10 Unique Accommodations You Can Rent on Airbnb

I’m counting down less than a month till I fly off for my month long break – ‘Hurray!. (One of) the best things about travel planning is the search for interesting accommodations around the world. While researching on what Croatia has to offer me, I got distracted and went on browsing other accommodations on Airbnb. What I really like about Airbnb is the huge selection of accommodations for rent by people like you and I. And when I say accommodations, I don’t just mean apartments, or resorts, but also TREE HOUSES, CAVE HOUSES and even IGLOOS?! I think it’s time I give the awesomess a shout-out (Prices are quoted in USD)

1. The Boot
You can totally be part of a fairytale.

Where: Aporo Rd, Tasman, Tasman 7173, New Zealand
Price: From $269 per night (2 pax, no surcharge for extra people)

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Read more!

The Perfect Romantic Destination

Apologies for the hiatus! I’m finally back with a proper article to present to all of you. This post is a collaboration with popular online dating site Love Out Loud Asia. When I was asked to do a guest post on romantic destinations, I was super psyched! (Almost) Everyone is in love with the idea of love and so very often, we fantasize about that perfect romantic destination with the lover, whether it’s for a honeymoon or a spontaneous getaway.

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photo credit: MFer Photography via photopin cc

“We travel for romance, we travel for architecture, and we travel to be lost.” – These are the inspiring words from writer Ray Bradbury.

Nothing else ignites that warm fuzzy feeling inside more than a romantic escapade with the love of your life. Imagine a nice picnic with a glass of wine in front of the Eiffel Tower, or a dip in the calming blue sea off the coast of Maldivesor not. (Sorry to burst your bubble there) We’ve all heard of such cliché romantic destinations but given the fact that every couple has a unique bond – the notion of romance should also be subjective to each pair. When I think of a romantic destination, I think of the different types of couples out there and the sort of memories they would want to create together.

New York City, USA – For the Metropolitans

New York City is the perfect getaway for the Metropolitans. The city has so much to offer; spend your evening catching Broadway shows or visit a world-renown museum like MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). If splurging is an option, book a romantic candlelight dinner at one of the many Michelin Restaurants in New York City. Come nightfall, pick a spot on the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building and watch the city come to life. I’d like to think that this is the sort of twilight (no pun intended) that a city-loving couple would appreciate.

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Santorini, Greece – For the Laid-backs

There is no better destination than this beautiful slow paced Greek Island for the laid-back couple. Imagine lying by the infinity pool with a background canvassed with white and blue cave houses. Indulge in an evening wine tasting session as your eyes fixate on the grandeur of an unforgettable sunset. Snuggle up in the arms of your lover and as you watch the fireball descend beyond the horizon of the Aegean Sea. Santorini is truly an undisturbed paradise for a romantic escapade.

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Prague, Czech Republic – For the Dreamers

Walking along the cobbled streets of Prague, there is a somewhat magical atmosphere in the air. This medieval town offers a fairytale experience as you chance upon a Dancing Building or spend the day getting lost in the largest Castle in the world. With several other icons like the quirky Astronomical Clock and the gothic Charles Bridge, this charming city breathes romance. Complete the dreamy itinerary with a movie date at Prague’s oldest cinema, where the interior resonate a quintessential European Cabaret Theatre.

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South Africa – For the Adventurous

Unlike others (I’m not referring to you, laid-backs), some couples love living on the edge. Embark on a road trip in South Africa and be surprised by the picturesque landscapes at every turn. Escape into the wild and spend a cosy night in a luxury tent at the Safari, under a night sky blanketed with millions of stars. The adrenalin junkies have the option of jumping off the highest commercial bungee jump bridge or diving alongside the Great White Sharks. Trust me – the adventurous couple will notget bored exploring the marvellous South Africa.

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Sri Lanka – For the Culture Loving

Sri Lanka would not typically come to mind as a romantic destination but for the culture loving couple, it has the potential of being the trip of a lifetime. Follow the footsteps of the king as you hike up Sigiriya – the top offers a vantage view of its beautiful surroundings. Go Café hopping around Galle Fort, a colourful and vibrant town fortified by the Dutch or listen to the love tales of the royals as the both of you take a stroll hand-in-hand, through what was once the Ancient Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. Sri Lanka is sprawling with historical and cultural sites, many which are still hidden and waiting to be uncovered by the culture loving enthusiasts.

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The world is huge and this list is certainly non-exhaustive. Treat the map like a playground and feel free to go on a wanderlust spree with your partner. The joy of venturing into a new space with the lover is enough to brew a romantic experience – for me at least. No matter where your next flight departs to, I hope you find that perfect, romantic, destination.

If you haven’t found that person to go on that romantic destination, why not give Love Out Loud Asia a go. Love Out Loud Asia (LOLA) is a SIMPLE, FUN & PRIVATE dating app that helps singles spend less time online and more time actually dating! How is LOLA different from other dating apps? LOLA focus on date ideas and only send you one match a day at noon.. here’s a short 30sec video to better illustrate how-it-works. The app is available on both iPhone & Android! For more info, simply visit: http://loveoutloud.asia.

Bonus for all you SINGLE LADIES:

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Start picking your date HERE!

Don’t MISS out! It’s 100% private & free
Registration closes 17th Apr 2014 11:59pm.

To all the love birds, stay in love. For all you singles, I hope you find that special someone. Good luck! 🙂

Peace & Love,

Eileen x

10 Islands You Want to Visit in Malaysia

I love island life. I love the sea, the sand and the sun. Ironically, I live in Singapore (which is technically an island) but I just don’t get the satisfaction of what I expect from an island escapade/adventure. I always dream of island hopping in the Caribbean and I absolutely miss my time in Greece 2 summers back. Out of desperation, I sought out islands next door (Malaysia). I’ve been to some on the list and there are others that I’m dying to visit
Continue reading 10 Islands You Want to Visit in Malaysia

Accommodations in Singapore for $30 (and under)

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Singapore has been crowned the world’s most expensive city! I’m not certain if that is something to be happy about but we’ll leave that debate for another forum.

In the interest of attracting more (budget) travellers into Singapore, I’ve collated a list of accommodations that cost $30 and under. However, before you get all excited and read on, I have to say that most of the accommodations I picked are hostels (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). And also, the prices are according to their cheapest bed available i.e. from $22 for mixed dorm. There are a couple on the list that offer private rooms for a pretty reasonable rate and I will state them accordingly. Either way, these accommodations are definitely a steal for an atas* country.

*local slang to describe something that is high-class or to imply that something is expensive

5 Footway Inn (From $22)

Private rooms: $68
Selling point: This chic boutique hostel has four locations in Singapore to choose from. All of them are located centrally (Boat quay, Bugis, Chinatown x2) for your convenience! Looking at the interior, even I feel like having a night at the loft!


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(photo credits to 5 Footway Inn)

B88 Hostel (From $26)

Selling point: The lounge has a unique touch and reviews rave about their cleanliness.

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(photo credits to B88 Hostel)

Bunc@Radius (From $29)

Private Room Ensuite: $169
Selling point: This hostel aims to bring you both comfort and style. There is also a game console room and a movie room – a perfect hangout for you and other travellers alike! The private room is beautifully decorated as well!

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(photo credits to Bunc@Radius)

mOni Gallery Hostel (From $22)

Classic Room for 4: $106
Selling point: The artsy theme stands out amongst other hostels. There is a in-house gallery with art paintings and sculptures. Perfect for the art enthusiasts!

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(photo credits to mOni Gallery Hostel)

Pillows & Toast (From $28)

Selling point: Pillows & Toast is like your home away from home offering you utmost comfort and cleanliness during your stay.

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(photo credits to Pillows & Toast)

ABC Premium Hostel (From $30)

Selling point: This is another hostel that is known for their homey touch. According to reviews, the beds are very comfortable. I haven’t tried it myself but comfort is definitely a selling point worth mentioning.

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(photo credits to ABC Premium Hostel)

Beary Good/Nice Hostel (From $28)

Selling point: There are 3 beary hostels and they have achieved several accolades since they started. From best value to best staff to best cleanliness and best hostel last year on hostelworld.com!

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(photo credits to Beary Good Hostel)

WokeHome Capsule Hostel (From $30)

Selling point: Even though this is a capsule hostel, it has everything you need, even a 15 inch TV in your own capsule! 

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(photo credits to WokeHome Capsule Hostel)

Rucksack Inn (From $29)

Selling point: This is one of the most popular backpackers in Singapore. It has a somewhat spontaneous and adventurous vibe and promises a lots of fun during your stay!

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(photo credits to Rucksack Inn)

G4 Station Backpacker’s (From $28)

Private Room: $80
Selling point: G4 Station Backpacker’s promises a no frills place to snooze! The humble team strives to provide their guests a relaxed atmosphere during their stay.

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(photo credits to G4 Station Backpackers)

Fernloft City Hostel (From $20)

Private Room: $36
Selling point: Fernloft Hostel pride itself for its customer service. They abide by the 6 Cs: comfort, cleanliness, convenience, care, cost-friendliness and character, to ensure that each and every one of their customer receive a great hostel experience.

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(photo credits to Fernloft Hostel)

The Sleepy Kiwi (From $20)

Private room: $89
Selling point: This is an absolutely chilled hostel located right smack in the Arab district. Soak in the culture as you lounge at the front porch. For the location and the price, this is definitely a hostel worth considering!

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(photo credits to the Sleepy Kiwi)

Bonus: Under $20!

Shophouse: The Social Hostel (From $18)

Shophouse is a newly established hip and indie boutique hostel. The lounge has a vintage touch to it and there is even a roof top terrace where you have a perfect view of Kampong Glam. I’ll let the pictures speak for itself.

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(photo credits to Shophouse: The Social Hostel)

So you see, even though Singapore is expensive, it shouldn’t deter you from visiting! Aside from the accommodation you can also fill your tummy with awesome food with just $2!

Hopefully you find this post useful, or informative. And enjoy your stay. 🙂

PS: If you enjoyed this post, do check out my Accommodation Guide for South Africa and Sri Lanka. I also did one for Alternative Staycations in Singapore.

Disclaimer: The prices quoted are valid as of 08/03/2014 and may vary according to season (peak vs non-peak). If you are interested in any of them, please contact them directly.

Peace  & Love,

Eileen x

5 Reasons You Need to Visit Sri Lanka

Situated South of India, Sri Lanka is an island on its own. It is a charming tropical country with endless stories to share and beauty to uncover. Before my visit to Sri Lanka, my most distinct impression of Sri Lanka was the long civil war I read in my social studies textbook back in school. I never would have envisioned the Sri Lanka I saw on my 17 days of adventure if I hadn’t experienced it first hand. If you followed my travelogue, you would have read the things I rave on about in Sri Lanka. If that isn’t enough, I’m spelling out 5 reasons you need to visit Sri Lanka:

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photo credit: robysaltori via photopin cc

1. Cultural Triangle and its Endless Tales

I heard a new story everyday in Sri Lanka, either of a prince or a princess or a village hero. Stories are endless in Sri Lanka and the locals can go on and on about it (even if their English is limited). I kick started my trip in the Ancient City of Anuradhapura, the first capital of Sri Lanka. Honestly, I hadn’t done my research very well prior to my visit and I was so overwhelmed by the ruins and ancient temples. Thank goodness I had an awesome driver who became our mini tour guide.

Anyway, a quick search and you will learn that there are so many Cultural UNESCO sites worth visiting in Sri Lanka (and of course sites that aren’t UNESCO but play a crucial role in shaping the heritage of Sri Lanka). My personal favourite is the Ancient City of Pollonawura (SL #4) and I recall standing under the hot scorching sun in the middle of what was once a royal palace and feeling absolutely surreal. I will also most definitely remember my experience climbing up Sigiriya and the Rock Temple in one day (SL #3).

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2. Stroll along Sandy Beaches and Dive amongst Vibrant Marine Life

Sri Lanka is where you will see the most number of blue whales in one sighting. There are endless beautiful beaches that contour the island and a rich marine life out in the Indian Ocean.

Snorkel (SL #11), dive (SL#13, SL #14), or take a boat out, I guarantee that Sri Lanka is a great destination for a beach getaway.

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3. View from the Highlands and the Sea of Tea Plantations

On my drive up to the highlands, the view was simply spectacular. Everyone knows that Sri Lanka is a land of tea and you wouldn’t miss the tea plantations on your left and right as you cruise along the winding roads. Having said that the view from up in the highland is even better. Plunging waterfalls, dramatic waves of mountain peaks in between valleys and blanket of forests. It is indeed picturesque. If you’re up for the challenge, hike up Adam’s peak. What you see after 7000 steps is a priceless reward for your struggle to the top (SL #10).

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4. Take a Trip to World’s End (Literally) and Horton Plains

Spent my birthday here (SL #8) and it was well worth it. One minute it feels like you’re in New Zealand. Another minute you feel like you’re in Africa. Woke up super early in the morning to make it there as the view disappears in the clouds after 9.30am. Apart from the greenery, you can choose to take an alternative route to see some wildlife in the National Park.

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5. Experience World-Class Driving First Hand

So I mentioned in my travelogue that Sri Lankans are mad drivers. Towards the end of my trip, I concluded that they are world-class drivers. Whether it is a car, a bus, a tuk tuk or a motorcyclist, they can amazingly weave through the traffic without a scratch. Somehow, there is this automatic road system amongst the drivers and they are able to manoeuvre their way around each other. Having said that, traffic accidents contribute as one of the highest death tolls in Sri Lanka and pedestrians are at the bottom of the food chain. So it is wise to still take caution when you’re walking along the road in Sri Lanka.

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photo credit: Tashiya via photopin cc

As always, the list is non-exhaustive. Sri Lanka has so much to offer and it is only right that you give it a shot. On top of everything mentioned above, Sri Lanka is so blessed with bio diversity you don’t even have to travel to Africa to chance upon an elephant crossing the road, or head to a zoo to see monkeys at every corner.

It is so near to Singapore (Well, close enough).

For Singaporeans, it is nearer than a flight to Hong Kong, almost as close to Bali and sometimes cheaper than Thailand. To give you a better idea, a general and quick summary of what Sri Lanka has to offer would be the consolidation of the beaches in Bali, the ancient ruins similar to Cambodia, the tea estates in Cameron Highlands and the hustle and bustle of Bangkok city.

Please don’t overlook this country. The people are so friendly and they will welcome you with open arms.

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photo credit: Photosightfaces via photopin cc

TIPS:

1. The most efficient and comfortable way to visit the cultural triangle is to hire a driver (which I did). If you need recommendation, I am more than happy to give you the contact of the driver I engaged with, Ranjith. He is the most honest, genuine, and reliable person I know (Even though he doesn’t earn a lot himself, he bought gifts along the way for the poorer children in the villages!) I met his family and they are so sweet (His daughter even called to send me her well wishes on my birthday). If you need a driver in Sri Lanka, I will 100%, without a doubt recommend Ranjith. Email me at peregrinatewithme@gmail.com and I will send you his details!

2. Consider taking the bus from one town to another especially during peak period. The train gets crazy packed (I nearly died on Xmas eve from claustrophobia). The buses are much more frequent than the trains and buses allocate specific seats for female commuters. Having said that, the road network isn’t the best in Sri Lanka so the journey may be longer and a lot bumpier than the trains. Weigh your pros and cons!

3. Tickets for the attractions can be rather extortionate. If you’re tight on cash, you might want to pick the sites that you want to go most. It is also important to note that several locals at the attractions will approach you and offer their services as a tour guide and they will expect you to pay them at the end of the “tour”. Much of the information can be found on the net and in travel guide books – I relied on rough guides. If you don’t want to get ripped off, say no them.

That’s all that I have to offer for now on my Sri Lanka trip.

Peace & Love,

Eileen x