Blog, Travel

Modern Living Hotel at Patong Beach, Phuket

My first trip ever to Thailand and I was landing in Phuket at 8 in the morning – 4 hours before the hotel check-in time. My travel buddy and I had already prepared ourselves for a chill morning at the beach once we drop off our luggage at the hotel lobby. Little did we know that it was just the beginning of a very NOT chill morning.

The first mishap occurred when our pre-booked airport taxi was nowhere in sight. Right outside the arrivals gate, there was an array of drivers holding boards with people’s names on them. We were actually excited to see someone waiting with our name – I know it sounds a little pathetic, but this was going to be a first for both of us! You’ve probably already guessed this – there was no one waiting for us. We waited and looked several times to no avail. After a lot of confusion and questions, the travel company sent us another taxi and we finally got to our hotel.

This hotel was in the corner of a small secluded street, it had the word ‘beachfront’ in its name but there was no beach in sight. We asked to see the room and soon realised booking this hotel was a bad idea. There was no lift and the stairs were steep, our room was on the 4th floor and we knew we would have to climb up and down several times a day. The room had a weird smell which also put us off.

So here we were completely shelter-less and wheeling around our hand carry luggage along the Patong Beach Street like lost puppies. I’m not even exaggerating, we spent an hour frantically going into hotels, asking the prices, seeing the rooms – and then walking out because they were either too expensive or not appealing.

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Our hunt FINALLY ended when we came across the Modern Living Hotel, it was right by the Tourist Clinic and didn’t stand out much. As soon as we walked in we had the feeling that this was it. Needless to say we were exhausted, and ready to just settle for anything, but this place exceeded our expectations. Yes it was a little more expensive than our original, but it was totally worth it.

One of the most important factors for us was the pricing, as we had a limited budget for our trip. For our stay of 4 nights at Modern Living Hotel, we paid THB 5198 for a twin bed room, which means each of us only had to pay THB 2599 (MYR 321), a total steal.

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Besides the beach front view and the SUPER comfy beds, one of the best things about this hotel was the breakfast. All those plates you see there? No we were not a group of 5. It’s just that there were so many items on the breakfast menu (which is free with the booking) that they had to give us three plates each: eggs plate, bread plate and fruit plate. So there was no room for disappointment at the fact that there was no buffet breakfast. It was like having a buffet served right to your seat!

 

This hotel is highly recommended for those who are on a budget, but still want to have a luxurious place to come back to after those long days of island hopping and sight-seeing! For more, check out their website: http://www.hotelmodernliving.com/

 

 

Blog, Travel

Prudential Marina Bay Carnival, Singapore

Dates: 15 Dec 2017 – 1 Apr 2018
Opening hours: 4 pm – 11 pm

IMG_20180103_184300My cousins told me they wanted to go to this carnival and I agreed to come along because who doesn’t like carnivals? What could go wrong at a carnival? How was this not the best way to spend my time in Singapore? Why did I think it was a good idea to start the article by bombarding you with all these questions?

Anyways, you can probably tell where this is going. The super critical and not-so-easy-going part of me is coming out, so brace yourselves. Before I get to the review itself, let me just get a few details out of the way first (and maybe even point out some good things). This carnival, sponsored by Prudential, was situated at the Bayfront Event Space at Marina Bay Sands. It was certainly not difficult to find and ample parking space was available. We went on a weekday so the crowd wasn’t too crazy, the rides did not have long queues, and we had no trouble moving about. I do have to admit one thing: as we strolled around taking photos, I saw many people holding toys/prizes they won from the games. So it wasn’t one of those ‘rigged’ carnivals where barely anyone wins anything. But still…

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There were 3 main issues I had with the carnival:

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1. Pricing/ Ticketing

Initially it seems attractive because at the entrance it says ‘Free Admission’. So of course we were glad for that, because if we paid entry fees but didn’t actually like any of the games – that would be a complete waste. HOWEVER, what we didn’t realise in the beginning was how sneaky this ‘credits’ system was.

The games were up to SGD 8, and the rides were up to SGD 10. So let’s do the maths here. If a person goes to a carnival, they would want to at least do 3 rides and play 3 games, to feel satisfied with their visit and get the amount of exhilaration they were expecting. So how much could that be? Up to SGD 54! That is insane. I have to admit some of the rides did look very tempting, but was it worth it?

IMG_20180103_184156I went in a group of six, we used SGD 100 and got 100 credits. Guess how long that lasted? 1 roller coaster and a couple of games (bonus disappointment was that none of us won anything – but that’s on us and our lack of coordination skills). We prioritized going on the Euro Coaster because that looked the best and all of us were eager to try it out. It turned out to be 10 credits (SGD 10) – so there went 60 dollars, on this 2 minute roller coaster.

So even though we wanted to go on more rides, we just did not feel like it was worth spending all that money on. Normally carnivals are fun for families with kids, but to me this seems like a bad idea. Imagine if you had 3 kids – how much money would be needed for all of them to enjoy themselves here?

2. Food

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The food available was over-priced (surprise surprise). But our bigger complaint was that there was no variety. We got some beef chili cheese fries and sausages – the taste of both was similar to those instant foods, nothing much to it. If you’ve heard about the controversy regarding the Singapore Ramadan Bazaar, this reminded me of that. There was a lot of this random over-the-top ‘hipster’ food: rainbow burger, unicorn drinks and what not. But what about the local touch? There are so many varieties of Chinese, Indian, Malay or other more diverse food/snacks they could have included. But there was such a lack of the Singaporean vibe that it all felt very fake and unsatisfying.

3. Set-up

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One of my cousins actually called the set up ugly. I don’t know if I would go that far, but I do see the point. If we don’t want to spend so much money on the activities, you would think that at least we can roam around and get some of those insta-worthy shots. Nope. It was tricky to even get a few photos for this blog. There seemed to be unnecessary barriers everywhere, covering all the photo-friendly spots. For safety, some rides do need to have these, but these fences/barriers were literally everywhere.

I would not recommend this place to be honest, but if you are really curious and actually don’t mind all the things I mentioned above, go ahead! Who knows, maybe I’m just picky.

If you’re interested, check out the following links for more information:

 

 

Blog, Eat

Kucina Italian Restaurant, Singapore – Review

davTo commemorate the end of my Singapore family trip, we had a farewell lunch at Kucina. It’s never easy saying goodbye you rarely get to reunite with so we wanted to end our time together with a nice celebration. We heard that Kucina was a halal authentic Italian food (definitely not easy to find) so there was no hesitation about trying it out!

Glancing around the restaurant, you can immediately notice the rustic vibes – from the brick walls to the wooden furniture. The setting has an inviting feel to it.  In fact, it’s not only the decor, but the staff was welcoming as well.

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We ordered two appetizers to share while waiting for the main courses to be served: Bruschetta (SGD 6) and Truffle Fries (SGD 15). Both these dishes had a touch of elegance to them and were thoroughly satisfying.

As there was a group of us, we got to try quite a variety of items on the menu! I got everyone to give a comment on their dishes, even though I did use the blog as an excuse to taste most of them myself.

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Risotto Di Mare – SGD 23.80 : “Looks heavy but actually tastes very fresh and nice. It’s good for people who like the flavour of tomato cream, or just anything that is tomato-based.”
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Tortellini Di Manzo – SGD 23 : “Nice balance of flavours in this one. The meat goes well with the smooth mushroom cream sauce. Looks like a simple dish but it was indeed very satisfying, and filling!
Pizza Al Crudo - SGD 20
Pizza Al Crudo – SGD 20 : “Very tasty, a lot of arugula on it, good for those who want to get in their leafy greens for the day! It also had a generous amount of ham on top of the cheese and delicious tomato sauce underneath . The only slight complaint would be that the ham is a bit salty for my taste.”
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Bisteca – SGD 24.80 : “The steak had perfect seasoning and overall a satisfying meal, I’m very happy with my choice. The only thing I would point out is that they should have rendered the fat more and temperature was not exactly as requested.”

 

Kucina is in the range of high priced restaurants (but if I’m honest – as someone living in Malaysia, everything seems expensive in Singapore) , but I would recommend it for people who are looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion. There were quite a few couples around the restaurant, so it’s definitely the perfect place to bring your date!

  • Rating 9/10
  • Halal
  • Address: 11 Tanjong Katong Rd, #B1-09/10, OneKM Mall, Singapore, Singapore 437157

 

Blog, Eat

Wheeler’s Coffee at Love Lane, Penang – Review

IMG-20171203-WA0023The day started as any other, Joey picked me up and then we sat in the car being indecisive about what to eat for lunch. In this sweltering heat, we wanted to avoid sitting outdoors and eventually chose the easiest option – going to a café in the town area, because there is definitely no shortage of those in Penang.

Having come across this café on a Penang must-try cafés life, we decided to check it out for ourselves. Wheeler’s Coffee is nestled between many other little eateries at Love Lane, but the big bicycle hanging off its sign board certainly catches your eye. Not only that, but as walked in there were hints of wheels everywhere, whether they were painted boldly on the walls or a subtle part of the décor.

It has a cozy setting inside, with double story seating. It was one of those cafes with a ‘lazy day’ vibe where you just want to chill and hang out with some good company.

One can tell that they have really put effort into the design and I really appreciate all these little aspects. My favorite is the one below, coffee cups with hand drawings by customers:

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After looking thoroughly through the menu (there were so many good choices), we settled on ordering the following:

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Penne Roasted Vegetable in Basil Pesto Sauce – RM 13.90

One thing I appreciated about this pasta was that it was evenly coated with pesto and cheese. Often with these dishes, we either get too much or not enough, however this pasta was satisfyingly covered in a lush vinaigrette of greens so everything added up to a delightful bite.

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Chicken Marinara – RM 15.90 

As someone who loves anything tomato-based, this was right up my alley. The side of wedges seemed insufficient, a few more would have made me happier. The chicken itself was satisfying, although I would have preferred the marinara sauce to be a little thicker and less runny. Nevertheless, the veggies on the side were cooked well and tasted great dipped into the sauce.

IMG-20171203-WA0010As for the drinks, we ordered a Chocolate Chips Frappe (RM 13.90) and a Berry Berry Smoothie (RM 15.90). First of all, the presentation of these drinks was simply perfect. It was torturous to wait for Joey to finish taking these photos because I dying to take a sip!

The frappe was wonderful, not too sweet and definitely filled with enough chocolate goodness to satisfy this chocoholic. Whereas the smoothie appeared to be lacking that desired stronger berry taste, the flavor of the yoghurt was overpowering. The consistency was just nice, not too thick and not too runny.

All things considered, Wheeler’s Coffee is definitely worth a visit and we would definitely return there during a weekend in town.

  • Rating: 8 / 10
  • Wifi available
  • Pork-free