Okay, so I’ve covered everything until the 12th, so now it’s time to write about Singapore from the 13th of April.
Having had a very busy day on the 12th, I decided I wanted a very lazy, relaxing morning on the 13th. We didn’t end up getting to the city until after 12pm, having eaten a wife biscuit (for me), husband biscuit (for Jeremy), a very peculiar bun with red stuff on the inside, and curry puffs for breakfast/brunch at 11am. This was also the first day we brought the video camera out, as we were planning on going to Sentosa Island. We didn’t make it there until 2:30pm due to bus timetabling, so we looked around Clarke Quay for a little while and took some nice photos there. Unfortunately all were lost, but I’ll get to that soon.
Sentosa Island was way too touristy. You had to pay for just about everything, so we got our SIA discount to go on the skytower – where I did film some stuff – and then went on the Dragon Trail walking tour. We got to see a Monitor Lizard in the wild here, which was pretty cool. The beach also looked very lovely, though we didn’t take our bathers and were very aware of having to get the 5:45pm bus back to Clarke Quay.
Once back in the city, we took an incredibly long trip to the Night Safari, which is a nighttime look at nocturnal animals, and separate from Singapore Zoo. I thought it was hardly worth spending $20 without doing the tram for the extra $8, so we did that as well. Most of the animals were visible, but we saw them more active on the walking Fishing Cat tour. The Fishing Cats were adorable, and I even got to see one jump into the water. The Otters were also very noisy on our first walk-through, but had been fed on our way back.
Sometime in between leaving the zoo and jumping into a taxi at Ang Mo Kio, Jeremy lost his phone – including all the photos we had taken during the day. He thinks it was on the bus. We didn’t get back to the hotel until midnight, though, and by then the bus stations were all closed and could not be contacted. It was a very stressful evening once we had discovered this catastrophe. I tried to make Jeremy feel better, but what can you do when your husband loses one of his most valuable technological items. I was more concerned about losing all the photos than anything else. The phone was uninsured, but you can replace it all with enough money anyway and that should not be an issue.
So we spent the whole morning of the 14th trying to retrieve the phone by calling several SBS Transit numbers. Given the public holiday, the first number didn’t work. We didn’t have a pen to write down other numbers, so that meant we ended up going back to our hotel to look up the Lost and Found number. That seemed to be right, and we’ve left a message with them, but things don’t look too promising since they haven’t called our hotel yet. We’ve done pretty much all we can hope to do.
For breakfast, I tried Rojak. I couldn’t eat it all. Some of it was nice, but some of it was a bit much for me. So I filled myself up with the rest of my Teh Tarik.
After breakfast, we went to use an Internet cafe so Jeremy could notify Vodafone that his SIM needed to be blocked. It was pretty cheap – $1 for one hour. Considering we walked past some that were charging $4, I think we did really well.
We ended up in the city just before noon, and decided to get off near Suntec. We headed over to Shaw Tower first thing to see if we could purchase some tickets to see some movies at the Singapore International Film Festival. Luckily, we could. So we purchased tickets to two films, then went off to Suntec City. That is one HUGE shopping centre. And it attaches to the City Walk Mall and Raffles City, which we also walked through. We didn’t really have a choice – we couldn’t go outside because it was raining down quite heavily. The shops were all really crowded by 1pm as well, presumably because of the weather and it being a public holiday.
We had lunch in City Walk and Raffles. We bought our food from a bakery – I can’t remember the name of it but it was quite nice. And our drinks were from a supermarket – sour sop juice in a can for Jeremy, and guava juice in a can for me – 60 cents each. I am still amazed at how cheap everything seems to be for us here. Especially the taxis and public transport!
We were going to try and get back down to Funan, but the crowds, weather, and the difficulty in navigation through Suntec, meant that it just wasn’t to be. Jeremy wanted to buy a new mobile phone/PDA/camera to replace the one he lost – or at least ask about one he saw advertised, he told me. He found it in Suntec City Harvey Norman, though. I could tell he really wanted it but it was $699 and I could just think of how much money we had – and especially when he only just bought the other one – plus a 2GB card. All that money down the drain. I just hope he listens to me about insurance next time because if he loses this one, he’s not getting another one. Insurance would’ve cost probably just $25. Jeremy was arguing that I better not lose my camera and stuff as well – but that doesn’t bother me so much because I did insure it and the insurance company will replace it for nothing. Anyway, I didn’t let him get the new phone right away. It made me cry thinking about getting it.
So we went to see our first film, a film from Thailand called Promise Me Not. It had three parts to the film, and each section had different directors. It was about a guy who had made a promise in a past life to someone he loved, and how it affected his successive lives. I quite enjoyed it. It was also the world premiere for the film. I would recommend seeing it if you get the chance, but given that it’s only just screened here at a film festival, it will probably take a while.
It was after this film that I took Jeremy back to Suntec to buy his phone (partly because he bought me a film festival shirt and I’m aware of how much he does do for me, and how little he asks of me in return). I would’ve preferred to buy a 6.0 Megapixel digital camera for $399, but there’s not much chance we could do both. The camera on his new phone isn’t as good as his old one, either. Oh well. Just as long as we go back to Clarke Quay to replace our old photos.
We then went to the Singapore Art Museum because it’s free entry on Friday nights. There’s some pretty amazing stuff there.
Dinner this evening was at (we think Japanese) fast food chain Mos Burger, where we tried some interesting and different burgers that you just won’t see in Western fast food chains. Our soft drink was apple flavoured, as we had never seen it elsewhere.
After dinner, we went to see Indian film Nine Emotions, which was about eunuchs, through the eyes of a 13 year old girl. It seemed like part film, part documentary, and the first part of the story didn’t feel like it related so much to the rest of the story, but I still thought it was worth seeing.
Saturday the 15th of April was spent revisiting parts of Singapore that we lost photos for, and buying a 6.0 Megapixel camera for $400. It was a bit hard to resist the price, especially when it came with a bunch of other extras. Jeremy was hesitant at first, but we figured out what a good deal it was, and were able to take better photos on it than we had with his new phone camera.
Breakfast was Mutton Murtabak and Roti Prata, and we didn’t really eat lunch, though I tried Honey Dew Melon juice (which was actually Rock Melon Juice) and Jeremy had a blueberry flavoured ice drink.
In the afternoon, Jeremy and I took a bus over to Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Mainly just so I could say I’ve been to another country. Here we had Goreng Pisang (fried banana), which was quite nice, surprisingly, and Nasi Katang (or something like that), Ayam Goreng, and Nasi Goreng Ayam.
We managed to get a few photos in before a huge storm hit and I didn’t want to walk in it as the umbrella was left in our hotel. I even took a photo of the menacing looking clouds.
So, stuck in a shopping centre, Jeremy and I found a fair number of pirated DVD stores that I couldn’t believe – so we didn’t go to them. But we also went to a legit store and found a couple of anime series DVDs – Ghost in the Shell series 2 and Neon Genesis Evangelion – that were cheaper than they were in Singapore, and therefore Jeremy couldn’t resist. We picked up both series for about AU$40. We’ll check once we get out visa bill…
We headed back to Singapore in the evening, where Jeremy gave me a very nice foot massage because my feet were in much pain.
The 16th of April was spent packing everything into the same amount of bags we started with, and we only had enough time for that before we had to check out and catch the bus to the airport. It wasn’t until arriving at the airport that we realised we were booked in on Silk Air instead of Singapore Airlines (which is actually both, so I’m a bit frustrated because I couldn’t get the mileage for my frequent flyer programme). Oh well. At least we managed to get our GST refunds for the phone and camera.
Our flight to Phuket was only an hour and a half, and then it took us a bit of time to get to our hotel, but when we did – boy did I think we reached paradise! We’re situated at the Novotel Phuket on Patong Beach – and it is really close to the beach. I walked around the hotel just to take so many photos so I can show off how amazing it is. I couldn’t believe my eyes – it’s probably the best hotel complex I’ve ever stayed in.
For dinner, we ate at the hotel’s Thai restaurant, because we received 50% discount on food, and 15% discount on drinks, all up costing us about AU$16.50. Not bad for a cocktail (Banana Rama), mocktail, two main meals (Pad Thai and Sauteed Noodles), and dessert for Jeremy, considering the restaurant. We were even sitting on the floor with bare feet, so that was really cool.
April the 17th was a bit more relaxing as we just wandered around Patong Beach, looking through all the stalls and everything, trying to avoid the Thais that were desperately trying to sell us things. I taught Jeremy how to bargain (which was more because I was unsure if I wanted something, rather than because I knew how to bargain myself). We picked up some clothing for decent prices, though we probably could’ve got them less if we tried. I got some nice pants for the temperature and weather her for a third of the price originally being asked.
We came back to our hotel after and I had a nap, then we went for a swim in each of the three pools at the hotel.
In the evening, we headed off again into Patong town where we tried Thai waffles on a stick – one with potato inside, and one with banana. They were both very nice. I think from now on I’m just going to list the food highlights – or anything that’s particularly different from anything I’ve had before, as I’ve been eating a bit of fried rice and so forth and it’s all very similar.
We looked around at a bunch of copy-artists who were quite talented, thinking maybe it might be nice to pick something up to take home with us for our new home. But we didn’t find anything we liked for a price we wanted to pay.
One thing that people do in Phuket is get suits tailor made for them for very decent prices. So Jeremy went in to one tailor and he came out fully measured for a tuxedo. I’m very much looking forward to seeing him dressed in it.
Dinner was in a pub, but not for Aussie pub prices, oh no! It was very cheap indeed. I had a strawberry shake with proper syrup, as opposed to the kind they use at Burger King and so on, and our dessert was a banana and chocolate pizza. As weird as that sounds, it was really quite nice!
We got up at the early hour of 6:30am on the 18th so I had enough time to get ready before our bus picked us up to take us to Phi Phi Island. We were supposed to have 45 minutes snorkeling at Maya Bay but it was cut short because some guy smashed his head up good (and we didn’t realise until we got back to Phi Phi Don Island that this was the case). The snorkeling was amazing for the time we were out there for, though. We saw lots of brightly coloured fish swimming really closely to us.
We had lunch as soon as we arrived on Phi Phi Don Island, which was a seafood buffet. The first thing I thought as soon as I saw all the food was how much my siblings-in-law would hate it. I’m so lucky to know my new family as well as I do already, I think.
After lunch, we had free time to explore the island. We wandered about for a while, and then went for a swim in the water where it wasn’t so crowded with tourists. I was very concerned about having anything stolen. It was very interesting wandering around for two reasons – 1. You can see the effect the tsunami had on the island, both in debris/rubble/rebuilding wise, and sign postings warning what to do in case of a tsunami and 2. It was actually quite disgusting to see how much rubbish was on the beach and around the place.
We headed back to the boat for 2:20pm, where then they took us around Phi Phi Ley island so we could admire the sights, before bringing us back to our hotel.
Once back home, Jeremy ran a bath for us, and then we played some games before heading out for dinner and Jeremy’s first tux fitting. Before dinner, we found an artist who was able to make something we would like (not copied from someone else’s work) for a nice price, just for us. And after Jeremy’s fitting, we thought maybe I could do with a business suit myself. I wasn’t so keen on the initial price of 7800 Baht (nearly AU$300) for a jacket, skirt, pants and blouse, so eventually we got them down to 5000 Baht (about AU$180) for the lot minus the blouse. So if anyone’s in Phuket and wants a custom made suit, we recommend Shanghai Fashion House.
We decided to do things at our own pace on the 19th, so we didn’t head out for breakfast until 10am. At around 11am, we caught a Tuk Tuk to a shopping centre, which wasn’t really very interesting, so we got a taxi to Phuket town where we wandered around for a few hours before heading back to Patong Beach on a bus that cost us a fraction of the price it cost us to get to town. We wandered around a little more before I went to my first suit fitting. Then we came back to our hotel to book our tour for the next day, and wait for our bus to see FantaSea.
Boy was FantaSea an amazing show! Before the show started, it was like a themepark at night, but without the incredibly inflated prices. We had dinner here for reasonable prices, though not as cheap as we could get it in Patong. My sister would have been really jealous of the us seeing the show because she loves elephants – and the show had a cast of 30 elephants according to the brochure. I counted 17 on stage at the same time at one point, which is pretty amazing. The colours were fantastic, and most of the show didn’t have any dialogue so it could be enjoyed by anyone of any language. After the show, we got a photo taken with an elephant with my new camera, which is cool because they were charging people before the show to have other cameras take them because they weren’t allowed their own cameras during the show.
It was pretty late when we got back to the hotel, so we went straight to bed, in order to wake up early enough for our tour the next day.
We began our Beautiful Morning Tour at 8:30am on the 20th of April as the only two people on the entire tour. This had Jeremy wondering if we were picked up by dodgy tour guides, as mentioned in the brochure, because the van and uniforms were different. We were still unsure by the end of the day as the license plate on the van we were in was exactly the same as the van in the brochure. I personally wasn’t fussed if they were dodgy or not, because it still meant we got to do the tour by ourselves, and we still got to do what we wanted to do most on the tour, even if there were some changes to the program.
Anyway, the tour began by taking us down the west coast of Phuket Island to see all the beautiful beaches, and included three hill stops where we could take photos and video.
Our next stop was for a fifteen minute elephant ride, which was a very bumpy ride indeed. They took a photo of us along the way, which we inevitably bought for 250 Baht, because how else are we going to get a photo like that? Next door we then saw a monkey show, where they had some monkeys doing lots of tricks. There weren’t too many people in the audience, so we got a fair bit of attention. And my watch was thrown into the pool where a monkey had to retrieve it for me. Luckily we figured out it was really water resistant when I didn’t want to take it off at the beach in Phi Phi and we went swimming with it.
Our next stop on the tour was “Thai handicrafts” which was, instead of the silk weaving as was mentioned in the brochure, a look at Thais making jewellery, plus a visit to the showroom where we could buy some jewellery. Admittedly the prices were a bargain compared to Australia, so Jeremy bought me a blue topaz (my birthstone) ring set in white gold for less than the price of my wedding ring. It even came with a certificate of authenticity.
We then got a free drink for morning tea, before we moved onto something that wasn’t in the program – a visit to Chalong Temple. It was pretty good, and we actually went inside 3 different temples while we were there.
Then we went for a buffet lunch at a completely different venue than was listed on the brochure, but still a very nice place, and we even didn’t have to pay for our drinks. It was here that I realised that the buffet lunch we had on our last tour has made me go completely off seafood, at least for a while. I think the only seafood I could eat now is seafood bought from a fish and chip shop in Australia. I’ve turned into Jeremy’s brother and sister – how can this be?
After lunch, we went to a cashew nut factory and saw where cashews came from, and how they were extracted in Thailand. They’re all pretty much hand removed by people using a metal chopping thing. We got to taste some cashews here and boy were they tasty. I’m normally not a cashew fan, but these were so delicious. We were very tempted to buy some, but we thought Australian customs wouldn’t allow us to bring them back into the country, so we didn’t.
Our last stop on the tour was to Old Phuket Town, where we got to see some Sino-Portugese architecture. We arrived back at our hotel at around 2:30pm. I needed another nap. I think it’s the humidity here that does it to me.
After my nap, we went back to our tailor again for another fitting. Jeremy’s tuxedo shirt needed to be taken in a little, but the rest of it was amazing. You should see it – he looks very sexy. I also tried on my suit jacket and pants. It’s looking pretty good, but it needs to be taken in a little more again. We figure they should be ready to be picked up the next time we go for the fitting.
On the way to checking up on our painting, we bought the last of our gifts for people, and used the Internet for an hour. We got to talk to Jeremy’s parents while we were online and also to find out about our kitchen – which seems to be in desperate need of our attention because we have to change our cooktop (it has to be gas, and we got an electric one) and microwave (our microwave is too big). But apart from that, apparently it looks quite good. I’m looking forward to seeing it when we get back. We also got to talk to Matthew Turnbull and Matthew Malcolm while we were online.
When we went to check on our painting, it wasn’t finished yet, so we decided to order a frame for it while we were there. We did get to see how it was going, though, and it’s looking pretty good. We’ll pick it up on the 21st instead.
At the end of our day, we went back to our hotel to have a Mexican buffet for dinner. Yes, we are aware that it was a silly thing to have two buffets in one day, but Mexican is one of our favourite types of food so we could hardly resist. We still managed to scoff a lot down, we I think we’ll be fasting tomorrow.
We haven’t really got any plans for the rest of our holiday in Phuket now so we’re hoping to just relax for the next two days.
We got up at the lazy hour of 10am on the 21st to discover it was raining, so we’re glad we didn’t have any major plans today. It’s only rained one other time since we’ve been in Phuket, and that was one evening as we were walking back to our hotel.
After watching some special features on our Serenity DVD, we inevitably headed out to Patong Beach for a swim in the ocean – for the first time since we’ve been here. We had fun trying to body surf for a while, but when our fingers started to wrinkle, we headed back to the hotel for a quick swim in the pool.
Later on, we tried a banana pancake (at 4pm – our first bit of food for the day) and then went back to our tailor to try on our clothes once more, which were perfect, so we paid the remainder and took them home with us. On the way back, we also picked up our painting, which looked really quite good.
After dropping off our new belongings, we headed out to a local restaurant where we ate rice curry with cashew nuts and chicken, served in a pineapple. Apparently it’s a Thai dish, though I hadn’t seen it on a menu elsewhere. It was a small restaurant, but it really started to pack out just as we were being served. It was unbelievable – I wondered if maybe the restaurant had been recommended in a guidebook or something. Anyway, the dish was quite spectacular, and really one of a kind.
At the end of the day, we finally got around to watching our Serenity DVD – the movie part – considering we brought it especially. It was a wedding present from our Arena friends.
When we got up in the morning on the 22nd of April, we didn’t really feel like doing too much. We spent most of the day in our hotel just so we wouldn’t spend any more money, and whilst doing so we finished watching the Serenity special features, and I’m pretty sure I saw my friend Leish in the audience of the Australian Q&A session.
Eventually we ventured out for lunch, but we only got as far as the coffee house at our hotel because we thought they had a reasonably cheap buffet. It turned out to be almost an extra 100 Baht (AU$4). Later on, we went back out to buy Jeremy some cheap cufflinks from our tailor man, and I also finally did some filming around the grounds of our hotel. Dinner consisted entirely of our interesting Thai waffle food, just one each for a total of 25 Baht (just under AU$1). We weren’t too hungry after our buffet dinner.
Also during the day, we booked our taxi to the airport, as we realised we had to be at the airport as early as 8:15am. We’ll still have most of the day in Singapore, because we arrive there at around 12:30pm, and don’t leave until after 6pm. Maybe we’ll catch that Japanese movie we wanted to see.
Anyway, this is the last thing I’m going to write about my honeymoon, since it’s pretty much over now. I’m just looking forward to settling into our new home in Wembley.