Continuing this blog series for my 4 day journey, I’ll give this crossing the border experience its own post as it was as remarkable as the entire trip in itself.
As I settled in my sit at the 2nd level of the bus (yes, again, I got a double-decker bus by Starmart Ekspress which will just be the only option as I just have to get to ride one lol), I freshen up and prepared to sleep. My things were a mess still as I just put everything in my extra bag but I was too exhausted to fix up. I was using like the remaining less than 25% of my battery, my power bank has died down also as I was charging both the GoPro and my phone. To add to that, I don’t know if my Malaysian sim (I purchased at the airport for 19 RM) will still work as the lady told me I’d probably have to get another sim when I get to SG but then I was thinking, I can communicate easily with the people in the Philippines so why not in Singapore also? Anyway, I had to worry about that working after I charged back my phone. So while I know that I’m still in Malaysia (I was on unlimited data roaming also, isn’t it too cool?!) I messaged Karrie that I’m on my way and all.
Earlier we already discussed that we’ll be meeting in Sengkang station and that I’d easily find that in the train map. My next question then to Lorie and the gang was, how do I get to the train stations?? My bus would stop at Beach Rd and they said to walk to Nichols Highway were the nearest station is. Then they said that I’ll be going down to exit Malaysia and have my passport stamped, I no longer need to unload my bag at the first stop. Next stop would be at Singapore’s immigration, I have to get my bag checked there also. Those are the basic instructions I needed, the rest I can figure out, I thought. I tried to enjoy the view but I was drowsy and it was dark so I went to sleep. The bus was comfortable and looks like the Deluxe HM buses to Baguio, only bigger, the only thing lacking was there’s no power sockets for charging.
A few hours after, the bus stopped. First stop meant exit. It wasn’t as scary as I imagined. Those are the moments where I first wished I had friends with me. But it was easy-breezy, no questions asked. They just stamped our passports and off we go back to the bus. I remember Lorie saying that the exit isn’t far from SG anymore so I was again anxious since it was still too early! That’s just around 3 something AM, meaning it’s still a few hours before the trains start moving. Ohnoes. And just a few minutes after crossing the long bridge connecting the two countries, the bus stopped again and I could see my luggage already. I was so anxious again, imagining all the worst case scenarios and yet also thinking about what I’d be doing when I get off the bus. But just like the exit, no hassle again. They just scan your thumb mark then off we go again.
It was surreal crossing the border by land and seeing Singapore at that time. Really quaint in the stillness of the night (or dawn) with all the lights on. You can see the big ferris wheel, the marina bay and other buildings I don’t know of. I basked in that moment before proceeding to worry again what I’d be doing next. We get off at the bus stop in Beach Road where there’s a 711 open. My big booboo that time was that I don’t have a map. My reference point only was the map plastered at the waiting shed. Luckily, there were a group of Indonesian students, who were also in the bus with me, who seemed lost haha. I’m not alone! I victoriously pumped my fists in my head. LOL. We both asked the old man manning the 711 cashier, where the Nichols station is. Unfortunately, he didn’t know. Another comforting thing was there are some Filipinos who got off the bus as well which I got to talked to. They’re going to a church which I forgot, but they’ll be taking the taxi. They also do not know where the station we were searching for is. Some few minutes after which already seemed like an hour, a local who I dunno came from where (perhaps after buying from 7-11) told the group where there nearest station is at.
Instructions were to go to Lavander station and wait until 6AM to get to wherever we wanna go (since no one wants to take the taxi LOL). The whole place just felt safe. Ucha, who invited me to go walk with them to the station, told me they were med students from Indonesia and even if this is not the first time they all went to Singapore, it was the first time they travelled with just friends so it was also a whole new experience for them. They were all really nice and upon reaching Lavander station we just slumped down the stairs, some took a nap, while the rest of us just rested and waited until 5:45 when we went down. We all waited for almost 2hours?? I cannot even remember. My photo properties said that it’s an hour and a half LOL. The gates opened at 5:50 and we said good-bye there already since we’re off to different locations. Or so we thought. Turned out we’d be riding the same trains to get to where we need to be. We started at the green lines then get off at City Hall then ride the red to Dhoby Ghaut. Then change trains to violet line to get to Sengkang. I cannot remember why they need to get off at Dhoby Ghaut as well because they’d be riding red again to Somerset. Anyway, we separated at Dhoby Ghaut station and told each other we’ll see each other around. And we did! At Marina Bay a few hours after, all freshen up and looking rested.
I got to Sengkang station where I finally found a pay phone, good think I scribbled Karrie’s number at my notebook just in case my battery becomes fully discharged (and it did) and they picked me up there a few minutes after. Whew! Talk about starting the adventure early on. Hello, Singapore, I survived your connecting trains easily! Weeee!