Hi! It’s me!
I finally got around to work on this post! The reason being, watching Crazy Rich Asians. After watching my sister kept saying, “did you go there?” “oh what about when they went to that rooftop. Did you see that?” And I thought why not take you through the 2 weeks I spent there in June.
I don’t have many chances to be spontaneous, but wanderlust and urges by my cousins were calling me to finally visit Singapore. After noticing flights beyond a certain date jumped $400 from one day to the next, I took a chance and immediately texted my cousin asking if I could crash for 2 weeks. Once she agreed I wasn’t imposing, my flight was booked. I’m lucky to have a job that allows me to work even while abroad, so I decided to take work with me and make this a half work half play trip. Two weeks after booking, I was on my way
Booking my flight, I jumped at the chance to have a long layover in Tokyo. My main reason being, the warm-weather shopping. At Haneda Airport, the immigration guy was amazed by hearing me say I was there only for [less than] one day. As I loaded my PASMO with a few hundred yen, I watched the attendant help a foreigner put money in his and then I giggled because I was once that foreigner. I descended the escalators to the subway hearing the familiar subway jingle by Sekai no Owari and hopped on the train towards a rainy Tokyo. All the while wondering if I got on the right one, even though I’ve done the exact same route 3 times before.
I spent about 4 hours in the city (~2.5 hours shopping, ~1-hour sitting, ~30 minutes eating). I could have shopped for longer, but the constant rain deterred some of my plans. 2 hours in, my arms became sore from carrying my purse, umbrella, and shopping bags. I could write a whole post on one’s shopping experience in Japan. It is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, even though I only have USA, Canada, and now Singapore as comparisons. There are little details here and there that completely elevate your time in any shop. Some associates like to hover and push for a sale, but I find a small nod saying はい、大丈夫 (hai, daijoubu = it’s okay/I’m fine) will get them to leave you alone. If I don’t buy anything, as I walk out I am sure to nod and say ありがとうございました (arigatogozaimashita = thank you). After shopping, I found the open rooftop of Laforet Harajuku because I once saw in a drama. Despite the rain allowing for a less-satisfying view and experience, I thoroughly enjoyed myself on the patio of the Starbucks sipping my chai latte and pondering over my purchases. I spent a lot less than what I budgeted for the few hours I was there:
- Johnny’s shop photos (if you know me, that’s a given)
- tencel dress
- linen dress
- 2 tops
- cotton skirt
- a lot of stickers
The sun had practically set as I ordered from the ticket machine for my ramen. While my seat was partitioned for a single eater, I could hear the 2 university students next to me planning their summer vacation. I was in and out of the place within 30 minutes then bid farewell to my favorite city, but not before freaking out I was heading the right way to the airport.
I knocked out for most of the 7-hour plane ride and we landed in Singapore just shy of me finishing a movie I’ve been wanting to see. One of my cousins and her husband kindly took the day off to show me around since we had the whole day. Singapore is lots of walking, as they warned me while packing for the trip, “no heels!” But like I was going to bring heels anyway! No OOTD for Tokyo because I was legit in my plane outfit and I must preface my Singapore looks were mostly shorts and a tee because it was gross and hot and humid. This added to the fact I was solo most of the time, so I was only able to look nice when I did tourist things with my cousins on the weekends.
Singapore is a small island country, but they really pack it in with giving you a cultural experience, while incorporating the future’s modernity as well. In the whole 2 weeks, I balanced work in the mornings with a little exploring in the afternoons. It was awesome spending time with family, one cousin who I haven’t seen since I was 2 years old! I was able to meet new people and watch a movie I otherwise would have had to wait until the end of the year to see. Of course, I tried new foods including stingray and laksa. I went to almost all the museums too. Living in this suburban world for my entire existence, it was a thrill to experience a whole different way of life. I people watched while I worked from a cafe at the mall and we all know how fun people watching is! It was also the perfect time for personal reflection as well. To be honest, that was a little hard with the hot weather, but getting to experience more “me” time was something I needed.
I didn’t purchase too much aside from some of your typical souvenir purchases aka magnets for my mom, but I did leave with:
- 2 dresses
- 1 jumpsuit
- a lot more stickers
- a ring
My favorite place in all of Singapore was the Gardens by the Bay. Despite it being a man-made attraction, they did it stunningly (and there was air conditioning inside some of the Dome buildings). There were so many different flowers and plants! I was in awe of Marina Barrage, which actually one of their reservoirs, but also includes a big grassy area where people go for picnics and outdoor movies. It was golden hour and hundreds of kites filled the whispy cloudy sky and it looked like magic against the downtown backdrop. I was also excited to be in town for a Marvel Costumes exhibit at their Art Science Museum, which apparently was a hot ticket item since it had just opened and there were loads of people. My Infinity War feelings were still fresh.
I had the loveliest of times and would definitely recommend Singapore for any solo female traveler out there. You would be fine spending 1 week there to see all there is to see. The island is pretty small with any go-to spots pretty close together. I had no problem with their efficient public transportation and that was a plus since I am a spoiled Southern California girl who is a little terrified of trains and buses. When I came back, a couple people asked me what language is spoken over there. Singapore has 4 official languages (English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil), you’ll be fine getting around with just English.
P.S. June is Singapore’s shopping month and it is like the month to go if you want to do shopping. Tons of sales!