Crossing the border from Singapore to Malaysia

On Tuesday it was time to say farewell to Singapore along with Hank and Katie. After a slow start we left our hostel in Singapore at about quarter to eleven.

We made our way to the Queen Street bus terminal which was right near the Bugis MRT station. We lined up for the Causeway Link bus, which is conveniently bright yellow and easy to recognise. The buses seem to come every ten minutes or so, there was a huge queue but we got on to the second bus. It cost $3.30 and we could even pay with our MRT EZ-Link cards which was a bonus as we had money leftover on them.

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The smiling bus ūüôā

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Let’s Camel Up!

On Sunday we had booked to go kayaking on Palau Ubin which is an island to the northeast of Singapore. Palau Ubin is meant to be reminiscent what an old Singaporean Village was like.

It turns out you need to book the kayaking at least two days in advance. We wanted to book the six hour Ubin Bisect Tour which is meant to be harder, but when we rang on Friday they seemed to only have the four hour Mangrove Tour available on Sunday. It took them a while to confirm exactly what the options were. Fortunately Hank had bought a SIM card as there were a number of emails back and forth, culminating in us needing to provide our details and pay via credit card on Saturday evening so that the company could buy insurance.

We headed out on the MRT then a bus to Changi Village Ferry Terminal. Here we got onto a ‘bumboat’. These only depart once¬†they have 12 passengers but basically as soon as we arrived a man pointed at us and said ‘Ubin’ then ushered us onto a boat.

Boats to Palau Ubin

Boats on the way to Palau Ubin

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Singapore: Land of the Merlion

On our second day in Singapore we met up with Hank, a friend from USA. I met Hank about eight years ago when my family went trekking in Patagonia – you can read about how we met on his blog. Earlier this year Hank came to NZ to tramp the South Island section of the Te Araroa and we became his logistics team and also met up with him for a weekend trip.

None of us had done a whole lot of planning for this trip, so I decided¬†that the most important thing to do in Singapore was to hunt out the Merlion,¬†which¬†is the national animal of Singapore. It has the head of a lion and the body of a fish (of course). We managed to find it and it turns out it’s constantly vomiting which we did not expect. We are not sure why it is so sick but apparently Merlion is sometimes used as slang for vomiting in Singapore. I’m not looking forward to getting an opportunity to use this later in the trip.

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The original Merlion – why is it always vomiting?

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First day in Singapore

We are in Singapore! We are now properly backpacking – engage full tourist mode. *cameras appear around our necks, we are suddenly dressed in shorts and sandals and holding maps*

We had a minor hiccup earlier on in Darwin when they wouldn’t let us check in onto the flight unless we could prove we were leaving Singapore. As we are planning to leave by bus this was a bit difficult, but fortunately they would accept¬†a hotel reservation in the next country. We hurriedly went off and booked a hotel in Malaysia on booking.com (free cancellation) and they let us on the flight. Something we need to look out for in future.

The arrival into the airport was super quick, immigration and customs were a breeze. We headed to the MRT station (Mass Rapid Transit) and got MRT cards. Mine is super pink and girly, Andy got to choose from a range of superheroes (he picked Batgirl). Such is life I guess.

There was an enormous amount of construction on the way into the city, cranes everywhere. We started talking about how maybe we’d give up on working in Scotland and come back to work in Singapore instead. There must be lots of jobs. By the time we made it into town we were pretty hungry. For first lunch we had fried savoury pancakes filled with spring onions. Om nom nom.

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Andy’s first Singaporean meal – a fried savoury pancake

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