My first impression of Singapore was the same as most of the other first hand accounts I’ve heard, a clean safe-haven in the middle of all the pollution frenzy that is South East Asia.
Everything in Singapore is at a convenient distance, mostly due to the size of this little “country” which extends about 41km tall by 23km wide and feels more like a suburban city. The airport is connected to the city by the metro, which links all parts of the country together, although the metro is quite convenient its a little tricky to figure out at first because a deposit is charged and refunded at the end of my trip.
As soon as i got of my stop at Aljunied Station, i felt like I was in the suburbs, the entire area was surrounded my greenery, trees and grass and a large parking lot; not a very common site in Thailand.
I stayed at WOW hostel which was pretty damn awesome, it felt just like chilling at home. All rooms were air-conditioned and there was a cool manager running the place that was always watching movies in the common room on a nice large HD TV. They had a huge selection of movies on a 3TB external drive to chose from, so i’m guilty of staying in a little more then I should have while traveling.
Singapore is not a huge city… sorry country for tourism. There isn’t that much to see, so I was happy I only booked 4 days there. They have small pockets of all the little cultures including the cleanest Chinatown I’ve ever seen (see pics), Arab town with a few mosques in the area and some sheesha bards of course, and little India which was actually quite large and had an impressive selection of cheap eats.
Although Singapore gets a bad rep for being quite expensive, you can still get a good selection of cheap eats (i often only paid 2-3 Singapore $ for my meals) and the portions were quite large, compared to the small serving sizes I was used to in Thailand 🙂
Orchard street is the shopping haven in Singapore with one shopping center glitzier than the other, and the hottest one of them is Ion, a massive architectural marvel in the center of town, lined with all the designer stores you can dream off, its the place to pickup your Vertu phone and have it programmed while you color coordinate it with the Prada bag on display just across. The food court was equally awesome, and some budget choices were even sprinkled in the mix, thankfully.
I lied a bit when i said Singapore wasn’t touristy… ResortLand Singapore, a very direct and “creatively” named set of resorts in Mendosa Island. Its the only Universal Studios in Asia i think and has some nice man made beaches, although like a lot of Singapore was still under constant construction.
I had a bit of an adventure at the airport on the way back though…always get to the airport at least 1.5-2 hours early for an international flight people ! (anywhere is international from Singapore) I got there with just 40 mins to my flight, but was pleasantly surprised when I checked in without problem even though the check-in counter already closed, since i didn’t have any checked luggage. However my first experience with airlines actually enforcing hand luggage restrictions came right afterward. My bag weighed in 14kg, which was double the allowed 7kg for hand luggage @ 16 per extra kilo … about $110 total, which was more than the cost of my flight. There was no way i was going to pay that so i went out the the bathroom, put on my hoodie, jeans, cap and jacket and a little bit of sweat in the process and threw out a few unnecessary items. To my surprise, the baggage check people didn’t recognize me when i got back (maybe the cap covered enough of my face and they though i was a local?) so no trouble and i walked right pass without having to do a weigh-in. 🙂 YOupi. So off i went to my flight towards Phuket, which in Air Asia standard fare arrived 5 mins after departure time, but only took another 10 mins to take off 🙂
Till next time,