Part 2…New destinations and travel arrangement booked!…Exciting planning for the future as we fill in gaps in the itinerary…

It seemed we couldn’t ever coordinate sunny day outings. As a result, most of our photos were taken on rainy, cloudy days.

As we continued with our bookings a few days ago, we had to consider a gap in the itinerary between June 28 to July 8, 2016. First, we’d filled three days at the tail end of the 10 days by increasing our booking time at the Hanoi Sofitel Legend Metropole as mentioned in yesterday’s post.

This left us one week to fill from June 28 to July 4, 2016. With Cyber Monday in full force here on Tuesday (we’re one day ahead of the US), we decided to book the remaining seven nights in Singapore when we had trouble finding good non-stop flights from Bali.  Most ended in Singapore.

We thought if we had to fly to Singapore, “Why not stay a week?” Having heard from other travelers over these past years that Singapore was one of their favorite destinations, we couldn’t help but think seven nights would be perfect for us.

We often say we attempt to avoid staying in big cities. Overall, we prefer not to spend long periods in a bigger city, preferring quiet, country life and its quaint and charming ways. 

This was the area of “split rock” where snorkeling is popular with some tourists.

When we think in terms of the many big cities we’ve visited in these past three years, all short term, we have no regrets. A week in Singapore falls into the category of “How can one travel the world leaving out some of the most interesting and varied cities?” In our ongoing desire to “expand our horizons” this week-long stay will surely enrich our experiences.

Luckily for my diet, Singapore’s steamed food is popular which is perfect for me while Tom will be able to find dishes he’ll enjoy. It will be during this period that we’ll have no choice but to dine in restaurants (or on a ship) for a total of 26 days when later (as shown below) we’ll be on the Mekong River cruise from July 8 to July 22, 2016.

If this seems confusing, here’s a small section of our itinerary that further explains the dates and locations (Please note. In the US, we place the month first when writing dates with slashes, with the day of the month following. It’s the opposite in most other countries).

 Sydney to Singapore  14  4/16/2016 – 4/30/2016 
 Bali House  59  4/30/2016 –
 Hotel Singapore -The Scarlet Singapore  7  6/28/2016 –
 Hanoi Hotel – Hanoi Sofitel Legend
3  7/5/2016 –
 Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City  15  7/8/2016 –
 Phuket House  41  7/22/2016 –
 Bali House  59  9/1/2016 –
 Sydney Hotel  1 10/30/2016 – 10/31/2016 

The items marked in blue are cruises during this period and the listed numbers are the number of nights. 

From there on October 31st we’ll be back in Sydney as shown staying one night in a hotel, where we’ll be off on two back-to-back cruises boarding in Sydney on the day of our four-year anniversary of traveling the world.  More on that in the future.  What a great way to spend the next anniversary in our travels, all of which is coincidental.

With the Savusavu area located on a mountain, steep roads are required to access most properties.

The above small section of our itinerary includes a total of 199 nights, a good chunk of 2016. At this point, we’re almost completely booked through October 31, 2017 (ironically, that anniversary date again).

Finding a great hotel in a central location in Singapore was important to us as we perused the options. With the Cyber sale still occurring, we researched dozens of hotels. When researching hotels we always seek the best location, the highest-rated befitting our budgetary concerns, and the availability of free wifi. 

Another factor comes into play such as proximity to the port and the airport in an effort to avoid high taxi fares.  The Scarlet Singapore with its 4 plus star rating easily fit the bill and with the Cyber sale we couldn’t have received a better price at USD $144, FJD $309 per night including taxes and fees for a grand total of USD $1005, FJD $2284 for the week.

Here’s a tidbit on the hotel:

“Vivacious and uninhibited, The Scarlet Singapore, nestled amidst the vibrant Club Street community of creative agencies, specialty shops, boutique spas, trendy restaurants and cafes, wine bars, antique shops, and art galleries, made her debut in December 2004. Renowned for being Singapore’s first luxury boutique hotel, the 80-room property pulsates with an eclectic tension. Historic Erskine Road leads you to a row of 1868 Early Shop Houses and an original 1924 Art Deco building, whose architectural detailing has been expertly retained and lovingly restored.”

Savusavu isn’t necessarily geared toward the tourist with the majority of tourists preferring to stay on Viti Levu, the main island.  Occasionally, we’ve spotted benches and rest spots for tourists, but they are few.

Adding meals, tours, tips, and transportation, it will prove to be an affordable week in this exciting clean and low-crime city.  We won’t chew gum which is illegal in the ultra-clean city. Read this blurb:

“Chewing Gum

Chewing gum is banned in Singapore so leave it at home when packing your bags. Importation of chewing gums into the country, even if it is not for trading, is illegal. The current set of regulations does not have provisions for carrying gum for personal use. Improper disposal of gum and carrying large quantities of the banned product will cost a hefty fine of up to $1000 for first-time offenders.

A proposal on the ban of chewing gums has long been in place, stemming from maintenance problems in high-rise housing flats (gum stuck inside keyholes, in mailboxes, and on elevator buttons). Chewed wads left on seats of public buses, the pavement in public areas, stairways, and floors were also considered serious problems. Regarded as a drastic measure, the initial ban was not successful. The tide turned when the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) began its operations. The $5 billion project was the biggest public project implemented in the country, bringing high expectations with it. When vandals started sticking gum on the door sensors of the MRT trains it was the last straw, especially when it started causing malfunctions and disruption of services. The chewing gum ban earned its merit and was finally enacted.

Urinating in Elevators and Not Flushing the Toilet

Not flushing the toilet is more than just a breach of propriety in Singapore, you will be breaking the law if you do so. Expect to pay a fine if you get caught. Don’t even think of urinating in elevators, as they are equipped with Urine Detection Devices (UDD). These devices detect the scent of urine, setting off an alarm and closing the doors until the police arrive to arrest the offender.”  (Hm…guess we won’t be peeing in the elevator)!

The Importance Of Discipline

Singaporeans place a lot of importance on discipline, and corporal punishment is widely accepted. Caning is not only used to punish criminals but also as a disciplinary measure in schools, the military, and the domestic scene. Do not be surprised to find canes sold in grocery stores. They usually cost around 50 Singapore cents and are made of thin rattan with a plastic hook at the end to serve as the handle. They are made for the sole purpose of parental caning. Make sure you respect the local culture and adhere to their strict standards of proper behavior.”

Many beaches are rocky with little sand although most of the resorts and hotels have sandy beaches.

There are other laws and restrictions we’ll share upon arrival and of course, we’ll pay special attention well in advance to ensure we comply with all their laws and regulations. We certainly wouldn’t want to fall prey to a “caning” for a seemingly innocuous infraction.

In any case, this clean and relatively safe country will be our home for a week and we look forward to the experience in a similar manner as one would anticipate a holiday/vacation in a new and mysterious place. 

With many tourist attractions available we look forward to exploring the city each afternoon once we’ve posted the latest photos and stories of this exciting big city and country.

That’s it for today folks. Be well. Be happy. 

Three days and counting…

Photo from one year ago today, December 3, 2014:

The view from the first of the two houses we rented for the upcoming family visit to the Big Island, Hawai’i was breathtaking.  The roaring sound of the surf was constant. We could whale watch from the yard.  More on our arrival at this house may be found here.

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