A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore

2017 OCT / NOV, MALAYSIA TO SINGAPORE

LAST DAYS OF THE TRIP, LAYOVER IN SINGAPORE

DAY 268 TUESDAY 31ST OCTOBER 2017

Breakfast next door at the same place as we had dinner last night. Lyn had a repeat of roti & dahl and I had a very sweet roti with banana & condensed milk (the favourite ingredient added to just about everything in Malaysia). Washed down with a couple of ice coffees with said condensed milk.

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We managed to get all our stuff into bags and made our way via taxi 10myr to the bus station. Turns out our bus was running last and we had to sit around for an hour until it finally showed up.

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The drive through southern Malaysia is much like the rest of the country, both sides of the road palm tree plantations as far as the eye could see. The sort of palm trees they use to harvest palm oil.

We reached the border in less than 2 hours and the exit out of Malaysia was easy. Bus driver advised us to get out of bus with only passports and go through the immigration building, he would be waiting on the other side. True to his word, less than 5 minutes we were back on the bus and it was like a 3-minute drive to the Singapore immigration building. This stop was a little more complicated as we needed to drag all our luggage through customs, with consisted of an x-ray machine via the ‘nothing to declare’ line. Immigration was a little lengthier, especially because I got stuck in a row that had suspects trying to get into the country and were being questioned at length. Not to worry the bus was still waiting on the other side when I came out, loaded by bags under the bus and off we took into the Singapore traffic.

The bus drove about 40 minutes through the traffic before depositing us at the back of the Park Royal Hotel. Seemed like an odd place for the bus to stop, but that was the end of the line. We flagged a taxi and S$9 later we were struggling with our luggage up the steps of our hostel.
We always stay at the Betel Box Hostel in Joo Chiat Road. Not sure how we found this place the first time, but it’s now an area we sort of know and like to stay in. Also, last time we passed through here on the way home from a trip, Lyn left a big straw hat here and they have been safe keeping it until our return.

Singapore is expensive, especially for accommodation and we are paying S$70 & S$80 per night for a ‘family’ private room. This includes a tea and toast breakfast. Pretty expensive for a hostel I think, but the cheapest option available here.

We settled in and then went out after dark to find some food. There are a lot of places to eat around this street and we opted for a food court that we had been to before. Lyn soupy noodle meal was S$4.50 and mine was S$3.00. To tell the truth am a little over Asian food and my appetite is just not there anymore. I’m eating so I don’t feel hungry later, but really…
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We have a share bathroom but luckily the dorm on our floor is not too full, so we did not have to wait to have a shower. Our room is big with a choice of 3 beds, so we are comfortable and will sleep ok tonight.

DAY 269 WEDNESDAY 1ST NOVEMBER 2017

Today we have a free day in Singapore! Breakfast of toast & tea/coffee is free at the hostel, so we go downstairs before 9 to have something. Not very exciting, but it’s real bread and it saves having to go look for something first up.

The night receptionist last night gave me 2 transport cards that we can use for the next 2 days. Saves us having to purchase a non-refundable card, we just need to top it up with some travelling money. We manage to get out the door just after 9.30 and walk a couple of doors down to the 711 where we can get the cards topped up. Minimum is S$5, so we ask for that amount on each card, we can always add more later. There is a 50c transaction fee. One card works fine, but the 2nd card does not top up and the lady behind the counter says the system is down. We will have to try another place, and she is not able to advise where the next closest place is. Great!

We start walking toward the MRT station, hoping to find another shop along the way. We did, Cheers, which is similar to 711 are able to top up cards also. After putting S$5 on the 2nd card, we continue the walk to the closest MRT station which is about a 15minute walk away.
We swipe into the station and get aboard the next green line train heading towards the city. Our first destination today is, yep you guessed it, Decathlon! Again, Singapore is a place we have been to several times so have seen all the touristy things, so what better way to use the day then exploring on the public transport and making a visit to my favourite store. Actually, we had good reason as we had requests from a few friends at home for the full-face snorkel masks.

We rode the green line train until the stop called Lavender, from there we had to walk a few blocks to the City Mall shopping centre. The Decathlon store ended up being inside the shopping mall, so we thought it might be just a small micro store. But no it was a fully big store, we browsed around and bought a few things.

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Back out on the street it was time to stop for a drink, so we picked a street side food court and sat while we drank an ice coffee.

Onto our next destination, we were on a roll so why not go to Ikea for lunch. Short walk to another MRT station, this time getting on the purple line until it crossed the green line where we had to change to get the train take took us to Queenstown stop. This is the MRT stop closest to Ikea as advised by Mr Google. Not sure which direction to walk from the station as we could not see a big yellow & blue sign, I went into the 711 and asked the guy behind the counter. Yes, he said, go down the steps and catch the #195 bus. Easy, we found the bus stop at the foot of the steps (the MRT is an above the road train) and we waited for the next bus #195. This did not take long, and the bus route map advised it was just 2 stops away.
I saw the big yellow & blue sign before the bus stop came into view, we swiped the card on the way out and the bus fare was 4c. We headed for the restaurant and had lunch – meatballs & chicken wings. Didn’t bother browsing the store as they are all the same and quite frankly our luggage is at bursting point. Surprisingly, they did not have an AS IS section at the end near the checkout like every other Ikea store we have ever visited. And this one did sell beer and cider in the restaurant!
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Returning to the bus stop to get back on the #195, we decided to let it take us for a ride to see where it would take us. So easy with the swipe in and out card, you don’t need to advise your destination, just make sure you have enough money on the card and away you go.

This was a much longer bus ride, but we had seats, so it was not a problem. I was looking at the map and a gentleman on the bus asked where we were going. No idea we answered him. Ok then, he advised if we got off 2 stops after his we would be on the Riverside walk so this sounded like a plan. We exited the bus near the Supreme Court building and it was only a block away from the riverside. We had been here before, but it’s always a nice walk.

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We stopped off at the very flash Fullerton Hotel to use their toilets, like we always do when walking past this 5-star hotel. Went and had our photo with the Merlion, another must when visiting Singapore. Then we just kept walking, following the pathway along the waterfront until it took us to the 3 towers of the Marina Sands Hotel. This is one of the most expensive hotels in Singapore and has a magnificent infinity pool and bar on its rooftop. I have only read about this as it costs S$25 to just go up to the rooftop and drinks are priced much the same. So, a bit out of our budget to blow S$100 on one drink with a great view.

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So, we continued to walk around the back of the towers to the Marina Gardens. We had a walk around there, and it took some photos of beautiful coloured frangipani flowers. They have a flower dome and another plant dome, but again the entry price was a little over our budget, so we decided to just enjoy the flowers we could see for free in the garden.

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Feet and legs were starting to feel the effort of all todays walking and I suggest we start to make our way back towards a MRT station and back to the hostel. We had intended on staying to watch the light show that is played in the gardens each night, but that was still another 2 hours away and I was pooped. Something for next time.

The MRT was starting to get busy as it was now after six, and Singapore workers were on their way home. Our scanned cards would not allow us into the MRT as if said insufficient funds, so we topped them up at the station, knowing we will use again tomorrow. Lucky enough to get a seat on the MRT, even if they were for the old and infirm, that’s how my feet felt so it was justified. I thought if someone looked older and in more pain than me I would stand up. Luckily I had a seat for the whole journey back to our station.

Of course, we still had the 15-minute walk back to the hostel. We had a quick noodle meal in a place across the road from Betel Box as we knew if we went inside, we would not have the energy to go back out again. Staggering up the steps, the night receptionist greeted us with – you not see the light show. I laughed and said, we walked too much today already! The light show can wait until our next visit to Singapore.

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Hot shower and my feet are cursing me that we are not still in Thailand where they would be getting a fabulous foot massage right now.

We both walked over 20,000 steps today, and that was in addition to all the buses and trains we travelled in. Just under 15km in total, good effort I think.
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DAY 270 THURSDAY 2ND NOVEMBER 2017

An easy day today, we had to be out of our room by 11am, but its ok for us to hang out at the hostel for the day. After breakfast we packed the 3 check-in bags up, I quickly purchased extra baggage online for our flight as I am afraid we are somewhat over our allowance and don’t want to be caught at the airport having to pay excess baggage.

Another reason we chose this hostel as they are fine for us to store luggage under the pool table and just hang in the common room all day, coming and going as we please. We can even take a shower before we head out to the airport.

We did have to go out today, one more visit to Decathlon to collect some snorkel masks for friends and family who requested we purchase for them. So this was our only excursion today. The bus from just the next block too us right to the front door of the store.

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We had lunch in the food court, made our purchases and then caught the MRT back to Joo Chiat. MRT stations are the only place where we could get a refund for any money left on the transport cards and as between us we had S$18 it was worth the walk back from the MRT to the hostel to get this refund.
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I’m going to post this blog before we head off to the airport, but hopefully all will go smoothly. We will go have showers soon, then taxi to the airport from the hostel, too much luggage to take the bus or MRT – and taxis are fair price here in Singapore – all metered.

I had a few signs today that it's time to go home, I have sever pain in my back (perhaps from carrying/dragging our luggage around) & the smell of Asian food is not very appealing to me (hence my loss of appetite). Yep, time to go home!

Our flight is scheduled to depart at 22.20 tonight, hopefully we will sleep most of the way and arrive a little refreshed at Coolangatta airport 8am Friday.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 02:47 Archived in Singapore Comments (1)

2014 MARCH SINGAPORE - SENTOSA RESORT ISLAND - SINGAPORE

bring your cash and plenty of it

MONDAY 31ST MARCH 2014 (DAY 212)

Today I had another active day planned. We are going home tomorrow and this is like the last holiday activity we are doing. Today we are heading to Sentosa Island - small island attached to Singapore main island by a bridge and supposedly the holiday resort island.

There are numerous attractions, flash hotels and swimming beaches on Sentosa. We had never been before so had planned on a visit this trip.

After breakfast, a little earlier than previous mornings, we were out the hostel door just before 10am - a new record!!! Walk to the MRT station where we had to change once to get us too Harbour Front where there was now the assorted options to go over to Sentosa Island. You can catch the Sentosa Express (monorail), cable car or walk via the Sentosa boardwalk. As we decided we would catch the cable car back, the boardwalk was the next favourable option for us.
The boardwalk is 670 metres long and can be traveled for most of the distance along escalators, which is what we did of course, saving our legs.

No matter what form of transport you use to enter the island there is a S$1 entry fee for everyone, which we could pay using our Ez-link transport card. As I said there are numerous attractions on the island once you get there and of course every single one of them has an entry fee. We had a couple circled that we wanted to do and it worked out cheaper for us to purchase a Choice Play Pass at a cost of S$44.90 each.

The whole island seemed to be almost deserted, the fact that quite a few shops/restaurants were actually closed or empty, and a lot of what looked like maintenance work was going on did not help, I hope for them that weekends were busier. This is why I chose a Monday and not a weekend to visit, hoping there would not be any crowds, but the small number of people around was not going to make any difference to us. Singapore Universal Studios is located here on Sentosa and that is the only place where we saw any significant amount of people lined up to get in. We headed towards our first chosen activity.

Segway. Our pass allowed us to a 5 minute fun ride on a segway. As we had never tried this before we thought it might be fun to give it a go. Before we were even allowed anywhere near the machines we had to sign our life away via an indemnity form. I did not read the whole A4 typed sheet we had to sign but I think it generally stated that if we injured ourselves in any way or form the Gogreen Segway were in no way liable. Next we were given a quick 2 minute instruction of how the machine was operated, we had to circle a coconut tree to demonstrate we could operate the segway. Then the was another form to sign, saying we had received extensive demonstration and training in the operation and use of segway. Hahaha what a crock. Then we finally got to ride the machine by ourselves around a 3 minute fun track, negotiating corners, tree roots, tree stumps, holes in the dirt track and warning signs every 2 metres instructing us not to tailgate or ride too fast. It was fun although short, but at least now we have tried riding a segway. BTW no photos were allowed, only the official Gogreen staff took and then tried to flog off for S$15 each.
Gogreen 3 minute fun ride = S$12/person

Luge. If there is a luge in the vicinity we must ride it. This is my favourite thing and I have been know to drag Lyn to cycle around lakes in strange countries (ie Hungary) to ride a luge. One ride was also covered in our Play Pass so that was our next activity. It was only a short track that took but 2.2 minutes (I videoed the ride so I know how long it took) but it was a lot of fun. And this was the first time Robyn has ridden on a luge - disgraceful, considering it was invented in her home country of New Zealand.
1 Luge ride = S$13/person

It was time now for a swim and we walked to the closest beach which was Siloso Beach. It was nice enough and the water was clean and cooling. It's been overcast here during our stay in Singapore but today we have a blue sky and it's quite hot - always humid here. So a swim and a cool off was nice. We walked the short distance to the other beach - Palawan, where there was a rope bridge that took us over to the southernmost point of continental Asia. We shopped for a swim there too. On the way over we had looked for somewhere to lunch but of the few places that were in fact open nothing really took our fancy so we stopped and ate oranges we took from breakfast this morning, before our swim.

With two options left on our pass, we caught the free shuttle bus up to Imbiah Lookout where the cable car would take us over to Faber Mountain and off Sentosa Island. Before we did this to use up our 4th option Lyn went up the Tiger Sky Tower for a birdseye view of the island and surrounds, while Robyn and I chose to enter the Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom. Only a handful of butterflies, some very colourful exotic birds and a very handsome iguana inside the enclosure made for a very poor display.
Tiger Sky Tower = S$15
Butterfly Park = S$16

Our last option on our pass was kept for the cable car, this was the most expensive attraction so made the pass worthwhile for us to purchase.
Singapore Cable Car = S$26/person one way

All in all, I found Sentosa Resort Island to be a bit of a ripoff! And the fact that a lot of places were closed down, or attractions not operating. Also the ones that were are way overpriced, I mean S$12 for a 3 minute segway ride - bit over the top, but welcome to Singapore. This is the riches country in Asia and it shows.

We rode the cable car all the way to Faber Mountain to find that no buses come up there to take us back down the bottom to a MRT station or bus stop. Only option is to get a taxi or walk. As it was all down hill we chose to walk and it was pretty easy mostly steps all going down and leading directly to a MRT station where we boarded a train and headed home.

It was 5pm by the time we were nearing our street to return to the hostel so a food stop was warranted. Again the local food hall was visited. Food in these places even is expensive, or is it just that we have eaten so very cheaply for the last months while in Cambodia and Thailand. I guess one thing Singapore has done is prepare us for the soaring prices of everything back in Australia. Because if we stop and really think about it, Singapore is probably on par with Australia, maybe even a little cheaper when you eat in the local places.

It was a big day today, and the end is nigh!!
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Posted by Cindy Bruin 23:19 Archived in Singapore Comments (1)

2014 MARCH SINGAPORE - LAST DAYS IN SINGAPORE.

our extended stopover is just prolonging our trip home.

FRIDAY 28TH MARCH 2014 (DAY 209)

Well 2 very late nights in a row certainly caught up with us and we slept late, making it downstairs only just before breakfast was finished at 11am.

It's been a long journey this whole travelling caper and I should be starting to get my body clock back to 'normal' working and waking hours but not happening just yet.
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It was after 2 before we ventured out today, again without any real plan or destination. Instead of the bus, we opted for MRT(mass rapid transport) train travel today. Just a couple of stops and we stepped out at Bugis Street, which unfortunately these days is just a ugly large shopping complex and the street market is made up of overpriced crappy quality rubbish. I sadly missed the hay day of Bugis Street when it used to be filled with outside plastic table and chair bars to sit and watch the passing traffic of transexuals. Yes you read correct, back in the 60's, 70's and early 80's Bugis Street (fondly nicknamed Boogie Street) used to be the area where transexuals and transvestites used to hang out and parade around in their finest for all to see. This was a huge tourist attraction that the Singapore government did not want to promote and 'cleaned up' the area in the 1980's replacing it with retail therapy outlets. Seems the Singapore government have a motto, when it doubt get rid of it and build a shopping centre. There are already hundreds here, more being currently built and more in the planning. So gone the charismatic Bugis Street, and this is what happened to the old Chinatown too I think.

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From Bugis Street we went walking looking for Little India and not quite sure if we found it or not. Definitely found an area that was overpopulated with Indians, where we saw women dressed in colourful saris, but not sure if it was the centre of Little India or the market place area. Anyway it was getting dark so we walked back to the train station, it was really peak time now and we had to stand up our 4 stops.

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As it was dark as we walked back we stopped at the food court from last nights walk to have some dinner before returning to the hostel. It's still hot here even at night, there seems to be very little temperature change, the only difference is the sun is not shining down on us to make us even hotter.

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SATURDAY 28TH MARCH 2014 (DAY 210)

Again we slept late! Is it the weather? Is it comfortable beds? Is it the air con room? or are we just so exhausted from it all??

We hung around the hostel using their internet until the afternoon. I have managed to catch up to real time on my blogs to am happy about that and may actually get to do a closing statement at the end of the trip.

We did have intensions of heading our today but it seems to be very difficult to get my travel companions to move. Lyn is sitting with me here in the common room reading and Robyn I think is up stairs laying on her bed. All this travel has finally caught up with them and luckily we will be home in a few days as I don't think they are able to go on much further or much longer. Hard to motivate them and I'm just about over trying.

We finally did head out and walked to the MRT station, I'd suggested we head out and take a look at IKEA Singapore. Most of the other sights of Singapore we had exhausted on this or previous trips anyway so lunch and a look around IKEA sounded like a plan. We had to catch the train to Trampines shopping centre and from there I read on the internet there would be a free shuttle bus to IKEA. Sure enough after we got off the train and headed to the bus stop a long line was spotted and I asked if it was the line for the shuttle bus. Yes, it was so we joined it and only had to wait about 10 minutes before we were on a air con bus heading to another shopping centre.

Yes IKEA is exactly the same everywhere in the world. This is the third country where I have been to one and can confirm this. We had lunch - overpriced and then roamed around the maze of the shop as it is everywhere. We did not buy anything only a couple of IKEA carry bags as souvenirs, but it had killed some time so that was an achievement for us. While there we had a quick walk around the Giant supermarket and bought some supplies for an easy sandwich dinner back at the hostel. Outside, we then lined up again for the shuttle bus to take us back to the MRT station to get the train home. We spiced it up a bit and caught a different shuttle which took us to a closer MRT but on the same line.

The evening was spent watching video movies at hostel.

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SUNDAY 30TH MARCH 2014 (DAY 211)

Well, we were very active today. After the normal hostel breakfast of toast and coffee, and after receiving some instructions from the hostel staff, we headed to a bus stop along the main road. Following instructions, bus number 2 took us to Changi Port Ferry Terminal where we caught a bum boat over to Pulau Ubin (Ubin Island). The bus took a route we had not yet traveled so there was a little to see on the way. Traveling through more affluent suburbs, noticeable by the calibre of housing and automobiles parked in driveways, we also drove past Changi Prison and the Singapore Army barracks, which seemed to have higher security measures to keep inmates in than the prison.

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The boat to the island cost S$2.50 and took about 15 minutes. Not sure why they are called bum boats, perhaps because when the dock up they go in bum first and passengers get off at the back of the boat. Short walk off the jetty and we were met by the numerous shops that were renting bicycles to explore the island. This is the main or perhaps the only reason to come over to Ubin, to go for a ride. It was a Sunday so a few people around, not many, but enough to see it was a weekend and families had come over for a day out. Some had bought their own bikes over from the main island on the ferry, but of course we had to hire some if we wanted to go for a ride. And of course we did, that was our reason for coming also. Big signs announced a hire price of S$2 per day (which is the price Lyn and I paid back in 2009) but of course this was not the case anymore. S$2 bikes were tiny bikes for children, adult bikes were S$15 each. This seemed a little steep a price for us to pay for what would be no more than 2 hours joy ride, so we looked around a bit more and found some that were a little clapped out but only S$6 each. Much more suited for us, and we are used to riding older cycles. The main thing is they worked and got us moving will minimal effort. Well mostly minimal effort, accept when we came to the slightest incline and we all three were out of the saddle and pushing the bikes up the hill. To thing just a few short months ago Lyn and I were riding tens of kilometres a day, now could hardly go 1/2 km without being exhausted. But I guess it was almost 7 months ago!! And there has been a lot of lazing and cocktail drinking in between those times.

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The day was a little overcast but still quite warm, but nice that the sun was not beating directly down on us. All things considered we did ok on the bikes, and broke the ride up with a 1+ km boardwalk stroll around the coast and mangroves.

Approximately 2 hours later we rode back to the village for some lunch at one of the mudflat side restaurants. It was a late lunch, around 3-4pm, and by the time we had finished the long line up for the return bum boats was gone and we headed back to the jetty, returning the hire bikes on the way.

Our #2 bus was just pulling away as we approached the bus stop, but the wait was only another 15 minutes for the next one to take us back to Joo Chiat. On the walk back to the hostel we stopped and bought a cooked chicken at the supermarket S$6 to have for dinner later with the breadrolls left over from yesterdays dinner. We know once we get inside we will not want to venture out for food again.

Another night of movies before bed.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 22:43 Archived in Singapore Comments (2)

2014 MARCH SINGAPORE - FOOD WALK TOUR SINGAPORE

Famous food walk tour conducted by Tony Tan owner of Betel Box Hostel.

Food Walk Tour: this is operated through Betel Box Hostel - conducted by the hostel owner Tony Tan. This tour comes highly recommended and widely praised on the internet. Other visits here have not coincided with the correct day so this time I purposely planned our stay so we would be here to join the tour. And because we are staying at the hostel the tour was supposed to be free as advertised on the website, the only thing we had to pay for was food along the way.
It was a bit of a shock when the 'free' tour suddenly turned into a S$30 per head pay up front tour. They had changed it from pay up front for food rather than pay as you go. This upset me a bit and we ummed and arrred about still participating in the tour. Others, not staying at the hostel, turned up to join the tour and they were made to pay a tour fee of S$80, so our S$30 was a saving of S$50 and starting to look pretty good. The fact that the reviews on the internet were so good tipped the scales for us and we did decided to do the tour.

OMG so glad we did, it was amazing. Tony, our guide, was as reported, fantastic. He knows and shared vast information about Singapore, covering every and all subjects. The tour started at 6.40pm with a talk at the hostel and then we went out into the street. Tony took us up 17 storeys to see the view from a public housing block. The information just flowed, he was very knowledgeable. Then we walked a short distance to a food court and the food started, and I mean food, food, food, food. It was incredible, there was 16 in our group and every body ate amply of lots of assorted things that I cannot even remember the names of. But that was not the end as we were informed, eat up we need to move to the next restaurant. I wish he had advised this before I ate my fill here. A short walk with a stop at a fruit stall we were sat inside another restaurant and again more food came, and then more and more. It was fabulous. The assortment of food and different taste sensations was just too hard too describe. I was past thinking whether we got our S$30 worth or not. With the food and the information the tour was easily worth the S$80 the other had paid. By the time the food intake was completely exhausted it was close to 11pm but this was not yet the end of the tour. We walked the streets for another 2 hours while Tony explained to us all aspects of Singapore, and being a Singaporean. Every subject was covered, house, sex, drugs and even corporal and capital punishment. He was happy to answer any question the group asked. We were back at the hostel about 1.30am, totally exhausted, full to the brim still from all the food and so happy we had decided to pay the money and join the tour.
I would highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Singapore and even at S$80 you definitely get your moneys worth.

Tour details are on Betel Box Hostel website www.betelbox.com

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 23:09 Archived in Singapore Comments (1)

2014 MARCH SINGAPORE - NIGHT FLIGHT BANGKOK TO SINGAPORE

Bangers to Singers and we are off and running, Raffles, River walk & Chinatown.

WEDNESDAY 26TH MARCH 2014 (DAY 207)

Singapore is an hour later than Bangkok, so we gained an hour. The flight was only 2 1/2 hours, which made it just before midnight when we landed. The flight departed about 20 minutes later than schedule time. Captain advised ground temp in Singapore even at this late hour of the night was 31 and balmy.

We walked for miles through Changi airport to clear immigration and collect our luggage. I was chosen for random luggage check and I prayed that they did not want me to open our large suitcase that we had plastic wrapped. Luckily the random check just involved another scan through the extra machine, where the only problem was me trying to lift the 27kg bag onto the belt to go through while smiling at impatient randoms lined up behind me. All clear, I exited and met up with Lyn & Robyn. In the mean time Lyn had gone to price who much it would cost to store our extra large bag at the airport rather than drag it to the hostel and back. But at S$10 per day we decided we could drag it. It would only have to be moved once, getting it there and then getting it back to the airport. The remainder of the time would be spent under the hostel pool table where luggage is stored.

At this time of night the only option we have is to get a taxi and quite frankly it was the only option we wanted. Bags loaded it was only about a 25 minute ride to the hostel. Taxi fare was not too bad, certainly not Thailand prices, but still relatively cheaper than in Australia. Actual fare was only just over S$10, but there is a 50% surcharge for all fares after midnight and then an airport fee also which bought the amount we paid up to an even S$20.

Betel Box Hostel is the place we always stay when in Singapore, we now know the location and am comfortable staying here. We usually book the private room, but this was already booked out so we had booked 3 beds in an 8 bed all-female dorm. Not the most ideal of accommodation, but Singapore is so expensive and at S$25 each per night this is the cheapest option I could find for us. Still with this costing us S$75 per night for 3 I could not find a comparative room in any other hotel for a similar price.

We didn't go to bed straight away, sitting having a coffee first, so it was well after 1am before we had showered and crawled into our bunk beds. One thing in our favour is that we are the only ones in the dorm tonight which meant we were able to nab bottom beds in the bunks.
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THURSDAY 27TH MARCH 2014 (DAY 208)

Understandably, we slept in this morning. The bed and air con room was comfortable enough and we all slept like logs after last nights flight.

Breakfast of toast with coffee or tea is free at the hostel and served until 11am so we were just in time for that by the time we all got out of bed. Just looking outside you can see it looks hot and humid so we were not in a hurry to move, lingering at breakfast and hanging out in the hostel.

We did eventually venture outside and confirmed the heat as soon as we stepped out of the air con hostel. The 7/11 store a few doors up sold us a transport card each. Ez-link card works as a swipe on, swipe off card on buses and trains etc. Much easier and cheaper than having to have correct change for bus drivers, especially when we have no idea about prices or any clue exactly where we are going. The card cost us S$10 each, which gave us S$5 for fares and S$5 you paid for the card which is good for 10 years, so we will be able to use it again during future visits to Singapore.

Remembering from last time the bus stop we needed to walk to was just around the corner we strolled in that direction and basically got on the next bus after a little instruction from and local person at the bus stop. Not really having any plan of where to go exactly we aligned the bus about 15 minutes later and walked a short distance to the famous Raffles Hotel to have a snoop around. A few years ago Lyn and I went to the overpriced high tea here and were bitterly disappointed. Besides the fact it had cost us almost $100 for the two of us we had actually gone to the trouble of bringing dresses and proper shoes and dressed up for the occasion. We should not have bothered as most people were in shorts and thongs and it was a buffet style where we had to help ourselves - not served at the table. So we are not going to do that again. And to pay S$20 to have a famous Singapore Sling cocktail after all our $2 cocktails of the last month just was not going to happen either. So we had a walk around, were shoo'd away from the front door and left.
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We walked towards the river, yep it's hot here. The buildings here in Singapore are amazing. The old ones that have been kept and restored and the new amazing sky scrapers that have been built are works of art. I like how a lot of the huge brand hotels that have built multi multi storey hotels still go to the effort of not just putting up a large box, but have created pleasing designed building incorporating lots of outside gardens. Many that can been seen from outside, soaring at great heights. As far as a sky scraper city goes, Singapore has kept it interesting and pleasing to see all these tall structures reaching for the sky.
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Special mention goes to the Marina Sands hotel - same owner as Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. It is truly amazing and can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. 3 x 55 storey towers that are topped off with what resembles a giant boat that houses a pool, restaurant, bar and observation deck. I googled it find out more and discovered it costs S$23 to go up to the deck, so can only imagine what a drink or a meal would set you back. The cheapest room advertised was S$379 which I did not think was too bad - especially for Singapore, but it was the cheapest room. Google also advised it was the most expensive hotel in the world to build at US$5.7billion. wow!!

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Making it to the river front, we were greeted by a much welcome ice cream man who sold us slabs of ice cream served in a pink and green slice of bread for S$1. He was crowded with school kids so it must be good, good enough for us to try at least. And yes it was very good, and a welcomed coolness in our mouth in this heat.
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Continued walking around river front opposite the old shop houses which are now converted into expensive seafood restaurants. Views are great, but crab at S$6 per 100gram including shell is way over our price range. So was the beer at S$6 each. Looks like this little stopover is going to be a sobering one as we cannot afford the expensive alcohol in this country. Probably a good thing after our last month or so of cocktails in Cambodia and Thailand.

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Behind the river front we walked to Chinatown which had changed so much since our last visit that I did not recognise any part of it at all. Gone was the real Chinatown, now replaced by a 'what the tourist expect Chinatown'. Shame! but that's seems to be progress here in Singapore. The growth is amazing, and this is not a cheap country to live or holiday so there is a lot of money here.
We did find a nice enough place to stop for lunch, more because we were tired of looking any further and we were hungry. It ended up being a Penang (Malaysian) restaurant, which was fine as of course Malaysians are one of the 3 majorities here in Singapore, the other 2 being Chinese and Indian. (Interesting fact: Singapore's population is just over 3 million of which 42% are expats living here as PR = permanent residents.)

It was now time to head back to the hostel as it was after 4pm and we are joining the Food Walk leaving from the hostel at 6.30pm. A walk along the main road until we found a bus stop that was showing the bus we wanted to get back home. It was a short wait and luckily we managed to get seats for the journey back as it was now peak time.

Arrival back at hostel was in plenty of time to join the tour.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 22:58 Archived in Singapore Comments (1)

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