Day 1: Singapore

Today is the first day of my backpacking trip, and I… overslept. I’ve actually been in Singapore since Saturday, and I’ve been going around the city reacquainting myself with old favorites (the Esplanade, China Square Central) and discovering new ones (the National Museum of Singapore). I had grand plans of going on several walking trails today, but after the weekend’s activities, I decided to just to it when I come back at the end of the month and just spend the day at home.

Selamat Datang
Selamat Datang

Like my previous trips here, I’m staying with my brother and his family. What’s different this time though, is their new place. My brother has lived in his previous flat for almost 10 years. It was just last year that they finally decided to get a place of their own and moved farther from their previous flat. Since this is Singapore, taking the public transportation is a breeze, and in no time, I’m going out on my own.

Singapore waterfront
I’ll never tire of photographing this scene

Saturday night, we had dinner at the much touted Makansutra’s Glutton Bay. This is an open air dining place right beside the Esplanade and like most kopitiam, you can order any of Singapore’s signature dishes. We feasted on char kway teow, cereal prawns, yang chow fried rice and chicken and beef satay. YUM! Definitely a great way to start any trip. To burn off the calories, we took a walk along the river, and crossed over to the Merlion side, where there’s a performance right at the riverside.

Peranakan Museum
Let’s go to the Pernakan Museum

Sunday I went off on my own to take advantage of the International Museum Day. In celebration of this day, museums in Singapore have free admission. Despite coming here for several times in the past, I’ve never been to ANY of Singapore’s museums, and was glad to have the opportunity to visit them for free. I went to the Peranakan Museum, which showcases the history and culture of the Peranakans in Singapore, and to the National Museum, where the Verner Panton and the Christian Lacroix exhibit is on display. Admission to the National Museum costs $10 for adults, while admission to the Peranakan Museum costs $6. The SG$16 I saved though went to the toys I bought from China Square Central (CSC). *^*

Christian Lacroix the costumier exhibition
Christian Lacroix the costumier

I was so exhausted when I came home Sunday evening. I walked a lot that afternoon, and it felt good to just lie down in bed and read my latest Peter Moore book (Swahili for the Broken Hearted — the last book missing from my collection). I enjoyed my rest a little too much, because the next thing I know, it was already 10am! Much lollygagging and Plurking was done until 3pm, when I decided to go out and check out the nearby mall. However, just as the bus pulled out of the bus stop, I receive a text from my brother asking me to buy him the iPod Touch being offered at a special price for the Great Singapore Sale. This is a promo limited to tourists at the Epicentre in Wheelock Place. Since I knew it was limited, I asked him to call the store to ask if they still have it in stock. I didn’t want to go all the way to Orchard for something that might not be available anymore! He said he couldn’t get through the phone, so I made my way to Orchard Road.

Clearly, I do not know how to use my new lens -___________-

Construction never stops in Singapore. Everytime I visit, there’s always some road improvements going on or another skyscraper being built. There were some construction at the corner of Orchard and Cross street, which led to the closure of the underground passage from Orchard road station to Wistma Atria (which resulted to me taking the wrong exit the day before, ending up ACROSS Wistma Atria). The exit took me to the surface, right at the corner of the two streets, facing Tangs and the Marriot hotel. Wheelock Place was just across the road. I went inside the mall, not knowing where Epicentre was. Somehow, I made it there on the first try, but unfortunately, they were already out of the SG$194 8GB iPod Touch. Dejectedly, I wandered around the mall, wondering where Dollz Inc was. I was told of this dolls store inside Wheelock place, and I’m excited about it, since it’s so much easier to get to than CSC. It turns out that the store was in the same corridor that I passed through going to Epicentre, and I missed it because I was so engrossed in one of the stores (there was a t-shirt that says “I &heart; Roti Prata”!)

Bishan sunset
Another Bishan sunset

It was a store specializing in Blythe dolls and accessories, but there are plenty of other cute stuff you can buy for Pullips and Pinkies. Like Re-ment! Evil, evil super cute Re-ment miniature toys. I couldn’t resist, and ended up buying another box. I stopped myself from buying more stuff, so I went outside to head back home. I decided to take the long way home, since it was rush hour and the trains would probably be full. I took the bus from Scott road that passes through my brother’s old place. I felt nostalgic taking that bus, even though it’s a fairly new route. I got off at Junction 8, a mall that I frequented since it was so near my brother’s place. The mall is also where the Bishan MRT station was. During my last visit here in March 2007, they were constructing the Circle line of the Singapore MRT system. A portion of the line is already finished, and just last week, it has started operations. Bishan Station is now Bishan Interchange, serving both the North-South line and the new Circle Line. I took the Circle line to Serangoon, where I changed to the North East line to Seng Kang. From Seng Kang, it was another LRT ride to my brother’s apartment block. It was a pretty long ride — took me about an hour and a half.

Off to explore SEA. BRB.
Off to explore Southeast Asia. BRB.

Now, I’m packing yet again, because backpacking officially begins tomorrow. I’m leaving my comfort zone, and I feel rather unprepared. I can’t wait :)

RELATED:   Day 18: Getting out of Thailand

Photos that didn’t make it to this entry can be viewd at my flickr.

Great deals on Singapore Hotels via Agoda

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 8 Comments
  1. Anna D. says:

    Soooooooooooo inexpensiiiiiiiiiive! I love how they treat their gadgets there, hehe. Have fun Nina! I shall live vicariously through you. =)

  2. Haha! the ‘Fail’ photo was funny and the last one is cute. :) I miss Singapore.

  3. dementedchris says:

    I don’t think I’ve ridden the Circle line. Have fun on your trip, Nina! I see that Sigrid can’t wait for backpacking time to begin! :D

  4. lol looks like you and the girls are ready to go — have fun and stay safe! :D

  5. Reyski says:

    correction… we had it at hello… este… since Q3 2007, so we’re on our way to 2 years already…

  6. MFD says:

    why don’t you just make this blog as it is, a travel blog. rather than make it a hobby for dolls and their travels too blog. its confusing.

  7. nina says:

    MFD: Sorry it confused you. Just Wandering *is* a travel blog. It just so happens that I travel with my toys and I do look for toys when I travel.

  8. Techie Joyce Ramos says:

    Hi, Nina! I have been reading your blog since Sunday and your travel stories are very inspiring!

    After all the dreaming, I’ve chosen to take a step forward and feed my lust of travelling. I’ll be visiting Singapore and then Thailand this coming October.

    Would you be able to recommend budget friendly hotels in Sing?

    Oh by the way, if we want to visit Sentosa, should we stay in a hotel near Sentosa or should we just opt to stay in Orchard Road where the action is? =)

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