Sunday, March 31, 2013


Singapore-based low-cost long-haul airline Scoot unveiled Tap-and-Scoot that allows a seamless journey from public transport to Scoot flights! Scoot introduced Tap-and-Scoot today, an new technology allowing guests to enjoy a seamless journey from bus or MRT to Scoot flights. This new partnership with EZ-Link will enable guests to hop off the bus or MRT at Changi Airport and directly board on Scoot flights without checking in at the counter! Details will be announced shortly and Tap-and-Scoot will be rolled out on 31 April 2013, pending details such as erection of gantries and tapping machines for payment at Changi Airport will be announced soon.

The EZ-Link card is a contact-less smart card based on the Sony FeliCa smart-card technology and used for the payment of public transportation fares in Singapore, with limited use in the small payments retail sector. Established in 2001, it was promoted as the means for speedier boarding times on buses. An Adult EZ-Link card costs S$12, inclusive of a S$5 non-refundable card cost and a S$10 card value. EZ-Link cards are sold, distributed and managed by EZ-Link Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of Singapore's Land Transport Authority.

Scoot operates medium and long haul no-frills flights between Singapore and Sydney, Gold Coast, Bangkok, Tianjin, Taipei and Tokyo, with Shenyang and Qingdao commencing in November 2013. Scoot's aircraft are operated in a two-class configuration, ScootBiz and Economy.

4G prepaid data service in Singapore by M1

Singapore's first 4G prepaid data service, M1 4G Prepaid Data, is announced by M1 Limited (M1). According to a statement released by M1, with the M1 4G Prepaid Data, M1 prepaid customers can now enjoy faster data access on their tablets and other mobile devices on M1's nationwide 4G network, with theoretical download speeds of up to 75Mbps(*). The M1 4G Prepaid Data is available at S$18 and comes with 1GB of local data, valid for 30 days' usage or upon completion of data bundle. Available through a Micro or Nano SIM card, customers can easily top up the M1 4G Prepaid Data via the M1 top-up card or a credit card.

"Leveraging on our nationwide 4G network, we are pleased to offer Singapore's first 4G prepaid broadband service. Our prepaid customers will now be able to enjoy ultra-fast nationwide 4G data access and an enhanced mobile experience," said Mr P. Subramaniam, Chief Marketing Officer, M1 Limited.

The new M1 4G Prepaid Data is available for purchase at all M1 Shops and exclusive dealer shops. You can visit for more information.

* M1 4G mobile broadband service is available everywhere in Singapore (with typical download speeds at fixed locations ranging from 10.3Mbps to 21.6Mbps) except in MRT and tunnels, where there will be 3G network (with theoretical 3G download speeds of up to 21Mbps and upload of 5.76Mbps). We will continue to enhance and expand our 4G network coverage.

Sony Xperia Z in Singapore

Sony is back alive and kicking as their new touchscreen enabled, full HD Android flagship high-end smartphone Sony Xperia Z showed. Sony Xperia Z is available in Singapore since March 1 2013 with a price of S$988 without contract. This Android monster is equipped with 1.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 5.0" 1080p TFT display, 13 megapixel main camera, Lithium-ion battery of 2,330mAh and supports 4G and LTE.

Xperia Z has been released in February 2013 and up to now received mostly positive reviews from critics:

"The Sony Xperia Z combines looks, power and connectivity to supply one of the most impressive Android experiences we've seen in quite some time. The lack of Android 4.2 at launch is unfortunate and that 5-inch screen isn't going to suit everyone, but there's little room for complaint elsewhere. This is easily Sony's best phone yet, and one of the best Android phones ever released." - Damien McFerren of CNET who gave the phone 4 and a half stars out of five.

Sony Xperia Z was released just a few days after Samsung Galaxy S4 was announced (which will be available in April around the world and in May in Singapore). Although Samsung Galaxy S4 will probably be a big seller due to Samsung's popularity, Sony Xperia Z offers equally fine mobile experience and will keep its users as satisfied and happy with their choices as Samsung Galaxy S4. Here is a comparison of both phones.

Sony Xperia Z has received very positive reviews
since it was launched in Feb 2013.
All 3 Singapore telcos offer contract plans for Sony Xperia Z:

SingTel offers several plan options for Sony XPeria Z starting from Flexi Lite ($388 for phone and $39.9 per month contract) to Flexi Premium (phone comes free with $204.99 per month contract payment). SingTel Sony XPeria Z contract plan options and details are here.

StarHub offers Sony Xperia Z at $198 with SmartSurf Value plan.

M1 sells Sony Xperia Z for $498 with SunSaver Plan and above.

Costa Cruises Cruise Promotion 2013: Costa Atlantica Kids Cruise Free

Costa Cruises' Costa Atlantica is coming to offer "Venice at Sea” experience on-board.  This award winning large cruise ship with 1,057 cabins is due to join its sister Costa Victoria in Asia this spring and will sail in South East Asea waters.

Cruising with Costa Atlantica will be very family friendly and offers the best cruise deal for a Family Holiday! Families will be able to extra savings by taking advantage of the incredible Kids Cruise Free program, with up to two kids under 18 years old travel free with their parents (cabin-sharing). Parents can some fun together with their kids by participating in fun games and activities like bingo, talent show or karaoke.

Below is the cruise program of Costa Atlantica.

Colours of Far East on Costa Atlantica
Singapore & Malaysia
This 4 days 3 nights cruises departing from Singapore will visit Malacca and Penang Georgetown in Malaysia before returning back to Singapore. Departure dates are:
  • May 08th 2013
  • May 15th 2013
  • May 22nd 2013
  • May 29th 2013
  • June 5th 2013
Costa Atlantica
Singapore, Thailand & Malaysia
This 5 days 4 nights cruises departing from Singapore will spend its first days cruising to arrive Phuket on the 3rd day of the cruise and visit Langkawi in Malaysia before coming back to Singapore. Departure dates are:
  • May 04th 2013
  • May 11th 2013
  • May 18th 2013
  • May 25th 2013
  • June 1st 2013
  • June 8th 2013
Costa Atlantica features 1,057 cabins, including 54 suites with private balcony including Panorama Suite and Grand Suite, 620 cabins with private balcony, 167 external cabins and 212 inside cabins; over 65% of the cabins are equipped with a balcony, allowing guests to fully immerse in a tranquil journey at sea. 

Mandarin Oriental Singapore received the Forbes Five Star designation in both hotel and spa categories

Mandarin Oriental Singapore, a 5-Star luxurious hotel in Marina Bay area, became the only hotel in Singapore to receive the Forbes Five Star designation in both hotel and spa categories in the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide for two consecutive years (2012 and 2013).

In recognition of this accolade, the hotel is offering a Five Star Celebration package, with room rates from SGD 1850 per person. The star-studded package allows guests to enjoy luxury accommodation in a suite with panoramic views of Marina Bay and exclusive Oriental Club privileges, as well as dining and spa treats.

The Five Star Celebration package includes:
  • Round-trip limousine transfers
  • Two nights’ accommodation in an exclusive Club Harbour Suite with Club benefits
  • A welcome bottle of Ruinart R de Ruinart Brut NV Champagne served in-suite
  • A five course wine pairing degustation menu for dinner at award-winning Dolce Vita
  • An indulgent Mandarin Oriental Signature Spa Therapy experience (2 hours 50 minutes) inclusive of a private therapist consultation
  • A keepsake gift from The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
Room rates start at SGD 1,850 for one person and SGD 2,270 for two persons and require a minimum two-night stay. The Five Star Celebration package is available from 15 March 2013 to 15 May 2013. For reservations, visit, or e-mail or call +65-6885 3030. Rates are subject to 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes.

Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Mandarin Oriental Singapore has a prime location, close to the financial hub with easy access to luxury boutiques and entertainment venues; and minutes away from Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Sands Expo and Convention Center, Suntec City, Millenia Walk and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. The hotel features an impressive atrium lobby with 527 rooms and suites. There is a premium Oriental Club Lounge, an indulgent and intimate spa, extensive meeting and banqueting facilities, five renowned restaurants and a lounge overlooking spectacular Marina Bay.  Mandarin Oriental, Singapore has recently been voted one of “T+L 500 World’s Best Hotels 2013” by Travel + Leisure USA and recognised as one of the top 20 hotels in South East Asia in the Condé Nast Traveler 2012 Readers’ Choice Award.

Mandarin Oriental Singapore is not the only luxury Singapore hotel which has received 5-Star from Forbes Travel Guide in 2013. The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore and Capella Singapore on Sentosa Island has also received 5-Stars. On the other hand 4 more hotels from Singapore were awarded with 4-Stars: Fairmont SingaporeFour Seasons Hotel SingaporeShangri-La Hotel Singapore and The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cruises take the top spot for easter 2013 says Costa Cruises

Cruises are one of the vacation destinations of choice for Easter. Costa Cruises, Italy’s largest tourism group and Europe’s no. 1 cruise company, has received about 15% more bookings for Easter 2013 departures from Guests who have chosen the Italian company’s ships compared to Easter 2012 figures.

Costa Cruises, the only cruise company flying the Italian flag, is offering cruises in the Mediterranean with 4 ships of the fleet for Easter 2013. The Costa Favolosa departed on March 25 for a 1-week “Sunshine cities” cruise to the most beautiful cities in the western Mediterranean: Savona, Barcelona, Palma de Majorca, Malta, Catania and Naples. The Costa Magica departed on March 25 for a 1-week cruise to the cities of art and crystalline seas in the eastern Mediterranean, with calls to Savona, Naples, Athens-Piraeus, Olympia-Katakolo, Corfu, Dubrovnik and Venice. The Costa Mediterranea will depart from Savona on March 28 for a 6-day “Lime Green” mini-cruise to must-see destinations like Barcelona, Palma, Ajaccio and Marseilles. Then, the Costa Pacifica will depart from Savona on March 30 for a 1-week “Scent of Citrus” cruise to the most characteristic destinations in the western Mediterranean: Marseilles, Barcelona, Palma de Majorca, Cagliari, Palermo and Civitavecchia/Rome.

For next Easter, that this year falls during what is still a good time for visiting exotic estinations, Costa Cruises also offers 1-week cruises to discover the “Pearls of the Caribbean”, the most beautiful islands of the Caribbean, on board the Costa Luminosa, as well as the “The thousands and one nights” cruise, again a 1-week voyage to the Arab Emirates and Oman with departure from Dubai on board the Costa Atlantica and the Costa Classica.

Costa Cruises' Costa Pacifica Cruise Ship
The Easter cruises will coincide with an important celebration for the company: March 31, 2013 marks the 65th anniversary of Costa Cruises. To celebrate the anniversary initiatives dedicated to Guests will be held on board all 14 ships of the fleet. The purpose is to focus on an important milestone of a company that, in 65 years, has shared memorable moments with millions of Guests, and continues to look toward the future encouraged and support by its clients’ constant appreciation.

In general, some of the most popular spring 2013 itineraries include short cruises on board the Costa Mediterranea, the Costa Serena and the Costa Deliziosa. The objective of this mini-cruise format is to give even those with only a few days of vacation the chance to discover all the pleasure of a fun-filled and entertaining cruise.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Harmoni One Convention Hotel & Serviced Apartments - Batam Island

Just 20 km and a 45 minute ferry ride from Singapore, Indonesia's Batam Island, is the nearest and one of the most popular holiday destinations for Singaporeans. It is ideal for a weekend getaway destination from Singapore. With the proximity,  Batam also offers something like a staycation with some hotels providing excellent facilities and relaxed environment for Singaporean visitors.

If you are looking for a classic , elegant, and comfortable hotel in Batam with relatively low budget, Harmoni One Convention Hotel and Service Apartments offers a very good alternative. The hotel which is designed like a little palace offers 292 hotel rooms and suites. There are 9 spaciously designed VIP accommodations & Presidential Suite, each equipped with a personal whirlpool and private pool.

The most distinctive feature of Harmoni One Hotel is its huge and welcoming main lobby. Although a lot of space is wasted for this huge entrance, rooms are still spacious. The staff is quite helpful in all parts of the hotel. There is a main swimming pool (a little dip) and  a Jacuzzi.

One of the most popular ways to visit Batam and stay in this hotel is buying a coupon from one of the deal websites. For example currently, has a 2D1N Batam Stay at Harmoni One International Convention Hotel which includes 2-Way ferry ticket from Singapore, return land transfer, authentic Indo buffet lunch, Balinese Massage (for adult) or Bird's Nest Soup (for child) and RP 100,000 shopping vouchers consisting of shopping discount vouchers (RP 50,000 off at First outlet with minimum purchase RP 200,000; not exchangeable for cash & non-refundable if unused).

Harmoni One Hotel Batam Island
Hotel's location is not the very best feature of it but it offers service to 3 shopping centers at town (call for booking for these service and the latest time from Nagoya is 8.40 pm).  Harmoni One Hotel is 15 minutes walk to Mega Mall, but it's quite far from Nagoya.

  • There is an Italian restaurant just one road away from the hotel. Food and service is great with  entertainment by the live band.
  • Call for booking for bus services to shopping malls in Town center. The last returning service from Nagoya is 8:40 pm.
Other popular hotels in Batam:  

The BCC Hotel & Residence

I Hotel Batam

HARRIS Hotel Batam Center

Montigo Resorts Nongsa

Royal Caribbean's Oasis Of The Seas to sail Europe in 2014

Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas, one of the world’s largest cruise ship, will be sailing Europe for a short autumn season in 2014. Renowned worldwide for its award-winning Caribbean cruise vacations, Oasis of the Seas now will offer a sampling of its unrivaled Oasis-class experience in Europe. Oasis of the Seas’ 2014 Europe season will open for sale on Apr. 11, 2013.

Oasis of the Seas has been delivered to  Royal Caribbean International in October 2009 and  become the largest cruise ship in the world at that time. ( Royal Caribbean's another cruise ship, Allure of the Seas, is 50 millimeters longer than it).

Guests will sail the Atlantic and Western Mediterranean and delight in Oasis-class exclusive amenities and concepts throughout its seven themed neighborhoods, such as an 82 foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, the Rising Tide elevating bar, Broadway musicals, the Aquatheater high-diving performance venue, and Central Park with more than 12,000 live trees and plants. Oasis of the Seas also offers amenities that can only be found on Royal Caribbean, such as twin FlowRider surf simulators, cantilevered whirlpools, an ice-skating rink, the H20 Zone kids aquapark, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques, among many others.

Royal Caribbean’s award-winning family programming also will help ensure that guests of every generation can share in an unforgettable Europe family vacation aboard Oasis of the Seas. The cruise line’s complimentary Adventure Ocean kids program offers ongoing educational and entertaining sessions for three age groups from three- to 11-year-olds, led by college-accredited counselors from 9:00 to 2:00 a.m.  Two curricula for teens age 12 to 17 years offer more organic programming to offer them the flexibility to help shape their day with peers, as well as teen-only sessions on the FlowRider, Rock Wall and Sports Court. Furthermore, Oasis of the Seas also debuted the Royal Babies & Tots Nursery – soon to be fleetwide – that caters to Royal Caribbean’s youngest guests, age six to 36 months old.

 “Nothing can compare to the Oasis-class vacation experience, a testament to Royal Caribbean’s more than 40 years of innovation,” said Lisa Bauer, executive vice president of Global Sales and Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. “Now vacationers can combine Europe’s rich cultures and history with the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship for a regional experience that can only be found on Royal Caribbean. And for those who have always wanted more time to enjoy the myriad activities on Oasis of the Seas, our two trans-Atlantic cruises will offer more than enough time to do everything on board, as well as some surprises along the way.”

Royal Caribbean Oasis Of The Seas will be sailing in Europe for a short autumn season in 2014
Two trans-Atlantic crossings will afford guests the opportunity to experience all of Oasis of the Seas’ unmatched innovative amenities, exclusive entertainment, and variety of dining experiences. On these cruises, guests also will enjoy an exclusive preview of the Quantum-class experience and join in special programs that will amplify the Oasis-class experience. A 12-night eastbound cruise from the ship’s homeport of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Barcelona departs Sept. 1, 2014 and a 13-night westbound cruise will return Oasis of the Seas to Port Everglades from Rotterdam on Oct. 14. Vacationers also can embark the westbound trans-Atlantic cruise at Southampton on Oct. 15.

Guests also can enjoy the world-acclaimed ship on a choice of three Europe sailings. Vacationers can choose among two roundtrip sailings on a five-night Western Mediterranean itinerary from Barcelona, and a seven-night Spain itinerary sailing from Barcelona to Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where Oasis of the Seas will enter drydock in Képpel Verolme shipyard for routine maintenance. Additionally, a two-night Bahamas cruise departing on Aug. 30 and a five-night Western Caribbean cruise departing on Oct. 27, both roundtrip from Port Everglades, will bookend Oasis of the Seas’ short 2014 Europe season.

Launched in December 2009, Oasis of the Seas has been heralded as an architectural marvel at sea, spanning 16 decks, encompassing 225,282 gross registered tons, and has a double-occupancy capacity of 5,400 guests. Oasis of the Seas is first ship to tout the cruise line’s neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, comprising Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.        

 Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 22 innovative ships, calling on more than 270 destinations in 72 countries across six continents. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand. Royal Caribbean provides a world-class vacation experience with a wide range of signature onboard amenities, entertainment, and award-winning family programming.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cheap flights to Seoul from Singapore by Scoot Airlines

Singapore-based low-cost long-haul airline Scoot has announced the launch of its 10th route to Seoul, the only low-cost link between Singapore and the capital and largest metropolis of Korea! Scoot has started to sell tickets for thrice-weekly service (Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays) to Incheon International Airport from 25 March 2013. Flights, which will be operated via Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport will start from 12 June 2013.

In a press release, Scoot's CEO Campbell Wilson, CEO said, “Scoot is thrilled to be the first low-cost airline to fly between Singapore and Seoul, and between Taipei and Seoul! With a population of 11 million, Seoul is vibrant, colourful, and fun, just like Scoot, and has plenty of good food and shopping options too. Scoot is therefore proud to be linking Singapore, Taipei and Seoul, offering budget-conscious travellers great value airfares, empowerment to tailor travel to their own needs, and an entirely new way to bring Kpop fans closer to their favourite Oppa and Unni at the same time. Now, it’s time to get outta here for some real kimchi and Gangnam Style, with a dash of Scootitude of course!"

Scoot currently operates low-cost flights on medium and long-haul routes from Singapore to Sydney, Gold Coast, Bangkok, Tianjin, Taipei and Tokyo, with Shenyang and Qingdao commencing in November in a two-class configuration, ScootBiz and Economy.

Cheap flights from Singapore to Seoul will start from $188.
Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 - Seoul Incheon International Airport Flight Schedules
Flights from Singapore to Seoul 
Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 Depart 1.35pm
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Arrive 6.15pm / Depart 7.15pm
Incheon International Airport Arrive 10.35pm
Flights from Seoul to Singapore
Incheon International Airport Depart 11.45pm
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Arrive 1.25am (+1) / Depart 2.25am (+1)
Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 Arrive 6.45am (+1)

Cruise from Shanghai to Busan, Jeju & Yeosu by SuperStar Gemini from April to October 2013

Star Cruises's new cruise ship in its fleet, SuperStar Gemini, has made a series of inaugural sailings around Asia from Singapore, Penang, Hong Kong and Sanya after a large-scale renovation (the ship has entered the Star Cruises fleet in late 2012). And from April to October 2013, the 1,700-passenger cruise ship will be homeported in Shanghai for the first time and offers over 40 cruises calling at top destinations. Among these ports are the tourist favorites Busan, Jeju and Yeosu. Passengers of SuperStar Gemini will have the option to join shore excursions to visit a number of attractions. Here is a snapshot of the unique excursions that SuperStar Gemini passengers can enjoy.

The second largest metropolis in Korea, Busan offers something for everyone. Taejongdae, a designated Busan monument, is an awe-inspiring rock-formation coastal park accented by lush forest of pine trees and over 200 varieties of trees. The park is centered on its highest peak at 250 meters and features observatory towers, lighthouses and cliffs with a panoramic oceanic view.

In downtown, Busan offers “Spa Land”, an immersive and relaxing sanctuary with a range of spas running with hot spring water originated from 1,000m underground. A favourite for both tourists and local dwellers, Spaland also completes your body healing with 13 distinctively themed saunas and an open-air foot spa.

On Dongbaekseom Island, Nurimaru APEC House is not only a landmark for hosting an APEC summit but also of architectural and aesthetic wonders. Visitors will enjoy the surrounding natural landscape and the 3-story building, a modernistic expression of “jeongja,” a pavilion in traditional Korean architectural style.

SuperStar Gemini
SuperStar Gemini

The southern island of Korea is rich in historical heritage, vibrant local culture and boasts a kaleidoscope of tourist attractions, such as Trick Art Museum, Hanhwa Aqua Planet and Jeju Glass Castle. Fooling our vision, Trick Art Museum renders 2-dimensional wall paintings into 3-dimensional illusion, morphing it into a great place for taking fun photos.

The largest aquarium in Korea, Hanhwa Aqua Planet showcases about 45,000 aquatic animals in 450 different species such as whale sharks, Manta rays, South American sea lions and elephant seals. Jeju Glass Castle is an all-glass art theme park that features the world’s very first glassmade labyrinth, the world’s largest glass ball and largest glass diamond. It exhibits over 250 largescale glass models as well as art masterpieces by internationally famous artists.

Nanta has wooed audiences with its sensational percussion performance based on Korean traditional drumbeats in a kitchen setting. It has become Korea’s most popular stage show since inception in 1997. The free rhythmical movements and dramatized Korean percussion were synthesized into a strikingly comedic stage show where knives and chopping boards become improvised instruments. Its popularity brought it to Broadway and galvanized international rave reviews.

Host of EXPO 2012, Yeosu is a port city blessed with verdant hillsides and a spate of attractions that tourists love. Starting from late April until October this year, the city will host International Garden Exposition in Suncheon Bay, showcasing global garden brilliance in one of the world’s top 5 coastal wetlands.

Suncheonman Bay Ecological Park is vegetated with rolling fields of reeds and is a winter sanctuary for over 140 species of birds, some of them rare varieties.

Beginning from 6 April to October 2013, passengers of SuperStar Gemini will enjoy both the shopping, dining, health care and recreational activities on board, and the above sightseeing selections in shore excursions. For more details, please visit or call +852 2317 7711.

Source : Explore the best of Busan, Jeju & Yeosu in shore excursions with SuperStar Gemini from April to October 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Apply Australia, New Zealand, Britain, USA and Canada in Singapore in a single center

Travellers who need a visa to travel to Australia, New Zealand, Britain, USA and Canada now can apply for  one at a new shared visa application center located at 20 Cecil Street in Singapore Central Business District. The new application center is a Five Country Conference (FCC) initiative under an agreement to share global network of visa application centers.

"The use of shared visa application facilities will save us costs through shared infrastructure and resources and allow us to maintain high levels of service" said British High Commissioner Antony Phillipson. A spokesperson’s for Australia and New Zealand said, “Shared visa application facilities would lead to improved services for clients of each country and would also achieve greater efficiencies through shared infrastructure and staffing. These services will include extended operating hours with phones open until 5pm weekdays, and internet kiosks with an online application tracking facility so clients can view the status of their applications. Savings achieved this way are ultimately able to be passed on to our clients. All applications will continue to be assessed and decided by immigration staff at both the Australian and New Zealand high commissions. VAC staff will not be involved in decisions or have any knowledge of application outcomes.”

5CC Visa Application Centre (VAC) address is 20, Cecil Street, #11-02 to 05, Equity Plaza, Singapore 049705. The key features of the 5CC VAC will be:
  • Dedicated counters for applicants and travel agents
  • Biometric enrolments (For UK currently)
  • Dedicated call centre to answer queries and status of application
  • Online appointment system and tracking of application status
  • Dedicated websites to provide information on visa categories, fees, application forms, etc.
  • SMS alert for visa status update on mobile phones
  • Door step delivery of passports
The VAC will remain open from 08:00 to 16:00 from Monday-Friday, keeping in mind the convenience of the applicants. There is a service fee, payable at the time of application, to use the VAC service.

Ascott Serviced Residence in Paris opened

World's largest international serviced residence owner-operator The Ascott Limited has opened has opened Citadines Suites Louvre Paris, its first property under the Suites label in the heart of Paris. Citadines Suites is a new label under Singapore-based Ascott’s Citadines brand that complements its existing Citadines Prestige and Citadines Apart’hotel labels. These properties are designed as a boutique-style luxury residence. Citadines Suites provides an exceptional location and intimate ambience, personalised services, quality facilities, and optimum comfort for guests away from home.

Ascott has spent €5.9 million and nine-months to transform the property into a stunning serviced residence with 51 luxurious apartment suites, while preserving the historic building’s unique European features.

Mr Tan Choon Kwang, Ascott’s Managing Director for Europe, said: “We are proud and excited to open our first property under the Citadines Suites label. Our Citadines brand pioneered the serviced residence industry in France in 1984 and has established a strong reputation. The creation of Citadines Suites complements our Ascott brand and Citadines Apart’hotel and Prestige labels in Europe, giving travellers more options. Citadines Suites offers luxurious accommodation for discerning business and leisure travellers by providing a unique environment and memorable experience through personalised and seamless services.”

Citadines Suites Louvre Paris

Citadines Suites Louvre Paris is located in one of the most elegant areas of Paris that is ideal for business and leisure trips. The serviced residence adjoins the Palais Royal and Comédie Française Theatre and is just a stone’s throw away from the Louvre museum and Opéra Garnier House. It is within walking distance from many of the city’s leading attractions, a wide variety of restaurants, top-end boutiques and antique shops, and is equally close to the business district, Paris Stock Exchange and government offices.

The seven-storey building with a striking Art Nouveau stone façade a dorned with classic Parisian balconies, sculptures and colonnades dates back to 1908. The stylish and exquisite interior décor, which is meticulously designed to perfection by leading British designer BuckleyGrayYeoman, is enhanced by fine quality furnishings and amenities. There are four suite categories: Première, Exclusive, Grande and Royale. All Exclusive and Royale suites have a balcony that offers unsurpassed views of the Comédie Française Theatre or Louvre museum.

Facade of Citadines Suites Louvre Paris
The fully-equipped kitchen in every suite comes with bone china dinnerware, a Nespresso® coffee machine, washing machine and dryer. There is also a special welcome set which includes coffee and tea capsules, mineral water, L’Occitane® bath and shower products, bathrobes and bedroom slippers. Each apartment has an iPad® / iPod® / iPhone® docking station and complimentary WiFi is available throughout the serviced residence.

Besides an extensive range of services, guests are welcomed on arrival by a dedicated team of Citadines Suites Hosts who will be on hand 24-hours a day to assist with their requests. Guests can also enjoy extensive facilities including a gymnasium, chic lounge, avant-garde breakfast room that comes with sofas and low tables, and a high-tech business corner with a 27” iMac® and an AirPrint® printer.

As with all new properties in Ascott’s global portfolio, Citadines Suites Louvre Paris has been built to be a sustainable residence that is both comfortable and resource and energy efficient. The property’s environment-friendly features include low-consumption air-conditioning and heating, energy-saving / motion-detecting LED lighting, regulating valves to limit water consumption, and waste-sorting facilities for recycling in every kitchen.

To celebrate the opening of Citadines Suites Louvre Paris, Ascott is offering a launch rate from €295 for a Première Suite until 31 May 2013. The promotional daily rate includes breakfast and one limousine transfer from the airport or railway station for bookings of three nights and more.

In addition, guests can choose from a variety of exclusive packages to customise their experience. These range from “Chef at Home”, a meal cooked in the guest’s apartment by a French chef, to “Louvre Museum”, a private tour of the world-famous museum with an English-speaking guide, and “Honeymoon”, which consists of welcome treats for honeymooners and a romantic tour of Paris.

Ascott Opens First Citadines Serviced Residences In Indonesia And Malaysia

World's largest international serviced residence owner-operator The Ascott Limited has opened 153-unit Citadines Rasuna in Jakarta and 215-unit Citadines Uplands in Kuching Malaysia. These are the first Citadines-branded serviced residences of Ascott in Indonesia and Malaysia. With the addition of these 2 properties, Ascott now has a total of 59 Citadines properties in operation across 31 cities in Asia Pacific and Europe.

Citadines Apart'Hotel allows guests to choose only the services they require and are mainly located in metropolitan cities. Citadines offer apartment types ranging from studio to two-bedroom with living room and kitchen. Most of Citadines apart'hotels can be found in Europe like Belgium, France, Georgia, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom. Ascott has acquired the Citadines chain of apart'hotels in Europe in 2012 and now brought the brand to Asia Pacific in 2006. According to Ascott’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Chong Kee Hiong Ascott is  increasingly getting requests from property owners for the brand, due to its popularity amongst savvy independent travellers. These travellers value urban living in prime locations and the flexibility to choose the services they require to personalise their stay experience. To cater to the demand, Ascott is planning to open 13 more Citadines in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Germany by 2015.

Citadines Rasuna Jakarta and Citadines Uplands Kuching complements Ascott's existing Ascott and Somerset serviced residences in Indonesia and Malaysia and allows the operator to reach out to a wider segment of customers.

To celebrate the opening of Citadines Rasuna Jakarta, Ascott is offering special introductory rates from IDR 750,000+ per night from now till 29 April 2013. At Citadines Uplands Kuching, special promotional rates start from MYR168++ per night from now to 31 March 2013. For reservations or more information, please visit

Citadines Rasuna Jakarta

Citadines Rasuna Jakarta is a serviced apartment in Jakarta located  in the Jakarta’s central business district, next to the Metropolitan Medical Centre and within walking distance to embassies and office towers housing multinational companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rabobank and Petrochina. It caters to expatriates, business and medical travellers.

The serviced residence is also near retail and entertainment centres including Plaza Festival, Rasuna Epicentrum, Kota Kasablanka and Kuningan City Mall, offering residents a host of conveniences. Citadines Rasuna Jakarta is part of a stylish 30-storey integrated development known as The H Tower that comprises offices, specialist clinics and premier medical care facilities. Residents can enjoy privacy as the serviced residence maintains its own distinct lobby and facilities.

Citadines Rasuna Jakarta
Each of the studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments in Citadines Rasuna Jakarta provides a comfortable and homely environment with a fully-equipped kitchen, separate dining and living areas as well as modern amenities such as complimentary Internet access, home entertainment system with DVD player and flat-screen television with cable channels. The apartments are also designed to reflect a local touch, with artworks, carpets and fabrics influenced by traditional Indonesian batik designs.

Residents of Citadines Rasuna Jakarta can workout at the fitness corner or swim at the pool while overlooking the Jakarta skyline from the 21st floor of the property. Other facilities include a jacuzzi and sauna room, business corner, launderette, café and restaurant serving French and Indonesian cuisines. The serviced residence also offers 24-hour reception and security, housekeeping and business centre services as well as residents’ programmes to help guests settle comfortably into their new home.

Citadines Uplands Kuching

Located at  prime location in Jalan Simpang Tiga - a hub for education and local federal government administration, Citadines Uplands Kuching is a 15-minute drive from the Kuching International Airport, Borneo Convention Centre and Samajaya Free Industrial Zone housing many multinational and local companies. It is also opposite one of the largest shopping malls in East Malaysia, The Spring Shopping Centre. Furthermore, Citadines Uplands Kuching is part of an integrated development known as ST3, which encompasses a shopping mall that will have over 200 retail outlets.

Citadines Uplands Kuching caters to the city’s growing Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions groups, executives on project assignments from the nearby companies and government offices, as well as student groups and visiting professors from universities located around the property.

Citadines Uplands Kuching
The serviced residence offers a range of studios to two-bedroom units. Residents have ample space to live, work and entertain as each apartment comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, separate dining and living areas complete with home entertainment system and Internet access. The property also offers a suite of facilities including a swimming pool, children’s wading pool, gymnasium, residents’ lounge, launderette and meeting room.

Besides round-the-clock reception and security, housekeeping service and residents’ programmes, residents can personalise their stay at Citadines Uplands Kuching with the flexible menu of optional services including courier, babysitting, laundry and dry cleaning.

Royal Caribbean International's two Asian-based cruise ships Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas both arrived at Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore

Royal Caribbean International whose two Asian-based cruise ships Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas were both at brand new Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore in the morning of March 23rd 2013. Voyager of the Seas which can be seen on the left in the photo below is the largest cruise ship based in Asia. It was starting on her 8-night cruise from Singapore to Shanghai. Her sister ship Legend of the Seas was leaving for a 2-night Malacca weekend cruise as part of her Singapore season.

Voyager of the Seas has arrived in Singapore for the first time on May 26th 2012 to start its maiden Asian season. 37,276-gross registered ton Voyager of the Seas also became the first cruise ship to call at the new Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore, as well as the largest to homeport in Asia. Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore can accommodate the new generation of larger cruise ships, such as Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis-class ships. It will be a key enabler towards realizing Singapore’s potential as a gateway to cruising in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas (left)  and Legend of the Seas (right)
at Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore.
About Voyager of the Seas 
Known as a "Floating hotel" due to the range of facilities that it offers, along with some world firsts for cruise ships when the ship was launched, Voyager of the Seas can handle up to 3114 guests, and, along with its sisters in the Voyager class, is one of the largest passenger ships in the world.  Voyager features the world's first rock climbing wall (mounted on the funnel) and ice-skating rink at sea.

Jetstar promotion 2013: Kids Fly Free

From now until 28 March 2013 unless sold out prior, Jetstar has a promotional offer for parents of young kids to make their travel more affordable. Jetstar presents you with the Kids Fly Free special offer: For every adult passenger who books a specially marked Economy Starter sale fare, you’ll receive another Economy Starter fare for one kid aged between 2 and 11 years for free for travel in selected periods between 28 May and 27 Jun, and 5 Nov and 12 Dec 2013.

For example, if you are planning to fly  from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, price for one adult passenger booking a Sale Economy Starter fare is $44. Under Kids Fly Free special flight offer, price for one kid passenger booking a Sale Economy Starter fare will be $0!

All you need to do is to look out for Kids Fly Free icon on the pages after you select travel dates for even number of passengers (the offer is for even number of passengers where kid to adult ratio is 1:1). If there are for example 2 adults and 1 kid, you need to book for 1 adult and 1 kid in 1 booking and the other adult in another booking. So the sale must be booked in pairs (that is, for an even number counting adults and children on the booking, but not counting infants). Note that, Jetstar does not accept bookings for children travelling alone on its website. Please also note that Jetstar has independent traveller requirements that need to be complied with.

Sales start from;

S$44 from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur,
S$74 from Singapore to Penang,
S$94 from Singapore to Medan,
S$114 from Singapore to Bangkok, Bali, Surabaya and Yangon,
S$154 from Singapore to Haikou and Hong Kong,
S$$264 from Singapore to Beijing.

Sale ends 28 March 2013 unless sold out prior. Sale fares come with carry on baggage only. You can choose between 15kg to 40kg checked baggage for an additional $14 - $65 per passenger, per flight. Additional baggage charges vary by route.

Singapore Formula 1 2013 Grand Prix

Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix 2013 Ticket Prices

As in previous years, Singapore Formula 1 2013 tickets are released in two phases: the early bird phase  (20 February to 30 April 2013), as well as the regular phase (from 1 May 2013). Approximately 85% of the ticket categories on offer are priced the same, or lower than 2012. For Formula 1 fans, there is a Group Booking Special scheme which offers significant savings, up to 30%,  for fans who purchase four or more tickets for the Pit, Padang and Bay Grandstands during the early-bird phase.

This year, Singapore GP is introducing an additional Combination Package, which offers spectators the flexibility to explore different parts of the Circuit Park on each of the three days:
Fans can opt for the new Zone 1 Walkabout Combination package that consists of a Pit Grandstand ticket for both Friday and Saturday, as well as a Sunday Premier Walkabout ticket at only S$688 during the early-bird phase. The Turn 1, Padang and Bay Combination packages will continue to be available from S$398 to S$788 (early-bird price).
Source : 2013 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix Tickets for Sale From 20 February
There are also exclusive Premier Grandstands for spectators who prefer an upgraded grandstand experience includes premium food and beverage options, an exclusive bar, enhanced seating, amenity packs and special merchandise privileges. Tickets are priced at S$1,598 for the Turn 7 Premier Grandstand @ Stamford and S$2,128 for the Turn 3 Premier Grandstand.

Early Bird Phase
20 Feb '13 - 30 Apr '13
Regular Phase
from 1 May '13
4 - 7
4 - 7
PIT GRANDSTAND 1,088 988 918 1,288  1188 1188 
TURN 1 GRANDSTAND 1,088 1,288
TURN 2 GRANDSTAND 1,088 1,288
PADANG GRANDSTAND 498 398 348 598 498 448
BAY GRANDSTAND 268 228 208 298 268 248
398 498
Turn 1
598 698
Turn 1
788 888
688 788
THE GREEN ROOM @ TURN 3 4,227 4,227

Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix 2013 Entertainment

First Padang Stage headliner announced for 2013 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix is the Las Vegas alternative rock band THE KILLERS which will perform post-qualifying on Saturday, 21 September 2013. The multi award-winning, multi-platinum band is set to ignite the Padang stage in their first ever concert in Singapore for one night only. Entry to the concert is included with any three-day 2013 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX ticket.

Singapore Flyer ticket prices

Singapore Flyer is a 165 meter observation wheel in Singapore which offers an unobstructed bird-eye view of  Singapore city center. Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel. Although it does not have the best bird-eye view in the town, it definitely has the most complete. Everything including the Marina Bay Sands casino complex and city landmarks such as the skyscrapers of the Singapore Business District, Esplanade, Fullerton Hotel, etc. are in the view.

 Singapore Flyer opening hours are from 8.30 am to 10.30 pm daily and the last entry is at 10.15 pm. You can simply take a Singapore Flight by the flyer where you can experience panoramic views of the Singapore landscape, Singapore Sling Flight (Singapore Flight + a glass of original Singapore Sling), Signature Cocktail Flight (Singapore Flight + a specially concocted cocktail), Moët & Chandon Champagne Flight (Singapore Flight + champagne).

Other than conventional flights, the Flyer also offers special flights like Full Butler Sky Dining and High Tea Flight.

Singapore Flyer Ticket Prices

Below are Singapore Flight ticket prices:
Adult Ticket S$33,
Senior Citizen Ticket S$24.00,
Child Ticket S$21 (3 to 12 years old) and
Family Combo S$78.

Below are ticket prices for special flights:
Singapore Sling Flight -  Adult: S$69.00 Child: S$31.00
Signature Cocktail Flight - Adult: S$69.00 Child: S$31.00
Moët & Chandon Champagne Flight - Adult: S$69.00

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Batam package from Singapore 2013

Batam is one of the most popular islands near Singapore thanks to its proximity to the island state. It is easily accessible by a short ferry ride from Singapore's Harbourfront Ferry Terminal or Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and is especially popular a weekend getaway destination. Although Bintan Island is better known for family friendly resorts and Batam is more known for its naughty night life, things has started to change in the past few years and Batam is becoming popular as a straight holiday destination.

Many tour operators as well as recently very popular deal sites offer Batam packages from Singapore with sometimes very deep discounts up to 75%.  Thus, buying a Batam stay deal including hotel stay, 2-way ferry and occasional pluses such as SPA, city tour, etc. is one of the best and cheapest ways to do a short holiday in Batam.

Batam is one of the most popular travel deal package destinations for coupon sides. You can check Travel deals page for latest travel deals which almost always include one or more Batam Island deal.

Here we have listed some of these Batam package deals from Singapore which include a nice hotel stay and 2-way ferry tickets.

4-Star Turi Beach Resort in Batam offers a beautiful beach, lush greenery and crystal clear sapphire sea to its visitors. The resort, located at the northeast part of Batam island, takes 15 minutes to reach by ferry. Pretty and lush greenery sprawls about 7 hectares of crisp ambience, perfect for you and your loved one. Sea sports enthusiasts find excitement in the sea sport package at a discounted rate which allows 20 minutes of jet skiing, 30 minutes of kayaking and snorkelling. Currently there is a limited time 2D1N Stay at 4-Star Turi Beach Resort Deal for only $99 per person instead of $278 (64% off) and comes with a premier room with Private Sea View Balcony, full American breakfast, 2-way ferry ticket from Singapore and land transfer.

Turi Beach Resort Batam
Turi Beach Resort
New Swiss-Belhotel Harbour Bay is a 4-star international hotel which provides a high quality standard of services and facilities. The hotel is ideally located in the central business and commercial district, only 30 minutes from Hang Nadim International Airport and 35 minutes to Singapore by high speed ferry from Harbour Bay Ferry Terminal, which is adjacent to the hotel. Currently there is a limited time 2D1N New Swiss-Belhotel Harbour Bay Deal for only $70 per person instead of $158 which comes with 2-way ferry ticket, meals, 60 minute massage and shopping voucher.

Swiss-Belhotel Harbour Bay
Swiss-Belhotel Harbour Bay
Golden View Hotel Batam offers rest in the calming and serene setting and enjoy the relaxing and fun short getaway. You can relax with the 60 minutes massage session or simply rest your mind as you gulp down a bowl of nutritious Bird's Nest. You can also shoot away your stress at the Golden Go-Kart Centre, enjoy the local cultural dance and visit the Batam Taman Mini Indonesia! Currently there is a limited time 2D1N Stay at Golden View Hotel Batam Deal for only $65 per person instead of $168 which comes with free upgrade to Deluxe Room, breakfast, 7-course seafood lunch, 60-min massage or bowl of Bird's Nest, set dinner and perks.

Golden View Hotel Batam
Golden View Hotel Batam
Luxurious BCC Hotel & Residence is a very popular hotel which offers both hotel rooms and apartments ideal for families. This 2D1N Luxury Stay at The BCC Hotel Deal is only $69 per person instead of $188 and 2-way ferry ticket & land transfer, buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, 60-min Balinese Massage and more.

BCC Hotel & Residence