Daeng Rizam resides in a small little dot city-state called Singapore. He is a travel bugger who enjoys photography. Beneath his smile lies a conglomerate of thoughts, a curiosity to discover the world. He appreciates the simple things in life. The life he has always wanted is to see the world and taste the fullness of life. He believes traveling broadens his mind in many ways. He learns the..
Just 25-minute drive from Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Pullman Saigon Centre is conveniently located on the main road of District 1. Thus, you are able to get to the major sights by avoiding the busy city center. Opened in 2013, the 13-storey modern contemporary tower consist of 306 rooms.
Upon arriving at the lobby, I was greeted by friendly bell boy which took care of my luggage. The lobby is elegant but narrow. The check-in process was a breeze and all my request has been met.
Deluxe Room (Corner)
All of the rooms are bright and elegant with a modern contemporary look. The corner room is very spacious, with an open concept bathroom.
Comfy king size bed with accent walls featuring a willowy branch pattern.
The room featured full sized ceiling to floor windows that offers uninterrupted views of the the city.
Nespresso coffeemaker and well-stocked minibar.
There is an adjustable privacy screen that can controlled by a push of a button, thus separating the bathtub and wash basin.
C.O. Bigelow toiletries.
Large walk-in showers with rainfall and shower-heads.
The round glass desks gives you a small work area while admiring the sunset.
Floral Fantasy is the newest attraction at Garden by the Bay featuring more than 3,000 plants, with more than 150 species including unique and rare plants from countries such as Ecuador, Madagascar and Japan. Located at Bayfront Plaza, there are four diverse garden landscapes, each showcasing a different artistic concept.
You will be surrounded by flowers once you enter this themed attraction. Dance is the first garden landscape you will see that features 15,000 pastel blooms suspended upside down from above, forming a brightly – coloured, immersive canopy as you walk through the lane.
At the end of this zone, you will be greeted by the whimsical sight of pendulous floral balls bobbing gently up and down from the ceiling.
Artist Corner is a platform for local artists to showcase their work to a larger audience
At 1500sqm, this attraction is the smallest compared to Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.
A space that is ensconced by driftwood structures at the top and sheets of water at the sides.
Reminiscent of a cavern, this semi – enclosed space is ringed with terraced rock. Amidst a glittering lightscape reminiscent of glow worms, a collection of exotic South American orchids grow out from the rock, while hanging ferns drape down from the ceiling, creating a magical atmosphere.
The 4D Ride: Flight of the Dragonfly
One of the highlight of the attraction is the 4D multi-sensory ride. The theatrette can only accommodate up to 24 visitors at a time. You can expect long queue during the weekends.
For 15 mins and with the aid of 3D glasses, visitors will experience their four senses of sight, sound, smell and touch triggered as they are taken on a simulated journey of a dragonfly’s flight path through Gardens by the Bay.
Floral Fantasy officially opens to public on 14 April 2019. Check out the opening special rate, for visits to the Floral Fantasy between 14 April and 13 May 2019.
9am to 9pm
Gardens by the Bay, Bayfront Plaza (Next to Bayfront MRT)
18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Purchase your tickets here!
My favourite floral display, Sakura Matsuri is back at Gardens by the Bay! This year’s cherry blossom festival showcases an elegant landscape more reminiscent than ever before of the Land of the Rising Sun. With more than 30 varieties of cherry blossoms to see, you can experience Sakura season in Singapore!
Over 400 sakura trees made up the Sakura Matsuri floral display! These trees produce an assortment of cherry blossoms including those with simple five-petal blossoms, fuller blossoms known as double blossom sakuras as well as flowers of varying sizes and shades of pink.
‘Fukubana’ cherry trees. ‘Fukubana’ features tiny, flowers in palest pink with delicately fringed petals.
Cherry Blossom at Gardens by the Bay.
If you have been to Kyoto, Torii gates typically mark the entrance to Shintō shrines.
Walk through the torii tunnel made up of 15 torii gates framed by sakura trees.
Sakura Matsuri also features Marumado windows; a distinctive feature of traditional Japanese abodes and tea houses.
Don’t forget to gaze into each of the Marumado (Circular windows) and take in various picturesque scenes. Admire beautiful bonsai sakura, miniature flowering cherries carefully styles to achieve an aesthetic effect, set against icons of Japan such as Mount Fuji, Torii and Osaka Castle.
Inspired by the Hirosaki castle bridge in Aomori, this striking red bridge shrouded by sakura trees is instaworthy!
Banyan Tree is well known for its seaside and nature-themed resorts but Malaysia’s first Banyan Tree property is billed as ‘Urban Sanctuary’ in the midst of Kuala Lumpur’s bustling Golden Triangle. The Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur features only 55 exquisite rooms and suites with most of the rooms offer stunning views of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur Tower. I stayed for a night to experience what this urban resort can offer.
Personalised Guest Check-In
The lobby is located on level 53; this is highest hotel lobby I have been. I was invited to sit at the lounge area. Refreshing welcome drink and cold towels were served while the staff prepare the necessary procedure. All room categories comes with Banyan Tree’s signature aromatherapy essentials. I get to choose various aromatherapy scents and incense sticks for each day. Thereafter, I was escorted to my room.
The rooms are located from level 53A (for some reasons the number 54 is omitted in the building) to 56 floor. As a Accor Gold Member, I am able to enjoy the benefits at Banyan Tree properties. Thus, I was upgraded to the next room category, Sanctuary Suite on level 56. The room I stayed in consist of generously spaced living area and faces the Twin Towers and KL Tower through the large window panes. On a side note, the living area is equipped with Bose sound system!
The uncluttered living space with timber floors inspired by nature will makes you feel relaxed and at home.
Well-stocked minibar with coffee and tea making facilities.
There are 2 (japanese) smart toilet in the suite. The smaller ones is located at the living area.
Private Relaxation Pool
The bedroom comes with king-sized bed and a private relaxation pool. The bedside controls allow guests to draw the sheer and blackout curtains.
Take a dip while admiring the sunset with the backdrop of the Twin Towers. The relaxation pool is automatically switched on from 10am to late evening.
The marble bathroom comes with a huge oval soaking tub by the window and chromotherapy (mood lighting) rainfall shower with the view of twin towers. Being an eco-friendly hotel, the shower gel, shampoo and conditioner are placed in refillable ceramic containers.
A sleek bathroom with 2 separate basin.
His & Hers exclusive amenities.
Powder Room and Walk-in Closet
The walk-in closet is very spacious. There are 2 separate open cabinet and vanity table.
The South Caucasus region consist of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia is a perfect travel destination for any season. While its majestic mountains, thick forests, mysterious trails are ideal for hiking and trekking activities, its small cozy villages and resorts are perfect for relaxation and wellness.
If you are planning for winter trips, here is a list of the best areas for trekking and hiking. These places are not only for extreme sports lovers but also suitable for family due to the number of historical monuments and scenic views in the area. You will be able to experience the best out of it during the escorted trips to Armenia, Georgia and Azarbaijan.
In mountainous Armenia, there is usually a lot of snow and sun in winter. Ski resorts in Armenia have long become a popular destination for snowboarders and freeride lovers. For hiking, you can find so many interesting and beautiful places. If you feel a lack of adrenaline, mountain peaks are waiting for you.
Dilijan is one of the best mountain-resort areas in Armenia and the CIS. Unique flora and fauna, mild climate and clean mountain air are great for winter trekking. In the surroundings of Dilijan you will find many natural and historical gems worth exploring.
In winter, Dilijan turns into the fairy tale. Its thick forests and mountains are covered with white and virgin snow. It’s a nice time for hiking around this area.
One of the most popular itineraries passes from Lake Parz and the Agstev River, to the medieval monasteries of Haghartsin, Goshavank. If you are not a fan of hiking you can just walk around the historic center of the resort town and enjoy its ancient architecture.
Syunik region and, in particular, Vorotan River Gorge is the most spectacular places in Armenia. Vorotan gorge and river trails attract camping and trekking lovers. Winter is no less attractive season for visiting this area.
Trekking itinerary in Vorotan gorge passes mainly along the river in several directions. The route to the west leads through the spectacular Devil’s Bridge to the most famous historical monument, the monastery complex of Tatev. The route to the north leads to the oldest stone monument Karahunj, which is often compared with the famous Stonehenge, next it takes to the city of Goris and higher into the mountains along a winding road.
Climbing the mountain Azhdahak in winter requires special training due to more severe weather conditions, beginners are recommended to trek to the volcano in spring and summer months.
The extinct volcano Azhdahak is the highest point of the Geghama Range (3597m). The crater of the volcano is filled with icy water all year round. The ascent begins from Lake Vanqi. On the way, you can see the prehistoric petroglyphs the origin and mystery of which still remain unsolved.
Georgia offers an infinite number of opportunities for those who love life in all colors. So, what are the most beautiful corners to visit in winter?
Svaneti is one of the most beautiful and undiscovered places in Georgia. Here are located the main destinations of mountaineering Ushba, Tetnuld and Shkhara. People come here to see the unique nature of the Caucasus Kazbek.
Depending on the purpose of the trekking, you can choose among Upper or Lower Svaneti. The two parts are separated by the Svaneti ridge. Upper Svaneti is popular with medieval monuments, Svan towers and monasteries and offers a breathtaking view on the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus Mountains.
Borjomi National Park
Borjomi is the most popular balneological resort in Georgia and in the Caucasus. Walking through the territory of the national park Borjomi Kharagauli, you will have a chance to enjoy dense forests, mountain peaks, mineral springs, river and simply breathe crystal clear air.
The reserve Borjomi is beautiful all year round. It can be explored on foot in both winter and summer. The infrastructure of the park is one of the most developed and convenient for trekking. There are eleven tourist routes of varying difficulty. In winter, you can take a trip with snowshoes. You can also stay in the park for an overnight.
The Kazbek volcano (5033.8m) is the eastern peak and pride of the Caucasus. It is one of the most popular destinations for climbers. Climbing Kazbek requires special skills and training, especially if you have planned a trip in the winter.
The ascent begins from a height of 1,700 meters, from the village of Kazbegi, Stepantsminda. The village is popular with interesting architectural monuments. Climbing is complicated by the abundance of snow, so most of the way will be passed on snowshoes. Due to strong winds, the top of Kazbek has no snow layer in winter.
Winter in Azerbaijan is milder. While there is almost no snow in flat areas, mountainous regions will surprise you with a thick layer of snow. The country is actively promoting winter active tourism by developing infrastructure in ski resorts.
Gobustan National Park
Gobustan is one of the most popular sights of Azerbaijan; it attracts lovers of exotic natural phenomena and ancient monuments. This historical and archaeological reserve is suitable for one day trekking all year round. The reserve is located near Baku. In winter, it is not very cold here and you can comfortably walk in the park.
What can be seen in Gobustan Park? The most popular sights in the reserve is mud volcanoes. This part of the park is covered with gray cracked earth and from time to time water and oil breaks through earth. For a second you may feel yourself on another planet.
Next stop is the rock paintings of the Mesolithic era. The drawings in the Beukdash, Dzhingirdag, Kichikdash, Shongardag and Shyhgaya mountains are living proof of the existence of civilization on this territory.
Khinalig village is considered the oldest settlement in the country. It is located at an altitude of 2350 meters above sea level, in a mountain valley, surrounded by the mountains of Gyzyl-Gaya, Tufandag, Shahdag and Khynalykdag. The village is called “Island among the mountains”. The proof of the ancient settlements are the cemeteries. The area of the cemeteries is larger than the village itself. The most ancient of them have more than three layers. The inscriptions on the graves are made in different languages.
Often the participants of the trip get to the village on foot. Trekking runs along the left bank of the Gudvalchay River. There are no hotels in the village, so tourists often stay with local people. This is a great opportunity to get to know the culture and life of the local people.
Another village that attracts tourists with its authentic way of life is Lagich. The small village is located in a picturesque area, in the canyon of the Girdimanchay River. The village is included in the territory of the historical and architectural reserve. The Great Silk Road passed through the village, and the locals are still actively engaged in trade. In the village, many artisans sell beautiful items made of copper, wood and leather.
Trekking through the village will take place along narrow streets lined with cobblestones. On both sides are works of local craftsmen.
Research shows that taking short holiday trips helps alleviate stress. In fact, this should come as no surprise! If you are looking for a quick weekend recharge, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is good to begin with. Just 2 hours of flight time with more than 15 flights a day from Singapore, you can book cheap air tickets from Traveloka for as low as S$118 per person! Do keep a look out for the best deal when you make Singapore Airlines booking with Traveloka.
Despite its notorious traffic, getting around the city is fairly easy. Taxis are plentiful and cheap. They go by meter but to avoid being scammed, hail only legitimate taxi companies such as Mai Linh or Vinasun. Ride hailing app such as Grab is also widely accepted in HCMC.
Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City
I personally think that District 1 is the best area to stay for first timer in HCMC. Many will choose to stay near Ben Thanh Market for convenience. For backpackers, you can search for a room or dorm for less than S$15 per night at Bui Vien Street.
Here’s how you can spend 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ben Thanh Market
A must-visit in HCMC, you can find almost everything that is produced in Vietnam within the market lanes of Ben Thanh Market. There is no fixed price but you have to master the art of haggling! The best time to visit is in the morning when the heat is still bearable. In the evening, the roads near the market will close to make way for the night market.
Adjacent to Ben Thanh Market is the well-known Malaysian (halal) Street, a food and shopping paradise for Muslim travellers in HCMC. As the street name suggest, you won’t feel like you are in Vietnam! Don’t be surprised if the shops accept Malaysian Ringgit.
Nguyễn An Ninh Street
Saigon Square is another shopping areas to get a good bargain at the comfort of air-conditioning. The prices here are reasonable as well.
81 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh
Saigon Centre is an upscale shopping mall that carries international brands. This mall is a good escape from the scorching hot weather.
65 Lê Lợi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh
Ho Chi Minh City Hall
Walk along the Nguyen Hue Walking Street to Ho Chi Minh City Hall. You can’t miss the new statue of President Ho Chi Minh inaugurated in 2015.
Nguyen Hue Walking Street
Also known as Reunification Palace, this is a landmark of HCMC. You’ll find old government offices, war rooms and artifacts from the Vietnam War era.
135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
This French-built cathedral occupies scenic Paris Square in the heart of HCMC.
1 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Quận 1 Hồ Chí Minh
Saigon Central Post Office
Just opposite the cathedral is the monumental central post office, completed in 1891, with a vaulted main hall & period finishes.
Số 125 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh
Saigon Opera House
Also known as the Municipal Theatre, the French colonial building is now a venue for cultural performances. If you intend to catch an evening show, do come early for a free tour of this historic building.
7 Công Trường Lam Sơn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh
Located in the central Bukit Bintang area of the city, Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotel and Residences offers 450 rooms and 157 serviced apartments. The former Prince Hotel has been taken over by AccorHotels and undergone refurbishment inline with Pullman’s brand standards.
From KLIA, it was merely an hour car ride to Pullman KLCC. The recently renovated lobby was very welcoming and I did not have to wait long for my room keycard.
The property consist of 2 wings; Residence and Hotel.
Premium Deluxe Room
As Accor Gold member, I was upgraded to the next room category. At 35 sqm, my room was located on the 29th floor.
Welcome fruits platter.
View of the twin towers.
Standard minibar with coffee machine
Sliding wardrobe with safe box, iron and ironing board.
The bathroom was a bit outdated. Apparently, 3 rooms on the 29th floor do not have a bathtub but comes with a bidet.
Bathroom amenities by C.O Bigelow
The pool is located on level 10.
The Zone is open to both residence and hotel guests that comes equipped with a PlayStation and Xbox.
To commemorate 200 years since the founding of modern Singapore by Stamford Raffles back in 1819, i Light Singapore – Bicentennial Edition features 33 sustainable light art installations spanning across Marina Bay, the Civic District, Singapore River and Raffles Terrace at Fort Canning Park. This year edition reflects on Singapore’s history and growth over the last 700 years. With that, you can expect it to be bigger and better!
Lighthouse of Time
The façade of ArtScience Museum is transformed into a lighthouse for a new age; a gigantic light sculpture of dancing lights.
ArtScience Museum Façade
The Time Vortex
Travel through time as The Helix bridge comes alive with a beautiful tunnel of moving lights whizzing through space.
This is one of the ‘Instagram worthy’ light installation you should not missed!
The Helix Bridge
The Rainbow Connection
A display of solar light modules that is made from upcycled cookie containers, suspended to form a kaleidoscopic projection on ground.
Marina Bay Sands trellises
Inspired by the selfie culture, the Facey Thing creates hyperreal simulated images of visitors through the art of play.
Marina Bay waterfront promenade
Singapore’s future skyline by using only clothes pegs.
Marina Bay lower boardwalk
Inspired by the original sampan panjang of the Orang Laut and by its later racing variations, Sails Aloft is a holographic art installation that creates a snapshot of a 19th century sailboat race in the region.
Marina Bay waterfront promenade
Shades of Temporality
This is the only time you can ‘paint’ on the public wall! Using electronic paint rollers and custom software, visitors are able to virtually “paint” videos, in real time, onto walls, creating endless combinations of moving murals in the process.
Marina Bay Link Mall entrance
As the name suggest, the sea of twists and turns is an abstract reflection of this very multicultural world we live in.
The Promontory @ Marina Bay
City Gazing Singapore
Suspended over The Lawn @ Marina Bay, this work showcases the dynamic city of Singapore as if flying over it by night when being lit up.
The Lawn @ Marina Bay
This installation brightens according to the motions and touch of passers-by.
This artwork rotates to stimulate the movement of a clock.
Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Usher in the New Year with Gardens by the Bay’s first floral display of 2019, “Dahlia Dreams”. Take a stroll through a Chinese garden blooming with over 100 varieties of dahlias; some with blooms as large as one’s face. Here’s what you can expect at the Flower Dome.
A thousand blooms
The Senrinzaki or “Thousand Blooms” features an intricate dome-shaped arrangement of 500 to 1,500 chrysanthemum flowers grown for a year or more! This technique, developed in the Fukushima Prefecture in Nihonmatsu city, is a refinement of the Ozukuri artform, or “big formation”, which only reached a hundred blooms.
A majestic 40-metre-long archway of red lanterns
Year of the pig
Usher in a prosperous year with exciting festive performances and activities at Gardens by the Bay!
2 – 10 Feb
12pm – 6pm
Singapore Chinese Orchestra: Spring Celebrations at the Gardens
6.30pm – 7.30pm
Ding Yi Music Company: Musical Spring at the Gardens
6.30pm – 7.30pm
2pm, 3pm, 4pm
4.30pm – 8.20pm
9 & 10 Feb
1pm & 3pm
Lion Dance on Poles
Dahlia Dreams Floral Display
Now till 24 February 2019
Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Purchase your tickets here!
This year annual urban art event comprises 2 editions over 6 weeks at the Civic District. The Art Week Edition explores contemporary art and ideas inspired by the Civic District’s histories and stories. The works presented in this edition respond to the theme “Traces and Echoes”
Art Skins of Monuments – The Odyssey
The main highlights is the biggest façade light show in Singapore created by artists, illustrators and multimedia designers on the façades of four iconic buildings in the Civic District. The Odyssey presents the wanderings of an Explorer across seven surfaces of the Civic District’s majestic monuments.
Day and Night
Venue: National Gallery Singapore. From 8pm onwards.
Light and Shadow
Venue: National Gallery Singapore (Supreme Court Wing, facing The Arts House)
Stasis & Flux
This is an interactive wall where visitors have the chance to flaunt their best moves and have it reflected on projection above.
Venue: National Gallery Singapore (Padang Atrium)
Order & Chaos
Venue: The Art House
Growth & Decay
Venue: Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert
Dreams & Reality
Venue: Asian Civilisations Museum
Sticks by Sebastian Chun
This free-standing sculpture revives two ubiquitous hallmarks of Singapore in yesteryear: the childhood game “pick-up sticks” and bakau piling, a technique once commonly used to construct scaffolding.
Venue: ACM Green
Resonance by NAFA
Venue: ACM Green
Light to Night Festival 2019
Now on till 24 February 2019, 5pm-12am
Singapore Art Week edition (Jan 18-27)
Singapore Bicentennial edition (Jan 28-Feb 24)
Various Locations at Civic District Admission is Free!