Honestly, Singapore wasn’t on top of my list to conquer this year (oh, wait, I realized I don’t have a list). But when an invitation came for me to grace the Skyscanner BloscarsTravel Awards 2014 I just couldn’t say no. And never did I research on what-to-dos and where-to-gos beforehand. I just relied on some friends and family who are based there, smart huh?
Let’s start with the modes of transportation. Luckily, I had a shuttle van for the first two days (thanks Skyscanner) and after the event, of course, I was on my own. Taxis; I gotta tell you, taxis in Singapore will burn your wallet especially when you travel at night. They have different rates during daytime and night time so that was not an option for me. The cheapest and most efficient for me is to ride the MRT or their train.
|I love their MRT|
There are 4 different lines that you could take. Some lines do intersect so you could just hop off from one line and go to the other without going out the station, that efficient. I was given a train map by my hotel and was dazed for a moment. After my first MRT ride, I realized how easy it is to go around the city using the train. Nice.
The MRT is so efficient and economical that people don’t drive their own cars anymore and use the MRT instead (I’ve heard that owning a car is such a luxury there). And you could just hop on the train and go straight to the airport, right at the terminal; ahh, the convenience.
Ok, so I’ve got two days left on my own and I’ve got a few friends who wanna meet up with me during that time. They don’t know each other so I have this schedule to squeeze them all up within two days.
So here we go.
|Inside Marina Bay Link mall|
The SkyScanner’s Senior Marketing Manager for South East Asia, Ms.Janet Ranola, treated us, the Pinoy bloggers, on a dinner one time. She’s a kababayan by the way. We went to Marina Bay Link Mall and witnessed the Wonder Full Light and Water Show at around 8pm. Oh well, don’t expect too much. There were loads of people watching. Securing the perfect spot is difficult especially when you arrive a few minutes before the show. The show was just ok for me. Wrong vantage point I guess.
And then we went to this popular Taiwanese restaurant chain that’s so famous in Singapore we had to wait for an hour to score a table. The battle plan was to try their famous Xia Long Bao. Whatever that is, it’s gonna be awesome for we waited a good one hour.
|one hour of waiting...|
Ms. Janet and Ron (Fliptravels.com) took over the menu. They’ve been here lotsa times and we trust their instincts. So me and Mica (Senyorita.net) just waited as the dishes came one by one.
I really forgot everything that was served that night. But the rumours are true, the Xiao Long Bao was the star of the night. The softness of the wrap, the texture and the flavors in that plain-looking dim sum are stunning. You got to try it.
|Xiao Long Bao - star of the night!|
I also tried some nice noodles at the Food Republic in Wisma Atria Mall along Orchard Road. My cousin Nikki was telling me that they serve the best Chinese hand-made noodles in Singapore. An order was around 6 SGD and you get to choose your own noodles. The serving was so huge that one will have some trouble finishing it even if it’s really good.
|super fresh hand-made noodles|
Another friend, Fatima, brought me to Bugis. Loads of shops were there which reminds me very well of our Tutuban and 168 malls in Manila. But the real plan was to check out the hawker food stalls around the area.
|Bugis shopping arcade|
I was too excited that I ordered a noodle dish, a rice meal with Hainanese chicken and roasted chicken plus Iced coffee. I was telling Fatima that I could finish everything; but no. The noodle dish was horrible that I hardly touch it. But the saving grace for that day was the Hainanese chicken. It was so tasty. And at 8 SGD (rice, soup, roasted and Hainanese chicken), it was the best one I’ve had so far.
|the horrible noodles|
|legit and yummy Hainanese and roasted chicken|
And then the night outs. Did I tell you that a can of beer in Singapore is really expensive? Like, 10 SGD (350 pesos) per can on some convenience stores. But then my high school buddy Sugar and Ron (Fliptravels.com) showed me the lively Arab street. We checked out the bars and pubs along Haji and Bali lane and had a few beers and wine one night. I have to warn you though; smoking in Singapore is very restricted and you have to be cautious on where you could light that cig.
One time, my cousin Nikki and I went to Raffles Hotel to have some drinks. Apparently, it’s Singapore’s famous hotel and its garden setting and classical architecture will transport you back in time.
|Raffles Hotel garden|
Another night (just as if I spent a week in Singapore), my cousin Nikki invited me to a posh club named Zouk. I wasn’t as thrilled as she was but then I tagged along. The place reminded me of, uhm, nothing. I used (emphasize the word used) to party in Malate and after college I haven’t partied as much as I did back then.
Young people garbed in their nicest party dress and like eight to ten inch high heel shoes flocked the club (I called it disco bar). There was this Irish all-girl band that was playing that night and the club was exclusive for the occasion.
And how exclusive can we get, her friends ushered me to this VIP loft that they usually go into. And they were like, Carla, what do you want? And I went on with, Uhm, beer. And they laughed so hard. The butler (yes they have it there) served all the drinks on the table and attended to their requests every time. Wow. Moet & Chandon, Whisky, Vodka, Tequila, and those party mixes were served to me left and right. I’ve never had so much mixed alcohols in my body in just one night. And I actually enjoyed watching them dancing and partying. They are my age by the way. Haha.
|no room for more|
And then my favorite part of this trip; a nature walk at MacRitchie Reservoir Park tucked along Lornie Road. Nikki surprised me and brought me to this place on my last day. I don’t like trekking or hiking (like hardcore) but it’s nice to know that there’s such in Singapore.
|MacRitchie Reservoir park|
We took a cab and went straight to this happy place. There are no fees to get inside the park. You can also bring some food packs for a fun picnic inside.
Lush greeneries and old rubber trees greeted us as we went along the path leading to the Nature Trail. Different activities are available; a walking trail from 3km-11km that circumnavigates the reservoir with signs for self-guided trek, treetop walk - a 250-meter aerial free standing suspension bridge, kayak rental on the Paddle lodge and so much more.
Monitor lizards and monkeys were quite common. But beware of the monkeys though, they approached us and thought that the bag we’re holding contains food. They hurriedly swarmed around us and grabbed the bag revealing our water bottles. Nikki ran as fast as she can holding out her Prada purse high in the air. She was insisting that the monkeys want her purse. And then we saw other people feeding the monkeys. Ugh. What can I say?
|he stole our water bottles, ugh!|
We trailed through the forest and then to the wooden boardwalk around the reservoir. The view was so amazing. We would often stop and laze on the wooden boardwalk. It was a good catching up time with Nikki (she’s my travel buddy in Coron) after two long years.
|my lovely cousin Nikki|
A quick stroll around the city on a quiet Sunday followed afterwards. We would've done a walk along the riverbanks but I got no time. A quick hug and an amazing race-ish train ride to the airport and then I’m off to my “unrestricted” homeland. It’s just so amazing how disciplined Singaporeans are. I admire them for actually following the set rules. And I’m not wishing that for Manila. I love the life here, we’ve been so numb with the government’s incompetence that we learned how to strive and be resilient with or without them.
And that’s my Singapore trip right there. Maybe not your usual SG trip but quite memorable for me.
I never prepared for this sudden trip (as if I was ever prepared with perfectly planned itineraries), I just did whatever I felt good or nice for that day. And yes, I conquered Singapore! Well, not the Universal Studios, not even the Marina Bay Sands or the Singapore Flyer, and not even Sentosa. So what exactly did I do in Singapore? Quality time with the most important people in my life and for me that’s just perfect. I couldn’t ask for more.
Check Singapore acoommodations here
Check Singapore acoommodations here