There were a lot of things I’ve done in Singapore during my week there. From April 7-11th I had the pleasure of flying over to Singapore to visit some friends, explore a new country and eat some delicious native delicacies. There was a lot I did and so I’ll try to cover a brief overview of what I did each day.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
During this day I flew out from Ninoy Aquino Airport Terminal 3 to Singapore direct from Manila and arrived in Singapore around 5pm. I had to wait a long time at customs but once I got out of the airport and exchanged my money and got myself a new SIM card with a new Singapore cell number I was able to head to my hostel which was the Drop Inn located on Lavender street. I located a shuttle to take me directly to the Drop Inn where I checked in. It was a backpacking hostel and my first time staying in a place like that so it was an interesting experience. A lot of international travelers were there in the living area just watching TV or on the internet just chilling out. The caretaker who was Singaporean welcomed me and I have to say she was pretty cute! She gave me my keys to my room and I was set. I placed all my things down and then went out to meet my friend Elsie for dinner.
I headed to the nearest MRT station which happened to be Boon Keng station where I met my friend Elsie. Elsie took me to the East Lagoon Food Village which was a hawker centre near the water. It was a pretty nice place and she let me experience first hand what kind of food Singapore offered. There was a healthy mix of everything, including Indian, Malasian and Chinese cuisine all put together. The food I tried included Rojak, Tulang, and different types of Satae which were accompanied by two large cups of sugarcane juice. Everything was quite scrumptious! She then drove me around the city to take in the sights at night for a bit and I even explored what a local 7-11 and McDonald’s was like. They were all updated and very modern looking. And the best part is that they had free wireless internet at every important restaurant around Singapore! It was useful to keep in touch with friends during that time since Singapore was connected to the net almost everywhere I went. Around 1am I returned to the Drop Inn where Elsie helped me plan my next day, which turned out to be the Singapore Zoo.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I planned for this day to visit the Singapore Zoo. This time a few Singapore Wonderfuls decided to accompany me and so I had a great time. The Singlish they used was very daunting at first, especially since I was only able to understand 2/3 of what they were saying when they spoke it. However, it was very fun to hang out with them. They toured me around and were my escort around the zoo while I oogled the animals. We walked, ate at a local KFC at the northern part of the zoo and covered every exhibit within about 5 hours.
That night I met up with Elsie again to explore the Night Safari, which turned out to be a somewhat nice experience. The night safari was interesting, but I couldn’t take many good pictures mostly because no flash photography was allowed. There was a tram ride which I took half of the way around the park which was also interesting for a good 20-30 minutes but it was just okay. Some of the animals in the exhibits couldn’t be seen which was disappointing, especially since I paid extra for the park. There was also an animal show which lasted about 30 minutes which was also okay. Some of the animals weren’t cooperative that night and didn’t want to come out so some of the show didn’t work out. The host was very enthusiastic though, so that made the show worth it. I found out that a huge boa constrictor was present just in the row in front of me which freaked me out a little, but it was a great experience to see the animals up close like that.
Later on my friend took me out to a place that sold Roti Prata, which is a famous and simple Indian dish made up of specially cooked Indian bread. There were many things to choose from in terms of filling or the way it was made but I ended up with a Roti Prata filled with mushroom and also one that was just plain. It was served with a side of curry to dip the bread in which was a great accompaniment. Elsie on the other hand ordered a Tissue Plaster which was this huge tower of Indian bread with the inside filled with a layer of sugar and the entire cone shape covered in chocolate sauce. It was a great sweet snack! Later on that night I also ended up visiting the local university which was an amazing place in general. I’d never seen such a modern university with so many facilities inside it before. They had their own hospital, dentist facilities and enough hostels for most of the students. Their library and performing arts center was awesome too! It reminded me of the New York City University campus except more compact and more accessible. Also that night we also hit up a local supermarket where I bought some Hainanese Chicken Rice mix and Elsie bought me some chili sauce to accompany the meal. I will definitely try out the recipe soon and let you know how it goes.
Friday, April 9, 2010
During this day I decided to go off on my own and see the local city sights. I also aimed to go to Sentosa which is a separate island to the south of the Singaporean country. I went off to take the Boon Keng MRT to Bugis to see what it would be like there. I explored the place and there was a huge open market full of Chinese goodies and I even found a hawker centre there as well! After buying some souvenirs I ended up at that hawker centre looking to try the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice dish that people here have been raving about. I found a stall that sold it and found that it was delicious! I paired it with a fresh banana shake and the meal was just fantastic. As simple as it was with just a plate of bok choy, chili sauce, boiled chicken and rice infused with chicken flavor as well as a small bowl of soup, it was definitely filling and quite delicious! I know there are different versions, but the one I found there was just awesome. I can’t wait to try the other kinds next time.
I visited Sentosa which every Singaporean says is a tourist trap, which I have to say is pretty much correct. I paid about $36 SGD for a package to ride on 4 attractions and also had to pay an extra $3 SGD to get onto the island. I got to visit their version of the Merlion which is much larger than the one found near the Esplanade and you could look over the top of it and through the mouth. I ended up buying pictures of myself there so I could have a little souvenir. Later on I visited the Images of Singapore exhibit which was basically a large walking museum of how Singapore developed as a country. It was pretty interesting, but I could see it being very boring for kids and people who don’t like to read. I also went on an attraction they called CineBlast, which was basically a 3D movie you watched while on a moving contraption. Their theme at that time was for an “extreme log ride” and that it was… but I couldn’t really see what it had to do with Singapore other than just being another ride at a park. After that I hit up my last attraction which was the Tiger SkyRide which was a great experience (although it was only for about 15 minutes). The ride went up extremely high so that I could see a lot of the Singapore city line from more then 50 stories. It was the highest point in Singapore so I could see a lot, but I could also see that Sentosa itself was under major construction. I think about 1/3 of it was still being renovated or built. I eventually left Sentosa with a little bit of a bad feeling in my mouth just because I didn’t think it was worth much money and it seemed relatively boring. But as my friend Elsie says, SENTOSA stands for “So Expensive, Nothing TO See Also”. Haha, it’s funny and it’s correct!
Later that night I met up with Elsie again to go to dinner at an interesting Indian restaurnat called Annalakshmi. It was a vegetarian restaurant where you could eat as much as you wanted and also pay as much as you wanted. It was definitely an interesting place and the food was great, but I wondered how people could make money on such a concept. The restaurant was really nice though and the food was amazing so I left a good amount I think.
Later on we tried hitting up a jazz bar. Unfortunately the jazz bar wasn’t playing any jazz so we ended up at the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar where we chose a chocolate waffle covered with ice cream and topped with hazelnut. It was really yummy. Although it was a little expensive it was a great dessert to talk over. We ended up not going to the jazz bar later on and decided to take some pictures at the Esplanade and at the Signaporean famous Merlion which is a symbol of Singapore. It’s a statue of a lion’s head on a mermaid’s body. Interesting though, so I took a picture with it! After that I had to go home because I was extremely tired and since it was my last night seeing Elsie, I said good-byes before heading to the Drop Inn for my last night there before my Sunday flight.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
This day I checked out of the Drop Inn and said good-bye to many of the new people that I had met there. For my last night in Singapore I was going to meet up with my friend Calli from Indonesia who was staying over her friend’s apartment in Singapore. It was an empty apartment and so she said I could stay over for my last night in SG. Calli was only going to be in Singapore until Sunday as well, so we shared it for awhile. I took a cab to her place which turned out to be really nice! We then head to Orchard Road together to grab some little lunch at ION the large, up-scale mall there. After that we split to meet our other group of friends. I met up with Emma, Ming, Darren, Hao, Shanel and Amanda since they wanted to take me ice-skating. They took me to the Singapore stadium which happened to be another mall with an ice-skating rink, bowling alley and other facilities as well. I went ice-skating for 2 hours which turned out to be fun, but my friends Emma and Ming who also accompanied me didn’t know how to really skate, so I taught them!
Later on they would take me to Raffles Place where I met another friend, Hui Yi who was gracious enough to take me and my other friends (including Calli) to dinner. We initially thought we were going to be eating at the hawker centre near Raffles Place, but Shanel and the others decided to head over to Suntec City which was another high-class mall with some great eating options. We ended up meeting Calli there and eating at a Chinese venue, which was nice. We had a wonderful gathering there and talked about random things–everything from Wonder Girls to our upcoming future plans. The food was alright, albeit a little expensive and the service was really mediocre. I really would’ve enjoyed more a big dinner at a hawker centre since it would’ve been cheaper and we could’ve tried more native delicacies but the dinner was good nonetheless. Later on we headed on over to explore Suntec City and see if we could go bowling or play billiards. We couldn’t do either and settled on going to McDonald’s for Shanel to buy me, Calli and Huiyi some ice cream for dessert. It was extremely sweet of her to do so, and after that we parted ways and said our good-byes. Calli and I headed back to the apartment for our final night in Singapore.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
At this point in time I didn’t do anymore exploring since I was to take my flight from Singapore back to Manila at 10am. Around 8am I said my good-byes to Calli and took a cab to the Changi airport where I took my flight back to Manila. I met up with my cousin’s family to have a late lunch and then headed on home by bus with all my stuff back to Los Banos.
All in all, I had a great time in Singapore. I still missed a few things and didn’t get to go clubbing or taste any alcohol there! That was a little disappointing, but after a few years I will visit Singapore again to taste all the dishes that I missed and visit all the places that I didn’t get to see. Thanks to all my friends over in Singapore for making my week there a blast. I had a lot of fun and when I visit again I’ll definitely be hitting you guys up.
Now I have to deal with more summer class registration problems and everything like that. Ugh, I guess back to the grind for me!
I had a lot of fun… now it’s time to take care of more things for school. Let me know if there’s anything I should visit next time I go! Until next time, peace out!