Thursday, 12 October 2017

SINGAPORE AND INDONESIA HIGHLIGHTS...





Good morning!
I can't quite believe we have been home now for over four weeks, but I am still floating around thinking about our wonderful recent trip to Singapore, Bali and Lombok, which was part of our 30th wedding anniversary celebrations!

It was my first visit to Singapore, and I was intrigued to discover why this city has fast become such a destination place in recent years.  Our son Teddy and his girlfriend Jenny have recently relocated here with their jobs for a few years, so it was also lovely to discover Singapore from their everyday living perspective, and not just as a tourist.





Day one needed plenty of walking and fresh air to blow away the cobwebs of jet lag, and so we made our way to the stunning 'Gardens by the Bay', a beautifully laid out series of educational gardens with plants from all around the world, and two vast glass domes, housing the same with different climate varieties.   Just across the river from the renowned 'Marina Bay Sands' hotel, the views are impressive!







A spectacular display of early Autumn pumpkin and squash....







.... and the most exquisite orchid collection were two of my absolute favourites!












I adore Orchids, and so the next day, a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens was also a must.  Here you will find a particularly impressive collection of Orchids from around the world...













(Waterfall fun with youngest son 'Patch')







We certainly packed a lot in to three days.  The shopping is fantastic in Singapore, both high end and in the markets (who doesn't love a good market?).  We ate the most delicious food, in both beautiful restaurants and hawker street food alike. One particularly memorable meal was having supper in 'Satay street' where dozens of hawkers vie for your attention to chose their satay bar-bq, lined up along a long street filled with tressle tables.  Simple, basic but SO delicious and a lot of fun with such a great atmosphere.

Singapore certainly boasts some amazing views, and one of the best has to be from the rooftop bar of the 'Marina Bay Sands', with its breathtaking swimming pool perched on top of the three towers of the building.




Highrise views to one side....



...and the sea to the other.




Certainly a great place for cocktails at the end of a busy day of sightseeing!







Saying goodbye to our boys (who were heading off for a brother's trip)  Mr. W and I then flew to Bali, where we checked in to the beautiful Oberoi Hotel in Seminyak.  


Having visited Bali forty years ago for the first time, Mr. W was understandably shocked at how overcrowded and busy Bali had become!  In those days there were just two hotels, so quite a contrast!  We were thankful for the sanctuary of the stunning Oberoi and their magical gardens overlooking Seminyak beach.





We can not recommend this lovely hotel more highly.  Beautiful surroundings, the most delicious food in their wonderful restaurant, and the kindest, most helpful and lovely staff imaginable!  





The same can be said for the Oberoi Hotel on the beautiful island of Lombok, which we reached by taking a 2.5 hour boat trip.  

Lombok is an Indonesian island east of Bali and forms part of the Sunda Island chain, within the Indian Ocean.  Known for its beautiful beaches and surfing spots, and is a lush, volcanic, tropical island which remains relatively unspoilt by mass tourism. 






It was truly magical being dropped off on the beach, where we were greeted by the smiling faces of a driver and representative from the Oberoi to greet and drive us the short distance back to the hotel.




We arrived at the breathtakingly beautiful entrance to the hotel, to be immediately greeted by staff offering us ice cold drinks and sweet smelling Frangipani flower wreaths to welcome us.  So charming and lovely and always smiling....we couldn't have been made to feel more welcome!





Rooms are in beautiful individual thatched cottages scattered around the immaculate manicured grounds, and were supremely comfortable, with vast marble bathrooms and every little attention to detail met.  

The main entrance and fabulous restaurant overlooked the most stunning swimming and infinity pool, which then led down to lawns and the beautiful unspoilt private beach beyond.















Just heavenly waking up each morning and walking down to this beautiful pool...




...and then on to this empty unspoilt, pristine beach!





The hotel had their own jetty and boat house, from where guests can take boat trips over to the neighbouring car free Gili islands.  These comprise of three islands of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno.  Here you can enjoy excellent diving and snorkelling around their offshore coral reefs. Gili Meno is also home to a turtle hatchery, so turtles as well as an amazing array of fish can be seen around these waters.




Keen to snorkel, we took one of the morning trips with two other couples and we each had an instructor/guide to accompany us.














I so wished I had taken an underwater camera with us!  I am not an experienced snorkeller, but after the few times I have been, it has never ceased to amaze me just how magical the underwater world is.  Like being a privileged visitor in another kingdom.


We were rewarded with an amazing array of the most beautifully coloured fish, coral and we even saw turtles!  A truly memorable experience.



Our morning in the water ended with welcome ice cold beers at one of the relaxed beachside bars on the island of Gili air.



Our week on Lombok went far too quickly, but we have vowed to return one day!  



If any of you are looking for somewhere very special, in a tranquil, uncrowded setting, with outstanding service, then I can not recommend the beautiful Oberoi more highly!  The perfect honeymoon destination, and for us, the perfect way to celebrate 30 happy years of marriage!





We made another stop off in fabulous Singapore for a day and a night on our way home, to see our son Teddy once more.  Always hard as a parent to say goodbye, but it is always so lovely and rewarding to see ones children spreading their wings and exploring the world, and in turn, opening it up even further to the rest of the family.  In all, a truly memorable anniversaty trip.
We shall be back!

Oberoi Hotel, Lombok  (Click for link)




***


Sophia xxx