Singapore: Rules, durian, and my favourite Merlion

I find Singapore daunting and I don't know why - maybe it's because it's the first big city I've been to on my own, or maybe I've just become accustomed to the laid back atmosphere experienced in Chiang Mai old town. I don't know whether it's this or whether it's because I'm on my own... On my own properly for the first time since I started travelling 3 weeks ago. That's a little silly though isn't it? I come away as a solo traveller and I can't get used to being in my own company 3 weeks in... Maybe it was a good think to leave Thailand when I did.

My first day (i.e the day I arrived) was hectic. I managed to withdraw the last £20/25 on my cash card and when I came to use my AUS$ card I'd written down the wrong pin. Moneyless (bar the $50 in my pocket) and holding back a few tears (I was tired okay?!) I went to get a single ticket to Lavender station and made my way there. I grabbed a bottle of pomegranate juice from a 7Eleven (can't tell you how happy I am to see that they're here too!) and dodged the dirty looks as I opened it in the station (I didn't realise eating and drinking was prohibited at this point!) so after a few sips I stuffed it in my bag.

Traversing the MRT network and finding my hostel was easy - a lady helped me get on the right street (well I didn't know which exit to take!) and I quickly found the hostel which was about 5 minutes away. The guy behind reception was lovely, told me not to worry about paying until I'd sorted my money situ out and gave me a free towel (normally $1) which was much appreciated after the long journey I'd had!

The next day was better - far better - but for most of the day I still found Singapore so overwhelming. I felt like a very small fish in a very big sea as I made my way from station to station, eyeing up Raffles Hotel and getting lost in the Suntec Centre, making my way to Marina Bay and looking at the beautiful buildings and spotting the Merlion across the way... Of course I got a photo with it... I don't think a single person has been to Singapore without standing in pretty much the same spot to catch a photo with the half-lion-half-fish beast... Two of my favourite things in one - cat and fish - you can understand my excitement surely?!

Realising I hadn't eaten since breakfast and realising I had no idea what I was doing, I tried to hunt down some WiFi. Ashamedly I sat in Starbucks because it was the only place I could find and it was on the way to Raffles Place MRT (excuses excuses) but I had a pretty nice drink and a pretty substandard sandwich.

Leaving Starbucks and the Merlion behind I hopped on the MRT and head towards Chinatown after a few changes. Now here's where I started to enjoy myself again. I fell in love with Chinatown!! The hustle and bustle of the street markets, the lanterns hung from building to building, the people, the goods, the smell of fresh food, the drinks, even the smell of durian, everything was perfect. I grabbed a lychee drink (interesting and a little too sweet but it was only $1) and made my way towards the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and got distracted by more food stalls and a little restaurant - Tak Po - which is apparently famous for Hong Kong dim sum and ordered some jasmine tea, Siew Mai, and Crystal Chives Ball. Absolutely delicious and cheap... Until I went to pay and they'd charged me for the hand towel and peanut 'appetiser' even though I hadn't ordered it or eaten it. As it happens if they put something in front of you and you don't want it you need to tell them otherwise they'll charge you. Ho hum. Peanuts for take out it is then!

I had another walk around and came across the night market - I love a good night market. I didn't buy anything annoyingly, but I'm sure I can pop back and purchase a few goods. I did come across a stall selling bags, "from Thailand - very cheap". As soon as I said I'd just come from Thailand the price went down... Go figure!

I carried on walking through the night market, eyeing up some beautiful pieces and some utter tat. So many times I was told to buy a lucky buddha in 'jade' for $25. I don't think so! Ended up in downtown Chinatown and stumbled across Sri Mariamman temple, Singapore's oldest Hindu temple. What a stunner! I watched as beautifully dressed men and women swarmed in to worship at this incredible place. I wanted to go in - we're quite welcome to - but something didn't feel right. I didn't want to appear as if I was just a happy snapper wanting to take photos during their worship.

I had full intentions of going back to Marina Bay and watching the light show at the Marina Bay Sands hotel but I had no idea what time it was starting. Something told me that there was a show at 9.30pm but it was taking me forever to get from a to b since I'd had a little mooch at the Harbour Front to price up the cable car to Sentosa. Expensive but heard it's worth the trip... Plus there's a beach. Maybe I can finally stop looking like a milk bottle from the waist down....? xX

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  1. Merlion for the next tattoo? ;)

    1. You know Emilie that isn't actually a bad idea ... You know what I'm like, ha ha. I'm going to get some bamboo somewhere though for sure ;) xX

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