Date: 26th September 2010
We woke up late.
Thought I’d get that out of the way first. After a tiring first day (with barely any sleep), we made up for it by only getting up around 10:30am. And by the time we were out, it was already noon.
But today, the skies were clear and sunny.
We were ready for brunch
But despite the plethora of eateries and cafes, ‘the vegetarian’ (my friend Ramesh) found nothing to his taste. So we decided to go to Little India.
This is how apartment households in Singapore hang clothes out to dry
While the guys headed to Little India, I instead went to Sim Lim Square – Singapore’s famous IT mall.
Being a Sunday, few stores were closed but you still had plenty open.
I was looking for a good tripod and the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS USM I lens. Most stores didn’t have the latter in stock anymore but I did get a chance to try out the non-IS variant.
Taken on the 70-200 f2.8; these are unprocessed & only cropped -- very impressed with the image quality!
Several shops I entered asked me why I needed the IS version and suggested that I simply go in for the non-IS version and buy a good tripod instead. Something I did give deep consideration later.
SIm Lim Square isn't as big as Funan Digital Life mall -- but still offers quite a lot
A few smaller shops did say they had the lens and it “could be arranged,” but I decided not to deal with them. After all, Sim Lim is equivalent to Bangkok’s Pantip Plaza — you have tread carefully when shopping here. You can get ripped off, at the same while scoring some really good deals.
SNSD and other K-pop shown on laptops and TV screens was such a common sight
I had only made it to the second floor before my friends called and told me they were done with lunch. Since I had to catch up with them, I had to leave Sim Lim. Just like yesterday, I left disappointed knowing I couldn’t explore the mall in its entirety.
I grabbed a quick bite and made my way out.
As I stepped out and crossed the road in front of Sim Lim Square, I noticed crowds and street shops ahead of me.
... and street 'performers' like this guy
Turns out I was now inside the Bugis Street Shopping centre
Bugis Street Shopping is the largest street shopping market in Singapore.
For me, it wasn’t really impressive. Not after you have visited Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market (or JJ Market). In fact, a lot of the merchandise sold here was from Thailand — which obviously meant it was slightly more pricier here.
The main entrance to Bugis Street
We were really curious as to what this Iluma building was
I thought it was some boutique hotel
I had to get to Suntec City to meet up with my friends, but instead of taking of the MRT, I just walked.
I passed through another mall, this time — Bugis Junction.
K-pop star G.NA was going to be here in two days
Spotted at Bugis Square. It was F1 weekend after all.
Singapore's roads aren't this empty, just that traffic was diverted because of the race
After catching up with my friends, Ramesh made his way to the F1 tracks to begin his evening. While myself & Loi pondered what to do next. I had plans of going to Marina Bay Sand Casino to go up to the sky deck. When I had called them up earlier in the day, I was informed it was only open to visitors until 4pm, after which it would be off limits to non-guests.
We were inside CityLink Mall (yes, another mall in the area) when we decided to check out the HMV store.
Damn, Jay Park was in Singapore yesterday! (Jay Park is an K-pop star who's going to be big worldwide... trust me)
By the time we stepped out of the HMV store, we already spent SGD150 (around Rs. 5,100) on official band t-shirts — and it was past 4pm. So I pushed Marina Bay Sands for tomorrow and headed to Suntec City mall instead.
This is just one section to Suntec City mall
After shopping some more at Suntec, we made our way back to Victoria Street where I had plans to show Loi the Bugis Street shopping centre.
The Singapore National Library building
But lay before us was Iluma — the alluding building which I assumed was a boutique hotel.
But upon closer inspection...
... guess what...
... it's just another mall
But a funky one at that. Iluma is a pretty cool mall mostly targeting a younger crowd. Despite its appearance, we didn’t find the usual selection of high-end designer brands. Instead, we came across stores like this:
The merchandise on display was good enough to draw me & Loi in. Nearly half-an-hour later, we step out after having spent some dime on anime merchandise.
We window-shopped a bit more...
.... before stepping into another nerd's toy haven
Inside the Otaku House was more anime merchandise; more necklaces and keychains (like the ones we bought from Comics Connection), to cosplay outfits and other props for rent or purchase.
But we sighed… and quietly walked out, reminding ourselves that we had already spent enough and would soon run of Singapore currency at this rate.
It didn’t stop us from exploring the mall still.
Pretty cool looking mall
The top-most floor houses what they claim to be Singapore’s largest arcade. And then there is the open roof top.
You get a nice view of the Bugis surroundings from up here
Victoria Street and Raffles Hospital in the distance
There are a few rooftop restaurants up here
As we made our way down, I realized iluma was one of the more unique malls in Singapore. Not only does it look cool, it really manages to cater to a young crowd with more affordable options compared to the rest of Singapore’s malls.
After we stepped out of iluma, I took Loi to the Bugis Street Chopping centre.
And by the time we were done with that, we were hungry. So we popped into the near by Burger King for a good ol’ beef burger
(Note: Beef burgers are a rarity in India due to religious sentiments so even McDs are too ‘chicken’ to serve beef burgers here).
Some of the anime merchandise we bought
iluma mall lights up at night
After this, we took the MRT to Orchard Road, our next destination.
I actually wanted to go back to Sim Lim Square, but Loi needed to meet his cousin — and since he didn’t have a local SIM, I had to tag along with him.
When we got to Orchard Road, we stepped right out to Ion Orchard mall.
There was some dance competition open to the public
And this fat dude was getting a lot of fake screams from the women... so he kept dancing
Orchard Road is Singapore’s famous shopping stretch (as if the rest of the city didn’t offer enough already), home to many star hotels and a very popular stop for tourists.
And boy, does this one-way road live up to its reputation!
Opposite ION Orchard, Lucky Plaza is very popular among Filipinos working in Singapore
Ngee Ann City mall, the largest mall on Orchard Road
Popular for housing Japanese department store Takashimaya
You can get into Ngee Ann city to get to the underpass which comes out the other side of Orchard Road
Paragon, a high-end mall housing luxury brands like miu miu, Prada and more
Once Loi met up with his cousin, I was on my own to explore the rest of Orchard Road for some time.
I got back to the other side to continue from where I left off.
Next up, Mandarin Gallery
You'll find a few street performers on Orchard Road... and for the love of god, do not taunt them like a few tourists did. They don't like it.
This can be found in front of the Mandarin Gallery
This is the Singapore Tourism office where you can get info, maps, make reservations and such
Courts is a large multi-storey electronics store
Pretty innovative ad
This was a pretty cool looking mall
After this point, the malls slowly disappeared.
Crossed to the other side and made my way back
Tangs is a local department store
The Orchard Road MRT station is connected to Wisma Atria mall
Ion Orchard, from across the road
After catching up with my friend Loi, we decided to see off his cousin at the bus stop and take one ourselves as we hadn’t done so yet.
My friend Loi with his cousin sister who studies in Singapore
The buses use the same MRT cards
Since we didn’t really know where to get down, we just got off at the end of Orchard Road.
There were still more malls this side
As I looked at the map, we realized that Victoria Street wasn’t very far from where we were currently, so I asked Loi if we could just keep walking.
The School of the Arts Singapore campus
We passed by quite a lot of landmarks
It was nearing 11pm, so we stepped into a food court to have dinner and to quench our thirst with some beer.
Open 24 hours, Kopitiam has mostly Chinese and Pan-Asian fare
We weren't really hungry so we just had roast duck and pork with our beer
After ‘dinner,’ we resumed our walk towards our hostel.
This was the Singapore Arts Museum
I couldn’t help but remind ourselves how good a location we chose to be stay in, given how close we were to a lot of what Singapore has to offer (especially if you a re shopaholic!).
Singapore Management University campus
The Bugis Street Shopping centre... closed
Sultan Mosque down the street
Santa Grand Hotel Bugis is in front of ABC Hostel
We were finally back in our room…. oh wait, we ran out of drinking water.
(Steps out again)
Once back from the nearby 7-Eleven I was finally done with day 2! As we checked out out our merchandise, we also counted how much we had already spent and soon realized we were running out of Singapore dollars.
We just had one more day left in Singapore, so it was either going to be Sentosa or the Singapore Zoo. I also wanted to hit the sky deck at Marina Bay Sands Casino.
Would I be able to do it all?
Other posts in this series:
Singapore & Malaysia 2010: Planning and preparing for the trip
Singapore 2010: Day 1 – Little India, CBD, Clarke Quay, China Town… and a lot of walking
Singapore 2010: Day 3 – Singapore Zoo, Marina Bay Sands; leaving Singapore for Penang
Malaysia 2010: Day 4 — One day in Penang (Around Georgetown, Gurney Drive, Penang Hill)
Malaysia 2010: Day 5 — Langkawi (Ferry ride from Penang, Cable car & Sky Bridge)
Malaysia 2010: Day 6 — Langkawi (Island hopping tour, Pantai Tengah beach, Night market)
Malaysia 2010: Day 7 — Kuala Lumpur (Low Yat Plaza, Petronas Towers, Jalan Alor)
Malaysia 2010: Day 8 — Kuala Lumpur (Batu Caves, Petaling Street/China Town)
Malaysia 2010: Day 9 — Kuala Lumpur (KLCC Aquaria, Merdeka Square, KL Tower observation deck)
Malaysia 2010: Leaving Kuala Lumpur… and about going back
Tags: arab street, buildings, canon 7d, electronics, kampong glam, mall, nightlife, orchard road, shopping, shopping mall, singapore