Along the Away

a traveler's tales

Archive for the ‘ South East Asia ’ Category

In general, work/life balance for me is not an evenly dispersed kind of thing but more like all-consuming-projects punctuated with an annual travel adventure when I disappear overseas for four weeks. I used to want to balance it all out, but now I accept that I actually like life being ‘all on’ when I’m hooked on a project and then changing track and escaping somewhere else when it’s done. Something I could do better is managing my wellbeing across these times. I tend to burn out, thinking I’ll sleep/breathe/recharge later. Well… I really don’t really want to sleep/breathe/recharge once or twice a year. I’d rather that be an all of the year thing.

So I started looking after myself better. I cut down on chocolate (I haven’t eaten any since the 28th June 2015 actually). I didn’t let my morning bush walk slide off my schedule when I was busy, it has become a non-negotiable. I started a regular weekly yoga practice after years of patchy attendance, and I sat down to daily meditation. I’ve kept to it all pretty faithfully and the result was that at the end of a pretty big work project last year I needed some time out for sure, but I wasn’t an exhausted shell left barely standing. I had energy, so after my work trip to Singapore I hopped on a plane to Koh Samui and straight to Vikasa Yoga Retreat. I stayed for 15 days.

I found Vikasa through a Google search, it sounded promising with great Trip Advisor reviews and plenty of travel blog trip reports.

Yoga paradise at Vikasa Yoga Retreat


I am now breaking the post-New Zealand holiday catch-up transmission to share something much more recent.

Last month I had the opportunity to go on my first overseas work trip! The company I work for is an Australian owned and operated company so opportunities to do business outside Australia have been limited in the past (that’s eleven years – I’m a stayer!). However, we are currently tendering for contracts in Singapore… so I got to go there for three days!

Business of course was the first priority and it consumed most of the time I was there. We stayed at the Furama Riverfront hotel which was just wonderful for our purposes. I wrote a review on TripAdvisor about it, but in summary the rooms were modern and functional, and the staff were so friendly – particularly in the business lounge. They greeted us cheerfully every morning and were so accommodating to our group of ten taking over the conference room. They kept the cappuccinos coming to fuel our long working days.

Fast forward through that bit, which was heaps of fun for me but no doubt fairly boring to you. On the Friday, after we had delivered the presentation we went there to do, we all headed to Sky on 57 for a special lunch on level 57 of the amazing Marina Bay Sands building.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

We enjoyed the three course ‘executive lunch’ there – it was delicious and is beautifully presented!

Sky on 57 Restaurant meal

That’s all I’ll say about the food, the pictures say it all. The next day I headed out with my colleagues to the Gardens by the Bay. We had spotted the gardens from the top of the Marina Bay Sands the day before and for obvious reasons they had drawn our attention. I read a review in the Sydney Morning Herald calling the gardens something out of Avatar…. and yes, they really do seem like something out of Avatar with somewhat other-worldly, playfully-vibrant infrastructure (not to mention the thriving plant life!)

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

The outer gardens are free to wander around, that in itself makes for a lovely visit: a walkway along the water, various groves, ponds and nature walks and an awesome kids water playground.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

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Included in the paid ticket is entry into the two big glass domes and the tall purple flower structures.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

The domes were so impressive, a very unique experience.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

The first we went into was a mountain environment. Total eery Avatar moment. The air is really cool and floating metal walkways wind around and up the ‘mountain’. All the plants – and there is an abundance of them – are what would grow in a cool mountain climate – ie, not Singapore.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

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2015-01-31 Singapore (44)

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

The second dome was warm and the air was sweet. It was full of…

Flower Dome, Singapore


Flower Dome, Singapore


Flower Dome, Singapore


Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

And art.

Ants in the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

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My favourite was this one; a gift from Changi Airport to the gardens, a sculptured family made out of bronze showing how visitors to Singapore leave a piece of themselves behind when they leave.

Flower Dome art, Singapore

I was most fascinated by the purple things so it was great to discover that it’s possible to get the lift halfway up one and stroll along the elevated walkway between the others.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Such a great way to see the city and experience the innovation and creative thinking of the people – it blew me away!

Unfortunately my time in Singapore then came to an end. My workmates and I had time for a quick wander through Marina Bay Sands and a shopping stop at Vivo mall before we headed to the airport for the overnight flight back to Sydney.

Changi airport is supposed to be pretty amazing – I’m not sure to be honest; maybe it depends on the terminal. There was this pretty awesome ‘media-tree’ when you can snap a picture and it is added to the mix.

Changi Airport, Singapore

I was able to enjoy the QANTAS flight home as the work deadline was behind me so I cozied up in my window seat and watched some movies (how good is the Skeleton Twins?!?)

As always, the window view helps pass the time as well :-) And that was the end of the whirlwind four day work trip!

Flying home to Sydney