Monday, December 15, 2014

Taipei free and easy : Dongmen mrt station Chaiin Hotel

As this trip was to bring my elderly parents around, I spend a lot of efforts looking for a hotel instead of a hostel as they need to rest very well and one which is just located just beside the station..
I am very please with Chaiin Hotel (謙商旅‧東門館)
Firstly, the location.
Chaiin hotel  is just located above Dongmen station, so just exit front the station, walk across the post office and you will reach the lobby. There is no escalator but there is a lift at the exit to chainn. It is convenient for anyone with kids and elderly. However, as the hotel is located above the train station, the hotel lift has a speed limit so the waiting time can be slightly long.
It is also located 5 minutes from yongkang street (永康街) where the famous 鼎泰豐 ( Ding Tai Fung) and Smoothie House 思慕昔 is located. There are lots of eateries and shops around the area too. My parents are not very good with directions but since there are so much to see nearby, they can venture out on their own.

 The hotel lobby. Clean and new. The cafe staff are definitely more friendly the hotel lobby stuff. There is defintely room for improvement for the hotel lobby staff.

 We booked the superior rooms as the rest of the room are sold out. The two rooms have different design, one is the sink is out the toilet, in the bedroom. The other one, the sink is just inside the toilet. You can try requesting one that suit your preferences.  The room is new and clean. The room is decorated by the useful map, so I know the interesting places around the hotel. There are ample shelves for me to store my stuff. The only negative is the room is a bit dark around the mirror, it was difficult for us to use the mirror to take a good look at ourselves.

From what I read, not all rooms come with view. I am not sure about that. But this is the view from my room. Not bad.

The map in the room.

The hotel, below is the dongmen station and a post office. We bought a post card and mail it back to Singapore 

The lift lobby looks very nice.

 Breakfast is included. My parents prefer to fill up their tummy before venturing out. Simple cafe but good looking cafe.

Breakfast spread, Includes porridge and variety of beverages including fruit juice and latte... Simple but is good enough for us. The food is quite good. The menu change a bit every day. If not, just grab a coffee and eat breakfast outside at yongkang street.

 I will definitely recommend chaiin Hotel. The location is good and quite centralised. Lot of restaurants and some shopping available including pharmacy and watsons. The cafe staff are very friendly. The hotel is clean and new. The bed is definitely comfortable. The shower is not strong but reasonable. The breakfast spread is good too. Chaiin Hotel price is around s$100 -s$150.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Singapore EAts : Hang out CAfe

Quite and simple little cafe which has is decorate by camera accessories.

 Ordered a pizza and a pasta. The serving size is reasonable. I enjoyed the pizza more than the pasta. I like the thin crispy crust of the pizza, but the mushroom can be more fragrant.

2 main course plus 2 desserts. The waffle was not bad but not outstanding. 
I rearrange the creme brulee's strawberry to make it more photogenic

Went down a second time for coffee and desserts as I enjoy the quiet atmosphere and the good service. Parking was also easy as there are lots of empty lots.


The price of the cafe is around 10 plus for a main course. If you intend to order a drink to go along with it, budget should be around $20-$30.

Hang Out Cafe
Blk 603, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5
Tel: 6456 3376
Opening hours:
11.00am to 10.30pm (Tue-Fri)
10.00am to 10.30pm (Sat-Sun)
Closed on Mon

Friday, October 31, 2014

SWitzerland free and easy: Things to do at Zurich LAke Boat Ride

 The pier. A beautiful sight. 
We took the short round trip
The boat ride usually cost chf 8.5, but is free for those with Zurich Card. Yes, my friends want to make full use of the Zurich card. I wanted to just another walking tour but it was two against one.
The whole boat ride took around 1.5 hours. There is indoor and outdoor sitting and also a small restaurant.
I think I choose the wrong timing to take the boat so I was not enjoying much of it.
Firstly, it is winter so is very cold and windy to sit outside. It is hard to get a good shot or enjoy the scenery without shivering. 
Secondly, we should not take the night cruise. It is so dark, we can't see the alps. We can only see lights and sometimes there was not much light.
The best timing to enjoy this boat ride should be somewhere around sunset where you can still see the alps and also enjoy the beautiful sunset and maybe a bit of the night lights.

To get to the pier at Biirkliplatz (trams 2, 5, 8, 9, 11)

Switzerland free and easy: Things to do at Zurich - Zurich National Museum

 I was a bit hesitant about visiting the museum. Thought it will be so boring. 
But our accomodation was only ready in an hour or two, so we decide to visit the museum which is just beside the train station. There was not much shopping at the station, and entrance was free so why not?
There is free storage of coats and luggage which is a good thing for us.
The exterior looks charming.

 A nice little carriage outside the museum

OUr tickets and the lockers. 
They have a storage room for big luggage, the lockers is for small bags and coats.
Normal price of tickets is chf10.
The place is much bigger than I expected, we spend one hour plus and we can't finish touring the place. The place is like a maze.
There is a variety of display from history, bank, watch and clothes. They try to present everything in a different way so it is just interesting to walk around. We were too tired to do much reading.
Worth dropping by for an hour or two.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bangkok free and easy : 2 days itinenary 48 hours

Nice skies.
Planned a very short trip to Bangkok with my sister.
We want this to be a more an more interesting trip so we visited some new food places.
We took the train everywhere, firstly because we dislike bangkok traffic jams and there are some bad taxi drivers.

Our plan is slightly affected due to the curfew at 10pm

Day 1: Arrived at Airport around 730pm
1. 8pm-930pm : Bought Sim at Airport
                     Took Airport express and tuktuk to hotel (supposed to take BTS) 
2. 930pm-10pm: Check in.
3. 10 pm - 1130pm : Mookata ( but settled for snacks from 7-11)

DAy 2: 
1.  8am-11am : Train to Chit Lom: walk to Patunam Market 
                                         Breakfast: Any interesting food along the way.
2. 11am to 3pm : Cross the overhead bridge to Platinum mall
                                              Lunch: Fuji Japanese restaurant and sharkfins and birdnest at foodcourt  at                                                  Platinum mall
3. 3pm - 4pm : Massage at Foot master
4. 4pm-5pm : Back to hotel to put down shopping and a short break.
5. 5pm - 7m : Audrey cafe and restaurant
5.7pm-830pm : BTS asoke for Terminal 21 and night market (close early due to curfew). Have to leave at 8                          plus as last BTS at 9pm.
6. 9pm to 930pm: Siam square shopping and we walked back to our hotel

Day 3: 
1. 7am-830am : Bought breakfast at nearby market and enjoy it at the comfort of hotel
2. 830am - 12 noon: Chatuchak market
3. 12 noon to 1 pm : Bath, pack and check out
4. 130pm-230pm: MAssage at bodytunes silom
5. 230pm - 5 pm Silom complex:   High tea at Peony tea house, supermarket shopping and robinsons.
6. 5pm-630pm Siam square shopping
7. 630pm -8pm: Pick up our luggage and set off for the airport
8. 8pm - 9 pm: Have a quick meal and shop at 7-11 before catching the plane back home.

BAck in Singapore at around 12 midnight :D

1. When we reach Bangkok, it was the first day of the military takeover, we just manage to catch the last airport train. However, we did not manage to catch the last bts. Had to take a Tuk tuk to our hotel. 
There was someone who was helping tourist flag taxi and tuk tuk at the station.

 Ibis siam at NAtional Stadium
Take the train to Phaya Thai and change Bts to Siam square and then to national stadium.
It is slightly troublesome, but as it was just two girls. We thought it will be much safer than taking the taxi.
The BTS station is just right beside the hotel. You can see the hotel before exiting the station.
One thing I like about national stadium BTS is that it was never affected by protests and there is an escalator leading to the train station. There is also a nice little market nearby.
The negative thing is that it is not the interchange so we do have to change trains at siam square.
We choose ibis as it is quite value for money.
Around $60 per night.
There are no frills but frills and space are not important as I will be out most of the day. I like new hotels as I 
things look better and are in better working conditions. There is a cupboard and a long table to store my things. 
There is ample space under the bed to store your luggage.
The room is not very big but is quite reasonably sized.
No bath tub but a shower head. 
Our only complain is the water from the shower is a bit weak.
I will stay there again because of the price and how new and clean it is.
Drinking water, coffee and tea are available too.
Walking distance to siam BTS: 5 to 10 minutes

Actually we planned to go for Mookata but due to the curfew. We settled for grilled pork stick and lots of snacks from 7-11.

Breakfast bought while walking to pratunam market.
Thai Milk tea and grilled yam balls.
Was never a fan of yam balls but bought it because it look so cute

I feel in love with the grilled pork while I am there. It is grilled so well. Still tender on the inside. Can pick your own stick so can choose the less fatty ones.

Pratunam market. Go in the morning before it gets hot. There is no air con. Prices are definitely cheaper than platinum mall although some of the designs are not as good.

As we were at Platinum mall and feeling very hungry, settle for a normal resturant. 
Just can say the food is average, not fantastic and not very cheap
Cheap shark fins and birdnest. Not sure about how authentic it is, but we just have it for desserts while taking a break.

WEnt to massage at Foot MAster at Amarin Plaza.
Was so disappointed so the masseur thought I was asleep and tried to slack through the massage. He was just randomly pressing around gently.

Decide to visit this beautiful cafe.
Audrey cafe and Bistro
Something different from our usual itinenary

Drop by Terminal21 as it was near to Thong Li. A few stops down.
There is a big supermarket at Terminal 21 which I bought snacks and sweets for my lovable students.

Terminal 21 was having some desserts fair. Lots of cake, cupcakes and etc.
Was too full to eat anything

Business as Siam Square as usual except it is not as crowded.

Miltiary guarding the train station but everything else was peaceful.
Lots of people were taking photos with the soldiers.

Woke up to a beautiful sunset view from our hotel. Ask them for the room facing Siam Square.
Visit this small market near our hotel. SElling mainly food, fruits, vegetables and seafood.
No live poultry.

What we bought for breakfast. 
Grilled pork stick with sticky rice.
Thai version of You Tiao. ( Small and Cute)
Thai version of Soya BEan ( They add a lot of ingredients inside)

Enjoying our breakfast in the comfort of our hotel room.

Shopping at Chatuchak.

Bought iced coffee and some desserts.
It was not really delicious but is good for the hot weather

Went for another massage at bodytunes silom as my previous massage was so disappointing.

Cross over to peony tea house for high tea

Went shopping at Robinsons and Tops supermarket.
SAw them selling fresh sashimi and bought some to try.

Shopping at Siam Square. Spotted this and can't resist buying a stick. They really know how to grill their food. Not too dry but crispy on the outside. They will ask you if you want chilli, it taste good with chilli but for people who are not good with chilli. Have some milk by your side, my sister and I were tearing while eating

Taking Airport express back to airport. Good thing about taking the train is good scenery, no traffic jam and no bad taxi drivers and definitely punctual. The bad is have to take bts to transfer, have to carry you own luggage and may have to stand for the ride

fell in love with chiangmai food because of a trip last year to chiangmai.
Chiangmai curry noodles and glutinous rice with mango at S & P airport cafe. Will not say is cheap but reasonable pricing. The good is not bad.
Can try it out if you are the airport.
Sometimes, there is quite a long queue outside the cafe

Saw TWG inside the airport transit area. Could not resist getting some Macaroons to try.
Think it taste normal. 
Pricing should be slightly cheaper than Singapore

The end of 48 hours in Bangkok.