And so, early on 2nd Jan, I got the skybus to Auckland airport and set off for Singapore. I was flying Air New Zealand again which was very enjoyable. Other than the fact of course that they couldn’t find me on the system. They were getting an error message they’d never seen (I swear these things are only me ha), I was ferried around the airport for a while trying to find out about what that error message meant. Eventually an old dude who’d worked there years realised and sorted it for me! I was found 😊
I arrived at 6 am, unfortunately the metro was closed because of earlier problems so I stood in line for a free bus…. then it opened, all was well and we all careered down to the station! I got a metro to my hostel which was really easy. In Singapore the metro is so so easy, I mostly walked around the city for three days but you can take the metro. It’s rainy season at the moment so there were times when I really should have got the metro.
On first inspection, Singapore was much the same as I remember 8 years ago, just a little more built up. But of course the infamous Marine Sands Bay hotel wasn’t there before or the cloud garden which was basically the reason I came back to Singapore.
I dumped my stuff in the hostel- Five Stones Hostel and got straight out to explore. Incidentally the hostel is really good, free breakfast, crazy good value and really good location so I’d def recommend. Also the ladies who run it are lovely.
That first day I walked for miles. I walked all the way down to the quay, then walked around the water front to get a good view of the hotel. It’s pretty impressive and actually I thought it might be a bit of an eyesore but I like it. I decided to venture inside (mainly for air con, it was so humid!) and up to the sun deck. It costs about £17 to get up there, so it’s not cheap but I’d say worth it for the views. Which as you can see below are pretty epic.
I wanted to go to the gardens but I was sensible and left that for another day. I had three days in Singapore and I actually think that’s enough to do the main things. Unless you really want to shop ( which if you are a backpacker you cannot afford to do!) then id recommend a bit longer.
After the sundeck I’d planned to walk up to Raffles hotel. I loved it last time and wanted to go back and actually afford a Singapore sling. But alas, it’s completely closed for maintenance until April 2018. Just my luck, maybe in another 8 years! Instead I headed back to my hostel, pretty exhausted and got absolutely drowned. You know what I said about the monsoon…. yeah that happened and even in my waterproof I got soaked!
The next morning after sleeping for what felt like forever I went exploring through the little areas of Singapore. The parts that vastly contrast the main CBD. Arab street, Little India and China town. The mosque you can see below is at the end of my road near my hostel. Arab street is quite a good place to stay. Plenty of places to eat, good bars and a stunning mosque at the end of the street.
Next stop was little India, just preparing myself for my next chapter of my travels. I wandered around, found the temples we went to last time and found the market. Always a dangerous place for me but luckily I was controlled and only £2 on sunglasses! Little India did make me excited to go back though. Less than two days. Eeeeek
Last area for the day was Chinatown and lunch time. I found Friendship Food Court and joined in with locals. Had a yummy wonton soup (I think!) and some dumplings. That was to counteract my naughty Starbucks I’d had yesterday 🙈
Chinatown was also full of goodies and they were beginning to start selling goods for Chinese New Year. There was red and gold everywhere!! One year I must go somewhere for Chinese New Year, I think it would be pretty special.
As usual I decided to walk back to the hostel, so I headed for the river front which is the easiest way to get your bearings and find you way back and as usual I got soaked!!!! This time I sat under a bus stop for an hour waiting for it to pass, then as it wasn’t passing, I legged it to an art gallery, had a look around, then manoeuvred my way through to the next shopping centre ( I say manoeuvred because that’s what it feels like in Singapore, it’s a maze and every thing is joined and it gets a bit confusing).
As most of you know, when I was at school I went on a very special exchange which changed me and most definitely inspired me to want to travel and for it to be an important part of my life. I went to Cochin, Kerela, India and it was amazing. I stayed with a family in Cochin who were lovely, went to school there for a bit and travelled around Kerala. Divya, my exchange student had also come to stay with me in the UK. I actually had two exchange students come to stay with me in the UK at different times – Sindhu first, and then Divya. So I stayed with Divya’s family in Kerala. It is still one of the best experiences of my life and I’m so lucky I got to do it. Anyways I digress, Divya is actually living in Singapore with her husband and very cute little daughter (see below) so after not seeing each other for 13 years, we met up! She kindly invited me around for dinner and to meet her family. It was wonderful, and even after 13 years neither of us has really changed at all. We both instantly recognised each other and still got on really well. I also spoke to her family in India through FaceTime. Oh how times have changed! I had a lovely evening, so thank you Divya for having me.
My last day in Singapore before India and It was finally time for Gardens by the bay, and time to feel like an Avatar haha
I spent all day there but you really don’t have to, I was just loving the tranquility and was just fascinated by the super trees and the gardens they have designed. It’s actually very interesting what they are trying to do, making a cleaner city and sustainable city but also making it beautiful and very educational 😊. It’s a bustling area and you can tell it’s very popular with both locals and tourists. Especially about 6 when everyone runs around the park. I nearly got run over by the vast quantity of runners.
I hadn’t really felt that Christmassy in NZ but in the Flower dome they had a Santa’s grotto and fake snow haha so I felt right at home. They have plants from all over the world and I actually recognised a lot from my South American adventure travelling through many climates and regions.
Part of the reason I stayed all day was that I had to see them at night in all their glory. These photos don’t do them justice, they are weirdly spectacular and huge. When I walked up there and walked between the two on the skyway my fear of heights kicked in but I made myself go. Go me haha
At 8 each night, there is a light and water show outside the hotel in the Marina, it’s totally free but get there early for a good seat. I wasn’t expecting much as it’s done every night but it was so good. It was designed set to beautiful Chinese music and reminded me of when I saw a light show on a lake in China. Mesmerising and so clever how you can put music to a water display. It was beautiful to watch and I actually felt quite emotional. I think 4 days on your own when you realise you have only spoken to 3 people in that time, on one evening, makes you go a little loopy but a fitting end to my time in Singapore and the start of the next chapter of my journey.