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How are we already in country #3?

On our way to Malaysia, we had a short layover at Singapore airport. So technically, we had already visited this country for about 90 minutes, right? Nevertheless, we arrived in country #3, excited to see what else Singapore had to offer besides the world-class international airport (which impressively has a lot to see and do in itself).


A longer-than-expected travel day.

We woke in Melaka, Malaysia, ready to head to country # 3. How fast the time is going. We had breakfast, packed our bags and caught a taxi to Melaka Sentral, where we would jump on our bus to Singapore. As boarding time came, we were informed the bus was running a tad late. A tad turned into 30 minutes, and we thought, wow, the traffic must be bad today. We finally boarded the bus, ready for the 4-hour journey and not long after leaving the terminal, we discovered the more likely reason why the bus was late. We stopped so many times for the drivers to get snacks, go to the bathroom, and top up fuel (an excessive amount of times for a 4-hour drive). Then we had the customs stop on the Malaysian and Singapore sides of the border (ironically, the shortest stops we had). Finally, we arrived at our destination 2 hours later than scheduled. Thankfully there was a restaurant on the ground floor of our hotel, so after a long travel day, we decided to just pop down there for dinner.


Strolling the parks, the streets and our favourite hawker centre.

Having a buffet breakfast included in our hotel stays has been a great way to save money on our trip. After feasting on all the options available and finishing our coffees, we put on our walking shoes and headed out into the streets of Singapore. We walked quite a distance from our hotel to Fort Canning Park, where we promptly found a chair in the shade. We had planned on seeing the Tree Tunnel, one of the most popular attractions in the park, but after seeing the line of people, we decided we could skip this. We strolled along the paths through the Gothic Garden, the Green and the Spice Garden. We realised we were down the south-west side of the park, near the Old Hill Police Station, so we popped onto the main road to see this colourful building. Back in the park, we walked through the Fort Gate and learnt more about the history of Singapore at the Fort Canning Centre.

By this point, we had worked up quite the appetite. On the hunt for somewhere to eat, we ended up at Raffles City food hall. After lunch, it had started raining, so we stayed undercover exploring CHIJMES across the road, a former convent turned restaurant/bar/event space. As the rain got lighter, we continued up the road until we reached Haji Lane. For a very long time, we browsed all the shops along this street and Bali Lane, then looped around to the markets on Muscat Street, ending at the Sultan Mosque.

After a lot of walking across the city, we decided dinner close to home would be a good idea. We found Bistro8 Hawker Centre on Foch Road. This hawker centre remains our favourite from our time in Singapore. Despite being relatively small compared to other centres we visited, there was a great variety of options, delicious food and a very welcoming and friendly atmosphere.


Seeing all the light shows.

Another morning, another buffet breakfast at our hotel. Afterwards, we walked to the MRT line and caught the train to Gardens by the Bay. This place is probably the top attraction in Singapore, and after seeing countless photos and videos of the park online, it was wonderful to finally be there in person. We spent the whole morning walking around the free sections of the park, deciding we were content with not paying for the domes or the skywalk. We stopped at the food centre, Satay by the Bay, for a pre-lunch snack and then walked along the coastline towards Marina Bay Sands. We spotted several water monitors, which didn’t surprise us as much after seeing them in Malaysia. What did surprise us though, was seeing an otter! Neither of us had seen an otter in the wild before, so you can imagine our excitement when we spotted one on the side of the road.

At Marina Bay Sands, we did a little window-shopping because, let’s be honest, the designer stores aren’t aimed towards budget-conscious travellers. Around the other side of the harbour, we stopped for lunch at Brewerkz One Fullerton. We did splurge a little (for our budget) on food, beer for Clark and cider for me, all enjoyed along with the panoramic view of the harbour. Next to this place is Merlion Park and the Merlion fountain. The park was much busier than we had expected, so we didn’t stay for too long. We headed over the Jubilee Bridge, along the esplanade and over the Helix Bridge, taking many chances to sit in the shade and admire the view.

At night, we had dinner at the Marina Bay Sands food court, which is designed like a hawker centre. At 8 pm, we stood in the rain to watch the Spectra Light & Water Show on the harbour. I’m pretty sceptical about a water/light show, but I have to admit, I was impressed. This was probably one of the best water/light shows I have seen. It was not the only one we saw this night, though. Once Spectra ended, we walked to Gardens by the Bay to see the 8:45 pm Garden Rhapsody. Thankfully the rain had stopped in time for us to look up and watch the supertrees dazzle to the sound of classic movie and tv theme songs.


The famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice.

I’m sure it’s no surprise that we once again started our morning with the hotel buffet breakfast, but this time we decided to have coffee elsewhere. I had seen a place online called Café Monochrome, well known for its 2D design that makes it look like you are eating inside a cartoon sketch. We had intended only to order coffee, but the mouth-watering waffles and ice cream enticed us, and we ended up sharing an Oreo waffle topped with chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce. From there, we caught the train to Chinatown, saw the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and strolled the street markets on the hunt for my country #3 souvenir. I landed on an adorable, tiny, fold-up shopping bag, which I am sure will be very handy in the coming months.

The next stop was the only food place we could not leave Singapore without trying. The famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice in the Maxwell Food Centre. We had seen this on tv and read about it online. We were fully prepared to line up for a while, but miraculously the line was very short, and we had our plate within minutes. It was simple but just as delicious as we had expected (and our expectations were high). I then went on the hunt for other food we should try, coming back with a plate of char siew wonton noodles. On my hunt, I also discovered that the line for Tian Tian had grown since we left and was now snaking around the corner. I guess we timed our visit very well.

We jumped back on the train to Little India, but as we emerged from the station, the storm clouds rolling in and the thunder booming overhead made us walk at quite the pace through Little India back to our hotel. I’m not even joking when I say we stepped foot on our doorstep just as the rain came bucketing down. We waited inside and packed our suitcases ahead of an early start for our upcoming travel day. On our sprint home, we had flashed by a hawker centre that we decided to return to for dinner. I’m not sure what the centre's name was, but it was at the Jalan Besar Sports Centre on Tyrwhitt Road. We shared three plates of food and decided we couldn’t leave Singapore before I tried a Tiger beer. Tiger now sits at #1 out of 2 (Bintang) on my beers from different countries list.


We struggled to find accommodation in Singapore within our budget that didn’t separate us into gendered hostel rooms or small pods. Eventually, we discovered Ibis Budget Singapore Imperial and are glad we did. This hotel is a bit further from the central area of Singapore but within a 10-minute walk from the Downtown MRT line that takes you to all the attractions. The room was quite small, which was difficult with two suitcases, but it was clean and had all the amenities we needed. We had chosen a room with no window, but to our delight, the bathroom had a small window that let natural light into the rest of the space. The buffet breakfast was small but had a range of options.


We have a long travel day ahead before we reach country #4, but we are now on our way to the USA.


When planning our travel destinations, we pin our bucket list of sites to see and recommended places to eat and drink on Google Maps. We are then never lost for ideas when travelling, and can easily share these lists for our friends and family to use as well.

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