Flock Café, Tiong Bahru, Singapore

We took the MRT to Tiong Bahru, hearing that this suburb is the place to be to experience Singapore’s local hipster scene. We were hot and bothered, in dire need of a refreshing pick-me-up. Flock Café was the first we stumbled upon. Air con, wifi, clean bathrooms and barista coffee? We’re so there.

Flock Café is tucked away under a few hedges of vegetation and in a darkened alcove. It’s worth scouting out, though, for their range of flavoured coffee is extensive and their brunch is popular (and reasonably priced). My hazelnut latte was smooth and delicate, while my partner’s orange and cinnamon mocha had real orange peel in it.
I like to think of myself as a bit of a smashed avo connoisseur, being a Sydney-sider and all. This smashed av’ rated very well. Served with side salad and roast potatoes, the eggs were poached perfectly on thin sourdough. The avocado was more of a tasty guac, which suited me just fine.
Flock Café is why I came to Tiong Bahru. Unpretentious brunch foods and freshly ground coffee with hardwood decor. I’ll be back.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Advertisements

BooksActually, Tiong Bahru, Singapore

Before you even walk through the door, you’re greeted by a hopscotch outline on the pavement and a ‘mystery book’ vending machine. These quirky and innovative touches outside the book store mark the character of this shop. I was directed here by a Lonely Planet guide to Tiong Bahru and honestly it was the highlight of my day. International bestsellers aside, this store showcases local voices and celebrates Singaporean flavours- migrant, young, lgbtqia, disenfranchised. There are so many unique and locally published books here, from travel writing and fiction to poetry and photography. There’s vintage wares, gift offerings, actual live cats, hanging plants and indie music. I felt right in my element and and so glad I dropped by. Picked up a couple of patches, postcards and a short story anthology while I was there.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

The Halia, Singapore Botanic Gardens

We trekked through the botanic gardens to see the National Orchid Garden, however as we arrived, we were overcome with exhaustion. The heat, the humidity, had completely sapped every ounce of energy we had. We needed respite.

The Halia offered that, and more. In a lush, laid back outdoor setting, we were able to cool down and return to our former selves. The Halia serve the simplest of dishes and drinks with thought, care and elegance. We shared a smashed avocado plate and it was absolutely divine, with feta and chili oil for little touches of depth and flavour.

What really invigorated us were the beverages. My travel partner was inpsired by the hot ginger, cumin and honey drink. The young ginger was pulled from the Ginger Garden in the botanic gardens, and was soft as an apple, served on a grating plate to extract maximum flavour. The honey was from wild mountain bees in Vietnam. My iced drink had blueberries, ginger, mint and lime and was light and refreshing.

With herbs and spices sourced from the local surrounds, The Halia promises artisnal flavours and delicious refreshments.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

OCBC Skyway, Marina Bay, SINGAPORE

When you go to Marina Bay, you know there are certain landmarks to tick off your list: Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, Gardens by the Bay and the SuperGrove. Purchasing $8SG tickets to the Skyway checks the third of those activities and is well worth your time.

Being up in the canopy offers a cool breeze and the views of Gardens by the Bay are excellent. It’s great to get up close and personal to these living solar trees. One of our group was nervous about this adventure of heights, but she was able and happy to traverse the suspension bridge between the two super trees. It’s a short experience, it’s not particularly strenuous, but it’s an affordable and beautiful attraction.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Living Lounge Hostel, Lisbon, PORTUGAL

My trip to Portugal was my first step into Europe. The Living Lounge Hostel in Lisbon was my first step into a European Hostel. Oh, am I glad to have come here.

The hostel was perfect for all my backpacking needs. Set at a reasonable price, this hostel felt more like a home, a giant sharehouse right in the heart of Lisbon. The communal areas are cute and kitsch, with vintage record players and astroturf and indoor plants. The kitchen is just big enough to offer cheap community dinners every night, as well as complimentary breakfasts of a morning. The bathrooms are clean.

My travel partner and I stayed in a private two bed room which had the feeling of being in a penthouse at the tippy-top of the hostel. It was spacious and fun, with a near-vertical climb up the stairs in our room.

This hostel offers communal activities as well, we were disappointed we didn’t try more than we did. We went out to see Fado for the evening, arranged by the hostel, and the night was cheap, informative and the perfect cultural experience. Living Lounge was an excellent hostel for us in Lisbon and would absolutely stay here again.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Inside Lisbon day tour to Sintra and Cascais, PORTUGAL

João picked us up from outside the Hard Rock Cafe and we set off from Lisbon to Sintra and Cascais.

For me, this was one of the most memorable experiences of my trip. A road trip through the countryside was just magical; a warm summer breeze, a brilliant blue sky, vineyards as if from an animation, a cerulean sea. We packed a lot into the day trip. We stopped at Cabo Da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe and breathed in the clifftop glory of a truly perfect day.

We drove to Pena Palace and João provided an excellent commentary of the history and architecture. He was our tour guide and showed around the whole palace, then gave us time to walk through the palace ourselves. Then, we had some free time to wander the historical centre of Sintra. This town is full of narrow alleyways and boutique homewares. There are traditional restaurants and tasty delicacies so bring your coins and your camera. I would have loved more time here, in fact, I’d love to stay here forever.

We stopped for lunch at a restaurant between towns nestled in a rural setting. The restaurant is clearly a roadhouse for tours such as ours, but I was happy with the meal. Air conditioning, wifi, clean bathrooms, rustic charm. The food was delicious- I loved trying the Iberico ham and local melons, and I had a main course of octopus, the thickest I’d ever seen! The wine rounded off the meal perfectly.

We finished our tour in Cascais, a boutique harbour town. The tourist markets and ice cream stalls weren’t to my interest by this time, so my partner and I found a cafe by the beach and sat with our sangrias. A truly excellent day.

I highly recommend this day trip. There’s so much packed into one day and as someone who only had a short stay in Portugal, I felt like I had seen enough of the country.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.