Woodbury Common, Premium Outlet – New York

Bargain hunting time! If you are like me looking for a good bargain and not fussed that items are not current season then you’re in a real treat. Woodbury Common is the ideal outlet to do your shopping. Their website does provide directions on how you can get there. As for this blog I will focus on my experience catching a coach from Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City to the premium outlet.

I got my ticket through Viator.com and one of the tour agency had special offer on those tickets. So, do check out the website it might save you a couple of dollars on those tickets. I collected my ticket from the Grey Line shop which is located inside of the bus terminal, very convenient.

Alternatively, you can buy your tickets from Shortline Coach USA.

Every ticket comes with the bus and discount booklet coupon. And they will also provide you the bus schedule slip so that you can plan ahead. However, do be at the bus stop 15 minutes before the departure time when coming back as there will be many shoppers doing the same for the popular time slots.

Navigate yourself around the terminal, following the signs which direct you to gate 410.

Important, be there early! As everyone wants to maximise their time in the mall you can expect large group of shoppers for the morning bus. There will be no standing passengers, once the bus is filled you’ll have to wait for the next one.

The journey takes about an hour so my advice is visit the washroom before joining the queue and bring a bottle of water with you.

Once reached, go to the visitor center to collect your discount booklet.

And then off you go… Happy shopping!

 

 

 

 

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MRT to Chatuchak Weekend Market – Bangkok

MRT to Chatuchak, weekend market

In my previous blog I documented the steps to get to Chatuchak by BTS, which is a quicker route to get there. Though MRT is longer route, it has some advantages over BTS. I will explain them here.

BTS map

The station to get off which brings you right into the heart of the market is not Chatuchak Park, it is the station after that, Kamphaeng Phet. If you alight at Chatuchak Park station it will bring you to the park as shown in my video in the previous blog.

MRT to Chatuchak

After you alighted from the train look for exit 2 in the station.

Once you exited from the station you will be right smack in the clothings section. In here you’ll find many local designers and many quirky stalls all nicely decorated.

Exit 2

In addition, there are self service storage area next to the exit of the MRT station which is ideal if you plan to shop a lot and not wanting to bring your nick-nacks along with you when you continue to shop. There is even a courier service located here for all the bulky items planning to ship home.

As mentioned, exit from the MRT station will lead you to the clothing stalls and many installed air-conditioning which brings some relieve from the sweltering heat. Overall, this area has a nice artsy vibe. Loved it.

 

If you want to know how to get to Chatuchak by BTS click here. Happy shopping!

BTS to Chatuchak, Weekend Market – Bangkok

BTS to Chatuchak, weekend market

Chatuchak, or the weekend market, occupies a massive 36 acre of land which is approximately 88 football fields! And there are about 3000 stalls in this compound ranging from clothes, pet animal, food stalls, household items to oil paintings.

This area comes to live every weekend where throngs of visitors both local and tourists would visit to get the best bargains.

Other than taking a taxi there are 2 options to get there, MRT (blue line) or BTS (light green line). Comparing both BTS is a quicker option to get there as it cuts through all the landmarks.

BTS to Chatuchak

The closest station to the market is Mochit. From the station it is a 5 minutes walk to the market.

Once you get off from the station platform look for the sign which directs you to Chatuchak and it should take you to exit 1.

Exit 1 to Chatuchak market

Once you take exit 1 you will see the steps which brings you to the ground level.

At the bottom of the steps there is an opening to a park, walk right in because it is a less crowded route to the market.

Once you step into the compound you’ll be greeted with rows and rows of stalls selling nick-nacks. I’ll leave you with pictures of what you can expect. If you interested to get there by MRT click on this link.

Singapore Outlet Mall – Changi City Point

Last minute shopping before catching your flight out in Changi airport? Do check out Changi City Point mall for great bargains! The mall is located next to Expo MRT station, one station before hitting Changi.

Take the East-West line towards Pasir Ris-Changi, alight at Tanah Merah station and change to Changi line.

Drop-off at Expo station and you’ll see Changi City Point mall from the platform. Take the right exit when you leave the station.

Cross the traffic light once you’re out from the station. It’s that convenient!

Here are the brands found on the ground level…

More shops on 2nd level…

You can easily spend 2 – 3 hours here and if you’re hungry fret not there is a wide selection of restaurants and a food court in the mall to fuel you up. Items found in the outlet mall are at least 20-30% cheaper than those in the downtown. As you can see in the pix each shops has their own promotion/ bundle deals.

Happy shopping!

 

 

 

Singapore Biggest Outlet Mall – IMM

 

Where do the locals shop in the most expensive city? Outlet mall.

Many tourists to Singapore knew about Gardens by the bay, Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion. All within the city central area and the variety of Asian and local food in the hawker centers found in many of the civic district area. Most tourists do not know there are outlet malls in Singapore! A hidden gem.

Located in the western part of the country the outlet mall houses many international brands like Agnes B, Coach, Furla and internal designers. The mall is very accessible by the public train – SMRT. Just drop at Jurong East station (NS1/EW24). If you stay in the city center area it is best to take the East-West (Green) line, the fastest and most convenient way.

Once you went of the station look for the sign which directs you to Westgate which is a mall itself.

Once you in the mall look for the sign which directs you to J-Walk

Keep walking as directed and you’ll the sign which directs you to IMM and that is the outlet mall – IMM.

J-Walk is a sheltered link bridge which you will have walk through a section of the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital to get to IMM. Keep looking for the sign which directs you to IMM and you’ll get there. It’s a 5 – 10 min walk from the train station.

Once you get to IMM you’ll be greeted with all the international and local brands.

Click here for more information on the brands in the outlet mall. Happy shopping!

  • There is a parcel delivery service counter in the mall itself. They do provide international delivery services. Check on their website (https://www.yamatosingapore.com/ta-q-bin-collection/) for more information.
  • Tourist privileges. Remember to bring your passport to collect tourist privilege booklet. More information click here.

 

How to get to Keukenhof

Spring! It’s the time of the year where the flowers bloom and the forest comes alive. And that reminds me of Keukenhof garden. I have been hearing so much of this place. The variety of tulips in a single location!

When you touched down in Schiphol airport head straight to I amsterdam  Visitor Center

In the Visitor Center you can:

  1. buy the entrance ticket to Keukenhof garden and
  2. get a 1 Day Amsterdam & Region Travel ticket which enables you to take the train, bus, tram and metro

If you are like me staying in the city you would need the 1 Day travel ticket because Keukenhof is located in another region and it would require you to take train from city to Schiphol airport and then catch a bus from the airport to the garden.

The bus stop is located at the side of the airport just look out for the bus with lots of tulips on it.

Once reached the garden you will be greeted with brightly coloured tulips! Lots and lots of them!

Remember you bought a 1 Day Amsterdam and Region Travel ticket? Do plan your day before you make your trip to Keukenhof. What I did was… I took the first bus and went to Keukenhof garden in the morning and it took me a couple of hours to finish the garden. After which i used the region pass and travel to Haarlem for lunch and explore the town.

Entrance of Versailles

Guide to Palace of Versailles

Guide to Palace of Versailles

Paris Metro

Guide to Palace of Versailles, starting from the metro map and then pictures of landmarks to lead you to the entrance of the Palace.

If you’re like myself not joining any local tour group visiting Versailles, here’s how to get there by public transport.

Paris Metro Map
Paris Metro Map
  1. Determine which RER C station is closest to your hotel/hostel. My hotel was just 5 min away from Saint-Michel Notre-Dame which is very convenient. Click here for more information on the metro maps
Route to Versailles
Route to Versailles

2. Once you’re in the metro station look for sign which directs you to Versailles – Rive Gauche. That’s that station where you want to get off

3. Every metro station has a TV monitor which indicates the arrival time of the next train and its destination. Make sure you hop on to the one which says “VICK”

Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche station Exit
Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche station Exit

Palace of Versailles

Way to Versailles
Way to Versailles

4. Once you exit from the fare gate at Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche station take the left exit of the station. Take the pedestrian crossing and walk towards the Information pavillon.

Walk through the space between pavilion and cafe
Walk through the space between pavilion and cafe
Path leads to Palace
Path leads to Palace

5. Take the walkway that is between the Information pavilion and the cafe (with a green roof) that is located next to it and you’ll see a pedestrian-cyclist pavement. Walk towards your right and you’ll see the Palace

Entrance of Palace of Versailles
Entrance of Palace of Versailles

6. Cut across the carpark and walk towards the right where you’ll come to the main entrance of the Palace. If you have the Museum Pass or bought the ticket online you can start joining the queue to get into the Palace premises, else you’ll need to head to the ticketing office which is located on the left side of the entrance before joining the main queue

And if you are looking to do some shoppings do consider La Vallee Village, read here for steps by steps guide to get to the outlet mall.

Paris Outlet Mall

Paris Outlet Mall – La Vallee Village

Guide to Paris Factory Outlet Mall

Paris Metro

How can one been to Paris without paying a visit to the outlet mall – La Vallee Village. Located on the east side of the city it takes about 45 min train ride from the Saint-Michel Notre-Dame station.

Take RER B > switch to RER A and alight at Gare de Val d’Europe. And here are the steps

Step 1: From Saint-Michel Notre-Dame station

Take RER B to the direction of the Airport, Aeroport CDG

Alight at Chatelet and switch to RER A to the direction of Euro Disneyland, Gare de Marne la Vallee Chessy and alight at the second last stop, Gare de Val d’Europe. When switching to RER A line make sure you get on the right train. Always look at the board or tv screen on the platform before you hop on.

La Vallee Village

Once you’re out of the station turn to the right and walk towards a mall.

Once in the mall turn to the left and walk towards the end and you’ll see a cafe.

Walk towards the right exit and it will lead you to the entrance of La Vallee Village.

Shopping Tips

Tip #1

Before you start shopping head straight to the Welcome Center to collect your discount vouchers which entitle you additional 10% off from the knock out price in store.

Tip #2

Sign up as a member before you embark your trip. Membership is free and you get VIP discount or free gifts depending on the boutiques. If items are not entitled to VIP discount you still can use your 10% discount coupon. Happy shopping!

Wanderlust – Budget Traveler Tips

As a solo backpacker I am always on a lookout for the best travel deals, and i am constantly looking at ways how i can stretch my dollar or… looking for ways to channel my daily spendings to get airline miles.

Cheap air-tickets

1. Sign-up with the major airlines to get updates and promotional mails from them. Firstly, they are free (if you don’t mind receiving junk emails). And you get enrolled to their frequent flyer programme. Typically, at the beginning of each year airlines will blast out promotional flights to the major cities. The rationale for having such promotional deal is to up their passenger load factor, to gage how efficient they are to fill up seats and generate fare revenue. In short, it is a win-win situation. Passenger gets a cheaper rate and airline gets to make a better fare revenue forecast for the next coming months.

2. Skyscanner. A must have tool or pit-stop for every traveler when doing their travel plan. What this site/mobile app does is it searches all the available airline schedules according to the search criteria you key-in, and returns you the cheapest flight it could find. However, the cheapest available flight might not be the quickest way to get to your destination. I do use Skyscanner to help me narrow down my search for the airline which i am interested, but i do not make my reservations with Skyscanner. Why? That leads me to my next point.

 

Cashback Website

In where i’m from we have cashback website. What it does is the website i subscribed to pays a percentage of money earned when i purchase goods or services it affiliates to. With the help of Skyscanner that helps me to identify those airlines which the cashback website affiliates to and that translate a further savings! I also use the same method to make hostel bookings. First, using Expedia/Hotels.com/Bookings.com to do my search. Subsequently, go to Expedia/Hotels.com/Bookings.com (depending which is affiliated) via the cashback website to make my hostel bookings. Do not underestimate such chores, from the past experiences savings could come up in a couple of hundreds for a 10-15 days trip.

 

Free Guided Tour or Planned Itinerary?

Try Rick Steves’ Audio Europe (apple / android). It’s a free self-guided audio tour for most European cities. For other continent you might need to do a search. I’m sure there are similar free audio guide in the mobile apps space.

Alternatively, you can try Google Trips (apple / android) which covers the major cities. It provides a sample itinerary of sights or activities which you could do.

 

Google Map

 

Do you know you can download an offline copy of the google map to your phone? An offline copy comes in very handy when you arrived your holiday destination and the telco booth is not open for business. Click here for instructions to download. You should download and save all locations you plan to visit including your hotel/hostel location in your home country via wifi. That will save you all the hassle to search hostel/hotel location.

 

Google Drive

Save your travel itinerary online and you’ll never need a hardcopy. If you have a Gmail account, like me, it comes with a suite of Google services including Google drive. Google drive is a cloud services which you can save, upload and store your documents and photos online. And retrieve them as long you have access to internet and a computing device. Do consider to use Google drive when working on your travel itinerary it will save you a lot of hassle.