Ditch the hotel. Rent a home instead.

I travel. I hate hotels. I personally find them stuffy, small and irrespective of what the stars say, inherently characterless. I chose to experience someones home instead, a room or the entire space.

I’ve used Airbnb to host travellers in Singapore for over 2 years [read all about it here] and consequently have been using this service to find homes to stay at over the holidays for even longer.

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In search of the perfect pho. 36 hours in Saigon. Vietnam.

Pho, pronounced as ‘fuh’ or ‘fur’ is a popular Vietnamese noodle soup bowl, consisting of broth, meat, rice noodles and herbs, usually basil, fresh cut chilli and lime. We’ve had the most delectable pho in Singapore and were salvating at the thought of finding the best bowl over our weekend trip to Saigon 2 weeks ago. Continue reading

Chope a seat on the Singapore food train!

“If we don’t get to the hawker centre by 12, can you chope some seats for us?”

Chope, derived from chop, is slang for reserving a seat, often witnessed at a hawker centre where Singaporeans leave an object to reserve the spot, usually a packet of tissues.

Food seems to be synonymous with Singapore; a tiny island that has fast become a melting pot of tastes and ideas. Right from local offerings like chicken rice or the simple satay to spicy Peranakan food to molecular gastronomical food labs, Singapore can pretty much boast of having it all and doing it well; you certainly are spoiled for choice.

Here is what and how I ate my way through Singapore!

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Paradise! Home to the Manta Ray & Mola Mola. Nusa Lembongan & Penida. A photo journey.

I just got back late last night from another exhilarating trip to Bali. 3 days in Ubud (Read: Rustic Green. Winging it with Airbnb in Ubud. 50/50) with a day spent on a group of 3 islands south-east of Nusa Dua, Bali that form part of the Lesser Sunda Islands – Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and tiny Nusa Ceningan sandwiched in between. Nusa Lembongan is a 30 minute speed boat ride from Sanur, Bali and is well worth the visit for its untouched beaches, gorgeous rugged landscape and clear blue waters.

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I would say, host. On Airbnb.

I  moved to Singapore from Dubai in 2010 with a list the length of my arm of exactly what I wanted of my new living space. It should be in the city (funny, since Singapore is tiny tiny tiny!), walking distance from the central business district (CBD), have 2 bedrooms (2 baths would be a bonus), be close to an MRT station that doesn’t warrant a 20 minute walk, have modern bathrooms (read swanky) and decent condominium facilities like a pool/gym/bar-b-que area/etc. Sadly, this added up to a sum total of E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E!

With the soaring rent rates and living standards in Singapore, I decided to put my apartment’s second bedroom up on Airbnb to defray the hefty rent I was forking out every month.  Continue reading

Weekend in Bali. A photo journey.

Bali with my mother over Easter in 2013. 3 days of sun, art, spectacular landscapes and monkeys!

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Damascus. Syria.

My friends and I decided to travel to Syria over Easter in 2010. The old walled city of Damascus had been on the top of my travel list, along with Jerusalem since moving to Dubai. The city is lovely and quaint, bursting with history, great people and a very busy night life. I am very fortunate the trip panned out the way it did, when it did, since the civil unrest has made travel even harder now, if not impossible.

Damascus, founded in the 3rd millennium BC is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is believed to have been populated as early as 8,000 to 10,000 BC according to excavations at Tell Ramad on the outskirts of the city. Continue reading

Koh Lanta. Thailand.

Koh Lanta, the perfect holiday spot over the 2012 Chinese New Year holiday; secluded, relatively quiet with gorgeous long white sand beaches.

The island is easy to get to, with the airports of Krabi, Phuket and Trang in close proximity. Krabi and Trang have direct road and boat connections to Koh Lanta and are the best options if your plans do not include Phuket and/or Bangkok. We flew to Krabi from Singapore on Tiger Airways and then organised a car service from the villa we were staying at to pick us up from the airport.  Continue reading