How to visit the Marina Bay Sands Sky Deck – A night at Ce La Vi Skybar

I dare say that the Marina Bay Sands with it’s unique design ( the top deck is shaped like a giant ship, resting on three seperate skyscapers ) is Singapore’s most iconic landmark. The building hosts a casino and the 5-star Marina Bay Sands Resort, featuring a wide range of spa amenities, numerous bars and restaurants and a spectacular Sky Deck with a luxurious 150 metre long infinity pool. It is an incredible architectural masterpiece with views that are absolutely one-of-a-kind. The sad part is, that it’s amenities, including the larger area of the Sky Deck and the pool are exclusively for guests of the resort and that the room rates start at around 400 $ a night.

But don’t be discouraged just yet, as I am going to tell you now, how me and my friend still got up to the top and had a great night high above the city.

Singapore Gardens by the Bay

Singapore Gardens by the Bay

We started our evening with a beautiful walk around the Singapore Marina, right where the Marina Bay Sands is located. After checking out the Merlion statue, the national icon of Singapore with the head of a lion and the body of a fish and several architectural masterpieces showcased around the water arm, such as the Esplanade that is shaped like a durian. If you plan a trip here, also make sure you are there to see Wonder Full. The light and water show displayed everyday at 8.00, 9.30 and 11.00 pm is an absolute highlight, making the waters of the Marina reflect the beams of light that are coming from the Sky Deck of the Marina Bay Sands.

 

After that, get yourself some dinner at one of the close by asian food courts. The one we have been to was a big open-air space with eating tables, surrounded by a huge number of little hawkers stalls. There are plenty of reasons why this must me my absolute favourite dining option when in South East Asia. First, it’s fresh and delicious! The food is being cooked fresh right in front of your eyes and always is surprisingly good. Also you get a huge variety of choices, which is most fun if you are a group of people and just get heaps of different, yummy-looking plates of “whatever-that-is” to share. And then it also is the most authentic way to eat out: Being right in the middle of all the buzz, surrounded by the different smells of cooking food, the sound of laughter, vital conversations and hawkers loudly advertising their treats, maybe even sharing a big table with locals, for me is the epitome of what travel means. Also it is usually very cheap. And believe me, when you are travelling on a budget this will be a much better option than investing a lot of money in a luxurious dinner in one of the Marina Bay Sands restaurants.

After dinner it is getting time to make your way up to the Skybar, as you’d want to try to get there before 9 pm to avoid the entrance fee (that’s on weekends). You enter the hotel lobby through the main entrance or through the neighbouring shopping centre The Shoppes. Once in the lobby all you have to do is to search for the right elevator to take you up to the bar. Look out for a big sign saying Ce La Vie and a concierge monitoring the numbers of people entering the elevator and their dress code. In my experience the dress code ( stylish-chic ) wasn’t very strict at all, just make sure to look proper, don’t wear flip-flops, shorts or singlets and you’ll be sweet.

 

And that’s it. You’ll be in the elevator in no time, making your way up to the top ( level 57! ). Once you get out it’s only a few steps towards the balcony and the views down on the Marina Bay Skyline will blow your mind. It is incredibly bright and shiny under the dark night sky and the reflections on the water make it look even the more dramatic. If you can, pick a bar table at the edge of the balcony ( these will be taken in no time once it gets a bit later and more people come in for a night out ), then wait for a waiter to come and hand you over the cocktail menu. It’s worth checking it out, before going for the easy way out and ordering a spirit, as there are some incredible creations on there. I can still perfectly remember what I had: the Geisha, made with fragrant nashi pears, Tanqueray Ten gin, rosemary and saké. Super extraordinary taste, loved it! It does cost about 25 Singapore Dollars if I remember it correctly, but if you were to go to the SkyDeck you’d pay the same money simply for admission. And how much better is it, to enjoy the view with a beautiful drink in your hand and great music from a phenomenal roof-top bar setting hosting a mix of international and local people out for a great night, than to be perched on a void viewing platform with a crowd of wildly selfie-taking tourists? Yes, i know, i’ve got a point!

So make sure you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the marvellous views in all directions and soak in the great peaceful feeling you get from being so high above the ground, that everything else starts to feel far away and almost unreal.  Now, depending on if you are still feeling in spending mood, maybe get another drink and have a little boogie on the dance floor, or make your way back down, where you if not in the mood to go home yet can still go for a nice stroll through the gardens by the bay (just across the street). In my opinion the Super Trees become even more beautiful once you’re feeling a bit tipsy.

 

 

How I fell in love with Singapore! – First Day Itinerary

Singapore has been the first Asian city I have ever travelled to, making me love this beautiful continent from the very start. It has been so different to everything I had ever known before: so diverse, vibrant and full of adventures and foreign places ready to be explored. This city has instantly captured my imagination and still now, after travelling a rather large part of South-East-Asia, it still is one of my absolute favourite cities. With the exciting combination of Chinese, Indian, Malay and Western influences, Singapore is truly a cultural melting pot. From great nature over delicious street-food, giant skyscrapers, bustling markets, amazing light shows to contemporary arts – Singapore doesn’t cease to surprise you over and over again!

I’ll have to add: These days in Singapore have worked out absolutely perfect for us. We have been very lucky to just randomly stumble across incredible places,meet awesome locals to show us around and I am pretty sure that if things had gone differently I might have not enjoyed our stay as much as I did.

So therefore, here is a new guide to help you start of your Singapore Adventure right and make you fall in love with this city, too.

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Start your day at Chinatown. The cramped five-foot-ways, dingy alleys and raucous street hawkers will be the perfect introduction to the cultural heritage of the city.You could easily spend the whole day wandering through these still-narrow streets, strolling past family-run goldsmiths, medicinal halls and teahouses, but also some more modern shops. Chinatown also is where Hindu temples and mosques sit right next to Chinese temples, perfectly capturing the spirit of the entire city. Leave yourself some time to explore both the streets and temples, grab some lunch at one of the hawker stalls at the Chinatown Food Street and then make your way to the Gardens by the Bay.

12620447_1119636398060091_1314475764_oThe Gardens by the Bay are an amazing place. Right in between the modern business district of the city and the ocean they are enormous public garden facilities with great views on the Marina Bay Sands. There is heaps to do here, but I’d suggest you start of with a visit to the Cloud Forest. It’s one of the two domes featured in the gardens and is designed to take you up high into a mysterious mountain world, with lush vegetation and pretty waterfalls.

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It’s also a very informative place where you can learn interesting facts about plants and our environment. Afterwards you can either check out the Flower Dome or have a wander around the gardens. Definitely check out the boardwalk over the Dragonfly Lake as well!

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Then for dinner check out Satay by the Bay. It’s a nice little food court right in the heart of the gardens, hosting local food stalls. You’ll notice that a large number of them are specialising in Satay, which is a typically local dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with peanut sauce. Definitely get yourself a good amount of these: they are great! The dining experience is rounded off by the ridiculously small tables and chairs, often to be found in asian countries.

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Finished your meal? Alright, let’s go on. There is one more stop that you should not miss out on at the Gardens by the Bay, literally my favourite experience in Singapore at all: the Super Trees! Measuring between 25 and 50 metres tall, they are massive vertical gardens in a unique tree-like look that is created through a trunks and large outspreading canopies. If you have already seen them earlier in the day (which is pretty likely, as they are towering up high above the gardens) you’ll be surprised by how different they look once it’s getting dark. Get there around 8 pm, look for a nice place to sit down close to the trees (the little plaza in between the biggest ones is perfect) and then wait. What you are waiting for you wonder? It’s called the Garden Rhapsody and basically is a light and sound show, bringing the Super Trees to live in bright colourful variations of light that are aligned to the sounds of classical music. It is absolutely stunning to watch and one of my most distinct memories of Singapore still is laying on the floor at the Gardens by the Bay, looking towards the sky and letting my mind drift away while watching these giant trees glow far above my head. This must have been the moment I fell in love!

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Koh Rong Samloem’s Sunset Beach – perfect for everyone looking to get off the beaten track in Cambodia

I bet we all can agree on one thing: South- East- Asia is a great place! The beaches, the people, the food, the lighthearted way of life.. You go there once and it somehow casts a spell over you that makes you want to return over and over again (..or sometimes just stay). It was the same for me, after I returned from my first visit to Malaysia and Thailand in 2014, I could simply not wait to plan my next trip.

This time I wanted to do it a bit differently though. On my first trip, especially in Thailand, I followed the common route, leading myself from one tourist spot into the next one. And it was great fun.. But this time I wanted to have more of an adventure, get out of the party zones and explore the pristine nature of my destination in a less developed setting.

And this is where my search had lead me. Koh Rong Samloem Island off the coast of Cambodia. Now this might seem familiar to you, because in the last few years the island was subject to a decent rise in tourist numbers. The beach is still stunningly white and the waters are super clear, but yes development has kicked off and it does start to get busier there.

That’s talking about Saracen Bay though. It’s the main beach of the island and pretty much what everyone is talking about when saying Koh Rong Samloem. But there is another beach, called Sunset beach, on the opposite side of the island that is only connected to the main area through a 1 hour bushwalk and therefore stays widely unregarded and in my opinion that’s exactly what makes it the gem that it is.

Sunset Beach Koh Rong Sanloem

Sunset Beach Koh Rong Sanloem

Although smaller, it has a beautiful beach. Combined with muuuuch less hassle. There is only like 4 resorts/accommodations over here, all super laid- back and perfectly fitting in with the surroundings. To get here you can either take the ferry to the pier at Saracen Bay and then do the one hour hike ( wouldn’t recommend it if you have a lot of luggage though ) or book one of the accommodations in advance and get transfered over by their own boat. That is definitely the more comfortable option and the one I would recommend.

happa

While all of the accommodations looked awesome and have their own cool features, we stayed at the Happa Garden Resort and it was great! You get your own centrally located beach bungalow with a hammock on the balcony. Electricity works through a generator, so only over night, but trust me there is so much to do you are not going to worry about it.

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The Happa Restaurant is super nice as well, serving delicious teppenyaki and japanese, in shaded daybeds on the beach.

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You can book diving trips at the dive shop or alternatively just explore the beautiful surrounding reef by snorkeling. Rent of snorkel and mask is included for guests.

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Further you can always wander over to the other resort areas. One of which features a great chillout setting by the beach, including hammocks and a treehouse and where you also have the option to play boccia and pool by the beach bar. Another place is regularly holding competitions such as beach volley ball and shows movies in the evenings.

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What we liked most about this beach was, how quickly you got familiar with everything and everyone. It’s an amazing feeling to find a place like that away from home, where you can just be comfortable and relax. So go and check everything out and make sure to see at least one of the beautiful sunsets ( it hasn’t been called the Sunset Beach for no reason! ).

PS: There is one more very special thing to be experienced here. Read about Cambodia’s Glowing Plankton.

 

 

 

 

Happa Garden Resort Video

We have just finished creating a resort video for ‘Happa Garden Resort’ located on Koh Rong Sanloem island in Cambodia. We had an amazing time on the island and it was so much fun creating a video of our adventure. The video explores what can be done in a day at the resort with the beautiful bungalows, delicious teppanyaki food, snorkelling straight off the beach and some nice areas to relax and watch the sunset. There is no need to continue talking about it, just watch it below!

 

Palm Beach Bungalow Resort – Koh Rong Cambodia

Located on the North Of Koh Rong Island, Palm Beach Bungalow Resort is a slice of island paradise with white beaches, comfortable wooden bungalows and entertaining facilities. Only accessible via a private resort boat from Sihanoukville the location is hidden away from the rest of the island but still has enough activities to keep you busy for days.

The Rooms

We stayed in a beach front bungalow that was extremely comfortable for 2 people with plenty of space to drop the bags, hang clothes and comfortably settle in for a few days. It also was very tidy and clean with a big bed, strong fan and a mosquito net that seemed to actually work! Bungalow bathrooms can normally lack any form of comfort however it was clean, we always had strong running water, plenty of area to leave toiletries and a nice mirror with the sink.

Plenty of room for both of our bags and shelves to stack clothes or other items

Very comfortable area for two

The bungalow had a hammock hanging on the front patio, which also included a few seats and a small table. A great touch for relaxing in your own private space between activities (Also a feature we have long wanted to experience).

There is not much better than a hammock facing the beach

The facilities

The communal facilities are what really made this stay that extra bit more memorable.

  • A great restaurant and bar area
  • One of the most impressive locations for a pool table ever, and it’s free
  • A huge stack of board games
  • Plenty of hammocks and lounges on the beach
  • 24 hour electricity
  • 24 hour wifi
One of the many secluded spots to relax by the beach

One of the many secluded spots to relax by the beach

Lunch by the beach, why not?

Lunch by the beach, why not?

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Might be the best setting for a pooltable there is

Some of the many hammocks scattered around the resort

Some of the many hammocks scattered around the resort

 

The Activities

Beach Volleyball included! a great location surrounded by palm trees

Beach Volleyball included! a great location surrounded by palm trees

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Relax at endless stretches of pristine beach

A sunset boat tour that included snorkelling, fishing and a GLOW IN THE DARK PLANKTON tour. Read more about our experience in the glowing ocean

A short walk to a local fishing village, one of the best experiences during our trip to Cambodia. Read more about our trip to Prek Svay Fishing Village

We spent three nights staying at Palm Beach Bungalow Resort and that was enough to experience all of these activities. For more information about our entire stay including how to travel to Koh Rong read Everything You Need To Now About Koh Rong

The fantastic glowing Plankton that lights up Cambodias ocean

Cambodia is an incredible country. From the enormous temples of Angkor, the buzzing capital of Phnom Penh, secluded island paradises, sheer endless kilometres of unspoiled tropical beaches, the mighty Mekong River, to a vibrant culture and some of the friendliest people around, this country has it all. There is so much to see and even more to experience, making it an absolute highlight on every south-east-Asia trip and a great spot for a holiday.

Last month we spent 4 weeks travelling Cambodia and of course we didn’t miss out on all the famous sights but we were very surprised when we finally came upon one of the countries features, which not only ended up to be our absolute highlight, but also we had never in our whole lives heard of before! In case this has caught your interest, read on as I will tell you all about it:

The phenomenon that had blown our minds so much is called Phytoplankton and we first heard of it when at Koh Rong, a beautiful island off Sihanoukville, situated at Cambodia’s southern coast. We stayed at Palm Beach Bungalows, which is the only resort on the secluded Palm Beach and upon arrival with the resort owned boat, we discovered a sign advertising a sunset boat trip to see the “Glowing Plankton”. We loved the sound of it and immediately made the decision to book the tour for the next day, to see what it was about.

One day later, in the late afternoon we got picked up by a diveboat, which took us on a pretty 30-minute cruise towards the north of the island, where we got equipped with snorkel and mask and then jumped in the water for a snorkel. When the sun started setting we got back on the boat where we had plenty of time to enjoy a serving of fresh, tropical fruit salad, watch the sunset and even try our luck at fishing. This was in order to pass the time, that was needed for it to get absolutely pitch black outside.

We were treated to another beautiful sunset as we waited for all light to disappear Treated to a beautiful sunset as we waited for all the light to disappear

But why did we want it to be so dark, you wonder? Phytoplankton has evolved to glow in order to startle or distract fish and other potential predators, leading them to light up in the water as soon as they are being distracted. This distraction is caused best by objects that are moving through the water, but the simple swirl of a wave can sometimes be enough. One condition is absolutely imperative though and that is absolute darkness. Daylight, or even just distant lights, such as the lighting of a bar or a resort will cause too much light pollution. That’s why the best way to see them is on a dark boat in the darkness of the night, or on a super secluded dark part of the beach, if available.

At 8 pm it was finally dark enough for us to jump in and we couldn’t wait. I was first in the water and I literally couldn’t believe what was happening. All the water around me was full of glowing sparkles, I could see how my body was covered in them as well and every movement I made would cause a flow of bright water. It was so magical that I started swimming and watching the sparkles run over my arms and through the water until someone on the boat had to tell me to turn around, cause I was going to far away. I didn’t even realise, thats how captured I was by this amazing sight. After this first swim we ended up jumping in a second time, with snorkel and mask, and it was even better. With your head under water it was easier to watch the plankton and you could see the light coming from all directions and right in front of your eyes. We spent over an hour in the water, absolutely fascinated and playing around with the glowing water like little kids and when we finally had to get back on the boat to go back to the resort, we sat down on the top deck, watching the stars and talking about how unbelievably beautiful it was.

After this day we had several more experiences with the glowing plankton. Once on the far side of the beach at the Palm Beach Bungalows at Koh Rong and twice at the Sunset Beach on Koh Rong Samloem (here we had to wait until the electricity turned of at 11pm). We were lucky and saw them very well every single time, but we have heard that the glow can be less obvious with a fuller moon (we had close to no visible moon).

A Day In Prek Svay Fishing Village – Koh Rong Cambodia

Asia is well known for it’s unique cultures and friendly people, however this can often be hard to find through a typical sightseeing journey. Many capital cities and tourism hotspots have been developed mainly for travellers and a truly unique experience with local people can be hard to find. Prek Svay fishing village provided one of these culturally unique opportunities to interact with local Cambodian people untouched from the industry of tourism and with no expectations on your interaction with them.

Located on north of Koh Rong island this local fishing village is not easily accessible from most of the island, however it’s only a short walk from Palm Beach Bungalows. Depending on the tides the walk can be made along the beach in low tide or along a sand road through jungle (See map below).

Map of Koh Rong island - Cambodia

Map of Koh Rong island – Cambodia

The tide was too high for us to walk along the beach so we began the journey taking the longer sand road path. It was a warm day and sand is not the easiest to walk on so we don’t recommend starting at 11am! Early morning or late afternoon would be the best if the tides allow.

Our last look at the ocean before our trek to Prek Svay

Our last look at the ocean before our trek to Prek Svay

It is easy to get exhausted in these conditions and after 10 minutes of walking we were both keen to relax, but with no opportunities to sit down we kept going. 20 minutes passed and with many different paths to follow we started to worry about our positioning and if maybe we were lost!

It’s a relaxing and peaceful walk, but easier when the temperature isn’t 38 degrees

However we continued walking and soon a motorbike with two young locals passed us. We assumed that following the trail of the bike would safely bring us to the village. Another 10 minutes of walking passed and we could finally see a large building in the distance. We had been told that this should be the local school and luckily it was!

We made it! The first building of Prek Svay Village

We made it! The Prek Svay Village school

The schools only swing

No school today and the area was very quiet, we took a moment to have a drink at the school swing

After walking further into the village we sat down at a table and saw some young monks curiously looking at us from a building in the distance. We waived at them and immediately they came over to see what we were doing. We quickly noticed that spoken communication was difficult so we shared some high fives and showed them how our camera worked.

Young monk keen to show off some poses

Our next priority was to find somewhere in the village to buy some water as we had finished the bottles we brought with us. It was a nice change to be walking through an area and not have the constant requests to eat and drink in the street venues, however at this point we were very keen to speak with someone.

The village starts to come to life with more houses and people

The village starts to come to life with more houses and people

We found a store with some english items written on a sign at the front and we immediately purchased some water and a coconut.

The biggest watermelon we have ever had in Asia

The biggest coconut we have ever had in Asia

While drinking the coconut a lovely lady came over and showed us some cashews saying “$1 dollar”. Also feeling a little bit hungry we purchased a packet and the lady proceeded to show us how she made them. First picking them from the tree, the pan roasting them and peeling the cooked nut from it’s shell. After we had finished our coconut she then offered to chop it in half and seperate it’s flesh so it could be eaten.

Freshly roasted cashews

Freshly roasted cashews

The coconut being flesh prepared

The coconut flesh being prepared

After finishing what can only be called a meal for what the size of the coconut was, we continued to exchange english words for Cambodian with a few of the locals who had arrived to say hello. We were then directed to the the main housing area located on the river which is where most of the village reside. A beautiful river with houses on each side made for one of the truly impressive photo opportunities.

The entrance into Prek Svay Fishing Village is a beautiful site

The river entrance into Prek Svay Fishing Village is a beautiful site

Prek Svay fishing villiage, a place truly untouched from tourism

Prek Svay fishing villiage, a place truly untouched from tourism

Just when we thought our journey was over, we stumbled across a cute little puppy and managed to work our way into a pool game. Topping off what had been an amazing day.

BIG smile from this very playful puppy

BIG smile from this very playful puppy

The language barrier didn't matter for a game of pool

The language barrier didn’t matter for a game of pool

Now that the tide has dropped we could make the much more enjoyable walk back with a swim stop every 50 meters.

The tide has dropped for a relaxing walk back to palm Beach

The tide has dropped for a relaxing walk back to the Palm Beach Bungalows

Find out more about our 3 night experience at Koh Rong Island. Including our advice for staying at Koh Rong and how to swim with glow in the dark plankton!

Koh Rong Cambodia – Everything You Need To Know

Koh Rong is a beautiful island 2 hours west of Sihanoukville,  with resorts scattered across various locations, providing something for everyone from comfortable budget beach bungalows to luxurious resorts. The main area of the island is ‘koh Touch’ beach located on the south of the island this can be accessed from Sihanoukville with regular ferry journeys departing in the morning and afternoon. For more specific locations on the island it is important to contact your hotel prior as they may have their own direct transfer or require boarding another boat upon arrival.

Koh Rong is very big and it’s not easy or cheap to travel around the island. So research where on the island is best for you

We travelled to a more remote part of the island called Palm Beach, located within walking distance to a local fishing village named ‘Prek Svay’, where we stayed at the beautiful “Palm Beach Bungalows”. As this is the only resort in this area of the island there isn´t any public ferries that will take you there, meaning that you will have to catch a boat run by the resort which departs every day at 1pm from their head office in Sihanoukville.

Taking our tuk tuk from the Palm Beach head office to the pier

Be considerate of this departure time when planning and booking your trip and make sure that it will fit with your schedule, as travel times in Cambodia can vary a lot and once you have missed you transport you have no other option than waiting another day. We actually had a very close call, because we travelled from Phnom Phen on the same day. Normally being a 4 hour journey, it ended up taking us over 6 hours and we didn’t arrive till 1:15pm! We ran straight to the Palm Beach Bungalows office and managed to get there just in time to check in and jump on a tuk tuk to the dive boat. Luckily for us the boat doesn’t normally leave till 1:30-2pm.

Setting sail from the mainland knowing that we JUST made the boat transfer

We made it! Now we could finally relax, the 2 hour journey was beautiful I sat on the top deck of the boat blissfully reading as I could see our destination in the distance. Feeling the cool sea breeze and warm afternoon sun Jana and I began to feel excitement for the next three nights.

 

Both Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem in the distance.

Both Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem in the distance

The top deck provided a perfect spot for some reading.

The top deck provided a perfect spot for some reading

As the boat approached the pier, we spotted a small island just off Koh Rong, only like 200 meters out from Palm Beach. Rooms on this island can cost up to $1000 a night, and with the same view as Palm Beach Bungalows it’s quite obvious where the value is.

Song Saa Private island, is an example of the luxury available to you in Koh Rong

Song Saa Private island, is an example of the luxury available to you in Koh Rong

 

First glimpse at Palm Beach Bungalows as you stroll off the pier into the resort hidden behind jungle.

First glimpse at Palm Beach Bungalows as you stroll off the pier into the resort hidden behind jungle

Being treated to a delicious welcome drink upon arrival, we sat down in the main area, where we now started to take in just how wonderful our surroundings were. The whole main area of the resort, including bar and restaurant is overlooking the ocean and so is the pool table. There is a sand volleyball court in front of the beach bungalows, each one having it´s own hammock hanging across the front balcony and bright white sand beaches stretching in both directions for as far as the eye can see. We  immediately thought that we were going to spend some great days in this special place! Click for more about the Palm Beach Bungalow Resort and its facilities.

 

White Russian welcome drinks upon arrival

White Russian welcome drinks upon arrival

I have always wanted a beach front bungalow with a hammock!

In the bar we noticed a sign for a sunset boat trip which included swimming with glowing plankton and as we had never heard of it before we were super curious about it. After only an hour we knew what the plan was for the next day and booked two spots for the trip. Now it was time to take advantage of this pool table and have a few drinks.

The best pool table we have ever seen. many games were played!

The best pool table we have ever seen. many games were played!

Day 2

So much beach, and we don't even need to share!

So much beach, and we don’t even need to share!

The next day we got up early to spend some time at the beach as the plankton trip didn’t start until 4pm. Here the beaches are heavily affected by the tides, but if you visit at the right time you can experience some pristine water of the most beautiful blue colour. We spent hours swimming around discovering plenty of harmless aquatic life.

 

The tides provided some amazing areas of sand that would change throughout the day

 

 

Only blue skies and blue sea as far as the eye can see

Only blue skies and blue sea as far as the eye can see

What is a beach photo collection without a handstand?!

The plankton trip that evening was one of the most unique and amazing experiences, including some time for afternoon snorkelling, fishing at sunset and the swimming with the plankton. Unfortunately the glow in the dark plankton are nearly impossible to effectively photograph, all the more reason to go and see it yourself. Remember to wear goggles and swim underwater with them because that is when they are most vivid. Read in more detail about The Plankton Trip.

 

Waiting for the the sun to set so we could see the plankton

Waiting for the the sun to set so we could see the plankton

Day 3

Today we woke up to a strong storm which is quite common throughout this area, however our bungalow stayed completely dry and waking up to the rain was actually quite relaxing. Fortunately the resort has a big collection of board games  and so we spent our morning playing chess, observed by our new found friend who would visit us every morning after breakfast.

 

our cute kitty photo

our cute kitty photo

 

We discovered there was a local fishing village only 30 minutes down the beach, so we decided to visit the area and it was a great experience. This was the only time we felt in a truly local area during our travel around Asia, somewhere completely untouched from tourism. There were only a few people in the whole village who could speak English and we managed to purchase the largest coconut we have ever seen and some freshly roasted cashews. For the rest of our time there we engaged in some funny chats with locals and exchanged English vocabulary for Cambodian. Click the link for a more detailed story about Prek Svay fishing village.

 

prez vek fishing villiage, a place truly untouched from tourism

Prek Svay fishing village, an area truly untouched from tourism

 

Day 4

Unfortunately the three night stay was now coming to an end and we had to check out at 8:30 for a 9:30 departure. This gave us time for some delicious breakfast on the beach and a final games of chess, to end what has been an extremely relaxing trip and one of our highlights of Asia.

Our last breakfast by the ocean, a delicous meal as usual

Our last breakfast by the ocean, a delicous meal as usual

We returned to Sihanoukville for a couple of nights and then jumped on another boat, this time taking us to the closeby  ‘Koh Rong Sanloem’. Accessible via ferry directly from Koh Rongs main pier or through Sihanoukville, we were very interested to see what the less developed island had on offer to compete with this amazing experience.

How to Travel Kuala Lumpur to Penang

The route from Kuala Lumpur to Penang has become very popular travel path, as most good value flights into Asia will be arriving in Kuala Lumpur and Penang offers many flexible options for continued travel through the Thailand islands (Penang also being an amazing island). We found the easiest and cheapest option for making the journey to be travel by train + ferry, which took us a total time of 5 hours in a relatively comfortable environment.

Travel locations:

  1. Kl Sentral – Butterworth (train) (4 hours)

  2. Butterworth – Georgetown, Penang (ferry) (1 hour)

The train from Kuala Lumpur (KL Sentral) to Butterworth departs at the following times:

Dates valid at 28th March 2015 see timetable to confirm times

  • 9:15 am
  • 9:30am
  • 6:30pm
  • 8pm

Making your way to KL Sentral from Kuala Lumpur can be done with relative ease via public transport or a taxi, be aware of the unwillingness for cab drivers to charge using their meter, which is the best value option. If arriving from the airport there is a train called the KLIA express that leaves the airport every 15-20 minutes at a cost of (A) 55 RM (C)25RM  this will take you directly to KL Sentral.

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Once here purchase your ticket from a ticket booth for a cost of (A)59RM (C)34RM, be sure to double check departure times online before arrival. If you already purchased your ticket online make sure you have a printed copy of it. Once you have your ticket proceed up the stairs to the KTM intercity platform entrance. During peak times there will be a large group of people waiting to board and remember there may be multiple intercity trains departing around a similar time so not everyone will be waiting for your train and equally important they will only let you onto the platform 15 minutes before departure so there is no point trying to get through any earlier. However that is plenty of time as once they start boarding for your train it is only a 30 second walk downstairs onto the platform and then you will be on the train.

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Your ticket will be assigned a seat number so be aware of what that is and where you will be sitting, also be sure to keep a hold of your ticket once on the train as inspectors will walk around and approve them once the train departs. However once this has been completed its time to relax and enjoy the trip which is actually quite pleasant with a lot of sights and scenery.

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The journey by train takes 3.5 hours and you will most likely get hungry, whilst there is food on board we decided to pre-purchase some snacks from a Kuala Lumpur street market the night before departing, this is a much cheaper option. Below are some photos of what we purchased at a Kuala Lumpur night market, the food is amazing!

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Once at the Butterworth destination moving to the ferry terminal is very simple being a total of 5 minutes walk. Once you have exited the station turn left following the ferry signs and you will eventually be brought brought to a ticket booth for purchasing the ticket.

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Tickets costs 1.20 RM and you must have the exact change to be entered in the entry machine, during busy times there is also someone attending a change counter to exchange coins so you have the right amount. Once you purchased a ferry ticket there is a waiting area simply relax here until the next ferry arrives and you will then be guided on, capacity should never be an issue on the ferries as there is normally plenty of space.

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Now that your on the ferry just relax and enjoy the sea breeze as you approach Georgetown (Penang). From this arrival location you could walk to most locations/accommodation within the central area, buses are also very easy to navigate (also requiring exact change) it would be best that you look into this before arrival or just speak with the information kiosk attendant available at the Butterworth bus/ferry terminal where you arrive. Otherwise there will be cab drivers available when you arrive however be careful as they will not be keen to charge the fare on the meter and may overcharge you.

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But most importantly Now that you have arrived in Penang get out and explore all of the awesome attractions, roam around by foot to see all the street art and eat plenty of street food which is considered some of the best in Asia! (See Below)

If you have any further comments or questions don’t hesitate to ask we are always happy to help.

Penang Gallery