In the coming months I'll be writing a series of posts that will highlight each country I'll be visiting, a little about the country and why I'm going there. We'll start with my first destination, Singapore.
When: After a jaunt over the international date line I'll be arriving on April 12th and staying for 3 nights.
Entry Point: Singapore's Changi International Airport
Exit Point: I'll be exiting via the rail system to Malaysia, heading to Kuala Lumpor.
Looking forward to: The reason I considered Singapore and peninsular Malaysia was to visit a friend I had first met in Europe. Glen and I met in Berlin and along with a group of our fellow travelers had some great adventures. To this day, Berlin remains my social highlight of Europe. I'll be staying with Glenn when I arrive, which should ease me into my trip with a local guide. Even though I'm staying with a friend, there are plenty of Singapore hotels that offer high quality accommodations.
The hawker centers, which are really big food courts, are on my top things to do not only because they're cheap but they will challenge my North American palate – no doubt I'll be pushing myself here.
One great advantage of my trip to Singapore is the proximity to Indonesia. I'm looking forward to taking a day trip to the island of Pulau Batam, the perfect day trip for any passport stamp hunting traveler.
Even though bungee jumping is illegal in Singapore, reverse bungee jumping is not and I'll be crossing it off my List of Things to do Before I Die here in Singapore. I've posted a video below showing what I'm in for.
Not Looking forward to: Singapore has some laws that appear quite insane by western standards, many are for minor infractions or even breaking social norms yet carry heavy fines. I'm sure I won't have a problem, but it is tempting to jaywalk.
I'll be fingerprinted upon arrival which shouldn't be a big deal but this still makes me uneasy, regardless of how harmless it is.
The waves of anxiety come and go when you travel but they are at their worst when you are just starting your trip, its worth it in the end, but still not fun when they occur.
Notes: As a backpacker with a tight budget, I won't be staying in Singapore boutique hotels and the city may be a challenge, but it's one that I'm looking forward to tackling. Singapore is a developed nation, and is far more western in culture than any of my other destinations, which should make for any easy introduction. I'm interested in seeing how the three distinct cultures of Singapore (Indian, Malay, and Chinese) coexist and what the resulting culture is truly like. Go Backpacking's Dave has already visited Singapore and you can read about his travels here.