Another weekend, another cycling opportunity with a colleague.
We decided to really push for Changi Park, so we met-up at 3pm, and cycled hard, to go east along East Coast Park, and reach the edge of East Coast Park, just before the Changi Airport stretch at around 4pm, not that bad going.
Paddle Boarding Training
Looks Really Difficult
What a Great View
Reaching Changi Beach Park
We rested for a few minutes and observed a group of students perform some Stand-up Paddle Boarding, looked amazing, but looked very difficult. We then continued on and pushed ourselves along the Changi Airport Perimeter road (or the coastal path along the ride), before we reached the north end of the cycling path. We arrived at Changi Beach Park – wow – what a result!
Over the past couple of months, I have been upping the ante with my cycling. I know I need to do more exercise, and to also help bulk up my muscle, so cycling is one way of achieving this.
I decided to go along East Coast Park (ECP) because it is easy to get a bike and away from the hustle and bustle of the City, and away from the busy Singapore roads. Going eastward, it remains a pleasant journey, as you reach the perimeter road of Changi Airport. I am committed to get to the top side of the Airport, but so far have only managed to get about 3/4 of the way, mainly due to running out of time – the biggest challenge is I have the energy and time to get to the north part of Changi Airport – to the beach and/or Changi Village, but then I have to find a way to get back again 🙂
We’ll see, one day I think I can make it (and back)!
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.
Well after the hard partying during the Indian Wedding, I decided to stay over in Langkawi for another week, so that I can relax, unwind and get some sunshine – rather than think of work again. It was well needed, and I am so glad I decided to book the extra days off.
In fact with the Hari Raya (end of the Muslim fast) and the Singapore National Day scheduled together – means in total I only had to book 5 days to get 11 days off – nice!
I decided to book a hotel on the west side of Langkawi just south of the airport – this is the main hub of Langkawi Town, and my hotel was actually nicely located. The hotel was simply but effective – it had a walk-in shower, it was a clean and spacious room, and actually for $50 per night (about £25 / night) – so it actually was exactly the sort of price I wanted to spend on a room – at the end of the day it is a clean air conditioned room with a shower! Haha!
The Pantai Tengah beach was a short walk behind the resort, and it was separated by a hill at the north end of the beach from the more populous Pantai Cenang, but easy to get from the main road. There are plenty of eateries, drinking holes, mini-marts, and massage/spa places dotted around the area, so in theory, you have everything you need in one place.
I pretty much did the following: sleep, breakfast, beach, walk, lunch, beach, walk, dinner, drink, relax and sleep – and repeat 🙂 Haha…
Anyway, I do feel relaxed and caught up on my sleep – but I doubt that will last when I return back to Singapore.
It has been months in the planning, but we have all been anticipating the wedding of the year – with a good work colleague and her fiancé, inviting a number of her Amex colleagues to the Indian wedding located at the WestIn in Langkawi, Malaysia.
I knew it was a going to be a good, and I also knew it would involve a LOT of drinking and enjoyment, and it didn’t disappoint.
A core group arrived on Thursday 1st August around midday, with another group arriving on the Friday. The Mehendi was scheduled for the Friday, 2nd August for the ladies, the Sangeet during the evening and the Wedding Ceremony was on the Saturday, 3rd August. Basically 3 days of “hard work” 🙂
It was such a gracious ceremony, and it was a great location to chill, relax and celebrate a great wedding ceremony.
Congratulations to Neha and Neel – I wish you many years of joy and happiness together…
I haven’t been cycling for what feels like weeks (actually it probably is almost 2 months now!) so I knew this was going to be a good ride from the outset.
I met up a work colleague at 4pm at the local Burger King at ECP – we managed to stay clear from buying anything there though! – and we went to the bike hire company next door. We went for the $8 per hour bike, and took up their $13 each for a 2 hour stint (they actually had an offer which was buy 2 hours get another hour fee – so it turned out to be $13 for 3 hours). That’s pretty reasonable methinks.
We headed along eastward, and before long we arrived at the Food Court at ECP – we stopped off for a Sugar Cane and Chicken Wings break – which was delicious – and then we decided to head off further east. After about an hour we had made it to the south-east edge – we then relaxed for a few minutes, before we headed north – towards the Changi perimter road – and we went on and on. The good thing about this ride is that it is very flat, and the cycle lanes are nicely laid out, there is also less people as you move east, so it became a nice tranquil ride. We reached about half-way up along the Changi Airport perimeter, and we then noted that we had to head back soon, as we had a house waming engagement at 7pm. I think we could have easily continued – and another 10 minutes, we would have reached the top of Changi airport and then reach Changi Village. I think we will eventually do that next time, because that would create another opportunity to relax and chill, before we head back to base.
It took us another 45 minutes and we finally reached back to the cycle hire shop near Burger King.
I think we did a 2 hr 30 minute ride (with 20 minutes worth of rest in-between) – a total of 25km round-trip. Nice! I worked out that if we went all the way to Changi village, it would be a 17km journey one-way, that’s a 34km round trip, so another 10km cycling – ouch!
Well I decided that I needed a break from Singapore, so booked a spontaneous long weekend trip to Tioman Island. Tioman is renowned for being a Diving and Snorkeling location – so not being a diver, I would settle for a snorkeling session, as well as just eating, reading and relaxing in the sun 🙂 I know, I could probably do some of that (minus the snorkeling) in Singapore, but the view’s aren’t the same (if you know the Singapore horizon from the (man-made) beaches, you will know what I mean.
Anyway, I did some checks online, and decided that I would go on the 7th-9th June weekend. I know you can do a coach to Mersing and a short ferry hop across to Tioman, but I decided to go with the flight option – going with Berjaya-Air, which goes from Changi all the way to Tioman in 40 odd minutes – perfect! Compare that with a 6 hour journey each leg – which wastes the weekend really! I then went on booking.com, agoda.com, hotels.com, and noted that there was a couple of recommended venues on the West side – which seemed to have pretty good reviews from trip advisor. However, the sites were coming back with a pretty pricey mix, so I decided to check on the airline website to see if they had any package deals – I was going to give up the idea of a long weekend if the price wasn’t right, and then I found an okay bargain. It wasn’t going to be a ‘cheap-cheap’ trip, but I just wanted a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the Singapore city-life.
The website had a good number of packages, and there was a couple that were All Inclusive, but these were limited to coming from KL, rather than Singapore. I looked up the Singapore and there was a “3D/2N Free and Easy Summer Package Weekend from Singapore” listing. This seemed to be be perfect and exactly what I needed – it was a package but with some flexibility – so the flight and accommodation would be sorted at least! the offer price for any of the weekends in June was 888RM / person, but as I was travelling alone, the single traveller rate was 1248RM for the entire 2 nights stay. Then you add the 205RM for the airport tax and airline surcharge. I then added Renggis Island snorkeling which was another 35RM (which turned out to be 10RM cheaper than doing it at the hotel). There were only 3 resorts on offer which ranged in price – Berjaya Tioman Resort (4*), Japamala Resort (5*) or Tioman Dive Resort (3*). I decided to go with the mid-range, as wanted to ensure I was ‘comfortable’ too, during my stay. According to Trip Advisor, Berjaya Tioman Resort wasn’t too bad…and it was a B&B rate.
The plane was an adventure – it was a Turbo Prop plane – on a really old plane. But it worked, even though it was quite noisy and ‘old’ (and only supported 48 people). I was shocked to see I had seat 1A on the outward flight, and no this wasn’t first or business class – ha! It was actually a funny seat as was right in front of the partition wall diving the pilot cabin and the main cabin – and I was reverse-facing, so facing all of the other passengers – which was a first. It felt really weird, actually…and is how the steward seats are on the modern Jumbo’s. Anyway, the arrival hall was small and basic, but did the job. There wasn’t a “baggage belt” at all – the luggage cart just turned up and everyone just pulled their luggage from the cart’s cage…funny…maybe Heathrow should do it this way…probably quicker and more efficient. There was a 5RM wildlife sanctuary ‘tax’ which you had to pay on arrival, which wasn’t too bad, I guess. Once I arrived, the bus transit arrived about 5-10minutes – which ferries people between the Airport and Boat terminal to the Paya Beach Resort and Berjaya Tioman Resort. It was a 10-15 minute journey, and I arrived pretty hot and wanted to cool off with a nice relaxing shower. My room was available straightaway, and I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable the chalet was. It was basic and clean, but met by needs – it turned out to be quite spacious for me.
Yay Seat 1A!
The Plane at Changi
The Plane at Tioman
The lobby – beach view
My Chalet – Outside
My Chalet – Inside 2
My Chalet – Inside 1
Mind the big ants…bet these bite!
Tioman Island Map
Storm Clouds Brewing
I then ventured out to the beach area and founded a nice secluded spot when I could relax, read a book and sunbathe – well it was only 3pm 🙂 After a couple of hours, I decided to find somewhere to eat, I found out that there was 2 places just outside of the resort – so I tried the one that had quite a few people there, and the food and service was actually pretty good. The price was around 18RM. The price in the resort was over double the cost of this place, so it was cheap, tasty, and probably more yummy that the resort restaurant. The next day, I ventured early to the beach – and then walked down to the Dive centre where the Snorkeling would also take place. The boat takes you across the water for 2 minutes before you reach 2 man-made floating pontoons where you can relax and then jump into the water to snorkel. This was Renggis Island – and I was subsequently told by a Singaporean family that there used to me a lot of Coral in the reef, so it is true that you can see the reduction quite clearly over the years! The coral reefs and exotic fish were delightful – full of colour and amazing sights. Certainly enjoyable. I need to invest in an under-water camera for my iPhone – as really need to take some nice video’s of the underwater sealife. Truly mesmorising!!
Renggis Island – for Snokerlling
Me – chilling!
Nice panoramic! Almost a private beach!
This could have been my hotel 🙂
Large Lizard Climbing a Tree
Sunny beach panoramic
A nice tranquil beach
A nice setting
The sea water from up stream
Can You See It?
Beautiful Late Afternoon Scene
I settled back onto the beach after an hour or 2, and chilled for the rest of the day. For lunch and dinner, I went back to the place outside of the resort – it was a buffet lunch, which was tasty and only cost me 15RM for lunch, and about 19RM for dinner. Very nice!
Dinner – Yummy!
I am still relaxing 🙂
A group’s beach game
One of these will be the winning sand-mound!
The tallest mound! Champions!
A nice setting.
Love the tree effect
My lunch and dinner establishment!
The next morning, I checked-out and the bus took us back to the Airport, where we waited for the plane to arrive before heading back home to Singapore. I was in 6B this time. Someone actually told me that the safest seat is right at the back – hey-ho…I felt safe enough…hehe!
The Airport Tarmac
The plane touching down
The plane taxiing
The plane ready for boarding
All in all – a very relaxing trip and I thoroughly enjoyed the island.
The flight out was quite “interesting”, as a fight broke out about 3 hours into the flight. I think it started because the passenger in front moved her chair back, and it hit the other passenger behind, who was sleeping forward. Well what do you expect on a cheap airline flight, where the seats pitch isn’t that much between seats. Anyway, the lady in the back threw some punches after lady in the front swore at her (in Cantonese). It was quite amusing, and the it took all 3 of the cabin crew to calm things down. Even the pilot came out at the end of the bout – and I did overhear him say FFS and that he would call the police for our arrival. The passengers were split up with the front ones moved to the back of the plane.
After things returned to normal, we arrived at HK, and we were instructed to remain in our seats whilst a dozen or so police entered the plane, and took off the 4 people involved in the facade! What a flight – talk about creating ones own flight entertainment :). Hahaha…I’ve never quite seen anything like this before.
Well what should I expect? I arrived promptly at 8am, it took a few moments to disembark from the lovely Singapore Airlines A380 Airbus – and after a walk down from the gate, I arrived in a few minutes at the Immigration desk. I provided my Employment Pass (EP) and the stamp duly appeared in my passport and I was once again in Singapore officially!
A few more minutes, my luggage appeared (it literally as minutes later), and my baggage was about the third or forth to appear on the belt. I picked up my two bags, my hand luggage and ruck-sack and joined the taxi ‘queue’ – when I say queue it was more like a mystery line – as I was magically at the front before I blinked. The taxi arrived, and in about 15 minutes I once again had left the airport in a taxi heading for the hotel!