Thursday, July 20, 2017

Staying at Telaga Terrace Boutique Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia.

Stayed there for 4 nights in a deluxe room with family. The hotel is pretty good. The room size is decent- The washroom is very nice with skylight / sun light , plants and nice amenities-

The room size was pretty alright, and could adjust our family with 3 young children. We got an extra bed. Though the room was small but it adjusted the extra bed and the hotel also gave discount on the extra bed charges :)

The room came with a small fridge, tea and coffee making and daily bottled water.

Open pan style washroom

Shower Area with sky lights and plants

Room at Telaga Terrace Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia


We were on a budget and our children were reluctant to sleep in a seperate room hence we stayed in a single room. It was alright considering that we were outdoors most of the time.

Estimated room price was US$ 70 / night including breakfast which was pretty decent considering the location, facilities and room size

The location was just a few minutes away from cenang beach - we had a rented car so it was not a problem reaching the beach anytime of the day.

The staff was always willing to help and always available.
The pool was 24 hours, however children pool was till 7 pm.

The hotel is exactly the same as in the pictures on their website and other hotel booking website.
The breakfast was quite decent with selection of meat, rice, noodles, malaysian dishes, juice with tea and coffee.


Staying At Somerset Ampang Kuala Lumpur, Serviced Apartment

I have stayed at somerset chain in Bangkok twice before and i had no hesitation in staying at Somerset chain in Kuala Lumpur. And i must say it was a great stay.

I booked a one bedroom apartment which was a decent size for our family with 3 young children. The apartment was exactly as shown on their website or on other hotel booking websites with dinning table for 4, kitchen with utensils and cooking facilities. A washing machine- 2 tvs (one in lounge and one in the bedroom)

It also had seperate wardrobe room which can also be used for luggage storage and hanging clothes, along with safe and ironing board.

Storage Space / Wardrobe

Bedroom

Sitting Area / Lounge


Bathroom was decent size, with standing shower and also a bathtub with a full size window over looking the Kuala Lumpur skyline. ( though i am not sure if it was see thru or not )

Washroom with Standing Shower and Bath Tub

Full Kitchen

Washroom


The sofa/ couch and rug in the lounge was very comfortable and my wife wished we had a similar couch and rug back at home.

The roof top was with children pool , suana and a full size pool.
The rooftop also had a visitor lounge where you can just relax, read and sip coffee along with a children section.

Breakfast was decent with a selection of fruits and vegetables, noodles and rice, cereals, eggs, juices with tea and coffee.

Though the property is a few minutes walk towards the nearest mart and metro station (ampang park) - but that was alright - we knew this before booking and were pretty alright to walk a bit to the mart - Through out we used the "grab" car hailing to get our car at the door step , so location was not a problem either.

The nearest metro station was Ampang Park and many eateries including kfc, pizza hut, mc donald and other restaurants were around there. Also a money changer was also there at ampang park metro station along with some cheap shopping for shirts and other accessories at ampang park shopping mall.

The staff was courteous and helpful thru out- All in all it was a good and memorable stay for my family.

Hotel Stay at Park Avenue Clemenceau, Serviced Apartment Singapore

While planning my recent trip to singapore, I was looking for a serviced apartment to accommodate my family of 5. I know hotel and serviced apartments in Singapore can be really expensive and also the the room and apartment size is very small.

Singapore is one of the most expensive city and finding a quality hotel with in budget is really challenging.

I turned to all the famous hotel and apartment booking website and found Park Avenue Clemenceau to be of decent size, value and service. The reviews were mixed but what i was looking for was available and matched my search.

So I booked a one-bedroom apartment. The apartment was decent size when you consider it is in Singapore. Location was very close to clarke quay and taxi was always available at the gate. All the main attractions were very near to the hotel so the average taxi fare was from S$ 7 - 12 , apart from surge pricing which was usually implied in the evening.

The apartment was with full kitchen utilities and washing machine, iron and dinning table with chair. Sitting area was decent size and couch was very comfortable.

Kitchen with microwave, utencils, dinning table and washing machine

Washroom

Lounge / Sitting Area in Park Avenue Clemenseau

Housekeeping was every alternate day ( I knew this before booking , so no complaints about that)
Breakfast, though they do not mention any where, but it is included with the room and is served from 7 - 9 am only and no breakfast on Saturday and Sunday ( we also knew this before booking, so again no complains)

The bedroom was small and cozy but had a cupboard with drawers which was big enough to accommodate our clothes. The bedroom was decent with good linen, pillows and comforter.

However, breakfast was usually breads, noodles, cereals and tea / coffee . Since it was free , any variety was welcome.

Bedroom in Park Avenue Clemenceau Serviced Apartment

Breakfast Counter / Area

Breakfast selection at Park Avenue Clemenceau

Super store and mall was just next door of the hotel so any thing you require was easily available.

Considering the room size, facilities, amenities and price, this was a very good hotel and my family really enjoyed staying here.

It was central and just walking distance to the night life and attractions. It was quiet and peaceful and while the apartment was around commercial and residential complex but it was not crowded and was peaceful around.

Singapore itself is a peaceful city and my family enjoyed the stay at Park Avenue Clemenceau.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Trip Report and Review of Chimelong Water Park, Guangzhou, China

On my recent visit to China, i visited the Chimelong water park. I have heard about the park for quite a long time but never got a chance to visit it. On my recent visit, i had a day off and planned to visit the chimelong water park.

How to reach Chimelong Park

We went there in a metro. The nearest station is CHANG LONG.
After exiting the station, there is a shuttle bus station which can take you to the park.
Or you can take a walk of about 10 minutes and you can be there at the main area.

The Chimelong parks consist of three parks. Safari Park, Amusement park and Water Park.

Pedestrian Walk way from Metro Station to the Park


Each has a separate entrance, however you can buy a combo ticket for all three parks or either two or just one.

We preferred to go to the water park. It was a wednesday.
The entry ticket is RMB 200 / person

You can view the amusement park rides from the walk way


Luckily it was buy one get one free offer, so we paid 200 for 2 persons which was quite a bargain.


Park entry


Chimelong Water Park Entry



Outside food and drinks are not allowed in the park.

Lockers are available for rental.
Depost was i think rmb 20 and rental was rmb 25 for a small locker.

Washrooms and change rooms were well maintained and were abdundant.

Rides were pretty good and ranged from children, adult and extreme rides.

All in all the park was well maintained, well kepts and the rides were pretty good too , specially the extreme rides.



It is a must visit place if you are in guangzhou and have a day off for leisure.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Canton Fair 2017, Guangzhou, China

In my recent trip to china, i visited the much anticipate Canton Fair. The canton fair is the largest fair exhibition in the world, where items are ranging from a needle pin to air plane parts (literally)

Its covers various categories and industry sectors, its so huge that exhibition is divided into 3 phases. Each phase is divided into various categories and sectors. The canton fair takes place twice a year. Once in April and once in october.

I visited the April exhibition and attended the first phase, which was most suited for the products I was looking for. To check which phase is suitable for you, you may visit the official website of canton fair to get information about your desirable sector / phase.


To attend the canton fair

To attend the canton fair as a visitor there are two ways. 
You can go to the exhibition complex and go to registration area and register as a visitor and pay the entrance fees. The walk in entrance fees is around RMB 150. Make sure to take your photograph along with you. If you dont have a photograph with you, you can have your self photographed at the spot and it will be extra RMB 100 for the photos.

The other way is to register online at the canton fair website at http://www.cantonfair.org.cn/
This is the simplest, easiest and cheapest way. Register an account on their website, fill in all your required details like name, address, business name, visiting card, photo and other details.

Once you fill in all your details, then apply for visitor pass. The step is simple and you will receive a confirmation email / code confirming your registration.

So on the day of your visit, just go to pre-registered / online registered counter, show them your confirmation email code (either in print or on your mobile phone ) and they will pocess and print your visitor badge in few minutes time.

The visitor badge is valid for life time so keep it safe with you even after your return to your home country.


Visiting the canton fair

The easiest way to visit is to take the metro. The station is PAZHOU which exits directly at the entrance gate of the exhibition. Pass thru security and badge verification steps and you are into the exhibition complex. On the way from exit towards the complex entry you will be haggled by various marketeers offering you gifts and giveaways in return of your visiting card.

This is worth a try as some of them have some very interesting gifts like a chargable fan, a proper trolley and gift bags, pens etc. It was an interesting encounter.

The complex itself is enermous, comprising of various complexes and a bridgway which links the two complexes. Make sure to take a guide map and mark the areas which you are interested in, so you visit exactly the same halls which are of your requirement.

A Cart on the Bridge Linking One Complex with the Other


The hall and facilities are well laid and once you get to understand the hall layout and understand which product category is displayed in which hall / floor and area, it gets easier to navigate the exhibition. It took me almost a day to understand the floor plan, stalls, stall numbers and sectors.

Inside the main complex




Select your suitable sector, floor and start exploring and visiting the sellers.
Take a backpack with you with essential water, snacks and enough storage to carry catalogues and samples. At the end of the day the back pack ought to get heavier with all those samples and catalogues.

Also remember to wear breathable and soft shoes as you are sure to walk at least 10 - 12 km exploring different halls , aisles and floor.

Main Linking Bridge Area

One of the Aisles at Canton Fair 2017


Shrine of Abi Waqas (Saab Bin Abi Waqas) in Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou, China has a shrine of Abi Waqas (Saad bin Abi Waqas)
The shrine is near Guangzhou railway station.

The shrine is built along with a mosque. Many local and foreign muslims visit the place to pay homage to the Sahabi of Prophet Muhammad.

The place also has a mosque and is really crowded during Friday Prayers.
The mosque has seperate prayer area for ladies, while ladies can visit the shrine along with men.

If you want to avoid the rush, it is suggested to go during normal prayer times, as it gets really crowded during the friday prayer times.

The mosque is near guangzhou railway station and on friday you can see loads of people walking in that direction, and you will know they are going for Friday prayers.

After friday prayers, you can also find various vendors outside the mosque, selling halal muslim food, specially barbque and grill items. Grilled lamb chops are a must try along with grilled fish.


Inside the main entrance of the mosque

Friday Prayer Rush at Abi Waqas Mosque, Guangzhou, China

Out side lawn, leading to the gate of of the shrine

Crowd of People at the Friday Prayers in Guangzhou, China

Inside the main shrine. People paying their respect

People paying their respect at the shrine.

All in all, it was a good experience to offer friday prayers in a foreign country and visit a shrine of the sahabi of prophet muhammad.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Opening a bank account as a foreigner on visit visa in another country. Opening a bank account in china as a visitor.

On my recent trip to China, i opened a bank account in Agriculture Bank of China on my visitor visa.

Since, english is not very common in china it was difficult to explain to the guys what we want, but in the end one customer service representative understood that we were there to open a bank account and he helped us filling up the form and our details.

The steps were simple, but we needed help of the customer service rep as the form were in chinese so we asked him to fill our form.

The steps were simple.

- Fill in your details with passport number
- Local chinese mobile phone number is must, which is used to send transaction pins and transaction alerts. SO it is suggested to purchase a local china sim before going to open a bank account.
- Fill in your address. You can give your hotel address which is also acceptable.
- Photocopy your passport information page and visa page.

The form looked something like this.

Once you have filled in the details, take a token and wait for your turn.
On my turn , i went to the counter. The officer checked my details and for account opening send a pin code to my mobile number. I entered the pin at the numberic counter which was at the visitor side of the window.

Once i filled in the pin number, the process began and he asked me to enter my atm pin and one more time to verify my atm pin.

After the atm pin is verified, i was asked to make an initial deport of RMB 100.
After the deposit, i was instantly issued an atm card and an online banking usb dongle to enable online banking.

So now you can enjoy the benefits of being a bank account holder in china.

Benefits:

- When making exchange in china, you can ask the dealer to transfer the amount to your china bank account 
- When purchasing you can make purchases thru your debit card.
- No need to carry cash.
- You can withdraw cash at any atm in china.

It was a learning experience for me to open a bank account in a foreign country as a visitor and that too on a visit visa in a country like china.

All in the all the process took less than an hour, but it helped a lot in getting payment in my bank account and then making payment to vendors and suppliers thru the debit card.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Full day boat tour to manora and other karachi islands from Keamari jetty, karachi

Boat tour is a great outdoor activity for karachites, where you can hire a full day or half day boat from keamari jetty, near the karachi sea port and can spend a good time out on the sea with friends and relatives.

The boats are not fancy but locally made boats with a smaller engine and some of them are double decker, so you can climb up the deck to watch the sunset and if the tide is ok you can also catch some fishes.

While majority of the time is consumed in fishing, the boat sailors try to bargain time by stopping the boat and indulging in fishing activity which takes up most of the time.

Cruisining off the keamari jetty

The boat captain provides on board tea and also cooks the freshly caught fishes which ads up to the fun.

Karachi Coast Line

Karachi Coast

Karachi Coast

Manora Island Off Karachi

Children Busy Fishing

You can book the boat from keamari jetty. Once you arrive at keamari jetty many booking agents will hoard you and will try to make a bargain. Boat charges vary from hourly, half day and full day.
Charges also vary as per quality of boat. Single deck, double deck, washroom etc.

Average half day double decker boat will cost around Rs. 8000 - 10,000 (US$ 80 - 100 / day)
Half day boat can be booked from 4 - 5 hours, it is better to go in the afternoon so you can stay at sea till the evening and can experience sunset on the sea.

The boat captain will also arrange fishing equipment like string, hooks and fish food and will also guide you on how to go go about fishing.

Sun Setting off the coast of Karachi, Arabian Sea

All in all it is a good day spent on the arabian sea in the local karachi boat.