I love coming back to Bangkok, always kick-started by a smile from the Thai immigration officers when they note where I was born. Our 2011 visit was before the flooding and just as Thailand’s first female Prime Minister was voted into office. The last time I was here was during the army coup of 2005 that set off the most recent ongoing political crisis. 2012 will no doubt be another interesting year. My favourite things include getting lost at Chatuchak (amongst its 15,000 stalls!), jumping on a klong boat, visiting old restaurants where – yes, even down to the table cloths – things are exactly the same and, of course, seeing old friends.
I swear this city-state breaks some sort of record for number of places to eat per capita. And the food is awesome. Chicken and rice anyone? At least two great places are Five Star and Tian Tian at Maxwell Market. I once had both in one day. That’s perhaps a bit much, but that’s what you should come to Singapore for. To eat!
Bali and Lombok, Indonesia
Despite being divided by only a 20-minute flight, Bali and Lombok are worlds apart. It’s surprising that Lombok, with direct connections from Singapore, has managed to avoid Bali’s over-development – ‘Bali 20 years ago’ was the phrase we often heard. The differences don’t stop there, with Lombok’s culture being more akin to wider Muslim Indonesia than Hindu Bali, something particularly reflected in the food. If you ever go, I’d suggest visiting both, but spend more time exploring Lombok.
Route travelled: Singapore, Lombok, Bali