Bangkok – A Trip To BKK’s Ikea (9 September 2022)

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Took the BTS and alighted at Udomsuk station. We’re here to take the shuttle bus to Mega Bangna. The bus stop for the shuttle bus is located right outside Lawson convenience store, pretty easy to locate. I thought it would be nearby the BTS station but I was wrong. It was quite a distance away and thankfully there’s shuttle bus service.

We followed the crowd and entered Mega Bangna which is a very large shopping mall that consists of many stores and restaurants. When we entered, we saw Big C supermarket and decided to explore it first since we weren’t hungry yet. There I found the Mickey Mouse air freshener that I wanted. After we checked out, we realized that they’ve charged us the wrong price for the air freshener. Head over to their customer service and thankfully despite our language barrier, they understood us and gave us the difference refund.

After shopping at Big C, we head off towards Ikea. As we were finding our way into the huge mall, we came across Miniso. Went in and saw a Mickey Mouse travel pillow. It was tempting to get but I decided not to purchase it as the chances of using it are low and we don’t travel enough to invest in one. It was a large mall and we took quite some time to reach Ikea from Big C. It’s literally walking from one end to the other.

Lunch at Ikea

The Ikea consists of 2 levels and we went straight to their restaurant because we were hungry. I got ambitious and ordered pork knuckles and a few other sides. And yes, I couldn’t finish because the pork knuckle was huge for my little tummy. The bistro offers more variety of snacks. They have more variety of ice cream and waffles too.

We booked a Grab to get back to our Airbnb. We waited at the wrong place, but thankfully our driver came over to where we were. Got back, unload our stuff, and rest before we head out again.

Booked a Grab and headed out to Train Market Srinagarindra. We input the wrong address, but thankfully we’re able to make the change while in the car. And yes, we managed to get to the right location after a mini hooha during the journey. It’s a very local night market, not many tourists in my opinion. But it’s definitely an interesting night market with all the vintage vehicles around on display.

Stall selling Marijuana

When we entered the night market, we happened to come across a small stall by the side selling marijuana. There’s potted marijuana. They even sell them like cigarettes. Yes, we went forward to have a look because of curiosity. The price of a stick of weed is shockingly expensive.😱 But it’s a nice experience to have a look at how the locals here sell weeds.

Dinner.

Saw a stall selling some old-school snacks/tidbits and Dear decided to get some. I didn’t get any as those snacks/tidbits don’t look familiar to me. We got hungry after some shopping, we decided to stop at a Muslim stall for some food. The fried rice was yummy. Despite our language barrier, we’re thankful there’s a picture for us to point to and order our dinner. Dinner was yummy and we enjoyed it.

We decided to rest for the night and booked a Grab back to our accommodation. On the way back, our driver asked if we put on our seat belts as there was a police check in front. Yes, we did of course. Ever since we had an unpleasant car ride driven by a family member, we’ve decided that even as passengers, we must have our seat belts on for our safety. As we practice this, it became a habit. Yes, safety comes first.

Bangkok – Pet Expo, Mission Impossible (8 September 2022)

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It was checkout day at Holiday Inn, but before we leave, we had our last breakfast buffet. Enjoying the yummilicious breakfast that I’ll probably miss as it’s so far the nicest breakfast buffet I ever had in Thailand. And no, I’m not kidding. We left two small luggage at Holiday Inn for safekeeping before we head off to our next destination.

Going on a holiday with Dear means we’ll be always changing accommodations due to our itinerary. So we’re on our way to Bang Na as that’s where the pet expo will be. I’ve been asking Dear a few months back if we could visit Thailand’s pet expo. Initially, it wasn’t confirmed as we were in the process of purchasing our first home. Money was tight and going on a trip wasn’t on our to-do list for the year. But thankfully, after everything, we have a little budget and off we go.

Checked into our Airbnb where I almost slipped trying to take a video of our accommodation. At first, I thought it was because I’m wearing my socks but even barefooted, we almost slipped. The floor was slippery and we have to walk with care. After we settled our stuff, we head out walking towards the pet expo.

Sign to follow towards Pet Expo

We followed the sign and poster for the pet expo to reach where the exhibition hall. As we were nearing the right exhibition hall, we saw more dogs and heard lots of barking. Bought our tickets which cost a total of 40baht and off we go to experience an overseas pet expo. It has a theme, Mission Impossible. We saw the floor plan online and thought it would be a huge event, thus we set 2 days to visit if we can’t finish walking on the first day. However, we were wrong. It wasn’t as huge as we thought it was, in fact we managed to explore the entire pet expo in a few hours.

Pythons

Like Singapore’s pet expo, lots of pet products are on sale. We arrived at the reptile and exotic animal section as we walked further. Saw a few bearded dragons, frogs, and snakes. There’s even a huge python in an enclosure! Apparently, it was like a normal sight in Thailand’s pet expo, but it was all new and exciting for us. Of course, small animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits are also on sale. Yes, you can buy a pet at Thailand’s pet expo which is something we won’t get to see at Singapore’s pet expo. There’s a feeding section for animals such as tortoises, goats, and chickens, etc. Each feed cost around 20baht if you’re keen to feed them.

Bought some tees for Ben, 4 at 100baht. We brought along a tee of his as measurement and bought him some. We were told by our Animal Communicator friend that he likes wearing clothes. Our first fur kid that will get so excited when we show him his tee. Digging through the pile of tees for designs and sizes wasn’t easy, considering there was a small crowd at the booth.

Short Skit, Mission Impossible

As we walked past the stage area, we realized there was a small crowd and we decided to stay at wait to see what they were waiting for. We visited on the first day of their pet expo, they had a mini welcome opening ceremony. Saw a cute skit performed by a few humans and two cute corgis. After this short entertainment, we decided to leave the premises as I’m getting hungry soon.

Tanaka Suisan, Bangna

It was raining cats and dogs when we exit out the building. Holding onto our only umbrella, we made our way to the nearest Japanese restaurant, Tanaka Suisan, for lunch. It’s right opposite the expo along the street and fairly easy to recognize with the banner outside their door.

Sushi

We had the buffet, 777Baht per person. The first 10 sushi was omakase; subsequently, you can order sushi of your choice. It comes in a plate of 10 sushi and we had like near 40 sushi each. Yes, shocking and we left with a fully satisfied tummy. The sushi that we had were fresh and delicious. Lots of good reviews online especially from Japanese. Dear said they have other outlets, so do google to find out which is the nearest one to where you’re staying.

Went back to our Airbnb to rest. And yes, we skipped dinner due to a very heavy lunch. Really needed the rest after traveling to Bang Na and exploring their pet expo. It was definitely a pleasant experience and will definitely be back again in future for their pet expo.

Bangkok – Visit Many Countries in ONE DAY! (7 September 2022)

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Breakfast buffet, Holiday Inn

Breakfast buffet at Hotel Inn again. It’s chicken porridge and I just had to try it. I conclude I prefer their prawn porridge more. I tried their plain butter croissant but didn’t like it as it wasn’t crispy. It’s more like a soggy croissant which makes it difficult to chew. Their pain au chocolat tastes better though the pastry was kind of soggy too. Wished they could help toast a little to make it even more perfect.

San Fransico, the highest level in the mall

Took BTS to Terminal 21, a themed shopping mall. Each level is a different country and you’ll get to be whisked away whenever you step onto an escalator either going up or down. It’s a very interesting shopping mall which kind of made me look forward to which country I would be “visiting”. It’s a very Instagram-worthy mall, very suitable for those social influencers to visit.

We were looking for some bath bombs since the day we arrived because our hotel room has a bathtub, perfect for soaking in. But sadly, we didn’t manage to find any since we arrived. All we could find was bath salt from the nearest mall and it wasn’t cheap. Thankfully, there are a few shops at Terminal 21 that sells bath bombs. And we bought them from Khas as they were having some promotion, buy 2 get 1 free. Though it will be our last night in Holiday Inn, at least we managed to get the bath bomb and enjoy a relaxing soak before we checkout the next day.

Boardgames

As we slowly head down towards the basement, we came across a board game event happening at the mall. Boardgames were on sale too but most of them are in Thai, making it difficult for us tourists to purchase though the price was tempting. Dear took a while to explore the area as she was communicating with her closest friend who is keen on board games as well. Since I have no interest, I got distracted by the nearby store that was selling donuts. No, I didn’t buy any because I managed to resist the temptations.

Ikan Bilis

Since we were still early for our lunch reservation, we continued shopping at the supermarket. Saw a packet of flavored Ikan Bilis that looked nice and decided to buy it. It was amazingly yummy and thankful that I managed to buy the last packet off the shelf.

Took a bus ride to our next destination which was around 3 bus stops away. You don’t pay the fare to the bus driver, instead, you take a seat after you board the bus, and a bus conductor will approach you. We asked how much will it cost to get to our destination, paid the fare, and were given the bus tickets. Both the bus driver and bus conductor were helpful to us as they both informed us when it was about time to alight.

Niku Sho

We walked towards Niku Sho from the bus stop, a place where Dear made a lunch reservation. Dear’s mum and sister recommended it and so we’re here. It was a Japanese BBQ restaurant. We were taken to a private room for our meal even if it was just the two of us. After looking through the menu, we ordered what we wanted and what Dear’s family recommended we try.

The garlic fried rice was one of the dishes Dear’s sister said to order. It’s not on the menu and we had to ask to make sure it’s available. It came in a hot plate kind of bowl and the staff helped you to stir and mix the rice well right in front of you before serving it to you. I didn’t enjoy it as I find the rice was too mushy for my liking. The taste was alright but not fantastic. I’ve had nicer garlic fried rice, so to me, this was just average. Their beef don was good though and I’m impressed. Weirdly, the rice wasn’t as mushy as the garlic-fried rice. The portion was a little too much, but thankfully I’m sharing it with Dear.

Ordered some meat for the bbq. It wasn’t fantastic, especially the marinate. I personally think the Yakiniku Go that we usually frequent in Singapore is so much nicer, even the quality of the meat. Then we had the beef shashimi which Dear’s mother and brother-in-law were raving about. I didn’t find any wow factor it in and didn’t really enjoy it. At the end of the meal, Dear said she spoilt us with nicer food and this was just average for us despite the good reviews. Oops.

Since we had the energy and were a few BTS stations away from On Nut, Dear decided to head over to the lotus supermarket. We love grocery shopping and when there’s an opportunity, we wouldn’t say no even when we’re overseas. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I feel that the lighting at Lotus was very bright! It was a nice change of grocery shopping as most people visiting Thailand would want to visit Big C which made it a little too crowded.

After Lotus, we head back to the hotel for a rest before dinner. Dear decided to bring me to Jodd Fairs as it’s a newly opened night market. It was crowded and the majority of the stalls there sells food. The weather wasn’t kind to us as it started to rain when we just got there. No shelter and seats were available, so we decided to order takeaway and return to the hotel for a meal.

Our dinner from Jodd Fairs

We might have overbought our dinner. There’s rice, noodle, baked potato, beef skewers, Taiwanese pancakes, and mango sticky rice. It was a nice spread of dinner, and we both were full at the end of it. We love almost all the food we’ve ordered, and we’re quite surprised by the Taiwanese pancakes.

Taiwanese pancake – custard boba

There’s this particular flavor, custard boba that I ordered. It’s mainly for Dear as she loves custard, and I didn’t think much of the boba. But there’s actually a boba pearl in it! It’s chewy and it goes well with the custard. Quite an interesting flavor and I would highly recommend you get it when visiting Jodd Fairs.

Bangkok – Shop, Eat & Grow Fat (6 September 2022)

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Got up early for the breakfast buffet. When we arrived, there was already quite a crowd enjoying their breakfast. They have a wide variety to choose from and they have a live cooking station to cook your eggs. Just order and pass them your table’s number tag and they’ll bring it to you once it’s ready.

Holiday Inn breakfast buffet

Don’t usually have an appetite in the morning, but decided to just have something light to start the day. Had their shrimp porridge and it’s delicious though I added too much soy sauce. It got a little salty for my taste buds, but overall it’s nice. It did open up my little appetite and I decided to get more food. The fried rice was good. The bitter gourd was too bitter for me. The bitterness covers the overall taste. The spicy morning glory was good though a little salty and spicy for me. We both agreed that the breakfast at Holiday Inn was better than what we expected.

Coffee at Phak Cafe & Crafts

We had black coffee at the hotel’s breakfast buffet, but it wasn’t to our liking. Dear said to bring me to a cafe for a nicer cup of coffee to start our day. Took BTS to Phak Cafe & Crafts, within walking distance from Phrom Phong station.

I ordered a cup of piccolo and Dear had her usual latte. The ambiance was good, perfect for relaxing and enjoying the coffee while wasting the morning. The coffee was definitely good. I like my piccolo, not too milky with a little taste of coffee bitterness. Dear’s latte was too milky for me, but she likes it. Yes, we both have our own preference for coffee.

After wasting our morning at the cafe, we head over to the opposite where a pet shop and veterinary clinic are located at. Wanted to see if there’s anything to get for the fur kids, but their retail section is a little small. Nothing much to get and so we left empty-handed.

Took BTS to Gateway Ekkaimai, and the nearest station is Ekkaimai. You don’t have to cross the road at all! After you exit the station, there’s a walkway that connects to the mall. Dear said it’s a surprise for me as the entire mall is Japanese theme. The restaurants are all Japanese cuisine too! Perfect for those that love all things Japanese.

Big Hero 6 mold

We headed up straight to the highest level and slowly make our way down level by level. Shopped at their Daiso and bought Big Hero 6 silicon mold as I wanted to make popsicles for the fur kids. We visited a stationary shop and chance upon some Sanrio toilet papers. Dear’s mother asked for Little Twin Stars while she bought herself a cinnamon roll. And yes, we carried two bags of toilet paper back to Singapore at the end of our trip.

Sukiya for lunch

After shopping, we walked around to see what was for lunch and I decided to try their Sukiya. I didn’t enjoy the one in Singapore as the taste wasn’t as wow as the one I had in Japan. And so, I decided to give the one in Bangkok a try. Amazingly, it’s much nicer. Wasn’t disappointed with their Sukiya. Ordered a set that comes with gyoza and a drink. I probably might have over-ordered as I was famished, and almost couldn’t finish my food.

Sweet Potato Bread

Saw a very interesting bread at the bakery and we bought one. It’s a sweet potato bread in the shape of a sweet potato! It looked exactly like one and it’s their bestselling bread in the store. We tried it once we got back to our hotel to rest. Even the interior of the bread looks like a potato! When eating it, the taste and texture were exactly the same as the sweet potato that I usually bought in Donki. We were amazed at the bread and thankfully we both decided to give it a try. They do have an outlet at Central World if you do not want to travel all the way to Ekkaimai.

Thong Smith Boat Noodle

Dinner was at Central World, Thong Smith Boat Noodle. One of the restaurants with good reviews and we decided to give it a try. Though it’s weird to have boat noodles in a shopping mall, but the one Dear wanted to bring me to closes early and dinner at the mall was inevitable since we left the hotel at around 7 pm.

The portion was a little small and definitely overpriced for boat noodles. But we both each had two bowls as one bowl doesn’t fill up our tummy. It’s delicious, but it wasn’t satisfying. Not worth the price. If you would want to try boat noodles, don’t visit this.

Cute Mochi

What’s dinner without dessert right? Bought two cute mochis from a store near Thong Smith Boat Noodle. And I truly regretted it. It’s cute but it wasn’t delicious. The mochi skin was too thick and not the kind of mochi texture we both like. The filling taste-wise was a little artificial. Yes, for the looks it’s cute but not worth buying. And Dear was thankful she stopped me from buying more at one go. Sometimes it’s good to have a partner to stop you from over buying or doing something stupid.

As we still had the energy, we decided to go grocery shopping. Took the BTS to On Nut station for their Big C. It’s another huge Big C supermarket but with a lesser crowd. So much more enjoyable to stroll in this Big C outlet without worrying about blocking anybody’s way due to the huge crowd of people.

We wanted to shop at Lotus, which is located next to On Nut station. The same area as the Big C that we went to first. According to Google, Lotus was open for 24hours. But when we arrived at around 9 pm, it was already closed. Apparently, since the pandemic started, their operating hours have changed and there wasn’t any update online. It was a wasted trip as Dear was looking forward to shopping at Lotus.

Since we couldn’t shop at Lotus, we decided to head back to our hotel since it was raining and there was nowhere else to explore. We decided to call it a night early.

Bangkok – The Holiday Begins (5 September 2022)

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I have no idea where we’ll be staying on this trip or what time our flight is. I used to panic and kept checking on the details to make sure we didn’t leave out anything. Maybe it’s because we haven’t traveled for two years due to the pandemic, I am kind of lost on what to expect. Thankfully, Dear took care of most of it, and I just followed along.

Got up at 5 am as our flight was at 8:20 am. Prepared and check on what to bring before we leave home. I booked a grab car and am amazed at how smooth and fast the ride was. We arrived at the airport earlier than expected. Checking in our luggage was a breeze without any delay. It’s an automated self-service kiosk now for Scoot. Or at least that’s what I know.

Once we entered the immigration checkpoint, we headed to Killiney for coffee and breakfast. It had a long queue as the other stalls around it weren’t open yet. Dear was disappointed that her eggs were cold, her kopi c kosong was lukewarm. My kopi o kosong was hot so I didn’t have any issues with my coffee.

Luggage zip that looks like darts.

Head off to our boarding gate after breakfast. Toilet break and empty our bottles before entering. We had a small piece of luggage to carry with us. As we went through the security check, they asked if we brought darts. Clueless, we opened our luggage to check what item of ours that looks like darts on their screen. After scanning our luggage again, all of us realised it was the zips on the luggage. It was a funny moment for us and the security officers. Mystery solved.

Dear’s seat on the plane got exchanged as someone was already there. He explained that his seat was taken so he took the next empty seat he saw. And since my row got another empty seat, we took it. The air stewardess knows about it so we’re all good. Got me a window seat and managed to video take-off and landing for my travel video.

Arrived in Bangkok ahead of schedule according to the pilot. The airport’s aircon was cold and we didn’t bring a jacket. So we shiver and head out to the immigration checkpoint. Went up to level 4 in search of Klook’s counter to collect our Thailand sim card and off we go! But first, brunch at the airport’s Macdonald’s.

First meal in Bangkok, Thailand

I couldn’t decide what I want and asked Dear to surprise me. And yes, my pork samurai burger was good! Dear enjoyed her truffle burger but I didn’t. Not a fan of truffles, the smell and taste are too strong for me. It’s just like how some couldn’t stand the smell and taste of durian. We had youtiao dipped in condensed milk as dessert and it was surprisingly good! Recommended if you visit the land of smiles, go try the youtiao!

Token as MRT train ticket

In Bangkok, they have MRT and BTS. It is like our MRT and LRT, same same but different. Head off to their MRT station at the airport, used their ticket machine to purchase our tickets. Apparently, the amount we put in didn’t reflect on the screen and it cheated us some money. However, the staff that helped us didn’t understand English and we couldn’t really communicate so we decided to just let it go. The journey to the hotel required us to change from MRT to BTS. It’s quite convenient in my opinion and fast. I guess taking the train is much faster in Bangkok if you want to beat the horrendous traffic, especially when we arrived in the morning where most locals are heading off to work.

Holiday Inn Bangkok

We will be staying at Holiday Inn which is right next to Chit Lom BTS station. It is also within walking distance to Big C and Central World. It’s a very good location if you want a more central area for your shopping needs. We forgot to bring our credit cards, but thankfully they allowed us to put a 1000baht deposit in cash. When we arrived, our room wasn’t ready yet and so we left our luggage with them and head out for quick shopping.

Karun tea comes in a nice paper bag

We stopped by Gaysorn Village which is just next to Holiday Inn to buy us Thai tea that my sister-in-law recommended. It’s called Karun and it’s located at level 2. You get to choose how sweet you want your tea to be. It is already pre-brewed and bottled. But the option for sweetness is, 100%, less sweet and not sweet. We bought two bottles of less sweet, a milk tea and a red tea to try.

Visited Big C and of course, it’s filled with humans! Tourists are busy buying goodies in bulk to bring home, either for their own consumption or to distribute to colleagues and friends. They do prepare masking tapes and scissors to pack in carton boxes that were provided near the cashier. We did buy a few stuff for our own consumption while we were in the country. Queues were extremely long and it does really test your patience and endurance for the legs.

The tea comes in glass bottles.

At 3 pm, we started to make our way back and check into our room. Finally, get to rest after all the traveling and walking. Drank the tea we bought from Karun and we think it was nice. Personally prefers milk tea more than red tea. Sweetness-wise is just right for their less sweet version. But if you are someone that has a sweet tooth, you can try their 100% sweetness and let us know how they taste.

We decided to head towards Central World for dinner. It is within walking distance from Holiday Inn! The best way to get across without crossing their road is to head up to the BTS station and use their overhead bridge/walkway. It will take you directly to Central World. Crossing their road with heavy traffic requires courage. It can get scary!

Dinner at Somtamnua

Dear decided to have dinner at Somtamnua, located at Central World level 3. Ordered a few dishes that were highly recommended online after reading the reviews. I think the food is good but a bit on the high side for Thai food as it’s located in a mall. The staff doesn’t know English, so communication can be difficult for us.

While walking around Central World after dinner, we came across Uniqlo and decided to enter and have a look at their jackets. We didn’t bring our jackets as we planned to get ourselves new ones. I let Dear choose as I know I can only shop in the kids’ section. Somehow, the adult jackets were a little too big for Dear and we both ended up getting our jackets in the kids’ section instead. After trying out the different colours available, we both decided to get the same coloured jackets. Finally a better fitting jackets for us.

I’ve been having craving for mango sticky rice and Dear decided to bring me to another place for dessert. Mr. Mango Tango is located about 900m away from Central World. Although it’s a 900m walk, we were tired from all the walking. The path wasn’t even which makes walking a little tiring. We’re spoilt by the nice pathway that Singapore has. Thankful for what our government did to make life easier for us.

The dessert was amazingly delicious. We ordered a plate to share which consist of fresh mango, sticky rice, mango pudding, and mango ice cream. Basically, everything mango. It was good! The ambiance of the store makes it enjoyable to have our dessert. Craving is definitely satisfied. Mango sticky rice has always been my favourite Thai dessert and a must-have when we’re in Thailand.

After dessert, we head back to our hotel and called it a day. Although it was tiring from all the traveling since our flight, it was an enjoyable first day of the holiday since the pandemic. A long waited holiday that we both definitely needed to get recharged physically and mentally.

More blog entries about our trip will be coming soon. Still new to journaling down our travels and hopefully I’m doing good so far.

[Review] Zhou Kee Hainanese Chicken & Roasted Rice

Zhou Kee Hainanese Chicken & Roasted Rice

Address: 527 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 S(560527), Cheng San Market & Food Centre
Operating Hours: Daily 9 am to 8 pm
Affordability: $$

Dear said I sort of became a chicken rice connoisseur as I’m always having it for lunch when I’m at work. My work requires me to travel around all the time, and lunch break usually will be a very quick meal due to a tight schedule. And chicken rice stalls typically have the shortest queue or they are quite fast to pack me a meal. That’s why it’s my go-to meal for lunch. I joked to her about starting a chicken rice review which I have put off because I can’t describe food well enough to influence people’s decision to order from the particular stalls that I’ve visited.

But here I am giving it a go with my first food review on this blog. Hopefully, I can describe it well enough like those food bloggers or journalists. Crossing my fingers that I am able to pull this food review off.

Ok, so my first food review would be Zhou Kee Hainanese Chicken & Roasted Rice. It is located at Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Cheng San Market & Food Centre. It is at the first row directly facing the open space car park which is easy to locate if you’re unfamiliar with the area.

I had the chicken rice both dine-in and takeaway. And I would say, having it takeaway tastes much better. I thought I was the only one who thinks that way, but no. My mother-in-law thinks so too. Maybe wrapping up the chicken rice brings out the fragrance better? Hmm…

My dine-in experience was late at night after work for dinner. Was too hungry and decided to have a quick meal at the food centre. Dining in, you get a bowl of soup which is pretty much standard when ordering chicken rice. Though it was a one-time eat-in and it was a long time ago, I remembered that the rice wasn’t as fragrant and it was a little hard like it wasn’t fully cooked. The meat was dry and a little tough to chew on.

Take away Zhou Kee chicken rice

However, having it takeaway is another story. It’s much yummier in my opinion! Most people believe that the chicken rice that was packed in the brown paper is the most delicious chicken rice. And I would have to agree. The picture above was my recent order. Half a roasted chicken rice packed in a white styrofoam box, and a packet of rice packed in the legendary brown paper. The takeaway comes with a packet of sauce for the chicken, and a packet of chilli sauce.

The chicken was much juicier and flavourful. However, the sauce that was supposed to go with the chicken, I find it a little too salty for my taste buds though Dear seemed to find it OK. The rice was well cooked and had the chicken rice fragrant to it. Eat it with their chicken, the taste was heavenly.

Portion-wise, I think it’s reasonable for the price we paid considering the recent chicken price hike due to the chicken shortage in Malaysia and we had to find another source to import our chicken supply.

Overall opinion, recommended.

Cruise Tips & Personal Opinions

After I uploaded my short videos about our cruise adventures on our Tiktok account and Youtube channel, we got some questions from possible future cruise adventurers and I’ve decided to list them down on a whole new blog entry because I realized I didn’t jot it down on the previous entries. Oops~

As this is my first cruise and wasn’t sure of what to bring or do, we did consult Dear’s sister who gave us some nice useful tips. So it’s my turn to share as well after my experience.

What to bring:

  • Passport – Very important because you’re heading out of the Singapore water territory. Some doesn’t know you need a passport when going on a cruise.
  • Bedroom slipper – The cruise doesn’t provide any. It’s good walking around the stateroom in it, especially when your stateroom have a balcony.
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste – Not provided, so bring yours for the trip.
  • Shampoo & body soap – They do provide, but it depends on individual. We prefer the ones we use at home, so we’re always bringing ours instead of using the ones provided.
  • Towels – This is also optional. But we do bring ours cos Dear have sensitive skin and can’t use the ones they provide.
  • Wet wipes – To wipe down the seats and table at the balcony before use.
  • Lanyard with card holder- To put your stateroom’s key card. You need to use it often if making purchases onboard the ship or when you’re debarking the ship to explore the port of calls. Easy access to the card is good and a lanyard comes in handy.
  • Travel adapters
  • Sports wear and shoes – For sports activities
  • Swimsuits – For water activities

But of course things to bring is up to individuals. So bring what you need, but there are things they prohibit onboard. Such as extensions and mini cooking pots. Was told these will be confiscated during boarding and you can get it back before you debark the ship.

We didn’t purchase the WIFI plan onboard the ship because we think we didn’t need it. Besides, we bought the Malaysia SIM card to be used when we arrive in Malaysia’s port of call. But you can purchase their WIFI plan if you need to be connected to the world. Here’s a heads up, connection is really poor even with our Malaysia SIM card when we arrived at our port of calls. For better connection, sit at your balcony or head up to the outdoor areas. Sometimes its good to just relax on a vacation and be disconnected away from the world.

Room upgrade!

We have a few netizens asking us how to get the room upgrade. Well, you need to bid for it on their website, under the RoyalUp. After you’re done with the bidding, the rest is just wait and may you be the lucky one.

Do note that once you got the upgrade, you can reject it but there won’t be any refund. So I would suggest to just go with the upgrade and enjoy your voyage with Royal Caribbean. But after our stay at the Junior Suite, we realized that we’re happy enough with our initial stateroom with balcony though it’s good to experience a room upgrade too. I mean, there’s no harm moving to a bigger room.

Activities wise, there’s no longer much covid restrictions, so go ahead and have fun! But of course, the swimming pool area can be crowded as families with kids are usually there for some water fun activities. We enjoyed the cruise experience more than we though we would, and we hope you will too.

Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas – Day 4 & 5 (10 & 11 July 2022)

Egg Benedict

Woke up, looked out of the balcony and we’re sailing on the vast sea heading back to Singapore. Breakfast at Main Dining Room where I ordered their plain pancake while Dear had the egg benedict. And yes, the egg yolk does ooze out. I’m not a very breakfast person, usually I skipped it unless I’m really hungry. I didn’t finish my pancake although it’s just two slices.

It’s back to stateroom for a rest because very tired and have no energy for anything. We wanted to join some onboard activities, but sleep monster says no. So it’s practically a eat and sleep day onboard the ship. Ever since we recovered from Covid in February, we became easily tired and it’s like our stamina dropped.

Passport Collection

After our rest, it’s lunch at Silver Dining then it’s back to our room for a rest again. Before which, we went to join the queue to collect our passports back from the Royal Caribbean. We didn’t like how the lady in front of us treated the staff. Like us, she had her stateroom changed. She got agitated when the staff was trying to find hers and her friend’s passport after she’s given him their stateroom’s number. I mean there’s a lot of passports and of course it will take some time for him to find the right one. I guess maybe the lady didn’t work in the service line before and doesn’t know how to treat service line workers with some respect.

Went for Harry Potter Trivia. Was a little late, but we managed to find us a seat. Had to get a piece of answer sheet and a pencil from the stage to jot down my answers. It was fun and surprised to see quite a few young Potterheads being as excited as I was. There were a few questions that stumped me but after the session, I’m glad that I got majority of the answers right. Maybe I should read the books again as an adult, probably I’ve a whole different perspective of the series. (Might make a slide video of the Harry Potter Trivia for those who are interested.)

Farewell at Main Dining Room

We sort of idle away our day on the cruise. It’s like we’ve already maxed out our energy the past few days exploring the ship and Penang that we’ve no interest in other activities available for the day. Dinner at Main Dining Room after a rest as Dear wanted to try their aged beef. A wrong move for us as we both ordered the same and didn’t really enjoy it. It’s not as wow as we thought and the portion was rather huge for me. What I enjoyed most during the dinner was their mini farewell “concert”.

We did went for two shows that night. The Silk Road and Show Girls, no videography or photography is allowed. It’s free seating so go early if you want the best seats. We had restricted view when we went for The Silk Road, but we had the a better view when we went for Show Girls. If you were to ask me which shows are worth going, I would say Show Girls. Apparently the Show Girls that we went were their debut night for the performers. Lucky us! It’s fantastic and they’ve put up quite a show!

Baby Shark~

Waited for 10:30 pm before we head over for the Virtual Fireworks Party! It’s like a child friendly clubbing experience for us. It’s fun for all ages though Dear didn’t enjoy it when the Baby Shark songs was played. Wait for the virtual fireworks to “boom” before we called it a night.

Sunrise view from our stateroom’s balcony

Set the alarm clock to get up early because we’re still confused about the timing to disembark the ship. Got welcome back with a beautiful sunrise at Marina Bay Cruise Centre which wraps up our nice voyage with Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas. After we’re done washing up, we packed our stuff and head out to join the other adventurers to alight from the ship. Holiday is over but we went back with a nice memorable experience.

Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas – Day 3 (9 July 2022)

Video from our Youtube Channel

Day 3 of our voyage and we’ve arrived at Port Pinang. Can’t remember what time I got up and the first thing I did was head out to the balcony for some fresh air.

Penang

I immediately regretted my decision. It was a hazy morning in Penang and I went back to our room right after taking a picture. The reason I took a picture was to inform my closest aunt that I’d arrived at the next port of call safely.

Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas

After our breakfast at WindJammer, we debark the ship and head off to explore Penang. But first, like many adventurers, we decided to take pictures of the humongous ship with its awesome name! Very tourist behaviour but I don’t care.

Welcome to Penang

Felt very welcome upon arrival with the locals singing and greeting tourists that arrive at the port. Entering Penang was a very different experience for us and we felt like mountain tortoises. There was no immigration check when we arrived and just like that, our exploration started.

Once out of the immigration checkpoint building, a group of private or taxi drivers started asking if you need a ride and offering their services. As we walked past the eager to get your attention drivers, we overheard one offering a 3hours ride around Penang for RM$50.

Entrance & Exit of Norm

Address: 13, Gat Lebuh Gereja, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Sun-Thur: 8am-6pm
Fri-Sat: 8am-10pm
Note: here’s the address of the one we went to because I realised there are 2 Norm cafes. They’re sister cafes, so they’re related hence the same cafe name.

First stop, Norm. A nice little cafe is hidden in a corner with no signage at all. At first, we thought we were at the wrong location but Google Map (the only GPS we relied on that day) said we’d arrived. Then we overheard the locals whose friend was lost too, said where the entrance was. Like what we always do, follow the humans and enter the cafe.

Limited seatings and it was packed full of humans. Staff immediately came to greet us and asked us to wait while they clear a table (diners just left) for us. They handed us a set of menus to look through while waiting. One menu was drink and dessert, while the other was for the mains.

Here’s what we ordered:

  • Cortado (similar to picolo latte)
  • Aussie Latte (cold latte with a scoop of vanilla ice cream)
  • Chocolate Macadamia Fudge (dessert)
Norm

I like my Cortado coffee and Dear enjoyed hers, especially the ice cream that comes with it. She was shocked by the quality of the ice cream and very impressed that they didn’t use lower-end ice cream to go with the coffee. I tried a little of it, and I would say it’s quite a rich creamy vanilla ice cream. The chocolate macadamia fudge was good too. Very chocolatey, not too dry. A nice dessert to go with our coffee.

After our morning coffee break, we head off in search of Tambun Biscuit. It’s Penang’s speciality and one of my favourite snacks. Although I said if we couldn’t find any, it’s OK. But Dear insist we find it because I want.

Famous wall painting

We walked around George Town and Dear showed me the Instagram-worthy wall art which is quite popular. And yes, I did take a picture with it because there wasn’t any crowd when we arrived. We head off to the next popular wall art, but it was crowded with tourists waiting for their turn to take pictures with it. I didn’t want to wait and join the crowd, so we head off to explore Penang.

Entered a shop where I bought myself the popular Octopus that can change from a frown to a happy face. We also bought Dear’s sister a gift since we’re there and found something she might like. Dear prefers to buy gifts that are useful and that the receiver will definitely like. She’s a good gift gifter, unlike me who just buys anything cute even if it’s useless.

The Tambun Biscuits I bought.

Went shopping for Tambun Biscuit and I bought more than I could finish. Here’s a list of where and what I bought from the shop:

Ming Xiang Tai
They have a few outlets and I couldn’t find the address of the one we went to. This was recommended to us by the shop’s staff where we were gift shopping at. She said it’s one of Penang’s popular Tambun Biscuits. Did a quick google search and I found out it’s called Cantonese pastry on their website. We bought salted egg pastry and pandan salted egg pastry. In our opinion, we both prefer the pandan salted egg pastry as it’s more flavourful and fragrant.

Ban Heng
They have a few outlets as well. This was Google’s recommendation with positive reviews. After trying their sample, the taste brought back childhood memories and I bought a box of pandan-flavoured tambun biscuits. After trying all the ones I bought, this wasn’t as wow as I remembered.

Tean Ean
We booked a Grab to head back to the port and the driver asked why were we at Ban Heng. After knowing we were here to get some tambun biscuits, he said the locals don’t buy Ban Heng! *shocked*
He introduced us to Tean Ean and drove us there. He said this is where the local Penang mostly buy their tambun biscuits and it’s mostly freshly baked. Bought a small box of original after trying it and I would say it’s definitely better than Ban Heng. The crust of it already won! It’s softer, crispier and not as dry as Ben Heng’s. (Personal opinion. Don’t bash me for this) It’s worth the detour to purchase a box of delicious tambun biscuits.

Head back to the ship for lunch after our shopping spree. Lunch at WindJammer, as usual I had the Chinese food cos I saw they had bee hoon and I just have to try it. Dear went for the Indian food cos she saw new dishes too. Then it was back to our stateroom to rest and idle our time away. Had tea and coffee at our balcony as we watch the ship sailing away from Penang at around 6 pm. The staff at the port shouted goodbye and I happily waved back without thinking if they could actually see us from where they were. Besides, probably there’s other adventurers doing the same too.

Dinner at Main Dining Hall

Dinner at Main Dining Room. Dear ordered risotto which she didn’t really enjoy and she ordered herself a steak (the one that I was having) because she said it’s nice when I gave her a piece to try. Weirdly, I enjoyed the vegetable that comes with the steak but we weren’t sure what vegetable it was. The staff said it’s bok choy, but it doesn’t look like the usual bok choy we saw at the supermarket. After a awesome mains, I had dessert! The apple pie (can’t remember the exact name) is really good! Try it when you’re at Main Dining Room. One of the must try dessert!

Dinner at WindJammer

Then it’s round two dinner at WindJammer. Although I’m already full but Dear wants another round of dinner, and so we went. It’s Chinese and Indian food again. Saw the same vegetable that I had at Main Dining Room, I decided to get more. The fry noodle wasn’t good but the fried rice is. Saw that they have siew mai, and so I took some as well. Dear enjoyed her Indian food which I have no idea what she took. And yes, we called it a day after our dinner at WindJammer. And she’s already planned where to have breakfast for the next day! 0.0

Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas – Day 2 (8 July 2022)

We got woken up to room service giving us a “morning call”. We ordered room service’s breakfast the night before by placing our orders on the form given in the room which we were supposed to hang outside on our door before 3 am. Didn’t expect it would be a knock right after the call which totally caught me off guard. I got up with my messy bed hair and went to open the door while still dazed.

Once we received breakfast, we hurried to get ourselves washed up and have breakfast by our room’s balcony. We arrived at Port Klang which is in Kuala Lumpur. Before our trip, I asked my Malaysian friend who resides in KL and asked what’s nice to explore around Port Klang.

Her reply was:

It’s a port. Nothing to see. hahaha

Ashley
Port Klang

And so we didn’t explore around Port Klang, because firstly, it really is a port for ships to dock at. If you would want to explore, either you book a grab and head out or book an excursion with Royal Caribbean. We do have activities that we would like to join which was part of the reason why we decided not to debark.

Stretch before Morning Dance Exercise

Went for the morning dance exercise after breakfast. We arrived a little late but were thankful the actual dance exercise has yet to begin. The instructor was guiding us to do some stretches first. Dear accompanied me before she left me alone and head off for her Sudoku challenge.

Morning Dance Exercise

I enjoyed the dance exercise, it felt like Zumba but not exactly like one. It’s a great way to start my day and gave me that moment of feeling healthy before we start our makan session onboard the ship. It’s literally an eating session almost all the time.

Dear solving the Sudoku challenge

After my morning dance exercise, I head off to find Dear. Almost followed the route to debark the ship, but thankful that the staff gave me the direction towards where the Sudoku challenge was at. Managed to find my way and it was a very quiet serious setting when I arrived at the Sudoku challenge venue. As I took the seat next to Dear, I saw some gave up finishing the challenge and they just left. Dear persevered through and finished both Sudoku puzzles. So proud of her.

Outdoor deck

It was slightly early for our lunch reservation at the Teppanyaki, so we decided to head up to Deck 14 to walk around the outdoor running track and explore. And also to find out where the flow rider was because Dear really wanted to try. There are actually people using the running track for their jogging. The swimming pools are quite packed with families with young children. Which kind of deters us from trying out to go for a swim although we could go to the Solarium which is only for adults.

Teppanyaki Menu

Head off towards Teppanyaki, which is located next to WindJammer. Got our seats, and read through the menu that was handed to us. We get to choose one dish from complimentary, dessert and mains.

Here’s what I chose:

  • Miso Soup
  • Izumi – sea scallops and lobster
  • Mochi ice cream – green tea and strawberry

Here’s what Dear chose:

  • Green mix with ginger dressing
  • Samurai – Beef tenderloin and tiger shrimp
  • Crispy sesame balls

The Teppanyaki onboard the ship is entertaining and interactive which made dining a whole different experience. Or rather for me as it’s my first. Basically, I had many first experiences onboard Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas. (More about it later or in another blog entry.)

The food at Teppanyaki was a little too salty for me. But overall, I enjoyed my lunch. I had a second helping of the fried rice. I love fried rice, but the best-fried rice I ever had was in Thailand, Kanchanaburi.

Adult colour
Left: mine
Right: Dear’s

Went for a more relaxing activity, adult colouring. There was two design for us to choose from and we had to share a table with other adventurers due to the limited quantity of colour pencils. The venue was at a bar where the lighting was poor. It didn’t help much when the colour pencils were metallic versions. Had a hard time differentiating certain colours that looked similar under the orangey dim lights.

We thought it would be a relaxing event till the staff announced that we had to end the session at 2:30 pm to make way for the next onboard activity. By then I was almost finishing with my seahorse design while Dear was struggling to finish hers. It was fun on my end to see her trying to finish her intricate piece of art.

Archery

Went to queue for archery next. It was a long queue as there were many kids queuing before us. Each person gets four arrows to aim and shoot, once we shoot those 4, it’s another player’s turn. Love how the tip of the arrows was airsoft, and very kids friendly. No need to worry that someone might get hurt if a kid suddenly rushes out of nowhere when you release the arrow.

Surprised to see there are targets for us to aim at. Those were floating balls! Both of us didn’t manage to shoot down any targets, but it’s OK. One of our to-do lists for the day checked! Off to the next one, tea break at Dog House!

At Dog House, you get to choose the type of bun, sausages, toppings and sauces. A little disappointing to be honest. The bun was too hard and dry, difficult to swallow for me. The sausage and sauces were alright. You can order it without the bun, but at least try with the bun once. Everyone has a personal preference, maybe what isn’t nice to me might be nice to you.

Ice cream cone

Saw a lady walking past us savouring her ice cream on a cone, and I just had to have one even when I’m full. So off we went to search for the ice cream kiosk located around the pool area. It comes in vanilla, chocolate or mixed flavours. We had one of each of our favourite flavours. Yums~ It’s very good during warm weather especially when you’re exploring the running track area. It helps to cool you down.

Sunset Dance Exercise

With all the eating almost the entire day, it’s time to shake off those fats even if it’s just a little. For this sunset dance exercise session, Dear accompanied me throughout. It’s YMCA-ing all the way and we had a nice short exercise. Feels good to feel healthy even for a bit after all the procrastination we had before this trip.

Head back to our room, and changed our attire because Dear wants to try flow rider. It was one of the must-do activities when you’re on a cruise. Got our flow rider wristband at the counter, queued up and waited for our turn. Dear’s mission for the day was to be able to kneel while riding the waves. My mission of the day, get this over and done with.

Flow rider was fun till I got motion sickness while riding the man-made waves. I kid you not, I literally felt giddy and decided to end my session early before I can even attempt to kneel. Dear managed to kneel on the board and ride the waves before she got thrown off after she was unable to keep her balance.

It only occur to us that we’d forgotten to pack towels before our flow rider activity. With the nice sea breeze blowing, we hurried off shivering a little. Towels provided by Royal Caribbean were a little far from the flow rider, so we decided to brave the cold while soaking wet and hurried back to our stateroom which was only 2 decks below. No, we didn’t wet the indoor area because thanks to our Birkenstock slippers, the design of it collected water instead. We were amused and thankful by it that we didn’t leave a trail of water to where we were going. Lesson learnt, always remember to pack the towels before any water activities.

Dinner at Main Dining Room before we head up to Silver Dining for a second round to try the prawns that I wanted the previous day. OK, I can’t remember the exact name of it and I no longer can access the menu on their Royal Caribbean app. But the prawn at Silver Dining was salty, even Dear agreed to it.

To end our day, we head off to the spa and health area to purchase Good Feet arch support. After research and contemplating, Dear decided to purchase two pairs of arch support. It can be worn on slippers and shoes. Dear said we have to use it after purchasing. Although it can be tedious to change from slippers to shoes and back, we must make the money worth it. And also, it will help us in our back and legs especially when we stand or walk a lot. This will definitely come in handy during travel.

It felt weird at first with the arch support in our Birkenstock. But we were told we’ll get used to it after frequent use. Let’s hope so.