Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cape Town Travel Guide

Drive to Chapman's peak

I never really have much expectations when it comes to travelling to new places because really, you never know what you will experience.. and in all honesty, the impression you get from searching the destination online is only 3% of what you will feel there.

It was so when I travelled to Ethiopia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and now Cape Town.

But having said all that, it helps when you do all your research before travelling so you make sure you don't miss anything out and regret when you're back.

And since I love doing research, I thought I'd share my findings and itinerary for Cape Town in the Autumn.
Hope it inspires and helps you in your future planning! ;)

I took Emirates (gotta love their night sky on board) and it was a 7 hour flight from Sin - Dubai + 9 hour flight to Dubai - Cape Town. 

It was worth it to get the window seat on the Dubai - Cape Town flight as you get to see the stunning beauty of Table Mountain and the vast landscapes as you enter. 
Plus this segment of the flight is not really full during Autumn, so there's a high chance of getting a whole row for yourself. 

An air ticket here costs only about SGD $1400, which is almost the same as travelling to Europe.
I'd rather fly here and extend my stay to visit the safaris for a wilder adventure!
A good accommodation in a central location is so important- 
it can make or break your holiday experience!

I was fortunate to stay in The Table Bay Hotel, which was in the Victoria & Albert Waterfront (one of the main tourist areas in Cape Town). 

The service in that hotel was rather disappointing. You would expect better from a 5 star hotel that has served famous celebrities like Prince Harry and Michael Jackson before, but security is pretty tight there so it makes up for it a bit.

The main thing I liked staying in Table Bay was the gorgeous view you wake up to every day!
Breakfast with a view takes on a whole new meaning. 

Ah, that's the life. 
(Their breakfast spread is the talk of the town, btw. Make sure you wake up earlier to have more time indulging yourself with their breakfast selection!)

Oh oh, the other good thing is that its connected to the Victoria Wharf shopping mall so you can easily get food at night. Which brings me to my next point.....

If you're from Singapore, you're used to getting your food and drinks 5 seconds after you order. We put the fast in fast food. 
However, now that you're in Cape Town, you got to understand that their pace of life is much much slower than ours. And when you order your food and it isn't ready after 7 minutes, it does not mean your servers are talking and laughing with each other too much. They are just not in a hurry. And you won't starve to death if you only get your stuff 15 mins later. 
So just take the cue from them, chill and enjoy the slow pace.

And stop tapping your foot and frowning at your watch if your food isn't ready after 10 minutes. 
It doesn't help speed anything up and you'll only annoy yourself. (Speaking from experience)

Their cuisine is pretty international as they cater to a lot of foreigners (expats & tourists).
You can find Macdonalds and other fast food there. In V&A, you will also see plenty of seafood restuarants, cafes and pubs.
Try their dried game meat snacks too!


The highlight of my trip:
Abseiling down Table Mountain!

Another highlight of my trip:
Taking the Cape Point tour and seeing Chapman's Peak!

 Penguins Colony at Boulders Beach

Another highlight (as you can see, I love Cape Town):
Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens (I really have no words to describe the majestic view. This is like the King od Botanic Gardens.)

- Shark cage diving http://www.sharkcagediving.co.za/

- Long Street: A happening night-life area with lots of cafes and pubs. Ladies, don't stay there alone once it get dark!

- Camps Bay beach: Gorgeous beach with touristy restaurants.

- V&A Waterfront: Shopping, eating and sightseeing can be done here!

- Hout Bay Market http://www.bayharbour.co.za/

If you're only going to be in Cape Town for a few days, its worth it to take the Citysightseeing bus pass as it takes you to all the tourist attraction and gives you a free audio commentary of the places' history. 

They also do a Night tour where you can catch the sunset on Signal Hill, so remember to buy some dinner and hop on board at 5pm!

Taxis are safe and reasonably-priced. Plus most of the drivers I meet can speak English and are generally very helpful if you have any questions about the tourist spots you want to visit.

As a single female traveller, my over-active imagination made me prepare for every worse case scenario. Would I get mugged, kidnapped, attacked, bullied, lost? 
Hearing quite a few horror stories online about rape and thief, I was definitely on my guard the moment I left the airport. 

As I said, a good location is everything. I stayed in the centre of a tourist attraction so there were some guards at night along the shopping centres and there were many tourist around - if I ever needed help. 

However, I did hear hear this young European man screaming at the security guards one night as I was walking back. Apparently someone snatched his laptop and ran off, and the security guards did not do anything to stop it/chase after the thief. 
Reminded me that while the security guards are there as an added precaution, you are still in their turf and its best to rely on your own wit and eyes to prevent them from targeting you.

- Never stay out too late by yourself 
- If you get lost, don't give it away. Just keep walking by the main road until you see a security guard or a landmark you're familiar with and walk back
- Don't wander off into quiet alleys
- Hold on to your bags as if your life depended on it

Even though I travelled alone, I never felt threatened or worried the whole time I was in Cape Town.
The only time I had any 'trouble' was when I stupidly decided to walk back to the hotel alone around 9pm. A group of teenagers were wandering the streets and I happened to be the only one on that street so they were calling out to me while approaching me. I then hurried to my hotel like a mad lady (thank goodness the hotel was just around the corner). But such incidents can be avoided so please learn from my mistake and don't walk alone after dark because there's rarely anyone around anymore!

Last words:

Cape Town stole my heart from the start.
The beautiful views, nature and friendly people instantly warmed me up to this place. 

There's something about the leisurely pace and mad natural scenery all around. Felt for a moment like I was in the Garden of Eden.

Definitely heading back for more adventures!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Simple success tips from Adam:

Done by a genius called Adam J. Kurt.
Stumbled upon this and thought I should share the simple wisdom.

Hope your 2015 is going great so far! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

An unexpected gift

I had a very pleasant surprise today!
I went for a quick swim downstairs; just floating and lazing around in the empty pool.

Take a deep breath, close your eyes, go under.
Water gushes into your ear, engulfing you, swallowing you.
Move your arms, kick your legs, reach the surface.

There was no one there so I could swim float dance jump swish in the pool without a care.
I took a deep breath and dived to the bottom of the pool.
When I emerged, I saw 3 white flowers floating on the water near me!
They were definitely not there before I went underwater..
Pretty flowers, floating by, filling the blue pool with their beauty.
I knew that it was a gift, a special gift :)
I swam to collect them and put them beside the pool. 
They were warm to touch, as if they had just fallen from the sky.
Well in a way, they did fall out of the sky.
This takes the act of giving flowers to a WHOLE new level.  
Thank you for the flowers, God.

I cannot tell you how much this means to me.
And how God knows when and how to cheer you up when you need..
In ways.. maybe in little ways. But meaningful ways, nonetheless.

'You're not forgotten.You're beautiful, you're worth it. I am thinking of you.'

Monday, February 2, 2015

Krabi 2015

There must be something in the water.

Dancer: Cass    //    Photog: Fel