April 16, 2017

Singapore Sundown RUNCATION

25 - 27 MARCH 2017

Has been a year since I wrote in this blog. Hope to share more this year..haha (sounds ambitious)

my second trip to Singapore in 3 years. This time of course it is not for exams but for RUNCATION. A new terminology for those going for a run event + vacation. I was accompanied by my school-time friend, Zhafran who currently resides in KL.

25 MARCH 2017

10 am : flight Tiger Air from Penang to Singapore. Departed about 20mins late from scheduled time.
(took a GrabCar to the airport as I was kind of late. My first time trying out Grab)
11.30 am : arrived at Changi Airport.

Took MRT to Clarke Quay (took us approx. 40 mins to reach station) The City Backpackers Hotel is just a mere 4 minutes walk from this station.
We were welcomed by the receptionist with warm smile & she allowed us to check in 30mins bfr time.
After settling our luggage, we took a walk to find a Masjid, a makan place & iPhone outlet. Manage to find the former two, but the latter was quite a distance from our place & as it was already 6pm, we decided to get ourselves to the Run Village to collect race kit & to get back to hotel to take some rest before the run tonight. We took GrabCar to & fro the Race Village.
After Solat, slept for an hour plus. Woke up lazily to get myself ready to go to the run village. As we had got into GrabCar, I realized that my runner's bib is not with me...haiya!!! Asked the driver to make a return to Hotel to get it & of course he charged extra SGD6 for that!!
Arrived at RunVillage in time. Our start off time is 1am; though they actually let us start only at 1.20am
Feeling nervous & "national pride" at stake, I made my way cautiously. Only my second HM in life, and the first in 5 yrs! My aim was just to complete within 4 hrs. After some struggles with pain over quadriceps & calves, manage to complete in 3 hrs 27 mins..Alhamdulillah! In fact I crossed 10km mark at 84mins - which is a new time for me (though I did ran faster when I was 17..haha)
It was fun but exhausting & painful.
We had no choice but to find a transport back to hotel (though it is only 2.5km from our hotel, the idea of walking back is out of question!) Only now we realized there is an MRT station (Promenade) - 300m from the Run Village. If only knew this earlier, could have saved some money by not going on Grab! Nevertheless we did not take the MRT as we were holding SGD 50 note, the MRT ticket machine does not accept that; yet no counters were upon yet at 6am & no shops either. Hence we resorted to Grab, and manage to get one at 6.30

26 MARCH 2017

6.45am : reached Hotel. Had our Subuh.
Then it was ZZzzzz!
Only woke up at 11am. After shower, made my way to Masjid Omar (the one we went yesterday). Had Zohor-Asar Jama' there. They had some ceramah just before Zohor & were having a luncheon after Zohor, but I did not wait..segan la konon..haha.
2pm : went out for a quick lunch at near by 24hours outlet called Teh Tarik. Then took MRT to Bugis. Strolled around at Bugis Street, Junction & Bugis+. Bought some souveniers. had our early dinner at famed ZamZam Restaurant (the same place I had Briyani in 2014), went to Malay Cultural House (which was already closed), strolled around Arab Street. Then walked to Little India, which is a mere 15-20mins walk from Arab Street.
Mustafa Centre - is the talk of Little India. Had our Maghrib-Isya Jama' at Masjid Abdul Gaffoor before starting shopping at Mustafa. We spent a good 2 hours n this place. At 10 something, wth hands full of shopping bags, we took an MRT to get back to our Hotel.

27 MARCH 2017

Final day in Singapore. Checked out early at about 10 something. Headed to VivoCity Mall (the largest mall here) which is a mere 545m boardwalk to the famed Sentosa Island. So we did set foot on Sentosa Island, just for photography purpose..haha.
Next stop was Orchard Road - famed for multiple shopping malls. It was raining and we could not find an eatery (initially), but manage to spot Masjid Al-Falah. Stopped by for Solat & simple lunch at the Masjid's cafeteria. Then Zhafran & I parted ways, as he wanted to visit Expo ( another shopping mall, which is a station before Changi Airport), where by I was tired of going malls..haha.
We prted at the Sommerset MRT station. I went to an Indonesian Restaurant to try out "Durian Martabak" as was promoted on nets, before heading to Airport.
My flight is at 6.55pm. I reached Airport 2 hours early. Submitted GST refund thing at the Airport (on Zhafran's behalf - as he did the most shopping, my refund claim was less than SGD 2..haha)Checked in with no luggage & just wandered around till the departure time. (Also delayed by 30mins - Tiger Air) Safe home by 9pm.

1st time on Tiger Air. Decent cabin environment. Crew : average. Experienced delayed departure after already onboard on both flights. Reason : unclear. I would give 2.5/5 for this

- Receptionist : good looks :), but not so informative in terms of directions & public transportation
- Room : decent, clean, good functioning a.cond, 2 twin beds as promised
- Price : decent (SGD 130.68 - for 2 nights , reasonable for Singapore!)
- B/fast : bread & coffee/tea. Free flow coffee/tea all day long (but I dare not take - still in the aftermath of severe indigestion & AGE!)
- Laundry : available.
- Toilet : the only problematic area. Though clean, it is so small. Anyone wth BMI more than 24 will have difficulties!
I would give 4/5 for this

Points for:
1. Well advertised. Fees & venue well publicized as early as 6 months prior to event
2. Number of participants kind of limited, avoiding overcrowding at Run Village
3. International runners were allowed to get Race Kit even 1 hour prior to race
4. Race Village in fact reasonably near to MRT station
5. Placards displaying distance ran placed appropriately at almost every 1 KM
6. Hydration stations well prepared

Points against:
1. For SGD 68, organizers could have prepared more for participants (i.e. Finisher T for 21KM, simple cereals or light meals post run)
2. First aid & sprays not adequately available
3. Run start off delayed by 20mins as runners were being released in batches.
4. A narrow passage at least for the first 2 KM, causing "human jam"

Overall : 3/5

- needless to talk about this in Singapore.
I would give 4/5 for MRT (not giving full as I find the staffs at MRT counters are less helpful & no counters open yet at 6am - unlike in Malaysia)
- Of course GrabCar is an alterntive. But in order to use this you will need data. Data here dose not come cheap. We had experience with 4 different drivers. 2 were friendly, the other 2 quite serious. One of them spoke highly about Singapore policies and bragged about Singapore being "crime-free". A Singaporean malay, an ex-army. Well, not surprised as Singaporeans are nurtured in that manner I guess :)

- as we stayed near to Chinatown, was a bit difficult to find Halal food in abundance. The nearest to our Hotel is 24hours Teh Tarik (IM place). But if near Geylang, Bugis or Little India, would be a lot easier.
- eateries at Arab Street. Beware, not all Arab restaurants are halal! Watch where you go
ZamZam Briyani - 4/5. Murtabak : 5/5
My 5/5 Briyani remains for my mom's & Ajmeer's (Sandakan) :)

1. Masjid Omar, Kampung Melaka (near Clarke Quay)
2. Masjid Abdul Gaffoor (Little India)
3. Masjid Al-Falah (Orchard Road)
*mentioning only masjids visited by us

Run fee : SGD 68
Flight : RM185
Hotel SGD 130 (shared by two of us)
GrabCar : SGD 15
MRT : SGD 10
Food & Souveniers - not mentioned here :)

Inside of Masjid Omar
Starting point
After the RUN!
Finisher Medal
the Junction showing Masjid Sultan which is opposite to the famed ZamZam Restaurant
Masjid Abdul Gaffoor @ Little India
Forever busy - Little India. This is at 10pm!
Another Masjid in the Little India vicinity
Checking out form City Backpackers
Wefie with the Sentosa Island at the background
We set foot on Sentosa Island!
Inside of Masjid Al-Falah, Orchard Road
Martabak Durian : Last meal on Singapore soil - at J Café (opposite walkway to Sommerset MRT station)
This is made using D24 variant, cost me SGD 4.50. Pretty nice but the portion is extremely small & don't be deceived by the word "Martabak". It is just a Durian Pancake :)


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