Thursday, October 27, 2011

Upgrade to Premium / "Business" Class on AirAsiaX

When traveling on AirAsiaX, don't you feel a tad bit jealous of the people up front? They would normally act really relaxed, almost horizontally reclined and reading a book with their mini reading light. Or some would be on their notebooks complete with power socket plugged in, pretending to look business-like with their Powerpoint documents and such. Curiosity got the better of me.

1. Make your booking for a normal seat on AirAsiaX. Even if you got your seat for free (which I did win as a prize), it is fine, you are still entitled for the upgrade.
2. Go to and key in your Booking Reference Number and Last Name.
3. View the price offered for the upgrade
Go to OptionTown to key in your 6-character Booking Reference

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day Trip: Sekinchan & Kuala Selangor

Date of Travel: 3 July 2010 & 13 Nov 2010
Firefly Park - Proudly Malaysian. Only found in Asia and South & Central America

Do you love Christmas Tree lights? Well you can now see them all year round at Kuala Selangor. In fact, there are over 50 trees filled with "lights" in the form of fireflies. Contrary to its name, fireflies are actually winged beetles that emit a chemically-produced light to attract their mates. Try doing the same with a flashlight in a club, and see if any "mates" come along :) Because of the abundance of fireflies living here, there are 2 spots where you can view them from. One is the Kuala Selangor Firefly Park and Resort, where you will be navigated on a motorised boat out to the river. And second is at Kampung Kuantan which brings you on a sampan.

If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur, make it a day out by first heading to Sekinchan. What is so interesting about Sekinchan? It has acres of paddy fields as far as the eye can see. I don't know about you, but watching the green squares of paddy has a very therapeutic effect on me.
Paddy Fields taken from the Temple at Bagan Tengkorak (GPS: 3° 27' 11.40" N, 101° 8' 9.60" E)

"Here ye, Here ye, my noble subjects"

The narrow road between acres of paddy

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Labour Day in Beijing - Part 2

Date of travel: 30th April 2011

2 May:
Having had enough of historical buildings, we brought mum to enjoy the culture of the city. At Hou Hai Lake area, you get to ride a trishaw through many small alleys, a.k.a. hutongs, and each hutong has a tale of its own. The trishaw was generous with his explanations of how each houses' main entrance signifies how rich that family is. Do bargain with the trishaw rider, as the opening price was CNY150 per person. We eventually settled with CNY80 per person.
This is the Hou Hai lake. At night, many bars and restaurants will light up the area

Peaceful trishaw ride in the early morning. Trishaw-traffic-jam towards noon

Friday, October 14, 2011

What is AirAsia BIG SHOT?

This morning, AirAsia promoted their new BIG SHOT loyalty program. Facts are available on their website but information is quite hidden all over the place. This is the summary I have concluded:
- BIG SHOT is an email login ID for you to earn points called BIGGIES
- It comes with a Visa Prepaid card, to earn extra Biggies at selected merchants
- It costs RM10 to apply, and RM5 annual fee. The RM50 tax on credit cards is NOT APPLICABLE
- To earn Biggies on AirAsia bookings, simply key in your BIG SHOT email ID when performing the booking
- If booking flights + (Baggage/meals/seats/insurance), you get 1 Biggie for every RM2 spent (excl airport tax)
- If booking flights only, you get 1 Biggie for every RM4 spent

- There is no indication that the Visa Prepaid card must be used to pay for the air tickets
- For flights ALREADY BOOKED, you can submit a claim within 30 days from now until 30 days after the departure date. Once a member, click on BIGGIES and then click on Claim BIGGIES

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Labour Day in Beijing - Part 1

Date of travel: 30 April 2011

AirAsiaX to Tianjin = RM383 + RM154 baggage,meals,pick-a-seat,conv fee etc = RM537
Hotel (Novotel Peace Beijing) = CNY478nett/night (no breakfast) via = RM433/pax
Group Size = 2 adults and 2 senior citizens
Reminder to self: Never travel to China on Labour Day again

30th April:
The day started innocent enough, with us landing at Tianjin and catching the shuttle bus to the train station (CNY10/pax). Unfortunately, the train station was under massive renovation and we got dropped off 1km away. With luggage in tow walking on uneven tar road up and down sidewalks, it soon took its toll on mum and Aunty Nessie. We got a huge shock when we reliased that we needed to wait 1.5 HOURS for the next available train to Beijing, eventhough trains departed every 20 minutes! CNY69 for 1st class tickets or CNY58 for 2nd class. Major difference is either 2-2 seating for 2nd class or 2-1 seating configuration for 1st class. Finally arrived Beijing South Railway station, and caught a taxi (CNY30) to Novotel Peace Beijing Hotel. Thankfully, this hotel turned out to be the most perfect place to stay for us. Down the road from the hotel towards Wangfujing, is the best meal I had in Beijing.
Novotel Peace Beijing Hotel, CNY478/night

Best meal in Beijing! Haidilao hot pot

Fish and lamb slices

I would fly all the way back to Beijing just for this restaurant

Hai Di Lao Hot Pot
Store address: Beijing 88 Wangfujing Avenue, 8th Floor, Intime Lotte
Reservations, please call :010 -57620153, 57620741,57620742
This place is a MUST-VISIT if you are in Beijing, they have many branches all over the city. CNY200 for a very filling Shabu-Shabu dinner for 4 of us.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Best Seats on AirAsiaX

Whenever I travel on AirAsia X, I have my favourite seats on the plane. The system will automatically assign a seat for you, which you can now see what number it is, before deciding to pay for your preferred seat. Current pricing for Seat Assignation is RM35 per way.

Since I normally travel in two or four, there is a particular row where the plane's width narrows, and instead of a 3-3-3 combination, it becomes 2-3-2. Therefore, the seats shown as numbers 1 and 2 below are my favourite. The choice of 1 or 2, is purely based on where the sun is at the time of flying. The aisle seat of number 1 & 2 have added legroom where you can stretch until the length of the seat in front of you. If this is already booked, then I would choose seat 3 & 4.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Finding A Perfect 3D/2N Singapore Itinerary

Group size: 3 Adults
Travelers Experience: 3 out of 10 (10 being very experienced)
Main Concerns: See + Do Everything, Minimal budget
Secondary Concerns: Do stuff not available in Toronto

My relatives from Canada are in Malaysia for several weeks, and I recommended them to see Singapore. With a budget of CAD$700 (RM2128 / S$870) for 3 persons, how much can one fit in? This is my plan. I know everyone's a Singapore expert, so do share your ideas on this please.

Day 1: KL to SIN. Chinatown, Suntec, Clarke Quay, Esplanade
v       Catch Jetstar KUL-SIN 0840-0945
v       After landing, take MRT to abearygoodhostel. Take the airport MRT to Outram Park station (EW16) – S$2.10. Switch to purple NE line and alight at the next stop - Chinatown MRT station (NE4). Exit through exit A and you will spot the abearygoodhostel signboad on your left after 10 steps.
v       Your hostel is located inside Chinatown.
v       Wander the streets of Chinatown and have lunch there
v       Take MRT from Chinatown to CityHall – S$1.10
v       While shopping, walk underground from Raffles Place to the CityLink mall towards Suntec City
v       Shopping at Suntec. Be sure to checkout the Fountain of Wealth inside Suntec
v       Locate the Suntec Galleria Duck counter to purchase the Singapore Pass for S$63. Book your time slots for the Flyer, Duck Tour, River Cruise and Bumble Bee Water Taxi for Day3
v       Take the Hippo Bus (part of your Singapore Pass) and try the Purple Original Route.
v       Catch the night views at Esplanade, Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, take photos with Merlions
v       Hop off at Chinatown and walk back to hotel before 10pm