Siem Reap – Singapore: Day 5 – 31.3.2015:
Our flight from Siem Reap to Singapore, via a discounter airline, Jetstar, departed at 3.45 p.m., so we still had some time left. However, our Three-Day-Pass for the temples of the Angkor Wat area had expired and it seemed to be too little time to visit the Rolous temples and Tonle Sap south of Siem Reap. So we just slept a little longer and started packing after breakfast at the Mid City Hotel.
We had asked at the hotel, if we could just check-out at 1 p.m. and they granted us that (the usual check out would have been at noon). It was another pleasant gesture from the hotel, which was especially excellent in its service. At 1 p.m. our driver Ngoy brought us and our luggage with his tuk-tuk from the hotel to the relatively nearby Siem Reap International Airport.
Everything went smoothly there. We were in the right lane (the quick one!) at the check-in and were happy that we had booked additional baggage, as we were well above the allowed 20 kilograms. The two older women at the line next to us weren´t that happy and had to start repacking, much to the growing dismay of a long qeue behind them. Disembarking was a quick process and soon we were sitting in the plane to Singapore. They only opened my friend´s bag, where I had deposited lots of sweets (“Gummibärchen”) – from Germany as presents for my family in the Philippines – they must look a bit strange, when they are x-rayed…
Singapore actually wasn’t that high on our list of travel destinations, but there are many cheap flights from Singapore to other destinations in Asia, including Siem Reap. When we had seen while planning the journey, that the cheapest way from Cambodia to our next destination – Taiwan – comes with a stop in Singapore, we decided to stay there for a few days. We didn’t regret that, as Singapore proved to be interesting and fun. It was also a huge contrast, coming from Cambodia, where a lot is developing, but which is still relatively poor, to come to a ultra-modern city and country like Singapore, that is obviously rich.
First we were pleasantly surprised that immigration at the airport in Singapore was well organized and quick. Given how huge the airport is and considering our experiences from Manila, we were prepared for it to be quite a nuisance. The airport is well connected with the city by the MRT. So we just bought tickets at a machine and took the modern and clean MRT to Outram Park Station, where our hotel was located. It took about half an hour. When we exited the station we were kind of lost – there were many exits and we didn’t really know which one is the right one. Outside we couldn’t initially locate north and south. After first going in the wrong direction, we finally made sense of our map and then soon reached the hotel.
We had booked three nights at the Keong Saik Hotel, which is located nearby the Chinatown district. Finding a hotel in Singapore wasn´t that easy when we planned the journey – most hotels are ridiculously expensive and the cheaper ones often have horrible reviews on tripadvisor. The Keong Saik Hotel proved to be a good choice, especially location-wise. It´s nearby a lot of food stalls and the vibrant Chinatown and also the Outram Park MRT Station. The hotel itself was clean and modern. While the room was small, it was okay for a few nights. It was a bit strange, that we had to ask for and borrow the remote for the aircon at the reception. The flat-screen TV just had a handful of channels and the breakfast was a bit meager. But besides that everything was adequate. Considering the reviews of the other hotels in that price range in Singapore we were quite happy.
It was already evening and we were hungry, knowing my friends aversion to “food” (lol), I know I would have to fight a little to get what I wanted to eat. We walked past the Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple to the nearby Maxwell Food Center.
The Maxwell Food Center has an abundance of stalls, where we found a lot of food offerings, mostly of the Chinese variety. Even better were the drinks. We especially enjoyed the fruit drinks and had a Banana-Mango-Juice as well as Dragonfruit-Kiwi-Juice. At the walk home we stopped at a 7-Eleven to stock up our supplies and soon were sleeping at the hotel.