First Class Run: Conrad Manila – Bay View Diplomatic Suite

I have just shared extensively on Conrad Manila in the previous post so do check out that out if you would like to hear more about the common area and the lounge. I was in the Bay View King Premier Suite previously, although on the last night I got a further upgrade to a Bay View Diplomatic Suite and would just like to share briefly on this amazing suite. It is so nice to have such great elite recognition as this property. I would share briefly on my thoughts regarding the suite as well as pointing out the main difference between the Diplomatic Suite and the King Premier Suite. I do understand that this is a very rare upgrade for hilton members. My new suite is located just round the corner from the Executive Lounge on the 7th floor which is a lot more convenient than my previous one given that it is far away from the lift. I am glad to have almost 12 hours or more in the suite. The Bay View Diplomatic Suite is even more luxurious than my previous one, coming at 95 Sqm it is super spacious and probably the largest suite that I have ever stayed in. Perfect for a party, this is a suite that easily goes for 560 SGD a night!

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Bali Mattress Run: Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport

Towards the later end of the previous decade! Wow what a way to say it. It is actually a couple months ago back in December 2019 when I went on a trip to Bali. Despite it being one of the my bucket list. The main motivation for the trip was to stay here at the Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport. I was on a hunt for more nights as the year was coming to an end and I need to clock my status. Hilton elite status is one of the most beneficial ones in my opinion. I have always gotten executive upgrades and a few times to a suite even. The lounge and breakfast access is a nice touch and often save me lots of money when on the road. This is probably the cheapest way to go on a mattress run and it is well known in the community as well. A night here usually goes for about 60SGD plus tax which isn’t frankly a price I think I will pay for! The best deal actually goes for points stay. It is usually a 5,000 points property and when hilton is running a sale you are usually able to get it for 25USD! As elite members we also get the 5th night free when staying for 4th nights. That brings down the price to 20USD a night or 28SGD! What a deal! What a steal! With some hilton promotion to sum up, I only paid 3,400 points, even cheaper than I expected. Furthermore, on points stay you do not have to pay any taxes as well which is a nice touch. Check it out with me! The “best” hotel for a mattress run! 60 nights for Diamond? Heck this might be cheaper than your apartment back home!

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Chapter Wanderlust II: Hilton Zurich Airport

For my very last base in Europe and in Switzerland. I booked the Hilton Zurich Airport for my stay. Welcome to Zurich guys! I am a huge fan of Switzerland although the high cost of travelling deters me from actually doing a huge trip around the country. With that being said I am still very glad to be here in Zurich! A brand new city for me. While it might sounds a little weird for me to be staying in an Airport hotel even though I am here to check out the city and on holiday. It turn out to be the best decision I ever made for the time in Zurich. I got in on Swiss Air from Berlin as I shared in the post previously. Everything was smooth upon deplaning although there was a wait for my bags and I miss the shuttle by mins. Zurich Flu-ha-gen is one of the most beautiful airport I have ever seen as is Zurich. I love to say flughafen which means Airport in German. Probably one of my most accurate pronunciation of the language. Zurich is an expensive city and the hotel scene is by no means affordable at the very least, especially if you want to stay in the city centre, prices skyrocket. I was in Zurich for 5 nights! A pretty long stay. Somehow the prices were super high for my first night on the 31st, probably due to the fact that it is the eve of the Swiss National Day. Somehow splitting the booking makes it cheaper. I book the first night with 50,000 points which is still expensive but instead of paying 165 CHF and tax that’s not too bad. For the next 4 nights I pay around 124 CHF a night.img_8959

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Chapter Wanderlust II: Hampton by Hilton Berlin City Centre Alexanderplatz

Continuing on my journey in Berlin, I decided to extend for 2 more nights in the city. While I could have extend at the place where I was staying originally at Hilton Berlin, I thought that I should probably try out some new property, furthermore, the rates are much cheaper at the Hampton. It is also in another area of Berlin. Located at the prime transportation and shopping district, Alexanderplatz. The location of this property is pretty good as well. Furthermore, for those looking to leave Berlin, the direct airport bus stop here as well as easy connections to the main train station. Thankful to the staff at my previous hotel, I stayed in the lounge and check out pretty late. I only went to the Hampton around 8pm in the evening. It is an easy ride away on the UBahn!

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Chapter Wanderlust II: Hilton Berlin

Immediately after arriving from Hamburg, I took the U Bahn to get to Hilton Berlin. The station is located right outside the hotel. Hilton Berlin is one of the properties in Berlin and it can definitely be said as the flagship one. It is located right in the heart and you can walk to most places. A true 5 star hotel. The museum island is just a short stroll away as is Check Point Charlie and the memorial. Anything further, the U Bahn is right there. The Hilton is also located right outside the Dom opposite, making it super pretty. The exterior is gorgeous and grand as it blends into the surrounding. Berlin is a city of two worlds, the difference between the historical East and West, the blend of skyscrapers and buildings rebuilt after being destroyed by the war as well as the historical ones that remains. Lobby was grand and huge, there is also bell boy service at the entrance. An indicator that this is a true 5 star property. I hate the revolving doors that is so common in Europe.

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Chapter Wanderlust II: Reichshof Hamburg, Curio Collection by Hilton

I am always intrigued by the Curio Collection. Where they are mostly independent hotels with their unique flair but under a management contract with Hiltons. Something like a chain but without the identical identity. Similar brands would be like Marriott Autograph. Then lean more towards SLH style. Previously I had stayed at The Renwick in NYC and was delighted. It is with no doubt that the Reichshof would be another highlight! Each property have their own history and feature. While I love hiltons and conrads it tend to get boring since chains like to keep the style similar! While when you are talking about the Curio Collection, they are significantly unique and yet they give you the same elite benefits as what you will get for example for staying in a Conrad or Hilton. I get points, upgrades as well as complimentary breakfast as a gold members as well. Perhaps the only bad side is there is rarely a lounge. To make it a point, I will go my way out for Curio collections properties. Let me show you how nice the Reichshof is!

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Chapter Wanderlust II: Hilton Garden Inn Brussels City Centre

This is my second time back to Brussels. The city that meant a lot to me! I will not be doing another sharing on Brussels itself seeing that I have already done a very in depth one the previous time. You can check that out here. I would however like to share about my stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Brussels City Centre, a fairly new property in the city! I wanted to come back to Brussels even though I have already been here before, given how special it is, I would like to retrace my steps on my trip 2 years ago. Surprisingly, the rates for my stay was super good. Totally unbelievable, the rate is 70 Euros or 105SGD a night for my stay! For Brussels, that is really affordable, might be more worth it than some hostels. Furthermore, I will still be able to earn points and enjoy my benefits.

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Chapter Wanderlust II: Hilton Rotterdam

Rotterdam was next up after a night in Lux, this is actually my true destination. After being to the vibrant and way too chaotic Amsterdam 2 years ago, I wanna try out some other Dutch cities to get a feel. Which is why I am checking out the more overlooked Rotterdam, Den Haag and Breda! I found an affordable Flixbus costing me around 20 euros but it will be a long ass ride of more than 6 hours. Thankfully the bus was fairly empty and I met Subin from Lux, having a company for the 6 hours makes the journey so much more bearable. I stayed at the Hilton for my 2 nights in Rotterdam! The Hilton Rotterdam is one of the best in town and an level above most of the hiltons that I have stayed in. A true 5 star hotel in Europe. It is located on the corner of Stadhius, just a short walk away from the central station. It is also right in the heart of the city and you can practically walk anywhere. I never took any transportation at all.

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Chapter Wanderlust II: Hotel Empire Luxembourg

I had a one night stay in the little tiny Luxembourg! Well! I have to say that Lux was never on my mind and on the list to visit! Fate as it is, I was trying to save money seeing that a direct train from Strasbourg to Rotterdam would be 100 over Euros. But instead a train ride to the nearby Luxembourg as well as a flixbus would take me to Netherlands for 40 euros. The savings was way too much. At least that is another country and another city to my list making Lux my No. 27 country! I will certainly share more about this expensive boutique landlocked country next. Luxembourg City, is famed for its fortified medieval old town perched on sheer cliffs. Beautiful! The train ride in was eventful but that is another story for another day! Luxembourg is also one of the most expensive place in the world, on par with Switzerland. Another good reason on why people should just come in for a day trip! I however had one night! There are no hilton option! It is also not a place for backpackers. I just screen thru some of the cheapest hotel on booking.com and found Hotel Empire!

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Chapter Wanderlust II: Hilton Strasbourg

Continuing on my solo adventures, I was off, next to Strasbourg, a lovely French city near the border with germany. I have always been intrigued by this place and the mix of influences between French and German! It is certainly one of the most interesting place to visit. Strasbourg is also one of the capital city of the EU! Located in the Alsace region. Besides it is also an interesting fact that I have been to all EU Capitals, together with Brussels, Frankfurt and Luxembourg City! I will leave Strasbourg itself for a separate post all together. I spend quite a bit of time in Strasbourg, staying there for 4 nights in total. I have been on the road for quite a bit and moving around by this time. Hopping to take it down a notch and rest. I will also do a day trip to the nearby town of Colmar! Hilton Strasbourg is a solid 4 star hotel that is located just out the other fringe of the city centre. It is a easy tram ride away of 2 to 3 stops or just a 15 mins stroll. I do think that the location is not too bad. It is kind of quiet around the hotel though! Although a local friend tell me that it is a rather safe place!

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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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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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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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: 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: 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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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: The Renwick Hotel New York City, Curio Collection by Hilton

For my second night in NYC, I decide to change hotel to another hilton properties since the rates are much cheaper if I book them separately, it is also a great opportunity to be able to try and review another property from Hilton as well as in NYC. The Renwick Hotel is also part of Hilton, under the Curio Collection, which are more quirky and unique, they have a certain flair that might not suit the normal hotels groups. It might be fun staying at such properties since they might be usually housed in a special rebuilt or renovated buildings. Previously, I have raved about the location of my previous hotel. The Renwick is awesome as well, for checking out midtown and uptown. Perhaps more suitable for the typical tourists since you are super close to Times Square, Empire State, Rockerfeller, Central Park and definitely shopping down the world famous 5th Ave. Heck, Grand Central Terminal is just next door. You are practically at the heart of everywhere! 

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A Cathay Present: Hilton Garden Inn NYC Financial Centre

I was actually due to stay at the Conrad NYC and was really looking forward to it. I do not know why but the rates for the night that I was staying at in NYC were really cheap, in comparison to the others. My Conrad rates were a flexible one, I originally had it at about 240USD per night. However roughly about a week before my stay, I went to do another check and realised that all of the rates for the hotel have drop and in fact, for the friday night, I could find properties that were even at around 120USD. Couldn’t give up this opportunity, I cancelled my conrad stay. I found the Hilton Garden Inn NYC Financial Centre going for only about around 120USD and after taxes and fee, I paid about 147USD. Furthermore,  I am going to get some points and clock towards my Hilton Gold as well. The location was pretty good as well. It is located right at the edge of the banks, in Wall St, in fact just opposite the Subway as well as the Staten Island Ferry. The location makes it a perfect choice to explore lower manhattan, world trade centre and even Tribeca and Soho. I love how sometimes in the Wall St, especially on the weekends and holidays, it become quiet and rates are oftenly low.

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A Cathay Present: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Jersey City

Landing at close to 9pm, we were slightly late in touching down furthermore we had a long taxi. I can’t believe that I was in a metal tube for close to 17 hours, as awesome as Cathay may sounds, I was tired, exhausted and I just want to have a hot bath and hit the sack. I had one night around NYC area before taking the bus down to Washington and meet up with my friend. Thankfully immigration were completely empty and I was the first one thru, there was a slight wait for the baggage and I left JFK at around 915pm. I had actually wanted to take a ride share but it actually cost more than 100USD. HELL. I was staying in Jersey City since that rates are much much cheaper and in fact I got a nice rate at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Jersey City for just 155USD after tax and everything. I made the long journey using the Airtrain, Subway and then the Path, which took me about 1hr 45 mins in total to get to Jersey. Seems like it is a balance between cost and ease. The hotel has a really good location since it is like just a stone throw away from the Path.

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JB X Four Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru

Recently, in April, I took a very impromptu hop across the causeway for another trip to JB that have been missing for the longest time ever. I am in need of a massage as well as numerous good food! All at 30% of the price you find back home in Singapore! I kinda feel like the opposite instead, just like how I am when travelling to Europe. This trip all came about when there was a Flash Sale on Hilton recently and I am on a first track to qualify for Gold. Nothing is better than doing it for 70 bucks a night. I got train tickets and with a daypack, here I am in JB. The Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru is located just a short walk from the customs and City Square, which I believe that most of you know about.

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No. 24, Taiwan: Ximending Airbnb

I knew that I would want to stay in the Ximending area during my stay in Taipei and after looking over at the hotel choices, nothing seems really interesting. Most of the chain hotels are also located out of this prime district, which makes me really wonder why is that so. Taiwan seems to be a hotspot for Airbnb, especially in the area of Taipei Main Station as well as Ximending. These are the two main spot for travellers to Taipei. Ximending is also known as the Times Square of Taiwan. It is never quiet and full of shops, restaurants and food. Ah Zhong Mian Xian is also right there in the area! I personally find booking an Airbnb extremely time-consuming since you always have to look through all the listing and then the reviews. These are really important since they could either make it or break you stay. Hopefully this will help with you.

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No. 24, Taiwan: Splendor Hotel Taichung

After a very efficient high-speed train journey that I took from Taoyuan to Taichung, Taiwan second largest city, I arrived here in the afternoon. It is sure a journey and I am exhausted. A full day of travelling, from the plane, to mrt, to train then finally a bus ride, I am sure happy to check in and wash up. I was staying at the Splendor Hotel Taichung, one of the top rated hotel in Taichung and if not the best. The location is impeccable as well. Right opposite the Sogo Department store and the free bus transfer to the high speed rail station stop right outside. It is also connected to a shopping centre itself, surrounded by many stores and eateries. There are numerous convenience stores around the hotel. The entrance is sure grand!

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Peking to Beijing: Prime Hotel Beijing Wangfujing

Beijing International Airport is one of the most airy one in the world, immediately after landing, I can start to feel how stuffy the place is, especially in this time of the year where beijing is so hot. Beijing Summer is really no joke! The immigration process is pretty well thought out. Although for any new visitors, you will have to go to a automated kiosk to log in your fingerprint, after that you can head to the counters, although there was a queue, it is moving rapidly, given how many counters are in operations. We then collected our bags and head towards getting a cab. Taxis or cabs here are call “Si Zhao Che” which literally means private hire cars. Although you can take the mrt or buses, taxis are your best bet, they are cheap and efficient. A journey cost about 100 Yuan to the city centre and take about 45 mins. After much research, I have chose to stay in Prime Hotel Wangfujing, a 5 star hotel located at the northern end of Wangfujing and also walkable distance to a metro station.

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Trip de Americae: Millennium Biltmore Los Angeles

I had a little trouble during the final part of my trip in the states. I guess sometimes, your plans doesn’t always goes accordingly. I have to say that I am already very glad that so far, everything have been rather peaceful up to this moment. If anyone still remember the crazy California wildfire that just went crazy and rip throughout the whole state. Yup, I was caught right in the middle of it! One of them was even super close to UCLA, and burn down houses in Bel Air. In fact after San Francisco, I was suppose to do a 2d1n drive down to Napa Valley, then make my way to Los Angeles, although after seeing footage of the Wildfire, I decided that taking a place might be much better. Thankfully I managed to cancel my car rental and hotels at no extra cost, since they understand my plight! I book a last min flight and flew Virgin America down to LAX. I will not review the flight again since it is rather similar to my previous one. Los Angeles is a huge city, with many district, in fact, no one really have a good suggestion on where to stay in LA. I decided on downtown since I could get to all the district in LA like Hollywood, Santa Monica easily. I found quite a good deal on Millenium Biltmore Los Angeles and decide to stay there.

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Trip de Americae: Parc 55 Hilton San Francisco

Upon arrival in SFO, the main airport in San Francisco Bay Area, we took the transfer to the rail and then head towards the city using the BART! The BART is like the mrt or metro that we have in other countries! It serve most of the Bay area! Usually the most important stations in San Francisco downtown area are from Civic Centre to Embarcadero! The ride from SFO takes about 20-30 mins and cost about 10 bucks! After all San Francisco is an expensive place! Parc 55 location is perfect, steps from Powell St Station and right in the heart of the city! Union Square and the major shopping district are just steps away as well as many eateries! You really can’t get any better than this!

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Trip de Americae: Hilton Seattle

The flight was short and sweet, I flew in Delta again, the experience is roughly the same as my previous one when flying in to Vegas. We actually landed in Seattle, before 3pm. I am so happy to finally been in Seattle after hearing about this place for so long! Grey’s Anatomy is one of my very favourite all time TV Series, I am so glad to be finally in the place where the show is set in. Something adrupt happen after collecting my baggage, my luggage got damaged by the airline, so I spend a little while sorting out stuff with the airline before taking the Light Link Rail to my hotel. The ride was fast and cheap, costing only 3 USD. I love how quaint and chill Seattle is, compared to other destination, it is so much less touristy here. It also seems that the people here have a very high quality of life! Seattle also have a pretty great population of Koreans and Chinese! The University Street Station is located right in the heart of Seattle, is just steps from the Hilton. Although the street are pretty hilly, so might be a little tough with the bags!

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Trip de Americae: New York New York Hotel & Casino 

Apologies for the confusion, but despite the title makes it sound like I am still in NYC, this is actually the hotel that I am staying at in Las Vegas! Continuing on the previous post where I landed in Las Vegas McCarren International Airport, it was an efficient landing and in minutes after collection of my baggage I was whisked off to the offsite car rental centre to pick up my rental car. I will have a whole post on my experience with Sixt and driving in Las Vegas so hang on a while for that. Despite getting lost a bit and figuring out the unfamiliar roads, we stop off at Walmart to grab some supplies for our stay in Las Vegas before driving to the New York New York Hotel & Casino. The New York New York Hotel & Casino is located right in the strip and on the southern end of it. Of course, with any visitors to Vegas! I will definitely recommend to stay right in the Vegas. As with Vegas, you will want to be in the action of it!

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Trip de Americae: The Westin New York Grand Central

Yeah, Yeah, Im’ma up at Brooklyn, now I’m down in Tribeca

Right next to DeNiro, But I’ll be hood forever

I’m the new Sinatra, and since I made it here

I can make it anywhere, yeah they love me everywhere

I used to cop in Harlem, all of my dominicanos

Right there up on Broadway, brought me back to that McDonald’s

I guess New York City is everyone dream, it used to be the place and the symbol for freedom and independence and it is right now still a place for anyone to express your views and ideas without fear. New York City, the Big Apple is definitely one of the most culturally diverse place that I have ever been, it is nice to see how people from all places and different background coming together in this community. I guess I can finally say that I have been in NEW YORK CITY! However, this is also one of the most touristy place in the world, and, it is definitely not a cheap place to travel! New York City actually consists of 5 main borough, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. Personally I guess most of the people would want to stay in Manhattan or Brooklyn. Although everywhere is well connected by the Subway, which is also the best way to get around town. I choose Manhattan since it was close to the action and then of course it is also nearer to everywhere in town. I was with my parents so cutting down on the travels is much better. I chance upon The Westin New York Grand Central which is right smack in 42 St, near the Grand Central Station!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Hotel Palace Bologna

After a fast 30 mins train ride from Florence, I arrived in Bologna. It was short and crowded. Thankfully the ride was short. It was the most crowded Italian train that I have ever taken, thankfully I still managed to get some space for my luggage. Bologna can be said as the major connection or railstop in the northern part of the country. So the trains here are pretty frequent. Bologna train station is located just on the fringe of the city, so from there it is an easy 15 to 20 mins walk to the central area. I booked my accommodation kind of last min since I was actually due to stay with a friend in town. However there is some glitch that she has last min which result in me making other plans. I decide to put up in Hotel Palace Bologna since the location is good and it is well priced. I would say that it is a solid 3 star hotel.

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Chapter Wanderlust: Girasole Room – Accademia Museum Florence Airbnb X Thoughts on Airbnb

Welcome to another milestone of Seeing The World In Steps! This is the first time that I am staying in an Airbnb! Seemingly I have heard many good stuff about Airbnb and how it has revolutionize the hospitality industry! In this post, I would like to share my thoughts on it and the Airbnb that I have booked in Florence, the Girasole Room – Accademia Museum. On a side track, you peeps can look forward to another trip report that is coming up in the later part of the year! Peking to Beijing! Yes! I have just booked my tickets to Beijing! That is going to be No.59 coming up very soon! While I was looking over my accomodation options in Florence, I chance upon this lovely listing that looks really good. I am also very keen to give Airbnb a try after hearing so much about it!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Le Coste Apartment Manarola X Arbaspaa

Enhance your visit to Cinque Terre by taking a step back, a laid back chill lifestyle while being right in the heart of the charms! Be away from the crowd, be the first one rather then joining the bulk of day trippers. Late night walks while hearing the waves crashing onto the rocks? You have it! Catching the sunset over the horizon? A daily affair for me! There is definitely a charm when the whole place quiet down. It is a very different experience. While for the more affordable option, you can choose to stay at La Spezia! Which is only a short train ride away. Cinque Terre consists of 5 Villages, namely Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, each of them very different and have its own charms. With Monterosso being the most touristy and contains more larger resorts and hotels. It is also the only one to have a proper beach! Another great options if you are looking for accommodation in Cinque Terre is to check out Arbaspaa! It is a tour company in the area that provide accommodation and tours. They own and operate various apartments around the 5 villages. Many of them are cute, unique and worthwhile. Especially when travelling in a group! Prices are affordable and the place is well maintained!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Hotel Ilaria Residenza dell’Alba

After the weekends of feasting and dining, I have finally found time back here to Seeing The World In Steps! Speaking of the couple recent months, there are many thoughts going through and I keep pondering over the regrets and decisions that I have made in the past. On the good side, I am very happy to say that Seeing The World In Steps have reached another milestone! I finally have my own domain! It is nothing huge, but definitely means alot to me! Now back to this trip of mine. Departing Siena, I found myself in Lucca after a change of train in Florence. Lucca is somewhat of a down point in my travels and I am sorry to say that I felt it is the second worst place that I have been to this time around. The only two things that helped was the amazing pizza and the hotel that I stayed in Hotel Ilaria Residenza dell’Alba!

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Chapter Wanderlust: I Tetti di Siena

After spending the weekend in Rome, I was off to to Siena. An UNESCO World Heritage City in the heart of Italy lush Tuscany Region! The little medieval brick city famed for the red roof is a popular place for its cuisine, arts and medieval landscape! Numerous tourists come here to view the amazing shell shaped town square, Piazza del Campo. It is a city that you should never missed when travelling in central Italy! My bus ride to Siena took about 3 hours which is around the same time as the train, but at a much lower price! The train station is around a 20 mins walk to the city centre although it is pretty steep, a bus would be recommended, costing only 1.20 Euros. Siena is also a popular place for the Palio horse race, which happens twice a year!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Il Fascino di Roma B&B

I shall not dwell too much into the name of the name of the bed and breakfast since I have totally no idea how to pronounce it. Suffice to say, I had plan to spend 4 nights in Rome, it is kinda a long stay that I plan given that it is my second time in town actually. Rome is a huge city, furthermore there is also the Vatican nearby. I hate to rush and I have also planned to near to Pompeii and Naples for a day trip on one of the days. This is also why I have plan a healthy amount of time here. Rome is a touristy place and accomodations is not cheap either. Thankfully I found Il Fascino di Roma B&B which is a pretty cool, boutique accommodation located near Plaza della Repubblica! It is also of walking distance from the Termini Station!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Savoy Hotel Frankfurt

After a pretty terrible bus ride from Heidelberg to Frankfurt on Flixbus, checking in to the Savoy Hotel definitely sounds good. The 2 hours ride certainly isn’t great. The bus was crowded and cramped. Like trains, the bus are not only from one place to another, but run along a line. If you are not boarding at the start, you do tend to lose out on the choice of seats. I will share more on this on a later note! It is easy though, with the bus taking me straight to Frankfurt Central Station. Savoy Hotel is a classic 4 star hotel located just next to the Hauptbahnhof! I was actually supposed to stay with a host although she cancelled as she was hospitalized. I was looking at my options and thankfully managed to get a room at the Savoy. Since I was only having one night in Frankfurt and the next day I will need to get to the Airport. I decided to stay near the Hauptbahnhof!

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Chapter Wanderlust: NH Heidelberg

After a train ride on the ICE from Munich, I arrived in Heidelberg, the next city on my list of travels. I have always wanted to visited Heidelberg, a city near Frankfurt which is famed for the amazing view and chill lax vibes. I won’t called it a town because it feels much more crowded and larger than a usual town. The city revolves around the Neckar river and on both sides of it lies lush greens with the famous Alte Brucke connecting them. The old bridge which have been in existence since 1788 and also the castle overlooking the old town is one of the main points that I am visiting Heidelberg. I choose NH Heidelberg as it is one of the few choices in town, it is also a solid 4 star hotel in the area, the location was perfect as well. It was in between the main area of my activity, the old town and the train station. While you could take the buses, I opt to simply rely on walking during my time there. It wasn’t that bad with baggage, probably took me a good 15mins walk there.

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Chapter Wanderlust: City Pension Stephansplatz

This is one of the best accomodation that I had in Vienna. In fact it wasn’t my first choice since it is a little more expensive that my other choice. Blame on me for not pulling the trigger on the other one. Given that this trip of mine is a little backpacking kind like and I really want to save on the accomodation side, I did not stayed at very nice hotels and stuff. City Pension Stephansplatz can be said as one of the nicest place that I had in the whole trip. Although it is a Pension which is a bed and breakfast it literally felt like a 4 star hotel simply without a nice lobby. A strong 4 star contender for the price of a 3 star. Modern, clean and new it is just like its city Vienna. Just like the name of the accomodation, it is located just around the corner of the Stephansplatz which is the most iconic St Stephen Cathedral and central location of Vienna! A Little gem in the heart of Vienna!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Pension Danny Cesky Krumlov

After two amazing days in Hallstatt, it is finally time for me to be heading to the next location to continue Seeing The World In Steps. Cesky Krumlov, another bucketlist of mine! I have long seen those tempting pictures of Cesky Krumlov at numerous places, a little dreamy red roof houses in a small town. If you guys had not heard of Cesky Krumlov, it is this little Czech town about 3 hours out from Prague. It is a little pretty Bohemian town. Austria borders Czech Republic, which makes it perfect to explore this little place right after Hallstatt. While I could probably take the ferry and the train which is so much more troublesome. I decided to take the car transfer from Hallstatt to Cesky Krumlov straight. CK Shuttle provides shuttle services to many places in the Austria, Germany and Czech Republic region. Their prices are fair. It isn’t really comfy after realising that the shared shuttle is being packed to the brim.

A private transfer does cost more, being the budget me, I paid about 55 SGD for the transfer which takes me from the bus stop at Hallstatt, right outside my hotel, to my hotel in Cesky Krumlov. It is really fuss less. They usually do a pickup at the same area for Hallstatt then drop you at wherever you are staying at in the old town.

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Chapter Wanderlust: Gasthof Bergfried Hotel Hallstatt

Many of you peeps whom have follow my post or this trip series so far would have known that Hallstatt is top of my bucketlist and the best place that I have ever step foot on! I mean you can definitely do it as a day trip, touch and go, in fact the bulk of the tourists do this! But why should you step into the common ground. Stay, stroll and enjoy one of the greatest place man ever found. Take your time, after all this is one of the most leisurely place that you could find yourself in! This also gives you the opportunity to really embrace and experience how Hallstatt really is. Getting away from the crowd and buzz that the huge amount of tourists arrive in the late morning to afternoon that makes it so much more touristy! But I got to say! Hallstatt is a small town, in fact even a bottle of water cost up to 3 times more that what you get in other cities! Take it into consideration that Austria is one of the country that water is dirt cheap! Thus to really enjoy the scenic, quietness and peacefulness of the place the cost really increase. Expensive accommodations, food……all leads to the increase in the costs. Being a small town, there isn’t much place to stay at. I did have to say I did book the place pretty early, in fact roughly around 3 months prior to my trip and the only options available was only Gasthof Bergfried and another one due to a conference in town! Let me take you on a tour of one of the most beautiful room in town!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Hotel Adlerhof Salzburg

After a whirlwind journey all the way from Amsterdam, Seeing The World In Steps is finally checking out another country and also another brand new city. Finally Austria after hearing so much about it. The land of Mozart, here I come. It was almost dark when I finally arrived in Salzburg, Salzburg main train station sure look gorgeous. It is a little walk to the main portion of town. Nearby the train station you can also find eateries and supermarket that are open later and definitely on Sundays. With the train delay and the winter approaching, I really didn’t had much time to tour around on the first night that I arrived. Hotel Adlerhof is a pension like hotel that I find. For those who are unsure with the term pension, it refers to something like a bed and breakfast, it is a nice alternative to hostels and airbnb, some of them are really nice. You get close to hotel service at a cheaper price! It is pretty nice, the location is near to the train station, perhaps about a 5-7 mins walk and it fit my budget. For those whom are interested, I paid about 95 SGD for a single room per night and it comes with breakfast!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Amsterdam Central Bed and Breakfast

After a super long bus ride from Brussels I am finally in Amsterdam, it is a little bucketlist checked. I will not say that Amsterdam is high up on my list but everyone have been like Amsterdam this Amsterdam than. Oh yea you definitely have to go see Amsterdam! Now I can finally check this place out for myself. To share a little on the journey. It was my very first time taking the intereurope bus this time around. I went with Flixbus! It is one of the most famous companies in Europe. Pricing on its affordable, convenient and trustworthy ride. It connects many cities around europe. Comparing to trains sometimes it may be alot cheaper. It is actually only a 2 hours ride to Amsterdam from Brussels, after a sad goodbye with Chloe, off i go. First, it was a replacement bus, so no wifi! Yes Flixbus offers wifi onboard. Then the lucky me got a customs check, just by luck and random, where we were delayed about 30mins since the police came up and check one by one! I will share more on bus journeys in Europe in a separately post shortly! To cut things short, the whole journey took more than 3 hours, with the traffic and everything. After a couple mins train ride into the Amsterdam Central Station off I go in look for the Bed and Breakfast!

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Sawadikap: Conrad Bangkok

The highlight of my recent trip to Bangkok. Basically the whole idea of this trip was to surrounded around this hotel and the promotion that was really so tempting. If you did follow me on my earlier post in this trip series you will know how tempting it is. With the wanderlust cells indoctrinated in me, there was no way that I would stay in Singapore. There is both sides to staying in the area that Conrad was it. Conrad was actually part of the All Seasons Place in the embassy area. In fact the US Embassy was just a stone throw away. It is slightly away from the main shopping area in Siam and Central World but easily connected through walkway with a average 15 to 20 mins walking distance. Although slightly out of the way, it is also more convenient since you cabs would make more sense to you, with the streets surrounding the hotel not as jam as the main one along Siam and MBK, you can get out of the area much faster. Besides, the hotel also has a complimentary shuttle service to sent you to the BTS Station, Phloen Chit. I really prefer it’s location to the others that I have stayed in the past. Besides taking cab, I even walked to the Platinum Fashion Mall area and also the iconic Terminal 21 Mall. All in less that 20 to 30mins.

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Down Under In Mel: Grand Hyatt Melbourne

123 Collins Street! Right in the heart of the city where the vibes are working it’s very best. Located between the quintessential Flinders Street Station and Bourke Street, with the St Paul right near it’s backyard. The location was pretty ideal. Grand Hyatt Melbourne was my home for the next 6 days. Just a little recap, previous I chanced upon one of the deals for the winter season and the rates were going for 213 AUD per night. Given that I recently status matched up to Hyatt Passport Platinum and with the Hyatt Summer Promotion I earn a total of close to 10k points. Furthermore with the Citi Prestige 4th night free, the rate was brought down to 177 AUD. For a 5 star hotel right in town, with the tram stop right in front. Things can’t be better.

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2015 Europe Trip: End Suites Hotel

ANOTHER POST WITHOUT PICTURES! I AM SO SORRY!

Anyway, another happy news to share with you guys, gonna have a new trip review series in June soon! Seeing The World In Steps is gonna go to Melbourne. New Country New City!

Istanbul, left much expectation for me, keeping me awaiting too! It’s a city that I had never thought of going to practically in my life. Although, with that being said, Ataturk International Airport hadn’t been foreign to me! In my opinion, it has always been operating over it’s capacity and overcrowded, the queues are never ending whenever I am clearing customs while transiting both currently and two years ago on my trip to Europe also. To make it even worse, the airport announce whenever a plane landed, thus you practically hear Turkish Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Turkish Airlines every 5 min while waiting in the queue. Istanbul, Turkey doesn’t really represent safe to me, especially even after the recent trouble by being next to Syria. Furthermore the country is desperately trying to join the EU which explains them trying hard in improving their standards, security and infrastructure. The public transport stills lack in depth and safety given my thoughts which explains why I have decided to opt for booking an airport transfer for my stay here! Costing about 25 euros each way, although pricey but safety is still my main concern here. Due to the flight delay, I was quite worried about the transfer! Once I left the airside, I was pretty shocked actually the crowd the traffic, pretty unexplainable.

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2015 Europe Trip: Petit Palace Barcelona

Happy New Year Everyone! Barcelona of course! Totally suitable to recommend my accommodation for the new year ahead! Perhaps it’s time for you guys to plan a trip to this magical Gaudi city? Getting to the hotel, which was located near Plaza Catalunya and Passing de Garcia was a breeze! Being near these attractions was the greatest selling point of the hotel, this practically means that anywhere was within walking distance, the free use of your legs! Las Rambles was a 5 min walk away and same was Mercat de Boqueria! The beachfront was also only slightly further down, even Sagrada Familia the furtherest was able to reach in 45 mins which is easy in the cooling weather! Currently I am having a little break from my national service which I will be travelling to Malaysia soon, life is pretty great at this moment now! Totally can’t wait to be checking out a place that I hadn’t been to in 8 years! Plenty of eating and catching up to do! Back to Barca, an gorgeous city and charming in Gaudi way, also known as Gaudi City! I had arrived at Barcelona Sants Station, Sants is huge and crowded being the main transportation hub of the city it is well connected to the public transport. If no fuss is the key to your travels, feel free to grab a cab here since I personally find that the rates in Barcelona are affordable and fairly priced! The fixed price from any place in town to the airport cost 29 Euros! Please do take care of your belonging here as it is known for pickpockets to target tourists here! A small tip for you guys, instead of taking the metro, I had opt to take the Renfe regional train which has a direct stop to Passing de Garcia, only one stop and the tickets are cheap too!

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