Singapore: The End

We did more than I had ever imagined we could in the first four days we were in Singapore. It shows that Singapore is very easy to get around and highly organized. There is also so much information on the web and from other blogs, that much of the places we went were not that surprising, I knew what to expect that is.

On our fifth, and last full day in the bustling city-state, we decided to go back to the Botanic Gardens. We had went the night before and though it was beautiful and cool in the evening temperatures, we wanted to see more.
First things first though, we must always start with breakfast. I always love to start my day with good food and we were on the hunt for a place that was near the Botanic Gardens, so we could make the most of our time (we only had until 1:30 p.m. because we had to go and pick up our visas at the Thai Embassy between 2-3 p.m.).

Ready to go to the Botanic Gardens!

Ready to go to the Botanic Gardens!

I found a place called Food For Thought on the internet which is actually located in the Garden itself! We decided, because we were STARVING (again, I know… it happens a lot to us) to take a taxi as we thought that the restaurant was on the opposite side of the park from the SMRT station.
We were able to quickly get a cab this time and were on our way. As the taxi dropped us off at the taxi stand at the park (even though we gave him the exact address, oh well) which ended up being the opposite side of the restaurant as well. So we learned our lesson again, that the best way to get around in Singapore is the SMRT.
We walked to the other side of the park, which only took about a half hour and found Food For Thought after some searching. It is in the basement level of the Botany Center and down some stairs at the far left of the center as you face the entrance.
Food For Thought is a chain in Singapore and has western and local fare. They support charities with their profits, they are actually helping five different charities currently. This branch has a lovely playground right outside the restaurant for little kids to play in, it was really busy when we got there so we didn’t let Zoë play in it. Plus we were starving. I had read that this restaurant was fairly inexpensive, but the cheapest breakfast was S$8, which is not that cheap. We ended up spending over S$40 for breakfast, but the food was pretty good. Actually their toast was the best I think I have ever had, I was tempted to pay S$3 for another piece, but resisted. I was going to steal Zoë’s but she had already eaten hers, bummer.
Our first stop after breakfast was the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. We naively thought that the park would be pretty empty since it was a school day. As we rounded the corner to the entrance of the children’s garden we saw the line of school busses. We cringed at our mistake as we saw the massive groups of school children in front. They were getting snacks at the snack bar and hanging out. They were very well-behaved, but there were enough children that it sounded like a stadium regardless.
We had built up a thirst on our walk over and waited in a long line to get a couple of waters before wandering in. Do you know how long it takes 30 kids under the age of 10 years old, to order their ice cream and soda’s? Over a half hour. I stayed in the line while Chad took Z in to check it out.
When I finally bought our waters, I realized that all the school busses were loading up their students and leaving. We had arrived around 11:00 a.m., I guess that was the golden hour as all of a sudden the garden was quiet and there were only a few toddlers and their families left. What luck!
I went looking for Chad and Zoë with my hard-earned water bottles. I found them at water play area. Z was running around gleefully in her underwear and was already soaking wet. It was a really hot day so I was glad that she was able to cool down a bit. The water turned off in about 20 minutes for some reason and didn’t seem like it was coming back on so we put Z’s dress back on her and headed down the path. All along the path from the water play area to the back of the area is a garden that had vegetables and such that the kids can touch, smell, and observe. Zoë especially loved the cotton plant. Chad and I also enjoyed looking at the different plants and they were all labeled and easy to read.
We trundled across a log suspension bridge (which was actually stroller friendly) and came upon a huge tube slide. We were running out of time in the park so Zoë and I went down the huge slides numerous times and had to leave. We missed much of the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, but what we did see was educational and fun. I would love to go back.



We walked to the SMRT station and hopped on the train to the Thai Embassy. We quickly and easily picked up our approved visas (Thank God!).
We were within walking distance to another microbrew restaurant and we decided to try it out. Well, we thought we were within walking distance at least, we walked but it took about 30 minutes from the Orchard Station. When we arrived at JiBiru Craft Beer Bar we couldn’t wait to order our first beer/cider.
JiBiru has only outdoor seating and serves Yakitori food. Chad ordered a Japanese microbrew and I ordered a cider. The lunch specials ran around S$12 a piece, but were delicious and filling. The beers and ciders on the other hand were about S$10-12 a piece. We each had a couple of bottles and left it at that. I would definitely recommend (if you love good beer/cider) visiting JiBiru Craft Beer Bar.
We felt a little sluggish after eating so much (it had nothing to do with the couple of bottles of beer I am sure) and decided to take Z to her first movie in a movie theater. We had noticed the Lido Theater on our walk to JiBiru and saw that the Lego Movie was playing.
We paid an exorbitant amount of money at 7-11 for candy to sneak into the theater (come on, you know you all do that, too) and went and bought our tickets. The tickets actually were not that expensive, only S$8 a person… We had finally found something inexpensive to do in Singapore!
We all loved the movie and Z sat through most of it! We truly can take her almost anywhere now… next hurdle will be taking her clubbing! Maybe not…

Zoë at her first movie in the  theater!

Zoë posing with Chad at her first movie in the theater!

We relaxed the rest of the night at our place and prepared to leave the next day. We had only one bag so it was easy. We both wanted to get to the airport early because we had noticed (and I had read about Changi Airport on Kids “R” Simple here) that they had much for little ones to do.
The next morning we arrived at Changi airport by train and checked into our flight and immediately looked for the playgrounds. We found one in terminal 3, near the train station. They charged S$18 for 2 hours, but we had already promised Zoë that she could play and we just ignored our feeling of being a bit ripped off and let her play. It was a mediocre playground to say the least, but she enjoyed it immensely.

Fun at the EXPENSIVE playground... this girl is a little spoiled.

Fun at the EXPENSIVE playground… this girl is a little spoiled.

After we figured out that our flight left from terminal one, we ventured over there and realized that there is a free playground near some of the food kiosks. Grrrr… maybe I should have researched a little better right before we actually arrived there. Traveling sure does teach me more and more about being prepared but flexible.
As we flew out of Singapore, I talked to Chad about what I thought about Singapore. Singapore is the closest thing to back home that we have experienced on our travels so far. It was well-developed, clean (except those darn dirty toilet seats), easy to get around using public transportation, and everything was in English. It was almost disconcerting knowing that we were in Asia, but feeling as though we were not. Also, Singapore was incredibly expensive, albeit we did a ton of touristy things and ate at specialty restaurants some of the time, but almost everything was more expensive that what we pay in Northern California for the same thing. It was not surprising to me that Singapore was named the most expensive place to live in the world this year.
Regardless of the things I did not like so much, I enjoyed everything we did and especially loved the food in Little India and our time in the Botanic Gardens and the Singapore Zoo.

Thanks  for following along with our trip to Singapore. We have been doing many things here in Phuket that I look forward to writing about. Now I need your help, is there anything you are curious about here in Phuket or Thailand in general? I like to write posts that make you, my lovely readers, feel like you are here with us, so please let me know. And of course, if you would like to follow, subscribe, and share our blog it would be much appreciated!


Wednesday Write-Up: Singapore Part 4

Our fourth day in Singapore landed on a Monday. We had been running around and seeing the sights in Singapore and now it was a day to do some not-so-fun things. Well, only one not-so-fun thing really…It was our only day to find the Thai embassy and apply for our visitors visas.

For those of you that have never had to do visa runs, each country has an allotted amount of time a tourist is allowed to stay. In Thailand the time for a landing visa (for Americans) is 30 days, but for a small fee and the time of filling out a few papers, one can get a visitors visa that is 60 days and can be extended without having to leave the country. We had to find our way to the Thai Embassy in Singapore and drop off our forms and payment and pick up our hopefully approved visas the next day. In Singapore you have to drop off your paperwork between the hours of 9:00 am and 11:00 am and then have to pick it up the next day between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. It was a short window of time and we COULD NOT mess up.

We decided to take a taxi to the embassy. As we waited and tried to flag a taxi down we realized that they would only pick up on our street at a taxi stand near the SMRT station. So we went and waited in a line for a taxi. It was finally our turn and a taxi came up with “On Call” on its little sign on the top, the guy behind us cut in front of us and said, “Sorry i called it”. Hrmph, we were a little bummed, but soon after we got a taxi that drove us to the closest taxi stand near the embassy. What we realized later is that the train station would have been just as close as the taxi stand that we were dropped off at. Oh well, it was a learning experience that it is always better to take the train in Singapore.

Our time in the Thai embassy went quickly and even though Chad had to run and make copies of our flight in to Thailand (they only say the flight out of Thailand on the website) it went fairly smooth.

We were STARVING and so we decided to eat breakfast at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf across the street. Then we walked around the mall/shopping center that the CBTL was in. We were so very excited and happy to find organic and all-natural stores (2 of them!!!) that carried all-natural non-aluminum deodorant! It was the first time we had found it since we left the States! And we only had to pay S$12 for each ($9-10 USD). And now you all know how important all natural deodorant is to me, and I feel slightly awkward. But it was probably the highlight of the day for me!

We headed back to our house and gave Z her first proper nap since being in Singapore. We all needed an off day I think. We let ourselves rest for about an hour and then were up and ready to get going.

We made our way to Little India, which is another easy ride on the SMRT away. We love Indian food and our main reason for going was to find a place to eat dinner. We walked around for a bit, past the gold shops, mini-markets, fruit and veggie stands. Some of the buildings were beautifully painted and decorated, some looked pretty run down. Overall though the area almost seemed to be a step back in time, there were no skyscrapers, in fact most of the buildings looked to be 4 floors or less and the buildings seemed old and worn.

The beautiful paint jobs in Little India

The beautiful paint jobs in Little India

Cross street near Little India

Cross street near Little India

We chose a vegetarian restaurant called Komala Vilas Restaurant which smelled divine. We were shown to a table on the second floor and given menus. there was not that much to choose from (I didn’t see the HUGE menu on the wall to the left of me that offered all the popular Indian favorites such as masala and paneer, oops) and none of it was anything I had ever tried. I ended up ordering the vegetable briyani plate and chad ordered the rice plate. We ordered Z a cheese dosai. Our food arrived and we dug in. It was probably the best indian food I have ever had. Z’s dosai was served to her like a teepee and she ate almost the whole thing.  Not only was it wonderfully delicious, but every time we finished one of the vegetable dishes, they would come by and give us another spoonful. I do not even want to thing about how much I actually ate. It was worth it though.

The Rice Plate at Komala Vilas Restaurant.

The Rice Plate at Komala Vilas Restaurant.

Zoë was impressed and  happy with her cheese dosai.

Zoë was impressed and happy with her cheese dosai.

We decided a walk was in order after eating so much. We took the SMRT to the Singapore Botanic Gardens (which was nicely situated two stops from our house). It was nearly dark when we arrived, so we walked in the cooler temperatures of the evening. I was impressed with layout and upkeep of the park. The grounds were immaculate and we were able to walk safely as it was well-lit. We decided that we would need to come to the gardens again, as there was a children’s area that was already closed when we arrived there. So more on the Botanic Gardens in my next post.

Z and I walking through the Botanic Gardens.

Z and I walking through the Botanic Gardens.

The breathtaking sunset at Singapore's Botanic Gardens... you can tell by the quality of this picture that Chad was behind the camera for this one.

The breathtaking sunset at Singapore’s Botanic Gardens… you can tell by the quality of this picture that Chad was behind the camera for this one.

Z and I cuddling on our walk through the Botanic Gardens.

Z and I cuddling on our walk through the Botanic Gardens.

We had been running through Singapore, packing in so much everyday. This was a great day to just take it easy and set a slower pace. Or at least we thought we had, looking back, we still did quite a lot of fun things.

Friday will be my last post about Singapore (unless we travel there again). I have been keeping notes on what new things to write about here in Phuket, so stay tuned.

So, I have given away one of my silly highlights of our trip (Hooray for all-natural deodorant!), now it’s your turn. What has been something you have truly been over-the-top excited about while traveling, or just in your normal life that some people may think is silly? Leave a comment and share in my awkwardness. Thanks for reading and sharing all!

Singapore: Part Three

Despite my us all being tired and sore from a long day of walking around the zoo in the heat, Z woke us at 6:30 a.m. again for our third fun-filled day in Singapore. In all seriousness, I was sore like I had run a marathon. Okay, I admit I have never run a marathon, but I have run a couple of blocks. That is pretty close, right?

Okay, my physical fitness aside, let’s get back to the real subject of this post… Singapore!

We had plans to meet Bronwyn (from Journeys of the Fabulist) and her cute kiddos for coffee at one of their regular hang outs in the Harborfrount Centre. I was excited and nervous, it was my first time meeting a fellow blogger in person!
We took the SMRT from our house to the Harbourfront Station. It took about 30 minutes to get there from all the way across the country! Well, Singapore is it’s own country so we truly did travel across the country to meet them.

My nervousness at meeting B was totally unnecessary. Chad, Z, and I had a wonderful time chatting and getting to know all three of them. We met at a toast place that served set breakfasts of french toast with coconut jam, called Kaya, tea/coffee and a very soft-boiled egg (pretty much raw, just a little white. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it, it is fantastic on toast). I can’t remember how much it was, that probably means it was pretty inexpensive. I love delicious, inexpensive breakfasts with new friends! Brownwyn showed us how to get to Vivo City, where the monorail was to take us to Sentosa, our next stop for the day, and gave us a great recommendation for a lunch place near the entrance of the monorail.

We said our good-byes to B, P, and T, and then meandered into the monorail ticketing area. We stopped off for lunch first at the place B had recommended and were very happy and full when we left there. It was an international food center that had Singaporean food, Indonesian, Indian, and other fare from all over Asia. I wish I could remember the name of the place, but it is right next to the ticket/information counter for the Sentosa monorail.

Senotosa is a little island off the southern tip of Singapore that boasts of a Universal Studios, the Sentosa Merlion, a beach area and much more. We bought our S$4 tickets for the monorail (you can also walk there, just follow the monorail above you, it was too much for our tired legs) and got off at the first stop.

The first stop was for Universal Studios, which we had decided to skip since Z was too little still for any of the attractions. The whole area around it was filled with American shops and restaurants. I really wanted to go in the Hersheys superstore, but with my willpower of steel, I resisted. It was very much like the Universal Studios City Walk in California. In fact, Chad and I talked quite a bit about how we felt like we were walking through any tourist area in Southern California. I think it felt a bit too much like home for us and we quickly walked to the next area.

Down the hill was the Sentosa Merlion, which is a large statue with a lion upper body and a fish lower body. It is the mythical protector of Singapore and was quite an imposing sight. You can pay for admission into the Merlion and take pictures from the head of the whole island. It was not that expensive at S$12 per adult, but we were trying to get Z to take a nap in her stroller and didn’t want to break up the walk too much (and no she never took a nap… humph).

The Merlion

The Merlion

We kept walking and came to an area that was pretty wide open, you could go one way to the beach or another way to something else, honestly at this point we were just hot and tired and decided to forgo the rest of Sentosa and hop back on the monorail and head back to Vivo City and shop for a bit.

We walked around the busy, well air-conditioned mall for a while and decided to head to a restaurant that Chad had found on the internet that brewed it’s own beers.

We were able to easily get to Brewerkz Restaurant and Microbreweries by taking the SMRT to the Orchard Station and walking about ten minutes down the street to Riverside Point.

Riverside Point

Brewerkz at Riverside Point

We walked into the brewery and we felt immediately like we were home. Like really at home. This restaurant could have been in our hometown of Santa Rosa, California. The way it was decorated, the good beer, and the western food choices were all like being home. Until we looked at the prices that is! We decided to splurge and not feel guilty about ordering S$10-13 (US $8-10) beers and S$21 (US $16.50) burgers. I got the Brewerkz burger and Chad had the Chicken Cobb salad, we got Z a side of macaroni and cheese. All the portions were HUGE and the food was delicious. It made the final bill easier to pay at the end of our meal.

We had to have them wheelbarrow us out of the restaurant, or at least I wish they would have. We tried to walk off some of our large meal on our way back to the Orchard Station, but our legs just wouldn’t move fast enough.

Z and I after our wonderful meal at Brewerkz. I swear it was windy and my hair does not look this crazy all the time.

Z and I after our wonderful meal at Brewerkz. I swear it was windy and my hair does not look this crazy all the time.

We’d had another wonderful day in Singapore and slept the sleep of the extremely overstuffed that night.

What about you? Have you been to Sentosa in Singaore? Or to Brewerkz? Tell me about it!

Also if you would like to read more about living in Singapore, make sure to check out Kids “R” Simple, Journeys of the Fabulist, and Expat Dad SG. If you know of any other blogs that are about Singapore, feel free to share them in the comments.

Wednesday Write-Up: Singapore-Part Two

 I try to write about how we are doing on my Wednesday Write-Up’s, not what we have been doing, but I just have so much to write about Singapore that I have to keep writing about it. I am hoping that you will not be completely fried on Singapore by the time I am done, but want to visit it and check it out for yourself! (And for those of you who write blogs about Singapore yourselves, thanks for reading even though I am sure you have done these things yourself more than once.) 

Singapore Part Two

On our second day in Singapore, Z woke the whole house us up bright and early to enjoy it. We planned to spend the day at the Singapore Zoo. Almost everyone we talked to when we were planning visit to Singapore told us that we HAD to check it out. I have always loved zoo’s and we have been to a couple of them along our travels so far (You can read about our time at the Taipei Zoo here and the Budapest Zoo here).

We took the SMRT from our house a couple of stops to the Ang Mo Kio stop on the Red (North South) Line. We stopped at the AMK Hub for a quick coffee and chai tea latte (Hooray, my favorite!!) before grabbing the 139 bus that heads directly to the zoo.

We didn’t know how far out the zoo is, but it is pretty far out from the center of town. The bus ride took about 40 minutes, but it did stop often so I am sure the times will vary. It was an easy and cheap way to get there though, as our SMRT tourist cards worked for busses as well.

When we arrived at the zoo, there were signs everywhere saying you could save 5% off admission if you bought the tickets online with your smart phone. It was a little bit of a pain as the website had a couple of issues, but Chad patiently kept trying and finally we had our tickets. We decided to also buy tickets for the Night Safari, another zoo adjacent to the main one that opens after dark.  All together we paid around $120 Singaporean dollars.

Don't feel like waiting in line here...

Don’t feel like waiting in line here…

You can use these directions to buy your tickets online using your smart phone and save 5% in the process!

You can use these directions to buy your tickets online using your smart phone to bypass the lines and save 5% in the process!

We had gotten a late start to the day, despite our early wake up toddler call and didn’t arrive at the zoo until around 1:00 p.m.. We started by walking around while looking at the map and getting utterly confused as to where to go first. We decided to look around a bit and then eat lunch quickly before heading to a the Rainforest Show. We started with the white tiger, then the baboons, jackals, chimps, and so on. Most of the animals were pretty out in the open, the cages or barriers well hidden, and the orangutans were actually “free-range” meaning that they could be in the trees above you anywhere in their area.  It made me feel as though we were in their habitat instead of them being in ours. I loved it and the animals seemed very happy and healthy. Chad and I realized that this was the first zoo we had been to where the animals were so active (including the pygmy hippos mating… while people were casually taking their kids pictures in front of them… awkward to say the least).

The white tiger... this is the first time I had seen a tiger swimming in real life.

The white tiger… this was the first time I had seen a tiger swimming in real life.

The Baboons

The Baboons

The pygmy hippos AFTER they were done with their private business.

The pygmy hippos AFTER they were done with their private business.

There is an orangutan above me!

There is an orangutan above me!

We got a bit lost on our way out to the eating area but finally made it to the entrance/exit. There was a KFC, a sandwich place, and a place serving Singaporean food. We chose the Singaporean place and had Nasi Lemak, a rice and chicken plate with sauces,  and Laksa, a coconut based soup with shrimp. Zoë doesn’t handle the spicy food so well, so she had cheese pizza from the deli. All of the food was fairly inexpensive and delicious. Later in our travels we found the food court that is actually inside the zoo, and it looked great as well, but be aware it closes at 6 p.m..

We spent the rest of the daylight walking around the zoo, seeing all of the shows (each lasting between 15-30 minutes), The Rainforest Fights Back Show, The Splash Safari Show, and The Animal Friends Show. We all enjoyed all the shows although the splash safari show was a little long and we ended up leaving a bit before it ended, Z just wasn’t that interested in the sea-lion.

The Animal Friends Show

The Animal Friends Show

Zoë’s favorite part of the zoo was Kidzworld. This area had a large water play area, pony rides, petting zoo, and other physical activities for kids. Chad was my hero and took her to run around in the water so I was able to sit and relax in the shade. What a guy, right!?

Kidzworld water park... Z's favorite part of the zoo.

Kidzworld water park… Z’s favorite part of the zoo.

We only made it through half of the animals before closing time at 6:30 p.m. I wish we would have had more time there. We did a quick run through of the souvenir shop, it had much to choose from and not all the items were that expensive.  We may have spoiled Z just a little more and gotten her an orangutan stuffed animal magnet to commemorate our visit.

After the main zoo closed we decided to head to the Night Safari area, which was about a two-minute walk from the main zoo entrance. We were told there were places to eat there so we went to go find our dinner. The Night Safari does not open until 7:30 p.m. so we leisurely looked around at the places to eat, finally deciding on the international food area and having some okay Indian food. The food is very expensive in this part of the zoo, so I would suggest that anyone not wanting to pay S$17-30 a person either eat outside the main zoo entrance or bring your own food.

There is much to do in the Night Safari, we decided to start with the tram that takes you on a ride through different world locations to see how the animals live at night. We really wanted to see the lion feeding and were able to get off the tram and head down to the lion cage just in time to see them throw meat at the lions from a safe position. It was rather anti-climatic in my opinion. Not only that, but we realized as Chad was holding Z on his shoulders to see the lion feeding, that Z had pooped her pants. Yes, I was that mother standing there smelling her child’s rear end and then running for the nearest bathroom with her.

Luckily there was a bathroom near by and luckily I had one more pair of clean underpants for her. What we did not have was another pair of shorts, so we tied Chad’s Harley Davidson bandana around her waist the best we could, making a very cool rocker skirt.  I was pretty glad it was dark and hot still. I don’t think anyone noticed at all.  Another lucky thing was that the poo did not go through to Chad’s shoulders. Oh the joys of being a parent.

We were able to hop on another tram within 5 minutes and continued our journey through the night wildlife. The coolest part was that the animals that were not harmful or aggressive were free roaming for the most part, so we were within arms length to Tapirs and different kind of deer (gazelles? not sure what type they were except they looked like deer to me) and water buffalo and such.

By the time we rounded the last bend on the tram ride, Z had fallen asleep in my lap and we decided to just head back to our place. We missed out on the walking trails that you can take through the park, and the show about night creatures, but we were all ready to go home and rest.

Our second day in Singapore was quite an eventful and fun day. Have you been to the Singapore Zoo? What did you enjoy about it?

Leave a comment and tell us about it! Thanks for reading, following, sharing, and commenting!

Singapore: Part One

We just spent six days wandering through Singapore. We ran ourselves ragged (Chad has the blisters on his feet to prove it) doing all we could in the bustling city-state in Southeast Asia. I decided to split all that we did into six posts, as we did so much, and I wanted to be able to tell you all about it.

There were a couple of expectations I had of Singapore, one was that it would be extremely clean and pristine, the other was that it would be busy and crowded and crazy. I had come to the conclusion of its cleanliness after reading about the fines in place for things like chewing gum or not flushing the toilet. And I had assumed that the city was crowded and overly busy after reading about the fact that Singapore is not only a powerhouse in the Southeast Asian business arena, but in the world arena.

As it is with most assumptions and expectations, I was wrong. Singapore is very sculpted, it’s sidewalks wide and lined with trees and shrubbery. There was nature on the edge of everything that was carefully crafted to look natural. But it was not a sterile, gleaming place of cleanliness. No, I did not see any chewed gum on the street, but ironically I did see a few breath mint boxes littered on the ground at points. And the whole thing about having to flush the toilet law must have been overturned or something, because I can honestly say that I rarely went into a public restroom without having to clean off the toilet seat and flush it before using it.

I was also wrong about how overly busy the city would be. Yes, it is a huge metropolis, but it is so well set up, that I never felt like it was crazy or chaotic. Even traveling on the MRT at rush hour was manageable as far as how crowded it was because the infrastructure was prepared to handle it. In this aspect, I absolutely loved Singapore. Everything seemed to be planned to perfection and we were able to move about with ease.

Despite these little hiccups of my expectations being unreal (again, ack!) Singapore had much to do and see that made our trip fun and worthwhile.

We arrived at Changi Airport in the middle of the day and were quite excited to see many of the companies we knew and loved back in the States. We ate Quizno’s for lunch, which is not one of my favorites, but Chad was pretty happy about it. Our trip was starting out pretty well it seemed (because truly it is mostly about the food for me).

We had rented a room in someones house on (you can read about that here) that was supposed to be a quick walk from the Marymount SMRT station on the Circle Line. Honestly all that was like a foreign language to me until I looked at a map of the SMRT lines. It was incredibly easy to figure out where to transfer from one line to the next to make it to our destination. And with the airport being one of the terminal stops on the East West Line, it made it even easier to find our way. We bought 3 day tourist unlimited SMRT cards for S$30 (plus a S$10 deposit) because that was the highest amount of days possible. We hopped on the train and although we had to transfer two times, it was a piece of cake. Each station was clearly marked with where to go and all of the stations were baggage and stroller friendly. We arrived at the home where we were staying within an hour.



I unpacked while Chad researched where to find good beer and food in Singapore. Chad is a home brewer of beers and has been missing the hoppy beverages since we left California. In every new place we visit, Chad is on the look out for any place that may have beers from home.

Chad found a place called “The Good Beer Company” that was located in the Chinatown Complex. We hopped on the SMRT and arrived smack dab in the heart of Chinatown within 20 minutes.

We arrived at Chinatown station

We arrived at Chinatown station

Chinatown reminded us both of Taipei somewhat. Hearing mandarin being spoken, seeing the arts and crafts being sold at the booths, and smelling the delicious Chinese fare made us feel at like we were home. We wandered around, looking for the Chinatown Complex without much luck until we finally used Google Maps. We finally came upon the massive open building (resembling a parking garage really, but with booths selling food or clothing instead of parked cars), we quickly made our way to the second floor and found the little hole in the wall that sells all the good beers one could wish for. We picked up a couple of delicious dishes at some food sellers around there and sat down with our food and drink and enjoyed. Chad’s favorite dish was the carrot cake, or Chai Tow Kway, which is radish cakes fried with seasoning and egg and has a sweet and smoky flavor. Z and I had dumplings and they were made so perfectly that I had to go get a second plate.

Chad enjoying a hoppy beer

Chad enjoying a hoppy beer

After we had all had our fill, we waddled out of the complex and noticed that there was a stage right outside the door where some sort of celebration was going on. There were girls dancing, singing, and some sort of comedy routine as well (it was in Mandarin so I am not sure). I think it had something to do with Chinese New Year. We watched for a little while because Z loves dancing lately and really loved watching the dance troupes with their fans.

Right next door to the stage was the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. As we walked past it a parade started, four men dressed as lions and 5 or 6 men making a dragon on sticks dance around came out of the temple followed by monks playing drums and a long line of people holding what looked like large books walking behind them. They circled the temple a few times before we got up and started walking again. It seemed almost magical that all of these things were going on just as we arrived in the area. It was just perfect.

We ended the night by walking back through Chinatown, taking pictures, looking at the Chinese goods for sale, and just enjoying each other and the atmosphere. We hopped back on the SMRT and headed back to our home away from home and crashed early, preparing and resting for the next amazing day in Singapore.

Have you ever been to Singapore’s Chinatown? What did you think? Leave a comment and let us know!

(*** Chad took some amazing photos for this post and I was unable to get them to work, I will put up a gallery tomorrow)

Wednesday Write-Up: Making It Work

Well, after a wonderful trip to Singapore, we have arrived safe and sound back in Phuket, Thailand. I will be writing all about the touristy things we did while in the fascinating city-state for the next couple of weeks for sure. I cannot wait to give you all the details!
It’s funny though, as I thought I would be coming back to a hotel with working wifi, and it turns out we have no wifi tonight! What a cruel world… Yes, I am being a tad dramatic I know.
I have learned that much of long term travel is about just making it work. I was always a hard-core planner with lists and alarms and spreadsheets to help me along. For the past few months, I have given up on the planning. Well, at least the planning of little things (like wifi connection) because I have found that when the small things don’t go as planned, that’s when I get the most stressed out. Of course I am not going to stop planning ahead for flights and cities to visit, or great big details like that. But I have stopped trying to plan exactly what we will do each day. Or what way we should pack our bags. Or to have a working wifi connection.
A good example was the Airbnb host that we stayed with in Singapore. We have used on numerous occasions in many different locations around the world, but this was the first time we actually rented a room in someone’s house. We had always just rented apartments that we had all to ourselves.
We booked the room on Airbnb and it sounded fantastic, it had two great reviews and was pretty inexpensive in comparison to renting a hotel room in Singapore. We were excited and nervous. Excited because we love trying new things and nervous because one never knows how loud a two year old can be until you want them to be quiet and not disturb people who like to sleep later than 6:30am.
We arrived at the two story apartment in a high rise, which was wonderfully close to the MRT station and seemed like it was in a nice enough neighborhood.
Peggy and Jun were excellent hosts and were kind and helpful. The room was clean and spacious. Peggy and Jun even had fresh oranges and water bottles in the room for us. It seemed perfect.
That night we realized the problem with the wifi. They had advertised high speed wifi, but it wasn’t a big deal, we worked our way around it using a week long SIM cards from a Singapore cell phone company. That gave us access to the internet at least. Chad couldn’t work often, but at least we could still keep in touch with others and I could still write my blog posts. Disaster averted.
The next morning, there were two strange men (they weren’t creepy or anything, just that we didn’t meet them before and they left that day) in the kitchen making themselves breakfast as we trundled down to make ourselves breakfast. As it turns out, Peggy and Jun were not only renting out the room we were staying in, but the two others upstairs. So we were sharing the”private” bathroom with 3-5 people the whole time we were there. Lucky for us, our two year old is an early riser, so we always were able to shower before anyone else was awake.
Having to share a bathroom was not a real problem, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. Darn expectations, get me everytime.
These were just minor things in the grand scheme of things, but these are the type of things that used to ruin my days. They would make me into a negative jerk. That is, until I stopped letting them get to me (as often at least).
And that is another reason that I feel so blessed to be on this adventure, it has taught me to just make it work. No matter what could, and often will happen to throw off my day in a negative way, I have learned along this road that there is almost always a way around it, even if it’s just to ignore it.
So… Would I rent a room on Airbnb again? Yes! Who knows what lessons I will learn from it!

Have you ever rented a room in someone’s house while traveling? What did you think?
Also… When you have traveled, what lessons have you learned?
Please leave a comment and share!

Monday Montage: Seeking Good Wifi Signals

Have you heard the math problem about the family of three that went to visit Singapore and had just one computer, two iPhones, and 2 bars on their wifi signal half of the time? It’s a tough one I know, but the answer is one blog writer banging her head against the wall 25 times as she tried to write said blog on her iPhone yet again.
As you can tell, I am no mathematician, but I am getting better at writing my posts using my (outdated but much loved) iPhone 4. So, hooray for staying in a place that has little, to no internet connectivity and coming out from the experience having furthered my tech skills.
Singapore is quite interesting and has many things to do, which we have been doing and which I plan to write about for the next couple of weeks. So stay with me at least until I get back to the internet age and can fill your inbox, reader, or whatever with all my stories of Singapore… Please?!
Until then, here are my Monday Montage of pictures from this past week…


Look Mom! Swenson’s in Singapore has food as well as deserts! My mom and I had to change our girls day out a bit when we realized that we couldn’t eat lunch at Swenson’s in my post,  A Grand Girls Day Out in Hua Hin.




I decided that I wanted to show what the mailboxes look like in each country we visit, these are what they look like in Singapore. Not too exciting are they?

20140217-142522.jpg These lanterns shaped like old Chinese coins are hung over the street near Chinatown here in Singapore. I found them quite eye-catching. Also you can see the horse lanterns that are up and down the street to celebrate the Year of the Horse this year.



I just thought that this was humorous. We were getting some food at the Chinatown Complex and this lady was standing in line having a rather loud conversation using her iPad as a phone. I know some people who use their iPad to make calls, but I have never seen anyone actually holding it up to their ear. It looked pretty uncomfortable.

20140217-142825.jpgThis is definitely one of the highlights of my trip to Singapore, I got to meet a fellow blogger and friend in person! Bronwyn (of Journeys of the Fabulist) as well as her two adorable children, met us for tea and delicious french toast. She and I had a chance to chat while Chad took the kids to ride on some rides in the mall. It was my first time ever meeting up with someone who I met through blogging, and it was wonderful. Chad, Z, and I all had a great time and  B gave us some great recommendations for where to eat our lunch that day (more on that in a following post). Thanks Bronwyn, P, and T!

On that note, I have to say that is one of the reasons that I love blogging so much, there is a real possibility of getting to know people and forming friendships all over the world.

Until we meet again (and I have better WiFi), thanks again for reading and following!

So Far So Good… Singapore

We left our hotel in Phuket, Thailand early this morning to go to Singapore.
The Phuket Airport was quite easy to get through and our flight to Singapore went without a hitch (if you didn’t count the gentleman behind me resting his arms on my headrest and sharing his incredibly strong body odor).


We checked into our Airbnb place and the family renting us the room seem very nice. The location is great and the we explored much of Chinatown today.
I plan to write more on all this later, as the wifi is spotty here (only drawback to the place we are staying), so I currently writing this on my phone. I should be getting really good at this by now, but really long posts with many pictures are still a bit out of my league.
So far I am fascinated with Singapore and cannot wait to share with you all every detail of our trip!
Thanks for sticking with me through my internet woes!