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We were supposed to be travelling to Taiwan for our Babymoon but due to the recent Novel Coronavirus, we changed our plans and decided to go to Bintan instead. 

However, if you are more adventurous and would like to take advantage of this opportunity to travel (because flight tickets are now pretty cheap), you can make your flight booking easy by doing a quick search online and you might find Tigerair flight ticket to be quite value for money for short-haul regional trips.

It has been more than 18 years since I last visited Bintan and the only memory that I have of Bintan was going on a simple family vacation trip to Club Med where I joined the Kids Club and was involved in activities such as archery, flying trapeze, sailing, and many more. 

Currency/Costs 

Many people tend to think that Bintan is a pretty expensive place and we don’t deny that because if you mainly hang around the Bintan Resort Areas for the entire duration of your trip; it is definitely going to be super expensive because of the additional 10% service charge and 11% government tax. What that means is that for every $10 you spend at the Bintan Resort Area, you actually spend  $12.10. This amount could add up quite a fair bit if you are a big spender. 

Just so you know, the currency being used here is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) and not the USD. 

Our Accommodation 

We put up at The Anmon Resort Bintan for 3 Days 2 Nights and it costs us $333.79 after some promotional discounts on Agoda.  

There were a couple of reasons why we chose to stay at The Anmon Resort Bintan: 

  • The Anmon Resort Bintan is relatively new and they opened their doors to welcome guests since 2019. During our stay there, we heard that their official opening is going to take place sometime in March 2020. 
  • Glamping has been a way of life for us whenever we travel abroad. From our first glamping experience at Lake Shoji, Japan to our second glamping experience at Otiake, New Zealand (we haven’t blogged about this yet); we have been searching for our next glamping adventure and The Anmon Resort Bintan was just the perfect answer! 
  • The Anmon Resort Bintan is within walking distance to Treasure Bay and the new Marine Life Discovery Park. The deluxe teepee-style glamping tent that we stayed at was just a 5-minute walk to the new Marine Life Discovery Park. 
  • Shuttle service is provided to-and-fro the Ferry Terminal and The Anmon Resort Bintan. The Ferry Terminal and The Anmon Resort Bintan is just a 8-minute drive away. 

Our Deluxe Teepee-Style Glamping Tent 

Every glamping tent is air-conditioned and comes with an enclosed patio and a private ensuite bathroom. Just so you know, the private ensuite bathroom was something that our previous glamping experiences did not offer so this is where The Anmon Resort Bintan stands out. 

Also, the WiFi connection is amazingly strong and stable throughout the resort. We were expecting the Internet connection to drop at some point but it did not and we suppose one of the key reasons for that is because The Anmon Resort Bintan operates an intuitive Digital Concierge feature that runs on an AI platform to provide guests a 24-hour access to information. Through the Digital Concierge, you can request for toiletries, in-room dining service and many more. 

In case you are wondering, the glamping tent can also sleep up to 4 guests (bedding provided at no additional costs); hence, making it perfect for families with children. 

An access card is required to enter the tent and a safe is provided in every tent to store any valuables or belongings. There is also a mini-bar fridge available to keep all your drinks chilled. We must say, the service at The Anmon Resort Bintan is top notch and very personalised. We totally enjoyed our accommodation experience and will highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a unique dessert-themed glamping place to stay at. 

The Anmon Resort Bintan Facilities and Amenities 

The Anmon Resort Bintan has a full-service restaurant known as the Compass Rose Restaurant and this is where the daily buffet breakfast is served. Personally, we felt that the daily buffet spread did not offer much variety as compared to the experiences that we had in Batam.

An average meal at the Compass Rose Restaurant costs about $18 and if you are in the mood for some Shisha and Bintang Beer, it will cost you $37 and $11 respectively.

One area that The Anmon Resort Bintan impressed us the most was the outdoor alfresco area where you can just unwind and watch a movie while you sip a glass of margarita.

If that does not help to cool you down, you can have a splashing good time at the outdoor container “swimming pool” that is situated just next to the outdoor alfresco area.

The Places and Activities That We Visited and Did 

Treasure Bay 

There are tons of activities that you can do at Treasure Bay; from Bouncy Castle, Slip & Slide, Stand-Up Paddling, and Kayaking to Riding the ATV and Setting off Some Fireworks.

If you buy the 1-day Adult Pass that cost $75 SGD, it includes Slip & Slide, Cable Tube, Mangrove Pontoon Tour, Use of Giant Floats, Lagoon Kayaking, Paddle Boat, ATV, Rodeo Bull, 2-Wheeler Transport, Beach Volley Ball and Beach Soccer. 

For us, we prefer to go a-la-carte because there are more options that are not included in the 1-day adult pass and we also like the flexibility of choosing what we wanted to do.

If you’re a sporty person, the 1-day pass might just be more suitable for you. However, if water sports ain’t your cup of tea, you would be better off with the a-la-carte options. 

Scooting Around Treasure Bay & The Anmon Resort Bintan 

We rented an electric scooter for about $30 to get around Treasure Bay and The Anmon Resort Bintan. Although there is a buggy service that’s available, having an electric scooter makes it very convenient as it saves waiting time. Furthermore, it also allows for many interesting photo stops along the way.

Seafood Dinner @ Kampoeng Kelong Seafood Restaurant 

To get to Kampoeng Kelong Seafood Restaurant, a transport was arranged to fetch us from The Anmon Resort Bintan to the Mangrove area where we then had to take a speedboat to get to the Kelong Restaurant. The setting is rather tranquil, serene and we highly recommend it. 

There are also other Kelong Restaurants within the vicinity but we chose Kampoeng Kelong Seafood Restaurant because of its more reasonable pricing.

Although we ordered small portions, our entire dinner which comprises of cockles, butter prawns, seafood fried rice, sambal kangkong, hotplate tofu, and mushroom soup was enough for up to 4 persons and it costs us $80.

Adventure Mangrove Night Tour

We went on an Adventure Mangrove Night Tour that cost us $16 per person and although the entire experience was a safe and pleasant one; we were slightly disappointed as there weren’t that many fireflies.

If you really want a magical experience, the best time to go for this would be between April to June and also, choose a New Moon Phase and not a Full Moon Phase. It can be very distracting to spot some fireflies especially when the moon is fully illuminated.

Sky Lantern and Fireworks

An option to light up a Sky Lantern or set off some fireworks at the main activity centre and if you are planning for a surprise marriage proposal; this is just the perfect setting for it after the magical Adventure Mangrove Night Tour.

The Impromptu Half Day Tour to Tanjung Pinang 

We had a whole day to ourselves and we were deciding how best to spend our time. Hence, we decided to go on an impromptu half-day tour to Tanjung Pinang. The private transportation costs us about SGD$92 for 6 hours and entrance fees to some of the attractions are not included.

Here are some places of interest that we visited during the half day tour:

Gurun Pasir Bintan

Gurun Pasir Bintan (also known as Bintan Desert) is the perfect place to get some Instaworthy shots. The entrance fee costs $4 per person and you can be there for as long as you like.

We advise that you bring along a hat, a tripod, and some sunscreen protection as it can get scorching hot.

Vihara Avalokitesvara Graha (Guan Yin Temple

There are no entrance fees to the temple and it houses one of the tallest statues of the Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin) in Southeast Asia (this grand and majestic brass statue is 16.8m tall and is coated in 22 carat gold).

What is also interesting about the temple is that it has a dragon fruit plantation that sits right at the front of the temple.

Vihara Ksitigarbha Bodhisatvva (500 Lohan Temple)

Entrance fees to the 500 Lohan Temple costs $3 per person and the temple compounds are mightily impressive and big. Although the highlight of the temple is the 500 life-sized Lohan/Arhat stone statues (each with intricate physique and facial expressions that is different from the next), some visitors might consider the gigantic Buddha statue at the entrance of the temple to be the highlight instead.

Tanjung Pinang Traditional Market 

We reached Tanjung Pinang Traditional Market at about 1600 hours and we were hoping to see if we could get any souvenirs to bring back.

However, many shops were closed and our driver told us that the best day/time to visit would be in the morning during the weekends. Hence, it was pretty much a missed opportunity for us.

Tanjung Pinang Mall 

As there were nothing much that we could do or see at Tanjung Pinang Traditional Market, we asked our driver to bring us to a mall in Tanjung Pinang where we could do some shopping.

Our driver chose to bring us to Ramayana and honestly, there was nothing much that we could shop for over there. If you really want to do some serious shopping in Tanjung Pinang, head to Tanjung Pinang City Centre instead.

Marine Life Discovery Park

On the last day of our Bintan trip before returning Singapore, we visited the Marine Life Discovery Park (MLDP) that is just a 5-minute walk away from our glamping tent.

The MLDP is a rather new attraction where visitors can learn more about marine life through snorkelling, diving, or touch-pool activities and entrance fees cost $15 per person.

When we were there, some parts of the Marine Life Discovery Park were still under construction and though we managed to do some snorkelling; it was not a pleasant experience as it was really slippery and murky.

At the touch-pool, there are starfishes, sea snails and a baby shark which we had a chance to interact with and we also got to see some sea turtles.

There is also an integrated mangrove and aviary where we learnt about the flora and fauna that forms an integral part of the region’s marine life ecosystem.

Overall

We had a great time in Bintan and we definitely look forward to visiting again!

The Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean to the west of Morocco, is made up of 7 separate islands. This family-friendly holiday destination has always been a hit due to year-round sunshine, beautiful scenery and a wide range of things to do. Four of the islands being Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura, are the most popular and they are visited by millions of tourists every single year.

Here are 3 things to do and see in the Canary Islands.

1. Mount Teide, Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the islands and the most popular with tourists and home to Mount Teide. Standing at 3,718 meters, Mount Teide is an active volcano located in Teide National Park and it creates an amazing backdrop to the already beautiful views. You can visit by car but some of the roads can be a bit windy and narrow; hence if you are feeling apprehensive about it, it’s not a good idea to drive there. Many travel companies organise day trips which some people find far easier than getting there on your own. The easiest way to get near the top is by cable car. Once there, you can take in the amazing views from Spain’s highest peak. If you want to hike to the summit, you will need a permit from the National Park office. Many companies do organise treks, but you will need to be fairly fit as the trek can take several hours, and in the blazing heat, it might not be as easy as you think.  

2. Charter a Yacht

If you are a keen sailor or just want to spend some time on the water, what better way to explore than with a Canary Islands yacht charter. Many people, particularly those travelling in larger groups or with friends, prefer to do this rather than staying on land. There are many different yachts to choose from, and they come with a range of on-board facilities such as refrigerators, hot water supply, and music players. Many additional services can also be purchased. Yachts can be chartered from several of the islands, but you must book in advance because they can get booked up very quickly. If you are not comfortable sailing yourself, you can hire a skipper to come on board with you, leaving you time to sit back, relax, and take in the wonderful Canary Island scenery.

3. Carnival Season, Lanzarote

Lanzarote is the third most populated and fourth-largest island in the Canaries. Each year, usually between February and March, each municipality hosts its own Carnival. The island transforms into a wonderful array of colour, music, and tradition; which is an amazing and very memorable experience. Each carnival has a different theme each year, usually voted for by the locals, and dates are agreed to ensure the carnivals don’t overlap. Whether it be a jungle or pirates’ theme or even a carnival with a hint of Bollywood, you are sure to have an amazing time and get a real sense of the local Lanzarote community spirit.

Got any other suggestions on what one can do and see at the Canary Islands? Share them with us below!

Are you travelling during the festive period? If you are, this article might come in handy if you ever find yourself stuck in a hit-and-run car accident.

When a driver flees the scene of an accident, it’s important to gather as much information as you can and talk to the police.

Texas drivers flee accident scenes for a number of reasons, such as:

When one of the drivers leaves the scene, it can complicate the insurance claims process.

Call 911

Your health is the most important thing. Call 911 if you were in the vehicle when it was hit, or if someone was injured in the accident.

Seek medical attention even if you have no apparent injuries. It’s not uncommon for car accidents to cause delayed injuries, where symptoms don’t present until days after the incident. If you wait too long to see a doctor, you hurt your chances of filing a personal injury claim.

Gather Information

While you’re waiting at the scene, gather and write down as much information as you can to report to the police, including:

  • The other driver’s license plate number
  • The make, model and colour of the vehicle
  • Approximate year of the car
  • Time and location of the accident
  • Direction the driver was heading
  • Contact information of witnesses

Jot down every detail – no matter how minor. This information may help the police locate the driver.

Make sure that you speak with any witnesses at the scene and gather their contact information. Your insurance company may want to speak to these witnesses to get an account of what happened.

Take Photos

If it’s safe to do so, take photos of the accident scene and your vehicle, especially if there is damage. Take some close-up photos of the damage to show the police and the insurance company. If any paint has transferred to your vehicle, take photos of that as well.

File a Police Report

Report the hit-and-run to the police within 24 hours of the incident. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime and should be reported to the police.

Make sure that you get the name, badge number, and phone number of the officer so that your insurance company can follow-up.

If you don’t report the hit-and-run, you may be considered “at fault” by your insurer and it could impact your premiums. Filing a report may also mean that the police locate the fleeing driver who will then be held accountable for their actions.

Call Your Insurance Company

After reporting the incident to the police, call your insurance company to inform them of the accident and discuss your options.

Depending on your coverage, your insurer may be able to help with towing and getting you a rental car if needed.

If you were able to identify the fleeing driver, you may be able to get his or her insurance information from your insurance company. With this information, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurer.

If you have an uninsured motorist policy, this should cover the cost of injuries and damages caused by the accident.

Kauai is an island located in the central region of the Pacific Ocean. More specifically, it’s an island in the state of Hawaii and the fourth-largest member of that archipelago. Most of its surface is covered by tropical rainforest, giving it the nickname of ‘the Garden Isle’. Even if you don’t know it, you’ve likely seen the breathtaking pinnacles and cliffs of the Na Pali coast, since they’ve been a frequent setting for numerous television shows and blockbuster films. If you happen to visit there and you love hiking, you should check out the Waimea Canyon or the Nounou Trails that lead to the Sleeping Giant mountain ridge.

Even though Kauai offers lots of captivating sights on land, its real visual treasures are lurking under the waters off her shores. While scuba diving anywhere in the state of Hawaii is a great experience, it’s particularly special here in Kauai as it isn’t as touristy or crowded as others. In fact, less than 100,000 people call this island home.

In recent times, scuba diving has gotten popular due to its unique combination of unrivalled adventure, the opportunity to see the glories of nature with your own eyes, and a strong workout along the way.

As a form of recreational activity, scuba diving is truly exciting because you get the opportunity to get up close and personal with marine life; and in some locations, it’s even possible to visit coral reefs, caves, and underwater shipwrecks.

Although scuba diving is usually safe, it does entail some risks and if you’d like to join other scuba divers to scuba dive, find the best scuba diving instructor who will give you the best instruction so that you can learn to scuba dive safely. Look for instructors certified by professional bodies like The National Association of Underwater Instructors or The Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Both NAUI and PADI can also give you lots of information about scuba diving and as well as suggest good places to go scuba diving around Kauai.

Although a diving certification is usually required in most locations, you can learn to scuba dive while in Kauai. So, why not begin your diving journey where it’s beautiful and memorable?

Alternatively, you can take basic lessons at a scuba diving school from where you are based and then transfer your partial certification to Kauai for your open-water dive.

If you’re new to scuba diving and affordability is a concern, rent your scuba diving equipment instead of buying them. Some of the scuba diving gears and equipment that are available for rental include the snorkel, mask, fins, exposure suit, regulator, tanks, weights, and buoyancy compensators. Owning or buying all of these could wind up costing you more than a grand. If you’re just looking for a one-time or the occasional scuba diving experience, then renting certainly makes financial sense. It’s also a lot less to carry on the plane.

Anytime you visit Hawaii is bound to be a good one, but if you visit Kauai, be ready for the beauty and adventure that are waiting for you under those blue waves.

Hi there! How are you doing? Today, I thought about doing some throwback on my recent trip, but then I realised I’ve already done that. I wanted to do some review on some island in the Philippines, but then I was not in the zone yet to cover that story. So, while I was going through a mini writer’s block, I went online and saw some news on Jetstar.

Suddenly, it clicked!

I haven’t been doing airline reviews for quite a while, so, why not spice it up a bit right? So, come with me on this journey to discover the Jetstar flight experience up close and personal. Okay, maybe not too up close and personal because I can’t get you on the plane now. Just use your imagination for now!

Where Can I Find Jetstar Flight?

That’s a good question! Nowadays, you can easily find best Jetstar flights online because as technology advances and develops, so does the opportunity for businesses that are connected to an online system. There are two places you can get cheap flight booking online for Jetstar – the airline’s official website, OR the various online travel companies, which there are plenty to choose from.

What Does Jetstar Offer?

A LOT.

Okay, bear in mind that Jetstar is a low-cost budget carrier; hence, don’t expect to be served a bottle of fine champagne when you’re on board. Heck, I would be the first in line to go for that if it’s available.

My first Jetstar flight experience in 2006 (13 years ago)!

Comfort Packs

I don’t care if it’s a short-haul or a long haul flight because all I really want is to stay comfortable throughout the journey. So, Jetstar has this wonderful idea of assembling what they call “Comfort Packs” where inside, you will find all the necessary travel essentials that will keep you extremely comfortable throughout the flight. Now, these packs do vary between flights but you might more or less have the things listed below:

  • An inflatable neck support pillow
  • Lip balm and hand cream from Zenology cosmetics
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Earplugs
  • Socks
  • Eye mask (gift from heaven!)
  • Jetstar pen
  • Take-home blanket (another gift from heaven!)

Oh, the list is courtesy from Jetstar’s official website, so don’t call me out for plagiarising.

Entertainment

Apart from reading a book or heading to sleep, Jetstar has got a large collection of entertainment to keep you company.

The in-flight entertainment includes children shows (a big help for those travelling with children), games, music library, plus the latest movies from all over the world. So, you wanna know what’s currently in the movies department? Well, they have Aquaman, Captain Marvel, The Lego Movie 2, and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – good fun for the kids!

Lounges

For passengers who are in Economy Starter Max or are members of the Qantas Club, travelling will always be comfortable for you even if your flight gets delayed for several hours. Why? Because you get to cosy up in the lounges, of course! But of course, if you have deadlines to meet and got delayed; yeah, I don’t think a first-class lounge will help cool down those frustrations.

Anyways, here in the lounge, you’ll be able to enjoy the unlimited food and drinks, the bar service, free Internet access and many more. If you are rolling with the Business Class, then, I bet you will get access to the highs and ups. Does anyone remember that fine champagne which I mentioned earlier? Maybe wishes can come true after all.

Frequent Flyer

I think this is not something that you will find surprising. If you are a frequent flyer, you will get the VIP treatment that you want. The good thing is, Jetstar’s loyalty programme allows you to benefit from travelling frequently. With Jetstar, you will find varieties of flyer partners like the Qantas Frequent Flyer, Emirates Skywards, JAL Mileage Bank and Lotusmiles.

With quite a big net to collect and spend your points whenever you need it, I must say that this is quite a good reason to take Jetstar.

Alrighty then, I think I am at my wits end with this one and I’m already tired haha but that doesn’t mean you won’t be hearing from me any time soon. I have plenty of other adventures coming in the future and I cannot wait to share my experience so that YOU could pack your stuff and go experience it for yourself.

Until next time, bye-bye!

There is no other summer like it. It’s not quite school holidays, it’s not quite whatever the next thing is going to be. You’re not really a kid but you’re not grown up either. That summer after the last year of school and before you go off to study brings a unique level of freedom as you have no ongoing work for school or university and there’s no career to be worried about yet. So, kick back and enjoy the ride because it won’t happen again.

Here are 5 things you can do during that one free summer:

Go Somewhere

Why not go somewhere? Travel is so much fun because you get to educate yourself and gain experiences that you wouldn’t have at home. Travelling is a classic thing to do and pretty much a cliché, but just because it’s been done before and so many times doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. You don’t even have to go on a long summer trip; even a blow-out holiday with your mates can be quite a liberating experience at this age.

Be A Kid – Maybe For The Last Time

I’m sure you don’t consider yourself a kid but while you still have that tentative link to childhood; make the most of being able to act like a child and do childish things one last time. If you are under 18, you may get junior or youth discounts in certain places.

Be Aware Of Results Day

While you’re having as much fun as you can possibly get, there is one serious day that you should have marked in the diary and that’s when the exam results are due. Be sure not to forget when it is A-Level results day because if you don’t get the results that you are looking for, you will have to get in touch with alternative options as soon as possible.

Get A Job

If you are going to have fun during the summer, it’s going to have to be paid for and you won’t be wanting to get into any sort of student debt before you’ve even matriculated for your first course. If you get a decent amount of work, you will be able to have a good time and also put a little aside for your first year of study. Getting a job over the summer can be fun and chances are, you’ll meet others of your own age there, thus making it a good social experience as well.

Make Memories

No matter what you do, be sure to make some fun memories; have new and exciting experiences and you’ll have a summer to remember. Try and take photos and videos to remember it by and with almost every phone having an onboard camera, this has never been easier. Just remember not to post anything that’s too embarrassing online because it will be there forever!

Non-Singaporeans relocating to this dynamic island state do so for all sorts of reasons: for temporary or permanent employment, for business or trading opportunities, for family reasons, or simply for a change of scenery.

Those relocating here for the first time inevitably endure some bumps along the way; no move is complete without drama but the acclimation process is far less difficult for those who’ve their common misconceptions cleared before their arrival. Immigrants to Singapore, for instance, are frequently surprised by:

1. The Reasonable Cost of Basic Necessities

Outsiders assume that everything is expensive in Singapore, but this isn’t the case. Street and public transport, in particular, are cheaper when compared to other major global cities.

2. The Sophistication of the Financial System

It’s difficult for locals to believe, but Singapore’s deserved reputation as a financial and business hub for the Asia-Pacific region hasn’t quite reached the four corners of the globe. North American immigrants, in particular, are frequently shocked to learn of Singapore’s global financial system. That’s down, in part, to the presence of regional financial firms such as trust and corporate services provider Asiaciti Trust, which serves clients throughout the Asia Pacific region.

3. The Not-So-Reasonable Cost of Certain Luxuries

Immigrants accustomed to paying “North American” or “European” prices for automobiles and housing may be in for a rude awakening in Singapore.

Autos, in particular, are far more expensive here than in many other parts of the world, since road space comes at a premium and there’s no native automotive industry to speak of. Housing is expensive, too, but that’s pretty common for a small but global city like Singapore.

4. The Fines for Bringing Durian on the MRT

Many locals aren’t even aware of this arcane restriction, although few well-mannered Singaporeans would think to bring the notoriously stinky fruit into a crowded train car in any case.

The durian-on-the-MRT prohibition is indicative of a basic truth about Singapore that’s likely to surprise immigrants from places like China, the United States, and continental Europe because Singapore is a very orderly place, and locals pride themselves for that. People are polite here and the culture has found a way for tradition and modernism to coexist quite comfortably.

5. The Near-Endless Cultural Diversity

Singapore is the archetypal melting pot: a place where diverse cultures and folkways mix to create something greater than the sum of their disparate parts.

Although the majority of its residents are ethnic Chinese, Singapore is also home to large communities of ethnic Malay, Indian, and European. Its religious groups include Taoism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, among many others.

Simply put, Singapore is a place where you don’t have to look, eat, or pray a certain way to fit in. For immigrants concerned by the city-state’s supposed culture of conformity, this must be a relief to learn.

6. The Difficulty of Securing a Work Visa (To Start)

Recent immigrants to Singapore should assume that they won’t be able to work without first securing a job offer. In other words, don’t expect to arrive in Singapore first and figure out your employment situation later. Moreover, Singapore’s employment regime favours the highly skilled; so, plan ahead.

7. The Ease With Which One May Apply for and Earn Permanent Residency

On the other hand, applying for permanent residency in Singapore is not as difficult as in most other first-world countries. Notably, there’s no waiting period before you can apply; in theory, you can begin the process on your first full day in Singapore.

8. The Stunning Variety of Singapore’s Food Scene

The surprisingly reasonable cost of Singaporean street and shop food is worth reiterating here. So too is its stunning variety. This perhaps shouldn’t be surprising, given Singapore’s status as a cultural melting pot, but it’s nevertheless a strong selling point for immigrants not used to a wide array of cuisine choices.

Ready to Make Your Move?

Do you like what you’ve learnt about moving to Singapore? Making your move isn’t as difficult as you’d think — although you’ll want to begin your job search before planning too far ahead. When you’re ready, your soon-to-be-neighbours will be waiting with open arms.

Florida is known for its many fishing opportunities; whether both freshwater or saltwater, and deep sea saltwater fishing in Florida is simply awesome. Whether you are looking for that elusive yellowfin tuna, wanting to hook a monster grouper, or are seeking for a lot of good-sized eaters for the pan or grill; there are many options available, no matter what coastal area of Florida you may find yourself in.

A Wide Array of Options

Depending on where your location is, you must understand that the type of fish available will vary. The type of fish available to anglers on the Atlantic side of the state is going to be very different from anglers who are fishing on the Gulf side, especially in cities like Tampa and St. Petersburg. In addition to this (and as you would have expected), The Florida Keys also offers its own variety of options for adventuring anglers.

If you know what species of saltwater sports fish that you are fishing for, make sure the city you are travelling to has access to that type of fish.

Here’s a short and non-exhaustive list of the popular saltwater species that are available:

  • Amberjack
  • Bull Sharks
  • Grouper
  • King Mackerel
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Marlin
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Sailfish
  • Snook
  • Yellowfin Tuna

Fishing on the Atlantic Side

There are multiple deep-sea charters found throughout the eastern part of the state (which is also referred to as the Atlantic side). Cocoa Beach, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, and of course Miami are all incredibly popular spots where thousands of saltwater charter captains are ready to guide paying anglers to the best saltwater fishing grounds the United States has to offer.

Wahoo and Mahi Mahi are common up and down the Atlantic coast and they are easy to find from any port on that side of the state. They are a hard-fighting saltwater fish that is delicious when cooked and they thrive on the Atlantic side. If you’re up north in Jacksonville or Daytona Beach, Sailfish is a great option because it offers itself as an enormous trophy and puts up an incredible fight. Jacksonville is particularly known for its king mackerel (and even some tuna) fishing. Going south to Daytona Beach opens up chances to go after the amberjack and triggerfish.

Cocoa Beach offers anglers plenty of opportunities to find quality-sized mackerel and the popular but rare marlin and tuna. Although West Palm Beach is a unique location that offers a little bit less than some of the other locations, it is the best spot to go to if you’re looking for a trophy-sized sailfish or that big-time bull shark.

Miami offers anglers some top-notch saltwater fishing because they have a little bit of everything; from amberjack to tuna to sailfish.

Fishing the Keys

While the Keys are more like each other than to any part of the rest of Florida, it is worth remembering that there can be major differences from one major Key to the other. Anglers willing to spend their money on a full day charter as opposed to a half day charter will have the time of their lives as they chase Goliath Grouper, Mackerel, Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Snapper, and even Tuna.

In other words, there’s a shot at every type of big saltwater fish imaginable in the area.

Fishing on the Gulf Side

Fort Myers, Tampa/St. Petersburg, and Clearwater are all outstanding ports from which to sail out into the Gulf. Grouper fishing is much more common on this side, as is shark fishing and as well as many of the other popular species like Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, amberjack, and more. This gives plenty of options for anglers who want to chase some serious trophies.

In-Shore Saltwater Fishing

There are plenty popular saltwater fishes like the cobia, redfish, snooker, spotted trout, and many more that aren’t on this list (because they tend to be near the shore or in more shallow waters as opposed to out deep).

Even though this article is all about finding the right spot to enjoy some of the best deep saltwater fishing in the world; a day off by the shore at each of these areas can still offer plenty of opportunities for the determined angler.

The Napali Coast of Hawaii’s Kauai island could without a shadow of a doubt be called one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world. Adding to the attraction of this wonderful and unspoiled part of the island is the fact that Kauai has not been subjected to the sorts of tourist pressures that many people believe has transformed the other islands in the chain that makes up Hawaii. This makes Kauai the perfect destination for those who simply want to enjoy the natural wonders of paradise – and nowhere will this enjoyment be more acute than when exploring the Napali Coast.

A jewel in the crown of an island also known as ‘The Garden Isle’; the Napali Coast at Kauai Island itself boasts a galore of natural wonders.

A stretch of mountainous coastline that stretches beyond 16 miles in length, every mile of the Napali Coast is filled with wonder. Valleys stretch into the pristine forest and are the first stop of cascading waterfalls on their journey towards the ocean. Sea caves echo with the boom of the surf while pristine beaches and offshore corals beg for exploration.

For those wishing to take in this natural wonder, here are some travel tips!

The first of these is to hike the Kalalau Trail. However, be warned that this is an adventure that is not for the fainthearted, especially people who have a fear of heights. The challenge of the hike means that camping for at least one night will be part of the adventure. However, the sheer beauty of the natural surroundings and the brilliance of the stars overhead do not make this a hardship.

The second way to take in the majesty of the Napali Coast is to do so via the water. There are numerous tour operators that ferry visitors from the North and South shores of the island to take in the magnificence of the coast. Those embarking on these excursions will have the choice of watching intensely for signs of sea life (including whales) from the comfort of the deck or plunging into the clear azure waters to enjoy some of the best snorkelling experience that Kauai has to offer. The leisurely experience will have most captains skirting the edges of the incredible peaks and valleys of the Nā Pali Coast State Park. Refreshments are usually served onboard and it is one of the most perfect ways to enjoy the magnificence of this coast with the entire family. A Napali Coast boat tour is definitely one of the top ways to experience the coast.

Sometimes, taking to the air is simply the best way to appreciate the grandeur of nature at her very best. Those wishing to take in the entirety of the Napali Coast and its varied environments might wish to explore the option of an airborne tour in the comfort of a small plane or a helicopter. Visitors will be treated to a spectacle of plunging waterfalls and verdant valleys, as well as the edge of the coast where it meets the saltwater. Your pilot will be more than willing to accommodate your requests to view the varied landscapes. This lends an air of freedom to what is already one of the highlights of any trip to Kauai.

Kauai is simply one of the most beautiful islands in the chain that is Hawaii and the Napali Coast is one of the most stunning natural destinations in the world. It is the essence of what makes Hawaii and its islands a destination of choice for tourists from all over the globe. Make sure that you do not miss it on your trip to this paradise on Earth.

I have always been fascinated by Jing Yong’s novel, “The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre” and it was through this novel that I came to know about Wudang Mountain and Emei Mountain. Hence, when the opportunity to travel to Wudang Mountain came, I took the plunge and embarked on this epic journey that lasted 7 days.

Prior to this trip, I tried to do some research and get as much information as I could about the places that I will be visiting but it seems that most of the information available are written by Westerners who went there to learn martial arts. Hence, I decided to pen down my experience so that the information can be useful for those who are planning a trip to Wudang Mountain.

The Flight

There isn’t any direct flight from Singapore to Wudangshan. For this journey, I took a 4-hour Cathay Pacific flight from Singapore to Hong Kong and then another 3-hour Cathay Dragon flight from Hong Kong to Xi’An. The flights would typically cost about SGD$746 for a return trip.

The Cathay Pacific flight CX 714 and CX 715 (B777) were rather uncomfortable as the seats were pretty cramped and the non-touchscreen in-flight entertainment was rather old-fashioned with the old-school joystick control. On the contrary, the Cathay Dragon flight KA 943 and KA 946 (A330) were more comfortable and the in-flight entertainment system was way better and more modern than the Cathay Pacific flight.

The Accommodations

I put up at West Capital International Hotel for 2 Nights and Wudangshan Xian Guan (武当仙馆) for 4 Nights. Accommodation at Xi’An will cost about SGD$160 and accommodation at Wudangshan will cost about SGD$282.

Jinjiang West Capital International Hotel


Jinjiang West Capital International Hotel is located at the City Centre and I would personally recommend the hotel because of its location. There are multiple places of interests/attractions such as the Drum Tower, Muslim Quarter, City God Temple of Xi’An and etc, and they are all within walking distance from the hotel. Service was exceptional and the room was decent. The buffet breakfast spread is fabulous and I enjoyed it very much.

Wudang Xian Guan (武当仙馆)

I really enjoyed my stay at Wudang Xian Guan. Although I couldn’t find the property listing on Agoda, I found it on Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency. If you visit the English version of Ctrip i.e. Trip.com, Wudang Xian Guan is translated as “Taihe Health Care Home in Wudang Mountains”. Don’t be taken aback by the English translation though. I personally feel that the more appropriate English name for the property should be, “Wudang Immortals Inn”. The room has an oriental vibe and I look forward to waking up every morning because of the amazing forest view. The food served is mainly vegetarian and there is a large space just outside the hotel where one can practise Taichi in the morning. As the property is located next to the Cable Car Station, access to Tianzhu Peak/Golden Hall is really convenient. If you are looking for a place where you can do some introspection, this is definitely it.

The Currency

China uses the Renminbi and the typical exchange rate for 1 Singapore Dollar was about 5 Renminbi (RMB). As my flight transited at Hong Kong, I changed some Hong Kong Dollars as well and the exchange rate for 1 Singapore was about 5.8 Hong Kong Dollars (HKD).

What to Buy in Wudangshan

At Wudangshan, there are numerous martial art academies and temples; and at the various attractions/places of interest on the mountain, there are plenty of shops that sell local produce, swords, tea leaves, beads and etc. If you would like to buy some souvenirs for yourself or your family members and friends, I would suggest that you do that at the foot of the mountain where there are more varieties and it would also be cheaper.

Some items that I would also recommend getting would be tea leaves (from 20 RMB) rice wine (from 80 RMB), chrysanthemum flower tea, and zodiac sword souvenir (from 88 RMB). If you are into amulets (from 68 RMB), crystals, wooden beads, and the likes; it is widely available too. However, do exercise caution as some goods could be imitations/fake products.

What to Buy in Xi’An

Xi’An is very well known for its jujube dates, walnuts, almonds and sour plum powder. While you can’t tabao/pack back the freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice, you should really try it! There are also souvenir shops selling keychains, terracotta warrior figurines, and memorabilia for about 10 RMB per piece.

Places of Interest & Activities

Wudangshan

To get to Wudang Mountain from Xi’An, I took a bus and the journey was about 5-6 hours long. A bus ride from Xi’An bus station (opposite Xi’An Railway Station) to Wudangshan Town will cost 120 RMB per person. The bus will depart from Xi’An at 09:30 am and should arrive in Wudangshan Town by 05:30 pm (information correct as of April 2019). Once you arrive at the visitor centre of Wudangshan, you will then have to purchase an entrance ticket to the entire scenic area (excluding Purple Heaven Palace and Golden Summit) for 243 RMB. The price includes unlimited bus rides to different venues at Wudangshan and insurance.

Wudang-Style 9-Form Taiji Quan & Ba Duan Jing

There are numerous martial arts academies at Wudangshan and it can be very challenging to decide on one that will be suitable for your learning needs. I was very privileged that we had a dedicated Teacher who taught us the Wudang Style 9-Form Taiji Quan & Ba Duan Jing.

Purple Heaven Palace

Purple Heaven Palace is a historical site designated for state protection and the coloured paintings on the timber of Purple Heaven Palace make the palace look beautiful and imposing. The Purple Heaven Palace is also where the emperors in the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties often issued orders to construct altars to bless their ancestors in heaven, request the assistance of the deities to ensure prosperity and good weather for the crops to have a bumper grain harvest. Entrance to the Purple Heaven Palace cost 15 RMB per person.

Taoist Ritual at Zhong Guan Temple

Golden Hall /金顶

Located on the top of the Tianzhu Peak, the main peak of Wudang Mountain, Hubei Province; the Golden Hall was built in the 14th year of Yongle reign (1416) of Ming Dynasty. The Hall is the biggest gilded copper temple in China, and is 5.54 meters high, 4.40 meters wide and 3.15 meters deep.

All statues and tools are made of bronze. The most valuable statue is the bronze statue of Zhen Wu, another name for the Northern Emperor, Beidi, a popular Daoist deity. Between them, the statues and hall represent the best of Ming Dynasty copper work. Visitors can also revel in the natural surroundings, taking in magical sunrises and sultry dusks.

Entrance ticket to the Golden Hall cost 27 RMB per person.

Taihe Cable Car Ropeway

If you want to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the mountain ranges, you can get on the Cable Car from Qiong Tai to Tian Zhu Peak. A round trip ticket will cost 150 RMB per person.

Nanyan Temple

Nanyan or “South Cliff’ temple is one of the most breathtaking sites of the Wudang Mountains. Devotees would view the cliff as a gateway to heaven, and it’s easy to imagine the cliff as the edge of the natural world. Situated on the cliff around the temple are over 500 iron statues of ancient figures and officials, blending traditional art and culture with the stunning natural surroundings.

Taizipo/太子坡

Taizipo is one of the main scenic areas of Wudangshan and the ancient buildings of Taizipo were designed according to the legendary story of Zhenwu Practising Taoism. It was first built in 1412 during the Ming Dynasty and has been refurbished during the Qing Dynasty in the 17th century. The main scenic spots include Huilongguan Monastery, Chunyang Monastery, Laojuntang, and Baxianguan, and etc.

Carefree Valley/逍遥谷

About 10 minutes down the road from Taizipo, the Carefree Valley is an extremely scenic area that will provide you with numerous hiking trails to keep you busy for a full day. There are ample spots for photo opportunities and there are various kinds of animals in the valley; especially the monkeys. It’s a holy and beautiful place for visitors to escape from the noise and enjoy the natural landscape.

If you cross the river and head to the plain-looking stage area, you can enjoy Kung-fu shows at 10 am and 4 pm. To the left of the stage is a small lake with a tea house.

Xi’An

I spent two days in Xi’An and I am really grateful for this opportunity to visit this beautiful city that has such a vibrant culture and rich history!
Xi’an is more than 3,000 years old and was known as Chang’an (长安) in ancient times. For 1,000 years, the city was the capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. Xi’an is the undisputed root of Chinese civilization having served as the capital city for the Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui and Tang dynasties. It has often been said that “if you have not been to Xi’an, you have not been to China!”

Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses

The Terracotta Army (Terracotta Warriors and Horses) are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum in Lintong, Xian, Shaanxi Province. It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China.

Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his afterlife. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archaeologists immediately. They came to Xi’An in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artefacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC).

Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features at the museum. They are replicas of what the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigour.

The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first opened to the public on China’s National Day – Oct. 1st, 1979. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back.

No. 2 Pit, found in 1976, is 20 meters northeast of No. 1 Pit. It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was unveiled to the public in 1994. Archaeologists came upon No. 3 Pit also in 1976, 25 meters northwest of No. 1 Pit. It looked like to be the command centre of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses.

Altogether, over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to their former grandeur.

Since 1 October 2010, the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses and the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum have been combined into one large attraction area, Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, which also includes three other small sites opened in 2011. The Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum and the nearby three unopened sites (namely the Museum of Terracotta Acrobatics, the Museum of Terracotta Civil Officials and the Museum of Stone Armor) constitute the so-called Lishan Garden.

Entrance ticket costs 120 RMB per person.

Bell Tower and Drum Tower

Dating back to the 1380s, the very beginning of the Ming Dynasty, Xi’an’s majestic Bell Tower and Drum Tower are symbols of the city’s rich past and are some of the largest and best-preserved of their kind in China.

Every Ming-era city in China had a bell tower and a drum tower to help signal the time and mark important events. The Bell Tower in Xi’an, located at the very centre of the old city, is an imposing 27.4 meters high and located in a busy traffic circle. Visitors need to take an underground walkway beneath the traffic circle to reach the tower.

Visitors can climb up to the Bell Tower’s terrace where the wooden tower sits to get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area. However, the view is not very impressive since the tower is surrounded by busy roads in all directions. Please note that getting up to the terrace requires climbing many stairs. Inside the tower, there is a small museum that houses a huge bell, as well as some handwritten memos about the relocation and renovation of the tower. There are also bell and chime performances at various times throughout the day.

As an iconic landmark of Xi’An, the Bell Tower receives many tourists and there may be long lines at certain times. While people can pay a small fee to go upstairs and visit the interior of the tower, most visitors find the exterior of the Bell Tower more impressive, especially in the evening when it is illuminated with colourful lights. Since the tower is quite tall and prominent, you can easily appreciate it for free from across the road.

Xi’An Drum Tower

The Drum Tower, located at the south end of Beiyuanmen pedestrian street and about 200 meters to the northwest of the Bell Tower, was built in 1380, even earlier than the Bell Tower. The Drum Tower houses many large drums and some antique furniture, as well as short musical performances featuring drums and other traditional instruments at various times.

Great Muslim Mosque

Bigger than many temples in China, the Great Mosque is a gorgeous blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture and one of the most fascinating sacred sites. The present buildings are mostly Ming and Qing, though the mosque was founded in the 8th century. Arab influences extend from the central minaret (cleverly disguised as a stumpy pagoda) to the enormous turquoise-roofed Prayer Hall (not open to visitors) at the back of the complex, dating to the Ming dynasty.

Facing west (towards Mecca) instead of the customary south, the mosque features classic Chinese temple features and memorial arches, not to mention the glazed-tile Chinese-style roofing.

It’s a beautiful place to visit in spring, as the white and pink magnolias burst into bloom; in the slow season, the mosque can also be a haven of solitude and an oasis of tranquillity in a very busy area of the city.

Entrance ticket costs 25 RMB per person.

Muslim Quarter

Just as its name implies, the Muslim Quarter, also known as Huimin Jie in Pingyin, is the hub of the Muslim community in Xi’An. Located to the north of West Street in the city centre, the quarter covers several blocks inhabited by over 20,000 Muslims. There are about ten mosques in the area; among which the Great Mosque in the Huajue Lane is the most famous and popular.

Beiyuanmen Muslim Street has a long history. It is said that in olden days, foreign diplomatic envoys and merchants lived here and then they married and had children, so gradually, the population increased. Today, most of the inhabitants here are the descendants of those immigrants. All the Muslims here are the pious and devout followers of Islam so they form a tight-knit community, which maintains its own culture and traditions to this day even in such a modern society.

Xi’An City Wall and Yong Ning Gate

When Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), captured Huizhou; a hermit named Zhu Sheng admonished him that he should ‘built high walls, store abundant food supplies and take time to be an Emperor,’ so that he could fortify the city and unify the other states. After the establishment of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang followed his advice and began to enlarge the wall built during the old Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), forming today’s scale of Xi’An City Wall.

The wall includes four gates and they are respectively named as Changle (meaning eternal joy) in the east, Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south and Anyuan (forever harmony) in the north.

The South Gate (Yongning Gate) is the most time-honoured and magnificent one among all the city gates. There are bicycles for rental up to the South Gate so it is popular for visitors to ascend here. If you stay near the Bell Tower, it is recommended that you take a 10 minutes’ walk along South Street to get to the South Gate.

Xi’An City God Temple

Located on West Avenue in downtown Xi’an, the Xi’an City God Temple is the largest city god temple in Shaanxi Province. As one of the only two remaining Taoist temples in downtown Xi’an, it has been listed as a key historical and cultural site under state protection. With a history of more than 600 years, the temple is still a magnificent site today.

First built in the twentieth year (1387) of the reign of Emperor Hongwu in the Ming Dynasty on the Jiuyao Street within the East Gate of the City Wall, the temple was rebuilt at its current location in the eighth year (1432) during the reign of the Ming Emperor Xuande. Being one of the three largest capital town god temples in China at that time, the Xi’an City God Temple, also known as Capital City God Temple, exercised control over all town god temples in China’s northwest provinces.

Originally, the temple was very grand and included a main hall, a sleeping hall, subordinate halls, the Music and Dance Building, and a memorial archway. As time went on, only the hall which was rebuilt in the first year (1723) of the reign of Emperor Yongzheng in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) remains.

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is a Buddhist pagoda located in southern Xi’an, Shaanxi province, China. It was built in 652 during the Tang dynasty and originally had five stories. The structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian, and its exterior brick facade was renovated during the Ming dynasty. One of the pagoda’s many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and traveller, Xuanzang. Today, the interior walls of the pagoda feature engraved statues of Buddha by the renowned artist Yan Liben.

Overall

I’ve been to China twice; the first was to Harbin and the second was to Beijing and that was more than 10 years ago! I am really glad to have been on this trip to witness the many rapid developments that are happening in China and being a history and culture buff myself, my trip to Xi’An was really an eye-opener.

Having said that, I enjoyed my visit to the Wudang Mountains the most and I really want to be back. The air there is really fresh and the next time I visit, I will probably be staying there for 6 months.