Singapore – The city that sleeps!

Comfy air chair on the bus

Comfy arm chair on the bus

After booking my flights to Kuala Lumpur on my way home from South East Asia, I thought to myself why didn’t I just book into Kuala Lumpur and out of Singapore to home. Once I get an idea in my head I’m determined to act on it. So I decided to take myself off on a day trip from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. I booked the last bus of the day leaving at midnight and was pleasantly surprised to find big armchair seats on the bus complete with that handle that kicks out the leg rest and a button which starts an armchair massage. I settled in for the ride and we breezed our way down the motorway arriving at an empty border crossing in the wee hours. The officer asked me why I was only entering for one day and he was happy with my response to sightsee and stamped me in.

We arrived into Singapore about 4.30am in complete darkness and were dropped off on the side of the road outside the depot. Everybody else on the bus disappeared pretty quickly and I was left wondering what to do with myself. The city was lifeless no cars, no people, no noise. I walked down the empty street and found a coffee shop that was closed but had tables and chairs outside where I took a seat and polished after the remainder of my nibbles from the bus while watching nervously around for any signs of life in the city.

I had a guide of Singapore and discovered I was just down the road from the famous Raffles Hotel and decided to head down to take some photos of it all lit up. It was pretty impressive. I decided to keep walking around the lifeless streets, feeling a little spooked by the stillness. Where is everyone?

Raffles Hotel in the morning hours

Raffles Hotel in the morning hours

Raffles Hotel in the morning hours

Raffles Hotel in the morning hours

I finally came across an open convenience store and stepped inside and wasn’t the least surprised to discover I was the only customer, I bought a drink and inquired if I could use the bathroom, he pointed me across the road to the University. A female security guard was in there getting herself ready for the day ahead and gave me a double glance when I walked in, I guess she doesn’t see many people at this hour.

After consulting my map again, I saw I wasn’t far from a walking track which would take me down to the famous waterfront and headed off in that direction with the early signs of the sunrise filling the city with a glow. Finally, signs of life people started jogging past me and on my walk past the central business district and onto the harbour the city came alive with the sounds of traffic and the everyday buzzes of life.

I bought an energy drink and something to eat and slumped on a park bench along the harbour the sun not that far off from rising already had a sting in it and I was buggered it was going to be a long hot day.  I think the guy coming past me with his leaf blower was a little annoyed I didn’t move and waited paitently until I got up so he could blow the leaves from under my bench.

Singapore Financial District

Singapore Financial District

Merlion Water Fountain

Merlion Water Fountain

I caught the underground train to Orchard Road, the famous shopping district and was a little surprised the shops were closed when I got there and I waited around until 10am when they opened and walked amongst the shopping centres looking at the prices way outside my backpacking budget but glad to be in the air conditioning.  Off Orchard Road is Emerald Hill Road a lovely street filled with chinese influenced terraced houses built in the early 1900’s.

I couldn’t leave Singapore without having a Singapore Sling at the famous Long Room in Raffles Hotel so over I headed having a little sticky beak through the hotel before finding my way onto the second floor and into the bar filled with tourists sipping Singapore Slings and throwing peanut shells on the floor. I ordered mine at a reasonably priced $32 😀 and sat back and took a load off for an hour or so sipping away, it was yum!

Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hotel

Singapore Sling and Peanuts at the Long Bar

Singapore Sling and Peanuts at the Long Bar

Courtyard of the Raffles Hotel

Courtyard of the Raffles Hotel

With the heat being so intense and my eyelids struggling to stay open, it was over 32 hours since I slept, I decided to head back to Kuala Lumpur on an early bus and was glad to slide into the armchair on the bus. The roads were full this time and it took a little longer to make our way out of Singapore. Passing border patrol and heading down the motorway in Malaysia we came to a stop and a long line of cars in front of us not going anywhere. There were reports of a car accident ahead. As the hours whiled away we finally started making ground again only to be stopped in another traffic jam, night had fallen by this stage and flashing lights ahead we soon discovered police were doing random checks of passports looking for illegal immigrants, everyone on our bus showed their passports and we were on our way again.

Finally at 10 pm we were dropped off in Kuala Lumpur a total of 3 hours after our expected arrival time. I was so glad to fall in a heap in my bed at my hostel but only had a few hours to sleep as I had to be up early the next morning to make my way to the airport.

I’m not sure I would recommend my plan of attack on visiting Singapore, but I would recommend visiting Singapore it is a lovely city and I’m sure would be even more lovelier if I didn’t see it through droopy eyelids.

Visited Singapore: 8 July 2013

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