Travel

Goldfish Street, HONG KONG

Goldfish Street in Hong Kong is one of the oddities that makes Mongkok a tourist destination. It gives the city a distinct flavour of traditional customs mixed with modern convenience. It’s not much, the traveler on foot could cover it in about ten minutes. Frogs, snapping turtles, giant tortoises, fish fish fish and more- the variety is great. 

 To the Western eye, the conditions that the animals are kept in are disheartening.  One must consider whether the value of seeing a tourist attraction is worth the heart break of witnessing their living conditions in person. However, it’s a quintessential element of Hong Kong- the frantic energy, the buying and selling, the small pets to a dorm tiny apartments. 
It’s on the way to Sneaker street and the Women’s  markets, so it’s easy to swing by.

Disclaimer: This review was also posted 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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Botanical Gardens, Singapore

The Botanic Gardens are impressive and extensive. After seeing Gardens by the Bay, all artificially implanted with random varieties mixed together, it’s rather refreshing to see a natural progression of acclimated plants I’m their element. The orchid section is stunning and the grounds are huge. It’s not immediately in the city, so plan how you get there and back. We’ll worth it for the old, traditional collection of botanical specimens.

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

Lotte Observation Deck and Top of Hanoi

When in Hanoi, visiting the Lotte Tower is an absolute must. It’s a short drive from the Old Quarter (where most tourists stay) and for someone unaccustomed to Vietnam see public transport, such as myself, get yourself a driver. 

Side note, the taxi fare out of the gridlocked Old Quarter is guaranteed to skyrocket so we picked up an Uber and it cost us next to nothing.

The Lotte Observation Deck sits over sixty floors above Hanoi and boasts breathtaking panoramic views. It’s open day and night. We went at night and thoroughly recommend it. For a modest entrance fee, the observation deck offers interactive experiences for people young and old. The highlight for me was the glass skywalk, where you take your shoes off and walk right out into the night sky- not for anyone with vertigo! 

The Lotte tower also offers a range of eating options, so I recommend making an evening out of the experience. At the skydeck there’s a fast food eatery or two, but if you delve a little deeper, you’ll find award winning restaurants and bars within the Lotte tower. 

Top of Hanoi is literally the top of the city. This open-air restaurant sits you up in the clouds, overlooking all of Hanoi, the twinkling traffic, the city glow. You can secure yourself a table through reservation, but we were able to walk right in. The cocktail bar is exciting and innovative, and their mains are reasonably priced given the location. We were shocked that we were sat on top of Hanoi and didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg! My friends chose pasta dishes and I had a pan-seared salmon dish- the food was to die for. The service personnel here were very attentive, friendly and ready for a chat. This venue is worth it for the food, and the magnificent views.

Afterwards, we weren’t ready to go home. We headed down about thirty floors to the lounge where we were greeted by live piano, sleek aesthetic and deep sofas. The dessert and cocktails there make for the perfect ending to a wonderful night. 

Traveler’s note; I compared this experience to a similar one I had at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. For me, this evening was much more relaxed, affordable and all-inclusive as the stunning view was paired with fine food and great service. It was honestly the perfect way to unwind and celebrate the end of our trip to Vietnam.

Temple of Literature, Hanoi

The Temple of Literature is such an interesting place to visit. It can get very hot and the heat is still, so it’s hard to be there for too long. The museum is at the far end of the Temple complex, so don’t burn out on the way to the end because thats were all the artefacts and displays are . 

It’s a temple that was built in 1070, and became Vietnam’s first national university dedicated to education, thought and philosophy. Read the plaques as some things are not what they seem; we found a hall of what looked like tombs, but upon further inspection they were lists of all the university graduates! 

The complex is beautifully maintained and apparently still frequented by students seeking spiritual guidance in their exams. As a tourist, it’s worth stopping by as an insight into Vietnamese history and culture. 

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

Cloud Forest, Singapore

The Cloud Forest is impressive. It’s a tall dome that regulates alpine temperatures to support mountain-top flora. It’s a welcome respite to the equatorial heat, and it boasts an excellent range of plants. Pitchers, orchids, ferns; not any that I expected to see in Singapore! 

It seems to be wheelchair accessible, with ramps and elevators. However it’s a huge area, as you spiral up through different altitudes to see the plants that grow there. Take your walking shoes and a bottle of water for sure.

All man-made, it’s wonderfully curated with sculptures dotted throughout. A brilliant day out in Gardens by the Bay.

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

Wellington Cable Car, NZ

The Wellington Cable Car is such fun. It’s only a short ride to the top of the hill, but the view is well worth it. The tunnels on the way up has rainbow lights and all the kids go wild. I Loved seeing the houses on the hill, the whole neighbourhood seems so relaxed and calm. 
The view from  the top is sublime. Clear blue harbour, majestic mountain range, perfect little houses in the distance. 

We Took the train up and walked through the botanic gardens back down to the city  which was a really pleasant stroll. A must do in Wellington.

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

Gardens By The Bay, Singapore

Gardens by the Bay is worth a day trip. See the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome if you want to see specialised flowers in climate controlled domes (which I highly recommend). Otherwise, the Gardens are a huge park, perfect for families, for picnics and for a day out. Often they’ll host events, like festivals, concerts or Christmas markets. It’s well cared for and iconic Singapore. 

Suggested itinery; train to Marina Bay Sands, grab a bite to eat in the shopping and food precinct therein. Maybe go ice skating too! Hit Gardens by the Bay, perhaps prebuy tickets to the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest to avoid the queues. Definitely wear your walking shoes and stay hydrated, you’ll cover a lot of land today. Finish off at the Marina Bay Sands skypark  (heads up,  there’s an entry fee) and catch the sunset over Singapore. 

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