6.04.2014

Where to stay in Santorini: Morfes Luxury Residence

Santorini is heaven on earth. And it's where we got engaged. *heart*



It was a short yet sweet trip but we made the most out of it. Our visit was made even more memorable because we stayed in a very romantic place...and it only happened by chance! I have to thank my lucky stars because the place that we originally wanted to stay in wasn't available so our AirBnB host recommended Morfes Luxury Residence. I admit I was quite hesitant at first because of the price tag but Jerome said we should go for it because it will be worth it. Such a sneaky guy, that one.
 

Morfes Luxury Residence photos
Villa's Balcony looking out to the volcano and Fira town

5.15.2014

Searching for the Famous Santorini Blue Church



This is the story of how we found the not-famous blue church:

"How do we go to the famous blue church? That one." We pointed at the lovely blue-domed structure that can be seen from our villa. Because tourists and National Geographic.

"Oh, there are a lot of blue churches in Santorini, " our Airbnb host told us, yet she proceeded to give us directions to the place where we badly want to go. Interestingly, neither Jerome nor I wrote down her instructions. We shall dub this Mistake #1.

So off we went to Fira town where we began our touristy quest to find the blue-y church. We roamed around for an hour or two, making the occasional stops to snap photos, making sure that we don't step on donkey poop, and basically just gawk at everything we see (that doesn't have donkey poop on it). We walked A LOT.

Did we find THAT blue church? No. Because we got lost and ended up having Gyros and Souvlakis instead. Introducing Mistake #2, minus the eating part, of course.

We went to this one instead--a small church that literally stood in the middle of an almost-empty field. It wasn't in the town proper but it was still nice and it was BLUE so we had our photo taken here...at the not-famous blue church.



4.07.2014

Hotel Review: Hilton Petaling Jaya Executive Room

I love to travel but I adore staycations too. I particularly enjoy getting Club/Executive Rooms because of the privileges that come with it--priority check-in/check-out, all-day free beverages, free laundry/pressing, buffet breakfast, 2-hour free-flow cocktails at evenings, late check-in/check-out and many more!

Welcome to PJ Hilton!
We recently stayed at Hilton Petaling Jaya in Malaysia where we got an Executive King Room. We had a Tex-Mex lunch first at Frontera Sol of Mexico before we checked in at the hotel front desk. I was actually expecting a staff to bring us up to the executive lounge for check-in like they do in other hotels for executive guests but I guess it's different in Hilton PJ.

They gave us a room at the 20th floor, view is nothing to rave about but it was still fine. Room size was bigger than our Club Room at Oasia Hotel. We had a King bed and I immediately called room service to request for additional feather pillows (sorry i'm not sorry!). There was a separate shower and bath, with amenities are from Peter Thomas Roth. We also had a big flat screen TV where we binge-watched The Walking Dead via HDMI. Anyway, I found it sort of weird that they offer Lipton tea bags in the rooms and even in the lounge. I love tea and I drink Lipton on a daily basis but I just assumed that since this is Hilton, they would have other brand preference for teas? Like how Dusit has TWG, Shangri-La with Dilmah, etc.


Hilton Petaling Jaya Executive Room Photos


Hilton PJ Executive Room Photos

Hilton Petaling Jaya Room Review


At 6pm, we went up the Hilton Executive Lounge at the 21st floor for some cocktails and canapes. Have to admit, this has always been my favorite club room perk. We had a sit by the window with a great view of the city and the sunset. The cocktail options were not much but the food spread was sufficient and filling enough to be considered as dinner. There were hot options, some sushi, cheese, sandwiches, and fruits. If you're not into alcohol, there are fruit juices, soft drinks, and sparkling water--all free flow. The staff were great as they know when to offer you another round of drinks.

Executive Lounge Review Hilton Petaling Jaya
Food options at the 6-8pm cocktails at the Executive Lounge

Hilton Petaling Jaya Room Review
Cold beer while watching the sunset

We chose to have breakfast the next day at the lounge even though we also have an option to dine at Paya Serai downstairs where it will probably be crowded. The downside though was there were less food options at the lounge but they were good nonetheless with a mix of local and Western dishes. Would have been better though if there was pork bacon but since we stayed in Malaysia, I had to do with beef strips. Meh. Service was amazing yet again and we even met a Pinay staff named Beverly who assisted us with all our needs. There's also this cool guy named Youri that BB thought was the manager...turned out he was still a trainee!


Hilton Petaling Jaya Breakfast Buffet


Hilton PJ Breakfast Buffet
Breakfast Spread at the Executive Lounge
Hot options during breakfast included congree, nasi lemak, and some Western options

We took a swim at the pool after breakfast then watched a couple more The Walking Dead episodes before we checked out--this time we went up the executive lounge to check out so it will be faster. It was a great staycation and we'd love to return again soon! 

3.19.2014

Seoul Much Fun: Travel Tips

Late update once again, but yeah, I went to Seoul. For 48 hours.

Flew via Scoot because I got tickets on sale. The first leg was fine, we departed on time and I got the ScootinSilence seat which was near the front of the aircraft and comes with extra leg room. The flight back was really sucky though! A red-eye flight that got delayed for 4 freaking hours. Landed back in Singapore at noon when the original ETA was 8am. Geez. Wish I could say I won't ever fly Scoot again but they will be rolling out their Dreamliner fleet soon so...ugh.

ScootinSilence Scoot
ScootinSilence Seats

Anyway, SEOUL IS AWESOME. And you have to visit it too. Here are some Seoul Travel tips if you intend to visit soon.

1. Get Wifi Access in Seoul

Pretty much all of the touristy spots (Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, etc) have free wifi so it won't be much of a problem. But you can also register for 24 hours unlimited wifi access via Olleh Wifi for 3,000 won. You can buy an Olleh Wifi ID online here and or just visit convenience stores and get one. I chose to buy online though! Connection is a bit spotty at times but it was very helpful when I was on transit or just walking around places with no free wifi access.

2. How to commute in Seoul

I only took trains when I was in Seoul and I had this very handy OFFLINE subway map called Jihachul which really helped me a lot in determining which station I should alight or go next. Download the app for free on your iOS device here and your Android device here.

3. How to Commute to Nami Island

On the subject of trains.

I'm not that really into tour groups and I my schedule was quite tight so I had to find my way around commuting to Nami Island instead of joining the daily bus shuttle that departs at 9am. I started my trip really early because I had to catch the 8:16am ITX train bound to Gapyeong station. My hotel was located near Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Center so I took the metro to Cheongnyangni, bought my ITX ticket (there's an option to buy tickets online too) at the station, and jumped on a train headed to Gapyeong. The ride was quite fast, probably around 40 minutes. So if you don't want to wait around for people from tour groups or take more than an hour of cheap metro train ride to Gapyeong station, I suggest you take the ITX train instead.

How to commute from Seoul to Nami Island
Here's the ITX ticket from Cheongnyangni to Gapyeong.
Don't lose this because the conductor will check this on-board!

From Gapyeong station, I took a taxi to Nami Island for about 3,000 won. The ride was short, took less than 10 minutes for me to reach Nami. Upon arrival, I got my tickets for 8,000 won because of tourist discount and waited for the ferry that will take us to the Island. Met a group of Pinoy travellers while waiting and they were all surprised when I told them that I was travelling alone. Not sure if they feel amazed that I'm visiting this beatiful city by myself or if they feel bad for me because they probably think I'm forever alone. Hngggggggnnggghhhh.

Arrived at Nami Island and I chanced upon the locker rental facilities near the entrance. I paid 1,000KRW so I can leave some of my stuff behind. Score!

Lockers for rent Nami Island
Locker Facilities at Nami Island

How to commute to Nami Island
The Ultimate Nami Selfie 

4. How to get Free Hanbok Experience in Seoul

I think the most popular place for a FREE Hanbok experience would be at the Seoul Global Culture and Tourism Centre at 5th floor of M Plaza, Myeongdong. Too bad though the slots were already full when I went there after a very very late brunch at Myeongdong Kyoja. And so on my second day, I made it a point to stake out at Deoksogung Palace so I can try a Hanbok for free! The Hanbok Experience at Deoksogung is only available during the Changing of the Royal Guards Ceremony on Tuesdays to Sundays at 11am, 2pm, or 3:30pm.

Free Hanbok Experience in Seoul
Finally, free Hanbok experience in Seoul!


Great experience overall! Would love to come back again and stay longer next time!




1.22.2014

On Turning 28

First post for 2014, yey.

So I turned 28 (#auntie) and here's the year 2 of my travel video project:



Excited for my 2015 video since I just got my Korea and Schengen visa approved. Seoul! Amsterdam! Santorini! Paris!

Looking forward to a great year!
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