South-East Asia Islands & Peninsula FAQ
Replies: 86 - Last Post: May 14, 2013 12:49 AM Last Post By: peterhargrave
Nov 5, 2006 1:39 PM
30Where’s the best place to get electronics in Singapore?
Well, take a guess. It’s not Orchard Road. It’s not Chinatown. Its definitely not Sentosa. Its not even Funan Centre (if some tourist guide has been telling you that). If you’re in the know, then the absolute best place to buy electronics in Singapore has got to be Sim Lim Square.
This amazing place stocks everything you can image in the world of technology – digital cameras, camcorders, computers, motherboards, graphics cards iPods, memory cards – the list goes on and on.
How To Get There
How do you get there? Simple. Just hop into any cab, tell the driver ‘Sim Lim Square’ and he or she will straightaway give you a knowing look and drive you there. I wouldn’t recommend going by bus or MRT because the roads around the place can be pretty crowded.
Upon entering Sim Lim Square on the first level, you will be greeted by a plethora of consumer electronics stores. These sell camcorders, digital cameras, TVs and the like. I’d be careful if you shop around this floor thought. I do know of some unscrupulous shops on this floor, especially those selling TVs. So if you’re smart, you’d want to head up to the higher levels and do more shopping around before you make a definite purchase.
Up on level 2, there are more consumer electronics shops. Again, these sell all those camcorders, digital camera and TVs. I’m not sure about the reliability of these shops – again, its best to shop around.
Buying Computer Hardware
You may wonder why I even recommend Sim Lim Square if the first two levels have ‘suspicious’ shop owners. Well, its because Sim Lim Square is best known for its computer components – not consumer electronics.
You’ll see this once you get to Level 3, 4 and 5. These levels are chockfull of computer parts. We’re talking about computer CPUs, motherboard, graphic cards, hard drives, CD-ROM drives, DVD drives and custom built computers. There is nothing in a computer that you cannot find in Sim Lim Square. Period.
I usually buy my computers form a good shop on Level 3 called Fuwell. This place is usually crowded, but its prices are very reasonable. Moreover I find the staff friendly and they have a huge variety of products. Looking for a portable hard drive? This is the shop to visit. Looking for a DVD writer or a graphics card? Fuwell is the place to go.
Buying Computer Software
There are many other shops around that are good. Of particular mention is the Software Discount Store, where you can find lots of computer software titles and PC games. If you’re looking for Xbox or console games, Sim Lim Square isn’t really the place. Sim Lim Square is more for PC games. Another thing – don’t expect to find pirated versions of computer software here – the authorities have raided Sim Lim Square repeatedly a few years back and now shops are all gone.
And that’s it! If you ever need to buy computer related goods, Sim Lim Square is the place to go. Its pretty near town, and it stocks many good bargains. Another place you an consider is Funan Centre – it also sells many computer related items. However, do prepare to pay slightly more there as Funan centre is generally considered to be a higher end computer mall. Happy shopping!
Nov 13, 2006 4:48 AM
Nov 20, 2006 11:05 AM
323 Museums That You Must Visit in Singapore
Are you in Singapore for a holiday? If you are, you most probably want to visit one of the famous museums in the city. Singapore is a storehouse of many of the world’s rare Asian art treasures – the epitome of culture and history in this part of the world. So check out these 3 museums which you absolute must visit when you’re in the city.
1. Asian Civilizations Museum
The Asian Civilizations Museum stores some of the world’s most precious Asian art treasures. Whether it is a display of Chinese antiques and statues from Beijing, or Japanese ancient face masks, you’ll be sure to find the best of Asian arts in this place. If I had to pick one place to visit out of the three in this list, the Asian Civilizations Museum would be it. So you definitely must check it out.
2. Battle Box, Fort Canning Park
This interesting place lies at the top of Fort Canning Park. You may want to visit it after a long day shopping along Orchard Road. It’s a pretty long walk up the hill though, so be sure you bring lots of water and some snacks.
A good way to enjoy it is to reserve a full afternoon for visiting. Fort Canning used to be a defence station for the island of Singapore – you’ll find all manner of interesting exhibits on display at this place.
3. Singapore Art Museum
The Singapore Art Museum is another exquisite historical museum that you should visit. Housing art works and sculptures by famous artists, you will find all manner of art exhibits that are worth your while.
If you’re an art enthusiast, this place is a must-visit. I’d even recommend visiting this place along with the Asian Civilizations Museum in one day if you’re keen.
Well, now you know three of the best museums in Singapore. Make sure you visit them if you’re interested in arts, history and culture. It’s a great experience – you need to reserve time to drop by these places the next time you’re in town.
Nov 20, 2006 11:16 AM
33How To Go On A Nature Walk In Singapore
Do you crave nature walks? Are you a fan of trudging through the forest and listening to the sounds of nature? The crying of monkeys and the smell of fresh grass? Well, you’re in luck because Singapore has some great places for the nature lover to check out.
Here, we’ll talk about some of the green areas in this island city where you can experience nature to your heart’s content.
Contrary to popular belief, many tourists think that Singapore is nothing but a concrete jungle – a super modernized urban city. True in some ways – but if you explore enough, you’ll find many pockets of natural scenery which have not fallen prey to the urbanization process.
1. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Let’s talk about one of the most prominent nature reserves in Singapore – the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Home to the tallest ‘hill’ in Singapore, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the best place to go trekking on a sunny afternoon. There are steps up the hill which are usually dotted with young travelers, backpackers, or even students out on a field trip.
You can see the odd monkey or two, as well as listen and experience the sights and sounds of nature. Its kinda odd, because this nature reserve is right smack in the middle of this ultramodern city – but it does provide a good respite from the hassles and trials of city living.
2. Fort Canning Park
Next up is Fort Canning Park. This place often sees outdoor concerts and couples taking their wedding photographs. A very scenic area, filled with trees and colonial style buildings and arches – this place is worth checking out if you ever want to know or experience what colonial life was like in Singapore.
Trudge through the old steps up to the top of the hill in the park and you’ll almost feel like an emissary from the British East India Company in the 18th century!
3. Chek Jawa
If you’re interested in marine life and want to venture out of the main Singapore island for a while, the best place to go (besides Sentosa island) is Chek Jawa. A treasure trove of marine wildlife, Chek Jawa is a favorite haunt of bird watchers and nature lovers. You have to take a short ferry trip to the island of Pulau Ubin and from there, move on to its eastern tip to find this little area.
4. East Coast Park
Another place worth checking out is of course East Coast Park. Long seen to be a favorite spot for youngsters and beach lovers, this park is one of the most popular nature sites for Singaporeans. Take a stroll along the beach, cycle down the cyclist pathways, or even taste some seafood near the jetty. East Coast Park is one of the best places for understanding what Singaporeans do when they want some sun! On weekends, this place is filled to the brim with families and friends gathering to do rollerblading, cycle, swim or barbeque.
Well! I hope you’ve seen where some of the most popular nature spots are in sunny Singapore. The next time someone tells you that the city of Singapore doesn’t have any spots for nature lovers – don’t be too quick to believe them. There are spots you can find to enjoy nature – even amid the concrete jungle. Good luck in your search for nature!
Dec 27, 2006 10:54 PM
34Malaysian Version Of Ice Cream
Cendol , short strands of cooked dough made with green pea flour and the green juice of pandan leaves. It is served with shaved ice and plenty of fresh santan (coconut cream) and gula melaka (palm sugar). Cendol can be bought from wandering Indian hawkers who sells the cendol from a giant pot; this was always a welcome treat especially if the weather is very hot.
Nowadays, it is almost impossible to buy a decent bowl of Cendol. Good food start with good ingredients, and in the case of Cendol, here's where things can easily go wrong. Most commercially available cendol is made of an agar-like substance rather than green pea flour, they look like cendol but taste of nothing at all and no matter how much you chew, you can never quite get them soft. As for the other two ingredients, tricks abound to compromise their quality. Santan has to be freshly squeezed from freshly grated coconut. Some people do not mind using pre-packed santan. Well, most cendol stalls would go further and dilute the santan with milk or just rice-flour water, villains. The third ingredient, gula melaka, is almost always contaminated with other cheaper sweeteners like white or brown cane sugar. One version at a Best cendol sellers among others are Peranakan restaurant Auntie Lee in Malacca, another at a famous cendol stall at Jonker Street, also in Malacca, and finally an upmarket, higher-priced version at Madam Kwan's in Bangsar.
Jan 29, 2007 2:51 PM
35Buying Malarone in SEA: a frequent question is whether or not Malarone is available in Southeast Asia. It is available in Singapore and Hong Kong. A prescription is required in Singapore and not all doctors may be familiar with it. A poster on the Health Branch reported that the cost was similar to elsewhere.
Information on obtaining it in Hong Kong, including cost, is in post #40 in the Health branch FAQ.
Do not confuse Malarone with Malar*I*ne which is sold in Cambodia to treat malaria. They are not the same drug.
Apr 4, 2007 3:11 PM
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Jun 14, 2007 5:45 AM
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Aug 12, 2007 6:24 AM
When arriving in Manila you will be arriving one of two places:
1. Angeles City - Clark Airport
2. Manila - Naia International Airport
If you arrive in Angeles, you are probably travelling with AirAsia or Tiger Airways, there will be busses outside taking you to SM Megamall in Manila. The bus will cost around 3-400 peso. A taxi can be hired for the whole trip, about 3000 peso. This is not advisable. The bus takes about 2 hours plus traffic in Manila to arrive. This is the best option for most people.
If you arrive in Naia you can get a pre paid taxi for around 400-600 peso. This is far overpriced however. When you get through customs you can walk some stairs upstairs where you will get to departures. Here you can get a normal taxi which will cost 150-200 depending on where you are going.
Taxi and transportation general tips.
1. Always get taxi driver to use meter, also when there is traffic, it is late, it is early, whatever - ALWAYS use the meter - The taxi drivers have no excuse not to use it.
For example when you arrive as a tourist most drievrs will try to suggest 300 - 400 - 500 peso for trips that would cost 50-100 peso on the meter. Therefore ONLY use meter and just get out immediately if they refuse or hesitate. Just get out. NEVER bargain about price.
2. Some taxis are rigged to charge more on purpose. Watch the meter, you will see distance counting. Every 300 meter, on the meter 0.3, is 2.5 peso. Then there is some charge for waiting. If the meter is charging very 100 meter for example, then the taxi is rigged. Usually never pay more than 150-200 even for trips across the city. If you suspect the taxi is rigged get out or alternatively tell the driver when you arrive that maybe it is a little much and just give him 200 peso while smiling.
3. Only tip 20 peso and so. NEVER tip just because they tell you to. The drivers who ask for tip in advance are the ones who will try to cheat. Tip the drivers who are decent. Some drivers will tell you different stories about their lack of money and so on, or their friends. As a general rule a driver is only testing you for profit, he is not being friendly. Seriously do not believe most of what they will tell
4. If you feel something is wrong, trust that instinct. Accidents do happen and kidnappings and so on still occur, even though it is not so likely to happen. Be careful.
The LRTMRT is the metro subway system it will take you from Malate to Makati and back. To do this you will have to go south to EDSA with the LRT and then interchange to get to MRT. This is very affordable way of getting around 12 peso per one way trip. It is usually very crowded so be carefull about your belongings. Do not put money in back pockets.
Jeepneys: Not advisable for tourist without company if you do not know the routes. Otehrwise get in pay the driver and tell him to stop when you get of.
Where to stay in Manila:
Basically there are two places to stay in Manila:
2. Malate Ermita
Makati is the business district and has lots of malls and good entertainment and nightlife. Most hotels here are from 30$ up. Safe and clean and probably easier for first time visitiors.
Malate and Ermita is the traditional night life and tourist spot. Can be very chaotic and noisy. Both lower price accomodation and upper. Malate and Ermita is close to sights such as Intramuros and Baywalk and there is also Robinsons for shopping.
Other general tips:
As always in SE Asia be very aware of scams. Philippines is probably less so than for example Thailand but you shpuld be aware that if you look like a tourist then you are a walking ATM machine to many locals. Dont speak to friendly strangers.
Food. Filipino food is excellent once gotten used too. There are many street places selling food, just check that dishes are hot and that the place is clean.
Expect Filipinos to be easy to get along with. With a little patience almost anything is possible. It might take a while, but generally smile and be patient and our wish is usually granted. Important to remember when dealing with immigration and other authorities.
Enjoy - The Filipinos are fun and warm people and generally easy going.
Sep 3, 2007 4:16 AM
Sep 23, 2007 10:23 AM
40Laszlo you have provided some great information about Camp Leakey area and I accept it may be the more "touristed" parts of Kalimantan orangutan centres .. but do you have any advice as to whether the area is suitable for children aged 7 & 8 years ? I can't get any information as to suitability and/or things for kids in the region.
Nov 4, 2007 12:55 AM
41ONWARD TICKET REQUIREMENTS INDONESIA.
This gets asked about again and again.
If arriving by ferry to DUMAI , BEALWAN (port for Medan) and BATAM immigration doesn't bother to ask about tickets and when departing to these ports the ferry staff are also not interested in whether you have outbound ticket , they are only interested that you are correct nationality to qualify for VOA.
PADANG AIRPORT , the weight of evidence is that immigration doesn't ask for tickets when arriving here.
MEDAN AIRPORT . The staff here have had bad reputaion of hassling or trying to bribe people about not having ticket out . However recent posts have reported no trouble . If in doubt take the ferry instead.
JAKARTA . Some regular travellers say they are asked about tickets about half the time , some say only rarely . According to one regular visitor , he just fobs them off with telling them he has e ticket , and they have never asked him to prove it.
ATTITUDE OF AIRLINES .
If flying to Indonesia from Europe or Australia etc , there is risk of being denied boarding if travelling with no visa or onward ticket .
If flying from Singapore , Bangkok or KL , much less likely to have problem with airline staff . Its quite coomon for people to fly from these cities with no outward ticket , haven't heard of anyone having trouble and have asked numerous travellers in Indonesia .
INDONESIAN EMBASSY KL . Has idiotic requirement that you have to show onward air ticket to get 2 month visa . Travel agents in KL can print up fake E ticket itinery to show the embassy , or do it yourself on computer.
INDONESIAN EMBASSY BANGKOK , also has onward ticket requirement , but its possible to talk them out of it.
Nov 30, 2007 7:48 PM
Feb 7, 2008 7:05 PM
I think you have to be careful telling people that you do not need an onward ticket. They may not have asked you when you went through but in theory they can and DO ask some people....I for one have been asked in the past on the Penang-Medan leg. On many different websites, including a lot of the Indonesian embassy sites it clearly state.
Proof of a return ticket, or a ticket to continue travel to another country (or Travel itinerary issued by a Travel Agent)
As I have mentioned in other posts you can get around this by being prepared to pay the official off or by making up your own e-ticket with correct dates,times,flight numbers etc.
Feb 8, 2008 6:44 PM
No , the weight of evidence is that when arriving by boat , there is little risk of being asked for ticket . Its not just my experience but many peoples experience. When arriving by air to Jakarta or Bali , they do ask sometimes , but by ferry to Sumatra and Batam there is little risk. You are right they are the formal rules , but what the rules say in theory and what happens in reality are different things.
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