Backpacking Indochina: Singapore Once More

My fourth time in Singapore was supposed to be only a small part of my backpacking Indochina adventure, merely a 9-hour transit in between flights from Manila to Yangon. But the fates had other ideas because I ended up staying much longer than planned.

Launch of Backpacking Indochina 2015

My Backpacking Indochina adventure was supposed to kick off with Changi Airport’s Free Singapore Tour. This tour is open to travelers with at least 6 hours of free time before their next flight. As I would be staying longer, I knew I just had to try that out. So upon landing, I brisk-walked to the Free Singapore Tour booth located behind the Information Counter past the Transfer F Lounge. But to confirm my registration, I had to get my boarding pass from the Transfer E Lounge or the Tigerair Counter.

There, I found out that my flight to Yangon no longer existed and that the next flight wasn’t until the following morning. Cue in vignette-bordered vision, shortness of breath and weak knees. Then, the infamous exchange ensued:

Me: Does that mean that I am automatically on the next flight?

CS: No, it doesn’t.

Me: *eight days of tours, hotel accommodations and flights crumbled before my eyes*

Then I shifted into silverlining mode: my bus reservations to and from Bagan (Myanmar) were not prepaid, I have friends in Singapore, I did not need to spend money that I did not have on a hotel for the night. Whew! Later on, Jam would make me realize that I should’ve demanded free accommodations from Tigerair instead. Oh, well.

Read more: Seeing the endangered panda at the Singapore Zoo

As the CS lady worked the phones to get me on the next flight, I cancelled my bus reservations, messaged my SG friends and stressed about my derailed itinerary. After receiving confirmation that my backpacking Indochina endeavor would still push through – albeit 14 hours late and one stop less – I headed back to the Free Singapore Tour booth to salvage at least that part of my trip.

Which was not meant to be. I found out that if I would join the tour, I would have to be back at the airport before midnight. But I didn’t want that. So, I opted to spend a few hours at the Changi Airport before I could finally meet with my working girlfriends.

Singapore’s Changi Airport

Since I had 6 hours to burn before I could meet either Babe or Honey, I explored the vast Changi Airport. I was so impressed that it offers an entire range of facilities that caters particularly to transit passengers. There are several gardens to visit, an entertainment deck, a movie theater and even a roof top swimming pool! I was there during the 50th anniversary celebration so they have different gimmicks just for that. And to make time pass faster, I watched A Theory of Everything and Fast and Furious 6 at the Movie Theatre.

Bugis Street Ah Huat Hainanese Chicken Rice

A girl can only carry around a 7kg backpack for so long before needing some nourishment.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

When in Singapore, go for the Hainanese Chicken Rice.

UFO Catcher Changi Airport Terminal 2

One of the gimmicks of Changi for its 50th anniversary is this UFO Catcher. A boarding pass is equal to 3 tries.

UFO Catcher Prizes Changi Airport Terminal 2

My loot.

Orchid Garden Changi Airport Terminal 2

Orchid Garden inside Terminal 2

Sunflower Garden Changi Airport Terminal 2

Sunflower Garden on the third floor of Terminal 2

Flowers Sunflower Garden Changi Airport Terminal 2

More flowers at the roof top.

It was finally time to venture outside of the airport. After queuing up at the immigration, I exited the arrival area and headed to the train station. It’s really one of the best things about Singapore: it’s very commuter-friendly. Tourists need not get ripped off by taxis because the train is just a few minutes away. The ezlink card can be bought at a minimum of 12 SGD and is even valid for 5 years.

Heritage Tour Turned Food Trip

Since I was meeting friends I haven’t seen in months, I was in for two sets of dinners. It was awesome!

Read more: When in Singapore, take a bus and go to Legoland

First stop was at Lena’s at the Paya Lebar Square with Babe. There, I was surprised to find out that house water in Singapore – literally the tap water – is not for free. I wonder why I hadn’t known that from my previous trips…

Lenas Paya Lebar Square Singapore

My first stop: Lena’s at the Paya Lebar Square.

Smoked Salmon Pasta Lenas Paya Lebar Square

Smoked Salmon Pasta

Calamari Fritto Lenas Paya Lebar Square

Calamari Fritto: Crispy breaded squid rings served with tartar sauce

Not an hour later, I was back on the train to meet Honey. We ate at Tony’s Pizza at the Bugis Junction.

Supreme Barbeque Pizza Tonys Pizza

Supreme Barbeque Pizza at Tony’s Pizza

Garlic Prawn Pasta Tonys Pizza

Garlic Prawn Pasta at Tony’s Pizza

Potato Wedges Tonys Pizza

Potato Wedges at Tony’s Pizza

But as Honey had to leave for her Korean language class, I met with Babe again and we took off to find ourselves some dessert. We landed at I Am Café in Haji Lane for a big slice of rainbow cake and some drinks.

Rainbow Cake I Am Cafe Singapore

Rainbow Cake #lovewins

Blackforest Mocha I Am Cafe Singapore

Blackforest Mocha and Babe’s drink. And a half-eaten rainbow cake.

End of Prologue: Friends are the best!

My turbulent day finally ended with me crashing on Babe’s bed. Then morning came and with it my flight to the first actual leg of my trip: Yangon, Myanmar.

But before I start off with that, I’m dedicating this post to the two most wonderful people in the world: Babe and Honey. They really took care of me during my sojourn in Singapore. I know Singapore is not the hardest place to navigate but still, knowing you have friends who have your back is still the best feeling in the world.

Babe of Jinkay Says

Thank you Babe for everything! Mwah! Mwah! Mwah!

Honey way back from college

Thank you Honey for taking care of me every time. See you again soooon!

Stay tuned for more of my (mis)adventures!

Next stop: Yangon, Myanmar.

Read more: My (mis)adventures while backpacking around Indochina.

August 19, 2015

*photos were taken with GoPro Hero 4 and iPhone 6

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Jayce Cairo

Jayce is a linguaphile who speaks four languages and currently works as a translator to finance her various interests. Scoring very high on “Openness to Experience” on the Big Five Personality Test, she is an avid globetrotter who aspires to retire at 35 and travel for the rest of her life.

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