Archive for Holiday

Parents Visits Singapore

Well this year, I spent a trip to the UK in March 2014, but as I wasn’t aiming to come back until 2015, my mum decided to visit as part of her holiday to visit her family in HK.

She arrived on 4th September, with the aim to return to the UK in mid-November. My dad is also planning to come out for 2 weeks in October – which will be great. I just hope it is not too hot and humid for them! Lets hope it is slightly cooler – although I know it will be the wet season, which will remind them of home 🙂

My mum aims to visit HK for a couple of weeks, and possibly 1-2 more side trips, but the rest of the time she will be with me in Singapore…

Vasanti Seminyak Resort in Bali – My Review

We stayed at Vasanti for a long weekend in August (17th-20th) – as we wanted to relax and chill in a nice location close to Seminyak beach.

Vasanti was a refreshing stay – the rooms were very modern and clean, although some of the backgrounds face a wall, which makes the natural light limited, and limits the view somewhat!

The hotel service staff (front desk, bell boy, room, restaurant/bar, towel etc) were very attentive and provided service with a smile. We felt very welcome – almost felt like it was a home away from home. They even offered to drop us off to the local currency exchange down the road using their golf buggy – that’s fantastic service.

The pool is really nice and very clean, with a nice selection of sun loungers surrounding the pool and bean bags (on the grass) – they do need to add a few more sun loungers, as they do get taken up very quickly in the mornings – but if you are lucky to spend a few more dollars and get a pool-side room, you have your own private loungers available to use.

The restaurant was perfect – a nice selection of fresh food, and fruits, meats etc.  Nothing special, but pleasant enough for the few days we were there.

There is a room-top bar where this was life music – the views are quite nice, especially at sunset – and there was a nice display of kites – as there was a kite festival on – which made it a joy to watch as we sipped our drinks. The bar doesn’t get that busy though, but it is very relaxing and quaint, and actually quite romantic if you are keen for a quiet evening in.  If you are looking for more ‘action’, I would suggest you go into Seminyak town for the other more lively bar establishments etc.

We did not have any issues with mosquitoes or insects during the stay, however, as you walk in front of the hotel (on the road leading to the hotel), just be aware that there are standard water in the open drains, so you need to spray up if venturing outside.

The location of the hotel was adequate, it was a short walk to the beach, although it involves following a windy path – but just ask for directions, and there are a few signs giving you direction. Unfortunately, there are no street lights, so you have to be careful at night…and there are no pavements on the small road leading to the hotel – so you have to give space for the odd taxi and vehicles that may drive by.

All in all – a very pleasant stay, and I certainly would recommend this modern, clean and very pleasant hotel – hats off to the great staff throughout the hotel 🙂 I just hope they can keep the cleanliness and service levels up!!

Vasanti Seminyak Resort in Bali
Jalan Petitenget Gang Cendrawasih No.99
Seminyak, Badang, Bali 80361
Indonesia
Tel: +62 361 8466966
E-mail: info@vasantiseminyakresort.com
URL: http://www.vasantiseminyakresort.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VasantiSeminyakResort

Bali Holiday – What a Fab Break! (August 2014)

My girlfriend and I intended to go for a nice holiday break away from Singapore for a few days, and we decided to spend a long weekend in Bali.  I haven’t been to Bali for ages – in fact almost 10 years (if not more), so I jumped at the chance to spend it with her in the fabulous place.

The flight was pretty reasonable (generally, it’s not too expensive to go to Bali), and we decided to go to Seminyak – a place I’ve heard about, but had never been before (well I don’t recall I’ve been there) – and we decided to stay at Vasanti Resort – which is a luxury resort within a short walk to the beach (well that’s what they said on their website – haha!).

The hotel was pretty nice – very new and modern – only opened since November 2013 – and it met our needs perfectly.  I’ve compiled a separate review specifically for the hotel here and on tripadvisor…I would recommend it, but only if you like the quietness of the location, as it is a short walk to the ‘action’ of Seminyak – but it is great for a relaxing and refreshing stay 🙂

On the first day, we went for a stroll to look for a place to eat, and we went down the road from the hotel along Jalan Cendrawasih , we turned right at the junction down Jalan Petitenget, and then saw an interesting place, relatively small in size on the road-side.  The place was called Warung Eny’s (at Jalan Petitenget No. 97, Seminyak) – so we had a quick look at the menu, and decided to give it a go – it did look like a local place, run by a family, so we hoped it would be nice.  The experience was absolutely amazing, the service was fabulous, the open kitchen allowed us to enjoy the view of the staff cooking along – it looks very interesting.  Service was very fast and attentive, and the food was absolutely amazing – the food was delicious and looked fab – as the open BBQ on the road-side was a nice treat.  Definitely recommend this place, if you are keen on enjoy local home-cooked food and ingredients, served in a great setting!  and it was sooo reasonable.

The next day, we decided to go for a stroll along the beach, we ventured along the road and eventually found our way to the beach (it is down the road from the hotel, but the path it is a bit of windy and hidden, but we managed to get our bearings in the end – haha).  We reached the beach, with the nice classic black sand of Seminyak beach.  We went by the ‘W’ hotel, and went by the infamous “Potato Head“, we decided against the hustle and bustle of Potato Head and found a nice location in the “W-Bali“, which was actually pleasantly enjoyable – very relaxing, and although it was quiet in the early morning – it was perfect for our needs, as we enjoyed each other’s company.  

After a few drinks (okay they were a bit pricey here), we went on for a late afternoon snack / meal, in the town.  We found a place called “The Deck“, which seemed quite nice – with a bit more of a life to it…it looked like a local ‘Western’ bar, but we a nice soup and Beef Radang pizza – a nice twist to the classic Indonesian dish.  We then went inside and enjoyed a couple of games of pool, followed by more Bintang beers – had to be done 🙂  and yeah, unfortunately, I did win both games – whoops!

It was getting dark, so we went back to our hotel, and relaxed a bit before venturing out for dinner.  We were after “Naughty Nuri” infamous ribs – having been recommended this by a few people.  We passed a “Crab Bar” as went down the road towards Naughty Nuri, the menu looked delightful, so we decided to maybe come back again to try it out – but we had ribs in our mind for dinner 🙂  so we continued on by to find Naughty Nuri.  When we arrived, we saw people were waiting already, so we asked how long the wait was.  The waitress said we were lucky as there was a table of two available, – perfect, so we went straight in to the shared team in the middle section.  It was one of the best ribs I have ever tasted – fantastic marinade, and we enjoyed it with a nice salad and chips.  We then saw another couple eat a dessert – which looked intriguing, looked like deep-friend bananas with ice cream (Goreng Pisang) – so we decided to order one too – and it was DELICIOUS!  Haha!  Certainly would recommend a visit here!  A MUST DO!

The next day, we decided to enjoy the relaxing setting of the hotel resort, and relaxed at the pool after breakfast.  We then took the resort’s shuttle bus to “Ku De Ta” – we actually enjoyed this setting more than Potato Head – it was far more relaxing, even though there was still lots of people around.  We found our spot and enjoyed a pizza and a few drinks, as we continued to enjoy the fun company of each other – and the people watching excitement of the crowd…haha.  

After a couple of hours, we decided to go for a stroll, and found an interesting wine store, bar and lounge – called VIN+ – the placed looked very modern, but the nice part was the fact that the entrance area was made of Bamboo – which gave it character.  We found a place for dinner and then rested for the night.

The next day, we decided to try out Potato Head, so took a stroll back to the beach.  We managed to find a place at the bar (although it was still a mass of people).  We had a couple of cocktails and chose the crab cakes – which was really tasty.  

After lunch, we took a stroll through the town, and went back to the resort for an evening drink at the roof-top bar, although it wasn’t that busy, it was a nice setting and we enjoyed the live music that was playing.  

After a happy hour drink, we decided to try out the other ‘rib’ place – and took a taxi from the resort to “Wahaha” down Jalan Sunset Road.  This was an okay place, not as good as Naughty Nuri – but the ribs were still very enjoyable!  

We managed to get a taxi back to the hotel – although the area is a main-road, so this place is a bit of a weird setting – probably why it wasn’t that busy (seemed to be a place with lots of industrial shops etc).  When we went back, we went along the main shopping road – and we noticed a lot of hotels/resorts, restaurants and Western-branded shops – next time we come to Seminyak, we suggested that we book along this road, as this seemed to the road with all of the night life in Seminyak. We had booked a massage at the hotel, but when we returned back, we had then realised that we had missed our 9pm booking slot – we had totally mis-judged the time-zone…Bali was the same time as Singapore, whilst Jakarta was one-hour earlier, so when we arrived, we were actually a whole hour late.  Luckily, our honest faces were accepted, and they didn’t charge us the missed appointment fee – phew.  This also made us realised that the one we cancelled earlier in the day (at an outside location) at 11am was actually the time of the appointment, we thought we had phoned at 10am – whoops!  Now we know why the hotel receptionist who called reacted a little weird to our cancellation request…maybe the spa was a bit annoyed that we cancelled at the last minute 🙁  whoops!

The next day, we had booked a lunch at “Merah Putih” – we had tried to come here the previous evening – but it was fully booked – but in a way, I am glad we came at lunch.  It wasn’t that busy, so it was quite relaxing, and we still were able to enjoy the great atmosphere in the bar and restaurant.  We went for the Babi Guling (Balinese Suckling Pig) as a set lunch – it was certainly delicious dish, and we had a really enjoyable lunch.

We then booked for a nice massage the following morning, just before we had to leave to go back to Singapore – it was a nice spa and massage treatment, and we really felt so relaxed.  It cost us 250k rp each – but it sure was worth every penny.  After the relaxing massage, we went back to the hotel, chceked-out, and took a taxi back to the Denpasar airport – ready for a return back to Singapore, and back to work tomorrow – eek!

All in all, a delightful holiday, and I certainly got to like Seminyak a lot!


 

Kota Kinabalu Holiday (10th to 14th May)

Well I thought it would be good to schedule my third holiday for 2014 into my busy calendar.

A colleague from work and I decided a few options in Malaysia – all centred in Borneo. Miri was one option, Kuching was another (although I had already been) and so was Kota Kinabulu (KK for short). After much discussion, we set our mind on KK, noting that it was going to be a cheap and relaxing break away from Singapore and work, and where we can also have a bit of fun.

The Air Asia flight wasn’t too bad – priced at $241 – I guess it could have been cheaper on a promo, but we couldn’t wait any longer to book up. We looked at the various accommodation comparison sites (hotels.com, booking.com and the newest site that we also now use is wego.com) – and we found a nice place in the centre of KK called “Imperial Boutec Hotel Waterfront” – at Warisan Square. it cost us 30RM to get there from the airport via taxi. The area seemed okay, not too sleazy, and it was up on the 7th floor of the shopping mall, so away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping area. We were based very central within the town, near to the seafront / promenade and near to the night food market – which we went to a couple of times in the end.

We also went around the town – which was enough to get around with relative ease. We did find a nice quarter down Jalan Gaya which overlooked the Signal Hill Observation Tower. We visited a place called ‘Party Play’ which seemed to be an tourist expat type of place, but it was a nice spot to get out of the rain and chill over a beer or two, as we watched the world go by during one afternoon.

The key intention of our visit was to visit Mounta Kinabulu mountain…whilst we weren’t that keen (or possibly well versed) to do the actual climb (about 4,095.2m or 13,435.7ft above sea level), but we did enjoy the view from below 🙂 Haha! We went as part of a tour, so we had other groups come with us, it was a nice walk up, and the lunch time food was quite tasty.

We went to the Poring Hot Springs, which was pretty relaxing. The springs were pretty close to the Kinabulu National Park, so it was good to visit and relax before the next part of the walking trail. This also included a tree-top walk during the walk, it was very similar to the one in Singapore, and a nice relaxing walk up hill. The last part of the trip involved walking to the Waterfall, it is always amazing to see the great views of nature in all its glory.

We then ended the trip and headed back to KK town, and we decided to head out to get a drink after a long days walking – exercise is hard work remember 🙂

The next day, we decided to take a taxi to visit the Low Kawi Wildlife park, just to the south of KK town – however, it wasn’t that good to visit, although it was good to get out back and see some nature again. It just looked a bit run down.

On the last day, we just walked around the town again, and we decided to find a Buk Kut Teh place – and we decided to go with the herbal variety – and it was actually very refreshing indeed. We then ventured around looking for gift ideas, and enjoying people watching in and around the town.

we then went to Hot Rod nearby for our last dinner – this pub was quite nice, and we enjoyed the live music and the pool playing – ergh… and the drinks 🙂 before we headed near by for a nice seafood dinner, our last dinner as we ended our holiday. The next morning, we had a quick brekkie nearby, before we headed to the airport for our return flight back to Singapore…I would certainly recommend visiting Kota Kinabulu and would definitely suggest going up the mountain – as there is only a limited amount of things to see and down within the two itself.

Holiday in Phuket (25th April to 1st May)

So, the magic decision for a holiday relates to what, why, where, when and how, so here goes…

The Why? Well after a couple of months of really hard work (yes I do work very hard! haha), I decided I needed a well deserved holiday!

The Why? Well, I decided that it would be good to spend some ‘me time’ on a nice relaxing break away from Singapore, and try to re-charge my batteries. I’ve learnt that I know people can burn out very easily (work and life stress and all that, and it is not worth reaching that line in my life.

The Where? I decided to try out Phuket in Thailand, as I haven’t been there for years, and a friend suggested it to be a good getaway spot…with some ‘entertainment’ too. Whilst I was there to enjoy the sights and sounds, I was there to be a good boy and chill only!

The When? I had two date options in mind, the Easter period (Good Friday would be on 18th April), or the May Day Bank Holiday (1st May). I decided to go towards the end of May, and thus take advantage of the May Day Bank Holiday.

The how? Well I had 2 Tiger free flight codes to utilise (which came with my Tiger Airlines SCB Credit Card). They allow you to go to 11 destinations on Tiger Air (outward flight from Singapore only), so I might as well go with that. It is a totally free flight, however, I decided to check-in my luggage, so it only cost me $18 on the outward journey, and only S$114 for the return – so a generally cheap return flight.

I was recommended by a friend to stay at Yorkshire Hotel and Spa, in Patong town. I decided to give it a go, and arrived on Friday evening after work, to arrive late in the evening. After arriving, I managed to get a taxi to the hotel, and arrived in about 30 mins or so. It was so central, it was the perfect location, and it certainly was a short walk away from the main Patong beach. The hotel in the end was only THB10,080, which equated to SGD$407.69, equiv to SGD$68 per night. Pretty good value for money, methinks.

I decided to grab a quick bite outside and then head back for an early night. Over the next few days, I wanted to enjoy the beach and eateries in and around Patong, but also sample some of the night life as well (after all, that’s what Patong is famous for!). I was very keen to get some good (clean) massages in, so managed to locate one that seemed to be good quality, no funny business (no ‘extra service’), and very reasonable.

Whilst Patong has it’s dirty side, it is also a very nice place to relax, the beach is wonderful and very clean, and the people are so friendly. I got to know the beach crew very well as I stayed at the same area during my stay, they looked after me pretty well and it was good to chat with them. I also got to know a few of the regulars at the beach – great fun indeed. It is always good to chat with them, especially when you travel on your own, and it makes it more relaxing indeed!

Happy Christmas 2013 and NY Greetings for 2014

Dear all,

This year’s Christmas post is going to focus on my new life in a new a country, something which was on the cards for a while, but only became reality at the beginning of 2013!

This year has been quite a strange year, full of a few ups and downs (then again that is like most years), but as we end 2013, we must consider how fortunate we are and how we must value our life and our love ones.

This time last year, I was getting ready for a new chapter in my life as I prepared for my new job and new life in Singapore. Whilst I had previously spent 6 months here, I w still a bit apprehensive, as I didn’t know when I would return back to the UK for holiday to see my family and friends. At the same time, I was excited upon what 2013 and the future was in store for me, and I wanted to grab this opportunity with both hands and make the most of it.

I started my new life sorting out the logistics of my move – which actually started in early December 2012, so as i started my one-way taxi journey to London Heathrow, I was actually pretty excited. By the time I arrived, I had already got myself booked into a hotel for a couple of weeks, with the aim to find my condominium apartment – the tough part, but with the help of an agent assigned from work, and my mum to support me, I finally managed to get a pretty nice place. It was based on Novena, about 10 minutes to the MRT, and was within my price range. similar to my service apartment in my 2011 secondment, my apartment was split-floor, with living quarters on the lower floor, and sleeping / washing quarters on the top floor.

I started work without much stress, and got straight into it, with a clear head and with the aim to focus on doing well, building upon the work relationships that I had developed during my previous secondment and more important have fun in the process. I started with a couple of strategic projects, one of which launched during the year – called Amex Express Checkout, and another one that continued to plod along. I also took onto 3 partners from a Partner Management relationship role. Three months in, I actually started to build great relationships with the Banks and internal teams. Then a massive shock to the system occurred, and the Company set upon a massive re-structuring and re-engineering exercise, which impacted the very division that I was located in. Luckily for me, I survived the cull, but a number of my friends and colleagues weren’t as lucky – both here in Singapore and the UK. It was a shock to the system, but a bit of a reality check. This once came very close, and the uncertainly stayed around us for a large period of 2013. What was scary was that if I was impacted, I had 3 months to then leave the Country and return back to the UK – which would have made my move the shortest period I would have every envisaged! Luckily, it didn’t come to this, so I managed to clear my mind and focus my mind back into the new team structure and with the new Partner responsibilities. But it was sad to see so many faces leave the organisation – both in Singapore but also in the UK – even people I joined the company with were also impacted 🙁 A real shock to the system indeed.

Anyway, I end the year at work surviving, but there was certainly several months of anxiety and uncertainty, and this caused me quite a bit of stress throughout the majority of the year.

On the life type of thing, well I tried to enjoy life whilst I was here…even amongst this period of uncertainty. I managed to visit my school friends in Taiwan, I did a trip to Tioman island (Malaysia), Krabi (Thailand), Penang (Malaysia) and joined a fun wedding in Langkawi too and finally a trip to Hong Kong for Christmas and NY.

I also socialised well, joining Internations expat group. This was a great way to network and get to know other expats in and around Singapore, and was actually quite good fun. I continued to attend a local pub quiz and also met a few good chums from that, in some cases getting to know some quite a bit too :). I continued to my cycling and fatal football, going weekly to both – but started to wane as I approached the last few months of 2013… I must get back into the routine to really get healthy again.

On the health side of things, I did suffer a worrying eye infection in July, which stressed me of big-time. It made my right eye very red, and blurred my vision. Very scary indeed! But after visiting the Mount Elizabeth Novena Eye Specialist, I took some strong meds and antibiotics and finally got rid of the infection. I just hope it never returns – the real annoyance is that they was no clear cause of the infection. Around this period Singapore suffered a period of Smog from Sumultra in Indonesia. This didn’t help with the eye infection recovery, but I managed to get a few days medical leave rather than walk outside in the smog! On a more positive note, I did a Biometrics Health Screening at work, and the resulting report was largely positive, my cholesterol, BMI and overall well-being was within the ranges, although I was mildly underweight (no real surprise)!!

The Formula One Grand Prix was another highlight, and I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle across the 3 days. I still am amazed how a City can transform into a race circuit, a brilliant show indeed.

Lastly, I was meant to have gone to Boracay in the Philippines in mid-November, but the Typhoon Haiyan struck right at the point we were scheduled to fly in, so the airline cancelled our flight, and we cancelled our holiday. I think this was the right call, seeing the effects reported in the news. I certainly did not want to add to the misery, and I felt valued to respect our lives more than the risk of flying into a natural disaster zone.

I ended celebrating my 10 years with Amex in November (officially I marked it on 1st September 2013). It still feels amazing (or should that be remarkable!) that I managed to enjoy a decade with Amex, after setting myself up for a couple of years tops (don’t they all say that?). I was really keen to get some experience and then start the commute to London, but that didn’t exactly go to plan did it. I ended up having quite a bit of fun at work, doing pretty well, got one promotion, but focused on the hunt for another promotion – which I still remain confident is on the cards. I am not sure how long I am going to remain, but let’s focus on the here and now and see what life brings to the table…especially if I am changing my priorities a bit (more focused on the life bit, rather than work…!!)

The year ended pretty well, work continued to be quite pressurised with one of my projects having some major issues, but I managed to work through them, and we finally saw the light at the need of the tunnel. I then was able to focus on my Christmas and NY break – which once again, deciding to visit my family in HK (with my mum who came out to visit). I was then set in my mind that I needed to focus on my holiday breaks in 2013, ranging from Vietnam, Laos, Burma/Myanmar, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and of course, a return to the UK :). I better get cracking.

Lastly, I am still keen to settle down in 2014 and finally get around to starting a family, let’s see what happens…sometimes the best things come to those who wait, but I think I am best placed to really maximise this aspect in 2014 🙂

On that note, I wish you all well for the festive season, and I hope 2014 brings much joy and success for the future. Think of the best of the year, and stay close to those who love you… I will raise a Guinness to toast you all over the coming celebrations.

Stay safe and stay happy!!

Best wishes,

Aaron

Festive Holiday in Hong Kong

Similar to last year, we decided to visit Hong Kong for Christmas and New Year.

I know it won’t be a hot and sunny beach holiday, but actually it is good being around family, and to spend it in a nice place. It is also good to see how it compares with Singapore, having now spent a year here.

Hopefully, the festive break will be relaxing and fun – and hopefully we will have some fun in the process.

The flight out was uneventful, and I arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule – which is kinda strange for a low-cost carrier. I will return on Friday, 3rd January, just in time to start work again – yay I can’t wait 🙂

Mum Arrives for her Holiday

I have been looking at flights to the UK for Christmas for a few months, but they were ridiculously high (almost £1000+), so I decided to opt for a holiday closer to Singapore. Last year, I spent it in Hong Kong, and my mum suggested that we do the same. Whilst it is a good location, I didn’t want to pressure my cousin who we stay at, but we opted to go with this based on the short timelines we had to sort it out.

With work being manically busy (no really change there) I didn’t have that much time to arrange it, but we booked the flights (from Tiger Airlines) which cost around S$300 each (~£150), and we tried it find a way of enjoying the visit.

Maybe next year I will spend more time to book the holiday back to the UK (possibly when BA or Singapore Airlines have a sale on), but I think we will settle with a HK Christmas and NY break this time around. Maybe we can squeeze a trip to Macau, but let’s see what happens 🙂

Boracay Holiday vs. Typhoon Haiyan – Typhoon Won :(

Earlier this year, a group of us from work (and an ex-colleague) decided to go to Boracay in the Philippines – what is known to be a magical island towards the centre of the country, north of Palay Island.

We were all looking forward to it, as the months and weeks counted down. A couple of weeks per, we heard of a depression that was forming towards the east seas of the Philippines, when it turned into a Typhoon. As it formed and approached the Philippines and it’s many islands on the east side, it gained in strength, we knew it would be close to the Philippines when we were scheduled to leave for holiday, and then we noted on the reports that it was actually going to go across a wide span of the centre belt, and looking at the planned route, it looked like it was going to hit just south of Boracay island. Then our holiday came within a couple of days, and then we looked at the timing of when the Typhoon was about to hit, and you guessed it, on the actual day we were scheduled to leave, it was scheduled to hit Palay Island and Boracay. In fact, our flight was arriving on Friday, 8th November at 3pm local time, at the exact hour when it was meant to be at its fiercest.

What annoyed me most is that Tiger Airlines made no attempt to contact it’s many passengers who were affected but this human nature disaster, we only heard word of move and it was only when someone referenced us to the Tiger Airlines Philippines Facebook page, did we get the full score. Their Communicates and Operations Director basically stated that all flights on Friday 8th had been cancelled to the central Philippines, including ours to Kalibo airport. Luckily, we didn’t just risk going to Singapore airport to find it out there, rather we slept on it, and decided to go back to work – I know get the small violin out, but I think it was the right cause of action to cancel the flight and holiday, noting how fierce this Typhoon ended up being. The last thing we want is to be in the middle of a massive natural disaster.

My hearts and thoughts remain to the Philippines and the Filipinos impacted by this event, as looking at the news, it really was very bad indeed!

Life is more important, and there is always the possibility to re-schedule a holiday, that can’t be said for replacing a life.

Long Weekend Holiday in Penang

Having always intended to visit Penang, I finally decided to book-up a nice long weekend last weekend. I joined with a work colleague, and the two of us just wanted to enjoy the time away and have a good time eating, walking and drinking 🙂

The good news is that I managed to finally use the S$50 discount that I received from Tiger Airlines after my complaint following my trip to Hong Kong late last year, so it was pretty reasonable 🙂 The total cost of the flight was just over S$150 (so £75) – brilliant, hey? 🙂

We decided to leave late on Friday, 7th September after work, and we arrived in good time before the rush-hour. The flight left at 5pm, so it was a good time to leave. We both decided to use the Priority Pass membership to get into one of the Lounges. It was the Green Market in Terminal 2 – which basically was a loung with a Japanese restaurant. It was okay, wasn’t really what I expected, but at least the food and drinks were free. The flight was largely uneventful, and we arrived just over an hour and 15 minutes in Penang international airport. I booked a taxi pick-up from my hotel, and the taxi was waiting as planned. It cost 45RM (about S$17), which wasn’t too bad. I didn’t realised how far George Town was from the airport, the airport was on the South of Penang island, whilst George Town (hotel was just near to George Town) was towards the North of the island. We arrived in good time, and was welcomed into the hotel.

The hotel was actually very nice – a truly refreshing boutique Museum hotel – located a stone throw from the centre of George Town (just look for the Zurich Office landmark, located nearby to find your way back to the hotel!). It is a fascinating place, built as a colonial home, with plenty of antiques and artifacts on display. The service is excellent, the front desk and the lounge staff are truly pleasant, they certainly help out as much as they can.

While the breakfast choice is limited to 4 dishes, which you are required to order before 10pm the preceding day, it actually is perfect for my needs, although a little limited in terms of choice. They serve it with style and grace and it is top quality indeed, and you eat it in such a nice breakfast room, you just can’t help but chill and relax as you plan your day ahead. The front desk and staff really are very supportive and are keen to help you in any way they can, and are very pleasant, and are always smiling.

The next few days we spent walking around George Street, finding pleasant places to eat, places to relax and chill, and enjoy the sight and sounds of this delightful place. We managed to do quite a bit, and ate most of the key things that we had to eat in Penang, so a bonus! My friend left on the Sunday evening, whilst I took off Monday as well – and managed to do another walk around George street. I actually found a nice tea shop, which I found on Trip Advisor – Huang Chen Hao Tea Art Shop (also known as ‘Wuyi Tea Art Centre’), located on Jalan Campbell (Campbell Street), I ended up talking to the owner for about 2 hours, sipping the tea, and also made a purchase – as I found it sooo refreshing.

I would definitely recommend a visit to Penang – and I think about 3-4 days is just the right amount of time – but overall an enjoyable trip.

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