It was time to leave Vietnam, unfortunate since it’s an amazing country but also time for new adventures. Singapore this time! Michael had set an alarm at 3:55 he thought but made a mistake and put the alarm actually at 4:55. I had called the room service of the hotel for a wakeup call at 4:00 so we would have that as a back-up. Well, we ended up without an alarm and no wakeup call at 4:00 but the hotel reception called at 4:30 that our taxi was ready.. whoooppss luckily we had packed our bags already, the taxi didn’t mind to wait for a bit and the airport was quite close so still plenty of time. While we drove to the airport around 5:00 we saw plenty of people exercising in the park. In Asia there are plenty of public park gyms and in Asia they are actually used a lot! Nice to see how locals use the cooler nights to work out.
After a short flight of 2 hours we arrived at Changi airport. Friendly people, even customs and immigration, were guiding us through the airport and immigration process. We could notice immediate how well developed Singapore is. For example the signs for the toilets display that there is a baby changing location at the men’s and the ladies toilet. A light perfume smell everywhere and as soon as we entered the MRT the rules of Singapore become clear, signs with fines for drinking, eating, smoking and bringing flammable goods into the MRT are widely displayed as well announced during the ride. The culture shock we experienced was partly caused by this, further we were surprised how green Singapore is, how nice the people are, how clean everything looks, how new everything seems, how expensive Singapore is but on the other hand how cheap public transport is! The mixed cultures, barely any crime and the super expensive cars that were driving around were jaw dropping. It was very nice to be able to ask almost anybody a question which they were able to understand! Yes, they speak English in Singapore. The difference between Vietnam and Singapore was so big that it took us some time to get used to. While we drove in the MRT from the airport to Clementi the stop nearby Bas his house Michael suffered from a hypo. Lucky him.. ahum… since you are not able to drink or eat in the MRT and its stations it is impossible to get rid of your hypo during a MRT ride. While we transferred between 2 trains I stuffed his mouth full of dextros, this should fix the problem. Luckily nobody attended us on the fact that eating was not allowed. When we arrived at Clementi we took a taxi for the last 2 km. The taxis are quite affordable as well and the ride had cost us around €3-4. Bas already told me that he and betty would be working when we arrived but the help Marni (who lives with them) and their son Thijs (since he had holiday) would be at home. Big skyscraper buildings were waiting for us, also called condominiums, on the 3rd floor the apartment of Bas and Betty is located. All the buildings surround the large swimming pool gym and tennis course that are part of the West Coast Rise (the street of this condominium). All build on a big garage were only high end brand cars are parked.
In the apartment of Bas and Betty we got our own room with bedroom, not big but filling more than our needs. After we took a shower and had some food bas came home from a business trip. I hadn’t seen him since I was a little kid but it was very nice to meet up again. We talked a lot about Singapore and how it is to live there as an expat. Around 17:00 we left by car to Betty her office in the heart of the city. Bas showed us the view on the Marina Bay Sands, (if you google Singapore and click on images this is what you see) 3 big skyscrapers with a sort of ship on top. The biggest hotel of Singapore and the only casino are located there. As a Singaporean citizen you have to pay an entrance fee of S$100 (HOEVEEL IS DIT?), while its free to enter for tourists. Why? Because the government want to discourage people from gambling but want to have the benefits of having a casino. Singapore is full with that kind of rules and fees. After we had picked up betty we went for some window shopping at the marina bay sands shopping mall and had some food in the food court there (which is the only thing affordable in that area). After the food it was time to get home, get some sleep, we had made an ambitious plan of what we would like to see in Singapore so get up early was important.
After Marni had made us a delicious breakfast we went with the free shuttle service (of the West Coast Rise) to the MRT stop Clementi. From there we topped up our borrowed Ez link cards (ov chipcard of singapore but better) and stepped into the MRT which arrives every 4 minutes. One hour later we bought our tickets for the Singapore Zoo, in which we spend more than 5 hours! The highlight was definitely the fragile forest in which you could touch the flying foxes and ringtail lemurs which wanted to attack me. At one point when we were watching to some monkeys a palm tree decided to let go of his coconut and it just missed Michaels head! When we had seen all of this amazing zoo we went off to china town. Unfortunately this was super touristy and so not really interesting according to us, we had a way to expensive drink and walked off to the business district for some food. We stranded at Lau Pa Sat a collection of hawker stall food at which you can eat there or buy for take away. We sat in between the office workers and had a nice meal, small Italian pizza, traditional Indian dish and some Turkish falafel. All very delicious.
After that we headed to gardens by the bay which was very relaxed until we came at the centre with the super trees. A whole winter wonderland was set up for children, all kinds of attractions to entertain them during their holiday. We wanted to go to the sky walk between those trees but we were too late, the tickets weren’t sold anymore, so we went to the indochine rooftop bar which is in one of the trees. An amazing few on the marina bay sands building completed the lighted city. After our drinks and nice pictures it was 22.15 time to go back home for some sleep.
The next morning some nice breakfast was prepared by Marni again and we repacked our bags since we wanted to leave some stuff behind, the clothes from Hoi An and some souvenirs we bought on the way as well our jackets that we were not going to use anymore.
The shuttle brought us again to the MRT and we still had some time to explore the gardens by the bay again in day light this time. We walked through the amazing park in which you do not realise at all that you walk in such a big metropole. This time we did the skywalk between the trees and wanted to see the cloud forest and flower dome. The tickets were quite expensive and we hadn’t so much time left so we decided to leave it for next time in Singapore. We went to the food court we had dinner two days before with Bas Betty and Thijs in the marina bay sands shopping mall, to grab some Indian food this time. After that it was time to go back to Bas his house to pick up our luggage and go to the airport. After a smooth high tech full self-service check in and luggage drop it was time to go to Cambodia!!!