Beyond KL

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In recent years, the prices of hotels in Singapore have spiked sharply due to sudden influx of tourists, making them comparable to those in western Europe. During my last stay there, we stayed at the Porcelain Hotel in Chinatown. It cost around SGD130 per night and overall, we had a pleasant stay there.

The hotel is very well located at the fringe of Chinatown, surrounded by plenty of Chinese eateries and just a short stroll away from the MRT station (about a 1 to 2 minute away on foot). The staff were very helpful and the hotel was very clean and well maintained.

The only issue to take note of is the size of the room. The rooms are small. I didn’t take me by surprise as I was already well aware of it from the reviews. It is so small to the extent that I could understand how those with above average height or with large pieces of luggage will have a problem with it.

Other than the size of the rooms, everything else about the hotel is commendable. Despite its size, the rooms are well equipped and the hotel overall was very cozy and comfortable.

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The lovely mural on the side of the hotel

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A shot of the room taken from the bed

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Marina Bay Sands is Singapore’s hottest new entertainment complex, boasting a bold futuristic design, unbeatable location and lots of hype. During its launch a couple of years ago, its marketing machine went on overdrive setting very high standards on what we could expect from it. I am glad to say the the whole complex does live up to its hype. It has become one of the must-visit places of Singapore for any bona fide traveler.

Everything from its architecture to its location is designed to impress. The complex is home to a 5 star hotel, casino, a convention center, a huge shopping mall and a string of other tourist attractions. The hotel rooms, by far, have the best views of the Singapore skyline. The hotel’s pool is located on the rooftop together with the SkyPark. The SkyPark is open to the public where you can enjoy the breathtaking views for a small fee.

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The ‘floating’ Louis Vuitton store

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Serene Resort is located smack in the middle of Koh Lipe, right on walking street. Walking Street is the main artery of the island,  filled with shops, mini marts, tour desks, souvenir stalls and restaurants. I thought this was the best place to stay in as I can walk to just about anywhere on the island in a matter of minutes.

For one, it is just a short 2 minute stroll away from sunrise beach and about 3-minute away from Pataya beach, two of the most gorgeous beaches on Lipe. Despite being so close to Walking Street, Serene is located on a quite nook so you would never be bothered by the hive of activity on Walking Street. The place is indeed, as its name suggests, serene, even during the busiest time of the day or night.

The resort offers a wide range of accommodations, from basic bamboo bungalows (the one that I stayed in) all the way to fully equipped air conditioned bungalows. The owner (a middle aged Chinese man) and his staff was very friendly and helpful during my stay there. I had a wonderful stay at Serene, and I would highly recommend the bamboo bungalows for those who are traveling on a budget and don’t mind a rustic lodging experience. Check out the photos of my stay there in the bamboo bungalows.

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The first thing to mention is that the bamboo bungalows are a little small. Note the scale of the bungalow to the chair. It was perfectly adequate for me. Just thought that it should be mentioned to set the right expectations.

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If you have the chance, I would highly recommend taking a ride on the ferry between Penang and Butterworth. Started in 1920, this is the oldest ferry service in Malaysia, a relic from the British colonial ages, very much like the old ferry service in Hong Kong. Costing just USD0.50 per ride, despite its age, remains to be one of the quickest and cheapest way to get from Butterworth to Penang and vice-versa.

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Another ferry in a distance

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Morning rush hour

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If you are looking to spend a few nights in Krabi, you must consider staying at Pak Up Hostel. The hostel is located in the center of Krabi Town, within walking to most of the attractions such as the night markets and the town boat terminal.

Almost everything at the hostel is impeccable. From the stylish reception area to the plush beds, it is hard to find fault with this establishment. My favorite feature of the hostel would have to be its huge and very comfortable super-single beds. The bed, pillow and plush comforters are akin to those found in more expensive hotels and most importantly very comfortable.

All the rooms were very clean, as they were cleaned daily, and air conditioned. The air conditioning worked really well, which is absolutely blissful for a good night’s rest or when you want to sleep in on a hot afternoon.

The only downside to this hostel is that it is located about a 20-minutes away by car from Ao-nang beach. Nevertheless there are plenty of public mini buses that can get you there all day long for just around THB50 one way (I can’t remember the exact fee, but its around that range).



The reception area

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If you have done a little digging, you would know that Paradise Lost is one of the highest rated accommodations on Koh Kradan. The property is located right in the center of Koh Kradan, just a short 5-minute walk away from the beaches.

While I was at Paradise lost, I stayed at the small bungalows with small bathrooms. The bungalow was completely made out of wood with an atap roof, so it was always cool on the inside, even under the scorching midday sun. Everything was very neat and clean, which is all a budget traveler could ask for. My bungalow came with a queen sized bed, a fan, even a small porch with table and chairs for me to laze the day away.

Staying here felt like staying in a little local village. The bungalows are lined¬† around the the edges of the compound, surrounding a small grassy patch with coconut trees. Wally, Nok and all the staff were very friendly and accommodating. Rates start from THB600 onwards for a basic bungalow with shared bathrooms. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions about the accommodation. For more information, check out Wally and Nok’s official website at, Paradise Lost.

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Paradise Lost’s entrance form the beach

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The tranquil, peaceful compound. The restaurant is on the left. Serves arguably the best food on the island.

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