Singapore’s an interesting city in that it feels like an anomaly from the rest of Southeast Asia. Coming from Indonesia I was so used to the chaos of the streets, dirtiness all around and dark skinned people but you come to Singapore and it is the polar opposite to everything you thought about Southeast Asia. This day is our only full day in Singapore so we make the best of it by exploring what the city has to offer in the new and the old. Plus we get to hang out with Jia’s friend to really get the local experience.
Ya Kun Kaya Toast
We start off the day skipping the hotel breakfast for once and head straight over to the Suntec buildings for this place called Ya Kun for kopi and kaya toast. This place is a legendary breakfast place amongst the locals for their coffee which is strained in an interesting large counter with longer long spout and sock as a strainer and its toast with sweet “kaya” spread and butter. All I have to say is “fantastic”. The kaya toast with the butter is a bit heavy but a perfect combination of sweet and salty. Kopi (coffee with condensed milk) is brilliant. Even the wet and runny eggs are interesting with soy sauce. A must do if you’re coming to Singapore.
Marina Bay Sands
From there we head towards Marina Bay Sands which is a nice walk (including the detour back to the hotel to pick up Jia’s extra camera battery). The view of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel +ArtScience museum is quite the combination. However at this point the dark clouds were rolling in and we knew rain was imminent. We went up to the point of taking photos around the ArtScience museum when it started dropping buckets. We then ducked inside this really fancy mall with fancy brands.
Eventually we found the underground pass into the Marina Bay Sands hotel itself and with the rain clearing, onwards and upwards to the Marina Bay Sands Skypark observation deck. The view from here of the city is fantastic. Although you can’t use the awesome looking infinity pool the view from the observation deck is still amazing all around. Beautiful panoramic shots here. A touristy thing to do but recommended for sure.
Maxwell Hawker Center
For lunch we hit up Maxwell Hawker Center. I totally expected pure chaos like the night markets we had at home but for lunch anyways things were very orderly, clean and not too busy. I loved it! The stalls are neatly organized in various aisles and it was very easy to order. Without getting into all the details here are the dishes we ordered (okay a bit anticlimactic but the pics will come once I get a damn mini usb cable):
- Hainanese chicken on rice + veggies
- Oyster omelette
- Lasi nemak set
- Dragon fruit shake
- Char Kuay Teow with cockles
- Dofuhua – Green Tea
From there we checked out Chinatown and then Orchard Road which is super mega shopping central although most shops seemed to be tailored to crazy rich people.
Drinks with Expats
In the evening we met up with Jia’s friend Allan for dinner and drinks. We started off at another hawker center to meet up with Allan’s other i-banking friends and then headed to the Sky Bar but Jia was smart enough to wear shorts so DENIED. We then changed our plans to RedDot BrewHouse on Dempsey Rd. which is an amazing place for beer. Situated right along one of the canals we had a great view of the night lights and parts of the skyline. For drinks we had this green beer infused with Spirulina which is labeled as “Preliminary statistics has shown spiralina has shown the ability to inhibit viral sephcation, strengthen immune system and cause regression and elimination of AIDS virus”
To wrap up the night we went to Marina Bay Sands Casino. Lost $50 SGD on craps and Jia on roulette…dammit! Allan was telling us that this casino raked so much money in that it made back all the money put in for construction in 2 years. You watch some of these people and everyone is high roller. Look a little closer and you realize that most of the baller people are from China.
Random note. One thing I’ve noticed about the area where we’re staying so far is that it’s crazy baller. Over the course of these two days so far I’ve spotted at least several Lambo’s, Porsche’s and Maserati’s.
- Apparently owning a car is crazy expensive here. Just to get a ownership permit costs upwards to 90,000 SGD. And then you tack on the cost of a car you’re talking about 6 figures for a pretty base figure car. So what happens in Singapore is that if you’re going to be able to afford to buy a 6 figure car you might as well go all out.
- Go to Ya Kun Kaya for kaya toast for sure.
- Marina Bay Sands observation deck is a must do if you’re not staying at the hotel. I’m not sure if the price of the room is worth it but if it is totally stay there if not for the ability to use the infinity pool which looks awesome.
- Be careful about the extra taxi fees depending on the time of day of travel so don’t be alarmed when you see your base fare almost go 1.5x more than you thought. There’s almost a fee tacked on at every point of the day but can be upwards to 50% of your base fare if you’re travelling during rush hour. At first I thought they were totally scamming us
- If you want to gamble, make sure you bring your passport as the casino was really made for foreigners. If you’re a local you have to pay 100 SGD I was told.
- If there’s anything you NEED to do in Singapore…it’s visit a hawker center. Must trys are (Chicken on rice, nasi lemak, kuay teow, chili crab, laksa, bak kut teh [we have it the next day], roti prata, satay)
- Breakfast at Ya Kun Kaya – kaya toast
- Go back to hotel to get battery
- Walk to Marina Bay Sands
- Check out the ArtScience Museum along the way and the mall (The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands)
- Marina Bay Sands Skypark for its observation deck
- Maxwell Hawker Center
- Orchard Road
- Back to hotel
- Meet up with Jia’s Toronto friend
- Tried to go to Sky Bar but Jia was wearing shorts
- Went to RedDot BrewHouse instead
- Marina Bay Sands Casino
Head To The Next Day
To read about the next day, head over to Day 15 – Transit – Siem Reap – “Let Us Have A Talk”.