Category: Singapore

Mar 08 2010

Singapore to Batam, Indonesia

Decided to visit Batam, Indonesia since it’s just 20km from Singapore and I thought I can get a cheaper flight to Jakarta from Batam. Went to Harbour front and took the 2.50pm ferry, Penguin Express to Batam Island (SD$23, an hour ride).

Indonesia time is an hour slower so arrived at the same time as I left.

Singapore has one of the most active ports in the world and there are quite a number of ships around Singapore coast.

I am pretty excited to visit Indonesia because it’s so close to Malaysia yet I have never been there. Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world with 250 million people. It has 17,000 Island which 6000 is unhabited, with 300 ethnic groups. From the Northern tip of Sumatera, Acheh to Papua, it’s around 4000km long, roughly the same horizontal distance between LA and NYC..

The largest ethnic groups are the Javanese (45%) of central and eastern Java, the Sundanese (14%) from western Java, the Madurese (7.5%) from the island of Madura, and Coastal Malays (7.5%), mostly from Sumatra. The rest are Acehnese and Minangkabau of Sumatra, the Balinese, the Iban and Dayaks of Kalimantan and many more.

Wasn’t able to find a public bus from Batam center to the city center so had to take a cab (45,000 Ruppiah~USD$45, USD$1~10,000 Ruppiah).

There isn’t any hostel in the city so I asked the cab driver to drop me off at a cheap hotel, Hotel Bahari (16,000 Ruppiah)

and booked a flight to Jakarta for tomorrow (303,000 Ruppiah )

Batam is similar size to Singapore and is considered like the special economic zone of Indonesia with factories, shopping malls and is also considered as the sin city for Singaporeans. Even the taxi driver was asking if I wanted to rent a girl for the day. There isn’t much to see at Batam, it’s just like another typical small city. There aren’t public buses around so it’s hard to move around city since I usually avoid taking cabs.

Nagoya Hill which is the biggest mall here.

Lunch Mie Soto and GadoGado Siomay(14,000 Ruppiah~USD$1.40)

Nasi Padang for dinner (24,000 Ruppiah)

Took a ride with an Ojek (Motorcycle taxi) and the rider drove me around and went to the beach front.
With the Indonesia motorbike rider

I just bought him a drink and paid for his gas.

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Mar 07 2010

Singapore Day 3

March 7
Took a train to Punggol, a residential area which is located at the North East side and crashed at Vin’s place.
Punggol has some new HDB which looked very well planned. Only local citizens can buy newly issued HDB flats and needed to have a monthly income below SD$8000 if I am not mistaken. PR can buy HDB flats at the used market but even 2 bedrooms HDB flat in the north east part cost more than SD$350,000.

Singapore has quite a lot of church goers and a few megachurches. On the front page of strait times there is news that one of the megachurch is going to invest SD$310 million to co-own Suntec city. I don’t consider myself religious but decided to check out a mega church with 18,000 people in Suntec City.

Had lunch with my aunt at Orchard road

and catch up with XiaoRui in the afternoon.

around the city

Flirting point

Went to Harbour front and took the Sentosa train (SD$3) to the newly opened casino, Resort World.

For Singaporeans and PR holders, they will have to pay SD$100 to go in because the government discourages the locals from visiting the casino.

Some expensive shopping place in the casino

Met up with cousin Ling and she drove me around the city at night and bought me to Mustafa centre, a 24 hours mall which has a good variety of products.

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Mar 06 2010

Singapore Day 2

A typical HDB flat, behind is the highest HDB flat, the 50 storeys Duxton.

Walked to Red Dot Design Museum.

Dog drawing competition

Award winning utensils and Tupperwares with ergonomic design.

Self standing umbrella, how useful is that.

Just right across is URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) office. On the second floor there is a city gallery which shows how Singapore has developed over the past years as well as showing how the urban planning was done.

Singapore is divided into few districts such as West, North, North East and Central.

Model of the Central district.

Model of Singapore Island.

Singapore has the 2nd highest density of population after Monaco. The population has grown almost 20% for the past 5 years. Even though the land size of Singapore has grown from 580sqkm to 710 sqkm now by landfilling, Singapore is still a more crowded place than before.

Singapore is a well planned city and is runned like a private enterprise with a Concept Plan which is to guide development in the next 40-50 years and is reviewed every 10 years. While the Master Plan is used to guide development for the medium term in the next 10-15 years.

Singapore’s Master Plan 2008
Map

Challenges for the expanding Singapore, the country needs land for water catchment needs, there is a limit to building higher buildings because of height restrictions around airport areas and need more land for self defenses training. Singapore air forces do their practical in training base overseas because the country air field is too limited.

The solution is to build cities underground in the future. 50 meters below ground is the sewage system so the underground city will be just above it.

A bird eye view of the business district

It’s quite educational visiting the URA office.

Not far away is Chinatown


Took bus 80 from Chinatown to Kowan towards the North East directions passing by the city.

Took the metro back to Little India. Indian Food (SD$4)

Visited Geyland which is famous for food and also a legal place for prostitution in Singapore. Then met up with a friend and visited Club Attica (SD$28 including 2 drinks) at Clark Quey area.

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Mar 05 2010

Singapore

Met Chim in the morning in the new Merrill Lynch office at Harbour front area. Chim is a great guy and gave me some helpful info.

Visited a friend’s landscape designing office. Designers do have to dress well even at work.

Singapore is a pretty clean and well planned city

Raffles place which is also the financial district

Had lunch with Jason and his friends at Raffles area. It’s pretty crowded because it’s lunch hour, noticed that tissue is a necessity to get a seat during lunch time because Singaporeans use tissue to claim their seats.

Raffles area

The new marina bay still under construction.

The Esplanade, opera house.

Got a day pass for public transportation (SD$8 a day).
Took bus 678 to YinChu which is the last stop then got on bus 171 to Orchard road.

Ion, a new mall at Orchard road.

No durian in the metro.

Nightview of Chinatown

Had dinner with KuoWen and then dropped by his friend place for a visit.

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Mar 04 2010

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Singapore

After spending slightly more than 2 weeks in Malaysia celebrating Chinese New Year with friends/relatives and doing some errands such as getting a new passport/applying for visas, it’s time to get back to the travel mode again.

Felt a little lazy after having a stable life for the past 2.5 weeks. Spent the past 3 days in Kuala Lumpur, getting back my new passport (RM300~USD$88) with a multiple entry Chinese visas (RM148~USD$44), US visa (RM492~USD$145), finally got on the 3pm Aeroline bus from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore (USD$79~USD$23, 5.5 hours bus ride). There are other buses to Singapore which is cheaper but got on theAeroline bus since it’s just across MCA building in KL city center and is more convenient for me.

Arrived at Singapore at 8.30pm. Today Singapore has a population of around 5 million but the city just had 3 million people 20 years ago. The government policy has been immigrant friendly to attract talented professionals to the workforce.

Singapore is a city state and the island is just around 700 square kilometers. The city is 45km from West to East and 25km north to south.

Singapore merged with Malaya in 1963 to become Malaysia but was explused from Malaysia in 1965 to become an Independent country because of disputes between Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party and Malaysia government then. Singapore is considered as the only country in the world that gained independence unwillingly.

Because of the competent government of the country, even without much natural resources, the country has been growing on a sustainable path and become the richest country in South East Asia. An example is to compare Singapore dollar to Malaysian ringgit which is exchangeable
at par until 1973 but today 1 Singapore dollar ~ 2.4 Malaysian Ringgit.
Since the country doesn’t have much natural resources, the country economy needs to diversify into different areas in manufacturing, services, biomedical, tourism and is also one of the biggest port in the world.

Singapore is considered a democratic country but with a strong government controlled by PAP party. Even though there is election but the PAP has been in power since independence and controlled around 90% of the parliment seats since independence.

Arrived at Harbour Front in Singapore at 8.30pm. Took the metro to Tanjung Pagar area and crashed at Jason’s place.

Inside the metro, I heard not only Singlish but also noticed that Singapore has a lot of immigrants from China, India and South East Asian countries from the way the people speak. There are also quite a lot of expatriates and tourists as well. Read that there were 10 million tourist visiting Singapore in 2007, twice the number of the country population.

Met up Sunny whom I have not seen for a while for dinner at Bugis area.

Had hotpot buffett for dinner, SD$20 per pax.

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