Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia 2018

Southeast Asia Bound


We are beyond excited to be traveling to Southeast Asia for the very first time.  We can’t wait to experience something totally new as we visit Singapore, Penang and Langkawi in Malyasia, Phuket, Thailand and Siem Reap, Cambodia.  We leave June 22 for our next big adventure! Hayden’s fantastic blog is here, and Violet’s amazing blog is here.

First Day in Singapore

We left Philadelphia on Friday at 6:30 pm, flew six hours to San Francisco and then sixteen hours to Singapore, arriving at 6:00 am on Sunday morning.  We were all dreading the long flight, but it really wasn’t that bad.  We were   on a really comfortable Dreamliner plane and we were all able to sleep. 

From the airport, we went right to our beautiful hotel.

We are on the sixteenth floor and the views are incredible.  Our guide Renne picked us up in the evening and our first stop was one of the highest points in the city.  

These are cable cars that carry people out to Sentosa island, which has amusement parks, restaurants, etc.

From here, we went back down to the city’s financial district.

And then to the famous Marina Bay Sands…

This massive complex is three hotel towers and then topped by the incredible SkyPark with bars, restaurants and a huge infinity pool.

We watched the cool light show and then checked out the DNA bridge.

The cool building in the background is the Singapore ArtScience Museum.

This amazing light display is inside the shopping center at Marina Bay Sands.

Next, we visited the Supertree Grove.

These are incredible vertical gardens that use solar energy and collected rainwater. We had such a fantastic introduction to the city. In the morning, we will visit the neighborhoods and learn more about the culture of SIngapore before we board the cruise. Hayden’s blog is here and Violet’s blog is here.

SIngapore Day 2

Our first stop on our second day in Singapore was botanical gardens.  We walked through super lush greenery and headed to the orcvhid gardens.

The flowers here were so beautiful.

After walking through the gardens for a while, we headed to Kampong Glam, the Malay area.  Violet went on this cool platform swing.

The colonial architecture mixed with the traditional Malay style is so unique and beautiful.

Our next stop was this fabulous art deco style building that looked llike something out of a Batman movie.

Next, we headed to Little India, 

 and finally to Chinatown.  We had a snack at the local Hawker Center, fried bananas, naan and this really fantastic lime drink.

We saw some of Singapore’s famous green buildings and ultra luxurious government subsidized condominiums.

 Finally, we went to this huge Buddhist Temple.

It is so fascinating to see the history mixed with the ultra modern Singapore lifestyle. We are so glad we get to spend a little more time in Singapore at the end of the cruise after we visit Cambodia. Next, we board the ship and head to Malaysia!

Penang Malaysia

Today we arrived in Penang, a small island off the coast of mainland Malaysia.  We met our guide, Max and set off through Georgetown and headed up into the hills.

Our first stop was a huge temple complex.  We hiked further and further up the mountains as we went to each amazing temple.

We learned so much about the Buddhist religion in this part of the world.  The temples were incredibly ornate.

We hung prayer ribbons - Hayden wished for academic excellence and Violet wished for constant happiness.

Several of the temples are still under construction, including this massive one on the highest point.  It is hard to get a sense of the scale from the photos but it is huge!

One of the temples is a tall tower with a level in the Chinese style, the Thai style and the Burmese style.  The view from the top was incredible.  Violet wasn’t a fan.

We made our way back down and headed to the botanical gardens and saw monkeys!

Next, we headed back into the town to walk through the streets and see the street art.

Finally, we went out on Chew Jetty - a place where the people built houses and shops so they didn’t have to pay the British land taxes.

This is where one of the houses burned down. Because this place is a UNESCO heritage site, nothing can be rebuilt, so it will just have to stay like this forever.

We had a really great day today in Penang.  Tomorrow, we will be going to another Malaysian island, Langkawi.

Langkawi Malaysia

All four of us agree that today's jet ski tour of Langkawi was the coolest thing we have ever done.  

We headed out to our first stop, Dayang Bunting and the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden.  As we approached the shore, we passed the most incredible limestone cliffs

We hiked up the trail to the lake.

Violet didn’t even notice this monkey right next to her, and when she did see him, she bent down to say hi…

and he slapped her in the face!

We got back on the water and sped off toward the most secluded perfect lagoon I can imagine.

Because we were surrounded by cliffs, the echo was fantastic.  After swimming for a while, we got back on the jet skis for a closer look at the cliffs.

I think it is the most beautiful place we have ever been. Next, we headed out to open water so we could just have fun on the jetskis and let the kids drive.

Our next stop was an eagle sanctuary.  This dock used to be part of a a wildlife visitor center, but the tsunami in 2008 wiped everything out. We think it looks like the Dharma Initiaive from Lost.

There were so many eagles flying above us!

Our next stop was another island, and we were able to get out and swim some more.

On our way back, we passed our ship!

We were so tired when we got back to the ship that we all slept for like six hours.  It was such a memorable experience - one of the very best things we have done in all of our traveling.  MegaWater Sports here was fanastic and our guide, Tong was the best!  Thailand tomorrow!

Phuket Thailand

Today, we tendered to the shore from the ship’s docking point off the coast of Phuket, Thailand.  Once ashore, we drove to the Royal Phuket Marina and boarded our chartered boat and headed off to the Phi Phi Islands. 

The water is fantastically clear and the surrounding uninhabited islands are beautiful.

We stopped just beyond Maya Bay and swam in the warm turqoise water,

Next, our boat stopped at a shallow reef and we went snorkeling. This is what we saw when we jumped in.

So many fish!!!!

We saw this cool Viking cave.  Cave paintings were found inside that looked like Viking ships.

We passed these monkeys on the cliffs on the way to lunch on the island of Ko Phi Phi Don.

Hayden had a weird coconut orange pineapple Fanta drink at lunch that tasted like Smarties.

Our next stop was this white sand beach for some more swimming.

Then, back out to deeper water for more snorkelilng.

We had the most incredible time out on the water all day in Thailand. We rode back an hour to mainland Phuket on the speedboat.

Thailand is spectacular - One of the best places we’ve ever been.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

After our ship returned to Singapore, we had our hotel store our bags and we headed to the airport to catch a two hour flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia.  We arrived and checked in to our beautiful hotel.

We had a relaxing night swimming and getting massages and our guide met us in the lobby at 7:00 am the next morning. Violet and I didn’t realize we couldn’t wear tank tops to the temple complexes, so we had to wear very uncool t-shirts all day. Our first stop was the huge temple complex on Angkor Wat. We crossed the moat on this temporary floating bridge…

…and caught our first glimpse of the temples.

Built between 1113 and 1150, the temple was originally Hindu dedicated to the God Vishnu, and converted into a Buddhist temple in 14th century. 

The carvings on the walls depict historical and allegorical stories.  The detail is amazing. 

After learning all about Angkor Wat, we headed to the next temple group Bayon, or temples of the smiling faces.

These were incredible!

The steps down from the temple towers were super steep and treacherous.

Our last stop of the day was Ta Prohm. This was my favorite temple complex because it is almost completely overgrown and engulfed by massive trees and the jungle itself.

I am so glad we decided to add Cambodia on to our itinerary.  We learned so much - not only about the ancient way of life, but also about present day Cambodia.  All throughout Southeast Asia, we have been so grateful to all of the wonderfully kind people we have met.  This part of the world is definitely worth visiting and I can’t wait until we are able to come back again.

Tomorrow, we are spending our last day back in Singapore.  We are planning to go to Sentosa Island and have dinner at the top of the iconic Marina Bay Sands’ Skypark. This has been one of the greatest trips we have ever taken.  We all feel so fortunate to have had the opprtunity to explore these beautiful countries.

© Knstrong 2013