We awoke to our final day in Singapore and the reality that we had to leave the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in. However, we didn’t have much time to dwell as we had planned a 2-3 hour hike for our Sunday morning and so packed our stuff before heading for breakfast. The plan had been to check out Toast Box, one of Halle’s recommendations but alas, nothing in Marina Bay is open before 10.30a.m. any day apart from the breakfast restaurants in the hotel (not the adjoining shopping centre) and the shopping centre food court. So we opted for the food court again this time trying out Kaya Toast and Kopi (local Singaporean breakfast toast with sweet coffee) and some fried dim sum including; pork buns, spring rolls, shrimp noodle wrap and seafood dumplings. It was all great and we were nicely full without feeling ill like we had the previous day. We popped back to the room to grab our bags before checking out and flagging a cab to MacRitchie Reservoir, the location for our hike.
When doing my research for Singapore lots of the usual suspects came up, Sentosa island, the zoo, museums etc. but given our tourist indulgence the day before I was keen to let my dad see the local side of the city. When I saw the nature trail hike with treetop canopy walk I thought it sounded a lot of fun and in only 2-3 hours it can be done in a morning or afternoon without taking up your whole day. The taxi dropped us at a car park with a restaurant and toilet facilities whereby we followed the signs for nature trail and within a few moments were walking around the edge of the reservoir before the trees closed in overhead and we were in the forest. There were a couple of macaques hanging around at the entrance of the trail but after that we didn’t see much life for the next 6kms. The walk itself was lovely with the sounds of the forest all around and the path meandering up and back down again. The last hike up to the beginning of the treetop walk was quite steep and given the humidity we stopped for some water before continuing on. As we rounded the corner we were met with an ‘I’m a Celebrity esque’ suspension bridge hanging just above the tree canopy. As we stepped out you could feel the bridge bouncing with the weight of others and around half way along we were greeted with a troop of hungry macaques searching for food. The views all around were fantastic and definitely work the effort to get up. As we wandered back down and made our way back (following the signs) we somehow managed to take a wrong turn turning our 6km hike into an 11km one. We still managed it in 2 and a half hours and the final 6km were really flat and pretty easy going right around the reservoir and next to some pretty high end gold courses. However, it was a lot more than we had been expecting and so we arrived back at the restaurant at the beginning absolutely knackered! An iced milo definitely helped to relieve the heat.
We were meeting one of my favourite people – Halle a friend I met in Singapore and have since been travelling with to India. She had been in Australia during the rest of our trip so far and landed back last night so she had suggested meeting for lunch before we caught our flight out. It was so nice to see her again and catch up, and luckily she had brought her family car so we could drive to a local place for lunch close to her neighbourhood. She took us to Casuarina Curry and as soon as I saw the bustling front I knew it was going to be fantastic. We opted for the mushroom cheese parata which came with a chicken and veg dipping sauce, a paper dosa with dipping sauces, mutton curry, chicken tikka, veg maggi with egg and an iced coffee and a rose water milk drink. The food was divine and the rose water drink one of the nicest things I have ever tasted. However, this resulted in me feeling so full I had to nap on the way back to the hotel and feeling a tad ill.
Sadly we said goodbye to Halle knowing we would see her again in a few weeks on our return to Singapore to catch our flight home. We collected our luggage from the hotel and made our way to the airport. Unfortunately our flight was delayed by an hour but it wasn’t a big deal in one of the world’s best airports. We had a short nap in the sleep zone and in under an hour’s flight arrived into Penang Malaysia, our second stop of the trip. It was a bit of a culture shock after the well organised Singapore as we waited in a long security line that didn’t appear to be moving. Luckily one of the rows next to us went a lot faster and so we managed to skip over there and sail through where our bags were waiting for us. We took an airport taxi to the hotel which was only £8.50 and within around 30 minutes arrived to T+ Macallum Georgetown Hotel. We had some issues checking in, in that the staff refused to accept my card had a pin and kept saying it was declined. It took me physically checking the card machine to which I read, please enter pin, to sort the situation so we were not so impressed with the service. The staff also claimed there were no food options nearby but I had pre-planned a map and so given the credit card issue we were not to believing. The rooms themselves were lovely and after dumping our stuff we headed out to explore.
We followed my map, letting my dad adjust to the slightly more crazy roads and lack of pavements before after walking for less than 5 minutes we stumbled across a busy local food market (I thought there was nowhere to eat nearby?). Anyway, we opted for the 2 Malaysian staples of laksa from Mimi’s and Char Kway Teow from the stall right next door which had a short queue. You ordered and they brought the food to you which was great and the local drinks stall came over to take our order while we waited so we ordered some beer and a lemon honey ice drink. The food was great and cost less than £4 including the drinks. The market was really busy with locals and we enjoyed watching what was going on while enjoying our food. It was only 9.30 when we finished so we had a bit more of a wander around before heading back to the hotel to chill out. A great start to Malaysia, hopefully it can manage to live up to Singapore, which we absolutely loved!