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.

Tags: , , ,

 
© naturefinder at YouTube

© naturefinder on YouTube

A couple of years back, scientists have declared Raja Ampat as the number one, most biodiverse marine ecosystem on the planet. That’s right, you heard right. This area contains the most species of corals, fishes and other marine life compared to any other place on earth. Since this news, hardcore divers worldwide have been steadily flocking to the area to experience this natural wonder. It has since then, made its way to many lists as one of the best diving destinations in the world.

Unlike many other world-class diving spots, you do not have to dive deep here to experience the underwater marvels. The marine life that can be viewed just a few meters below water surface here is pretty astounding, steadily spreading the reputation of Raja Ampat as also being one of the top snorkeling destinations in the world. In fact, it is stated that you often never have to go really far from where you are staying to have an amazing snorkeling experience. Most of the homestays, hotels and resorts in the area have pristine house reefs for you to explore.

© Tony Whitten on YouTube

© Tony Whitten on YouTube

© fbk3lly on YouTube

© fbk3lly on YouTube

© StayRajaAmpat.com

© StayRajaAmpat.com

While rising sea temperatures around the world have caused many corals reef to bleach, scientists were surprised on how the coral reefs in Raja Ampat have not only survived, but thrive in relative warm sea temperatures just a couple of meters below the water surface, making it extremely conducive for us to enjoy the rich marine life without any diving equipment. One of the highlights in the area includes snorkeling among mangrove roots on Gam Island. Usually, it is not possible to snorkel in mangrove areas as the water is usually muddy with near zero visibility. The water in the mangroves of Gam Island is very clear, making possible to explore the marine life amongst the sea grass and mangrove roots. In some areas you can even find corals growing on mangrove roots! Other highlight for snorkelers would be Manta Point, where it is possible for us to swim amongst these gentle giants as they feed near the water surface.

Thanks to the remoteness of this place, which is located on the far east of Indonesia, west of Papua New Guinea, it doesn’t look like mass tourism will be reaching Raja Ampat anytime too soon. If you are always on a lookout to explore pristine marine and natural environments, now is the perfect time to visit this place. In the past couple of years, the tourist infrastructures have developed to a point where it has become relatively ‘easy’ to get there (with fixed plane and ferry schedules). With that said, the remoteness of its location have also made it one of the more expensive places to visit in Indonesia.

For a comprehensive guide to visiting and snorkeling in Raja Ampat do visit www.StayRajaAmpat.com. It is an amazing website with lots of up-to-date details and guides to visiting this marine wonderland. Also, do enjoy the photo captures and the snorkeling videos below (all taken during snorkeling excursions in the Raja Ampat).


Tags: , , , , ,

 

Yes, it might be one of the more expensive tourist attractions in Singapore, but really, it is hard not to have fun at Universal Studios. Regardless of your age and preferences, Universal Studios is a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon with your friends or loved ones. I would recommend spending an entire day here if possible and go for all the rides! My favorite show/ride at the park was Transformers!

universal studios singapore 1 universal studios singapore 2 Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

 

Zoos are always on my list of must-go places whenever I visit someplace new. The Singapore Zoo is one of the best in the region and is definitely worth for anyone who would like to take some time off from the bustling city.

singapore zoo 1 singapore zoo 2
Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

 

The Singapore Flyer is definitely something that you would want to add into your itinerary if you are into gorgeous views. Here are some photos of it during our visit.

singpore flyer 1 singpore flyer 2 Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

 

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.

Porcelain Hotel Review Singapore 1

The lovely mural on the side of the hotel

Porcelain Hotel Review Singapore 2

A shot of the room taken from the bed

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

« Older entries § Newer entries »