Going Further

Exploring London is complete, time to go further.

Corona virus has practically closed the world, however we are now starting to see a few nations opening borders trying to restart their economies and their tourism industry. However we are still in a limbo period for travelling, things will be different and there will be an obvious new normal.

For me, I am still arguing to myself if I should just go online and book the next ticket out to any country and start travelling again. Although this is something I am eager to do I think I will wait for things to settle down, so I can enjoy the holidays the way I like it to be with little chance of surprises and unnecessary formalities, like a 14 day self isolation quarantine which will basically take over the visit itself. Even exploring local seems to be a little more difficult with social distancing rules, masks and limits in place. Furthermore facilities like some restaurants, transport and even public toilets are still closed and I am sure this is mimicked around the world.

So for now I will just get used to the new normal domestically and stick with my plans and take this chance to explore local whilst gaining the confidence to travel international again which will be very soon.

Explore Local 

Explore London

Explore England

Explore United Kingdom

Travel Abroad

So now I have completed 2 segments of my plan ‘Exploring Local’ which I have done roaming my home borough of Greenwich and also roaming my home city, ‘Exploring London’. So next up I go further into the country trying to visit some places I haven’t yet explored. I plan to (but not definite) visit Dorset, the Cotswold, York and other cities as a part of this segment.

After as always I shall write about my experience in various different blogs.

Thanks for reading…

Explore London

Introduction

So as you may know because of this ongoing pandemic, travelling international has been impossible or difficult to say the least. However as the world starts to open up I have planned to start travelling in slow stages, taking the opportunity to explore local and travel domestically.  My plans are:

Explore Local

Explore London

Explore England

Explore United Kingdom

Travel Abroad

I have already completed my first segment “Exploring Local” going around my borough Greenwich, luckily it is a place full of points of interests. I have just completed roaming London and I will write all about my experience in depth in several posts.

Exploring London

Roaming around my own city like a tourist was interesting, as it was just after lockdown there were no other tourists around making the usual photography opportunities much better as there were no crowds. However although the joys of no crowds there were the negatives of shops and restaurants still being shut which obviously acting as a tourist, had an impact on the day out. Furthermore because of the easing of lockdown there were still things that were not usual on a normal day such as face masks which are mandatory on transport and long lines on every shops. The huge positive for me is that the daily cost of roaming London was very cheap because I had very little to spend. There were no restaurants open nor entrance tickets (as entrance to attractions were closed) and there were no souvenir shops open, which I wouldn’t buy them for the city I live in anyway but you know what I’m trying to get at.

In terms of the attractions in London, it was much better seeing them without the crowds, it was so much more peaceful and as stated earlier photo or video opportunities are much better. However I wasn’t able to go inside any of the attractions as everything was closed, but sometimes (in London) the points of interest are best observed from the outside.

My plan was to visit some of London’s hidden beauties which aren’t advertised as a popular tourist destination. During my exploration I have found places I believe tourists are probably aren’t aware of such as Battersea Park, 02 Arena, Olympic Park, Hamstead Heath and much more (post coming soon).

Overall it has been an eye opening experience for me and something that made me think that if I visit other countries or cities soon after the pandemic, I probably wouldn’t see the full extent of what they have to offer, with attractions, museums, restaurant, shops and restaurants possibly still closed. In your own city this would be ok but to spend for flights and hotels only getting half of the experience may defeat the purpose and reason for travelling in the first place. 

Here is a 30 second video of my experience and some of the site I got to see.

Thanks for reading

 

Why I Explore

It is always a good and common topic amongst us travellers as to “why do you travel?”

I have been asked a few times from certain people, friends, family and colleagues about this topic, on why I love to travel so much? Why I love hectic adventures rather than relaxing retreats? Why hostels and not hotels? Why there not here?  Why not save money?  and so many questions a-like. It is also a common topic when meeting other travellers, from the long duration backpackers or the shorter stint adventurers.

Well I put it down to 3 main reasons.

  1.  People: The people I travel with, the travellers I meet and the communities I become a part of.
  2.  Our World: To enjoy and bask in the world we live in. To witness the beauty of our nature and to see magnificent architectural structures both old and new. Time warp into histories and learn about other cultures.
  3. Myself: It is what I enjoy, the independence, the learning, to push myself to limits in thrill seeking activities and adventures I wouldn’t be able to find at home.

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Everybody has their own reasons why they travel abroad whether on a backpacking trip or a holiday. Some to party, others to learn, some to shop and others to relax. I have had the pleasure to meet so many different travellers from many different backgrounds, different ages and including my travel companions there are varied answers to this common question.

 

Thanks for the read…

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 Things to See and Do in Singapore

Singapore is one of my favourite metropolis city. It is one of the safest, cleanest most modern places I have been with so much to see and do. It’s ease of getting around is a bonus and although the city-state seems very westernised (which is preferable to some tourists) you will find its strong history and culture throughout your visit. Below are my personal top 10 things to see and do whilst visiting Singapore.

10th, Shopping at Bugis Street

For those bargain hunters Bugis Street is where the largest market is situated. Affordable garments, souvenirs and food can be found here. This area also has historic significance being the area for the mass gathering of transwomen around the 50s-80s.

Bugis Street only just makes it on my list as it is a simple place for tourists to come and obtain affordable products, dine on traditional foods whilst in the vicinity of historic significance.

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9th, Visit Little India and China Town

For the more culture focused visitors, little India and China town is brilliant locations with vibrant atmospheres. Its histories of how they came to be are interesting and both streets offer a wide variety of food and products from their respective regions.

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8th, Visit Singapore Zoo

One for the families with small children is a visit to Singapore Zoo including the Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the River Safari. Singapore Zoo is famed for its orangutans and white tigers which is a rare sight to see. Whilst the night safari is the worlds first nocturnal zoo and one of Singapore’s prized attraction. The river safari is also the first in the country but also the only river themed zoo in Asia. Lastly the Jurong Bird Park houses over 5000 birds from around the world making it an interesting visit. Collectively housing a plethora of species from around the world these attractions make and enjoyable and educational day out for all.

Tiger, White Tiger, Wildcat, White Königstieger

7th, Dine, shop and socialise in Clarke Quay 

One of the better place for the older tourists to dine, drink and socialise. The Clarke Quay is the central area for bars clubs and nightlife. However it is also a place for tourists to visit Fort Canning Park, Singapore River, Raffles Place, Hong San See temple and so much more.

Clarke Quay, Singapore, Night, Nighttime, Long Exposure

6th, Singapore Botanical Garden

For those enthusiastic about botany Singapore’s Botanic Garden is one of the most significant around the world. The county’s first and one of only a few Botanic Gardens inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This free attraction boasts its own tropical rainforest making Singapore only one of two major cities with a rainforest inside its city perimeter (other being Sao Paulo). So for those who want to see many plants and flower species spending a whole day here would be a pleasure.

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5th, Enjoy Sentosa Island and Resorts World Sentosa

Dubbed the ‘State of Fun’ Sentosa Island is one of the most popular area in the country. It is a place for the whole family concentrated in one island. Firstly Resorts World an integrated resort, includes one of Singapore’s two casinos, SEA life and Universal studios, Adventure cove waterpark and so much more. Elsewhere on Sentosa Island you can also find its many beaches, Fort Siloso, Dolphin Island and so much more. This Island which although admittedly is a bit more further and difficult to get to, is a fantastic place to take your family for a few days.

Beautiful, Aquarium, Beautiful Fish, Fish, Colorful

4th, City Hop-on, Hop-off Bus

I believe that Singapore’s Hop-on, Hop-off bus’s are well organised and one of the easiest way to see the country at a faster pace. Nearly everything I have put in this top 10 list can be seen from a one of the variety of routes on these buses. However for Singapore Zoo and Sentosa Island an upgraded ticket maybe needed. Perfect for those who want to see as many attractions as possible with very little walking and without the headache of transport. Furthermore like all Hop-on Hop-off buses around the world the ride includes free earphones in which you will be able to get a very informative recorded audio tour. You are able to buy tickets for the duration you require (in days).

3rd, Walk, shop and dine around Orchard Road

For a more modern shopping experience, Orchard road is probably one to go to. Various malls, bars and markets for any budget are situated on this road. Furthermore the road is one of the more popular places to stay whilst in Singapore.

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2nd, Enjoy Marina Bay

Marina Bay is in my opinion one of the most popular and luxurious place in Singapore which is adored around the world . Like various points around Singapore this area has a concentrated amount of attractions. Lets start off with the beautiful Helix Bridge which is a pedestrian bridge modelled based on a human DNA. The bridge leads right in front of the Art-Science museum and its architecture is said to portray the welcoming hand of Singapore some say shaped as an opened coconut shell. Next to this is the Iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel which has one of the highest infinity pools around the world. Below this hotel is a luxury shopping mall and Casino and a short ride away you would find the Gardens by Bay which includes the man made super-trees which at night puts on a unique light show. Furthermore the Cloud Forest Houses situated within the gardens boasts what used to be the worlds largest indoor waterfall only to be beaten by its own country’s new feature in Singapore Changi Airport. Altogether this place is an outstanding and unique area to visit tailor made for tourism.

Singapore

1st, See the Merlion monument

Just like the Marina Bay area, in my opinion the Merlion Monument is one of the main and cant-miss attraction to see whilst in Singapore. The area surrounding the Merlion which is Singapore’s mascot has some of the best views of the country’s skyscrapers and the famous Marina Bay itself. Although the area has very little restaurants I still believe it is one of the best place to chill and relax for a short while. This makes it as my personal number 1 to see in Singapore as missing this would be like missing the Eiffel tower of Paris or the Big Ben of London, missing the country’s main and fundamental attraction.

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Thanks for reading…

What did you think?

 

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Photos:

Some photos taken from Pixabay

A Year Full of Discoveries 2019

2019 has been a huge year for me travelling. I didn’t go to many places but I did tick off some of my targets on my bucket list. 2019 is the year I finally saw the Northern lights which is a huge tick on my list. It is also a year I have visited 7 new countries and a handful of their regions. I also scuba dived again after a few year absent from the activity. However most importantly 2019 will always be remembered as the year I met many travellers which I could say are friends and travel partners for many years to come. 

Short Circuit, Asean Trip I

Kuala Lumpur, Apr 19First trip of the year and it was a late one. I went for a mini Asian circuit trip and Malaysia was our first stop. To start things off we got straight to hostels, roamed the city on our own and also availed an elephant sanctuary tour.
Siem Reap, Apr 19  This was probably the main focus of this trip, inspired by lonely planet I wanted to see the majestic ancient temples myself. Surprisingly and unplanned I somehow ended up getting to Siem Reap in the middle of a huge celebration(their new year) which we ended up joining in a huge water gun battle with local villagers.
Langkawi, Apr 19  We then went to Langkawi a huge Malaysian island where we went jet skiing and visited a few of their attractions. This time round we were in a hotel to get a little bit of rest.
Koh Lipe, Apr 19 – We then excursed to a smaller Thai island to do some scuba diving. The best experience here was the more than unusual immigration system as you line up on the sand where you will see just a desk under a hut.
Kuala Lumpur, Apr 19 Finally we end up in Kuala Lumpur again where we relax and do our final shopping.

Siem Reap

Oslo Trip

Oslo, May 19 – A long weekend trip with friends which correct to reputation proved to be expensive. It was a lovely city with plenty of attractions.

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Netherlands Trip

Amsterdam, Sep 19 – Its unusual to travel to Amsterdam with your family with its reputation of being a place for adults. However the city wasn’t only for adults and there was plenty to do as a family.
Rotterdam, Sep 19 – After the Amsterdam trip I excursed to Rotterdam by myself which was my first and only solo trip of the year. Rotterdam was small but is proving to be progressing to be a hit for tourism in the future.

Amsterdam

Short Circuit, Asean Trip II

Bagan, Oct 19 – One of the best places ive been due to its openness and freedom this is also the place I met some of the greatest travellers there is.
Yangon, Nov 19 – Just like Bagan Yangon was a beautiful place I have met some great people. The city sprung a few surprises. It was more modern than I thought it would be and it also had some of the friendliest people in any place I have travelled.
Bangkok, Nov 19 – Long overdue visit to the Thai capital. It was meant to be a restful end to my holiday but it proved to be the opposite. The adventures were too great and I ended up visiting many attractions.

Bagan (17)

Iceland

Reykjavik and southern coast, Dec 19 – A 5 day trip to one of the most exciting place I have visited. I finally got tosee the northern lights which is a big tick on my bucket list. Furthermore the country’s mountains, waterfalls and other natural landscapes were just out of this world.

Iceland - Golden Circle (5)

 

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A small circuit around South East Asia II

It is my first trip to Myanmar and because of my shorter holiday leave from work I have opted to base this trip on two of the three main regions in Myanmar and a quick stopover in Bangkok before I go back home.

First stop Bagan (Myanmar)

First stop Bagan and I have come here to see if my perceptions that this region’s archaeological zone would mimic or rival that of Cambodia’s Siem Reap. See how my visit turned out and what I thought of this province.

Second stop Yangon (Myanmar)

Formerly Myanmar’s capital but still a heavy populated bustling city. See what I got up to exploring this city

A quick excursion to Dalla Township (Myanmar)

One of the most questionable excursion. A beautiful simple place but with its problems.

Ending with Bangkok (Thailand)

I planned to go Bangkok as a little rest break from my Myanmar experience. However my plans to rest didn’t go as planned and I started exploring.

Monkeys really do steal!!!

One of the funniest stories of 2019 and I just couldn’t make this up. True to stories heard from other travellers monkeys really do steal.

The night before going on a trip to Mt Popa a place where monkeys have a huge reputation in stealing and attacking tourists, I was trying to plan our journey. I was ignorant to think stories I have heard were just exaggerated and that nothing would ever happen to me I was also trying to convince our new found friend to come with us assuring her nothing would happen and these stories were exaggerated. I even went to the extent of joking I would protect her from any monkeys if needed.

So The next morning we went to Mt Popa and because I thought nothing could ever happen to me, I was in full gear with camera on my hands, jewellery on my body and other valuable out on the open. 5 minutes upon walking to the entrance Karma hit and saw multiple monkeys following me (and only me). Then quiet quickly a monkey jumped on my backpack and managed to grab my eye glasses (the only one for this trip). After this I learnt my belief of exaggerated monkey stories were wrong and I quickly hid my other valuables in my bag and even double zipping it.

I thought my glasses were long gone and that I would spend the rest of my trip partially blind but then the locals managed to get the glasses back, but I did pay them a small fee. Morale of the story, listen to other traveller’s warnings.

Next Trip Myanmar

10 interesting facts about Bagan
Photo from Royaltravelcity.com

 

So its been a short while since my short trip to Cambodia’s Siem Reap, Malaysia’s Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur and the quick touch of Thailand in Koh Lipe.

So where next?

Well I have a quick weekend trip to Amsterdam this September. However I have also decided to pursue a trip to Myanmar also known as Burma this October. Reason being is that I have been persuaded by a friend who is from the country and the fact that Bagan has just been made a UNESCO world heritage site. I am a little sad I wont be able to visit Mandalay and the country’s new capital Naypyitaw  but I guess this could be done on another trip.

I want to visit as much of the country as possible but unfortunately with only a week to venture (due to work) it looks like I will only have time to visit two main regions, Bagan and Yangon. Bagan being highly advised and a must not miss during a stay in Myanmar, whilst Yangon is a huge city which is my entry and exit point, so I decided to have a look around aswell. I have decided to stay in hostels for the simple reason that I meet more people there, then to end the trip I have decided to stay in a more luxurious hotel in order to rest-up and relax.

So what do I expect from this trip?

I expect similarities between Myanmar and  Cambodia. I expect Myanmar to have the more modern temples whilst Cambodia the older more ancient temples, however the lifestyle I envisage (but could be wrong) to be the same. I expect to use unusual modes of transport but food similar to that of Cambodian, Thai and Malaysian cuisines. Visiting here hasn’t really been on my bucket list but just recently after visiting Cambodia it was high up on my list.

Any advice for this trip?

Photo from Irrawady.com