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

 

Exploring Local

So it looks like things are slowly starting to open up again here in London and the United Kingdom as a whole after the COVID-19 virus seems to have passed its peak. However travelling abroad still seems a far reach at the moment considering all the extra border formalities including self quarantines and checks. Furthermore peoples confidence in travelling at this moment is low and some may not even want to travel at this moment in time.

For me I want to get out there and start travelling again but I do have to be cautious so I planned to travel and explore in stages in order to confidently get back to normal. This gives me the chance to explore local something that I have been meaning to do but have not been doing as I have always preferred a travel abroad. I have no idea as to how long I will need to go through these stages as I will follow government’s restrictions and advice.  So my personal 5 stages back to normality is like this:

Explore Local

Explore London

Explore England

Explore United Kingdom

Travel Abroad

So at this moment I’m in the Explore Local Stage which I have been doing going around Greenwich the London borough I live in.  I have since updated my write-up on Greenwich, please feel free to check-it out.

https://sunandthreestars.blog/2017/05/17/the-newest-royal-borough/

Im ready to take my first public transport into Central London since the COVID-19 lockdown. and after I shall venture into one of the English country-sides if and when hotels open for overnight stays.

Thanks for reading…

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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

Looking back at my trip to Siem Reap

Just thought to re-share my time in Siem Reap one of the places I most enjoyed. Although its terrible past, it is one of the places that is getting right back on their feet and boasting to the world what they can offer. A majestic place, some of the happiest and friendliest people. Click the link below to read my full blog about my visit.

https://sunandthreestars.blog/2019/06/23/siem-reap/

 

Siem Reap

Bangkok

“The happiest capital in the world”

Type : City Break
Best Date : Nov- Feb
Expense :  Fair
Things to do : Visit Temples, Visit Markets, Dine, Nightlife, Shopping
Points of Interest: The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Siam Paragon, Khao san Rd, Emerald Buddhas, Wat Arun, ect
The Good: A lot to see and do, cheap, full of culture
The Bad: lots of scammers,

Brief

Bangkok or Krungthep (as known to locals) is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. It holds around 8 million inhabitants which is about 10% of the country’s total population. Although it is the government, financial and investment centre of the country  there are calls to move its title as the capital elsewhere due to various problems such as its congestion and floods.

The capital is one of the most famed in South East Asia, a hotspot for tourists which featured in movies such as The Beach, Hangover Part 2, Street Fighter and many more. According to MasterCard the city ranked top destination by foreign visitors in its global destination cities index in 2018.

Grand Palace, Bangkok, Temple, Night, Wat Phra Kaew

The Place

I visited Bangkok on a short 3 day period heading home from Myanmar back to London. Due to my short stay, I didn’t get to visit everything the city had to offer, however the places I did see were remarkable.

Firstly I stayed in a place called Ratchaprarop Rd which is unofficially known as the little India of the city. This area had various different night markets and small malls. It was a little noisy at night and there were a lot of people, however I didn’t experience a great deal of discomfort from my hotel room at Indra Regent Hotel.

Khao San road is one of the most popular place to go and stay for travellers and backpackers in Asia. A haven for hostels, bars and night markets, this road is central for affordable leisure and entertainment.

Tuktuk, Thailand, Motorcycle, Taxi, Go, Tourist

The Grand Palace is the official residence of the Kings. Tourists are allowed to visit the complex with a ticket which is bought online and collected 24 hours before the visit.  The complex is one of the main places to visit as a lot of the significant things to see such as the Emerald Buddhas, The Demon Guardians, The Statue of Cheewok Khomaraphat, Phra Mondop and many more are situated here.

Palace, Bangkok, Thailand, Asia, Architecture, Temple

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew (in thai) is in another complex right beside the Grand Palace and depending on what ticket you purchase, you may only need one to enter both. As the name states the temple is where the Emerald Buddha Statues are situated and these are one of the main attraction to see in Bangkok. Along with the Grand Palace this complex will be a very enjoyable for a full day visit. There is just plenty to see and all the details of artwork and architecture are fascinating.

Another complex to visit is the Wat Pho or Wat Po which is situated south of the Grand Palace. This complex is most notable for the Giant Reclining Buddha however like the Grand Palace there are loads of other attractions to see within its vicinity. I bought my ticket on the day of entry so I do not believe entry is as strict as that of the Grand Palace.

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Malls are very popular in Bangkok and the city is full of them. These places are popular for tourists who want to relax, shop, dine and getaway from the heat of the outdoors. Just some of the malls are Terminal 21 which has an airport interior feel, centralworld probably the most popular for all, the luxury Siam Paragon which has one of the largest aquariums in South East Asia and so much more.

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I also visited the arts and culture centre which is a free gallery showcasing Thailand’s modern arts. The exhibits change frequently and is popular for the more artistic personalities.

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I went to the Damnoen Samnuak Floating Market and the Maeklong Rail Market which are very popular day excursions. I enjoyed and fully recommend the Maeklong Rail Market an active market on top of train tracks which is especially exciting when a train actually passes (I believe only twice a day). The market sells actual food products which cater to locals and not just tourists so you can feel the culture and normality of life. However I was disappointed with the Damnoen Samnuak Floating Market as this was made especially for tourism, everything sold were souvenirs and not actual products catering to locals, furthermore I may be wrong but I believe 100% of people there were tourists. So I did not feel true culture there. But nonetheless altogether it was a good day out especially the active rail market.

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Conclusion

In conclusion Bangkok is a tourist haven, from its markets to its temples, its malls, nightlife, shrines and many other places in the capital.  Although the city alone has plenty to offer, there are  many very popular day excursions just outside its perimiter. I didn’t get to see all the city has to offer due to my short stay but even though, I have to say my visit was successful and enjoyable.

I believe 5 days to a week is a good duration to stay in the city, there is plenty to see and do. It is cheap so an even longer stay wouldn’t hurt your budget. The only negative aspect of the city I experience were locals trying to trick tourists into extorting more money, expensive tuk-tuk rides are a thing to lookout for, I advise to use the Grab taxi a set price booked with your phone. Nonetheless altogether Bangkok is a beautiful place with some of the most friendliest people in the world.

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Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangkok#Calls_to_move_the_capital

Photo:

3 photos have been taken from Pixabay