Friday, December 31, 2021

Singapore Airlines Business Class to Seoul and Vietnam Airlines Business Class Seoul to Singapore in 2019

The year was 2019. (Pre-COVID). We took a family holiday to Seoul, South Korea! Here are links to the flight videos.

[Flight Review] Singapore Airlines SQ 602 Boeing 787-10 Business Class SG to Seoul Excellent Flight
We fly Singapore Airlines on their Regional Business Class, Boeing 787-10 for the first time this November! Very exciting. Singapore Airlines was first to fly the Boeing 787-10 and had been progressively taking delivery of these new birds, and retiring their older Boeing 777-200 fleet.

The new regional business class is a huge improvement over the previous. They now offer a 1-2-1 configuration, fully lie-flat bed, compared to the previous 2-2-2 regional business class product with an angled bed. The design and feel is very similar to the long-haul business class product, except that the seat isn't as wide. However, one advantage of the regional seat is that the seat can turn into a fully flat and straight bed at the touch of the console button. The long-haul aircraft require you to manually convert the seat to a bed, which can be a bit awkward and tiresome if you didn't know how to do it.

We received excellent service on board. I figured that the lovely Singapore Girl serving my aisle was a Korean lady, due to her accent. She was in a green kebaya, representing her seniority. Of course, she spoke excellent english too. This flight, SQ 602, departed Singapore at 1445hrs and was scheduled to land in Seoul at 2200hrs. Given this mid afternoon departure, we were wondering what meal would be served on board. Turned out that lunch would be served, but they started the meal service at 1630hrs instead of immediately after takeoff. They must have done this to make the meal closer to dinner time, given that it is pretty obvious passengers would have taken their lunch before boarding the aircraft at 1445hrs. Which then made me wonder, why call this meal lunch instead of dinner?

Anyway, it didn't matter. I had a very enjoyable meal on board (minus the satay, which was not served on this flight). Upon boarding, I took the welcome drink of champagne. Shortly after takeoff, the post take off drink was served - I had opted for the Singapore Sling, which I always do on SQ. A small bowl of nuts was also given. I enjoyed them while watching some movie.

Lunch service was leisurely and unhurried. The first course was some type of prawn. Then I got my Lobster Thermidor (which I had used the Book the Cook Service). Oh, for this flight I had just discovered that you could see the onboard lunch menu some days before the actual flight and even make your selection before the actual flight. I find this very useful because I had always wanted to know in advance what was the onboard catering before I decided whether to use Book the Cook. So this time round, I didn't really care for any of the 4 choices for the onboard catering, so I 'Booked the Cook"!

Prior to the flight, we spent some time at the SilverKris Lounge Business Class section at Changi Airport.

Coming back from Seoul, we flew on Vietnam Airlines in Business Class. This flight was in 2 legs. But before that, we spent some time in the airport lounge at Incheon.

Once inside the restricted area, we made our way to the KAL Lounge, as the CHeck-in counter lady had told us. The lounge is BEFORE the train ride to the Concourse, where our aircraft was (Gate 111), so you have to use the lounge and factor enough time to get to the plane because you still need to take a train to get there.

I read from the internet that this KAL lounge (located besides the Starbucks) was new, opened in June 2019. The signages were not great and we couldn't find it at first, until we asked a member of staff who told us in a deep Korean accent that it was 'besides Starbooks'.

KAL Lounge Incheon Terminal 1 SkyTeam Lounge Vietnam Airlines

VN 409 Boeing 787-10 Vietnam Airlines Dreamliner Business Class Flight Review Seoul to Ho Chi Minh

We were in Seoul for a holiday, and today we begin our trip back to Singapore on Vietnam Airlines, from Seoul to Ho Chi Minh and then onward to Singapore. We arrived at Incheon Airport, Seoul, in good time early in the morning. We wanted to get our tax refund, and after that, check-in was smooth though even at this time (around 0745hrs) the line to clear security was quite long.

After clearing security and immigration, we reached the restricted area of Incheon Airport, which was large and rather crowded. Signages weren't good and we couldn't find the KAL Lounge (which we were told by the check in lady that it was before the train ride to the Concourse), so we asked a member of staff and was told it was beside 'Starbooks'. Here is the review of the KAL Lounge, which was newly opened in June 2019. After getting some breakfast, we made our way to the concourse (had to ride a train) and got to Gate 111 in good time. Boarding hadn't started yet when we got there, so we waited for bit.

Once boarded started, we got on board quickly and found out seats. I had a window seat today. The aircraft used was a rather new Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. Business class was in a reverse herringbone, 1-2-1 configuration.

Overall, service onboard was very good. Even though the flight was not very long (flight time under 5 hours), it felt like a long-haul flight with a nice amenity kit, pillow and blanket. Welcome drink, I chose champagne. After take off, meal service began.

It started with Amuse Boche, and again I chose champagne for my drink.

For the main meal, they had run out of the Western style appetizer, so I had no choice but to take the Korean-style appetizer, which was fine with me as it was interesting to look at and the taste was good. For the main, I chose the Asian style Beef rib with rice. The beef came in slices, which suited me fine. The taste was good, and the beef was tender enough.

After the main, there was dessert (ice-cream) and also cheese. The stewardess also came around with a tray of sliced fruit, which I chose a few. Overall, it was a wonderful meal, and I enjoyed it while watching a movie on the entertainment system.

Post-meal, I converted the seat into a lie-flat bed, and managed to get about 2 hours of sleep before it was time to land.

Lotus Lounge Ho Chi Minh Saigon Vietnam Airlines Business Class

Vietnam Airlines, Lotus Lounge, Saigon. We fly on Vietnam Airlines Business class, from Seoul to SGN, en-route to Singapore. We landed in SGN in the early afternoon, and our flight to Singapore would depart at 1615hrs. So we had a couple of hours in the Lotus Lounge.

The food offerings were pretty good. Plenty of hot food choices, including local Vietnamese dishes, noodle soup plus porridge. Also plenty of cut fruits, and some desserts. I didn't try the Vietnamese coffee though. We weren't that hungry, since we had a good meal onboard Vietnam Airlines Business Class (Seoul to SGN leg), but we still managed to eat some light food and desserts.

[Flight Review] Vietnam Airlines Airbus A350 Business Class SGN Ho Chi Minh to Singapore
We fly on Vietnam Airlines! This was the second leg of our flight, from SGN Ho Chi Minh back to Singapore. Earlier in the day, we flew from Seoul to Ho Chi Minh.

This leg was short, only about 1.5 hr flight time. The experience was good. We flew on a long-haul aircraft, the Airbus A350-900. This aircraft is used for VN’s long-haul routes, including Vietnam to Paris. Business class was in a 1-2-1 configuration, reverse herringbone, fully flat bed.

A substantial meal was served even though the flight was short. The entire meal came in one tray, which was fine given such a short flight. I chose the fish with rice. You can see from the video that the meal was very nice. The main dish was accompanied by a bowl of crunchy salad and a large chunks of fresh fruit. They even had a bread basket, where I chose the garlic bread. The meal was great with a glass of white wine.

I enjoyed my meal at a leisurely pace and was never rushed. After I finished my meal, there wasn’t much time left on the flight and the plane landed smoothly at Singapore Changi Airport. Vietnam Airlines uses Terminal 4.

Nanning China, Visit in 2019 - Marriot Nanning and more

We visited Nanning, China in 2019. We took GX Airlines (a Chinese Low Cost Airline owned by Hainan Airlines) to and from China.

Singapore to Nanning GX Airlines

Nanning to Singapore GX Airlines

Here are some videos from our visit in Nanning.

China Marriott Hotel Junior Suite Awesome Stay 南宁万豪酒店

Marriott Nanning China! 🇨🇳 We were in Nanning, Guangxi, China! 南宁万豪酒店

Escaped to Nanning, China, for a short break from Singapore. Took GX Airlines (our first time on GX!)

Booked our stay through the Marriott Bonvoy app. They were running a promotion, book an Executive Room and get a free upgrade to a Junior Suite - we did just that! The suite was about 60 sqm in size. It was very comfortable for the two of us and we enjoyed our stay. It even had 2 toilets.

We also enjoyed the Executive Lounge very much, Happy Hour was 5:30pm to 7:30pm every day. Check out my other video for the food selection during Happy Hour.

The location of the hotel was fantastic - directly connected to a very large mall next door, called Han Yang Mall. Also, the subway was nearby (Convention and Exhibition Station on Line 1).

Marriott Nanning Executive Lounge Dinner Hor Fun Soup

Marriott, Nanning, Guangxi China. We stay at the Marriott hotel in Nanning. Booked an Executive Room and got free upgrade to Junior Suite. Super nice.

We had our dinners in the Executive Lounge. Happy Hour was 5:30pm to 7:30pm every day. We were there from 5:30pm, and had a very good dinner every time we went there.

There was a decent selection of hot dishes, as well as cold dishes, and a decent selection of beers and house wine. It was a very enjoyable stay.

Marriott Nanning Breakfast 5 Star Hotel in China 2019
Breakfast! We were in Nanning, and we stayed at the Nanning Marriott for a few nights. Nanning was indeed an up and coming Chinese city. Subway lines were being built at a rapid speed. We came here to take a look at their rapid development.

Yi Ling Caves 伊岭岩 Nanning Guangxi Neon Lights were Fantastic using iPhone 11 Pro Max 南宁
We were in Nanning, Guangxi! Decided to pay a visit to the Yi Ling Caves. The taxi ride took about 45 minutes to Nanning. We got a taxi from our hotel lobby, and the driver said he would wait for us at the attraction. He charged by meter, with no waiting fee, so that was fine with us.

The attraction didn't look busy at all. But we headed here because the reviews on trip advisor were pretty good. We were not disappointed. The part outside was rather tacky, as they were trying to re-create scenes from the Zhuang people (some indigenous folks). Not very interesting. The highlight was to enter the caves itself. Now, be careful, there were many steps to climb, going down and going up. Some parts of the cave were wet, so walk carefully, but overall the path was very safe and half of our group were elderly locals.

The views inside were fantastic. Even though the neon lights made it tacky, it still made for a good show. The guide, dressed in traditional garb, spoke in Mandarin only. So, if you don't understand the language, then all her explanations would mean nothing. Just enjoy the lights!

Stay with the group as the guide will turn on the lights of each cavern, as we moved from point to point. It was a one way street. She repeatedly warned that if you strayed too far behind, the lights would go off, and I guess you would be lost. I don't think she was very interested to ensure that all of us came out, since we were all supposed to take care of ourselves!

Check out the cavern, the neon lights. Video was taken with my iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Green Tea Restaurant Nanning China 南宁绿茶 2019
We were in Nanning, China, for a long weekend. We flew to Nanning on GX Airlines and stayed at the Marriott Nanning. 南宁万豪酒店. There was a mall Han Yang Mall and Subway station (Convention and Exhibition Center) right next to the hotel.

Level 4,5,6 of the Mall had many restaurants. We ate at this chain restaurant called Green Tea. The place was decorated in a Chinese river theme at night. Rather dark place with spotlights on your table.

There were only 2 of us. So we ordered 3 dishes - signature fried rice, grilled chicken and fresh prawns. The food was a lot! Thankfully I was hungry, so I ate most of the food. Yummy and delicious!

MIXC Nanning Mall China plus McDonald’s Angus Burger with pineapple 南宁 2019
Nanning, Guangxi, China. We were at this mall called the MIXC mall, which was the newest mall in Nanning, China. It is also located next to a metro station. We were in Nanning, China. Flew here from Singapore on GX Airlines (low cost). Stayed at the 5 star Marriott Nanning for 3 nights. It was a quick getaway from Singapore. Awesome!

Scenes from Nanning Subway

We were in Nanning, China! The metro system was quite new and still expanding. We took the metro around. Very cool and modern. China is expanding and growing very fast. The year is 2019.

Singapore Merlion Totem Pole in China! Nanning, Guangxi Mt Qingxiu [Unexpected Find]

Check out the Singapore Merlion Totem pole in Nanning China! An unexpected find. We were in Nanning, China. Today, we headed to the Qing Xiu mountain, which frankly isn't a mountain but more like a cluster of small hills.

The Qingxiu Mountain (or Qing Mountain, Taiqin Peak), is situated on the bank of the Yongjiang River and about 9 kilometers away from the southeast of Nanning City, provincial capital of Guangxi. It stretches more than 4.07 square kilometers with an altitude of about 82 meters to 189 meters above sea level and consists of 18 peaks including Qingshan Peak and Phenix Peak. Although not particular high, the Qingxiu Mountain developed as a famous summer resort and scenic spot in this area for centuries. Proclaimed as 'Giant Lung” of Nanning city, it is renowned for its pleasant climate, culture charm and marvelous green scenery for all four seasons. A pagoda was built on the peak in Ming Dynasty and defined as the avatar of Qingxiu Mountain. Surrounded by thick and bosky trees and precipitous rocks, two artificial pools - Tianchi(天池, Heaven Pool ) and Yaochi(瑶池, Jade Pool) afford more enchanting sights than you imagine when walking on the way to peak. More than 1,200,000 visitors flock to the Qingxiu Mountain of Nanning City each year, it becomes one of the most popular tourist destinations in Guangxi.

We spent a few hours here, riding around on an electric bus system (we bought an unlimited one-day ticket). In this video, we chance upon some ASEAN-China garden, and the ASEAN countries were depicted with different totem poles. The Merlion Totem pole represented Singapore.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Chin Huat Live Seafood @ Sunset Way Clementi Street 12

Chin Huat Live Seafood @ Sunset Way. We go to this restaurant for lunch now and then. The set is not bad. Videos below give a glimpse of what we ate.

2019 - Seafood and beef dinner.
The dishes we had included:
1. Lobster Bee Hoon (Bee Hoon was full of wok hei!)
2. Crabs, cooked in 3 ways - pumpkin sauce, chilli crab, salted egg yolk, plus man tou
3. Coffee infused spare ribs (tender and fatty!)
4. Fried squid
5. Wagyu Beef slices
6. Roast Chicken
7. Yam Ring
8. Tofu and Veggies (2 types)
9. Dessert was Pudding with Ice cream in Fresh young coconut.

2021 - we started to eat their set lunches.

2021 - Silver Seafood Hor Fun

2021 - Pork with Rice

Premier Inn UK December 2021 Holiday Video Clips

We stayed most at the UK hotel chain called Premier Inn for our Dec 2021 trip to the UK. On this page, I'll put up the Youtube videos of the Premier Inns that we stayed at.

Bristol City Centre (King Street) Premier Inn
On the day of arrival, we picked up a rental car and drove 100+ miles to Bristol. We stayed at the Premier Inn Bristol King's Street for one night. This video shows you the room and the breakfast. This hotel is next to Bristol Harbourside with stunning views of the river. The restaurant was next door.

This Premier Inn had no on-site parking, so I had to park at a nearby Bristol Queen Charlotte Street NCP Carpark.

Ebbw Vale, Premier Inn
The next Premier Inn we stayed at was in Wales, at Ebbw Vale, for 2 nights. There was free on-site parking for this Premier Inn. In fact, from the parking lot, the surrounding views were excellent. We were in some sort of Valley, as you will be able to see. With a rental car, this Premier Inn was quite convenient as there were supermarkets and fast food chains nearby (within 1 to 2 miles).

For our dinners, we opted to get takeaways from a nearby Chinese Takeaway called Smiling Valley. For the first night, we walked there! Check out my video.

to be continued...

Crave Nasi Lemak over the years Singapore

This blog page is to showcase all the videos I've made on Crave Nasi Lemak over the years. I just realised that I have made a total of 9 videos so far! Let me start with the oldest to the newest.

2016 Crave Nasi Lemak @ Orchard ION

2018 Crave Nasi Lemak from Orchard ION (again!)

2018 Crave NASI LEMAK stall at NUH Kent Ridge Wing

2020- Nasi Lemak from Crave plus Chee Cheong Fun from Qiji 29 Feb 2020

2020- Day 31 of Circuit Breaker Star Vista Mall CRAVE Nasi Lemak and Long Queue at Phoon Huat!

2020- Day 41 of Circuit Breaker Crave Nasi Lemak Nene Korean Chicken and Heavy Rain in Singapore

2020- Chicken Cutlet Nasi Lemak Crave Nasi Lemak Singapore

2021- Crave Nasi Lemak Curry Chicken! 2 for $10 Offer in Dec 2021

2021 -Crave Nasi Lemak Chicken Cutlet


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Difference in Flying COVID versus Pre-COVID - Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 Experience 6 years apart!

We fly to London during COVID! December 2021. Ever wondered about the difference between flying in COVID and pre-COVID? I highlight the differences in the 2 SQ317 Airbus A380 flights we took, comparing the 2015 flight versus the 2021 flight. Wow, 6 years apart! Watch this to find out more!

Alright here is the full flight review of these 2 flights.
First, the more recent one - SQ 317 London Heathrow to Singapore in December 2021. We had the chance to do some travelling during COVID to the UK. This was our flight home. Enjoy the flight!

And, the flight from 2015 on the SG50 Airbus A380. A blast from the past!!

Part 1

Part 2

Boarding the Singapore Airlines SG50 Airbus A380 Aircraft!