Number Twenty Hostel

6 November 2009

Located somewhere in the middle of the orderly chaos that is Jonker Walk is Number Twenty, a mid-range guesthouse that puts much emphasis on the words comfort and style.

This place is a renovated 17th century Dutch mansion that was modified in such a way in order to accommodate as much as 20 guests in either of their double or twin room. All of which comes fully air-conditioned and decorated in a neat minimalist style.

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Double Room

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Twin Room

Number Twenty is situated within a short walking distance from the old historic Chinese quarters. The historical sights painted in red is just a mere stone throw away, all you have to do is to just cross the bridge. Food is not a problem as there are numerous bars and restaurants within a few minutes away from the hostel doorstep.

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the unassuming doorway of the guesthouse

Despite being located in a very busy location, this guesthouse still managed to make itself a relaxing place by means of the spacious lounge that is located in the 2nd floor of the building. A large floor to ceiling balcony windows opens out to Jonker Walk. I particularly like the very inviting sofa in which you are free to lie down and choose from the following choices: (a) watch TV in their plasma screen, (b) read a book from their travel library, or (c) surf the net by utilizing the in-house WiFi.

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the huge lounge in the second floor

I have stayed here previously for a night in 2008; it was still brand new then and very clean. A few weeks ago, I was able to visit this place again and I was very surprise that the place is as beautiful and as clean as it was a year ago. Unfortunately though we were not able to get a room then, as they were fully booked during the Deepavali holiday weekend.

The only thing lacking here is a private toilet for the rooms. Yep, all guests will have to share a common toilet. They make up for it though by cleaning it every now and then just to ensure that it is very clean.

The rate per night for this hostel is pegged at 95 MYR per night (105 MYR for Fridays and Saturdays); I would say that it is not too bad at all considering all the facilities you enjoy. Apart from this, they thrown in a complimentary continental breakfast for two.

After having said everything, I do strongly recommend Number Twenty Hostel. Stay here if you want to have a comfortable home away from home in Malacca. Do not forget to book in advance as room supply is quite limited which makes a successful walk-in on a weekend technically impossible.

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find your way to Number Twenty

Number Twenty Guesthouse
20 Jalan Hang Jebat (Jonker Walk) 
Malacca, Malaysia 75200
Tele: +60 62 819761
Fax: +60 62 819761
Mobile : Mr.Zul +60 172137972

Weekends in Trikora Beach

13 September 2009

One thing that is missing about living here in Singapore is the absence of a decent beach to swim around. I have always been a fan of the beach ever since I was a kid. I have lots of good memories of my dad taking us, the whole family plus our grandparents, to the beach during special occasions such as birthdays. For me, just being in the beach doing nothing can be very relaxing.

In Singapore, the closest thing to a beach is Sentosa and the one in East Coast Park. Please don’t get me wrong as they are decent beaches; swimming there however is something that I cannot really do as I just don’t feel comfortable in seeing huge ships 200 meters from the shore. And we are talking here about not just a couple of ships but dozens of them, either it passes by or it is docked in the sea. 

What we do usually to have a weekend fix of the sun and the sand is to go out of Singapore and ride a ferry towards this small island in Indonesia called Bintan. Unlike most people from Singapore who would opt to be stay in the area known as Bintan Resorts, we prefer to stay in Trikora Beach – an area famous amongst backpackers.

immigration queue at the Tanah Merah

immigration queue at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

Getting to Bintan is easy, as there are several trips coming from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore. We are usually in the terminal before the break of dawn for us to take the first trip to Tanjung Pinang at 8:50. As of our last visit, there were 3 Ferry Operators: WaveMaster, Penguin and Falcon, which provide their service from Singapore to Tanjung Pinang and vice versa. The return ticket is affordable at around 50 SGD inclusive of the terminal fee in Singapore. The ferry ride is approximately two hours.

welcome to Tanjung Pinang, Bintan!

welcome to Tanjung Pinang, Bintan!

our ferry ride to Bintan

our ferry ride to Bintan

The immigration in Bintan can sometimes be a pain as there are only a couple of counters open and all the passengers have to queue around a room with no air-condition. Upon heading out of the terminal area, hordes of touts will offer you either a room or transportation. It is best to just turn all of them down politely with a smile and head towards the exit area. From there you can easily hire a taxi for less than 150,000 IDR for a trip to Trikora Beach.

Getting from Tanjung Pinang to Trikora Beach is not a quick one; it is usually more than an hour drive. There is nothing much to see along the way except the Indonesian countryside.

shorelines of Trikora Beach

shorelines of Trikora Beach

Our destination is Shady Shack, a bunch of rustic beachside cottages in Trikora Beach owned by an Indonesian man named Lobo. It didn’t take much problem pointing out our destination, as most taxi drivers know Lobo. Whenever we are there, we always ask our driver to bring us back to Tanjung Pinang the following day, as there are not much taxis plying around the area.

Shady Shack is an off the beaten path accommodation where you can enjoy a laid back lifestyle and relax at beaches of Bintan. There are eight cottages all in all in Shady Shack, each of them come with your very own toilet and your very own veranda. There are no aircon here; instead what it can offer is a very refreshing wind from the sea. Needless to say, this was really going back to the basics in every sense of the word. The rate here starts at 25 SGD per cottage and comes with breakfast for two persons.

image of us in one of the cottage in Shady Shack

image of us in one of the cottages in Shady Shack

The family of Lobo can take of your food requirements at a very affordable price. If memory serves me right, it was around 2 SGD per meal and 1 SGD for a cold drink or a hot coffee. You definitely cannot eat a meal with drinks with this amount if you prefer to stay in the Bintan Resorts area.

enjoying ayam goreng at the cottage veranda

enjoying ayam goreng at the cottage veranda

One of the things I really appreciate whenever I stay in Shady Shack is the atmosphere wherein you can feel that you are very much relaxed. No one is conscious of the time when you are staying in this place; instead you just lounge around in your idle time perhaps with a good book in your hand and a beer in another, eat whenever you feel like eating, drink whenever you are thirsty or dip in the waters whenever it gets a bit too hot. What I enjoy doing the most though is sleeping by the veranda with the sea breeze humming a lullaby for me.

taken one rainy morning in Shady Shack

one rainy sunday morning

Living in Singapore comes with a lot of perks but sometimes there is definitely a need to just get out and stay out from a fast paced city life. Trikora Beach and the cottages of Mister Lobo has become our decompression chamber wherever we wanted to experience a quick weekend that is definitely back to basic.

Shady Shack
Teluk Bakau Mengkurus,
Pantai Trikora, km 41
Mobile: +62 813 645 15 223

Old Penang Guesthouse

28 July 2009

The guesthouse where we stayed for a good 2 nights during our recent trip to Penang was one of the best that I have ever tried. It was clean, comfortable and very homey, reminded me so much of my mom’s ancestral house back home in the Philippines.

Old Penang Guesthouse Entrance

Old Penang Guesthouse Entrance

Old Penang Guesthouse is a beautifully restored shophouse located in Love Lane, one of the backpacker areas in Georgetown, Penang. The location is very accessible and easily within walking distance to the various sights in town.

Location of Old Penang Guesthouse

Location of Old Penang Guesthouse

Despite being recently renovated (it was done 8 months ago according to one of the staffs), the building still retained its old world charm. This was evident in the original mosaic-tiled flooring, intricate artworks, an airy inner courtyard, the wooden floor in the 2nd storey, and the wooden shuttered windows. Practically, every aspect of the guesthouse reflects some history of the region.

Beside the inner courtyard, there is also this lounge where the guest can just sit down comfortably and read a book or watch TV.

the huge and well ventilated courtyard

the huge and well ventilated inner courtyard

They have lots of books as well; particularly travel guides to help you plan on your itinerary in Penang or your next destination. They also offer tour, visa and transportation assistance to their guest; all this they do at a very competitive price.

The rooms are all air-conditioned and are clean in every aspect of the word. The beds were comfortable although the pillow could have been a bit thicker though. We were lucky enough to get the room with a private bathroom but the common toilet and shower was not so bad as well as it is regularly cleaned by the guesthouse staff.

Twin Room

Twin Room

12 Bed Mixed Dorm

12 Bed Mixed Dorm

Double Room

Double Room

The staffs, headed by Paul, were very helpful and very hospitable. A plus factor was that they were very knowledgeable about Penang in general. Ask them for directions, they would answer instantly – same goes if you ask them for food recommendation, they would tell you the place to eat as well as the direction going there.  

Lastly, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I paid 70 MYR/night, which got me a private air-conditioned room with an attached toilet. This came with free use of their towels (very important for me as I hate bringing my own towel during trips), breakfast (consisting of toasts and jam), free flowing coffee and WiFi access (not too reliable though). This was good for 2 persons already. A very good value for money, I can definitely say.

Old Penang Guesthouse
No.53, Love Lane,
10200 Georgetown,
Penang, Malaysia.

Tel: 04-2638805

Email:reservation@oldpenang.com