2013 was another great year. As compared to our wanderlust adventures in 2012, we visited less cities last year. Instead, we chose to stay longer at each place to learn more about the culture, food, and lifestyle of the locals. Here is a recap of our travel adventures in 2013.
Our first trip in 2013 was Taipei. one of the most popular getaway destinations from Singapore. From visiting nice cafes in Yong Kang Street to eating your way through the well-known Taipei’s night markets, there is something for everyone in this city which is known for its delicious food and friendly locals.
Kaohsiung is located in the south of Taiwan. I spent a few days in the city. Highlights include visiting Liuhe tourist night market and Ruifeng Night Market, and going to Cijin for cheap and delicious seafood.
After Kaohsiung, I dropped by Tainan, the food capital and the oldest city in Taiwan. Most of the famous Taiwanese street food originated from Tainan, and it was an eye-opening experience to explore the city and learn more about the story behind the local food.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
In March, we had the chance to go on a press trip by KLM to visit Amsterdam. Amsterdam is more than just the Red Light District or for dope-selling “coffee shops”, there are plenty of things that you can see, do and eat.
The city is somewhat mysteriously ambiguous, with a mixture of extremely warm and fierce-looking local. The slight medieval setting also feels ancient, and quite oddly, every street at every turn looks identical — low-rise brick buildings with conspicuous signs, withered trees line canals after canals, and sporadically random shops. But after spending a few days exploring the city, it grew on us.
After Amsterdam, we flew to London for a week. Everything in London is almost all too familiar – the food, the renown shopping streets, the areas that we see on Monopoly, the hallmark musicals, the language, the London Bus, the Big Ben… everything in London is so close to heart. London will always be one of our favourite cities in the world, and we are already planning a trip back this year.
Some people feel that Paris is too touristy and over-hyped. But for me, it is, and always will be, one of my favourite places. It has that magical feel in the air which you cannot find elsewhere. Je t’aime Paris.
In April, we went to Seoul for the very first time. Seoul is a very fascinating city with many things to do. In the day, you can go sight-seeing at palaces, visit one of the many museums, drop by N Seoul Tower for a glimpse of the city, or cafe-hop at hip areas like Garosu-gil, and Samcheong-dong. And at night, Hongdae – an area near the Hongik University known for its urban arts and indie music culture, clubs and entertainment – comes alive.
Most visitors usually only go to Taipei, and it is a shame because there are many other cities that are worth visiting. Taichung, for instance, is a wonderful holiday destination. So when the Taiwan Tourism Bureau kindly invited me to visit Taichung, I said yes immediately. The main draw for tourists is definitely Feng Chia Night Market – one of the biggest, if not the biggest, night markets in Taiwan. There are many things to see, do and eat in Taichung. The next time you plan a trip to Taiwan, you have to include Taichung in your itinerary.
Read: Things to do in Taichung
In 2013, we visited Bali four times, and the first adventure was at Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort for a short but much needed respite.
In June, we escaped to Bali again for two weeks. Eat, sleep, suntan, massage, eat, swim – life was good as a beach bum. We stayed at four of the best hotels in Bali, dined at the top restaurants and warungs, and took some time off to reflect about life.
Read: Bali Travel Guide
To be frank, I never knew much about Darwin before, but my trip there in July gave me an unexpectedly memorable impression of the otherwise underrated city.
Darwin is the last frontier of Australia, and it is the closest you can get to wildlife. If you are the type who enjoy outdoor adventures, and want something different from the usual city holidays, Darwin is certainly the place for you.
In August, we went back to Phuket again. This time, we stayed at Sri Panwa Villa located at Cape Panwa – the southern tip of Phuket. We have been to many hotels and resorts around the world, but after staying at Sri Panwa, it has immediately rocketed to our all-time favourite list – we are head over heels in love with this gem of Phuket.
During the last week of September, I planned a surprise trip to Japan – the land of all things kawaii and oishii - to celebrate our anniversary.
Kyoto, Japan’s capital for over 1000 years, is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. There are so many things to do and see, that it is impossible to cover everything in a trip. It is a place you will go back again and again. If you have been to Kyoto, I’m sure you will understand what I’m saying. If you haven’t been, make sure you include Kyoto in your itinerary when you are going to Japan.
After bidding farewell to Kyoto, we had another week in Tokyo. Everything in Japan seems possible – the most creative architecture, the freshest food, the cutest toys and the most remarkable fashion. We ate, and ate, and ate. Everything that we ate in Tokyo was utterly delicious.
Read: Tokyo Travel Guide
Before October came to an end, we took some time off to go to Bangkok, one of the most popular travel destinations in Asia. Cheap massage, good shopping, and delicious Thai food - Bangkok is a city that everyone must visit at least once every year.
Read: Bangkok Travel Guide
Hong Kong is another place that I visit annually to visit friends, check out some of the newest restaurants, and do some shopping. November is the best month to go as it is a transitional season from autumn to winter and that is when the weather is perfect – cool and breezy and you won’t perspire a bit when you are out on the street.
Read: Hong Kong Travel Guide
Our third trip to Bali in 2013. This time, we went there as guests of Kayumanis Private Villa & Spa. After landing at the airport, we checked in to the Jimbaran property and had two lovely nights there. Following which, we travelled North and went to their Ubud’s property. It was the perfect base to explore the arts and cultural centre of Bali.
At the start of December, we took up an impromptu adventure to Boracay with Tiger Air. Boracay is truly a paradise. The sand is so white and the water has an amazing gradient of blues. Snorkelling, island-hopping, cliff-jumping, para-sailing, jet-skiing…
For the last trip of the year, we went back to Bali again. We revisited some of our favourite places like Ultimo, Naughty Nuri’s, The Bistrot, Metis; and also spent a day doing water sports at Tanjong Benoa. Life is always good in Bali.