Southeast Asia in Pictures: Week I

Every week during our eight-week trip across Southeast Asia, I plan to post a handful of snapshots and stories from the week just gone.

If you follow me elsewhere on the web, you’ll know that my everyday world has taken a turn for the tropical. After over a year of saving our pennies, I quit my full-time job in central London, my partner put his business on hold and we moved out of our one-bed flat in the city – to embark, finally, on our long-planned adventure. We are spending the rest of the year (October-December) exploring Southeast Asia: as my parents are (temporarily) living in Asia, the chance to explore this part of the world seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. I love to travel, and we had the luxury of being able to save up and plan far in advance so we could steer our commitments and finances with this excursion in mind. I have also been aching to go freelance for several years, but could never quite muster the courage or wherewithal needed to jump in headfirst. This trip provided me with a handy excuse to leave my permanent role and take the leap into self-employment. My partner runs his own business, so was able to pass some clients onto an acquaintance, and work remotely where necessary.

Blogging has taken a backseat in the midst of this happy upheaval, and we’ve since spent our first month on the road exploring Cambodia and Vietnam by train. Now we’ve returned to Singapore for a week, I’ve been reunited with my laptop and will be playing catch-up for the next few days. I’ll be packing my laptop for the second leg of our journey across Thailand and Malaysia, so posts should become more current. Stay tuned!

That equatorial light – a sure sign we were back in the country of eternal summer. Singapore has no seasons to speak of, aside from varying degrees of rain, and temperatures vary very little from day to day and month to month. The light has a piercing, omnipresent quality, dancing and dazzling. It’s unlike home, unlike anywhere else.

One of the city-state’s newest, and most iconic, landmarks – Supertree Grove. This manmade forest of vertical gardens, featuring over 160,000 orchids, ferns and tropical climbers, opened in 2012 and is a central pillar of the Singapore government’s strategy to transform the island from a garden city to a ‘city within a garden’. And for the eco-friendly traveller, even more promising is the fact that 11 of the trees are fitted with solar panels that transform the beating, tropical sunlight into energy, which lights the park and neighbouring flower domes and powers the water technology needed to keep this lush oasis green and glorious.

Stumbling upon a lively evening market near Rochor MRT station, strung with Chinese lanterns and busy with locals doing a spot of shopping. Singapore is full of surprises.

A stately monitor lizard at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, almost as far north on the island as you can get without stepping foot in Malaysia.

One of the many hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of dockless bikes that have been deposited in the city by Chinese bike-sharing companies. There’s been a fair bit of controversy surrounding them – convenient mode of transport or public menace? In China, bikes have clogged landfill sites as supply outstrips demand. Personally, the jury’s still out. What do you think?

A thali feast at the peculiarly-titled Poison Ivy Bistro at Bollywood Veggies, one of Singapore’s few veg-growing farms nestled deep in the Kranji countryside. Singapore has a reputation for being an expensive city to live in and to visit, but eating hawker food is an incredibly reasonable way to sample the city’s culinary pleasures. For a few dollars or less, you can eat some of the very best, fresh food from a variety of cultures. I plan to write a post on the city’s best vegetarian hawker food in the near future!

Befriending butterflies on Sentosa Island, where a variety of insects and native lepidoptera can be seen at the Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom. We were thrilled to see plenty of these species in the wild in the Vietnamese countryside, a few weeks later.

And with that, we were off to Phnom Penh! I’ll be catching up on these photo diaries over the next few days, alongside planning future posts of the stories and sights we’ve been fortunate enough to experience. Thanks for sticking around despite my intermittent internet-ing. Your readership is much appreciated!

  • Life is meant to be lived and you’re certainly living! I feel like people always think of how wonderful trips like these would be, and they always say they’ll do it in the future, but the future never seems to arrive. Have such a great time traveling! <3 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    • Aww, Audrey – what a lovely way of putting it. You’re so right. I’ve been thinking during this trip how amazing it is to be spending my days learning in so many different ways; to step outside of the usual 9-5 + commute. It’s a real luxury and one I feel so fortunate to be able to have. It won’t last forever so making the most of it while I can. Thanks for reading, you always leave such heartfelt comments and I truly appreciate your readership 🙂 x

  • Ahh I knew you were traveling but didn’t realize you had turned freelance. That is a dream of mine in the future… very brave of you but such exciting times!!

    • Hi Sarah! Yes, exciting/nerve-wracking 😉 It may not work out, but I knew I’d kick myself if I never tried. You should do it one day….I already feel so energised! x

  • This is such a grand adventure! I knew from Instagram that you were traveling but I didn’t know you were also making the leap to freelancing at the same time – what an exciting way to start off a new life change! I admire your ability to commit to making an idea happen, to planning for a future goal and saving up and then actually making it happen. I’m looking forward to all of your next posts!

    • Thanks Kate, it really is! It’s been several years in the dreaming/thinking/planning so it feels like it’s been a long time coming 😉 Thank you for your kind words of encouragement 🙂 x