Expat Life: Week 13 – Yacht Cruise at One 15 Marina Club, Sentosa Cove

Sentosa Cove is just a quick 15mins drive from my place in Tanjong Pagar. It’s known by the locals as the place where the “elites”, rich and famous hang out at….consider it as Beverly Hills or something. The reason for our trip down here was to try out the yacht cruise at One 15 Marina Club. The drive there was pretty nice and scenic especially with a sunroof in our car and the lovely weather that day.

We reached there around noon and had a buffet lunch at the clubhouse. Other facilities at the club was a sea-view gym upstairs and lounge.

The toilets also had shower rooms so if you feel sticky after a long sail, you can freshen up here. After lunch and freshening up, we all met our yacht Captain who greeted us on a segway. She led us over to the pier where our yacht, Annette was parked.

The yacht was just perfect for a group of us (about 12 of us). It’s equipped with a small cooking area and toilets in the cabin area. Whereas the deck was perfect for us to hang out in the cool breeze. We cruised for about 40mins before reaching a nearby island (Kusu Island).

The Island itself is pretty deserted and empty. I guess it’s just a nice spot to park your yacht and have a BBQ party. Saw a bigger yacht doing just that. However we decided to just take a quiet walk round the island and snap some pics. After we’re done stretching our feet, we boarded the yacht again and set sail for another 40mins or so before heading back. The whole time we played charades and chilled by the deck. It was pretty amusing when we hit a bumpy wave and splashed with water along the way (adds to the whole experience). Overall it was a fun experience and I would definitely do it again to watch the sunset next time!

This day also marked my last day on work assignment in Singapore and the team definitely made it a memorable one. After the cruise, I dashed back to my friends apartment, freshened up and headed to Changi Airport for a night flight back home. It was definitely a memorable and great 3 months in Singapore! So that’s the last of my Expat post. But look out for more of my travel posts in the future~

Expat Life: Week 12 – Night Safari

My friends and I decided to check out the Night Safari just for the unique experience. So one day after work we all took a cab from Raffles Place. The cab ride took about 40mins and costed us around 40 dollars or so. The cab seemed like the best way to get there since the place is quite isolated. The Night Safari is clustered together with the Singapore Zoo and River Safari. If you have the whole day to spend, I would recommend going to 2 or more of the attractions as they tend to have a lot of good combo deals. But since we only had a few hours to spare, we only went to the Night Safari. One good tip would be to buy the tickets online as they offer up to 15% discount with certain credit cards.

The Night Safari opens at 7.30pm and the “Creatures of the Night” show also starts at that time. We arrived at around 7.45pm and decided to just grab dinner before going in. The F&B area outside the gates had a nice seating area where you can watch the “Thumbuakar Performance” (fire-eating show). So we bought our food and enjoyed the show from our seats (show starts at 6.45pm, 8pm and 9pm).

After the amazing fire performance, we headed into the park at around 8.15pm and immediately saw the huge line for the tram ride. The queue winds a whole long way and this was a weeknight (Thursday Night). I can’t imagine how much longer it would be on a weekend or public holiday! Anyway thankfully the line moved fairly quickly. We waited for about 15mins before it reached our turn.

The tram ride itself was a nice experience. There was a voice guide explaining all the various animals throughout the ride and stopped momentarily at certain areas for you to have a good look at the animals. It’s pretty dark and strictly no flash photography allowed so don’t expect any nice photo opportunities (hence why I don’t have a single photo of the animals in this post). Some of the animals I remember seeing were Hyena, Elephant, Tiger, Hippo, Giraffe, Rhino, Bear, Babirusa, Dears, and many more. All of which only had a ditch separating us apart from these wild animals. At some moments I really do wonder if the tiger could have just jumped over and pounce at us. But I kept reminding myself that the people probably would have thought long and hard about that and I should be safe.

The tram ride itself was about 20mins long and you have the option to hop off midway or make a full round back to the main entrance. I would recommend making one full round and then start your walk at the nature trail. Along the trails you’ll see all kinds of creatures such as wallabies, flying squirrels, foxes, armadillo, crocodiles, and etc.

We ended up staying there until around 11pm (park closes at 12am). Then we took the last bus which headed towards Ang Mo Kio train station. If you depend on trains to get back (especially if you require switching between lines), make sure you leave the park by 11pm. Otherwise you will most likely miss the last train back. Lucky for me, I made it back just in time for the last train on the green line. All in all, it was a really enjoyable trip and definitely something different. The next day we headed out to Sentosa Cove for a yacht cruise. I’ll cover that in my next post~

Expat Life: Week 11 – Ramadan Bazaars & Flea Markets

Ramadan Bazaars

This post is a little late by a few weeks. Hence why i’m still blogging about Ramadan Bazaars even though it’s already Raya. Well better late than never! Throughout my stay in Singapore i’ve been to two of the popular bazaars here (one in Arab Street and the other in Paya Lebar).

First up is the one in Arab Street because it’s the closest for me. This one is situated right next to the Sultan’s Mosque and is pretty small to the usual bazaars that I get back in Malaysia. Most of the stalls here were selling Ramly burgers, kebabs, briyani rice, hotdogs, and some fried snacks such as karipap (curry puffs), pisang goreng (fried banana fritters) and etc. I tried not to compare with the variety that I get back at home, but I still couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed in this one. I was hoping to get the more rare kuihs such as tepung pelita, seri muka and etc. Also I was craving for murtabak (some kinda meat pancake?) and nasi tomato (tomato rice). Not sure if it’s just that particular day, but while I was there, there were only like a few stalls and selling similar things.

Next was the bigger bazaar situated right next to the Paya Lebar mrt station. This one was huge and well planned. All the stalls are located under big white canopies which were set up specifically for this event. So rain or shine, it’s business as usual. I was a little too excited to see the huge canopies and hence raised my expectations. Unfortunately among the huge numbers of stalls only a few sections were catered for food. The rest were for clothes, shoes, and other Raya prep stuff. Since I went there for the food and not for shopping, it was a bit of a let down as I still couldn’t find my nasi tomato and murtabak! Most of the food stalls were again kebabs, Ramly burgers, fried snacks and etc. They did have more variety compared to the one in Arab Street. Other than the usual stuff mentioned earlier, I also saw char kway teow, otah-otah, grilled squid, coney dogs, pizzas, mixed rice and a variety of drink stalls. I went ahead and got the grilled squid, coney dog and sugar cane drink.

Although I didn’t manage to find what I was craving for, it was still a fun and festive experience. If I had to recommend a bazaar, it would definitely be the one in Paya Lebar. Especially if you’re looking at doing some Raya shopping as well. There were a lot of stalls selling baju kurung, baju melayu (traditional malay outfits) and Raya cookies.

Flea Market at *Scape

Singapore has plenty of flea markets around and one of the more “hipster” flea market was at *Scape which is just a short walk from the Somerset mrt station. I went there towards the evening where there was a live band performing. In terms of stalls, it’s quite small scale. But i do love the items on sale. From phone & laptop accessories, to necklaces, custom charm bracelets, clothes and my fav was the vintage watch stall. This particular shops assembles their own watches with a vintage style. I got mines for around 40 dollars and it comes with warranty too!

Other than the stalls outside, do check out the shops inside the building as well which hosts a lot of items sold by young entrepreneurs.

Expat Life: Week 10 – Maison Ikkoku, Makansutra & Coconut Icecream at Esplanade

Maison Ikkoku, Kandahar Street

I stopped over at this cafe for a cup of coffee after walking along the streets of Haji Lane. The place is located along the same road as the Malay Heritage Centre and also pretty close to the Sultan Mosque. So finding the place wasn’t really difficult. I managed to navigate my way there at night and I would admit my sense of direction is pretty bad. So for me to find it effortlessly would mean that it’s definitely not difficult for everyone else.

The cafe is located on the ground floor while the the other floor above is apparently a bar according to their website. I didn’t venture upstairs but settled in nicely at a table near the door. I loved the fact that this place is not overcrowded even on a weekend. I tend to travel with my laptop and park myself at a table for a couple of hours. So it’s great to find a cosy and quiet spot. Another plus point is that they play some really nice chill music in the background. Some of the tracks playing that night was the likes of Ed Sheeran and Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”.

I initially ordered the French Toast with Berries. However they noticed that I was Malay and helpfully pointed out that this contained alcohol and suggested the Banana Caramel French Toast instead. Plus points for the helpful tip and also for noticing that i’m Malay (people somehow always mistaken me as a different race). The Banana French Toast itself was a nice sweet treat to compliment my latte.

Makansutra & Co+Nut+Ink Coconut Ice Cream at The Esplanade

I had a friend visiting from KL so I asked my colleagues around for some good spots to have dinner which led to Makansutra (also known as  Gluttons Bay). The place is located near The Esplanade and home to a couple of local style stalls and seafood. We settled for the the seafood stall furthest to the end near the river. Ordered the sambal grilled fish, clams and a plate of stir-fry vege in garlic sauce to go along with a bowl of white rice. We also had whole coconuts for drinks. The seafood was alright but I’ve had better at a fraction of the cost back in KL. Still worth a visit if you’re not from this side of the world and wanting a taste of some asian flavors by the river.

After dinner we took a walk along The Esplanade and stopped for some coconut ice cream at Co+Nut+Ink (yes more coconut goodness!). I ordered the one with Red Ruby (Sago) and it was really refreshing and light with a mild tinge of sweetness from the sago. Coincidentally the light show was also starting up and we got to enjoy our ice creams with an amazing view.

Expat Life: Week 9 – Gundam Expo at Ngee Ann City Takashimaya

There was a Gundam Expo at Ngee Ann City Mall in Orchard during 4th – 28th June. One of the main highlights were the huge models of Mecha (robots) prominently displayed outside from the mall.

Inside the mall itself there were various models for sale and also some special ones on display.

There was even a special limited edition SG50 model on sale to celebrate Singapore’s 50th National Day.

Expat Life: Week 8 – Mustafa Centre

Mustafa Centre is a popular destination for tourists looking for cheap souvenirs. The place is a 24 hours shopping centre selling just about anything and everything from watches, to cooking ware, food items, electrical items, shoes, bags, perfume, memorabilia and much more. The place is situated within walking distance from Farrer Park MRT. It’s quite simple to get there as there are signboards leading towards the place and since it’s a popular spot, you can simply ask anyone around and they’ll lead you the way.

Some of the popular items here were the perfumes which are sold at cheaper prices and also food items such as chocolates and snacks which would make a great souvenir.

They also have a food centre at the rooftop floor where I had some really good indian cuisine. I took the escalator up but you can also access the floor from certain elevators. I ordered the mango lassi, lamb kebab and pakoras.

I also walked away with a new phone casing for my Samsung S3. Yes I still use an S3 and it’s very rare to find phone cases for this nowadays. So I was glad to find this one for 10 dollars.

Expat Life: Week 6 – 7 – Bugis Street, La Marelle Boutique Cafe and Anchorpoint

This week was all about budget shopping and snagging great deals. Singapore is known to be quite costly in terms of shopping as compared to back home in Malaysia. However if you know where to go, you can grab some really great deals here too!

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It’s no secret that Bugis Street is “THE” place to go to for a cheap and affordable shopping trip. You can get just about anything here from clothes to shoes, to touristy souvenirs and food. To get here you simply take the MRT to Bugis station and it’s directly across the road upon exiting the station. The place consists of 3 floors so do take your time and explore all floors. A lot of the shops also sell pretty similar items, so I would advise you to check out all the stores first before buying. I admit it’s a little difficult to avoid impulse buying when all the stuff are so cheap, but it definitely is worth waiting out. I got great deals for all my clothes. Ended up walking away with 2 tops, 2 bangles and 1 structured midi A line skirt which i’ve been searching high and low for. So glad I finally found the perfect one at only $15! I also grabbed a necklace set and a pair of studs from Lovisa at one of the malls (can’t remember which one lol). Anyway Lovisa was having a store-wide sale up to 70% off. Below is a list of the stuff I got with the pictures and price.

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Black embellished sleeveless top – $15 || Blue structured short sleeve blouse (Shop Name: Cupid) – $15 || 2 Bangles (Shop Name: Lumi) – $10 || Necklace set with earrings (Shop Name: Lovisa) – $9 || Anchor-shaped studs (Shop Name: Lovisa) – $2

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Dark blue midi A line skirt (Shop Name: Fresh) – $15

After a good shopping spree, it was time to grab a bite and I headed down to La Marelle Boutique Cafe situated along Baghdad Street. It’s not too difficult to find the place. Once you’re at Baghdad street just look out for a mural on the wall which has the name of the cafe painted on it. The place is situated on the 2nd floor and it’s easy to spot the entrance as the staircase is brightly colored in hot pink.

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I really love the bright and unique interior. It’s also one of the few hipster cafes in Singapore which are halal. I tend to have really late lunches on weekends so by the time I reached the place it was already around 4pm. I ordered this really cool coffee called “The Nutty Professor” ($6.50). It’s basically an espresso popsicle in a cup of nutella and a side of milk. You basically just pour the milk in and keep stirring till the coffee popsicle melts and blends in with the milk and nutella. Really good stuff! I also ordered the “Ultime Breakfast” ($18) which consists of 3 pieces of buttered bruschetta bread, 2 sausages, a couple pieces of various meat slices, sautéed mushrooms and baked beans. Yes it was a LOT. It was pretty good but nothing to rave about. I would probably check out their other stuff next time. The desserts looked really good though. But alas I was too stuffed. So i’ll save that for next time.

Some interesting sights at Parkview Square while walking back to Bugis MRT station.

The following day I decided to check out the outlet stores at Anchorpoint. I heard the stuff there have discounts up to 70% and I was particularly keen on checking out the Charles & Keith and Cotton On outlets there. The place is situated across from Ikea. I took the MRT to Queenstown station then headed towards exit 1 and walked to the bus stop. From there I took bus number 195 and stopped at the 2nd stop (right in front of Ikea). As you alight from the bus, just head to the right and walk towards the overhead bridge to get across to the other side where Anchorpoint is located.

My first stop was of course Charles & Keith. As soon as I stepped in I got really excited after checking out the price tags. High heels as cheap as $19! That’s a steal! Best of all the shop wasn’t overly crowded despite the huge discounts. Sure there were quite a lot of people but it wasn’t terribly bad. So I had the leisure of taking my time to really scour through the shoes and find a number of great deals. I ended up buying 2 pairs which only costed me $41.80 in total!

Lilac Heels – $21.90 || White and black strappy wedges – $19.90

After that I dropped by Cotton On. Found a couple of racks filled with clothes worth $10 and below. But I didn’t find anything particularly eye-catching. So onto the next store, I checked out Typo just because I love quirky stationary. Didn’t really plan on getting anything but I couldn’t help it. The heart-shaped corkboard was only $2 and the super adorable pineapple-shaped ice tray was only $3! So I spent a total of just $5 there. What a great deal and I can’t wait to test out those pineapple-shaped ice cubes!

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Heart-shaped corkboard – $2 || Pineapple-shaped ice tray – $3

If you’re a fan of brands such as Charles & Keith, Cotton On, Giordano, G2000, and Typo, definitely check out the outlets in Anchorpoint. Well worth the trip there!