The Bucket List: Le Meridien Etoile

For my very last city under this trip, I was staying at the Le Meridien Etoile in Paris. It is located in the 17th arrondissement. Near Neuilly Porte Maillot, the location is actually super good in my opinion it is nearby all the main sites that you will want to head to yet outside of the touristy hub such as Champs Elysees or Eiffel Tower. Yet they are a short metro ride away or just a stroll away. Metro Station is just right next door and you even have a RER stop for those who would like to go to the airport or Palace of Versailles. From the airport I took an uber which takes around 45 mins due to the traffic. It is easy enough and cost us 45 Euro for the ride probably the most cost efficient way since there is 3 of us! The Le Meridien Etoile is a large hotel with around 1000 room, it is more of like a conference style so do not expect attentive service at more boutique style places. There is a very classy exterior when we pulled up to the hotel and definitely a parisian feel and vibes

 

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The Bucket List: Aer Lingus EI524 A320 DUB – CDG Economy Class

Continuing on my journey I am headed to Paris. It is so nice to be back to Paris after close to 7 years back. I guess I need to be back before the “7 Year Itch” happens. I was at the airport bright early in the airport. Check in was smooth and there was a little queue but there was plenty of counters open and it was done in no time. I was flying Aer Lingus this time around, the home airline of Ireland. It is such a delight to be flying Aer Lingus. Everything is so amazing after the disastrous Ryan Air! Checked baggage, getting your boarding pass from the gorgeous staff who so nicely circled out my gate number. Staff is polite and not stingy with allowance. I never know how these small little things matters. I know I am so spoiled. Security was smooth as well. Leaving the lounge near Gate 400. It was a short walk to the gate from the lounge. However this is just a gate for the bus which will take us to a satellite mini terminal and from there we could board our Aer Lingus flight. It is kind of annoying that when you are flying out of the airline hub, you have to use a stand.

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The Bucket List: T2 Lounge Dublin International

I was flying out of Dublin to head to Paris, the last city of this very trip. Dublin Airport is fairly modern and new, especially in Terminal 2. It was a short taxi ride from the hotel and Aer Lingus is amazing, in fact, anything after Ryan Air first class. I will share more about the flight in detail in the next post. Dublin Airport have two contract lounge, both accessible via Priority Pass. There is one in each terminal and practically enough they are just simply named T1 Lounge and T2 Lounge. At least there are still good coverage for all of us. They are the only contract lounges in Dublin Airport.

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The Bucket List: Dublin

Dublin or in Irish, Dubh Linn is the capital of Ireland. Do not mix this up with Northern Ireland which is part of the UK. Ireland is a separate country and part of the European Union. However it is not part of the Schengen Area, which means that you will need your passport to enter the country. Singapore can enter visa free and it is not counted towards the 90 day period as well. Notwithstanding it being known as the birthplace of Guinness, it is also a place full of historic buildings. Dublin is a warm and welcoming. You will definitely enjoy the laid back lifestyle as well as the slower pace of life. The people are also very hospitable. Furthermore it is a super easy place to travel to given that the main language is English as well as all the signs. Follow me on my short stay in Dublin!

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The Bucket List: Klaw by Niall Sabongi

Finally it comes the time for me to share with you my favourite seafood place or shack in Dublin Ireland. Here comes the renowned Klaw by Niall Sabongi. I would call it more of a seafood shack rather than a restaurant. Happening, hyped and cosy, these are the terms that I would use on Klaw! Located right in the Temple Bar area, this little cosy restaurant or shack serve up the freshest lobster rolls, oysters, chowders & crab of all kinds. They are a group of funny passionate people that strives to serve up the best sustainable seafood in town. Even the name is a playful twist from the crab claw! This place have constantly been named as the best place in Dublin.

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The Bucket List: Sixt Dublin X Driving in Ireland

Previously, I have shared about my day trip to the Cliffs of Moher well as to Galway. No doubt, the go to car rental company that I would always rent from would be Sixt! This German car rental company consistently provide me with the cheapest rates among all. I also do have status with them as well. Although Sixt membership is rather weird, it does not provided any points or accrual towards free rental but only give cheaper rates as well as some perks such as mileage, upgrades……etc! I would love to share my experience with Sixt Dublin after having such great experience in the past. The pricing seems to be rather weird. Since I was only doing a day rental I wanted to rent for the longest hours possible. It is kind of weird that the cheapest combination comes up to renting from one branch and returning at another one since only the later had after hours return. The whole rental come up to 45.30 Euro!

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Penang Mattress Run: Plaza Premium Lounge Penang International Airport

Plaza Premium Lounge are known for their standards in the contract lounge world. They are constantly better than their counterparts and a symbol for quality. They can be said as the industry leader in the lounge aspect and there are a couple of famed ones such as their lounge in Heathrow as well as Vancouver which I have heard lots of praise about. They also have the super premium lounges where they can rival airlines operated first class lounge known as the Plaza Premium First. I was flying back from Penang International Airport. There is only 1 contract lounge in the airport and it is the Plaza Premium Lounge. There is one in both the international terminal as well as the domestic terminal. I was in the International one. The lounge is open from 5am to 11pm daily, so that timing should be rather fitting for most people that is passing through. I was there in the evening around 8pm ahead of my flight to Singapore.

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Penang Mattress Run: Penang

It’s been long, way too long to finally say that I am in Penang. I fell in love with this city and had it on my bucket list for ages, ever since I saw the TVB Drama that was filmed here in Penang. A chinese dominated city in malaysia that is known as the Food Capital as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown. Once an important Straits of Malacca trading hub, the city is known for its British colonial buildings and Chinese shophouses. It is also the very first British Settlements in 1786 under the British East India Company. Finally I took some time out of my schedule to visit Penang back in October. A little of sightseeing but definitely lots and loads of good food in this little Island! It is really too amazing. Follow me on! The 93rd City on my list!

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Penang Mattress Run: Doubletree Resort by Hilton Penang – King One Bedroom Balcony Suite

For my stay in Penang, I booked the Doubletree Resort by Hilton Penang. Besides Penang being a city that I have always wanted to visit, another reason for the trip is also due to this. I need to clock some nights before the end of the year for my Hilton Status. This property is definitely one of the more affordable ones to do it. A mattress run it is! Furthermore at the point in time, Hilton have been running a 100% points promotion. The Doubletree Resort by Penang is a 10,000 points property at the lowest and I managed to find availability for 5 nights in October. For members, you get one night free when you book 5 nights as well. As such the total cost of the 5 night stay comes to 40,000 points, 8,000 points a night. I bought points to redeem during the sales, that comes to around 40USD or around 56SGD. Awesome deal when I get to enjoy my benefits, clock nights and even score an awesome Suite upgrade.

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Penang Mattress Run: Dnata Lounge Changi Airport Terminal 1

While I have been to tons or most of the Priority Pass lounges in Singapore Changi Airport this past few years. Singapore is a galore of Priority Pass lounge, across the 4 terminal and Jewel, we have 11 lounge and 1 restaurant! You could definitely do a 12 round lounge hopping if you have the mood for it. I realised that the Dnata Lounge in Terminal 1 is missing from my list. My go to lounge in Terminal 1 is usually the Plaza Premium since the food is pretty good, this time around, I decide to give the Dnata a try and I could review it as well. I came from the TGM restaurant in Terminal 2 but since my flight was departing from Terminal 1 I decide to come here and wait for my flight. Dnata lounge is located one level up from the main terminal. It is located just beside the new Qantas First Class lounge which is definitely on my radar!

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Penang Mattress Run: TGM Priority Pass Restaurant Changi Airport Terminal 2

Welcome to another brand new trip series of mine! Penang Mattress Run! I finally decide to check off another bucketlist of mine, especially in South East Asia. Penang, a city that I have wanted to head to for ages, especially after watching the drama that was filmed in Penang. Travelling never stops for Seeing The World In Steps! Fresh off Europe and even a trip to KL with my besties, I am constantly complexed by my need to travel. Seeing that I had time on my hand as well as needing to clock some nights to renew my status for Hilton. There comes about this trip. Furthermore tickets were rather affordable and there is a huge promo for Hilton. I will share more on it when I get to the hotel review next! First up. TGM! A restaurant under Priority Pass! Now, is this a lounge or a restaurant? I am sure that everyone is very familiar with Priority Pass but this restaurant thing is rather “new”. Priority Pass takes in some restaurant where members get a credit to spend on food items in places when lounge options are hard to come by. They are usually stateside, although surprising there is one in my home airport, Singapore Changi Airport. I went about to try it during this trip of mine. TGM is said as an Japanese Korean cuisine restaurant

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The Hotel Life: Conrad Centennial Singapore

A couple of weeks back I went for a little staycay at the Conrad Centennial in Singapore. Speaking of staycation, despite me being an avid fan of travelling, hotels and all, I have not really get into the ideal of a staycation! Crashing at a hotel when my own bed is just 20 mins car ride away? Doubtful! With that being said, Seeing The World In Steps had it’s very first staycation with a very close friend at the Conrad. A little break for the buzz of life and a little “vacay”. I used 57,000 points to redeem for the room. The Conrad is the flagship property of hilton group in singapore. It is located in the downtown core near the marina area. The location is perfect since it is near the malls and shopping centre, you are only steps from the marina waterfront area with most tourist attractions as well. Furthermore the hotels is literally connected to a couple subway lines nearby, making it easy to get to other places as well.

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The Bucket List: Day Trip to Galway and Cliffs of Moher

Making a trip to Ireland, you definitely can’t miss out on making a trip to the Cliffs of Moher, which boost impressive, jaw dropping cliffs with some even at a height of more than 150m from the top to the Atlantic Ocean. The cliffs is also one of the most impressive one in the world, running for more than 15 KM in the west of the island. This is also the main and most well-known attraction in the whole of Ireland. Located at the south western edge of the Burren Region. I decided to do a day trip when I was in Ireland. Since I was staying in Dublin, I got a rental car for the day and drove there in the morning. Seeing that I was in the west of the country already, I decided to pair up the place with a visit to Galway as well! All in all, it is an awesome day trip, do note that I did this in Summer which gave me more daylight. Join me in my journey in visiting them!

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The Bucket List: Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House

I got to the hotel slightly later than expected, we arrive shortly after 7pm in the evening. With the flight delay as well as the traffic from the airport to the hotel. There seems to be a game going on leading to jams here and there. Dublin airport is not far from the hotel actually, the taxi ride cost around 30 euros. Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House is located on the other side of River Liffey. The location is not too bad. Probably a 10 to 15 mins stroll from Temple Bar or Mary St area. Hilton properties do not seem to be that great in Dublin, most of their location is not perfect. The Conrad is also located quite far from the city centre. For those who take the airport express bus, there is a bus stop right in front of the lobby here so that it easy enough. I guess being slightly out of the area also mean that it is rather quaint and quiet, definitely an alternative from staying in Temple Bar which might get a little rowdy late at night. 

 

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The Bucket List: Ryanair FR5773 737 GLA – DUB

Penning down my very first time on Ryan Air, I am sad to say that it is probably going to be my very last time as well. This is going to be less of a flight review but rather more of my whole flight experience on board Ryan Air. Europe most infamous budget air. Or the one that tries to milk out everyone. I do not know much but perhaps it seems that they have a much more profitable model than conventional ones. Continuing on my journey, my next destination is Dublin. The only direct flights are Aer Lingus but operated by Stobart Air or by Ryan Air. Ryan Air timing works better and they are like cheaper by 300. In total I paid for 195 SGD for 3 tickets and 2 add on bags. Which is why I go ahead with them. I guess it is also interesting to try out the most notorious airline in the world.

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The Bucket List: Upper Deck Lounge Glasgow

Dublin was my next destination after 2 nights in Glasgow. Located off the shore of cointentinal UK, the only way is by air to get to Dublin. Time for some Guinness I guess! I was at the airport super early, more than 3 hours in advance for my very first Ryan Air flight and the last one as well. I will share more on the disastrous experience on Ryan Air in the next post. To sum it up, that almost took up most of my time and together with the long security lines at Glasgow Airport I barely had 20 mins in the lounge, it is going to be a rather short review. This just makes me appreciate how amazing train travels are in Europe and how easy it is. Back to the lounge! The only Priority Pass or contract lounge offering in Glasgow Airport is the Upper Deck Lounge, and it is a crowded one. Certainly it couldn’t cope with the amount of passenger in the Airport.

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The Bucket List: Hilton Glasgow

For my two night stay in Glasgow, I decided to stay in Hilton Glasgow. This is one of the properties that Hilton have in the west of the city centre. I was attracted to the price of the place as well as the easy access. It is right near where I was returning my rental car and near the city centre as well. The uber to the airport from here cost a mere 15 pounds. It is a rather large properties and near the SECC. It does however seems to be one of the legacy older Hilton Properties clearly in need of a reno soon! The location was alright, less than 10 mins walk to the city centre, although the orientation is a little weird and need to walk one round off the back of the hotel to enter it. Would be better if they have a back entrance! We paid about 260SGD per night for our rate. We got the Double Double Guest Room which comes with two double bed. Furthermore, I am able to earn hilton points and got free breakfast as well.

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The Bucket List: Sixt UK X Driving in Scotland

There would be two parts to this post actually. First I would like to share about my experience of renting from Sixt in the UK, especially Manchester in particular. Then following on I will just like to write about my experience of driving around Manchester as well as in Scotland. If you have been following me you will realised that Sixt is always my go to brand for renting cars. They are constantly cheaper than their peers such as Hertz, Sixt and Europcar. I think they have a air pricing and very good cars. Most of the time the cars that I have got were less than 6 months old. Furthermore, I hold platinum status from them and upgrades are often easily attainable. I have previously got a huge Cadillac SUV in Las Vegas! Furthermore I could earn Krisflyer Miles as well!

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The Bucket List: Isle of Skye

The cream of the crop of Scotland Highlands. The best of the best for nature and a treat for your eyes. The Isle of Skye is the most representative example of Scotland wonders as the rustic scenery that the country has. Perched up in the north western part of UK and Scotland. The remoteness of the place left this part of the earth rather untouched and still a feast for our eyes. The whole trip, The Bucket List, was planned around Skye. It was really at the top of my list at that point in time. Everyone have been raving about Scotland and the nature, the rugged landscape, a part of the world to be experienced. I am glad to say that I went before it become too touristy and crowded like Croatia or Iceland. Continuing on from the previous part, we drove up from Edinburgh, stopping for a visit at Macallan, then we went Inverness for petrol and to get some food. This might be a rather lengthy post since I will be sharing all the places I went to around Skye. Not to worry, there would be plenty of photos too.

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The Bucket List: The View Restaurant Cuillin Hills

When in the Isle of Skye, there are two main groups of tourists, one that rents a self catering accommodations such as those cottages which are literally located in the mountains or by a loch or those who choose to stay in hotels and airbnbs in the towns. For me I belong to the later, but don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good food and fine restaurants for travellers to check out in Isle of Skye, in fact the cuisines are one of the best in the country. Just like the award winning Three Chimneys. Portree is home to a couple of nice one as well. Located just a short walk from town lies Cuillin Hills Hotel and I have heard good things about their restaurant as well, The View. Such a simple name, but I guess simplicity is everything since the view is really amazing over here.

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The Bucket List: The Oyster Shed Skye

I guess that anyone that have been to Isle of Skye would have heard of The Oyster Shed! I love how rustic this place is, hidden in the hills, off a random dirt road. The perks of it being hidden from the town means you are going to get the most original, freshest food. And of course, the best view ever! Follow the little signs and you will be in paradise, this  to me is the real michelin star and really from water to the table! The Oyster Shed is located in the town of Carbost, where Talisker is housed as well. Making it a perfect combination to grab some whisky and go it with your oysters. It is located just behind the distillery in the hills. Follow the roads up and there would be signs to guide you. Google Maps works as well! This is by far the most awaited place that I would like to share with you guys!

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JED’S In KL: Changi Lounge at Jewel

On the way back from KL, I got the opportunity to stop by Jewel and decided to pay a visit to one of Singapore latest offering this year, the Changi Lounge at Jewel! Jewel have been the pride and talking point for the whole of 2019 so do check them out if you have not heard of it! I have to say that I am constantly amazed and impressed by this place every time I visit. What is different is that this Changi Lounge is operated by Changi Airport itself and is located in the public area so technically it is less convenient for most travellers. It does still have its purpose since Jewel offers early check in so it does allows passengers to rest up and take a shower as well. Furthermore they are also targeting air cruise customers. I had an opportunity to check it out when it first open months ago and the decor was impressive. Thankful, this time around I get to experience it fully!

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JED’S In KL: Kuala Lumpur

An idea came up during dinner and the idea was act on a week later. I will definitely classify this as one of the most impromptu trips every. While I have been to KL numerous times and honestly there isn’t anything special with the place! The company I had was definitely one of the best ever or rather a prize! One of my best trip ever to date and the memorable time spent together! While it is mostly a chill lax and enjoying the company while feasting over awesome food, surprisingly we also did a little sightseeing which I have to say seems like a first for me in KL! I have been to KL numerous time, most of them in the past when I was younger, I guess the last trip was more than 7 or 8 years ago! It is still a first that I did some form of Sightseeing! We went to the Batu Caves as well as the Federal Mosque! Highlight Alert! While I did tons of churches and cathedrals, a mosque got to be a first for me as well! Basically acting as a memoir, I will be sharing about the sightseeing part of the trip and then the more interesting food part!

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The Bucket List: Dunborrodale B&B Portree

Let me just say that Isle of Skye is really super far away and remote. Almost to the northern edge of continental UK as well as Scotland. We constantly ask ourselves if we are there already and yet at the same time, the views keep getting better and more gorgeous accompanying us on this long journey. I will definitely share about my stay in Isle of Skye later on. But now I would just like to share on this equally pretty bed and breakfast that I stay in! The Isle of Skye is the highlight of this trip, the peak travel season is in summer, same goes for the accommodations. I actually book this place half a year in advance. Most of the accommodations here are self service such as cottages and houses from Airbnb or independent website. There are too many choices to choose from. From some that is smack in the middle of a mountain where you have the whole hill as your backyard or a herd of sheeps being your alarm clock. You have a choice. Popular areas includes Carboost, Claigan. I decided to stay in Portree, the largest town in Isle of Skye. Do note that Skye is a very seasonal place. Summer expect to pay more than double for accomodation and crowd can be double as well. Be prepared to book accomodations way ahead. More than half of the places were fully booked when book this places 6 months ahead. While in winter it is easy and cheap.

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The Bucket List: The Macallan Distillery X Six Pillars Tour

A bottle of Macallan represents a journey! I am sure a lot of work have been put into the bottle of whisky that you pour out from Macallan. Since I am heading to the highlands in Scotland, I could not miss the opportunity to head to Macallan, visit their Distillery and learn how it is made. Furthermore to try some of the whisky right where it is made. The Macallan distillery is located right in the highlands, in the region of Aberlour. It is definitely hard to get here without a car. Surrounded by the trees, the River Spey that runs through the area and crisp mountain air. Now I finally know why a bottle of Macallan is a prized collection. You would have to drive thru some mountain roads and shared roads to get there, but it is easy enough with navigation. I believe the scenery would be amazing, sadly the whole day was overcast and pouring with rain. I am so happy to be finally able to visit a whisky distillery in Scotland! I sign up for their Six Pillars Tour which is the signature tour on offer.

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The Bucket List: Edinburgh

Let me first just say that Edinburgh is a super super gorgeous city. The most idyllic and charming one. Notwithstanding the Scotland nature, Edinburgh is the most pretty place in the country. Edinburgh is also the hilly capital of Scotland. It is a perfect place to visit at any time of the year. Temperature rarely pass 20 degrees even in the peak of summer. Shops, hiking, medieval buildings, culture, pubs and clubs. You can find anything here. You can basically separate the city into two main parts, old town and new town. I love this place. Follow me and check it out!

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The Bucket List: Doubletree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre

Coming from Manchester, we drove all the way up to Edinburgh, the very first city for our Scotland part of the trip. It is amazing to see how the scenery change little by little and once we head further up north into Scotland. You can see livestock such as sheeps greeting us. Well, the air also got much fresher. You know that you are going to have an amazing time in Scotland. This whole trip actually revolves around Scotland and Isle of Skye in particular. It was about a 4 hours drive from Manchester to Edinburgh. We had 2 nights in Edinburgh. Usually for hotels the first chain that I will go for is definitely Hilton and then Marriott. While there are a couple of hotels in Edinburgh, we decided to go for the Doubletree Hilton Edinburgh City Centre. Since the location is good and parking is easy.

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The Bucket List: Manchester

I recently just spend a couple of days in Manchester back in late June. It is the second city on my trip after London. I have already shared the Virgin Train that we took from London. Manchester is only 2 hours from London. You could definitely do it as a day trip, especially in the Summer. Well it was a new city for me and in fact the second one after London. I am interested to see how this gloomy rainy wet Manchester is. Or perhaps how would it be like in another English city, will it be super different than London? I am just gonna take a little and share about the places that I have been to in Manchester. Hopefully you would like these spots that I recommend.

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JB X Five Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Johor Bahru Executive Room

Taking a reprieve from my America and European adventures, lets bring it closer to home for a while. A couple of weeks ago I took a trip over the border to Johor Bahru for a little short trip right before the start of school. I stayed in the Doubletree Hilton, as per the usual and I also need to clock some stays right before december. I am just so close into retaining Gold status for next year. Why not ya? This time around I will also like to share about my staycation at the doubletree. You will also see how worthwhile the Gold Status is! I have actually already shared extensively on this hotel previously, you can check it out here, rather, this time around I will just point out the differences in the executive rooms, lounges as well as the breakfast.

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The Bucket List: Rudy’s Pizza

Writing this post with the same emotions that I encountered when I had that very first bite into the pizza as along the amazing sensual feeling of having it together with the most amazing chilli infused olive oil. I never knew how good a pizza could be especially given that we are in Manchester and not Naples in Italy. It is definitely unexpected that the most recommended restaurant in Manchester is Rudy’s Pizza! In fact, I guess the close to 2 hours wait in Manchester cold probably should give us an insight in what we are about to have. I went to Rudy’s, right at their Ancoats branch. Located in the northern part of the city, surrounded by office buildings as well as residential areas lies Rudy’s along with all sorts of pubs around this square, where you can certainly see that the office crowd are getting into it. Come along with me and check out Rudy’s Pizza.

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The Bucket List: Liverpool

Seeing that I had 4 nights in Manchester, I took the opportunity to take a short day trip to Liverpool. It is only like 30 mins away with trains from Victoria Station. It was easy enough. I am also super impressed with the trains since they cost like 2 pounds each. Furthermore you even get a seat reservation as well. That is very impressive. Trains to Liverpool arrive at Lime St station which is right in the city centre. Liverpool is also small enough that you are able to walk around anywhere.

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The Bucket List: Trof Restaurant

Another one of the more impressive meals that I had in Manchester was at Trof. I was there for a lazy brunch. Trof if one of the most recommended place in town. As they say on their website, Trof, a dandyish den of indulgence in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. In the day you can find the most amazing creations of egg dishes as well as the finest roast in town. In the evening, the whole place turn into a chilling bar with nice vibes. Of course, maybe, it would be a good pairing, beer and full english breakfast.

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The Bucket List: Bills Restaurant

Bills is British Chain restaurant that you can find in most places around the UK. For example, they have more than 21 restaurant in London. I am sure you will not miss it. They serve up pretty good western dishes at a fair prices. The quality is pretty good as well. Sometimes, it is really awesome, especially when you are looking at the set lunch or something. It might be a good spot if you are looking for a balance between quality and price. Furthermore they are also prized for using local produce. I had the chance to try it while in Manchester!

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The Bucket List: AC Hotel by Marriott Manchester City Centre

Immediately after arriving at Piccadilly Station from London. We took the Metrolink to the hotel which the nearest stop is Shudehill. The AC Hotel by Marriott Manchester City Centre is located just out of the main shopping district of Manchester. The location is not too bad, given its price point. It is just 5 mins from Arndale Centre, the main and largest shopping centre in Manchester. In fact you can literally walk anywhere in Manchester. Although I won’t want to walk all the way from Piccadilly. Victoria is a short stroll away! This is one of the newest hotel in Manchester, only recently built in 2018, located right in the Northern Quarter. Surrounding the hotel are a couple of renovations site since I guess this is an upcoming area. I am alright with it. The hotel does have a super fresh exterior, heck, in fact everywhere in the hotel looks new, clean and fresh. It is a 4 star hotel under the Marriott group. This is also my first time staying in an AC Hotel, for the 4 nights that we were here, the rate was 223 SGD for a family room, although with Citi Prestige 4th night free, that brought it down to 176 SGD. It is one of the cheapest in town. I was actually considering the Crown Plaza as well given the similar price point, but the ability to earn Marriott Points as well made the decision.

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The Bucket List: Virgin Trains London – Manchester

This is gonna be a rather short post, also one of the rarer ones where I share about my train journey rather than a flight experience. I always like to share about my very first experience on a particular train product so that people can get an idea how it is like. Especially since in Europe there are so many different trains, the ICE, Railjet, etc etc. Furthermore this time around, it is my very first time taking a train in the UK. The funny thing about trains in UK is that there is no unified national rail operator like the DB or SNCF in other European Countries. Rather, the National Rail just regulate operating companies, for example in this case, Virgin Trains. Comparing my options, it does seems that taking the train would be the most efficient and cost effective way for me to get to Manchester. Bus is out of the equation since it take such a long time. Virgin Trains also seems rather quirky and fun.

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The Bucket List: London

It feels good to be finally be back in London after 4 years. London is a huge city and even though I was in town for 5 days previously, it felt that there was still much left undone. This is also another reason why I am back. I would be staying away from most of the touristy place and definitely trying out spots that I have left out previously. East London for example would be totally new to me. It will be more of like a living in London experience this time around. Some of the places that I would like to share with you this time around would be Kensington Palace, Kensington, Hyde Park, Notting Hill, Portobello Market, Camden, Primrose Hill and East London. Of course some of my favourite eating spots as well. Without further ado, lets go!

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The Bucket List: Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester Three Star Michelin Restaurant

Hunting for good or perhaps amazing food is one of the things I constantly do when I am out travelling, especially when I am with my family or friends. When I am doing solo travelling, I am rather casual with my meals. I do not know why but it always seems that fine dining, especially when aiming for the “stars” are constantly cheaper abroad than in Singapore. All of my michelin experience with the exception of one have been out of Singapore. Up to date all my 3 Star Michelin dining is in New York, London and Paris. Sounds expensive but still much cheaper in SG! Odette, a 2 star establishment here cost almost 200SGD for four course. While this lunch at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, a 3 Star Michelin Restaurant cost me 80 Pounds, 143SGD all included with 2 glass of wine, coffee/tea to finish.

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The Bucket List: Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington

Immigration was smooth and we were thru in mins due to the new policy that Singaporeans are now able to use the egates in UK. Kudoos to that. For my 5 days in London, I choose to stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington. It is actually a long term stay property but you can in fact stay one night as well. It is more like a aparthotel. Usually you can find a wet bar with cooking facilities as well. What really attracts me was its fair pricing. London is an expensive place to stay in with prices usually around 300-400 SGD for something decent and in the city centre. The hotel location was superb, right in the heart of Kensington, the most upscale area in London, Tube station nearby. You are right in the heart of the city centre and could walk anywhere, Westfield mall is just mins away on food. High Street Kensington is a stroll away. I also realised that there is a direct tube line from Heathrow to the hotel on the Piccadilly, so that is really affordable and easy to get to the airport. Best of all, a large Tesco is located right next door. I will shall more about this later on. I paid 309SGD per night, after Prestige 4th night free that brought it down to about 239SGD. Furthermore I get to earn some Marriott points.

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The Bucket List: Singapore Airlines SQ322 A380R SIN – LHR Business Class

Welcome onboard Singapore Airlines flight, SQ322, from Singapore to London Heathrow. This is a line that I wish I could hear everyday, maybe I should record it and use as my ringtone. It was quite an uproar back then when SQ refresh their cabins and released the new hard products. I have also always wanted to try out the new J Class and Suites onboard their newest A380, also known as the 38R in the community. Currently as of writing they are only flying the plane to London, Zurich, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney. Tokyo seems to be next as well although I can’t say for sure. I went all out to secure a business saver ticket onboard SQ322, one of the flight on the newest 380 with the new products. Super excited to try out the new business class seat after having high praises for the old ones. SQ are always known to be the benchmark for the industry. Previously, I have shared about my lounge tour in the airport. The flight depart from Gate A5. In Singapore, security is located at the gate, perhaps on the bright side you do not have to wait for super long, on the other hand you can bring liquid onboard. Thankful there was a premium line with no queue and boarding literally started once I cleared security.

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The Bucket List: Krisflyer Gold Lounge Changi Airport Terminal 2

Continuing on my lounge hopping. I went next door to check out the Krisflyer Gold Lounge in T2. In addition to the usual Silverkris lounge operated by Singapore Airlines that you can find worldwide, they also operate the Krisflyer Gold Lounge in Singapore. This is for crowd control and accessible by Krisflyer Elite Gold Members travelling in Economy Class as well as Star Alliance Gold Members. Although for Star Alliance members, you can use the Silverkris Lounge as well which is much better. It is going to be a rather short review since I just pop in for a quick look.

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The Bucket List: Silverkris Lounge Changi Airport Terminal 2

While I have been to the Silverkris Lounge in Terminal 3 multiple times, I have actually not been to the one over in Terminal 2, usually when I am out on SQ it is on long haul and they fly out of T3. This time around I cater myself additional time to head over to T2. One look and I already feel it to be much more comfortable than the ones in T3. it is so much quieter and cosy. T3 just feels like a busy market place with all the late night departures. I was ushered in and informed to cater additional time to head over to Terminal 3. Similarly, there are separated first class and business class section in the lounge. On the left would be Business Class.

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The Bucket List: Royal Silk Lounge Changi Airport Terminal 1

With my flight only departing at around midnight, I was at the airport pretty early as I wanted to check out a few of the lounges that I missed out previously. After spending some time and grabbing dinner at the Silverkris Lounge in Terminal 3. I took the Skytrain to Terminal 1 to check out the Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge. Perks of the Singapore Airport, All the main terminals are connected airside. This is the other Star Alliance lounge in Changi Airport and the only one in T1. Terminal 1 is more of an oneworld hub. Signs are clear and you can definitely see it. The lounge are all located together around the same area, beside this Royal Silk Lounge, you can also find the British Airways lounge and Qantas lounge as well. I am really looking forward to check them out as well in the near future. The host was polite and there is no wait to enter!

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The Bucket List: Silverkris Lounge Changi Airport Terminal 3

It has been almost 2 years since I was in the Silverkris Lounge in Terminal 3, this can be said as the flagship lounge of Singapore Airlines. If you have been paying attention to the news recently, you will know that SQ recently just announced that they will be investing more than 50 million to renovate their lounges in Singapore. This will take place from the later part of this year to mid-2020. I have to say that they are definitely in need of a makeover. It was interesting to see how things have change since I was here back then. Similar to my previous experiences, the host at the entrance will verify your access, there is usually no wait since it is highly manned.

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The Bucket List: Introduction

I was definitely planning a memorable trip in 2019 after such a lacklustre year of travelling in 2018. This year also marks the end of my first year in university. Surely I gotta plan something to destress in the Summer. University definitely have been stressful, although this would be a story for another day! Back to the trip, originally I have been planning to head to New Zealand, since it has been long on my bucketlist! I have even plan to fly on Suites and done all the planning. Sadly, after doing a little bit of research, It felt like June wasn’t really a good time to head to NZ, I will want to check out the Milford Sound and driving right in the peak of winter doesn’t sound too safe for us Singaporean! Then it was a pretty hard struggle! After all, there aren’t much places left high up on the list for me to bring my parents! We love seeing the nature, US was out! I had been to much of Europe and it doesn’t really seem to be perfect in Summer as well. Then I had an idea! UK weather is pleasant year round. Then there was the new SQ Airbus 380 that was flying to London, with their new product! So there it is! Heading to UK and with Isle of Skye in Scotland being the highlight!

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A Cathay Present: Summing up my most Impromptu Trip

Well. This is definitely the most impromptu trip that I ever embark on. Tickets book in hours, in the wee hours. I can still remember how exciting it is! On 1 Jan 2019 till the day I departed, 15 May 2019. A period of awaiting! Constantly reading up on flight reviews and getting knowledge as well as information on Cathay Pacific. Since it is rather foreign to me in comparison to Singapore Airlines. Well, there it is for a Mileage Run, an error ticket. Here it is for Seeing The World In Steps first error fare and mileage run. I have to say that it is thrilling. The very first time that I am travelling for the sake of flying and not the destination itself. I would just like to share some of my thoughts throughout this trip in this post shortly. It will also be a good way for me to remise about how amazing the last two weeks have been on CX, Danang as well as the States.

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A Cathay Present: SilkAir MI631 737-800 DAD – SIN Business & Economy Class

Having just flew on Cathay Dragon, CX regional arm, I was particularly interested to see how SQ regional arm, SilkAir, pit against them. From my previous 2 flight, it does seem that Cathay Dragon is pretty not bad. With an awesome Business Class as well. As part of my whole routing for flying the Cathay error fare, I need to base myself from Da Nang and only SilkAir flies there. Previously, I have said that I have redeem 12,500 miles for a Economy ticket to Da Nang and add on the DAD – SIN sector on Business class to my next long haul ticket at no additional miles. I gives me the perfect routing to try both Economy and Business.  SilkAir is also in the midst of merging into SQ, thus it is important to see their seats and the crew caliber in comparison to the big leagues. SilkAir flies out of Terminal 2 and I was there around 2 hour early. It is definitely crowded, but at least all the queues move.

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A Cathay Present: Hilton Da Nang

Since my ticket on Cathay First Class was from Vietnam to the States. I had choose to depart from Da Nang, since their ticket were the cheapest. Furthermore it does seem that it will be a new city for me. I have never been to Da Nang. I decided to do a one night stay both before and after my Cathay Itinerary. While I have at first plan to stay at different hotels as well as one near the Han River and another near the My Khe Beach. The Hilton Da Nang was also a little pricier than their counterparts. But I immediately jump on the opportunity when they had a flash deal. I book just the entry level room, which is a King Guest Room River view. It cost me about 127 SGD after tax. Furthermore, I will be able to earn lots of points and clock my Gold Status. I think this has been one of the best decision of my travels. I will be sharing on both of my stay. First was a stay without Status. Second was with Gold Status, it will be nice to see how they differ from each other.

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A Cathay Present: Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge

The Bridge Business Class Lounge was the last stop of my lounge tour for the day. It is located near Gate 40 and the location is awesome since it is right at where the train let you out from Gate 1 area. This makes it super easy to visit. Perhaps this is also the reason why the lounge is super crowded. The lounge is located on level down the main floor and the exterior is definitely impressive. I have no idea why the lounge is called The Bridge, perhaps it is due to the reception being like a bridge between both sections of the lounge.

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A Cathay Present: Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge

The previous occasion when I was in Hong Kong on my outbound flight to the States, I had a fairly short layover and did not have enough time to check out the business class portion of The Pier. This time around, while waiting for my massage session at The Pier First Class, I decided to check out the business class lounge. Do note that the Business Class Lounge is located totally in a different space from the First Class side, The entrance to The Pier Business class side is located near Gate 65, just next. Similarly, it is located one level down the main terminal. There is a host at the entrance who will check your access, it does seems like the staff here are less polished than their First Class counterparts! This is literally Cathay newest J Class lounge in HKIA. One of their newest offering. It was fresh, new and absolutely gorgeous. Definitely, it is way more crowded here. I am also super keen to check out the lounge since I heard that they have a very unique offering now, A Yoga relaxation area which is unheard of actually!

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A Cathay Present: The Qantas Hong Kong Lounge

Shall we just take a little break from Cathay? I am afraid that people are getting sick of hearing Cathay and Cathay! This is the other awesome Oneworld lounge that you can visit in HKIA. Frankly speaking, HKIA is full of awesome lounge, besides what I am going to cover in this trip series, you also have the Plaza Premium First which I have heard much good things about. Furthermore there is also the AMEX Centurion Lounge as well. Hopefully, one day I will have a chance to visit them. Frankly speaking, I have not idea why Qantas would want to operate their own lounge here given that Cathay already have such great facilities. The Qantas Business Class Lounge is located right after security on the opposite side of The Wing. Do pay attention to which security side to use if you are visiting any of them in particular. It was open from 7.30am to 11pm. You are able to access with any OneWorld premium ticket or with Oneworld Sapphire status.

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