Kingdoms & Dragons: Singapore to Bali my experience .:)

edited February 5 in General

Hello my dear Tauck friends.

Excuse the delay on writing my tour impressions, but I caught a cold (NOT COVID) as I went back to work and I'm just getting out of it.
My incredible tour started on Oct.14th , I got into Singapore Oct.12th and had a chance to cover a little more of the city than Tauck offered.

I hire a private guide through" Lokafy " and saw a lot of the (non-touristic) city of Singapore.
I have to say both are fascinating, and the system implemented may sound dictatorial, but it works and citizens are happy, the city it's impeccable and all the government services do work.
Singapore it's super clean, safe ( I walk to the hotel around 11:45 pm and felt totally comfortable) the city it's also very green, it's like a garden, beautiful.

these are pictures of the city and the 3 famous Neighborhoods': the Chinese, the Arabic and Little India.

My arrival,

Welcome to Raffles! Yes! you feel VIP, from the min. you step out of the car. Everyone it's all smiles and the check-in. take only few min.
The hotel its beautiful, my suite is super nice, and I had 2 girls butler that were attentive and very friendly. I walked around the hotel to get familiar and went across the street to get some money from the ATM. at 3:00 pm I had my first Spa treatment (on arrival day), great idea to prevent (Jetlag), a 90min. massage, heaven. Amazing results! rest of the day, I stayed in the suite and went to sleep.

Next day I had hired a private guide that picked me at around 9:00 am and took me to see the local's Singapore, we walk the entire city, OMG! and even though not as bad as I was expecting, it was HOT! 92-94F and humidity around 56%. FLA. can be worst!
Singapore it's a great city, regardless... if you are visiting just the tourist attractions or the actual local neighborhoods to see their lifestyle.
I visited the main /most see (3) neighborhoods China town, Kampong Glam- The Arabic neighborhood and Little India. Also Visited the university and Botanical gardens.

The Group.

We were a group of 20 including the TD and I.
The TD Xavier it's charming and super funny, always well prepared for the unexpected and very organized, he has a lot of knowledge on all 3 countries, which was a plus.

Day 1: it's OFFICIAL!

We started the tour with the usual cocktail and welcome meeting; dinner was exquisite, and the night was very pleasant, all the participants were already in Singapore, no one was left behind.
We were all happy to be there and in our best spirit. :) we ate and ended the night with big expectations... and a little too many drinks. :)

Day 2: Singapore, here we come!

We got up early and ready to rock & roll-
Breakfast opens @ 7:00am, great selection, nice food- best croissants of all, but always running late. :(
Most breakfast are "A la Carte." so don't delay your orders.

-Depart @ 8:30 AM- let the fun begin... a lot of early departures!
Walk around the colonial district and also a ride on a Bumboat on the river.

-@ around 12:00 pm Lunch with a local Singaporean at his house, great lunch, fantastic time and the house very interesting, it's a museum... but I will leave it as a surprise. Great time!

Today, we ended the tour @ 3:30pm - so the rest of the day it's free. I opted to go to the Gardens by the bay, saw the Cloud Forest (it was going to be closed for maintenance on Tauck's tour day) also went to see the Jewel @ the airport by Taxi $15. ea way and at night saw the super tree show and the Spectra show by Marina Bay Sands, got back to the hotel around 11:45 pm safe!

Spectra full video of the show : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvdzPy7s_Yc&t=2s

To be Continue.....

Day 3:



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    mil...Welcome Home! Looking forward to reading about your adventure!

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    Have you seen the 2018 movie "Crazy Rich Asians" with Michele Yeoh, Awkafina, etc. funny movie- parts were filmed in Singapore and Malaysia- you'd recognize the locations. Can't wait to see more!!

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    Hello my friend .
    Yes, I saw the movie on the Plane as I was flying to Singapore. I saw every sight they show in the movie. The city it's beautiful and the people friendly. I did like it a lot.
    Have a great day, I'm at work :(

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    Mil great pictures, glad you're feeling better. I loved that city, will always regret the 2 days I lost with plane cancelations and delays, had to cancel so many plans. I may have to go back one day just to Singapore.

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    edited November 2023

    Gladys, it is a great city. - I have to continue my report tonight.
    Looking for pics.
    I added a video of the Spectra show @ the Marina Bay Sands

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    edited February 5

    Day 3:
    Breakfast opens again @ 7:00 am
    Departure @ 8:45am after the light lecture (45m.) about the Gardens on Bay project, environmental results etc.
    First, we drove around the gardens on a buggy, which it was great for picture taking and also a comfortable way to see the gardens. This ride it's only on the surrounding landscaping not the Domes or the SuperTree's.

    Once done, we proceeded to the Super Trees and the Super Tree observatory then a walking tour to the Flower Dome.


    @ 1:00 bus returns to hotel

    The rest of the afternoon was at leisure. So, I had bought from here (U.S) entry tickets for the Art & Science Museum, also The Marina Bay Observatory and a boat ride at Dust.

    Tomorrow, we say goodbye to lovely Singapore.
    We are headed to Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

    Day 4: transfer day.

    @ 6:30 am Breakfast opens
    @ 8:00 am depart to airport.

    Around 11:00 depart to Yogyakarta, Indonesia. (2h. flight) commercial plane. Lunch on Board- chicken/rice. ( not a fan)
    on arrival- we back watches 1 hour.

    From Java airport it's a 90 min. drive to the Borobudur countryside-
    We arrived at the hotel around 4:00 pm-some free time for pictures and to see this AMAZING Aman hotel ( the 4th one on my list, love them)


    • website photo. All the others' were taken by me mostly with my Iphone.

    @ 6:30 pm Barbecue dinner with entertainment by pool area.

    Next Day 5:

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    edited November 2023

    Day 5:
    The time for today's visits changes a little- the Borobudur temple no longer opens early in the morning for Dawn, now it opens at 9:00 am
    but the group still leaves the hotel early.
    Once we visit the temple, we proceed to visit Candi Rijo Village a horse carriage/ walking tour. (we visit a couple of houses where we learn about what's being produce and also how the community it's organized) no more info. so it is a surprise... it's fun and interesting activity.
    (it is also hot) wear something super light.

    MIllie my horse. very Chic

    some local little ones... I wonder what finger she meant to use...:)

    we return to the hotel around 2:00pm for lunch. (all meals at this hotel are included)
    Afternoon free!

    I took my camera and phone and went on a quest for great pictures, stopped by the Hotel shop, walked around the rice fields and of course @ 6:00 pm another SPA treatment. 90min+ of pure happiness!


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    edited November 2023

    like new, went to my room, ordered room service 9included and @ no extra charge for the room s.) sent several emails, packed for next transfer and went to sleep.

    Day 6:

    Not sure if it is a secret or not, but I knew before I started this tour that the Borobudur temple it's open to the public for those who want to climb to the top. As the Tauck schedule indicates, morning it's a leisure, but you do have the option to go back to the temple and up you go... 150sh steps! incredible views and very cool to be next to the pipes. It was a very easy climb; you do get there right before 9:00 to be the first ones, you do have to wear, special sandals provided by the temple adm., and they are yours to keep. also, the # of people allowed at one time it's limited.

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    edited November 2023

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    edited November 2023

    Day 6:
    in the afternoon after lunch, @ 1:00 pm, we depart to next stop :) it was sad to leave this amazing hotel and my staff friends, that will be always closed to my heart- my adorable butler April- a Jewel. if anyone gets her, please give her a hug on my behave.

    In the afternoon we transfer to the Infamous THE PHOENIX HOTEL" well, not very pleasant experience, and the TD saw why and sent pictures to Tauck.- It's all I'm going to say, Thanks God it's only 1 night.
    this is the hotel, not bad looking from outside... the problem it's some of the rooms and I was apparently the lucky one! good thing I know what to do and the group didn't even hear about it.

    @ 3:15pm or so... we depart the hotel- full activities this afternoon.

    • Visited the Prambaran temple :

    later dinner at a local rest. with entertainment (backstage visit) also, food was delicious.

    the performance was after the dinner outside facing the temples @6:15pm . after dinner we proceeded to the outdoor stage to watch the Javanese show. The Story of King Rama and Sita (3rd time- through the entire trip) the only story they know. :)
    This was a great performance-we did leave during intermission otherwise; we would still be there... more than 50 tour buses.

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    more to come.... tomorrow
    Day 7th:

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    Lovely pictorial review!Makes me relive our trip!

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    Day 7:
    breakfast @ 6:00 am- watch your cereal for Bugs! just saying.....
    @8:00 am, we depart on a rickshaw to visit the Sultan Palace. The rickshaw ride was fun- traffic was crazy. (we did not see the bath complex or the water gardens) :(

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    After the visit to the Sultan Palace, we went straight to the airport.

    Next flight to Bali/ Denpasar and on to Ubud, another 90m. drive, more sightseeing

    5:30 arrival to the Amazing Four Seasons Sayan. I'm in heaven.
    I checked in... and ran to see my Villa # 65. and jumped in my plunge pool. . then after a while ordered room service and back to the pool.

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    edited November 2023

    Here are the pics! of course- These pics are all from my phone- I haven't work on the camera ones those are the best ones, sorry and for my personal collection.

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    edited February 5

    Day 8:

    Tauck had schedule a visit to a Village- Subak Guiliang , a visit to a temple blessing and later in the afternoon a optional walk at the rice fields.
    Tauck lunch @ a rest. overlooking the rice fields

    The afternoon for Taucker's was @ leisure.

    My Day 8th:

    Free from the group and on my own, I planned and booked a day tour through and with the Four Seasons " Can you Keep the Secret" , name of my tour.

    I was picked up by to young kids in a Red Convertible VW. Vintage, cute little thing

    -Our first stop was to see the Sayan trees over 100 years old..

    -Next, we visited a temple and also a local family, I saw how they live and also his beautiful courtyard with all the small temples-

    -Proceeded to the rice fields, stop for refreshments at a small lunch area facing more rice fields and also we checked out the old town


    • Finally, the one Temple I really wanted to see: The Tirta Empul Temple

    • Later in the afternoon, Water Rafting!

    • Once I got back to the hotel @ 5:30 pm , I had a quick snack and went to the SPA!!! yes, again... 4 total :) all different type of treatments, HEAVEN!
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    edited November 2023


    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/QTs0gapcSl0 - Rice Fields short


    water rafting-slow part of the rapid

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    edited February 5

    Day 9:
    The group gets divided by you own interest - cooking class or a visit to the Museum.
    I chose cooking class, Thanks to my friend British advise. Yes! our one and only, The queen of the forum British. :)
    So, the class it's excellent, the food Amazing and the Chef adorable and super funny a Win, Win!

    Those that went to the Museum did like it as well and then they re-united with us to eat our food.
    we started the class by visiting the market, just to see the fresh products etc. "No buying"
    Then we proceed to the lady's house, she kindly opens to us and shows us around. nice courtyard temple area and nice outdoor kitchen setup.

    After lunch Day 9th- a (very short :( ) visit to the Monkey Forest - a lady in our group, same one every time... was very vocal, she only had to see 1 monkey and she would have seemed all. UFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!! everyone was so Angry! You know, I paid all that money, ... I want to see more than 1 ! freaking Monkey! . Sadly, if we spend 20 min. it was a miracle. we did not walk 1/4 of the forest and within the 20 min. we had also the toilet stop.

    after the monkeys some of us decided to stay in town, not really much to do, so at the end we taxi back to hotel, another plunge pool afternoon.

    Day 10: we fly to see The Dragons!

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    Enjoying your report Mil! Our tour of the monkey forest was much longer and lots of monkeys.

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    edited February 5

    Hey British, good morning...
    Yeap, I think we got shorten in a couple of visits @ the Dragons same thing... as we saw 1 med size one at the entrance and 1 big one a few meters from the main bldg./ museum we turned back and left... I would say maybe 40 min. total. shopping included, after traveling time 3 hours on a boat each way. not sure why... we did have in our group a person in his late 80's that had a back problem, could hardly walk and needed 98% of the time a wheelchair, he didn't miss any visits, and the TD accommodated for him someone to push him in the wheelchair, I'm sure that contributed for such a short visit and then you had the same monkey lady complaining about being too hot! If only this people for once would stop to think they are limiting others experience and vacations.... Tauck clearly states these are not tours for those with health impediments, why do they go?
    I'm starting to consider... the thought of maybe looking to other companies or go back to traveling entirely on my own.
    But don't get me wrong, I did enjoy my trip to the fullest, it is a wonderful tour, these are just observations and maybe I'm at a point where I need that extra adventure.

    . Day 10th to follow.

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    Amazing pictures Mil, great report, I'm really enjoying it and you are quite the adventurer !!!

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    Gladys you have to live life to the fullest, life doesn't rewind.

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    Day 10:

    6:30 am Breakfast opens.
    8:30 depart our heavenly villas to the next destination- Labuan Bajo, Flores Isl.

    On arrival @ Labuan Bajo, we drove 90 min. (everything is 90m.drive, have you noticed) to the beach resort.
    Plataran Hotel Beach resort, after arrival Lunch!
    Delicious food and also had a neck & shoulders free massage while having drinks. - before food came out.
    rest of the day @ leisure... great time for a long walk on the beach and a nice dip.

    at 6:00 pm a Seafood Barbeque dinner with a folk dance on the beach. Great night everyone still happy. :)

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    Love the potato latke (ha) with the lobster! I am enjoying all the photos and narrative. Thank you for sharing your adventure.

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    edited November 2023

    kfnknfzk Hi,
    Only 1 potato.... :)
    I love to do the reports, it's a pleasure. .

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    Day 11:
    Let's wake up super early 5:30 am. Yes, my fiends... 5:30am to see the Dragons :) - we had a sip of coffee... literally! and walk along the shore to the boats! 2 boats total. and off we go 3 hours to the Komodo Isl.

    3 hours each way and NO!!!!!!!!!!! alcohol! , we are ready for Canonization! ;0

    The staff was great, we had a pleasant time, and it went kind off fast.

    We ate breakfast (box) in the boat, we had pre-selected what we wanted. - it was nice.
    then I sat on the back and enjoyed the sea breeze and the sound of the ocean- did not slept, I wanted to be awake to enjoy the scenery.

    My boat had 4 rooms w/AC if anyone wanted to take a nap. - no one on our boat did. - we were a Fun! group and instead we had foot massages and took pictures like Rose & Jack. Mine was more like Rose & Casper the friendly ghost :) or Joan of Arc!

    So, we got to the Komodo National park- Yeah!!!!!!!!!! UNESCO's world site till the Taucker's arrived.
    The guys at the souvenir shop took all the T-shirts out! and crazy rich Americans went crazy! :)

    The dragons! Very exciting...

    with one dragon, I could had 2 pairs of shoes with 2 purses/wallets and a nice belt!

    time to take the picture with the live draaaaaagon! I think I'm scarier on that pic then the Dragon.

    Tonight @ the hotel, dinner included some of us order room service and stay in our terrace to chill.

    During the tour if the dinners were included and you wanted to eat in your room, it was okay and with no room service charge.

    next day, we depart to Denpasar Bali!

    to our last destination........ :(

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    edited February 5

    Day 12:
    Fly back to Bali!!

    as we arrive in Bali we headed to "The HUB" for lunch
    Yes! burger & fries time! and Creme Brulle for dessert!

    after lunch we went to a kite demonstration and some of us flew them.

    from there straight to the last resort... DO I HEAR DRUMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    OMG! cannot stop laughing with this video, need Diapers!

    Four Seasons Jimbaran... The Taucker's have arrived. :)

    more to come.... still, on Day 12

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    People we are in Paradise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I don't remember my villa # but it was almost up in the top road and facing the ocean.

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    edited November 2023

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    edited November 2023

    So, on arrival day late afternoon we all went to the Coconut Grove by the ocean for our Sun Downer, beer, wine & appetizers!
    now we're talking!! :)
    also guess what? Another show... and what's about? Yes! you guested! King Rama and non-other than Sita! apparently, she was the only woman in the picture...... :)
    The performance was nice, less drama.

    tomorrow some more..
    Day 13!
    last day with the group activities & Farewell dinner :((( too fast.

    I'm staying a couple of xtra days. :) beach time ( 4 pools) and my last SPA!

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