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Trip to TW->SG->MY->TH

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Trip to TW->SG->MY->TH

Postby momopi » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:27 am

Just returned from a trip to Taiwan -> Singapore -> Malacca (Malaysia) -> Bangkok (Thailand).

Trip was originally planned for 2 weeks but ended up to be longer, because my work just opened an office in Singapore and I had to spend some time with my new coworkers. Hmmm, I was wondering why my boss was so eager to approve my vacation request with extra days off, LoL. Might have to visit SG office again for work later.

The original purpose of the trip was to attend my college friend's wedding in Singapore. The groom's side had a much larger guest list, so us friends from the bride's side went to bum up her guest count. ;p It started with about 30 friends here in Los Angeles who wanted to go, but everyone had different travel plans, some wanted to visit Japan and soak in hot springs with monkeys, others wanted to go play golf in Malaysia, etc. So by the time that we made it to Bangkok for Loi Krathong, only about 12 of us remained.

I took over 2,000 photos and my immediate group as a whole probably took in excess of 10,000 photos. @_@ It's going to take some time to get the photos from everyone and sort them.

A few things that I learned on this trip:

* In SG, locals have to pay $100 SGD to enter the local casino. Foreigners get free entry with their passport.
* To own a car in SG, the 10 year permit to own a car cost $85,000 SGD, plus the cost of the car. If you see someone drive a souped up Honda Civic with racing stripes, that guy prolly paid over $160,000 SGD for the permit and the car.
* I'm seeing a lot more Korean made cars in SG, while Bangkok was mostly Japanese cars.
* Malaysia has bumped up the requirement for foreigners to buy property. As of now it's RM 500,000 minimum (foreigners not allowed to buy cheaper properties), next year it'll be RM 1 million. Geez, I seem to recall back in 2005 it was around RM 100K?
* Bangkok was the worst traffic I've seen. Expect 80% of the taxi drivers to not use meters and want to rip you off.
* It's cheaper to ride on a taxi in Taipei than SG, MY, or Bangkok.
* Singaporeans like to say how dangerous it is in Malaysia, while Malaysians like to blame their crime problems on foreigners (from Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, whatever).
* Considering Bangkok's traffic situation, I understood why they built Asiatique on the river. Much easier to reach by river ferry.
* Instead of paying money to see ladyboy shows, go to the red light district at Nana and you'll see much better looking ladyboys. Many sit in front of the ladyboy go go bars and are nice and polite, they're not pushy and will not grab you. The guys commented that the ladyboys were generally better looking than the female hookers in the go go bars. o.O;; I thought the 2 girls sitting in a foam tub were cute, but did not know if they were real girls or post-op ladyboys. X_X
* Prices vary widely in Bangkok, And I mean the venders charge 2x-3x higher prices near foreigner areas
* Thailand is getting a lot of tourists from China and Eastern Europe (Russia), the tourism industry is looking to hire guides who can speak Russian. However, they also say that the tourist from China and Russia were not "big spenders" and the "big spender" type Chinese tourists prefer to go elsewhere, while the budget types go to Thailand.
* Oh and, it seems that there were some political protest activities in Bangkok. Saw barbed wires and riot police, hehehe.
Last edited by momopi on Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
momopi
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Postby xiongmao » Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:17 am

Yeah, a lot of political protests here - the TV is full of it. I've no idea what's going on, but who in the world understands Thai politics? The only thing I do know is that it's "peak" season now and my hotel is empty. Tourists DO NOT LIKE political trouble.

Ladyboy shows are expensive at 1500 baht+ but as a local I've found a bar with 80 baht beer and no cover. Across the alley is a new ladyboy bar so you can watch the show for free. And it is an incredible show. Some farangs walked past and said there was nothing like that in Dunstable. Lmao.

The hottest ladyboy there is a 9, and that's rating her as a woman. I kid you not.

Disagree with you about them not being pushy though. Farangs are normally in for a fair bit of groping if you stumble around the back of Nana Plaza.

As to the traffic, yeah it's a nightmare here and they desperately need the 12+ underground lines that Guangzhou has. The SkyTrain is quicker but it doesn't go to many places and in the morning rush hour it's at 150%+ capacity.

Watch people wait for taxis and you'll routinely see them let 2-3 taxis go before hiring one who will use the meter.

On the danger thing, Chinese told me Vietnam was dangerous. Thais would say that Cambodia is dangerous.
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Postby Rock » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:10 am

* Malaysia has bumped up the requirement for foreigners to buy property. As of now it's RM 500,000 minimum (foreigners not allowed to buy cheaper properties), next year it'll be RM 1 million. Geez, I seem to recall back in 2005 it was around RM 100K?

Can foreigners buy land too or only condos?


* Bangkok was the worst traffic I've seen. Expect 80% of the taxi drivers to not use meters and want to rip you off.
* It's cheaper to ride on a taxi in Taipei than SG, MY, or Bangkok.

- You spoiled first worlder you, lol! Metro Manila area traffic is magnitudes worse that Bangkok's (in terms of volume, speed, constant very loud honking, and public transport). If you learn your way about Bangkok just a bit, you find that there are fast ways at all times - MRT/BTS, motorcycle taxis, river and canal taxis, Tollway (for 30-40 Baht extra).

- I'm surprised you say 80% of taxis didn't wanna use meter. You must have been around a bad area for taxis at wrong time (Patpong in evening) or just looked like an obvious tourist lol. Most taxis I take use meter automatically and I think Falcon has same experience.

- As long as taxis do use the meter, Bangkok taxis are a lot cheaper than those in Taipei. NT$ is slightly stronger than Thai Baht at moment. However, here is how taxi prices stack-up

Taipei NT$ / Bangkok Thai Baht

Flag fall: 70 / 35

Per km: 20 / 5

1 hr. traffic wait: 176 / 100

20 km ride: 470 / 135

Airport to town ride is always a lot more expensive in Taipei than Bangkok (like 3 times at least) even though distance is not that much different.



* Considering Bangkok's traffic situation, I understood why they built Asiatique on the river. Much easier to reach by river ferry.

Well Asiatique is in a kinda far-flung location anyway so its not so easy to get to.


* Instead of paying money to see ladyboy shows, go to the red light district at Nana and you'll see much better looking ladyboys. Many sit in front of the ladyboy go go bars and are nice and polite, they're not pushy and will not grab you. The guys commented that the ladyboys were generally better looking than the female hookers in the go go bars. o.O;; I thought the 2 girls sitting in a foam tube were cute, but did not know if they were real girls or post-op ladyboys. X_X

- Yea, the ladyboy cabarets frequented by NE Asian tourists seem not to hire stunners anymore even though there are plenty of hot ladyboys in Thailand. It sounds like you might have gone to that bar on first floor of Nana Plaza. Those particular ladyboys won't give you much attention unless you look somewhat like a Korean or Japanese pop star lol.

* Oh and, it seems that there were some political protest activities in Bangkok. Saw barbed wires and riot police, hehehe.

Yes, it has seemed quiet for a long time. I was surprised to read about that in the news.
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Postby tre » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:28 am

Singapore is expensive. I was shocked when I heard just how much it costs to own/drive a car in the country. Owning and driving a car is the #1 sign of wealth in Singapore it seems as only the wealthiest drive them. Girls are after the 3 C's in Singapore: Car, Condo, and Credit Card. The good news is that you absolutely don't need a car in Singapore to get around. Their public transportation is excellent. I went to the casino (one of my old casino managers works there now...transferred from Las Vegas) as well so I know about their rules. Gambling is damaging for Singaporeans so they try to keep them away from there. They'd rather get the money of foreigners...lol. Singapore has only 2 major casinos I believe and they nearly outdid ALL of Las Vegas casinos combined in revenue. I found that very interesting as I had moved from Las Vegas to Singapore.

Overall, I found Singapore very interesting. However, it is very strict and conservative in comparison with Bangkok, for instance, so many expats fly over to Bangkok for weekends instead of staying in Singapore:).

Malaysia is actually one of the top places on my list to visit next. I was right next to it, but never went over the border. Singaporeans bad-mouthed it so much that I never wanted to go...until I did more research online about it. Did you like Malaysia in comparison with Singapore and Bangkok?
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Postby momopi » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:22 pm

Rock wrote:* Malaysia has bumped up the requirement for foreigners to buy property. As of now it's RM 500,000 minimum (foreigners not allowed to buy cheaper properties), next year it'll be RM 1 million. Geez, I seem to recall back in 2005 it was around RM 100K?

Can foreigners buy land too or only condos?



If I'm not mistaken, foreigners can purchase SFR with lot or house lot, so long as it's not reserved for Bumiputera, or farmland. When I was looking at properties in KL back in 2005, the government prohibited foreigners from buying low priced properties. But now the prohibition has been expanded to include medium-priced properties. So as a non-citizen you can only buy more expensive properties, though "expensive" is relative to where you're coming from.

At Malacca (Melaka) there were many retail developments looking for investors, with guaranteed double digit returns (10%-15%) for first 2-3 years. We stayed at the Hatten Hotel and they're building a large shopping mall across the street. I counted several other large retail developments in the area. But I'm really not sure where they plan to find all the customers to shop at these stores? At the local A&W restaurant the chicken had been sitting under the heat lamp for some time due to lack of customers. If you go to A&W in KL it's always packed and the chicken is fresh.

Folks in SG tell me that the crime situation in JB has worsened, but they had a better opinion of Malacca, so maybe they're hoping that the SG shoppers would go there instead? In JB the large shopping mall parking lot is full of SG license plates, but I'm not convinced that they'd all suddenly divert to Malacca.



tre wrote:Singapore is expensive. I was shocked when I heard just how much it costs to own/drive a car in the country. Owning and driving a car is the #1 sign of wealth in Singapore it seems as only the wealthiest drive them. Girls are after the 3 C's in Singapore: Car, Condo, and Credit Card. The good news is that you absolutely don't need a car in Singapore to get around. Their public transportation is excellent. I went to the casino (one of my old casino managers works there now...transferred from Las Vegas) as well so I know about their rules. Gambling is damaging for Singaporeans so they try to keep them away from there. They'd rather get the money of foreigners...lol. Singapore has only 2 major casinos I believe and they nearly outdid ALL of Las Vegas casinos combined in revenue. I found that very interesting as I had moved from Las Vegas to Singapore.

Overall, I found Singapore very interesting. However, it is very strict and conservative in comparison with Bangkok, for instance, so many expats fly over to Bangkok for weekends instead of staying in Singapore:).

Malaysia is actually one of the top places on my list to visit next. I was right next to it, but never went over the border. Singaporeans bad-mouthed it so much that I never wanted to go...until I did more research online about it. Did you like Malaysia in comparison with Singapore and Bangkok?



We stayed at One degree 15 resort at Sentosa, where the wedding was held. Actually won about $80 SGD at the Sands playing slots, then walked out of the mall to catch the water light show. I wasn't expecting Vegas by any means, but thought the food choices at the casino was rather poor.

Malaysia is where Singaporeans go to eat cheap sea food. You'd pay much less for Chili Crab in JB versus "Long Beach Restaurant" (Home of Black Pepper Crab) or "No Signboard Restaurant" (Home of White Pepper Crab, next door!) in SG. To a SG native it's probably heresy for me to say that I've had better chili crab sauce at (formally illegal underground) Starry Kitchen, inside a Jazz Club in Chinatown, cooked by a Vietnamese chef:

http://instagram.com/starrykitchen

SG does have a well developed public transportation system, but the locals vent about the recent influx of immigrants that has strained the public transportation and made it overly crowded. Given choice many would prefer to own a car, but the cost is out of reach for most. My friend's husband belongs to the local import auto tuner club, and unlike the US, these guys are like bank managers and such to afford the luxury.
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Postby tre » Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:29 pm

I took my gf to the "No Signboard Restaurant" once and we enjoyed it there. It is no bargain though...that is for sure. We didn't have much $$ after basic living expenses so we stuck to the Hawker centers for the most part. The portions are very small (by American standard), but that was not a bad thing. We got used to those small portions and lost weight. I felt very healthy while in Singapore with the smaller portions and all the walking I did while I lived there. We lived in a place that wasn't much larger than a walk-in closet in the states for approx. $1800 per month. There was no place to "lounge" around so we didn't stay inside....always walking around outside. It was a good location though and within walking distance from the beach where we jogged, walked, etc.. It was also within walking distance of many good hawker places and a nice bar/restaurant (Bar Bar Black Sheep) was just downstairs. I'd live in SG again if I was making AT LEAST the equivalent of $50K USD/year. It's really not worth it if you are making less than that.

I think Malaysia is on the way to becoming more like Singapore in regard to price, etc.. I think overall prices will rise dramatically within the next few years if nothing huge happens in regard to the world economy. This is especially true for places like KL, which is a good springboard to other areas of Asia.
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Postby anamericaninbangkok » Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:46 pm

Sorry, I have to disagree with the comment about taxis. Maybe 3% of the taxi's that I take quote me a price. I always, and I mean every single f***ing time, tell them no meter, no problem, I'll get another taxi. f**k em. If I really wanted to be a prick I'd write down their licence plate number and report their ass. The whole thing about taxis not wanting to use their meters is usually solved very easily. You either find another taxi or you walk a block away and get a taxi passing by. Never expect a taxi driver sitting on his ass waiting for customers to turn his meter on. Some might, but don't expect it. There's a reason why they're sitting on their asses. They want the easy farang money.

I worked in Singapore a couple of years ago and one of the guys I was working with told me the reason he and his wife only had one car was because of the cost. Singapore has their shit together in many ways but the value for the money just isn't there. $50K US isn't enough to get me to live there. Maybe $150K but I was making $60K + an expense account when I worked there and the whole atmosphere of the country and like I said, the lousy value of things turned me off.

If you think Bangkok traffic is bad, go to Manila.

While I understand the number of attractive ladyboys are shocking, why is it so important to go see them? f**k I see them every day walking the street. There are some I have to do a double take to make sure they're a ladyboy, but most look like pimply faced little boys or linebackers.

BTW - while I was working in Singapore, I used to go to Orchard Towers. I liked one particular bar, if I remember correctly it's next to Ipanema, because the girls dancing there were all Thai girls. Some hot, some decent, but it was a fun place.
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