Traveling Podcast: Episode 012 – Marina Bay, S.E.A Aquarium, Good Vibes

As promised, I told you guys that I would do another podcast and blog, and here it is! It’s a shame that I stayed just a few days. It has seemed to me that the last few times I’ve come here, even on those 24-hour layovers — to the 3-night trip, is not enough. However, I’m super grateful because it all started with the Aquarium.

Aquarium

Just spectacular! First, the journey there is so convenient and easy. You can buy one ticket that goes all the way to the destination with very easy interchanges in between (Chinatown and the final stop — Harborfront). After that, I met my friend right in front of the connect shopping center and we went up a few escalators to the tram across the body of water and to Sentosa Island.

Little did I know there was a Universal Studios there. The aquarium was magnificent. To see those creatures of all kinds living in their habitats and coexisting with one another is truly remarkable. Having the opportunity to see the blue poison frog from Brazil was pretty amazing, too! They’re beyond tiny, but they can kill in minutes.

After the aquarium, a red wine bottle was bought and hours of conversation proceeded. Just an all around great time.

Marina Bay Sands

A magnificent structure. Being up close, and in a green area, was just captivating. What’s even more amazing is the way the structure is built inside. The hotel rooms are one door away from being in the lobby. It’s sooooo….odd. Lol. Here I am looking down both corridors and seeing the hotels on each side. Just don’t know how much the hotel can offer, but with a steep price tag of $500 USD a night, it better provide more than what I saw!

The gardens, water, birds, everything on the backside, was tranquil. The amount of green area, beautiful gardens towering over everyone and the feeling of peace is truly remarkable. That’s what i’ve been wanting to see for a long time.

Conclusion

It was a magnificent journey and I’m so grateful for having the opportunity to finally stay there past 24 hours (lol). Now it’s finish and I’m officially heading back to Thailand. This will for sure be a culture shock.

Podcast

Traveling Podcast: Episode 012 – Cathay Pacific A350 Review, Changi T4, Hotel G

When I saw the aircraft arrive an hour early, the thought that it would be delay for 25 minutes didn’t cross my mind. However, I was more preoccupied with that unbelievably rambunctious Chinese tour group that was around me.

Yes, this is a growing problem in the traveling scape. Are they the younger generation? No. Sorry, Gen B’s. However, I knew that once we sat down, those wild n’ crazy kids would fall asleep. I WAS RIGHT!

Sweating, looking up, scratching my head, past 12pm….maybe this is just a Bangkok thing. Oh, we were only 2 planes back, so that’s like a 2 minute delay…not a problem. However, we sat at our gate well past 12pm. Why? Have no idea, but it’s not the end of the world.

A380 is SMOOOOTH

My goodness! We took off, lifted the front wheel up, and it was the sexiest, calmest ascent to 30k feet ever! Guys, I must say that the pilots and brand new aircraft is spectacular. I love it! I’m grateful for it! However, that’s all you get with Cathay Pacific. 6 of the 10 flight attendants I saw looked depressed. Fake “thank yous” and hey…well that’s every airline in general. Last time I had a wonderful flight attendant was 6 years ago flying Singapore Airlines from Japan to Singapore. Again, will I continue flying Cathay? Most definitely. In-flight entertainment, wide seats, beautiful carpet, gorgeous plane, competent pilots — I LOVE IT. I just have to be careful about rude passengers.

Changi Airport – Terminal 4 – DON’T GO!

Man, I’ve never had this happened. A very long walk, which happens, to immigration. Not a problem. However, when I got to immigration, there were long lines. I’m scratching my head like, “yo, come on. This is Changi Airport! The G.O.A.T!” Well, not this time. In fact, T4 is disconnected from everything, including Jewel. The only way to get a train or get to the other terminals is by waiting 10-15 minutes for a bus. From there, then you can access civility. To be honest, I’m scared to go there for departures because they might not have anything compared to the other three terminals.

Keep in mind, it just recently opened.

People were in the way and then a friend told me, “why are you taking the train? Just a taxi.”

If that’s not the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. That’s the most unnecessary expense EVER. Singapore has the best transportation system in the world, but I should take a taxi? You know what that means? Well let’s just say I was suppose to meet this friend for dinner and realized that she goes to expensive places. Ahhh…she’s a “hi-so” type.

Dropped. Sorry!

Hotel G in Bencoolen in the podcast!

Podcast

Traveling Pod: Episode 10 + Vlog – Marina Bay Sands & More

The amount of nervousness that had come over me en route to the airport was insane.  When I checked my feelings to see what I was worried about, it’s always about passport control.

When I landed at Hong Kong International Airport, I was walking before being accosted by an immigration officer, asking me where I was going and other “interrogation” type questions before letting me walk off.  I giggled saying, “boy, how did the image of blacks become this bad?”  When I was clearing immigration, an officer tried persuading me to say “are you with this guy with the fake passport?”  I continued to laugh and say, “wtf, no.  american passport holder here.”

Shortly after getting my luggage, another two officers approached me, asked me where I was from, and put ONLY MY LUGGAGE AND NONE OF THE OTHER HUNDREDS through the x-ray.

Just disgusting.  Now you can see that “traveling in Asia while black” is UNBELIEVABLY DIFFICULT and not even worth it (last time ever stepping on any kind of Chinese soil).

So, this is probably what piled on top of my nervousness.  From checking into the counter (horrible experience with yet again — Air Asia a few months back), security (never a problem in Thailand…amazingly), and then passport control (a lady at Don Meung looked through all of my pages the last time I was at Don Meung International).

So, to stop this from happening, if you’re a color of any kind, NEVER TRAVEL TO DON MEUNG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT! Avoid at all costs.

Why?

Well the main airport (Suvanabhumi — and I butchered the spelling) has never given me problems.  Coming back is a different story, because they sometimes ask legitimate questions, but that’s about it.

So, with all that nervousness and a 3-tier process, I cleared immigration perfectly with no problem.  BOOM!

Scoot – Delays & Horrible Turbulence

I’m writing this on the airplane, and my goodness, this is why I take big planes.

Sure, the airplane geeks will come out and say “it doesn’t matter.”  Yes, it does.  Cathay Pacific had an ultra-gorgeous airbus.  We took off in bad weather and it was still smooth sailing.  Smaller planes bear the brut of hell.  Honolulu-Maui, Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok,  Bangkok-Phuket…..all were tiny and pathetic.  LOL (had to laugh).

Anywho, Scoot had the most preposterous delays (I’ll speak about it in the podcast).  Nothing else to say there.  This will be my last time with Scoot though.

The Return

Wonderful airport, amazing transport system, easy check-in, and just wonderful all around. YouTube and podcast down below!

Listen to “Traveling Pod: Episode 10 – Marina Bay, Environment and More!” on Spreaker.

 

How To Book Flights & Save Money

My friend, who is now a flight attendant for Spirit Airlines, first introduced me to travelocity.com 7 years ago.

My first 2-3 flights on there I booked directly through the 3rd party site.  Sites like these are good to find general flights, but don’t book directly through them because you can lose between 200-400 USD in doing so.  I’m going to show you some tips and provide guidance in regards to booking flights.

Now, is this for budget friendly people? It could be….and so I’ll give two perspectives for a backpacking traveler and a traveler who travels based on safety first (lol).

The Example

All right, my next big trip this year will be Nadi, Fiji coming up August 3rd-9th.

The first thing I did was look on travelocity and see what they had….

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So, on Travelocity, this is $1,216 USD.  Remember, I live in Bangkok now and this flight indicates flying into Sydney first, then go to Nadi, Fiji from there.  Personally, I believe that there was a shorter route because flying from Bangkok to Sydney (almost 9 hours) and then another 4 hours to Fiji is a bit too extensive.  Maybe there was a more direct route?  Also, who wants to hang out in an airport for almost 5 and a half hours? Let alone Sydney Airport (which doesn’t have much of anything).  So, I said….hmmm, well, Singapore is the biggest hub in Southeast Asia.  Perhaps I can fly out of there?

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Boom! Price at $866, I found a flight from Singapore to Fiji with a layover in Hong Kong.  I get to fly Cathay Pacific (five star airline) then Fiji Airways (to get the Fijian experience) while going there.  However, flying about 4 hours to HK and then a 12 hour trip to Fiji is just too much for my liking.  Although it might not be good for me in terms of layovers, I found cheap flights from Bangkok to Singapore in case it worked for anyone else.

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For $138 USD, you can fly from Don Meung (just a little bit north of Bangkok and a ten minute bus ride from my condominium) to Singapore and the total price of the ticket would be just shy over $1,000 bucks.  So, you’re already saving $200 dollars just by checking out different ways of flying there.  If you’re not keen on flying from the smaller airport, fly out of the main airport for an additional 30$ dollars (minimum on TigerAsia).

Last but not least, I decided to go on Fiji Airways website (remember, the goals is to not book on third part websites, but rather find the flights before going on the main website to book) and this is what I found.

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From Singapore, I can fly for as low as 991 Singapore dollars if I plus or minus the dates, but if it’s on August 3rd, I have 1079 to pay.  What’s that in USD?

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$771 usd! That’s if I fly directly from Singapore to Nadi which would be essential and just a 8.5 hour flight.

That means if I do decide to fly Air Asia to Singapore for $138 dollars, my entire trip would cost $909 dollars – a $300 dollar difference from the original!

This is how important it is to know how to shop.  Let’s go through the steps thoroughly.

  • Shop on travelocity or some other third party flight to see what airlines go through your destination.
  • Look at different airports to fly out from.  Example, flying from LAX was cheaper than flying from SFO (San Francisco) to come back to Thailand.
  • Look at connecting flights if applicable.  Buying a cheap flight and biting the bullet is often a better way….just fly the big airline for the long-haul.
  • ALWAYS book directly through the Airlines main website.  I saw that Cathay Pacific is outrageously expensive on Travelocity, but if you book on their website, you can get RT tickets from BKK to HK (Hong Kong) for $300 dollars versus $1000 dollars on travelocity.

If you have any questions, ask away!

Singapore Airlines + Ambassador Transit Hotel = Heaven!

Well, let’s minus out the Singapore Airlines.  Man, I’ve never seen an angry flight attendant(s) in my life until yesterday.  It’s amazing how they can switch emotions and actually care for the passengers even more.  Bizarre? Let’s dive in!

I saw this slender woman barreling through my aisle, wearing a Singaporean Flight Stewardess dress, and I thought something had happened; given the fact that she was mumbling stuff in her own language.  (LOL #1) It wasn’t just that time, she was snatching warm face towels out of the hands of passengers and cocked an attitude with a passenger before apologizing. I mean, the moon had to be out!

The second time was another older flight attendant getting VISUALLY upset.  The male flight attendant asked her for napkins and she literally slammed her foot down on the food trolley before scampering away.  Doing what? Speaking in her native language and pissed as hell. (LOL #2)

The tall and slender lady told a Thai (wadaya know!) passenger to put her bag under the seat. Let’s just say she didn’t comply.  Stress level is raging at this point.

She came to me and I was scared.  I thought she was going to throw a flurry of madness at me with her fists, but I maintained my cool before stumbling over my words (orange juice) before she made fun of me and had a laugh.  That was the moment where I said, “she switched from angry as hell – to happy.”  Ummm…this is bizarre.

She also took a passengers bag out of the stowage, gave it to him so he could take his ticket out, and then placed it overhead (again).  I mean, that’s supreme service!

I don’t know what that flight was about, but it was definitely bumpy and I think nerves were raging, especially given the fact it was so late.

Transit Hotel

Oh. My. GOODNESS!  Ambassador Transit Hotel is a marvel.  Just checking in, paying, and walking down these cozy hallways before reaching your room and being introduced to a massive breeze of cold air.  The comfortability, rain shower, beautiful bathroom, wall lighting, and serenity inside was pretty remarkable.  Why? There are planes flying overhead all night, but I didn’t hear a DAMNNNN thang! Just impeccable.

Upon checking out, I gave my room key card and she said, “have a pleasant flight, sir.”  Fastest. Checkout.  EVER!

The facilities in Changi Airport, ranging from movie theatres, to massage chairs, to bowling alleys, are amazing.  Here are some pictures so you can visualize what I went through.

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