PEr FYI

July 22, 2018

Bicester Village, London…Who needs the sale when you can shop here year round?

First, get the pronunciation right. It’s like “blister” without the “l”.

This rural England shopping centre – more than 160 stores and precisely 46 minutes by train from London’s Marylebone station – is almost as popular among Chinese tourists as Buckingham Palace.

This is the place to find deep discounts on designer and name brands. You will find everything you need from head to toe and from kitchen to living room. It is chockful of popular brands and perennial favorites, so anyone who is a loyal fan of any particular brands will want to check ahead to scope out their choices.

You will have saved so much. Even if you go in the poorhouse, you’ve spent your money wisely. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

bicester village1

bicester village2

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June 2, 2018

Tanger Outlets, Washington DC…small but you get your money’s worth

I’m a certified outlet mall junkie. Going to outlet stores meant a treasure hunt of last season’s clothing at up to 90% off.

Tanger Outlets at National Harbor is rather small compared to many outlet stores in the USA. There are a total of 73 shops. All the usual suspects are present: Nike, Calvin Klein, Under Armour, Polo Ralph Lauren.

It may be small, but you’re getting your money’s worth. his is the true truth as I say it as it is…

tanger wdc

December 2, 2017

The Compleat Strategist, New York…I left empty handed

This is a true aficionado’s pure nirvana in a tiny space near the Empire State Building. Not a single online or computer game.  This is role playing at its finest and board games galore.

This store isn’t really big but from the ground all the way to the ceiling it is packed with games. The walls are bursting with games. The narrow aisles have games, miniatures, books and other collectibles crammed along the shelves. They have brand new games, old vintage games, expansions packs for games you’ve never heard of, and most importantly: RPG books

They seem to have everything except the thing I’d wanted: a foam value set for the Star Wars Rebellion board game box.

Don’t come here for customer service, though. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

compleat strategist ny1

compleat strategist ny2

September 16, 2017

Fa So La Tax free Akihabara, Tokyo…top stop to shop for Japanese specialties

Few globetrotters set off for an overseas trip without a shopping list either for themselves or usually for friends, family and work colleagues.

Tokyo Banana is probably the most common snack most people will buy back from Japan. Choose either the banana caramel or strawberry cake. Royce, Kit Kats, Matcha cookies, the lot. Let’s not forget Calbee Jaga Pokkuru, the combination of french fries and potato chips, but much much better!

But where to buy?

Many frequent flyers to Tokyo will agree with me that Fa So La Tax free Akihabara remains one of the favourite airport shops when it comes to sheer availability of all the Japanese specialties under one roof. Moreover, with the short expiry dates on those Tokyo Bananas, it’s best to grab them last minute at the airport on the way out of the country.

stop by if you didn’t have a chance to stop by the electronics area, Akihabara in Tokyo or if you’re looking for TOKYO BANANA! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

akihabara tyo

May 6, 2017

PlearnWan, Hua Hin…traditional charm

A stroll in PlearnWan is an exercise in time travel, with many buildings recreating the 1950s feel. The atmosphere is casual and uncrowded.

Explore everything from liquor, inexpensive plastic-and-tin toys, snacks as well as a beauty salon, photo studio, outdoor cinema screen and a 20-room guesthouse or ‘Piman Plern Wan. Hard-to-find snacks, such as ‘tong muan sod’ (sweetened pancake) and ‘ka lor jee’ (similar to Japanese mochi), are cooked up a’la minute at one of the hawker carts lining the walkway along with typical fare such as noodles and barbecued pork over rice

It’s not all chocolate box perfection but while in Hua Hin, there’s nothing better than strolling through the unheralded but absurdly charming streets of PlearnWan. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

plearnwan huahin2

plearnwan huahin1

February 18, 2017

Asia Tour MICE and Leisure Co, Bangkok…fixer – par excellence

The popularity of escorted tours is on the rise.

Asia Tour MICE and Leisure Co, led by Panyawat Peter Tongprasert (CEO – Chief Entertainment Officer) has proven itself to my evident satisfaction. Its portfolio is wide-ranging: from Fototastic Challenges and party vehicles to team building activities and golf tournaments and police escort services. They customize sophisticated itineraries which cater for every type of traveler. With excellent planning, good contacts on the ground and close attention to detail, they set extremely high standards of customer service and his staff have consistently delivered.

If you are looking to book anywhere in Thailand – either a detailed itinerary or a fairly straightforward trip – you won’t do better than to get quotes from Peter and Asia Tour MICE. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

asia-tour-bkk

January 7, 2017

Premium outlet Cha-Am, Hua Hin…..a ghost town disguised as an outlet mall

If you are a seasoned shopper, you would probably love to shop in outlet malls.

There is not enough big names to pull the shoppers into this premium outlet. Although it has names like GEOX, Billabong, ECCO, Triumph, Samsonite, Lacoste, everything isn’t a bargain, finding a deal in here requires a little work – and it sorely lacks the appeal of outlet malls. It’s simply just dull and very quiet. Practically deserted.The staff standing by idly while they wait for something to do. Very dull with no atmosphere. Zero, ziltch, nil, nothing, nada.

It’s just a vast expanse of brick and mortar emporiums that many Thai and tourists no longer visit. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

premium-outlet-huahin

November 6, 2016

Koi Kee Bakery, Macau…you can bet your last dollar on the crunchy peanut candy and almond cookies

If you have a sweet tooth for pastries, Koi Kei Bakery will be a kick in the snackpants for you. This purveyor of cookies, candies is probably one of the few things Macau is famed for apart from gambling.

The crunchy peanut candy is a winner! It is a frivolous thing with no other purpose than to delight, and that’s why it’s so wonderful. There is a pleasing lightness and truly brittle so it breaks when you bite it. They’re crunchy, they’re crispy, they’re almost flaky and they’re truly addictive. The delectably light and flavorsome, melt-in-your-mouth almond cookies are not to be missed either. Another Koi Kee sure win bet is the phoenix egg roll with seaweed and pork floss. Though seaweed, pork floss and egg may not seem to be the most congenial culinary combination, this unassuming threesome packs a truly appetizing punch

If you’re in Macau, or even Hong Kong, take advantage and buy as much as you can because it’s good. Very good. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

koi-kee-macau1

koi-kee-macau2

October 15, 2016

Orcs Nest, London…This is the best place to go to get board games in London

An incredibly tiny store with an undeniably superb and rich range of board game stock and role playing books. Although deceptively small, it’s compact, with each shelf inside jammed with a vast variety of board games. This place has a ton of stuff.  The walls are bursting with games. It’s unmatched in this regard in London.

In terms of atmosphere, it has none of the buzz of other London game stores like Forbidden Planet. It’s pretty close to a tube station so just a few minutes walk.

The guy who worked there was very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.He was very approachable when I asked for some recommendations.Believe me, it was difficult to decide what to buy, there was so much on offer here. He asked what games I already played and liked, then made some great suggestions. If I had the luggage space, trust me, I would have bought more than the just one.

Bottomline is: fantastic store, excellent selection, but will burn through your wallet! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

orcs-nest-lhr

September 4, 2016

Shilin Market, Taipei…bring an appetite

Taiwanese night markets are a not-to-be-missed experience. Flying the flag for night markets is Shilin – perhaps the most famous and biggest Taiwanese night market.

Crowded and squeezy, the maze of alleyways is filled with clusters of hundreds of small stalls and street vendors selling a variety of local delicacies. Try everything  from skewered cuttlefish to fresh fruit to Taiwanese sausages to two of the market’s most iconic dishes: pan-fried buns and slabs of fried chicken cutlets. To decide what to eat, wander around and let your eyes and nose make the selection for you. This vibrant and colourful market blends street food with local souvenirs, designers, textiles, homeware and jewellery for a well-rounded market experience.

If you’re food-obsessed but don’t have the disposable income for Taipei’s best restaurants, Shilin is your saviour. Entry is free. The food, of course, is not. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

shilin taipei

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