Category Archives: Travel Advice

3 Day Trip in Singapore

My Singapore Travel Guide

Singapore or, officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian island city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres north of the equator. Singapore is a microcosm of Asia, populated by Chinese, Malays, Indians, and a large group of workers and expatriates from all across the globe. Singapore – with more than 50% of its area covered by greenery and with over 50 major parks and 4 nature reserves – is an enchanting garden city.

singapore night view

view from the stampford 34th floor facing the marina.

As befits the country’s main airport, major regional hub status, Changi Airport and officially the ‘best airport in the world’. Keep in mind Singapore cabs do not take Visa, in the end I had to get the doorman at my hotel to pay for the cab and charge it to my room.

Quick 3 day break down of my trip to Singapore:

- Stayed at Swiss Otel at The Stampford, breakfast buffet is the way to go, and a McDonalds and subway line attached to this hotel, you can not go wrong. It is also the tallest hotel in Singapore and the second biggest hotel in Singapore. The service is great and there are bars and clubs in the hotel as well. The prices for in-room dining is a bit ridiculous however.

- Clark Quay, great for night life, a lot bars and clubs and sheesha bars, this place is generally packed and people love their drinks. You will see a bit of ‘brown bagging’ and a lot of people sitting by the river on the ledge at night with friends sipping and drinking things, while music plays in the background. The entire place is very brightly light up, and keeps you awake without any difficulty.

- Marina Bay hotel is a obvious landmark in Singapore that everyone must see. Luckily for a fraction of the price you can see the light show at night, have a view of the lake (and the city) and visit the casino at the hotel along with the mall (with most western brands) by staying at Swiss Otel on Stampford. Which is near Raffles Hotel as well, who would have thought Raffles hotel would be so small. It definitely gives one a colonial era vibe based on the architecture of the building it self. One must see Marina bay’s roof top patio (which looks like a boat), check the mall here (it has a river that flows through it with a boat and restaurant on it), and the casino (you must have your passport to enter).

- Hawker Centre, what a shock it was to discover a place in Singapore where an entire meal can come to $5, I went to the hawker centre in the middle of town and it was great. Apparently this hawker center has gotten relatively expensive compared to the other ones, no-matter! The prices were still better then my $42 chicken tikka sandwich which I consumed at Swissotel in my room. $5 meal will give you approximately 400kcal worth of food (this is the way I measure found, it needs to be done in a dollar to calorie ratio). Near the end of the night, the side streets have chairs and tables laid out and has a beer girl who walks and serves beer. My favourite place was Satay stand #7, I think that was the name where the women lured me in and told me it was the best Satay in Asia based on Air hostess who have eaten across the world and rated her stall the best in the world. Needless to say, it didn’t disappoint.

- Sentosa island apparently has many things to do, along with a entire theme park. Unfortunately, I did not have time to visit the park but I did get a chance to hit up the Casino on Sentosa Island. It was a good hotel, a lot of tables, some setup in a style that seemed a bit like a sweat shop, I hadn’t seen this in any casino in Vegas or Canada. I think Bingo halls is the closest way to describe how it looked. The casino is not smoke free, and could be better ventilated. A beer will set you back $12 (which seems like a standard price for beer in Singapore) + Tip/Tax, comes to around $18. I can proudly say that, that must have been the most expensive beer I have ever had.

- Other things I checked out: Sri Mariamman Temple, which had a prayer going on when I was there, it was pretty inspiring. The temple is 200 years old and had been going on since the early 1800′s. On this same road you will see a church (Buddha Tooth Relic Temple) and a mosque. Truly multicultural indeed. I luckily took it upon myself to go both the temples and ended up lighting a incense candle at the Buddhist temple and planting it in sand. Following these places of worship are lots of shops and restaurants.

- You should also take it upon yourself to explore Singapore’s downtown and get a picture by the infamous Merlion. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name — Singapura — meaning “lion city” or “kota singa”. The Merlion (Malay: Singa-Laut) is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore.

Closing thoughts, I have heard everyone should see the night safari, however I did not have time to do so. Everything mentioned above was done in 1 full day and half of the second day with my flight the day after. Overall Singapore is a very clean and safe place. I say safe because no less then 5 people including 3 cab drivers alerted me it is safe to wander around at any time of day. So go ahead, wander and let us know how it goes for you!

Route Planner Germany

Route Planner for Germany

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe. The country consists of 16 states and its capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany has a total of 318 Airports and 23 Heliports. It is located in Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark.

Our route planner will guide you through 137,846 sq miles (357,021 km²) of Germany with ease. You can view things to do in Germany, or you can browse by cities. Use our Journey Planner to route through the top cities in Germany:

If we were to write a travel guide for you, it would start off with one visiting Northern Germany (Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony) then Eastern Germany (Berlin, Saxony, Brandenburg), followed by Southern Germany (Bravaria) and finally Western Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland). Feel free to use our Route Planner to really get a good itinerary made and a understanding of which way to travel and see the top recommendations.

Lodging in Germany (Berlin)

We also go out of our way to list the cheapest hotels in Germany for you to add to your Germany trip itinerary. For example, here are the top hotels in Berlin, Germany.

Neue Kantstrasse 1, Berlin

Rudolstaedter Strasse 42, Berlin

Enjoy Hotel Berlin City Messe is located in Berlin’s Wilmersdorf neighborhood, close to Schaubuehne, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and Berlin Zoo. Nearby points of interest also include Schloss Charlottenburg and Victory Column.

Rankestrasse 35, Berlin

Hotel Berolina an der Gedaechtniskirche is located in Berlin’s Wilmersdorf neighborhood, close to Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin Zoo, and Reichstag Building. Nearby points of interest also include Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie Museum.

Glockenturmstrae 30, Berlin

Alecsa Hotel am Olympiastadion is located in Berlin’s Westend neighborhood, close to Waldbuhne, Olympic Stadium, and Messe Berlin. Nearby points of interest also include Berliner Funkturm and Grunewald Tower.

Boxhagener Str. 73, Berlin

A&O Berlin Friedrichshain is located in Berlin’s Friedrichshain neighborhood, close to Simon Dach Strasse, Alexanderplatz, and TV Tower. Nearby points of interest also include Nikolaikirche and DDR Museum.

Things to do in Germany

You do not need to manually browse these sections to build your trip, you can go straight to our Trip Planner and start there. Some of the top places we suggest you visit in Germany are:

Pergamon Museum

Architectural Buildings, Museums, History Museums

Museumsinsel, Am Kupfergraben, 10178 Berlin, Germany

Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor)

Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Monuments/ Statues

Unter den Linden | Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany

The Holocaust Memorial Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Monuments/ Statues, Educational Sites

Near the Brandenburg Gate | Information Center: Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany

Memorial of the Berlin Wall

Monuments/ Statues, Historic Sites

Bernauer Strasse 111/119, 13355 Berlin, Germany

Marienplatz

Landmarks/ Points of Interest

Bounded by Kaufingerstr. | Rosenstr., Weinstr., Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Cologne Cathedral (Dom)

Religious Sites, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites

Domkloster 3, 50667 Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

English Garden

Parks, Gardens

Englischer Garten 3, 80538 Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle

Castles, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites

Neuschwansteinstrasse 20, Hohenschwangau, Bavaria, Germany

You can also check to see if someone has an ‘open’ trip planned out to Germany where you can tag along with like minded vagabonders. The Trips section helps you discover other people that want to travel to Germany and are looking for travel partners or buddies.

Once you have made used our Route Planner for Germany, your itinerary will show up in the Itinerary section at which point it may be shared with your family and friends. You can share your itinerary in a view-only mode where your friends will be able see where your going. If you want input on your trip, you can add travel partners to your trip and have them modify your itinerary making our itinerary planner very collaborative.

Scams in Prague

Tourist Scams in Prague

Karls-bridge-Prague-Czech-Republic-Scams

On top of reviewing Anthony Bourdains, Parts Unknown (Los Angeles) TV show we decided we would give you review of another TV show that shows you a side that most shows, guide books do not talk about. The hidden underbelly of the tourist trade, scams, lies and general mistrust faced by tourists globally. Today I am reviewing, Scam City, Prague, I have embedded the full tv episode to watch below.

Cab Scams in Prague

- No Euro Taxi, AAA Taxi (Buttons speed up fee, ask fee before moving, $1.5 max per km) (50% of the cab drivers carry guns as well.)

- Make sure you know how much change you are handing over. 100 CZK note can be quickly replaced with a 10 CZK and you may be told you accidentally gave the wrong note.

Drugs in Prague

- Drugs are legalized to an extent, (buy/sell illegal, holding is legal).

- Cops often side with Drug dealers as they are ‘paid’ or general low amounts for this East European city is not considered a big issue.

- Usually drugs are a concoction of miscellaneous products and not safe to buy but generally available everywhere.

Pub Crawls in Prague

- “Drunken Monkey” pub crawl provides 2 hours of unlimited drinking for a low fee. Generally a rowdy crowd for college students from Western Europe.

- Count change always, a little different then from cab drivers. If you hand $2K, you will always get change back for $1K).

- Currency exchange scam (make sure you ask the amount you will get after the exchange including fees.) There are no ‘refunds’ here as well. Advice here, try to go directly to the bank at your home country or the Bank’s in Prague. Very few of these exchanges may include fake notes as well (Very common in other countries like Argentina).

Common Scams in Prague

- Pick pocketers everywhere, especially near the metro / subway in camera’s blind spots.

- Adult Entertainment (Note: Cabbies, door men and everyone is getting a kick back and you can get charged for anything, this includes having a drink and having to pay up to $100USD per beer before being ‘allowed’ to leave). Make sure you are going to the most popular pubs only and are not smaller, less touristy bars where these scams are more prevalent.

Closing thoughts

Prague is a beautiful city to travel to, it is great if you have a local friend to travel with as they would be less susceptible to scams. A slight proactive approach to keeping safe, and alert will ensure you have a great time. Always budget for unforeseen issues that may arise and have fun. Leave any issues you may have had/witnessed in Prague in the comments below.

Watch Scam City – Prague Full Episode on Youtube

Little History (Review) of Prague

Basic information about Prague
Area: 496 sqkm
Population: 1 262 000
Geographical situation: north latitude 50° 05′, east longitude 14° 27′, height above sea level 235 m (average)
Time: Central European (GMT+1), summer time – Central European +1 (GMT+2)
Climate: average temperature 9,0°C
summer season – July 19,0°C
winter season – January -0,9°C
Main river: The Vltava river flows through the city in the length of 30 km, its maximum width being 330 m
Electric voltage: 230 V
Parts of the historical centre: Hradcany, Mala Strana (Lesser Town), Stare Mesto (Old Town) including Josefov, Nove Mesto (New Town) and Vysehrad
Administrative division: 22 administrative areas

The capital of the Czech Republic, has always played an important role in the history of the country and Europe. Since the Middle Ages Prague has been famous as one of the most beautiful cities of the world and has been attributed adjectives such as “golden“, “hundred-spired“, “the crown of the world“.

The unique character of the city is also partly a consequence of its natural environment: Prague, similar to Rome built on seven hills, was built on nine hills along the Vltava river, which flows through the city for a distance of 31 km and forms a perfect unit with the city.

The dominant features of the city architecture are reflected in the river: towers, church spires and cupolas, palaces and town houses, along with the greenery of gardens, parks and islands.

It is regarded by many as one of Europe’s most charming and beautiful cities, Prague has become the most popular travel destination in Central Europe along with Budapest and Krakow. Millions of tourists visit the city every year.

Prague was founded in the later 9th century, and soon became the seat of Bohemian kings, some of whom ruled as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. The city thrived under the rule of Charles IV, who ordered the building of the New Town in the 14th century – many of the city’s most important attractions date back to that age.

What is ‘Delhi Belly’

Montezuma’s revenge, Aztec two step, mummy’s tummy, or Cairo two-step in Egypt, Kurtz Hurtz in Uzbekistan, Bombay belly or Delhi belly in India. A case of the sh*ts or Hershey Squirts or The McSh– in North America, Down Under Butt Chunder in Australia, Karachi crouch in Pakistan, Suryavarman’s Revenge in Cambodia.

Beaver fever in Canada, Thailand it’s Thai-dal wave. Peacekeepers to Arabic-speaking countries have called it yalla yalla (Arabic for “fast, fast”).

What is the best way to try and prevent the runs or “traveler’s diarrhea”?

  1. Properly cooked foods. Everything heated to a proper internal temperature (depends on the dish), no sampling the raw chicken dish, etc.
  2. Fruits and vegetables, if you can’t peel it, don’t eat it. A tremendous number of GI outbreaks are due to fruit and veg, rather than meat. This includes things like salads – since you can’t really peel lettuce, avoid it.
  3. Check if the local water is safe. When in doubt, assume no. You can stick to bottled water, though there’s always the distinct chance its being bottled from a contaminated source. Coke/Pepsi etc., and beer are good alternatives. Little known fact, the Coca-Cola company is hugely involved in clean water programs worldwide, because they need it for their product.
  4. Ice is bad. Its probably made using the local tap-water, and there are many beasties that can survive an encounter with an ice machine.

Travel Happy

We have proof that Travel leads to happiness. The travel infographic was made in accordance to International day of happiness which was establish by the UN General assembly to recognize that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal.

The respondents also overwhelmingly stated a free trip would be perceived as a better bonus then cash or time off work. Also 60% of respondents claimed that online browsing inspires them to travel more. We are here to help!

Travel-Happyness-Index

Top 10 Most Visited Countries

Below is a list of the most popular countries to visit, in ascending order based on UNWTO 2012.

Some things to keep in mind: demand for international tourism maintained momentum in 2011.
International tourist arrivals grew by 4.6% to reach 983 million worldwide, up
from 940 million in 2010.

Over the past six decades, tourism has experienced continued expansion and
diversification, becoming one of the largest and fastest-growing economic
sectors in the world. Many new destinations have emerged, challenging the
traditional ones of Europe and North America.

Tourism towards 2030, forecast from 1950 to 2030, how it’s looking based on continents:

tourism-till-2030-trend

International tourist arrivals in emerging economy destinations of
Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Eastern
Mediterranean Europe, the Middle East and Africa will grow at
double the pace (+4.4% a year) of advanced economy
destinations (+2.2% a year). As a result, arrivals to emerging
economies are expected to surpass those to advanced
economies by 2015

Here are the current top 10 most popular countries to travel to:

Rank Country UNWTO
Region
International
tourist
arrivals
(2011)
International
tourist
arrivals
(2010)
Change
(2010 to
2011)
1  France Europe 79.5 million 77.1 million +3.0%
2  United States North America 62.3 million 59.8 million +4.2%
3  China Asia 57.6 million 55.7 million +3.4%
4  Spain Europe 56.7 million 52.7 million +7.6%
5  Italy Europe 46.1 million 43.6 million +5.7%
6  Turkey Europe 33.3 million 27.0 million +8.9%
7  United Kingdom Europe 29.2 million 28.3 million +3.2%
8  Germany Europe 28.4 million 26.9 million +5.5%
9  Malaysia Asia 24.7 million 24.6 million +0.6%
10  Mexico North America 23.4 million 23.3 million +0.5%