Singapore 2013 (Part 1, Hotel 101 | Chinese Garden | SG City Tour)

This trip almost didn’t happen because I’m suffering from a bad back. I was diagnosed with L5-S1 disc herniation and was in a lot of pain days before our travel date. My first doctor advised to have a surgery right away and I reluctantly canceled my hotel bookings. After having a second opinion, the second doctor told me that walking will actually help and we can observe first if the pain would stay even after undergoing physical therapy sessions. The travel addict in me decided to go on with the trip. PS: I’m feeling a lot better now 🙂

Hotel 101

I canceled my original hotel booking in Hotel 81 Lucky when I thought we will be canceling the entire trip. I tried to re-book the same rooms again after making a final decision that we will still go but the prices are a lot more expensive. I searched for other hotels that’s more pocket-friendly and I found Hotel 101. They have a promotion in at that time. I only paid USD 178 for 3 nights.

Hotel 101 is located in Geylang. I have stayed in Geylang before and I don’t mind it being a red-light district. It is generally safe in Singapore. Expect to find girls doing the trade to flock the front of the hotel. They won’t bother you as long as you don’t show interest especially if you’re with someone.

(-) We got a double room with an en-suite bathroom. The room is OK but the bathroom could be a lot better. I wouldn’t dare sit on the tub butt naked (yeah it looks dirty). The showerhead was too low for me.

(+) The hotel is located near a bus stop so it is conveniently located. You just need to research how to go to/from your destination (tip: use There was one time when I left my camera at the reception’s table. They called our room right away for me to pick it up. Thank you Hotel 101 staff!

Chinese Garden

This trip is my third visit to Singapore so I looked for something that are not on the usual tourist to-do list. Chinese Garden is easy to find, just look for the MRT station of the same name on the East-West line. I actually found out about these gardens when the train I was on passed by the station on one of my previous visits.

It so happened that we visited on the week of Chinese New Year of 2013 (what a good timing!), the place was decorated accordingly.

The pagoda @ Chinese Garden

The pagoda’s roof tiles

You can climb to the top using this spiral staircase

It’s not a garden if it has no flowers (not a lot of flowers though)

The garden is very big! A bridge connects its two sides!

Statues Chinese Zodiacs

Twin Pagodas

Din Tai Fung and JCO Donuts

We didn’t stay too long at the gardens. It was humid that day so we headed back to the city. Even after exploring the shops of Raffle City mall (connected to the City Hall station), it’s still early to start our walking city tour. We decided to grab something to eat at Din Tai Fung and then JCO. Both are located on the basement level of Raffles City.

We love Xiao Long Bao and Din Tai Fung’s version is probaly the best I’ve tasted. JCO donuts of Singapore taste the same as the one in Manila. No long queues though, got our donuts in less than a minute ! 🙂

Din tai Fung’s Xiao Long Bao

JCO’s Oreology and Alcapone donuts

Walking City Tour and Makasuntra Gluttons Bay

Our friend took us to the following spots: Fullerton Hotel -> Merlion Park -> Esplanade -> Makasuntra Gluttons Bay -> Helix Bridge -> and Marina Bay Sands. First, we took the train and alighted at Raffles Place and looked for the exit that will lead to Fullerton. From there, everything I listed here is “walking” distance. It is best to start this tour close to sunset.

Fullerton Hotel

MBS – viewed from Merlion Park

Gastronomic paradise! – Clockwise: Chicken Satay, Pineapple Rice, Cereal Prawns, Lemon Chicken, spring rolls-like dish

Helix Bridge, MBS, Art Science Museum

TIP: Gardens by the Bay is located at the back of Marina Bay Sands. You can include that in your itinerary. We didn’t manage to go there because it’s already late when we finished our walking tour.

That’s all for part 1, thanks for reading!

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