After nearly a month in Thailand, I went through a bit of culture shock in Singapore. No one called after me asking if I wanted a massage, a taxi, or a tuktuk. There were no chickens or stray dogs in the streets. And, amazingly; I could flush toilet paper and drink tap water. I’m not sure which one of those made me happiest.
Without a doubt visiting the cosmopolitan city of Singapore was a huge change from what I had gotten accustomed to, and I was excited to explore it. The only issue: this super city has a reputation for being pricey and my bank account was looking more bleak by the minute. However, I’m a strong believer that money should never stop you from exploring, so when I found out that my friend and fellow solo female traveller, Jess of How Dare She, was in town the same time as me we came up with a plan, and together with the help of Shophouse Hostel, Jess and I spent 3 days discovering Singapore.
The plan was simple; using our social media accounts, and those of Shophouse Hostel, we would ask travellers who had been to the city to help us come up with things to do and see… with dares. There were only a couple of rules; the dares had to be safe and it had to be cheap. Soon suggestions came rolling in and Jess and I rushed around the city, eager to complete them all.
Dare 1: Chew Gum in Singapore
One of the weirdest things people know about Singapore is that it’s illegal to chew gum. So I wasn’t surprised when this was one of the first dares to come in. Not wanting to turn down a dare, but also not wanting to be flogged in public for breaking the law, we asked our Shophouse Hostel hosts for the real story. Turns out chewing gum itself isn’t illegal, but selling it is. In fact tourists who bring more than 2 packs into Singapore are considered to be ‘traffickers’. So basically we could chew gum, if we could get it.
Personally, I’m not a big gum fan and nor is Jess so neither of us had any. Luckily, one of the girls we met in the hostel did. So video camera in hand we headed to the iconic Gardens By the Bay to chew our gum in Singapore (find the video here).
Dare #1: Complete!
Dare 2: Sneak Into The Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool
Another dare that I wasn’t too surprised to see as the Marina Bay Sands infinity pool seems to be the one of the most elite of infinity pools around the world. However sneaking in is easier said that done. To get into the pool you need a key card; 1 per person. So we needed to find someone who was willing to share.
Our first night in Singapore was a girls night out, we got dressed up, put on makeup (for the first time in ages) and hit a sky bar and popular club. Although we did end up getting filmed for some French TV show, we did not meet anyone with a keycard.
Night two we decided to move in a little closer and hit the sky bar at Marina Bay Sands hotel itself. We paid $30 for a single drink and scanned the crowd for potential targets. Only problem; I think all the men were doing the same.
Drinks finished we did a bit of pool recon; could we sneak through the gate? Jump the wall? Anything? Seemingly not. There was security everywhere and unless I wanted to break my neck on the pool deck, jumping wasn’t going to work either. No infinity pool for us. But rather than consider it failed, I’m just going to postpone it.
Dare #2: To be continued…
Dare 3: Take a Photo With the Crab Lady at Haw Par Villa
The easiest of our dares actually turned out to be one of the trickiest. Jess and I spent my last full day running around the city trying to cram in the rest of the suggestions such as exploring the Botanical Gardens and checking out the Old Chinese Graveyard. We left Har Paw Village till last figuring it would be easy and had the most direct route back to the hostel. However there are over 1000 statues in the area and it was more than a little tricky to find the specific one. It was a bit like a treasure hunt; we’d scan the areas, ask other tourists, and then finally we found it, took our photo, and rushed back to the hostel for our next dares.
Dare #3: Complete!
Dare 4: Try Betel Nut in Little India
My last night in Singapore was also the start of Deepawali , the Indian festival of light. Our hosts at Shophouse Hostel put together a tour if Little India to celebrate and we were happy to join in. We walked under brightly lit signs hanging over the streets, explored the temple, and tried delicious mango lassi and sweets at Komalas- an institution in Singapore. We also managed to meet the Prime Minister of Singapore while getting henna tattoos; he seemed like a pretty cool guy.
As we wandered the streets our guide, Jonathan, decided to give us a dare of his own: try betel nut. Jess had done it before in the South Pacific but I was completely clueless and got even more confused as I watched the man put it together: a red plant thing with a bunch of spices wrapped in a leaf. What?!
Having zero idea what to do I asked a million stupid questions; starting with am I supposed to swallow it- a big no. Questions answered we all popped the weird leaf package in our mouths, put it to the corner, and chewed. The surrounding Indian men laughed hysterically at us; 4 white girls all with confused and slightly disgusted looks on their faces as they chewed, then tried to figure out where to spit the betel nut. It was definitely weird, but we did it.
Dare #4: Complete!
Dare 5: Try a dish at Lagnaa Barefoot Dining in Little India Above the 3rd Spice Level
Hannah+ spicy food= worst enemies. So I cringed at the thought of doing this dare. Knowing my intolerence for anything spicy we decided that ordering a dish between us and me having a (big) bite would qualify as completion on my part. I only had to take one bite, but I was still afraid.
Of course it would figure that when we got to the restaurant they would have their own dare for us. Turns out that if you eat a level 6 dish (no naan, or lassi allowed!) then you get your name on the board and get a special invite to come back during the full moon to try a level 7 dish- which isn’t on the regular menu. As soon as Jess heard this I knew she was in for it, and thoughts of the already terrifying level 4 dish quickly washed away making room for the horrific thought of eating a bite of level 6.
Well I did it. And as proud as I was for suffering through that one bite, huge kudos went to Jess who ate the whole damn thing. It was painful, it was slow, but in the end her name is up on the board. And if you want to see us suffer, you can find that video here.
Dare 6: Eat a Durian
Fast forward 12 hours from our spicy Indian dare and we were on to the last challenge before I had to catch my flight to Kuala Lumpur: Durian. Now the original dare was to eat a whole one but at $18+ for a Durian, well that definitely did not fit the cheap qualification so we settled for trying it.
Durian isn’t the easiest thing to find in Singapore, in comparison to Malaysia or Bangkok, so we had to hike it to China town to get some of the infamous fruit. We paid $5 for a package, trusting the vendor to pick out the best one, and sat down to give it a shot.
Well it’s a good thing we said ‘try’ not eat the whole thing because if either of us had to take one more bite we probably both would have vomited. It was absolutely disgusting and if you are ready for a laugh, you can find our reactions here.
Dare #6: Complete!
Without a doubt daring to discover Singapore was an awesome way to see the city. We had a lot of fun on our little missions and managed to see quite a bit in our short time. However, not getting into that infinity pool was a bit of a bummer, but I guess that just mean’s we’ll have to go back!
Thanks to Shophouse Hostel for hosting us during our stay!