3 days in Singapore
Singapore Travel Guide
Diary of my days in THE LION CITY – January 2019
It’s almost the end of my first long backpacking trip with Gianni.
After four months on the road, first in India to become fully certified yoga teachers, then travelling across Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, now it’s time to go back to Italy (even if it’s only for a week before returning to India).
The last stop is Singapore. This stop wasn’t really planned, as mostly of my life recently I have to say- but I found an amazing offer from there to fly back to my hometown Naples. The only downside is an 18 hours layover in Athens, but somehow I am getting used to long airport stays and actually even enjoying them as I have plenty of time to read, write and just think.
Singapore is also the hometown of Ming, a guy that attended my 200 hours YTTC in Rishikesh with which ended up getting a very good friend. Ming is a developer close to its 50ies that is now approaching yoga and meditation. He has actually now moved to Taipei but is going back to Singapore to meet us.
We arrive at the airport at almost midnight and Ming is here waiting for us. Following our friend and guide we get on the bus heading downtown.
Singapore is one of the most futuristic city I have never visited and the contrast with the places visited during the last months make it even more impactful to my eyes.
We get down close to the Marina square and we cross the Helix Bridge headed to the Marina Bay Sands. We are looking for a place to chill, drink something and catch-up on the last few months.
Almost all the shops are closed down and we only find a supermarket open. No alcoholic drinks sold after 10:00 – just one of the many rules and restrictions of Singapore – so we get cold coffees and juices and sit down on the wooden floor (incredibly clean to be in the center of a city) opposite the lake and the Merlion – the symbol of Singapore.
After few hours is time to go to our hotel. I am staying at Oxley hotel, in the Geylang district. The price per night is way higher than what we have been paying in last few months across Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. It’s not a particularly nice hotel, but it’s clean enough so it’s ok. We are on a budget and we couldn’t find anything better. On the good side there are many local restaurants nearby open until late. If you are on a budget go for it – if you can spend more, try to get closer to the center.
The second day starts after only 4 hours sleep. Somehow I am trying to find the strength to wake up at 06:00 to get on a bus headed to the East Coast Park.
I took appointment with Ming to do yoga first thing in the morning – am I regretting this now? Hell yes.
The East Coast Park is amazing. It is London meets Los Angeles. It’s a sunny day but there are not many people in the park. I have been told that the week-end it’s a completely different place and it becomes very crowded.
We head to a spot under the trees just opposite the beach. I notice another sign ‘Not allowed to swim in the sea’ Singapore hitting you again with its rules.
After a 2 hours yoga sessions, we meet Ming’s girlfriend and with her we walk to Chinatown, where is still possible to see some of Singapore’s old buildings. Do not expect a historic area. It’s more like a few stores’ facades, but this is a city that is evolving and changing day by day, no place for the past.
After lunch we say bye to Ming and we head to see the Merlion and then head to a coffee shop to relax, draw and write.
Singapore can be very hot – to the point where just walking around becomes unbearable. No tour de force for us. The only touristic places that we have on our lists are the Merlion (check) and the Gardens by the Bay, in particular the Supertree grove and the Cloud Forest.
In the evening Gianni and I head by bus to Little India, we have left India only 3 months ago but we do miss its smells and flavors. We have dosa for dinner – Indian taste but Singapore prices
Today I can finally sleep. That’s already good enough for me.
After breakfast at a local restaurant Gianni and I take a bus and head straight to The Gardens By the Bay.
We enter the Shoppes city mall first, then pass by the Marina Bay Sands hotel and we can already see the Supertrees far away.
The gardens are as nice as they look in the photos. I have the feeling of entering the Avatar world.
There are different options of tickets that you can buy to see different areas of the park.
I has a ticket that allowed entry to the general park, including attractions like the Floating Baby, the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome. It didn’t include access to the Skyway (the bridges across the Supertrees) so that’s one for the next time.
The Cloud Forest is definitely a must see. The huge waterfall, the building covered in plants, the crystal area and the tropical plants area at the top. Most of the energy used to maintain the place comes from solar panels. It’s informative, it’s fun and it gives you some connection to nature even in a super futuristic city like Singapore.
The Flower Dome is nice to see, but not as unique as the Cloud Forest.
We have then been walking around the park to see the Floating Baby and then back to the Supertree Grove area to sit down on the grass waiting for sunset for the Rhapsody show. It’s basically a concert of classical music when the trees’ lights dance following the musical notes.
It’s quite cosy and relaxing especially after a long day walking around and if you can lay on the grass with your special person.
We have then been heading to the opposite side of the bay, on the stairs opposite the Esplanade Theater to have some takeaway food with Ming.
The last buses will take us to the hotel first and then to the airport, waiting for our flight at 02:00 am.
This was my Singapore. Days spent with no rush, meeting old friends and making new memories.