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Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay

Was at Holiday Inn Express for an overnight staycation!

Before I say anything about the hotel… Let’s talk about location!

Singapore is a small place with convenient public transport.

The hotel’s location is not perfect, but the Central Mall and Central Square are just across it if you’re looking for restaurants.

10 minutes walk to Chinatown MRT, Clark Quay MRT and Robertson Quay.

Taxis are available, but since this is Singapore, I suggest that you install Uber/Grab!

As for the hotel… It’s small.

The room has the basic stuff. (Although I can’t seem to remember seeing a safe)









Toiletries are limited, but you can request for a shaver and comb if needed.



Like other Singapore hotels, they will provide a free mobile phone with free data and local calls… Since the device runs on Android, you can also use it as a hotspot for other devices.


Alarm clock/phone speaker is available if you love listening to music.


On the roof top, they have the lap pool, jacuzzi and park. Don’t expect too much from the view, the hotel is basically in the middle of the city.










DIY Laundry is available on the 2nd floor and gym is also on the roof top… I didn’t have time to go around but both are mentioned on the hotel’s website.


As for the breakfast… Nothing to write about, but I’ve seen worst from neighboring hotels (so I guess it’s still a positive).





I guess people stay in Holiday Inn because of brand familiarity.

If you need the location, then Holiday Inn Express is ok. There are cheaper hotels nearby which offers a bigger room, better facilities and better location… But they will not have the Holiday Inn brand.


Furama City Centre

We visited this hotel last December 07, 2017 to do a quick inspection as we send some of our company guests here.

I was not able to see the pool, gym and other facilities…

But we’ve managed to see their rooms and restaurant.

The lowest tier of their rooms are pretty simple.







One thing you get is size…

The hotel is pretty old, I understand that a renovation is expected soon… But something it has over the newer hotels… SPACE!

The most inxpensive room presented to us even came with a tub!





Next tier going up…

Same room, bigger TV and you get an Echo Dot…



And yes Alexa/Echo can turn on/off the lights for you.

Club room looks nice for couples…




But the daily rate is very close to their suite…

Suite will allow you to cook and you get a regular sized 2 door fridge.







All rooms will come with a complimentary local phone with data.

About the hotel’s location

It’s walking distance to Clarke Quay and Chinatown MRT.

Furama City Centre is a 4 star hotel and I’m sure you’ll find newer and cheaper hotels in the area…

But the space and privacy you get is something to consider… The walls dividing the rooms are old school thick and hard…

Since the hotel is at Chinatown, you’re staying outside most of the time, the age of the lobby and the corridors will be easily forgotten once you’re inside the rooms.

Star Wars Experience the Force (Orchard Rd)… Now that was disappointing…

Saw a Star Wars Experience the Force ad in Facebook and I knew I just had to go.

Sadly, after getting there, I’m not sure of my expectation was too high or the Millennium Falcon and ACT Walker on display was just really (really) bad.



You don’t need to be close to see that they were both made from cardboard!


The experience was so bad, it should be flagged as fake news 🙂

I flew via Philippine Airlines!

I guess to some this is not a big deal…

But it’s been 10 years since I last flew with PAL!

I don’t even remember how NAIA Terminal 2 (aka Centennial Terminal) looks like…

Philippine Airlines to Manila…

Plane was an Airbus A320


Business class section means everyone in economy will have to use the 2 toilets at the back of the plane.

You won’t find the usual inflight entertainment from SQ…

myPAL WiFi was available which means you get your usual movies, but you’ll need to watch them using your own device.



I’m not sure if you can access myPAL WiFi on you laptop. But for iOS and Android, you will need to download the myPAL App.

App is pretty straight forward… I find it annoying that your movie will stop everytime the pilot has an announcement.



I also suggest that you also find a way to hang your device on the seat in front of you as I found it impossible to continue watching my movie while eating.

Onboard meals were ok. Big plus that they have local beer available (Colt-45)

NAIA Terminal 2 also know as Centennial Terminal

Tip: On arrival, airport taxi is crazy expensive, I wouldn’t recommend normal taxi. If your destination is within Metro Manila, use Grab or Uber.

Flying out

Centennial Terminal only caters to Philippine Airlines, both domestic and international flights.

Once check-in is complete, you proceed to immigration then security checks on your way to the boarding gates.

Inside the departure area, there’s a few food stalls, 1 coffee shop, 1 water dispenser and 1 toilet!



You’ll also find the usual duty free shops.







Free WiFi is available from Globe and Smart.


I would recommend that you take a light snack while waiting for your flight… PAL has a reputation to depart late.

I have to say that Terminal 3 is still Manila’s best airport, followed by Terminal 1 (yes it can be crowded, but at least they have Starbucks!) then Terminal 2.

Best way I can describe my experience with PAL… If Singapore Airlines and Cebu Pacific had a child, it should be Philippine Airlines… Not as basic as Cebu Pacific, but not as fancy as Singapore Air…

So in choosing your flight to Manila… Singapore Airlines will always be more expensive, but like Cebu Pacific, they use Manila’s Terminal 3.

The only reasons I’m choosing Philippine Airlines again are timing and since it’s cheaper than Singapore Airlines.

Holiday Villa Hotel Johor Bahru City Centre


Located at 260, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Abad, 80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Google Maps make it look a block away, but if you check out Street View, you actually only need to cross the street from KSL.

We have been regular customers of KSL, but on our last 2 visits, the hotel was starting to look and feel old.

So now, after Mutiara and KSL, Holiday Villa will be the third hotel for our JB Staycations!

Lobby is ok with ample seats.

It does not have Starbucks, but they won’t charge you for using the washroom.

There are shops and restos on the Ground and 1st level… But you are better off crossing the street for bak kut teh or just have a meal at KSL.

My wife and I were surprised by the size of the room…


King size bed.


Working table


TV ports were easily accessible.

However, channel selection will need improvement.


Closet has a safe, 2 pairs of room slippers, no robe


Fridge was available, but don’t expect it to make ice. (it was more of like a wine chiller)

Our room did not have a tub

But shower area’s size was again bigger than usual


Toiletries included a comb, tooth brush, soap and shampoo



Don’t expect anything from the free internet.


It was bad and it was useless at 10pm!

Main amenities were at the top 2 levels of the hotel


Pool, (dry) Sauna and Gym were on the 25th floor




And the 26th floor had the sky bar

Breakfast buffet was available on the 9th floor, Fern Pine Cafe.

Don’t expect too much, but it was more than enough.

Thanks to the aging KSL Hotel, I can highly recommend Holiday Villa.

If you have small kids who want to play around, then you’re better off with KSL, you get the dino land and you don’t have to cross the street.

During our short stay at Holiday Villa, we found the place more relaxing and more modern.

I honestly can’t wait for the next trip…

Singapore Bike Sharing

Singapore now has “bike sharing,” it’s great and fun… But as always, it can be improved.

First thing you have to know is that there are presently 3 private companies offering their bikes… Mobike, oBike and ofo.

You will easily notice that Mobike is orange, oBike and ofo are both yellow but ofo (normally) does not come with a basket.

Here’s the first problemYou need 3 apps! Since you don’t know which bike is nearby. I personally have the Mobike and oBike apps on my phone.

Update: Just removed Mobike since I see 90% oBike’s in my area.

Next problem, deposit… So 3 apps will mean 3X the deposit!

Another problem I experienced with oBike is that 1 phone can only use 1 bike at a time, I had to download the app, add a credit card and pay the deposit so that my wife can ride another bike.

Then there’s a problem of “where can I find a bike?” Yes you can find one near MRT stations. But near your home? That can be a challenge.

GPS is a big help, but…

It would be great if the bikes have a dedicated rack where you earn points (or even credits) if you return the bike there.

It will help lessen the eye sore brought by these bikes that are literally parked everywhere!

Here’s what I mean when I walked around last Saturday.

A bike near the bus stops.

Singapore Bike Sharing

Bike Singapore

Bike Sharing

Near a parking lot

oBike Singapore

Another bike outside HarbourFront MRT


If you notice a trend here… People just leave their bikes where its comfortable and convenient for them.

I’m sure you will also notice that there are just bikes everywhere…

A little order would be nice… And it will be impossible to ask people to put bikes in racks if they won’t get anything from it!

Another suggestion is a bigger basket behind the seat… Mobike and oBike both provide small baskets in front… A bigger basket would be nice for those trips to the market.

The oBike I tried is on the heavier side, I understand that we should not expect a light body… But maybe they should have looked at the possible gear ratios to make the ride lighter… We don’t need them to be fast anyway.

Download links

Mobike App

As I said at the start of this post, Singapore’s bike sharing is “great and fun.”

I’d love to see improvements, but so far. It’s a good start.

Singapore Love Locks

Hmmm, looks like someone in Clarke Quay decided it was time for Singapore to have it’s own place for love locks


Photo was taken in outside The Central

So yes, in Asia, the Koreans have the bigger more popular one

But let’s give this one a chance… Until Clarke Quay/The Central management decides its time to start something new.

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