Singapore: Days 1 to 4

I arrived in Singapore four nights ago. The first thing I did was to visit The Jewel in the Changi Airport terminal 2. It’s a big indoor waterfall with plants around it. Very impressive. I saw an Instagram ad about it and decided to see it. That’s the first time an ad on social media made me interested in seeing something. I guess technology can be useful.

On the train ride to Code Hostel from the airport, I met two Indonesian women who had difficulties navigating the metro. I guided them to the correct transfer to their final stop. I gave one of them my business card hoping they would contact me on WhatsApp, but they never did.

Code Hostel has a good rating on, but after checking in I was directed to the third bed of a three bed bunk. I had indicated on that I prefer a lower bed. The guy told me the hostel is full and that’s the last bed. I wasn’t too happy about this. Also, the dorm room is the most crammed space I’ve stayed at, not to mention the bathrooms are very small. I did not have a good time at Code Hostel. However, I did meet a 30 years old Chinese architectural designer named John. We ended up getting lunch the following day at a nearby hawker market. A hawker market is basically a food court.

That day, I was still tired from traveling so I stayed in until 4 PM. Around that time, the owner of the hostel suggested that I walk on the Marina Promenade and go to Marina Bay. So that’s what I did. I also ended up spending about 30 USD at the Apple store in the Marina Bay Mall buying an international converter kit since Singapore uses a different plug type.

Next I walked through the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel and arrived at Gardens by the Bay, which has several huge tree like towers. I walked around first then spent S$14 (about $10.75) for a ticket to go on the skywalk that connects between two of the towers. I ended up staying on the skywalk until the start of the light show at 7:45 PM. The light show featured music synced to the lights on the towers. It was very cool to have watched it on the skywalk.

There is still so much to see at the bay, but I was a bit tired and promised myself that I will return. After getting dinner nearby I took the MRT back to the hostel.

The following day, I switched from Code Hotel to Wink Hostel in Chinatown since Code Hotel was full and I didn’t want to stay there any longer anyway.

I walked all the way to Chinatown with my backpack while stopping at some sights, such as Arab Street, Haji Lane, and Sultan Mosque. They are all places in the Arab district of Singapore. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into Sultan Mosque since it’s closed to visitors on Fridays.

I also stopped by St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Its white color made me wonder if it’s hard to clean the exterior.

By the time I checked into Wink Hostel in Chinatown I was tired and sweaty. I didn’t do much except getting dinner, taking a shower, and washing my clothes. I realized that the hostels in Singapore are expensive compared to other places in Asia. One night is around 35 USD. That’s close to US prices. Fortunately, the food is not as expensive as the US. A decent meal cost about 8 USD in hawker markets and goes up in restaurants. I estimated that I needed 300 USD in cash for five nights in Singapore, not including housing since that’s paid by credit card. It turned out that I didn’t need that much, around 200 USD is plenty.

Yesterday, I decided to walk more around Marina Bay. I saw the Merlion statue and it was crowded with tourists. Then I walked to Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. I didn’t go inside to either of them since my interest wasn’t in seeing plants, but I appreciated the architecture. I ended up going to the roof of the Marina Barrage and saw a bunch of people flying kites, including kids. I did all these activities before noon since the afternoons are usually hot and humid.

When I came back to the hostel I rested until about 4 PM before going to a dinner party that’s hosted by Julian and Natalie, the couple I had met in Taipei when Dora introduced me to them back in December.

I brought some non-alcoholic drinks to the dinner party at Julian and Natalie’s apartment in Duo Residences. Their apartment is on the 43rd floor with a great view of the city. I learned from Julian’s friend, Chris, that there are two classes of people in Singapore: the locals and the expats. Basically, to live in Singapore as a foreigner you have to be rich. An apartment is very expensive for a non-local, about 5000 USD per month for a two bedroom and 7000 USD for three bedrooms. I also met a digital nomad named Jessica who has been traveling for about ten years. We had some good conversations about traveling. The other guests were Chris’s wife, her friend, and her mother. They are all Germans except for me and Natalie.

Julian and Natalie cooked a delicious, restaurant quality meal consisted of grilled salmon, grilled steak, tofu, asparagus, and my favorite, spicy cucumbers. After dinner, I also got to test out Apple’s Vision Pro headset since Julian bought one recently.

I didn’t come home until after 11 PM. It was a long dinner and I had fun. But I couldn’t sleep until 3 AM since I was thinking about what I should do next after backpacking in Asia. I thought again about bicycle touring the world. I would need to prepare for that soon if I want to first cycle through Canada starting in May or June. This would cut my Asia trip short. I just don’t know what to do right now.

Tonight is supposed to be my last night in Singapore, but I still have some cash so I might stay longer for an additional night before taking a bus to Malaysia.

The Jewel at Changi Airport

A hawker market

Marina Bay Sands hotel and ArtScience Museum

Inside the Marina Bay Mall

Year of the Dragon

The Apple store by the Marina Bay Mall

Gardens by the Bay

On the skywalk

Marina Bay Sands at night

Light show at the Gardens by the Bay

Malabar Mosque

Cool camera building

One of many murals

Sultan Mosque

Mural in the Arab district

Haji Lane

A store that sells lights

Inside St. Andrew's Cathedral

St. Andrews Cathedral

Downtown view

The Parkroyal Hotel

Another cool building: CapitaSpring

Rodin's Thinker statue

The Merlion statue

So many tourists!

Looking at downtown from the bay

A giant floating baby

Flower Clock

Marina Barrage

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Inside Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

More Buddhas

Another cool mural

The best mural in Singapore I've seen

Inside Sri Mariamman Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple

View of the city and the moon from Julian and Natalie's apartment

Julian, Natalie, and me

Dinner is served!

Back to Chinatown