S-series: Montigo Resorts, Nongsa! (P2) – Candlelight dinner by the pool & Couple Chef experience cooking class!

read part 1 here: Couple Spa experience and our Villa – http://blog.myfatpocket.com/claireaudreylim/2017/12/02/claire-and-simon-goes-to-montigo-resorts-nongsa/

Hi people,

Welcome to Part 2 of us going to Montigo.


CANDLELIGHT DINNER BY THE POOL

As the sun sets and the sky turns a deep blue, the street lights turns on in batches, and my wife gets ready for the night…
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She dressed up for the occasion, because we are going out to our romantic dinner by the pool in celebration of our 2nd Marriage Anniversary (belated). Well what can I say, anyways I kinda screw up because I didn’t bring anything nice for the night. We’re going to a resort right? So I packed T-shirts and shorts loh!

The dinner though, it’s got to be the highlight of this trip. Look at the table people.

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Isn’t this amazing?? 

Its like overkill for an average blue collar worker like me… But what the heck, since I’m here I might as well enjoy it. So off we go along the little boardwalk to our candle lit table!

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We have the whole ‘island’ to ourselves, with a personal waiter attending to us only. If this isn’t ‘atas’ then what is?

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The lanterns frame my lovely wife nicely, but as usual.. she’s on social media.. Well nevermind, let’s move on to the food. We chose the Indonesian set dinner ‘D’ which includes the following:

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1. Indonesian Trio Sampler

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2. Soup Iga Sapi

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3. Ikan Kakap Gulai

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4. Ayam Panggang Taliwang

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5. Black Sticky Rice Pudding

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The food were good, atas food are always good. And with such romantic setting, what can we ask for more? For most part, our waiter made us feel at ease and we have enough privacy to engage in meaningful communication. The environment is conducive enough for that. We were really full and satisfied, but the staff here had other plans…

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Tadd’s Restaurant surprised us with a generous serving of rich brownie cake to commemorate our anniversary! We were really touched by the thought and effort of the staff at Montigo Resorts, Nongsa in letting us fully enjoy our time here. This is going the extra mile, where else can you find such service?

We couldn’t finish the cake because we just had our 4 course meal, and they offered to send the cake to our villa. Awesomeness. 

And with that, we retired for the night. 

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THE VILLA POOL

We woke up early the next morning and decided to skip breakfast so we can enjoy the dipping pool in our villa.

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The pool was plenty big for 2 person, I’m sure its big enough for a 4 person pool party. But I am anti-social so I’d rather it be just me and Claire. We spent some time playing a fool and doing some pool exercises because well its gentle on my bad knees. You guys can check the vlog Claire made to see what we were up to…

Next we hit the bath because we’ve got another activity coming up. And I haven’t show you the bathroom yet. I think. So here goes.

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The tub is big enough to easily fit 2 person in there, but that also mean it will need a massive amount of water to fill. Not exactly economical, environmentally speaking.

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Its huge. But I guess you’ll need to watch the vlog to actually appreciate how big the bathroom is..

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And here’s our huge poster bed again, one last look before we leave the villa for good.

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And so, its good bye to our villa. It was awesome. While it lasted.


COUPLE CHEF EXPERIENCE COOKING CLASS

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This is great, we went to the The TIIGO bar to find a large table set up for our cooking class. Our chef/instructor is there to guide us through every step. It feels really atas because we have one instructor to just 2 trainees.. And I don’t work well being so closely supervised.. LOL.

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Anyways heres the list of what we’re gonna prepare today. 

  1. Gado-Gado
  2. Gangan Fish Fillet
  3. Baked Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaf

This will also be our lunch today. Sounds great eh? Lets get on with it.

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First, chef ask Claire to boil the vegetables for the Gado-Gado while I fry the tempe. Feel so good to be frying stuff because I can’t do it at our home due to not having a hood installed over our stove.. 

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Then Claire squeeze the moisture out of the vegetables and set our dish. The special sauce was not prepared from scratch because its a closely guarded secret…nah I’m joking. Maybe because it will take too much time so the chef prepared them before this. 

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Watch her haolian her plate. Who cares right? I’m next anyways.

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Mine’s messy, but well it reflects my character what. So its really unique… I think.

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And then we eat it.. It was… ok.. I didn’t have much faith in our cooking so… yeah.. 

Next we’re going to prepare the baked fish in banana leaf.

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Seasoned fish fillets ready for wrapping. Chef said that the bay leaves are one of the most important seasoning here, I think the turmeric too, a lot of the tasty dishes we had here are seasoned in turmeric. We heat it in a pot first before chef brought it to the back kitchen and stuff the packages into an oven. 

Next we prepare of last dish: Gangan Fish Fillet, which is by far the easiest because all the ingredients were prepared for us, so we just had to assemble them. In this case, we just throw them into a pot and boil them till they’re cooked. 

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There you have it, we cooked our own fishy 3 course meal sans all the preparations needed. I guess, when you’re out on a holiday, you just want to do all the fun parts right? Preparation can be really tedious. LOL. 


EPILOGUE

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And so we have come to the end of our trip. It was jammed packed with activities that will keep you entertained for sure. We did all the things that a couple would be doing together and more, with our couple spa, cooking class and that awesome middle-of-the-pool candlelight dinner. Well what more can we ask for? With a weekend getaway like this, we don’t even need to walk because there will always be a buggy nearby, ready for you.

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There was still time on our schedule before we have to get to the ferry terminal. So we did some exploring around the TIIGO bar area. This beach with those lanterns hanging overhead must be meant for a beach party.

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And the jetty, not sure what its used for, maybe Montigo Resorts host fishing trips?

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Maybe its meant for our elopement. But we’re married anyways, there’s no need to elope right? 

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And with a pic of all the different keripik or kerupuk. Considered dirt cheap compared to the prices in any of our supermarkets back home. So I bought a huge bag of them back to feed my friends. LOL.

Do consider Montigo Resorts, Nongsa when you have a mind to go on a short getaway. Its the best resort/hotel I ever been to in all my 32 years, and its just ‘next door’. Easy easy!

Jl. Hang Lekir Nongsa
Batam, Indonesia

Home Page


SG sales office: +65 6505 9381

Peace out.

Simon Tey

S-series: Montigo Resorts, Nongsa part 1! Couple Spa experience and our VILLA!!

Watch the full video here! *pls note that my voice is different because I tune to reduce the background noise*

Hi people,

Claire and I went to the Montigo Resorts, Nongsa for a overseas weekend staycation.

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We took the Batam Fast ferry from Tanah Merah, Singapore to Nongsapura, Batam Indonesia.

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We of course have some snacks first before boarding, we got here a little too early and the customs officer didn’t let us go to the departure area. Killiney Coffee, but I think its not managed by Singaporean side though…

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It only took like 45 mins for the ferry to carry us there, but its enough to make me sick. I’m weak with boats..

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The resort staff was already there at the Ferry Terminal waiting for us and he drove us to Montigo Resorts, Nongsa in about 10 mins. From one country to a resort in another country all within an hour. Super easy. There are regular shuttle buses from Montigo Resorts between Nongsapura Ferry Terminal and the resort, so transfer is never an issue here.

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Check those awards on the wall, sure gave us a peace of mind knowing we are in good hands.

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LUNCH TIME AND AFTERNOON MOCKTAILS

Because our room wasn’t ready, the staff suggest we go for our lunch first. So I went to check the map of the resorts trying to get an idea how to walk to the restaurant. But to our surprise, there’s no walking needed here at Montigo Resorts, Nongsa. Not that you are restricted from walking, but there are so many buggies around ready to pick you up and bring you to wherever you wanna go! The convenience.. I feel like a king during my stay here. Please bear with me, for I will keep repeating the ‘king’ word in this post.

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Lunch was at this nice resort themed restaurant Tadd’s Restaurant. They offered generic Western and Indonesian cuisine, I of course chose to have Indonesian, so the staff there recommended the Rijsttafel set, which means ‘rice table’ in dutch. I guess its due to the Dutch influence long ago when those ang mo colonized Indonesia. Its basically a sampling of 7 different dishes served with rice.

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It was ok, I think I had really really high expectations because my Indonesian colleague at work sometimes bring her mom’s home-cooked food and even though they were cold by lunch time, it tastes super awesome! She will be very popular if she decides to open a restaurant I’m sure. But for these, we liked the chicken stew in coconut yellow broth but would really love to have more broth in the stew.

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Then next we went on to TIIGO Beach Club for our ‘welcome mocktails’. What smitten me was the view from the bar. Above you see Claire slacking on one of the poolside pavilions, this place looks awesome by itself already. Then look below…

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…this is essentially what you will see during your time here, enjoying the mocktails or cocktails conjured up by the resident bartender. There was even a DJ doing her soundcheck here, meaning there’ll be a party tonight. Well too bad we aren’t really party animals.

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These are the 2 mocktails they made for us. Don’t they look pretty darn instagrammable? The ang mo guy’s face in the background bokeh though, that’s a big spoiler for me and Claire. That guy was an unreasonable jerk who was really rude to the staff here because of a cheese issue. Well deal with it bro, this ain’t your house.

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I guess the bartender liked us, so he made us another mocktail and I thought this one suits my taste buds better, Claire was too darn full to stomach anything by now. And its also similarly instagrammable. Feeling awesome already, being treated like kings and queens here.

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COUPLE SPA EXPERIENCE AT MONTIGO SPA

Due to us enjoying ourselves too much at the bar, we didn’t have time left to check out our room before our Couple Spa Experience at Montigo Spa. I was a little worried because I’m not a fan of massages you see. I am also very shy with taking my clothes off in front of strangers. The only consolation here was that my wife will be with me all the time so I won’t feel too awkward.

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The buggy drove us there and we were ushered into the premise so we had no chance to snap a shot of the exterior. But its all very spa like with the attap huts and bamboo board walks. Herbal tea was served immediately and we have to fill up a questionnaire to make sure we don’t have any medical condition that might be affected by the spa treatment. Like allergies etc, everyone here was really professional.

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We also had a choice of the essential oil type that we prefer.

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In the hut, we were sent into the ensuite bathroom and were told to change. Well I’m really nervous by now, nobody believe me when I said I was shy, I really am shy. So for the next 1 hour plus, both me and Claire had our bodies rubbed and cleansed by 2 professional masseuse. I think they were very experienced because the amount of strength and the stamina to consistently massage us at that level of force is inhuman! After that though, I didn’t have any aches or pain so I must say they sure know their stuff.

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After the spa, we took a shower and were escorted to a small room to chill. The room was decorated like a hipster cafe, but we were served herbal tea with honey. Well its a spa, so herbal tea is the norm.


THE VILLA

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This must have been the biggest lodging we ever stayed in. The villa has 3 storeys high: 1st floor we have the very large living room with a kitchenette and outdoor porch area with a dining area and our own infinity pool, because all the villas were sitting on a hill side slope, the 1st floor is overlooking a road below so you can enjoy your own privacy here in the pool. There is a bathroom on this floor too, fully furnished with a sink, rain shower and toilet.

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On the 2nd floor, we have the guest room with ensuite bathroom, fully fitted of course. Then we have the master bedroom with this king size four-poster bed, a day bed, full height windows, a dresser and an extra large bathroom with a large bathtub that can easily fit 2 adults. Every thing is large here.

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And the 3rd floor is the rooftop space. What luxury! If this is my house, this will be my favourite place to hang out. FIx this place with a few beach umbrellas and this place is perfection!

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And the sun sets in the distant horizon…

Coming up in Part 2:

  • Dinner by the pool
  • Dipping our feet in our own private pool
  • Morning Couple Chef Experience
  • Goodbye Montigo Resorts, Nongsa

Stay tuned!

Simon Tey

Video: Japan, Hakone Tokyo Day 1: Our Airbnb at Miyagino & Dinner at Odawara Fish Market Den!

I’m sure you guys have already read the posts written by Simon. Today I’m here to share the videos. Might as well break them into individual days so that it’s easier to watch right?

You can also read the below posts here:

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 1: Arrival in Hakone and Odawara Castle – 

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 2: Exploring Hakone 1/2 (Image-intensive!)

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 3: Exploring Hakone 2/2 (Image-intensive and excessive words!)

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 4: Let’s go back to Tokyo! Ichiran ramen, Cat Cafe & Senso-ji.

So here’s the clip for Day 1, we bought limited express tickets to Hakone Yumoto, then went to our Airbnb at Miyagino, and then Odawara to visit the Odawara castle and had dinner at Odawara Fish Market Den! I highly recommend this place for dinner!

During the journey to Hakone, we also laughed alot in the train. Videos allow you to know more about us and how lame we are LOL! So pls watch it! haha.

Day 2 will be published next tuesday!

@claireaudreylim

Travel to Perth: 6D5N in Summary with video!

Hello!! Here’s me again with another travel summary! Wow I feel like I haven’t blog for a very long time… I have been pretty busy this 2 months. Not complaining at all. I am super super grateful for all the opportunities. 🙂

So before everything else, here’s the travel video for you!

This is my first family trip and it was so fun even though we lived like pigs everyday! It is the first time Simon brought his parents overseas and I can see that they were very happy. I would be too, if I have a kid next time and he does the same thing for me.

I met his relatives before, a few years ago when the cousins were still so young and small. Now they are all grown ups and looking so matured. Janelle is a makeup artist at MAC and she is so good at her job. They have really strong Aussie accent and I think if we stayed there longer we would too.

As it was a trip with the parents, we thought it will just be a follow our parents around kind of trip so we didn’t research anything at all. We ended up doing our research the first day in Perth because his uncle thought that it’s better for us adults to explore Perth on our own. LOL! Damn GG.

We didn’t go to Margaret River. I know I know, everyone say it is a must go. Next time we will go!

We scoot to Perth and the total fare was about $1700. Actually the fare can be lower, I couldn’t wait anymore so I just asked Simon to book immediately. 😡

Our flight was at 12pm + and we landed at about 6pm. There is no time difference between Singapore and Perth.

Uncle James picked us up at the airport and we went straight to his place. We are really blessed. San Yi prepared breakfast and dinner for us everyday. We wake up to smoothies and coffee waiting for us and always have wine and tea to go along with our dinner.

The next day, Uncle James drove us to Bassendean station and we took the train to Fremantle. This is a summary post so I only post some of the photos I have, remember to return to see the other photos. ^^

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Our first stop was to Fremantle Prison. The price was on the higher side but I thought it would be fun to visit. But the tour was about 1hr plus and we still have to wait for the next round so we decided to skip this and went to the market straight. 5

Here at Fremantle Market! This is definitely the must visit if you are in Perth! 11

The fruits and vegetables there are so green and fresh! 7

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Simon and I was like should we try Japanese food in Perth. We tried ramen in Melbourne and it was not a good experience hence we assumed that this won’t be good too. But my lecturer told me that the jap food was surprisingly not bad. If any of you are going Perth soon, go try this and let me know?

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Perth is a really chill place. We don’t need to rush and we just take our own sweet time everyday. We decided to roam around and happen to spot this field with my favourite trees. We continue walking and then decided to take the ferris wheel. More on that next time but it was fun although short! 18

Fish and chips are so popular in Perth. We went to 2 different outlets because we want to compare. One at Cicerello Perth and the next one at Kailis Fish and chips! 19

This is from Cicerello. We actually prefer the fish at Kaili’s. 

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Sorry no pic. Next time! 23

Then we walked to Megabes Products to find tshirts for Sebas and Ivy. I remembered Ivy told me she love tshirts with country names printed on them.

Day 3!

We went Kings Park with our parents and Uncle James.

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View from Kings Park! So pretty! 26

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After the walk, we went to Annalakshmi Restaurant at Barracks Square for indian food. It is buffet style but all vegetarian food. The concept is you eat what you want and pay what you feel. It’s a non profit institution basically. Even though the food choices are limited, it tasted pretty good. And anything for a good cause is worth visiting. 28

After that is our couple time again where we went to Crawley boatshed to take photos with the popular boatshed! 31

I love seeing those black swans! 34

then we end our day with a carrot cake at Dome Cafe before going back Sanyi’s house for dinner!

Day 4 – hunting for good wine! 36

First stop was to Sandalford wines! They have really good wines! A pity we cannot bring them back to Singapore. 38

Then to Providore, the chocolate sauce and condiments were so good. 40

We also visited the Margaret River Chocolate Company where we tried so many chocolates until I got ulcers. Chilli chocolate tastes really funny.

It was already raining but we decided to go Caversham wildlife park. Honestly we already don’t know what to do. LOL.

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We spent the rest of our afternoons there checking out animals. 43

I also recommend you to try the Connoisseur ice cream if you haven’t before. I think it’s better than Magnum! 44

There’s a meet the animals session where you get to hug the Wombat ( i think? ). If you are wondering if I did take a photo with him, no I didn’t. 45

We uber/grab to Yahava Koffeeworks next! 46

had coffee and bagel here and decided that the coffee from Yahava in Singapore is better. 47

But the scenery outside is so beautiful so it’s not a wasted trip afterall. 

Day 5 –

We went to Watertown Brand Outlet Centre then The Tuck Shop Cafe followed by Sayers Sister. Our plan was to follow our parents for the remaining days but we ended up wandering off again. 49

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If you google cafes in Perth, The Tuck Shop is always being recommended! And I got to agree the food is really good here! 53

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I never tried the other items on the menu but I highly recommend the lamb pie and fries with gravy! SO GOOD I tell you. I think I can eat 3 myself.

We went to Sayers Sisters next for coffee and cake. 56

I wanted to try the coffee only but Simon ordered the cake too. If I’m not wrong, it’s flourless chocolate cake. 

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Feeling like a stuffed toy now, we went to Hyde Park. It’s just a really huge park with basically nothing and only trees. But it was so relaxing and beautiful. 59

Since we have no where else to go, we decided to take a train to Cottlesloe to visit the Cottlesloe beach. 60

It’s amazing. 

Day 6. 

We went to Janelle’s workplace to find her and San Yi bought me lip pencil and lipstick! So nice of her! 61

then to Hillary Boat Harbour, and bought the super delicious honey cake.

http://www.thehoneycake.com.au/visit-our-shop/ if you go perth you must buy. It’s so good believe me!

Our late lunch was at D’Big mama at Coventry Village.

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Uncle James recommended us this place and we really like the food. 64

I honestly eat alot during this trip. Simon gained like 3-5kgs?

On our last day! We have some time to spare before our flight so we went to Swan Canning Riverpark and then University of Western Australia UWA. 65

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The university is so beautiful. How I wish I was studying there.

For lunch we went back to D’big mama again to try the new bamboo noodles. 68

Read the review here!

And we went back to San Yi house to eat duck meat and nachos before packing up and to the airport.

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71Thank you San Yi and San Yi Zhang for hosting and taking care of us! It was such a wonderful week! We will visit you soon. 😀

And that’s all for today. Anyway people I have decided to cut down on my travels to 2-3 times a year. I have been spending my extras on my travels and I realized the amount of money I could save if I could just practice a little bit of self control. What would I do if I don’t have the extras anymore right? I can travel anytime I want after I retire. So now my priority now is to save and retire early.

And in the meantime look forward to my Japan trip in November!! yay!!!

Till the next time people! 😀
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S-series, E45: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with our friends!

Hi,

A couple of months back we went and challenge ourselves going up the Bukit Timah Hill.

Traditionally, by saying ‘we’ I meant Claire and I. But this time we have awesome company joining us in our long-awaited hikes, Ivy and Sebas. Well anyhow, we started our walk from the classic entrance

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I liked what the site Huckberry does everytime they end their newsletter in my email.

Show me someone’s awesome outdoorist photo with the caption: “See you out there.”

So I’m gonna spread that ideal now guys.

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See You Out There.

[Claire and Simon’s Explore Series]

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 2: Exploring Hakone 1/2 (Image-intensive!)

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 1: Arrival in Hakone and Odawara Castle 

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 3: Exploring Hakone 2/2 (Image-intensive and excessive words!)

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 4: Let’s go back to Tokyo! Ichiran ramen, Cat Cafe & Senso-ji.

Watch day 1 here:

Hi

We woke up early today, hoping to cover all the places we shortlisted. Its a long list and it involves a lot of walking. Ambitious. We will be attempting what was known as the Hakone ‘Loop’, which goes one round around the popular tourist sights in the Hakone region, but I’ll skip all the museums and art exhibits because I’m an uncultured swine. I preferred to visit  what nature has to offer rather than paying entrance fees to see man-made art pieces and wasting time contemplating what the heck the artists were trying to tell me. Limited time limited funds and limited interests, that’s about right for me.


SENGOKUHARA SUSUKI-SOGEN

Susuki is the Japanese name for Japanese Pampas Grass, also known as Chinese Silver Grass. I think I’ll stick to susuki because its so much shorter than the others.

We woke up early in the morning to catch a local bus for Sengokuhara. The buses were easy to navigate thanks to the popularity of Hakone to foreign tourists. The buses all have a few languages showing on the screen telling you which stop is coming up next. Combined with Google Maps, even though its not very accurate, its good enough for us to navigate.

The bus took about 20mins from Miyagino town to Sengokuhara.

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We stopped opposite the cute bus stop, absolutely have to snap a shot. Then we made our way to the Susuki-Sogen or the Japanese Pampas Grass Fields. So long-winded..

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…Then the disappointment.. You see, we expected to see at least a little of the golden grasses on the fields.. But I found out too late that we can only see the golden grass during autumn. Its summer now and all the susuki are green. Bummer.

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Claire was very impressed by the neat rows of pine?/spruce? trees up along the tree lines. We had a tight schedule, if not I’ll probably drag her into the forest just to see how its like inside. But if a bear appears I won’t know what to do, I know I wont win.

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So after taking a couple more photos, we made our way back to the cute bus stop and catch a bus back to Miyagino, where we’re based for this couple days.

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MIYAGINO

We noticed the Little Prince Museum along the way on our bus. Claire thought it looked very grand and the little Prince is cute, even though both of us never read the book and know next to nothing besides the name ‘Little Prince’. We still end up alighting our bus and made a detour to visit the place. We entered the lobby, went up to the ticket counter and inquire about the entrance fees, saw the price, and left. LOL. It was a little over our budget so we just took a few pictures in the front garden. FOC.

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We then catch another bus and went on our way back to the town. Where we followed the dreadful short cut up to Gora station…

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Its dreadful because I nearly died here, climbing down the crumbling, moss covered stairs with 2 luggages on my hands. Luckily, we don’t have our luggages with us today. So I get to shoot some moss. DSC04408

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Fancy us finding red maple leaves in summer. Onwards to Gora station for our cable car ride. The Cablecar is really just a few cabins on a track hanging by a few steel cables by the side of the mountain. We got dragged up by the cable from Gora to Sounzan station, and the journey was best described like a sardine in a packed can. The cabin is our tin can, and we are the sardines, dragged along the side of the mountain to Sounzan. In between both terminal stations are a number of stops to other attractions in the area, but everybody seems to be going to Sounzan, hence the metaphor.


SOUNZAN STATION

The Sounzan station is the terminal station for 2 services. The Hakone Tozan Cablecar from Gora, and the Hakone Ropeway to Togendai. After escaping from the can (of sardines), we decided to take a breather outside the station. Its mid day now and all the tourist never bothered to come out and explore the area, they just went straight to the ropeway. Well we usually try to avoid crowded places, because that’s the essence of exploration isn’t it?

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And this is what we found, right outside the station. A little caravan kinda cafe. Well I don’t see the ‘locomotive’ attached to it anywhere so I think its quite permanent here.

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Claire decided it was cute and so she posed in front of it.
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There isn’t any other customer inside the cafe, I thought since its such a hip(pie) coffee joint it must be crowded right? Well its either his coffee is bad or the tourists here only follow what’s shown on travel guidebooks. Anyways, since Claire posed at the door step of the place, I have to patronize it right? So we ordered 2 coffees to go. Its decent coffee this guy makes, so it must be the tourists here don’t know how to explore then.

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We then went out to the carpark and took in the view. There’s the mountain with the word (大) on it, in Chinese it means ‘Big’. I believe it means the same thing in Japanese too. Intrigued by it, we decided to take a wefie with it.

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After the coffee break, we went on to take the ropeway. I took our very own cablecar back in Singapore, so I know what to expect. But Claire never done that, so she quite excited, or scared. I don’t which is more true in her context.

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OWAKUDANI

Owakudani is a volcanic valley with active sulphur vents as you can see from the ropeway. It gives a great vantage point to see the whole valley, its especially awe-inspiring when your ropeway car goes over the mountain and the whole smoking valley comes into view. Its also equally awe-inspiring when you got hit with wave after waves of sulphurous stench.

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See what I mean? Look at that lady covering her nose in the ropeway.

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If only those smoking vents were some aroma-therapy-eucalyptus-essential-oil-kind-of-stuff if you know what I mean.

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Well before we ride the ropeway, we were each given a piece of disposable wet tissue to cover our nasal orifice, but because no one is using it, so we didn’t as well.

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We alighted at Owakudani to see those fuming sulphurous vents and eat the black eggs. Legend states that eating one egg can extend our lifespans by 7 years. So we bought a pack of 5, split them equally between us, and now we each have 17.5 years added to our original lifespan. Duh.

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After eating the eggs, we took some wefies with the help of my well worned 2nd hand tripod.

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Then I noticed in the distance, hidden behind the clouds, was the magnificently symmetrical cone of Mt Fuji. But its so cloudy over there its like its hidden behind a veil. Too bad for us, best season to see Mt Fuji from Hakone is autumn I heard, we’re one season early.


Now my friends, I realized how I’ve made this post a rather long winded one. That reflects my character, I’m a 32 yrs old male with a mental state of an elderly man. With that, I shall end it here and adjourn my relentless ramblings till next time.

Yours sincerely, with lots of saliva,

Simon

Melbourne 7D6N (Spring): Day1 P2 Southern Cross Station and the Higher Ground Cafe Melbourne! 

Travel on Airbnb and get more than $20 in travel credit! Click here! 

Watch our travel video here!

Read the other posts here:

Melbourne 7D6N in summary plus my outfits
S-series: Cafe hopping in the coffee capital MELBOURNE, visited 11 coffee places! Check this out!
S-series: Gear review: Carl Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 lens + some shots of our Melbourne trip! 
Melbourne 7D6N: The Airbnb we stayed- Light & Airey Collingwood loft apt
Melbourne 7D6N (Spring): Day 1 Melbourne Tullamarine Airport, Skybus Express and Myki Card!

Welcome back people. It’s Melbourne again. So continue from the previous post.. I was eating burger at Hungry Jack’s…..

After our unhealthy meal, we took tram 86 from Spencer St/Bourke St to Rose St tram stop, then walk the rest of the way to our Airbnb. Along Bourke St, the tram had to stop because of the demo going on outside.

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All these grandmothers are so cool and friendly. Because of them the tram couldn’t move so we spend quite awhile watching them walk by. They even wave and said hi to me. Maybe cause I was videoing them haha. 25

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After like don’t know how long the tram finally started moving and we continue our journey to Rose St. 33

We had to walk about 15mins to the Knife Shop at Wellington St to get our keys from the bnb owner.

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Along the way there are many interesting stores and one of them are The Craft & Co. Love the building too. 

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And here we are at the Knife Shop Cafe which is just beside the Knife Shop. I seriously thinking if the owner owns all of these.

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Finally checked into our Airbnb. Before that we met the owner, she was this elderly lady sitting in the knife shop. She saw us wrapped in thick clothing and shivering. She asked were we cold? We told her we were freezing. She comment: ‘Freezing? Its nice today, yesterday was really hot, it was like 27 degrees I think?’ Oh my goodness.. My aircon at home is always at 27 degrees…

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We settled in and familiarize ourselves with our loft room. Its got all the basic necessities, even have a kitchen sink in the room! It was so spacious it could pass off as a studio apartment in our home country.

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We went out to explore the area around our Bnb and begin looking for our dinner place!

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Stopped at Pavlov’s duck to take our couple shots. Wanted to try the food here but didn’t have time. 434.5

Beautiful flowers everywhere! It’s spring you know! 6

Hihi it’s us. 😀5

Love this shot! Simon left his camera on a window ledge across the street and dashed back and forth to get the best shot you see above. Who said we need to hire a photographer when we have window ledges. 🙂

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Then we took the tram back to Southern Cross station. 45

to check out the different timings for the train, prepare ourselves for the next day. 46

Then we went to Woolworths. Tim tam is only $2.50 here! 48

47Mango flavour was damn sweet. 

Its getting dark real quick, so we decided its time we go get our dinner settled. We were near one of our shortlisted cafe places to visit that’s still open at this hour. Many cafes don’t serve dinner as we soon found out in our trip.. So we were really lucky The Higher Ground is open at 7pm. We went in, a little lost because we were really shy, but a waitress soon attend to us and showed us to a table. Not knowing what to order and still struggling a little with the Aussie accent, we managed to order the following for dinner. LOL.

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Our appetizer: Almond Hummus, seed cracker, roasted chilli and spices.

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We shared a main, recommended by the waitress: Confit Duck leg on pan seared sweet potatoes. This is the best duck dish we ever had to date. Honest.

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And how can we not have coffee in Melbourne? Latte and Mocha for me! Our first quality coffee in Melbourne and we savour every last drop!

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And that concludes our first day in Melbourne. It was really awesome, the chill vibe after 5pm, unlike Singapore where our rush hour goes all the way till 8pm. LOL.

Day 2 coming up next so stay tuned!

Ciaoz.

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 1: Arrival in Hakone and Odawara Castle 

Travel on Airbnb and get S$40 in travel credit! Click here! 

Watch the video of our day 1 here:

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 2: Exploring Hakone 1/2 (Image-intensive!)

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 3: Exploring Hakone 2/2 (Image-intensive and excessive words!)

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 4: Let’s go back to Tokyo! Ichiran ramen, Cat Cafe & Senso-ji.

Hi,

I rarely write about our travels, I usually just take the photos and be done with it. But wifey had been asking me to post more of my photos, because when we go out and take nice photos, its to be shared and enjoyed by whoever who enjoys my work. While its not much, my photography is always a spontaneous overwhelming urge to steal the moment. Its often unplanned and therefore, a hit or miss job. More so with the latter. That’s why on a trip like this, I usually take about 2-300 photos per day, on average. But the ones that passed my QC number at around 10%.

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GEAR

Anyways to cut the story short, we went on this trip on a whim and rushed through the planning. The kit I brought with me was poorly planned as well.

  • Sony a7II
  • Zeiss Batis 25mm f2
  • Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8
  • Voigtlander Super-wide Heliar 15mm f4.5 III
  • Velbon travel tripod (flimsy old unknown model)

The heaviest lens and also the most under used one is the Batis 85… Throughout the trip, its only there in my backpack to weigh me down.. Voigtlander is a specialty lens so its understood that it will see little usage. So I’m only left with my Batis 25 to cover most of my shots, and I can’t count the number of times I wish I’ve had my Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm f1.5 with me.


GORA, HAKONE

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Gora Station of the Hakone Tozan Railway. This is the terminal stop where we will be taking the Tozan Cablecar up to Sounzan Station tomorrow. Well that’s for the next post.


MIYAGINO

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What a peaceful place, our bnb was at Miyagino Town. On the map it looks really close, but I neglected the terrain, the short cut from Gora to Miyagino involves multiple narrow flights of stairs that nearly sent me to my Maker, as I carry both our luggage and negotiated those endless, crumbling stone steps… This tranquil river is the exact opposite of my mental state.

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And finally some rest in our traditional Japanese home styled bnb. Tatami floors are awesome, they gave us that peaceful zen feeling unlike those cold hard tiled flooring in our HDBs. I just lay down on the tatami and stayed there for like 30mins while Claire dolled herself up.


ODAWARA

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We next spent an hour on a local bus all the way to Odawara, on which we dozed off and missed our stop. Ended up walking an extra 5mins to Odawara Castle. By then every’s closed, so no visiting the castle and no shopping for medieval Japanese souvenirs…

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Escape the castle.

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And stumbled into a forest of hydrangea.

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And after a little while, the sun begins to set. Guess we should move on to dinner.

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Odawara Fish Market Den (小田原 魚河岸 でん)

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And here’s our dinner place, after walking for half an hour. Claire found this place online and as the temperature turned Southwards, we welcomed the large bowls of piping hot miso soup with lots of scrap fish meats inside. 100 yen each if you bought it with a rice bowl. I’ll let Claire tell you about how awesome this place is. Stay tune. 

Odawara was a small town that we didn’t have much time to explore properly. I believe they have much more to offer, but our highlight for this trip is exploring the Hakone area. That will come in my next post. For the night, we ransacked the snacks section at the 7-11 in our bnb area and went to sleep early.

Signing out for now.

Simon

Travel: Cameron Highlands 3D2N in summary and video!

Travel on Airbnb and get S$40 in travel credit! Click here! 

Watch our video here!

In April, I went to Cameron Highlands with Simon, Sebas and Ivy! It was a short 3 days 2 nights trip and it was our very first trip together.

Simon and I used to like Cameron Highlands, we were there a few years ago when we couldnt afford to go anywhere except for Malaysia. We were amazed with the weather, the fresh organic vegetables and the fresh crisp air. But this was what it feels like a few years back. Cameron highlands now is alot different. Probably much more commercialized now which explains the constructions and pollution. Well the food is still good though. Anything strawberry or vegetables related is heaven and the steamboat is the best.

Nevertheless it was still a fun trip even though the bus journey took a lot longer than the usual. Because.it.was.Public.holiday – good friday.

So this was quite a last minute trip.. the 4 of us were supposed to go taiwan in October but your girl here tendered, found a New job and hence screw up the plan. We were lucky enough to get tickets. Very lucky indeed because it was the exact last 4tickets for the round trip.

You can use this link to book your bus tickets to Cameron highlands: http://www.easybook.com/en-sg/bus/booking/singapore-to-cameronhighlands.
We had to go with 2 different bus operators though, Un Express & Travel and Konsortium. Altogether the round trip tickets are about close to $100 per pax.

So as I mentioned, it was a really long trip. Usually the trip would take about 10hours.. but because it was the public holidays, it took us about 15hours to reach our hotel. The jam was super crazy. The bus just didn’t move at all, it didn’t move for 3 freaking hours!! Lesson learnt, never take bus to Malaysia again during public holidays.

And here this is where the summary starts.

Day 1. Checked into our hotel at Cameron Highlands Resort Hotel at Tanah Rata.

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There are so many pine trees around this hotel. Do you know your girl here loves pine trees? We even engraved pine tree onto our wedding band. 😀 4

Lunch was at Restoran Ferm Nyonya. Steamboat is a must have here in Cameron Highlands. The soup base is damn sick. So so so so good.

78A-D, Jalan Camellia 4, Cameron Highland, 39000 Tanah Rata, Pahang, Malaysia

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After our very good lunch, we walked to Tanah Rata bus terminal. Our original plan was to take a bus to the Brinchang night market but we ended up with a half day tour for the next day. Oh we cab to the night market in the end. 18Book our tour with Unititi Express Service. 

Here we are at Brinchang Night Market! Can see mountains from here! 

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We ate quite abit over here. Got crispy pancake.

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Milk tea. Lol their expressions. 38

Its very beautiful at night.

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The very sweet milk tea which I have problems taking pic with. 43

After night market, we cab back to Tanah Rata and head to starbucks. Sebas and Ivy bought Marrybrown for dinner and Simon and I had an early night.

2nd day, Hotel breakfast.

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More photos will be up! 51.5

Couple travel couple date!

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There’s an egg counter too! With all kinds of eggs! 

After our breakfast and preparation, we went down to our hotel lobby to find our tour bus and driver. 

Damn! Jam here again. After 2hours, we finally reach Boh tea plantation. 54

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Then next we went to Mossy forest! 61

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Also learnt a few things about herbs and plants from the tour guide. 

Then to Boh tea cafe. You need to try the scones and tarts here! It was so so crowded on that day though. 73

We queued for an hour and still cant get seats. So we just ordered ice tea and chicken pie to takeaway.

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Nasi lemak cheesecake ok. Dont play play.. 78

our chicken pie!

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In the evening we went to Parit fall! And did abit of exploring. Really crazy. 82

Then we came to this small shop to get snacks cos we are starving.

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Got myself strawberry milkshake! So so nice! 90

Also walk past the Smokehouse Hotel. I wanted to stay here actually but it’s very out of the way. 🙁

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For dinner, Sebas suggested seafood so we came to Anjer’s corner! 94

We honestly don’t know if it’s clean anot but we ate these anyway. All 4 of us were like competing to see who got the smallest shrimp. LOL.

After our ‘afternoon tea’, we cab back to Barracks Cafe (very near our hotel) and had the most delicious chicken chop in our life.

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Very nice setting too! 104

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Black pepper chicken chop! The baby carrots are insanely good. You got to trust me! Never eaten anything like that before! 109

Scone!

Day 3: Back to Singapore.. 110

Stopover at Ipoh and had Ipoh Horfun. It’s seriously damn good eh. I need to go Ipoh real soon. 116The white coffee is really awesome too, will share details on the blog soon. 😀

Once again, thank you for reading! 😀 and i cant wait for my next holiday!

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[S-series] Quincy Hotel Staycation 2017, the QOOL Weekend Singapore Staycation Package review!

Hi good day people,

Today’s post is about the chance to stay at Quincy Hotel at Orchard. We were privileged and grateful for the stay here at this awesome boutique hotel hidden away behind Mt Elizabeth Hospital.

Check out the room and what we do in this video here!

Check out Quincy Hotel’s deal here!

Its a small 4*Hotel with 108 rooms that markets itself as a hip hotel that appeal to the younger people or business traveler.  You can enjoy all-day light refreshments including buffet breakfast, complimentary in-room mini bar and evening cocktails as long as you stay with Quincy. These are something you don’t find in most hotels, or at least in those few hotels that I’ve stayed before both local and abroad. It also features a LED illuminated infinity pool on the 12th floor which also houses what I think is a small bar.. of sorts, the well equipped gym (which me and Claire utilized), a sauna and some shower facilities with all the towels and amenities you may need! Its got everything you need for a relaxing staycation!

Its no wonder that Quincy Hotel won the Best Hotel Experience Award at the Singapore Tourism Awards 2017They covered all bases.

Today we came here to enjoy their Qool Weekend Staycation, which comes with the following:

  • 1 night accommodation in the Studio Room
  • Buffet Breakfast at The Lobby.
  • All-Day light refreshments
  • Complimentary in-room mini-bar (replenished daily)
  • Evening Cocktails from 6pm to 8.30pm
  • LUSH fresh handmade bath bomb.
  • Movie Night by the pool (Only on Saturdays at 9pm)
  • All Quincy benefits.
  • Qookielicious Cookie Making & Decorating Class from 3pm to 4pm on Saturday
  • 24hrs access to Infinity Pool and Private Gym

Sounds interesting to me! And so we arrived  at the Quincy.

*Caution: Picture intensive post*

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The interior is modern and chic. Like a hipster cafe for youngsters like.. erm, me. I’m still young right..

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The Qool Weekend Package includes a stay in their Studio Room, featuring all the basic hotel room set up with bonuses you don’t find in the usual boutique hotels here, at least in my own limited experiences.

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There is limited privacy in the bathroom, well its mean’t more for couples or the lonesome business men or women, so no one bothers to pull the curtains yah?

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All these are on the house, not much ain’t it? But wait, remember you get all day refreshments downstairs. Stay tuned for the photos of the afternoon refreshments coming up.

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Random Magazines..

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You also get to pick up your very own ‘Travel Companion’ with internet connection too, I heard from Claire this is a growing trend with hotels here. Didn’t know that..

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We were handed a LUSH bath bomb. If you follow Claire’s Blog enough, you’ll probably read about our few failed attempts with bath bombs… Hope this one works.

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And also with the Qool Weekend package, we also get to participate in the Qookielicious Cookie Making Class!

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Got all the necessary ingredients laid out for us.

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Fellow participants following Chef’s instructions.

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And miraculously the cookies were cut and baked to perfection.

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And were decorated with meringue icing, using our limited artistic talents..

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Group shot of the class, Qool yeah.

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While we were busy making cookies.. I didn’t notice that there were muffins and cakes by the side. These were the ‘light refreshments’ and they were always replenished promptly.. unless they ran out of course. *The Ondeh-ondeh cake is the dope.

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Free flow coffee, unless you can finish the beans on both machine, I shall clap for you.

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And free flow Vanilla soft serve!! People!! What is this sorcery!!

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Juices and chilled canned drinks.

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To be honest, we helped ourselves with multiple servings, the pic is just the first round. LOL

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No, seriously, this cake is super tasty. Unless you don’t like ondeh-ondeh, which you’re probably from another planet anyways.

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Oh did I mention the chocolate, caramel or strawberry sauce by the soft serve dispenser? You get to help yourself to the whole bottle if you so wish to die real soon..

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The much needed Grab kiosk because to come to this hotel you’ve gotta walk. Luckily we didn’t have to curry a luggage, if not I will probably swear the whole way here in our awesome climate.

While leaving the Lobby area, we noticed the staff changing the light refreshments set up to some kind of fried food etc. I think its really great that this hotel actually meant it 100% with their all-day light refreshments promise. Because a lot of times, me and Claire been to places where they short change you by just claiming their ‘out of stock’. Bullshit right…

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So now its time for us to explore the famed inifinity pool. Actually I don’t intend to dip in the pool. That’s why i actually hid my swimming trunks away so Claire couldn’t find it. LOL. In the end she just scraped the idea. I’m really scared of drowning…

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This is actually the shower room on the 12th floor. right beside…

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…the sauna. Sauna in a small boutique hotel can you believe it??

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Exercise machines here looks state-of-the-art, although I have no idea what’s state-of-the-art..

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And of course, a full set of bar bells which I don’t have at home, can’t help it, must take the chance to utilize since its available. LOL. I usually don’t go to the gym because my body can’t really compare to those muscular men flaunting their meat. I just try to keep fit as and when I get the chance, with whatever I have at home. But since no one’s here in the gym, I have everything for myself with no grunting men staring at how their muscle fibres expand and contract while doing bicep curls.. You get what I mean?

We spent some time at the gym, me pumping some irons while Claire hit the cross-trainer, all in the wrong attire. Well no one stopped us, we had the place to ourselves LOL.

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Then we went outside to this open air place cut into the building, the infinity pool!

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I’m sure if we take a photo from the right angle it would be quite awe-inspiring. But we were shy people.. Sorry.

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View of our cityscape, gloomy weather isn’t it.

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This look like a small bar, unmanned but I think you can just help yourself to whatever they stocked here.

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Here’s a closer view when the other hotel guests left the place. Shy mah…

Then then then we went out for a bit and totally missed the cocktail session. Who can fault us right? Do you know Quincy is just 5mins away from Far East Plaza, 10mins from Paragon and Lucky Plaza. Its the prime shopping district people, of course we would go shopping right!

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So we came back to the 12 floor just to see what’s showing at the pool side movie session, but we have no idea whats the show about so we left and decided to turn in for the night.

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Anyway back in the room, we decided to take a bath, so we went ahead to chuck the bath bomb into a tub of water and watch it come up pink and purple with petal-like substances..

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It worked rather well this time round, so we went on to enjoy the bath. No photos of course, duh.


Good morning.

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Gloomy day again. But must have breakfast now.

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The breakfast spread was a little low on variety, but i am very satisfied with the quality of the food items (except for the coffee of course, can’t expect pro barista standards from an automatic machine..).

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And that’s about it. The selling point of this Qool Weekend deal must’ve been all the benefits you enjoy being a guest at Quincy Hotel. All the facilities available to you and the fun classes you can participate in calls for a super relaxing stay yet keeping you occupied with activities. You can of course opt to not join any activities and just rot in your room, its comfy enough for me to just spend my days setting my body’s imprint on the bed. But I would rather hit the gym or dip in the infinity pool to make my day a more fulfilling one. Well maybe the gym more so than the pool. I’m scared of drowning.. even though the pool looks kinda shallow enough for me to stand with my head above the water…

DSC04184In conclusion, me and Claire really enjoyed our stay here at Quincy Hotel. If we can’t be travelling to other country, I would definitely throw my money in Quincy’s way for a relaxing weekend staycation.

Check out Quincy Hotel’s deal here!

Note: Package only available for Fridays and Saturdays only.

The Quincy Hotel
22 Mount Elizabeth
Singapore 228517

Signing out,
Simon Tey