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 United Kingdom
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.
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.
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.
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 United Kingdom
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.
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.
People: The people I travel with, the travellers I meet and the communities I become a part of.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So its evident the Corona Virus COVID19 has affected millions of travel plans across the world and travel confidence is in an all time low with border closures, unstable flight plans and national restrictions placed in every country our planet has for the foreseeable future.
I have to admit my plans have been affected this year and uncertain going into the next. Already two of my plans have been cancelled this year including my huge “30th birthday, round the world in 30 days trip” which I have to say was very disheartening as ive been planning that for over a year. Other plans which are closely coming this year are on hold as nobody knows when borders will reopen, restrictions eased and flights flying.
But hey, were here now and whatever challenges lie ahead for travelling we must cope. As the world seems to be opening up slowely and cautiously I guess I should start planning for my next few years of travel.
Everything is obviously dependant on the matters around us going forward. Least to say if I will have the money, job and enthusiasm to venture out in the world again.
Around the World in 30 Days (Postponed 2022)
So this was the big downer for this year. I have postponed this trip till 2022 (maybe 2023) as I believe there will still be a few uncertainties next year. Furthermore to be able to circuit around the world would mean visiting many different countries across many different continents, so I would like the confidence in travelling to build up again in order to do a project like this.
The initial route of this circuit was to start in the UK (home), Morocco, Spain, Colombia, Los Angeles (USA), Hawaii (USA), Guam, Philippines, Hong Kong, UK (home). Approaching 2022 the route may change.
Morocco (On Hold or 2021)
This trip was supposed to happen for the round the world trip (stated above). However as this tour was booked and is paid for, I can go on this trip whenever. As soon as I can, I will be going on this trip whether this year or next.
I will be with Gadventures taking me around Marrakech, Todra Gouge, Merzouga, Aite Ben Haddou, Aroumd and many more. My target is to do the camel ride and camp out in the middle of the desert, all of which is included in the tour.
Christmas Market Chicago, USA (On Hold)
This year for my Christmas market trip, I thought to go somewhere different than in Europe. With the Christmas markets in Chicago boasting to be one of the best in the country. I thought a visit there would be worthwhile. Still on hold, just waiting for the USA to open its borders hopefully they will by December.
The Philippines (January)
Every year I go back to the Philippines but hopefully visiting other islands I haven’t yet been. I also usually look to touring friends to the country maybe a 2-4 week trip.
Fiji/ Micronesia Tour or Central/ South American Tour (May)
So for this one I still have a huge decision to make. Its either I go to a continent I fell in love with in the Latin Americas or explore a new region in the Oceania area. I believe the decision will be down to what type of trip I want. I think Fiji and Micronesia will have a predominately beach and island life atmosphere whilst the Americas will give me a varied trip including jungles, beach, culture, food and more. Although at this moment I am edging for going tp the Americas I believe to go to a region I haven’t been yet is important and might enlighten my travel perspective. I cant decide yet, to be continued…
Denmark/ Sweden (September)
One of my random summer Euro-trips. This year its back to Scandinavia and to what I believe are my last two in the region I haven’t visited. I have always complained about this region being very expensive but enjoyable. I have met a few of the friendliest travellers from this region and may need to contact and them again.
Christmas Market Poland/ Germany (December)
For Christmas 2021 I go back to Germany but this time I plan to include Poland in the trip. I was suggested to visit the markets in Warsaw or Krakow in Poland and Dortmund, Cologne or Dresden in Germany. The exact trip is to be confirmed. I did believe there is direct trains travelling between the two (as in many European countries) but now know there isn’t, so I may need to drive.
Circuit Around the World Previously Around the World in 30 Days (May)
The cancelled trip in 2020, I hope to revive in 2022 maybe even 2023. However no need to do it in 30 days as it is no longer my 30th birthday so I would probably look to doing this as a 6 week or 2 month stint, depending on my job holiday allowance off course.
My route for the year 2020 trip may need to be changed. Maybe I need to put more of Africa into the trip, Rwanda, South Africa or Kenya would be good to put in this route. I guess its time to plan this.
Christmas Market France or Hungary (December)
Maybe a trip closer-by for the year of 2022. Both countries have spectacular festive markets but I have been told Budapest is nice and the costs are lower.
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 19 – First 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.