All posts by mike

Dark alleys of Chinatown – Singapore

Singapore Chinatown
Singapore Chinatown

Singapore has much more than just beautiful gardens and shopping arcades. Singapore has some dark secrets. One of the best places to learn about Singapore’s history and dark secrets is Chinatown.

If you can spare two hours on Friday nights, do a the Official Singapore walks tour starting right next to the MRT station ” Chinatown” (North East line).

A local will walk you through Chinatown and its surroundings. You will learn something about its past, taste some local cuisine and find some stuff you didn’t expect in Singapore.


Learn more on the official website.

5 Things I Love About Singapore

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay

Gardens By The Bay is a brand new attraction in Singapore.

About 1 year ago Singapore finished the construction of a garden with gigantic super trees and two fantastic flower domes.

The entrance to the garden is free, but if you want to either visit the flower domes or go on top of the super trees then you have to pay admission.

Tip: You get a discount when you present a Singapore airlines boarding pass at the ticket counter.



This is a must visit district in Singapore. Chinatown has a unique atmosphere. lots of little shops and restaurants. It can be conveniently reached by the SMRT on the North-south line.

Tip: Do a “Original Singapore walks” tour on Friday nights. It’s amazing!

Singapore Flyer

The tallest Ferris wheel is not in London. It’s in Singapore! Welcome to the Singapore Flyer – the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. It’s located across the Marina Bay Sands hotel. On top you can enjoy a view of Gardens By The Bay, Marina Bay Sands, The Esplanade and the Singapore Skyline. Breathtaking views – worth the admission fee.


Concert at The Esplanade
Concert at The Esplanade

The Esplanade

The Esplanade (Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay) is  an amazing event location with indoor concert hall and outdoor theatre. The outdoor areas often feature free concerts and plays.
There are also retail and food spaces at the Esplanade Mall.

You can visit this place easily by SMRT,  look for station CC3 – Esplanade. 10 minutes walking from there.


Changi Airport

Singapore Changi Airport - Terminal 3 - Shopping area
Singapore Changi Airport – Terminal 3 – Shopping area

Singapore Changi Airport is one of the most awesome airports.

It features lots of leisure and business facilities. Also, you can dine and shop at over 300 stores and restaurants. All terminals have several gardens.

For example you can visit the butterfly garden in terminal 3. It contains more than thousand different butterflies.

Other highlights are free WiFi, phone charging stations, TV and entertainment areas, free movie theaters and a swimming pool on the roof of terminal 1.

Tip: if you have at least 5 hours, do a free Singapore city tour. Counters can be found in all terminals.


Free WiFi at Singapore “Changi Airport” (2012/2013 Edition) – How to

[note color=”#FFCC00″]Info: Updated guide! Changi Airport now offers 3 different ways for free WiFi.[/note]

The team of Changi Airport offers international travellers free WiFi  in all terminals. Just connect to the WiFi and you’re online? There are several ways. Read this guide for details

Method 1 (December 2012)

On my latest stopover 2012 I discovered another option for Free WiFi at Changi Airport. It’s much better to use than the other options.

Changi is calling it a beta test when you login. I tried it and it’s amazing!

  • Connect to the network “#WiFi@Changi”
  • Read the terms and conditions
  • Click on the big button below the terms & conditions
  • You’re online!


Method 2 (January 2012, verified in Dec. 2012)

step 1 – check requirements:

  • You need your passport
  • Your Netbook/Notebook/Tablet/Pad/Smartphone oder other WiFi enabled device

Okay, let’s start.

  • step 2:
    Go to any information desk in the transit area, you can find them every few hundred meters in all terminals.
  • step 3:
    Ask for the “Free WiFi Pass”.
    The staff of the information desk will eventually ask you for your passport to note the details.You get a piece of paper with login details.
  • 4th step:
    Connect your WiFi device with the access point “Wireless@SG” (SSID). As soon as you want to visit the first website, you will be redirected to a login form.
  • 5th step:
    Enter your the login details from the paper and submit. Now you’re online!
    Select as service provider “M1net”. The username contains The password is uppercase.

I’ve used this WiFi in Terminal 3 at Singapore Changi Airport a couple of times. It should work the same way in the other terminals.

[note color=”#FFCC00″]Info: The access for each Username/Password combination is limited to a few hours.[/note]

Method 3

Method 3 requires a Singaporean Sim card. I haven’t tried it, but it’s not as easy as the methods 1 and 2.

Sony NEX 5R – Review – Part 1

You may have read that I am going on a trip to Asia next month. To give this blog a much higher quality I was looking for a new camera.

I found the Sony NEX 5R,  a brand new compact system camera combining quality of DSLR cameras and the small form factor of compact cameras.

This is the first part of my detailed review about this amazing camera. Part 2 will be a detailed live testing on my trip in Asia.


The specs

The Sony NEX 5R features an 16 Megapixels APS-C cmos sensor with hybrid autofocus system. The camera also records HD video with 1080p at 50 frames per second.
It also features an 3″ touch screen display with live view. The Sony NEX 5R offers the same options like a typical DSLR camera. You can set Aperture, EV, ISO, …
The Camera is able to shoot up to 10 frames per second. Another awesome feature is the integrated WiFi support. You can download “apps” like direct upload, photo effects
and much more.


Kit lens

The Sony NEX 5RK comes with a 18-55mm standard zoom lens. It has an average speed of F3.5-5.6.
The lens supports both constrast and phase detection autofocus.
It’s very light and compact, but it also offers an integrated optical image stabilisation.
[note color=”#FFCC00″]Newer versions of kits come with a 16-50mm (F3.5-6.3) power zoom lens, which is even lighter.[/note]


Image quality

What do you expect from a camera with a DSLR sized CMOS sensor? Good image quality with without noise.

I’ve already shot several hundreds photos in different light conditions. The image quality is extraordinary. For low light / night photography I recommend a better lens than the kit lens.
I already ordered the Sony NEX 50mm F1.8 fixed lens. It is a portrait lens which is also a top choice for night photography. Stay tuned for part 2 of my review, in which I intend to give this lens a serious low light challenge.

This camera has an excellent autofocus, which is super fast and precise when Hybrid AF is enabled. Currently it’s only supported by a limited number of lenses.
The Sony NEX 5R produces photos with very natural colours.

Lens support

The NEX line supports E-mount and A-mount (Sony DSLR) lenses with an adapter. Sony offers a bunch of standard zooms, fixed lens and macro lenses.
Also companies like Sigma, Tamron and others have a few lenses for the E-mount in their portfolio.

Stay tuned for part two of my review. Live from Asia.

Announcement: Trip to Asia 2012

I am very happy to announce my upcoming trip to Asia.

My trip starts 14th November in Munich. From there I am travelling to Singapore and Thailand and report about

  • hotels
  • airports
  • airport lounges
  • attractions
  • much more.

As a Star Alliance Gold member I plan to visit different frequent traveller lounges in Munich, Singapore and Bangkok and give you an review of the food.


My packing list for 3 weeks in Australia

What should I pack for Australia? Good question. Here’s my packing list for 3 weeks travelling in Australia.

Luggage - 18 days Australia
Luggage – 18 days Australia

And yes, it fits all into the 20 kg economy class + 8 kg hand baggage allowance of most airlines 🙂


  • 1 rain jacket
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • lots of shorts
  • 3 casual shirts
  • 4 or 5 T-shirts
  • Jacket and trousers or dresses (for evenings out)
  • 1 warm sweater
  • Socks (lots)
  • Underwear (lots)
  • Nightwear
  • Swim wear and towel


  • Comfortable shoes (for outdoor activities)
  • Sandals/thongs/flip flops
  • Going out shoes


  • Toiletry bag and contents
  • 1 small bath towel
  • Sun screen
  • Insect repellent
  • Aspirins/medications
  • Handkerchiefs/tissue


  • Sunglasses
  • Pegs
  • Flashlight
  • Power adapters
  • Day bag

Also think about a netbook or tablet. It’s a great way to view photos, write emails to your friends and research about your environment (Where’s the best restaurant?) .


Contiki Beaches and Reefs Tour – Review

Party in Australia

Lets’s review my first Australian Contiki Tour. The Beaches and Reefs tour is part of the bigger Aussie Explorer tour in Australia.

If you’re interested in doing the Aussie Explorer tour this article maybe right for you, as it features about 60% of the tour you’re going to do.

Aussie Explorer is a 2 part tour. The East Cost from Sydney to Cairns and the second part from Alice Springs to Darwin (or reverse).

The Beaches and Reefs Tour goes from Sydney to cairns (or reverse). My first Australian Contiki starts in Sydney.



Day 1 An early morning. After filling some forms and handing our tickets to Justine (our tour manager), we loaded our baggage in the coach. Then we took our group photo in Sydney with the Harbour Bridge in the background. At lunch we headed to Port Stephens for a nice dolphin cruise. Then we enjoyed the afternoon at the Shoal Bay Resort and Spa. And yes, we had a room party 😉

Day 2 we drove to Coffs Harbour, stopping in Port Macquarie for lunch. At this place we stayed at a Surf Camp in little containers and had our first surfing class. Our container didn’t have a toilet, therefore we received a voucher worth 150 AUD for photos and a free T-Shirt.

Surf Camp

Day 3 we headed to Surfers Paradise, stopping in Byron Bay for a few hours for lunch. On our way to Surfers Paradise, we stopped at Cape Byron which is Australia’s most eastern point. Then, we crossed over to Queensland and visited the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where we pet kangaroos and took photos with Koalas.

Day 4 was a day for optionals and free time at Surfers Paradise. I spend the morning jumping out of a plane. Sky diving at the Gold Coast with a landing on a beach. It’s just amazing.  In the afternoon I spent some time at Billabong and took lots of photos. Then we went out to Sin City with the whole group.

Day 5 we stopped at Brisbane, capital of Queensland for a few hours to experience the city. We also saw a presentations about opals. The we drove to Noosa, a trendy beach town.

Day 6 most of us booked the optional 4WD Fraser Island Day tour which took us all through the island’s sandunes, rainforests and freshwater lakes. Swimming at McKenzie Lake and a nice BBQ afterwards.

Day 7 After a night in bunk beds we headed to a country homestead in the heart of Queensland. Most of us dressed up in our western gear for our big roast dinner and then Karaoke night!

Sailling at Whitsunday Islands

Day 8, 9, 10
involved sailing around the beautiful Whitsunday Islands on a racing sail boat. This was not the relaxing yacht ride that many of us thought we were in for. When we were sailing, the boat sat at a 45 degree angle so we would all have to sit at one side of the boat. Sailing included us hanging our legs over the edge, taking in the beautiful views of the islands. We also stopped at a few places where we got to snorkel and see lots of amazing fish. We enjoyed Whitehaven Beach. A few of us even tried sleeping out on the deck under the stars the first night, but it started to rain. The third day in the Whitsundays we stayed at Daydream Island. it’s a big island resort and spa hotel.

Day 11 we continued our journey to Cairns, stopping in Townsville on the way for lunch.  It was also Australia day. Party time!

Fun at Whitehaven Beach

Day 12 started bright and early. A few of  of our group (including me) headed to AJ Hackett for bungee jumping and Minjin Swing. I opted for the Minjin swing.

Day 13 the whole group went on an optional Great Barrier Reef cruise where we spent the day snorkelling and scuba diving the most beautiful reef. At night, we went out in Cairns to the Woolshed for our last night as a group.

Day 14 we made a stop to the rainforest village of Kuranda to see an Aboriginal Experience. We also got to throw a boomerang. Then we made our way back to Cairns Colonial Club Resort. We enjoyed some refreshing Australian beers and said goodbye to some tour mates in our group.


This tour is just awesome. You see so much from the East Coast of Australia and you also have fun at night with night clubs, Karaoke on a farm and a nice sleep under the stars.
My personal favourite is sailling between the Whitsundays and going Sky diving at the Gold Coast.
You have to do this tour!

Rating: 5.0

Star Alliance Gold – Check-in

You may have read by articles about the benefits of Star Alliance Gold and how to get Star Alliance Gold status – The Fast Way.


In this post, you can see photos of Star Alliance Gold Check-in counters from different airports.

I update this post, when I check-in at an airport, that is not listed in this article yet.

Star Alliance Gold Check-in LH at Munich Airport
Star Alliance Gold Check-in LH at Munich Airport
Star Alliance Gold Check-in for Thai at Munich Airport
Star Alliance Gold Check-in for Thai at Munich Airport
Star Alliance Gold Check-in for South African Airlines at Munich Airport
Star Alliance Gold Check-in for South African Airlines at Munich Airport








6 hours at Singapore Changi Airport – What to do?

You have a 6 hours stop over at Changi Airport? Awesome. Singapore Changi Airport has so much to offer. The whole airport feels like beeing in a hotel.


Here are some ideas, how you can spend your time smart.

Singapore Changi Airport - Terminal 3 - Shopping area
Singapore Changi Airport - Terminal 3 - Shopping area

Plenty of time? You can do a Free Singapore city Tour and take in the sights and sounds of Singapore.

Experience international cuisine at one of the many restaurants and dining options.

Spent some time waling through the flower and plants gardens at Changi Airport. You can find different gardens in every terminal.

Enjoy some time at the fish spa in terminal 1.

Watch a free movie at one of the cinemas and Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.

Take swim at the roof top swimming pool in terminal 1.


There’s much more to do and explore at Changi Airport, I will update this article everytime I visit Singapore or fly via Changi Airport.