TRAVELS / Singapore

When I think about Singapore it feels like I've only been there for two days because time went by so quickly. But going through my photos I realized that I saw quite a lot. I have to admit that I got carried away by all the shopping opportunities one day - and trust me there are a lot. But that's the thing about Asia, you can't escape the shopping. Someone I met along my journey told me that Asians define their level of success through their possessions . So of course they show it with the watch or handbag they wear. The bigger you can see the logo the better. As I prefer it the other way around and love designers that use minimal logos or none at all Asia so far has not been a big fashion inspiration to me. But there are more places I'm going to see in the next weeks so that could always change.

 Parliament Place

Parliament Place

Besides the shopping I spent a lot of time in the morning and evening in Chinatown and felt like I could conquer the world because of all the energy I suddenly felt. Cute restaurants, bars and cafés all next to each other (felt a lot like Europe) and a lot of people to just watch and enjoy.

 Chinatown

Chinatown

 Chinatown

Chinatown

 Chinatown

Chinatown

 Ministry of Communications, Singapore

Ministry of Communications, Singapore

Unfortunately the weather wasn't great and one day it rained for a few hours so I deciced to go hotel hopping and see what Singapore's got to offer and the one I absolutely loved the most was The Fullerton Bay Hotel with its amazing interior, rooftop bar and pool. Marina Bay Sands was really nice but not the type of hotel I like because it's just too big and FULL of Tourists. I love little boutique hotels with less rooms and more character.

 The Fullerton Bay Hotel - pic via  their website

The Fullerton Bay Hotel - pic via their website

 HOTEL Parkroyal on Pickering

HOTEL Parkroyal on Pickering

 Parkroyal on Pickering - pic via  their website

Parkroyal on Pickering - pic via their website

  Parkroyal on Pickering - pic via   their website

Parkroyal on Pickering - pic via their website

 HOTEL Marina Bay Sands Pool

HOTEL Marina Bay Sands Pool

 MALL The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

MALL The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

 Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay

 View from the pool at Marina Bay Sands Hotel

View from the pool at Marina Bay Sands Hotel

TRAVELS / Ubud Bali hotel and impressions

Coming to Bali has been on my travel to do list for so long. Of course, this list is not the shortest one as you can image if you ever had a look at my PINTEREST TRAVEL board. Since I started my journey in Sydney this list just keeps getting longer and longer. You meet so many people that tell you about these fascinating places they’ve seen and bum it’s on my list. Unfortunately this list is not a nice beautiful list on a thick paper that feels like silk as I would love it to be. This list is a mix of images in my head, screenshots on my phone and sticky notes in every bag and every drawer I have. But it's nice to not have everything organized so I'll keep it that way for now and enjoy the things I've seen so far - like Bali.

I already told you in my first impressions of Bali HERE that it was not what I expected at first but that quickly changed as I got to Ubud. The people were so friendly, the nature and culture were so much more visible than in Kuta – I felt at home as soon as I got there.

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HOTEL: TEGAL SARI

www.tegalsari-ubud.com

Of course the hotel is always a factor that can make a stay in another country or city unique and unforgettable or horrible. I was very lucky with mine. After hours of searching the web, not knowing what I was really looking for I found Tegal Sari, supposedly an insider tip and after staying there I can recommend it very much. You cannot book a room via the big hotel booking sites, just via phone and email which attracted me immediately. (After I wrote this they changed their website and you can now book directly on their website - I hope the charisma of this hotel doesn't get lost) 

The friendly staff showed me different rooms because I was curious what the other rooms looked like, they have a free service that brings you to Ubud center and the most amazing location: between two rice fields.

 One rice field (all these little houses are the rooms of Tegal Sari)...

One rice field (all these little houses are the rooms of Tegal Sari)...

 ... and the other rice field

... and the other rice field

 Hotel area and way up to one room

Hotel area and way up to one room

 Massage area

Massage area

CAFÉ AND RESTAURANT: WATERCRESS

www.watercressbali.com

I had the most amazing Balinese food in Darwin, Australia and I am a huge fan of the Balinese kitchen but you know that feeling when you've been travelling a lot and you just feel like you need something that feels like home. That happened the second I set a food in this café. With its amazing breakfast selection, thoughtful and modern interior and truly friendly staff you just feel like home.

 Chiapudding and Ice Tea with lemon sorbet at Watercress

Chiapudding and Ice Tea with lemon sorbet at Watercress

 First floor at Watercress

First floor at Watercress

UBUD IMPRESSIONS

A friend told me that Ubud is the spiritual center of Bali and that felt just perfect. There were not many tourists, great shopping and little cafés and shops everywhere to make my Bali experience perfect to me. Seminyak is supposed to more "chique", shopping centre and clubbing but I didn't even make it there because I enjoyed Ubud so much.

 Ubud market (closes around 5pm so get there early)

Ubud market (closes around 5pm so get there early)

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 Traditional dance

Traditional dance

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HIKING: VOLCANO MOUNT BATUR

Except for enjoying myself, the people I met and the wonderful culture and nature I hiked up an active volcano one day: Mount Batur. The most recent eruption was in 2000 and you can still see the lava field from the eruption in 1968 from the top. The trip started at 3 am, we hiked in the dark and were rewarded with the most beautiful sunrise, that got more and more beautiful every minute. 

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The only not so absolutely amazing thing about this hike was that there were monkeys that seemed cute and fun at first but then stole and ate my breakfast (they are very fast and quite strong), I tried to hold on to my banana but I had no chance.

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 Monkey and its baby in front of Mt Batur's caldera

Monkey and its baby in front of Mt Batur's caldera

 Mt Batur after descending (you can clearly see the calder in this photo)

Mt Batur after descending (you can clearly see the calder in this photo)

I fell in love with Bali, the beautiful jewellery, the way people treat themselves, nature and their surroundings. It was a very unique experience, so relaxing and mind freeing. I will come back and a few things that are definitely on my list for next time: black sand beaches, yoga and a lot of temples.

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TRAVELS / Shopping in Sydney

When it comes to shopping in Australia it is definitely amongst the best I've seen so far. Because it is just so far away from Europe it's probably not a natural thing to think of an Australian brand first. But if you've ever been here or stumpled upon some great brands it's hard to ignore Australia and its fashion.

To be honest, yes, I've been following some Australian bloggers for a while and always admired their effortless chique but I never had a really close look at the labels they wore because it was always like 'ok Australian brand, tons of shipping costs, no thanks'. But since I'm here now I can do the shopping in real life, explore all those great things and I can tell you: I don't know what I'll do in Europe because I feel Australia just knows what I want shoppingwise. 

Some of the brands I found and absolutely fell in love with: CS EDIT, sass & bide, White Suede, Maurie & Eve, NICHOLAS, ... just to name a few.  

Of course, there are designers where you pay $400 for a tshirt and socks but what I really loved are all the labels and shops between super expensive and H&M. For example GLUE, they have a wide range of different designers and not a huge amount of every piece - so not every second girl you see on the street wears the same thing (which - let's be honest - happens pretty often when you wear ZARA and H&M)

There are shops that you'll find everywhere in the big cities like Marcs, Country Road, Witchery, Topshop, French Connection which are all pretty much in the same price range. And there are those shopping malls/department stores where you can simply find EVERYTHING - just like in the U.S. or Selfridges and Harrods in London.  

You can find most of Sydney's great and big shopping within a few city blocks. The main big shopping roads are George St and Pitt St with all the big labels. (QVB left, THE STRAND right for example)

 

 

PITT STREET MALL

www.pittstreetmall.com.au

Known as THE shopping street in Sydney, Pitt St is not only home to the big department stores but also a lot of more common ones like H&M, ZARA, SPORTSGIRL. Pitt St Mall is not really a mall but a small part of Pitt St (one block to be precise) packed with shops between Market St and King St. 

According to the Daily Mail Pitt St Mall was ranked the most epensive place to rent shop space followed by 5th Avenue and Champs Elysees. So you get a feeling of all the serious shopping going on here.

 

WESTFIELD

Corner Pitt St Mall & Market St - www.westfield.com.au

 pic via  Flickr

pic via Flickr

I knew Westfield from London and since I really liked the one in Sheppard's Bush I thought it was worth a visit and grab a bite to eat. Little did I know what food eldorado I would get in. TIP: Use the hidden outside escalator between Sportsgirl and Soul Pattinson Chemist on Pitt St which takes you directly to the food level and every kind of food you can imagine. After lunch I treated myself with some ice cream and started walking through the different levels: Chanel, Dior, Nine West, you name it, it's there. And if it's not simply walk down one block and continue there...

 

DAVID JONES

86-108 Castlereagh St - www.davidjones.com.au

 pic via  d'marge

pic via d'marge

Just one thing to say: tons of labels. Just have a look at their list of brands .

 

MYER

436 George St - www.myer.com.au

A huge department store (Australia's largest department store group, by the way) with a lot of brands and designers - I couldn't really find a difference between all the department stores but I guess if you're after a certain brand these are the ones you start looking in.

 

QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING

455 George St - www.qvb.com.au

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Well, if you are into beautiful buildings, amazing glass windows, pretty floors and gorgeous scenerie QVB is one thing you can't miss when in Syndey. The shopping here is different to the rest simply because there are smaller (but still very expensive) brands here. TIP: Try to be in the building on a full hour as the beautiful clocks will make some music. 

 

THE STRAND

412-414 George St - www.strandarcade.com.au

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A little passage between Pitt St and George St that can be easily missed. The Strand is definitely a must see with all its taylor made shops on the upper level (incl. amazing wedding shops) and all kinds of magnificent shops, ideas and inspiration. I found my beloved AESQUE backpack in their store at The Strand and they only have three shops worldwide which proofs the exclusiveness of the shops with The Strand.

 

THE GALERIES

500 George St - www.thegaleries.com.au

A lovely mix of art and shopping hosting art pieces of all different kinds of artist. Amongst others MUJI can be found here which I absolutely adore for their little pratical bottles, storage things and of course (my weakness): pens. 

 

My absolute favourite shop is not next to the big ones but I'll include this one in my SYDNEY SECRETS (coming soon).