Top Wedding Solemnisation Venues In Singapore

Bent down on one knee, he looks lovingly up to her as he asks that age-old question. With tears in her eyes, she exclaims yes, as he delicately slides the ring onto her finger and the champagne cork pops, flying high into the air.

While not all engagements feature that fairy-tale proposal, each and every one is special and unique, thanks to the distinctive, unbreakable bond each couple has. This bond is something to be treasured and celebrated throughout their life together, starting with that perfect wedding or solemnisation.

Singapore is simply full of wedding and solemnisation venues, each offering something unique, something special that will just ‘click’ with each couple when they see it. But to find the venue that works for them, loved-up couples need to see exactly what’s on offer.

Let’s take a look at some of the top solemnisation and wedding venues in Singapore, to reveal the best of the best.

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The Ballroom at The Fullerton Hotel

A fairy-tale proposal deserves a fairy-tale wedding, and there’s no better place to celebrate that fairy tale than The Ballroom. Set within the magnificent Fullerton Hotel, The Ballroom offers a lavishly refined setting for a truly unforgettable celebration.

With its sweeping staircases, elegant décor and exceptional service, this beautiful venue creates memories that will last a lifetime – and with a range of wedding and solemnisation packages available, couples can shape their Big Day to suit their exacting tastes.

While The Ballroom may be grand, some couples may prefer a smaller, more intimate wedding venue. Catering to every type of wedding and solemnisation, The Fullerton Hotel also offers the sophisticated Straits Room, once home to the elite Singapore Club, and the glorious The East Garden, perfect for garden parties under the stars.

 Sands SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands

With the world at their feet, couples can declare their love for each other as they gaze out onto the spectacular Singapore city skyline from the heights of Sands SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands.

Offering stunning views from 200 metres in the sky, this venue creates weddings that are not easily forgotten. Meanwhile, for those who perhaps don’t have such a head for heights, there is also the hotel’s charming Garden Walk and Bay View Foyer to choose from.

1-Altitude Bar & Gallery

For couples who have lofty ambitions, there is perhaps no better place to celebrate their Big Day than 1-Altitude. Perched high in the skies, this gorgeous venue is Singapore’s highest wedding and solemnisation venue, offering amazing 360-degree views from 282 metres up.

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Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa

Moving away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Shangri-La’s Rasa Resort & Spa offers a romantic waterside venue for couples looking for that idyllic beach wedding. Looking out onto the shimmering waters as the sunset throws dazzling colours into the sky, this enchanting location has seen many a dream come true.

Sheraton Towers

Another water-themed solemnisation venue, Sheraton Towers offers a perfectly picturesque backdrop in its landscaped water garden, complete with dazzling waterfall and koi pond. Surrounded by lush greenery, couples can say “I do” within this intimate setting, adjourning to air conditioned comfort in one of the hotel’s elegantly furnished function rooms.

A Guide To Climbing Japan’s Mount Fuji

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For any visitor to Japan there are a few things that are absolute must do activities and one of these is climbing the famed and beautiful Mount Fuji. For those who are not physically able to climb this mountain, which stretches to a very high 3,776 metres above sea level, just seeing it is still high on the priority list. Fuji in all its splendour seems to almost perfectly encapsulate Japan – that is to say seeing a picture of Fuji seems to represent Japan almost in its entirety though many other things do a hefty job as well. For those interested in braving the slopes of this mountain, read ahead for a climber’s guide to conquering Mount Fuji.

When To Climb?

While it may be tempting to tackle Mount Fuji at any time of year there are some times of year where it’s plain just not accessible – such as in winter and in late autumn and early spring. In fact if you try to climb it during these times you will find nothing on the mountain open to the public and al trails closed. Trails open early July through to mid-September and this is the official climbing season. The mountain is at its peak in August when all the climbers seem to descend onto its slopes and you will find yourself in queues in some parts to traverse the paths. In this sense, if time is not a factor for you consider timing your climb for either early or late in the season.

Late June and late September will find snow on many portions of the mountain with some huts available. Only experienced mountaineers with proper equipment should consider the climb in these shoulder seasons. Climbing in October is perilous as heavy snows at higher elevations pose risks of avalanches and the weather is unpredictable at best.

Explore

Climbing Fuji lends itself to being great for the outdoor lovers among us and the region includes the Fuji Five Lakes. Lake Kawaguchiko is the most well developed to welcome foreign tourists and this region is ideal for viewing the mountain at close range – perfect for photos! – and is a great base for climbing the mountain as well. There are also many hot springs and options for catching a quick bite to eat before tackling Mount Fuji around the area, so be sure to take advantage of the amenities, even if you aren’t climbing Fuji.

Fujinomiya

This region on the slopes of the mountain is home to the Fujinomiya Sengen Shrine as well as the Shiraito Falls – Japan’s most beautiful waterfalls. This is the traditional starting point for climbing Mount Fuji and is still used today as one of the most popular routes for climbers.

Trails

A quick rundown on the trails is as follows:

  • Yoshida Trail: Ascent 5-7 hours; descent 3-5 hours.

  • Subashiri Trail: Ascent 5-8 hours; descent 3-5 hours.

  • Gotemba Trail: Ascent 7-10 hours; descent 3-6 hours.

  • Fujinomiya Trail: Ascent 4-7 hours; descent 2-4 hours.

It’s not advisable to try to summit and descend in one day and instead is advised to overnight at one of the mountain huts along the trails that offer sleeping spots as well as food.

Guides

It’s not necessary to hire a guide, however if you don’t want to leave anything to chance and prefer a professional to plan your climb for you there are a number of professional guiding companies that will provide guides for a fee.

Costs and Miscellaneous

Costs to climb Fuji depend on whether you eat at the mountain huts, but at the trail heads expect to contribute around 1000 yen (about $10USD) to go toward various mountain upkeep. Mountain huts average around 7000 yen for an overnight stay plus two meals (5000 without meals). Camping is not allowed on the mountain and any garbage that you create must be taken with you as there are no garbage facilities.

There you have a couple of tips and information on climbing the highest mountain in Japan. Climbing Fuji is one of the most exhilarating things you could do in the area and is definitely worth doing for the sunrise if you’re up to the task. So pack your hiking boots – the mountain won’t climb itself!

6 Reasons To Visit Singapore Now!

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If you are trying to choose a country in South East Asia to head to but you aren’t sure exactly where you’re interested in, why not consider the great city nation of Singapore? Featuring beautiful gardens, a mix of western modernity and ancient Asian culture, Singapore is an ideal place to either start a holiday in the region or is great as a stand alone holiday to introduce you to the area. Read ahead for six reasons to go to Singapore now!

Food

Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in the 1800s and as a result enjoyed a number of influences from across the Empire in terms of food. Likewise the surrounding area of Malaysia and nearby China have added to the almost literal melting pot of food choices here with authentic Malay, Chinese and Indian food on offer as well as western options like burgers, chips and the like. Some Singaporean specific dishes (such as Singaporean noodles) enjoy prominence as well, but ultimately this is the place to try a bit of everything, making it ideal for people who are finicky eaters.

Shopping

With huge shopping malls, authentic local bazaars and other markets to choose from, Singapore enjoys vast shopping that draws people from around the region and abroad for some of the deals to be had regardless of whether it’s in the street side bazaars or the glistening malls.

Vibrant Nightlife and Lifestyle

Across the city state, bars, nightclubs and restaurants are prominent, with many options playing host to live music, DJs from around the area as well as abroad and fantastic opportunities to kick back with a drink or two and get your groove on on some of the quirky and colourful dance floors.

East Meets West Meets East Again

Singapore is a true conglomerate of regional cultures as well as those from further afield. Mandalay, Mandarin, Tamil and English are the official languages of Singapore along with the religions of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism and Confucianism showing just how culturally and ethnically diverse this country is. With Little India, Chinatown, and other regions of the city playing host to travellers it’s easy to see why this is such a great nation to travel to for a truly unique experience.

Getting Out

For those who are interested in getting away and exploring more of the region at large, Singapore is perfectly connected internationally to welcome travellers from around the glove while simultaneously allowing travellers multiple options for getting out of the country by sea, air, or road. Situated on the very southern tip of Malaysia, Singapore is an ideal place to start your South East Asian adventure, with train, boat and bus links into neighbouring Malaysia or Indonesia and further north to Thailand and the rest of the area.

So hopefully these top six reasons to hit up Singapore will help you make the decision to head to this unique, bustling and vibrant city full of welcoming, friendly people and delicious varied food. So pack your bags – Singapore and Asia at large await your arrival!

Things To Do In Laos – Aside From Getting Drunk

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Inevitably these days if you’re heading to South East Asia you will end up in more than one of the countries in the region. With ease of movement and cheap options through airlines such as Air Asia, it’s relatively pointless going for only one country when you could see two or three in your time there. One country that is becoming the next big tourist hot spot aside from Thailand is its quiet neighbour to the north – Laos. There are a few things you should know about Laos before you go, so here they are, before we get into what there is to do aside from getting drunk.

A Quick Note To Say…

Laos is not Thailand. In that sense, it’s a lot stricter than Thailand with regards to partying and all night shindigs. While some places such as Vang Vieng used to be known for having island parties on the river that stretched into the wee hours, this is no longer the case thanks to the influx of backpackers who made too much of a good thing an inherently bad thing and so all the parties were shut down – along with most of the bars in the town.

A curfew is in effect throughout the country. Yes, you read that right – a curfew is in effect throughout the country. This is partially due to the communist government still in place (but trust me, you can’t really tell), and partially due to the Laotian way of life – getting up at the crack of dawn to give alms to the monks. You might get away with staying out past curfew (around 11pm in most places) in the countryside villages, but to be honest you won’t really want to as you will likely be one of, if not the only, person out.

What’s There To Do Then?

In a word, tons. There are two main strips of Laos depending on what your preferences are and what you’re after: the north route from Vientiane to Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang and further north if you’re so inclined to Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi; or the South route from Vientiane to Kong Lor (if you’re so inclined) to Savannahket to Pakse, and then the Bolaven Loop/further south to the 4000 Islands and the Cambodian border. For informative purposes I will tell you what there is to see and do on both of these loops to help you gauge whether it’s the loop for you.

The Northern Route

From the capital Vientiane you can easily get a shuttle bus to take you up to Vang Vieng, former party town, now mostly quiet village with a few 18 year old backpackers determined to keep the party alive. These days it’s a quiet place, ideal for relaxing, checking out some nearby caves and waterfalls and renting a motorbike to go exploring the valley of beautiful karst limestone mountains. A few bars cater to specific musical preferences such as psy-trance (again, perhaps in an effort to keep the party alive), but on the whole this place has more of a homey, village, family feel to it these days with quiet evenings spent stargazing on the riverbank.

Heading further north to Luang Prabang – a UNESCO World Heritage city thanks in part to its numerous temple complexes and fantastic French Quarter with its beautiful colonial structures set amid the lush jungle greenery and dusty roads filled with passers by. This is a hot spot for travellers of all kind – from backpackers to luxury travellers, Luang Prabang has become a bit of a Laotian mecca for everyone. Check out the night market in the city centre for some truly unique finds. There are likewise street stalls selling fruit shakes and baguette sandwiches throughout as well as the full blown food market that serves all manner of delicious items from fish on sticks, chicken on sticks, to various noodle side dishes and fresh vegetable spring rolls. You can get a banquet for 2 people for around $5 here.

If you’re a bit adventurous and don’t mind going a bit further, you can go to Nong Khiaw and then further onto Muang Ngoi, which is a village set in a valley similar to that of Vang Vieng, surrounded by beautiful karst limestone mountains. For the truly adventurous and travel hardened, you can try getting to Hanoi, Vietnam from Luang Prabang – but be warned that it’s around 30 hours on winding country mountain roads and has been dubbed the “nightmare journey”. You’re probably best to split it up into chunks, or just fly – Luang Prabang has a well serviced, well connected international airport.

There are a lot of other really interesting things to do up in the northern parts of the country, such as Vang Xai – an intricate cave city that was used for shelter during the Vietnam war to protect residents from the bombings and also the Gibbon Experience – where you can spend a few days in the tree tops like the Gibbons, an experience which has been coined as being “living like an Ewok”.

There are a lot of bars and potential party spots along the way – particularly these days in Luang Prabang you will find more bars that cater to a party kind of atmosphere, but also cater to quieter laid back atmospheres as well. If you want a bit more in the way of excitement restaurants, bars, music wise this is probably the route for you.

The Southern Route

From Vientiane you can opt to take a bus to the village of Kong Lor, home of one of the longest underground rivers in the world. The village is a dusty, very remote little thing, everything you could imagine from rural Laos. The best guest house in town is Chantha House – on the edge of the village, right on top of rice paddies. Most of the accommodation in town is in the form of home stays with locals, and there are only a handful of places to eat – if even. Chantha house almost operates as the local restaurant and watering hole – best food in town by far.

If you’re feeling adventurous you can head to Thakek and rent a motorbike, doing the “Kong Lor Loop” which takes you around several of the small backwaters and to the village of Kong Lor eventually – a great experience for anyone in the area.

Further south is the city of Savannahket. Admittedly, there is not much in the way of things to do in Savannahket and it’s more a stopping off point to break up the journey between Kong Lor and Pakse – 12 to 14 hours by bus, but with a stop in Savannahket it breaks it up into a larger portion of about 8 and a smaller portion of 3-4. Great for a night, but not really much more, Savannahket features a French colonial quarter which is missing out on some much needed TLC, featuring nearly derelict buildings and some even riddled with bullet holes – a prominent, yet unfortunate feature reminder of the Vietnam war. Savannahket is also home to a strange but beautiful combination of Buddhist and Taoist temples as well as Christian churches.

Further south you come to the municipality of Pakse – a well equipped city with many fantastic amenities including tours available, motorbike rentals, supermarkets, cafes with great internet, and numerous guesthouses. It’s also where you can renew your Laos visa if you want to extend your stay. Here you can rent a motorbike as well and do the Bolaven Plateau Loop – a favourite amongst travellers to the region which again takes you around the many backwater villages of the loop and eventually back to Pakse.

The loop also takes you through fertile coffee plantations, tea plantations, and alongside beautiful waterfalls and tribal villages where children run after you waving hello. One village along the loop, a beautiful little village called Tad Lo is a perfect place to set down for a couple of days and take a load off – only recently having gotten power and internet, connection to the outside world here is still confined to few guest houses. Most of the accommodation here is likewise in the form of home stays, some even home stay dorms (such as at Mama &Pap’s). Regardless, you won’t struggle to find a place to stay here – there’s even a resort on top of the large waterfall a bit away from the main strip.

Further south from Tad Lo and Pakse you will find the Mekong River begins to widen and towards the border with Cambodia is a number of islands on which you can stay – generally referred to as the Four Thousand Islands. Don Det is the typical backpacker haunt here, but other great islands offer a quieter more relaxed locale in which to stay. Don Khong is perfect – with motorbike rentals available to head out and bike around the island. We recommend Kong View Guest house – it has a balcony that overlooks the Mekong out back with commanding views and is a great place to relax with a Beer Lao and watch afternoon thunderstorms roll in.

So there you have the numerous things to do throughout Laos aside from partying and drinking. After the relative hectic atmosphere that can be had in Thailand, Laos will seem like a welcome break – so pick your route – travel adventure or slightly more party hardy – the choice is yours although it doesn’t have to be. Overnight buses are available from Pakse to Luang Prabang, so you could have it all.