singapore & malaysia

June 2016

This is what happens when we unintentionally subscribe to a travel website’s mailing list and receive weekly flight promotions and accommodation deals. Yes, spontaneity at its finest! AND BOY WAS IT WORTH IT.

We began our ten day adventure in Singapore for four nights where we stayed at Oasia Novena Hotel. The hotel was fantastic and the staff hand-fed us with a ready-to-use travel card which allowed us to hop on and off the train whenever we pleased. This made it super easy to make our way around the city! We went on one tour in Singapore which included a trip to Singapore Zoo and eating a buffet breakfast in the company of orangutans, which was definitely something new and exciting! We also did a lot of shopping, much to Bryson’s despair and found that the best place to go was Orchard Road which beamed with an abundance of shops!

While we were travelling in Singapore the exchange rate was practically dollar for dollar – which made it easy to convert Singapore currency to Australian and vice versa, however didn’t make shopping too different. However, the price of food did differ and I would highly recommend finding a Food Republic to grab a quick meal at. They are not only easy to find, but offer a reasonably priced variety of cuisines to enjoy ranging from Indian, Chinese and Thai to good old Western if you’re feeling a bit homesick!

Another must-do/see in Singapore would definitely be Marina Bay where you will find museums, the Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay and more shopping, of course! The Singapore Flyer is a giant Ferris wheel standing 165m high and taking around thirty minutes to complete a full revolution. Another great way to spend a night-out would be to venture through Gardens by the Bay – a fantastic series of heritage gardens that are right by the water and put on quite a beautiful light show performance.

We finished off our time #onvacasian (yes, that was our poor attempt at creating a hashtag including a pun – we’re sorry) in Malaysia. The AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort was beautiful beyond words. Known as the ‘palm tree resort’ for its spectacular design, the bungalows are positioned off an almost 500m long boardwalk imitating the trunk of a palm tree with its ‘branches and leaves’ accommodating guests. The only downfall of the resort is just how secluded it is. AVANI is a ninety-minute drive from the heart of Kuala Lumpur city which proves difficult during a lengthy stay where you are interested in seeing more of the city. However, don’t worry too much – the resort has thought about all of this!

There are three shuttle services from the resort either to a small village market area down the road or to the two main shopping centres further toward Kuala Lumpur: Sunway Pyramid, which has a water theme park attached to it about ninety minutes away and Mitsui, a much smaller shopping centre, only forty-five minutes away. NOW LADIES – if shopping is your thang, Sunway Pyramid is an absolute MUST. We spent a solid five hours there (again, Bryson loved this!) and I’m still unsure if we made it through the entire place. The food in Malaysia is incredible and we highly recommend trying a bit of everything. The currency exchange proves to be about AU$1 to MYR$3 (Malaysian Ringgit), which, needless to say, made me more than happy!

As AVANI is so secluded, we spent a few of our days relaxing by the infinity pool and making the most of the free water activities, such as paddle boarding and kayaking, provided at Smiley Beach. The resort has plenty of restaurants and bars offering a range of food to choose from each night and also includes a buffet breakfast within your accommodation package which is incredibly helpful considering food and other shops aren’t close by. We also organised a Batu Caves Tour in Malaysia prior to departing Sydney which cost AU$22 and included a visit to the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre and Pewter Factory + a short trip to a Batik painting centre. After those two stops, we completed the tour at the Batu Caves where we were meant to climb the 272 steps to the summit to reach the Hindu temple. Yes, ‘meant to’…now that’s a story and a half. After spending almost four times the amount of money the tour cost purely on travelling to get to the tour pick-up area (due to AVANI being too far away), we finally made it to the Batu Caves when we were told the temple had been closed. Long story short, we missed out on climbing the stairs because they were either cleaning the temple, it didn’t open for another three hours OR the previous group of people who climbed the stairs successfully trapped themselves in the caves – well at least they were the three different stories we were told after asking several people.

Overall, our holiday was the perfect mix of crazy, relaxing, fun and eventful that allowed us to not only enjoy each other’s company, but learn so much about both places and the people. Singapore offered a small glimpse of a business-focused, high-rise, concrete jungle sprinkled with bits and pieces of nature to create beautiful scenery amid an entire city that could pass as Sydney CBD alone. Unlike the filtering of residents within Singapore from their comfortable village life into high-rise apartments, Malaysia – also being a lot bigger – combined both worlds into one: villages, plantations, farms, stray animals and markets + major shopping centres, theme parks, five-star resorts and luxury cars. But one thing that both places went above and beyond to provide was 80% humidity, overcast days and beautiful sunsets.

Check out some of the fun from our adventure below 🙂

Singapore & Malaysia 2016 from Jess Shipton on Vimeo.