Man, I was stopped with what I was doing one day when my boss asked if I have my passport ready – I was going to Singapore for 2 weeks! How cool was that? I have colleagues in the company I work at who have been sent to trips abroad for business reasons, and I was so glad that I also get to have a free trip (all expenses paid – including allowance and your own spacious hotel room with bathtub). To be honest, I couldn’t help but to think of the food I will plan to eat and the places I will visit more than the work I was sent there to do in the first place. LOL!
Much to my excitement, I completed the required documents (passport, travel form) the very same night even if I still had a week before the deadline. I was so glad, I did not think that it is actually possible for me to be sent abroad for a free trip. 3 days before my departure, I received my GENEROUS pocket money, travel insurance, flight details, and my hotel booking.
When I arrived at Singapore, I was awed at how beautiful its airport was. Even in the city itself, it looked like the trees and shrubs were all strategically located and well-curated. Their ministry of environment certainly did a good job on making the city one of the world’s cleanest and greenest.
When it comes to their culture, I think from a tourist’s point of view that people (especially the younger generation) are slightly more liberated than conservative. We went to Clarke Quay (Singapore bar/club/party center), I saw 2 people passing out, 2 groups (boys and then girls) fighting, and 2 couples making out. Well of course, I think that it’s part of the fun of going to Clarke Quay.
I actually expected to gain weight as I wanted to sample what they had to offer, but instead, I dropped about 2.5 kilos during my two-week stay. Why? Because the city’s VERY efficient (airport like train stations) and beautiful transport system (it arrives in exactly 2 minutes when it says arrives in 2 minutes) literally gives you no reason to just take an expensive cab. The city’s walkable state will make you prefer walking over a cab ride.
I promised to never waste time during my stay – my colleague and I would immediately explore the city after work. We’d always finish past midnight always with aching feet, reason why I didn’t get to enjoy the bath tub and watch local TV while enjoying coffee on my bed.
This was my most “luxurious" trip ever. I knew that I had to maximize my time because I don’t know if this “business trip" thing will ever happen again for me. I never got to pay for something out of my pocket (including shopping – I bought a Pedro shoe and a Charles & Keith bag as present for my aunt) I even got USD 25 left in my pocket when I returned home.
Things I Suggest
1. Get lost at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) – SGD 74. Buy from tourist centers just outside train stations (there’s one in Esplanade station) instead, as you can get them for SGD 64. Learn from my experience
- Explore Arts and Science Museum – we went to an Egyptian Mummy (real Mummies) exhibit for only SGD15
Buy chocolates at Valu$ store in Changi City Point Mall (Expo Station) – Trust me, groceries and chocolates there are cheaper than those from Mustafa
Shop at Pedro and Charles and Keith in Changi City Point Mall (Expo Station) – although it was the Great Singapore Sale season, stuff at this branch in this mall were still much more cheaper than the same outlets in other malls. To give you an estimate, some good looking shoes cost only SGD15
You may take the train to any destination from the airport to avoid expensive cab rates. It is ok if you have lots of baggage, I have seen lots of people with baggage riding the train
If you plan to go on a night out at Clarke Quay, you may buy beer at convenience stores conveniently located within the area before heading off to the party
Visit Marina Bay Sands