Category: Travel Log

I Went Onboard Qatar Airway’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner. What I Saw Inside Will Blow Your Mind.



“Finally, it’s happening.”

I made it. My dream has come true – I finally got to fly business class on an international long-haul flight for the very first time.

Granted, I was on board as a guest of Qatar Airways, but still – this was a very special moment for me. With repeated awards and accolades such as “Best Business Class” and “Airline of the Year”, I knew I was in for a treat.


“So this is how the one percent travels,” I thought to myself as I stepped into the front cabin of Qatar Airway’s brand-spanking new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Maybe it was the dynamic LED mood-lighting overhead, or the large oversized windows that resembled those on a spaceship, but my first impression is that I was stepping into something futuristic.


“Welcome on-board Mr Sia,” a cabin crew greeted me by name and took time to introduce herself. “Would you like something to drink before we take off?”

Yes certainly, miss. Maybe something to calm down my excitement.

I knew immediately this will be a flying experience like no other.


Qatar Airways is the first airlines in the Middle East to launch the Boeing 787. Described as an advanced aircraft built for travel in the 21st century, it generated a lot of excitement in the aviation industry when the first aircraft rolled off the production line two years ago.

It’s not difficult to see why.

They say the Boeing 787 was designed for passenger comfort in mind. I say they certainly got the goods to back that claim up.


As my flight rolled off Munich International Airport, the first thing I noticed is how blissfully quiet everything is. Compared to the noisy engine sounds of other aircrafts, the Boeing 787 barely whistled when it took off. It’s as if the aircraft magically levitated into air, instead of using any form of jet propulsion engines.

This is just one of many little things the Dreamliner did to minimise the stress on taking a long-haul flight.


The Boeing 787 Dreamliner feels spacious, and even more so in the Business Class cabin.

There’s only 4 seats in each row in Business Class, compared to 9 each row in Economy. What this translate to is plenty of leg room.


You can even prop your feet up on the cushion if you like.

I love the Business Class seats! They are so cleverly designed to maximise usage of space, making them both private and spacious. A very rare feat indeed!


Qatar Airways’ Business Class amenities are the stuff of legends.

It’s not just the standard pillows and blankets that they provide. They went all the way – giving each Business Class passenger fluffy pyjamas to ensure a comfortable sleep.


I’m not surprised if these get taken home by passengers after their flight as souvenirs.


Another bag contains ear plugs, combs, compression socks and…




Actually, it’s an eye mask. Hehe.

It’s so big it wraps around your ears, and even comes with nose rests so it doesn’t slip down your face.


Each Business Class seat, of course, comes with a multitude of

For the ultimate comfort, it’s possible for the seat to lie fully flat with a press of a button. Your feet goes underneath your monitor screen, and your arm rests also slide down to give you a wider sleeping area.


In terms of toiletries, each Business Class passenger gets a stylish Salvatore Ferragamo toiletry kit specific to their gender.

I must admit, it looks so nice I didn’t even use it. I just wanna bring it home and stare at it every so often to make me happy.


Again, there’s never a shortage of space to store your belongings.

Apart from the humongous overhead compartment, there’s also no less than 5 mini compartments on the left side, right side and underside of your seat to put your stuff away discreetly.


As expected, there are USB charge ports and power sockets cleverly tucked away on the side. Economy passengers also get USB ports and power sockets in every seat.


Oryx – Qatar Airways’ Inflight Entertainment System is also legendary. On the Android system, it’s feels even more high-tech and awesome.

The 17″ screen are touch-enabled, but there’s also a touch screen remote… you know, just in case you don’t want to lean forward.


Then there’s the beautiful noise-cancelling earphones – something only Business Class passengers get to enjoy.

Once you put those cans on, and choose from over 1,000 movies, games and songs, it’s easy to forget you’re even on a flight.


Wanna log on the internet at 30,000 feet in the air?

It’s possible on Qatar Airways’ 787. Of course there’s a fee, but at RM15 for 10MB, it’s comparable to typical data roaming charges, and very, very, very, very reasonable.


Not a fan of high-tech?

There’s a huge selection of internationally magazines neatly arranged at the back. I think these were barely even touched by the passengers throughout my 6 hour flight.


Meal time on Qatar Airways’ Business Class is when things start to get interesting.

No longer are airline passengers held ransom to bland food, or God forbid – instant cup noodles! Qatar Airways has teamed up with an incredible line-up of globally-renowned chefs to ensure the dining experience in the air is as close as possible to dining at these chef’s Michelin-star restaurants.


Forget eating your meal out of an pre-packed aluminium box.

In Business Class, you get food served in real ceramic bowls, placed neatly in between real silverware, served on top of luxurious Frette tablecloths.


This is Chef Tom Aikens’ grilled seabass.

Tom Aikens is a famous for being the youngest British chef ever awarded two Michelin stars by perfectly combining British and French influences.

And his creation is amazingly good. I never imagined airplane food to taste as good as this, but this is something I would take my date out to a romantic fine-dining restaurant for.


Delicious dessert accompanied by a glass of Bloody Mary to finish off my meal.

I swore I gained more weight stepping off the plane than when I stepped on!


And a quick nap to take advantage of the fully-flat seats.

Interestingly, I didn’t feel as dry as a prune when I woke up. I attribute this to the higher humidity and lower cabin pressure of the Boeing 787 compared to other aircrafts.


Although I was travelling alone, I rate this was one of my favourite flight experiences. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a technological wonder, I was very impressed with Qatar Airways’ service and attention-to-detail.

Compared to other airlines, Qatar’s airfares from Malaysia to Europe is consistently one of the most competitive, yet their service standard is always one of the highest.

The Business Class experience on Qatar Airways, for those who can afford, is an absolute indulgence at around RM8,000 return.


With over 250 aircrafts on order and new routes to many interesting destinations, a Qatar Airways experience comes highly recommended from me!

Launceston, Tasmania

G’Day from Down Under!

I am now in Launceston, Tasmania together with Cheesie, on the invitation of Tourism Australia. It’s only the second day that we’re here and already we’re having the time of our lives!

Our adventure started Tuesday into Melbourne. From KL to Melbourne is 8 hours. Both of us forgot to charge our laptops beforehand and we ended up with a boring long flight from KL where all I did was staring at the seat of the passenger in front.

It was Cheesie’s first time to Melbourne, so I took her over to the casino for some late night dinner.

Our taxi fare to-and-fro  Crown Casino was AUD$90 (RM270). If I hadn’t won AUD$100 at the casino, I’d have shot myself in the butt.

The next morning, we took the local budget airline, Virgin Blue, out from mainland Australia into Launceston, a small city located on the northern end of the state of Tasmania.


Tasmania is the often forgotten state of Australia, located off the south western tip from the great big land of Australia. It’s a real pity not a lot of international tourists come here because it’s an absolutely gorgeous place with lots of greeneries, small historic towns and some of the freshest air I’ve ever inhaled.

And it’s only an hour flight away from Melbourne. From what I heard, the good news is that AirAsia is rumoured to fly here soon.

Thanks to me waking up late and missing breakfast, Cheesie and I were famished. Our first stop was the historic town of Evandale – a small place about 20 minutes away from Launceston Airport.

We stopped by a place called Ingleside Bakery. Here, we had our first taste of what Australian food portions are like.

That was enough to feed skinny Cheesie for a week.

Most people who visit Tasmania travel from the north to south in a rental car, visiting many small shops along the way.

We did the same thing, and our first stop was awesome-sauce.

It’s literally an awesome-sauce shop because the Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company make sauces and they are awesome.

It started off in a home kitchen of a cottage run by a husband-and-wife team. Here, they make various sauces, jams and chutneys using only fresh ingredients found in Tasmania.

They even grew some of fruits in their garden on site to make jam.

But this is only a very small company with a very small kitchen run by 4 cooks using normal kitchen utensils. Heck, their kitchen was smaller than mine. And I don’t cook.

Yet, their sauces are so popular that they export them to 5 and 6-star hotels all over Asia. That’s why, they are truly awesome-sauce.

We later drove another 20 minutes to the town of Perth (not the one I grew up in) and visited the Tasmanian Honey Company.

Again, this is another small company without any big factory machineries and bottling stations I imagined it to have. Yet, this small cottage business make such great quality products that they also export them all over the world.

Only in Tasmania can we find Leatherwood Honey – a honey so rare they had to camp overnight in the jungle just to harvest them.

Cheesie and I each got a bottle of honey, to give to our honeys.

By the time we reached Launceston city, the sun was already setting.

Being an island with lots of natural beauty, Tasmania fosters a burgeoning artist community. We find people here often incorporate very creative designs into everything that they build.

It could be something as simple as the painting behind me…

…which is not actually a painting, FOOLED YA!

It’s a window looking out to the city’s park.

At the Design Centre of Tasmania, this stylish wooden chair that costs AUD$400, an arm, a leg and your first-born child. As expensive as they are, it’s no doubt the design and quality of craftmanship is very high. It’s a worthwhile stop if you’re in Launceston.

We appreciate how design-conscious the locals are when we finally checked into our accommodation for the night – TWOFOURTWO, a serviced apartment created by a local Tasmanian designer Alan Livermore.

At AUD$300 a night, it’s got everything from a complete DVD library to bubble baths with Tasmanian peppermint scent. Cheesie and I each got our own apartment. We shamefully admit it was better than our own home.

We didn’t wanna leave.

Unless it’s dinner time lah.

At dinner, we realised the artistic spirit of local Tasmanians wasn’t just limited to rooms and furniture pieces. Our dinner didn’t even look like dinner. They looked more like little pieces of art.

This is  I couldn’t bear to eat my dinner because it would be like eating The Monalisa.

Before our trip, Cheesie and I were asked what we’d like to do while we’re visiting Tasmania. Cheesie told them she wanna do all the girly stuff like spa and shopping.

I didn’t fancy shopping because I figured it can be done everywhere in the world. So I told them I’d like to try some adventurous stuff like bungee-jumping or bridge-climbing.

I didn’t expect Tourism Australia to accommodate our requests. But they did.

The next morning, they split us up. I was gonna to head into a forest and pretend to be a flying fox for THREE HOURS.

As for Cheesie? She got whisked off to do some shopping at Launceston. Then, a guide is gonna whisk her off for a one-hour all-expense-paid trip to a SPA!

Damn. Makes me wish I had chosen the spa option instead.

But I didn’t regret going to Hollybank Treetops Adventure.

Compared to the flying fox at KL Tower, the one at Hollybank is a lot higher and longer. There’s five section of cable – the longest one is almost half a kilometre from one tree to another.

Imagine being suspended 10 storeys high above the air, zipping through the forest canopy from tree to tree.

Flying fox is not as scary as bungee-jumping, but definitely an exhilarating sport to do, especially in Launceston where the scenery from the top of the tree is beautiful and the air is fresh.

The air makes you do funny things too.

From Launceston, we took a 90-minute drive up the windy road to Cradle Mountain.

Cradle Mountain is a world heritage site popular for the Australians to get away from the city for some R&R.

The scenery here is breathtakingly dramatic and beautiful, but it’s the many native Australian wildlife here living in their natural habitat that make up the main attraction.

Note: Cheesie is not an Australian wildlife.

But a wombat is.

We stayed overnight here on the mountain top at the Cradle Mountain Lodge.

At night there’s a there’s a spotlight tour where a guide would bring us into the bushes looking for nocturnal animals. Cheesie and I managed to spot two Tasmanian Devils in the dark, but we didn’t get a good shot of him.

All we got is a picture of a bored-looking wallaby going, “Whassup?”

Tomorrow, we’re gonna take a road trip down south, where we’ll eventually end up at the state capital of Hobart.

It was definitely a fun-filled two-day trip thus far. Tasmania is such a beautiful place. For such a small Australian state, there’s just so many things to do. The highlight of my trip was doing the flying fox at Launceston.

For Cheesie, perhaps it was the visit to the cheese factory that was her favourite.

I’m not that much of a cheese-lover, but I had to admit that the cheese made here is really good. I even bought some back for myself.


We met with the owner of the cheese factory. (Was surprised he wasn’t wearing a cheese hat and a cow suit or something.)

They had over 20 different varieties of cheese out on display, and all I gotta do is take a toothpick out for some free sampling.


I had parmesan cheese…

…some lavendar cheese…

…some Malaysian cheese.

Oh wait.

ADV: Airlines Also Got Stimulus Package

I just signed up for the 21km category of this year’s KL International Marathon.


This time round, I plan to give myself a treat and splurge a little bit.

My body is gonna be very sore after doing the half-marathon, so I thought about upgrading myself to business class on the return journey. My tired legs would certainly appreciate the extra leg space.

So I went online to check their business class fare prices, thinking if the difference is not too much then it might be worth the experience.

And then I noticed something a little different on the MAS website.

What is this "Economy +" thing on their website?!

How come I never see or hear it before one? When did that come about?

Apparently, it’s the same as Business Class, but at a lower price.

On Economy+, the trip from KL back to Kuching costs RM635 and includes priority boarding, access to the Golden Lounge, Business Class seats and royal treatment by slightly better-looking MAS air stewardesses.

Hmmm… tempting.

Of course, logic took over and the prude in me screamed, “Oi! You haven’t even made it in life yet. Who are you to fly Business?”

I promptly settled myself for normal cattle class instead.

As it turns out on economy class the fare is even cheaper. I booked their Balik Kampung weekend fare, and the one-way flight is just RM130 all-inclusive.


I have been flying Malaysia Airlines a lot more often since they’ve slashed their prices low during the start of the financial crisis. Even in times of crisis, people still need to fly. That’s why they called it the MAS Stimulus Package. 

Economy+ and Balik Kampung mentioned earlier are two of the nine different deals introduced by MAS to stimulate the economy.

Giving the economy a bit of tickle on the belly, if you will.


There are other specials, of course.

MHFlex 1+1 is buy one full price economy tix, get one free. Kids Fly Free is buy two adult economy tix, get one child tix free. Both are available for bookings made in person.


There’s something for those belonging to the upper echelon of society.

Business Companion is buying one full price business tix, get another one at 50% off. Premium Match is getting the same price flying MAS first or business class, if another similar class tickets were booked on another airline before.


There’s something for bargain hunters as well.

80% Off Domestic & ASEAN and Weekend Getaway are special low fare deals for all bookings made over the Internet that could make flying by MAS worth the extra premium.

Surely that’s gonna stimulate anyone’s package.


All in all, there is something in their bag of tricks for everyone.

Everyone’s packages are stimulated. No one is left out.

Of course, some paranoid people might say, “But Kenny, what about swine flu!?”

What is so scary about swine flu? Not that many countries are affected. Besides, it’s not like pigs could fly.

Shibuya Crossing

If you got a blog, start feeling lucky. You can join their Facebook competition. 9 prizes are up for grabs and the top prize is a Business Class seat to Sydney or Tokyo.

I recognized a problem though.

The MAS Stimulus Package is so freaking gigantic that it is actually confusing me a lot. That’s what happens when you got a promotion that’s targeted towards everybody.


But before I could err… stimulate my own package in frustration, I was introduced to the Grab-A-Deal website where all these are made sense of.

This website is awesome. It scouts ahead and publishes the lowest MAS fare for all domestic and international flights. From time to time, there are “hidden gems” waiting to be discovered.

Like £96 (RM 509) from London to KL.


Ridiculous. At such a price, even Harry Potter would not be using his broom to fly.

Yeah, Harry Potter. That’s what he said when I met him. He told me that himself when I bumped into him in the UK.

True story.

See? I ain’t lying!

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ADV: More Flexible Than Plasticman Doing Yoga

The most annoying thing about air travel, is not the crying babies on every flight.


It is not the smug look you get from those rich first class passengers as you walk pass them miserably towards your economy seats.

Heck, it is not even that overweight bastard seated right next to you, with his bulgy arm monopolizing the entire arm rest and his layers of fat overflowing from his guts right onto your seat.


Oh wait, that’s me.

No, the most annoying thing about air travel, is when you make plans for a holiday six months in advance to go to say, Bangkok. But when the time comes, something urgent pops up and suddenly you can’t go to Bangkok anymore.

Maybe some disaster happened at work. Maybe you found out you’re allergic to Tom Yam. Or maybe the girlfriend making a big fuss… in which case, it is still okay to go to Bangkok. Can just get a new girlfriend there.

The point is, when something unexpected happens and your holiday plan is ruined, if you wanna change it, suddenly there’s this whole change fee and penalty thing to fork out. And those fees aren’t cheap, especially if you use low-cost airlines.

Low-cost airlines traditionally built their revenue stream around people changing, cancelling or making last-minute bookings. That is why their fare conditions are extremely inflexible, and that is why their promotion are often several months ahead of time.


Old-school airlines like MAS are more flexible to changes. Although their fare prices generally cost more, there are always people who are happy to pay for the privilege of that extra flexibility. 

But of course, it’s not always that we have to sacrifice flexibility to save money. We are all different types of travellers at different times under different scenarios. And with a revamped fare structure, there’s something for the different types of travellers in us.


For the student / backpacker / “kiam siap” people in us, there’s the MHlow Fare to look forward to. It’s inflexible because you cannot cancel your flight, but as long as online booking is made at least 21 days before travel, they’ll give you 70% off the full fare, even throwing in hot meals and 20kg baggage limit as part of the deal.

But sometimes when they’re doing their Everyday Low Fare promotion, like right now, the air fares would be even lower than that.

I just booked my flights for the adidas King of the Road half-marathon in Shah Alam on 2nd August and was shocked out of my red undies when I saw it selling at this price.


Bear in mind this is for Malaysia Airlines ok.

Which means I’ll get to utilise the KLIA because everyone is saying it’s so under-utilised right now!

For the tardy business executive in us, who but can only be certain of our schedule 2 weeks before departure still wanna save money, then MHbasic Fare is more suitable.

The restrictions are almost the same as the previous one, but with 50% discount off the full fare and the flexibility to change your flight if you want. The penalty fee here is also more reasonable at RM65 flat.


For the loving boyfriend in us, who wanna spoil our girlfriends on a shopping holiday without compromising our tight schedule, it’s wiser choose MHsmart. We can book our flight as late as 4 days beforehand, get 20% discount and it even comes with added frills like Enrich points and a large 25kg baggage limit, which she’d find lovely for her shopping.

The best thing is, if you book by phone, you don’t have to pay anything up until 48 hours later. So if suddenly you decide to dump her, you can always cancel the trip and not pay a single cent!

ADV: MAS 3-Day-Only Global Online Sales

Update: It is here!
Flying from KL, other sweet one-way fares are Kunming from RM399 (+RM373), Maldives from RM429 (+RM474), Dubai from RM899 (+RM575), Auckland from RM999 (+RM748), Paris from RM999 (+RM596), and Los Angeles from RM1,179 (+RM1,099).

The Star today reported that Malaysia Airlines will be holding their “Global Online Sales” tomorrow. For 3 days only, airfares to some 26 international desinations will be dramatically slashed.

Although the newspaper didn’t list out all 26 desinations and their discounted fares, through a spy I have in Malaysia Airlines (well, actually it was the Commercial Director himself hehe), I managed to discover the best deals from tomorrow’s sales – way before anyone else have found out.
Remember, you’ve heard these first from 😉

Taipei, Taiwan

RM499 one way (+ RM237 tax) from Kuala Lumpur.
RM429 one way (+ RM237 tax) from Kota Kinabalu.

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

RM499 one way (+ RM237 tax) from Kuala Lumpur.
RM429 one way (+ RM237 tax) from Kota Kinabalu.

Osaka, Japan

RM599 one way (+ 541 tax) from Kuala Lumpur.

Tokyo, Japan

RM599 one way (+ RM541 tax) from Kuala Lumpur.
RM599 one way (+ RM541 tax) from Kota Kinabalu.

I’ve already missed out on the MATTA fair so I ain’t gonna miss out on this one. Whatever happens, I’ll be on standby tonight by my laptop hunting down an airticket to Tokyo.

Why Tokyo?
No, it’s not because I want to start a career in sumo wrestling.

(Although my body fit the physical requirement perfectly.)
I wanna go to Tokyo because I worked my arse off extraordinary hard this year, so I reckon I deserve to set my sights further away from the usual South-East Asian routes. Japan would be a great place for a holiday.
I wanna take a break from getting anonymous hate comments on my blog.

Some special pampering from cutesy subservient teenage girls in Tokyo’s infamous maid cafes would be super.
I wanna see why Gwen Stefani is so crazy about those Harajuku Girls.

Scary. In Harajuku, everyday is Halloween Day.
Budget might be a concern. RM600-a-night hotel rooms is definitely out of the question.
To save money, I’d wanna experience sleeping in a “Capsule Hotel”.

You can only do this in Japan. It is the only country in the world that treat hotel guests like corpses in a morgue.
I most definitely wanna checking out those hi tech Japanese toilets too.
Those crazy Japanese have invented some of the most technoligacally-advanced toilet bowls in the world, complete with heated toilet seats and music to camouflage the splashing sounds you make when you’re doing business.

Who knows what those other buttons does?
Maybe they even have Bluetooth and stuff to analyze the contents of your crap.
But of course, what trip to Japan is gonna be complete, without at least taking part in one of those silly Japanese Game Shows?
This one is called “Hole in the wall”. Contestants have to manouvre their body so that it can pass through a human-shaped hole in a moving wall, or get knocked down into the pool. Watch it, it’s funny as hell!

Hmmm… not sure if they have holes available in XXXL.

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Guide To Planning Your Own Holiday On A Budget

It’s no secret that I enjoy travelling.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Since moving back to Kuching, I have hopped on flights to Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Phuket, Jakarta, Hanoi, Egypt, Auckland as well as KL, Penang, Ipoh, Malacca, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia.
That’s an insane number of place to cover in a short time.

Macau night view

For all those places, I travelled independantly. That means I planned my own trips and booked my own flights, accomodation and tours without using a travel agent or joining a tour group.
In fact, I hate joining tour groups. I hate it with a vengeance. I hate it so much because they are so bloody expensive, their schedule is so rigid, and half the time they cater for boring uncle-auntie types who don’t wanna walk too much.

Perfume shop in Egypt. “Factory Outlet” price: US$10. Outside price: RM10

Then 99% of the time they’ll throw you into some overpriced “souvenir shops” in the middle of nowhere, forcing you to waste time in there, just so you might buy those useless junk which you know they’ll be getting commission for.
I don’t want that kinda crap when I’m on holidays. That’s why I always prefer to plan my own travels.

Taking the overcrowded Bandung-Jakarta economy train in Indonesia

I’m pretty much on a limited budget when I travel. After all, I paid for most of these trips entirely out of my own pocket.
After working so hard day and night, a holiday is only something I deserve. Going away takes my mind off things for a while. And I come back with fresh ideas and new perspectives, ready to take on the world again.

Nexus Karambunai Resort, Kota Kinabalu

When I travel, I document my experiences on my blog. But lately I’ve been travelling so much that is in danger of turning into a pure travelogue.
A lot of readers have also been e-mailing me, asking for advice on the places I’ve been. Almost every other day, someone will be asking me how to go about climbing Mt Kinabalu or how to find cheap lodging in expensive Hong Kong.
I try my best to answer lah. But with the limited free time that I have, it is difficult to be of much help.

South Peak, Mt Kinabalu aka the picture on the RM1 bank note

I don’t mean to ignore. The thing is, it is easy for peple to take 5 seconds to shoot an e-mail. It is not easy for me to explain in detail how to go about actually doing it. It’d be easy if I were a travel agent, but I’m not. I’m just a regular guy with a full time job.
What’s worse, on rare occasions when I DO take time and effort to reply to those e-mails, the only form of gratitude I get is “Oh. Ok. Thanks. Bye!”
Very tulan ok.

Lantau Island, Hong Kong from the plane

So here’s a guide for those who wanted to do what I’ve been doing – plan your own holiday, reap the most out of your destination, get the best value out of your spending, and still have a comfortable good time.

I reckon we are very blessed to live in centre of South-East Asia.
Within a radius of a 4 hour flight, we get access to hundreds of interesting places and different cultures. We have the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines and Thailand, the best shopping centres in Singapore and Hong Kong, the safest and best low-cost airlines in AirAsia.
Along with the rise in spending power and intense competition between airlines, its no wonder budget travel is becoming trendy.

Wish I could stay like this all the time (The Venetian, Macau)

First thing you gotta take care of is accomodation.
If I’m travelling alone or with like-minded travellers, I usually opt to stay in guesthouses. Hey, all I needed is a place to sleep. Not like I’m trying to impress someone.
Why pay for the swimming pool, the gym, and the 10% service charge when most of the time I’ll be outside exploring the city anyway?

But I can only afford to stay like this most of the time (Dragon Hostel, Hong Kong)

For me, staying at hotels is an unneccessary luxury. If you’re in an expensive city like Hong Kong or Singapore where a decent hotel would cost you a minimum of a whopping RM600 a night, you’d rather stay in a guesthouse.
Unless you print money for a living, it’s silly to pay that much money just to sleep ok! Money could be better spent on shopping and booze.
A lot of people have this misconception that guesthouses are not clean because they’re so cheap. That is not true. From my experience, the guesthouses I’ve stayed at are heck A LOT cleaner, comfier and cheaper than those dodgy hotels in the red light districts.
You just gotta know how to choose.

Damn cheap accomodation

To pick the right one, go to Else, try your luck scoring cheap hotel rates from or
If you’re REALLY on a budget, you may try instead.

When you go to some place new, you don’t wanna be left hanging wondering where to go or what to do. Remember, you’re only there for a limited time. It’s always a good idea to read up a bit on the place before you depart. and are my favourite websites to start. It gives me an idea on what to look out for. For something more substantial it’s a good idea to purchase one of those Lonely Planet guidebooks. The scams you’ll avoid and the time you’ll saved is worth the price of the book already.

9 hour train rides from Hanoi to Lao Cai, near the Vietnamese-Chinese border

The best a city has to offer is usually not within the city itself. Sometimes it’s a rewarding to travel long distances to reach an attraction few tour agencies would bring you to. has a comprehensive list on how to travel by trains, buses and ferries. The website is a little outdated but still helpful nonetheless.

Snorkelling in Phuket, Thailand

Lastly, nothing beats information from people who have already been there and done that. is good, but I much prefer to use Google Blog Search to dig out all the travel blogs by other people, just to note to myself where to go and what to avoid.
These are priceless and honest information you know you could trust.

Egyptian kids outside Mohammed Ali Mosque

Anyway, that’s about it from me.
With good prior planning on your own, you could easily spend less cash and STILL see a lot more of the city than the people who joined tour groups. If you’ve never travelled on your own before, give it a shot. Who knows? You could like it better that way.
Some people might call it daring.

I call it having a life.

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