On my first official visit to Singapore as a “tourist” was actually the third time I came to the country with my passport marked with a 30-day visit. It was after my birthday, and I call this my “birthday travels”. A gift, I almost often give myself yearly.
To be honest, I was so excited about it but of course it took me almost a year to be back in a place I call, “my second home”. I will be staying in the same house I used to live in when I was working there and I will be staying there for 10 days. So I had this trip planned how a normal tourist does it. But with some meet up with former colleagues.
The famous Merlion
I can still remember the frustration I felt on my first ever visit here back in 2011, it was turned into a temporary hotel suite. It took me how many months to finally meet Merlion. But since I was into blogging, I made sure to pay him a visit. And, what is a Singapore trip without a glimpse of its official mascot anyway.
Getting to this place, taking the mrt they normally say Raffles Place station is the nearest to get there, but for me I would prefer getting off at City Hall station walk at City Link Mall to Esplanade. I’d cross the bridge once I exit the theatre. This may not be the nearest, but I prefer being indoors so I could escape the hot weather.
Souvenir shopping anyone? Well, let me take you to a place where you can get 3 I Love Singapore shirts for 10 SGD. I remember taking my tourist friends here to shop for souvenir, it can be key chains, magnets, bag tags,Jade bangles, or lucky charm beads or house decors. This is also one good place to dine, as it offers really great choices of local Singapore dish. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.
But as you walk along, you’d also find here Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. But in my years of stay there, I never had the chance to go inside.
There is also another temple in Chinatown, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, I didn’t let this pass knowing I love Buddhist temples.
I learned about this place only in 2015 – I was back in Manila!. Saw a post from a friend on Instagram. I can remember telling my two sisters who are still working in Singapore, that we need to visit this place, and they were like, “Where is that?”. So I made sure to check this place since I love street art. And let me tell you this, the murals in the narrow streets of Haji Lane is definitely Instagram worthy. It wasn’t just me who enjoyed this place, my two sisters as well were very tourists like that day.
Getting to this place, we had to get off at Bugis station then exit at Victoria street. We just kept walking until we turned right to Ophir street then left at the North Bridge Road, the finally you’ll see Haji Lane which is on the right side.
Of course, the street art isn’t all Haji Lane is all about. It is also about shopping, food and drinks! We didn’t get to try their food as we just ate when we got there.
Mixed emotions is what I always feel about Singapore. I do not feel out of place in the country as I have lived there for 4 years. Mixed emotions in a sense, that I feel like part of me is still there, I do not want to leave Singapore everytime I visit. It hurts to go actually. I feel like I have an unfinished business maybe because I left not wanting to leave yet.
To ease my feelings, I would remind myself – “You, left so many memories in Singapore Zee. You can always come back to muse over the great times.”
Happy Birthday Singapore, you will always be part of me.