A Journey Across Singapore and Malaysia: Laughing Through the Lens

Journey Across Singapore and Malaysia

Written By: Siam Khan

So, you’re ready to explore more of Indonesia and are looking for the best way to do so. Finding your way from Singapore to Indonesia on a ferry is only part of the fun. Once you do, then learning how to negotiate your way through the various lands is always an “interesting” process.  Join me on my escapades from Singapore, the Batam Island in Indonesia and off to Malaysia for a bit of entertainment for your day.

My Singaporean Saga

My Singaporean Saga
Credit: Mike Enerio

My adventure began with all the gusto characteristic of an eager traveler arriving in this vibrant metropolis where modernity meets tradition spectacularly. Right off the plane, my first encounter was with Singapore’s iconic symbol–not the Merlion but rather an equally pungent durian, known for its pungent aroma and immense popularity with locals. “It’s an acquired taste,” they say. Sure, it is! Lol. Man, it’s funky, but if it’s in tea, it’s semi-doable.

Well, I’ll tell ya, I tried it and was met with an overwhelming taste sensation that left me both questioning my life choices yet and feeling proud for having been brave enough to try such an extraordinary treat.

Culture Faux Pas and Unintentional Offenses

Not My Sneakers

My goal was to fit in, so I adhered to local customs—or so I thought. Removing my shoes before entering a home seemed easy enough until my fluorescent sneakers got mixed up with another guest’s and made their way inside! Witnessing an elderly Singaporean gentleman’s perplexed look remains seared into my memory forever.

Trial and Error

As part of my effort to immerse myself in Singaporean culture, I visited one of Singapore’s Hawker Centers – culinary battlegrounds known for offering exquisite treats. Singapore’s hawker centers are more than mere food courts: they’re battlegrounds where flavors vie for supremacy. My search for something mild was met with something so fiery it made my eyes water and my heart race. This unforgettable taste sensation marked my initiation into Singaporean spice with flying colors (albeit leaving my tastebuds slightly altered).

Unfortunately, my mistake was asking for the “least spicy” dishes despite vendor warnings otherwise. Amidst an explosion of flavors that danced on my tongue before setting it ablaze was the taste sensation known as ‘teh tarik’ (pulled tea), which offered little relief while providing entertainment value for onlookers.

After getting a taste of funky and spicy, I was off to my next challenge, the Singapore MRT. While a quick and precise form of transportation around the town, its complex map design, and the ability to navigate its routes became my personal obstacle course. Hoping to appear like a local, I boarded several trains only to end up at random stations, such as Tiong Bahru with its mix of art deco architecture and cafes with plenty of lagers to drink as I regrouped.

After tackling Singapore, it was time to take on my next adventure to Batam Island in Indonesia.

Next Stop: Batam Island, Indonesia

Getting There

The Majestic Fast Ferry is one of the best ways you can get from Singapore to Indonesia, to Singapore. The Majestic Fast Ferry provides a luxurious and convenient transport between Singapore and Batam Island in Indonesia. Since its launch in December 2014, this ferry service has become synonymous with safe, comfortable sea travel and has 14 advanced vessels designed to elevate your experience.

Getting There
Credit: Hartanto Kosasih

Overall, the passenger experience aboard the Majestic Ferry is excellent.  As you enter your journey, you are welcomed by luxurious handcrafted leather seats, a staff ready to meet your needs, and cutting-edge technologies for your comfort.  If, on the other hand, you’d like an experience that is a little easier on your budget without the champagne, the Batam Fast also provides excellent service at a reduced price.

When I arrived at the Batam Islands, I was greeted by not only the beauty of the island but the friendliness of its people.

Malaysia

Taxis

Once I crossed into Malaysia, I was welcomed by its equally vibrant chaos: Kuala Lumpur. My introduction was via taxi ride that doubled as an audition for Formula 1, darting between lanes with all the skills only Malaysian taxi drivers can possess.  This thrilling welcome, set the stage for many more extraordinary journeys to come!

taxi ride

Malaysian Cuisine

Overall, finally, a culinary adventure of Malaysia’s cuisine is an exquisite mix of flavors and fragrances; their national dish of Nasi Lemak alone deserves to be celebrated as such a delicacy. Eager to try everything, I ordered several dishes with names I couldn’t pronounce and was surprised that one such dish, Nasi Kerabu (a blue rice dish with a strange blue hue), turned out to be delicious. This is proof that Malaysia is indeed where bold food colors make your taste buds dance!

While I was there, I also ventured beyond my comfort zone to sample one the stranger dishes, Sambal Stingray. It proved to be especially challenging, as it was both weird to eat and to swallow.

Malaysia: Beyond the Concrete Jungle

While in Malaysia, I visited Borneo, Malaysia’s state of Sabah, which provided an eye-opening contrast to urban sprawl. This jungle trek promised an intimate encounter with nature. While, yes, it did provide that, it also ended up in an unexpected battle of wills between me and a cheeky monkey over my sunglasses—which unfortunately ended badly for me, but great for the monkey.

In Search of the Perfect Sunset

To search for an idyllic sunset experience, I traveled to Langkawi’s idyllic beaches. After an exhausting day trying unsuccessfully to capture it on camera, the most magnificent scene unfolded when I let go and simply reveled in each momentous view. Taking the time to enjoy the beauty of the land was perfect when I wasn’t trying to record every moment with my lens.

Souvenir Shopping

While in Malaysia, I visited the capital of Kuala Lumpur. In Kuala Lumpur’s bustling markets, I discovered the art of bargaining. After several attempts marked by awkward pauses and exaggerated gestures, I finally succeeded. My efforts eventually resulted in not only beautiful batik fabric but also warm interactions that transcended language barriers.

Lost in Translation

When I attempted to purchase souvenirs, many humorous exchanges were lost in translation. I accidentally purchased traditional Malay attire meant for women and subsequently attempted to survive the fruits I could not identify, making the experience rather unique.

Recollections

As my adventure through Singapore and Malaysia came to a close, it left me reflecting upon the many experiences that made up its days. From initial culture shock to final farewells, every step was filled with smiles, warmth, and spontaneous moments that define travel tales.

These two countries, each with their distinct cultures, cuisines, and landscapes, taught me far more than I could ever anticipate. They taught me the beauty of diversity, the value of embracing uncertainty, and that each misadventure holds priceless lessons that cannot be underestimated.

As I traversed bustling cities, tranquil beaches, and lush jungles, I experienced the soul of the city. Sharing meals together and exchanging smiles were key components in finding true travel experiences that truly defined my trip.

Journey Across Singapore and Malaysia

Headed Home

As I embarked on my flight back home with souvenirs piled into my suitcase and an abundance of stories in my heart, it became clear that these memories would remain with me for life.

At its core, my journey through Singapore and Malaysia was much more than a series of destinations; rather, it was an unforgettable mosaic of experiences, with many errors that left me with an unforgettable story of discovery. Thinking back on it now makes me smile at the prospect of returning one day for yet another chapter in its glorious storyline.

Wrapping Up

As my journey across Singapore and Malaysia draws to an end, I find myself filled with laughter, warmth, and an overwhelming sense of discovery. From durian debacles to unintended cross-cultural comedy – every chapter has been an unforgettable adventure that I wouldn’t trade for anything!

As I depart Singapore and Malaysia, I carry with me both souvenirs and an abundance of laughter. This journey has demonstrated the transformative power of travel, showing me there’s beauty even amid chaos and comedy. Here’s to more adventures, laughter, and unforgettable stories that await to unfold – here’s to travel’s joyous cycle of experience! And as always, never forget to Travel Till You Drop!

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About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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