stories. If you’ve not reached that (life) stage yet, then a cruise might get boring for you. True story: LOML and I were at Maldives some time back, and at the resort’s pool bar, he had one of every drink on the menu then went off snorkeling, following a baby shark back to where it came from. I sat on the beach, read a book, and occasionally wondered what would happen if he met the baby shark’s, well, parents. So if you and your partner aren’t ready for a chillaxing sort of getaway then the usual free-and-easy holidays which involve flying would be more suitable. (Less likely to see sharks too)

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Lots of thanks to Bosco from Hearted Moments Photography for these pictures 😀

5 Reasons To Sign Up For Sky Premium Membership

Sky Premium Singapore Media Briefing

Bluefin Tuna Cutting Ceremony @ Sky Premium’s Media Briefing

I attended Sky Premium’s media briefing this afternoon, and wow, I think this ‘membership services club’ might be something worth investing in. It’ll be launched in Q4 this year, and while there’s not a ton of information available at this moment, from what I saw today, I think many people will be keen to find out more about Sky Premium. So, very quickly, here are 5 top reasons that I think would entice people to sign up:

#1: Preferential rates from esteemed brands

Sky Premium offers members exclusive privileges for travel, dining, fashion and wellness. Some of these brands include FJ Benjamin, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, etc.

Also, members can look forward to exclusive invites to closed-door events, fashion shows, sake tastings, etc. They’ll also get access to business facilities at Sky Premium’s office.

Sky Premium Membership

Maguro Sushi @ Takujo, Emporium Shokuhin

#2: Panel Advisors: Allan Wu and Tan Min-Li

Sky Premium Singapore

Allan Wu and Tan Min-Li (background)

I guess you’ll be familiar with the hunky celeb Allan Wu. I’ve never heard of Tan Min-Li before today’s event though. Apparently, the lawyer is a partner of Colin Ng & Partners LLP. She’s won multiple awards for her legal work involving Corporate M&A and Capital Markets. She is also involved in film production and fashion. Both of these style-conscious individuals will be invaluable as advisers for Sky Premium.

#3: Members’ welcome package and exclusive portal

Members of the media were informed that the welcome package is “worth more than the membership fee”. At this point, I don’t know what’s in that welcome package, but I’ll update this post when I find out. 😀 If you were to sign up, you’ll also get access to the members-only privileges portal. <- I’ll be happy to check that out!

#4: Premium Member Subscription Cost: S$1,200 per year

I believe there is an “initial processing fee” which I’ve not been advised regarding. But it’s stated on the factsheet that there will be no additional processing fees as long as you keep up with your membership dues.

I believe S$1,200 per year is really quite affordable for the well-heeled in Singapore. In fact, they might even consider it really cheap. I know of some people who can easily spend that amount on just one meal. And $100 per month is even lower than membership fees at certain gyms. When there’s more information made available closer to their launch date, I’d highly recommend that you check out their website and/or make a few inquiries and find out more. 🙂

#5: Helmed by General Manager, Ms Margaret Koh

She has over 10 years of experience in the luxury service sector. Prior to helming Sky Premium, she was previously associated with luxury service organizations such as Banyan Tree Private Collection, Singapore Yacht Show and Raffles Marina. I think this means that great service and quality offerings from Sky Premium are just about guaranteed.

Find out more at: http://www.skypremium.com/official/

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Pictures in this blogpost are courtesy of Hearted Moments Photography.

7 Best Hotels In Kuala Lumpur Every Singaporean Should Visit

2016 is shaping up to be a very busy year, and much as I’d love to fly to some place far away for a long holiday, I guess I will have to make do with a short getaway closer to home. This post is about the 7 hotels in Kuala Lumpur that I have either stayed at, or am planning to stay at in the near future. I’m using the tentative dates of 8 – 10 April (*do note that weekend rates are usually higher than weekday ones) and I’ve taken the screenshots off Traveloka, which is an awesome site for booking hotels and/or flights because they provide the total fee (inclusive of taxes) upfront, so you don’t get a shock at the final checkout page. Psst… there are some cool discounts to be enjoyed too! 🙂

When booking hotels, I usually take note of a couple of things: user reviews, whether there is a decent-size swimming pool or not, and whether the hotel is in a convenient location. I’ve hand-picked 7 hotels in Kuala Lumpur that will cost between S$117 and S$329 per night. See if you like any one of them too! 🙂

In no particular order of merit…

1) Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

I simply LOVE that view of the Twin Towers. I’ve stayed in Hyatt hotel in Kota Kinabalu before, and I love the Hyatt experience. So this one is definitely on my to-visit list. The most affordable room rate is for the Grand Twin Room (for 2), without breakfast, at S$286.07. Sometimes there are even limited-time sales on Traveloka, so book as quickly as you can using the TravelokaQuick function. As long as your credit card details are saved in the system, the transaction can be done within a minute so you can secure your booking at a great price.

Here’s my screenshot of one such flash sale for Hilton, which is #2 on my list:

Traveloka Flash Sales

2) Hilton Kuala Lumpur

Hilton Kuala Lumpur

I like to compare prices between various sites and I found that Traveloka has a Twin Deluxe Plus promotion for Hilton Kuala Lumpur – for 2 pax, it’s S$196.19. A similar room cost S$206.48 on Agoda, when I checked on 30th March 2016. It’s just a few dollars, I know, but it all adds up in the end, no?

3) Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur

Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur

I need to be at that pool NOW! 😀 I think hotels should have great pools because they offer not just a workout, but also a place for relaxation. Another reason why I’d choose to book via Traveloka is because they do offer more choices for certain hotels. For instance, for Ritz-Carlton, there are 6 room types available on Traveloka (the cheapest costs S$329.08 a night), but only 1 room type available on Agoda (the Premier Suite at S$370 before tax).

4) Berjaya Times Square Hotel

Berjaya Times Square Hotel

Once again, I LOVE that view. I can never stand hotel rooms without windows, and those which frustrate me most are windows which overlook, say, someone’s backyard, or an abandoned building, etc. A nice view of the city or a lake never hurts! 😀 I stayed at the Berjaya Times Square Hotel last year and enjoyed the hotel’s proximity to the shopping mall which is huge, and I think I’ll be back again soon. The price is pretty reasonable – starting from S$117.66 on Traveloka’s website.

5) Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel

Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel

Once again, that pool looks irresistible. And as you can see from the screenshot above, room rates at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur start from just S$124.60. You can also download the Traveloka app (both Apple and Android versions are available) and enjoy paperless check-in when you reach the hotel. No time should be wasted so you can head to the pool as quickly as possible! 😀

6) JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

Room rates at JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur start from S$225.79. I’ve stayed at the Marriott hotel in Singapore, but I’ve yet to stay at JW Marriott’s hotels. So I look forward to checking out this one in Kuala Lumpur! 😀

7) Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur

Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur

Le Meridien totally has a resort feel to it. I think sunsets by the pool, with a cocktail in hand, would be near perfection. Prices are not exactly cheap but I guess you just have to pay more for quality. If you are looking for hotel rooms that will fit nicely into your holiday budget, then go check out hotel booking sites like Traveloka, compare prices and find the best fit. For me, I think sites with clean layouts and which are user-friendly always get my vote. I really do not like hidden fees!

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 Just a quick 5-step process to book your hotel. It’ll be even faster once you’ve saved your details as a member!Traveloka booking

If you have any other hotels in Kuala Lumpur that you’d like to recommend, or have me review them, please feel free to write in to me. 🙂

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This post is brought to you by Traveloka, the largest and leading flight/hotel booking platform in Indonesia. Also, do note that the prices stated in this post are based on my own pre-selected dates for check-in and -out.

Things To Do In Singapore In 1-Day: My Indonesian Friend’s Visit :D

I’ve been SO BUSY recently. Among the many things I’ve been doing is taking my pals around Singapore. Previously, my Vietnamese friends came by (read the blogpost here), then a Cambodian (*no time to blog about his trip yet*) and my Indonesian pal just left Singapore today. One day is definitely NOT SUFFICIENT for visiting Singapore, as it will be a crazy rush from attraction to attraction, so please do not attempt this unless you have absolutely no choice. In any case, here are some suggestions for things to do in Singapore. Whether you are a tourist planning a trip to Singapore, or a Singaporean wondering where you should take your pals to when they come here to visit you, I hope this blogpost is useful to you. 🙂

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I met my pal at the airport in the morning around 8am, and we popped by Tampines Swimming Complex thereafter (it opens at 8am). A shower plus swim would be a delight for most tourists, I guess. In fact, I want nothing more than a hot shower after a flight to get rid of tiredness and to feel refreshed. 🙂 Tampines Swimming Complex on a Friday morning is not very crowded at all, and we sure did enjoy the swim.

Then it was a quick (and light) brunch at Century Square before we headed to Hotel Grand Pacific for a buffet lunch. At Tampines Mall, my pal also bought a tin of cookies from Bengawan Solo. When I’d visited him in Surabaya previously, I brought him a gift of cookies from Bengawan Solo, and he and his family liked the cookies so much that he (also) came here for more. 😀

The dessert corner at Sun’s Cafe in Hotel Grand Pacific:

Hotel Grand Pacific Sun's Cafe lunch buffet

I’ll do a more detailed post regarding the buffet later. Suffice to say now that it’s good value for money if you’ve bought a Groupon voucher. The staff are pretty friendly too.

The view from level 10 of the National Library:

Singapore National Library

After lunch, we visited the National Library which was around the corner, and we also went to Bugis+, Bugis Junction, Bugis Street, etc.

Maple Lodge (hostel) is right outside Exit A of Chinatown MRT station (on the left) –

Singapore Chinatown Maple Lodge

Then we went to his hostel at Chinatown – Maple Lodge – which is SO conveniently located just a few steps away from Exit A of Chinatown MRT station. If you’re a ‘backpacker’ visiting Singapore, here’s a good place to stay for just S$15 a night. Check-in time is at 3pm, or so I was told.

With check-in completed, and luggage deposited, we headed to Merlion Park, which is like the MUST-VISIT place for most tourists who want to get that obligatory photo with one of the merlions. We spotted a couple in full wedding attire getting their photoshoot done. The weather was SO hot then! Bless their souls. The bride did not seem to mind at all – no complaints heard – so I guess the groom made a fantastic choice. Hehe! Happy marriage, y’all!

Singapore Merlion Park

Thankfully, I’d thought of buying ice cream when we exited Raffles Place MRT station. If you’re walking towards Exit H, you’ll see a Mr Bean outlet. I bought ice cream for all 3 of us (me, my Indonesian pal, and another Malaysian pal currently studying in Singapore). Thus, there were few complaints about the weather when we stepped out of the air-conditioned premises to make our way to Merlion Park. We were too busy enjoying the ice cream. Haha!

A few quick snaps of the Merlion and we were off to MBS:

Singapore Marina Bay Sands

* I love those clouds *

We took a really long walk to get to Marina Bay Sands. For your information, visiting the Observation Deck of MBS requires a fee of S$23 for adults and S$17 for children (between 2 and 12 years old). Find out more about the fees here: http://www.marinabaysands.com/sands-skypark/observation-deck.html

*The Infinity Pool at MBS is reserved for hotel guests*

We had dinner at the foodcourt at Marina Bay Sands. The prices are much higher than in many other places in Singapore.

Post-dinner snack and chit-chat time:

DC Comics Super Heroes Cafe

We also visited the DC Comics Super Heroes themed cafe at MBS (level 1). I ordered some nuggets & fries, plus a yuzu drink (which was SO sweet). The chirpy waiter gave us some water served in the cutest caped super hero mugs. Service was excellent, despite what some reviewers said on the cafe’s facebook page. The decor of the place is simply awesome. You can find Batman, Catwoman, and many other super heroes. And there’s the Batmobile, the fancy bike (I don’t know what it’s called) and so many photo-worthy spots. Of course, the food’s also superhero-themed so snap away if you’re ordering the burgers, lattes or desserts, etc.

After an enjoyable chat, I sent him back to his hostel. He told me that he fell asleep very quickly because he was so tired. And it’s no wonder too. I clocked over 20,000 steps yesterday, just touring Singapore with him! LOL.

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Nana’s Green Tea at Plaza Singapura. Lunch sets (inc. of a drink) are at S$13.90.

Nana's Green Tea Plaza Singapura

ION Orchard:

Singapore ION Orchard

As for today, we had lunch at Nana’s Green Tea at Plaza Singapura before popping by Orchard Road. We went to ION, Ngee Ann City, Kinokuniya, etc. 🙂 Then we were off to Woodlands where we bought sushi from my favorite sushi takeaway place. He also bought Old Chang Kee’s curry puffs and other snacks.

And then he’s off to Malaysia. 🙂

I’m gonna miss him. He’s a really fun guy to chat with and hang out with. And he also brought me presents… AWWW…

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Gifts from Surabaya

My generous pal from Surabaya brought me some goodies. There’s Kue Blinjo (which I assume is some kind of cookie), (the famous) Livana’s Lapis Surabaya (which I’ve tried previously during my trip to Surabaya) and Bandeng Asap (Smoked Milkfish).

I do wish I’d thought of bringing him to visit a cat cafe earlier. Will certainly include that in the itinerary the next time he visits. Till then!~ 🙂