Category Archives: Air Asia

Ayutthaya a wonderful day trip or an overnighter away from hectic Bangkok by backpackies

The ancient city of Ayutthaya (Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya) was the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai located 87km north of Bangkok.
Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya is actually an island surrounded by three rivers: the Chao Phraya river, the Lopburi river and the Pa Sak river. It’s ideal location between China, India and the Malay Archipelago made it the trading capital of Asia and even the world. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become the largest city in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants. Many international merchants set sail for Ayutthaya, from diverse regions as the Arab world, China, India, Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands and France. Merchants from Europe proclaimed Ayutthaya as the finest city they had ever seen. Dutch and French maps of the city show grandeur with gold-laden palaces, large ceremonies and a huge float of trading vessels from all over the world.

All this came to a quick end when the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya in 1767 and almost completely burnt the city down to the ground.

Most of Ayutthaya is now temples, palaces and shrines made of stone.
Ayutthaya’s ruins were officially recognized in 1991, when the Historic City became an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ayutthaya is a popular day trip attraction for travelers from Bangkok. It’s certainly a change of atmosphere away from the bustling hectic street jams and people. Since its only a 2 hours by train (1 hour plus by mini van), and it is fairly easy to navigate around this city, you do not really need a guide or follow a tour. And of course, we at backpackies always encourage you to do it your self.
“Most travellers are asked to buy tickets from Khao San road, then packed into a speedy tour which involves a lot of stress. Do not let these travel agents tell you differently.”
“Ayutthaya isn’t hard to get to !”

There are a few ways to get there from Bangkok. The train runs right through town, buses run multiple times an hour, and public vans shoot back and forth constantly.

We took the scenic third class(free seating, no air conditioning) train for 14 THB.

train to ayutthaya

Our train ticket to ayutthaya

We passed through kilometers of bright green rice paddies, fresh water ponds, and herds of water buffalo on the way.

ayutthaya day trip

Green scenery along the way

You will need to board from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Train Station. There are second class seats (A/C) for 245 THB. Check time tables from Bangkok Railway.

bangkok train to ayutthaya

Sexy train attendants

train from bangkok to ayutthaya

Where is the train?

Minivan: Starts from Victory Monument. Take BTS Skytrain to the Victory Monument station, and go right on the elevated walkway – keep on it until you cross a large road, then descend – the buses are parked at the side side of the main traffic circle). The cost is usually ~70 baht, takes around 1 hour or 1 hour 20 min. It’s quite convenient since you don’t have to go to bus terminals (nearby Mochit) but the only problem is that the minibuses don’t have much space to put big bags and have to wait until the car is fully filled.

Cruise boats: Another alternative is you can also take a tourist cruise boat up from Bangkok. You will stop at Ko Kret and Bang Pa-In along the way. You’ll need to book in advance as there are no scheduled services, just trips for tourists. It’s a fairly lengthy trip (at least one whole day) and some of the larger boats offer (pricy) overnight tours. — Boat from Ayutthaya to Bangkok leaves 11:30AM daily (arrives Bangkok ~4PM) = 1350 baht/person PH: 08 97662672
Travelling by boat to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya is popular and unique experience as you get to see the lifestyles of the people on both sides of the Chao Phraya River. You may just sit back and imagine your self travelling through time, just as how the trade ships did it back in ancient times.

Continue : The train ride takes roughly 2 hours. When you arrive at Ayutthaya train station, you will need to cross over to the island which is a short ferry ride. (4 THB)

ferry at ayutthaya

Taking a ferry across the river to the island

Getting around Ayutthaya is pretty easy. U Thong Rd is a ring road that goes around the city. Most temple ruins can be found at the north-west of the island, while accommodation and nightlife is clustered around the north-east. As non-Siamese peoples were not allowed to live inside the city walls, the sights from foreign nations can be found outside of the island.
Of course almost every travel guide will advice you to rent a bicycle, and cruise to explore the ruins. There are plenty of places where you can rent bicycles. (40 THB a day)
The faster alternative is to rent a motorbike. We rented one for 250 THB. Its much faster which means less time under the heat. We did this so we could cover more ground so that we have more things to write for you guys  🙂 . Well, that’s our excuse for being lazy, what’s yours?

There are plenty of Street food around, especially around Ayutthaya University (Rochana Rd and Si Sanphet Rd). Grab some food to go and eat laying in the shade of the trees growing around the ruins.
Some sites have an entrance fee of 30 to 50 baht.

ayutthaya temple ruins

There are plenty of temples and palaces around Ayutthaya to explore. We will be posting up the different temples you can see here in the next blog.

ayutthaya bangkok

baan lotus guesthouse

Our guesthouse Baan Lotus

Room rates:
Aircon room, 600B
Fan room, 450B
Dorm, 300B

baan lotus bangkok

Our Room

baan lotus ayutthaya toilet

toilet of the guesthouse

ayutthaya night market

pizzas and cakes

ayutthaya night market

frutis and vegetables

ayutthaya night market

ayutthaya night market

Fruits seller. The fruit juice was at 25 THB a cup!

ayutthaya night market

ayutthaya night market

fresh grilled fish covered in salt

If you are here on a day trip, you can sit by the river enjoying a beer and then back to Bangkok by either a speedy van ride back to Bangkok or a lazy train journey.

The next trip, we will cover the names of the temples and also what to expect inside the temples.
We will also be trying out the night river cruise. Stay tuned to backpackies.
If you have a facebook account, make sure you join us there as well. Backpackies is on facebook

We would like to personally thank Theresa Goh and her partner Harpal Singh for providing the information and resources for us to write this

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Filed under Air Asia, backpacking, budget hotels bangkok

LCCT Tune Hotel KL, 3 hour refresher package review by backpackies

Hi there! Backpackies is back!  This time we are going to try out the Tune Hotel at (Low Cost Carrier Terminal otherwise known as LCCT in KL).

In case you guys just got to know us. Backpackies is a free group that anyone and everyone can join, to share travel information with each other so we can get the best first hand travel advice!

So please if you are new here, please add us on facebook – (Backpackies)!! And don’t tell us you don’t have facebook! Everyone has at least 3 accounts nowadays! 😉

We pin pointed the main dilemmas that almost everyone that is flying into LCCT AIR ASIA LOW COST CARRIER TERMINAL is

1)      Im flying in to KL LCCT Terminal at a funny odd time, when almost everything is closed and my connecting flight is early in the morning.

2)      Im flying in to KL LCCT Terminal early in the morning or have flown in from a very far destination, and have about 5-6 hours transit in the airport, and badly in need of sleep.

3)      Have a long transit time and want to get some rest so that you are well rested for your holiday.

4)      Just plain spoilt and refuse to sleep on the hard plastic chairs or on the floor.

5)      You need a hotel room for???

If you are in any of the following categories, then you would be interested in the 3 hour refresher package at TUNE HOTEL.

Here is our RM 60 ringgit thought on it. And we would like to stress this is a commercial free blog and we write our mind on it. So please mind if there is any excessive language being used.

LCCT Air Asia Terminal, Tune hotel

Tune Hotel LCCT Airport

There are shuttle busses available from the LCCT terminal to  TUNE HOTEL LCCT Airport for like RM 1 per way. So take it if you have plenty of bags. Because you can only push your trolley half way. And the rest you need to push.

But yes, we were stingy and wanted to test the “claimed” 7 minute walk from LCCT terminal. Donkeys arse! It was a good 11 minutes at least! Or maybe more if you have short legs like me…since i was running when i timed it.

tune hotel lcct kl

Sure you can see the hotel from LCCT. But its still a good 10 minutes walk there

The hotel is very visible, so you can actually see if from far. So its very unlikely you will get lost.

LCCT tune hotel kl

There are 1 restaurant called DECANTER just at the compound of the hotel and also a 24 hour minimart. So it was RM 8 for a mug of beer vs RM 3.20 for a packet of noodles. Guess what we had??

lcct tune hotel kl

There are plenty of seating areas outside the the entrance of Tune Hotel.

tune hotel lcct kl

Outdoor shaded seating area

Inside the lobby, to rest your tired body and legs, you can try the expensive automated massage chairs. We prefer the 2 hour full body vitamin AEIOU massages in Laos though. So we didnt try the chairs. If you did, please let us know how it hurt your pocket more than it cured your hurting bodies!

tune hotel lcct kl

massage chairs in the lobby

There is the internet stations available next to the lobby

tune hotel lcct kl

Tune Hotel is like a factory. Everything is all about time. The 3 hour refresher package for Tune Hotel is available from 9 am to 6pm. But this is subject to availability. We took the package from 10pm which will last till 1pm.  Since the room wasnt ready yet, we had to wait for about 20 minutes before the room was ready. We made sure before we paid, that the timer started from the time we checked in.

Apparently, the woman at the front desk told us that the counter will only start when you put in your key to card in the room to activate the power in the room. So you dont have to run from the lobby to your room like what we monkeys did.
tune hotel lcct kl

Surprisingly there was a steady stream of guests coming in to stay here. We are guessing that this is because they dont have any other choice. The 3 hour refresher package costs RM 60 and is valid for 3 hours. There is a fan, air conditioning and you will get a toiletries set with shampoo and soap in it as well as a towel. There is a RM 5 deposit and a RM 10 for the key card. So up front you have to pay RM 75 for the room. When you check out, just bring back the towel and key card and get your RM 15 back.

lcct tune hotel

Lobby of LCCT Tune Hotel KL

The room was very small and compact. But functional of course. There weren’t any windows in the room, so expect to be blacked out when you close the doors. (Room can be very dark and stuffy) The lights are mostly spotlights and there was a big mirror which made the room feel bigger. Also it was kind of kinky too! 😉

backpacking kl

The small compact room

The beds were comfortable and the pillows were soft. Overall the place was clean and good for to get rest. Sure its a bit pricey, so make sure you get some rest immediately when you get into the room.

The toilet was clean. The showers water pressure was powerful enough.

lcct tune hotel

Small but functional toilet

I’m very sure you didn’t need to pay for the toilet paper! (if i remember correctly)

lcct tune hotel

Air conditioning control

And if the air conditioning does not work. You don’t have to go all the way down to the lobby and waste precious time off your 3 hours to figure whats wrong. We already wasted our 15 minutes to get the information for you. All you need to do is, make sure the side switch here, is turned ON!

tune hotel LCCT

towel, soap and shampoo

Your essential package of toiletries and towel. So here is the counter we were talking about. Once the timer goes off, you have about 10 minutes to 15 minutes before the power cuts off, or someone comes knocking at your door asking you to bugger off…!

lcct tune hotel

counter for the 3 hours, and then its "BLACK OUT"

So what we think about the whole experience ?? Well the room was clean and comfortable. Basic so don’t expect much.
But for the price, unless we are really in dire need of sleep and could just die standing, then we would take this same package again.
If you get down from the plane and need rest badly before you’re connecting flight, just remember the 11 minute walk before you reach the hotel.

Till then, please join us on facebook at backpackies to get the best travel tips in Asia!  Till then have fun and travel safe!

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Filed under Air Asia, backpacking, Backpacking Kuala Lumpur

LCCT – Air Asia Low Cost Carrier Terminal KL so whats new 2011 by backpackies

LCCT Air Asia

So what's new at LCCT Airport?

It has been quite a while since we have seen any improvement to LCCT – Low Cost Carrier Terminal in KL Malaysia. LCCT is the hub for all budget airlines in Malaysia. You can basically call this the base for all Air Asia flights.
This blog is an extension of our bestselling blogs >>

Low Cost Carrier Terminal LCCT Air Asia KL by backpackies 

and Air Asia Self Check In- Step by Step guide to checking in at the “self check in kiosks” by backpackies

So we went around recently (June 2011) to check out the latest additions to this airport.

And once again, we at backpackies only show you what you will get. No editing or made up story was done to this review.
Backpackies supports No Bullshit campaign.

Air Asia flight schedule

Flight schedule on the display system

There are  a few number of digital display screens located strategically around the airport. The information is pretty accurate. So chances are that you wont be missing your flight.

But again, please do not rely 100% on the system. Always be aware of your flight time and try to be on punctual.

backpackies backpacking penang

Air Asia Check in counter for Air Asia

Chances are there is always a long queue at the check in counters.  So make sure you get to the airport on time.

A minimum of 2 hours 30 mins before flight time for International Flights and 2 hours for domestic flights.
(most people will tell you its 2 hours for International and 1 hour for Domestic. But LCCT experiences high volume of passengers compared to other airports. So we had to take this in to account)
 

For International Flights. The main queue is at the check in counter, the immigration check and security check. This will slow you down the most. On average its a 5 minute walk to from the Immigration to the Departure Gate.
**This picture is an example of the Air Asia check in counter**

But of course the queue works to your advantage. If there is still a long queue of people checking in, they wont close the counter until every one is cleared. So if you see there is a long queue, means you still have plenty of time.
To avoid the queue at the check in counters, you can always check in online or now check in with your phone. MOBILE CHECK IN!

air asia mobile check in

Air Asia mobile check in counter

After you have done your check in using your Mobile Phone. You will be given a bar code. Which you will then need to scan on to these scanners here to get your boarding pass printed out.

mobile check in air asia

Check in using your mobile phone!

Air Asia mobile check in

Whats the mobile check in for?

Seems like there are some dedicated check in counters also for different locations. But these are the only ones that we have seen.
But after all the mobile check in, internet check in ….and dropping your baggage at the  baggage drop counter. You still need to come to this counter to verify your boarding passes. This is only applicable for International flights. So beware of this. This counters are located on the right of the International Departure Gates.

Air Asia check in

After you have done all your check in's...you still need to come here

air asia tickets

Buying your Air Asia tickets from the kiosk

If you need to buy a last minute ticket, there are kiosks that you can operate yourself.

Air asia ticket sales

Air Asia Sales Office

And if you have any questions, you can always approach the staff at the sales counter just beside the kiosks

FREE WIFI! one of the most used and sought after facility after the toilet.
God knows we cant live without it nowadays. *Need to chat with mum, dad, girlfriend 1, girlfriend 2, wife 3…..”

lcct free internet

Login enables users to use free internet for 2 hours

Its easy to connect and apparently the connection is everywhere around the airport. But they do TRY to limit you to 2 hours usage.  We don’t see anything hard about by passing this. Just log off and log on again!

LCCT internet

Login to the internet is tracked

And nowadays..they try to make you fill up forms… that will supposedly help to improve the system. Well you all know how efficient the Malaysian Government is. So fill it up you guys!!!

Internet at LCCT with backpackies

Questionnaire to fill up before accessing the internet

Being the lazy arse’s we were. ..we scrolled down …..CLICK

Air Asia LCCT

Go straight to the bottom clause

Next up is the first or probably the second most important facility after the internet. *TOILET*. Of course it would be awesome to have a Wifi enabled toilet..Imagine while you do your business, there is a touch screen beside to facebook and chat! **CHECK IN*  or LIKE maybe? ha ha ha Wow….. But no. But they did do away with the plastic pail and broken water hose. Bidet system!!!

Air Asia toilets

Auto Cleaning System Installed

And in case this isnt good enough to shout about. Check out the disinfectant liquid which you can use to clean the toilet seats! No more…. bending over, holding the door and ….xxxxxx.

LCCT toilet

Clean your toilet seats

*************************************COMMERCIAL BREAK******************************

LCCT food

The nasi briyani on board is pretty good

The Briyani Chicken Rice was awesome!! Just in case you are thinking of what to eat on board Air Asia.

***************************************BACK TO REVIEW****************************************

restaurants in LCCT

Dunkin Donuts outside the terminal

Just outside the terminal there are 2 new stalls. Dunkin Donuts to get you on your sugar high.

LCCT restaurants

Sugar colored donuts! Yummy!

Although the airport has managed to supply more seats but the growing number of passengers has out numbered it. During peak periods, most passengers are forced to sit on the floors.
Some smart entrepreneurs have come up with an idea to open spas. There are a few spas offering body and foot massage at the airport. (One of the spas is just by the toilet in this picture)

LCCT terminal air asia

One of the waiting places in LCCT.

The Emporium is still the cheapest place to buy drinking water, chocolates, and other travel essentials.

LCCT shops

Emporium is the cheapest place to get necessities

Air Asia low cost carrier terminal

Picking up your Sim card, buying products from the Air Asia Mega Store

Once you buy your Tune Talk sim card online, you can collect it at this counter here. They also sell cheap mobile phones, t shirts and other souvenirs from Air Asia.

Teddyyyyyyyy!!!!! 

Air Asia Teddy Bear

Wow check out the free gift on board!

So this concludes our update of Air Asia LCCT terminal KL.
For more information join us on facebook at BACKPACKIES is on FACEBOOK!

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Filed under Air Asia, Backpacking Kuala Lumpur, being happy while backpacking, cheap flights

Gali Paranthe Wali Delhi (Paratha Rolls) reviewed by backpackies.com

Looking for something light to snack on while walking in Delhi’s bustling streets???
If this is your first time in India, you might want to stay away from the shady street food, especially if they aren’t cooked!!
Good luck explaining “Slapping the food on a frying pan for 1 minutes will not kill the bacteria inside” to the indian seller! Unless you speak Hindi.

I must tell you about the streets in India. Cows, dogs, people, cars and motorcycles share the same road. So you can imagine the amount of pollution. Ok nevermind that, but imagine dust, dirt, rubbish on the road sides combined with the dirty habit of Indians SPITTING every 3 minutes on the road! Then imagine the indian guy (obviously) sitting on the road side, beside puddles of dirty water and mud making your cup of Masala Tea.
Imagine how much agony your @$$ hole is going to suffer, when you get diarrhea in a country where the pharmacies shut down by 9pm!

Oh By the way, have you ever wondered where the public toilets are in Delhi? We know that men just pee on the walls, but where do you go if you have a tummy ache?

indian road side tea

Road side food and drinks are cooked in extreme heat during Summer

There are a few nicely lit and clean vegetarian restaurants around town. But we were getting tired of an ALL VEGE diet. Craving for REAL meat, we came across this Paratha Roll Stall. There was a long queue in front of the stall when we arrived. So applying BACKPACKIES 101 general rule “It must be f*good if theres plenty of people”. We joined the queue. Man did the workers inside work fast and hard. They must have been processing around 10 paratha rolls per 3 minutes!

 gali paranthe wali

Road side Paratha Roll Special

Here is the menu below, and they also do home delivery for 5 parathas and up.

 gali paranthe wali

Vegetarian Menu

 gali paranthe wali

Other food types besides vegetarian

 gali paranthe wali

It's amazing to see them working so fast in such a small space

 gali paranthe wali

Its a 3 man magic show

Cashier: Takes orders, collects money, rolls the dough and folds the paratha
Chef 1: Cooks the ingredients and puts it on the ready paratha
Chef 2: Following chef 1’s actions.
This my friends is a mutton tikka paratha roll (w) egg. Inside is chops of mutton, vegetables fried with Masala seasoning, then wrapped in egg and then paratha roll.
Verdict: slightly spicy and definately delicious. Wasnt really full but it just hit the right spot.  My A* hole didnt suffer so 2 thumbs up!

 gali paranthe wali

my mutton tikka paratha roll

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Ryokan Chic Hotels @ Muntri Street Penang reviewed by backpackies.com

Ryokan on Muntri Street, Penang just recently opened its doors to their first batch of guests about 1 month ago. (30th April 2011).
There was a promotion that for the one day only (which is the opening day) they invited 20 lucky facebook fans to have a free stay at the hotel.
Subsequently the remaining fans had a 50% discount of the rooms for the same day.
We unfortunately missed that special day. (To be honest, we missed the FREE STAY more!! :D). But after hearing so much hype about this place, we decided to review it. Of course again, there might be plenty of reviews already of this place online since its such a nice setup. But at backpackies, we try not to bullshit our fans, and of course, we try to take pictures that actually give you the whole feel of what to expect during your stay at Ryokan @ Muntri Street Penang.
So taking out our microscope and V800 “dont take any sh*t” xI3 Faultfinder- We begin to review Ryokan.

Ryokan is located on Muntri Street, just 5 minutes walk from Penang’s Clubbing Hotspot- Upper Penang Road and also Heritage attractions like Kapitan Kling Mosque, Kuan Yin Teng Temple, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, State museum and many more. And the best thing about it is also, it is walkable some of the famous food stalls in Penang. Hameeds delicious roti canai and sup kambing, Red Garden food court with their daily chinese girl singers entertaining you while you dine, Chulia Lanes Curry Noodles, so please don’t get us started.
Verdict: Location A++

ryokan on muntri street

Ryokan Chic Hotels is the latest chic and fashionable "budget" hotel in Penang

The facade was pretty impressive, mainly because of the nice neon lights and decoration. Definitely chic! We love the combination of cement art and the usage of wood in their front door.
|There are some outdoor seating as well, which are only practical in the mornings and nights because during the day, it gets really hot. And not to mention they use Steel Chairs! Really? In the inside,usually during the day, the air conditioning will be on so it’s not that hot. The living area cum cafe is quite spacious and tastefully decorated we must say.We are impressed.
The bar counter wasnt really ready yet when we were there so there were only minimal drinks and food that you could order.
There was a stage in the cafe so presumably that is for the live band to perform sometime in the future. Well actually during their opening they did have someone sing!

ryokan on muntri street

Lounge and cafe area

The wifi is free but you can only pick up the signal at the very back near the stage. Towards the front, its a bit weak. Its good in a way because, it prevents people from the outside (previous guests) to steal wifi from the road side.

ryokan on muntri street

Nice bar counter made from cement- It was soooo smooth! 😀 ha ha ha

Accommodations are up top. You will need to take off your shoes, and there are some nice racks where you can put them. So this keeps the whole sleeping area clean.

ryokan on muntri street

no shoes inside the accommodation

Towards the back, there is another set of similar looking cabinets.

ryokan on muntri street

heading to the rooms

No its not for shoes and slipeprs! These are the free books and magazines for you to read. There are some bean bags, and lights that is meant to be a reading corner.

The flooring on this whole place is wood, so there is a nice texture when you walk around barefooted, you can feel mother natures grains…..massaging your feet. And of course, since its wood, you can hear people walking about the guesthouse. In olden times, this is a security feature, where the residents in the house could know if there were thieves entering their house through the noise from the wood planks.
The rooms and chillax corner, we will show later. The Loft was still renovating when we were there. So we might need to sneak in again for a free photoshoot next time. Damn the planks!

ryokan on muntri street

This is the chillax area, where there are fans only, and bean bags, lights and books for you to enjoy a good book. Maybe doable during the nights when its not so humidly hot.
All the rooms are on the left hand side of this walkway. And all of the rooms have air conditioning.

ryokan on muntri street
We took the 4 man dorm room which was about 100 ft2 in size. A comfortable size to sleep in. The furniture and bed linen were all white which we love, because with white is, you could actually see if the place was dirty or not by one look. But after we checked it, this place was very clean. (Mainly because it is brand new). The beds were singles (not super singles), but the mattress and pillow were abit on the hard side. At first it felt firm and bearable. But towards the end, it was abit too hard for us. There is a cabinet where you can store your personal items. You will need to bring your own padlock for this.
Also with the bunk bed, you have your own personal light, plug point and small tiny space where you can place small items next to you when you sleep. The reading light was bright and big enough, unlike some places where we have reviewed who uses cheap night lights as substitute. The air conditioning inside comes with the controller, so you can adjust accordingly. There is no fans in the room.
One thing we noticed is that the rooms did not have any dustbins for waste?!

Their room rates are
6 person dorm – RM 35
4 person dorm RM 38
4 Person Girls Only Dorm RM 40
Luxury private room – RM 138

Towel rental – RM 3
Blanket rental – RM 3
(Yes the room does not come with any of these)

ryokan on muntri street

4 pax dorm

ryokan on muntri street

private little space to charge your electricals and hide your valuables but just be careful because it doesnt come with any lock.

ryokan on muntri street

metal cabinet to store your own stuff- You need to bring your own lock

Although blanket and towels do not come with the room rate, they do provide a simple breakfast. The breakfast is still more impressive than some of the other guesthouses. But of course Ryokan’s rates are a little higher as well.

ryokan penang

Breakfast of the day

The coffee, tea and juice is free flow, but the breakfast menu keeps changing for variety. I could count how many baby hot dogs they gave me. The potato chips was a bit soggy. So if you can, its best to drag your lazy butt from the comfortable bed and have breakfast early. Breakfast is from 8-10.30.

Next weeeee will be checking out the toilets and showers. There is a long sink just outside the showers. They provide gel soap which smells nice.

ryokan on muntri street

public washing area - brushing teeth, and washing face

Since this is the only washing area, i guess you can also wash your small laundry items here as well. You just need to bring your own soap powder. You can get them at the minimarts along Chulia Street. The showers were very spacious and well ventilated.
The water pressure was excellent and it came with hot water and cold water. Not that you really need the hot water unless you were doing some sort of private spa session in the showers.  But then again, its nice to have it.

The good thing is, the showers had free fragrant smelling shower gels and shampoo. When i was in the bathroom, i could hear an australian guest comment ” Oh MY GOD, the shower gel smells so nice”. So that actually proves that my nose is still working.
Toilet paper on the other hand was a bit different. They were giving us paper towels to wipe our ass. We find that abit different but at least it wasnt newspapers like they use in China.

ryokan on muntri street
The tv lounge was a great concept. There is a nice mural of Ryokan on the wall, and they had bean bags for seating in front of a huge LCD screen., (Im sorry we didnt manage to check the size) But its sufficient. The sound system from the tv was good enough. But i do wonder how loud and till when can you watch tv at night? Since next to the tv area is actually rooms. Do let us know if you have tried it.

ryokan on muntri street

beanie bags at the lounge

Yups, if there is no one there, you can just lift your legs up (even if you wearing a mini skirt), just relax and enjoy the show.
The tv comes with ASTRO (malaysias only cable service)

ryokan on muntri street
This was the impressive mural of Ryokan we were talking about. This is a close up on the mural. Looks almost exactly like it, dont you think?

ryokan on muntri street
Finally after watching people lift their legs and enjoy a movie, i decided to lift mine up as well and call it a day.

ryokan on muntri street

Till our next review. Ryokan Chic Hotels has certainly raised the standard of guesthouses/ budget hotels in Penang. 5 thumbs up!

If you guys are going to stay in Penang, Ryokan is a good bet.Its clean, its tastefully done up, nicely designed for comfort and look, so there fore
Quality and Comfortability – A+

backpacking penang

Just like the painting on the wall i guess, after you leave Ryokan, you become a monkey (because of the other crap services from the other guesthouses around Penang)?
-Ryokan didnt pay us to say this if you are wondering.

For more information – Visit their Website – Ryokan Chic Hotels Penang
But whatever it is, please do join our travel group on facebook- Backpackies is on facebook!

Dont tell us you dont have facebook har!! Till then have a safe trip and have fun traveling!

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Filed under Air Asia, backpacking, budget hotels penang, Guesthouses Penang, Penang hostels

Moon Tree at Muntri Street review by backpackies.com

It has been quite a while since we travelled up state, so last week-end we decided to pack our bags and have a road trip up to Penang. We arrived in Georgetown somewhere around 3pm.And it was hot as hell i tell you!
We were pretty impressed with the number of heritage cafes, guesthouses and boutique hotels that have mushroomed in the recent 1 year. Most of them have the same kind of concept :  buy old shoplot, restore it to original look, slap a new bucket of paint, throw some non workable antique furniture and there you have it “HERITAGE CAFE” and “HERITAGE BOUTIQUE HOTEL“. Something like that- you get our point.

Anyways, we were staying at this chic new hotel – Ryokan on Muntri Street. Very nice place. The review on Ryokan will be up next.

Moon Tree Cafe was just opposite our guesthouse. So we decided to do a review on it. One word of advice, try going in the evenings or at night when its not that hot. Like most “heritage cafes” the seating areas are not air-conditioned. The tiny antique fans inside wont do you much good you know. Bloody hot!
And with the kind of food and drink prices at Moon Tree ($$$$$), the hell with our usual saying “You AINT EATING if you AINT SWEATING” !!
If you search on the internet, there are actually limited pictures on how Moon Tree looks like (and we also get people asking us-“What is a moon tree”?? Here i mean REAL pictures that actually show you how the cafe really looks like inside. Not some artsy fartsy edited shots of the tv, half broken flower pots or the 1970’s wobbly wooden stools. For gods sake, we know how these furniture look like! We wanna know what the place inside looks like okkk??!

So backpackies is going to show you in our own way..
This is Moon Tree Cafe located on Muntri Street Penang. It’s a few doors down from the high-end cafe/boutique hotel- Muntri Mews.

heritage cafe penang

Moon Tree Cafe on Muntri Street Penang

moon tree cafe penang

Their hot latte's are served with a cookie

The first half of the cafe is not very big and is now filled with alot of antique furniture and broken chairs (May 2011). We figured the extra damaged furniture are for the extension plans beside the cafe. We heard its going to be a gallery. So they are in the process of repairing the chairs. (The round olden day coffee shop chairs are very hard to come by nowadays)

“The latte is pretty good” according to our own coffee specialist. Yes we brought our specialist all the way to Penang to taste coffee so our blogs are accurate ;). Pretty good pretty good. We paid RM 10. (now its not that good) 😀 I guess the fact that its ILLY coffee, it does have some justice on the price?

When we asked the boss-“If you had one thing that you would recommend here, what would you say is good and to die for”?
You have to try the
Kofte Burger
Minced pork marinated with turkish spices and herbs
Served with tzatziki sauce and lettuce

From their drinks list
Tea from RM 6
Coffee from RM 10
Heineikken RM 12

moon tree cafe penang

Inside the cafe

The furnitures are all recycled, most of which are all rickety and rackety. So please be gentle.

moon tree cafe penang

A beautiful lady jealous of another beautiful lady- What irony

Because the cafe was empty when we were there and the only friends were the mosquitoes, we sacrifice our own model for the photoshoot. (Not the mosquito)

moon tree cafe penang

preparation counter

This small preparation counter will be extended to the back once their back renovation is done. Apparently they will have a cook and serve more food when its ready. Anybody knows why the name “Tian Chin Hiang” is on the signboard? You can also see it on the picture album they have.

Like olden days, they dont have a cash register. So their cash is actually in the empty milk tin hanging from the ceiling . Easy to steal dont you think?

moon tree cafe penang

moon tree cafe penang

The place is littered with old antiques

moon tree cafe penang
moon tree cafe penang As you walk in, on the right is a wall complete with antique paraphernalia. Tiffin carriers, brass switches, photos, kerosene lamps. We know the brass switches are for sale. RM 1xx each if you are interested.

moon tree cafe penang

hanging walls of penang

Out back, we managed to find the MOZZIE HQ. At night, Moon Tree has plenty of mosquitoes. There are plenty of plants and water containers with stagnant water. Probably there is just too much potted plants here. Get rid of some? Or if they still insist on keeping the plants, then get the poison to kill the larvae please.

moon tree cafe penang

the antique metal basins being converted to sinks

When you are here, check out the transformation process of Moon Tree on the folder. Titled “Tian Chin Hiang”

moon tree cafe penang

Exploring Moon Trees past

moon tree cafe penang

Moon tree before its restoration

The sequence of its renovation work is being captured in the book. And there is another book there that guests can comment on the place beside it as well. From the looks of it, most of the comments seem to be good ones.

moon tree cafe penang

comments and appreciation

For what its worth, this place is an OK cafe to hang out at. Price wise, they could do with a little discount from the original price.
The place is too hot during the day, and at night, there are plenty of mosquitoes. If they had lighted up some mosquito coils, this place would be nice at night.
With so many other cafes with similar concepts coming up, they should really look in to making their service into something different to survive. But that just our modest opinion.
Good luck Moon Tree, we wish you all the best.

For more wacky free travel advice, do join our group on Facebook. Backpackies.

We hope you have Facebook! 😉
Till then travel safe and happy travelling!

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Filed under Air Asia, backpacking, being happy while backpacking, Guesthouses Penang, Penang, Penang hostels

River City Inn Singapore review by backpackies

We were looking for a clean, affordable and somewhat modern accommodation for the night (we had enough of the crappy peeling off stained walls in our bedrooms!!).

From the full list that we had on our hand, we decided to try the River City Inn Singapore. It said on their website that they were within walking distance from the Clark Quay MRT. Sounded strategic enough to us as it was close to the shopping centers, MRT and pubs. We took the MRT from Changi Airport and interchanged at Outram Park before reaching Clark Quay. From Clark Quay MRT station, River City Inn is just 300m walk away. The Inn is on Hong Kong street, which is the street directly opposite Central Shopping Center.

As you turn into Hong Kong Street, you need to keep a lookout for the Inn’s signboard. The entrance is camouflaged to look like any simple shoplot entrance. The entrance will be on your right as you enter Hong Kong Street from the MRT station.
Ruck Sack Inn is on the first floor and River City Inn is on the second floor.

singapore river, River City Inn Singapore

The singapore river is just 5 minutes walk from the guesthouse

River City Inn Singapore

Entrance to River City Inn Singapore

The staircase is littered with graffiti of guest comments who praise heaven that they found these 2 guesthouses. Most of them are writing about Ruck Sack Inn though because River City Inn is fairly new. Im guessing those smudges and black dots on the walls are bad comments? 😀 *grin*

River City Inn Singapore

Stairs leading to River City Inn Singapore

River City Inn Singapore

Wall Graffiti or wall gratitude?

River City Inn Singapore

The inn is just 2 flght of steps up

The main door is fitted with an electrical keypass system where each guest is given an electronic card to enter the guesthouse. (A refundable deposit is required for this key card when you check in). Inside is a small reception area, and then to the left is the dining table, internet station and cosy corner. Everything is arranged in an apartment kind of arrangement. (compact prim and proper)

The cosy corner had cable tv and 2 short sofas. I think you could fit in a maximum of 6 people in to that small area. The whole place is air-conditioned though, which was necessary as the heat outside was killer.

River City Inn Singapore

Communal Area with Tv, some magazines and free wifi

After checking in, we found that the rooms were clean and basic. The bed frames were the cheap metal type where it always squeaked badly when you climb on them. “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!”
I’m pretty sure in a few years time, these beds will be causing a hell of a symphony at night. There goes my chance on sneaking in and making out on the beds tonight! 😉

river city inn singapore

Bedroom security

The beds are also protected. So no chances of anything sneaking in to my bed to make out with me as well! 😀 Awesome!

River City Inn Singapore

4 person room

Each dorm bed comes with a private locker. And the good thing about River City Inn is that they provide the lock and keys for the locker. Each bed has linen (bed sheet),pillow and blanket but NO towel. Which we found to be troublesome as most people don’t normally bring their own towels with them when they travel. (especially Asians). Its expensive to buy towels in Singapore.

River City Inn Singapore

There are private lockers with keys given to you

Each bed also came with a personal reading light (it’s actually a night-light) and electrical socket. The whole building has free wifi so its good to just plug in your laptop and surf. We find the “reading light” is a little small. The night-light they give us is the cheap 1SGD ones which you can buy at any night market. (Research has shown people growing blind using these to read)
It would be nice if they could provide bigger and proper lamps for reading.

river city inn singapore

There were 3 showers and 2 shared toilets. I’m not sure of how many toilets there are in the building. But thank god they were clean and didn’t smell nasty at all. In fact i was very impressed with the cleanliness of the toilet. The water pressure was powerful enough during the day, but it seemed to have dwindled in to a mere trickle at night. (Was trying to bathe at 3 am after clubbing).

The toilets had toilet paper and the showers came with free shower gel and shampoo which was really nice.

River City Inn Singapore

Showers were clean and had powerful water pressure during the day

There is a dining area where you can make your own tea/coffee/hot chocolate throughout the day. Rates come with a free simple breakfast. As it is a guesthouse, you are required to wash your own dishes and clean up after your self. ITS EXPECTED OF YOU!!

river city inn singapore

Small compact dining area with the internet stations behind it

There are only 2 computer stations available. And some guests just hog it for hours chatting on skype and facebook. You need to be aware of this. If you need to do some printing, the person at the reception will be glad to help you on this.

There are some common plug points just beside the computer stations. These are the plug points you will use if you want to work on your device on the dining table. (They are in the picture, on the side of the table)

There is a fridge behind selling drinks and snacks. Everything inside it is for sale.

river city inn singapore

2 free computer stations complete with internet for those who dont have their own device

There is a common storeroom to put extra-large stuff that wont fit into your lockers. It’s quite a mess, and we didn’t bother cleaning it up before taking the picture. Im sure you will find plenty of nice pictures on the internet.  To the left of the storeroom is the showers and toilets.

river city inn singapore

You can also utilize the storeroom for big baggage

Here is complimentary breakfast. Toasts with a selection of spreads, local fruits, coffee tea. There is a separate menu where you can order for additional charge.

river city inn singapore

breakfast selection at the morning.

Drinks like Hot Chocolate, Tea and Coffee are free flow throughout the day.

river city inn singapore

BUDGET bread?

Im pretty sure the peanut butter, blueberry, chocolate spreads are also free flow for the entire day 😉

river city inn singapore

Butter, jam, kaya or Peanut butter?

river city inn singapore

tiny bananas for breakfast. Had to have more than 2 bananas to be full.

There is no curfew at night, so you can come back any time you like. But please for heaven’s sake please don’t make a ruckus when you get back. There are still people sleeping!

Overall, this place is a great place to sleep at in Singapore. The rates are almost similar like the rest of the guesthouses in Singapore. But the location for River City Inn is perfect for people who wants shopping and somewhere near the river.

Here are the rates

Mixed Dormitory = S$26.00 per bed

Ladies-only Dorm = S$29.00 per bed

6-bed Mixed Dorm = S$29.00 per bed
(Book all 6 beds to make it a private room!)

Private 4-bed Room = S$128.00 per room

For more information visit their website at River City Inn. And if you have facebook, please find us on facebook and join our travel group- Backpackies!!

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Filed under Air Asia, backpacking, budget hotels singapore, cheap hotels singapore