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.

 

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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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Where to Stay in Malacca: Hangout Hotel @ Jonker

March 26th, 2015

 

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I’ve been mentioning Hangout Hotel in my previous posts. Hope you will find this Hangout Hotel review useful when looking for hotels to stay in Malacca.

In case you missed them, here are links to my previous Malacca trip blog posts related to this story:

My Solo Trip to Melaka Part1
My Solo Trip to Melaka Part2

With their tag line, “ No Frills, Just Fun“, Hangout belongs to the list of budget hotels in Malacca. Rest assured, you will never go short when it comes to location, safety, and service.

 

 

Location

 

As the cliché goes, ” Location is everything” and true, Hangout’s location makes a big difference when compared to other hotels in Malacca.

Literally on Jonker Street!

 

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If this is your first time in Malacca, staying in hotels in Malacca near Jonker Street is very important. Jonker Street is where all the food action happens  (read: food trip) and it is a few steps away from the cultural center of Malacca for visiting tourists – Dutch Square, Jalan Kuta, to name a few.

Because I got lost in Malacca and went to the “modern” side of the city, I saw few high-end hotels there. They look very good, but what’s the use if they are far from the main attractions of the city?

Travel tip: You don’t have to stay in luxurious hotels if your itinerary calls you to be out most of the day – all you need is safe and tidy room to spend the night.

This is another shot of the hotel taken from the side of the river while I was just wandering around the city.
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Hangout Hotel is the answer to where to stay in Melaka ( Malay for Malacca) with kids. Because it is close to the main attractions, you can take a break from your tour and rest in the hotel for a few minutes. I myself, kept on going back to the hotel – refilling my water bottle, leaving my loots I bought from Jonker or basically and sitting at patio area to hide from the sun.

Hangout Hotel is also close to the famous chicken rice ball place. The one where people line up? Yes, you can check if there is a line right outside the hotel patio. :)

 

Rooms

 

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I apologize to season travelers, I’m a little bit picky when it comes to budget hotel rooms. Maybe because I travel most of the time with my kids and if I do travel solo, I always ask, ” Can I stay here with my kids too?”

In my case, there is a difference between “clean” and “neat”. I had a twin-bed room during my stay at Hangout Hotel. The cool colors of its walls were therapeutic for someone who was traveling for almost 24 hours.

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You will also love the little touches of the hotel like these framed photographs of Old Malacca. Because Hangout Hotel is a converted building, the rooms are not spacious but not cramped either.

Its bathroom is adequate in both size and amenities.

 

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For a converted building, it is impressive that the hotel have installed an elevator. My room is located on the top floor – 4th floor. And this is my window view – the rooftop terrace.

 

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The Lookout Terrace

Nothing compares to the view you will get from their lookout terrace. When I arrived in Malacca, I spent almost an hour just enjoying this view with my coffee and listening to Malay call of prayer.

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You can literally hangout here. Too bad I was too tired that I slept early. Love their beds and the soothing lights. For someone who is not used to solo travel, I had a very good rest at the hotel.

The very next morning, these are just some of the views..tiled roofs of Jonker Street and temples.

 

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I was fascinated with the Chinese architecture of Malacca. This is also a good vintage spot for photographers.

 

Facilities and amenities

 

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Hangout Hotel @ Jonker, provides ample facilities. Wi-fi even in rooms and for those who need to use computers ( for travel writers like me), they have PC units at their LogOut Cyber Corner.

I love the all-day coffee and tea  at VegOut Lounge. They also have a microwave if you like to reheat food or make simple meals. Malacca is very hot and muggy, I saved from buying water since I just have to refill them.

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For breakfast, they offer toasts and jam with coffee. I’m totally fine with it. You don’t need a buffet breakfast when in Jonker. Go out and enjoy Malaccan food!

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Safety and Customer Service

 

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I like to emphasize how safe it is to stay in this hotel in Malacca. For a small hotel, it is impressive that they ensure that guests feel safe. The sliding door that connects the reception area to the lounge area requires a key-card. Thus, it is open 24/7 for hotel-guests only.

Staff are not just friendly, there were very helpful. I think I abused one of their staff, Mr. Wong. haha. I appreciate all the local and inside information he gave me. Just perfect when you are writing an article about Malacca.

Guests can feel free to ask for recommendations. No, they are not the concierge type who gets commissions to every guest they bring to a restaurant. They will also recommend places based on the experiences of previous guests.

Thank you Hangout Hotel @ Jonker for making my Malacca trip hassle-free! Looking forward staying with you again!

For more information and rates, check out Hangout Hotel @ Jonker.

 

Hangout Hotel at Jonker

19 & 21 Lorong Hang Jebat,

75200 Melaka

Tel: +60-6-2828318

Fax: +60-6-2922318
enquiries_malacca@hangouthotels.com

www.hangouthotels.com

 

 

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RisingStarts Philippines: From Phone to Fame

March 21st, 2015

 

 

Samantha Hoberg

 

No doubt, singing is a natural talent to most Filipinos. It is natural for us to sing, thus, we set the bar high when it comes to choosing the next musical sensation.

This can also be seen with our love for singing competitions, one of them is TV5′s RisingStars Philippines. Now what makes this singing competition different from others and why you should tune in to TV5?

Here’s the catch! They change the game when in comes to auditions. You’ve heard it all, long lines, some hopefuls lining up at least 8 hours after traveling from their provinces just to go to Manila.

RisingStars Philippines provides a game-changing concept and a refreshing way to engage its audience through the staple of Filipino culture- the Karaoke. after searching through 20 cities from across the country, putting up booths in over 20 stops in major malls, barangays, and schools, and finding musically gifted individuals with the potential to become a star, they are still looking for more.

…Aside from booths, auditions were held at the comforts of others’ living rooms through RisingStars Philippines Mobile App. Available on Google Play store for Android phones, joining made easy and hassle-free, with no money or time spent in long lines and travelings.

In Iloilo, 12 singers were chosen among all those who auditioned and then asked to show their talent on stage last January 22. And from the group, 3 very talented Ilonggas were chosen.

RisingStars is about total package – not just your singing voice.

Mia Barbra Derilo 1

 

The girls went to Manila and competed with other finalists from different provinces in the country.

 

Trisha

 

 

Now it’s our time to support our lovely ladies!

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Who among these Ilonggas will compete to the top?

RisingStars Philippines airs until June 6 and hosted by Venus Raj and the multi-talented Ogie Alcasid.

Stay tune! The competition is not just about the contestants, you yourself can challenge the singers – these are just some of the things to look forward to!

RisingStars Philippines
TV5, every Saturday (10-11pm)
www.risingstars.ph

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Malaccan Memories: My Solo Trip to Melaka Part2

March 20th, 2015

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As promised, let’s continue reminiscing my Malacca trip. You can read my previous posts here:

 

Malaccan Memories: My Solo Trip to Melaka Part1
My First Solo Travel: Malacca and Singapore

 

Malacca is a touristy place. I can’t blame people for coming here,  both for culture and of course, food trip. If you want to experience Malacca, come here during weekdays though some shops close but it is ok.

And just like in any destination, you have to wake up early to capture good shots. I did wake up “early” but the sun doesn’t rise until almost 7am in Malaysia. As soon as darkness escaped Malacca, I was out ready to explore the city. Fun day starts!

 

Staying in hotels in Malacca like Hangout @ Jonker is a big advantage. I just walked out of the door, passed by Hard Rock Cafe and crossed Tan Kim Seng Bridge to Dutch Square.

Dutch Square was all mine!

 

 

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Took lots of photos with my Nikon DSLR and phone. There were only few locals at the square. The Malaccans I saw were heading for work as well as maintenance people to make sure top attractions in Malacca are in good shape before tourists come to flock.

Dutch Square is the cultural center of the city with its trademark red color, hence nicknamed by tourists as ” Red District”.

 

 

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It was my birthday and my main goal was to visit a Catholic church. Here is St. Francis Xavier Church. The saint came to Malacca and used this port city as his bastion in spreading the faith in the Orient.

 

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After praying the rosary, I went back toward Dutch Square and explored Malacca before tourists start coming.

I went to the riverside. A very cool place to chill especially in the afternoon, but I love the feel of the joggers and locals doing their usual morning routines. Some were talking to me with a smile in Chinese :)

I think one of the best things to do in Malacca with kids is the Malacca River Cruise..

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The Melaka Malay Sultanate Water Wheel. Only a replica, yet a reminder of how flourishing international trade was in Malacca with 84 dialects and languages spoken.

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The Middleburg Bastion, complete with cannons. My kids, especially my eldest love cannons and yes, we often visit forts.

 

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The Crane, an important machine during 15ht-16th Century Malacca
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Beside The Crane is the Tourism Office of Malacca. If you need help, drop by. They are very friendly. Malacca’s tourism officer was the only person who knew right away that I’m from the Philippines. :)

It was already 11am  and I need to enjoy Malacca food. Off I went back to Jonker Street. Oh yes, I dropped by at my hotel, Hangout Hotel to refill my water bottle. haha.

My birthday lunch..Malacca’s famous chicken rice balls, roasted chicken and iced tea. I should have ordered roasted duck – very cheap.

 

 

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Then I took the time to shop for pasalubongs ( gifts and souvenirs). I love those trinkets at Jonker Gallery and food from Tan Kim Hock Product Center. I bought cookies, durian, and coconut dodol, and lots of coffee. They were so good that my own family consumed most of them – nothing left for friends. :(

I also tried the famous durian cendol – like halo-halo. I find it too sweet.

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I went back again to Hangout Hotel ( just adjacent) to leave my loot. Off I went to Cheng Ho Museum.

 

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Malacca is home to many museums, but with limited time, I chose my father’s favorite explorer – Cheng Ho. I will write a separate entry about Cheng Ho Museum. A must and I found myself tearing up with their impeccable display (only history buffs can relate. haha!).

After the museum, I went to Jalan Kota. It is lined with museums and top attractions of Malacca. The scourging sun was already punishing me so I took refuge to this shaded area with Malacca’s colorful beca ( trisikad, tuktuk or rickshaw). I even chatted with the drivers. Feeling local! :D

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And went to the end of the Jalan Kota – Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum. The structure is gorgeous! Inside, you will learn Malay culture, weapons, trade, costumes, and even a glimpse to the royal court.

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Beautiful place. Wish to stayed longer, but it was already 2 pm and I need to head back to Singapore.

Along the street is another famous attraction – A’Formosa or Porta de Santiago.

 

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and in front is the Proclamation of Independence Memorial.

 

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There are many attractions that I failed to visit like St. Paul’s Church Ruins, Stadthuys and many more. But that would serve as my next Malacca itinerary.

Hope you enjoyed this post!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Related stories..

Old Mansions in Iloilo
Mantigue Island Camiguin

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Malaccan Memories: My Solo Trip to Melaka Part1

March 18th, 2015

 

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I’ve been planning my trip to Malacca or Melaka since August of 2014 and finally, I found myself sitting on a bus to Malaysia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. A lover of history, I can’t miss the opportunity to enjoy it for myself.

 

 

My trip was short and I vowed even before I left that I will be coming back. With limited time, I haven’t experienced the place fully. Still, I hope you’ll enjoy traveling back to Malacca with me.

I got lost – more than an hour to be exact- when I arrived, but good thing when you are traveling solo, you don’t argue with anyone but yourself. It was blessing in disguise because I saw the other side of the city.

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It may be a historical town in Malaysia,but it is also a very modern and progressive city.

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I was too tired and sticky that I took a taxi to my hotel, Hangout Hotel @ Jonker ( please wait for my review!). After freshening up, I took my time at Hangout’s Lookout Rooftop with this incredible view of Malacca River..

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Hearing the Malay call of prayer in such a beautiful and peaceful city, it was one of the best feelings I had. Traveling since 10pm the other night from Philippines to Singapore and then to Malacca, I deserved to chill like a villain that time.

Then I went out to explore the famous Jonker Street and enjoyed the architecture and friendly locals..

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What you’ll love about solo travel is that you don’t plan where you want to go – in my case. I just went where my feet led me even if it meant getting lost again and again but hey, it’s part of the adventure no matter how much of a cliche it may sound.

Then I found this lovely cafe – Calanthe Art Cafe, turns out they are one of the most popular dining places in Malacca. The staff are very helpful. They made me feel at ease. Yes, I still have that tiny mini feeling of anxiousness of being on the road by myself.

My dinner in Malacca – Laksa ( I chose Rice Vermicelli) and Very Koo Shake ( lemon, banana, yogurt, orange and English parsley).

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While enjoying the big serving of laksa ( it is god for 2-3 people), I felt dizzy – the feeling of the body giving up but your mind still wants to have fun. So I had to go back to the hotel and slept for 9 hours. It goes without saying I love my hotel in Malacca!

I woke up at 5:30 and I was amazed that it was pitch black! I remember that  in Singapore and Malaysia, the sun sets and rises later than in the Philippines. It was bright enough at 7:30, which is like 6am in the Philippines.

And off I went to the famous attraction of Malacca – Dutch Square!

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That’s it for now, ok? Let’s continue our travel story on my next blog post..

Thanks for reading!

 

Read my prelude to this solo travel series..

My First Solo Travel: Malacca and Singapore

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