This blog starts as most of the others have.... with ANOTHER very early start- why do we keep doing this to ourselves? (In fact, the answer is simple; it's cheapest to fly at this time of day!).
So after leaving our guest house in Kuta at 3.30am and walking to the main street and hailing a taxi, a simple check in at the airport and an uncomplicated flight, we landed in Singapore at about 8.30am. Singapore is probably the most expensive place we have been to yet, so we decided to make our own way to our hostel instead of paying the money for a taxi. In fact, this proved really simple! Singapore has an extensive transport network, the main part of which is the MRT. Think London Underground but clean, comfortable, with air con and running on time, oh and a LOT cheaper!!! So within an hour of landing, we had our bags, had navigated the MRT and had arrived at our hostel. We weren't actually able to check in to our room until the afternoon so we left our bags with the hostel and decided to head into Singapore to have a look around. Back on the MRT we got and within about 10 minutes we were in a shopping mall.... not our fault, that's where the MRT stops! We were actually on our way to the Tourist Information centre, which we eventually found. The tourist information was very helpful and pointed us in the direction of Raffles and also gave us information on where to go to try and book our onward bus to Kuala Lumpur.
Next stop was Raffles. We had a good walk around the beautiful, white, colonial style building which still feels very British and exactly as we'd expected. I (Hannah) had picked up a cold on our last day in Bali and we were both pretty exhausted so we decided that a Singapore Sling probably wasn't the best way forward so we decided to enquire about afternoon tea for the following day. Unfortunately for us, it was already fully booked :( booooooooo. To cheer ourselves up after this bad news, we did what we know best- some shopping! I introduced Louise to a shop that I loved (and spent a lot of money in) when in Australia and she was equally enamoured! Armed with our new purchase, we continued our walking/ MRT tour of Singapore and went to the Golden Mile. This area is predominantly Thai influenced with shops, restaurants and a food hall. It also houses the majority of the tour and bus operators. After a bit of research, we booked out bus for the following night to Kuala Lumpur- again promised a "luxury VIP" bus- we'll see what happens! We headed back to the hostel, checked in, had a bit of a rest and headed back to the centre of Singapore for some dinner and to see the light& water show at Marina Bay Sands. We arrived at Marina Bay and were suitably impressed. Night had now fallen and the city was fully lit up. Marina Bay is a waterfront area in Singapore which has a museum, beautiful buildings, a shopping mall and entertainment area, with its main feature being the Marina Bay Sands hotel- an enormous hotel with a full on boat on top. Yes, that's right, a boat on top of a hotel! It's amazing during the day but at night, it's lit up and dazzles, along with the skyline of the skyscrapers of Singapore reflecting on the water. We really can't do it justice in this blog, you need to see it! They have a water and light show twice a day in the evening and we had planned to stay to watch the show at 9pm. Unfortunately by now, I was feeling absolutely terrible and there was only one thing for it, bed :( Gutted that we couldn't do much on our only full night in Singapore but a good excuse to come back another time!!!
We woke up the next morning, refreshed after a good night's sleep and ready for a day of exploring Singapore. We decided that the best way to do this was to hop on an open top bus tour. Great decision! We saw so much more of Singapore than we would've done had we walked everywhere. It's a great way to see a city if you are time limited. The first stop was the Singapore Flyer which is a giant version of the London Eye, we didn't go up it but it's pretty impressive just to look at! We went through Chinatown, passed Clarke Quay and the first stop that we decided to get off at was Orchard Road which is a major shopping destination with everything from designer shops such as Gucci and Prada to department stores and high street shops. The Christmas decorations were AMAZING and got us feeling a little bit festive as it's the first place on our travels where there has been any festive feeling and certainly the first place with full on decorations and Christmas songs playing! After a little while browsing the shops and lunch at Hard Rock Cafe (traditional Singapore eatery!) it started to rain and when it rains in Singapore, it RAINS! So, we navigated our way back along Orchard Road via shopping malls (including the designer ones, with us clad in denim shorts, flip flops and t-shirts!) and the occasional run through the rain and hopped back on the bus. Our journey then continued through Little India and eventually we jumped off the bus at Raffles. We decided to have a cup of tea in the bakery at Raffles- the most expensive cup of tea we are ever likely to have- $10 each!!!!! So after making our tea last as long as possible, we headed back to Suntec Mall to get the MRT back to our hostel to pick up our bags. In the Suntec Mall, there is a Fountain of Wealth which is the world's largest fountain! You are able to walk the centre of the fountain and follow a ritual which involves walking around the fountain three times with your hand touching the water whilst you make a wish. After making our wishes, we headed back to the MRT to go to our hostel and pick up our bags. Just as we were leaving the mall, we were distracted by a sign that said "Garlic and Wine Restaurant"- intrigued, we decided to try and find it. When we did, we were not disappointed, it was called Garlic Mad and literally every dish involved garlic- even the puddings!! After devouring possibly 2 of the best meals we'd had on this trip, we headed back to the hostel and picked up our bags. We then negotiated the MRT, a bus and the streets of Singapore with 15kg backpacks and arrived at the bus terminal at 11pm ready for our 11.30pm VIP bus journey to Kuala Lumpur.
Singapore definitely didn't disappoint, although expensive, it's an amazing city. Very clean, very easy to navigate, very friendly and even has self flushing toilets!! What more could you want?! Oh, it also has AMAZING shopping at the fraction of the cost of home. It's a very multicultural city, with 90% of the population speaking English. The skyline, especially at night, is so impressive that you can't help but walk around with your neck craned and looking upwards. It's somewhere we'd both like to come back to and somewhere I want to live eventually (sorry Mum, you can come and visit though!).