Part 3- Flying Solo in Singapore

Singapore was my first stop outside of Vietnam.  Leaving Vietnam after a very short five months was almost like leaving home again; I was nervous and for the first time in a while, on my own.  Singapore may seem like an extravagant choice for someone looking to save money from their trip but the ticket was bought on a whim months in advance.  Apparently Vietnamese immigration can ask to see an outbound ticket and refuse you entry without one so I grabbed the cheapest and most interesting one I could find!  I was on cloud 9 thinking about Singapore, a city of luxury and sophistication.  I was gutted when I finally did land and with it being rather late in the evening didn’t have time to explore the incredible Singapore airport with it’s butterfly sanctuary and god knows what else.  My taxi ride to the hostel was very pleasant.  The driver had visited Ireland so we chatted about home and I was shocked at how quiet the roads were.  After Vietnam I was used to nothing less than crazy when it came to traffic.

The hostel itself, Pillow Talk, was pretty odd.  They obviously had no record of my booking for the first night so I was stuck in a  “private room” (a 4 person box room with no windows).  It was the least sociable place I had ever been.  Two huge dorms held everyone but throughout the day I think I saw maybe 3 people max.  No one was interested in chatting and it was clear I was going to be flying solo in Singapore.

My first stop early the next morning was the MacRitchie Resevoir Park.  I was so excited to have time to just walk and think in peace.  The park is known for its treetop views and Macaques.  I put in a set of headphones and started walking.  The trek overall is pretty easy but there are some hills that would really knock the breath out of you if you’re anyway unfit (me).  After walking the rough track for a bit I reached the ranger station and watched the monkeys playing for a while.  They are such curious little creatures running up to walkers testing the boundaries before being swiftly dragged away by their mom.

Beginning of MacRitchie Trail
Beginning of MacRitchie Trail

 

Then I started the climb towards the treetop bridge.  You reach the door and are warned that once you go through you cannot turn back.  I braced myself expecting to be amazed but actually was quite underwhelmed.  The suspension bridge stretches for about 250 metres and while it is pretty I wasn’t completely floored.  After the bridge I made my way up and down wooden steps which eventually led me to the end of the track.  For anyone who’s contemplating which route to take (it’s rather confusing) I’d say to just power through on the first path you find (off to the left of the car park) and find your way from there.  The area is very well signposted so there’s no chance of you getting lost or missing anything.

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Treetop Suspension Bridge Views

After a day of exploring I got ready to treat myself.  I put on the fanciest yet most comfortable dress in my bag and got ready for glam Singapore.  I was really torn between visiting the Gardens By The Bay or the Marina Bay Sands first as both are said to be spectacular when the sun sets.  I settled on the gardens after much deliberation.  I got a taxi all the way there and then took my time looking around.  I think I paid about €23 for admission all inclusive.  I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to nature and flowers so I was absolutely in awe of the entire place.  I didn’t spend much time outside as I was worried about missing the two main exhibitions; the Flower Dome and the Cloud Dome.  The Flower Dome is fairly self explanatory; thousands upon thousands of beautiful flowers of all varieties and colours arranged by continent laid out in front of you.  It was magical.  As was the unbelievable Cloud Dome.  Stepping into the room I was taken aback by the beautiful waterfall in front of me.

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Gardens By The Bay

Water was cascading down in front of a multistorey building and it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  I went inside and made my way though the various levels stopping off to see crystal formations, views of the bay and of course, more flowers.  By the time I finished it was getting dark and the Supertrees outside were glowing pink and purple.  I wandered around willingly for a while before realising I was well and truly lost (and grumpy having not eaten in a while).

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Behind the Cloud Dome Waterfall

When I eventually found my way to the Marina Bay Sands I was really looking forward to having a drink!  You buy your voucher downstairs for 20 Singapore dollars (about €13) which covers your admittance AND goes towards a drink in the rooftop bar on the 57th floor.  Drinks cost anywhere from $22 upwards.  For the first time in 5 and a half months the sweet taste of Merlot touched my lips.  The views of Singapore all lit up were absolutely incredible and it felt so surreal being surrounded by people in expensive clothing drinking expensive cocktails after months of cheap Vietnamese beer!  Once I found a table and sat down the thrill wore off as I realised this was one of the times I wished I had someone there to share the experience with.

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Marina Bay Sands

On my final day in Singapore I ate some incredible Indian food at the food court by my house (€4 for aloo gobi, pilau rice and some poppadoms), walked around little India taking pictures of some incredible temples and laid beneath the arty umbrella trees soaking up the sun.

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Treetops, temples and silhouettes.

I crossed off all the things I wanted to do in Singapore this time round but I am so eager to get back and do it again, this time hopefully not alone!

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