Page 4 of Budokan Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Singapore October 19th 2013

Saturday, 19th October 2013 In my final instalment of weekend staycations in Singapore, I decided to try out the new 4-star Ramada Hotel at Zhongshan Park in Balestier. It was raining heavily when I checked in on the afternoon of 19th October 2013. I was lucky in that the rain was quick enough to dissipate from the skies. In no time, I was happily doing my lap training at the spacious outdoor swimming pool. For sure, my room at level 10 did not disappoint as it was overlooking the peaceful Zhongshan Park and Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. For SGD161, this was not a bad deal in expensive Singapore even though the lacklustre service was certainly not worth its widely acclaimed 4-star ratings. I probably spent 80% of my time in the room within the confines ... read more
With an equally nice swimming pool (overlooking Days Hotel)

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Makassar September 23rd 2013

Monday, 23rd September 2013 The night before, we were still debating whether to hire a car and visit the hill station of Malino. Researching from the internet certainly did not reveal too much information. We were told that there was a waterfall, some tea plantations and probably some cooling weather. Sometime back, we did the tea and strawberry plantations in Bandung and decided it just wasn't too worthwhile to make the 72km winding journey to see the same thing in Malino. Spending half of our time journeying to and from our destination certainly wasn't our cup of tea, at least in Makassar. Finally, our Malino idea was scrapped. Following an idyllic breakfast, we decided to spend some time at the hotel pool as the weather simply grew too hot for us to venture outdoors. After lunch ... read more
Have a cuppa before the flight home

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Makassar September 22nd 2013

Sunday, 22nd September 2013 Makassar is probably home to one of the world's most quiet Chinatown I've ever seen! The highlight of our day was a visit to Fort Rotterdam in the morning. This was about 10 minutes walk from our accommodation. Fort Rotterdam started life in the 1670s as the centre of Dutch power in Sulawesi. During the Japanese occupation, it assumed its role as a Prisoners-of-War (POW) camp. Accessing the Fort was relatively straight forward. We had to "report" at the guard house, signed our names on the guestbook and made a modest donation before entering into the premises. By 9am, the sun was already very high up in the sky and the heat was comparable to a typical afternoon back home. The well-maintained buildings within the fort were painted in shades of yellow ... read more
Lies Makassar's Chinatown
Nice Chinese food
Coffee shop in Chinatown

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Makassar September 21st 2013

Saturday, 21st September 2013 Silkair flight MI142 flew us straight into the city of Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi. There was plenty to cheer about during the three-hour flight - great service from the friendly stewardess and delicious breakfast choices. It helped to set our holiday mood right from the beginning. Arrival at the modern Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport at 11am this morning, there was not much of a crowd at the customs. Very soon, we hopped on to the taxi for our 21km journey to the hotel. The city of Makassar that greeted us was relatively traffic free on a Saturday morning. The streetscapes were kept reasonably clean. Touting and begging were almost non-existent. The traffic grew heavier as we approached the downtown area. Along the way, the driver was quick to point ... read more
Sunset from Losari Beach
Welcome to Makassar
Our home

Asia » Malaysia » Johor August 18th 2013

Saturday, 17th August 2013 I was eleven when I first visited Kukup as a kid way back in December 1990. This was also my first overseas trip proper even though I certainly did not catch the travel bug until much later in my twenties. My only recollection of the maiden trip was our delicious seafood lunch on top of a kelong, one of the many floating houses by the sea. Kukup, a peaceful fishing village located along the western end of Johor lies about 100km from Singapore. It was certainly great to be back at the same spot after a good 23 years! Nine of us assembled on the morning of 17th August 2013 at Choa Chu Kang Station for our weekend getaway. I was looking forward to it given the novelty of staying in a ... read more
Sunset over Kukup
Our durian feast
Our huge chalet

Asia » China » Hainan » Haikou August 10th 2013

Saturday, 10th August 2013 Travel is more than just a holiday. It's a journey of experience where you leave your comfort zone and prejudices. - Vinny Kuah (My Journeys of Discovery) I was up before 540am this morning in order to catch the first glimpse of sunlight over Haitang Bay. I was happy to sacrifice that few moments of sleep in exchange for the exceptional view by the beach. There were a couple of other early birds as well. Some were armed with their DSLRs. Others just wanted to have a good time as we welcomed the very first rays of light over the horizon. The morning breeze over the peaceful Haitang Bay had a calming effect on the body and soul. Breakfast was still a wonderful encounter this morning even though we noticed that the ... read more
Another peaceful day ahead
Haikou skyline from Evergreen Park
Customs House, Haikou

Asia » China » Hainan » Sanya August 9th 2013

Friday, 9th August 2013 The countryside was decked with beautiful shades of green which most visitors would not have the time to linger on since they would be heading straight to the beaches. Breakfast at the Red Star Café this morning was an unforgettable experience. The huge restaurant was decorated in traditional Chinese furnishings with dark rosewood interiors overlooking the resort's infinity pool. The spread was enormous with a good mix of Asian and Western staples. Eggs Benedict was a surprise find at the cooking station available in both Hainanese and traditional versions. The only tourist facility that we visited during our two nights in Sanya was the Nanshan Temple, part of the sprawling Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone. This was about 60km from where we stayed along the southern coast of Hainan Island. The landmark of ... read more
Beautiful Haitang Bay
Be a Star @ Red Star Cafe

Asia » China » Hainan » Sanya August 8th 2013

Thursday, 8th August 2013 Tiger Airways flight TR 2934 brought us straight to the city of Haikou in Hainan Province this morning. This was our seventh overseas trip together for our party of five. Our travel arrangements were made as early as January in anticipation of the super long weekend crunch. The journey began at Changi International Airport for the three hours flight to Haikou Meilan Airport. This was followed by a two-hour rail journey to Sanya Station where our resort was another 40 minutes drive from the train station. All in all, we probably spent half a day commuting to url= Sanya even though I certainly enjoyed the comfortable train journey. Along the way, we were greeted by the beautiful countryside with its lush veg... read more
Renaissance Sanya Resort & Spa
Our comfortable journey to Sanya

Asia » Singapore August 3rd 2013

Saturday, 3rd August 2013 This movie is about dreams, love and friendships. And of course, lovely Xinyao songs. Thank you for bringing back great memories of yesteryears as we caught the movie, That Girl in Pinafore (我的朋友, 我的同学, 我爱过的一切) this afternoon. This movie is about dreams, love and friendships. And of course, lovely Xinyao songs. Great casting aside, the movie also produced a talented bunch of youngsters with their own rendition of Xinyao songs which gave them a whole new lease of life. Having waited in anticipation for the screening of the movie, "我的朋友我的同学我爱过的一切" since March this year, there was a bit of excitement in the last couple of weeks when I knew that the movie was finally coming to the screens on 1st August 2013. If you were a... read more

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