Friday, August 12, 2011

my first adventure in Singapore - locate Tresor Tavern Hostel

My trip to Singapore began on 22 of July. I flew by Dash-8 plane, a twin propeller 40-seater plane from our work site airfield to the nearest city airport where we transferred to another 70-seater Lear Jet plane going to Dubai.

I was supposed to stay 1 night outside Dubai airport. My company has provided me hotel booking at Marco Polo Hotel  in Dubai, however, I have decided to stay inside the business lounge since I would be staying in Dubai airport for around 12 hours only. Anyway, I am comfortable in the lounge. Also, I was planning to purchase an entry level DSLR camera  in Dubai Duty Free that will accompany me for my 6 weeks vacation in Singapore and Malaysia. I have realized now that was the best decision I have made for my vacation.

Got a Nikon D3100 Di with 18-55 mm lens kit. Never mind the price. I bought it using my credit card with both eyes closed and prayed that my wife would be in good mood once she received the billing.

After 8 hours of plane trip, I arrived at Changi airport Terminal 1 on 23 of July, 2:30 pm. My first mission was to go to terminal 2 where the train to city was located. That was the easiest way to locate Tresor Tavern Hostel, a backpackers place. Of course, it was easier to queue for taxi and give the hostel address but if I want to survive in such an expensive place then I need to familiarize myself to Singapore's train system. Looking back on that day, I can say that it will take decades before Manila can match the efficiency of train/MRT system of Singapore.

Anyhow, this is the first airport sign that helped me reached my Hostel.

Following this sign, I was able to reach terminal 2 by skytrain. Trust me, as long as you know how to read you won't get lost in Changi airport.

Following the instructions provided by the hostel, I was able to reach the place in no time at all due to efficiency of their train system. I've never expected it would be easy to reach my Hostel transferring to 3 different MRT links. It was more difficult to search the hostel within two blocks from Farrer Park MRT station.

Exiting from Farrer Park MRT station, I trekked down to Kitchener road, going to City Square Mall backside until I reached Jalan Besar and traced the building number.

I booked myself in 12 beds mixed dorm for 20 S$ per night by net, excluding breakfast with free wi-fi. 5 S$ for 3 kg laundry. Use of ironing board is free; luckily, I had a good training on this at home. You can rent towels also. Anybody who is used in staying in 3/4/5 star hotels will initially frown at 12 beds cramped in around 20 sq mtr room. I told myself, welcome to backpackers world.

I took this picture from my bed using my Samsung Champ mobile phone which acted as my back-up camera. Unfortunately, my daughter was clever enough to "arbor" my Samsung Champ when they visited me here in Singapore.

Anyway, I bought a second hand Blackberry Pearl from Toa Payoh, Singapore for 100 USD but sad to say the pic quality was poor. I would make another post about this place in Singapore known for second-hand phone. My colleague bought an HTC smartphone from this place for 350 USD then sold it again at the same place for 300 USD then bought an Iphone4 for 650 USD. I have seen his Iphone4, I thought it was brand new, scratchless.

Going back to my hostel, below are the lounge and bar/counter areas.

To add, this Hostel employs all Filipino staff. Their manager is Singaporean. On my first day, he tried to communicate with me in chinese, I told him, english please, lol..

If you look closely on the last picture, you will notice a red square. Those are my travel gears, laptop, camera pouch and my sling bag where my passport and noise canceling walkman are securedly stored. To add, that area is my favorite spot. I surf the net, transfer/download pics from my cam to laptop, eat cup noodles and drink Tiger beer. If I have more time I would dedicate a post regarding this refreshing beer of Singapore.

Tresor Tavern Hostel is managed by Tresor Tavern Hotel so in case you will try to search the web, make sure you are searching the hostel and not the hotel. Otherwise, you'll know how expensive Singapore, first-hand.

So there it goes, my  first Singapore experience.

09 September 2011

I am now back on my job and want to add the following.

After my first 7 nights (booked by net), I got a discount of 2 S$ on my following/extended nights. You may haggle for 18 S$ per night. In addition to that, you need to pay also 20 S$ as deposit for locker key; you will get back the 20 S$ deposit upon returning the locker key. The aircon is ON FOR 24 hours, unlike other hostels where you can enjoy the a/c during evening only. I pay 1 S$ for my breakfast, coffee with 2 toasts and spreads. For 3 S$ breakfast, you will have eggs, sausage/hotdog or bacons, fruits, coffee, toasts, spreads and for additional 0.50 S$ you can have a cup of rice. Security is OK but don't leave your soap and other toiletries behind after bathing, you will find them in the bin.

This hostel is a little bit older compared with other Singapore hostels such as rucksack and city river but I enjoyed staying here because of friendly/professional staff and facilities, I can drink and order food anytime, watch football match on their wide LCD TV, nice music in the lounge/bar, entertain my guests at the lounge and very near to Mustafa Mall (open for 24 hours), Beach Road Cut Curry Rice restaurant, Little India and Farrer Park MRT station (City Square Mall). You can even walk up to Bugis area. Not to mention that there are  4 Toilet/bathroom for each floor. The only drawback was they don't accept printing jobs so I went to airport without any ticket. Anyway, booking reference was good enough upon check-in..

I strongly recommend this hostel to any backpackers on budget out there. In fact, my colleague has stayed in Rucksack for 26 S$ per night before but after visiting me in Tresor Hostel, he told me that my hostel was better and cheaper than Rucksack and will definitely stay there on his next vacation. He's enjoying the fish & chips with Tigers.

This is my bed, it is quite worn-out but still comfy, today is my last day in Singapore and I hope to sleep on it again next month. If you want a bit of privacy, ask for extra sheet and make a curtain out of it.

By the way, did I mention that there is an elevator for this 4 storey building?

Note my comment.

06 October 2011 (vacation)

Starting my vacation, I went back to Tresor Tavern for 1 night stay before traveling to Kuala Lumpur by train. I found my bed without comforter. I asked for one and promised to be given but after some time no sheet was provided. To add, internet was not stable unlike before.

Positive side, they allowed me to stay at the lounge for 8 hours waiting for my train trip to KL.

Maybe it is about time to look for another hostel. I will try another but fancier hostel next time and shell out extra dollars. Internet is essential for me while in Singapore for I need to have a constant line of communication to my company. Sometimes, due to some urgent reasons I need to cut short my vacation and go back to work.

10 January 2012 (vacation)

I went for my monthly vacation on 10th of December and traveled to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hongk Kong and back to Singapore. Before I returned back to work, I stayed for 4 nights in Tresor Tavern hostel. The lounge/bar at the ground floor was being renovated. The old chairs and tables have been removed and new ones were being put-up on my last day.

3 large LCD TV have been installed. You can watch the on-going European football match.

They have included the breakfast on their daily rate. Thanks.

The old staff were transferred to Tresor Hotel. Anyway, all the staff are nice and approachable.

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