Gambling At Marina Bay Sands Casino Singapore - What To Expect

Monday, June 27, 2016

The casino at Marina Bay Sands is one of the two casinos operating in the city-state of Singapore. Marina Bay Sands can be reached via MRT (subway train) alighting at the 'Bayfront' station on the Circle Line. It is open 24/7 and entry is free for visitors / tourists in Singapore. Singapore nationals or permanent residents, however, need to pay an entry levy of SGD 100 per occasion or SGD 2000 per year to enter the casino. Minimum age for a person entering the gaming area should be 21. Passports / national IDs of foreigners are scanned before they are allowed entry. It is much like the passport scanning at an international airport. They even ask people to remove their eye-glasses so that the image on the passport can be compared with the person's face. The immigration stamp on the passport and the departure card are also examined, and not only while entering the casino but while leaving it too. These are funny rules but that's how it is. Keep reading...

Mandarin's House Macau (Casa Do Mandarim) - A Must See

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A holiday in Macau takes a lot of money even if you are not losing big in one of the numerous casinos that Macau is famous for. Hotels are expensive, food is expensive, and shopping is very expensive. Local travel by taxi can also prove to be expensive but fortunately there are cheaper and even totally free options for local travel, like the free casino shuttle buses. When in Macau, I use free shuttle buses extensively and try to save money on food but somehow I always feel that I do not have enough money there. I guess many of my fellow travellers feel the same way. Perhaps one reason for this is the undue risks that we take while gambling in the casinos thereby ending up being short of money. After a lot of struggle in the past, I have now come to believe that I can feel happier while in Macau if I keep my focus on the things other than gambling. In this pursuit, the Macau Tourism's "Step Out" Guide has proved to be a great help to me. Its a guide perhaps meant for local residents of Macau whom the government wants to step out and see their city or it is perhaps for the tourists who do not just want to come out of casinos. Anyway, its a guide book that suggests walking tours of Macau on eight different routes. I discovered Mandarin's House while trying out one such walking tour - Crossroads of China and Portugal. You can read more about this guide here, but let us talk about the Mandarin's House here. Keep reading...

Pastry Bar At MGM Macau - Vegetarian Food And Much More...

Monday, June 6, 2016

It took me over half a dozen visits to Macau to be able to discover this place. I always find MGM's casino to be the most player friendly and therefore, end up spending most of my gambling time in their main casino hall. Attached to this hall is one of their restaurants - 'Square Eight' where I usually redeem my free MGM food coupons to get a veggie sandwich or an oily shredded potato. I have covered Square Eight in my article on 'vegetarian food in Macau casino restaurants'. On one of the sides of the corridor where Square Eight is located, there is an exit from the casino hall. It does not take you directly out of the MGM but rather into a lobby sort of place in the center of which they usually have an awesome work of art, a huge aquarium or something else that will make you stop there and gawk at it. Around this huge centrepiece, you will find a couple of restaurants and another corridor leading somewhere. A short walk in this corridor will bring you to Pastry Bar. If all these directions I gave seem too confusing, just ask any of the staff at MGM where Pastry Bar is, and they will guide you. All I can say is that you will voluntarily stop at a few places on the way to Pastry Bar to admire some exhibits and take some pictures. But if you happen to be going there in the evening, just remember that Pastry Bar opens between 10.00am and 8.00pm. They do serve breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner but its all over by 8.00pm. There are several things that make Pastry Bar special, and the availability of vegetarian food is just one of them. Keep reading...

GTDC Hotels In Panjim Goa - Panaji Residency And Miramar Residency

Friday, June 3, 2016

Usually, when I review hotels where I have stayed, I will write an individual review for each hotel. GTDC hotels in Goa are, however, a different matter. In a way, all these hotels, though located in different parts of the state, are somewhat similar. If you like one, probably you will like the others too. Their advantages, problems, and prices are not much different. Two of these hotels happen to be in Panjim, the capital city of te state of Goa - Panaji Residency and Miramar Residency. Panaji Residency is in the city closer to the Bus Stand whereas Miramar Residency is on Miramar Beach. I have stayed in both the hotels on multiple occasions and always have had mixed experiences. After the recent renovation and private sector maintenance, Panaji Residency appears better but I guess the other hotel - Miramar Residency will eventually get private maintenance. In this article, I will share my experience of staying in these two hotels so that you will know what to expect if you decide to book one of these. Keep reading...

An Indian Hotel In Bangkok That Does Not Want Indian Guests - Hotel 'Smart Suites'

Thursday, June 2, 2016

It was something new for me. Even though during my several previous trips to Thailand I have come across several Thai or Farang business establishments that discriminate against Indian customers but had never been to an Indian owned business that hates Indian customers. Hotel Smart Suites at the far end of Soi 11 in Sukhumwit Bangkok proved to be a very unpleasant experience. It was roughly a 1100 THB a day room (March 2016) and I was expecting some quality after reading a few Tripadvisor reviews. Later I learned that many of those reviews were fake and had been posted by the hotel owner himself. After my review of this hotel appeared on Tripadvisor, they quickly dumped half a dozen fake positive reviews there so as to push my review down in the page. One of the fake positive reviews was from a "guest" who had earlier reviewed this hotel six times or so on Tripadvisor and was singing its praises every time. A cool strategy... whenever a negative review appears, quickly dump a few fake positive reviews to suppress the truth. Anyway, fake reviews on Tripadvisor are nothing new. Now I need to report what is wrong with this hotel. Keep reading...

The Erawan Shrine Bangkok

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Erawan Shrine is one of the smallest yet one of the most famous attractions in Bangkok. It is important equally to both locals and foreign visitors. The Shrine is dedicated to Lord Brahma, a Hindu god referred to in Thai language as Thao Maha Phrom. Thus the official name of the shrine is Thao Maha Phrom Shrine, but it is popularly known as "Erawan Shrine" due to its location and history. Its an open compound below Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel which earlier was the building of a government owned hotel called Erawan Hotel. In the year 1956 when Erawan Hotel was under construction, a series of mishaps took place on the site that upset the construction workers. It was believed that the construction of the building had been started on a wrong date. Due to the workers' protest, an astrologer was consulted who advised building of the shrine honouring Lord Brahma who is known as "the creator" as per Hindu mythology. It is said that after construction of the shrine in the compound, the construction of the hotel went smoothly. The construction of the shrine was the work of the Department of Fine Arts of the Thai government and was completed on November 9, 1956. Later in the year 1987, the original hotel was demolished and the new Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel came up. It is the immense faith in the power of Lord Brahma to grant wishes and answer prayers is what brings everyone to the shrine. It remains open daily from early morning to midnight. Keep reading for more...

Chatuchak Weekend Market Bangkok

Monday, May 23, 2016

Chatuchak Weekend Market is perhaps the most famous Bangkok street market. Its actually more than a street market because there is a section of the area that is covered, has permanent shops inside a cluster that resembles a municipal market. The range and quality of the goods on sale here is perhaps the best in Bangkok when it comes to street markets. Wikipedia lists nine kind of merchandise that is sold here: plants, antiques, pets, food & drinks, fresh & dry food, ceramics, furniture & home decor, clothes, and books. And all these are sold across 8000 shops divided into 27 sections. The market opens on Friday (6.00pm to midnight), and Saturday & Sunday (9.00 am to 6.00pm). I went there on a hot Saturday morning and decided that perhaps the best time to visit the place would be on a Friday evening. During the day, it is just too hot here unless you are going there during the months of December-January. Another beautiful attraction, Chatuchak Park is adjacent to the market area and if you are interested in the park, the best time to go will be early in the day or in the afternoon. Keep reading...

Pratunam Market & Indra Square Bangkok For Shopping And More...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pratunam Market is always on the list of places to visit for a tourist looking to shop in Bangkok. Its a lot of shopping, on the street and also inside some air-conditioned shopping malls. This area is not very upmarket though, and hence ideal for a budget shopper. People come here looking for bargains. In particulars, one can find really cheap ready made clothes on the side walks here. Those looking to buy bulk quantities of garments for business can also find enough stocks in the markets around Indra Square. The market can be accessed through BTS Skytrain but getting there will take a bit of walking too. One can get down either at Siam (Central) or Chit Lom Stations. From Chit Lom, take Exit 1, get down and walk in the direction of Siam Station under the skywalk. Soon you come to Ratchadamri Road from where you need to turn right. If you are coming from Siam Station, take the skywalk coming towards Chit Lom / Erawan Shrine. Once you come to the road intersection, get down and turn left on the main road along the Central World Mall. You will cross Central World on the left, Big C on the right, and then a river bridge. After the bridge, a left turn takes you to Platinum Fashion Mall / Pantip Plaza. If you do not take that left turn, keep walking straight, you will eventually come to Pratunam Market. Its a long walk so be prepared. Otherwise try taking a taxi from Siam or Chit Lom Stations. A tuk tuk is another option but certainly more expensive than the taxi. Keep reading...

Remember Your Future Travel Plans With 'Tripit'

Saturday, May 14, 2016

If you travel as much as I do, you will certainly need a service like 'Tripit'. Actually we all do travel bookings well in advance and when there are just too many things to remember, some of those get slipped out of memory. On two occasions I have booked two different hotels for the same night, once in Siem Reap and once in Goa. In Siem Reap I could not cancel the extra hotel booking because both bookings were non-refundable. Good thing that hotels are always cheap in Siem Reap. My recent double hotel booking in Goa did not cost me extra money because I cancelled one of the two well in time, but it sure forced me to start looking for an online travel reminder service. I needed something where I would be able to store my air travel and hotel booking information for future retrieval and if possible, get some timely reminders too. A quick Google search brought up a few choices out of which I decided to try 'Tripit' because it looked like just what I needed. Basic version of 'Tripit' is totally free. Keep reading...

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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh. (Email:


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