Weekend Trip to Singapore

I took the ARL (Airport Rail Link) from BTS Phayathai to the airport – fast, cheap, and hassle free : therefore better than a taxi in all 3 respects.

Thank you, SkyScanner .com, this amazing web search, you can type in “Bangkok all” (we do have 2 big airports here) for the From and EVERYWHERE for the To. How awesome. Or Thailand to EVERYWHERE. And then it comes up with the cheapest options first, lets you play around with dates and times and voila! You’ve got a trip.

I got the very last minute flight for 211USD return trip. The plane leaves BKK (airport short cut for Suvarnbhami versus DMK, Don Meung, VERY important difference to be aware of as they are far apart) at 945am, arriving shortly after 12pm.

Once arrived at the Singapore airport, take the train into the city. It’s really self-explanatory and easy. There are signs everywhere directly you. I was going to Clarke Quay MRT station, and it took me about 45minutes or so.

Of course, I booked my hostel through agoda, and it was recommended to me by a friend. City Backpackers had the best location of any hostel I’ve ever stayed in, and was only 15USD (great for Singapore). 2 minutes from the MRT (ESSENTIAL), across from Central Mall and the riverside promenade (awesome at night).
The hostel was pretty bare bones, rickety bunk beds, okay showers and toilets, and there was aircon in the room but not in the common areas and I still woke up a bit sweaty. BUT THE LOCATION AND PRICE MAKES IT A WIN.

Little India is a few MRT stops away (at the easily named Little India station, though you can also use Farrer MRT station). Indian food is my absolute favorite, and it absolutely abounds here. You’ve gotta check out Mustafa super store – tons of stuff at cheap (for Singapore. Expensive compared to Thailand)

Chinatown is also an easily marked MRT station, or if you stay at City Backpackers, just turn left out of HongKong street and walk down the main road until you hit it. Really pretty at night

Chinatown at night
Chinatown at night

Orchard MRT station is mall central. Orchard ION mall has a good food court in the basement, inexpensive for Singapore prices but shocking to my Thailand wallet. The brand name clothes (H+M especially) were reasonably priced though, maybe even better than in Thailand.

Singapore Takeaways
-Touts/Hawkers NOT ALLOWED to hassle you – so say goodbye to the annoying tuktuks, shop guys, and suit men you’ve become accustommed to throughout the rest of SE Asia
-Singapore is the safest, cleanest place I’ve been to in SE Asia – what everyone says is true
-The people are not as friendly here, but as said above, they also can’t bother you. Give/take
-It lacked the sense of culture and Asia-ness that I’ve felt in the other countries and felt very antiseptic most places (this is a stupid sounding statement but its true and I don’t know how else to say it)
-I felt safe walking everywhere, the men were more polite and less wolf-whistley, BUT it had a distinctly couple-y feel.. I didn’t see many other solo women (or men even for that matter)

Clarke Quay Riverside Nightlife
Clarke Quay Riverside Nightlife

(If you do not have a year long work or study permit, you will have to leave Thailand every 15 or 30 days, depending on how you entered [note: this is no longer an option 2014]. You can overstay without serious penalty [you may be given the dreaded red stamp 2014] but you WILL be charged 500 baht per day overstayed (which really racks up fast).

I’ve made it a goal to use my ‘visa runs’, as they’re called, to see new places.

So Singapore Weekend Trip. Around 30 hours. I had the goal to pick up some new clothes, see little India, spend a lot of time at the riverside, and the zoo. I got to 3/4.)

Budget Accommodation for the Backpacker on the Southern Thai Islands

(please note, prices are for high season, and are budget-traveler oriented)

Koh Tao
Ban’s Dorms (Dorm 300B AC) – super clean dorms with separate showers and toilets attached to the building (but outside of the rooms). Only bummer is you can only stay here if you’ve booked a dive with Bans or are traveling with someone who has booked a dive. No real common area, and its ALL divers

Koh Tao Backpackers (Dorm 300B+ AC) – small with bathrooms that could definitely be cleaner, and they shut the AC off during the day and night at random times while claiming power outages (but the lights and wifi stay on? hmm) but Koh Tao is expensive in general and this is a great place to meet people, with a picnic table out front perfect for predrinking

Koh Phangan
Shenanigans / Lazy House (Shared room or dorm 300B per person AC TV) – I stayed at Shenanigans but Lazy House is of similar quality, owned by the same awesome people, but dorm-style. Decently clean bathrooms, awesome big porch perfect for predrinking, and the owner will download movies for you to watch on the biggest flatscreen TV that I’ve had in SE Asia (perfect for cheaped out nights you’re not drinking)

Koh Samui
In my opinion, skip it. It doesn’t offer anything unique

Koh Phi Phi
PhiPhi Backpackers (Dorm 300B AC) – handsdown the best budget accommodation on the island. You can stay in way worse places for twice the price. The aircon gets shut off during the day but you should be outside anyway. Theres a nice little porch in front and a good selection of hand me down guidebooks for browsing