Tuesday, February 02, 2021

HOMING IN ON STAYCATIONS IN SINGAPORE

Planning a staycation in Singapore? There's plenty to eat, see and do

With Chinese New Year less than a fortnight away, it seems unlikely my old friend AK will get the chance to welcome the Ox Year with her parents in Malaysia. Since the coronavirus doesn’t look like it’s disappearing anytime soon nor will the Malaysia-Singapore borders be opening in time for CNY, I told AK to forgo her trip home and use the festive break to rediscover Singapore instead. 

“AK, thousands of people fly from around the world to visit Singapore every year. Why don’t you take a step back, pretend you’re a visitor and see Singapore through that perspective? Sometimes we take our own backyard too much for granted-lah!” I rationalized with her.

Savvy travellers will find tons of info in Traveloka

When AK groused about not knowing where to start, I pointed her to Traveloka. The online portal is chockful of useful travel tips and information with links to hotel, restaurants, activities, packages, promotions and everything savvy travellers need to enhance their travel experience.

I believe AK will be able to enjoy her CNY break if she puts her mind to it and does her groundwork using Traveloka. Not only would it save her time and effort with the overall planning, she can’t make any lame excuses about not knowing what kind of staycation she wants. For instance, if she looks under Staycation Singapore in Traveloka, out pops a list of inspiring staycation ideas: from romantic rendezvous for couples to family-friendly escapades and gourmet getaways for friends.

Food paradise...from humble fare to refined restaurants, Singapore has it all

Depending on her budget, AK can take her pick from the mind-boggling range of hotels, be it budget-friendly or budget-busting … oooh, how I wish I’m going on staycation too!

As for the types of activities to fill her time, I daresay AK would be spoiled for choice. I must remind her to take advantage of the Singapore Rediscovers Vouchers in Traveloka. I bet many Singaporeans haven’t been on the interesting tours offered in the Singapore Rediscovers section! I find the activities are varied enough to please sporty go-getters and adventure-seekers, animal and nature lovers, history and modern entertainment buffs — there’s something to suit everyone.

Thinking how Chinese New Year is synonymous with our roots and heritage, AK may like booking a Kampong Buangkok tour. I’m sure the charming village will  stir up nostalgic feelings of her hometown back in Perak.

Few visitors can resist the captivating call of a day trip to Pulau Ubin
 
Hmm…she may want a full-blown tour to Singapore’s last surviving Kampung followed by visits to urban mushroom, wheatgrass and vegetable farms or an exciting day trip to Pulau Ubin. Ah, if it wasn’t for these pandemic times, I’d dearly love to join AK on these interesting excursions.

Of course, no staycation is complete without good food. Since it’s Chinese New Year, I wonder if AK would be game to embark on a Crazy Rich Asians Insta Tour with Cocktail Making Workshop…Hey, it’s not every day one gets a chance to ride in a Vespa sidecar touring some of Singapore’s ritzy locations and... YOLO, so why not?

The much-talked-about "Jewel" in Changi Airport's crown is a sight to behold

Again, I found Singapore Rediscovers Vouchers aplenty for guided walks, immersive tours, and hands-on cooking workshops — such a boon for those who are keen to learn and discover local culinary secrets and gems through experiential sessions.

Should AK prefer more sensible suggestions, then I’d propose she goes for the ‘Singapore: Melting Pot of Tea’ tour where she’ll have a chance to learn about more than 20 tea blends, sample delicious tea from traditional to modern, and even try making her own. Although I’m unsure about her interest in kitchen forays, perhaps a Hainanese or a Hokkien cooking class may strike a chord in view of the festive season or would that remind her too much of what she’s missing back home?

Even though she can’t return to Malaysia this Chinese New Year, I’m willing to bet AK will enjoy her staycation in Singapore thanks to all the tips I’ve shared with her from Traveloka. Now won’t that be an Ox-spicious way to welcome the Lunar New Year?

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