KUALASINGA [Part 3]: Singapore Full Day Tour

After being so tired walking around KL on the previous day, we obviously needed a proper rest. But the schedule insisted us to have an overnight trip. It was a right decision to choose a sleeper train with bed. All of us had a good sleep on board and felt refreshed when woke up this morning (though none of us taking a shower since yesterday!). It would have been a different story if we had taken normal train seats. The bed coach cost only less than 50 Ringgits per person. It was really cheap considering we did not need to pay for accommodation at that night. It was absolutely worth it! I was wondering when we are able to enjoy such a train in our country.
Singapore, the Garden City
Taking a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore is actually faster than taking a train. It is because the train stops quite often along the way. But for an overnight trip, it will be bothersome if you arrive too early in the morning when everything is not ready for service. So being slow can be good in some cases (UPDATE: the night train has stopped operating since May 19th, 2016).

The last train stop before Singapore was Johor Bahru (JB). The plan was to alight here and then take a direct bus to Queenstreet Bus Terminal in Bugis, just near the hostel we would stay at. But we made a mistake by proceeding to the immigration checkpoint and having our passports stamped there. So afterwards we were not allowed to go out to the town to take a bus. Despite our train tickets only to JB, we were allowed to board the train again which took us to Woodlands, Singapore. No need to pay for this, but still we had got a problem. Now I had no idea how to go to Bugis from the Woodlands Checkpoint. 
Many people say that people in Singapore are not as friendly as those in other Southeast Asia countries. But here we met a very helpful person who told us how to go to Bugis from there. Here came lesson no.1: when traveling don't be shy to ask the locals as most of them will try to help you. Well, we eventually took a public bus to the nearest MRT station. In about 45 minutes we arrived at Bugis. Still it was too early for us to check-in at the hostel, so we continued walking to have a S$2 meal nearby. This price was among  the cheapest in the whole country. Everything is expensive in Singapore, especially its lodgings. That's why we chose a dorm-like hostel rather than a private room hotel.
After being allowed to check-in, we put ourselves on the bed a little while before going out to explore Singapore. Just like the others, it would be the first time for the couple as well to have a full day in the Lion City. Last time when we went to Singapore, it was just like a vapor in the wind; arrived in the evening and went away in the next morning. Please read here for our first trip to Singapore.
High buildings in Singapore indicate its strong economic power

Public buses in Singapore are convenient and reliable
Visiting places in Singapore is not very difficult even for the first timers. At the MRT Station, numerous signboards would clearly guide people to their destination just like when we visited Gardens by the Bay today. It required a lot of walk however. In our country people don't get use to walk very much due to lack of convenient pedestrian walks. That's why most Indonesians would complain about walking when in Singapore.

Opened to public only a few years ago, Gardens by the Bay stands on a reclaimed land. The most prominent structures seen here are the Supertrees. These tree-like towers have some incredible functions like harvesting solar energy, serving the conservatories' cooling system, and hosting a vertical home for many living plants completed with an independent irrigation system. Sounds very sophisticated, doesn't it? But some people care not about all of those things. They only see the Supertrees as nice outdoor decorations for their photos' background. Sadly, we were among those people. :) 

Other eye-catching structures of Gardens by the Bay are Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. Well, these two are simply greenhouses with various plants and flowers from many parts of the world inside. We didn't go in there, not only because it required an extra walk but also extra cost. We had been satisfied enough seeing the greens at the outdoor gardens and now ready to move.

No doubt that excellent links from one place to another is the success key for tourism in Singapore. For example, from Gardens by the Bay there was a bridge which brought us straightly into Marina Bay Sands. No highway crossing nor information gathering from any people needed. Everybody had an idea how to go there. Well then, we had an opportunity to take a quick peek inside the world's most expensive building (at the time it was completed in 2010). As one of the largest hotel in Singapore, Marina Bay Sands features three towers with more than 2,500 rooms in total. Though it was said not to be the most expensive hotel in Singapore but still I didn't think my budget would allow me to stay there.

Across the Supertrees
Buggies to bring visitors to Flower Dome and Cloud Forest
Singapore Flyer, which was once the world's biggest observation wheel
Inside Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands from across the bay
As there are so many things to see around by walking, i guess the hotel guests of Marina Bay Sands could spend a whole day just in this area. In one side there is Gardens by the Bay, in the other side there is a luxurious shopping mall called The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Well-connected to a five-star hotel, this shopping center is absolutely not for budget travelers like us. When we were in there, none of us even dare to enter one of the shops with their high-end branded products in displays. Here the place where you can find a bag with price of a house.

What really differs this mall from the others is its canal feature. Wooden boats are available for a ride through the canal. We did not want to spend $10 per person for a boat ride, so we just walked by the canal side. Then we found out that the canal ended up in a round pool. Here sometimes big amount of water released from a 22-meter diameter bowl located on two levels above. Some people make a wish here by throwing coins into the water. That's why we saw many coins lying on the bottom of the pool. Perhaps those people wish for a good luck before going to the casino. Yes, there is a casino in this mall. This is one of the two casinos in Singapore -- both owned by Sands. Foreigners may enter for free but Singaporeans have to pay $100 per 24-hour entry. In my sense, the Singaporean government is trying to put their people away from gambling but encourage visitors from other countries to spill out their money here.

An astonishing view of Marina Bay awaited us just outside the shopping mall. High buildings from the central business district across showed off. Shifting our sight to the right, we could see a half-lion half-fish statue sprouting water. That's the Merlion! It's not a complete visit to Singapore without Merlion. Every single of us could not wait anymore to take pictures with it. Many poses had been prepared for this. But again it required a lot of walk to reach there. First, we walked along the bay to the north tip of The Shoppes while pampering our eyes with the bay view. Then we crossed the Helix Bridge which was one of our favorite spots to take pictures with MBS in the background. After the bridge, it started to be a little bit tricky to find the Merlion as it was now out of our sight. Thanks to its popularity that so many other people were also walking toward the same destination like we were.

Symbolizing the guardian of wealth, Merlion is the very first icon of Singapore. It was built in 1972 but then in 2002 it made its way to the current location. The reason of this relocation was to make it more visible after being blocked by a new bridge. So many other visitors when we were there so it was not easy to get a clear shot. Tired of taking pictures and walking all the way here, we sat down and relaxed at the Merlion Park while the sun kept going down.
Wooden boats called Sampan in the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
This lotus-shaped building in front of MBS is the Art Science Museum
The unique Helix Bridge
Merlion Statue
At that time we didn't know that the nearest MRT station to the Merlion Park was Raffles Place Stn. We walked a long way to City Hall Stn instead to take a train to Harbourfront Stn. Once we exited the station, we were already in Singapore's largest shopping mall, Vivo City. Besides having connectivity to MRT Station, it is also well-integrated with a ferry port (for Batam) and our next destination; Sentosa Island. For this reason, the shopping mall is among the most popular in the country.

Sentosa Island hosts some world-class tourist attractions like the Universal Studios Singapore (USS) and SEA Aquarium. We came there pretty late when those were closed already. But the good thing with this was only a few people left on the island so we could take pictures with Universal Studios' iconic globe freely. Once entering the island, all transports like buses, buggies and monorail are free of charge. When done in this island, we took the monorail back to Vivo City. Taking the other way would cost S$4 per person.

The Sentosa Broadwalk, an about 500-metre pedestrian bridge
equipped with travelators  connecting Vivo City and Sentosa Island.

Coming late to Sentosa to have this area clear of crowds.

Inside the Sentosa's monorail
Well, this was the end of KUALASINGA tour. Many new experiences we acquired especially in Singapore today. While the next day it would be flight home time for the others, but for the couple this was not even a half way yet....

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OUR TRIPS (Based on Places)