From Kuala Lumpur we took an 8-hour train journey to Singapore in the ‘first class’ carriage for 12 pounds a pop. We thought ‘first class’ would be similar to what you’d expect of a first class carriage in England… it couldn’t be further from what we imagined. The train was really old, seats were very tattered and the toilets absolutely reeked – I was not impressed. I thought because the train connects Kuala Lumpur with Singapore that the train would be modern and somewhat ‘luxurious’. Seats in the third class carriage in Thailand were FAR better than this!
We finally pulled into Singapore at about 10 pm at a train station in the middle of nowhere with no cash points to be found. This was a real problem because we only had a few Malaysian ringgits and American dollars on us and we needed money to pay for a bus to get to the nearest tube station. We asked a man at the bus stop if he knew where the nearest cash point was and he said it was at least a 20 minute walk… The man was really friendly and he felt sorry for the two dumb travellers who’d arrived in Singapore with none of the local currency, so he kindly gave us 10 Singapore dollars. He got on the bus with us, showed us where the cash points were, helped us buy metro passes AND helped us find the right train. He wouldn’t even allow us to repay him the 10 dollars he’d given us! He told us we’d need it for Singapore, and he wasn’t kidding!
Throughout our trip so far we’ve been staying in hostels or hotels for not more than 5 pounds each a night, but a bed in a hostel in Singapore was a minimum 15 pounds a night (a taste of things to come in Australia?). We were staying in a 10-bed dorm and it wasn’t the cleanest hostel we’ve stayed in, it stank of pee everywhere. I hated the hostel so much that soon as I woke up the following morning we had breakfast and ventured into Singapore.
We started with a trip to the beautiful Botanical Gardens where we wondered around for a couple of hours. The gardens were really pretty and it was nice to see such a large green space slap bang in the middle of the city. We then headed to ‘Little India’ where we found hundreds of food stalls each with their own speciality. We shared a huge curry and naan for lunch which set us back 7 pounds (pretty cheap for Singapore!). After exploring Little India and a scrummy lunch, we jumped on to the metro to Marina Bay and spent the afternoon walking around the marina and gardens by the bay. We eventually had to seek shelter from the heat inside the Sands Casino/shopping centre and we found a ‘canal’ where you could pay for a gondola ride from one side of the mall to the other. People were actually paying to take a ‘gondola’ trip on a fake canal INSIDE a shopping centre!!
After 2 days in Singapore we’d had enough of how expensive it was and how the city looked like an architect’s model – everything was squeaky clean and ultra modern. No chewing gum on the floor or under seats, no graffiti, no dirt, no nothing… Singapore was pretty boring!!