4D3N Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog + Itinerary

On the first weekend of November, a day after my birthday, I made a short trip to the capital of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City with my family (of 7 pax)Click HERE to read my flight review on Vietnam Airlines (SIN – SGN)!

Shall start off this blog post with some history. Ho Chi Minh City is located in the South-Eastern region of Vietnam and was originally known as Saigon.When and why did they change their name? (According to Wikipedia) It happened immediately after the communist took over South Vietnam in 1975, where the provisional government renamed the city after Hồ Chí Minh (a late North Vietnamese leader).

Ho Chi Minh City is pretty much similar to Bangkok but with the huge amount of motorbikes zooming around in a havoc way. Ho Chi Minh City uses Vietnamese Dong (VND). Conversion rate is around SGD$1 = VND$16,877. The weather is quite similar to Singapore, with the Dry Season happening from December to April, while the Wet Rainy Season happens from May to November.

Upon arrival at Ho Chi Minh City’s only airport – Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you will realize that the airport isn’t as crowded (or as busy) as compared to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or Kuala Lumpur’s KLIA, which is a good thing! Clearing customs and baggage collection can be done smoothly, quickly!

Leaving the Arrival Hall, you will see tons of different counters trying to sell you SIM cards and airport transfers. We managed to get unlimited-data SIM card for VND$150,000 (~SGD$8), and also booked their airport transfer to our hotel for VND$230,000 (~SGD$13) per 7-seater vehicle. However, I highly recommend booking airport-transfer to your hotel through GRAB!

We stayed in a Japanese-brand 5-star hotel situated in the outskirt of District 1 – Hotel Nikko Saigon. My hotel review can be found HERE.

This trip to HCMC is supposed to be a relaxed sightseeing family trip (away from the bustle and hectic Singapore). Thus, I did not book any trips out of the city (e.g. day trips to Cu Chi Tunnels or Mekong Delta) which is highly recommended if you wanna get the most out of your HCMC trip and have more days spent in the city.

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1. BEN THANH MARKET

Ben Thanh Market is a huge marketplace in the heart of HCMC, that’s listed as number one virtually on every travel guides and is definitely the first recommendation you will get from anyone. And true enough, Ben Thanh Market is a great place to interact with locals, bargaining to get your best price.

Ben Thanh Market has 4 main entrances and 12 gates. Within this huge market, you can find local handicrafts, branded goods, Vietnamese art, souvenirs, fresh fruits, and vegetables, jewellery, electronics, and even cooked-food!

2. WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM

The most-visited museum in HCMC is the best place to understand and know about the history of The Vietnam War. Half a million visitors visited this three-floors museum every year, to understand the pain and horror of war, the tortures being experienced during the war and to learn from the past.

The entire walkthrough of the museum will take about 2 hours if you visit every single exhibit. Some images are quite disturbing, but that’s what war is, horrible and torturous. The museum also features the infamous “tiger cages”, special cells built by U.S Army in Con Dao Jail. Each “tiger cage” measures only 2.7m x 1.5m x 3m but were used to imprison up to 14 people!

A ticket cost VND$40,000/person, and the museum opens from 7:30am to 6pm daily.

3. INDEPENDENCE PALACE

10 minutes walk from the War Remnants Museum will bring you to the Reunification Palace (also known as Independence Palace). It’s one of the most important places in HCMC. This exact location marks the end of the Vietnam War when the Viet Cong tanks breached into the palace’s gates.

We didn’t go in as it was closed for an event on the day. But I’m sure from reviews around the web, it’s definitely worth a visit!

4. SAIGON CENTRAL POST OFFICE + NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL OF SAIGON

Both of the building is just the opposite of one another, and you will know this a must-visit destination once you arrived. You could see tons of tourist flocking this area, snapping photos with the unique French architecture and the stunning interior!

You could write a letter and send a letter from the post office! However, the cathedral was closed when I was there, and the exterior was partly covered up for renovation.

Both buildings were walking distance from the Independence Palace, Ben Thanh Market and shopping area… So it’s very convenient!

5. SHOPPING TIME IN HO CHI MINH CITY

There may not be as much shopping opportunities as compared to Singapore or Bangkok, but there still exists several opportunities for you to spend your Vietnam Dong! First up, it’s Ben Thanh Market which I’ve talked about earlier. For air-conditioned places, you could visit the Saigon Centre, where you will find Takashimaya and several other branded stores! A short walk away could bring you to Vincom Center and PARKSON Department Store! And let the shopping begins!

6. SAIGON SKYDECK @ BITEXCO FINANCIAL TOWER

One of Ho Chi Minh City’s visible landmark upon arrival at the airport would definitely be the Bitexco Financial Tower, where it housed Ho Chi Minh City’s first Skydeck – Saigon Skydeck! Saigon Skydeck is located on the 49th floor, where you can enjoy a 360 degrees view of Ho Chi Minh City.

There’s also a The World of Heineken Experience located on the 58th – 60th floor! It features a 4D VR ride and a hands-on training session by Heineken-certified draught master!

So after a day of sightseeing and shopping, this is a great place to relax and see HCMC from the top!

The above-mentioned places were where I’ve gone during my trip to HCMC! I definitely will return to HCMC, to experience the friendliness, the culture and I’m so in love with Vietnam, this untouched gem in South East Asia! Hope you guys did get some knowledge about where to head to when you’re in HCMC!

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Hotel Review: Hotel Nikko Saigon

On my recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City with my family, I’ve booked us into Hotel Nikko Saigon, a 5-star hotel run by Nikko Hotels International (a subsidiary of Okura Hotels). This hotel is commonly awarded as one of the top hotels in Ho Chi Minh City.

The hotel is about 25 minutes drive away from HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport. The hotel is located in the outskirt of District 1, which means the surroundings are more peaceful and less havoc as compared to hotels in the main city center.

Arrived at the hotel, the staffs opened the doors with a smile and guided me to the front desk for check-in. The interior of the lobby is modern and minimalist, which instantly was another good point added!

Check-in was smooth and we proceed to our rooms on the 15th level. Something special while heading to our rooms, I found that there are several air purifiers along the corridor, being placed every few doors away. This really shows how a Japanese-brand hotel takes pride in their daily operations, making sure the guests were well taken care of.

The room we have gotten was a Deluxe Twin. It’s super spacious and the interior was modern, clean and neat! The view from the room was spectacular too! Each room comes with a bathtub, and it’s not everyday that you get a bathtub in a hotel room! The bed was bouncy and it’s very comfy!

The facilities in the hotel were not bad too! There’s a spa, fitness club, swimming pool, business center, and three dining facilities.

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What I really like about this hotel is that the hotel also provides free shuttle bus service to different places of interest in the city center (e.g. Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Centre, Reunification Palace etc.). But do remember to book your seats in advance with the Concierge.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are 3 dining facilities in the hotel – La Brasserie, Ming Court and The Lounge.

La Brasserie is where the buffet breakfast will be held! After breakfast time, it will be an all-day-dining restaurant. The food during the all-day-dining was alright only, I would recommend you to eat out in the city center or…… Ming Court!

Ming Court serves authentic Chinese cuisine and Dim-Sum. The all-you-can-eat Dim-Sum buffet cost around VND 450,0++ per person, which is very very worth it! The food was so yummy and felt very local because the chef is a Taiwanese that just got here a year ago! The taste really suits us, Singaporeans’ taste buds.

As for The Lounge (which I personally didn’t dine in), it’s a relaxing-chill place where they sell cakes and pastries. Definitely a good place to chill after a day out in the scorching hot weather.

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Keen for some shopping around the vicinity? The hotel is actually connected to Now Zone Fashion Mall, a leading department store that offers various shops for shopping! Other notable shops in the mall include KOI Cafe, Phúc Long Coffee & Tea Cafe, KFC, Lotte Cinema and many more!

So would I recommend this hotel? The answer is definitely a YES!

Though location-wise isn’t the best, but with the amenities in the room, the staffs’ service and hotel’s facilities. I think it would pretty much cover-up the bad location. Furthermore, booking a GRAB in Vietnam is so cheap (With a 7-seater to the city center only cost around SGD$7).

Check out the hotel deals at Expedia, Agoda or Booking.com. DON’T FORGET TO USE SHOPBACK TO SAVE EVEN MORE ON YOUR BOOKING! 

Flight Review: Vietnam Airlines Economy (SIN – SGN)

Visiting a brand-new country always keeps me excited, similar to flying with an airline that I’ve never flown before! This time around, I’m flying Vietnam Airlines for the first time to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam.

Vietnam Airlines fly thrice from Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 4 daily. This is my first time stepping into Terminal 4, and wow, was so amazed by the entire airport! It’s super classy, neat and nice!

FLIGHT DETAILS

Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 4 – HCMC Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport

Flight Time: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

Departure Time @ 1:15pm, Arrival Time @ 2:25pm

Economy Class

 

Vietnam Airlines utilizes it’s Airbus A321 for this flight path to Ho Chi Minh City. They also use the same model for their flight from Singapore to Hanoi.

I bought my round-trip tickets on Vietnam Airlines after seeing their promotion on my Facebook. In total, I paid S$259.70 for a round trip flight ticket from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City with free 30kg of check-in luggage and free in-flight meal.

The flight comes in 2 different classesBusiness Class and Economy Class. The Business Class has a total of 16 seats, with a seating configuration of 2-2, while Economy Class has 168 seats onboard, with a seating configuration of 3-3.

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In the Economy Class, the seat pitch is 32-inch, with recline of up to 6-inch. The Business Class has a seat pitch of 45-inch and a reclining distance of nearly 10-inch.

Online check-in opens 24 hours before departure time, and the check-in process is simple and easy to perform. There aren’t any self-check-in and self-baggage-drop kiosks for Vietnam Airlines in T4 (weirdly), but the entire process was smooth.

The entire plane feels alright, the seats in Economy Class felt decent. The air stewardesses mainly wore a blue Ao dai (Vietnam’s traditional dress), with a little modern touch to it. The flight took off on time, and the in-flight meal was being served after awhile. Yes, there’s actually in-flight meal on such a short flight!

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There were 2 options for my flight – Pork Rice or Fried Fish Noodle. I’ve chosen the Pork Rice, which tasted alright, not very fantastic. But it kinda gives me a taste of how Vietnamese cuisine will be. During the meal-time, there were quite a number of on-off turbulences throughout the flight.

There isn’t any in-flight entertainment system nor charging ports on the flight for both classes. The only entertainment you could have is to read their magazine ‘HERITAGE’, which 90% is in Vietnamese so I would recommend prepping your Spotify or Netflix or a book ready to past the time onboard.

Weirdly for Vietnam, there isn’t a need to fill up any immigration forms.

Overall, I felt the Vietnam Airlines was not too bad, taking into account that you will be entitled to 30kg check-in baggage and an in-flight meal. So this is rather an affordable option to fly from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City if flying Singapore Airlines is too expensive and you would rather not fly with budget airlines like Scoot! and Jetstar Asia.

Cassia Bintan: Mookata Weekend Getaway

Thinking what to do this coming weekend? Want to plan for a weekend staycation but not in Singapore? I think I got just the answer for you!

Bintan, a 45-minute ferry ride away from Singapore, sure has something up their sleeve to keep your weekend hype up!

Months ago, I went for my weekend getaway at Cassia Bintan with my girlfriend. It was quite a last-minute plan, thus was unable to book an early ferry to Bintan, so instead, we had to travel on the 2pm ferry and arriving on Bintan Island at around 3pm (SG time).

Upon arrival at Bintan Island Ferry Terminal, we were greeted by the friendly staffs, were then guided onto a small coach, to get us to the resort.

The hotel lobby (aka Meeting Point) is a very lively place to be, the design is very open-concept, where the hotel lobby area shares with the breakfast dining area. There’s also a swimming pool right in front of the hotel lobby.

Check-in was smooth and quick. We were given a free upgrade to a One-Bedroom Apartment Garden Loft, and to our surprise, the loft was really huge! There’s a kitchen, bedroom with a queen-sized bed, a huge toilet in between them both and a living room area. On the second floor, there’s a unique cushioned area that provides extra space that can be used for games or late night chit-chat with friends & family.

We didn’t spend too much time in the room and proceeded back to the hotel lobby area where Market 23 is located. Market 23 is a café-cum-supermart that sells convenient ready-to-eat, grab-and-go meals, and ingredients for Mookata. We choose the ingredients we wanted and placed our order with the counter. Once done, you can simply carry everything back to your room to start your own ‘cooking show’!

But before heading back to the hotel, we have one more thing to be done, which is to inquire about the spa packages available. Cassia Bintan itself does not provide any spa packages, however, it’s sister resort Hotel Angsana Bintan (5-minute walk from Cassia Bintan) provides top quality spa packages, and at an affordable rate. Once our spa session was booked, we head back to our room to cook our dinner.

Cooking Mookata in a hotel room is really a first-of-its-kind, and we really enjoyed it! Everything you need for the cooking is available in the kitchen! Just make sure you turn on the fan, close the bedroom door! Once cooking is done, we made our way to Angsana Spa for our spa session. I have to say that the service there is super good! It’s worth a visit and a try!

The next morning, we woke up late and went down to Meeting Point for our breakfast. The breakfast spread wasn’t alot but was sufficient to fill our tummies. We headed to the beach after breakfast before heading back home, to Singapore.

Overall, we’ve enjoyed ourselves in Cassia Bintan, even though we did not have ample time to try out some of their ATV activities or water sports. But it’s definitely a place to be with your family and friends to spend the weekend away.

You could make your booking thru Cassia Bintan website or book your hotel and ferry tickets separately thru booking websites like Expedia, Booking.com or Agoda.

Flying From Singapore To London. How?

Flying from Singapore to the United Kingdom’s capital, London, has never been so easy, with so many different varieties of routes and airline companies to choose from.

1. Direct Flight (Full Service Carrier)

There are currently 3 different airlines serving direct flight to and fro Singapore and London.

Last month, I flew to London with Australian national carrier, Qantas on their Sydney-Singapore-London route. The flight was reasonably priced and is actually a brilliant alternative! The seats were comfortable, the legroom is reasonable. Qantas also provides free amenities like eyemask, toothbrush, and toothpaste! The only complain I had was that their in-flight meals just isn’t very yummy. Feeling hungry or thirsty during your flight? Simply walk to the back and you will be able to grab some snacks and drinks!

For those who can’t really afford a flight on Singapore Airlines, the next alternate airline company would be U.K’s national carrier – British Airways. They have more frequent promotional airfare, with their seats and legroom on par with Qantas, but definitely wins Qantas on their in-flight entertainment and in-flight meals.

Lastly, it will be flying with our national carrier, Singapore Airlines. Airfares are normally more expensive than the rivals (unless you purchased a year ago or during their two-to-go promotion). But it’s easy to understand that normally the more you pay, the better thing you will get in return! Which I personally think is quite true, the in-flight entertainment is very good, their in-flight food was the best (very local) between Qantas and British Airways, and the seats are definitely super comfortable.

Below are the flight times for the 3 airlines (flying out of Singapore):

Qantas 1: 11:55pm – 6:15am (+1)

British Airways 16: 10:35pm – 5:05am (+1)

British Airways 12: 11:15pm – 5:50am (+1)

Singapore Airlines 306: 1:10am – 7:45am

Singapore Airlines 308: 9:00am – 3:40pm

Singapore Airlines 318: 12:35pm – 7:15pm

Singapore Airlines 322: 11:30pm – 5:55am (+1)

2. Direct Flight (Low-Cost Carrier)

If flying Qantas, BA or SIA is too much for your pocket, your next direct flight alternative till January 2019 is flying with Norwegian Air. They fly out from Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 to London Gatwick Airport. With fares from S$300+, it’s super affordable if you look at the service they provide, and the flight comes with in-flight entertainment and meals! Seeing them go is really a sad thing for me, as I personally enjoyed my flight with them!

Below is the flight time for Norwegian Air flying from Singapore:

Norwegian Air 7408: 9:10am – 4:10pm

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3. Flights with Stop(s)

If flying for 13 hours straight isn’t your cup of tea, and prefer to have a stopover during your trip, there are actually tons of airlines you could consider!

There are Finnair (via Helsinki), Emirates (via Dubai), Qatar Airways (via Doha), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), KLM (via Amsterdam), Malaysia Airlines (via Kuala Lumpur), SWISS (via Zurich), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), Air France (via Paris), Thai Airways (via Bangkok) and many many more.

Price wise, it’s really dependable on the time of your flight and the dates of your travel. Service wise and quality of the flight is also dependable on the airline you’re flying with. For example, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Thai Airways, and Air France are usually the better airlines.

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Source: Google

But if you still want to find an even cheaper alternative, you could go with Singapore Airlines’s subsidiary – Scoot that flies direct to Athens and Berlin, where you will could then book a separate flight with a different airline (e.g. easyJet, Ryanair or British Airways etc). It may seem troublesome, but definitely cheaper.

So which method would you be flying to London from Singapore for your future trips? Do let me know in the comments!

[Media Invite – Hotel Review] Hotel G Singapore

Who says staycation is boring and is a waste of time? There’s a relatively new hotel here in town, and it’s not bad! The hotel I’m going to tell you more about it’s no other than Hotel G Singapore.

 

Hotel G Singapore is a relatively new 4-stars chic-lifestyle boutique hotel located at Middle Road. The hotel is a walkable distance to Bugis & Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station, and it’s relatively close to the vicinity of Orchard, City Hall, and Marina Bay. What’s more, Changi Airport is a 20-minute drive away too!

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There are 308 rooms in the hotel, separated into 3 different room types: Good, Great (15 – 16 sqm) and Greater (27 sqm). I’ve given a chance to stay in their Good room during this staycation.

The hotel lobby is actually located on the 2nd floor, with the 1st floor occupied by its 2 restaurants. Upon arriving at the hotel lobby, I was greeted by the friendly staff and check-in was done swiftly by one of the staff. The interior of the lobby is spacious and has a very good ambiance. The hotel walkway has a boutique hotel vibe with very unique wallpapers designs. Each room number has 2 smaller numbers stating the floor and the larger numbers for the room.

Upon entering the room, it feels quite okay in size (11 – 13 sqm), knowing that I’ve stayed in hotel rooms smaller than that. I love the design of the room a lot, where one could take Instagram-worthy photos anywhere in the room! The room has a vintage, yet chic design. There’s a little nook below the bed where you could keep your luggage when you don’t need it. I also love the concept of having a dreamcatcher as a ‘light-decoration’ above the bed, where you can just lie in bed and watch the shadows dance across the ceiling!

All the hotel’s information can be found on the notice board beside the bed, and there are shelves to place the cups, bottles, and kettle. Neat and tidy! For tourists, there’s a Handy Phone in each room for your usage, the hotel also has a pretty-reliable free Wifi within the hotel. Each Good and Great rooms come with a 32″ LG IPTV. There are bottled waters in the rooms, but no kettle for boiling water. However, just outside in the hallway is a hot and cold water dispenser.

As for toiletry, there’s a small amenities kit provided by Australian brand METIS which includes Body Lotion, Shampoo, Body Wash, and Conditioner. Shower cap and dental kit were also provided. I would give a thumbs up for the rain shower because I just love to use it! Overall, the toilet looks new, clean and neat!

There’s no swimming pool in the hotel compound, but there’s a retro-vintage style fitness center that can be easily accessed with your room card on the 3rd floor. They have the standard equipment like treadmills, weight machines, dumbbells etc.

Feeling hungry? Hotel G Singapore has 2 restaurants located on the 1st floor25 Degrees and Ginett Wine Bar & Restaurant(the place where you will be having your breakfast). I didn’t get to try out both restaurants though, but a brief introduction to what it is!

25 Degrees is a burger, wine and liquor bar, originated from Los Angeles. It introduces a sophisticated new twist on the traditional American burger bar concept, that’s complete with funky music and cool “bordello-meets-burger-bar” concept decor.

Ginett Wine Bar & Restaurant offers imported cold cuts and cheese, premium wines and daily specials cooked with quality ingredients. This restaurant features a cozy communal space, perfect for chitchatting. As I’ve mentioned, this is also the place where you will be served with the buffet breakfast.

There were 4 stations available during breakfast time: hot food station, live egg station, pastry station, as well as drinks station. The hot food station includes Asian (Chinese) & Western cuisine dishes like Old Cucumber Soup, Mac & Cheese, Garlic Rice, Sesame Oil Chicken, etc.

Overall, I had enjoyed my stay with Hotel G Singapore, but there are one or two things that I don’t really like, for example, the light switches are a bit far from the bed, and the toilet isn’t as big, thus the basin needs to be placed outside of it. I would highly recommend Hotel G Singapore to you, for a staycation with your other half, or small families. And most importantly, I think the price is impressively affordable (around S$130 per night) for a hotel in such location.

Hotel G Singapore

200, Middle Road, Singapore 188980

https://www.hotels-g.com/hotels/hotel-g-singapore/

*Special thanks to Hotel G Singapore team. All opinions in this blog post are strictly my own.

Things To Do In Phuket

Phuket Island is Thailand largest island situated in Southern Thailand. It has always been one of Singaporean favorite beach getaway, and is definitely one on my list too!

Phuket isn’t a very easy-to-commute-around place as compare to Bangkok or Pattaya. But however, there are several places that you should, or should I say… MUST visit when you are there!

Phuket is served by its one and only Phuket International Airport, which is approximately 1 hour 50 minutes flight away from Singapore. Airlines like Singapore Airlines, Scoot, Jetstar Asia and AirAsia flies direct to Phuket.

So what are the things you can do and go when in Phuket? First and most importantly, the beaches. Phuket has as many as 30 beaches, but there are few notable ones that you should visit.

1. White Sandy Beaches

Patong Beach & Karon Beach is one of the few better-known/popular beaches in Phuket.

Karon Beach is the second longest beach in Phuket. It’s more peaceful as compared to the other beaches, nearby hotels you could stay in is Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa and Mövenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach etc.

Patong Beach, on the other hand, is the most popular beach, and also the most popular location on the island. The beach is about 3-4km, with the most crowded area in the middle. During the day, you can enjoy the white sand and blue water, and at night, it’s close by to Soi Bangla – Phuket nightlife entertainment street. If shopping is the thing for you, visit the Jungceylon Shopping Mall, which is nearby too!

Most of the beaches offered extreme water sports like Banana Boat, Jet Ski and more! So be sure to check them out if you are interested!

2. Stunning Viewpoints

Phuket is surrounded by hills, which simply means there will be lots of viewpoints for you that offers stunning scenery of Phuket and the sea.

The most popular viewpoint should be Karon Viewpoint. It’s one of the most popular bird’s eye view shot of Phuket.

Karon Viewpoint should be your stopover if you are heading to Promthep Cape Viewpoint. Promthep Cape is located at the southernmost point of Phuket. It’s a recommended area for taking sunset photos, so don’t say I bojio! 😉 Don’t miss out the Elephant Shrine when you are there, it’s beautiful!

Other than this 2 viewpoints, there are several more viewpoints like Windmill Viewpoint, Kata Noi Viewpoint, and the Big Buddha.

3. Places You Must Visit

What I would recommend when you are in Phuket is to visit Wat Chalong, Phuket Fantasea, and Big Buddha.

Firstly, Wat Chalong is the largest temple on Phuket Island, and also the most visited one. If you are visiting Wat Chalong, please take note of the Dos and Don’ts. Shoes are not allowed in temples, ladies need to cover their shoulders and wear pants or skirts that extend down to their knees. Do remember to talk quietly within the temple and don’t touch the statues or other Buddhist relics. It’s located 8km south of Phuket City.

Big Buddha is one of the most important landmarks on the island, and it’s also a viewpoint, where it sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills. At 45m tall, it can be seen from as far as Phuket Town & Karon Beach. As the Phuket Big Buddha is a religious site, so be sure to wear the appropriate attire when visiting the Big Buddha. Big Buddha is opened from 8am to 7:30pm. Want to watch the sunset? It’s also one of Thailand’s best spot to catch one, be sure to be there by 6:30pm.

Phuket Fantasea can be your next stop after visiting the attractions & landmarks in the day. Phuket Fantasea show is inspired by Thailand’s heritage, whereby it showcases ancient Thailand’s traditions with hi-tech and special effects. The show lasts for 70 minutes, and it has one of the best buffets in Phuket in a grand 4000-seats restaurant. There’s also a lively carnival village with games, parades, and shops.

4. Shopping Time

There aren’t alot shopping malls in Phuket, but there are some notable ones. They are Jungceylon Shopping Mall and Central Festival Shopping Mall.

Jungceylon Shopping Mall is diagonally located at Bangla Road. It has 2 main stores in the shopping mall which includes Robinson department store and Big C supermarket. There are 200+ stores in the mall selling branded clothes, perfumes, sunglasses and more. It also has a five-room SF cinemas and a 16-lanes bowling alley.

The next shopping mall that you should head to when you’re in Phuket is Central Festival Shopping Mall, located just outside Phuket Town. It’s a fully air-conditioned shopping mall with 120+ shops selling food, clothes and more like Central, Supersports, H&M and more.

So these are the places that you could head to when you’re in Phuket, do let me know if there’s other places that is a must-visit!

Largest IKEA In South East Asia + Largest Shopping Mall in JB

IKEA Tebrau

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Source: Malay Mail Online

You guys should have heard there’s a new IKEA building in Johor Bahru, and it’s South East Asia’s largest! So I’ve done a little research on it and found that IKEA Tebrau takes up over 45,000sqm featuring 54 furniture showrooms, while Singapore’s largest IKEA Tampines Megastore only has a customer area of 18,000sqm!

And most importantly for Singaporeans, do note that the items sold over at IKEA Tebrau are cheaper than in Singapore, about 10% cheaper. For example, a POÄNG rocking-chair cost S$100 cheaper in Tebrau as compared to Singapore. And do look out for sections with Red wallpapers or banners, as usually, it’s a sale item.

How To Get There?

By Car – IKEA Tebrau is a 20-minutes drive from Woodlands Causeway. It’s located next to AEON Tebrau City shopping mall.

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Source: Google

By Bus – There are 2 different Free Shuttle Bus provided by IKEA Tebrau. The pick-up points are JB Sentral and Larkin Sentral.

From JB Sentral: 9am, 11am, 2pm, 4pm, 7pm, 9pm

From IKEA Tebrau: 10am, 12pm, 3pm, 5pm, 8pm, 10pm, 11pm (Fri, Sat)

From Larkin Sentral: 9am, 11am, 2pm, 4pm, 7pm, 9pm

From IKEA Tebrau: 10am, 12pm, 3pm, 5pm, 8pm, 10pm, 11pm (Fri, Sat)

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Source: CNA

Paradigm Mall Johor Bahru

Not keen into shopping for furnitures? No worries, as Johor Bahru’s largest shopping mall has opened recently! Paradigm Mall JB is located at next to Skudai Highway and covers as much as 13 acres of land that will include a 6-storey retail mall, a 4-stars hotel, and a condominium.

Paradigm Mall JB is more than 2 million sq ft and has 6 floors, as compared to Singapore’s largest shopping mall, VivoCity has 1.5 million sq ft.

Paradigm Mall JB has an ice-skating rink, an indoor climbing gym by Camp 5, and Malaysia’s first indoor skate park. It also comes with departmental store Parkson, premium supermarket Village Grocer and the largest movie theatre in the state operating by Golden Screen Cinemas.

There are also many as 600 tenants to be opened in Paradigm Mall JB like H&M, Uniqlo, Adidas, Wendy’s, Under Armour, Celebrity Fitness, The Chicken Rice Shop, Padini and many more!

This could be your next option for a shopping trip during the weekends!

How To Get There?

By Car – Paradigm Mall JB is 20-minutes drive from Woodlands Causeway. It’s located at Jalan Skudai.

By Bus – From JB Sentral, there are several public bus services serving Paradigm Mall JB, you could take bus services 1B, 5B, 7B, 15, 331, 505, BET1, BET3, JPO1. Getting back home? You could board CW4S to Jurong East directly, but do check out the bus service timing!

5 Best Panoramic Views in Hong Kong

Heading to the land of Dim Sum and planning to snap some panoramic city views of Hong Kong? Hong Kong is a bustling city where there are several viewpoints, skyscrapers for you to snap a good photo of Hong Kong’s best city views. Below are my top 5 places where you can go to take them.

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(1) Sky Terrace 428 @ The Peak

First and foremost, it gonna be this! Located on the highest hill in Hong Kong Island, it’s a popular, iconic must-visit attraction when you are in Hong Kong, as you get to capture the entire view of the Victoria Harbour. Once arriving at The Peak, head up to the Sky Terrace 428, standing at 428m above sea level offers a stunning 360-degree panoramic view across Hong Kong. This is my number one spot to take panoramic photos in Hong Kong.

How to go there? The fastest way to reach The Peak is by the retro Peak Tram, which is always packed. To skip the horrendous queue for The Peak Tram, purchase your Peak Tram Fast-Track Combo from Klook here.

128, Peak Road, The Peak, Hong Kong

Nearest MTR: Central MTR Station

Opening Hours: 10am – 11pm (Mon – Fri), 8am – 11pm (Sat, Sun & P.H.)

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(2) Sky100 Observation Deck

Sky100 Observation Deck is a viewpoint located on the 100th floor of Hong Kong’s tallest building – International Commerce Centre (ICC) in West Kowloon. It’s is 393m above sea level. This indoor viewpoint gives you a chance to enjoy the stunning 360-degree panoramic view of Hong Kong skyline. On some clear day, you could see all the way to China!

Its high-speed lift will bring you to the observation deck in 60 seconds. Beneath Sky100 Observation Deck is Elements Shopping Mall, so… Shopping can be done with ease after visiting Sky100 Observation Deck! The view here is equally stunning as The Peak, but still, I would recommend you to visit both!

Book your tickets to Sky100 Observation Deck thru Klook here.

International Commerce Centre (ICC), 1, Austin Rd West, Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong

Nearest MTR: Kowloon MTR Station

Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm (Sun – Thurs), 10am – 10:30pm (Fri – Sat)

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Source: Google

(3) Hong Kong Monetary Authority & Museum

Located on the 55th floor of Hong Kong’s second tallest building – Two International Finance Centre (IFC Tower 2). The museum is open to the public for free. Yes, it’s FREE! When you’re there, you can learn more about the history and development of money and banking of Hong Kong.

You can see views of Victoria Peak, the Bank of China Tower, ICC, Lan Tau and even Tsing Yi Bridge. All you need to bring is your passport for identification checks.

Two International Finance Centre, 8, Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong

Nearest MTR: Hong Kong MTR Station

Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm (Mon – Fri), 10am – 1pm (Sat), Closed on Sun & P.H.

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(4) Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, The Avenue Of Stars

This isn’t located in any skyscrapers or hills or whatsoever. But this waterfront is one of the best place for panoramic photo shoots in Hong Kong, and also one of the easiest to reach, and totally free too! The Avenue of Stars is a 400m stretch of waterside promenade along the northern side of Victoria Harbour.

Once darkness fell, this area has become the only place for you to capture stunning photos of Hong Kong skyline, as most buildings will have their electric lightboard lited up

This is the best place to witness Hong Kong’s popular daily light show – The Symphony of Lights at 8pm. This is also a must-do activity in Hong Kong when you’re there!

Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong

Nearest MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station

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Source: StrippedPixel.com

(5) Central Plaza Sky Lobby

Formerly the tallest building in Hong Kong – Central Plaza located in Wan Chai area, which now commonly known as an icon of Hong Kong’s past, among the new skyscrapers around it. Simply take its Express Lift to the 46th floor and be amazed by the views out there! The Central Plaza Sky Lobby offers 360-degree views too!

From there, you could see the busy streets of Wan Chai, able to see Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Kowloon.

And if you’re there on a Sunday, if possible, do take the lift further up to the 75th floor where one of the highest church in the world – Sky City Church awaits you. (or probably just pretend to head up, just for the awesome views).

18, Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Nearest MTR: Wan Chai MTR Station

Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm (Mon – Fri), 8am – 2pm (Sat), Closed on Sun & P.H.

So these are my top 5 location for taking stunning panoramic city views of Hong Kong. Are there any more places to take good photos in Hong Kong? Leave a reply and let me know!

Singapore First Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Is Finally Opened

Yes, you’ve seen it right. Singapore first Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena has finally opened its door today (1 November 2017). This new hotel is located at the Health City Novena, occupying 22nd to the 33rd floor of the Royal Square at Novena. It’s walking distance from Novena MRT Station, which can get you to the city easily.

This 250-rooms hotel is stylishly designed, featuring full-length windows for you to enjoy the panoramic view of Singapore. The hotel also comes with an outdoor rooftop infinity pool and a fitness center.

 

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Source: Urbana Outdoor Bar

 

You can find Urbana, an outdoor rooftop bar. Located on the top floor (level 33). You get to enjoy the spectacular view while enjoying a perfectly poured cocktail or a well-cooked delicious meal.

 

The other notable restaurant you can find is Sky22. It’s the hotel’s signature restaurant that features full-length windows to showcase Singapore’s landscape. Sky22 serves hearty and healthy dining options for its guests.

 

Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena has 3 main different types of room for its guest. There are Deluxe, Premier and Executive Room types for your choice.

They are currently having their Opening Offer with a Special Introductory Rate Offer from S$239++ for 2D1N stay at its Deluxe Room, which includes buffet breakfast for 1 @ Sky22.

Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena

99, Irrawaddy Road, Royal Square at Novena, Singapore 329568

Tel: +65 62500303

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-rooms/sincy-courtyard-singapore-novena/