SINGAPORE : My TOP 10 “to do” in Singapore !

Top 10 reasons to visit Singapore in 2016 !

sing map20th smallest state in the World is also one of the most beautiful and most fun city in Asia.

This Island City State off southern Malaysia is a multicultural melting pot incl. Chinese, Malay, Indian and Arabic residents.

Amazing architecture, lush gardens, world class attractions, night life and shopping…all neatly situated in one city which also has one of the best Airline’s and Airport’s in the World.

 

This city has a lot to offer, here are my Top 10 reasons why Singapore should be on your travel list this year


1. Experience China, India and Middle East in one city…

Fancy to sample traditional Indian Curry, peek inside Chinese Shrine or buy Persian carpet from Arabic Bazaar ? You can do all of this in one afternoon. Chinatown, Little India ( locally known as Tekka ) and Arab Street are only few minutes drive from each other.

· Chinatown : visit eclectic coffees, quirky shops, old tempels, offbeat drinking holes and great food.

· Little India : celebrate Diwali festival, shop second-hand goods alongside traditional spice grinders and grocers between colourful Hindu Temples.

· Arab Street : mosques, carpets & jewellery stores. Middle Eastern restaurants and alternative boutiques


2. Best Green Landscaped Attraction in the World…

Your trip cannot be complete without a stroll thru one of the Singaporean latest mega attraction’s.

“The Gardens by the Bay” spanning on 250acres of reclaimed land offering cloud forest shell shaped domes with waterfalls, suspended bridges and jungle, 3 huge outdoor themed gardens , SuperTree Grove and many attractions for adults and kids alike.

You can couple the walk with visit of Marina Bay Sands hotel SkyPark and enjoy glass of white wine Sangria at CE LA VI rooftop bar.


3. Sentosa Island … the State of Fun

My favourite place in Singapore. Tropical island designed for fun and relaxation. You could spend the entire week here without stepping out. 20mil visitors enjoys never-ending fun at Sentosa annually.

Island is home to 14 hotels, shops, casinos, cable car, maritime museum, waterpark, bizaar crane dance show, theatre and Universal Studio theme park with fantastic rides and rollercoasters, 3km of beach and 37 other attractions.

It’s a tropical paradise “few meters” from the city to give you joyous taste of this exotic destination.


4. Shopping on Orchard Road

For the shopaholics between us, Orchard road is an obligation. ION, Ngee-An City,Paragon or Tangs with great “toys for boys” gadget area in the mens department. 22 departments stores awaits you on one big long boulevard. Especially beautifully decorated during Christmas.


5. Beautiful Tropical Beaches

It may sounds silly, but yes, Singapore has a lovely white sand beaches, islands and coves to watch romantic sunsets while sipping your favourite cocktail. All on Sentosa Island.

Water isn’t the best quality but clean enough ( it may vary by season ). Also, the Asian’s southern-most point is to be found here, so don’t forget to take a selfie.


6. Best Airline & Airport

The “Best of Singapore” doesn’t start in Singapore, but before you even get here. World’s most awarded Singapore Airline with exceptional customer service ( cabin crew training lasts 4 months ) sets you directly in to the holiday mood.

Singapore Air was the first Airline to put the world’s largest aircraft “A380” into service and by now, they operate fleet of 19 of them ( 5 in order ).

Changi Airport itself won 6 times the prestigious Skytrax award for the best airport in the world.

With outdoor/indoor gardens, cinemas, interactive corners, plenty of day light and greenery to sooth your eyes after long journey, together with friendly immigration officers and quick baggage handling …you will not want to leave.


7. Clean, Safe & Easy

Singapore is one of the cleanest city you can visit. It also designed with people on mind and everything from transport, tourist informations, tickets…it’s easy to use.  People are friendly, speak English and taxi drivers will never try to rip you off.


8. Perfect for a stop on route to South-East Asia.

Choose Singapore as a stopover on your adventure voyage to Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia or Malaysia. With flights taking less than 2hrs to many fabulous tropical destinations around, you will be spoilt for choice. Also, variety of air carriers to suit every budget – Singapore Airlines, Air Asia, Tiger Air, Silk Air … dozens of exotic destinations to choose from.

 


9. Green and fresh

Known as the “City in a Garden “ the local government is working hard to make sure every little available place its full of abundant lush greenery and a maintain clean environment in order to make life more pleasant for the people.


10. Reach the skies on Singapore Flyer

Take a ride of a life time on the World’s second biggest observation wheel with breath-taking views over F1 circuit, Marina Bay, Skyline, Gardens of the Bay from the height of 165m.

Because this is a Singapore, there is rainforest jungle just under neath the wheel. One “flight” takes  35min and cost SD 33

 

 

KHAO LAK / Thailand : Moracea by Khao Lak Resort REVIEW ***½

“Looks better then it feels”


Where :

Khao Lak Town / Takuapa / Thailand –  60min drive up north from Phuket Intl. Airport

Moracea Website  /  Moracea Location Map


Location:

Moracea Resort is easy 10min walk from the town centre of Khao Lak. Main street is filled with lovely restaurants, shops, galleries, diving schools ( Wicked Diving ) and souvenir places. You can find enough of ATM’s, pharmacies and grocery stores.

It is a foresty hilly location away from the hustle and bustle of crowded noisy Phuket.

I was surprised how charming and well-kept Khao Lak town is compare to other Thai tourist destinations. It’s safe, laid-back and just perfect for a great retreat.


Overview :

Maze of low rise buildings and bungalows on a hill, sloping towards beautiful beach and completely surrounded by tropical gardens and nature. It’s quiet, private and looks very idillic.

Superb beach in front of the resort and all along the Khao Lak area. You can walk by it for hours. Big rocks, soft sand and small coves adds to the beautiful scenery. Sunsets are just marvellous and the sky colours unreal.

Check-In takes place in spacious lobby, filled with oriental dark wood furniture with lemon yellow fabric. The staff isn’t overly smiley or friendly and this apply for all of the employees. The famed motto about Thailand being the Land of Smiles is somehow mislaid at Moracea.

The resort it’s in hilly location, so be prepared for lots of walking. Even to find your bungalow it’s sometimes a bit of a challenge. This all adds to the charm though. Make sure you take the time and discover the entire area with it’s hidden paths, free shaped infinity swimming pools and stunning trees.

Free Wi-Fi covers most places, even pools and the sunbeds by the beach, which is great. What isn’t great are the sun beds, not comfortable and without padding. Even the cheapest hotel on the beach has padding on a sunbeds. I couldn’t enjoy relaxing on them and the beach towels Moracea provides, hardly covers half of the sun bed.

Just in case you have forgotten tooth paste or need water, or a beer, small grocery store is next to the reception.

Resort is well maintained and feels very casual. Most of the guests are package holiday makers from Germany & Scandinavia and the busiest season spreads from November till March.


Room : 

There is a lot of different room types in Moracea. From lovely bungalows with private pool to a bit dark and wet looking rooms hidden in the greenery. After peeping around the resort I would only recommend the bungalows on the hill ( not the beach, or pool access ) with private pool or Hibiscus Grand Deluxe Room on top floor of a two-story villa.

Hibiscus rooms are new, bright and spacious with secluded terrace and sea view. High ceiling gives pleasant airy impression and the best part is a seating corner area by the window. I have received fruit welcome basket and towels folded in a shape of elephants ( loved it ).

Bed moves a little when you turn but otherwise it is ok. Room contains a double size bed, sitting area, desk and spacious bathroom with wet room and separate bathtub. Storage space could be more generous, so don’t pack too many shoes.

Room includes fridge (empty ), Tea/Coffee facility ( with no Tea ), safe, flat TV with not enough English language channels, umbrellas, bathrobes, toiletries and 4 complimentary waters. There aren’t enough sockets and A/C is just ok. Also, if you remove the key from the room key card slot, all power switches off incl. A/C and inside gets hot very quickly.

Make sure you choose the room wisely as you may end up with damp dark room hidden at the back of the resort, so do your research beforehand.


Service : 

Generally the service was good, but no one puts any extra effort or a smile to make you feel welcome. Food in restaurant comes quickly, you always get what you need or asked for, but don’t expect much of enthusiasm…

As a guest, I need to feel recognised and genuine smile goes a long way. Do I want too much?


Dining / Entertainment : 

  • Thai Beach Restaurant “Malila”
located at beach front offering evening romantic setting with candles. Thai Food is nicely presented, it is tasty and fairly priced. This place is open all day and works as a cocktail pool bar 
.
  • “The Kumpun” serves International Cuisine and mostly used for a breakfast buffet or during events. Breakfast it’s ok with the usual selection + some Thai food. I was disappointed to be asked to pay extra for a green tea and all the juices are sugary ones from cartons.

Facilities : 

3 amazing free-form outdoor pools, game and fitness room with very basic equipment only for “emergency” work out. Also, no towels provided in the fitness room. Chilled water available.


Who is it for : 

I would say anyone who enjoys sun, sand and quiet tropical setting. It is a good base for scuba diving, trips to the hills or just doing nothing at all. It is an affordable upmarket resort with wide selection of accommodation. Definitely not a top notch, but personally … I would return to Moracea and who knows, maybe they will buy a sun beds cushions.

There are many resorts and hotels in Khao Lak but Moracea is definitely one of the better ones.½


What makes it special : 

  • Extensive size of the entire complex / beautiful nature & beach
  • Lovely Thai Food in Malila restaurant
  • Quiet and peaceful
  • Great Location away, but not far from everything

Not so good :

  • Not enough sockets in the room
  • Fitness room needs improvement
  • Small beach towels
  • Uncomfortable sun beds
  • Staff not too welcoming, outgoing or friendly

Why choose this place : 

To experience the “real” Thailand without hordes of tourists and noise. Enjoy laid-back vibe, tropical setting and excellent beaches. Get adventures…visit Similan Islands, National Parks and sample excellent local food at Qucumber Caffe or Mojo restaurant at Khao Lak Town


Practical INFO
Private Airport transfer 60min one way ( 1800 Baht ) / Free Wi-Fi in room and public areas / Breakfast Buffet included / Khao Lak Town less than 10min walk


Tips for Trips

Khao Sok National Park 45min drive / Diving, or Snorkeling Trip to Similan Islands 90min boat trip / for Diving I would definitely recommend Wicked Diving SSI …ask for Tom 🙂

DUBAI PARKS AND RESORTS : Construction Update

Less than 10 months to go and the highly anticipated theme park complex in Jebel Ali (near Dubai) will open its gates to the public and expects to welcome nearly 7mil. visitors in 2017 itself.

As I was passing by this morning, couldn’t miss the hectic construction activity. Main highway towards Abu Dhabi is diverted to make a space for a new bridges and access roads. Those huge hoarding walls are slowly disappearing to make a room for palm trees and many structures are growing up in the far distance.

I managed to take few photos with my phone, so you can get idea about the size of the area.                         ( I will try to take photos with professional camera next time to get some close-ups )

The nearest to the road is Motion Gate movie theme park with huge blue “Dreamworks” building accommodating indoor rides and shows. This “land” will host 27 rides and I am most excited about the Hunger Games rollercoaster.

Rajmahal theatre, centrepiece of Bollywood Land will seat 859 spectators to enjoy Bollywood themed show designed by Mumbai based TV production company Wizcraft which is already running a musical theatre in India.

As you can see from the photos, roads and junctions are taking shape and trees are being planted. Dubai Parks and Resort is planning to have more 16.00o trees, 1.5 mil shrubs and 6.100 palm trees. Cant’ wait to see the transformation from the desert to the green oasis.

As 10 months will fly by, I am expecting to see huge changes happening every month in Jebel Ali.

Stay tuned 🙂

 

DUBAI BIO-DOME : Project Construction Update

Only a few days ago, local news announced the newest addition into Dubai’s ever growing projects portfolio … Bio-Dome.

I couldn’t believe my eyes today, when I actually saw it standing and near completion in soon to be open area called City Walk in Dubai Jumeirah residential community.

It will be the region’s first “fake” tropical rain forest that educates and entertains visitors about biodiversity and offers trip into the jungle without leaving Dubai.

Around 3,000 plants and animals will be placed inside.

The enclosed space will offer visitors an immersive expedition into the tropics together with giant 25-metre tree, which is the largest indoor man-made and life-sustaining tree in the world.

Scheduled to open in summer 2016 under the name “The Green Planet”.

Please enjoy those few photos I took ( it is impossible to get closer at the moment ) plus few shots of the shopping area surrounding the new Bio-Dome.

Year 2016 will be very fruitful with many new attractions scheduled to be open in Dubai…Theme Parks, Dubai Frame, Opera House, Safari Park, Palm Jumeriah Board Walk…stay tuned 🙂

 

REVIEW : Cafe Bateel @JBR Walk

Cafe Bateel : The Perfect Lunch Date 

Travellerczech rating : kT8neMAxckT8neMAxckT8neMAxckT8neMAxc

Location : Walk@JBR ( opposite Ritz Carton Hotel ) in Dubai Marina


Overview : 

Cafe Bateel recently opened a new large, open plan restaurant/cafe/shop on the ever changing JBR Walk, Dubai Marina.

Of course, Travellerczech couldn’t miss this opportunity to visit and sample the food, service and general ambience.

Cafe Bateel is not just a lunch stop on the way to the beach…It’s Bakery, Coffee Bar and Gift Shop offers one of the best date/chocolate confections I have ever tasted. You can pick your favourite fillings and have them wrapped in a choice of luxury gift boxes…The perfect gourmet gift for all occasions.

First impression of the service is great, but I am finding hard to believe the welcoming smiles are genuine. I get the sense  the  staff are nervous under the watchful eye of the ever-present manager. Maybe this atmosphere will change in time when the new staff settle into their surroundings and become more comfortable.

Interior is delightful, with an airy, welcoming fresh feel.

 


Food : 

The Extensive Menu offers everything from soups, salads, meats, sea food and excellent breakfast options. The Dishes are inspired by Mediterranean cuisine. It is refreshingly light without leaving you feel too heavy.

Portions aren’t big but presented skillfuly and visually appealing.

They offer Seasonal menu with the freshest ingredients. Finish off the experience with a cup of Bateel coffee, it makes a pleasant change from the usual fare, you will find on every other corner.


Ambience :

The elegant interior complements the food with visual panels that clearly define the different zones. Natural tones infuse the interior with calm and a backdrop of palm prints adds a local flare.

With options to eat inside or out, there is still plenty of opportunity to observe the colourful parade of beach goers with floor to ceiling windows throughout. The dropped ceiling towards the back of the restaurant gives a more private intimate feel for those lazy afternoons browsing on your laptop.

There are free daily newspapers on offer and clever sockets underneath of the sofas at the back, for those who need to re-charge their gadgets. Free Wi-Fi is also available.


The good :

  • tasty fresh food
  • best dates, chocolate & coffee
  • ideal location for beach / cinema / shopping
  • place to be seen
  • good service in general
  • freshly baked artisan bread and deserts

The not so good :

  • notoriously bad traffic ( parking available at Murjan Tower for 10aed/hr )
  • on-going construction on JBR Walk
  • bit pricey
  • occasionally slow payment process

Practical INFO : 

  • opening hours : 8am-1am
  • accessible parking in Murjan Tower ( paid 10aed/hour )
  • Web : http://www.bateel.com
  • MAP:

 

 

 

 

 

JORDAN : Wadi Rum Desert / GUIDE

Wadi Rum Desert, also known as The Valley of the Moon is just being re-discovered after “playing leading role as a planet Mars” in recent Hollywood blockbuster “The Martian” with Matt Damon.

I haven’t see the movie myself, but I am more of an Indiana Jones fan and nearby Petra was on my bucket list for quite some time. ( about Petra in another post though )

Once in Jordan, Wadi Rum is the place no to be missed and by all means … it wasn’t just the highlight of my Jordan adventure, but this year travels itself.


The sandstone and granite desertscape in southern Jordan is 720sq.km in size. It’s beauty and serenity satisfy and surprises even the most experienced explorers.


Zalabia Bedouins, living in the desert developed eco-advenute tourism and offering bedouin camp stays, treks and tours across the entire destination.

I booked overnight camp and trek  thru travel agent in Amman on-line, with recommendations of my Jordanian work colleague.

Camps have no electricity, but you can have a quick hot shower and traditional “desert” dinner/breakfast  is being served as part of the stay.

Your bedouin host will unfold stories from the past, while serving hot arabic tea next to a crackling bonfire.


It’s not possible to do one day Wadi Rum trip from Amman. The drive itself is about 4 hours one way. Neither I would recommend to drive yourself after encountering couple of lost tourists.

Gateway to the desert represents small village, from where you will be driven on the back of open pick-up truck thru the desert…leaving just cloud of red dust behind while watching sunset and rocks turning into dramatic shades of red and purple.


The red color of the mountains and sand in the valley is due to the presence of iron oxide.

Rocks growing from open valleys reach heights up to 5580ft (1700m).


Best time of the year to visit Wadi Rum is  March/April or October/November with pleasant day and night temperatures. ( even so, it can get cold during the night )

Wadi Rum is located 36mi (60km) north of Aqaba, in the south-western corner of Jordan. Main roads connect the desert with Aqaba , Petra (71mi/114km) and Amman (201mi/324km).

Distance from Amman is 4 hours drive and 1,5 hour from Petra. Note, that the roads are quite bumpy.

Bring bottled water with you and have a cash for entrance fee / tips.


For those who have a doubts about safety in the region…Jordan is very secure, with friendly people who appreciates your interest of their country and support the economy thru tourism.

If you are looking for adventure, peaceful and “out of this planet” escape…visit Wadi Rum and Jordan in 2016!

REVIEW : Ultra Brasserie Dubai Marina

Ultra Brasserie : Whole Food with a smile

Travellerczech rating : kT8neMAxckT8neMAxckT8neMAxckT8neMAxc

Location : Marina Plaza Office Tower / Dubai Marina


Overview :

Ultra prides itself on healthy, simple and affordable food…and in my experience, it does exactly that!

Ultra is a refreshing break from the generic “chain and fast food alternatives” with friendly staff, relaxed atmosphere and quick service it is a fine place to spend a lunch hour or two.

 


Food :

The menu was recently simplified, but the selection still offers something for everyone. All dishes are “designed” with health in mind, but without compromising on flavour. In other words, tasty and wholesome food you can enjoy with friends that won’t impact on your hard earned beach body 😉

All meals are freshly prepared on the premises and can be accompanied by an organic/fairtrade cup of tea or coffee.

Nice selection of guilt free cakes and muffins.


Ambience :

Bright, spacious and airy interior with fun colourful motifs and quotes. Floor to ceiling windows offering good views of the Marina Walk for those who like people watching.

Comfortable seating and laid back “urban bistro” vibe. light jazz/lounge music adds to the ambience.

Outside terrace is perfect for relaxing during the cooler winter months.


The good :

  • great tasting, healthy food
  • good location
  • affordable prices
  • quick service
  • Dubai Tram station just outside the building
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • home delivery
  • lovely views

The not so good :

  • if you don’t know where it is, it’s not easy to find
  • parking may be difficult ( parking available in Marina Mall )
  • construction next door may bothersome while on the outside terrace

Practical INFO :

  • opening hours : 7am -10pm ( daily )
  • accessible from Al Marsa st. & Marina Walk
  • Web : www.ultra.ae/marina
  • MAP :

 

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS : Ferrari World Construction Update

…ground works nearly finished at Ferrari World’s new “Flying Aces” coaster building site.

New rollercoaster also has an indoor part, which is already finished and all focus is now on finishing loading station of the coaster which appears to be outside the main “red roof” structure.

The 52m loop with inversion definitely looks impressive and it is visible from far away.

Ride is build by Liechtenstein based attraction company Intamin.

Please enjoy small photo update below.

KUWAIT : Four Points by Sheraton REVIEW *****

 “Home from home”


Where : Kuwait City / Kuwait


Overview :  Luxury hotel in centre of Kuwait targeting business and leisure travellers alike.

Hotel consist of two towers. Taller one, nearly 40 storeys high tower was just opened last year and offers new spacious rooms in “suit to every taste” sandy colour decor.

Hotel offers free Wi-Fi and also free international airport pick up which is very handy.

Check-In is always a very pleasant affair with friendly smiley staff, refreshing towel, glass of fresh juice and most importantly …it’s quick.

To be honest, the hotel could be anywhere in the world, but what makes it special is the team, who effortlessly works to make you feel comfortable, welcome and always ready to assist or help.

You can also use facilities of the near by Sheraton hotel.


Location :  Situated on the edge of the Kuwait City Centre with a great view over the sea and the skyline. About 30min ride from the Intl.Airport


Rooms :  Spacious and comfortable with quiet AC, very comfortable bed, working desk, coffee/tea making facilities with take-away cups ( what a great idea ) and complimentary bottled water

Enough storage space, bath robes and slippers, ironing board+iron, safe, fruit basket and all amenities you would expect from luxury chain.

Rooms are quiet and have a great blackout curtains to block the strong middle eastern sun.

Bathrooms have one of the biggest shower corner I have ever seen, big size toiletries and good lighting.


Service : Professional, quick and pleasant. Nothing is a problem and every request is being swiftly dealt with.


 

Dining / Entertainment : Breakfast is usually included in room charge and offers big variety to satisfy every taste. Live omelette station and fresh juices are matter of course.

There is also an Italian restaurant and Starbucks coffee shop in the lobby.


Facilities : Gym, Spa, Amazing Infinity indoor pool, Jacuzzi.


Who is it for : Mostly business travellers


What makes it special : friendly staff
                                             : panoramic infinity swimming pool


Why choose this place : If you looking for a home from home while discovering the Middle East.


Practical INFO
Breakfast included, free and fast Wi-Fi, 30 min transfer from Intl. airport. Shuttle to a biggest shopping mall – the Avenues. This hotel ,as all of Kuwait is alcohol free.

DUBAI FRAME : Project Construction Update

Dubai newest attraction finally near to it’s completion.

Dubai Frame project will be soon offering visitors view of the past and the “future” of this overgrowing city.

The bridge between 50-storey high pillars was finally put on its place and 25 square metre glass panel is being installed in the middle of it.

Authorities estimate the landmark will attract around two million visitors a year. Dubai Frame is located in Zabeel Park.

Once open, Travellerczech.com will bring you up close photos and “all you need to know” about this new attraction.

DXB Parks & Resorts Construction Video

DXB Parks & Resorts posted amazing video about the latest happenings and what could we expect from October 2016 in Dubai.

Click HERE to view.

Video takes you on a quick journey through Motiongate, LegoLand and Bollywood Themed Lands and construction is in full swing….Exciting !

More @dxbparksresorts

 

JORDAN : Marriott Dead Sea & Spa REVIEW ****

“Room to improve”


Where : Dead Sea / Jordan


Overview : Marriott Dead Sea is targeting wide “audience” and catering for nearly every taste.

It is not a huge property, but with 3 outdoor pools on different levels, direct access to Dead Sea and few restaurants and bar, it does have enough to keep you happy for couple of days.

I wouldn’t recommend longer stay as it gets really boring. Floating in Dead Sea and smudging smelly black mud all over you its’ fun, but novelty wears off quickly.

It is a busy hotel…you may have to queue for breakfast and in the afternoon good luck to find free sun beds. There is one pool for adults only, but it is full of young noisy party crowd and the other pools are full of kids. No escape from noise.

Hotel is a bit worn-out and needs better upkeep. Lobby is impressive and have a small shop for souvenirs and necessities. The entire resort is missing Arabic feel and it is more on the generic side of architecture.


Locationnestled with other 4 hotels directly on the shore of the Dead Sea. Note, once you step outside the hotel, there is absolutely nothing to see or to go. ( except resort next door )


Rooms : first room I have received have’d 30cm deep balcony with a concrete wall in front of it.  I really didn’t want to spend my vacation in a “tomb” and had to request different one. The reception staff did their best to help, but it was a bit of hassle. Avoid those rooms with concrete tiny “gap” windows overlooking the pool !

Later I have received upgraded room on the top floor with normal size balcony and quiet  sea view . AC worked only on one setting and small annoying maintenance problems were continuing during my 4 days stay. Room was big size, with complimentary water, safe, flat TV and the usual amenities. Bathroom had a nice shower corner but  problem with drainage. Very small toiletries.


Servicehit and miss. One day you get really good cheerful staff and the next, miserable faces…


Dining : Buffet breakfast/dinner restaurant with great selection of everything you need and also special “candy” area for Kids and live omelette station.

There is also Mosaico, Italian restaurant for more sophisticated dining ( bit overpriced ) and Champions American Diner/pub for daily casual dining or a pint of beer.

Outdoor shisha terrace with evening Belly dancing was enjoyable.


Facilities: 3 outdoor pools, 2 indoor pools ( extra charge ), spa , water slide, Jacuzzi, adult pool and nice gym.


Who is it for : everyone who is not afraid of hordes of local and foreign tourist


What makes it special : direct acces to Dead Sea. Keep in mind there is a lot of steps to go all the way down … 400m below Sea Level


Not so good : PAID WI-FI !!!, bad maintaining standards, staff mood and service differ by day, nothing outside the hotel, noisy pools, any order of food or drinks takes way too long time.


The Bestvariety of swimming pools and Dead Sea


PRACTICAL  INFO : Breakfast included, free Wi-Fi only in public spaces, transport: 45min from/to Amman, or the from/to Airport ( 30 JD ),small grocery store is 10min walk.


Tips for Trips : Jesus Baptism site 40 min / Mount Nebo 45min / Mujib Nature Reserve 50min

BALI : The Oberoi, REVIEW *****

“ Time to treat yourself ”


Where : Seminyak /Bali / Indonesia


Overview : Oberoi is the first 5star hotel ever build in Seminyak.  Located in extensive, lush
and perfectly manicured “private jungle” garden, directly on quite stretch of the beach.

You won’t find here massive concrete building with hundreds of rooms like W, Legian or Seminyak Beach Resort.

Instead…cute little bungalows scattered all over the gardens.  You feel like the only person there, even if the hotel is fully booked…and that’s in my eyes what luxury is all about.

All buildings have authentic “Balinese” style with usage of local materials.


Location : quite area of Seminyak. Beach front, but only few minutes’ walk to shops, restaurants                  and the main street.

The popular beach club Ku-de-Ta it’s right next door. Click HERE to see Ku-de-Ta review


Rooms : they come as a bungalows ( 4 rooms ) or private villas with pool. The entire interior breaths Balinese traditional decor.

There are burning scented sticks the first time you enter and it smells amazing. Bed is comfortable, AC very quiet and you can make yourself lovely local tea and coffee.

There is also  enough sockets to re-charge your electronics.

Bathroom has a two sinks, complimentary water and toiletries, candles and private mini garden.

Different fresh fruit basket daily, weather forecast and next day “activity message” and flowers on you bed every evening adds a nice touch.


ServiceI must honestly say, one of the best, from all the numerous hotels I have ever stayed in.

It almost feels like they know what you need before you even ask for it. The staff is not intrusive or pushy but there, when you need them.


Dining  : amazing a ’la carte outdoor breakfast setting with fresh juices and made to order egg dishes. Luxury dinner restaurant (didn’t try) and a bar (good cocktails).

For lunch and dinner I have never stayed in the hotel as there is numerous options outside to try.

Especially loved the Beach Shacks for coconut water, beer and Nasi Goreng.


FacilitiesGym, Spa, Outdoor pool with controlled temperature (very pleasant), Tennis court


Who is it forcouples celebrating special occasion. But hey, I wasn’t any of those and had’d a     wonderful enjoyable time.


What makes it specialsprawling size of the entire complex and Balinese chic.

Every day a different presentation of traditional music or dance, performed by local school kids and with complimentary afternoon tea. Also live presentation of local artist


Not so good : Gym dated and small, food served by the pool is very generic and the huge wooden turtle     room key doesn’t fit anywhere.


The Best :  incredibly tasty welcome drink , quite location away from crowds and garden setting


PRACTICAL  INFO : Breakfast included, free and fast Wi-Fi, 40min transfer from Denpasar airport,  hotel library has a DVD’s you can borrow for a night in.


Tips for TripsPetitenget Temple 5min / Tanah Lot Temple 30min / Ubud – 60min

DUBAI PARKS & RESORTS : Motiongate to get “Hotel Transylvania” Drop Tower

Drop Tower based on a movie Hotel Transylvania is being build as one of the highlights of upcoming Dubai Parks and Resorts development in Jebel Ali area south of Dubai.

57m in height doesn’t seem that much ( compare to the new Falcon’s Fury 102m in Bush Gardens Tampa) but I am sure there will some extra tricks or theming added.

Video posted on Parks website clearly shows Vampires jumping off a very tall tower so it just make a sense to assume the conection with the ride and movie.

 

Drop Tower is being build by American manufacturer S&S and will have 16 seats ( 4 on each side )

Motiongate theme park Dubai will be the Middle East’s first Hollywood-inspired theme park that will bring together three of the largest film studios in the world – Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Studios and DreamWorks Animation.

The entire complex will consist of 3 theme parks, waterpark and of course hotel and shopping district and should open in phases starting October 2016 @dxbparksresorts

Stay Tuned!

DUBAI EYE : Mega Wheel Construction Update

The biggest wheel in the world  “Dubai Eye” is very slowly rising from the warm waters off the coast of Jumeriah Beach Residence ( JBR ) in Dubai Marina.

210m in height and  surrounded by luxury hotels and malls ( because Dubai doesn’t have enough of these ) should be finished by 2018

Many bridges are being constructed to access the man made island from all directions and if it goes according to the plans, we should be looking forward to awesome cable car and futuristic public transport connecting the island with Dubai Metro.

Enjoy the photos

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS : Ferrari World Coaster Construction Update

…finishing touches are being done on a track of Ferrari World’s new coaster “Flying Aces”

Enjoy this latest photo update from the building site. Track is looking nearly completed and the workers are mostly focusing on a ground works.

Not sure about the record breaking steepest lift hill, but the 52m loop definitely looks impressive and it will definitely become a new Yas Island’s iconic structure.

If you look closely, you can see track partially going underground which is a new interesting detail.

Ride is build by Liechtenstein based attraction company Intamin.

 

VIDEO : Emirates A330 Take-Off Dubai

Nice view from old Emirates Airbus A330-200 on take-off from Dubai Airport.

You can spot the new Terminal D ( opening in Jan 16 ), unfinished “Dubai Frame” torso and full Dubai Downtown with Burj Khalifa (828m). After turn to the left over the Persian Gulf you can enjoy the “World Islands” from above.

Note, how noisy the aircraft is 🙂

 

SURVIVAL GUIDE : Prague Airport

Vaclav Havel Airport Prague, formerly known as Prague Ruzyne is your gateway to the beautiful historical capitol of Czech Republic.

It is served by 67 airlines and more than 11mil. passengers passes thru the doors annually. I am sure you won’t a have a problem to find suitable connection.

Arriving into a foreign airport and getting to your final destination could be sometimes tricky or even frustrating experience. From dreadful immigration officers to shady taxi drivers.

Prague Airport it’s in general, very easy to use due to its small-ish size and no major problems are common.

Terminal 1 is used by non-EU airlines and new Terminal 2 is for EU except Ireland and UK ( Schengen States – check here ).

Immigration officers are efficient and friendly enough and if you have EU passport you can use the smart gates to exit the airport quickly. Bags takes forever to arrive onto the baggage carousel.

One of the most challenging “tasks” is to find reliable transport from the airport. I was many times a victim of “truthful” taxi drivers during my travels and sometimes, it can take the better of you, to try negotiating price as for the taxi drivers, we are just “walking wallets”.


Taxi

Prague taxi services have a bad reputation in general. Officials are trying to keep eye on this but still…here is a few tips how to reach your dreamed place without any hassle.

  • Have a Czech currency ( ATM’s available after exiting baggage claim hall on the left )
  • Ignore anyone trying to offer you a transport
  • Choose only one of those yellow taxis ( I recommend AAA taxi ). AAA also offers a half price return voucher, so ask for one!
  • Make sure the meter is on and clearly visible

Bus

If you wish to use public transport, there is a bus connection to the nearest metro station, or Main Railway Station ( Airport Express / AE)

  • Follow directional signage outside
  • AE Bus leaves every 30min ( from 7am -10pm) for 60CZK ( use max 100 banknote at the bus )
  • Metro Bus : Line 119 – metro st. Nadrazi Veleslavin ( Metro A – quick to the city )
    Line 100 – metro station Zlicin ( Metro B )
  • Tickets are available at arrival hall kiosks, outside machine or the driver
  • Don’t forget to validate your ticket inside the bus machine ( there is a staff controlling this)
  • For full metro map click metro_orientation_plan

Train

If you plan to explore some of the amazing country side, you can book your bus ticket together with train online. I personally recommend Leo Express Premier class.


Useful Tips:

  • Try to avoid buing any souvenirs, alcohol or presents at the airport as the prices are much higher than in the city itself.
  • Mind, that the security check it’s just before your entering your gate and they will remove any beverage from you, even purchased one at the airport. If you like to have water with you, buy at the airport and keep it in sealed plastic bag until you pass security.
  • For affordable meal and drink use self-service restaurant on the 1st floor (follow sign for lounges) as you can purchase decent lunch for 100CZK
vaclav havel airport
Affordable ready to eat meals and drinks on the 1st floor / Terminal 1

 

Happy traveling and have great time in Prague