Showing posts with label visit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label visit. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 02, 2021


Planning a staycation in Singapore? There's plenty to eat, see and do

With Chinese New Year less than a fortnight away, it seems unlikely my old friend AK will get the chance to welcome the Ox Year with her parents in Malaysia. Since the coronavirus doesn’t look like it’s disappearing anytime soon nor will the Malaysia-Singapore borders be opening in time for CNY, I told AK to forgo her trip home and use the festive break to rediscover Singapore instead. 

“AK, thousands of people fly from around the world to visit Singapore every year. Why don’t you take a step back, pretend you’re a visitor and see Singapore through that perspective? Sometimes we take our own backyard too much for granted-lah!” I rationalized with her.

Savvy travellers will find tons of info in Traveloka

When AK groused about not knowing where to start, I pointed her to Traveloka. The online portal is chockful of useful travel tips and information with links to hotel, restaurants, activities, packages, promotions and everything savvy travellers need to enhance their travel experience.

I believe AK will be able to enjoy her CNY break if she puts her mind to it and does her groundwork using Traveloka. Not only would it save her time and effort with the overall planning, she can’t make any lame excuses about not knowing what kind of staycation she wants. For instance, if she looks under Staycation Singapore in Traveloka, out pops a list of inspiring staycation ideas: from romantic rendezvous for couples to family-friendly escapades and gourmet getaways for friends.

Food paradise...from humble fare to refined restaurants, Singapore has it all

Depending on her budget, AK can take her pick from the mind-boggling range of hotels, be it budget-friendly or budget-busting … oooh, how I wish I’m going on staycation too!

As for the types of activities to fill her time, I daresay AK would be spoiled for choice. I must remind her to take advantage of the Singapore Rediscovers Vouchers in Traveloka. I bet many Singaporeans haven’t been on the interesting tours offered in the Singapore Rediscovers section! I find the activities are varied enough to please sporty go-getters and adventure-seekers, animal and nature lovers, history and modern entertainment buffs — there’s something to suit everyone.

Thinking how Chinese New Year is synonymous with our roots and heritage, AK may like booking a Kampong Buangkok tour. I’m sure the charming village will  stir up nostalgic feelings of her hometown back in Perak.

Few visitors can resist the captivating call of a day trip to Pulau Ubin
Hmm…she may want a full-blown tour to Singapore’s last surviving Kampung followed by visits to urban mushroom, wheatgrass and vegetable farms or an exciting day trip to Pulau Ubin. Ah, if it wasn’t for these pandemic times, I’d dearly love to join AK on these interesting excursions.

Of course, no staycation is complete without good food. Since it’s Chinese New Year, I wonder if AK would be game to embark on a Crazy Rich Asians Insta Tour with Cocktail Making Workshop…Hey, it’s not every day one gets a chance to ride in a Vespa sidecar touring some of Singapore’s ritzy locations and... YOLO, so why not?

The much-talked-about "Jewel" in Changi Airport's crown is a sight to behold

Again, I found Singapore Rediscovers Vouchers aplenty for guided walks, immersive tours, and hands-on cooking workshops — such a boon for those who are keen to learn and discover local culinary secrets and gems through experiential sessions.

Should AK prefer more sensible suggestions, then I’d propose she goes for the ‘Singapore: Melting Pot of Tea’ tour where she’ll have a chance to learn about more than 20 tea blends, sample delicious tea from traditional to modern, and even try making her own. Although I’m unsure about her interest in kitchen forays, perhaps a Hainanese or a Hokkien cooking class may strike a chord in view of the festive season or would that remind her too much of what she’s missing back home?

Even though she can’t return to Malaysia this Chinese New Year, I’m willing to bet AK will enjoy her staycation in Singapore thanks to all the tips I’ve shared with her from Traveloka. Now won’t that be an Ox-spicious way to welcome the Lunar New Year?

Friday, February 02, 2018


My clearest memory of Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok was the exquisite Thai dinner at the Salathip restaurant by the Chao Phraya River. It was possibly one of the best meals I had in Bangkok, partaken in ornate and elegant surrounds juxtaposed against expansive river views. The evening was memorably topped off by mesmerising classical Thai dance performances and an unexpected fireworks show.

A decade later, we found ourselves revisiting the posh hotel and immediately felt at home thanks to the effusively warm welcome accorded by Shangri-La’s friendly guest relations team. The floral centrepiece facing the main entrance – an impressive, toweirng cluster of birds of paradise – was a sight to behold as were the profusion of white and purple Phalaenopsis orchids found throughout the lobby.
After a speedy check-in process, we were whisked up to our beautifully appointed room. Due to Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok’s prime location along the River of Kings, the 802 guestrooms and suites proffer dramatic river views or sweeping vista of the city. We were stoked to discover our room flaunted a breath-taking view of the Chao Phraya River and the constant stream of activities along the waterway.
We naturally gravitated towards the tastefully designed bay window seat with plate glass window throughout our stay; a vantage point to lose ourselves and soak in the spectacular river view unfurled below us. I daresay this feature alone won the day and sealed the Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok as our fave haven of choice in the City of Angels.
When it comes in-room amenities and facilities, we were bowled over by the ‘pull out the stops’ approach of the Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok. Liveried in a distinct palette of earthy and mossy shades, the room’s modernity is accentuated by noticeably Thai decorative and soft furnishing touches like the eye-catching artpiece above the bed and the intricately carved cabinetry of the window seat.
Complimentary in-room WiFi and broadband internet access, 24-hour satellite TV, coffee/tea making facilities, a fully stocked mini bar and a marble bathroom with long bath and separate shower were par for the course. Happily, we found everything in tip-top working order and became so accustomed to all the creature comforts that we were reluctant to leave such a relaxing haven.
Special mention must be made of the extra pillows and blanket provided inside the wardrobe. We slept like babies thanks to the climate control air-condition and firm yet ultra-comfy bed. Even the pillows’ height and firmness met my expectations as I sometimes had trouble catching forty winks due to overly squishy pillows. Being the bookworm that I am, I was also delighted to find a bookmark alongside an orchid at turndown. It was a memento I cherish and is being put to good use now.


Since I had to catch up on some work during my stay, the spacious executive desk and ergonomic chair were a real boon and scored top marks from me. The reading chair was a dreamy spot to devour the pageturner I brought.
Exploring the hotel at our own pace, we discovered The Health Club is superbly well-equipped. Fitness buffs need not forgo their daily exercises as the essential workout machines and equipment in addition to tennis and squash courts are provided onsite. We love strolling around the two swimming pools too. Encircled by lush greenery and flourishing shrubs, the pools were obvious magnets for sun worshippers and water babies. Tired muscles and stressed out souls will find therapeutic solutions at CHI, The Spa.

Opened in March 1986, the Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok has remained an oasis of luxe tranquillity among the world’s discerning business and leisure travellers. Following the success of the initial 673 rooms in the Shangri-La Wing, the more exclusive 129-room Krungthep Wing opened in August 1991.

A harmonious blend of contemporary Western designs and graceful Thai motifs is noticeable throughout the hotel. We came across quite a number of hidden nooks and pragmatic corners bearing mythical carvings, abstract installations and opulent furnishings.
River tours from the hotel’s pier are possible. There is a regular schedule of the boats, to ferry guests to Bangkok’s historic sights such as the Grand Palace, the Temple of Dawn and the Royal Barge Museum. Romantic dinner cruises are available too - do check with the helpful concierge for updated information during your stay.
For reservations and information, please contact Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok, tel: 66 2 236 7777 or email:

COMING SOON: Reviews on Breakfast at Next2 Café and Afternoon Tea at The Lobby Lounge

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