A Travellerspoint blog

June 2009

Singapore, 18 - 21 June 2009

Took the late afternoon boat back from Bintan to the Tanah Merah ferry terminal and then made our way into central Singapore by bus, rapid transport and finally taxi (to find the hotel!). The Robertson Quay hotel (very good rates on the Internet) is very well situated right in the modern Riverside area, which is definitely close to the action! Sensational view from our 10th floor room.

Enjoyed checking out the different traditional pockets of Singapore (Chinatown, Little India, Arab quarter). There's not a lot left and they are surrounded by skyscrapers but it was fun. We picked up a "Best of Singapore Food" pamphlet at the airport Tourist Info which was good reading for the many different food specialities and where to find them. We tried quite a few!

Singapore must have the best variety of food in the world ... and at the best prices. Dishes in the Hawker Centres and Food Courts are mainly between 1 and 3 euros - delicious! We particulalarly liked the Hawkers centres at Maxwell Street (great variety, near Chinatown) and Lau Pa Sat (surroundings, Satay stalls outside). Great murtabaks at Zam Zam in Arab quarter too.

Singapore Sling at Raffles was a disappointment on last evening (27 Singapore Dollars and tasted more like a "mocktail" (= no spirit!)). However, found a Bacardi Mojito evening in Clark's Quay near hotel on way back (10 Singapore Dollars and delicious) - great Latino band and excellent dancers in the local crowd too. The area near the hotel was a real bonus - very lively and picturesque in the evenings - Clark's Quay, Boat Quay, Riverside Point (with good microbrewery) ...

Last day today ... going to check out the Colonial area, sample a microbrew or two, food court for late lunch, make way to airport for late night flight ... ...

Now, in September, I am finally completing this entry!

Although we had checked out of our rooms, we had an hour by the pool and showered and changed there before it was time to head off to Changi airport. The taxi was not expensive to the airport and much easier than the metro (long walk to station + several changes). There's a decent outdoor bar to savour those last Asian moments before the long flight back to Europe ... ... then ... a few weeks on less exotic travels on a tour to visit friends and relatives round France and England and then ... back to work! At least we live and work in the Cote d'Azur, which is not a bad spot!

We could not have hoped for better from our two trips (to South America and Asia/Oz) during sabbatical break from work.

There's a wonderful world out there - its rude not to see it if you get the opportunity!

Robertson Quay Hotel - View from room 2

Robertson Quay Hotel - View from room 2


Chinatown 1

Chinatown 1


Chinatown 2

Chinatown 2


Maxwell Road Hawker Centre

Maxwell Road Hawker Centre


Maxwell Road - Queuing for Hainan Chicken Rice

Maxwell Road - Queuing for Hainan Chicken Rice


Maxwell Road Hawker Centre 1

Maxwell Road Hawker Centre 1


LIttle India 1

LIttle India 1


LIttle India 2

LIttle India 2


LIttle India 3

LIttle India 3


Shophouses 1

Shophouses 1


Shophouses 2

Shophouses 2


Shophouses 3

Shophouses 3


Shophouses 4

Shophouses 4


Singapore River 1

Singapore River 1


Singapore River 2

Singapore River 2


Singapore River 3

Singapore River 3


Singapore River - Clarke's Quay

Singapore River - Clarke's Quay


Temple downtown

Temple downtown


Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays !

Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays !


Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays 2

Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays 2


Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays 3

Boon Tat Street Hawker Centre - Satays 3


Arab Quarter Mosque

Arab Quarter Mosque


Arab Quarter Mosque 2

Arab Quarter Mosque 2


Arab Quarter Sam Sam Resto - Murtabak!

Arab Quarter Sam Sam Resto - Murtabak!


Arab Quarter Sam Sam Resto - Murtabak 2

Arab Quarter Sam Sam Resto - Murtabak 2


Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hotel


Raffles Hotel - Singapore Sling  ... Disappointing

Raffles Hotel - Singapore Sling ... Disappointing


Singapore - washing out to dry

Singapore - washing out to dry


Singapore - washing out to dry 2

Singapore - washing out to dry 2


Singapore River at Night 1

Singapore River at Night 1


Singapore River at Night 2

Singapore River at Night 2


Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 1

Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 1


Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 2

Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 2


Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 3

Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night 3


Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night!

Singapoer River Festival - Mojito Night!


Singapore Cathedral

Singapore Cathedral


Cricket and Colonial District - Howzzat!

Cricket and Colonial District - Howzzat!


Sir Stamford Raffles & Colonial District

Sir Stamford Raffles & Colonial District


Supreme Court Building - Norman Spencer Design

Supreme Court Building - Norman Spencer Design


Singapore's answer to Sydney Opera House?!

Singapore's answer to Sydney Opera House?!


Merlion 5

Merlion 5


Merlion 3

Merlion 3


Robertson Quay Hotel - Pool before flight home!

Robertson Quay Hotel - Pool before flight home!

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Bintan Resort, Indonesia 15 - 18 June 2009

The flight from Perth to Singapore takes the same as from Brisbane to Perth - Five and a half hours!

After the four weeks in Australia we decided to finish our trip off with a week in Singapore to get a final Asian touch. We opted to head out to Bintan Island in Indonesia, for some sun, sand and sea, for the first half of the week and then finish off in Singapore.

Its under an hour's fast ferry ride to Bintan Resorts from the Tanah Merah terminal which is not far from Changi Airport. So, we found one of the hotels from the Fragrance Hotel chain out in Joo Chiat Road and stopped there the night. Its quite an interesting area out there - lots of the classic shophouses and plenty of places to eat.

Incidentally, its worth checking out the Fragrance Hotel and Hotel 81 chains for reasonably priced accommodation in Singapore. There are branches in the centre as well.

We found a decently priced chalet in Nirwana Beach Club on Bintan through Expedia and booked before leaving Oz (around 50 Euros a night). Although you need a visa and enter Indonesia, that's about it! Its really Singapore on Indonesian territory - drinking water in the taps ... ... We enjoyed it a lot there - the chalets were quite OK but not opulent and its great to sit out front and look over the lake, and spot the wildlife (very large monitor lizards, kingfishers, ...). (Chalets are split into two so you have to hope your neighbours are quiet!). The whole Nirwana Gardens complex is large (3 hotels,plus villas, numerous restaurants) and the facilities, pool, restaurants, etc can be used by all guests.

The beach and sea there are lovely.

Prices at the restaurants etc are not giveaway but OK. If you like a beer on your terrace for an apero, think about getting a few at either the Tanah Merah ferry terminal duty free shop or the shop where the boat lands on Bintan. (All drinks prices are the same in Nirwana Resorts (and pricey) and, with 20% service + government taxes added on to menu prices, you can get beers at a third of the price and keep them in the fridge!

Singapore - Joo Chiat Street - Fragance Hotel

Singapore - Joo Chiat Street - Fragance Hotel


Singaore - Joo Chiat Street

Singaore - Joo Chiat Street


Singaore - Joo Chiat Street 2

Singaore - Joo Chiat Street 2


Singaore - Joo Chiat Street 3

Singaore - Joo Chiat Street 3


Bintan - Nirwana Beach Club Chalet

Bintan - Nirwana Beach Club Chalet


Nirwana Beach Club Chalet - View of lake

Nirwana Beach Club Chalet - View of lake


Nirwana Beach Club Chalet - View of lake 2

Nirwana Beach Club Chalet - View of lake 2


Wildlife near chalet - Monitor Lizard!

Wildlife near chalet - Monitor Lizard!


Monitor Lizard checking out Alan

Monitor Lizard checking out Alan


Monitor LIzard - with forked tongue

Monitor LIzard - with forked tongue


Wildlife near chalet - Kingfisher

Wildlife near chalet - Kingfisher


Activities Anyone? - only the beach for us!

Activities Anyone? - only the beach for us!


Beach 2

Beach 2


Beach 3

Beach 3


Beach 4

Beach 4


Beach 5

Beach 5


Beach 6

Beach 6


Sunset at Kalong - Calipso Bar

Sunset at Kalong - Calipso Bar


Sunset at Kalong - Calipso Bar 2

Sunset at Kalong - Calipso Bar 2


Sunset at Kalong - Calipso Bar 3

Sunset at Kalong - Calipso Bar 3

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Perth II, 10 - 14 June 2009

Back after our long weekend to Augusta, we had few days to visit Perth and Fremantle again.

The centre of Perth is quite pleasant but nothing special (compared with the attractions of Fremantle). It's practically all high rise but there seems to be quite a backpackers scene with the pubs offering special backpackers evenings. So, I'm sure you would have a good time staying downtown.

The "must see" attraction is Kings Park. It has a beautiful setting above the city and the Swan River and so has spectacular views. Its also a lovely place to walk around with areas planted with native plants from different habitats in the region and quite a lot of birdlife around.

Our friend took us for Saturday breakfast at a cafe at a delightful spot on the edge of the park. I hd the "Full Monty" breakfast and they had Oeuf Fiorentine (although I am not sure they called it that). Eating breakfasts out with friends seems to be an Australian Institution! ... I suppose its like Sunday Brunch in Europe but we certainly go for the version Oz.

We have to thank our friend for giving us a wonderful séjour in WA. As you can see from a couple of the photos, she enjoys the good things in moderation (a nice drop of Champagne - French certainly, but some of the Oz varieties are very drinkable at a lower price, and of course the Margaret River wines are excellent (although more expensive then (arguably!) equivalent wines in Europe), ... spot the picture of the delicious Emperor Fish she cooked, ... ...).

We did take a drive round some of the lovely suburbs south of Perth along the Swan River - not a bad spot to live if you can afford it. One trip we have left until next time ... out to Rottnest Island ... weather not good enough while we were there. Next time!

So, that's the end of Australia. Having been in exotic Asia for most of this trip we wondered if Australia would turn out to be a bit dull. Certainly NOT. We will have excellent memories.

Thanks to the natural treasures of Australia ... beautiful scenery, exotic wildlife (particularly the parrots), food and drink, lifestyle and ... culture!

But it really was our relatives and friends who made our stay so welcome and special - THANKS. See you soon in the South of France!

Kings Park to downtown Perth and Swan River

Kings Park to downtown Perth and Swan River


Perth - Downtown

Perth - Downtown


Cottesloe house where we stayed

Cottesloe house where we stayed


Wine Connoisseur!

Wine Connoisseur!


Emperor Fish - Delicious!

Emperor Fish - Delicious!


Polly the cat

Polly the cat


Perth - Downtown 2

Perth - Downtown 2


Perth - London Court entrance

Perth - London Court entrance


Perth - Bell Tower

Perth - Bell Tower


Breakfast with Nola near Kings Park

Breakfast with Nola near Kings Park


Perth - Kings Park

Perth - Kings Park


Perth - Kings Park Walk

Perth - Kings Park Walk


Perth - Kings Park to Swan River

Perth - Kings Park to Swan River


Perth - Kings Park - Eucalyptus

Perth - Kings Park - Eucalyptus


Kings Park - Wattle Bird

Kings Park - Wattle Bird


Kings Park - View of downtown Perth

Kings Park - View of downtown Perth

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Augusta, 6 - 9 June 2009

Augusta is about 320 kilometers south of Perth right down the bottom where the west coast meets the southern ocean. Our friend took us down there in the car for a long weekend at her holiday home, and what a delightful spot it is!

One day we did a tour up the coast to Margaret River. Our friend likes good wine and we sampled some very tasty drops on the way round. checked out other taste treats at a cheese outllet and at a pub brewery by a lake, had a lovely lunch at the Lamont winery also by a pretty lake, ran into (nearly literally!) loads of grey kangaroos as dusk approached. A excellent day out and lots of lovely scenery.

At other times, from our friend's balcony we spotted a dolphin down in the river inlet, we had lovely walks up and down the river (with pelicans, blacks swans, a large ray and more dolphins), down river you cross over to walk along the untouched shoreline ... we headed down the coast towards Cape Leeuwin and, just outside Augusta, spotted a number of Humpback Whales just off the coast, we watched a very spectacular sunset at Hamelin Bay (our friend had the foresight to bring a bottle of champagne to sip whilst the sun went down!). And much more ...

A lovely time.

Local Map - Augusta and Margaret River region

Local Map - Augusta and Margaret River region


Augusta - Friend's house

Augusta - Friend's house


View from bacony spotted dolphin in water one day!

View from bacony spotted dolphin in water one day!


Sampling local produce   garden

Sampling local produce + garden


Blackwood River - Augusta  Upstream

Blackwood River - Augusta Upstream


Augusta - Down by Blackwood River

Augusta - Down by Blackwood River


Augusta - Down by Blackwood River   Pelican

Augusta - Down by Blackwood River + Pelican


Augusta - Blackwood River near mouth

Augusta - Blackwood River near mouth


Augusta - Blackwood River near mouth 2

Augusta - Blackwood River near mouth 2


Augusta at Beach

Augusta at Beach


Augusta at Beach 2

Augusta at Beach 2


Augusta at Beach 3

Augusta at Beach 3


Augusta at Beach 4

Augusta at Beach 4


West coast near Leeuwin Point 2

West coast near Leeuwin Point 2


Winter in the Margaret River vignards

Winter in the Margaret River vignards


Margerat river winery

Margerat river winery


Lunch at Lamonts

Lunch at Lamonts


Lunch at Lamonts - View

Lunch at Lamonts - View


Lunch at Lamonts -Delicious!!

Lunch at Lamonts -Delicious!!


Leeuwin Point

Leeuwin Point


West coast near Leeuwin Point

West coast near Leeuwin Point


West coast near Leeuwin Point 3

West coast near Leeuwin Point 3


West coast near Leeuwin Point 4

West coast near Leeuwin Point 4


West coast north of Leeuwin Point

West coast north of Leeuwin Point


Hamelin Bay as the sun goes down

Hamelin Bay as the sun goes down


Hamelin Bay as the sun goes down 2

Hamelin Bay as the sun goes down 2


Hamelin Bay as the sun goes down 3

Hamelin Bay as the sun goes down 3


Hamelin Bay as the sun goes down 4

Hamelin Bay as the sun goes down 4


Hamelin Bay as the sun goes down 5

Hamelin Bay as the sun goes down 5


Hamelin Bay - Champagne - Cheers !!

Hamelin Bay - Champagne - Cheers !!


Local flora - Blackboy

Local flora - Blackboy


Local flora - Blackboys

Local flora - Blackboys


Local flora - Blackboys 2

Local flora - Blackboys 2


Humpback whales off Leeuwin Road

Humpback whales off Leeuwin Road


Humpback whales dorsal fin off Leeuwin Road !

Humpback whales dorsal fin off Leeuwin Road !


Grey Kangaroos at Dusk

Grey Kangaroos at Dusk


Grey Kangaroos at Dusk 2

Grey Kangaroos at Dusk 2


Grey Kangaroo

Grey Kangaroo


Galas - Augusta

Galas - Augusta


Gala - Augusta

Gala - Augusta


Eighteen Parrot

Eighteen Parrot


Another Parrot - Friend's garden Augusta

Another Parrot - Friend's garden Augusta


Black Swans - Blackwood River - Augusta

Black Swans - Blackwood River - Augusta


Black Swan - Blackwood River - Augusta

Black Swan - Blackwood River - Augusta


Ray - Blackwood River - Augusta

Ray - Blackwood River - Augusta


Pelican - Blackwood River - Augusta

Pelican - Blackwood River - Augusta


Pelican - Blackwood River - Augusta 2

Pelican - Blackwood River - Augusta 2

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Perth, 3 - 5 June 2009

Australia is a big country! - its five and a half hours flight from Brisbane to Perth. We stayed in WA with a friend we first met in Bali back in 1988. She has been to stay with us a few times in England and France, and it was about time for us to come and see the places she has talked to us about.

She has a small and pretty house and garden in the very pleasant Perth suburb of Cottesloe. Certainly a good spot to live, nicely placed between Perth and Freemantle, just ten minutes walk down to the sea, popular surfers beach and great to walk along the beach up the coast. It could be a handy spot to stay (if you decide to have a change from the numerous backpackers places in Perth and Fremantle) as there is a backpackers just behind the beach two pubs and various other places to eat and drink at the beach. Altogether, we stayed 10 days in WA - a few days in Cottesloe, a long weekend in Augusta, and then a few days again in Cottesloe before leaving Oz. It was very handy for us to be able to catch the local train one way into Perth or the other way to Frementle. We went into both Perth and Fremantle, but I will leave Perth and photos of there until we come back for Perth II.

Fremantle really is a great place, with loads to see and do. The event that saved it and made it what it is was the Americas Cup - held there back in 1994. Instead of knocking down all the heritage buildings they spruced everything up and they have not looked back since!

You could do as we did: have a look at the old round house, then take in the classic old buildings in the West End area, grab a coffee in the Cappucino strip (and/or a beer in the pub Brewery Sail and Anchor), potter round the Freemantle market (Fri/Sat only), and take an interesting tour round the old Fremantle Prison (closed for business and opened to the public in the early 1990's).

Then its time for serious business down at Fishermen's harbour! There's several fish restaurants round the port and the large Little Creatures pub brewery complex! We would particulerly recommend the Kailis fish restaurant as a great spot by the water, very reasonably priced hot and cold seafood with, say, Semillon Sauvignon wine to help it down. Highly recommended for both eating there and takeaway.

Cottesloe Beach

Cottesloe Beach


View to north of Cottesloe Beach

View to north of Cottesloe Beach


Cottesloe Beach 2

Cottesloe Beach 2


Cottesloe Beach Surfer

Cottesloe Beach Surfer


Cottesloe Beach 4

Cottesloe Beach 4


North of Cottesloe Beach

North of Cottesloe Beach


North of Cottesloe Beach 2

North of Cottesloe Beach 2


Freemantle - West End Architecture

Freemantle - West End Architecture


Freemantle - West End Architecture 2

Freemantle - West End Architecture 2


Freemantle west end towards Roundhouse

Freemantle west end towards Roundhouse


Freemantle Roundhouse

Freemantle Roundhouse


Freemantle Roundhouse 2

Freemantle Roundhouse 2


View from Freemantle Roundhouse

View from Freemantle Roundhouse


Freemantle Prison

Freemantle Prison


Freemantle Prison 2

Freemantle Prison 2


Freemantle Prison 3

Freemantle Prison 3


Freemantle Prison - Picturesque Cell 1

Freemantle Prison - Picturesque Cell 1


Freemantle Prison Yard 2

Freemantle Prison Yard 2


Freemantle Market

Freemantle Market


Freemantle - Cappuchino strip

Freemantle - Cappuchino strip


Freemantle - Fisherman's Harbour

Freemantle - Fisherman's Harbour


Freemantle - Fisherman's Harbour 2

Freemantle - Fisherman's Harbour 2


Freemantle - Fisherman's Harbour 3

Freemantle - Fisherman's Harbour 3


Freemantle - Fisherman's Harbour - Kailis !

Freemantle - Fisherman's Harbour - Kailis !


Fisherman's Harbour - Kailis 2

Fisherman's Harbour - Kailis 2


Fisherman's Harbour - Kailis 2

Fisherman's Harbour - Kailis 2


Fisherman's Harbour - Kailis 4

Fisherman's Harbour - Kailis 4


Fisherman's Harbour - Kailis 5

Fisherman's Harbour - Kailis 5


Fisherman's Harbour - LIttle Creatures Pub/Brewery

Fisherman's Harbour - LIttle Creatures Pub/Brewery


LIttle Creatures Pub/Brewery 2

LIttle Creatures Pub/Brewery 2


LIttle Creatures Pub/Brewery 3

LIttle Creatures Pub/Brewery 3


LIttle Creatures Pub/Brewery 4

LIttle Creatures Pub/Brewery 4

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)