My 48 Hours in Singapore
“Just relax. Take a deep breath. Again. Do it again,” I was exhausted, sweating and panicking at the same time. I tried to keep myself calm, sat at the bus stop, while trying to remember what made me so reckless to come to foreign country without preparing anything.
I came to Singapore without any proper plans. As traveler, I could say, that was really not a good idea, at least if it’s seen from my personal experience. It was unplanned, after five days spending my time in Kuala Lumpur, while passing a bus stop written Kuala Lumpur – Singapore, an impulsive thoughts came into my mind. I bought two ways ticket to Singapore and I returned to my hotel to pack my stuffs since I will leave Malaysian in the next eight hours.
The road was extremely good. I had no complains at all. Even, they provided delicious ‘nasi lemak’ for our breakfast on board. A problem occurred when passed the border. When entering Singapore’s territory, all passengers should hopped off the bus with all their belongings and passed immigration staffs for the entry stamp. And here, the problem began. The officer questioned me a lot of questions such as, “how many days that I will spend in Singapore, how much money I am taking with me, what is my job back to Indonesia, and where I am going to stay during my visit in Singapore”
The officer could read the anxiety on my face. Honestly, I had no idea where I would go to stay. So, I just mentioned one of hotel randomly, whatever comes up in my mind first. One officer looked me in the eye, as I was going to do illegal things in Singapore.
“Tell us exactly where exactly the hotel is”
I was scared and worried to death, ready when they sent me back to Malaysia. I just answered quickly (thanks God for my English)
“That would be in little India, bla bla bla. So, from harbor front (where the bus will stop), I’m going to take metro to little India and walk for some hundred meters from there”. I had no idea from where those answers came from. The immigration staff gave me stamp with grin on his face.
I arrived in little India neighborhood an hour after. It was a hot day, the day when most of people chose to spend their time indoor and enjoy the cool air of air conditioning. But it was not what I did, instead I walked in the middle of the heat while carrying my suitcase from one place to another to find a hotel room for myself. It was weekend, and most of hotels providing rates as my expectation were fully booked. The rests gave higher rates, not less than 100 Singaporean Dollar per night, which would be to expensive to be spent for unemployed person like me (I had no jobs at that time).
I was so desperate, super exhausted, and almost took decision to return to bus station to take me back to Kuala Lumpur. Until, an old man came towards me and asked me friendly,
“I think you’re looking for something, young lady,” he asked politely. “I was watching you from my shop over there, “ he appointed his shop which is only 10 meters from where we’re standing.
“Yes, I am looking for hotel, but most of them of full,” I answered desperately.
“Well, there is a hostel nearby. And many travelers as you come there. Just follow this street, after two blocks, you need to turn left. You will see it”
I thanked him many times and followed the route he suggested. I found the hostel, called in Crowded Hostel located at one of corners in Little India.
“But there is no private room in this hostel. At the moment, we just have beds in mixed dormitory and..”
“I have no problem at all. Just give me the bed,” I even did not let the receptionist to finish her words while she was trying to explain about the dorms. After paying 20 Singaporean Dollar per night, the lady gave me bed sheet and the blanket. Yes, I should make my bed myself. But I didn’t care at all. I didn’t care knowing the fact that I should sleep with strangers in one room for the first time. I just wanted to sleep at the first place. I couldn’t even remember to open my shoes when I put myself on the bed.
I wake up in the afternoon, had enough nap and ready to do little explore of Singapore. As its name, Little India, the area is full of Singaporean Indian citizen. Along the street where I stayed in, I could feel the smell of Indian food came from many Indian restaurants along the street. I even touched some fresh vegetables in open market, and bought some apples for myself. I was not comfortable when the seller looked at me straight in the eye, when I just stared to his vegetables, took photos and did not give any signs to buy. He smiled when I finally said, “could you please to give three apples for me please,”
I took metro to go the Orchard, my first metro ride ever. I know it sounds weird, but I amazed every single I saw in the metro station. I amazed the ticket machine, I amazed knowing that I was more than 30 meters under the ground and I still could breathe normally. I amazed the punctuality of the train. I amazed how Singaporeans were so organized and quite in the same time. I amazed everything.
I went out from Orchard station, the area which is famous with its shopping malls offering many branded things. This is heaven for shopaholics. Well, I am not a shopping person, so what I found ’50% sales’ in Orchard did not attract me, but I didn’t mind to gaze beautiful modern architecture building surrounding. After walking around for two hours and gave myself two cones of ice cream as gifts, I went back to the hostels. And by the way, I couldn’t believe that I could sleep like a baby with strangers that night.
Second day, I got my breakfast at the hostel with Santiago, a Spanish guy that had bed next to mine in the dorm, who was doing his first Asian trip. It was raining and made me so lazy to step out my feet out of the door. But that day was my last day in Singapore, therefore I should go out or I missed the chance to see the other part of Singapore.
I left the hostel, China Town was my destination. I said good bye to Santiago that chose to go to other parts. As yesterday, I took metro again and arrived in China Town less than 10 minutes. Out of the station, I found a lot of shops with cute souvenirs, so, this place could be perfect to find some gifts your friends.
Walking in China Town gave the feeling like walking in the old town of China. The area is surrounded by buildings with meddling of China and Colonial architectures. The red lampions were hanged along the streets as like as I was going to have Chinese New Year very soon.
The weather was getting better and rain had stopped minutes ago. I decided to go to Sentosa Island. From harbor Front, I went towards Vivo building, next to Harbor front to get Sentosa Express ticket to take me to the island. It cost me 3 dollars for return ticket of Monorail Train got me to Imbiah Station. Then, I went to Merlion, the giant lion sculpture, the symbol of Singapore. It needs 8 dollars just to enter the Giant Lion. Inside, I saw some statues and mini theater showing the history of Singapore. On the top of statue, I could see Singapore from the height more than 50 meters. From here, I continued to Tiger Sky Tower where I could Singapore higher, 131 meters from the ground. And, It cost me 13 dollars.
The last place, Songs of the Sea, located at Beach Station. Towards here, I went with the other monorail. I also took a chance to get ridden of Palawan-Tanjong Beach Tram to see how the beach was, which I was a bit disappointed.
Back to Song of the Sea. It was opera performance, performed by the sea, and supported by laser effects with colorful lights and fountains. Well, the performance was okay. My 48 hours in Singapore passed well. It was not the best trip ever, but that was enough enjoyable.