A day in Singapore (on a budget)

After about 10 months exploring down under it is time to go up again. Not too far up though, just a little more than 6000 kms, up to Asia!

From Little India to SuperTrees
Thursday the 20th of October we flew from Sydney to Singapore. Finally, cheap beer! O wait.. not really. The alcohol prices in Singapore are equal or even more expensive than Australia, turned out Singapore is like the 6th most expensive country for beer in the entire world! The night we arrived we just took it easy – bought 2 cans of beers in the supermarket – and enjoyed the warm weather; it was still about 30 degrees at 10 pm!

The next morning I woke up early (little jet lack I think) and googled what we could do in Singapore. We only had 1 day since we were going to Malaysia the next day. We booked our train tickets and off we went, exploring the city/country. It’s so small I don’t even know what it is! 😉
We walked to Little India and it felt good to be back in Asia! Not the smell in most of the streets though, but the chaos, the liveliness, the markets, the colour and of course the food! I always wonder how they manage to have a shop with so much little stuff (like flower chains or the touristic merchandise stuff) and still make a living out of it.

We started to get hungry, so we looked at places where lots of locals were. That are always the places where you can get the best food. And we did! We got a big bamboo leave with rice, chicken some veggies and lots of sauces. And the best part is, you can just eat with your hands!

After lunch we got a public transportation card at the 7/11 and took the metro to the Gardens of the Bay where they have the famous SuperTrees. Pretty impressive, but also kind of weird. Giant fake trees. Why?! It’s too touristy for me, and too expensive for my taste. S$8 to do the skywalk in between the SuperTrees and S$20 to go up to the rooftop bar in one of those trees. Although you would get a drink and probably the drinks are about the same price as the entrance. We didn’t get up there, since we already planned to go to another rooftop bar later that day. We walked further around the park and ended up in the Children’s Playground, where you can cool off in a nice rain of fountains. Walking back to the metro, a few little otters surprised us beside the road and we watched them play and swim in the river. What a cute little animals!

Lau Pa Sat Satay street, way too overrated
I read about a nice place to have dinner, a must do it was. Every night Boon Tat Street is transformed into a giant outside food market next to Lau Pa Sat Festival Market. Sounds good! We took a sit and got the menu from the little satay stalls. ‘Only’ S$40 for a bunch of satays for 2 persons and a little rice cake. No veggies or rice included. Going to the little stalls itself, they try to sell it to you for more than a dollar per satay and you have to take at least 10. We saw the satays brought to our neighbour tables and we decided to skip the satay party and have a nice meal inside the Festival Market. There on the other hand you have the choice of all different kind of food: Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese.. you name it, it’s there. And with prices between S$7-15 a meal. Since Thai food almost never disappoints, we had a green curry and a beef soup. Yum!Rooftop luxury
After a cheap(ish) dinner, it was time for some luxury! If you save some, you can spend some 🙂 Up to the rooftop bar of the Fullerton Hotel. We took the elevator and we ended up in a 5-star rooftop restaurant where everyone was wearing fancy dresses and suits. On my thongs, in my casual summer dress and with no make up or whatsoever, I felt a bit out of place in the luxurious surroundings of the hotel. But well, we’re here now so let’s just ask where the bar is. Luckily it was there, just through another door, even a level higher. Still fancy, but a lot more laid back than the restaurant. We sat down and the waiter handed us the menu. As expected: the cheapest wine/beer was S$19,-. After a bit of a mental inner discussion, we decided to enjoy the moment and stay here for a bit so we could see the water show on the other side of the bay. The buildings across the bay were turning all different colours what gave a magnificent view. Totally worth it! On the way back we enjoyed all the lighted buildings and sculptures and walked back to the hostel. A day well spent!

Crossing borders – twice!
Our train was at 10am, so we woke up early to be in the train station at least an hour before. We left the hostel a little after 7 and walked up to the bus station. Three busses with no. 20 came in, but changed numbers leaving the bus station… hmm, ok. Guess we’ll just buy tickets for the express bus and not use our credit on the public transport busses. A local lady let me go in front of her in the line, really nice! Around 8 we were finally in the bus. Around 9 I got a bit anxious.. we still need to cross the bridge and the traffic is jammed! A lot of people left the bus already to continue on foot. So that’s what we did too. We still got 45 minutes for 2,5km., peace of cake. Or not.. No one told us is that traveling from Singapore to Malaysia includes two(!) border controls! One before the bridge in Singapore and one after arriving in Malaysia. And both about 20-30 minutes of queueing. Maybe that’s why we were the only travellers there. And since we still thought we would be on time for the train crossing the bridge, we kept the pace high. Romain even with my bag as well, since I was slowing us down apparently ;). In line for the passport control in Malaysia we coincidentally stood next to the lady that let me in front of her at the first bus stop, so we gave her our public transport passes with the little credit that was still on it. It’s so nice to see how happy people can be with such a little gesture! By that point we knew we weren’t getting that train anymore, so 20 minutes later we bought new tickets. For the bus this time. A bit more expensive, but in the end we arrived even earlier in Kuala Lumpur than we would have if we caught the train!
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