Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Be with me 2...

I will wander again during my vacation away from home. I am planning to visit Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau. My wife will be me in Bangkok for 3 days and after that I will celebrate Christmas with the whole family in Hong Kong.

I don't know where to stay for New Year, maybe in Macau or stay in Hong Kong. However, in case the temperature will be unbearable then I think Bangkok is better alternative for New Year. I hope to see my colleague who plan to wander also in Bangkok with his wife after few weeks.

Some of  my train and hotel bookings.

I booked a second class sleeper train ticket from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur through their website because it would be a grueling experience to travel overnight by second class seater. This time I have done my preparation for this trip.

I was offered a chance to stay for 3 nights at Beary Best Hostel at Chinatown, Singapore. The newest member of Beary Hostels. I am planning to make a review about this new member of Beary Hostels.

After a couple of  hours I'll be in Dubai and from there I will fly to Singapore at 02:45 AM. I can't wait to watch new films on Emirates video-on-demand.

Anyway, I hope you will be with me as I wander for 5 weeks...

+1 Hr Time Zone (Dubai) - 06 Dec

Lunch time at business lounge after wandering around the Duty Free shops.

Due to recession, the huge Dubai airport Terminal 1 seems empty due to few passengers. Unlike few years back where countless Duty Free shoppers were lining-up all cashier counters while many transit passengers were even sleeping on the floor. Nowadays, you can even play badminton inside the airport terminals without disturbing the other passengers.

Even the big airlines lounges seem empty during night time.

Time for my alcohol shot. Sad to say, I don't like the vodka they serve at the bar. I asked for my second fav drink, Chivas.

That's my favorite spot or corner inside Emirates lounge. Whenever I take food and drinks, I can easily see if anybody will approach that area. Even in airports, there are people who like to "collect" other people belongings.You should be alert always.


I have taken my dinner and midnight snack. I'm just waiting for my flight; sleepy and tired. I hope the flight to Singapore will be smooth. It will be a long day tomorrow and another 4 hours to be added to my body clock.

Since I am on vacation, upon arriving at the hostel I plan to sleep the whole day. No more emergency calls during night time. How I wish that I would be spending my vacation at home. How I wish that I would wake-up one morning and eat my favorite breakfast of sinangag (garlic fried rice) with tinapa (smoked fish). Shortly thereafter, my wife and I will bring lunch to my youngest kid then proceed to shopping mall or home depot. When Sunday comes, jog around UP Diliman sunken garden and buy tapsilog at Rodick's.

The travel ban to my work place is now starting to sink into my mind. I don't know when I can go back to my home. My life is not normal anymore.

+1 Day & +4 Hr Time Zone (Singapore) - O7 Dec

The flight was smooth. I love Emirates prawn dumplings breakfast. I finished Harry Potter and the deathly hallows 2; watched again Transformer - Dark of the moon. I wanted to watch Captain America but I fell asleep.

I am now in Beary Best Hostel. It's a lot better than Tresor Tavern but quite expensive. It is raining here in Singapore thus I feel gloomy, aside from being sleepy and tired. The place is in Chinatown, 5 minutes away from Pagoda Street.

I will rest for a while and will take dinner at Maxwell Food Center.

Today is my third and last night in Singapore. I went to Mount Faber earlier to complete my shots of 5 official Merlions of Singapore.

Aside from  this, I would update my Maxwell, Food Republic and Chinatowns posts, as well.

Tomorrow evening, I'll travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I booked by net a second class sleeper train, upper berth. There was no lower berth slot available anymore.

Unfortunately, Beary Best hostel is not yet fully operational. Their laundry facility is still under construction so I'll bring my laundry at KL Sentral. I used to do my laundry and drying in a self-service coin-operated laundry shop near Hotel Summer View. It was cheaper and enjoyable.

Malaysia - 11 Dec

I arrived at KL Sentral at 6:40 AM by sleeper train. I was able to sleep for several hours unlike my previous train trip by second class seater where I was fully awake the whole time.

Still sleepy, I paid S$ for brewed coffee at Dunkin Donuts. The cashier returned back my money with a smile; my mistake. Found 9 MYR inside my money bag so I got my caffeine shot. Changed USD to MYR and rented steel locker at KL Sentral for 5 MYR (1 token). I brought my laundry to Wash & Save; it was 10 minutes walk from KL Sentral, near Hotel Summer View.

I ordered white coffee and my favorite noodles with chicken sausage and egg at Old Town while waiting for my laundry to finish. I would purchase train tickets going to Butterworth then Bangkok at KTM ticketing office at KL Sentral before proceeding to Chinatown Boutique hotel.

I badly need hot shower and brush my teeth.

I got my KL to Butterworth + Butterworth to Bangkok train tickets. All sleeper lower berth class. To save hotel cost, I'll spend two nights on the road without bath. Sounds exciting? Yup and I was extremely excited. This would be my first time to sleep on a train for 2 days.

By the way, today is cloudy and raining cats and dogs here at KL. 
Few hours from now, I'll check-out from Chinatown Boutique hotel and proceed to KL Sentral for my overnight train trip to Butterworth.

I hope  Butterworth station has comfortable waiting area for passengers leaving for Bangkok.
Arrived at Butterworth at around 6:45 AM. Waited for Butterworth to Bangkok train trip at 2:30 PM. See my post about this "almost abandoned train station".

+1 Day & -1 Hr Time Zone (Bangkok) - 16 Dec

Arrived at Hualampong train station at almost 7 AM, I changed my USD to Baht inside the train station. Exchange rate was 1 USD to 30.95 Baht. Flagged down a taxi and proceeded to my Hotel Pratunam; fare was 61 Baht.

After few days my wife arrived. Shopping galore at Pratunam market, Platinum Mall and MBK. Visited Grand Palace and What Phra Kaew.

Wife left after 2 nights. I am alone again. It is time to go to Hong Kong.

+1 Hr Time Zone (Hong Kong) - 22 Dec

Arrive at HKIA. I decided to sleep at the airport to save 1 night hostel fare.

I stayed for 2 nights at Wang Fat hostel. This hotel is under Hong Kong hostel management and located at the 3rd floor of Paterson Building where the Fashion Walk mall is occupying the ground level. The location  is superb since it is in the midst of Causeway Bay.

At Christmas eve, I saw several groups of young carollers serenading at different areas of Causeway Bay. See my post about them: Street carollers at Causeway Bay

The family arrived on Christmas day with my favorite macaroni salad. Great and memorable trips at Disneyland, Ocean Park and Avenue of Stars. Shopping at downtown Mongkok area and Causeway Bay. Stayed for 4 nights at Harbor Plaza Resort hotel at Tsim Shui Wai, New Territories. Stay tuned for my post about this very good hotel.


I am now at HKIA waiting for my evening flight to Singapore. My family flew back to Manila this morning. I will stay for 12 hours at the airport.

Singapore - 30 Dec

I arrived at Singapore budget terminal at 1:30 AM and dashed to departure gate to eat at McDonald's and wander until 7:00 am.

I arrived at 7:30 am at Tree in Lodge Hostel at Bugis but my bed was released at 2:00 pm. My body needs some rest and adjustment. From a very chilly place, I am now in a tropic country.

Tree in Lodge Hostel is being managed by two young guys. Great, friendly and down-to-earth guys. At their age, they are already conscious about our environment. They practice waste segregation, energy saving, recycling of wastes, etc. They even enticed me to visit MacRitchie Reservoir Park. The park was great; that was the first time I hiked around a water reservoir for around 10 km. I would make a post regarding this place. Kudos to you guys and more power to your hostel. Wait for my review. 

I stayed for 6 nights at Tree in Lodge Hostel at Bugis and transferred to Tresor Tavern Hostel. I missed the homey feeling of Tresor due to its Filipino staff and great in-house food. This hostel is also being frequented by Filipino travelers at Singapore.

I stayed for 4 nights here and visited Suntec City Mall. As advertised, several good gadgets can be bought at 88 S$. However, don't be fooled by advertisement, to be able to buy these gadgets at that price you need to purchase at least 500 S$ item. Nevertheless, LCD and LED flat screens were really cheap.

I left Tresor Tavern on 09 January and met my colleague on the same day. We have the same flight schedule back to our work site; he spent his entire vacation in Singapore because her daughter was working there. Tresor Tavern staff allowed us to stay until 9pm due to our late flight schedule.

10 January 2012

My vacation is over and it is time to go back to work. I missed my room and especially my bed.

I also missed our camp restaurant and laundry. Actually, it seems that when I return back to my work place I am on "vacation mode." Everything is free and life is comfortable and simple unlike when I travel during my vacation where I have no choice but to sleep uncomfortably with many strangers in hostel or dorm room. I usually searched for cheapest meal and sometimes I did my own laundry. Not to mention sleeping at the airports and trains. Well, age is definitely catching up.

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