Thimpu Chorten

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Thimpu Chorten, also called the Memorial Chorten is a Stupa located in the heart of Thimpu city. It is popular as the most visible religious landmark of the city.

Built in the year 1974, the Stupa honors the third Druk Gyalpo (King) – Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Unlike most Stupas, Thimpu Chorten does not house the human remains, instead, you will only find a picture of the Druk Gyalpo in his ceremonial dress in the ground floor of the Chorten.

I visited this Chorten twice. In the morning when it was bright & sunny, & the entire place looked absolutely heavenly – A beautiful white structure against the gorgeous blue skies. I went back in the evening as well, with the butter lights shining & the entire scene looking ethereal. I suggest you do the same & you will know why by the end of this post.

There are four gates to the Chorten but only one of them is open to the Public. As soon as you enter through the gate, on your left, you will come across the Traditional Prayer wheels & a lot of people moving them. The Buddhist Tradition says that when you push the Prayer wheel & it revolves around itself, the prayers written on them are sent with the wind to the Gods.

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Right in the front of the Gate lies a small garden with beautiful flowers & a pathway in between that leads you to the Chorten.

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As you walk, you come across a brown structure wherein you will find the statue of Goddess Ihamu. She stands facing the Chorten & is absolutely beautiful.

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Once inside, you will see how deeply religious & spiritual the Bhutanese people really are. You will see a lot of women & men deeply engaged in prayer & circumbating the Stupa in a clock wise direction as is the tradition in Buddhism & Hinduism. Mostly the elderly women & men visit during the morning hours . The entire atmosphere is Spiritual & Godly.

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All the four sides of the Chorten have different mandalas & statues dedicated to the third king. Apparently the inside of the Chorten opens only once a year for the locals & tourists during the Monlam Prayer festival, which is usually held during the 4th to 11th day of the first Tibetan month. The religious head of Bhutan addresses & gives blessings the people present for the occasion. So mostly, you will find people praying outside with their prayer beads or going around the Chorten chanting with a mini hand held prayer wheel.

As you walk to the left of the Chorten, there is a small structure where lights are light as an offering to the Gods. Usually butter/oil lights, which is a tradition among Buddhist & Hindus.

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Remember to around the Chorten ONLY in the Clockwise direction. That’s the only way according to Buddhist & Hindu Traditions. Here is a view of the back side of the Chorten.

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I really really liked the Chorten & wanted to come back in the evening. Luckily my hotel was just 5 mins away from this place & I am glad I did come back.

I realized, not only are the elderly in the Bhutan religious & spiritual but also the youth. Boys & Girls my age & even younger were praying & circumbating the Chorten. Plus, the Chorten looks beautiful in the evening with all the gorgeous lighting.

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Remember the structure for lighting lamps & butter lights, this is what it looks like in the evening.

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Surely, this was one of the most beautiful evenings spent in Bhutan for me. Serene, peaceful & blessed.

Bhutan is supposed to be the Happiest Country in the World. The reason possibly can be that the Gods they pray to so sincerely everyday, smile down on them from Heavens & bless them with abundant Happiness & Peace. The kind that I felt almost at every little corner of Bhutan.

See you soon in the next post.

Looking forward to hearing from you! Do you leave your thoughts in the Comments section down below!

Love,

Arry.

Buddha Dordema Statue – Thimpu!

Welcome to Thimpu friends! After the 5 hour zig zag ride through hundreds of mountains ( it almost felt like hundreds ) we arrived in Thimpu. It was around 5 in the evening when we got there. The journey had exhausted us. We checked into out Hotel & spent the rest of the evening relaxing over some great food, tea & the cool Thimpu air.

The next morning, we were ready to greet the Capital city of Thimpu with open arms! And my! Were we amazed! Lets start from the first place we visited.

Buddha Dordenma Statue

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The hugeee Buddha statue is built over looking the Thimpu valley & is built as a mark of celebration for the 60th anniversary of their fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuk. It is infact one of the largest Buddha statues in the world at 51.5 meters. In fact when we visited it, parts of it were still under construction & the work was finally completed on September 25th, 2015.

The construction of the statue is also a tribute to the monarchy of Bhutan which celebrates its centennial anniversary this year. Now here is the interesting part. This Buddha monument fulfills two prophecies. A renowned yogi called Sonam Zangpo prophesied that a large statue of either Padmasambhava, Buddha or a Purbha would be built in this region to bestow peace, happiness & blessings upon the whole world. The second being that the mention of a statue like that is present in the ancient terma of Guru Padmasambhava himself which dates almost back to the 8th century! Isn’t it something?

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The one thing that I loved about this statue is how beautiful looking the face of the Buddha is! The people who worked on this masterpiece must have been so exceptionally talented!

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Just to give you an idea of how huge the statue is I am sharing an image from the blog.voanews.com.

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Isn’t the place where the statue stands absolutely beautiful? So serene, peaceful & gorgeous! You can almost get a view of a part of Thimpu town from up here.

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Can you see the roads in the picture? They are the ones that lead us to this monument!

Now, whenever you are in Thimpu, make sure you start your Thimpu sight seeing from this point. Just stand where I was standing when I took the above picture ( you will know where, just look around)  Take in the sight of Thimpu town, & start on this wonderful adventure called Bhutan.

I hope you will love this place as much as I did when you visit! As always, I am looking forward to your comments ! Leave them in the section below!

Love,

A.

Tsuglangkhang Monastary

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Palden Tashi Chholing Tsuglangkhang is a Monastery & Monk School located pretty close to the Bhutan Gate in Phuntsholing. It is one of the recently built Monastery’s in Bhutan.

Inaugurated by his Holiness 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choeda on 28th October 2014, the construction of this Tsuglangkhang was funded by Ap Dophu , Aum Karma Yuden & Family.

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The entrance door to the Monastery is beautifully painted with Images of Buddha in his various forms.

After visiting the monastery’s of Bhutan, I have a deep desire to learn about the different stories of Buddha that are depicted via pictures across Monastery’s in Bhutan.

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The Monastery is built on a huge area & the Landscape is absolutely beautiful. Right behind the Monastery you have a river bed. The sound of the river flowing, the surrounding mountains & the peace of the Monastery simply gives an ethereal feeling here.

I just stood here for a good 10-15 minutes, enjoying the calm & peace within & outside.

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On the other side of the Monastery lies the residence of the Monks. When we visited, it was almost dinner time for them, so could not really interact with any of them to learn more about the place.

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The experience here was simply beautiful. I am sure the monks feel like they are living in the lap of mother nature & protected by lord Buddha.

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This is a must visit place while in Phuntsholing. I would say early evening is the best time to visit here. You might not get the best photos, but the experience is something that will stay on with you forever.

Looking forward to your comments as always!

Love,

A.

Wat Pho – Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Bangkok

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Wat Pho or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is located in the Phra Nakon District of Bangkok. This place is a must visit while you are in Bangkok.

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The beautiful statue of Buddha is an impressive 46m long & 15 m high & is covered in Gold leaf. The reclining posture of the Buddha illustrates his passing into Nirvana.

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Although the Reclining Buddha is the main attraction of the place, Do take the time out to explore the entire complex. The feel of the entire area is almost ethereal & hosts many statues of Buddha, each more beautiful than the other.

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The Wat Pho Complex consists of a two walled compound. The northern side hosts the Reclining Buddha while the Southern side hosts Monks & their School.

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Wat Pho is the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. The place has traditionally been a center for Traditional Thai medicine. You will find various drawings on the wall depicting points of massage.

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The entry costs to the Wat Pho temple is 100 baht & the temple is open to visitors between 8.00 am to 5.00pm.

I highly recommend you take time out & visit the Wat Pho, while you are here. I am sure you will love it as much as I did.

Arpita.

Ajmer Sharif

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Located around 135 kms away from Jaipur, Rajasthan is the city of Ajmer. Ajmer is well known amongst the people of India as it houses the shrine of Sufi Saint Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti . Revered by people of all religions alike, the shrine is a major center of pilgrimage in India especially for the Muslims. People visit the shrine in the hopes of having their wishes fulfilled.

In spite of being a follower of Islam himself, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti never tried to convert his followers who practiced religions.

He said “Let there be no compulsion in religion, Will thou complain men to become believers? No soul can believe but by the persuasion of Allah” He was compassionate towards people of all religions alike & all strata’s of society.

Because of his love for the poor & helpless Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti is also popularly called Garib Nawaz ( The one who shows kindness to the poor) Today many years post his death, his shrine is a place of great reverence for believers. Prayers are answered & miracles happen.

I have had the good fortune of visiting the shrine many times. I practice Hinduism, yet believe in the blessings of this great saint. If you are a person of faith, do visit this shrine, whenever you are in Rajasthan, India.

May the light of blessings of Khwaja Garib Nawaz always shine.

For more details, visit http://GaribNawaz.com

Chao Phraya River Cruise.

One of the things not to be missed while you are in Bangkok – Thailand is the dinner cruise on the Chao  Phraya River. Chao Phraya River is one of the main rivers of Thailand. It flows along the city and runs eventually into the Gulf of Thailand.

The 2 hour Dinner cruise is the best way to enjoy the Brightly lit up Bangkok in the evening.

The most amazing thing is that before the Cruise comes along the waterfront from where the cruise can be boarded. The staff on the first tier of the Cruise performs a welcome dance for you. That’s like so cool.

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There are two options for seating. either the ground part or the First tier. We were seated on the Ground Tier.

Once you get one Board, and are seated, they serve you welcome drinks. The cruise then moves along slowly so you can enjoy the beautifully lit Bangkok or head to the deck where you can enjoy the beautiful breeze.

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The main attraction along the river Chao Phraya is Wat Arun, the Temple of dawn that was built during the 17th Century.

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There is also live performances on the Cruise & amazing food is served. If you’ve not tasted Thai food before, this is your chance.

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Do spend some time on the deck. The breeze, the river & the view are to die for. I highly recommend taking this River Cruise. The Cruise is a perfect setting for a romantic date night too! And I highly recommend it for couples, especially the top tier. The evening cruise starts around 7. You can check with the hotel you are staying at. Some hotels have a pick up facility to head towards the water front.

This is an experience, not to be missed.

Nong Nooch Pottery Garden.

Nong Nooch is a beautiful tropical botanical garden spread across 500 acres of land in the Chonburi Province of Thailand. The area is like a theme park & is divided into various sections . You have species specific gardens like Cactus, Bonsai, Orchids Tropical Palms on one hand & on the other hand you have an area dedicated to performances like Traditional Thai dances, Elephant shows etc. You can spend an entire day in this place & really have a good time.

The place that stood out for me however & really fascinated me was the area right at the entrance of the Nong Nooch garden – The Pottery Garden. Thousands of clay pots & figurines are arranged together & they look very interesting. Have a look.

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Raanwara Cottage Review

For our yearly Monsoon getaway this year, we choose the beach village of Nagaon. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, we really wanted a place that was close to nature, relatively unexplored, peaceful & quiet. In short not your usual tourist destination. So instead of going for the popular beach town of Alibaug, we choose its shy cousin , Nagaon. The perfect cozy beach village in the lap of Nature.

For our stay we wanted something private instead of the usual hotel. So after lot of search, we came across this beautiful cottage called Raanwaara.

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The entire process of booking the place was very smooth & the coordination was excellent. Right from our food preferences to offering directions right from the time we left from our place till we reached Raanwaara. A staff member from Raanwaara actually came up someway to lead us to the cottage, since we were unfamiliar with the area. Very impressive service indeed.

The Cottage itself is extremely beautiful. I fell in love with it from the moment I saw it. The area surrounding the cottage is plush green, with beautifully maintained lawns, flower trees, beautiful variety of Plants, coconut trees and more. Its like staying in the Lap of Nature.

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The Rooms at Raanwaara are simple, not too made up like our usual hotel rooms, clean, and has all the required amenities . The ground floor has 2 non/Ac rooms , a dining room, kitchen, front porch & a swing & the first floor has 3 Ac rooms, so its up to what you prefer. The Rooms are pretty spacious and can accommodate a large family easily. Plus they provide extra bedding and pillows upon request.

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Raanwaara offers both Veg & Non-Veg food as per your choice. Tea & Breakfast are provided upon request as well. The staff is extremely helpful and makes sure your stay is comfortable. The food is tasty especially the Non-Veg dishes. The Sea food prepared in typical Konkan style. So if you are a lover of Sea food, you will surely enjoy the preparations.

I found the rates for the accommodation as well as food pretty decent for the services they offer. As compared to the other available options I found this to be rightly priced.

The beach is located around 2-3 kms away. And it takes around 5-10 mins by car. It is advisable to have your own vehicle with you, cause there are a lot of places you can explore that are located in and around Nagaon.

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Honestly this is a great place to stay if you want to relax and unwind. A perfect getaway for a weekend with family/ friends, or to celebrate a special occasion, which in my case was my moms birthday 🙂

The feel of this place was almost like home away from home. It was extremely comfortable & we enjoyed our stay tremendously.

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So, Will I go back for another stay – Definitely. Do I recommend it – Absolutely. I was not paid to write this review, so I genuinely liked the place enough to say good things about it. I do recommend Raanwaara if you are ever visiting this area.

If you wish to visit this place, You can the details down below.

Website –        www.konkancottage.com

Contact No – +919987033326

Address – Raanwaara, Near Gaondevi mandir, Nagaon, Maharashtra, India.

Malaysia Photo Diaries

Hello Everyone,

I got the opportunity to visit Malaysia for two days recently. Did not get the opportunity to really explore the place well, but managed to visit a couple of beautiful places. Take a look.

Putrajaya – The Federal Administrative center of Malaysia.

One thing that I found really interesting about Malaysia is that the Seat of the King and Parliament along with the Commercial and Financial centre of Malaysia is located at Putrajaya, a city located around 25 kms away from Kuala lampur. The entire city is built only for Governmental activities. The Palace of the King, Residences the Prime minster & Deputy prime minister and other important government officials are located here. You will not find civilian housing here & Only certain areas like the mosque are accessible to civilians and tourists. DSC00259 Bangunan Perdana Putra 011404268252Putra-Jaya Malaysia is one country where the weather cannot be trusted. it can rain really heavily one minute and the other minute you have the sun shinning brightly. So please bear an Umbrella with you at all times, just in case.

Kuala Lumpur Day 1

We visited the War memorial, National Monument, Cricket Field, High Court Building, Observatory Deck- K L Tower. DSC00299

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DSC00316DSC00304 Merdaka Square, Kuala lumpur – the place where the High Court, Cricket ground , the pole where the National flag of Malaysia was first hoisted in 1957, and other important places are located.

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High Court, Kuala Lumpur

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Kuala Lumpur Tower & View from the observatory deck.

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Today we finally got to see the most popular attraction of Kuala Lumpur, The Petronas Towers! You have to see the twins during the evening even if you have seen it during the day! The towers look breathe taking at night. Also within the Petronas Tower you have certain fountain arrangements that are a must see. A good place to just sit and chill in the evening. and if you love shopping like I do, the ground floor of the Petronas Towers houses some really great stores where you can shop.

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Malaysia is also famous for the amazing chocolates that they make. Do not forget to check out this amazing Cocoa Boutique. There are so many varieties of chocolates that they make. Its like visiting Willy Wonkas Chocolate factory!For all the chocolate lovers out there, this is place you cant miss. IMG_4948IMG_4949

Batu Caves is limestone hill that have a series of caves and is sacred to the Hindu community in Malaysia. The temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan and is considered a very sacred place. It is the focal point of Hindu festival called Thaipusum in Malaysia. The large 140 ft high gold painted statue of Lord Murugan is a major attraction, that should not be missed.

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Evening at Petronas Towers.

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Since my visit was a short one, I could not really explore the city well. But I did enjoy my time there. Might visit it again sometime in the near future at a more leisurely pace. Stay tuned for my next blog! Till next time then, Arpita xo

10 things to do while in Singapore!

Singapore is one of my favorite holiday destinations in the World. Each time I visit it, I fall more and more in love with this beautiful country.  It is an ideal place for a short holiday and has a lot to offer its tourists.

Here is my list of 10 things to do while in Singapore! 

1.Visit Gardens By the Bay

Gardens by the Bay is an beautiful indoor park located in Central Part of Singapore near Marina reserve. It is an award winning horticultural attraction which houses around 200-250 rare plants. its a beautiful place close to the water front and is a definite must see. We visited just prior to the Chinese New Year 2015, hence the garden was beautifully decorated with colorful decorations to match the theme of the year of the Sheep.

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2. Take a Cable car to the Sentosa Island

Definitely one of the most fun places to visit. Sentosa is like a huge theme park with lot of fun things to do. Free buses run around the Island to take you from one place to another. You definitely must spend at least 2 days on Sentosa cause there is just so much to see! Have fun at the Theme parks, Visit the fantastic beaches of Palawan & Silosa ,enjoy the water sports & the Bars surrounding them, or just relax.

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3.Hollywood Calling – Visit the Universal Studios

South East Asia’s First Hollywood movie theme park, it features enticing rides, entertainment and thrilling attractions! Here you can find seven movie themed zones, from Transformers, Shrek , Jurassic park etc. You have to spend an entire day here. its like walking on the sets of the blockbuster Hollywood movies. Damn Fun for kids & Adults alike!

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4.Experience the Marine Life at S.E.A Aquarium

The Aquarium hosts more than 800 species of marine animals . It is indeed fascinating to see aquatic life of such varying kinds. Another must visit at Sentosa.

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5.Pose with your favorite celeb at Madam Tussauds Wax Museum

From Lady Gaga, to Oprah, Audrey Hepburn to David Beckham, Shah Rukh Khan to Brad Pitt, you can pose with them all! Its a lot of fun at the Madam Tussauds wax Museum!

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6. Enjoy the wilderness with Night Safari

The Night safari is one adventure ride not to be missed. A tram takes you through the artificially created geographic zones like South east Asian rain forests, Amazon Forests, African Savannah, Burmese Jungles etc.These artificially created geographic zones hosts around 1000 animals and 135 exotic species in eight zones. You can witness the Lion King with his pack, to the long necked Giraffes to the Rhinos and the Hyenas. Its the one thing you must not visit. There is also the option of taking the walking trail for the very brave!

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7. Take a Ride in the Singapore Flyer

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Similar to the London Eye, this is a pretty recent attraction. The Singapore flyer is the world’s largest observational wheel. It provides you with a breathe taking view of the surrounding areas. One can view the China sea and glimpse the neighboring Island countries of Indonesia & Malaysia. The entire round takes about half an hour. The view is to die for, so do not miss this 30 minute ride!

8. Shop At Orchard Road

Singapore has shopping malls around every nook and corner! However Orchard Road is the Mecca of shopping in Singapore. A trip to this country will not be complete without a trip to this shopping heaven. It houses most of the leading international brands and is definitely the most visited attraction in Singapore & rightly so.

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9. Take a River Cruise at the Merlion Park

Merlion Park is a major tourist attraction located in the Central Business district of Singapore.The Merlion is an imaginery creature – Half fish, Half Lion and is the mark of Singapore in many ways. There are two merlion structures on the premises, one is 8.6 metres tall and the second one is 2 metres tall. The location itself is a very picturesque as it is located by the river, facing the Marina Bay. A perfect location to spend a beautiful evening. One can also take river cruises from the Merlion Park in the bumboats and explore the places by the river. 

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10 Have a relaxing time at Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay is easily my favorite place in Singapore. You can take a stroll along the river or just enjoy a lazy afternoon here. There are a lot of restaurants around Clarke quay where you can enjoy a beautiful evening. What I love the most are the Colors of Clarke Quay, it makes the place really amazing! This place is a must visit. I will be doing a separate post on Clarke quay soon!

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There is so much Singapore offers in terms of a holiday destination. There is something for everyone. It certainly is one of my favorite destinations. There are also numerous tour operators that offer interesting package tours to Singapore. However I would recommend traveling the island by yourself, there is so much to be explored here depending on individual tastes. A must visit holiday destination if you ask me. if you ever visit Singapore, do drop in a line and let me know about your experiences.

Until next time ,

Arpita xo