Finally, a break from work and a reward I’ll truly cherish. Dubai had tainted my soul with so much stress and so its time to unwind and pull myself together before our big day.
My itinerary includes shopping, shopping, shopping… oh, there’s more… uhm… shopping?
While planning my Manila homecoming last year and learning that my flight includes a stopover in Singapore, I thought of extending my stay and enjoy the Lion City at it’s best. Singapore, also known as Lion City is located at the southern tip of Malay Peninsula.
So I took the liberty to arrange my Singapore Air booking, which I had to pay a portion off since my company ticket is not able to cover all expenses. I have arranged my budget accommodation prior to traveling. A dear friend has also made travel arrangement to join me there on my 3rd day. I’ll have 4 days to rock Singapore!
On Nov. 22 I departed Dubai at around 9 PM, full of excitement yet heartbroken. Sipping Dubai’s warmth one last time. My housemates escorted me at the airport and when my colleague handed my passport, its time to say goodbye.
Singapore Air is roomy. I can’t tell the difference from the Cathay Pacific flight I’ve taken more than 2 years ago. The eight hours flight seemed forever. To my dismay, I haven’t enjoyed the food and my restless soul wouldn’t want to sleep. Can you tell I’m too thrilled? We traveled on the looming darkness as I glanced one last time on the carnival of lights of Dubai’s Skyline.
Waking Up in Singapore
By 5:10 AM Singapore time the following day, we landed safely at Singapore Changi International Airport. The airport interior is impressive. I so missed traveling, and that moment felt surreal.
I had to fill up an information sheet before heading out the immigration area. I also took advantage of Singapore Tourism leaflets, containing guides, shopping deals & map. My encounter with the immigration check is quick and easy.
Still in awe, I almost forgot to claim my baggage. There were hardly any people clamoring near the conveyor belt for their luggage. I made a stop at a currency exchange counter for some Singaporean dollar. I need cash to pay for my taxi fare. I also bought a sim card for my mobile to inform the homeowner that I’ll be arriving soon. Then, I queued in at the Taxi area and gave the driver the address where I’m headed. Vehicles here are right-hand drive, which I wasn’t able to get used to on the entire trip. My eyes are always set on the usual left- driver’s side, I feel alarmed when I don’t get to see them immediately. lol.
Few minutes later, we’re cruisin’ the road, as I noticed the beautiful trees lined up alongside swaying in the morning breeze. The weather is perfect. We are heading to Azalea Park Condo, Flora Road. It took about 5 minutes from Airport to Flora Rd.
At the gate, we went through the usual security check. Then I had to drag my heavy luggage going up the elevator to the 9th floor. The couple, Mr. R & Mrs. C, welcomed me in and gave me a tour of their home. I was lead to the room next to the bathroom where I will be staying for the next 3 days. Their unit was awesome and the view from the glass panel is so relaxing. From the living room, I can see the swimming pool and the playground. From my room, I can see a tennis court, car park and lots of trees. Our AC room is spacious with a single bed and 1 queen bed. Just perfect for Minnie & Christine’s arrival on the 25th. A large fridge and cabinet were also provided.
My eyes got heavy, I had to doze off before starting my solo journey.
By 12 noon, I’m already starving, so I freshened up and got surprised when the heavy rain started pouring. I found Mr. R, and asked if the rain will ever stop soon. I learned that the weather plays around during the afternoon, but the rain would stop shortly too. He lend me an umbrella in case I’ll be braving the rain. He also offered his street maps so I can figure out how to get to my destination by bus or MRT. Yeah, it felt so touristy having to bring along map & guides. But I wouldn’t want to get lost either in this small country. Few minutes later, the rain stop. I had to rush outside before it changes its mind.
There’s a bus stop nearby, and I had to figure out which bus number I have to take. Mr. R already explained it to me, but I guess I was preoccupied and wasn’t able to remember anything. I scanned the bus route as well for bus stop numbers, but to no avail, I’m still clueless where I’m heading. Its more complicated to understand than Dubai Bus System, I thought. I then decided to walk and search for nearby restaurants, but I gave up after a block. I went back to the bus stop instead.
Finally my eyes were set to the nearest MRT station on the map, I’m in between Pasir Ris & Tampines. There are about 10 buses going in different routes which stops every few minutes. I have to scan the routes of each bus number, so by the time I realized that I’ll get in, they’re already gone. Sigh. Why are they in a hurry?
Singapore MRT Map
I made a major boo-boo on the first bus I hopped into. The driver told me that he will not passed through Tampines MRT Station and that I should wait for Bus #3 instead. Shoot me, talk about waiting for a long time and boarding the wrong bus. Lol.
So, bus number 3 came, and I asked the Driver that I’m headed to the MRT Station, he pointed at the card reading machine for payment, and I politely asked him how much instead. Uncle answered 1 Singaporean Dollar. I dig through my wallet and found my S$5, in which he didn’t take because he don’t have any change. Luckily, I wasn’t thrown out of the bus, and got my first ride free. Yikes!
From Tampines Station, I grabbed a late lunch at the first Fast Food Restaurant I’ve seen, Mc Donalds. Then I bought an EZ Link Card that is loaded with cash value I can use for MRT payment, bus fee, 7-eleven and more . I decided to do mall hopping & shopping for the rest of the day. So off I go to Orchard Road. Oooops, is it just me or the elevator here seemed faster than usual? Thank God, I did not trip.
Orchard Road was transformed into a fairy land with its impressive Christmas Decoration. Different Christmas ornaments can be seen everywhere, lighting up the whole street of Shopping Malls. On foot, I was able to explore TANGS, Lucky Plaza, Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City, Takashimaya, Louis Vuitton, Wheelock Place & Paragon Mall. The spirit of Christmas is truly priceless! And I’m itching for an LV Bag. A battle between an LV and a wedding budget… ouch.
I had to checked Ipanema flipflops from Royal Sporting House. I read somewhere that its cheaper in Singapore. But the particular design I am looking for wasn’t available. While strolling opposite TANGS, I was entertained with a display of art from Sokkuan called Sophie Black and other amazing artworks. They’re so pretty!
From Wheelock Place, I grabbed a cup of coffee at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and planned for my next stop. The coffee place allowed a good view of a wide screen hung up at the mall on the opposite street. Just in front is a huge Christmas tree of candies. Can’t resist to take photos.
After exploring Orchard Road, I went to the nearest MRT station and searched on how to get to Clarke Quay. My feet were aching but my happy spirit don’t mind. I was able to find my way outside The Central Shopping Center where a lovely huge pink Christmas Tree is on display. I crossed over the bridge of Riverside Point passing through a hot selection of waterfront restaurants and bars. For the adrenaline seekers, there’s a G-Max Reverse Bungy. I also found a cute trinket shop that sells miniature merry go rounds and music boxes.
I must learn to love the fool in me,
the one who feels too much, talks too much,
takes too many chances,
wins sometimes and loses often,
lacks self-control, loves and hates,
hurts and gets hurt,
promises and breaks promises,
laughs and cries.
– Theodore Isaac Rubin
I walk through an underpass to get to the other side and back. My feet won’t take the long walk back to the MRT station, instead I took the bus going home and luckily I remember where to get off. Yey! Successful first day. I was home before 12 midnight.
2nd Day: Singapore Mall Hopping and Budget Finds
Catching up with the time difference and jet lag, my 2nd day in Singapore started late. I woke up at 10 AM but too lazy to move around.
I headed to Tampines MRT Station at around 12 NN and a Shop Sale Alert caught my eyes in an instant. HO! HO! HO! Christmas comes in early as I’ve scored great fashion deals at Alano Shop. I got 3 summer dresses at a cheap discounted price of S$26!
I then went at the nearby Hawker Center to have a taste of the authentic & popular Singaporean Dish, Chicken Rice. The late lunch experience wasn’t new (it’s like eating in turo-turo in the Philippines), roasted chicken tastes good and the price is surprisingly cheap (S$1.80)!
After the hearty meal, I decided to take an MRT going down at City Hall Station. My long stroll started at CityLink Mall which is recognized as Singapore’s first underground mall. I passed by Charles & Keith for a gorgeous pair of sandals.
Wandering through the mall, I found the passage to Marina Square. It houses the biggest Crocs Shop I’ve seen so far. I also dropped by at Royal Sporting House to hunt for that comfy Ipanema flipflops, but still unable to find one.
Went down at One Raffles Link and admire the stunning display of huge water cycle.
Traipsing Singapore in a day can be exhausting. I went back to the mall to grab a meal at KFC. I was totally happy that KFC meal comes with gravy, yay! In UAE, they don’t serve it, which means I’ve been missing it so much.
Relieved from walking stress and filled appetite, I continued my solo journey. From Marina Square I can view the Durian-shaped Esplanade. I went through Suntec City then headed towards the many signage to get to Esplanade, passing through parking lots, and a long alley with a creepy display of Audio Visual Presentation.
Finally, I made it at Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, which I wasn’t able to recognize until I’ve gone out. lol. The interior is impressive, although, I didn’t wander too long inside. It houses world-class performing halls and facilities. I made my way out, and took the chance for photo op before the sun came down.
Esplanade’s exterior is more impressive as the building’s glass case and aluminum sunshades reflect through sun’s glory. There’s a park outside where anyone can lounge during sundown and view the magnificent lighting of this massive architecture.
Time is flying fast, and I hurried up to my next destination. Its 7 in the evening and I thought of exploring Chinatown. From the MRT station, I took the exit to People’s Park. The street is lively and filled with bargain shops. I found my way going to Trengganu Street Night Market and scored some souvenir items and floral dresses from one of the Chinese Shops.
It was almost 9 in the evening but I don’t want to end the night yet. I heard there is a night market in Bugis. So, off I took the MRT to Bugis Station. I then emerged at Bugis Junction which holds a display of modern Christmas trees, from glass decorated Merry-Go-Round inspired to a huge twisted Christmas tree at the open park area of the Shopping Mall.
Across the street is Bugis Village, or pasar malam (night market), which contains an array of small stalls selling cheap and bargain goods from bags, accessories to souvenir items. I was a bit disappointed though that some shops and stalls were already closing. And the street is getting darker too, so I decided to go back to the MRT station and call it a night.
I got home before 12 MN, and quite excited to try the new dresses I bought. Looking forward to Minnie & Christine’s arrival in few hours, will have another exciting day in singapore.
Solo travels can be so much fun and healthy. It brings out a feeling of satisfaction. You discover something about the place and within yourself. You can be spontaneous without causing inconvenience to anyone. You can go by your own pleasure. You can embarrass yourself and laugh at it. You can learn many things. You can think and reflect at any moment you like. You can find a perfect spot to be solitary and call it your own.