Heineken Experience Amsterdam Review: Drinkers, Fall-In Now!

Months after my trip to Amsterdam, I’m finally starting my blog posts it, and I’m starting off with one of the most popular attractions of in Amsterdam – Heineken Experience Amsterdam. Because… It’s enriching and awesome, so read more to find out!

Heineken Experience Amsterdam is voted one of the most popular, and must-visit attractions in Amsterdam, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. They don’t actually brew the beer right in the location now, but it’s a museum about the beer brand and its brewery.

The queues into the brewery were pretty long, one queue is for walk-in visitors, while another is for pre-booked ticket holders. I had pre-booked my tickets thru Klook, but still, have to wait for quite some time. Staffs were giving out oliebol during our wait, which was kinda neat and pleasant!

Upon stepping into the brewery, the staff did a brief before our tour begins. To be honest, the early stages of the tour was quite boring and dry. But once you arrived in a room where there are 4 huge-ass brass barrels. The staff will talk about the brewing process, where the staff will tell an interesting short story about the four main ingredients of a Heineken beer – water, barley, hops and Heineken “A” yeast.

After that, you’ll get a chance to visit the historic brew room. It contains 8 copper kettles, serving different functions ranging from filtering the mash to adding hops. Before exiting the brew room, there’s a chance for visitors to try the wort – a non-alcoholic mixture of water & barley that’s been heated and filtered.

The next segment of the tour is quite interesting and fun, where it involved a simulator where you will become the beer yourself and experience the journey each beer takes through the brewery. After the simulation, in the beer tasting room, is the time most people are excited for. Finally, you get to taste the beer! A bartender will explain how you should drink the beer and what a perfect beer should look like.

You will then come into some rooms where you can play games, take photos. Lastly, you will arrive in the bar, where you will exchange 2 pints of Heineken with 2 tokens that you will be given at the start of the tour. There are other non-alcoholic beverages available if you are keen too.

Before exiting the brewery, you have the chance to purchase souvenirs and pick up your very own personalized Heineken bottles that you’ve created and ordered during your tour. (One personalized Heineken bottle costs €6,50.)

Heineken Experience Amsterdam is located at the former Heineken brewery right in the middle of the city centre – Stadhouderskade, a walking distance from the museums. I really enjoyed my time touring the brewery, this place is like a “Disneyland for Heineken Lovers”! Though it may be packed at times, this should be a must-visit, even if you are not into beers. The tour is very interesting, interactive and fun! Overall the tour would take about 1.5 to 2 hours, and it’s highly recommended to buy your tickets online – around S$30 from Klook!

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Address: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE, Amsterdam

Opening Hours: 365 days. Monday to Thursday – 10:30 till 19:30 (Last Admission 17:30). Friday to Sunday – 10:30 till 21:00 (Last Admission 19:00)

 

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Flight Review: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Economy (SIN – AMS)

It’s been a busy year for me as I’m doing my new business venture. Thus, may have not been touching much with blogging. So here I am, after 2 months since my last trip to Europe, to do a flight review for my trip to Amsterdam with one of the mightest blue planes in the world – KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

This is my first time flying with KLM, and it always excites me when I get the chance to fly with an airline I’ve never flown with. So, onto my flight review from Singapore to Amsterdam.

KLM flies one flight daily from Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 to Amsterdam. I’ve been visiting Changi Airport Terminal 1 frequently and looking at Jewel Changi Airport slowly coming into shape, and opening soon… I’m so so excited about it!!!

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FLIGHT DETAILS

Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 – Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Flight Time: 13 Hours 35 Minutes

Departure Time @ 1:35am, Arrival Time @ 8:00am

Economy Class

KLM does not have huge Airbus A380 like other airlines (e.g. British Airways, Air France), thus it utilizes the Boeing 777-300ER for this route. This particular model features 2 different travel classesWorld Business Class and Economy Class. The Economy Class is being further divided into normal Economy seats and Economy Comfort seats.

The Business Class contains a total of 34 seats with 2-2-2 seating configuration. The Economy Class has a majority seating configuration of 3-4-3, with 40 Economy Comfort seats at the front, while the remaining seats are for the rest of Economy passengers.

The seat pitch for Economy Class isn’t stingy with legroom of 76cm to 81cm, seat pitch of 31-inch and a recline of 9cm, their ergonomically designed seats are rather pleasant for long-haul flight! Want more recline? Pay more to be seated in the Economy Comfort seat that features an increased recline of up to 18cm and a seat pitch of 34-inch. As for Business Class, you will get up to 207cm of legroom, a seat pitch of 63-inch and features a 180-degree recline flat-bed with 17-inch of personal entertainment screen.

The entire flight with KLM wasn’t that bad, I was lucky to not get any neighbour sitting beside me, thus I’ve managed to get some quality rest during the flight. The seat was quite comfortable and clean. Blanket & headphones were given out for free. The only thing that wasn’t as good compared to other airlines was their in-flight meal, which wasn’t very tasty and the food was rather (what I call…) not-suited-for-Asian-tastebud.

The personal entertainment system was not bad, loaded with some of the latest available movies and soundtracks from Taiwan, US and Singapore. Service staffs were quite friendly too!

Overall, I’m quite pleased with my flight with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from Singapore to Amsterdam. Would definitely recommend flying to Amsterdam with KLM if you think Singapore Airlines is too overpriced!

Happy Chinese New Year!

The Hype Traveler wishes all a very happy & prosperous Chinese New Year! Remember to stay healthy, happy and may all your wishes come true in the Year of the Pig!

Stay tuned for more content soon! 🙂

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!

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! 

A Beary Merry Christmas @ Malls of Frasers Property

Christmas is less than a month away! And from now till 24 December 2018, celebrate Christmas at the malls of Frasers Property Singapore with our favorite bears – We Bare Bears!

As part of the Beary Merry Christmas event islandwide, an all-new in-app game ‘The Pawfert Journey‘ will be rolled out on 28 November 2018! This game embedded within the Frasers Experience (FRx) mobile application, and task shoppers to help the bears locate their missing items across the malls of Frasers Property. How do you do it? Simply just match and scan in-mall QR codes via the app and you will stand a chance to win a share of over $250,000 worth of prizes (such as Frasers Points, digital gift cards & retailer vouchers).

To further enhance the experience, a $12,000 Live Quest will take place every Saturday from 1 to 22 December 2018 at the selected mall (starting from Causeway Point). Participants will be divided into 3 squads – Team Grizz, Team Pan Pan, and Team Ice Bear. Each squad will then complete tasks together and achieve the ultimate ‘#squalgoals’.

What’s Christmas without carnivals? There will be several carnivals taking place at the malls of Frasers Property Singapore! So what are you waiting for? Time to head down to the malls of Frasers Property to have a Beary Merry Christmas!

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.

Magical Scottish Highlands (Part 2)

Continuing my adventure in the Scottish Highlands, my family and me headed for another day-trip the next day to the Glenfinnan Viaduct, commonly known as the Harry Potter Bridge. We went with Happy Tours for this day-trip.

The morning of the day-tour was so cold and gloomy, the gathering point was outside Columbia Hotel across the Inverness Bridge (10 minutes walk from our hotel at Pentahotel Inverness). We were greeted by John, my lovely friendly tour guide/driver that will be bringing me on today’s day-trip.

The day-trip began at 9:30am sharp, we arrived shortly at Loch Ness! This is a different viewpoint as to where WOW Scotland Tours brought us, which is kinda special. We got to stand in front of Loch Ness, mesmerized by the vast size of it.

Next, we headed to Fort Augustus for a short break. The small town is situated on the southern tip of Loch Ness on the Great Glen Way. There’s a great cozy cafe across the canal, where there is also a mini gallery about Loch Ness Monster (Nessie).

We then proceeded to The Commando Memorial in Lochaber, where it’s dedicated to the men of the British Commando Forces raised during World War II. The view around here is stunning and spectacular!

We left The Commando Memorial and proceeded to Fort William for lunch. Fort William is actually an important town in the highlands of Scotland, as it forms the natural center of a very large area and the focus of the road and rail routes across the region. There are several eateries along the main walking street.

We head straight to The Glenfinnan Viaduct after lunch to catch the Harry Potter train. The journey from Fort William only takes about 30 minutes. We arrived finding that the entire carpark is almost full, but luckily John had the “tour guide privilege” and was able to enter the carpark and park at the last few available lots! We arrived at around 1:45pm, while the Jacobite steam train will pass by the Glenfinnan Viaduct at around 2:30pm and 2:45pm. So we had ample time to walk up the hill, to find the best position to view the train. Alternatively, you could also walk along the dirt path, to get a closer view of the action (below the bridge)!

John proceeded to bring us back to Inverness after the viewing of Harry Potter train across The Glenfinnan Viaduct. While on the way, John drove us to have a look at Inverlochy Castle, which is a pretty wrecked ruined castle.

We safely arrived back in Inverness at around 5:30pm. In my opinion, this day-trip isn’t as spectacular or have that much “wow” factors as compared to the Isle of Skye day-trip, but it was still an enjoyable one.

So, if you’re interested in visiting those places, you could visit Happy Tours website here, or you could probably use this as a guide to plan for your next self-drive day-trip in Scotland!

Sunday Brunch @ Tiong Bahru Bakery

Weekends are everyone’s favorites, and what’s better to start off your Sunday than a brunch in a cafe!

 

I’ve headed to Tiong Bahru Bakery @ Eng Hoon Street. Reached around 9am and there were some queues already.

The service was quick and great (even with the crowds). The staffs were friendly and helpful, they will assign you a table while you’re in the queue. Ordering was easy and simple and quick! Payment was done in a breeze, with drinks being delivered to you in a short amount of time.

 

The bread was freshly baked! Ordered Croissant, Le Parisien (Ham & Butter Baguette), Croque-Monsieur and Kouign Amann. Definitely a very filling brunch!

 

Tiong Bahru Bakery is rated as one of the best cafes in Tiong Bahru area, and also in Singapore. Worth a visit! They have branches at Eng Hoon Street (Tiong Bahru), TANGS Orchard, Raffles City Shopping Centre, and Chip Bee Gardens. All branches open at 8am.

Sudio Nivå – Affordable Truly Wireless Earphones + PROMO CODE

Ever since Apple had released their true-wireless earphones – Apple AirPods, several companies are rushing to release their version of true-wireless earphones. Sudio, a Sweden headphones company had also jumped onto the true-wireless earphones war with a rather neat, clean, minimalist design, which I really like!

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Sudio Nivå comes in 3 different colors – Black, White, and Pastel Blue. This brand-new true wireless earphones feature Bluetooth 4.2 (with an estimated range of 10m) and can last for about 3.5 hours.

The round storage case is packed with a battery pack that has 4 charges to give your Sudio Nivå an extra usage of up to 17.5 hours. The storage case is nicely designed to fit into your jeans pocket. I really really love the minimalist design of the entire product!

Apart from the storage/charging case, the package comes with a micro-USB cable, extra silicon cases (in different size).

The sound quality for Nivå is good for the price tag of only S$169. The treble was alright, and surprisingly for its size, the bass of Nivå is not bad too! Overall, you still be able to enjoy your tunes in good immersive stereo. It is also quite useful to be used for exercise (e.g. running, cycling etc) but it doesn’t come with any water-resistant specification.

If you ask me, I would say that Sudio Nivå is a good-buy, with the affordable price tag, and above average sound quality.

Head over to SUDIO now to make your purchase! Use my promo-code ‘thehypetraveler15‘ to enjoy 15% off discount. All purchase comes with free shipping to Singapore. <From now till 31 October 2018, get 4 free coasters with every purchase>