We had a 6 hour bus journey to the city of Singapore from Kuala Lumpur. I must admit, I was happy to be finally leaving KL. After being scammed numerous times by the taxi drivers, almost missing our bus to Singapore, due to the taxi driver taking a half hour detour to get a bigger fare, a horrible hostel experience, and having abuse shouted to us from some of the locals on the street in the middle of the day, I was looking forward to arriving to a new city!
I’d heard so much about Singapore, and it’s been a city on my bucket list for many years, but one thing I had been warned about was how expensive it was going to be.It’s the city that steals your heart, and I was soon to find out it’s also the city that steals your money! After our awful experience with a hostel in KL, I was a little hesitant to book a hostel in Singapore. After looking at hotels and realising we would have to pay around £100 a night, we took the risk and booked a hostel. We chose to stay at the 5footway.inn Project Bugis. The 5footway.inn company have numerous hostels around the city, and looking on the map, they all seem to be quite centrally located. We paid around £40 for a private room, which is quite expensive for a hostel. The dorm rooms were around £30, so for an extra £10, we decided to go private. This was just the first taste of how expensive Singapore was going to be!
We arrived to the hostel, and straight away I was quite pleased at how lovely the area looked, and how nice the hostel looked. It was a blessing after our horrible experience in KL, where we arrived to a hostel that was more like a crack den, than a hostel! We couldn’t check in until 3pm, so decided to go grab some lunch first. The hostel staff were kind enough to offer to look after our backpacks, so we didn’t have to lug them around with us.
We checked into our room, which ended up leaving us disappointed. The room smelt damp, it was literally a box room and there appeared to be a nightclub below our room. No sleep for us! We didn’t go for single beds after seeing it would be bunk beds, so chose to go for a double. (After a while of sleeping in bunk beds, we wanted a little bit of luxury!) We got into the room to see that it was in fact a double bed, but it was on a bunk bed, so we still had to climb up! There was no mention of this when we booked, otherwise we’d of just gone for the bunk beds. The bathrooms were ok, not the best, but I’ve certainly been in worst toilets and showers in hostels. Compared to our experience that we had in KL, where we didn’t even dare use the toilet or shower, it was ok for one night. (We originally planned to only spend 1 night in Singapore…how silly of us to think that would be enough!) In terms of location, this hostel is great. 5 minute walk from the Kampong Glam area, and around a 20-30 minute walk to Marina Bay. If you’re budgeting, you don’t have to get a taxi to get around, and can easily walk to the main spots.
Refreshed and ready to see what Singapore was all about, we set off to explore the city. Our hostel was a short 5 minute walk from the well known Kampong Glam area, which we hadn’t realised when booking. We just wanted to be as close to the Marina Bay area, without paying a fortune! If you’re ever lucky enough to visit Singapore, make the effort to go visit the Kampong Glam area. Being one of my first experiences of Singapore, it certainly was far from being a bad first impression. It’s also known as the muslim quarter, and has a strong muslim residence in the area, especially with the Sultan Mosque, which is almost a must visit! But more about that in part 2…
Wandering the streets of the Kampong Glam area
It’s certainly a popular area with the younger crowd, with plenty of places to eat, bars and the street art on the well known Haji Lane. With its boutique shops, Haji Lane is definitely the hipster area of Singapore. It reminded me of the Northern Quarter in Manchester, where I lived for a year, and the Lace Market area of Nottingham, my home city.
After already falling in love with Singapore, we carried on walking towards the Marina Bay. Our plan was to go see the Gardens by the Bay in the dark, all lit up. This didn’t happen as we got far too distracted, but more about that later! On our walk, we came across the Fountain of Wealth, another tourist spot in Singapore, although it was a lot quieter than the Kampong Glam area. There are a few bars around this area, but this is where we realised just how expensive Singapore is for a beer. We paid around £8 each for a pint, and this was in happy hour, where we got 2 drinks for 1! If you visit Singapore, and you’re on a budget, don’t drink alcohol. Singapore is expensive, but it even made London look a cheap place to drink with how expensive the alcohol was. Go tee-total to save the pennies!
To be continued…