Sunday, 29 April 2018

A personalized Tour Guide in Singapore

Recently (Sep 2017) I had visitors to Singapore after nearly 14 years staying here. Szet Li was one and the other Chris from the USA

Its funny coz I always write about all my travels but not really about the travels in Singapore and I wonder why …. Too close to home maybe … afraid that someone might track me down or refute the conclusions I make after much thoughts.

I’ll just go with lazy …

I was lost when they both had no itinerary on their list and leave all the recommendation to me trusting that I would give them a Singapore Experience no guidebook or internet recommendation can compare. The local knowledge or rather a skewed Malaysian perspective ….

Szet li was high school friend and Chris was a guy I bump into in a hostel in Seoul, Korea and re-connect again when I was in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It’s amusing that after two visitor came to Singapore and I became a tour guide of sorts, I brought them to the same route that I felt was the best way to see and experience this city-state mundane lifestyle.

Two personalized tour trips in Singapore for two very different Individual

Type 1 – The Foodie

Chris, my buddy ping me up on Facebook one day saying

Chris : Hey man, hows it goin? Ill be in Singapore for two days, arriving on Sep 1st and was planning on spending sept 2nd doing a day trip to Johor. On the third I fly to yangon, if you around maybe we could meet up, at least for a coffee or something or come with if you are free

I got his flight number and decided to pick him up in Singapore … then convince and chuckle him out of going to Johor and staying in Singapore instead … A day trip on to Johor on a public holiday without any know how of the complex border crossing between Malaysia and Singapore would have just burn him and probably made him miss a flight to Yangon anyway …

I knew Chris was a chillax traveller with no plans and no preference … food was a big up so the tour begin the moment he landed (about 10pm) ….

You hungry?? – Yeah …

So straight to the first stop Geylang Midnight Lorong 9 Frog Porridge.

The next day was the “I can’t eat anymore”

It started out nice and slow going to Chinatown for food … the food chain tour went in this manner

(Note that this was all done in a single day less than 8 hours)

1. Original Chew Kee Eating House – This is one of my fav since working in Chinatown for so many years, Soy Source Chicken Noodle

Soy Sauce Chicken Noodle - Chew Kee Eating House

2. Claypot Chicken Rice – This one was at Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 335 Smith Street … up to second floor and try not to get lost in the maze of hawkers … I could never find the same hawker twice since I always got lost, so a random choice for a Claypot Chicken Rice

3. Durian – Along the way somewhere in Chinatown we pass by a Durian shop … tough negotiation with the uncle just to let me buy a small piece sampler for Chris … the one “biji” cost me SGD2 … Definitely interesting he said …. But once is enough 😊

4. Mei Heong Yuen Dessert – Good old and new traditional desert … there are many desert shop in Chinatown with all the tourist but this is the one the locals or go in “tapau” and leave quietly … it is still quite popular and crowded since those that know how to find good stuff will still find it. … I stuff him with “Bak Chang – (Cantonese Dumplings)” as well with a Red Bean Lotus & Cheng Teng

5. Free Bak Kwa Sample Bee Cheng Hiang - What can I say … nothing beats free food … just hang around the MRT entrance where the store is and you get tiny bits samplers …

6. Popiah – Block 32 Upper Cross Street, Chinatown Food Court … this is another hidden gem when you will not see idiot tourist Gawking with cameras … it was my fav and the stall lady stills remember me after so many years … bonus tour point was the numerous old folks that plays Chinese Chess as if their live savings depends on it …

7. Tiong Bahru Market - Jian Bo Shui Kueh #02-05, this is a traditional dying art of love ….

Jian Bo - Shui Kueh, Tiong Bahru Market
8. Otak – Otak - Block 112 Bukit Merah Neighbourhood Hawker, this is just me being lazy since its near my place of stay … also I did not know much place that sells Otak-Otak at 4pm in the afternoon

Break !! – I need a break he says

So a break we had … time to walk and burn some of the food away …

The Marina Bay Loop seams to be the best option I thought but more importantly Chris was on the same page as me for free stuff … so a bus ride to the National Gallery of Singapore. The old colonial building, City Hall of Singapore overlooking the “Padang” field where the annual F1 race starts was the starting point of the blurtravels personal walking tour.

In we go to the National Gallery but restricted ourselves to the free section :P the hidden gem that I knew as the highest floor of the National Gallery has a very nice al fresco bar with air-conditioning overlooking Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade and all the sky lines of Singapore on both sides. The bar was expensive but the view was free.

Then the slow walk passing the Victoria Theatre, Dalhousie Obelisk (Who knew Singapore had one Obelisk yeah), Anderson Bridge and tadaa we were at the most expensive hotel in Singapore, The Fullerton. The marina bay came into full sight and of course a visit to see the infamous “Merlion” of Singapore.

Then it was a long loop walk passing by the esplanade, DNA bridge and finally reached Marina Bay Sans Shopping Mall, Casino and Hotel. Luckily Chris was not a casino guy … else gulp … then we join all the other tourist for the lightshow.

OK ….. I can eat now so he says …

So for the last food stop I brought him to Kembangan MRT

9. Seng Kee Black Chicken Herbal Soup Restaurant - We ordered the second signature dish … Pig Organs Mee Suah, a delicacy not easily found in Singapore or Malaysia …

Seng Kee Black Chicken Herbal Soup 
Type 2 – Universal Studios Themepark

Szet li was a promised Universal Studios Themepark trip which I somehow said yea sure I’ll pay for you and everything so long as you make your way down to Singapore.

Fun Fact … of the 14 years I stay in Singapore I have never been visited before by friends in KL.

The occasional chit chat at the mamak stall when I am back in KL always friends have hopes of one day visiting Singapore …. But for a 5 hours bus journey or 45 minutes plane ride it was always a dream to them … Some or rather most would be here for a work trip and gone the moment I see the facebook check-in. So the first personal visit I got … bring a smile inside

So no brainer … a full day in Universal Studios Singapore … 😊

Surprisingly, night time was the same tour as Chris downtown …. For a first timer in Singapore I guess that was my best tour route 😊 … yep that’s the best route I think …

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