Short Getaway to Singapore – Part 2 (City Explore)

As mentioned earlier, we are here in the Lion City this time around for our annual family trip. Yeah, we’ve been here a few times around but we just love to explore the city even more. Insha Allah, there’s always new things to see and explore. Again, we would like to apologize that it takes us more than 2 months (from our earlier post) just to finish up the Singapore entry. Our desktop doesn’t treat us well lately. That’s about it. Let us just continue with the post.

Upon reaching the Singapore Island, it looks like we are at a war zone. You can see big ships scattered around the open sea. Alhamdulillah, nice weather too! We finally landed at Singapore Changi Airport, one of the busiest and best connected in the world.

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It’s fairly easy to get around the city with their reliable public transport system. The most convenience and the fastest way to travel around Singapore is definitely by the Mass Rapid Transit Train System or MRT but the stops are sometimes far apart. Not to forget that we did found that the bus system works comprehensively, convenient and comfortable. And cheaper too! We rarely have to wait more than a few minutes for the bus. You just need to swipe your EZ Link card and to swipe again right before you disembark. If not, maximum fare will be charged. In this trip, we did used the bus system more than the MRT. Taxi was not in the list as we need to safe our pockets. :D

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Our first destination of the day is definitely to visit the most famous images of the country, the Merlion. The 8.6 metres high with 70 tonnes weight statue is located in the vicinity of Merlion Park, right in front of Fullerton Hotel and facing the beautiful Marina Bay. Looking at it closely, the head of the statue represent ‘Singa’ or Lion and the lower part of the body are fish tails which symbolise the old city of Temasek.

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The Fullerton Hotel
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Marina Bay
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Next on the list will be the Singapore Botanic Garden. It’s very convenient to get here and what you need to do is just make a stop at Botanic Garden MRT Station via Circle Line. It’s open daily from 5 am till 12 am and it is the only botanic garden in the world that opens early in the morning till midnight without any entrance fees (except the National Orchid Garden) every single day of the year. If you come early in the mornings on weekend, you’ll get to see families having their picnic, joggers and even tai chi and yoga practitioners too. Hope it will be listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site soon!

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Since the Orchard Road shopping district is just a mere away from the garden, the whole family decided to go to the shoppers paradise and do some damages to our pockets and credit cards. These 2.2 km stretch of Orchard Road offers a wide range of local and international labels and boutique. This is a definitely a place for a retail therapy. Oh ya, allowed us to share about the Singapore Tax Refund Scheme. As a tourist in Singapore, you’re illegible to claim a refund of 7% GST paid on the purchases of more than SGD100 at participating outlets. The best things to do is to check with the retailer whether our purchases are illegible for a refund or not.

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We will continue our journey on the National Museum of Singapore soon.

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

Short Getaway to Singapore – Part 1(Accommodation and Halal Food)

Where did we stayed and ate while we were in Singapore?

Accommodation – The Plot Hostel 
As the whole family had finally decided to go to Singapore on Labour Day, we could only managed to secure a hostel instead of hotel. All the hotel are either fully booked or way too expensive for us. In short, it’s beyond our budget. After some considerations, we finally landed here at The Plot Hostel which located in the friendly neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru. Plus, it’s just 10 – 15 minutes away from the Outram Park MRT Station and Outram Road bus stop are just right in front of the hostel.

We stayed here for 3 nights as a family of 7, all in 8 bedded room with en suite bathroom and access to shared facilities along the corridor. As this is definitely our first experience staying in a hostel with the rest of the family members, we found that the room was a little small as there wasn’t much room for the luggage. That’s the only setback.

The room comes with an awesome electronic key bracelets. The best features are definitely the bed where it is designed like capsule hotel. Curtains was provided to ensure privacy, reading lamp, electric socket and electronic locker too!

The Receptionist

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The big and spacious common area with such a minimalist design
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DSCN3889-2In overall, it’s a neat hipster area if you want to avoid crowded backpackers area such as Little India or Chinatown. Gentle reminder – It’s a flashpackers hostel where it’s a lil bit more expensive than the Singapore’s average backpackers hostel.

Halal Food
Hjh Maimunah Restaurant & Catering @ Jalan Pisang
This restaurant offers a huge varieties of authentic Malay dishes as well as mouth-watering ‘kuih’ and desserts. It’s a very familiar name if you wanted to get a traditional Malay cuisine. But, get ready for a very long queue especially during lunch time. There’s a few outlets within the island which includes the outlet at Joo Chiat Road and Bedok.

In overall, the food was just nice to fill our appetite. But what make it more interesting is where the restaurant is located. We definitely fall in love with the old lane where it bring back the good old days.

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Fluff Bakery @ Jalan Pisang
We got attracted to this bakery as we saw a long stretch of people queuing all the way around the block. While getting our lunch, sis google on the bakery and we found out that it’s the most popular Halal bake shop in Singapore. As a desserts and pastries lover, mum’s insist to try it as she heard the statement. The cupcakes are extremely popular among the Malay community and they are constantly sold out daily. They open at 12 noon and the cupcakes are sold out within 2 or 3 hours. Local told us that we shall at least wait a minimum of 30 minutes (which can be considered as lucky) or  up to an hour or more. Wow!

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The cupcake menu changes every week with some local elements such as Bandung, Ondeh Ondeh, Triple Milo, Horlicks and etc. Each cupcakes are sold at the price of $4 each.

Nutella Red Velvet, Salted Caramel and Dark Choc Nutella Hazelnut.
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Mural that can be found around Jalan Pisang and other chic bakery shop as well. Jalan Pisang ROCK!
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Singapore Zam Zam Restaurant @ North Bridge Road
Next on the list are definitely the so-called Singapore Murtabak and Beriyani Specialist. It is located right in front of Masjid Sultan. The beriyani was awesome but the murtabak was nothing compared to the original Murtabak Mengkasar that we normally used to have in Kuantan. The fillings are a little bit dry.

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DSCN4161-2While walking to the restaurant, we bumped into our friend, Fida as she was travelling alone. We invited her for lunch as a birthday treat!
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The chaos
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Deen Tulang Specialist @ Golden Mile Food Centre, Beach Road
This is not something new in Singapore as it was one of the famous local delicacies here. This stall is located at the Golden Mile Food Centre and the nearest MRT station will be Lavender and Bugis MRT Station. But, we need to walk an  average of 500 meters away by passing through a few HDB flat too! Menguji kesabaran betul. Dah la lapar! We do find that the easiest way to get here are by bus as the bus stop is located very near to the food centre.

‘Sup Tulang Merah’ is a bone marrow of mutton in a spicy tomato and a mixture of chillies sauce. This was served with a plate of sliced bread and it looked kind of freaky when it was served in front of us. But, it was tasty and appetizing.

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DSCN4180-2As this is our first time here, we couldn’t comment much. We shall try other outlets of Sup Tulang Merah in Singapore next time just to make some comparison.

Satay Salim @ Golden Mile Food Centre, Beach Road
We found this stall by coincidence as it was located next to Deen Tulang Specialist. The satay was good and it reminds us of our all time favourite, Satay Zul. It was worth waiting as we ordered a batch of it.

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Not to worry much as it is not difficult to get Halal food and good accommodation around in Singapore. Just pick your restaurant / stall and hotel / hostel as preferable within budget. Prices can be high because of the currency exchange rates.

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma