Top Things to Do in Denver for Families

May 23rd, 2015

 

 

 

Denver City and County Building from Colorado State Capitol, Denver Civic Center, Denver, Colorado

Photo by Ken Lund via Flickr

 

With family-friendly hotels in Denver, the Mile High City never disappoints its visitors, especially those tagging with children. Denver offers families plenty to enjoy for a quick weekend trip or a longer stay with hotels like The Brown Palace Hotel.

 

Here are cool ideas that are perfect for the whole family.

 

 

Water and Theme Parks

 

Theme parks will always be a hit among children, even among teens. In Denver, visit Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park. With its 53 rides, including its famous twisted-steel Mind Eraser roller coaster, this is an all-day attraction in the city.

For those visiting during summer, Water World lets visitors beat the heat with its 64-acre property of waterslides and splash pools. An all-time favorite is Lakeside Amusement Park.

If you have more time to spare, travel 30 minutes outside Denver and enjoy exhilarating water sports. Denver offers outdoor activities for the whole family with Denver tours like whitewater rafting in different levels from beginners to advanced.

 

 

Museum Hopping

 

Boddhi and mike @ Denver children's museum

Photo by Stacey via Flickr

 

Denver is home to many interactive museums, which are perfect for parents to relax while the kids release their energy. The Children’s Museum of Denver suits those with children ages 3 to 8. Come during the first Tuesday of the month for free admission.

A landmark in the city is the Denver Firefighter Museum, which offers informative tours on fire safety. Kids will have the best time as they pretend to be firefighters and try on the uniforms.

For kids who love the outdoors, Dinosaur Ridge is the spot where dinosaur fossils were found. Kids will enjoy “discovering fossils” while learning more about different kinds of dinosaurs.

 

 

Animal Fun

 

Watch friendly creatures at the Denver Zoo, housed in the famous City Park. There are 4,300 animals in the zoo from elephants to lions. Kids (and parents) will love the close-encounter activities like feeding the giraffes.

Right in the center of Denver is Downtown Aquarium, where kids can enjoy sea creatures and groups can enjoy an upscale dining experience. The aquarium not only features marine animals, but also tigers and otters. The aquarium also holds performances like mermaid shows.

 

 

Red Rocks

 

Viewing South of Red Rocks

Photo by David Fulmer via Flickr

 

Red Rocks Amphitheater & Park is must-see for every visitor. Highly accessible from most Denver hotels, families will enjoy different concerts and performances in the city. Set in the midst of two iconic red rocks, it is a feast for the eyes.

When there are no concerts, tourists and locals hike and jog within the amphitheater. The surrounding park opens to more hiking and walking for visitors.

 

 

Walking Along the Promenade

 

With its downtown location, all Denver visitors can always spend time at the famous 16th Street Mall, a mile-long pedestrian promenade with iconic patterns of red, white, and gray granite stones.

Shop, dine, or simply enjoy people watching at the 16th Street Mall for at least a half-day. Nearby are more city attractions, thus a good starting point for first-time visitors when exploring Denver.

Along with its hotels and restaurants, Denver is one of America’s friendliest cities when it comes to family travel. Whether you have small children or teens, you will definitely find activities suited for your group.

This article is part of the #HipmunkCityLove Project. Check out my recommended hotel in Denver at Hipmunk!

 

 

 

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Best of Boston Hotels for Every Traveler

May 20th, 2015

 

 

The city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo..

Photo by Navaneeth KN via Flickr

 

Boston is no doubt one of the most visited destinations in the US. With its historic areas, booming financial district, and laid-back atmosphere, all types of visitors, from business travellers to families, can be spotted enjoying a day or two in one of America’s loveliest cities.

 

Enjoy the famous Freedom Trail and Charles River Esplanade or the vibrant Back Bay neighborhood. Not to be missed are various cruising tours like Boston Historic Sightseeing Cruise.

 

On top of it all, are the best accommodations in Boston. Perfect for every preference, taste, and budget, here are the top picks for Boston hotels.

 

 

Family-friendly Luxury Hotel in Boston

 

Boston Harbor hotel

Photo by Boston Harbor Hotel

 

 

Boston Harbor Hotel has a strategic location that no guest can refuse. Right along the beautiful harbor of Boston, this 5-star accommodation is pet-friendly, and most of all family-friendly.

Parents can take a break and enjoy some solo time courtesy of the hotel’s children’s activities and childcare services. Avail some of that solo time at the hotel’s spa and sauna or simply take in the oustanding view of the harbor from its guest rooms, which is oneof the hotel’s best features.

 

A Local Landmark

 

Porte-Cachere

Photo by Taj Hotels

 

Taj Boston has been serving Boston’s visitors way back in 1927.  Pampering guests with its deluxe in-room amenities and decor and a long list of hotel services like butler services and specialized menu. Great for guests who want to enjoy the best of Boston, this hotel in Boston is also situated close to the city’s main attractions.

 

 

A Place for the Food and Sports Fanatic

 

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Photo by The Lenox Hotel

 

The Lenox Hotel offers what most visitors in Boston ask for – great food and sports. This luxury boutique hotel beckons every sportsman with its good location for those who want to watch the Red Sox.  Baseball legend Babe Ruth used to stay in this historic hotel.

The hotel also houses City Table, a dining venue highly favored by the locals. If you are visiting Boston, surely your local guide will bring you to City Table. And what is more indulging than to enjoy brunch and dinner in this favorite restaurant than actually staying at this Boston hotel?

The building is historical yet fitted with modern amenities and facilities. To feel like a superstar, guests who want to splurge might want to check out its penthouse suites.

 

 

Stay Fit and Young While in Boston

 

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Photo by W Boston Hotel

 

 

W Boston is a haven for guests preferring a healthy lifestyle. Noted for its award-winning spa, W Boston’s Bliss Spa offers their signature Triple Oxygen Treatment for those who want to reverse the signs of aging. From massage to other treatments, the hotel’s in-house spa provides guests a relaxing end to their busy Boston day.

If its fitness center is not enough, book your nights at the hotel’s The Marvelous Fit Suite. This suite is fitted with gym equipment from yoga mats to push up bars.

And for other forms of relaxation around Boston, W Boston lies close to the city’s theater district. Guests will enjoy the performances at Cutler Majestic Theater, Wang Theater, and Shubert Theater.

 

More Than a Historic Hotel

 

 

liberty hotel

 

The Liberty Hotel gives guests a different historical experience while in Boston.  While some cheaper hotels in Boston are refurbished old buildings, The Liberty Hotel actually used to be the Old Charles Street Jail; Truly, a unique accommodation for those who love historic places to stay in Boston.

Built in the 19th century, this property is one of America’s leading luxury hotels. Bearing its old charm, it offers amenities and faiclities like any modern hotel, from wi-fi to pet-beds.

Cozy and indulging, the hotel is close to Charles River Esplanade, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and various museums in Boston.

Boston’s best hotels make any and every visit to the city more enjoyable. Great locations, modern amenities, and impeccable service – you can never go wrong with these hotels in Boston.

 

This article is part of the #HipmunkCityLove Project. To know more about these hotels, visit one of my hotel reviews on Hipmunk!

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Crown Regency’s Oceanarium

May 15th, 2015

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Boracay may be synonymous with parties, but I still believe that the island is a place for families to enjoy quality time. I’ve been on a lookout for things to do in Boracay with kids along with family-friendly hotels – so here is another suggestion.

Right now, let me tell you about Crown Regency’s Oceanarium, perfectly great to keep the kids occupied and pack their day with activities.

Welcome to Crown Regency Resort and Convention Center!

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Our first time to see this big resort in Boracay. If you love watersports and have kids, the pools will keep them busy.

Our goal for that day was to see their Oceanarium. When you visit this attraction in Boracay which is open even for non-guests, check the schedule. It is a wonder that Boracay has its own Oceanarium.

 

It is smaller compared to Manila Ocean Park but it has its own flavor. Fish tanks are very clean and the creatures look healthy. Most of the fishes are what you see in Boracay and some of them, I didn’t see in Manila Ocean Park.

 

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A smaller tunnel but hey, it is in Boracay! That alone is impressive.

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Do not skip this attraction in Boracay just because you have been to other Oceanariums. From local marine creatures, I like that they have big fishes..

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The Oceanarium is filled with sharks! My youngest loves sharks and it is lovely to see these creatures.

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Crown Regency Resort and Convention Center’s Oceanarium is a package of activities. After meeting the marine creatures, our pretty guide ushered us to the restaurant area. Still bears the marine theme.

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And we saw the star of the Oceanarium – Pearl of the King.

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Weighing 9 kgs with a diameter of 18 inches, it is so far the biggest in the world. I also learned that Pearl of the King is eponymous to the King family who owns Crown Regency. Hashtag, trivia.

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Before the Marine Show, our friends at Crown Regency let us try some of the resort’s facilities like the Wave Pool. It is also scheduled adding the excitement to little swimmers.
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Crown Regency’s Marine Show consists of “Meet the Drivers”, ” Fish Feeding”, and “Mermaid Show”. We saw two divers and learned basic hand gestures used by divers from “ok” as well as how to signal if water current is unsafe. My kids kept saying they want to be a diver.

You will also learn some of their equipments. Truly informative even for parents!

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Next was fish feeding. Only the diver does it. The resort is proud to only feed fresh fish. Wish I had a good shot of the big fishes swarming at the divers. As of the sharks, they are actually shy and tried to avoid the divers.

And the most awaited part..Mermaid Show!

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The beautiful “mermaids” used free diving and synchronized swimming. Yes, even my boys enjoyed the show though at first they tried to feign their interest. haha. But another girl from the crowd was totally in awe of the mermaids. I would too if I was her age..

The whole package comes with  light snacks. A wonderful activity if you want to take a break from the beach or pool as well as to make your trip in Boracay educational. We parents always want educational things to do right?

After our Oceanarium tour, Crown Regency let my boys swim in their kiddie pool. I think Crown Regency has the cutest kiddie pool in Boracay.

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Especially this bucket!

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Check our Crown Regency Resort and Convention Center the next time you are heading to Boracay for a family trip. Never miss their Oceanarium as well!

Big appreciation to Mr. William Suico, General Manager of Crown Regency Resort and Convention Center, Ms. Maricar of Crown Regency Oceanarium as well as to our guide..

For more information and schedules, visit:

Crown Regency Resort and Convention Center

 

 

 

 

You might want to read more…

Mantigue Island Park

Nandana Boracay

Malacca Solo Trip

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Ferra Hotel in Boracay

May 3rd, 2015

 

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Your travel writer had the privilege to enjoy one of the newest hotels in Boracay – Ferra Hotel. Together with my fellow travel bloggers and members of the media, we were treated to an enjoyable Boracay trip from experiencing this new hotel to enjoying top things to do in Boracay.

 

 

 The ride waiting at Caticlan port going to the island.

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Ferra Hotel is located in Bulabog Beach – one of the reasons why I was excited to join the media tour. I have been visiting Boracay for the past 14 years sometimes coming over at least twice a year but I have never seen Bulabog Beach or what the pioneer tourists call, ” back beach”.

Welcome to Ferra Hotel!

ferra facade

 

Recently opened their doors to Boracay tourists, be one of the first to experience this new hotel in Bulabog. The interiors are of modern-minimalist design and only has 37 guest rooms – meaning, you can expect personalised service.

Welcome to my room!

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Fitted with all modern comforts and in-room amenities, I specially love the “airy” feel of the room. Right color choice to induce relaxation. Mini bar, fridge, safe, flat-screen TV, alarm clock ( I just can’t seem to find how to operate it to convert into a speaker. haha!), robes, desk, umbrella and slippers.

I love the rubber slipper they offer. No need to pack another water-friendly footwear!

Of course Ferra Hotel amenities also include my two requisites to a good hotel – WiFi and hairdryer.

This is the bathroom..
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You will appreciate how they maximize their space..
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I love their lotion. You know the kind of toiletries most hotels offer that you have to pack your lotion or else..

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Ferra Hotel is also proud to house Modern Asia, their in-house restaurant featuring the culinary brilliance of Chef Miner. We had one of the best dining experiences in Boracay at Ferra that it deserves a separate blog post.

Here is a teaser for you..

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This tomyam soup is soooo good!

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After a quick rest after our food coma session, Ferra Hotel treated us with a half-day tour in Boracay. It was perfect because seriously, I haven’t experience anything in Boracay except for the island-hopping.

We went to Mt. Luho and saw other beaches of Boracay. Stunning sight of Bulabog Beach!

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The highlights of our tour were  helmet diving and sunset cruise riding the paraw      ( non-motorized local sailboat).

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Ferra Hotel still had more activities in Boracay for us but we lacked time. Therefore, be sure to ask Ferra for some fun things to do in Boracay. They can surely arrange it for you.

Dinner time was served at the roof-deck bar.
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Very relaxing while enjoying sumptuous dishes by Ferra. Hangout with their cocktails. This will definitely be your favorite spot at Ferra.

A good solace from the party scene along White Beach. It is a place that even parents can relax and have that nightlife in Boracay with their kids around.

Ferra’s roof deck is spacious as well. That’s Sir Dante Cruz, Ferra’s General Manager in white shirt entertaining guests.

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The next day, I woke up early to catch sunrise at Bulabog Beach but I set my room’s AC too low ( perfect for the comfy duvet), my camera’s lens was foggy…

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But it was ok. I caught Bulabog’s sunrise and the beach was stunning. They say Bulabog still bears the old Boracay vibe. It is really a shame that I’ve never been to Bulabog before.

Breakfast time!

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I like the food presentation at Ferra and the restaurant opens up to the hotel’s lap pool.

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If you are looking for a restaurant in Bulabog, check out Ferra’s Modern Asia.

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Amazingly, Ferra Hotel is just a few minutes of walking to the main beach too! D’Mall is nearby. My media friends spent their time exploring White Beach and eating in various restaurants close to White Beach. With that, Ferra has the best of Boracay as it is sandwiched between White Beach and Bulabog Beach.

If you are looking for new hotels in Boracay or want a place to stay that is peaceful yet still close to shops and attractions in the island, check out Ferra Hotel.

Thank you Ferra Hotel for the wonderful weekend!

For more information and rates, visit

Ferra Hotel

www.ferrahotel.com

 Phone numbers: +63-36-2881177/+63-36-2881178

www.facebook.com/ferrahotel

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30+ Photos of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay

April 23rd, 2015

 

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When it comes to attractions in Singapore, Gardens by the Bay tops the list. Beyond the outstanding impression it leaves to every visitor, it is suited to all people from seniors to little kids.

It was a pleasure to visit Gardens by the Bay during my Singapore trip. I am more inclined into historical attractions yet I added it to my itinerary due to the fact that it has been one of the endorsers when it comes to luring tourists to visit Singapore..and it will never disappoint.

 

 

The main attractions within Gardens by the Bay are – Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, and the Supertree Grove. Our friends from Gardens by the Bay let me experience them all and for me to share them all to you.

Cloud Forest

Let us start with the Cloud Forest, perfectly representing a real cloud forest – a high altitude forest, moisten with the presence of low-level cloud formation.

The first thing that greets you..

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A wow moment, even from someone who comes from a tropical country like the Philippines, home to countless waterfalls. It is impressive and the cool sensation from the falls was the perfect refreshment from Singapore’s heat.

The “mountain” is filled with orchids ( Singapore’s national flower) as well as other plants.

 

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Some coming from different parts of the world

 

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More than visual, Gardens by the Bay is an educational attraction in Singapore.

 

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Pitcher plants..

 

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Rafflesia made from Lego bricks. They also had Lego fly-catcher and pitcher plants. Kids will be thrilled to see them!

 

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With its misty moist environment, it is a relaxing sightseeing activity while in Singapore. Very safe and accessible for those with mobility needs.

The Cloud Walk is a must inside the Cloud Forest.

 

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An elevator can take you to the Cloud Walk. I tried..yes just, tried.

 

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With fear of heights, I lasted for only ten steps and went back! I’m sure I looked like a fool as I tightly held the railings going back to the entrance.  Maybe I could have conquered it if I had somebody to walk with me.

But it was enough for me to get some shots including the views of Marina Bay Sands.

 

 

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The Supertree Grove shot taken from one of the 2,577 glass panels of the greenhouse.

 

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To my fellow acrophobic, there is a cloud walk suited for us. The lower tier of the main Cloud Walk is perfect for everybody.

 

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If you are traveling with kids, it is stroller-friendly. You can stop and watch the misty “clouds” and admire the structure.

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There are more things to see within the Cloud Forest like the Crystal Mountain – a whole floor dedicated to various crystal formations across the globe.

 

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The Secret Garden..
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The GB Models showing Gardens by they Bay’s advocacy towards self-sufficiency. You will be awed by the voices and graphics.

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There is also a floor-to-wall short film showing just before you exit. Another wow moment for me.

 

From Cloud Forest, I recommend you take a little break before proceeding to the Flower Dome to give you a fresh start and avoid getting too overwhelmed. There are shops and snack stores or dine at any of the 10 dining options at Gardens by the Bay.

Flower Dome

 

In a beautiful contrast with Cloud Forest, the Flower Dome has a dry environment showcasing trees and shrubs that grow in dry and hot climate.

I visited a few weeks after the Chinese New Year, hence the theme.

 

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The gardens are grouped into different places like Mediterranean. My personal favourite spot at Flower Dome.

 

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Tall palms. Can you see what I saw when I was there?

 

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I was too early for the Tulipmania but I met flowers named Dahlia. I’m in love with this bloom!

 

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It comes in different hues like this one.

 

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Many interesting flowers and plants at the Flower Dome like this amusing flower called Pussy Willow.

 

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You got me twisted..

 

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The year of the goat

 

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Move towards the area with the baobabs trees.

 

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I heart you.

 

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It gives you a good vintage point too.

 

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Interesting plant. I forgot its name but its defence mechanism is to play dead. Yes, it is alive.

 

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Something for the boys to admire..

 

 

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Cactus of different sizes and shapes..

 

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OCBC Skywalk

 

Another paid attraction at Gardens by the Bay is the OCBC Skywalk. Arguing with myself if I should give it a try with my dizzy experience during my attempt at the Cloud Walk. “Someone’s got to do it”, they say, so I bravely showed my media pass and took the elevator.

 

I’m glad I did. It gave me another view of the Supertree Grove.

 

 

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Marina Bay Sands
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The Flower Dome and the Singapore Flyer.

 

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This will surely be your walk to remember..
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I spent almost 6 hours at Gardens by the Bay and there are still more to see and enjoy. For one, the Supertree Grove are beyond lovely at night. The different heritage gardens and the Meadows are still waiting for me. I’m also dreaming of enjoying my food and drinks with the relaxing view of these urban gardens. Likewise, I can’t wait to hear my kid’s squeals as they enjoy the Children’s Garden.

Gardens by the Bay is an attraction that you’ll keep coming back over and over again.  With all said, it goes without saying that I’m definitely coming back. If you are heading or planning to go to Singapore, this is the place to see.

Thank you Gardens by the Bay for the wonderful birthday treat! :)

 

Have you been to Gardens by the Bay? Share your experience with me!

 

For more information, visit the official site of Gardens by the Bay www.gardensbythebay.com !

 

 

Read more posts on Singapore!

Solo Trip in Singapore Part 1

Solo Trip in Singapore Part 2

Hangout Hotel, Singapore

 

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Dimsum Afternoon Tea

April 15th, 2015

 

 

Sometimes, simple pleasures mean perfecting your first batch of lumpia ( spring rolls) – yes, I YouTubed how to properly make the rolls! I was inspired to cook lumpia from the recent food tasting for The Promenade’s Dimsum Afternoon Tea.

 

 

 

 

Days Hotel Iloilo is one of the answers when it comes to where to eat in Iloilo, preparing dishes from different cuisines at their in-house restaurant, The Promenade.  And now, they offer Dimsum dishes for this season’s summer afternoons.

From my all-time favorites, spare ribs and chicken feet ( yum right? ;) ), we sampled all their siomais – nori to mushrooms.

 
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Fried wanton with lumpia – meat and vegetable. I love vegetable lumpia!

 

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Too pretty to eat. Hakaw or shrimp dumpling

 

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Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you skip noodle soups. This is their beef noodle soup using fresh noodles.  I think I discovered the spice that makes that special flavor of beef noodle soup- anise!

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Wanton Noodle Soup. My boys will certainly ask for extra ” sabaw” (soup).

 

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Our spread. Weight gain is the absolute disadvantage of my job.

 
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For desserts, we had the Mango Sago, black gulaman and pinoy’s favorite – buchi!

 

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My first time to have Coconut Rice Ball. One of my favorites..

 
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To help your digestion, your dimsum comes with complimentary house tea.

 
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Enjoy Chinese-style afternoon tea at Days Hotel Iloilo.

 

dimsum days hotel

 

 

Here are other food feasts offered by Days Hotel Iloilo:
International Lunch Buffet at The Promenade
Chocolate and Desserts Buffet
Mid-Autumn Festival

 

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Nandana Boracay

April 8th, 2015

 

 

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Visiting Boracay anytime soon? A week before Holy Week, my family spent a nice time at Nandana Boracay. One of the newest hotels in Boracay, Nandana officially opened in April 2012.

With all hotel developments in the island, Nandana brings you to the beach right away. Any tourist coming to Boracay will love to stay in a beachfront property in Station 1 ( less crowd).

 

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Even during high peak season, I found a piece of paradise with Nandana – perks of staying in Station 1.

 

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Definitely family-friendly. Lounge while your kids have the best of their time in Boracay.

 

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Its location is unbeatable. Particularly guests with kids. The beach is a playground and my little Sandman is having a blast.

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Highly recommended for those looking for family-friendly hotels in Boracay.

 

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Now let’s go to their accommodations. We stayed at the Premier Seaview Room

 

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I took the photo when my kids were out – it is hard to take room photos when you are traveling with kids. I had to make the bed – like any hotel room we stayed at.

 

 

 

My husband appreciates the cleanliness of the room. Clean in the sense that it is clutter-free from decors that tends to be gaudy. And yes, I agree. The approach makes the room more spacious and breezy.

 

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The bathroom has tub.

 

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One of the amenities exclusively for guests of Seaview Premier Rooms is this…
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Jacuzzi with a good view of the beachfront. Beat that!

 

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Your favorite space in the hotel..

 

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Turn off the Jacuzzi and viola! Kiddie pool!
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Our room opens to the balcony where the Jacuzzi is at. I love the privacy of the deck with lounge beds. Very safe for kids – no slipping!

 

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It is even beautiful at night. No need to go out. And because you have kids, it is not easy to leave and enjoy the night. Hangout here and enjoy the music from nearby clubs- for free!

 

 

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My  family stargazed at the balcony and had some real quality time.

If you are staying in other rooms, you can still enjoy a good pool – this pool…

 

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This is Nandana Boracay’s signature pool. I love the idea of an indoor pool – a break from the heat of the sun.

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It is 5 feet deep with some space for little kids to wade.

 

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Let’s check other areas of the hotel. This is the reception area.

 

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Mecca, Nandana’s in-house restaurant

 

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One of the things you will love at Nandana is having breakfast with a great view of Boracay’s blue water.

 

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With the beachfront, my kids had a hard time resisting going to the beach. Good breakfast to the rescue!

 

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My eggs Benedict

 

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I’m thankful to get to know Nandana Boracay. If you want to splurge yourself ( because you deserve it!), stay in a beachfront hotel in Station 1 of Boracay.  Even if it is along Station 1, you will not feel isolated.

Just a few steps from the hotel restaurants and a minutes away is D’mall. Because we travel as a family, I recommend Nandana for those looking for kid-friendly hotels in Boracay.

Thanks to Nandana Boracay for hosting our stay. Kudos to the staff for giving personalized service. My family appreciates your love for your job that radiates on how you treat every guest in your hotel. Keep it up!

For more information, rates, and inquiries:

 

Nandana Boracay
Station 1, Boracay Island
+63 (02) 726-0363
www.nandanaboracay.com

 

 

You may want to read..

Seda Centrio, Cagayan de Oro
Park Inn by Radisson-Davao
Microtel Davao
Camiguin Volcan Beach Resort

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Hangout Hotel in Singapore

April 3rd, 2015

 
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If you are planning to visit the Lion City, chances are you will be checking out list of hotels in Singapore. From 5-star hotels in Singapore to budget hotels in Singapore near MRT – been there, done that. It is not easy to look for hotels when you visit a destination for the first time.

To save you from trouble, I highly recommend Hangout Hotel as your hotel choice in Singapore. First, I would like to thank my reader, Andy, for suggesting Hangout Hotel @ Mt. Emily.

 

I liked Hangout Hotel the moment I checked its site, www.hangouthotel.com ; one of the reasons is that they also have a property in Malacca. You can read my review of Hangout Hotel Melaka here:

Where to Stay in Malacca: Hangout Hotel @ Jonker

Let’s start our virtual tour of Hangout Hotel @ Mt. Emily… First, it is located in a peaceful and residential part of Singapore, which makes it loveable to many guests who want a more relaxed and homey accommodation in Singapore, no matter how cliche it may sound.

 

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The hotel is newly renovated and I love the vibrant color the moment I set foot of the property. You badly needed that when you arrived at 3 am, for your first solo trip and your international travel in almost a decade.

Farrah, the receptionist on duty, ushered me to the 2nd floor, aka VegOut Lounge to have some coffee or rest while waiting for my bus schedule going to Malacca. Check emails or you may want to watch TV or movies here.

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Before leaving for Malacca, I washed up – I was impressed with their shower room.

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I left the rest of my luggage at Hangout Hotel and brought a backpack to Malacca. After an overnight stay at their Malacca property, I arrived past 8 pm and billeted to this “hypnotizing” room.

 

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Sorry for the toilet seat, but I want to give you an angle on the ample space of this room.
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Hair-dryer, writing space, clothing rack, and safe..

 

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My room has a Queen Bed and a sofa. I love the green hue. Soothing after a long travel from Malaysia. Right after a hot shower, I just want to cocoon myself with its Duvet sheets and soft bed.

 

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Just to let you know, there are many room types available from single traveler to families. Their dorm room will put other hostels to shame ( no bunk beds). Talk about Singaporean standards.

My view after a good night sleep..
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That is Emily Park, and down the slope is a nice green space with joggers every morning. The building with blue roof is a preschool. Nearby are upscale ( I assume) residential condominiums. The hotel seems like in a secret space in Singapore.

Breakfast is served at the adjoining Wild Rocket Restaurant. You can also enjoy lunch and dinner here if you wish.

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During my two breakfasts at Hangout Hotel, I saw my fellow guests. When we speak of budget hotels in Singapore, we often think that guests will be young travelers but not on this case. I saw at least 5 “older” travelers from 40-60 years old.

Let’s check out the other parts of the hotel. By the way, the hotel is highly secured with key cards needed to access certain floor.

The second floor with the VegOut, shower rooms, and washroom ( with iron).

 

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My floor…

 

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Let’s go back to Vegout Lounge at the 2nd floor. I love this reading nook!

 

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The outdoor patio facing Emily Park and also serves as a smoking area.
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24/7 complimentary tea and coffee!
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If you need to call someone..
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A lovely spot within the hotel is their Lookout Rooftop Garden. I peacefully enjoyed  being alone with my morning coffee here with this view..

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And at night, it is equally amazing, my photos don’t do justice and I will not show the rest of the rooftop just to give you some element of surprise.

 

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To sum up my 2-night stay at Hangout Hotel @ Mt. Emily, here are my reasons why I love Hangout Hotel @ Mt. Emily.

1. Perfect for those with early arrivals and departure. I arrived at 3 am, and my flight back home was at 2am. Most travelers will be asking where to spend their time before check-in. I killed time by checking emails and had coffee. I also relaxed at the terrace at night while waiting for my time to leave for Changi Airport. Hassle-free and relaxed.

2. Baggage Storage. I went to Malacca with a backpack, leaving the rest of my luggage at Hangout in Singapore. And after checking out, I deposited my things again while I roamed around Singapore before going home.

3. Wash room. I was impressed. As you can see from the photo above, it was beyond clean. No excuse for backpackers or budget travelers to be untidy!

4. Sister hotels. If you plan to visit Malacca too, then choose this hotel. It is nice to stay in one property right?

 

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5. I love its location. I don’t know if this hotel is a secret among wise travelers. Within the residential area of Singapore, it sets a relaxed mood to guests. I read somewhere that some taxi drivers don’t know its location. Just tell the driver, ” Sophia Road” along Sophia Road, there will be a signage going to the hotel. You will not get lost because the hotel is located right before a dead end.

This hotel in Singapore is near Little India and Orchard Road.

6.  Guests of all ages. I try to stay away from hostels or budget hotels because of my poor judgement that these are favored by rowdy tourists. I want to have some peace and quiet when traveling. During my stay, I saw different kinds of guests – college students, families, couples, best friends, and seniors.

I am looking forward staying here when I go back to Singapore with my kids. I know my boys will love the hotel and the park. Right before I left, I overheard two travelers booking 4 nights! They were in their 50s and seemed to have been in Singapore for a day or two. Now that is worth sharing to you guys!

7. It goes without saying that they got the right people. The staff certainly enjoy and love their job. They are proud of their hotel and Singapore. Don’t hesitate to ask for their help!

This is a little bit long now, haha but I think you deserve to know a good hotel in Singapore that is equally pampering, nice location and good rates. Singapore is not as expensive as I thought except for its hotels – well housing in general is really costly in Singapore.

I have this urge not to label Hangout Hotel as a budget hotel, but it doesn’t fall short when it comes to amenities. It can even at par to boutique hotels. Needless to say, thank you for being a part of my solo trip in Singapore. All the best Hangout Hotel!

Have you been to this hotel? Share your experience with me..

 

For rates and other inquiries,

Hangout Hotel @ Mt. Emily
Upper Wilkie Road, Singapore
www.hangouthotels.com

 

 

Read my previous stories…

Solo Trip in Singapore Part 1
Solo Trip in Singapore Part 2
Solo Trip in Malacca Part 1
Solo Trip in Malacca Part 2

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Solo Travel in Singapore Part2

April 1st, 2015

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My flight back home will be at 2am the next day, therefore, I had a full day to roam around Singapore. What to do? I was longing to have a relaxing time, not in a spa but wandering around the city.

As soon as I woke up, I spent an incredible time at the rooftop of Hangout Hotel sipping coffee while waiting for the sun. I had this great view of Emily Hill, an imposing white house in a middle of modern buildings.

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My only “appointment” was my friend since high school, Nanette, who wanted to take me to Chinese Garden. Hangout Hotel receptionist told me, “It’s at the other side of the city.” but it’s ok, I wanted to see the residential side of Singapore if that’s what he wanted to tell me.

 

But first, go to Church. I spread my map on my bed and I randomly chose Church of Saints Peter and Paul on Queen Street. From my nearest station of Little India, off I went to Bras Basah.

A quiet street so to speak. Slow-paced walking, great for my blistered feet. Ouch! Saw different buildings like a calligraphy center and the Jacob Ballas Centre or The Jewish Welfare Board on Waterloo Street.

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Singapore Art Museum. Love that spot for coffee!

 

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And I found myself lost again. Blessed to spot the church’s spire( ? not sure if that’s the right term) and it was like my comet..I just walked and I finally found it.

It is currently under renovation. There are many buildings in Singapore that are currently being worked to preserve just like this 19th-century Catholic Church.

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I prayed the Holy Rosary at the temporary shelter within the church compound. Right across is still other side ( or I was at the back side earlier?!) of Singapore Art Museum. You can the admirable details of the building. Jotted the place on my list to places to visit in Singapore.

 

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After that, I went back to the station and took a long train ride to Choa Chu Kang, which is a residential enclave in Singapore. I was a little bit hungry when I made it to the busy station. After meeting with my friend, Nanette, we did some shopping – sale and sale! I forgot about my hunger. We bought Singaporean dishes for lunch.

Rows of tall residential buildings. I also spotted a baby train ( single-car train). A different sight in Singapore for visiting tourists!

 

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An hour after lunch, we went to Chinese Garden. It is free ( except for the Tortoise Museum)  and it is just outside the station – Chinese Garden Station.

It’s iconic pagoda was currently under repair but Mulan was waiting for me!

 

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At the Twin Pagoda. It is a very big garden. Just like Gardens by the Bay, I think you can spend half of your day here.

 

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Past and future..

 

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The last thing I expected to see in Singapore.. :) Good thing it went back to the pond in no time.
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There are several things to see and experience at Chinese Garden. They also have a Japanese Garden, but I had to leave before it gets dark to take a daytime shot of the Merlion.

This is along Boat Quay with a glimpse of the durian-inspired, Esplanade -Theatres on the Bay.

 

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Taking notes…”must visit this museum”.

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Spent some time at Merlion Park, I even spotted some monks. After I took all the photos I wanted, it was time to go back to the hotel and prepare for my trip back home.

I took the train from Little India Station to Changi Airport – 3 transfers. I was a little bit tired but it was a good experience so I can share them to you my dear readers and of course, for our next Singapore trip – hopefully!!

 

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Changi Airport….
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Hope to see you again Singapore! You are a lovely place and I can’t wait to spend some time with you with my kids. A must-visit, I should say!

Big thanks to my hotel partner – Hangout Hotel and Gardens by the Bay for the media pass.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask by leaving a comment. Thanks!

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Solo Travel in Singapore Part 1

March 31st, 2015

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Every woman, particularly moms should treasure ” me time”. What is more indulging than enjoying your own company traveling? If you have been planning on a solo trip, I personally suggest Singapore as your destination.

Traveling solo especially among women can be tough. It takes you out of your comfort zone and you have to tackle women’s natural tendencies to be worry warts.

 

 

I chose Singapore because I feel that it will be a good destination for my baby steps towards consistent solo travel. English is widely spoken and it is one of the most modern countries in the world. Like most parent, I want to relax and be comfortable all the time from transportation to customer service.

I arrived early in Singapore’s Changi Airport. The first thing I did was to check my e-mails in one of the many free internet stations at the airport to inform my family that I landed safely.

 

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From the airport, I took an airport shuttle ( $9). The airport shuttle will bring you to your hotel; more convenient and way cheaper than taking a cab.

I arrived at 3am in my hotel, Hangout Hotel. After coffee, I slept for a few hours at the lounge area of this hotel. Much better for those arriving early in Singapore and waiting for the earliest bus to Malacca or in other destinations in nearby Malaysia.

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I woke up late than planned. Hangout Hotel is close to Little India Station hence, I checked out Little India. It was still early, all shops were closed. Well it was nice walking alone in an unfamiliar place after so many years! Guess, my life was a little bit sheltered.

From Little India Station, I began my crazy trip going to Malacca via Larkin Terminal ( Jahor Bahru). Here are links to my trip in Malacca:

Solo Trip to Malacca Part 1
Solo Trip to Malacca Part 2

 

I arrived in Singapore from Malacca at 8pm. I wanted to go out and enjoy some cocktails at Raffles Hotel as my older sister suggested ( it was my birthday), but I was too tired to go out. Or maybe I should blame the cozy interiors of my hotel room at Hangout. ;)

My view the very next day! Good morning Singapore!!

 

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My appointment was set at 1pm onwards, so I took the time just laying down in my cozy bed. I had a very hectic and long haul travel in Malacca, I thought I deserve to sleep in after breakfast.

At 11am, I went out and started by beautiful day in Singapore. I had lunch here – Hainanese Chicken Rice and oolong tea- sorry, I was shy to take photos. Spent only $5 for Hainanese Chicken Rice. Cheap!

 

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First stop was Gardens by the Bay. From Little India Station, I went to Bayfront Station. I took the train. Railway in Singapore is easy to navigate. If you want to save from your travel funds in Singapore, take the train!

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After walking and taking lifts, you will go out and see this iconic building.
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The sight of Marina Bay Sands will energize you especially when you are alone – hyper like a kid!

Hi there!

 

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I spent 4 hours at Gardens by the Bay because I had to meet a friend by 5:30pm, but I agree with what I have read online – set a full day for this attraction. If I had time, I would love to go back and explore the public gardens, see the Giant Groves at night.

I got a media pass from Gardens by the Bay ( thank you!) and got a chance to check out the paid attractions – Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, and the OCBC Skyway. I will write a separate post for Gardens by the Bay. Please stay tune!

The Falls at Cloud Forest – a soothing relief from the heat of the Singaporean sun! Totally major!

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I sort of belittled Gardens by the Bay because I am more into cultural and historical travel, but this is one brilliant place of interest. It blew my breath away and I kept saying, ” Wow” countless times! Never skip Gardens by the Bay when in Singapore!

The Flower Dome..I feel in love with dahlia flowers..fiery and lovely blooms.

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I was hesitant to try the Skyway because I felt dizzy when I tried the Cloud Walk at Cloud Forest. But heck, this is a rare opportunity so I braved myself and I’m glad I did! I know my sons will love to do the walk.

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I didn’t walk to the end. I have a severe case of fear of heights and I was scared I might drop my camera. After Gardens by the Bay, I went back to Bayfront Station and met my friend.

We had dinner at Marina Bay Sands Food Court. Very affordable and I enjoyed my friend treating me dinner. ;)

We had prawn noodles, carrot cake ( which is made of radish by the way), and oyster omelette.

 

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The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is classy and impressive. I will certainly check it out again. From retail therapy, The Shoppes mirrors outstanding architecture.

Next, we went to the Light and Water Show at the Event Plaza of Marina Bay Sands. This is one of the free attractions in Singapore, budget travelers will love to know this..

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Entitled, ” Wonder Full”, it has a story but I think most of the audience don’t get what the plot is all about. haha. The lights and the effects are impressive that you won’t care what is the story of the show.

After the show, we went to the dock for the river cruise.
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I want to try the river cruise during the day especially with my kids. I love this things to do in Singapore – no doubt, kid-friendly. Of course,  visit Merlion Park for the obligatory Merlion shot and this one..

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Lee Kuan Yew no doubt is proud of the nation he led and helped build. I love that Singapore is urbanized but not a concrete jungle. I have more photos and stories to share, please stay tune for the next part of my solo travel in Singapore!

Thanks for reading!

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