A week of Tokyo

Going out of Singapore again! And this time to Japan. This coming week I’ll be spending most of my time in Tokyo and probably doing some sightseeing. I haven’t got a concrete plan but I’m sure I’ll get by fine.

See you guys a week later.

Visiting Japan

I’m doing a bit of visiting at Tokyo, Japan next week: May 13 to May 18.

I don’t have my itinerary fixed yet, would love to see the startup and software development scene if it’s possible. I do user interfaces (UI) development in Singapore.

My first day would be spend going to Tsukiji. It should be fun. I’m already excited.

If you do know anyone there that I can meet up with, buzz me!

Back from Dominican Republic

I’ve been back for a while. Dominican Republic is in the Caribbean’s and the place is really beautiful. Not many Singaporeans go there though. The immigration staff haven’t heard of the country Singapore and we were questioned on the weather and the language we speak. I said it’s warm and English is our language of choice!

Resting on the beach
Resting on the beach

Interesting learnings:

  • Interesting is the country lives off tourism basically. Most of the tourists are Americans and they love the sun and the island getaway options.
  • A couple of Dominicanos saw me and started doing the Gangnam Style dance, wanted to tell them I am not from Korean.
  • “Hola” is the basic greeting and it makes them happy.
  • Spanish is their official language but most Dominicanos working at the resort have at least basic understanding on English.
  • My next other favorite word is “gracias.” It brings happiness.
  • Infrastructure isn’t great in Dominican Republic in general. However at the resort place — Punta Cana — it is decent.
  • Punta Cana International airport looks like a resort already!
Punta Cana International Airport
Punta Cana International Airport

Data plans in Australia

Thinking of travelling to Australia and getting data connectivity? Here are some things to note:

Australia is very well connected in the cities. Typically 3G speeds are great. One of the better data plans to get is Optus’ 2 AUD per day prepaid card. I own an iPhone 5 and they already have nano SIM card options. I purchased one for 15 AUD to last me for 6 days, having unlimited data, local voice and local SMS.

Now for the down side — Optus doesn’t allow you to create Personal Hotspots using iPhone 5. Once you plug the newly purchased SIM card, Personal Hotspots disappear from the Settings menu. Optus only allow post-paid to have this option. If you cannot create Personal Hotspots you basically can’t use your iPhone as a data modem with your newly purchased SIM card. You might have better luck with Vodafone although I highly recommend you to enquire the mobile data plan provider.

If you’re thinking of relying on free WiFi connectivity you will be disappointed. Free Wi-Fi is a rarity and so far the 2 Starbucks I passed by, one at Elizabeth Street and another around Pitts Street, doesn’t offer WiFi. Free WiFi doesn’t seem to be available in the airport too. The hotel that I stay in, Metro Hotel Sydney Central offers WiFi at 5 AUD per hour or 15 AUD per day.

I highly recommend you to get mobile data plans if you are traveling without a guide or alone like in my case.

Sydney is easy to navigate in the The Rocks and the City Centre with helpful signs all around. It’s easy to get lost while walking through the Royal Botanical Gardens though. You can rely on the kindness of others to help you. Most Australians are friendly and wouldn’t mind directing the tourist to their destinations. If you’re just going to be there for a day, just remember the full address of your hotel, including the area where it is located, you can generally be safe without a data plan.

Leaving Singapore

I’m leaving Singapore for Sydney in 30 minutes. It feels a little weird traveling alone. I made some mistakes but none that cannot be resolved.

Here are passengers at the departure gate. I’m flying with Scoot Airlines this time.

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My mistake is not realizing you need a visa to travel to Australia. Not too much trouble though, the Changi Airport staff are friendly and one of them responded promptly to offer help with her iPad.

Mac users steered to pricier hotels

So if you’re a Mac user to get the more expensive hotels. Very smart. I am honored to be perceived as the more affluent.

On Orbitz, Mac Users Steered to Pricier Hotels

Orbitz Worldwide Inc. has found that people who use Apple Inc.’s Mac computers spend as much as 30% more a night on hotels, so the online travel agency is starting to show them different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors see.

The Orbitz effort, which is in its early stages, demonstrates how tracking people’s online activities can use even seemingly innocuous information—in this case, the fact that customers are visiting Orbitz.com from a Mac—to start predicting their tastes and spending habits.

This is one site I will avoid shopping. Sorry, I’m a bloody cheapskate.

My trip to Taiwan

I doubt I will have time to put up what happened in Taiwan as much as I would like to. There’s just too much commitment here.

I do miss writing personal experiences, though. I might be getting more boring as I grow older.

The Taiwan trip has been great, filled with experiences I can never get from Singapore. I traveled with my brother and my cousin this time. Our differences made scheduling a itinerary a challenge; nevertheless we did achieve our personal vacation objectives generally. We went to Taipei and stayed in the Ximending area (Ximen station).

I will post pictures when I am free.

My absence in Singapore from 17 May to 22 May has caused trouble, still the thought of returning and facing these issues dampens my mood.

Bangkok, and now Taipei

I just returned from Bangkok not long ago. It was a good trip.

And now I’m going to Taipei. It’s okay to be envious, even I am envious of myself. I know however that it’s probably the only time I can go for two holidays in one month. My excuse is I didn’t take much leave from work last year.

The two holidays make up I guess. I want to try doing a lot more in Taiwan though. Perhaps pack my itinerary with so much activities just to experience the place more. My holidays are always extremely laid back which I suspect has something to do with my inability to reconcile with failures to commit.

Anyway, I’ll bring my laptop over to Taipei. Maybe do some writing and research there on where to travel to. I will love suggestions. My hotel will be at the Ximen MRT Station area, in Taipei city. First stop is likely Ximending.

KL Monorail

Here’s KL Monorail. Took the monorail from Bukit Bintang area to Crowne Plaza. It is clean and pretty comfortable. If you bring a book to read or a laptop to update your blog or play games on during your journey, you won’t even notice time go by. Try KL Monorail next time! They’ve really done a good job at making public transportation easy and affordable.

(KL Monorail.)

Last time I go to KL I took Rapid KL I think. It’s a short train service that looks like a bus on tracks. Looks energy efficient to me.