Google Map hacks

Sharing some basic Google Map hacks in this post. Google Map is a life saver when we travel. We do not even need to understand a foreign language to begin navigating.


Google Map can also help us to find new attractions and F&B. In some cases, we do not even need to be “online” to search our destination too (offline download is possible but the file size is huge).

We just need to understand the basics of Google Map to start exploring away, with our feet, wheels, or even from our tablets 🙂

Explore our destination virtually.. before our Holiday.
If there is one Google Map thingy which continues to baffle me,  it has to be bus services. I will always go to the wrong bus stop, or I will take the longer bus detour.


I encounter the same issues in Japan and Taiwan! (but not in Singapore).
Is it just me, or can someone provide some tips for me?


Meanwhile, my preferred mode of transport is still subways, hopefully with minimum transfers.


Ok, let me try to share some common tips which I found useful. hope it will be helpful for you too.


Wishing all the adventurers out there “Happy Exploration!”

A) Search nearby attractions

We all know about Johor Legoland, but do we know about NEARBY 煮炒 zhi char or Seafood stalls?


a1)Search Legoland


a2)Remove Legoland, and Search “Seafood Restaurants”.
NEARBY Seafood restaurants will be listed (screen below).


a3)There are a few seafood eateries along Gelang Patah (we love coconut crabs at Xin Ming Chu) . Just read the reviews of the listed restaurants and make your choice.
Google Map hacks
Google Map hacks
a4)Example if I select “Tian Lai”, the next step is to grab the GPS from Google Map.

b) GPS- Simply Right Click on “Tian Lai”, select “What’s Here”

 (this does not work on mobile devices)


b1)And the GPS coordinates will appear at the bottom of page (step 1 and 2  screen below)

b2)From screenshot above, we know Restoran Tian Lai is :
-categorised as “Seafood restaurant” (Use this as search term for NEARBY )
-there are 163 reviews
-contact number and opening hours are useful for me too

b3)Add a few more GPS, and you can create your own Map and itinerary.
Taiwan example (link), we plotted all the interesting attractions around Keelung (read our 基隆 Keelung attractions post)


To make it more challenging, go to a non-English country.
I was staying at Asakusa’s K’s House Hostel.


b4)Replace “Seafood Restaurants” from step a2) with “Ramen”, “Cafe”, “Sento” or  “Laundry” ( Mrs’ favourite haha) and I have a list of nearby amenities 🙂
For richer search results, you can use native language. Example search “ランドリー” instead of laundry.


Do search for Massage too (マッサージ) 🙂
Just mouse over and shortlist the attractions with consistent good reviews, and grab the GPS.

C) Get second opinions from Tripadvisor and blogs (example)

Not exactly related to Google Map, but we need to get affirmation that our shortlisted Cafes or Ramen outlets are reputable and trustworthy.


c1)We already got the GPS from earlier steps. I will be kiasu and look at the Streetview of building and nearby landmarks too. If need to, I even keep a photo so that I can reference and ask around if I am really lost.


c2)With all the tips above, I suspect many gems are still hidden from Google. Lookout for queues in nearby alleys 🙂

d)How do you capture your GPS at current location?


Have you ever wonder how you can capture a location’s GPS? I am assuming most of us do not have satellite phone.


This is useful for my future reference. I do not have a supercomputer memory.. I can then share the GPS on our blog too (you are welcome). This is especially useful for our road trips up North to Malaysia (read some driving tips here)


d1)Below image from (L-R), I use two Iphone apps to pinpoint my GPS location.


-“Compass” app captures my location in degrees “3°56’21 N 102°21’34 E”


-“DMS Convert” app convert my location from Degrees/Minutes into Decimal “3.93916, 102.359444”


You can actually use your Iphone’s Location Service to reveal your GPS on your Compass, but I am still hesitant to reveal my location to Iphone (paranoid)


Please try this Compass/DMS converter in Singapore before overseas. The compass tool does not need 4G signal to work.


Please share if you have more tips to capture latitude and longitude coordinates.


e)Bonus for those who frequent Malaysia. We found a few more gems during our recent trip to Mount Austin.

These restaurants were found by Googling “Restaurant” near our hotel.
Both restaurants are highly rated and we will definitely visit again.


e1)Goody Soup (好湯頭, rated 4/5)


e2)Chai Jia Chai 蔡家菜 Hakka Food , rated 4.5/5 !


These two Mount Austin stalls are only 700m apart, I will let you figure out the GPS yourselves 🙂


Do pop by more Mount Austin food options in our blog post ->
You may get more inspirations about Google Map Hacks here


The no1 tip – BRING extra powerbanks. Google Map will suck up your phone’s battery!


GPS, I hear you

Not too long ago, Daddy used to resist a GPS (Global Positioning System).
He says it removes the joy and adventure out of a road trip.

Yes, even if we miss a turn or exit, that is part of the road trip “fun”…
but kids are not impressed.

Maybe it is the macho stuff, where guys need to be able to topo (navigate) and find their bearings anyway everywhere.

After a few painful “hollands” (navigation failures) near Melaka, Daddy is finally convinced GPS is not a nice-to-have, but a must-have. Maybe it is the constant reminder from the Mrs (you just over shoot the landmark again!) or worse, kids (are we there yet?)

Back to our topic, we will share why a GPS is useful when we travel up North.
It brings us to the last M-I-L-E.

Trust us, in Malaysia or any other country bigger than Singapore, that last mile can prove elusive. When we are hunting for food stalls, you really need to be precise to the street name or junction ! Otherwise, kids will be clamouring (we are hungry) again !
Garmin GPS, GPS food Hunt, Gps for good food Malaysia

A GPS’s basic role is to bring us from point A to B.
Garmin, Tom Tom, and Marbella are some of the popular brands in Singapore’s IT fairs.

Nowadays, a GPS has more functions and computing power.
Do we really need a bigger screen, voice activation, smart phones connectivity ?
Daddy thought the extra functions might end up distracting the driver.

Get familiar with your GPS system in Singapore before driving into Malaysia.

Some newbie questions which we encounter before :

– do I need to set country to Malaysia when I drive to Malaysia? (nope)
– does GPS needs a constant internet or connection? (nope, as map is preloaded)
– so many ways to input the destination, POI (points of interest), postal code, street name, coordinates (GPS). Even Image (landmark) Geotag.
– you can even use your mobile phones to push the coordinates directly into your GPS unit

– One constant issue is loss of signal when we travel under a flyover. Those entering Johor via Woodlands custom will understand the challenges like the sharp bends, overhead flyovers, your GPS will be barking turn\keep left\right every 100 metres !

Focus on the road first and only GPS-navigate when you are confident of road conditions. Do not cut lanes abruptly or brake suddenly, you can always U-turn further up.

Another less common issue might be to convert your GPS coordinates from Decimals (eg Google Earth) to Degrees and Minutes.

Example Legoland’s GPS Coordinates :
– Degrees, Minutes, & Seconds: 1º 25’ 38″ N 103º 37’ 47″ E
– Decimal: 1.427361, 103.62987
– GPS: N 1 25.642, E 103 37.792

Your GPS unit might not understand Decimal coordinates, and we need to convert them into Degrees.

1) example how to change decimals “1.427361, 103.62987”.
2a) Use the digits after the point, ie 0.427361 x 60 = 25.64166, we round up to 25.642
2b) 0.62987 x 60 = 37.7922, round up = 37.792

2c) Thus we get “1 25.642, 103 37.792

Alternatively, we can use a convertor —

What features do you like in your GPS?

– lifetime map update for SG and MY ?
– ability to find carpark lots?
– detecting the next speed-trap (illegal in Singapore)  (updated 201710 – try Waze)
– one day, our Smartphone will become our default GPS navigation unit
– bigger screens?
– detours, traffic jam avoidence
– GPS unit price can range from $150 to $500++, what do you need?
– ability to tell Tow Truck or Ambulance your location coordinates

Daddy is still primitive when it comes to GPS, he justs punch in the numbers, and listens to the instruction. He does not need to understand the satellite and receiver technology behind the GPS infrastructure,

Viola destination, Hooray food trail, yeah 燒肉 !

If you find the hungry kids photos irresistible, do pop by our recent Food trail Johor and Pasar Malam KSL city. Do not visit the albums on an empty stomach !
Johor Street Food, famous johor food

Now that you are more familiar with your GPS system, review our Holiday destinations in Malaysia ! We have some Driving tips too, in case you are apprehensive about driving up North.

More GPS (Garmin) features on this video clip “Coordinates on GPS usage”.

Food trail Malaysia, Driving to Malaysia, Streetfood Malaysia

Thank you to our humble Garmin Nuvi 1250 🙂
You have brought us so much Fun, and Food.


ps.. do pop by our Google Map hacks too