Malaysia and Singapore are definitely way up my list of places to visit in South East Asia. I’ve always considered these places as the two most progressive countries in this part of the world.
Being a self confessed “urban development junkie,” sparks of excitement come out from inside me whenever I think about getting to visit iconic places in person, especially those I usually see in NatGeo’s “Mega Structures” or read about in SkyscraperCity.
After months of planning, me and my siblings were off to another bonding session … a five day do-it-yourself trip to Singapore and Malaysia.
Pre-trip Jitters; Clark to Singapore Flight
We arranged to start our trip in Singapore for the first three days and then head to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the last two remaing days. Unlike our first time traveling together, planning for this particular trip had its major mishaps. Just two weeks before our scheduled departure (while contacting our chosen hotel for reservations), we found out that our travel dates coincided with the F1 weekend, one of the most popular events in Singapore. The hotel and most places I’ve researched online were already fully booked. Luckily, one guesthouse confirmed our reservation before I could give in to panic. It was all systems go once again! We left Manila early in the morning for the two++ hour drive to Clark International Airport. We chose to depart from Clark because it was cheaper (compared to flying from NAIA) … I was particularly interested to visit the Clark Airport, which is planned for the long-term as a replacement of NAIA.
Arriving at Clark International Airport (also known as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport)
Clark International Airport New Passenger Terminal Building Under-Construction. The design reminds me of the Iloilo Airport, although in a smaller and less elegant form.
Boarding Cebu Pacific Flight 5J537 Bound for Singapore
Day 1 – Arrival in Singapore
Cebu Pacific uses the budget terminal of the Changi Airport, not much WOW factor during arrival but when you step out of the budget terminal and go to the other terminals, it’s a totally different story. At least now I know how a first-world international gateway should look like.
Arrival at Changi International Airport in Singapore
Underground Passageway to Singapore MRT Station in Changi Airport
Since it was a DIY trip, we mostly used public transportation to get to our destinations. Getting around Singapore was very easy and convenient because of their efficient MRT system. We stayed at Cozy Corner Guesthouse, probably the cheapest place to stay in Singapore. One thing I immediately noticed back when we were still planning the trip was that even on a limited budget, Singapore is still an expensive place to visit. Costs for transportation, accommodation, food, and admission fees are all considerably higher compared to its neighbors. It was money well spent, though. Singapore is a beautiful place to visit … not for a long-stay coz it’ll probably burn my budget pretty deep.
Cozy Corner Guest House could be found in the rightmost part of this quaint building located along North Bridge Rd. (near Bugis MRT Station)
Our tour of Singapore took us on a walkathon along the historical attractions of the Singapore River and around the fascinating man-made marvels of the Marina Bay area. I HATE that it was the F1 weekend during our visit since many of the major roads were closed down to be used as race tracks for the Singapore F1 Night Race (Grand Prix). We had to make tiring detours to get to places near the Merlion and the Esplanade … we also didn’t get to experience the Singapore Flyer or the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark coz they were closed down for private functions (I was really looking forward to capture the nice view). Of course, a trip to Singapore is not complete without visiting its famed theme parks. We went to the Night Safari and Universal Studios in Sentosa Island. We also did a walking tour of the city’s Chinatown to get a better grasp of the multi-cultural facets of Singapore.
Marina Bay Sands. Not a big fan of the over-all design. I think it’s the epitome of tackiness in Singapore. It’s the silhouette that I don’t like the most
The Merlion and Singapore Skyline at Dusk
Transiting on the Singapore MRT (Ang Mo Kio Station)
Singapore Night Safari
Futile Attempt to Get Shots during the Tram Ride. If you’re planning on taking photos of the animals, best to visit the Singapore Zoo during daytime since most of the animals in the night safari can also be found there.
Day 2 – Sentosa Island and Marina Bay Area
Vivo City Mall viewed from the monorail ride going to Sentosa Island
Walking through Resorts World Sentosa
Interesting Covered Pathways at ResortsWorld Sentosa
Entrance to Universal Studios Singapore
“Far Far Away”
Battlestar Galactica Coasters at “Sci-fi City”
Standing at the islet across Sentosa’s Palawan Beach, known as the southernmost point of mainland Asia. As most of you have already guessed, the man-made beach is named after the island province in the Philippines.
Shophouses at North Bridge Road in Bugis (near Cozy Corner). The tall buildings in the background is Suntec City
Beautiful asymmetric design of the Esplanade (Opera House) inspired by the shape of the durian friuit
Singapore River at Night
Photo-ops at the Merlion
Mesmerizing Design of the Double Helix Bridge. LIKE! Half of the bridge was closed down because it was being used as a “paid” viewing platform for the F1 Race. UNLIKE! Just to see this bridge we had to circle around the Marina Bay area from Fullerton Hotel by foot … that’s around 2kms of walking
Day 3 – Walking Tour along Singapore River and Chinatown
St. Andrew’s Cathderal
Impressively Clean and Orderly Streets of Singapore
(Temporary) F1 Race tracks beside the Supreme Court Building
Shaded Promenade along the Singapore River
Merlion during Daytime
Singapore Skyline viewed from the Cavenagh Bridge
That UFO-like building covered in the back is so disturbingly tacky. It’s actually the new Supreme Court Building … talk about ruining a whole block of gorgeous old buildings.
At the Heart of Singapore’s Central Business District
Singapore’s China Town. There’s also a Hindu Temple and a Mosque in the area.
Day 4 – Crossing Over to Malaysia
After taking advice to cancel our original plan of taking the night train direct to Kuala Lumpur, we decided to take the bus instead and make an overnighter half-way at Melaka. Good thing we did! It required some convincing to my other siblings on my part … We don’t exactly have the same travel preferences. I’m usually the one to pitch the idea of doing DIY walking tours and visiting historical places. Without me, they would probably prefer to go on hassle free guided tours :D We started our sightseeing of Melaka the early morning the next day before heading out to Kuala Lumpur.
We were scheduled on the early morning Cebu Pacific flight back to Manila (NAIA) from Kuala Lumpur. It meant having one last full day for KL. During our limited time, we did manage to visit a decent share of its attractions. On our way to the airport in Kuala Lumpur, we made a quick stopover in Putra Jaya just in time for the sunset. Seeing the massive pink mosque along the river with a warm glow was one of the highlight of our trip.
River cruise along the Melaka River
Christ Church and the Clock Tower in Melaka. The core of the city is included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites
Dutch Windmill along the Melaka River
Eye on Malaysia’s new location along the Straits of Malacca
First Glimpse of Kuala Lumpur
Transit at Plaza Rakyat RapidKL Station
Batu Caves and the Challenging Uphill Climb
Under One of the Batu Cave’s Expansive Atriums
Nightshot of Petronas Twin Towers, formerly the tallest building in the world (#5 and 6 as of the time of writing).
Day 5 – Kuala Lumpur Day Tour
Daytime photo of the Petronas Twin Towers
View from the skybridge of the Petronas Twin Towers
Kuala Lumpur’s Old Sentral Railway Station
My only photo of the KL Tower. Didn’t get to go up the viewing platform because of limited time.
Panggung Bandaraya (City Theatre) and Bangungan Loke Yew Buildings near – Merdeka Square
Sultan Abdul Samad Building and Merdeka Square
Colorful Shophouses in the Masjid Jamek Area
Kuala Lumpur’s Old Central Market
Petaling Street, Malaysia’s Chinatown
Perdana Putra in Putrajaya. This building is the office complex of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The sprawling expanse of Putrajaya was masterplanned as Malaysia’s center of government.
The Pink Mosque in Putrajaya during Sunset
Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin (also known as the Iron Mosque)
Seri Wawasan Bridge towering above the Putrajaya Lake. This particular bridge is one of my favorite bridge architectures. I just love its elegant profile.
Putrajaya Corporation Headquarters
Putrajaya International Convention Center
Kuala Lumpur International Airport. KLIA has very nice interiors. Since we were flying with Cebu Pacific, we still had to take the airport shuttle to KL’s Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) for our return flight.
Thumbs up with (Haggard) Smile
I just love the feeling of arriving in a new place … being thrown into a whole different setting from what I’m used to at home. I think that’s my major driving force to travel. I love taking in unfamiliar perspectives and breaking the norm of staying put in one place … It’s my long term dream to travel to the world’s most fascinating destinations. I still have a long way from where I am right now but I’m sure I’ll get there as long as I can find my way on the right path.