Why You Need To Visit Medan   Medan is famously home to Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world. While planning my trip there, the only thing on my mind was getting to Toba’s clear blue waters. We touched down in Medan, a city on the cusp on modernisation. You’ll see crumbling colonial facades and street food vendors sitting right beside modern cafes and bars. The real intrigue of Medan though, lies away from its city.  With the guidance of our driver, we took a trip around the outskirts of Medan, travelling from Lake Toba to the small town...
Last modified on
About Bandung   This week, Christabel and I took a trip to Bandung, a booming metropolis increasingly popular with Singaporeans. Surrounded by volcanic mountains, this city used to be filled with tea plantations established by the Dutch who wanted to capitalise on the region’s fertility. Bandung was also nicknamed the Paris of Java due to the beauty of its natural landscape and the similar atmosphere it shared with European cities. It has since evolved into a sprawling city filled with restaurants, cafes, luxury hotels and the odd Singaporean on the hunt for good bargains. Yes, Bandung is extremely accessible to us!...
Last modified on
About Makassar   When you think Indonesia, images of Balinese beaches or rice fields probably pop into your head. I’ve been to Bali twice but I’ve never visited any other Indonesian city - simply because I didn’t know what else was out there. And that’s a shame because Indonesia has way more to offer than $10 massages and tourists who have seen “Eat, Pray, Love”. This month, the TSL team went on a mission to explore 5 lesser travelled Indonesian cities. With our “TSL Discovers Indonesia” series, we aimed to come up with a series of guides, to help travellers looking...
Last modified on
Surabaya - 10 Road Trip Memories to a Live Volcano   Aside from its reputation as one of Indonesia’s biggest business centres, I knew little about Surabaya. I thought of it mostly as a place of transit for travellers to change planes, trains or buses. To the locals, Surabaya is known as the “City of Heroes” for its role in Indonesia’s struggle for independence - not that this meant much to any of us before The Smart Local team headed down for a short exploration trip.  Upon arrival, we soon found out why Surabaya is a severely underrated destination for the...
Last modified on
15 reasons why Semarang will surprise you   When I told my mum that I was headed to Semarang, Indonesia for a short getaway, she shot me a quizzical look. “Why?” she asked incredulously. It’s easy to dismiss this obscure Indonesian city as a sleepy town with nothing much to offer. I’ll admit that Semarang doesn't make much of a first impression, with its cramped airport and dusty roads.  But I gave Semarang a chance to win me over and I surprised myself with how much beauty I found in this undiscovered paradise. I tasted nostalgia in colonial retro cafes and...
Last modified on
About Jeju, South Korea   Jeju is also known as the Hawaii of South Korea, a chillax island at the bottom of the South Korean Peninsula. Just a one hour plane ride from Seoul, many of the Koreans who go there are tourists themselves. It's where South Koreans go to escape their stressful Seoul lives. Everything in Jeju is a natural wonder and it is no surprise why they were recently crowned one of the 7 new wonders of the world. And get this - Jeju was made up entirely from volcanic eruptions more than 2 million years ago! And its three times...
Last modified on
Explore the home of Middle-earth   Source: Otago Daily Times - Dart River Kia Ora! is how you'll be greeted as you step into New Zealand, the land of majestic scenery and home of middle-earth. Kia Ora, traditionally meaning good health, is a Māori greeting that has evolved to mean a casual "hello". It is definitely something you should remember when you visit this beautiful country! The Māori are the tangata whenua, the aboriginal people of New Zealand. The Māori culture is central to Kiwis - the people of New Zealand - as its traditions, history and language are at the heart of the Kiwis' identity. Today, Māori make...
Tagged in: new zealand Travel
Last modified on
Exploring Pai, Thailand   You now know the top things to do in Chiang Mai from our previous blog. In the second part of our Thailand travelogue, Bryan and I headed to Pai and it was the most memorable part of our trip! If you haven't already seen our highlights video of our trip, check it out below! A 2-3 hour drive from Chiang Mai, Pai is a small town in northern Thailand’s Mae Hon Song Province. What makes Pai so special is its slower pace of life and how its less commercialised then anywhere else that we've been to in...
Last modified on
First Stop in Thailand - Chiang Mai   If you've never been to Chiang Mai, then HI-FIVE! We're on the same page! It's ridiculous because I've been to Thailand at least 20 times but I've never explored anywhere else outside of Bangkok. Which is honestly a shame because if I had known how beautiful Chiang Mai was, I would've travelled here a few more times before travelling again. But first, check out a highlights video of our trip! Bryan and myself have just returned from our blogger trip with AirAsia and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Its always fun travelling...
Tagged in: thailand
Last modified on
A different adventure everyday   One of the best things about being on cruise is the the fact that you are able to wake up and visit a new place everyday. Well, almost! Our cruise on the Costa Victoria took us to Phuket and Langkawi, both of which we had a lot of fun exploring. The option of what to do when the cruise ship docks at its port of call is entirely up to you. You could choose to stay on the board the ship if you wanted to. The activities on-board will continue to run, and the restaurants will...
Last modified on