Singapore On A Shoe-String

I needed a break from all the shit I’m facing online and offline, so I took off to sunny Singapore over the Gawai holidays.

I make it no secret that I enjoy Singapore (much to the dislike of my own countrymen). There’s not a single time I left the garden city feeling that I’ve seen or done enough, because there’s always new things popping up and old friends to catch up with.

The only thing holding me back from visiting more frequently is the relatively high costs of accomodation. Think about it, one night in a cheap 3-star budget hotel like Hotel 81 costs about as much as luxurious 5-star hotel like Renaissance in KL.

A couple of kind souls have offered to put up their place for me to stay. I’m happy to accept, except I have a distinct fear of being photographed in my Daffy Duck red underwear and have that photo circulated all round the Internet.
Add to that the increasing costs of living and the rising Singaporean Dollar against Ringgit (last time it was 1SGD=2.20MYR; now it’s 1GD=2.33MYR), a man can’t travel anymore without scraping food off the floor.

This trip though, I managed to do away with a few unwanted luxuries and save up on some cash.
Less money spent on travels = More shopping budget = More money spent on booze = Happy Kenny.

The cheapest way to get from Kuching to Singapore is to first stop at Johor Bahru then grab a coach down. I paid RM330 for my travel, whereas a direct flight from Kuching to Singapore would set me back around RM800.
There’s a bit of madness at the causeway where you have to alight at the JB checkpoint, stamp through, board the coach, drive down to THE OTHER END of the bridge, alight at the Singapore checkpoint, stamp through and then board the coach again.

It’s so stupid I can’t even begin to describe it. Why can’t they just build two immigration checkpoints side-by-side at just one end of the bridge?

If someone copies my idea, remember you seen it first on kennysia.com

It’s a BRIDGE. People from Malaysia are only going to go through to Singapore and vice versa. It’s not like someone is gonna check through at JB, jump off the causeway then swim off to Indonesia or something. Why make life difficult?

Anyway, while in Singapore I stayed at One Florence Close in Kovan. It’s a backpackers hostel instead of a hotel I’m used to.
I figured it’s such a waste staying at hotels, budget or not, considering I’m out most of the time and I won’t be using whatever facilities like gym or swimming pool they’re providing. Besides, I don’t bring people back into my room so I have no one to impress.

A lot of people have this misconception that backpackers hostels are like garbage dumps. It’s not true. I’m mighty impressed by a lot of the hostels I’ve stayed at because not only are they so much cheaper, they’re cleaner and more personal than the average budget hotels.
I paid SGD55 a night, a bargain compared to Hotel 81 Chinatown’s SGD95 a night.

The rooms are a bit small and I do have to give up on the luxury of having my own ensuite bathroom, but everything about this hostel is cheery and happifying. At least their sheets are clean and pillows comfy. And I love their funky shower head so much I want to pull it off their walls and install it into my own home.

If there are any complaints I have (since it’s a crime to give glowing reviews to something you like so much), it’d be that the owners have the tendency to use the “equal close-bracket” smiley face a wee bit too liberally.
A little bit is cute. A little bit too much is annoying. But One Florence Close took it to a whole new level.

Everywhere I go, I see =) until even when I’m down I also =) because all I can think of is =) and =) is the only thing I can think of. =)
Flights: RM330
Hostel: RM253 (2 nights)
Food: RM100
Nightlife: RM100
SIM Card: RM18
Misc: RM73
Total Damage: RM874

I want to go back there again.


Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have given birth to a new born baby called Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. Goodness. That sounds like some kinda vague Hokkien swear words combo. “Oi! Ta Ma De Shiloh Nouvel Jolie Pitt!” Whatever happened to good ol’ names like John or Carol?

103 Replies to “Singapore On A Shoe-String”

  1. You seem like really like Singapore a lot =) Anyway, I still didnt have the chance to step my foot there and if next time I have really been there, I will share my experience with you ya

  2. the hostel =) looks nice! =) +affordable.. =) i like the bedsheet =)
    din’t visit the singapore bird park, zoo, night safari, science center? hehe.

  3. yeah the customs checkpoints are really dem mahfan… here’s my favourite “singapore on a shoe-string” (applicable only ex-KL tho). Take the KTM night train down to Singapore, arrive early in the morning, spend the whole day walking around town, catch 10.30pm train back to KL, arrive in KL early next morning. Only RM80 on those 2nd class bunks. Something I perfected as a student 🙂 cheers!

  4. Sg not so bad la……..
    Each time I go up to Hong Kong and visit my love, its 1.5k SGD for less than a week.
    It makes me feel better when I convert it to AUD 🙂
    Hey, since you are quite popular can’t you put up at some friend’s place in sg?
    You wear funny underwear!
    I wonder wats the fuss abt Singapore, I am just dying to get out.

  5. Maybe one of the reasons they can’t put only one check point is because m’sia and singapore will gaduh to see where the check point would be located =)

  6. from a traveller’s point of view, erm… SGD55 per night ain’t hardly “singapore on a shoestring”; there are great hostels around like The InnCrowd Hostel, much cheaper!

  7. who u bluffing man!
    RM 100 for BOOZE?! i tot u drank like a whale tat night at walas and i dont believe u ate so little!

  8. hmmm… you bet that Shiloh’s a weird name.. but daym you can also bet that she’d be one hell of a beautiful person

  9. it seems tht u hv fun in sg…te last time i went to sg..it was very fun and enjoying trip :)..until now i still miss sg!

  10. great 2 knw tat u enjoyed being in Singapore. Hmm u travelled by which airline? 330 is kinda exp… Hmm lodging is another chunk of ur expense. Maybe putting up @ kind souls cum friends hse will save u much more. Well well, 1 trick I can teach u, buy singapore currency when it is lower, keep them.. den u wun have to pay thru ur nose like nw.. hehe..

  11. Flights: RM330
    Hostel: RM253 (2 nights)
    Food: RM100
    Nightlife: RM100
    SIM Card: RM18
    Misc: RM73
    Getting shagged by Singaporean chick: Priceless
    Total Damage: -infinity

  12. oh my god, the world is so small. that’s my good friend in the last photo – the one in blue. so now we are 2 degrees apart!

  13. zOMG you payed 55SGD for a night at a backpackers?! thats expensive =/
    how much exactly does 10AUD translate into SGD? because thats how much the backpackers cost here.
    but glad to hear you enjoyed yourself =)

  14. flying airasia from kuching to senai airport then coach it down to sg…. is that what u did?
    stopping at jb is definitely the better option, don’t know about the custom bit, it’s a bit of a wait and u r right, putting them both together is a great idea!

  15. Haha, nice paint draw you have there Kenny, especially the second one. =)Too bad you’ve forgotten to add some grass below the Checkpoint building…

  16. I also love singapore so much~ hahaz…..
    the country is so clean and refreshing~
    i love it!
    i wonder when malaysia can be like that….
    haizzz

  17. RM874?! Da-yumm.. that’s still cheap! I usually need RM1000-1100 when I go to S’pore. Bearing in mind I go via JB and stay with relatives. Ack~ Need to re-look at my spending. ^^;;;

  18. Kenny : “Why can’t they just build two immigration checkpoints side-by-side at just one end of the bridge? ”
    Reason from Goverment department: ~~
    1. Boundary issue 🙂
    2. Traffic Flow Issue (although the flow always bad)
    3. Country Pride issue
    4. Chance to bulid more bridge issue
    5. Increase petrol consumption issue (petronas make more money)
    6. Non of the above stated really consider an issue
    What can you do?!
    Cheers,
    Jerry Ong

  19. U bluffing!!!!…I dun believe u spent so little. I have been staying in sg for so long..u re super liar!!..U drank so little meh?! u must have korek some of those aunties pocket money to spent u drinks le? like the one besides u in blue shirt…u naughty naughty little fat boy! Whahahaha!

  20. Hotel 81 at Chinatown is $95.
    Hotel 81 at GEYLANG is only $49. Plus it’s a hell lot more interesting!

  21. I love Singapore too. Super clean, super bright and super convenient to go everywhere. Hate the jam on the causeway though, though we’re better off than the bikes and buses as we go by car there.

  22. I like Singapore too 🙂 And I LOVE backpacking, I’d rather share showers and a fridge, and be in an atmosphere where backpackers sit outside together at night for a smoke and coffee, talk about the cool places to go, funny stories, get to know each other (it’s one of the rare times I’m social), where the best tattoo parlours are, share beer, discuss issues, discover music.
    Fuck, i love backpacking. will rather do that anytime than go home and stay in some stupid aircond room watching tv till i go to sleep.

  23. I miss Singapore a lot too. Of course it’s easier for you to ride a basi for a few hours to get there as opposed to a 17 hour flight (with connection!).
    In fact, I like it there for many of the same reasons you prob do. As evidenced in your last photo. Also dig the food there too!
    I’m usually in a pinch regarding cheap crash pads too. My fave place is the Inn Crowd in Little India. http://www.the-inncrowd.com/.
    They’re mostly dorm beds (but kanna beat that price, S$18/night), it’s clean and safe, cheap Tiger on tap and they do have one private room for S$48/night.
    Am always on the prowl for new cheap places to crash..but was Florence Close kinda far from most things? OTW, looks nice. Did it have the “hostel atmosphere”?

  24. Taking a break is bloody rite, and doing it in singapore makes it twice more fun. Damn, trust me singaporeans do not noe what they have install for them… i have been and lived in 5 countries all my life, but everytime i get back to singapore from states, i could not agree more with u kenny, i find it tough trying to leave the country….and YES the women are delicious and standards has certainly improved in the last 10yrs. Besides, what could be hotter than asian chicks, when u are hungry, one could choose from the hot laksa or the hot babe for dinner….either one would feel my appetite…..
    Rock on bro…..

  25. Actually, my lecturer at UM mentioned about the common customs checkpoint some months ago. Just so you know. It is a good idea though.

  26. “…drive down to THE OTHER END of the bridge..”
    Kenny, it’s the CAUSEWAY! not bridge. The bridge doesn’t exist, never materialized, thank goodness. The ‘other’ bridge is the Second Link leading to Tuas in Singapore.
    Anyway, teach me how to only spend RM100 on nightlife in Singapore. I can hardly get by with that amount in a JB pub.

  27. Well, on the boundry issue…we are MALAYSIA BOLEH. Thats why we scrapped the bridge etc.
    Now (today) we blame our DR M for being nyanyok just because we fail in taking our country to greater heights….the easiest way is to blame it on past premier who did it !
    MALAYSIA BOLEH

  28. Shiloh is famous as the name of an American Civil War battle. And Nouvel looks like a version of Nouvellle – New – from the French.

  29. the country’s really that goooooooood? believe me, what u’ve seen and done is all that u need ‘cos every place and everyone is much the same. i was there for 4 years, which was too long!

  30. the country’s really that goooooooood? believe me, what u’ve seen and done is all that u need ‘cos every place and everyone is much the same. i was there for 4 years, which was too long!

  31. I read actual emails (work related at that), where a person punctuates his sentences with smileys 🙂 And its the same every email 🙂 So you know every emotion 🙂 whether they were feeling cheeky :-p or sad 🙁 when they wrote that email 🙂
    ARGH! :-(((((

  32. lol kenny, thanks for the info about the backpackers. i was a little… shock. the last time i was home (about 2 yrs or more ago) kovan mrt wasn’t even open.
    suddenly got backpackers O.o

  33. I’m sure if you looked hard enough at your drawing you will realise the need for two separate check points.

  34. Most Malaysians are charmed by the efficiency of Singaporean and the no-nonsense approach to business. Yes I am proud when I hear praise heaped upon the Singaporean but the truth is that it is a pressure cocker for those who live here and most of the professional people in Singapore are planning to leave the country for good especially to Western Australian where their offsprings don’t have to suffer the force-feeding methods of teaching and the Kiansu mentality. I am leaving the country at the end of this year to Canada, good bye Singapore nice to know you but I just have to love you and leave you for my SANITY!

  35. of course not la…y dun u ask the malaysia to build an immigration check point at every country? immigration check points of course on ur own ‘turf’ la…last time after hong kong was returned to china there is still immigration check point at both hong kong n shengzhen when i took the coach…now i duno la…

  36. so, M’sia should build an immigration check point in what limited land that SG already has? Honestlty really, there are reasons why there’s two separate ones. Go figure.
    As much as you want to say that this is a personal blog, with the advertisements and what nots… hmm, kinda contradicting isn’t it?
    As much as people want to twist and deny, the internet IS a form a mass media. When you have an audience, what you say matters.

  37. Jimmy, I know! I haven’t been doing a lot of touristy thing in Singapore. Everytime I go over there I live like a local.
    Blog, whoa that’s a good project. I wish that instead of a touch screen you’d put uhhh… something more erotic. hehe
    gutsygal, I know but that’s in theory. Practically speaking by being less anal and working closer together it brings more convenience to the people of the two countries.
    eee + Asa, that is low and uncalled for. You should be ashamed of yourself.
    DirtyDancer, it’s the great singapore siao.
    nrw, good tip. But only 1 day!
    m4rkym4rc, I know! I used to spend quite a bit when I was earning AUD. Now I gotta scrooge.
    Assumptions, it’s so stupid. Malaysia and Singapore leaders are like husband and wife fighting each other and yet still needing each other at the same time.
    Joee, I’m not a fan of dormitory beds. I kinda value my privacy. 🙂
    Anonymous at 5:22pm, no lah! 1 beer only wat. And a few of my meal my friends paid for. I think that’s so cool that Singaporean girls would initiate payment or take turns to pay for meals when going out. I never had the same kinda treatment here.
    kiwi, that’s at Ministry of Sound.
    Killroy, last time I stayed at the Backpackers in Melbourne, it costs me AUD26 for a filthy dorm bed in Fitzroy Street.
    Kelly, yeah that’s exactly what I did.
    JY, why stay in Geylang when you’re just staying alone?
    Lainie, I know! that’s why I shun away from hotels when I’m traveling alone.
    DieHardX, thanks for the tip.
    Sibeh Sian, I’ll let you know when I’ve gone Brokeback.
    uglyfatchick, you never calllllllled.
    A TYPICAL SINGAPOREAN, strange. I know a lot of Western Australians wanting to get INTO Singapore.
    Holyday, what? You’re offended already? Since when did I mention what personal blog thing in this entry? Umm… how is the second part of what you’re trying to say relevant to this entry?

  38. wow! your tagboard has turned into a chatroom…
    so i’m posting my reply here as well, in case u didn’t see it.
    “kenny, y don’t u try hangout hotel at mount emily next time u come to sg? http://www.hangouthotels.com/
    hangout is at mount emily, near selegie, near dhoby ghaut. shared room is only SGD25 or SGD76 for twin room (they mention they have single but never posted the price). and it’s so much nearer to town! =)
    there’s a small restaurant serving fusion food called ‘wild rocket’ there. the food is fabulous. and u can bring ur drinks up to the roof to chillout under the moonlight. it’s really a great place. try it out next time u come to singapore!”

  39. ok kenny, that annoymous at 5.22pm is me la. u prolly noe from my ip address.
    and u definitely had more than 1 beer. u bluff!
    i gladly paid for your company, my gorgeous toy boy.
    thanks for the daffy duck boxers souvenir. ;p

  40. Hangout at mt emily is near town but Super Far from the MRT station lah…my Ozy mates stayed there when they came to Singapore and taking them out and and back is damn jia lat! Must go up and down a little hill, walk quite long then get to Dhoby Ghaut MRT. Usually must take cab.

  41. Kenny,
    Seriously, I’m not sure why you need to pay for your accommodation in Singapore ever….. or restaurant bill for that matter…
    The reach of your blog and your ever growing readers’ base would enable you to reveiw any hotels & restaurants in Singapore to your liking!! Just send them your letter of offer… Obviously, it will be somewhat more ‘formalise’ or censored comments!
    Best of luck…..

  42. There can’t be a joint immigration check point because the immigration check point of each country must be on its own sovereign soil. Otherwise, there’s no point in having immigration check points. Malaysia and Singapore’s territory is calculated according to the equidistant method, i.e., the width of the Straits of Tebrau divided into equal two parts at every point. Malaysian territory ends at the middle of the bridge and Singaporean territory starts there. If we can build a joint check point, it may be possible at this point. Even then, there must be two check points but more convenient to people passing through due to the proximity of the two check points (i.e., side by side) and we may not have to alight and board several times.

  43. There can’t be a joint immigration check point because the immigration check point of each country must be on its own sovereign soil. Otherwise, there’s no point in having immigration check points. Malaysia and Singapore’s territory is calculated according to the equidistant method, i.e., the width of the Straits of Tebrau divided into equal two parts at every point. Malaysian territory ends at the middle of the bridge and Singaporean territory starts there. If we can build a joint check point, it may be possible at this point. Even then, there must be two check points but more convenient to people passing through due to the proximity of the two check points (i.e., side by side) and we may not have to alight and board several times.

  44. Anonymous obviously hasn’t taken a KTM train in and out of Singapore 😉
    (Malaysia checkpoint at Tanjung Pagar)

  45. =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =)

  46. aiyoh ! people will say you not patriotic lah !
    always hang out in singapore ! !
    look for girls ….
    hang out wif all the girls like monkey ! ! !
    I ENVY YOU SO MUCH :OP

  47. Why bother the bus trip frm JB to Sin, Kenny you can catch a door to door private transport which cost only RM120. No sweat,.. sitting in the car all the time,…

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