Rediscovering Singapura: The Chinatown Area

It was the same month of July in 2014 when I first visited this little red dot on earth for an international choir competition with our very own Tarlac Chamber Choir. But this trip is totally different from my first. We were a 26-man contingent back then and now I traveled solo with a purpose of visiting a few places I never visited before I embarked on another solo trip to the Middle East.

I departed from Clark International Airport with my baggage fully-packed and of course, my camera and tripod too. That was my last day in the Philippines as I exited to Singapore on my way to the desert world. Who wants to fly with Cebu Pacific, by the way? For 705 pesos, I managed to have a smooth flight without delays. After 4 hours, I arrived in Changi Airport and headed directly at the immigration booth to go to my hotel right away. Guess where did I stay? A good friend booked my 3-day accommodation at Hotel 81 in Geylang as a gift (I co-organized her wedding last summer and made the gowns of her bridal entourage.) Would you complain for a gift? Never mind if stayed in a red-light district because my sleep were all through-out my  perfect during my stay.

Efficient Train System

Singapore is just a few inch bigger than the whole Metro Manila but it boasts 5 major MRT lines with a total of 102 stations all-in. This was the reason why I love Singapore. I am not afraid to get lost because train stations are everywhere and all connected! My first stop was Aljunied (East West Line) where my hotel is (not really near) located. I used the Downtown Line for Chinatown, the Circle Line for Mount Faber Park and Henderson Waves, the North East Line for Little India and North South Line for Singapore Botanic Gardens and ION Sky Observatory.

I just stayed at the hotel when I arrived at 5PM and checking my Facebook and Instagram accounts were the first thing I did to update my family and Tropang Project Ice Cream. Everything I did here were random and did not plan any itinerary since I have enough time to roam around in the next 4 days. When I got hungry, my first meal was tom yum noodle soup paired with sugar cane juice at a food centre nearby. I also bought some Nissin cup noodles, bottled water and a pack of salted pistachio nuts to munch while enjoying  my time alone.

Where to go? A man standing in the middle of the platform.

The Adventure Begins!

I woke-up late the next morning and I planned to go to Chinatown and do the usual tourist-stroll. From Aljunied, I stopped at Bugis and transferred to the Downtown line which will end at Chinatown. At the exit of the MRT station, you will be greeted with traditional shophouses in Baroque and Victorian architecture. This spot is always festive with locals and tourists alike flock everyday. Souvenir items? They have almost everything here. Foodie? There’s an awesome hawker centre in the area to feast your mouths. Culture enlightenment? It’s is where two temples (Hindu and Buddhist) are located side by side!

After going-out from the MRT, the festive Pagoda Street will greet with busy locals and tourists. I visited Sri Mariamman Temple first,  which is the oldest Hindu Temple in Singapore. The traditional gopura (entrance tower) is not as gigantic as the ones in India but the details are rich and well-ornamented. The strong scent of jasmine is all over the places. With an entrance fee of $5, I don’t think your money is worth compare to the FREE entrance of Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum I visited afterwards.

The first couple of hours of my trip is really tiring yet enjoying so I deserved a great meal for late-lunch and some fresh sugarcane juice quenched my thirst. My next post will be a continuation of my 3-day solo trip here. Cheers!

Gigantic statues on top of the temple.
The gopura (tower entrance) of the temple. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is visible, far left.
A Hindu local deeply prays at the temple.
An Indian musician plays a kanjira during a traditional ritual in the afternoon.
Look above the ceiling and see this!
Life-size figures of Hindu gods and goddesses.
One of the monks officiating the ritual.
A man prays soulfully.
The facade of the temple. Oh, the autumn feels.
Lanterns! Lanterns! And more lanterns!
One of the revered Hindi goddesses.
One of the 12 Hindu deities.
Candle-holders are usually adorned with jasmine.
This is the prayer hall of the temple. I am not very sure though.
Getting-in and out from Chinatown Station.
Traditional shophouses will greet you from the exit of Chinatown Stattion.
An over-view of the transition of styles of the famous shophouses in Singapore.
A style from the 2nd Transitional Period-a combination of Chinese and European-influence.
Highly-decorated shophouses prominent along Bukit Pasoh.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s