Hello friends!!! First of all, very sorry for the delay in continuing about my 2017 holiday!! One of my resolution for this year is that, I will be consistent with my blogging and YouTube channel; and unlike other new year resolutions, I am determined to fulfil this one. So without further delay, let me continue with my travel story.
Day 1 in Singapore
So in the last post, we were waiting in Chennai Airport and my husband was very happy because he had got for the first time a 100% proof Vodka. Now let’s continue.
The Air India Dreamliner flight was ready on time, and as we entered, to be very frank, I was little disappointed to see that the air hostess and stewards were way over 40. Don’t judge me; the charm of air travel especially international travel is seeing pretty boys and girls as your host/hostess. But boy was I wrong; experience do matter. The air hostesses made us feel so comfortable throughout the journey that I felt really bad for feeling disappointed earlier!! Sarita who was serving me made me feel I was in a wedding from the groom side; the way she encouraged me to have a second diet coke and vodka (1 is my limit) telling that it was my holiday and I should enjoy it, was really heart warming. Such personal touch was so missing in the previous year’s Cathay Pacific flight. The hostess there were polite and everything, but this “apna pan” was not there!! The food offered was also decent; nothing great but nothing bad either. The entertainment option was also good; I watched Guardian of Galaxy which I had not seen before. Also some words on the plane itself; the dreamliner is the best plane to fly international. From top end entertainment to windows that can be made darker with a switch, it is everything that will make your journey memorable. So thank you Air India for adding it to your fleet.
The first glimpse of Singapore was mesmerizing. We landed around 6 PM and cleared immigration without any issue. The section of Changi airport that we saw while getting out was fantastic. There was a floral arrangement so beautiful that we had to stop and take pictures. And then there were free maps of the city and it’s attractions which was dutifully picked up by my elder son.
We had seen and marked how to reach our hotel using the very efficient public transport system of Singapore. So the first thing we bought was the three day tourist pass for each of us (20 SGD + 10 SGD deposit which was refunded) which allowed us to board almost all the public transport (bus or subway) in much lesser price than the individual journey fare. That is my tip no 1; if you are staying in Singapore for more than 2 days and plan to go around the city on your own, get the tourist pass.
Then came the shock that Google map and actual map don’t always sync. We had to ask around to know which line we had to take to reach our destination which was Joo Chiat. Language is an issue here too, but thankfully more people speak English than Hong Kong. The nice lady on the counter marked us on the map on which station we have to get down (Eunos) and then how to walk to our hotel from there. The MTR is designed in such a way that you won’t have any problem going in with your luggage. We reached our destination station in about half an hour, and then again asked around to be sure we got out using the correct exit. A nice elderly gentleman who was also going to the same direction offered to show us the way. He chatted with us as we walked to our hotel (about 20 minutes walk) and made sure we had come to the right hotel before we parted.
The hotel we had chosen, The Fragrance Hotel, is a no frill budget hotel. It does not even have a restaurant of breakfast option; though they have a tea maker in room and they gave two bottles of water every day. The room had all the requirements; TV, hot water, mini fridge and most importantly, bidet in bathroom!! The most beautiful was the reception, I especially loved the baroque styled chairs and décor. It also offered free Wi-Fi (quite fast) and the staff members were very helpful and courteous.
We had bought very limited Singapore dollar with us, so after check in, and resting a bit, our first job was to get our USD changed. My ever efficient husband had zeroed on best money exchange (Mustafa) and it was in Little India. My job was to find the transport route; and there was a direct bus that connected us from right in front our hotel to that area. It was not far, about 30 minutes on bus. From there we walked for about 20 minutes. Before we reached the exchange, we had to eat and chose this cosy little shop that had pictures of what was on offer. I opted for glass noodles in a peanut based sauce and hubby chose one with sea food while the sons went for chicken Singapore noodles along with what else, Iced Tea. My Second tip, always get Iced Tea as your choice of drink. They make it really great in this part of the world!
After a fulfilling meal, we reached the exchange which was bang opposite to Mustafa Centre (open 24/7). From there, we also picked up some our favourite cup noodles of varying taste (you are spoiled for choice when it comes to cup noodles in SE Asia). Little India was seriously Indian; we never felt that we were roaming in a foreign country!!
While returning, we realised that our bus stop was on a one-way street and that our returning stop will not be there. The Dunman Food Centre was right in the junction of where that one way street met a main street; so we guessed we have to get down either on that stop or the next. We got down on the next, guessed where our hotel was using what else but Google Map, and reached safely back home. Then straight to bed as we were dog tired by then.
Thus ended our first day in Singapore.