A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore

sunny 32 °C
View Charlotte and Stephen's Adventure! on charlotter45's travel map.

Here's a summary of our 3 days in Singapore:

Day 1:

We got up early and headed over to check out the Marina Bay Sands hotel which is three towers connected at the top by an infinity pool and an observation deck. We didn't pay to go up to the deck, but probably would have done if it meant you could go in the pool- unfortunately this was for hotel guests only :(

SAM_0393.jpg
Marina Bay Sands Hotel

We then got the most pointless metro journey ever (bit of a mistake - it would have only taken us 5 mins to walk!) over to the famous Merlion statue which was surrounded by people taking their picture with it, so obviously we did the same!

SAM_0405.jpg
Merlion

Money-wise, the rest of the day went a bit badly! We had a posh lunch at a lovely Italian restaurant on Boat Quay, went to Raffles Long Bar to have a Singapore Sling (I didn't have the 'original' one though because I don't like gin!) and then headed off to the Night Zoo. All of this was very nice, but it did mean we went sliiightly over budget!

SAM_0419.jpg
Our Singapore Slings

There was a fire-eating show at the night zoo and coincidently both me and Stephen were chosen to be a part of it (great!). Luckily, all I had to do was put on a silly hat and try and blow a sharp stick out of a pipe at a balloon between a man's legs (!). Stephen got the short straw and had to dance around topless trying to blow out sticks of fire and doing zulu-esque chants. I have a video for anyone who would like to view this on our return!

Day 2:

Our morning activity for our second day was to get the cable car over to Sentosa Island and chill on the beach. Stephen was a bit disappointed that they only let you swim up to 5m away from the shore.

SAM_0455.jpg
Cable Car

After a lunch that mainly consisted of delicious breads, we got the metro to Haw Par Villa. This is a very odd place that Stephen found mentioned on someone's blog as a 'must see' in Singapore because of it's strangeness. Basically, some rich men decided to buy/make lots of Chinese statues to make a 'themepark', but they were all so weird! Here is an example:

SAM_0477.jpg
'Filthy blood pool' - one of the 10 courts of hell in Chinese mythology

Our evening plan had been to go on the hostel arranged food walk of Singapore - the only reason we wanted to stay at that hostel - but it was cancelled due to the guide being ill! Boo! So we decided to go to Chinatown for cheap Tiger Beer and then Clark Quay for dinner and to people watch on the bridge there (something that all the locals do, recommended to us by a girl who works in the hostel).

SAM_0436.jpg
Chinatown

Day 3:

We didn't do anything too interesting today. We checked out of our hostel in the morning, left our bags and made our way to the beach down the road and spent a nice morning there. In the afternoon we went to Orchard Road, which is just full of shopping centres. I found a Cold Stone (my new favourite ice cream!) and bought a new t-shirt, and that was that really.

SAM_0532.jpg
Beach

SAM_0542.jpg
Cold Stone

For dinner we went to a hawker centre (cheap food court place) and have chicken satay and some indian pizza thing washed down with a couple of Tiger beers. It was then time to go back to the hostel to get our backs and head to the train station for our overnight train to Kuala Lumpur. The train was nice enough but there ride was so noisy and jolty, so we had no sleep! We are now chilling in the courtyard of our hostel, which seems lovely, looking foward to exploring KL :)

SAM_0550.jpg
Sleeper train to KL

Posted by charlotter45 19:59 Archived in Singapore Tagged food beach train zoo hostel cable_car Comments (4)

From the earth to the sky

Dubai day trip and our arrival in Singapore

sunny 25 °C
View Charlotte and Stephen's Adventure! on charlotter45's travel map.

SAM_0301.jpg
At the bottom of Burj Khalifa 'At The Top' experience

Yesterday we spent our final day in the UAE visiting Dubai. We set off from the villa at 7am and arrived in Dubai at 11:30am (doing it the cheap way and taking the bus definitely has its downfalls!). Our first stop was Dubai Museum, which was much more interesting than I thought it would be. Surprisingly Dubai does have more history than just the last half century! There wasn't anything that photo worthy here though, so no pictures I'm afraid!

Next, we took the new Dubai metro over to the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall. The metro is fantastic, it's clean, fast and the stations are very modern and stylish. You can get a reloadable plastic card (like an Oyster card in London) if you're going to be using it often or a paper ticket if you just buy a single journey or a few trips (this still works the same way on the barriers though)

Dubai Mall is amazing! It's so big and there's so much to do there other than shop (although we did only have time to shop) There's loads of cool stuff like big fountains, an aquarium and the biggest food court you've ever seen!

SAM_0337.jpg SAM_0357.jpg

The selection of shops is huge and they even had a Waitrose! There was a Hello Kitty shop and a massive sweet shop with every flavour Jelly Belly and M&M imaginable!

SAM_0345.jpg SAM_0346.jpg
Special pork section in Waitrose - very hard to get in Dubai!

SAM_0294.jpg SAM_0343.jpg

The mall also had some pretty amusing things, like a gold ATM, where you could buy little bars of gold, and this button by the lift that was very tempting!

SAM_0333.jpg SAM_0295.jpg

After some shopping for some much needed new flip flops that wouldn't blister my feet, it was our ticketed time to go up to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa. This is the tallest building in the world and just looking up at it is dizzying!

SAM_0347.jpg SAM_0363.jpg
Burj Khalifa by day and by night

The building has around 200 floors and the observation deck is on the 124th. The lift goes up at a speed of 10 metres per second and it took only 50 seconds to get to the deck. When we got there the view was incredible! Luckily the sandstorm had completely gone so we could see a long way, but it looked like another one was gathering over towards Abu Dhabi - you could see a strip is brown haze between the blue of the sky and the ground. Here are some pictures we took from the top:

SAM_0316.jpg SAM_0323.jpg
SAM_0332.jpg SAM_0368.jpg

When we got down we looked for somewhere to eat. We decided we wanted Italian as we'd be eating noodles and curries for the next 3 months, so settled on Carluccio’s (not very exotic I know!). The restaurant looked out over the Dubai fountains so we got to see three fountain shows while we were there, one whilst it was still light, one at sunset and one when it was dark – perfect! It’s the largest fountain show in the world apparently - as everything in Dubai seems to have to be the largest or biggest something! Unfortunately, this site won't let me upload videos at the moment so I can't add my video of one of the fountain shows, but I will maybe try another time :)

SAM_0349.jpg
The view from our table at Carluccio's

Today we took to the skies again, and arrived in Singapore in the evening. It was a short journey on the MRT (Singapore's underground/metro system) to the stop nearest our hostel, then a 15 minute walk. The hostel is OK - fairly clean, though not many toilets, crap air con and I seem to be the only girl staying here! But oh well, I'm sure it will be just fine! We're are just about to get planning our 3 days here as there's a lot to
and not much time!

Hopefully I’ll still be able to keep this blog up now that we’ll be properly travelling around every few days – I’m sure I’ll do at least one entry for each place anyway!

Posted by charlotter45 07:45 Archived in United Arab Emirates Tagged trains travel airport mall Comments (4)

Fantasy house hunting in Abu Dhabi

Saadiyat Villas and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

sunny 30 °C
View Charlotte and Stephen's Adventure! on charlotter45's travel map.

Yesterday, Neil and Caz took us to look around the show villas on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. I didn't know houses could be that nice and that big! They even had lifts and whole wings for the maids to live! Here are some pictures...

SAM_0211.jpgSAM_0213.jpg

SAM_0214.jpg SAM_0215.jpg

SAM_0216.jpgSAM_0217.jpg

SAM_0219.jpgSAM_0220.jpg

All these pictures are of the same house, and these cover about a quarter of all the rooms in the house!

Today, Stephen and I went on a tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This place is incredible! It's so big and so beautiful that I can't even do it justice by describing it - so again, here are some pictures...

SAM_0236.jpg SAM_0247.jpgSAM_0249.jpg SAM_0275.jpg

It was obligatory for women to wear an abaya and headscarf inside the mosque, so here's an amusing picture of me in mine:

SAM_0266.jpg

After all these touristy activities it was time to stop for a delicious thirst-quenching drink of 'pocari sweat' (?!)

SAM_0281.jpg

It was actually pretty nice, but Stephen didn't like it at all - it was a bit salty! Oh, and the sandstorm has now cleared (hooray!) just in time for our trip up the Burj Khalifa in Dubai tomorrow.

Posted by charlotter45 04:56 Archived in United Arab Emirates Tagged mosque sun villa tour Comments (0)

Desert Safari and Aquaventure

30 °C
View Charlotte and Stephen's Adventure! on charlotter45's travel map.

The past couple of days have been packed with activities so I'll try and be fairly brief for each one!

On Thursday we just hung around the house in the morning, relaxing by the pool etc. In the afternoon we went on a desert safari - which was pretty fun, although slightly disappointing. Luckily, Neil had a voucher for 2 for 1, so least we hadn't paid full price! We got picked up from a shopping centre near Neil's house, then went on to pick another group up from a hotel. After that we drove for about an hour and ended up in the middle of the desert at a camp. There were camels and horses which you could ride for a bit, but we passed on that, then we got taken out onto the dunes in a 4x4 for 20 minutes of dune bashing, which was terrifying but really fun!

SAM_0164.jpg SAM_0162.jpg
In the desert after dune bashing

We then sat around for a bit, I got some henna done on my hand, then there was a very brief falcon 'show', followed by a poor rabbit being chased by a dog! More sitting around, then it was time for dinner which was actually pretty nice, all traditional middle eastern food, which we ate on cushions and tables on the floor around that camp. After dinner nothing much happened so our group decided it was time to get our lift back.

SAM_0175.jpg SAM_0168.jpg
Dinner and having henna done

When we got back home we piled into the car with Neil, Caz, Alice and Josh and joined them for dinner and shisha at Stars N Bars (a sports bar) on Yas Island. There were some absolutely stunning yachts (basically mini cruise ships!) docked in the marina outside the Yas hotel.

DSC_0034.jpg16022012069.jpg
In front of the Yas hotel and my future yacht (I wish!)

On Friday we woke up to a sandstorm, which has continued into today, so it was very windy with sand blowing around everywhere. You couldn't see very far into the distance at all, it was very hazy and dusty. Despite the weather, it was Alice and Josh's last day so we were off to the Aquaventure waterpark at the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm in Dubai. Although it was windy it wasn't very cold (as it was 30 degrees!) so we had a fun day. No one braved the Leap of Faith slide though, which was a vertical drop into a shark viewing tank! Although we did go on the slower slide that also took you through the aquarium.

DSCN0305.jpgDSCN0327.jpg
Having fun at Aquaventure

Neil picked us up from Aquaventure in the evening and took us to the spice souk, then on a small boat across Dubai creek over to the gold souk.

SAM_0176.jpg
Boats over Dubai creek

Both the souks were pretty interesting and Neil took us down some back alleys and little markets to get a feel for 'real Dubai' (which turns out is mainly based around Indian culture due to the amount of Indians that live there!). We also let a man take us up to his fake handbag shop which was down a little alley, up some stairs and through a doorway where a doorbell had to be rung. It took a while for them to open the door, but we realised once we were inside it was because they were watching on CCTV to decide whether or not to let you in!

SAM_0192.jpg
At the gold souk

So, that was our activity-packed few days - more relaxing now please!

Posted by charlotter45 06:50 Archived in United Arab Emirates Tagged animals night boats markets desert waterpark Comments (0)

Relaxing in Abu Dhabi

sunny 25 °C
View Charlotte and Stephen's Adventure! on charlotter45's travel map.

So we arrived safely in Dubai yesterday morning, got a taxi to the bus station and a bus into Abu Dhabi, where Neil met us to drive us to his house. It's a lovely villa with a pool, so we spent the rest of the day chilling outside.

SAM_0131.jpg
Neil and Caz's pool

During the afternoon Neil put up some Valentine's Day decorations and cooked us a BBQ for dinner - complete with paper cups and plates decorated with hearts! Aww!

SAM_0125.jpg
Valentine's BBQ

Neil took us all (Stephen, Alice (my cousin), Josh (Alice's boyfriend) and I) for a drive around the sights of Abu Dhabi - Yas Island (Ferrari World and the F1 race course) around the city and along the beach front. We stopped at the beach and had the most delicious ice cream - Vanilla Latte and Cake Batter (!) flavours mixed together with caramel sauce! Unfortunately I didn't get a picture, but the guy serving us did loads of tricks with the ice cream and his spoon, he did drop a scoop on the floor in the process though!

Today we got the bus into the city and walked from the bus station to the beach (something that is not often done apparently as the pavements are a bit hit and miss!), passing some pretty cool statues on the way.

SAM_0133.jpg
Cannon statue

The bus and the walk took longer than expected so we didn't get to the beach until 3pm, so we just had some lunch and in a nice cafe, spent an hour on the beach then made our way back home, where a chinese takeaway was waiting for us. Yum yum!

SAM_0143.jpg SAM_0146.jpg
Beach cafe and sunbathing

Tomorrow we're just going to hang round the pool in the morning, then we're going on a desert safari in the afternoon/evening.

Posted by charlotter45 11:44 Archived in United Arab Emirates Tagged beaches pool Comments (3)

(Entries 31 - 35 of 38) « Page .. 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 »