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3 ASIAN MEGALOPOLISES IN 1 WEEK: SINGAPORE-KUALA LUMPUR-TAIPEI

Taiwan | Tuesday, 5 April 2016 | 26 photos

Tuesday March 29, it's officially 11 months now since we quit NYC to travel the world!!! :-) Time flies! As you likely noticed already we have gone over the original estimate for the trip length - I guess we had more fun than we expected. YOLO! ;-)

SINGAPORE
We took a 4 hour bus from Malacca, Malaysia to Singapore. The border crossing was very easy; so refreshing when there are no scams or arguing. Singapore is the city with the weirdest laws in the world, for example, chewing gum is forbidden in Singapore?!? Check this link if you want to know more:
http://www.businessinsider.com/absurd-laws-of-singapore-2012-6

But we learned very quickly though that everyone breaks the law about ... jaywalking. So we jaywalked everyday like a real New Yorker! ;-) lol In two days, we saw everything we wanted to see. Singapore is a "small" island that is very well served by public transportation. Walking through the streets of Singapore felt like being in the movie "The Truman Show"; everything is so clean and perfect that it almost feels artificial. Plus, the official language is English so you can imagine how easy it is for foreigners. Besides being so clean, it was rather expensive so luckily they had cafeteria/food courts in Little India and Chinatown where the food was really authentic and good and... cheap! ;-)

LONGEST DAY EVER
The drawback of not planning in advance is that we had the longest day of our trip on Easter Good Friday!!! :-( We left Singapore "early" at 7 am, and normally we should've arrived at 1pm in Kuala Lumpur (KL for locals) but instead we arrived at 9 pm. Tens of thousands of Singaporeans went to Malaysia for the Easter long weekend and of course they all crossed the same border as us - Singapore is an island don't forget. Insane, we lined up for 2 hours in Singapore to catch the local city bus then got stuck another 2 hours at the Singapore border then another 3 hours at the Malaysia border - by far the worst part, standing in line with our backpacks on our back, surrounded by a crowd of thousands (think a rock concert mosh pit), everyone is hot, hungry, tired and more than one person blew a fuse when someone else was a little too pushy. We really didn't think we would make it, the line seemed to barely move and there were so many people in front of us, our shoulders and feet were aching, we felt like passing out. Would you believe Singapore/Malaysia would have a tougher border than Laos/Cambodia/Bolivia?!? Once through we had to find our 5 hour bus to KL at the bus station. Then once in KL, decipher the subway system to get our way to a hostel (that we hadn't reserved yet) - it's Easter weekend so of course many hostels were also full. By 11pm we were exhausted but so relieved and happy to have dinner and finally go to bed! Yay! :-)
CONCLUSION: Plan ahead! (or buy a plane ticket)

By the way, this was our LAST border crossing by land for our round the world trip! So we definitely won't forget it! From now on, we fly between countries and do immigration at the airport - thus less like a real backpacker, rather "easy" as "richer" people are accustomed to doing! Lol ;-)

KUALA LUMPUR
KL is a lot like Singapore, but cheaper, a little less clean, a little more character and just as hot and humid. We really miss the change of seasons after our 11 months of "endless summer"! We don't normally care for shopping malls but in this kind of weather they were the perfect place to to cool off in the air conditioning! KL is another city (like Singapore and other big cities in Malaysia) with a lot of Indian and Chinese people, so we had awesome food there. The skyscrapers are reminiscent of Singapore and of course our beloved NYC! ;-) The famous Petronas twin towers were really quite beautiful when lit up at night.

TAIPEI
We flew from KL to Taipei. It was a smooth 4h flight and immigration was very simple - one of the many advantages of not taking the bus! Lol However, we still took the cheapest flight on a discount airline with no meals or drinks or checked bags plus the cheapest flight always seems to land around midnight so it's rather complicated to get from the airport to downtown by the local bus - taxis are too expensive for us. ;-)

Taipei is another huge city on a "small island" similar to Singapore but the official language is Chinese/Mandarin. Again like Singapore, it's clean and modern and rather expensive - luckily not quite so expensive as Singapore! We visited the old part of Taipei that has very nice architecture and many old Chinese temples. We came to Taipei to visit our friend Brian from NYC who had the courage to quit EVERYTHING (like us) and be unemployed so he could study Chinese in Taipei! :-) YOLO! It is great to spend time with a friend abroad like that and so odd at the same time; love it! To be frank Chinese food is not at the top of our list of favorite foods but we've found the food surprisingly delicious here! OMG, so good!!! :-) There should definitely be more Taiwanese people in Chinatown in NYC. We really enjoy Taipei because the weather is moderate (not cold, not hot) like spring in New York or France! :-)

PHILIPPINES
We are flying ( ;-) YES! ) from Taipei to Manila on Sunday to discover Philippines. We should be back to the adventure (i.e. rough backpacking) lifestyle plus horribly hot humid weather as well.



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Hawaii Nov. 2014

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