Bit of background: I’ve been quite lucky to have spent the last few months living outside of the UK. Funnily enough, for all my love of travelling, I’d never been to Asia before and so this was  a summer of firsts. The first opportunity I got, I packed as much travel as possible into every since free time I had available. In the space of 1 month, I was able to visit Singapore (which was technically my ‘home-base’), Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau and Australia and here are some of my favourite moments from each country! This was such a hard list to compile as there were sooooooooo many ‘favourite moments’ in each country but here we go…

Sydney, Australia on Hand Luggage Only Blog - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk
1.)The Sydney Opera House – Sydney, Australia: A truly iconic piece of Australia and the first time I saw it (which was the night before taking this photo), I got to actually experience it properly by watching an Opera. Thee feeling of seeing it for the first time was absolutely fantastic! I was in a bit of a rush on account of being held up in a traffic on the taxi ride from the hotel and to be honest, when we arrived, we couldn’t quite figure out where the entrance was so there was some panicked running around the Opera House for about 7 minutes. We made it into the Opera with less than 60 seconds to go before the show started! Phew! Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the Opera I saw was Rigoletto… you know, the one with this song in it. I had a choice of either the Rigoletto or a play and I would be lying if I said I didn’t book the ticket to see Rigoletto after watching that video. TIP: Seeing it at night is amazing but the view in the day time is also pretty good. Try to do both.

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2.) Panoramic View of Hong Kong from Victoria’s Peak – Hong Kong: We’d been in Hong Kong for a night already before making our ascent up to Victoria Peak and after being horrified by the ridiculously long queue for the tram (which is the idyllic way to get to the peak as it cuts across Hong Kong from the base but the queue waiting time was almost 2.5 hours) we took a taxi up to the Peak and lo and behold, we got this amazing view of Hong Kong! The queue on the way down was equally as bad so it was a taxi ride to the next stop again. TIP: There’s no need to pay for the viewing platform at the top. The view from the free platform is as good as the top.

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3.) Ruins of St Paul’s – Macau: Again, another iconic landmark I’d seen in photos for ages and couldn’t wait to see in person. It’s one of the strangest ruins I’ve had the pleasure of seeing as it’s got such a sharp contrast between the really preserved bits and the parts that were lost! It’s amazing to see in person and it’s kind of surreal as well to see as Hong Kong was a British settlement while Macau was a Portuguese settlement and while Hong Kong doesn’t feel remotely British, Macau on the other hand has a really strong Portuguese heritage. TIP: Dress lightly (it’s hot and humid!) and prepare for HUGE crowd of tourists.

Ho Chi Minh City on Hand Luggage Only Blog - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk
4.) Hanging out with the locals in Ho Chi Minh City: Okay, I know Lloyd isn’t one of the locals but this is technically correct 😉 as one of the people selling this stopped for a chat and ended up handing his ‘shop’ over to Lloyd to take care of. I can’t say Lloyd was the best drinks merchant in all of Ho Chi Minh but it did make for a decent photo! 🙂 TIP: Those things are really heavy to mentally prepare yourself before you attempt to carry them! 🙂

Phuket, Thailand on Hand Luggage Only Blog - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk
5.) Kayaking (and Island Exploring) – Phuket, Thailand: This was definitely a day of firsts for me. I spent the day pretty much picking my jaw up from the ground as I was left gaping at how utterly beautiful Thailand is! I don’t even know what i was expecting but I definitely was not prepared for the amazing sights we saw! In this photo, we had just gotten back onto our boat/ferry which had been taking us to each islands at which point, we would then all off the boat and kayak to the islands to explore them in more details. And this was before we even headed out to Phi Phi IslandTIP: Get some kind of water proof cover for your camera – it can get really wet here (it rained heavily for a while when we here) but you’ll still want to take photos. Some decently priced covers are available here, here and here.

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6.) Stopping for lunch with an amazing view – Bali, Indonesia: The food was pretty appalling (this is NOT typical of Balinese cuisine, this was very specific to this restaurant) but with the views, we didn’t really care much about the food. You would see two huge volcanoes and everything in between in this sea of amazing natural colours. It was such an amazing sight to behold in person and definitely one to leave you in awe of Bali… TIP: Perhaps try to do a little research with regards to the restaurant you’re going to when trying to take in the views. I know the views were amazing but balinese food is really good and so there’s no reason why you can’t have both a great meal and awesome views!

Singapore on Hand Luggage Only Blog - www.HandLuggageOnly.co.uk
7.) Thunderstorms and Cityscapes – Singapore: This was my first time down by the Marina and we’d slowly ambled down here as the sun started to set but once the sun had set and the lights all came on, the Marina looked absolutely fantastic and full of energy! As though that wasn’t enough, a thunderstorm then began which made for such dramatic photos. This was the first time we also got to see the ‘Water and Light spectacular’ here which made for a pleasant surprise before heading out for dinner. TIP: Though the City looks quite close to the Marina Bay Sands (which has the best views of the City and the ‘Water and Light show’), it a decent walk across so if you’re feeling lazy or short of time, just get a taxi. Taxis are surprising quite cheap in Singapore (especially considering how expensive the Singapore is).



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