Falling in love for the Third Time : Singapore 101

I'm finally back, dear readers! Just as I hope that the trip will do me good, it has successfully rejuvenated me as I resume my daily crazy schedule. Thanks so much to Nuffnang and to the Singapore Tourism Board for giving us this much-needed break!

Despite the fact that the trip was pretty short, spending three wonderful days in beautiful Singapore has made me fall in love with it not once, not twice but for the third time.

Singapore, the Lion City, is located right at the middle of the equator so expect warm weather throughout your stay. It's a melting pot of a lot of different cultures and races. You'll see a lot of Chinese, Malays, Indians and Filipinos (yes, I've met and seen a LOT of fellow countrymen during my stay) around and the good thing is that most of them have a pretty good command of English.

It has been 8 long years since my last visit and a lot of things have changed since then. For one thing, it was the first time for me to see the Singapore Flyer which is said to be patterned about the equally famous London Eye. This giant observation wheel allows riders to see the entire Singapore in just 30 minutes. Let me tell you more about it in my succeeding entries.

Getting there

Coming from the Philippines, the flight to Singapore will take you approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes via the country's major airlines. Arriving via Philippine Airline will take you to the main Changi International Airport while Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways will bring you to the Budget Terminal of Changi.

For someone who has been to Singapore before, I was a bit disappointment upon landing at the Budget Terminal. Gone are the numerous food and retail outlets that we would normally check out before traveling to our hotel. The Budget Terminal is smaller in size with just a handful of retail outlets. On the bright side, it still bears the signature cleanliness and efficiency that has endeared Singapore to millions of visitors worldwide.

Where to stay?

Now comes the big question, where to stay? Singapore has a lot of accommodation options from classy hotels to cozy boutique hotels to backpacker's inns. For this trip, we were lucky to stay at the Link Hotel
which is a new boutique hotel located along Tiong Bahru road across the Tiong Bahru Market and is just a couple of minutes away from Chinatown and People's Park.

The hotel has two wings and we got the Superior room at the Orchid Wing. The room was pretty small that there's hardly any space to walk around. Still, I like the fact that it is clean and we get fresh towels and two bottles of water everyday. There's also free internet connection which was really great!

Getting Around

Of all the Asian countries that I've been to, getting around Singapore is the most stress-free of all. Aside from the detailed maps that you can easily grab in the airport, hotels or in major tourist spots, you can also check the route directory before taking the bus or the subway (MRT).

The bus fare begins at SGD1.00 ($71 cents / Php. 34) and it gradually increases at a certain distance. However, if you have the EZ Card which is a prepaid transportation card, then you can enjoy at least 30% discount from the regular fare. As for the MRT, the starting fare is also at SGD1.00 and this goes up at a certain increment per station. One thing we liked about taking the MRT and purchasing the Single Trip Ticket is that we can actually return the card and get the deposit after.

Since Singapore is relatively a small country, majority of its locals would choose to just walk and they are pretty good at it. Perhaps, on a breezy day, do take a walk around your neighborhood to be able to fully appreciate the beauty of Singapore.

This is just the start of my Singapore adventure.

Up next: Where I had my delicious Swedish lunch.

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