Geylang is a district renowned as a seedy, swinging and vibrant part of Singapore – our dodgy hotel is in the middle of this district.
Singapore’s Geylang District
Our accommodation is on Geylang Lor 15 and smack bang in the middle of all the swinging action.
Take a leisurely stroll after 4pm along this and surrounding roads to witness tables overflowing with jugs of beer, older chaps, and younger ladies. Spilling out onto the pavement, they are having a great time.
This red light district offers some of the cheapest local and authentic eats in Singapore. Venture out and try delicacies such as frog porridge or 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 client.
Best way to Travel around Singapore
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 an SGD$10 refund (only at a Transitlink Ticket Sales Office) when you return your card.
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.
In 2014, a single average fare cost SGD$1.40. Six trips on this card will earn one free trip.
A little Background
With not much of a travel plan and laden backpacks, we head to Singapore to find adventure. Who knows where this journey will take us from Singapore or for how long.
What to see
Singapore hosts many museums, all of which will bleed you dry if you persist in visiting even just a few.
As an alternative and if you don’t have much surplus cash to throw around, try and experience some of the free attractions around Singapore.
Walking everywhere in this city 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. Why not do as many locals do and take a picnic lunch to enjoy the gardens at your leisure.
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 the Kranji War Memorial. When 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 are buried here but also locals such as rubber planters, miners, local Chinese, and the Malay Regiment.
To appreciate this site, I suggest visiting in the late afternoon when most of the bus hordes have disappeared and the mood is one of quietness.
Of course, if visiting Singapore you must visit the Raffles Hotel.
Stroll around the obligatory Raffles Hotel built in 1887 and still pristinely maintained. Peer in the expensive opulent boutique windows for a peek at what the rich and famous can afford.
This famous hotel 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, decide to save some cash and give this a miss on this occasion.
The DeliFrance in the Raffles City Mall offers good coffee and tasty pastries at reasonable prices, for Singapore.
The colourful Little India district boasts excellent delicious food at non-Singaporean prices and is 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 although remember to wear long sleeves during your 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 and at extremely reasonable prices. A bowl of deliciously moorish Mee Siam sets you back only SGD$4.50 – who can forego this?
I just want 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-see and cannot 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 a private bathroom, I’m not sure you will find it much cheaper in Singapore.
The room is small with hardly enough space for the bed, let alone our big backpacks and daypacks. The bathroom hasn’t seen mould remover in ages and can do with a better clean all around. The air-conditioning is 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 its accommodation is no exception.
Quest for a good coffee under SGD$5
I’m sure ex-pats know the haunts that serve up authentic (not instant or Kopi) coffee around Singapore.
Although as a tourist visiting for 5 days, it is difficult seeking out a good coffee under SGD$5. And, we do try…daily.
Sadly, 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 also embarrassed to say.
So, the challenge is on for coffee lovers out there to find better and cheaper coffees in Singapore! Leave me a comment if you find a favourite spot and share your experience.
After the short and expensive time in vibrant Singapore, it is time to bus it to Malaysia for the next adventure – I will go broke if I stay in Singapore any longer.