Friday, February 23, 2018

Visiting Singapore?

As a Singaporean, I don't do travel tips for visiting Singapore.

But I watch videos of tips on travelling to Singapore. To see what misinformation is being shared.

And I nod at certain points. Or I laugh at some ridiculous misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Singapore's quirks or idiosyncracies.

Or get furious at some misinformation or outright lies (most likely just uninformed. They are not lies if the person really believes it) in the video.

So here are a collection of videos with tips for visiting or travelling to Singapore that I found quite informative (and mostly if not completely true). If there are any misinformation, I think they are quite minor and should not present any real problems.

Things you need to know before you go to Singapore. Singapore weather: Hot, humid, and rainy! Singapore Language: English (or Singlish!) Singapore Money: It's the Singapore Dollar -- bring cash! Singapore Laws: Don't chew gum! Singapore Food: Eat at the Hawker Centres. Singapore Public Transportation: Take the Singapore MRT, it's clean, fast and cheap! 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Our next adventure - Houseboat?

After my camper van adventure in 2014, I decided that the next adventure would be on water - house boating.

I checked out house boating in Australia, New Zealand, and even Canada. Canada because when we were travelling in Canada in late 2012, we passed by Shuswap, British Columbia, which claims to be "the house boating capital".

And I have a few options.

The simplest option was just to travel with the wife and kid. Three of us on a cosy little houseboat for 4 to 6.

Another option was to bring my in-laws and maybe my mom. This would mean a slightly larger houseboat, and likely would be more expensive. And I would have to bear the travel costs for some or all of them.

And recently, I had another idea. More on that later.

But it's 2018 and I haven't gone house boating yet.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tasmania Plans April 2018

We wanna take Z caravanning. Or Campervanning

The Wife says we should get a cabin and not "rough it" with a powered site or less. So I checked.
There are more than 50 caravan parks around the state, some with private ensuite facilities for caravan-motorhome travellers. Others include comfortable, cabin-style accommodation for those looking for an economical 'night away' from the confines of your vehicle.
Campsites can be found in most parks and reserves, providing a true wilderness experience on or off the beaten track.

Preliminary Plans

Visit Tasmania in Autumn - April

Temperature is from just below 10 to above 15. So should be comfortable or at least tolerable.

Fall colours in the Cradle Mountains should be gorgeous.

There are no direct flights to Hobart from SG. Most have a stopover - either Melbourne or Sydney. So why not spend a few days in Sydney? Or Melbourne?

So fly to Sydney/Melbourne. Stay for a night or two, then fly to Hobart.

Melbourne has the Skybus airport shuttle.

Rent a campervan for 1 week to 9 days then fly back to Melbourne, stay a night or two, then fly back to SG.

Then in Jan 2018, Emirates had a sale! How fortunate!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What I Look for in a Hotel Room

When booking hotel rooms on, my "go-to" website for hotel bookings, my key criteria would be
  • Terms of stay for children - children allowed?
  • Location
  • Size of Room
  • Non-Smoking (usually non-negotiable)
These are in no particular order of priority, though generally, location is the first, and size of room is next.

Hotels that do not accept children usually won't even turn up in the search results.

And yes, non-smoking is almost non-negotiable. I can imagine a situation where I have to get a hotel in that location and there are no other choice except for a smoking room, and I might have to compromise, but generally, no.

Sometimes, other consideration may become paramount, but generally that is the order of priority.

Hanayashiki Amusement Park, Asakusa

Hanayashiki is an charming old amusement park. It may not thrill older kids, but those below 12 should fine it exciting.

It claims to be Japan's oldest amusement park, and while some rides are quite modern, there are some rides which are clearly legacy rides and meant to charm and entertain in a different (earlier) era.

Which is still great if you are a 3 year old.

Like my daughter.

The Hanayashiki is in Asakusa (A-Sak-Sa. The "U" in the middle is silent.) We traveled on the Ginza subway from Ueno (where we were staying) to Asakusa (part of Tokyo). Then we headed towards the Senso-ji temple and turn left at the temple. And guided by Google maps, we easily found Hanayashiki.

Admission is 1000 yen per adult, free for children below 6, but we got our 3 year old a "Free Ride Pass" which gives her unlimited rides on all the attractions for 1800 yen. And because she is under 4, one adult gets to ride with her for free (attendant).

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review of Hotels - Early November 2017 Sendai & Hokkaido

We visited Japan for two weeks in early November 2017 with our daughter.

Here is a review of (or my impression of and reaction to) the 4 hotels we stayed in during the trip.

Richmond Hotel Sendai. 
We arrived at Narita and took the train to Sendai. We wanted to re-visit Omoshiroyamakoen. We would have like to stay in the same hotel we stayed in the last time, but the Hotel Monte Hermana Sendai was not available or did not cater to small children.  We liked that hotel because it was in a good location and the price was good value for money. But we settled for Richmond Hotel. It was a little further, and the price was a little over my budget, but there was not much choice in terms of hotels that catered for small children. I was a little desperate to get a hotel in a relatively good location.

I booked 3 nights for S$847 for a Twin room non-smoking (all my bookings are for non-smoking). The room details were presented as two Double beds, with 27 sq m. Which would be quite spacious by Japanese standards.

What I got on check-in was a Superior Double bed with an extra bed, which I had not asked for. The extra bed made the room very cramped. Which was already rather small at 22 sq m.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Planes, Trains, and no I'm not driving from Tokyo to Sapporo

I'm not sure that it is possible to drive from Tokyo to Sapporo.

Anyway, for our next holiday to Japan, we thought we would like to return to Hokkaido, because the last time (end 2016), we decided to skip Hokkaido so that I could try Kobe beef. Considering I had been to Japan 3 times, and have not had Kobe beef.

So to save time, I thought we could fly straight to Sapporo.

The first thing I found was that there were NO direct flights from SG to Sapporo.

Other airlines (like Thai) would have a stopover in another city. Even Japanese Airlines like JAL & ANA would have a stopover in Narita or Haneda before going on to Sapporo. And if you do choose to fly JAL (maybe ANA, too), note that there are some SG to Tokyo flights that land in Narita, and then 3 hours later your "connecting" flight to Sapporo (Chitose) takes off from HANEDA - the OTHER airport.