In sri lanka and have Wi-Fi for the first time in days, but no time for a full update. I’ll post the full posts when w have time, but not for a few days. Cruise is progressing well.
Not much time for updates as we rarely have Wi-Fi and when we do it’s patchy. Currently in Mumbai. Amazing city. So busy and colourful and crazy and poor and rich. I’ll post the full blog once w have stable Wi-Fi in Dubai in a few days time.
Our bodies are now on Singapore time. We woke at a normal time and had a leisurely morning, chatting to more visitors over breakfast and heading off to further explore the city. We retraced some steps, avoiding getting off the bus initially because we were trying to avoid some light rain. Rain. Remember that? It’s been so refreshing to be rained on.
Our first stop was back at Suntec City Shopping Centre where Lachlan and I left the girls and went to have a look at Raffles while the girls shopped. We had already decided we didn’t need an overpriced Singapore Sling or high tea, so a quick look was sufficient.
When we returned we had a good look around the shopping centre, although calling it a shopping centre is an injustice. It was a city. Apart from the usual array of shops there were child care centres, karaoke bars, a recording studio, music lesson centres and all manner of other things.
We then headed by bus to Kampong Glam Muslim / Middle eastern / Malaysian area and Haji Lane, where we had a late lunch of, you guessed it, Mexican food and a few happy hour drinks. This was a highlight of the trip so far. Great atmosphere and plenty of people watching. We then experienced a rain storm the likes of which I haven’t seen in years. We had more rain in an hour than I’ve seen in the last three years combined. It was torrential and it just kept coming.
When the rain eased enough for us to leave we returned to the hostel, regrouped and wandered the streets of Chinatown, having a dinner of cheap street food and finally back to bed.
Everyone awoke too early as we were still on Sydney time. When breakfast finally opened we headed up and had a good simple breakfast and spoke to another guest, from France, about his travels – the advantage of hostels.
Heading out we wandered through Chinatown, then to the river waiting for the first Big Bus. One on board we travelled to Little India and wandered through the markets, then back on board to Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where we checked out the observation deck to get a view over all of Singapore and into Malaysia. We then headed for Gardens by the Bay and lunch at Sayay by the Bay. Yum.
Getting weiry, we then caught the Big Bus down to Sentosa, giving us time to sit and take in the scenery from air conditioned comfort for a while. We stayed on the bus and ended our journey back at the Big Bus base and had an expensive drink while eaiting for our night tour.
The night tour took in Chinatown, where we had a free dinner, the gardens by night, Bugis markets and Orchard road. Last part of the day was walking back to hostel for a well earned rest.
Car (Thanks Laurinda). Train. Train. Bus. (Coffee) Train. Thanks to trackwork just getting to the airport was travel blogger fodder. But we eventually got there and so begins the trip. We were through formalities fairly quickly and waiting for our ‘Scoot’ flight. The plane arrived late, so we were delayed while the plane was cleaned and checked, then, an hour and a half late we were in the air. Singapore here we come.
Being a budget airline (showing the kids what you get for a few hundred dollars less) there was no food service, no seat-back-screens and no real interruptions to sitting and watching the world go by. Literally. We did the old fashion things. Check out everybody on the plane (which were pretty much all locals – very few tourists), play cards and read a book – which is probably a useful thing to be doing in my new career as an English teacher (I might explain later if I get enough strange comments), My new Head Teacher would be proud of me. Is it irony that I was reading a play about travel on the plane?
Upon arrival we were through quickly and headed for the MRT metro. NSW has so much to learn about how to run public transport. Cheap, efficient, well signposted, helpful people posted at ticket machines and clean. But you cant eat your durian on the train. Or food of any other type. You can however recieve big fines for most things. I have a feeling not many people get fined due to the culture.
Our accommodation for the next 3 nights is in a capsule hostel – something different, which we hadn’t told the kids about. Yes, they were surprised. It’s pretty cute really. We have our own room with 6 pods (so we have two spare if anybody wants one, but you better be quick).
After check-in we headed out to get some food. We’re staying in Chinatown, so there was no shortage of choice. A few spring rolls and some fried rice later we were ready to head back to our pods after a long day.
Trip Adviser had warned us the if you have a front room the garbage collection is noisy. I almost laughed out loud when awoken by said garbage truck. Noisy doesn’t start to describe it. Our body clock is still set to Sydney time so we’re all up and active at 5:30am, despite our 20 hour day yesterday.
We must be in Asia. Super sweet coffee as I write.
Lachlan finished school after thirteen years. Carol retired from Bundanon after thirteen and a half years. We’re off again to celebrate on a cruise with a difference. Singapore, Phuket, Sri Lanka, India and Dubai.
If you’re reading this, please feel free to comment as our adventure progresses. We love that we can share the adventure in some small way, and we love the feedback. Your comment may not appear immediately, as it has to be approved (to stop spam) and we wont have internet access at all times, but I’ll catch up when I get access.
Sit back, relax and let the adventure begin.
With Lachlan finishing scool, we’re off again.
This time it’s a more relaxing approach to travel, while retaining our desire to see something new. We’re off on a cruise, but a cruise with a difference…
Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and Dubai aboard Celebrity Constellation.
A very relaxed morning, waking up at 8 for the first time since leaving home. A leisurely breakfast, a swim, check out, and wait for our transfer to the airport. At the airport we were through formalities in record time… 27 minutes after pulling up we were checked in (no queue at all), through security and through emigration. Time for a coffee and relax till boarding. ETA in Sydney: 11:50am Friday.
Thanks to everybody who shared this adventure with us. We’ve made some friends for life. Thanks to Bruce and Theavy – both professional, fun and highly capable group leaders. And thanks to Intrepid Travel. I’ll definitely be using you again. Such a well run trip.
And thanks to dad, for ‘inviting’ me to join him on this trip. It’s been a blast.
With the official tour over we had to act a bit like adults and organise ourselves. We managed to find breakfast in a place where the food was OK but the service was abysmal. We (the 7 of the group of 11) then headed on foot toward the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha, with the standard Bangkok touts telling us that the Palace was closed because of a religious holiday and that we could go instead to a ‘free’ temple nearby. Yeah right. Upon arriving at the palace it was totally open and ready to take our money – with Niamh and Jen having to buy a T shirt because the scarf they had taken to cover their shoulders apparently wasn’t conservative enough.
The temples within the complex are simply stunning. Words and even phots can not do it justice. I’d warned the others who hadn’t been here before that they were in for a surprise when they saw the size of the Emerald Buddha – the most revered Buddha in Thailand. They were. It is only about 45cm high!
After leaving the Grand Palace we headed back to the hotel (by cab – it’s getting hot!) for a swim. Dad then had a massage, we took a walk to the river and met the rest of the group for drinks at Cha’s Bar, right opposite the hotel. The bar was the most down to earth place you could imagine, with Cha being a comedy act and entertainer as well as a barman with the coldest beers in Thailand. We then wandered the local streets and found Mr Lok’s restaurant – another great local find – best food we’ve had in Thailand and cheaper than anything we’ve seen. After dinner we headed back to Cha’s for a few more drinks before saying goodbye to Peter, Jen and Carmen, and Joe. Breakfast tomorrow will be down to the last 3 of us, before we jet off in the afternoon toward home.
Not much to report and no photos during the day as we were on the bus headed from Siem Reap to Bangkok most of the day. Quite a wait at the border but once into Thailand the difference in wealth was apparent. Upon arriving in Bamgkok I couldn’t believe the different in the city compared to the last time I was here in 1997. Back then it was dirty, smelly and congested. It’s now a much cleaner city, fewer motorbikes and much less air pollution.
After check in at the Nuovo City Hotel, just a few hundred metres from Khao San Road, we headed off for our final group dinner with Theavy, and then to Khao San Road for a look around and a few drinks. We ended up at a bar with live acoustic guitar music which was fantastic!
Deb and Brigitte had to leave us to catch their plane, but we continued till the wee hours – a top night!