Singapore is the first country I’ve ever visited and this was back in May 2013. Yes, my first out-of-the-country trip and the first time I rode an airplane was when I was 20 years old. Every year since then, I was fortunate enough to go back to the amazing city-state. This year, I spent the last days of July and the first days of August going around Singapore mostly by myself and as usual, it did not disappoint.
Making the trip even more special was that we stayed at Fairmont Hotel, just like we did in 2013. Located at the heart of the city, everything was easily accessible. Here I would like to share some of the places I visited on my own. For someone who wonders why she’s alone most of the time, I really do like being alone, um, most of the time. SMH.
Public transport in Singapore is at its A-game. It’s fast, efficient, and convenient. I wish we had the same in the Philippines. Commuting has become both a novelty and a kind of sport here in our country. I have a love-hate relationship with it.
I saw a lot of fellow Pinoys in the train stations and it made me feel even safer.
Bras Basah Complex is about a 10-minute walk from our hotel and this mid-rise, unassuming complex is home to all things arts and crafts. There were several secondhand bookstores and if you know me at all, you would know that the only place I love more than bookstores are secondhand bookstores. So much history in each book! There were also a lot of art supplies stores which I know my brother and sister-in-law would have gone crazy for had they been there. I visited each shop and lingered inside, just inhaling the atmosphere and overall vibe.
Descendants of the Sun! Of course I had to take a picture. Hehe.
A live jamming session and mini-album tour was happening at one of the bookstores. Everyone was speaking in Chinese and having a jolly good time so even though I couldn’t understand a single word, I stayed and just pretended I belonged. But hey, music doesn’t discriminate! 😉
After my Bras Basah adventures, I walked further and reached the National Library of Singapore. The building itself was just wow. A few months ago, I went to the public library in our hometown and just as I entered after climbing the stairs, I was told that the library has long closed down. I went back down dejected and was all like wwhhhyyy.
I was in for a treat because apparently it was National Reading Day when I visited. Oh my heart! ❤ Visitors were asked to sign up and come inside to just browse their collection and read whatever caught their eye. It was part of their campaign to spread the habit of reading among Singaporeans.
A quilted shelf! If this doesn’t evoke warmth, I don’t know what will. Hehe.
A book mobile! I would’ve gone inside but I decided to leave it to the kids who were excited to take turns exploring the books inside.
Our visit happened to be at a really good time as Singapore was then preparing their activities and festivities to commemorate its 52nd anniversary in August. I went to the National Design Centre where an indoor bazaar was happening, showcasing Singapore’s best homegrown products – from artworks, literature, and even organic produce and guilt-free ice cream (which I had, matcha-flavored and so delicious!).
I love the contrast of the crowd below and the empty halls above.
Don’t tell my mom but I had beer at the National Design Centre. Tiger beer. Ice-cold. It was glorious.
Come nighttime, I decided to hop on the train and go to Chinatown for some hawker dinner. As soon as I got off the Chinatown station, I saw a sea of people and wondered what was going on other than the usual Saturday night flair. I walked a few steps here and there and found out what the fuss was all about.
The 50 Cents Fest at Chinatown Food Street! No wonder people were stuffing themselves with all kinds of Chinese delicacies. The lines were tremendously long but nobody was complaining. 50 cents for a feast? I would line up too. However, I decided to walk first before committing myself to a half-hour of queuing so I can choose which MSG-filled dish I want the best. Hehe. But alas, after all the walking and feasting my eyes on the endless selection of Chinese food, I guess I got a bit overwhelmed and settled for the stall with the shortest line where I had some kind of Chinese sausages worth a dollar. By then I didn’t have the energy to argue why it’s not priced 50 cents because I was famished and it was getting late and I was scared I might miss the last trip of the train.
The 50 Cents Fest felt like a United Nations of some sort. I swear I saw people from all the continents. It honestly made me giggle while walking. So if you ever heard of that weird Asian girl walking and feeling all giddy that night in Chinatown, that’s probably me. 😀
I didn’t want to leave Chinatown without visiting the Michelin-star Maxwell hawker center so even though I was told that there was a construction going on and most of the food stalls would probably be close, I still walked over there just to see the place again, which I was able to visit last 2013. The Chinese merchants I talked to were right: the place almost seemed like a ghost town because I got there late at night and practically all the food stalls were either closed or undergoing construction. Oh well, Katy Perry is my mantra when it comes to these things because no regrets, just love. 😉
I think any Chinatown anywhere in the world will always be photogenic so I didn’t waste an opportunity to take some pictures there. I used my dinosaur phone camera (as always), but I think the photos were not bad. 😛
When I got back to the hotel, I was still smiling from ear to ear because I was really proud of having braved Chinatown at night all by myself. And then I had some J.Co donuts before going to sleep. 🙂