Right, here goes.
Brief intro: I’m a 19 year old Englishman travelling because I have no idea what else to do. I’ve spent the last year living in Australia, and have now proceeded onwards to Asia with my girlfriend.
Singapore. Everything we read about Singapore before we arrived was ‘expensive expensive expensive’. Well, we also heard a little about ‘police state’ and ‘fines for everything’. May I say it seems a little exaggerated.
We arrived in at Changi from Sydney, so I suppose that might be swaying my opinion of the prices, after living there for 7 months. The first thing we headed for was our hostel. We’ve been staying in the Mercury Backpackers Inn on Lavender Road (Website) and the first thing we noticed was how easy it was to move around Singapore. The trains were cheap, on time, frequent, clean, well signposted and all in all exactly what a train system should be, but rarely is anywhere else.
If at this point you’re bored, skip to the bottom where I’ll bullet point all of this.
My thoughts on the hostel, maybe a 4 out of 5. Lovely people, lockers for everyone, clean rooms, nice pillows and duvets (though my girlfriend thought they were a bit hard, I like the support I guess), lovely showers (the really big ones above your head), TV’s on each floor with a nice couch to curl up on, and free wi fi throughout the building. If you don’t have a computer with you then there’s a free computer to use in the reception. Would also like to stress the incredible service and friendliness of the staff, who insisted we have a final dunk in the jacuzzi and hot shower before our late flight (even though we had checked out that morning).
And the downsides, one in 3 showers on each floor don’t have hot water, so it’s a bit of pot luck really. We had to move mid stay, so I can say level 4 is nicer than level 2, but the stairs are really steep. The rooms themselves are very small, 2 bunk beds cramped into a small space, but still enough room to sleep, not much else. And no kitchen anywhere, though a microwave and boiling water readily available.
So all in all, I gave it a 4. We paid approx $21 AU dollars per night each, so agreed a bit pricey. If you ever feel like splashing out for a night, go stay in the Marina Bay Sands, which is a beautiful casino/hotel combo with the most spectacular views and swimming pool. (Piccie), we didn’t realise until after we had arrived about this, as our Lonely Planet was written before it was complete.
We felt 3 days around the city was enough. With 10 bucks on our train cards, we darted around street to street, chinatown, little India, Orchard Road, Raffles Place, the Merlion, all the sights very quickly and easily. The fares were ludicrously cheap, which did nothing but encourage us to see more.
Everywhere we looked, if we went into the basement of a shopping centre or walked just a little ways from the tourist areas, we would find incredibly cheap food, sometimes fantastic. I myself had some of the tastiest noodles I’ve ever had with Char Sieu on top for $3.50 yesterday. The lack of kitchen has so far not been a problem.
If you do arrive and decide you want to visit the top of Marina Bay Sands, you can grab a single entry ticket (no time limit) for $20 from a small underground ‘Skypark’ area. We went up in the evening, and it was wholly agreed on being a $20 well spent. All of the pictures I’ve taken are online, and are in my Picasa album here.
We also picked up some Doxycycline for about 70 cents a tablet, as long as you can show you are leaving the country the next day (used to be 2 days before, now just one) they will sell Malarone and Doxycycline. Both are readily available, but the Malarone is $8.20 per tablet, so for our 3 month needs was a bit too pricey. Because Doxy is an anti-biotic some pharmacists may not be willing to give it to you. Consider this fair warning. We got it without any problems though, so perhaps it was just the first pharmacist on a bad day.
Right, that’s my thoughts on Singapore. We fly to Trivandrum tonight to spend a month in India, and most of the reports we’re read have left us a little nervous. I’ll do a similar one of these for the South and North of India, or perhaps more frequently, in the India section of the boards, if this is well received. Hopefully it can help some people. If anyone has any questions ask away and I’ll do what I can to answer them.
If anyone would like to keep more up to date on our travels, I have a blog here, http://sethkarlo.info
So, to wrap up:
-Mercury Inn Backpackers: 4/5
-Singapore: Bed expensive but food very cheap
-Singapore: Very safe city, very nice to wander around
-Trains: Cheap, regular, clean
-Marina Bay Sands: Worth a visit
-My Blog: http://sethkarlo.info
That’s about it!
I loved Singapore, great place to work and really enjoyed it.
the rules are so true but everyone follows them that its not a problem. I’m a very law following person and it was nice to just see a country that works.
If you are a criminal then Singapore will not work for you : ) simple as.
Food is very cheap from local street food and its very clean and up to singapore standards, if its not clean the locals will not eat there and it will go out of business, simple.
Highly recommend it to all.
Really wonderful city to explore