Where To: First International Trip Post Pandemic

How long has it been since I stopped travelling? The short answer is: WAY TOO LONG!

Even before our country declared a nationwide lockdown which came into effect on 18th March, 2020, I had already cancelled all my travel plans, and was back to homebase by mid-February 2020, after returning from a trip to Terengganu.

Why did I cancel when others continued to travel way into March? It makes my blood boil just thinking about how much of a hassle these inconsiderate people caused our government in flying them back home. If I could cancel based on reading the news on the dire situation of COVID-19 infection, I don’t see why others cannot do the same.

things to do in Singapore for free
panoramic view of Singapore

I actually had a trip planned for Singapore and had already paid for my return transport Ipoh – Singapore – Ipoh. I also already paid for my Hotel in Singapore for two nights. As you are aware, hotel stays in Singapore aren’t exactly cheap, especially after conversion from Ringgit to Dollars. Obviously, compared to other international destinations, these expenses are miniscule but hey, it’s still money out of MY pocket. My question is, “Where is the common sense?”

It’s funny though, that after making plans to visit Singapore, I was lamenting to a friend that it would be a tiring trip; that I wished I had more time to spare exploring the Little Red Dot, since my last trip south was about 5 years ago; that Singapore is so expensive, I could use the money on somewhere cheaper but more interesting; that I had visited Singapore multiple times already and wouldn’t it be great if my trip was to somewhere exotic; basically 101 reasons why Singapore wasn’t the “best” destination.

Gardens By The Bay
Supertree Grove Garden Rhapsody

Ironically, after more than a year cooped up at home, still not allowed to travel even across states, I’m internally screaming, “Give me back my freedom to travel! Let me go anywhere. I’ll take Singapore, if that’s the only choice I have. Just stamp my passport, dammit!”

Planning that Singapore trip, I had already done all my research on what to do, see and eat, but that’s all out the window. I expect a lot to have changed these days because Singapore was not spared from the pandemic also. Similar to Malaysia, many businesses have been affected and forced to close, or at least, revamped.

Haw Par Villa Singapore Theme Park
Haw Par Villa

Also, I am not even sure if there are still Ipoh – Johor – Ipoh flights in service. It used to be so convenient that it was possible to make an overnight trip. When international borders do reopen and flights restart, I figure that the fare will not be reasonable. I might only be able to afford a bus ride south. Truth be told, if I do travel internationally again, I will be on a shoe-string budget after this lengthy financial suffocation. Yay, budget travel, I am back; there is no stopping me from travelling. Just downgrade. LOL

Nonetheless, I might stinge on everything but one thing I don’t mind splurging on is hotel accommodation. Ah, I think I do deserve this small luxury of life. I’ve been recommended Fullerton Hotel Singapore, and I might just go for it and experience its 5-star service. They don’t need to know that I took a bus down. As long as I settled my bill. They don’t care, right? Rightttt?

Chinatown Singapore
free walking tour: Chinatown in Singapore

From my research, to take a bus from JB Central (opposite City Square) to Woodlands in the Lion City, here are the things we need to keep handy:

1. a valid passport
2. MyKad
3. Singapore Dollars, in loose change for bus fare (I wonder if my Klook Nets FlashPay is still valid)
4. a pen or two
5. snacks and bottled water

Ernest Zacharevic Street Art Singapore locations
Ernest Zacharevic Street Art in Singapore

At JB Central, follow the signage that says “Woodlands”. We will arrive at the immigration counter to stamp the passport, or use the biometric machine.

After that is settled, continue walking – look for the escalator and take it to the lower level to the bus depot. There are two choices for you here:

i) Causeway Link (yellow colour) – either CW1 or CW2
ii) SMART (red/white in colour) – 950 Woodlands Interchange

Disembark at Woodlands Checkpoint and follow the walking direction of the other passengers. Enter the door and look out for the white form that you have to fill up, according to the details of your passport. At the immigration section, queue at the lanes that say “ALL PASSPORT”. Get your passport stamped by Singapore Immigration. Once done, walk away, following the crowd again, and take the escalator down, and look for passenger buses (not worker buses). Look for 950 Woodlands Interchange, if you boarded SMART earlier.

It’s just a short distance from Woodlands Checkpoint to Woodlands Interchange, so just follow the rest of the passengers. When they disembark, just follow suit because Woodlands Interchange is the last stop for the bus. And then, it’s time to make your way to your Hotel. Sounds like a plan? Indeed!

Boat Quay Clarke Quay Singapore
Boat Quay

With love

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