I got to Singapore and had two days by myself before Shannon and then Collin joined me. Since it was just me I decided I wanted to stay away from the downtown area and got a Hostel on the lesser traveled east side of town. Obviously the first thing I thought about was food and after some quick google searching discovered that I was in the street food Mecca of Singapore. I followed my mom’s advise when I went out to search for food: “take it easy with the food at first… ease into it.” I found a (very) spicy seafood noodle soup made with coconut milk and unknowns — obviously easing into things. In my defense, it was decorated with newspapers about how they beat Gordon Ramsey in a food challenge and it cost S$5. The only thing I regret was getting a “small” because it was as delicious as I would expect a dish that beat Gordon Ramsey to be.
Even though all I wanted to do was eat, I also walked around the neighborhood and saw the Peranakan (?) culture and how colorful and intricate the architecture must’ve been years ago.
That was about all I could do the first day before passing out at 7 thanks to ~24 hours of traveling.
The next day I discovered I was a short bike ride from the coast and a park (East Coast Park) that was stretched throughout the entire coast. I couldn’t think of anything better than buying myself some dumplings (inspired by the movie Kung Fu Panda that I watched on the plane) and grabbing a bike and cycling along the coast. The park was beautiful and it was a gorgeous, albeit hot, day. So I biked until I reached the airport (10km) without ever really looking back. Pro tip – just cause its sunny in front of you does not mean it is behind you. Once I turned around I realized that I would be biking into a monsoon. Oh the joy. I didn’t even manage to begin the journey back before it started pouring and the rain turned into little shards on my skin. Instead of stopping at a shelter I decided it wasn’t worth it and just kept biking as all the people in the shelters looked at me and probably wondered what this crazy white kid was doing. After like an hour I decided to stop at a shelter and eat my dumplings, the universe thought it would be hilarious to mess with me cause as soon as I stopped so did the rain. However, in that moment nothing mattered because these dumplings must have been made by the dumpling gods.
At night I did finally go see the famous Marina Bay Sands – it was kinda cool.
After picking Shannon up from the airport and walking around Joo Chiat so she could see the east side of town we made the journey to more of the downtown area. When you find a crazy good deal on a 5 star boutique hotel in Singapore you take that deal and run. This is what I did and Shannon had no idea. Instead of checking into a Hostel, I casually walk into this Hotel in which our sweaty selves clearly look like we don’t belong. I think it took her to the point where she had to hand over her passport for her to realize I wasn’t messing with her. So, here we were for the night with a rooftop infinity pool to waste the rest of our day on. Everything about the hotel was perfect, from the art displays on each floor to the box with the tv remotes telling you “Naumi says turn me on…”
Just look at that pool, now extend that amazingness to the rest of the hotel.
Art Science Museum -> Marina Bay Sands -> Gardens by the Bay light show
After a blissful night in the hotel we were ready for the hostels and guest houses that await us on the rest of the trip. Collin had finally landed in Singapore and we met up with him at our next Hostel and decided to go to the Art Science Museum since it was raining. Combining art and science is the best thing to ever happen to art. Everything was interactive and everything made you feel like you were on the best kind of drugs and even the exhibits that might’ve been tailored to children were amazing. The “art pieces” are hard to explain, but it was definitely the most fun and immersive museum I have ever been to. One warning though, be careful when you go down the slide because, as Shannon learned, hitting a small child at full speed is no fun (small child turned out to be okay, don’t worry). The next exhibit was more of a classic art museum experience with the theme being something about astrology and the future of space travel. Most of it was weird, but weird is what made it interesting.
After the museum we decided to go check out the Gardens by the Bay, which we did for ten minutes and decided it wasn’t worth walking in the heat for. We did want to see the light show at night so we had about five hours to kill… We did our best to walk around the mall and marvel at how there was a Armani Junior, Ferrari junior, probably a Dolce and Gabbana Junior. We wondered if people actually had the money to dress their children, even babies sometimes (!), in these clothes. We quickly moved through the mall amazed at all the things we will never buy. We still had many hours to kill so we took the long way to the famous spitting Merlion of Singapore. In fact, by taking the long way we can now say that we have walked every inch of the marina. The Merlion was cool… but clearly not that cool (see left).
After an hour of wondering how Collin could possibly still be sleeping it was time to go see the light show. It turned out to be Star Wars themed which made it a million times cooler. It was totally worth the hours of aimless wandering that we had to do to see it. Apparently Shannon didn’t think so cause she decided it was nap time right when the lights came on.
Botanic and Orchid Gardens -> Almost celebrating my birthday
The next day was dedicated to looking at cool foliage. To be fair this was some top class foliage. But actually these Gardens are huge and totally worth it, with the orchids absolutely being the highlight with the healing gardens being a close second. We did learn that almost every plant treats either gonorrhea or dysentary. I also learned that there are way too many types of orchids in the world and they seemed to have all of them in this garden. Luckily orchids are awesome. This took up most of the day and then we decided to go to Chinatown where we ended up eating Indian food. Chinatown was 100% tourist trap with 0% cheap food. Little India is a million times better, mostly because you don’t feel like you are in an endless gift shop.
Next came the attempt at celebrating my birthday (yay I’m 22!). We discovered that there was almost no way to celebrate without spending all of our money. Instead, I get to choose which day we celebrate our birthday and we ended up buying a couple of beers and venturing into an Indian Music Lounge. Think of what an Indian Music Lounge possibly could be and you are probably right. We were in there for maybe two minutes before we quickly got up and walked out without looking back. We got many handshakes from the dancers – the apparently Indian version of a lap dance. Shannon enjoyed it the most. 10/10 would recommend.
Singapore in a nutshell
“Singapore is a bunch of expensive stuff covered in pretty lights” ~ Collin
While that is mostly true, I would absolutely say that Singapore deserves about 3 to 4 days. The cultural neighborhoods are vibrant and fun (Little India and Arab Street…not so much Chinatown), the Marina Bay Sands Hotel (along with most of the architecture around Singapore) is quite amazing and the East side of town gives you a unique perspective on Singapore that I would consider the highlight (also cause food). I ended up being in Singapore for 6 days and I am glad I am finally out but I am also glad I was there.