Joy Meets World:3 Days/2 Nights Singapore Travelogue

2:14:00 AM



After a long and tiring day accompanied by stress during and after working hours, all we want to do is take a day off, relax and unplug ourselves from the stressful world plus my partner and I is celebrating our 2nd year anniversary. 

We are all set and ready to go! Pinoy Secret Files X Lomograpika goes to Singapore! Since travelling abroad is new to us, we decided that our first travel destination would be Singapore. Why? It is a good starting point for first time travelers like us since Singapore is a small country which means navigation won’t be that complicated compared to other countries such as Hong Kong. Aside from that, travelling from Manila to Singapore is just a 3-hour plane ride.

Singapore having an area of 718.3 km2, while the Philippines have an area of 300,000 km2. This small yet progressive country proved that a small nation could top those who are larger in scale. Size doesn’t matter for Singapore.

Our two-way plane ticket (Manila to Singapore, vice versa) cost around 15,000 pesos (via Cebu Pacific Airlines). We got our ticket from their current promo but compared to their other promos, ours were quite pricey.





Despite our flight being delayed for an hour, we were able to arrive at Singapore with a steady flight. Kudos the Pilot and flight attendant during our flight!


Day 1.

This is it! 6:30pm, touch down Singapore! Our first day at Singapore is late afternoon so we need to rush to our hotel and drop our luggage. Before anything else, the first thing we did was to change our US Dollar to SG Dollar. There are several money changer in Changi Airport so it won’t be a problem. And since it is getting dark, we hurried our way to the MRT to buy our tickets.

We planned to purchase the 3-Day Singapore Tourist Pass. Good thing that the ticketing officer is a Filipina. She was very accommodating that she even guided us about the MRT ticketing system. And since we opted to stay in Singapore for 4 days, she suggested that we purchase a standard ticket for our day 1 and use the 3-day tourist pass the succeeding days.

Why the Singapore Tourist Pass (STP), you say? For first timers like us, if you want to familiarize yourself with how the MRT and bus system works, it would be better to have this ticket as the STP offers unlimited rides within Singapore’s public transportation network. Yes, UNLIMITED travel passes for buses and trains. Do take note that the unlimited travel is for public bus and train services only. That excludes rides on premium bus services such as the Fast Forward, Night Rider and Night Owl buses.


Singapore Tourist Pass

Standard Ticket


We’re really glad that we purchased the STP as we had several trial and errors getting on to different destinations. It looks complicated at first but once you familiarize yourself with the routes, it will be easy. If we bought the standard ticket, I bet we already spend a lot of money on the MRT alone.

Below is the type and rate of each STP.


Since we purchased the 3-day STP, we paid $30 for it. The $10 is the refundable rental deposit which will be given to you if you return the ticket within 5 days after the day of purchase. With that, the ticket will just cost $20. Okay, now that we have our tickets, our next destination is Hotel Bencoolen.

Hotel Bencoolen is located at 47 Bencoolen St, Singapore 189626 which we booked via Expedia. Our booking for 4 days and 3 nights cost around 320 SGD.

To go to Hotel Bencoolen:

1. Walk to Changi Airport Station.
2. East-West Line – Board the train towards Tanah Merah Station in about 4 min and alight at Tanah Merah Station, 2 stops later.
3. East-West Line – Board the train towards Joo Koon Station in about 4 min and alight at Paya Lebar Station, 4 stops later.
4. Circle Line – Board the train towards Dhoby Ghaut Station in about 4 min and alight at Bras Basah Station, 7 stops later.
5. Take Exit E and walk to Hotel Bencoolen.

Click the image for full view


Upon our arrival at Bras Basah station, we saw a Starbucks store and opted to purchase our Starbucks tumbler which cost 20.50 SGD each! By the way, I am a Starbucks Tumbler Collector so yes, dropping by at Starbucks is at the top of our to do list.




We arrived around 10 PM at our hotel. Feeling tired and hungry, we decided to look for the nearest food store we can find. It took us around 20 minutes to find a food store since most of the stores close at 10 PM. KFC was our savior! We are just in the nick of time! They are about to close in about 10 minutes! 

We ordered Original Recipe Rice Bucket. The rice bowl on the left tastes like curry while the chicken and burger meal on the right taste like the usual KFC chicken. (Watch for scale). Our meal cost 13.3 SG Dollars.




We hurried back to the hotel and ate our dinner.

Here’s the picture of our hotel room.
  • Two (2) single beds 
  • Bathroom for each room 
  • Airconditioned 
  • Alarm 
  • 15 inch television 
  • Mini bar 
  • Safe 
  • Cabinet 


Not bad for backpackers as you won’t be staying at the hotel room for long. Enough for a place to sleep and to drop your luggage. 

Why did we booked Hotel Bencoolen? One big factor is that they offer free breakfast which can save a lot of time and energy before your day starts. Since we booked late afternoon and arrived at Singapore late night already, we opted to take our sleep as the real adventure begins the next day! 

Day 2. 

Hello Day 2, another adventure bound for the day. Today we head to Singapore’s very own Universal Studios, Sentosa up to the famous Marina Bay Sands.

Itinerary:
  • Universal Studios Singapore (USS) 
  • Sentosa 
  • Merlion Statue (Sentosa) 
  • Marina Bay Sands 
  • The shoppe at Marina Bay Sands 
  • Helix Bridge 
  • ArtScience Museum 


After our sumptuous breakfast, off we go to USS. Universal Studios is one of the greatest and if not, the greatest and a must-go-to attraction in Singapore! No one wants to miss Universal Studio in Singapore, right? If you’ve been to Singapore but haven’t been to USS, then you haven’t been to Singapore yet! This must be on the top of your itinerary!

Today, we will give you a quick tour around USS. More details about Singapore itself will be posted soon! So stand by for that! But for now, USS is our primary topic.


If you are looking for the best deal for your USS tour, I recommend AsiaTravel as they have the best deals out there! We were able to purchase a day pass for USS for two (2). Upon booking, you will receive an email confirmation and instructions on how to redeem your tickets. It includes Hotel transfer to USS. Don’t worry, it is so easy you won’t get lost as upon arrival to USS, the first thing you will see is this ticket booth (picture above) wherein you will redeem your tickets. 

Our ticket cost around 76 SGD. It is a Universal Studios Singapore E-Ticket with 1 way Transfer Service from hotel to Universal Studios. It also comes with a 5 SGD meal discount.You need not to worry when going back as they have a free ride to the mall and from there, you can make your way back to your hotel.

One cool thing is that you can exit and re-enter USS anytime. They will stamp you with an ultraviolet stamp. At first, we thought the stamp has no ink but the staff told us that it is “UV” so we do not need to worry about that.



Every one who enters USS must have this shot! If you see this rotating globe with the word “Universal” on it, then you are indeed in USS.

Note: It is a little tricky to take a selfie since its rotating.


USS is divided into several divisions. New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away, Madagascar and Hollywood. Each division have different attractions.


Hollywood

Oh, look at that joy! #minionCraze It seems that not only in the Philippines we have those minion craze!


Madagascar

These are the attractions and booths found in Madagascar.


And yes, photo ops are a must! #selfie Don’t worry, there are official USS photographers that will take pictures of you in which you can purchase.


Far Far Away

Welcome to the Galaxy Far Far Away… That ain’t right…Welcome to Far Far Away!


Human for scale.


In the King’s perspective, the view of the castle. We were able to get a hop on the attraction inside the castle. It’s a 4D ride. If you’ve been to Enchanted Kingdom, they are similar but this is in 3D which have moving seats and air that blows in your face. LoL


The Lost World – Jurassic Park

These attractions are one of the longest. So we were not able to hop on it.


More attractions in The Lost World


Ancient Egypt

For some reason, we find this place the hottest! Maybe because of how the “environment” was made? I promise you, of all the division we’ve been thru, this is the hottest part.


Another human for scale.


The queue on this ride is damn long! We were not able to hop on this one.


Battlestar Galactica

Looks like a giant dildo to me. LoL. This coaster was closed. I think it is under repairs.


Sci-Fi City

Humans for scale, again.


Bumble Bee and Optimus Prime, one of the most queued photo attractions


The one on the left is just a life size Optimus Prime, non moving. But on the right is the Optimus Prime mascot.


New York

Human for scale again.


We all love Sesame Street! Just in time, we were able to watch Cookie Monster, Oscar the grouch and Bert during their street performance!


More of Elmo!



These are some Lego toys of the Transformers invading USS! Oh look at how the guy on the right screams!


There are plenty of restaurants to dine inside USS but since we were so exhausted and hungry, we opt to dine at Mel’s Drive-In. The environment is full of jukeboxes. Feels like we were in the 80’s

Must.. Take.. This.. Bite!! We had this burger and fries combo. Take note, the size of their burgers are not the same as ours here in the Philippines. This regular burger is as big as a double cheese burger. Just look at how wide her mouth is in order to take a bite! Our lunch cost around 25.90 SGD. And since we have a 10 USD discount (5 SGD each), we were able to spend 15.90 SGD instead.


If you think chocolates here are expensive, no they are not!That’s what we thought at first. We suggest you buy those that can be only found here. We thought we can find those somewhere in Singapore but we can’t. We should have bought them already. Oh well.

We were really glad that the weather cooperated with us. It was a bright, sunny day when we went to USS. We suggest you bring extra shirts and wear protective gears such as sunglasses, caps and don’t forget the sun block. The weather in Singapore is hotter compared to our country but not humid. So when you perspire, you won’t feel sticky unlike here.

Singapore is known to have potable water which means clean drinking water everywhere. So you might want to bring an empty water bottle for you to refill as there are many drinking fountains all over USS. The next time we visit USS, we will surely try all attractions.

You can finish touring USS late afternoon if you won’t be visiting all the attractions. Since we have a lot in our itinerary for the day, we opted to move on to the next after USS.









Sentosa, one of the popular island resorts in Singapore. The name Sentosa translates as “peace and tranquility” in Malay. It is also known as “Pulau Belakang Mati” in Chinese which in Malay means the “Island of Death from Behind“.








One of the reasons why we wanted to visit Sentosa is because of the largest Merlion statue. Our original plan is to visit all the Merlion statues but due to time constraints, we opted to visit only two (2). One at Sentosa and the other at the Merlion Park.



We were not able to get in the Merlion statue in Sentosa due to the vast crowd. So I just took quick snaps of the statue instead and headed to our next destination.


But before we head out Sentosa, we decided to have a quick break at Smoothie King to cool ourselves as the weather is really hot.


Exiting Sentosa is easy as a free train ride could be found.Next stop, Marina Bay Sands – The Shoppe at Marina Bay Sands.


Rain Oculus could be found inside the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Inside the mall, a long canal could also be found wherein you can have a boat ride that strecthes throughout the mall.


A beautiful view from the Events Plaza.


Behind us, the view of Marina Bay and ArtScience Museum.








The Helix Bridge


We waited ’til 9pm for the Marina Bay and ArtScience Museum lights display. We were a little disappointed as the lights show was just laser displays the shoots at random. Nevertheless, the view was spectacular.



After the long walk, we headed back to our hotel. Hungry and exhausted, we searched for restaurants that were open but could find none. We are so tired, we couldn’t move our feet. It took us an hour to find this precious gem – McDonalds. Yes, eating at famous fastfood chains is part of our itinerary. We wanted to compare it from the Philippine version but it turns out they’re just the same.

A quick foodie snap and we’re off to dine and sleep as we are really tired from walking the whole day.

We really had a great time despite the number of kilometers we walked. Nothing beats the experience from walking.


Day 3.

Today will be more on shopping and strolling around Orchard Road, China Town and try foods at the famous Hawker stalls.






Check out their bus transportation. The very first thing we noticed is how organize Singaporeans are. One door is dedicated as an entrance while the other is for the exit. 





Orchard Road is known for being the "shopping district" of Singapore. A 2.2 kilometer long boulevard with lots of shops to choose from.


















Along the way, we notice a lot of banners, stalls and art decorations for their upcoming events such as Singapore Fashion week, 28th SEA Games and SG at 50. Too bad, we won't be able to catch those events since we will be heading back to Manila the next day.


We've heard that Singapore have sudden rain downpours at random and could get pretty crazy during heavy rains. Good thing it just rained for 5 minutes and wasn't that heavy.

Walking a 2.2 kilometer road and stopping almost at every shop is no big joke. We were exhausted so we decided to have our lunch at a hawker stall which Singapore is known for.



But before that, let us show you a picture of the train we rode headed to Serangoon. We wanted to explore the city where tourist unusually visit. And yes, the train is almost empty. Having only 3 passengers. 2 of us plus some unknown guy.


So we tried roast chicken and duck plus strawberry and watermelon shake. Not bad.








After lunch, we headed to Chinatown to do some shopping. If you plan to buy accessories for your cellphone like a selfie stick, fisheye + macro lens (which my partner bought), do buy it here. I notice that the prices here are cheaper compared to the prices we have in malls and tiangges at Manila. Price difference is about 200 pesos. Haggle for prices! If they do not agree with your price, just move on to the next stall. There's a lot of stalls around Chinatown.

Sri Mariamman Temple. We decided not to go inside anymore.


We tried LlaoLlao and Koi. LlaoLlao is a frozen yogurt wherein you could pick a variety of toppings you want to add. Since the yogurt was so awesome, we forgot to take a picture of it. My partner loved the taste of this Koi Milktea. It was given to us by my Aunt whom we met at Chinatown.




Singapore is known to be one of the cleanest cities in the world but was surprise to find this, though this is very rare.

After spending the afternoon with my relatives who toured us at different places around the metro, it was time for us to part ways. We really thanked them for showing us around Singapore despite the lack of time. We hope we could see them around soon the next time we visit Singapore.



Bugis street is known for midnight shopping and the hawker stalls. We opted to have our dinner here but was not able to catch up with the hawker stalls since it was past 10PM already. But good thing, there was this one stall that is still open so we decided to dine here instead.


On our way back to our hotel, we saw this road sign. Feeling like we're back in Manila.

Day 4.

Last day of our SG trip. It's sad that we will be going home soon, we will definitely miss Singapore.

For our last day, here’s our quick itinerary:
  • Sim Lim Square 
  • Mustafa Centre 
  • Changi Airport T2, Starbucks 
  • Changi Airport T2, Central Thai Restaurant 
  • Changi Airport T2, Lounge 
  • Back to Manila 
Sim Lim Square is known for tourists who loves to shop for gadgets and electronics. But we wary as there are a lot of scams if you are not familiar with place. There was this news wherein a Vietnamese tourist knelt down and begged just to get a refund for his iPhone 6. So if you’ll visit any store, not just in Sim Lim, be sure to ask if the package they are offering is free or would there be any additional costs. Make it a practice to always ask for the EXACT price, up to the last centavo. Just common sense, eh?



Moving on, upon visiting Sim Lim Tower and Sim Lim Square, we were able to buy an HDMI cable around 50meters long. Not the usual length you could find here in our country. The longest that I saw on computer and hardware stores here in our country is around 10meters only. So without any second thoughts, my partner bought one. And since we arrive around 8am in the morning, not all stores were opened yet. Good thing that store that we bought the cable gave us a discount since we are his first customer for the day. 


Looks familiar? Yep, Selecta; that famous ice cream. But here we found it to be named as "Walls"


So Kim Chui has a store here? Tee-hee :D


Mustafa Centre is a 24 hour shopping mall in Singapore. Looking from the outside, it seems small but when you go in, there are a lot of items to choose from. We opted to go shopping early morning as we wanted to avoid the busy crowds. Mustafa Centre is located at Little India, Singapore.


Looking from this picture, it also seems like you can’t see the end. That’s how big this shopping center is.


I was just fascinated on how this drink looks but not on how it tastes.


Travelling back to our hotel as we have our flight on the afternoon (back to Manila).


We left our hotel and bid farewell to the hotel staff. They were very accommodating and friendly too. One of their advice is to walk around instead so we can explore the city and appreciate the beauty more. Travelling by foot is the best part of travelling and I agree on that too, well except if your destination is miles away. By the way, this is not our hotel. Just a view near our hotel since there’s a construction going on and it’s not a good view to take pictures on.


Stop over a 7-11 store on the way to Changi Airport Terminal 2











Alas, we reached our destination. Taking some snaps while waiting for our departure.



Remember when we purchased our Starbucks tumbler on our first day? We were given coupons so we opted to use it here.


Before leaving Singapore, we wanted to try something expensive, at least, so we got to have an experience of eating at hawker stalls and a fancy restaurant (at least). And since we are out of time, we decided to dine at Central Thai at Changi Airport Terminal 2. Not the usual food we expected for its price though. 


And of course, pasalubongs. Chocolates, shirts and key chains.

Byebye Singapore, we hope we could visit you again soon. Shucks. Back to reality. As most backpackers would say, "travel the land where you grew up first before you travel beyond." It became one of my principles too but wasn’t able to pursue that. Instead, I jumped and travelled beyond my country. I didn’t regret doing that.

It was definitely more exciting as I was able to meet different people and learn their culture. A small country such as Singapore is a definitely must go-to. For first-timers who wants to travel around the globe, we would recommend you to make Singapore your first destination. Why? A small, rich and multi-cultured country, you’ll definitely won’t get lost.

Of course we will explore the land of where we grew up but we may explore other countries first. We hope we could do more travels if time and budget permits.

Speaking of budget, here is our expenses for the entire trip. Take note that we did our best to be frugal but we do not want to compromise our safety and comfort since it's our anniversary, so our hotel is a quite pricey. Total, we spent almost 68,000 PHP for our first out of the country trip.



In Philippine Peso


In Singapore Dollars



Any Singapore experience or queries? Hit me up!

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