Venezuela and Ecuador were my two last destinations. It's time for a change. Instead of South America we (Monica, Goska and I) went to the Far East. We took a flight from Frankfurt to Singapore. Singapore was too tiny for our three week trip, but this was a great port to continue exploration of Southeast Asia. There are many interesting destinations in this part of the world. One of them is Indonesia- the biggest islands country in the world and this was our second destination.
Trip to Indonesia is very complex logistic project. We had about 20 days to visit some of 17 000 islands. Indonesia is as big as Europe. You can travel between the islands by ferries. The option is cheap but ferries are very slowly and irregularly, especially during the rainy season. Flights are faster, more predictable but expensive. We chose planes because our time was very limited. We decided to be very flexible and prepared several options for our holidays. The choice would depend on price and schedule of domestic flights in Indonesia.
The flexibility had one disadvantage. We had to read many web pages and hundreds pages of book guide. Indonesia is too big country to visit it during one month but we had to prepare at least a few alternative options.
We said goodbye to Warsaw in February 2012. It was -10 degrees in capital of Poland. The weather dramatically changed after several hours. When we left Airbus A 380 it was +30 degrees in Singapore. I love tropical climate.
Below you can find story about my trip to Singapore and here to Indonesia.
It took several hours to fly from Frankfurt to Singapore. Finally we landed in Singapore. Only one jet bridge was enclosed to the plane. Passengers left the plane almost one hour. 500 people disappeared at huge terminal of Changi Airport. Airport staff organised security and immigration checks perfectly. There were special people dedicated to move people between check desks. Thanked to them the queues were short and tired passengers saved a lot of time.
The most comfortable way to get to the center is MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). There are 5 lines, which covers the entire island. Due to the quality of life and ecology Singapore authorities promote travelling by MRT. Private cars are not popular in Singapore. Mostly there are taxi cars on the streets. Locals prefer to travel by MRT. Thanks to this pro-ecology policy island-city is not polluted like the other big cities of South-East Asia.
The MRT system is extremely user friendly. Ticket machines are provided with touch screens. You touch the destination station on a map, insert coins or note and get a ticket - magnetic card. There is extra returnable fee for the magnetic card. You can get money back at the end of your travel. Insert magnetic card to ticket machine and deposit will be returned.
Little India was our first destination. We were looking for cheap hotels at Besar street. Unfortunately we lost our way and I had to take out a map. I hardly managed to do it and older gentleman approached to us and politely said:
We went for a late dinner to chinese restaurant. The chinese chicken was delicious comparing to plane meals. We walked around Little India district in the evening. Singapore is famous of its cleanness. Little India verified the legend. There were rubbish on the streets. Many Indian people were talking to each other on the streets. They ate, drank and smoked. They usually dropped cigarette ends and other rubbish on the street.
Most of Indians are economic immigrants. They live together in Little India. Many of them transfer money to their families in India. There were long queues to Western Union office. We came back to the hostel in the night and went to bed. It was a very long day.
Unfortunately I often woke up in the night and I was very sleepy in the morning. We had breakfast looking out of the window. It was tropical storm in Singapore. We put on our rain jackets and left the hostel. We followed locals. They were walking close to the buildings. Every house had small roof to protect pedestrians from the rain. Unfortunately we had to cross the street. We stopped and hesitated for a moment. Suddenly local man came to us and asked:
China Town is always one of the most popular district in the cities all over the Asia. It usually looks the same. There are a lot of shop, chinese medicine stores and restaurant. The Chinese district in Singapore looked like this. We had lunch and visited some sacral sites.
Singapore Buddhist Meditation Center was located in big building. There was very interesting Buddha museum on one of the floors. On the other floor there was the biggest prayer wheel in the world. It was very big but it was quite easy to move it.
Hindu Temple was very pretty. It was colorful and the roof was decorated with sculptures of gods and daemons.
Unfortunately the oldest Chinese temple was renovated. We visited only a small part of the complex.
It took us a few hours to visit China Town. Then we went to Botanical Gardens. The gardens were beautiful. I can recommend orchid garden (5SGD). Orchid is Singapore's national flower. We admired a lot of species of the plant. New hybrids were created in the garden. They were named as vips or celebrities who visited the gardens eg. Jackie Chan, Princess Diana. The other gardens were full of tropical plants. It was a small rainy forest.
In the evening we went to Marina Bay district. The district was full of modern skyscrapers. The buildings and Formula one circuit were illuminated beautifully.
There were no parking area under the skyscrapers. There was underground city under the buildings. The city is as huge as Marina Bays district. The underground city reminded me huge shopping mall.
Singapore is not big but there are many attractions. I think you need 2-3 days to visit all the sites.