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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Dec 4, Buffet at Oscars, Conrad Centennial Hotel

by RDR

Buffet @ Oscars Conrad Centennial Singapore

Excellent spread of international and Asian dishes. From sashimi to oysters. Salads & roasts. Italian, Indian, Chinese & Japanese + local prawn mee & a noodle bar - they have it all.

The desserts are just great - in quality and quantity !!!!!

Chances are one won't be able to try/enjoy each and every dish - There are just too many out there !

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Dec 19, Christmas Vacation in Singapore

(Reader's Question)

Hi! We are Malaysians and plan for a family Christmas vacation in Singapore.

Date: 25 Dec 8am - 27 Dec 10pm

There will be 4 senior citizens and 4 adults (2 families of parents and son/daughters).

Age: Range from 20s, 50s and 62 years old

Transport & Accommodation- Driving from Malaysia, staying at friend's house in Larkin, Johor Bahru.

Our Itinerary:

Day 1:
Morning - Bugis Junction
Afternoon - Chinatown, Pagoda Street
Evening - Orchard Road

Day 2:
Morning- Sentosa Island
Afternoon- Resort World Casino
Evening- Songs of the Sea / Universal Studios (evening entrance)

Day 3:
East Coast Beach - Clark Quay - Merlion - Shopping
Ducktour Package

Aside from the itinerary, we would like to get your advise on the parking cost and available parking location (especially near to Orchard Road).

Appreciate your advice and suggestions.

Merry X'mas

Hi there

Here are a few tweaks to make your Christmas vacation in Singapore more enjoyable:

Day 1 - Chinatown, Bugis, Orchard Road

Chinatown starts to buzz earlier in the morning than the Bugis area. Hence I suggest a morning start at Chinatown instead of Bugis.

Morning: Chinatown

Have breakfast at People's Park Food Centre, Chinatown Complex Food Centre, or Maxwell Road Food Centre.

Thereafter, check out the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, Sri Mariamman Temple and the side streets in Chinatown, e.g. Pagoda Street.

Afternoon: Bugis Area

Don't restrict yourself to just Bugis Junction. Also browse the interesting shops at the Bugis Street Bazaar and Waterloo Street.

Evening: Orchard Road

The Christmas Light Up is on till the second day of the New Year. So if you don't like crowds, plan to see the lights outside Christmas Day.

But if you like the festivities, the Christmas Grand Concert takes place on Orchard Road in the evening. A section of Orchard Road will be closed to vehicle traffic - so take note.

You may still find suitable parking at Goodwood Park Hotel, Far East Plaza, Pacific Plaza or Hotel Royal Plaza on Scotts - all of which are on Scotts Road but close to the Orchard Road concert area.

Day 2 - Sentosa, Resorts World and Universal Studios

Sentosa attractions in the morning and the casino in the afternoon should be comfortable.

However, Songs of the Sea runs at 7.40pm and 8.40pm, while Universal Studios evening entrance is 7-9pm.

For you, this means:

1) A quick visit to Universal Studios early in the evening followed by 8.40pm Songs of the Sea, OR

2) An unhurried dinner within Universal Studios only, OR

3) 7.40pm Songs of the Sea, followed by supper at

a) Resorts World, or

b) one of the hotels in Sentosa, or

c) Lau Pa Sat in Shenton Way, a short drive away from Sentosa. Lau Pa Sat opens till late and serves good satay, seafood, and other local food.

Day 3 - Duck Tours, Marina Bay Shopping, Clarke Quay Dinner

Clarke Quay comes alive in the late afternoon/evening. So I counter-suggest the following plan:

Morning: Duck Tours departing from Suntec City Galleria.

Late Morning/Afternoon: Shopping at Suntec City, Marina Square, Citylink Mall, and Raffles City Shopping Centre.

Evening: Dinner at Clarke Quay.

Have an enjoyable Christmas vacation in Singapore.

Gabriel Tan

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Dec 19, An Optimised 7-Day Singapore Tour

by Lucy Das
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)

Dear Gabriel, thanks for maintaining this AWESOME site. It has been the basis of my planning. However, I think my itinerary could use some of your expert advice. Here is what I have. Please optimize it to get the best out of our trip in terms of location/scheduling. Also, kindly suggest best shopping spots where the cost is not high but the goods are of decent quality.

My itinerary:
2 adults + 2 kids aged 6 and 9

(We start our day at around 9:00 or 9:30 am)
1. Jurong Bird Park
2. Snow City
3. Evening: Orchard Street Light up

Your plan for Day 1 looks spot on. Just be aware that the Christmas Grand Concert starts around 7.30pm. A large crowd is expected. You could get to the Concert by exiting at Orchard MRT Station.

1. Morning Take the FREE TOUR + Bugis Flea Market
2. Visit FRIEND if she is free
3. Take a short break in the hotel
4. Explore Clark Quay (Retire early) ? Extreme swing/Quayside Seafood, Singapore Sling Boutique for a drink
5. Take a relaxing boat ride if possible. Best time (7-7:30pm) ? Hippo cruise

Day 2 looks good on its own. But I noticed that you've planned Arab Street on a later day. Consider visiting Arab Street / Kampong Glam on Day 2 as well - since these places are near the Bugis Street Bazaar.

I'm just curious - what free tour would you be embarking upon?

DAY 3 ? 27 December MONDAY (8:00am ? 10:30pm)
1. Chinatown area ? for shopping
2. Singapore Zoo + Night Safari (see zoo/safari planner)

Day 3 is another well-planned itinerary.

DAY 4 ? 28 December TUESDAY
1. Science Discovery Center + Omnimax movie
(Swap with Day 2 if required)
2. Arab Neighborhood
3. Chinatown on foot/Trishaw? (Tea service)
4. Hotel Break - optional
5. Trishaw + Bumboat tour or just the bumboat ride OR take river taxi and walk back if we haven?t covered it already on Day 2.

Day 4 is too ambitious. You're not going to cover so many places.

If you plan on visiting the Science Centre and Omnimax Theatre, do it on the same day you visit the Jurong Bird Park and Snow City. There's no point making 2 different trips to Jurong - you lose lots of time on commuting.

The same applies for Chinatown, and Arab Street(which is close to the Bugis Street Bazaar).

Remember: less is more!

For Day 4, consider visiting a heartland town centre such as Toa Payoh or Bedok in the morning. You'd be surprised to find some really nice clothes or shoes for children.

Then head for Little India in the afternoon/evening. Check out Mustafa Centre and the bargain shops along Serangoon Road. You'll find something for the family here.

DAY 5 ? 29 December WEDNESDAY
1. Change Hotels
2. Go for the Marina Bay Mall Crawl
3. Spend some time at Marina Bay Sands
4. Explore Raffles Hotel
5. High tea at Swissotel Stamford ? Equinox Book !
6. Dinner at Lau Pat Sat

If you have not already taken the bumboat tour, you could fit in a Singapore River Cruise (bumboat tour) in the evening before heading to Lau Pa Sat for satay and BBQ seafood.

DAY 6 ? 30 December THURSDAY
1. Singapore Botanic Gardens
2. Hotel break
3. Sentosa ? Butterfly Park, Underwater World & Dolphin Lagoon, Sentosa Luge and Songs of the Sea ? Cable car ride. Merlion ? photo opportunity OR
4. Town Center shopping ? Recommendations for outlet stores?

Read my earlier recommendations for town centre shopping.

DAY 7 ? 31 December FRIDAY
1. Relax ? East Coast Park - beach? Flight Experience?
2. Shopping - need recommendations for the best place to shop for clothes.
3. Fireworks in the evening (Promentary ? across the Hotel ? Carnival)

The Waterfront Boardwalk in front of Marina Bay Sands is a nice spot to watch the fireworks. Pack your food, snacks and drinks. Then arrive early and have a family picnic. If you arrive late, be prepared to be bumped off to less desirable spots for fireworks viewing.

However, if you've booked into a Bay-facing room at your Marina Bay hotel, you're better off watching the fireworks from your hotel room or balcony.

Our Hotels: 1st 4 days ? Clarke Quay hotel and next 3 days ? Marina Bay hotel

I have deliberately left out LITTLE INDIA since we are from India. :)

Is there a gems factory that is worth seeing? Read about it somewhere.

Can we ditch Sentosa or is the Songs of the Sea too good to miss?

1) Little India in Singapore, I believe, is slightly different from any spot in India. It's worth the trip for the wonderful family shopping at Mustafa Centre and the other bargain shops.

If you plan on buying gold jewellery and gemstones, Mustafa and the other gold shops in Little India are great for variety.

2) Visiting Sentosa just for Songs of the Sea is not worth it, IMHO. But it's definitely worthwhile when you think of it as a place where lots of family-friendly activities are clustered together. You get to do lots without commuting too much.

The activities you've listed for your Sentosa trip are great for a family with pre-teen children.

3) I noted that shopping is of importance to you. Apart from the shopping spots already recommended, you might want to spend an entire day just browsing the malls on Orchard Road.

Robinson's, as you have already noted, is great for lots of stuff. So is John Little's, Isetan and Tangs. There are also some smaller outlets at Far East Plaza, Centrepoint, Plaza Singapore, etc which offer something slightly different.

Enjoy your week-long Singapore tour.

Gabriel Tan

Thanks a lot
Bangalore, India

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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The 5 Best Family Holidays

The idea of a family vacation with kids once was a daunting concept, but with a few creative and practical tips we've discovered that it can be an awesome adventure, fun for the kids and fun for us too. The top five family holidays we've discovered in our years of travel are:

Theme Parks
These are always fun for kids, and I must admit, we adults quite enjoy them too. You can get great deals by booking your hotel early, and maximize your fun by planning out your activities beforehand. There are rides and exciting characters to meet for the younger ones, and you and your older ones will enjoy the more thrilling rides and shows. For the more adventurous at heart, there are a number of excellent theme parks worldwide, for example, a Disneyland in Japan, Hong Kong or France. This is a great opportunity to experience lots of fun in the context of a different culture. It is a good idea though to time your trip right. Standing in the long lines during extreme heat or cold is not anyone's idea of a good vacation.

The Beach
Beaches with their bright sun, endless sand and wavy water are a formula for immense family entertainment. There are stunning beaches worldwide with great family-oriented hotels to stay at. Before you pack your bags, make sure check if your hotel has a pool and kids activities. Our kids love the beach but the same routine can get boring. We've found terrific hotels that organize games for the kids like water polo and beach volley ball. It was great on out trip to see the kids make new friends through these activities, and a break for my husband and I from keeping them entertained, which was quite enjoyable for us too.

City Breaks
One of the greatest trips we've had with the kids is a visit to the capital city of Washington D.C. Our days were fun-packed with visits to museums like the Smithsonian, national monuments like the Thomas Jefferson memorial, and walks to beautiful places like Georgetown. We couldn't believe how much there was to do with over a hundred museums and monuments to visit, most of which were free! Younger kids might get bored quickly unless you keep them engaged throughout and keep the sight-seeing fast paced and varied.

There is no greater way to experience wildlife than in its natural environment. Kids of all ages love animals and the excitement of a Safari is tremendous fun for the family as a whole. Although it is important to consider vaccinations for international travel, documentation, and to exercise great care with the food and water you drink, for example clean bottled water vs. tap water, we will remember our trip to Africa with its fascinating cultures, stunning nature and diverse wildlife for years to come.

Like beaches, there are cruises to and from lots of places in the world. There are cruises that last for days and cruises that last for weeks. Either way, they are a terrific family vacation because they are equipped to holistically cater to every age group and offer fun activities for you and the kids. We've loved going on cruises for their picturesque views, the thrill of being on the water, the excellent accommodations and entertainment and because, you can't really lose the kids.

Wherever you decide to go for your vacation, be sure to plan in advance and keep a positive attitude, turning every aspect or mishap of your trip into a fun adventure for the most enjoyable and memorable family weekend break.

Colin McDonald writes on behalf of Potters Holidays - Norfolk Holidays

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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Trip to Southeast Asia - Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore Are the Major Attractions

Read on to know some popular attractions of a Southeast Asian holiday trip. Of course, Southeast Asia is globally renowned for its tourism attractions, offering an interesting blend of rich cultures & traditions, serene beaches, historical landmarks and contemporary arts. This region is home to some wondrous tourism destinations (countries) - Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, which are really worth visiting. Known for their magnificent sightseeing, high quality of lifestyle and abundance of natural vistas, these countries are capturing the attentions of tourists from across the world. In short, during your trip to Southeast Asia, you would explore the unique charm and splendors of an unambiguously different world.

One of the most useful getaways to Southeast Asia is Thailand. Popularly dubbed as the 'Land of Smiles', this country is blessed with amazing tourism attractions, all are unique by their own. Spiritual Buddha temples, lively beaches, astounding history & cultures and colorful nightlife, tour packages Thailand provide the tourists to enjoy holidays in a delightful manner that could be unforgettable forever. Grand Place, Wat Pho, Wat Arron & Royal Barges Museum of Bangkok, Scenic beaches & Butterfly Garden of Phucket, lively resorts and throbbing nightlife of Pattaya, scenic vistas of Chaing Mai and many more, tour packages Thailand provide a handful of tourism opportunities. Additionally, you could be cherished with excellent shopping options, delicious cuisines at exotic restaurants and other blissful ambiences of modern world.

After exploring the detectable Thai Charm, you can choose to travel to Laos or Cambodia, or can head south to visit Singapore and Malaysia. Your trip to Malaysia will bestow you with pleasing climatic conditions and an enchanting array of vacation attractions. Other than some astonishing travel destinations like Genting Highlands, Negara National Park, National Museum, Cameron Highlands, Petronas Tower, and Terengganu Marine Park, you could enjoy great hospitality and modern ambiences in Malaysian hotels.

Apart from Thailand and Malaysia, Singapore is also an appealing tourist destination of Southeast Asia. Almost every attraction you see here is truly suburb, and never fails to engrain the travelers' heart. Gleaming skyscrapers, breathtaking greenery, alluring shopping and detectable cuisines, Singapore holiday is undoubtedly a unique experience you will love to treasure forever. During Singapore holiday, you can visit to Sentosa Island, the Night Safari, Chinatown, East Coast Park, and the Bikut Timah National Reserve to collect sweet memories for a lifetime.

In short, holiday packages to southeast countries are of good value. Nowadays, a number of companies, not only in India but overseas as well, provide a range of itineraries that help people enjoy their tours to Southeast Asia fully. From domestic packages like Goa holiday tour to International tours such as Singapore holiday packages and packages, Thailand, Indian travel companies provide all sorts of travel deals to help people explore more remote areas and activities, which are difficult to arrange by their own. Holiday packages, especially international tours, are worth considering if one looks for an exerting holiday, or has an ambitious sightseeing plan in a limited time frame. Since it's uneasy to deal with language and customs, or simply traveling alone overseas, holiday packages are the best source to get in your favorite destination.

Author of this article is associated with Hungry bags, a reputable tour company offering the best in tour packages Thailand, and travel deals for holiday in Goa or Singapore holiday.

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