I don’t really do any traveling at all here in the Philippines. I haven’t been anywhere outside of Luzon. The farthest south I’ve been to is in the province of Laguna—Though I am planning a solo cycling trip to the Bicol Region. So going outside the country for vacation is kind of a big deal for a shut-in like me. I was quite fortunate to be able to go to Singapore for one week last May of 2017. The family was visiting my sister who relocated there a few months prior due to her job. She served as our tour guide during our stay.
Arrival at Changi Airport
We acquired cheap flight tickets for Manila to Singapore through Jetstar. We departed at 9pm on May 25 and arrived at Changi Airport May 26. The flight was just less than 4 hours. Changi Airport is beautiful, orderly and serene. No wonder it consistently ranks as the best airport in the word. A tip for first-time tourists like me: be sure to fill out your arrival cards completely. You have to write down where you are going to stay even if it’s in a hotel or a relative’s home. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Hotel near Katong Mall.
Greenery & Transportation
Singapore roadways are well taken care of. I haven’t seen or experienced a single pothole. For the entirety of our cab ride, we saw various trees and plants all lined up at the side of the road or in the middle(Traffic Islands) dividing the lanes. The “City in a Garden” moniker is well deserved. Singapore is indeed very green. Something Manila should take notes of. Singapore is also proof that a country can be successful economically while preserving a good living environment which improves the quality of life for the people.
Public transportation is very convenient. You can use a single EZ-Link card for both MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and public buses. You can top-up these cards at MRT stations and Convenience stores like 7-Eleven.
The transportation facilities are also very friendly for people with disabilities. They provide wide doors and elevators for those in wheelchairs and scooters. For a time I was wondering what the bumped patterns on the station floors were. It turns out that those are guides for PWDs riding mobility scooters.
Observations: The People
Singaporeans are a very diverse group but they mostly comprise of people of Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnicity. There is also a significant number of Filipinos and Thais. There were, in fact, a lot of Filipinos like me roaming around. Makes me feel giddy hearing my native language being spoken by people on the bus and on the streets on a foreign country.
Since Singapore is a melting pot of various cultures and religions, being different is really no big deal. People mostly mind their own business.
Singapore Attractions & Points of Interest
Some Places I got to Visit
- East Coast Park – A park at a beach strip where a lot of people do morning exercises and general relaxation. There are separate small paved roads for walking, jogging and cycling and they are all labeled. There’s also a playground for children somewhere around there. I really enjoyed my morning walk there. Feels like I being lost a jungle.
- Sentosa Island & Universal Studios Theme Park – At VivoCity Shopping Mall—The nearest bus stop to Sentosa Island—We got tickets to ride the cable car that connects to the island. It was awesome. The theme park was fun too and I really enjoyed the performance acting seen at the Water World show.
- Gardens by the Bay – The reclaimed land that has the Hotel which has either a surf board or a boat at the top of the building (I’m not really sure). There is also the famous SuperTree Grove.
- Bugis Street & the ABC Cheapest Bargain Store – Cheap food and merchandise. Want something to bring back home? This is the place to go.
- China Town – I just strolled around the place and bought a hat.
There were also some places I wanted to visit but didn’t get the chance to. Maybe next time. I ❤️ Singapore and I want to go back again someday.