Self Love #3

4:57:00 PM

So, I'm gonna pack my things and go travel the world before I'm old. -"Great Escape" by Mike Dignam.

Hey, all! I'm back after skipping at least a couple of weeks. See, as I said in my very first comeback (CHECK IT OUT, BTW!), I'm having issue with commitment. But I'm trying to do my best. I'm sorry.

Anyway...

I've been super busy for the last couple of weeks, jammed with orientation week or what we call "Penerimaan Mahasiswa Baru". I was going to post on the day it finished, but I passed out that night because I got home late and the train ride was just so asdfghjkl!
Nah, you're just lazy. HAHAHA
Yeah, whatever.

The following week after that was a whole other story. I went to Singapore in order to escape reality and the fact that school is starting super soon. Booked the tickets for me and my mom (she was supposed to go to China but her friends cancelled it and so we took off and landed in Singapore), flew there, and just roamed around the city for a few days. It was such a very needed and very well deserved recreation before going back to campus which I can already tell will suck the whole life out of me by the end of the semester. So, here I am making a blog post on my rather short time in Singapore.

SELF LOVE #3
The Escape


You're probably wondering why I picked Singapore (which is considered pretty close to Indonesia) as an escape from reality? The distance between Singapore and Indonesia is actually one of the main reasons why I decided to go there. Cheaper price, because I'm a low-budget, stressful 20 year old traveler. Instead of picking destinations that are far, far away from my own country and ending up renting a cheap-a$$ airbnb or hotel, I chose a rather closer getaway so that I can at least sleep in a very decent hotel. Plus, Singapore isn't that bad although I can walk around the city and go to most of the places by foot which probably will only take 5 days and no shower. So, yeah. That's pretty much how I sum up all my considerations to pick Singapore.

There are a lot of places a tourist can visit in this city and it doesn't take a lengthy traffic to go from one place to another because every public transportation generally arrives in time (unlike in Jakarta, no offense). Since I already visited some of them last year, I figured I didn't have to re-visit those places this time. But for the sake of a worthy blog post, here are some of the places you can go to in Singapore:
  • Changi Airport
This is mainly for the feeling of officially being welcomed to the city. And I guess the architecture is pretty spacey and just so modern. I've no scientific expertise on architecture, so please, just try to understand my point. Sorry.
  • East Coast Park
This area is near the housing area which is actually around the same region as the airport. The beach is super clean, super fresh, super beautiful, super calm, and super quiet. It's a public beach where anyone can go to but once you get there, it feels as if the beach is like your very own private backyard. I think I saw a bit of Indonesia (or maybe Malaysia, I'm not sure and crap at geography) at the very far distant. There were a lot of ships, mostly those from Cosco Shipping.
One particular issue that I have with this destination is there are no public transportation near the area. I had to walk at least 2 kilometers just to get to the beach. But I guess it was worth the scenery. It's a very solid, recommended place to think about life and just relax. Just don't go there at 12 o'clock at noon because the sun can actually be merciless. I got there at 10-ish in the morning and it was already so hot. I was drowning in sweat by the time my mom decided to go to our next destination.
A little throwback on this place, back when I was younger, when my family traveled together to Singapore, my dad took all of us here and we rode these tandem bikes. Mind you, my brother and I were only at least a quarter of my mom and dad in size. So, instead of helping them cycle the bikes, we had our feet up all the time, strolling around the shore line. It was just a nice feeling of nostalgia when I went there. Definitely one of the few places I'd love to go back to another time.
  • The famous lanes and districts (Kampung Arab, Little India, Chinatown)
These places are actually pretty close to one another except for Chinatown because it was on the opposite side of Kampung Arab (down South, according to the CitySightseeing Tour Map). The famous lane I'm talking about is of course the Haji Lane. The murals and the popping colors are just captivating. It is near the Arab St, actually about two or three blocks away from Arab St (Please, look it up on Google Map because I'm too lazy to do so HAHAHA).
For those of you who are fans of Kebab and all the Arabian/Pakistani/Muslim cuisines, this area is definitely a place for some cullinary adventure. I actually found at least two Indonesian restaurants, one is located in front of Masjid Sultan and another one is located somewhere on Arab St. The prices are not expensive at all. I ate a legit Nasi Padang in the restaurant across the mosque and spent about 20 SGDs. I ended up having a food coma because their chicken is twice as big as ours.
I went to Little India and Chinatown last year. These two places are best known for the cheap souvenirs and also the foods. Indian fabrics such as Sari can be found in many different shops located in Little India. Beautiful designs and patterns. And those of you who are fans of tasty pork meats, Chinatown is the perfect place. I don't and am not allowed to eat pork, but I guess from the way the people eat in restaurants there, it definitely screams goodness. So, it's a go-to. Souvenirs like key chains, bags, wallets, make-up bags, t-shirts, postcards, etc. are also sold in those two areas with less expensive prices compared to the ones sold near the Merlion Park or other landmarks.
What I personally love from these places is how heavily influenced they are in culture and how tolerant they are living side by side. I really like the concept of how one city which is smaller in size compared to Jakarta can actually be so culturally educated and tolerant. The thing which struck me the most is how tourists from all over the world and from different races, religions, and cultural values are open minded and interested enough to enter a Mosque and try different types of Arabian fashions. They didn't mock it, instead they asked questions about it. The same thing happens in both Little India and Chinatown, where people give small respectful gestures by attempting to speak the tourists' languages. So, these places are such nice destinations to learn and capture what respect and tolerance really look like.


  • Bayfront Area, The Garden, and The Shopping Centre
I have officially made these areas as my goal in life, specifically The Shopping Centre because why not. The view from the ArtScience Museum, just on the side of the Bayfront near the Helix Bridge is just breathtakingly beautiful. It was too bad I didn't bring my camera with me and so I used whatever camera settings I have on my phone to capture the view. God, it's just so beautiful.
Let's go back to how The Shopping Centre has finally become my dream goal in life...
Yes. I wanna work hard, become successful, earn a respectable amount of salary, and shop there without looking at the prices. But because I was broke as Fasdfghjkkl, I could only window shop. One day, Min. ONE FUDGING DAY. I'll make sure of it.
This is mainly because I walked pass a Hermes shop and just fell in love with the interior design of the shop and of course the things sold inside. But again, I was broke.
However, for those of you who are already drowning in so much money and have nowhere to spend it, be sure to shop here. I envy you. But at least you give me more reasons to work hard. Anyway, my mom and I bought these iced chocolate drinks which tasted amazing and some Nutella Go for snacking. We also hopped on this night cruise/river tour. Friendly recommendation, Singapore looks best during night time because the lights from all the skyscrapers and landmarks look super perfect with a pitch black night sky.
I went to the famous Gardens by The Bay last year. Somehow I didn't remember much except for the flowers that are just so beautiful and the cool temperature in the place once I got in there. My brother said something about the architecture. It was a dome-shaped building, covered with clear glass. And let me just say that Singapore and its architecture and planology are just divine.

 
  • Singapore Zoo, Singapore Botanic Garden, city parks, and Orchard Road
The only place I haven't gone to in my visits to Singapore is its Botanic Garden. My mom and I only ever drove pass the Botanic Garden on an open deck CitySightseeing Tour Bus. We didn't hopped off and continued the tour. However, the city parks with lots of green in them are very refreshing, especially those near my hotel area, at the far end of Orchard Road. Taking a walk in those area is much better than taking a city bus or an open deck tour bus.
The zoo, on the other hand, is much smaller than Taman Safari. But like always, Singapore has such amazing architecture and designs for each landmark/recreations. So, even though the zoo is smaller in size compared to Taman Safari in Cisarua, the design is way neater and of course, it's a lot cleaner. The animals are rather thinner in size. I could actually see the lion's rib-cage from afar and wondered whether it has eaten good enough protein or not. Another animal which captivates my concern is the puma. It looks super unhealthy and worried because it kept going around in its cage. Or maybe I was just missing my cats...
Of course, the famous Orchard Road, that one road which often mistaken for Orchard St in London. Both have lots of department stores, brand names marking many parts of the building, and of course beautiful lights and busy streets. I did a timelapse when my mom and I hung out in front of the Takashimaya Mall. It was cool but very poor in camera quality. Orchard Road has also become one of the many reasons why I wanna become successful. You know, to shop without looking at the price tags. (I freaking sound so materialistic, but a girl loves a good brand.)
  • Merlion Park, Clarke Quay, and Singapore Governmental/Administrative district
Finally, the famous Merlion Park where tourists never stop taking pictures, posing with their mouths open towards the spitting Merlion. In my very own opinion, this place is 100x much better visited at night. You don't have to squint your eyes while taking a picture, the lights around the place are sparkling, and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel is strikingly beautiful. Plus, you can look at the light show around the Durian-shaped building across from the park in absolute awe. So, consider a night visit. And, don't stand too close to the water spitting statue. I my entire phone and face ended up soaking wet when I tried taking pictures of it. The pictures that were taken turned out awful. It was not worth the effort.
When I visited Singapore last time, my dad booked an airbnb near Clarke Quay. This area on the riverside is very colorful. Colors don't usually go well with water or river area, but Clarke Quay is an exception, I guess. The restaurants on the riverside and that unique sculpture of kids jumping off towards the river are I think very cool. And of course, the lights from all the shops, restaurants, buildings are always one of the most important highlight and point tourist don't ever want to miss. Again, it is best to visit at night time. But having lunch there isn't that bad either. Good lighting for a picture worth posting on Instagram.

The places I've just told you above are only few spots you can consider visiting in Singapore. There are still destinations like Universal Studio Singapore, The Durian-shaped building, Singapore Flyer (you legit can see Indonesia from up there, at least I did the last time I went to Singapore), and many more.

Anyway...

As tourists, you are more concerned about expenses. To be honest, I used Traveloka for flights and hotel bookings. It adds points to my account and is a lot simpler than actually booking a ticket or a room on the actual site. But, everyone has their own preference. I just like simpler methods.

When we got to Changi, my mom and I immediately exchanged our Rupiahs to SGDs in the airport and brought Singapore simcards to use for communication purposes (well, it was mostly for instastory updates for me, HAHA). We bought simcards which have 100GB worth of internet quota which cost us 30 SGDs for 2 cards. My mom and I proceeded to take the MRT to get to our hotel which was located near the Dhoby Gaut MRT Station (about 5 minutes of walking). We bought 2 Standard Tickets for the MRT rides to reach the hotel and on our last day to get to the airport. For daily bus and MRT rides to reach our desired recreational spots, we bought 2 EZ-link smartcards which cost 12 SGDs each. It was actually 5 SGDs + 7 SGDs fares for the rides. So, it was a lot cheaper in a way because you can use it for both the city bus and also the MRT.

In terms of MRT lines (North South Line, Circleline, Downtown Line, North East Line, etc.), do not hesitate to ask the information center crew for a handy map. I did and it was super helpful. The map is free, btw. Don't worry.

As for our daily needs of nutrition, my mom and I bought sandwiches from the nearest 7-Elevens. They sell sandwiches which are enough to stuff you for at least 6 hours. We also bought Nutella Go and water to pump up energy for all the walking. But my mom was rather strict about lunch. She insisted we should eat real, heavy meals for lunch because otherwise we could actually starve to death. Because of this, we only spent more money on lunches due to our simple and less expensive choices of breakfast and dinner.

All these strategies of saving money are because of the demands of chocolate (and my craving for a Daniel Wellington watch). Before our last day in Singapore, we went to Suntec City to buy the watch I'd been craving for (I ENDED UP BEING THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN LIFE, then realizing that I just went officially broke after purchasing the watch. It was worth it, though. I'm ready for Pop-Mie nights in my kosan for the entire semester). Before our flight back to Jakarta, my mom and I went on chocolate shopping in the airport. We bought a lot. So, both of us were happy until we realized we could actually die from diabetes. But, you know... live life at its fullest.

I think, that's about it. That's all I have to tell about my escape to Singapore. It was short but worth the time and energy, and of course blog post worthy.

All I'm saying is that you do have to take a time out from reality once in a while. Clear your head, roam around, reflect on life, and just enjoy some different landscapes. Not only traveling or "escaping" is nice for your mental health and hectic mind, but it is also one of the most effective methods to learn about and observe culture and different people. And what's not good about that, right?

Anyway, I'm signing off. See you on another post!

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