MS: Meet and Greet

Travelling is a thing nowadays. I remember reading tweets “save money, if getting married ain’t possible; travel.”

More people are travelling around the globe, adventuring life to the fullest. Spending money for their vacation around the world rather than buying properties at their hometown.
In Malaysia itself, tourists and travellers are everywhere. And even a more common term nowadays is ‘backpackers’. Travellers with a backpack. Daa 💁🏻‍♂️. I did not miss my chance to be part of this team. #teambackpackers

Here’s my story and maybe there’s some tips we can share together along the way. Mind you, I am one true amatuer in this whole travelling stuff.

It was two days before Ramadhan, I had quit my job at the cinema, and had some savings. My side business had helped quite a lot in adding up the amount. I love the sea so much. I missed the scent of the ocean, the sound as the waves slapped the beach, the heat from the glaring sun. However, I have never been to crystal clear beaches. Malibu-kinda-beach. Never.

I did some research on such beaches. Locally there’s quite a few, however they were either too far from the mainland, or too expensive and uneconomical for a solo trip. For my first ever solo trip, I prefer a more secured and financially affordable trip. Just trying to get the gist of a solo trip, I am not ready for too much risk. I met some friends one night and they said, “Why don’t you go to Singapore?”

As random of a person as I am, I made my mind the very next morning. It was 5:30 a.m. when I saw my mom at the kitchen. “Up to you, it’s on you anyway,” was all she said. I bathed, changed, and head straight to the nearest Immigration Department. My passport was expired and I need to arrive early to skip the long queue of renewing it. I was third in the queue, I had my flight booked while waiting for my turn. I then booked my hostel through booking.com. Once, I returned from the immigration, I had my passport, flight ticket and hostel room all ready. I went to the money changer I am most familiar with and had the business done. By 10 a.m. I am all prepared and my backpack was ready.

Tips #1: Go for hostel rooms, it’s convenient enough for backpackers. One room has a range of 6-8 person. You can request for a not mixed room at some hostels. Breakfast is prepared, shared toilets and bathrooms.

Tips #2: I went to two hostels so far and they both provides towels, so you may as well leave your towel at home. But, better be safe than sorry. I would not suggest using shirts as towels. 😐

Tips #3: You can save a whole lot of money if you pack your own food. I can survive on buns and breads, hence I filled my backpack with them. I did not spend a single penny on food during my Singapore trip.

I arrived at Changi Airport around 2 p.m. And believe me, I had no idea what to do, where to go, I found myself a seat. Everything happened in a blink of an eye. I had no fixed plan on where to go less than 24 hours ago, but there I was, all alone, in a foreign country. I thought it was best to find the hostel and check in first. If I were to proceed with other agenda, I might lose track of time and miss the check-in hour, or worse, got lost and have no where to sleep. And walking with my backpack around is not a very bright idea.

I found out about Singapore’s MRT there and then. I almost board the bus. Luckily I asked around and they lead the way to the MRT. Bought myself the STP card, Singapore Tourist Pass for $28. This card was accepted for all public transport. Means, I don’t have to buy any tickets, and just wave the card instead. The validity was for one day. Three days of validity would be of different price.

Tips #4: DO NOT buy the STP card! I was told beforehand to buy a card, but it was dumb of me not to confirm what card it was. I believe that they meant EZ-Link Card instead. It doesn’t have any expiry, and it works like a debit card. You can recharge it at any station, use it on any public transport, and with an EZ Card, they charge you lower than normal ticket price.

I took the MRT to Serangoon station, it was quite a journey. It took longer than I expected. It was drizzling in Singapore that evening. I went to a nearby hotel and asked for direction, however the friendly receptionist had no idea where the hostel was. He was anyway kind enough to let me use the lobby WiFi and the hostel turned out to be only two blocks away once I Waze-d it.

Checked in. Greeted the Filipino dude at the lower bunk. Not so friendly. Proceeded to unpacking. Solat. Changed into street wear. Map open. Evening planned. 6 p.m. Good to go.

Tips #5: Bring along a padlock, hostels provide individual locker, but you needa have your own padlocks. Some hostels provide you locker with key, but padlock won’t cost you those ‘extra-luggage’.

Tips #6: If you travel to foreign countries bring along an international adapter. Let’s avoid unnecessary spendings, shall we?

I head straight to Gardens By The Bay. I was greeted by the monumental Marina Bay Sands once I came out of the station. They were next to each other, and Singapore Flyer was visible in the middle though it was on the far end. The view is what picturesque defines. I arrived at the counter and seeing no one else was queuing behind me, I asked the personnel to introduce me to not only what’s inside but the whole Singapore. I walked my way to the Cold Conservatories and went into the Cloud Forest. I did not buy ticket to Flower Dome as they were better seen in the morning. Besides, I was trying to catch the light show namely Garden Rhapsody in an hour. The Cloud Forest on the other hand had a better view at night. It was the righteous decision I made. This Cloud Forest deserves every penny I paid. There were a lot of exhibitions, and they made sure quality keeps up with the quantity. Forest under a dome is mad. There were beautiful flowers blooming all over the place I didn’t regret not going into Flower Dome. (I know there were much more there but the amount they have here was enough.) The skywalk was brilliant, lighting was perfect, cloud-like mist was on point, and again, the plants correspond of the height was mesmerisingly arranged.

I was in time for the Garden Rhapsody at the Supertree Grove. I laid a piece of cloth on the floor and laid down on the ground, I wasn’t alone, no worries. Well, the lght show would be played on the trees, why would I hurt my neck looking up, if I can simply lay down and get the best view. Because of the rain, some exhibits were closed, it was quite a turn off. The Garden Rhapsody was rather magnificent, I had no time to grief. The theme played that night was Star Wars, though am not a fan, I enjoyed the excitement all the same. The excellent background music immersed everyone into the Star Wars world for a  good 20 minutes.

My night did not end there. I took MRT and walked my way to the infamous Merlion Park. Coming here at night rewards you with breathtaking nightlife view of Singapore. Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Flyers and Art Science Museum were all visible from the dock. And of course, standing proudly was the Merlion Statue with bright skyscrapers filling the background. I called the day off after enjoying the view and taking some compulsory photos.

Tips #7: travelling alone means less proper picture of yourself, bring along a selfie stick, or simply be friendly and ask around. Offering help first works better!

The next morning, I had my breakfast at the hostel, and surprisingly checked out. Yup, it was such a short trip. Ramadhan starts the next day. Terawih starts that night. I booked flight ticket home that very morning. After checking out, I boarded the MRT to ‘Kebun Bunga’ station, where the Botanic Garden was. I debated with myself whether I should be going here and see ‘mere’ plants or go see morning view at Merlion Park instead. Allah knows how glad I was that I went to the Botanic Gardens. ‘There’s a reason why it was choosen as a World Heritage’ was written in a brochur and that intrigued me on going there. The reason was well displayed from my very first step in the garden. It may took me ten of thousands of steps to get to the National Orchird Park from the entrance, but yeah, let me exaggerate. And forgive for calling them ‘mere plants’ as of earlier. The park was super clean, super green. Fallen leaves were carefully gathered in perfect circle under each tree. The park is very much alive with visitors doing yoga, jogging around, training boxing, walking their dogs. After 2 km of walks in the main park, I reached the National Orchids Park at the far end. The entrance fee was too little compared to what awaits inside. The orchids displayed in that one place were more in total than I ever saw in my whole 20 years of life. Their colours are more varied than the rainbow. They were all blooming so prettily. The careful arrangement of the orchids in accordance to their species and backgrounds made them more attractive. I secretly wish the whole park was my backyard. It was one rejuvenating walk around the park.

From there, I went to a place uncommon to tourists. It was a residence. However, this residence was the Building of The Year 2015. Namely The Interlace, this radically built residence was exceptional. I could not take proper photo of its architecture because non residence were not allowed inside. The quick detour to the residence was worthwhile. I then went straight to the airport only to miss my flight. Haha to me. Anyway no worries, Alhamdulillah there’s an available seat on the next flight. I finished all the buns left in my backpack (and prayed damn hard) while waiting for the flight to be confirmed.

Tips #8: Plan your journey well and try not to miss your flight!

Hit the comment button below and let me hear some feedback, or maybe share your adventure with me?

Till next time,

Bulbul.

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