We stayed at Bugis, which was just four MRT stations away from the Changi Airport. Getting to the city center of Singapore from Changi International Airport was very convenient.
From the budget terminal, we hopped on the free airport shuttle to terminal 2 and walked to the MRT station at the basement floor between terminal 2 and terminal 3.
Since it was a DIY trip, we mostly used public transportation to get to our destinations. Going around around Singapore was very easy and convenient because of their efficient MRT system.
Now straying out of the budget terminal, I started to see the Singapore I had envision in my mind. An ultramodern “green” city. I was amazed at the refreshing sight of landscaped gardens at street level and the modern building interiors.
The Bugis MRT Station was one the same (East West / Green) Line. We took the exit at Bugis Junction Mall. It took us a while to get our bearings right but we finally made it to the Backpacker Cozy Corner Guesthouse, which was located at the 2nd and 3rd floors of a “rustic” shophouse along North Bridge Road.
Backpacker Cozy Corner Guest House
We were surprised to find out that all the private rooms at Backpacker Cozy Corner Guest House were already fully occupied. The receptionist told us that we arrived 30 minutes later than the time we specified in the online reservation form and that they had already given our room to walk-ins. Bummer! If only we hadn’t taken too many photo stops :(
The only option left for us was the dorm-style rooms. I got a bit distressed … not for myself but for my siblings. I was silently hoping they’d show us nice looking dorm rooms that even non-backpackers could adapt to. When we got on the third / rooftop floor, I discovered that the place looked exactly like my stereotypical mental image of a backpacker hostel. To bad for them :D
Dorm beds were priced at only S$18 including free breakfast. The free breakfast wasn’t something to be excited about. Very simple menu consisting of bread / toast, butter, jam, coffee. The breakfast area was kind of weird because it was located just beside the common bathrooms.
All-in-all I wouldn’t mind staying at Backpacker Cozy Corner Guest House the next time I’m in Singapore. The location was really good. The hostel was not as bad as the reviews I’ve read online. I think those people who’ve posted negative reviews probably expected too much from “the cheapest place to stay in town”.
Backpacker Cozy Corner wasn’t actually our first choice. I was traveling with my siblings, and I know they’re not used to staying at hostels.
The South East Asia Hotel (also in Bugis) seemed like the perfect place for us. We attempted to make a reservation two weeks before the trip. South East Asia Hotel informed us that they were already fully booked on our travel date. We tried contacting other budget hotels in our list and got the same unfortunate reply. Turns out, our visit coincided with the peak weekend of the F1 (Singapore Formula 1 Night Race).
Backpacker Cozy Corner was the only place that confirmed a room reservation.
I liked Bugis because it had a little bit of everything. At the center was the modern mall called Bugis Junction and surrounding it was a contrast of old shophouses and modern buildings. The building that caught my attention the most was the beautiful National Library Building. It was great to be in a city with so many nice looking buildings. Of course, in the Philippines we also have a lot of remarkable ones but they are also spaced out by a lot of ordinary looking blocks.
Another thing I liked was the abundance of hawker stalls in Bugis. The hawker stalls were a great place to enjoy the local food on the cheap.
After checking-in at the hostel, we headed out to our priority agenda – visit Singapore’s famous icon, the statue of the Merlion located at the mouth of the Singapore River.