After the bustling streets of Jakarta, we headed south to the lazy town of Bogor. We had planned to spend a few days in the mountains here, but on arrival we changed our minds. We found a nice hotel close to some great restaurants which also had a pool, so we decided to chill there for a few days. We actually realised that we had booked our flight to Singapore for the wrong day, so we didn’t really have time to do much else anyway.
Bogor itself has very little to do, and most people use it just to get to the mountains on the Puncak Pass. It does have a selection of really good restaurants though, still within our budget. We enjoyed local delicacies such as oxtail and bandrek, which is a ginger spiced tea-like drink.
Our next stop and our last country in South East Asia was Singapore, only a short flight from Jakarta. My first impression of Singapore was all good, and in the few days that we’ve been here I like it more and more. For a start it’s very clean compared to the rest of SE Asia. There are also lots of little things that make it stand out, such as pavements that you can actually walk on. It may sound a bit strange, but after eight months of walking on roads and weaving in between traffic, it’s a nice change.
One thing that we haven’t really enjoyed about Singapore is the costs. It’s a very expensive place to be, especially on a traveller’s budget. What makes it even more difficult is that there is so much to do here, so you have to pick and choose what to do and where to go. Beer averages about £6 per pint, and wine isn’t even worth considering at £50 for the cheapest bottle. Katy did get it into her head that she wanted to go to Universal Studios, but thankfully I talked her out of that.
Food here is actually quite cheap, and we’ve enjoyed some of our favourites since we’ve been here. We’ve had our chicken curry and naan fix in Little India, our pork and cabbage dumplings in China Town, and we even found a proper English chippy in Clarke Quay. We were tempted to buy a Singapore Sling in Raffles (it was invented here after all), but when we arrived and saw that it was £16 per cocktail, we settled for some pictures of the courtyard and gardens instead.
Accommodation here is also quite expensive, so for the first time on our trip we have had to stay in a dormitory. We’re sharing with six other people; three of whom seem to live at this hostel. It’s not too bad staying in a dorm, and potentially can be a great way to meet people. Unfortunately once someone has kept me up for most of the night snoring and then woken me up at 06:00am sorting out their carrier bag collection, my friendly nature seems to subside slightly.
One thing that we did do was go to Singapore Zoo; supposedly the best in the world. The main reason that I wanted to go there was to see the Malaysian Tapir, which is my favourite animal. I had hoped to see one in the wild in Taman Negara in Malaysia, but I didn’t realise how rare they were in the wild. So I got to see my Tapirs, and it made me very happy. We even got to see them swim, which I didn’t realise they could do. It is a great place to walk around and definitely worth the money.
We also had a day walking around Sentosa, which is an island just off of the city. This is where Universal Studios is, but also has other big names such as Café Del Mar to spend your money at. We just had a walk around the nature trail on the island and then along the beach. You could spend a lot of money here as there are loads of things to do. Unfortunately we had to walk past them all before we spent all of our money.
The best thing we did while in Singapore was spend the afternoon and evening in the Clarke Quay area. There are loads of riverside bars and restaurants, with live music and a great atmosphere. We managed to find a pub with a decent happy hour, and grabbed a pint of Stella for £5. As we walked up the river, we found that the Singapore Civilisation Museum had some live music outside. The music was great, and can only be described as Indian jazz (think The Cinematic Orchestra crossed with a Bollywood soundtrack). The museum had free entry for the evening so we had a look around, before heading to the most famous statue in Singapore, the Merlion. The hotel opposite has a light show every night, so we watched that before making our way back to the hostel, and our snoring roommates.
Today we have been out to the equivalent of Oxford Street, Orchard Road. Katy had spotted that there was a big weekend of sales. So the money we had saved by not doing certain things, she then spent in the shops on some more Katy treats. A new pair of jeans and three new tops later, we headed back to the hostel with our cup noodles as we now couldn’t afford dinner.
Tomorrow we have a very quiet day before we head to the airport for our flight to Tokyo on Monday morning. We had planned to stay an extra night at the hostel and get up early for our 07:00am flight, but we decided that it would be cheaper to just stay in the airport lounge for the night. Katy will be ok though, as she has her new pair of jeans to keep her warm as she sleeps on the floor.
Until the next time…