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Weekend Getaways from Sumatra
MAY: Slide to the west part of Sumatera Island Tanah Datar Tanah Datar county in Minang region of West Sumatera province have Cow’s race named Pacu Jawi (Pacu = race, Jawi= Cow) to celebrate harvest season. This culture tradition still less popular than its cousin Karapan Sapi from Madura island of East Java. The different is Pacu Jawi use a pair of Cows and done in muddy wet land, compared with dusty land in Madura. They jockey must maintain both cow run in a straight line with faster time. Not easy.
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Universal Studios Singapore
From meeting Marilyn Monroe, well almost, to going for a Madagascar safari; from fighting a transformers battle in their jet, to the dragon ride, every experience was a new and rejuvenating one. Clearly The Universal Studio was the best and most adventurous part of Singapore.
Gardens By The Bay
Laneway Music Festival, baby! Although I didn’t know any of the songs played, I enjoyed the experience. There was a point when I almost wanted to pass out because of being squeezed in a crowd of hippies, but I just opted to close my eyes, listen to the lyrics, feel the beat, and let myself be swallowed by the music. This is ultimate art immersion.
Petronas Twin Towers
For my one full day in KL, I decided to take in the city’s architectural sights followed by an afternoon of the #1 tourist activity here – shopping. Kuala Lumpur, also known as the “Garden City of Lights”, is the capital city of Malaysia. It’s a rapidly-evolving, modern city, with a goal of catapulting Malaysia into “fully industrialized nation” status by the year 2020. After a morning of walking around the city, through the parks and taking about 50 pictures of the Petronas Towers (they are so impressive, it’s hard to stop – though equally hard to get a good picture with all of them in it) I headed into the KLCC Shopping Center. I spent some quality time there and actually did buy a few things before catching an adventurous wave and taking the train down to Chinatown to the well-known Petaling Market. The market was loud, colorful and aromatic with smells from the many street vendors wafting through the stands. I tested my haggling skills with the street vendors and eventually bought a couple of very reasonably priced souvenirs.
Everything about Marina Bay screams opulence. The kind that courts the senses even if only for a short while. The 3.5 km Waterfront Promenade offers breathtaking views of the Marina reservoir and the skyline, especially at dusk. Whether you spend the evening taking a romantic stroll along the boardwalk or treating yourselves at one of the open cafes, you’ll be surprised at how much time you can while away here. For an unmatched view of the city, head to the Sand SkyPark Observation Deck high up above the 57 storeys of Marina Bay Sands. It looks out over the reservoir and the financial district on one side and Gardens by the Bay and Singapore’s harbor on the other. Go there after 5pm, when it’s a little cooler. When you have finally had your fill of wandering about hand in hand, enjoy the setting sun at the famous Ku De Ta, a stunning rooftop bar right, while downing its signature cocktail.
The Singapore Flyer is as majestic as the London Eye. This giant Ferris wheel is actually an observation wheel that is about 42 storeys high, making it the world's tallest. The ride takes around 30 minutes and is an exhilarating experience. The entire city is visible and the view remains magnificent at each turn. This huge observation wheel boasts of unparalleled views of Singapore and even offers cocktails and some of the Singapore’s famed, exotic cuisine.
It’s a must visit place. Full of monkeys. Cave is really amazing from inside. The best part is the location. It’s a Hindu temple but visited by every tourist who come to KL. Take KTM commuter directly to BATU Caves from KL Sentral (2 RM each). You need to climb 272 steps to reach the Limestone Cave.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The only botanic garden in the world that opens from 5 a.m. to 12 midnight every single day of the year, and does not charge an admission fee, except for the National Orchid Garden.This is the place where one can spend some peaceful time. It includes National Orchid Garden, Rainforest, Evolution Garden, Ginger Garden, Botany Centre and Tanglin Gate, Jacob Ballas Children's Garden.
After Peach realized that the Merlion Park was just near our hostel, we both decided to do another trip to. Like in my trip to Bohol, I wanted to have a picture that would scream “Singapore!” Haha! From the park, we also got to see these landmarks. Singapore bursts with beautiful colors at night, I must say. :)
Jurong Bird Park
If you are a animal lover or a nature lover you would love this place. I really liked spending time here. Do stay and participate in atleast one of the many shows that they host. Its heartening to the feed the penguins or the storks. The tiny tots just loves the activities. My personal favourite is the Bird Show.
Changi Airport Singapore
Checked in at the World's Best Airport as with every single trip of mine. The flight was FD2940 from Singapore to Don Mueang Airport, Bangkok, Thailand. Thai AirAsia is pretty decent and cheap for flights to Thailand from Singapore. *TRAVEL TIP: Right now, Scoot's a much better way to fly, it goes to BKK and there are weekly sales that make travelling to Bangkok much cheaper!*
Located across from China town, this ethnic neighborhood is made of the Indian Tamilian population. Little India is fun for its delicious Indian food, colorful festivals and shops selling everything from handicrafts to an extensive variety of popular Indian spices. You can easily walk around this small Indian enclave and get the best of the rustic streets lined with shops and restaurants. Little India is a stark contrast from Chinatown, or Singapore itself. But, considering the Indian population residing here, the craziest thing would be to understand the various blends of culture here. This is also one of the cheapest places in Singapore, so you can make the most of it!
Ann Siang Hill Singapore and Clarke Quay
The areas of Ann Siang Hill and Clarke Quay really come alive at night, even on weekdays. We spent a fun evening at Club Street on Ann Siang Hill (a short walk from China Town), which is closed to traffic from 7 pm onwards. Tables brimming with people flood the street and there are so many watering holes to choose from-we headed to Gem Bar for a couple of drinks. Clarke Quay comes highly recommended, too, especially by the locals. It’s located along the Singapore River, so pick an open-air pub and you’ll get a riverside view. See clakequay.com.sg for a list of restaurants and bars to visit in this former fishing village.
It might be because Singapore has its superlatives that the small island of Pulau Ubin gets overshadowed, but it isn't as rustic as the Singaporeans consider it to be, even though it is Singapore's last village island. There's so much to experience, especially for kids, with beautiful ecosystems like lagoons, mangroves, swamps and forests to discover, wooden boardwalks bordering rocky beaches to stroll along, and panoramic views from atop the viewing tower. The best way to explore the island with your family is either on foot or on hiring cycles, and if you'd like to kayak along the coast or through the mangroves, Ubin Adventure Centre has you covered. Celestial Ubin Beach Resort is a great option at which bed down, or bring your camping gear along and spend the night under the stars at one of the designated campsites.
Destination 3 – Perhentian Islands (Apr 19-21)On the morning of 19 April we landed at the Kuala Besut bus station. Upon reaching the bus station, this guy was selling us ferry tickets to Perhentian (pronounced as per-hen-tian and not per-hen-shian). Price: Two way return ticket for RM 35 per person, with no fixed return date, you can return on any day you want.The Perhentian Islands are a collection of majorly two islands – small and big. The small island is where you need to be. That’s because the small island is where all the fun is. Further, on the small island there are three beaches. Interestingly two of them are opposite to each other (located on both sides of the neck of the small island). Out of these two, Long Beach is where you need to be. We accidentally landed up at the Long Beach and upon visiting the other one, realized that luck was on our side. It is a white sand beach with clear untouched waters, a pretty view of the big island in front and good beach shacks with great food and enjoyment in the evening.Place to stay:Upon reaching at the small island at 8am, I began house hunting on the beach, saw all major places to stay with a comparison of their prices. One key thing about the chalets at this island is, at most of the places there is no electricity till about 7pm. The electricity is available only from 7pm to morning 8am or so. There is no or little grid connectivity to these remote islands, hence no electricity in the day.At a few places where there is electricity for 24 hours, I chose D’Rock. The place is a little pricey but has beautiful sea facing huts with balcony for you to enjoy the sea view during the day.Budget: RM 150 per night (prices change as per season)Things to do: a. Snorkeling Trip: Out of everything else at Perhentian, this is the one I would recommend a 100 per cent. The islands are famous for their clear waters and snorkeling in these clear waters give you a scintillating view of the marine life and the corals living underneath. You will end up seeing beautiful fish, strange fish, sea cucumbers, nemos, turtles and even sharks. Even if you have never done snorkeling, do give it a shot. With RM 50 per person as the price, this trip is totally worth it.b. Fire Show at Night: At the long beach there is one specific shack where there goes a fire show every night. Hard to miss if you are taking a walk on the beach under the stars.c. Scuba: If you are the adventurous kinds, you can try out scuba as well. Price we paid: RM 200 per person.d. Walk to the other beach: Do take a walk to the other beach. It’s rare to come across a place where you can see sunrise on one beach and sunset on another!Word of caution: The sun at the long beach is sharp, very sharp. In fact the sharpest I have ever come across in my beach experience across India and now Malaysia. So much so that by the time we came back from Perhentian Islands, we had become four shades darker. Do keep your strongest SPFs if you are going out during the day, and hope that they work!Perhentian Islands are the most beautiful islands of Malaysia and there is a reason these islands are full of foreign travelers on weekdays and local people on the weekends. As per me, a trip to Malaysia is complete only when you visit the serene beauty of the Perhentian islands.After spending two nights at Perhentian, on 21 we resumed our journey back to Kuala Besut towards the western part of Malaysia – the island of Penang.We took the night bus from Kuala Besut bus station to Penang bus station. Bus price: RM 50 per person.
The concept to show animals is little different at river safari. They have created different zones based on river name, which shows the animals and reptiles found in those regions. like Mississippi, Congo, Nile, Ganges, Mekong and Yangtze rivers. With the pristine Upper Seletar Reservoir as a backdrop, River Safari is also home to the Giant Panda Forest, Squirrel Monkey Forest and the enchanting Amazon Flooded Forest. We also sail on an exciting adventure known as the Amazon River Quest, this is South American river where you’ll meet the amazing wildlife that come from the world’s largest tropical rainforest.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport Sepang Selangor Malaysia
It was time to say good bye. Hoping to come back some day. KL was a nice mix of culture, embracing both heritage & modern world.
Raffles Place Singapore
Who would have thought that a walk around Raffles Place is actually a walk down Singapore’s history? Raffles Place was formerly called Commercial Square and was designated for commercial activities by Sir Stamford Raffles himself back in 1822 as part of his Raffles Town Plan. The rectangular centre of Raffles Place was often referred to as Raffles Square. It was the first reclamation project in Singapore as it was swampy land next to the Singapore River. Part of the history of this place resulted in the naming of the streets such as Market Street and Chulia Street (know earlier as Kling Street) were named after Dr Jose D'Almeida, the surgeon, who had his dispensary and his business firm of Jose D'Ameida and Sons in Commercial Square.” Singapore’s very own (and oldest department store) John Little started their operations here in Commercial Square back in 1845. During World War II, and on 8 December 1941, Japanese planes made Raffles Place one of their targets of destruction. On 12 December 1987, Raffles Place Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Station was opened with accesses from each end of Raffles Square. The station's entrance has detailing reminiscent of the John Little Building's facade dated 1911 which was fashioned in a Spanish style.
Suria KLCC Jalan P Ramlee Kuala Lumpur City Centre Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Visit the observatory deck of KL tower: You can have the bird’s eye view of the city from this 421 M high tower. We also had our lunch in an Indian restaurant. There are several shops selling souvenirs there. The entrance to the deck costs RM8 per person.
Singapore Zoo Singapore
We love the way Singapore Zoo has been designed; there isn't a cage in sight. For the most part, all that separates the wildlife are dry and wet moats, rock walls and streams. You can sit with the Orangutans, gaze at a Polar Bear flopped down next to his ice cave and feed the Elephants. The zoo, which turned 40 this year, has over 2,800 animals. If you tire of walking around the 26 hectares these creatures call home hop onto a tram and experience the zoo at your own pace. Then, head over to the River Safari and don't forget to get to the giant pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia, and make a stop at the Squirrel Monkey Forest, too, where the little ducks are free to run around you. After the entertaining Creatures of the Night show, hop onto the run for the 40-minute guided Night Safari.
Singapore Botanic Gardens Cluny Road Singapore
DAY 3-SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS AND ORCHARD ROAD:- The next day we went to the botanical garden which is also known as the National Orchid Garden. Our tour guide tolds us many fascinating things about this delightfully attractive place. This was followed by shopping at the Orchard road which is the one street that every visitor to Singapore must experience. It has twenty-two shopping malls and is enough for one to go on a serious shopping spree.
Singapore Flyer Raffles Avenue Singapore
After enjoying the scenic bumboat ride and having learnt about Singapore’s rich culture & heritage, it was time to experience the other iconic tourist attraction ‘Singapore Flyer’ standing 165m tall, is one of the world’s largest Giant Observation Wheel (approx 30m taller than the world famous London Eye) and also one of Asia’s biggest tourist attractions. There are fixed capsules the size of a bus, the spectacular icon is capable of holding up to 784 passengers. Each capsule has a 28-person capacity and each revolution takes approximately 30 minutes. As the wheel turns, you’ll be treated to a visual 360° feast of iconic and historical landmarks and views from the Marina Bay to the Singapore River, Raffles Place, Merlion Park, Empress Place and the Padang. There is no other place in Singapore that offers these breathtaking, magnificent day and glittering night views.Walking down the Helix Bridge I reached The Float @ Marina Bay and ended my second day in Singapore joining locals as well as some tourists celebrating Lunar New Year and it was truly a delight to be a part of such celebrations and relishing on to some of the best local dishes, a perfect ending to a hectic day.
Petronas Twin Tower Kuala Lumpur City Centre Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
The Asian Melting Point: It's a 5-6 hour shore excursion that includes Independence Square, KL Tower with admission to Observatory Deck, a photo stop at Petronas Twin Towers, Pavilion Shopping Mall and Cocoa Boutique, the largest chocolatier in Malaysia.
Kl Bird Park Jalan Cenderawasih Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
They have Bird Show twice a day & many other activities throughout. Do check the happenings around the time you visit.
Chinatown - Kuala Lumpur
After lunch (finally!) I started to explore the city proper. First stop: Chinatown, or Petaling Street. This is located next to Pasar Seni station, monorail line (Klena Jaya Line). You simply have to walk a short distance to get there. Petaling street is a cross section street filled with Bangladeshi store owners selling counterfeit goods at exorbitant prices. I was surprised that this place was still standing, though it was shadow of what it used to be. After a horrible massage that brought my impending headache to an untimely climax, I moved on to Kuala Lumpur Central Market. This place is more reasonable – their goods are original or imported and cultural in nature. I would recommend going to KL Central Market if you’re looking to shop, rather than Petaling Street.
National Monument Jalan Parlimen Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
National monument: this place is a tribute to the soldiers and people who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the nation. It is the world's tallest bronze freestanding sculpture grouping. This place is quite peaceful and well maintained. This place offers an amazing view of the KL skyline.
Mustafa Centre Singapore
This is a shopping day. If you spend your day (pun intended) on shopping at the Orchard street, you should definitely end the day shopping at the Mustafa Centre. From safety pins to Largest TV sets you get everything here. Just that it is a bit noisy and over crowdy!! And if you are at Little India, don't miss the authentic south Indian cuisine at the Murugan idli shop or the classic north Indian cuisine at the Copper Chimney.
At Chek Jawa Wetlands entrance, pose for a photo with the wild boars (kidding...)! Go past the gate and follow the path. You could head for the Jelawi Tower for a panoramic view of the lush green canopy below. Keep a lookout for monitor lizards prowling in the undergrowth near the tower.