Date: 5 November 2009 to 9 November 2009
Where I’ve Been: Surat Thani, Thailand and Singapore
Where I’ve Stayed: Grand Thara in Surat Thani and Sleepy Sams B&B in Singapore
So my couple of days in Singapore have actually been quite a nice way to wind down after a couple of weeks of excess. It has also been nice to be somewhere clean, calm and organised. One shock to the system though has been the prices – I think I’ve spent more in three days than I did in my previous two weeks in Thailand!
LOST IN SURAT THANI
My ferry back from Ko Pha Ngan to the mainland was fairly straightforward and certainly nowhere near as bad as I had heard the journey was the previous day. I had decided to treat myself to a little luxury and fork out £11 to stay in a nice hotel in Surat Thani. Owing to the fact Surat Thani is not at all touristy, in fact I didn’t see any other Westerners in the town during my time there, the prices are quite a bit cheaper.
However this did have its downsides as I found out after wandering around the town centre trying to find my hotel. I had the address and a scribbled map, but I couldn’t find it! After 30minutes of doing this in 30 degree heat, with a 17kg backpack on I cut my losses and decided to get a tuk-tuk.
Problem was the tuk-tuk drivers didn’t really speak English, I showed them the address of the hotel but all I got was shakes of the head and a vague expression of ‘I don’t know where that is’ and being told it would cost 250baht (about £5, which is a lot in Thailand) to find it. I wandered around a bit longer to no avail and decided to relent and use one of the tuk tuk drivers who said he had no idea where the hotel was, but would try to find it for 250 baht.
I sat in the tuk-tuk, we went down to the end of the road, turned right, proceeded about 50 metres up the adjacent road and there, hidden down an alleyway, was the entrance to the Grand Thara Hotel. All of 30 seconds journey away! I had to hand it to the tuk-tuk drivers, for making a little extra money out of an unsuspecting backpacker!
Anyway the Hotel ticked all the boxes – hot water, flushing toilet, big comfy room and a nice restaurant and it was a nice place to rest after the past few days living in fairly basic accommodation.
WE’RE GOING TO THE ZOO, ZOO, ZOO
The following day emphasised how far I have progressed from someone who had never got a flight alone up until six weeks ago. I got a taxi from the hotel to the bus station, the 1.30pm bus to Surat Thani Airport, the 4.05pm flight to Bangkok and then the 9.20pm flight to Singapore. I eventually arrived in Singapore, at my B&B – Sleepy Sams – at about 2am and went straight to bed.
On Saturday I explored Singapore. It is amazingly clean and really well laid out. I had to go to the Post Office to pick up a few things my dad had sent over and I found it without a problem at all – thanks in no small part the MRT (their version of the tube) which is incredibly efficient and easy to use. I also walked down to the Quay which is packed full of swanky restaurants and bars and a lovely place to relax (although I didn’t want to pay £7 a pint so just had a coke!).
I spent yesterday at Singapore Zoo, which was great. It took me literally a whole day to wander round, which in the heat is quite sapping but well worth it considering it only cost around £15. There were so many animals and they all seemed so well looked after and the staff really care about them. In keeping with the city it is easy to navigate round and everything well laid out and explained – I’d recommend it 100%.
Today was the last day of my mini stay in Singapore and for some reason I decided to spend it wandering around Orchard Road. Orchard Road is a 2km shopping area that claims to be Asia’s most famous shopping street. I don’t really know why I came here, considering I don’t like shopping at the best of times, but I suppose it was quite interesting to see everything it had to offer and the extortionate prices people will pay for seemingly ordinary stuff. Just a few months ago it had been subject to a $40million revamp and I have to admit it was looking pretty swish.
Anyway I am now back in the lovely Changi Airport waiting for my flight to Kuta, Bali to catch up with some traveling friends. Singapore has been nice, but I all looking forward to cheaper prices I must say!