Singapore

When my mom and I were in Vietnam, we went on two tours through Vietravel. The first tour we went on was for a total of five days, four nights and was split between Singapore and Malaysia. After going on this tour, I don’t think I’ll be going on any international tours with that company or any Vietnamese tour company again because there was too much time spent on going to these scam shops1. Not only that, all of our meals were mandated for us at Chinese restaurants and we basically had the same meal three times a day, only at different restaurants. Plus English is a predominant language in Singapore so its not like my mom and I would’ve had trouble getting around.

Did you know that if you’re a Vietnamese citizen entering Singapore, you have to carry $1000USD on your body when you’re going through immigration? Apparently, a lot of Vietnamese girls go to Singapore to work as a prostitute, take the money back to Vietnam and repeat. I didn’t know this until afterward, but there was a girl holding up my immigration line. I saw her pull out a wad of $100USD bills and show it to the officer. Eventually, she never made it through and she was escorted, presumably for interrogation or on the next flight back to Vietnam.

Moving onto the photos!

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The Singapore Flyer & Marina Bay Sands Hotel

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Nicknamed the ‘Durian’ building but looks more like a jackfruit to me.

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Singapore’s Merlion

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Ey foo! Whats that boat doing up there?

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A sign in the metro. Our tour guide told us that if someone brings a durian into the subway they’ll get booted off because the smell will stay circulating in the aircon for two weeks!

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The most delicious mango ice cream sandwich I have ever had and it was only $1SGD! For the outside, we had a choice between wafer crackers and sandwich bread.

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On a small boat tour to the Marina Bay Sands

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Oh noes! Laser beams!

Inside the Marina Bay Sands is also a really high-end shopping mall and a casino. The Singapore government actually discourages their own citizens from gambling, so in order to get inside the casino for free, you’ll need a foreign passport. In order for a Singaporean citizen to get in, they have to pay a $100SGD entrance fee.

  1. The tour company receives a commission for any of sales they make from the tourists. This in turn makes the price of the tour cheaper. Most of the items sold were fake, gimmicky things that were unbelievably overpriced. However, most of the people on the tour are ridiculously rich Vietnamese people who 1) have too much money and 2) love, love, love spending money and buying souvenirs so they didn’t mind dropping some big bucks. Plus they didn’t know that a (probably fake) gemstone necklace isn’t worth $300-$500USD (its like what, $50USD for a cheap necklace like that at the local Kays/Zales jeweler?). Not to mention tacky! []

8 thoughts on “Singapore

  1. It’s refreshing to read your posts, especially on the Singapore article. And yes, we have this “lah” thing going on, but I feel that it becomes less once I grew up. You have most facts right, though I don’t quite agree on the concept of “paying them more so they don’t get bribed”. That said, it’s politics and I try to steer clear of it as much as I can.

    *Yes, we speak english (relatively well imo). In fact, I reckon my english is alot better than my mandarin (and I’m Chinese-Singaporean btw).

    • Hello! Thank you for the comment and bringing these facts to my attention.

      I always thought it was interesting since I only had heard “lah” from Xiaxue’s blog, so I didn’t know if people actually said it in Singapore or if it was just something she did. I noticed our tour guide said it a lot as well as some of the vendors I encountered.

      As for the president thing, I’ll admit I didn’t do any actual research on my own about it. Our tour guide just told it to us as a fun fact as we were driving past the office of the president in Singapore. So I guess I kind of just absorbed and then posted it without any speculation on my part.

      As for the ignorant thing, I was trying to say “hello” in the main language of all the countries I visited. I didn’t want to seem ignorant by just saying “hello” in English without acknowledging the fact that another predominant language in Singapore is also Mandarin.

      Hopefully this clarifies everything on my part. I’ll try better to research the facts more and write clearer in the future (especially when it comes to talking about other countries that I’m not familiar with). I didn’t mean to offend anyone.

      • Haha. Don’t worry, I was not offended. As I said, it’s refreshing (at times, amusing) to hear how others view my country, and us, Singaporeans.

        “Lah” is distinctively Singaporean, no doubt, just that among my friends, we use it less often as we get older. Xiaxue, yes, the well-known blogger. I don’t exactly follow her, but from the few times I read her posts, it’s palpable she isn’t one to mince her words. Tough lady.

        Your blog is like a cultural learning experience. I work at the airport, but had no idea that a Vietnamese girl had to have USD$1000 when she came over to Singapore. Funny rules my country has. My Vietnamese friend didn’t mention this when she came over.

        You seem to have a unique childhood. Born Vietnamese, grew up in US, but you’re now in Japan?

        • I’m glad I didn’t rub you the wrong way. Yeah, I think its only applicable to people with Vietnamese passports though. I have a U.S. passport, so I didn’t have any problem getting through to Singapore. A few people in our tour group (Vietnamese citizens) were held up in immigration though.

          Yeah, I’m really lucky with all the opportunities I have had. I was born and raised in America (basically Northern Virginia/D.C.). I’ve never lived in Vietnam but I spoke Vietnamese at home and my parents made sure I kept up with all of our cultural traditions. I’m definitely not fluent in Vietnamese, but I can hold a conversation. I’m living in Japan now, but I’m not sure where I want to live after my year here is up.

          But I’m really glad you find my blog more refreshing than ignorant and irritating. I haven’t had time to blog lately (working 6-7 days a week) but I do have a break coming up soon so I’ll hopefully be able to blog again when that happens. Thank you for your insight!

          One thing I’m really sad about in Singapore is that I never got to go to any Hawker centers because of the tour package. I’ll definitely have to come back to visit again to try real Singaporean food and ride the Singapore Flyer :)!

          • Hi. Apologies, I took a while to reply. I see that you have yet to update your blog? Haha. When is your break? I might be heading to Japan in mid-July. I’ll land in Tokyo Narita and will be spending the next two weeks in the country. Yet to decide how I will explore the country (it’s a 6 weeks backpacking trip and Japan is the last leg).

            Able to share some tips or show me around for a few days? Do you have an email I can send to? Instead of posting our conversation so openly. Haha.

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