Saturday, June 26, 2010

Three Unforgettable Nights in Singapore!

Our trip to Viet Nam had come to and end, and we had enjoyed 13 days moving along the coastline--from Hanoi to Halong Bay/Cat Ba Island, then South to Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, and finally to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). It was an incredible trip. Looking back now (almost 10 days later), I would definitely liked to have had an extra week, but as we originally planned when booking our tickets back in April, we knew we could only afford to do two weeks in Viet Nam since our classes in Bangkok were to begin on June 16th. This also gave us enough time for our last destination during our month of travel: Singapore!

A brief side note . . . about a week into my trip to Southeast Asia, Ruben, Elliott, and I were informed that our six week summer abroad program had been canceled due to the political conflicts, riots, and sit-ins that had been occurring in Bangkok, Thailand--not far from our prospective school (Thammasat University). Following that notification, Ruben and Elliott got in touch with me while I was in Chiang Rai about changing their flights after our trip to Singapore in order to get back to Berkeley and enroll into summer school. I, on the other hand, was determined to stay and just live off my savings and continue traveling through the rest of Thailand (going to the islands in the south of Thailand--both the east and west coasts--and the make my way back to Chiang Rai for another short visit, and finally ending my remaining time in Laos and Cambodia).

Plan B is in now full effect, and I hope this Dandygram will conclude my time with Ruben, Elliott, and Christa so that I can move on to the second half of my altered plan. It might take two more posts!

Now, back to our time in Singapore . . .

Coming to from the night of little-to-no sleep in Saigon, Ruben and I caught a short nap on our one and a half hour flight to Singapore International Airport. Once we deplaned, we immediately got the impression that things in Singapore were much like we had been told back home: tidy, clean, new, fresh, etc., so I'll be sharing numerous pictures in this Dandygram to hopefully show you exactly what I mean.

After collecting our bags and figuring out how to get to Elliott, we boarded a bus and immediately began to see Singapore on our way to the Drop Inn Hotel (what a catchy name!). The date was June 13th, and I believe the last time we had seen Elliott was in Hue nearly a week before, so it was damn good to see our friend. He was equally excited to see some familiar faces once we arrived.

We sat in his hostel for a bit to catch up with him, but after he explained the area and where the happening things were, we decided to find a place in a better location. We settled on a hostel (for nearly $30 USD a night--SO expensive) in an area of Singapore called Clarke Quay (pronounced "Q"). Here's a picture of the nearby sights--about a five minute walk away:

We dropped our bags at our new (and expensive) hostel, but at this point in the day, I was feeling groggy as all get up from the lack of sleep in who knows how long because you can't really count the numerous sleeper buses I had been on in the days and nights leading up to our arrival in Singapore. Regardless, I continued to push through and walked around Clarke Quay with Elliott and Ruben for a while. To no surprise, we ate at a wonderful family restaurant--the first in all of Southeast Asia! We were so tempted in buying matching shirts, but saved our money for the other attractions that awaited us in the days to come. Let me tell you, the wings, curly fries, and celery sticks were absolutely splendid and tasted just like all the ones I've visited back home!

That night, we found ourselves back in Clarke Quay and in a great little club (The Pump Room Brewery) with a live band and IPAs!!!

After a few hours of dancing and singing along to numerous songs, we called it a night and headed back to our hostel to prepare for a big day at the beach the following day. I slept harder than a rock that night, as it was my first good sleep in at least three days!

. . .

Waking up (June 14th) with a fresh start to a beautiful day, we decided it was a perfect day to visit Sentosa Island and lay out on Siloso Beach. It couldn't have been a better choice since the following day was incredibly rainy. Here are some highlights from our time on the island and at the beach!

We watched a few good matches from the World Cup that evening right on the beach, but we had to get back to the MRT (subway) in order to catch the last train back to our hostel at Clarke Quay. Once we arrived, we called it a night since Christa and her boyfriend (Eric) were set to arrive from Thailand the following day; plus, we wanted to make our last full day in Singapore worthwhile!

Next up on The Dandygram: Three Unforgettable Nights in Singapore, Part 2!

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