My 30th was fast approaching and I felt like the best way to celebrate (or distract myself) from my step into the next decade in my life was to do a trip overseas with friends (any excuse for a trip, right?).
So when my good friend Lennae suggested that we do a trip overseas, that was it, it was happening.
We tossed around some ideas and Asia seemed to be the way to go. We stumbled across a cruise with P&O that left from Singapore and went to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia – perfect! This seemed like a fabulous trip for a couple of girl friends to do. Plus any excuse to go back to Singapore.
So we met up with our other friend and boarded our Singapore Airlines flight bound for Changi Airport. Singapore Airlines is definitely one of my preferred airlines. I’m always blown away at how great it is flying with them and I generally try to fly with them when I head to London.
We touched down in Singapore and it was so good to be back. Singapore is easily one of my favourite places in the world. It has a sophisticated, laid back charm that draws me every time. The variety of international cuisine options also appeals to this hungry little foodie.
For accommodation, we decided to go down the Air BnB path. This seemed to be the most ideal way for the 3 of us to stay together. We got a fabulous apartment in the business district area that had the most superb views of the harbour and Marina Bay Sands
Being in the CBD allowed us to easily have a look around this part of town. From here we went for a look around the harbour area, checked out the Marina Bay Sands, strolled through the Gardens by the Bay (absolutely stunning by the way – a must see, especially at night), grabbed a bite to eat at Lau Pa Sat (a hawker centre with an array of cuisines) and we caught the MRT to nearby Chinatown (the food stalls are definitely worth a look here. Eating with the locals is all part of the experience).
We also visited Orchard Road which is a shoppers dream! We were very satisfied with our shopping efforts here. Note: allow PLENTY of time if you want to do some serious shopping.
Another place that I just love is Clarke Quay and Boat Quay. The lights glisten along the river at night and the colourful buildings give splendid character to the area. The atmosphere here has a really cool, laid back buzz. Deciding on where to eat is definitely the hard part so we did what any indecisive foodie would do – chose a place for our entree, a place for our main and a place for our dessert.
After spending 3 fabulous nights in Singapore, it was time to board the Pacific Eden cruise ship, which would be our home for the next 7 nights. Cruising is a fantastic holiday option as it covers food, accommodation and transport to the destinations you’re heading to. It was perfect for us as there were so many options we could do at our leisure. Things we did included: attended a wine tasting, watched a comedy show, got our hair and make-up done, had massages, went to a quiz night, played Bingo (we were easily the youngest there, but it was so much fun!) watched a live jazz band, went to the themed parties, and indulged in many cocktails by the pool. There are just so many activities to do, and if you just want to kick back there are so many nice cafes, bars and sitting areas to do that too.
Here’s a highlight of the places we visited:
What a beautiful place to visit. Langkawi is an island located in the Andaman Sea and could easily be summed up as a “tropical paradise”.
Eagle Square was a must-see where a large Eagle statue towers above and is surrounded by stunning ocean views.
The Cliff is a restaurant with amazing views right on the waterfront, and the food is just beautiful. Would definitely recommend.
Langkawi is definitely a place to go if you want to have a nice, relaxing holiday with beautiful surrounds, great food and a spot of shopping.
Note: keep an eye out for monkeys playing on the side of the road – how cool is that!?
Our time in Krabi was spent taking a tour of the area in a scooter designed to fit 4 people. This was a good idea at the time as it was raining and to be honest our cocktail consumption the night before had got the better of us. The scooter was sheltered so we sat back and got to see the cute township and the beautiful views.
Our time in Phuket wasn’t planned as well as we should have planned, but Phuket really speaks for itself. Plenty to do and see, and the food… oh my. Pad Thai was on my bucket list and I happily ticked that off. We went to a nice little place and took shelter from the rain while we sipped some Tiger beers.
Put your bartering skills to good use and grab some really cheap items. My Mulberry handbag was a total bargain (no one needs to know that it’s a fake. Shhh…)
We really didn’t know what to expect here, but what an amazing little gem it was. We were told that this was the first time a cruise ship had docked here, so the locals seemed pretty excited to see some foreign faces. We had a local show us around the island in his old van – what an experience! This isn’t a place that has been commercialised yet so it was nice get an authentic feel of how the locals live. Sometimes the simple things are the most memorable, and our visit was definitely that.
After 7 amazing nights at sea, we headed back to Singapore. This time we based ourselves in Bugis/Kampong Glam. This was a really great spot to base ourselves. There are plenty of food options here, with a Middle Eastern touch in the Arab Street area, and a hipster cafe scene along Haji Lane. We also loved the cute boutique shops here.
Food choices included:
Mexican dinner at Piedra Negra – Modern Mexican food that was seriously good. Would highly recommend.
I Am – this is an Amsterdam themed eatery that’s definitely worth a visit.
We also spent some time hanging out with some cats at Meomi Cat Cafe. It wasn’t my idea, but my friends were keen to go so I thought why not. I never thought I’d say this, but I absolutely loved it! What a cool thing to do. I fell in love with Mario (the adorable ginger cat).
We wrapped up our trip with one last spot of shopping at Bugis Junction and the markets, followed by a much needed foot massage.
We sadly said goodbye to Singapore which had been the perfect destination for 3 gals to come together and make some memories.
Singapore in summary
For me, Singapore ticks all the boxes:
It is a relatively young country but still has an interesting history of how various cultures gathered to this part of Asia. There are several Museums you can visit to take you through it.
There are plenty of places to do some serious shopping (Orchard Road, Vivocity, The Shoppes, Bugis Junction, there are just so many to choose from).
There are plenty or parks and gardens where you can see some absolutely beautiful photo-worthy flowers (the Orchids are stunning). Head out of the city for some beautiful nature walks.
There is a rich diversity of cultures and you can experience these by going to Chinatown, Little India, Arab Street, to name the obvious, and eating at any hawker centre is a great way to mix with the locals.
If you’re taking the family there are plenty of things to do; Singapore Zoo, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands, Sentosa Island which is a great place for both kids and adults and is where you’ll also find Universal Studios, The S.E.A Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark. You certainly won’t be short of things to do!
And last but not least… Food
The food choices are seriously endless. Chinese, Malay, Indian, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Mexican and some really cool hipster cafes. You won’t be disappointed!
Hawker centre’s are a great place to head if you want an array of options – just make sure you read up on the art of the “chope” (the technique used to claim a table as yours).
The MRT (which is Singapore’s main transport network) is also super easy to use, and because Singapore is quite small in size, it is very easy to get around.
So Singapore… I’ll be seeing you again soon