International Slavery Museum

For years and probs for many more to come, Black people have been trying to explain that slavery is not where our story starts. The curriculum taught in schools isn’t helping, the shows we have on TV aren’t helping either. So, it’s always great to see when an institution is doing its part to educate the masses effectively.

The International Slavery Museum is very comprehensive and I thoroughly enjoyed my exploring. I felt pride, I felt inexplicable sadness and hope – it was a rollercoaster of emotions.

  • There are three main themed galleries:
    • Life in West Africa – exploring the story and culture of Africa and its peoples, who are central to the story of transatlantic slavery.
    • Enslavement and the Middle Passage – revealing some of the brutality and trauma suffered by enslaved Africans on the voyage across the Atlantic; then the oppression of their lives on plantations in the Americas.
    • Legacy – highlighting the continuing fight for freedom and equality; the contemporary impact of transatlantic slavery, such as racism and discrimination; and the achievements of the African Diaspora.

Here are some pictures from my visit:

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World Museum (Liverpool)

The World Cultures gallery showcases World Museum’s huge collections from Africa, The Americas, Asia and Oceania. Featuring more than 1,600 objects, the gallery explores the exchange of ideas and objects between Europe and the many cultures represented in the displays.

The Museum was a pleasant surprise, I loved the way it showcased the different cultures and also continued the conversation surrounding museums and their complicity within systems of oppression.

It’s also FREE, and you can donate what you see fit.

The ‘Black’ story is full of so much culture and richness and visiting off of the back of the Euros loss – it just felt so timely.

There is an Egyptian part of the museum, that has a mummy on display – so be prepared. I have many thoughts on this but we’ll keep them for another time…

I hope you enjoy x

Shots from the museum

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Liverpool

This summer has been all about the staycation, so we got involved 😉

Up to Scouseland we went, here’s a rundown of everything we managed to do/see:

  1. Liverpool Wings (Baltic Triangle)
  2. Chinese Arch
  3. Liverpool Cathedral – (Britain’s largest cathedral)
  4. River Cruise
  5. Royal Albert Dock
  6. Merseyside Maritime Museum and Slavery Museum
  7. Tate Liverpool 
  8. Royal Liver Building 
  9. Walker Art Gallery
  10. World Museum (click the link for more)
  11. SuperlambbananaDeveloped for the 1998 ArtTransPennine Exhibition, the sculpture is both a comment on the dangers of genetic engineering and is heavily influenced by the history of Liverpool: historically, both sheep and bananas were common cargos in the city’s docks.
  12. Liverpool wall of fame
  13. Cavern Club
  14. Cilla Black statue
  15. Boujee

Sights we didn’t get to see:

  • Liverpool Stadium 🏟 
  • Beatles museum 
  • Quirky Quarter 
  • Crosby Beach (20 mins by train from Liverpool Lime Street) 

Liverpool is so easily walkable and many of the places to visit are next to each other so you save money on transport.

We were genuinely surprised that we enjoyed our time in Liverpool and we would 100% recommend making your way up north.

Keep up to date with us on @trippinwithsj // @sarahambitious xx

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Where should I eat in Singapore?

There are so many choices for places to eat:

  • Wild Honey – I think this is a midpoint on the spending scale, and it is worth every penny. We tried their brunch and the pancakes were heavenly.
  • Jumbo Seafood – if you really wanna ball out! But I think about this special fried rice often, it was a serious something. 10s across the board. I highly recommend.
  • Hawker Markets; the biggest one is Chinatown Market. Delicious food options, drink options and on the cheaper side
  • Eating out in SIN is expensive but the flavours are phenomenal. There are supermarkets so you can do some cooking of your own if you feel too and much cheaper prices restaurants, just check online.

Keep up with us on @trippinwithsj x

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What to see…

So, Crazy Rich Asians put Singapore on the map for us! It was always somewhere we’d wanted to go because of the Marina Bay Sands and Supertree Grove, but seeing it presented in such a beautiful way just made us want to go even more.

Singapore is such a beautiful city state, it houses over 60 islands! but only 3 are inhabited.

So what’s the lowdown on visiting Singapore? What should you do? Where do you eat?

We hear your questions and have a list for you, keep scrolling…

What to see:

  1. Changi airportbest airport in the world for 8 years in a row, it’s very rare that an aiport makes a must see list, but Changi deserves its accolades!
  2. Marina Bay Sands – is a hotel and the main attraction is its pool. If you are just looking for a nice hotel, there are other Singapore hotels that offer better value. If swimming in the pool is on your bucket list, then it is worth every penny!
  3. Garden by the bay – is an iconic attraction, it houses a range of attractions. It’s a must-do when in Singapore
  4. Sentosa Island –  is an island resort off Singapore’s southern coast, connected to the city by road, cable car, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a day of exploration, a world of adventure awaits you at Sentosa. (Trippin’ Tip: Keep an eye on bus times)
  5. Universal Studios – a theme park located within Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, Singapore. It features 28 rides, shows, and attractions in seven themed zones
  6. Little India – to explore delicious cuisine, visit a temple and do a bit of shopping too
  7. Amazing architecture – so much to see on every corner. Get the Hop on, Hop off bus to make your way around quickly.
  8. Orchard Road – to shop, to eat, to see, to people watch

Keep up with us on @trippinwithsj x

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GET ME TO BALI RIGHT NOW!!

What’s the current situation like in Bali?

Bali has a small population of around 4.2million and as of 12th April there were around 42,000 cases of COVID reported and a recovery rate of 93%, however this could be due to asymptomatic. Cases and a low testing rate

So in essence it is potentially safe for you to travel to Bali as long as proper hygiene and social distancing measures are being adhered to in line with guidance from WHO!

Can I travel into Bali right now?

Travel into Bali has been restricted for international tourists since March 2020 and visas on arrival have been halted for many, with exceptions made for those listed below:

• Indonesian citizens (WNI) from abroad

• Holders of valid Visa or Residence Permits

• Holders of Official Visa, Diplomatic Visa, Visit Visa, Temporary Stay Visa, Official Residence Permit, Diplomatic Residence Permit, Temporary Stay Permit (ITAS) and Permanent Stay Permit (ITAP)

• Transport crew members

• Medical, food, and humanitarian aid workers

• Holders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Business Travel Card (ABTC)

• Holders of Traditional Border Crossing card

Howeverrr! It’s not ideal, but if you’re desperate to travel, international travellers wishing to make the trip can do so by applying for a B-211 visa. It’s NOT a tourist visa and requires you to be there in an industrial or business-related capacity. It usually requires sponsorship from a company, but some visa agents can arrange this for you.

The visa is valid for 6 months and can be extended up to 4 times (with each extension allowing a maximum of 30 days before renewal is required).

I’m planning to travel during the “pandemonium”, what do I do?

Bali relies heavily on tourism and their local economy has been hugely impacted by the pandemic.

• First things first – Get a negative PCR-based swab test issued within 2 days prior to departure via land or sea. You can check out http://www.gov.uk for guidance on your local test centres if you’re from the UK and remember NHS tests are no longer valid for use when travelling so it’ll have to be done privately. Some airlines are offering discounts when you book with their affiliated companies. Sorry friends.

• Next up, you’ve got to fill out an electronic-Health Alert Card (e-HAC)

• You’ve got to have your test certificate to hand and this has to be renewed every 14 days.

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When will I be allowed to travel into Bali?

Tourism into Bali was initially slated to return in March 2022, with trial runs (whereby, travellers from countries where the infection rate was low, would be allowed to form travel corridors with Indonesia, but only allowed to visit Ubud, Sanur and Nusa Dua) being held in the Summer of 2021, but a recent video release by the Indonesian president said that Bali could begin reopening to tourists from as early as June 2021 if conditions remain favourable.

 Is anything even open in Bali?

Most popular destinations are still closed off to the public and tourists such as:

Lovina Beach

Besakih Temple

Wisnu Kencana

Some beaches in Bali and Kuta have reopened to residents and domestic tourists, but strict new normal measures are being enforced which means only a limited amount of people at one time will be permitted entry L

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Baraka Natural Aquarium

Baraka Natural Aquarium is located in the northern part of Nungwi. As with everything these days, I originally saw it on the gram and was very pleased that it matched up to my expectations 😻😻.WE LOVE TO SEE IT 🗣⁣

Baraka is a turtle rehabilitation centre run by local people; the turtles here have been rescued from fishermen capture. They are then nursed back to full health before being released back into the wild. You can wade through the shallow water in the low tide, and swim with fish and other small marine animals.

Price: $10 to get in and the seaweed needed to coax the turtles closer is provided. If you would like to snorkel, you can hire gear in destination.

Here are some tips for making the most of your time:

  • No prebooking – just arrive turn up and you will be directed to the location.
  • Arrive early just as they open to get a shot without other people – I say early rather than later because the sunlight hitting the water is something special.
  • The turtles are just trying to eat, so you can very easily bribe them with the seaweed provided 😂⁣
  • Seaweed is salty; so bring a towel and water to wash your eyes out. (I learnt the hard way 😂)
  • There are showers on site – so you can bring a change of clothes
  • It’s by no means a whole day activity.
  • The turtles will bite! Once they know you have the seaweed they’ll swarm.
  • The turtles have a rubbery texture and they don’t seem to mind you stroking them (follow any instructions given by the guides).
  • Don’t put on too much sunscreen if you plan to go into the water, it will contaminate the water and we don’t want that for the turtles.

Photo op tips:

  • When you walk in, find the cove to your right and coax turtles with seaweed. It’s a good point for a photo with no one else in.
  • If you want a picture on the podium in the middle, you’ll need someone high up to capture it for you.
  • If you’re a confident swimmer, go further out and again use the seaweed to coax the turtles

Most importantly, have fun! It’s an amazing experience.

As always, keep up to date with us on @trippinwithsj // @sarahambitious x

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Tulum

An 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Cancun lies Tulum. I’d seen Tulum on the ‘gram and I would say it’s the ‘IT’ girl. Tulum has a rustic and chill vibe to it, but the time to turn up is still very much there.

Like most places there is a main ‘strip’ where all the action happens; in Tulum it’s also the Zona Hotelera. There are countless hotels, beach clubs and restaurants – not to forget the signs along the road that give you a dose of self love. I think Tulum is going for ‘eat, pray, love’ vibes and I’m not mad at it.

You get adequate doses of beach, food and views – one of the servers from a hotel on the strip told us their minimum spend was so high because you are getting the views. I appreciated the honesty, but it still didn’t justify spending so much for me.

Photo op on the beach

Where to stay:

  • Zona Hotelera
  • Centro
  • You don’t have to stay at a super expensive hotel, as everything is quite close to each other. Save your coin friends!
  • I stayed at the Mayan Monkey, as I am really glad I did. It’s a hostel with private rooms, they have a range of activities and its a great way to meet other travellers.

Getting around:

Regardless of how close your destination is in Tulum, you will pay $20 for the ride. So, getting around Tulum you will see people on bikes, quads, walking or driving – I’m a strong advocate for hiring a car as you have more freedom to do things. Something to note: parking on the main strip isn’t the easiest feat, so here are a few tips:

  • You may have to (or be better off parking) park further down and walking down.
  • You will have to pay for a parking spot each time you move, so find a central(ish) location to park and move from there.
  • The road to Zona Hotelera is small, there are many construction projects going on. So you can get caught up in some serious traffic as the day goes on.
  • Park by Coco Beach Tulum – it’s free parking!
  • The roads in Tulum are not the smoothest – so slow down.
Tulum sign (there’s a massage parlour right by this sign)
Beach views
Restaurant views

Places to visit:

  1. RAW LOVE – the open arm sculpture you are bound to have seen.
  2. Mia Restaurant – a chill vibe and a lovely photo op that makes you feel like you’re in Bali.
  3. IK LAB – an art gallery in the heart of Tulum (entry fee)
  4. The beach itself! – Go early to almost have it to yourself.
  5. Bagatelle – if you’d like something super boujie to do.
  6. La Eufemia – for a cheap and delicious eat on the strip. It’s a walk from the main sites
  7. Mistico – Restaurant and Shisha bar
  8. Chichen Itza – not exactly in Tulum, but close? enough.
  9. Tulum Ruins
  10. Countless cenotes, Tulum is located perfectly for exploration.
Tacos in central Tulum
Tacos from La Eufemia
Mia restaurant

There are supermarkets all around or if you are willing, you could go into the local community and buy some of their produce – an amazing way to give back! So whether you’re in an airbnb or hotel, you are covered.

I had amazing time in Tulum, and to think I was almost put off going! (Crazy)

Check our IG highlights to see some of these things live: @trippinwithsj // @sarahambitous

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Chichen Itza

We are avid World Wonder searchers, we’ve got a few under our belt – but still a fair few to go. So visiting Mexico, it was impossible to not visit the Chichen Itza. After reading so much about the Mayan civilisation, it was a dream come true to visit.

The Chichen Itza is a 2 hour drive from Tulum, and I highly recommend driving as opposed to getting on a tour with others. If you aim to get there for 9am, you’ll have the ruins to yourself for nearly and hour!

If you can go by yourself, DO NOT buy tickets online. They are inflated in price and it’s straightforward enough to do it yourself.

Price for the Chichen Itza on arrival

You have to pay 2 charges; one goes to the local government, the other is the actual admission fee. It comes up to roughly only £20!

Whilst it’s a good to save some money – I do recommend hiring a guide. There are many at the gate of the park and they wear an ID card so you can guarantee they’re official. If/when I do go back I will take the walk around alone and go at my own pace.

Remember to take a water bottle, hat and a waterproof jacket – it’s a lot of walking and there is no shade.

The most popular part of the Chichen Itza is no doubt El Castillo (pictured below)

However the Chichen Itza is much more than El Castillo. There is a cenote (you can’t swim in it), legend and science have it that it was used for disposing of human sacrifices.

Over the years human bones have been found inside. Another fun fact is that visitors were allowed to climb up the steps of the pyramid until a few years ago. It became forbidden after a woman fell to her death (!)

If you are not tired after a long day of exploring the park, I would recommend a stop in Valladolid. It’s a 45 minute drive from the ruins. It’s a quaint and colourful town; there are local jewelleries available to buy and an opportunity to try local food.

Every type of souvenir you could think of is also sold inside the park. Keychains, sculptures, bottle openers etc. As with everything – haggle, haggle, haggle.

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Cenotes

Cenotes are natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of the limestone bedrock. The term cenote is used in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico where cenotes were commonly used for water supplies by the ancient Maya, and occasionally for sacrificial offerings.

During my time in Tulum I was able to visit Gran Cenote:

  • Price: 300MXN/£11
  • Location: 15 minutes give or take drive from central Tulum or a 20 min cycle (perfect day trip from Tulum)
  • Remember: Bring your own towels
  • Pros: Location, TURTLES, good for unconfident swimmers 
  • Cons: Quite pricey as far as cenotes go

Cenotes are regarded as special waters, so you must act accordingly when you visit them. On arrival at Gran Cenote your temperature is checked and you pay the entry fee. You walk towards the cenote and there is a shower, so don’t bother with creams or sunscreen – washing yourself from head to toe is meant to protect the water pH balance.

If you would like to snorkel you can also hire snorkelling gear and lifejackets – the guarantee is a piece of ID and you’ll get it back on return of the equipment.

Cenotes get quote busy so I’d advise going as soon as they open or right before they close. The timings on Google are quite accurate. Gran Cenote opening hours: 8 am to 4.45 pm (the final entry is at 4.15 pm)

Some other cennotes I wasn’t able to visit but definitely would are:

  • Dos Ojos Cenote
  • Cenote Nicte-Ha
  • Gran Cenote
  • Carwash Cenote
  • Suytun 

For more information about cenotes in Mexico, visit: https://cenotesmexico.org