Singapore

July 2017

From Mauritius we fly to Singapore for the beginning of a new adventure: Asia. Arriving early in the morning and leaving after two nights late in the afternoon gives us just enough time to discover what this small country has to offer.

An Über taxi brings us to Chinatown for € 13.50 where we stay for two nights. There are cheaper ways to get there like the metro which will only cost us about € 2.00 but we are so tired we don't mind paying some extra for a taxi. 

When we arrive we are quite jetlagged, the time difference with Mauritius is only four hours but we haven't slept at all during our 8 hour flight when we arrive at 7:00 am. Check in at the hotel isn't until 3 pm so we drag our halfdead bodies outside to get some coffee. We leave our luggage at the hotel so we are free to go wherever we want. 

 

Singapore is so green, it's like a big garden. It looks well maintained and very organised. There are rules for everything, how to walk how to react, don't do this, don't do that, watch your step, mind your head. Not very spontaneous... but it's also very clean and safe, so I guess there's an up- and a downside for everything. This is such an interesting city, or country... I'll call it a city because we only visit Singapore city. Modern architecture with green facades all the way to the top.

There is so much to see, where do we start?

It's the beginning of July and there are not many tourists, Singapore is not a busy city at all actually, so we feel quite relaxed walking around. 

Day one

We stay at the CUBE capsule hotel on Smithstreet in the middle of Chinatown. A capsule hotel is a mixture of a dorm and a regular hotelroom. You get a little cubicle which you close with a curtain or a rollerblind. A double or single mattress fits exactly and underneath there is a big locker which fits two backpacks easily. This hotel looks quite new. We get a keycard that opens all doors, our locker and a small safe. There are twelve double capsules in our room but they are as good as soundproof so it's really like having your own mini-room. There are 8 small bathrooms with shower and toilet which are shared with about 65 people, so that'll be dodging the rush hour.

The location is fantastic, one step outside and you'll be in the famous Chinatown Foodstreet. We paid € 48.00 per night for a double capsule including breakfast.


On our first day we stroll down towards Clarke Quay, a big shopping centre by the river with a lot to see. The heat and lack of energy makes us escape into a supermarket where we buy some fruit and a baguette. We eat our lunch in the Ford Canning park on the other side of the river. The park is on a hill so it gives you a nice view over the city, great place for a relaxing picnic ánd you'll feel a nice breeze up there.


Back at the hotel we can check into our cube and decide to relax for the rest of the afternoon. The bed is great and so is the wifi.


In the evening we go out, Smithstreet is part of the Chinatown Foodstreet. There are many different stalls where you can buy any Singaporean meal you want. Seafood, noodles and the strangest oriental dishes. Here you you can dine with a low-budget, the cheapest meal here costs you 'only' € 7.50 and add € 6.50 for a beer. Think that's too much for streetfood? In a simple restaurant you'll pay at least three times more.

Day two

We sleep surprisingly well in our little cabin. We wake up at ten and rush down to get some breakfast. Fresh fruit, toast, cornflakes and a cup of coffee. Quite alright!


Today we want to go to Sentosa, an artificial island south of the city where you can find a wide range of amusement parks. We buy a ticket at the metro station and take the purple metroline to Harbourfront. From here we can go by bus, monorail or cableway to Sentosa Island. We try not to spend too much money in these few days so we decide to go over the boardwalk which (it says on the sign) is only free until the end of 2017. 

Sentosa Island is a weird place, one amusement park after another, an enormous candy store, bright colours, happy music and other endless sugary sweetness... and worst of all, the prices! At least double from what we've told you before. We go and have a look at the aquarium but the tickets are € 36.00 pp. Nope, we'll watch some fish through our goggles when we go snorkelling in Malaysia... 


We've heard that going back you can use the monorail without buying a ticket but before we know it we're back at the boardwalk so we decide to go back by foot. Too bad.


After our visit to Sentosa Island we take the metro to the Botanical gardens, the park is huge and it's free! We find a great place and relax for a while and have a picnic with the fruit and bread we've bought yesterday. There are squirrels running around, we see some lizards, hummingbirds and there are black swans in the pond. Everything is very clean and well maintained but we're used to that by now. There's a great Orchid garden and you'll be accompanied by many hummingbirds. 

The flowers and different kinds of trees are fantastic, we have a great afternoon.  


After this hot and tiring day we have dinner in another area of Singapore. Clubstreet, also in Chinatown, but slightly different prices. Clubstreet is filled with good restaurants and great bars. We choose to eat at O'Batingnolles, far too expensive of course but sometimes you just have to spoil yourself a bit ;-) rest of the evening is blanc... 

Day three

After breakfast we need to check out of our room and we leave our bags behind so that we can go into town again. Today we go to the Gardens by the Bay and purchase a ticket at our hotel for € 14.50 instead of € 17.75 at the ticket office. The metro takes us to the park where we walk around, up to the Cloud Forrest in the round glass buildings it's all free and open to walk around. We see so much so we decide to try and sell our tickets again and we are in luck, there is a couple who wants to buy them from us for the same price we paid. Saves them money too. Everybody happy.


On our way back to the metro we have a look inside the amazing Marina Bay Sands hotel. The three towers of this huge hotel carry a ship which is the roofterrace. We are in luck, because we step into the elevator together with a couple that needs to go to the 57th floor too. You can't go up unless you have a keycard. 

The expensive restaurant, stylish bar and huge infinity pool on top are (of course) amazing, but the panoramic view over the city is breathtaking! We take a lot of pictures and decide to skip the € 55.00 pp lunch they offer. 


Great end to this three day trip. There is so much to do in Singapore and it's definitely doable on a low budget!


Next: Malaysia


The weather forecast

In Singapore you'll find two kinds of climate, hot and humid outside and freezing Siberia inside. On the streets it can be terribly hot and smoggy and walking around only makes things worse but the airconditioning in some stores is the real killer. At minus 20 you have instant goosebumps and a drippy nose.

Fortunately in the metro they know how to cool you down, with a temperature of about 23 degrees you won't get a sneeze, it's great to walk in and our all day long. Eventually we where happier outside than in, especially on those moments when the sun was behind a cloud and we felt a breeze... 

Traveling around

Eventhough Singapore is not really big, it will take you forever to walk and the temperatures say no to walking too. So, you take the metro (in Singapore signed as MRT). Underground it's cool and before you know it you're where you need to be for about a € 1.00 pp.

 

From the airport to the hotel in Chinatown we used Über for € 13.50 total, a hotel transfer would have cost € 6.25 pp. On our way back to the airport we took the metro and had to change trains halfway. This cost us € 2.00 pp. The metro is really quite easy, it's clean and you won't have to wait longer than five minutes.

Moneytalk

Currency: 1 Singapore Dollar = € 0.75

 

In total we've spend:

 

Transportation: € 36.00

Accommodations: € 97.98

Food and drinks: € 130.50

Entrance fees: € 0.00

Other: € 0.00

 

That brings us to a daily budget of: € 105.79 for two persons including everything except international flights.  

 

With this budget we stayed in a capsule hotel, we ate on the street and ate at a more expensive restaurant.

Our visit to a supermarket is a real shocker, here you can easily go bankrupt. 

But walking around in there, we did find some cheaper things, which we turn into a fruit salad and banana sandwich, we paid € 6.00 which was good for two lunches. 

Entry fees are huge here, so we only did the free stuff, which was easy to find.

 

Here are some examples of products and prices in euro:

 

Large baguette in supermarket: € 1.75

Six mandarins for € 2.50

Large bananas for € 1.00

1 apple for € 3.00

A cucumber for € 4.25 

Two peaches for only € 25.00 (yes really!)

Box of muesli for € 11.00

Pizza in lunchroom: € 18.00

Coffee latte in a lunchroom: € 3.75

Bottle of wine in a supermarket: € 30.00

Beer (330 ml) in a cafe: € 4.50

Bottle of beer (330 ml) supermarket: € 3.80

Coca Cola in restaurant: € 3.50

Main course in restaurant: € 20.00

Liter gasoline: € 1.29

Simcard with 4 gb data: € 12.50


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