Monday, September 14, 2015

1st International Solo Travel. Top Things To Do (I did) in Singapore & Indonesia!

Life is a great journey, some people will promise to walk with you through the end, but for some reasons, they may not be able to do so either, intentionally or unintentionally. However, you cannot give up. You will continue to pursue your dreams no matter the conflicts, disputes, arguments, quitting, and refusals.

I had it all planned, until some stars in heaven chose not to be aligned, and I was destined to travel solo. I've initially called it "traveling alone" but I stood corrected by a brother saying, "I wasn't alone" and it's true. I ain't alone, I was traveling solo, but the thoughts and love of my family and friends are with me. 

I had doubts, I had my apprehensions, I even have my last minute second thoughts, my fears, but I have always been a fan of "facing fears" moments. So, I decided to push through with the planned short vacation.

Fist stop, Singapore!

I have been seeing pictures of Singapore, before I've actually visited her. She's been in my newsfeed in different social media sites and I got curious. So I have to check her out. 

We haven't landed yet, but the excitement got to me, and I have to take a peek of her aerial view. I wasn't sure if it's already SG I am looking at from above, but I managed to take a picture!

I was told of her greatness, her beauty, and her "fine" features as a small yet progressive country. Standing in the midst of Asia, she stood small and powerful. Her economy and infrastructures are admired by many people of different nationalities. 

At Changi Airport, I explored, what I did is window shop, I cherished seeing a clean place like an airport in Singapore! I've not felt so comfortable in an airport than that when I was in Changi. I saw different stores/boutiques of different items. I roamed around and saw some people drawing some things, and thought to myself, I should try 'em too! I got the colored pen and started brushing it against the paper I picked up at the side of the "Drawing Station" at the airport and was able to create this image right here.

I got lost in the vast, cozy and clean airport, until I realized I have to check out of the airport and present myself to the immigration. I haven't had my passport stamped yet.  Yep, Changi Airport is quite big enough for you to get lost for shopping or site-seeing. 

At the immigration, I was asked the usual question. "What are you doing here?" I replied, "I am here for a vacation, I will have a tour around Singapore!". He asked me again, "Are you here for the holiday?", I responded with a nod, was asked a return flight ticket, and was permitted to stay for 30 days as shown in the stamp of my passport. 

TRAVEL TIP #1: Always bring with your your ball-pen. You would need to fill up forms as you disembark and present the same. 

TRAVEL TIP #2: Keep your passport, return tickets, hotel bookings, within easy access from your bag or document purse (a handy container of docs) so as to present them easily if asked. 

TRAVEL TIP#3: They don't use "tour" or "vacation" as a term for your visit as a tourist wanting to have the time of your life. Tell them you are there for the "holiday" and better if you can present "tour bookings", they'd easily stamp your passport as a tourist. Good for 30 days!

TRAVEL TIP #4: It's usually better to exchange your money in the country you are visiting. I tried currency exchange in the PH airport money changer, and I was given SGD1.00 = Php34.00 for buying rate, I changed some of my USD in SGD as I arrived in SG and I got as an equivalent SGD1.00 = Php32.00.

I was told by my good friend, that my hotel/resort is in Tanah Merah, two train stations away from Changi Airport. However, I wanted to take an adventure with a taxi. So, I went out of the airport through the "taxi stand" and I was gladly ushered by the airport personnel to get a taxi.

As I rode the taxi, I tried to use some of my "broken english", long-saved english words, haha and yeah, I managed to exchange few words with the taxi driver. For the video, it's here.

The friendly taxi driver brought me to my booked resort hotel SAF YACHT CLUB. For the view of my room it's here. It was a cool place to stay, they have a pool and well, you can go swimming in a pool, or just sit in front of the sea with the Yachts within your sight's reach. They have friendly crew and very accommodating. I did have some challenges communicating with one of the crews who can't speak english, but I was able to order food for my lunch, and I was quite satisfied with the taste and generous serving size. For a video of the food tasting, I had it posted here

I explored SG's train stations, I went to Vivo City, Sentosa, and nearby places solo! It's also fun to learn how things work in another country. Bought ticket, eat some food, and walked my way through Resorts World Sentosa! 

TRAVEL TIP #5: Use your card up to 6 times for tap up, so you can save SGD0.10 for card charges. 

TRAVEL TIP #6: If you have enough time to walk, then go out of Vivo City, go to SENTOSA on foot, don't take the train. You'd save money, and you'll be able to see the view. 

I have agreed with my friends Sheila and Jack to have a meet up the day after my arrival so we could have some catching up sessions. They have gladly agreed and told me we could have dinner together, and party after dinner!  
True enough, we met at Clark Quay, and ate at the famous SONG FA Bak Kut Teh Restaurant.

Thankful for the generous sponsors who had our tummies filled with tasty food at this sumptuous dinner! 

TRAVEL TIP#7: If it's your first time in SG, try this out. Locals and tourists are lining up just to have a seat and dine in this famous food haven!

SG is not Bak Kut Teh, so after dinner I was blessed to have been guided by my four lovely ladies. They served as my tour guide, companions, buddies, photographers and co-models! LOL!

We roamed around Clark Quay, night life in SG usually happens in Clark Quay, several clubs, food areas and fun activities could be done here. I am thankful that these lovely ladies are amazingly generous in taking pictures of me (solo and with them) in different spots of Clark Quay and even in other parts of SG where we walked and make memories.

I was able to have my signature #dorojumpshot at Clark Quay! Thanks Jen for capturing this one! 

My tour guides had me try the famous ice cream, took me to famous spots in Clark Quay and asked me to pose for the camera in different angles! Haha I feel like I have a bunch of PAs with me. LOL. Took a lot of obligatory selfies, posed with my friends in different spots and had great laugh every time I had to pose, you know, the camera man doesn't have an easy job to find the right angle if I'm the subject. LOL! 

TRAVEL TIP#8: If you ever wanna have some good time in SG. Hire this ladies for a tour guide! You'd love it! It could be for a fee, or for a bucket of beer? LOL! Mine though was for free, charged to #friendship!

Allow me to share some fun shots we've had as we toured around SG! Credits to Jen, Jack, Shie and Jessa for the great photos captured!

We were trying to pose as if we're riding this one! Unfortunately, my friends aren't well informed of the supposed "act". 

In almost all corners, views are blogworthy and picture-worthy.

Because pictures are everywhere, you just have to take 'em.
Nope, we're not in New York we're in SG!

The tourist with the lovely ladies!

He's serving ice cream with tricks!

Because we can't get enough poses! LOL

Of lights and structures!

Walk, pose, and smile!

When the camera flicks make sure to smile!

Obligatory pose with the Merlion!

For now, let's have it as a background. Next time, we're gonna climb up there and chill out!

Keep smiling, life is beautiful, you don't want to have frowning stolen shots!

Clark Quay is fun!

This is a spot where you can actually sit down and take a good photo of yourselves. 

Victory pose! I did it!

Had to label this as a "reunion". For how many years we've not met, thanks SG for bringing us together! HAHA

My HS friends, now my tour guide! HAHA I am blessed to have you gorgeous ladies!
With my short stay in SG, I was able to cross country. Yes, I was told by Jackie, that I could check out Indonesia, another country in Asia. I feared that I won't be able to manage getting there and go back to SG. But after thinking of the fears and considering the budget, I told myself, "You've made it hear, face another fear!" 

On the second day of my SG Trip, I decided to go to Batam, Indonesia. Yes, it's just an hour away from Singapore. And yes, it's another country. You'll have another stamp on your passport. So, is it all about the passport getting stamped? No! It's about having to see another culture, another place, another country, another way of living. There's just so much to explore and discover! 

There's a ferry terminal near Tanah Merah station and there's also a ferry terminal in Harbour Front. I went to Harbour Front since I had to meet Jackie first. Thanks to BatamFast for taking me to Indonesia! 

When in Indonesia, I just tried an Indonesian food, checked out their mall, shopped for some ref magnets, and off I go, back to Singapore! It's a short trip but I had fun. 

On my way to Indonesia, I met this trader from Indonesia who is transporting items from Indonesia to Singapore. He agreed to take a selfie, and he didn't even know where to look. Haha 

He told me to go to Nagoya Mall where I can check out some things I might want to buy. He called a taxi for me, negotiated the price for me and yep, the taxi driver agreed. He assured me it's safe, since he knows the person and he talked to the taxi driver as if saying, "be good to this young good-looking guy right here, he's my friend!" Okay, delete the "good-looking" I know it's an understatement! LOL!

So I did go to Nagoya Mall, nope, it's not in Japan, it's in Indonesia! Haha as I entered the mall, it's as if I am in Metro Manila. Feels like Tutuban Mall. Very Filipin-ish style. Add the Filipino looking Indonesian, you'd feel like you're in a Philippine city mall. 

Since, I'm one big fan of food, I figured, maybe it's time to have my second lunch. I had a bite back in SG but I felt hungry as I saw the "FOOD STREET" in the mall. So I checked out one Indonesian restaurant.  I saw Warung Cobain to be fit for my taste. I didn't really know the menu nor what to order so I asked couple of questions before I was able to manage to order a duck. 

Funny though that I was asking which is spicy or not, I pointed at something and asked "is this spicy?", the waiter laughed and answered, "No sir, it's plain rice!" LOL

It pays to ask though, so I'd know, I could have some rice. I missed it though, been having "no-rice" meals in Singapore, at least, I became "Pinoy" again, RICE! Haha so I ordered one cup of rice, along with my "Fanta" and the "Bebek" (duck). 

As you can see the menu above does not have an English translation, obviously it's Indonesian Resto! Haha, so it's better to ask the waiter. But you have to ask for an "English-speaking" waiter for you to have an understanding of their menu. They are thankfully, able to provide an english speaking one, and I'm glad he's able to guide me through the menu.

I noticed that duck were popularly served in their restaurants in Nagoya Mall. I also discovered, my long lost, childhood favorite drink "Fanta" still exists! I saw it in the menu and ordered one for my drinks. Amazing! After how many decades, I saw Fanta being served again. 
Before I walked into the restaurant though, I did find a nearby money changer, where I had to exchange my SGD to Indonesian Rupee. I felt like a millionaire! In Indonesia, I became a half-millionaire! I had 442,000 in my hands, for my disposal. Hahaha

For each SGD I will have 9,850 Rupee! Wow! So, I have almost have a million rupee for disposal. haha How does it feel? Feels normal. Because the items are in several thousands! Like the food that I ate cost me 45,000 Rupee! Wow! 

The restaurant is a good place to dine though, spacious, nice and quiet. 

After my meal, I decided to go back to Singapore. I asked my driver to wait for me outside the Nagoya Mall, as I won't take too much time roaming around it. When I went out of the mall, I saw him sitting at the side seat waiting for me. He got up and asked if I wanted to have some Indonesian Massage, I said "no" because I was afraid I might be late for my trip back to Singapore. I checked my watch it says, 3:30 P.M. my ticket for Batam Express trip is says 4:10 P.M. back to Singapore. So I told my driver to bring me back to the ferry terminal ASAP. And he did. 

I arrived there 3:10 Indonesian time. It's the only time I realized that I was 1 hour earlier than the schedule of my trip. The 4:10 P.M. time in my ticket is Indonesian time not Singaporean/PH Time. LOL! Another lesson learned. Thankfully, I was a bit early, because I was able to check out some ref magnet and other souvenir items from Indonesia. I bought some items.

There ferry terminal have duty free? Haha I took a picture of the boutique that says "BATAM DUTY FREE SHOP" wow! So, this is where imported items are bought? LOL Seems legit eh? 

Some more things I took notice in their ferry terminal is that they have a fun place called "Kids Station"! Wow! I wish something like this exists in some ferry terminals in our country!

 Their ferry terminal looks neat and clean. Plus they even have a prayer room!

And that was my quick trip to Indonesia, back in Singapore, the next day, I enjoyed my Universal Studio Singapore Experience!

The amazing things I've experienced in USS are not captured by my cameras but was surely saved to last in my memories. 

Transformers ride, and the galactic "Human" roller coaster ride were amazing and fun! Worth the wait and queuing. Although, I hold no evidence to it, the memories of the experience are so real to be just a dream!

Obligatory selfie with the Universal Studio land mark!
TRAVEL TIP#9: As you put your things and valuables inside the lockers, secure at least SGD10.00 to SGD20.00 for the retrieval of your things after the ride, unless you're going to line up for the fast lane which has a 5minute waiting time.

TRAVEL TIP#10: Know what you really want to do. If you only have a limited time, what would you want to experience? Then go there first!

They locked their money inside their locker, they asked for help, I obliged. Hello Korean acquaintance!

In the streets of USS!

Meet my buddy, Vin Diesel! For now, let's have this, next time, it's gonna be you asking for a picture with me! LOL!

Some more shameless selfies!

And the cool dude in the streets of USS!

A more formal pose at the USS landmark.

He's not in the mood to have a selfie! Busy-buddy!

USS was the last destination of my SG itinerary, I needed to go back to my hotel, check out and head to Changi Airport for my KL Trip! Singapore is a great place to relax, spend the holidays, and enjoy a lot of fun activities, and yes, I am proud to have traveled solo! An experience that I couldn't forget. Thank you SG for being my first international solo travel! 

This blog was just a brief summary, I cannot put them all into writing! I'm still in awe of the experience!

Top Things to Do in SG

1. Ride the bus, it's not the same in the Philippines. There's a second level. We do not have it here in the Phils yet. So hop in this bus when you have a chance!

2. Explore the train stations. Inside the train the lovely ladies readily posed for my camera phone. These beautiful ladies here are crazy as hell to make me laugh and enjoy the exploration of SG!

3. Eat at Bak Kut Teh. If you're going to ask me where to eat, it's gonna be in Bak Kut Teh. People are willing to wait on queue just to dine in this restaurant. And it's not that expensive but the food is "heaven"! Don't worry about what to order, order the soup thing "pork" I guess and some vegies, and you'll have a great meal! We ordered the simplest food we can find on the menu, and no regrets it turned out just deliciously fantastic!

4. Eat some street ice cream in Clark Quay. You can't miss this. It's an Ice Cream Sandwich! Haha see and taste for yourself! It's very popular in Clark Quay! 

5. Visit the spot of the Merlion. Take crazy pictures with it. I did some jump shots (didn't work out fine in the pictures), then crazy things like this!

6. Visit Helix Bridge. You can take selfies and do some photo ops in a well lit and artistically designed bridge like this. You can't just pass by, you have to take some pictures. Below are our crazy photos, credits to Jen, Jack and Jes!

7. Visit Universal Studios, there are tons of things to do, and one day couldn't be enough, I just did some things I enjoy the most. The rides! (must ride Transformers and Galactic Roller Coaster) Both rides have a long queue, unless you're willing to pay extra SGDs. :-) For Express LANE! You don't believe me? See sample queue below. But the looooong wait is gonna be all worth it!

8. Walk from Vivo City Mall to Sentosa. Watch the sunset at harbour front.

10. Side Trip to INDONESIA. 

11. Eat at their Food haven! I'm amazed Gerry's Grill is in SG!

#doroexplorero #dorolakwatsero #suroyWorld #laagAsia #solotravels #SGSoloTravel #SingaporeTrip #IndonesiaTrip #IndonesiaSoloTravel

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