Get a massage in China

I was never a spa person. Never liked going to salons or spas for any kind of beauty treatments or pampering. (Mainly because I’m very ticklish and because I hate sitting still for hours doing nothing.)

But that’s kinda changed since my few trips to China in the past year. I’ve acquired a new appreciation for being pampered.

The first thing you’ll notice if you go to China is that there is an abundance of spas and massage centres everywhere. Most of the time, they occupy an entire building and look either grand or beautiful or both.

Spa in China

Spa in China

Spa in China

Just walking into one of these places can already make you feel better by half. (But only the building and the reception areas look grand. The rooms where you receive treatment are usually plain in comparison.)

More importantly, the therapists/masseuses are very skilled and make you feel like you’re in good hands. And then there is the fact that everything is incredibly cheap. You can get a good massage for S$8 an hour.

Spa in China

So, the last time I was in China (in January), we went to Tangxia for one night and spent some time at the foot spa. Foot spas, where you get a full body massage as well as a foot soak and massage, are very popular in China.

We got to choose the kind of herbs/flowers for our foot bath. Mine came in this pretty box:

Spa in China

The feet are soaked in a little tub that has a Jaccuzi feature. While your feet are soaking, you get a body massage.

Spa in China

Foot spas are a great way to spend an evening in China!

Spa in China

Following our massage, we went for a hair wash at a salon just across the street from the foot spa. There, I received the best hair wash I’ve ever experienced.

We took a private room for four. It has a row of “beds” with big basins attached. The basins are where the heads go, of course.

Spa in China

I loved the feeling of the therapist’s nails scratching my scalp. Somehow, she knew the exact pressure to apply so it was comfortable and not painful. There was also a scalp massage, followed by some hair treatment thingy which they call “water therapy”.

That was about an hour of pampering, which is a lot more massage than you get from a regular hair wash at a regular salon.

After the treatment, we were each assigned a stylist who dried and styled our hair. Hair cuts can be requested, too, at this point.

Spa in China

Here’s what my stylist did to my hair:

Spa in China

Kinda cool, but impractical because it renders me half-blind by my own hair.

This hair-wash-head-massage-hair-styling set us back about S$10 or so.

The therapists/masseuses/stylists in China are mostly friendly and would chat with you and ask about you. But the one disconcerting thing is that they all use numbers instead of names to identify themselves.

Of course, they would tell you their names if you asked them, but they would prefer you to call them by number. If you like them and want them to service you again the next time you visit, you’re supposed to request for them by number.

(Update: Kell just reminded me that even amongst the staff themselves, they call each other by numbers instead of names.

Which reminds me that when I asked my stylist what his name was, he actually looked taken aback and then mumbled his name after a bit of a pause, followed by quickly telling me his number and stating that I should address him by number, instead.)

A little dehumanising?

You can go to China and live like a king for a few days (or weeks if you can afford the time) without needing a lot of money. Food and lodgings are cheap (and good) and you can always fly budget air.

I’m thinking I want to pay another visit before the year is up!

Con job massage and pirated Monopoly

Okay, now I have time to work on my Desaru post! I’m in a bimbotic chirpy mood today cos I’m happy for no reason! I can feel my heart smiling. For no reason!!! So I’m going to make lots of exclamation marks today like this!!!!

I’m kidding. Too many exclamation marks are irritating!!!!!!

Plus it’ll be a bit ironic cos the post I’m setting out to write is full of rants. HAHAHA!

Okay nevermind we’ll see how it goes.

We did an impromptu trip to Desaru last weekend. Me and Nanny Wen, the Goonfather and Unker Kell. Well, okay it wasn’t that impromptu. We planned it like two days before.

The road trip was as fun as all our past road trips have been. We had cushions and stuffies this time!

Road trip to Desaru

In the car, Nanny Wen was busy BB-ing away, so I decided to camwhore myself.

But she, being a consummate camwhore and multi-tasker, will abruptly abandon her Blackberry and stick her face into frame, every time her peripheral vision catches sight of a camera about to take a shot, never mind the camera wasn’t planning on capturing her.

That’s why you can only see half her face, cos I was aiming at myself when she stuck her head in! LOL!

We booked rooms at The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort because the Goonfather said it’s the best and biggest in Desaru, being the first resort to be listed in Google.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort


Well, okay, maybe it IS the best. I wouldn’t know because I’ve never visited the others. I might never find out.

The first thing that greeted us after we parked at the open-air carpark was Thomas the Train!

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

Damn cute lah! But we didn’t get to sit in him cos we didn’t sign up for any resort activities.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

My first impression of the resort was okay. It was spacious and the decor was decent and everything was neat and tidy. But I had a feeling it was, like, old and dusty, as if nobody had stepped in the place for a long time.

When we first checked in, we didn’t see anyone else (except the staff lah).

Our room, although large and seemingly clean, smelled old and musty.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

But we had a great view!!

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

Beyond the swimming pool is the beach.

I took an obligatory camwhore shot on the balcony while Nanny Wen took a moment in the bathroom.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

It was around noon. We were waiting for the boys to settle into their room and then tell us what they wanted to do next. So we went to bed while waiting.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

Then we received a call. The Goonfather said he wanted to go to the beach, so we changed into our beach wear!

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

HAH. No bikini pics for you!

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

The pool:

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

We each get a towel card to exchange for towels. If we lose a towel, we have to pay RM50!! Crazy lah daylight robbery. Who wanna steal your lousy towels anyway!

The beach:

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

The water was a bit murky cos of the rainy season. But the waves were nice! NO ONE ELSE AT THE BEACH.

We’d only been there for two minutes when it started to drizzle. Hahahaha so loserish.

Nanny Wen and I hid under a shelter while the Goonfather and Unker Kell went to sit at the shore to let the waves hit them. They ended up with pants full of sand.

They finally gave up the beach for some reason and went back to the pool, where the two of them spent 20 minutes showering at the public shower, trying to get rid of all the sand without stripping.

Nanny Wen tried to get a tan but the sun kept alternating with the drizzle.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

You can see the rain clouds gathering!

Another 10 minutes or so and we totally gave up and went back indoors.

It was an epic phail.

Before heading back, though, we made a small detour to the resort’s mini farm, which turned out to be a small chicken coop plus a cage with, like, three bunnies. Hahaha.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

With nothing else to do, we went to the resort spa and booked a two-hour package each, consisting of 1 hour massage and 1 hour scrub.

It was a total rip-off! It was RM180 each but it was so bad I expect them to pay me money to compensate!

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

Firstly, the massage wasn’t very enjoyable. My masseuse didn’t hit any right spots and she kind of glossed over everywhere quickly. Not only that, because we were in a couple room, the two masseuse kept chatting.

I didn’t mind the chatting because they were speaking in low voices. But at times, she would suddenly concentrate on chatting and STOP MASSAGING for like half a minute! Very unprofessional.

And there was one time she stopped in the middle of massaging my shoulder and disappeared for five minutes.

I don’t think they did a full hour because, very quickly, the massage was over and they started on the scrub.

She said, “I leave the scrub on you for seven minutes to dry, then I’ll come back later to scrub it off.”

The scrub beads were cold and I was shivering the whole time I was waiting, even though covered in blankets.

I estimate that we waited at least 30 minutes before the two of them came back, giggling, to massage the scrub away.


Once again, they left us shivering with cold for 30 minutes before coming back again, giggling.

It was the most horrible scrub experience in my entire life!! Okay, not that I go to scrubs a lot. I’ve only done it twice in Batam and I think once in Singapore. The Batam one was so awesome I fell asleep.

After the scrub was done, as we were freezing, they slathered ice cold yoghurt all over us (to soothe and moisturise the skin). Nanny Wen and I shrieked in tandem each time the yoghurt splashed onto a sensitive area.

Once our whole body received the yoghurt treatment, we were able to rush to the bathroom to wash off and hopefully get some warmth back into our shivering bones.


And the shower was a small drizzle when turned to hot. And hot wasn’t even hot. It was warm. The shower was horrible and there was only one bathroom for us to share.

At the end of the ordeal, I didn’t feel relaxed at all. Bah.

We visited a nearby fruit farm after the massage! It somewhat saved the day.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

Giant jackfruit!!

But we didn’t get to see the actual farm. I think you have to book a tour for that. We only had access to the store, which sold fruits, tidbits and souvenirs.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

After the visit, I was forced to play Monopoly with the guys at the resort lobby. WHYYYYYYYY?!

The Monopoly set provided by the resort looked pirated!!

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

By the time we finished our game, it was, like, 8 pm and time for dinner. We were starving so decided not to drive out to search for food. We went for the BBQ Buffet at the resort’s restaurant.

It cost RM65 per person and the food was bad.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

It looks decent but when you start biting into things, everything is bland. Even the sauces provided are weird.

Only the satay was good. And the satay sauce.

Unker Kell asked, “Can I eat RM65 worth of satay?”

The answer was no, because the satay (only chicken and beef) kept getting snapped up really fast.

And the bread and butter pudding looks like this:

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

Small piece of it:

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

You probably think it’s nice because it looks edible in the photo, thanks to my kind photography and the cute dollop of custard on it.

But bread and butter pudding is not supposed to be like that!! You can actually taste the bread, which tastes just like bread straight off the loaf!

Anyway, we tried to fill ourselves with the satay, and then Nanny Wen and I retired to our rooms early while the boys stayed in the lobby to enjoy the complimentary movie at the lounge, played on a dodgy projector screen.

And that was when the real trouble started.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

After staying in the room for an hour, I realised that the tip of my throat was feeling very itchy and irritated, and my eyes were almost watering and feeling strained (like it feels when you have fever fatigue). I thought I was coming down with something because I had only slept two hours the night before, and very little the nights before that.

Two hours later, when it became really uncomfortable and I started sneezing, I realised that I was getting an allergic reaction to the oldness of the room. You can’t see or feel the dust, but my body was reacting to something.

I didn’t think of it earlier because I seldom go to dusty places where the allergy will act up.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

But I finally remembered the time when I was filming at this rented HDB flat. Nobdy had stayed in there for ages, so it was musty and dusty. For weeks, I suffered exactly the same thing I felt that night in Desaru.

I also get it sometimes when spring cleaning for Chinese New Year.

That horrible itch and irritation, fitful sneezing and watery, tired eyes. My lungs also felt irritated from the stale air I was breathing in.

I was planning to blog that night since there was so much time, but feeling the way I felt, I just wanted to curl up and pass out.

Anyway, the night passed. I read myself to sleep.

The three of them went to the the beach the next morning while I slept in, because I don’t like getting a tan. After that, I joined them for breakfast at the same place we had the horrible dinner.

Breakfast was complimentary.

And it was actually edible!

Well, I suppose you can’t go very wrong with toast and eggs!

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

The soft-boiled egg was a bit of a failure but maybe this is how Malaysians eat soft-boiled eggs. I don’t know.

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

BUT I LOVE IT. I love too-cooked soft-boiled eggs!

There was also nasi lemak and it was good.

This was Unker Kell’s original selection:

The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort

Nasi lemak with potato wedges and fried egg. No sambal!

When we pointed out the lack of sambal, he was, like, “YAH HOR, HOW COME I DIDN’T TAKE SAMBAL.”


And that ended our very quick vacation because Unker Kell had to be back in Singapore by noon to attend his grandmother’s birthday party.

We ended up reaching Singapore around 3 pm or 4 pm, delayed because we made a stop at the fruit farm for more fruits and tidbits to bring home, and then at JB for lunch. Haha.


Anyway, despite the dodginess of the resort, I enjoyed myself because, as always, it’s the company that counts!

The impromptu Kuching trip

So, I’m now in Kuching with Nanny Wen, having been invited quite last minute to accompany her on this 2D1N trip.

I hardly had time to prepare for it, so all I did was throw together a few things and then I was out the door.

Going to Kuching

We had to buy air tickets at the airport at 8 am. Wen was supposed to buy them the night before, but she showed up only after the sales counter had closed.

We took AirAsia because it has the only flight to Kuching today. As budget airlines go, I prefer JetStar. It seems to be cheaper and it’s more comfortable.

For hotel, Nanny Wen booked Tune Hotel. Its a no-frills budget hotel where you pay for only what you use. We had to bring our own towels and soap.

Tune Hotel

Even the aircon is chargeable.

The bill comes to RM106.95 after service and taxes. Pretty decent for a double bed, I suppose.

Nanny Wen plonked herself on the bed the moment we arrived, to get her Blackberry connected.

Tune Hotel

That was when we realised that the RM12 we paid for wireless access only allowed one machine to access. We had to pay another RM12 for the other person.

Anyway, it’s fine. We’re both now happily stuck to our respective laptops after a tiring day of shopping.

Our shopping

We didn’t think we’d actually end up buying stuff.

We took a cab to The Spring, currently Kuching’s biggest shopping mall, because we’ve been to Kuching before and have already seen all the touristy stuff.

I guess I tend to buy more stuff when I’m overseas because I feel more relaxed and in the mood.

Shopping in Kuching

In Singapore, I’m always plagued by the feeling that I should be going home to work and I don’t have time to shop.

Before The Spring, we went to this tiny mall called Tun Jugah because it’s a few minutes’ walk from our hotel. But the mall is CMI. It has three floors and like 6-8 stores on each floor.

The only store of interest was FILA because I needed a pair of black sneakers. I saw three things I liked but they didn’t have my size boohoo.

But Nanny Wen bought something and she kept blaming me for dragging her into the store.

Nanny Wen buying shoes

Lunch was Sarawak Laksa and Kuching Kolo Mee. We just walked into a coffee shop randomly and it was nice!

Kuching Kolo Mee

Dinner was silly. We decided to eat in our room so we ordered takeaway from nearby hawker stalls.

Nanny Wen and her dinner

Sheylara and her dinner

I have this funny smile cos I have food in my mouth.

Feeling nice and cosy now. We went for a massage after shopping, before coming back with our dinner.

I think we were quite brave. There was a dodgy-looking building behind our hotel which has only one shop open at the time we went (around 6 pm).

Massage parlour

It was a massage parlour called Eroma. I forgot to take a photo at the shopfront but it’s all curtained up so you can’t see the inside of it. But Nanny Wen was dying for a massage so we went in.

We had spent most our money on shopping so we only had enough left for a 30-minute massage each. It was pretty awesome, actually.

My masseur’s phone rang halfway through the session and she actually picked it up and started talking. Then she kiap-ed her phone to her shoulder and continued to massage me while she talked, wtf.

She was speaking in Malay so I didn’t know what she said. Luckily the phone call only lasted a minute or so.

But her massaging skills are great so I forgive her.

It’s now two hours after the massage and I am beginning to feel the aches kicking in again after hunching over my laptop for the last two hours. Doh.

Sheylara on laptop

So, I’m going to stop here and probably go take a shower and then go to bed. I’m so sleepy. Only slept three hours last night!

And Wen is forcing me to upload my blog now so she can read it. She’s such a tyrant.

If there are any typos in this post, it’s her fault!

Sheylara and Nanny Wen

Batam Trip: Upskirt, massage and milk bath

The first photo I’m going to show you today is an upskirt photo.

In fact, many upskirts!

Honestly, they could have picked a better place to show off their skirts.

This was taken in Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall.

The last time I went there (about a year ago), I was shocked by the offerings. It’s quite a big mall, maybe as big as Ngee Ann City? (Don’t shoot me if I’m far off. I’m bad at gauging size and distance.) But most of the stuff sold there was like 30 years behind fashion.

I just ended up buying some shoelaces and bling stickers and potato chips. =P

So, this time, when I saw the upskirt display, I was quite excited. From that distance, one of the skirts looked like something I would wear, although not to stand by a second-storey glass window.

We went upstairs to find it. It’s a big store, about four times the width of what you see in the first photo. And the damn skirt was nowhere in sight! Argh.

So I didn’t buy anything but snacks this time.


Our lovely shopping cart after we were done:

I love shopping for snacks more than I love shopping for clothes and shoes!!!

(Partly because snacks are cheaper, lol.)

Everything in the shopping cart was the work of the girls. The guys only contributed one item in there: A 24-can carton of Heineken. (It’s hidden below the pile of snacks cos it was the first thing that was grabbed when we stepped into the supermarket.)

The whole lot cost us only S$92!!!! Including the beer! OMG. Split seven ways, we only paid like $13 each!!

What an unhealthy holiday. We had pizza and steak for lunch at a western-style restaurant.

I didn’t really enjoy it because I was a little too sleep-deprived to enjoy food and also because my tenderloin steak was crumbly.

That was seriously the worst tenderloin steak I’d eaten in my life. It wasn’t cheap, too, at $10.

The pricing was a little dubious. For $10, you could also buy a meal that includes two personal pizzas (size of a stretched palm), one chicken steak and two cokes. I think those tasted miles better than my atas $10 tenderloin, if my friends were to be believed.

After lunching and shopping, it was about 5 pm. We decided to head for a massage at the Sports Massage Centre. I think they’re quite big and have several branches in Batam.

The centres all look really dingy from the outside (no photo because I don’t as a rule like to take photos of ugly things) but the inside is nicely decorated and there are at least three storeys of massage rooms.

I took the milk bath package which includes a one-hour full body massage, half-hour body scrub, 15-min jacuzzi milk bath and 15-min sauna. All for about $38 after conversion.

They gave us private rooms with attached bath tub and steam/shower stall, although the “rooms” had no doors. The whole damn floor only had curtains.

And funny signs.

I am still in the process of appreciating massages. It’s really hard for me cos I’m super ticklish in many parts of my body.

People are supposed to be relaxed when being massaged but I have to tense up my whole body in order to control the ticklishness to manageable level. Even then, I can’t stop bursting into giggles and shaking violently at specially ticklish parts.

(The first time I went for the same massage a year ago, it was painful and ticklish at the same time, so I was either screaming or giggling through the hour.)

By the time the massage was done, I was exhausted and managed to drift off to sleep for a while during the body scrub. Except it was hard to sleep cos the masseur kept waking me to turn over or tie my hair or something.

The scrub was nice, though. Very shiok and not ticklish. (I can’t think of a comparable English word for shiok for this occasion!!)

The sauna was nice except that I couldn’t stay in there too long. It’s so hard to breathe steam! I had to keep opening the little door to let out the steam when it got heavy, which kinda diluted the effect of everything.

But I liked how my cheeks glowed after that! Unfortunately, the effect didn’t last. Next time I’ll take a photo!

My jaccuzi milk bath… went down the drain even before I had the chance to sit down properly because I fiddled with the wrong knobs and couldn’t figure out how to get the drainer to close again.

I totally do not get spas.

By the way, the milk bath was a little disappointing, even before the fact that I drained it prematurely. It wasn’t milky white like I expected, but a murky barley colour.

But I will try it again next time. I think the jacuzzi would be quite shiok also.

We went for dinner after this and then back to our resort to chat and eat snacks. The guys tried to finish their 24 cans cos we can’t bring it back to Singapore. Haha. I think they all got a little beer overdose after that.

By 4 am, I tried to sleep. Exhausted as I was, I couldn’t sleep because of the snoring symphony.

And then it was 7 am and alarm clocks started ringing. OMG.

End of Day 1!