Sunday, September 21, 2014

2014 August: Singapore: Satisfying your Taste Buds

Satisfying your taste buds in Singapore

Hawker is the best option in satisfying your tummies when travelling in Singapore.  But since I’m doing a solo trip, I’d rather stay in less crowded areas to enjoy my meal. Below are the visited restaurants in my Singapore - August 2014 trip.

Toast box
Food: 8 out of 10
Value: Affordable
Atmosphere: 8 out of 10
Location: Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition  Centre, 1 Raffles Boulevard; Also available in many locations across S’pore and Philippines
Order: Kaya Toast

From the woody theme in 2012, they have revamped into clarifying white theme this time.  

Paris Baguette
Food: 9 out of 10
Value: Affordable
Atmosphere: 9 out of 10
Location: Arrival Hall Terminal 2, Changi Airport 
Order: Nuts & Nuts $5.26 (185 php, 2014)

As a fan of Korean cafes, it is so cool to be welcomed by a Korean brand in another country.  Stepping out of the arrival gates and about to head to the subway station, I bumped into Paris Bagauette in Changi Airport Terminal 2.  It is already passed 5pm, so they have limited menu.  Thus, I chose only from the available pastries and have tasted nuts and nuts caramelized bread.

Moving along the other malls of Singapore, there are also other locations of P&B.

2014 August: Singapore: Bugis: The Pod Capsule Hotel

Buying plane tickets two months before my travel date gave me few options on where I could stay.  In Singapore, I already experienced staying in a condominium, HDB and single-room in Clarke Quay.  With cost as a decision factor, also to feel the experience I decided not to try in Japan, I get to stay in a capsule hotel.  After searching several the same service in, I chose the most decent from what I see in the pictures and read in the reviews – The Pod

Location: 289 Beach Road Level 3 Singapore 199552
Boutique capsule hotel catering to discerning travelers who desire fuss-free and convenient living. 
With 83 cozy capsules inspired by modern and minimalistic living, you can look forward to convenience at your fingertips without compromising on comfort, quality or style.
At The POD, personalized concierge services are on hand to satisfy your every need so that you can focus on the things that truly matter. 
Enjoy complimentary laundry service, hot buffet breakfast and Nespresso coffee, high-speed Wi-Fi access and more. A complete set of amenities ensures effortless living right at the centre of Singapore.
Located at the fringe of the Singapore Central Business District, near the Haji Lane - rated as one of the top shopping places in Singapore. [Reference]

Price: Affordable (compared to other accommodations in SG) [PHP 5,663.88 (USD 129.66) for 3 nights]
If you have longer time before your travel date, you could have a chance in getting single room in decent hotels at the same price. 

Location: Good – 10 to 15 minutes walk from 2 different train stations (1) Bugis in EW12, DT14 and (2) Nicoll Highway in CC05. Close to Haji and Arab areas where you can have late drinks with friends.  Very close to shopping areas in Bugis Junction.  Upcoming mall at the grounds of Concourse Skyline will soon be promising. (But in Aug 2014, only Starbucks and small convenient store is open)

Check-in Experience: Read the instruction outside the building on how to open the secured door.  This will lead you to another door going to the elevator.  Aim for 3F which is the reception, you’ll be guided to your floor, room, then pod #.  Everything will be noted on your entry card as well.

Room: Unique experience – It is my first time to stay in a capsule hotel. (Single POD Side Entry - Female Only).   You should be mindful of the etiquette.  Be quiet at all times. Lights off by 11pm.  Each pod is with small desk, light, power socket, 2 pillows, blanket and hanger.  There is also strong wifi signal in the pod, but I’d rather take my Viber calls in the reception area.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Itinerary: Osaka, Okayama, Kobe, Kyoto, Japan

Destinations: Osaka, Okayama, Kobe, Kyoto, Japan
Travel Date: May 16-19 2014 (3d3n)

May 17 (Kobe): 19.3 (mean), 22.5 (max), 14.8 (min)
May 18 (Kyoto): 21 (mean), 28.2 (max), 13 (min)
May 19 (Osaka): 21.6 (mean), 26.7 (max), 16.6 (min)

Hotel IL Cuore Namba
Address: 556-0011, Osaka Naniwa-ku Nambanaka 1-15-15
ホテルイルクオーレなんば   556-0011, 大阪市 浪速区難波中1-15-15
Hotel Review 

Food and Restaurant Tip - Kumpai! 

-From Osaka, go to Okayama by train
-Visit Wake Wisteria Park, Wake Folk Museum
-Go to Kobe by train
-Visit old Western-style buildings in Kitano area
-Walk along Flower Road
-Return to Osaka by train

-From Osaka, go to Kyoto by train
-Visit Mimuroto-ji Temple (Azalea)
-Kawaramachi Catholic Church
-TOEI Kyoto Studio Park
-Return to Osaka by train
-Namba Parks

-In Osaka, visit Nakanoshima Park (Roses)
-Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park
-Departure in Kansai International Airport (KIX)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

2014 May: Japan: Osaka: Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park

Travel Date: May 19. 2014
Location: Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park, Osaka

Humbling experience to see the locals running along with their bikes, the kids playing along the sprinklers and water, ajumma and ajusshi hold their hands while walking.  

After a 10-15 minute walk in lush greenery, it is so much surprising to see this at the end of the road.

2014 May: Japan: Osaka: Nakanoshima Park

Travel Date: May 19. 2014
Location: Nakanoshima Park (Rose Garden)

May is the month when roses bloom in most parts of Japan.  I have visited Nakanoshima Park (Rose Garden).  Coming from Sakaisuji line, drop off at Kitahama station and get off Naniwabashi exit, it is surprising to see the garden in the middle of the river and cityscape.

Tip: Try to visit earlier of the morning or very late in the afternoon.  You don’t want to walk along the park with a very hot 26 degrees Celsius.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

2014 May: Japan: Osaka: Namba Parks

Travel Date: May 18, 2014 Sunday
Namba Parks, Osaka
〒556-0011 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Naniwa-ku, Nanbanaka, 2−10−70

2014 May: Japan: Kyoto: Toei Studio Park

Travel Date: May 18, 2014 Sunday
Toei Kyoto Studio Park Japan
〒616-8161 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Ukyo Ward, Uzumasa Higashihachiokacho, 10
9:00am-6:00pm ・March-July,September(Sat,Sun&Holidays)
Admission: 2200yen

From Nijo take the San-In line, drop by Uzumasa.  There is only one exit and has a sign going to TOEI Studio Park.  

The area is big, but you can spend half a day or 3-4 hours to enjoy and see what's worth of the entrance.

Anime Museum

Hero Land in Padios

2014 May: Japan: Kyoto: Kawaramachi Catholic Church

Central terminals are really confusing. Due to sudden change of itinerary, it took me more time to figure out the name of the line and which platform in Kyoto is going to Kyoto-Shiyakusho-mae station.  

Arriving at the station and taking exit 1, it took around 10-15minutes to reach the Roman Catholic.  Starting May 2014, English mass will only be on 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month.

Kawaramachi Catholic Church (Kyoto Diocese Cathedral)
Kawaramachidori-sanjoagaru, Nakagyo-ku, KYOTO, 604-8006
Patron Saitn: The Holy Mother of the Capital

2014 May: Japan: Kyoto: Mimuroto-ji Temple

Travel Date: May 18, 2014 Sunday 
Mimuroto-ji Temple, Kyoto Prefecture 611-0013, Japan
三室戸寺 21 莵道滋賀谷 Uji,
Open: 8:30 to 16:30 (until 16:00 from November to March)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time; Admission: 500 yen

Aside from Umeda in Osaka, there is another option to reach Kyoto.  I took Keihan Line from Yodobashi station to Chusojima.  Then, exchange to Uji line going to Mimurudo station.

In early weeks of May, you'll see full bloom of azaleas in Mimuroto-ji Temple.  It is about 20 minute walk from the station.  

Check if you can see the signage and directions while being covered by the branches.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

2014 May: Japan: Kobe: Flower Road

Travel Date: May 17, 2014
Location: Flower Road, Kobe, Japan

Traveling solo makes me listen to what I see, I just love to spend sometime making a stop and watch these people as they make music.  

Flower Road gives a promising and untiring walk even for more blocks.  It is well maintained with varieties of flowers and lighted streets at night.