Despite leaving Melacca at 8 the 4 hour journey to Singapore somehow became a 7 hour one thanks to our cowboy coach company and the border queues. It’s actually quite an intimidating experience crossing the border, there are signs up demanding ‘death to drug smugglers’ and there’s heavy fines imposed if you try to bring alcohol in. Fortunately we’re not drug smugglers but we did still have half a hip flask of vodka left that we only remembered at border control! To avoid potential death or deportation I made a sneaky visit to the loo with a hip flask down my pants to destroy the evidence. With our conscience clear we legally entered Singapore and headed to the city! Singapore is a pretty tiny island but they’ve still managed to squeeze 7 million people in! Now it’s not easy to see a whole city in 24 hours let alone a whole country, but without meaning to toot my own horn I reckon we smashed it!
No messing about when you’re on a tight schedule, we dropped off our bags and then headed out. We’d arranged to meet with Jia a guy who lives in Singapore so he could give us the low down on what to do. He took us to a very London esque cafe and treated us to chips and a coffee! Good job because the chips were £8 and coffees were a fiver, Singapore definitely doesn’t match the cheapness of the rest of Asia! He was a super cool guy though and gave us lots of ideas for things to do. He also told us a bit about his life in Singapore, he’s serving his mandatory army time at the moment but also is a part time photographer and wants to travel the world. We met his cousin and he gave us a lift to the gardens. Top bloke, cheers Jia.
Don’t get me wrong there are buildings literally everywhere but Singapore is definitely a lot greener than I thought it would be. Trees line each street and then there’s little gems like Gardens by the bay which make you forget you’re in a city. Right at the bottom of Singapore, if you look behind you there’s an amazing view of the business district whilst in front of you trees trees trees! It looks so impressive, there are huge dandelion style sculptures that are scattered over the grounds and 2 massive domes which have the largest indoor gardens in the world in them. We couldn’t afford to go inside the domes (poor backpackers in an expensive country) but they’re supposedly worth a visit! Anyway the gardens were still amazing without going inside! And it was a special garden festival when we were there so there were food markets and live music, what a place.
When the bands finished playing we walked to the bay which is home to the coolest building in the weekend, the Marina Bay Sands resort. Wow. A ship on top of 3 buildings! It’s also the home of super expensive shopping malls, the sort that have rivers and gondolas in them… The lake has the ship building on one side and the business district on the other, another impressive view especially at night! We admired the views and then walked home along the river, productive afternoon!
Up and at it early the next day. We headed out for a morning run along the river, beautiful views and we were treated to a surprise visit from a group of otters! We spotted them playing in the water before they ran up onto the shore and rolled around in the mud. Apparently they’re not seen that often so what a treat for us! We finished the run back at the marina, caught the tube home, had a quick shower, free breakfast then we were ready to go out and explore!
First up a walk through little India and then over to Bugis shopping area to find some reasonably priced items! Rob bought some work shoes, I bought some toast, successful trip.
Next we walked over to China town, so different passing from one area to the next. Lots of Chinese lanterns and food stalls. We bought a few souvenirs and stopped for lunch. Crispy ducks and rice was a winner! After lunch we headed up to Fort Canning park, basically a really big hill in the centre of the city with lots of steps to climb! We stopped for a quick rest and then off we went again, phew.
We ended up on Orchard road, Singapore’s famous shopping street. So many malls! I think I read somewhere that there are 22 malls on this road, and they’re all huge! But you can walk from one to another without ever having to step outside, all the air con you could dream of!
We met Jai and his friend Jeryl in the mall and they took us round to show us all the best spots to get free tasters, they’re on our wave length! They also took us up to a sky park so we could really appreciate the scale of Singapore. Fifty four floors up gives you quite the perspective, such an amazing view! As far as you can see there are high rise apartment flats, that’s where the 7 million people are then! It was really cool to have Jai and Jeryl show us round, they both love their country but admitted that it was easy to get bored because they’ve literally done everything in Singapore after living there their whole life! They both have photography as their hobby though so they always have a reason to go explore for more photos! Jeryl even used me and Rob as models in one of his pictures, we’re now Singapore famous! We had one more coffee together and then said our goodbyes, they’re both welcome in England any time!
After that me and Rob headed back to little India, one last Indian before we leave Asia and then I promise no more for the rest of the year! We were fed watered and then back to the hotel for 9pm. We walked 27 km in total, not bad for a Monday!
Four tubes and a 15 minute walk later and we’re in the airport! Literally the contrast airport I’ve ever been in, it has a gym, an X box room and a rooftop sunflower garden!? We’re now checked in and ready to leave Asia. What an amazing 4 months we’ve had, definitely won’t be the last time I visit this place! It feels like the end of traveling almost because we’re going to have to go and get jobs for a bit now, eww, I’ve forgotten what work feels like. It’ll be worth it when we’re cruising round in our campervan though, bring on Australia!