D-2 to D-1: Acclimatising in Singapore

Singapore. Hot, humid, bustling, rainy and rich in a diverse mix of cultures and cuisines. It is definitely proving to be a perfect spot for beginning our cycle tour. We have three full days here in Singapore before we begin our adventure on 9th September – Adam’s 30th birthday. Three days in which to attempt to: recover from the jet lag (ugh!); acclimatise to the heat and humidity; sightsee and enjoy the delights that Singapore has to offer; finalise (to a point) our route, especially the route out of Singapore and the first few days in Malaysia; and pack our kit for the final time before we set off. Neither of us have been to S.E Asia before, so we were both excited to experience the multitude of cultures that combine together to form this significant country.

The beautiful trees at Gardens by the Bay during the evening light show.

D -2: Recovering from jet-lag and sightseeing

The weather in Singapore had been kind to us the day we arrived, but waking up on Friday we were treated to our first, truly torrential S.E Asian downpour. Struggling with jetlag after a broken night’s sleep, we had a slow ‘admin’ morning. Mid-afternoon we ventured out to the fantastic eatery a stone’s throw from our hostel and filled our bellies with delicious, cheap food (three of our favourite words!) After Adam’s ‘food-coma-jet-lag-nap’, we ventured out to explore Singapore.

Happy Lucia!

One of the many great things about the hostel Tree In Lodge is the location to China Town. With it only being a 20-minute walk, we were able to stretch our legs and explore the outskirts of the city in addition to the bustling China Town streets. We wandered the busy streets, marvelling at the amazing smells, sounds and sights that engulfed us. My hat, which I only bought a few days before the trip, had broken so I treated myself to a ‘panda hat’; I don’t look like a tourist in this at all…!

The drizzly weather won’t dampen my spirits – I have a Panda hat!

Maxwell House had been recommended to us as a great place to eat in China Town. Across the road from the main China Town streets, it is full of locals instead of tourists, which is always a good sign! We opted for a dish from a Muslim Indian food stall: roti with cheese alongside chicken in a spicy sauce. Delicious. Apparently, Maxwell House was the late Anthony Bourdain’s favourite place to eat in China Town.

Chicken and Roti… So.So.Good!

After another amazing feed, we made our way to the touristy side of Singapore: the Central Business District and Marina Bay. We enjoyed marvelling at the skyscrapers as we weaved through the busy streets to Marina Bay Sands. Feeling a little drained from the humidity, we sought refuge in the huge shopping complex, basking in the beautiful air conditioning! It was seriously impressive in there, it even has a small man-made river flowing through it! 

Like a moth to a flame, I was really keen to see the light shows. So, we headed to a great viewing spot in Marina Bay Sands hotel. Fighting with umbrellas, we got a great spot to see the beautiful trees in Gardens by the Bay lit up gloriously. The light show was good, but the light show at 7.45pm at the Marina was pretty awesome. Happily satisfied by the lights and still tired from the jet lag, we set back off walking to Tree In Lodge, about 50 minutes walk.

We would have had a better view if there hadn’t been all the umbrellas in the way; the annoying thing was it had stopped raining!

D -1: The day before D-Day!

Today (I’m writing this on Saturday) is quite a monumental day really, and it’s nice to write about it so we can remember it more clearly in years to come (I have a terrible memory!). Adam’s last day in his 20s, and our final day before we head off on our adventure of a lifetime. We’re feeling a lot more refreshed today; I think the jet – lag is pretty much gone – hurrah! Although we were woken in the middle of the night by the craziest thunderstorm. Huge, splintering, deafening cracks of thunder boomed as the rain pelted the earth relentlessly during the night. Pretty cool! We were up early (for us!) to go and meet Adam’s old friend who coincidently lives in Singapore. Breakfast was a real treat of scrambled eggs and strong coffee in a trendy, urban cafe. It was great for Adam to catch up with Nick and we got a feel for what life living in Singapore is like for British ex-pats. I did feel self-conscious and a little out of place: usually, I am a ‘wash, dry and straighten my hair most days’ type of girl who would never leave the house without at least a little make-up on. So entering this beautiful, hip cafe with not an ounce of make-up and still wet hair (there’s no room for a hair-dryer in my panniers!) I felt slightly ill-at-ease. But this is something I am going to have to get used to, and I’m sure I will as our tour goes on.

It’s great to catch up with old friends, especially when you happen to be in Singapore at the same time!

Again, fully satisfied with a delicious breakfast and great conversation, we headed back to the hostel for our final preparations. This afternoon has been full of excitement as one of the owners of Tree In Lodge, the brilliant SK, spent nearly 4 hours of his day off going through route planning with us! This time was absolutely invaluable – so if you’re reading this SK – Thank you!! As an around-the-world bicycle tourist himself, SK has such a huge plethora of knowledge, advice, tips and route recommendations and I furiously wrote notes as he went through his suggestions for routes all the way from Tree In Lodge to Uzbekistan: 6,000km of information and encouragement! Wowza! Carefully saving points on google maps as well, Adam was equally left feeling determined and excited for what lies ahead.

Adam and SK discussing route options.

With a final wander into China Town for more heavenly food, we enjoyed our last evening in Singapore by soaking up those amazing smells, sounds and sights, and, of course, Adam took lots of photos! The China Town Mid-Autumn Festival 2018 did not disappoint – yet another recommendation from SK! 

China town.

These ladies were about to go on stage to perform a show at the festival.

So! As I type, we are packed and ready to set off on our big, huge, exciting but scary, adventure of a lifetime tomorrow!! The bikes are in good order, we just need to get some Malaysian Ringgit before we reach the border, but we have 30km of cycling in Singapore to get some. We have already booked our accommodation for tomorrow night in Malaysia; a warmshowers host has accepted our booking, in return for some help in his cafe?! That will be interesting! “Happy 30th birthday Adam – now get to work!!” 

My plan is to update this blog weekly – so I’ll catch you next weekend, when we will have hopefully reached Malacca. Ciao for now! Or I should say, ‘Selamat tinggal!’

Lucia xx

Arriving in Singapore
Singapore Photographs

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