Singapore Rundown – The Pretty City

THE CLIFFNOTES

Quick Facts
– To be a taxi driver in singapore you have to be a citizen.
– Income tax is very low, however luxury taxes and fees are very high (cars, liquor, real estate..etc)
-For a lot of locals english is their first language
– The capital and main city of the country of Singapore is Singapore.
-Currency is the Singapore Dollar (S$)
-No visa is required for US Passport holders
-Durians (stinky popular fruit) are not allowed at the subway, many public places and hotels amongst others.

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Actual sign at the hotel

How We got There
Flew from Bali to Singapore.

Where To Stay
Somewhere in Downtown or Chinatown.
A friend recommeded

Where We Stayed
Stayed at Hotel Re! Paid S$120p/n. Staff were great, rooms very small but clean and modern, location was average. I would look for a better option next time.

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How We Got Around
-Subway: If you are staying for only few days we found that buying a standard ticket to each destination works great. Fares are pretty low. They also offer a Tourist Pass for unlimited rides at $10/day, however we didn’t spend that much in rides each day. It’s very easy to travel by subway, ensure your accomodation is close to a subway stop and you are set.

-Foot: It’s easy to walk through all the main areas. Take the subway to a major area and then walk around.

-Taxi: Took taxi a couple times. Very easy, no need to prenegotiate a price like in other parts of Asia as they are metered.

What We Did

WED, FEB 17: Travel day. China Town. Chinese New Year Celebrations (Year of the Goat).

THU, FEB 18: China Town. Little India. GoPro shopping. Orchard Road. Friends. Botanic Garden. Marina Bay Sands Resort (MBSR) and Super Tree Groove at night.

FRI, FEB 20:
Tiong Bahru Food Centre. Marina Bay Sands Resort (MBSR). Super Tree Groove Esplanade. Esplanade. Travel day.

What We Wish We Had Done
-Party at the rooftop club of the MBSR (missed it due to dress code)
-Have a Singapore Sling (cocktail) at the Raffles Hotel

THE STORY
After 9+ months without seeing a Quiznos, Blaise found one at the airport when we arrives and couldn’t resist.
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Our first day in Singapore was a bit hectic since we arrived on Chinese New Year’s Eve and our hotel was near China Town. Catching a cab to our hotel was a challenge but we finally made it!
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We went out to explore China town and it was lively, colorful and crazy.
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There was a major street closed with crowds leaning against the barricades waiting for something.
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After some questioning we were told by three different guards that there would be a parade at 10pm. It was just 8pm and we were pretty exhausted so we decided to go to the hotel to shower and change before coming out for the parade.

At 10 o’clock we left the hotel in a hurry, we got there by 10:15pm and nothing was happening. The same crowds were leaning against the barricade, and when we asked one of the guards, they said the parade would be at Ten plus plus (10++pm) whatever that meant. We opted to buy a couple beers and chill by the barricade like everyone else.

By 11pm I got a feeling that this “parade” was not going to happen. I finally grabbed the attention of a staff member inside the barricade who looked in charge, and sure enough, he gave me a weird look and said that a parade was never part of the plan, just a performance in the middle of the road where the stage was located. Everyone next to us just made a face of mixed dissapoinment and fury and walked away. All there was left for us to do was eat dumplings and soup and wait until the midnight fireworks. At midnight we got to relive our favorite holiday.
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The next day we were on a mission to buy a camera after getting our goPro stolen in Gili T, Indonesia. We had to get a replacement quickly to keep documenting our travels.

Before we headed to a few shopping areas in Little India we stopped at a mall to eat a typical Singaporean breakfast.
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It consisted of coffee, soft boiled eggs and Kaya (a traditional toast with butter and some kind of jelly). I absolutely loved this simple breakfast that somehow seemed to take me back to my childhood in Colombia.
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After shopping around we finally bit the bullet and dropped the money to get a goPro hero 4. We checked out the rest of little India that morning, enjoyed the smells of Indian street food and made our way towards orchard street.
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Awesome find in Little India

Orchard St is really just a street with a bunch of malls at either side, we liked the walk and were heading in that direction anyway but I’m not into shopping so I wouldn’t suggest it as a must do.

Later we met up with friends that currently live in Hong Kong but were in Singapore at the time. They are a crazy American travelling couple that have been everywhere in Asia and many other parts of the world. They have a 7 month baby who has already been to 9 countries!. We chilled at the pool for a bit and went for a walk at the beautiful Botanical Gardens.
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For dinner we stopped at the food court in the ION Mall on Orchard St as we walked back from the Botanical Gardens. Our friends had recommended it and although some of the spots were closed because of Chinese new year, I still couldn’t decide amongst all the delicious looking options. Food in Singapore was significantly better than in Indonesia!.

Home, shower, change, buy plane tix for next destination and do a bit of planning… all before hitting the town for some night views of the Marina Bay Sands Resort (MBSR) and the Super Tree Groove.

Wow.. we came up the stairs from the subway (which by the way, what a great, clean, cheap, easy subway system they have) and the MBSR stood tall and elegant. It was impressive. The architecture and design were simply astonishing and the way the lights shined at night was gorgeous.
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From there we walked on the bridge towards the Super Tree Groove where the view of the distant trees was already fascinating.
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When we reached the Groove, it felt as if we were entering Avatar world (or an enchanted forest, some may argue).
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Since it was around 9pm, there were only a few people around and the silence and emptiness gave the whole thing a surreal feel. Seeing it at night for the first time was also ideal because the lights add an amazing touch to the trees.
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We roamed around for a bit, and then made our way up to the bar Indochine at the top of the Super Tree (The biggest tree in the groove).
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The cover charge was S$18 (including one drink), expensive but well worth it. We chose not to go for dinner as we heard it’s was pricey and the food quite average. The views of the city and MBSR were breathtaking. It was as if we were having a drink on top of the world.
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After a few drinks there we decided to have a drink at the rooftop bar of the MBSR. To our dismay, when we got there we were informed of the dress code and Blaise’s shorts and sandals didn’t fit the bill. Since there was no cover charge I decided to take a peak. It was a cool bar with a gorgeous view, however, you could still enjoy an even better view outside of the bar.
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The next day we checked out and left our bags at reception ready for our afternoon flight.

We decided to go to the Tion Bahru Food Center after our friends recommended it. It was a building full of “hawker” stands and we heard it is where the locals go for traditional Singaporean food. Hawker roughly means vendor and most food stalls in Singapore were referred to as hawker stands.

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Oyster Omellete, quite tasty

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Famous dish that tasted horrible to me but a lot of people really like it

We also tried some other popular Singaporean food that was pretty tasty. The Jian Bo Shui Kueh stall seemed to be the most famous of all.

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Famous Hawker Stall

I really wanted to go back to the MBSR area to see it out during the daytime.
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We enjoyed a golf cart tour of the Super Tree Groove for S$5. While touring, we saw an unusual 7 ton, giant, white, naked baby sculpture (by Marc Quinn, a British sculptor).
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What is most interesting about the sculpture is that although it looks like the baby is floating, all of his weight is actually resting perfectly only on his right hand. The beauty of engineering.
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We also strolled around the MBSR again on the daytime in order to see the famous massive pool on the top floor.
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Only hotel guests can go into the pool area. Since a room starts at about S$700 per night we opted for going into the adjacent bar/restaurant (no cover charge) and sneaked a few photos.
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The Super Tree Groove also looked amazing from there.
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We then ventured to check out the beautiful architecture of the white flowerlike Art Science Museum, crossed the Helix Bridge and walked the Esplanade.
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At the Esplanade we passed by a massive food market where we tried fried crab for the first time.
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You are supposed to eat the whole thing so we did and it was quite crunchy and tasty.
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After taking a few pictures near the famous Merlion spitting water we headed back to the hotel.
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And trip to the airport to catch a flight to Kuala Lumpur ended our Singapore adventure.

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