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Posts tagged ‘weekend getaway’

On the Countryside in Punjab.

Through the thin white barks of Eucalyptus trees, the first rays of sunrise promise to brighten a chilly morning. I walk through a small clearing in the field, amid dark green shrubs dotted with white, and extend my hand towards what look like snow-flakes, only they don’t melt at my touch. If you haven’t yet guessed, I’m strolling amid cotton fields. The seeds have burst, and the cotton is blooming. Read more

The Silk Men & Women of India.

If someone tried to make folk music out of wooden sounds, it would probably sound like the soft clickety-clack that resonates through the village of Pranpur. Men and women are bent over their looms, squinting their eyes on their intricate sari designs, their hands automatically trailing a motion they learnt decades ago.

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Mcleodganj aka Little Tibet.

Mcleodganj is perhaps every backpacker’s rite of passage to India. Except that it is so unlike India, I feel I’ve skipped a few legalities, missed a few stamps on my passport, and entered a world I was taught is forbidden. Read more

Pranpur: The India That Rejoices in its crafts.

As we drive into the heart of India, dubbed Madhya Pradesh, I awake my sleepy self to the sight of the Betwa River, a beautiful expanse of clear water vigorously flowing through a dam. I am suddenly kicked about venturing into an India that is far off the tourist circuit; Spiti & Hegdenagar feel like a long time ago. Read more

Tempat Senang: Rejuvenation.

If you’ve had a long work week and need to be pampered, look no further than a ferry ride from Singapore into Indonesia. Tempat Senang, at Sekupang, off the island of Batam, is the answer to all your stress and anxieties. I discovered this hidden little gem over New Year, and couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing way to end 2010.

the country-themed rooms.

What first fascinated me while doing my research was that Tempat Senang is not just any other resort with any other rooms. Each room has a country theme, complete with the design, decoration and USP (if I may). With only about 9 suites, you can feel the personalization in each.

The Sultan Room

We stayed in this Middle Eastern room.

sultan room, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, spa

With a jacuzzi in the living area and middle-eastern decor.

sultan room, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, spa

sultan room, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, spa

The Tree Room

I managed to get a sneak-peek at the other rooms, and this one’s my favorite. For next time.

There’s a hanging bed in the room!

tree room, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, spa

And a tree house feel all around, right down to the furniture.

tree room, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, spa

The Japanese room

Despite no outdoor view, I loved the black & white, wooden ambiance of this room, with beds in every nook & corner. A great room to stay if you’re a big bunch.

japanese room, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, spa

The Thai room

This one’s a huge room with a back room, a jacuzzi and a fish spa in the backyard.

thai room, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, spa

thai room, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, spa

thai room, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, spa

The Bali Room

It comes with an exclusive entrance and verandah, and a jacuzzi.

bali room, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, spa

bali room, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, spa

The Indian and Indonesian rooms seemed quite commonplace and not picture-worthy!

the Spa.

Our Spa experience was extraordinary. There is probably no better way to pamper your body for 3 hours at a stretch (half day spa) amid a host of friendly masseuses and pure relaxing aromas. The first 3 hours come together with the room and we topped up an additional 3 hours the next day; that’s how good it was!

I tried Lavendar Aroma Therapy, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, White Lurlur Body Scrub, and a hair treatment. Each was an hour of pure bliss.

the Restaurant.

The restaurant serves up a variety of cuisines, from Indonesian and Thai to Western. The chef was extremely talented and very receptive of me being a vegetarian; he made to order most of our meals and I would highly recommended the BBQ-baked pizza. The staff was open to us getting our own wine (though the drinks are not too expensive) and maggie, and it was a pleasure rounding up each meal with a few games of pool.

the People.

Just like the rooms & the spa, the entire experience at Tempat Senang has a warm, personal touch. The locals were genuinely friendly and helpful, and everyone seemed to know that we were putting up in the Sultan room & going for a second round of Spa!

the Place.

In the spirit of a relaxing getaway, there aren’t many activities to pursue at the resort or in the vicinity. There is however, a beautiful golf course which runs all the way to the shore of the South China Sea. Riding along the green in a golf buggy, letting your hair down in the breeze and watching the sunset above the sea is a great way to round off the evening.

golf course, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway

golf course, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway

golf course, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, sunset

golf course, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, sunset

golf course, tempat senang, indonesia, weekend getaway, sunset

I would highly recommend Tempat Senang to anyone looking for a relaxing weekend getaway from Singapore. Have you been there yet?

Maxwell Hill: Malaysia’s Oldest Charm

One minute, the clouds are descending upon you, transporting you to the heavens. The next minute, you’re running for shelter and watching the rain, intimidated by its intensity and the gusty wind. Just then, the rain and the mist both go into hiding, revealing an untouched blue sky.

Most people think Cameron Highlands or Genting Highlands when choosing a hill station getaway in Malaysia. Their lesser known cousin, Maxwell Hill aka Bukit Larut, therefore still retains its quaint English ambiance and a mystic poetic isolation.

old English Bangalow, maxwell hill

Maxwell Hill's old English ambiance shrouded in mist.

Bukit Larut, Maxwell Hill

Bukit Larut aka Maxwell Hill

Maxwell Hill, bukit larut

Royal old bungalows to spend a quiet weekend.

maxwell hill, bukit larut

Could you find a better place to write?

blue sky, maxwell hill, bukit larut

The mist, rain, wind disappear to reveal a blue sky.

A mere 4-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur takes you to the base of the hill. To get to the peak or midway up, you need to rent a 4-wheel drive or trek for 4-5 hours. Neither option is for the faint-hearted; the road is as steep as it is winding, and the jeeps appear to be from the era of the British rule in the region! In our impromptu trip, the tickets for the 4-wheel drive were sold out early on a Sunday, resulting in a great deal of negotiation and hitch-hiking, doubling the thrill of the ride (imagine, if you can, riding a jeep down a hill with 12 other passengers).

Maxwell hill

The winding road leading up to Maxwell Hill

4-wheel drive up to Maxwell Hill

Thanks to the 4-wheel drive & our pro driver, we survived!

Maxwell Hill is a royal way to spend a weekend, soaking up the charm of old English bungalows (they get booked up to 3 months in advance), seeking poetic inspiration, or simply whiling away time watching the sky perform magic.

Halong Bay: Misty. Mysterious. Magical.

You’ve seen calm seas and you’ve seen sprawling mountains. Put the two together, throw in some evasive mist, dig up some extravagant caves, and shake a magic wand. You might get something close to Halong Bay in Northeast Vietnam.

Over 3000 limestone structures arise out of the waters, as though the heavens are really beneath the surface and gracing the earth, forming a spectacle of beauty, mystery and magic, like you’ve never witnessed before.

Halong bay, vietnam, north, southeast asia, natural wonder, gulf of tonkin

halong bay, vietnam

I cruised along these waters of the Gulf of Tonkin (Halong Bay) on the Imperial Junk, one of the many mid-range options to be part of the land on water phenomenon. Imagine sitting on the deck of the cruise, gazing at scores of limestone structures, each with it’s own touch of perfection, looking as stunning at sunrise as at sunset.

Imperial cruise, junk, halong bay

The Imperial Junk

Halong bay, vietnam, sunrise, travel, southeast asia
Halong Bay at Sunrise
Halong bay, sunset, north, vietnam, natural wonder, gulf of tonkin
Halong Bay at Sunset

Each cruise provides food (quality is proportional to the price of the cruise), water activities like kayaking and limestone cave exploration. The limestone cave open for exploration is decked up in lights, and although the ambiance is artificial, the intricate stalactites and stalagmites are very real and stunning indeed.

limestone cave, halong bay, vietnam, stalactites, stalagmites

Stalactites & Stalagmites

limestone cave, halong bay, vietnam, stalactites, stalagmites

The limestone cave

Although neither Halong Bay nor Halong on Land made it to Lonely Planet’s world’s greatest natural wonders, both are mysterious, magical, charming and perfect in their own ways.

Once Upon an Island

Sometimes I think we can measure our lives by the places we’ve seen. There’s so much beauty in the world, so many undiscovered gems, and yet so many of us will spend our days in a small little box, unable to escape the vicious work-money cycle. Without getting too philosophical, I want to introduce you to a heaven-on-earth-like beauty in Indonesia, called Nikoi Island.

I created the video below, entirely based on my imagination and these Flickr pictures, for a competition in which I won a free trip to this dreamy island. My gut says Nikoi will be all this and so much more.

I’ll write about my personal experience at Nikoi Island after I visit it in December :) Till then, you can read reviews by other people on Nikoi!

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