Singapore and Kuala Lumpur | What Travelling With Friends Taught Me

Saturday, November 30, 2019


I went to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur together with my friends two weeks ago!

It was my first time to travel in quite a big group; it consisted of 6 people in total, with 3 girls and 3 boys. We started hanging out as a group last year due to the proximity of our office buildings, along with  two who work in neighboring cities. We've done a lot this year, come to think of it. Thoughts of travelling together came in when we went on a beach trip together earlier this year.

We enjoy doing activities together; with this group, we've got to be doing something, whether it be cooking together, or riding all the rides in the amusement park (I only ever ride a few though because I'm baby). So when we were thinking of a country to travel to, we figured Singapore and Kuala Lumpur made most sense, since there were amusement parks, museums, food places-- these were all a bit of everything that we liked. We considered crossing over to Kuala Lumpur as well since they're pretty much near (they were once one) each other. In our experience riding the night bus, it took roughly 1 hour to reach the border, then 3 straight hours to get to KL. So hey, that's two stamps on our passport.

I honestly didn't know what to expect, and it was only when I was packing my stuff the night before the trip that I felt the rush of excitement of travelling with friends. Travelling for me is such a great privilege. I could be using this money to save up for my future, but I thought about it while waiting at the airport, that I want to invest in memories and experiences also. I was telling my friend S that travel is great once in a while; I want that same magic and thrill to be there every time I hop on a plane, every time I take silly photos in a tourist spot, and every time I see some colorful street alley.

And so off we went and spent days together. How was it going to turn out, how will the group dynamics play out, did I pack enough, is my luggage too light (it was enough btw)? Many thoughts were swimming around inside my head. But you know what dear reader, I just let all that go, and the moment I did, it was the moment I felt the lightest. For the days we were together, the only problems we were to have were: how to get to the places we want to go to, where to eat, and perhaps maybe how to survive and get back to Manila in one piece.


Marina Bay Sands, Singapore | We got our mandatory touristy photos here! : - )

Being in another place with others really does change our perception of time. While Singapore and Malaysia has no time difference with the Philippines, I still would admit that I felt like time slowed a bit. Then again, it felt like there was so much we could do in a day. This was when I knew that the more I focused on what was around me, who I was with, what I was eating, what I was doing, and overall being fully engaged with the group, the more time felt so tangible as if I could hold it with my bare hands. It's true when they say that being in the moment allows us to perceive time more slowly. I can also easily remember the times we spent together even more.


ArtScience Museum, Singapore | As a lover of art, I was enchanted by all the displays they had on here. What made it even more fun was how it was all interactive. I enjoyed seeing all the families enjoy their time here. 


Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore |  I felt like I was melting while here. I think I would have appreciated it a lot more (because I love nature and gardens) if it were a bit cooler and if the weather wasn't so hot. 


 Jewel at Changi Airport, Singapore | I honestly wanted to see it while it was daytime, but then we arrived at the airport when the sun was setting, so we got to see it at its nighttime version. It's actually really beautiful at night. We even got to see the lights show! There's a lot to do around The Jewel. Lots of malls, cafes, bakeries, shops; you can easily spend a whole day here. 


S.E.A. Aquarium, Singapore | Going to aquariums will always be a great idea. It's calming, even though there were a lot of children who went here for their field trip while we were there. Nonetheless, I loved how they were being exposed to marine life at an early age!


Universal Studios, Singapore | It's my second Universal Studios experience. My first was in California. I can say that I got to experience it both with family and friends, and I can say that both are equally fun to do. 


Chijmes, Singapore | The boys napped while the girls took their many ootd shots. 



Haji Lane, Singapore | I thank my friends for their patience and letting me roam the other surrounding streets here!!! 

It's quite easy to go around Singapore; their transportation system is efficient, no sweat. Well, there were lots of sweat all over during the times we would walk, but it wasn't such a big problem at all once we found a nice mall to stay in. There was much to enjoy, as we went from one place to another, then sharing what we liked best about each one.


Petronas Twin Towers Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | I loved gazing at these towers. You know how it is when you see it everywhere else, then you see it right in front of your eyes, it's just a great sensory experience you can have for yourself. 


Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | I climbed all the steps! I loved the colorful steps, and I also loved the vegan and chapati meals we had right after. 


 Petaling Street a.k.a. Chinatown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | We ate here and shopped a bit!


Changkat Bukit Bintang Street Art Alleys Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | That one time my friend L and I went back to the food street while the rest of our friends were chilling at a Vietnamese coffee shop (which was BOMB! but they had no Banh Mi :-( ). I took the opportunity to take photos of the alleys we passed by. 


Central Market Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | We passed by here, and there were certainly lots to see and admire. 


Dataran Merdeka Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | We went to the nearby Textiles museum and observed the arches and architecture of the square. 


Merchant's Lane Cafe Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | We chilled at this hip cafe which was reminiscent of my time at the Cafe Apartments back in Saigon.

We slowed down a lot in Malaysia. While our Singapore itinerary was packed with lots of activities and sightseeing, Malaysia was more for leisure, for shopping, eating, hunting for coffee shops and alleys, figuring out just why is Malaysia truly Asia.. well for me personally it was the food we ate, I can say there was a big variety. It was also a first for me to be surrounded by so many different Asian nationalities, which was great.


It's a given that it's great to have a bunch of other people you can split the cost with for food or transpo, and that there's always going to be someone who can take great photos of you. But there's much to be learned as well both about ourselves and each other when travelling in a group.

After some days of rumination, I came up with major things I learned while travelling together with friends:

We Learn From Each Other

During this trip, I observed how we all differ from one another. What was most notable however, was that while we all have our own preferences when travelling, we still respect each other and sometimes even try new things together. I tried the things my friends personally enjoyed doing while on a trip and I ended up enjoying as well. What's most important is to keep an open mind, because it's honestly such a joy to see a friend being excited over something they're genuinely passionate about.

We also see how each one makes decisions and processes their thoughts. It's always important to have open communication on preferences and to involve everyone when it's time for some decision-making. Also, it was useful how we would share some travel hacks from time to time, referencing from past trips and sharing about how it all went. Whenever someone reminisces about a meaningful trip, there's some kind of energy that overflows from how they recap it to you, and you can only just smile, nod, and appreciate these things they choose to share with you. You'll never know when the information they share with you will come in handy, and at least you'll know who to reach out to for more tips when you'll have to go on that trip yourself.

We also discovered new things about each other. I bet no one really knew that I love walking and that I walk really fast : - )

We Look Out For One Another

Then there are also times for solitude or going off to other places without the whole group in tow, which is perfectly fine and understandable. Being in a group will surely make you think beyond yourself at all times. It'll make you think that if one's missing, you'll surely want to find that one person or want to know where they are. It's like being each other's moms except you're all friends.

We look out for each other's well-being and thoughts too, for when we sit down and process how the day went. There's no such thing as a perfect way to travel, nor will it always be hassle-free, but as friends it's great to guard each other's thoughts. Being together for days expands our patience. Much of our well-being is governed by what we harbor in our minds, so a little shift in mindset once in a while goes a long way. Indeed as the saying goes, we get by with a little help from our friends.

We Gain New Perspectives 

One of us was flying for the first time. I was personally excited for her, and held on to her hand when the plane took off (which is actually my favorite part, that sudden ascent into the air and we're all slanted going up into the sky), even though she was calm throughout the whole time. She was about to discover what travelling was going to be for her personally. She wrote an excerpt of it on her Facebook account, the one post my group was waiting for, and the part where she acknowledged that it's only by God's grace and provision, that we're able to go on the trip we had, was what struck me the most. Because it rings true and it's central to what the trip was all about in the very first place.

In every place we go to, whether it be a natural wonder or a man-made structure, God's glory is revealed each time. To be able to see and experience how the world works outside of our own, is more than enough to be grateful.

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I also wrote about the things I learn every time I travel together with family, which is by far my favorite blog entry. You can read here !

I will take my time to talk about parts of our trip in detail, so please look forward to it! Thank you for spending time with me, and I hope you're doing well, dear reader.

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5 comments

  1. Such a lovely post! Loved reading all the things you learned while travelling with friends. Also love the photos. I haven't been on a long trip with my friends yet, but I hope I get to go on one with them soon.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Epsita! :) I'm glad you liked this entry; it's close to my heart as well. Hope you get to travel together with friends someday!

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    2. Most Welcome! And thank you! :)

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  2. This is so awesome, I'm glad you had an awesome time traveling around Singapore and Kuala Lumpur!! These pictures look so amazing, and it's nice having friends to be with during the trip. The Marina Bay Sands picture is what I see a lot haha it looks so scary, like what the heck?!! The Supertree Grove at Garden is also such a lovely architectural feature - it really caught my eye! I hope I can travel with my friends like this someday! We're all at different financial stages and not prioritizing travel yet haha

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    1. Haha it was great to see everything up close; I know Singapore has so many landmarks we see everywhere: online, on print, on tv, but it's way cooler to see it in person. It's okay not to travel with friends yet especially if you have other more important things to prioritize, in my opinion! Travelling no matter what even if it's on a budget, is still considered an expense. There's really a lot of things to consider, so putting it off until such a time that you're comfortable to spend your money (reasonably of course!) is totally fine and understandable. :) When the time comes, it's going to be very much worth it ♡♡♡

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