We arrived in Singapore at around 9.30pm, we had already booked a hostel but the challenge was finding it as soon as we left the airport the heat hit us, it was so stifling, I hadn't been in heat like this before, it felt hard to breathe, I think it was partly because I was dehydrated from the plane journey but I tried to drink so much water, it just wasn't enough. The girls spoke to the information desk and worked out the route, we got on the MRT which is their version of the tube and had about a 15 minute walk the other end but when you're carrying 13kg of your life on your back, it feels a hell of alot longer! We had a recommendation from someone we met in Fiji about what kind of accommodation to stay in in Singapore, she said we definitely have to stay in Pods so we choose The Matchbox concept hostel, we didn't know what to expect but they were great, they managed to cram 10 girls into this room that in any other hostel you would only get a maximum of 4 people. The pods were two storey high with little ladders on the front, I'll upload a photo on here so you can see. We were exhausted and crashed out instantly.
The next day we got a map and started to explore, we found a food court called Maxwell's and this was my first experience of Singapore life. There were about 80 different food stalls, all offering a huge variety, the smells were quite over powering, something I'll have to get used to throughout the rest of our travels. It was pretty difficult to choose my breakfast, not only because I didn't want noodles or curry for breakfast but because I could see dead hanging ducks and chickens out of every corner - vom-tastic. It was pretty hard to find anything vegetarian so I opted for rice, bean sprouts and a fried egg, the healthy way to start your day?? Our cleaner in the hostel told us about a huge market called Bugis and said we must go so once we were finished eating we walked around with a big map looking at all the markets, buildings and temples as we made our way there. I don't want to make a generalisation but we've been told the Singaporean people don't really like white people much and they tend to keep their distance from us apparently. They've got funny rules here too like spitting out gum is illegal so nowhere seals it, you can't smoke within 5 metres of a building, you can't cross a road unless the lights are red and the green man is flashing otherwise you get fined for j-walking and you can't eat or drink on the MRT. Odd odd odd but I guess these rules are what makes Singapore different, understandable why people say it's like a hospital town because everything's so clean. We found the big Raffles shopping centre so popped in to see what it was like, turned out we came in at the right time because it absolutely chucked it down, we were warned that during the rainy session (which it is), that it has extremely heavy downpours at the same sort of time each day. I took a video of it because I couldn't believe how quickly it happened, tree twigs and leaves were blowing into the centre, menus were flying off restaurant tables and posters falling off walls. It was very surreal. Once it had passed enough for us to be able to walk in it again we carried on our way to Bugis. It was a huge 3 floored market with clothes, accessories, electricals and the most amazing food and juices that were so cheap, juices were only S$1 which is 50p, such a difference to the Australian $7 juices which is £5. After we managed to exhaust ourselves walking around we opted for the MRT option home. The girls had made plans to meet a guy called Mike that we met in Byron, he lives here and offered to take us out to give us some tips. We went to a couple of bars and then to a restaurant only to realise that everything on the menu had pork in it, the awkward moment when we had to leave because I don't eat meat, oww. Luckily there was a plan B, we went to a Korean BBQ restaurant where they sit you on round tables with a grill in the middle. Everyone ordered amazing food but all meat so I had a soy soup dish. Maybe I might loose the weight I put on in Australia, if the menu options carry on like this throughout Asia. We drank alot of Saki, which is rice wine and about 30% volume alcohol but you drink it in small glasses like shot glasses, my glass keep getting topped up so I didn't realise how much I drank and it definitely went to our heads. We went to another bar afterwards, which we then found out was also a good place to pick up prostitutes or 'drink girls' as they're called here. We peered out the back of the bar, there was girls crawling over the few men out there, there was one guy at the table next to us, he had 5-6 girls with him fighting for attention, us three was hypnotised by it, I've never seen anything like it before. Travelling definitely does broaden the mind. We were all shattered after that so went back to our pods to pass out.
The next day I didn't feel very well, didn't know if it was jet leg, dehydrated or a bad mix of Saki and Asian food but I stayed in the hostel for the morning, finished off two blogs, watched some of The Wire and got ready slowly. I made my way to meet the girls in another part of town, I quite enjoyed walking around by myself, I went a different route then before so it was fun to discover new places and going on the MRT alone, although I did notice people looking at me more, people warned me that I would get a few funny looks from the locals because I'm tall, and I definitely do. That's only going to get worse so I've got to get used to it. I met the girls back at the Bugus market, we wondered for a couple of hours before heading back to our part of town to grab dinner at Maxwells food court, I again struggled to find something to eat. I found a savoury meal called Carrot Cake, which consists of bean curd, egg and soy sauce, after eating a couples of mouthfuls I chewed a bit with funny texture and convinced myself it was some kind of meat, I was instantly put off. We had planned to go to the night safari that evening but as soon as we laid down on our beds we couldn't be bothered to move and thought we deserved a night off.
The next morning was a bit of a slow morning, sadly I had to take my braid out, it was pulling and making my head sore but it was nice to wash my hair afterwards! We didn't leave the hostel until midday but needed to eat before we started exploring. I treated myself to a Starbucks because I needed a wake up coffee and figured I wouldn't get a half decent coffee in the next countries were going to so I'm sure that's justified right?? We went to another food court which is meant to be popular with the business folk in the CBD (central business district), called La Pau Sat, I was already pretty warm from the overpowering humidity and the hot coffee in me belly but we wondered around the stuffy food court, trying to adjust our noses to each of the smells hitting us. I don't trust any stalls unless its states VEGETARIAN!!!! on the signs, Kate and Liv are definitely more adventurous in trying different things. Before we ordered we had to reserve our seats, it's so funny the way they reserve tables here, they put a packet of tissues or a credit card or work ID card on a seat before they buy their food, we found out the hard way yesterday after we had to walk around for ages with our trays looking but today we were a bit more prepared, I came armed with two packets of tissues for Kate and I and Liv used her baby chopsticks that we bought the day before (Kate and I need them as we can't quite manage it yet but Livs a pro at eating with them already). Ones we had secured our seats we split off to grab our grub, I got a mushroom and tofu dish that was really nice BUT I stupidly topped it with chilli soy sauce before I had even tried it so I was mopping my face from sweat after the first couple of mouthfuls, it was quite an experience eating throat scolding food in the dyer heat, I really can't explain what I looked like but I forbid the girls from taking photos.
One of tourist things to do in Singapore is to visit Orchard Road, it's the home to shopping malls. There is so many malls all in a row, they're uncountable. All the outside shops are like Prada, Mulberry, Paul Smith, Abercrombie blah blah and then you get the average English high street stores too like Topshop, H&M, Dotty P's etc. We spent hours shopping but limited ourselves on a couple of cheap purchases each. Once we got to the end of the mall strip we got the map back out and Liv directed us to Little India which is another tourist attraction here. We also thought it would be good for us to get a little insist into what to expect in India, we stopped off at their food court and tried little pancakes called Prata's, banana and chocolate flavour probably isn't their deliciousy but sure did taste good. We went on a little wonder around the market and I found a little side bag with an elephant on it, it reminded me of my mum because shes always liked elephants so I couldn't resist buying it. We were all tempted by the little bindis but Liv wasn't impressed when we tried to buy a pack and the lady bumped up the price - she thinks it's because we're white so she turned her nose up at it and walked away. After we failed to attend the night safari the day before we had to go today, we missed the shuttle bus from town so had to make our own way there, we had to get 2 MRT's and a public bus, quite impressed that we made it and it was cheaper then the safari shuttle bus, win win!! The safari starts of with a tram ride around the zoo, we were greeted by Leopards, Lions, Tigers, Elephants, Rhinos, Deer, Bats, Flying Squirrels, Otters, Giraffes and Zebras. They came so close to the tram too, I was told there was a gutter like space between us and the animals but this was only true for half of it, I was definitely the baby of the group and was basically sitting on Kate's lap for one part when we were so close to an Ox that we actually bumped it by accident, that was enough to terrify me. We were allowed to get off the tram on some parts and go on trail walks to get closer to the animals. Very cool and such a different experience going at nighttime. On the way home I had to remind the girls to stand on the opposite side of the escalators when getting off the MRT here as they were blocking the traffic, walking back to the hostel we automatically walk past Maxwells food court and we hadn't had a proper dinner tonight, just a snack so we went in for another mini dinner and had savoury Egg and Onion Prata's at an Indian stall, oh dear India is going to be difficult, we were depending on being sick loads to get us back to our original weight and lose the travel lard when were there. Everyone told us Singapore is all about the different foods and wow was they right, I mean I don't get to much selection but there is so many different types of food at these food courts.
The next day we had planned to go early to an island called Pulau Ubin which is just off the coast of Singapore city, it is an untouched island for 30 years so you can visit it and get a real feel of how they used to live. When I say early.. I mean we got out for breakfast at 11am at Maxwells, luckily just before we finished eating Kate reminded us that we hadn't booked extra days at our hostel and we had to check out at 12pm. Oh Sh*t! We went back and the hostel is fully booked (I knew this feeling from Melbourne), we jokily asked if we could stay on the beanbags and he started to process a booking, he said "We'll put you upstairs for $10 a night, here's a locker key", he wasn't joking.. We were now staying in the television room on beanbags. Oh Jesus. Anyway we needed to get out and make our way to the ferry port so we packed up, moved our stuff to a cupboard with a curtain for a door and got on the road. After two MRT rides and a public bus (accompanied by many locals staring), we got to the ferry port at Changi Village and jumped on the boat over to Ubin. It took just under 2 hours but it felt like we was in Fiji again so it was worth it! One of the main things the Island has to offer is the mountain cycling trails, they have lots of stalls all hiring out bikes, all at the same price, all fighting for business. One guy said 'Special tall bike for you', he made me laugh so I said we'll come back to him once we've eaten. We had a wonder round the little village, trying to find suitable food that did something veggie aswell as seafood, apparently the Island was known for good seafood too. I ended up eating sweet chilli beancurd, beancurd AGAIN. The girls ordered special fried rice and it was definitely special, it had little battered fishes in it but they were literally tiny, the size of a hair slide, eww, don't know how they ate that! We got our bikes and a little map of the trails, there was two different levels of difficulty, blue was average and black was hard, seen as you needed shin and elbow pads for the black ones we figured best to stay to the blue, wearing a helmet was enough in this heat. We're glad we did too, we're not used to proper exercise anymore, I mean we do about 5 hours walking a day but that's not strenuous. Once we had finished we had to head back to Singapore main land as we were going out that night. Maxwells for dinner again, another round of tofu carrot cake and prata's, definitely didn't need both but I was greedy and it's so cheap. We couldn't be bothered to get ready to go out yet because of our food coma so we watched 'How to loose a guy in 10 days' in the lounge room. After a slow getting ready turns out it bite us in the butt because the club we were going to couldn't let us in because their guest list was full, boo. So we just came home and fell asleep, we've lost our going out pulse at the moment . The next day I wasn't really feeling it so I stayed home while the girls went out sight seeing, that evening we went to the tallest al fresco bar in the world, it was pretty amazing, the views went on for miles and we even questioned if we could see Malaysia from there. It was $30 entry and it included your first drink so we indulged in an infamous Singapore Sling, they were lovely but no way could we afford another one so after we took enough photos and gapped at the view, we headed to Clark Quay which is the party central of Singapore, it seemed like half the party was pre drinking on the bridge, there was so many people around, just socialising and hanging out so we bought some drink and joined them, before we knew it, it was to late to go to a club so we did a walk around of the bars and hopped in a cab home. When we got back, I finally got to FaceTime the beautiful Ms Katy Dooley, which I have been waiting to do since forever. The time difference has made it so hard for us to talk but we managed to speak at last, it really picked up my spirits and I got to say a quick hello to a few of the other girls too. Perfect end to my last night in Singapore.
The next day and 4 hours sleep later, we had to check out of our room and find our way to the bus stop for our 6 hour bus ride to Kuala Lumpa. Singapore was our first taste to Asia, we loved it and luckily we've got a lot more to come.