3 accommodations with superb views under $60/night in Penang, Malaysia

bedroom with large windows offering sea views

Welcome again to another episode of our ‘Travel Thursday’ series.

I’m taking a break from next week so this ‘Travel Thursday’ series will likely resume in 2024.

TMI, but just so you know.

Anyway, got a flight booked for Penang soon?

If you’re looking to spend your time in Penang relaxing in comfort with superb views, here are 3 affordable accommodation options I have for you this week.

1-bedroom serviced apartment with city views in Jelutong

City Town Apartment in George Town, Central Penang

Price: $41/night (for 4 persons)

Take in the cityscape of George Town from the comfort of this one-bedroom serviced apartment. 

Situated in the neighborhood of Jelutong, you will be steps away from shops, restaurants, and a 24-hour convenience mart.

The comfortably furnished space features a well-equipped kitchen, a spacious bedroom with a queen bed, and a living room with a sofa bed—perfect for a small family or group of up to four guests. But the true star is the view of the city skyline from your bedroom.

After a day of exploring George Town’s attractions, retreat to your oasis high above the hustle and bustle. Park your vehicle in the free residential carpark and relax, secure in the knowledge that you have an urban vacation sanctuary to call home away from home.

Modern apartment part of Straits Garden Suite with partial sea views

WiFi + Netflix SEAViEW CleanCozy Suite3 Seaview Suite

Price: $46/night (for 2 persons)

Live like a local in this stylish Straits Garden Suite apartment. Nestled just kilometers from the city center yet offering partial sea views, this modern one-bedroom retreat provides everything you need for a relaxing stay.

Wake up to sunlight filtering through blackout curtains in the queen-sized bed before making coffee in the full kitchen equipped with an electric stove, microwave, fridge, and all the essential cookware and dinnerware. Unwind with a movie on the smart TV or catch up on laundry using the in-unit washer and dryer. When you’re ready for a change of scenery, stroll over to the shared gym and swimming pool right on-site.

With over 260 glowing reviews and a 4.8-star rating, this apartment suite offers a home rental in a prime location just steps from the area’s best pasar malam and shopping.

Clean & bright rental unit with a balcony attached to the bedroom

DD Condominium 1 Bedrooms 3~4pax Penang(23A)

Price: $59/night (for 4 persons)

Soak up the city and sea views from this light-filled apartment with a white-washed design.

The chic 1-bedroom suite features a spacious balcony attached to the master bedroom where you can lounge with a cuppa and book in hand. The double and single beds in the bedroom provide ample space while the sofa bed in the living room offers flexibility for up to 4 guests. 

Smart conveniences like a flat-screen TV with gaming options and high-speed Wi-Fi keep you connected. Floor-to-ceiling windows fill the space with natural light while modern and stylish accents give the unit a refreshed feel. Beyond the apartment, the shared condo facilities provide added value for your stay.

Wonderful for short or extended visits alike, this rental allows you to enjoy all the city has to offer from the comfort of a clean and comfortable home base.

And that’s all for this post. Hope the abovementioned will help give you some accommodation options to consider during your upcoming Malaysia trip! I’m sure you will have a lovely time with your friends and loved ones in Penang. Have an awesome trip to end 2023 on a good note! ✈️


Recapture Your Youth with 5 Exclusive, Limited-Time Activities

From watching movies on the beach to shopping for exclusive Super Mario items and learning how to draw iconic Disney characters, here are budget-limited-time activities in Singapore that can transport you back to your childhood.


Experience the magic of Disney like never before with Immersive Disney Animation, a 360-degree multi-sensory journey into your favorite Walt Disney Animation Studios movies. From timeless classics to modern blockbusters, this exhibition features state-of-the-art responsive projectors, bringing over 40 beloved animated films to life.

Best of all? You can discover behind-the-scenes secrets and learn to draw iconic Disney characters. Making its Southeast Asian premiere in Singapore, the exhibition runs from November 18, 2023 to December 31, 2023.

Price: Ticket starts at S$33. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the MBS website .
Location: Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018956


Celebrate 100 years of Warner Bros. Studio at Sentosa today! From now until November 26, 2023, enjoy free movie screenings and the opportunity to pose with giant figurines of the Justice League squad.

Watching movies under the stars on a giant screen is a rare treat, especially for FREE! So, don’t miss the chance to experience this at Sentosa’s weekend screenings at Southside, featuring films like the recent Barbie and The Flash (2023) and classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

What’s more? DC superhero fans can explore the World of DC at the Emerald Pavilion, where Batman, Superman, The Flash, and Wonder Woman figurines await.

Price: FREE Admission
Location: Siloso Beach, Sentosa (11 am to 9 pm)


Nintendo fans, rejoice! Nintendo has opened its first pop-up store in Southeast Asia at Jewel Changi Airport, featuring exclusive merchandise from popular games like Super Mario and Animal Crossing.

The store runs until January 1, 2024, and offers a wide array of merchandise, including iconic characters like Mario, Yoshi, and Luigi. For avid enthusiasts of Super Mario, keep an eye out for the iconic mystery block.

Image Credits: unsplash.com

Jewel Changi Airport will also host ‘Pipe Around the World at Jewel,’ a Super Mario-themed event until January 1, 2024, at the Shiseido Forest Valley surrounding the Rain Vortex. Take pictures or it never happened!

Price: FREE Admission
Location: Jewel Changi Airport


Step into the vibrant and colorful Candy Carnival at Changi Airport Terminal 3 – Departure Hall. This delightful carnival features games, kiddy rides, claw machines, a bouncy castle, and adorable displays perfect for photos.

Don’t miss Candy Wonderland, a candy-themed display with a five-meter-tall bear and seven-meter-tall Ferris Wheel. It’s a fantastic photo opportunity, and there are snow shows at 7:30 PM and 8:30 PM from Monday to Thursday and at 7:30 PM, 8:30 PM, and 9:30 PM from Friday to Sunday.

For the Candy Snow House, it is open daily from 12 pm to 10 pm until January 1, 2024, is located at Changi Airport Terminal 3, Level 1, outside McDonald’s.

Price: Entry starts at S$18 per pax (via the Changi App)
Location: Changi Airport, Terminal 3 – Departure Hall


Transport yourself to the 70s at RollerMania 3.0! As it is taking over Plaza Singapura’s Level 7 car park from November 17, 2023, to January 1, 2024, you will be able to gather your friends and loved ones.

Glide through the neon-hued skate rink featuring LED-lit wheels during the 2-hour session included with each ticket.

Image Credits: trip.com

The Level 7 car park will also host a carnival with rides such as the Basketball Shoot-out Challenge, Creamy Carousel, and Battle Ships Merry-Go-Round. You can also try your luck at timeless carnival games like Hook a Duck and Lobster Pot.

The event runs from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Price: Admission starts at S$20
Location: Plaza Singapura, Level 7 Carpark, 68 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238839

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5


There’s a new cross-border payment system using QR codes between Singapore and Indonesia

qris indonesia

Woohoo, Singapore, and Indonesia have launched a new cross-border payment system using QR codes.

This means that customers in both countries can now make retail payments more easily.

The central bank of Indonesia, known as Bank Indonesia (BI), and Singapore’s Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), made the announcement yesterday, on 17 November 2023.

They said in a joint statement that financial institutions in Singapore and Indonesia can now link up their QR code payment systems.

This comes a year after BI and MAS first said they were working on such a linkage.

Now it’s a reality!

How to use it?

To use it, customers just need to open their existing mobile banking apps and then scan either a QRIS (Quick Response Code Indonesian Standard) code in Indonesia or a NETS QR code in Singapore, displayed by merchants, to make a purchase.

The central banks believe this linkage is an important milestone as it will help further integrate the digital economies and financial systems of the two countries. It should also boost economic connections between Indonesia and Singapore.

In addition, with QR code payments between nations now possible, it may open up new customers for small businesses since shop owners can now more easily accept payments from people visiting from each country.

BI and MAS pointed out this could benefit travelers

By that, they are referring to the over 600,000 people who have traveled from Singapore to Indonesia in the first half of 2023, including the > 1 million who traveled vice versa, from Indonesia to Singapore.

With the payment linkage, we and our fellow Indonesian friends won’t need to worry as much about having the right currency or payment method when visiting each other’s country.

Who are the participating banks?

And if you’re wondering if your bank is participating initially, be glad to know that OCBC and UOB are. DBS will likely join later.

On the Indonesian side, the participating banks include Bank Central Asia, Bank Mega, Bank Pembangunan Daerah Bali, Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Bank Sinarmas, Bank Syariah Indonesia, CIMB Niaga, Espay Debit Indonesia Koe, Netzme Kreasi Indonesia, and PermataBank.

More banks from both countries may link up their systems over time.

Perry Warjiyo, the governor of BI, said the linkage aligns with ASEAN’s goals of boosting regional payment connectivity.

He believes it will lead to faster, cheaper, and more transparent cross-border payments.

Ravi Menon, the managing director of MAS, agreed that the QR code system will help both individuals and small businesses engage in more e-commerce and tourism activities between the two nations.

A new local currency settlement framework is also in the works

In addition, BI and MAS signed a letter of intent to eventually set up a local currency settlement framework by 2024.

This would allow cross-border payments, including QR payments, as well as trade and investments between Indonesia and Singapore to be settled using their own currencies—the Indonesian rupiah and Singapore dollar.

Settling in local currencies could reduce costs and risks from currency exchange rates for businesses and users.

The central banks are working to promote wider use of local currencies for transactions between ASEAN countries.

These initiatives mark continued progress in growing digital and financial linkages between Singapore and its key regional partners, which is certainly a good thing for you, me, and our economy 😉


3 roomy accommodations with an ocean view under $115/night in Okinawa, Japan, for group travelers who are space-conscious

open-concept house with an ocean view

Wanna take advantage of the exchange rate to travel to Japan soon?

1 Singapore Dollar equals 111.84 Japanese Yen

You better do so quickly because analysts have it that the Japanese yen is likely to recover in 2024 with government interventions or shifts in the Japanese central bank’s policy stance.

So while the rates are still good now, gather your gang and book your flights, and let’s be on our way.

Oh yes, before you travel, you will need a place to stay, right?

In this week’s ‘Travel Thursday’ series, I’ve helped us search for some really roomy accommodations with an ocean view under $115/night in Okinawa, Japan.

In my opinion, it’s apt for group travelers who are space-conscious. So without further ado, let’s get the list started in here!

2-bedroom homey unit with a view of Yaka’s sea

Entire home in Kin-chō, Japan

Price: $110 (for 3 persons)

This inviting home away from home offers a wonderful seaside retreat for families and friends. 

Nestled in a quiet residential area along Yaka’s beautiful coastline, this 2-bedroom unit provides ample space and privacy for 3 or 4 guests. Children under 5 stay for free, so little ones can join the fun with child-friendly furnishings and toys provided (do request in advance).

Wake up to sweeping views of the sea from the comfort of your rental unit, then spend lazy mornings sipping coffee in your living room. The well-equipped kitchen allows you to prep meals or heat leftovers to enjoy together, and free parking means you can arrive on-site and settle right in. When you’re ready for adventure, Yaka’s beach and hotspots are just minutes away.

With spacious rooms, an ideal location, and all the comforts of home, this affordable unit provides an impressive coastal getaway you will want to return to again and again.

Bright and modern home along Nagahama Beach

Entire home in Kunigami District, Japan

Price: $112 (for 3 persons)

This bright and airy beachside retreat will have you feeling like a local in no time. Nestled along Nagahama Beach, this modern home sleeps 3 to 4 guests and is 2 hours from Naha Airport. 

The open floor plan features ample natural light, high ceilings, and ocean views from the comfort of your unit. Two bedrooms—one with a double bed and the other with a bunk bed—spaciously accommodate your travel companions. The fully equipped kitchen is stocked with essentials so you can cook up some meals if you need them. Just 10 minutes away is Nakijin Castle Ruins, perfect for an afternoon excursion.

Your host is on hand to meet you upon arrival and ensure you have everything you need to fully unwind during your stay. This home offers all the conveniences of home in a prime beachfront spot, providing the ideal balance of relaxation and experience.

3-bedroom huge traditional Japanese-style house for 8 guests

Entire home in Nanjō-shi, Japan

Price: $114 (for 8 persons)

We’ve saved the best for the last—an authentic Japanese-style house nestled in Nanjō, a city in the southern part of Okinawa Island.

This traditional 3-bedroom vacation home sleeps up to 8 guests comfortably and features partial sea views, great for large families or groups seeking an affordable getaway. Old-world charm abounds from the tatami mat floors to the shoji screens. Spread out in 1 of the 3 bedrooms, each with futons and mattresses for all, or lounge on the veranda and take in the surrounding views.

Just 40 minutes from Naha Airport by car or 1.5 hours by bus, this hidden escape has a free onsite parking space where you can leave the car behind once you’re done exploring the nearby attractions and the beach.

Children 5 and under stay gratis, making it ideal for multigenerational trips. For a truly authentic slice of old Japan in a huge home all to yourselves, this traditional vacation house has you covered.

Over $100/night may seem a lot for the budget traveler… But if you do some travel math and split the cost, it doesn’t even cost that much per person. Especially for the last listing, $114 ÷ 8 persons = $14.25! That’s probably cheaper than an awkward bed space in a hostel. So gather your tomodachis (friends), it’s time to conquer the land of the rising sun.


Experience the First-Ever Christmas Eve Street Party on Orchard Road Starting Nov 16

Mark your calendars! This year’s highly anticipated Orchard Road Christmas light-up, officially named “Christmas On A Great Street,” is set to kick off on November 16, 2023. The festivities will include three enchanting Great Christmas Villages and, for the first time in forever – a Christmas Eve street party.

The groundbreaking street party on Christmas Eve will span from Paterson Junction to Bideford Junction and is scheduled to take place from 8 pm to 12:30 am. Attendees can anticipate a spectacular showcase featuring performances by the National Cadet Corps (NCC) Command Band from Swiss Cottage Secondary School, captivating dance performances, lively Christmas caroling, Meet & Greet sessions with Santa Claus, DJ live sets, and a bustling Christmas Market teeming with food trucks offering a diverse array of delicious treats. Gather your loved ones, as the evening will culminate in a thrilling countdown to Christmas Day and the New Year.


The Great Street will greet you with illuminating displays that will extend from Orchard Road to the area outside Plaza Singapura, boasting a dreamy theme adorned with LED cloud installations, teddy bears, and candy canes. In a commitment to sustainability, organizers aim to further reduce their carbon footprint by repurposing past years’ LED lights and decorations and installing solar panels to power two Christmas set pieces.


This year’s celebration will host three Great Christmas Villages, each brimming with carnival rides, games, pop-up stores, and delectable food kiosks. The first village, located at Shaw House Urban Plaza, will be open from November 24, 2023 to Jan 7, 2024. It will feature a double-story carousel and a Ferris wheel. The second village, situated at Plaza Singapura, will showcase a giant bouncy castle, a balloon dome, and craft workshops by Kiztopia. This will operate from Dec 1, 2023 to Jan 1, 2024.

What’s more? The third Christmas Village, positioned at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza, will welcome visitors from December 8, 2023 to January 1,2024. It will offer a Euro Swing ride, an arcade, food trucks, and live performances by local buskers and bands.


In a nostalgic nod to the iconic Swing Singapore, this year introduces the inaugural Christmas Eve street party on Orchard Road.

Unlike Swing Singapore, which primarily celebrated National Day and the New Year, this street party will unfold on December 24, 2023, from 8 pm to 12:30 am along Orchard Road. Revelers can enjoy dance performances, Christmas caroling, Santa Meet & Greet sessions, a Christmas Market, food trucks, and a thrilling countdown to Christmas. Bring your friends along!


For enthusiasts of augmented reality (AR) projections, Hilton Singapore Orchard will host a mesmerizing 3D illustration on the hotel’s facade. Additional AR displays will adorn 25 glass panels along the pedestrian walkway from ION Orchard to Mandarin Gallery.

Immerse yourself in captivating, augmented reality displays running from November 1, 2023 to January 1, 2024. The inaugural installation at Hilton Singapore Orchard will showcase outdoor augmented reality projections in 3D through the PopAR Live app on our phones. The second projection can be enjoyed on 25 glass panels along the walkway from ION Orchard to Mandarin Gallery.

Image Credits: Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA)

Immerse yourself even more in the holiday spirit as, on the eve of both Christmas and New Year, a festive clock display will enhance the celebratory atmosphere. Feel free to take some pictures!

Sources: 1 & 2