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An urban wonderland, there’s nothing quite like exploring the vibrant streets of Hong Kong. Located beside southeastern China, this place is an intriguing blend of Chinese and British culture with a unique Hongkonger vibe.

When you’re staying in Hong Kong, the Central business district is a prime location. On my recent trip there, I stayed in the heart of it all at The Landmark MO.

Here’s what it’s like staying at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong.

The Hotel

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong offers 111 guestrooms on 15 floors in a five-star property near the waterfront.

One of the prime features of The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is its location. In the heart of the Central neighborhood, it’s easy to hop on the metro from the hotel and get anywhere in Hong Kong.

Rooms at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental

There’s a beautiful range of room options here. The L600 Deluxe offers a separate living room area and a spa-like bathroom. While if you’re looking for a larger space, the L600 Premier and L600 Executive are lovely upgrades.

The L900 Landmark Suite is a glam one-bedroom suite, while the Apartment Suite is a VIP option. Having a shindig in Hong Kong? The Entertainment Suite was made for swanky get-togethers.

I actually had the chance to experience two rooms. When I first checked in, I was in the L600 Deluxe, which had a boutique-hotel feel. It was easily one of the most strikingly designed luxury rooms I’ve ever stayed in, and I was obsessed with the macaroon fridge! 

During my stay, I was upgraded to the Apartment Suite. Like the L600 Deluxe, the suite featured a deluxe seven-foot round bath with a rainforest shower. 

At 1,184 square feet, the Apartment Suite is a major upgrade in terms of size. However, even at 603 square feet, the L600 Deluxe felt cozy rather than cramped thanks to its sleek design.

One thoughtful touch that the hotel provided for in both rooms was the nightly gift. Every evening, you receive a turndown service, and they leave a little surprise on the pillow.

One evening I received a food spray, while on another night I got a facial sheet mask.

Food at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental

OMG, the food. The Landmark Mandarin Oriental features a two-star Michelin-rated restaurant, Amber.

I tried their four-course degustation lunch, and it was absolutely delicious. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, I couldn’t recommend eating at Amber enough!

Amber has a classic French menu with options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For late night cocktails, there’s the PDT (Please Don’t Tell) New York cocktail bar.  

For all-day dining and after dinner drinks, there’s also the swanky MO Bar on site.

Sustainability at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental

You don’t often hear much about green living at luxury hotels, so it was a breath of fresh air to hear about The Landmark Mandarin Oriental’s efforts toward sustainability. They’re on a mission to reduce waste and go plastic-free.

They have moved from plastic to bamboo straws. They filter their own water throughout the entire hotel and they serve it in reusable glass bottles available in all guest rooms and suites. To make matters greener, PDT and MO were constructed using reconditioned and recyclable materials.

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is well-known for its wellness programs and integrating sustainable efforts as a seamless part of the guest experience. They’re always working with local charity initiatives to make the hotel greener, so expect more changes soon. 

Activities at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental

In the middle of the Central district, there’s a whole world at the doorstep here. The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is located on Queen’s Road Central, which is one of the city’s most historic and happening streets.

When you need a retail fix, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is actually connected to the best shopping in the city at the Landmark. For culture vultures, there are galleries galore and, if you’re lucky enough to be there in March, don’t miss one of the world’s biggest art fairs at Art Basel.

Ready to get out of town? Hongkongers flock to Peak and Dragon’s Back to get back to nature and hike up to stunning views.

Spa at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental

After a long day out pounding the pavement, head to The Oriental Spa at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental. They offer a full spa menu and a range of signature treatments.

Like the rest of the hotel, The Oriental Spa is committed to sustainability. They use the plant-based WonderBalm products, which feature 100-percent biodegradable packaging.

My Opinion of The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Love, love, love!

The customer service at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong was beyond five-star. It was truly one of the best luxury-hotel experiences I’ve ever had, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

More Information
  • Hotel: Landmark Mandarin Oriental
  • Location: Hong Kong
  • Accommodation: Luxury
  • Price Range: $$$-$$$$
Shop My Style Essentials for Hong Kong!

Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you make a purchase. That income goes to supporting this website and keeping it free for you and everyone else! As always, ideas and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own Read Next: 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit China

Thanks to The Landmark Mandarin Oriental for hosting me during my stay. As always, thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

The post Staying at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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After exploring some of the best places to scuba dive around the world, I was ready to take things to the next (sea) level. Loving the ocean as much as I do, I dove at the chance to do my first-ever diving liveaboard in Indonesia!

I’ve always loved Southeast Asia, and this was a fantastic opportunity to dive and visit so many gorgeous islands throughout Raja Ampat and across the Banda Sea.

I spent 12 magical days onboard the Samambaia Liveaboard that I booked through LiveAboard.com and completed a whopping 28 dives! If you love diving, this is one must-have travel experience.

Ready to dive in? Here’s what to expect on a diving liveaboard trip.

What to Expect on a Liveaboard Experience Level

My trip on Samambaia required that divers have Open Water certification and recommended a minimum of 30 dives, however the program and the dive sites were accommodating to all levels, so it was really a one-size-fits-all trip.

Whatever your level is, there are liveaboard options out there for you. In my opinion, shorter cruises are perfect for those just getting started.

For a longer trip, you can maximize your experience by having a PADI Advanced Open Water certification, as well as a Nitrox certification.

Dive Schedule

Most diving liveaboards feature two-to-four dives per day, including one nighttime dive. The schedule will largely depend on the travel time between dive sites, and if you have to do long hauls between islands or ports. To cover the travel time to more far-flung locations, sometimes the ship skips a night dive. But every dive site is a different experience so there’s always something new to look forward to.

As we arrived at each dive site and before diving in, our guides provided an update on the conditions (current, water temperature, etc.), informed us of the type of dive it would be, and what to expect under the surface.

In my experience, the downtime between dives was essential.

Not only did it give me a chance to recuperate, but I also got a chance to log my dives in detail. Like an old-school explorer, I spent my time looking up all of the sea critters I encountered while diving and kept a journal about each dive (because after about 10 dives, they start to blend together!).

Sample Schedule

Wondering what to expect on a liveaboard trip? Here’s a typical schedule based on my experience:

7am: Wake up call!
8am: Dive #1
Breakfast Break
11am: Dive #2
Lunch
3pm: Dive #3
4:30pm: Snack Time
6:30pm: Night Dive #4
8:30pm: Dinner

Of course, this is just a sample of what your day could look like. Everything is optional, and dive times move around, so it allows you to make the trip your own.

Most days, four dives were a bit too much for me, but other divers did every single dive. It’s a personal preference!

Food on a Diving Liveaboard

Dining options vary depending on the LiveAboard option you choose (and where you are in the world!), so it’s something to consider when you’re booking. The cuisine and alcoholic drinks onboard vary, as well as the costs.

On my liveaboard, we were able to order breakfast before the first dive and then came back to a hot plate waiting for us. There was a good selection of baked goods, eggs, “Mie Goreng” noodles, “Nasi Goreng” fried rice, toast, pancakes, yogurt, cereal and fruit —and, of course, coffee and tea.

Most liveaboards will be able to work with dietary restrictions, but be sure to ask before booking, especially if you have a severe allergy or strict diet.

Every day we were served up a different two or three course lunch and dinner. Since it was such an active trip, there was always a selection of hearty dishes. My trip included non-alcoholic drinks and beer in the cost of the booking, but I know there are some liveaboards out there that have an all-inclusive alcohol option as well! Find one that suits your needs.

Equipment on a Diving Liveaboard Trip

Most liveaboards will have all of the scuba equipment that you’ll need available for rent. However, the gear adds up quickly, and I found that if you plan to rent diving gear a few times over the same year, it would actually be same cost as purchasing your very own gear.

Of course, it’s not always possible to pack everything, especially if your liveaboard is part of a bigger trip, but I would recommend bringing at least a few of these basics:

  • Mask
  • Wetsuit and/or Neoprene Hoodie
  • Dive Computer
  • Underwater Camera (or GoPro)
  • Booties or Neoprene Socks

Free Time on a Liveaboard

I saw my trip as a chance to disconnect! We spent most of our time in remote parts of Raja Ampat and were offline nine out of the 12 days.

I loved having an excuse to go off-the-grid, but it’s something you’ll want to consider when you’re booking. Some LiveAboard routes, especially in less remote areas, offer internet, so that’s another option to consider.

Most days, I had a long break after lunch. It was the perfect time to just lie out, read a book and take a siesta under the sun. On some days, I opted to skip the night dive and had all evening to just chill and organize my photos from the day.

To mix things up, my liveaboard also offered the option to skip a dive and take an excursion to some of the islands along the route, and to explore the lagoons and beaches. Be sure to see if your future liveaboard offers excursions as well!

Other Guests on a Diving LiveAboard Trip

The guest list on a liveaboard can be incredibly diverse. I met interesting people from all corners of the world making it quite an eclectic bunch.

On longer liveaboard trips, you’ll find a larger number of die-hard divers, so it’s a good way to connect with others who share your passion. On shorter and mid-length dives, you’ll meet people who love diving, along with those who are there for the sailing experience.

Tipping on a Diving Liveaboard Trip

As you’re Googling each liveaboard company, you’ll most likely see their tipping recommendations. They vary, but I found a ten percent rate of the total cost to be pretty standard.

My specific liveaboard suggested tipping $20-30 a day for the crew onboard, and I added some extra for my dive guide. The boat crew divvies up the tips amongst the workers, and you have the option to give your cruise manager or diving guide an additional personal tip at the end.

Diving Insurance for a Liveaboard Trip

I’d highly recommend getting diving insurance, especially if you are going on a remote diving route. I always travel with World Nomads and their Explorer Plan covers scuba diving to a maximum depth of 50 meters.

Beyond the 50 meters (160 feet), your underwater explorations are considered to be a “deep dive.” For the most comprehensive coverage, including air evacuation (which is a good thing to have if you’re diving in remote locations), the Divers Alert Network (DAN) offers coverage exclusively for divers.

Regardless of your own certification level, all insurance companies will require that your trip is organized by a licensed company with experienced staff and a dive master onboard at all times. Insurance aside, making sure that you are traveling with a reputable company is vital for a good experience!

Insurance offers vary by your country of residence, so I’d highly recommending talking with World Nomads to get a quick quote before you book your liveaboard trip.

Plan you dream liveaboard trip with LiveAboard.com! Read Next: Diving Raja Ampat with Samambaia Liveaboard
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Cape Town is, overall, a casual city. On any given day, you’ll find cafes and coffee shops full of people dressed in everything from business suits, to sundresses, to yoga pants, and that’s the norm. To be frank, Cape Town is just like any other modern city by the beach, so please don’t pack safari clothes to wear around town! 😉

With hot, summer months spanning November to February, and winter (rainy) months consisting of June through August, Cape Town has somewhat distinct seasons. The summer months are dry and warm, and perfect for long beach days. The weather during the spring months, September and October, is a mild and comfortable 75° F, but temperatures at night can drop below 50° F, so you’ll want to pack a jacket to stay warm.

Read more about the best time to visit South Africa!

After living here over a year, I’ve learned to ALWAYS bring a jacket anywhere I go in the city, even in summer, because it can get windy at any moment — I’m serious, always carry a jacket with you!

My go to summer outfit for a day around town is a comfy sundress or a t-shirt and shorts, sandals and a denim jacket. During the winter, I’ll rock leggings and a sweater, and probably a messy bun!

Check out my outfit inspiration for what to wear in Cape Town!

And don’t miss all my tips for visiting Cape Town and South Africa!

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READ NEXT: The Local’s Guide to Cape Town for Coffee Lovers

The post What to Wear in Cape Town + Outfit Inspiration appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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This post was written in partnership with P&G as an Herbal Essences brand ambassador. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Every girl has her own hair woes. Mine include greasiness and bed head. My fine hair may be tricky to style, but fortunately, through trial and error, I’ve found a few key ways to keep my hair looking its best when traveling non-stop.

While travel can be hard on your hair, it’s all about finding the right products to help keep up a healthy haircare routine. My locks love Herbal Essences bio:renew collection, which is why I’ve partnered with them to share some helpful tips for traveling with fine hair.

Looking to fast track your way to beautiful strands? Here are my top tips for traveling with fine hair.

Tips for Traveling with Fine Hair - YouTube

Dry Shampoo for Fine Hair

Dry shampoo is a godsend! I absolutely couldn’t live without this stuff. My fine hair gets a greasy look very quickly (we’re talking like one day), but dry shampoo lets me stretch the time between washes by one to two extra days.

As great as it is, you still need to use dry shampoo correctly to reap its benefits. If you try to use it once your hair is already greasy, it’s not going to be very effective.

My top tip is to use dry shampoo before bed so that it can absorb overnight. Just brush it out in the morning, and you’re good to go.

I am obsessed with Herbal Essences White Grapefruit & Mosa Mint Dry Shampoo! It’s a dream for fine hair because it adds gorgeous volume. Plus, it smells amazing!

Master Travel Hairstyles for Fine Hair

I typically wash my hair every three days to keep it from drying out, but I also need to make sure my hair is camera ready most days! So, I’ve got a few key hair styles in my beauty arsenal.

On the day I wash my hair, I wear it down. My hair naturally dries stick straight, so no hair products or heat tools necessary. Then, that night I’ll apply a dry shampoo before bed.

When I wake up, I brush it out then usually opt for a half-up/half-down style. I repeat my dry-shampoo routine on night two, then go for an up-do, top knot, or braid to stretch my wash to the third day.

Being able to stretch out the time between washes with dry shampoo helps me create volume, and prevents the dryness that comes with washing too often.

Clip-In Extensions for Fine Hair

Clip-in extensions save me a lot of time when it comes to styling my hair. I always travel with a couple of pieces because they are amazing for adding volume. I usually leave my hair down and au naturel when I first wash it. For braids, I clip in one or two extensions because they’re great for adding length and volume to braids.

Plus, they are incredibly easy to use!

I always opt for real rather than artificial hair extensions. I find they last way longer and look more natural. You can wash real hair extensions with normal shampoo to keep them fresh. I cleanse with Herbal Essences’ bio:renew shampoos because they’re made with natural, non-damaging ingredients.   

Using Foam Conditioner on Fine Hair

Volume is a priority for me. With fine hair, my strands get too weighed down with thick conditioning formulas. They cause a build-up and make my hair impossible to style. That is why I have been using Herbal Essences’ bio:renew foam conditioners on my wash days for a light zap of hydration.

This is another Herbal Essences product that has been specifically designed for ladies with fine hair, which makes such a huge difference. I love the fresh foam feel, and it gives my hair just the right amount of hydration.

Using a Silk Pillowcase with Fine Hair

Another one of my suitcase essentials: silk pillowcases. They are a dream for your hair and skin. When you sleep on a silk pillowcase, you help keep your skin hydrated and minimize bed head.

Silk’s lack of friction also prevents hair breakage and fine lines in your skin — an all-around win!

As a bonus, silk pillowcases are hypoallergenic, and they’re a good way to avoid the dust mites, fungus, mold and other allergens that you’ll often find on pillows in hotels, airplanes and other shared spaces.

Prevent Tangles in Fine Hair

As much as I love the beach, my hair isn’t a big fan of ocean water (or the sun or chlorine…), so I always have to come prepared.

One of my must-haves is a detangling wet/dry brush. Since my hair is so fine, I always brush from the ends up to the roots to avoid breakage. If you start at the roots and yank downward, it’ll snap fine hair right in half.

As an avid scuba diver, I usually braid my hair before getting it wet to prevent knots. When I get out of the water, I put conditioner in my hair, and then I slowly work through it from end to root with a detangling brush to get through the tangles and knots.

Use a Clarifying/Volumizing Shampoo on Fine Hair

Product build-up is fine hair’s arch nemesis! To keep my hair squeaky clean and manageable, I use clarifying and volumizing shampoo a couple of times each week.

My favorite pick is the Blue Ginger & Micellar Water shampoo. It’s a good match for my hair, and it’s perfect for preventing a dry shampoo build-up.  

Accessorizing Fine Hair

Some days my hair just won’t do I want it to do. And other days, I just can’t be bothered to spend my precious free time messing with my hair. That is why I always travel with a couple of hats and headscarves.

READ NEXT: Redefining Blonde with Herbal Essences

The post Tips for Traveling with Fine Hair appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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After years of diving, I finally did my first liveaboard! In partnership with LiveAboard.com, I crossed a huge bucket list diving trip and an Indonesian dream route off my list.

In case you’ve never heard of it, a liveaboard “cruise” offers divers the opportunity to stay onboard overnight, unlike a day trip, and allows time to travel to more distant dive sites that may not be otherwise accessible.

I spent 11 nights and 12 days at sea on the Samambaia Liveaboard diving Raja Ampat and the Banda Sea. Thanks to the experienced, knowledgeable crew, I had an incredible time indulging my mermaid side.

Ready to find your sea legs? Here’s what it’s like diving Raja Ampat with the Samambaia Liveaboard.

MV Samambaia

For the diving excursion of a lifetime, we stayed onboard this beautiful wooden boat, which had six cabins and a master cabin. The vessel can accommodate up to 14 guests at one time.

The rooms are made with beautiful woodwork, and have a built-in AC unit. All bathrooms offer a rain shower/hand shower combo which feels amazing after a dive!

The main deck of the MV Samambaia is comprised of the master cabin, the wheelhouse, the dining room and lounge area and the dive deck, with a sun deck on the upper deck. The boat also offers complimentary Wi-Fi during certain journeys — your connectivity all comes down to how remote the area is.

Exploring the Raja Ampat Islands will have you (blissfully) disconnected.

Helpful Tip: Some of the rooms can accommodate a third person if you’re traveling with a child.

Diving in Raja Ampat and the Banda Sea

The local dive guides onboard the MV Samambaia made the experience truly exceptional. They’re experienced divers who are knowledgeable about every dive site, currents and the local marine life, so their pre-dive briefs were super helpful.

The crew was very safety-conscious. They always ensured that procedures were followed to keep us safe on and off the boat. On top of that, the crew is an all-around fun group who make the trip one for the books.

The liveaboard offered diving equipment for rent, so if you haven’t purchased your own gear, or don’t have enough room in your luggage, Samambaia has great rental options. As a bonus, they offered Nitrox for free to all of the Nitrox-certified divers.

I have been diving in some of the most stunning destinations around the world, and I would love to do a full Raja Ampat liveaboard (North and South) in the future, but my time in the Banda Sea was in a class of its own. A few of my favorite dives were Manuk Island or “Bird Island”, where there are hundreds of sea snakes, and in Ambon, where you’ll find world-class muck diving.

Food + Drink

All of the meals, non-alcoholic drinks and beer are complimentary onboard. So, you never have to worry about going hungry during the trip. Every morning, we were able to order our choices for breakfast so they were ready after the morning dive, and we enjoyed a set two-course lunch and a set three-course dinner each day. The meals were varied, and the crew happily catered to dietary needs.

On top of the complimentary offerings, there was also wine available for purchase or one could BYOB with a corkage fee. There are no spirits (hard alcohol) available for purchase onboard, so you’re able to bring your own without a corkage fee.

Activities + Excursions

In between dives, we had the opportunity to explore the beautiful lagoons of Raja Ampat via speedboat and/or kayak. On excursion days, we hopped on a speedboat to snorkel some smaller reefs and admire gorgeous, white sand beaches.

The Banda Islands have a long and fascinating history of spice production, and one of our trips on land gave us the opportunity to explore one of the charming little island towns on Banda Neira island.

Every route has different activities and excursions, so there is always something new to experience!

Other Samambaia Liveaboard Destinations

The MV Samambaia is one of the courses with the best diving. Depending on the season, the boat takes different routes around Indonesia to get the most ideal diving and weather conditions.

You can choose between routes through Raja Ampat, Komodo Islands, Alor and the Banda Sea. They’re all good options, so the best pick just depends on when you want to go.

My Personal Experience

This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’d love to turn into a regular part of my diving calendar! Given the option, I’d do the complete Raja Ampat cruise with both the north and south options.

All of the islands are stunning, and I would love to have more time to explore them.
Watch my diving videos from around the world!

The post Diving Raja Ampat with Samambaia Liveaboard appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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Singapore is a place like no other. Just off the southern tip of Malaysia, this vibrant city-state boasts a beautiful blend of Malay, Indian, Chinese, Arab and English cultures — all with a uniquely Singaporean vibe.

You have never seen a city quite like this. Ready to see what all the hype is about?

Here is my ultimate Singapore travel guide.

  • Language: Most locals are bilingual — proficient in English and either Mandarin, Malay or Tamil.
  • Currency: The Singapore dollar (SGD) is the currency of choice here. At the minute, $1 U.S. dollar will get you $1.33 in Singapore dollars.
  • When you’re budgeting for your trip here, keep in mind that Singapore is one of the richest countries in the world. While you can find some bargains in Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore is expensive so expect to spend the same as you would in a big American or European city.  

  • Cards + Cash: Credit cards are widely accepted, but you should still carry some cash for food stalls, coffee shops and other small purchases.
  • Climate: Temperatures in Singapore are consistent all year. Typically, on any given day, you will see temperatures between 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) to 89 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).

    The humidity level is high, and the country sees an average of 167 days of rain per year, so bring that umbrella!

Getting Around

While Singapore is a small country, there is still a lot to see. Just 31 miles wide and 17 miles long, Singapore has a remarkable amount of must-see neighborhoods like Little India, Bugis, Chinatown, Marina Bay, the Financial District and Sentosa Island.

  • Public Transport: The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is an easy and affordable way to get around Singapore. The price of tickets depends on where you are going, and generally runs around $4 SGD ($3 USD).

    If you are planning to explore as much of the city as possible, the Singapore Tourist Pass can be a great deal. It gives you unlimited travel for a set period of time. A 24-hour pass costs $10 SGD ($7.50 USD), a 48-hour pass costs $16 SGD ($12 USD) or you can spring for a 72-hour pass, which will run you $20 SGD ($15 USD).

    Even if you do a mix of MRT rides, taxis and walking, it can be handy to have the Singapore Tourist Pass so that you can just jump on a train whenever you want.

  • Taxi: An app called Grab is really popular here, and the ride prices are cheaper than what a traditional taxi ride would cost. It works just like Uber, which is being phased out in Singapore.

    While there are a ton of taxis all over the city, they charge peak rates after 6 p.m., so it can get expensive quickly.

  • Where to Stay

    From glamorous five-star options to budget hostels, Singapore has a massive range of accommodations to meet every budget. Here are a few of my faves:

    Luxury

    • The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore: A super-luxe favorite! I stayed at The Ritz-Carlton during my stay in Singapore and absolutely loved it.

  • The Warehouse Hotel: A five-star boutique hotel on the riverfront, the chic Warehouse Hotel is in a flawlessly refurbished 19th-century building.
  • The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore: A perfect location on the waterfront right off the MRT, The Fullerton Bay Hotel has a swanky rooftop bar and first-class service.
  • Shangri-La Singapore: Another name synonymous with indulgence, the Shangri-La Singapore is a well- appointed property set amidst lush tropical gardens.
  • Mid-Range

  • The Quincy Hotel: Winner of the Singapore Tourism Best Hotel Experience Award, the artfully designed Quincy Hotel is in the center of the trendy Orchard district.
  • Oasia Hotel: With a few locations around Singapore, it’s easy to see why this concept took off. Check out Oasia Hotel Downtown; the Oasia Hotel Novena near Orchard Road and the Business District; or the Oasia Residence near West Coast Park.
  • The Scarlet Singapore: I love the art-deco style of the four-star Scarlet Singapore in Chinatown. It has a captivating old-world charm, plus a handy location.
  • Park Regis Singapore: In the heart of the Central Business District, The Park Regis Singapore has everything right outside of the lovely hotel’s doorstep.
  • Budget

  • Hotel Kai: In the center of the historic Civic District, Hotel Kai is a great value for the money. They also provide guests with a 4G personal Wi-Fi device that works all over Singapore, which is really handy if you don’t want to get a SIM card.
  • The Port by Quarters Hostel: In the heart of downtown with a free all-day breakfast, The Port by Quarters Hostel is a budget travelers’ top pick in Singapore!
  • Adler Hostel: Right next to Chinatown and close to the MRT, Adler Hostel, an art-deco townhouse, is a swanky alternative to your average no-frills hostel.
  • Where to Eat

    In Singapore, it’s all about fusion cuisine. With flavor influences from Malaysia, China, India and beyond, the city-state has some of the best Asian food on the continent. Singapore also has a great mix of Italian, Greek, Australian and pretty much anything else else you might be in the mood for.

    My favorite local dishes are laksa (heaven in a bowl, better known as spicy noodle soup), popiah (a type of spring roll, available fried or raw), chili crab and chicken rice.[/li_item]

    Dining Out

    • Colony at The Ritz-Carlton: The Colony at The Ritz-Carlton serves up the greatest buffet I’ve ever tried, and it’s a great value for all of the food that you get.
    • Po Restaurant: For a fresh take on Singaporean staples, get to Po Restaurant at The Warehouse Hotel to check out this tasty spot.
    • Neon Pigeon: In the hipster hood of Tanjong Pagar, you can find Neon Pigeon serving up Japanese food tapas style.
    • The Curry Culture: Singapore has a lot of delicious Indian food, but nobody can top the flavors at The Curry Culture!
    • Cheap Eats

    • Laksa: This is my favorite soup, and it’s something I’ve always got my eye out for. There are a lot of street vendors dishing it up and the best I found was at 328 Katong Laksa.
    • Tian Tian: To enjoy another one of Singapore’s must-eat dishes, chicken rice, this is the place to be.
    • Kok Kee Wanton Mee: Specializing in the slurp-worthy wanton mee soup, this is another one of the country’s best cheap eats.
    • Chin Chin Eating House: Located on Purvis Street, this is where all of the locals flock for a good meal on the fly.
    • Chinatown: Not sure what you are in the mood for? Just head down to Chinatown and let your stomach guide you through the food stalls.
    • Dim Sum: Whatever you do, don’t leave Singapore without going out for dim sum. With small bite-sized portions, this is the best way to try a bit of everything.
    • Hawker Centers: Food courts, also known as hawker centers in Singapore, are a perfect way to eat your way around the world!
    • Little India: If you like Indian food, this is one neighborhood you can’t miss!
    • What to Do

      • Eat: Singapore has some of the best food on the planet! Be sure to try the local cuisine at the hawker centers around the city. The local chicken rice, laksa and chili crab are a must!
      • Joo Chiat: A historic neighborhood, Joo Chiat is a perfect place to bring your camera and just wander around aimlessly. The colorful Peranakan houses are some of the most beautiful sites in Singapore.
      • Chinatown: Singapore is a melting pot in the truest terms, and you really have to get around to all of the different neighborhoods to understand what it’s all about. Start with Chinatown for its shops, night markets and dim sum!
      • Singapore Botanic Gardens: A 158-year-old tropical oasis, Singapore Botanic Gardens is much loved by locals and tourists alike.
      • Gardens by the Bay: Totally unlike any other garden I have ever experienced, Gardens by the Bay is well worth a visit. Have your camera ready for the surreal Supertree Grove and Cloud Forest!
      • Arab Street: More than just one street, this is a must-see neighborhood that includes Bussorah Street, Haji and Bali Lanes and Muscat Street. Start at the corner of Beach Road and just explore the shops, cafés and restaurants.
      • Do keep in mind that most places are closed on Sundays. With that said, the stunning Sultan Mosque (Masjid Sultan) is a must-see sight that is also located here!

      • The Quays: The Quays along the river are famous here! Explore Boat Quay, Robertson Quay, then get down to Clarke Quay for restaurants, bars and other fun spots.  
      • Mid-Autumn Festival: If you are lucky enough to be here in autumn, which is typically from mid-September to mid-October depending on the year, get down to Singapore’s Chinatown for the epic Mid-Autumn Festival.
      • Marina Bay Sands SkyPark: This sky-high infinity pool has become one of Singapore’s most iconic sites. I stayed here on my trip, which is the only way to get access to the infinity pool.
      • However, if you just want to see the view, you can buy a ticket to the Observation Deck for the once in a lifetime view of the cityscape.

      • Day Trip to Sentosa Island: A playground for Singaporeans off the southern coast of Singapore, this massive resort-style island has theme parks, golf courses, spas and a groegous coast line!
      • Shop my looks for Singapore!
        READ NEXT: Staying at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

        The post The Ultimate Singapore Travel Guide appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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        A melting pot of cultures in a picture-perfect setting, Singapore has it all. Situated beside Malaysia, it has become one of the most visited cities in the world, and it’s easy to see why!

        With exciting attractions, some of best food in the world and a one-of-a-kind culture, Singapore is an Asian destination that you just can’t miss. Most travelers choose to spend a few days exploring the city during a stopover, since the Changi Airport is a big hub for destinations throughout Asia.

        Whether you have a few hours, or are trying to explore Singapore in 3 days, you can build an awesome itinerary and hit all the top things to do.

        Want to maximize your time here? Check out my itinerary for 3 days in Singapore.

        Getting Around Singapore

        Singapore is a small country, and it’s easy to get around thanks to its well-connected network of transportation. The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is a simple and affordable way of getting wherever you want to go.

        If you’re trying to see as much as possible in a short time, the Singapore Tourist Pass is a great deal and will give you limited rides on any type of public transport. A one-day pass costs $10 SGD ($7.50 USD), a two-day pass costs $16 SGD ($12 USD) or you can get a three-day pass for $20 SGD ($15 USD).

        Before you go, be sure to download the Grab app! Uber is disappearing here, and taxis can get pricey — especially at night. The Grab app works just like Uber and is an excellent alternative to the MRT.

        – – Day One in Singapore – – Start at the Marina Bay Area

        Start your day at the Gardens by the Bay! You will want to get there right at 9 a.m. to get ahead of the crowds. I was absolutely mesmerized by the Supertree Grove, Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. I’d recommend giving yourself at least two hours to take it all in.

        I opted to a spend a night at Marina Bay Sands, but you don’t have to have a room at the hotel to take in the view from this iconic spot. Head over to Marina Bay Sands and get a ticket for the SkyPark Observation Deck. The panoramic views of the cityscape from the 57th floor here are unreal.

        Eat Up the Foodie Culture

        Bring your camera and spend some time wandering around the markets of Chinatown before making your way over to Buddha’s Tooth Relic Temple. Once you have worked up an appetite, go for lunch at Chinatown’s Maxwell Hawker Centre.

        There are so many incredible local dishes that it’s impossible to narrow it down to a fave, but some of the best Singaporean food includes chili crab, prawn mee (a noodle soup with prawns shown below!) and laksa (a spicy noodle soup). Also, the Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stand in the food court is a local institution!

        Walk Bugis Street Market

        The Bugis Street Market was once a red-light district famous around the world, and now it’s famous with tourists and locals alike as the largest and cheapest place to shop in Singapore. If you’re on the hunt for souvenirs or just love wandering foreign markets, this is a must.  

        Hop on Singapore Flyer

        Another local icon, you have to get on the Singapore Flyer for your first sunset in the city. While it is undoubtedly touristy, it is worth it to take a thirty-minute ride one of the world’s most enormous Giant Observation Wheels.

        At Night Out in Clarke Quay

        This buzzing neighborhood along the river is where Singaporeans and travelers in the know go when the sun sets. Come here for dinner then stick around to explore the countless bars and clubs.

        – – Day Two in Singapore – – Start Early Tiong Bahru Market

        Get an early start on day two at the Tiong Bahru Market. Opening at 6 a.m., this is a local market with all kinds of fresh seafood, fruits and veggies. For hungry travelers, it’s all about the hawker food stalls. Eat your way through the market then hit the streets ready to take on another day in Singapore!

        Chill at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

        This 158-year-old property is the only tropical garden to be honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure to check out the orchid gardens!

        Explore Arab Street

        While they call it Arab Street, this famous neighborhood actually extends through Bussorah Street, Haji and Bali Lanes and Muscat Street. It’s full of shops, cafés, restaurants and photo opportunities. Just be sure to avoid the area on Sundays as most places are closed.

        Visit the ArtScience Museum

        An iconic cultural landmark in Singapore, this museum combines art, science, culture and technology. Check out the impressive exhibitions filled with beautiful displays of lights and sculptures. There are lots of different experiences to be had here, so be sure to check out their website for more info.

        Indulge in Ultra Fresh Seafood

        If you love seafood as much as I do, Jumbo Seafood’s flagship restaurant in the East Coast Seafood Centre is a must. Their award-winning Chili Crab has a cult following in Singapore! I also had an amazing dinner at Po Restaurant at The Warehouse Hotel, that I’d recommend — they have a great lineup of craft cocktails too!

        Check out the Sultan Mosque (Masjid Sultan)

        This prominent mosque is one of the cities’ most impressive religious buildings. You can take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the mosque or just take a quick look around on your own.

        See the Gardens at Night

        Get back to the Gardens by the Bay for their magical nighttime Garden Rhapsody Show. It’s usually on at 7:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. every night, but double check their site for a current schedule before you go.

        See the City from Above

        Singapore is all about rooftop bars! In the heart of the city, I stumbled onto Smoke & Mirrors, a cool cocktail bar with a view that’s well worth checking out. I also stayed a night at Marina Bay Sands, which boasts an epic rooftop infinity pool and bar!

        – – Day Three in Singapore – –  Take a Trip to Sentosa Island

        Sentosa Island is where Singaporeans and people from around the world head to have a frolick in the sun and sand. This island resort has beautiful beaches, spas, outdoor activities and theme parks like Universal Studios.

        Have more than three days in Singapore? Lucky you! While Singapore is a small country, you could easily spend a week exploring it all.

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        Is there anything more timelessly chic than The Ritz-Carlton? Synonymous with first-class accommodation, the Ritz is one place that never disappoints. On my recent trip to Singapore, I decided to have a five-star experience and see what it’s all about here.

        Here is my experience staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore!

        The Hotel

        According to Travel & Leisure, this is the best hotel in Singapore. Along with an impressive art collection, impeccable design and a prime location, the 608 guest rooms here have a jaw-dropping view of the famous Singapore skyline over Marina Bay.

        The Rooms at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

        With rooms ranging from 776 to 2,358 square feet, the rooms at The Ritz-Carlton are among the biggest in Singapore. Rooms like the Premier Suites and Deluxe Suites offer separate bedroom and living room spaces, marvelous marble bathrooms and striking views of the Marina Bay and the city.

        The Club Premier rooms are equally nice options that will also give you Club Level access — which I HIGHLY recommend. If you want more room to spread out, the Millenia Suite offers one and two-bedroom options, which begin at 1,098 square feet. The suites also offer iconic views of Marina Bay.

        Finally, if you are ready for the ultimate VIP treatment for up to six people, there is the Ritz Suite with 24-hour personalized butler service, a high tech entertainment room and an oversized jacuzzi tub in the master bathroom.

        With all the hype, the rooms at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore did not disappoint. We stayed in the Club Deluxe Marina room, and it was flawless.

        The view was truly stunning and the fabulous marble bathroom was basically a private spa.

        The Club Level at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

        The Club Premier Suite, Club Deluxe Suite and Millenia Suites offer access to The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge. Located on the top floor, this is a place to chill, work and be pampered.

        With a buffet of tasty options available for breakfast, mid-day snacks, afternoon tea, hors-d’oeuvres and cocktails, there are delicious treats served up here from morning until night.

        I’d highly recommend adding club-level access to your room or booking a club room so that you can enjoy the club-level benefits during your stay. On top of having wonderful food, wine tastings and handcrafted cocktails, it offers what is easily one of the best views in Singapore.

        There’s even a cool space with easels and drawing materials where you can try your hand at drawing the skyline. If you’re there on business, there’s also a boardroom available.

        Last but not least, guests with club access can be driven around in the complimentary club town car. Available on a first-come, first-serve basis, you can get a ride anywhere within the Marina Bay area!

        Food + Drink at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

        One of the best things about Singapore is the food, and the food at The Ritz-Carlton has it all. With vibrant and multi-ethnic menus at their on-property restaurants, you can have a taste of anything. For fine dining, the Michelin-star rated Summer Pavilion has some of the tastiest authentic Cantonese you will ever try.

        For afternoon tea, a quick bite or cocktails, the Chihuly Lounge is the place to be. But in my opinion, The Colony at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore‘s dining experience is an absolute must!

        The Colony serves every meal of the day, including afternoon tea from Monday to Saturday and a Champagne brunch on Sundays. It is a luxury buffet at a reasonable price, with a smart-casual dress code.

        They have seven stations including an ice bar with salads, cold cuts, and cheese; a grill and rotisserie with a range of Western and Asian grilled meats and a steam basket with Asian noodles, soups and steamed dishes. They also have a wok with local specialities; a tandoor with Indian meats, seafood and bread; a fruit stall with fresh juices and fruits and a patisserie with desserts of all kind.

        It was truly the most amazing buffet I’ve ever seen.

        The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

        The Ritz-Carlton Spa offers a full menu of massages, facials and other spa favorites like full nail and salon services. I didn’t get a chance to check it out, but they’ve got ten treatment rooms to treat yourself, plus romantic packages for couples.

        – In My Opinion –

        The Ritz is consistently impressive and this one was no exception. The staff went above and beyond to make our stay special and take care of anything we needed. I can’t recommend the Club Level experience enough; it was luxury taken to the next level.

        The location of the hotel was great and the access to the town car was very convenient. Plus, The Colony buffet was by far the BIGGEST and BEST buffet I have ever been to in the world! Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Singapore!

        More Information
        Shop my Style Essentials for Singapore!

        READ NEXT: Staying at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
        Thanks to The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore for hosting me during my stay. As always, thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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        Welcome to a stunning architectural icon. If you have ever seen pictures of Singapore, you have likely seen shots of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in the city’s scape. This place is easily one of the most famous hotels in Asia, if not the world.

        An architectural wonder in the heart of Singapore, this is one place that will definitely captivate you as you begin exploring the city.

        Wonder what it’s like inside? Here’s my experience staying at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

        The Hotel

        This place is practically a city in and of itself. Home to the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, the Marina Bay Sands offers 2,561 hotel rooms, a 1,300,000 square-foot convention center, shops, a museum, two theaters, the world’s largest atrium casino and a range of other exhibits.

        At the top of the three 55-floor towers of this 5-star hotel is the world famous SkyPark, which has an infinity swimming pool. With 360-degree views of Singapore, you can’t stay the Marina Bay Sands without bringing your camera up here.

        The Rooms

        The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore offers a range of room options with views of the skyline, gardens or the harbor.

        The Deluxe Room or Premier Room are good choices for couples looking for a cozy space for the night. If you are traveling with family or a group, the Family Room offers ample space to spread out.

        The hotel offers Club Rooms and different suites that are located on the high floors of the building an enticing array of VIP upgrades. Upgraded room and suite guests receive complimentary afternoon tea as well as cocktails and canapés at Club55, plus free breakfast at one of the on-site celebrity chef restaurants.

        The Infinity Pool

        The infinity pool is really the crown jewel of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Located 57 levels above the city, the view of the skyline here is truly breathtaking.

        From the top of the world, you can swim to the edge of the pool or just lounge in the jacuzzi. Once you are ready to take a step back from the edge, there are lounge chairs under shady palm trees that are perfect for relaxing and sipping some cocktails.

        They also offer poolside drinks and light snacks all day long.

        The rooftop experience is available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., so I would highly recommend getting up there for either sunrise or sunset to behold central Singapore at a golden hour.

        It is worth noting that access to the Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool is exclusively for registered hotel guests, so if you want to experience this icon for yourself, you’ve got to reserve a room here.

        Food + Drink

        The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore has a whopping 80+ restaurants! It’s impossible to get into all of the details here, but I do know that there is something for everyone among the vast culinary lineup.

        I actually didn’t get the chance to eat at Marina Bay Sands, so I couldn’t personally recommend any picks. However, there are a lot of well-reviewed options here.

        They have everything from the DC Comics Super Heroes Café to a romantic rooftop Italian restaurant. All of the eateries feature plates from top celebrity chefs and fusion options borrowing flavors from distinct cultures around the world.

        Activities

        The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is part shopping mall, part casino, part convention center and part hotel. You will definitely not run out of things to do while staying here.

        Shop ’till you drop through a mix of international, luxury and new concept stores. Check out the line up of concerts and shows that play all throughout the year.

        The hotel is also located right next to Gardens by the Bay, so you can walk over to the Supertree Groves and Cloud Forest easily!

        Visit the Digital Light Canvas for a unique artistic experience and don’t miss the Spectra Light & Water Show that plays every night!

        – In My Opinion –

        I felt Marina Bay Sands was an immense hotel, reminiscent of the Las Vegas Strip. I stayed  in the basic Deluxe Room, and was only really there for a few hours. With that said, I wasn’t able to experience the restaurants, shops or amenities. The view from the pool was definitely the most noteworthy part of my stay.

        More Information
        • Hotel: Marina Bay Sands
        • Location: Singapore
        • Accommodation: Upscale, Corporate
        • Price Range: $$-$$$
        READ NEXT: How to Find Cheap Accommodation Around the World
        Thanks to Marina Bay Sands for hosting me during my stay. As always, thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

        The post Staying at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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