Friday, December 24, 2010

Uniquely Singapore

Singapore often referred as tiny red dot of South East Asia but with so many attractions, ethnic enclaves, parks and distinctively different atmosphere to explore. Just to name a few, two world-class Integrated Resorts that recently welcomed visitors - Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

The little red dot history started when Singapore's first names can be found in the 3rd century when a Chinese account referred to it as "Pu-luo-chung". Only until the 14th century, when it was given the newer name of Temasek (Sea Town). Singapore's modern-day name was born when a visiting royal prince mistook what a probably a tiger for a lion (lions were not indigenous to the country) that the island was named "Singa Pura" or "Lion City".

Finally time has called for a visit to the republic last weekend. We started our journey by KTMB intercity train (Train no.25 Senandung Sutera) from Seremban. We had sleeper berth for the night journey with fares of RM36.

By 6am, the train reached Johore Bahru Sentral for disembarking passengers and Malaysian Immigration inspection on board. The train proceeded to Woodlands Train Checkpoint for Singapore's CIQ clearance.

Woodlands Train Checkpoint

The train stopped at Tanjong Pagar station as final stop at around 8am, and we proceed to Tanjong Pagar MRT (first MRT station in Singapore)

The heritage-look Singapore railway station

Next, we moved to Bugis MRT station where our hostel situated. We booked Footprints Hostel located at Perak Road.

Snapshot of Bugis Street.

First stop: Chinatown
> Across Chinatown, where heritage and cultural values immerse. One main attraction is The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is a Buddhist temple and museum complex located in the Chinatown district of Singapore. The temple is based on the Tang dynasty architectural style and built to house the tooth relic of the historical Buddha. The whole temple consists of 5-6 level, so take your time.

Admission: Free, but donations are welcomed most.

Chinatown has a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station, called the Chinatown MRT Station, in the middle of Pagoda Street (which is closed to traffic) and serves the vicinity, as well as several public bus routes.

For lunch or whenever you feel need to fill your tummy, do visit Albert Centre Market Food Centre 270 Queen Street, 180270. To read more, click here.

Second stop: VivoCity and Resorts World Sentosa
> Next, we come across to Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), which you can take MRT from Chinatown towards HarbourFront MRT. You will come across VivoCity which is the largest shopping mall in Singapore.

At VivoCity's rooftop, a tall Christmas tree was set up. We proceeded to RWS by Sentosa Express (Monorail) which is same level with VivoCity's rooftop.

 The Christmas tree at VivoCity's rooftop

Third stop: Merlion Park
On evening, we make a move to City Hall MRT station en route to Merlion Park that is located near Marina Bay, Singapore. We passed through CityLink Mall, an underground mall. Merlion (with the head of a lion and the body of a fish), used as a mascot of Singapore.

Fourth stop: Orchard Road
During the night as in the Christmas month, we went to discover the 'Orchard Road', as I linked it here.

On Sunday, its time to left the "unique" city. Before we leave, we go to shop at vicinity of Bugis, shopping till you drop, name it you will have it. It won't hurt your pocket much!!

In Bugis area (part of city centre), there are handful of shopping malls:
OG Albert Complex, Bugis Street, Iluma and Parco Bugis Junction.

I visited OG and Bugis Street, with crowds flooding the area. Most of malls open by 11am, so time management is important. I advised you to visit the malls after your breakfast and sightseeing around Bugis area.

We left hostel quite early as we are not sure about direction to Golden Mile Complex where we board StarMart Express bus.

I expect  the double dex from StarMart but instead Suasana Edaran  turned up as Suasana Edaran buses that are operated to Singapore are on behalf of Starmart Express as additional buses.

The bus is double decker with the seat configuration of 1-2. Seat pitch is wide with much leg room for taller people and come along with on-board entertainment and seat massage.

Suasana Edaran KCB 6

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 - I'm satisfied as they kept the whole journey 5 hours and will travel again with them in future.

This few sites should be helpful for booking a hotel accurately.
> Expedia
> AsiaRooms

This review is all about my 2 days 1 night travel to the Lion City.