For me, annual trips are a much anticipated affair. Growing up, my family travelled often on vacations. Despite being tied down with work, this year my sister and I decided to spend a week-long holiday at a budget destination. Close in proximity and easy on the pocket, Singapore and Indonesia fit the bill. The transition from planning to execution was smooth right from the start and I credit a major chunk of this to my Mastercard. Not only did we not have to worry about keeping a tab on the exchange rate, but it was rather convenient to track our expenditures via a card. More importantly, I did not have to worry about carrying huge amounts of cash while travelling abroad. Reliable and safe, just like my passport, my card had become an essential travel companion.
After a five and a half hour flight, we’d arrived in The Lion City.
Transport and Hotel: I hailed a cab with SMRT Taxis ($0 admin fee on the cab ride) from Changi Airport and headed to my hotel, Le Meridien Singapore at Sentosa Island. The air was balmy and towering skyscrapers flickered past my window seat as I reached my destination. After a hassle free check-in with the hotel that I had pre-booked with Sentosa (up to 20% savings), we spent the rest of the day unwinding and catching up. Swiping my mastercard certainly had its perks.
Entertainment: More often than not, our day would start early. On one particular morning, I’d booked us a triple tour of the S.E.A. Aquarium™, Universal Studios Singapore™ and Adventure Cove Waterpark™ with the Resorts World™ Sentosa (package deal at special rates). From nurse shark and giant pacific octopus to clownfish and seahorses, we watched the marine animals swim past from the glass canopy of S.E.A. Aquarium™. The world’s tallest duelling roller coasters BattlestarGalactica: HUMAN vs. CYLON™ was the most thrill seeking experience we indulged in at the Universal Studios Singapore™. The highlight of our day was embarking on a dolphin trek at Adventure Cove Waterpark™. The experience allowed us to thread on the lagoon floor and breathe in an underwater helmet whilst greeting the friendly fish.
Photo by: Greg Balfour Evans/ Alamy/ Indiapicture
Food: Restaurant hopping in Singapore was a fulfilling affair with Sentosa (up to 25% savings), courtesy of my Mastercard. Boater’s Bar set by a dockside at Sentosa Cove became our go-to beverage spot. Their modern tapas and were definite winners. Arbora at Faber Peak topped our gastronomic chart with their Smoked Duck Mushroom Ragout. Cantonese cuisine at WOK°15 Kitchen in Jln Sentosa kept bringing us back to the spot.
Airport:Our Singapore leg of the trip had come to an end after three days. With a couple of hours on our hands whilst departing from Changi Airport (up to 20% savings) to Indonesia, we decided to indulge in duty free shopping. While I bought a bagful of chocolates from So Chocolate, my sister insisted we try out Asian delights at PappaMia. Their signature dish of Ipoh Hor Fun, with slippery noodles and shredded chicken in gravy was complimented with a classic Fish and Chips platter. We were ready to board our flight soon after.
After a three hour flight, we’d arrived at Bali that afternoon. The wind brushed my face as we rolled down the windows of our cab. Palm trees and rice terraces made up for most of our view en route to our hotel. My sister and I could not wait to explore the ‘Island of the Gods’.
Hotel: We checked in to Viceroy Bali, a five-star luxury resort in Ubud. I soaked in the views of the spectacular jungle from the private deck of our pool suite. The semi-outdoor marble bathroom allowed us to effortlessly step to the heated undercover plunge pool. After wolfing down platefuls of bubur, a rice porridge made with soft boiled rice topped with steamed greens, coconut sauce, soya sprouts, and fish curry, we decided to go for a swim.
Entertainment: Over the course of our stay, we indulged in the best that the place had to offer. Scenic spa proved to be rejuvenating. A helicopter ride offered us aerial views of the island. In our spare time, we indulged in the villa’s in-house activities such as cooking classes and Balinese dance lessons.
Photo by; Jason Knott/ Alamy/Indiapicture
Food: My sister and I have always been experimental with food during our travels. We tried out contemporary European-Indonesian dishes at Locavore. Listed in the world’s top 50 restaurants, it uses ingredients from its very own garden. We called for proportions of pan-fried mackerel from Jimbaran, South Bali, served on pickled sour dough and paired it with a cocktail of fresh tomato, basil leaves, jackfruit syrup and homemade apple brandy. Must I say that we were not disappointed!
Sightseeing: No trip to Bali is complete without visiting its beaches. Every cliché of silken sand and azure sea holds true here. We spent half a day at Jimbaran Bay. After walking along its long beach, we indulged in seafood at fish restaurants lining the bay that is backed by tropical forest. We could not give the Ubud Market a miss. The vendors sold fragrant spices and coffee, knife sellers hawked handcrafted knives and women at fruit stalls lovingly and carefully peeled rambutans for customers. Fortunately, with Mastercard being accepted in over 200 countries by 40 million merchants, I did not hold back while sampling souvenirs for everyone back home.
Mastercard allowed me to experience a week of food, adventure and culture in Singapore and Indonesia without burning a hole in my pocket. I cannot wait to plan my next escapade.
Changi Aiport: Up to 20% savings at participating outlets in Terminal 1,2, 3 & 4
Sentosa: 20% savings at participating attractions, dining outlets, hotels & spas
Universal Studios VIP Tours: 10% savings on VIP Tour
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