Sunday, January 15, 2017

School Tales Review

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The Thais are known for the their witty, and often touching commercials. But that's not all, they also produce some of the scariest horror movies, often with twists and turns that makes the entire experience enjoyable too. It will not be easy to replicate or to meet the expectations of movie-goers these days.

School Tales revolved around a group of band mates who had to stay late in school, presumably for some late night practices. And just like your typical teenager, they decided to scare the shit out of each other by retelling some purported true ghost stories that happened in their school. It does seem that the school is really haunted, with different ghosts occupying different places around the compound! There are ghosts in the music room, stairway, corridor and even the library. Makes me wonder how can the students study in peace. Oh wait, it's ok as long as they do not stay late in school!

The movie is rated PG-13 and is unfortunately not as scary as I would have loved it to be. With the sound effects, some of the chases were quite scary though! There were no need for any exorcism experts whatsoever as the youngsters were all able to placate the spirits somehow. I believe even my two older kiddos will be able to stomach it. It is now showing in the cinemas, you can go catch it during the weekdays, and the redeeming factors would be the pretty things / handsome faces you can oogle at. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Monster Trucks Review

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I have always had a fascination with nature, the plants and the animals and back then my parents will have to deal with the stuff I keep at home. I caught the Monster Truck preview with the kiddos last Sunday, and the octopi-looking creatures living undetected by humans till modern times seemed almost plausible with the great CGI, so much so that even I felt like keeping one!

Wouldn't it have been nice to keep one to power any automobile meant for the scrapyard, especially when cars are so expensive in Singapore. But that's just... daydreaming, because even if the creature exists, you will still need to pay COE as well as a license to keep the creature, not mentioning that it consumes a lot of fuel too! 

Even with those sharp teeth, Creech looked really adorable doesn't he?
In any case, I would have to admit that the storyline was absolutely predictable and adults might find it a little cliche, almost like watching E.T. again. However it would still make a perfect movie for the little ones and was heartwarming too! I know because all my 4 kiddos had a magical time at the movie, and even Louie who was throwing a little tantrum before the movie started, calmed down and watched it till the end! So if you are thinking of a suitable flick to bring the kiddos to, this would be a good choice!

Showing at the cinemas now, go catch it with the family! 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Short Getaway To Bintan Lagoon Resort

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The family was lucky to go on a short escapade to Bintan Lagoon Resort last month. Not the first time to Bintan but it was our first experience to the resort, and it was a welcomed reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Singapore. Being a resort by the beach, we need not pack too much for the trip (not that I pack much for anywhere anyway)! We took the Mozaic Ferry line from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal which took us directly to Bintan Lagoon Ferry Terminal. We were picked up by a friendly driver upon the speedy immigration clearance and we got down the minivan before we even warmed the seats!

The Room

We were definitely impressed with the size of the room when we first checked in.our Deluxe Sea-Facing room on the ground floor. It came with a king-sized bed, a raised platform with a queen-sized mattress, a big bathtub and the usual amenities like the minibar, hot water flask etc. The kiddos were so happy to find the mattress by the window and proceeded to make it their "camping ground"! As our room was on the "ground" floor, we could open up the door beside the window and walk right up to the beach! That was when I realized that we were less than 200m from the ferry terminals! There wasn't even a need for the pickup earlier!

Opened the door facing the sea, and realized that the ferry terminal was just that building opposite our room!

The tiles were kind of stained but what the heck, no one minded I guess, as long as the floor is clean and toilet free from odours!

There are enough dining choices within compounds of Bintan Lagoon Resort to last your vacation duration, serving a variety of Asian and Western cuisines, with Fiesta! being the main restaurant serving buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner! 

For dinner, the roasted chicken is very nice! But only if you can take spicy food though.
Another must try would be the grilled squid. Fresh succulent and tasted awesome with cut chilli!


We also had lunch over at Verandah which served all-day casual dining by the side of the swimming pool. The kid's sets were quite ok, but given the pricing for the adult meals, I was really expecting something more filling, especially the chicken leg which in reality was really the size of a big drumlet.

Popeye Meets Olive - SG$12
Philly Cheese Steak - SG$20
BBQ Chicken Leg - SG$19
Grilled Salmon Fillet - SG$20
Grilled Sirloin Steak - SG$27

Miyako Japanese Restaurant

We dined at the restaurant because I had a craving for something Japanese and we also ended up being the first customers for the evening because I got hungry at 5pm Indonesia time. We loved the view from our seats and the food was good. The pricing would be somewhat similar to the upmarket Japanese restaurant you can find in Singapore. Easily the most enjoyable meal in our trip!

Tempura Zen - SG$30
Tempura Udon - SG$15
Sashimi Zen - SG$30
Leisure Activities

There are a whole range of facilities such as archery, golf driving range, gym, snooker, swimming pool, children indoor playground that comes free with your room booking. And for the adventurous, you can also try out the range of sea sports available, subject to the sea conditions of course. We were there during the monsoon season and basically only lazed around the pool and the beach! In any case, the kiddos loved the indoor playground and they would have spent the entire day there if I had not demanded that we go elsewhere!

My Verdict

I am really 50/50 about this. My overall impression of the resort is definitely good, and it gave me the Bali / Thailand vacation "feel" but yet was only a short ferry ride away from Singapore. The resort stay was enjoyable for the family, given the list of free activities that the kiddos got to enjoy. Love the wide stretch of soft powdery beach and the abundance of wildlife and sea creatures they got to learn about, touch and feel as well!

It can be considered affordable if you take the Fun & Stay - All-Inclusive Family Package, but unfortunately for us, that package is only meant for 2 adults and 2 kids max. The room prices may look attractive on its own, but if you need to take the return ferry ticket prices of SG$60 (adult) and SG$50 (child) into consideration, a family vacation can still prove to be a little costly.

It is also understandable that food pricing in a resort setting may be a little on the high side but I am sure we do not mind paying Singapore restaurant pricing while on vacation. But it will really be awesome if the restaurants can try to up their standards to match. That would seriously prevent any stingy person (like myself) from picking any bones.

Thank you for hosting our family over for the holidays Bintan Lagoon Resorts, we will be looking out for more fantastic family packages from you to plan for our return trip!