A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore

A one day tour of Singapore

sunny

I arrived in Singapore late Friday night and headed to Brittney's. After running into her on Gili Air, she had offered me her couch to crash on and to give me a tour of the city on Saturday. To start the tour, we took the bus to VivoCity, one of many major malls, and then walked the boardwalk to Sentosa Island. Sentosa Island is about as touristy as you can get, with a Universal Studios, Resorts World, zipline, etc. etc. We got brunch on one of the beaches, yes it was great to have an American breakfast, and then took the monorail back.

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From VivoCity, we hopped on the subway to China Town. I wasn't much in the mood for browsing the hundreds of stands and thousands of trinkets, so t was a pretty quick trip. I then walked through the Buddhist temple, adding it to the list of religious buildings I've been to.

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Our next stop was Marina Bay, home to the Marina Bay Sands. From the Merlion plaza, dozens of skyscrapers were visible, including the two tallest towers in town.

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After Marina Bay, it was time for a nap, which proved essential to helping beat the coming jet lag. For dinner, we headed to Clarke Quay, another area full of shopping and restaurants, popular with tourists, locals, and expats alike. When we got there we went to investigate some live music and found a German bier garten celebrating Maifest. It definitely looked like German brews were being poured, but the beer maids didn't quite fit the stereotype.

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To close out my day in Singapore, we walked further down the river to Boat Quay and Singapore's only locally owned microbrewery. The city looks amazing at night, lit up with a barrage of different lights. The brewery, Red Dot, serves green beer all year long. No its not died with food coloring. It includes spirulina, which is supposed to provide health benefits to the immune system. I wonder how many beers a week it takes to have an affect? I didn't try it. Instead going with their seasonal sauvignon ale, which was unique and pretty good.

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It was then time to pack up and head to the airport, where I took another nap, since they don't allow you to check-in until 2 hours before the flight. According to the time when I landed in Seattle, only 4 hours had passed. Yet I had watched a movie, ate four meals, tasted 3 Japanese whiskeys, Blue Label, and Hennessy, made significant progress on a book, and slept. Magic.

Overall, it was an amazing holiday in Indonesia and I am glad I was able to see the sights in Singapore for a day. Especially with the amount of develop and construction they have, and my slight nerdiness for buildings. The trip included plenty of adventure, old friends, new friends, last minute plan changes, delicious food, and almost all was done in sandals. Hopefully I'll have some quick adventures while I am back in the northwest, before leaving for Malawi. Once that move happens, you can be sure there will be plenty of posts to come.

Cheers!

Posted by tylerwein 11:22 Archived in Singapore Tagged boat_quay china_town sentosa_island clarke_quay marina_bay Comments (0)

From the Harbor to the Airport

One final Indonesian adventure

sunny

I arrived back on Bali around 3:30 in the afternoon and had a flight at 8:30. I held 111,000 Rupiah, approximately 10 dollars, and was determined to make it to the airport on that. Therefore, a taxi to Kuta, and later to the airport, was out of the picture. So I started walking, with a general knowledge of where I was going. What I didn't know, is that the road into the port is a highway, with shoulders, not sidewalks, and a high volume of traffic. I got a lot of honks and offers from Taxis along the 3.3km walk to the rest of civilization. Along the way I wandered by a temple. The adventure was already worth it.

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When I hit the intersection, there was a sign pointing left to Kuta. Left I went. Without any water, I decided to make a quick pit stop for a bottle, there went 4500 rupiah. As I continued walking, I passed a bus stop, but it did not have a schedule, and I did not feel like waiting to possibly catch the wrong bus, so I continued walking.

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At the next bus stop, a man was waiting, and after figuring out the bus I was supposed to catch, he told me it should be too long, so I waited. Two buses later he boarded and told me to wait for the next one. I oddly feel like I should have gotten on instead, but I'll never know. Finally, after waiting for 25 minutes total, another bus came. Wrong one. While it wouldn't take me all the way to where I was going, I double checked it would get me closer at least, and boarded. 3500 rupiah gone. After getting off at the next stop, I'm convinced I should have just kept walking, but it was nice to take a break and take advantage of the air-con in the bus.

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From the bus stop into the main area of Kuta was just under 2km. I'm glad I didn't make any wrong turns. Overall, I walked around 6.5km, bused for 2km, and it took an hour and 45 minutes or so. After about 45 minutes at Starbucks, double checking that I had booked my flight before leaving Labuan Bajos, I had 2.5 hours before my flight.

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Time to find a way to the airport. As I walked out of Stabucks, I saw a line of cars on the one way road. I don't like sitting in traffic, so I walked against traffic to the first intersection, where things cleared up. A guy who had offered me a ride on a motorbike earlier saw me, and I told him I need a taxi to the airport. He offered the bike of his bike for 50,000. I had bartered enough over the last 3 weeks said "Deal." We then traveled back roads, alleys, and against traffic on the way to the airport. I had made it to the airport just 15 minutes after leaving Starbucks, with 41,000 rupiah left. Just enough for some snacks.

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Posted by tylerwein 20:00 Archived in Indonesia Tagged kuta Comments (0)

30 Hours on a Pelni Ferry

Travelling as the locals do

Before this trip, Colin a talked to me about taking a Pelni from Flores to Sulawesi and I had read up on it on a few travel blogs. Still, it was shocking. The boat was scheduled to sail at 6am, buy ended up arriving a little after 6. This was expected. Once the boat was moored, it was madness. On one side a score of people rushed onto the boat as quickly as possible. That ramp was then used to disembark, while the other was used to load passengers. There was no organization. Once on the boat, we attempted to find sleeping mats.

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With the number of people, we were quickly overwhelmed and decided to wait for things to calm down. Luckily, Blair had secured a mat on the back deck where we secured a spot to sit at least. Adam Blair and I put out backs against our packs and feet on the railing. Away we went.

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The next few hours are a blur of reading, wandering the ship, eating snacks, and listening to music. Around lunch, I went to find what food was included in the ticket, but only found food I had to buy. It was white rice, noodles, and a piece of chicken. Pretty simple. The same meal would also serve as dinner.

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The first port we stopped at was Bima. It was quite the experience watching from the deck of the ship his hectic it is. People were climbing up ropes onto the boat.

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Until this point of the trip, I had yet to see a sunset with no clouds and the sun appearing to drop into the sea. It was fitting that it happened on my last night in Indonesia. Eric and Colin had not seen a sunset like that in the additional 3 weeks they have been here. Hopefully wherever they were, they saw it.

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Around 8, we were hanging out in the 1st Kelas dining cabin with Kevin and Nadia, who had upgraded from Ekonomi. They offered to let us store our bags in their room, which was a big help as we didn't always have to leave someone behind. After dropping them off, Adam and I found some free mats and we found a sleeping place on the front deck of the boat, where there was a nice breeze.

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As I'm munching on crackers with PB&J in the morning, we find out there is some food provided, its just a limited time window. Breakfast was rice and a hardboiled egg. Lunch was rice with two small pieces of fish. Not much, but enough to keep me from spending any money.

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After what seemed like a more civilized stop at a port on Lombok, it was time for the final leg of the journey. I read for most of the trip, until we arrived around 3:30. This left me plenty of time to get myself to the airport for my 8:30 flight, and just enough time for one last adventure.

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Posted by tylerwein 13:00 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali ferry lombok flores bima pelni Comments (1)

Flores

The adventure continues

rain

So, we got to Flores and figured the next day we would figure out our travel plans going forward. At dinner with the group from the cruise, we discovered that every flight back to Bali was booked through Sunday. That wasn't going to work for me, since return to the States on Sunday. After investigating in the morning, it was quickly confirmed that the flights were booked and we would have to travel by boat. The first option was the shuttle bus. It takes about 36 hours and includes a ferry, a van ride, a bus ride, another ferry, another bus, and another ferry. No thanks. We found out there was a large Pelni boat scheduled to leave tomorrow morning, which goes direct to Bali, with two stops. While it is still a long trip, it seemed like the best option. Especially at roughly 15 USD.

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After booking that, we rented motorbikes and went off touring the island. It started raining, so we pulled over to get some shelter, and while we were stopped a couple from the trip from Lombok saw us and stopped. They had booked a liveaboard dive trip for the next three days at a very reasonable price. Eric and Colin couldn't resist. We returned to town and they booked the dive trip as well, changing their boat tickets to a later date, meaning this is our last night together. While they were booking, and took my motorbike out into rural Flores to take a look around. It truely is a beautiful area and I wish that I had more time to explore it, maybe some other time.

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For dinner, we had chicken fried rice, avocado juice, a large Bintang (beer), and a Magnum Gold (ice cream bar). It was a great last meal with them that included most of the staple foods of my trip.

Tomorrow, the boat leaves at 6 am, and I will be on the boat until Friday afternoon. I am then catching a flight to Singapore and plan on exploring the city on Saturday, before flying back home early on Sunday. Hopefully I will get one or two more posts done before I fly home, and I will definitely be posting more pictures after I have a chance to review them when I get stateside.

Cheers!

Posted by tylerwein 07:01 Archived in Indonesia Tagged sunset motorbike flores labuan_bajo Comments (0)

Lombok to Flores by Boat

Taking a liveaboard, snorkeling, and seeing dragons

sunny

Saturday morning started our next adventure. We spent four days and three nights with a fair amount of people, on a not so big boat. It was quite the adventure. The first day was the least active, as it included mostly sailing and a sunset swim. The sleeping quarters were a tight fit, but I slept pretty well the first night, even with the rocking of the boat.

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Day 2 I woke up early, just as we were anchoring. We swam to shore and then did a quick hike to a waterfall, that included a tree we could jump out of. Naturally, Eric, Colin, and I were the only ones to do so besides the guide. Our next stop was for snorkeling. There was also a salt water lake on the island, but it was rather dull. The combination of being at sea, cigarette smoke, and exhaust had me feeling a bit under the weather and I didn't sleep well the 2nd night.

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The third day had muliple snorkeling stops, including one in which we hunted out Manta Ray and swam with them. I have a decent video but it will need to be uploaded later. We also went to Pink Beach, but you can't really tell the color of it in pictures, as it was rather light. Finally we went to Komodo Island to see the dragons. The park had an errie feeling like Jurassic Park, but luckily we didn't see any dinosaurs, other than the dragons. The 3rd night was spent anchored, which was welcomed by all. We had some music, some Bintang, and went for a swim with the glowing plankton.

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On the last day we visited Rinca Island, for more dragon watching. We also had antoher snorkeling stop before heading to Labuan Bajo, where we will be staying for a couple of nights.

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Posted by tylerwein 06:56 Archived in Indonesia Tagged islands sunset snorkeling liveaboard komodo_dragons Comments (1)

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