A Week In London: OVERVIEW

Saliheen & Farhana Goes To London 2016 from fazmals on Vimeo.

We always try to get some decent video footage whenever we travel to have something to remember it by and so this is our London trip video, as edited by my baby sister. You know, the one who is currently offering videography services? Heh heh. She is happy and ready to take on any assignments ranging from wedding, engagement, birthday, proposal, save the date, corporate, etc so if you have an event or project and need affordable videography services, you can contact her or see her portfolio here ok! She is talented and hardworking and can deliver quality work, I promise 

And as always, I'll do an overview post after my trips so here it goes:

Our Travel Dates

16 September 2016 to 23 September 2016

Flight Itinerary & Journey Duration

Singapore to London via British Airways BA12: 14 hours
London to Singapore via British Airways BA11: 12 hours 50 minutes

It was our first time taking British Airways and Saliheen and I agree we would totally consider flying with British Airways next time since we had a pleasant experience onboard. Food was ok ok la, normal airplane fare and movie selection is pretty recent. We flew via an A380 aircraft and chose to sit on the upper deck, with the intention of stretching out at the back (where the staircase is) but we didn't have to do that in the end anyway. Saliheen slept through the WHOLE flight to London, only waking up for meals, can you believe it???

Oh, and can I mention how muskyil we are about our jet-lag this time round? Kenapa our jet-lag this time round macam lagi intense eh??? Saliheen and I have been on several long haul flights before and sure, we've experienced jet-lag especially bila part balek Singapore but it usually clears after 1 to 2 days seh. But this time it took 1 week for us to feel normal and sleep better again! Saliheen said it might be because our flights on this trip had lower cabin air pressure, which would cause a more intense jet-lag. Hm.

Time Difference

Singapore is 8 hours ahead of London. So if it's 12.00pm in Singapore, that means it's 4.00am in London.

Weather

Between 12 to 17 degrees (Autumn)

A few days before travelling, I went online to check the weather so boleh decide what to pack all. Sekali jeng jeng jeng, online articles said there was a heatwave sweeping across UK wtf?!?! And they were legit sources like this and this ok.

Even then we didn't want to risk it (low risk takers us...) so we brought clothing that would suit a warmer temperature but can still be layered in case of colder weather. Nasib baik we did that seh! It was wet and cold bila kita sampai and some friends told us we got lucky because the heatwave ended just as we arrived. Happy la laki aku the polar bear.

Why London?


To be honest, we didn't have any travel plans after Russia (which we travelled to in May). We did talk about possibly doing a short trip to Bangkok sometime later in the year but there weren't any intention to go for a longer trip to a further destination.

Then one day, his mum told us she had to attend a conference in London and asked whether we'd be interested to join her and his father for a family trip, alang alang boleh visit his brothers sekali. I think the idea of spending some time with his brothers was the pull factor for Saliheen to say yes! I know he misses his brothers very much and a family reunion is exactly what he needed to lepaskan rindu :)

Plus it was in September so it turned into a birthday trip for Saliheen hehe. Takkan asyik aku nya birthday je baru kita gi holiday, this time kasi chance pulak kat tauke! :P

London Accommodation


We stayed at Studios2Let apartment at North Gower Street, which is a minute's walk from Euston Station.

Pros: Super near to a main train station and various bus stops, many halal makan places (I think because the area banyak orang Muslim and there is a mosque behind our accommodation), halal provision store, there is Selfridges supermarket within walking distance, there is a garden for smoking, there is a kitchenette in the room so you can cook or warm up food if you want to.

Cons: Crazy small toilet (if you're claustrophobic it's not for you haha), no air-conditioning so it'll be hot and stuffy during summer (we stayed during cooler period so it was ok since we could open the windows + there was a fan in our room), no lifts so you have to drag your luggage all the way up the tiny staircase if you get a higher floor (we got rooms on the ground level so not an issue for us), very strict with check-in and out times, reception closes at 7pm so if you arrive anytime after that, you have to go to another location to pick up keys.

Based on our personal preferences, Saliheen and I would not have chosen to stay at Studios2Let because of the room itself, but since it was group effort with his family, we were happy to go along with the choice. On the overall, it was a decent stay and the location is excellent for getting out to anywhere else in London. And makanan halal berderet deret.

What Did We Do / Go In London?

As I've mentioned before, we didn't get to explore and learn the historic parts of London and that is a shame! Definitely something I want to do if I return to London, insya Allah.

Also, out of all the markets, I enjoyed Portobello Market the absolute most and it is the market I would return to if I had to choose only one market to visit in London. There were more interesting/yummy/attractive things to see and taste and buy, in my opinion, and the atmosphere is lively yet casual, which I like. 

Availability of Halal Food


I think most people already know by now that it is pretty easy to get halal food in London, especially the Bayswater and North Gower areas. But don't worry so much la, jalan jalan mana mana pun mesti nanti nampak tempat makan yang halal atau Muslim-friendly. My favourite halal spots in London are The Meat & Co, Noodle Oodle and Stax Diner! Didn't get to try the popular Burgers & Lobsters because my brother-in-law called one of the outlets to verify the halal status and was told the halal menu is at another location (?) which is jauh from where we wanted to be so we didn't go in the end. Next time la eh.

I don't think I mentioned this but there is also a Malaysian Hall canteen at the Bayswater area so if for some reason you are really dying for a plate of nasi padang in London, that's where you need to be. Haha. Tapi jangan terperanjat eh kalau nampak the sign that says you're not allowed entry unless you're Malaysian lol. We passed off as Malaysians so tak kena soal or what la. So I don't know la how strict the staff are about that policy, but they probably don't care because I didn't see any staff checking passports or what, and we saw a few Middle Eastern looking people dining in the canteen anyway.

Airport Transfer



We hopped on the Heathrow Express to meet his brothers at Paddington Station then took an Uber to our accommodation. If you're travelling as a group, I actually wouldn't recommend taking the Heathrow Express because I think it's more economical and comfortable to arrange for a private car/van to bring you direct to your accommodation instead of paying £22.00 per pax for a single trip or £36.00 per pax for a return trip to naik the express train which might not stop at your accommodation area.

I already told Saliheen this prior to our trip la but he preferred to keep things "open" since we were travelling with his parents who might prefer something else. Betul betul sampai sana and dah naik the train, Saliheen asked me to arrange for a private car hire for our airport transfer back to Heathrow Airport kwa kwa. I went with Addison Lee - I saw their cars and their advertisements all over London so their marketing effort worked, I guess. Haha.

Transportation Around London

We used the public train system (locally referred to as "the tube") and buses to move all over London since it's more or less the same as our local train and bus system and is easy to understand. Also, get yourself an Oyster card! It works just like an Ez-link - you tap in and out of stations, and you can top up your cards at ticketing machines.

Their train fares are more expensive than what we pay in Singapore though, so try to walk as much as you can (which was what we did whenever walking is possible). As a gauge, we paid about £2.00 to £3.00 per trip (which equates to S$3.50 to S$5.00 per trip) kat London. Kita kat sini kena bayar S$1.50 per trip to naik train je dah merungut tak sudah. Haha.

For all those times when kita malas or penat or want to save time, we just booked Uber! It is very reliable and convenient to use in London so we were very happy about having that option for transport. Uhmmm, black cabs what?????

Where to Buy Souveniers

We bought t-shirt and magnet souveniers from a souvenier store in Queensway area whereas we bought biscuits, chocolates and tea souveniers from the Heathrow Airport. (Kita actually nak beli kat Selfridges but ran out of time hahaha) We randomly picked the brand Fortnum & Mason (there were SO many pretty and yummy stuff from many different brands) but it turned out to be a lucky random pick because their biscuits, chocolates and teas turned out to be really sedap and a hit amongst our family and friends. Nak lagi pls.

Availability of Wifi

As always, we rented the overseas wifi router from Changi Recommends! It was going for a promo price of S$12 per day, although I'm starting to think that the promo price is = actual price because dorang punya promo macam tak habis habis ah actually hahahaha. Not that I'm complaining, of course heh heh heh

Shopping in London

SUNGGUH BEST! I wouldn't say it's because of prices la because their prices are more or less the same as Singapore (although there were sales happening whilst I was there) but more of the design selection - I have more to choose from because the retail stores in London have a good stock of stuff in UK16/18 sizes!

Tops and dresses in lawa patterns tak banyak for plus-sized women like me in Singapore, and especially susah for me to dapat seluar. Kat sana macam macam colour, macam macam bentuk, macam macam pesyen. Especially kat Primark.

Research Resources

I depended heavily on my middle sister, my friends and my acquaintances who have travelled to London (and oh boy, there were many!), read travel blogs and did my research by reading all of the tips and stuff on Time Out London and Visit London. Have Halal Will Travel has an extensive guide (here) on eating out in London too! I wouldn't have known about the halal food section in Selfridges if not for their mention.

Would We Return to London for Vacation?


Yes, of course! I wouldn't say London is my ultimate favourite travel destination (Tokyo and NYC, you have my heart and my soul and my little finger too if that's your kind of thing) but I was very happy with this trip and enjoyed myself very much. There are many more things I want to see and do in London so a return trip sounds good to me heh heh

The Total Expenditure

I usually share my travel expenditure details so I don't have to dig for scraps of information here and there every time someone asks me how much he/she will need for a similar trip so here is the rough cost breakdown for our London trip:

01. Flight (via British Airways): Approximately S$800 per pax
02. Accommodation: S$100 to S$125 per night at Studios2Let Apartment
03. Express Train (1-way trip from Airport to Hotel): S$40.00 per pax
04. Meals: S$30.00 per meal per pax (can be lesser, this is an inflated estimate)
05. Uber Fares: S$10.00 to S$15.00 per trip (depending on distance)
06. Train Fares: S$3.50 to S$5.00 per pax per trip
07. Private Car Arrangement (1-way trip from Hotel to Airport): S$85.00
08. Souveniers for Family & Friends: S$150.00 to S$200.00
09. Museum Entrance Fees: Mostly free admission, with payment for special exhibitions
10. Tickets to Book of Mormon: S$100 per pax
11. London Eye & River Cruise Package: S$70.00 per pax
12. Wifi Router Rental: S$82.00 for 1 device (up to 10 connections)

Ultimately, like I always say, everyone has their own preferences and styles when it comes to travelling so it really depends on what you want to eat, what you want to see and where you want to go. And with that maka berakhirlah series blog saya untuk London kali ini, semoga berjumpa lagi di lain masa! 12 weeks to California baby, whut whut.

1 comment

  1. Hello! Do you know any decent affordable hotels near the tube or hyde park or oxford? Or other places also can ah. I search all mahal nak rak seh! Hahahaha.

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