Geylang is renown as a seedy vibrant part of Singapore. The JJH Boutique Apartment is on Geylang Lor 15 and smack bang in the middle of all the swinging action. Stroll leisurely along this and surrounding roads after 4pm and witness tables with jugs of beer, older chaps, and younger ladies spilled out onto the pavement having a great time.
This red light district offers some of the cheapest local eats in Singapore, which includes delicacies such as frog porridge, and an assortment of fried animal limbs in congee.
For more action, Geylang Lor 12 is where ladies in skimpy attire stand under dainty brollies in the sweltering heat and humidity, waiting for their next customer.
A little Background
Having only had a couple of short holiday trips away from Australia since 2011, spending 10+months travelling (Morocco and South America), it was time for another extended journey.
With not much of a travel plan and our backpacks overflowing, flew to Singapore to start travelling…who knows where it will take us from here…
Apart from your legs, the MRT is the easiest, best, and cheapest way around Singapore. A 3-day unlimited (train/bus) pass costs SGD$30 with a SGD$10 refund (only at a Transitlink Ticket Sales Office) when you hand your card back.
Make sure you buy the pass early in the morning as the clock starts ticking from the day of purchase, not the actual time of purchase. A single average fare is SGD$1.40 (6 trips on the card earns one free trip).
Singapore hosts many museums, all of which will bleed you dry if you persist in visiting even just a few.
As an alternatively and if you don’t have much surplus cash to throw around, try and experience some of the free attractions on offer.
Walking everywhere in Singapore is easy and safe, but as with any city, be aware. You will be stopping loads in Malls to enjoy the air-con and a refreshing well-earned drink as Singapore is a sweat bath.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is an impressive expansive botanical garden, which is free to walk around. Take a picnic lunch as many locals also enjoy at the gardens.
Deciding to see the two conservatories will set you back SGD$28 but then you only pay SGD$5 for the OCBC Skyway, which is usually SGD$10.
Kranji War Memorial
Take the MRT to Kranji. Outside of the station, turn right and walk up to the Kranji War Memorial. The brown sign on your left shows the path into the memorial.
This well-manicured memorial pays tribute to some 25,000 names on the memorial and 4,500 graves; not only Australian and British soldiers but also locals such as rubber planters, miners, local Chinese, and the Malay Regiment.
I suggest visiting in the late afternoon when most of the bus hoards have disappeared and the mood is one of quietness to appreciate this site.
Walk around the obligatory Raffles Hotel built in 1887 and pristinely maintained. Peer in the expensive opulent boutique windows for a peek at what the rich and famous can afford.
This famous hotel itself is a wonderful building to wander through, well-worth the visit, and is also free to enter.
Most tourists sample the acclaimed Singapore Sling, which is a must when visiting the Raffles Hotel but as we’ve both done this before, gave this a miss on this occasion.
The DeliFrance in Raffles City Mall does good coffee and tasty pastries at reasonable prices, for Singapore.
Colourful Little India district offers excellent delicious food at non-Singaporean prices and a more authentic district in which to wander around. Be tempted by the lingering spicy aromas that beckon any famished traveller.
If you’ve visited India, then apart from the streets in Little India being cleaner, there isn’t much difference and a similar feel with shops, flower stalls, and food.
Temples in China Town are free to enter. Remember to wear long sleeves during a visit.
Marina Bay Sands
Make sure to have a meal at the bustling Marina Bay Sands food court.
An excellent selection of freshly made dishes from every Asian region you can think of is on offer here and at extremely reasonable prices. A bowl of deliciously moorish Mee Siam will set you back only SGD$4.50, who can forego this? I just wanted to stay here longer and graze slowly through every available dish. Everything looks so amazingly fresh and the food here is really just that excellent!
Although luxurious shops pave this opulent Mall, the architectural splendour is a must to see and can’t but impress even the most jaded of travellers or cynics. An ice rink also sits right next to the food court.
With friendly staff and conveniently located to everything, the JJH Boutique Apartment has seen better days. But at SGD$64/night for a double including an ensuite, I’m not sure you will find much cheaper in Singapore.
The room is small with hardly enough space for the bed, let alone our big backpacks and daypacks. The ensuite hasn’t seen Exit Mould in an age and could do with a better clean all round. The air-conditioning was a godsend.
This is about the best on offer for the money but you can pay upwards of SGD$100 per night for something better. There’s a reason why “Singapore is the most expensive city in the world” and accommodation is no exception!
Quest for a good coffee under SGD$5
I’m sure Expats know the haunts that serve up authentic (not instant or Kopi) coffee around Singapore.
Although as a tourist visiting for 5 days, it was extremely difficult seeking out a good coffee under SGD$5, and tried we did…daily.
Sadly and I’m ashamed to admit, the quest ended in a McCafe out of all places, with a cappuccino for SGD$3.20, which tasted heavenly I am embarrassed to say. So, the challenge is on for coffee lovers out there to find better and cheaper in Singapore! Leave me a comment if you found a favourite spot.
After the short and expensive time in vibrant Singapore, it is time to bus it to Malaysia for the next adventure. Anyway, I would go broke if I stayed in Singapore any longer.