Hi friends! As Covid-19 is slowly draining me from any hopes I had to travel to Taiwan and South Korea, I thought I’d retrace my 2019 travels through Asia!
Travelling has always been a family tradition. My parents would pick a destination and plan a 2 to 4 weeks deep dive into the culture, the landscapes and the food. As I grew older, I witnessed a lot of my friends travelling to Asia and was envious to go myself (my parents mostly took us to Africa and Central America).
Last year, I was working 15 hours a week as a nanny while looking for a job in finance and after 6 months of looking, I was depressed. I asked my Malaysian friend Jiew Ann if she had some time for a holiday in Singapore and Malaysia and she said yes. She had 10 days and I had 15. The plan was to meet in Singapore and spend 4 days there, cross over the bridge to Johor Bahru to her parents’ place and then move to Melaka for 3 days, Kuala Lumpur for 2 days and then we would part ways. She would go back ti JB to find a job, I would take a plane to Penang for 2 days and then spend 4 days in Sarawak (Borneo).
I bought a Lonely Planet guide and the books Crazy Rich Asians and The Garden of Evening Mists and started planning (Type A style).
I won’t bore you with planning details but as you can imagine I bought a journal and I’m here to share my journal logs with you.
Friday, April 19th 2020
I landed late afternoon and Jiew Ann came to fetch me at the airport. Changi Airport looks like a huge mall rather than like an airport. I soon understood that the Jewel opened a few days before my arrival and it was all the buzz in Singapore. If you haven’t heard about the Jewel, I’d advise you look it up, it’s basically the most luxurious mall out there sponsored by huge brands such as Shiseido. It has a cinema, an amusement park and a huge waterfall in the center.
After we admired the waterfall and struggled finding our way out (you have to go somewhere specific to catch a GoJek – the Singaporean equivalent of Uber) we took a GoJek to Jiew Ann’s flat. I’m not exactly sure where we stayed because I didn’t write that down but I think it was near the Serangoon station but I could be completely wrong (I lost my bullet journal with all the logistic info back in Shanghai…)
We made a pit stop so I could shower and then we crossed the road to have dinner at Din Tai Fung, a famous Dim Sum food chain. The dim sums were good and I tried Xiao Long Bao for the first time (it’s the Shanghai soup dumpling, it’s so good I would kill for one).
After dinner we went up to the apartment’s roof to enjoy the view and the swimming pool. I won’t upload pictures since it’s someone’s place but trust me when I say the view was great.
Saturday, April 20th 2019
I was very apprehensive of jet lag because the last time I came to Singapore I had it bad. I didn’t go to sleep before 4 am for 7 days. This time, I had no jet lag and slept from midnight until 10 am. We set off for Marina Bay Sands and I fell in love with Singapore’s MRT, so clean, so efficient.
Marina Bay Sands
The Marina Bay Sands area is composed of a mall, a very famous hotel with an infinity pool and next to it is the ArtScience Museum and the Gardens by The Bay. All of these are the must-do attractions of modern Singapore.
We first went to the mall to eat at the food court. I had Hainanese chicken rice, a famous dish recommended by Jiew Ann, as her family is originally from Hainan.
We then went to the ArtScience Museum for the Future World exhibition. The building is very interesting architecturally (as if I knew a thing about architecture). It looks like a huge lotus flower made out of concrete. We went to see the Future World exhibition, a production with very instagrammable digital light canvas. The ticket cost 19 SGD and was quite cool. My only complaint would be that all the canvas have been posted on insta, takes the surprise out of it. Maybe don’t look at insta as much as I do and you’ll be fine.
Gardens By The Bay
After a quick stop to look at the bay and the overall view, we walked to Gardens by the Bay. The biggest tourist attraction in Singapore. It is composed of 2 huge domes / greenhouses : the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest; and the OCBC Skyway (those giant fake pretty trees). We booked joint tickets for the two domes and decided to only watch the Skyway from the bottom. At the time, I think the joint ticket was around 42 SGD, now it’s way cheaper because of Covid.
I was afraid that Instagram would spoil this place for me too but it was not the case. The flowers were so pretty and it was so refreshing walking in the greenhouse that was fresher than the outside. The Cloud Forest was by far my favourite part. You can find there a huge mountain covered in moss with a waterfall . This place is absolutely marvelous! I would highly recommend it, especially if you have no plan on going to Borneo like I did!
We ended our excursion by eating satay skewers at the Satay by the Bay food court. According to Jiew Ann, the skewers were too salty but I liked them just fine. It started pouring down rain so we decided to call it a day. We went back to our place to eat some chicken nuggets and chat some more.
In my journal I summed up this day by: 2 blisters on my foot, 62 SGD spent, 45 pictures taken. My body is tired but my heart is light as a feather. Stress levels are down and happiness is there to stay!