Singapore and Bali – the recap!

I’m home from my trip to Singapore and Bali! It was an amazing time, I ate a lot of good food (good lawd, the food), I met some awesome people, and all four of my critters were found and checked in! Overall a great trip. If I had to sum up the Singapore portion of my trip in 4 photos, it’d be these:

And to sum up the Bali portion in 4 photos, it’d be these:

First of all, all four of my critters that I dropped throughout my trip were found and accounted for, making them an international success! THANK YOU to everyone who picked up a critter and reported in and thank you to everyone who participated in the hunt!

I’m so thrilled that they were all accounted for since it was my first time doing drops overseas. I’m always delighted to fill out my critter map more – feel free to check out its current status!

Singapore

Oh my god, Singapore. It’s clean, it’s safe, everything there seems so efficient. And dammit, there’s SO MUCH GOOD FOOD TO EAT. I like food. Therefore I liked Singapore. 😀

  • Gardens by the Bay/Supertree Grove: Touristy for sure, but still worth seeing. Gorgeous gardens, and I managed to dodge the crowds by showing up earlier in the day.

  • CHILI CRAB. OH MY GOD I MISS IT ALREADY. So freakin’ good. I bought packets of chili crab sauce in hopes of using it on my food at home.

  • Public  transport was SO easy to handle. Trains were easy to work with it, buses were always running on time. It was kind of awesome. The only hiccup is that I’m a dumb American and I occasionally would end up at the wrong bus stop because I’d forget that they drive on the other side of the street in Singapore.
  • Another moment where I realized I was American af: not having a sense of the metric system and realizing too late that 1.4 km is actually a REALLY FREAKING FAR distance to walk.
  • Also feeling like an asshole who’s running into people because I kept walking on the right side of the street out of habit. #AmericanHabits
  • “Singapore is so expensive!” – Honestly I never got that? I never felt like anything was any more expensive than what I’d find back home in the states. Then again I was making it a point to eat at hawker stalls so everything felt super cheap in that respect. The only thing I felt was STUPID expensive was alcohol. We’re talking like $20 for a cocktail. Yikes.
    • THERE’S SO MUCH TO EAT. And you can eat SO well for so little if you stick to hawker stalls (which really, isn’t that what it’s all about?). Just a few things that I tried:
      • Laksa
      • Kaya toast (so much kaya toast)
      • Putu piring
      • Prata
      • Carrot cake (not the dessert, more like a savory radish/turnip pancake)
      • Durian, mangosteens, rambutans
      • CHILI CRAB (SEE ABOVE AUGH I NEED MORE OF THAT IN MY LIFE)
      • Bak kut teh
      • Salted egg prawn
      • Bandung
      • World’s cheapest Michelin-starred meal (Soya chicken and rice)
      • Several different kinds of kueh (Southeast Asian sweets)

    Singapore fed me very, VERY well. 🙂

  • Something I loved about Singapore was how the city can make you completely forget where you are. From Arab Street to Little India to Chinatown – each one of these little pockets were so rich and immersive in culture that I’d forget for a moment that I was in the little red dot. 🙂

  • I’m a terrible tourist and I visited the Buddha Tooth Relic temple, but didn’t do any research to learn anything about it. Beautiful, beautiful temple though. Is it an old temple? Is it more modern? Is there an actual buddha tooth there?? Does someone maintain the dental integrity of said tooth?? I didn’t do my homework. Oops.

  • Singlish – MIND BLOWING. I overheard some girls chatting while I was in line at a store, and it was crazy how I KNEW they were speaking in English, but somehow I could only understand about 1/3 of what they were saying.
  • Bali

    Bali was gorgeous. Just gorgeous. Admittedly the part of Bali that I stayed in (Ubud) was a little too touristy for my taste, but on the other hand touristy parts tend to be safer and it was something I knew I was going to have to work with in exchange for my own personal safety while traveling alone. You know when you take photos of something and everything looks so pretty that you can tag it #nofilter? Bali is 100% that kind of place.

    • Banyumala Twin Waterfalls – I originally had a sunrise hike up a mountain scheduled during my trip, but due to weather concerns I canceled it. This meant I had a day open that I didn’t originally have, yay! This also meant that I had to make some last minute plans to fill that day, oops. Luckily I’m a neurotic trip planner and I already had a bunch of stuff mapped out whether I had time to see it all or not, so I had a nice set of alternatives to pick from. I hired a driver and he was willing to drive me out TWO HOURS to see these waterfalls and stop by several other spots along the way back, all for just $40 for the day. If I asked an Uber drive to take me two hours out and back he’d tell me to f*ck off. Last minute planning paid off!
    • Temples. Temples galore and they’re all so, so pretty!

  • Tirta Empul – temple built on a holy spring. You progress from left to right for cleansing. My driver was able to fill me in on which fountains are off limits so that I didn’t commit a tourist faux pas. Some of the fountains are only supposed to be used for funerals!

  • Dinner at Locavore – this was my splurge meal for the trip. I went for the nine course tasting menu and they gave EIGHT courses before dinner even started, and then they also gave an extra pre-dessert course and two more post-dessert snacks. Presentation was impeccable, service was great, and each course was well thought-out and had clever themes to it. I could’ve opted for any of the famous fine dining restaurants in Singapore, but I actively decided to go cheap in Singapore and try the fancier stuff for less in Indonesia instead.

  • Campuhan Ridge Walk – such a great hidden gem in Ubud! I’m surprised I didn’t see more people along the walk, but I fully welcomed the fact that it wasn’t crowded at all. Nice walking path underneath a busy traffic bridge in Ubud, which leads you along a river up to a temple and a nice walk alongside gorgeous views of fields and river valleys. It was like finding a nice hiking trail underneath a freeway bridge.

  • STORY TIME! I DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS MAGICAL PACKAGE IS BUT IT WAS AWESOME. I was hungry and I came across this little stand and asked the little old lady what the paper bundles were. “Rice.” I asked if there was anything with the rice. “Chicken!” Then she grabbed one and opened it up to reveal what was in there (so much more than just rice and chicken!!), assured me that it was “good good, see?,” waved it under my nose and OH MY GOD YES I’LL TAKE ONE. It’s an entire meal bundled into a little paper wrap and it was only $0.70 USD holy shit. I have no clue what most of it was but it was spicy and delicious. I pointed to a little bench outside and asked if I could sit there to eat, and she brought out a little plate and a spoon for me! She seemed amused by me taking photos of everything because she kept laughing and saying “very good, very good!” I saw some cool stuff in Bali, but it’s things like this that I love the most when I travel. 🙂

  • All in all a fantastic time traveling solo overseas for the first time! Singapore was awesome, “user-friendly” (it was so easy to get around), and I had some amazingly kind people take me around and really show me what Singapore is about. If I were to go back to Bali on the other hand, I think I’d try a different part of the island, but it would also depend on if I had traveling companions with me or not. I usually pride myself in being able to get a good feel for a place and to find stuff that’s off the beaten track (often thanks to amazing suggestions that I get through followers on twitter and facebook!), but I felt like I was having a hard time getting a good pulse on Ubud. It comes with the territory of traveling alone though: safety comes first, so if I’m traveling alone overseas the tradeoff is that I’d have to be in parts that were a bit more westernized so if I got lost I could still look for help. I finally found my groove later on though, and things don’t have to be touristy if you know what to look for! I wish I had a little more time in Bali so that I could really properly explore the place since it took some time before I got my footing to filter through all the touristy spots. Even when I asked for food suggestions I think my American accent led everyone to recommend other “cleaned up for tourists” restaurants, even when I insisted on “no Western food!” It wasn’t until the last day where I was excitedly asking my hotel receptionist to help me pick out what was in that magical paper package that I noticed her giving me a look like “holy crap, you really liked that, didn’t you?” – she even joked that if I ever came back she’d be sure to send one to my room every morning. I feel like if I had communicated that earlier on in my trip the staff would’ve been able to direct me to more of the local spots once they realized that I was serious about wanting to eat what they eat. 🙂 Another great trip in the books, and more of my critters scattered around the world! Success!

    3 comments on “Singapore and Bali – the recap!”

    1. I absolutely LOVE reading your trip write ups. You are so amazing at telling us exactly how it is where you were. You are so joyful and so ingrained in the areas that it makes me want to go too. I am incredibly in awe that you do this alone. I hardly like to be that adventurous with others! I wish I could eat anything too as that would make things waaaaay easier but having food allergies can really limit you. I will just go on living vicariously through you for trips like this. Keep travelling and keep sharing please.

      1. Thank you! I honestly think most of these recap posts get glossed over in favor of all the crochet photos, but I’m so glad to know that there’s still people out there reading them! 🙂 As for traveling alone, I’ve been telling people to just do it. Pick a spot closer to home first, see how you like it. If you don’t enjoy it then you’ll know it’s not for you, if you end up loving it, then the floodgates are open!

    2. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is actually quite new (since 2002) and in my opinion is kind of out of place. The style is northern Chinese, which is kind of foreign since the majority of Singaporean Chinese have south-eastern Chinese ancestry and that is reflected in the majority of Chinese architectural styles in Singapore. I have visited it once and noticed that most (if not all) of the monks are from China (by their accent). There is actually a far older temple that is within walking distance of it, it’s the Thian Hock Keng temple (http://thianhockkeng.com.sg/site/) that was established in 1839. The architectural style is south-eastern Chinese (Min from Fujian). Do check that out if you come by Singapore again, it’s really rich in history and is “polytheistic” (http://thianhockkeng.com.sg/site/our-faith-about/). And also, check out the seedier (yet safe LOL!) side of Singapore too.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha_Tooth_Relic_Temple_and_Museum
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thian_Hock_Keng

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