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Magnificent Maldives with a side order of Singapore!

Updated: 9 hours ago

A romantic island getaway to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary in complete decadence. If we can't spoil ourselves to mark this moment, then when can we?

Bring on paradise!

But before all that...we were looking forward to a brief stopover in the fabulous SINGAPORE!

We first stopped by this amazing city/island/country back in 2018, before embarking on our 25th anniversary cruise, where we renewed our vows onboard. We enjoyed a fabbo night and morning back then at the pinnacle of this town,

the Marina Bay Sands, (the blog is below here somewhere),

and got to see a lot of the local sights over a couple of days after the cruise.


This time, we chose to stopover, mainly so we could arrive at the Maldives at midday the following day, rather than a late evening arrival by speedboat.

We didn't want to miss a moment.


That said, we 'endured' a sleepless night flight to arrive in Singapore at 5am, and had planned to just 'go hard or go home' for the 30 or so hours there. That we did.

What's new?


I had booked this whole trip really without Trev fully knowing where we were staying.

By now, he trusts me. Maybe not always to get times right...but choice of hotels haven't let me, or Trev, down yet.


This stopover hotel was a big surprise for Trev, and a nice anniversary gift to ourselves.

The stunningly appointed 'Fullerton Bay Hotel.'



Situated right on the bay, and in absolute prime position with views directly across the water to the monolithic Marina Bay Sands, in all her glory.

When we were here last time, we decided that if we came back, we'd like to watch the laser light show across that magnificent edifice, rather than stand on the top looking down.

That said, the top of this hotel has the world's most incredible infinity swimming pool,

and if you can swim there just once,

you'd be ticking off a big bucket list item.


Back to our hotel, and whilst it may look small from the outside,

the interior just blew us away.

From the chandeliers dominating the elegant foyer, to the plushest of bathrobes ready for our tired bodies, let alone the most delicious buffet breakfast, this place was a treat. I read a review recently about the difference between the more traditional and

very British, Fullerton Hotel, and The Fullerton Bay... They used the analogy, saying the Fullerton was like Kate Middleton,

whilst the Fullerton Bay was more like Meghan Markle. Personalities aside, I think they were bang on, and we were more than happy to go with the 'flashier, less traditionally English', FB Hotel.

My first view, and I had to take this shot. The Internet has heaps, just like it. The reflection was gorgeous.


It didn't disappoint.

Attempting again to be cheeky, I tried my luck asking if it was possible to score an upgrade,

seeing I was a 'Travel Blogger'... ;) ,

to which they happily obliged, and gave us a high floor, water views, and the best part of all,

it was ready straight away, at 6 am. Perfect!

What a bonus!


We were pretty tired after the all nighter,

and relished getting in early for a shower and rest before hitting the town.

They also agreed to my request that we have our included breakfast that morning,

instead of the following day, as we had a very early departure to the airport. Again, they most happily agreed. Our room surpassed any expectations. It felt like a suite, yet was still just their 'king room'. More than happy to sing their praises.




ALSO, as they knew it was our wedding anniversary,

they gave us a lovely card, some yummy macaroons, and two of their cute little

Fullerton Bay teddies,

the Bride and Groom no less,

as treasured gifts.



So after a lavish breakfast, and a wee rest, we headed first to our rooftop to watch the sunrise and to truly appreciate this incredible location. The pool itself was a masterpiece, with an infinity edge facing their fabulous bar, and their gardens were divine. We actually took a few tips home from here to apply with our own pool landscaping that we need to complete on our return!





We then took this time to stroll around the incredible boardwalk by the bay,

just appreciate this beautiful city, without all the crowds, in the dawn light. (The sun seems to rise really late here at this time of year.) It reminded me of Sydney's Darling Harbour, but on steroids. In a GOOD WAY! Bigger and better. And like life at home on the Gold Coast, locals were out walking, jogging and taking their dogs for walks in the clean morning air. Everyone seemed to have Pomeranians! (Cute as!)

It's always selfie time with these backdrops, but hey...when in Rome, right?

This three 'tiered' masterpiece just has to be photographed...

It's like the Sydney Harbour Bridge

in the respect that no matter how many times you've seen it,

you still feel compelled to take yet another photo! The lighting is always different. Oh, and the Lion/fish fountain too, just screams 'Singapore'.



Next item on our 'Singapore in a Day' agenda, was to head towards the

To be able to walk those amazing giant botanical structures that we missed last visit,

as they close the Skywalk when it rains. Today was our lucky day.

Hot and humid, yet dry, we embraced the chance to finish off seeing this amazing exhibit.

Last visit here we really enjoyed strolling through the

two exhibits that should NOT BE MISSED if you come,

but as we didn't have time on our side,

we chose just to see what we missed last time.


These giant structures give me the feeling of Avatar...

everything giant, botanically themed, and spectacular.





You don't normally get to see large palms from above...and their symmetry warrants attention!

Singapore, I tell you, has got it right. Right with their environment, with their people, with their waste, with their water usage;

so much so that they are leading the way in conservation.

The world could learn a lot from seeing how great, efficient,

clean and well adjusted this city is. Even the back lanes are always being tidied. It is to be commended.


Moving on from here, we were keen to head over to Chinatown,

for some good solid street food,

that hopefully would sit well on our next flight... So, speaking with Daryl, the manager at the top of this Skywalk exhibition,

he told us which subway we could take to get where we wanted. Brilliant! He even gave us his WhatsAp details in case we needed any help or further advise. Bless.


We are always up for a challenge, and taking some local transport, as opposed to taxi fares, is always a great option.


Ok, truth be told, we sometimes are chicken shit when it comes to subways

in foreign countries.

But we are getting more brave (haha), and with a cashless society these days,

all it is is a simple tap on the turnstile, and tap off, just like here in Australia. Literally it cost us about $1.50 each way to get to where we wanted,

as opposed to us jumping in a cab for $35.00...Each way. Excellent!



Bring on street food!!!



We can still hear in our mind's eye, the words of our fab dutch friends

whom we met last trip here...and when they saw us eating street food,

they literally just patted our shoulders,

knowing we had an eight hour flight ahead of us, and said:

"Good luck with THAT on the plane!"


Good thing I always book an aisle seat.


All good though, this was legit food, and sat well with us! Phew!


So this was just lunch!

We still had a whole evening ahead of us


Back off the train at the Marina Bay district, we once again spent time and a LOT of steps strolling around the enormous Marina Bay shopping mall there. From every designer name you can throw a stick at, to a two story Gordon Ramsay restaurant, 'Bread Street', there's a lot to see and something for everyone.


Reminiscent of Vegas...



The sense of wealth in the air is palpable,

with many Singaporean families dressed to match in their designer gear,

which was kinda cute, and not - in the same breath. ;) It's probably the one shopping mall in the world you almost feel compelled to dress well for. Well, almost... unless you're Trev. He doesn't bother with all that garb, he's most happy just being a casual t-shirt, shorts and thongs, (well, flip flops to some of you), kind of guy,

and I love him for it. I was keen to bling it up a little though. ;)


Outside was searing hot, but at least the walk back to our hotel, skirting around the beautiful bay whilst chasing the shade, was full of sights to see and amazing architecture.


Even the Apple store, looked like an apple. Well, it was round, so close enough! And packed, like any Apple store you come across.



Random little dudes!


By now we were fading fast. The lack of sleep was starting to catch up, so we headed back to our room,

set an alarm for an hour, and grabbed a quick S.C.A.N;

(senior citizen's afternoon nap - even though it barely afternoon),

so we could at least make the most of the evening ahead. Always thinking of our Welsh mates who shared this brilliant acronym with us.


We had booked a table up on our hotel's roof, at their sky bar, 'Lantern' so we had a prime position to watch the Laser light show across the bay at the Marina Bay Sands. They put on a show, along with 'Bellagio styled' dancing fountains at 8, 9 and 10pm.

We're at least up for the 8pm display!


By day...

By dusk...

Then by night.


We stayed for just the first show, then bailed on this place, and decided to find a restaurant along to boardwalk for dinner instead.


There was a plethora of different cuisines to choose from,

and whilst we are always keen to try the local food, we thought we did that for lunch,

so when we found Wagyu burgers with truffle oil on a menu, we were sold!

AND, we finally got to see this!



We kept trundling on, walking this time away from the bay, and wow, so glad we did. Let me just add, that I was a walking zombie by now, but Trev had got his second wind...

so with the 'sleep when you're dead' attitude, I continued on like a trooper. And it is here I woke up. Well, for 20 minutes anyways. ;) We found where the locals, experienced visitors and ex- pats all go! The Old Town by the river. Boat Quay.



Packed to the rafters with diners enjoying happy hour drinks...all night...football on the telly in the English bars, kebabs roasting in the Turkish restaurants,

live lobsters and king crabs in crowded tanks

(always makes me sad actually and I can't bear to look at them);

Greek, Italian, and Asian cuisine,

and so on and so forth. SOOO much cheaper than the other side by the bay. This is where we'd go every time, now we know. Lastly, back to our hotel, to collapse. I think by now I was talking gibberish. "What's new?" Says Trev. All good. Pack it in, we say.



A BIG DAY!

We have a 5.30am wakeup call. That's a fair price to pay. Tomorrow night we will be sleeping in our overwater villa in the Maldives.

Woohoo!


Here's a tip:

Arrive and/or depart Singapore on a weekend, and in the early morning if possible,

and you'll likely breeze through the airport, and have very little traffic on the road too. (Certainly saves on your taxi fare!)

It was the easiest arrival immigration we've ever been through,

and although we had all the necessary paperwork with regards to Covid etc,

we literally scanned our passport to arrive, and that was that. To be fair, many many people just transit here as opposed to staying,

but we really enjoyed the simple process,

and an empty airport.



Coming back through for us later, was another story. But that's travelling. Take the good with the bad. When you get to the departure gates, (and if you like/need coffee...)

make sure you stop by this amazing shop!




This store sells THE best flavoured croissants EVER..

(we loved the raspberry and cinnamon the most),

and their picnic style packaging was adorable. Right down to their crystallised sugar swizzle stick.

Hey...when you travel, it's the little things that can make you smile as well!



A daytime flight to the Maldives was a relief this time...

Only a 4.45hr flight (to us Aussies, that's a short one),

so time to relax, watch some movies, and enjoy the picturesque view as you

fly into this tiny island paradise! Certainly beats arriving at night.


Plus, once landed, you still have to transfer out to one of the islands...

be it by a domestic plane, a seaplane, or speedboat.


As our resort was only a 20 minute boat ride away, that was our mode.

So very cool. Reminiscent for us of arriving by train into Venice, and walking out of the train station to be met by gondolas and launches. Super fun!




HELLOOOOO, MALDIVES!!!


Seriously, couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces.

Like for the next 5 days!



And just a short 20 minutes away, we arrived at BLUSELECT Lobigili Island Resort.

Yep, "Holy s**t..."



There are two islands here, interconnected by a simple span wooden walking bridge,

(on which there is an overwater gym and the famous OnlyBlu underwater restaurant)...

We have booked that puppy (the restaurant, not the gym, haha)...

for Valentine's Day in a couple of days...our anniversary date.




...the other island is for young and old alike, and lots of kids.

A bit like what Great Keppel Island used to be like -

a Queensland Island that had the catch phrase 'A great place to get wrecked!'

And the cool thing? We can visit their island, listen to their live music and watch the shenanigans,

and still have our food and drink package included,

but they can't come to ours. Poor bastards. Just kidding. Our side - is for couples only, and affectionally known as 'Love Island',

sans the reality show smut. ;)


Sometimes you pay for peace. And romance. Both islands are suited for the various needs, wallets, and desires.





Seriously, everywhere I look is my idea of absolute paradise.

We chose...'wisely'.


Oh, and our overwater villa - WOW. We had an open air bathroom, even with a hammock that you could lie with fishies splashing below you...we had a glass section of floor at the end of the bed, that was the perfect flickering night light...and our private deck, had sun lounges, and an infinity plunge pool, next to stairs that went straight down into the water, where you could swim or snorkel from.


W O W.


Welcome to our villa!




Writing this blog right now, and seeing the amazing photos I have to choose from,

honestly makes me breathe in deeply with gratitude,

with the memory of what we have just enjoyed.

I think I can probably show more photos than I can write.


Hang on, back up a sec,

that's a solid 'yeah/nah.' (Aussie slang for nope, not true.) If you've read my previous stories, you'll know by now I love a chat. You're not getting off that easy. :)

So, as you probably also know by now, we like to experience sunsets, and sunrises too. A lovely English Rose we met on an African safari once shared with us,

that one of her goals at the beginning of the year was to witness an amazing sunrise and set on the same day. A wonderful goal, and one to appreciate. (We did that in Africa with you, hey Harriet?)

Here on the island, its a no brainer to see both, as long as you're happy to wake up for it. But a 6am wakeup call for a 6.25am sunrise is easy for us,

as we seem to rise and fall by daylight back home,

especially as I have horses to tend to.

So, all that said, on our first evening, we hung by their infinity pool, to watch it all unfold.


I had a sunset (stock) photo right from this spot, as my desktop screen saver for months,

and I was keen to see if the colours were for real.


I can honestly say, they were better. When does that ever happen? That real life is better than internet images? And after our first sunset, I would encourage people each day afterwards...

to just to be patient and wait.

And watch.


Half an hour after the sun had set, is when the magic happens.



Take your pick. They are gorgeous.


And always with a local Maldivian stork for company.




I love this shot I got with him with the sun.

Pretty spesh.


With only 5 days here, we had a few things that the resort booked in for us to do,

the rest was up to us. Might just be a lot of this happening...

:)


Firstly, I was determined to book a trip to swim with the whale sharks,

as they are here in the Maldives all year round.

But alas, our island was about a 3 hour boat ride away from where they were, and it really wasn't feasible, or affordable to do it from this location.


Yes, I was disappointed, but that said, I had booked this resort before

I knew they were even here. If I knew beforehand, I probably would have chosen an island closer to where they are,

but hey, it wasn't meant to be.


Never mind, always turning a negative into a positive,

we googled where we'd like to swim with them,

and we have decided to see them in Mexico next year, and we can throw in Chichen Itza,

the Bahamas, and swimming with the pigs there whilst we're at it. Yeah, I said 'swimming with the pigs!' It's a thing, (check out the link) and I'm down for that! Next year. Sorted.


And besides, we love this place - we couldn't be happier.


Each day started with us sitting on the end of our wooden boardwalk amongst the

overwater villas, our feet dangling over the edge, watching big fish chase the bait fish,

manta rays cruising past whilst we sipped our coffee, all whilst watching the glorious sunrise.

We were really surprised that we were the only ones doing it! At least from where we were.


It was peaceful, serene, beautiful, and our own special piece of time locked away

in our memory banks forever.



And it looked like this;

Every. Single. Day.

There's something about sunrises and sunsets on the equator. They knock me over every time with their intensity of colour.


Today's effort..was to walk off the beach and snorkel, in a bay totally devoid of other humans. Our footprints by the water were to be the first of the day. I know, hard to take, right?

Perfection.

Seriously?

It's like a scene from a movie, or an Attenborough doco. It was picture perfect with the silky white sand, aqua water, and abundant sea life.


Plenty of baby reef sharks here, but they scatter fairly quickly,

so they are definitely not something to worry about...

more to marvel at really, and we're hoping to see more of them.



From here we could just head into our restaurant for lunch,

(of course we must be starving by now, haha),

still wet from swimming, drop our bag of snorkel gear at the door,

and dine in the Swing Bar section,

where the floor is sand anyway.




This afternoon's activity that was included in our package, was a sunset cruise,

which we were looking forward to.

More water, another sunset, and new friends made. What's not to smile about?

We met another couple on this sunset cruise who were also celebrating their

wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day,

and we mentioned to them how much we are enjoying the sunrises and sunsets here. They admitted, that they had never watched a sunrise together, in all their years!

Well, I'm happy to say,

that the following day, which was V Day,

they got up super early,

and celebrated their first ever sunrise, on their 25th anniversary! Woohoo!

Well done guys! Lovely to meet you, Geraldine and Warren, congratulations on your 25th,

and we hope to catch up again! With their permission:


Ok, VALENTINE'S DAY!!!!


This morning started out with a treat. Stop it...a different treat!


The ONLY thing we had booked extra, as we never knew about it until our

lovely island hostess, Mila, told us,

was that we could have a 'floating breakfast' on our infinity pool. All we had to do was tell her what we like to eat.

Well, how about I tick all those boxes, hey?


So, these gorgeous girls, Mila and Elin, arrive, with an absolute STASH of food,

and Elin still said we should have ordered more. Bless. We had smoked salmon and avocado bagels, scrumptious muffins, pastries, yogurt, fruit, plunger coffee, champagne, fresh fruit smoothies (which were OUTSTANDING), juice,

and other tasty morsels. Did I say Champagne? :)


Well, at least mimosas this time of day...;)



Ok, so here's the 'Mandy' part...

Once the girls had set the basket, and floated it on our pool, I proceeded to step in... haha, well, guess who missed the step, and plunged straight in, causing a mini tidal wave that nearly sent the basket completely over?! Total Mandy move.

O M G. Could have been a disaster, but all good, I came up laughing my head off,

and the food remained dry.

Phew!!!!!



SOOOOO much food!

Never in our life have we done anything like this!

Happy 30th to us, yeehaw! What a place.


A relaxing day of decadence, with the island turning it up a few notches for romance. Hearts everywhere, and the restaurant was gearing up for a very special buffet on the beach, with live music, but we had different plans.




Here at at Lobigili Island, they have the largest underwater restaurant on the Maldives, 'OnlyBlu' and I had reserved a table here months ago, when I first booked this holiday. I didn't want to miss this opportunity, for a truly once in a lifetime experience,

and to celebrate it on our special day,

was just next level amazing.

AND, this was also included in our package..! Win, win!


The seats look like they are placed next to an aquarium, but nope, that is pure mother nature out the window. We had a few sharks swim by throughout the night -

that was always quite exciting!


Whilst my phone only took very average shots in the minimal lighting,

I grabbed a couple shots from their website,

along with a shot I took of a shark that swam past our table,

followed by an extraordinary cuttlefish, who changed his colours constantly as he fluttered back and forth.

Check out the video below of the shark and cuttlefish. Even the staff said they had never seen anything like what the cuttlefish could do.


It was definitely a 'wow' moment, and one of which that had

most of the diners huddled around our little table to watch at the end of our delicious meal,

which also included a lovely gesture of a

chocolate anniversary dessert for us.


We were toasting to an absolutely special day, but it wasn't over yet.

The hotel staff had gone to town,

decorating our room in preparation for arrival 'home'.


Walking in, we were delighted by the surprise.


The bed had been beautifully decorated,

as well as some more cake and treats for us,

a beautiful, thoughtful note,

and they had also drawn a bubble bath for us too. WOW.




A M A Z I N G!


Very grateful indeed.


The following day was time to break out the bikini body I had worked so hard to achieve.

Haha, well, that kinda failed, so I did the next best thing,

and bought this outstanding t-shirt online before we left Australia.


It's hilarious, and I just love it!

Fake it till you make it, right?



Couldn't help myself. My new favourite t-shirt.

(Think I might wear it on the mower when I get home, and see what looks I get, lol!)


We headed down to the day spa to enjoy our (included too) couple's massage. Did I mention we were in utopia?

Bluddy hard to take, this relaxing holiday business. ;)

Normally, we are always go,go,go when we travel, so it really is a delight to sit back,

and savour life in paradise.


And when Trev would sit on the stairs down from our villa, staring out to infinity,

in complete privacy,

I could literally feel his sense of serenity from where I stood.


This is just what he needed. We're gonna miss this place.



Can't have a blog, without a Trev napping photo. :)


We had a guided snorkel safari the following day, zooming out to a little white dot on the horizon...