cityscape

5 things to do on a layover in Singapore

Hello,

welcome back everyone. Singapore was the first stop in our Indonesia itinerary. Why Singapore? you might ask. When travelling from London there are no direct flights Indonesia that were convenient, also neither of us had visited Singapore before. The connecting flights from Changi Airport are also quite short and frequent, so Singapore was a great place to overcome the jetlag, get used to the equatorial climate and start the trip to Indonesia.

Singapore feels like a melting pot of cultures, religions, food and lifestyle. With futuristic architecture on one side of the town and traditional markets on the other it truly feels like a place of contrasts. When taking the underground metro from The Quays to Chinatown it seems like going back in time. There's Orchard Road with huge shopping malls and shops like Hugo Boss or Louis Vuitton and then there's Little India where people trade fish and vegetables in crammed and noisy market halls. 

Singapore isn't cheap. Compared to its neighbor Indonesia it's actually quite expensive. Average price for lunch is about 8-10£, coffee costs around 3£. If you want to save some money most shopping malls have some decent food courts that offer a large variety of local and international street food. 

 

We only stayed a total of 3 nights, two at the start of our trip and one at the end. Here are a few sights that you shouldn't miss and that are definitely worth your time:

1. Gardens by the Bay

The Gardens by the Bay is probably one of Singapore's most photographed site. The highlight of the park are undoubtedly the massive artificial metal tree structures that rise above all other plants in the area. The trees are illuminated in different colours at night (themed light-shows take place at 7.45pm and 8.45pm), best times to visit is probably very early in the morning or late evenings.

For about 15£ per person you can also visit the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. Particularly the Cloud Forest was quite interesting, also refreshingly cooler than the rest of the park. The gardens itself are free, so you can visit multiple times if you like. 

2. Southern Ridges

The walk along the Southern Ridges was one of my favorite things to do in Singapore. It took about 2-3 hours, but we stopped many times for photos and coffee breaks. There were a few steep stairs along the path but the view over the city from the peaks are quite stunning. Even thou you're still in the middle of the city it feels more like walking through a jungle. There is also a tree top walk from where you can enjoy a unique view over the trees and foliage, sometimes there are even wild monkeys. The whole walk felt very quiet, we rarely saw any other people. Compared to the hot and hectic city this was a very relaxing experience.

Also there's a very chilled cafe at the top of Mt. Faber, which is quite amazing for an iced coffee and an great view over the harbour. 

3. Marina Bay Sands

The big question you'll probably ask yourself: Is it worth it? Rooms in Singapore's fanciest hotel don't come cheap, but the infinity pool on the 57th floor is really quite breathtaking. The hotel is a big tourist attraction and the pool gets very busy at peak times, particularly around sunset. The best times for a relaxed swim is early mornings and late nights (pool opens at 6am until 11pm). There are 2 types of rooms, one with view over the Gardens by the Bay and one over the city. Our room had city view which was quite spectacular, I would definitely recommend this side. Also hotel guests have free access to the observation deck, from where you have an almost 360° view over the city.

4. Botanic Gardens

Another entirely free thing to explore is the Singapore Botanic Garden. Very quiet and relaxing, I found it to be a much welcome break from the city life. There are many walks and trails through the gardens, the rain forest part is probably the most impressive. 

5. Quays at Night

The perfect end-of-day-walk! Start at Read Bridge and keep walking east on either side of the river. There are plenty of places to grab food or drinks. Once you reach the Merlion, a half lion half fish stature you'll have a fantastic view over the Singaporean skyline and the Marina Bay Sands. You can walk all the way around the bay, there's some pretty amazingly designed bridges and colourful buildings. 

Bonus Breakfast Tip: My Awesome Cafe

We had a great breakfast at "My Awesome Cafe". Great coffee and scrambled eggs and some pretty awesome shakes. If you're in the area that's definitely worth a visit:

202 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore, 068639
9:00 morning till 12:00 midnight

 

The New York City Digest

Hi all,

after coming back from New York City I went through the pictures and I really have to say that four days can't do justice to such a big city. I was actually pleasantly surprised how beautiful a lot of the pictures turned out. I was also the first time I took the Sony A7rii out for a field test. 

On the first day it was incredibly hot. With temperatures well above 30°C we started the day in the Central Park. We also made our first encounter with the New York City Subway. 

After a few hours of strolling around the park and at least three stops for coffee (jetlag!) we headed downtown for Grand Central Station. 

It was already late afternoon by the time we left the station, and temperatures we're still climbing, and so was the amount of people on the streets. A lunch break was well overdue so we went to the nearest park for a sandwich and (more) coffee. 

After a few hours of rest and some New York City burgers we decided to end the day on the roof of the Empire State Building. We deliberately arrived there quite late around 9.30pm to avoid the queues and get some nice shots of the New York Skyline with all the citylights on.  

Conveniently Times Square was right next door so we took some snaps and enjoyed the famous scenery. It was also almost midnight and streets were still packed. They don't call it "The city that never sleeps" for no reason.

The next day started grey and rainy. And rainy days are usually an excellent opportunity for some culture, so we decided to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. The museum itself is quite gigantic and we easily spend a few hours exploring everything from Roman Statues to Egyptian tombs.

Not to far from the Metropolitan Museum of Arts is the 9/11 Memorial. The adjacent and mostly underground museum surrounds the former foundation of the twin towers. It's quite an impressive and agitating exhibition and definitely worth a visit.

When we woke up the following day the sun was out again. The Metropolitan Museum of Arts also features a quite amazing rooftop that overlooks Central Park. 

After another stroll through Central Park we took the subway further downtown. We spent most of the morning and early afternoon exploring Lower Manhattan and the East Village. 

From Whitehall Street at the northern tip of Manhattan you can take the Staten Island Ferry completely free of charge for a tour around the Lower Hudson Bay. 

The last sunset we spent in good New York tradition under the Brooklyn Bridge. To sum up the experience we had and now that I'm looking at the pictures back at home I wish I have had a little more time to discover in particular New York's quieter sides, parks and cafes. 

I've you liked my pictures please follow me on Instagram or Twitter, leave a comment or message me if you want to get in touch. I would love to hear your feedback.

See you soon,

Tobi

Rome - La Dolce Vita

You may have the universe if I may have Italy
— Giuseppe Verdi, in a dialogue with God

You may think that this old guy had no idea what he was talking about. I thought so. Well it took only a few day to completely change my mind.

Rome in summer in an incredibly vibrant place. Walking through the street and little alleys of Rome there's always something to discover, some street artists, an amazing hidden gelato place or another astounding piece of ancient Roman architecture. Especially at nighttimes when temperatures become more comfortable a stroll through the streets almost feels like stepping back in time.

Here are a few highlights:

In terms of food, expectations have been quite high and I have to admit, it's gonna be damn hard to beat the Italian Cuisine. No matter where we went, what we ordered the food has always been fantastic. If you are going to get Carbonara, you gonna be spoilt for the rest of you life but it's absolutely worth it. 

And then of course there's ice-cream. Loads of gorgeous creamy ice-cream.

So all in all, Rome, 5 stars.