If my memory serves me right, it was only my third time to travel solo abroad; the first was back in 2010 in Tokyo for 14 days and followed by my departure to Penang for work on the same year. This was my second time to be in Singapore. Tina and Gabby were with me last year when we visited the Lion City; it was definitely merrier and triple the fun! Mushy as it may sound but it feels incomplete to go somewhere for leisure without my family in tow. Nonetheless, I’m grateful to the invitation of 2012 Singapore Blog Awards, OMY.Sg and Oasia Hotel Singapore for this 4D3N trip.
After a smooth 1 hour-and-20-minute-travel-time from Penang to Singapore via Air Asia (no-delays, thankfully!), I arrived at this tiny but charming and productive city at 1:20PM, Thursday, July 19th, 2012. Due to personal and social commitments, my arrival was a day earlier than the call-time for the events. I knew I had to fight the little homesickness without Tina and Gabby so as not to spoil my days packed with schedules. With my 20-kg-luggage, a backpack with laptop and DSLR inside, plus a suitbag for my jacket (which I didn’t wear!) and fedora hats (Yes, I’m collecting them now. And apparently, I don’t have the skills of traveling lightly; I’m guilty as charged! hehehe!), I appreciate my uneventful airport procedures from Immigration to finding the Skytrain and MRT the very first time (truth is, we were fetched by a Benz limo from Quincy Hotel last year, so I’m really a bit clueless where to go).
From Terminal 1 of Changi Airport, I had to ride the Skytrain to go to T2 where the Changi MRT station is. As I alight the escalator at Departure Hall of Terminal 1, my attention was caught on a whim by this fantastic mobile and musical installation.
This Kinetic Rain Sculpture made up of 1,216 aluminum droplets coated in bronze located at Departure Hall of Changi Airport Terminal 1 mezmerized me. With soothing music, these silver teardrops float and dance, moving up and down, forming different shapes like hot air balloon, magic carpet and whatnot, providing free entertainment to people in one of the best terminals in the world. I thought little details like providing free fox’s candies wrapped and packaged in Changi Airport branding is already noteworthy of Changi Airport, but with this Kinetic Rain as a new addition to its attractions, this multi-awarded terminal proved that it has so many things to tickle the fancy in everyone!
As a first timer to take the MRT from the airport, I considered myself lucky for not getting lost. However I would not mind if otherwise happened as I can easily shrug it off and consider it as part of adventure. I relied on no one but my instinct and reading signage ability, hahaha! After getting off the train from Terminal 1, I walked through Terminal 2 and thought of going down the escalator; et voila, I found the MRT to the city.
I saw a long queue of tourists buying EZ link card to use in bus and MRT trips. Without asking anyone, I did the same and bought my own EZ link card, topped it up with S$25 for my 4-day-commuting around the Lion City. It pays to be a keen observer! #gaya-gaya, LOL!:)
I took the train from Changi MRT station (Terminal 2) to Tanah Merah. Hopped of the MRT and transferred train the opposite line (East West Line; the green line) that took me to Lavender station and to my budget hotel on my first day (I checked in to Oasia the next day, Friday, July 20th to 22nd, Sunday). After going online in the hotel to check my emails, I went my way to Haji Lane and Arab Street to meet a Filipino Award Winning Travel Blogger for dinner.
Alighting from Bugis MRT Station at around 4 in the afternoon, I found my way towards Haji Lane and Arab Street. My dinner schedule’s at 5:30PM hence, I savored luxury of time in capturing some scenes from Haju Lane and Arab Street.
H A J I L A N E
Undeniably colorful and fascinating, this narrow alley amidst the Muslim area in Singapore is boasting with vibrant hues and quaint shophouses where young Singaporean entrepreneurs showacase their hip and edgy clothing apparels. Other than those boutiques that surely attract the fashion-conscious ones, the spectacular murals found in Haji Lane are enough to convince any traveler and tourist that it’s one of the must-visit-spots in this part of Southeast Asia.
A R A B S T R E E T
As I immeresed myself in the colors of Haji Lane, the next best street adjacent to it drenched me with sights, taste and textures. Arab Street provides an irresistible colossal visual treat!
And look who I had dinner with at Sufi Corner Cafe in Singapore….
The one and only (drum roll please!), Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards Best Travel Blog Winner, Nina Fuentes of Just Wandering.Org.
Incidentally, Nina and I first met in an intimate-bloggers’ event conducted by Contact Singapore held in Heritage Hotel back home. Who would have thought that our casual reunion will be in the country that was a topic of the event we attended 2 years ago? We planned the friendly dinner via facebook, and I must salute her for being organized and resourceful; she did research of what we must sample in Singapore (she deviated from Singaporean local dishes as we’ve tasted most of them already), even sent me the menu in pdf of Sufi Turkish Corner Restaurant in Arab Street. I trust her so as she has traveled to UAE and Morocco thus, she’s more familiar with Mediterranean cuisine. Her choices from the menu were nothing but excellent! I want to go back to Sufi, seriously!
From my solo-adventures at the airport and MRT stations, to the fantastic sights in Haji Lane and Arab street, to that engaging catching-up-dinner-with Nina, I knew I was in for another remarkable Singaporean weekend!