Monday, November 10, 2008

Desaru Impian

Recently I went to Desaru, a place I did not visit for years after I left a company who developed a prestigious project-Desaru Impian.

The developer was wound-up after it failed to pay its owners and contractor during the 1997 crisis.

Desaru Impian is located next to the entrance portal of Desaru resorts area. It is the first resort in the array of resorts along the coastal line.

The resort was constructed between 1995 and 1997. It received overwhelming response from investors in Malaysia and Singapore then. It offered 10% guaranteed return for lease back to the Developer which managed it under a time sharing scheme.

The resort consisted of 2 U-shaped blocks with 793 units of guestrooms. There was a clubhouse complete with swimming pool and pool bar, a cache for children, souvenir shops and mini zoo by the seaside. A theme park was created in between the U-shape of Block A with lazy river, carousel, train ride and nice landscaping.

This resort has nostalgic value to me because I was the person in charge of its construction. I stopped by the new entrance to have a chat with the security guard. I was told that a developer from Kuala Lumpur has bought it. It intends to reopen the resort by end of this year.

I shall see whether the reopening can be materialized.

Posted by Chai Yong of which is about a Travel Guide of Singapore, Batam, Bintan and Johor.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

2008 Formula One Singtel Singapore Grand Prix

Singapore managed to convince Formula One management, despite strong objection from Malaysia, to organize the first street race in Asia. Furthermore, this event is to be held at night.

As the event is just around the corner i.e. 26 - 28 September 2008, preparation is being drumed up at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. It is unprecedented as nearly 1,500projectors will be used to illuminate the entire track of the night race. See photo on the preparation work.

The distance of the street circuit is 5.067 km. It offers multiple overtaking opportunities to the racers.

This Formula One Grand Prix will definitely boost Singapore tourist industry. Formula One fans from all over the world will flock in during the event. Singapore has prepared other events beside Formula One to tap this great opportunity. There will be Singapore Biennale, Bulgari Collection, Singapore River Festival, Singapore Motor Show, Diana Krall Live In Concert from 20 September to 5 October 2008.

This article is posted by Chai Yong from which is about an ebook "Travel Guide of Singapore Batam Bintan Johor" and related maps.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sentosa - An Update of IR

I have the honour to participate in the development of the Resorts World at Sentosa, one of the 2 integrated resorts of Singapore.

I took a cab from Harbour Front to the site this afternoon. When the cab turned into the road beside the Vivo City to Sentosa, I said to myself that next time I could walk to the project site. When I reached the project site, I was told that nobody is supposed to walk in that road. A fine of S$5000 will be imposed on anyone who does so.

The project now is in full swing with all sorts of activities going with full force. The development is scheduled to complete by early 2010.

The Resorts World at Sentosa will definitely inject new life into the island which has been developed since 1970.

One has to admire the determination of Singapore government to develop the 2 integrated resorts i.e. Resorts World at Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands because it created much controversy among the Singaporean due to the casino component in the development. The government know that the regional competition in tourism industry like Genting Highland, Macau is too keen to be ignored.

This post is written by Chai Yong from which is about an ebook "Travel Guide of Singapore, Batam, Bintan and Johor" and related maps.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pulau Karimun - Another perspective

According to the driver, Pulau Karimun only has 40,000 population. Most of the arable lands are not cultivated. They are bushes everywhere and rarely jungle. The villagers plant their own vegetable on land surrounding their house.

Visitor may see the kampung (village) life. During my tour round the island, I witnessed the villagers having bird singing competition.

The Riau Administration is going to relocate the island administration from Tanjung Balai to inner land. To my surprise, they build a very big administration centre, headquarter of police, court in one big area.

On my way back from one of the granite quarries, I saw a very big mosque in green color.

It seems to me that the Riau governmnet obtained a big budget from the central government. Among the big island of Riau Archipelago like Batam, Bintan, Pulau Karimun, Lingga, Kundur, Karimun for the moment has no industrial development either locally or from foreign investment. It is an island ignored in this area.

Pulau Karimun survives on the granite and sand supply to mainly Singapore. There is no famous historical sites to visit. Some Singaporean come here to pay visits to Chinese temples to get the 4 digits. However, Tanjung Balai has about 50 hotels due to the flourishing of another industry.

This post is written by Chai Yong from which is about an ebook "Travel Guide of Singapore Batam Bintan Johor" and related maps.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pulau Karimun - A New Men's Paradise?

I heard about Pulau Karimun (Karimun Island) when I worked in Singapore in early 1990s. At that time, the supply of granite to the construction industry in Singapore came from 2 sources i.e. Pulau Ubin which is an island at the northern part of Singapore and Pulau Karimun which is an Indonesian island.

Never appear in my mind this island after I left Singapore until I paid a visit to Kukup in January this year. When I waited for a boat to send me to the Kukup island, I saw there was a ferry at the other end of the jetty. One passenger told me that the ferry was leaving for Tanjung Balai at Pulau Karimun.

Out of curiosity, I asked my colleagues about this island. They told me that Karimun is a very backward place with laterite road.

I made a trip to Pulau Karimun last Sunday despite heavy downpour in the morning. It took about one hour to travel from Kukup Jetty to Tanjung Balai Ferry Terminal.

I was greeted by a group of drivers/motorists who offer transportation service to hotel. As my purpose is to have a look of the island, I managed to get a driver to drive me round the island.

To my surprise, all the roads are premix road instead of laterite roads as told by my colleagues. The authorities even built a new administration centre away from Tanjung Balai town. Apparently, they've got a great sum of budget from the central government.

There is no rubber estate, palm oil plantation, coconut plantation etc on the island except for family-based vegetables planting.

I visited one of the quarries. Karimun still exports the granite to Singapore even though at one time the Government prohibited export of granite and sand to Singapore.

Tanjung Balai is vibrant and booming even though there is lesser agricultural and industrial activities. There are plenty of hotels at Tanjung Balai.

One question crosses my mind then: How does Karimun maintain its economy?

Can it be that it is a men's paradise?

This post is written by Chai Yong from which is about an ebook "Travel Guide of Singapore Batam Bintan Johor" and related maps.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


After visiting Xu Beihong's art display at the Singapore Art Museum, on my way back to the Queen Street bus station, I passed by the Rochor Centre. I heard loud music from nearby area.

Out of curiosity I went to the place where the music came from. I saw a stage with wording "Dumpling Festival" on the wall. There were about 6 beautiful and sexy dancers performing on the stage. A big crowd of audience, mostly men flocking near the stage to watch.

The dancers wore dancing costume with half of their breast exposed. Their skirts are see throughs. After a while, one of the dancers went down the stage and invited a man in his forties to come on stage to dance together with the rest. Another dancer invited a small girl. Both the man and the small girl were quite sporting, trying to learn the steps from the dancers. It was a light moment for the audience as the man and the small girl made mistake in their steps.

The organiser seemed to have discarded the old thinking of inviting traditional dancers, most probably to perform Chinese traditional dance to match the Dumpling Festival which is a Chinese Festival commemorating a Chinese Poet.

Whether the dance I watched was appropriate is a question for Singaporeans to answer.

The authority approved it. This showed that Singapore is quite open in this aspect as compared to Malaysia whereby this type of show can never be staged in the public.

This post is written by Chai Yong from which is about an ebook "Travel Guide of Singapore Batam Bintan and Johor".

Monday, June 9, 2008

Singapore Art Museum-Xu Beihong in Nanyang

There is a report in Chinese Asia Weekly (Yazhou Zhoukan) on the Chinese great artist Xu Beihong and the exhibition of his works at the Singapore Art Museum from 5 April '08 till 13 July '08.

Xu was good at drawing horses and he was famous for his works in this area. To my surprise, he also had other works like portraits (like Mahatma Ghandi and poet Tagore), Chinese paintings, oil paintings and water color paintings.

I thought I should not missed this opportunity to see by my naked eye his works at the Singapore Art Museum. I went on 1 June which was a Sunday.

The Singapore Art Museum is located at Bras Basah Road. One can walk from City Hall MRT, Dhoby Ghaut MRT or Bugis MRT. I walked all the way from the Queen Street bus station along of course Queen Street. It is located at the Junction between Queen Street and Bras Basah Road.

After paying the admission fee of S$8-00, I was allowed to enter the display hall. Xu's works are exhibited at ground floor, first floor and second floor. I estimated there were about one hundred pieces of Xu's works on display. No photo taking was allowed inside the display hall.

The Singapore Art Museum being quite resourceful, managed to borrow some artworks from personal collection and Beihong Museum in China.

The display showcased Xu's artworks created in late 1930s and early 1940s during his visit to Nanyang (Southeast Asia) and India.

Being an art lover, it was great experience to see the original artworks in short distance. Xu's touch and treatment of all the painting were perfect. His talent is unquestioanble.

I think what makes Xu famous, besides his talent is because of his connection with some celebrities and local communities in Nanyang. He painted the portraits of some of the celebrities or their mothers or relatives. They bought his artworks and kept them.

All Xu's masterpieces now have great value. One of his artwork "Put down your cane" fetched more million dollars.

I left the exhibition after spending one hour inside the Singapore Art Museum.

This post is written by Chai Yong from which is about an ebook entitled "Travel Guide of Singapore Batam Bintan Johor".

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Longing for a holiday at East Coast of Bintan?

I visited Bintan island recently. The ferry was rather slow. It started at ZON Ferry Terminal, Johor Bahru at 3.00 pm and reached Bintan at 7.30pm (based on Malaysia time, not adjusted). It took 4 and a half hours to reach there! Based on normal speed, it should be around 3 hours.

It was dark then. Being first time in Bintan and at that late hour, I have no choice but to seek assistance from a tout who brought me to a few hotels for me to make a choice. Finally I stayed at Hotel Furia.

Alas! Hotel Furia actually is quite near to the Tanjung Pinang Jetty, the place I landed on the island the previous day. One may walk from the Jetty to the Tanjung Pinang town to look for hotel. There are plenty of hotels in town.

The next day, I went to the East Coast of Bintan. I hired a car to bring me there.

The attraction at East Coast is Trikora Beach stretching from km30 to km53. Some parts of the beach are covered with sand, other with coral.

My driver brought me to a few hotels and resorts.

The first one was Bintan Agro Beach Resort & Spa. It has a swimming pool, a restaurant and a stretch of sandy beach. The room rates were medium starting from S$99.00. I should say it is a premium hotel around this area.

I like fishing. The driver let me make a choice between Ocean Bay Resort and Kolam Kelong Trikora. Both built their lodge on stilt and surrounded the sea with net to rear fishes. Kolam Kelong Trikora seemed to do better. I decided to have a rest by angling. I managed to get a fish and handed over to the restaurant to cook for my lunch.

After taking my lunch, before going back to Tanjung Pinang, my driver brought me to a resort with diving services. It was Traveler Pondok Wisita. It has a couple of rooms for visitors to rest. I met the friendly owner who was the diving guide.

I returned to Tanjung Pinang to catch the last ferry back to Johor Bahru with an impressive memory of the East Coast of Bintan.

This post is written by Chai Yong of which is about an ebook "Travel Guide of Singapore Batam Bintan & Johor".

Friday, June 6, 2008

Singapore Flyer

After we have heard about the London Eye and Malaysia Eye, Singapore Government recently launched its Singapore Eye i.e. Singapore Flyer. They named it differently to differentiate from those in London and Kuala Lumpur.

Obviously it is the latest tourist attraction in Singapore. The Singapore Government has spent billion dollar to build it.

Its special features include its height of 165m which is the height of a 42 storey building. To date, it is the highest eye in the world. Very soon it will be surpased by another eye in an Asian country.

The duration for one ride is about 30 minutes. Its cabin is fully air-conditioned and UV protected. There are altogther 28 cabins and each cabin can accommodate 28 passengers.

The basic fare for an adult is S$29.50 and a child S$20.65. It is recommended that the ride be used for celebration purpose like birthday etc.

During clear weather, one may be able to see vividly the southern islands of Singapore, some Indonesian island and Johor.

This is message is written by Chai Yong of which sell an ebook "Travel Guide of Singapore Batam Bintan & Johor" and maps.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sentosa - Key Tourist Spot in Singapore

Are you coming to Singapore for a holiday?

Let me introduce to you Sentosa island which is a key tourist attraction in Singapore.

Sentosa was once called Pulau Belakang Mati. In Malay it means "Island of Death from Behind". Historically, Sentosa is an important military spot. It was fortified to protect the harbor and coal attack.

During World War II, Sentosa was used as a British Military Fortress. Following the surrrender of the Allied Force on 15.2.1942, the island became a prison of war camp for Australian and British prisoners of Japanese.

Geographically, Sentosa island together with a neighbour island, Pulau Brani naturally form a protection from the monsoon and rough sea which make the seawater an excellent harbor i.e. Keppel Harbour. Singapore Keppel Harbour now is one of the busiest harbour in the world.

In 1970, the Singapore Government decided to develop the island into a holiday resorts for local visitors as well as tourists. In a contest organized by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board, the island was renamed "Sentosa" meaning in Malay "Peace and tranquility".

Since then, some S$420 milllion of private capitals and another S$500 million of Government funds have been invested to develop the island.

This article is written by Chai Yong from which provides handy map of singapore, map of Batam & Bintan, map of Johor & Johor Bahru and an ebook.

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