Here we go again..
After a long (actually I lie, it went bloody fast) 10 months, I am giving the trusty old passport another flogging. Where to this time you might be asking. Well loyal followers (Hi Mum!) I am in the clean, organised island of Singapore… For one whole day and a half. I had intended on giving myself more time in this lovely place, but I made a spontaneous decision to climb to Everest Base Camp hence cutting my stay in Singapore to the bare minimum, but that’s a whole other story to be told. Let’s focus on the present, the right here, right now.. The Singapore!
After a pleasant flight with Scoot where I had the whole row to myself (score) and extra leg room (double score!) and can safely say that this budget airline is not to be overlooked. Clean, new and painted yellow, Scoot Airlines definitely doesn’t put on a bad show. I arrived around 3:30pm and made my way into the city. It was overcast and drizzling with rain so my hopes of a sunny stay in Singapore were slightly deflated but I was also keen to use the bad weather as an excuse to write off the afternoon and settle into the hostel.
I was staying at the Inn Crowd Backpackers Hostel in the heart of Little India. It wasn’t a big hostel but the cosy feel was very welcoming. I was shown around and promptly headed for a shower to wash off the airport smell. The rain eased to a light drizzle so I ventured outside in search of food as I hadn’t eat since this mornings breakfast at Kirra beach with the parents. Now Little India is known for its delicious Indian food and I was determined to find some. After wandering around the tightly constructed streets, past brightly coloured shops full of incense, bindis and selfie sticks where my blonde hair stuck out like a dogs hind leg I finally found solace in a Indian restaurant on the corner of a busy junction. I’d gone past the hungry stage by this point so I just ordered some vegetable samosas and a mixed chaat to fill my stomach. This restaraunt seemed to be a gringo hotspot as the prices were a little more expensive and there were more tourists than locals but at this point in the day I didn’t really care. The samosas were fresh, delicious and hit the spot. I headed back to the hostel after my snack and spent the rest of the evening planning my next movements and catching up on zzz’s.
The following morning up early thanks to the guy in the bunk above me snoring like a boss, so I headed downstairs to beat the brekkie rush. Over brekkie I bonded with an Irish girl tha was in the same room as me who was up early for the exact same reason. We were joined by a German girl and made plans to visit the Botanical Gardens and Chinatown. We had all signed up for the free scooter tour later that afternoon so we decided to check out a different part of the city. Even though it was still early, the humidity was rampant and by the time we reached the Botantical gardens we were dripping with sweat.
We wandered through the lush, tropical gardens enjoying the serenity. The perks of going early was that the only other people in the gardens were fitness fanatics bouncing about and the elderly community doing their tai chi. It was a very pleasant way to start the morning! After a couple of hours the heat was well and truly getting to us so we caught the MRT to Bugis Junction for an icy cold beverage. Stumbling up a food market full of locals, we decided we were hungry and stayed for lunch. This was a stark contrast to the tourist restaraunt I ate in the previous night, today I spent $5 on a massive plate of noodles and iced tea. This felt more like Asia!
After stuffing ourselves we caught the MRT to Chinatown to have a look around. Like all Chinatowns, it was filled with red and gold, stacks of markets and weird food choices. Still full from lunch we had a wander around before heading back to the hostel to cool down before the scooter tour.
When I signed up for the scooter tour, I envisioned buzzing around the city on a Vespa-type motorbike like a local, however the more people I talked to in the hostel, the more i realised this was a very silly dream. At 6pm one of the guys working at the hostel starting rolling out old-school push scooters, like the type we had in primary school. What had I signed up for?
There was about 15 of us in the group and after a quick brief by our guide (“You lose the group, too bad!) we were off and I was in shock at how hard scooter-ing is! By the first traffic light stop, my thighs were on fire! I guess you could call this Base Camp prep? We scootered through the city, getting our photos taken by laughing locals and recieving weird looks from other tourists. Our first stop was in Kampong Glam in the funky street known as Haji Lane. This is was a really cool street, full of funky shops and cafes and I was a little bummed that we didn’t get to stay here and have a look around. It’ll definitely be first on the list for next visit!
We whizzed on heading to rooftop lookouts, past the Marina Bay and the restaraunt and bars surrounding it, past the Gardens by the Bay to a big outdoor food court called Satay by the Bay. We we refreshed with cold drinks and let the sweat dry a little. I’m pretty sure there was a cloud of awful B.O following us because we were all dripping with sweat!
After our food break we rode back to Supertree Grove in the Gardens by the Bay for the light show. This was what I had been wanting to see all day. The Avatar-esque ‘trees’ were absolutely stunning, especially at nighttime, where they glowed different colours. The light show was a Star Wars theme which was as entertaining as it was beautiful. As we lay there on the concrete, looking up at the giant metal trees flash different colours in time to the music, I finally felt that feeling that I’d been waiting to feel – appreciative. Appreciative that I am able to visit new countries, meet new people and see new things. It’s the feeling that makes all the crappy stuff about travelling worthwhile.
After the light show, we got back on the scooters and headed towards another view point to see the Merlion Statue and cool down with an ice-cream. It was about 10pm at this stage and the novelty of the scooter was starting to wear a little thin. Thankfully the ride back didn’t take that long and by 10:30pm we were back in the air-conditioned hostel. We were all knackered after the tour so bed was definitely on the cards straight away.
Tomorrow I fly to Kathmandu! Eek!