Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Weekend getaway to Kuala Lumpur!

A couple of weeks back , i went over to KL and i had the perfect excuse to make this impromptu weekend getaway - colleague’s baby 1st birthday celebration (the parents are Malaysians) The whole gang of us made our own transport arrangements and the fastest way to get to KL would definitely be via plane HOWEVER because a couple of us waited till the very last minute to book our flights, the rates were exorbitant (probably due to the Hari Raya public holiday) so we decided that we would take an overnight chartered car over on Friday night and take an evening flight back on Sunday - which gives us about 2 full days in KL!

The overnight car ride started at around 10pm and we eventually arrived in KL at about 3am. Checked into the hotel, immediately unpacked and went to sleep as we had to wake up early the next day. Not gonna mention which hotel as there is nothing much to rave about the place and it was not a very good hotel imo. Location wise, awesome (just a 5 mins walk to Pavilion) but the walls were thin and we could literally hear the music from the club downstairs through the thin walls. There were even drilling noise at 3am. Zzz Just in case you are wondering which hotel it is, here’s a little hint - "First camera themed boutique hotel in KL” 
 Sharing on 2 cafes which i visited during my short trip to KL! 
 Antipodean Cafe 
20, Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, 
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

The last time I visited Antipodean Cafe was about 2 years ago and it had a lasting impression in my mind. What i really like about this cafe is that they serve great English food. The variety ranges from the typical breakfast set, pancakes, sandwiches for breakfast/ brunch to pastas and pizzas after 11am. There’s even cocktail and beer so basically you can visit the cafe at any time of the day. You don’t get a physical menu because the entire menu is written across the walls. The price is really affordable (especially after conversion and no GST!) 
Botanica + Co 
8, Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, 
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

Before this trip, my friend from KL sent me photos of Botanica+ Co and i knew i had to visit this cafe/ restaurant no matter what. I’m a huge fan of places with natural lighting and Botanica + Co immediately made it to the top of my list of favourite cafes in KL because of the interior flora and fauna design and they also serve awesome food! The cafe is a little out of place so i would recommend you take a cab or Grab (in fact just Grab wherever you go in KL because it’s so cheap, lol) Despite being so full from our earlier brunch at Antipodean, we still ordered a Bo+Co fruit bowl and Chicken mashed potato bowl from their seasonal menu. 
On top of that, we decided to order a carafe of their signature Bo+Co cocktail which makes a great Sunday afternoon drink. The drink is so light and refreshing and it's infused with fresh mixed fruits. I would definitely return to Botanico + Co to try out their other food items and also visit their new outlet at Alila Bangsar! 

My return flight from KL to Singapore was booked via Traveloka. Long gone are the days where you have to open up tabs after tabs on your browser to compare fares and prices because of sites like Traveloka now readily help you to compare cheap flight tickets and hotels with the most intensive search results. Not only that, you get to enjoy great promotions every now and then which helps you to save money (which also meant more $$ to spend on your trip!) 

Booking with Traveloka means… 

 ⁃ Getting a honest price as all prices listed are inclusive of all taxes, surcharges or payment fee. No more getting last minute shock of an increased price at the checkout page! 

⁃ Unsure of which accommodation to get? With 2,000,000+ verified reviews from real hotel guests, it will definitely aid you in making the right decision. 

⁃ In the event of overbooked rooms or problems with your booking, Traveloka will recommend a similar hotel for you at no additional costs. Or your money back. 

⁃ With various payment option available, you can pay via Credit Card, Debit Card, Internet Banking or at 7-Eleven - with no transaction fee. 

If you are in my situation where you need a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, you can also source for Cheap Air Ticket via Traveloka! Above is a screenshot of return flights fare between KL and SIN for the month of August. The fares are really affordable and reasonable! :) 

With that said, for those thinking of a destination for a short weekend getaway, why not consider KL? Go for a shopping spree at the Pavilion, cafe hopping (there are plentyyy to choose from!) or why not spend a day at the nearby Sunway lagoon which i did for my previous trip 2 years ago! Did i mention that flight time from SIN to KL is only 50 mins compared to the 5 hours via road?

Signing off,                            

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Japan Travelogue Day 4: Guide to DisneySEA

Following the previous post on Disneyland, here’s the follow up post to the next theme park, DisneySEA! As mentioned in the previous post, (click HERE to read if you haven’t!) I bought the 2 day theme park tickets via KKday in advance (note that the 2 tickets have to be use on consecutive days) DisneySEA is exclusively to Tokyo only so i was really really excited for Day 2 because i have no idea what to expect!
DisneySEA is located beside Disneyland so the same station to stop at applies - JR Maihama Station. Not sure if you can walk from the station to DisneySEA but we took the Disney themed monorail for ¥260 ($3) which leads you to the entrance of the park. Since we are already there, might as well go for the full experience!
Weather was so much better than the previous day at Disneyland even though there were still on and off drizzle from time to time. Even though there are a lot of information on the theme parks online, i tried my best to refrain from reading too much so that i don’t end up spoiling myself at DisneySEA. LOL
Remember the Micky popcorn bucket that i bought the previous day at Disneyland? This time i brought it along and i filled it to the brim with snacks that i bought from the supermarket! HAHAHHA #cheapo
DisneySEA also has the FastPass system in place and here are the must go rides:

- Journey to the Center of the Earth
- Nemo and Friends SeaRider
- Mermaid Lagoon Theatre (King Triton’s Concert)
- Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull
- Raging Spirits
- Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania!

I would say the most popular ride in DisneySEA would be the Toy Story Mania! Queue can be for as long as 3 hours and even though i arrived early in the morning and got my first FastPass at Toy Story, my timing was already for 5.20pm. So i would highly recommend for everyone to rush to get your FastPass for Toy Story first. Before the ride, I honestly had no idea what the ride was about and why it was so popular.
First ride of the day (and the shortest queue at 30 mins) was Aquatopia located at the Port Discovery area of the park! If you read my previous Disneyland post on the “trackless ride system” for the Winnie the Pooh ride, the Aquatopia is also one of the 5 rides in the world which uses the same system! It was really fun “floating” on water, avoiding everyone else on this ride, highly recommended!
Next to the Aquatopia is one of the newest attraction - Nemo & Friends SeaRider (opened on May 17) The queue was soooo long and since we had some time before the next FastPass, we decided to start queuing for it. We queued for about an hour or so, and was presented with a short pre-show on what to expect and next thing we know, we were ushered into the “SeaRider” which is apparently a 4D ride. LOL It was quite fun, maybe not the best ride for those prone to motion sickness but highly recommended for families who are familiar with the whole Finding nemo storyline.
Next up, Journey to the center of the earth! This is probably one of the highlight rides in the whole of DisneySEA. When you first enter the theme park (or even before) you will notice that a  huge “volcano” sits in the middle of the park and that’s where the Journey to the center of the earth attraction lies. It’s honestly one of the best ride i have ever took in terms of the overall experience.

You get into the mine vehicle which literally brings you through the volcano down to the center of the earth (duh!), the effects, the different areas, everything was so elaborated and well designed. But because everything happens so fast, you don’t really get to stop and admire each area but leave it to your imagination. Awesome.
While wandering around the park, you might spot these talented “cleaners” painting portraits of Disney characters on the floor simply by using their brush and water. Do grab a photo of the images before they evaporates!
Another ride which i took the FastPass was Raging Spirits which is just a roller coaster ride with a 360 degree loop. Probably because it’s a thrilling ride that’s why so many queue for this.
Spotted Mr. Incredibles! (Note: This post took me so long that the new Incredibles 2 movie is out today in cinemas, LOL)
I really love meeting mascots! It’s like they gives out these positive vibes to everyone around them by being so cheerful and happy. Then again, i wonder if the person inside is like that or is it just plain acting because it’s their job. Hmm…
You know how Disneyland have their daily parade, DisneySEA does it over the waters on their float! During the period i was there, it was the Halloween event thus they had the whole Disney villain theme ongoing. Love it!
While wandering around, we chanced upon Mermaid Lagoon (which we actually have no intention of visiting) The area is themed to the palace of King Triton and is supposed to portray being under the sea. The rides inside are mostly kiddy rides and just nice when we were there, a show was about to start so we went in together with the crowd without knowing what it is about.

Apparently we went into the Mermaid Lagoon Theater, and guess what. IT WAS THE BEST SHOW EVER. It’s basically a “under the sea" musical show with Ariel and her friends and it was so well executed even though i have no idea what they were saying in Japanese. I almost teared at how good it is (i swear i’m not exaggerating!) The standard is like those you need to pay for tickets to watch in the Singapore indoor stadium kind. I was so impressed that i always recommend it to whoever is going to DisneySEA to go watch it. LOLOLOL
In DisneySEA, tickets to shows such as the “Big Band Beat” at the Broadway Music Theatre are only available via lottery so you have to try your luck at this place called the “Biglietteria” and you may attempt a lottery for each show only once a day. So you go there, scan your park tickets at the machine and pray that you win reserved ticket(s) to the show. Good luck!
On top of the usual rides and attractions, there are game stalls inside DisneySEA as well. For the entire day I was lamenting on how every other person is carrying a huge Donald duck in their hands and how i wish i had one too, LOL We finally found the game store after roaming around. The mechanics of the game sounds easy but it’s actually quite difficult to win. Had to try a couple of times before winning it and i was a happy boy for the rest of the day! :D
At about 5pm, we finished visiting most of the must-go rides in DisneySEA and we headed back to Toy Story land to utilise our FastPass for the highly raved Toy Story Mania ride which i mentioned earlier.
Even with the FastPass, we had to queue for a good 15 to 20 mins before our turn but that cannot be compared to those queueing for up to 3 hours just for this ride. The interior of the ride was really interesting and colourful. The toys were larger than life and all of us were like shrunk to the size of a toy.
When it was our turn, we were ushered into the little carts. On a side note, the staffs inside the theme parks were really professional and regardless whether you understand japanese, they will just rattle off the safety procedures to you. LOL

I went on the ride without any expectations because i have no idea what it is about and that’s when the real fun begin. IT’S AN INTERACTIVE RIDE where you have to use the “toy gun” to play a mini carnival game whenever the cart stops in front of a screen. The more targets you hit, the more points you accumulate. It was soooo fun and being competitive me, i went trigger happy and tried to score as many as i can. Did i mention that we had to wear 3D glasses so everything on the screen seem to real and things were “flying” out of the screen. HAHAHA

The whole ride went on and on for a good 5 mins? (longer than usual rides in fact) and everyone had so much fun and laughter. No wonder it’s the most popular ride in the entire DisneySEA!
Our last attraction ride of the day in DisneySEA - Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull! This ride is also one of the popular rides in the theme park, you embark on a journey on this vehicle into the “temple” but the temple's vengeful guardian spirit, the Crystal Skull, is not happy about this and unleash his anger. It’s a high speed ride and like the Journey to the center of the earth ride, the details and ride was as amazing.

With proper planning, we managed to finish every single one of the must-go rides and attractions by 7pm which leaves us some time for dinner and get a nice seat for the final night show at the main harbour.
DisneySEA is famous for their exclusive characters which started from Duffy and now his friends. I even went to read up online on how this Duffy came about but not so much on the friends. I just feel like they created more characters like the rabbit and the cat to cater to the likes of different people. Then weave some cute story on how they link to Duffy. Smart move Disney, smart move.
I still think that Duffy is the cutest among all. Bought a few small Duffy and Shellie May (the girlfriend, lol) as souvenir for myself and some friends. Other than Duffy, the rest all have weird names tho. Shellie May (the gf), Gelatoni (the cat) and StellaLou (the rabbit) How did they even come up with the names???
The view was so amazing at night! It’s like everything came to life. In case you are wondering what camera i’m using for my trip, it’s either my iPhone 7+ (for the not so good quality ones) and my trusty Canon G7X Mark II. Not sure if guys can see the difference in quality tho.
Last but not least, the ultimate show to end the night! Music, water, pyrotechnics and fireworks. So impressive! I’m not gonna talk too much about the show because i suspect they change the show from time to time so by the time some of you go there, it’s a totally different show altogether BUT do stay for the show because it will complete your DisneySEA experience. Unless it’s raining.

With that said, this marks the end of my Disneyland/ DisneySEA guide. Time to continue on my Japan Travelogue! (At the rate that i’m going… it might really take me a year to complete this travelogue, LOL) I’m currently at Day 4, means 10 more days to go since i went japan for 2 weeks? LOL

Till the next post!