A few travel highlights – Singapore and Penang

Well, it’s only taken me about two months to get organised enough to put together a post about my travels last November … to be honest I think I was just dreading having to sort through all my photos. As some of you already know, I spent a couple of weeks split between Singapore and Penang (but spent most of that time in Singapore). It was a bit of a whirlwind trip, but it was lots of fun.

The Mr and I fell more than a little in love with Singapore – it’s a beautiful place to travel to, and we very much look forward to travelling there again soon. Everything is so clean, safe and well organised, it’s super easy (and cheap) to get around on public transport, the people are lovely, and there’s lots to see and do. While we saw so much while we were there, it feels like there is still so much more for us to discover. Now that we have a better idea of what the different districts offer, we’ll be much better organised on our next excursion there.

A Beautiful building on Orchard Road

Gorgeous Fort Canning Park

Shutters on the MICA Building

Huge Merlion, at Merlion Park

Arriving in Penang from Singapore was quite a contrast – it looked and felt like a very different pace of life. I feel like perhaps we didn’t get off on the right foot in Malaysia, and so we never felt quite settled there. In saying that though, we did enjoy the experience of the night markets which were right on our hotel doorstep, we had no trouble finding vegetarian food for dinner at the Hawker food centre each evening (which was such a bargain), and we spent many a relaxing hour by the pool.

Penang ... a view from behind our hotel

The bright beach chairs at Lone Pine Hotel

Seriously high density living, Penang

The gorgeous view across the pool

I won’t deny it though, we were happy to head back to Singapore for the rest of our holiday. Lots of lovely memories were made there – I celebrated my birthday, tried a Tom Collins cocktail for the first time (yum!), was sheltered from a sudden downpour under a stranger’s umbrella, and I got to see Mouse Deer for the first time!Β While I don’t always appreciate Brisbane as much as I should, I was grateful for being used to high temperatures and ridiculous humidity … such training proved to be very useful in Singapore and Malaysia.

So in reflecting on this past trip, I now find myself dreaming of a new adventure. I’m thinking maybe New York, London-Paris, or even Japan. Are there any special places that you’d suggest?

PS. I have one more post to come about a couple of favourite stores I found in Singapore. So I hope you’re not bored with travel stories just yet. Oh, and if you want to see more of my travel photos, you’ll find them here. xx


  1. Monica

    i’ve never had singapore on my list (it’s long enough!!), but now with a child, somewhere clean and safe as well as so lovely, is appealing.
    i’m curious on why you got off on the wrong foot in penang.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Monica – I think Singapore would be a great place to visit with a child … I think it offers a nice balance of nature, city, fun activities … and yes, the cleanliness and safety is definitely appealing.

      As for Penang … I think it all started with a lot of strange experiences at our hotel. From the moment we walked in to check-in, it was all just odd. It’s kind of hard to put into words – rude service, odd staff, it kind of felt like it was the first time they were running a hotel … so I think if we were staying somewhere different, we probably would have had a very different outlook.

  2. sarah.goodtogether

    I never been to either place, but it looks and sounds fantastic. Cheap vegetarian food and a pool – yes!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Sarah – Yes! The food in Penang was great … and there were a lot of different vego options, I just couldn’t go past the fantastic Indian meals we found. I think for a full serve of main course, rice and bread plus a drink it cost about $3.50 AU each) … a bargain!! πŸ™‚

      I do miss that lovely pool …

  3. Lisa

    What a winning way to change the channel, by sightseeing in the Southeast Asian lands. I know I’d fall in love with Singapore. While the snowflakes here imaginatively play acrobatically, I can see clear visions of exoticism from your travels. On your celebratory day, did the birthday girl try an icy, and refreshing Tom Collins?

    I need to get to Bequia in the West Indies, as it’s been on my list of discoveries for far too long. My list of places to pay a visit to is now just as lengthy as all the books I’ve to read! The title of Robert Penn Warren’s book β€˜World Enough and Time’ just came to mind. So onward, and upward with the unveiling of new destinies, while trying not to forget along the way that our future is as unique as we are.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Lisa – Exactly! I wanted to make the transition from work life to holiday life with an overseas trip somewhere new. I do believe you would fall in love with Singapore … it has a wonderful blend of old and new, yet it seems so quick to evolve. A fascinating place.

      Although I am a little jealous of your snowflakes (you know me, I am at heart a cold weather girl). I did try a Tom Collins on my birthday and very much enjoyed it … I’m always interested in adding a new cocktail to my repertoire.

      Gosh, the West Indies would be fabulous … speaking of places exotic, I think Bequia would offer that in abundance. It is hard to keep that list of destinations to a mangeable level. Let’s just spend the rest of time travelling and wandering here, there, and everywhere … πŸ™‚

  4. Gabrielle Bryden

    Wow, love the photos (especially that one of the building with all the colour coded doors – hahaha). I have never been to Singapore but like the sound of it (except the humidity). Greece is on the top of my list of places to go (I lived there for a few months as a 9 year old and fell in love with the place) but I am not sure what it would be like with all the financial strife over there at the moment – though friends just returned and said they saw no protests or any problems – depends which part you go to I suppose. I’d also like Italy, Spain as destinations.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gabrielle – I’m glad you liked the photos … I love that building with colourful doors too. In fact we made a special trip to wander around to all our favourite buildings one day … unfortunately it was the hottest, most humid, most rainy of all days. Thankfully the sun came out while I was looking at all those colours though! It would be a happy place to wander by each day.

      Greece would be wonderful … I’ve always liked the architecture and of course the beautiful coastlines. Hmmm, yes Italy and Spain would be nice too … all those Mediterranean destinations have such appeal. I’ve wanted to go to Italy for as long as I can remember, the trouble is I get distracted by other places … πŸ™‚

  5. Gaby

    Gorgeous shots! As for advice, if I could go anywhere right now it would definitely be Sweden πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gaby – Thanks so much. Oh, Sweden … yes, that’s another lovely destination idea, and then of course there’s Norway and Denmark. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be there … perhaps a nice place to enjoy a white Christmas? (I do love the cold weather). πŸ™‚

  6. lenore*

    Such great images from Singapore, Tracey!
    So glad you captured the green country so beautifully!
    To answer your question; I suggest Japan! One of my fave exotic destination, preferable after March to ovoid the cold temperature!


    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Lenore – Thanks! I couldn’t believe how green and lush the gardens were … but I suppose that’s what all that rain and humidity help with! πŸ™‚

      Oh see, I do very much want to go to Japan … and after we put off our trip last year, I still feel like it’s a place I NEED to visit soon. There is something about the way the light looks there that I found magical. Good tip on the temperature, I don’t mind cold, but I don’t want to be so cold that I don’t want to get out and about! xx

  7. Selma

    I also love the photo with the coloured doors/shutters. That is a fantastic shot. If I could go anywhere in the world right now it would be Paris. Love that city. I’d live there if I could!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Selma – Those coloured doors are lovely, aren’t they? I fell in love with that building. Yes … Paris calls at my heart too … I’ve never visited there before, but I think I could easily wish to never come home again. πŸ™‚

  8. Linda from Heartfire At Home

    Oh sigh…. very envious. I’ve never travelled out of Australia, but plan to get overseas some day. I have friends who just spent 3 months in Bali and loved it! Your pics are beautiful, and I love the coloured doors too! Wish we saw more of that around here, it would make me happy!

    Mouse Deer sound really cute!

    Linda. xox

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Linda – This was my first trip out of Australia, so I completely understand that travel pull you feel. There’s plenty of years to get OS travelling under your belt … after all, life is pretty wonderful here! πŸ™‚

      Three months in Bali? Wow … your friends must have had a wonderful time. I think you need to stay in one place for a while to really understand what makes it tick, and three months would be perfect.

      I’m glad you liked my photos … those colourful doors make me happy too – I wish our buildings had more of a sense of fun about them.

      PS. Mouse deer are adorable … they are literally tiny deer. There should be a few photos of them in my travel album. xx

  9. hila

    travel stories can never be boring – bring them on! Thanks for showing us these glimpses into your travels, they’re awakening my travel bug again.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Hila – Well I’m glad to hear that … I shall indeed share a little more from my trip. I just don’t want to end up having things feel like a boring slide night! πŸ˜‰

      I’m glad you enjoyed this taste of Singapore and Malaysia. It’s funny how just looking at photos from a distant location or hearing someone talk about their travels has us day-dreaming of new adventures of our own.

  10. nikki

    lovely blog you have here. and beautiful photos πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Nikki – Thanks so much for your visit … and I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed these photos. I can’t believe how many I took while I was away! πŸ™‚

  11. Debby

    These photo’s were worth waiting for. It’s interesting how some places just fit you…seem right from the beginning…it’s great to have somewhere that calls you back that you know you’ll return to one day.

    I checked your other photos and love the green bicycle one.

    The last image above is amazing…so tranquil…I just want to get my shades on a pose on one of those loungers or dive into that pool…and I don’t even like swimming very much!!

    By the way, glad you are writing again…can’t wait to see some snippets some time?

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Debby – Nawww, you are so sweet to say that … thank you! πŸ™‚
      It is funny (in a nice way) that some places feel like destinations that we’ve visited before … like old soulmates. I’m happy that Singapore is often a stop-over to other destinations from Australia, so I’ll definitely be taking advantage of that for a return visit! πŸ™‚

      I love that bicycle one too … it was very close to being included in this post … I loved so many different shots because of the memories they reminded me of… Funnily enough a lot of people didn’t swim at that pool, they just took advantage of those lounges … we did a bit of both (the water was lovely).

      PS. Thanks for your writing encouragement … I shall be sharing a little something of mine this week. xx

  12. Camila Faria

    Beautiful pictures Tracey! I especially love the “juice shop” one, with the kids chairs and blue lightbulbs. I’d love to visit that place! Singapore must be an amazing place, I will definitely think about going there in one of my next travels. And I think you should come to Rio next time, what do you think? : )

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Camila – Thanks so much! Oh, that juice shop was so colourful and cheery … and the drinks were so cold and refreshing … a favourite of mine for sure! πŸ™‚

      I’m sure you’d have a wonderful time in Singapore … and as for a visit to Rio, I would say a very big YES to that! πŸ˜‰

  13. Trudy

    Thanks for dropping by. I love this post. Those coloured shutters are gorgeous! I really want to go to Singapore. Malaysia didn’t grab me either but I wasn’t there for long. The vegeterian food in KL was incredible as well! Will have to have a look through at your travel posts. I love the look of your blog!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Trudy – Thanks for your lovely visit. The coloured shutters are so pretty aren’t they? I took so many photos of shutters in Singapore … they seemed to use so many!!

      I’m the same with you and Malaysia … I don’t want to write off the place completely, especially given that I only visited one part and was only there for a few days … I think I’d go to KL next time for sure (especially with your vego food recommendation).

      Sadly you won’t find many posts in the travel department yet … but it will slowly build up! πŸ™‚

  14. woolf

    my dear, if you’re traveling as close as london, or paris, i feel almost obliged to tell you, we should meet up, but then that’s me dreaming??!! are you a travel lover? i am impressed by your little story on singapore and malaysia, pointing out you have had this temperature training living in australia. one of the reasons why i don’t travel to the far east is this temperature thing. i think i woud die, and i wouldn’t be able to see a thing, for the sweat and discomfort… a pity.
    still, there will always be… london, and paris… ;)))

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Woolf – Oh yes indeed. You can be sure if I end up in that European neck of the woods, I will be hoping for a meet up … that would be most grand!

      I am indeed a travel lover, but have not done enough of it to formally acquire that title. πŸ˜‰
      Well I completely understand that temperature reluctance … it is most definitely an ‘experience’, and not always of the pleasant kind. All I can say is if you do venture to hot and humid climes, stick with the air-conditioned comfort! πŸ™‚

      I am a cold weather lover … so London and Paris, here I come!! πŸ˜‰

  15. ejorpin

    Well, your photos look gorgeous (so lush and so colourful), but it’s a pity you didn’t have the greatest time in Penang. Funny how that can happen – we had a similar experience in Shanghai, everyone else we know that’s been there RAVES about the place but we didn’t like our visit there at all.

    And I’m glad to hear tou enjoyed Singapore, I never used to like it much (that’s Hong Kong snobbery talking, they’ve always been rival cities and HK-ers always think of Singapore as a bit boring!) but the more I visit the more I can see its charms.

    And all of those spots for your next adventure sound FAB! So tricky to choose hey?

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Emily – Awww, you are so sweet to say such lovely things about my photos. It took me forever to edit them down to a reasonable number (partly because I took so many, and partly because I’m lazy).

      I’d like to go back to Malaysia again, but it is a shame that Penang and I didn’t hit it off straight away. It’s funny how some places feel so right, and others feel so odd … and I do find it’s a completely personal experience – even if hundreds of people tell you they love a particular destination, you may find it completely rubbish … each to their own I guess! πŸ™‚

      We were actually thinking of doing HK as part of this trip, but we thought we’d go with the Malaysian contrast instead … I’d be interested to see what HK is like compared to Singapore (if they have good coffee I’m there!). πŸ™‚

      Gosh, there are so many places to visit in the world … I’m not sure how to fit them all in, or decide where to go next! … decisions, decisions

  16. ejorpin

    Also – MOUSE DEER!!!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Emily – I know!!! Mouse deer = amazing!!!! I couldn’t believe how wonderful they were to see … and to be able to walk amongst them. *faints*

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