Sunday, April 26, 2015

Melbourne Australia

In February this year, I was in Melbourne for a convention. Thus, I took opportunity to check around, try to eat some great food and enjoy myself. Since we had almost three full days of Convention, I did not have much time for some serious sightseeing.

 For my four nights there, I stayed at two hotels, namely Hotel Windsor, and Hilton Melbourne at South Wharf. I always like to stay at different hotels at different locations.


Well, as a tourist, you have many choices of hotels based on your preferred area and budget. Basically the area is divided into Melbourne City Centre, East Melbourne, Carlton and Fitzroy, South Melbourne and St Kilda. Melbourne's city centre lies on the Yarra River's north bank, and you will find many Victorian buildings, and skyscrapers clustered here. St Paul's Cathedral, Edwardian architecture of Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, as well as many chandelier-lit bars, and fashion boutiques can be easily reached within walking distance. Otherwise, you can take the City Tram or Free Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle.

So why these two hotels? Well, I picked Hotel Windsor simply because it is a Heritage Hotel, and it was designed by Charles Webb and opened its door in 1883. This 5 star hotel was voted Australasia's Leading Hotel at the 2014 World Travel Awards. Wonderful architecture features which include the Romanesque and Second Empire period, with the arched arcades, the balustrade as well as the central towers with their cupolas. The distinguished guest list here includes Katharine Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Meryl Streep, Kylie Minogue, Sir Richard Branson, Muhammad Ali, Margaret Thatcher, The Duke of Windsor and etc. There is a tram stop near the hotel, and enjoy the free wireless internet. I had a wonderful stay here, and love the location, which is within walking distance to a Convenience Store, the Treasury Building, shopping street in Collins Street, and even the train station of Flinders. When you stay here, you must try their Afternoon Tea which has been the hotel tradition since the 1883. Enjoy the freshly baked scones, sandwiches, a great selection of tea, and a glass of sparkling wine. I chose the Peony White with Rose teas. Simply divine Afternoon Tea session not to be missed!
                                           Front entrance - Hotel Windsor, Melbourne


                                               I got an upgrade for my hotel room!

Afternoon Tea @ Hotel Windsor

Yummy, taste really good...

If you like afternoon tea, scones, and coffee, do not miss this afternoon tea 
@Hotel Windsor, which has been a tradition since 1883.

                                                               Parliament House
                                                   (located opposite Hotel Windsor)

As for the Hilton Melbourne South Wharf, I enjoyed great city views and skyline from my hotel room. It was only a pity that there were two days of rain when I stayed there, and thus, could not offer any nice picture taken from the room. There were many restaurants along the Wharf. In fact, I was there over the Valentine's Day weekend, and there was even a Fireworks display over the Yarra River when I walked back to my hotel. I ate my lunch at World Restaurant & Bar, and had Fish & Chips ..

City Skyline of Melboure from my hotel room at 
Hilton Melbourne South Wharf.

I was hungry for one of the night, and I ordered the beef burger.
The beef was so succulent!


The City Circle Tram service provides a free and convenient way to get around central Melbourne. Tourists, shoppers, office workers and families can use the City Circle Tram to travel to major attractions, shops and city events.

The City Circle route is serviced by heritage W class trams decorated in special maroon and green with yellow and gold trimmings, as well as MMTB's standard traditional green liveried W Class trams.

The City Circle Tram travels around the city and links with other tram, train and light rail services in and around Melbourne. The tram will take you past shopping malls and arcades, and major attractions such as the Old Treasury Building, Parliament House and the Princess Theatre. 

Tourists can spend all day on a City Circle Tram! Information leaflets, including an 'easy to understand' map of the city are available on board each City Circle Tram. The City Circle Tram can be used as a 'hop on - hop off' service, this way tourists can enjoy each of Melbourne's sites and have the added bonus of traditional Melbourne transportation. 

To catch the free City Circle Tram service (route number 35), simply board the tram at any of the specially marked stops on the route.


Every 12 minutes, and approximately 48 minutes to complete a loop.

The City Circle tram service operates within Melbourne's central business district. The service operates in a circular route passing major tourist attractions, as well as linking with other tram, train and bus routes in and around Melbourne. Trams run in both directions approximately every twelve minutes between 10am and 6pm Sunday to Wednesday and extended hours, 10am - 9pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Clockwise service: Flinders Street > Harbour Esplanade > Docklands Drive > La Trobe Street > Victoria Street > Nicholson Street > Spring Street > Flinders Street

The City Circle tram service operates within Melbourne's central business district. The service operates in a circular route passing major tourist attractions, as well as linking with other tram, train and bus routes in and around Melbourne. Trams run in both directions approximately every twelve minutes between 10am and 6pm Sunday to Wednesday and extended hours, 10am - 9pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Anti-clockwise service: Flinders Street > Spring Street > Nicholson Street > Victoria Parade > La Trobe Street > Docklands Drive > Harbour Esplanade > Flinders Street



If you like shopping, there are many wonderful places for shopping in Melbourne. Chinatown, Bourke Street Mall, Collins & Little Collins Street, Docklands, Flinders Quarter. I enjoyed my walk along Collins Street, and this is where you can find all the top brands - including Cartier, Frank Muller, Designer Stores, and a number of Five Star Hotels.

How to get to Collins Street?
Take the Free Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle to Stop 4.
Take the Free City Circle Tram to the corner of Spring Street and Collins Street.


Well, in Melbourne, you can find many restaurants for a great variety of food - Western, Seafood, Chinese cuisine. I actually found Killiney near ChinaTown area. Well, I do not like to eat Chinese food when I travel overseas. And one of the evening, I was with a new friend who I met at our Travel Convention, and he can only eat Halal food, and Killiney happened to serve Halal food. That is the reason why I ended up eating there together with him. I had the satay, but I find it really disappointing and it really tasted a lot of difference from what we have in Singapore. There was so little grinded peanuts in the peanut sauce. So, I did not take any picture.

For one of my lunch, I went to World Restaurant & Bar, which is by the riverside. You can enjoy pizzas, tacos, steaks, wine and even cocktails and beer here. And this is definitely the place to be if you want to have a relaxing time, catching up with friends or just people watching on a lazy weekend.

World Restaurant & Bar
Address - Building 2, Shop 4, Riverside Quay,
Southbank, Melbourne. VIC 3006

Fish & Chips @ World Restaurant & Bar

And I ate my last dinner at No 35,up on the thirty-fifth floor of the Collins Tower, Sofitel Melbourne, and thus the name of the restaurant. Enjoy fabulous city views from the glass window. Salmon is always my favourite, and the meal was superb, and it was well cooked, and the meat was so tasty! Simply loving it. I ordered mushroom soup and had wine too. The staff were very attentive and were very helpful with their recommendations as well.

Enjoy stunning city views from the Ceiling-high winows
No 35 Restaurant, Sofitel Hotel.

No 35 restaurant @Sofitel Hotel.

Salmon - always my favourite
King Salmon was cooked to my utmost perfection.
My wine - Louis Perdrier was excellent, 
and it was recommended by the waiter!


I had been to Melbourne before, and had gone on the sightseeing previously.
List of Things to do -
1. Ocean Road Drive & 12 Apostles
2. Philip Island and the Penguin parade
3. Colonial Tramcar Restaurant Tour (Eat great food & enjoy the sights)
4. Yarra Valley Wine & winery tour
5. Yarra Cruise
6. Yarra Valley Balloon Flight at Sunrise
7. Helicopter flight over Melbourne

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Kruger National Park

Kruger Park is South Africa's most exciting African safari destination. Steeped in legend and history, the iconic Kruger National Park in South Africa is waiting for you to explore its vast landscapes and spectacular African wildlife. The Game Safari must be one of the most memorable activities and things that you must do in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

The word 'safari' has its roots in Arabic - and Arab traders were some of the first outsiders to journey into this continent. Caravans replaced jeeps in these early expeditions, as treacherous new trade routes transported goods - and slaves - between Africa and Asia throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

The first 'safari' took place in 1836, when William Cornwallis Harris set out to observe wildlife in its natural surroundings - rather than simply shooting it, as he did on most of his expeditions. Shortly after, the word 'safari' was introduced into English by the explorer Sir Richard Burton.

 Why Kruger National Park This is considered the king of safari parks. And it is on most Africa Bucket Lists. Fantastic for self-drive safaris, it's the Big Five for beginners. One of Africa's oldest, largest and most diverse national parks, Kruger has over 500 bird species and more mammals than any other park on the continent. Its luxury lodges, top-end safaris and campsites mean that Kruger is really open to all. Whether you are going for an adventure, an experience or even for your honeymoon trip, this has to be on the top of your list.

And I like to share some of the photographs that I had taken while on a safari with my group of friends in June 2014.

It is better to stay in the Kruger National Park itself, as you are much in the heart of the whole area. At that time that we went last June, it was actually winter time, but in the day, it was still very comfortable. We had two game viewing sessions each day.

In a typical day, we were awaken at 5 30am. We had some biscuits and tea or coffee, before we set off in one of those open-topped vehicle that you saw in the picture. It is better to have about up to five people in one vehicle. We were given ponchos to cover ourselves. It was pitch dark, and our knowledgeable guide cum driver would negotiate and find his way round on the road built within the national parks. It was very cold in the morning with a few degrees, and we were all wrapped up in our jacket, and covered with the ponchos. Soon, we could see the sky brightening up, with a tinge of soft orange glow across the horizon. 

We were driven around to hunt for the animals, and we saw impalas, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and lions. The Big Five refers to the lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros. At close to about nine in the morning, we would have a short break to take our breakfast, with sandwiches, and biscuits. Then, we continued with our game drive.

When it started to get hot, we were driven back to our lodge. Then, it was lunch time. Free at leisure till about four pm. Then, we would go for our sunset safari.
Now, it would be the reverse. We left our lodge in the bright daylight, and continued on until the sunset. Wow, the sunrise and sunsets are really beautiful here in the Kruger National Parks. Bright orange hues right across the whole horizon this time.

We even had our biscuits and champagne in the wild. But we needed to be very careful, as I heard of tales about some other travellers, being cautioned and then had to make their way back to the vehicle due to the big cats approaching their way..

Then, by the time, we were back in the lodge, we could wash up, and get ready for our dinner. The following day would repeat itself with the similar timing.

On our trip, we had the chance to see the cheetah from afar, but didnt manage to see any of the leopards which are high elusive animals. They are nocturnal creatures, and thus spend most of their time resting in the day, and hunt in the night. That makes it difficult to locate and see them.

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Palawan Dream Trip



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Archeological finding indicate that the first Filipino/ the Tabon Man, once lived in the Tabon Caves Complex, now Known as the Lipuun Point in Quezon, Palawan. Archeological exploration and excavation undertake at the Tabon caves Complex yielded significants artifact and ecofacts belonging to different cultural chronologies ranging from 50,000 years ago to the 14th century A.D. The ancient Palawanos have had a kind of writing, including an alphabet and a form of selft-government under the normal jurisdiction of the Sultanate of Sulu. The name Palawan is believed to come from Chinese word”PA-LAO-YU” meaning the “Land of Beautiful Safe Harbor” and a Spanish word PARAGUA.
       In 1622, the Spaniards arrived led by Count Saint Agustin. They first established their authority on the northern portion on the province, over the island of Calamianes group. They organized the region into a province known as Calamianes. Later, they built a fort, which was capable of accommodating a garrison of 700 men. Taytay then became the bastion of Spanish authority. The Muslim tried to capture the fort in 1730 and 1735, but they failed. About the middle of the century, The Spanish government obtained from the Sultanate the secession of the southern part of Paragua in order to extend the Spanish authority to the newly acquired territory. Later, they abandoned the place when a considerable number of the expeditionary force perished from fever, which could be attributed to what is now called Malaria. But today with modern facilities and medications, Malaria is controlled.
        In 1818, practically all the territories, which now belong to Palawan, where known as the Province of Calamianes with the capital in Taytay. In 1858, Calamianes was divided into two provinces, Castilla and Asturias. Castilla comprised the Calamianes group and the adjacent islands, and the northern portion of Paragua. Its capital was Taytay. Asturias included the rest of Paragua together with the island of Balabac, which early that year was made into a politico-military province with the name of Principe Alfonso. Its capital was Puerto Princesa. Later, during the term of the Governor and Captain Rafael de Izquirdo, the island of Pragua was organized into a separate politico-military province with Puerto Princesa as the capital. At the end of the Spanish rule, the province of Palawan was divided into three politico-military districts-Calamianes, Paragua, and Balabac.
        In 1873, the capital of Palawan was transferred from Taytay to Cuyo. After the Filipino-American War, the Americans established the Civil Government of Pragua on June 23,1902 with Major John Brown as the first appointed Governor. In 1903, pursuant to Axct. No. 1363 of the Philippine Commission, the name of the province was changed to Palawan and the capital was transferred from Cuyo to Puerto Princesa.
        At the outbreak of World War II, the Japanese Imperial Forces occupied Palawan on May 18, 1942. They establish garrisons in Coron, Puerto Princesa and Iwahig. Consequently, guerilla units were formed in there sector led by Captian Amores in Calamaianes, by Higinio Mendoza, Sr., in the mainland, and by Emilio Tumbaga in Brooke’s Point. During the Japanese occupation, a civil government known”Free Palawan” headed by Governor Gaudencio E. Abordo was established in the hinterlands, in 1941.
(Text taken from -
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Dream Trip to Palawan

09-12 May 2015
10-13 Jul 2015



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Contact Olevia Cheong - (65)8112 8393
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Staying at 5 Star

Enter your own personal slice of paradise at Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa, an exceptional escape into the Philippines’ last frontier. Here, detached from the places of bustling activity, one can completely break away from all their stresses and take that well-deserved luxury.

Being no more than five minutes away from the airport, it is ideally located for both leisure and business travelers who want a taste of what Palawan has to offer, while taking pleasure from our variety of accommodations and services. Choose from our suites or villas and indulge yourself.

Guests will immerse themselves in the sun and sand at the only 5-star oceanfront resort in Puerto Princesa Palawan. The resort itself centers on its Asian-themed architecture infused with a native touch, which blends in completely with the surrounding, untouched beauty of nature. Immaculate, powdery white sand; crystalline blue waters; the crisp, salty tang in the air; and the tranquil ambiance at the sandbar await you at Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa, where getting away isn’t just a journey, it’s a beautiful escape. 

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fare Deals to Asia and Latin America

Special Airfare Deals

Top 10 Things to Do in Prague

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Tuesday is always the best day to book your domestic flight tickets for the USA Sectors. And if you book flights departing on a Tuesday or Wednesday, the airfare is usually cheaper as compared to when you depart on Thurday through Saturday.
So, planning for a holiday, start booking for your flights today!

Fly Singapore Airlines

Note - Book 120 Days Ahead and Valid for travel from 30Jul 2015 - 16Mar 2016

Special Fare Deals on SQ
BOOK 120 Days Ahead (Valid for Departure date from 30Jul 2015 – 16Mar 2016)
Singapore – Surabaya - $178   30Jul 2015 – 16Mar 2016
Singapore -Kuala Lumpur - $178
Singapore – Hanoi - $258
Singapore – Yangon - $268
Singapore – Hong Kong - $288
 Note - Different Departure Dates for outbound Travel
Singapore – Ho Chi Minh - $228 (01Apr – 28May 2015)

Special Airfare Deals to LATIN AMERICA

Fly Delta Airlines
New York (JFK) - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic   - $489
New York (JFK) - Santiago  - $489
Los Angeles (LAX) - Guadalajara, Mexico - $489

Fly American Airlines
Philedelphia, US - Bogota, Colombia - $872
Las Vegas, US - Bogota, Colombia - $928
Orlando, US - Cozumel, Mexico - $582
Miami, US - Guayaquil, Ecuador - $639
Miami, US - Quito, Ecuador - $793
New York LaGuardia, US - Cozumel, Mexico - $682

American Airlines
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