After getting through customs, I walked over to get my car into the city. I’m pretty sure I’m one of the only people who flies first class and then stays at a hostel! The driver had not heard of the place I was staying, but I think it’s also fairly new. After stashing my bags and checking in with the happenings on the interwebs, I went for an exploratory walk around the city. I was staying in Chinatown, so fairly close to the center of things. I was able to walk down to the Marina Bay and did an entire circle of the bay, including the Merlion!
Upon returning to my hostel I was able to check in and got settled in my “bunk” at the Adler Luxury Hostel. The set up is a cross between a pod hotel and a hostel. The beds are quite wide and have a fair amount of room to move around. There is also a locker and some shelves within your “pod” and a heavy duty curtain that keeps the light out. It does have a tendency to get a but stuffy because the curtain also blocks air circulation, but that didn’t stop me from accidentally having a nap… Oops.
I was starving, and luckily I found a small veggie cafe just across the road from my hostel. It was fairly cheap for Singapore and I had a yummy stew type dish that was actually quite filling. I had been talking to a couchsurfer from Germany who was also in town at the same time and we had a plan to meet up for drinks a the Clarke Quay that night. Unfortunately I was a bit late and we didn’t en up finding each other, but I did get a chance to walk around a little bit and take some photos. But I was still pretty tired from my flight so headed back fairly early and got a good night sleep.
We had decided to try to meet up again my second day in Singapore and head to the MacRitchie Reservoir. I left my hostel quite early and took the opportunity to go for a walk around little India. I was early and not many of the shops were open, but the buildings and colours were really interesting. I did notice a few vegan cafes that would have been great to check out, but I had to get back on the metro and head to our meetup point.
Unfortunately the other couchsurfer and I seemed to miss each other again, so I ended up heading off myself. The reservoir is a large lake in the middle of Singapore that has a park at one end and hiking trails through the surrounding forest. There are many signs warning you to not feed the monkeys, but I didn’t see a single one while I was there. I looked at the choices for the trails and decided to head off on a relatively easy one that went around the lake. One the way out I took the boardwalk and then took the path through the jungle on the way back. I only made it about 3km before the heat for to be a bit much and I turned around; there are many km of trails to choose from with the longest being approximately 10km one way.
It really does feel like you’re in the middle of a reserve, when in reality you’re only a short hop back to a roadway. I didn’t make it to the tree top walk, but it would be something I would be interested in doing next time.
I headed back to town in the early afternoon and dropped my bags back at the hostel before realizing that most of the cafes would be closing soon, so I quickly head back out to grab some lunch. Luckily I had gotten some cash, so I went back to the pita place I’d passed the day before and got a yummy falafel pita. The owner even offered me a date(the fruit) as I was finishing up.
I went back to the hostel to recharge my battery and planned to try to meet up with my German couchsurfing friend for drinks… Third time’s a charm! We had a few drinks at Clarke Quay and then grabbed a quick bite before calling it a night. I was exhausted from the walk in the morning and was still a bit jet lagged.
My third day in Singapore involved having to switch accommodations; I’d found a pod hotel that looked interesting and had free laundry, so I’d booked it for my last night there. After another small breakfast, I took some time to visit the temple that was right across the street from my hostel… absolutly beautiful! I had to borrow a wrap to walk around with, but the decorations were amazing. There were also lots of people there to participate, but I’m not sure if there was I specific ceremony going on or not.
I said goodbye to Chinatown and hopped on a bus to the shopping district. The bus stop was directly I front of the Pod Hotel and I went to check in and drop off my luggage. It was an interesting environment, a bit of a mix between a hostel and a hotel, and really the only downside was that I’d gotten a pod you entered from the foot of the bed and the air circulation wasn’t great.
I took the opportunity to take a walk around the shopping malls and ended up finding a small vegetarian cafe tucked away in the middle of a food court. It was quite good and was the cheapest food is come across in Singapore. After filling up on some delicious pasta and tea, I head off to the botanical gardens. I thought an hour or two would be enough, but they’re so huge you could easily spend most of the day there exploring. I was there for over two hours and felt like I’d done a bare minimum.
I head back to the hotel to change quickly before meeting up with my couchsurfing friend again. We started out a place called the Beer Market, where the price of beer fluctuates with demand, like the stock market, before heading off to ladies night at the top of the Marina Bay Sands.
After finishing our free drinks, it was time to say goodbye to my German friend and head back to the hotel for the night, but not before squeezing in some time to see the Supertree Grove at the gardens by the bay… Definitely has a bit of an avatar feel to it.