Wandering in Astoria Palawan


Located in San Rafael, Puerto Princesa, Astoria Palawan is a little far from the city especially if your intention is to go on excursions to the Underground River (Subterranean River National Park) and Honda Bay Islands, or go fire fly watching. If you will book your stay in Astoria, be prepared to pay higher tour package prices. You may book this direct with the hotel.

On its own however, Astoria Palawan is clearly one of the best hotels I have been to because prices are reasonable considering the high end rooms, amenities, finishing, and overall aesthetics. Architecturally, it was well thought of and the owner(s) of this property definitely did not scrimp on its fixtures and art installation.

Located in a 5-hectare mango orchard, it boasts of an infinity pool; spacious gym; indoor playroom with video game facilities; a billiards, table tennis, and foosball table soccer game room; karaoke room; a tree house; an outdoor playground; and a mini-golf area. Minutes away from the main facility is the Palawan Waterpark also owned and operated by Astoria. This is definitely a good place to visit although it is suggested that aqua socks be worn because the floor bed of some pool areas are not so smooth. We had a 1-day free waterpark access. Just coordinate with the hotel front desk officer-in-charge to arrange this.

Astoria has outdoor fat bikes (since the wheels are thick) as well that you can use for free and a beach front. At the time of our visit, the beach was under rehabilitation so swimming here was not allowed. Still, we were able to take great photos.

Since there are mango trees surrounding the hotel, it is advisable to apply insect repellant as the area is sprawling and good for long walks.

There are also function rooms in the facility so definitely, this place was designed to suit not only families but also companies intending to have seminars/company get-togethers. A bonus feature is the cool shower pods by the pool. All you have to do is step on the pod, and voila, this serves as an instant shower before taking a dip in the pool.


The breakfast buffet that comes with the hotel stay is not shabby either. The spread is delicious although the food choices are rather limited. In the evening, expect a lounge singer to enthrall you while you wine and dine the night away. To book with Astoria,visit their website at https://www.astoriapalawan.com.



DIY Trip to Hong Kong

We tried booking a reasonably priced hotel in Hong Kong within the Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district and found Standford Hillview Hotel.
Its a pretty new hotel with modern amenities. The room we booked was the Oak Room and this was around 13 sq. meters with a double bed. While the room was rather small, it had all the basics enough to make one’s stay comfortable. An added feature of the hotel room is its free 3G Handy Smartphone that can be  lugged around during the duration of your stay for navigation and wi-fi purposes.
The upside of this hotel is that it is brand new, the food is good, there is a free shuttle service to the Central MTR Station where the Airport Shuttle Train service commences. The bonus feature of this hotel is its free 3G Handy Smartphone service (as mentioned earlier).
The downsides are as follows: the hotel is situated on a hill and the walk going uphill is not advisable for persons with disabilities or those who are finding it hard to walk up and about; the nearest MTR is also a bit far away and reaching it would take several minutes. The main attractions in Tsim Sha Tsui is in Harbor City which is situated quite far away from this hotel.
Still, there are nearby malls, diners, bakeries, and coffee shops, and supermarkets within the area. So in all, its still all good plus you are compelled to exercise. There was a day that we actually clocked in 25 000 steps.
On this trip, we have maximized the use of the MTR and got ourselves octopus cards which we procured via klook.com. We also also got our airport shuttle access via klook.
Here are the places worth a look for your shopping needs:
1. Sneaker Street  for your footwear fix – There are an array of shoes her but they are not necessarily cheap. Still, if you are looking for variety, this is where to go.
2. Kwun Tong Factory Outlet Stores for more footwear at high discounts – When we went here, only Nike, Adidas, and New Balance had physical stores. The rest seemed to have closed down. Still, there are good bargains here for branded footwear.
3. Hong Kong Industrial Centre – This is apparel heaven and definitely way cheaper than the items sold at the retail markets of Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay. While there are standard ladies apparel, there are also a good chunk of modern wear suitable for the fashion savvy.
For food, some recommended spots are as follows:
1. Dim Dimsum
2. Yum Cha
3. Din Tai Fung
Dim Dimsum is for those with low to mid-range budgets. While the place is basic, the food is really delectable. There is one near Sneaker Street.
Yum Cha has a package available via klook. There is a branch of this within walking distance from Stanford Hillview Hotel. It’s a little pricey but may cost less if booked with a coupon/deal provider. It is important to go here early because the lines here are quite long.
Din Tai Fung is definitely the most pricey of the three restaurants. Still, it is our go-to diner because of the good food, clean surroundings, and to-die-for shao long baos. The place is more subdued and not as packed as Yum Cha.
It is really easy to travel around Hong Kong due to its efficient transport service. Its nice as well that you can use your Octopus card in both the MTR and Bus lines as well as use such in procuring food and drinks. There is never a dull moment here and there is always something new to look forward to each time we visit.