Singapore, I adore you. After experiencing such an all-consuming love with Melbourne, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to really love a place again. After spending almost two years solidly in Australia, it was really strange to actually get on a plane and leave. I’m being over dramatic – It was just a two week holiday and now I am back in Melbourne’s loving arms, (not for long though…) but it was still a really big deal for me.
My expectations weren’t especially high. It was just an extended lay over between Australia and Bali, but I figured I would make a little holiday of it. I’d heard Singapore was abnormally clean, but that’s about as far as my knowledge of the country went. I was as anxious as always about everything I could possibly be anxious about; The flight, figuring out how to get from the airport to my hostel, what the hostel would be like, whether I would meet anyone I wanted to spend any time with, along with lots and lots of other typical Taylor worries. From the moment I landed all of those fears dissipated into nothing. I was immediately overwhelmed with the beautiful aesthetics ALL around me. Even in the short drive from the airport to my hostel my eyes were glued to the window, taking everything in.
I was greeted at The Tree In Lodge by a local who offered me instant kindness, showed me all around the hostel, and told me about all of the best places in his beautiful country. I was lucky enough to find a kindred spirit, Krissy, who was happy to explore Singapore with me, so the next morning we set off with our day packs and a jam-packed day ahead. We walked to China Town and feasted at the cheapest Michelin Star restaurant in the world; Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle located. With our bellies full we walked around a local Singaporean gallery and immersed ourselves in the majestic temples around us. We joined in with the floods of tourists taking selfies at Marina Bay, and then walked to the Bogis street markets. We drank brightly coloured juice and once re-energised, walked to the Arab Quarter. I absolutely fell in love with this area; the cute little laneway streets painted with graffiti and inspiring quotations, the quirky bars with live bands, and really felt at home. We walked (this sentence is going to appear many more times, as we did a LOT of walking…) to Little India, ready to refill our rumbling bellies and found ourselves in a local vegetarian Indian restaurant. The food was absolutely delicious and I discovered my previously unknown love for real Indian food!
And then finally the moment I had been waiting for… I got to ride the metro!! Probably most of you are not aware, (but for those that are – I am truly sorry!) I have a very strange obsession with trains. I won’t say anymore but be warned to never ask me any sort of public transport question, as I will talk your ears off. We took the train to Gardens by the Bay and watched a spectacular light display and firework show. The whole gardens were beautiful and added to the flawless architecture and design throughout the whole country. After the miles and miles of walking my feet were so sore I could barely walk but we managed to get ourselves back to the hostel and collapsed in bed.
We rose early the next morning as it was my last day, and there were still so many wonderful things we were yet to see! We started off by going to some more local food markets. It was amazing to be the only tourists there, and definitely gave us the feeling of experiencing the ‘real’ Singapore! We ate rice and eggs for breakfast, washed down with Singaporean coffee. We walked all around the botanical gardens in the beautiful sunshine, stopping to climb a giant tree house and lie in the sun for a while. With my time running out we hopped onto a train (yay!) to the Harbour front and walked across the bridge to Sentosa Bay! This side of Singapore was completely different. Long gone were the cute quaint streets, replaced now with the Universal Studios and all things ‘touristy’! We tried to escape the hoards of people and made our way down to the beach for a few minutes of sunbathing and paddling in the crystal clear water. We crossed a rickety bridge to a hidden paradise and I soaked up the last of my Singapore sun.
On our way back to the hostel I came across a Marks and Spencers which excited me almost as much as riding the Metro! After being away from England for two years I have somewhat forgotten some of my favourite English foods, like M&S freshly baked cookies! I bought two and happily ate them as we walked through one of Singapores very fancy shopping centres. I was shocked to learn that Singapore is the third richest country in the world, but it is definitely very evident in their buildings and fancy hotels! (Cough cough, Raffles…!) I begrudgingly bid farewell to Krissy and got to experience Singapores final wonder; the airport!
Singapore, thank you for welcoming me so kindly and making me feel comfortable and happy. Because of you I have faith that there ARE other amazing things out there, and leaving Melbourne doesn’t have to put an end to all good experiences. Again, I am sounding extremely over dramatic, but it just isn’t possible to put my love for Melbourne into words. (Prepare yourself for an extremely goodbye to Melbourne post in the next coming months…) Singapore, you have managed to squeeze your way into my heart, and I will always carry a little piece of you with me.