HOW TO SLEEP TRENDY IN HONG KONG ON A BUDGET

The city of Hong Kong is renowned for their sky-high real estate, and this means that those documentaries of their poorer boxed-up citizens may sometimes become a reality for budget travelers, but thankfully only temporarily. A quick search will find “hotels” in the price range of SGD$100s to be either non-descript, terribly small, remotely located…

CHIANG MAI IS HOME TO THE WORLD’S DREAMIEST LIGHT-UP

Even though the environmental repercussions are being debated, and solutions to the impact being investigated, there’s no denying the spectacle that the Yee Peng Festival in Chiang Mai accords. Thousands of paper lanterns float into the sky, an illuminated glowing cloud, and with the more widely-known Loy Krathong following the festival days, seeing candles drifting…

WHEN JUST VISITING JAIPUR

Visiting just one city in India sounds like an impossible decision to make if one had limited time, but if you had to, Jaipur stands as one of travellers’ top choices. The Pink City has old-world charm in spades, and a reputation that has been catapulted thanks to its ‘gram-able facades. As you wander about,…

HERE BE DRAGONS AND BEACHES

It’s an unlikely combination. Flores means flowers and yet there are dragons crawling about the beaches of this peninsula island in Indonesia. There’s adventure to be found – and yes, you can go dragon spotting – but Flores Island is probably best know for it’s colourful landscape. From pink beaches to multi-hued craters, the remote…

A NIGHT AT JEWEL CHANGI – EXPERIENCING YOTELAIR

Staycations aren’t something I do very often given that a trip is so much more worth the moolah. But when YotelAir opened up a micro-hotel in the new Jewel Changi, that caught my attention. I figured this was more than just a staycation, but also an overnight experience at our latest mall-park hybrid destination that…

HONG KONG DISNEYLAND MEANS BUSINESS

While we often see Disneyland as a childhood dream destination, business incentive groups are finding new use in the theme park. Hong Kong Disneyland has big plans to harness this interest, and recognising their Disney and Marvel IP as key draws, the focus is now on year-on-year thematic projects and a third Marvel attraction to…

FIRST FACETS AT JEWEL CHANGI

280 shops. 10 floors. 1 shining crown jewel. Linking Terminals one to three at Changi Airport, the world watches as the glittering Jewel Changi officially opens to the public today. It’s a lush multi-use complex – equal parts urban retail and park, with snaking trails to explore, and shopping finds to discover. Of the lot,…

FLYING FOR THE FESTIVE

It’s not just the where… the when is an equally important factor to consider for your next holiday. Festivals are a great showcase of a country’s culture – East or West – so time your schedule just right and you’ll witness the essence of their human legacy. If you’re still shopping for inspiration for 2019,…

SANTORINI, GREECE: THERA NO BETTER SUNSETS

When it comes to travel brochures, claims can sometimes be just hype. Santorini’s sunsets are legendary – and luckily for good reason. While I’m not the sort to idly sit and watch our nearest star dip below the horizon, the island’s unique landscape and vantage makes this daily routine into a dramatic spectacle that you’ll…

JORDAN – 7 ACTIVITIES FOR THOSE VISITING THIS DESERT GEM

The deserts are alive in Jordan – dotted by the wandering Bedouins and incredible monuments. While Petra might be the poster child, everyone should attempt to experience these 7 unique experiences from this country, that will leave one with a memorable and romantic desert adventure tale. Read about tombs, castle, canyoning and more, on my…

BATAM, INDONESIA – A DOSE OF JAVA

Batam is an island often picked for its laid-back pace, and a spot to enjoy the power of Singaporean currency translated into massages, seafood and those buttery kueh lapis. It’s not exactly known for a lot of culture, but that can occasionally change. With more than 100 million in Indonesia coming from the Javanese ethnic…

SINGAPORE – EATING LIKE THE LOCALS

Nothing represents the diversity of Singapore like her food. The only thing louder, above the clanging woks and bubbling broth pots, are the numerous recommendations. Katong Laksa, Chili Crab, and Hainanese Chicken Rice – we are sure you’ve heard of them. But for the explorer insistent on authenticity, we let you in on what the…

OMG I WON

The message came in during a media movie preview session. After seeing the notification when I was exiting the cinema, I was confused. Why was this Indonesian guy on Instagram telling me that I won a Uniqlo contest? So I went over to the Uniqlo Wherever contest site and turns out, I won! My hand…

HONG KONG, CHINA – PLAYING WITH SPACE (HOTEL REVIEW)

When it comes to capsule hotels, you belong either to the can or can’t group. Luckily for me, I’m with the former, feeling more cosy than claustrophobic when it comes to small spaces. Coming across L’etoile de Mer was a big relief for me, given how expensive accommodation in Hong Kong can get. And flying…

BATAM, INDONESIA – HASHTAG BATAM

And so a certain famous contracter used to proclaim, “and some say Batam!” This line is a reflection of the kinship Singapore has with our Indonesian neighbouring island. For example, did you know that a good majority of our pigs are imported from Batam? Or that they are an important supplier of electricity and sand…

IRAN – WHERE I STAYED (HOTEL REVIEWS)

The sanctions may have been lifted, but businesses in Iran still struggle when trying to establish themselves online. Unlike the rest of the world, credit card reservations don’t apply in Iran and transactions go old-school, made through emails and confirmed through trust. You’ll quickly find that booking lodgings become a problem. Agoda and Booking.com no longer…

ESFAHAN, IRAN – TINY POOL, BIG ASPIRATIONS (HOTEL REVIEW)

What led up to my booking at Howzak House is a tale unto itself. Having had no luck getting a budget accommodation in Esfahan for my trip, I was in a cafe trawling through the net when a friend who had just returned from Iran popped in. After exchanging greetings, I asked her for tips…

YAZD, IRAN – CURIOUS NAME BUT PURR-FECT STAY (HOTEL REVIEW)

You wouldn’t guess but behind one of Yazd’s old city mud walls is a very modern Jungle Hotel. I’m not sure what the owner was thinking of when naming the place, but when it came to the set-up, he’s got it down pat. A relatively new option, Mr Ghiyamat has fitted Jungle’s rooms with modern…

SHIRAZ, IRAN – FINDING YOUR HEART AT TAHA (HOTEL REVIEW)

Five minutes beyond the popular institution Niayesh, is this little gem of a business. When I went on a hunch to pick this over Niayesh, I was never prepared for how right it would be. Taha House is a traditional Iranian house recalibrated to give Shiraz visitors both private and dorm room options. The century-old…

IRAN – WHAT I WAS AFRAID OF WHEN I WAS IN IRAN

I admit. Iran was supposed to be a trophy destination. I wanted to be that admired intrepid traveler that could pepper my Instagram with hashtags like #liveauthentic, #yolo and #survivor. People whispered: Desert villages, religious fundamentalists, oppressed citizens, broken buildings, terrorist groups and hardworking camels. It’s a war-torn country, right? The truth is – I…

FANSIPAN, VIETNAM – TREKKING UP THE ROOF OF INDOCHINA

The early morning mist parted to dry grass terrain and crispy trees. It was 5am in the morning and conditions were perfect for a climb up Mount Fansipan. The forest was peaceful. Bird call was intermittent. The 18 degree Celsius air was refreshing. Not that I noticed. My heart was pounding. My breath, rapid. Most…

HANOI, VIETNAM – WANDERMENT

Punctuated by warning beeps from the ceaseless motorbikes, Hanoi is like a child’s sticker book – albeit a fairly organised one – where random shops get pasted tightly in seemingly endless alleys. Unlike its sibling city of Ho Chi Minh, where the steer towards development has been clearly imprinted, Hanoi seems to thrive in its organic…

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – CONTAIN YOUR EXCITEMENT (HOTEL REVIEW)

It’s a novel enough concept – having designer rooms carved out from containers to accommodate the quirky traveler. The Container Hotel in Kuala Lumpur pitches “sustainable architecture”. Freight containers and concrete pipes are compartmentalised into living quarters for the weary traveler. A small weary traveler preferably. An unexpectedly early bus arrival (4.30am) led me to…

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – COMING FROM BELLO (HOTEL REVIEW)

Boutique hotels have a lot of competition. Just like artisanal and handcrafted,  boutique belongs to the family of overused words that occasionally breaks their promise. Bello & Bella Boutique Hotel is situated in the residential segment of Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. Amidst a colourful mix of businesses, the establishment manages to keep said promise as a curated stay in this…

SAPA, VIETNAM – GONE SAPA TREKKING (VIDEO)

When one finds enough time to sit and coordinate between social medias, one can finally release a video on his channel. The day before, Mount Fansipan had me. As I struggled to the summit, I was firmly facing downwards quite a bit of the time, focusing on planting one foot in front of the other….

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – GROTTA LOTTA WALKING

Day 8 – October 27, 2011 A chilly but less cloudy day dawned in Reykjavik. And I geared up for my potentially long walk to Grotta lighthouse. The walk was estimated by the tourist info lady to be 45 minutes, but I took an hour and a half eventually. Good thing I started fairly early,…

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – JUST IN TOWN

Day 7 – October 26, 2011 It’s a free day for me, as my companion headed for a half-day Golden Circle tour. I opted out as I wanted to explore the town a little more at a leisurely pace. After processing some tax refunds at the nearby Tourist Office (location +2), I was now free to explore the town. I decided to…