Monday, 3 April 2017

Jiajia Visits Chiang Mai

Places to tick off your list when visiting Chiang Mai:
1. Wat Chedi Luang Varavihara - inside the moat (old city)
2. Wat Phra Singh - inside the moat (old city)

I get to hear foreign tourists complain why they need to pay 40 THB to enter. People need to realise that locals pay to preserve their culture through TAXES which we do not pay while enjoying their city. Please be considerate and not annoy staff, locals, and better minded tourists about these misinformed complaints.

I would not recommend staying in Hug Hostel, which I gave 3/5 stars in TripAdvisor. Fortunately we transferred to A Good Place, a nearby hostel that is cheaper and way better that I gave 9.1/10 rating in HostelWorld. This hostel is family-run, most of the time by Uncle who is very kind and really takes care of the property and guests. Rest assured the place is secure but trade-off is it is not 24-hours and need to book and communicate in advance for late check-in. Location is the best compromise to be near the moat but far away from the noise and smell of the road. If you are like me that wants peace and tidiness and likes to separate partying outside sleeping place, then this hostel is perfect for its price.

In Chiang Rai, we stayed in Mercy Hostel, another 9.1/10 I rated in Hostelworld. Mercy Hostel is near the old bus station and everything in the city is within walking distance. However, it is located at the end of a small road so it is not that accessible. Everything else of this hostel is above expectations, and the environment and services are more like a budget hotel. It has a poolside, bar and billiards. They have hairdryer and free water! Laundry is self-service though. Staff are really helpful and friendly. It's quiet, clean and secure. Bathrooms are uniquely old style.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

My Review of First World Hotel in Genting Highlands

Not cheap enough for hotel with no staff to help you

I have complaints with the hotel itself, but the rest of Genting is very good be a weekend family getaway, or place to cool off.

1. We booked by Agoda. We have to get our booking to be "cleared" so we can use the self-service machine. Why can't they skip this step since there's already a staff attending to us?
2. Similar to other Resorts World hotels, everything you do has a price or fee on it. Since we arrived 15-mins earlier than check in time, we have to pay extra just so we can check in and make our baby comfortable.
3. Another extra for "mountain view" - this is not outrageous since most hotels offer this, not all rooms will have a nice view. Little did I know this is not a perk but a NECESSITY. I stayed at room 12645 and my window was facing a dark abyss. It was so claustrophobic and feels like I'm in perpetual darkness.
 4. No toiletries. Take note that this is Genting so there are no public supermarkets anywhere else. Everyone is forced to buy in stores with overcharged prices, because of course they have to pay their rent to Genting. Two-pronged robbery on both sides right there! This is not a hostel. If they want to squeeze money, why can't they force those staying at the higher-tier hotels to buy the expensive toiletries?
5. The ceiling fan is so noisy. I can also hear the noise from the amusement park. Only the cold temperature made me get some rest.
6. I wanted to walk around outside, so I asked a lady at the counter. She seems not to know anything to which I advise she should stop working there else she will be stuck and die when there's an emergency. Or probably need to pay extra to access her memory and basic courtesy in speaking to a stranger, to which I will advise the same thing and not work in a hotel.

Our stay in Genting would've been pleasant all-throughout, I would advise the points above BE HIGHLIGHTED CLEARLY to spare other people with disappointment. With that said, the rest of Genting was very good and I will go back since I already know what things to avoid in this hotel.

Other advise:
1. The dinner buffet at Coffee Terrace is surely worth the price! I would've gone every night if I could. I was very happy with the seafood and Brazilian meats. However, I would not recommend the breakfast buffet despite the lower price, because there is cheaper and better.
2. For breakfast, I would advise to go for The Food Factory buffet. The Danish pastries left me satisfied, but it was the humus that impressed me most. It made up for the bad coffee.

And here's Jiajia, having his own bed but not liking the room!

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Playing with Macro Shots in Singapore Botanical Gardens

Dug up unprocessed photos that has been in the back burner for a while. These are some shots I took of the pretty flowers in Singapore Botanical Gardens waaay back in 2014! By the way, I recommend paying for entrance to the National Orchid Garden, as most of my beautiful photos are of orchids.

I gotta say I missed taking walks or cycling around to take some photos... And frankly, I'm surprised  of my photography skills 2 years before:

Singapore Botanical Gardens