Friday, December 8, 2023

Why You Need Device Care?

I am a very pragmatic person, and I will try to save whenever possible. Even for shopping online, I also go through a few websites before deciding on which platform to use. The decision is quite complex sometimes, involving consideration of reward points, payment method discounts and coupon use etc. Even taking taxi/PHV I also go through that few apps to find the cheapest lor.

And for my mobile phones hor, usually I also use until the device jialat jialat or until my wife gets me a new one lah. But this is provided the phone is in working condition and why I say that is because, if you accidentally drop your phone at the fateful angle, you can say goodbye to the screen lah. Gorilla or godzilla glass also no use one hor.

So let me share what I have discovered recently with you!

We always assume that we will take good care of our devices but there is a reason why the word accident exists. And imagine the pain when you realize that you need to pay an exorbitant repair amount for your newly damaged device because your basic manufacturer warranty only covers defects in material, design and workmanship of the hardware components of the device as originally supplied. Meaning you damage, your problem.

Then even if you purchased extra care plans from the leading brands on top of that basic warranty, be prepared to face administrative charges or only discounts on out-of-warranty repairs lor. I checked and rechecked. Also hor, take note of a clause that might also exclude coverage that reads "Lack of reasonable care". How you define that is anyone's guess sia.

This is why I am going to introduce to you a company called Device Care that offers 3 different plans for you to choose from. Besides affordability, what I liked about their plans is that they do not come with any additional charges or admin fees when you claim! So you just pay for the plan and there will not be any more out of pockets expenses!

These are the 3 different plans that they have currently.

So touch wood, but using my current Samsung S22 Ultra as a simple illustration, the amount I would need to pay if I had accidentally cracked my phone screen and required a screen replacement within 12 months of purchase would be as follows -

So would you want to pay almost 10x more for a screen replacement?

The above is of course based off a simple case of screen replacement but as you can see, the price saving can be very considerable! Even though Samsung Care+ may provide multiple screen replacements throughout the period, but hor you can also repurchase Device Care+ as many times as you want within 12 months of your purchase lor. In a sense, it is like pay-as-you-use!

Hence I urge that you check the different plans available for your device, against what Device Care is offering first, before you make any hasty decision! You can have the peace of mind too, as all the repairs will be done through the brand’s authorised/ appointed repair centres!

Last but not least, the company is kindly offering 15% off all their plans now to our readers and you can simply use our code TPF15OFF (valid till end Jan 2024) at checkout. Be sure to insure your new devices against the unforeseen whilst they are still within manufacturers' warranty soonest possible for the peace of mind!

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Sleeping On The Bus!

If you are on social media, it is very likely that you have read or seen some stuff that is related to the latest staycay location in Singapore called The Bus Collective right? Well if you have not, if you are reading this, you would have anyway! So let me share our experience at the place with all of you!

First and foremost, I realized that taxi drivers or PHV drivers may not be aware of the new place yet, but you can find The Bus Collective on Google Map already lah. Or use the postal code 508883 sure can find. If still cannot, then just go Changi Village Hawker Centre lor, it is right behind it.

This is where you do your check-in!

Once you reach, you can do your registration at the front office which is the only actual building in the entire compound anyway. Get your keycards and you are off to your bus cabin. If you check through their website, there are quite a few different layouts that you can choose from but there can only accommodate 4 adults at most.

All the rooms are the same size la. Except for one cabin which is meant for wheelchair user. That room has the bath and toilets outside, which meant a larger interior.

So while the rooms are all refurbished from buses, once you step into the room, you will feel that it gives you the luxury hotel room vibes lor with the driver seat as the only give away. And although it is more of a longish shape you will not feel claustrophobic because it is still quite big one lah! The Hong Kong motel rooms we stay in so much smaller lor lol.

This is the Queen Victoria room, which is meant for 3pax.

Comes with a unique round queen-sized bed!

And a bathtub as well!

Given the price range of the rooms, they do have all the amenities one would expect from any luxury hotel chains, with snacks and mini bar items all included as well. At first when my wife was asking me about the toothbrushes, I thought that maybe not provided. But lo and behold, they are all tucked in a drawer in the bathroom and a range of tea and coffee sachets are found beneath the cups too.  

This is our other room, the Clark Quay room.

All rooms come with separate bath and toilet in case you are wondering.

This room type comes with a bunk bed at the middle section of the cabin.

All rooms comes with minibar inclusive!

There is another 2 single beds at the end and the kids were all sleeping here together lor.

Changi beach is just a short walk from the place and from there, one can really see how busy our airport really is, with planes flying in non-stop every other minute! You will also be able to spot the wildlife around the area, such as hornbills, cockatoos and macaques too. Or maybe you would like to rent a bike to explore the area more as well.

A reminder to keep food safe!

Unfortunately the beach was not that appealing for us to get into the waters.

But still, can take lots of photos!

They also have bicycles for rent as well if you are interested.

There are friendly cats around too!

Or maybe you fancy a ride to Pulau Ubin?

We had fun barbequing chicken wings, satay and marshmallows (which we bought from the provision shop in Changi Village) and had dessert packed from the hawker center as well.  With so much food choices, you can either opt to have breakfast included, or have your own outside and save a little as well. 

You can cater in your own BBQ food.

Their BBQ pit is free for use!

And yours truly was their personal chef for the day!

A swimming pool would have been awesome, because honestly the seaside at that area really does not look appealing enough for us to get into the waters! That was my only grumble lah but the kids had fun with their board games and Uno cards and watching their favorite dramas on Netflix using their own account lor.

How they whiled their time while waiting for food to be served.

Log into your own Netflix account.

We had great fun and I would definitely recommend this place for the experience itself, but I must also be upfront that the rooms go for minimally $400 up per night which is not exactly that cheap. Then again, it was never marketed as a cheap experience in the first place. It would actually be a great option for foreign visitors who want to explore Pulau Ubin or Changi to consider staying in too!

It was awesome experience for the whole family and a staycation that we will surely remember!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

My Horror Story - Ximen 日記

Booking a hotel online has never been easier. You just need to go to Google Map and choose the property you need. There are lots of booking sites for sure, but I stuck with for the sake of convenience since they had my particulars. For my recent Taiwan trip, I actually booked 3 different properties through them. 

This was taken at our replacement hotel, Just Sleep Sanchong.

Our bookings with 2 properties, K-ONE Homestay and No. 21 Jiaoxi Hot Spring Homestay went smoothly, with the properties keeping in touch with us through the chat functions about our arrivals etc. But the property we booked in Taipei, Ximen 日記 in Taipei, located at No.36, Xining South Road, Wanhua District, 108 Taipei was a complete disaster and rightfully deserves a blog post. 

So bookings are all confirmed with the credit card details furnished to the company and the properties can make a deduction for any deposits required through the card officially. 2 nights before I was supposed to check in this horrible hotel, I received a message from them through the chat function at 7.32pm that they required a deposit of TWD1000 by 8.00pm on that same day. Read chat below - 

Check the time stamp. They can send and read message but not assist.

Ok my mandarin really sucks and I do not use PayPal, and because I do not have a Taiwan telephone number as I was using an eSIM, I was at a loss when I read the message much later. I even tried to get a local to see if he can help me with calling the property but was alerted by him that was being compromised before as the news article showed!

When I finally managed to contact the hotel that very night, I could only speak to the front desk who answered and feigned ignorance and that she was unable to do anything as she is only a receptionist and thus refused to help in any way. She even went to say that it was no big deal and all I had to do was to rebook online. Ok, so here comes the problem. Over 90% of the hotels in that area was fully booked for the same period and there wasn't even ANY accommodation availability on at all! Taiwan is overrun by tourists these days!

Super nonchalant when they finally replied after cancelling.

I was super frustrated that I was unable to get any assistance through the property and even was unable to help that very night because I was unable to get through to them as well. Thankfully we had a local tour guide, who helped us to finally get an alternative hotel the next day through his connections at a further location, at a higher price, and for a smaller room that we had to squeeze into. That hotel, Just Sleep Taipei Sanchong turned out to be GREAT (which was a blessing in disguise) but we had to make do with the squeezing and all the additional costs that came with it. 

Reaching was hard as well.

My Opinion

Accommodation prices are on the rise in Taiwan due to the success of their tourism board in promoting this sector and hotels are all raising prices which is understandable. My hotel booking was confirmed months ago and guaranteed by my credit card. I find that to cancel my booking based on a failed deposit payment request via a personal account through the chat within 28mins of asking, was ridiculous at best. 

I am of the opinion that the property had lots of customers waiting to book and at a much higher price than what I have confirmed months ago and came up with this bright idea of cancelling confirmed bookings at their end based on sketchy company policies etc so that maximum profits can be realized. Most likely not the first time also lah.

I finally had the time after returning to give finally give a call and confirmed that this request by Ximen 日記 is running afoul of their guidelines and they will take action. I had also requested for compensation for the anguish (true ok, really KNN) and additional costs, and they mentioned they will look into it. I am not THAT hopeful BUT I feel there is a need for customers like you and me to be aware of what they are getting themselves into when booking with third party companies.

Even more importantly is as a customer, when assurances are they able to give when a property decided to unilaterally cancel a confirmed booking just that easily? I mean they sounded apologetic when I called earlier to register my displeasure but sorry cannot help me when I was there in Taiwan with wife and 5 kids with nowhere to stay lah. What actions can they take against the property? I think the property will still be listed and rooms sold through them lah. I cannot believe I took the time to blog and call up to complaint lor but it was NOT RIGHT for them to do such a thing.

One really needs to be prepared for the unexpected and so I hope this post serves as a caution to anyone travelling to Taiwan (especially if you are thinking of booking with Ximen 日記), or anywhere else for that matter when it comes to booking through third party apps. Have fun travelling and all the best in all your other bookings!

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

How Our Hong Kong Trip turned into a Fly-Cruise Holiday!

Check out Hong Kong Tourism Board booths at the CIQs!

Travel with a family of 7, is really quite a stressful thing. It is often a deliberation between should we spend that kind of money on holidays or should we save it for rainy days. There is never a right or wrong answer. However, after hearing from my colleague about the promotional airfares to Hong Kong on SIA last December, I know I would be wrong not to book! Cost us less than $2.3k return for our family of 7, inclusive of 175kg luggage allowance. One thing though, in the rush to complete my booking, I accidentally booked an 11-days holiday instead of our planned 7 days.

Onboard Resorts World One for 4D3N of comfort, fun and great food!

Hence I had to plan for activities for the family to fill up all the days lor. And the idea of doing a short cruise came to mind as I remembered that Resorts World Cruises are operating off Hong Kong as well. Ended up going for their 4D3N Resorts World One cruise from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung, Penghu and back, making our first family vacation post-Covid a Fly-Cruise holiday instead and we even got to visit Taiwan this time!

Having our lunch at Umi Uma Sushi &Teppanyaki! Love their beef steak!

Yummy beef!!!

Day trip to Kaohsiung and visited Chi Kan Lou!

Ended the tour with shopping at Liuhe Night Market.

But the night is still young and we are back for more games onboard!

Our next shore excursion was to Penghu and we visited Tianhou Temple.

Got to visit an Aqua Farm where we did fishing and had grilled oysters and seafood congee!

The kiddos had fun fishing squids and big fishes.

On our way back to the cruise after the shore visit.

And then we are back to eating again. This time to Silk Road for a sumptuous Chinese lunch cuisine.

The timing was impeccable, as we made our way to the cruise center from the airport once we arrive in Hong Kong and made it in time to be leisurely being brought onboard the cruise ship. From there we started our eat-sleep-play-shop routine for the next 4 days. As with all our prior experiences with Resorts World Cruises, the staff were absolutely fantastic and all the inclusive food were definitely sufficient for our family. But as we had the opportunity to try their specialty restaurants, I must say that they were awesome and I would recommend their Chinese restaurant Silk Road as well as the Teppanyaki! Hot Pot though was so-so we felt.

So this is how the building that we are staying in looks like from inside.

The lift was pretty scary for the kids lah, and they serve either odd / even floors.

Alas we felt that the cruise was so short lor, and it was over before we knew it. Having being pampered onboard for the few days, it was like Heaven and Hell for the family. Ok lah, maybe it's an exaggeration but you know how expensive hotels can be in Hong Kong and that we also need to book 2 rooms for 8 days, I ended up booking a motel named Toronto Motel in Mirador Mansion that is situated beside the infamous Chungking Mansions. Also where the famous Jenny Bakery is located at. Let's just say that for one to be able to stay in the room, one would need to be blind to a lot of things. I for one is okay with it but I thing many Singaporeans, especially the kiddos these days, may have trouble staying that place. What to do? Only $53/night leh.

A random cafe we walked into. I think we ate quite a lot of instant noodles lol.

Visited the peak with the family.

Finally got to visit the rather new Monopoly Dreams. Lots of IG worth backdrops la.

Revisited Temple Street, but it seems like it is not as vibrant as before. In fact all the streets are still recovering I think.

This is Arte M, with visual light projections.

Machiam the Van Gogh Exhibition in Singapore. Same same but different though.

Revisited Ngong Ping and took the crystal cabin with see-through glass bottom!

Looks great with the clouds!

Had a little time at Tai O Village.

A must-visit in Hong Kong, Disneyland!

Visited Ocean Park as well!

The kiddos having fun at the different rides at the park.

It was like an Aquarium, Zoo and amusement park rolled into one. Recommended for the whole family and the queues were all very manageable!

Sigh... gotta return home so soon! 

Wah, to be absolutely honest, the food in Hong Kong really feels more expensive from the last time we visited. I based my observation off the prices of the coke you can get from different establishments lor. The pocket feels so much lighter after every meal sia. Anyways whilst the accommodation was not as good as what we had onboard the cruise, I tried to make up with all the activities for the rest of the trip. We visited The Peak and finally experienced Monopoly Dream, visited Arte M for a few trippy hours, took the cable car to Ngong Ping to visit The Big Buddha and Tai O Fishing Village. And of course, how can miss Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park? It was a whirlwind holiday filled with great food and comfort at first, followed by fun activities with the family that would hopefully be something to reminisce in the years to come!