Last March 22nd of 2015, my fam bam and I flew to Singapore to commemorate in advance my mom’s birthday on the 24th. At the wee hour in the morning, we already prepped and hopped on a cab to go to NAIA. Twas a bit hassle because upon arrival at the airport, the check-in booth wasn’t open yet. (I thought it was operating 24 hours! LOL)
Anyway, as many travelers would know, you have to pay certain fees before actually flying on your way out of the country. Some includes P1,620 for the travel tax and another P550 for the terminal fee. In addition to that, check-in baggage costs P900/pax (if you’re doing it right there and then). So imagine how terrible is that. >_<
Travel time to Singapore is around 3-4 hours or so. Upon arrival at the Changi Airport, I totally got astounded as I see how well-managed their airport is. Well anyway, we then waited for JC (Laika’s friend) to fetch us. FYI, in case you didn’t avail of roaming or whatever plan to have an internet access, you may opt to get a FREE wifi access from their airport by approaching their concierge staff to get the password. Also, in case your phone or gadget got low batt, you may also charge them with their charging station. These are some of the amenities our airport in the Philippines lack and I hope they’d improve it given that their renovating NAIA 1.
When JC arrived, we then headed to nearby restos or fast food chains in the airport to eat. There are lots of choices there especially at the 2nd floor but we opted for Burger King, LOL. But then we transferred to 1983, A Taste of Nanyang cafe since gah~ we’re out of the country and of course, it’s better to try out something new, haha!
We then had different sets of Singapore’s traditional Kaya Toast that is served with soft-boiled egg and lemon iced tea. Kaya toast is basically a well-known snack in Singapore and even in Malaysia. It is usually prepared with kaya (coconut jam) and butter. I’m just not into the soft-boiled egg because it is half cooked. *ugly cry* But they typically eat this staple breakfast along with the Kaya bread. After having our tummies filled with Singaporean grub, we then decided to proceed with our itinerary (which was originally made by yours truly) despite having no sleep… at all.
We wanted to take the MRT to our hotel but JC insisted we take a cab because of our luggage. I didn’t know he was serious that time, not until he actually talked over his cellphone the driver of the cab. He used Uber to book for it. Uber is like Grab a Taxi in the Philippines except that they use high-end cars instead of the regular taxi vehicles. Uber is also available in our country but it isn’t as popular as it is in SG.
We stayed at a hotel in Bugis. Most of its employees are Filipinos, LOL, so we didn’t have that hard time communicating in English. Our hotel is nicely situated at an area that is like a counterpart of BGC in Manila.
I was giggling that time as I was happy with our hotel location. So after taking a few minutes of rest, we jump start our tourist vacay with one the places that’s just near Bugis– Haji Lane.
We walked on our way to this popular lane and stumbled upon other great sights including Arab Street.
We also passed by a cat café named Meomi in North Bridge Road where you can interact with their in-house felines. Pretty much the same concept with our Miao Café in QC.
So yeah, after a few minutes of walk, we’ve finally arrived at Haji Lane. Mind you, it was scorching hot that time but it didn’t stop us from being our touristy selves, LOL.
This tiny lane gave me a hipster vibe as you’d see a stretch of hip retail stores. It’s like the counterpart of Cubao Expo in our country. We visited some of the shops and I saw some good stuff but like in Malaysia, local products and brands are way pricey than international brands which is the opposite in our country. Got my eye fixed on some crop tops but didn’t buy it since it costs around P1,000+ hahaha. They have a few items on sale but they weren’t my type. On the other hand, my mother managed to buy a red sling bag for her sister. On another note, what I like also about Haji Lane is its artsy feel.
You may see lots of graffiti around the area which are nothing but snap worthy! FYI, BGC now has those kinds of murals and graffiti <3 which I adore to bits.
After Haji Lane, we then went to Orchard Road, the shopping district of Singapore!!!! We headed there via their awesome MRT, by awesome means everything- organized, clean, and whatnot! It is advisable to get an EZ link card so that you won’t have to fall in line for single journey tickets. EZ link card coasts around P300~ but it’s totes worth it as you can use it also in buses. It’s also re-loadable and may expire after 4 years, so if we plan to go back, we can use it again.
It was a very humid Sunday, and the MRT is overcrowded, as it turns out, it’s like the day off of everyone so people flock into malls especially in Orchard Road. So yes, ION Orchard, Isetan, Takashimaya, Ngee Ann City and among others are some malls to visit around the area.
Most of these malls carry international brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Hermes and many others. Ngee Ann City have the popular Parisian macaron chain, Ladurée. I initially planned to go there and try it out but it rained that afternoon so, got a bit lazy. LOL.
BTW, my sister bought a Starbucks tumbler as a tradition or her collection when traveling, it comes up with a free drink of choice, Huzzah! Wish it’d be like that in PH. Meanwhile, my sister and I hoard some shoes for bargains at Rubi. They have their own store!!! FYI, it’s the shoe brand carried by Cotton On. Yay for buy 1 take 1! On another note, along Orchard Road are stalls of their famous ice cream sandwich. We’re bloated but the mother bought herself a Durian flavor ice cream which is quite a fad in SG even though it doesn’t smell that good.
It continued to rain that afternoon so we run to the MRT to go to our next destination which is Marina Bay Sands. FYI, it rains almost everyday in SG for around 30 minutes to an hour.
Anyhow, we roamed around The Shoppes at Marina Bay where most of the shops are from international brands, hence, you won’t spot H&M, Forever 21 and even Zara there. Too classy and too upscale indeed.
After the rain stopped, we headed to the Merlion statue. This reminded us of our Mochi baby (my fur baby) which apparently, made us missed her a lot! This traditional creature in western heraldry depicts a lion head and a body of a fish. It’s one of the iconic places in SG and even throughout the world. In Marina Bay Sands, you’d see and get a nice view of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, Helix Bridge, and some restos around the vicinity. We got thirsty and wanted to drink water but mind you, their water costs a lot! A bottle of mineral water is priced at around 2-4SGD, that’s around P100+. It is said though that you can drink water straight from the faucet but we never did that. Haha! Afterwards, we went to Starbucks to quench our thirst.
That night, we got really exhausted and the malls are closing early due to the fact that it’s back to work the next day—Monday. Given that, we opted to eat nearby our hotel and randomly stumbled upon a good spot at Liang Seah Street. We ate at Fat Bird, a small but totally hipster-looking local food chain and had a spicy tamyung chicken with tofu slices and bean curd skin in a hotpot for dinner. It was really scrumptious and I don’t feel like I’d ever taste it again Manila. 🙁
So yes, after which, we called it a day! The first day made me instantly fell in love with Singapore. Apparently, this concrete jungle is where I wish to live in. If only the Philippines… LOL. Don’t get me wrong thou:) Watch out for my next posts about our SG trip. It’s quite long though huhu and I hope I don’t procrastinate again. 😛