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As soon as I landed in Melbourne, I met with an airport shuttle driver who offered to take me to Hotel Lindrum. I booked it since it had good online reviews and Furthermore, as a snooker fan, I was ready to pay just to see the famous Lindurm snooker table, but that’s another story.

Once I got in the cab, the shuttle driver told me, “I have both good and bad news for you. The good news is that you are spending your vacation in one of the best countries in the world. The bad news is that you will be in this country for a short time.”

Even though Australia has been on my bucket list forever, I still wasn’t quite sure that it will live up to this hype. I was a bit wrong on that note, because it did, and I’m happy that I got the chance to experience it. Indeed, that shuttle driver had been quite right.

Besides the beauty of the country, I was able to learn a few interesting things and acquaint myself with the Australian culture.

Here is a list of things that I learned from visiting Australia.  

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Fast Food Giants Have Different Names

It seems that when Jack Cowen, the owner of Burger King, had the ambition to expand in Australia; he was unable to use the name, ‘Burger King’ and so he opted for a different name, ‘Hungry Jack’s.’ So, whoopers are sold in Australia under the name, ‘Hungry Jack’s.’  Also, McDonald’s is popularly known by the term ‘Macca’s’; to the extent that this nickname is used in advertisements and product labeling.

The Celebration of the Queen’s Birthday is on a Different Date from the Official Date

Though Queen Elizabeth was born on 21st April, Australians mark the Queen’s Birthday on the first Monday of June. This first Monday of June corresponds with the time King George V was born. So, if you are planning to travel to Australia at around this time, please book early for your flight and accommodation since most of these are fully booked for the three-day weekend holiday.

Everything is Named Macquarie

According to Britannica, the fifth Australian Governor of New South Wales left behind a great legacy to the extent that many things in Australia are named after him. In fact, there is a common joke in Australia that if you don’t know the name of anything; just say the name Macquarie and you will be right. There is a Macquarie lighthouse, university, river, bank, street, lake…the list goes on.

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Ugg Boots Have Been Worn for Ages

I was surprised to learn that ugg boots have been around for a very long time – from back in the 1920s. In fact, ugg boots originated from Australia in the 1920s, and they only spread to other countries, including the United States of America, in 1972.  

Vivid Festival is Amazing

Vivid Festival usually takes place in the last three weeks of May to the end of the first week in June. When I attended this festival, I was amazed by the outstanding display of fireworks, art, and music. Thanks to Vivid Festival, I was able to see clearly some of the prominent places in Sydney such as the Central Business District, the Opera House, and the Harbor Bridge.

The Most Infamous Criminal in Australia is Ned Kelly

Ned Kelly is the most infamous criminal in Australia; having been convicted and sentenced to death in 1880. Surprisingly, I was told by the librarian in the Victorian State Library that Ned Kelly was fondly loved by many people. In fact, before he was executed, thousands of Australians had signed a petition in a bid to set him free. The suit of armour which Ned Kelly had worn before he was arrested is well displayed at State Library Victoria in Melbourne.

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Koalas Sleep for Twenty Hours a Day

Since I love animals, I could not leave Australia without seeing as many koalas as I can. So I visited Maru Koala and Animal Park which is situated just next to Philip Island. When I finally viewed the Koalas, I realised that most of them were asleep and I was told by the game warden that they could sleep for more than 20 hours each day! Koalas are also quite choosy on the food they eat – they can only feed on two varieties out of the possible 600 types of eucalyptus leaves. At the park, I also managed to see Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, and wallabies.

Well, these are some of the things I learnt when I visited Australia. All in all, Australia is a beautiful country. Australians are naturally kind, friendly and trustworthy –  I left my purse with an unfamiliar bartender, and I was able to get it back!

I enjoyed my visit to Australia, and I can’t wait to travel there again!

Written By Sam, Content Marketing Specialist
Sam
is an award-winning writer with a passion for providing creative solutions for building brands online. Since his first award in Creative Writing, he continues to deliver awesome content through his travel articles. When not enjoying freediving, he is managing marketing content for multiple brands online.

If you are anything like me and already have a bucket list of the places you want to visit, I bet that the Amazon River is at the very top of your list. Let’s be honest, there are few of us who would say no to such an amazing experience!

This mighty and majestic river attracts millions of curious travellers every year. If you can no longer resist your wanderlust, this is definitely the place to be!

Due to its close competition with the Nile, this ancient river can be considered either the longest or the second longest river in the world, but definitely the largest one by the volume of water it discharges.

As expected from one of the biggest rivers in the world, it does not have traditionally defined seasons. What this means is that you should plan your trip to the Amazon River according to what suits you better – the rainy season (December to June), or the dry season (June to December).

Whichever season ends up being your choice, you can be sure that you will enjoy all of its perks! However, before you pack up your bags and embark on this epic journey, you will want to know the best ways to explore the Amazon River; and that is just what we have prepared for you! Without further ado, these are the top five ways to get “lost” in this paradise on Earth!

Canopy Touring

This eco-friendly activity is one of tourists’ favourite because it allows you to witness the Amazon rainforest in a different light. Gliding through the trees via canopy tours or a zip-line without disrupting wildlife’s natural habitat is something that everyone visiting the Amazon should definitely experience!

Expedition Cruise

If you are really looking forward to experiencing the Amazon River on an even more adventurous note, you should definitely book an expedition cruise. Alongside your experienced guide, you will be travelling and exploring via kayaks, small motorised boats, and, of course, on foot.

One of the best things when it comes to expedition cruises is the fact that you will be able to witness Amazon’s many indigenous animals and plant species up close. The Amazon rainforest is home to 427 mammals, 1300 birds, 378 reptiles, and more than 400 amphibians; which means that you are bound to see at least some of them while kayaking on the river or by taking forest walks!

Additionally, once you wrap up the day of your breathtaking expedition, you can go back to the main vessel and enjoy some mouth-watering local cuisine!

Volunteer Work

What better way to get to know the wildlife than to volunteer in a Wildlife Sanctuary? This is perhaps the most rewarding way to experience the Amazon and to truly immerse yourself into the surroundings.

The best thing about it is that you do not need to have extensive knowledge of animals, but the only thing you must have is a positive attitude. Essentially, you would be helping to take care of some animals that may have been injured by other animals, or animals that have suffered from some unfortunate accidents. What could be more rewarding and eye-opening than going home knowing that you helped save an animal’s life?

White Water Rafting

If you are an adrenaline junkie seeking to explore the Amazon river, this will be the perfect choice for you. You would start this intense adventure in the highlands of the Andes, and spend about 6-7 days rafting and camping on gorgeous beaches along the way. Lots of tours will also allow you to spend a few nights in their lodges where you would be able to shower, drink a cold beer, and sleep in a comfortable bed. Who said you can’t be adventurous and comfortable all at the same time?

Luxury Cruises

If you are not really looking forward to sacrificing your comfort and would rather get pampered while witnessing the glory of this nature’s gem, you should probably book a luxury cruise. While you’re at it, visit Aqua Expeditions for private charter cruises for yourself and your loved ones!

Whether you are planning a bachelor/bachelorette party, a college/family reunion, or just an awesome birthday party, you can be sure you will get the best experience!

As you can see, the Amazon River has something to offer to just about any type of traveller. All that is left to do is to choose which experiences suit you best and head straight to your adventure of a lifetime!

Content Marketing Specialist
Sam Hoffman is an award-winning writer with a passion to provide creative solutions for building brands online. Since his first award in Creative Writing, he continues to deliver awesome travel content. While travelling, he is also creating content for Aqua Expeditions.


If you’re looking for the next perfect staycation, here’s one boutique hotel that will appeal to you if you have a refined taste for some artsy history and culture. The best part? The hotel’s having a Special Opening Offer now and you won’t want to miss this experience before the price increases to its normal rack rate.

Six Senses Maxwell is now open at 2 Cook Street, in the historic Tanjong Pagar district of Singapore, completing the brand’s first ever city hotel project after the opening of sister property Six Senses Duxton, with both locations together comprising Six Senses Singapore.

Situated in a prime location at the junction of Duxton, Tanjong Pagar and Maxwell Road, Six Senses Maxwell occupies a place replete with history. Originally the site of a nutmeg plantation, 14 three-story and four-story colonial-style buildings were subsequently constructed and later joined together as a single entity to create a colonial-style 19th-century heritage building that now houses the hotel.

Built in 1929, the structure features an Art Deco frontage with exposed brickwork, unique lion head rainspouts, and a flagpole hinting at a possible past as a government building. Lovingly conserved, Six Senses Maxwell showcases the refined yet flamboyant and sensual aesthetic of renowned French architect and interior designer Jacques Garcia, and stands in contrast to the Anouska Hempel-designed Six Senses Duxton.

Image Credits Six Senses Singapore

Six Senses Maxwell accommodates 138 guest rooms and suites located across four floors of the sustainably restored building, all thoughtfully decorated with custom furnishings and original artwork; an outdoor rooftop lap pool, a gymnasium, two restaurants and three bars that are destined to add to the vibrancy of the already ebullient neighbourhood.

Six Senses Maxwell aims to pay homage to Singapore’s unique position as the crossroad between East and West, with its rich Asian traditions and warm European heritage and influence that together have contributed to what this vibrant city is today.

Design
Reflecting the authentic decor and furnishings of the era in which it was built, but with a stylish modern twist, Garcia has infused a Western sensibility along with a timeless ambience into Six Senses Maxwell, as he has done most notably with Hôtel Costes in Paris and NoMad in New York. Renowned as one of France’s most highly decorated designers, Garcia has outfitted many iconic buildings in Paris and across the world, including a remarkable installation at the Louvre. Garcia has been named commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, and a Chevalier in the order of the Légion d’honneur in France for his many achievements.

Garcia’s inimitable sensibilities are on full display once the double door front entrance of Six Senses Maxwell on the corner of Cook and Tras Streets swing open to a welcoming sight of the warm chestnut wood framed reception desk, complemented by Garcia’s eponymous collection of flamboyant high-backed velvet chairs with tassels. These sit on intricately designed custom made hand-woven silk rugs that took 14 months to complete.

Ethically-sourced, solid inch-thick African wenge hardwood floors adorn much of the hotel, while other public areas feature stone floors that have been recycled from medieval churches and cathedrals in Italy.

A series of authentic and original property deeds, or indentures, are framed and placed throughout the hotel’s interior walkway with brass plaques detailing the historical nature and provenance of each document. This feature ties in with the copies of an indenture Anouska Hempel used as her wallpaper design for Six Senses Duxton, connecting the two hotels through a unified form and vision.


Image Credits Six Senses Singapore

Garcia’s attention to detail is also showcased throughout the seven unique room types at Six Senses Maxwell, from the brass, lacquer and marble minibars, to the handmade Lafroy Brooks bathroom fixtures and rain shower heads.

His unique style is an authentic exploration into the splendour of the past interpreted in a modern style. This is evident in the brocades and damask fabrics and lampshades in pleated silk which enrich a design with clean lines, evoking an opulent yet refined luxury. All the fabrics used throughout the hotel, even those used on the Italian furniture, are bespoke for Garcia and were loomed in Europe, while all the lamps were exclusively produced by luxury lighting specialist Zonca for the famed designer.


Image Credits Six Senses Singapore

Hotel guests are greeted at the lobby with sustainably sourced goods for sale, including Panama hats ethically sourced from Ecuador that take between 15 days to six months to craft, fine cashmere shawls from Chagaan in Mongolia, locally made items including Peranakan porcelain tea sets from the Straits Settlements era, wellness items such as glass water bottles with added gems to vitalize the water, baoding balls for meditation and an oh-ball to massage the soles of the feet to release tension.

A large brass singing bowl completes the hotel’s signature welcome experience, along with complimentary traditional ice cream made in-house and served from an iconic ice cream cart along the five-footway to all guests. Modern touches such as music played through high-end Devialet speakers throughout the public spaces add to a fully experiential stay for guests.


Image Credits Six Senses Singapore

The rooftop of Six Senses Maxwell features a 25-metre (82-foot) long lap pool custom-made by Sempre, a Belgian design firm known for their use of raw and recyclable materials. In weeks to come, this will be highlighted with the opening of Max’s Rooftop Bar, where an edible garden is being grown to be used in-house by the hotel’s food and beverage team.

Guests from both Six Senses properties have full access to all facilities, including the spa pods, which will be opened in the first quarter of 2019. Signing privileges will be available across the two hotels.

In Room
Each room and suite features Six Senses’ specially curated mini bar which includes William Yeoward crystal glassware for the premium range of spirits available as well as locally produced East Imperial Tonic Water. The Golden Duck Co. salted egg yolk crisps for snacking, handmade organic Krakakoa chocolate bars from Indonesia and a bottle of champagne complete the exquisite minibar experience.

Image Credits Six Senses Singapore

To ensure guests enjoy the best night’s sleep possible, all rooms feature handmade mattresses by Naturalmat, organic bed linens from Beaumont & Brown, and pillows and duvets from Hanse to support Sleep With Six Senses, a key pillar of the group’s Integrated Wellness philosophy. Each room also has a wellness book, baoding balls, and relaxation oh-ball. These can also be purchased from the hotel lobby.

As a fun and quirky touch, framed photos of the local area taken from the property owner and luxury hotelier Satinder Garcha’s personal collection adorn the bathrooms, offering a sense of charm and whimsy.

Cook & Tras Social Library
Located on the ground floor of Six Senses Maxwell and lined with lush tropical foliage right next to the lobby area is Cook & Tras, a social library restaurant and bar influenced by Straits heritage cuisine.

Featuring a mirrored ceiling highlighting the classic décor and luxurious style of designer Garcia, Cook & Tras reflects a warm European influence and personality showcased through richly textured custom-designed furnishings. Melding tradition and modernity, this elegant establishment is characterized by its specially curated book collection designed by the UK’s Ultimate Library, known for their dedication to building bespoke book collections for hotels and private residences around the world.

For Cook & Tras, a storied collection of more than 3,000 titles have been curated which reflects the local neighbourhood as well as volumes on subjects such as wellness, meditation, nutrition, herbal medicine, natural history, climate change and sustainability. Hotel guests and future members will also be able to “borrow” books the old-fashioned way.


Image Credits Six Senses Singapore

Cook & Tras makes the perfect introduction to the acclaimed Eat With Six Senses program that offers healthy and delicious meals prepared with sustainable, seasonal, natural ingredients and organically-grown produce.

Open throughout the day for light breakfasts and an all-day small-plates for sharing menu, guests can expect quality ingredients in small flavourful portions or sip on freshly squeezed cold juices and energizing healthy beverages providing nutritional benefits. Homemade tonics and kombuchas along with fine teas are featured on the afternoon menu.

By night, the bar takes centre stage at Cook & Tras with a display of hundreds of spirits from all over the world forming the backdrop to a 65-foot (20-meter) long bar counter. Evenings are all about bespoke cocktails based on classics and influenced by Straits flavours, infused house-made spirits, shrubs and tonics, with signatures specially developed by award-winning Mixologist Ricky Paiva.

Murray Terrace Brasserie
Murray Terrace Brasserie is a European styled brasserie named after the building in which it is housed. and coincidentally also the first name of the hotel’s general manager. Its design blends classic Parisian elements with marble tables and Asian influenced wine displays along with handcrafted Indonesian furniture. The Brasserie’s grand entrance, just opposite Maxwell Food Centre, follows a Parisian café style layout with sidewalk tables along the five-foot (1.7-meter) way, a private room, and seating for up to 100 guests inside the dining room.


Image Credits Six Senses Singapore

The culinary focus is on quality ingredients that are sustainably sourced and organically grown. The Murray Terrace Brasserie demonstrates how quality natural ingredients will promote a sense of wellness. Recipes are European inspired, with a strong focus on Mediterranean cooking methods that let the ingredients take centre stage.

Showcasing southern European culinary influences, the menu features seafood platters with lobsters, oysters, prawns, clams and mussels, all sustainably sourced. With classics such as beef tartare, French onion soup and lobster bisque, the menu includes a range of three-course and four-course set menu options for lunch, and five-course and seven-course degustation menus for dinner.

Organic free-range chicken, sustainably-sourced fish, grass-fed strip loins, whole lamb rack and Chateaubriand from the Josper oven round out the menu.

Six double wine chillers holding over 1,500 bottles of wine enclosing a wine tasting table form the centrepiece of Murray Terrace Brasserie. The carefully selected wine list; predominantly focused on Old World wines from France, Italy and Spain, is complemented with a well-balanced selection of New World Treasures.

Garcha’s
Garcha’s is a beautifully appointed Jacques Garcia designed room with club chairs, cocktail tables and minibar seating – the quintessential spirits bar to drop by before a meal at Murray Terrace Brasserie or to treat oneself to an after-dinner spirit or liqueur.


Image Credits Six Senses Singapore

Boasting an impressive collection of spirits, Garcha’s tempts with a stunning selection of small batch and artisanal whiskeys, tequilas, gins, rums and vodkas. Straight drinks can be poured from drinks trolleys tableside by bartenders in a relaxing setting with a modern mix of classic jazz, blues and acid jazz funk music playing in the background.

Rose Lounge & Bar
The beautifully appointed Rose Lounge & Bar features banquette seating, club chairs, cocktail tables and bar seating, and offers an impressive Champagne collection alongside white and rosé wines, spritzers and the signature Rose Bellini.


Image Credits Six Senses Singapore

In contrast to Garcha’s, Rose Lounge & Bar with its lighter, lustrous décor minibars for private events, afternoon tea parties and product launches. It is also perfect as a breakout space for meetings held at the adjoining Rose Room, situated between the Rose Bar & Lounge and Garcha’s and is an ideal venue for small corporate events and private gatherings.

Opening Offer
Available immediately is a Special Opening Offer for direct bookings online via www.sixsenses.com. Guests can enjoy a 15 percent savings on the Best Available Rate, and the offer includes daily breakfast for two people, a guaranteed room upgrade and a signature cocktail for two people. T&Cs apply.

The hotel is accepting online bookings via: www.sixsenses.com.

Six Senses Maxwell is located at 2 Cook Street, Singapore 078857. Rates start at USD 240++ (SGD 330++) per night.

For reservations, please contact +65 6914 1400 or email: reservations-maxwell@sixsenses.com

*Terms & Conditions: Valid for stays from December 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. The offer is applicable for all room and suite categories. A credit card guarantee and a prepayment in full is required to secure the booking. Bookings are non-refundable and non-cancellable. Offer is subject to change without notice.

It’s December and that means its time for the holiday season!

While most people choose to set up their Christmas trees and call their family over for a gathering, there are also a lot of other people who choose to travel the world with their family.

In this post, we will be covering the best family-friendly locations from around the world.

Australia

Australia is one of the top family-friendly destinations on earth because of its sunny beaches, wildlife tours and so much more. Although many tourists may have the wrong impression that Australia is a small country, the matter of the fact is, Australia is huge! A road trip from Sydney to Brisbane will take you over 11 hours!

Australia is home to many indigenous animals such as the Kangaroo, Koala, Wombat and Dingo; and they are mostly unseen in other parts of the world.

Apart from wild animals and amazing natural landscapes, Australia also has one of the most iconic landmarks in the world- the Sydney Opera House

If you have never been to the land down under, you should definitely consider it for the perfect outback road trip.

Singapore

One of the most iconic countries in Asia, Singapore offers something for everyone. A melting pot of cultures, Singapore is home to people from all walks of life and what this essentially means is that Singapore has got varying degrees of cultures, languages and amazing cuisines.

If you want to experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a multicultural country, Singapore is the perfect place!

For a complete list of places to visit in Singapore as a family visit the Joyscape site.

Japan

Also known as the land of the rising sun, Japan has been a top travel destination among travellers for many years now and has a good combination of new-age establishments and old-school charm.

You may not know this but Japan is very well-known for its cuisine and they have exclusive chocolates and confectionaries that cannot be found in other parts of the world.

Cities like Tokyo has a lot to offer in terms of museums, food, events, and other children-friendly attractions whereas Kyoto is known for its natural beauty and the life of the yesteryears that has been well-preserved. Children and adults who are into cartoons, manga and animes would definitely love to visit Japan.

Iceland

The Nordic island nation is known for its breathtaking beauty. Not only is Iceland a perfect location to enjoy nature’s finest creations such as volcanoes, hot springs, big range mountains and more; there are also ample opportunities for rafting, horseback riding and wildlife spotting!

One of Iceland’s most popular outdoor lagoons, known for its purified mineral water, is Blue Lagoon. Other popular Icelandic destinations include Pingvellir that is known for its natural beauty and historic shrine.

Iceland has plenty of mesmerising waterfalls that you can bring your children to visit and the popular ones include Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss.

Ireland

Although Ireland is a relatively small country, there are many options that are available for holiday goers. With numerous old castles that will captivate you and your little one, Ireland is also known for its beautiful natural landscape and popular spots that include Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula and Ring of Kerry.

If you are a nature lover, there are also national parks such as Killarney National Park and Connemara National Park that you can visit too.

So there you have it- the 5 best family holiday destinations.

Just so you know, all the countries that we have shared in this article have a high safety index. Some are known for their breathtaking natural beauty and some are known for their good mix of local culture and history.  We are pretty sure these holiday destinations would offer you and your children a great time together!

It’s been more than a year since we last visited Batam and during our most recent trip that took place last week, we noticed that there were a couple of changes that took place in Batam and it is about time that we refresh our travel guide to Batam.

Read on and get the latest update and information about Batam here in this post!

Travelling Within Batam- Grab/Private Driver

In the past, we mentioned that it was easy to travel around Batam by booking a taxi (Blue Bird or Silver Cab). However, It seems that booking a taxi that goes by the meter is no longer the way to go because there are now taxi counters located at major landmarks i.e. Batam Centre Ferry Terminal, Batam Megamall, Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall and etc. Legit taxi companies that run on meters like Blue Bird or Silver Cab are now not allowed to pick up passengers at these major landmarks and it is so disappointing that things have turned out this way because it is really not helping the taxi industry as a whole.

Just so you know, the taxi counters at these major landmarks charge 3 times more the usual price to get around Batam. You can still book a metered taxi like Blue Bird but do note that you will have to walk to the designated/authorised pick-up points which can be some distance away.

Although you can use Grab to get around, do be a little cautious as you don’t want to end up getting into a situation like this. If you want to use Grab, make sure that your pick up location has got no taxi counters around and that there isn’t a line of parked taxis idling.

If you were to ask us for our opinion on how best you can get around Batam, we suggest that you hire a private driver for the entire day. This way, you can save money and time, cover more grounds and visit more places.

Data SIM Card

A lot of our local Telcos like StarHub are offering affordable Data Roaming rates at SGD$5 for one GB of data. If you’re heavily dependent on data like us, one GB is definitely not enough and we would rather you get the Indonesian Data Sim Card which costs SGD$7 for 6GB worth of data.

Our Accommodation- Best Western Premier Panbil Hotel

It was our second time staying at Best Western Premier Panbil and this time around, we booked for an Executive Room that costs $112.15 a night, inclusive of breakfast for two persons.

The Executive Room

The comfortable 53 square metres room features a choice of king or twin size bed with 55-inch flat screen television, safe deposit box, and complimentary mini bar.  Although the bathroom is very spacious and is equipped with a bathtub, I was pretty hesitant about using it because when I turned on the bathtub tap, brownish water came out of it and I didn’t want to soak myself in murky waters. If you want mesmerising views, be sure to request a room that overlooks Duriangkang Lake & Forest! You will probably enjoy the large room space that comes along with a living room and a kitchenette.

The Hotel Facilities i.e Swimming Pool, Restaurant, Rooftop Bar

If you have the habit of doing some morning exercises to kickstart your day, you will be pleased to know that the hotel has an infinity pool that overlooks the mesmerising Duriangkang Lake and if you like to do some weightlifting, the hotel has a fitness centre equipped with a basic setup for you to pump some iron.

Best Western Premier Panbil’s full-service restaurant, Andaliman Restaurant, serves Asian and International specialities, including buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Compared to other hotels that we have stayed at in Batam, the buffet breakfast spread at Best Western Premier Panbil is one of the best that we have tried and tasted. Offering multicultural cuisines, from western-styled cereals and bakery goods to local cooked selections and fresh tropical fruits, we were pretty much spoilt for choices as there are also live stations for eggs, noodles, and even Japanese sushi too!

New photo by Melvin Lee / Google Photos

One of the best spots that we like about the Best Western Premier Panbil hotel is the La Bella Vita Rooftop Bar that is located on the 15th floor of the hotel. Offering the best rooftop view in Batam, La Bella Vita Rooftop Bar serves a variety of alcoholic, non-alcoholic beverages & Ala Carte Menu. If you were to ask us, Best Western Premier Panbil hotel is definitely one of the best for a group retreat or get-together session!

The Mini-Bus Shuttle Service

Best Western Premier Panbil offers a mini-bus shuttle service that accommodates hotel guests between the hotel and major landmarks such as Batam Centre Mega Mall and Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall. If you’re keen to use the mini-bus shuttle service to get around Batam, be sure to reserve your spot with the hotel staffs at the front desk/concierge desk as they get filled up pretty fast!

Book a stay at Best Western Premier Panbil here!

Our Preferred Massage & Spa Partner- Spa Central Batam @ Nagoya Hill

 

New photo by Melvin Lee / Google Photos

This may sound bias but the folks at Spa Central Batam have been our long-time friend for many years now and it is always a pleasure for us to visit them whenever we’re in Batam.

There are plenty of massage and spa operators in Batam and it can be quite hard to decide which one to go because there are just so many options. Now, if you haven’t been to Batam or if you have been frequenting Batam but you haven’t found the perfect massage and spa place, may we suggest that you consider Spa Central Batam @ Nagoya Hill?

Spa Central Batam has got two outlets; one in Sukajadi (Batam Centre) and the other in Nagoya Hill. If Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall is part of your itinerary, you might want to consider including a massage and spa session at Spa Central Batam (Nagoya). With sessions as short as 30 minutes to a long session that can occupy you for half a day; there are a lot of options for you to choose from.

Why we love Spa Central Batam @ Nagoya?

Firstly, Spa Central Batam @ Nagoya is Spa Central Batam’s latest outlet and the entire spa experience is designed from scratch. Owned by a Singaporean couple, you can expect 5-star service and treatment, all at a very affordable price! For the Top-to-Toe spa package lasting 4.5 hours that we experienced, it costs only about S$145 per person and it consists of a foot bath, 90-minute aromatherapy massage, 30-minute body scrub, 60-minute hair spa, 60-minute facial, 30-minute foot reflexology and a lunch main course with a drink!

 

New photo by Melvin Lee / Google Photos

Secondly, the massage and spa therapists are all professionally trained and the ambience is really soothing, cosy, and clean. With a social mission to equip women and single mothers with massage therapy skills to make a living and help them break out of the poverty cycle, be rest assured that the money you spend at Spa Central Batam will go towards charitable causes.

New photo by Melvin Lee / Google Photos

Last but not least, all you married couples with children/toddlers can now rejoice! Spa Central Batam @ Nagoya will soon be equipped with childcare facilities that will keep your children engaged and occupied so that both of you can enjoy a temporary respite from the busyness of life while indulging in a pampering spa massage and therapy session.

The Number 1 Restaurant in Batam- Anchor Café and Roastery

New photo by Melvin Lee / Google Photos

 

Anchor Café and Roastery has overtaken Bella Italia Restaurant as the number 1 Restaurant in Batam on TripAdvisor. Offering a hearty menu that comprises appetisers, main courses and desserts; Anchor Café and Roastery should definitely be on the itinerary for Café Hoppers.

 

New photo by Melvin Lee / Google Photos

When we were there, we had their All-Day Breakfast Sets, Chicken Tenders, a Lemon Meringue Pie, and a cup of Mocha Coffee. The portions are really huge and for the price that we paid, we felt that it was pretty worth it. Furthermore, Anchor Café and Roastery’s coffees are really exceptional because the owner has built direct trade relationships with coffee farmers throughout Indonesia.

The Best Souvenir to Get in Batam- Kueh Lapis

 

New photo by Melvin Lee / Google Photos

Layer Cakes (Kueh Lapis) remain the best souvenir to get in Batam and the best place to get it would be Diana Layer Cakes. They don’t take in orders through Facebook anymore but you can still drop by their place or give them a call. For a 1KG layer cake from Diana Layer Cakes, the cost is about S$25 and it is one third the price of what you can get in Singapore.

Well, we hope that this refreshed guide to Batam has been helpful and if you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to drop us an email or comment.

A new chapter to a distinctive and unforgettable whiskey adventure story opens this month with the launch of The Whiskey Library. Ensconced within the ornate and luxurious interior of The Vagabond Club- Singapore’s preeminent luxury boutique hotel with 41 individualistic and elegantly appointed rooms and suites; the Whiskey Library offers over 1,000 bottles of thoughtfully curated rare and refined award-winning whiskies from around the world, and comes with a Membership Programme to beguile guests with a love of whiskey and give them access to the captivating vagabond experience.

Adventure awaits within the vintage art deco exterior of The Vagabond Club. Each room within the luxurious hotel is an oasis of comfort and calm bathed in natural light, bearing the touch of the genius French designer Jacques Garcia, executed in his renowned over-the-top, maximalist panache with Parisian-chic flair.

With the unique Membership Programme, guests who sign up will enjoy 10-room nights at The Vagabond Club (fully transferrable) as part of the S$3,000 annual membership fee.

Members will also have privileged access to 80 lockers, each with its own gilded and tasselled key, evocative of a bygone era of old world charm and hospitality, kept on-site in a specially designed wood-crafted armoire placed in a private space at The Vagabond Club’s salon.

Each locker will store up to 15 bottles of whiskey. Members can bring one of their own bottles for every two bottles purchased at The Whiskey Library. Members will also enjoy special bottle pricing, access to the Vagabond Club gym, and reserved seating at regular Whiskey Club events and experiences.

Each bottle at The Whiskey Library has been carefully collected from the finest distilleries from Scotland, Ireland, Japan, the US and other countries around the globe, with the collection comprising predominantly single cask and limited-edition bottles. Just as with a great literary work, each bottle is a unique work of art that stirs the imagination, beguiles the mind and excites the spirit.

The creator behind The Whiskey Library is luxury hotelier Satinder Garcha. Motivated by his love and passion for artistry, Garcha has spent two years bringing his dream to realisation.

“What started out as a vacation with friends travelling around Scotland and visiting distilleries soon turned into an eye-opening journey of discovery; a discovery of the depth of craftsmanship, the artistry, the culture and the incredible history behind whiskey making. These elements combined inspired me to bring these untold stories to Singapore where anyone and everyone can experience the profound pleasure of enjoying truly great whiskies,” says Garcha.

“No two bottles are the same. Each is unique, each has its own story, and many bottles will be unfamiliar even to the most experienced connoisseur. To me whiskey is art, and the craftsmanship behind our whiskies in The Whiskey Library is truly astonishing,” adds Garcha.

Designed for what Garcha calls “a club for vagabonds seeking a unique and hidden experience”, the warm and beautifully appointed Whiskey Library hosts up to 75 guests who, while relaxing and enjoying their whiskies, will be entertained with bespoke experiences such as specially curated sung and told Jazz stories, intimate theatre, book readings, artist evenings, musical showcases, and even independent film premieres. Guests will also be able to enjoy delightful small bites prepared by the Chef de cuisine at The Vagabond Club.

In keeping with the theme of artistry and luxury, the vitrines housing the whiskey collection and other crafted white spirits were designed and hand-crafted by local woodsman Mr Ng – one of the few remaining craftsmen in Singapore who continues to create unique furniture pieces. Designed to enhance the decadent elements of the hotel surrounds, the armoires feature brass claw feet to complement the similarly brass Allahbuksh-designed Rhino reception desk.

Akin to the Allahbuksh family from Rajasthan who crafted the enchanting Banyan Trees at The Vagabond Club, Mr Ng has contributed much to the artistry ambience in Garcha’s hotel portfolio.

Bespoke elements such as artisanal ice and an international selection of the finest of cigars, together with the extensive collection of whiskeys, bourbons, and other crafted spirits bring a truly complete and unique experience to guests of The Whiskey Library.

The Whiskey LIbrary is perhaps one of the world’s great whiskey bars! Check them out today!

Following the successful return of the Sucimurni Retreat, the award-winning luxury destination, Tanjong Jara Resort, will launch a special edition entirely dedicated to women. Taking place from 17th to 19th November; the Sucimurni Retreat, Women’s Edition, will be a unique getaway for mothers, daughters and girlfriends to rest, recharge and discover Sucimurni, the Malay concept that emphasizes purity of spirit, health and well-being.

This exclusive retreat will allow guests to learn a new concept of relaxation through a weekend of female-focused classes and workshops led by renowned wellness professionals. The retreat will include, but not limited to signature WeBarre classes, Yin yoga and sound & breath meditation session by Align Origins, wellbeing and batik workshops led by The Busy Woman Project and The Batik Boutique respectively, and a cooking class to learn the secrets of Malay kitchen from the resort’s resident Chef.

Day One

Amy Blair from The Batik Boutique will kick-off the retreat with a Batik Workshop where guests will explore the Batik process and unleash their creativity to take home their own personalized Batik Boutique product. Following the batik workshop, Linda Tang, co-founder of WeBarre Singapore, will lead a WeBarre Stretch & Technique session, guiding attendees to stretch out and lengthen all muscles to increase flexibility, improve mobility and reduce the risk of injuries.

Day Two

On the second day, Linda Tang, will start the day with an energising Sunrise WeBarre Signature Multi-Level class, an exhilarating workout inspired by ballet, yoga, pilates and strength training which aims to transform the entire body.

For lunch, Tanjong Jara Resort’s resident Chef Ann will teach attendees her best-kept secrets at the ‘Secrets of Malay Kitchen’ cooking class. Guests will be able to savour their scrumptious creations just before the next session with Jaslyn Koh, founder of The Busy Woman Project, an online platform focusing on mental, physical & emotional health for busy women living in Asia. In WE, Introspective Conversations, the ladies leading the classes and workshops during this weekend, will share their insights and connect with like-minded women on topics such as self-acceptance and self-worth.

To wrap-up the second day with a deep sense of balance and relaxation, Amanda Ling, founder of Align Origins –musician, yoga teacher and sound healing practitioner–, will share with guests the healing wonders of Yin yoga. In this slower-paced practice based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Taoist Yin Yang philosophy, postures allow a sense of release within the deeper connective tissues, fascia and joints in the body. A unique Sound and Breath Meditation session will follow. Focusing on the aspects of Nada (Sound) Yoga, Amanda will teach attendees various breath techniques to induce calmness and inner peace through breathing. Using Tibetan Tingsha bells and Singing Bowls to integrate sound vibrations into each breath, guests will learn how to build awareness to manage stress effectively.

Day Three

Before the retreat comes to an end, guests will partake in the resort’s signature Sucimurni Exercise led by the resort’s very own Resident Naturalist, Captain Mokh. The Sucimurni Exercise held by the beach at sunrise will see guests going through a series of stretches inspired by the main animal chakras, giving them a chance to explore their main energy centres and find inner peace.

The Sucimurni Retreat, Women’s Edition is priced at SGD333++ per room per night, with a maximum occupancy of two adults and one child and is inclusive of:
·       Accommodation

·       Return airport transfers from Kuantan airport

·       Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner

·       One 50-minute massage for two per stay

·       Two barre classes

 

·       One Yin Yoga session

·       One sound and breath meditation session

·       One wellbeing workshop

·       One batik workshop

·       Sucimurni exercise

·       One Secrets of Malay Kitchen cooking class

Babysitting services are available at the resort for an additional fee.

For bookings and enquiries, kindly visit http://singapore.ytlhotels.com/

 

Sure thing, Africa will be the first place you’ll imagine if someone suddenly proposes this travel idea, “Hey, why don’t we go on a safari adventure?” And quickly, you drop your bag, sit on your desk and look up pieces of information about travel to Africa. But, is Africa the only continent where you can go on a safari adventure? What if you discover there’s something equally exciting and fantastic somewhere else?

Apparently, it’s easier to decide where to go when you know that Africa is the only place to explore if you’re wishing for some safari adventures. It turns out though that Australia can be a close rival. Wait, what? You read that right. Let’s take a look at what Australia has to offer.

Australia: Where All Sorts of Diversity is Found

If you say the word ‘diversity’, perhaps, Australia is on the top rank among the most diverse countries in the world. In fact, Australia is very diverse in almost all aspects—the people and their backgrounds, the landscapes and terrains, the mix of city and countryside vibe, and a great number of diverse, unique species of flora and fauna. Check out valuable pieces of information on that subject here.

And what do all of these things mean? Yup, you’re right indeed. A tour of just a few days in Australia won’t be enough to explore everything wonderful. In fact, it would be the most awesome option if there’s a way you can do a long-term backpacking journey around entire Australia as you dream of how unique your everyday experiences would be. You’ll never run out of new things to try and see!

Hike up the mountains or sail to the islands, one after another. You’ll find that there is no shortage of wildlife creatures in Australia—they’re even abundant. You can swim with the whales, meet and greet the cutie kangaroos and koalas, get awed by the different, lovely birds on a birdwatching adventure, and discover various species of reptiles. And there’s a whole lot more! The scenic views are even enough to make your heart skip a beat! Learn more about that by visiting Aus wildlife tours.

A Learning Experience in a Classroom the Size of a Country

There is no doubt that travelling makes us smarter. We get to learn a new culture and new words from another language, we are able to taste new cuisines, uncover history, and discover art; and when we derive such new learnings, we also develop our creativity which helps us become more productive at work or at school.

Thus, we can compare wildlife tours in Australia to a wonderful learning experience in a classroom that’s the size of a country. It would be a unique experience for the whole family, especially if you have young children. It will help them fully immerse themselves in an interactive learning experience when they get to learn about wildlife creatures not just in pictures, books, and videos, but in their natural habitat as well.

Grow Your Love for Nature

When we go on wildlife adventures, we allow ourselves to have a close encounter with nature. This interaction helps us to grow our appreciation of our planet’s beauty and as well as its rich diversity. Seeing the beauty of diverse creatures and observing their life in their natural habitat compels us to grow our love for nature and to take care of our environment.  https://biofriendlyplanet.com/nature/environment/50-ways-to-make-your-life-more-environmentally-friendly/

It also motivates us to start making sustainable and eco-friendly choices in our daily lives; as we know that a single piece of trash we throw or a single foolish thing we do against the environment, could impact the lives of other creatures, especially those nearing extinction. In addition, growing our appreciation for nature moves us to teach our kids to be gentle with animals, take care of them, plant trees, and take every effort to care for the environment.

There are so many things to learn and discover while you’re on a wildlife tour. You can even choose one based on your interests. Love the ocean? Go whale-watching, diving, or snorkelling. Want to meet marsupials? Say “Hi” to kangaroos and koalas. Want something even wilder? Meet and greet reptile species! There’s no doubt that including off-the-beaten-track experiences in your travel bucket list is a must when you visit the land down under!

Are you planning on a trip to Singapore? Or are you a local who has yet to explore every nook and cranny that your friends have been raving about? Whatever the situation may be, this guide might just be the help you need to plan out your trip to Singapore. We have rounded up the top 5 must-see things to do and hopefully, anyone who has never been to this city-state will have a great experience when exploring these places.

Psst… you can book all these activities from Klook where it’s convenient and wallet-friendly too.

1. Take a Walk on the Wild Side

If you have never been to a tropical Zoo; then Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari, and Jurong Bird Park are all excellent attractions in their own right and they tend to be on the itinerary of most first-time visitors to Singapore. A stroll through the river-themed River Safari will bring you through the greatest rivers in the world and let you experience the wildlife of the Amazon and the Nile. Here’s where you can also find the loveable giant pandas, Jia Jia and Kai Kai.

2. Explore the Iconic Gardens

There is no doubt that Gardens by the Bay is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Singapore. Your trip to Singapore is incomplete if you don’t visit this amazing place. Enclosed in two massive greenhouses are some unimaginable and unusual exotic plants and greenery that you don’t often get to see.

The garden also features statuettes cuddled up between the trees and mesmerising waterfalls.  At night, the garden comes magically alive with the beautiful lights that light up the giant Supertree Grove. Even people who may not find flora and fauna exciting might just find a new sense of connection and closeness to nature.

3. Stuff your Tummy with the Best Tasting Local Delights

If you don’t have the time to visit the most famous food market in Singapore, Lau Pa Sat, fret not because they are still open after 7 pm and there are also many other hawker centres that are located at the heartlands where you can plan a nice time out with your family members and friends.

You’ll get spoilt for choices as there are so many food options that are available. Whether it’s the tantalising chicken satay or the stuffed Murtabak, be sure to try as many local delights as you can as they are rather affordable. Just dress comfortably though; as it can get quite hot and stuffy in Singapore’s rather humid weather.

4. Scream Your Heart out At Universal Studios Singapore

There’s much to see and do at Sentosa and one of the highlights of visiting Sentosa is to check out the exhilarating rides at Universal Studios Singapore. You can plan out a full-day trip here as you probably would want to conquer all the rides that are available at Universal Studios Singapore.

As you swing off the world’s tallest duelling roller coasters and get drenched on a whitewater rafting experience; don’t forget to get some souvenirs from the souvenir shops at the various themed zones. You can pre-book your Universal Studios Singapore entry ticket from Klook.

5. Experience the Mythological Ten Courts of Hell

Have you ever been to a place where everything seems to be strange and wonderful at the same time? If not, then you must visit Haw Par Villa; it is a park that’s filled with many statues that depicts the scenes from Chinese mythology and legends.

The best highlight of the park is the Ten Courts of Hell. Here, you will see a small-scale tableaux showing the human sinners being punished in a range of dreadful and ferocious ways – in graphic details.

Hopefully, the above must-see and things to do in Singapore will let you have a great time. Plan out a perfect outing in Singapore with Klook and create many beautiful memories today!

Ps. If you are looking for the best bars in Singapore to soak in the view while sipping a drink, you definitely got to check out 9 Best Bars to See the Singapore Skyline!

Author Bio
This blog post is written by – CollectOffers Singapore

It does not matter whether you are planning to move to France, Mexico, Australia, or any other corner of the world; there are just so many things that need to be considered. More and more people are moving overseas today but you need to plan and prepare effectively to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. With that in mind, read on to discover some tips on making moving abroad work for you.

Plan, plan, and plan some more – It is never too early to start planning your move overseas. This is especially the case if you need to sort a visa or you need car transport companies. The sooner you get started, the better. It will make your move a lot easier.

Download free messaging and video calling apps – Luckily, you are not going to need to spend a fortune on calling home, as the likes of Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger have made this possible for free with a good Internet connection.

Learn the language – You don’t need to master the language, but it is a good idea to learn the basics at least. This will help you to get by with greater ease. This will also earn you some respect from the locals because they will appreciate that you have put in an effort to learn their language to communicate with them.

Rent first – In most cases, it is better to rent before you buy so you can get a good understanding regarding the best location and property type for you.

Save up more money than required – No matter how good your budget is, it is likely that you will end up needing more money than expected. Don’t leave yourself short.

Don’t go back to your home country in the first year – Of course, it can be tempting to return to your home country, but you should avoid doing this in the first year. If you do this, you can end up feeling unsettled.

Sort out health insurance before you move – One of the worst things you can do is leave health insurance until you arrive. What happens if you were to fall ill or suffer an injury in your first few days? You could end up blowing your entire budget on a medical bill. Make sure you research thoroughly before you move abroad. Every country has their own health system.

Don’t take clutter with you – Last but not least, you need to sort out your clutter before you move. The last thing you want to do is fill your new home with things you do not really need. Not only will this make your new home cluttered but it will cost you much more money than needed in terms of moving fees and shipping costs.

Hopefully, you now feel more prepared for your big move overseas. Good luck!