Hotels

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Considering that you could probably spend more than 12 hours a day in your hotel, it makes sense to invest a little time before you depart, to make sure that you choose the right one for the trip. Regardless of your budget, a little research goes a long way when selecting your hotel. Here are some quick tips to choosing your right one.

choosing the perfect hotel

What’s Your Agenda?

Depending on the agenda of your trip, it is always a good idea to stay near the places that you are going to visit often. Whether it is a shopping, business or sightseeing trip, check out their location on Google Maps, and be sure to choose a hotel within that vicinity. The nearer the better. Imagine being able to just take a short stroll to your favorite shopping complex or night spot on a daily basis. As a general rule, try to stay within 2km of the places you are going to visit. Excessive traveling is not only time consuming, but can also be tiring and costly.

If you can’t find a place to stay near the places you are going to visit, the next best bet is to stay near a transport hub, such as a train station or bus stop. Taking the local city train is almost always the best way to get around town. Another good bet is to stay within walking distance of a large shopping mall. That way you can just walk to it whenever you feel like grabbing a quick bite or buy something from the pharmacy or supermarket. Shopping malls usually have good access to public transport.

Check the Reviews

After you have narrowed down your hotel choices, the next thing to do is check the reviews for those hotels. To date, the single best website for you to do so would be on Tripadvisor.com. Go through the ratings and make sure the hotel that you select have at least 3 (over 5) stars. Most importantly, you should take a look of the photos taken by real travelers (not the professional ones) of the hotel. Take a look and see if it meets your expectations. Hotel booking websites such as Agoda and Booking.com also have lots of real customer reviews that you can refer to. Be sure to only select a hotel with good reviews.

Compare Prices

Believe it or not, the prices of hotels found on their official websites and hotel booking websites can vary greatly, as much as up to USD25 per night, if not more. Because of that, you really want to make sure that you are getting the best prices. For starters you can check the hotel’s official website for their prices. After you do that, you can compare it with the prices found on hotel booking websites like Booking.com and Agoda. Tripadvisor.com has a new feature where you only need to enter the date and it will list out all the prices found on various booking websites. Generally, booking websites such as Agoda often offer rock bottom prices. You can also collect and redeem points in hotel booking websites such as these. With that said, you should not neglect checking the hotel’s official website too. The hotels sometimes have promotions, such as free nights or early bird discounts that can end up being cheaper than the prices found on hotel booking websites.

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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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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 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).

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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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We had the pleasure of staying at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur a couple of months ago. Here is a quick pictorial review of the hotel.

Being the newest 5-star hotel in town, many naturally had high expectations during our stay there. We are happy to report that at many a times, most of those expectations were met.

Located just next to the KLCC Twin Towers and the KL convention center, the hotel is perfect for anyone who wants to stay in the heart of it all. The Sky Bridge (elevated walkway) is located right in front of the hotel where you can walk in air conditioned comfort to the shopping strip of Bukit Bintang. The hotel is also surrounded by lots of restaurants and nightspots.

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The view of the KLCC Twin Towers from the hotel lobby

 

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The bathroom is located behind the beds. The glass can turn from transparent to opaque with a press of a button

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