let’s do the MRT hop.

On Saturday I had a SUPER-MEGA-EXPLORE-day. It was a beautiful sunny day, which meant that walking around so much was a very sweaty experience, but very worthwhile! πŸ˜‰ As some of you may know, I am on a mini mission to explore allΒ of Singapore via MRT (the train system here!). Singapore’s MRT is truly a thing of beauty, especially from the perspective of a girl who grew up in Auckland (a really, really lovely city, transportation asideΒ πŸ˜› ). So I have printed out a large MRT map and stuck it on my pinboard, and I’m pinning off the stations as I visit each area! I thought this would be a cool way to do some independent exploring, and also to see the non-touristy parts of the island πŸ™‚

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A photo Mum took of me with my map while they were here πŸ˜›

 

If you want to look up the map yourself to see where the places I explored to in this post are, you can find it here!

https://www.transitlink.com.sg/images/eguide/mrt_sys_map.htm

Or this one is the to scale one I printed, but note that it doesn’t have the Downtown line – I had to draw that in myself!

I started my day with church in Jalan Kukoh, a low-income residential area near Chinatown. I’ve been attending this church for three weeks now, and I really love it! It’s a small group, maybe around 15 people, who meet on a void deck in an HDB block. The service is mostly in Mandarin, but everyone tries to translate for me as we go, and even though I don’t catch every word, I catch enough πŸ™‚ It’s pretty cool to be able to practice my Mandarin there too! By the end of the year, I’m gonna be able to sing some Mandarin worship songs, I’m sure πŸ˜‰ The congregation are from all walks of life and stages of faith, and it is such an authentic experience. I leave each week feeling so uplifted.

This week one of the people was free for a couple of hours after the service, so he took me on a little tour of Little India! We took the MRT to Farrer Park, and he showed me around the Mustafa Centre, which is a simply enormous and maze-like 24 hour shopping centre that sells absolutely everything for very cheap. It was very interesting! After that we went to a nearby vegetarian place for lunch which was DELISH πŸ™‚

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SO GOOOOOD.

We walked from Farrer Park to the Little India Arcade, which was about a 20 minute walk. On the way, we saw this cute little park with these awesome umbrella trees!

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I don’t know what they’re made from but they’re so cool!

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And they provide a decent amount of shade, which is much sought after on such a sunny day πŸ˜‰

The Little India Arcade is like walking into Aladdin’s Cave. You can’t even tell where the ceiling is, there’s so much stuff hanging down, and if you’re any taller than me (most people πŸ˜› ), you actually would need to duck your head frequently to walk through it! They sell all sorts of things here, and especially things that glow, gleam or glitter πŸ™‚

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What is this wonderland.

After we went around little India, I went off and did some more exploring by myself in the afternoon! From Little India I walked to Rochor, which is a cool and arty little area πŸ™‚ There is a big art school there, and so there are really nice art supplies shops! I found this really cute one called Overjoyed and bought more brush pens than I had intended to πŸ˜‰

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Even the streets in Rochor look arty somehow!

From Rochor I walked to Bugis! There are lots of cool buildings around there.

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I love the colourful spiral stairs!

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And this green HDB block.

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And these interestingly shaped buildings!

From Bugis, I caught the MRT to Toa Payoh (pronounce this like “toe pay oh” πŸ™‚ ) to commence my mini-mission within my MRT hopping mini-mission! So like a sub-mini-mission? WhichΒ is to visit all of the heritage playgrounds in Singapore! Scattered around Singapore, there are these lovely, old, tiled playgrounds. Some of them are protected, and some of them are endangered, but they are all part of Singapore’s nostalgia, and I love that. So on Saturday afternoon I started out on my sub-mini-playground-mission! The most famous one is the dragon playground in Toa Payoh (this one is definitely protected), so that is where I set off for first.

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Toa Payoh has a cool yellow and rainbow MRT station!

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I walked through the Toa Payoh mall to get to the playground, which is a really cute street of shops. It sort of reminded me of Noddy Town!

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I also walked past more cool and interesting buildings…

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… it turned out that the playground was very far away, but it was a very pleasant walk (sweat aside)!

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And here it is! The famous Toa Payoh dragon playground! So cool and cute!

The famous Toa Payoh dragon in Lorong 6 actually has a lesser-known little dragon sibling over in Lorong 1. They’re about 20 minutes walk apart, so next up I headed off in that direction to see if I could find it!

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I enjoyed walking through so many HDB areas! It’s another side of Singapore that is cool to experience.

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Ta da! Baby dragon!

Although this is still in Toa Payoh, Lorong 1 is actually much closer to the Braddell MRT, so I made my way over there and went to meet Glen in Kovan, where he had been having a work sports tournament! We got a bit of sushi (of course) and then headed off to Dakota together to continue the sub-mini-playground-mission!

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Sunset in Dakota.

Dakota is a majorly endangered area, its pretty dove playground included. These are some of the oldest HDB blocks in Singapore, which as you can see, are very small, and also quite run down. So at the end of this year, this whole little area will be demolished to make way for bigger buildings to house more people. Which of course makes total sense, given the state and size of these buildings. At the same time though, and I don’t know if it was because of the beautiful sunset, or the abundance of cats, Dakota has a quaint, quiet sort of charm that I haven’t really seen anywhere else here. You could practically FEEL the nostalgia in the air. So I’m glad that I got to see this place before it disappears πŸ™‚

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The dove playground!

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Glen wondering why I’m always taking his photo… πŸ˜›

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An adorable and retro cafe at the bottom of one of the little HDB buildings.

After that, we met Glen’s parents and went to have banana leaf for dinner! This is a type of Indian food where instead of a plate you have a banana leaf, and people will come around and put food on it for you. It was very spicy and very fun!

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You can eat with your hands, or with a fork and spoon!

If you read your way through all of those adventures, my congratulations πŸ˜‰ It was a very big day! All up that is SEVEN new pins for my map: Farrer Park, Rochor, Bugis, Toa Payoh, Braddell, Kovan and Dakota! I’ll keep you posted on how my mini-mission and sub-mini-missions progress hehehe πŸ™‚ ❀

 

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