The Merlion looked so much bigger in person. With water sprouting out from its lion head and a perfectly finned fish body, Singapore’s national icon was a sight of much amusement for me, considering I hadn’t even planned a stopover in the lion city. After a few more selfies with the mythical figure, I decided to walk over to Marina Bay to get a taste of the local cuisine. I decided to eat at “The Singapore Food Treats”. It had a mix of everything: Singaporean, Malaysian, Chinese and even India. It was here that I first used my Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card and realized that this was going to be one easy trip, even with the unplanned Singapore bit.
My original plan was to take a direct flight to Thailand and spend some quality alone time in Bangkok, Phuket and its nearby islands. Everything was set until there was a last minute addition to the trip. My best friend had moved to Singapore a few months ago and happened to have some time off from work just around the days I was travelling. Instead of flying to Thailand, she suggested that I do a quick stopover at Singapore and spend two days with her. My tickets were changed to an earlier date hence I had no time to re-pack, research, and, more importantly, get some Singapore dollars. My Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card was only topped up with Thai Baht and with all the last minute rescheduling, the money bit slipped my mind. Lucky for me, the card not only allowed different currencies to be on one card, but also could be topped up on the go! So while I waited at Singapore Changi Airport for Mridula, my best friend, to come and get me, I used the airport Wi-Fi to top up my Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card with Singapore dollars. It was so quick and so easy; minus all the confusion with the denominations and calculations. I completely forgot the initial panic I had when I thought I’d navigate through the city with no means to eat great food and shop.
My first day was hanging out with the Merlion. Mridula said she would join me post lunch. After my scrumptious meal of Wanton Mee, a sweet and spicy concoction of pork and noodles, I was picked up and we headed to Orchard Street, every shoppers dream. From Paragon Shopping Center to Tangs, the oldest department store, we covered it all. I thought I’d have some trouble with the transactions since I was carrying just my Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card and nothing else, and it was just great. No worries about soiled notes and fake currency coming my way or even the mindlessness of calculating exchange values.
I shopped till I dropped. The next day, we spent the day at Universal Studios and the Sentosa Luge. Rides after rides, delicious treats and picking up tiny knick-knacks, this was the perfect day.
I was a little crestfallen to leave Singapore but my next stop was Thailand, the much awaited solo trip, was calling and I felt a wave of excitement as I boarded the aircraft. A quick 2.5 hours later, I had landed into Thailand’s capital, the glitzy Bangkok. I checked into my hostel with ease, no hassles since my Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card had its Thai Baht. I was sharing my room with an American girl, Jessica. She was a little worried because she had lost her wallet and that had all her cash but her friend was about to transfer money into her other debit card and that would take some time. I was glad that I was travelling cashless! Just to be sure, I checked up on what were my options in case I did misplace my card. The Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card, with its emergency assistance services, can be immediately blocked and can help me get emergency cash. I slept peacefully knowing that I was covered, no matter what.
Thailand’s beaches are the definition of paradise. Photo by John Seaton Callahan/Moment/getty Images.
Bangkok was a beautiful city. I spent my day shuffling from one marvelous architectural structure to another. My favorite stops were the riverside temple, Wat Arun, and Wat Phra Kaew, the Buddhist temple with the reclining Buddha. My evening stroll took me boating to the Lumphini Park, a green public space. That night, I ate at the Bangrak Café, extremely popular among locals and tourists alike. The food was delicious and the ambience was just right.
The next morning, I took a quick flight to Phuket. A trip to Thailand is incomplete if you don’t laze around the beaches of this paradise. It was here that I first thought of checking on my finances. It had been a couple of days and I had been spending all my money on beautiful food and souvenirs. One look at my phone and I could track all my expenditure from the last couple of days. My Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card had been sending me instant notifications; it’s an entirely different story that I was steering away from checking my messages because this was supposed to be a vacation. I also had the app downloaded on my phone, which made it easy to keep track of all my transactions at all times (and stay away from all emails!)
Phuket was such a peaceful experience. Phuket Town was a mix of old and new; the colorful buildings, weekend markets and amazing food joints was ideal. I spent an afternoon discovering the ornate and beautifully preserved ‘shophouses’, old-world cafés, tiny printing shops, and impromptu private and public museums. All this walking, exploring and shopping did mean my card was running out of money but, just like at Singapore airport, I was able to reload my Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card while sipping on some local Thai iced milk tea. It was easy as that! On my last day, I took a boat out to explore the serene beaches and went snorkeling in the cool emerald waters of Phi Phi. It seemed like this was the picture perfect end to my holiday.
The journey back home is always filled with calculations. As I sat at Phuket International Airport figuring out all my expenses, I realized how having my Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card made things super easy, especially because it is accepted everywhere. Whether it was the malls in Singapore or the tiny cafes in Phuket, I had no problem ever.
In retrospect, Singapore and Thailand were wonderful experiences. Both countries gave me some unique experiences, especially with respect to all the local sites and food. I did my fair share of shopping, from street shops and big malls. And, at all times, I had my Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card with me, making this a cashless and hassle free holiday.
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