Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! I hope all the moms in our community had a lovely Mother’s Day last weekend. I took a bike ride to the beach and didn’t have to cook a meal. 😊
I’m excited to switch gears this week and offer you travel inspiration from the other side of the globe. Did you know that both Singapore and Indonesia have just relaxed their entry protocols? I’m working on a trip for a family of four this summer that will be truly epic and unforgettable. If these destinations are on your travel bucket list, you’re going to be very interested to read about some of the cool and unique experiences you can have on your trip.
For highlights of Singapore and Bali, read on for the scoop!
Singapore In A Day
A city that’s constantly evolving, Singapore is a melting pot of European and Asian influences where 19th-century colonial mansions stand alongside colorful Chinese shophouses and bustling historical temples and shrines. A rich tapestry of contemporary and traditional arts and culture, the cosmopolitan island-state offers a dynamic street food scene, beautifully landscaped gardens, and a lively harbor front.
Begin with a stroll through the Singapore Botanic Gardens where you can admire over 60,000 orchid plants in the National Orchid Garden. Then head over to Chinatown to discover Peranakan culture in the traditional turn-of-the-century shophouses and incense-filled temples.
Hop on a bumboat for a 30-minute ride with other passengers, passing through centuries of history along the Singapore River, including godown warehouses, heritage shopfronts, six bridges built by the British, and old colonial buildings set against a backdrop of towering skyscrapers.
Visit Merlion Park where Singapore’s iconic statue of a creature that is part lion and part fish stands proudly overlooking Marina Bay. Then wander through the lively streets of Little India, lined with shops selling spices, snacks, saris, jewelry, and other interesting trinkets.
After lunch at leisure, your captivating experience of this magnificent city continues with a visit to explore Singapore’s charming old neighborhoods to uncover a rich and dynamic culture and multi-ethnic heritage. Experience Malay lifestyle and culture in trendy Kampong Glam, a Malay-Muslim community steeped in tradition.
Pass by the Masjid Sultan Mosque and take a stroll down Haji Lane with its rows of colorful shophouses selling Persian carpets, kebaya dresses, and handmade perfumes. Soak up the lively, open-air street market vibe at Bugis Village where young entrepreneurs sell a variety of items sourced from across Asia. Then hop on a trishaw for a fun ride through the narrow streets of Singapore.
Singapore From Above & By Night
See Singapore from new heights with a ride on the Singapore Flyer, the world’s largest observation wheel. Reaching a height of 165 meters (542 feet), the giant wheel offers panoramic views of Marina Bay and beyond. Look out for Singapore’s iconic landmarks such as the Singapore River, Raffles Place, and Merlion Park as you take the 35-minute ride in a capsule shared with other passengers.
Back on the ground, head over to Gardens by the Bay, a beautifully landscaped park with a series of waterfront gardens. Visit the Flower Dome, the world’s largest glass greenhouse which showcases an ever-changing display of flowers and plants from the Mediterranean and semi-arid regions. Then venture into Cloud Forest, a mysterious world filled with diverse vegetation and rare floral gems.
At night, experience Singapore’s night safari, a fascinating jungle world that comes to life after dark. Ride an open-air tram to explore the mysterious and dynamic life of Malayan tigers, Asian elephants, and other nocturnal animals. With subtle moon-glow lighting, the safari reveals how fierce predators and timid forest dwellers live side by side in a vast, secondary forest with a large reservoir. The various habitats are designed to replicate real-world ecosystems, from the foothills of the Himalayas to the rainforests of Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. After the tram ride, take a guided walk along a walking trail for a closer look at some of the animals.
One of Indonesia’s most captivating islands, Bali has inspired artists and spiritual-seekers for centuries with its layers of artistic and cultural heritage. Generations of painters, musicians, wood carvers, dancers, and weavers have found their home among the island’s dream-like landscapes filled with stunning rice terraces and sacred hot springs backed by evergreen forests, volcanoes, lakes, and beaches.
Discover sacred Hindu rituals and archaeological sites in East Bali, including a legendary cave, rock-cut shrines, and a holy water spring. Visit Goa Gajah, the Elephant Cave, in Bedulu village which was the center of the Pejeng Kingdom in the 10th to 13th centuries. Set amid green rice paddies near the Elephant River, this important Hindu site was immortalized in a Javanese poem written by Desawarnana in 1365 and features a collection of ancient relics and bathing pools. Walk down the stairs at the back of the temple to discover Yeh Pulu, an old temple with extensive and elaborate wall carvings.
Continue to Gunung Kawi in the town of Tampak Siring. The 11th-century temple features 10 candis (shrines) carved into the rock face that are dedicated to King Anak Wungsu and his favorite queens. Walk down over 300 steps to reach the temple, passing lush jungles and rice terraces. Then experience a Balinese cleansing ritual at Tirta Empul where a Hindu priest offers a blessing, and you can bathe in the holy water pools.
Next, head to South Bali where beautiful white sand beaches, intrepid ocean adventures, and mouthwatering Balinese seafood await. En route, enjoy a scenic drive to Mount Batur, the island’s most active volcano. The volcano first erupted in 1804 and has been active ever since. The large crater lake inside the volcano offers scenic views and is also considered a good source of fish.
Visit Tanah Lot, a 15th-century temple on Bali’s western coast. Perched on a large offshore rock shaped over millions of years by the ebb and flow of the Indian Ocean, the temple was built by local fishermen as one of seven sea temples that are believed to protect the island from evil. Over the centuries, Tanah Lot has become a key feature in Balinese mythology and has become one of the island’s most revered and celebrated landmarks.
In the evening, experience dining in Royal Tugudom style. Step back in time to the 14th century Majapahit Kingdom, when kings were accompanied by an entourage and enjoyed lavish feasts and nights of endless merriment. Take your seat as a royal guest and watch the entertaining performance of villagers and soldiers in brightly-colored costumes.
Islands, Snorkeling, and Sailing
Today you’ll sail over to the islands of Lembongan, Penida, and/or Ceningan, an approximate 55 – 65 minutes away from the mainland on a sailing cat. You will enjoy complimentary snacks, tropical fruits, and an array of complimentary chilled beverages as you relax onboard listening to ambient music whilst enjoying the spectacular scenery and if you are lucky, some dolphin spotting.
You can snorkel in stunning bays with crystal clear waters, make use of SUP Boards paddling past beautiful cliff ranges, do some fun line fishing, or loll about on an inflatable pontoon raft.
After cruising, snorkeling, fishing, and swimming you may either enjoy a light lunch on board and/or could be transported to lunch onshore. The on-shore lunch option is very popular as it gives some island and beach time and adds to the day’s experience.
Following lunch, you can take another swim, snorkel, or simply discover the island’s beaches and surrounding waters. There’s nothing like a day on the water!
Inspired? If you’re thinking about a bucket list trip to Singapore or Bali, here’s the link to schedule a chat with me www.hiddengemtravelconsulting.com/contact
Wishing you and your family continued good health,