17.01.2017 - 23.01.2017 35 °C
We arrived in Singapore in the afternoon with time to kill until we would be able to check in to our hostel and so we decided to get there using public transport. We planned to stay in Singapore for a week and so the best option we found was to get the Singapore tourist pass. This pass allowed us to use the metro, trains and buses for three full days for only 30 Singapore dollars which is only about 17GBP. You also got 10 Singapore dollars back when you returned the card after it expired. FYI - The refund isn't mentioned anywhere accept online or in the small print of the T&C's. So all in all, you pay about 11GBP for three full days. We sure got our money's worth!
So anyway, we found our way to the hostel with two changes on the metro and no trouble. On first opinion, we would say that Singapore seemed like a very well kept, organised city. Random fact, it is illegal to have chewing gum in Singapore. If you are found with gum, you risk a hefty fine. Repeat offenders will be set to follow out work orders and in other circumstances even face jail time. Best to just not take any with you. It is surprising how much you want it when you know you can't though. 😜
When we got to the hostel, we still had an hour before we could check in and so decided to check out the local shops to get a feel for the prices of Singapore. They didn't seem to extreme in comparison to England prices, considering that Singapore is known to be the most expensive country in the world. However, our hostel was more on the outskirts of Singapore and so that may be why they seemed pretty average.
Once we checked in, Paul had a little cat nap because he was shattered and so I updated the blog and spoke to the mothers 😍. Our room in the hostel was interesting. We were in a 12 bed mixed dorm, which was fine, but the set up was pretty crazy. It was like a long corridor with a line of bunk beds on each side. The room smelt bad and about half of it was taken up by residents who had clearly been there for a long time. Most of them worked nights and slept in the room during the day. I had a crazy Malaysian woman next to me who was seriously, frightening at times. She would play a game on her phone and scream at the phone. She wore paper underwear which I got a good eyeful of every time she would jump up in a crazy rage and thump things with her fists. She also set her alarm each morning for 5:30am and would not wake up to it for about 15 minutes. Her snoring was loader than the alarm. The alarm was load enough to wake everybody else up though. The worst part was that she would finally turn the alarm off and go back to sleep. The bloody thing didn't even have a purpose. It's fair to say that we hated the hostel in Singapore. The showers also did not lock and you were not in there alone. Lizards and other bugs were very present. All this being said, is not to say that we did not like Singapore, because we really did.
After Paul's nap, we took the metro to visit the botanical gardens. It was super hot and the gardens were huge. There were all different sections of the gardens, spanning over 180 acres. We walked for ages through them. There was even a rain forest within the gardens where we saw some more of Pauls friends (the beloved monitor lizards).
After that, we felt super hungry and decided to go to China town to see what was on offer. We walked through the markets for a while and spotted one place which had queues out the door of about 40+ people. I went to see what it was for. The shop was called Lim Chee Guan and they prepared hand made 'Bak kwa' (sliced BBQ pork) which is a Chinese delicacy brought to Singapore from Fujian province in China centuries ago. It is traditional to eat Bak Kwa during the Chinese New Year. We had also seen it in Kuala Lumpur at China Town, but we couldn't be bothered to wait the long time in the queue and neither could we be bothered this time either. Maybe next week in Beijing which is where we happen to be for the Chinese New Year 😀 Anyway, we found another place which looked pretty busy and chose to eat there. It was a little awkward because we were seated on a small table with another couple. We ordered some noodles and corn on the cob and took to the chop sticks. It was the longest that either of us have ever taken to eat anything and I'm pretty sure that the couple we shared the table with, got a laugh out of it. We did get better with practice though. After dinner, I decided to surprise Paul and catch the metro which took us to the Gardens By The Bay. Paul was clueless and just went with it. He had wanted to go there for a long time. His face lit up when we walked out of the metro station. It was pretty dark and the gardens looked great all lit up. We walked through the gardens for a little while and got some pictures.
It was nice and had a very futuristic feel to it. The next morning, we decided to visit a near by spot (promenade metro station) to get some good day time pictures of the Marina Bay sands Hotel. We asked a random guy to show us where we could see the best views. He was really nice and helpful and walked us to the best spot. We have found that Malaysian people are generally very friendly.
The heat was crazy. It was actually nice to escape in to the metro stations to be honest because the air conditioning down there was super strong. We decided to visit Changi chapel and museum as I had seen it on a popular site, with some really good reviews. It was quite a distance to travel. We caught a few different metro's and a bus, then had to walk pretty far, but it was totally worth it's! The museum is dedicated to Singapore's history during the Second World War, which I wasn't very educated in previously. The museum wasn't very big, but we hired an audio guide and took our time walking around. It was so interesting. Obviously, it was also very sad. You get a real feel from the audio guide. We both really rated it.
After the museum, we visited an area of Singapore called Clark Quey but the weather got really bad and so we didn't stick around for too long. We decided to visit little India to grab a bite to eat. The weather didn't improve and so we just went to one of the first places we found. Well, it was vile. Take a look at the rice for a start. That is supposed to be egg fried rice. It actually tasted like mud. We barely touched it. I genuinely think that we would have been rather sick if we had dug in.
On the way back to our hostel, I had a little hair trim in a random hairdressers, just to try and fix some of the sun damage. I haven't used straighteners for a month now and my hair has gone a little wild 💇🏼
The next day, we some how managed to get up and go out. Our dorm room had been constant noise all night. Crazy paper pants next to me had been jumping up and down like she was on a trampoline. When she finally hit the hay, she snores like a champion. The night workers got back at around 4am and we had about 6 young German girls who went out partying. Not to forget the guy from Bristol who called his sister from Melbourne and did his best to share his life story with the entire room. He had missed his flight to Bali, he had also mentioned that he had got very stoned and didn't understand how he had managed to fall asleep and miss his flight! I do wonder.
Anyway, we had breakfast at the hostel. The cups had little clusters of bugs in them. Like tiny maggots. I didn't even have the energy to mention it. Paul sure did when he left the hostel review though. ☝🏼 we headed out to visit Sentosa island. It's basically an island full of fun and different shows and attractions. The main attraction being universal studios. There was also a Casino, a long sheltered beach, golf courses, 14 hotels, high end restaurants, an aquarium, the famous Merlion statue (this is known as the guardian of prosperity for Singapore) and many more. It was really cool to visit. There was loads of things to see and do.
After leaving Sentosa, it was still pretty early, so we decided to visit Raffles, as Paul's parents had visited Singapore a few years back and they recommended it. We walked around for quite a while and sat down for a while next to the Singapore river. We decided to go for some food and came across a place called Penny Black. It was a typical English looking place and so we both ordered some typical pub grub. Paul had steak and ale pie and I had bangers and mash. We didn't even feel a little bit bad for being so typical 😄 A random guy came over and started a conversation with us. We mentioned to him that we were planning to go to Raffles hotel and asked him about it. He told us a few bits and mentioned the Singapore Sling (a famous cocktail served around Singapore which was first made at the hotel). Once our food turned up, he left and two free Sling's turned up at our table. It turned out that he was the manager at the restaurant. Happy days. After that, we decided to give the hotel a miss for that day and carried our stuffed selves back to the hostel.
The next day, we didn't have our Singapore tourist passes as they had expired and so we decided to explore on foot. I had taken a look online for some temples near by to visit. I had noticed the Buddah Tooth Relic Temple was about a 90 minute walk away and so we set off on a little mission. The outside of the temple is old Chinese architecture. (The kind with the funky shaped roof tops on top of each other) Also known as Tang Dynasty architecture. You'll be able to see in the pictures what I mean.
I expected to see loads of buildings similar to this in Singapore, but this was the first I had actually seen. It was a lot more modern than I had expected Singapore to be. Anyway, the temple has five levels. It is also a museum. The first floor is the 100 dragons hall, where we watched monks taking part in a service next to a giant Maitreya Buddah statue. The surrounding walls were lined with a multitude of mini Buddah statues. The next two floors teach you all about Buddah and the Buddhism history and future. The fourth floor is home to the tooth relic itself. Honestly, it was a little underwhelming. However, this floor was very peaceful with different places for people to meditate. The fifth and final floor was a rooftop garden which is where you will find the worlds biggest prayer wheel. I wasn't going to go up to the wheel but a man waved me up there and so I thought it would be rude not to. In all, we spent a few hours in the temple. We both really enjoyed it and both learnt quite a bit. It was much more impressive and educational than previous temples we have visited.
For the next few days, it seemed to rain a lot! The weather took a complete turn.
On one of the nights, we brought a few bottles of Tiger. It seems to have been our beer of choice throughout Malaysia. It's super cheap and doesn't taste awful 👍🏼 we also took a look around a shopping mall near by, tried some wanton noodles (with improved chop stick skills), I had my hair coloured for no reason at all apparently as it came out, pretty much the exact same colour and took 4 hours and we packed our rucksacks ready to leave for Beijing.
Our last night in our hostel was like torture in our dorm. I think I got about three hours sleep at most. During the night, I had got up to go to the toilet and some guy also got up and went at the same time. I may totally over reacted but I could hear him standing outside of the cubicle and felt really uncomfortable, luckily, I had taken my phone with me and so messaged Paul to come meet me before I would come out. The place had a very unsafe feel to it.
When we checked out at reception the next morning, the woman did not say a word apart from asking if we had change for her. She didn't bother asking how our stay was or wish us a nice day, nothing. In fairness, I can totally understand why they would avoid asking, but a smile wouldn't have hurt. To be fair, the place cost us only £5 a night with breakfast. Even still, I have a feeling that it won't be, but I prey that this place is the worst accommodation we stay in during our trip.
All in all, we both really enjoyed our Singapore adventure. We found that Singapore has a lot to offer. I must add, that Singapore airport is the best I have been through with loads of things to do and places to relax (even if they did take my nail clippers 😠) We are pleased that we added Singapore to our trip. It was a great experiance.