Singapore & Koh Samui, Thailand 2012

Happy new year everyone! Hope everyone has been well. I haven't abandoned this blog yet...and the reason for my hiatus in the past few months is that I've been insanely busy. However, I will be blogging as regularly as possible this year for those of you who still read my blog. Many thanks~


Last year marked a few milestones in my life. I am proud to say that I have officially finished tertiary education at the University of Sydney and was able to go overseas to celebrate (o-m-g). So I'll be sharing my south-east asia adventures with you in the upcoming post/s~


Thailand was an amazing place to have a nice chilled holiday without busting the bank account. I spent approximately ~$4.5k whilst overseas and that covered all the flights, accommodations, food, drinks, clothes, tours and everything else. We were lucky to find cheap deals for 4-5 star hotels and international flights prior to flying, which saved us a few hundreds (via agoda.com).

My journey to Thailand was an epic one; resulting in close to no sleep for 72 hours straight. Stereosonic, 7am flight to Melbourne, Melbourne to Singapore (10 hour stop over), Singapore to Phuket and Phuket to Koh Samui where we stayed for the first 9 days. Needless to say, I will think twice about going to music festivals before a 30 hour long flight.

The stop over at Singapore was a good one though. We were able to leave the airport without a visa and so we were able to see most of Singapore in the short 8 hours that we were there; as everything was pretty close to each other. Singapore was seriously gorgeous. It was ridiculously clean and all the trees were well groomed. Even the airport toilets were amazing (and scary because it would flush automatically). The shopping was convenient as all the big shopping malls were located within close proximity to each other. The streets were decorated in lights and there were christmas trees all around to get into the festive season with shops closing as late as 10pm. We were constantly on the move and were able to experience the shopping, eat some of the amazing cheap food and visit the grandest hotel Singapore has to offer - Marina Bay Sands.

Some of the food Singapore has to offer in its big shopping centres:


The hainan chicken rice made in one of the Singapore shopping mall food court was heavenly (or maybe I was just starving....but seriously). It included the succulent hainan chicken; which was very moist with the perfect amount of flavours, with a serving of bokchoy, rice and chicken soup. All of which converted to less than $6.


 Cheap eats under $3! On the left we have kaya and cheese with green tea and red bean pancakes from 'Mr Obanyaki'; and on the right we have milk tea icecream with green tea icecream from 'Hokkaido Ice-cream'. The asian pancakes were served warm and had me very satisfied. I thought the kaya and cheese combination would be a bit strange, but to my amazement, they complimented each other very well. I love kaya and I love cheese even more, so the combination of both had me dewy eyes (kaya is a coconut jam flavoured with pandan leaves for all those unfamiliar). Red bean and green tea were another combination that I liked. The soft red bean paste innards was surrounded by a thick layer of soft green tea pancake and oozed sweetness. Our strangely scooped icecream from Hokkaido was ever so smooth and rich with flavour - we should have one in Sydney, pronto. It had the familiarity of your typical milk tea, only better, because it's icecream. 

My mate holding some succulent skewers! 

Inside one of the large shopping mall

I found shopping in Singapore a lot better than Sydney, mainly due to the extended late hours to accommodate everyone's busy day. It was like our Thursday late night, all day, everyday. An extra bonus was that they have stores such as Sephora and H&M which we don't have. We managed to squeeze in visiting their Chinatown, which was pretty interesting as they did have some cool things for cheap and it was fairly easy to bargain over there too. Also, on the topic of shopping, their duty free seemed to exceed ours in all aspects. I should have made a list of things to buy instead of being overwhelmed by its sheer awesomeness...will note for my next travels.

Next stop was Marina Bay Sands. The hotel was pretty freaking awesome. The view from the top was ethereal. I really wanted to go to the infinity pool but unfortunately we arrived there too late. Infinity pool~ someday we will meet again...

Some of the views from the 57 level high building at Marina Bay Sands: 



These pictures barely captures its full beauty :(

 Our night ended somewhat tragically, because we couldn't locate where the proper sleeping area was in the airport so we had to push some chairs together as a makeshift bed. I found the situation highly amusing; the result of hitting a good 48 hours or more without sleep and constant travel, so I filmed the whole thing as I lagged behind. (Those chairs were so heavy!!! Sorry girls hehehehe)

video 

By morning we were out of Singapore and made it to Phuket at long last!!!

First meal in Phuket: 


Airport food: Small fruit platter and cheap Pad Thai! 

 $60 worth of free stuff from Burger King because our flight was delayed

Koh Samui 

I really enjoyed my stay in Koh Samui at the Dara Samui resort; despite the constant rain. It was smack bang in the middle of the markets and shops so getting food was no problem at all. Our resort had a beach for its backyard where you could easily enjoy a stroll along the beach; go for a quick dip inside the beach or pool and watch the stars or casually light up some fireworks. We also had free wifi in the lobby for a quick internet fix. 

 The walkway to the pool

 Pool by day (photo by Po)

 Afternoon

 Beach by night

Koh Samui Markets

The island was a pretty quiet one full of tourists and markets for souvenirs; only the souvenirs cost three times as much compared to Bangkok. Bargaining skills were essential with everything you buy as they tend to jack up the price by more than half at times. Thai massages were abundant and prices were competitive at $8 per full body massage. I found the Thai massages better than the full body oil massage, as it actually felt a lot more like a massage. Street food was everywhere, with different colour coded shelters for different types of food. Best of all, food was so cheap!

Here are few of my favourites from Koh Samui: 

 Nutella and banana pancake - freshly made ~$1.20 

Street food - Mixed servings of steamed and deep fried stuff ~$2.50

Street food: Hot yummy noodles for ~$1.20


Mangosteens at $3.20 for 4kgs! I almost died when I found out they were $17 per kg in Sydney

Cocktails and drinks were also crazy cheap in Thailand! Some were less than $3 per glass and $6 per bucket. Our favourite restaurant in Koh Samui was probably Mambo club, where we had our first dinner. Service was attentive and generous with cheap drinks all around! Mambo was also a few stores down to a popular club called 'Green Mango' (or something). The whole place was buzzing with tourists from around the world; and the music was pretty good and updated.



Kamikazes all around!

 Mango sticky rice! 

If you get this at a restaurant, they will jack up the price by heaps. It was $5 for this plate while on the street it was only $1.50 or something. Nonetheless, still relatively cheap compared to Sydney.

 Coconut juice all day errrday 

 Special marinated prawns

We also joined the full moon party at Koh Phangan by speed boat. The full moon party takes place once a month and 12 times a year in Thailand. During high seasons, the island can be filled up with approximately 20000 people or more. It is seriously an epic party that goes on through the night with no limits...and everyone is invited. Drinks were sold by the buckets at $5-$6 each. You could choose your own mix; and food stands were abundant. I was surprised by the madness that unfolded, it seemed as though everyone was vibrating and buzzing and out of their minds but I guess whatever happens in Thailand, stays in Thailand~


Early in the night - where everything is still calm and peaceful

 The magical kangaroo bar

Apart from all the craziness which unfolded at the full moon party, we also decided to do a tour before we left Koh Samui to see the Big Buddha and do the Safari tour; which included watching a crocodile show, bird show, elephant show, snake show, monkey show and explore a waterfall. Thai people were willing to do pretty epic things for a show. They dragged moving crocodiles out of the makeshift swamp and put their heads in its mouth while others put snakes in their pants. Quite impressive, but the rest of the show was alright.


 The lovely Thailand crew

 The amazing elephants who could play soccer

Brave Thai people

O____O"

Waterfall climbing~ It had started to rain, so we couldn't swim in the waterfall...which was a shame

 Bye bye Koh Samui!

Free food at the airport

Complimentary airplane food! 


Next stop Phuket~

 

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