Sunday, 7 August 2011

Darwin, Planes, and Singapore!


Pretty boring place. I mostly spent my time cleaning the bike, and not leaving the motel much. The Monday there was a public holiday, and also the Darwin Cup so most of the people in the hotel were there for the races. I watched them all leaving and coming back as I scrubbed the last bit of the Northern Territory off my bike.

On the Tuesday I drained fuel out of the tank (down to 1/4 tank) to comply with the Dangerous Goods rules. Then packed all my camping gear in the cases and rode around for about an hour to get the fuel down even more. Again. pretty boring place... :D

When it came time to lodge the bike I went to Australian Air Express (they handle all the international Qantas Freight). Had to disconnect the battery and tape up the terminals, then they had a big discussion over the amount of fuel in the bike, then it was off with the mirrors, and getting the dimensions and weight. Pretty easy process, but some of those airport staff are weird people. I guess I know why there's that wide buffer of uninhabited land around Darwin now.

So the bike was ready to go on Wednesday lunchtime to Brisbane first, then back up to Singapore. It does this because it has to be in a wide container and because it is dangerous goods so Jetstar won't carry it direct. I later found out that this leg added another $400 to the cost of shipping. If I'd know I could have sent it from Brisbane for a bit less.

My Wednesday was spent just wasting time at Casuarina and the airport until my 6pm flight. Very, very boring day. Then once on the plane we had to sit there for an extra hour while they sorted out some missing baggage. So boring. 4 hour flight, 5 hours on the plane.

Waiting to leave the last very boring bit of Darwin.


I'm in Singapore! I made it! They let me through Immigration and Customs without any hassle! Hahahahha!

My hotel (The Inn at Temple Street)
Anyway. Hotel is decent, right in the middle of chinatown here, not far from the city area. And, THIS PLACE IS AWESOME! So much food, everywhere. I'm right in the middle of three huge hawker centers, each with about 100 different stalls! Maxwell Road Food Center is about 5 minutes walk, and it's apparently the best here. Food that is awesome here: Nasi Goreng, Pork Bau, Char Kwey Teow with Cockles, Dumplings with dry noodle. Most of it is cheap at S$3-4 a plate, some of them are S$10 and I can't figure out why. Coffee is 80cents. Beer is moderately expensive here, still cheaper than Australia.

Pagoda Street

Most of my days have been spent dealing with the bike however. Thursday was spent at Singapore AA getting the Insurance (S$310, for a week..), and the ICP (S$53? what...). Then it was over to the LTA to get my Autopass card to cover tolls, Vehicle Entry Permit, and parking costs. I just handed them all the documentation and S$10 and I got it, very easy process!

Friday I got a message from the Airport that the bike was ready to pick up, I packed up all my riding gear and headed off in a Taxi. In the middle of the long line to get the security pass for the cargo area I realised my keys were back at the hotel........  Oh well. I went in anyway, made sure I had all the documentation in order, then let them know and they put the bike in a staging area. Then it was back to the hotel to get the keys, then back out to the airport in another Taxi. All up around S$50 wasted for my dumbness.

The second time I was all set, I had them get the bike out of cargo storage, undid all the straps holding it in the container and then I wheeled it outside, connected the battery and I was off! I rode it over to Customs to sign off on the Carnet (couldn't hear anything they were saying), then back to security to get my passport back, then I was free! Riding round legally on Singapore roads! Ha! Totally free to roam anywhere and all I did was take it round to the other side of the airport to park it there until I figured out how the ERP (toll) system worked!

It's here! In one piece!
Saturday I did my replacement GoPro shopping and found the only place here that stocked them close by was, oddly enough, Harvey Normans. I went down to Funan technology center. Apparently a rip off for those who know, but it's just a giant collection of phones, laptops, and other electronics. Many many different stores all selling the same stuff (which is how most of the markets work here too). I found my GoPro, paid S$420 for it, so roughly $330AU, depending on what rate my credit card gave me.

Funan Technology Centre

Then it was back again for a stroll around, wandered past a brewery who were selling pints of beer for S$15 (same as Melbourne really), then down to the river where everything was expensive again, and all the way to Raffles Hotel. I had a quick look at the long bar, then at the prices, then left. S$26 for a singapore sling, I couldn't justify that after spending so much in the past few days. So I went back the the peoples park plaza and ate for S$4, and drank for S$6.80!

Raffles Hotel
The menu at the Long Bar (Raffles Hotel)
Clarke/Boat Quay

I've found a good way to save money here is to have very little in your wallet, but there's still the autopass card and the ezlink card (public transport) that hide cash away. Maybe I'll go back to Raffles once I see how much my bank is charging me for withdrawals.
Underpass which looks like Half Life. I expected the lights to flicker and something to break through the walls.

Since the ERP is free today I moved my bike closer to the Hotel, now it's only one street away and closer to my exit into Malaysia!
The view from my bike park.
New Bridge Road (Hotel is just that way -->)
Video coming soon... I'm just having trouble uploading it because the mobile phone network here slows down in Chinatown when everyone's here.


  1. Very excited for you mate. Better you visit Singapore at the beginning of your trip then at the end. Money seems to go fast while there.

    You have to try the chilli crab. It's awesome.

  2. Sign up to Wireless@SG (free), you'll get free internet almost everywhere and in Shopping Center/Library as well. If you need to have broadband on your phone, get the starhub one ( Gives you 2GB for only $32. If they give you the small sim (the ones use in iphone), you can get the sim adapter for only S$4 at the little stalls.. but not from the starhub shop (charge S$10!!!).

    Go to Sim Lim Square ( for electronic and IT products. Similar to Funan but cheaper. Be careful though, they may rip you out. So make sure you check the prices in the 1000s of stores there.

  3. If you need more information about your travels, go to the Library (the one at Bugis). There are big stocks of travel books.. most pretty updated. You can photocopy them using the machine there with the electronic card.

    Remember to catch the boat from Changi Village (good food at the Hawker Centre!!) to Palau Ubin (it's like Singapore 20 years ago). Not sure if they are willing to bring you through with the bike... u can try. :) If you have time, go to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (

    And of course Sentosa (yeah.. have to Pay And Pay.. Singapore's government party is not called PAP for nothing you know). If you are there.. remember to watch the musical fountain @ night (free!).

  4. Oh shit! The musical fountain now called Song of the Seas are now charged $10!

  5. Where was all this info a week ago? :P

    I have to leave tomorrow. Today is Singapore National Day, so I'm about to go out and have a look at what this actually means, might try and waste all the credit on my ezlink card.

    I've got the starhub sim, 2gb/day for $32 (over a week) is good! But is sloooowwwwwssss down in the evenings here.

  6. You never ask. :p

    There will be fireworks display at the end of the National Day Parade. A lot better than the ones in Melbourne. Check out

    Going 2b very crowded but then heck... just get a feel of what national day is like in Singapore.