The 8 best places to have Singapore noodles in Singapore


Are you looking for the best places to find Singapore noodles in Singapore? Here are the best places to find your noodle fix in the city.


Singapore noodles have been a firm favourite for noodle-lovers around the globe for as long as I can remember. Although Singapore noodles have become something of an urban myth outside of the tiny island, Singapore’s noodle dishes aren’t easily confined to one dish.

Outside Singapore, you might find ‘Singapore noodles’ on your local takeaway menu but Singapore’s noodles are so much more than one classic stir-fried Saturday feast. There are loads of different flavours, textures and styles of Singapore noodles to try out!

From luscious Fried Bee Hoon to delicious Laksa noodle soup, I’ve rounded up the best places to have Singapore noodles that will get your mouth watering.


A Noodle Story


Address: Amoy Street Food Centre 7 Maxwell Road Stall #01-39, Singapore 069111

Here’s their trip advisor page. 

A Noodle Story is one of Singapore’s favourite noodle joints. Their banner even dons an image of the iconic ‘Singapore noodles’! A fan favourite is Hong-Kong style wanton mee, along with char siew that’s cooked 36 hours. What gives this place it’s kick is the home-made sambal that’s added to the mix.

This hawker stall is known to have gargantuan queues though, so be slightly wary! If you have the time and patience, it’s certainly worth a visit.

Singapore noodles


Holland V. Fried Bee Hoon


Address:1 Lor Mambong, Singapore 277700

Here’s Holland Village’s trip advisor

If you’re looking for something close to takeaway style Singapore noodles, head down to Holland V Fried Bee Hoon. Located in Holland Village Market and Food Centre, these sinful plates of bee hoon mee (essentially rice vermicelli mixed with yellow noodles) are sure to hit the spot. If you’re wondering what makes these so sinful, this joint cooks down pigs’ trotters and uses these oils to fry their noodles in.

Substituting this oil for commercial lard, Holland V’s bee hoon has a unique taste that just cannot be replicated elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to be a glutton at this place. The portions are hefty, but it would be rude not to sample all this stall has to offer!

best place for Singapore noodles


Xian Seafood Village


Address: 33 Sembawang Rd, #01-04/07, Singapore 779084

Here’s their Facebook page.

Xian Seafood Village is a slightly strange one, as it’s located inside one of Singapore’s industrial parks. This Upper Thomson joint is always packed though, as it caters perfectly to local tastes. Specialising in crab dishes, one of their top sellers is the crab bee hoon which is made with Sri Lankan crabs.

Though the price is a bit steeper than others on my list (the average dish tends to go for about $25), these guys really know their way around seafood, and coupling your Singapore noodles with their epic seafood is an awesome option.


Summer Pavilion


Address: 7 Raffles Ave, Singapore 039799

Here’s their website.

The Summer Pavilion at The Ritz Carlton has long been one of the most luxurious places to get your noodle fix. Unlike the traditional bee hoon dishes on my list, this restaurant has created a soothing bowl of noodle soup that never fails to keep Singaporeans coming back for more. Created by the restaurant’s executive chef, the Summer Pavilion’s famous noodle dish has lobster at the helm. Its clear broth is made from fresh lobster, and the result of the lengthy cooking process is a delicious, flavoursome broth that is well worth the $25 price tag. On a cooler Singapore day, this dish is one that will warm the cockles.

best place for Singapore noodles.


Hana Restaurant in the Singapore The Forum


Address: 583 Orchard Road, Forum The Shopping Mall, #01-17, Singapore 238884

Here’s their trip advisor page. 

One of the top places to have Singapore noodles has got to be the Hana Restaurant in The Forum. Though not your traditional plate of noodles, these dishes are just too cool not to mention.

Piles of delicious, slurpy noodles are supported by a pole in the middle of a dim sum basket. To get a taste of these bad boys, you just need to scoop up your noodles and dunk them in a variety of dipping sauces. It requires a bit of DIY, but it’s certainly popular with Singaporeans. With queues up to an hour or so long, bring your strongest will along with your wallet for this one.

best places in singapore for noodles


 I Want My Noodle


Address: 1, #03-14 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228208

Here’s their Facebook page

With fresh noodles made in-house daily, you might just find yourself chanting this noodle joint’s namesake whilst waiting for your order. One of the most popular dishes here is the Lor Bar Noodle dish. Topped with braised pork and made with a well-kept secret recipe, I Want My Noodle is an excellent choice for a reasonably priced plate of noodles.

These guys don’t compromise on quality though. Priding themselves on their freshly made dishes, they don’t use any nasty preservatives in their meals. It’s fresh or bust at this place!

singapore noodles


328 Katong Laksa


This place is an interesting one that deserves a mention when talking about the best places to have Singapore noodles. Why, you ask? This unassuming laksa stall in Katong beat out Gordon Ramsay in the famous Hawker Heroes challenge! With an unbeatable bowl of laksa containing luscious vermicelli noodles and a moreish coconut gravy, you’ve simply got to try what this internationally renowned stall has to offer.

Singapore noodles


Morsels


Address:#01-04 Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249670

www.morsels.com.sg

Morsels isn’t exactly a traditional place to have Singapore noodles. Serving small bites (much like the name suggests), this little place in Dempsey Hill serves creative fusion dishes which are driven by ingredients. Serving a weekly noodle set, this place often switches up their menu options.

So, if you’re looking for a pleasant surprise every time you visit, this is a good shout. A noodle set that this joint highly recommends is their prawn noodle set. It isn’t unlike those served at local hawker centres, but it’s way more elevated, with perfectly cooked eggs and delicious fresh prawns seamlessly woven into the dish.


I hope that this short guide to the best places to have Singapore noodles has helped you out!

Singapore noodles are definitely a foodie highlight and Singapore’s food scene is so extensive that it’s impossible to list all my top picks, but if you’re looking for a variety of noodles to whet your appetite, it’s a great place to start.

So, pick up your chopsticks and get moving, because there’s a whole slurpy, slippery world out there waiting to be discovered.

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Where to stay in Singapore: A guide to the best neighbourhoods and hotels

places to stay in singapore


Are you looking for advice on where to stay in Singapore? Here is your ultimate guide to neighbourhoods and hotels in the city, to make sure you have the best possible trip. 


If you’ve never visited this amazing city, and simply can’t decide where to stay in Singapore, you’re in luck. My handy guide to where to stay in Singapore (including all the key neighbourhoods and hotels on the island) will help you figure out the right fit for your stay in Singapore. Whether you’re a party animal who wants to dance the night away or someone looking for their cultural oasis, I’ve got you covered with this guide on where to stay in Singapore.

In each neighbourhood guide below, you’ll find some hotel suggestions too, so you can find all the information you need when choosing where to stay in Singapore!


Neighbourhood: Little India


First on my list of where to stay in Singapore, it’s Little India. Little India in Singapore is an area that’s worth looking at for the more budget conscious travellers. 

Now, as well as being a fabulous place to experience Indian culture, Little India is a delightful explosion of colour (check out this cute video tour of the area). Its rainbow houses are scattered all over Instagram, and around every corner there’s a delicious curry to be sampled.If you happen to be visiting during October’s Diwali celebrations this neighbourhood in Singapore truly comes alive, so it’s worth keeping in mind if you’ve yet to nail down your travel dates.

A highlight of this area has got to be the Sri Veeramakaliammam Temple too – a must-see place in Singapore. With the smell of incense wafting gently through the air, this place is a must for culture seekers. Obviously, it goes without saying that you should be respectful of the worshippers; I recommend keeping your iPhone camera tucked away during your visit. 

Hotel recommendations:

With hostels commonplace in this area (such as the popular Footprints Hostel), it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for a budget accommodation option. For somewhere a little quirky, I LOVE the Wanderlust hotel – which is cool rooms and amazing decor.

Where to stay in Singapore


Neighbourhood: Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay


If you love nightlife and you’re searching for where to stay in Singapore… Then Clarke Quay is the place for you. If you like to party the night away, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay are perfect places to stay as you’ll be in walking distance of all of Singapore’s best nightlife. 

Well-known for its endless bars and clubs, Clarke Quay is the Singapore equivalent to Ibiza, but a little bit classier! Centrally located with numerous attractions within reach, there are budget and higher-end options that will suit most travellers here. With the waterfront on your doorstep too, this is the perfect neighbourhood if you’re looking to explore Singapore’s diverse nightlife, and be in the centre of everything too. 

Hotel recommendations:

If you’re looking for where to stay in Singapore, but you want a budget hotel, the Oxford or Marrison Hotels are good picks in this neighbourhood. If you’re after a more luxury experience, try the famous Fullerton Hotel. The Fullerton Hotel is one of the most luxurious in the city and was originally a General Post Office, so has stunning design and architecture. 

a guide to Where to stay in Singapore


Neighbourhood: Orchard Road


Next on my list of where to stay in Singapore, it’s Orchard Road. Orchard Road is renowned as Singapore’s shopping district, and I promise that you’ll be able to find anything your heart desires here. With cool local boutiques and massive complexes offering international brands, there’s no shortage goodies to be had.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Singapore, but you know you want to be somewhere with lots of energy and shops – this neighbourhood is ideal. With endless transport links and numerous hotels within walking distance, you won’t have an issue staying near Orchard Road as a tourist.

The main drawback might be that you’ve seen it all before, as it’s not exactly reflective of Singapore’s history or unique culture. It can also be slightly pricey, with 4 and 5-star hotels being commonplace in this Singapore neighbourhood. However, if you’re a sucker for some retail therapy, and you want to be centrally located, you can’t really go wrong with this area for where to stay in Singapore.

Hotel recommendations:

My personal favourite hotel near this area is the Shangri-La Hotel on Orange Grove Road. Retaining elements of Singapore’s oriental charm whilst being incredibly modern, it has an unmatched buffet afternoon tea offering buttery scones, local dishes and mouth-watering desserts. The Rose Veranda for a spot of tea is a MUST at this location (even if you’re not staying at the hotel!).

Where to stay in Singapore


Neighbourhoods: Marina Bay & Financial District


If you’re looking for the version of Singapore that’s often plastered across postcards, Marina Bay is probably your best bet. This is the heart of the city’s skyline and it’s also home to the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel (the huge three tower skyscraper with the epic infinity pool).

Singapore’s central business district is an unrivalled choice for city-lovers and excitement seekers. Offering breathtaking skyline views, this buzzy neighbourhood is ideal for those clamouring for Singapore’s metropolitan side. With bougie restaurants and more luxury hotels than I can count, Marina Bay promises both style and substance.

If you’re choosing to stay in the Bay area, you’re going to be within walking distance of most landmarks. It’s an extravagant (and expensive) neighbourhood to stop in, but it certainly shows off the best of Singapore. If you’re wondering where to stay inSingapore, but you know you want it to be glamorous and extra-special – Marina Bay is the answer! 

Hotel Recommendations:

Of course we couldn’t write a guide to where to stay in Singapore (especially Marina Bay) without mentioning the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel. This is one of the most famous hotels in Singapore, and the rooms overlook the beautiful skyline with uninterrupted views. Another hotel option with amazing reviews would be the Conrad Centennial Hotel in Marina Bay – it has gorgeous facilities, and modern interior design.

the best place to see Singapore skyline


Neighbourhood: Chinatown


Next on my list of where to stay in Singapore, it’s Chinatown. Chinatown is one of Singapore’s most vibrant neighbourhoods has got to be Chinatown. With shophouses galore and splashes of red visible on every street corner, this exciting and bustling area is one of Singapore’s coolest places to stay.

If you want to plonk yourself amongst the epicentre of Singapore’s Chinese culture, this is the neighbourhood for you. At night, check out the markets, where you’re sure find a bargain or two amongst the many street stalls and shops lining the streets. If you’re feeling peckish, the area is littered with food centres serving up tons of Singaporean favourites. It’s an amazing place to stay in Singapore – full of culture and amazing food too. 

Hotel recommendations:

Hotels around here tend to be reasonable, with Furama City Centre and the Hotel Soloha coming in as great mid-range options. If you fancy a slightly more upmarket pick, the Dorsett Hotel is a 4-star hotel that is a 3-minute walk from Outram Park MRT (which means getting around is super convenient). 

top places to visit in Singapore


Resorts World and Sentosa


Last on my list of where to stay in Singapore, it’s Sentosa Island. If you fancy something a little more tropical, Sentosa is an excellent beachy base. Though slightly less central in terms of location, it’s the perfect escape from Singapore’s hustle and bustle. If you want your stay in Singapore to be half beach escape, and half city break – this is a great place to stay in Singapore.

There is loads to do in Singapore, and it feels like an oasis of calm, yet fun-filled and diverse too. The only drawback to staying in this neighbourhood of Singapore is that it can be slightly trickier to get to the mainland. It’s still quite centrally located but getting anywhere noteworthy might require some time on the MRT.

Hotel recommendations:

Though it’s a little bit pricey, Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa is a beautiful Heritage Hotel that is located just 3 minutes from Palawan Beach. Boasting insane views of the South China Sea, this tropical paradise is a delight.

If you don’t want to stay on the island itself, Resorts World Sentosa is a massive complex that houses multiple hotels. If you’re looking for a lively hotel that’s perfect for families, give the Festive Hotel a whirl. Alternatively, fans of the Hard Rock brand will enjoy the modernity and rock-and-roll edge of the Hard Rock Hotel Singapore.

guide to Where to stay in Singapore


I hope that this guide to Singapore’s neighbourhoods and hotels has been useful, and you have a more clear idea now of where to stay in Singapore!

Wherever you decide to set up camp, Singapore’s geography tends to work in your favour. I’ve made sure that all my picks are close to MRT stations and bus routes, so you should easily be able to get around, no matter where you stay in Singapore.  Travel in Singapore is super reasonable, so you really can explore Singapore’s wonders from wherever you end up.

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Different ways to get from Singapore to Bali

Singapore to Bali


Are you looking for the best way to get from Singapore to Bali? Keeping reading for the different routes you can take.


It can be a bit confusing trying to get from Singapore to Bali (or vice versa). There’s not a direct flight or ferry that gets you straight to your hotel room, but I’m going to give you a run-down of the different ways you can get from Singapore to Bali. Don’t fret – it’s not as complex as it might seem!

I must admit though, it’s a good shout to plan out your journey beforehand to avoid any travel blunders. I’d say that there’s three main ways to get yourself from Singapore to Bali, so let’s jump straight in.


Flying from Singapore to Bali


The first, and probably easiest method on my list of different ways to get from Singapore to Bali is to fly. You can fly into Bali Denpasar International Airport from Singapore’s Changi Airport quite easily, and the flight is a relatively short one, the average journey taking 2 hours and 45 minutes.

With numerous airlines offering flights into Bali, you’ll easily be able to source a flight that works for you and your budget / schedule. The top carriers tend to be Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Garuda Indonesia. However, due to the popularity of the route, it’s worth shopping around, as there are numerous other airlines that service Singapore and Bali. I recommend looking at Skyscanner before booking independently, as you might just be able to snag a deal. 

Top tip! Be patient when looking for flights. Most airlines that service Bali run regular flight sales, and if you’ve got the time, you might be able to go for next to nothing! You can visit a travel agent to book your flights or visit the airline’s website for a seamless online experience. Book away!

Singapore to Bali travel methods


Take the Ferry


Another option is to take a series of ferries from Singapore to Bali. I must admit though, the flight option is at the top of my list for a reason – simply because it’s much quicker and easier

If time is on your side though (or maybe if you don’t love flying) then taking the ferry from Singapore to Bali is a good choice, as it’s less pricey and does get you there. It’s a bit complex though, so bear with me.

First of all, always check the schedules first for the Singapore to Bali ferry. A good source is PELNI’s official website, which allows you to reserve tickets and check live departure times. Make sure you translate the webpage or ask for help if you don’t speak Bahasa though!

  • To start with, you’ll need to get a ferry from Singapore to Batam, this should be relatively easy to plan. The ferry is quick and takes only 45 minutes from Batam to Singapore’s World Trade Centre Ferry Terminal.
  • Next up, you’ll go from Batam to Jakarta (which is where the PELNI planning will come in handy)
  • From Jakarta you’ll need to get the ‘Dora Londa Ferry’ to Surabaya (the nearest port to Bali)
  • From Surbaya’s port, the best way to get across to Bali is by an inter-state bus, which will take you across the sea to Bali via Ferry (it’s only a small crossing) and into Bali.

As Indonesia is considerably larger than Singapore, the travel time is a bit brutal. But, if you’re pinching pennies and doing your trip on a budget, this is a great option. Hey, it means you get to see a lot of Indonesia in transit!

Singapore to Bali travel methods


A bit of both


Another options for you when travelling from Singapore to Bali is to choose a route with a little bit of both. This options is a good idea if you fancy extending your travels a bit and don’t mind a bit of exploration in-between locations.

Your first step using this method would be to take a ferry from Singapore to Jakarta (like above) and then to take a plane from Jakarta to Bali (which would be an internal flight).


To summarise!


Travelling from Singapore to Bali is surprisingly not as simple as it seems. Although it’s not the easiest journey in the world, it can be done, and it’s certainly worth it! Obviously, taking the plane is the easiest way – but if you’ve got the time, taking the ferry can be a fun alternative!

Whether you fancy going by air or by sea, there are numerous different ways to get from Singapore to Bali.

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The ultimate guide to hawker food in Singapore

Singapore’s street food is unlike any other country’s street food. Hawker food in Singapore is on the next level!


Most Singaporean street food is sold at joints called hawker centres, and hawker food in Singapore is one of the country’s best kept secrets.

Put simply, they are neither sit-down restaurants nor traditional street food stalls. They’re totally unique hybrids. Going all the way back to the Singapore’s independence in 1965, hawker food centres in Singapore were created from over 24,000 individual stalls that were taken off the streets and put into complexes. Known for their fast pace, cheap prices, vocal advertising and fantastic food, hawker centres in Singapore are a staple for the locals.

Eating hawker food in Singapore is a way to try lots of amazing local food on a tight budget, and it’s also a great way to glimpse into local life too. If you do one thing while you’re in Singapore – make sure you visit a hawker food centre in Singapore. It’s an absolute must-do.

To save you the hassle and let you get straight to the good stuff, here’s a quick guide to hawker food in Singapore so that you can tuck in without a care in the world. From where to find the best eats to what food’s on offer, buckle up for a tour of Singapore’s amazing street food.

guide to hawker food in Singapore


Save me a seat!


The seating in Hawker food centres is usually communal seating with unreserved tables (this isn’t the kind of place you making a booking or reservation for). It might sound ridiculous but getting a seat at a hawker centre can sometimes feel as difficult as getting a seat at The Last Supper, especially during busy times like lunch and dinner. 

Top tip! It’s not a bad idea to adopt the local ‘tissue paper trick’. Before you head to one of the local stalls to choose your food, pop a tissue packet on a table and claim it as yours. Obviously don’t use your valuables to do this, but this little trick is Singapore gospel for ‘hands off!’. You won’t find this is just any guide to hawker food in Singapore – this is truly some insider knowledge!

a guide to hawker food in Singapore


Where are the best hawker food centres?


Now I am not exaggerating when I say that hawker centres are littered throughout Singaporean neighbourhoods. They’re everywhere and hawker food in Singapore is everywhere! You won’t have to go far before you find your next hawker fix.

Here are some of my favourites for hawker food in Singapore, and some of the most well-known hawker food centres in Singapore:

It’s worth being aware that there are general opening times for hawker centres (and most places within the hawker centres abide by the same hours) but some individual stalls have different opening hours. Pay close attention so you don’t end up disappointed!

Most hawker food centres are open day and night too – Singapore has a big culture for eating late at night (probably because the temperature cools down a little) so you should be able to find delicious food well into the night. Some are even open 24 hours!

guide to hawker food in Singapore.


What’s on offer?


Hawker centres are ethereal places for foodies, and a major showcase of Singapore’s multiculturalism.

At any hawker centre in Singapore, you’re bound to find stalls that cover the island’s main cultural groups; Chinese, Indonesian, Malay, Indian, Western, you name it, they’ve got it.

I tend to avoid the Western options, not because they aren’t of equal quality to the rest, but because it seems a bit sacrilegious to indulge in Fish and Chips when surrounded by so many local options. The local food is what you go there for, it’s flavoursome, delicious and you’ll definitely be going back for seconds. 

Here’s some of the dishes you might find at a Hawker food market, and a few of the dishes you might want to try…


Chilli Crab

Singapore is super protective over its famous Chilli crab dish as it’s said to be homegrown, so it’s one of the most popular hawker food in Singapore. Supposedly, a couple in the 1950s subbed chilli paste for ketchup at their hawker stall and Singapore’s chilli crab rose like a phoenix from the ashes. It’s not an easy meal to eat and makes even those with top table manners look at a loss.

However, there are so many aspects to this dish that make it sensational. As it’s a bit of a messy one, gloves are recommended. We aren’t kidding- you go into this one hands first and then soak up the sauce with bread rolls. If you’re in Singapore, you must give this dish a taste. It’s iconic for a reason!

singapore hawker food

Chicken Rice

I couldn’t make a guide to hawker food in Singapore without including the famous Hainanese chicken rice. Singapore’s unofficial national dish, it’s served with fragrant rice, a warm broth and some boiled chicken. The dish is usually eaten with chilli, soy sauce and ginger. If you keep an eye out for any stall that has hanging chickens on display, you’ll be able to pick up a plate of Singapore’s famous chicken rice.

I’ve eaten countless servings of Hainanese chicken rice in my time, and I can safely say that it never gets old. I wrote a blog post here about the best places to find Singapore Chicken Rice here – click through to read! 

singapore chicken rice

Satay

I’m not even going to try and hide my love for satay, it’s one of the best options for hawker food in Singapore. In fact, I think it might even be my favourite thing to order at a hawker centre.

Charred perfectly and served straight off the grill, these meat sticks are the ultimate comfort food. Served with a peanut sauce that’s incredibly moreish, you can choose from multiple different meats to suit your mood. Whether you’re craving chicken, beef, mutton or prawns, these marinated sticks of goodness are sure to satisfy your taste buds. Although you can order 10 or more sticks at most satay stalls, you probably won’t want to share…

hawker food in Singapore

Nasi Lemak

Nasi lemak is another one of Singapore’s most popular hawker dishes so of course it made this list of hawker food in Singapore. It’s an interesting one to look at too. It’s got a base of coconut milk and uses pandan leaves in the cooking process. Although the rice tends to be the star of the show in this dish, sambal (chilli paste), bilis (fried anchovies), fried eggs and cucumbers also make their way onto the plate. With optional chicken wings as additions, it’s literally a melting pot of all the things I love and is available for a bargain price at most hawker centres.

food markets in singapore

Hokkien Mee

Hokkien Mee is a classic hawker dish that’s comprised of regular noodles and ‘bee hoon’ (a much thinner but no less delectable noodle). However, that’s not all. This dish has prawns, squid, egg and pork belly to bulk it out. Served with unforgettable sambal chilli and lime juice, this delicious dish has a signature flavour profile that is unlike anything on my list.

It has a recognisable dark colour due to the use of soy sauce in the cooking process. Though its optional at a lot of stalls, I recommend asking for crispy pork fat on the side. It might sound a bit daunting but trust me, it makes all the difference. Definitely a solid choice for hawker food in Singapore. 

Hokkien Mee

Roti Prata

Ah, roti prata, another amazing choice for hawker food in Singapore. These Indian flatbreads aren’t for the diet-conscious amongst you, but they sure are worth eating. Served with curry sauce, these layered beauties will leave you with greasy hands and a full stomach. You don’t have to have them plain though, they come in egg and cheese varieties too.

But that’s not all! If you fancy a sweet prata, many hawker stalls offer chocolate and fruit-based options too. As most prata is cooked to order, freshness is always guaranteed.

guide to hawker food in Singapore.

Laksa

Rice noodles are dunked in coconut curry sauce with this delicious hawker dish. When creating a guide to hawker food in Singapore, this dish just had to make the cut. Add fish, cockles, bean sprouts and prawns to the mix and you’ve got a seafood curry bonanza. You can pick this dish up at almost any hawker centre due to its popularity in the Singaporean community.

the guide to hawker food in Singapore


Hopefully this mini guide to hawker food in Singapore has been useful!


A guide to hawker food in Singapore can never be totally exhaustive. I’m not kidding when I say there are just too many options to reel off. Hawker centres are such a big part of every-day life in Singapore, and they have an important history in the city

I’ve narrowed it down to the absolute classics, but there are hidden gems to be found at every stall. Hawker centres are truly one of a kind places to grab a bite, and I suspect you’d be lying if you said you couldn’t find a single thing that want to try amongst the bustling stalls!

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The top 9 places to have Singapore chicken rice in Singapore

Singapore Chicken Rice is famous world-over. Are you looking for the best places to enjoy some of the country’s unofficial national dish? Keep reading!


Singapore Chicken Rice is the unofficial national dish for a reason. People love it, and once you’ve tried it for yourself, you’ll understand why.

With its delectable fragrant rice, tender chicken and warming broth, this dish is a panacea for foodies.  It may not be the most complex dish – but it’s delicious, warming and feels like home. From Michelin starred stalls to high end restaurants, I’m going to give you the low-down on the best places to have a plate of Singapore Chicken Rice.


Liao Fan Hawker Chan


First on my list of places to try Singapore chicken rice, it’s Liao Fan Hawker Chan. You’ve probably heard stories of the World’s first Michelin Star for a hawker food stall. That Michelin Star was award to Liao Fan Hawker Chan, which was awarded in 2016. Not only did Hawker Chan receive “The World First Hawker Michelin-starred Meal” it was also awarded “The Cheapest Michelin-starred Meal In The Word”. The renowned Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle stall inside the Chinatown Complex Food Centre serves up its bargainous $2 chicken rice despite its stellar credentials.

The stall looks totally unassuming, but this humble joint is one of Singapore’s finest places to have chicken rice. Though queue times are understandably long, the morning tends to be a bit quieter. We recommend you hurry down ASAP to make your date with delicious destiny. If that’s not enough to peak your interest… We don’t know what is. This is definitely a bucket-list item in Singapore, and one of the best places to try Singapore chicken rice.

best places to eat Singapore chicken rice


Tian Tian Chicken Rice


Well known to both locals and tourists, Tian Tian Chicken Rice has been a favourite in Maxwell Market since its opening in 1986 and it’s a well-known and well-loved family business. In fact, the original owner still watches over the stall to make sure every dish that leaves her hands is perfect! With delectable rice and perfectly chilled chicken, a visit to this place is a must. The flavours are just perfect, and the setting (in Maxwell Market) is a true Hawker experience. 

Oh, and did I mention that this place beat out Gordon Ramsay in the Hawker Heroes Challenge? Talk about a seal of approval!

singapore chicken rice


Nan Xiang Chicken Rice


Next on my list of Singapore Chicken Rice places, it’s Nan Xiang Chicken Rice is another local favourite and one of Singapore’s best places to have chicken rice. The owner and her husband have been at the helm of this stall since 1986 and their experience shows. Though it looks like any other hawker stall, this place has the most insane fragrant rice. The pair take the time to stir fry garlic, ginger and shallots before cooking the rice in their rice cooker. This extra step sets this Singapore chicken rice apart from the rest. With the addition of classic tender chicken, it’s a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

Singapore Chicken Rice


Five Star Chicken Rice


One place in Singapore that certainly lives up to its namesake is Five Star Chicken Rice. Located in Marine Parade, this Singapore Chicken Rice joint only serves up free-range chicken in this national favourite. As well as giving you peace of mind about the animal’s well-being, Five Star claims that this commitment makes their chicken less oily. Five Star’s slow-cook method also ensures unparalleled tenderness. If you’re heading out East, it’s worth paying this joint a visit.

Singapore Chicken Rice


Kopitiam


Next on my list of Singapore Chicken Rice, it’s Kopitiam. This isn’t so much an individual stall as it a big food court. Kopitiam is well known amongst Singaporeans for its wide variety and quick service. Due to the number of Kopitiam food courts dotted around the island, this is a great place to pick up a classic take on Singapore’s chicken rice.

Though you won’t find anything particularly crazy or unique at this joint, the reliable vendors always deliver. At reasonable prices that won’t break the bank, Kopitiam is an excellent place for a quick pick-me-up.


Ming Kee Chicken Rice


Ming Kee Chicken Rice is well-known amongst locals in Bishan for its massive queues. However, you better start believing the hype. Interestingly, unlike many other Singaporean chicken rice stalls, you won’t see the birds hanging from hooks. Instead, Ming Kee Chicken Rice dunk their chickens in ice water where it’s left to (quite literally) chill until it’s ready to be chopped!

This ceremonious dunking is not just Ming Kee daring to be different. Instead, this shock of ice water creates a jelly under the chicken skin and, according to patrons, results in an unparalleled taste explosion. The combination of steaming hot fragrant rice and chilled chicken is certainly an experience and rightly earns a place on my list of Singapore Chicken Rice.


Chatterbox


Next on my list of Singapore Chicken Rice, it’s Chatterbox. Located on Level 5 of the Mandarin Orchard, Chatterbox offers up chicken rice in a rather ornate setting. A staple on their menu since the restaurants opening in 1971, these guys have certainly had time to hone their craft. If you’re looking to ponder the day’s events over a leisurely meal, this is a perfect place to come.

Though a more expensive option (the chicken rice will set you back about $25), you won’t be rushed off your feet. With a noteworthy garlic-infused chilli sauce, this place keeps you coming back for more.

Singapore Chicken Rice


Boon Tong Kee Chicken Rice


If your chicken rice cravings happen to hit late at night, never fear. Boon Tong Kee Chicken Rice on River Valley Road stays open late. Offering all variants on the chicken rice dish from steamed to roasted, you can grab this delicious dish at this well-established Singapore chicken rice joint.


Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice


One of the most established Singapore chicken rice stalls, and well known in the city – there are 4 Wee Nam Kee chicken rice in Singapore. These guys do Singapore Chicken rice the traditional way, and the reviews speak for themselves! The chicken here is moist, tasty and so delicious!

Singapore chicken rice


So, there you have it!

Though it’s not totally comprehensive, I hope that this list has been helpful in finding a place to fill that Singapore chicken rice shaped void in your life. All the Singapore chicken rice places on this list are fab, but you’ll find the famous Singaporean staple almost everywhere you turn on the island!

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List of 22 amazing places to visit in Singapore


Are you looking for the best places to visit in Singapore? This list is your ultimate guide to everything in this amazing city!


Singapore is truly a modern marvel, and it’s one of the most exciting, interesting and diverse cities in the world. There something to do here for every kind of visitor, from foodies and backpackers, to families and honeymooners. It’s a city with a bit of everything, for everyone, and there are so many places to visit in Singapore that you’re bound to love.

If you’ve never been to this metropolis, I’ve curated a list of some of my favourite places to visit in Singapore. It’s impossible to fit all my recommendation for places to visit in Singapore into a list of just 15, but here are my absolute favourites that are sure to please even the pickiest tourist!


Marina Bay Sands SkyPark 


First on my list of places to visit in Singapore, it’s the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark. Marina Bay Sands is the huge hotel at the heart of Singapore’s skyline – which looks like it has a cruise shop balanced on top. It’s a pretty amazing place, and there is a lot to do there. The first thing you’ll want to do is head up to the top of their observation deck, called the Sky Park. There are incredible views from up there, and it’s a brilliant place to soak in the skyline and take some amazing photos. 

You can book skip-the-line tickets to the SkyPark by clicking here. 

places to visit in Singapore


Marina Bay Sands Casino


We told you there was a lot to do in Marina Bay Sands! If you’re up for a gamble, try your hand at any one of the casino tables or games machines in Marina Bay Sands’ massive casino. If you like this kind of night out, then it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Singapore.

Stretching over four levels of Marina Bay Sands’ shopping centre and with free entry for foreigners, there’s no harm in exploring. If you’re not one for gambling, never fear! This massive complex also houses a myriad of restaurants and more shopping than you could ever imagine! With a fabulous view across the bay, this otherworldly place has something for everyone.

the best places to visit in Singapore


Gardens by the Bay


Gardens by the Bay is my next choice on this list of places to visit in Singapore. This place is all about sheer wow-factor. A huge park in the middle of the bay area, its architecture is like nothing I’ve ever seen. With tree-like structures that double as amazing skywalks, you get a comprehensive view of the Bay Area in the presence of Singapore’s finest natural offerings.

Not only does Gardens by the Bay function as a fantastic park, but it has two fabulous domes filled with different plants from around the world. The Flower Dome lets visitors discover hundreds of foreign plant species, whilst the Cloud Dome provides a detailed look into the world’s rainforests. Definitely one of the most un-missable places to visit in Singapore. 

You can book ticket to Gardens by the Bay by clicking here.

places to visit in Singapore asia


Singapore Zoo/ Night Safari


Next on my list of places to visit in Singapore, it’s the zoo and night safari. I’ve lobbed these two together as they’re so closely linked geographically. I must admit though, they’re worlds apart in the terms of the animals that you can spot. Singapore’s Night Safari and world-leading Zoo are phenomenal glimpses into the animal kingdom.

With species that are rarely seen in the Asian wilderness, Singapore once again proves that it goes above and beyond with its places to visit. Whether you want to catch the Himalayan griffon vultures or the elusive White Tiger, I highly recommend a visit to both spots.

Click here to book tickets for Singapore Zoo.

Click here to book tickets for Singapore’s night safari.

places to visit in Singapore asia


Raffles Hotel


Call me old fashioned, but sometimes I just fancy a tipple in a grand colonial building. Raffles Hotel is one of the most historical and beautiful buildings in Singapore – and it’s a must-see. It’s perhaps Singapore’s most famous historic hotel, Raffles Hotel opened in 1887 if you’re interested! It is a luxury hotel smack-bang in the middle of the city, so it’s easy to find too. This is certainly one of the most glamorous places to visit in Singapore!

The cost to stay there is a bit eye-watering, but if you want to feel in with the in-crowd, how about ordering a Singapore Sling at the bar and admiring the internal architecture? I promise Singapore’s famous cocktail is not one to miss.

places to visit in Singapore asia


Asian Civilisations Museum


Next on my list of places to visit in Singapore, it’s this great museum. If you’re clamouring for more of Singapore’s colonial architecture after a visit to Raffles Hotel, I highly recommend the Asian Civilisations Museum. Billed as one of Singapore top places to visit by tourists, the Asian Civilisations Museum enlightens both tourists and locals on how multiculturalism has shaped the nation. If you want to take a deeper look at Singapore’s history, this is an absolute must.


Fort Canning


Another look into Singapore’s past comes in the form of Fort Canning park. I believe that this is genuinely one of Singapore’s top places to visit and is something of a hidden gem. Built in 1859, this was meant to act as a military stronghold, but these days the central building is mainly home to the performing arts and festivals.

You can bring a picnic to have on the green and spend the rest of your day seeing some of Singapore’s oldest relics. Fort Canning is the epicentre of Singapore’s cultural history and I highly recommend you pop it on your list of places to visit in Singapore. 

places to visit in Singapore.


Lau Pa Sat Market


If you’re a big fan of hawker food, you’ve got to check out Lau Pa Sat Market. Singapore is known for it’s amazing street food, so the hawker food courts make for top places to visit in Singapore. This particular market, amongst travellers, is widely regarded as one of the top places to visit in Singapore both for its historical prominence (it was built in 1894) and its superb food. One of the best places to visit in Singapore for food lovers!

Built in cast-iron and located in the heart of Singapore’s business district you’ve got endless choices for some grub. With a plethora of different cuisines to choose from, the foodie in me just can’t get enough of this one. Grab some famous satay or sample a delicious Nasi Lemak- you just can’t go wrong here.

Top tip! If you’re a bit of a foodie, then I definitely recommend booking yourself onto a Singapore food tour (click here for the tour I recommend!) because you’ll get to try LOADS of the best street food in the city and you’ll be shown all the best places to eat. 

places to visit in Singapore.


Sentosa Island 


If you fancy a beach vacay as much as a trip to an urban paradise, look no further than Sentosa. This place will definitely make your list of places to visit in Singapore for a relaxed day out!

Sentosa is a purpose-built island in the south of Singapore and a hotspot for leisure activities and just generally fun stuff. With luging, cable cars and endless stretches of glistening sand, Singapore’s solution to the beach is one that I can get on board with. An internal monorail makes things super easy too. Just hop on at any one of the main stations within Sentosa and you can get around the island quicker than you can say Sentosa!

You can book tickets onto the cable car (which takes you over to Sentosa) by clicking here. 

places to visit in Singapore.


Merlion park


Merlion Park is my next addition to my list of places to visit in Singapore! If you want to have a good look at Singapore’s national symbol, look no further than Merlion Park. This is a must on our list of places to visit in Singapore as not only is it located in the heart of Singapore, but it’s simply an amazing monument.

Shooting water into the Singapore River, you get two amazing views from this statue. You can turn one way and see the bustling business district, or gaze across the bay to see Singapore’s mighty Marina Bay Sands.

best place to see Singapore skyline


Orchard Road


If you’ve come to Singapore to shop, you’re in luck. Much like London’s Oxford Street, Orchard Road is a retail paradise. With department stores and local boutiques nestled between international favourites, you could spend all day on this stretch of road. But that’s not all. Orchard’s bustling services industry means you can also get your hair done, get a pedicure or hit up one of its many entertainment spots. The choices really are endless here- just make sure you’ve got enough cash! This is one of the key places to visit in Singapore if you love shopping! 


Botanic Gardens


Singapore’s Botanic Gardens are a firm favourite amongst locals and tourists and considered a fab place to visit in Singapore. Far removed from its urban neighbour Orchard Road, the Botanic Gardens act as a preservation area as well as a place for tourists to visit. Make sure to hit the National Orchid Garden if you take a trip here. As a tribute to Singapore’s national flower, it would be rude not to!

New York Pass


Singapore Flyer


Towering above Singapore is the Singapore Flyer (which just so happens to be the world’s largest observation wheel if you didn’t know!). With views that span the whole of Singapore, it’s an amazing place to visit day or night.

If you’re not satisfied with seeing Singapore from the ground, this panoramic experience will give you a fantastic bird’s eye view of Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore River, Marina Bay and more. This is a must-see place to visit in Singapore, especially if you want to see the city skyline!

places to visit in Singapore.


Chinatown


Chinatown is a cultural mecca that brings you right to the heart of Singaporean culture. From authentic shophouses that mirror Singapore’s early beginnings to bright colours that are visible from every angle, this place is brimming with life. If you fancy a peek into Chinatown’s past, take a trip to the Chinese Heritage Centre.

If you want to further expand your cultural checklist, add on the Sri Mariammam Hindu temple and the Buddha Tooth Relic temple. Both landmarks are fully functional places of worship and an amazing look into the breadth of Singaporean culture. Generally considered to be one of the island’s most progressive neighbourhoods, this is a definitely one of the top places to visit in Singapore.

If you don’t know where to start exploring, I really recommend booking yourself onto a tour of the area! It’s a great way to make sure you see all the best bits! I recommend this tour as it include a walking tour, a boat ride, dinner and a trishaw ride too! 

top places to visit in Singapore


Clarke Quay


Next up on my list of places to visit in Singapore – it’s this nightlife hotspot!

If it’s Ladies Night and the feeling’s right, waltz on down to Clarke Quay. With dozens of fantastic deals for women every Wednesday, the girls amongst you would be silly not to take advantage of the amazing things on offer in Clarke Quay. But don’t fret guys, Clarke Quay is buzzing every night of the week. With daytime river cruises, historic bridges and bars galore, Clarke Quay is a picturesque place to grab a drink or three.

places to visit in Singapore


Universal Studios Singapore


For the fun loving and freewheeling amongst you, the next place on my list of places to visit in Singapore is going to be the one for you! A trip to Universal Studios Singapore surely wouldn’t go amiss. Though smaller than its Californian and Floridian counterparts, Universal Studios Singapore is a thematic wonderland that will please both young and older visitors.

Step into New York City, Madagascar, Ancient Egypt and other settings. If you’ve got little ones, don’t worry. There are amazing kid-friendly rides, with shopping and shows that are sure to appeal to all those who toddle.

Click here to book regular tickets for Universal Studios in Singapore. 

Click here to book skip-the-line tickets for Universal Studios in Singapore.

places to visit in Singapore


Book an amazing hotel suite


Some of the best views in the city of Singapore can actually be found from the amazing hotel suites around the city. Booking a city view room in the Marina Bay Sands would be a pretty epic place to go in Singapore – even if you only splurged for one night in a luxury suite – it’d be so worth it! If you’re planning a romantic surprise or if you’re heading to Singapore for your honeymoon, then this is definitely one of the best places to visit in Singapore!


Take a river cruise


See the city’s skyline from a different perspective, and take a river cruise along Marina Bay. It’s a really lovely way to see the city’s skyline and buildings, and it’s a unique way to spend an afternoon or morning too! I recommend this boat tour of the marina, I like the traditional boat style and the route it takes!

best place to see the Singapore skyline


The Jewel Waterfall


This incredible indoor waterfall actually located in Singapore airport, but it’s open to the general public too (even those without an airline ticket) you can click here to book tickets – it’s really affordable! It’s a truly spectacular sight to see – a huge cascading waterfall falling from the ceiling all the way into the ground, and it’s one of the tallest man-made waterfalls in the world.

The waterfall also has an amazing lifestyle hub of shops and restaurants surrounding it too – it’s beautiful and well worth a visit and definitely one of the best places to visit in Singapore!

places to visit in Singapore


Lazarus Island


Lazarus Island is a bit of a hidden gem in Singapore, and a little slice of paradise just waiting to be visited and enjoyed. It is nestled south of mainland Singapore, and is the perfect escape from the bustling city and urban landscape. It boasts the most breathtakingly beautiful surroundings, with a stunning beach and loads of picnic spots too.


The Helix Bridge


The Helix Bridge is our last suggestion on our list of places to visit in Singapore. It is a bit of an ‘instagram hot spot’ in Singapore, which is why it made our list of places to see in Singapore. You’ll find this unique and intriguing bridge in the Marina Bay area, trust us – it’s hard to miss it! It’s a pedestrian bridge which makes it perfect for snapping some great shots, and it’s lights up in the evening making it even more eye-catching!

places to visit in Singapore


I hope this list of places to see in Singapore is useful! Singapore is an amazing city to explore!

Singapore is so full of amazing things to do that there’s no way this list could cover everything. But I promise there will be something for everyone on this list of top places to visit in Singapore. Grab a camera and some sunglasses and start making a checklist, as Singapore’s culture is waiting!

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Getting around: The different transport options in Thailand

Like everything else in Thailand, the transportation and getting around the country is cheap. However, whilst it may be cheap, it’s not always easy – so hopefully in this blog post I’ll try and explain the different options available to you when you’re exploring the mainland, the islands and the cities.

Getting around in the cities 

As you’d expect, there are plenty of transportation options in the cities. Bangkok has a good train system (like the London underground) – but there is also a huge amount of taxis, buses and tuk-tuks too. Bear in mind, traffic is a bit mental in Bangkok – so a taxi may not always be the quickest way.

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When we were in Bangkok last year, we were stuck in a taxi for like 2 hours – and only moved about 20 feet. Worst decision ever!

Top tip 1: Look out for hotels with their own tuk-tuk. Ours had a hotel tuk-tuk that would run us too and from the city centre for free…. it saved us a lot of money and effort, and meant we didn’t get ripped off.

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Top tip 2: ALWAYS ask for the metre to be turned on in a taxi. Without it – the driver can charge you whatever he wants (and trust me, it’ll be double or triple what the metre fare would be).

Getting around with coaches and bus-lines

A popular transportation method for backpackers, most seem to think taking the bus or the coach is the cheapest way of getting down to the islands, etc. And they’re probably right.

However, I’d always recommend checking out the airlines first though (it’s much safer, much quicker and much less hassle) – and you could end up saving yourself a whole day of travelling – and only forking out an extra £10-£30 or so for the luxury of flying, compared to being squished on a bus for 18 hours.

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Getting the bus is a budget option for budget travellers – if you can afford to get there using a different method, I’d recommend you choose the other method!

If you book via a tour company or bus company, most will include the ferry ticket in the price (these journeys usually include 10-12 hours on a bus, and then a 1-3 hour ferry ride), so make sure you ensure your boat ticket is included in the price too.

Not a ferry boat - but Thailand's most famous kind of boat...

Not a ferry boat – but Thailand’s most famous kind of boat…

 

Because we flew most places in Thailand, I can’t personally recommend any tour companies myself. However other travel bloggers I know have used the following company and it seems to get good reviews when I chat to people:

Lomprayah Tours (about £30 for the bus and ferry combo I mentioned above)

Top tip 1: Be careful of ‘random’ tour companies based in Bangkok who are offering super cheap tickets – there may be a catch and it’s common for these to be scams. It’s better to be safe than sorry – so book with a reputable vendor, like the company I mentioned above.

Top tip 2: It’s also common for people to have their belongs stolen on these bus trips (especially with dodgy tour operators) so keep your stuff close to hand if possible (using it as a pillow works).

More in-depth info on buses here. 

Getting around via train

There is a rail network in Thailand which is pretty easy to navigate if you’re looking to avoid flying. It’s called the State Railway of Thailand and you can find their website here…  www.railway.co.th. We never used it on our trip, but Lonely PLanet say it’s well run, and I tend to trust their voice on such things. The rail network covers four main lines – the northern, southern, northeastern and eastern lines.

The train is most convenient as an alternative to buses for the long journey north to Chiang Mai or south to Surat Thani. The train would also be useful for anyone visiting places like Ayuthaya and Lopburi from Bangkok.

You can also choose which class you’d like to travel on Thai trains, so if you had to budget you could opt for a first class ticket, and have yourself a pretty comfortable journey. Each private cabin in a 1st-class train carriage has individually controlled air-con (older trains also have an electric fan), a washbasin and mirror, a small table and long bench seats that convert into beds. Drinking water and soap are provided free of charge. But bear in mind… First-class carriages are available only on rapid, express and special-express trains.

Getting around with budget airlines

There are plenty of budget airlines in Thailand. My favourite was Bangkok Airways – which was a little boutique airline servicing some of the islands. If I was to recommend an airline to you, that’s who I’d pick first and foremost.

Here are a few others though, where you might find some great deals:

  • Nok Air
  • Air Asia (These guys are especially good if you’re moving onto other countries after. We flew to Hong Kong from Bangkok with Air Asia, for a very reasonable price).
  • Jet Star
  • Orient Thai Airlines

As always, if you feel uneasy booking with an airline, make sure you check reviews and safety ratings online first.

Top tip: Bear in mind, for a lot of these little internal flights from islands to islands you’ll be flying on a very small plane. For some people this is irrelevant information and wouldn’t affect their decision – but for me smaller planes make me very uneasy and I’d rather get a train or taxi if it’s an option. I freaked out when I saw how tiny one of the planes we flew was – so I figured I’d flag it now, incase anyone has the same fear.

Getting around in a car and or on a motorcycle

Cars, jeeps and vans can be rented in most major cities and airports, so as long as you’re flying into a hub, you should be able to find a car to rent. The international chains (you know, the big name brands) have offices in most of the major cities and you can book the cars online just like you would back home. This might make the experience a little less stressful – so always a good idea.

Of course, there are little local companies are located in major tourist destinations who tend to have (much) cheaper rates than the international chains, but their fleets of cars tend to be older and perhaps not as safe or well maintained. Check the tyre treads and general upkeep of the vehicle before committing to it – if this is the route you’re going to take.

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Renting a motorcycle in Thailand is relatively easy, and you’ll be able to do it in most cities and towns around the country. It’s a good way to independently tour the countryside, especially in northern Thailand and on the southern beaches – that’s if you’re brave enough to bear the mental traffic.

Top tip: ALWAYS wear a helmet.

 

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The Best and Most Beautiful Rooftop Bars in Bangkok

Bangkok might not offer the most memorable skyline (like it’s neighbours Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong) but once you get up high enough – the view is pretty spectacular, as we learnt on our last night in the city a couple of months ago.

We headed up to Above Eleven Rooftop Bar to soak in some views – and it was just magical. I’m a big sucker for a rooftop (especially if there’s a bar on it) so I knew it’d blow me away – but I didn’t quite realise just how much. The thing you don’t realise about Bangkok, until you’re looking down on it, is just how FLIPPING HUGE the city is. It’s massive – and the views span for miles out in every direction.

The nice thing about Bangkok too, is you can head to even the most expensive rooftop bar, and still enjoy pretty reasonably priced drinks and food (because, let’s face it – Bangkok is quite purse friendly). Above Eleven isn’t one of the most high profile bars in the city (mainly because the Hangover wasn’t filmed there…) but for me it was just perfect. Within a 10 minute walk of our hotel, intimate, friendly, not snobby, and plenty of room.

And just look at those views. 

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The bar staff even made up my own cocktail for me when there wasn’t anything I quite fancied on the menu. Which definitely gets them extra bonus points! And it was delicious!

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Here are a few other beautiful rooftop bars to keep you busy during your time in Bangkok: 

Sky Bar

Found on the 63rd floor under the huge dome (made famous by The Hangover) this is the stow stopping favourite rooftop bar. Expect it to be absolutely packed though – so head there off-peak. If you want to witness the sunset from here you’ll have to head there an hour or so earlier than planned – or book a table and eat in the restaurant.

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Vertigo and Moon Bar

Another swish show-stopper, this place is one of the higher priced bars in the city. But it’s worth it for the level of service and the luxury on offer. If you’re after something special and a bit of a treat – this is where you want to be heading.

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The Nest Bar

This bar is actually located right around the corner from Above Eleven (s0 you could easily visit both in the same night!) and is a little quirkier and cute than the others. Instead of luxury – this bar is all about comfort and cosiness, it’s make a great location for a first date or for a memorable occasion. It’s not as high up as the other bars either – probably about half the height – which means you get a slightly different view.

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Let me know which rooftop bars you’ve been to and if there are any others you’d recommend that aren’t here!

If you’re booking your trip soon, I’d recommend the following websites for great deals and prices:

tripadvisor.com (hotels and reviews)

expedia.co.uk (hotels)

agoda.com (hotels and tours)

skyscanner.net (flights)

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Enjoying the view in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is every photographers dream. If you love cityscapes, if you love lights and buildings and expansive lanscapes stretching as far as the eye can see, then your camera is going to be permanently glued to your hand the entire time you’re here. I know mine was.

I have to admit, one of the main reasons I was so excited for Hong Kong (aside from Sweet and Sour Pork. Nom Nom) was the chances for photos and the sheer amount of photo opportunities I knew there would be. It certainly didn’t disappoint (I mean how could it!? Have you seen this place?) and I was so happy with all the images from our time there. There are a few…

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These images were taken atop Victoria Peak, a pretty cool mountain peak (name kind of gives it away right?) that is surprisingly high and actually overlooks all the skyscrapers. To get up there you have to go on this little tram, cable car thingy – which Im not even joking – was one of the most worried I’ve ever been on public transport EVER.

It’s basically like a roller coaster (that’s about how steep it is) and you’re pinned back against your seat as you slowly climb the mountain face. But you know how in a roller coaster you’re all strapped in and safe, in this, you’re kind of not. It’s a little tram that’s 50+ years old, made of wood, on a wooden track, with no seat belts or anything. Which is kind of awesome. But at the same time, I had these terrifying mental images of us rolling back down the huge hill… which I assure you would not have been awesome!

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You don’t just get great views from the top of The Peak though, you can get some awesome views from The Avenue of Stars too (blogged about here). We were lucky to have the most amazing view from our hotel room too – The Langham Place in Mongkok. Mongkok is a pretty far out suburb, but still classed as central, and you can get to the business district in less than 8 minutes on the MRT train – so for us it was perfect. We got a beautiful room in a beautiful hotel – which we wouldn’t have been able to afford if we’d been more central.

And there’s no way we’d have got a view this good if we’d been in the middle of the central district….

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Hong Kong Foodie Tour = FOOD!!

Pad and I have always been firm believers in food.

We love food and when we travel somewhere new, we love trying all the local food just as much as exploring the sights and attractions too. We’re lucky to have lots of friends who have the same love of food too – so we’re always searching out random places that were recommended to us. Most of the time is pays off!

This was one of those times.

Hong Kong Foodie Tour

The Hong Kong Foodie Tour was recommended to us by Rob Kerry  one of Pad’s friends. We’d never really done a “food” tour of a city before so it seemed like something cool and new to do one morning whilst in Hong Kong, we love trying out new things so this seemed like an awesome idea. And of course – the food in Hong Kong is so great – so what better way to try even more of the yumminess than have a professional guide walk us round local neighbourhoods?

Our tour lasted about 4 hours and took us from 9am (ish) to 1pm taking us right through from breakfast to lunch. OH MY GOD DON’T EAT BEFOREHAND OR YOU WILL POP. This is a food tour – so you’ll be eating lots. So go with an empty stomach. Our very first stop was in a traditional Chinese cafe and the waitress handed us a traditional Pineapple bun. They were literally the size of my head. This was the first stop and I was already filling up!

Hong Kong Foodie Tour

Hong Kong Foodie Tour

I won’t go over it in too much detail because a lot of the fun is finding out what comes next and what you’re going to try next, but the tour is so great. It’s awesome to go to such a local part of the city (we were the ONLY tourists we saw the entire 4 hours we were out and about) so you’re right in the middle of local life and real Hong Kong. That in itself is kind of special. It’s so easy in these big cities to get caught up in the tourist hype – so it was awesome to go and explore somewhere completely removed from it all.

Our tour guide had loads of information to tell us too about the area, and even the histories of each individual shop and eatery we dined in and stopped at. One had been owned by the same man for 60+ years, and he was sat in the corner of the cafe with a wise little smile on his face, must have been at least 80 years old!

Hong Kong Foodie Tour

Hong Kong Foodie Tour

Hong Kong Foodie Tour

Hong Kong Foodie Tour

Hong Kong Foodie Tour

Hong Kong Foodie Tour

Hong Kong Foodie TourSo was it worth it? Hell yes!

We loved every second. If you want to get and about, experience some traditional, cultural Hong Kong and try some incredible food along the way – you’ll have a blast. You even get a map at the end to take away with you, in case you want to come back later in your trip!

 

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Hong Kong Highlight… Avenue of Stars

There is absolutely loads to see and do in Hong Kong (more on all those things later) and one of the top on any travellers list is The Avenue of Stars. It’s where you find all those incredible views and beautiful vistas of the city and it’s an awesome place to people watch, stroll around and just soak it all in. Sure, this isn’t the most authentic side of the city – but as far as views go – this is one of the most phenomenal we’ve seen yet. It’s hard not to be bowled over as you watch the sunset over the skyscrapers, as the lights start glistening across the water.

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For the best time to visit, I’d probably go just before sunset (a quick google search will tell you when that is) on a clear day. We got pretty lucky with the day we went – we’d had some serious (bad ass) storms the days before so this was a surprisingly dry day for Hong Kong! If you get there at sunset, you can see the skyline in all it’s glory in daytime and nighttime.

Hong Kong Avenue of Stars

Hong Kong Avenue of Stars

Hong Kong Avenue of Stars

Hong Kong Avenue of Stars

The one thing that really got me about Hong Kong was the sheer size of the place. I always had the impression Hong Kong was a very tall city – but not a vast one. But it’s actually quite massive, especially when you’re looking at it from such a panoramic perspective, as you do from The Avenue of Stars. The city scape literally surrounds you a full 180 degrees across the shoreline. So much so I couldn’t actually fit it all in to one shot.

Hong Kong Avenue of Stars

 

The below photos probably shows about 1/3 of the entire view. Which gives you an idea of the kind of scale you work with here!

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Of course, as with anything – I was waiting for the darkness to settle in. I just love cities like this in darkness – it just makes everything look so much more magical and atmospheric. They haven’t made it completely easy for those of us wanting to get long shutter photos (there is a serious lack of flat surfaces you can rest your camera on) so if you have a tripod make sure you take it, if not you might have to do a bit of sneaky camera balancing. I had mine balanced on Pad’s feet at one point – making him stand completely still until it had finished capturing. Ah, the things you do for love! He’s a very good boyfriend!

Hong Kong Avenue of Stars

Hong Kong Avenue of Stars

Hong Kong Avenue of Stars I think you’ll agree – It’s just stunning!

 

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Boats and Bargains – Bangkok Floating Markets

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Although many people will warn you off the floating markets in Bangkok – it was one of our highlights from the whole of Asia – so I’d definitely recommend going and seeing it for yourself before crossing it off your list.

Yes, it is touristy. But behind the tourist glaze, there are real Thai people living their everyday lives, and the culture and essence of the original floating markets from way back when is still there. In short, we enjoyed every second. Sure it was a bit busy and a bit chaotic but that all added to the experience, and trust me, you won’t experience anything like this anywhere else.

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However before I start raving on about how good it was, I should cover a few points which you’ll probably want to know before visiting. We booked a day tour with our hotel, The Golden Tulip (who we really trusted) and who equally warned us about the various scams that happen around the area – and how to avoid them, etc, once we arrived.

I’ll run through some of them below:

– If you’re getting a taxi to the markets (there are a few to choose from, we went with Damnoen Saduak as it’s one of the biggest, and closer to the city than others) then make sure you agree on a certain market and on a certain all-day / return fare. Make sure this is for the entire trip and not per person. Be clear and firm, and drivers may disagree with you once you arrive if you haven’t sorted this beforehand.

– Be firm with the driver, and make sure he drives you straight there. Many taxi drivers will often take you via shops and tailors where they earn commission is you buy anything, so be clear to him that you want to go direct.

– Many drivers will refuse to take you straight to the market, instead taking you to various piers nearby the market instead. Here, people will try to sell you boat rides to the market, claiming it’s the “only way” to get there. THIS IS NOT TRUE. So never opt for these boats. They are often 5x (if not more) the price of the paddle boats you get when you finally do arrive. This is a tourist trap you want to avoid.

– Paddle boats are available really cheap once you finally arrive, so this is really the best option and the nicest one too as it’s much more fun and feels a bit more authentic than an engined speed boat!

– Once you’re finally at the market (all of the major ones are accessible by road, as mentioned above) you’ll notice there are shops on the water (boat sellers) and there are shops in market stalls around the water. Market stalls are always cheaper than boat stalls, so if you really want something for a good price, wait until you’re off the boat to buy it.

– Try not to point at things as you go around the floating market (unless you really want to buy it), as the store owners will take that as an almost-sale and pull you into their shop. Also – never take anything from the shop owners unless you seriously want to buy it. Once it’s in your hands you essentially signed a contract of sale and they’re unlikely to take it back.

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But as long as you’re careful and a bit wary of these scams – you’ll have the best time. The four of us piled into a little row boat and got a mini tour of the market that lasted about 30 minutes. It was great. Sure, it’s a little crowded, and a bit jam packed but seriously – if you take this place for what it is then you’re bound to enjoy it. It’s such a unique experience.

Personally, I just loved seeing all the characters. These women who paddle their boats all day in the heat, are incredible. Some were like 90 years old…. and I just couldn’t help but have absolute admiration for them. The women sell all kinds of thing, from souvenirs and craft items, to clothing and food. Lots of the food is actually cooked right there on the boat.

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You don’t have to be on the boat to buy stuff!

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Another tip? Take light clothing, as being outside for this long can get pretty hot. Obviously, the floating markets are air-conditioned so you’ll want to stay as cool as possible. We took to bringing a little flannel out with us to dab our foreheads when the heat got a bit too hot! Oh, and water! Bring water. Lots of it!

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Have you been to the floating markets in Bangkok? Would you recommend any other tips for people visiting?

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I Have Something To Confess.

One thing I was hoping to get out of travelling – or rather, get rid of – was my fear of flying.

I know. Why travel the world when you are absolutely petrified of flying?

Why put yourself through multiple flights on average, every 5 days, if you hate it?

Well, honestly – because I think my passion for travel out-weighs my fear for flying. But that doesn’t make it any less real. 

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I honestly thought that eventually, by travelling, my fear would gradually fade into the background. That it would simmer down and that perhaps I’d be able to finally relax into a flight and the idea of flying instead of dreading it the entire day prior.

But that hasn’t really happened.

I had a bit of a breakdown on our last night in Bangkok, because I’m so sick of feeling paralysed by this fear. And I think it’s important to talk about it – because unlike what many people may believe, travelling isn’t fun 100% of the time. For me, it’s incredible the entire time we’re on solid ground. But the day when we’re due to fly? And the flight itself? You’ll find me clutching my boyfriends hand, a bag of nerves, wishing I was anywhere else but there.

So maybe it’s important to be honest about these things. 

And maybe, if you’re someone who also has a fear of flying, and you’re reading this. Maybe you’ll feel encouraged by the fact that even though I hate flying and it fills me with pure dread, I still board that flight and I cope with it the best I can. Because I know travel is worth it all.

But I’m trying so hard to overcome it, despite a few hiccups along the way.

Over new year, we had a terrible flight into Queenstown, NZ where our plane had a missed approach on landing and we had to surge up the engines again metres from the runway and take-off again. I was an absolute wreck during those few minutes, and I think it erased any progress I’d made previously. Before that, I’d never really hated the landing part (because, hey – it means you’re nearly there) but now my nerves are so on edge during landing I find myself glancing around the cabin frantically every 30 seconds. Pad compared me to a Meerkat – if that helps you imagine it. A super panicked Meerkat. Having a bad day.

Ever since then I’ve felt myself getting worse and it’s become a bit of a downward spiral. In Thailand on a couple of internal flights we had to fly on smaller planes with propellers instead of engines. This was almost a breaking point for me. I literally felt overwhelmed by the fear. I even contemplated having us drive across Thailand and hiring a taxi to take us to our next destination (making a 45 minute plane journey a 7 hour drive). But Pad being the ever supportive boyfriend he is, assured me that I’d be OK – and we were. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t spend the entire flight gripping his hand and cutting off his circulation.

Why am I writing this?

Well, after I had my Bangkok-Breakdown, Pad asked me what I was actually scared of. And I put it down to a mixture of things.

I hate not having control.

I don’t understand how it works.

I hate the sensation of flying.

I dread the turbulence. And I hate the dreading.

It goes on.

So Pad told me to start researching how a plane works. To help me understand. So I could understand exactly what all the sounds were that scared me so much. So I could change my outlook of flying, to a positive one instead of a negative one.

I don’t know why I’d never thought of it before honestly. I feel a bit foolish for never typing into Google “How does a plane stay in the air” or “tips for fearful flyers” but I never had before that night. Which is stupid. Because there are so many people out there with the same fear (1 in 6 apparently) and they are all there, online offering advice.

So now, I know how a plane stays up. It’s something to do with lift, and the way the air glides over the wings of the plane – which creates different pressure levels. And that makes me feel a bit better.

I also know that whilst turbulence is a discomfort – it isn’t dangerous, and the planes are designed to with-stand it and they are designed to be strong and safe in turbulence.

I found this website…. www.askcaptainlim.com and I read through the FAQs and the forums and I can’t thank the guy who wrote it enough.

I read tips like, watching children’s television helps – because they distract you easily and are designed for short attention spans. I read that it helps to imagine turbulence as bumps in the road or like waves on a boat. I read that it helps to imagine the captain doing day-to-day things like brushing his teeth and driving to work. And then imaging him going home after the flight to his family and having tea. Because, although it isn’t to you – this flight is completely routine to him.

It’s helping now, just typing all this stuff out. 

So, last night when we boarded our plane to Hong Kong I was feeling OK. Not confident, not happy or excited – but OK. Which was enough for me at that moment in time. I told Pad, that during this flight I was going to be brave, and that I was going to cope. Which I did.

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Turns out, it was a blessing I found all that advice, and especially the website which I mentioned earlier – because this flight to Hong Kong was a particularly bad one. We actually descended into Hong Kong at night time through a Thunder Storm, probably the biggest thunder storm I’ve ever seen. My heart is beating harder in my chest just describing it. We could see lightening out of the window, bright and white. The turbulence was bad – very bad. At one point we dropped a considerable distance, and many people on board screamed.

But the entire time, I kept my head down, I kept my hands in Pad’s and I closed my eyes. I kept telling myself all the information I’d read the night before. I kept recounting it in my head over and over. I even said a few of the things out loud, as if that might make it more true and convincing.

But I didn’t cry. And I didn’t panic.

In fact, when we touched down, I had dry eyes and I even managed to smile. And then minutes later, I managed to laugh. I had trusted the captain, I had trusted the plane and I was OK. Yes it had been horrible and frightening – and even now I’m trying not to think about it – but I had been so brave.

I don’t think I’ve ever said this, but I was really proud of myself. I’d actually surprised myself with how brave I’d been.

So, I probably can do this. 

And because the World has a sense of humour (and maybe as a reminder to me to have one too in situations like this), after the flight had taxied to the airport I started to pack up my stuff from the little pocket in front of me where I keep my tablet and headphones, etc during the flight. I reached in, and I saw something small, red and yellow, stuffed in the bottom of the pocket and pulled it out. It had clearly been forgotten by the last person who sat there.

It was a super hero mask.

Maybe that’s all I needed all along. 

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Did you enjoy this post or find it helpful? If so I’d love if you could spare a second to vote for me in The Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2014. Just click here to get to the voting site. Thanks a million!

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Photos and Observations, The Grand Palace, Bangkok

Whilst our day out to The Grand Palace was undoubtedly the most hot and bothered I’ve ever been (seriously…. just look at the clothing regulations, and then consider wearing that in 38 degree heat and humidity) it’s also one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

I love temples, and as a photographer it’s a dream walking around places like this, because there is just so much to see. For me it’s the colour and the patterns, and I can’t think of anywhere else in the world that offers so many colours, shapes and beautiful buildings all within such a small space.

So here are a few of my photos….

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It’s funny – because in the photos it doesn’t look all too hot at all. In fact, from this distance we all look pretty comfortable in our jeans, cardigans and long dresses and proper shoes. The truth? We had to stop every 10 minutes or so just to take a breather. When we finally discovered a free water station top-up, we sat there for 20 minutes in the shade just refilling our bottles again and again and downing all the water we could manage.

We joked that you could ever come here with close friends or family. Because trying to make a good first impression here, would be near impossible. What with the whole “drenched in sweat – desperate for water and shade” thing going on. Not really what you’re after on, say, a first date!

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The shot above is one of my favourites of the day – as is the one at the very top of this post too.

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A few more things to note about this place, is how busy it gets and to be careful when entering. We were warned by our hotel (luckily) about the various scams and cons people try to pull around the Grand Palace, so thought we were pretty prepared. A few things they highlighted were; people trying to sell you overly expensive tours inside the palace grounds (a ticket should only cost 500BHT – no more), people sending you off to different entrances, so they can sell you higher priced tickets, taxi drivers telling you the palace is closed (which it never is) – so they can drive you to another one further away…. the list goes on.

It’s something to look out for and just be wary of, because you don’t want your day ruined because you had your gullible hat on. 

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Restrictions, Rules and Dress Codes at The Grand Palace, Bangkok

Are you looking for the official dress code for the Grand Palace in Bangkok? Keep reading to find out what you can (and can’t) wear inside the temple and palace grounds.

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When we visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the number one thing we were looking for was detailed information on the official rules, regulations and dress-codes…. The kind of things you need to know before getting there! If you’re reading this, you’re probably sat in your hotel or hostel researching just what exactly you should be wearing tomorrow – and hopefully I can help out!

The Grand Palace in Bangkok was quite far across town from our hotel, so we didn’t want to turn up wearing the wrong thing, and then be turned away on the door.  Frustratingly, I couldn’t find anything official online, but read enough on forums and blog posts to have a general understanding of what is and what isn’t OK before turning up. But it would’ve been so helpful to find a blog post with the official dress code and regulations for the Grand Palace in Bangkok beforehand.

Hopefully this blog post can help out anyone in the same shoes as us. I’ve included the official sign posting from the Palace, which can hopefully be of help too!


Top tip! 

If you’re looking for a tour to the grand palace, I recommend this one: click here. It makes the experience super easy, and makes navigation easier too. You’ll also learn loads as they have an English tour guide. 


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The general gist of the rules at the Grand Palace Bangkok


  • NO VEST TOPS or TANK TOPS (FOR MALE or FEMALES)
  • NO SHORT SLEEVES THAT SHOW SHOULDERS
  • NO MIDRIFF ON SHOW
  • NO BACKLESS CLOTHING
  • NO LOW-CUT CLOTHING ON FEMALES
  • NO PANTS OR SKIRTS THAT SHOW ANKLES (basically no mini skirts, shorts, 3/4 length pants, etc)
  • NO FLIP-FLOPS
  • NO BARE CHESTS (obviously this mainly applies to men)

The official guidelines from their website


The folllowing information has been taken directly from the Grand palace website:
Please do not dress this way when entering a Temple or place of worship. There are strict with dress code so be prepared! So if you are not sure then make sure.
  • No sleeveless shirts
  • No vests
  • No short top
  • No see through tops
  • No short hot pants or short pants
  • No torn pants
  • No tight pants
  • No bike pants
  • No mini skirts

Things to also remember…


The Grand Palace in Bangkok is hot, as Bangkok is a very hot city, and a lot of the premises aren’t air-conditioned. Because of this, pay attention to the materials you’re wearing too.

You’ll want to choose light, airy and cotton materials, basically material that will dry easily, and keep you cool.

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What would the ideal outfit be for the Grand Palace in Bangkok?


Planning your outfit ahead of time for the Grand Palace is a good idea.

Your ideal outfit would be some nice light cotton trousers or a maxi dress/ skirt, and a light cotton t-shirt that reaches over shoulders (even down to your elbows). As a girl you’ll need a proper cardigan to cover your shoulders – a wrap around shawl won’t cut it.

If you can ensure you follow the guidelines below, you should have a successful outfit for the Grand Palace:

  • Ensure that your legs and ankles are covered (with either long trousers or a long skirt)
  • Ensure that your shoulders and chest is covered
  • Make sure none of your clothes are see-through (like mesh)
  • Make sure none of your clothes have large rips in

There is a changing room too – so you can always pack your palace-outfit in your bag and get changed there – which is a decent idea if you plan on doing something before or after during the day. Because trust me – long sleeves and trousers can feel pretty heated in the Bangkok temperature and once you leave the palace grounds you’ll probably want to get changed into something a bit lighter!

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Tip 1!

I’d also recommend wearing shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Some of the areas of the palace won’t allow you to enter with shoes on, so you’ll have to leave them outside the room / building. Having a pair of shoes that are easily taking on and off will make this so much quicker for you. Also for this reason, don’t wear your most expensive, designer pair of shoes…. because believe it or not, sometimes shoes get stolen outside temples.


Tip 2!

If you’re unsure and want to visit with 100% confidence – book a tour guide or book a walking tour. Your tour guide will be your in-the-know guide through the temple and palace, and will make sure that you’re following all the rules and making sure you’re wearing the right items.


Tip 3!

In a lot of the rooms, you won’t be able to take water in – so it’s best to have a bag you can store yours in whilst you enter. Water is something you’ll need by the way (whilst we’re on that subject!) as there is no air-conditioning in the palace grounds, and it can get really hot. There are water fountains around the palace, so it’s really easy to fill up an empty bottle.


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I hope this list of Restrictions, Rules and Dress Codes at The Grand Palace, Bangkok has been helpful! If you have any questions let me know in the comments and I’ll try to help!


 

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Escape the Day-Job With Some Gorgeous Thai Beaches!

 

It’s no secret that Thailand is home to a plethora of beautiful beaches. So, just a quick blog post today – to distract you from those pesky day-jobs and offices. Here are some gorgeous beaches we’ve found in Thailand so far. Enjoy!

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Let’s talk about Patong, Phuket.

I’ll admit, when I booked our time in Thailand for this RTW trip – I did it a little blindly. I don’t know a whole lot about Thailand – having never really travelled here properly before (I did do a few family holidays here when I was little though) and Pad has never been either so we just kind of booked and chose the places which seemed to crop up.

One of these places was Patong in Phuket.

Now, I’m well aware that to experience a country you have to see the good and the bad – but Patong has really been a shock to the system for us, and our friends who we’re here with. Especially after arriving here from Koh Samui – and the quietist little boutique beach resort ever. I’ll do my best to describe it here – but even then – I doubt you’ll have a proper picture of what this place is really like.

First of all – I’m not saying don’t visit. It just depends on what you’re after in a holiday. Maybe if this is your cup of tea, you’d come here and have an incredible time – but honestly, it’s not my cup of tea and I doubt many friends of mine would enjoy it here either. The one saving grace for us though has been our beautiful hotel – which seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of the nightlife and shops.

Let's start with the good. This is our beautiful hotel.

Starting with the good. This is our beautiful hotel.

So. Let’s try and get this place onto paper.

The Shops. 

The shopping in Patong is everywhere. Every single street is lined with little shops selling (more or less) the same kind of thing. You’ll find fake-designer purses and bags, beach clothes, souvenirs, shoes and those other touristy kind of shops. Now, I’m all up for shopping, and we did have a wonder round the many retail outlets here on our first day and spot some awesome finds and bargains. But – it’s very hard to enjoy the shopping when you have shop owners peering over your shoulders, pressuring you to buy, shouting at you from the street, offering you products and just generally getting all up in your face. Add onto that the blazing heat and un-airconditioned shops – and suddenly the shopping becomes a bit of a chore – rather than an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.

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A relatively quiet street of shopping.

The Nightlife

The nightlife is probably what Patong is most famous for – and the four us did try our best to give it a go last night. But we all admitted this morning – it just wasn’t our kind of thing. There are a few main streets where the bars are all situated – and one of them is probably the most notorious. It’s very busy – very bustling and you can’t move two metres without some guy thrusting a poster of naked women infront of your nose, asking “You want to see Ping Pong show?”. If you’ve seen The Hangover 2 you know what that is, and why that’s kind of gross. If you’ve not seen The Hangover and are wondering why I’m so offended at Ping Pong, just do a quick Google (Not safe for work, by the way)… you’ll soon understand. Sure, at first it’s kind of funny and you laugh it off. But when these guys start following you down the street and you’ve already been asked upwards of twenty times – it kind of starts to grate on your nerves.

In fact, that kind of sums up Patong. It’s kind of OK at first, it’s a bit of a novelty. Then you loose your patience with it.

Those famous "lady-boys" you hear so much about.

Those famous “lady-boys” you hear so much about.

Random crazy bar with giant tigers.

Random crazy bar with giant tigers.

But that’s not the worst bit. Once you’ve hurdled your way through the Ping Pong guys, you have to get past the children selling flowers. They kind of come up to you (no more than 12 years old) and poke you, or pretend to punch you playfully, and then throw a ring of flowers over your neck hoping you’l buy them. Now, I love kids – but these children made me really uncomfortable. One of the little girls clutched onto my wrist really hard and wouldn’t let go – meaning I couldn’t walk down the street and couldn’t get past her. I’ll be honest here – she was hurting me and if it had been an adult man doing that I would’ve kicked him or shoved him as it would’ve been classed as physical abuse.

Another time, a little boy came up to me and threw some over my neck again. I kindly said no, but he wouldn’t take the flowers back – which meant he was trying to force me to give him the cash. By this point we were all pretty fed up, and just wanted to get into a bar (two other friends at this point were also being harassed by another child right behind us). So I took the flowers off my neck and placed them infront of his feet, smiled and said I was OK, and sorry I didn’t want to buy them. I didn’t really have any other choice, seen as he was refusing to take them back from me. The boy then kind of charged at me aggressively – as if he was about to punch me or shove me. He didn’t (thank goodness) but it was a bit un-nerving all the same. Just not nice. I know that they were children, so you can of course be much more forgiving and try and be more understanding – but when they are physically hurting you, or intimidating you it doesn’t make the situation any better. It just makes it a whole lot worse, because you feel a bit helpless.

Aside from the people on the street trying to sell us stuff, the bar staff in the bars were actually quite friendly and accommodating  Which you really appreciate after being shoved and bombarded with all sorts out in the main road. And, once you’re safe inside a bar away from the sellers, we had a great time and the atmosphere was fun and lively. Still, prices in Patong are expensive compared to all other places we’ve been in Asia, so you don’t get that perk. Buckets will cost minimum of 300 BHT, and a cocktail is probably going to cost you 250 BHT on the main street (maybe more).

Making the most of the lively nightlife. And looking very tanned I might add!

Making the most of the lively nightlife. And looking very tanned I might add!

Our 300 BHT buckets.

Our 300 BHT buckets.

The Beach

We haven’t spent much time on the beach, but we ventured onto there briefly this afternoon to see what it was like. As far as beaches go – it’s nice, clean and big – with a lovely coloured ocean. But it’s kind of rammed full with sun loungers and sellers trying to get you to have a massage or a taxi ride, or use their jet-ski, etc. That’s fine I guess – and people need to make a living – but on the beach you just want to relax, and I guess you can’t really do that if people keep trying to sell you stuff, and you keep having to turn them down. But on the bright side  there are lots of sun beds to choose from, lots of space, and lots of activities to do if you did fancy it.

Actually, in the evening though – the beach is a bit nicer. The sun-loungers get packed up leaving much more space to walk around, and you get less people trying to sell you stuff. One guy did come up and sell us the Thai lanterns… but I didn’t mind that so much as it was on my bucket list anyway. So that was kind of nice, definitely a must-do if you do decide to visit Patong.

The empty beach at sunset.

The empty beach at sunset.

Our lovely lantern.

Our lovely lantern.

Overall? 

I don’t know. It’s probably my least favourite place we’ve been, and that’s hard to admit – because I like to try and be positive about places in general. I don’t like feeling harassed, and I know Pad and my friends we’ve with don’t like that either. It’s hard to enjoy somewhere when you’re always being shouted at on the street, or being sold something, or being called over.

But I also know that this place is so popular for a reason. Clearly there is a target audience and clearly there are people who love it here and keep coming back. For me – I’ve loved our hotel and relaxing in the beautiful weather, but I could’ve done that in another Thai town too. I feel like, if you’re looking for a beautiful Thailand experience – you’re not going to find it here. You’ll find it in one of the many other destinations Thailand has to offer. As other bloggers have also said on various sites I’ve come across.

My enjoyment (and I have enjoyed it) has only been because I’ve been with great friends and because of the lovely hotel – not because of Patong itself. The place itself has kind of worn me out. It’s too much hard work.

Would I come again? No.

Definitely not.

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Day Trip: Angthong National Park, Koh Samui

Angthong National Park Thailand

Angthong National Park was one of the things I wanted to do in Thailand from the moment we decided we were going to stop off there on our RTW trip. I’d heard all sorts of great reviews about the place, both online and from friends too – who’d been in the past – speaking of these incredible turquoise waters, sandy beaches and gorgeous desert islands. Well, the place delivered on all three, and it was absolutely beautiful.

Angthong National Park Thailand

The Marine Park is made up of 42 islands (I think….. around that amount anyway) spotted across the ocean. Some are big, some are small, some have beaches – some have this huge sheer cliff faces. It’s quite a beautiful experience as you zoom through them in whatever boat you’ve hired to take you around them.

We went with a small tour group on a speedboat, which made the whole experience a lot more exciting too, it’s awesome zooming through the islands at super speed, I actually spent half the time stood up at the back of the boat pretending I was Kate Winslet in titanic. Or 007 from James Bond. It tended to vary depending on my mood throughout the day. Fun none the less though!

I think there are lots of tours you can get around the area – and there seems to be a big variation in price too. But I’m guess – as with most things in Thailand – you pay for what you get. The cheaper tours had much slower boats and much bigger groups, which wouldn’t have been so great in the heat. The speedboat was a blessing in disguise in more ways than one – the main plus point being the constant breeze you have whooshing through the boat whenever you’re on the move. Definitely a welcome breeze when it’s sunny and 34 degrees.

Our tour cost us 2200 THB each – which I think was actually way too expensive and we might have fallen into a bit of tourist trap there. Saying that, I booked it in advance online a few months ago – so I didn’t really begrudge paying extra because it wasn’t coming out of our current travel budget on the day. I think, if we did it again though, we’d have waited until we arrived and just booked it through a local tour company. It probably would’ve been half the price.

Angthong National Park Thailand

Angthong National Park Thailand

Angthong National Park Thailand

The day consisted of lots of zooming around in the speedboat (fun fun fun) and a few stop offs along the way. We did an hour of snorkelling in a little cove which was lovely and so much calmer than when we snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef – and we both came away from that first activity with big smiles on our faces too – as the water they dropped us off in was absolutely teaming with fish.

Next stop was a little desert island, for kayaking and lunch. Kayaking was a disaster. Not anyone’s fault but my own. I couldn’t get comfy, my back hurt (a whole lot) because the kayaks were funny shaped, and I made Pad do all the hard work whilst I sobbed silently in the front seat trying to shake off the big red biting ants that were also sharing the boat with us. So not the most fun time we’ve ever had I guess. But Pad came through for me as kayaking super-hero of the decade (big cheer) and paddled us all the way back to shore in one piece. Where he didn’t even hold a grudge. It is at times like these (granted – we don’t often have kayaking disasters day to day, but still) that I feel very lucky and loved.

I felt a bit betrayed by the kayaks to be honest. As I’d enjoyed it so so much in New Zealand. Where did it all go wrong!?

Smiles returned after lunch though (hurray) and we set off around the corner to the green lagoon.

Angthong National Park Thailand

Angthong National Park Thailand

The Green Lagoon (above) is a lagoon nestled at the top of a huge mountain. It has the most incredible views (below) but it takes some dedication and physical strength to get up there. It’s basically a trail of about 15 vertical ladders (very steep too, I might add – especially when you’re only 5ft2!) and by the time you reach the top you’re so hot and sweaty you need a minute on your in the shade before you even realise there is a view to be had.

But there is, and it was definitely worth the climb up. And you can see – the lagoon and the outlook onto the national park is just breathtaking. It actually reminded me a little of Bay of Islands in New Zealand the way all the islands were sotted about the ocean, and the clarity and colour of it all too. They are really very similar.

Don’t look at the photo below for too long – otherwise you’ll notice how we are literally glistening with sweat. It was such hard work getting to the top!

Angthong National Park Thailand

Angthong National Park Thailand

Angthong National Park Thailand

Angthong National Park Thailand

Oh, one last thing, on the way back to the mainland we saw some dolphins! So if you ever go, keep an eye out for them in the water. Always lovely to see wild animals out like that.

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A Little Bit of Luxury: Review of Traders Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

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For our two nights in Kuala Lumpur, we wanted to book something with an incredible view of the Petronas Towers, and something that was a bit of a treat. We were only going to be there a couple of nights, so wanted to make the most of it by stopping somewhere close to the towers (KL’s main attraction) and pretty nice to spend some down-time in. I’d seen reviews for the Traders Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on Asia Rooms as a friend of ours recommended it to us, and they all seemed glowing – so that’s what we went for.

I can honestly say, right now (if you can’t be bothered to read the rest of this review) that this is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in. Full stop. 

We opted for a Club Room, meaning that for the 3 days we were there, we got Breakfast, Afternoon Tea, Evening Cocktails, and all-day drinks included in the price. A price (which, in case you were wondering) wasn’t at all ridiculously high. In fact, after coming from expensive Australia and Singapore – the price seemed cheap in comparison. But I guess everything in context. Still, if you’re looking for bang for your buck – this place doesn’t disappoint. It absolutely delivers.

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The room was spacious, modern and had everything you could possibly need. Including a lollypop on the bathroom towels. For when you get hungry in the shower (it happens apparently, Joey from Friends kept a meatball sub in his).

The biggest wow-factor though was the view. The photo at the top of the page was taken from our room, as was the one below. It’s funny – we did go up to their roof-top bar to enjoy drinks one night (coincidentally, the bar was really nice, no surprise there) but the view was better from our room, as we had such big windows in the room, and didn’t have to look over people’s heads to see it. Which is saying something. Basically the views are good everywhere in this hotel.

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All the food we had was great, both as part of our club-deal and the hotel restaurants in general. And the service was incredible too. Such friendly staff and such high standards of service – we couldn’t have asked for much more.

And that’s about all I have to say. Really – when a hotel goes above and beyond this much, it’s actually hard to write about it. We had no negatives. None. At all. Which I hope speaks for itself and means I don’t have to waffle on needlessly, because there really isn’t anything else I need to say other than that! Perfect in everyway. Kuala Lumpur’s hotel version of Mary Poppins. 🙂

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My “Tourist” Photos From Singapore

I like being a tourist – and when you’re in a huge city like Singapore (with so much to do and see) you end up taking a few touristy snaps just like everyone else. I like these kinds of photos though, they are the kind I’ll frame when I get home. Here are a few of our favourites from Singapore….

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The two photos above were taken from the bar at the top of The Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Very beautiful view – if you can manage to get to it. Expect loads of crowds (especially at the weekend) and you’ll need to get there early if you want a table near the edge of the terrace. Otherwise, you’ll have to enjoy the view over the tops of people’s heads… not ideal, but still absolutely stunning.

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These two shots (above) are taken in Singapore’s newest attraction – Gardens by The Bay. It was just gorgeous and looked like some kind of fairytale. I’d go just before sunset, so you can watch the sun go down around the giant trees and then enjoy the night-time view later on. Either way – it’s worth making the effort to go here. You can grab a taxi there, or the MRT (Singapore’s subway system) and get off at the stop called Bayfront.

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Another must-see for anyone is obviously the Marina Bay Sands (above). We actually spent a night exploring the area opposite the hotel (called The Esplanade) which is where you can get great shots like this from – kind of iconic now in relation to Singapore. But also – if you have time, make time to go inside the hotel too as it’s pretty spectacular. We headed up to their rooftop bar, and also had a go in the casino too…. which won us $200. Not bad!

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Lastly – Raffles Hotel is another place to check off your list whilst in Singapore. It’s their most luxury hotel (some would argue) and you can go walk around it’s ground for free. There are even a few bars and restaurants you can try (if you have the cash for it) but a strict dress-code applies – so don’t go wandering in there in your flip-flops because you’ll get turned away at the door.

What would you recommend to do in Singapore?

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The Wanderlust Hotel Singapore – Review

We were asked by the Wanderlust Hotel to come and stay a night with them whilst we were in Singapore – to review the hotel and let people know what we thought of the place. Well, let’s start by saying – this isn’t exactly your average hotel. This is like a hotel out of someone wildest dreams. The bedrooms are like the kind of rooms your 10 year old self would have wanted – and trust me – that still kind of appeals even in your twenties. My inner child was gloriously happy the entire time we were there. Everything is just so fun and fairy-tale like. It made such a difference to the normal hotel rooms, where each one is the same. In Wanderlust – not one room resembles another and each floor has it’s own “theme”. Ours was Creature Comforts.

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We were put in a Whimsical King Room – one on the top floor that has been made treehouse-style. It literally was like sleeping in our own little treehouse for the night. Like I said – my inner child was screaming with delight. I always wanted a treehouse – and my youth was spent in the local woods with my little sister trying (and usually failing) to make one of our very own. Of course, being a proper, luxury little boutique hotel though – this wasn’t just any old treehouse. Ours was “pimped” out with 2 TVs, a bathroom, coffe makers, dressing gowns, a step-ladder up to our bed and even a canopy of leaves hanging above the bed. I kid you not. There was even a Narnia-style street lamp.

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It was the little leaves above the entire room that really sold it for me. They looked so real – and even rustled in the breeze the AC made. Also – the wallpaper is designed like a forrest too. These guys have literally thought of everything.

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The room was cozy – one of the hotel’s smallest in fact – but it had so much character and it was so much fun to be in – that the size (or lack of it) rarely even crossed our mind. To be honest – we think they used the space incredibly – and would happily have stopped there longer if we had been staying on in Singapore for more time. We did take a peep at some other rooms too – and the wow factor was just as high. I don’t think you could be disappointed coming here. I mean when else do you get to sleep in a treehouse with a 50 inch TV hanging above your bed?!

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The reception area and staff were lovely too – which I expected. You can’t have such an incredible concept hotel and not have the staff to back it up. Everyone we encountered on staff was top notch. There is a little French restaurant in the lobby (which we wanted to try but couldn’t, as they were fully booked!) and a seating area, bar and eclectic little entertainment area too. With a football table….!

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Overall verdict? Loved it. Everything about it. Whilst I love big hotels with sweeping space – I also love finding amazing little places like this. I’d stay there again in a heartbeat and I’m secretly hoping they’re going to open one in London so I can move there and live in a treehouse all the time. Forever.

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Singapore Zoo – Worth the Hype?

In a word – Yes. It definitely is.

I’ve been to the zoo on previous visits to Singapore – when I was little and loved it. But on this trip with Pad I hadn’t really ear-marked time for it – because we’d already been to plenty of zoos in Oz and NZ, and really, one zoo is the same as the next. Except that’s where I’m wrong – Singapore Zoo isn’t the same as others – far from. It is miles better – so I’m glad we did actually make time for it and head down there for the morning to look around.

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What’s the main difference between Singapore Zoo and other ones? Probably the fact that Singapore doesn’t feel like a “zoo”. The animals aren’t kept in cages or behind a big glass wall – you’re pretty much as close to them as you’ll ever be able to be – and there’s usually nothing but a cleverly placed moat or lake between you. Whilst sometimes visiting a zoo can make me feel a bit sad for the animals – in Singapore I don’t feel that way. They look to have nice environments, big enclosures and plenty of space (and it’s really nicely done-up space) to roam around in.

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The biggest example of that is actually the monkeys who literally are free to just swing up around you. There is a part of zoo when you’re just walking around, and suddenly you realise there are about 9/10 big monkeys swinging about 6ft above your head. It’s lovely. It feels natural. It’s nice to see the animals moving around instead of just being cooped up inside some glass cage.

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Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 09.27.00So is it worth the hype? Yes.

Worth the money? Yes (the zoo is actually pretty cheap compared to other zoos in the UK and US).

The only negative is the temperature. Singapore is a very hot place (at the best of times) and walking around outside all day in that kind of heat and humidity can be very tiring and hard work. Take a portable fan if you have one – and don’t be ashamed to pay for the little shuttle service they have in the zoo. It means you can hop on and off and save yourself the job of walking. The zoo is an awfully big place – so we found it a blessing in the heat.

 

 

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Hawker Food in Singapore – Reason Enough to Visit.

I’m not implying by the title of this blog post that it’s the only reason – but it sure could justify a trip to Singapore – if you were looking for one (you’re welcome). The food here is awesome – and after arriving from the terribly (mind-blowingly) expensive Australia, food here is delicious and cheaper than what you’d pay for a can of Coke down under.

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That’s right. An ENTIRE MEAL (food, drinks, maybe even a side of Satay Chicken if you’re feeling it) costs the same at a Singapore Hawker Food Court, as one can of Coke in Australia. Singapore isn’t exactly known for being a cheap city either – so these food courts (you’ll find them scattered all across the city) are great for keeping the budget down even more than planned. But don’t just go for the cheapness – go for the awesome food and local cuisine. You’ll be dining with locals, eating the local food and paying the local prices. Winning all round then? Yep.

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The photo above shows the famous Singapore Chicken Rice – a decent (and safe) food choice if you’re a bit unsure of what to get. The chicken was pretty good – but the rice was actually the star of the show. It was all garlicky and sweet – and probably the nicest rice I’ve ever had. In my whole life. Which is a pretty big deal.

Other yummy options?

DimSum

Anything with duck (we are huge duck converts after Singapore)

Anything on a hot sizzle plate

Sweet and Sour Pork

Satay Chicken or Beef

Singapore Noodles

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Don’t expect 5* dining in the food courts though – it’s usually a bit hot and sticky (temperature-wise) and you’ll probably have to have hawk eyes to grab your own table. Sharing is fine though – most locals don’t mind sitting with us tourists – they might even take a photo for you 😉

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Our favourite food court was Maxwell in Chinatown, but we also found a lovely outdoor-style one in the Gardens by The Bay too, which had a lovely little seating area near the lake and lots of choices. And the best Satay Chicken ever. Good for a stop-off if you’re in the gardens, and probably worth a taxi down even if you’re not.

If you like the whole AirCon situation (and who doesn’t when it’s 35 degrees outside?) then a lot of the shopping malls have little food courts in them too which serve up similar (if not the same) options as the more traditional hawker street markets. You’ll pay a bit more to eat in these indoor ones with AC, but not by much. You’d be looking at around $8-10 singapore dollars instead of $3.50 for a main meal. We found this website pretty useful when tracking down other options, so take a look for more suggestions.

Oh – also. Try the fresh fruit juices too that they serve up in the food courts. They squeeze them right infront of you into these big plastic take-away cups and cost the equivalent of about 50p. Biggest bargain of the trip!

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Living the High-Life on The Singapore Flyer

As far as experiences go… our “flight” on the Singapore Flyer was just incredible. Not only were we greeted by delicious Singapore Sling Cocktails upon arrival (we opted for the Singapore Sling ride option – now my new favourite cocktail) we had an entire cabin to ourselves. Which – needless to say – was mindblowingly awesome and such a memorable experience. Already one of our favourite moments from Asia – and we’re not even halfway through our time here.

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Singapore Sling Recipe… (for my own future reference!)

1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce cherry heering
1/4 ounce Cointreau liqueur
1/4 ounce benedictine
4 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/3 ounce grenadine
1 dash bitters
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The private cabins for the VIP packages are a little bit more special than the average cabin which you can see above – and if you have the budget for it (saying that, the packages are actually really affordable for such an expensive city) it’s worth the extra money to have an extra special experience. I think the special packages start at $69 (Singpore Dollars) per person – which is about £35. Not bad for a go on the wheel, and a free cocktail alongside it.

There is plenty to see from the Flyer too, so you’ll have plenty of views to get lost in during the 30 minute ride. Personally I loved seeing the new Gardens By The Bay (below) which is a pretty new attraction. We had a walk around it on foot the night before – so it was awesome to see it from the air too. There are also (as you’d expect) some pretty phenomenal views over the marina too. Our flight was timed for sunset (beautiful) but I can imagine the views being just stunning in the evening too…. shame we couldn’t go round twice!

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Even Pad got on board with the cocktails…

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Another advantage of having the private cabin was having free space to take photos too. A few times in Singapore I’ve had to give up on getting nice shots because of the crowds of tourists – or the unbearable heat – so it was nice to have the chance to get a few good ones under the blessing of AC and with no pushy tourists to fight through.

The night after the flyer, we actually went to the top of the Marina Bay Sands to enjoy a drink at their rooftop bar, after hearing awesome things about the views of offer. Sure, the views were stunning from there too – but impossible to enjoy because of the crowds. You’ve struck gold if you manage to get a seat (or even ground space) by the edge of the deck. Otherwise you find yourself just peering over people’s heads hopefully getting a glance of the city. So – if it’s drinks with a view you’re after…. do this instead. It’s more peaceful – more fun, and you’ll actually get to see the view.

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We left very happy! It’s even inspired us to take a trip on The London Eye when we get back home – which Pad hasn’t done yet. So only good things about this Singapore attraction!

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