Category Archives: Asia

How to squeeze ALL the tourist things in Singapore into a day.

With just two nights and one day in a city, let alone a country, you have a lot to pack in. Our day two was an attempt to enjoy as much of what Singapore had to offer as possible. This is a short summary –  well as brief as Emma Lovell writing can be.

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The charming heritage buildings showing the more traditional times of Singapore.

Our first stop was a newish café just around the corner from our friend’s house, Kith Café. They had said that the food was nice, a lot like brunch items at home in Oz, but the service was crazy slow! We were pleasantly surprised when all our food and coffees were out in just 8 minutes. Also the Kopi Coffee (drip coffee with condensed milk) was incredible.

Next stop, Sentosa. We had the cheeriest Uber driver I’ve ever met. He gave us a huge welcome and joyfully drove us over to the island resort. We were going to do the metro but it was super quick and very affordable to go by Uber. Our primary reason for the trip to Sentosa was to go on the Megazip. Congrats to The Bachelorette Season 2 for doing an excellent job of marketing and selling Singapore in their finale. That’s where I first learned of the Megazip Adventure Park.

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The staff were super fun and it was a great little activity park. We opted to do the Para Jump – comprising of stepping off a ledge four floors up and held only by a harness, then falling down. It was highly entertaining. Then we had to climb the stairs again, eight flights, to reach the Megazip platform. Eek! 75m up and then travelling down a giant zip line over jungle and beach to reach the end point. AMAZING!!!! Thrilling and awesome views. But not terrifying – a good mix of laughter and heart racing adrenaline.

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We pottered around Siloso beach for a while. I’d never been to that side of the island. There is so much to do on Sentosa we didn’t know quite where to start. Cable car, Universal studios, eat more! Ultimately we decided that we wanted to add to our Aquarium list together, and so it was SEA Aquarium in the end that won us over.

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It was awesome! Great layout, educational and so many beautiful marine animals. I must admit, it foes help having a marine biologist as a boyfriend to guide you through the many tanks of sea creatures. I did also suggest perhaps a career change again… Singapore life?

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Stretch Mr Octopus!

I managed to drag Mathew into the lolly shop and got my way. What’s being a tourist without some sweet treats. We ended our time on the island with a monorail ride and then the metro back to the mainland.

After much deliberation, we decided to take a rest. I do think I’m the energiser bunny but with a night out ahead, we needed a break It was also nice to just hang I the air con for a bit – Singapore is steamy!

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Walking on Sentosa can take it out of you – it’s hot!

Out again for pre drinks with our friend. He took us for a walk around the bay and we ended up at the Craft Beer Bar – I thoroughly enjoyed my green beer which had spirulina in it.

 

Off then to a rooftop bar, a must for any Singapore trip. Our bar of choice was Empire and they also had a happy hour so winning! Gorgeous view of Marina Bay Sands and surrounding areas. Perfect spot for a cheesy couple photo. Naww!

 

Our highlight for the evening was certainly going to be the trip to No Signboard restaurant for Singapore’s famous dish, Chilli Crab. This was where the locals go and you know it’s good when you’re the only tourists in there. The prices are much more reasonable than Clark Quay for the specialities such as chilli crab.  Fried rice, whole cooked fish and the crab, all washed down with Tiger Beer. The meal was spectacular. The only complaint, the electronic crackers for Chinese New Year going off every 20 mins – ARGH! But it’s all part of the fun and didn’t distract from the wonderful service and amazing food!

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Our very full day would not be complete without a trip to the “fake trees”. Matt had been chattering about them so much before our trip and it was his one request for Singapore. The actual name we came to discover is “Gardens by the Bay”. The trees are made of metal and then have plants growing on them. In years to come, they will just look like trees from a distance, when up close it’s a collage of flora items. At night, they are also spectacularly lit up. It was beautiful and if you have only one time to go – go at night! I’m sure it’s lovely in the day, but night time is out of this world – think Avatar in real life!

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What a day! Singapore, you’ve buttered me up and I am definitely falling more and more in love with your dynamic culture every time I visit. Thank you also to our amazing hosts. With a lot more travel planned, we can certainly squeeze in another Singapore stopover on route.

 

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View from Marina Bay Sands back towards Gardens by the Bay

If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

 

Written on Day 2 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.


Emma Matty India Sing(apore) 2017 trip begins!

It feels like I’ve been talking about this trip forever, and finally it’s here. 24 days. Singapore and India. Friends, sightseeing and adventures await.

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We enjoyed a few days in Sydney before we started our trip. We planned this trip last year before we knew we would move to Queensland. Nice excuse to extend the holiday anyway.

Flying Singapore Airlines, we left at midday. It felt really weird. I’m so used to heading out at crack of dawn or the dead of the night. Even though it wasn’t an early start, I slept terribly. It’s something that always happens when I have a big day of travel planned.

Travelling with my partner Matt is always lovely. He’s my human pillow. So when I did want to rest, he was there to lean on. Also someone to laugh at the movies with. I always look a bit loopy LOL’ing at the back of a chair.

 

Next stop – Singapore! This is my fourth trip to the tropical city/country. I must admit it’s grown on me each time. The first visit was a stopover and I was exhausted. I was alone and had been travelling for 13 months. I was just two days from home but not there yet. I admitted after the stopover that I hadn’t given it the time or attention it deserved. I’ve been rewarded with lovely and more engaging visits each time.

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Satay is a must in Singapore

This was a new experience again. Travelling to Singapore with my boyfriend and also staying with our friends who are currently living and working there. It was such a nice way to arrive and start our big journey. We had lots of advice on what we could do and also exactly how to get where we were going for each activity.

Upon arrival we were met with warm hugs and beers. Yes! Thanks! We caught up on all the goss and freshened up to see Singapore through our expat friends experience.

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We went straight to the Fullerton where we had a great view of Marina Bay and we actually got there just in time to see the spectacular lights show. All the while being filled in on our friends Singapore Year (which has now been 18 months and there’s more to come.) We perched up at Pelican Bar and enjoyed the pretty views of the marina over delicious cocktails.

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Local cuisine was calling and we went to an awesome hawker market. Our friends divided and conquered that place. Before we knew it we were parked at a table with plates of stay skewers, chicken and rice, dumplings and freshly poured beers. Tasty, speedy service and very affordable. This is the Singapore I love to see. The buildings are spectacular and the way they’ve architecture the city is impressive. But the blend of cultures which comes out most prominently in the fusion of foods is what excites me!

We were shattered by 10.30pm, way past our Aussie bed time and it was super easy to just jump in a taxi and head home. Successful day one of our epic trip.

Oh and of course we swung by the Merlion for a classic tourist photo.

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If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

 

Written on Day 1 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.


First Impressions of China

I have to say that China was not at the top of my travel list. I’m very aware of the mega nation and have many friends who have been to visit and enjoyed themselves greatly. For me, there just wasn’t something drawing me there.

 

Guang Sha Hotel, Guangzhou

Guang Sha Hotel, Guangzhou

This year, 2013, I’ve heard a lot about China especially in regard to Inspired Adventures and their many Great Wall of China Challenges which is something I’d really like to do one day – and it made me investigate more what people were doing when they were visiting.

 

I haven’t got a lot of time to visit but I have set aside 2 days to visit on my way back from Europe this December and my stopover on 21st November 2013 will be my first stay.

 

I found on the China Southern Airlines the staff a little short in temperament and abrupt. Not overly friendly and sort of just going about their job- pleasant enough but not outwardly friendly. This was something I had heard about China from a few close friends. It’s not an active mentality to come across as rude it just seems to be this is the way that people interact.

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The trend continued at the airport when I asked for help – people did help, but they kinda just wanted to give the answer and have me move along. I had a very nice girl sit next to me on the plane, originally from China and now living in Melbourne, so she was assisting me to figure out where to go and what to do. There were also some people trying to get me to go to their hotel and take their taxi, but even when they couldn’t get my business, they still tried to assist. I noticed that the English thing was a bit of a challenge. Totally respect that, I’m in China now and I most certainly do not speak the language over and above “Nihao (hi” and “ Shay Shay “ Thank you” ) so we did our best with sign language.

 

The climate was nice – not too cold as it should be Winter, though the next day was actually very humid. There were lots of trees around the airport and it didn’t seem too polluted. In the morning it did seem quite smoggy and there was a haze all around the airport – apart form being a little flustered, It was a nice temperature and very much an Asian country. The familiar smell and the look of the trees just reminded me a little of arriving in Indonesia or Singapore.

 

I got to the hotel and the rumors were true- No Facebook! Some of my other social media channels were limited too – but, I was able to survive 12 hours without it. Actually it let me focus on other things – good thinking China, increasing productivity! But not so great for me long term as a social media specialist….

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I think my most interesting experience thus far (yes in the short space of time I was there) was in the café in the airport in the morning. I went to the front counter and asked if they take credit card, I seemed to be most inconveniencing them and also not following their café system. I was quickly directed to a table. Ok. Then the wait staff seemed to be talking to the kitchen and other staff across the restaurant, rather loudly… most peculiar. The service wasn’t very friendly and I was definitely just supposed to order eat and go. I managed to crack a smile out of the waitress as I paid my bill and dropped her pen onto my sandwich- go figure!!

 

Oodles of Noodles in my hotel

Oodles of Noodles in my hotel

So overall – I’m intrigued. There seem to be some great systems in place and some innovative ways- I found a few bottlenecks in the airport with perhaps too many cooks, i.e. too many staff, but otherwise it was good. The hotel was comfortable and the area around looked pretty. I look forward to checking out the city. I’ll keep trying to make the individuals I encounter crack a smile and accept that perhaps not everyone is chatty Kathy like we are in Australia,  and that that’s not always helpful!

 

As I walked through the airport, I saw an incredibly beautiful billboard with boats on the water with buildings that appeared to meet the water and snow capped mountains in the background  – it plugged at my heart strings and I think China has A LOT to offer and I’ve not even cracked the ice yet!

 

So – see you in a month China – and hopefully another adventure will be on the cards again soon.

((Written 22nd November 2013)


A quick trip to Borneo in Instagram Pictures

This year I was fortunate to visit the jungle of Borneo Island. This was a dream to visit the Orangutans and see them in the wild. It was just the perfect time to get away as well after a busy year, an island getaway was just what we needed.

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We flew to Singapore on Singapore Airlines and then it was just a $240 return flight to Borneo – so we thought… WHY NOT!

 

View from Hyatt Regency

View from Hyatt Regency

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Kota Kinabalu and it was lovely. On the water and 5 levels up, we had an incredible view. Lovely restaurants to choose from and incredible pool area.

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A great meal just around the corner from our hotel pleased us greatly with the Indo/Malay flavours that are found in Borneo and for so cheap – 30 Ringit or $10 (AUD) for two of us to eat and drink!

Days were spent by the pool – finally a chance to relax.

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One day trip to Sandakhan and off to meet the incredible Orangutans

 

Baby Oranutans seen - tick! Great visit to #sepilok #borneo Got the t-shirt to prove it :)

Baby Oranutans seen – tick! Great visit to #sepilok #borneo Got the t-shirt to prove it 🙂

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre – A must see and once in a lifetime. I remember seeing these beauties when they first arrived at Taronga Zoo in Sydney and they were fascinating, but that’s got nothing on seeing them swinging from the trees in their native jungle. Amazing.

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Sandakhan Memorial Park to remember the Australian and British Prisoners of War who died here. I was moved by this site and this is somewhere I would want to visit again. An important and shocking piece of our history. 2,500 soldiers died here. Lest We Forget.

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Buddhists by the sea. A beautiful temple with incredible view.

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Island visits off Kota Kinabalu – Island hopping is a must here.

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Cocktails and Juices. Tropical drinks were the order of the day on my holiday.

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My dad. My travelling partner in crime. We’ve had some incredible adventures together and I’m so glad we organised this one together and got over there.

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Borneo is a beautiful Country with an interesting past and a questionable future- we all must work to preserve beautiful environments such as this jungle paradise. Visit there and learn more for yourself – http://www.borneo-travel.com/home.htm

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