Pulau Ubin Day Trip, SINGAPORE

We took a taxi out from Singapore city centre to Changi Village. A taxi seemed like fastest way to get there and was reasonably priced for three people. Changi Village is the last stop with an ATM (and Pulau Ubin is cash only), and has a plethora of eateries if you want to try the local cuisine.

Catch a bumboat from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Bumboats leave when they have 12 passengers (no more, no less) and cost $3 per passenger in exact change. Watch the skill and mastery of the skipper, who’s laid-back attitude, weathered hands and precise boating are a sight to behold.

Pulau Ubin has an interesting visitor’s centre that details the ecosystem and local environmental concerns. There’s also a camping ground, opportunities to ride a bike and hike the island. It’s a slower pace of life here. Coming around lunch time is a good idea, as there are restaurants promising the freshest of seafood.

There’s not a lot to do on Pulau Ubin, so don’t expect to be entertained as you would around Marina Bay. It’s nice to come here to see the seabirds sunning themselves, or the fishermen wading out into the shallows, arms full of net.

Spend an hour or two in the thick vines and humidity, then spend $3 catch a bumboat back.

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A fisherman waded into the shallows with a net.

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Simple pleasures.

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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.

 

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Fes Medina, MOROCCO

The Fes Medina is an absolute labyrinth- there’s no other word to describe it. A fantastic and deep maze with no logic or signage that winds and entraps. The smells are overpowering; some are fragrant, made with rose oils or argan oils, others are savoury like the pyramids of cooking spices. Then there’s the butcher’s and the street cats. The whole maze is alive with activity, a hive of movement as donkeys sway through the streets with their wide loads and kids dart between passageways running after a soccer ball.

Fes Medina is an ecosystem. Housing the world’s oldest university, Fes brings history to life. There’s a mosque on every corner, a food stall, and handicrafts. Silversmithing, knife sharpening, tailors, copper pot makers, the tannery.

If you’d like to return back to your accommodation, make sure you get shown around with a tour guide, someone who knows the city like the back of their hand. Otherwise, I guarantee you’ll get lost. It’s hard navigating the medina as a tourist who doesn’t speak or read French, Moroccan or Arabic. It’s also intimidating to wander alone as a young, foreign woman.

Don’t forget to haggle, try to find the hidden restaurants with rooftop views, and catch a glimpse inside the residences if you can. There are private oases hidden behind the tall dark walls and you’re lucky if you get to see into one.

 

 

 

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The Medina in Fes is a labyrinth.

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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.

Social Hideout, Waterloo, SYDNEY

Social Hideout is an instagrammer’s and blogger’s delight. The cafe is stunning, with pink and purple galore, flowers hanging from the ceiling, neon signs, Audrey Hepburn. It’s a stunning place to brunch with friends, everything is just beautiful.

And the food is beautiful too. Modern Australian cuisine, with asian flavours, like  taro pancakes and red velvet eggs benedict – don’t worry, the red comes from beetroot. The french toast looks as if it were organised by fairies and the drinks are wildflowers and berries.

Sporting Sydney brunch prices and an inspired menu, this cafe is perfect for your social media presence, and has a huge online following.

 

 

 

 

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Hello Gorgeous ♡

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Friday brunch was an explosion of colour.

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The perfect brunch aesthetic.

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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.

Ink and Lion, Ekkamai, BANGKOK

A short walk from Ekkamai BTS is Ink and Lion, a quiet little cafe and gallery space that provides solace from the Bangkok hustle and bustle. Upon first entering the industrial chic minimalist cafe, I noticed the art displayed around the cafe and the collection of products and gifts created by local designers. I was immediately filled with warmth and respect for the cafe, as anyone who supports local talent should be celebrated.

Ink and Lion offers the best coffee. My partner and I had different iced coffees, rich brews, aromatic beans, a depth of flavour. With airconditioning, wifi, a bathroom and rich coffee, this cafe is one I’ll be sure to seek out 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.

Tiong Bahru Bakery, SINGAPORE

Tiong Bahru Bakery has an excellent selection of savoury and sweet pastries. This French-Singaporean bakery is perfect for a light lunch and a coffee, for a solo trip and a read by the bookshelves, or a group meet. Situated in a lovely indie neighbourhood, this cafe is off the beaten track and comes recommended by the Lonely Planet pocket guide and TripAdvisor. The croissants are crispy and buttery, and the coffee is deep and flavoursome. A definite hidden gem.

 

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Reminder: Sunday Brunch.

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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.

Pena Palace, Sintra, PORTUGAL

Pena Palace truly is the fairy tale castle it’s depicted to be. Set high up on a mountain, the castle was once the summer palace for the royal family, as it looks all the way to Lisbon on one side, and out to the west coast on the other side.

Tourism through the palace is a well-oiled operation. The queue is lengthy, but winds through every room in the palace, through the domestic quarters, to the diplomat’s dining rooms. Everything is preserved well by the caretakers and in great condition.

My advice would be to explore the grounds. The perimeter of the castle showcases stunning architectural influences and views of Portugal . There’s also a little nature walk through to a small summit that gives you nice views of the castle as well. Apparently public transport is few and far between, so unless you want to walk up a mountain I’d recommend jumping on a tour or hiring a car. Visiting this palace is definitely worth the effort though, it captures a slice of Portuguese history in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.

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Straight out of a fairytale.

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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.

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy, SRI LANKA

One of the most beautiful sites in Kandy is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. A lot of history and mystery surrounds this sacred place. Allegedly, the temple is home to a tooth from Buddha himself, however the museum within the temple complex outlines the movement of the relic over the years. Nevertheless, this landmark of Kandy remains one of the most sacred sites in the Buddhist religion and welcomes pilgrims the world over every night.

We were shown around the Temple by our own private tour guide. I found this invaluable as there are lots of details that I would have missed otherwise, being of a different religion and unable to read Tamil or Sinhalese. There are halls of literature and walls of history- it’s definitely worth spending time here. I’d recommend you go around sundown, as there seemed to be a lot of activity during evening and you’d see the temple come to life around prayer time.

There’s a dress code to be respectful of, and take some loose change. There’s also an opportunity to see the casket where Buddha’s tooth resides, however the line is fairly long so factor in some time for that if you wish to see it.

 

 

 

 

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In Kandy, we visited the Buddha's Tooth Relic Temple.

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The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy, Sri Lanka

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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.