On the Metro from the airport to our hostel, we met a very nice local who said, “Welcome to Singapore – our fine city. We fine you for everything.” He was a police officer for the airport and said though he makes good money, nobody wants to be a police officer in Singapore because it’s so boring! That was pretty comforting to us. From Malaysia, he said he can make an average salary in Singapore, and then live like a king whenever he visits his home; however, crime rate is about 5000x higher in Malaysia than it is in Singapore.
We arrived around 6am, and had no trouble going through immigration and customs. We found the Metro easily, and after 10 minutes of confusion trying to buy a ticket, we were in the cleanest subway car I’ve ever seen, on our way to The Little Red Dot hostel. Once arriving, we discovered that we couldn’t check in until 3:00pm. A quick glance at the useful iPod touch world clock told us that was about 8 hours away. DANGIT! All we really wanted was a shower! They let us store our packs and cases in the office area, we freshened up a bit, and headed out to explore the city.
Not sure where to go, we headed south, toward the water, and wandered around the marine area. It was BLAZING hot outside, and we each drank at least 1500mL of water by 10am. We discovered the Singapore Flyer, which is Singapore’s answer to the London Eye, but opted out of the $30 trip to the top.
Around the bay we found some pretty interesting buildings, and a floating soccer pitch! If pedestrians want to get from one side of the bay to the other, you can walk across a fancy double helix bridge to the Air and Science Museum.
There seem to be a million malls in Singapore, and we keep getting lost in them whenever we try to take an inside or underground shortcut. Starbucks is everywhere – there may be more here than in downtown San Diego. At least they fill our water bottles up for free! We learned early that the biggest cost of our trip is probably going to be water. We went through about 6.5 liters of water on the first day. AND THEN, realized the tap water in Singapore is safe to drink. Oops!
On day two, we went on a wild goose hunt to find the public library because we heard the 11th floor has the best view of the city. It was about 4 miles away, but with nothing else to do, and plenty of oily, fatty foods on the menu, we figured we might as well check it out.
Unfortunately, there are 3 public libraries in Singapore, and we picked the wrong one. This one was 2 stories high, and surrounded with tall apartment buildings. FAIL.
We did get the chance to wander through part of the Red Light District, which seemed pretty tame by the light of day. We also checked out this famous Laksa eatery, but weren’t hungry enough to try it. Ah well. Apparently there was a “Laksa War” a few years ago, where tons of these eateries popped up and claimed to make the original Singapore/Malaysia Laksa. It’s a noodle soup made with coconut milk and some kind of meat – normally shrimp.
We’ve done a lot of walking here, even though the Metro is incredibly efficient and affordable. Most of the cheap food is pretty heavy in oil and sodium, so I feel better walking 8+ miles a day!
We’ve got one day left in Singapore, and we will be checking out the only rainforest reserve left on the island, as well as the Chinatown Heritage Center and Marina Bay Sands light/water show. I’ll keep you all posted! Here are some more pictures from our travels!