We were only on a 3-Day tour in Singapore. Boots made me take charge of creating the itinerary and listing the locations that we would go to, given that we would not exceed the P20,000.00 budget.
I have heard from friends that Singapore and Malaysia could usually be covered in a single tour, but a friend of mine advised that given the time that we had, it was best that we just go to Johor Bahru, Malaysia's boundary to Singapore. But stubborn as I was, the reason why I wanted to go to Malaysia was because of Batu Caves and Petronas Twin Towers, so we had to go to Kuala Lumpur, a seven-hour travel by train from Singapore.
Upon listing the places that I wanted to go to, I realized that the ~14 hours to and from Kuala Lumpur would be a waste. Good thing there was a night train that travels to Kuala Lumpur, and we could just spend our first night aboard the train and go straight to Batu Caves upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur in the morning. The night train that travels from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur leaves at 11:30 pm. When I created the itinerary, I assumed we could make it to the train station by 11:30 pm (with a very thin time allowance) since I thought we would arrive at 8:00 pm. Hence, I made an online booking for the 11:30 pm train, and surprise number 1: I found out that we need to be at the station by 11:00 pm (this was not indicated anywhere in their website, I only became aware of this when I received the ticket after paying online). Surprise number 2: After I booked, Boots corrected me and told me that our arrival was at 8:20 pm. Panic loomed. The thin time allowance had gone to the air, and we had to rely on prayers and our feet to reach the train, or else our tickets (and money!) will be wasted.
Our flight was 10 minutes delayed so we arrived at 8:30 pm. We spent some time waiting for our luggage, bought our EZ-Link card and was only able to ride the train to the hostel at 9:00 pm. The hostel was a 20-minute train ride from the airport plus 10 minutes walk. We checked in at 9:30 pm, Boots had to arrange some things and we were able to depart only at 10:00 pm, and we ran back to the MRT station. We spent an hour to travel to Marsiling and then another 10 minutes waiting for the bus. We even missed our bus station so we had to run back towards our supposed station, and then run towards the immigration. Touchdown at the train station: 11:20 pm.
Noteworthy here was our discussion regarding the note in our ticket stating the rule about checking in 30 minutes before departure. When we were desperate because we were still at Marsiling at 11:00 pm, Boots emphasized that the ticket stated "Please arrive 30 minutes before departure", and not "You must arrive 30 minutes before departure" (talk about consoling ourselves). Good thing that he actually had a point (between a request and a command?), and though we never made it at 11:00 pm, we were still able to catch the train.
The estimated time of arrival in Kuala Lumpur was at 6:30 am but we actually arrived at 7:30 am (1 hour late!). When we arrived, we bought our breakfast at 7-11. I forgot to mention that due to the time constraint the previous night, we did not have time to eat and we only had to settle with the cookies that Boots brought on the trip. The train to Batu Caves was also late, arriving only at 8:30 am. We arrived at Batu Caves at around 9:00 am and spent an hour there before proceeding to Petronas Twin Towers.
At around 11:00 am, we arrived at Petronas. It was also quite an adventure finding it because we went out at a wrong exit in Avenue K Shopping Mall. We took some photos, and after a while found a place where we could finally eat the bread that we bought from 7-11 in the morning. At around 1:00 pm, we were back at Sentral Kuala Lumpur and we ate our lunch at KFC. We also ordered for take-out (dinner). Our original plan was to eat our dinner while in the train and when we return to Singapore, just like the previous night, we would be on the second leg of our own Amazing Race - this time, to go to the Night Safari, which I also booked online. (Note: I booked train tickets to Kuala Lumpur and Night Safari tickets online so that we would not waste any time in buying tickets on location, as I was aware that the itinerary I made was a killer).
However, this plan did not push through. Our scheduled departure from Kuala Lumpur was at 2:16 pm, but the train arrived an hour late. Our scheduled arrival at Singapore is at 8:25 pm but hey, we arrived more than 2 hours late. We arrived at Singapore at 10:45 pm, so we were not able to use our Night Safari tickets that night. But we got our second leg of the race, though, because we had to move really fast to catch the last train for the day going back to the hostel. And yes, we conquered another buzzer-beating moment, for the second time around.
We arrived at the hostel at around 1:00 am, took our respective baths (finally!), and slept at around 2:00 am. And we agreed to wake up at 7:00 am in the morning.
7:00 am, we woke up and made our way to the nearest Mc Donald's because I have read online that all Mc Donald's outlets in Singapore are wi-fi hotspots. We need wi-fi to find out online if our Night Safari tickets would still be valid, and to make the necessary change in the itinerary. After walking for around 20 minutes to find said Mc Donald's outlet, we found out that there was no truth to the statement I have read online. That outlet did not have wi-fi, whether free or not. So after taking our breakfast, we had to return to the hostel to return Boots' laptop before heading out to Sentosa.
Our day at Sentosa was not as time-constrained as the previous events. We enjoyed the cable car, Universal Studios, Palawan Beach and Songs of the Sea with the luxury of time. In fact, the time I allotted for Universal Studios in the itinerary was more than enough since we didn't encounter queues for but one ride where we had to queue for 15 minutes (the Jurassic Park ride).
Amazing Race leg 3 happened at night. After watching Songs of the Sea (around 8:30 pm), we hurriedly made our way to the tram and cable car and to MRT. Upon reaching Ang Mo Kio Station, I became really thankful that my Boots is the street-smart type and it was him who insisted on what direction we should take to get to the bus station. We waited for around 20 minutes there and arrived at Night Safari at around 10:15 pm (their last admission is at 11:00 pm). The whole time, we were not sure if we could still use our tickets and I was silently praying that our tickets were still valid, and God answered my prayer. We went straight to the tram and took the 45-minute guided tour. We finished at around 11:00 pm, boarded the bus to Choa Chu Kang, and took the train from there. Good thing though, we were not on the last train of the day! Second to the last, perhaps. And we just bought noodles from the 7-11 near our hostel and ate before we sleep. The day ended at 2:00 am, again.
On our last day, we woke up at 10:00 am. We had the luxury of time that day because our check-out time was at 12:00 pm and we have a friend of Boots who agreed to take in our luggage so we could still pursue the remaining items on our to-do list the whole afternoon. Our flight was at 8:50 pm. So we started the day at 12:00 pm, went on our way to Boots' friend, ate lunch at Wendy's and at around 2:00 pm, we were finding our way to the Singapore Flyer. After Singapore Flyer, we went straight to Clarke Quay for the G-Max Reverse Bungy and GX-5 Extreme Swing. After Clarke Quay, we proceeded to find Merlion Park. We got a bit lost and found Esplanade Park first and my feet were already so sore so we were there until 6:00 pm due to my sluggishness, yet we had to hurry because we had a flight to catch. After having some photos taken at the Merlion Park, we proceeded to pick up our luggage. Boots volunteered to walk alone (to save time) and asked me to wait at the station. We arrived at the Changi Airport at 7:20 pm, checked-in, ate our dinner, and had some time at the lounge before the flight.
Below is the summary of the places that we were able to cover during our 72 hours stay in Singapore:
- side trip to Kuala Lumpur (Batu Caves and Petronas Twin Towers)
- Singapore Cable Car
- Universal Studios Singapore
- Palawan Beach (Southern Most Point of Continental Asia)
- Songs of the Sea
- Night Safari
- Singapore Flyer
- G-Max and GX-5
- Esplanade Park and Merlion Park
For a 3-day stay and for a P20,000.00 budget, being able to pull this off is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.
You might be interested on my other posts about our Singapore/Kuala Lumpur Trip: