Month: December 2010

10 Must-Try Vegetarian Food Places in Singapore.

Many people rave about Singapore being a food haven, but vegetarians probably try to steer that conversation towards shopping. Finding a satisfying vegetarian meal in Southeast Asia can be challenging, so I put together a veggie-loving, kind-to-your-wallet guide to finding some great vegetarian food in Singapore from all over the world. Click here to read my article on CNNGo. Warning: The following content may cause you to rub your tummy, salivate in temptation, and rethink all your dinner plans.

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. 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 …

pangkor laut, singapore, malaysia, weekend getaway, offbeat, spa

5 Weekend Getaways From Singapore to Pamper You.

Close to each weekend, I desperately resort to Google to find offbeat ideas for weekend getaways from Singapore. In the midst of my travel research, I came across these 5 weekend getaways in Malaysia and Indonesia that will pamper your senses and indulge you. So ditch your weekend travel to Kuala Lumpur, and rejuvenate in lesser know Southeast Asian hideouts! 1) Tempat Senang, Indonesia An hour’s ferry-ride away from Singapore, in the neighborhood of Batam Island (Indonesia), lies this exotic little gem. It’s a boutique resort, with under 10 suites, each designed, decorated and modeled after an Asian country. Besides the likes of Bali room, Indian room and Japanese room, there’s a Tree Room with a bed suspended in mid air. It’s also home to a traditional Balinese spa with a wide range of rejuvenating massages, and a pampering staff. Also read: Tempat Senang: Rejuvenation 2) Nikoi Island, Indonesia Close your eyes and imagine you are sprawling on a beach chair on white sands, in the company of crystal blue waters, sipping a drink. Just across the …

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. 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. Halong Bay at Sunrise 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 …

Where Will 2011 Take You?

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber There’s something liberating about scanning a world map and choosing where your next journey could take you. As we round off 2010, the time is just right to put together a travel list for 2011. Get inspired by Lonely Planet’s top 10 countries, cities and value destinations in 2011. Choose atleast one of your dream destinations and plan your other journeys around it. Remember, no time will be better to go than now. Be realistic about your budget and travel dates, but don’t be constrained by either. Granny always says, where there’s a will there’s a way 🙂 Leave room to be impulsive. You follow enough rules at school & at work. The beauty of travel is that there are no rules. What’s on your travel list for 2011?

You don’t need a red coat & white beard to be Santa.

Christmas is the season of giving. We spend cold December mornings going over friend lists and looking for perfect gifts, and come Christmas day, we smile when we see our family & friends unwrap their gifts, and smile secretly as we unwrap ours. Remember the time when we were kids? We would snuggle up into our beds on Christmas eve, but never fall fast asleep until we saw what Santa had got us that year. They say Santa Claus is fake, but to me, the concept of Santa is at the core of humanity. I think Santa lives in each of us, not necessarily as a fat old man with a long beard, but as kindness, love and a desire to make others around us happy. When we were kids, our parents showed us what Santa was like. Now it’s our turn. Let’s play Secret Santa this year to kids who’ve never known why Christmas is merry and to families in need of some holiday cheer. Let’s volunteer and donate for a good cause. Christmas, …

Port Dickson: Living on Stilts!

Many people tend to diss Port Dickson as a disappointment on the shores of muddy seas. I was skeptical too, but my impulsive trip to this little town near Malacca turned out to be a pleasant surprise! Another weekend getaway from Singapore’s bustling city-life, Port Dickson’s real charm lies in the chalets built upon stilts rooted in the sea bed. The Legend Water Chalets and The Legend International Water Homes are modelled on an open-living concept and are both extremely affordable. The Water Chalets will charm you with their open-rooftop showers within the rooms – showering under the starry night sky is both chilling and beautiful, as is showering under the sunspots cast by the sun during the day. Each chalet has a private balcony that looks over the Straits of Malacca and is an endearing way to spend an afternoon. The day bed by the window overlooking the sea, and the marble bathtub in the living-room make you feel right at home in the chalets. The floor of each chalet has a small glass panel so …

Bunaken: Of Blue Seas & Anonymity.

My first memory of Bunaken is that of sitting on the roof of a speedboat, riding the waves of a turquoise blue sea, and gazing at the most beautiful sky I’ve ever seen. why Bunaken: We chose to travel to North Sulawesi in Indonesia to get past the touristy temptation of Bintan & Bali, and were pleasantly greeted by a world yet to be discovered and commercialized. Our base was Manado, a city-town in North Sulawesi, and the closest airport to Bunaken – which lay a boat journey away, untouched. getting there: The public boat from Manado, used mostly by locals and extremely cheap, dropped us at the jetty at Bunaken Island. We were immediately greeted by the locals, who we first thought to be touts but soon realized were genuinely helpful and extremely friendly. That warmth of the people saved us the disappointment of realizing that this part of the island was more of a wet swamp than a beach. Panorama Resort, where we intended to stay, was fortunately on the other side, and we managed to arrange …