Having represented Singapore in four South-east Asian (SEA) Games, national swim star Russell Ong has since retired and is now pursuing a career in entertainment. He is currently filming his first prime time drama as a second lead. We talk to Russell about his travels as a competitive swimmer, and ask him to share his favourite spots in Japan, a country he visits a few times a year.
What kind of traveller are you?
I am quite a laid back traveller, but at the same time I try to accomplish the things I set out to do.
What are some of your must do's when you travel?
I love finding out more about local culture when I travel, and try to spend some time with locals or friends who live there.
What are some of your most memorable travel trips from swim competitions?
We had a competition in Hawaii in 2005 - what a beautiful place. Other than the location, its always a good time when you travel with good friends!
As an athlete, are there trips you have taken specially to do ‘adventurous’ activities? If yes, what & where?
Bungee jumped in New Zealand, 2005.
Can you describe what a typical travel trip is like when you’re overseas for competitions?
Travelling for competitions isn’t at all glamorous – we are often rushing from the hotel to the pool. We would get up at 6am for breakfast and try to reach the pool by 7am as races usually start at 9am. Then it's back on the bus for lunch and to rest up for the finals at 6pm (which means we have to be back at the pool by 4pm).
What is your favourite destination to date and why?
Japan! They have a rich culture, people are polite and the food is fantastic.
Can you tell us where to eat, drink, party there?
You can’t go wrong at any of the eateries at Tsukiji fish market if you’re looking for fresh seafood. The bar at the top of Hyatt hotel is amazing and has one of the best views of Tokyo – perfect for a drink. Feria is a great club, very international but bottle service is quite expensive.
What are your travel essentials?
I need my camera. I love capturing moments in time.
Can you share with us some photos of the places you've been to?
Sure! These are some pictures that I took in Japan.
What’s the most memorable vacation which you’ve had? Any travel stories to share with us?
I spent about 2 months living with 30 Japanese swimmers (it was a university team). None of them could speak any English but amazingly we got along fantastically. They were great hosts and took care of me very well. I try to repay the favour when they visit Singapore for training camps.
Places to stay in Tokyo and Honolulu
This charming apartment is centrally located, with easy access to the Tokyo Metro, Tokyo Bus, and JR Line.
Enjoy the cooling sea breeze in this apartment found along the famed Waikiki Beach.