Alone in Singapore
After 20 days of traveling, I’ve finally, for once, been alone. It may be because I’m in a city, or that I’m not in the best hostel, but either way I look at it, I’ve been alone for the past 3 days; and it kind of sucks. Coming from the Philippines, (where I was surrounded by backpackers, slow, island life, and friendly faces), it was a bit of a culture shock coming to a big city where people are off doing their own thing. I, however, was sick for the duration of my time in Singapore, so quiet days and early nights were actually quite nice.
When I had talked to other travelers about Singapore, the general consensus was that they didn’t particularly care for it. Seeing as it isn’t the typical “backpacker scene”, and is also extremely expensive, everyone told me 3 days is more than enough; and I have to agree. For the purpose of traveling – seeing and experiencing a place – you can see it all in Singapore in just 3 days.
After I arrived from Clark, I made my way via MRT (metro), to my hostel. After having spent 3 weeks in the Philippines taking unknown buses, tuk tuks and shady taxis, it was nice to be in control of where I was going using a reliable subway system. I spent the rest of the night walking around and checking out the sights. Seeing and SMELLING the hawker centers was definitely the highlight of my evening. I went to Singapore TO EAT. I love the textures, mix of flavors – all of it – and Singapore is one place in the world where you can eat well, and cheap!
I spent my days walking around the city; getting lost and finding things. I was pleasantly surprised by how walkable Singapore is. I’d start at my hostel in Little India (The InnCrowd Hostel) and head down North Bridge Road and find things from there. The first day I made my way to the Maxwell Hawker Center. From what I had read this is the most famous hawker in Singapore. I came here with one thing in mind – Tian Tian Chicken Rice. Anthony Bourdain raved about it and I just had to try it for myself. Before I tried it, I thought to myself, but this is just chicken and rice – could it really be that good? Whatever broth they use, and however they cook it, the rice absorbs so much flavor, and it really is delicious.
I then stumbled to Chinatown, which is composed of hundreds of souvenir shops, all selling the same thing. There were tourists galore, and if you’re looking for cheap souvenirs, this is the place to find them.
The next day I went and explored all the touristy spots – Merilon, Marina Sands, Gardens by the Bay, and of course, more hawker centers. Again, I was able to walk everywhere, saving me around $2 SD every time I was able to avoid taking the MRT. The only downside to walking is that Singapore is hot. Like really, really HOT. but it was nice to be outdoors and take in all the sights and “be a tourist”.
I’m now on my way to Indonesia, to take in some culture. My first stop is Yogyakarta, which is located on the island of Java. From what I’ve gathered from people I’ve met, Yogyakarta is usually skipped by tourists, who opt to head directly to Bali to party. I’m going for two reasons: 1. Borobudur and 2. Parambanan – two of the oldest temple complexes in the world. I’m ready to be wow’d and see some awe inspiring sights, and this is the place to do it. I can’t wait! :)