A long weekend in Singapore

singapore-296100Because of my visa issues in Indonesia, I needed to leave the country in January. Ildi, the another Hungarian intern and me decided to travel together, and we agreed in going to Singapore, which is the closest country to Jakarta, and the plane ticket was pretty cheap. Actually, the country itself is much more expensive than Indonesia, but we didn’t take it into consideration.

We started planning our stay in advance and we found a host as well on Couch Surfing for 2 nights – an originally Malay young couple with a cute baby boy. However, they couldn’t host us in the first night, so we went to a hostel for that night. We stayed at Maple Lodge, at Chinatown, which was the best choice ever. It was the cheapest hostel on Booking, but with the best views. And, it was in Chinatown, very close to the metro and most sights. It was only SGD20, but it was clean, they had comfortable beds and air condition as well.

After we dropped off our stuffs, we decided to look for something to eat. Although our flight was 2 hours long, we needed to find the best way to go to the city. We wanted to buy our metro ticket in the airport with credit card, but the machine wasn’t working with that, so we needed to change money and buy ticket with that. The line was very long, so we stayed at the airport for hours – wow, worse than in New York! So yeah, we landed at 2, but by the time we arrived to our hostel it was 6 o’clock already. We wanted to explore Chinatown on that evening and eat something good – we found a nice market with sooo many restaurants, that we decided to buy some soup for SGD5.img_7028 I found it pretty cheap, so I though the portion won’t be enough, so I bought some meat stuffed dough with my soup – well, it was a shame, as the soup was too much for me. You know, I can eat a lot, and seriously a lot, but at that time… the soup won. I regretted when I told Ildi not to order 1 soup, because I was able to eat a whole one. Well, it seemed I wasn’t right, and 1 bowl would have been enough. Maybe next time!

As our host stayed a little bit far from the city, we decided to start our journey in the city. We went to the Singapore River to take a river cruise (during the cruise they talked about the culture and history of Singapore, it was pretty interesting!), see the Merlion and the evening show of the Marina Bay Sands. I don’t need to say that it was pretty cool!

The next day started horribly with hard rain. Therefore, the plan of going to the Gardends by the Bay was postponed – we heard it’s not that beautiful to see in the rain, so we didn’t want to go there to pay a fortune for the admission. We stayed in the hostel and waited till the rain stops – with no success. Therefore we decided to leave and visit the temples nearby our hostel: the Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple and the the Buddhist Buddha Tooth Temple.

We had a very nice meal in the Chinatown again before heading to the Fort Canning Park – which we didn’t really reach, because of the heavy rain. But at least we walked for a while! We went back to our hostel to pack and leave to our host, who lived pretty far from the city center. They welcomed us, we talked for a bit and we went to a steamboat restaurant, which I considered as a holy place 😀 At steamboat meals, where many people eat from a bowl of soup is like you have a soup boiling, and you can put there anything you want – we put there seafood, like shrimp, squid, clam, etc. It’s not a cheap meal at all, our host mentioned something around SGD50, but actually we were invited by them. In return, we paid for the Uber back, to their house.

The following day wasn’t sunny again, so Gardens by the Bay was skipped again for a while. Instead of that we went to the Chinese and Japanese Garden. Hell, that’s very big! We walked off our legs! 😀 But it’s a very beautiful park, it’s worth to see – but plan at least half a day there.

Our next destination was Little India, where above a few colorful buildings and restaurants we didn’t find anything special. As it was lunchtime, we went into a restaurant to eat, but actually we figured out that the Indian food in Singapore is not cheap at all. Or maybe the Chinese food is too cheap, who knows! From there, the Arab quarter wasn’t that far by walk, though our feet hurt like hell. Anyway, we were motivated, we wanted to drink some Arabian tea! Unfortunately we didn’t find any tea shops, but very cool restaurants. I was a little bit sad, because after the Indian food I wasn’t that hungry, but I would have been pretty interested to try some Moroccan foods. As we really wanted to sit down, we ended up going to a Western café. The weather became nice, but we didn’t feel going to the Garden by the Bay, but we went home instead. We didn’t have much problem with sleeping after having dinner! 😀

On our last day we decided to go to the Singapore Zoo, and after we wanted to go to the Garden by the Bay (haha, you can think about the result). I read that the Singapore Zoo is one of the most beautiful zoos in Asia – well, I don’t want to imagine other Asian zoos then. I was pretty disappointed. There were many renovations or I don’t know what, but many animals weren’t exhibited. They had many animals, I agree, and the zoo itself if very big, but somehow I didn’t really like it. I wish we went to the Garden by the Bay instead!

I had no idea why, but I couldn’t really stand on my feet because of the pains, so I didn’t want to go to the city at all to see the Garden by the Bay. With Ildi we agree on visiting a temple nearby my hosts’ house, the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery. The temples weren’t opened, but we could walk around them an make beautiful pictures.

In the evening Ildi was so tired that she fell asleep. Our hosts invited us to a Chinese New Year celebration to the Bishan Park, which was behind them. There were some shows and fireworks, but unfortunately it was almost finished, so we didn’t stay out for too late.

Next morning we had much challenge with arriving to the airport. We realized that the transportation starts pretty late in Singapore, so we couldn’t go by metro from the place where we stayed. We were suggested to use Uber, but eventually we found an opportunity to walk for 20 minutes to catch a metro, then change to a bus. Fortunately it worked! 🙂

So, in a nutshell:

MUST DOs:

  • visit Chinatown, eat there, stay there (our hostel was Maple Lodge)
  • walk in the Financial District and see the Merlion
  • watch the Marina Sands Bay light show, on Friday and Saturday it’s at 8PM, 9:30PM and 11PM, on other days only at 8PM and 9:30PM
  • visit the Chinese and Japanese Garden – free admission
  • once you’re in Changi Airport, visit the gardens! All the terminals have some speciality: the 1st one has a very beautiful cactus garden, the 2nd terminal has a very nice orchid garden, and the 3rd one is famous about its beautiful waterfall and butterfly park inside the terminal.

AVOID:

  • Going out during night, unless you want to use taxi or Uber. There is no public transportation.
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3 thoughts on “A long weekend in Singapore

  1. Sounds like you walked all day!
    Another tip: Uber has a car sharing option, uber pool which is cheaper. If the MRT or Bus is a bit too far to walk, a taxi doesn’t cost too much to go short distances and get an uber or taxi to the train station or home. I do this a lot.
    If you’re in Southeast Asia, another option to Uber is Grab. It can be slightly cheaper as well.

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment, Alaine! Actually I knew about Uber and GrabCar (they were pretty popular in Jakarta too), but during my travels I don’t like using public transportation – it’s always better to walk, you never know when you can take a very good picture 😉

      Like

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